In a decision that has many people I know heaving a giant sigh of relief the Supreme Court has ruled 6-3 that subsidies under the Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare are legal and what was intended in the legislation that created the ACA. If things had gone the way of the three dissenters — Scalia, Thomas and Alito — millions of people would have been unable to afford their insurance, costs would have skyrocketed and the ACA would have died by attrition, the long-time goal of the heartless Republicans in Congress who would willingly destroy the lives of millions of Americans just to prevent President Obama from accomplishing anything.
The decision is also a defeat for Ohio attorney general Mike DeWine who pandered to far-right extremists during his 2010 election campaign by saying his first act on his first day in office would be to file lawsuit to overturn Obamacare. He kept that promise, thinking more of his personal ideology than the good of Ohio’s citizens.
The problem is that he didn’t pay for this out of his own pocket. He paid for it out of ours. As with his fights against the right of LGBT people to marry, the right of women to access affordable contraception and the right of citizens to vote without undue obstacles, he has used our own money to attack us.
Regular readers of this blog know that I have called for DeWine’s resignation. As Ohio attorney general he has been a disaster. I don’t know if it’s possible for him to change course. I’m dubious. But he should take a serious look at using the tax dollars allocated to his office to do something useful for Ohioans rather than chasing quixotic anti-rights lawsuits all the way to the Supreme Court.
Leader of Racist Group That Inspired Charleston Shooter Funded GOP Candidates — Including Two OhioansSubmitted by Anastasia Pantsios on Wed, 06/24/2015 - 1:02pm.
After the tragic shootings in Charleston, South Carolina last week, it came out that the young punk who killed nine churchgoers in a Bible study group wrote that his “eyes were opened” to the validity of virulent racism by online postings at the website of the Council of Conservative Citizens.
The background and agenda of this group has never been secret. I recall when I first heard of it. It was during the Clinton impeachment hearings of the late ’90s when a Georgia congressman named Bob Barr had a prominent role in that misbegotten episode. Barr had close ties to the group but later on claimed he had no idea — none whatsoever! — that the group grew out of the White Citizens Council and existed to promote racist attitudes.
“A spokesman for Rep. Robert L. Barr Jr. (R-Ga.) acknowledged yesterday that Barr was a keynote speaker earlier this year at a meeting of the Council of Conservative Citizens, an organization promoting views that interracial marriage amounts to white genocide and that Abraham Lincoln was elected by socialists and communists,” write the Washington Post in December 1998.
But his spokesman also responded to criticism by saying he wasn’t going to take time out from his laser focus on the bogus attack on Clinton to “respond to groundless attacks.”
(An aside: it turned out that Barr, like Newt Gingrich, was cheating on his second wife with his soon-to-be third wife at the time he was going after Clinton).
The Washington Post cites a post on the Council of Conservative Citizens’ website site at the time that said,
So — they’re doing it again. With as much haste and secrecy as they can muster, our legislature is back to attacking women’s reproductive freedom.
The anti-woman crew in the Ohio legislature can muster up some crocodile tears and some pretty but deceptive words about “protecting life” and “saving the unborn” but don’t believe a word of it. THEY don’t believe it, as their attacks on contraception and their maternity care and their refusal to provide support for women and child has made clear. It’s nothing but contempt for women, especially lower income women, who stand to be impacted most by their pointless, unwarranted and in some cases flat-out cruel restrictions on abortion.
Many of their assaults have centered on placing picayune requirements on abortion clinics that bear no relationship to the quality and safety of the services they provide But this time, they’re going for the cruel and nasty.
In an email this morning from NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio’s Kellie Copeland, we learned that the state senate scheduled a surprise full floor vote today, Wednesday June 24 at 1:30 — just about now.
“The Ohio Senate is pushing retaliation legislation, following the removal of abortion restrictions from the budget and a court decision in Toledo that kept the Capital Care Network abortion clinic in operation. The bill sacrifices the health and reproductive rights of women at their most vulnerable moment: most women targeted by this bill are suffering from medical complications to a wanted pregnancy. They are facing losing a pregnancy due to severe birth defects, and Statehouse politicians are forcing their way into the operating room to handcuff the doctor. This vote is scheduled to go down in two hours. Call now.
