Rick Santorum

RickyLeaks

In a post at the Document Exploitation blog, Douglas Cox reminds us of how Crazy Pete Hoekstra and Rick Santorum pressured the government to make all of Saddam’s documents–including a plan for a nuke–available on the InterToobz.

The drive towards this unprecedented doc dump arose in earnest in late 2005 and early 2006 when the continuing public debate over the justifications for the 2003 Iraq invasion turned towards the possibility of untapped evidence in the captured documents from Iraq.  Could they contain, for instance, “smoking gun” evidence of links between Saddam and al-Qaeda?  Stephen F. Hayes at the Weekly Standard, for example, had an impressive series of pieces during this period on his attempts to obtain access to some of the captured Iraqi documents both via the Pentagon press office and via repeated FOIA requests. He also covered growing calls in Congress for the release of the material.  See in particular his “Where Are the Pentagon Papers?” in November 2005, “Down the Memory Hole: The Pentagon sits on the documents of the Saddam Hussein regime” in December, and both “Saddam’s Terror Training Camps: What the documents captured from the former Iraqi regime reveal — and why they should all be made public” and “Read All About It: Prewar Iraqi documents are of more than academic interest” from January 2006.

In March 2006, both then-Rep. Pete Hoekstra and then-Sen. Rick Santorum took action by introducing nearly identical bills in the House and Senate that required the “Director of National Intelligence to release documents captured in Afghanistan or Iraq during Operation Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom, or Operation Iraqi Freedom.”

This led Gawker to make the obvious analogy to WikiLeaks.

Catholic scold Rick Santorum thinks Julian Assange is a “terrorist”—and ought to be prosecuted as such—for his role in releasing thousands of pages of classified documents on the internet. He ought to know: In 2006, Sen. Rick Santorum literally forced the U.S. government to dump thousands of pages of classified records concerning Iraq onto the web, including detailed plans for building a nuclear weapon, so that right-wing bloggers could search them for evidence of Saddam Hussein’s phantom WMD.

[snip]

No less an authority than former Bush chief of staff Andrew Card said at the time that the release was stupid, and that Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte had opposed Santorum’s push for release: “John Negroponte warned us that we don’t know what’s in these documents, so these are being put out at some risk, and that was a warning that he put out right when they first released the documents.”

ODNI of course took the documents down, but not before they were grabbed by anyone and everyone who may have been interested in designing a nuclear weapon.

A spokesman for Santorum did not respond to a request for comment.

Maybe now that he has effectively called himself a terrorist Santorum will start campaigning against Obama’s use of drones to target American citizens?

(Max Sawicky gets full credit for the post title.)

Michigan Dems Should Bill Mitt $5 Million

The MI GOP, which believed it could guarantee a win for Mitt Romney but produced only a delegate tie, voted to ignore the election results and give Romney the win anyway.

Michigan’s two at-large delegates to the Republican National convention will be awarded to Michigan native Mitt Romney, following a vote last night by the state party’s credentials’ committee.

The vote came despite the party’s rules that the two at-large delegates are supposed to be awarded on a proportional basis based on the statewide popular vote. Romney won the statewide vote by a 41% to 38% margin over former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

[snip]

As a result, Romney gets 16 delegates and Santorum 14.

The move comes the day after a Romney supporter said that Rick Santorum should give back the delegates he won because Democrats crossed over to support him.

“[Santorum] cheated by asking people who would never vote for him for president to vote for him in the Republican primary,” Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio) said on a call with reporters. “I believe that he should agree to give back a percentage of the delegates that he won in the Republican primary with Democrat votes that would never support him for president.”

I need to figure out what the precise results for CDs were, but I would bet that the 2 delegate swing to Romney would effectively do precisely what Turner demanded: given Romney as many delegates as he would have gotten if Dems hadn’t crossed over.

So I think the MDP should bill Mitt $5 million. After all, all taxpayers in the state paid for Tuesday’s primary (I believe, but need to double check, that the cost was $10 million). The GOP even invited us Democrats to vote in their primary. So our votes should count. (FWIW, I couldn’t bring myself to vote for Santorum; I voted for Fred Karger.)

And yet, the GOP have just held a private vote to invalidate our votes.

But Mitt has plenty of personal money to pay back the state for half the primary cost. And at $2.5 million per extra delegate, it’s not all that unreasonable a cost given what Mitt has paid elsewhere!

