Predatory Politics

Is Mark Foley suddenly political dynamite for the family values party or a case of a liberal, cynical media exploiting America’s obsession with sex and its fear and dread and embarrassment of it too?

It’s a perfect blogstorm — or at least a category 3 hurricane — says former Clinton enabler George Stephanopoulos.

But is it just naughty emails or a coverup of biblical proportions? A tipping point after two weeks of solid bad news in George Bush’s White House or hypocrisy that only the vast left-wing blogosphere could spew?

The beltway is crazed over what the Republican leadership knew and when they knew it. We’ve been wondering today, though, why sex hijacks the public discourse in America; why our media waterboards us with it and why it’s so excessive and puritanical and dysfunctional all at once.

Steve Almond

Author, The Evil BB Chow and Other Stories,

My Life in Heavy Metal, and Candyfreak, and co-author of Which Brings Me To You .

Susan Willis

Associate Professor of Literature, Duke University

Author, Portents of the Real: A Primer for Post-9/11 America

Bitch, Ph.D.

Anonymous blogger, Bitch, Ph.D.

Robert Thompson

Professor and Founding Director, Center for the Study of Popular Television, Syracuse University

Extra Credit Reading
Allen Bartlett, A Conservative’s negative opinion of the 109th Congress, Powder Blue Report, October 3, 2006: “This incident also shows the sheer hypocrisy of the GOP or anyone else moralizing to the electorate. Isn’t it funny how some of the biggest bible thumpers are always the ones prone to get caught in the act doing things they are always speaking out against.”

Today’s Lies, A rational, intelligent discussion Of Mark Foley the politician rather than simply as a Republican, Today’s Lies, October 2, 2006: “This has also been hard to write about because Mark Foley does not fit the stereotype the Democratic Party wants him to: the fire-breathing, right-wing theocrat with a wife and 7 kids, who is really a closeted homosexual. He is a bit more complicated than that.”

Tom Scharbach, A victim of sexual abuse responds to the Drudge Report’s take on Foley, PurpleScarf, October 2 2006: “I wasn’t going to comment on the Foley story — I’m a survivor of sexual abuse, and not unbiased — but Matt Drudge put me over the edge.”

John Dickerson, Democrats can go too far with the Foley scandal,, October 2 2006: “Foley was a Republican, and the Republican leadership knew something, so out with the lot of them.”

Andrew Sullivan, Andrew Sullivan’s utube re: Mark Foley, The Daily Dish, October 3 2006: “It had to happen: a dramatization of a Mark Foley IM message stream.”

Michelle Malkin, Malkin slams the Republican leadership over Foley coverup, Michelle Malkin, October 3 2006: “What I am hearing from some conservatives inclined to pooh-pooh Foley’s behavior and carry on about Barney Frank instead does not sit well with me. You can’t possibly read Foley’s communications with minors that have been disclosed…and dismiss them as merely “naughty e-mails.”

Timothy Noah, Transcripts of Foley’s IM conversations,, September 30 2006. [Viewer discretion advised when reading this post.]

Related Content

  • jazzman

    Why it’s excessive in the media is because SEX SELLS – the reason it’s dysfunctional is due to the Puritanism that has pervaded American society since 1620 and lives as memes (puritanical beliefs that sex is for procreation and not pleasure) in the majority of the population. The reason that sex sells is that it is forbidden fruit for a society that has been repressed for most of its history and now thanks to a liberal 1st amendment interpretation, the “fruit” is available 24/7 in limitless quantities for mass consumption and a metaphorical feeding frenzy will continue until it isn’t novel any longer. Look at the magazine section of any supermarket. The headlines are titillating (usually of celebrity sexual peccadilloes) and the images are sexually charged with pictures of half dressed supermodels or female celebrities. The ads in these magazines are even more provocative because there is strong evidence that sex sells. So called porn isn’t a $20 billion business for nothing.

    Social and “decency” standards dictate that viewing the naked human form is dangerous – especially to minors. It’s fine for children to see murder, bloody violence and all manner of gruesome spectacles in video games and on TV, but let them hear vulgar language or see a nude body (unless its bloody and mutilated) and it’s beyond the pale. The message received tacitly by these recipients (and adults) is that the naked body is something of which to be ashamed (Adam & Eve memes – they saw that they were naked and they were ashamed) and that violence is acceptable. In Europe (especially Scandinavia where sex and nudity is considered a natural part of life) sexuality is far less charged and no big deal.

    As to Foley’s hypocrisy, hypocrites often champion against beliefs that they themselves hold and exploit. Some do it to deflect attention from their actions (plausible deniability – How could I a documented, avowed anti-pedophile be involved in such behavior?) but I prefer to believe that as hypocrisy is the handmaiden of the IDEAL, these hypocrites acknowledge ideal behavior while falling short due to psychological compulsions that they are unable to control or choose not to. It is interesting to note that instead of taking responsibility for his predilections – Foley is attempting to mitigate his culpability by blaming alcoholism, which is currently deemed by society to be an uncontrollable disease and possibly genetically inherited so he is a VICTIM instead of a predator. His attorney doubtless advised him to check into rehab ASAP so the damage control could begin.

    As for the craven behavior of the leadership and others who were aware of his actions and choose not to expose one of their own is simply the jingoistic nature of any powerbase and is by no means a Republican monopoly.

  • jazzman makes several good points. I would add that public discourse and debate about all things sexual are part of the cultural wars (that the nation can more readily accommodate and still maintain social order) that help keep the more dangerous class wars at bay.

  • Ben

    I am only too happy to see the red house leadership squirm under the scrutiny of the most prurient lenses of American media, it’s a well earned blight (total schadenfreude on my part). However, it’s hard to find any beneficial side to it when considering how it impacts the young men involved or their families. What if your kid was a page?

    As the story develops I hope that people will not lose sight that sexually predatory behavior by a 50 year-old toward 16 year-olds and coordinated enabling of it are under scrutiny. There immediately appears to be no limit of denial, distraction, and disinformation party-line justifiers won’t go to in order to confuse this issue. It’s not about sex, it is about trust, power, and deception.

  • Sex sells and it gets hormones racing which turn off the discerning part of the brain. It’s a perfect distractor.

  • 1st/14th

    Can someone say “October Surprise”?

  • I agree with Ben, “It’s not about sex, it is about trust, power, and deception”.

  • Old Nick

    Newt Gingrich, defending the GOP leadership’s inaction over knowledge of Mark Foley’s pedophilia…oh, uh…sorry, I meant, of course, his “alcoholism”:

    “Had they overly aggressively reacted to the initial report, they would also have been accused of ‘gay-bashing’.”

    “You know, politically we did the math – pros and cons – (and it) made more sense to keep the pedophile there. Oh, and by the way, equating a 52 year old congressmen who preys on sixteen year olds with ‘being gay’ may be one reason the GOP is accused of ‘gay bashing’.”

    Jon Stewart – The Daily Show, October 2, 2006

  • I agree Ben and peggysue that it should be about breach of trust, abuse of authority and abdication of responsiblity, but in the MSM it wll be mostly be about sex, which is a, well, sexier and a safer topic.

