Protector of children

 Posted by at 23:35  Politics
Sep 302006
 

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Foley Built Career as Protector of Children

The Republican congressman who resigned Friday following the discovery of sexually explicit Internet messages he sent to teenage boys was a gregarious and charismatic lawmaker who built his political career in large measure on legislative proposals meant to halt the sexual predation of children and others.

Beginning with his 1993 sponsorship of a measure in the Florida state legislature to seize the cars of men who solicited prostitutes, former restaurant owner and real estate agent Mark Foley repeatedly attracted a flattering political spotlight by inveighing against those involved in sexual crimes and presenting himself as a protector of exploited children.

A well-liked member of the class of conservatives elected to Congress in 1994, Foley was until two days ago a deputy whip for the House Republicans and a co-chairman of the Congressional Missing and Exploited Children’s Caucus. A Web site for the bipartisan group states that it was formed to “create a voice within Congress” on that issue and to operate a hotline for tips about “online child sexual exploitation” that could be passed to law enforcement agencies.

At a White House Rose Garden ceremony on July 27, President Bush hailed Foley and some other House and Senate lawmakers as members of a “SWAT team for kids.” Bush spoke while signing into law a broad child protection measure that included a Foley-sponsored provision requiring sex offenders to register in every state where they live, work or attend school.

The irony is so thick you can cut it with a knife. Thanks to a provision that he himself sponsored, Mark Foley may soon have to register as a sex offender in every state where he lives or works.

Stick a fork in him, folks. He’s done. Somehow I don’t believe we’ve even scratched the surface of this story yet.

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They knew

 Posted by at 13:05  Politics
Sep 302006
 

From The Washington Post

Rep. Foley Quits In Page Scandal

Six-term Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) resigned yesterday amid reports that he had sent sexually explicit Internet messages to at least one underage male former page.

We already knew that. Here’s the part we didn’t know…

The resignation rocked the Capitol, and especially Foley’s GOP colleagues, as lawmakers were rushing to adjourn for at least six weeks. House Majority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) told The Washington Post last night that he had learned this spring of inappropriate “contact” between Foley and a 16-year-old page. Boehner said he then told House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.). Boehner later contacted The Post and said he could not remember whether he talked to Hastert.

It was not immediately clear what actions Hastert took. His spokesman had said earlier that the speaker did not know of the sexually charged online exchanges between Foley and the boy.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) took the House floor last night to demand an investigation into the Foley matter. But Boehner headed her off, calling on the House to refer the matter to the ethics committee, which the House promptly voted unanimously to do.

Boehner and Hastert knew about Foley’s conduct. They knew! Yet they did nothing, and most likely would have done nothing had the news not broken on its own.

Boehner and Hastert need to go. Both of them. Now.

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And I swear I’m going to puke if I hear one more person claim that the Republicans are the party of “family values.” Who knows how many more skeletons there are lurking in Republican closets?

The Republican legacy: Torture, Corruption, Bribery and Perversion.

State of Denial

 Posted by at 19:57  Politics
Sep 292006
 

Book Says Bush Ignored Urgent Warning on Iraq

WASHINGTON, Sept. 28 — The White House ignored an urgent warning in September 2003 from a top Iraq adviser who said that thousands of additional American troops were desperately needed to quell the insurgency there, according to a new book by Bob Woodward, the Washington Post reporter and author. The book describes a White House riven by dysfunction and division over the war.

The warning is described in “State of Denial,” scheduled for publication on Monday by Simon & Schuster. The book says President Bush’s top advisers were often at odds among themselves, and sometimes were barely on speaking terms, but shared a tendency to dismiss as too pessimistic assessments from American commanders and others about the situation in Iraq.

As late as November 2003, Mr. Bush is quoted as saying of the situation in Iraq: “I don’t want anyone in the cabinet to say it is an insurgency. I don’t think we are there yet.”

Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld is described as disengaged from the nuts-and-bolts of occupying and reconstructing Iraq — a task that was initially supposed to be under the direction of the Pentagon — and so hostile toward Condoleezza Rice, then the national security adviser, that President Bush had to tell him to return her phone calls. The American commander for the Middle East, Gen. John P. Abizaid, is reported to have told visitors to his headquarters in Qatar in the fall of 2005 that “Rumsfeld doesn’t have any credibility anymore” to make a public case for the American strategy for victory in Iraq.