Grand Rapids Dem Telling People to Shut Up about Choice Again

Even as Rick Santorum was losing MI, largely because he attacked women’s autonomy, the same local operative who told me I wasn’t well-informed enough to express an opinion on my own congressional district’s politics was telling Howie Klein he should not criticize Trevor Thomas’ presumed primary challenger, Steve Pestka, for his anti-choice views. Here’s what Howie said:

Today we now know Trevor will have a challenger for the Democratic nomination. Steve Pestka, who has started talking to the local media about his campaign, may be a nominal Democrats… but not when it comes to equality for women. This guy is an anti-Choice fanatic of the Bart Stupak school of misogyny. MIRS, the Michigan political news service, reported:

[snip]

We reported earlier this month about rumors that folks with the local Grand Rapids establishment were looking at an anti-Choice, multimillionaire conservative who’d run on the Democratic ticket. It’s now clear they found Pestka. They apparently miss the fact that this election is going to be about the working and middle class families hurting right now– not millionaires like Pestka and Amash– and it’s quickly now turning to the rights of women.

[snip]

Trevor is the fighting progressive we need. He comes from a working class family and he has a record of helping to pass major federal legislation, namely the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. But he needs our help to be the nominee against Amash. As we know, early dollars are critical. Let’s help spread the word and work to stop this faux-Democratic challenge and stand by our party’s platform to help protect women now.

And here’s what Phil Skaggs wrote on Facebook:

Trevor Thomas, I’m calling on you to publicly disavow this attack on Steve Pestka. To call someone who has been a Democratic County Commissioner, a Democratic State Representative, and a supporter of Democratic and progressive candidates for decades a “nominal Democrats” [sic] and a misogynist is simply juvenile and “not consistent with the facts.”
Trevor, when Marcy Wheeler called Grand Rapids Democrats “bigots” for not immediately supporting you, you told me personally that you did not tell her anything of the sort and didn’t believe such things about us. But, again and again, your friends and surrogates have attacked hard-working, long-time Democrats and progressives in Kent County. Steve Pestka is a West Michigan Democrat with West Michigan values. The last thing we need are folks coming from Washington and Lansing carpet-bagging here with their hyper-partisan rhetoric and hatred. That’s not our way.
Trevor Thomas, I call on you to publicly demand that your friends stop their negative and personal attacks on Grand Rapids Democrats and Steve Pestka.

Note, Skaggs didn’t dispute that Pestka is anti-choice. He just objects that someone insulted what he calls Pestka’s “West Michigan values” using language Howie has used to describe Dems across the country–including far more conservative areas than Grand Rapids–who believe women should not have autonomy.

Now, first of all, you’d think Skaggs would be honest enough to mention I apologized (both in a post and to him directly via email) for using the word “bigot.” Apparently, repeated good faith apologies are not enough for him. Or, he prefers to dishonestly leave the impression that I haven’t apologized.

But I’m even more offended that Skaggs talked to Trevor about my post, as if those two men were in charge of what I was allowed to say or not, as if Trevor (or frankly, anyone else) tells me what to say in my posts. (Maybe Phil just repeated whatever political people told him to write back when he blogged, but I do not.)

I am not Trevor’s “surrogate.” I am a voter in Grand Rapids who expressed an opinion about my own congressional district. And in response to that Skaggs told me I shouldn’t speak.

In a democracy, you see, citizens are permitted to express opinions.

Continue reading

Vagina’s Vengeance: Republicans Officially Killing Their Party for Birth Control

Last night,stupid Catholic commentators like Chris Matthews, tried to blame Rick Santorum’s loss in MI on his Kennedy comment. Santorum must have lost MI’s significant percentage of Republican Catholics, Matthews figured, because he said he had vomited after listening to a John F. Kennedy speech.

That ignored the fact that the tide had already turned against Santorum a week earlier. Both Catholics and women abandoned him after he started embracing medieval mores. (His speech last night feigned feminism, so it’s clear he knows what happened.)

But I’m more interested in the timing of Olympia Snowe’s decision to retire.

She cited excessive partisanship when she announced her decision yesterday.

I do find it frustrating, however, that an atmosphere of polarization and ‘my way or the highway’ ideologies has become pervasive in campaigns and in our governing institutions.

[snip]

Unfortunately, I do not realistically expect the partisanship of recent years in the Senate to change over the short term. So at this stage of my tenure in public service, I have concluded that I am not prepared to commit myself to an additional six years in the Senate, which is what a fourth term would entail.

That usually means the other party is being too partisan.

Except this announcement comes just two weeks after Snowe (and Susan Collins) at first broke with their party to announce support for Obama’s compromise on birth control. But both women quickly flip-flopped, basically opposing a policy they had once proposed themselves. Snowe has announced her opposition to the Blunt Amendment–which will come up for a vote on Thursday. We’ll see whether she follows through on that.

We shall see–but one way to show the men in your party that women have the ability to affect events would be to retire at a time that makes it much less likely Republicans will win a majority in the Senate.