Here’s where to find your senator’s phone number to give them hell:
Anyone still remember when Jeb! Bush was referred to as “the smart Bush,” a reference to his brother’s slightly goofy, bumbling aura. In contrast, and in contrast to the rest of the frothy-mouthed wingnut GOP presidential field this year, Jeb!, (or Jeb!ya — the exclamation mark comes courtesy of his own campaign), was supposed to be the sane, level-headed, competent candidate in the field, the one who had the aura of a confident, clear-thinking leader.
Many people, me included, are now wondering if Dubya was really “the smart one,” and his younger brother is the bumbling doofus. So far in his campaign, he appears to be.
Start with his bungled campaign rollout. With eight or nine candidates already off and running, Jeb! was playing it coy and not exactly running, but in fact really running, as he slipped and told one audience last month. In fact, his campaign was being coordinated by a superPAC which can raise money in larger quantities than an actual declared candidate, but cannot actually run a campaign. Let’s just say Jeb! was getting dangerously close to breaking campaign finance law, and he finally had to give up the fiction that he was not officially running and announce his candidacy.
Then of course, he was famously asked about his brother’s biggest liability — the Iraq war, which now finds little favor in any political circle. He was asked, “Knowing what we know now, would you have gone to war in Iraq?” Well, knowing what we know now, it’s hard to imagine anyone would except maybe Dick Cheney.
Sure, said Jeb!. Then, I didn’t heard the question properly, said Jeb!. Then, maybe I…I …I dunno, said Jeb!.
Conservative Catholics, including some very vocal conservative Catholic Republican politicians, like to present themselves as exemplars of consistent morality and unchanging, absolute values.
Back in 2004, when then-Cardinal Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict) was encouraging U.S. bishops to try to sway the presidential election by making public statements about how they would deny communion to pro-choice candidates (virtually all Democrats), these conservatives made it clear you could not pick and choose which dictates from the Vatican you adhered to. You were a heretic if you rejected any of the churches dictates, never mind that virtually every Catholic today is a pick-and-choose “Cafeteria Catholic.”
As these conservatives have now exposed themselves to be.
Pope Francis has proved to be a huge disappointment to them. He simply doesn’t blindly endorse the entire Republican Party platform. Bummer.
And he has, to their chagrin, been a leading voice in the call to address climate change and the despoiling of the environment. Worse, in doing so, he has attacked greed, overconsumption and what he has called a “throwaway” culture.
To a party whose mantra is so-called “free market” capitalism and whose slogan could be “greed is good,” this is inconvenient indeed.
The unpleasantly judgmental martinet Rich Santorum, in his second run for the presidency, was the first to basically tell the Pope to shut up and mind his own business.
"The church has gotten it wrong a few times on science,” he said. “We probably are better off leaving science to the scientists, and focusing on what we’re really good at, which is theology and morality.”
Yes, Ricky, leave the science to the scientists, virtually all of whom say the Republican stance on climate change is wrong. But that's a REALLY inconvenient truth for your friends the Koch Brothers, who built their fortune on fossil fuels.
What? You thought they were going to stop pushing their pathological contempt for women in sneak attacks they hope the public won’t notice? Nope.
Just as they inserted a whole bunch of anti-choice garbage into the last budget bill while our dishonest, cowardly governor signed into law late on a Sunday evening and refused to talk about it, they’re doing it again.
They continue their attacks on abortion by hamstringing clinics with so many onerous, expensive and totally unnecessary regulations that they’re forced to close. And then, for lower income women, safer, legal abortion is for all practical purposes outlawed.
In the last budget they required clinics to have a transfer agreement with a non-public hospital. In areas where the only options are a public hospital or, increasingly a Catholic hospital as that system expands its reach. That severely limited the choices. Now they have added language that the hospital would have to be within 30 miles of the clinic, yet another petty rule that has no basis in need or safety. This would close the only remaining clinic in Toledo which was forced to go out of state for a transfer agreement, with the University of Michigan health system in Ann Arbor, itself a sad commentary on the backwardness of Ohio and the malignance of its legislature and governor.
If anyone still thinks the New York Times is the “liberal media,” they should read the credulous hooey served up in the paper today by a reporter who followed Taxin’ John Kasich on the campaign trail to Michigan.
Kasich, of course, is running for president — God help us — even though he’s being all coy about it right now. And the media is trying to pretend he’s a candidate who can go all the way, willingly swallowing the spin Kasich partisans are putting him and adding a little of their own.
