No More Apples
"Adam ate an apple from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. It's a shame we ran out of apples." -- The Sage.
"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness." -- John Kenneth Galbraith
"Reality has a liberal bias." -- Stephen Colbert
We are proud members of the resistance.
Saturday, October 7
DUPLICITY OF THE "RELIGIOUS RIGHT"
Do those on the Religious Right understand their duplicity?
For years they have argued against situational ethics. They have stood for absolutes and contended that those absolutes should never be compromised. With conviction they have declared, loud and clear, that the end never justifies the means. Now, with the war on terrorism on our hands, they support torture when interrogating suspects.
A prominent scholar recently polled a dozen top leaders of America’s Religious Right, who were unanimously in favor of using torture “given the situation at hand." When it suits them, it turns out, the end does indeed justify the means.
If they have changed their minds and are ready to refute the golden rule, then it is time for them to say plainly, “For the most part we agree with Jesus, but there are special circumstances when we must ignore His teachings.”
Of course, these leaders ought to recognize the implications of their decision to support what they might call “necessary evils” in special circumstances. For instance, can they still tell a teenage girl who is pregnant by rape or incest that abortion is always wrong?
I’m not ready to answer such questions, except to say that the Religious Right can’t have it both ways. They can’t say that righteousness must never be compromised, and then add “except in certain situations—like torturing our enemies in times of war.”
Tony Campolo is a prominent Christian pastor and educator (essentially Baptist) who I heard speak some years ago at Lake Arlington [Texas] Baptist Church when The Sage [for those who don't regularly follow this blog, my husband] was enrolled at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Tony is, and has been a powerful advocate of the "red-letter" Christian teachings, and was once influential and popular among Baptists, until their political alignment with Republican policy trumped their zeal for Jesus' teachings. Though I have some small disagreements with his public policy positions, he is one of my earthly heroes.
FOLEY-GATE JUST THE "TIPPING POINT"
Public Christian shows wisdom in discussing why "Foley-gate" is resonating:
The impact of this “mere sex scandal” as against prior sex problems of this Administration (”Gannon-gate” etc) - and as against other scandals of greater illegality and more far-reaching consequence - means the wheels of democracy have made quite a few turns over the last couple of years. We are in a different place.
If the chattering class is right, this House sex scandal is going to do a lot of damage to our current regime. If so, that means the ongoing mis-behavior of this Congress and Administration has grown so prominent that great numbers of the American people are powerfully offended by it.
This scandal is not like a new realization. It may be more like a clearly-perceived insult added to prior obvious injuries. And that produces outrage.
Gandhi had said that once people disown the state under which they live they have “nearly” established their own government…
Once the unraveling of the single, indivisible fabric of totalitarianism [”corrupt one-party rule” is our current substitute] began, the rapidity of the disintegration could be startling. In Havel’s prophetic words, “Everything suddenly appears in another light, and the whole crust seems then to be made of a tissue on the point of tearing and disintegrating uncontrollably.”
It's not just the offensive sexual advances of one obscure Congressman to underaged House pages. This is the "jumping the shark" moment for the GOP. There is a huge pent-up frustration with the current GOP leadership (or lack of) in so many areas of our lives -- Iraq, Katrina, the economic disparity/deficit explosion, the erosion of our civil liberties, etc. The current "sex scandal" in the Republican Congress is merely a "last straw" exposing, finally, the moral bankruptcy of the past decade's experience with the ascendancy of the Bush administration and its Congressional Republican enablers. It's revealed the "Gingrich revolution" and the Tom DeLay agenda for what it is -- the "greed is good" meme, the ungodly alignment of the Christian right with corporate and uber-wealthy interests, the "war without end" policy that has led to -- I'm too tired to go on.
Yes, certainly, their inept, incompetent, divisive, disastrous foreign and domestic policies should be the death knell of the current U.S. government. But it is, historically, often the case that a single, illustrative (though seemingly innocuous) "tipping point" finally exhausts the electorate's patience and leads to a change in government.
Whatever. I'll accept whatever leads to a change. We can't go on like this, not and remain "America the Beautiful."
HOW DOES A "CHRISTIAN" ACT?
