Tuesday Reads: Silent Protest Slows State Sanctioned Rape Bill, Santorum Knows Best, and Other News

Silent protest of state-sanctioned rape bill in Richmond, VA

Good Morning!!

I’m so glad I can begin with good news. We’ve all been enraged about the bill in the Virginia legislature that would require a woman who needed an abortion to be penetrated against her will by a transvaginal ultrasound probe in order for her to view the contents of her womb. The bill would also require the doctor to note in her medical record whether she viewed the image or not.

Yesterday, citizens of Virgina held a “silent protest”, organized on Facebook, outside the Virginia Statehouse. From Fox News:

Hundreds of women locked arms and stood mute outside the Virginia State Capitol on Monday to protest a wave of anti-abortion legislation coursing through the General Assembly.

Capitol and state police officers, there to ensure order, estimated the crowd to be more than 1,000 people — mostly women. The crowd formed a human cordon through which legislators walked before Monday’s floor sessions of the Republican-controlled legislature.

The silent protest was over bills that would define embryos as humans and criminalize their destruction, require “transvaginal” ultrasounds of women seeking abortions, and cut state aid to poor women seeking abortions.

Molly Vick of Richmond said it was her first time to take part in a protest, but the issue was too infuriating and compelling. On her lavender shirt, she wore a sticker that said “Say No to State-Mandated Rape.” Just beneath the beltline of her blue jeans was a strip of yellow tape that read “Private Property: Keep Out.”

In addition, a new poll released yesterday showed that most Virginians do not support changes to the state’s abortion laws.

Virginia voters, by wide margins…oppose mandating that a woman receive an ultrasound before having an abortion, according to a new poll.

The results of the Christopher Newport University/Richmond Times-Dispatch survey put majorities at odds with legislation poised to pass in the General Assembly….

Of those polled, 55 percent say they oppose the requirement and 36 percent support it. The House and Senate have passed versions of the legislation.

“The governor will await the General Assembly’s final action,” said Tucker Martin, a spokesman for McDonnell. “If the bill passes he will review it, in its final form, at that time.”

Andy Kopsa at RH Reality Check wondered a few days ago if McDonnell might be getting cold feet. I bet he is after yesterday’s events. The demonstration apparently made the legislators nervous, because they decided to delay a vote on the bill.

I can’t help but wonder what motivates people to propose punitive, unconstitutional laws like this. Are they sadists? My guess is they had authoritarian parents who had no empathy for their feelings and now they unconsciously want to punish other people for the pain they suffered. Is that what happened to Rick Santorum? I wish I knew.

I’ve spent a lot of time lately trying to figure out how Rick Santorum came to be a religious fanatic. He must be a true believer, because he can’t seem to stop himself from talking about his bizarre beliefs, even though he must know they won’t help him politically. There’s a great summary of the crazy things Santorum said over the past weekend at The New Civil Rights Movement blog. I know you’ve heard about it already, but to read it all in one place is just stunning. Check it out.

Oh, and did you hear that Alice Stewart, who is Santorum’s national spokesperson, on Andrea Mitchell’s show yesterday? She was defending Santorum’s remarks to an Ohio Tea Party audience about President Obama having an “agenda” based on a “phony theology”

The “president’s agenda” is “not about you,” he said. “It’s not about you. It’s not about your quality of life. It’s not about your job.

“It’s about some phony ideal, some phony theology,” Santorum said to applause from the crowd. “Oh, not a theology based on the Bible, a different theology, but no less a theology.”

I hope someone asks Santorum at the next debate why he thinks government should operate according to the bible or any kind of theology. But I digress….

The former Pennsylvania senator has said he believes Obama is a Christian, and a statement from the campaign stresses that as well, adding that Santorum was talking not about the president’s religion, but political ideology.

“The President says he’s a Christian and Rick believes that and has even said so publicly many times,” National Communications Director Hogan Gidley said in a statement. “Rick was talking about the President’s belief in the secular theology of government — and how believing that theology is dangerous because government theology teaches that it’s perfectly fine (to) take away our individual God-given rights and freedoms. Our founders wrote the Constitution to protect our individual rights and freedoms, but it’s clear that President Obama believes the government should control your life. Rick Santorum believes in the Constitution and will always fight to protect our freedoms.”

