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NEWSFLASH: Santorum really doesn’t believe in the separation of church and state. No, really, he actually said that.



Responding to comments he made last October on the issue, Santorum said on ‘This Week,’

“I don’t believe in an America where the separation of church and state are absolute,” he told ‘This Week’ host George Stephanopoulos. “The idea that the church can have no influence or no involvement in the operation of the state is absolutely antithetical to the objectives and vision of our country…to say that people of faith have no role in the public square? You bet that makes me want to throw up.”

As if that wasn’t bad enough to anyone not desiring of theocracy, he then said on ‘Meet the Press’ that separation of church and state was “not the founders’ vision.” 

Really? Not the founders vision? Are we even reading the same texts/talking about the same people? I know its dangerous to just quote one thing and have it be a broad, overreaching generalization of everything that person stood for, but since the religious right constantly misquote the Founding Fathers to make them seem more sympathetic to Christianity and the convergence of church and state, here is a good example of what Thomas Jefferson really said:

I have examined all the known superstitions of the world, and I do not find in our particular superstition of Christianity one redeeming feature. They are all alike founded on fables and mythology. Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned. What has been the effect of this coercion? To make one half the world fools and the other half hypocrites; to support roguery and error all over the earth.

The full article on Santorum’s comments can be found here.

This has been pointed out before, but I don’t feel that it can be said enough.

(Source: georgie-maude, via seriouslyamerica)

People have no problem paying $900 for an iPad, but paying $900 for a drug they have a problem with — it keeps you alive. Why? Because you’ve been conditioned to think health care is something you can get without having to pay for it…

He’s alive today because drug companies provide care. And if they didn’t think they could make money providing that drug, that drug wouldn’t be here. I sympathize with these compassionate cases. … I want your son to stay alive on much-needed drugs. Fact is, we need companies to have incentives to make drugs. If they don’t have incentives, they won’t make those drugs. We either believe in markets or we don’t.

Rick Santorum, speaking to the mother of a young boy in Colorado about the free market and prescription drug prices. She told Santorum her son’s medication could cost up to $1 million per year. 

One drug her son is taking is Abilify, which is used in children to treat schizophrenia; aggression associated with conduct disorder, autism, or other behavioral disorders; and Bipolar Disorder I. We can debate the merits of children taking anti-psychotic medication another time. The fact remains: Abilify is ridiculously expensive.

How expensive?

Visiting Walgreen’s site tells quite the story. All prices are discounted slightly by their prescription price club, meaning the cost at a local pharmacy may be higher or lower:

  • Abilify 2mg: $606.04/mo. | $7,272.48/yr
  • Abilify 5mg: $623.99/mo. | $7,487.88/yr
  • Abilify 10mg: $623.99/mo. | $7,487.88/yr
  • Abilify 15mg: $606.04/mo. | $7,272.48/yr
  • Abilify 20mg: $855.37/mo. | $10,264.44/yr
  • Abilify 30mg: $855.37/mo. | $10,264.44/yr
  • Abilify Discmelt 10mg tablets: $720.56/mo. | $8,646.72/yr
  • Abilify Discmelt 15mg tablets: $720.56/mo. | $8,646.72/yr
  • Abilify 1mg solution: $1329.03/mo. | $15,948.36/yr

And just to put Rick Santorum’s iPad/drug cost claim in perspective, that’s like buying an iPad every single month. It’s illogical and completely specious to compare necessary medication to an unnecessary iPad. But for fun, I’m going to parse it out as a 30-day cost like the prescription drug above:

  • iPad 16GB with WiFi: $499.00 | $41.58/mo
  • iPad 32GB with WiFi: $599.00 | $49.92/mo
  • iPad 64GB with WiFi: $699.00 | $58.25/mo
  • iPad 16GB with WiFi + 3G: $629.00 | $52.42/mo
  • iPad 32GB with WiFi + 3G: $729.00 | $60.75/mo
  • iPad 64GB with WiFi + 3G: $829.00 | $69.08/mo

I bet that mother would be thrilled if her son’s yearly drug costs were that of an iPad.

You’d think Rick Santorum might have more compassion, since he and his wife are parents to a 3-year-old girl with severe developmental disabilities requiring expensive care. Isabella Santorum is also quite lucky that her father, a former U.S. Senator, has a magnificent, comprehensive health care plan courtesy of the U.S. taxpayers. I’d like to see every child afforded the same health care his daughter receives.