This story of Katherine Harris saying her opponent, incumbent Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) "doesn't act like a Christian" would be ridiculous if it weren't indicative of the attitudes of so many evangelicals.
One of the cardinal tenets of the evangelical faith is the "priesthood of the believer." That means that the Holy Spirit instructs each individual Christian in how to interpret the Scriptures, how to believe, how to think, how to behave. The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity that begins with "God the Father, God the Son ..." It is our "still, quiet voice," our conscience. The concept of the "priesthood of the believer" that separates evangelicals from Catholics, the notion that people of the Christian faith need no earthly priest to tell us how or what to believe, that we are to rely directly on God to do so. We are also, because because being human we are not perfect interpreters of that voice, cautioned to test our private revelations by whether they align with the Scriptures.
That is why there are differences among Christians about how to apply Christian teachings to public policy, and which Scriptures to emphasize in doing so.
The James Dobsons of the world, who profess to be evangelicals (as does Katherine Harris), inexplicably belie that tenet by suggesting or declaring that "Christians" all align with the same public policies, and if you don't, you're simply NOT a "Christian" by their measure.
I loved Bill Nelson's response to Harris's accusation:
Nelson issued a statement this week, saying, "My faith is the essence of my being. But it is a part of my life I don't feel I should try to take advantage of in the public square."
Somehow Harris has forgotten the Biblical admonition, "When you pray, don't be like the Sadducees who stand in the public square praying, so that men will look at them and see how pious they are. But when you pray, go into your private closet and pray to God, who sees you and listens."
Tags: Katherine Harris, Bill Nelson
WHO IS JEFF TRANDAHL?
We've yet to hear from House Clerk Jeff Trandahl, but he's increasingly appearing to be a key factor in the Mark Foley case:
Hastert's office contends that the first confrontation with Foley occurred in November 2005, when Shimkus, the head of the House Page Board, and then-House Clerk Jeff Trandahl took Foley aside to discuss what they termed "over-friendly" e-mails that Foley had sent to a Louisiana boy. Fordham's account not only pushed the matter back at least two years but also indicated that alarms over Foley's behavior had gone well beyond bland e-mails.
Sources close to Fordham say Trandahl repeatedly urged the longtime aide and close family friend to confront Foley about his inappropriate advances on pages. Each time, Foley pledged to no longer socialize with the teenagers, but, weeks later, Trandahl would again alert Fordham about more contacts. Out of frustration, the sources said, Fordham contacted Palmer, hoping that an intervention from such a powerful figure in the House would persuade Foley to stop.
Palmer, who shares a townhouse with Hastert when they are in town, is more powerful than all but a few House members. Members know that he speaks for Hastert.
The divergent accounts have highlighted the holes in the public's understanding of Foley's undoing. And they are sure to ratchet up the pressure on Trandahl to come forward with his knowledge of events. As House clerk between January 1999 and November 2005, Trandahl had direct control over the page program.
Trandahl's departure came within days of his confrontation with Foley over e-mails that the congressman had sent a former page.
Lilly said: "He seemed to suddenly disappear in a puff of smoke."
More and more, I'm convinced that whoever finally leaked the initial e-mails to CREW and media outlets was simply desperate to get somebody, ANYBODY, to bring the Foley "advances" to teenaged House pages to light so that they would be stopped. Scott Palmer is lying. Denny Hastert is lying. Jeff Trandahl has yet to be heard from.
This story isn't dying anytime soon.
Tags: Mark Foley, Republican Congress, Jeff Trandahl, Scott Palmer
Friday, October 6
In the midst of the Foley scandal, we must not forget for one moment that Condi, Hadley, Rumsfeld, Ashcroft were warned about an impending Al Qaeda attack on the U.S. and "blew it off."
When this Foley hoopla ends (and it will), we still have to be prepared to charge the Bush administration and its Congressional enablers with a failed --nay, disastrous -- foreign policy, repeatedly lying to American voters, and domestic policies that have negatively targeted the middle and lower classes to the benefit of the wealthiest of individuals and corporations.
Tags: Mark Foley, Republican Congress, Bush administration foreign policy
WARNER HAS A WALTER CRONKITE MOMENT
Senator John Warner (R-VA), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has misgivings about our adventure in Iraq.