  • rc21

    Sexual peculiarities, corruption, and hubris are three things that all political parties are equaly susceptible to.

    The media loves to cover all three with equal vigor. Of course if your a republican the coverage will just last a whole lot longer.

  • katemcshane

    Jazzman’s analysis is excellent. And it’s gratifying to read Ben’s comment, to see it being supported by other people. When I heard that Republicans had known all along, certainly I wasn’t surprised, not because they’re Republicans or even because they’re politicians, but because pedophilia and sexual abuse/misuse of children is rampant. I don’t believe Foley is the only pedophile in Washington. Many years ago, I listened to a lecture from a psychologist who ran groups with pedophiles in the prison in Bridgewater — when someone in the audience asked him, Why do they do it? he said, Because they can. I would argue that there’s more support for pedophiles than for the children they victimize. I used to work with children who had been physically and sexually abused and I’ve seen too much, not just in the crimes perpetrated against kids, but from the people and institutions that are in place (supposedly) to help them. Newt Gingrich’s sick comment is ordinary.

    When I listen to the recent discussions of torture, I think about how the capacity for empathy is not something to be taken for granted. If it were ordinary, we wouldn’t have to talk about torture or war. In TRAUMA AND RECOVERY, Judith Herman illustrates the way that trauma inflicted during war, interment in concentration camps and prison camps, to rape victims and victims of other violent crimes, to women who are battered, and to children in abusive families is all the same, that society is able to participate in an open discussion of it at certain times, but that denial takes over after a while, because people can’t hold it in their awareness for very long. You see public discussions, for instance, of rape for several years at a time, but it disappears and comes up again 10 years later, when it is introduced as if it’s a new discovery.

    When that same lecturer talked about what changes someone in one of his groups, he said that it happens when the pedophile is able to feel the pain he has inflicted. He said that they didn’t allow themselves to feel pain when it happened to them as children, and that, in turn, made it a lot easier to pass it along to other children. When Anna Freud added a defense mechanism to her father’s list, it was “identification with the aggressor.” When you are hurt, abused, traumatized, either you can feel it and endure pain or you can deflect the pain and identify with the person who inflicts pain, because that person is the one on top. People in the Bush administration need to be on top. Probably, politicians, generally, need to be on top. That message permeates society at every level, more than ever since 9/11 — if you don’t join us, you’ll be one of the people on the bottom, and see how you like it then.

  • I wonder about h ow much of the fascination is because sexually predatorial behavior is about power that it is out of control. They way we like stories about mob figures. We all have to control our anti-social tendencies all the time. We don’t get to lose it on a co-worker because we’d lose our job. In a lot of ways, because our culture values independence over inter-dependence, we stifle the true expression of our emotional experiences. This suppression can lead to outbursts, like a child acting out, only when it’s an adult, it’s dangerous.

    katemcshane is right about how much sexual abuse goes unattended. We are more fascinated with the offender’s ability to ignore all social mores and become the monster we all fear we have in inside than we are with the victim. Perhaps because we’d rather associate with the one who wielded power than the one who was vulnerable. Vulnerability suggests needing people. Not being independent.

    Maybe we’re a country which needs to come to terms with the reality of inter-dependency. Perhaps we fear committing to one another, so we hold on to some ideal being powerfull self-sufficient people. This doesn’t allow us to face the horrors of power abuse, because then we might have to learn that it’s not about power, it’s about empowerment.

  • nother

    woo weee, that was a good one Allison.

  • nother

    “We’ve been wondering today, though, why sex hijacks the public discourse in America.”

    It dominates public discourse because it dominates private discourse. We are talking about sex all the time with family and friends in subtle and overt ways. We make jokes involving sex, we sing songs involving sex, we watch movies involving sex, we dance dances that invoke sex, we have sex.

    Public sex stories liberate us in a unique way, they enable us to talk with strangers and acquaintances and co-workers about a subject that is so important to us. It enables us to tap into the public consciousness concerning this wondrous and treacherous topic.

    The point is we need more public discourse not less; otherwise the youth will get their discourse from MTV alone. Years ago the “Rosanne” lesbian kiss was a lightning rod for national debate. The kiss happened and now you see women and even men kissing on screen. The public discourse we had about the Rosanne kiss moved our country forward. Years ago the media would have been reluctant to expose the priest abuse scandal. Now that have and it is part of the public discourse, many more young boys are safer. The more we talk about this guy Foley, the more likely other potential Foleys will avoid ridicule and control themselves. In the 80’s the public discourse was about Tailhook and sexual harassment, not many more women are safer.

    So in the immortal words of Salt ‘n’ Pepa, “Let’s Talk About Sex.”

    “Let’s talk about sex, baby

    Let’s talk about you and me

    Let’s talk about all the good things

    And the bad things that may be

    Let’s talk about sex”

  • I’m still sitting with this question: How come we are so comfortable talking about sexual abuses of power and avoid talking about other abuses of power? The country seems to be relieved to have the Foley story to talk about so they can avoid the Iraq/Afghanistan/Geneva Conventions/Constitutional abuses of power that we are suffering under.

    Is it because Foley is caught and no longer has power? Is it that it’s easier to focus on him than to fight against those still in power. I mean, sheesh, the Senate passed a bill that denies the right of habeus corpus, allows indefinite detention and torture, while retroactively absolving those who have committed these crimes to date. What happened to that conversation?

    Just as with incest, we simply refuse to acknowledge what is happening. The silence is deafening.

  • nother

    The sensationalism of the sex quotient can certainly be a distraction. Look at how obsessed we were with Gary Condit before 911.

    True Allison, we almost impeached President Clinton for abusing his power for sex with an intern but when President Bush abuses his power to wage war, we shrug our shoulders and ask about the price of gas.

    I’m also facinated that when Clinton was trying to kill Osama, the Right was acccusing him of wagging the dog to avoid the sex issue. Now they accuse the liberals of propagating the sex issue in the Foley matter. This stuff makes my head spin.

  • Peggy Sue @ work

    Allison, yes where is the outrage or did habeus corpus just silently slip away?

    There is a connection – total abuse of power.

    My cynical take when I first heard about Foley was, Gee, I guess that’s Republican sex education for ya. OK, I’m sure there are pedifiles of all stripes but it is consistantly Republicans who nix real sex education. In my former career as a preschool teacher I once went to a 3 day conference on child sexual abuse (learning more than I ever wanted to know). Facing the reality of it though is the only way we will ever stop it. I’d rather see it all over the news than swept under the carpet.

  • Old Nick

    sidewalker: “I agree, Ben and peggysue, that it should be about breach of trust, abuse of authority…”

    Allison: “…sexually predatorial behavior is about power that it is out of control…”

    This sentiment common to the conversation in this thread implicate the workings of an endemic but mostly obscure social force, Rankism: , detailed by Robert Fuller (see the ROS October Suggest-A-show thread).

    Pedophilia, however, is probably not a function purely of rankism. As Kate McShane points out here: “Why do they do it? Because they can…” Rankism enables, by the perception that respected adults ‘outrank’ children, the reach of pedophilia, but rankism alone can’t explain the existence of human adult sexual attraction to children.

