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Articles on this Page
- 07/13/17--06:01: _A Kossack's 13-year...
- 07/13/17--07:07: _Tell Ohio: 27 Execu...
- 07/14/17--15:02: _VP Pence Spreads Fa...
- 07/17/17--18:30: _With ObamaCare Repe...
- 07/18/17--10:06: _This is what mass d...
- 07/19/17--12:47: _OH-Sen: Sherrod Bro...
- 07/19/17--14:46: _OH-Sen: Watch Sherr...
- 07/20/17--07:02: _Ohio attempts to be...
- 07/20/17--14:02: _Former OH AGs and C...
- 07/21/17--12:42: _OH-Sen: Josh Mandel...
- 07/22/17--09:52: _Alert! Murkowski an...
- 07/13/17--07:07: Tell Ohio: 27 Executions Are Too Risky; Innocence Matters
- 07/18/17--10:06: This is what mass deportation looks like
- 07/20/17--07:02: Ohio attempts to become the execution capitol of the country
I pretty much grew up on this website. I first visited here on Election Day 2004 to see the exit polls showing John Kerry’s lead. I was 17 years old then, angry about our disastrous war in Iraq, and very concerned that our economy would never work for the middle class again. After reading the exit polls post, I saw diaries written by others like me and I was immediately hooked. Ever since, I’ve religiously read this website. I followed the Paul Hackett 2005 Special Election race, the 2008, 2012, and 2016 presidential elections, and everything in between,. Meanwhile, I grew up in real life from high school senior to college and law school student to husband and soon-to-be dad.
During that time, this community inspired me. It taught me the intricacies of public policy and American politics. It helped me to understand the deep emotion and personal pain that so often comes with political issues. And, over the past couple of months, my experiences in life, particularly the deep fears created by the 2016 Election and my upbringing on this site, have led me to throw my own hat into the ring. Yes, this long-time Kossack has decided to go beyond lurking and posting by running for State Representative here in Ohio’s 14th District, which covers the Far Western part of Cleveland, Brooklyn, Brook Park, Middleburg Heights, and Parma Heights.
It’s been three and a half years since Ohio conducted an execution – and for good reason. The last time Ohio carried out an execution, state officials used a dangerous, untested combination of drugs that resulted in the horrendously botched execution of Dennis McGuire, in which he repeatedly gasped for air and choked, according to media witnesses.
Despite this troubling history, in a few weeks Ohio is scheduled to carry out the first of dozens of executions stretching all the way into 2021. Incredibly, state officials plan to do so using the same risky drug used in the botched execution of Dennis McGuire –the same drug that has also been implicated in multiple problematic executions in numerous states, including the two-hour execution of Joseph Wood in 2014.
During Ohio’s hiatus from executions, in the wake of the botched lethal injection of Mr. McGuire, the Ohio Supreme Court Joint Task Force to Review the Administration of Ohio’s Death Penalty published a 56-page report, recommending over 50 reforms to ensure fairness and accuracy in Ohio’s death penalty. One would think accuracy would be the State’s top priority when carrying out a punishment as irreversible as the death penalty. However, to date, not a single substantive reform has been implemented to prevent wrongful convictions.
It is nauseating to imagine the state taking the life of an innocent person. The lack of safeguards against wrongful convictions alone should give Governor Kasich pause to resume executions. Ohio has exonerated nine innocent people from death row. Three of those happened after 2014. As one of the innocent men sent to Ohio’s death row recently wrote in The Columbus Dispatch, “don’t expect that we will catch every mistake before it’s too late. In the rush to carry out 27 back-to-back executions, someone innocent could well be on the gurney.”
Ohio does not want to become the death penalty capital of the midwest. With a history of botched executions and wrongful convictions, how can we feel confident about the dozens of executions Ohio plans to carry out? Whether you support capital punishment or not, we can all agree that innocent people should not be put to death.
Until Ohio implements its own task force’s recommendations, we must urge Governor Kasich to halt the resumption of executions. There just aren’t enough safeguards in place.
