Point of View Columns

Rick Santorum Makes Me Want to Throw Up!

The saga of Saint Santorum continues down a long and winding road that is clearly the route for the race to the bottom – the bottom of indecency, the bottom of untruth, the bottom of misguided zealotry. And just when you think that Rick Santorum has hit bottom (with Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul racing close behind), he finds another bizarre bog in which to wallow.

During this past week a video tape of a 2011 speech by Saint Santorum surfaced in which he stated that John F. Kennedy’s 1960 speech on the separation of church and state “made me want to throw up”. When asked about his stone-headed, infantile response last week, Saint Santorum doubled down, clinging to the threadbare logic of his earlier statement and then lying by saying that John Kennedy stated that there was no place for “people of faith” in public service.

The creepy, cringe worthiness of his craven grasping for headlines is appalling. What is more appalling is that there seem to be millions of Americans who find the philosophical slop that is served in the Santorum trough to be delectable and delicious.

It doesn’t seem to matter to Saint Santorum and his brothers and sisters in ignorance that in his 1960 speech John Kennedy actually established a platform whereby men and women “of faith” could participate in the public arena without their faith being an issue. Indeed it is doubtful that Rick Santorum, who clearly believes that flaunting his Catholicism, is a sign that he is a “man of faith”, could even be a serious candidate for president if it were not for the pioneering steps taken by John Kennedy.

And just as clearly, Saint Santorum either doesn’t know or doesn’t care. A good demagogue never lets facts get in the way.

Not satisfied with trashing the legacy of John Kennedy, Saint Santorum continued with his weekly spiel of lies and misrepresentations regarding President Obama. He called President Obama a “snob” because he advocates post-high school education for the young people of this country.

Of course, in his daily dance with the devil, Rick Santorum characterized Barack Obama’s policy as wanting all Americans to go to college, which is simply not true. And then Saint Santorum suffered a severe attack of stupidity by saying that the Obama Administration’s post-high school education policy had as its goal “remaking” Americans in the image of Barack Obama. Psychiatrists everywhere can have a field day trying to figure out the bizarre workings of the mind of Saint Santorum on this one.

And through it all Saint Santorum is clearly on a mission to control and manage the lives of the women of this country in a way not seen since the days of the Puritans. His adamant stance with respect to abortion totally disrespects the concept that every woman should have a choice when it comes to such an intensely personal matter. That he would absolutely oppose such a procedure even in the case of rape or in an effort to save the life of the mother sounds like he is walking around with troglodyte mud on his shoes.

And, of course, his opposition to contraception makes him sound like he is reading from a script written by the same people who gave us “Reefer Madness” sixty years ago. Except now, nobody is laughing.

Santorum’s opposition to women serving in the military is clearly born of some misguided notion of chivalry. And all the while he campaigns for home schooling while terming compulsory public education “a relic of the industrial revolution”.

A combination of the policies of Saint Santorum will result in a country where women will not have the right to control their bodies. Without that control, without unfettered access to public education and with a continued circumscribing of the rights of women in the name of chivalry – this country will be a very sad a backward place as it will betray every hope and dream that made this country “exceptional” even as it has fallen short of attainment of those hopes and dreams.

Every morning it seems as if this will be the day that people finally recognize Saint Santorum for the ridiculous and fraudulent moralistic fascist that he is. And every evening it seems that more Teapublicans prefer Rick Santorum, or anyone else, to Mitt Romney.

What this means for the G.O.Tea Party is hard to tell. But it is clear that everyone else should be very afraid.

Remember November 6th!

Point of View Columns

Weekend Edition – February 24, 2012

Saint Santorum is rising in the polls even as he continues to broadcast a message that seems to have been formulated in a subterranean cave where the light of day and common sense are unknown. Meanwhile, in speaking of Saint Santorum Donald Trump has proven that even a stopped clock is right twice a day. And finally, with the announcement that the stock market is at a four year high the Teapublican Party is scrambling to figure out why this is a bad thing and why Barack Obama is to blame.

