/*PenDragn: October 2006*/

10.05.2006

We are moving to a new Beta Blog

Future postings will be found at Pendragn Beta (also named Pendragn)

Shimkus Blames Pages, Calls Families Unsafe

Excerpts from Chicago Tribune article disingenuously labeled "Lawmaker defends page program"
The Illinois lawmaker who oversees the Congressional page program said Wednesday that teens who participate are "safer in our program than in a lot of homes."

Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) defended his actions as chairman of the page board in an interview with the Tribune on Wednesday, saying he moved quickly to confront former Rep. Mark Foley of Florida based only on information about 2005 e-mail traffic that wasn't sexually explicit.

Shimkus acknowledged he did not ask Foley if there were any other electronic exchanges with pages, such as the sexually suggestive instant messages from 2003 that first surfaced on Friday and led to Foley's swift resignation.


See, even to give this guy the time of day you have to believe that though the pages knew about Foley in 1995, this didn't get around to other House members.

The thing that's frustrating to me is that I'm not the bad guy here," Shimkus said. "Leadership's not the bad guy. The bad guy is whoever had these explicit instant messages that were done in 2003 and held them. That's the bad guy.... because those instant messages are what put these kids at risk."


So the pages themselves are the 'bad' guys, because they are the ones that had the explicit messages. Good Going Shimpkus.

The head of the page board that didn't even notify the other members of the board about the disturbing emails from a former page from La., says that two Florida papers looked into the page program and couldn't find anything else.

But wait. Else came out because of the national outcry when the less disturbing emails were brought to the light of the nation. To do the same thing all by one's lonesome one would need access current and former pages. One would need to be... yes the head or a member of the page board. And the head of the page board kept the information from the other two members. Do you re-member the old saying. Two heads are better than one? Well, is Shimkus is too stupid to figure out how to check out what appears to be predatory behavior quietly among the pages then he should have at least told the other Republican on the board who might have had a real brain in his head.

But instead, Shimkus is blaming pages who received the predatory emails from Representative Foley.

Partial list of Illinois Republican Representatives:

Dennis Hastert
John Shimpkus
Henry Hyde (impeachment investigation head)

Lovely crew.

What Was the Responsibility of House Leaders?

Let's play a little game. Let's pretend that people didn't know about Mark Foley's predation on the pages since 1995 as has been exposed. Because, except for one report on the same by each media source they are pretending that history doesn't exist (most likely at the order of the right wing media intimidation machine).

Really try hard to believe that no page (the pages warned each other about Foley) mentioned the problem to anyone in the Republican party who should have helped them in over 10 years.

Try very hard. And clap your hands.

Then maybe Hastertbelle will live!

Lets get some help from another self serving Republican :
A senior House Republican said Wednesday that Rep. Mark Foley's inappropriate e-mails to a page - now at the center of an intensifying federal investigation - should have been thoroughly pursued at the time.

As conservatives debated whether House Speaker Dennis Hastert should resign over his handling of the complaint, the House majority whip, Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said he would have done things differently if he'd known about it. He was the acting majority leader when the complaint was raised.
Funny, just like Boehner, Roy Blunt would have done things differently if he were two heartbeats away from the presidency. Why is it not a surprise to read that?

But Blunt is right. In fact you can almost hear Hastert tell his aides not to tell him anything so he will be able to claim that he didn't know.

That's how Hastert got so fat, I suppose, sitting around thinking of ways to increase his wealth and power, and ignoring the sexual predators in his party.

Hastert's like a Sheriff who tells his deputies not to tell him of a rapist in town so he won't be bothered having to catch him.

But then it turns out, according to a Washington Post article:
A longtime chief of staff to disgraced former representative Mark Foley (R-Fla.) approached House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert's office three years ago, repeatedly imploring senior Republicans to help stop Foley's advances toward teenage male pages, the staff member said yesterday.

The account by Kirk Fordham, who resigned yesterday from his job with another senior lawmaker, pushed back to 2003 or earlier the time when Hastert's staff reportedly became aware of Foley's questionable behavior concerning teenagers working on Capitol Hill.


So Hastert's office knew, but Hastert must have walked around with fingers in both his ears singing la la la la la la la!

Funny, but that's not much of a surprise either.

10.03.2006

ABC: Evidence That Foley Solicited Sex With Page

Excerpt ABC Report "FBI Contacting Pages; Evidence Foley Solicited Sex":
At least one former page has reportedly offered evidence that Foley sought to solicit sex during instant message exchanges over the Internet.

The "preliminary investigation" appears to be heading towards a full field investigation, according to one official.

But the ABC report also notes:
Officials say Foley's extensive knowledge of child exploitation laws may have helped guide him as to how far he could go without violating the law.

and then finishes this part with:

Instant messages obtained by ABC News indicated Foley met or arranged to meet young men under the age of 18 who had been pages.

Either I'm putting 1 and 1 and 1 together and getting 13 or it seems like Foley did go over the edge of the law.

Another thing that should be a crime is found in the same article:
Despite the fact that Foley's attorney has said Foley admits to sending the "totally inappropriate" e-mails and IMs, the FBI has still not seized his computer and hard drive.


And in the Washington Post a former page notes in article titled "Some Say They Felt Uneasy About Representative's Attention":
...many people on Capitol Hill," including many Republican staffers, "have known for over 11 years about what was going on and chose to do nothing," he said.


This is completely unbelievable.

This is the party that claims to be protecting the American family.

What a bunch of hypocrites. They send our jobs overseas and insource labor so we have a harder time supporting our families, and while we are working they are working to let sexual predators legally get to our teens.

