Is John Kasich a “Manchurian Candidate”?

Kasich turns down federal disaster aid

Is Republican Governor Kasich actually a Democratic “Manchurian Candidate“?

Kasich turns down federal disaster aid

Ohio Gov. John Kasich said thanks but no thanks to immediate federal disaster relief Saturday, even as governors in Indiana and Kentucky welcomed the help.

Kasich did not rule out asking for assistance later, but his decision means tornado-ravaged towns in Ohio will not get federal aid now and are not eligible at this time for potentially millions of dollars in payments and loans.

The governor said Ohio can respond to the crisis without federal help and he would not ask federal authorities to declare the region a disaster area.

“I believe that we can handle this,” Kasich said while visiting a shelter for storm victims at New Richmond High School. “We’ll have down here all the assets of the state.”

“We’ll have down here all the assets of the state.” Just what “assets” would those be, Governor? Ohio is so short of “assets” that it can’t fund basic services, how is it going to fund disaster relief?

The Manchurian Candidate thing I mentioned:

So who is going to get blamed for failures in the disaster relief efforts? The President and FEMA or the one (a Republican governor) who refused federal assistance? One could argue that making the Republican mantra of states controlling their own internal matters more important than humanitarian aid at a time of crisis, just might cause more independent voters to turn away from Republican candidates in the 2012 elections.

Santorum: I Don’t Believe In Separation Of Church And State

Everyday Mr Santorum opens his mouth and shows us all, yet once again, his desire for a theocracy in America

Santorum: I Don’t Believe In Absolute Separation Of Church And State

Rick Santorum on Sunday took on separation of church and state.

“I don’t believe in an America where the separation of church and state are absolute,” he told ‘This Week’ host George Stephanopoulos. “The idea that the church can have no influence or no involvement in the operation of the state is absolutely antithetical to the objectives and vision of our country…to say that people of faith have no role in the public square? You bet that makes me want to throw up.”

The GOP candidate was responding to comments he made last October. He had said that he “almost threw up” after reading JFK’s 1960 speech in which he declared his commitment to the separation of church and state.

Santorum also on Sunday told Meet The Press host David Gregory that separation of church and state was “not the founders’ vision.”

The GOP candidate has been doubling down on religious rhetoric in an effort to court evangelical voters ahead of Super Tuesday. Last week, he questioned Obama’s spiritual beliefs.

“[Obama believes in] some phony ideal, some phony theology … not a theology based on the Bible, a different theology,” he said.

We also have evidence of some of his other ‘thoughts’ in various speeches he has made and in the book that was published in 2005, It Takes a Family. Rick’s beliefs about a woman’s place in society are outlined in an op-ed piece on CNN.com, titled Santorum’s stone-age view of women and then there was the speech at Florida’s own Ave Maria College in 2008 in which Santorum said “Protestants Are ‘Gone From The World Of Christianity’”

Yet once again, a True Believer(tm) lays down the “No True Scotsman” argument. Simply another fine example of the mindset found in the modern conservative (‘conservative’, as defined by the modern American right – not the classic definition). The more they ‘know’, the less likely they are to accept new knowledge.

Chris Mooney writing at Alternet, pointed out the problem we face as rational beings with those who ‘know’ they are correct – also right in the political sense of ‘right’

Indeed, the rapidly growing social scientific literature on the resistance to global warming (see for examples here and here) says so pretty unequivocally. Again and again, Republicans or conservatives who say they know more about the topic, or are more educated, are shown to be more in denial, and often more sure of themselves as well—and are confident they don’t need any more information on the issue.

Although he was writing about the denial of the science that supports the theory of mankind being behind climate change, the studies referenced also reveal the seemingly innate tendency of the conservative mind to reject facts which don’t fit the ‘reality’ it has created.  So we have individuals with university degrees denying the science behind global warming, asserting that evolution is some kind of atheist plot and creating their own history of America.

Way back in the “good ol’ days”, some clueless, God-hater wrote the following:

Religion & Govt. will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together.
James Madison (1822)
I wonder what Santorum would say to that guy.

