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November 08, 2011

Great Big Cain Round-Up

If you hate this story, at least this is a round-up -- everything out there so far today in one post.

First of all, in last night's midnight post, I posted a link to Bill Kurtis suggesting the "roles might be reversed here" (i.e., suggesting Bialek might have been the aggressor) and someone emailing MacsMind to claim Bialek accused her previous boss of sexual harassment, too.

Those tips seem to be incorrect, in as much as they're not part of today's document dump on Bialek. However, I think I can see where both stories ended up.

I cannot be certain of this, but I'm thinking that MacsMind's mysterious emailer is probably the "friend" of Bialek trash-talking her to the NY Post.

Friend of Bialek Claims She's a "Gold Digger" Just Doing This "For the Money." "Friend"? I think that further reportage will tend to show this is not a "friend."

Meanwhile, a friend of Ms Bialek, from Chicago, told the New York Post: 'She has a very infectious personality. It’s easy to see how she won [Cain] over. But the reality of her situation is -- she’s a complete gold digger. It’s all about the money.'

Adding that she was from a middle-income family but lives in a posh house while running from bill collectors, the source said: 'Most of her jobs ended in termination. It’s always the employer’s fault, not hers.

'This is a lady who lives off the system. She is hellbent on finding a way of never having to work and living the lifestyle she wants to live, a very affluent lifestyle.'

That comes from right-ish leaning Andrea Peyser at the NYPost, as long as we're noting media bias.

Also, so long as we're keeping track of things, Bialek's accuser is in fact unnamed -- anonymous. Vague charges. Won't put a name behind the non-specific allegations.

I do not believe Peyser's source is a "friend" of Bialek's. Seems to be an initial gambit of dishonesty. I don't know "friends" who run their "friends" down by alleging (anonymously) that they are low, base characters.

People do that -- but they're not friends. And people are often right in peddling such charges -- but they're not friends. Calling this person a "friend" just seems dishonest to me.

Peyser claims this:

Fourteen years after the incident, an untraumatized Bialek said she approached Cain at a Tea Party conference last month in Chicago -- and was smitten again.

Keep that in mind -- Peyser seems to think that when Bialek met Cain at TeaCon, she was "smitten" by him.

Where did she get that idea?

This is where I think Kurtis' story went, the idea that Bialek was "smitten" by Cain. The Sun Times makes it sound like a witness is saying that Bialek "hugged" Cain at that Tea Con meeting -- relying on the statement of Amy Jacobsen.

◆The encounter: “It looked sort of flirtatious,” said Jacobson. “I mean they were hugging. But she could have been giving him the kiss of death for all I know. I had no idea what they were talking about, but she was inches from his ear.”

◆The introduction: “It all began when I took a convention break and joined my pals at the hotel bar. Sharon was drinking Mimosas with them. She said she was a Republican, a Tea Party member, had once dated [White Sox sports announcer’ Steve Stone] and had worked at WGN radio.”

However, in her interview with Beck, this witness says she doesn't know what Bialek was saying-- but seems to be supporting Bialek's story of the TeaCon meeting, in as much as Bialek was 1, determined to confront him, and 2, confronted him (whispering in his ear, with multiple people around) for two to three minutes with an "intensity" that was notable, and then 3, stormed off.

But when it comes to judging Cain and Bialek’s the body motion, Jacobson described their encounter as ‘intense’, that you could ‘cut it with a knife’, saying that she knew not to interrupt them. Jacobson had wanted to get a photo with Cain and said she was bum-rushed by Bialek who beat her to Cain and then had his ear for 2-3 minutes. She said it was clear Bialek had something she wanted to tell Cain and “by God she was going to tell him what she came there to tell him”. When asked about her characterization that it was ‘flirtatious’, she said she meant that Bialek was in Cain’s personal space, very close to his ear. Again, she affirmed she had no idea what they were actually talking about, only that Cain was saying “uh huh” several times throughout their brief encounter.

