For those that missed out on the story:
In 2005, Foley sent five emails, some of them sexually suggestive, to a 16-year-old former page sponsored by Rep. Rodney Alexander (R-LA). Among other things, Foley asked for a photo of the page, asked what he wanted for a birthday present, and expressed admiration for the physique of another young male page (to whom he had also written). The page forwarded the emails to a colleague in Alexander's office, saying "this really freaked me out," and repeating the word "sick" 13 times to describe the photo request. The page asked "if you can, please tell Rodney [Alexander] about this," and mentioned another page who had been warned about a Congressman who "hit on" interns.
On October 3, ABC News reported that it had come into possession of as many as "52 separate instant message exchanges, which former pages say were sent by Foley, using the screen name Maf54, to two different boys under the age of 18." Another former page, Tyson Vivyan, has said that he received "sexually suggestive" messages from Foley in 1997, a month after he left the page program. Then on October 5 ABC News reported that, in 2002, Foley e-mailed one page with an invitation to stay at his home in exchange for oral sex. The page, who was 17 years old at the time, declined the offer. The same report stated that he emailed another with a request for a photograph of his erect penis. And that was just for starters.
Now, I can understand that in modern, psychologically-ill, America, a politician might feel compelled to hide the fact that he or she is gay, but Foley isn't your run of the mill 'deviant' (according to Bush and his nutjob fundie Christian followers) homosexual. Foley is a pedophile, and in the case of the sexual abuse of children, it matters not your sexual orientation. How do we know Foley is a pedophile? We don't, all we know is that he sent lewd messages to several underage Washington interns, but since when did the public ever get the full story about corruption of any sort on Capitol Hill?
Sure, in normal life, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, but as 'Monicagate' showed, sometimes a cigar is the means by which the public gets a peek at the tip of the iceberg and of just how big a gap there is between politicians' carefully crafted public image and their somewhat less than pious private reality. While most normal people would have expected Clinton, having been exposed as a lying philanderer, to die a slow political death, thanks to the amazing power of the mainstream media, 'Slick Willy' is today a noble 'elder statesman', commanding 6 figure sums for spouting a few paragraphs of paramoralistic claptrap.
So we can, with self-righteous certainty, state that when a scandal erupts in American politics, especially in relation to sexual deviancy, and always in the case of the abuse of children, limited hangouts rule the day. Why? Because such scandals are but a scratching of the surface of what is a putrid and shocking American (or rather international) body politic.
Remember back in the 80s when Bush senior and Reagan were linked to midnight visits of the White House for underage call boys?
It should come as no surprise therefore that Foley's little secret was, for at least a year, an open one, both in terms of the file that the FBI had on him and the fact that two Florida newspapers, the St. Petersburg Times and the Miami Herald, as well as Fox News, had received copies of Foley's lewd emails as far back as November 2005. And as if that were not bad enough, Foley's former chief-of-staff, Kirk Fordham, had complained in 2003 to House Speaker Dennis Hastert (yes, the idiot with a hammer who stands behind Bush in Congress) and other congressional leaders about Foley's "inappropriate behavior". Hastert, the paragon of virtue that he is, decided at that time to take no action to protect young male interns from predators like Foley, preferring instead to wait until someone else broke the story before he loudly condemned Foley.
Some form of justice for the duplicitous Hastert now seems likely with calls being made for his resignation also - not that resignation is sufficient punishment for these creeps. Hastert, while accepting responsibility for the scandal, has refused to step down, declaring, "I haven't done anything wrong", which, given that he is very likely a psychopath, is probably 'the truth' as sees it.
Basically, if you think Foley's transgressions were limited to one under 18 year old boy, you are not eligible for membership in the reality based community and I have a nice holiday camp in Cuba to sell you. It is high time that we all clued up on personal, and particularly political, power, those that seek it, and how it is, for the most part, the domain of predators, hypocrites and liars of all types.
