Tuesday, February 28, 2012

"Senator, You're No Jack Kennedy"-- And You Never Will Be

I've been in a cold rage ever since I heard Rick Santorum's disgusting, appalling, and unforgivable words about President John F. Kennedy. I frankly have been too angry to write about it until now; after all, I couldn't interrupt my narrative with a string of cursewords after every paragraph, and expect to be taken seriously. But the fury, revulsion, contempt, vituperation, and just sheer, overwhelming Old Testament-style wrath I felt made me stay away from my keyboard for awhile. You all know what the alternative is (pointing upwards to the blog's epigraph), so I took the wiser course of silence, for a time.

But I have to say something about Santorum's JFK gaffe, because his remarks were so immature, so disrespectful, and so stunningly ignorant, coming as they did from a former U.S. senator, that I couldn't remain silent.  I revered JFK: John Kennedy was a decorated war hero. He supported civil rights for African-Americans. Kennedy averted nuclear war with the Soviet Union in the Cuban Missile Crisis--what more do you need, Rick? "Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy." JFK was also the first Catholic candidate for the presidency, and without his trailblazing, Rick Santorum would be just another crank muttering on the internet.

Santorum says that Kennedy's speech on the separation of church and state "made (Santorum) want to throw up." Well Rick, it's time to learn the facts. What did Kennedy actually say?

American Rhetoric:
I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute; where no Catholic prelate would tell the President -- should he be Catholic -- how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote; where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference, and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the President who might appoint him, or the people who might elect him.


But let me stress again that these are my views.

For contrary to common newspaper usage, I am not the Catholic candidate for President.

I am the Democratic Party's candidate for President who happens also to be a Catholic.

I do not speak for my church on public matters; and the church does not speak for me. Whatever issue may come before me as President, if I should be elected, on birth control, divorce, censorship, gambling or any other subject, I will make my decision in accordance with these views -- in accordance with what my conscience tells me to be in the national interest, and without regard to outside religious pressure or dictates. And no power or threat of punishment could cause me to decide otherwise.

But if the time should ever come -- and I do not concede any conflict to be remotely possible -- when my office would require me to either violate my conscience or violate the national interest, then I would resign the office; and I hope any conscientious public servant would do likewise.
Kennedy would have resigned as president if he faced an irreconcilable conflict between his beliefs and the good of the nation! You don't see that kind of courage in politicians anymore.

Or that kind of intelligence. Rick Santorum says that he doesn't believe in the separation of church and state, ignoring over two hundred years of settled law. And Santorum holds both an MBA and a JD. Rick Santorum thinks President Obama is a snob because he wants everyone's kids to go to college, because the first thing that snobs do is elevate others to their level. And not just birth control, but even contraception, is evil in Santorum's opinion.

But all of this pales - for me, at least - in light of Santorum's appalling statement about JFK's speech. Doesn't he realize that, purely on a political basis, that a lot of the people he's trying to sway still have a JFK plate on their walls? Doesn't he understand that reigniting the culture wars will only turn American women against him in record numbers? Is Santorum so inflexible in his beliefs that he thinks that the issues that matter to most Americans isn't the economy, isn't the rising price of gasoline, isn't the threat of a nuclear Iran, nor the still-looming debt crisis in Europe. No. All of these problems are side issues compared to denying women contraceptives and declaring that a zygote is a person. (Does that mean that pregnant women voters get two votes?) Oh, and keeping gays and lesbians from getting married.

So, in his infinite and divinely inspired wisdom, Rick Santorum thinks that insulting the memory of a beloved President is going to help his electoral chances.

All it does is show how ignorant and out of touch he really is.

Monday, February 27, 2012

If Wingnuts Have Their Way....

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Right's War on Women

I've just about had enough with the wingnuts' mealy-mouthed, duplicitous argument against offering contraceptive services to women who work for religious institutions. They're wrong. Plain & simple, they're wrong. Here's why:

If religious institutions want to act as employers in America, then they must obey the employment laws of this country. They must, in short, obey the Obama Administration's "decision to require religiously affiliated hospitals and universities to cover birth control in their insurance plans." Simple. No one is, as the Rude Pundit imagined, mandating "that all pills be shaped like Jesus or Mary or eucharists." No one is insisting that all women employed by the churches be required to use contraceptive devices - although polls show that 98% of all women do use them. Their employers are merely required to offer preventative care to their female employees at no cost to them. Twenty-eight states already have a similar mandate, and no one complained before. Neither did anyone one get upset during the Bush years, when this first became the law of the land. What's the problem now? Why now?