State of Denial: Bush at War, Part III
State of Denial: Bush at War, Part III

P.S. I have not yet read Mr. Woodward’s new book. I look forward to doing so. In the interest of balance, I also enjoyed:

The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy: The Untold Story of How Democratic Operatives, Eccentric Billionaires, Liberal Activists, and Assorted Celebrities Tried to Bring Down a President--and Why They\'ll Try Even Harder Next Time
The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy: The Untold Story of How Democratic Operatives, Eccentric Billionaires, Liberal Activists, and Assorted Celebrities Tried to Bring Down a President--and Why They\'ll Try Even Harder Next Time

It won’t change your mind, but you will find it interesting. If you lean to the left, you’ll be shaking your head in amazement at how they come up with some of this stuff. If you lean quite far to the right, you’ll be shaking your head in agreement. At any rate, I can guarantee that you’ll be shaking your head.

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Congressman resigns

 Posted by at 16:33  Politics
Sep 292006
 

Yesterday, Raw Story reported on an e-mail exchange between Representative Mark Foley (R-FL) and a then 16-year-old page.

Today, Representative Foley resigned from his seat in Congress.

While I cannot mourn the fact that there is now one less Republican in the House of Representatives, the circumstances resulting in this resignation are not to be celebrated. I hope Mr. Foley will now seek and find the help he appears to need.

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Can’t help himself

 Posted by at 11:08  Politics
Sep 292006
 

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Bush Attacks ‘Party of Cut and Run’

BIRMINGHAM, Sept. 28 — In his sharpest partisan attack of this election campaign, President Bush denounced Democratic critics of his Iraq policy on Thursday and said “the party of FDR and the party of Harry Truman has become the party of cut and run.”

Seeking to rebut Democrats who say a new intelligence report indicates that Iraq is fueling terrorism rather than helping to counter it, Bush said voters face a choice “between two parties with two different attitudes on this war on terror.”

Republicans “understand the nature of the enemy,” he said. “We know the enemy wants to attack us again,” whereas Democrats “offer nothing but criticism and obstruction and endless second-guessing.”

Despite assertions in a recently declassified intelligence report that the war in Iraq has become “a cause celebre” that is inspiring new jihadists and fueling anti-Americanism, Bush restated his position that the country is safer since the March 2003 invasion of Iraq. Absent the war, he said, extremists would find other excuses to attack Americans and other Westerners.

He said that leaving Iraq before that country is stabilized would embolden terrorists while exposing the United States to economic blackmail and the prospect of even-more-lethal threats.

“The greatest danger is not that America’s presence in Iraq is drawing new recruits to the terrorist cause,” he said. “The greatest danger is that an American withdrawal from Iraq would embolden the terrorists and help them find new recruits to carry out even more destructive attacks on the American homeland.”

Mr. Bush has spent so much time out of touch with reality that he now would not know it if it walked up and bit him on the ass. He conveniently forgets and refuses to apologize for the fact that he created the situation we now face in Iraq. It was not a recruiting ground for terrorists until he made it one. He refuses to acknowledge that that country is now in a civil war and our troops are nothing more than targets sitting between the two factions involved in that war. He will not admit that he has lost his “war on terror” and it is now time to turn the planning and direction of that war over to people who actually have an idea of how to win it.

He can’t help himself. It’s how he was raised and how he’s been treated his entire life. He sincerely believes that he is the innocent little child who can do no wrong.

We have tolerated this child longer than we should have. It has now come to the point where he is really dangerous. It is past time to put the adults back in charge. We can begin my electing a Democratic Congress in a few weeks and then a Democratic president in a couple of years. We must. We have no choice if we wish to survive.

‘Democracy’

 Posted by at 22:14  Politics
Sep 282006
 

In Iraq…

Iraqi Journalists Add Laws to List of Dangers

BAGHDAD — Ahmed al-Karbouli, a reporter for Baghdadiya TV in the violent city of Ramadi, did his best to ignore the death threats, right up until six armed men drilled him with bullets after midday prayers.

He was the fourth journalist killed in Iraq in September alone, out of a total of more than 130 since the 2003 invasion, the vast majority of them Iraqis. But these days, men with guns are not Iraqi reporters’ only threat. Men with gavels are, too.

Under a broad new set of laws criminalizing speech that ridicules the government or its officials, some resurrected verbatim from Saddam Hussein’s penal code, roughly a dozen Iraqi journalists have been charged with offending public officials in the past year.