First of all, there’s this idea that Kasich is a “rebel” with “unorthodox views.” No, he’s a doctrinaire extreme conservative who said during his first campaign for governor that he wanted to use Ohio as a test lab for conservative ideology. And while he hasn’t gone as far as Kansas’ Sam Brownback or Wisconsin’s Scott Walker, he’s done a lot of damage. And what exactly is so rebellious about serving the interests of the wealthy over those of ordinary citizens? Republicans do it all the time. Sure, they hold out a handful of positions Kasich has taken that aren’t popular with the radical Tea Party base, like expanding Medicaid or not being QUITE as extreme on immigration. So he’s a “rebel” for occasionally showing common sense?
What is saddest is that the reporter dutifully records the credentials Kasich claims for himself without ever asking or indicating if they are true or not — more “he said” journalism where the reporter can copy down the most egregious lies and let them stand because, well, somebody said them.
The Republican Party has an interesting dilemma. Large swaths of voters — younger voters, black voters, Hispanic voters, single women voters — won’t give them the time of day. And yet, on the surface, the GOP does a better job of recruiting candidates from such diverse demographics than the Democrats are currently doing.
The operative phrase is “on the surface.” Looking at the GOP presidential field, we see a token woman and African-American. But as usual, these candidates are fringey and underqualified, seemingly recruited mainly to put a diverse face on the field when lined up on a debate stage. There are two declared Hispanic candidates but both Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are of Cuban descent, a group that represents only 3.5 percent of all the Hispanics in the U.S.
On the youthful end, they smoke the Democrats, especially with the elderly Bernie Sanders in the field. He’ll be 75 when November 2016 rolls around. Hillary is 67 and will be 69 then. And in Ohio, the national Democratic establishment has already anointed 73-year-old Ted Strickland as its endorsed U.S. Senate candidate, in a seeming attempt to push 30-year-old P.G. Sittenfeld out of the race.
But of the six already declared GOP presidential candidates, Rubio and Cruz, are in their 40s; Rand Paul is just past 50. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, widely considered by Very Serious People to be a frontrunner, is also still in his 40s.
So why do younger voters flee from the GOP? Um … maybe it’s their positions on issues and their attitudes, which diverge from those of most younger voters.
For instance, take 26-year-old Joseph Gergley, who topped a five-candidate primary field in what was technically a nonpartisan race for governor of Gahanna, a town of 33,000 just outside Columbus. He’ll be in a runoff with city council president Tom Kneeland in November, who will hopefully smoke his ass but you can never be sure. Gahanna is very high income and very white.
Marriage equality is winning. That’s the long and short of it. Whether or not the Supreme Court decision in the case of Obergefell vs Hodges, due this month, ends up legalizing it across the country, it is coming and no, Ted Cruz is not going to be successful in getting that constitutional amendment banning it that he wants so badly for some reason. (Pandering? Ted? Nah!)
This, of course, has totally unglued the usual self-appointed guardians of what they like to think of as “Christian” values. And you know when that list is made, second-time presidential candidate Rick Santorum will be somewhere near the top. When it comes to being an unpleasantly narrow-minded judge of other people’s morality, he can always be counted on.
On a conference call last week, Santorum told undoubtedly enthralled admirers, “If the Court rules on that, that is in fact that law of the land, but just like on a lot of other things that I don’t agree with the Court on what they do, that doesn’t mean we won’t fight and try to push back both as the Congress should and as the president should as a co-equal branch of the government. We would certainly make sure that we are protecting children and that we are creating an optimal atmosphere for every child, as I said, that have their birthright, which is to be raised by their mother and father.”
Listen here if you can stomach it:
Meanwhile, crazy chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court Roy Moore — he of the Constitution-violating Ten Commandments display — said of the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision, “They’re toying with something that’s like dynamite and will destroy our country. What the Supreme Court is about to do, if they do it, is not redefine marriage but destroy the institution of marriage.”
We’ve heard a lot of gushing media hype about Florida Senator Marco Rubio’s presidential bid — how he’s youthful, fresh, has a compelling rag-to-riches back story and is sure to appeal to Hispanic voters (never mind that he’s Cuban and most Hispanic voters are Mexican-American — which is not the same thing, believe it or not).
Of course, those who have seen and heard him known he’s a trainwreck like all the other GOP candidates — awkward, confusing and prone to switching positions, sometimes in the same sentence, to try to appeal to all factions of the weird coalition that is today’s GOP while not saying anything too damaging for a general election.
