Republican Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum doesn’t hide his deep disdain for environmental protection.
As Santorum gains media traction after three unofficial primary wins, the outspoken Catholic has been increasingly vocal about his strong dislike of environmentalists. Speaking at a rally this past weekend, Santorum called Obama’s environmental policies a “phony theology” designed to “give more power to the government.”
?When you have a worldview that elevates the Earth above man and says that we can?t take those resources because we?re going to harm the Earth; by things that frankly are just not scientifically proven, for example, the politicization of the whole global warming debate ? this is all an attempt to, you know, to centralize power and to give more power to the government.”
Santorum often expresses his strong dislike for environmental protection within a religious context, saying that humans were “put on this earth … for our benefit, not for the earth’s benefit.” However, this belief is completely out of step with mainstream religious leaders ? including the Pope ? who have called on world leaders to address climate change and other pressing environmental issues in order “protect all creation.”
Santorum’s stance on environmental issues stems from a passage in Genesis 1:28, which reads: ?Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.?
Expressing his interpretation of this passage at a campaign rally recently, Santorum explained that “we were put on this Earth as creatures of God to have dominion over the Earth…. We should not let the vagaries of nature destroy what we have helped create.” He also said that environmentalism is “a worldview that elevates the Earth above man and says that we can?t take those resources because we?re going to harm the Earth.”
However, Santorum confuses this Genesis passage as a command for exploitation, extraction and waste ? when in fact the Bible clearly explains that the earth is a gift to be taken care of, not fouled.
Stewardship of the earth is not just a strong theme in Genesis. It’s a very strong theme throughout the entire Old Testament. So what other messages does the Bible deliver on the importance of environmental protection? Here are some of the best:
“The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” (Genesis 2:15)
“Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture? Must you also trample the rest of your pasture with your feet? Is it not enough for you to drink clear water? Must you also muddy the rest with your feet?” (Ezekiel 34:17-18)
“The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is mine; with me you are but aliens and tenants. Throughout the land that you hold, you shall provide for the redemption of the land.” (Leviticus 25:23-24)
“You must keep my decrees and my laws…. And if you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it vomited out the nations that were before you.” (Leviticus 18:26, 28)
“You shall not pollute the land in which you live…. You shall not defile the land in which you live, in which I also dwell; for I the LORD dwell among the Israelites.” (Numbers 35:33-34)
“If you besiege a town for a long time, making war against it in order to take it, you must not destroy its trees by wielding an ax against them. Although you may take food from them, you must not cut them down. Are trees in the field human beings that they should come under siege from you?” (Deuteronomy 20:19)
“I brought you into a plentiful land to eat its fruits and its good things. But when you entered you defiled my land, and made my heritage an abomination.” (Jeremiah 2:7)
Each of these messages run completely counter to Santorum?s hostile views on environmentalism, and taken as a whole undermine his stance that environmentalism is at odds with the Bible.
Based on his political stance, Santorum’s belief that humans have “dominion over the earth” is less about protecting it for future generations, and more about opening up it up for more drilling, mining and exploitation ? all of which are contributing to a “perfect storm of social and ecological problems” for the planet.
Catherine Woodiwiss of the Faith and Progressive Policy team at the Center for American Progress contributed to this story.
Marco Rubio would be problematic for Mitt Romney for many reasons. There's the small matter of his embellishments around the story of his parents' immigration from Cuba. There is the question of his free-wheeling ways with money that wasn't his. He pals around with wife beaters, and sometimes even hires them. But all of that would probably not stop Willard from considering Rubio for the ticket, because after the shameless pandering he has done on immigration, he needs to boost his image in the Latino community with someone they might relate to.
However, I wonder how Hispanics would react if they knew Marco Rubio was a Mormon. Now he may not be Mormon in good standing at this time, but he was baptized into the Mormon Church and was active there until he returned to the Catholic Church at age 13. Via Buzzfeed:
Rubio was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with his family at around the age of eight, and remained active in the faith for a number of years during his early youth, family members told BuzzFeed.
Rubio spokesman Alex Conant confirmed the story to BuzzFeed. Conant said Rubio returned to the Catholic church a few years later with his family, receiving his first communion on Christmas day in 1984 at the age of 13.
The revelation adds a new dimension to Rubio's already-nuanced religious history?and could complicate his political future at a time when many Republicans see him as the odds-on favorite for the 2012 vice presidential nod. Vice presidential candidates are traditionally chosen to provide ethnic and religious balance to a ticket. Mitt Romney's Mormonism and Rubio's Catholic faith would already mean the first two members of minority traditions on a Republican ticket in American history. Rubio's Mormon roots could further complicate that calculation.
I might shrug at this story were it not for the fact that it was Marco himself who persuaded his family members (except his father) to also join the church and be baptized.