I have yet to see any argument as to why the Catholic Church should be allowed to thumb its nose at the laws governing employment. Indeed, I would not credit any such argument. As an institution that receives public funding, enjoys tax-exempt status to the tune of billions of dollars a year, and expects, nay, demands the respect and obeisance of politicians, the Catholic Church and its American bishops need to just shut the hell up. They operate businesses here, so they have to obey the law. Period.

The thing is, this is a fake controversy.

ThinkProgress via DailyKos:
Twenty-eight states already require organizations that offer prescription insurance to cover contraception and since 98 percent of Catholic women use birth control, many Catholic institutions offer the benefit to their employees. For instance, a Georgetown University spokesperson told ThinkProgress yesterday that employees “have access to health insurance plans offered and designed by national providers to a national pool. These plans include coverage for birth control.”

Similarly, an informal survey conducted by Our Sunday Visitor found that many Catholic colleges have purchased insurance plans that provide contraception benefits [...]
Fake. Trumped-up (hey, there's a phrase that really fits!). Manufactured. But why?

Hunter @DKos again:
This is a non-issue being pushed into the spotlight because one side desperately needs to convince people they're being oppressed and needs preferential treatment. In this particular case, the bishops don't even have the respect of their own flock, and the conservatives using it as yet another bludgeon against healthcare reform doesn't have the public on their side. Yes, yes, it's a "wedge issue." But it's an embarrassingly phony one.
And let's face it, how did conservatives, American Catholic bishops, evangelicals, and GOP legislators all decide, all at once, that dictating to women how they might care for their bodies was something worth going to war with the Obama administration. The Times article notes how fast the bishops were ready with their counterattack: "On the day of the decision, bishops across the country posted...dire statements on their Web sites, and at Mass on the following Sundays, priests read the bishops’ letters from their pulpits and wove the religious freedom theme into their homilies. By the bishops’ own count, 147 bishops in the nation’s 195 dioceses have now issued personal letters on religious freedom, which are trickling down to Catholics through their local parish bulletins and diocesan newspapers." Oh, yeah, they were ready! Not bad for a hidebound, two-thousand-year-old institution. Follow the money up, and follow the lines of power down, and you'll find the answer.

The real situation here is that the GOP sees a tough, maybe impossible road to victory this election year, with their clown car of candidates, so their strategy is to stir up as much sturm und drang however and wherever they can, to see if  "the right-wing outrage machine can be cranked up to 11" to hide their legislative, economic, and practical failures. Their tactics are as always, to stir up the culture wars in an election year in which they have nothing to offer, with the willing aid of the Catholic bishops, who also see their influence waning in an increasingly secular and independent world. And once again, the target is women.

This isn't about "religious freedom," this is about partisan politics and personal liberty, and the rights of American women are once again being threatened. Call the White House, and call your Congresscritter. Don't let them get away with this.

The Best Argument For Involuntary Sterilization

....is that nasty piece of work, Cal Thomas:

At a CPAC panel discussing the new contraception rule conservatives are rallying against, the moderator played a clip of Rachel Maddow saying that Republicans were waging a war on contraception. Panelist and conservative columnist Cal Thomas replied: "Rachel Maddow is the best argument in favor of her parents using contraception. I would be all for that - and all the rest of the crowd at MSNBC for that matter."

Watch the video at TPM, if you wish. I won't run it here. For a bunch of folk who claim to revere life, they sure do worship death - and I for one won't shed a tear when they meet their true god.

Damn, but CPAC sure brings out the crankiness in me.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Santorum Goes Two Out Of Three & Counting....

Rick Santorum, as of this hour, has won nonbinding caucauses in Missouri and Minnesota, and is leading in Colorado.


