Two Faces of Rick Santorum

Is He A Traitor To American Values?

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"It is true, of course, that the phrase 'separation of church and state' does not appear in the Constitution. But it was inevitable that some convenient term should come into existence to verbalize a principle so clearly and widely held by the American people.... [T]he right to a fair trial is generally accepted to be a constitutional principle; yet the term "fair trial" is not found in the Constitution. To bring the point even closer home, who would deny that "religious liberty" is a constitutional principle? Yet that phrase too is not in the Constitution. The universal acceptance which all these terms, including "separation of church and state," have received in America would seem to confirm rather than disparage their reality as basic American democratic principles."..............Leo Pfeffer.


Rick Santorum has always supported a extreme Conservative Christian position especially when it comes to Church and State issues.  It is apparent from the data collected, that the first amendment may be in danger from his past and future actions.

Upon calling his office we find that Islam, Judaism, Shintoism, Buddhism, Hinduism, or Wicca "..aren't "Real" religions."  What is a real religion, Mr Santorum?  What you have been practicing?  Read the following and remember: "By their Works may they be known."  We believe that Rick will one day reside in Dante's ninth level of Hell!

(Remember it is best to investigate on your own when looking at allegations about anyone.    Don't believe us, think for yourself and investigate for yourself!  And remember, the Freedom of Religion Coalition does not represent any political party nor do we recommend any political candidate, nor are we involving ourselves in the political process. 

"Rick Santorum is one of the great pulsars of our times: a collapsed gravity well of unblinking stare.  People innocently walking down the street, are drawn into his orbit, helplessly drawn in by how utterly dense he is.  They cannot escape the completely impenetrable mass of darkness surrounding his mind and become totally crushed & moronized by him.By a Friend of Religious Freedom

 


 
I've been scratching my head about two things lately. One, how can someone who isn't a multimillionaire vote Republican? Every platform they support is contrary to the average working class citizen's needs. Two, how can anyone profess to be a Christian when they obviously are a hypocrite and Liar? But when I listen to people like Rick Santorum, Glen Beck, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Sharon Angle and Christine O'Donnell speak, it becomes clear how these things exist and why they are glorified.   Intelligence is awareness of ignorance.   Stupidity is ignorance of ignorance.   Now it all makes sense.   "It is better to be silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt. "Variously attributed to Lincoln, Elbert Hubbard, Mark Twain, Benjamin Franklin and Socrates.  Marine Corps Sgt. Ron Geste - Iraq

EXTREMIST TEA PARTY REPUBLICANS ARE THE ENEMY AND TRAITORS TO AMERICA by R. Blackbird

Extremist Tea Party Republicans are selfish, power hungry, hateful of the poor, disloyal to the nation and its people, dishonest, avaricious, scornful of the nation's history, the dignity of its institutions, its standards of political morality, and its vision of advancement for all the people. The Republicans love war as long as they and theirs do not have to put on helmets and carry guns into the fighting. They use lies to start wars that kill hundreds of thousands of innocents and thousands of our own military service people. They love massive war-time profits, unavailable to their rich masters if war is absent.

Those Extremist Republicans hate the rest of us, which they must, in order to pass away from themselves and onto us, the financial burdens and losses their crimes, schemes and thefts cause. They are prolific, incessant, and destructive liars. They are blasphemers for they insist that their hateful and destructive deeds are the work of God. They are apostates for they gleefully attack the poor, the immigrants, the old and the sick, of whom God has commanded all of us to be mindful.

There is no reasoning with them, for all their logic is built on false premises. There is no appealing to them for honor's sake for they have lost all sense of shame and have no honor, there is no appealing to them for the nation's sake for that it what they hate the most.

Extremist Tea Party Republicans are the enemy.

 


THE TRUTH ABOUT REPUBLICANS BY GEORGE CARLIN

 
http://www.milkandcookies.com/link/273071/detail/
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Audio only and of course NSFW. But Carlin has some opinions.

Rick Santorum Does Not Care for Those SNL Meanies

Rick Santorum, who is constitutionally incapable of not whining whenever he opens his mouth, had a whiny response to being made fun of on Saturday Night Live this weekend.

SNL did another GOP debate sketch and placed Santorum's character in a San Francisco gay bar, where he was terribly uncomfortable, because Rick Santorum famously hates gay people. Ha, that's me alright! the real Santorum could have responded, if he were constitutionally capable of not whining whenever he opens his mouth. Instead we get this, before he's even watched the sketch:

"We've been hammered by the left for my standing up for the traditional family and I will continue to do so," Santorum told WGIR's "White House Brief" show despite admitting that he had not seen the skit yet. "The left, unfortunately, participates in bullying more than the right does. They say that they're tolerant, and they're anything but tolerant of people who disagree with them and support traditional values."

Got it, SNL? No more common jokes allowed. And under a Rick Santorum presidency, NBC will be ordered to show a crappy VHS copy of "Rick Santorum's Summer Dance Party" every Saturday afternoon at 5:30, the new "late night," as the country's military-enforced National Bedtime will be at 7.

 
Related Stories

Rick Santorum finished fourth in the Ames Straw Poll

This led everyone to conclude that his showing was a demonstration of how strong his campaign is, despite the fact that he's got little money or organizational strength.

We read his finish as a demonstration of the strength of his personal brand of peach jelly, which he handed out at Ames. It's sweet, tacky deliciousness hit the taste buds of the average caucus-goer. Mmmm-mmmm! Just one swallow and you'll pretty much hate gay people, too! You might go so far as to opine that the 2008 financial crisis was a product of gay marriage, and not a giant over-leveraged casino scheme built by over-confident greed-fiends!

Santorum left Ames feeling reinvigorated, the only explanation for why he decided to make the following melodramatic lamentation: "Does anyone believe that our freedom is as whole as it was at the time of our founders? It is not."

I don't know, Rick! It's sort of awesome that the United States doesn't have slavery anymore! But I guess there are all sorts of points of views on the matter.

Dave Weigel ruminates on the"persistence" of Rick Santorum, and notes that while he doesn't have a plausible path to the GOP nomination, he's solidly on the road to a sort of "political redemption."

"By starting out this campaign as a joke candidate, he can "win" if he finishes as less than a joke," Weigel says. He points out that Santorum is also poised to reap the personal financial benefits that follow a presidential candidacy. (We're pretty sure that even your Carol Moseley-Brauns get a bump in the speaking fee department.)


