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This is What Democracy Looks Like

Today's Note From a Madman

Monday, October 9, 2006

 

Heads Need to Roll

Here's your assignment, boys and girls. Go to http://reynolds.house.gov (Rep. Tom Reynolds' [REPUBLICAN-NY] home page), select "Find (on this page) from the "Edit" menu and type the name "FOLEY" into the search box. Do you want to know what you'll get as a response? Nothing. Not a thing.

The guy who knew; the guy who heads up the REPUBLICAN Congressional Campaign Committee (RCCC) doesn't say a word on his website referring to the Mark "I Like Young Boys" Foley incident(s) that are clogging up the newspapers and cable news channels (except Fox, of course) as we speak.

And isn't it funny how Fox News Channel is the only news outlet that isn't wasting precious time and resources on the cover-up of a US congressman's use of congressional pages as his own, personal "boy harem"?

As a matter of fact, if you put the name Foley into the search field provided by Tom Reynolds' home page, the only reference you'll get is that Reynolds', Foley and about 26 other REPUBLICANS are sponsors of a bill that the insurance industry endorses. Its date was May 12, 2005.

See no evil; hear no evil. too bad they don't "DO NO EVIL".

And now, it turns out, there is another REPUBLICAN congressman, Rep. Jim Kolbe from Arizona, who knew about Mark Foley's antics and preference for young boys as early as the year 2000. The Washington Post reported that a page had shown Kolbe some messages which made the young boy feel uncomfortable. I guess that Foley didn't tell him to "get comfortable", as he did other pages. By the way, Kolbe, himself, is gay.

"corrective action" was taken,
-Korenna Cline, Kolbe's press secretary


Like putting a band-aid on a bullet wound.

 

You have to admire Kolbe getting out in front of this issue a mere five years after it happened, don't you? As a gay man himself, Kolbe should have insisted that his party investigate the messages from Foley to the page, and he should have been persistent.

By the way, Soon-to-be-Ex-Rep. Reynolds (we hope), who has fallen in the polls so far that he is behind by double digits, cancelled his scheduled Sunday appearance on This Week with George Stephanopoulos. Reynolds had flu-like symptoms. (Is that what they call shame today?)

"Anybody that hindered this in any kind of way, tried to step in the way of hiding this, covering it up, is going to have to step down. Whoever that is,"
-Rep. Tom Davis, (R-VA)


Rep. Davis has it right. And you have to think that there are some REPUBLICANS out there who are simply mortifies: Not by the possible ends of their political careers, but by the actual deeds. Those deeds include Foley's decade of interfering in the lives of young, impressionable boys and those by the members of the REPUBLICAN leadership in the House, who preferred to keep quiet and allow a pedophile access to his "harem" rather then nipping it in the bud. (Poor choice of words? Perhaps.)

To use the words of Secretary of Defense Donald "We don't know what we don't know" Rumsfeld, we do know what we know, so far, in this disgusting scandal that wreaks of political protectionism:
-We know that Foley, a shoo-in for re-election to his Florida congressional seat was hitting on pages
-We know that pages are supposed to be protected from people who will try to take advantage of them, as every child should
-We know that that many congressmen and staff knew about what Foley was doing
-We know that they all saw "doing nothing" as a political strategy instead of throwing the bum out before he had opportunity to hit on another generation of pages

We do know what we know, and there's more coming out (wrong choice of words? Perhaps.) each and every day. And each and every day it sickens us more and more.

The media is making sense when they say that Americans may not understand the terrorist threat that has been growing in Iraq, and around the world, due to the errors of the Bush administration. They are also correct when they point out that those same Americans understand this scandal all too well. This isn't a gay congressman "hooking up" with another man of legal age. This isn't even a president playing kissy-face with an "of age" intern in the White House. This is a crime, pure and simple. And for the REPUBLICANS to say, through their mouthpieces like Ann Coulter or Matt Drudge, that these boys were leading Foley on is both disgraceful and disgusting.

Aren't these charlatans able to take responsibility for anything?

Rep. Adam Putnam, (REPUBLICAN-FL), the REPUBLICAN Policy Committee was given the job to take Rep. Reynolds place on the ABC show. He immediately defended Speaker Hastert and the GOP leadership. If that is GOP policy, we don't want any.