Initial revelations about Foley's exploits at the end of September prompted many more "Congressional house boys" to come forward, alleging a history of inappropriate conduct by Foley dating back at least ten years. It is safe to say therefore that Foley's obsession with young boys is not a twisted version of the common 'mid-life crisis'. And this is where it gets really scary.
You see, during his 12 years in office, Foley was one of the foremost opponents of child pornography, serving as chairman of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children and spearheading a bill in 2002 to outlaw web sites featuring sexually suggestive images of pre-teen children, saying that "these websites are nothing more than a fix for pedophiles."
Foley also succeeded in getting a law passed that allows volunteer youth-serving organizations like the Boy Scouts of America and Boys and Girls Clubs to have access to FBI fingerprint background checks to help protect children.
Now I know that the best person for any job is often one with previous experience in the specific field to which the job relates, but I don't think that this applies when selecting politicians to oversee civil and government child protection programs. It is, in fact, completely sick, and merely provides further evidence for a theory that we have for a long time taken as fact: politicians (in the US, the UK and Israel, to name the biggest offenders) are deviant human beings and inveterate liars; they accuse others of what they themselves are guilty; and the truth is generally to be found 180 degrees from what they say. They are able to lie about the most horrible crimes in such a convincing and shameless way that normal, decent human beings are left with no choice but to believe them.
A quick check of this theory by way of cross-checking against world events over the past 5 years will immediately prove to you just how well it translates to reality: For example:
- The Bush government states that it does not sanction torture, yet the facts clearly show that torture is a firm part of Bush government policy in the so called "war on terror", but millions of Americans still believe the word of their commander-in-chief.
- The Bush government says that it is spreading "freedom and democracy" to Iraq and the Middle East, when the facts show that they have destroyed Iraq and Afghanistan and murdered 300,000 Iraqis and tens of thousands of Afghanis. Yet millions of ordinary Americans think that the people of Iraq and Afghanistan are better off than they were 6 years ago.
- The American and British governments claim that "Islamic terrorists" attacked American and British citizens on 9/11 and 7/7, when independent analysis of the evidence shows that it is very unlikely that this is the case. Yet many Americans and people around the world still believe in the "Islamic terror" myth.
- The Israeli government claims that it is defending itself against Islamic terrorists, when the facts show that the state of Israel is the aggressor in the Middle East and is actively promoting terrorism. Yet most Israelis, and many Americans, believe that Israel is "the only Democracy in the Middle East".
The plain and disturbing fact here is that individuals who repeatedly cheat, steal, abuse, torment and kill, while showing no empathy for their victims and no remorse when they are exposed (people like Foley, Hastert, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Blair, Olmert, Netanyahu, Rice, and probably thousands of other politicians) have long-since been scientifically studied and a core reason for their deviancy defined: it is called psychopathy, and the individuals are psychopaths - genetically different from the vast majority of normal human beings in such a way that they are incapable of true human emotion and, most importantly, empathy for another human being.
Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School Martha Stout, who has worked extensively with victims of psychopaths, writes in her book The Sociopath Next Door:
Imagine - if you can - not having a conscience, none at all, no feelings of guilt or remorse no matter what you do, no limiting sense of concern for the well-being of strangers, friends, or even family members. Imagine no struggles with shame, not a single one in your whole life, no matter what kind of selfish, lazy, harmful, or immoral action you had taken.Dr Robert Hare is Emeritus Professor of Psychology at the University of British Columbia, has dedicated almost 40 years to the study of psychopathy and is the author of several books on the subject. Hare states:
And pretend that the concept of responsibility is unknown to you, except as a burden others seem to accept without question, like gullible fools.
Now add to this strange fantasy the ability to conceal from other people that your psychological makeup is radically different from theirs. Since everyone simply assumes that conscience is universal among human beings, hiding the fact that you are conscience-free is nearly effortless.
