Posts filed under 'Foley'

Justice For Thee, But Not For Me

Remember that Foley guy? Used to be a congressman, had kind of a creepy thing for underage pages, and the Republican leadership looked the other way? NYT has something to say about him, or rather, his enablers. Um, would you believe his enablers’ enablers?

Watching our elected leaders in action, it’s not surprising that Americans wonder if there is any limit to the crass misbehavior that members of Congress are willing to tolerate from their colleagues to protect their privileges and hold on to their own jobs. The House ethics committee answered that question yesterday with a resounding “No.”

Sixty-four days after it promised to find out who knew about Representative Mark Foley’s wildly inappropriate, sexually predatory behavior with teenage House pages, and why they failed to stop it, the bipartisan committee produced a report yesterday that was a 91-page exercise in cowardice.

The report’s authors were clearly more concerned about protecting the members of the House than the young men and women under their charge in the page program. And they made absolutely no effort to define the high standard of behavior that should be required of all members of Congress and their staffs.

….The report makes clear that Mr. Foley’s misconduct became known to an ever-widening circle of his colleagues and their aides, including Speaker Dennis Hastert. But no one made any serious attempt to stop Mr. Foley or reveal his misdeeds. A few urged him to cut it out, for political reasons, but did not follow up.

The committee concluded that other people preferred to remain willfully ignorant — to protect Mr. Foley’s secret homosexuality, to avoid partisan embarrassment or for other political reasons.

But even after all that, the report said that none of this amounted to the sort of behavior that might discredit the House of Representatives and thus violate ethics rules. The committee, which never heard from Mr. Foley, did not call for disciplinary action against current members of the House or their staffs….

The panel’s justification for inaction is a breathtaking exercise in sophistry: “the requirement that House members and staff act at all times in a manner that reflects creditably on the House does not mean that every error in judgment or failure to exercise greater oversight or diligence” is a violation.

No, not every error or failure should be a violation, but certainly the ones that lead to an elected official’s sexually stalking teenage boys while his colleagues turn a blind eye or cover it up should be. We’d set the bar at least there. Apparently, it’s too high for the House.

Oy. Maybe this should have waited until the Democrats took over. Assuming that that would have helped.

This speaks to a huge structural problem with our supposedly self-policing government: That guilt or innocence is never decided by an impartial jury, but rather by congresspeople with clear-cut political affiliations and loyalties. Imagine a murder trial where the jury is composed solely of the defendant’s friends and enemies (and furthermore, that only a simple majority is needed to convict). The testimony and evidence in the case would be irrelevant – all that would matter would be whether the defendant had more friends than enemies on the jury.

That is the situation that we had eight years ago, when Clinton was frivolously impeached, simply because his enemies controlled Congress. That is the situation we have today, when Foley’s enablers got off because their friends control the ethics panel. President Bush admitted to breaking the law in his use of wireless wiretapping and uncontestable detentions, yet impeachment was never even a possibility because his party controlled both houses of Congress. Even under the incoming Democratic Congress, impeachment is not a possibility because the new majority party has to worry about how it might affect their chances of re-election. Granted, this could change as investigations bring more presidential wrongdoing to light, but the underlying problem remains: In-house law enforcement for the political class is a political rather than a legal process, making true justice and accountability impossible.

(Yes, granted, certain crimes can trigger criminal court proceedings, but the government appears to have some discretion to keep things in-house – much like, say, the Catholic Church. And as I understand it, a sitting President’s immunity to criminal prosecution is absolute.)

17 comments December 9th, 2006 at 11:10am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Constitution,Favorites,Foley,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

Youthful Indiscretions

See, it’s really not so bad as all that…

A priest living in Malta has admitted having intimate contact with Mark Foley when he worked at the former congressman’s childhood church in the 1960’s. But the state attorney’s office in Palm Beach County and the Archdiocese of Miami would not say on Thursday whether he was the priest Mr. Foley has said molested him.

