Jul 25

Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin score well in manufacturing report; Illinois not so much

The Midwest as a whole received relatively high grades in an annual rating of states’ manufacturing industries, but Illinois’ manufacturing sector is still struggling due to an unpredictable economic climate and unfunded public liabilities.

The 2017 Manufacturing & Logistics Report Card gave Illinois a “C+” for the overall health of its manufacturing industries, but the state earned a “D” in the “Tax Climate” category and an “F” in “Expected Fiscal Liability Gap.” That latter estimates the state’s ability – or inability – to fund bond obligations and pension costs.

Illinois also received an average grade – “C+” – in “Human Capital,” which measures the education level of the state’s workforce in an effort to gauge how well it is serving manufacturers.

The study gave Michigan an “A” for the health of its manufacturing sector, while Ohio and Wisconsin both received “B” grades.

Mark Denzler, vice president and chief operating officer of the Illinois Manufacturers Association, echoed some of the points made in the Ball University study.

“Manufacturing is alive in Illinois,” Denzler told Illinois News Network, noting that manufacturers in the state employ about 570,000 people. “However, it is struggling.”

The state’s strengths include good colleges and universities and a great transit system, according to Denzler.

“Seventy-five percent of the nation’s freight comes through Illinois,” he said.

But an out-migration of jobs to other states and workers compensation costs that are the highest in the Midwest and eighth highest in the country continue to add to the state’s economic uncertainties, Denzler said.

Although Denzler said today’s manufacturing workforce in Illinois is second to none, the employers continue to deal with a skills gap as they try to hire new workers. Manufacturers need to hire 20,000 to 25,000 production workers and 5,000 engineers every year just to remain at a constant level, he said.

“The governor has put a focus on vocational education and trying to provide workers with the skills needed,” Denzler said, but lately there has been no money for job-training programs.

Manufacturers have some advantages in the near future, including a growing advanced-manufacturing industry around the Chicago area, he said. But the state needs major structural reforms and begin to live within its means, according to Denzler.

“Quite frankly, Illinois needs to change its focus moving forward,” he said.

Illinois did end it’s more than two-year-long budget stalemate last week, but it came at a high cost to both businesses and workers, who will both see tax increases.

“[Last week’s] action by the Illinois legislature will speed up the loss of manufacturing jobs and will further decimate our economy,” Greg Baise, president and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers Association, said shortly after the state House voted to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s vetoes of the tax hikes and budget bills.

Those knowledgeable about the manufacturing industries in other Midwest states questioned some of the conclusions in the Ball State University study. Kurt Bauer, president and CEO of Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, took issue with the state’s “C-” grade in the “Tax Climate” category.

“I don’t think the Ball State report recognizes that Wisconsin’s Manufacturers and Agricultural Production Tax Credit reduces the corporate tax liability for qualifying companies from 7.9 percent to 0.4 percent,” Bauer said in an email to Illinois News Network. “Combine that with our right-to-work status and our recent regulatory and litigation reforms, and Wisconsin is clearly one of the most attractive states for manufacturing in the U.S.”

All of Illinois’ neighbors are right-to-work states – meaning employees can opt out of joining a union if they choose – which is another competitive disadvantage.

Professor Edward Hill, a faculty member at the Ohio Manufacturing Institute, took issue with some of the variables the study used to give Ohio a “C-” in “Human Capital.” The six states receiving “A” grades in this category were Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota and Washington.

“There are good manufacturers in many of these states, but none, with the exception of Washington and possibly Minnesota, can be claimed as centers of exceptionally skilled pools of manufacturing workers,” Hill said.

Still, Ohio is not doing particularly well in providing the type of skilled workers manufacturers need, he said, but all states likely have this problem.

“Manufacturers themselves are just waking up and taking ownership of the problem … and reinventing secondary and community college manufacturing training programs,” Hill said.

In Ohio, major employers such as Honda, Minster Machine, Lincoln Electric and Yaskawa Motoman are working hand-in-hand with educators to turn out a more skilled workforce, he said.

“We will see progress over the coming year,” Hill said.

Though Michigan was rated a top performer in manufacturing, it received “D” grades in both “Human Capital” and “Sector Diversification” in the Ball State study.

“It’s all tuned to just transportation,” Devaraj said, adding that the lack of diversification in Michigan’s manufacturing economy means that if any shocks hit that industry, the impact for the state as a whole will be major.

Recently released economic forecasts for Michigan have been positive. A University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, study said that the state recorded 28 straight quarters of payroll growth through the first quarter of 2017. But job growth should moderate through 2018, the report said.

“Manufacturing employment declines modestly over the forecast, reflecting the slowdown in the light vehicle sector,” the University of Michigan forecast said.

Devaraj stressed that manufacturing remains a key player in the U.S. economy, even as productivity gains have held down employment growth. Increased skill attainment by workers will help lower the risk of them being replaced by automation, he said.

“In reality, things are going really well in terms of manufacturing,” Devaraj said.

Back in Illinois, the state earned an “A” for the health of its logistics industries. That was due to a number of Illinois’ assets, including its central location, the value of shipped goods in the state and an efficient transportation system.

“Chicago is leading the pack in terms of the commodities flows,” Devaraj told Illinois News Network.

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Permanent link to this article: http://watchdog.org/293898/michigan-ohio-wisconsin-score-well-manufacturing-report-illinois-not-much-2/

Jul 24

Haupt: America needs group of Tom Paines to take government back from elites

“Of more worth is one honest man to society and in the sight of God, than all the crowned ruffians that ever lived.”

– Thomas Paine, Common Sense, January 10, 1776

The year was 1776 and the time had come for Americans to assert their independence from the British. This was the topic of contentious debate throughout the colonies in the summer of 1776. Though locked in a bloody struggle with British troops, the talk was not about battles won or lost. People gathered, in townships, villages, taverns and churches, to talk about one thing: Common Sense. This was the title of a scholarly pamphlet on the rights of man which captivated a country caught between war and peace. Its powerful arguments against empirical rule were both revered and questioned, which provoked oracular thought throughout the anxious colonies between loyalists and patriots.

“The supposed quietude of a good man allures the ruffian; while on the other hand, arms, like laws, discourage and keep the invader and the plunderer in awe.”

– Paine

At the time, few knew who the author of this work was. Yet this enlightenment text was dramatically changing the attitude of many Americans toward their conflict with the English. At one time or the other, one of the political or intellectual elites was credited with the prodigious work of Paine since he never stepped forward to claim it. Paine knew a true leader remains anonymous so the people will believe they were the ones responsible for this new breed of insurgent thinking. He was keenly aware after watching revolutionaries across Europe; nobody can plan revolutionary change. It is a spontaneous combustion that is ignited by thought-provoking idealism. And Paine was so gifted to plant those seedlings that could be cultivated in the minds, hearts and souls of many others.

“One encourages intercourse, and promotes our happiness by uniting our affections.”

–Paine

Despite his humble beginning, Paine was admired and respected by founders such as George Washington, Ben Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson. Yet, his workingman’s perspective threatened the elites who wanted to design a government primarily to benefit aristocrats. To some, Tom Paine was the most hated man in America, and others, a light in the wilderness for those who sought direction, courage and leadership. Those who loved him for his benefaction of guidance saw Paine as the patriot that he was. And those who hated him thought of him as a trouble maker stroking his eccentric ego for indulgent narcissistic causes. And much of the legacy of that apprehensive animosity lives on by activist groups for one who thinks sovereign from them. They chasten those like Tom Paine who fail to court their compatriots.

“Character is much easier kept than recovered.”

– Paine

Paine had an unselfish ability to keep fellow patriots aligned for the common cause. Many feel his greatest contribution to our liberty was Common Sense, which demeaned the authority of the British and the royal monarchy. It was that pamphlet that brought the breath of freedom to the embers of independence. But few comprehend the significance of Paine’s The American Crisis. Paine wrote these articles during the Revolutionary War. His unrelenting inspiration for American patriots during this inexorable crisis kept the blood of liberty flowing freely in their veins. George Washington was so moved he recited The Crisis word for word to his sullen troops at Valley Forge.

“Reputation is what men and women think of us; character is what God and angels know of us.”

– Paine

Paine rallied troops at The Battle of Saratoga, which is considered the turning point for America in the War. They stopped the southern advance of the British, which brought them French support.  Although this was a cardinal victory, their problems remained incessant. By 1781, the Continental Congress was bankrupt. Citizen support was dwindling faster than the English could enact a new tax. Army desertions were common place. The army was indigent and no longer united because the generals blamed others for this chaos. And once again Paine stepped forward and galvanized the troops. In 1781 at Yorktown, Paine motivated them to fight their best fight and they answered with their greatest victory. The colonies beheaded the great British Goliath to end the war.

“The strength and power of despotism consists wholly in the fear of resistance.”

– Paine

Throughout the decades, America has faced insurmountable crisis. But in those darkest of hours, a Thomas Paine stepped up to find a way to reignite the founding flames of republicanism. Many felt The Civil War would forever dis-unify our country once the last cannons fired at Palmito Ranch in 1865. Yet the day word reached the south that Lincoln had been assassinated, one southern telegraph operator saw this as a signal to begin the healing. And the entire south joined him. As word spread from the plains of Texas to the farms of Virginia that Lincoln had died, church bells rang for their fallen enemy.

“An army of principles can penetrate where an army of soldiers cannot.”

– Paine

Again, America is in crisis. It’s a crisis planted in American polity with the election of Barack Obama and his socialization of the republic. When voters rebelled and elected Donald Trump, the left cried he was unfit for the presidency; just as the right had claimed about Obama. Each party can make a case but that isn’t the crisis, only a symptom of it. This won’t be resolved until the elitists are removed from party politics. Leftist elitists supported Obama whose agenda few ever wanted. And cynical voters then choose a man who ran against party elites. That signals to both parties, elites are the real problem.

“It’s the duty of every patriot to protect his country from its government.”

– Paine

The elitists have always moved policy, yet the average voter doesn’t realize this. In the past, party elites imposed their authority to benefit their pocketbooks. In a capitalist society, as long as voters benefit from the profits of industry they go along to get along. But party elites went too far under Obama. Leftist elites crossed over the path and those on the right counter-reacted. When far left elites endorsed social engineering to romance the progressives, party politics replaced the will of the people in government. With each invented crisis to gain support from his flock, Obama drove a wedge between the two parties and true republicanism that even Tom Paine would find difficult to close.

“Society is produced by our wants and government by our wickedness.”

– Paine

After Obama’s reign, the two parties took sides and refused to back down. There’s a learning curve for every president and its far steeper without political experience. Obama had political experience, so one would think he could learn the job competently. But that never happened. From the day he took office, he acted like the bully in the school yard who cries “it’s my ball so we play my game or you can go home.” On the other hand, Trump had no political experience and is learning the art of governing the hard way; yet from day one the left has been bashing his inexperience inexorably. Elitists in his party excoriate him the worst.

“He who dares not offend cannot be honest.”

– Paine

The elitists have painted us into a corner. To them, the only way to end this one crisis is to remove Trump from office with no constitutional justification or collective voter consent to appease the left. To subject the right to this punishment will not only acerbate the crisis in American polarity, it will prove that our democratic republic has lost all legitimacy. We need a group of Tom Paines to step forward and take back our government from the elites to end this crisis forever.

“A body of men holding themselves accountable to nobody ought not to be trusted by anybody.”

– Paine

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Permanent link to this article: http://watchdog.org/294084/haupt-america-needs-group-tom-paines-take-government-back-elites/

Jul 21

Primary plans are starting up

Ohio’s Republican voters have reached a breaking point and it appears once again will need to take matters into their own hands.  One web site, www.PrimaryPortman.com,  hosted by the NW Ohio Conservative Coalition appears to be putting into place plans to recruit and fund a primary opponent to Sen Rob Portman when his current term expires in 5 years. The NW Ohio Conservative Coalition, Ohio Republican PAC, and Ohio Citizens PAC have all been talking […]

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.ohiolibertycoalition.org/primary-plans-are-staring-up/

Jul 21

Ohio grants property tax relief to farmers, but some fear homeowners will pay a price

Ohio just modified how it calculates property taxes for agricultural lands in order to rescue farmers from soaring tax bills, but some fear the fix will eventually burden homeowners and provide less funding for some school districts.

The state’s operating budget, which was signed June 30 by Gov. John Kasich, alters a complex formula used to calculate the value of agriculture lands. The original goal of the Ohio tax program was to give farmers a property tax break and encourage the preservation of farmland by valuing such property according to its agricultural value, rather than its market value.

But a “perfect storm of circumstances” upended the formula in recent years, according to Jenna Beadle, director of state policy for the Ohio Farm Bureau. Farmers were hit with 300 percent spikes in their property tax bills at a time when farm income dropped by 50 percent, Beadle said.

“Nonfarm factors were inflating the CAUV values,” Beadle told Watchdog.org, referring to what is known as the Current Agricultural Use Value formula.

The CAUV reforms that passed Ohio’s Senate altered the formula in terms of appreciation of farmland values and equity buildup, which the author of the legislation, state Sen. Cliff Hite, R-Findlay, said was inflating the valuation of agricultural lands.

The state’s Farm Bureau reports that the average savings for farmers’ land reassessments in 2017 will be about 30 percent. The changes will be phased in over six years so that the funding effects on school districts and local governments are not felt too abruptly, according to Beadle.

But Dr. Howard Fleeter, a consultant with the Ohio Education Policy Institute, sees the farmland tax reforms cultivating problems in the future. There’s little dispute about farmers suffering tax spikes in recent years, Fleeter said, but since 2014, the CAUV valuations have been trending downward in a way that would have eventually provided some relief without a major formula change.

“The problem is that not all farmers are getting the benefit of that formula yet …” Fleeter told Watchdog.org. “There’s a three-year lag for CAUV values taking effect.”

The idea of having farmland reappraised annually to help stabilize fluctuations has been proposed , but that hasn’t happened, he said. In turn, Fleeter is concerned that the approved CAUV reforms – which he says over time will result in a $60 million property tax shift from agriculture lands to residential areas – will overly burden homeowners and reduce funding to school districts.

“The pendulum swung from one end of the spectrum to the other,” he said, noting that the CAUV formula placed relatively low values on farmland in 2005, providing an 85 percent tax break to farmers, prior to reaching a peak in 2014.

Although Fleeter said the goal of encouraging farmers to keep their lands in production is sound, he sees the latest reform as a blunt instrument that may cause unintended consequences.

“It is possible there may be a legal challenge to this,” Fleeter said.

Jim Rowan, the executive director of the Ohio Association of School Business Officials, echoed some of Fleeter’s concerns. If homeowners come away with a perception that they are being overly burdened due to the CAUV reforms, school districts may have a tougher time getting residents to approve tax increases in the future, Rowan said.

But John Fortney, spokesman for Senate President Larry Obhof, R-Medina, defended lawmakers’ votes on the CAUV reforms as appropriate because Ohio farmers’ taxes had been doubling every three years.

“We’re not in the business of putting family farms out of business,” Fortney told Watchdog.org.

Lawmakers have also included language in the two-year budget blueprint to set aside funds – $10 million in fiscal year 2018 and $7 million in fiscal year 2019 – to help school districts whose school funding formulas are affected by the CAUV changes, he said.

“The legislature was aware of the potential impact on districts that are in more rural areas and addressed that as part of the budget,” Fortney said.

Overall, effects on nonagricultural properties should be minimal, he said, adding that the tax spikes farmers had faced needed to be addressed head-on to ensure fairness and sustainability.

“But it is true that as the formula is adjusted on agriculture use values, there will be some type of change on the residential values,” Fortney said.

Another benefit for farmers in the newly passed budget is that farmlands placed in year-round conservation to protect water quality will no longer be taxed as if they are in production, according to the Ohio Farm Bureau.

Ohio’s policy to encourage farmers to preserve their lands for agriculture dates back to the 1970s. The tax program is classified as a “differential assessment,” a system used for agriculture in several other states, but agriculture officials in Ohio describe the details of the state’s program as “unique.”

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Permanent link to this article: http://watchdog.org/293969/ohio-grants-property-tax-relief-farmers-fear-homeowners-will-pay-price/

Jul 20

GCTP Hosting Public Meeting on “The Deep State,” July 25, 2017, With John Michael Chambers

The Greene County Tea Party will be hosting Mr. John Michael Chambers as speaker at our public meeting on Tuesday, July 25, 2017, at the Xenia Community Center. Mr. Chambers is a dynamic speaker, commentator and writer, and will

Permanent link to this article: http://www.daytonohioteaparty.com/?p=2247195

Jul 20

RNC puts pressure on Senate Republicans – REPEAL, OR ELSE

RNC Chairman Ronna McDaniel sent the following e-mail out to all Senators and nationwide to all Republicans; ******** From: Ronna McDaniel Date: July 19, 2017 at 4:07:41 PM EDT To: Subject: Not what you voted for… Reply-To: You voted to repeal ObamaCare. President Trump wants to deliver on that promise. He is eager to rip ObamaCare to shreds, but some in the Senate are refusing to even put a simple repeal bill on his desk. […]

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.ohiolibertycoalition.org/rnc-puts-pressure-on-senate-republicans-repeal-or-else/

Jul 19

Proposed legislation would open up records on federal pension recipients

A Florida congressman and an open-government organization have launched a campaign to make key information on federal pension recipients subject to public disclosure.