Returning from a recent trip to the region, Sen. John Warner said the military had done what it could, and if after three months the Iraqis have made no progress to calm ethnic violence and hasten reconstruction, then Congress will have to make some “bold decisions.”
Warner sounds weary, discouraged, weaned from the Kool-Aid. I don't think he's the only one. I talk to Republican voters every day who just don't want to talk about Iraq any more. It's my recent experience that NOBODY wants to talk about politics except Democrats.
Tags: John Warner, Iraq war
THEY JUST MAKE THIS STUFF UP
I tuned in to Sean Hannity on the radio driving home (I'm forced to choose among right-wing radio talk shows since AirAmerica was dropped from Dallas station 910!) and caught the end of a discussion with Ann Coulter and Pat Cadell the latest fabrications about Democrats being behind the revelations about Mark Foley -- and their perfect, election-spoiling timing. Let's see what else: CREW had the original, "innocuous" (Ann's word) e-mails in April and didn't turn them over to the FBI until July. CREW heavily redacted those e-mails, wouldn't tell the FBI where they got them, etc., and have been bragging how long they've had them. (It should be noted that CREW calls the FBI claims "a lie.") The Dems are totally morally bankrupt because they're now sponsoring a gay witch hunt, which is inexplicable since they've been advancing the gay agenda as fast as they can, and because more than 20 years ago they applauded a gay Congressman, Gerry Studds, when he was censured for having a gay affair with a 17-year-old House page. Our hypocrisy knows no bounds. Dems put kids in jeopardy by holding on to these e-mails (even though they were "innocuous") just to score political points close to the midterm elections. My head is spinning. If they were so innocuous, how could the Dems imagine that they would shatter Rethuglican political hopes by revealing them? Oh, forget logic. It never enters into the arguments of the likes of Hannity and Coulter.
A lot was made by Sean about some article in The American Spectator. I never read it, but I'm perusing it now. Oh my God. This is journalism? Countless unnamed "Democratic" sources and consultants (not one quote is attributed) are confiding to a right-wing rag that does nothing but attack them at every turn, that Dems are conspiring with CREW, that the lone Democrat on the House Page Board is covering up complaints against Democratic Congressmen for their inappropriate contacts with House pages, that Dems are preparing to out all gay Republican Congressmen and staffers? And all this is indisputably true because in 1992, Iran-Contra independent counsel Lawrence Walsh indicted former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger the week before the election.
Tags: Mark Foley scandal, CREW, American Spectator, Sean Hannity
Thursday, October 5
WHAT WILL BE THE "OCTOBER SURPRISE"?
THINGS THAT MATTER
Bob Cesca to Tony Snow.
Joe Scarborough just told Chris Matthews that the Republicans were more concerned with protecting a safe Congressional seat (Mark Foley's) than with protecting kids.
Has anyone noticed that CNN and MSNBC, in almost every video clip they're showing regarding the Denny Hastert/Mark Foley story, Congressman John Shimkus is standing at Denny's shoulder?
Not a big deal, but Tony Snow has obviously colored his hair. IMO, he looked better with it gray.
(I'm watching a WH press conference.)
Is anybody except Mikevotes keeping track of these things in Iraq?
He's The Man.
BUSH IS THE GREAT DIVIDER
Remember when Dubya campaigned in 2000 that he was a "uniter, not a divider"? He's had six years to prove what a big lie that was.
So he pushed further, now conjuring up the rhetorically pathetic straw-man argument: "If you don't think we should be listening in on the terrorist, then you ought to vote for the Democrats. If you want your government to continue listening in when al-Qaeda planners are making phone calls into the United States, then you vote Republican."
Intellectually insulting enough, right? Pathetic enough, right? Even laughable enough?
Not quite. For the night before, Bush had laid bare just how malodorous his politics have become, declaring at a fundraiser in Nevada that "It sounds like [Democrats] think the best way to protect the American people is wait until we're attacked again."
With those 19 words, Bush reconfigured the boundaries of political discourse, no matter how contemptible they may be, and no matter how contemptuous of common decency.