Please take action by signing and sharing the petition started by five exonerated Ohio death row survivors urging Governor Kasich to use his authority to prevent executions in the state from resuming: http://otse.org/kasich_letter/
The Trump administration will do anything to pass their
health care tax cut bill. Now this from the people who scream “fake news,” here is fake news from Vice President Mike Pence reported by the Columbus Dispatch.
Pence was caught lying about Medicaid waiting lists in Ohio. He was expertly called out by Kasich’s press secretary and his top political adviser.
They will lie as easily as the wind blows. They will do everything in their power to screw 22 million Americans out of their health care, so they can enrich a few with massive tax cuts.
Keep fighting and let’s kill this Trumpcare monstrosity.
Just over a week after the White House spread misinformation about Ohio’s Medicaid program, Vice President Mike Pence today falsely claimed that 60,000 Ohioans are going without care.
“I know Governor (John) Kasich isn’t with us, but I suspect that he’s very troubled to know that in Ohio alone, nearly 60,000 disabled citizens are stuck on waiting lists, leaving them without the care they need for months or even years,” Pence asserted at the National Governors Association gathering in Providence, Rhode Island.
That prompted Kasich’s press secretary Jon Keeling to tweet ”That’s what we call #fakenews.” Keeling included a link to The Dispatch’s Capital Insider column from Sunday citing state Medicaid data to refute an article cited by the White House. In what “the West Wing is reading,” the piece claimed that after expanding Medicaid, Ohio ″rolled back eligibility for some 34,000 seniors and individuals with disabilities as a cost-cutting measure.”
And Medicaid officials also said there was no truth to a separate claim about recipients of Ohio’s Medicaid expansion “being put ahead of 60,000 disabled Ohioans who rely on Medicaid but are currently on a waiting list.”
John Weaver, Kasich’s top political adviser, tweeted, “Hey @VP stop spreading Fake News to further dishonest sales pitch on health care bill which hurts millions!”
Guest: Ned Resnikoff of ThinkProgress...
On today's BradCast: There was a time when we used to debate the pros and cons of various public policy in this country, rather than whether one side was simply lying about the policy. This is not that time. The brazen and utter lies from this Administration and the GOP leadership in the Senate about their health care legislation is becoming more desperate (and obvious) by the day. They've also received the notice of Republican Governors, Senators and, yes, Trump voters. [Audio link to show follows below.]
There is no small amount of irony in the fact that Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been forced to delay a vote on the Senate's Republican health care bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare, due to a health incident for Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who is said to be recuperating in good condition after surgery on Friday. Doctors have ordered him, however, to sit out the week in Arizona, so he is unable to make it back to D.C. for McConnell's previously planned vote this week.
As of now, the bill can not possibly survive without every Senate Republican on hand. Even then, it may not pass the upper chamber. Over the weekend, the Trump Administration unleashed Vice President Mike Pence and the two top health care officials -- Health and Human Services Sec. Tom Price and the and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma -- to convince members of the National Governor's Association that up was down, black was white, and some $800 billion in cuts to Medicaid in the GOP health care scheme were not cuts at all, and wouldn't result in the loss of coverage to millions of Americans.
The governors, including many Republicans, weren't buying it. And some (like Ohio's Republican Governor John Kasich) even called out the Administration on their lies, some of which were also repeated on the Sunday shows over the weekend. As noted on today's program, there are several reasons why the Admin has been left with virtually no choice but to lie about the legislation, because even their own voters have begun to take notice.
We discuss today some of the concerns about the bill from Senate GOP moderates like Susan Collins of Maine, who worries (correctly) about the cuts to Medicaid and subsequent harm to rural hospitals in her state. She also pointed out over the weekend that, despite the huge cuts to Medicaid (and the 1/5th of the American economy that will be affected by this legislation), there has not been even one single Senate hearing to discuss its consequences for Americans. Not one.
Then, NED RESNIKOFF, Senior Editor at Think Progress, joins us to discuss concerns from the other end of the GOP caucus -- namely, from Senators like Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rand Paul (R-KY) -- about why health care is different than regular commercial commodities like breakfast cereal, no matter how much Senators Cruz and Paul attempt to argue otherwise.
