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So now Mark Foley is checking into rehab, citing "alcoholism" and "related behavioral problems." Sorry, but that's just crap. If every alcoholic were to resign from Congress, we'd never have another quorum again. Tumbleweeds would roll about on the Senate floor.

And on behalf of heavy drinkers everywhere, I'm offended. Mark Foley has a helluva lot more problems than a fondness for booze. No matter how drunk I've been in my life, I've never once hit on 16-year-old boys as a result. You might be able to employ "I was drunk" as an excuse for hitting on your boss's secretary at a Christmas party, but hitting on underage former staffers? Sorry, I'm not buying it. Foley may well be an alcoholic, but he's hiding behind it, in the same way that Jim McGreevey hid his true sins behind his homosexuality. Pathetic and transparent.

Anyway, the most amusing (if predictable) part of the whole sordid affair has been reading the lefty blogs trying to make the case that Foley's perversion is purely a function of party affiliation. Here is my favorite comment yet on the whole matter, taken from one of my favorite lefty blogs.

Pederastic piece of shit ought to be hung up by his balls.

But only because he's a Republican. If he was a Dem, I'd ask him to seek help for his problem.

I LOL'd when I read that, but I was convinced it had to be a Republican troll. After reviewing some other posts by the same author, however, I'm forced to conclude that it's not. It's merely an all-too-common manifestation of the hyperpartisan times we live in. Cool, huh?


*blink* Wait. Are you sure that the poster wasn't kidding? Because that reads like a joke (bad, but what can you do?), right?

Sounds like a tongue-in-cheek commentary on the partisan times in which we live to me. Sounds like something I might say, as a partial joke.

However, it looks like there was a whole lotta coverin' Foley's tuchas by his fellow GOP members of Congress, so it isn't out of bounds to mention that. However, while the charges of Foley's misbehavin' are clearly true, and while the charges of GOP cover-up are looking truer and truer (the extent and nature of that cover-up remains to be seen, but something was wrong in the way this was handled if people in the House knew about it in 2001, as claimed), there is still something fishy about how the story came out just now, just five weeks before the next election. See Blog P.I. for an interesting take on that.

The Repugs knew about it, but like the Catholic Church they didn't really give a damn. Power, money, power, money. Government, Church, and Corporation. They didn't want to lose a seat or suffer the bad press.

The Democrats aren't any better, but they don't hold absolute power right now, so that isn't the issue.

It won't last through this election. And even if it did, if I were a Rep, I'd be booking my flight to Tahiti and getting my memoirs published. 'Cause now it will be the Dems' turn in the spotlight. And with how lucid and cogent they have been with this election, it will be fun to see how they will run things til 2008.
Here are some of my predictions:
1. spending will go up. WAY up.
2. there will be a push for cheaper meds in the Medicare part D program ( I didn't say all my predictions would be bad)
3. they will stay the course in Iraq - the chance of any changes that could be disastous and them having the blame is just too risky
4. they will try to punish W because of Iraq and end up giving him some sympathy from the public

LOL! Spending will go UP? You mean higher than Bush's wild unsupported deficit spending?

Taxes on the upper 2% will go up, or Bush will be forced to make an ugly veto.

Investigations into all the Repug corruption will explode, and they will be fasttracked to get out the news that Repugs have been hiding.

Bush will be checked, finally, and he will have many a meltdown.

Repugs will attempt to blame their failed policies and lost war on the Dems.

Politics will go on in its childish way.

The Dems will only raise the taxes on the top 2% of income earners!?

Not bloody likely!

No, just as Bush's tax cuts were "across the board cuts," the Democratic Socialists will almost certainly implement across the board tax increases.

The flaw in the progressive taxation sysstem, of course, is that INCOME is NOT WEALTH.

The top 1% of income earners is a very different group from the top 1% of Wealthy Americans.

The truly "rich" don't rely on income for wealth.

Here are the facts on the way the current tax burden breaks down;
The top 1% of income earners pay 34.8% of the total income tax burden.
The top 10% of income earners pay 65% of the total income tax burden.