Last month, he had an anchor thrown to his campaign. He was endorsed by none other than Ohio’s not-so-beloved state treasurer Josh “The Empty Suit” Mandel. There could not be a clearer message that Rubio must be a pretty terrible presidential candidate. In fact, these two callow, clumsy officeholders sort of seem like two peas in a pod.
But this endorsement could be causing some, um, trouble for Mandel. As the media gets all excited about the possibility of Taxin’ John Kasich announcing his own presidential bid — hey, they haven’t lived with him for six and a half year and watched him wreck Ohio — Mandel’s Rubio endorsement is apparently striking some Ohio Republican leaders as straying off the reservation.
ORP chair Matt Borges didn’t just condemn the endorsement, the Plain Dealer reported. He also put down Mandel.
"The smart political move would be to wait and see if [Kasich] decides to get in," said Borges said. "I don't think that not having the support of a bit player is going to impact that decision one way or the other."
“Bit player,” eh? The guy they thought could take out Sherrod Brown in 2012? LOL.
The Washington Post this weekend added some unwelcome attention to that already received by Ohio’s failed, wasteful charter school system.
The widely read education column by Valerie Strauss was headlined “Troubled Ohio Charter Schools Have Become a Joke — Literally.”
Alas, this isn’t an especially funny joke, given how it is costing tens of thousands of kids their educations and their futures and costing Ohio taxpayers ultimately billions of dollars flushed down the toilet, or into the pockets of vulture operators of these schools like David Brennan (White Hat schools) and William Lager (ECOT schools). Pretty much the same thing if you ask me.
Strauss recounts this passage from a Plain Dealer story in March:
“Ohio, the charter school world is making fun of you.
Ohio’s $1 billion charter school system was the butt of jokes at a conference for reporters on school choice in Denver late last week, as well as the target of sharp criticism of charter school failures across the state.”
That these schools are still being promoted in Ohio as the answer to ANY educational issue is a flat-out sin, particularly since it seems like virtually every week we’re reading another story about the mismanagement of yet another Ohio charter school and the disappearance of funds which nobody seems to know anything abut about. Those are OUR funds — and they were taken away from children in traditional public schools, which are overwhelmingly doing a better job of educating their students.
There are ten announced Republican candidates for president. Six more announcements are expected within the next few weeks.
And yet, they’re hurting for an actual qualified candidate, and one whose record and pronouncements don’t terrify sane voters. And the media is hurting for someone — anyone! — they can depict as appealing to voters and with the potential to be competitive with likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
One of the people they’ve been circling is Taxin’ John Kasich. And he can seem like an attractive candidate — until you know something about him. And since his national name recognition is in the single digits, for him to have a shot, voters need to find out something about him — unfortunately for him.
And some reporters and pundits are starting to notice that he’s not all that pleasant a guy. NBC’s Perry Bacon Jr is the latest.
“He could be a top contender for the GOP nomination,” writes Bacon. “But first, he might want to get people to stop calling him a jerk.”
That’s tough if you ARE a jerk.
“Republicans both privately and publicly say that Kasich's style is grating, and they are skeptical of whether it can be effective in a long presidential campaign,” says Bacon. “In private settings and sometimes even in public ones, Kasich is known to be brusque, confrontational and dismissive of others' views, even fellow conservatives.”
Well, yes. Virtually any Ohioan who has had to deal with our arrogant, self-absorbed, self-righteous governor has mentioned that.
Bacon quotes conservative journalist Fred Barnes as saying Kasich could be the party’s nominee if he stops being a jerk. That’s like saying “if he stops being a male” or “if he stops being five-foot-ten” (or however tall he is). It’s baked in. It’s who he is.
Something I always find fascinating is the concept of donor and “taker” states when it comes to who gets more (or less) back of the tax dollars they send to the federal government. Figures have been kicking around for years showing that Republican states are the ones most likely to be sponging off federal the government
Now we have some additional figures that confirm it: the conservative states that squawk the most about government dependency, cutting federal spending and shrinking the role of government (and often about seceding from the U.S.) are MAJOR “takers” — in words they’d recognize, lazy welfare leeches.
The site WalletHub ranked states by how much they depended on federal money to shore up their state budgets and it was Republican-leaning states who collected the most welfare. The site calculated how much each state got back per dollar it pays in federal income taxes, the percent of state spending that comes from the federal government and the number of federal employees per capita.