The Agony and the Agony

I am not aware of the papal announcement that proclaimed Rick Santorum as a living saint. But since he goes around acting as if he is God’s Messenger as he passes judgment on anyone and everyone, Saint Santorum seems to be a fitting title.
In his recent attacks on common sense, decency and fairness he has stated that the environmental policies of the Obama Administration are “radical” and that “Obama favors Earth over people”. The stunning stupidity of such a statement is so obvious it seems cruel to point out to Saint Santorum that “people” live on “Earth” and anything that favors Earth favors people. But, of course, there is no I.Q. requirement for sainthood.

In his crusade to eviscerate anything resembling rights for women he has announced that if a woman is pregnant as the result of rape she should consider the pregnancy a gift from God. On the Planet Santorum she would not even have a choice as to whether to give birth that is the direct result of a horrendous crime.
Saint Santorum’s pitch to women voters is that he is an advocate of a woman’s right to stay home. Presumably so that women can have babies and home school their children since Rick Santorum has also announced that public school are “a relic of the industrial revolution”.

The only thing worse than the horrific image of President Rick Santorum is the reality that there are millions of Americans who think that he should be president.

The Stopped Clock Speaks….

The legacy of Donald Trump has robust portions of self-promotion and dumbness. His birther exploits last year were pathetic and pitiful and yet, somehow, the emperor with no clothes continues to parade around without a shred of fabric to cover his flawed logic.

Nevertheless, The Donald proved that even a stopped clock is right twice a day. He correctly stated that if the G.O.Tea Party nominates Rick Santorum it will be a “Christmas gift to the Democratic Party”. While there may be a flock of flying pigs hovering just over the horizon, we have to believe that Trump is right in predicting the ultimate demise of a Santorum presidential bid.

And for that, the Stopped Clock Award goes to…………Donald Trump.

The Blame Game

In one of his more snarky comments Mitt Romney stated that Barack Obama taking credit for any economic recovery would be like a rooster taking credit for the sunrise. However, Mr. Romney and that rest of the Teapublicans have no qualms about blaming President Obama for anything and everything that goes wrong – the B.P. oil spill, the collapse of the mortgage market (months before he became president), the list goes on.

And this week it was announced that the stock market is at a four year high. And now the Teapublicans are scrambling to make this announcement sound like bad news so that they can blame Barack Obama or, in the alternative, they will try to explain why this sign of economic recovery has nothing to do with the policies of the Obama Administration.

On the Planet Teapublican it is expected have your cake and eat it too.

Have a great weekend!

Point of View Columns

Seriously Mad – Madly Serious

You have to hand it to the Teapublican Party. There is simply no bottom to their barrel of tricks for the American people. The inane bible-thumping loon named Michele Bachmann was replaced by a cowboy with a permafrost brain named Rodeo Rick Perry. A moderately successful pizza salesman by the name of Herman Cain was wildly popular until it turned out he couldn’t tell the difference between a friendship and an affair.

And all along there has been the morally challenged and failed Speaker of the House trying to make us believe that he is an “outsider” even though he has amassed a considerable fortune by working in Washington most of his adult life. Ron Paul continues to bounce off the walls of logic attracting too many people who are too lazy to think through the simplicity of his policy proposals. Mitt Romney points in more directions than a weather vane and has tried to use the power of his Super PAC’s to pound his opposition into submission. And then there is Rick Santorum.

There is a useful rule of thumb in life – beware of the zealots. From Savonarola during the Italian renaissance to the mythical Elmer Gantry to the very real Jimmy Swaggart, zealots always know what is best for you even as they struggle with their own weaknesses and challenges. This is not a psychological column so there will be no analysis of reason why Rick Santorum is the way he is. His very public statements give a very real insight as to what the United States would be like during the administration of President Rick Santorum.

Mr. Santorum has said that public schools are a “relic” of the industrial revolution and should be discarded. On the Planet Santorum education would no longer be the province of the federal government or the state government – or even local government. Education would be the responsibility of parents.
Presumably the children of parents who are themselves educationally challenged would just be out of luck. The same would hold true for the luckless children of parents who have to work and therefore simply cannot afford to stay home and engage in home schooling.