PART I

Rick Santorum Serves On the Board of Universal Health Services Hospital Chain Being Sued By DOJ

An excerpt from an article by Jason Cherkis on huffingtonpost.com 6/7/2011

WASHINGTON -- Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who announced his bid for president Monday, has spent the past four years serving on the board of Universal Health Services Inc. (UHS), one of the country's largest and most troubled hospital chains.

It turns out Santorum may have had a more personal stake in railing against President Barack Obama's signature health care legislation and beating the drum for less government intrusion in our health care system. Both federal and state officials have routinely cited UHS for a seemingly endless number of violations, ranging from Medicaid fraud to patient neglect and abuse. Investigations have uncovered everything from riots to rape to homicide at UHS facilities.

During Santorum's tenure on the UHS board, state documents and court records show, patients at UHS health care facilities have endured systemic failures that have cost millions in court settlements. In several instances, the company and its subsidiaries have been threatened with losing the ability to take in federally-subsidized patients. At various times, states have stopped sending children to UHS facilities. And in the last few years, the King of Prussia, Pa.-based mega-company has been the subject of two Department of Justice lawsuits accusing the chain of fraud.

According to UHS' website, Santorum currently sits on the board's compensation committee and the nominating/corporate governance committee. Santorum's committees appear to play no direct role in overseeing the actual operations of the hospitals. But the board -- like any corporate board -- is responsible for maintaining oversight and making sure facilities are safe and do not violate the law.

He was appointed to the board in April 2007. UHS CEO and chairman of the board, Alan B. Miller, said in a press release at the time, "Rick Santorum has a long record of accomplishment and leadership and will provide valuable advice to the board."

Through his campaign, Santorum refused to comment about his ties to UHS nor the allegations concerning the hospital chain. "I would encourage you to contact UHS about these allegations," replied spokesperson Virginia Davis via email. "If I have any additional contact from Sen. Santorum I will let you know."

In response to The Huffington Post's inquiries, UHS refused to elaborate on Santorum's role as a board member. "UHS has always made quality and patient safety its highest priorities at all of our facilities," the company said in a statement released to The Huffington Post. "UHS has been one of the leading providers of mental healthcare services for over 25 years because of our commitment to quality and patient-focused programs. All of our facilities are licensed by their states, nationally accredited and/or certified and in good-standing. As a company, we strive to always provide the best possible treatment in a safe environment."

According to the company's SEC filings, as of Feb. 28, 2011, UHS owned 25 acute care hospitals and 206 behavioral health centers located in 37 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The company also owns or manages seven surgical hospitals and surgery and oncology centers. The filings state that the company and/or its affiliates currently face at least seven lawsuits addressing allegations ranging from patient care to wage disputes among employees.

On Oct. 30, 2009, a McAllen, Texas, hospital group owned by UHS agreed to pay the U.S. government $27.5 million to settle allegations of what amounted to medical payola, or providing kickbacks or "illegal compensation" to doctors in an effort to pressure them to funnel patients to its hospitals, according to a DOJ press release. The payments were disguised via "shame contracts" including medical directorships and lease agreements.

Department of Justice attorneys, along with their counterparts in Virginia, filed suit in March 2010 against a UHS facility based in Southwest Virginia charging that operators had committed Medicaid fraud. The facility billed itself as an inpatient psychiatric facility for youth but did not provide such services. The DOJ case, along with a whistleblower lawsuit, also accused the facility of orchestrating a cover-up.

Timothy J. Heaphy, the United States Attorney for the Western District of Virginia, stated in a DOJ press release:

"We intend to prove that these defendants billed Medicaid for providing troubled children with much needed psychiatric medical care when, in fact, they provided no such service. We will not sit idly by and allow healthcare providers to take advantage of troubled children in order to feed their own desire for wealth. The Medicaid system was designed to help the most vulnerable among us, not to line the pockets of fraudsters."

In its statement, UHS claimed that all patients at the Virginia facility were treated appropriately.

But DOJ's conclusions wouldn't surprise current and former UHS employees, who said the hospital and treatment settings have been "depressing" and comparable to prisons or worse.

Leah Mercer, a former employee with the Pines, a residential treatment center located in the Tidewater region of Virginia, described one unit as a "dog pen."

"It's a money making business," Mercer said. She worked not only at the Pines but also at an adult treatment facility in Tennessee. "That's all it is ... Working with adults and the kids in two different states and two different facilities, there was no therapy. It was all about money."

Mercer, who used to work as a prison corrections officer before working with emotionally disturbed children at the Pines, says she was surprised by how little experience was needed to work at the facility. "I know they pull a lot from security people ... You could start out making $10, $11 an hour and not know jack. You didn't have to know anything. In fact, I had a 19-year-old stripper and this was her part-time job -- she was part-time."

HuffPost readers: If you've ever worked for UHS or have been a resident or patient at a UHS facility, we want to hear from you. Tell us your stories by emailing jason.cherkis@huffingtonpost.com. Please include your phone number if you're willing to do an interview.

Santorum joined the UHS board in April 2007. Here is just a sampling of incidents that have taken place at the company's facilities during his tenure:

- In June 2007, Omega Leach, 17, died after being strangled by staff at UHS' Chad Youth Enhancement Center, located outside of Nashville, Tenn. Leach's death was ruled a homicide. Two years earlier, a 14-year-old Long Island girl died at the same facility.

According to the autopsy on Leach, news accounts at the time stated that the youth had "multiple superficial blunt force injuries" to his body as well as injuries to his neck muscles. He also sustained scrapes and bruises to both shoulders as well as a bruise under his left eye.

Omega Leach's family subsequently sued UHS. In 2010, UHS settled with the family for $10.5 million.

- In April 2010, North Carolina government records reported that the Old Vineyard Youth Services facility had been the scene of a sexual assault between two male teenagers. One resident reportedly tried to force his roommate "to have oral sex and intercourse holding roommate by neck to force him to have oral sex and dragged him on the floor trying to have intercourse." The residents, 17 and 15 years old, were found to not be adequately monitored by staff. The Winston-Salem Journal had previously reported that the facility had been sited for a "long list of deficiencies that included nurses' training and responses to incidents" in October 2009.