Cartoon: Just in Time for Halloween (Jeff Stahler

Bonus cartoon (on subject): Walk the Walk (A Scott Stantis 2fer) (link goes to Cagle's Foley's Foibles page containing two of SS's cartoons which I thought were about the most dead on of that batch. I don't know if Cagle ever changes a subject "collection". I do notice that today's cartoon by Stahler -- I have linked above -- wasn't added yet. Hopefully, this link will remain stable. (BTW don't give me guff about "liberal cartoonist" Stantis, according to Editor and Publisher and the strip itself does "Prickly City".

Bonus cartoon: Our Congressional Leaders Call Halt to President's Destruction of our Civil Rights until... (Ed Stein)

ABC: Foley Had Online Sex with Underaged Former Page During Floor Vote

Excerpt ABC's The Blotter:
Former Congressman Mark Foley (R-FL) interrupted a vote on the floor of the House in 2003 to engage in Internet sex with a high school student who had served as a congressional page, according to new Internet instant messages provided to ABC News by former pages.

ABC News now has obtained 52 separate instant message exchanges, which former pages say were sent by Foley, using the screen name Maf54, to two different boys under the age of 18.

This message was dated April 2003, at approximately 7 p.m., according to the message time stamp.


Washington Post is singlemindedly tracking how the GOP can sweep this under the carpet like they did the political ethics scandal last winter and spring.

Speak of the Devil (since Boehner was the fellow that told the House GOP they could ignore scandals and let Karl Rove's media intimidation machine get them to disappear).
Also John Boehner says Foley was Hastert's responsibility according to a Bloomberg report.

House Majority Leader John Boehner said House Speaker Dennis Hastert was responsible for how Mark Foley's sending of inappropriate e-mails was handled, creating a public split among the two top Republican leaders.

``I believe I had talked to the speaker and he told me it had been taken care of,'' Boehner, an Ohio Republican, told Cincinnati 700 WLW Radio this morning. ``In my position, it's in his corner, it's his responsibility.''

The Congressional Page Board and others overseeing the program, ``all report to the speaker,'' Boehner said.


Haster asserts he won't resign. (Basically what he meant was: Why would I care if you worms are outraged. I'm the effin' Speaker of the House! I'm two heartbeats away from the presidency! Who are you to question me?)

Next previous post on subject: Re: Foley's Foibles or scroll down it might be available on front still.

John Bolton is Responsible for Most of North Korea's Nuclear Weapons (if they have any)

And BTW, the temporary UN ambassador's nomination will most likely come up again after the November election at which time Lincoln Chafee's objections should have melted like snow just like the Republicans' objections over CAFTA in 2004 did.

From an April 2005 article from the late Jude Wanniski (who died in late August of that year according to reports)

President Clinton had bilateral talks with Pyongyang that seemed to be bearing fruit, but as soon as the Bush administration began, an excuse was found to break off the talks, and ever since we have hewed to that policy.

...

at the outset of the Bush administration, Secretary of State Colin Powell seemed eager to continue those talks, but all of a sudden the Undersecretary of State for Non-Proliferation, John Bolton, threw a monkeywrench into that worthy diplomatic effort. The talks were suspended in March 2001, and in his State of the Union Address in 2002, the President labeled North Korea one of the three legs of the "Axis of Evil."

It was Bolton who was the source of the assertion that North Korea had secretly been enriching uranium in violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and that it had admitted as much to an American diplomat at a cocktail party in Pyongyang.

I'm afraid Bolton had to know this was baloney, but it served his purpose. To this day, North Korea denies it had ever engaged in a uranium enrichment process and there is no evidence that it ever has. It has, though, openly acknowledged that it has been mining uranium, which it uses in its two nuclear power plants that use natural uranium as fuel, natural uranium having no use in a nuclear weapons program.
...

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is now digging away at reports Bolton behind-the-scenes manipulated the intelligence process in order to promote the right-wing foreign-policy agenda. Sure he did that. But the Committee has yet to take notice that over the years he has manipulated the press corps, including the Washington Bureau of the NYTimes, into spreading the word that the "Axis of Evil" is secretly working on nukes, when none of the three – Iraq, Iran or North Korea – were doing so.


Interestingly, Wanniski also notes:

while one of the easier things to make is a nuke with highly enriched uranium, one of the most difficult things in the world to make is a nuke with plutonium. Gordon Prather, the expert in this sort of thing, tells me to do so the North Koreans would have had to assemble the equivalent of the Manhattan Project team.


I didn't know that.

But now through John Bolton and the rest of the Bush administration loyalists NK either does have nuclear arms or is bluffing again, instead of negotiating.

Meantime, how long until NK in desperation sells some of their very real enriched plutonium from pre agreed framework? (Searching in the Congressional Record I found a speech by Pete Forney in March 1993 talking about NK's request to withdraw from the Nuclear nonproliferation treaty. That raised fears, not only of having diverted plutonium from their heavier than water nuclear plant, but also NK intending to make a nuclear weapon.

March 1993 was 6 weeks into Clinton's tenure, but the neocons have been trying to pin some secret new North Korea nuclear program on "Clinton" though there never was proven or admitted to be anything beside the plutonium created by the heavier than water plant built under Bush 41 (You woudn't know it from the pathetic mainstream news we get that pushed the Bush adminsitration's line about a second program until it has stuck in Americans' minds just like the neocons wanted). (That's mainstream news in general. Mostly newspapers are doing better than TV news especially local pablum offered up as such. Also, not being able to read every report on NK thoroughly in every paper, I'm not going to point fingers at any particular paper.)