How nice to see Republicans destroy their party by insisting that women lose all control over their bodies.

Could Santorum’s Radical Religious Fundamentalism Propel US Into Religious Violence?

Despite the fact that our country was founded in part by immigrants seeking to escape religious persecution, the current crop of Republican presidential candidates (with the exception of Ron Paul, who gets no media airtime anyway) have carried the Republican party’s “God and country” theme to even more of an extreme than usual. Taking the clear lead in this push to extremism is Rick Santorum, who now is not only proclaiming his radical faith as a principal reason to vote for him, but he also is deriding the faith of others, primarily that of President Barack Obama.

The Washington Post notes:

When Rick Santorum accused President Obama of having “some phony theology” last weekend, it was neither an isolated event nor an offhand remark.

Instead, Santorum’s comments were a new twist on a steady theme of his Republican presidential candidacy: that Obama and other Democrats have a secular worldview not based on the Bible, one they are intent on imposing on believers.

The Republicans’ religious fundamentalism comes through in response to concrete policy issues:

The relationship between religion and government has emerged as a flash point in the presidential campaign in recent days after an effort by the Obama administration to require religious institutions to include contraception in health insurance plans for employees. All of the Republican candidates objected to the effort, which the administration tweaked after a massive outcry, especially from Catholics.

The “Founding Fathers” that conservative Republicans so want to emulate on some fronts took pains to establish the separation of church and state. Because many had come from persecuted religious minorities, they pushed for the First Amendment’s prohibition both on establishment of an official religion and for the freedom to practice all religions.

Yet, with his extreme devotion to a radical fundamentalist Christian version of Catholicism, Santorum is moving in a direction that could lead directly into the kind of religion-fueled violence we see in other parts of the world. Until now, only the occasional murder of an abortion provider has cropped up as violence that could be attributed to radical religious fundamentalism in the US. But when a candidate for president openly charges the current president with adhering to a “phony theology”, how far away are we from situations like that now in Afghanistan, where violence has erupted over the burning of Korans at Parwan prison?

When radical fundamentalist religion and government are intimately intertwined, violence seems to follow. In the current fiasco in Afghanistan, we see the mullahs in the Taliban calling for violence as a voice for the outrage at the burning:

An Afghan soldier joined protests on Thursday against the burning of copies of the Koran at a NATO base and shot dead two foreign troops, Western military sources said, as the Taliban urged security forces to turn their guns on foreigners.

Protests against the burning of copies of Islam’s most holy book drew thousands of angry Afghans to the streets, chanting “Death to America!” for the third consecutive day in violence that has killed 11 people and wounded many more.

The Taliban urged Afghans to target foreign military bases and kill Westerners in retaliation for the Koran burning at Bagram airfield on Tuesday, later directing its plea to the security forces, calling on them to “turn their guns on the foreign infidel invaders,” it said on its site shahamat-english.com.

But, remarkably, members of the Afghan Parliament have joined in with the Taliban in calling for a violent response: Continue reading

Four of Seven Dwarves: Consistent, Courage, Resolute, Cheerful

“Consistent” (Paul), “Courage” (Santorum?!), “Resolute” (Willard), “Cheerful” (Newt)

Those are the one word answers the GOP candidates gave CNN’s John King to explain themselves.

All I could think of where the seven dwarves remaining. (Bachmann? Crazy. Perry? Dummy. Cain? Slutty.)

That said, I’m not sure what service men and women think of Santorum claiming credit, presumably for his socially restrictive policies while never serving, is all that courageous. And Willard? “Resolute”? I guess that’s Mormon for “multiple choice,” right?

These people are clearly all too delusional to have their finger on the nuclear button.

MDP: Take Advantage of Taxpayer Funded Right to Screw with GOP Primary

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Michigan Democratic Party Chair, Mark Brewer just sent this video out with the following message.

Friends,

Republicans have extended an invitation to all Michigan Democrats to crossover and vote in the Michigan GOP presidential primary this Tuesday, February 28th. Yesterday, Republican Senators Rick Jones and Arlan Meekhof said they’d welcome Democrats to crossover. You can check out the invitation for yourselves by watching the video clip below.

Any Democrat who takes Senators Jones and Meekhof up on their offer will still be able to participate in the Michigan Democratic Party’s presidential caucuses on May 5, 2012.

If Democratic crossover votes affect the results of the GOP presidential primary next Tuesday, the Republicans will only have themselves to blame.

Sincerely,

Mark Brewer

Chair, Michigan Democratic Party

Now, as someone who proudly voted for John McCain in the 2000 primary, I’m all in favor of using MI’s cross-over primaries to screw with GOP primaries.

