Kushner Loses Top Secret Security Clearance
Fallout from the Rob Porter scandal – when it was revealed a top White House aide wouldn’t receive a necessary security clearance due to domestic violence allegations – continues, as all employees working on the highest-level interim clearances were downgraded. That includes Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump’s husband and czar of basically everything he feels like trying. Seriously, at least four different countries strategized about taking advantage of his incompetence, and the guy is responsible for bringing peace to the Middle East and getting Mexico to pay for Trump’s wall. The downgraded security clearance probably isn’t going to help.
Kushner has had quite the week; it’s also come out that he violated the Hatch Act, which prevents some government officials from using their official positions for political gains, and is being investigated by the FBI because, just like his father-in-law, he doesn’t believe in the separation between business and serving the public.
Who’s Trying to Take Power from the Middle Class? Conservative Donors
The Koch brothers aren’t the only billionaires spending ungodly amounts of money to take away the rights of working people; there’s a whole group of them. The New York Times details how corporate elites spend millions of dollars on shady organizations across the country to go after the rights of working people to fairly negotiate with employers — all with the goal of putting more money in their own pockets. These organizations do everything from supporting lawsuit after lawsuit to buying off politicians to running misleading campaigns encouraging people to leave their unions. Despite the wealthiest among us getting richer and richer, their greed has no bounds. But here’s who’s fighting back…
Thousand Rally Against Janus, Across Nation And In Ohio
This past Saturday, ProgressOhio joined thousands of working people across the nation who rallied for their freedoms. People bused into Columbus from all across Ohio to stand united and tell the fat cats that we will fight to keep a strong middle class. Check out some photos from the rally here.
Middle Class Stagnates as the Rich Get Richer
As politicians continue to attack working people and take away their rights to fairly negotiate, the middle class is forced to watch as their incomes remain the same but the rich keep getting richer. The Columbus Dispatch reports:
“Even with unemployment at a 17-year low of 4.1 percent, the proverbial rising tide has not lifted all boats: The fancy yachts have gotten most of the lift.”
It seems that employers may have become complacent; they got so used to NOT giving out raises during the recession, now they’re suddenly shocked they can’t find workers at the same pay level as a decade ago despite their revenues going up during that time. Seems like there’s an easy solution (hint: it’s doling out pay raises).
SW Ohio Lawyer Represents, Allies Self With Charlottesville Alt-Right Extremists
In a “It’s the freaking 21st century and somehow these people still exist” story, the Cincinnati Enquirer featured James E. Kolenich, a lawyer in the Cincinnati area who is defending some of the infamous neo-Nazi’s from the summer Charlottesville protests. While even the most despicable scumbags get representation in America, the most disturbing part of the story is that Kolenich not only defends his clients in court, he shares their white supremacist beliefs and is virulently anti-Semitic. Cloaking his racism by claiming “Christian” values, his perverted beliefs include: questioning whether the Holocaust happened; Jews are responsible for 9/11; all the popes since the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s are really “anti-Popes”; and that immigrants are going to turn America into the Third World.
Yes, it is the 21st century and unfortunately these people still exist. That’s why we have to keep telling people (including our white nationalist president) that love is stronger than hate.
Jeni’s Puts FedEx on Ice Over NRA Ties
After the Parkland shootings and the usual tone-deaf response from the National Rifle Association (NRA), a wave of companies started severing their relationship with the organization. One by one, companies such as Delta and Hertz stopped providing discounts for NRA members. While still basically a weak staance that basically just says “If you’re going to support an organization that lobbies against basic background checks and puts profits ahead of lives, we won’t let you get discounts,” that’s still more than FedEx has done, and the founder of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams put them on notice.
In a viral Instagram post, Jeni Britton Bauer threatened to boycott FedEx and use UPS for their 100,000 shipments this year if FedEx did not stop giving discounts to NRA members. In response to public pressure, FedEx released a bizarre statement in which they claimed NOT giving these discounts would be discriminatory, and then tried to blame UPS. However, ThinkProgress reported on what’s sadly probably the real reason: FedEx makes a ton of money by giving discounts to gun manufacturers and other organizations, not just NRA members.
