Rick Santorum, the Guillotine And Other Lies

We live in the Age of Hyperbole.  We live in an age of Orwellian half-truths.  I give you Rick Santorum, the current King of Double Speak, choosing to frame the controversy of equal access to healthcare, specifically contraception, with the ghastly violence of the French Revolution.

Yes, ladies and gentleman!  The guillotine will roll out and Christians everywhere will be frog-marched from dank prisons to meet the National Razor [Hattip to Think Progress].

Can we please, drown these fools out with our own outrage?  Santorum and his ilk, Christian demagogues all, have played the victim card to the hilt.  They are no better than the Taliban shouting their moral codes with righteous, wearisome and downright dangerous fear mongering.  But this?  This takes the cake.  A Marie Antoinette moment.  Only in this case, the dismissed segment of society are women, those who would have the audacity to demand reproductive freedom, control of their own bodies, control of who and what they are.

Has the Revolution begun?  Time will tell.  We will soon be told by the President how the latest deal with the Banksters is a ‘historic’ moment, a sweeping reform bringing aid and comfort to distressed homeowners.  As ‘Big’ as the tobacco deal one pundit breathlessly exclaimed.

For myself?  I stand with the young woman in the street, waving the makeshift sign:


36 Comments on “Rick Santorum, the Guillotine And Other Lies”

  1. ralphb says:

    Whose Conscience?

    This aggressive claiming of the moral high ground is close to drowning out the regulation’s supporters, inside and outside of the Obama administration. Maybe I’m missing something, but I haven’t seen a comparably full-throated defense of the regulation, issued last month by the Department of Health and Human Services, except on pure policy grounds. (And there are indications this week that even some in the administration, or at least in President Obama’s campaign apparatus, may be getting cold feet.) While the policy grounds are fully persuasive – the ability to prevent or space pregnancy being an essential part of women’s health care, one that shouldn’t be withheld simply because a woman’s employer is church-affiliated – the purpose of this column is to examine the conscience claim itself, directly, to see whether it holds up.

    Linda Greenhouse in the NYT with a reasoned article on the contraceptives flap. She does have a point when she says that the supporters of the HHS decision have not provided much in the way of pushback to the right wing hysteria. This leaves the Administration just twisting in the wind.

  2. madamab says:

    Is this a “blood libel” moment, a la Palin? I certainly hope so. She tanked in the public eye after that misguided attempt at playing the ultimate victim.

    I never took him seriously as a Presidential candidate anyway. It’s been entertaining watching the Republican Party base floundering around, trying to find a magical rainbow candidate they can support that is a “true conservative,” whatever the f*ck that means. But the religiously insane have played out their string, and now payback is starting. The Komen Foundation battle woke a lot of people up, thank heavens.

    I’ve thought for a long time now, that all we have to do to get rid of the whackos like Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann, is allow them some time and attention on the national stage. I hope Rick sticks around for a while; he is discrediting the Christian Taliban every time he opens his mouth.

  3. ralphb says:

    On Birth Control, Obama Saved By The Taco Bell?

    Well. Just when it looked like Barack Obama had wound himself into the ultimate pretzel on the new rule mandating that employers, including large Catholic institutions, cover birth control in their health plans, it looks like he may be saved by a striking overreach by his formidable foe.
    […]
    “If I quit this job and opened a Taco Bell, I’d be covered by the mandate,” Picarello said.
    […]
    Yes, the fight that the church’s defenders thought was about protecting Catholic Charities and St. Mary’s school down the street from purchasing health plans that violate their leaders’ conscience is now, as the Church sees it, also about protecting the right of all employers — including, apparently, fast food franchises — to deny contraception coverage to their employees. Somehow I don’t think this is what E.J. Dionne and many other heartfelt critics of the new administration policy had in mind. And somehow I suspect the White House may soon be ordering some Taco Bell chalupas to celebrate.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      Ralph: Thanks for the link, then I guess Dominoes would be a perfect example of owner violating his conscience by being “forced” to provide birth control in his insurance plans.

      It is amazing to me that this is even being discussed…all it does is prove our point that there is a war on women by the religious right. Thanks for keeping up with this Ralph, I wish more men were as vocal about the war on women as you are…

      • ralphb says:

        It’s just basic fairness. When anyone isn’t equal then none of us are. Men, women, LGBTQ we’re all people and deserve human rights.

        Thank you very much. I appreciate the feeling.

    • peggysue22 says:

      Yes, this is the battle line being drawn–a reversal of something that was settled decades ago. We’re not even discussing the Boogie Man of Abortion. This is denying basic contraception for all the fetus freaks who wax eloquent over the rights of a fertilized egg.

      This is a war on women. Period. And the howls should be massive, into hyperdrive. Now or never.

