A Tiger in Bed

Cristina Page

Today we will hear from Tiger Woods, the latest powerful public personality to be felled by a sex scandal. But what deserves to be the most controversial part of it is that the sex was unprotected.

Today we will hear from Tiger Woods, the latest powerful
public personality to be felled by a sex scandal. He will read a
statement outlining his future plans and no doubt will explain how
words fail to describe his disappointment in himself by letting down
his family and fans. And with that he will join Eliot Spitzer and John
Edwards in the flagellation-by-press-conference routine that has
become a tradition in American life.

Each has paid a high price for his
sexual misdeeds in power, prestige, wealth, and respect, not to mention
the devastation it has caused to wives and children. Clearly, engaging
in an extramarital affair, in some cases, several, is insanely risky.
Each had to know the self-destruction that would occur if their truths
were revealed.

But in the realm of recklessness let’s consider one other aspect: they were all having unprotected sex.

One of Tiger Woods’ alleged mistresses now claims she was
impregnated by him twice; one resulting in miscarriage and the other
abortion, and that during the three years they were involved the sex
“was never protected.” News outlets reported that Spitzer’s didn’t
want to use protection with his prostitutes. And then there’s Rielle Hunter carrying around baby John Edwards.

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So, here’s one more confounding question. Why didn’t they use
a condom? That thin layer of latex may have been, as far as John
Edwards knew at the time, protecting his presidential chances too.
Theoretically, John, Eliot and Tiger would have enjoyed their secret
lives forever. So then, why risk lasting evidence, like in the form of
a baby? Not to mention the probability of disease. Sure, if you’re
going to risk it all why not go for it, right? Was it that adolescent
reasoning that, by not using a condom, the sex wasn’t so much a
premeditated act but one of irrepressible lust and therefore not quite
their responsibility? In Spitzer’s case, the laborious financial
machinations that preceeded his liaison suggest otherwise, but still
for someone so meticulous in his planning what about disease
prevention? (Is this the conversation he anticipated: Honey, the herpes
is from a toilet seat, really.) Or imagine the conversation that would
follow a worse disease. According to a June 2007 study published in the American Journal of Public Health, as a result of male
infidelity, marital sex represents their single greatest risk for HIV
infection for wives.

And these are politicians who supported sex education,
the careful explanation not only of anatomy and reproductive biology
but of how to get the job done safely. What about being a role model?
The day Spitzer resigned he was scheduled to speak at a contraception
conference. In the 2007 YouTube/CNN Presidential Debate, Edwards spoke at
length
about how he has lectured his children about the need to protect themselves.

When one of Bill Clinton’s personal scandals collided with his
political life in the person of girlfriend Gennifer Flowers, Howard
Stern sent his ace reporter to the Flowers press conference. It was the
seemingly inept Stuttering John, who stuttered his way through perhaps
the most probing and overlooked question: “Did Governor Clinton wear a
condom?” It wasn’t taken seriously, the other reporters
seemed to be annoyed by the line of questioning, but really isn’t it
one of the most important questions to ask at a press conference
announcing a sex scandal?

Tiger’s poor choices won’t alter the future of the
republic, for sure. But there’ve been few more powerful role models. No
doubt Tiger’s immense athletic talent was solely responsible for his
contracts with Nike and Accenture, but his squeaky clean, happily
married, doting-father-of-two-very-young-children image was part of his allure too.

For athletes and for politicians cheating is as common as teenage
sex, and that’s the point. Sleep around if you want. That’s between you
and your family. But when you involve our families –by being a role
model to or lecturing our kids about safe sex–we want protection.

News Human Rights

Feds Prep for Second Mass Deportation of Asylum Seekers in Three Months

Tina Vasquez

Those asylum seekers include Mahbubur Rahman, the leader of #FreedomGiving, the nationwide hunger strike that spanned nine detention centers last year and ended when an Alabama judge ordered one of the hunger strikers to be force fed.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), for the second time in three months, will conduct a mass deportation of at least four dozen South Asian asylum seekers.

Those asylum seekers include Mahbubur Rahman, the leader of #FreedomGiving, the nationwide hunger strike that spanned nine detention centers last year and ended when an Alabama judge ordered one of the hunger strikers to be force-fed.

Rahman’s case is moving quickly. The asylum seeker had an emergency stay pending with the immigration appeals court, but on Monday morning, Fahd Ahmed, executive director of Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM), a New York-based organization of youth and low-wage South Asian immigrant workers, told Rewire that an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officer called Rahman’s attorney saying Rahman would be deported within 48 hours. As of 4 p.m. Monday, Rahman’s attorney told Ahmed that Rahman was on a plane to be deported.

As of Monday afternoon, Rahman’s emergency stay was granted while his appeal was still pending, which meant he wouldn’t be deported until the appeal decision. Ahmed told Rewire earlier Monday that an appeal decision could come at any moment, and concerns about the process, and Rahman’s case, remain.

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An online petition was created in hopes of saving Rahman from deportation.

ICE has yet to confirm that a mass deportation of South Asian asylum seekers is set to take place this week. Katherine Weathers, a visitor volunteer with the Etowah Visitation Project, an organization that enables community members to visit with men in detention at the Etowah County Detention Center in Gadsden, Alabama, told Rewire that last week eight South Asian men were moved from Etowah to Louisiana, the same transfer route made in April when 85 mostly Muslim South Asian asylum seekers were deported.

One of the men in detention told Weathers that an ICE officer said to him a “mass deportation was being arranged.” The South Asian asylum seeker who contacted Weathers lived in the United States for more than 20 years before being detained. He said he would call her Monday morning if he wasn’t transferred out of Etowah for deportation. He never called.