So I think that this witness is being mischaracterized. I think some people want to pull out "She hugged him, she's a stalker!," which I remember hearing about Monica Lewinsky, too. But a witness who is actually confirming part of Bialek's story is being distorted into claiming it was some kind of huggy/sweet-talk situation, when in fact what seems to have happened is that she bum-rushed people to get to Cain, and then buttonholed him -- a clinch, not a hug -- and then accused him into his ear, which is consistent with what Bialek said happened.

Now, this witness, if she really did see Bialek "hugging" Cain in a friendly manner as the spin would have it, would be expected to think Bialek is lying, right? In that case, she would have seen something plainly inconsistent with her story.

But in fact she says she believes Bialek.

Cain has issued a statement previewing his press conference (scheduled for 5 pm).

The statement does not deny any particular of Bialek's story. As I keep asking-- Did he upgrade her room, or not? The fact that he won't specifically say "I never upgraded a room" indicates to me that he did, and doesn't want to be caught saying something that could be disproved later. So he keeps the denials very general (something, again, I've seen before).

And then he points out she changes jobs a lot and has declared bankruptcy twice, which is also the sort of thing I've seen before.

As Ms. Sharon Bialek has placed herself in the public spotlight through making patently false allegations against Herman Cain, it is only fair to compare her track record alongside Mr. Cain’s.

In stark contrast to Mr. Cain’s four decades spent climbing the corporate ladder rising to the level of CEO at multiple successful business enterprises, Ms. Bialek has taken a far different path.

The fact is that Ms. Bialek has had a long and troubled history, from the courts to personal finances – which may help explain why she has come forward 14 years after an alleged incident with Mr. Cain, powered by celebrity attorney and long term Democrat donor Gloria Allred.

In the courts, Ms. Bialek has had a lengthy record in the Cook County Court system over various civil lawsuits. The following cases on file in Cook County are:

· 2000-M1-707461 Defendant against Broadcare Management

· 2000-M1-714398 Defendant in lawsuit against Broadcare Management

· 2000-M1-701522 Defendant in lawsuit against Broadcare Management

· 2005-M1-111072 Defendant in lawsuit against Mr. Mark Beatovic.

· 2007-M1-189176 Defendant in lawsuit against Midland Funding.

· 2009-M1-158826 Defendant in lawsuit against Illinois Lending.

Ms. Bialek was also sued in 1999 over a paternity matter according to ABC 7 Chicago (WLS-TV). Source: WLS-TV, November 7, 2011

In personal finances, PACER (Federal Court) records show that Ms. Bialek has filed for bankruptcy in the Northern District of Illinois bankruptcy court in 1991 and 2001. The respective case numbers according to the PACER system are 1:01-bk-22664 and 1:91-bk-23273.

Ms. Bialek has worked for nine employers over the last seventeen years. Source: WLS-TV, November 7, 2011

Curiously, if Ms. Bialek had intended to take legal action, the statute of limitations would have passed a decade ago.

Which brings up the question of why she would make such reprehensible statements now?

The questions should be – who is financing her legal team, have any media agreed to pay for her story, and has she been offered employment for taking these actions?

As for "who is financing her legal team," I think we'll soon find the answer to that, and it will be the obvious answer. Attention-seeking lawyers often take on high-profile cases for free, typically, because the media exposure is worth more than any payment you might receive. It's a loss leader.

Another accuser is faceless and nameless no more, as The Daily reports what I assume everyone already knew-- the identity of one of the accusers, the one represented by Joel "Prime Time" Bennett. Note: I did not know her name. When I say "I assume everyone knew" I mean the reporters working the story. I did not have this personal information. I can see where it might seem like I'm suggesting I knew this. I specifically clarify that I did not.

She herself is not quoted (she has said she doesn't want to comment on the story), but she's not poor and did not go bankrupt, for what it's worth.

She works, though, for Obama's Treasury Department.

But, in terms of "political motivation" -- she's one of the two who filed a complaint against Cain in the 90s. I'm not sure what "political motivation" you would think she had at that time. Cain was not a candidate for President, and I'm not sure how much rightwing politics would come up in the ordinary course of the business day.