      • northwestrain says:

        Birth Control is THE issue that this radical minority has been focused on forever (it seems). There was a long article decades ago by someone who went undercover in one of these Come to Jesus cults. She probably went on to write a book. I checked this out with some cult members — and indeed the main goal of some of the most radical cults is to outlaw birth control. Which is the ultimate control of women.

        Also a feminist Anthropologist who has studied women through time and she believes that the male cults evolved when the men finally figured out their role in the baby making process. I don’t remember her name — just her theory of the uteri envy/jealousy and the methods males use to control the output of the womb. In the late 60s and early 70s a few feminists were predicting that religious cults would try to out law birth control pills etc.

        Of course way back then there was a real Republican party — which was more like today’s democrat party (not democratic — because today’s party is no where near being democratic).

    • bostonboomer says:

      I just read that one. Please tell me why these people have a tax exemption again?

    • Allie says:

      This just came out about how contraception has lowered teen pregnancy rates to the lowest level in 40 years:

      http://www.guttmacher.org/media/nr/2012/02/08/index.html

      Can you iomagine how many abortions that prevented, too?

      Has the White House refused to back down yet? Looks like they’re just floating “compromise” rumors to placate the haters for now.

  4. peggysue22 says:

    And while we’re fuming over the Christian Taliban, we shouldn’t let the current Bank Deal go unexamined. The Rule of Law folded like a cheap suit. See here:

    http://fdlaction.firedoglake.com/2012/02/09/schneiderman-victims-share-your-thoughts-on-the-settlement/

    and Matt Taibbi’s mea culpa here:

    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/why-the-foreclosure-deal-may-not-be-so-hot-after-all-20120209

    Damn! I thought we had a shot at bringing back some sanity and decency. But apparently not. Woe on us. Without the Law, we’re all subject to the inconsistencies, fancies and greed of others. Just one betrayal after another.

    • dakinikat says:

      I’ve been looking at this and the amount of dollars involved. It’s hard to know what impact it will have without knowing the number of households impacted and if the terms of “renegotiating” loans will be forced to be to the advantage of the home owners or the banks. Banks made the HAMP loans undesirable by adding fees to them. They should be forced to renegotiate the loans on terms that meet the home owners needs not theirs.

      • peggysue22 says:

        Yves Smith has been following this [almost every day] on her site. And New York Magazine had a piece with bankers and traders bemoaning the end to the ‘good ole days’ of monstrous payouts and gullible consumers.

        I’d be really interested in your take, Dak–an economist’s eye on the details [where the Devil lives].

        From where I’m sitting as a layman? It looks pretty dismal.

      • dakinikat says:

        I haven’t seen enough to be able to do a good analysis. Again, I really need to know how many home owners this covers to be able to relate to how much money this means per household. Then the loan details are important. I’m seeing only broadbased analysis right now.

      • dakinikat says:

        Those who have already lost their home to foreclosure could get payments of between $1,500 and $2,000. And though the settlement calls for mortgage servicers to reach out to troubled borrowers, it wouldn’t hurt for those waiting homeowners to be a little bit pushy to make sure their issues get addressed quickly.

        “People can’t wait, they need to act,” said Alys Cohen, a staff attorney with the National Consumer Law Center, an advocacy group. Borrowers have to modify their mortgages before the end of the year to qualify for the tax break which expires at the end of 2012.

        There are a few key points for borrowers to note:

        – Unless their mortgages are serviced by one of the five banks that were part of the agreement, they will have to wait for a subsequent agreement expected with other lenders.

        – The relief will not come quickly; the plan documents say that mortgage servicers will be reaching out to borrowers over the next six to nine months, and they have allowed three years for the process to work.

        – Furthermore, homeowners whose mortgages are backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac will not qualify for the principal reductions that are part of the day. And of the 50 states, only Oklahoma ultimately opted out of the agreement, so borrowers who live there will not receive every advantage of the settlement.

        http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/09/us-mortgage-settlement-personalfinance-idUSTRE8182AR20120209

        Not looking good from this description.

      • ralphb says:

        I would say that pretty well sucked! Bummer.

      • ralphb says:

        I’m not sure quite what to make of this but it sounds reasonable I guess.

        The initial reluctance on the part of some states was due in part to their concern that the settlement would give banks a broad legal release from further investigations and lawsuits. But negotiators said the release in the final deal applies only to “robo-signing” and mortgage-servicing-related claims. It leaves open the possibility of other lawsuits regarding fair housing and fair lending laws, civil rights claims, and claims dealing with how loans were packaged and sold, a process known as securitization. In addition, it does not shield the banks from any criminal violations that arise.