As the family patriarch toiled to support his wife and children, Michelle said Marco?or "Tony" as the family calls him, after his middle name Antonio?stepped in at a very young age as a natural leader in the family. Smart, confident, and slightly stubborn, Rubio was skilled at persuading his siblings, cousins and even his mother to see things his way, Michelle said.
"I think we always thought he'd be something because he had a big mouth, and he was very bossy," she said. "He could convince his mom to do anything."
And for a number of years during his early adolescence, that meant enthusiastically encouraging participation in his family's new church.
Despite Rubio's later return to the Catholic church when the family moved to Florida, he remains on the rolls of the Mormon church. As much as everyone wants to shrug off the influence of faith in politics, one look at the headlines for the last two weeks should speak to their relevance. If Mitt Romney wants to bring Marco Rubio onto his ticket as running-mate, it's fair to ask exactly which religion Rubio will adopt given his chameleon-like, somewhat roving eye when it comes to faith and churches.
In Las Vegas he convinced his family to become Catholic. In Miami, he convinced them all to return to Catholicism. Now he occasionally attends a Baptist church. That is, of course, his choice and he's welcome to do it but it certainly changes the landscape with regard to what voter bloc he would bring to the ticket.
Marco Rubio has had a consistent struggle with the truth when it comes to who he is. He's an exile until he's not. He's a Catholic except for the time he was a Mormon. It seems to me that Marco Rubio is an ever-shifting creature, changing to fit his circumstances in that time for that group without ever internalizing a belief structure he actually believes. From a political standpoint, it plays well at a distance, but up close it just might be dangerous. Very dangerous.
I’m trying to keep a running tally of the direct funds to states from the foreclosure fraud settlement that will get diverted to General Funds to fill budget holes. When we last left this story, Maine had decided to send $5.7 million to the general[...]
Read The Full Article:
President Obama addresses crowd at the University of Miami
(Kevin Lamarque / Reuters)President Barack Obama got Republicans dead to rights Thursday afternoon when he said they are "licking their chops" over rising gasoline prices. Rather than sympathy for consumers scraping by paycheck-to-paycheck, Republicans are gleeful at the pinched pocketbooks because they present a double-pronged political opportunity to blast the Democrats, Obama especially, and to pummel the public with yet another round of their standard "drill, drill, drill" approach to U.S. energy needs.
We heard the same thing in 2007, when I was running for President. We hear the same thing every year. We?ve heard the same thing for thirty years.
Well the American people aren?t stupid. You know that?s not a plan?especially since we?re already drilling. It?s a bumper sticker. It?s not a strategy to solve our energy challenge. It?s a strategy to get politicians through an election.
In the speech at the University of Miami, Obama credited his administration with a real strategy, one that focuses on increasing production of oil and natural gas, which has grown significantly in the past three years, but also a commitment to a diversified approach that includes a heavy commitment to the development and expansion of clean energy. He pointed to the requirement to greatly increase the fuel efficiency of automobiles and heavy trucks. He could also have spoken of other important steps in the right direction, too. Indeed, the administration has done more to promote the alternative energy than any president since Jimmy Carter more than three decades ago.
And there's more of it in the proposed 2013 budget. The Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy would see an increase of $700 million to a total of $2.3 billion, if that budget had a chance of passing. It can be argued that the president's push for clean energy is the closest thing to an industrial plan the nation has had since World War II.
What was missing from the president's speech, however, was any mention of climate change.
(Continue reading below the fold)
For President Obama, the auto industry bailout has gone from a political liability
to central plank of his reelection campaignAccording to Pew's latest survey (conducted February 8-12 and 16-20 with a margin of error of ±3%), 56 percent of the American public now believes the auto bailouts were mostly a good thing for the economy. Just 38 percent disagrees, a huge shift from October, 2009 when 54 percent thought the bailouts were mostly bad for the economy and 37 percent thought they were good.
As Greg Sargent points out, support for the bailouts is broad-based?even moderate Republicans and non-college whites approve of having saved the auto industry.
But while there's been a big turnaround in support for rescuing the auto industry, the Wall Street bailout remains unpopular, with just 39 percent of Americans saying they believe it was a good thing. Both Mitt Romney and President Obama supported TARP, but the key difference is that while Romney only approved of bank bailouts, President Obama also supported the auto bailout. Romney attempted to explain his position during last night's debate, but didn't do himself any favors, ultimately saying that it was more important to save the banking industry than the auto manufacturing industry.
The poll also showed a slight improvement in attitudes about the stimulus. In 2009, 49 percent disapproved of it. That number has dropped eight points to 41 percent. Still, approval remains below 40 percent at 37.