GOP Debate Audience boos Birth Control Question

Debate Audience Boos Birth Control

Mitt Romney’s not ready to give up his status as frontrunner just yet. Romney denied that his health-care plan ever mandated contraception in a feisty exchange with Rick Santorum. Earlier, moderator John King raised the question of birth control—eliciting boos from the audience. Meanwhile, the candidates were frothing at the mouth. Newt Gingrich immediately lashed out at King, demanding why moderators never asked President Obama about his vote as an Illinois senator for “infanticide.” He then called Obama a baby killer and said he was more of an extremist than any of the GOP candidates. Romney chimed in to say there’s never been an administration in America more opposed to religious freedom. Santorum argued that teen sexuality should be a reason why contraception shouldn’t be free, and then shifted his focus to defunding Planned Parenthood and fractured families.

Seriously Newt – “infanticide”? Oooh, I know where he got that one. The question was about “birth control” – Don’t these clowns know that making contraception more readily available will result in less “infanticide” or as most rational folks say – abortions. Of course they know the facts but they are playing to the 27 percenters, otherwise known as the Republican “base”.

None of the candidates actually bothered to try and answer John King’s question and in fact used it as a basis for attacking the media (cheers from audience) and to kick off rants about “religious freedom” and the decline in moral values that they see as the reason for discontent in America.

Romney and the rest continue to rage on and on about Obama’s suppression of religious freedom. Doesn’t “religious freedom” include those who don’t hold to the same myths as the majority believe? Although some would think “religious freedom” means you can believe and worship and behave as you wish, as long as you cause no harm to others, there appears to be a large segment of the Republican base which sees it as them being allowed to impose their views on everyone else. When they can’t control society, they see it as “suppression” of their beliefs. When they don’t receive government support for their ideology (and xmas displays) they see an assault on religion.

Naturally, the theocrats have managed to reveal their true desires in a book promoted by Glenn Beck, who managed to drive the sales into best-seller numbers, The Five Thousand Year Leap. It is the arrogance engendered by their belief in the ‘rightness’ of their theology that is driving today’s assault not only on women but also on minority religious beliefs and atheists. Many, far too many, Americans believe stuff that just ain’t true and support those who promote such lies and fantasies. The end result of such twisted thinking was well described in the dystopias of Heinlein’s Revolt in 2100 and Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.

more on the drive for xian control of America may be found in the books of Frank Schaeffer and Jeff Sharlet’s The Family

All religions are equally sublime to the ignorant, useful to the politician, and ridiculous to the philosopher. – Lucretius (94 BC – 49 BC)

Gingrich: Obama has ‘anti-American’ energy policy

from

Atlanta Journal-Constitution

more Republican TRUTH telling (or is that Republican TRUTH babbling? so difficult to tell the difference)

Gingrich: Obama has ‘anti-American’ energy policy

WASHINGTON — Newt Gingrich is asserting that President Barack Obama pursues an “outrageously anti-American” energy policy that snubs the Keystone oil pipeline and puts too much stock in electric car technology to wean the country from foreign oil dependency.

The former House speaker tells CBS’s “This Morning” show gasoline prices have skyrocketed since Obama took office. He says Obama entertains a “fantasy” that the electric car “is going to liberate us from Saudi Arabia.”

the real world

U.S. oil gusher blows out projections

The United States’ rapidly declining crude oil supply has made a stunning about-face, shredding federal oil projections and putting energy independence in sight of some analyst forecasts.

After declining to levels not seen since the 1940s, U.S. crude production began rising again in 2009. Drilling rigs have rushed into the nation’s oil fields, suggesting a surge in domestic crude is on the horizon.

The number of rigs in U.S. oil fields has more than quad­rupled in the past three years to 1,272, according to the Baker Hughes rig count. Including those in natural gas fields, the United States now has more rigs at work than the entire rest of the world.

The US now producing so much gasoline that it is exporting the stuff to other countries.

So why are oil prices rising? Do the Administration’s policies have much to do with the increase in gas prices at the pump? Some folks don’t think so, but then some folks aren’t focused solely on the upcoming elections in America.