Cruz' amendment to allow insurers to include skimpy, cheap plans that don't meet minimum Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) requirements was allowed into McConnell's latest version of the bill (and has subsequently been blasted by health insurers themselves), and Paul has said he's a "no" on the bill, because it still allows too much of ObamaCare to stand. He would prefer to let the "free market" sort it all out -- ya know, the way the "free market" sorted it all out before ObamaCare, leaving more than 40 million Americans with no health care at all.
"The analogy I used to explain what's wrong with Rand Paul's line of thinking here was selecting between different boxes of cereal at the supermarket. Because the place where Paul is coming from is assuming that markets always work in the same way and play by the same rules. But the truth is that healthcare is a very different kind of commodity, if we choose to treat it as a commodity, than a box of cereal," says Resnikoff, as he explains how the "life and death" nature of health care tends to "skew the way that a market would [normally] set prices."
And, while it's unclear whether Paul actually believes his own rhetoric or not, what's clear is that Republicans in general do not believe their own arguments against the ACA over the past 10 years, which is just one of the reasons they are now forced to lie about it. "This really has taken on this sort of internal logic of its own," Resnikoff argues. "Where if you actually take a step back, and think about it outside the inverted logic that this debate has taken on, it's hard to figure out why they're doing any of this. This most recent version of the bill is designed to solve a problem that doesn't exist. If you go and ask these Senators, which Vox did a few weeks ago, what is this bill trying to do? What is this bill for? No one has an answer. No one can really explain it. It's just: 'This is the Obamacare repeal bill'."
Finally, a new study looks at the fall-out after the state of Texas slashed family planning funding to health care providers like Planned Parenthood in 2011. You'll be "shocked" to learn that the GOP initiative, just like their lies about ObamaCare, didn't exactly accomplish what they had pretended it would. In fact, quite the opposite happened. And, of course, tax-payers are left once again to pay the price for those lies...
* * *
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Jesus Lara, an Ohio father of four American citizens, was deported to Mexico earlier today after nearly two decades in the U.S. Lara had no criminal record, was a taxpayer, and followed ICE’s rules by checking in regularly for years. That didn’t matter to immigration officials, who treated Lara no differently than they would someone who actually did pose a danger to public safety. Instead, he was ordered to leave.
With his options exhausted, Lara’s family and advocates went with him to Cleveland's Hopkins International Airport to say goodbye. "These are the darkest times I've ever seen as an attorney,” said former American Immigration Lawyers Association president David Leopold, who represented Lara. “When the best and the brightest that we have to offer are taken from their homes and sent away. The law is so broken."
It’s a law that tears families apart and leaves U.S. citizen children behind with no regard for their future, for their emotional and physical well-being, or even for who will feed and support them after a breadwinner gets deported. In footage shot by advocates, Lara’s children, one dressed in a U.S. flag-style hoodie, are seen tearfully clutching their dad. At one point, the camera cuts away so that Lara and his loved ones can say their goodbyes in private.
This is the dark vision Donald Trump and DHS Sec. John Kelly have for America, of tearing hard-working families apart while claiming that it’s only “bad hombres” they’re targeting.
Received this e-mail today from U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown’s (D. OH) re-election campaign:
Lake Erie provides drinking water for three million Ohioans. It generates $1.8 billion in tourism revenue and supports more than 120,000 jobs.
Needless to say, Lake Erie isn't just a big, pretty lake here in Ohio. It's an essential part of life for millions of people. Protecting Lake Erie means protecting our families, communities, and our way of life.
But Lake Erie’s ecosystem is in jeopardy. An invasive species of Asian Carp is making its way closer and closer to the lake, and this summer forecasters are predicting a harmful algae bloom that could grow to be the third largest on record.
Now is not the time to neglect our Great Lakes’ ecosystems, but President Trump’s initial budget proposal reduced Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding by 97%.
If Asian Carp reach Lake Erie, it could have significant consequences for the ecosystem. The carp could overrun native species and hurt fishing and tourism.
The Army Corp of Engineers was supposed to conduct a review of methods to keep invasive Asian Carp out of Lake Erie, but now that report is past due. The Trump administration needs to stop delaying the release of the report.
