VP Pence Casts Historic Tie-Breaking Vote to Make Betsy DeVos Secretary of Education
After more than a million calls were logged in to U.S. Senate offices protesting the confirmation of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education, DeVos garnered a 50-50 tie. In one of the worst displays of political gamesmanship in modern history, Vice President Mike Pence’s tie-breaking vote was used for a Cabinet confirmation.
Ohio’s U. S. Senators split their votes. Democrat Sherrod Brown made an issue of DeVos’ failure to pay a $5.3 million fine from the Ohio Elections Commission. Brown also said that DeVos’ failure to answer basic questions about public education during confirmation hearings prove she is not qualified. Republican Rob Portman, who campaigned last year as the “independent voice’’ in Washington, ensured President Trump would get his way by voting “yes.”
Trump’s Muslim Ban is Checked and Balanced by Federal Judges Who Help Make America Great
On Thursday, in a unanimous ruling, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal dealt Donald Trump a legal and political blow by ruling that his proposed Muslim ban will remain blocked. The three judges included two appointed by Democratic presidents and one appointed by Republican George W. Bush.
The ruling came after Trump belittled the judge who issued the initial ruling. It demonstrates the value of America’s system of checks and balances in which the judicial branch holds the power to check abuses by the executive.
An angry Trump used all caps to respond: SEE YOU IN COURT
Citing that “Significant and ongoing harm was being inflicted on substantial numbers of people to the detriment of the states,” the court found that the Muslim Ban was unconstitutional. And more importantly, demonstrably harms universities by denying the travel to and recruitment from the seven affected countries. Read the full ruling here.
Race Baiting, The Sequel, By Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel
On Monday, Republican State Treasurer Josh Mandel and State Rep. Candice Keller (R-Middletown) proposed a state law banning sanctuary cities. Their proposal holds local officials in sanctuary cities criminally and civilly liable for crimes committed by undocumented immigrants, who Keller described as having a “culture for committing crimes, including assaults and rape, and bringing in sexually transmitted diseases.”
Democratic State Reps. Dan Ramos, of Lorain, and Stephanie Howse, of Cleveland, immediately pushed back on this monstrosity. According to Ramos, the law would be “clearly unenforceable and likely unconstitutional.”
Mandel, commonly referred to as “Trump Junior,” took to Facebook to defend his race-baiting. He condemned the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) – a civil rights group dedicated to countering misconceptions about Islam and Muslims in America and improve relations.
Mandel’s post generated lots of criticism like this:
Beth Hewitt What’s especially remarkable about your hate is that you are ostensibly a Jew. Do you not know the history of anti-semitism? Governments and leaders attacked Jews and Jewish organizations as terrorists — as anarchists and communists. They made fraudul…See More
Black and White Views Over Race, Policing and Politics in Yellow Springs
After the city of Yellow Springs’ annual New Year’s celebration, many residents were left angry over the police treatment of their black neighbors who were forced to the ground and arrested. Yellow Springs is a tiny, predominantly white village. After the incident, hundreds attended a special Village Council meeting to denounce the actions of the local police, which led to the Chief of Police offering his resignation.
There was a major distinction in why different people were unhappy over the incident. White people expressed outrage over what many saw as a disruption of their holiday and tradition as a “laid-back town,” whereas black residents expressed concern over what they see as regular mistreatment by law enforcement.
Dayton Coroner at Full Capacity with Drug Overdoses; State Budget Offers No Relief
The bodies just keep arriving. The New York Times reports that, two days into February, the coroner’s office in Dayton, Ohio, had already handled 25 deaths — 18 caused by drug overdoses. The Coroner’s office is so crammed with corpses that it has asked a local funeral parlor to take in bodies for “temporary storage.”
The high death toll is one of the daily consequences of the opioid crisis. Ohio leads the nation in overdose deaths from heroin. A new report by Pew Charitable Trusts explains how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal could undermine state efforts to address the growing number of addicts.
One of the best tools for fighting addiction has been the expansion of Medicaid, which is currently in jeopardy with the looming threat from GOP leaders to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The state budget proposal calls for flat funding for addiction treatment at a time when Ohio can’t keep up with today’s caseload. The state budget bill is based on the assumption that the Medicaid expansion contained in the ACA continues. If it does not, Ohio stands to lose over $3 BILLION in federal money.
Governor John Kasich supports continued Medicaid expansion. The biennial state budget will need to be finalized at the end of June.