The MOST dependent state is actually a swing state: New Mexico. It gets $2.19 back for every dollar it pays in federal income taxes. Mississippi is #2, Kentucky is #3, Alabama is #4 Montana is #5, West Virginia is #6, Arizona is #7, Louisiana is #8, South Dakota is #9 and Maine is #41.
Except for Maine, those would all be considered safely Republican states.
The least dependent on federal dollars? New Jersey is #1, Delaware is #2, Illinois is #3, Minnesota is #4, Kansas is #5, California is #6, Connecticut is #7, Massachusetts is #8, Nebraska is #9, and Ohio is #10, Except for the Republican states of Kansas and Nebraska and the swing state of Ohio, it’s a parade of Democratic strongholds.
Anyone who knows me knows I have been less than enthusiastic about Hillary Clinton’s candidacy. But I sure did a double take when she launched her campaign with a full-on attack on Citizens United and the way money has polluted elections. And she has kept up the attack. The corruption of elections in my #1 issue because, in my opinion, it’s the gateway to everything else.
“We need a Supreme Court who cares more about the right to vote of a person than the right to buy an election of a corporation," she has said, and most Americans of every ideological stripe agrees with her.
Now she’s followed that up with still more good stuff. She went right to the heart of the beast — aka Texas — last Thursday, where she spoke at the historically black Texas Sothern University about the right to vote — a right Republicans have made it all too clear they don’t want “those people” to have.
She came out in favor a couple of ideas that give Republicans the vapors but where they’ve been tried, they’ve helped increase voter turnout: automatic registration of all 18-year-olds unless they specifically opt out and a guaranteed minimum of 20 days of early voting including evening and weekend hours. Ohioans will remember how hard our attorney general Mike DeWine fought against the latter!
Of course, increased turnout is the LAST thing Republicans want. As most of us well know, one of the big advantages Republicans have in off-year elections is that Democrats, while more numerous, don’t show up at the polls. That has given the country a cadre of the most awful, rich-favoring, anti-average person governors we’ve seen in ages, with Taxin’ John Kasich at the head of the list (a crowded head, I might add).
That’s why Republicans have to convince Americans that these ideas to make voting easier are very VERY radical.
The Columbus Dispatch has been sold by the Wolfe family after a century of single-family ownership that was famously right-wing and Republican. It was purchased by a large national company, the New Media Investment Group, that owns more than 100 dailies cost-to-coast.
Anyone who has followed their adulatory and reality-challenged coverage of Taxin' John Kasich knows why many of us have dubbed the paper the "Disgrace." You'd have to look long and hard to find it putting Kasich's feet to the fire about his lavish promises and claims that don't line up with reality. Giant front-page headlines about swollen state budgets? Only if a Democrat did it.
How low could this paper sink? It endorsed josh Mandel for treasurer — twice.
(To its credit, it could not bring itself to endorse Mandel for the U.S. Senate in 2012).
What is this likely to mean? Chances are, with such a large portfolio, the company will favor less biased political coverage, since they don't have a long historical loyalty to the Ohio Republican Party like the Wolfe family did, and probably less — and less informed and — local political coverage in general.
I wouldn't be surprised if the new owners go for lighter, more "digestible" coverage of cultural, celebrity and sports-related "news" — lots of so-called clickbait with a focus on a splashy web presence. It's the way media is going. And it's too bad, but it is what it is.
Still, this sale is definitely a loss for Ohio Republicans. They have lost their most faithful lapdog in the state.
GOP Congressmen Demand the Pope Stay Out of Politics When He Doesn't Agree With the Republican PlatformSubmitted by Anastasia Pantsios on Tue, 05/26/2015 - 11:13pm.
Anyone remember back in 2004 when there was an outbreak of right-wing Catholic bishops declaring that the church should deny communion to any politician or candidate who supported the right of women to have an abortion even if they were not Catholic?
A lot of the attention centered on the pro-choice and Catholic John Kerry. Some church leaders went as far as to say that voters should ONLY consider two issues when choosing to vote for a candidate: abortion and gay marriage. (Funny how those go hand in hand).
All the rest — living wages, worker rights, hunger, homelessness, war and peace — was just small stuff, irrelevant. In many churches, priests echoed this sentiment from the pulpit telling parishioners that nothing matters but abortion and gays, gays and abortion. I know people who were so offended they walked out of church.