There is so much that is wrong with Rick Santorum and his view on public education. Every reasonable historian will tell you that the establishment of universal, compulsory, free public education during the 19th century is what provided the foundation for this country’s progress in the 20th century. Despite its challenges and faults, the American public education system has made a profound difference in the quality of life for most of this country’s citizens.

There is not a Teapublican who is not a beneficiary of the American system of public education. Even if an individual only went to private schools right through graduate school, we can be sure that the employees of their companies, the drivers of their limousines, the chefs in their kitchens and the pilots of their private jets certainly benefited from public education.

The Santorum campaign states with a straight face that it supports women’s rights even though Saint Santorum is rigidly against a woman’s choice when it comes to abortion, even in the instance of rape (Saint Santorum says that a woman who is pregnant as the result of rape should consider it a “gift from God”) and is also against all form of contraception.

The Santorum campaign sanctimoniously states that it does support the right of a woman to stay whom. Presumably women staying home while barefoot and pregnant, home schooling their children would be the cheery future for all the women who currently aspire to become senators, corporate executives, lawyers, engineers and doctors.

Saint Santorum has also criticized President Obama for not running the country based upon the theology of the Bible, but pursuant to some “other” theology. Presumably this is Rick Santorum’s dog whistle message to evangelicals that he really thinks Barack Obama is a secret Muslim or at the very least some kind of Kenyan, anti-colonialist, “other” mixed race Negro who can never be trusted even if he proclaims himself to be a Christian. And just as clearly, it is Saint Santorum who can tell a genuine Christian when he sees one.

Rick Santorum suffered the greatest defeat ever experienced by an incumbent United States Senator when he lost by 18 points in 2006. Obviously the people of Pennsylvania knew and saw something that millions of American who are now flocking to the Santorum bandwagon do not see.

Saint Santorum is against so many things it is hard to remember what he is for. His zealot’s vision of the United States dangerous because too many people are looking for too many simple solutions.

Beware of the zealots!

Point of View Columns

Muffling the Drums of War

For almost three full years we have heard the squawks and screeches of the chicken hawks with Iran as their target. These are politicians, pundits and commentators who never hesitate to send young men and women to die for causes that are false, worthless or ultimately irrelevant to the security of the United States. For these fake Bravehearts, maintaining the image of this country as an invincible warrior nation is worth the sacrifice of someone else’s blood and the treasure of this nation.

Now we are starting to hear otherwise reasonable leaders speaking about all options being “on the table” as if we were engaged in some three dimensional global chess match. The so-called threat of Iran coming into possession of nuclear weapons is morphing into a cause worthy of yet another American Crusade, even though such a venture would make prior incursions into Iraq and Afghanistan seem like basic training in comparison.

This is all starting to sound like “Ground Hog Day” with gunfire as a soundtrack. During the run up to the war in Vietnam Americans were told that national security was at stake. If the communists weren’t stopped before they got to Hanoi they would be scurrying through the streets of Los Angeles in the blink of an eye.

During the first war in Iraq we were told that the future of America rested with our ability to help a distinctly non-democratic monarchy withstand Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi army. How Kuwait became so important was never cleared up, even after the war that was fought to save it.

Before the second war in Iraq we were told that Saddam Hussein was in possession of weapons of mass destruction. We were also told that he was an ally of Al Qaeda which had infamously attacked the United States in Kenya, Tanzania and on American soil. These turned out to be outright lies – not mistakes in intelligence. The Bush Administration never had any proof of the existence of weapons of mass destruction and the alliance with Al Qaeda was a complete fabrication.

The harm done by these lies, fables, fabrications and deceptions is virtually incalculable. Over 50,000 American troops died in Vietnam. Trillions of dollars were spent on the two Iraqi wars with close to 5,000 military deaths and tens of thousands of permanently maimed men and women. And, of course, there is the devastation and ruin that has been visited upon the people of Iraq.

We are being told that a military option is “on the table” when it comes to Iran because it is unacceptable for Iran to become a nuclear power. If Iran were to actually “weaponize” nuclear materials and if it were to develop a nuclear bomb and if it were to successfully build a reliable delivery system (a lot of “ifs”), how does that automatically translate into Armageddon?

