Foley fallout

Republicans to purge gays as voters purge them. Like being gay has anything to do with it. Like all of them didn’t cover it up for years.

As a sign how supernova this story has become, AOL, ABC News, Washington Post, and NY Times are running Google Adwords for “Mark Foley,” something they are not doing, for example, with “George Bush.”

AOL is second from top in the highest priced ad section.

Mark Foley Google Adwords - top

ABC, Wapo, and NY Times are #2, 3, and 5 in the ads that appear in the right column.

Mark Foley Google Adwords - right

It is, I believe, quite unusual for major media to buy Google Ads for a single story, something which demonstrates how much this story has grabbed the attention of the country. Some Brit blogs have wondered, why are the Yanks so focused on this when there’s wars going on? A good point, but FoleyGate isn’t just about sex, it’s about misuse of power, betrayal of trust, and I think will be looked back upon as when the neocons began to self-destruct.

  • The Mark Foley scandal: Where is the crime? Down with this reactionary

    by Fred Bergen

    A Republican congressman from Florida is under investigation by the FBI
    and state authorities. He has resigned from Congress in disgrace.
    Condemnations and accusations are raining down on him and congressional
    Republican leadership, who are scrambling to distance themselves from
    Foley as the November 7 election approaches. Political pundits believe
    that the Democrats may finally have an “issue” that can win them control
    of Congress. The Democrats are playing it for all it’s worth. For six
    years they tried to position themselves as better leaders for the “war
    on terror”, better enforcers of the racist immigration laws, defenders
    of the honor and integrity of the CIA, but they couldn’t get any
    electoral momentum out of it. Now they look capable of sweeping into
    control of Congress as righteous enemies of child molesters and sexual

    What actually happened? In 2005, the St. Petersburg Times, along with
    the Miami Herald and Fox News, were sent copies of five emails that Mark
    Foley allegedly sent to a sixteen-year-old former page. These emails are
    said to be “sexually suggestive”. About the closest they get to that is
    Foley’s apparent repeated requests for a “pic[ture]” of the former page.
    [1] None of these outlets published the story; the Times editors
    concluded it was probably just “friendly chit-chat.”

    The emails were first published on a website dedicated to exposing
    Foley’s behavior. Following this, ABC News and the Washington Post
    published, or claimed to be in the possession of, transcripts of
    internet instant-message conversations between Foley and two former
    Congressional pages under the age of eighteen, which occurred in the
    year 2003. Some of these messages are more sexually explicit.

    One anonymous former page alleged to the Los Angeles Times that he had
    sex with Mark Foley in the fall of 2000. At the time this page was
    twenty-one years old.

    Not one page or former page has pressed charges of sexual harassment,
    molestation, or anything else, against Foley. No one has claimed that
    the alleged sex between Foley and the twenty-one year old former page
    was anything but consensual. So why is this a political issue? And why
    are socialists concerned with it?

    We revolutionaries think that the state has no business interfering in
    sexual relations. Does this mean that we defend or excuse rape,
    harassment, or molestation. Absolutely not. Sexual relations must be
    based on free and mutual consent; anything else is a serious crime. But
    while poisonous innuendo abounds, there has not been one scintilla of
    evidence that Foley forced himself on anyone. At most he may have sent
    sexual proposals via instant-message to former pages. But no one has
    accused him of forcing the pages to read his messages, or of continuing
    his propositions if he was told that they were unwanted. If what he is
    known to have done is a crime, we say the law is unjust, because we take
    a stand on principle against punishing people for mere speech or
    thoughts, no matter how unpopular they may be.

    It is the capitalists and their parties who politicize sex. They claim
    to be defending the innocent and vulnerable, but anyone who has seen the
    pictures from Abu Ghraib prison knows that this government doesn’t give
    a damn about sexual torture and molestation. Their real intent is to
    persecute anyone who strays outside the completely artificial bounds
    prescribed by the patriarchal, heterosexual bourgeois family, and in the
    process arrogate to themselves ever greater police powers. And so, as
    revolutionaries we must defend the democratic rights of workers, youth,
    and oppressed people whenever they are attacked under the banner of
    bourgeois “morality,” “family values,” or protection against “sexual
    predators.” It makes no difference to us that Foley is a utter
    hypocrite, who as chairman of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited
    Children, used the threat of child sexual abuse to campaign for laws
    giving the state power to arrest and prosecute people for victimless
    thought-crimes, and sponsored the legislation which became the “Adam
    Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act” of 2006, which required
    monitoring and publication of the whereabouts of “sex criminals,” even
    after they have completed their sentences, and a minimum 25-year
    sentence for kidnapping. That he has been ensnared by his own
    reactionary crusade is no consolation to the millions of victims of
    bourgeois sexual “morality.”