It only took about an hour into the 20th Republican debate Wednesday for the candidates to find something they could agree on. After sparring over the fine details of earmarks, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum agreed that it?s all right for women to serve in the military but birth control, well, that?s a slippery slope that leads to the breakdown of society.
Supporting the right of women to serve in the armed forces, itself a completely irrelevant debate considering 167,000 women are active-duty military, while trying to limit access to birth control, betrayed a profound ignorance on the way that women lead their lives.
Even the way moderator John King posed a viewer-submitted question over contraceptives to the candidates, asking them if they ?believed? in birth control, seemed to suggest that contraception is some form of rare unicorn that exists only in the imagination.
The candidates? answers were even more surreal.
Gingrich skipped answering the question and instead accused Obama of infanticide for his vote as an Illinois state senator in favor of protecting abortion providers. Romney mischaracterized the birth control mandate (it exempts the Catholic Church) and said the president?s decision was the worst religious persecution in the history of the country. Presumably because the religiously intolerant zealots who chased his ancestors to Mexico did not also mandate that their employers provide them with contraception.
Paul, a licensed OB-GYN, corrected the misconception that the morning-after pill is an abortifacient but then explained that the pill isn?t immoral, it?s the women who take it who are immoral for needing to use it in the first place.
?I think it?s sort of like the argument?conservatives use the argument all the time about guns. Guns don?t kill, criminals kill,? he said. Birth control and guns, the same thing, essentially.
Santorum backtracked on his previous claims that birth control harms women and instead discussed the unraveling of American society.
?What we?re seeing is a problem in our culture with respect to children being raised by children, children being raised out of wedlock, and the impact on society economically, the impact on society on society with respect to drug use and all?a host of other things when children have children,? Santorum said.
By Santorum?s own reasoning, it would seem that the best way to prevent all of the complications from unplanned pregnancies would be to provide more birth control and sex education, not less. Santorum linking issues of poverty and drug use to birth control reduced complex problems to one root cause: Women?s control over their own lives. For Santorum, women?s autonomy is the biggest threat to the American moral fiber.
Romney summed up what Santorum has been getting at for the whole campaign?for the candidates, attacking contraception is a reaction against the changing make-up of the American family.
??This is a discussion about, are we going to have a nation which preserves the foundation of the nation, which is the family, or are we not? And Rick is absolutely right,? Romney said.
The nuclear family model that Romney and Santorum defend looks less and less like the rest of the country. As much as 39 percent of Americans say that marriage is becoming obsolete, and those who choose to marry tend to be older and more settled in their careers, according to the Pew Research Center. Many other couples choose to live together but not marry and, yes, single-parent homes are on the rise. Factors including the economy, education, and income-level all play into the changing demographics of American families, with both positive and negative consequences.
And, so what? Families are changing. As men who aspire to the highest elected office in the land, Romney and Santorum should attempt to understand the different realities for families, rather than undermine them. Usually when a politician rants about a social ill, he is quick to propose a prescription but, after railing against the decay of society, Santorum promised he?d instead go out and ?talk about things.?
?You know, here's the difference between me and the left, and they don't get this. Just because I'm talking about it doesn't mean I want a government program to fix it,? he said, forgetting for a moment that he is, in fact, running for a government office.
The most frightening thing about this campaign is that Romney and Santorum are telling the truth when they say their views on contraceptives aren?t about women, or health?it?s really just all about them.
When my daughter was an infant I took her to many places without Mom. Grocery stores, restaurants, and even to my auto mechanic to name a few. It was not a rare occurrence for women I’d never seen before to quiz me on where Mom was. Most implied that I was incompetent to handle a child and it was dangerous for me to be out and about without my wife’s supervision. A few didn’t imply, they were angrily emphatic about my child rearing qualifications.
My daughter is 22 now, so that was a long time ago. However, recent events suggest men are being marginalized in the childbirth and rearing arena just the same. Many women are adamant that men have absolutely no input into a decision to abort. True, the final decision should always be the woman’s – it is, after all, she who will bear the child. But, the pregnancy wouldn’t have occurred without the man and he deserves a chance to make his point, though not necessarily the final decision, too.
Many women would reduce men’s roll in pregnancy to nothing more than walking sperm factories, without a right to express their concerns and input. Not only are men discouraged from being involved in inception and pregnancy, that discrimination is seeping into child rearing as well, even if a collection of Congressional boneheads set up a meeting where only men testified about something widely viewed as a “women’s issue”. But while the Congress-o-Weenies were stupid, they were correct about one thing. It isn’t simply a woman’s issue. Men are affected – perhaps not in the same way, but affected – too.
The anti-child rearing attitude is spreading beyond such things as women being routinely awarded child custody in divorces simply by virtue of their sex – sometimes regardless of who could best take care of the child. It’s gone to how Dads interact with their children.
