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Trump Orders Bombing of Syria; Big Donor Meets Secretly With Putin; Dem Predicts Trump Aides Going to Jail
Candidate Donald Trump insisted that congressional approval is needed for any military strikes, and he insisted that Russia should deal with Syria. President Trump, however, launched a missile strike on Syria without signoff from Congress or Russia.
The move appears to have ended the bromance between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, who called it an “act or aggression’’ and a violation of international law.
Last week, FBI Director James Comey’s announced that the Bureau is probing possible collusion between Moscow and Trump campaign officials. We now have more specific allegations:
The United Arab Emirates arranged a secret meeting just before Trump’s inauguration between Blackwater founder Erik Prince and a Russian close to President Vladimir Putin to establish a back-channel line of communication between Moscow and Donald Trump. Prince identifies as an unofficial surrogate for Trump.
Prince contributed $250,000 to Trump’s campaign, and has ties to people in Trump’s circle, including Stephen Bannon.
Fun fact: Prince’s sister is Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
Bannon Booted From National Security Council, Replaced by Former Texas Gov. and Dancer Rick Perry
Rick Perry became both the first former presidential candidate to become a “Dancing with the Stars” contestant and the head of an agency he had once sought to abolish. Now he will sit at the National Security Council, replacing white nationalist Steve Bannon.
Gov. Kasich Boasts About the State of Our State but New Report Shows How Far Ohio Has Fallen
In the State of the State address, Gov. John Kasich touted the 460,000 new jobs he said Ohio has added since he became governor in 2011. Statistics, however, show Ohio has trailed the national average in job creation for the past four years.
A recently released report from One Ohio Now shows where Ohio ranks in comparison with the nation. Read more here.
Gov. Kasich’s pattern of cutting state funding for local governments has prompted many local communities to either cut services, such as road paving or law enforcement, or raise local taxes to make up the difference.
Kasich’s state budget proposal, which would pay for a reduction in income taxes by hiking Ohio’s sales tax rate, would disproportionately impact working people, according to cleveland.com.
Citizens Learn How to Lobby Legislators at First-Ever Citizens Lobby Day
Nearly 200 citizen lobbyists participated in a first-ever Citizen Lobby Day, a forum provided by ProgressOhio, Innovation Ohio and For Ohio’s Future. Activists learned about legislative hot topics while hearing from several speakers on how to best engage with their elected officials. See more here.
Sutton Seeks Probe into Prevailing Wage Shenanigans; Tiberi Pokes at Potential Primary Opponent
After State Sen. Matt Huffman told a story about a fellow Republican’s plan to end-run prevailing wage laws, Betty Sutton stepped in.
“Since Senator Huffman won’t request an investigation into the possible corruption of steering taxpayer dollars to a ‘buddy’ or circumventing laws that protect Ohio workers, I will,” Sutton said. She asked Attorney General Mike DeWine to launch an investigation.
Sutton, a former congresswoman, is seeking the Democratic Party’s nomination for governor. DeWine, a Republican, wants the GOP nomination. Read more here.
And in other races…
“Wow, that’s crazy” was Pat Tiberi’s response to a question about the value of having two competing databases for tracking state and local government salaries – both funded at taxpayer expense. In a rare swipe at Ohio Treasurer and U.S. Senator-wannabe Josh Mandel, Tiberi urged the questioner to contact his state legislator.
Strange advice since Tiberi’s own constituents have been contacting his office for months, requesting a town hall meeting to share their concerns about the Obamacare replacement and other important topics. He’s ignored them.
Senate Confirms Supreme Court Nominee Who Thinks Corporations are People, Women are Not
The U.S. cemented the Supreme Court’s conservative majority by confirming Neil Gorsuch to a lifetime seat on America’s highest tribunal.
Gorsuch’s opinions on religious liberty, where he sided with the challengers to the so-called Obamacare contraceptive mandate, and on the separation of powers, where he said too much deference was given by the courts to administrative agencies, are key to his appeal to Trump and Republicans, reports CNN.
During his time on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, Gorsuch joined an opinion siding with closely held corporations who believed that the so-called contraceptive mandate of Obamacare violated their religious beliefs. The ruling was later upheld by the Supreme Court. Gorsuch wrote separately holding that the mandate infringed upon the owners’ religious beliefs “requiring them to lend what their religion teaches to be an impermissible degree of assistance to the commission of what their religion teaches to be a moral wrong.”
Allegations surfaced this week that Gorsuch plagiarized portions of his book, according to the Washington Post. The Senate, however, triggered the “nuclear option,” reversing years of precedent that has resulted in high court nominees getting support from both political parties.
Ohio’s junior Senator Rob Portman supported Gorsuch. Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown opposed Gorsuch’ nomination, as well as invoking the “nuclear option.”
Toledo City Council, Cincinnati Faith Leaders Step Up Efforts in Opposition to Obamacare Repeal Without Suitable Replacement
The City of Toledo joined Cincinnati, Cleveland and Dayton in passing a resolution opposing efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
According to the Toledo Blade, the resolution says that, “Repealing the ACA in its entirety will take health benefits away from the approximately 11 million people who gained coverage through that law’s Medicaid expansion.”
At a Cincinnati forum, faith leaders addressed the benefits of the ACA and Medicaid expansion.
Reverend Damon Lynch, Jr. gave voice to a sentiment offered by many:
“In Cincinnati and Hamilton County and surrounding counties the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion have made a difference in the access to health care. In Ohio the uninsured rate has been nearly cut in half. We can’t go back from that and call ourselves a moral society.”
Trump Slashes Global Fund That Works to End Child Marriage, Improve Maternal Health
Shortly after Melania Trump honored women working for gender equity around the globe, the Trump Administration halted all U.S. grants to the United Nations Population Fund an international humanitarian aid organization that provides reproductive health care and works to end child marriage and female genital cutting in more than 150 countries.
Dayton Daily News Investigation shows Female State Workers Paid Less Than Men Doing the Same Jobs
A Dayton Daily News investigation revealed that male state of Ohio employees are paid nearly six percent more than female state employees.
Calling the report “appalling but not surprising,” ProgressOhio’s Sandy Theis further emphasized that “there are lots of studies that show if women received equal pay for equal work, poverty among women and their families would decrease and kids would be healthier and happier. Folks who market themselves as pro-family need to start advocating pro-family policies.”
A Tongue-In-Cheek Look at the Future of Charter Schools – That’s Not Too Far Off From What’s Happening in Ohio
It would be funnier if it didn’t hit so close to home. Here’s one writer’s plan to cash in on the lax regulations on running a charter school.
Surf Like Everybody’s Watching; Thanks to Trump Everybody Will Be Watching Real Soon
Eleven of Ohio’s 12 Republican representatives in Washington voted to overturn rules protecting online privacy. Republican Congressman Warren Davidson joined Sen. Sherrod Brown and all four Ohio Democrats serving in the U.S. House of Representatives in supporting rules that require internet service providers like Verizon and Comcast to get permission before using data on customers’ online activity.
Sen. Rob Portman, as usual, voted against protecting our privacy.
PROGRESSIVE ACTION CALENDAR
RootsCamp Ohio 2017!
There are still tickets left! Rootscamp Ohio is your chance to learn and teach with your peers from across Ohio who are fighting for progressive values while resisting Trump’s hate-filled agenda. Whether you are a long-term advocate or a newly engaged #RESISTer – Rootscamp has something new for everyone committed to the advancement of fair and just policies.
RootsCamp Ohio 2017
April 15, 2017