    Author David Brin, however, can explain it – or, at least, gives it an interesting go, here:

    …which is based on this concept:

    I haven’t a firm opinion of Brin’s thesis, but it’s thought-provoking. It’s also about as obscure as rankism.

  • nother

    I feel honest discussions about sex are “excessively” repressed. I’ve been thinking a lot lately the similarities of the Muslim and Christian fundamentalism. One major common denominator is sexual repression. I’m starting to convince myself that sexually repressed men wage wars. And the scariest thing in the world to a sexually repressed man is a sexually liberated woman. This dynamic might be the root of all fundamentalism, I don’t know.

  • Potter

    There are some excellent posts on this thread. What a group!

    Jazzman, thanks especially.

    katemcshane thank you. I am glad you mentioned Judith Herman’s book “Trauma and Recovery”. Somewhere buried in suggestions I mentioned this book and asked for a show: how personal trauma matters and perpetuates itself in others, affects relationships, nations, the world. Personal trauma and dysfunction bleeds into the political arena.

    The Foley story is small relatively and will be confined, limited limited media life. But I think about the gross abuse of power on a larger scale stemming from the aggregate, the mass of collected dysfunction that agrees to share power over others for personal gain, that abuse of power, mutually enabling, that goes on that makes worse, stands in the way of, the solving of our problems, world problems, achieving peace and cooperation.

    For instance this beyond outrage story buried

    Definitely not sexy.

  • Potter
  • Potter

    Sorry. Forgive me. That was page three. This is the story:

    Billions for an inside Game on Reading.

  • Peggy Sue @ work

    Most people who sexually abuse children were themselves abused. Nother, I think you have a point about repression playing a role, note the Catholic Church and its abuse problems.

    But to answer the question: “Is Mark Foley suddenly political dynamite for the family values party or a case of a liberal, cyncial media exploiting America’s obsession with sex and its fear and dread and embarrassment of it too?”

    Adults taking sexual advantage of minors is a separate issue from having the details of consenting adults bandied about in the media. I think someone like Foley needs to have his behavior brought to light. On the other hand, what Paris Hilton is up to or what Janet Jackson is wearing isn’t really anybody’s business.

  • Potter

    I just heard David Frum ( on the Newshour) saying that if the DEmocrats wil, we it will be their fault that we lose the war in Iraq. Is this what it all boils down to?

    Also I just heard that Foley is claiming that he was abused by his priest when he was young. And so it goes………

  • Funny, I don’t think of the men in the Muslim and Christian fundamentalist groups as sexually repressed. They are pretty free to express their sexuality however they choose, regardless of the consent of the partners. Usually in these settings, the men lord power over the women and children with no repercussions for abuse.

    Perhaps you meant another kind of sexual repression, nother.

  • drrmmssw

    An important factor in the furor resulting from the news about Rep. Foley is that, over the last 10 to 20 years, we have gained more awareness of the damage that sexual abuse causes to its victims. Thus, the same behavior that was overlooked a few years ago is now recognized as very damaging. We have all heard of the difficulties with substance abuse, eating disorders, self-cutting, and suicidality that victims struggle with through their lives. An anology might be to lead–once it was thought that lead in the environment is harmless. Now we know that it causes great damage, even in small amounts. So, I think the zeitgiest has changed sufficiently, in response to this knowledge, such that this kind of behavior cannot be overlooked, I realize this is not a potlitical angle on the problem, but I think it is very relevant to your discussion.

  • Old Nick

    Allison, I can’t answer for nother (who will answer for himself just fine, I’m sure) , but I can supportively associate myself with his sentiments.

    I think ‘sexual repression’ is an ambiguous concept, and made relative by cultural perceptions. Some human societies have had little such repression, but only shreds of those cultures have survived contact with other, more aggressive cultures.

    I don’t know if there’s a real correlation between, say, the aggressiveness of ancient Sparta or Assyria and the relative prudery of those peoples. Human behavior is molded by culture, and most cultures have been subsumed by larger cultures in the past few centuries, making real anthropological comparisons effectively impossible.

    However, our species has two identically closely related cousins: chimpanzees, and bonobos. Chimpanzee males are aggressive, and even ‘war-like’, and chimp societies are dominated by patriarchs who seek harems.

    Bonobo societies, on the other hand, are comparatively peaceful, dominated by females, and by nearly continuous sexual activity.

    See this site for support of the notion that sexual freedom CAN mean a virtual absence of male aggressiveness: , which features this gem:

    “You can’t very well fight a war while you’re having an orgasm.”

  • So, define what you mean by repression. Because when I read “Princess” the biography of a Saudi princess, the descriptions of the sexual freedom of men were pretty graphic. Perhaps they publicly rail against sexual behaviors of women, and perhaps it’s not a topic of discussion in the media, but the private discussions are rife with sexuality.

    I think the difference is the kind of sexual behavior. In societies where dominance is a theme, the sexual practices are about power and not about intimacy. It then makes sense that these dominance-based groups would overtake the more peaceful groups where sex is about something different. In other words I think the nature of the sexual relations and discourse are only reflective of the underlying ethos. Not that people are aggressive because they are sexually ‘repressed.’

    Sex practiced as a dominance activity will promote the production of hormones related to that energy. Sex practiced as intimacy, or simply mutual pleasure, will promote the production of hormones related to that energy. So, it could be that an hormone addiction is created by the type of sex being practiced.

    Ok, rambling now….

  • Sagebrush

    The difference between Barney Frank and Mark Foley isn’t all that complicated. Frank was all-but-openly gay liberal, known to be tolerant toward gays in his political positions. He had a legal physical relationship with a willing partner who occupied a position that was subordinate to his, which made it ethically questionable but personally reasonable. Foley was a closeted gay conservative, known to be intolerant toward gays in his political positions. He had a predatory virtual relationship with unwilling partners who occupied a position that was subordinate to his, which made it ethically questionable and personally creepy.

  • rc21

    First of all it would be nice if people would actually use the proper terms when speaking about Foley. His emails to the 16 yearold page do not constitute pedophillia. Foley actually seems to suffer from Ephebophilia. There is a huge difference. If Foley is Gay which seems to be the case. And if being gay is no longer something that we should look at as deviant behavior, Then Foley is just doing what most straight older men do. Lusting after younger better looking partners.

    We must try and be tolerant of all lifestyles. Who is to say what is normal and what is not normal. I believe the supreme court struck down the sodomy laws in Texas. Why are all the Dems so upset. I dont believe they forced G.Studds ( D Mass)to step down. Studds admitted to having sex with a 16 year old page. Foley just sent emails. Also to Sagebrush ; There was a prostitution being run out of Franks home. Last time I checked that was still illegal.

    My own thoughts are that Foley is a gay man who likes young teenage males.

    I find this disturbing to say the least. But if I’m a liberal to each his own, it is nobodys business, what I do in the bedroom kind of guy, I gotta be honest and say whats the big deal.

    Of coarse seeing that Foley is a republican it is now OK to look at his lifestyle as one of depravity,and sickness. What a disgusting pervert this guy is. Most of the liberals on this sight wont admit it but it is the truth.

