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Mark Foley: A Cover up that Failed


John Simkin
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It seems that the Republican Party have known for some time about Mark Foley's attraction to young pages (I wonder if that is how Bobby Baker got a hold over so many powerful politicians). What impact will the Mark Foley case have on the forthcoming elections:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6195951

Will Mark Foley End the GOP Reign? by Ken Rudin

There was, of course, the war. And President Bush's polling numbers. Uneasiness about the economy. The response to Katrina. Throw in a little Jack Abramoff.

But if the Republican Party is going to forfeit the control of Congress it has held since 1994, it may be its response to the escapades involving Mark Foley, the Florida House member who resigned his seat in disgrace, that does the trick.

There's still five weeks to go, and the momentum could shift. But the revelations about Foley, his salacious e-mail and instant-message history with underage males who had worked as congressional pages, and questions about who in the Republican leadership knew about these goings on -- and whether or not they did anything to stop it, or cover it up -- have struck a chord around the country. It's one thing to harp on the scandal involving Abramoff, the convicted lobbyist who distributed favors to his political pals, mostly Republican. For the most part, the reaction around the country to lawmakers on the take was "what else is new?"

But this is different. It resonates because of the concern over protecting young people from sexual predators. It's also about a party that came to power on the strength of family values.

If we were talking about Mark Foley, and Mark Foley alone, that would be one thing. Sex scandals are not new to Washington, but usually the damage is limited to the individual participants. When Reps. Dan Crane (R-IL) and Gerry Studds (D-MA) were revealed in 1983 to have had sexual relationships with teenage congressional pages, they were censured by the full House. But ultimately, it was up to their respective constituents to determine the final punishment.

Crane, a married conservative Republican who was involved with an underage female, tearfully asked for forgiveness but was defeated in 1984 in his conservative district. Studds, a liberal Democrat who was involved with an underage male, was defiant in his actions, refused to apologize, and repeatedly was re-elected in his liberal district until he retired in 1996.

And even when the scandal was not bipartisan, and when it was considerably closer to the election, the fallout was still limited. On Oct. 3, 1980, Rep. Robert Bauman (R-MD), a leading "pro-family" conservative, was charged with committing oral sodomy on a teenage boy in Washington. Married and the father of four, Bauman conceded that he had been an alcoholic but had been seeking treatment. Not the kind of news that the voters of his rural, conservative district were expecting. He was defeated for re-election in November.

Bauman didn't become the national poster boy for congressional misdeeds for a number of reasons. For one thing, we were still living in an era before there was 24/7 cable TV saturation and Internet blogging. For another, the Republicans were still the minority party in Congress, and Bauman's transgressions took everyone by surprise.

The Mark Foley matter was different. Chairman of a caucus that was formed to help exploited children, a man who aggressively took on sexual predators, Foley's sexual orientation was not a secret on Capitol Hill. And his actions -- at least the knowledge that he had sent "over friendly" e-mails to a former page -- were known to several members of the Republican congressional leadership. What they knew, when they knew it, and whether they were more concerned about saving his seat than protecting the children -- a harsh charge, but one that's out there nonetheless -- is what this scandal has come to represent. And the fact that Foley was gone in the blink of an eye -- no dramatic effort to fight or contest the charges -- was stunning by Washington standards.

With Democrats coming oh-so-close to attaining the 15 seats they need to take the House, the last thing the Republicans needed was something to push them over the top. Mark Foley may have given that to them. His seat, Florida's 16th Congressional District, may be gone. Though he resigned from the House, his name will stay on the ballot. Any votes he gets will be transferred to the new Republican nominee, state Rep. Joe Negron. Negron now has the ignominious task of asking Palm Beach-area residents to vote for Foley if they want to keep the seat in the GOP column. The Democratic nominee, and new favorite for the seat, is Tim Mahoney.

And other GOP seats may be at risk, too. Rep. Thomas Reynolds (R-NY), the chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee who was among those party leaders who knew some details of l'affaire Foley as far back as last November, has an unexpected challenge for his Buffalo-area seat from Jack Davis, a well-financed businessman, who is thought to be within striking distance of victory. Laura Bush campaigned for Reynolds this week.

And the speakership of Dennis Hastert also appears to be at stake. The conservative Washington Times called for him to step down from his leadership post, saying he should have done more to investigate Foley's conduct. He has vowed to fight on. But many social conservatives are livid about what has occurred, stoking recurrent rumors that many could stay home from the polls on Nov. 7. And that would certainly end Hastert's reign as speaker.

I found this article by Michael Seitzman interesting:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/huffpost/20061004/cm_huffpost/030915

My favorite part of today's press conference was when Mark Foley's attorney said that, "Mark Foley wants you to know that he is a gay man." Hey, Mark, when you tell a minor that you have an erection because you're fantasizing about his bare ass, announcing that you're gay is about as relevant as admitting to be an avid fan of the Florida Marlins.