Hastert and his office "acted proactively, they acted aggressively, and within hours of the explicit e-mails coming to light, they demanded Foley's resignation."
"The dirty laundry in our conference is gone,"
-Putnam


Well then... That satisfies the whole nation, now, doesn't it?

The dirty laundry needs to be thrown out, along with those who made it dirty. We need to purchase new, clean threads. The dirty laundry has too many stains, and even with the GOP attempting to cover-up those stains with rhetoric and lies, they're still dirty. And nobody wants to wear dirty laundry.

"There's been a lot of ducking and dodging and diving and weaving,. There is a lot of finger-pointing that had gone on earlier in the week, but I do think people are behind the speaker now."
-Rep. Ray LaHood (REPUBLICAN-IL)

If the GOP is done throwing each other under their bus fleet, most of us haven't seen it. In fact, the only way out of their "dirty laundry bus" might be for the GOP to make a complete confession and perform an act of attrition that does more than throw out a pedophile congressman. Those involved should be rounded up by their party's leadership (I mean President Bush) and be forced to "retire".

And what of President Bush during all of this. Are his hands clean? Did nobody in the White House have an inkling of what was going on in the House of Representatives? How out of touch are the Bushies?
 

I thought these guys were the party of purity.

Reynolds has actually told us all that he reported the "incident" to Hastert's office, twice, and was satisfied that the problem was resolved. Hey, Rep. Reynolds... The dead give-away that the problem wasn't solved was the appearance of Foley on the floor of the House and the fact that he didn't lose his job as the head of the Caucus on abused children.

Duh!

"Nobody's angrier and more disappointed that I didn't catch his lies. I trusted that others had investigated. Looking back, more should have been done, and for that, I am sorry."
-Reynolds


Yours needs to be the next head to roll, Rep. Reynolds.

-Noah Greenberg



Get Ready for 2008

So, I have the 2008 Democratic ticket. Ready?

Keith Olberman and Jon Stewart.

Believe it or not, there are actually people wearing "Stewart/Colbert '08" T-Shirts. Do you think they mean it?

Now, I don't want a guy who imitates Bill "Luffa-Boy" O'Reilly as VP, so I'd remove Steve Colbert (of the "Colbert Report", a spin-off from Stewart's "The Daily Show") and replace him with Olberman.

Olberman is the guy who simply can't believe his own eyes and ears when it comes to the "GOP Spin Machine". I'm surprised that Fox-Lite MSNBC keeps him on at all. Guests have a hard time with Olberman due to the fact that they can't pull the wool over his eyes. His commentaries are honest and his news program is just that: A news program.

Whad'ya think? Possibilities?

I guess Robin Williams' character from hjs new movie "Man of the Year, which has a television talk-show host/ comedian (shall we say Stewart-like?) taking the crazy idea of his running for President to the most extreme: His running and winning.

"Nothing says 'I am ashamed of you my government' more than 'Stewart/Colbert '08,'"

-Stewart

But is it more shameful than Bush-Cheney, Frist-(fill in the blank) or any of the other numb-nuts who currently lead this nation's really biggest joke on us all: The "G"reed "O"ver "P"eople party?

Stewart's show has turned into an indictment of the Bush regime. But, to his credit, Stewart will have any politico on for just about any reason. Maybe it's because the show is advertised as a comedy, they feel safe. But they aren't

Although Colbert stays in character as a smaller, tongue-in-cheek O'Reilly, Stewart asks real questions and expects real answers, even if he would beg to differ. And Stewart really does have political clout, as evidenced by his ability to rid CNN of Tucker Carlson and Bob Novak.

Ouch!

The Daily Show has had GOP guests such as Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Trent Lott (R-MS), as well as anyone attempting to convince his young audience that his or her book should be purchased just because they braved Stewart's questions. And brave them they must, although Stewart lets them off the hook much of the time.

The White House knows Jon Stewart's influence a evidenced by the lack of any current White House mouthpiece to take "The Seat of Heat".

"We have requests in there to everyone including Barney (the president's Scottish Terrier). Only Barney replies."
-Stewart


Well of course Barney replies. after all, President Bush did tell us all that he'll keep on the track he's going even if Laura and Barney are the only one's who support him.

I don't think that GW will be able to count on either one of them soon.

Maybe the Olberman-Stewart (Stewart-Olberman) ticket could run against Luffa-Boy and Dennis Miller. I'd love to watch that debate.