After all, not every country that owns nuclear weapons is a friend of the United States or its interests. Keep in mind that Osama bin Laden was killed in Pakistan within site of the Pakistani equivalent of West Point. Although it receives billions of dollars in aid from the United States, elements of the Pakistani government regularly express their displeasure with this country. And Pakistan is a nuclear power. And military options are not “on the table” when it comes to its nuclear capacity.

Keep in mind that the People’s Republic of China is a nuclear power. This would be the same China that regularly engages in espionage against the United States. This would be the same China that is very clear in stating its opposition to American interests in venues around the world. And military options are not “on the table” when it comes to Chinese nuclear capacity.

For the United States to take military action against Iran to keep it from possessing nuclear weapons would create an especially satanic version of irony. After all, for all its proclamations regarding the horrors of nuclear weaponry, the United States is still the only country in the history of the Planet Earth that has ever used nuclear weapons against another country.

Bully boys like Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney can bellow about going to war against Iran (although I doubt that either of them has ever been in a real fight in their lives) while Michele Bachmann plays the role of over the hill cheerleader in this cheerless battle. But the awful reality of war looms like a nightmare over this country and over this world.

Perhaps after ten years of continuous war in Iraq and Afghanistan the American people have become anesthetized. Perhaps after over 3600 consecutive days of war in the news we are simply desensitized to the prospect of yet another war so we won’t really feel the death and destruction that it brings.

It is time to wake up.

Point of View Columns

Weekend Edition – February 10, 2012

And now it is time for the Rick Santorum Show. However, is America really ready for the absolute moral code of Santorum’s Brave New World? Meanwhile that sound you hear is the beating of war drums warning of an overhyped and false danger. The only difference between now and ten years ago is one letter of the alphabet – now its Iran instead of Iraq. And sadly, when Ramarley Graham was killed in an encounter with the New York police, too many people only saw tragedy in that he was killed by the police.

Santorum and the Flying Pigs

At the beginning of this year the prospect of Rick Santorum becoming a leading Teapublican presidential candidate ranked right up there with the possibility of pigs flying. And now Rick Santorum soars through the air accompanied by his own personal flying pork escort.

Mr. Santorum seems to be the prime beneficiary of the conjoined ABM (Anybody But Mitt) and ABO (Anybody But Obama) movements. There is no other way to explain the meteoric rise of a failed United States Senator who was cast out of office by the highest percentage of any losing incumbent senator in modern history.

His message of fiscal austerity may be appealing to the right wing of the right wing. That is right up until the time when they find out that annual trillion dollar reductions in the federal budget will result in the loss or diminution of services that are a part of American life – the arts, the senior citizens, the children, the parks and the food supply will bear the brunt of the first tsunami of suffering.

Santorum’s morality message comes straight out of the Inquisition. He seriously tells women who have been raped that a resulting pregnancy should not be terminated and that a child that is the product of that rape is “a gift from God”. Presumably on the Planet Santorum the rape was the gift wrapping.

Santorum goes on to pledge to lead the charge to outlaw all forms of contraception. Don’t laugh at the idea of possession of a condom being a federal crime. Santorum and his supporters are serious.

As we watch Rick Santorum and his flying pig escort fly overhead we should all hustle to get an industrial strength umbrella. That won’t be rain that is falling.

Not Another War!

Historical reports indicate that immediately after the 9/11 attacks Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld started to campaign for a war against Iraq. When Secretary of State Colin Powell correctly pointed out that no ties between Iraq and the 9/11 debacle had been established he was summarily ignored. A year and a half later the United States entered the bloody morass that became the Iraq war over the next decade with close to 5000 dead American soldiers, over 200,000 dead Iraqi citizens and over a trillion dollars of war of unfunded war expenses.

Now, in a macabre version of “Groundhog Day” we are seeing the same scenario roll out again. Instead of fake reports of yellow cake uranium we are learning about Iran’s nuclear capability that has the “potential” to be weaponized. We are told that there are hidden plants, laboratories and factories that are creating a clear and present danger to the United States.