- In September 2010, the Chicago Tribune reported that in the previous two years, two rape allegations were levied at UHS' Hartgrove Hospital. "Police were called to Hartgrove Hospital on the city's West End when a juvenile patient alleged he was punched and forced to perform oral sex on a male patient, then raped when he tried to resist," the reporters noted. "The alleged victim was hospitalized with abrasions consistent with rape, a police report said."

The Tribune went on to detail another incident involving a 13-year-old male who performed oral sex on a 15-year-old in a crowded day room "with roughly 14 other youths and only one hospital employee to monitor them."

- In April 2011, Two Rivers Psychiatric Hospital in Kansas City was barred from taking Medicaid after feds discovered that hospital workers had failed to monitor a suicidal woman who killed herself at the facility. Authorities also ruled that workers had erred in their attempts to revive the woman. The hospital has appealed the decision and challenged the decision in court.

The Kansas City Star also reported that the facility has a history of neglect issues:

"Federal records show that Two Rivers has had a history of patient-care problems dating to 2008, when an Army soldier committed suicide at the hospital by using bed linens to hang himself in a closet.

That year, inspectors also found that a hospital employee had poured water over a patient’s head and that a nurse had put a towel over an elderly patient’s mouth to stop the patient from screaming.

Inspectors who examined medical records in 2009 found little evidence that Two Rivers patients were receiving psychotherapy or medical treatment other than medications. In September 2010, the hospital refused the emergency admission of a teenager who had threatened to kill someone, records show."

- On April 18, 2011, North Carolina authorities announced that it would be removing all of its wards from The Pines residential treatment center after a youth made an allegation of sex abuse at the facility. The incident triggered a larger investigation. North Carolina officials found multiple instances of ill-trained staff, inadequate staff-to-patient ratios, and "multiple safety risk incidents," according to an email from N.C. authorities to Virginia officials concerning The Pines.

Virginia has since slapped The Pines with a provisional license and halted sending state wards to the facility. The D.C. government has also begun to pull its youths from The Pines.

Susan Lawrence, a parent and child advocate in Virginia, runs a Facebook page dedicated to cataloging abuses within the mental health system with a particular focus on UHS facilities. In an interview, she called on Santorum to investigate the company. "He talks about being brave, about standing up to the establishment," she said. "That's a joke. He should be asking hard questions of UHS ... If he wants to lead the country, he should be able to lead a business."

"He's all concerned about unborn children," Lawrence continued. "He's a lot less concerned about children that are already here."

Santorum's relationship with UHS extends beyond the boardroom. While he served on the board, the company donated $5,000 to his political action committee, America's Foundation, in 2010. UHS CEO Miller, as well as the company's employees, have donated thousands more in previous campaigns.

This is the first in a series of stories on UHS facilities during Santorum's tenure on the hospital chain's board. Part II follows.


PART II

Inside Rick Santorum-Linked Universal Health Services Facility: Herpes, Porn and Drug Dealing

WASHINGTON -- T. entered The Pines Residential Treatment Center, located in Portsmouth, Va., needing help for his emotional disorders, gender identity issues and violent outbursts. This month, after a year and a half there, the eighth-grader left the facility with herpes.

Heather Pinon, T.'s sister, believes he got the sexually transmitted disease after having sex with other boys in his restricted unit. There might be at least one other culprit. Both Pinon and the boy's adoptive mother, Lorraine Honeycutt, believe that he also carried on a sexual relationship with a Pines employee. Pinon says she knows of letters that hint at such an affair.

"The information was given to the therapist," Pinon said. "The therapist destroyed the letters. When we asked my brother about it, he confirmed that he did write the letters and that he had a special relationship with that staff member."

The staff member, they said, was assigned to T. to prevent him from having sex with other kids.

The disease was just another complication in a life that had many; T. called this latest his "herpes thing." But it still devastated the boy who wasn't yet old enough for algebra. "I felt extra scared," he told The Huffington Post in a recent interview. "I wanted to cry and that's all I did for two days is cry when they did tell me that."

For The Pines, T.'s diagnosis was just part of another day. The Pines is the biggest for-profit residential treatment center in Virginia. During the past three years, it has also kicked up more abuse and neglect allegations than any other facility there, state records show, earning an unprecedented level of scrutiny from investigators with the state's licensing office and Office of Human Rights. The facility, which covers three campuses that span the tidewater region -- Brighton, Kempsville and Crawford -- has routinely faced state orders to correct itself, according to licensing records.

The Pines may be exceptional in terms of racking up state violations, but it also boasts a singular distinction: The board of the center's parent company, Universal Health Services, which bought The Pines in November, included former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.).

Santorum, who recently launched a presidential bid, resigned from the UHS board on June 15, a week after the publication of a Huffington Post report on UHS facilities during his tenure. The former senator had served on the UHS board since 2007, a period which saw the company twice sued by the Department of Justice.

Santorum's presidential campaign did not return calls seeking comment.

The health care chain has faced accusations of Medicaid fraud and employee grievances over pay. At one facility, a teen died while being restrained by staff. The death was ruled a homicide.

* * * * *

The Pines had long teetered on the brink of a shutdown, but the UHS takeover of the facility appears to have erased what standards had been put in place. A short time after the facility fell under UHS control in mid-November, it earned serious punitive sanctions. Two months into the company's tenure, a sense of lawlessness pervaded the facility, according to a review of documents obtained by The Huffington Post through a public records request.

North Carolina, which had sent more than 100 kids to The Pines, stopped doing so this past spring, when that state's Division of Medical Assistance, along with other agencies, found widespread and systemic breakdowns in how the facility treated its children, according to the documents. In mid-April, the state concluded that it had to pull all 140 or so of its children -- including T. -- out of The Pines, according to email records.

Virginia has since barred new admissions and slapped the facility with a provisional license. According to the documents, Virginia inspectors found that Pines staff had been caught watching a pornographic DVD with residents, that one resident admitted to selling drugs and buying drugs from a Pines employee and that records concerning the care of one resident had been "fabricated."

In a statement released to The Huffington Post, Universal Health Services defended its practices: "The Pines management team is continually reviewing clinical programming, procedures and staff training to enhance the provision of safe, effective, and patient-centered treatment," the company statement reads. "The Pines is actively addressing any and all concerns relating to the treatment of our residents."

