Tuesday, February 14, 2012

"to be a blessing to every person he puts in our path"

The Los Angeles Times Sunday edition had an article entitled "The religious right bankrolls Santorum."

"The faith component that Rick and I share is that we know that we're here to be a channel of God's love to others, his hands and feet in a hurting world, and to be a blessing to every person he puts in our path"

This is from Foster Friess, "a retired mutual fund executive based in Wyoming, [who] gave $300,000 to the superPAC in 2011 . . . He contributed at least $250,000 more in the last month. . . "  Some of the Fox videos on his website identify him in the title as "Billionaire Foster Friess."

What does one have to believe to say he's a channel of God's love?  To say he's here "to be a blessing to every person he puts in our path?"

How is Santorum a blessing to GLBT folks?  How's he a blessing to a woman whose health is threatened without an abortion?

I try to make such questions more than rhetorical.  Santorum and Friess might say something like, "I'm trying to save them from themselves, show them the error of their ways so they may find everlasting peace in heaven."

What sort of view of the world must one have to take that sort of position?  I can think of a few:
1.  Certainty that one is right.
2.  True and unwavering belief in one's interpretation of the bible.
(The first two can easily go hand in hand.)
3.  A Machiavellian cunning that allows one to use people's faith in God to manipulate them with words from their holy book.

I'm sure there are more possibilities.  I'm eager to hear them.

It's possibile that  Friess and Santorum really believe that they channel God's word.  And people on the other side of the religio/political spectrum feel they are as right about their positions as these two.

Who is Foster Friess? 

The website that bears his names lists a few "key issues":


Promoting the principles of limited government and exposing the burdens of excessive regulation that stifle American ingenuity, creativity, and enterprise

If the federal government should overpass the just bounds of its authority and make a tyrannical use of its powers, the people, whose creature it is, must appeal to the standard they have formed, and take such measures to redress the injury done to the Constitution as the exigency may suggest and prudence justify- Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 33
You can see Hamilton's words in context here. He appeared to be exasperated with people opposed to clauses in the proposed constitution giving Congress power to
"to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the powers by that Constitution vested in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof"; and the second clause of the sixth article declares, "that the Constitution and the laws of the United States made in pursuance thereof, and the treaties made by their authority shall be the supreme law of the land, any thing in the constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding."
Hamilton, of course, argued for a strong federal government.   From the Encyclopedia Britannica:
Though fully conscious that monarchy in America was impossible, he wished to obtain the next best solution in an aristocratic, strongly centralized, coercive, but representative union, with devices to give weight to the influence of class and property.[8]

Most of the key issues listed on the site - education, climate change, health care - can be solved, the site says, via the free market.  Immigration needs the borders protected - they don't mention the private sector, but neither is government mentioned for this one.  Helping Peaceful Muslims is another of the key issues. (Think Progress says Friess has funded a number of Islamophobic organizations.)  Nothing about the economy.  But there is a final one:

Enduring Values

Combating the negativity in our culture with uplifting, inspiring stories reminding us of the best American principles

As the great political philosophers from Plato and Aristotle to America’s own Founding Fathers have observed, democracy very quickly turns to tyranny when the people are not generally virtuous. To defend our system of ordered liberty, we must always be vigilant, and we must always strive to strengthen our culture, or our free society will be overtaken by government.

(At left) George Washington at prayer.
How did the Friess funded Red, White, and Blue Super Pact add to combating negativity in the Florida Republican primary and the last three caucuses?

I searched his website for "Koch" but nothing was found.

Alternet reports a Koch brothers conference in Palm Springs two weeks ago where the whole  550 room  Esmerelda Renaissance was rented for the private event and connects Friess with the Koch brothers:
A private plane owned by wealthy mutual fund manager Foster Friess flew to the area the morning of the conference, and left the day it ended. Friess is a social conservative who has gained headlines recently for his massive backing of a super-PAC supporting Rick Santorum. He has also attended the Koch meeting in the past.
 The Foster Friess website also has a video of Friess accepting the Paul Weyrich Award.