That any president of the United States could, would proclaim that the nation's loyal opposition is content, even eager, to countenance the potential slaughter of its fellow citizens just to score political points in the interim is so wretchedly loathsome, it leaves one slackjawed.
GOD HELP US TEXAS PROGRESSIVES
This is my Congressman:
Another conservative, Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, said calls for Hastert’s resignation “are misguided, based on the facts as I know them. I believe in my heart that neither the Speaker nor any of my colleagues realized the content of Mr. Foley’s instant messages prior to their release by ABC news last week. Speaker Hastert is a man of integrity, and I take him at his word.”
His heart? His [Hastert's] word? Integrity?
A BRIEF LESSON ON WATERBOARDING
Walter Pincus provides a brief history of the U.S. attitude towards waterboarding.
The money quotes are here:
Inside the CIA, waterboarding is cited as the technique that got Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the prime plotter of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, to begin to talk and provide information -- though "not all of it reliable," a former senior intelligence official said.
The KUBARK manual was the product of more than a decade of research and testing, refining lessons learned from the Korean War, where U.S. airmen were subjected to a new type of "touchless torture" until they confessed to a bogus plan to use biological weapons against the North Koreans.
How many times and in how many ways does it need to be said? Torture doesn't provide reliable intelligence. So those who advocate torture must have a different motivation.
I suspect it's because they like to inflict it. It's the power thing.
Tags: waterboarding, torture
GAY WITCH HUNT AHEAD?
The Grey Lady:
But there’s reason to worry that the scandal could tempt Republican politicians and their defenders to try to turn it into an anti-gay witch hunt in the Capitol.
If there is a Democratic member of Congress guilty of sins similar to Mr. Foley’s, it is likely we will hear about it soon. But convincing the public that Mr. Foley’s disgusting behavior is widespread in Washington, or trying to create the impression that the presence of gays in the highest levels of government is something to worry about, is not likely to get any Republican elected this fall. What it will do is further degrade an already depressing election year, and create cynicism among a public that really is cynical enough already.
That's my fear too. We've already heard rumblings along these lines. Pat Buchanan, Tony Perkins, Rush -- David Corn says there's a "list" of gay Congressional staffers being circulated by GOPers. WorldNetDaily and Sean Hannity have asserted that the Mark Foley scandal is all the work of gay activists who wanted to expose Foley because he was a gay man who didn't support their "agenda," and Hannity covers his homophobia by suggesting that gay people who want to live their lives privately and not shove their sexual orientation in our faces are okay, that it's "despicable" to out them.
I'd agree with Sean's last sentiment if I believed he really meant it. For the other part, I think it's important to note that most gay "activists" would as well.
Gays like John Aravosis of AmericaBlog have made it clear that they don't support "outing" just for the sake of doing it -- to my knowledge (and I've been a regular reader since the blog began) John merely points out that closeted gays who actively work for gaybashers are conspiring with the enemy. Is he wrong? Not in my mind. It's akin to a Jesse Jackson accusing a Michael Steele or a J.C. Watts that they're aligning themselves with white supremacists.
As for an "agenda" -- if I were a member of a persecuted or underrepresented group, you bet I'd have an "agenda" too -- and it would consist of trying to gain equality under the law, as is my right as an American. Whether black, female, poor or gay, the agenda is the same, and nothing to apologize for.
And as the experts have proven, there is no link between homosexuality and child molestation.
Tags: Mark Foley, gay witch hunt
Oh, Marie Cocco is so good. And so right.
THE AMISH: WWJD?
Today at the office I was trying to explain to both my assistant and my secretary something about the Amish faith. I have always had a great respect for that community, and when the two women today expressed disbelief and even a slight scorn for how they have handled the horrible school shooting ("Can you believe that they wouldn't agree to being flown to their children's sides in the hospital, but had to be driven in vans?"), I felt impelled to explain the scriptural underpinnings of Amish beliefs. While I was at it, I got into the origins of our beloved Courtesy Officer's beliefs as a Jehovah's Witness (Ed won't participate in our United Way drive because he's against blood banks, a fact which S----y, my assistant who's in charge of the UW drive, couldn't comprehend).
