He’s just ‘girl crazy’

Having barely survived his New York difficulties, Dominique Strauss-Kahn now wants to mount a legal counterattack against a French woman, Tristane Banon, who accused him of rape in 2007 and who now plans to make a complaint for rape against the disgraced former head of the International Monetary Fund: Agent France Presse reportsthat:

He just can't help it

Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn plans to sue for slander a French woman who said she will file an attempted rape complaint against him, his lawyers said in a statement Monday.

Earlier French journalist and writer Tristane Banon, 32, who once branded Strauss-Kahn a “rutting chimpanzee”, indicated she would lodge “a complaint for attempted rape” against him, her lawyer David Koubbi told the news magazine L’Express on its website.

Koubbi added he would likely send the complaint to French prosecutors on Tuesday.

But Strauss-Kahn, who resigned from his post at the IMF after being charged with sexual assault in New York, fired back at his French accuser.

His lawyers Henri Leclerc and Frederique Baulieu told AFP in a statement that Strauss-Kahn had taken note of Banon’s intentions, but dismissed her charges as “imaginary.”

They said they “were in the process of compiling a libel complaint against her.”

Dominique Strauss-Kahn was set free

In the New York Timesrecounting of the event:

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund, who is accused of sexually assaulting a hotel housekeeper, was released from house arrest on Friday as the case against him moved closer to dismissal after prosecutors told a Manhattan judge that the credibility of his accuser was in serious question.

A reprieve awaits Dominique Strauss-Kahn?

Events appear to be turning towards that conclusion. The New York Times now reports that:

The sexual assault case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn is on the verge of collapse as investigators have uncovered major holes in the credibility of the housekeeper who charged that he attacked her in his Manhattan hotel suite in May, according to two well-placed law enforcement officials.

Although forensic tests found unambiguous evidence of a sexual encounter between Mr. Strauss-Kahn, a French politician, and the woman, prosecutors now do not believe much of what the accuser has told them about the circumstances or about herself.

Since her initial allegation on May 14, the accuser has repeatedly lied, one of the law enforcement officials said.

Senior prosecutors met with lawyers for Mr. Strauss-Kahn on Thursday and provided details about their findings, and the parties are discussing whether to dismiss the felony charges. Among the discoveries, one of the officials said, are issues involving the asylum application of the 32-year-old housekeeper, who is Guinean, and possible links to people involved in criminal activities, including drug dealing and money laundering.

It is a miserable yet possible fact that Strauss-Kahn did criminally assault this woman. But that possible fact will not matter much even if it were not merely possible but actual. An assault would not matter if the victim of the assault will never provide credible testimony that can overcome the weakness of the forensic evidence. Her initial credibility contrasted strongly with the wretched and chronic behavior of the accused, a man known for his sexual appetite and his predation. Today, both stand diminished.

The IMF will receive a woman’s touch…

Christine Lagarde, currently the Minister for Economic Affairs, Finance and Industry in President Nicolas Sarkozy‘s center-right government, will soon become the first women to lead the International Monetary Fund. Her statement on her appointment:

“The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund has just selected me to succeed Dominique Strauss-Kahn as Managing Director for a five-year term, starting on July 5. I am deeply honored by the trust placed in me by the Executive Board. I would like to thank the Fund’s global membership warmly for the broad-based support I have received. I would also like to express my respect and esteem for my colleague and friend, Agustín Carstens.

“The IMF has served its 187 member countries well during the global economic and financial crisis, transforming itself in many positive ways. I will make it my overriding goal that our institution continues to serve its entire membership with the same focus and the same spirit. As I have had the opportunity to say to the IMF Board during the selection process, the IMF must be relevant, responsive, effective, and legitimate, to achieve stronger and sustainable growth, macroeconomic stability, and a better future for all.”

As the person who has received the honor of replacing Dominique Strauss-Khan, Ms. Largarde has an opportunity to replenish the aura of an institution revered by everyone.

Cristine Legarde walks the red carpet

Greeks against austerity

A photo taken from the June 28, 2011 demostration:

June 28, 2011 Athens Demonstration

Reactionary economics is a kind of war-making

Michael Hudson provides a brief case study of this kind of war craft while describing the Greek crisis:

The fight for Europe’s future is being waged in Athens and other Greek cities to resist financial demands that are the 21st century’s version of an outright military attack. The threat of bank overlordship is not the kind of economy-killing policy that affords opportunities for heroism in armed battle, to be sure. Destructive financial policies are more like an exercise in the banality of evil — in this case, the pro-creditor assumptions of the European Central Bank (ECB), EU and IMF (egged on by the U.S. Treasury).

As Vladimir Putin pointed out some years ago, the neoliberal reforms put in Boris Yeltsin’s hands by the Harvard Boys in the 1990s caused Russia to suffer lower birth rates, shortening life spans and emigration — the greatest loss in population growth since World War II. Capital flight is another consequence of financial austerity. The ECB’s proposed “solution” to Greece’s debt problem is thus self-defeating. It only buys time for the ECB to take on yet more Greek government debt, leaving all EU taxpayers to get the bill. It is to avoid this shift of bank losses onto taxpayers that Angela Merkel in Germany has insisted that private bondholders must absorb some of the loss resulting from their bad investments.

Popular protest in Greece

The bankers are trying to get a windfall by using the debt hammer to achieve what warfare did in times past. They are demanding privatization of public assets (on credit, with tax deductibility for interest so as to leave more cash flow to pay the bankers). This transfer of land, public utilities and interest as financial booty and tribute to creditor economies is what makes financial austerity like war in its effect.