The bottom 50% of income earners - 4.2%

Bailey, it will increase on top of W's spending. And despite the "wonderful" four years of Rep control, they will be able to b---ch about it. They will be out of power. People will have to see real results (like more tax refunds, etc) in order not to get mad.

Investigation? You mean
a lynch mob. Let people get the idea of a Lewinsky Part II (and no soldiers coming home) and the lovefest will end fast. After all, your last meeting with fellow Dems was a disapointment because they weren't obsessed with "getting Bush" remember?

Why in the hell are you people going on about Dem spending? Clinton came in with a huge Repug deficit, and left with a sizable SURPLUS. That was EIGHT YEARS of Clinton. It only took Bush about 2 years to erase the surplus and he then drove us into the greatest debt the country has ever known.

You think the old "Tax and Spend Liberal" mantra will work???

LOL! Prepare for defeat, yahoos.

I don't want to make too much of the Pearl Harbor/911 comparison, but it should also be noted that Hawaii was not a state at the time of the attack.

Bush Sr worked with a Democratic Congress.

Tip O'Neill & Ted Kennedy passed mammoth tax increases, Kennedy scoring a coup in getting Bush Sr to forego a veto, thus breaking his "Read my lips" pact.

In fact, that's the primary reason why Clinton was elected back in 1992 - Bush Sr broke his tax pledge to the American people.

Likewise, starting in January of 1995, just two years into his first term, Clinton was saddled with a GOP Congress.

Turns out that Clinton, to his credit, worked much more effectively with the GOP Gingrich Congress than he ever did with the Dems, signing onto at least 70% of Gingrich's "Contract With America," including huge spending cuts that were responsible for reducing the deficit, Welfare and tort reforms.
"During the first 100 days of the 104th Congress, the Republicans pledged "to bring to the floor the [ten] bills, each to be given a full and open debate, each to be given a clear and fair vote, and each to be immediately available for public inspection". The text of the proposed bills was included in the Contract, which was released prior to the election. These bills were not governmental reforms, as the previous promises were; rather, they represented significant changes to policy. The main included tax cuts for businesses and individuals, term limits for legislators, social security reform, tort reform, and welfare reform.

Government reform
On the first day of their majority, the Republicans promised to hold floor votes on eight reforms of government operations:

require all laws that apply to the rest of the country also apply to Congress;

select a major, independent auditing firm to conduct a comprehensive audit of Congress for waste, fraud or abuse;
cut the number of House committees, and cut committee staff by one-third;

"limit the terms of all committee chairs;
ban the casting of proxy votes in committee;
require committee meetings to be open to the public;
require a three-fifths majority vote to pass a tax increase;

"and implement a zero base-line budgeting process for the annual Federal Budget.

The Contract also included things like;

"The "Common Sense" Legal Reform Act
An act to institute "Loser pays" laws (H.R.988, passed 232-193, 3/7/95), limits on punitive damages and reform of product liability laws to prevent what the bill considered frivolous litigation (H.R.956, passed 265-161, 3/10/95; passed Senate 61-37, 5/11/95, vetoed by President Clinton [4]). Another tort reform bill, the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act was enacted in 1995 when Congress overrode a veto by President Bill Clinton."

The Personal Responsibility Act
An act to cut spending for welfare programs by means of discouraging illegitimacy and teen pregnancy. This would be achieved by prohibiting welfare to mothers under 18 years of age, denying increased AFDC for additional children while on welfare, and enacting a two-years-and-out provision with work requirements to promote individual responsibility. H.R.4, the Family Self-Sufficiency Act, included provisions giving food vouchers to unwed mothers under 18 in lieu of cash AFDC benefits, denying cash AFDC benefits for additional children to people on AFDC, requiring recipients to participate in work programs after 2 years on AFDC, complete termination of AFDC payments after five years, and suspending driver and professional licenses of people who fail to pay child support. H.R.4, passed by the US House 234-199, 3/23/95, and passed by the US Senate 87-12, 9/19/95. The Act was vetoed by President Clinton, but the alternative Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act was enacted 8/22/96.