Every day this report is delayed is time that we could be using to devise ways to keep Asian Carp from destroying Lake Erie’s ecosystem. The Great Lakes are important to Ohioans and millions of Americans in the region. The Trump administration needs to release this report and fund the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative
A Kentucky lawyer nominated to fill a vacancy on the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals wrote blog posts under a pseudonym that equated abortion with slavery, questioned climate change and denounced gay marriage.
Democrats in the U.S. Senate - including Ohio's Sherrod Brown - argue that Louisville attorney John K. Bush's controversial statements should block him from becoming a judge on the Cincinnati-based federal court, which hears cases from Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee.
Writing under the name "G. Morris" on the Elephants in the Bluegrassblog, Bush wrote posts that suggested someone "should gag" then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, criticized the State Department for modifying passport application forms to account for the possibility of same-sex parents, and commented on a protest by nude women at the 2016 Republican convention in Cleveland.
"You know Trump is onto something huge when he causes people to shed their underwear," Bush wrote. "Not even Ron Paul could pull that off."
In a Wednesday speech on the U.S. Senate floor, Brown criticized Bush for advocating "extreme political views" on health care, campaign finance, climate change and LGBT rights, and for citing "white supremacist" sources that pushed the conspiracy theory that President Barack Obama wasn't born in the United States.
"Mr. Bush is entitled to his political opinions, no matter how offensive," said Brown. "But those opinions have no place on a federal court whose job it is to interpret law fairly and impartially."
Well said. By the way, Brown is going to be pushing Trump to put up or shut up on this campaign promise:
Ohio’s Democratic U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown plans to meet with President Trump’s trade representativetomorrow to talk about the starting points for the U.S. renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
One of Brown’s chief concerns is an obscure part of trade law that allows multinational corporations to sue countries over regulations such as labor standards -- in special overseas tribunals.
“I want to see them be more aggressive on the investor-state dispute settlement. It still gives too much negotiating power to the largest corporations who have been notorious for outsourcing jobs and depressing wages. I want to get to the bottom of why they haven’t addressed that as aggressively as I would have liked.
Let’s be sure to help Brown get ready to win next year so he can continue to take on Trump. Click here to donate and get involved with Brown’s re-election campaign.
Next week, the state of Ohio plans to resume executions, after a three-and-a half year hold precipitated by the botched execution of Dennis McGuire. They intend to hold 27 executions back-to-back—making Ohio the execution capitol of the country.Campaign Action
Ohio's executions were on hold while courts determined if their lethal injection method was constitutional. One of the three drugs used, the controversial sedative Midazolam, is supposed to make inmates go unconscious before they're put to death. However, it's been used in a number of botched killings—with men writhing in pain for extended periods before finally dying. In 2014, during the last execution in Ohio, it took 25 minutes for McGuire to die. Witnesses report McGuire appeared to gasp several times and made several loud snorting or snoring sounds as he died. One of the drugs in his lethal-injection cocktail was Midazolam.
Recently, a federal appeals court ruled along party lines that the state can resume executions. Despite growing opposition to the use of midazolam, Ohio's new proposed blend includes midazolam, potassium chloride, which stops the heart, and a paralytic agent. Without any action by Gov. Kasich or the U.S. Supreme Court, the next execution will move forward on July 26.
In a letter open letter, five of the nine men exonerated from Ohio’s death row pleaded with the governor to halt executions:
We are some of the nine men exonerated from Ohio’s death row, proving that innocent people have been sentenced to death in our state. We cannot restart executions until there are better safeguards in place to ensure that Ohio never executes an innocent person, which would be unthinkable...This rush to executions simply isn’t worth the risk. Please use your authority to prevent executions from resuming.
Capital punishment is fundamentally flawed. It is applied in an unfair and unjust manner—largely dependent on race, income, ability and victimology (one is more likely to be executed if the victim is white).
Ohioans to Stop Executions and local partners have already been organizing to hold off the wave of executions. With the date of the first execution happening next week, they need all the support they can get.
Please sign the petition, which will be delivered in person next week, and click here to donate to Ohioans to Stop Executions.