-Noah Greenberg



Talking Issues

And while the GOP leaders and the mouthpieces at Fox News are attempting, unsuccessfully, I might add, to somehow snare the Democrats in this Foley mess, Nancy Pelosi is talking about the issues:

"This economy is making the super-rich richer, and leaving middle-class American families further behind, deeper in debt and struggling to make ends meet,"
-House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi (DEMOCRAT-CA)


Pelosi wants to raise the minimum wage, which has historically given the economy huge bumps, much more so than any tax give-back to the Bush's "base" of "haves and have mores". And while the DEMOCRATS are attempting to talk issues, the "G"reed "O"ver "P"eople party are falling all over themselves trying to make sure that they don't get caught up in the Foley mess. They've tried to blame the Democrats. They've tried to blame the under-aged boys who are the pages, themselves. They're even trying to push one another under the wheels of their very own, red-colored bus.

This is the GOP's "Do-Nothing" congress:
-They have and will "Do Nothing" about immigration because they can't put their lack of a plan on a bumper sticker;
-They have and will "Do Nothing" about Health Care because they want to keep that big money coming in from their big insurance and drug company lobbyists and ocntributors;
-They have and will "Do Nothing" about their failed Medicare Prescription Drug Plan fiasco, which will cost at least twice what the Bush administration promised it would cost for that same reason of not wanting to tick off the Drug Lobby;
-They have and will "Do Nothing" about Global Warming because they found one "scientist" who say "don;t worry about it" out of the thousands who say it is a real and growing problem.


-The GOP will, however, attempt to steal our Social Security trust fund (as opposed to just borrowing against it and never repaying it) because there is a banker or broker, one of the Bush "base" of "haves and have mores" out there who needs another golden toilet
-They will attempt to "revitalize" our economy, which they have decimated, with a series of tax give-aways to their "base" and removing the only tax on the investor class, the capital gains tax, while offering the average American pennies against their dollars
-They will attempt to further divide the nation pitting American against American, and will use any means at their disposal to do so.

The Question is, if the Democrats take back control of one or both of the houses of Congress, will the "G"reed "O"ver "P"eople party loyalists keep playing the "stall game". After all, exactly how many Average Americans would say that their lives are better today than they were five years ago?

"Choices made by President Bush and Republicans in Congress have created a market failure - they have consistently rewarded wealth without rewarding work."
-Pelosi


Those weren't choices. A choice is when you have at least two options, Ms. Pelosi. What President Bush and the Republicans did was offer the financial stability of our nation to their "base" friends at NO CHARGE!

So while the Republicans continue to try and duck their own mess; and while they blame the Democrats and the victims of Pedophiles for their own failings; and while we are quickly finding out the truth about what the GOP leadership knew and didn't know; the Democrats will talk about fixing the economy, getting our troops home from Bush's quagmire in Iraq and winning the war on terror, no matter how many of Bush's war profiteering buddies complain.

-Noah Greenberg



Tyranny...

President Bush's frequent use of signing statements to assert that he has the power to disobey newly enacted laws is ``an integral part" of his ``comprehensive strategy to strengthen and expand executive power" at the expense of the legislative branch, according to a report by the non partisan Congressional Research Service.

In a 27-page report written for lawmakers, the research service said the Bush administration is using signing statements as a means to slowly condition Congress into accepting the White House's broad conception of presidential power, which includes a presidential right to ignore laws he believes are unconstitutional.

The ``broad and persistent nature of the claims of executive authority forwarded by President Bush appear designed to inure Congress, as well as others, to the belief that the president in fact possesses expansive and exclusive powers upon which the other branches may not intrude," the report said.
****

In short, Bush is taking action that is tyrannical. That is the true message of the Military Commissions Act of 2006. Bush is declaring he can throw anyone in jail without charges and have them tortured if he wants it. This is political intimidation by a man who has joked more than once about being a dictator.


-Forwarded and commented by Robert Scardapane



And More Tyranny

In the law Bush signed Wednesday, Congress stated no one but the privacy officer could alter, delay or prohibit the mandatory annual report on Homeland Security department activities that affect privacy, including complaints.

But Bush, in a signing statement attached to the agency's 2007 spending bill, said he will interpret that section "in a manner consistent with the President's constitutional authority to supervise the unitary executive branch."
****

Why doesn't Bush drop this bunk about "unitary executive branch" and simply say that he considers homself to be a dictator. As with all dictatorships, the parliamentary branch rubber stamps what El Presidente decrees. Isn't that exactly the situation we are currently in?