The American Dream Restoration Act
An act to create a $500-per-child tax credit, begin repeal of the marriage tax penalty, and creation of American Dream Savings Accounts to provide middle class tax relief. H.R.1215, passed 246-188, 4/5/95.


The problem is clearly that NOT one of the U.S. having gone "too far to the Right," but in NOT moving Conservative enough.

That document espoused by Gingrich, much of it written by Dick Armey remains a beacon of government reform.

The post-Gingrich Congressional Republicans haven't lived up to it, but the Congressional Democrats revile it and yet almost no one can explain why they would oppose any of this.

Tip O'Neill was retired by then, JMK and Ted Kennedy wasn't a Finance Committee chair. Why you brought up those 2 guys is yet another mystery to me.

Every time I research anything JMK says, he is simply lying. His lies have piled up so high that my two minutes on Google is no longer necessary.

JMK is a liar. Just ignore him.

Actually it was indeed Ted Kennedy with whom George H W Bush forged that tax increase that broke his "Read my lips, no new taxes," pledge.

But yeah, it was by a Congress under the auspices of an even more vile Democrat - Jim Wright, at the time.

You have to forgive me for overlooking Jim Wright. I'd think most Democrats would like to forget his short-lived and ill-fated tenure as well.

God, I miss Gingrich.

"After promising accountability, Speaker Newt Gingrich took care of his own"

In March of 1998, a casual observer might have thought California Republican Congressman Jay Kim's career was over.

Kim had admitted to committing the largest amount of campaign violations ever by a member of Congress. More than one-third of the contributions to his 1992 primary campaign, which he won by only 889 votes, were illegal.

"Jay Kim probably stole a congressional election in 1992 by this fraudulent campaign financing scheme. If the House is serious about the meaning of elections and democracy, they'll expel him, and soon," said Gary Ruskin, who directs the Congressional Accountability Project. "In my view, Jay Kim's presence cheapens the moral authority of every other member there."

After pleading guilty to accepting more than $250,000 in illegal corporate and foreign campaign contributions, Kim was sentenced to two months of "house arrest," restricted to his suburban Virginia home and the halls of Congress.

But he kept his job, and all the perks that went with it. The following month, House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) appointed Kim to the House-Senate group negotiating the budget-busting highway bill.

"He's a very active member," said House Transportation Committee Chairman Bud Shuster.

"His plight has not diminished his effectiveness here in Congress," said fellow California Republican David Drier.

Kim's estranged wife, June, was less charitable.

"It's really frustrating that our law is not tough enough to get him out right away," she said. "He's humiliated us enough."

Despite her wishes, and the demands of others, the law did not require Kim to quit and Congressional leaders, as a rule, usually find a way to accommodate, not punish, fellow members who break the law.

Other House members have kept their seats even while serving in prison: Rep. Thomas Lane (D-Mass.) went to jail from May 7 to Sept. 7, 1956, for tax evasion and Rep. Matthew Lyon (R-Vt.) was imprisoned for violating the Sedition Act in 1798 but returned to Congress after a mob broke him out of jail.

Kim announced immediately after his conviction and sentencing that he would run for re-election to a fourth term.

"His plan is to win the primary, win the general election and move ahead," spokesman P.J. O'Neil said at the time.

California Republicans rallied to Kim's defense. Rep. Jerry Lewis, predicted Kim would defy the predictions of his political demise.

"Jay, I expect, will be with us for a long time," Lewis said.

He wasn't. Kim was creamed in the California congressional primary just two months later.

Gingrich told fellow Republicans he saw no reason to punish Kim or exclude him from Congressional business.

"He's been punished by the court," Gingrich said. "That's enough."

Kim "punishment" was two months home detention and a $5,000 fine. He could have been sent to prison for three years and fined more than $100,000. His problems came right when committees in both the House and Senate were getting ready to probe illegal campaign contributions to the President's 1996 re-election campaign.

When it comes to members who break the law, leaders of both the House and Senate usually rally around those in their own party and call for the heads of those on the other side of the aisle.

When punishment is demanded, the motivation is almost always political revenge, not justice.