OSU Expert: Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee No Friend to Forgotten People
Constitutional Law Professor Dan Tokaji shared his perspective on U.S. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch with the Columbus Dispatch, with excerpts below:
“At his inauguration, Donald Trump promised that the forgotten people of this country would be forgotten no more. He has already broken that promise with his first Supreme Court nominee. Judge Neil Gorsuch has a record of denying relief to the most vulnerable and forgotten people in our country.
Companies accused of violating their employees’ rights have found a sympathetic ear in Gorsuch, but workers? Not so much. Most revealing of his views are his dissenting opinions from the rulings of his own court. One Gorsuch dissent would have denied a woman UPS worker relief on a sex discrimination claim, despite co-workers’ testimony that she was treated differently from her male counterparts. Other opinions by Gorsuch would deny relief to whistleblowers and workers shortchanged by their employers.
Children with disabilities have also fared poorly before Gorsuch. He has written or joined several opinions denying them relief under federal laws that protect their rights to an equal and accessible education.
Gorsuch’s record is worrisome for victims of police abuse as well. In one especially troubling case, he wrote an opinion ruling against the parents of a man who was killed while fleeing from the police. His crime? Growing marijuana. Despite evidence that the officer intentionally or recklessly Tasered the man in the back of the head, Gorsuch denied his parents a trial on their excessive-force claim.
Gorsuch’s nomination is especially troubling for those who care about social issues such as reproductive autonomy. He also has written and joined opinions that undercut the right to birth-control coverage under the Affordable Care Act and that would effectively allow government sponsorship of religion. Taken to their logical conclusion, his views on religious freedom would exempt companies from laws requiring equal treatment, if they claim that their owners’ religious beliefs would be substantially burdened. These opinions have made Gorsuch a darling of the religious right but are disconcerting for those who believe in the separation of church and state.”
If you have moment, pen a letter to Portman with your concerns about Gorsuch here. We are helping the Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus and Cleveland Indivisible deliver 1,000 letters on Valentines’ Day.
Trump’s Swamp Dwellers Trying to Boot Rich Cordray from Consumer Watchdog Post
While some Trump advisors are looking for ways to boot Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Head Rich Cordray, some worry that firing him would ignite a political fuse that could cause more damage than it’s worth. The CFPB has returned $11.7 billion to people harmed by banks, credit card companies and mortgage companies.
Candidate Trump campaigned against Wall Street. But after meeting with Wall Street Executives, President Trump signed executive orders effectively minimizing portions of Dodd-Frank Act– a package of reforms intended to curb the abuses that led to the Great Recession. One order reverses the fiduciary rule, which requires brokers to act in the borrower’s best interests rather than seeking the highest profits for themselves.
Former Attorney General Marc Dann worries about the impacts of loosening the regulations in Dodd-Frank on Ohio. He is concerned that predatory lending practices will return. Dann was in office during the height of the recession. “The foreclosure rate in northeast Ohio overnight went from .02 percent to almost 25%” said Dann told According to WEWS/News 5.
Cordray is a former Ohio Attorney General and considering a run for Ohio governor. Some Cordray fans say he’s waiting to get fired by Trump before plunging into the gubernatorial race.
As #RESISTENCE Grows, GOP Advises Congress Members to Call Security
Missing Person posters have surfaced to mock Republican Congressmen Pat Tiberi and Bob Latta. Both are refusing to hold town hall meetings to explain to constituents what exactly they plan as a replacement for the Affordable Care Act.
Voters across the nation are angry at their Congress members’ refusal to meet. Rather than deal with those who pay their salaries AND their health care, Republican leaders held a closed-door meeting to give advice on how to respond to pesky constituents demanding answers to important questions. Among the top-tier advice: Call security.
PROTECT YOUR MOTHER
Energy Transfer Partners, the conglomerate whose security contractors have used pepper spray and snarling dogs against Native Americans protesting its Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) in North Dakota, is behind the Rover pipeline, a natural gas pipeline that will run through Ohio and other states.
This month the Rover Pipeline was approved by Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. This pipeline will cross 18 Ohio counties and three scenic rivers. DAPL has become a symbol of intercultural resistance as well as flashpoint for Native American rights. Trump ignored both and signed an executive order to allow DAPL to proceed.
The Sierra Club held a Columbus demonstration this week in opposition to Rover.
ACTION CALENDAR ALERTS
Friday, Feb. 10th
Cleveland Anti-Trump Rally and March: MUSLIM “BAN”
Sunday, Feb. 12th
Women’s Health. (Period.) Cincy Donation Event
Thursday, Feb 16th
Thank you rally for Senator Sherrod Brown – Columbus
Friday, Feb. 17th
National General Strike Ohio!
See More Events at the Progressive Action Calendar.