Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Another Republican Politician Involved in a Sex Scandal

Another one bites the hypocritical dust:

Sen. John Ensign of Nevada, a conservative Republican with evident presidential ambitions, abruptly announced Tuesday he carried on an extramarital affair for much of last year with a woman on his campaign staff, a confession that jarred his scandal-weary state as well as his party.

"It is the worst think I have ever done in my life," Ensign said in a brief appearance before reporters. He provided few details other than to say he does not intend to resign from Congress, and he did not disclose what prompted his decision to declare his infidelity. "If there was ever anything in my life that I could take back, this would be it," he added.

Ensign, 51, belongs to the men's group Promise Keepers, a Christian ministry. A member of the Senate Republican leadership, he was chairman of the party's campaign committee leading up to the 2008 elections in which Republicans lost eight seats to Democrats.

His announcement drew no public reaction from Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the party's leader in the Senate, or other members of the leadership.

[...]At home, Ensign's admission comes on top of a string of disclosures and allegations about Republican Gov. Jim Gibbons. Since his election in 2006, Gibbons has been accused of sexual assault, sending love notes on a state phone and improperly firing a state employee. In recent court documents related to divorce proceedings, his wife, Dawn, accused him of a history of infidelity.

Within the Senate, Ensign's admission of an affair placed him in a lengthening line of Republicans to grapple with such issues. Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, retired at the end of his term last year, several months after pleading guilty in connection with charges resulting from an airport bathroom sex sting operation.

Last summer, Sen. David Vitter, R-La., apologized for a "very serious sin in my past" after it was disclosed that his Washington phone number was among those called several years ago by a Washington-area escort service that prosecutors have said was a front for prostitution.

The list is long and shocking:
  • Randal David Ankeney is the Republican activist who was arrested on suspicion of sexual assault on a child with force. He was charged with six counts related to getting a 13-year-old girl stoned on pot and then having sex with her. Ankeny has also been accused of sexually assaulting another girl. Source: Denver ABC Article
  • Bob Barr is the Republican Congressman from Georgia who sponsored the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act, saying "The flames of hedonism, the flames of narcissism, the flames of self-centered morality are licking at the very foundation of our society, the family unit." He was married three times, and paid for his second wife's abortion (she also suspected he was cheating on her). he failed to pay child support to the children of his first two wives and while married to his third and present wife and was photographed licking whipped cream off of strippers at his inaugural party.
  • Parker J. Bena was a Republican activist and a key player in the campaign to elect George W. Bush as President. Bena was charged and later pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography and lying to the FBI. Bena reportedly told the feds that he had received an unsolicited e-mail containing pictures of children (some as young as three years old) performing various sexual acts, but agents learned that he had in fact voluntarily entered a number of child pornography websites and downloaded the images himself. This is said to have involved acts with children as young as 3 years old, on his home computer. Parker J. Bena was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison and fined $18,000. Source: DemocracyUnderground.com
  • Louis Beres is a past chairman of the Christian Coalition of Oregon. Three of his family members accuse him of molesting them as children, when they were pre-teens. In an Editor and Publisher article, in August 2006, Beres confessed to the accusations facing him. The Portland Mercury

Obama wants Financial Watchdog to Protect Consumers

What we really need is a revolutionary consumer bill of rights. Buyer beware is still the law of the land. We need comprehensive laws that protect consumers. But the lobbies won't allow it. But the President gets credit for trying:

When President Obama takes the podium on Wednesday to talk about his proposals for avoiding the next financial crisis, he is expected to unveil one idea that speaks directly to consumers and their pocketbooks.

Obama will call for the creation of a new financial watchdog agency. Its mission will be to protect consumers from deceptive or dangerous mortgages, credit cards and other financial products.

Proponents have dubbed it a "financial products safety commission" akin to the federal agency that oversees safety of toys and other products. Obama himself broached the subject on Jay Leno's "The Tonight Show" in March.

"When you buy a toaster, if it explodes in your face, there's a law that says, 'Your toasters need to be safe,' " Obama said. "When you get a credit card or you get a mortgage, there's no law on the books that says, 'If that explodes in your face, financially, somehow you're going to be protected.' "

The consumer protection idea is one of a series of legislative proposals Obama will lay out on Wednesday -- from beefing up the power of the Federal Reserve to giving regulators authority to wind down big banks.

The consumer protection plan is the only one that already has broad support among key Democrats and could gain a consensus in Congress.

And it's also the only one that so far the banking industry uniformly doesn't like.

"It's bad for the consumers," said Steve Bartlett, president of the Financial Services Roundtable, a lobbying group for banks.

Financial industry advocates object to the idea of carving out the enforcement of consumer protection from the mandates of existing regulatory agencies that oversee companies. They argue that consumer protection is intertwined with ensuring that a financial firm is on stable footing.