That year Cardinal Ratzinger, one of Pope John Paul II’s most powerful henchmen, and soon to be Pope himself, wrote to the U.S. bishops about this, trying to put his thumb on the scale of the American presidential election all the way from the Vatican. It was a pretty dramatic example of a church meddling inappropriately in politics, and Republicans cheered it — loudly. In fact, non-Catholic evangelical groups targeted Catholic churches to pass out flyers urging them to think only about abortion and gays.
Ratzinger, of course, became Pope Benedict the following year and reigned until his 2013 resignation. Surprisingly, his successor Pope Francis has taken a very different take. He is preaching some ideas that don’t line up with the Republican party platform. He’s talking about things like income inequality, the corruption of greed, climate change and care for the earth.
You’ve probably been reading about the dark secret that has come tumbling out in the last few days about the scary, sanctimonious Duggar family, they of the 19 children and the reality TV grift.
It’s an ugly story, made even uglier by the family’s refusal to take the personal responsibility those on the right are always preaching for those unlike themselves. They acted like their young teen son Josh groping his kid sisters — one only four years old — was no big deal. He just made a “mistake” and got a talking-to and it’s all OK because God forgives him. Funny how these types declare themselves absolved of sin but continue to point fingers at those who don’t share their religious proclivities.
There are so many pathologies here it’s hard to sort through them, starting with this family’s warped attitude toward sex and its belittling of women as people of no importance except to serve men.
And you know who owns that whole ugly package? Ohio Republicans, that’s who. In particular former state rep. Lynn Wachtmann and current state rep. Christina Hagan.
Back in 2013, these two co-sponsored a version of the so-called “Heartbeat Bill,” which has reared its nasty head so often I’m losing count. And at their splashy press conference announcing the bill, they had as their special guests — the Duggar family.
The clear message they were sending is that all their anti-abortion crap was never about protecting the dear little precious “unborn.” It’s about putting women in their place — the same place as Michelle Duggar with her 19 kids. It’s about turning them into baby factories or diminishing their agency so that they are powerless to the point of being dismissed as collateral damage to the family’s need to protect their golden son and their pious face they maintained for the public for money.
Following Taxin’ Josh Kasich’s delusions presidential campaign (heck yes, he is running) is just too much fun.
Yesterday he was on ABC News’ This Week, interviewed by host Jon Karl. You can read the transcript here or even watch if you have the stomach for it.
Is he running? You bet he is, unless he's stopped!
"We're getting closer [to announcing]," he told Karl. "We have metrics set internally. I am very pleased with what we have seen over the course of the last month. Within a period of time, I will make a decision and if we meet our metrics, I'm going to move forward. I have to tell you that I'm increasingly optimistic about all of this."
Apparently, he’s been having more conversations with God, or maybe with the Koch brothers, same thing to a Republican.
Meanwhile the interview with Karl gave Kasich a chance to do what he does best: exude pretty words unbacked by any real action and put his foot in his mouth with his blockheaded insensitivity.
For instance, he took credit for the fact that there was no violence in Cleveland previous day after the verdict of “not guilty” came down against the cop who had fired multiple shots at an unarmed black couple. That’s because he’s “very very sensitive” to the issues around black mistrust of police and because he created a task force on the issue a few months ago.
Stop laughing now.
“When there are large numbers of people who do not think the system works for them and in some ways works against them we have to respond to it,” said Taxin’ John. “And so in Cleveland across the state of Ohio we've been very aggressive in terms of saying we hear you, we understand it, there are going to be a series of additional recommendations that's going to respond to the fact that community understands police and police needs to understand community.”
Anyone who’s been following the GOP presidential nomination race knows that the clown car is filling up so fast they’re going to have to call in the clown bus soon.
There are six officially declared candidates: Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina, Ben Carson and Mike Huckabee. There are candidates who are definitely running but are being coy or are trying to skirt campaign finance rules: Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Chris Christie and our own dearly not-beloved governor, Taxin’ John Kasich. Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry and Donald Trump (!!!) are making noises about running and there are probably another 6-8 eying the wide-open race wistfully.
There are so many candidates that there has been handwringing on the GOP side about how they’re going to conduct primary debates without having candidates give one word answers to questions. Now it appears that party officials, along with debate hosts Fox “News” and Facebook, are coming up with some guidelines for the first debate in August — in Cleveland (good lord, how did we get so lucky?!)