But getting back to Alice Stewart on the Andrea Mitchell show and her major boo boo–a real Freudian slip if I ever heard one–here it is, as described by Sarah Posner at Religion Dispatches Magazine (with video).

Today, his national press secretary, Alice Stewart (whose previous job was press secretary for Michele Bachmann’s presidential campaign), went on MSNBC and also claimed that Santorum wasn’t questioning Obama’s religion. Instead, she said, he was talking about “radical environmentalists, there is a type of theological secularism when it comes to the global warmists in this country. That’s what he was referring to. He was referring to the president’s policies, in terms of the radical Islamic policies the president has and specifically in terms of energy exploration.”

Stewart called back shortly afterward to say that she had “made a slip of the tongue” and hadn’t meant to say “Islamic,” but had intended to say “environmental.” But Posner, the author of a book on the religious right, God’s Profits: Faith, Fraud, and the Republican Crusade for Values Voters, isn’t buying it.

Of course. Because secularists and Muslims and environmentalists are equally the sworn enemies of anyone with a “Christian worldview” and therefore America. An understandable mistake to mix them up in a torrent of dog-whistles: Theological secularism. Global warmists. Radical Islamic. If you’ve had a “Christian worldview” education, you’ve been taught that two of those—secularism and Islam—are competing “worldviews” in a cosmic clash with Christianity, vying for domination in the world. And you’ve probably been exposed to the false claim that global warming is a hoax, that environmentalism “and its ramifications must be clearly understood by Christians so that we can protect ourselves and especially our children from the unbiblical brainwash that permeates our schools, media, popular culture, and yes, our churches,” according to Christian Worldview radio host David Wheaton.

More right wing nuts that I’ve never heard of. Lately I’ve been reading everything I can about these right wing religious cults–and they are cults. I’ve read about Catholic cults, the Mormon cult (yes, I believe it is a cult), and for the past few days I’ve been reading about right wing protestant movements in a book by Max Blumenthal, Republican Gomorrah.

I spent much of yesterday afternoon reading reports of Santorum’s pronouncements and speculations by various writers on why he’s so obsessed with everyone else’s sex lives and can’t stop talking about his bizarre religious beliefs. Alec MacGillis at The New Republic thinks he has the answer. MacGillis says the pundits

cannot fathom why Santorum would keep veering off a pre-Michigan script that that was supposed to be geared toward the economy, manufacturing in particular. What this reflects, though, is a misconception grounded in our lack of experience with true political ideologues. We talk a lot these days about Washington having been overtaken by conservative ideologues, but this is an exaggeration. Many of those glibly parroting right-wing ideology these days—say, Eric Cantor—are mere opportunists. But Rick Santorum is a rare breed—a bona fide ideologue with a fixed and coherent world view. He can’t just switch some button and turn off the social stuff and talk jobs instead. It’s all woven together. “I’m not going to go out and lay out an agenda about how we’re going to transform people’s hearts,” he said today. “But I will talk about it.”

It reminds me of a quote from a 2005 New York Times Magazine Profile on Santorum, called “The Believer.”

Sean Reilly, a former aide to Santorum in the Senate and now a political consultant in Philadelphia, said that he has come to view his former boss in other than political terms. ”Rick Santorum is a Catholic missionary,” he said. ”That’s what he is. He’s a Catholic missionary who happens to be in the Senate.”

You know, I really don’t want a Catholic missionary in the White House.

Something else I learned from MacGillis: Karen Santorum hasn’t really spent her whole married life keeping house and homeschooling her kids.

I’m a little surprised that there hasn’t been more focus yet on the fact that Karen Santorum, who is trained as a lawyer and as a neonatal nurse, has a lengthy work history, and it includes a job that raised a few eyebrows back in the 1990s—working for the media firm that did, and still does, the advertising for Rick Santorum’s campaigns. From a 2003 UPI report:

Federal Election Commission records reviewed by UPI show Santorum’s campaign making payments to BrabenderCox totaling nearly $4 million and $6 million in the 1994 and 2000 elections for media work. Most contracts allow political ad firms to keep around 15 percent of the payments.

