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Rick Santorum 2016: The Pros And Cons

Retired U.S. Senator Rick Santorum has announced that he will be running for President in 2016. In 2012, Santorum was one of the Blip Of The Month Republicans, as GOP favor flittered around between him and Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, and Rick Perry before settling on the year’s biggest loser of all, Mitt Romney. Rick Santorum did great among extreme right wing voters in Iowa, but quickly petered out elsewhere, becoming nothing more than the butt of jokes that centered around “Santorum” being the Italian word for something both smelly and frothy.

Rick Santorum is, apparently, a serious glutton of punishment. So, let’s give him a serious look. No political candidate is all bad, or all good. Here’s a list of the pros and cons of the Rick Santorum 2016 campaign:

– Santorum talks about the problems of corporate influence on politics. “If the Republican Party has a future — and I sometimes question if it does,” he says, “it’s in middle America. It’s not in corporate America.”
– Santorum talks about the need for the Republican Party to become more “inclusive”, saying, “It’s time that conservative Republicans build a new box and offer Americans a broader, bolder and more inclusive vision of freedom and opportunity, as well as provide the tools to achieve them.”
– Santorum says that Republicans should stop talking so much about how great Ronald Reagan was.

– Santorum actually is thickly linked with corporate America and seeks out the support of financial elites who made their fortunes in the corporate world. Santorum has an MBA degree, and had a career as a corporate lawyer before entering politics. Since being kicked out of the U.S. Senate, Santorum has worked for coal and hydrofracking company Consol Energy and for United Health Services, a corporate hospital chain that was sued for Medicare fraud while Santorum was on its board of directors. During his time in the U.S. Senate, his top financial backers were from Federated Investors, Inc., Blank Rome LLC, Exelon Corporation, Comcast, Blue Cross Blue Shield, PPL Corporation, Sunoco, the Securities Industry and Financial Market Association, GlaxoSmithKline, and the WPP Group. That’s not what “middle America” looks like.
– Santorum voted in 2002 to approve the rush to war in Iraq
– Santorum opposes equality under the law for heterosexuals and homosexuals.
– Santorum has used his position as a United States Senator to attempt to force public schools to teach Christian Creationist theology as if it is science.
– Santorum has been an advocate for the use of steroids by athletes in televised sports
– Santorum supports the funneling the money used to pay for senior citizens’ Social Security benefits into the accounts of Wall Street investment firms
– Santorum blames secular liberals for the rampant sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests
– Despite clear evidence that the Central Intelligence Agency was engaging in torture, and despite Michael Hayden’s refusal to condemn the torture, Rick Santorum voted to confirm Michael Hayden as head of the CIA. Santorum also voted to confirm Alberto Gonzalez as Attorney General of the United States despite his involvement in the development of torture programs.
– Santorum supported legislation that would allow industrial plants to release as much mercury into the air and water as they like
– Santorum supported laws that enabled the creation of the National Security Agency electronic system of surveillance against Americans who aren’t suspected of criminal behavior
– Santorum opposes an increase in the minimum wage that would bring it back into accord with cost of living increases

You may not believe it, but I actually spent a lot of time trying to find good things to say about Rick Santorum’s political record. It’s not an easy task.

Origin Game Portal, Fie Upon Thee and Thy House and Lands and Cattle too

Fulfilling my proper role as a father in fattening my children up with electronic gaming that would make Tipper Gore blanch, this afternoon I purchased a game through Origin. After shoveling $4,932,894.32(9/10 – damn the government taxes) down the gaping maw of the Origin shopping cart, I received an e-mail informing me blandly that all I needed to do was open my children’s new brain-rotting game in the “My Games” tab.

Here is my “My Games” tab, friends:

The Origins My Games Tab Has No Games in It.  Land Sakes Alive!  Or Moribund!

Go ahead and Google “My Games Tab in Origins is Empty.” You will find 1,365,372 web pages (in units of thousands) on this very subject. Choice phrases associated with these aforementioned web pages include run-around, no help and frustrated.

An official Electronic Arts Origin web page on the subject gives the following advice:

1. Try hitting “Reload.”
2. Try logging out and logging back in.
3. Uninstall everything and try it again.

That’s it. This is the customer service equivalent of “did you try turning it off and turning it on again?” It’s doofus advice. It’s non-specific. It’s chaff, thrown up in front of the laser-guided missiles of my consumer wrath in order to distract me. A rubber duck would have been more efficient. But there. Is. No. Rubber. Duck. And no, Electronic Arts (are there Electronic Sciences? ARE there?) — none of these measures worked.

There was one more instruction they suggested I follow. Perhaps I ought to make sure I really purchased the game (my bank statement tells me I did). Perhaps I ought to go to Origin.com and click on “the Customer Service link at the top of the page.”

Origin says Click on the Customer Service Link on the Top of the Page

There is no Customer Service link at the top of their page:

There is no Customer Service link at the top of the Origin page

Fie upon thee, Origin. That’s fie, fie, with a letter F for Figurative nastiness, an I for In and an E for Exile. Yea, verily, for thy house and thy lands and thy neighbor’s ox shall lie fallow, and clouds of tiny little winged insects whose names you never learned shall follow thee until the end of thine days. Oh, yes. I heap the little winged insects upon thee.

Varanasi Priests Show The Power Of Religion

Let us speak of the power of faith.

This week, in the city of Varanasi, India, two Hindu priests met on the street and got into an argument about who had the most followers. They soon started yelling at each other. Then, one of them pulled out a gun and shot the other one dead, and for good measure, killed another priest who showed up on the scene.