UHS would neither confirm nor deny whether T. contracted herpes at The Pines. The company stated that it had investigated whether an employee had carried on an affair with a teen and ruled evidence of such a relationship "unsubstantiated." T., for his part, denied the tryst in his interview with The Huffington Post, admitting only to having feelings for a staff member. Pinon, his sister, says the family was never interviewed nor notified as part of any UHS inquiry into the matter. "The only evidence of the affair was destroyed by their staff member," she said, referring to T.'s writings to the staffer.

Barely a teen, T. had already known how it felt to fill his stomach with pills and to receive a jolt from a police officer's Taser. Other things left deeper scars. T. had grown up in Hamlet, N.C., abandoned from birth by his biological mother. He'd had to hear stories about her and her new family living in faraway Oregon; she didn't visit. He never knew his father.

T. was adopted by Honeycutt, his own mother's former foster mother, who provided a stable and loving home. But he fell into violent rages, and when they became too much to handle, the child-welfare system sometimes had to find alternatives.

By the time T. was 8 years old, group home staff and hospital nurses had become something of an extended family. In at least one instance, however, they proved anything but safe. At one group home, Pinon said, her brother claimed he'd been raped by a staffer.

Not long after, T. wore out his welcome at every group home and therapeutic foster care placement in the state. He stabbed one foster parent with a fork. He ended up on probation after pelting a foster dad's truck with rocks. He could be equally destructive with his own body, using his thighs and arms as a canvas for his not-so-secret cuttings.

Officials had to look beyond the state's borders to Virginia to find T.'s next placement, a next chance at normal. T. had gone to The Pines fresh from a psych ward. It turned out to be a huge step backward.

On June 3 of this year, T. was forced out of The Pines, this time not as a punishment but out of concern for his own well being. Honeycutt and Pinon were there to pick him up. There was no teary sendoff. A Pines worker greeted them at the entrance with a taunt, according to Pinon. "We are so ready to get rid of him," she recalled the worker saying.

Another employee shepherded T. to their car. Both Pinon and Honeycutt recalled that she had one final message for T. before leaving his side. If he gave his family a hard time, the employee told him, "I'll beat your ass like a man."

A Pines staffer had already done that, according to T.

T. had two black eyes. One came from a staff member who T. said punched him after he complained about the staffer flirting with a coworker.

One bruise was still a deep black, while the other had started to fade. But both could still be seen through T.'s foundation and rouge, and his pink-and-purple eye shadow.

While T. was at The Pines, Honeycutt, 63, tried to follow up on her adopted son's treatment as best she could. She kept in regular contact with T. and participated in weekly therapy sessions by phone. When she needed gas money to make the drive up to see him, she said she resorted to hosting yard sales where she sold off her clothes and appliances. The real valuables she carted off to Ned's Pawn Shop.

"My mom sold collectibles, porcelain dolls," Pinon, 28, recalled. "All of her gold, she pretty much pawned it or melted it down so she could afford gas or clothes for him. I took her to the pawnshop one time -- she pulled out family heirlooms. The people in the pawnshop were telling her not to do it. She sold it anyway."

When T. complained that he went to bed cold, Honeycutt bought him a blanket. When he needed clothes, she mailed him pants and shirts from his favorite store, Hot Topic.

Honeycutt alleged that Pines officials had promised to assist her with travel expenses but never came through. "They lied," she said. "They were supposed to meet me part of the way, and they didn't."

Initially, documents show, The Pines saw T. as a serious case. The reasons for his admission to the facility were manifold. Pines officials wrote in an assessment that T. "represents an actual and potential danger to himself and others as evidenced by his frequent episodes of self injurious behavior including cutting himself in the chest, arms, legs, frequent episodes of physical aggression, threatening to kill his mother including biting his adoptive father, hitting the walls, running away from home ... [and] bringing deadly weapons to school."

The facility's management promised they could improve T.'s behavior and even get him well enough that he wouldn't need to spend more time in another residential setting. But under the center's care, Honeycutt and Pinon said, they only saw T. continue his destructive ways. The facility, they said, failed to accurately report problems to them.

Honeycutt and Pinon said they were often left to navigate written reports that were either missing critical information or contained contradictory assessments. In one example, the reports failed to mention that Pines staff had left T. unsupervised long enough for him to pierce his own nose with the broken tooth of a comb. Nor had they witnessed him stabbing a hole through his tongue.

While the family heard from T. about how the staff had physically restrained him on multiple occasions, Pines officials failed to report most of the incidents. In one month, Pinon recalled, T. had been physically restrained more than 10 times. She also said her brother reported being chemically restrained. During one restraint, his family said, a Pines employee broke T.'s glasses. The facility never replaced them. T. later said to Pinon: "I've had knees in my back. Knees on my head."

"None of the paperwork documented the amount of restraints that he had," Pinon said.

Physical restraints were the staff's go-to method of control, according to T. Even when he was held down, T. said, staff took cheap shots -- jabbing him, pinching him and punching him. In one incident, he said, he was slammed against a wall.

"They bend your arm in all different directions and stuff," he said, adding that the staff called him "faggot."

"One time, I was in a restraint and a man punched me in my nose and my nose started bleeding," he said.

The center's low-I.Q. inhabitants were particularly targeted, he said: "They would always hit in the special residents."

Although The Pines was required to provide schooling for T., confidential records show that he often didn't make it to class. T. said that he was often held back over minor infractions like talking back to staff. Sometimes, he'd beg to go to class and was still denied.

According to his last report card, T. failed five out of seven subjects. His Pines teachers cited his absences as the main reason for his dismal grades. And yet, in its last report to the family, Pines officials wrote that T. was "doing well in school. He has grades from A's to C's."

Honeycutt seized on what she considers the most painful document of all. It's another Pines assessment of T., this one dated to this past February. A Pines clinician wrote: "It is clear the family will not support T." because of his sexual orientation.

The Pines was charging Honeycutt's health insurance and Medicaid a combined nearly $20,000 per month for taking care of T.

* * * * *

Honeycutt's account of her experiences with The Pines rang true for Kimberly Imanian, who told The Huffington Post that the facility has also consistently whitewashed reports of her adoptive 13-year-old daughter's behavior. Her daughter, she said, has been involved in six violent episodes, but only three were actually reported. In one incident, the facility did not report that her daughter had threatened to kill her roommate. The roommate remained in place for months.