My second favorite part of the press conference was when the guy's lawyer said that Foley accepts full responsibility for sending salacious computer messages to teenage male pages, but, by the way, any suggestion that Mark Foley is a pedophile is false. Your honor, I take full responsibility for robbing that bank, but any suggestion that I am a bank robber is completely absurd.

My third favorite part of the press conference (lotsa good material there) was when the lawyer said that Foley sent the messages while under the influence of alcohol. Really, Mark? You're going with the drunk-as-hell defense? I've been plenty drunk, plenty of times, but oddly it never made me want to tell a child that I had a boner. Nor did it make me knock over a liquor store, steal a car, fire a sniper rifle from a high perch, or anything else that the congressional leadership might deem "inappropriate" behavior.

I submit the following definitions to Mr. Foley, his attorney, and all of the journalists who continue to refer to Foley's actions as evidence of his, um, gayness:

PEDOPHILIA

(noun)

sexual perversion in which sexual feelings and advances are directed toward children.

GAY

(adjective)

when a person has a sexual attraction to people of their own sex.

(NOTE: If you still don't know the difference, one of them results in good taste, a thick skin, and an obsession with all things Streisand. The other results in resignation from Congress, an investigation by the FBI, probable criminal charges, a fake trip to rehab, the dismantling of your party's leadership, and a humiliating headline in every newspaper in the world. Oh, and the kids who had to read that filth when all they wanted to do was learn.)

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I find no fault in the logical conclusions above.

Since this issue has been a boiling to a 'head' for some months and years, I find the timing of the reaction of the 'leadership' of the Senate telling.

Lots of ink and keystrokes are being spent on this 'just another nasty email' felony. What it also has done is take away the focus of the pending presidential signature on the Bill that will essentially remove habeas corpus from our Constitution next Tuesday.

According to the legal 'experts', this new Bill will place the decision on who an enemy combatant is soley within the authority of our president who can imprison anyone he deems necessary, citizens included, for indefinite detention without charges for as long as he wants. Secret military tribunals will be used to determine the fate of those arrested for disloyalty. There are no appeals in the process. And then it gets worse.

Are we ready for this?

Where are the priorities of our concerns? Should we concentrate on a pedophile who will remain incomunicado until after the election while he undergoes 'rehab'? Or should we be rattling the gates of the new dictatorship that is about to sign away our Bill or Rights, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution in one swift scratch of a pen?

Priorities, gentlemen!

Bests,

John McCarthy

Edited by John J. McCarthy
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According to the legal 'experts', this new Bill will place the decision on who an enemy combatant is soley within the authority of our president who can imprison anyone he deems necessary, citizens included, for indefinite detention without charges for as long as he wants. Secret military tribunals will be used to determine the fate of those arrested for disloyalty. There are no appeals in the process. And then it gets worse.

Are we ready for this?

The people's representatives passed this bill, so theoretically it is what the people want. Actually a majority of Americans are probably not even aware of this bill, and most of those who are aware probably don't give a damn or are okay with the idea of giving up freedoms for make-believe security. In a nutshell, this is sadly what America has come to.

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What impact will the Mark Foley case have on the forthcoming elections:

None, IMO. I believe that the Republican Party is now firmly in control of elections, through the advent of hackable electronic voting machines, with no paper trail, and the privatization of the electoral process in the hands of the Republican-friendly companies that make and program these machines. This is an absolutely ridiculous state of affairs, but is tolerated like so much else by the sheeple, and makes any election in which the ruling party has interest a potential farce.

It is inconceivable to me that the Republicans (particularly the neo-con cabal now in charge) would allow the Democrats to gain a majority in the upcoming elections when they the power to prevent it.

Looking on the bright side, I suppose that electoral fraud through hacking electronic voting machines is preferable to the old-fashioned tactic of having candidates die in plane crashes. I guess this is progress.

Edited by Ron Ecker
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According to the legal 'experts', this new Bill will place the decision on who an enemy combatant is soley within the authority of our president who can imprison anyone he deems necessary, citizens included, for indefinite detention without charges for as long as he wants. Secret military tribunals will be used to determine the fate of those arrested for disloyalty. There are no appeals in the process. And then it gets worse.

Are we ready for this?

The people's representatives passed this bill, so theoretically it is what the people want. Actually a majority of Americans are probably not even aware of this bill, and most of those who are aware probably don't give a damn or are okay with the idea of giving up freedoms for make-believe security. In a nutshell, this is sadly what America has come to.

"The people's representatives passed this bill, so theoretically it is what the people want." Therein lies the big fallicy of our system. We elect, they lie. We are powerless except to unelect them. By then, it is waaaaaaay to late. Votes are made to send off boys to war and the constituents are left sucking their thumbs.

Bests,

John McCarthy

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Lawmaker Saw Foley Messages In 2000

Page Shared Exchanges With GOP Rep. Kolbe

(Arizona is Pedophile capital right behind Dung Hill)

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/conte...6100800855.html

By Jonathan Weisman

Washington Post Staff Writer

Monday, October 9, 2006; Page A01

A Republican congressman knew of disgraced former representative Mark Foley's inappropriate Internet exchanges as far back as 2000 and personally confronted Foley about his communications.