  • Ben

    The term you are searching for is pederasty. I will be surprised to find conservative ideologues stepping up to the plate to advocate it. But we’ll just have to wait and see on that.

  • yyzeh

    Foley will find God, and write a book for Simon and Shuster so Kuric can interview him.

  • Old Nick

    1. Perspective: I listened to most of the BBC’s The World Today from 7PM Pacific to about 7:50, and did not once, amid all the news of the world, hear the words Foley, pedophilia, or Hastert. And the BBC, mind you, covers American politics plenty, often leading their broadcasts with its minutia.

    The moral? The rest of the civilized world cares a whole lot less about sexual peccadilloes than the hopelessly puritan—and therefore sex-obsessed—US of A.

    2. rc21: I appreciate the correctness of your distinction between pedophilia and ephebophilia. However, and with all due respect, the distinction doesn’t mean a rat’s ass in our American culture. First, this ain’t ancient Athens, where ephebophilia was a cultural norm. This is a puritanical, homophobic culture. It’s also a society not overly fond of hypocrisy.

    Moreover, garden-variety subjectivity has much more influence than can any attempt by anyone, no mater how technically correct, to distinguish between the two ‘philias’.

    Like this: if the teenage partner of the ephebophile is your kid, then fine, maybe it’s ‘ephebophilia’.

    But if it’s my kid, it’s pedophilia—at least until the kid is 18 years old.

    Betcher ass on it.

    Now, if you find this example of our collective under-education deplorable, well, it is. And you can heap a fair helping of blame on the good ol’ GOP, which for decades has resisted calls to provide the funds for kids to get something approaching the classic liberal education. They want to educate good, obedient workers, not inquisitive world citizens. (And yet to spend two billion a week fighting ‘insurgents’ in oil-rich Muslim countries).

    You get what you pay for.

    3. Ben, your 9:19 PM reminded me of this tasteless but hilarious moment from Monty Python: Michael Palin introducing “Pederasto! The Game for All the Family!”

    (I don’t recall the episode or context, but the idea of parodying a game-show like that is, well, priceless. Even if tasteless.)

    4. Allison: I think you’re on the right track in your 7:37 PM. Context is vital. I would speculate, absent the evidence I’d prefer to have on hand, that cultures of comparative equality between the sexes are less “sexually repressed”, while patriarchal cultures are demonstrably more so. I think the context of dominance and subservience load the equation, making “sex” into a power relationship instead of a mutually appreciative or loving exchange between two consenting people. In that context, it doesn’t matter how much a guy gets his rocks off. It’s not a loving experience, but a power trip. And that matters, I think, profoundly.

    I’ll try to elucidate this in a forthcoming post.

  • Webster

    As a gay guy, there is another edge to this that never gets considered – Gay culture is very open to anyone who claims to be a member, the inclusivity is great in principle, but there is a tremendous gap between people who are attracted to eachother because they are Gay, and people who are attracted to eachother because of some sorry childhood warping event they’re too immature to contend with correctly. I’ve known many guys whos sexual exploits seem to fit hideously into a right leaning stereotype of someone who is re-creating a bad childhood experience, people who I would not trust around children…..I don’t consider them Gay as much as mixed up. Gay men are attracted to gay men because of a positive attraction. People re-creating theiir 12 year old molesting with a new generation are just perverts who need some real therapy.

    Nobody questions Foley saying he’s gay…whats gonna happen now? He’ll quit drinking and claim to get Fixed. It is SUCH a simplification of what it means to be homosexual.

  • nother

    Webster, thank you for that insightful post. I was struggling to answer a post by Allison above and you just helped me. Allison asked me what I meant by my “repressed men” remark and I was struggling to answer. It’s something I feel deeply, I have many examples in my head, but I didn’t have the narrative, the reason.

    Allison, Webster writes “there is a tremendous gap between people who are attracted to each other because they are Gay, and people who are attracted to each other because of some sorry childhood warping event” Well, that’s my answer Allison, there is a tremendous gap between people who are attracted to each other because they are in love, and people who are attracted to each other because of some sorry childhood warping event.

    The leaders waging war in our world only know sex in the context of some childhood warping event – and they are subsequently repressed – just as this guy Foley was repressed. Many fall in line with the fundamentalist because guess what, the common denominator of every fundamentalist movement is suppression of women. As bad as it gets for us white guys, even if the black guys won’t take it anymore, at least we will always have the women to push around.

    Many desperate men who have succumb to these “warping events”, regress to grasping for false power. To compensate for their inadaquetces they find a woman, or country, to dominant, a woman who is probably a victim of her own warping event (only she is STILL a victim.) This repression extends to repressed men I meet everyday, men who make all the important decisions in their relationship – including, I’m sure when to have sex.

    If these men only they knew what it meant to really make love with someone, to meet them halfway. Things – they’d be different, much different.

  • roadbiscuit

    This is off topic but can you please turn down the sound level on the music you play during the break. Your show comes up at 1am in the Bay Area (CA) and I keep having to turn down the volume every time the music comes on. Surely, there’s no reason to have it that loud – it’s like you’re in a race to the bottom with all those infomercials that believe they have to SHOUT REALLY LOUD to get my attention.

  • katemcshane

    Admittedly, this is too close to home for me. When this subject was first posted on the site, it took me hours before I could read the comments, let alone write a comment, because I was afraid I would read denial (or worse), but when I did read your comments, I was so relieved, pleased, and grateful. What people have written here is exceptionally insightful. When I listened to the show, however, I felt uncomfortable. Maybe I should go back and listen again, but when I woke up all these hours later, still uncomfortable, I thought — first, this was presented to us as a sexual issue; then, on this thread, it was redefined as a power issue. On the show, it seemed to be, again, about sex. I woke up thinking that it must be more difficult for people to talk about power on something other than an abstract level. I think it is, especially if it means remembering what it’s like to be a kid (even a teenager – and even a teenage boy) and be on the losing end of a power dynamic. It probably has a lot to do with why we accept some form of aggression (including verbal or psychological) in almost every interaction and think it’s normal, unavoidable. Certainly, for child abusers, batterers and child molesters, the hardest thing to do is to remember back to a time when they EXPERIENCED a lack of power. It’s the LAST thing they do, if they ever reach that point.

    No, Steve Almond, I am not thinking about what my friends and neighbors are doing with each other sexually, but I do think, often I guess, about what it would mean to my life to be in a relationship with a loving person. And, Susan Willis, it’s true that we try teenagers as adults, but that’s because we’re f___ed up. I don’t think it means that we should assume that a kid wants to read email from a congressman about the length of his penis. Robert Thompson, I don’t think it’s such a bad thing to have no faith in authority figures. I’m sickened by the moral bankruptcy in Washington, but I had enough of authority figures by the time I was 5. Yes, we ARE infantilized. That was the plan.

    I want to thank Old Nick and Nother for their discussions of power and intimate relationships. I want to thank Webster and Ben for what they said about gay men. And, Potter, thanks, in general.

  • Ok, nother, so you’re say that they are emotionally repressed. They have emotional experiences that they haven’t processed, have repressed and this leads to a dysfunctionally destructive personality type.