-Forwarded and commented by Robert Scardapane



KUDOS TO KEITH OLBERMAN

Anyone who isn’t watching Keith Olberman these days is missing history in the making, history of the caliber of Edward Murrow whom Keith reveres so much that he signs off his show the same way Murrow did – “Good Night and Good Luck”. His commentary on the bush/republican administration and policies last night (10/5) was astoundingly on mark in its willingness to point out the raw truth of what is happening in our democracy and how our constitution is being pulled from under us. It was inspiring, searing, and can only be likened to the brave and honest child in the fairy tale “An Emperor’s New Clothes” who broke the allusions and collusions of the citizenry by pointing out the truth and facts that shattered the thin veneer of lies. Those who live by the veneer of lies will know the pain with they see and hear the truth of an emperor with no clothes. A night of public truth to cheer.

-Casey Sweet



Keith Olberman strikes again!

Yesterday at a fundraiser for an Arizona congressman, Mr. Bush claimed, quote, "177 of the opposition party said, `You know, we don't think we ought to be listening to the conversations of terrorists.'"

The hell they did.

One hundred seventy-seven Democrats opposed the president's seizure of another part of the Constitution.

Not even the White House press office could actually name a single Democrat who had ever said the government shouldn't be listening to the conversations of terrorists.

President Bush hears what he wants.

Tuesday, at another fundraiser in California, he had said, "Democrats take a law enforcement approach to terrorism. That means America will wait until we're attacked again before we respond."

Mr. Bush fabricated that, too.

No Democrat, sir, has ever said anything approaching the suggestion that the best means of self-defense is to "wait until we're attacked again."

No critic, no commentator, no reluctant Republican in the Senate has ever said anything that any responsible person could even have exaggerated into the slander you spoke in Nevada on Monday night, nor the slander you spoke in California on Tuesday, nor the slander you spoke in Arizona on Wednesday ... nor whatever is next.

You have dishonored your party, sir; you have dishonored your supporters; you have dishonored yourself.

But tonight the stark question we must face is -- why?

Why has the ferocity of your venom against the Democrats now exceeded the ferocity of your venom against the terrorists?

Why have you chosen to go down in history as the president who made things up?

In less than one month you have gone from a flawed call to unity to this clarion call to hatred of Americans, by Americans.

If this is not simply the most shameless example of the rhetoric of political hackery, then it would have to be the cry of a leader crumbling under the weight of his own lies.

We have, of course, survived all manner of political hackery, of every shape, size and party. We will have to suffer it, for as long as the Republic stands.

But the premise of a president who comes across as a compulsive liar is nothing less than terrifying.

A president who since 9/11 will not listen, is not listening -- and thanks to Bob Woodward's most recent account -- evidently has never listened.

A president who since 9/11 so hates or fears other Americans that he accuses them of advocating deliberate inaction in the face of the enemy.

A president who since 9/11 has savaged the very freedoms he claims to be protecting from attack -- attack by terrorists, or by Democrats, or by both -- it is now impossible to find a consistent thread of logic as to who Mr. Bush believes the enemy is.

But if we know one thing for certain about Mr. Bush, it is this: This president -- in his bullying of the Senate last month and in his slandering of the Democrats this month -- has shown us that he believes whoever the enemies are, they are hiding themselves inside a dangerous cloak called the Constitution of the United States of America.

****

Olbermann, Olbermann, Olbermann! Did you ever think a day would come when you had to cheer the media for telling the truth?


-Forwarded and commented by Robert Scardapane



Letter to the Editor

The following was forwarded to me and others. Some of you might have received this earlier, but I feel it warrants publication here on Note From a Madman. -NG

Why is it that it takes the topic of sex before conservative Republicans manage to cultivate outrage or even attentiveness to crucial matters? As Osama bin Laden plotted his 9/11 horror attack against us, conservative Republicans distracted us all for two years with their embarrassingly voyeuristic obsession with Bill Clinton's private sex life. They ignored crucial warning signs about al-Qaida in favor of lewd inquiries into cigars and stained dresses.