Because I'm a well-known liberal (or progressive or whatever), it always seems to come as a surprise to my staff that I'm also deeply respectful of people of faith -- even though I'm also a person of faith myself. I don't know why that is, but I suspect that it's at least partially a result of long-term indoctrination by the popular media that people of faith are all Republicans (or conservatives, or whatever).
Anyway, S----y and S----y (wow, I never realized how both their names started with S and ended with Y) were shocked that the Amish have reportedly "forgiven" the killer of those precious little girls. Andrew Sullivan has a great post about it that pretty much reflects what I told my two friends and co-workers.
Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. How easy to say. How hard to practise. When people actually practise what Jesus preached, it still shocks, doesn't it? And Jesus' teaching is nothing if not shocking.
RE SO-CALLED DEMOCRATIC "MORAL RELATIVISM"
For all the conservative, "family-values" types -- yes, Sean Hannity, I mean you -- who have been accusing Democrats of "moral relativism" for years and are now frothing at the mouth at our "hypocrisy" in being outraged by the Mark Foley scandal (for heavens' sake, we defended Bill Clinton, so how can we claim to mind a little over-friendly e-mailing?):
Get this straight. Here are OUR sexual "values." Consensual sex between adults, their business. Sexual harassment -- that is, a person in authority using his/her position to try to coerce a subordinate into sex, bad. Adult hitting on a minor, outrageous, beyond the pale.
Got it? That's our position, and we've been consistent.
Can you claim the same?
Wednesday, October 4
DOES ANYBODY IN THE MEDIA REMEMBER THAT WE'RE ENGAGED IN A DISASTROUS WAR?
Yes, the Mark Foley scandal is important. But what's MORE important is the fact that the U.S. is engaged in a disastrous war against a non-threatening (to the U.S.A.) nation that is going very, very badly. And our president continues to cry, "Stay the course!"
Oh this is so on. Corrente exposes why Rethugs hate The Big Dog.
This is what is now being passed around the right-wing email lists:
Donald Rumsfeld briefed the President this morning. He told Bush that three Brazilian soldiers were killed in Iraq. To everyone's amazement, all of the color ran from Bush's face, then he collapsed onto his desk, head in hands, visibly shaken, almost whimpering. Finally, he composed himself and asked Rumsfeld, "Just exactly how many is a brazillion?"
When the far-right lunatics are circulating jokes like this, does it mean anything for November? Just six months ago, this joke would have drawn scorn, derision, and cries of "You must be one of those lefty-terror lovers!" Today, those same right-wingers are sending this joke to all their friends.
HANNITY GOES AFTER JOHN ARAVOSIS, VIGUERIE GOES AFTER REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP
Sean Hannity was all over this story on WorldNetDaily.
The article in the right-wing rag revered by conservative radio talk show hosts and the basis of many of their rants, gave Hannity ammunition for his campaign to prove that the whole Foley sex scandal is a Democrat "dirty tricks" conspiracy to ruin Republican chances in the midterm elections.
It's not Denny Hastert's fault that Mark Foley was allowed to continue his sexual harassment of Congressional pages -- no, it's John Aravosis of AmericaBlog and Mike Rogers of BlogActive.com who were holding for two years evidence against Mark Foley to use just before the midterms!
Hannity demanded an investigation into what DEMOCRATS knew, and when! He was practically frothing at the mouth. It was hilarious to hear him declare that Democrats will do ANYTHING for power. Guess he doesn't agree with conservative Republican strategist Richard Viguerie:
Richard A. Viguerie, the direct-mail pioneer, said that the leaders were "enablers" by doing nothing to investigate Foley earlier, and said they should not be allowed to hide behind a criminal investigation until Election Day.
"This isn't an isolated situation," said Viguerie, author of a book accusing the White House and congressional Republicans of violating conservative principles. "It is only the most recent example of Republican House leaders doing whatever it takes to hold on to power. If it means spending billions of taxpayers' dollars on questionable projects, they'll do it. If it means covering up the most despicable actions of a colleague, they'll do it."
Tags: Mark Foley scandal, Sean Hannity, Richard Viguerie
FOLEY SCANDAL BOMBSHELL
Fordham says he told the Speaker's office about "problems" with Foley's behavior two years ago.