    That, I can see. I might redefine it as “intimately repressed” or “empathically repressed”. The term sex is too broad. You may inherently assume intimacy or empathy with that word, but it’s not a given, clearly. The bottom line is that they are emotionally stunted to everybody else’s detriment.

  • jazzman

    rc21: Why are all the Dems so upset. I dont believe they forced G.Studds ( D Mass)to step down. Studds admitted to having sex with a 16 year old page. Studds wasn’t hypocritical and took responsibility for his actions – unlike Mr. Foley who blamed it on molestation and alcoholism and other factors beyond his control. Times have changed and such arrangements are less tolerated and easily escalated to the hue & cry level due to the advent of the internet, e-mail and blogs which empower common people to voice an opinion to a wide audience. Where before one had to be incensed enough to expend the energy to write and mail letters to their congressmen or newspapers and magazines, their protests then had to pass the Cerberean assistants and editors even to be considered for further advancement or publication and in those days many media types didn’t want to get involved in personal character assassination.

    The Mary Kay Letourneau type of affair used to be regarded as a young man’s rite of passage and how magnanimous of an older woman to indoctrinate a neophyte into the mysteries of sex. Incarceration for such actions would be a bigger scandal than the act. Now this type of relationship (especially older female teachers and students – again abuse of authority) routinely results in either incarceration or house arrest. It’s just a result of people being mad as hell and not taking it anymore and afforded the anonymity of the internet and the supportive social mores aren’t afraid to express it (be their sense of morality offended or jealousy or any number of motives.) You can be sure that G. Studds would not survive in Congress given the prevailing social climate.

  • jazzman

    rc21: Also to Sagebrush ; There was a prostitution being run out of Franks home. Last time I checked that was still illegal.

    Yes, prostitution is illegal – but hypocritically so and Barney (one of the more intellectual members of Congress) claimed that he was unaware that “hot bottom” was running a brothel in his home. Whether he was disingenuous or no, he too would probably not survive this scandal if it were today, but I’d still vote for him. (He’s not my rep so I can’t – but if he were I would.) I agree that representatives of the public trust should behave in ways that don’t compromise their ability to be effective public servants (unlike Bill Clinton and undoubtedly a large company of that ilk – the present administration included) but we live in a Hamiltonian Representative Republic and the voters have the final say as to who represents their interests (except in 2000) and they get what they deserve if they elect less than ideal candidates (remember the reason we have representation is to act in the best interest of the nation when their constituency is ill-advised – at the peril of losing their seat – NOT to acquiesce to the will of the constituency.)

  • jazzman

    rc21: Of coarse seeing that Foley is a republican it is now OK to look at his lifestyle as one of depravity,and sickness. What a disgusting pervert this guy is. Most of the liberals on this sight wont admit it but it is the truth.

    Preemptively bashing liberals for mischaracterization of conservatives is a convenient (and fashionable) red herring to claim as truth (it’s a biased belief – as we all have to one degree or another – perhaps you’d call it An Inconvenient Truth but that label would probably strike a dissonant chord) and sarcasm or sincerity aside, perversion or sickness notwithstanding, I sincerely doubt that any of the Liberals on this site would give a Democrat in a similar circumstance a free pass. I imagine they’d cast a jaundiced eye toward such behavior in anyone.

    I count myself as an ultra-liberal (perhaps more libertarian in philosophy if not politically) and while I regard the actions of Mr. Foley as less than ideal and I’m sorry for him and all that participated in the drama, that he chose as a misguided human to express his predilections in the manner he did, I would not seek to punish him more than he punishes himself. One reaps as one sows…

  • Ben

    cheers jazzman. (October 4th, 2006 at 6:37 pm) nice one.

    I don’t know about anyone else, but making judgments on anyone’s sexuality, whether inside or outside the ‘norms’ isn’t quite as compelling (or fair) as the immediacy in subverting the language and perception of the events that took place seems. Within a very quick amount of perceptible time, a battle to control the language and imagery was engaged in by both parties and the media breaking the story. It’s particularly visible watching the demagogues currently in the Red camp justify the actions of their colleagues and constituencies. These are the same cats that made “sexual relations” and other slogans so popular in the lexicon.

    What is eclipsed (and sorely aced out of most the news) is that 5 adults, all ranking party members, who knew something about the behavior long before the news story broke and were in a position to act on information failed to do so in any positive way. They then attempted to cover it up and beguile reporters with bizarre rhetoric and press conferences when answering questions about having previous knowledge of any bad behavior. The story and focus of the matter was succinctly subverted to arguable “values” discussions in short order. Some individuals with the power to do otherwise enabled a bad situation, doing nothing until their feet were on fire. They then attempted alter the discourse on events in an incredible, but predictable way. It’s a pathological smoke and mirrors game that the Reds have been betting on hard and without conscience for a long time.

  • rc21

    To Jazzman: Sorry I cant agree. First you say Studds and Frank wouldnt survive because of the media scrutiny, and the level of bloggers email and internet. This does not wash. At the same time Studds was doing his thing a gop rep was caught in a relationship with a women. He resigned. Homosexuality was much more frowned upon during the studds era. Studds should have been forced out much easier than in todays world of tolerance towards abnormal sexual behavior. He not only survived but was reelected. As to Frank, You seem to want to give him the benefit of the doubt. You really dont think he knew a prostitution ring was being run out of his home?

    I may have been born at night, but it wasn’t last night. Right he knew nothing.Give me a break.

    If it is so hard to survive in todays worlds of blogs, emails, media attention, and every other source of info sharing,How do you explain Clintons survival? The thing about Clinton was it was not just Lewinski,as far as I was concerned that was the least of his offenses, You had several claims of harrasment ,everything from groping to rape.

    The fact is republicans when caught in these types of scandals usually resign Dems usually survive and in many cases thrive. N.O.W.and other feminist groups came to Clintons defense. Do you for a second honestly believe if Clinton was a republican he would have had the same support? The same holds true with Foley If he was a dem most gay groups in America would be defending him, and the gop would be looked at as homophobic for attacking him.

    You say that liberals would not give a dem in Foleys situation a free pass. But in fact they did just that in the case of studds. You must also remember Foley has not even been accused of anything other than emailing someone. I’m not even sure if what he did constitutes a crime. Studds admitted having sex with a minor.

    I may find Foleys behaviour disturbing,but truth be told I rather come down on the side of most liberals when it comes to matters of the bedroom. Live and let live. Being straight I find all homosexual behavior odd. but I neither condemn or condone. Odd doesnt mean bad it just means odd.

    The reason I posted on this subject is to show some of the hypocrisy coming from the left. much on this sight as well as others. There is also much hypocracy on the right,but seeing as probably 80-90% of the people here are liberal I’m sure they are doing a fine job of bringing it to everyones attention. Just trying to provide some balance. Otherwise it would get boring.

  • nother

    Katemcshane, thank you for that heartfelt post.

  • Ben

    I second nother, thanks. And much the same to most everyone up this line, am learning more as i reread. (Old Nick you made me spill my coffee thanks for that too.)

  • elphaba

    Sex sells in America. To most Americans sex is way more interesting than debates about the legal technicalities of torture, excuse me, coercive interrogation.