As diplomatic and financial pressure has been brought to bear, American chicken hawks (the ones that never fight but are always eager to send American troops into one military misadventure after another) are fluffing up their feathers to urge this country into yet another disaster. The prospect of a war against Iran is now “on the table” and almost daily we are hearing the same rhetoric that was used in the run up to the Iraq War.

If we do not learn from history we are doomed to repeat it.

Degrees of Death?

A little more than two weeks ago Ramarley Graham, a nineteen year old African American man from the Bronx was killed in an encounter with the police. The circumstances of his death are still under investigation but it is clear that he fled from the police, was chased into his house and was shot and killed during the ensuing struggle.

Understandably members of his family and is community, saddened by this most personal of tragedies, have expressed their grief and outrage at their loss. What is not so easy to understand is the hundreds of politicians, community leaders and residents who have been willing to march in the streets, demonstrate and demand “justice” for Mr. Graham.

It is not so easy to understand because this weekend more young black men will be killed by young black men than by all of the police in the United States. This weekend scores of young black men will be murdered, maimed and paralyzed and the Ku Klux Klan, Posse Comitatus and the Tea Party will have had nothing to do with it. The perpetrators will almost certainly be scores of young black men. It is not so easy to understand because the Ramarley Graham demonstrators stand silent in the face of the deluge of so-called “black on black” crime with the exception of a fleeting candlelight vigil.

A wrongful killing by the police is unacceptable and should be protested. A wrongful killing by a young black man is also hateful and wrong and should be protested. A death is a death.

Have a great weekend!

Point of View Columns

Teapublican Tall Tales

When untruths are told for entertainment value we refer to them as “fables” or “tall tales”. When untruths are told for political purposes we sometimes call them “lies”. In the hope of promoting a kinder and gentler political discourse I am going to recount some Teapublican Tall Tales.

Tall Tale #1 – Although Barack Obama promised in his campaign to end partisanship in Washington and to bring this country together, President Obama has turned out to be the most divisive force in Washington.

The Truth: Immediately upon his inauguration leaders of the then-Republican (and now Teapublican) Party announced their determination to make Barack Obama a one-term president. The strategy that they have employed to achieve this goal is to oppose virtually every legislative proposal originated by the Obama White House. The G.O.Tea Party has been nearly unanimous in casting “no” votes against everything from health care to rescuing the American automobile industry.

Political commentators and historians agree that solid front of opposition by the Teapublicans in Congress is unprecedented. For these same Teapublicans to complain that President Obama is divisive is reminiscent of the criminal who kills his parents and then asks for mercy because he is an orphan.

Tall Tale #2 – The G.O.Tea Party Cavalcade of Clowns that is running for that party’s presidential nomination disagree on many issues but they are an atonal chorus in proclaiming that every policy advanced by President Obama to address this country’s economic crisis has failed. Additionally, the policy of paying people not to work has only exacerbated the crisis.

The Truth – During the past three weeks the American G.D.P. grew at fastest rate in over three years. Additionally the stock market closed last week at a four year high and unemployment continues its 5 month decline to its lowest level since 2008 (that would be before Barack Obama was elected). The combination of the stimulus plan, the bailout of the American automobile industry and numerous legislative and administrative measures have produced positive results.

Providing continued and extended assistance to unemployed Americans has given meaning to the safety net that the G.O.Tea Party barely recognizes. Referring to unemployment benefits as “paying people not to work” is using the rhetoric of the rich, the self-satisfied and the mean – that would be the Koch brothers and their billionaire buddies.

When we consider the catastrophic results of the Bush era financial policies, the recent recovery, in less than three years is nothing short of remarkable. But the Teapublican playbook calls for blaming President Obama for anything bad and never giving him credit for anything positive.

Mitt Romney went so far as to say for President Obama to credit for improvement in the economy is like the rooster taking credit for the sun rising. This would be the same Mitt Romney who is willing to heap truckloads of blame on President Obama for what most economists of any political hue would describe as major structural defects in the American economy. Mitt, Newt, Rick, Ron, Paul and the Teapublicans want to have their blame cake and eat it too.