The abolition of this barbaric practice is on the horizon. Thanks for all you do to bring us closer to a just society.
With less than a week to go until Ohio’s first execution in over three years, a diverse coalition of thousands are making their voices heard, including several high profile concerned citizens of Ohio. Former Attorneys General of Ohio Jim Petro and Lee Fisher, and Pastor Carl Ruby of Central Christian Church are the latest to come out against the executions, with new opinion pieces published today. They join former corrections officials, exonerated death row survivors, murder victims’ families, and over 25,000 citizens who have called on Governor Kasich to halt the state’s 27 planned executions and prevent Ohio from becoming the death penalty capital of the Midwest.
Former Ohio Attorney General Lee Fisher is a Democrat who believes the death penalty should be used in some cases; Jim Petro served as a Republican Attorney General and is opposed to the death penalty. Their jointly-authored piece, published in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, shows they agree that Ohio is not ready to return to executions:
The most significant issue is the state's own failure to act on needed changes to the death penalty system. In 2014, the Ohio Supreme Court Joint Task Force on the Administration of Ohio's Death Penalty released a report outlining numerous, systemic problems with the state's capital punishment system, and detailed recommendations to make the system fairer, more reliable, and more just.
The report suggested measures to reduce racial disparity, increase accuracy in sentencing, ensure better lawyers for indigent defendants, and more.
This was a wide-ranging and detailed report, the product of years of study and discussion, issued by a task force empaneled by the Ohio Supreme Court with bipartisan members, including law enforcement officials, judges, prosecutors, public defenders, policy analysts, and state legislators.
Yet none of the most consequential recommendations have so far been adopted, allowing the serious, systemic problems inherent in Ohio's capital punishment laws and practices to continue.
In a powerful op-ed for the Akron Beacon Journal, Pastor Carl Ruby of Central Christian Church expresses why many conservatives of faith are deeply concerned about Ohio’s plan to restart executions later this month:
We question the fairness, accuracy, and cost of our state’s death penalty – a problematic government policy that metes out life and death. How can we trust our government to get it right every single time when the facts show otherwise?
Pastor Ruby makes a good point: Nine people have been exonerated from Ohio's death row in recent decades; three have been freed since the state last executed.
Ohio is not ready to resume executions. It’s a waste of money, violates our shared values, and, most importantly, could be used to end of the life of someone innocent.
As Pastor Ruby so poignantly concludes in his op-ed:
There are many things we need in Ohio to make our lives better. We need each other and our faith. We need the best possible schools for our kids. We need well-funded programs to address addiction in our communities. Using our resources on executions in Ohio would be a step backward — risking too many possible bad outcomes and violating commonly shared spiritual values.
We can stay safe, save money and save ourselves by not starting up the execution machinery again.
Hopefully, Governor Kasich is listening.
In a tweet Thursday, Ohio Treasurer and Republican U.S. Senate candidate Josh Mandel expressed support for a prominent California blogger whom the Anti-Defamation League included on a list of figures the league believes are associated with the "alt-right" movement.
The Anti-Defamation League this week included the blogger, Mike Cernovich, on a post called "From Alt Right to Alt Lite: Naming the Hate." The post is a primer describing leading figures in the "alt-right" movement, which the ADL said is a modern form of white supremacy and anti-Semitism. Cernovich, and another writer, Jack Posobiec, were included in the section describing the "alt-light," which the ADL considers a related, but less explicitly racist faction of the loosely affiliated movement.
The ADL published the article under a section dealing with "extremism, terrorism and bigotry."
The Anti-Defamation League is a Jewish civil-rights group that says its mission is to "fight anti-Semitism and all forms of hate." Mandel is Jewish and his wife, Ilana, is a member of one of Cleveland's most prominent Jewish families.
Cernovich has a particularly ugly track record. He used his influential social media platform to popularize the Pizzagate conspiracy theory, which falsely claimed that Clinton campaign emails contained coded signals coordinating a pedophilia ring in restaurants across the country. (One Cernovich video defending the theory included such gems as “Most people in journalism are pedophiles.”) “Are you going to do nothing while pedophiles are raping children in underground dungeons?” he declared on his YouTube channel, “then you become part of that evil.” These fact-free fulminations ultimately led to a shooting at a Washington, D.C., restaurant by a man convinced of their veracity.
