Sunday, April 29, 2007

Hookers, Hookers, Hookers...

As I've noted in posts on both Friday and Saturday, this has been a very, very busy couple of days on the corruption front.

If Brian Ross of ABC News reveals what he knows about the DC Madam's client list, it gets even busier:

ABC News’ Brian Ross revealed tonight that the list of customers of an alleged Washington-based prostitution service includes White House and Pentagon officials as well as prominent attorneys.

“There are thousands of names, tens of thousands of phone numbers,” Ross said. “And there are people there at the Pentagon, lobbyists, others at the White House, prominent lawyers — a long, long list.” Ross added that the women who worked for the service, potentially as prostitutes, “include university professors, legal secretaries, scientists, military officers.”

On Friday, Ross broke the news that U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Randall Tobias had frequented the escort service. Ross added new details to that story tonight, recounting how he asked Tobias in a telephone interview “if he knew any of the young women, their names. He said he didn’t remember them at all. He said it was like ordering pizza.”

As long as it doesn't involve gross hypocrisy of public figures and the agenda they advocate, Atrios thinks that names on the Madam's list should remain confidential.

In the case of former Deputy Secretary of State and US Aid Chief Randall Tobias, the first public figure to brought down by the DC Madam scandal when he resigned on Friday after ABC News approached him with questions about his use of the escort service, that was most definitely NOT the case.

As AIDS Czar, Tobias was a strong advocate of pushing abstinence-only education and monogamy over condoms as a way to combat AIDS/HIV. Think Progress reveals he also decreed that any charity groups receiving federal money take an "anti-prostitution loyalty oath":

Former U.S. AID director Randall Tobias, who resigned yesterday upon admitting that he frequented a Washington escort service, oversaw a controversial policy advocated by the religious right that required any US-based group receiving anti-AIDS funds to take an anti-prostitution “loyalty oath.”

Aid groups bitterly opposed the policy, charging that it “was so broad — and applied even to their private funds — that it would obstruct their outreach to sex workers who are at high risk of transmitting the AIDS virus.” But President Bush wouldn’t budge. He signed a 2003 National Security Presidential Directive saying prostitution “and related activities” were “inherently harmful and dehumanizing.”

Several groups and countries had their funding cut due to the policy. Brazil lost $40 million for “one of its most successful anti-AIDS strategies, persuading sex workers to use condoms or other measures to stop spreading the disease.”

During an “Ask the White House” online chat in 2004, Tobias defended the policy, saying the U.S. was “partnering with communities” to begin “fighting sex trafficking and prostitution, while still serving victims of these activities.” Tobias added that he was overseeing several “highly successful” relationship programs “aimed at men and boys to help them develop healthy relationships with women.”

So Randall Tobias would be EXACTLY the kind of person who should have his name and identity publicly revealed when it turned up on the DC Madam's list.

It's one thing to push abstinence-only education and monogamy as the best way to combat the spread of AIDS/HIV world-wide and cut off charity groups or countries that try to get sex workers to use condoms, it's something else entirely when that same person turns out to be schtupping hookers himself.

I wonder if he used a condom and if so, did he cut himself off from federal funds?

In any case, if other Bushies, Repubs, Dems, press people, or public figures who publicly rail against sex, immorality, prostitution, sex education or the depravity of the culture turn up on the list, I hope ABC News reveals their names.

Otherwise, I'm with Atrios on this. It's nobody's business.

The Tobias scandal makes sense now. Were he just an ordinary family-values man, consorting with prostitutes would only be moderately disgusting hypocrisy, but with his anti-prostitution efforts and anti-condom stance, he's over the top and becomes the new poster child for do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do perverts everywhere. When is the public going to ask the obvious question -- Are the people appointing these scumbags just fools, or are they perverts themselves?
It will be interesting to see what other names are revealed. I hear that Dick Morris may be called to testify (no surprise there), but I will be surprised if the story stops there. I fully expect to hear about members of both parties to be on the good Madam's list. But we'll have to see.
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