More on that cocktail party chatter:
in October 2002, an anonymous State Department munchkin told a few media sycophants that some anonymous DPRK official had "admitted" to him at a cocktail party that the DPRK had a clandestine uranium-enrichment program, built right under the noses of the IAEA.

Result? We promptly canceled the fuel-oil shipments to DPRK, thereby abrogating the Agreed Framework. The DPRK then withdrew from the NPT and resumed operation of its plutonium-producing reactor and plutonium recovery facility.
From Gordon Prather's A Radical Change in North Korea Policy

The result a much more dangerous world where NK may be seeking to sell their plutonium to the highest bidder or developing nuclear arms themselves. And now they've announced that they will test a nuclear weapon.


I remember when we had competent people in government. It was nice. One could go fishing and not worry that some major threat or catastrophe would have happened by the time one got home.

BTW,

The United States called North Korea's statement a "provocative action" and an "unacceptable threat to peace and stability."


And the invasion of Iraq was?

Police: Amish School Gunman Said He Molested Relatives

Fair use excerpt WBAY TV report:
Police say none of the girls at the Amish school was sexually abused by gunman Charles Roberts, who claims to have molested two young relatives 20 years ago.

That's what Roberts told his wife when he called her from the rural Pennsylvania school just before he opened fire, killing five children plus himself.

The state police commissioner says Roberts wrote in his suicide note that he was dreaming of molesting again. As for the relatives involved, police still haven't tracked everyone down but they say Roberts's wife and parents know nothing about any past molestation.

The wife also told investigators Roberts was still upset about a premature daughter who died soon after birth nine years ago.

Police say the killings apparently have nothing to do with the Amish. They believe Roberts considered the one-room school house an easy target.


You allow yourself to kill kids because you feel guilty and depressed and might molest again?

Who knew?

BTW, can we have some decent level of gun control? Why, because though, I guess with a knife the 'gunman' could have killed the girls, but it would have taken longer he couldn't have made the swat team take the delays they need to employ when confronting a suspect with an arsenal of guns if all he had was knives or even an ax.

WP has some pretty disgusting details showing that Roberts intended to molest the girls before killing them.

We need better gun control now!

Cartoon: That's Not a Good Sign

Burden of Housing Rising Throughout Nation

File this under the Rich get Richer.

Excerpt New York Times article "Across Nation, Housing Costs Rise as Burden"
Nationally, the biggest increase in homeowners spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing occurred in an unincorporated area southeast of Los Angeles called Florence-Graham, where more than a third of residents live in poverty. There, the figure climbed to 43 percent from 17 percent. Other places with big jumps included Wyoming, Mich.; Round Rock, Tex.; and Plymouth, Minn.

In general, the places with the highest overall percentages of homeowners spending that level of income were poorer cities. El Monte, Calif., a Los Angeles suburb, had the highest percentage of mortgage holders, 73 percent, spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing. In Newark, the figure was 72 percent; in El Cajon, Calif., east of San Diego, 69 percent; and in South Gate, Calif., 69 percent.

Jack Kyser, senior economist with the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation, said such cities are often the only places that people on the lowest rungs of the economic ladder can afford and they tend to stretch their resources to get in. He said El Monte and South Gate both are growing, largely because Latinos have been moving in.


Cartoon: ABC's 911 Miniseries (Nick Anderson)

Bonus cartoon: Birth Pangs of a New Middle East (Anderson again)


Bonus cartoon: Making the Big Decision (Anderson again)

RE: Foley's Foibles

(Dont' blame me for that title. It's Daryl Cagle's. Too much class for one of mine.)

For the very latest cartoons from the most artists on the Foley scandal see Cagle's collection on the subject.

Next previous post on this subject: Washington Times Calls for Hastert's Resignation

RE: State Dept. Confirms Rice-Tenet Meeting

Excerpt Washington Post article (Title indicated above)
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice did receive a CIA briefing about terror threats just about two months before the Sept. 11 attacks, but the information was not new, her chief spokesman said.
...
A new book by reporter Bob Woodward of Watergate fame describes the White House meeting as an emergency wakeup call that Rice had brushed off. Rice was President Bush's national security adviser at the time and was promoted to the top diplomatic job last year.

Read rest at link under green or salmon print.

What Condi was doing during important wake-up call meeting.

Drinking 5th wake up latte. It's a hard life being a power Barbie political token.

Making sure there were no runs in her stockings.

Checking makeup.

Gazing out the window. (Why are these guys yammering on about danger. They're supposed to have fixed this by now. They don't expect me to do something do they?)

Announcing that she would go get Saudi Arabia to help out. (If they think I'm going to dirty my pretty hands in such hard work as coordinating something important. I guess they don't understand my position here.)

Planning next shoe shopping adventure, (Mmmm I'll take George. He can look at the cowboy boots and I can look for straps.)

Working out reassuring BS for a response. (Lets see something along the line of: "The great nation of the United States of American will maintain its resolve and will never waver or falter though smoking guns turn into mushroom clouds and nothing important will happen while I sit in the seat of National Security Chief." There that should please those little worms. Oh G**, is that lettuce between my teeth?)

Cartoon: Nation In Mourning (Ed Stein)

Bonus Cartoon: State of Denial (Bob Englehart)

Bonus Cartoon: A Card From Your Health Insurance Partners

10.02.2006

Washington Times Calls for Hastert's Resignation

Excerpt article in LA Times
"House Speaker Dennis Hastert must do the only right thing, and resign his speakership at once," said the lead editorial posted Monday night on the Times Web site.