Speculation driving oil prices

LONDON, Feb. 21 (UPI) — Fretting over the saber rattling with Iran, rather than an actual issue in the oil market, is what is driving energy prices up, an executive from Total said.

The European Union said last month it would place an embargo on Iranian crude oil starting July 1, prompting Iranian lawmakers to consider legislation to pre-empt the Europeans. Prior to that, Iran threatened to close key oil-shipping lanes in the Strait of Hormuz in retaliation to increased sanctions pressure.

Christophe de Margerie, the top executive at French supermajor Total, was quoted by the Platts news service as saying speculators were driving oil prices up.

“All the noise on whether (the ban) will affect the price is what is affecting the price,” he said.

Is it possible that the multi-national oil companies are raising prices for some reason other the actual costs of producing their products? What happened to supply and demand economics? The US produces enough fuel that it is now exporting more than it imports, yet prices continue to rise – Why?

Higher gasoline prices could hurt recovery, Obama’s re-election chances

Obama’s approval ratings have steadily climbed since the debt-ceiling debacle last year, reaching 47 percent last week according to the Gallup poll, the highest they’ve been since June 2011.

But gasoline sticker shock could change that trend, many Republicans believe. House Speaker John Boehner reportedly has urged GOP House members to make gas prices an issue on the campaign trail this fall.

Republican presidential candidates Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich also have moved gas prices to prominent positions in their stump speeches. Gingrich in particular has made fuel prices a campaign theme, bitterly criticizing the administration at every campaign stop.

“Stop bowing. Start drilling,” the Gingrich website proclaims.

Santorum also has made the price of gas an issue.

“This president systematically is doing everything he can to raise the price of energy in this country,” he said over the weekend.

Robert Dewhirst, a political science professor at Northwest Missouri State University, said the attacks are predictable. Gasoline prices are among the most important issues for any presidential candidate, he said, because they become a campaign commercial every time the tank is filled.

Anti-abortion bills spark heated debate in Virginia

First saw this story on Rachel’s show last night, during which she had pics of reader-supplied vaginal probes, including this one:
Anti-abortion bills spark heated debate in Virginia

The Tuesday passage in Virginia of two of the strictest anti-abortion bills in the country has sparked fierce debate over abortion rights the battleground state, with Democrats decrying the acts as an unprecedented encroachment on women’s rights as Republicans push to move the legislation forward.

One bill, Republican Del. Bob Marshall’s House bill 1, would define personhood at conception and “provides that unborn children at every stage of development enjoy all the rights, privileges, and immunities available to other persons, citizens, and residents of the Commonwealth.” The second bill requires that women be required to undergo an ultrasound procedure prior to having an abortion.

Now here’s fun part

there are more than 25,000 references to the word “person” in the Virginia legislative code, and that applying all of the laws pertaining to “persons” to all existing fertilized eggs would inevitably become complicated.

She pointed to an example in which a couple undergoing in vitro fertilization successfully becomes pregnant without using as many eggs as were fertilized in the procedure. Those additional eggs would thus be considered “persons,” and the couple could use exploit those “persons” to get additional tax breaks, she argued.

The other bill requiring ultrasound examination before a woman can have an abortion has a rather dangerous, and shall we “intrusive”, requirement that the woman is not allowed to protest – “its requirement that some women undergo a transvaginal ultrasound probe”

The FBI defines rape as “Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object”

Virginian-Pilot editorial

Inserting something into the vagina of an unwilling woman is a violation in every sense of the word. But not to a majority of Virginia’s Senate.

This week, the Senate passed a bill, largely along party lines, that would require a woman seeking an abortion to undergo an ultrasound and wait as long as a day for the procedure.
(…)
This isn’t about whether abortion is right or wrong.

This is about the scope of government. Even those opposed to abortion should have qualms about the government mandating medical procedures and waiting periods.

Under any other circumstances, forcing an unwilling person to submit to a vaginal probing would be a violation beyond imagining. Requiring a doctor to commit such an act, especially when medically unnecessary, and to submit to an arbitrary waiting period, is to demand an abrogation of medical ethics, if not common decency.