(…)

Father Mercieca told of skinny-dipping and lounging naked in saunas with Mr. Foley and massaging him while the boy was unclothed. He said that once, while on tranquilizers, he might have done something that Mr. Foley found inappropriate but that he could not recall the details.

(…)

“Once maybe I touched him,” he told the television station. “It’s not something you call, I mean, rape or penetration or anything like that, you know. We were just fondling.”

(…)

Asked what he would tell Mr. Foley, he said, “Remember the good times we had together, you know, and how well we enjoyed each other’s company.” He added, “Don’t keep dwelling on this thing, you know?”

It kinda-sorta vaguely reminded me of something…


“I don’t think he kissed me, he leaned over and gave me a hug and said ‘thank you for being a patriotic American.’”

October 20th, 2006 at 06:32pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Foley,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

Hoist By Their Own Pedophile

Oh my:

Yesterday, a source close to Foley explained to THE NEW REPUBLIC that in early 2006 the congressman had all but decided to retire from the House and set up shop on K Street. “Mark’s a friend of mine,” says this source. “He told me, ‘I’m thinking about getting out of it and becoming a lobbyist.’”

But when Foley’s friend saw the Congressman again this spring, something had changed. To the source’s surprise, Foley told him he would indeed be standing for re-election. What happened? Karl Rove intervened.

According to the source, Foley said he was being pressured by “the White House and Rove gang,” who insisted that Foley run. If he didn’t, Foley was told, it might impact his lobbying career.

“He said, ‘The White House made it very clear I have to run,’” explains Foley’s friend, adding that Foley told him that the White House promised that if Foley served for two more years it would “enhance his success” as a lobbyist. “I said, ‘I thought you wanted out of this?’ And he said, ‘I do, but they’re scared of losing the House and the thought of two years of Congressional hearings, so I have two more years of duty.’”

The White House declined a request for comment on the matter, but obviously the plan hasn’t worked out quite as Rove hoped it would.

Heh. Indeed.

To me the most fascinating and damning facet of this story is the fact that Rove was so afraid of congressional investigations that he would pressure a sexual predator to run for re-election – in a safe district, no less. I think it’s pretty safe to say that serious investigations might… uncover a few things.

Of course, it backfired epically, so instead of a small risk of losing one seat, the Republicans now have a rather large risk of losing 20 or 30 seats, and Rove’s worst fear may soon become a reality.

Ex-cellent…

(hat tip to the hullabalicious Digby)

5 comments October 12th, 2006 at 10:51pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Favorites,Foley,Politics,Republicans,Rove,Wankers

More Unsolicited Advice For Democrats

Regarding the Foliasco (I also like Foleyaanisqatsi, but it’s probably too obscure), I would like to make two common-sense suggestions. I’m probably not the first with either of them, but oh well.

1) Make it clear that this is not an isolated incident, but a pure and crystalline distillation of the way the Republicans do things: They abuse their power for personal gratification, then cover up, lie, spin, obfuscate, and blame/smear the victims and the Democrats when the story begins to leak out.

Use the phrase “moral rot” as often as possible.

2) Practice zero tolerance for wrongdoing on your own side. The Democrats must “brand” themselves as the party of responsibility and accountability. If you find out about a dirty Democrat (i.e., Jefferson, Mollohan, or God forbid, a Democratic Foley), kick them the hell out immediately before the media or the Republicans force your hand. Do not allow the Republicans to reclaim the moral high ground.

It may be painful, but remember that the next time the Republicans get caught waist-deep in the cookie jar and start sputtering that a Democrat did it too, you can smugly say, “Yeah, and we got rid of them the second we found out about it, because we take government seriously. We don’t stand for dishonesty and corruption like Republicans do.” Just think how satisfying that will be. Also, if everyone in your caucus knows you won’t cover for them, they might be just a teensy bit more likely to keep their noses clean.

This has been your Bleeding Obvious 101 class for the day. Midterms will be on November 7th. Finals will be in November 2008.