A senior congressional aide said Wednesday he told House Speaker Dennis Hastert's office in 2004 about worrisome conduct by former Rep. Mark Foley with teenage pages -- the earliest known alert to the GOP leadership.
Kirk Fordham told The Associated Press that when he was told about Foley's inappropriate behavior toward pages, he had "more than one conversation with senior staff at the highest level of the House of Representatives asking them to intervene."
The conversations took place long before the e-mail scandal broke, Fordham said, and at least a year earlier than members of the House GOP leadership have acknowledged.
Fordham resigned Wednesday as chief of staff to Rep. Thomas Reynolds, R-New York.
Fordham spoke to the AP after ABC News quoted unidentified GOP sources as insinuating that he had intervened on behalf of Foley, his former boss, to prevent an inquiry into Foley's conduct.
"This is categorically false," Fordham said. "At no point ever did I ask anyone to block any inquiries into Foley's actions or behavior."
The longtime Capitol Hill aide said he would fully disclose to the FBI and the House ethics committee "any and all meetings and phone calls" regarding Foley's behavior that he had with senior staffers in the House leadership.
"The fact is even prior to the existence of the Foley e-mail exchanges I had more than one conversation with senior staff at the highest level of the House of Representatives asking them to intervene when I was informed of Mr. Foley's inappropriate behavior," Fordham said.
Fordham said one staffer to whom he spoke remains employed by a senior House Republican leader. He would not identify the staffer.
"Rather than trying to shift the blame on me, those who are employed by these House leaders should acknowledge what they know about their action or inaction in response to the information they knew about Mr. Foley prior to 2005," Fordham said.
A Capitol Hill aide for more than a decade, Fordham said he resigned because he did not want his role in the Foley matter to harm his boss' re-election bid.
"I have no reason to state anything other than the facts. I have no congressman and no office to protect," Fordham said.
Tags: Mark Foley, Kirk Fordham
Tuesday, October 3
HEAVEN HELP ME
Okay, now I've heard everything. I've heard Sean Hannity and his brethren attacking Democrats for sex scandals of twenty-plus years ago in an attempt to paint Dems as "hypocrites" for being disgusted with Mark Foley's antics with underaged Congressional pages, accusing Dems also for politicizing the issue and even suggesting that the exposure of Foley's IM messages was timed by the Democrats for maximum damage to Rethugs' midterm election prospects (there's absolutely no evidence to date that Dems had any idea of this potential scandal or had any part in its exposure). I've heard them trying to absolve Hastert, Reynolds, Shimkus et al for their inaction by claiming "they never saw the messages!!!" No, they just took Foley's word that they were just an effort by him to "mentor" a single Louisiana page.
But now I've heard Greg Knapp of Dallas KLIF conservative talk radio claim that it's the far left, the ACLU, etc. that are REALLY responsible for Foley's actions because they've created a permissive society by defending all sorts of alternative lifestyles, family structures, etc. It should be noted that Knapp says he's ready to string Foley up by the thumbs and thinks that any
Republican leader who knew about Foley and didn't act can't be defended (and I'll admit that I've always thought that Greg is a moral man, though our politics differ so greatly) -- but he hedges that position with his diversionary attack on "the far left and the ACLU" as the ultimate responsible parties.
I'm waiting for the inevitable "It's Bill Clinton's fault because he got away with a sexual encounter with a female government intern." WHAT AM I SAYING???? I've already heard that on wingnut media 1,000 times!
Tags: Mark Foley, Greg Knapp
REPUBLICAN GOSSSIP INSIDE THE BELTWAY
I just got through talking with our Public Affairs Director, who just returned from several weeks in Washington, D.C. She said that the conventional wisdom of the Beltway boys is that they know Denny Hastert, they're comfortable with him, and it's unlikely that they'll dump him. John Boehner is content with his spot as Majority Leader and is trying to just stay out of the fray as much as possible. The gossip is that the most vulnerable among the Republican House leadership are Reynolds, who aspired to succeed Hastert as Speaker, and Shimkus, who as chairman of the page board neglected to notify the other members and after interviewing Mark Foley assured everyone else "it was taken care of." His idea of taking care of it, of course, was simply to tell Foley not to contact the Louisiana page any more.