As this nation sees the Constitution under attack by a regime hell-bent on turning the president into a monarch, conservative Republicans find it a much greater priority to again focus on peoples' bedrooms and get themselves all hot and bothered about gay marriage. And while Mark Foley's disturbing relationships with teenage pages warrants attention, where is conservative Republican outrage about an illegal and immoral war based on arrogance and lies that has trashed both our treasury and our global reputation and increased the global threat of terrorism? Where is their "shock and dismay" about Bush's illegal spying on U.S. citizens that they instead voted to make retroactively legal?

Conservative Republicans need to get their minds out of the gutter and focus on those matters that genuinely affect this nation's well-being, like the trade deficit, the staggering budget deficit that has replaced the huge Clinton-era surplus, the erosion of both Congress' and the peoples' rights, and our having become the world's biggest and most loathed "rogue nation" during these last six shameful years.


-John A. Starnes Jr., Tampa



WILL REPUBLICANS BE CHASTENED BY FOLEYGATE?
by Victoria A. Brownworth
copyright c 2006 Journal-Register Newspapers, Inc.


The Friday afternoon “this will blow over by the end of the weekend” resignation of Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) on September 29 has not only not blown over, it threatens to end the Republican Congressional supremacy in Washington.

The reason? Mothers–Republican and Democrat–all over the country are asking only one question: Why wasn’t the Republican leadership outraged by Foley’s behavior? Why weren’t they outraged by a pedophile in their midst? Why was the *first*–and thus far *only*–response from the Republican leadership one of covering their own behinds and trying to protect their seats in Congress instead of protecting the teenagers working for the Congressman?

Foley chose to resign after ABC news revealed that he’d had an Internet sex relationship with a 16-year-old male congressional page. ABC news reported some of the content–that which could be aired in prime time–on its World News Now broadcast on the evening of September 29th. The full text of the emails and instant messages between the boy and Foley, 52, a Congressman for 12 years, was also published on ABC’s website.

Those emails and IMs are almost all X-rated.

The exchanges were salacious, the Internet equivalent of phone sex in several instances, in which both parties describe the orgasms they have during the chat and discuss sexual arousal in detail. Foley leads the conversation directly to sex each and every time.

Conservatives, like right wing talk show host Rush Limbaugh, who has himself been divorced three times and engaged in numerous public affairs, suggested that the boy was a willing participant and also might have been “set up” by Democrats. Other conservatives have also said that Democrats were behind the revelations about Foley’s pedophile behavior, including Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-IL) who made the claim first on Limbaugh’s radio show. At no point did Hastert say he was sorry for what had happened to the boys involved nor did he say he was sorry he hadn’t addressed the problems with Foley which senior aides have said they alerted him to a far back as 2001. The reality: The pages are kids, Foley, Hastert and Limbaugh are adults. Who bears responsibility? The teens or the adults?

Hastert claims the revelations were “political,” made by Democrats.

However, senior ABC news reporter Brian Ross, who broke the Foley story and uncovered the email trail, said on October 6th that his sources were all members of the Republican Party.

The FBI is now investigating whether Foley violated any laws in these exchanges because the boy was a minor. The two did not have an actual sexual relationship, but did engage in online masturbation.

There have been numerous scandals in the Republican leadership in the past year, but none has had the impact of Foleygate–in part because so many members of the Republican hierarchy are alleged to have known about Foley’s interest in the congressional pages–all teenaged boys (the one whose emails and instant messages were published was not the only boy Foley is alleged to have been involved with).

Kirk Fordham, Foley’s former Chief of Staff who was also a Chief of Staff to Rep. Tom Reynolds (R-NY), resigned last week after it was learned that he had asked ABC not to publish the emails at the behest of Republicans. Fordham said he had contacted Speaker Hastert’s office about Foley’s behavior repeatedly. So the whistleblower is forced to resign, while those who covered up the lies are allowed to stay in power.

Majority Whip John Boehner (R-OH) noted that Hastert and Reynolds knew about Foley’s inappropriate behavior with pages for at least five years. Boehner went so far as to call for Foley’s resignation.
Several former congressional pages told ABC news that they had been warned about Foley when they took the position and were told that Foley was “overly friendly” and a little too “hands-on.”

Hastert himself declared that he had read some of Foley’s emails, but thought they were just “overly friendly.” However, the majority of the emails are clearly sexual in nature; they detail queries posed by Foley about the size of the teen’s sexual organ and whether the teen is sexually aroused and whether the teen has been masturbating. One email also notes that the teen’s mother is calling him for dinner.