And no, I don’t care if my taxes go up to do it. 

(via cognitivedissonance)

(via seriouslyamerica)

The problem with selecting a candidate to “beat Obama”



MSNBC and Fox News are both hammering home that out of all the candidates in the GOP primary in South Carolina, Newt Gingrich’s support was the highest among people who said the most important factor in their selection was a candidate who could defeat Barack Obama. Coincidentally, beating Obama was the most important factor in candidate choice to nearly 50% of voters. Fox News is also pointing out his strong performances in debates with his zingers at the media and fellow candidates and his stubborn refusal to go gently into that good night as factors in his rise in the polls, and his overall victory in South Carolina.

Um, guys?

You know that after January 20, 2013, the president-elect is now the president. That means said president has to actually do shit. Things will not be magically fixed just because you voted out Barack Obama. In fact, much of what Gingrich wants to do in office could make things worse. 

I imagine the thought process of many voters when considering Gingrich goes like this:

  1. Doughy white guy says shit I like. He sounds smart. He says he’s going to beat Obama. He sounds confident, unlike that sputtering asshat with tax problems. Plus, he’ll end Obama’s war on my religion.
  2. Fuck the lazy-ass poor people. Get jobs, douchebags. He’ll even put kids to work, too.
  3. Open marriage? Shit, at least he could beat Obama.
  4. Vote Newt Gingrich. 
  5. *POOF* Teatopia, y’all!

This is remarkably similar to liberal pals of mine who are pissed Obama didn’t unbreak everything in four years and bring about the opposite of Teatopia. If you listened to Obama and examined his voting record, you’d see he’s fairly moderate. In fact, compared to past Republicans, i.e. Richard Nixon, he’s more to the right.

But in the 2012 Electoral Race to the Bottom, sponsored by Citizens United v. FEC (2010), the facts don’t matter and Barack Obama must be defeated. Even if it means nominating a man with absolutely no character or ability to lead. Why is it so tough to wrap my brain around voters supporting Newt Gingrich?

  • Speaking of the Citizens United decision, Gingrich Productions has “produced three films on religion and one each on energy, Ronald Reagan and the threat of radical Islam.” These films are little more than GOP talking point advertisements. Gingrich’s funding partner? As The Wall Street Journal points out, these were “all done as joint projects with the conservative activist group, Citizens United. The latest project: A film on American exceptionalism, another likely campaign theme.” 

  • He’s admitted to multiple affairs, while attacking others on “family values” and holding himself up as a moral paragon. His personal life is irrelevant until he begins throwing stones in his obviously glass house.

  • He doesn’t use a racism dog-whistle so much as a racism air-raid siren. Gingrich defended his diatribe from the Jan. 16th GOP debate, which he launched into when Juan Williams asked him about the racial overtones of his comments regarding poor children lacking “work habits”, employing children as janitors in poor, urban neighborhoods, and the black community needing to demand food stamps versus paychecks. And how did he choose to defend this? 

    Newt Gingrich decided to attack Juan Williams, claiming on Friday, “I had a very interesting dialogue Monday night in Myrtle Beach with Juan Williams about the idea of work, which seemed to Juan Williams to be a strange, distant concept.” So in order to defend himself against charges of racism, he essentially states Williams is lazy. Williams was the African-American man who had the audacity to ask him a tough question, and that does not seem to sit well with Newt several days later.

  • As a US House Representative, he kited twenty-two personal checks using the now-defunct House Bank, charges uncovered during the “Rubbergate” scandal - including a check for over $9,000 to the IRS. One of the whistleblowers on this scandal? Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Penn.

  • He blasted colleagues for ties to lobbyists and corruption, yet Gingrich accepted a check from Employment Policies Institute lobbyist Richard B. Berman for $25,000. This particular check, supposedly given to Gingrich as a donation for a college course he was teaching, led former Rep. Ben Jones (D-Ga.) to demand an ethics investigation by the US House because the note attached to the contribution raised questions of possible criminal wrongdoing by suggesting Gingrich used his influence on behalf of the lobbyist at a 1993 congressional hearing.
    The note stated in a postscript: “Newt - Thanks again for the help on today’s committee hearing.” The subsequent investigation into this charge, shady book deals, and other fundraising activity lead to over 80 ethics charges against Gingrich and a plea deal with an unprecedented $300,000 fine. Gingrich resigned as well.