The legislation, which is being sponsored by Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis, would make information about pension recipients subject to the federal Freedom of Information Act. The information subject to public review would include the retiree’s name, monthly annuity amount, the retiree’s total contribution to the annuity, total wages earned and retirement date, according to a draft of the bill.

Federal employee pensions are currently hand-calculated inside a Cold War-era facility deep inside a Pennsylvania mountain using 28,000 filing cabinets, according to Adam Andrzejewski, the chief executive officer for OpenTheBooks.com, a watchdog group that works on behalf of government transparency issues.

“This legislation has the potential to pass with huge majorities in both houses and go straight to the president’s desk,” Andrzejewski told Watchdog.org.

Similar transparency laws on state public pension systems in states such as Illinois, California, New York and Oregon have resulted in the uncovering of abuses and corruption, he said. A federal law would allow citizens to engage in a robust debate over federal retirement payouts and also shed light on the system’s liabilities, according to Andrzejewski.

It remains uncertain just how serious the effort is, however. DeSantis’ office did not respond to requests for comment about the legislation, dubbed the Taxpayer-Funded Pension Disclosure Act, and there is no mention of it on a list of legislative priorities on the congressman’s website.

DeSantis did co-author an opinion article with Andrzejewski about this issue. That article said that in states with pension transparency, waste and mismanagement have been identified, including how two union officials in Illinois taught as substitutes in public schools for a single day and then retired to collect pensions with lifetime values of $1 million.

“Pulling this data out of the government’s underground pension cave and into the light will protect taxpayers, retirees and near-retirees who have a right to ensure these taxpayer dollars are well-spent,” DeSantis and Andrzejewski said in the co-authored 0p-ed.

Many observers have pointed to the debt-ridden federal retirement system as a source of concern, including Moody’s Investors Service.

“The unfunded liabilities of the various federal employee pensions systems, covering civilian and military employee benefits, amount to about $3.5 trillion, or 20 percent of the U.S. GDP,” or gross domestic product, Moody’s said in a statement last year.

Another nonprofit group that advocates for government transparency, the Sunlight Foundation in Washington, D.C., takes a more nuanced view of making the federal pension system subject to public disclosure. While there is a presumption of openness in the Freedom of Information Act, government also has an interest in protecting people’s privacy, according to the foundation’s deputy director, Alex Howard.

“It is conceivable that you could rank individual pensioners to expose them to public incrimination,” Howard told Watchdog.org. In addition, disclosures of personal information require a thoughtful, ethical review, and certain data would always have to be redacted, such as certain medical information or personal financial identifiers, he said.

And the test of whether disclosing pension information is in the public interest might vary based on whether the retiree is a public figure or not, according to Howard.

But the proposed pension transparency legislation does call for the exclusion of medical conditions and any data that identifies the retiree’s beneficiary, according to OpenTheBooks.com.

“We’re aware of absolutely no instances where this information can possibly be used to create identity theft,” Andrzejewski said.

His group’s website has published the salaries of 15 million federal, state and local public employees and has never run into a privacy concern, according to Andrzejewski.

“Not one single time did we run across any case of stolen identities or anything else,” he said.

Andrzejewski expects the campaign to attract bipartisan support in the same way that former Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma teamed up with then-Sen. Barack Obama in 2006 to author legislation that placed federal “checkbook” payments on a public website.

Howard acknowledged that pensions can be used as vectors for corruption and that bringing more public scrutiny on how pension dollars are spent can help identify abuses of the system.

“It’s reasonable for the public to want to ask, ‘Who made those decisions and at what time?’” he said.

But Howard also stressed that government has to take care to be good stewards of such financial data and respect civil liberties of the parties involved.

“These are public records,” he said. “They are not our deepest, darkest secrets.”

Andrzejewski remains upbeat about the prospects of passing the pension transparency bill, saying that public employee unions might oppose the bill but would likely not win.

“I definitely think [President] Trump would sign it,” he said. “I don’t think there’s any question about that.”

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Permanent link to this article: http://watchdog.org/293976/proposed-legislation-open-records-federal-pension-recipients/

Jul 18

Haupt: Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

– Francis Bellamy

Those that crossed the Mason-Dixon Line to work in the Civil Rights Movement were shocked to experience denial of justice and the violation of their Constitutional rights. They entered a twilight zone in a mythical Orwellian novel. They gathered from around the U.S. for an adventure few knew little about. Some wandered to the delta of the Mississippi, the red hills of Georgia, and war zones of Montgomery to Selma for conviviality. Others came to listen to Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger and Joan Baez. But by the time they navigated Highway 61 back to the North, they knew why they’d ventured south.

“A nation that denies equal access to justice is a prison of malcontents.”

– William Howard

The Civil Rights Movement has taken on an air of inevitability in the popular imagination. Far too many have reduced its significance to a few heroic figures and the words “I have a dream.” The true purpose of the Civil Rights Movement has been distorted and romanced into something each individual, secular, political or religious group wished it to be for convenience or condemnation. The Civil Rights Movement had only one salient, underlying purpose: To banish the practice of denying equal justice to all Americans. Those ideals are embedded in every founding document. It remains an enigma why so many distort its historical significance, with false narratives promoted by liberal race baiters, media pundits and politicians.

“The true rule of law and justice in a judicial system is one in which the rights of some are not secured by the denial of rights to others.”

– John Seales

Three documents, known collectively as the Charters of Freedom, have secured the rights of all Americans for over two centuries and are considered instrumental to our founding and philosophy of our nation. These are The Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, and The Bill of Rights. In each founding document, they guarantee us equal rights and equal access to justice, which is the most indispensable right of all. Without access to justice, none of our rights are guaranteed or protected. Any American who does not covet their right of expedient access to justice is forsaking liberty. If we don’t protect that one right, it’s impossible to defend all others.

“The patriot volunteer, fighting for country and his rights, makes the most reliable soldier on earth.”

– Stonewall Jackson

Americans are continually at the mercy of lesser magistrates who cowardly subvert the provisions in our founding documents to deliver justice. Our right to justice is guaranteed by the Department of Justice, yet government subordinates regularly invent ways to abridge them. We hear about this on TV, see it in the fish-wrap and social media during high-profile trials, but hear little about the denial of justice by our local governments. We permit this to happen daily, yet this is a federal right and is disciplined by the DOJ!

“America was founded upon the doctrine of equal rights. Its cornerstone is the principle every man is endowed with access to equal justice to defend them.”

– Randal Hall

In hearing rooms across this nation, questionable legal practices are being reported to the DOJ to expose a miscarriage of justice in court proceedings. If a litigant cannot afford a high priced mouth-piece, they are appointed counsel. If they foresee an unfair advantage for the defense, they seek a change in venue, dispose of a capricious juror and recuse a judge. Although this is not a perfect system, most Americans have a fighting chance to improve their access to unabridged justice in our courts when they suspect malpractice. Even a green horn public defender will point out abuses of statutory protections to insure his client has access to justice.

– “Today, there are few times we are powerless to prevent injustice, but we must possess the knowledge on how to do so.”

– May Willard

The biggest offenders are not criminal or civil courts. We’ve all heard about the speed traps in our local “one-blink-of-the-eye speed limit signs” in rural townships. Although America has its fair share, they pale in comparison to the rights we thought we had and found out we didn’t have in local and state governments. These are rights denied at what are billed “informal hearings.” The only thing informal about these proceedings is how “informally” you find out they were anything but “informal.” Once a gavel is dropped, and the magistrate makes his decision, more times than not, you leave this “informal hearing” wondering if you just appeared before Judge Judy in a kangaroo court.

“One cannot bandage a mortal wound, that’s been inflicted by a miscarriage of justice.”

– Throe Bradley

This judicial deception has been going on for decades when offended citizens choose to protest any activity they have a right to in the governments they own. This is common when their property rights are violated. If their home or business is hijacked by eminent domain, the decision is etched in stone before the commission meeting. The hearing officer makes up rules as he goes along if they do not have Perry Mason there to scold him. If their rural neighborhood is rezoned to build a burger joint or county dump, notifications for these meetings are tacked on the bathroom door of the county seat or placed on page 10 in a local throwaway scandal sheet so they can call it legal.

“Those who make the law know best how to break the law without getting caught.”

– Albert Simms

States never reassess all counties at the same time. If they did this they’d have a tax revolt similar to California’s tax tsunami Prop 13 that rocked the U.S. like a New Zealand earthquake from east to west. “Prop 13 made the Gold Coast as infamous as Boston Harbor.” When a homeowner receives a tax bill for a Taj Mahal and they live in a 1,000 square foot home, they are forced to buy back their rights at dubiously “informal” tax hearings. The homeowner is guilty until proven innocent in the eyes of the taxman. The moment they arrive to face this hit squad, they are intimidated by the judge who is also the jury and only allows them to present what he wants to hear, not what they prepared. They feel like a Roller Derby skater in the “penalty box” wearing a dunce cap and wonder why! To this judge, just showing up is a capital offense!

“Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere.”

– Dr. King

Denial of justice is generic in local tribunals. Most are semi-structured to mimic a fair legal process. There is no impartial verdict, to the detriment of the accused. It is decided in advance. This violates all formal judicial process. Rules are invented by the officer obtusely, which even the best jailhouse lawyer cannot defend! If you try to quote law, you are declared out of order. Humbling intimidation is the worst injustice of all. Taxpayers are made subservient to justice that is rationed to guarantee they lose. When a taxpayer is scolded for something insignificant to put them in their place, they are defeated before they have a chance to win or lose and sheepishly give in to the tax man to end this abuse! They quickly learn how it feels to be a punching bag in a federal penitentiary gym!

“Bullies are everywhere, but the worst kind of bully is one who bullies behind the cloak of law.”

– Eely Stalls

President Ronald Reagan once said, “There are no easy answers, but there are simple answers. We must have the courage to do what we know is morally right.” The only way we can guarantee our access to justice is to know the law. If you feel violated in any way by a magistrate, you have the duty to file a formal complaint with your governmental controlling agency or the federal DOJ. You must know your rights and how to defend them!

“It takes great courage to stand alone against a judge whose best resource is to intimidate you when you and he both know you are innocent.”

– Reggie Stone

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Permanent link to this article: http://watchdog.org/293998/haupt-injustice-anywhere-injustice-everywhere/

Jul 17

Krug: Editors and publishers fail when transparency is absent in reader ‘comments’

Where the media falls down so badly so often is in its approach to stories.

Slanted and misleading headlines, hyperbolic and unsubstantiated reporting that’s short on facts and long on opinion, and manufactured outrage probably are the worst of what stands for journalism today.

But that’s simply the content that lives above the comment line. What of the interactive, social aspects of today’s journalism?

Well, that can be all forms of awful, too.

According to a report released July 12 by the Pew Institute, four of 10 Americans have experienced online harassment, 18 percent have been threatened in some way for sharing their point of view, and more than 60 percent consider this form of harassment a problem.

If you operate a news media site and allow the online forums to fester with hateful comments when matters are less important, they implode when real issues arise.

Most traditional media companies are so stripped down that they don’t have the resources to monitor comments and, as a matter of creating some visibility, have turned to Facebook comments to create some transparency. Oh, sure, they’ll take the clicks, but the responsibility for the environment? Not so much.

Others, well, I am not sure what they’re doing or if they are adhering to their own criteria because the inclusions and extractions appear arbitrary and capricious. One moment, a seemingly innocuous comment is there. The next time you might visit the site to see how people responded to your comment, but what you wrote is gone. Why? Nobody knows. For readers, the absence of continuity is jarring.

More than a decade ago, a daily newspaper and digital news site in greater Chicago I oversaw became one of the first in the country to allow comments on stories. We had this functionality and interactivity before any of the U.S. metropolitan newspapers had entered into the space. At that time, there was great debate whether the voice of the reader belonged alongside the journalism that had been published.

During my tenure as executive editor there, I saw comments as a meaningful way to interact with readers, and it provided explosive online growth at what was the onramp to the internet for most newspapers seeking to grow a digital presence.

We wanted to engage with the communities that we served. We believed, correctly, that our reporting was not the final word. We were part of a discussion – a significant part, but a part nonetheless. And we wanted meaningful conversations to occur around our reporting, because that is what journalists should strive to achieve.

We opened our online comments – I believe in 2005 – without rules, without filters, without any parameters at all really. It was a new frontier, so nobody knew what to expect.

Iterations ensued that required registration with a confirmed email, a profanity filter, and comments to remain in line with the subject of the story. It was an early handle on this key element of community building, interaction and balancing the newspaper’s standards with the community’s contributions that earned the 2007 Chicago Headline Club’s Lisagor Award for best website (over the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, et. al.) and an innovator of the year award from Local Media Association (an organization that then was called Suburban Newspapers of America).

The online community on our news site was vibrant, somewhat civil, oftentimes humorous, and with balanced and interesting points of view that – on occasion – brought new information or insight to the story. Because we served to include our community, we welcomed a reasonable amount of readers who came in without bringing their flaming torches or pitchforks.

There is nothing more essential to our democracy than the protections provided by the First Amendment. But if you want to hijack a discussion and run away with it on someone else’s news site, you’re not practicing discourse. Stay with the story. Participate in the discussion germane to that story. Be civil. Be frank, but be civil.

Civility may be too much to ask, though, as a story as innocuous as a local lemonade stand could elicit tangential commentary from trolls and wing nuts. Any digital forum, in particular those that welcome comments without accountability for them, can be hijacked by people far less interested in discussion and far more interested in hit-and-run bomb-throwing.

For publishers, a hands-off approach to comments on your site isn’t good ethical practice. It’s malpractice.

If you operate a site, and welcome guests to comment, your guests should adhere to house rules. So, as a site operator, basic rules should be determined that welcome discussion. Be clear about them; and fairly apply them.

And, to evolve the thinking, any organization that would seek to control the comments on their site through deceptive means (cloaking, fire-starting provocation, et al) is equally bad practice and, frankly, unethical.

Anyone who administers a site that allows comments knows the value of comments. And the law is on the side of the site owner. A site owner incurs no more responsibility for what is written on their “wall” than the landlord of a building whose alley-facing fence would for the scrawling from a graffiti artist. It’s actually one of my favorite aspects of digital news, because light reveals truth – right there in front of God and everyone else.

Bottom of Form

Trolls, flamer-throwers, and other cowards make some news media sites run. They drive more traffic than the content itself. Some editors say they deplore them. But they know readers like them, and visitors return again and again to see what the newest screed says.

Online comments have become the media’s click machine, powering their sites by blowing breath into what otherwise can be so-so stories that don’t advance the reader’s understanding of a subject. As mainstream journalism continues to wane, comments often are more interesting and insightful than the stories that prompted them.

But anyone who operates a news media site and allows anonymous attacks – or those created under the veil of pseudonyms – to stand is morally complicit in those comments.

I don’t care what your lawyer says. Lawsuits shouldn’t be the bar by which this is measured. Responsible news sites should aspire to higher standards.

And, when comments are anonymous and authors shielded by the public, the scrutiny of authenticity is not met. It harms the journalism.

  • Chris Krug is President of Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity. This column is original, but draws from his thoughts included in a column for ILNews.org that was published on July 7, 2017.

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Jul 17

GOP tax reforms stoke debate in states with large manufacturing, agriculture sectors

A congressional panel last week spotlighted how federal tax reform could help small businesses, but one possible component of the GOP reform plans would cost businesses an estimated $1.5 trillion over the next decade.

Though a hearing scheduled Thursday by the Tax Policy Subcommittee will highlight how tax reform could strengthen economic growth nationwide, one major piece of the reform effort would end the deduction for interest businesses pay on debt financing. Some of the Republican tax reform plans under discussion in Congress would also help offset that revenue boost with immediate write-offs on capital investments in a bid to encourage business expansion.

Other ideas include slashing the top federal corporate tax rate of 35 percent.

Business reactions to the tax proposals will likely vary markedly by industry and region, depending on the composition of a state’s economy, according to tax policy experts contacted by Watchdog.org. Businesses in states with a large presence of both manufacturing and agriculture, such as the Midwestern states of Ohio, Illinois and Wisconsin, may have especially divergent opinions.

“Farming is 95 percent debt-financed,” Patricia Wolff, senior director for congressional relations at the American Farm Bureau, told Watchdog.org. So losing the business interest deduction would have a huge impact on farmers and ranchers, according to Wolff.

In addition, many farmers already qualify for small business exemption limits for expensing farm equipment, she said. The farmers under that exemption can now write off equipment expenses such as tractors or combines up to $500,000, according to Mark O’Neill, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau.

Farmers like the idea of being able to write off such expenses during the current year, rather than take depreciation amounts over a period of several years, O’Neill said.

“Under existing law, basically farmers are allowed to legally depreciate farm equipment over seven years,” O’Neill told Watchdog.org. One compromise proposal would reduce that depreciation period to five years to help agricultural businesses, he said.

“In the last couple of years, farm income has been way down,” O’Neill said.

The American Farm Bureau opposes ending the business tax deduction, even if paired with tax advantages on expensing, according to Wolff.

“We’re very concerned about that,” she said. “It’s one of our top-tier issues.”

The Farm Bureau is now making its positions known in Congress and waiting to see what the final congressional tax package will look like, Wolff said. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, has acknowledged that small businesses and family farms have limited access to capital for borrowing, and he may include tax provisions that recognize the need to borrow to obtain additional farmland, Wolff said.