    To me there is a big difference between a man who is having sex with 16 year olds and one who is having sex with 9 year olds. One is a dangerous pervert and the other is sleazy.

    I’m sure this was an open secret in Washington; again sleazy, but it wasn’t like he was raping 9 year old boys in public toilets.

    The biggies in the Republican party hoped it would stay quiet until after the election. But I think their biggest problem is going to be with the Christian Conservatives who are already critical of what the Republicans have given them, which is way less than what they expected.

  • Old Nick

    Jazzman: Confession #1. I hadn’t read the Brin essay in five years. Confession #2. Five years ago I hadn’t even heard of the pop-hoodoo-science called ‘sociobiology’, let alone its successor, ‘evolutionary psychology’. Meaning that back then I was much more gullible than skeptical. And a whole lot more ignorant. (I’m still vastly more ignorant than knowledgeable, but I’m working on it.) I’ve been enjoying my recent efforts to replace ignorance with plausible explanations for the world’s many mysteries, and I say that with a sincere humility (all too often missing from many if not most of the users of these pages).

    So. I’ve now reread the Brin pages. Page 1? Yuck. Lots of thinly veiled sociobiology: as if nonhuman species and human behavior are conflatable.

    Page 2? Not so yucky. Brin’s two-way sexual selection speculation might not endure under the glare of truly scientific scrutiny, but at least he gave it the old college try. (And, despite what he seemed to think, he didn’t need any of that sociobiological nonsense on page 1 to introduce it, either.)

    But this is exactly where you and I will break down, because, unlike you, I find evolution by natural and sexual selection the most plausible theoretical explanation for speciation I’ve yet encountered. (And you haven’t bothered to offer any plausible evidence to the contrary, now have you? “Consciousness Manifestation” is only a cool-sounding pairing of words so far. You haven’t yet backed it with any evidence.)

    (Page 3? I only skimmed it. Sorry: no opinion available at this time!)

    Anyway, it’s telling however that amid all the sociobiological precepts that he disavows and then nevertheless adapts to his thesis, his explanation for neoteny in humans is the only bit I recalled from my five-year-ago read-through (and why I posted the link to the essay – which only its link in the Wikipedia article reminded me of.) It’s telling because, despite the objectionable material he needlessly uses to set up his thesis, his thesis nevertheless fits, roughly, into an evolutionary ‘sexual-selection’ framework. (But, since I’m no expert, I’d like a truly scientific analysis of Brin’s thesis before I fully surrender my credulity to it.)

    Brin was obviously reinterpreting the ‘scientific conventional wisdom’ washing through the journals and science books just before the writing of his article. That’s hardly egregious, and his thesis, even if seeming nearly ‘shocking’ isn’t any more pernicious or silly than most of the concurrent stuff he drew it from.

    How I might modify Brin’s thesis: women likely acted as the prime selectors during most of hominid evolution (but since you don’t buy evolution, this is probably falling about as loudly as snow in your mind’s ears). Hominid women likely selected not ‘intelligent’ males as Brin supposes (because intelligence is a subjective, not objectively certifiable, trait), but the more artfully articulate males. Which is probably why human language is the single most revolutionary phenomenon to emerge in the mega-faunal biosphere since…oh, I don’t know, maybe since photosynthetic plants (the original photosynthesizers weren’t plants but strains of eukaryotic bacteria – which plants descended from, and which still exist in abundance—see Stephen Jay Gould’s Full House).

    Intelligence and articulateness are tightly linked, but not synonymous. And brain science shows that, rather than being the products of ‘modules’, speech stems from neural activities all around the brain. Philip Liebermann argues powerfully in Eve Spoke that language, not the need to manipulate proto-technological materials in the Paleolithic, drove human brain evolution.

    Remember now that I’m talking about sexual selection, not natural selection. Sexual selection means choice, not accumulated, random genetic drift. And I’m not big on the ‘selfish gene’ idea. Genes don’t breed, organisms do. Human genes don’t select mates—human beings do. (Moreover, Devendra Singh’s ‘discovery’ that ‘hourglass bodies’ attract all human males across all cultural boundaries has been challenged plenty, and plausibly. Men tend to find attractive the female forms they are raised around. But that’s a digression…)

    So, is it implausible that the runaway-sexual-selection-for-neoteny Brin offers occurred evenly throughout hominid evolution? I dunno, but I suspect it was uneven.

    However, it’s not a stretch to plause that substantial differences in sexual dimorphism over various eras of the six million years of hominid evolution correspond to different species-specific mating behaviors. I can therefore speculate—not hypothesize, but merely speculate—that a few hundred thousand years ago, when proto-homo sapiens sexual dimorphism was at its most negligible in recent hominid evolutionary history, male-to-male competition was largely absent:


    Monomorphic species of living primates (those taxa exhibiting low levels of sexual dimorphism) tend to express minimal male–male competition, whereas dimorphic species tend to express relatively high levels of competition…The findings of Reno et al. (2) and interpretations based on a range of evidence suggest that A. afarensis had a monogamous and not a polygynous mating system with strong intermale competition as was implied from previous reconstructions of great body size dimorphism. However the data are interpreted, their findings do not contradict what would be expected in a monogamous mating system. Indeed, the relatively low amount of dimorphism is more consistent with pair bonding (and the behaviors associated with it), more so than with the higher levels of dimorphism in single- and multimale extant primate genera.”

    (unquote – see the link ‘hominid evolution’)

    This ‘low dimorphism’ model elevates female selectivity to its zenith. In such eras, females would have been truly free to select the most artfully gregarious talkers, accelerating human brain evolution. Conversely, in the eras when sexual dimorphism was at its extremes, males might have selected for neoteny above other considerations.

    So, is Brin wrong, or simply speculating outside the limits of your evolution-free credulity? (And keep in mind that even he calls it ‘mere conjecture’. A ‘thought experiment’, if you like.)

    For me, he might be onto something, even if he hasn’t quite got it right yet (I think he doesn’t—I think his ‘female competition’ notions are extreme and questionable). Worse, at this point it’s really all just speculation, and might never be knowable:

    “…how can we know in detail what small bands of hunter-gatherers did in Africa two million years ago? These ancestors left some tools and bones and paleoanthropologists can make some ingenious inferences from such evidence. But how can we possibly obtain the key information that would be required to show the validity of adaptive tales about an EEA (‘environment of evolutionary adaptation’): relations of kinship, social structures and sizes of groups, different activities of males and females, the roles of religion, symbolizing, storytelling and a hundred other central aspects of human life that cannot be traced in fossils?”

    Stephen Jay Gould, More Things in Heaven and Earth, Alas Poor Darwin, Harmony Books, New York, 2000.

    How this relates to Mark Foley: Brin’s thesis is that human neoteny is a sexually selected evolutionary trait. Neoteny in humans (it is not a purely human trait) can easily explain adult (especially but not exclusively male) sexual attraction to young people—even people judged “too young” by the prevailing social norms. If, in any given adult, this attraction overwhelms the adult’s enculturated sense of taboo, ephebophilia is likely, and pedophilia possible. (Keep in mind, however, that the definitions of ‘children’ and ‘childhood’ are not universal but parochially cultural.)