His candidacy all but dismissed just days ago, Rick Santorum won the Minnesota caucuses and a nonbinding primary in Missouri on Tuesday, raising fresh questions about Mitt Romney’s ability to corral conservative support. 
Mr. Santorum was also running strongly in Colorado, a state Mr. Romney captured four years before. With a quarter of the vote counted by midnight, he held a substantial but narrowing lead over Mr. Romney. 
With his unexpected victories, Mr. Santorum was also suddenly presenting new competition to Newt Gingrich as the chief alternative to Mr. Romney, the front-runner. 
Mr. Santorum’s victory in Missouri was symbolic. The vote will not affect the awarding of delegates, which will be decided at district and state conventions later this year. But more Republicans participated in the Missouri primary than in the Nevada caucuses. 
And, combined with the victory in Minnesota, it gave him an important lift that his campaign hoped would translate into an infusion of new donations and support from the conservative Republican voters — evangelicals and Tea Partyadherents — who have told pollsters all year that they are searching for someone whom they view as a true conservative. 


Call me when he comes up first against Dan Savage.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Calling Dave Chappelle!

Just saw what I think is the best comment on Pete Hoesktra's virulently racist attack ad that aired in Michigan during the Super Bowl. No, I'm not going to post it; if you haven't seen  it, it's easily found online, if you want to view it. Created by Fred Davis, the idiot who was responsible for the infamous 2010 California Republican Senate primary's "Demon Sheep" ad, Hoesktra & Co. have gotten more than enough free PR for it, as far as I'm concerned.

No, the best response came from Jack & Jill Politics' Marcus Touissant, who opined:
"I think they missed the mark completely by not having Dave Chappelle emerge from the rice paddy in full Rick James regalia and say 'Welcome to the China Club!'”

"I Support The Right To Life....Just Not Yours"

More right-wing hypocrisy: a majority of polled conservatives oppose Planned Parentshood's breast cancer screening.

Daily Kos:
In addition to finding that Susan G. Komen for the Cure's decision to defund Planned Parenthood's cancer screening programs damaged Komen's brand and alienated its supporters, our new Daily Kos-Public Policy Polling survey released today found a rather interesting tidbit: 
Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Planned Parenthood’s breast cancer screening services (among conservatives only):
Favorable........................................................ 25%
Unfavorable .................................................... 51%
Not sure ......................................................... 25%

For a group of people who are always screaming about the "right to life," they sure don't seem to give a damn about the lives already being lived.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

How'd He Fix His Mouth To Say Some S#!+ Like That?

This is why I hate CNN: this morning Candy Crowley had on her show three conservatives and a moderate, and considered that to be a fair representation of all viewpoints. In the course of the program, Republican Virginia Gov. Bob McDonald - he of the gay-bashing far-right - came up with this amazing assertion:

Virginia Governor and Mitt Romney surrogate Bob McDonnell (R) on Sunday floated what may turn into a Republican talking point if the economy continues to improve: It wasn’t President Obama who made it happen, it was the GOP governors.

“Look, I’m glad the economy is starting to recover, but I think it’s because of what Republican governors are doing in their states, not because of the president,” McDonnell said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

The Virginia governor unleashed a comprehensive broadside against Obama’s economic record and governance in his first term. “It’s been a complete failure of leadership,” he said. “He cannot run on his record. He’s had no plan for jobs or energy that he’s got passed, so he’s got a tough record.”

The remarks came just two days after the Labor Department revealed the U.S. economy added 243,000 jobs in January and the unemployment rate fell to 8.3%, a development that was widely heralded as good political news for Obama.

The intricacy of McDonnell’s argument is noteworthy: He didn’t say jobs are created on the state level, as opposed to the federal level. He said the improvements happened because of Republican governors. That’s a difficult argument to make when the recovery is taking hold across the country, even in states with Democratic governors.

Republican governors are making the economy grow? What is McDonald smoking? Clearly the recovery is continuing across all state boundaries; so what did McDonald hope to achieve with this easily refuted statement? I think it's part of a GOP plan to confuse and deceive the voters, taking credit for anything good that happens during Obama's presidency, and blaming him for everything from high unemployment to the birth of two-headed calves. I believe it's a natural follow-on to their obstructionism. Make a mess of everything in sight, then blame the other guy!

Republican lies and Republican liars. What will they come up with next?