“We’re hoping that when the legislation is introduced that it will be helpful to farmers,” Wolff said.

Manufacturers, whose revenues figure prominently in states like Illinois, Ohio and Pennsylvania, may view the combination of limiting business interest deductions and providing immediate write-offs for capital expenses more favorably, according to Joseph Rosenberg, a senior research associate with the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center in Washington.

In states with large manufacturing operations, the reforms would help manufacturers that have a lot of capital expenditures, such as longer-lived assets such as structures, Rosenberg said. But even so, the swap with ending the business interest deduction will likely be a difficult sell in some regions of the country.

“It’s not clear to me that a lot of businesses would be willing to give up their ability to deduct interest,” he told Watchdog.org.

And taking capital investments out of the federal tax base might not produce the kinds of effects proponents expect, according to Rosenberg. But the change could hold down debt financing, which tends to distort some companies’ investment strategies, according to some economists,

“It’s a little unclear how big of a change that is relative to the current tax system,” Rosenberg said, adding that the combination could be a wash in terms of overall corporate tax burdens.

Zach Schiller, research director at Policy Matters Ohio, echoed some of those concerns about the overall impact of the federal tax reform ideas.

“I am immediately somewhat skeptical that changes in tax policies are going to have huge impacts,” Schiller told Watchdog.org.

Making it a little cheaper for businesses to invest in capital improvement can have some positive effects, he said, but Schiller favors a different approach than what’s in the Republican plans.

“Investing in workforce and infrastructure and improving public services is oftentimes a more useful and long-term strategy than a tax-cut strategy,” he said.

Moreover, an immediate write-off for capital investments made by businesses would prove expensive, if the proposed limits on business interest deductibility didn’t produce the anticipated windfall in federal revenues, Schiller said.

Ohio already gives businesses tax breaks, and cuts in the federal corporate income tax would be a bad idea because so few corporations now pay the top rate due to deductions, he said.

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Jul 14

Ohio gets down to business of retooling its workforce

Ohio’s state government leaders are venturing beyond tax policies, fiscal issues and regulations and into the wonky realm of realigning its workforce and higher education system to better meet the needs of businesses.

Since taking office in 2011, Gov. John Kasich has highlighted the disconnect among university and college programs, employer training programs, economic development agencies and the needs of businesses around the state. Kasich signed an executive order in 2012 creating the Office of Workforce Transformation (OWT) and the governor’s Executive Workforce Board to bring order to the fragmented arrangement of workforce agencies in Ohio.

“Kasich has worked hard to diversify the state in terms of the industries that are here,” OWT Director Ryan Burgess told Watchdog.org, noting that Amazon and IBM now have operations in the state and energy companies are showing a renewed interest in southeast Ohio.

Both Kasich and Burgess have emphasized how changing technologies and innovation, from driverless vehicles to delivery drones to robotics and artificial intelligence, are challenging the skill levels of the state’s workforce. In turn, all of the OWT’s actions are geared to making sure state workforce agencies are aligned with the needs of business, Burgess said.

But it’s unclear whether the increased coordination between the private and public sectors in Ohio is yet paying off. The state’s unemployment rate was 4.9 percent in May, according to federal Bureau of Labor Statistics figures, compared to 4.6 percent in Illinois, which has endured protracted political divisions and a two-year state budget impasse.

A study released by Ball State University in Indiana on manufacturing and logistics industries gave Ohio a grade of “C-” in “Human Capital,” which measures the skills levels of the state’s workforce.

But the state’s efforts should bear fruit in the coming year, according to Edward Hill, a member of the faculty at the Ohio Manufacturing Institute. Manufacturers in the state are taking ownership of the workforce problems, and the state is showing pockets of progress in producing skilled workers, Hill said.

In addition, the state has started funding training in robotics and advanced manufacturing centers around Ohio, he said.

Burgess emphasized that Ohio has created 460,000 private-sector jobs since 2011 and that labor force participation and wages are both headed in the right direction.

Dave LeDonne, a member of the Executive Workforce Board who works for MPLX, a division of Marathon Petroleum, sees 2017 as a foundation year for the workforce efforts – one that will help put business leaders and educators on the same page.

MPLX’s operation in Harrison County has gone from having 30 employees in 2013 to 300 today, LeDonne said, and its production of natural gas from the Utica shale region has increased more than 20-fold.

“The state itself has done a good job to create a collaboration” on workforce training, he told Watchdog.org. And LeDonne’s company has been able to take people from mills that were shutting down and transfer their skills to natural gas collection and processing.

“We’ve had a lot of success with transferring skill sets from the existing industry that was around here,” he said.

The challenge now is to get more young people onto career paths that will prepare them for in-demand jobs in fields such as energy, nursing, medicine and information technology, LeDonne said. That may mean exposing them to training options beyond four-year degree programs, such as apprenticeships, internships and skills-based certification training.

“You’ve got to get down to grade schools and high schools,” he said.

Burgess said a key focus of the OWT, an umbrella organization for 13 state agencies, is to make sure that state programs are preparing future workers for in-demand jobs. Such jobs may be driven by demographics, as is the case for health care occupations, or a high turnover rate, as is common in occupations such as trucking, according to Burgess. Other in-demand jobs rely on advanced technology, cyber security and information technology, he said.

The OWT has its sights on helping both high school graduates looking at career options and workers in shrinking industries. The key question for the 50-year-old who is losing his job is, “How do we help that person pivot and get into a new industry,” Burgess said.

But the agency is also looking at younger people and getting them and parents to think about career opportunities.

“Sixty-five percent of secondary students are predicted to work in jobs that do not yet exist,” one OWT report states.

Workforce proposals in the governor’s current budget include several key themes, Burgess said. These include creating a culture of continuous learning to cope with rapid technological change and building more career pathways to in-demand jobs, such as apprenticeships and internships.

Lorain Community College in Elyria has been among the key players in higher education on workforce issues and forming alliances with Ohio businesses.

“In northeast Ohio, health care, manufacturing and IT are certainly the drivers” in the workforce, Terri Burgess Sandu, director of talent and business innovation at the college, told Watchdog.org.

Among the changes Burgess Sandu has seen is the state’s expansion of hands-on learning opportunities for high school students who take college-level courses. The state has also given community colleges the go-ahead to offer four-year baccalaureate degrees to certain in-demand workers, she said.

And Ohio has changed its formula for funding community colleges to one based more on performance, she said, as educators work to break down barriers between educational programs and businesses.

“Conceptually, we all know that we need to partner and do it differently,” Burgess Sandu said.

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Jul 14

Conservatives who attended Governors workshop favor Renacci

Akron, OH – Tom Zawistowski, President of the We the People Convention, today announced the result of the first Conservative Coalition Tracking Poll which measures the current position of the four announced Republican Governor candidates among TEA Party and Liberty Group Activist, Social Conservatives, Gun Owners, Fiscal Conservatives, and Trump Democrats who formed the coalition that carried Ohio for Donald Trump in last year’s Presidential Election. The We the People Convention held a “Meet the […]

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Jul 12

Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin score well in manufacturing report; Illinois not so much

The Midwest as a whole received relatively high grades in an annual rating of states’ manufacturing industries, but Illinois’ manufacturing sector is still struggling due to an unpredictable economic climate and unfunded public liabilities.

The 2017 Manufacturing & Logistics Report Card gave Illinois a “C+” for the overall health of its manufacturing industries, but the state earned a “D” in the “Tax Climate” category and an “F” in “Expected Fiscal Liability Gap.” That latter estimates the state’s ability – or inability – to fund bond obligations and pension costs.

Illinois also received an average grade – “C+” – in “Human Capital,” which measures the education level of the state’s workforce in an effort to gauge how well it is serving manufacturers.

The study gave Michigan an “A” for the health of its manufacturing sector, while Ohio and Wisconsin both received “B” grades.

Mark Denzler, vice president and chief operating officer of the Illinois Manufacturers Association, echoed some of the points made in the Ball University study.

“Manufacturing is alive in Illinois,” Denzler said, noting that manufacturers in the state employ about 570,000 people. “However, it is struggling.”

The state’s strengths include good colleges and universities and a great transit system, according to Denzler.

“Seventy-five percent of the nation’s freight comes through Illinois,” he said.

But an out-migration of jobs to other states and workers compensation costs that are the highest in the Midwest and eighth highest in the country continue to add to the state’s economic uncertainties, Denzler said.

Although Denzler said today’s manufacturing workforce in Illinois is second to none, the employers continue to deal with a skills gap as they try to hire new workers. Manufacturers need to hire 20,000 to 25,000 production workers and 5,000 engineers every year just to remain at a constant level, he said.

“The governor has put a focus on vocational education and trying to provide workers with the skills needed,” Denzler said, but lately there has been no money for job-training programs.

Manufacturers have some advantages in the near future, including a growing advanced-manufacturing industry around the Chicago area, he said. But the state needs major structural reforms and begin to live within its means, according to Denzler.

“Quite frankly, Illinois needs to change its focus moving forward,” he said.

Illinois did end it’s more than two-year-long budget stalemate last week, but it came at a high cost to businesses and workers, who will both see tax increases.

“[Last week’s] action by the Illinois legislature will speed up the loss of manufacturing jobs and will further decimate our economy,” Greg Baise, president and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers Association, said shortly after the state House voted to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s vetoes of the tax hikes and budget bills. “Imposing a $5 billion dollar tax hike on Illinois families and businesses without addressing the root causes of our stagnant economic growth is a recipe for disaster and will only hasten the further loss of Illinois’ middle class.”

Those knowledgeable about the manufacturing industries in other Midwest states questioned some of the conclusions in the Ball State University study. Kurt Bauer, president and CEO of Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, took issue with the state’s “C-” grade in the “Tax Climate” category.

“I don’t think the Ball State report recognizes that Wisconsin’s Manufacturers and Agricultural Production Tax Credit reduces the corporate tax liability for qualifying companies from 7.9 percent to 0.4 percent,” Bauer said in an email. “Combine that with our right-to-work status and our recent regulatory and litigation reforms, and Wisconsin is clearly one of the most attractive states for manufacturing in the U.S.”

All of Illinois’ neighbors are right-to-work states – meaning employees can opt out of joining a union if they choose – which is another competitive disadvantage.

Professor Edward Hill, a faculty member at the Ohio Manufacturing Institute, took issue with some of the variables the study used to give Ohio a “C-” in “Human Capital.” The six states receiving “A” grades in this category were Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota and Washington.

“There are good manufacturers in many of these states, but none, with the exception of Washington and possibly Minnesota, can be claimed as centers of exceptionally skilled pools of manufacturing workers,” Hill said.

Still, Ohio is not doing particularly well in providing the type of skilled workers manufacturers need, he said, but all states likely have this problem.

“Manufacturers themselves are just waking up and taking ownership of the problem … and reinventing secondary and community college manufacturing training programs,” Hill said.

In Ohio, major employers such as Honda, Minster Machine, Lincoln Electric and Yaskawa Motoman are working hand-in-hand with educators to turn out a more skilled workforce, he said.

“We will see progress over the coming year,” Hill said.

Though Michigan was rated a top performer in manufacturing, it received “D” grades in both “Human Capital” and “Sector Diversification” in the Ball State study.

“It’s all tuned to just transportation,” Devaraj said, adding that the lack of diversification in Michigan’s manufacturing economy means that if any shocks hit that industry, the impact for the state as a whole will be major.

Recently released economic forecasts for Michigan have been positive. A University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, study said that the state recorded 28 straight quarters of payroll growth through the first quarter of 2017. But job growth should moderate through 2018, the report said.

“Manufacturing employment declines modestly over the forecast, reflecting the slowdown in the light vehicle sector,” the University of Michigan forecast said.

Devaraj stressed that manufacturing remains a key player in the U.S. economy, even as productivity gains have held down employment growth. Increased skill attainment by workers will help lower the risk of them being replaced by automation, he said.

“In reality, things are going really well in terms of manufacturing,” Devaraj said.

Back in Illinois, the state earned an “A” for the health of its logistics industries. That was due to a number of Illinois’ assets, including its central location, the value of shipped goods in the state and an efficient transportation system.

“Chicago is leading the pack in terms of the commodities flows,” Devaraj said.

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Jul 09

Toledo City Council to restrict free speech

On Tuesday, July 11th, the President of Toledo City Council is scheduled to introduce an ordinance which would make it illegal for sidewalk counselors to minister to those going into the abortion mill on Sylvania Avenue or to offer alternatives to those going into Planned Parenthood. It restricts prayer vigils and the semi-annual Forty Days for Life vigils to days and hours when these facilities are not open. These limited hours, called “safe zones”, are […]

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Jul 07

Deja Vu – Ohio Republican Legislature refuses to stand up against Obamacare, Again

Four year ago, liberal Republican Governor John Kasich bypassed Ohio’s Republican Legislature and implemented Obamacare Medicaid Expansion using the “Controlling Board” Ohio’s Republican Legislature refused to file lawsuit against a fellow Republican Governor for the misuse of the Controlling board. Fast Forward to Today. The Ohio Republican Legislature,  refused to override liberal Republican Governor John Kasick’s line item veto that would have stopped Ohio’s bleeding of money into the Obamacare Medicaid Expansion system. Ohio Republican […]

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.ohiolibertycoalition.org/deja-vu-ohio-republican-legislature-refuses-to-stand-up-against-obamacare-again/

Jul 06

Overtime rule changes great news for small businesses

Small businesses across the country are breathing a sigh of relief on news that the Trump administration is walking back former President Barack Obama’s proposed overtime expansion.

Small businesses were dreading the Obama-era order that would have doubled overtime eligibility to cover people making as much as $47,000 a year. It was scheduled to go into effect Dec. 1 last year, but a federal judge ordered an indefinite stay.

Terry McClallen with Integrity Data, an HR system company in Lincoln, Illinois, said most small businesses were still unprepared for all of the regulations on salary, time-keeping, and paperwork that the overtime rule brought with it.

“People who never had to keep a time card, and companies that never really had to deal with time cards, were going to have to not only deal with time cards but deal with calculating overtime rates,” McClallen said.

The U.S. Department of Labor said as many as 193,000 people in Illinois would have been impacted by the rule.

McClallen said the overtime rule forced many small businesses to move some workers from salary to hourly. It would have been a move that cost some workers money and even jobs as employers sought to make up for the new costs.

“If you’re talking about service industries that are running on a very, very narrow profit margin, and all of a sudden you have to start paying overtime, those are things those businesses just aren’t able to absorb,” McClallen said.

The Trump administration said it intends to walk back many of the federal mandates included in the old overtime rule.

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Jul 03

Haupt: Let freedom ring this Independence Day

“This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing, ‘My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing: Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.”

– Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,  “I Have A Dream” speech, August 1963

Everyone in America enjoys the 4th of July. Much like all holidays of significance, the true meaning of the 4th of July has mutated into another annual tradition. It has become a day of frolicking in the first days of fair weather and plentiful sun. It’s marked with outdoor activities such as BBQs, pick-up sports games and picnicking. Copious amounts of food, beer, soda and snacks are consumed until the sun begins to fade into the welcome twilight of the evening shadows of night. That is when many Americans begin celebrating the close of a blissful day of visiting with cousins they’ve never met and playing lawn games with friends and relatives. Before the first twinkling star has a chance to breach the horizon, the sky is populated with an assortment of Chinese sky rockets, horsetails, and Roman candles. The sounds of merriment echo from sea to shining sea.

“We play our favorite American guessing game every 4th of July. Are we hearing gunshots or fireworks?”

– Arthur Oman

For as long as Americans can remember, the nation has celebrated the 4th of July with fireworks shows in public squares and lighting displays at home. But the reality is that no fireworks went off on that day, nor was there any signing ceremony. That was a month later. But the events of the 4th of that very day changed the course of history. During the sweltering heat of a tortuous summer in Pennsylvania, at the second Continental Congress, delegates from 13 colonies debated whether to adopt the Declaration or not. As the heat continued to rise, the temperatures in the room became so sweltering, it’s been said they broke every thermometer in the hall. Jefferson noted that by the evening the Declaration of Independence was approved, it concluded a battle more fiercely fought than the Revolution itself.

“The United States is the only country with a known birthday.”

– James G. Blaine

Most Americans are clueless why we shoot off fireworks on the 4th of July, and fewer remember its true significance. The answer is considered folklore. But weeks before the Declaration was signed, John Adams envisioned fireworks as a part of the festivities. In a letter he wrote to Abigail on July 3, 1776, he postulated this occasion should be celebrated “with Pomp and Parade, Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one end of this Continent to the other.”

The first recorded Independence Day fireworks were ignited in Philadelphia on July 4, 1777. That night, the skies were cloaked with ringing of bells and a grand exhibition of fireworks that included 13 sky rockets cascading across the skies above the Commons. Today,

“The 4th is when children running around with fire sticks burning at 400 degrees are supervised by intoxicated adults.”

– Milo Vance

Although founder John Adams is responsible for this monumental day being morphed into a display of fireworks, clannish carousing, mischief and merriment, much of what he wrote wife Abigail was never retold. After declaring independence, he wrote, “This marked the most memorable epoch in the history of America.” He had hoped the day would be “Celebrated by succeeding Generations, as the greatest anniversary Festival.” It should be commemorated, “as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty.” Although it was two days later Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, Adams was right about the celebrations through much of our history. For us July Fourth remains a salient holiday, it no longer has the solemnity and the significance that Adams hoped it would maintain. Much of the meaning of these festivities has been shadowed by commercial enterprise and self indulgence with little thought for our true patriotism.