You are not held back from any of your desires by guilt or shame, and you are never confronted by others for your cold-bloodedness. The ice water in your veins is so bizarre, so completely outside of their personal experience, that they seldom even guess at your condition.
In other words, you are completely free of internal restraints, and your unhampered liberty to do just as you please, with no pangs of conscience, is conveniently invisible to the world.
You can do anything at all, and still your strange advantage over the majority of people, who are kept in line by their consciences will most likely remain undiscovered.
How will you live your life?
What will you do with your huge and secret advantage, and with the corresponding handicap of other people (conscience)?
The answer will depend largely on just what your desires happen to be, because people are not all the same. Even the profoundly unscrupulous are not all the same. Some people - whether they have a conscience or not - favor the ease of inertia, while others are filled with dreams and wild ambitions. Some human beings are brilliant and talented, some are dull-witted, and most, conscience or not, are somewhere in between. There are violent people and nonviolent ones, individuals who are motivated by blood lust and those who have no such appetites. [...]
Provided you are not forcibly stopped, you can do anything at all.
If you are born at the right time, with some access to family fortune, and you have a special talent for whipping up other people's hatred and sense of deprivation, you can arrange to kill large numbers of unsuspecting people.With enough money, you can accomplish this from far away, and you can sit back safely and watch in satisfaction. [...]
Crazy and frightening - and real, in about 4 percent of the population. [Stout - The Myth of Sanity]
The damage they [psychopaths] inflict on society is out of all proportion to their numbers, not least because they gravitate to high-profile professions that offer the promise of control over others, such as law, politics, business management .. and journalismHare called these people "snakes in suits".
Hare performed two now-famous studies which suggest that psychopaths really are different from normal human beings. In the first, subjects were told to watch a timer counting down to zero, at which point they felt a harmless but painful electric shock. Non-psychopaths showed mounting anxiety and fear.
Psychopaths didn't even sweat.
In the second, the two groups had their brain activity and response time measured when asked to react to groups of letters, some forming words, some not. Words such as "rape" and "cancer" triggered mental jolts in non psychopaths. In psychopaths they triggered precisely nothing.
In another study, Hare measured the brainwaves of psychopaths and others as they were shown both neutral and emotional words.
Non-psychopaths responded with more speed and brain activity to emotion-charged words such as rape or cancer than to neutral words such as tree. To psychopaths, there was no difference.
In perhaps the most telling study conducted by Hare, clear evidence for the argument that psychopaths are indeed fundamentally different in make up from the majority of normal people was revealed:
Several years ago two graduate students and I submitted a paper to a scientific journal. The paper described an experiment in which we had used a biomedical recorder to monitor electrical activity in the brains of several groups of adult men while they performed a language task. This activity was traced on chart paper as a series of waves, referred to as an electroencephalogram.According to Professor Hare psychopaths are impulsive - they lack empathy and remorse. They crave power and prestige, and are extremely controlling. He described them as "knowing the words but not the music." "They can learn to use ordinary words and to reproduce the pantomime of feeling but the feeling itself does not come to pass."
The editor returned our paper with his apologies. His reason, he told us: "Frankly, we found some of the brain wave patterns depicted in the paper very odd. Those EEGs couldn't have come from real people."
Some of the brain wave recordings were indeed odd, but we hadn't gathered them from aliens and we certainly hadn't made them up. We had obtained them from a class of individuals found in every race, culture, society, and walk of life. Everybody has met these people, been deceived and manipulated by them, and forced to live with or repair the damage they have wrought. These often charming - but always deadly - individuals have a clinical name: psychopaths. [Hare, Without Conscience]
No emotion; no ability to empathize with the suffering of another human being; an ability to mimic feeling and emotion, to 'talk the talk' because they understand that this is what is expected of them; gravitate to high-profile professions that offer the promise of control over others, such as law, politics, business management and journalism; radically different brain wave patterns from those of "real people".
For a more indepth study of lies and psychopathy, see Laura Knight-Jadczyk's "The Cult of the Plausible Lie".