    The most common form of kidnapping by far is not the type of nightmarish
    abduction by malicious stranger-molesters that is dramatized daily in
    the corporate media, but involves parental disputes in cases of divorce
    or estrangement. While such situations are certainly distressing and
    harmful to the child and all involved, it’s hard to imagine how the
    intervention of the cops and a twenty-five year minimum prison term
    could make anything better for anyone. Furthermore, it is within
    families and among family members or sexual couples that the majority of
    rape and child abuse cases occur. Many of these would be prevented if
    women had the absolute right to divorce, abortion, free medical and
    child care, and guaranteed housing and employment, as part of a program
    to end the enslavement of women to their husbands and male partners. How
    many of these cases would also be prevented if gays and lesbians were
    not forced by social stigma and discriminatory laws into “family”
    relationships that had nothing to do with their feelings or desires, and
    punished for the relationships that they have or want?

    The capitalist “nuclear” family celebrated by bourgeois moralists as a
    one-size-fits-all “tradition” is a recent invention from the perspective
    of human existence on earth, and has nothing to do with the biological
    or psychological needs of the human organism. It has a social purpose:
    to provide a mate for the male head of household, who by virtue of her
    being the exclusive sexual property of the father, can provide
    legitimate sons, uncontested heirs to the man’s worldly posessions. And
    since the vast majority of people in the world, workers, the unemployed,
    and poor peasants, have little or nothing of value to pass on to their
    “heirs”, the ’till-death-do-us-part family is completely useless to
    them. It is imposed on them by reactionary legislation and anti-gay,
    anti-women, and anti-sex morality crusades.

    It is the crusading “defenders of children” who push bankrupt and sexist
    “family values”, who make it harder to divorce and harder for women to
    control their own reproduction, who force women into the arms of men
    they don’t want by cutting off welfare and child-care services, and who
    preach sexual ignorance and abstinence as a prudish alternative to
    education for the youth. Their hypocrisy knows no bounds, and their
    victims, as always, are the workers and oppressed people, especially
    women and gays, lesbians, bisexual and others with non-conforming sexual
    identities, who, if they are not formally convicted of a crime, can
    still be hounded out of their jobs and communities for their
    transgressions against bourgeois “family values.”

    We oppose any state interference in personal and sexual relations that
    are based on free, mutual consent. It is the capitalists and their
    morality crusaders who break up family bonds that might otherwise be
    healthy, either because they don’t fit the heterosexual nuclear-family
    cookie-cutter, or through the stress of overwork, poverty, and racist
    police harassment.

    Apologists for this bipartisan witch-hunt, pointing out the wide
    disparity in ages between Foley and his contacts, will ask, doesn’t the
    obvious imbalance of power in these relationships (whatever their extent
    may have been) mean that they can’t be healthy or consensual? We ask: in
    this society that is based on huge inequalities in wealth and power and
    painfully distorted by racism and women’s oppression, can there be any
    truly “equal” sexual relationship? And how can the capitalist state, the
    violent enforcer of these same inequalities, be trusted to enforce
    standards of equality among sexual partners, with arbitrary age of
    consent laws, or by any other means? These reformists are looking for an
    excuse for police-state powers to punish private thoughts and consensual
    sex (to the degree that truly free consent is possible in a society
    torn apart by class antagonisms), under the banner of protecting the
    helpless. Since when has the capitalist state, its police, its courts,
    its laws, stood for the rights of the exploited and oppressed? Reformist
    objections of this sort only prove that socialist revolution, and the
    consequent abolition of social inequality, is necessary to liberate
    sexuality from the chains of capitalist “morality”, while at the same
    time they demonstrate the reformists’ fundamental loyalty to the
    repressive capitalist state.

    We will not conform to this bourgeois anti-gay morality crusade. Our
    demands are: Stop this witch-hunt! Down with the reactionary,
    hypocritical “family values” crusade! Cops and courts, out of the
    bedroom! For women’s and gay liberation through socialist revolution!

    [1] The alleged year 2005 emails are available at
    . This is a Democratic party website dedicated to publicizing the Foley
    scandal and persecuting the ex-congressman and other Republicans
    involved in this scandal in the courts.

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