Only announced candidates can participate in the debate taking place at Quicken Loans Arena, which makes sense, although it might crimp Jeb Bush’s style, as he remains unannounced so his unlimited money PAC can run his shadow campaign (why we should laugh at the pseudo-scandal of donations to the Clinton Foundation — Jebya is REALLY skirting ethics here).
The debate will be limited to ten candidates. If there are not ten announced candidates — or if there are more than ten — the other slots will be filled by the candidates who place in the top ten as determined by an average of the five most recent national polls recognized by Fox “News.”
It just isn’t hard to find examples of Taxin’ John Kasich exhaling warm ‘n’ fuzzy words, intended to sound like he’s caring and compassionate, but they’re completely at odds with his actions and policy proposals. In fact, I’ll bet we could find a new one every day.
Here’s yet another case in point: infant mortality.
It’s hard to take a stand in favor of high infant mortality rates such as those found in certain poor areas of Ohio. A study about two years ago found that in some Cleveland neighborhoods, infant mortality rates exceeded those of third-world countries like Rwanda and Haiti. That ought to be something politicians at every point on the ideological spectrum agree needs to be addressed.
And Kasich did.
"Ohio has one of the worst infant mortality rates in the nation and that is simply unacceptable," Kasich said late last year. "Initiatives like today's summit and our efforts to reduce drug addiction are good first steps, but we must work together to focus support and resources to those mothers and babies most at-risk."
Yes, pretty words. But what is Kasich doing?
According to Lisa Wurm of the ACLU of Ohio in an editorial in the Cincinnati Enquirer, not a lot. She pointed out that while Kasich pushed to expand Medicaid — including medical care for pregnant women — in 2013, his current budget, now under consideration in the legislature, cuts it.
“Ohio House Bill 64 would decrease the amount of money a family can make and still enroll in Medicaid,” she writes. “For example, income for a family of three would now be capped at $27,724 a year. Pregnant women, one of the groups who stand to benefit most by having access to regular medical care, are put at serious risk by this plan.”
PrideSource, a Michigan LGBT publication, has the good (?) news for LGBT people following the 2016 Republican presidential campaign. Taxin’ John Kasich hates you less than the other candidates, or at least he pretends to. Admittedly, that’s not a very high bar to clear, with virulent homophobes like Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Ben Carson in the field.
But Ohioans will recognize his remarks as classic Kasich: be as vague as possible and try to sound all warm and fuzzy with words of pseudo-compassion that have nothing to do with your actual record.
According to PrideSource, speaking to an audience in L.A., “Republican John Kasich, who is pondering a 2016 presidential run [he’s done pondering; he’s running until forced to stop], said Friday he's a man of faith who is reading a book on prayer but doesn't plan to dwell on social issues in a potential White House campaign.”
We in Ohio know what this means: it means he wants to avoid scrutiny by saying a lot of nothing, something he’s expert at, and hiding behind his sanctimonious religiosity. Unions? Never heard of them until …. Oh lookie, here’s SB 5. Women’s rights? Not thinking about that — until he signs them away in the dead of a Sunday evening. When Kasich says that he’s not thinking about something right now — look out!
The publication continued, “Kasich responded that ‘faith has always been an underpinning of our country,’ but he planned to stress the need for economic growth and values shared widely by Americans, such as personal responsibility, teamwork and the importance of family.”
Virtually all the Catholics I know have been really thrilled with the Pope Francis, who was elected in March 2013 when the widely despised rightwing Pope Benedict XIV suddenly and mysterious retired. They have appreciated that he has shifted the church’s focus from an obsession with sex, fulminating against gay marriage, abortion and contraception and attempting to meddle in U.S. elections, to a broader vision that involves care of humanity and care of the planet.
It seems some sex-obsessed bishops and archbishops have not gotten the message — and that includes Cleveland Bishop Richard Lennon, himself not too popular with the flock.
Some of you may have seen stories of the increasing numbers of hysterical bishops, desperate to maintain control over the flock’s genitals, who have been requiring teachers in their schools — who very often these days aren’t Catholic since the church has driven all the nuns away — to sign “morality” pledges promising never, ever to speak out on any of the church’s hot button issues or to do or say anything that might indicate a position that might now align with the church’s. Your son is gay? Too bad. Anything you say or do to support his relationship is forbidden.
Such clauses have already cropped up in Cincinnati and Columbus. In Cincinnati, a teacher quit at the prospective of being told she could not publicly support her gay son.
In Columbus a lesbian teacher was fired after her partner’s name appeared in an obituary for her mother. The diocese reached a settlement with her.
