Monday, October 31, 2011

Unpredictable, Unreliable, and Unacceptable

Sometimes, when one thinks of probable GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, charismatic phenom Herman Cain, the financially well-endowed Rick Perry, and the evangelical Michele Bachmann, the ever-naive libertarian (but I repeat myself) and the narcissistic Newt Gingrich (his defining video, below), it's easy to forget Rick Santorum.

For good reason that is, because Rick Santorum, for reasons far and wide, will never become the Repub presidential or vice-presidential nominee. At a recent campaign appearance Greenville, in the critically important primary state of South Carolina, Santorum remarked

On occasion scientists working on the nuclear program in Iran turn up dead. I think that's a wonderful thing, candid.... I think we should send a very clear message that if you are a scientist from Russia, North Korea, or from Iran and you are going towork on a nuclear program to develop a bomb for Iran, you are not safe.

Crazy? Radical? Offensive to the GOP popular base?

No, not at all- probably, though, worrisome to the even more important corporate base of the Repub Party. The Koch Brothers empire, one third of the Koch/Norquist/Limbaugh triumvirate controlling the Party, was involved in Iran in violation of the spirit of the sanctions imposed upon the nation. According to one summary of an article in Bloomberg Markets Magazine

- Koch Industries used the European offices of their subsidiary Koch-Glitsch to sell millions of dollars of petrochemical equipment to Iran in an apparent violation of the US-Iran trade embargo, as recently as 2007

- Internal documents of Koch Industries prove that the company took elaborate steps to ensure that their US-employees weren't involved in the sales to Iran

- While is not 100% certain at this point that Koch Industries did in fact violate US law, according to Bloomberg Markets Magazine, internal memos show for example that the details of the sales with Iran were meticulously checked by US lawyers of Koch Industries and coordinated with the lawyers in order to fully ensure that no visible involvement of US-citizens took place

- Koch Industries paid bribes in six countries from 2002 to 2008 to win business in Africa, India and the Middle East, comparable to similar behaviour of German technology giant Siemens (Siemens subsequently had to pay a $ 1.6 billion fine!)

- Koch Industries sacked a compliance officer in France in June 2009 who discovered the illegal bribes at Koch Industries subsidiary Koch-Glitsch

- These revelations were made possible through newly discovered documents from two labour court cases in France

- Bloomberg Markets reveals that former employees of Koch Industries harshly criticize the company for their internal practises and ethics

- The story also covers in great detail over several pages earlier violations of Koch Industries: The company in the past "rigged prices with competitors, lied to regulators and repeatedly run afoul of environmental regulations, resulting in five criminal convictions since 1999 in the U.S. and Canada"

The problem goes beyond Iran. Admittedly, a contender for the GOP nomination must declare himself/herself "pro-life," appalled by Roe vs. Wade, or at least committed to the idea that "life" begins at conception. The candidate must be opposed to same-sex marriage, with extra points for a rousing defense of traditional marriage. It's helpful to pretend that the Founding Fathers were card-carrying (possibly), Christ-centered (hardly) men of "faith." But that, and more, can be accomplished without seeming to be moralistic. For the corporatist kings of the party, cultural conservatism is swell- as long as they are confident the candidate is not committed to it..

Santorum believes it. He seems to live by it, talks about, and seems to be motivated by, it, and is now identified in the national media as a "social conservative." There always will be a niche for that in the GOP presidential field but in the end, the party's moneybags just won't allow an individual who might permit his values to dominate his allegiance to the right-wing agenda.

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