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Rick Santorum Belongs in a Sanatorium

 

 

            Republican presidential hopefuls returned to the campaign trail on Wednesday, one day after Rick Santorum’s sudden resurgence with a three-state victory. Speaking in Texas, Santorum took aim at what he called progressive “intolerance” of evangelical Christians.

Rick Santorum: “This is the intolerance of the left, the intolerance of the secular ideology. It is a—it is a religion unto itself. It is just not a biblical-based religion. And it is—it is the most intolerant, just like we saw from the days of the atheists in the Soviet Union. It is completely intolerant of dissent, because they fear dissent. Why? Because the dissent comes from folks who use reason, common sense and divine revelation, and they want no part of any of those things.”

—Democracy Now, News Headlines for Feb. 9, 2012

            When I heard this headline on Democracy Now! last week, I was a bit surprised and to be honest, amused. I first started taking note of this kind of anti-“secular humanism,” as the nut cases like to label it, over 25 years ago. In fact, I spent a summer compiling a thick stack of notes on the subject and once I turned 50, I finally was able to silence my inner critic and started working on a major project which I haven’t completed yet but I have written over 2,000 pages of it so far. The first part of my project is on this very subject i.e. Christian fundamentalists vs. Secular humanists. I tend to get very long-winded and sometimes stray for the subject at hand as you can perhaps tell by my having written over 2,000 pages so I’m going to try real hard to be as brief as possible in this essay.

Rick Santorum "Don't Hate the Crusades"

 

            I just watched a couple of brief video clips of Ricky Santorum’s absurd babble and noticed that he interchanges “secular humanism” with “secular liberalism.” Of course this is insignificant in the minds of mental midgets but for those of you who may care to be a little more precise, it is revealing of these Right-wing extremists and their disdain for clarity. Intellectually and ethically-challenged individuals like Santorum use the tactics & tools of rhetoric (art of effective or persuasive speaking or writing; language designed to persuade or impress; rhetorical questionquestion asked not for information but for an effect) to fool their audiences into accepting their false premises and therefore false conclusions.

 

The Spanish Inquisition by Goya

            To illustrate, from Santorum’s quote above, “Why? Because the dissent comes from folks who use reason, common sense and divine revelation, and they want no part of any of those things.” Again, I have to chuckle because this is such an Alice in Wonderland claim that only those tripping on some sort of hallucinogen or those brain-dead from years of listening to preachers like Santorum could possibly believe this statement. Rhetoric is the weapon of choice for preachers, politicians, & pundits and they will lie straight-faced to the world in order to reach their goals. Preachers claim to have God’s ear and to speak for him e.g. Pat Robertson who is a billionaire and has committed serious crimes against humanity but somehow isn’t held accountable for his actions. Preachers claim to be serving God just as politicians claim to be serving the public but it’s all a sham and I just don’t get it why so many people continue to be fooled by these charlatans? The pundits on “FOX News” are all millionaires i.e. the “commentators” and the colonels & generals who regularly appear especially when we’ve just invaded another country are paid very handsomely because they are pushing the party line of the corporate elite who actually rule the world. Sadly, hundreds of thousands of Americans who aren’t savvy as to these devious rhetorical tactics and rarely question the motives of the talking heads on FOX News, are easy prey for the propaganda and wind-up voting for the politicians who are causing them to lose their homes, their jobs, etc. 

The Salem Witch Trials, example of Christian tolerance

 

            How is this you may wonder? Because like Ricky Santorum knows all too well, all the propagandists have to do is keep the gullible focused on guns, gays, & God and they won’t notice as they are being robbed by their preachers & politicians. And for the loony Santorum to accuse the “Left” of being intolerant is an example of truly mindboggling absurdity because there is a mountain of evidence that supports the fact that it is the Christian Right (note Santorum substituted the word “evangelicals” to avoid the ugly connotations associated with the Christian Right) is hands-down the most intolerant of perhaps all groups in America. Liberalism or humanism or whatever the fear & hate mongers want to label us, are by definition tolerant, open-minded, accepting of other viewpoints, and curious about everything & welcoming of everyone’s opinions/perspectives and this is what really scares & therefore enrages the reactionary Right-wing extremists on the Christian Right and the political Right-wing extreme of the Conservative or Republican party. The “Right” demands absolute belief without question and loyalty i.e. just trust us, we have your best interests in mind and we will protect you against all those anti-Christians, and we are the victims.

 

more God-fearing, good Christians

            No my friend, these sorts of Christian fundamentalists that Santorum is appealing to are not the victims but rather the victimizers. They have killed doctors who performed abortions. They have beat gays to death with their fists. They have publicly hounded & humiliated women who have had abortions or who haven’t lived their lives according to the narrow & restrictive prejudices of the “Christian Right” so unrelentingly that women have committed suicide rather than live with the disgrace. They have had progressive or liberal teachers and professors fired over trumped-up charges and blatant lies. They have hung Black men in the name of their Christian god.  In brief, they are the evil ones and they fear free thought because it reveals the hollowness of their doctrines, bias, bigotry, & prejudice and undermines the very foundation of their hate and fear. 