Are you fed up with a bunch of rightwing, mostly male lawmakers in our state capital, spouting about freedom and less government out of one side of their mouth and appointing themselves the doctors of Ohio's women out of the other?
It seems "getting the government off our backs" doesn't apply to the most life-changing choice a woman can make: whether and when to have children. This gang of clowns in our statehouse has been relentlessly trying to strip women of any agency and control in their lives, condemning lower-income women — those predominantly affected by their cruel, invasive laws — and their children to lives of increased poverty. And if you read my earlier post you know poverty among Ohio children has dramatically increased already, to a quarter of Ohio's kids. And with the lack of social and economic mobility in the U.S. many of those kids are consigned to lifetimes of poverty.
If you are angry and want to let our state legislators known how you feel, pro-choice groups have organized Freedom of Choice Advocacy Day this Wednesday April 22 in Columbus.
"Freedom of Choice Ohio will hold our annual Advocacy Day on April 22. This year, Ohio women and men will gather at the Ohio Statehouse to learn more about the significant, multiple threats to reproductive health care. Armed with information and training, participants will engage their legislators to show that their constituents do not support abortion bans or attacks on funding."
The day starts at 9:30am with registration and a light breakfast, followed by a keynote speaker and a short training session so you know the proper way to approach the staff in the legislator's office (who you will probably be talking to). They will assign groups the offices to visit; they have made the appointments for you so you don't have to worry about a thing. You will also get lunch.
If this sounds good to you, here's where you go to register:
"Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich Is Waiting For God To Tell Him To Run For President"
Anyone who thinks God will deliver this message is delusional and unfit to be President. Ahem, Sarah Palin.
The pompous, sanctimonious governor put piety on ostentatious display on Meet the Press, saying, "My family is a consideration, and number two, the most important thing is, what does the Lord want me to do with my life? You know, he puts us on Earth, all of us on Earth, to achieve certain purposes, and I’m trying to determine if this is what the Lord wants, and I’m not going to figure that out laying in bed hoping lightning strikes, so I’m out there one foot in front of another. We’ll see what happens.”
Really, Taxin' John? Did the Lord also tell you to attack working people and take away their rights? Did He also tell you that you needed to give more money back to the rich and pass the bill on to ordinary people scraping to get by? Did you tell you to turn your back on the needs of children and the elderly in order to reward your rich campaign donors?
Isn't it funny how all of that contradicts the message he sent through Jesus Christ, who you as a "Christian" supposedly consider the Son of God? It must have been a while since you read the Gospels. And yet you are so full of yourself, you think you have some special purpose the Lord will determine.
Here's something: why don't you actually READ the Gospels and the things Jesus preached, and if you actually believe, use those as a guideline to your "purpose" instead of exhaling these high-flown words? Unfortunately, you would probably have to change your whole way of thinking, what you said during the 2010 campaign about making Ohio a "test lab for conservative ideology." And that ideology is at odds with the Gospels.
Matt Bird, a policy and program assistant at the enter for Community Solutions, writes on the Policy Matters Ohio blog:
"The Center for Community Solutions has released a new series of county profiles that show an increase in poverty, food pantry use and Medicaid enrollment despite a strengthening economy."
Bad news from CCS here:
Yes, he says, the number of jobs has been slowly increasing throughout Ohio (though it's been lagging job growth nationwide for several years), although seven counties — Clinton, Cuyahoga, Hamilton, Lucas, Montgomery, Summit, and Trumbull — have employment levels more than 10,000 below their 2007 levels.
But here's your problem, says Bird:
"Of the top five employment sectors by number of employees, two — retail trade and accommodation and food services — have average annual pay of less than $30,000 per year. The other largest sectors — health care and social assistance, manufacturing, and educational services — all have average annual pay of greater than $40,000."
And we all know which job categories have been growing the fastest. By 2013, median household income had dropped nearly 12 percent in a decade and 15.8 percent of Ohians — including many working Ohioans — were living in poverty. That included more than a quarter of children under five, meaning a more impoverished future for them.
Bird wrote that SNAP recipients had increased 59 percent since 2006 but still weren't meeting the need, stressing out food pantries.
The one bright spot: Medicaid extension meant 470,000 more Ohioans enrolled and covered. So now, almost a quarter of the Ohio's population is enrolled in Medicaid. That's good but it's also an indication of how poor the state is becoming.