She is “an extraordinarily good person,” said Jennie Williams, a friend and Atlanta equestrian. “She is very reliable and has lots of integrity. I don’t know what happened. I don’t want to know. Enough is enough. She is quality.”

Note to Andrea Peyser: "Friends" tend to say things like that, not call their "friends" "gold diggers" who just want to "live off the system."

A former colleague at the National Restaurant Association who asked not to be identified said of Kraushaar, “The woman is a consummate professional. What I saw was an extremely talented woman. A professional, knowledgeable woman and nothing more.”

...

Kraushaar family members who spoke to The Daily said the only lies were coming from Cain.

“His denial of the whole thing, and his making light of it, seems to me to be more damaging to his character than the initial allegations,” said Karen Kraushaar’s sister-in-law, who asked not to be named. “If he would have just come out and said, ‘This is what happened,’ it would have been so much better for everybody.”

...

Ned Kraushaar said his sister-in-law remained stoic.

“She doesn’t like all the attention,” he said. “She will make sure that the record is straight.”

I don't consider the character witness and friends and family to be of high evidentiary value-- again, that's what friends and family tend to say. (Similarly, I don't give enemy testimony, as Peyser plainly had, much value for negative stuff.)

I note though that the sister says that this accuser "will make sure that the record is straight."

Bill Bennet kinda doubts this is a high-tech lynching.

Four women are not an insignificant number. One or two anonymous charges, perhaps. Three anonymous charges (where, as I understand the story, Cain knows of at least two of the women) plus one woman who went very public and opened herself up to all manner of investigation are a lot. It is no longer insignificant. Neither is it insignificant that the Cain campaign discounted the charges in the initial stories, saying they were based on anonymous sources, only to make a mockery by blaming other campaigns with less substantiation than the original stories.

If Herman Cain wants to be taken seriously as a public advocate for anything, never mind running for the chief executive and commander in chief of the most powerful and important and blessed country in the world, he needs to give a full press conference dedicated exclusively to this issue and these allegations.

I have watched long enough and held my tongue long enough to give him the benefit of the doubt, but can no longer say this is a witch hunt, “a lynching” to use his word, or any other euphemism. There are allegations out there that matter and they have stacked up. For we who led the charge against Bill Clinton on a number of related issues to continue to blame the media or other campaigns or say it simply doesn’t matter makes us the hypocrites as well.

Some people have suggested, in the comments, "Well so what? They did it for Clinton, so they should have a taste of their own medicine."

I agree that if you're keeping track of hypocrisy, our side is owed a lot of wiggle room here. If you claim "Well they do it all the time!," I agree. If you say, "By rights, we are entitled to do a little of it, just to keep it close to even on the hypocrisy/inconsistency front!," I agree.

Here's my problem with that, though. While partisans keep score like this, and decide (in this case, correctly) that due to the egregious behavior of the other side, we're due a little latitude in our own behavior, independents who are not super-dedicated news-hawks and daily-battle partisans do not keep score like this.

You're not going to be able to convince them that a little sleazy hypocrisy is our right because the liberals have indulged in so damned much of it.

They're just going to see it as sleazy hypocrisy, period, and that will reduce credibility on other, more important issues accordingly.

I don't know how you realistically peddle this idea that we can be a little sleazy in our inconsistency and giving passes to "our team" because, Remember Clinton thirteen years ago?! That kind of three-bumper bank shot seems to rely on a much more serious engagement with politics and partisan score-keeping than independents actually have.

Finally, there's this kinda-sorta "fifth accuser," which I mentioned in comments, but not in a post. This is not a very serious allegation. But...

A former employee of the United States Agency for International Development says Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain asked her to help arrange a dinner date for him with a female audience member following a speech he delivered nine years ago.

Donna Donella, 40, of Arlington, said the USAID paid Cain to deliver a speech to businessmen and women in Egypt in 2002, during which an Egyptian businesswoman in her 30s asked Cain a question.

"And after the seminar was over," Donella told The Washington Examiner, "Cain came over to me and a colleague and said, 'Could you put me in touch with that lovely young lady who asked the question, so I can give her a more thorough answer over dinner?'"