    • ralphb says:

      Since no one has gotten full details on the settlement, other than some numbers and generalities, I’m not sure what Taibbi has to eat crow abut except he’s following the herd.

      DDay has a post up now about “Schneiderman’s victims” which sounds like a guy in hysterics. He could be a Bishop talking about contraception for all the sense it makes.

      If the deal is narrowed to only include robo-signing, post apocalyse, and the methods for getting the money into consumer hands are good enough it still may not be a terrible deal. Though it may be richly deserved, no one will ever see Jamie Dimon perp walk in the US.

      From what I’ve read, all criminal and civil violations are still available for investigation and prosecution including MERS and document fraud. The CA AG supposedly won the right to use their False Claims Act as well. If they want to do it, and that’s a huge if, those avenues are still available for the attorney generals and plaintiffs attorneys. Schneiderman’s suit and Martha Coakley’s will still proceed so far as I have heard.

      • peggysue22 says:

        I don’t think Taibbi has to eat crow, Ralph, although he is offering up something of a mea culpa for being overly optimistic. I sense what he’s expressing is profound disappointment. He’s been on top of these issues for the last 3 years. I give him a lot of credit for the investigations, the articles explaining to readers how this financial debacle went down.

        Every time we have a glimmer of light that someone, somewhere is about to stand up, tell the truth and do the right thing [like forcing accountability on Wall St.], that person or organization is neutered. I watched Beau Biden yesterday talking about the settlement. He did not look happy. In fact, it looked as if he hadn’t slept for days on end. But he made an interesting and I think very honest statement–the offer of monies to cash-starved states was extremely attractive. This was a buy off for political reasons. Something Obama is very good at. It’s an election year after all.

      • bostonboomer says:

        According to this article, Martha Coakley said she would only sign onto the settlement if she could continue her separate lawsuits.

        Coakley would sign the settlement that could bring millions to Massachusetts for homeowners as long as she can continue to pursue claims that the banks illegally foreclosed on Massachusetts properties without holding the deed, and that the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems concealed the identities of mortgage holders by failing to record transfers with the registries of deeds.

      • ralphb says:

        Coakley and Schneiderman, along with the Nevada suits, are still forging ahead so far as I know. I assume that California will also continue the joint efforts with Nevada.

        Unless I read that wrong, then robo-signing can’t be used any longer. If that’s really the case, this is a better deal.

        DOJ Statement on the deal

        The joint federal-state agreement requires the mortgage servicers to implement unprecedented changes in how they service mortgage loans, handle foreclosures, and ensure the accuracy of information provided in federal bankruptcy court. The agreement requires new servicing standards which will prevent foreclosure abuses of the past, such as robo-signing, improper documentation and lost paperwork, and create dozens of new consumer protections. The new standards provide for strict oversight of foreclosure processing, including third-party vendors, and new requirements to undertake pre-filing reviews of certain documents filed in bankruptcy court.

        The new servicing standards make foreclosure a last resort by requiring servicers to evaluate homeowners for other loss mitigation options first. In addition, banks will be restricted from foreclosing while the homeowner is being considered for a loan modification. The new standards also include procedures and timelines for reviewing loan modification applications and give homeowners the right to appeal denials. Servicers will also be required to create a single point of contact for borrowers seeking information about their loans and maintain adequate staff to handle calls.

      • ralphb says:

        ouch I screwed up the bolding.

      • ralphb says:

        There’s enough legal work left over here to keep every white shoe lawyer in DC and NY busy for several years.

        The agreement does not prevent state and federal authorities from pursuing criminal enforcement actions related to this or other conduct by the servicers. The agreement does not prevent the government from punishing wrongful securitization conduct that will be the focus of the new Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities Working Group. The United States also retains its full authority to recover losses and penalties caused to the federal government when a bank failed to satisfy underwriting standards on a government-insured or government-guaranteed loan. The agreement does not prevent any action by individual borrowers who wish to bring their own lawsuits. State attorneys general also preserved, among other things, all claims against the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS), and all claims brought by borrowers.

      • Ralph, fixed the bold for ya… I think. Let me know if it’s not the way you wanted it!

      • bostonboomer says:

        David Dayen claims the Coakley suit is shredded, but I’ll have to reserve judgement until I hear from from Martha. So far she has been pretty good on pursuing the banks.

      • ralphb says:

        Perfect Wonk. Thanks!

        cc, Martha Coakley can speak for herself and I’ll wait along with you.

  5. Did Rick Perry write this speech for Rick Santorum?

  6. ralphb says:

    Schneiderman: Settlement deal a `small’ but `significant’ step towards real accountability

    Schneiderman to left: “Take yes for an answer.”

    This is a decent interview and Schneiderman has a point. I hope he doesn’t let the perpetual skeptics knock him around.