The award honors Paul Weyrich, who, according to Wikipedia, was a co-founder, with Coors funding, of the Heritage Foundation and the Committee for the Survival of a Free Congress which,
was among the first grassroots organizations to raise funds extensively through direct mail campaigns. It also was one of the first organizations to tap into evangelical Christian churches as places to recruit and cultivate activists and support for social conservative causes. In 1977, Weyrich co-founded Christian Voice with Robert Grant. Two years later, with Jerry Falwell, he founded the Moral Majority. Weyrich coined the phrase "Moral Majority".[8]
Over the next two decades, Weyrich founded, co-founded, or held prominent roles in a number of other notable conservative organizations. Among them, he was founder of the American Legislative Exchange Council, an organization of state legislators [and heavily funded by the Koch brothers]; a co-founder of the Council for National Policy, a strategy-formulating organization for social conservatives; co-publisher of the magazine Conservative Digest; and national chairman of Coalitions for America, an association of conservative activist organizations. The CSFC, reorganized into the Free Congress Foundation, also remained active.
Weyrich died in 2008, but Friess is alive and active.

Aside:  From the moment I saw the name Foster Friess, I couldn't help think about an ice cream cone.  So when I finished writing this I googled Foster Freeze.  And sure enough, there was the company that was around my California childhood all along.  And it's still around, one not far from my mom's place.  So I got on my bike to add a photo to this post.


  1. We can always hope that guy freezes to death. It would be a fitting irony to it'll be a cold day in hell before the majority of people vote for Santorum. Waste your money, buddy. It'll be like Meg Whitman trying to buy the CA governorship. FUTILE and a total waste of money.

  2. Well, time is flying, your country elects President again. It was like yesterday when you wrote about the last one in 2008. In Hungary we have a Hungarian news website where you can follow this process. I haven't really checked it but for me Rick Santorum and Ron Paul look like suitable candidates but as I mentioned I haven't checked this website so I may be wrong due to information asymetry.

  3. nswfm, I too have thought about how some folks are spending a lot of money on elections, but are violently opposed to tax increases for the wealthy. At least the money is circulating.

    Ropi, I can understand your tendency, as a Catholic, to be supportive of Santorum. And your economic conservatism will find things to like with Paul. But your understanding of ancient Greek history should also make you recognize the importance of balance. Both these people are way out in the extreme end of this, with NO sense of balance at all. There are things I like about Paul - I did a post about his youtube video on thinking about a US invasion by a foreign occupier as a way for Americans to understand how other countries feel. But his libertarianism is so totally anti-government, as I understand it, that he (and Santorum too) would do great damage to the US and the world if they could carry out their ideals. But your response is rational and you acknowledge your lack of knowledge on this.

  4. Well, I hope you will make posts about this topic because I really enjoyed the ones in 2008 and you enlightened me a lot. :) I remember you warned me when I told you what Sarah Palin means in Hungarian that I should mention such things before the election. So here it comes.

    Mitt Romney = What? Romney (Mit? means what in Hungarian. When you are shocked you also say that)
    It is also interesting that the beginning of Santorum is almost pronounced like saint in Hungarian (szent).

  5. Ropi, I will surely be commenting on the election more and more. On the Hungarian translation of Mitt Romney, is it just the Mit? or does Romney have meaning too?

    And on Santorum and saint, here's from Italyworldclub:

    "SANTORI, SANTORIO, SANTORELLI, SANTORIELLI, SANTORINI, SANTORUM: From the medieval first name Santoro, derived from the Latin word Sanctus = Saint, the genitive plural form is "Sanctorum", used also to indicate the All Saints feast. Possibly connected to someone acting as a saint, or who has connection with religious things (a sacristan)"


Comments will be reviewed, not for content (except ads), but for style. Comments with personal insults, rambling tirades, and significant repetition will be deleted. Ads disguised as comments, unless closely related to the post and of value to readers (my call) will be deleted. Click here to learn to put links in your comment.