Donella, who no longer works for USAID, said they were suspicious of Cain's motives and declined to set up the date. Cain responded, "Then you and I can have dinner." That's when two female colleagues intervened and suggested they all go to dinner together, Donella said.

Cain exhibited no inappropriate sexual behavior during the dinner, though he did order two $400 bottles of wine and stuck the women with the bill, she said.

This is not an accusation of sexual harassment. And it's not necessarily even Cain asking for a "date." (A date would be consensual, but... eyebrow-raising, of course.) That's this woman's belief -- based on vibes she got from Cain, not from anything Cain actually said. Further, she voted for Obama.

However, assuming the basic facts are accurate -- are married men typically permitted to ask younger, "lovely" female fans to private dinners in order, supposedly, to discuss their answers more expansively?

Doesn't marriage normally mean your days of private dinners with younger, "lovely" female fans is sort of over? (Well, it's usually not over, actually, but it's supposed to be over.)

This seems odd to me. And the context of the other allegations makes it seem suspicious.

This gets to my basic reason for my suspicions, which is the same reason I was pretty sure Anthony Weiner was guilty, guilty, guilty, despite his claim that he was #Hacked!

Men and women are rather different. We don't, actually, have very much at all in common, as anyone who's ever had a relationship knows. Try to agree on something to watch on television. It can't hardly be done.

So why would a man seek out the company of a stranger he doesn't know and, owing to age difference, probably has nothing to talk to her about?

Well, with Bill Clinton, we were told the reason he was on the phone so much with Monica Lewinsky was that he was "ministering" to a troubled young woman.

But that's the point, the list of genuine perfectly-innocent reasons for such meetings is rather short.

Most of the time, it's not really perfectly innocent.

So did Cain just want to expand upon his answer with this younger, "lovely" woman?

I suppose that's... possible.

Some commenters are basically shifting the argument and basically saying, "Look, maybe he's a horn-dog, but he's no harasser."

Two problems with that:

1. A horn-dog is very hard to defend in an election as well. Why are we betting our future, our nation, on our ability to spin a horn-dog?

2. If he's a horn-dog, that almost certainly means that all the allegations against him are at least largely true. Maybe it wasn't harassment; maybe it was women taking undue offense to a clumsy attempt to flirt (or ask out on a private dinners to provide more expansive answers).

But then that's a big pile of stuff we have to spin.

I've made no bones -- I think Cain is a godawful candidate, woefully uninformed, and, when confused, showing a tendency to offer up liberal, not conservative, guestimates as to the right answer. Abortion is a family choice. Sure, I'd make a deal to trade all the terrorists in Gitmo for a single Al Qaeda hostage. (Hey, Al Qaeda, if Cain gets elected, you know what you have to do.)

For some reason, some people are determined that this is the godawful candidate we have to go the mattresses for.

Why? We have ten other godawful candidates. What's so special about this godawful candidate?

The Real Axelrod Connection: An incorrect story buzzed around yesterday that Bialek's attorney in a suit was David Axelrod. That was wrong. That David Axelrod was a different David Axelrod (and he represented the bank suing her; he did not represent her).

So that's knocked down.

However, now there is an actual connection. She lives in the same building (in Chicago, I gather) as the actual David Axelrod.

Interesting.

Oh, and Dan Riehl has an interesting hit piece on Cain taken, ultimately, from the NYTimes.

And is it any wonder that Herman Cain has shed a lot of high-level campaign staff members, both within his national organization and in crucial early states like Iowa and New Hampshire? Most of these former staff members have signed nondisclosure agreements, and others would speak to me only off the record. None of them recall their former boss as a sexual harasser. But they do speak of a man so egotistical that careful self-policing would never really enter into the realm of consideration.

They also speak — bitterly — of a candidate with zero interest in policy. They speak of events canceled at the last minute to accommodate any available television interview. They speak of unrelenting self-absorption, even by the standards of a politician.



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posted by Ace at 01:34 PM

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