At the time Gingrich showed such leniency to Kim, he was himself making payments on a $300,000 fine by the ethics committee, the worst ever levied against a member of Congress. The fine grew out of charges filed by Michigan Democrat David Bonior, who openly admitted he was getting even with Gingrich for the Georgia Republican's role in bringing down former Democratic Speaker Jim Wright of Texas.

"It's called payback," Bonior told reporters.

It's been that way for years in Congress within both parties. When the Republicans took control of the House and Senate in the 1994 elections, new Speaker of the House Gingrich promised to put an end to such practices.

Yet during his four years as Speaker, Gingrich often looked the other way when members of his own party crossed the legal line.

As both the House and Senate prepared to investigate illegal foreign contributions to the Democratic National Committee and the 1996 Clinton presidential campaign, a number of Republicans urged Gingrich not to allow Government Reform Committee Chairman Dan Burton of Indiana to chair the inquiry.

Burton, they said, was damaged goods. Stories were circulating on the Hill that the fiery Hoosier Republican, a known womanizer, had fathered a child out of wedlock and that it was only a matter of time before it surfaced in the media.

Gingrich dismissed the allegations as trivial and unimportant. The Speaker was engaged in an illicit affair of his own with a House Agriculture Committee staff member and had little stomach to punish another member of his own party for extra-marital dalliances.

But Burton had a more serious problem. He had approved nearly $500,000 in payments and salary to a former model named Claudia Keller, who was also listed as his campaign manager, and who appeared simultaneously on his political and official House payrolls. It is against the law for lawmakers to use their office budgets to subsidize their campaigns, or vice versa.

In Burton's case, the dual payments to Keller, mostly over a nine year span, were often made during the same periods of time, according to federal records. In one year, according to House Finance office documents and FEC records, Keller received almost $22,000 for working at Burton's Indianapolis and Greenwood district offices an average of two days a week, along with nearly $44,000 for her full-time campaign job.

The Burton campaign had also paid Keller $250 a month to rent office space in her Lawrence, Ind., home, which is outside Burton's district, by declaring it the campaign headquarters. And Keller also received more than $50,000 in campaign-related expenses, including payments for appearances by her clown service, FEC records show.

Keller was well known in Burton's district as a longtime girlfriend. Denise Range, a neighbor, said she often saw Keller wearing lingerie when Burton came to visit. Melissa Bickel, another neighbor, said Keller would send her daughter over to their house when Burton came calling, which was three or four times a week. When asked about this at the time, a Burton spokesman said he was not sure what Keller's duties were, but would "look into it." Keller later moved to Washington to become the Congressman's scheduler.

Burton eventually went public about his out-of-wedlock child just before the Indianapolis Star was about to break the story. Even reluctant Democrats agreed he handled the issue well, admitting the affair and expressing regret about the damage it inflicted on his marriage.

But he has not dealt as effectively with the Claudia Keller issue. The U.S. Attorney in Indianapolis is investigating the Congressman's possible use of "shadow" employees on the Congressional payroll.

When Gingrich's staff discussed Burton's problems, the Speaker dismissed it with a wave of his hand.

"Old news," he said. "No big deal." Burton was a loyal soldier, a made man. He would be protected.

"Newt ran the House like a Godfather," says former GOP staffer Jonathan Luckstill. "His soldiers were protected at all costs."

Some say Gingrich was reluctant to deal with problem members because he had too many skeletons in his own closet. His affair with the Agriculture Committee Staff Aide Callista Bisek, 33, was in full bloom. Details of the relationship are only now surfacing as part of a nasty divorce battle between Gingrich and his estranged wife, Marianne.

But Gingrich was also having trouble finding enough clean members of his own party to run the investigations not only into campaign fundraising abuse, but the impeachment of President Bill Clinton.

"Every time the Speaker looked at a potential candidate to lead the charge, they would have problems," said one former staff member. "It seemed like everyone had a secret to hide."

Even grandfatherly House Judiciary Committee Chairman Henry Hyde had legal and ethical problems.