I am sure it is difficult to produce a Hollywood epic of Greek farmers struggling to survive a blow that begins and ends with a stroke of a pen.

I also do not believe it wrong to identify this kind of elite economic activity as a kind of primitive or original accumulation. I believe it is uncontroversial to assert that the European Bankers and their allies in the United States want to restructure the Greek economy in order to exclude some in Greece from the material benefits they have had in the past and to accumulate capital by exploiting the political, legal and economic conditions in Greece, Europe and the world at large. This manner of capital accumulation may rightly be characterized as a kind of looting, that is, as an expropriation meant, in part, to change the character of economic exploitation in Greece. It is an instance of primitive or original accumulation because it will likely end with a new economic regime in Greece, a regime that will reflect the political capacities and economic requirements of some finance capitalists.

Hudson gives this advice to the Greek people who have been excluded from the elite bargaining over Greece’s future:

The most effective tactic is to demand a national referendum on whether to accept the ECB’s terms for austerity, tax increases, public spending cutbacks and selloffs. This is how Iceland’s president stopped his country’s Social Democratic leadership from committing the economy to ruinous (and legally unnecessary) payments to Gordon Brown’s Labour Party demands and those of the Dutch for the Icesave and even the Kaupthing bailouts.

Use of the direct democratic mechanism is the best feasible and effective path to block this attack on Greece and its people. Revolution is the only rational alternative to the victims of this looting effort if the institutions of a modern democracy were to fail to secure the rights and well-being of the Greek people. Resignation and suffering combine to provide the irrational alternative.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn claimed to have a ‘get out of jail free’ card

The Associated Press reports that:

Dominique Strauss-Kahn declared he had diplomatic immunity and complained that his handcuffs were too tight after he was taken into custody on allegations he tried to rape a Manhattan hotel maid, court documents filed Thursday show.

Pass Go and Collect Millions of Euros

The politics of Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s criminal career

Might we consider Dominique Strauss-Kahn‘s recent troubles to be little more than a sex scandal? If we did, Strauss-Kahn would just be a cad and schmuck, like Anthony Weiner. Has he not been made ridiculous by his own hand? Are his troubles just another instance in which a powerful man is found to be undeserving of the highest honors and, perhaps, even brute sympathy? Is this scandal his alone? Or, is there more to the scandal than one man’s perverse desires and the stigma he must now wear?

I would say that Strauss-Kahn’s predicament amounts to something more than a sex scandal. Marie Bénilde, writing for Le Monde Diplomatique, succinctly gives the reasons for considering them to be so:

A positive aspect to the furore [sic] after the arrest of Dominique Strauss-Kahn on charges including attempted rape was the revelation of the workings of the French media. These include the extreme personalization of politics (leader writers deplore this while pursuing their own causes); the continuity between communications advisers and journalists when a “client” fits mainstream media ideology; and the close ties, always condemned but never severed, between the press and government. The DSK affair also revealed the class reflexes that move editorial writers, on the top rungs of the social ladder, when the powerful fall. The misfortunes of the weak are too banal to be news.

Some men are petty tyrants. Their crimes are matters to be handled by the police and the courts. Other men are grand tyrants. Their crimes often become political matters because their power and influence shields their actions from critical scrutiny and legal accountability. Strauss-Kahn’s troubles belong to the second category. He was a member of the French elite, a leader of the International Monetary Fund and, it seems, an abuser of women for much of his life. His sexual misadventures were not the private affairs of two or more consenting adults. They were instances in which he abused his power. And the members of his class, political party and others closely related to his milieu indirectly sponsored his criminal by providing political and social coverage for him.

Revolutions were made over lesser slights.

Sherry Wolf sets her sights on Dominique Strauss-Kahn

After ridiculing Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the French Socialist Party, the French media and the International Monetary Fund, Sherry Wolf concluded her article by pointing out that:

We rarely, if ever, see such a powerful man fall, and never for the rape of a Black immigrant woman. I can only assume that he’s pissed off people much higher up who decided to cut the cord.

In coming weeks we’ll see the institutions he represents and his former hangers-on scurry about to cover their asses, but for now we can take a bit of pleasure in the political, social and personal collapse of such a man. Let’s use his fall to shine a light on the organizations that have protected him all these years.

Au revoir, Monsieur Pig! FSP and IMF, j’accuse!

Ben Stein defends a ‘socialist’

Ben Stein recently took up the cause of Dominique Strauss-Khan. He defended the embattled politician by blaming the victim who made the allegations against Strauss-Kahn; by class baiting the New York Police Department, the New York District Attorney’s Office, the media that has covered the scandal and the have-nots who are reading about it; and by offering obscurantist arguments regarding Strauss-Kahn’s propensity to commit this crime. Stein also pleads for special treatment for Strauss-Kahn because the former IMF Chief is rich, famous, powerful and important enough that he need not spend time at Rikers Island and should not be subject to a perp walk. In Stein’s world, these indignities ought to be applied only to criminals.

Stein claims: “…this is a case about the hatred of the have-nots for the haves, and that’s what it’s all about.” Actually, the Strauss-Kahn case originated in the serious allegations made by a hotel employee against a specific man, Dominique Strauss-Khan, a man who already had gained a reputation as a serial harasser of women. His class is irrelevant just as her class is irrelevant.