Ricky Santorum – boy have we missed him!

I will admit fodder for blogs was much easier when Ricky was still in the hunt for the Republican nomination.  After realizing that most of Republican America still saw him as the jerk and reprobate that Pennsylvania voters realized several years ago, he quickly put his tail between his legs and took refuge somewhere no doubt where 21st century thinking was still decades away.

Freedom – as long as your believe what I do!

But, hallelujah, glory be, HE IS BACK! (that is the closest to a religious fervor I can get).  Yesterday, Ricky shared his opinion that President Barack Obama is “directly assaulting” religious freedom and that his administration has implemented policies that force Catholics to abandon their faith.  Now, while I understand this is politics and that Santorum plays to a select few (none of whom I can personally admit to being an acquaintance), I think Ricky really needs to understand that most Catholics, if we use their support and aherence to the beliefs of the Catholic faith, have long abandoned the rules set by the Catholic Church without help from the present administration.  I also have to wonder where Ricky’s wife, who managed to cohabit, un-married, with a renowned abortion doctor, the founder of Pittsburgh’s first abortion clinic in the 1970′s, for several years pre-Ricky, really feels about all this.  She has no doubt hit the confessional a few times – nothing a couple of Hail Mary’s can’t fix.

Let’s take a quick look at the numbers as far as Americans who are Catholic and their adherence to the faith.  In full disclosure, I am a longstanding atheist so I have issues with most any religious belief – while I’ll defend to the end your right to believe whatever you want, I’ll still never understand how you can believe what you do.  I will admit I just happen to find the Catholic belief structure and the Pope particularly abhorrent.

Hmm…Birth Control – while the more non-catholics find birth control morally acceptable than catholics, it isn’t by much.  More important, 8 in 10 catholics don’t align with their faith.  I guess most of these people won’t be abandoning their faith because of Obama – they left long ago.

This next chart is even more interesting.

Quite a bit to highlight here – but the data in the chart is pretty clear.  The majority of Catholics polled seem to fall on the wrong side of sticking with the mandates of the Catholic faith – even the church going Catholics.  Even more amazing is that more church going Catholics see abortion as morally acceptable than non-Catholics.  Quite a few of them gambling also.

Here’s another surprise (not) – not alot of support of the Catholic Church in general by Catholics – aside from a great number of beliefs remaining in the dark ages, I guess the abuse of little boys hasn’t help the cause much.

So at the end of the day, Ricky, I give to you the latest “Head in the Butt” award.  There was no question among the voters and I expect this will not be the last time you get this honor given there is still a few months to go and you will be out there helping Mitt.

Ricky has also started to weigh in on Paulie R.

“What Paul Ryan stands for in conservative circles and in the media and in this country, for those who know him, is someone who is willing to challenge the status quo and have bold ideas to confront the problems of this country in a truthful fashion,” Santorum said.

Yes, there is no doubt Paulie comes to the table with some bold ideas.

From Thinkprogress.org –

“Ryan embraces the extreme philosophy of Ayn Rand. Ryan heaped praise on Ayn Rand, a 20th-century libertarian novelist best known for her philosophy that centered on the idea that selfishness is “virtue.” Rand described altruism as “evil,” condemned Christianity for advocating compassion for the poor, viewed the feminist movement as “phony,” and called Arabs “almost totally primitive savages.”

Wow – she sounds more like a 2012 Republican than a professed libertarian.

Romney – the Chameleon

I was actually looking for more detail on the Romney stand on Global Warming this morning when I came across a recently posted article by Paul Davies in the Philly Post.  The article,

“Mitt Romney Has Perfected Flip-Flopping – Which side of the Republican candidate would show up at the White House?” 

can be found at  http://blogs.phillymag.com/the_philly_post/2012/08/08/mitt-romney-flip-flopping/.  It is quite a well written piece that I suggest everyone read but more impressive is the video embedded in the article which takes the various and everchanging positions of Mitt over the years and displays them very elegantly and effectively.  Say what you will about the Media, it makes it difficult for a politician to duck and run from previous statements and positions they’ve taken.  I’ve included that video below.  It is a bit longer than most (almost 20 minutes) which speaks volumes as to the contradictions and changes we can see in Mitt over his political career.

Now, if only we had a voting public with the intelligence to realize what it going on and the common sense to see that there is a problem here.

I can only hope but my expectations are low.

Mitt – what the hell?

Just don’t expect an answer with any detail…

The following two paragraphs from NBCNews.com –

Mitt Romney said Wednesday that more restrictive gun laws would likely not have prevented last week’s deadly mass shooting at a Colorado Cineplex, and argued that it would take Americans changing their hearts, not their legislation, to prevent similar future attacks.