Hyde served on on the board of directors of Clyde Federal Savings and Loan Association in Illinois from 1981-84. Regulators seized Clyde S& L in 1990, and the ensuing taxpayer bailout cost $67 million. In 1993, the Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC) brought a civil action against Clyde's board, including Hyde, seeking damages of $17.2 million for "gross negligence in mishandling the thrift."

Minutes of Clyde's board meetings show Hyde played an active role in some of the S&L's most foolhardy adventures. He approved participation in a loan for a Texas luxury beachfront condominium project that defaulted, costing Clyde $3.7 million.

Clyde had no experience in out-of-state construction loans, and it made the loan based on information provided by a loan broker who "stood to receive a substantial fee" if the loan was approved. (Ironically, the lead lender was Guaranty S&L, of Harrison, Arkansas -- the same S& L of Bill Clinton's Whitewater scandal.) Hyde also approved a risky options trading program, and purchase of Grand Cayman Island Eurodollar securities.

The U.S. District Court refused to dismiss gross negligence claims, noting the gravity of the RTC's charge that Clyde's directors failed to "heed regulatory criticisms as set forth in [Federal Home Loan Bank Board] Examination reports, correspondence, and supervisory meetings."

Hyde tried to avoid paying his share of the judgment, claiming, "I'm a victim of a lawsuit that never should have been brought. I'm not paying a nickel."

Hyde claimed Congressional immunity, but finally agreed, reluctantly, to pay after two federal courts told him such immunity does not exist and that he, as a Congressman, was not above the law.

Gingrich was aware of Hyde's problems, but still decided the silver-haired Illinois Congressman was the man for the job.

"Right now, Henry has less baggage than many of the others," Gingrich told his senior staffers. "He can handle the job."

But it wasn't Hyde's ethical problems with the S&L that would haunt him during the impeachment inquiry. It was a 30-year-old affair back in Illinois. The media, it turned out, was also more obsessed with sex than ethics.

Some critics feel Hyde mishandled the impeachment inquiry into Clinton's perjury and obstruction of justice from his affair with a former White House intern.

"You have to wonder if the Republicans in both the House and Senate eased off their pursuit of the President and the Democrats in the DNC fundraising scandal because of their own vulnerability," says political scientist Harleigh. "And Congressman Hyde gave in on several key points demanded by the Democrats in the impeachment process. Was this because of his own problems? At this point, we probably will never know."

Gingrich's determination to protect his soldiers was not unique to his job or his party. Speakers from both sides of the aisle have used their office to protect their own. Former Democratic Speaker Tom Foley ignored calls from Democrats and Republicans alike to remove power Illinois Rep. Dan Rostenkowski from his powerful committee posts after the Congressman was caught converting official funds to personal use. Foley did everything he could to protect his friend from Illinois.

Both Foley and Rostenkowski lost their bids for re-election in the 1994 elections that swept the Democrats out of power and put the Republicans in charge of the House and Senate. Rostenkowski later went to prison for his crimes, but is out now and back in Washington working as a lobbyist.

And it was after those 1994 election that Republicans elected Newt Gingrich as the new Speaker of the House. He promised, after his election, to "return accountability to Congress."

Yup Gingrich put ideology above all else.

I feel the same way. Sometimes you have to deal with unsavory people and even employ unsavory tactics to defeat evil (Libealism/socialism).

We're not in a mere "battle of ideas," we're in a battle of "Good (Conservatism) against Evil (Liberalism/socialism)."

Newt knew how to engage the enemy and beat them at their own game.

God love him!

Yep, just look at how much better off we are now! Way to go, Newt!

You might yet get the chance to vote for him in 2008!

Didn't Newty resign under pressure? Hmmm, looks like he enjoys screwing the help too, just like Mark Foley:

"Gingrich has been married three times. He married his first wife, Jackie Battley, in 1962, and divorced her in 1981. Gingrich married his second wife, Marianne Ginther, in the fall of 1981.[2] They divorced in 1999, after revealing that he had been having an affair with a House aide, Callista Bisek.[3] Gingrich and Bisek were married the following year."

Let's examine the "character" issue:

"Why, you're absolutely correct: Naughty Newt Gingrich. Speculation surrounding the Newtle's recent decision to ditch his wife of 18 years, Marianne Ginther Gingrich, and cop to an affair with a woman 23 years his junior has made summertime in Washington even steamier than usual."