“Capitalists must never forget what made them Capitalists; that was American patriotism.”

– Chadwick Black

July Fourth is not only the most important day in American history, but in the world’s history also. It created the most powerful nation the world has ever known. This one Declaration legally formed a more perfect union. It announced to an “insolent world” we were assuming the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God entitle to us as free men. Additionally it cautioned governments everywhere, they derived “their just powers solely from the consent of the people.” And when any governments became destructive of the people’s rights and liberties, the people had the authority to alter or abolish a government and institute a new one.

“Democracy is the government of the people, by the people, for the people.”

– Abraham Lincoln

The words our founders so carefully chose to scribe on that parchment in Philadelphia we now call our Declaration have served as an inspiration for the people of the world for centuries. They’ve been the battle cry of Colonial rebellions against imperial regimes around the globe as justification for chasing the flag of liberty to hang in their capitals and parliaments. Vietnam used these words in declaring independence from France in 1945. Ho Chi Minh cited our Declaration word for word. In Poland, Members of Solidarity and dissidents in Czechoslovakia invoked these words in opposition to Soviet subserviency in the 1980s. In Tiananmen Square in 1989, Chinese students quoted our founders to stand against government abuse. And some say activists in the Arab Spring chanted phrases from our Declaration of Independence in their rebellion for democratic liberty.

“It’s the love of country that has lighted and that keeps glowing the holy fire of patriotism.”

– Horace McFarland

For us Americans, the Declaration is the central ingredient of the combining of thirteen individual colonies in a unified body of free men emboldened with a sense of unity and of nationhood that has never been seen before. Because America is composed of many immigrants, races and ethnicities, we’ve cast aside the boundaries of separatism in favor of a brotherhood under the cloistered cloak of liberty for all. America became a nation of one identity comprised of many the day our colonies signed the Declaration. We agreed to agree on the most important ingredients that were necessary to comprise a free government of free people. We empowered the people to remain as free men in free states to control the central government and to never let it control us. July 4th is what birthed Americanism.

“The American Revolution was a beginning, not a consummation.”

– Woodrow Wilson

Even former President Barack Obama said, “We still believe in an America where anything’s possible.” Our founders christened us the first states to form a nation while others conquered states to form theirs. And our history has been an effort to continually define that nationality. We remain not a nation in traditional meaning but one reliant on collective individualism to sustain our republic. We take no orders from a central oligarchy to hold us in unison. The Declaration has embodied these ideals in its sacred creed. And this is the true significance of July 4, 1776. Each year after we hang our flags, fill our cars with camping gear and head for the highways; keep in mind what this day means to all of us. It is our patriotic duty to light our first firecracker in the name of liberty remembering what John Adams wrote,

“This is the Day to celebrate our Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty.”

– John Adams

The members of the Continental Congress could only “mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred Honor. There was no nation, no fatherland, nor a union; nothing but the pledge itself to honor and uphold. A man’s country is not a certain area of land, of mountains, rivers, and woods, but it is a principle; and patriotism is loyalty to that principle.”

– George W. Curtis

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Jul 03

Krug: Trump hunt begs question: What is the media’s business?

Supporters said all along that President Donald Trump would be good for American business.

But many didn’t anticipate that the American media business stood to benefit from his presidency.

Currently the greatest love-hate relationship in U.S. politics, the mainstream and legacy media revels in Trump’s “fake news” claims. While they denounce his behavior publicly, reporters draw strength from Trump’s insults and use it as fuel to power their self-righteous crusade to shame the president.

They wear each hostile tweet as a badge of honor and consider it confirmation they are doing God’s work.

Trump has worked the media masterfully. He didn’t need the legacy media’s support or endorsement when he campaigned for president, and he doesn’t need them now. They are a distraction, and Trump is working them.

Historically, American media have pursued a noble mission to serve the public and keep the government in check. But that mission falls on deaf ears when the watchdogs become attack dogs. We have reached that point.

When does pursuing a story become crafting a narrative with an obvious political agenda? It starts with basic editorial decision-making. And according to the Media Research Center’s recent study, network news has decided that Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election outweighs other critical issues such as health care, tax reform, and jobs. It feels almost as if it was pulled from a season of Netflix’s “House of Cards” – only not as clever.

And then there’s CNN, the cable news network that continues to beat the Russia drum even after there is no new evidence or information to report. Their desperation to find the smoking gun resulted in the retraction of a Russia-related story and the resignation of three staffers last week.

The driver? Not truth. No, it was red meat for the left; creation of controversy. We’ll wait for the next public opinion poll, but I think it’s safe to say that the Russia investigation is not at the top of everyday Americans’ priority list.

The videos released by conservative journalist James O’Keefe, known for undercover sting operations, show CNN producers admitting that the Trump-Russia investigation is overhyped for enhanced ratings. They need something they can own to differentiate themselves from other cable-news channels. And so the love-hate cycle continues.

Although this epic rivalry can be comical at times, it’s sad to look behind the curtain and realize that Big Media has its interests too – and it doesn’t always include the American public.

For media to be credible – truly credible – it must report independently verified facts. It must seek the truth, and report with integrity. It must distill facts and straight news from opinions and insights gleaned from perceptions of original reporting.

The criteria for whether a story is good to air or publish should be somewhat higher than a corporate lawyer’s opinion on the likelihood that it opens up the organization to a lawsuit.

The lone criteria should be truth and public interest. Often, it’s not.

Television news, in particular that which appears on 24-hour cable cycle, is rife with opinion. Understandably so: There simply are not enough resources on any network or cable channel to fulfill a mission of 365-day news content that would be interesting enough to hold an audience’s attention. Without commentary, every network would resort to the C-SPAN model of airing raw footage of endless committee meetings.

Opinion is less expensive than actual reporting, and is in endless supply. It is far more economical to bring in a person from a studio in Washington, D.C., than it would be to send a correspondent and crew to Moscow. That’s a business decision that saves media brands money and costs taxpayers in reliable information.

So what is passed off as straight news often is a new take of an opinion. And with each passing “hot take,” the message is pushed further and further away from the truth.

Why does it matter? Can’t people have an opinion on the news?

Certainly. This is America, and our speech is protected constitutionally. But it matters that the continuous news cycle rarely differentiates between straight news and opinion. The content is often indistinguishable. Context is rarely offered. Oftentimes, the crawl beneath the commentary is in clear conflict. The opinion often overwhelms the core of the story.

The result is that the news itself – the facts, the verification, the story, and the truth – has been discarded in favor of a take on the news.

A controversial or salacious quote often makes a better headline than the old journalism standby of who, what, where, when, and why. Just look at the mainstream media’s obsession with President Trump’s recent tweet about Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, or the video he posted of an old WWE appearance where Trump punches out a man with a CNN logo superimposed on his face. The exaggerated response gives President Trump an even greater villain to demonize and justification for controversial actions such as banning cameras from the White House press briefings. Veering from the facts lowers the public perception and credibility of media as a whole. It threatens our democracy.

So much so that it must be next to impossible for Americans to understand the media’s job, or what business we’re in anymore.

  • Chris Krug is president of the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity.

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Jul 03

Thank you President Trump

Thank you President Trump. For decades,  the liberal left media and Socialist / Communist Democrat party have attacked every Republican in office.  Sadly, the Republicans response to these continued attacks has been to cower, hide,  and capitulate to whatever the Liberals and Democrats want. President Trump is the first Republican to fight back.  He’s the first Republican to tell the leftist, fake Media and the Socialist / Communist Democrat to go pound sand. Thank You […]

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.ohiolibertycoalition.org/thank-you-president-trump/

Jun 30

10-month-old Charlie Gard and U.K. Government

“We’re not allowed to choose if our son lives and we’re not allowed to choose when or where Charlie dies,”

Maybe you’ve read about Charlie who lives in the U.K. Charlie Gard is a 10-month-old baby who has a rare genetic disorder called mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome, one of only 16 children in the world with this disorder.

Charlie has loving parents who want to care for him the best they can. He is currently being treated at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London, but the hospital decided they can’t do anything more for Charlie. The hospital made the decision to take him off life support.  Trying to end his life; premature, without the consent of his parents, so that he could “die with dignity.”

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The parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, disagreed with taking him off life support and have raised $1.6 million to airflight Charlie to the United States for care. All the parents needed for this to happen was for the British hospital to release Charlie into their care as parents. Sadly, the UK hospital wouldn’t release custody, cue ongoing legal battle ending on July 27th:

  • 3 March 2017: Mr Justice Francis starts to analyse the case at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London

  • 11 April: Mr Justice Francis says doctors can stop providing life-support treatment

  • 3 May: Charlie’s paren ts ask Court of Appeal judges to consider the case

  • 23 May: Three Court of Appeal judges analyse the case

  • 25 May: Court of Appeal judges dismiss the couple’s appeal

  • 8 June: Charlie’s parents lose fight in the Supreme Court

  • 20 June: Judges in the European Court of Human Rights start to analyse the case after lawyers representing Charlie’s parents make written submissions

  • 27 June: Judges in the European Court of Human Rights refuse to intervene

For Charlies parents and people around the world this is heartbreaking and scary. American parents, friends, individuals…wake up, Universal Healthcare is the detriment to a thriving society! This is the effects of Universal Health Care: freedom and human rights are being mercilessly stripped away. Not just for people like Charlie, but for individuals, parents, grandparents, and every citizen the government deems as useless to society.

As an American society we no longer value life, but thank goodness we value ourselves. Because of individual healthcare, we can choose what we want for ourselves. The moment we start a centralized government based health care system, we are at the mercy of the government. Let me explain: in the United States people choose the level of healthcare insurance they want, which in turn they pay for themselves. This allows them the freedom to treat their illness in the way they choose. Under Universal healthcare, the government covers all medical expenses, which sounds great. However, this puts the power of choice in the hands of a governance board.

This is what is happening to Charlie. The government sees this little boy as an unneeded expense and a burden to society, thanks to universal healthcare. The government feels like this is the most humane way to dispose of him. His parents said, “Not only are we not allowed to take our son to an expert hospital to save his life, we also can’t choose how or when our son dies.”  His parents see him for his true worth in the sight of God and tried to give him the health care he deserves. But the government felt it unnecessary and unneeded to spare his life, so they are choosing to let him die.

charlie-gard-parents

Universal Health Care will be the detriment of your children, your grandchildren, and your great grand children. The effects of it will be astronomical and you need to fight and speak up today against this flawed system that will cause unneeded death and crushing heartbreak for generations to come.

As American citizens we have to understand that fighting against universal healthcare is not a problem we can put off for tomorrow. Something has to happen today, the senate is currently debating regulations on the healthcare system which has colossal immediate and future implications. We as citizens need to stay informed, knowledgeable, and speak out against an overreaching government. As we celebrate freedom this weekend on July 4th, we are celebrating what people have fought so hard over the years to attain. Let us not be the generation who puts down our battle swords for the sake of “peace, comfort, or laziness,” resulting in years of bondage and death by the American government.

 

 

WRITTEN BY JENA POWELL: Jena Powell is co-founder of Blue Ash Media, a digital advertising company in Southwest Florida and VP of sales at Huntington Outdoor Advertising, a Midwest-based outdoor billboard company. She stays up-to-date in the political world through her involvement with Forge Leadership Network. She has a passion for small business, marketing, the Gospel, and politics.

 

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Permanent link to this article: http://ohioconservativereview.com/2017/06/30/10-month-old-charlie-gard-and-u-k-government/

Jun 30

Congressional bill would fix income tax confusion for businesses who send employees across state lines

A bill fresh out of the U.S. House of Representatives would fix a long-standing problem in states’ tax code that has likely resulted in businesses and employees overpaying the state for decades.

Companies that send a worker to another state have to make sure their complying with that state’s tax code. The problem in Illinois and possibly other states is that their laws are all different and complicated. The Mobile Workforce State Income Tax Simplification Act that currently is awaiting a Senate committee vote would make all states adopt the same 30-day threshold before someone can be taxed.

Based on their answers in April, Senator Dick Durbin’s office, the Illinois Department of Revenue, and a number of accounting firms weren’t on the same page about Illinois’ current threshold.

“It’s a compliance nightmare,” said Maureen Riehl, Executive Director of the Mobile Workforce Coalition. She said the confusion around Illinois’ laws are a perfect example of the need for uniformity. “Organizations are sending money to Illinois that, last I was told, those checks aren’t being returned.”

Riehl says the new proposal would require an employee based on one state to work at least a month in another state before needing to pay income taxes there.

A 2015 Bloomberg study on multi-state tax compliance showed that less than half of the companies they surveyed keep up with the regulations of every state where their employees travel.

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Permanent link to this article: http://watchdog.org/293807/congressional-bill-fix-income-tax-confusion-businesses-send-employees-across-state-lines/

Jun 28

Congressional bill would allow private donations to fund abandoned mine redevelopment

A bill filed in the U.S. House would  allow private donations help revitalize the nation’s abandoned mines so they can be used for recreational areas.

U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood, R-Illinois, says there’s a hurdle keeping private foundations from renovating abandoned mines across the nation. LaHood said it’s modeled after a program in Pennsylvania, which has done this with a number of its mines. He wants to allow it to happen nationwide

“The reason why they haven’t been able to do that in the past is sometimes there is a liability associated with those abandoned mines,” he said. “These mines have been long abandoned.”

LaHood’s bill, introduced last week, would lift some of the liability on these charitable organizations. He says this will allow them to repurpose the areas for hunting, fishing and other activities.

“If you are a third party group and you want to come in and take over that land, if you meet certain criteria, you’ll be able to do that,” he said.

There is $10 billion worth of abandoned mine sites with no living responsible party across the country. The outstanding abandoned mine land liability in Illinois is $156 million. States are currently responsible for these projects and receive money from a dedicated  fund supported by fees from coal operators.

Members of both conservation groups and the coal industry have expressed support for LaHood’s bill.

“[Trout Unlimited] stands ready to expand our work to clean up abandoned mine pollution, but we need passage of the Community Reclaimer legislation to make it happen,” President Chris Wood said.

“This is vital work that is necessary in helping keep our mines clean, safe, and available for reuse,” said Phil Gonet, president of the Illinois Coal Association.

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Permanent link to this article: http://watchdog.org/293739/congressional-bill-allow-private-donations-fund-abandoned-mine-redevelopment/

Jun 26

Haupt: Only we can cure D.C.’s swine flu

 “It is interesting back in 2011, shortly after the swine-flu epidemic broke out; Congress enacted an earmark moratorium that would supposedly put an end to pork-barrel spending.”

– Jenny Reed

The phrase “pork-barrel spending” derives from the antebellum period. Plantation owners would give barrels of salt pork to their slaves, who fought with each other for a share. The term acquired its derogatory connotation after the American Civil War. References to “pork” became common in Congress as representatives competed for Reconstruction dollars. By 1919 the National Municipal Review started scolding Congress for passing legislative acts and referencing them as “pork barrel bills.” And today it is common practice in Congress. Pork-barrel coupling is politely called earmarks added to the federal budget as “appropriations.”

“Being willing to donate the taxpayers’ money is not the same as being willing to put your own money where your mouth is.”

– Thomas Sowell

Due to an influenza epidemic in 2009, referred to as “swine flu,” people worldwide stopped eating pork. Although this merging of human and animal strains proved non-transmissible by consuming pork, sales tanked. By the end of 2009, the pork industry suffered a $98 million loss, and was forced to hit back. Through costly advertising, they revealed facts to disprove this fiction. They convinced The Center for Disease Control to inform the public they were erroneously informed. The CDC issued an obsequious retort: “We have concluded pork has no relationship to this influenza. We’ll refer to it as H1N1 from now on.” Pork industry spokesman Bill Brier cried foul! “Calling this influenza ‘Swine flu’ damaged us needlessly. We’ve spent millions to convince people these claims were bogus.”

Unlike Congress’ 2011 earmark moratorium on pork-barreling, the pork industry’s reputation was deceptively damaged. But consumers found out “facts” out-weighed fables and this was not just lip service to regain loyalty. On the other hand, Congress has been preaching for years about cutting back on ear-marked favors for everyone. Yet, their claims are shallow promises made to impress a disenchanted electorate. Each year as session opens, they chant the same redundant song. This makes fiscal conservative voters furious for not dropping the hammer on them. But every time their state requests more money to bail them out in a trade for votes, those freeloading off federal dollars cry foul. It’s easier to talk the talk than it is to walk the walk.

“American government has turned into a cow that gives more milk the more it’s kicked in the flanks by special interests.”

– Drew Rusk

Everyone blasts Congress for their inability to control spending. They are more reckless with our tax dollars than a driver is at the local demolition derby. But far few discern the federal government operates from a reactionary podium. They jump higher than a kite flies in an Oklahoma tornado when those most influential to their benefit desire more tax dollars. Their actions reflect the will of special interests and those most venerable to treasury favors. In 2016, there were over 200 earmarks, an increase of almost 50 percent over 2015. This was disconcerting, hitting voters far below the belt!

“Who is in charge? Is it taxpayers or is it the special interest groups?”