Ohio Courts’ Ineffective Oversight Allows Felons To Buy Guns
The military and FBI aren’t the only organizations who fail to follow up when they know or have evidence someone shouldn’t own a gun; several Ohio courts are also guilty of not bothering to follow through. The Cincinnati Enquirer used data from the Ohio attorney general’s office to determine which names weren’t submitted to the country’s background check system in time — or at all. Find out if the courts in your county were delinquent here.
While step one of protecting our schools and communities from shootings is to enforce the laws already on the books, Ohio clearly also needs more aggressive legislation. This week, the Ohio Federation of Teachers came out in support of a ban on all tactical assault weapons and fully-automatic weapons.
Bizarrely, in Ohio you can get a gun the same day, but soon you’ll have to wait to get your Ohio driver’s license in the mail.
Doctors, Public Health Officials, Advocates Slam Medicaid Work Requirements
Yesterday, 20 people testified against Ohio’s draconian plans to institute work requirements for those relying on Medicaid. Dr. Catherine Romanos with the Physicians Action Network argued that “patients who can no longer access care or medications will be put at grave risk, particularly those with mental illness, drug addiction or very treatable conditions such as high blood pressure.”
Even Governor Kasich’s administration admits that less than five percent of those who rely on Medicaid fall under the new rules, but the plan will add another layer of bureaucracy to an already-confusing system. All the additional hoops are just one in a long list of actions Republicans take proving that they don’t actually support small government for all, just for corporations and the one percent.
Ohio Lawmakers Roll Out Proposed Capital Budget
A laundry list of projects were proposed in Ohio’s Capital Budget, most notably $222 million for health initiatives. This number reflects twice the amount included in the last capital bill and is ear-marked for items such as women’s health, mental health treatment beds and drug treatment beds. For example, $800,000 is earmarked for the Dayton Regional Crisis Stabilization Unit and Detox Center, according to Dayton Daily News.
ECOT Adds Another Loss to Winless Court Record
The Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) has lost yet another court case, putting its total wins at a whopping zero since the State began demanding the school refund millions of dollars due to shady methods of keeping attendance. The school has followed a “throw everything at the wall and see what sticks” strategy, this time contesting the state Board of Education violated the Open Meetings Act. With the ruling that the law doesn’t apply in this instance, nothing has stuck to the wall yet for ECOT.
Dem Hopefuls Look To Win Back Trump Voters
Leading up to the next Democratic Gubernatorial Debate, Dem hopefuls are holding forums across the state in efforts to connect with ex-urban and rural voters. Getting Ohio Democrats who voted for President Donald Trump “back into the fold” was a theme Sunday as Democratic candidates for governor spoke in Marysville in Union County, according to the Columbus Dispatch.
Senator Sherrod Brown, consistently on the side of working people, joined a Hubbard, Ohio, worker on a news conference call this week to oppose a proposed rule by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) that would force workers to forfeit their tips to employers. The administration has argued the rule is about encouraging so-called tip pooling, which would spread tips around to multiple workers. But the rule would allow employers to keep workers’ tips if they chose to do so, and does not require them to be shared with workers, according to the The Portsmouth Daily Times.
“Tips belong to the workers who earn them, period,” Brown said. “We need laws that reflect that, and that reward work.”
Parody Accounts Are All the Rage in Campaign World
Russian bots aren’t the only fake accounts roaming around Twitter; campaign staffers and other politicos are increasingly using fake/parody accounts to troll their opponents. The Cleveland Plain-Dealer “investigation” shows some pretty funny accounts from both sides of the aisle, including @LegoJohnKasich and an account of one candidate’s dog. It appears that when evaluating how people respond to joke Twitter accounts, they fall into three groups:
- 95% don’t care at all;
- 4% (journalists, campaign staffers, activists) think they’re slightly amusing;
- and 1% care way too much about what a bunch of either overstressed or totally bored millennials say on Twitter, and ruin the marginal humor by whining about them.
Progressive Calendar Action Alerts
3/6: Toledo Women In Leadership Symposium
3/8: Capital University International Women’s Day Of Action
3/8: YWCA 2018 Women Of Influence Awards
3/8: 2018 International Women’s Day March Cleveland
3/9: Women Coming Together Conference