Will those screaming about “government intrusion into our lives” when commenting on a silly mixup over a 4 year old’s lunch say the same thing about this Virginia LAW?

This is just one more example of the hypocrisy of so many on the right; a hypocrisy extending from the Tea Partiers shouting about socialised medicine while simultaneously screaming “Keep your government hands off my Medicare!”, from Catholic bishops complaining about paying for often medically necessary procedures while denying for years that they were covering up even more morally offensive acts in their own churches and schools, from ‘small government‘ activists who claim the feds are after your guns when their is a push for gun registration laws while complaining about the high crime rates in urban neighbourhoods, from sexually conflicted pols and preachers decrying the “attack on marriage” while simultaneously hiring rentboys to “carry their luggage”, and now to this state legislature controlled by “small government” types mandating something far more intrusive than contraception insurance.

It does seem to me that “intrusive government” is often defined as one that does something I don’t like, otherwise – as long as it affects only those “others”, its all cool with me. Like I wrote – hypocrisy.

 

Gingrich targets NASCAR voters

Gingrich Targets NASCAR Voters

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Newt Gingrich is wooing NASCAR voters.

As he charts a possible course to the Republican nomination, aides say Gingrich will paint frontrunner Mitt Romney as the candidate of the PGA golf tour while the former House speaker pursues the blue collar mantle of Dale Earnhardt.

It’s a strategy that exploits the class warfare Gingrich professes to oppose. Still, it could pay dividends once the GOP race again swings South. Gingrich sees delegate-rich Texas as a firewall in April. But he must slog through more than 30 contests before that.
(…)
Still, even as the former Georgia congressman casts himself as a national candidate, noting that he’ll head to California next week, it is the South — with its evangelicals and social conservatives — that could prove pivotal.

“We want to get to Georgia, to Alabama, to Tennessee. We want to get to Texas,” Gingrich said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

He failed to mention Virginia, the state he now calls home, and where he failed to qualify to get on the ballot. The error is costly. It means he won’t be eligible for any of the state’s 46 delegates.

Kind of a silly headline actually, but it is what it is – NASCAR is not an exclusively southern sport, although many of the ‘media elite’ seem t0 think so.  The ‘tell’ for the Gingrich campaign and its certain collapse was the failure to get on the ballot in Virginia – bad management I would say and not a good recommendation for a man who wants to run the most powerful nation on this planet.

Do you think he messed up getting the signatures to appear on the VA ballot because Callista insisted on that Mediterranean cruise about that time?  You know – the cruise that caused many of his campaign professionals to pack their bags and go elsewhere.

I became an atheist for incredibly stupid reasons.

PZ Myers has been running a series of postings by his readers explaining why they became atheists.  My headline today comes from the most recent one posted by Sarah Otto Marxhausen

I became an atheist for incredibly stupid reasons. To be fair, I was ten years old.

As soon as I started reading well at about age four, my parents started throwing books at me. Anything I showed the slightest interest in, I was allowed to read, and I tore through everything. When I was nine, I was given a huge ton of books to call my own after a family friend died and everyone decided that a lot of his books were appropriate for me. It was the complete Grimm Brothers’ fairy tales, plus some of the Lang fairy books, plus a lot of books about mythology:Greek, Norse, etc.

I read them passionately; I still believe to this day that a lot of those fairy tales are really genuinely cool stories. My family is and was very religious — my father is a minister — and so I was also well-versed in Christian mythology. I slowly started realizing that the supernatural forces in the stories I was reading were gods just like the god I went to church every Sunday for. And, honestly, a lot of the things the Christian god did were nowhere near as awesome or interesting as the things the non-Christian gods did. And since they were all gods, and worshipping god was the important thing . . .

I took what to me was the most logical step, and made up my own religion. One with really fucking awesome gods. I don’t really want to describe it, because it’s really deeply embarrassing now, as are most “profound” decisions that you make when you’re ten years old. They were awesome at the time, okay?

Go and read the rest of the post on Free Thought Blogs