Santorum’s Senate financial disclosure forms show a salary from the company to Karen Santorum in 1995, 1996, 1997 and 1998, although Senate rules do not require a disclosure of the amount.

In a telephone interview, John Brabender said he paid Karen Santorum around $4,000 a month, mostly for “client development.”

“She helped us try to get accounts and often acted as our Washington representative,” Brabender said. “She was both a stay-at-home mom and a professional at the same time.”

Brabender said his hiring of Karen Santorum had “nothing to do” with Sen. Santorum hiring BrabenderCox.

Now isn’t that interesting? And here’s something else interesting from Mother Jones: How Rick Santorum Ripped Off American Veterans It’s all about how as Senator, Santorum used an amendment in a defense authorization bill to cheat the Armed Forces Retirement Home out of $27 million in order to help the Catholic Church get some land cheaply. Real saintly, huh?

Well, enough about Rick Santorum. Here are a few more headlines to get you started on the day.

Eurozone seals second Greek bailout

Mitt Romney’s fundraising stagnates, decreasing his financial advantage

Ron Paul’s billionaire sugar daddy, Paul Theil of Paypal

Clint Eastwood says We Haven’t Had a Great President Since Truman!

That’s it for me. What are you reading and blogging about today?

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32 Comments on “Tuesday Reads: Silent Protest Slows State Sanctioned Rape Bill, Santorum Knows Best, and Other News”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Pro-Santorum superpac “picks up another megadonor.”

    The super PAC, which has raised $2.8 million since it was formed last October, got $1 million last month from Louisiana energy executive William J. Dore, whose biggest prior federal donation on record had been $50,000 to the Republican Governors Association in 2010.

    Meanwhile, high-profile Santorum backer Foster Friess continued giving, dropping in $669,000 on top of the $331,000 he had given to the PAC last year.

    The PAC received $100,000 from Yonkers, N.Y.-based firearms manufacturer Kimber Manufacturing Inc., and $50,000 each from the ActRight PAC, as well as from Richard F. Barry of San Rafael, Calif., Timothy Busch of Irvine, Calif., and Terrence R. Caster of El Cajon, Calif. It also accepted, then refunded $50,000 from a London-based company called Liquid Capital Markets, Ltd., since it’s illegal for foreign entities to spend money on U.S. politics.

  2. Pat Johnson says:

    Where’s the outrage?

    What if this were Mittens prostelizing about Mormonism and declaring that the only way to heaven was to marry child brides? Would this be an acceptable platform to run as president of the US?

    Let’s suppose this was a follower of Scientology declaring war on the field of psychiatry? Would that be acceptable? Would there be panels of clergy appearing every day on some cable network explaining and defending this radical point of view like we have seen with Santorum’s apologists?

    What if the candidate was a Jew who declared that his was the “one true religion” and that Christmas stood as a personal affront to the “chosen people” and his presidency would look to ban any and all celebrations of that day? Would that be acceptable?

    Why is Rick Santorum’s position being give weight by the talking heads who wish to define superstitiion as a means to an end in conjunction with secular law?

    Why is this acceptable? Why is this insanity and narrow mindedness treated with “respect” by the pundits instead of being lauded for the strength of conviction”

    Just a reminder that there are still some manic depressives out there who see themselves as Jesus Christ. Fortunately there is medication available to tamp down some of the madness.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I don’t think most people find it acceptable–just a very loud minority. But there’s definitely something seriously wrong with Santorum.

      • ralphb says:

        Most people don’t find it acceptable but the teavangelical base is probably just eating it up. I think it’s also fair to ask why the MSM is treating this fool with respect and not treating him like an insane doofus as he so richly deserves.

        Pat’s examples aren’t that far from Santorum, yet any of them would be eaten alive by the MSM immediately.

      • foxyladi14 says:

        obviously. :)

    • Pat Johnson says:

      That’s my point.