Recently, New Zealand rugby player Piri Weepu was excoriated by the Le Leche League for have the temerity to feed his infant daughter during an anti-smoking advertisement. The league demanded the offending scene be removed because they viewed it as an anti-breastfeeding message instead of an anti-smoking message.
The guy was simply being a good father and doing something completely innocent and normal. Apparently no one questions that…except the league. The New Zealand Health Ministry’s chief adviser, Pat Tuohy, admitted as much. “Piri by all accounts is a great dad and a terrific guy. Probably of all of the people who’ve been damaged he’s probably had the hardest time in all this because he’s just been doing what any dad would do in his situation and good on him.”
It seems that a Dad bonding with his young child, as mothers do when they breastfeed, is a no no. Here is a man helping raise his child rather than exhibiting the sort of bad behavior many absentee Dads unfortunately show and for which women and many men roundly criticize them. He is being lumped with men who don’t behave well because he is a man.
Luckily, there is a movement to reinstate the deleted scenes, showing that at least some people are able to see an injustice when they see it, but that sort of groundswell doesn’t oten happen for a non-celebrity Dad.
Pregnancy and child rearing aren’t easy on Mom or Dad. Mom gets lots of physical pain and potential issues like post-partum depression to deal with. Men are often marginalized to the point of invisibility, even while sharing some of the non-physical issues of women and while also carrying their own. To make matters worse Moms often help perpetuate that notion.
I admire the efforts of single parents. Child-rearing is tough work even when parents work together. It is manifold alone. It seems that Dads who help, who choose to participate fully in their childrens’ lives, aren’t appreciated when they do.
We can’t have it both ways.
Rep. John Sullivan (R-OK) apologizes after telling a town hall meeting back in Oklahoma last night that he'd have to kill a couple of senators to get the Paul Ryan budget passed. [...]
Read The Full Article:
Joyce L. Arnold, Liberally Independent, Queer Talk, equality activist, writer. It seems to me there?s a pre-Occupied mindset that some people aren?t going to let go of. That includes those, on Right and Left, who take some of the language and use it for[...]
Read The Full Article:
Overturning Citizens United seems like a stretch, but not so far a one that the New York Times didn't feature it just this week.
Background: You probably know about the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United ? corps, using their free speech rights, can spend in an unlimited way on political campaigns. In explaining (defending) their ruling, Justice Kennedy wrote that corporate expenditures:
do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.But recently the Montana Supreme Court ruled that Citizens United didn't apply in Montana, since Montana's law banning corp contributions to politics is based on Montana's actual experience with just that kind of corruption, in a very big way.
[B]y a 5-2 margin, Montana?s high court determined that the state law survived ?strict scrutiny? because Montana?s unique context and history justified the ban in ways not contemplated by Citizens United.Gauntlet thrown; reason given.
In his majority opinion, Chief Justice Mike McGrath dove deep into that history, ranging back over the ?tumultuous years ? marked by rough contests for political and economic domination primarily in the mining center of Butte, between mining and industrial enterprises controlled by foreign trusts or corporations.?
Noting that, back in the last Gilded Age, Montana's wealthy "Copper Kings" bought judges and senators, picked the location of the capital, and owned the media, McGrath pointed to Montana?s vast size, sparse population, low-cost elections, and long history of having its resources plundered by foreign corporate interests to emphasize that the state has a compelling interest in maintaining its ban.
Statement of Justice Ginsburg, with whom Justice Breyer joins, respecting the grant of the application for stay.Linda Greenhouse in the NY Times writes:
Montana?s experience, and experience elsewhere since this Court?s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Comm?n, 558 U. S. ___ (2010), make it exceedingly difficult to maintain that independent expenditures by corporations ?do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.? Id., at ___ (slip op., at 42). A petition for certiorari will give the Court an opportunity to consider whether, in light of the huge sums currently deployed to buy candidates? allegiance, Citizens United should continue to hold sway. Because lower courts are bound to follow this Court?s decisions until they are withdrawn or modified, however, Rodriguez de Quijas v. Shearson/American Express, Inc., 490 U. S. 477, 484 (1989), I vote to grant the stay.
In their separate statement, Justices Ginsburg and Breyer seemed not to buy the ?Montana is different? rationale, instead viewing the state court?s ruling, despite its protestations to the contrary, as simple defiance of Citizens United. ?Lower courts are bound to follow this court?s decisions until they are withdrawn or modified,? the two justices observed."Montana is different" is the heart of the state court ruling. So this is an interesting ploy by Ginsberg and Breyer, whom Greenhouse calls "savvy players."
Their point, rather, was that the Supreme Court itself should use this case as a vehicle to reconsider Citizens United.