4 comments October 9th, 2006 at 12:48pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Foley,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

Turd Dissolves In Bottomless Kool-Aid Punchbowl

Amazing what you can believe if you work hard enough at it:

As word of Representative Mark Foley’s sexually explicit e-mail messages to former pages spread last week, Republican strategists worried — and Democrats hoped — that the sordid nature of the scandal would discourage conservative Christians from going to the polls.

But in dozens of interviews here in southeastern Virginia, a conservative Christian stronghold that is a battleground in races for the House and Senate, many said the episode only reinforced their reasons to vote for their two Republican incumbents in neck-and-neck re-election fights, Representative Thelma Drake and Senator George Allen.

“This is Foley’s lifestyle,” said Ron Gwaltney, a home builder, as he waited with his family outside a Christian rock concert last Thursday in Norfolk. “He tried to keep it quiet from his family and his voters. He is responsible for what he did. He is paying a price for what he did. I am not sure how much farther it needs to go.”

The Democratic Party is “the party that is tolerant of, maybe more so than Republicans, that lifestyle,” Mr. Gwaltney said, referring to homosexuality.

Most of the evangelical Christians interviewed said that so far they saw Mr. Foley’s behavior as a matter of personal morality, not institutional dysfunction.

All said the question of broader responsibility had quickly devolved into a storm of partisan charges and countercharges. And all insisted the episode would have little impact on their intentions to vote.

(…)

[A]as far as culpability in the Foley case, Mr. Dunn said, House Republicans may benefit from the evangelical conception of sin.  Where liberals tend to think of collective responsibility, conservative Christians focus on personal morality. “The conservative Christian audience or base has this acute moral lens through which they look at this, and it is very personal,” Mr. Dunn said. “This is Foley’s personal sin.”

(…)

Republicans have put up a vigorous defense, mainly through conservative allies and on talk radio. An e-mail message to talk-radio hosts from the Republican Party last week asked, “How would Democrats react if one of their own had a sexual relationship with an intern, was found out, then lied to a grand jury in an attempt to cover it up?”

(…)

[M]any conservative churchgoers said that what stood out for them was not the politics but the individual sin. “It is not going to affect my vote because I don’t live in Florida,” said Scott O’Connell, a mechanical engineer who described himself as a fundamentalist. “But there is a bigger moral issue which I would say is the prism I view this through: I do not believe in homosexuality.”

Arrrgh. As Henry Rollins once wrote to a friend of mine: “They don’t like their brains.” I simply do not believe that these evangelicals (an unscientific and hopefully unrepresentative sample) made an honest moral and religious decision here. With the help of Fox News and talk radio and their own church leadership, they instead elected to view it through the most absurd and pro-Republican prism possible. (“Well, yeah, this may have been a purely Republican scandal, but it’s the sort of thing Democrats would do, so I’m going to keep voting Republican.”)

I am not nearly evolved or enlightened enough to be a good Christian, but I am apparently far too evolved and enlightened to be a bad one.

1 comment October 9th, 2006 at 11:33am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Foley,Politics,Religion,Republicans,Wankers

I Hadn’t Thought Of That…

Eugene Robinson brings up a rather disturbing angle on conservatives’ outrage about the Foliasco:

I don’t think hypocrisy alone is enough to explain why the Foley mess is such a big deal. I think it goes deeper.

One of the central tenets of anti-homosexual doctrine is the notion of “recruitment” — that adult gay people lure young people into homosexuality as a way of increasing their numbers. The most extreme anti-gay activists perceive a full-fledged conspiracy. The Traditional Values Coalition, a group whose homophobia can only be called rabid, goes so far as to claim that, after being enticed into sexual acts, the “young ‘initiates’ into the strange world of homosexuality are to be trained to reject the moral beliefs of their parents.”