The Times, one of the most reliably conservative voices in the nation's capital, joined some Democrats in criticizing Hastert, R-Ill., for not doing enough to investigate questions about Foley's e-mail exchanges with teenage boys who had worked as House pages.

"Either he was grossly negligent for not taking the red flags fully into account and ordering a swift investigation, for not even remembering the order of events leading up to last week's revelations, or he deliberately looked the other way in hopes that a brewing scandal would simply blow away," The Times' editors wrote.

"Mr. Hastert has forfeited the confidence of the public and his party, and he cannot preside over the necessary coming investigation, an investigation that must examine his own inept performance," The Times said.


I agree. The man is just two heartbeats away from the presidency and one of those pitta patterers doesn't work so well already.

Next previous post on this subject: LA Times: "Foley Was Long Known to Have Interest in Young Men, Some Say"

LA Times: "Foley Was Long Known to Have Interest in Young Men, Some Say"

Excerpt:
Years before sexually explicit electronic messages sent by Rep. Mark Foley to teenage House pages became public last week, some on Capitol Hill say, the Florida Republican was known to have a special interest in younger men.

In interviews with the Los Angeles Times, several current and former congressional employees and others said they recalled Foley approaching young male pages, aides and interns at parties and other venues.

"Almost the first day I got there, I was warned," said Mark Beck-Heyman, a San Diego native who served as a page in the House of Representatives in the summer of 1995. "It was no secret that Foley had a special interest in male pages," said Beck-Heyman, adding that Foley, who is now 52, on several occasions asked him out for ice cream.

Another former congressional staff member said he too had been the object of Foley's advances. "It was so well known around the House. Pages passed it along from class to class," said the former aide, adding that when he was 18 a few years ago and working as an intern, Foley approached him at a bar near the Capitol and asked for his e-mail address.


Next previous post on this subject: Daily Foleys

Daily Foleys

New York Times: RNC Refuses to Give Back Foley Contributions of Over Half a Million.

Many individual candidates are giving contributions back or to charity (What do you want to bet those charities like Tom Delay's are run by former staffers and work to re-elect the GOP candidates). Looking at the number of people in the Republican party that Foley had given a grand or more to, maybe we can see why they were willing to look the other way when rumors and hints came at them.

Washington Post: FBI Knew in July About Foley E-Mails to Teen Didn't think it was significant. Think you'd be given such leeway if this was brought to their attention about you? I doubt it.
Also in the WP report:
Many Democrats and some Republicans sharply criticized the decision by key House GOP members to handle the matter of the Louisiana e-mails so quietly that only one of the three lawmakers who oversee the page program knew anything about it. The other two -- one Democrat, one Republican -- expressed anger yesterday that they had been kept in the dark.


And more information from an ABC report is available at the Post link above. Don't miss Tony Snow calling Foleys missives "naughty emails". Hey, Tony when deep in the muck of the GOP propaganda spew it's easy to trip up on the tongue.

The St Petersburg Times says:
In talking with a small group of reporters after his news conference, Hastert said of the Louisiana e-mail, “I think that is apparent that would raise a red flag.”

Yet, beyond talking to Foley, nothing was done.

The Page Board, a panel designed specifically to care for pages, was not convened to investigate. House leaders did not contact other current or former pages to find out if Foley’s behavior went beyond a single incident. No one reported the correspondence to federal or state authorities.

“It’s such unusual, bizarre behavior you would think to ask questions,’’ said former federal prosecutor John Fitzgibbons, now a lawyer in private practice in Tampa. “It cries out for an investigation. It is so obvious.”

Foley, 52, a Republican from the West Palm Beach area, resigned after the public disclosure of sexually explicit e-mails and instant messages between him and former congressional pages that went back at least three years.

On Monday, ABC News released new instant messages that show for the first time that Foley, using the screen name Maf54, tried to meet with teenage boys, and it appeared in some cases that he might have.

In one message, he wrote: I would drive a few miles for a hot stud like you.

In another message, Foley appears to describe having been together with the teen in San Diego.

and
Matthew Loraditch, a page in the 2001-02 class, told ABC News and the Washington Post that he and other pages were warned five years ago about Foley by a Republican staff member.

Loraditch, the president of the Page Alumni Association, said Foley sent “creepy” messages to three 2002 classmates after the boys finished the House program.

“They became explicit and similar to what we are seeing on the Web sites right now,” said Loraditch, 21, a senior at Towson University in Maryland. Those who received them “didn’t do anything beside telling other pages about it.”
More at link above.

File the next one under:"The Foley of Power" (Don't try to stop me. I'm on a roll.)

The New York Times in editorial "The Foley Matter" says:
History suggests that once a political party achieves sweeping power, it will only be a matter of time before the power becomes the entire point. Policy, ideology, ethics all gradually fall away, replaced by a political machine that exists to win elections and dispense the goodies that come as a result. The only surprise in Washington now is that the Congressional Republicans managed to reach that point of decayed purpose so thoroughly, so fast.

That House leaders knew Representative Mark Foley had been sending inappropriate e-mail to Capitol pages and did little about it is terrible. It is also the latest in a long, depressing pattern: When there is a choice between the right thing to do and the easiest route to perpetuation of power, top Republicans always pick wrong.

The news about Mr. Foley should have set off alarm bells instantly, even if the messages the leaders saw were of the “inappropriate” variety rather than the flat-out salacious versions that surfaced last week. But there was certainly no sense of urgency in their response, which seemed directed at sweeping the matter under the rug rather than finding out precisely what was going on.