– Scott Walker

Pork-barrel spending is alive and well in Washington, D.C., despite their fabled claims of denial. The most frequent argument in favor of earmarks is they help pass critical spending bills. However, in the past, many members of Congress have voted for excessively costly legislation because they have received an earmark for their constituents or an avid party supporter. Don’t let anybody fool you. Congress takes their marching orders from those closest to them. That does not exclude the states eager to endorse federalism in trade for their votes.

“Balanced budget requirements seem more likely to produce accounting ingenuity than genuinely balanced budgets.”

– Thomas Sowell

“Porking-out” on American tax dollars creates more losers than winners. The losers are the public taxpayers while the winners hide in the halls of chamber. This increases the deficit, with additional funding, by attracting votes for costly legislation that barely passes the scrutiny of the CBO. This interferes with democracy by eclipsing the wishes of the voters and fuels distrust in government. It’s hard for voters to determine which legislators benefit and the ones that don’t in a system that openly incorporates “earmarks” referred to as “appropriations.”

“The problem with earmarks is Congress does not tell you the ear they are marking it from is the innocent porker.”

– John Pope

Nothing is more abused than the U.S. Transportation Authority and our states infrastructure. Donald Rumsfeld told us, “you go to war with the transportation system you have, not the system you might want.” We are currently committed to funding highways, light rail train lines, rural roadways, and even monorails that will be obsolete before they are completed. Yet last year, Americans traveled over 4 trillion miles by car, 700 billion by air, and more than 400 billion on the good old-fashioned bus. Passenger rail was a distant last with only 7 billion miles! Yet the transportation lobbyists are chomping at the bit for federal money for state projects nobody wants or will ever use.

“Wishful thinking is not idealism. It is self-indulgence at best and self-exaltation at worst.”

– Thomas Sowell

American taxpayers have great hopes in President Trump, who promised to “trump” the spending of the previous administration. And his new transportation bill demonstrates he is serious despite the wieners and criers in the states. Barack Obama blew over $150 billion in tax dollars on his green energy hoax that netted us a negative energy output. He subsidized solar and windmills, like the ones lying in the sand in the California desert with taxpayer money to the tune of a $40 billion average a year during his rocky tenure. These massive subsidies did nothing to increase the use of solar power or energy production but it sure made Al Gore ecstatic. Blasé taxpayers watched his pet projects fail as 88 percent went belly up.

“Never waste a crisis when it can impact climate change.”

– Hillary Clinton

Pork-barrel spending is nothing more than putting lipstick on a pig and calling it “appropriations.” It will never be contained; just masqueraded and renamed. And while we are preoccupied blaming Congress for not being able to live within their means, they are only reflecting the requests from those who whimper the loudest and do the most for them. Special interest groups and above all state lobbyists are eager to bury us in debt. Today, legislation is so laden with unrelated political handouts that many members of Congress don’t know what they are voting for. And those that do defend this secretive splurging claiming it is for the benefit of the general population.

“You can never bail someone out of trouble without putting someone else into trouble.”

– Dr. Arthur Laffer

Magic Johnson said, “The best doctors and medicine can’t save you if you don’t do what they tell you.” We have witnessed many medial miracles such as vaccinations for ailments like polio and pneumonia. And every year scientists develop new inoculations against influenza. But none have conjured up a cure for government swine flu. Even the best witch doctors and voodoo chiefs are clueless. This is beyond their wisdom. The only cure for swine flu is Election Day. We must elect healthy politicians instead of those infected with swine flu or susceptible to it. Congress’ manifestos to cure swine flu are like putting a Band-Aid on a malignant melanoma. James Madison warned us in 1782 : “I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.”

 

 

 

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Jun 25

Judge Jeanine Pirro Slams Democrats Who Promote Hatred and Violence

Judge Jeanine Pirro argues that the trickling down of hate from many Democrats and many in the media is a danger to us all. While President Trump is focused on jobs, the economy and our safety and security, many

Permanent link to this article: http://www.daytonohioteaparty.com/?p=2247136

Jun 25

GCTP Public Meeting on the Opioid/Heroin Epidemic, Tuesday, June 27, 2017

“The Drug Epidemic in Ohio and What We Need to Do”

The Greene County Tea Party (GCTP) will host Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, Dr. Greta Mayer, CEO, Mental Health & Recovery Board, Judge Beth Cappelli, Fairborn Drug Court,

Permanent link to this article: http://www.daytonohioteaparty.com/?p=2247134

Jun 21

Study: Heroin use costs U.S. more than $51 billion a year

Heroin use and addiction in the U.S. costs more than $51 billion every year, according to a new study released by the University of Illinois at Chicago’s school of Pharmacy.

Researchers came to the figure by tallying the costs of crime and incarceration, lost productivity on the economy, and treatment of not only addiction but of other diseases addicts are more likely to catch, such as HIV, Hepatitis B and C, and tuberculosis. The overall costs includes overdose deaths as well.

Simon Pickard, professor of Pharmacy Systems, Outcomes and Policy at UIC, said the study allows policy makers to explain the value of fighting heroin addiction.

“If we can avoid some of the cost that this epidemic is imposing on us, $50 billion to American society is a huge cost,” Pickard said. “Policy makers understand economics. They can make a case to the taxpayer in economic terms that fighting this epidemic has value for their money.”

The last time a study looked at the cost of the nation’s heroin epidemic was in 2001, using data from the 1990s. Since then, Pickard said there are a number of different factors that drive up the epidemic’s cost, namely medical advances to treat associated diseases and the higher cost of incarceration.

It costs more than $30,000 to incarcerate an individual heroin user, which does little to solve the root cause of the addiction.

The Illinois Department of Public Health estimates that tens of thousands of Illinoisans are abusing opioids. The figure is growing quickly downstate. Pickard said economically depressed areas such as downstate Illinois, which has seen sharp increases in addiction admissions, need the most attention.

“If Southern Illinois has been very hard hit, we need to try to work with those communities and get people help,” he said.

Pickard said the cost of heroin addiction is more expensive to the nation than Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD, the disease commonly associated with smoking.

“It places it among the highest burdens of disease in the country,” he said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says heroin overdoses have more than doubled since 2002.

There is no one cause to the heroin crisis, experts agree. One major factor, many agree, is the overprescribed use of opioid painkillers.

Illinois has recently enacted laws that make the overdose-fighting drug naloxone, commonly known as NarCan, available to emergency responders.

The study can be found here.

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Permanent link to this article: http://watchdog.org/293637/study-heroin-use-costs-u-s-51-billion-year/

Jun 20

Haupt: Fed up with elder abuse

“The Federal Reserve can continue to print more money, but cities and states can’t.”

– Rob Liner

The central bank has crushed the interest rates seniors have relied on for centuries to supplement their incomes and live lives that are meaningful and independent. After slaving in factories, fighting wars for our country and preserving democracy around the globe, the Fed has ruthlessly cut off the income of many of our greatest contributors to democracy and the free world:

“This generation made the sacrifices and paid ahead, so our country could remain free and libertarian.”

– Al Collins

Although America elected a capitalist leader, so far the Federal Reserve has kept interest rates at sub-zero. Capitalists foolishly felt the Fed would raise them if a conservative was elected, but they were swindled again. They felt they’d stop printing $5 billion a day to stimulate a factitiously contrived housing recovery. Barack Obama’s friends at the Fed made his recovery look real yet it was as phony as a $3 bill! This ghoulish Fed stuck future Americans with a debt they’ll never pay off. This was done to finance an illusion of “non-ready-shovel-ready-jobs” since the housing market could perpetrate the phantasm of a recovery to disguise his failures. Now, taxpayers are footing the bill for this hoax the rest of their lives.

“Blessed are the young for they shall inherit the national debt.”

– Herbert Hoover

From the time this “Monster of Jekyll Island” was first created by JP Morgan and his gang of thugs, it has become the most impudent scam in economic history. Facts speak for themselves! It caused wars, boom-bust cycles, inflation, depression and, once in a blue moon, prosperity. The Fed was not a brainchild the government arbitrarily conjured up to watch over our money supply. It was a tool of a cabal of totalitarian bureaucrats who have helped shape the denigration of the 20th and 21st centuries. Developed in reaction to a catastrophic financial panic in 1907, a few independent wealthy plutocrats met in secret meetings with the vile “Mr. Hyde” on Jekyll Island, and adjured a plan with the blessings of Congress, to set the Central Bankers of the world on fire!

“The central bank nearly wrecked the world economy and has created one calamity after another.”

Jeff Tucker

It took these tycoons nine days to invent the beastly Federal Reserve. The motive behind this devil was more than guarding our money supply. They weren’t trying to solve an economic problem; but a political worriment. The U.S. didn’t need a new central bank; they had one in Morgan. He was the aphoristic lynchpin of Wall Street who bankers turned to when trouble arose. He was spirited, powerful and vain with an apostolic ability to persuade anyone to do anything. The economic future of the world’s greatest power was subservient to his wealth and his inflated ego. When these henchmen left Jekyll, they had taken control of all U.S. money. They have been playing Russian Roulette with it since then.

“He who controls the money supply of a nation controls the nation.”

– James Garfield

The Fed has proven they can screw up a junkyard without ever trying. Their hidden agenda when Obama reigned was to allow him to sky-rocket our national debt by reducing the interest rates to lower our borrowing costs. That raised the national debt higher than the Goodyear blimp flies on Super Bowl Sunday! And this activist Fed didn’t care about the harm they were doing, since elders will be gone when the economic tsunami hits! Because liberal progressivism has influenced every government institution in America, they have chosen sides. And don’t expect them to change now.  They will remain there until it benefits them to sell out to the other guys. This nightmare is alive and well.

“Give me control of a nation’s money and I care not who makes its laws.”

– Mayer Rothschild

During Obama’s tenure, the era of virtual-nothing interest rates was devastating to senior citizens. It was a federal offense: “The Fed Elder Abuse Act.” You’d think now that we have a 70-year-old head of the Fed, Janet Yellen, she’d have sympathy for seniors struggling to survive? But that’s a pipe dream. When you pay someone $199,700 a year who is not concerned about maintaining a house, paying rent, buying groceries, health insurance, and fuel, why worry about others? She obviously agrees with Marie Antoinette when she told the peasants, “Let them eat cake.” And that is Federal Elder Abuse in its quintessence.

“Elder abuse is a slap in the face of all morality.”

– Ellen Waters

The Fed has turned its back on reality. From our first colonies, we have had an investment balance that was the adrenal gland of our economy. People put money in stockings, buried it in cans, kept it with trusted store keepers and later deposited it in our 1st post offices before we had banks. They found innovative ways to stash their money for a time when it was needed. America was built by savers who over-saved and under-consumed so they could survive with a well-earned retirement. It was over-saving that made America financially and economically healthy. Now seniors must say:

“I learned to seek my happiness by limiting my desires, and I have remained content.”

– Jay Strong

The Fed’s blitzkrieg against the elderly is more abusive than anyone will admit. The banks used to give seniors a “living-interest rate” on their savings and trusted them to reinvest their money. This gave them both a good return on their investment, which was healthy. Now that has gone the way of the corset, the infamous Chevy Corvair, and the Dick Clark Show. Seniors, who used to rely on safe investments to live in security, now “pay” for the challenge of letting the Fed steal their money. And the Fed treats them as 2nd class citizens with their hands out! They just tell them to get an EBT card and a free cell phone. Now:

“He who will not economize will have to agonize.”

– Confucius

Today, pension plans are so grossly under-funded, seniors are being told they are in danger of losing that one last remnant of security they had worked for all of their lives. And this is Fed Elder Abuse at its pinnacle! Insurance companies depend on interest rates to survive. They’re sucking air due to ground-zero rates. The companies insuring long-term health care are raising their premiums higher than an addict who just got a fix. Because the Fed has artificially kept the Consumer Price Index so low, seniors aren’t getting increases in Medicare or Social Security stipends. We need to pass the Federal Elder Abuse Act soon, before all of our seniors are forced to take jobs as greeters at the local Walmart!

“These days, you’ve ‘gotta’ milk a dollar out of every dime.”

– Gayle Forman

Those approaching retirement have three choices: save more, work longer, or tighten their belts; and pray. What happens when the whole country is faced with this dilemma? This is why most are wondering how the Fed was ever allowed to abuse its duty to guard and protect our money supply? Why have they become an army for the progressives? How can they justify their incompetent illogic by punishing seniors so young progressives can buy homes paid for with the pensions and security dollars of our elder patriots? Should older Americans be forced to live out their lives barrennessly because of Federal Elder Abuse? “It’s always easier to spend other people’s money than yours.”

The Fed has abused our seniors too long. It’s time to expose this heinous crime! Robbing them of their savings, taking away the security they once cherished, to give it to the federal government to make these villains into heroes should be a felony. That’s a nefarious crime that must be stopped! We need to pass the Federal Elder Abuse Act now. Our society has a duty to pay back those who have paid forward and repay them for their loyalty to the USA.  “To leave our elders stranded on an economic island of despair is a ‘holocaust’ for the purpose of generation cleansing”! (Jane Kline)

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Permanent link to this article: http://watchdog.org/293661/haupt-fed-elder-abuse/

Jun 19

Supreme Court’s ruling on Wisconsin mapmaking case could impact gerrymandering across U.S.

There could be changes coming to how Illinois’ legislative maps are drawn every ten years with the U.S. Supreme Court agreeing to take up a Wisconsin case on the very issue.

Longtime Democratic Party activist Bill Whitford brought the case Gill v. Whitford, which challenges Wisconsin’s 2011 State Assembly map as unconstitutional. He said his state’s apportion scheme denies residents the ability to have real choice at the ballot box.

The Seventh Circuit Court found the map violates the constitution because it gives one party more power than the other. The case was then petitioned to the nation’s high court, which announced Monday it will hear it in November.

A ruling next spring could impact not just Wisconsin, but other states with similar issues, including Illinois.

In Wisconsin, Republican majorities draw political boundaries to favor Republicans. In Illinois, Democrats have that control. The practice is known as gerrymandering.

The Campaign Legal Center (CLC) filed a brief to the Supreme Court to affirm the lower court’s ruling in favor of Whitford.

CLC President Trevor Potter said the effect in Illinois is clear.

“More than 60 percent of the state legislative seats in the general election were uncontested, [with] no Republican running against those Democrats because they were such Democratic districts,” Potter said.

The same was the case for some Republican-dominated districts where there wasn’t a Democrat challenger in the most recent general election.

There could be challengers in party primaries, but Potter said that can make things more politically polarized, “which I think makes it much harder to have legislators do what the voters say they want, which is to come up and solve problems and figure out how to talk to each other and compromise.”

Paul Smith, lead plaintiffs attorney for the Wisconsin map case, said if the outcome is in their favor, there could be a lawsuit challenging Illinois’ map-making process using the ruling from the Supreme Court.

“And they would argue that the new legal standard is such that the Illinois map doesn’t measure up constitutionally and they would have a pretty good argument that it should be fixed before the next round of redistricting comes along,” Smith said.

Potter said the crux of the case in Wisconsin, as it is in Illinois and other states, is politicians pick their voters, not the other way around.

“What we have in this situation is essentially a theft of that right by whichever party is in power at that moment,” Potter said.

Smith said a victory for the plaintiffs would “be to really affect the way the legislators in all of the states draw their maps next time in 2021 because they will know there’s a much-enhanced risk of the map being thrown out and they would much more likely try to minimize the degree of bias in the maps. We’re hopeful that within the next decade, we could have a dramatically changed playing field.”

Last year, a citizen-led group in Illinois collected over half a million signatures to get a question on the general election ballot to change the state constitution, allowing for an independent commission to oversee the map-making process. The measure failed a court challenge brought by an attorney with connections to House Speaker Michael Madigan and the Illinois Democratic Party.

“Illinois suffers greatly from gerrymandered, partisan-drawn legislative districts that result in a lack of fair, competitive elections,” Brad McMillan, Vice-Chair of CHANGE Illinois, the group that took over for the effort to change how Illinois’ maps are drawn, said. “The highest court in America could establish clear constitutional limits on partisan map-drawing that could have applicability to Illinois and other states.”

The national group Patriotic Millionaires put out a statement Monday supporting the plaintiffs in the Wisconsin case.

“Too many Americans have had the key to their power — their votes — stolen by the very system that was instituted to secure their rights,” Morris Pearl, chairman of the group, said.  “Partisan gerrymandering has distorted our political system and disenfranchised voters for far too long.”

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Permanent link to this article: http://watchdog.org/293659/supreme-courts-ruling-wisconsin-mapmaking-case-impact-gerrymandering-across-u-s/

Jun 16

Group seeks transparency in high-stakes Puerto Rico bankruptcy case

A group of investigative journalists in Puerto Rico is suing the congressionally created board that acts as the island territory’s representative in bankruptcy proceedings, claiming they are failing to be transparent in their financial dealings.

The stakes are high for plenty of Americans, as Puerto Rico’s debt has far-reaching implications in a number of financial sectors in the U.S. as well as for privately held public debt in states like Illinois.

The Puerto Rico Center for Investigative Journalism (CPI) filed suit earlier this month against the Financial Oversight and Management Board to compel the disclosure of key documents in the bankruptcy case.

CPI alleges the board won’t share information that would reveal the commonwealth’s financial standing and also won’t release financial disclosures and conflict-of-interest forms submitted by the seven members of the board to the U.S. Department of Treasury and White House.

CPI also said the board won’t disclose documents and other communication between itself and the Puerto Rican government and/or federal agencies. It claims, as well, that the board won’t reveal what contracts have been granted to private entities or the minutes of its meetings.