    However, this neoteny-driven taboo-breaking, to manifest without social opprobrium requires the enabling effects of rankism—or a culture like that of ancient Athens, which normalized adult-teenage sexual relationships. (Let’s not hold our collective breaths or hope for that last sort of development, shall we?)

    Mark Foley found himself in a position of privilege and power that enabled actualization of his incipient ephebophilia. Even if we can point to evolution by sexual selection for possible indirect causes of his fall, his conscious choices and willingness to break taboo are the real culprits. Foley has no one to blame but himself. Not alcohol, not priests, not Democrats, and not ancient Athenians, either.

    Foley is a conscious American man, fully endowed with reason and choice. He’s also a unambiguous hypocrite. (He’d make an interesting character for a Greek tragedy, though, wouldn’t he?)

  • jazzman

    Rc21 Says (in bold)

    Studds should have been forced out much easier than in todays world of tolerance towards abnormal sexual behavior. He not only survived but was reelected. At the same time Studds was doing his thing a gop rep was caught in a relationship with a women. He resigned.

    Yes – the people who re-elected him cared more about his political positions than his personal behavior. Whoever the GOP rep was, he could have chosen to fight and take his chances with the electorate – he had free will and wasn’t forced to resign. Either was Foley he could have done the same.

    As to Frank, You seem to want to give him the benefit of the doubt. You really dont think he knew a prostitution ring was being run out of his home?

    I stated that he might be disingenuous, I don’t know. I give him the benefit of the doubt in that being a savvy pol, he should have realized that knowingly allowing a prostitution ring to operate out of his home could have unpleasant ramifications. It may be that he benefited from a quid pro quo from his boyfriend by access to prostitutes allowed to use his home. I don’t know and I don’t care as I stated: Prostitution is a hypocritical crime and shouldn’t be one. What services adults provide for whatever exchange as long as it is mutually consensual is up to the parties concerned.

    How do you explain Clintons survival? He had the chutzpah to fight his ouster and prevailed.

    The fact is republicans when caught in these types of scandals usually resign Dems usually survive and in many cases thrive. Dems have more chutzpah than Repubs.

    You say that liberals would not give a dem in Foleys situation a free pass. I said the Liberals on this site of which I am one , not liberals in general would take a dim view of Foleys behavior as well as his politics. As I stated in the first post, Republicans don’t hold a monopoly on protecting their own, liberals would obviously tend to protect someone with whom they agreed more strongly than someone with opposing views. That’s human nature. As it really is opinion in most situations regarding acceptable and unacceptable behavior then each individual makes the value judgment based on his/her beliefs. See my definition of Absolute Morality:

    I’m not even sure if what he did constitutes a crime. Nor am I Studds admitted having sex with a minor. If he were charged of the crime of statutory rape he may have been found guilty. As no charges were pressed by the page or his parents, legally he is NOT guilty. That doesn’t mean that it was what I’d consider an ideal act but I have my own standards.

    Live and let live. A laudable belief.

    The reason I posted on this subject is to show some of the hypocrisy coming from the left. much on this sight as well as others…Just trying to provide some balance. Otherwise it would get boring.

    I wouldn’t say that the left leaning bloggers on this site are hypocritical in general, but wide generalizations and unsubstantiated claims aren’t balanced in my opinion. Remember hypocrisy is the hand maiden of the ideal



  • jazzman

    Potter et al. Did you see that a Texas 5th Grade teacher was fired because she had the audacity to take her class to an ART museum? The students were exposed to NUDITY, so it goes.

    Old Nick I’ll try to answer tomorrow.

  • rc21

    To Jazzman; You are minimizing the real reason Dems seem to suffer less than reps when it comes to these issues. The MSM never covers the dems with as much effort and vigor as they do when it is a rep. I went back and looked at the coverage of studds from some of the big media and it was mostly sympathetic. Very little in the way of negativity that surrounds Foley.

    You also had Dem Rep Reynolds of Illinois who was convicted on 12 counts including sexual assault, solicitation of sex with a minor, and other assorted crimes. His case was barely covered. Almost nothing until after the conviction. Even then most of the coverage revolved around a sense of sadness as to how a man who has done so much good could fall from grace. He was later pardoned by Clinton,and then hired by Dem leader Jesse Jackson.

    So you see it is much easier to fight these problems when you are not being badgered 24 hours a day from a media that has a vested intrest in seeing you driven from office.

    Once again you let Frank off claiming prostitution should be legal, in which case you feel he did nothing warranting resignation I tend to agree with you on the prostitution issue. I believe it should be legal.However I dont make the law and it is not up to me to decide which laws to obey and not to obey. A standing congressman should also understand that. Be that as it may. My problem with Frank, and I would have hoped dem voters would also have been upset was the fact that Frank had his boy friends traffic tickets fixed. Clearly an abuse of power.

    If you think this is ok then I guess we just have different standards when it comes to our definition of honesty. I would not vote for someone who had fixed his girl friends or boy friends tickets.

    As to Clinton Yes he has balls, I never denied that. But you failed to answer my question as to the amazing hypocrisy of all the womens groups. If these groups had protested in mass as they should have, it would have been much tougher for Clinton to survive. His actions were much more serious than Foleys. Yet all the dems with the exception of a few supported Cinton. They now are on a 24 hour a day jihad along with the media to crucify Foley and by extension the GOP.

    I agree 100% with your assesment of Foley. If he thought he was right or that his actions were not enough to warrant resignation he should have stood and fought. This is not the dems fault. I also cant blame tham for trying to make hay of this. We all know what sharks do when they smell blood in the water.

  • jazzman

    rc21 So you see it is much easier to fight these problems when you are not being badgered 24 hours a day from a media that has a vested intrest in seeing you driven from office.

    The media have their biases as we all do, Fox news slants toward conservatives and others slant liberal. If in their zeal to drive someone from office, reporters libel or slander the person in question, they are liable to lawsuit and or prosecution.

    However I dont make the law and it is not up to me to decide which laws to obey and not to obey.

    It is up to you by choosing what laws you obey or not. I doubt that you consider all laws just and transgress those with which you disagree if you believe you will not suffer by those actions. I know I do. I obey no laws with which I disagree unless there is a metaphorical gun pointed at my head, and I transgress no laws with which I agree philosophically.

    A standing congressman should also understand that. I’m sure he does.

    Be that as it may. My problem with Frank, and I would have hoped dem voters would also have been upset was the fact that Frank had his boy friends traffic tickets fixed. Clearly an abuse of power.

    Yes but it is small potatoes. I care about his positions on social issues and how he votes on issues that concern me.

    If you think this is ok then I guess we just have different standards when it comes to our definition of honesty. I would not vote for someone who had fixed his girl friends or boy friends tickets.

    No – honesty is honesty and all things being equal I prefer someone to be honest. Personal peccadilloes do not concern me overmuch as virtue is its own reward and if the petty non-violent “crimes” a politician commits comes back to haunt him then he has no one but himself to blame. (PC disclaimer: This applies to female politicians as well.)