A spokeswoman for Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz.) confirmed yesterday that a former page showed the congressman Internet messages that had made the youth feel uncomfortable with the direction Foley (R-Fla.) was taking their e-mail relationship. Last week, when the Foley matter erupted, a Kolbe staff member suggested to the former page that he take the matter to the clerk of the House, Karen Haas, said Kolbe's press secretary, Korenna Cline.

http://media3.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/ph...enlarge_tab.gif

Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz.) saw messages Foley sent in 2000.

Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz.) saw messages Foley sent in 2000. (Hussein Malla - AP)

VIDEO | Coverage of the scandal surrounding the former Republican congressman Mark Foley.

Rep. Mark Foley Scandal

* Foley Consuming GOP As Elections Draw Near

* Conflicting Accounts Leave Plot Holes in Foley Saga

* Staffer Cites Earlier Role by Hastert's Office

* Speculation Centers on a Republican Former Page

* Inquiry To Look At House, Not Foley

The revelation pushes back by at least five years the date when a member of Congress has acknowledged learning of Foley's behavior with former pages. A timeline issued by House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) suggested that the first lawmakers to know, Rep. John M. Shimkus (R-Ill.), the chairman of the House Page Board, and Rep. Rodney Alexander (R-La.), became aware of "over-friendly" e-mails only last fall. It also expands the universe of players in the drama beyond members, either in leadership or on the page board.

A source with direct knowledge of Kolbe's involvement said the messages shared with Kolbe were sexually explicit, and he read the contents to The Washington Post under the condition that they not be reprinted. But Cline denied the source's characterization, saying only that the messages had made the former page feel uncomfortable. Nevertheless, she said, "corrective action" was taken. Cline said she has not yet determined whether that action went beyond Kolbe's confrontation with Foley.

In interviews with The Post last week, multiple pages identified Kolbe as a close friend and personal confidante who was one of the only members of Congress to take any interest in them. A former page himself, Kolbe offered to mentor pages and kept in touch with some of them after they left the program, according to the interviews.

Kolbe once invited four former pages to make use of his Washington home while he was out of town, according to an instant message between Foley and another former page, Jordan Edmund, in January 2002. The pages planned to attend a first-year reunion of their page class. But because of a snowstorm, they did not take Kolbe up on his offer, according to one of the four pages.

Cline said one of the youths invited was a former page of Kolbe's. Because the congressman frequently travels on weekends, either to his Arizona ranch or abroad, the house is often available to friends, constituents, staffers and former staff members, such as a former page, she said.

Kolbe, the only openly gay Republican in Congress, is retiring at the end of the year.

The latest revelation in the growing House page scandal comes just a month before crucial midterm elections. Foley resigned Sept. 29 after ABC News confronted him with the sexually explicit messages that he exchanged with a former page, triggering investigations by the Justice Department, the House ethics committee and Florida authorities.

Hastert and his top aides have been sharply criticized by Democrats and some conservative Republicans for failing to act promptly after receiving warnings that Foley had been sexually predatory in dealing with pages and former pages. Ron Bonjean, the speaker's spokesman, said yesterday: "Allegations of inappropriate conduct by members of Congress towards pages need to be fully reviewed by the ethics committee and law enforcement."

In addressing the revelation about Kolbe, Bonjean said, "This allegation reiterates why the speaker has also called for a full review of the House page program to ensure that it is as safe and secure as possible."

A new poll by Newsweek indicates the Foley scandal is doing significant damage to the Republicans' political fortunes and could sink their chances of holding onto control of Congress on Election Day, Nov. 7. The poll found that 52 percent of Americans, including 29 percent of Republicans, believe Hastert was aware of Foley's Internet communications with underage pages and tried to cover up Foley's actions. More of those polled, 42 percent, now say they trust Democrats to do a better job handling moral values than Republicans; 36 percent favored Republicans on the values question.

In a sharp exchange on "Fox News Sunday," Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), the vice chairman of the House Republican Conference, insinuated that Democrats were behind the revelations of Foley's actions and the release of electronic messages showing Foley having sexually graphic or highly suggestive conversations with former pages.

"What I don't understand is where have these e-mails been for three years? Are we saying that a 15-year-old child would have sat on e-mails that were triple-X-rated for three years and suddenly spring them out right on the eve of an election? That's just a little bit too suspicious, even for Washington, D.C.," Kingston said.

Rep. Martin T. Meehan (D-Mass.) shot back, "If there's any evidence that you need that the values in Washington have turned upside down, you could just hear what Jack had to say. Only in Washington, D.C., can you take a group of people in charge of the House and basically have evidence that they've been looking the other way while a predator has been . . . going after 15- and 16-year-old pages, [and] they somehow . . . have the audacity to turn that into a political attack against Democrats."

So far, only ABC News and The Washington Post are known to have obtained the sexually explicit instant messages between two former pages and Foley. The Post obtained its copies from a former page who served on Capitol Hill with the other two pages.

Staff writer James V. Grimaldi contributed to this report.

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