Who Paid Porn Star Who Slept With Trump? Questions Linger
Another twist in the Stormy Daniels-Trump affair came this week when Michael D. Cohen, a longtime lawyer for President Trump, claimed he paid $130,000 in what certainly looks like hush money to the porn star. In his statement he checked all the boxes to cover Trump legally – claimed it wasn’t a contribution to the campaign, was never reimbursed by the campaign or Trump, etc… – but refused to answer any follow up questions like: Did Trump know about the hush money? Was it made to keep her quiet about the alleged affair? Was Trump more worried about the impact on his campaign, or about Melania finding out?
And maybe most importantly: why has it taken over a month since news broke about the payment for Cohen to claim he paid the money? Does it really take that long to get your story straight? More information may come out since Daniels is claiming Cohen breached a non-disclosure agreement by making a statement at all.
Portman Sends ‘Prayers’ To Florida While The NRA Lines His Pockets
In response to the tragic shooting at a high school in Florida that left at least 17 dead and 14 others injured, Senator Rob Portman once again put his head in the sand, toed the party line, and kowtowed to his NRA overlords/donors by sending out a wimpy “send our prayers” tweet. Despite the fact that the U.S. is notorious among developed countries for school shootings, Portman and his party colleagues seem to believe the infamous Onion article: ‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where [Mass Shootings] Regularly Happens is real.
Trump Administration Looks To Limit Food Choices For Needy Families
In yet another attack against needy families, the Trump budget proposes sending “food packages” to families who receive more than $90/month in SNAP benefits (commonly called food stamps). It’s like Blue Apron — if Blue Apron were a Soviet-style rationing system where a bunch of bureaucrats decided what you and your family eat by looking in the back of their pantries. Fresh vegetables not included. Aren’t Republicans supposed to want smaller government? Oh, and the White House has no idea how this food will be delivered; they’re leaving that logistical nightmare up to the states to figure out.
Trump’s habit of not giving a shit about others continued when he used a short chat with Senator Sherrod Brown to make a joke about DACA recipients – who are in danger of being deported because Trump is single-handedly holding them hostage to get his wall funded. Yes, the wall that Mexico is supposed to pay for.
Ohio Lawmakers Propose Work Requirements For Medicaid
Jumping on the “Let’s make life difficult for everyone but the one percent” bandwagon are Ohio legislators looking to institute work requirements for Medicaid recipients. While Governor Kasich has kept mum on any details, since most people are already working the requirement is more likely to get people off Medicaid due to increased bureaucratic red tape and government mismanagement than anything else.
Portman ‘Shocked’ Vetting Didn’t Show Top Staffer Beat Wife
Questions of “Who knew what and when” continue to surround politicians who hired Rob Porter, who resigned from the White House last week after the public learned that his ex-wives had accused him of domestic violence. Senator Rob Portman, who employed Porter as his General Counsel in 2013 & 2014 , claims that the standard interviews, reference checks and background investigations didn’t reveal any hint of past abuse, and that he was “shocked” to hear the news. Portman might consider beefing up those background investigations into his staff, considering that in 2010 Porter’s then-wife Jennie Willoughby got an emergency protective order against Portman.
The White House attempted to blame the FBI for not finding out about the allegations, but their timeline was shot down by Director Christopher Wray in a Congressional hearing. It’s now known that the White House Counsel, as well as Chief of Staff John Kelly, knew at least in November. This didn’t stop them from not only keeping Porter on but also considering him for promotion.
Economists, First Responders Highlight Role Of Unions In Creating Safe, Healthy Economies
This week, ProgressOhio teamed up with Policy Matters Ohio to launch their new report “A way forward: 10 ways to support Ohio’s working people.” The report comes as right-wing ideologues are the Supreme Court prepares to hear Janus v. AFSCME (a Koch-funded case that attacks fair share fees) and Ohio legislators are proposing a slate of anti-worker amendments to the Ohio Constitution.
From the Columbus Dispatch:
“The real goal of right-to-work is just to weaken unions,” [Wright State University Economics Professor Rudy] Fichtenbaum said. “Unions help working people actually have a say at what’s going on in their workplace.”
If you want to show that Ohioans support workers, make sure to attend the Working People’s Day of Action in Columbus on Saturday, February 24.