Imanian said her daughter has not shown improvements since being admitted. "She does not want to be at a place anymore," Imanian said. "She wants to get well. More often, she asks, ‘Why am I not getting any better?'"

A UHS vice president, Car Evans, wrote in an email that The Pines complied with all state reporting policies. "The Pines reports all requisite incident or restraint matters to the appropriate agencies or individuals in compliance with all legal and regulatory requirements of the various states or municipalities with whom we work with," he wrote.

But misinformation and an unsettling lack of care appeared to be the norm at a facility even staffers described as overwhelmingly depressing and disorganized. Documents show a campus low on management oversight and staffed with unqualified employees. "When I first got there, I was like, 'Oh my God, I would never want to live here,'" recalled one current Pines worker, who requested anonymity to speak openly about the facility's conditions.

Leah Mercer, a former Pines frontline worker, told The Huffington Post she often did not know the case histories of the children in her care. Mid-level managers simply failed to give her each child's diagnosis, she said, and her supervisor spent most of his time concentrating on his fledgling career as an R&B singer.

Rather than providing rehabilitation or care, Mercer said, the facility deepens old wounds and even creates some new ones among the young residents. She said one boy with no history of sexual abuse has started acting out sexually. Another boy had been left alone long enough to dig into his arm with a plastic spoon. AWOLs were commonplace. She recalled one incident in which an employee threatened to kill a child; another called a kid a "piece of shit."

"There are staff that continue to be there that should not be in this line of work," Mercer said. "There are staff that I feel are too rough, that don't have an understanding of child disabilities. They don't understand that each one has individualized treatment. You can't treat all children the same, especially ones with disabilities."

Another current employee said she believed that not all of her colleagues thoroughly reported deserving incidents. "I don't feel that everybody that works at all three campuses are there ethically to provide therapeutic care," the employee said. "Some people are there just to get the paycheck. ... I don't feel some of the people are educated to deal wit

Mercer said she quit over what she described as unsafe staff-to-patient ratios, meaning that the kids often didn't receive basic necessities. She said she knew of a child who waited eight months to get a pair of glasses, another who endured a toothache for five months before seeing a dentist and still another kid who went without underwear.

"I've seen staff buy soap, socks, underwear, shoes," Mercer said. "I mean, the kids don't have any soap."

In one case, Mercer recalled, she had to move some residents to a new unit, but found that it had not been cleaned. There were urine-stained floors, semen stains on a desk and a pair of mattresses, a bloody mixture left on a bulletin board. She described a different unit as a "dog pen."

Therapy could be just as haphazard. A current employee agreed with Mercer's assessment that the staff-to-patient ratios weren't safe. The other current employee described the sessions as mere drive-bys, lasting 20 minutes at a time.

"Do you think you are ever going to get anything accomplished in 20 minutes?" the employee asked.

"It's a moneymaking business," Mercer said. "That's all it is."

The current employee said there are staff issues. "They're lazy. They come in late. The communication is bad," she said. "There's a lot of money but I don't see it. It's going to the wrong people."

Those at the top were well paid. Santorum received roughly half a million dollars in cash and stock options for his services on the UHS board. In 2007, he received $50,412; in 2008, he received $77,958; in 2009, he picked up $45,000. In 2010, Santorum took home a substantial windfall: $168,069. And on Jan. 19, 2011, he received stock options valued at $174,126, Securities and Exchange Commission records show. The company and its CEO have also contributed thousands to Santorum's political action committee and his campaigns over the years.

When Santorum resigned from the UHS board in early June, company officials had kind words for the former senator.

"We appreciate Senator Santorum's service on our Board of Directors and he has been a valuable asset to our Company," Alan B. Miller, the UHS chairman and CEO, said in a press release. "We certainly understood that should Senator Santorum formally announce and initiate his campaign for President, it would result in his departure from the Board given the substantial focus and effort required to achieve that goal. However, Rick's guidance and stewardship will be sorely missed."

* * * * *

In February, a Pines staff member was caught punching a child in the face and torso after being bitten during a restraint, records show. The incident was not immediately reported to authorities. The staffer admitted, according to a licensing investigation, that she had no experience in working with residential treatment center kids. That same month, licensing found that "staff currently providing therapy is not licensed or licensed eligible. ... THIS IS A REPEAT VIOLATION."

The following month, two boys at the Brighton campus, ages 8 and 9, confessed to engaging in oral and anal sex, Virginia records show.

At the same campus a short time later, according to records and interviews with Mercer, who saw a video recording of the incident, and another staffer, a Pines worker grabbed a 9-year-old boy and dragged him across a table during a therapeutic group session. Another worker then took the boy into a room and was captured on video repeatedly bashing his head against a wall.

The staff member was suspended for a week before being fired. She wrote about how she was spending her time away from the facility on her Facebook wall:

"Backyard tanning was a success, including nips ;P Ugh! Dread having not having A\C in a hawt ass house! Time to take a cold shower."

By then, North Carolina had concluded it could not continue to send children to The Pines. The state had launched an investigation after parents came forward with an allegation that their son had been sexually abused at the facility.

According to a subsequent report by Virginia authorities, The Pines concluded that on at least one occasion the abuse had indeed taken place. But the facility had failed to immediately notify the parents. The Pines had described one incident of inappropriate touching as "horse playing."

In mid-April, North Carolina paid the facility an unannounced visit. Patrick Piggott, chief of the state's Behavioral Health Review Section, reported his findings to Virginia licensing officials. In an April 28 email obtained by The Huffington Post, he said the state was making a formal complaint against The Pines -- that the facility had failed in nearly all aspects of its responsibilities. Piggott's group found:

  • The Pines had inadequate staffing for the entire month of January and two weeks in February for all campuses.
  • Employees lacked training on utilizing non-restrictive interventions.
  • No evidence of supervision in any personnel records.
  • No evidence of sex offender training.
  • No evidence of training on how to write a treatment plan.
  • No evidence of supervision plans for unlicensed staff.
  • Some therapists working in the facility had masters degrees but were not licensed.
  • Staff did not watch children closely -- sexual activity among children had taken place.
  • Allegations of abuse or sexual misconduct did not result in clear consequences or changes in treatment.