Congress recommended, and President Barack Obama officially selected, the members of the oversight board in 2016 under the new Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA), passed and signed into law that year to deal with the territory’s mounting debt.

Puerto Rico owes an estimated $74 billion to creditors on the island and the mainland U.S. and has pension debt swelling above $40 billion. PROMESA created a process that combines elements of Chapter 9 and 11 bankruptcies, which will allow U.S. owned territories to adjust their debts and can be a future blueprint for future bankruptcy cases.

The U.S. Virgin Islands, for example, has debt of around $2 billion, and will watch this case with interest. States that have hefty pension liabilities – and that’s most of them, these days – might seek similar remedies if their situations worsen.

Under PROMESA, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts appointed in May U.S. District Court Judge Laura Swain of the Southern District of New York to oversee the case.

The oversight board will renegotiate Puerto Rico’s debts with the island’s creditors and then present a debt adjustment plan to the court for approval.

PROMESA gives wide latitude to the oversight board, requiring its members to develop a plan to allow Puerto Rico to achieve fiscal responsibility in a manner that may not necessarily be in the territory’s best interests – even allowing the board to override the island’s laws and elected officials’ actions. PROMESA also provides legal immunity to the oversight board members for all of their actions under the act.

A financial advisor involved in the negotiations told Watchdog.org that given the governance power provided to the oversight board and the financial stakes for American taxpayers, it’s important the members conduct their work in an open manner.

“Democracy and good governance demands that decisions be made in a transparent manner – officials should be held accountable for their actions,” the advisor said. “Monumental decisions that will affect Puerto Rican citizens, the U.S. taxpayer and a $4 trillion municipal bond market are being taken under cover of darkness, with declarations of what is being decided, but not disclosure of how or why decisions are being made, or who exactly is responsible for making those decisions.”

CPI contends that the Constitution of Puerto Rico fully applies to the oversight board, however, because the commonwealth covers its expenses and the board isn’t defined as a federal entity under PROMESA.

“As expressed by the Puerto Rico Supreme Court, access to information constitutes an important component of a democratic society, in which the citizenry can issue an informed judgment regarding the actions of the government,” reads CPI’s lawsuit.

“The right to redress grievances is also implicated, in that without knowledge of the facts, one cannot judge, nor demand remedies with respect to grievances against the government either through judicial or electoral processes.”

The first hearing on the bankruptcy case was May 17 in what’s expected to be a lengthy process – and it’s one Americans shouldn’t ignore.

NBC News pointed out that because Puerto Rico’s bonds have been tax exempt since 1917, American investors have flocked to them, which puts billions of dollars in mutual funds at risk. The outlet noted that more than 40 percent of the Rochester Maryland Municipal Bond Fund and Rochester Virginia Municipal Bond Fund are invested in Puerto Rican bonds, potentially hammering public-sector retirees.

Investment companies that are heavily invested in Puerto Rico could collapse if they aren’t repaid, which could trigger a domino effect similar to the subprime mortgage crisis.

Swain ordered Puerto Rico to file a creditor matrix by June 30 and file a list of all of its creditors by Aug. 30.

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Permanent link to this article: http://watchdog.org/293640/group-seeks-transparency-high-stakes-puerto-rico-bankruptcy-case/

Jun 13

Forbes: New York Shakespeare Festival received $30M from taxpayers

New York City’s Public Theater “Shakespeare in the Park” production of “Julius Caesar” sparked political drama for its on-stage assassination of a Trump-like Roman ruler. Before the performance Donald Trump Jr. asked via a tweet, “I wonder how much of this ‘art’ is funded by taxpayers?”

Here’s the answer to Trump Jr’s question: Data at OpenTheBooks.com shows that over $4.1 million in federal, state and city grants funded the New York Shakespeare Festival (NYSF) – the parent company to Public Theater and its production, Shakespeare in the Park – over the past three years. The total amount since 2009?  Nearly $30 million.

After Trump, Jr’s tweet, the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) was quick to clarify it had not funded this particular Shakespeare in the Park performance. However, the NEA disclosed its $630,000 in grants to NYSF since 2009. The NEA also disclosed that it continued grantmaking to NYSF’s other Public Theater project – “New York Voices” at Joe’s Pub – giving $25,000 in February.

By any estimation, NYSF is cashflow and asset-rich. In the latest year of IRS disclosed data (ending 8/2015), the non-profit had a financial asset base of $53 million; saved $22.4 million in cash-on-hand and invested securities; received nearly $28 million in contributions – $106 million over the past five years; and earned total revenues of $40 million.

Adam Andrzejewski is the founder and chief executive officer of OpenTheBooks.com. To read his full column at Forbes.com, click here.

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Permanent link to this article: http://watchdog.org/293579/forbes-new-york-shakespeare-festival-received-30m-taxpayers/

Jun 12

RLCOH TAKES STAND ON SANCTUARY CITY TREND

REPUBLICAN LIBERTY CAUCUS OF OHIO (RLCOH) TAKES STAND ON SANCTUARY CITY TREND IN OHIO AND HOUSE BILL 179 SEEKING REMEDY (Columbus, Ohio) June 9, 2017: This week, Columbus became the latest Ohio city making it illegal to assist federal law enforcement in administering immigration law.  While refusing to use the term “Sanctuary City,” Columbus nonetheless joined Cincinnati, Dayton, Cleveland, and other Ohio cities barring cooperation with federal authorities fulfilling their duties under the law. The […]

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.ohiolibertycoalition.org/rlcoh-takes-stand-on-sanctuary-city-trend/

Jun 12

Haupt: Your governor, your guardian of the 10th Amendment

“The Tenth Amendment said the federal government is supposed to only have powers that were explicitly given in the Constitution but I think the federal government’s forgotten that.”

– David Mills

Our founders penned the Tenth Amendment out of necessity. It was hindsight after a summer of impassioned debates at the Convention of 1787. The adoption of our Constitution was opposed by many influential patriots including Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry and Sam Adams. They were in disaccord over the powers of the central government and its ability to subvert the will and the rights of the states. They persistently argued the Constitution would eventually lead to an over-powering central state which would destroy the individual liberty of the people and the legal integrity of the states. Many dubiously tagged as Anti-Federalists concurred with Jefferson: “When the General Government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force.”

The Tenth Amendment was a necessary bone to toss at the liberty hungry patriots with the Bill of Rights. This reaffirmed their understanding the Constitution guaranteed all powers not granted to the central government were reserved to the states and to “them.” The Tenth Amendment clearly emphasized the limited powers delegated to central and state governments. This helped quiet the storm against ratification by most colonies. The highly susceptible patriots agreed this was the best insurance they could get to be free and continue exercising their sovereignty. They were comforted when Thomas Jefferson echoed: “All authority existing outside this domain belongs to the people.”

Since ratification established a bond of states under federal oversight, two issues have generated constant debate: What’s the true nature of the union? What powers, privileges, duties and controls does the Constitution actually grant the central government and reserve to the states? As a result of these heated disparities, the South engaged in a bloody civil war to put an end to this. But that only opened a bigger can of worms. And after the war, this has been fiercely disputed each time D.C. exercises federalism over our sacred sovereignty to reshape our nation’s political, social, and economic anatomy for their advantage.

“The plan of the convention aimed only at a partial union or consolidation. The states would clearly retain all sovereignty as before.”

– Alexander Hamilton

Federalism has reared its ugly head for decades under different masks and disguises. From 1789 to 1901, we had Dual Federalism with little collaboration between state and federal governments. After 1901, we lost liberty under Cooperative Federalism, marked by increased collusion between all levels of government. We witnessed the national income tax and an influx of federal programs that burden us today. Between 1960 and 1968, Creative Federalism was the beast that ballooned under Johnson’s Great Society. It shifted many powers from the states to the federal government through dependent-aid systems. Today we are fighting Contemporary federalism, characterized by shifts in intergovernmental grants, the growth of forced unfunded mandates, over regulations, and excessive control by Washington.

“Federalism should maintain our unity, not destroy it.”

– Alyn Lun

Though the progressives have established a firm position on the national political battlefront through continual growth of federalism, the complexion of our individual state governments proves we have had enough. Over half of our states are composed of conservative legislatures and governors in an effort to stop runaway federalism. Since Obama took office, Republicans captured control of 27 state chambers that Democrats held after the 2008 elections. The GOP controls the most legislative seats it has held since the founding of the party. Unpopular policies by progressive politicians have not gone unnoticed, and there’s a growing trend in our states to isolate themselves from the evils of federalism. They’re fighting back on Election Day.

Yes, “Elections have consequences.”

– Obama

The governor’s chair is now increasingly important in our states because it is the most powerful office in our legislative caucuses with clout, control and visibility. It is considered vital to isolate the states from federalism. While everyone talks about the presidency, American governorship gets little attention. Since all government is local, many voters think of their mayors and commissioners as those most affluent. They consider the governor as another figurehead stewarding their state. They seldom know anything about their syllabus before Election Day. They fail to perceive it is he or she who sets the states political and social agenda for the legislature and is the ultimate shield that stands between encroachments of federalism in their lives.

“A wise governor told me a long time ago, political capital you don’t get more of by keeping it. You get it by using it.”

– Scott Walker

Conservative state governments around the U.S. have made progress reforming civil service and beating back public sector union power. They are articulating a coherent agenda that satisfies the political center, as well as the moderate left. The red tide in our state governments has brought the GOP to its most commanding position in state governments in years. But it could shift at any time if the people elect the wrong type of conservative who is a mere party politician rather than one who defends their values and independent state culture. And this is not as hypothetical as one might think, considering the strength of the political party machine. It is that machine that bestows their blessings on a potential primary candidate that has the greatest influence on picking winners and losers.

“The history of all hitherto existing societies is the history of political control.”

– Karl Marx

While watching the apocalyptic response to Donald Trump’s victory in so many liberal precincts around the U.S., governors and legislatures in many states realize they now have the headroom to raise state income by lowering business taxes. By taking advantage of cutting back the demands federal government placed on them in the past to toe the line from D.C. or get their entitlements cut, the states can now generate their own creative revenue. By replacing many federal services and benefits they had to pay the government for one-shoe-fits-all mismanaged programs as an agenda for social engineering, they can do it themselves. They no longer have to give the feds huge sums of money and beg to get a portion back by following their rules. They are no longer held hostage by the federalists.

“Governors compete. States compete. People and businesses decide.”

– Doug Ducey

For decades, true conservatives have preached of returning more power to the states, knowing they could do more, and do it more efficiently than Washington. Blue states have supported federalism for years. But red states have fought back to maintain the dignity of the 10th amendment which is our sacred cow. The 10th Amendment is not a sword that cuts both ways. We either govern by it or federalism will consume us. And the governor is the key ingredient in defending us against federal extortion of our rights and liberty. Therefore, it is preeminent we judge every candidate for governor on their legislative history and how they have supported the ethos of the 10th and its proclamations.

Machiavelli wrote: “It is much more secure to be feared than to be loved.” And that is the way the feds have been governing under progressive domination. And if we do not take advantage of our conservative administration in D.C. and its brand of politics, we will forever be wondering why we lost our sovereignty.

“Washington, D.C. is full of think tanks, theoreticians and advocacy groups. Governors are the ones whose feet are on the ground.”

Former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen

If Republicans in state capitols can’t articulate a coherent governing agenda that satisfies the political center, the red tide that has brought the GOP to its most commanding position in state governments in a hundred years could begin to shift.

When states and local communities take the lead on policy, the people are that much closer to the policymakers, and policymakers are that much more accountable to the people. Few Americans have spoken with their president; many have spoken with their mayor.

Up until the outbreak of the Civil War, the federal government for the most part minded their business and kept their grubby hands out of our states’ constitutional privileges.

During the pre-federalism period, the country waged a war for independence and established a confederation form of government that created a league of sovereign states. Deficiencies in the Articles of Confederation prompted its repeal and the ratification of a new Constitution, creating a federal system of government comprised of a national government and states. Almost immediately upon its adoption, issues concerning state sovereignty and the supremacy of federal authority were hotly debated and ultimately led to the Civil War.

The period from 1789 to 1901 has been termed the era of Dual Federalism. It has been characterized as an era during which there was little collaboration between the national and state governments. Cooperative Federalism is the term given to the period from 1901 to 1960. This period was marked by greater cooperation and collaboration between the various levels of government. It was during this era that the national income tax and the grant-in-aid system were authorized in response to social and economic problems confronting the nation. The period from 1960 to 1968 was called Creative Federalism by President Lyndon Johnson’s administration. Johnson’s Creative Federalism as embodied in his Great Society program, was, by most scholars’ assessments, a major departure from the past. It further shifted the power relationship between governmental levels toward the national government through the expansion of a grant-in-aid system and the increasing use of regulations. Contemporary federalism, the period from 1970 to the present, has been characterized by shifts in the intergovernmental grant system, the growth of unfunded federal mandates, concerns about federal regulations, and continuing disputes over the nature of the federal system.

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Permanent link to this article: http://watchdog.org/293574/haupt-governor-guardian-10th-amendment/

Jun 12

U.S. Supreme Court asked to take case challenging forced union dues

The nation’s high court is being asked to take up the issue of whether government employees should be forced to pay dues and fees to government unions.

The case Janus v. AFSCME originated in Illinois. Mark Janus and several other Illinois state employees say they don’t want to be forced to pay union dues. Their case was struck down by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in March, which opens up the U.S. Supreme Court to take the case.

National Right To Work Foundation represents the plaintiffs. They filed a petition Tuesday asking the Supreme Court to hear the case.

Foundation President Mark Mix said this is about compelled speech vs. free speech.

Mix said what’s happened is there’s “a private institution in between taxpayers and elected officials and [the union] is able to speak for government employees that, heretofore, never asked for, never wanted, and in fact stand back and say, ‘I don’t want you to speak for me,’ as [plaintiffs] have said in this case,” Mix said.

An outcome in their favor would be good for public sector workers across the country, Mix said.

“If the court takes it and rules the way we think they should and the way we hope they will, then government employees across the country could no longer be compelled to pay dues or fees to a union to keep their job,” Mix said.

Multiple messages seeking comment from the national AFSCME union were not returned.

Back in March, when the case was struck down by the 7th Circuit, AFSCME President Lee Saunders said in a statement that if plaintiffs win, it would “make it harder for public service workers like teachers, firefighters, nurses, and public safety workers to speak up together for better public services, stronger communities, and wages and protections that benefit all Americans.”

Mix said Saunders “might be damaged by it because he has a pretty neat business model right now where he can compel people to pay him as a condition of them working for government.”

Many states don’t have exclusive union monopoly bargaining privileges, Mix said.

“The fact is, this is a question of union monopoly power and further, to add insult to injury, while we give them the right to – ‘quote, unquote’ – speak for workers that don’t want them to speak for them, we also unfortunately gave them the privilege to compel people to pay fees for taking away their right to speak for themselves,” he said.

“Saunders and the bosses at AFSCME would be troubled by this, but the workers who wanted to voluntarily join the union, participate with the union, could all do that” if the case goes in the plaintiffs’ favor, Mix said.

The plaintiffs are also represented by Liberty Justice Center.

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Permanent link to this article: http://watchdog.org/293555/u-s-supreme-court-asked-take-case-challenging-forced-union-dues/

Jun 11

Big Media and Many Democrats Continue Deception About President Trump and Russian Influence

The Russians did work to influence the 2016 election, as they try to influence every election, but there is zero evidence that the Russians were able to change even a single vote! And even Democrat Alan Dershowitz recognizes that …

Permanent link to this article: http://www.daytonohioteaparty.com/?p=2247114

Jun 05

Hauft: Buying loyalty to sell your agenda

“Liberalism is spread by those who feel the world owes them a living, not by those who work for it.

Those who work for every dollar they bank have nothing to gain from being a liberal.”

– Jay Kites

It is easy to see how liberals think backwards from observing how they employ reverse logic to reach their conclusions. This is the way a lot of people justify spending money when they come home and tell their spouse, “I bought this because was 50 percent off.” Yet they fail to realize they spent 50 percent more than they could afford. This was a common theme in sitcoms across the land. Lucile Ball would come home and tell Desi what a great deal she got on a coffee maker when they already had four. He would then spill out his infamous, “Lucy, you got some ‘splainin’ to do!”

“Politicians use reverse logic to justify facts to reach their reverse conclusions.”

– Art Snider

Liberal thinking works backwards and concentrates on flawed conclusions of spend now and pay later if and when you can. Although many Americans employ this every time they use a credit card, they know one day soon they will face the music when the bill is due. But this isn’t a factor when a progressive makes the purchase. This is how Obama used baseline under budgeting to kill our free market. Instead of announcing they were reducing their increase in spending from 5 percent to 4 percent, they claimed they were reducing it by 20 percent. By increasing the budget astronomically each year, and announcing how much they are cutting it back, this fatally flawed system of reporting to the public is why the nation’s debt exploded.

“I am proud that I never hide from the truth.”

– Barack Obama

Democrats decried borrowing for the Iraq/Afghanistan wars but have been using huge quantities of taxpayer dollars to prop up financial markets. That’s why Wall Street is booming while the economy is languishing in a pseudo recovery. Their unreal “economic stimuli” and “quantitative easing” spending put America’s children into debt before they were born. They will be indentured servants to government. Children born this year will see their share of the public debt burden grow by more than $100,000, to over $142,000, by the time they graduate from college due to the debt the Trump administration inherited. This is called public debt, which means the government sold this debt in credit markets to investors in the U.S. and abroad. Progressives love to spend money they do not have.