      Have any of these talking heads from either the Left or the Right referred to the “separation of church and state”? Not that I have heard.

      Most are sitting around arguing the merits of the Catholic Church’s stance as a “moral obligation” but few had considered that this position is in direct contrast to that separation itself.

      Instead the Right is framing Santorum as someone replete with “values” while the Left is finding excuses in giving him “credit” for acting and speaking out on his beliefs.

      His “beliefs” are his beliefs, not mine. Yet instead of finding fault with a presidential candidate who would force those beliefs on the rest of us, they accord him “respect” simply because of his being a candidate.

      His beliefs are not found in the Constitution but in the bible which makes him all the more dangerous.

      Instead of opening up time for these specious discussion, he should be summarily dismissed for his attacks on the Constitution itself; the foundation of who and what we are as Americans.

  3. Minkoff Minx says:

    After reading this post I had to re-read the short story Rain, by Somerset Maugham…

    You may find this interesting: The Maddow Blog – The ‘anti-science’ side of the political divide

    Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum charged on Monday that President Barack Obama and Democrats were “anti-science” because they refused to exploit the Earth’s natural resources to the limits of technology. [...]

    “It’s so funny that this party that criticizes the right for being anti-science, but when it comes to the management of the Earth, they are the anti-science ones!” the candidate declared. “We’re the ones who stand for science and technology and using the resources we have to make sure we have a quality of life in this country and maintain a good and stable environment.”

    Santorum added that there was “obviously a role for government to play” in environmental regulation, but it was best left to state and local government.

    “Freedom isn’t to do whatever you want to do, it’s to do what you ought to do,” he opined.

    Oh my.

    First, that’s an odd definition of “freedom.” Second, leaving environmental regulations to state and local governments is, at a fundamental level, absurd — air pollution in one state affects how people breathe in another; waste dumped in rivers, lakes, and oceans does not simply stay near the state of origin. This is one of those classic “why we have a federal government” areas of public policy.

    But it’s the notion that Rick Santorum feels comfortable labeling others “anti-science” that truly rankles. As the Raw Story report noted, this is the same former senator who crusaded against potentially life-saving stem-cell research and fought to require science teachers to include religious instruction in their lesson plans.

    Indeed, while Santorum seems offended that the left “criticizes the right for being anti-science,” reality is stubborn.

    • ralphb says:

      Rick Santorum is a man built entirely on projection of his weakness and stupidity onto others. If you notice, this is a constant habit of right wing politicians and their apologists.

      • Pat Johnson says:

        One can only imagine what the home schooled Santorum kids sound like when presented with a question pertaining to history or science.

        Jaybus.

        In a world driven to progress through technology alone, being unprepared but carrying a biblical worldview is completely out of sync with the rest of the secular world at large.

        Who needs medical breakthroughs when we can “pray away” the suffering?

        If you ask me, that reasoning constitutes child abuse.

      • ralphb says:

        You have to wonder if Karen Santorum buys into all Rick’s BS or is she just hanging in there miserable? I don’t like thinking about his family life.

      • Pat Johnson says:

        She believes in it.

        Giving birth at an age when most of her contemporaries are becoming grandparents, thus placing the fetus in a high risk category, she went ahead anyway.

        She is a partner in his beliefs. In fact I think I read somewhere that it was her philosophy that stirred him and not the other way around.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Ralph,

        I get the feeling Karen may be the one driving the fanaticism, but of course I’m just guessing based on what I’ve read about the Santorums.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Santorum appears to be the perfect demonstration of the authoritarian personality described by Eric Fromm in “Escape from Freedom.”

  4. Pat Johnson says:

    The phony “war on religion” is trotted out each time the fanatics attempt to insert their lunacy into the public square. Like denying public houses of government to display the 10 Commandments on the walls, or school districts refusing to teach Creationism in the classroom.

    The last time I looked churches of all denominations were still open for business, enjoying a tax exempt status without accountability.

    The “war” only becomes official when secularization pushes back and says “no”. My fear is that there may come a day when there are not enough secularists around to fight back.