 

            Moreover, Ricky the Reptile’s accusation that secularists or liberals fear dissent is another totally ridiculous charge because secularists, liberals, progressives, etc., are by definition and have been throughout history, dissenters. We are the individuals who have dared to question and stand-up to religious orthodoxy and were put to death for doing so. We are the ones who dare to criticize our government and business elite and academic elite. All human progress is the result of dissent from the status quo. These wolves in sheep’s clothing like Santorum try to turn the table of logic on us and accuse us of what they are doing. Throughout history, the Church and the State have done their best to keep the public in the dark so they could keep the reins of power in their hands and enrich themselves while the citizenry suffered & begged for handouts or crumbs. If a truly satanic person like Santorum were to become our president, he would work day & night to return us to the Dark Ages of feudalism.

 

            By the way, did you notice how he combined reason, common sense, & divine revelation in the same sentence? This is clearly an attempt to associate divine revelation with common sense & reason or imply that they are equally valid. Do I have to point out to you that divine revelation by its very definition has nothing to do with reason or common sense but is strictly a matter of faith. Of course the devious ones want us all to accept divine revelation as an absolute or a fact because they are then free to define or tell us what God has told them because they are his agents. Funny thing tough, his advice to them always seems to somehow make them rich even as their flocks are starving, homeless, etc.? Also note the use of the term “secular ideology.” Again, meant to paint ‘secularism” with a negative connotation because the word “ideology” has a tainted image and we’re not suppose to note that his concept of Christianity is also an ideology just as the “conservatives” ideology of the free market which has done such wonders for them financially but impoverished the overwhelming majority of humanity.

 

            In conclusion, the attempt by Ricky the Rodent to compare secular humanism with Communist Russia is a blatant perversion of reality but the FOX News cult members will accept it unquestionably I’m sure because it has such a powerful appeal when you consider our long war against Communism. Isn’t it odd though that we went to Vietnam to stop the evil Communists in China yet in short order, Nixon & Kissinger were held up as heroes for opening trade with China and the Chinese, still communists, were our friends?

 

            Finally, I am so disgusted with what is called the Left in this country because they can’t seem to grow a backbone and continually fight among themselves rather than attack and defend against the onslaught of the anti-human, extremists on the Right who want total dominion over not only our bodies but our minds as well. Santorum is either a raving nut-case or a sinister and evil manipulator with who knows what diabolical agenda in mind. These remarks of his are the same old, tired, & worn-out assault on Humanism which is really code for a classical education e.g. history, philosophy, political science, literature, etc. They want to perform a national lobotomy on our minds as well as our spirits and want us all kneeling at their feet, meek and subservient. Funny how these “righteous” men never bring up the fact that many of their political & corporate financial contributors went to those elite universities and studied the humanist classics? This phony attack is also yet another example of the decades-old, no, century old anti-intellectualism which is the second part of my book. In short, these Cro-Magnons want to completely destroy the public education system so they can have full power over our children and indoctrinate them with their strict father, and man rules over woman and the Earth ideology of dominance and control. It’s called “Dominionist theology.” Beware my fellow Americans and be very afraid because they will not stop until they’ve won or unless they are stopped by a united and informed public. If you’d like resources to further educate yourselves on these matters, don’t hesitate to contact me and I’d love to be of help. 

                        Persevere! 

 

Thought I’d share with you an example of Righteous Rick’s “Good Christian Family Values”:

 

Santorum charity for the poor spent most of its money on management, political friends

By and , Published: January 13

As Republicans gathered for their national convention in Philadelphia a decade ago, Rick Santorum, who was then an up-and-coming senator from Pennsylvania, launched a charity that he said would improve the lives of low-income residents in his home state.

“Wouldn’t it be a great thing to leave something positive behind other than a bunch of parties and a bunch of garbage?” Santorum told a local reporter.

But homeless families and troubled children were not the biggest beneficiaries of Operation Good Neighbor. Instead, the foundation spent most of its money to run itself, including hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees for fundraising, administration and office rental paid to Santorum’s political allies.

The charity also had significant overlap with the senator’s campaigns and his work on Capitol Hill. Among the leading donors to the foundation were Pennsylvania development and finance firms that had donated to his election efforts and had interests that Santorum had supported in the Senate.

Santorum, whose last-minute surge in the Iowa caucuses has brought new attention to his presidential bid, portrays himself as a common man concerned about the gap between the nation’s rich and poor. But in the case of his charity, his efforts ended up mostly helping his cadre of political friends.

Before it folded in 2007, the foundation raised $2.58 million, with 39 percent of that donated directly to groups helping the needy. By industry standards, such philanthropic groups should be donating nearly twice that, from 75 to 85 percent of their funds.

“That’s exceptionally poor,” Ken Berger, president of Charity Navigator, a national organization that rates charitable groups, said of the Santorum group’s giving. “We would tell donors to run with fear from this organization.”

Santorum campaign adviser John Brabender said the former senator remains proud of the cause he championed.