Tall Tale #3 – During the presidency of Barack Obama America’s foreign policy has been an unmitigated disaster. By “apologizing” to the world President Obama has weakened this country’s standing on the global stage and he has emboldened our enemies, Iran being Exhibit A.

The Truth – During the presidency of Barack Obama America’s foreign policy has been a success by any reasonable standard. By striving for alliance and accommodation rather than confrontation there are more countries that are willing to stand with the United States than ever before. By resorting to military force as a last option (and then on a very limited and focused basis) the Obama Administration has seen positive results that have addressed major security concerns (the execution of Osama bin Laden comes to mind).

By keeping to an existing American commitment to remove troops from Iraq the misery suffered by the American people and the Iraqi people has diminished. By committing to remove American troops from the quagmire called Afghanistan we are on the threshold of an era where warfare is no longer the key tool of this country’s foreign policy.

And speaking of the truth, as the Teapublicans wail and holler about “taking the country back” perhaps they could be honest about who currently has the country. When Barack Obama was elected president there were some new members of Congress and the Senate, but certainly not in sufficient numbers to spark fears of a “takeover”.

In truth the Teapublicans want to “take this country back” from the Kenyan Muslim illegal alien who current resides in the White House. They should just tell the truth – confession is always good for the soul.

Point of View Columns

Weekend Edition – February 3, 2012

Without Herman Cain stumbling and Rodeo Rick Perry bumbling the Weekend Edition might be a little more difficult to write. But you can always count on the G.O.Tea Party to provide some more grist for the mill. As the unemployment rate continues to decline and the economy continues to show signs of improvement the Teapublicans act as if it would defy the laws of Nature for them to give any credit to the policies of President Obama. Meanwhile Mitt Romney has finally decided to reveal the real Teapublican agenda – he just doesn’t care about poor people. And finally, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has proven conclusively that he needs some remedial help in learning about the American civil rights movement.

More Good News – More Bad News

Earlier today it was announced that the American unemployment rate is now 8.3%, the lowest rate in three years. This news should be viewed as a companion to last week’s announcement that the American GDP has shown its most robust growth in several years.

Given the dismal state of the American economy since 2007 this should be seen as good news. But you can be certain that the Teapublicans, led by Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, will be twisting themselves into pretzels trying to explain how the policies of the Obama Administration are “killing jobs” while jobs are being created.

The G.O.Tea Party has provided us with a circus for the past year that has been populated mostly by clowns. Now they are adding contortionists to the repertoire.

Anyone Who Had a Heart…..

Readers of a certain age will remember “Anyone Who Had a Heart” by Dionne Warwick. Clearly Mitt Romney doesn’t have a heart and is proud of it.

On national television he stated that he “really doesn’t worry about the poor because they have a safety net”. It appears that being super wealthy means that you don’t have to know about food stamps and skipped meals and evictions and the utter despair of joblessness that affects so millions of American – by some estimates 15% of the population.

In a way we can be glad that Mr. Romney has been honest in stating how he really feels about people have also worked hard but did not find themselves as richly compensated as he has been. It will be interesting to see if the Americans vote for someone who doesn’t care about them.

Remedial School

New Jersey Chris Christie took the curious step of proposing that gay rights be voted upon in a statewide referendum. A curious way of handling an issue of “rights” to say the least.

He then went on to say that veterans of the Civil Rights movement would have preferred to use the referendum route if it were available. That may be the most historically ignorant statement by a public official ever – or at least this week.

Civil Rights movement veteran and icon Congressman John Lewis took the time to give Governor Christie a history lesson pointing out that, without legislation, there is no way that civil rights bills would have passed. Certainly referenda would have gone down to crushing defeat not only in the South, but across most of this country.

Governor Christie’s effort to sanitize American history does a great disservice to the men and women and children who marched and protested and died for the cause of civil rights. His limp apology is not enough.

Perhaps he should just exercise his right to be silent.

Have a great weekend!