Tags: Mark Foley, House Republican leadership
Monday, October 2
HANNITY THE APOLOGIST
Wow, Sean Hannity confessed on his radio show this afternoon that he's spent HOURS since dawn surfing the Net to find examples of Democratic sex scandals. In less than fifteen minutes, with guest House Majority Leader John Boehner and then in the succeeding segment with Newt Gingrich, Sean twice brought up his Big Three: Democrats Mel Reynolds, Gerry Studds, and Barney Frank.
Both Boehner and Gingrich, while seemingly gratified by Hannity's distractions from the current Foley scandal, tried periodically to turn the issue to how incensed they were at Foley's actions. Yet at the same time they decried Foley's actions they gratefully acknowledged Sean's historical references. I have to say, though, both Boehner and Gingrich seemed to be uncomfortable with Sean's obvious and egregious efforts to whitewash Foley's, and Hastert's et al efforts to protect him, because of past Democrat scandals. Sean was obviously more consumed by the desire to defend a Republican pervert and his enablers by redirecting voter wrath to past Democratic scandals (though he gave lip service to how "despicable" was Mark Foley's conduct) than he was to labeling a Republican Congressman as a pervert and calling for those who enabled (and covered up for) him to step down from their positions of leadership, and even from their Congressional offices.
Now Chris Matthews is absolutely reaming Foley's Democratic opponent Tim Mahoney. Chris hasn't given Tim the opportunity to finish a single sentence. But he finishes the segment by complimenting Mahoney?
TRUST HASTERT AND SHIMKUS TO "PROTECT PAGES"?
Just as I don't understand why anyone would trust the guys who got us into this mess of a war in Iraq (and have completely botched its execution), which has diverted resources better applied to the war on terror and domestic priorities, and their colleagues in the Congress, who have provided no oversight and demanded no accountability, to continue to govern this nation.
Likewise, I can't conceive of allowing the same guys who knew about Mark Foley's activities and covered them up, thereby endangering underaged youths put into their care, to come up with a strategy and process to "protect pages while they are serving in the nation's Capitol." It's an insult to the pages and their parents, and indeed to all parents.
Denny Hastert should go, and go soon, but it's probable that the Rethugs will take their time about it. Illinois Rep. John Shimkus, the lone member of the page board who was aware of the Foley problem and DID NOTHING ABOUT IT, including not informing his fellow board members, should be stripped of his page board chairmanship IMMEDIATELY.
Tags: Mark Foley, Dennis Hastert, John Shimkus
WHERE'S MY AIR AMERICA?
What a shock. Driving in to work this morning I tried to tune in to KXEB, Dallas' Air America outlet, and instead of the Young Turks I heard a lot of anti-abortion PA's and choirs singing various "Hallelujah" choruses. Turns out it was some "Pro-Life Catholic radio" (I only got that much information from a brief station break).
C'mon! Don't tell me we've lost the only progressive radio in the entire Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex! As if we need one more conservative media voice -- that's all we've had for years, until Air America.
I'm going to be going through Randi Rhodes withdrawal this afternoon as I drive home ...
"BIPARTISAN" PAGE BOARD, REP. SHIMKUS?
Rethugs are just practicing their standard M.O.
Hey buddy, it's only "bipartisan" if the other partisan gets to participate.
In all the steady stream of ink spilled into the rancid sea now known as the Fole affair, none is more disingenuous and telling than one word so cavalierly throw into the mix in the dark of night: bipartisan.
In an effort to sop up the mess so the gathering waves would stop lapping at hi doorstep, Rep. John Shimkus, an Illinois Republican, issued a statement Frida night. The press release came after Rep. Mark Foley, a Florida Republican resigned as his electronic correspondence with former House pages was being divulged, betraying his predatory instincts.
"As chairman of the bipartisan House Page Board in late 2005," Shimkus began his statement, "I was notified by the then clerk of the House, who manages the page program, that he had been told by Congressman Rodney Alexander [a Louisiana Republican] about an E-mail exchange between Congressman Foley and a former House page. I took immediate action to investigate the matter."