(…)

In any event, the recruitment myth helps explain why social conservatives, who make up perhaps the most loyal and energetic segment of the Republican Party’s base, are so up in arms. And that outrage, in turn, helps explain why the party has been so frantic all week, so uncharacteristically slow to come up with a game plan for responding to the scandal. Social conservatives were already grumbling that the Republicans talk a good game but never get around to addressing their core issues. Now comes this.

In other words, the reason they’re pissed off is not that Foley abused his position of power, but that he was using it to recruit more young boys into the Army Of Gay, the conservatives’ mortal enemy.

The storyline about gay staffers being the real coverer-uppers takes on a whole new dimension now. Obviously, they were all assisting Foley in his capacity as an ace recruiter for their insidious agenda.

2 comments October 6th, 2006 at 05:59pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Foley,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

One More Quick Foley Comment (Maybe)

The Foley scandal is just like everything else the Bush Republicans have done over the past five years, but repackaged for the Jerry Springer audience.

Hopefully they’ll get it now.

4 comments October 4th, 2006 at 09:38pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Favorites,Foley,Media,Politics,Republicans

Tough Guys And Narrative Dissonance

I don’t usually post more than once or twice on the same topic, other than maybe The Genius That Is The Weekly World News, but the Foliasco is just a goldmine of material, and I keep finding new aspects and angles on it.

The latest thought that’s occurred to me is the idea of narrative dissonance – that this scandal makes it much harder for Republicans to maintain their illusions about themselves and the party they have triple-duct-taped themselves to.

I think there are basically two primary types of die-hard Republican true believers at this point. There’s the tough guys who fancy themselves like Extra-Special Agent Jack Bauer on “24″, ruthless and steely-eyed, willing to do absolutely anything to achieve their ends (or more accurately, have absolutely anything done on their behalf), and so what if there’s a little lawbreaking or collateral damage along the way. These are the same people who hung out with the school bully as kids, or wanted to, so they could feel tough by association. Of course, they see liberals and Democrats as weak, ineffectual hand-wringers who want to hold them back with nitpicky insistence on obeying stupid trivial little laws like FISA and the Geneva Conventions and the Constitution.

And then there’s the Kool-Aid Khristians (mostly fundies/evangelicals), who believe that Bush in particular, and the Republicans in general, are Good Christian Men fighting the good fight against the Godless Heathen Liberals who believe in Evolution and want to force everyone to have gay sex and abortions (if you’re virulently anti-abortion, wouldn’t that make gay sex kind of a good thing?), and against the terrorists who want… well, pretty much the same things the fundies want, but they give God a funny name.

Most of the horrible things the Republicans have done are not at all horrible to these groups. Torture, warrantless wiretapping, indefinite detention without trial, outing a CIA agent? Necessary hardball tactics, perfectly justified against The Enemy. Suppressing science, denying equal rights to gays, banning abortion in all circumstances, even in the case of incest or rape or life-threatening conditions? That’s just upholding God’s covenant on Earth. The various corruption scandals are a little trickier for them to reconcile, but I think the true believers from both camps have been able to tell themselves that’s just The Way Things Work in Washington, everyone knows it, even if no-one admits it. They’re just doing what they have to do to keep protecting us from islamofascists and progressofascists (I might need to tweak that second one, it sounds too much like “Soup Nazis”).

But a congressman sexually harassing (at the least) underage pages? Everyone knows real Tough Guys would take him out back and work him over with a tire iron, not look the other way and pass the buck and make lame excuses. And it sure as hell doesn’t fit in with the religious right’s hyper-moralism either (I’m not entirely sure what the right-wing Christian equivalent of the tire iron would be…).

In other words, what the Foley scandal has done is made it much much harder for Republican voters to self-identify as belonging to either a party of Manly Tough Guy Badasses or Saintly Angels Who Walk The Earth. Might not be enough to get them to vote Democrat, but it might be enough to keep them home on Election Day, which may be all we need.