“Political implications, legal implications are something which will be sorted out down the road,” Romney told NBC’s Brian Williams during an exclusive interview in London. “But I don’t happen to believe that America needs new gun laws. A lot of what this young man did was clearly against the law. But the fact that it was against the law did not prevent it from happening.”

Once again, Mitt shows his acute grasp of the details (not), his uncanny ability to hone in on what the real issue is (not) all the while basically sticking to his high level talking points.   Yes Mitt, it is illegal to murder so you are right there were actions this cretin did that were against the law.  No brainer.  However, the crux of the issue here is the means by which he accomplished the illegal acts were all done legally,  He bought his guns legally, he purchased the ammunition legally, I expect he acquired most of the items in his apartment legally.  Would stricter gun laws have stopped him from killing?  Probably not, as you are right at some level that laws don’t stop people from taking actions that are clearly illegal.  If it were only so easy.  However, there are changes to current gun laws that could have reduced the magnitude of the massacre or at least alerted someone to something being out of sorts and possibly resulted in a bit more attention before the fact.  Not sure why anyone needs an assault weapon – the cases of a herd of deer attacking a hunter are few if any.  Purchasing four weapons in a relative short period of time might call into question motive.  Acquiring 6000 round of ammunition might point to something beyond casual use of a gun.  No matter what we do to laws in this country, we will not free ourselves from individuals who are bent on mayhem and murder but we shouldn’t make it so easy.

Let’s take two aspects of Mitt’s statements and look at them with a sharper eye –

First, taking a stance that we can work on the legal implications somewhere down the road is, to an extent, why we are where we are today with gun laws.  If we are to interpret this part of his statement to include the possibility of tightening gun laws at some later time, we are now decades into the debate which really hasn’t changed to any great extent.  Very effective strategy – kick it down the road so there are no political ramifications today.  Mitt needs all the help he can get and alienating the gun lobby won’t help.

“It would take Americans changing their hearts” – sounds like a plan but in reality the hearts of Americans have actually been looking for stricter gun laws for years.  Back in 1990, almost 4 out of 5 Americans wanted stricter gun laws.  Sounds to me like the hearts were there a while ago.  Unfortunately, this is one more case where the hearts and money of lobbyists trump what the American people really want.  And that is unlikely to change in any time soon as money still buys influence – not the desires of the people in this country.  The vast majority will continue to work under the illusion that people like Mitt actually are working in their best interest all the while the Republican Party is shitting all over their tables and telling then it is a feast.

So essentially, Mitt has said “fuck you” in so many words and continues his journey of talking without really saying anything that will stick.

Sounds like a leader to me.

Speaking of Lobbyists – interesting article posted by the Huffington Post today – seems Mitt understands that role much better than most of us realize –

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/26/mitt-romney-olympics_n_1704261.html?utm_hp_ref=elections-2012

Think about it – hate and intolerance at its best

It has been awhile since I found the time to actually get back out here and do a bit of my usual rant.  With Ricky out of the Republican race I’ve actually been a little less incensed at some of the rhetoric and crap spewing from Mitt.  I had thought that people would begin to see him for what he is and what he stands for but it is becoming increasingly evident that will likely not suffice given the ongoing demonstration of limited intelligence of the vast majority of the American public.  And I’m also reminded that I thought there was no way in hell that Georgy Bush would get elected for a second term – I am reminded of a quote by one of the authors I read extensively in my youth –

Never underestimate the power of human stupidity – Robert A. Heinlein

And even more relevant today –

But back to my current thought on what is turning out to be an area of social consequence that has become increasingly disturbing – both by the views held and the laws passed.  I listen to President Obama finally state the obvious (to many of us) about viewing those in our society are gay as equals across the board.  I watch another southern state (are we seeing a pattern here?  I know where I don’t want to ever live) pass an anti-gay bill.   I then watch Mitt do a commencement speech at Liberty University, founded by those in the religious right.  Might be me but this wasn’t a university that I’ve ever seen as one of the tops in the country but there are many educational institutions which are not among the best that provide students a good education.  The difference here is that I can’t see how this is a well-rounded education – but my opinion only.  In any case, my point is that the item in Mitt’s speech – re-affirming his belief that marriage is only valid between a man and a woman – is one that most thinking people have seen past.  Telling this view to this crowd took no gumption and required no validation beyond the automatic head nodding and hand clapping through the crowd.  He is no Michael Bloomberg who has a set of cajones easily demonstrated by delivering a speech at the University of North Carolina where he directly countered the recently passed law on marriage in the state.  Definitely a man of conviction.  Not Mitt – this again shows Mitt to be a man who basically tells any crowd what they want to hear – is that flip flopping as many accuse him or is it really more a case of a man who really doesn’t have a real thought in his head – he is really the human (and barely so) version of a chameleon.  Is this really what our country needs at this time?  We are used to the general public as essentially cattle being herded at the whims of the leaders they follow but not as often the other way around.  Even Bush attempted to lead – as feeble as it was.  The difference is that Bush was just pretty dumb – I don’t believe Mitt is dumb – he is just clueless and inept.  Again, quite the qualities we need in a potential leader.