That should have been enough to give anyone pause. But not Speaker Hastert.

In this Republican Congress, the scandals have come fast and furious. Foley is now the fourth Republican Congressman forced to resign in recent months. Those resignations include former House Majority Leader Tom Delay (R-TX). Each of these Republican leaders was engaged in massive corruption and all have been indicted. Foley may be next. The FBI and the bi-partisan House Ethics Committee have begun to investigate who knew what and when. Top Republicans including Hastert and other members of the committee that ran the page program–Rep. Tom Reynolds (R-NY), Rep. Jim Shimkus (R-Il) and Rep. Rodney Alexander (R-LA)–have all been implicated in the scandal, either because they knew about Foley’s questionable behavior and did nothing, or because they have engaged in attempting to cover up the incidents since the emails were uncovered by ABC.

Where the Foley scandal differs from the others, even the extremity of corruption and disrepute leveled by Delay, is in the way the Republican leadership has handled the scandal. Almost from the day of Foley’s resignation, there have been calls for Speaker Hastert to resign. Most of the demands for Hastert’s resignation have come from his own party–the most recent call came from Tom Kean, Jr., son of the former New Jersey governor and co-chair of the 9/11 commission, Tom Kean, Sr.
Kean is running for the Senate in a tight race against incumbent Robert Menendez (D-NJ). New Jersey was rocked by scandal in 2004 when then-Governor Jim Mc Greevey announced his resignation and declared that he was gay (McGreevey was married with two young daughters). McGreevey had been having an affair with a man who worked for him.

Kean called for Hastert’s resignation on October 7th, noting that the Speaker had failed to protect the teens in the page program from Foley’s roving eye and email correspondence. Said Kean, “Hastert is the head of that institution and this happened on his watch, and I urge House leaders to go further by appointing an outside panel to review the matter immediately.” Kean added that any members of Hastert’s staff or other members of the Republican hierarchy found to be involved in the cover-up should also either resign or be relieved of their duties. Kean noted that the electorate is tired of such scandals and of leaders who place political expediency above personal responsibility.

Kean is right. Hastert and others have clearly acted as if they are more concerned about the possible loss of a House seat, than about the many teenaged boys Foley is alleged to have had sexual correspondence with.

Kean is not alone in expressing his disgust over the cover-up. One of the most conservative publications in the country, the Washington Times, also demanded Hastert’s resignation, noting that the Foley scandal is just one more example of Hastert’s poor leadership. On CBS’s “The Early Show” on October 6th, Republican strategist Bay Buchanan asserted that Hastert should indeed resign. “They should have forced him to step down,” Buchanan asserted. “The situation here is critical for Republicans. When their leadership makes a critical error, like to become aware of a predator in their midst, and does not take the necessary actions, they can no longer be our leaders. It's just that simple. The American people, parents across the country, expect more aggressive behavior from adult, mature, responsible people when they find out that in their midst there's somebody who's preying on children. The speaker's a good man. I know they feel loyal to him. He made a mistake. A very, very bad, irreversible mistake. He let children be vulnerable because of his inaction. Therefore, let's put this behind us as quickly as we can.”

But a few hours after Buchanan made that statement, in a press conference from his home in Illinois on October 6th, Hastert insisted that he would not resign, but he would investigate the Foley scandal. Like so many other scandalous events in the Bush Administration, Hastert’s press conference seemed self-serving rather than responsible. Hastert clearly remained unable to understand that his job was to be sure the kids involved were protected from a Republican Congressman with a sexual interest in teenaged boys. Yet Hastert’s main concern seemed still to be protecting the image of Republicans who covered up Foley’s behavior, himself included.

One of the problems of the Bush Administration’s tenure is that corruption and incompetence are rewarded. Most Americans remember the infamous comment by President Bush to former FEMA director Michael Brown during the Katrina disaster. Despite the fact that no water, food, shelter or medical care had been provided by FEMA to tens of thousands of New Orleanians who had no food, water or medical care in staggering temperatures for more than four days, Bush told Brown “You’re doing a heckuva job, Brownie.”

Brown was forced to resign shortly after Bush’s kudos, when it was revealed what a disastrous job he had in fact done in the Katrina tragedy.