As with the Clinton's their personal lives "are their own business," and don't have any bearing on their public lives.

This country is overwhelmingly polarized right now - Conservatives, like myself, are only going to pull the lever for the most Conservative candidate availailable....Liberals are going to pull the lever for the most Liberal candidate they can find.

Is it possible to shake such people from their fundamental belief systems?

Even if the candidates of their choice proves flawed???

Of course not!!!

I once knew a guy who was a real "born-again" (this was back in the 70s), but he was a terrible person, especially when drunk - a real whoremonger, and the kind of guy who'd engage in "a swindle with a smile."

One day I asked him how he reconciled the chasmic gulf between what he espoused and how he acted and he gave me a great answer; "Christ already forgave me my sins," he said, "He doesn't expect me to be perfect, in fact, he expects me to fail, but so long as I believe, I'm saved."

There was no guile in that answer.

No hyprocrisy either, at least from my vantage point.

He believed he was born doomed to fail to live up to his Lord's teachings, but fervently believed that so long as he had faith, he was saved.

Doesn't work for me, but it sure seemed to put his mind at ease.

I kinda feel the same way about politicians - they're all horrific people (well, 99.9% of them are), so the only thing you can do is keep on voting in candidates who at least pay lip service to the views you believe in...even if they occassionally (some, even often) let you down.

Not saying Newt ever let me down. Like I said, I don't care none about old Newt's rascally private life...though I'd scream like the Dickens if some dang fool up and tried to make that a campaign issue.

That stuff just ain't right.

So you are really a morally relativistic Liberal.

I see.

Not at all.

I've always had a rather fluid morality.

"Reality is what you can get away with," as R.A.W. so eloquently put it.

I don't share anything close to the same morality that most religious people do, but I've never had a big problem with any of them, nor them with me, so far as I know.

In some ways, my morality is somewhat close to that of many Muslims, who'd no doubt attest, as I would, that "The greatest good is to destroy evil."

We merely define "evil" differently...and that makes all the difference.

No, you describe evil exactly like the terrorists. Evil is anything that opposes your side imposing their will and beliefs on all others. Exactly like a terrorist, you don't believe that the enemy has any human rights, and that even your fellow citizens have no human rights if they get in the way of your beliefs.

Fundamentally, you aren't an American.

Fundamentally...you're a dope.

There is GOOD (that would be us...America) and there is EVIL (that would be "them"...the Islamo-fascists, and their sympathizers).

I'm pretty sure I'm correct on that...in fact on both statements - that "there IS GOOD & EVIL" and that "fundamentally you're a dope."

Not really. If you look at the actions of Bush, it is clear that we are evil, and the terrorists are also evil. Where there is torture and murder, there is evil. Where there is the rejection of freedom and the imposition of ideology over truth, there is evil.

Bush is evil. The terrorists are evil.

Only Americans who oppose both are good.

You may be hopelessly naive.

In wars civilians are often targeted - the Allies deliberately targeted Dresden, Germany, a cultural and artistic centerpiece of Germany and a hospital city for wounded soldiers was firebombed in February of 1945.

"More than 700,000 phosphorus bombs were dropped on 1.2 million people. One bomb for every 2 people. The temperature in the centre of the city reached 1600 degrees centigrade..."

...The death toll was staggering. The full extent of the Dresden Holocaust can be more readily grasped if one considers that well over 250,000 -- possibly as many as a half a million -- persons died within a 14-hour period, whereas estimates of those who died at Hiroshima range from 90,000 to 140,000."


Sherman burned entire cities to the ground in cutting his path through the South.

War is a terrible thing, BUT it isn't "evil."

In WW II "evil" (the Axis Powers) had to be confronted and their aggression checked, the same holds true today - Sharia-based Islam is resurgent and pushing into Asia, Europe and America and it must be confronted and its aggression checked.

People who oppose ALL war and feel tyrannical aggression can be negotiated with are as hopelessly naive as Neville Chamberlain.

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