I’ll send 50 dollars to the first person who finds this story printed in the “Religion” section of their local newspaper, instead of the usual fluff about how religion brings people together and inspires them to higher moral action.

Was Einstein Right About Global Civilization?

Princeton University has released a website called Digital Einstein, containing many writings by Albert Einstein that were previously unknown by the general public. Among these is a Manifesto To The Europeans, which begins with the declaration that, “technology and traffic clearly drive us toward a factual recognition of international relations, and thus toward a common world civilization”.

This document was written during World War I. Was Einstein right in his judgment? Has technology and improved travel created a global civilization? In what respect do we have a single human civilization?

Honesty In A Politician: Roger Jewell For President

It is often said that there’s no such thing as an honest politician. Anyone who says this has, however, never heard of Republican presidential candidate Roger Jewell.

While other presidential candidates talk about their great personalities and impressive experience, Roger Jewell talks about his flaws. He doesn’t do this just as a quick mea culpa to give himself the appearance of depth, but goes into extremely uncomfortable details.

What does Jewell have to say about crime, for example? He doesn’t talk about how he would decrease it, but rather how he committed it.

“While working for Big Ben’s Records & Tapes in Encino, California, as assistant manager, I was an active alcoholic and drug addict (amphetamines). While there, I got involved in theft of records to be sold at fencing operators and swap meets. One such agreement with an ex sort-of girlfriend named Beth, we got arrested for conspiracy to commit theft as a felony. My case was pleaded down to a misdemeanor, and after serving my probation, a new plea of “not guilty” was entered and the case, for many purposes, was “expunged” from my criminal history. Beth was an artist and cartoonist and the last I heard, she was working for a major animation studio in the Hollywood area.”

I don’t think I’d like to see Roger Jewell become President, but his campaign web site is, at least, a fascinating character sketch, and a truly original piece of work.

Fred Upton Positions Himself For Success In An Era Of Oil Company Cash Abundance

Today, the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing called:“Are We Positioning America for Success in an Era of Energy Abundance?”

The answer to that question found during the hearing may be largely determined by the success with which Chairman of the subcommittee, Fred Upton, has positioned himself to receive money from the fossil fuels industry. In the last two years alone, Fred Upton has taken well over a half a million dollars from oil companies and energy utility companies.

How much of a fair hearing do you think that Fred Upton is likely to give to clean energy alternatives during that hearing today?

Help Portland, ME Racial Justice Group Get to NYC for Anti-Racist March

The Portland Racial Justice Congress is trying to whip together some cash so they can get transportation down from Maine to the Millions March in New York City on Saturday December 13. If you can’t make it to this important demonstration, chipping in a few bucks to help others get there would be a very good thing to do.

It’s About Racism: Millions March in NYC December 13 2014

Do you want “an end to all forms of discrimination and the full recognition of human rights?” This is a demand of the Millions March in New York City.

Do you want “an immediate end to police brutality and the murder of black, brown and all oppressed people?” This is a demand of the Millions March in New York City.

Do you want people to have “decent housing fit for the shelter of human beings?” This is a demand of the Millions March in New York City.

Do you want “an end to the school to prison pipeline and quality education for all?” This is a demand of the Millions March in New York City.

Do you want “freedom from mass incarceration and an end to the prison industrial complex?” This is a demand of the Millions March in New York City.

The Millions March in New York City starting at 2 pm on December 13 is sparked by the death of two unarmed black men at the hands of the police. But it is not just about those particular incidents. It is arguably not even mostly about those particular incidents. People are angry about this because of the continued prejudice and discrimination against Black people in America.

Have you had enough? Do you live in the New York City area? Will you be there?

Vote For Torture – Elect Marco Rubio President 2016

Yesterday, reacting to the Senate Intelligence Committee investigation that found that the CIA had engaged in widespread torture of prisoners, many of whom were not involved in terrorism in any way, obtaining no national security benefit as a result, Senator Marco Rubio, who is planning to run for President in 2016, released a statement saying that CIA torturers “deserve our thanks”. Then, apparently thinking that this support for torture wasn’t strong enough, Rubio issued a second statement, saying that CIA agents who tortured prisoners “deserve our eternal gratitude”.

If you want an America that perpetrates more of the horrors that were detailed and documented in the Senate torture report, then Marco Rubio should be just the presidential candidate you’re looking for. Rubio certainly seems intent on winning the 2016 GOP nomination by harnessing pro-torture voters. “We need to have the ability to interrogate people outside the realm of what you do in a criminal justice system,” he says.

Others of us remember that what’s supposed to make the USA isn’t military might or barbaric interrogation methods, but the Bill of Rights, which includes a prohibition of cruel and unusual punishments.

Senate Hearing Focuses On Ebola Crisis… Thousands Of Miles Away

Today, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee holds a hearing on “to examine the Ebola epidemic”. It seems like a good opportunity to reflect back on the Ebola crisis… the one that never ever posed a serious threat to the United States.

You see, it’s the Subcommittee on African Affairs that is holding the hearing. That’s because Ebola has been contained with extreme effectiveness by the Obama Administration here in the United States, despite the non-stop panic that came from Republican congressional candidates and presidential candidate Ben Carson. Ebola has been almost completely a phenomenon of the African continent. There never was any outbreak in the United States.

So why did we hear so much about Ebola threats to the U.S. in September and October? We can credit an effort to get out the right wing racist vote for Election Day. I don’t expect to hear too much about that particular issue of Ebola virulence during today’s hearing, though.

I Do Not Think That Word Means What You Think It Means

fatalism is not an optionTa-Nehisi Coates, senior editor of Vanity Fair: “Fatalism is not an option.”

Bonus points to anyone who can explain to me how fatalism cannot be an option.