5 comments October 4th, 2006 at 10:00am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Favorites,Foley,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

For The Atriots

This item from the NY Daily News’ Lowdown column on Mark Foley”s greatest hits probably won’t mean much to anyone who doesn’t frequent the comments at Eschaton, but those who do should be pretty tickled (but in a totally appropriate way):

o On “Good Morning America,” June 24: “In fact, they’ve coined an expression for people that visit these parts, they call them COGS, Creepy Old Guys. … It’s in [the children's] most formative years. I think they’d be better off at Girl Scout camp, Boy Scout camp or sports camp than a nudist camp.”

And all this time I thought it just meant a tiny mindless piece of a great big machine…

1 comment October 3rd, 2006 at 09:13am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Foley,Wankers

That’s Nice, But…

I suppose this was inevitable…

Former Representative Mark Foley of Florida has checked himself into a rehabilitation facility for alcoholism treatment, and Republican leaders in his state were meeting today to try to find a replacement for Mr. Foley, who resigned abruptly on Friday after reports surfaced of sexually explicit communications with Congressional pages.

(…)

Mr. Foley, Republican, said in a statement distributed to the media that he accepted “full responsibility for the harm I have caused.”

“I strongly believe that I am an alcoholic and have accepted the need for immediate treatment for alcoholism and related behavioral problems,” he said.

In his statement, dated Sunday, Mr. Foley did not specifically address the accusations against him, saying only that “the events that led to my resignation have crystallized recognition of my longstanding significant alcohol and emotional difficulties.”

This is all well and good, and maybe Foley will be able to rehabilitate himself to some degree, but unless Hastert, Boehner, and everyone else involved in the coverup does the same, this does not change the bigger story one tiny little bit.

The Republican leadership knowingly harbored and covered for a sexual predator. Whether said predator was under the influence of alcohol or personal demons is utterly immaterial, except insofar as they did not force him to get help.

October 2nd, 2006 at 02:07pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Foley,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

The Cancer On The Congress Is Metastasizing…

From the New York State Democratic Committee, via Atrios:

Rep. Reynolds’ NRCC received $100,000 from disgraced Rep. Foley in July, after he learned about Foley’s inappropriate emails with minors

As reported yesterday, Reynolds declined to report the inappropriate emails to authorities or act on them — now we may know why

During the same period Rep. Tom Reynolds was keeping Mark Foley’s inappropriate emails with minors secret, his campaign committee coffers received a $100,000 donation from Foley, it was revealed today. Reynolds has come under fire for knowing about the inappropriate emails for many months and covering it up to protect his colleague who has since been forced to resign.

One more Republican who is now toast, and the head of their House campaign committee, no less.

The Republicans truly are the party of immorality, corruption, and coverups. And of putting their own well-being ahead of the American people’s.

2 comments October 1st, 2006 at 01:43pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Foley,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

This Just In

In late 2005, House Speaker Dennis Hastert receives memo entitled “Mark Foley Determined To Harass Underage Boys In U.S.”

Developing…

1 comment October 1st, 2006 at 10:40am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Foley,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

Even Worse Badness

Mark Foley (R-NAMBLA) being a gross old horndog with underage boys on the internets? Just a bad apple.

Republican leadership knowing about it for a year and not doing anything about it? Time for a new barrel.

This is, of course, assuming that the media reports on that aspect of it (we all remember how excited they were about the pedophiles in the DHS, right?), and the Democrats find a way to run with (and on) it. When combined with the Abramoff/Mehlman story which also came out today (and, y’know, that whole “Torture Good, Habeas Corpus Bad” thing), it drives home the message that the Republican party is corrupt and amoral to the core. Hopefully America is finally ready to listen.

3 comments September 29th, 2006 at 09:55pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Foley,Media,Politics,Republicans,Wankers


Contact Eli

Getty Statue 1




Choose a color scheme:

Feeds

Linkedelia!

Most Recent Posts

Archives

Categories

Calendar

October 2014
M T W T F S S
« Sep    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  


Thinking Blogger

Pittsburgh Webloggers

Site Meter


View My Stats *