Cernovich also promoted the baseless conspiracy theory that Jewish Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich was murdered as part of a Democratic cover-up.
These claims reached such a fever pitch that Rich’s own parents wrote an editorial in the Washington Post imploring people to respect their son’s memory and stop circulating lies about his death. They labeled the politicization of the murder a “nightmare you can never wake up from,” adding, “We have seen no evidence, by any person at any time, that Seth’s murder had any connection to his job at the Democratic National Committee or his life in politics. Anyone who claims to have such evidence is either concealing it from us or lying.”
Among other hits, Cernovich has also denied that Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons on civilians, and falsely claimed that Hillary Clinton suffered from Parkinson’s disease.
Posobiec, the other commentator backed by Mandel, is one of Twitter’s elite mainliners of political misinformation. His feed is full of cartoonishly false claims and predictions, from purportedly impending wars in Syria and North Korea to sex scandals in the White House:
In response to the ADL’s inclusion of him on its list of alt-lite personalities, Posobiec posted a video likening himself to a Holocaust victim while standing at Auschwitz, using the concentration camp as a political prop:
Unfortunately, I went to Temple University with Posobiec and had a few run ins with him. At the time we were in college together, he was working on U.S. Senator Rick Santorum’s (R. PA) re-election campaign in 2006. We all remember how that race turned out. By the way, Mandel isn’t the only candidate to get these Alt-Right clowns backing:
This is not the first time that Posobiec and Cernovich have, at the very least, been tacitly endorsed by politicians. Just last month, Corey Stewart, the failed Virginia gubernatorial candidate-turned recent Senate candidate, spoke at an event organized by Posobiec near the White House.
And in April, Donald Trump Jr. tweeted that Cernovich deserved a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on former Obama national security adviser Susan Rice. At the time, Cernovich had recently appeared on an episode of 60 Minutes, which also caught the eye of counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway who tweeted that the segment was a “must-see ratings bonanza.”
“The high ratings of the 60 Minutes piece caught my eye, so I looked for both the full clip and the full transcript,” Conway said in an email to The Daily Beast in April. “I tweeted both (using all handles) because this entire discussion about “fake news” is topical. (Apparently, the viewing audience agrees). I made no comment on the content of the interview. The transcript was not particularly flattering.”
“I don’t know him. I don’t recall ever meeting or speaking with him,” she added.
U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D. OH) is taking Mandel’s campaign seriously and wasted no time attacking Mandel’s allegiance to these Alt-Right clowns in this e-mail I received today from Brown’s re-election campaign:
Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel took to Twitter on Thursday to “stand with” a man who has claimed that date rape doesn’t exist and that “diversity is a code for white genocide.”
- The Columbus Dispatch, 7/18
Josh Mandel is aligning himself with racist, misogynistic members of the extreme right wing. They don't represent Ohio values. They don't reflect Ohio views.
Mandel has no business representing Ohio families in the Senate. But right now, he's ahead in two separate polls.
Topher Spiro from the Center for American Progress Gives us this update:
Indeed, there must be some movement in West Virginia as Donald Trump is going to hold an event there to put further pressure on Capito to get her vote.
Action is needed now across the country as pro-repeal forces are mobilizing.
Sam Wang from Princeton gives us needed numbers. Please use them if you are a constituent.
Remember that the Parliamentarian’s ruling that defunding Planned Parenthood is impermissible in the current version of the law, Murkowski potentially has cover to vote in favor of a motion to proceed (although how this impacts conservatives we will see).
Andy Slavitt who ran Medicare, Medicaid, and the ACA for President Obama states that Republicans are meeting this weekend to hash out final differences
Folks, it ain’t over till it’s over.
If you live in West Virginia or Alaska, please, we need your phone calls immediately. If you live in states with Republican Senators wherever in the country do not let up one inch. The prorepeal forces are just starting to mobilize and Trump realizes now he needs to use the bully pulpit of the Presidency.
We need action now! You see how it works when we work together! Call your Senators!