A side note from Esquire on the ethics investigation: [Emphasis mine]

The House Ethics Committee started investigating GOPAC’s donations to his college class and caught him trying to hide his tracks by raising money through a charity for inner-city kids called the Abraham Lincoln Opportunity Foundation. Another charity of his called Earning by Learning actually spent half its money supporting a former Gingrich staffer who was writing his biography… The Ethics Committee found him guilty of laundering donations through charities, submitting “inaccurate, incomplete, and unreliable” testimony, and making “an effort to have the material appear to be nonpartisan on its face, yet serve as a partisan, political message for the purpose of building the Republican party.”

And yes, it’s those same inner-city kids he wants to make janitors

Gingrich is running what he claims to be a revolutionary campaign of ideas. Yet those ideas are little more than attacking fellow candidates, the media, and Barack Obama for issues ranging from corruption and immorality, to favoritism and anti-Americanism. Gingrich employs a set of cliches and fiery debate invective that gets voters in the booth on primary day as evidenced by South Carolina. Can he continue this into the general election?

As multiple news outlets discussed today, Gingrich’s unfavorability rating is the highest of any candidate among moderates and independents. This is a significant voting bloc the GOP will seek to court from Obama. Gingrich is not stupid. He is effective in debates. He calls other candidates “Washington elites” (when he spent significantly more time in Washington than any other candidate running) and the crowd goes wild.

Mitt Romney, the ostensible front-runner, is a terrible candidate in debates. He is easily rattled and incapable of answering a direct question. The GOP field is in disarray and looking for unity. The former Speaker of the House is an experienced politician - though divisive - and may be the one to watch going into Super Tuesday in the next several weeks. Perhaps a theory posited by Gingrich in 1988 explains his success: “In every election in American history, both parties have their cliches. The party that has the cliches that ring true wins.”

The 2012 primary season promises to be a dog and pony show until the bitter end - or until the money runs out. This election cycle reinforces the idea that American politics is little more than contemporary bread and circuses, only less bread and more circuses. Elections are ideally about issues and governance. This year, the only stated mission of the GOP is to rid the White House of Obama, and Gingrich is the candidate best at smearing Obama as somewhere between Benedict Arnold and Benito Mussolini.

Voters are responding well in the primary to this kind of messaging, but the GOP will hopefully discover it’s difficult to run on a platform of needing to do nothing besides regain control of the presidency. To run on a platform that consists of “beat the other guy and BAM! TEATOPIA!” is simply intellectually dishonest. But if it’s intellectually (and morally) dishonest they want, the GOP has their man in Gingrich. If it’s beat Obama they want, they may get it. However, January 21, 2013 and every day after is another day Obama will no longer be available as the executive target, and another day when the new president will be expected to lead. The GOP may be content to run a cliche-machine, powered by egomaniacal bile, but it is my belief that the American voters deserve more than just some guy nominated to beat Obama.

Case in point.

Is Romney Where He Wants to Be?


With Romney holding steady at around 20 percent in the polls, while Perry falls, Cain rises and most GOP voters remain undecided, Matt Bai argues that this is just the spot Romney wants to be, because voters are not coalescing around a Romney alternative (all contenders have come and gone so far). However, I don’t see much comparison between Bill Clinton’s campaign in 1992 and Romney’s 2012 campaign. While conservative Republican voters may not have chosen an anti-Romney whom they can rally around, that question could be decided by January 3rd with the Iowa caucuses. If one of the candidates - Bachmann, Cain, Perry or even Paul - give Romney a run for his money in Iowa or even win the caucuses, he should look out ahead. Thus, Romney has to win convincingly in the early states and remove any shadow of a doubt he is eventual nominee. I’m a little shocked that Cain has maintained his polling numbers this long; I expected that his surge might wane as it did before, but so far, the criticisms of Cain haven’t effected his rise. Presuming he can raise money to compete in the long run, he might be formidable challenger even with his lackadaisical attitude toward foreign policy. And I would caution against tossing the dirt on Perry’s grave just yet - yes, even despite his poor debate performance and poll numbers - because of two things: 1) money - if he continues to raise it in large chunks he can contend; and 2) while he may be poor in debate, he’s great on the stump. The Perry campaign also just hired some new staff which may help.

(Source: The New York Times)