The obvious first step — notifying the bipartisan committee that oversees the page program — was never taken, presumably because that would have meant bringing a Democrat into the discussions. After Mr. Foley assured everyone that he was simply engaged in mentoring, whatever leadership inquiry there was ended with telling him to stop e-mailing the youth who got the inappropriate letter.

It’s astonishing behavior for a party that sold itself as the champion of conservative social values. But then so was the fact that a party that prides itself on fiscal conservatism managed to roll up record-breaking deficits, featuring large amounts of wasteful pork earmarked to the districts of powerful legislators or the profit sheets of generous campaign contributors. So was the speed with which the party that billed itself as the voice of grass-roots exurban and suburban America turned itself into the partner of every special-interest lobbyist with a checkbook.
Read rest at link (under title of editorial above)

Eugene Robinson Says: "No Spinning Past This Scandal" (So I guess that makes it a no-spin ... oh forget it.) Here's Gene:
Even when damage control seems a lost cause, I suppose you have to follow the playbook. So Mark Foley resigns his House seat in a nanosecond, then explains those creepy electronic messages to young congressional pages by declaring himself an alcoholic, effectively blaming it all on demon rum. House Speaker Dennis Hastert promptly calls for a really thorough -- meaning really slow -- investigation. The rest of the Republican leadership declares itself shocked and/or saddened, but agrees that the time has come to move on, folks, nothing to see here.
Read rest at link above.

From an LA Times article "Foley Enters Alcohol Rehab Center" notes that Foley's latest contribution of $100,000
which the NRCC reported receiving on Aug. 7, came after Reynolds had acknowledged having learned about the Louisiana page's complaint.NRCC spokesman Carl Forti said the campaign donation had no impact on how Reynolds handled the matter, explaining that Reynolds told Hastert about the problem as soon as he learned about the e-mails.

"This is nothing more than pure politics at its worst," Forti said, dismissing the Democratic charge that Reynolds should have done more.

"Even to insinuate that is ridiculous."

(You know what that means)

Forti said Reynolds had not known about the explicit instant messages, in which Foley discussed sexual matters with at least one other former page.

But Reynolds did work closely with someone who knew Foley well.

Kirk Fordham, a veteran Republican legislative staffer who has worked on Capitol Hill for much of the last 17 years, served as Foley's chief of staff from 1995 to 2004. Fordham also managed Foley's first campaign for Congress, in 1994.

In 2005, Fordham went to work for DCI Group, a leading GOP political strategy group. The same year, he became Reynolds' chief of staff.



Next previous post on Foley problem. Politically savvy but independent Mickey Kaus penned a few thoughts on the case.

Iraqi Interior Police Cited in Human Rights Abuses

Excerpt New York Times article, "Iraqi Police Cited in Abuses May Lose Aid"
American officials have warned Iraqi leaders that they might have to curtail aid to the Interior Ministry police because of a United States law that prohibits the financing of foreign security forces that commit “gross violations of human rights” and are not brought to justice.

The Interior Ministry, dominated by Shiites, has long been accused by Sunni Arabs of complicity in torture and killings.

The American ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, said in an interview on Friday that “at this point” Iraq had not been formally notified that its national police were in violation of the legislation, known as the Leahy Law. He said he remained optimistic that Iraqi officials would “do the right thing” and resolve the matter. Nonetheless, he said American officials had begun reviewing programs that might have to be ended.

The issue centers on one of the most sensitive subjects within the Iraqi government: the joint Iraqi-American inspection in May and subsequent investigation of a prison in eastern Baghdad known as Site 4.

Within the prison there was clear evidence of systematic abuse and torture, including victims who had “lesions resulting from torture” as well as “equipment used for this purpose,” according to a human rights report later published by the United Nations mission in Iraq.

The prison, run by an Interior Ministry national police unit, had more than 1,400 prisoners crowded into a small area. An American officer said some had been beaten or bound and hung by their arms. At least 37 teenagers or children were in the prison.

Cartoons. RE: Mid term elections

GOP Crafting Bills to Give Election Boost for their People

Is this the kind of Congress you want?

Anything for a vote!

Is it fair? Who cares?

Is it good for the country?

Who cares?

Make it a law and put some Republican's name on it so the Rs can maintain control of the Congress and finish the process of putting our nation under the control of fat cats and big business. (They've done such a good job so far.)

What the Post is saying:

In a bid to help embattled incumbents win tough reelection campaigns in November, House Republican leaders last week muscled through more than 165 bills that their members can use to win over voters back home -- and deflect attention from the scandals they left behind in Washington.

...

Dozens of the made-to-order bills that flew through the House bear the names of the endangered lawmakers, from Pennsylvania Rep. Jim Gerlach's Open Space and Farmland Preservation Act to Connecticut Rep. Christopher Shays's reauthorization of the HOPE VI housing program, to measures to preserve Native American languages and assist in water planning for Rep. Heather A. Wilson (R-N.M.).

"If you've got people with must-do pieces of legislation, you want to help them out," said Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), the vice chairman of the House Republican Conference.



Cartoon: Fill 'er up!

Bonus cartoon: With the proper nurturing the embryo will come to full term.

Bonus cartoon2: If every nation can define it's own Geneva Conventions

Lots of people want to kill Americans. Including Americans

I am so sorry for the families of these children and everyone involved.

But, a few days ago we were told we need to give up our civil rights, and basically start a jihad on those kinds of Muslims that don't fit in with the new shopping, accumulation, and casual sex empire envisioned by big business and fat cats because some Muslims want to kill us.

But the fact is, that even some Americans want to kill Americans.

We can't control everything even if we do give up all our rights.