The thing is, I’m not convinced the presumed choice here–supporting the medieval Rick Santorum–is really a good idea. Sure, it might make Mitt Romney go bankrupt sooner. But I think Democrats underestimate Santorum’s ability to run against Obama.

And frankly, while Santorum’s regressive views are exposing the GOP brand in its true form, I’d sort of like debate to get beyond whether women have no rights, or just a few.

Vagina’s Revenge: MI’s Women Changing their Mind about Rick Santorum

Go figure. Us womenfolk don’t like people to tell us what to do with our bodies.

PPP poll, February 13:

PPP Poll, February 19:

And here’s an interesting detail from the February 19 poll: MI’s Catholics don’t like their fellow Catholic, Rick Santorum (or, for that matter, Catholic convert Newt Gingrich):

Foster Friess, Anachronistic Dumb Ass

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Rick Santorum’s sugar daddy Foster Friess (b. 1940) lectured Andrea Mitchell (b. 1946) today about how girls back in his day avoided getting pregnant, as if social norms changed dramatically in the six years that separate them in age.

I get such a chuckle when these things come out. Here we have millions of our fellow Americans unemployed, we have jihadist camps being set up in Central, uh, Latin America–which Rick has been warning about–and people seem to be so preoccupied with sex. I think that says something about our culture. We maybe need a massive therapy session so we can concentrate on what the real issues are. And this contraceptive thing, my gosh, it’s such inexpensive. Back in my days, they used Bayer aspirin for contraceptives. The gals put it between their knees and it wasn’t that costly.

But not only was Friess being a dumb ass, he was being an anachronistic dumb ass.

Back in his day–when he turned 21, before he got married–the FDA approved the pill. By the time he turned 25, Griswold v. Connecticut made birth control legal for couples. By the time he turned 30, over a quarter of all Catholic women were using the pill (and two-thirds were using some kind of birth control).

But we don’t have to look at actual history to know that Foster Friess is making shit up with his Bayer aspirin.

Foster Friess and his wife only had 4 children. Which suggests the couple found some means, aside from Bayer aspirin, to stop conceiving children.

It’s possible his gal did revert to her Bayer aspirin ways after the fourth was delivered. It’s possible that the marital troubles Friess’ official biographies describe, 16 years into marriage, led he and his wife to stop fucking altogether. It’s possible that when Friess became Born Again in 1978, he forswore sex forever.

But there are very few ways for a man to go through 72 years of life having fathered just 4 kids–particularly one who was married through 50 of those years. And Bayer aspirin between the knees is not usually one of them.

Update: Foster Friess was on Lawrence O’Donnell’s show today. When O’Donnell pointed out that he had just 4 children, Friess said he had been “blessed by contraception.”

Will MI Democrats Champion Women’s Rights as Santorum Surges through Our State?

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I noted the other day how tired I am of MI’s Democrats asking women to ignore the anti-choice stance of so many of our Democrats, a stance which led to MI Democrat Bart Stupak dictating what kind of medical insurance women across the country can get.

Well, in the next 2 weeks, the party will have the opportunity to take the same stand the President just took and the same stand former Governor Jennifer Granholm, herself a Catholic, has taken, solidly in favor of health equality for women.

Over the next two weeks, of course, Rick Santorum will be wandering around our state,  trying to score a decisive victory against Mitt Romney by preaching that women should not be encouraged to work outside the home, that women should not serve in combat for fear it would distract their male counterparts from doing their jobs, that women who are raped should “make the best” of it by carrying their rapist’s child, and, yes, that health insurance should not cover contraception. In short, Santorum will be calling for downright regressive treatment of women as a way to beat Mitt in his home state.

Not even Republican women support these extreme stances.

All that might not matter for Democrats–we might have the luxury of sitting back and laughing at their contest–except for one thing. Rick Santorum will also, as he has been doing, distinguish himself from Mitt Romney by championing manufacturing. Our issue. Manufacturing.

And while his policies wouldn’t actually help manufacturing as much as, say, cracking down on China’s cheating would, he will nevertheless be speaking to the plight of those working in manufacturing, even while preaching against the autonomy and equality of women.

If Santorum wins–as he is poised to do–this year’s electoral match-up may actually get decided here in MI. This year’s electoral match-up may get defined, at least locally, in the next two weeks. And that means it’s time to lay out what Democrats–what all people who believe women should not be second class citizens–stand for.

While Santorum wanders around our state we absolutely have to remind voters that the new manufacturing jobs were brought by Granholm’s outreach and Obama’s energy investments. We absolutely have to remind Michiganders that Santorum also opposed the auto bailout.

But I hope we’re also making that case that whereas Santorum believes in the dignity of just half the electorate, there is a party that champions–or damn well better champion–the dignity of all the electorate.

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