    I was concerned about Pres. Clinton’s shortcomings in that the fiasco damaged the image of the presidency and probably cost Al Gore’s election. I am concerned that GW’s shortcomings have damaged the image of America in the world as well. I was disturbed that Deval Patrick apparently lied about the fact that he funded DNA testing for a convicted rapist when it was totally unnecessary and then admitted it when confronted with hard evidence, but I will still vote for him. I vote pragmatically for the politician who I believe will represent my philosophy best. No politician supports my philosophy entirely but liberals generally come closer than conservatives.



  • rc21

    Jazzman I guess we do see things differently.People with Personal,and sexual problems. I give a pass to. I was not in favor of Clintons impeachment for the Lewinsky B.J. It was consensual. I was more appalled at the claims of groping and rape. When you lay your hands on someone against their will that crosses the line.

    Fixing parking tickets is an indication of the mans dishonesty.

    Yes Fox leans right. That puts them up against CBS,ABC, NBC, PBS, NPR, BBC,AP,NY Times, Boston Globe, Washington Post, LA Times, MSNBC, CNN,Every late night host, throw in Maher, Stewart, Colbert, On and on I could go You get the drift. Not to mention a Washington press corps that voted overwhelmingly dem. You have one party that uses a cannon to push its agenda and the other party uses a cap gun. So much for unbiased coverage. Just look at the Plame affair. Month after month of coverage. Rove going to prison. Bush to be impeached on and on. Turns out the media knew all along Bush and Rove had nothing to do with this. But why not mislead the public for as long as possible. The media actively and with malice tried to harm the presidency.

    Yes Patrick seems also to be dishonest. He was certainly caught lying.And no I wont be suprised if this doesn’t bother Dems. Honesty seems to have left the party when Truman retired.

    I understand your point as to being pragmatic. Dont worry I’m sure Patrick will win. The state is overwhelmingly DEM.

  • jazzman

    rc21 When you lay your hands on someone against their will that crosses the line. I totally agree, but it was “he said: she said:” nothing was proven and the complainants weren’t able to muster a case.

    Fixing parking tickets is an indication of the mans dishonesty.

    Why is fixing parking tickets dishonest? He honestly used his influence to get the parking tickets waived and why do you care? It’s a slight abuse of power but isn’t the use/abuse of power one of the perqs of elected office? People go into politics to get the power to further their vision of the future at best and to feather their nests at worst. He was reprimanded by his peers for his actions and that was the price he paid. I’d rather have a bright liar that votes my way than a dim bulb who is “honest” and votes against my wishes.

    Yes Fox leans right. That puts them up against CBS,ABC, NBC…yada, yada There’s research available that indicates that the MSM is to the right of center (they have to be or they would get very little access), but who among us believes that news coverage is unbiased? It almost NEVER is neutral. Humans with a pulpit will tend to further their agenda in direct proportion to their emotional investment in a subject. Turns out that after being fed a sacrificial lamb (Libby) the blood lust was partially sated, but does that mean Bush, Rove & Co. are above fear mongering and dirty tricks (ostensibly for the good of their agenda and concomitantly OURS?) If one has a reputation for these types of public manipulation, then it’s not surprising if ill-will is engendered and emotionally vested people attempt to make life uncomfortable by poking at chinks in the armor. If there were no chinks, then the presidency would not be harmed, if anyone is harming the presidency it’s the current administration.

    Honesty seems to have left the party when Truman retired. Truman was mainly remembered for taking responsibility, not his honesty. Total honesty is (thankfully) illusory and hardly laudable as it would cause more problems than it would solve. What constitutes “TRUTH” (except tautological or Boolean truth) is a matter of belief and opinion and is not black and white except in the mind of the believer. (Witness GWB)

    The state is overwhelmingly DEM. The fact notwithstanding that Republicans have held the corner office for since Dukakis, maybe people are getting tired of the fear factor politics that is so prevalent in the conservative camp, perhaps not as I’ve stated before: FEAR is the most primal of human emotions and the most easily exploited. We’ll just have to see.

  • jazzman

    Old Nick: I’ve agreed many times in writings here that indeed the DE model is the more plausible of the 2 competing explanations. Neither is plausible to me and there really aren’t any other theories that have the weight of adherents that the 2 main theories can muster and as you are fond of reminding us (as am I when it is used to justify a position) popular opinion may just be an Argumentum ad Populum fallacy. There are too many logical holes in either of the theories to persuade me, but DE appears be a scientific model because it is couched in scientific garb. S.J. Gould was concerned enough about the holes to attempt to account for them by inventing theories (like punctuated equilibria – touted by Brin on page 2 as “recent biological theory”) It was Gould’s theories that 1st caused me to examine my beliefs in DE and come to the conclusion that these “Just So” stories were about as persuasive as Kipling’s. The holes are there for anyone to see but as they are mostly adduced by religionists to denounce the DE model and prop up the ID model they are ignored by most DE proponents. Just because a person with NSE (non-verifiable supernatural entity) beliefs points out that the king (Darwin) is naked doesn’t make it less so – that is an ad Hominem fallacy. Evolutionary biologists offer scant evidence (mainly allele variation/mutation in differing strands of DNA and the idea that complexity derives from simplicity.) If one carefully examines the hard evidence that supports DE there is much hand waving, uncertainty and a priori assumptions to make it work (indeed leaps of faith.) I don’t know what the actual mechanism is but the universe when viewed quantum mechanically appears to operate in more dimensional, less linear logic than does DE. CM requires no agency but consciousness (which as I have noted many times flummoxes science) and is my current candidate. If the holes in DE can be explained and DE can be shown to stand up to scientific method, I’ll jump on the bandwagon.

    So, is Brin wrong, or simply speculating outside the limits of your evolution-free credulity? (And keep in mind that even he calls it ‘mere conjecture’. A ‘thought experiment’, if you like.) Yes on both accounts.

    After reading Brin’s thought experiment (and I said I thought he was serious until I read the disclaimer) the gobbledygook of inferences and conclusions from pseudoscientific speculation aside, I find it amusing that you could plause such a mechanistic explanation. I plause that the myriad manifestations of sexual attraction are not some mechanistic evolved survival strategy or innate qualities or chance genetics, but learned behavior, learned from observation, induction, deduction and inculcation. As you note: Foley has no one to blame but himself…Foley is a conscious American man, fully endowed with reason and choice. He chose to act in a way that society currently doesn’t condone, and likely believes that he was justified in his actions. We all have no one to blame but ourselves so it behooves us to act accordingly.

  • rc21

    To Jazzman ;I think are differing views on Frank just about sums it up. We differ as to what is important. Some value integrity, Some value a person who’s political ideas resemble their own. Fixing parking tickets is illegal and imoral.Not to mention an abuse of power. As to the media ,You are joking i’m sure. Even most liberal journalists admit to the media leaning left.

    Clinton. You are still avoiding the issue as to why he survived. A failure of feminist groups to come to the aid of the many accusers. There silence was deafening.

    The only reason the gop held the corner office for so long is because people remember how the Duke and the Dem legislature literally stole money right out of our paychecks to pay for all his social programs. Many youngsters dont remember the Duke so we will have to go through another money grab from the state capitol to pay for all of Davals programs. Hold on to your wallet.

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