Piggott went on to note that basic records of children often contained missing documents and contradictory assessments. He also reported that "the child prompting this investigation was at risk and there is evidence of harm yet the facility did not appear to take adequate steps to [protect] him.

North Carolina would not wait for The Pines to correct itself. It had already announced that it would be pulling its children from the facility.

Meghan McGuire, communications director for Virginia's Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, which oversees inspections of facilities like The Pines, released a statement after North Carolina went public with its decision: "Over the past several years, we have encountered significant problems at the Pines' facilities that have required tremendous monitoring time by DBHDS licensing and human rights staff. Since concerns continue to arise despite staff's continual efforts, it may again be time to reevaluate the status of their license."

Ten days after North Carolina completed its investigation, Virginia authorities inspected The Pines' Brighton campus.

Not only did Virgina's inspectors corroborate North Carolina's findings, they uncovered 17 pages worth of violations. They found scores of untrained staff as well as staff working without proper documentation or licenses or criminal background checks. The facility even failed to prove that its van operator had a valid driver's license.

Supervision of residents was also a problem. Inspectors found rampant use of cellphones in the units. One resident, who had been placed on special precautions requiring 15-minute checks, was not properly watched. "A review of the videotape revealed that Staff did not perform the 15 minutes room check," the inspector noted in its report. "The documentation of the 15 minute rounds were fabricated."

In some cases, Pines workers may have crossed the line into criminal behavior, as in the case of another resident who reported being sexually assaulted while also on "close watch."

The Virginia inspection turned up a January incident in which staff showed the young residents pictures of naked women and a February incident in which residents and staff watched a pornographic DVD together.

That same month, investigators found out that a resident admitted using and selling drugs within the past six months. A source stated that the resident "also admitted to buying drugs from a staff who no longer works at the Pines. Resident admitted that he did the drugs in November and December."

On the day the inspection was made, Virginia announced that it would be suspending admissions to The Pines and issued the facility a provisional license. According to McGuire, the provisional license means The Pines had failed in caring for its children.

"A provisional license means that a provider has demonstrated an inability to maintain compliance with the regulations, has violations of licensing regulations that pose a threat to the health and safety of residents served, or has two or more systemic deficiencies," McGuire wrote via email. "It is a sign to referral sources and payers that a provider is having serious problems."

* * * * *

Universal Health Services, in its emailed statement to The Huffington Post, expressed optimism that its oversight had corrected any problems at The Pines:

"We are pleased to report that as a result of our efforts, in May of this year, two external independent surveys by regulatory agencies were conducted at The Pines and found the program in compliance," the statement reads. "Further, North Carolina has expressed a willingness to work with our facilities and The Pines is currently treating children from North Carolina."

UHS' statement appears to have been overly optimistic. McGuire says Virginia's position on The Pines is unchanged -- there continues to be a ban on new admissions. She added that she did not know of any surveys by regulatory agencies and that her office had two new, open investigations against the facility.

Brad Deen, a spokesman with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, said his agency "has informed the Pines that without rapid corrective action to correct the seemingly systemic safety and quality-of-care issues, the Pines will be terminated as a N.C. Medicaid provider." He added that his agency has relocated nearly all of its children and is not approving any new admissions to the facility. Plans are moving forward to have all of the state's kids removed from The Pines.

Whatever happens with The Pines, Heather Pinon said she thinks the damage the facility has done to her brother might be permanent. His depressive bent seems even more ingrained, she said.

"Now he talks about dying before he's 20," Pinon said. "He says he knows he's going to be dead by the time he's 20. He said, 'Nobody loves me. Nobody cares whether I live or die.' I don't know where that comes from. The person that came out of The Pines is a very lost, very confused boy."

"I'm not sure it's reversible," she added. "It's just -- they screwed him up."

After picking T. up from The Pines in early June, the family members arrived home in Hamlet after 8 p.m. Pinon and her brother stayed up late talking. The next morning, Pinon fixed T. a huge breakfast of eggs, sausage, bacon and biscuits. They shopped for clothes. They stopped at a Krispy Kreme. He had only one blowup. The next day, he started to beg for more time at home.

"It was everything," T. said.

But after 48 hours, North Carolina authorities had T. transferred to a residential treatment facility in Orlando, Fla.

"I really liked being home and I miss it," T. said in a recent phone interview. "I'm actually on suicide precautions because I've been missing my house. I cut myself the other day on my arm." T. said he had busted a hole in a wall, ripped out a screw and used it on himself.

"People were picking on me," he said by way of explanation. "It's better than The Pines, this place. They don't pick on me that much."

In the final memo from T.'s last month at The Pines, officials had concluded that he had "met maximum benefit at this facility."

Shahien Nasiripour contributed to this report.

This is the second in a series of stories on UHS facilities during Santorum's tenure on the hospital chain's board. Read Part 1: "Rick Santorum And Universal Health Services: Presidential Hopeful Serves On Board of Hospital Chain Being Sued By DOJ."

[HuffPost readers: If you've ever worked for UHS or have been a resident or patient at a UHS facility, we want to hear from you. Tell us your stories by emailing jason.cherkis@huffingtonpost.com. Please include your phone number if you're willing to do an interview.]


 

Rick Santorum Tells Don Lemon That He Has Some Gay Friends

Posted: 13 Jun 2011 03:00 PM PDT

Poor little old Rick Santorum just can't seem to get a break. What has the world come to when an anti-gay zealot like Ricky has to suffer such harsh attacks as he received from CNN's Don Lemon asking him if he actually has any gay friends? Or maybe not, but some right wing blogs that I refuse to link to thought that Don Lemon was terribly unfair to Santorum for having the nerve to make him answer questions about his bigotry towards gay people.

Keep in mind here that Don Lemon has come out as not only being gay, but being a victim of pedophilia as well, so I doubt that Lemon would be anyone that would be expected to have a warm spot for Santorum in his heart to put it mildly. Given that background, I'd say he took it pretty easy on Santorum for his attacks on the gay community and his willingness to demonize them for political gain.

Santorum once again proved that he should be considered the part of the clown show that is the GOP's list of potential candidates running for president in 2012 with this interview and good for Lemon for painting him as just another Stephen Colbert satire where he claims he has black friends as proof he's not a racist.