One can only hope the time between now and November really shows Mitt for who he is. I’m guessing it will be increasingly difficult as the Obama camp picks the strategic topics that need a firm stance.  I see the deer in the headlights look becoming increasingly popular in Mitt’s speeches.

Now – what audience am I speaking with today?

But the more important point here is the continued view of gays as second class citizens – and that is probably giving many of these anti-gay people more credit than they are due.  The fact that they profess to be so religious is laughable – I ask anyone – who do you know among those who profess to be so pious and living the life set by their religious dogma really lives that life?  Very few in my experience.  To be honest, I’m one of the few – and that is only made possible given my view of the world around me as an atheist.

But no matter your religion, your beliefs, how you think you lead your life, I have to wonder how one ever reaches the point where they can actually take the view that anyone else in our society is not worthy of respect and equal footing – especially when they contribute at equal levels with the rest of us.  You don’t need to like everyone or even want to have them live next door to you – that’s okay – I sure don’t.   But I’m not looking to take way their civil rights and liberties.  I’ve made the point before that it isn’t 1955 any more, women can vote and civil rights are a given (at least in our laws).  To treat gays differently is unacceptable in this day and age.  The older generation (another bit of slick marketing is their designation as “the greatest generation” by Tom Brokaw, a dumb shit at best – “the neediest generation” is more apropos) needs to take a lesson from our youth who are less likely to see race, color, sexual orientation as something that needs much extra thought.  But it not just the older people but more disturbing the number of baby boomers who profess such intolerance.   It is despicable and speaks volumes of the type of people we live with in this country.  Even more amazing is that not one of these people is more than 1 degree separated from someone who is gay.  In fact many of them walk that fine line themselves, so aptly demonstrated by many of the politicians and religious leaders whom have found themselves having to explain themselves – hence the degree of intensity.  Bottom line, the gay citizens many are so quick to push to the side are our sons and daughters, our aunts and uncles, our neighbors, our teachers, our police and firemen, etc., etc.  Get it? – it is really about people we love and care about when we look beyond the sexual aspect on which most anti-gay people perseverate.  How can you be so rigid and unfeeling?  My guess is that these are people with some severe (or at least moderately severe) sexual dysfunction or they wouldn’t be so threatened so quickly.  To my fellow baby boomers – what the hell happened to you that you forgot what the 60’s was about?  Different decade, pretty much the same issues.  Oh, now I remember, you were the ones sitting in your rooms with your head in a book all week and then on Friday and Saturday nights you went on your binge drinking and showed the beginnings of the asshole you would eventually grow into as you let the alcohol quickly dim your hangups and insecurities.

Apologies for the rambling nature of this – I’d like to think I’m usually a bit more structured and to the point.  However, this topic is one that hits home as my son is gay.  But beyond that I have had many friends and people I know who are gay – my best man in my wedding over 30 years ago was gay – and I knew it and didn’t really care.   Am I ever a bit biased? – not really given that despite my sometimes intolerance of others, it is typically not against an entire class of people.  I will admit that there are parts of any group – be it race, ethnicity, age, whatever – that bug me.  And I have no issue saying that stupid people are pretty much useless – no matter their color, religion, sexual orientation, whatever. What having a gay son has taught me is a much better understanding of what they tolerate every day – and how much intolerance can hurt and how difficult it can make life.  While both my kids (now adults) have demonstrated success so far and I am phenomenally proud of both of them – they are both pretty amazing in their own ways, I look back at the added burden my son dealt with going thru school and I hurt inside when I think of what he tolerated through all those years.

I’m ecstatic when I see his friends who are with him still and don’t see him any different from anyone else.  He, like any individual, is made up of more than the single sexual dimension so many are focused on.   I can only wish a slow and agonizing remainder of life to those who are so quick and easy to deny him his rights.  No doubt there are those who will read this (assuming anyone does), dismss it without a thought and continue to see my son as less than human – well to all of you I say “Sieg Heils”.  You are in great company.

One parting thought on Romney – if he truly was the high school bully he has been accused of being, that is bad enough.  Add the gay aspect to the bullying and it becomes a whole other issue.   We can forgive some past transgressions (well, to some extent) but at least own up to it when called out.  To play the “I don’t remember” card is less than credible – but then again, maybe Mitt has a bit more Ronald Reagan in him than was thought!

It’s also about the environment, stupid.