Perhaps Bush should have waited to congratulate Hastert as well, as according to numerous accounts from within his own party, Hastert knew that Foley had been engaged in inappropriate conduct with more than one congressional page.

Why did so many Republicans go to such lengths to protect Foley instead of the pages who worked for him?

The answer is that Foley has been a shining example of Republican family values morality for the past 12 years he’s been in Congress. Foley wasn’t just any Republican Congressman. Foley helped George Bush in the contested vote count in the 2000 presidential election. Foley had risen through the Republican leadership in the House.

Foley was chairman of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children. He introduced a bill in 2002 to outlaw websites featuring sexually suggestive images of pre-pubescents, asserting “These websites are nothing more than a fix for pedophiles.”

Foley hadn’t stopped there. The Republican Congressman had made child porn his personal issue.In June 2003, when he discovered that teenagers were allowed to go to a nudist camp at Lake Como in Land O'Lakes, Florida, Foley questioned the legality of underage kids at such a camp.

Foley was well-respected among his supporters, who included the President. Bush approved the changes Foley proposed in sex offender laws. Videotape abounds of Foley working with former Attorney General John Ashcroft, who was focused on pornography issues.

The brutal irony of the Foley scandal is that the Republican Congressman directed every program over the last decade to combat adult predators of children on the Internet. He designed new legislation to combat predation of minors on the Internet, which was signed into law by Bush. Foley appeared regularly on “America’s Most Wanted” discussing the perils of child sex offenders and what could be done to stop them.

Like pedophile priests, Foley was leading a double life—preaching about and enacting legislation against child predators by day and then engaging in online sex with teens who worked for him after hours. Which makes his disgrace all the more disturbing.

The Republican leadership has learned nothing from the pedophile priest scandal in the Catholic Church where known pedophiles were protected by the Church hierarchy in order to save the Church embarrassment and the suffering of the victims was wholly ignored.

In his speech October 6th , Hastert asserted that the responsibility lay with him in the Foley scandal. But if he had taken responsibility when he first learned of Foley’s behavior, all those boys would have been protected against Foley’s inappropriate advances.

Because of the nature of Foley’s emails, he could actually be prosecuted under the very legislation he crafted and face many years in prison.

One of the reasons there have been so many calls for Hastert’s ouster is that on September 30th ABC’s Ross revealed that Hastert had known about Foley and the emails since at least 2005 and possibly since 2001.

However, Foley had run unopposed in the last election and had been re-elected handily in the two previous elections; his seat in the House had been a lock. No one in the Republican leadership, including Speaker Hastert, wanted to jeopardize that seat. Hastert has done everything possible in the past ten days to shift blame away from himself and onto, of all people, the Democrats in Congress. Hastert has been interviewed by numerous conservative venues, including the largest conservative internet news organ, Newsmax.com. On October 7th, Hastert told Newsmax that the calls for his resignation were political. “If he resigned as speaker, Hastert said, "That would throw us in a whole speaker's race right in the middle of an election, which means we wouldn't get our message out. And I think that would be cataclysmic to the party, it'd be cataclysmic for our message, and would not be good, period, for anybody."

Not good for anybody, or not good for the Speaker and the Republican hierarchy?

Conservative columnist George Will was unequivocal on ABC’s *This Week* October 8th–Hastert has bungled the job and the Republicans have ruined their chances for maintaining control over the Congress with their mishandling of the Foley scandal. Conservative commentator Cokie Roberts was equally succinct, “Where’s the outrage?” she added to Will’s comments.
Where indeed?

Katherine Harris, the woman who managed the vote count in Florida in 2000, who has refused to give back the money Foley donated to her campaign running as a Republican for the Senate this year, wanted to know what the Democrats knew. Jim Gerlach, running against Democrat Lois Murphy in Pennsylvania to retain a Republican House seat, also refused to return money donated by Foley. And there are other Republicans who have refused to either return money donated by Foley or assign blame where it belongs–on the Republican leadership.

Ross has made clear that his sources were all Republicans in the House. Republicans run both houses of Congress. The head man, the Speaker, is a Republican. And Foley was a Republican, as were the families of his pages.