“He is a fool who spends what he does not have when the bill become due later.”

– Sol Seine

When Obama was elected, they knew they had to do something to make him “King for the day” and the easiest why to do this was to pump $6 billion a day into the housing market. For the first time in history, the progressives worked with an activist Fed and wheeled and dealed with them to print all of the money their presses would handle. Pumping monopoly money in to a broken economy they created with government giveaways created a false recovery to replace an equitable free market natural rehabilitation. Since this industry employed a lot of people, they figured they’d keep doing this until someone pulled the plug on the money machine, or it broke down and the motor wore out.

“To win elections, politicians have promised practically endless government spending and covered up the cost, leaving generations of taxpayers obligated to pay off the public debt. They know that that is wrong. But nobody in either party is very anxious to stop doing this.”

– David Milpass

There are many things that liberal progressives do that are backwards to economic reality. They truly believe that Americans are actually equivalent to people of the dark ages of the past. They express equivalencies that are contrary to righteous morality. If you need just a few examples to comprehend this, think about how they equate modern-day bankers with money changers in the Hebrew temples during the life of Christ. They chastise today’s successful capitalists and compare them with the Robber Barons, feudal lords, and pirates of the days of old. They are worse than Robin Hood, an English Saxon who fought the oppressive taxation of the Norman King John. Not only do they believe that stealing from the rich is morally right to equalize an unequal society that is crying for handouts and free things, they also use trickery in accounting and maneuver the budget office to justify what they are doing with ludicrous inaccurate reporting.

“A long-lasting, sustained economy will never be achieved through massive government spending programs.”

– Stan Graves

Progressives believe capital punishment is wrong and defend the lives of convicted murderers. Yet they see nothing wrong with spending tax dollars to build abortion clinics in minority neighborhoods that threaten to wipe out entire ethnic populations. This is not only a waste of lives and impeding the natural rights of man. This is spending our taxpayer’s money to kill new citizens so they can import undocumented workers who will perform for less. And, of course, since the workers are not here legally, they do not pay taxes and the government uses our tax dollars to supplement their standard of living. When they need to create more government dependence, they reach out to these workers and others considered socially deprived, and advertise how easy it is to get food stamps and free cell phones at U.S. taxpayers’ expense.

“The left wants everyone to focus on the deficit so they can take us away from the focus on spending as a percentage of the economy.”

– Grover Norquist

Progressives subvert everything righteous in order to justify their beliefs. They continue to rewrite history to make villains the heroes and heroes the villains. Past conservative leaders like Ronald Reagan, Douglas MacArthur, Holmes Tuttle, Henry Regnery, and Anthony Fisher are condemned for their dedicated efforts to protect the American way. They deconstruct the teachings of Jesus Christ and other great religious moralists of the past from Saviors to Satans to convert more people to the religion they created that is the religion of the far left. This religion has no commandments, ethics, morals or principals other than those that pontiff their own party beliefs. Progressivist liberalism is now a religion, spending money now to build their party with no regard for the future.

“Given the religious nature and the emotional power of Leftist values, Jews and Christians on the Left often derive their values from the Left more than from their religion.”

– Dennis Prager

The journey back to American reality will not be easy. It took years to destroy it. Like Rome, it was not built in day. It will be a constant battle for Americans to resist the carrots dangled in front of them when the people are making the necessary adjustments and even some sacrifices to restore America to its greatness! So we will have to remain vigilant and aggressive in keeping the Left from destroying Trump’s efforts to rebuild the American Dream. It will be enticing for some to jump off the bandwagon and fall backwards if they hear enough liberal propaganda about how many social programs Trump is trying to reform. Even though he is a tough guy with great business savory, he will be labeled incompetent for wishing to only spend what we have and not what we can borrow.

We must resist the temptations of the past administrations to buy our loyalty and live within our means. The loyalty of a patriot is earned not bought.

“Loyalty cannot be blueprinted. It cannot be produced on an assembly line. In fact, it cannot be manufactured at all, for its origin is the human heart, the center of self-respect and human dignity. It is a force which leaps into being only when conditions are exactly right for it – and it is a force very sensitive to betrayal.”

– Maurice R. Franks

 

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Permanent link to this article: http://watchdog.org/293493/hauft-buying-loyalty-sell-agenda/

Jun 01

Fed report: Obamacare exchange insurance costs double in past four years

The latest look at Obamacare prices show insurance through the marketplace costs more than twice as much now as it did in 2013.

New numbers from the the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services show health insurance in Illinois that cost $248 a month in 2013, now costs $517 dollars. That’s a 108 percent increase.

Trouble is, State Sen. Dave Syverson, R-Rockford, said, most insurance through the Obamacare exchange costs a lot more than $517.

“We warned that this was going to happen,” Syverson said. “When you have a small pool of people, you’re going to have adverse selections and you’re going to have losses that are far worse than Washington projected.”

A number of health insurance companies have said they’ve lost millions of dollars on the plans offered on the exchange. Blue Cross Blue Shield Of Kansas City left Missouri’s Obamacare exchange last week after company executives said they lost $100 million.

Syverson said it will be a bit before Illinois insurers make the same kind of choices. When they do, thousand of people could lose access to care.

But Syverson said many Illinoisans who have Obamacare insurance already have lost access.

“In DeKalb County, there is not one provider that is in the Obamacare network. No one,” Syverson said. “In Rockford, third largest city in Illinois, one hospital and only about 10 percent of providers are willing to see Obamacare patients.”

The HHS numbers put Illinois in the middle of the rate hike pack. New Jersey saw a 12 percent price spike over the last four years, while Alabama saw a 222 percent increase.

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Permanent link to this article: http://watchdog.org/293462/fed-report-obamacare-exchange-insurance-costs-double-past-four-years/

May 28

Undercover Video Reveals the Truth about the Abortion Industry

prolife heart-baby-feet-clipart-_672-616An undercover video made at a National Abortion Federation conference leaves no doubt that people in the abortion industry know precisely what they’re doing when they kill innocent, helpless unborn babies! It also reveals that the selling of baby …

Permanent link to this article: http://www.daytonohioteaparty.com/?p=2247101

May 28

Ohio Senate picks up bill barring undocumented workers’ comp elligibility

Undocumented workers would be barred from receiving workers’ compensation benefits in budget legislation passed by the Ohio House of Representatives and now in the state Senate.

The bill includes an amendment that would require the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation to verify a worker’s status when they apply for workers’ compensation. It also would punish employers that knowingly hire undocumented workers.

Bill co-sponsor Rep. Bill Seitz, R-Cincinnati, said there are about 8 million undocumented workers in the American workforce and that workers in the farming and construction industries, two jobs that result in a high volume of workers’ compensation claims, make up about 40 percent of the American workforce.

“So it stands to reason if that is the case nationally, things would not be much different in Ohio,” Seitz told Watchdog.org.

Mike Shields, a researcher with Policy Matters Ohio,  said that undocumented workers don’t necessarily have a high number of claims, but that the industries they work in have a high risk of injury.

“One of the interesting things about it is, folks who are undocumented tend to work in industries more injury prone, things like agriculture, food processing is a big one,” Shields said. “So it is true that they’re working in roles that are more likely to result in their injury and, of course, more likely for them to need workers’ compensation, but it’s also true that this is based on the type of role not the type of person.”

Seitz has tried to pass stand-alone versions of this amendment several times since 2009 but has not had success. Adding this provision onto the budget has given it a fighting chance as it passed in the House 65-29. He believes it will have a positive impact on the state.

“To the extent that claimants are denied workers’ comp benefits if they are undocumented workers and to the extent that we have, through the direct right of action provision, encouraged employers to adhere to federal law in assiduously checking out those they would hire, those two things will have a salutary effect not only financially but, more importantly, on reducing the number of undocumented workers that are in Ohio,” Seitz said.

Financially, Seitz won’t know the true impact until he sees how well the bureau is able to enforce the law.

Almost all agree that when dealing with undocumented workers, it is nearly impossible to get accurate numbers. So, nobody really knows how big the problem of undocumented workers claiming workers’ compensation is and how big of an impact this provision will have.

Melissa Vince of the press and media department of the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation told Watchdog.org that the state doesn’t track workers’ compensation claims by status and this provision was not something they had requested be put in the budget.

Shields thinks the bill could end up placing a bigger financial burden on taxpayers. If injured employees aren’t able to get financial help from their employers, they will end up using public health care.

“When someone goes to the emergency room with an injury they get treated, you know, hospitals are required by law to treat them and they don’t always get fully compensated for the care that they provide, so when we take away this protection it creates an obligation on the part of taxpayers, not on the part of the employer who has benefitted from the workers’ work,” Shields said.

Bill opponent Rep. Dan Ramos, D-Lorain, called this bill “a solution seeking a problem,” saying the bill will incentivize employers to hire undocumented workers.

“We are actively making it cheaper for unscrupulous employers in the state of Ohio to hire undocumented workers than to hire citizens,” Ramos said.

Employers won’t have incentives to make sure their employees are working in safe environments if they don’t have to provide workers’ compensation, Ramos said.

“There’s a sort of, I would say, recklessness about the fact that this is harmful, of course, to undocumented folks, that’s obvious, but it’s also harmful to workers in general because of the incentive that it creates for employers selectively to hire people who are undocumented and aren’t entitled to protection,” Shields said.

The budget now has to be passed in the Senate. Seitz said he’s been talking to members of the Senate to make sure they understand the provision.

Opponents like Shields fear that because the budget must be passed, this amendment is more likely to also be passed than it has in years past.

Sen. President Larry Obhof, R-Medina, said in a statement to Watchdog.org, “I think the more important question is if you have employers who are knowingly employing undocumented workers, should there be consequences there too, what’s the problem that we are trying to solve here?”

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Permanent link to this article: http://watchdog.org/293414/ohio-senate-picks-bill-barring-undocumented-workers-comp-elligibility/

May 27

President Trump’s Foreign Trip Shows American Leadership is Back!

Trump April 2017Most conservatives believe that President Donald Trump’s foreign trip has sent a strong message that American leadership is back! He made it clear that once again our friends in the world can count on the United States to lead

Permanent link to this article: http://www.daytonohioteaparty.com/?p=2247097

May 25

McCaleb: Public pensions in some ways mirror Madoff’s Ponzi scheme

“In a world full of lies, the most dangerous ones are those we tell ourselves.” 

― Diana B. Henriques

HBO debuted its original movie on Ponzi-schemer Bernie Madoff over the weekend. Based on Henriques’ book “The Wizard of Lies,” the film (and book) tells the chilling tale of Madoff’s fraudulent investment scheme in which more than 2,200 people lost almost $20 billion in retirement savings.

That is a lot of victims losing a lot of money.

But it’s peanuts compared to what public pensioners – in Illinois, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and elsewhere – stand to lose if drastic reform measures aren’t taken soon. More on this in a moment.

A Ponzi scheme is a form of fraud in which early investors see quality returns, not because their money was invested wisely as the investors are led to believe, but because new investors fund the payouts. The cycle perpetuates itself – more and more new investors are needed to continue to fund previous investors’ returns at an unbeknownst higher risk to themselves – until it inevitably collapses.

In Madoff’s case, the collapse occurred in 2008, after almost 30 years, when the housing bubble burst and the economy was sent into the Great Recession. Simplistically, far fewer new investors could be found, and prior investors, many hurting because of the turn in the economy, asked for their full investments back.

Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison after pleading guilty to multiple counts of fraud. His victims suffered untold losses.

What’s the point of my Madoff history lesson?

A strong case can be made that public pensions are eerily similar to a Ponzi scheme, and that a similar collapse in some of the most underfunded systems in the country might be inevitable. That would mean an untold number of new victims that would make the Madoff case seem relatively minor by comparison.

The difference between a Madoff-like Ponzi scheme and the public pension crisis is that government is complicit in the latter, and that dedicated public servants, state retirees and taxpayers are the ones at risk.

I think we all can agree that taxpayers and state workers who have spent their careers serving residents, teachers included, don’t deserve that.

Doubt that will happen? Let’s start with Puerto Rico.

The U.S. territory in the eastern Caribbean declared a form of bankruptcy (after Congressional approval) earlier this month because of massive debt that included $50 billion in underfunded pensions. In a story headlined “In Puerto Rico, pension fund works like a Ponzi scheme,” the New York Times reported the following:

“Puerto Rico, where the money to pay teachers’ pensions is expected to run out next year, has become a particularly extreme example of a problem facing states including Illinois, New Jersey and Pennsylvania: As teachers’ pension costs keep rising, young teachers are being squeezed — sometimes hard. One study found that more than three-fourths of all American teachers hired at age 25 will end up paying more into pension plans than they ever get back.”

For pensioners in Puerto Rico, where a recovery plan is still being devised, it could mean pennies of the dollar of what they were promised.

For current and future public pensioners, a similar fate awaits if drastic reforms don’t happen.

Take Illinois, whose five state pension funds are now underfunded by more than $130 billion, worst in the nation. At that deficit, the pension funds have in hand just about 37 cents of every dollar they will owe to current and future pensioners.

But it actually could be much worse than that.

Money set aside to fund pensions – from taxpayers and public employees – is invested to grow the dollar pool. But most pension systems have over-estimated the rate of returns on these investments. As recently as 2014, Illinois’ Teachers Retirement System projected an inflated 8 percent annual return rate. That projection was dropped to 7.5 percent three years ago. Just last year, Illinois’ State Employees Retirement System downgraded its rate of return estimate to 7 percent. Each of these downgrades cost Illinois taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars annually because the taxpayers are legally required to make up the difference.

What’s worse is that many investment professionals and ratings agencies say a more realistic rate of return is in the 3 to 4 percent range. If that’s the case, Illinois’ already staggering pension debt would balloon by tens of billions of dollars more. That could be devastating to younger state employees who still have decades to go before they retire. A younger teacher who is funding current retirees’ bloated pensions faces a potential collapse in the system, risking much or all of her retirement nest egg.

And as return estimates continue to drop, taxpayers are forced to pick up the ever-growing tab.

There is a partial solution.

Illinois state Sen. Dale Righter has filed legislation that would place all new state employees, including teachers, in a 401(k)-style defined contribution plan. State employees would contribute 8 percent of their salaries into the private investment account, and the state (taxpayers) would contribute an additional 7 percent.

While Righter’s plan wouldn’t solve Illinois’ $130 billion (likely more because of the overstated return on investments) pension deficit, it would relieve new hires of any concerns of a pension collapse and it would drastically slow Illinois’ ever-growing pension obligations. More action, particularly other structural reforms that will improve Illinois’ overall economy and increase its tax base, are needed to chip away at the deficit.

States that have adopted similar plans to Righter’s already are seeing fiscal improvements.

Unfortunately, many in the Illinois General Assembly continue to think that higher taxes are a major part of the solution. But we’ve been there and done that, and it hasn’t worked. It’s led to a stagnant economy and a mass exodus of Illinoisans to other states.

States such as Illinois and and their employees need drastic pension reform measures if they are to stave off a Madoff-like collapse.

It’s time we stop telling ourselves dangerous lies and get these reforms done.

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Permanent link to this article: http://watchdog.org/293393/mccaleb-public-pensions-ways-mirror-madoffs-ponzi-scheme/

May 22

Haupt: Justice and the political machine

 “Now and then an innocent man is sent to the legislature.”

– Kin Hubbard, political humorist

For those who are not familiar with Justitia, the symbol of law, she is the badge and emblem that mirrors the values and morals of free men in a nation of lawmakers. She stands for a society where men and women of honor interact with citizens to legislate and rule in the best interests of a written constitution or charter. Justitia symbolizes the allegorical personification of moral judicial systems and accountability for all lawmakers. She sits atop our judicial houses as an emblematic sign that Lady Justice will protect us from abusive laws. She stands as a guardian of the rights and liberties of free men with laws written by free men. She is beautiful but stoically peers out with an impassive face.

“Lady Justice’s beauty is often overlooked until one’s rights have been violated.”

– Nora Seals

As each legislative session comes to an end in our state houses and federal chambers, we always hear about nonsensical accomplishments and excuses why questionably constitutional laws were passed. There are endless lamentations from our representatives about how special interest groups who are anonymously financed influenced legislation through the committees. Yet the bills the citizens desired ended up in the legislative graveyard. That’s when we play the “blame game” like a broken record in a “Happy Days” juke box that the Fonz kicked too many times. “Money; it’s about money”! They whimper we must get high rollers out of politics to fix corruption that’s impeding the legislative process in our local, state, and federal houses.

“The notion that we have all the democracy that money can buy strays so far from what our democracy is supposed to be.”

– Ruth Bader Ginsburg

The U.S. Supreme Court on January 21, 2010, ruled that the government could not restrict political expenditures by nonprofit or for-profit corporations, as well as labor unions from making political beneficence. In the case, a non-profit organization called Citizens United wanted to air a film critical of Hillary Clinton shortly before the 2008 Democratic primary election. The Left claimed foul since this dubiously violated a federal law prohibiting the airing of certain communications near an election. The court found the provisions of that law in conflict with the U.S. Constitution. Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion claimed the First Amendment guaranteed free speech to everyone “including” Citizens United.