In the segment above, after citing a new CNN poll which shows that voters are less concerned about social issues and more concerned about the economy, CNN's Don Lemon notes that those poll results might be "very interesting" to a presidential candidate like Rick Santorum, who he points out "can be very divisive on social issues, like gay rights." That was putting it mildly and it was good to see someone like Santorum being put on the defensive for his stance on gay rights for once, even if it was tepid at best.

I'm no fan of Don Lemon given his typical stenography for all things right wing on CNN and for a lot of his coverage on that network being little more than tabloid "journalism", but I was glad to see him put Santorum on the defensive where he deserves to be during this segment.

Rough transcript below the fold.

LEMON: I was recently on Joy Behar and she said that, she called you, I think it was a bigot, I’m paraphrasing, bigoted or homophobic or what have you...

SANTORUM: I have a difference of agreement on a public policy issue. That doesn’t mean I'm, you know, I hate anybody. I don’t hate anybody. And I’m called by my faith to love everybody. I do. I mean, I pray for people whether they’re for me or against me because that’s what I’m supposed to do.

And just because I disagree with a, you know with what a definition, a legal definition of a marriage is doesn’t mean I dislike anybody or hate anybody or am spiteful of anybody or hate anybody or am spiteful of anybody because I think that’s what best for society. And we should be able to disagree without calling people bigots.

LEMON: Yeah.

SANTORUM: I think that’s really sad that you have people on the other side, because you stand up for something that has been an institution in this world for 2,000 years, that all of a sudden now, you’re a hater, you’re a mean person. I’m not. I’ve never been.

LEMON: Do you have any gay friends?

SANTORUM: Yeah. In fact I've had gay people work for me.

LEMON: Yeah. And friends.

SANTORUM: Yes!

LEMON: You know when people say I have black friends.

SANTORUM: I – well, I mean, yes, I have – in fact I was with a gay friend of mine just two days ago. I mean, so, yeah, I do. And they respect that I have differences of opinion on that. I talk about these things in front of them and we have conversations about it. They differ from me. But they know that I love them because they're my friends. And they know that I respect and we have respect for their (inaudible).

LEMON: You know that's the headline -- Rick Santorum has gay friends.

SANTORUM: It shouldn't be. It was well known that Rick Santorum had a leading gay Republican working for him for ten years. I don't know what, I don't know that the, what the shock value is here. I mean the fact of the matter is when for example, when there was a man, who was working as the Executive Director of the national Republican's Senatorial Committee, who was outed by one of the gay papers, the first person who came to his aid was me.

Because he was doing a great job. So I, I understand the narritive. It's always easy to sort of hang a narrative; oh, this guy's for, you know, standing up for traditional marriage, he must hate gay people.

No. I don't. I just disagree with what the issue of marriage should be.


Rick Santorum Caught Up In John Ensign Affair: Senate Ethics Report

Rick Santorum John Ensign
Excerpt from an Associated Press article on huffingtonpost.com on 5/14/2011

With the click of a forwarded email, Rick Santorum let Sen. John Ensign know that the cuckolded husband of Ensign's mistress was going public.

Santorum, formerly a Pennsylvania senator and now a presidential candidate touting family values, is only one of many political and spiritual figures drawn into the tale of Ensign's sexual misconduct, political dealings and personal ruin that led to the senator's resignation May 3 and a scathing Senate ethics committee report this week.

Many of those named in the report are only incidentally connected to the case. Others tried to help hush up Ensign's unpleasantness with cash, advice or both. The list is a long one. It includes Ensign's parents; Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and Tim Coe, Ensign's longtime spiritual advisor connected to the National Prayer Breakfast and the C Street townhouse where Ensign and other lawmakers lived while in Washington.

Ensign made his resignation effective on the day before he was to have testified under oath about his affair with the wife of a top aide, the aide's subsequent lobbying of Ensign's office and a $96,000 payment from Ensign's parents to the couple involved, Doug and Cindy Hampton.

The ethics committee said Thursday that Ensign broke federal laws, made false statements to the Federal Election Commission and obstructed the Senate panel's investigation. The committee sent the results of its investigation to the Justice Department for possible prosecution, saying it had assembled enough evidence to warrant expelling Ensign from the Senate if he hadn't resigned.

The report's brief reference to Santorum alleges no wrongdoing on the part of the Republican presidential aspirant.

The committee wrote that Doug Hampton, Ensign's former chief of staff and husband of his mistress, Cynthia, wrote a letter to Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly on June 11, 2009, in which he disclosed the affair and sought a meeting. On June 15, Hampton emailed the letter to Santorum and asked for help. Santorum forwarded Hampton's email to Ensign at a Gmail address that evening at about 10:20 p.m.

"Sen. Ensign immediately called an emergency staff meeting in the late evening ... that lasted until approximately 3:00 a.m. on June 16," the ethics committee reported. "During that staff meeting, Sen. Ensign disclosed the affair, and also disclosed that he had made a severance payment to the Hamptons."

In an interview Friday, Santorum adviser John Brabender said he had not spoken with Santorum since the committee report came out but had no reason to dispute it. Brabender said he did not know why Santorum forwarded Hampton's email to Ensign.

Santorum, then a contributor to Fox News, did not know Hampton at the time, but did know Ensign from the Senate, so "I can't imagine that he wouldn't forward" the email, Brabender said.

Santorum did not immediately return the AP's requests for comment.

Coburn tried to get Ensign to call off the affair with Cynthia Hampton, then later tried to broker a settlement between Ensign and the couple, according to the report.

Ensign eventually got Hampton a lobbying job with November Inc., a Nevada-based consulting company, after misleading the founders of the company on the reasons Hampton was leaving Ensign's office, the ethics committee said. Ensign's wife, Darlene, told the consulting company's co-founder, Mike Slanker, about the affair, according to the committee's report. Slanker then confronted Ensign, who offered a "very weak" apology while eating Wheat Thins, the report said. Slanker ended up hiring Hampton nonetheless.

Coe, Ensign's spiritual advisor, tried to get Ensign to call off the affair, including one incident in which he phoned Ensign from outside a hotel where the senator and his mistress were ensconced.

"I know exactly where you are. I know exactly what you are doing," Coe told Ensign, according to the report. "Put your pants on and go home."