Well, I think both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union in their prime did boast that they had complete control of their cities so street crime didn't happen, but if you think about it, people were so busy being killed in other ways, including the wars of expansion and deprivation. And I wonder, if they really could have controlled their streets and countrysides without their imperialism, and how much of that was just propaganda anyway.

Everytime I read a new article about the poor children in Lancaster Co., I grab my head as if I can keep the information I just read from being real.

We seldom get such up close and personal accounts of the children and families killed in Iraq. I guess that's by design. So we don't grab our heads and decide this must stop! And of course, now it won't stop there for a long long time. Though the most deaths may not be kids, it is their fathers. Most of us in the US haven't have the experience of losing a father at an early age. It can be quite horrible though, especially in a country with so few resources for the surviving families.

This is the kind of information that Barbara Bush said she wouldn't be bopthering her "beautiful mind" about.

Maybe we should.

Surely, today's tragedy is a 'imitative slaying' after the one in Colorado, but where does it start? Possibly when the president's men decide it's okay to kill hundreds of thousands of the inhabitants of a country that did not threaten us because Exxon Mobil (according to Republican insider Kevin Phillips) was salivating over the Majnoon oil fields.

Straight From Karl Rove to You More Phony Science: Iraq War Naysayers May Have Hindsight Bias

Actually there were specific statements that said that invading Iraq would actually cause al Qaeda and anti-American (and other members of the Coalition of the Willing) terrorism to get a boost.

The president's own father wrote about how bad an idea invading Iraq would be.

But Vendantam puts his stamp of scientific approval on exactly what Karl Rove would like you to believe. That you didn't know you knew and you don't know much at all.

If that sounds like the sad comments you get on your blogs from neocons, you are getting smarter already.

Getting scientists to produce 'science' that validated the Third Reich was a specialty of Hitler's people.

In neo Stalinist Soviet Union those dissidents who were too famous to put in the Gulag, were deemed "crazy" and sent to asylyms.

But I have to admit, Rove's got them beat.

He just gets his psuedo scientists to declare all naysayers as mentally suspect.

And those racists and haters that see their great plan to control the US and the world to their liking no matter how many innocent people they have to slaughter to do so will repeat repeat and repeat this garbage and catapult the propaganda.

Like roaches they will take this special psuedo science validated by the Washington Post with them to make their pathetic comments on message boards and blogs, and even take it back to their families to bash over the heads of others who disagree with the Republican dream of empire for big business and fat cats.

Paid bloggers and posters will have a field day with this, never noticing as the responses come in about how people did see just such a scenario.

But we thought the Washington Post was taking itself out of the Republican campaign program. People were reading the Post and linking to it more. I guess we were wrong.

Bonus cartoon: Bush, Cheney, and Kissinger

Another Shady Deal in the Republican Controlled Congress

Internet Gambling, Port Deals Reached
House and Senate negotiators reached agreement last night on legislation to tighten maritime and port security regulations and, in a last-minute move, added an unrelated measure that seeks to ban Internet gambling
.

Get it? An unrelated measure banning payments to off-shore Internet gambling sites suddenly gets popped into a "must pass" bill on port security just before the conference votes. (And important funding for rail and mass transit funds was slipped out, because we don't have to worry about those subways now do we?)

This last minute action is important because at it came at a point where there is little discussion or input from anyone except for Congressional leaders and those seeking backroom deals whether Congress members or lobbyists. Well, apparently American gambling interests had their lobbyists working overtime this weekend.

The Sydney Morning Herald writes:

THE US Government stunned the online gambling industry over the weekend by passing laws that effectively ban the services from their biggest market.

...

The US Senate, which was expected to block the legislation, sneaked the bill through early Saturday morning US time, following some last-minute manoeuvring ahead of the Senate break for mid-term elections.

The bill outlaws the processing of bets for online gaming companies, effectively preventing US banks and credit card companies from doing business with the operators. It could be signed into law by President Bush as early as this week.

The bill excludes US-based online betting on services like horse racing and lotteries and has no impact on American casinos and other gambling operations.


Uh, Boys and Girls can you say protectionism? What about all the garbage on how great World Trade is? Ha Ha! The American gambling industry has lots and lots of money to deliver to the slimy hands of Republicans doesn't it? Do you? So why do you think they'll protect your job?

And about the removal of funding for rail and transportation safety, the Post article notes:

The changes angered some Democrats, who helped craft the original port security legislation but were largely blocked from the final negotiations. The Senate had overwhelmingly approved the authorization of $3.5 billion for mass-transit security grants and $1 billion for freight and passenger rail programs, but House Republicans balked at the cost.

"If Republicans leave town [after] stripping out all the sections protecting major sectors of out transportation sector, God help us if there's an attack," said Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.

Political Savvy Mickey Kaus Asks RE: Mark Foley:

Excerpt Slate:
did [the House leadership] really have no idea what Foley was up to? Don't these rumors get around the Hill pretty quickly?** It's not like Foley was co-chair of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Chil .... oh wait. Someone could maybe have called Foley in and given him the third degree--e.g. about what other emails might be out there. Hastert's aides could have asked Foley to permit a search of his computer. Maybe there were alternative methods of interrogation, or other ways to check out his story.


Like I've said before: In Washington, you only have to admit to knowing that which can be proven you knew.

Obviously the House leadership didn't want to know the extent of Foley's preditory behavior even though underage young people were involved.

Next previous post on this subject: Why did Foley keep child-protection job?

Why did Foley keep child-protection job?