Bipartisan? Use of that word suggests that both political parties were represented in this investigation. As we now know, however, Shimkus did not initially consult the sole Democrat on the page board, Rep. Dale Kildee of Michigan, who learned of Foley's behavior only late last week.
With the benefit of hindsight, Shimkus now says he's sorry he didn't consult Kildee earlier, because now it appears to be political. Uh, yeah, it WAS political, Congressman. The fact that Rep Tom Reynolds, the chairman of the GOP's congressional election committee, knew about this months before Kildee speaks volumes about just who is serving whom on Capitol Hill. It is the very integrity of Kildee, a 16-term veteran, that would've given the Shimkus "investigation" at least a patina of respectability and dignity had it been truly "bipartisan."
Instead, Shimkus and his allies in the House GOP leadership, mindful that every seat counts this fall, crossed their fingers, then plugged them in the dike.
I don't see how Shimkus' constituents can return him to office knowing what we already know of his dereliction of duty. He appears to have made a deliberate decision not to inform Democrat page board member Kildee, for what reason we can only conclude was the protection of Foley's House seat. Now he tries to apply a patina to his actions by suggesting that the "bipartisan page board" conducted an investigation? Oh! it was an investigation ON BEHALF OF the page board! Well, that explains it!
Tags: Mark Foley, Mark Foley, page board, John Shimkus
DEMS HAVE CHANCE TO WIN SENATE
MSNBC highlights a new poll with the headline "Polls: Democrats in striking distance for Senate." That's pretty encouraging, no? But here's the actual breakdown:
In all, these key Senate races show the following:
Two Republican incumbents in very serious trouble, Burns and Santorum.
Four Republican incumbents tied with their challengers, Chaffee, Allen, Talent, and DeWine.
One Democratic incumbent tied with his challenger, Menendez.
One Democratic incumbent with a real lead, Cantwell.
One Democratic open seat with a Democrat in the lead, Cardin in Maryland.
One Republican open seat with a tie, Tennessee.
It's a squeaker in a big way, and the Rethugs will be pouring money into these races during the last couple of weeks before the election. Then there's that little clunker that could really mess up the works -- electronic voting machines and questionable practices at the polling stations. It's not time to get too confident; we need to pour on the heat. This election may be the most critical of our times.
Tags: midterm elections, Democratic control of U.S. Senate
Sunday, October 1
CONDI, TENET, BLACK ALL DELIBERATELY MISLED THE 9/11 COMMISSION
George Tenet and Cofer Black went to Condi Rice with their hair on fire about an imminent attack by Al Qaeda upon the U.S. and she blew them off. So much for her defensive comments after Bill Clinton's interview with Chris Wallace that, "what we did in the eight months was at least as aggressive as what the Clinton administration did in the preceding years."
All three, Tenet, Black and Condi, clearly misled the 9/11 Commission. This warrants investigation and exposure to the American people.
"White House and State Department officials yesterday confirmed that the July 10 meeting took place, although they took issue with Woodward's portrayal of its results."
Later Saturday, writing at the ThinkPress.org site, Peter Rundlet, the former 9/11 Commission counsel, wrote of the meeting with Rice, "If true, it is shocking that the administration failed to heed such an overwhelming alert from the two officials in the best position to know. Many, many questions need to be asked and answered about this revelation — questions that the 9/11 Commission would have asked, had the Commission been told about this significant meeting. Suspiciously, the Commissioners and the staff investigating the administration’s actions prior to 9/11 were never informed of the meeting....
At a minimum, the withholding of information about this meeting is an outrage. Very possibly, someone committed a crime. And worst of all, they failed to stop the plot."
In her testimony to the 9/11 Commission, Rice not only did not mention the July 10 meeting, but insisted that all or nearly all warning about impending terrorist activity concerned attacks outside the country, not within our borders.
UPDATE: 911 Commissioners are furious about the omission. Roemer, Ben-Veniste and Jamie Gorelick have all spoken out. Where's the outrage of the Republican members? Condi says it's "incomprehensible" that she would have ignored such a warning, something akin to her "Nobody ever thought they would fly airplanes into buildings" remark, I suppose.
Tags: Condi Rice, 9-11 Commission