    • ralphb says:

      For most it’s an electoral strategy to get the “rubes”, as Rove described them, out to vote against their own interests. They’ve been riding that tiger for a long time. This time the tiger might just eat the party.

      • Pat Johnson says:

        Karen Santorum is 51 years of age. She gave birth as recently as 3 years ago, making her 48 years of age.

        Both Santorum’s are promoting pregnancy when the chances are high risk for both mother and child. There youngest, now 3, is severely handicapped with multiple health problems that cannot be corrected.

        What is so sanctimonious about bringing a baby into the world who is amost guaranteed to suffer for most of its life? Why is her sacrifice not greater than those made by her parents to adhere to some ridiculous beliefs?

        Birth control should be practiced after a certain age since women and the unborn are placed at such high risk. The emotional toll is immense.

        If the Santorum’s are comfortable in their decisions, good for them. But it should not be imposed on the rest of society who may not be capable of withstanding the emotional and financial burden involved.

  5. helena grace says:

    I found your blog while writing a response to a comment on my blog and wanting to link to the silent protest newstory. As a feminist who walked in demonstrations for the Equal Rights Amendment back when it passed both houses of Congress in the early 70′s, I am struggling with how best to “show up” in this appalling nationwide attack on women’s rights to our bodies. I do not understand how a “conservative” agenda can advocate such invasive behavior on the part of government into the lives of young women. I’m going to go back and read Margaret Atwood’s “A Handmaid’s Tale” to remind myself of the horrors that are in store if women of my generation and younger women sit this one out.

    • dakinikat says:

      Hi! Welcome to sky dancing. I did a lot of calling and walking and demonstrating for the ERA in the 70′s also. I’m getting ready for Santorum to announce he doesn’t want women or black people voting because it’s not part of acceptable theology and Ron Paul saying it wasn’t in the original constitution so states should decide. It’s horrifying! Then, of course Mitt and Newt try to out do those two just to appease the base and prove their street cred.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I’m glad you stopped by and commented, Helena. I hope to see you again!

  6. peggysue22 says:

    For me personally, the silent vigil in Virginia is a really, really powerful symbol. It’s one that says: We Stand, We Watch, We Know What You’re Doing. It’s a symbol that’s very difficult to push back on or openly criticize, which makes it a real doozie.

    We Are the Watchers. We Will Not Forget.

    And I agree, BB. I don’t want a Catholic Missionary in the WH, anymore that I would want a Mormon Missionary or a Baptist Missionary, etc. Having a Preacher in the WH isn’t going to produce jobs, keep people in their homes or avoid another senseless war.

    The GOP needs to get a clue! Or just give it up for 2012.

    • foxyladi14 says:

      maybe they have already. :lol:

    • Pat Johnson says:

      We have reached a point of “no turning back”.

      For successive elections we are going to be hearing more and more of this relgious crapfest with one candidate trying to out do another with their “personal relationship to god”.

      Give me an atheist any day. At least we will be spared the fantacism that has managed to worm its way into the electorate from those who swear that it is their “god given duty” to serve because the Founding Fathers and Ronald Reagan decreed it.

      No, your duty is to serve the common good in the distribution of collected fees known as taxes and to do this with as much knowledge, experience and commonsense you can provide. Your duty is to safeguard the rights of all, not a handful of lunatics who talk to the voices in their heads.

      However, my own “imaginary candidate” probably has yet to be born.

  7. Pat Johnson says:

    It’s officially official now that this boob has weighed in with his stamp of approval:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/21/franklin-graham-obama_n_1290657.html

    We no longer should expect any of our elected leaders to have the intellect or the experience to lead. It will only require which of them meets the litmus test of who is more “Christian” than whom.

    This is the same lunatic who took off for half a day with Sarah Palin to make a brief visit to Haiti following their devastating earthquake but not much has been heard since about their “joint efforts” to provide help.

    The same lunatic who made a stop at a remote Alaskan village that suffered mightily from a very frigid winter when heat and food supplies were stuck in the ice for weeks and who came bearing cookies to assuage the elders.

    His Christianity is up there along with a lot of other charlatans who make a living “fooling” the herd.