Excerpt post in the Chicago Tribune's "The Swamp" (same title as above).
One of the most troubling parts of the emerging scandal involving former Rep. Mark Foley, the Florida Republican who sent sexually suggestive emails to teenaged congressional pages, is this: he chaired the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children.

Foley carved out a role for himself as a congressional leader on the issue of exploited children, and is credited with authoring important sections of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 which President Bush signed into law this summer.

He worked with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children whose website has pictures of him presenting awards to law enforcement officers and children who survived and or helped bring child predators to justice.

It would be a fascinating psychological study to try and understand how Foley could be both sending such emails to high schoolers while at the same time fighting against child predators. He is like the firefighter who turns out to also be an arsonist.


Next previous post on this subject: "Pageboy e-mails 'covered up to avoid a scandal'"

Rice Calls Woodward a Liar

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Sunday vehemently denied that she ever received a special CIA warning about an imminent terrorist attack on the United States, angrily rebutting new allegations about her culpability in U.S. policy failures before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks by al Qaeda.

She said it was "incomprehensible" that she would have ignored such explicit intelligence or appeals by senior CIA officials.


No, Ms Condi, I think you meant to say "incompetent" though it is actually pretty incomprehensible how a National Security Chief could be so "incompetent". I notice that the article submissively says Condi "vehemently" denied being an incompetent token in the Bush White House.


She'd be showing her bottom teeth like Cheney does, if she could ever find them.

Give us your war face, Condi!

Rice said her staff is now going back to check if there even was a meeting on July 10, 2001.


Read: Give them a few days. It's election season. And with the extra burden of the Foley scandal, Karl Rove's focus group mill has a backlog of grinding thought control messages out.

Cartoon: Someone has a breakout of truth zits right before the big dance.

Cartoon bonus: Cut and Run Drill in the House (Brand new Jeff Danzinger cartoon)

Pageboy e-mails 'covered up to avoid a scandal'

It's always nice to go outside the country for news and get away from the controls on US mainstream media.

You might even get a headline that actually does an accurate analysis of the situation.

Right there in mainstream news.

Excerpt: Timesonline report:

REPUBLICAN leaders were defending themselves yesterday against claims that they had been more interested in avoiding political scandal than protecting an underage pageboy who was being bombarded with sexually explicit messages by one of their congressmen.

Mark Foley was forced to resign on Friday after the publication of suggestive e-mails and other lewd messages that he had sent to a 16-year-old congressional intern. In one message, the Florida Republican, using an AOL account name of Maf54, tells him to “strip down” and, when told the teenager is wearing a T-shirt and shorts, he replies, “love to slip them off of you”. Capitol police have sealed his office and criminal charges are expected. Mr Foley, 52, who had previously ducked rumours about his sexuality, pioneered legislation against adults who prey on vulnerable young people. He had even helped to set up a hotline for parents and teenagers to tell police about “online child sexual exploitation”.

As recently as July 27, President Bush had hailed Mr Foley and other legislators behind child protection laws as being part of a “SWAT team for kids”.


Democrats say:
House leadership was warned about Mr Foley’s activities months ago, alleging that it sought to cover them up for fear of losing his seat in November’s mid-term elections. The Democrats are linking the case to a “pattern of corruption” in the Republican Congress and have called for an inquiry.

Over the weekend Republican Thomas Reynolds admitted that he had told Dennis Hastert, the Speaker of the House, as long ago as last year that a page’s parents had complained about inappropriate messages being sent by Mr Foley. Mr Hastert said that he did not remember this conversation but his office had nonetheless referred the matter to the clerk of the House.

The clerk passed the issue on to John Shimkus, who oversees the 200-year-old congressional page programme, which allows 72 high school juniors to work in the House for a session, answering telephones and delivering mail....


Next previous post in this subject: Breaking: "FBI Investigating Foley E-Mail to Teen"

10.01.2006

More quality analysis of Detainee Bill 'Compromise'

Excerpt: New York Times editorial "Rushing Off a Cliff":
Here’s what happens when this irresponsible Congress railroads a profoundly important bill to serve the mindless politics of a midterm election: The Bush administration uses Republicans’ fear of losing their majority to push through ghastly ideas about antiterrorism that will make American troops less safe and do lasting damage to our 217-year-old nation of laws — while actually doing nothing to protect the nation from terrorists. Democrats betray their principles to avoid last-minute attack ads. Our democracy is the big loser.

Republicans say Congress must act right now to create procedures for charging and trying terrorists — because the men accused of plotting the 9/11 attacks are available for trial. That’s pure propaganda. Those men could have been tried and convicted long ago, but President Bush chose not to. He held them in illegal detention, had them questioned in ways that will make real trials very hard, and invented a transparently illegal system of kangaroo courts to convict them.

It was only after the Supreme Court issued the inevitable ruling striking down Mr. Bush’s shadow penal system that he adopted his tone of urgency. It serves a cynical goal: Republican strategists think they can win this fall, not by passing a good law but by forcing Democrats to vote against a bad one so they could be made to look soft on terrorism.

Last week, the White House and three Republican senators announced a terrible deal on this legislation that gave Mr. Bush most of what he wanted, including a blanket waiver for crimes Americans may have committed in the service of his antiterrorism policies. Then Vice President Dick Cheney and his willing lawmakers rewrote the rest of the measure so that it would give Mr. Bush the power to jail pretty much anyone he wants for as long as he wants without charging them, to unilaterally reinterpret the Geneva Conventions, to authorize what normal people consider torture, and to deny justice to hundreds of men captured in error.