This is a Republican mess and the Republicans need to clean it up, just as they would expect the Democrats to do were Foley a Democrat. But all the power of the Republican Party has gone into attempting to shift the blame for this scandal. Both Fox news and CNN, notoriously right wing news media, have repeatedly reported that Foley was a Democrat. Rev. Pat Robertson said on the 700 Club last week, “Ladies and Gentleman, Mr. Foley would never be subjected to this if he were a Democrat. Why, there's a Congressman in Massachusetts, Barney Frank, who's an avowed homosexual. Why isn't he being brought up on charges?”

What does Frank’s sexual orientation have to do with anything? Frank is an adult who is legally married (same-sex marriage is legal in Massachusetts) to his long-time spouse–a man in his 50s. What charges would Frank be brought up on? Frank is gay, he isn’t a pedophile. Foley, like all those parish priests, is a pedophile–he likes sex with kids. There’s a difference.

Nowhere in Robertson’s comments was there a rebuke of Foley or his pedophile behavior. Instead Robertson’s moral majority wrath was directed at the Democrats. Why?

The Republican Party has set itself up as the family values party and this is a scandal of morality. It isn’t merely Foley’s pedophile behavior at issue. Foley resigned and is now in rehab for alcohol addiction that may have exacerbated his behavior. He’s also being investigated for any possible criminal behavior.

But what about all the lying being done by the leadership to cover up the scandal and deflect responsibility onto the opposition? Who takes responsibility for that?

Before his speech on October 6th, I didn’t think Hastert needed to resign. But after that speech and his subsequent slanderous statements to the conservative media, I have changed my mind. Americans might forget that Hastert was the third choice for Speaker when he was brought in–third choice because it turned out the first two Republican choices had been engaged in extramarital affairs and were forced to resign. Hastert came in on the heels of scandal and scandal may indeed force him out of office.

Why should Hastert resign? Because he has failed to do his job, which is to lead the Congress. Hastert’s job is specific: take charge, do what’s right. Hastert hasn’t done that. Rather he has hedged and manipulated and shifted responsibility. He has not stood up for the powerless, the kids Foley went after.

What is most shocking in the Foley scandal isn’t what has been said, it’s what hasn’t been said. Why the silence on Foley? Where, for example, are the family values people on this issue? Silent. Where is Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), who has repeatedly stressed the importance of morality in his party? Silent. The list goes on and on. And it began with Hastert. It took nine days from the time of Foley’s resignation for Hastert to speak out, and when he did all he said was that he wasn’t resigning.

Americans need to remember only one thing when it comes to government. This is not a totalitarian regime or a dictatorship. The people in Washington work for us. They are supposed to function as our leaders and our protectors. If they fail at those jobs, then they must be voted out and replaced with people who will do those jobs.

Foley resigned, but the Republican leadership should have requested that resignation five years ago, when his proclivities first became known. The cynicism and apathy that infects the American electorate comes from just such inaction. Foley had a problem, he knew he had a problem, his aides and colleagues knew he had a problem and those who had the guts to say so are the ones who have been forced to resign–not the ones who knew and kept quiet.

November elections are mere weeks away and it is essential that changes be made in Washington. The truth of the Foley scandal goes deep: The worst thing in the Republican Party today is not a pedophile congressman. It’s a culture of lying and deception and greed–the desire to maintain power at all costs. What Foley did was bad, and possibly–it remains to be seen–even criminal. But what Hastert and others did is actually worse. Like the cardinals and bishops who turned a blind eye to a pattern of abuse among parish priests, the Republican hierarchy did the same with Foley. And if they did it with Foley, how many others have they done it with and how many other issues have they covered up to protect their own power at the expense of, in Foley’s case, kids, and in other cases, who knows what?

The Republican Party has befouled itself with a war predicated on lies and now a pedophile scandal predicated on the same. (Foley actually left a vote on the Iraq war to have internet sex–to orgasm by both of them–with one of these boys.) How many lies does it take to make Americans turn their backs on the liars and vote them out? Time and again the Republicans have had the opportunity to tell the truth and each time they have chosen to lie to the American people instead, whether it’s about who caused 9/11 or weapons of mass destruction in Iraq or a congressman preying on kids in the halls of Congress.
What if the pages had been your kids? Do you think you’d want Hastert held responsible? I know I would. If Hastert hasn’t had the sense and grace to step down before the November elections, force his hand. If the Republicans are voted out in November, Hastert goes with them. One way or another, he will take responsibility. A vote against the Republicans in November is a vote against lies and scandal. It’s your choice.


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-Noah Greenberg