As we continue through this political season and I listen to both sides continue the positioning and manipulation of facts (yes, I recognize that neither party holds the patent on exaggerations and outright lying), I am hoping that the cloud being raised by all the focus and fuss on the economy doesn’t overwhelm the fact that we can’t just throw all caution to the wind and start making rash and short-term decisions – all in the name of trying to quickly fix an economic situation which did not develop and happen overnight.  I do believe that many of the economic woes we currently have are a result of rapid fire and poorly thought through, short-term focused actions and decisions.  Doesn’t appear to have worked too well for the vast majority of Americans.

We have already pretty much sold our children’s and grandchildren’s economic life somewhat down the tubes in getting to where we are today.  Let us not also throw the environment out the door for them at the same time.  One thing to have money issues – a whole other thing to pretty much find ourselves in a world where everything resembles a toxic wasteland.  I know that is probably an overstatement but I expect most have forgotten what it took to get our air and water to where it is today from where it was when the environmental movement became a force to be reckoned with back in the 1960’s and into the 1970’s when the idea of protecting the environment was still considered radical.  At the time, air and water pollution was almost seen as an expected and reasonable by-product of our continued industrial growth.  And in reality, there was no economic pressure for industry to do anything different.  It was basically a view that the ends justified the means.  Fortunately, smarter and influential individuals and organizations were able to take hold and their efforts eventually made a difference.  I suggest that people take a quick tour back to that time and see what the Great Lakes looked like, take a look at the air pollution in our major cities, get a sense of the number of lives impacted by the toxic waste dumps created by big business.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was established in 1970 to put a limit on the amount of pollutants in the air. Congress passed the Clean Air Act in 1963, the Noise Control Act in 1972 and the Clean Water Act in 1977.

I am far from someone who could be considered an extremist when it comes to the environment.  Yes, I wore Earth shoes (who didn’t back then) and I take recycling to be something important but I am far from an activist in any sense.  I believe that there are extremes in the enviromentalist initiatives that probably go too far.  But when I hear the current crop of Republican candidates and leaders start there “Drill baby Drill” chant and when I hear the call to disband the EPA, I start to shudder a bit.  I am one that believes that corporate America will do whatever is needed that leads to an extra penny in a dividend check.  I believe the Exxons of the world don’t have a proactive social conscience and their sense of any social responsibility is more evident only when they get caught.

Yes, it is likely that by increasing oil drilling or removing any EPA required limits for things in the air and water that are known to kill or severely injure people we could see a temporary uptick in some economic indicator they would choose to put out there.  I do ask whether reducing the price of gas by a dime (and I have doubts that any action in the US could have any lasting impact on price) is worth any of us having children or grandchildren with increased cancer rates well beyond that we see today.  I don’t see it and I don’t get it.  And I’m tired of the politicians manipulating the facts and the public into supporting positions which benefit only corporations.  How can we be so stupid when the evidence is all out there?

Prior to 2008, Congressman Gingrich believed in man-made global warming and supported a cap-and-trade program. In 2008, Gingrich shifted his view to be in complete opposition to cap-and-trade and to be skeptical of global warming claims. Gingrich strongly supports expanded drilling both onshore and offshore. Gingrich supports a rapid expansion of nuclear energy, hydrogen energy, wind, and solar energy. One of Gingrich’s more interesting environmental ideas is to build “a large array of mirrors that could affect the earth’s climate,” to extend farmers’ growing season. (from his book "A Contract with the Earth"). Gingrich has opposed EPA regulation of carbon emissions and has called for the EPA to be abolished.

People, open your eyes, stop being sheep, take stock of what you are hearing and make it clear that our leaders hear “yes, while it is about the economy, it is also about the environment, stupid”.   It is time they realize that the American public isn’t as stupid as they think.

Senator Santorum does not believe in man-made global warming. In 2011, he referred to the notion that man was changing the climate as patently absurd. He opposes cap-and-trade legislation, stating that it would destroy a state like Pennsylvania. Senator Santorum supports all manners of energy production. He is a strong advocate for increased oil and gas exploration and increased drilling for oil and natural gas. This includes drilling in ANWR and the outer continental shelf. He opposes the viewpoint that government should chose which resources the people are allowed to use.

Mitt Romney is neutral on the idea that human pollution is a significant cause of global warming. Personally, he's not sure global warming is happening. Romney supports investment in drilling for oil domestically. Romney supports investment in alternative forms of energy including investment in nuclear energy. Romney strongly opposes the protection of natural places from development. Romney is of the opinion wherein the solution to our environmental problem lies in adopting a market approach. While solving the environmental challenges, we should also be supporting growth. Romney is criticized for flip-flopping on the environmental question. He has been blamed for subjecting his will to the likes of big companies.

 

"I am the Lorax, I speak for the trees. I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues... "

 

UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not. – The Lorax – Dr. Seuss