Russian Bots Still Interfering With U.S. Government
As #TrumpShutdown trended on Friday with the GOP facing the blame for shutting down the government (as they should, when they control the House, the Senate and the White House), Russian-linked bots fired back. By Sunday night #SchumerShutdown was trending on Twitter.
#SchumerShutdown surpassed #ReleaseTheMemo as the highest trending hashtag among Russian influence campaigns. So the White House uses a hashtag, and then Russian bot accounts follow suit. There’s a word for this….
After delving in to the Administration’s relationship with Russia, The New York Times was first to report that Trump called for Mueller’s firing in June 2017, but White House Counsel wouldn’t allow it.
If Trump did nothing wrong, why fire the investigator?
Government Shutdown: Where Sen. Sherrod Brown Leads, Portman Follows
U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown was quick to point out that Congress shouldn’t be paid if it can’t get its job done. “It is time for Republican leaders to stop holding CHIP children and families hostage to their failed budget process,” Brown said in a news release. “These are not bargaining chips – they are kids – more than 209,000 in Ohio and nine million nationwide. And they are depending on us to do our jobs. Senators should not be paid if they can’t do their jobs. While I continue to work with Republicans and Democrats to reopen our government, I will donate my take-home pay to an Ohio charity that works every day to help struggling families.”
Senator Portman also donated his salary to charity.
Both Sens. Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman applauded President Trump’s decision to enforce trade rules by establishing a tariff on imports of large residential washing machines. The President signed a bill that both Senators worked to pass that will impose remedies to protect against surging imports of washing machines. This will help the thousands of workers at Whirlpool’s Clyde, Ohio plant who had been hurt by unfair washing machine imports by Samsung and LG. Brown and Portman both testified at ITC on behalf of Whirlpool, and urged ITC to take make a positive ruling.
GOP Prosecutor Wastes Thousands That Could Be Spent Fighting Opioid Crisis
Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters used county funds to pay for his own personal expenses. Over a two-year period, he spent $15,000 on briefcases for his lawyers and $14,600 for furniture. In the same window of time, he only gave $10,000 to the Hamilton County Heroin Coalition Task Force, which investigates and prosecutes drug dealers. Read more at cincinnati.com.
#FightFor$15 Helps Cleveland Raise Wages For Some; GOP Pushes RTW (is Wrong)
In a big move for city employees, Cleveland City Council approved contracts for about 500 employees that sets the minimum wage at $15/hour. The goal is for all 7,000 employee contracts to be finalized with a $15/hour minimum hourly rate by April 1.
Reps. John Becker and Craig Riedel proposed amendments to the Ohio Constitution attacking workers by banning fair share fees – which prevent freeloaders from pay raises and benefits without paying union fees – and making workers vote every year to recertify the union. Though Ohioans overwhelmingly opposed anti-union legislation when they overturned Senate Bill 5, Reps. Becker & Riedel want to put their amendments on the 2020 ballot.
A Republican-backed Right to Work ballot issue in 1958 was soundly defeated – along with lots of Republican candidates who supported it. For a history lesson in political overreach, veteran journalist Bill Hershey offers this column.
Good Government Groups, Activists, Still Looking to Slay the Gerrymander
Members of the Fair Districts = Fair Elections coalition spoke against Ohio Senator Huffman’s redistricting proposal, which would “institutionalize” gerrymandering and take away the right of voters to veto any redrawn maps. Huffman’s plan would also allow legislators to continue drawing maps that drastically favor one party over the other.
Senate President Obhoff heard concerns of good-government leaders and later responded that any deal would need support of the Fair District campaign.
Anti-Choice Policies Make Ohio Poorer, Less Healthy
In July 1989, in Webster v. Reproductive Health Services, the U.S. Supreme Court gave states greater leeway to restrict abortions. The 1990 elections offer several telltale races that show the electoral strength of the pro-choice position: In Virginia, Democrat Douglas Wilder upset Republican rival J. Marshall Coleman by emphasizing his opposition to any change in the state’s relatively lenient abortion laws. In Florida, Democrat Lawton Chiles defeated incumbent Republican Gov. Bob Martinez, who, in the wake of Webster, had championed restrictive laws for Florida.
In Texas, Democrat Ann Richards was elected governor after making opposition to Webster a centerpiece of her campaign. Exit polls showed she captured more than 60 percent of the women’s vote, including 25 percent of Republican women.
ProgressOhio and its other state affiliates recently sent a letter to members of the Democratic National Committee urging them to redouble their commitment to abortion access, not back away from it as some party leaders are suggesting.
Just 8 percent of Democrats would be more likely to vote for a candidate who opposes abortion. Meanwhile, 31 percent of Republicans would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports abortion rights, 6 percent of independents said they’d be more likely to vote for a candidate who supported abortion rights, and just 15 percent said they’d be more inclined to vote for someone who opposed them.
Show your support by signing onto ProgressNow’s letter.
Women’s March Draws Thousands For Second Year In A Row
Thousands in Ohio and hundreds of thousands across the nation protested for the second Women’s March, rallying for issues such as women’s rights, racial equality, LGBTQ rights, and others. The first March was held the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration and was the largest protest in U.S. history. Trump, infamous for his “grab ‘em by the pussy” comment, remains in delusional denial that the protests are targeting him and his administration’s policies:
Here’s some of our favorite signs from the Cincinnati March.
Speaking of the Women’s March, a group of Ohio women who met marching were so inspired that they helped to create the Matriots, a PAC to elect pro-choice women. The Matriots have raised $750,000 to date.
Response to ECOT Closure: “Good Riddance”
Happy School Choice Week!
In response to the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) closing, the Akron Beacon Journal editorial board had just one thing to say: good riddance. When explaining why Ohio allowed ECOT to operate for so long, the board stated:
“William Lager, the founder of the school, saw how the Statehouse worked. He and allies have ranked among the leading donors of political money to Republicans, who have been in charge since 2000 except for a brief moment. Republican leaders, in effect, took the money and looked the other way.”
Many of these politicians have not yet announced whether they will return or donate campaign contributions from Lager.
The Ohio Christian Alliance held a press conference where they blamed the state – instead of the fraudsters at ECOT – for the school closing in the middle of the year. Apparently they forgot the Biblical command Thou shalt not steal.
ECOT’s finances and assets are now under control of a court-appointed special master, and it could win the right to re-open if it wins a case before the Ohio Supreme Court.
2018 ELECTION UPDATES
Roll-in-Hay O’Neill Makes It Official: He’s Leaving Bench to Run for Governor
Bill O’Neill is resigning as an Ohio Supreme Court justice this week to pursue the Democratic nomination for governor in a five-way race in the May primary.
The Columbus Dispatch previously reported that O’Neill faced liens from the Ohio Department of Taxation for income taxes owed for 2015 and 2016. Claiming that he has paid his taxes, he asked Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper to “let the vetting begin.”
Congressman Jim Renacci, now running for U.S. Senate, is proud that a man who paid a porn star hush money is campaigning for him (this man is President Trump).
In other news, labor and civil rights leader extraordinaire Paul Booth passed away unexpectedly last week. From his hospital bed, he drafted this piece, titled “Building an Enduring Democratic Majority,” which was published posthumously in The Prospect.
Rest In Peace, Paul.
Progressive Action Calendar Alerts
1/27: Rally To Maintain Net Neutrality!
1/27: 2018 Ohio Resistance Reboot
1/30: Let’s Talk About It: Immigration, Activism & Sh**Hole Countries
2/2: Cincinnati’s 2018 Anti-Human Trafficking Conference