Currently, three journalists for a small newspaper in southeastern Iraq are being tried here for articles last year that accused a provincial governor, local judges and police officials of corruption. The journalists are accused of violating Paragraph 226 of the penal code, which makes anyone who “publicly insults” the government or public officials subject to up to seven years in prison.

and in the United States…

Many Rights in U.S. Legal System Absent in New Bill

The military trials bill approved by Congress lends legislative support for the first time to broad rules for the detention, interrogation, prosecution and trials of terrorism suspects far different from those in the familiar American criminal justice system.

President Bush’s argument that the government requires extraordinary power to respond to the unusual threat of terrorism helped him win final support for a system of military trials with highly truncated defendant’s rights. The United States used similar trials on just four occasions: during the country’s revolution, the Mexican-American War, the Civil War and World War II.

Included in the bill, passed by Republican majorities in the Senate yesterday and the House on Wednesday, are unique rules that bar terrorism suspects from challenging their detention or treatment through traditional habeas corpus petitions. They allow prosecutors, under certain conditions, to use evidence collected through hearsay or coercion to seek criminal convictions.

The bill rejects the right to a speedy trial and limits the traditional right to self-representation by requiring that defendants accept military defense attorneys. Panels of military officers need not reach unanimous agreement to win convictions, except in death penalty cases, and appeals must go through a second military panel before reaching a federal civilian court.

By writing into law for the first time the definition of an “unlawful enemy combatant,” the bill empowers the executive branch to detain indefinitely anyone it determines to have “purposefully and materially” supported anti-U.S. hostilities. Only foreign nationals among those detainees can be tried by the military commissions, as they are known, and sentenced to decades in jail or put to death.

At the same time, the bill immunizes U.S. officials from prosecution for cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment of detainees who the military and the CIA captured before the end of last year. It gives the president a dominant but not exclusive role in setting the rules for future interrogations of terrorism suspects.

It was nice while it lasted.

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Weekend reading

 Posted by at 17:53  General, Lifestyle
Sep 282006
 

Reading for the coming weekend:

Saving Graces: Finding Solace and Strength from Friends and Strangers
Saving Graces: Finding Solace and Strength from Friends and Strangers

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Humor?

 Posted by at 17:33  Politics
Sep 282006
 

This is what passes for humor in the right wing blogosphere…

Click on the “cartoon” to view it full size.

To those in the radical right wing of the Republican party, the enemy is not the radical wing of Islam that attacked us. The enemy is the Democratic party, the moderate Republicans or anyone who disagrees with their twisted and sick view of our world. The enemy is anybody who has the audacity to try to explain the truth to them. Anyone who tries to tell them that George W. Bush is an incompetent failure and that the world we live in does not have to reflect his misguided policies is to be hated and despised.

The world will be a much better place when these people are nothing more than a footnote in the pages of history.

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Who did what when?

 Posted by at 21:48  Politics
Sep 272006
 

Contrary to appearances, this is not becoming a weblog about Keith Olbermann. He has, however, recorded a couple of segments this week that are important and very relevant to the mess in which we current find ourselves.

In tonight’s segment, he investigates and reports on the responses of the Clinton and Bush administrations to the threat of Al Qaeda.

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Click on the image above to watch this video. The incompetence of George W. Bush and his administration is becoming more apparent and more frightening by the day.

The Republican party cannot be trusted with our national security.

‘Cause Celebre’

 Posted by at 21:15  Iraq, Politics
Sep 262006
 

Most of us already knew this…

Iraq Is ‘Cause Celebre’ for Extremists

WASHINGTON (AP) – The war in Iraq has become a “cause celebre” for Islamic extremists, breeding deep resentment of the U.S. that probably will get worse before it gets better, federal intelligence analysts conclude in a report at odds with President Bush’s portrayal of a world growing safer.

In the bleak report, declassified and released Tuesday on Bush’s orders, the nation’s most veteran analysts conclude that despite serious damage to the leadership of al-Qaida, the threat from Islamic extremists has spread both in numbers and in geographic reach.

Bush and his top advisers have said the formerly classified assessment of global terrorism supported their arguments that the world is safer because of the war. But more than three pages of stark judgments warning about the spread of terrorism contrasted with the administration’s glass-half-full declarations.

“If this trend continues, threats to U.S. interests at home and abroad will become more diverse, leading to increasing attacks worldwide,” the document says. “The confluence of shared purpose and dispersed actors will make it harder to find and undermine jihadist groups.”

The invasion of Iraq made the world a more dangerous place.

Republicans simply cannot be trusted with national security.

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