These are some of the bill’s biggest flaws:

Enemy Combatants: A dangerously broad definition of “illegal enemy combatant” in the bill could subject legal residents of the United States, as well as foreign citizens living in their own countries, to summary arrest and indefinite detention with no hope of appeal. The president could give the power to apply this label to anyone he wanted.

The Geneva Conventions: The bill would repudiate a half-century of international precedent by allowing Mr. Bush to decide on his own what abusive interrogation methods he considered permissible. And his decision could stay secret — there’s no requirement that this list be published.

Habeas Corpus: Detainees in U.S. military prisons would lose the basic right to challenge their imprisonment. These cases do not clog the courts, nor coddle terrorists. They simply give wrongly imprisoned people a chance to prove their innocence.

Judicial Review: The courts would have no power to review any aspect of this new system, except verdicts by military tribunals. The bill would limit appeals and bar legal actions based on the Geneva Conventions, directly or indirectly. All Mr. Bush would have to do to lock anyone up forever is to declare him an illegal combatant and not have a trial.

Coerced Evidence: Coerced evidence would be permissible if a judge considered it reliable — already a contradiction in terms — and relevant. Coercion is defined in a way that exempts anything done before the passage of the 2005 Detainee Treatment Act, and anything else Mr. Bush chooses.

Secret Evidence: American standards of justice prohibit evidence and testimony that is kept secret from the defendant, whether the accused is a corporate executive or a mass murderer. But the bill as redrafted by Mr. Cheney seems to weaken protections against such evidence.

Offenses: The definition of torture is unacceptably narrow, a virtual reprise of the deeply cynical memos the administration produced after 9/11. Rape and sexual assault are defined in a retrograde way that covers only forced or coerced activity, and not other forms of nonconsensual sex. The bill would effectively eliminate the idea of rape as torture.

•There is not enough time to fix these bills, especially since the few Republicans who call themselves moderates have been whipped into line, and the Democratic leadership in the Senate seems to have misplaced its spine. If there was ever a moment for a filibuster, this was it.

We don’t blame the Democrats for being frightened. The Republicans have made it clear that they’ll use any opportunity to brand anyone who votes against this bill as a terrorist enabler. But Americans of the future won’t remember the pragmatic arguments for caving in to the administration.

They’ll know that in 2006, Congress passed a tyrannical law that will be ranked with the low points in American democracy, our generation’s version of the Alien and Sedition Acts.

Yeah, What they said.

Why Torture Is Still An Option

I know we've handled this subject below, but I couldn't resist such a clear and honest analytical headline, subtitle pair as Time Magazine has produced.

Are they sure they're part of the American mainstream media still?

Here are the Title and Subtite together (link to article is under the following quote as well:

Why Torture Is Still An Option
The compromise terrorism detainee bill limits interrogation abuses-and lets Bush set the limits


Rove is going to be furious.

Breaking: "FBI Investigating Foley E-Mail to Teen"

Excerpt AP breaking news report at Seattle PI title same as portion contained within quotes above.

The FBI is examining former Rep. Mark Foley's e-mail exchanges with teenagers to determine if they violated federal law, an agency spokesman said Sunday.

FBI spokesman Richard Kolko said the FBI is "conducting an assessment to see if there's been a violation of federal law." He had no further comment.

House Speaker Dennis Hastert requested Sunday that the Justice Department conduct an investigation into Foley's electronic messages to teenage boys — a lurid scandal that has put House Republicans in political peril.

"As Speaker of the House, I hereby request that the Department of Justice conduct an investigation of Mr. Foley's conduct with current and former House pages to determine to what extent any of his actions violated federal law," Hastert, R-Ill., wrote in a letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

The White House and Democratic leaders in Congress also called Sunday for a criminal probe. White House counselor Dan Bartlett called the allegations against Foley shocking, but said President Bush hadn't learned of Foley's inappropriate e-mails to a 16-year-old boy and instant messages to other boys before the news broke last week.


The extent of the White House's obsession with the president's image is astounding.

It's like they have nothing else to do and no concern in the world, but making the guy look good.

RE the FBI investigation The LA Times says:

FBI cyber sleuths are looking into the text of some of the Foley messages, checking to see how many e-mails and instant electronic messages were sent and how many computers were used, according to a law enforcement official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation.

The FBI also was trying to determine if any of the teenagers who received messages are willing to cooperate with the investigation, the official said.

Ironically, Foley, who is 52 and single, could be found to have violated a law that he helped to write as co-chairman of the Congressional Missing and Exploited Children's Caucus.


That excerpt was found in the Times article titled: Ex-Rep. Foley Checks Into Alcohol Rehab

Yeah, like the much more common and acceptable alcoholism is the main problem here.

It looks like Mark Foley (R-Pervert) is heading for the GOP rehabilitation farm to be recycled into inner party or privatized political work.

Next previous post on this subject: "Mark Foley Caught With Live Boy"

Isn't the White House Amazing?

Don't you just love those guys and gals.

First they drain the American taxpayer to use for their political aides.

Then they bully witnesses and people involved with previous actions to say they didn't do what they did.

Then they bully news sources to release and release and release their side and their point of view.

Of course Republicans all over the country are doing the same thing.

They can control the mainstream news media because of the way they will do what big business wants. They also control half the blogosphere.

And then they use taxpayer money to use for focus groups etc. to make up their propaganda like we find in White House Lists Book's 'Five Key Myths'

I don't know about you, but I'm sick of seeing taxpayer money being spent big time to make the Bush administration and other Republicans look good. How about you?

To allow this to continue just vote Republican or don't vote at all.

Otherwise,

You know what ya' gotta do Cowboy (or girl).