In the weeks following the mass deportation in April, it was alleged by the deported South Asian migrants that ICE forcefully placed them in “body bags” and that officers shocked them with Tasers. DRUM has been in touch with some of the Bangladeshis who were deported. Ahmed said many returned to Bangladesh, but there were others who remain in hiding.

“There are a few of them [who were deported] who despite being in Bangladesh for three months, have not returned to their homes because their homes keep getting visited by police or intelligence,” Ahmed said.

The Bangladeshi men escaped to the United States because of their affiliations and activities with the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), the opposition party in Bangladesh, as Rewire reported in April. Being affiliated with this party, advocates said, has made them targets of the Bangladesh Awami League, the country’s governing party.

DHS last year adopted the position that BNP, the second largest political party in Bangladesh, is an “undesignated ‘Tier III’ terrorist organization” and that members of the BNP are ineligible for asylum or withholding of removal due to alleged engagement in terrorist activities. It is unclear how many of the estimated four dozen men who will be deported this week are from Bangladesh.

Ahmed said that mass deportations of a particular group are not unusual. When there are many migrants from the same country who are going to be deported, DHS arranges large charter flights. However, South Asian asylum seekers appear to be targeted in a different way. After two years in detention, the four dozen men set to be deported have been denied due process for their asylum requests, according to Ahmed.

“South Asians are coming here and being locked in detention for indefinite periods and the ability for anybody, but especially smaller communities, to win their asylum cases while inside detention is nearly impossible,” Ahmed told Rewire. “South Asians also continue to get the highest bond amounts, from $20,000 to $50,000. All of this prevents them from being able to properly present their asylum cases. The fact that those who have been deported back to Bangladesh are still afraid to go back to their homes proves that they were in the United States because they feared for their safety. They don’t get a chance to properly file their cases while in detention.”

Winning an asylum claim while in detention is rare. Access to legal counsel is limited inside detention centers, which are often in remote, rural areas.

As the Tahirih Justice Center reported, attorneys face “enormous hurdles in representing their clients, such as difficulty communicating regularly, prohibitions on meeting with and accompanying clients to appointments with immigration officials, restrictions on the use of office equipment in client meetings, and other difficulties would not exist if refugees were free to attend meetings in attorneys’ offices.”

“I worry about the situation they’re returning to and how they fear for their lives,” Ahmed said. “They’ve been identified by the government they were trying to escape and because of their participation in the hunger strike, they are believed to have dishonored their country. These men fear for their lives.”

News Politics

Debbie Wasserman Schultz Resigns as Chair of DNC, Will Not Gavel in Convention

Ally Boguhn

Donna Brazile, vice chair of the DNC, will step in as interim replacement for Wasserman Schultz as committee chair.

On the eve of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) resigned her position as chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), effective after the convention, amid controversy over leaked internal party emails and months of criticism over her handling of the Democratic primary races.

Wasserman Schultz told the Sun Sentinel on Monday that she would not gavel in this week’s convention, according to Politico.

“I know that electing Hillary Clinton as our next president is critical for America’s future,” Wasserman Schultz said in a Sunday statement announcing her decision. “Going forward, the best way for me to accomplish those goals is to step down as Party Chair at the end of this convention.”

“We have planned a great and unified Convention this week and I hope and expect that the DNC team that has worked so hard to get us to this point will have the strong support of all Democrats in making sure this is the best convention we have ever had,” Wasserman Schultz continued.

Just prior to news that Wasserman Schultz would step down, it was announced that Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH) would chair the DNC convention.

Donna Brazile, vice chair of the DNC, will step in as interim replacement for Wasserman Schultz as committee chair.

Wasserman Schultz’s resignation comes after WikiLeaks released more than 19,000 internal emails from the DNC, breathing new life into arguments that the Democratic Party—and Wasserman Schultz in particular—had “rigged” the primary in favor of nominating Hillary Clinton. As Vox‘s Timothy B. Lee pointed out, there seems to be “no bombshells” in the released emails, though one email does show that Brad Marshall, chief financial officer of the DNC, emailed asking whether an unnamed person could be questioned about “his” religious beliefs. Many believe the email was referencing Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT).

Another email from Wasserman Schultz revealed the DNC chair had referred to Sanders’ campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, as a “damn liar.”

As previously reported by Rewire before the emails’ release, “Wasserman Schultz has been at the center of a string of heated criticisms directed at her handling of the DNC as well as allegations that she initially limited the number of the party’s primary debates, steadfastly refusing to add more until she came under pressure.” She also sparked controversy in January after suggesting that young women aren’t supporting Clinton because there is “a complacency among the generation” who were born after Roe v. Wade was decided.

“Debbie Wasserman Schultz has made the right decision for the future of the Democratic Party,” said Sanders in a Sunday statement. “While she deserves thanks for her years of service, the party now needs new leadership that will open the doors of the party and welcome in working people and young people. The party leadership must also always remain impartial in the presidential nominating process, something which did not occur in the 2016 race.”

Sanders had previously demanded Wasserman Schultz’s resignation in light of the leaked emails during an appearance earlier that day on ABC’s This Week.

Clinton nevertheless stood by Wasserman Schultz in a Sunday statement responding to news of the resignation. “I am grateful to Debbie for getting the Democratic Party to this year’s historic convention in Philadelphia, and I know that this week’s events will be a success thanks to her hard work and leadership,” said Clinton. “There’s simply no one better at taking the fight to the Republicans than Debbie—which is why I am glad that she has agreed to serve as honorary chair of my campaign’s 50-state program to gain ground and elect Democrats in every part of the country, and will continue to serve as a surrogate for my campaign nationally, in Florida, and in other key states.”

Clinton added that she still looks “forward to campaigning with Debbie in Florida and helping her in her re-election bid.” Wasserman Schultz faces a primary challenger, Tim Canova, for her congressional seat in Florida’s 23rd district for the first time this year.