“Senator Santorum was very committed to helping raise funds for Operation Good Neighbor and did so with the understanding that those funds would be used to help many organizations and families located in urban areas of Pennsylvania,” Brabender said.

Group defends costs

Robert Pratter, who had served on the charity’s board, defended its management, saying its fundraising costs and payments to staff and consultants were reasonable.

“We were raising money for these very small mom-and-pop groups — the most effective way to raise money was the way we raised it,” said Pratter, who was formerly with Philadelphia risk management firm PMA Capital, a donor to the charity and to Santorum campaigns. “If you have a golf outing, it costs money to have a golf outing.”

Recipients, including an AIDS group, a local YMCA and others, received checks of roughly $6,000 to $15,000. Pratter said they were much-needed resources for tiny nonprofit groups struggling raise money on their own.

Robert Bickhart, a Republican political strategist who was Santorum’s campaign finance director, became the charity’s executive director.

He served without pay in 2001 but received payments for renting office space in his Conshohocken, Pa., consulting firm, Capitol Resource Group, to the charity. Tax records do not specify the amount paid for rent.

Beginning in 2002, Bickhart was paid for his part-time job as director, and from 2002 to 2006, he received a total of $97,000 in compensation, plus unspecified amounts in office rent.

In February 2006, the group was the subject of an American Prospect magazine article that reported some of Bickhart’s early fees and noted the charity’s low level of giving to nonprofit groups. Bickhart resigned from the charity later that year.

When Bickhart left, Santorum’s former spokeswoman, Laura Lebaudy, took over briefly as the charity’s director before it shut down, records show.

In its six years, the charity paid $347,088 for the fundraising services of Maria Diesel, a Chester County, Pa., events coordinator who has also helped raise money for Santorum’s political efforts.

Diesel did not return messages left at her home. And Bickhart, who in 2009 became finance director for the Republican National Committee and became mired in controversy over his stewardship of the RNC’s finances under former chairman Michael Steele, referred questions to the Santorum campaign.

Pratter said that Bickhart and others were properly compensated and that their political ties to Santorum were irrelevant.

“I don’t believe they got a tremendous amount of money, and I know whatever they got was for services provided,” Pratter said. “It wasn’t as if this was some kind of front. They did their work.”

Santorum PAC benefits

Bickhart also benefited from another Santorum organization, a political action committee known as America’s Foundation PAC, which the senator formed while he was in office. Lawmakers often use such committees, known as “leadership PACs,” to dole out money to political allies.

Santorum kept the committee going, even after losing his seat in 2006, and has raised $5.5 million over the past five years.

When he was in office and running for reelection, he gave 20 percent of the funds to other GOP candidates in federal races. But after Santorum left the Senate, that figure dropped to about 3 percent, although he also gave a small amount to local Republicans in key primary states.

The Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan watchdog group, found in a 2011 study that leadership PACs run by lawmakers commonly give away 80 to 90 percent of their money to other candidates or political committees.

After he left the Senate, Santorum spent most of his PAC money — more than $3 million — on campaign-style expenses criticizing Democrats, including direct mail, polling and political consultants, disclosure records show. An additional $1.4 million went for travel, salaries and other administrative costs.

As with the charity, hundreds of thousands of dollars of the PAC money went to loyal aides with close ties to Santorum. Bickhart and his firm, for example, have received nearly $780,000 from America’s Foundation since 2001, records show.

In a January 2010 letter seeking donations, Santorum said he needed money to “reinforce our conservative allies” in Congress and retake control of the House. Though Santorum had not then registered as a presidential candidate, he also wrote he was “actively considering” a presidential run and hoped to “kick the Obama administration to the curb,” according to the Philadelphia Daily News.

Santorum centered much of his fundraising and political organizing in recent years on opposition to the policies of President Obama and other Democrats. In one thank-you mailing sent to supporters in 2010, Santorum said he was “fighting to preserve the very soul of America” and “to stop President Obama and his radical agenda.” The document is preserved on a vendor’s Web site as an example of award-winning fundraising work.

By 2011, much of the spending by America’s Foundation was centered on key primary states such as Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina as Santorum laid preparations for a presidential run.

Brabender said the expenses in primary states were proper.

“The senator spent a great deal of time on party-building activities and helping other candidates, and he was entitled to have these expenses paid for,” he said.

Federal campaign-finance laws provide few limits on how a politician can spend money from a leadership PAC, and candidates are not required to form a presidential campaign committee until they explicitly declare an interest in running for the White House.

Santorum formally announced his bid in June 2011, after spending about $585,000 in the first six months of 2011 through America’s Foundation.

“Leadership PACs have become a very common vehicle to be treated as a kind of slush fund for former officeholders,” said Paul S. Ryan, associate counsel at the Campaign Legal Center. “It’s perfectly legal for a senator to amass millions of dollars in a leadership PAC, and then once they leave office or are kicked out of office, they can do whatever they want with that money.”

Rick Santorum with God on his side

 

 

Staff writer T.W. Farnum, research editor Alice Crites and staff researchers Lucy Shackelford contributed to this report.

 

 

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