At one point, Coe is reported to have expressed incredulity when Ensign said he had gotten Hampton a job as a lobbyist with November Inc.

"Well, that's insane," Coe says.

In August 2008, three months after he resigned from Ensign's staff, Doug Hampton accepted a job as a lobbyist at Allegiant Airlines and began trying to develop relationships between Allegiant and federal officials.

The following January and in violation of a law that forbids former Senate employees from lobbying current ones for a year, Hampton pressed Ensign's chief of staff, John Lopez, to set up a meeting between Allegiant and federal officials, including newly installed Secretary of Transportation Ray Lahood, the committee said. Lopez, still unaware of the affair, agreed. Ensign called LaHood on January 29 to request that he meet with Allegiant officials; LaHood agreed and the meeting took place on March 11.

The day after the LaHood meeting, Hampton and the Allegiant officials attended a welcome breakfast hosted by Ensign and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who also represents Nevada, in one of the Capitol's most elaborate parlors.

Lopez and Hampton corresponded numerous times on official business between February and May 2009 on legislation important to Allegiant. The issues included the Family and Medical Leave Act, travel restrictions to Cuba and carbon monoxide regulations, the report said.

"Sitting here today, it's painfully clear to me ... that we were being influenced to make a favorable outcome for Allegiant," Lopez, who was granted immunity, told the committee.

More Washington figures became entangled. The report details one incident in which "Ensign used his office and staff to intimidate and cajole constituents into hiring Mr. Hampton." When a Las Vegas developer declined to hire Hampton for government affairs work on the advice of Ensign supporter Sig Rogich, Ensign was furious. He told Lopez to phone Rogich "'and jack him up to high heaven and tell him that he is cut off from the office and never to contact (Senator Ensign) ever again,'" the report said.

"When the senator asked me to do that, I really felt like this is wrong," Lopez told the committee. "I remember really feeling like that was abusing the office, you know, cutting someone off from official action because he didn't hire (Hampton)."

In his farewell speech on May 3, Ensign reflected on the value of hiring the right staff and offered his colleagues – none of whom showed up to hear him – some advice.

Senators should surround themselves with people who will be honest with them, Ensign said, "and then make them promise not to hold back, no matter how you may try to prevent them from telling you the truth."

He also referenced the wide range of people drawn into his personal drama.

"I know that many of you were put in difficult situations because of me, and for that I sincerely apologize," he said.

"Rick Santorum is one of the great pulsars of our times: a collapsed gravity well of unblinking stare.  People innocently walking down the street, are drawn into his orbit, helplessly drawn in by how utterly dense he is.  They cannot escape the completely impenetrable mass of evil darkness surrounding his mind and become totally crushed & moronized by him."  By a Friend of Religious Freedom

 


Rick Santorum's Anal Sex Problem

Rick Santorum

Includes excerpts By an article by Stephanie Mencimer at Mother Jones.

See a related slideshow of Santorum illustration outtakes here, or watch related Santorum animations here and here.

Rick Santorum would very much like to be president. For the past few years, he has been diligently appearing at the sorts of conservative events—the Values Voters Summit, the Conservative Political Action Conference—where aspiring Republican candidates are expected to show up. But before he starts printing "Santorum 2012" bumper stickers, there's one issue the former GOP senator and his strategists need to address. You see, Santorum has what you might call a Google problem. For voters who decide to look him up online, one of the top three search results is usually the site SpreadingSantorum.com, which explains that Santorum's last name is a sexual neologism for "the frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex."

Santorum's problem got its start back in 2003, when the then-senator from Pennsylvania compared homosexuality to bestiality and pedophilia, saying the "definition of marriage" has never included "man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be." The ensuing controversy prompted syndicated sex columnist Dan Savage, who's gay, to start a contest, soliciting reader suggestions for slang terms to "memorialize the scandal." The winner came up with the "frothy mixture" idea, Savage launched a website, and a meme was born. Even though mainstream news outlets would never link to it, Savage's site rose in the Google rankings, thanks in part to bloggers who posted Santorum-related news on the site or linked to it from their blogs. Eventually it eclipsed Santorum's own campaign site in search results; some observers even suggested it may have contributed to Santorum's crushing 18-point defeat in his 2006 campaign against Bob Casey.

Savage says his site hasn't been updated for years, yet it remains entrenched in the Google rankings. Not even Santorum's ascent as a Fox News contributor or his early campaign swings through the key primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire have managed to bury it. With Google results like this, what's an aspiring presidential candidate to do?

I wanted to ask Santorum whether he had a strategy for scrubbing his Web presence, but he didn't return my calls. So instead, I asked a few experts. "This is an unusual problem," says Michael Fertik, CEO of ReputationDefender, which specializes in helping individuals maintain a positive Web presence. "It's devastating. This is one of the more creative and salient Google issues I've ever seen."

Fertik, who points out that he is not a supporter of the former senator, notes that more than anything, Santorum needs to act quickly. Once the campaign starts to make headlines again, an increase in search traffic will likely help maintain Savage's high spot in the rankings: "It's going to be very hard to move."

To at least make a dent, Santorum could try a concerted push to generate links to his domain on prominent sites and blogs, ginning its Google ranking; Mark Skidmore, an expert in search-engine marketing at the online strategy firm Blue State Digital, says Santorum should also consider buying paid search results for his name. He says the Obama campaign successfully used this strategy to help bury sites that claimed Obama was a Muslim or not an American citizen. But like Fertik, Skidmore thinks Santorum faces an uphill battle, in part because Savage's site has been up for so long—with more than 13,000 inbound links, compared with only 5,000 for Santorum's own site, America's Foundation. "He's staring at a very big deficit," Skidmore observes.

That deficit might grow even bigger soon. "I've sort of been in denial about the fact that Rick Santorum is going to run for president," Savage says. "But now I'm going to have to sic my flying monkeys on him"—in other words, mobilize bloggers to start posting and linking to his site again.

Savage has not forgiven Santorum for his seven-year-old comments: "Rick would have prevented me and my partner from being able to adopt my son," he points out. But Savage does have a deal for the politician. "If Rick Santorum wants to make a $5 million donation to [the gay marriage group] Freedom to Marry, I will take it down. Interest starts accruing now." Santorum may want to consider Savage's offer. Otherwise, he's kinda screwed.

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