Sen. Sherrod Brown Looks Out For Tipped Workers, Steelworkers
Senator Sherrod Brown, along with 23 other senators, sent a letter to to the Labor Department protesting a rule change that would allow businesses to keep tips their workers made. The old rule only let restaurant owners require shared tips with other traditionally tipped workers—such as servers, bussers and bartenders. Now, once tipped workers make minimum wage and non-tipped workers make $8.30/hour, owners can pocket the cash the customers thought was going to their servers. The Labor Department Inspector General is investigating whether the rule change followed the correct procedures.
Ohio in Bottom-10 of States for Well-Being, Decline from Last Year
The Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index is out, and the results are clear: Ohioans are NOT well. The survey measures purpose, social, financial, community, and physical well-being each of which Ohio is ranked in at least the bottom 15 of states. Combined, Ohioans are a whopping 44th out of 50. Maybe it’s time to put some progressives in charge?
Victory For NW Ohio Women As Last Toledo Clinic Gets Reprieve
The last surgical abortion clinic in Toledo will keep operating after ProMedica Toledo’s Board of Trustees voted to authorize a transfer agreement between the hospital and the clinic. Thanks to a recent Ohio Supreme Court decision upholding Ohio’s decision to end surgical abortions there (a decision fraught with controversy as rule changes seemed to target the clinic and Justice Kennedy had spoken at a pro-life fundraiser), the clinic was at risk of closing. However, after activists – including the Physician Action Network – rallied, called, and wrote letters, ProMedica decided to authorize the agreement.
Female Electeds Talk Next Steps After Historic Year For Women
Two female elected officials in central Ohio, Columbus City Auditor Megan Kilgore and City Council Member Elizabeth Brown, talked about what needs to happen next to support women in the workforce and running for office. Both officials benefited from the momentum that made the 2017 Women’s March the largest single-day protest in American history, with Kilgore saying that many first-time volunteers stepped up to help her and Brown inspired from the values and issues protesters marched for. The next step, Kilgore and Brown agree, is to encourage future generations to run for office or make a career in government.
Supreme Court Justice Denounces ECOT Argument as ‘Absurd’
In a statement that many people have been thinking regarding the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow’s (ECOT) ridiculous attendance accounts, the Dispatch reports:
As ECOT attorney Marion Little wrapped up his arguments for why state law says the online school should get full funding for students even if they rarely log in and do no work, Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor interjected, “How is that not absurd?”
Clear Conflict Of Interest With Justice O’Donnell, ECOT
This excerpt from the Cleveland Plain Dealer Editorial Page, shows the conflicts of interest with members of the Ohio Supreme Court. Read below:
“..Two justices are weighing ECOT’s arguments even though they received large campaign donations from ECOT’s founder. That’s indefensible.
One such justice is lame-duck Terrence O’Donnell, a Greater Cleveland Republican. The other is first-term Justice R. Patrick DeWine, a Cincinnati Republican whose father, Attorney General Mike DeWine, is running for governor. Republican Justice Judith French of the Columbus area, who also received thousands of dollars from ECOT’s William L. Lager, recused herself in the case last year, apparently because of a conflict involving her husband.
In 2012, the last time O’Donnell ran for re-election, his campaign received $3,450 from Lager, as well as another $4,450 from employees of Lager’s Altair Management. O’Donnell then agreed, after receiving a personal call from Lager, to speak at the 2013 ECOT graduation.
Patrick DeWine’s campaign got $3,600 from Lager in December 2015, shortly after DeWine launched his bid for the high court spot, which he won in 2016. Patrick DeWine has other conflicts in the case, since his father represents the state. Both issues require him to step down, or recuse himself, from the case.”
Last Remaining Female Running For Dem Gov. Nomination Withdraws From Race
On the heels of her EMILY’s List endorsement, former Rep. Connie Pillich has withdrawn from the gubernatorial race. Pillich’s exit means Democrats won’t have their chance at electing the first democratic female governor.
Accusations Fly in U.S. Rep. Turner’s Divorce Case
In other news, U.S. Congressman Mike Turner’s divorce proceedings took an ugly turn last week. Rep. Turner handed fellow Congressman Darrell Issa a letter requesting that Issa testify in his divorce proceedings. Speculations are that Turner’s wife, Majida Mourad, an energy lobbyist who married Turner in 2015, had some further relationship with Rep. Issa. Read more here.
Progressive Action Calendar Alerts
2/17: Muslim Ban/Refugee Ban, DACA: A Year Of Resistance