“If the First Amendment has any force, it prohibits Congress from fining or jailing citizens, or associations of citizens, for simply engaging in political speech.”

– Justice Kennedy

The Citizens United decision has been an attack weapon for progressives since. Yet the far Left agrees with SCOTUS protecting anti-American demonstrations, transgender restrooms, and flag burning. Who’s fooling who? We just elected a president who received the least corporate money in decades! Yet many in his party and on the left of center are obsessed with “money and politics.” It is the basis for all class warfare today. Yes, no doubt money influences elections, whose winners willingly endorse legislation which favors these groups, but that is not the most salient problem with American government today. These “Fix-Quick-Government” advocates preach taking money out of politics will solve the problem, does not get to the preverbal “roots of its malfeasance.” They are burying your heads in the sand with this “quick-fix government chivalry.”

“The influence of special interests in politics is the most destructive element of our political equation today.”

– Alvin Simms

Yes, money is abundant in politics. But if you want to end exploitation and follow the money trail, you’ll discover more than “money;” its politics as usual of the political machine. The term “political machine” dates back to the 20th century, where such organizations have existed in many rural municipalities and states since the 18th century. But today, these elements are common to most political parties and are essential to keeping the political machinery oiled and the party running. The political machine relies heavily on rewards for political power and is the party whip. Political machines always have bosses, or conclaves of select leaders who often demand patronage to remain in their good graces. This historic “behind-the-scenes” control has been vital for special interests to retain their position and influence within the structure of a representative democracy. These machines remain organized long after an election or event. Until we throw a monkey wrench into them and derail their locomotive, special interests will control government not us.

“If we take the special favors out of government, there is nothing else for anyone to trade.”

– Sam Goldstein

Political machines dictate whom to give favorable treatment to like trade associations, corporations, and unions because of party platform and campaign promises. The trade associations and unions represent key sectors of our economy and influence millions of members to support candidates of their choice. In turn, the party machine guarantees them billions in bailouts, government subsidies, tax benefits and personalized legislation. They hold the keys to our state and federal houses. Even if we outlawed all payola every election, the true cause of political corruption would still remain. To retain power and promote their agenda politicians would still trade our liberty for votes to appease the party machine and their special interests.

“Politics is a damn expensive business. I had one hell of a time raising money as a candidate. I had to refinance my house to get elected.”

– Joe Biden

Why don’t we read between the lines during those campaign speeches? Who are they preaching to? We must keep in mind that money can only be used to purchase what’s for sale. Restricting the money flow during elections will have little or no effect on politicians who dance to the tune of the party machine once they’re elected. Simply put, “we the people” are their “special interests”! Yet far too few ever remind them of “those interests” once they take their oath of office. How many times has this Congress told us the first thing they’d do after they were elected would be to shoot that lame horse Obamacare and put it out of its misery? Chopping down the special interest money tree will not change the party machine’s control over the political halls of justice. Until we realize our vote is our most powerful weapon, nothing will change.

“It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first.”

– Ronald Reagan

The term “political machine” was considered a pejorative since it was associated with 20th Century, corrupt local politicians in rural governments during our darkest ages. Although today we seldom hear the term “party machine,” a voter must have just fallen off a turnip truck to think politicians are acting in our best interests when they legislate with little regard for Lady Justice and the values she protected since the days of ancient Greece and Rome. And like those past societies that fell from her good graces, we too will join them if we do not help Lady Justice protect our Constitution and our legally written laws.

“Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people and not for profit, honor, or private interest.”

– John Adams

Today’s current political state is an ugly mutation of decades of out-of-control power building that evolved right before our eyes. And it will take a principled stance and decades of hard work for us to dismantle the traditions we have inherited from centuries of political machines writing our laws and running America instead of us. It’s our duty to force them to respect Lady Justice or else!

“Let us be sure that those who come after will say of us in our time, that in our time we did everything that could be done. We finished the race; we kept them free; we kept the faith.”

– Ronald Reagan

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Permanent link to this article: http://watchdog.org/293362/haupt-justice-political-machine/

May 20

Greene County TEA Party Hosting Special Meeting on Education Tuesday, May 23, 2017

GCTP Banner

Public Education Issues- Be Informed!

The Federal and State direction to local school systems is continually changing. Join us on Tuesday, 23 May, as the Greene County TEA Party (GCTP) hosts the Beavercreek School Superintendent, Mr. Paul Otten,

Permanent link to this article: http://www.daytonohioteaparty.com/?p=2247092

May 18

Hearing aid legislation would raise cost of personal sound amplification products

With a committee vote pending on the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017, critics of the legislation warn the bill would increase government regulations and raise the cost of personal sound amplification products (PSAPs).

A gun-owner group warned in a letter on Tuesday that language in the act could even tread into Second Amendment rights.

The legislation, led by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), would create a new category of hearing aids that would be available over the counter. They’re expected to be cheaper than current hearing aids. This sounds good on its face, but the concerns about the act are two-fold: it’s likely to draw people away from proper screenings with health professionals, resulting in poorer health outcomes, and it would create more regulations for PSAPs while preempting state laws.

All devices now sold as hearing aids in the United States are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and require a doctor’s prescription. Just a few companies sell them and they often cost thousands of dollars, uncovered by insurance. The barrier to entry for consumers led to the growth of PSAPs, which can’t be marketed as hearing aids but are often just as effective for those who don’t suffer severe hearing loss.

Warren’s act tasks the Department of Health and Human Services secretary with redefining PSAPs, likely shifting many of them into the newly created and more heavily regulated over-the-counter hearing aid category.

A letter from a coalition of free-market oriented groups to U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which signed off on the legislation last week, called the act “a solution in search of a problem that does not exist.”

The House Energy and Commerce Committee is expected to take up the issue Thursday. “It is unfortunate that government regulators and big, rent-seeking corporations are the real beneficiaries of the bill. Consumers are the losers,” the coalition wrote.

Springfield, Virginia-based Gun Owners of America sent a letter to members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, warning the act could impact a variety of PSAPs that are marketed as hunting aids and intended to help hunters detect the presence of game.

“There’s a pretty good chance that these hunting devices would fall within Warren’s definition of ‘over-the-counter hearing aid,’” wrote Erich Pratt, executive director of the group, “which would mean that a new federal bureaucracy would be in charge of regulating hunting. Were Warren less of an enemy of the Second Amendment, we might give more credibility to the argument that we were protected by the ‘perceived … hearing impairment’ language of the Warren bill. But she isn’t. So we don’t.”

The group asked the committee to remove the language from the bill or put the legislation on hold.

Previously, the free-market coalition said some of the larger companies that produce PSAPs believe they could make more money by selling them as a product on a level with hearing aids, marketing them as such and raising prices. The coalition noted that speaker-maker Bose sells a high-end PSAP called HearPhones, which retails for $500, and is headquartered in Warren’s home state of Massachusetts.

Reason pointed out last week that Bose has spent about $50,000 to lobby for Warren’s act this year, and an additional $100,000 lobbying on “issues related to the FDA” in 2016.

Noah Kraft, CEO and co-founder of Doppler Labs, told TechCrunch his company was working with members of Congress on the legislation. Doppler Labs also makes a high-end PSAP called Here One, which costs $300. The company admitted the legislation would help open up new markets for it.

But even taking the non-cynical view that PSAP manufacturers simply seek the new regulations to put their products on a level playing field with traditional hearing aids creates another concern—taking doctors out of the auditory health equation. Opponents of the bill warn that would leave patients uninformed and undertreated.

The AARP cited a study that found that hearing aids and current over-the-counter options were equally effective for those with mild-to moderate-hearing loss. The biggest difference in user satisfaction was the help of a trained audiologist, who would assist with a proper fitting. But the new legislation would push more people away from, rather than toward, using audiologists.

Many experts within the hearing industry warn that the creation of a category of over-the-counter hearing aids could lead to poorer health outcomes. They warn that consumers who pass on a hearing assessment from an expert could run the risk of not discovering underlying medical conditions.

The Hearing Industries Association released a report on the issue stating that “failure to adequately address hearing loss can have profound negative consequences including an increase in dementia risk.”

Even groups that support the measure, such as the Hearing Loss Association of America, hint at the drawbacks of the regulation by warning people not to forgo doctor visits. “Access to technology or hearing aids by consumers is not a substitute for following good health care practices,” the HLAA said in a press release.

Hearing Tracker conducted a survey on the issue and found that nearly 87 percent of audiologists or hearing instrument specialists oppose the concept. One wrote: “I have seen patients come into my clinic with hearing tests provided by retailers at ‘big box stores’ who should have referred for ENT management and did not. These patients were misdiagnosed (hearing loss was exaggerated to make them hearing aid candidates) and red-flags for medical management were ignored. In one case, patient had a tumor on his auditory nerve. Had these patients not come into my clinic for a second opinion, this dangerous management of their care could have escalated into serious health problems.”

The language of the bill also explicitly removes states’ authority to enforce their own laws regulating over-the-counter hearing aids, although the current approach to auditory health varies state-by-state. Some states allow audiologists to dispense hearing aids, while others do not. Some have continuing education requirements for audiologists.

The coalition argues the act would “empower federal bureaucrats.”

“A new layer of regulation is not a stimulator of innovation – it squashes innovation,” they wrote.

Johnny Kampis is investigative reporter for the Taxpayers Protection Alliance Foundation. Kampis formerly served a similar role at Watchdog.org. Over the course of his nearly 20 years in journalism, he has been published in such outlets as the New York Times, Time, Fox News and The Daily Caller. The story initially published at theamericanconservative.com.

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Permanent link to this article: http://watchdog.org/293324/hearing-aid-legislation-raise-cost-personal-sound-amplification-products/

May 16

Haupt: Politics a grandiose sales pitch

“Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich, by promising to protect each from the other.”

– Oscar Ameringer

According to a recent Gallup report, Americans regard the clergy as the most honest and honorable of all professions. And this same survey lists the bottom three professions they deem least tolerant: Car salesman 9 percent, politicians 8 percent and lobbyists 7 percent. Can anyone believe that a car salesman is considered as honest and trustworthy as those running our governments?

“Could it be because you can now merchandise candidates for high office like breakfast cereal? As Adlai Stevenson said, “We gather votes like box tops?” Yes, we are now indeed selling out votes to the highest bidder like used car salesmen hock their 10 year old, high mileage junkers on the late, late show. And,

“This has become the ultimate indignity to the democratic process.”

– Adlai Stevenson

The public’s distrust for car salesmen is universal. As we hear the words “car salesman,” we think of that cigar smoking, tire kicking, slick haired, unfashionably dressed shyster that tried to sell you a car driven by the little old lady from Pasadena. Although this is a far-reaching stereotype, behind every prototype lurks some truth. And,

“What people believe prevails over the truth.”

– Sophocles

Of course, we all understand why lobbyists rate last. They have always been the most questionable ingredient in the political equation. This is political fact without a hint of invented fiction.

“Too often government responds to the whispers of lobbyists before the cries of the people.”

– Andrew Cuomo

But, the dismal rating that they gave to politicians is abhorrently disturbing. Many blame this current intolerance for politicians on the extreme political divide in our country. But that theory is nebulous. In 1513, Machiavelli, considered the king-philosopher of political manipulation, wrote “The Prince.” In that thesis, he profoundly and insightfully described the behavioral patterns of politicians whom he had witnessed and studied for years. Yes even in the 1500s, politicians received a very low rating in the Renaissance public opinion polls.

“Politics have no relation to morals.”

“The promise given was a necessity of the past: the word broken is a necessity of the present.”

– Nicolo Machiavelli

Forbs told us, “Let’s face it, life is a sales game.” It is called marketing. Businesses, car salesmen, telemarketers and politicians have been touting the merits of their goods for centuries. The inimical political position society has taken today is, politicians are so desperate for a piece of the action; voters expect grandiose returns each election! Just like those ludicrous claims car hawkers make, voters are actually buying into these charismatic “pitches” for “add-ons.” They are willing to give up liberty, freely trading it for their votes! They somehow convince themselves those things are “easily financed.” Yet James Madison said, “Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government.”

When these promises are broken, voters go after politicians the same way they denigrate that sales guy who sold them a “barbecue machine.” The one that burnt up three days after their “too good to be true” deal was made. Instead of a wake-up call to the real world, they “bellyache” until the next election and they vote for them again. The U.S. Constitution doesn’t guarantee our happiness, only the ability to pursue it. And when it’s time to buy another car, most avoid the last salesmen who pulled the bait and switch, but they buy from the same type of slick talking shyster who makes them the same enigmatic “pitch.”

“It is easier to prevent bad habits than to break them.”

– Ben Franklin

Politicians use everything to buy votes. And the car salesman does the same to make a sale. Both buyers and voters act on emotion instead of common sense because it’s human nature. Although politicians would have a better reputation if they toned down their rhetoric, the stakes are too high if they “lose the sale.” Both politicians and car salesmen are not pathological liars. But, if a salesman claims his Ford sedan includes far more equipment for the same price as the guy’s down the road, you’ll never know unless you price them both. If a politician claims he’ll bestow lavish entitlements upon you that won’t cost a dime, you should check with his “competitor” to see if he is offering a better deal. Politicians and car salesmen work alike. They both make dubitable promises and we believe them.

“Only God never made a promise that was too good to be true.”

– Dwight Moody

Once you have the keys and drive your car off the lot, there’s no turning back. Before we give the politicians keys to our government’s doors, it might behoove us to study the fine print before we close the deal. We all know states have “Lemon Laws” to protect buyers if they buy a car that’s a pile of junk! They cover expressed and written warranties and buyers have recourse if contracts are breached. You rid yourself of the bad vehicle if it is “does not perform well.” The voters have the same type of law to get rid of an incompetent politician. That law is Election Day! We can trade in the “lemons” when they prove they are “souring” instead of trying to “refurbish” them!

“In Europe, politicians resign when they’ve lost public face. But in America, we must impeach ’em.”

– Bill Rogers

Competition is effective motivation. When healthy competition prevails, you have an opportunity to win. It brings out the best in products and the worst in people. Both customers and voters alike can make or break ones career. Realizing the urgency to “out-pitch” the competitors, politicians and car salesmen do anything to “close the deal” before that prospective buyer flees the lot or voting booth. They will tell them anything they want to hear. It’s hard to get valued answers and it takes common sense to depict the truth. Car buyers go to Consumers Digest and read the reviews before they venture to that antipathetic sales lot! But, we do not research our politicians as fervently. We’re baptized with campaign ads and vote party regardless of their Machiavellian declarations.

“There are many men of principle in both parties in America, but there is no party of principle.”

– Alexis de Tocqueville

Politicians and salesmen work for corporate machines. If they don’t close the deal, they are out of work. For the first time in decades, we elected a “Mr. Smith patriot” for president instead of a slick politician and professional salesman. He did not make elusive campaign sales pitches much like those “tire kickers” who try to “up-sell” us on unrealistic “extras” or “package deals.” Mr. Trump was elected because he made realistic, constitutionally correct promises appealing to a broad base of American voters. But after years of deception and misguided half truths, some voters are getting restless since their Mr. Smith has been waylaid by professional politicians in Congress peddling a bill of goods. President Trump is not a salesman or a politician. And like any consumer and voter, he is trying to survive an onslaught of deceptive rhetoric.

“Any politician who claims to solely vote the way their constituents want them to is either a schizophrenic or “B&% S#% you.”

– Ray Osland

Next time you vote for an incumbent, remember that shady car sales guy: Did he honor his word? How many pledges made were left unfulfilled? Buyer’s remorse is hard to swallow. But voters have the power to bring more Mr. Smiths into our governments. When you vote for a candidate, you are investing in America. You need to do your shopping before you close the deal. If the deal is too good to be true, it is. Do we need to elect more seasoned pros or patriotic real Americans and be patient that this is on-the-job training for him? Did that last candidate deliver “change you believed in?”

“In the face of impossible odds, people who love this country can change it.”

– Barack Obama

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Permanent link to this article: http://watchdog.org/293288/haupt-politics-grandiose-sales-pitch/

May 15

Frontier League supports bill that would exempt certain players from state minimum wage

Independent minor league baseball could be threatened without help from lawmakers, the attorney for the Frontier League with teams in Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and elsewhere said.

Tom Ysursa, general counsel for the Frontier League, said league officials support a measure that recently passed the Illinois State Senate that would exempt certain minor league players from Illinois’ minimum wage requirement. He argues it comes down to how employees are classified.

“The issue for the Frontier League is not about anything to do with any proposed raising of the minimum wage [rate] in Illinois,” Ysursa said, referring to a separate bill that would raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour. “The issue for the Frontier League is to get Illinois law the same as federal law when it comes to whether employers of seasonal employees are to comply with the Minimum Wage Act.”

The Frontier League season runs from mid-May until early September. Ysursa said owners need this change to keep players on the field.

“If their seasonal employees, which is what they are, are not exempt, the costs associated with that threatens the business model and threatens to leave many municipal stadiums empty without tenants,” Ysursa said.

Pete Laven, president of the Schaumburg, Ill., Boomers franchise, said he believes this is a reaction by the league to litigation filed by various minor league players across the country. One lawsuit in particular was filed by two former Frontier League players for what they say is low pay that violates federal law.

Laven says he’s heard of players asking to get paid for activities in which they aren’t at the stadium, such as workouts or travel time. He argues teams take care of players in other ways, such as finding living arrangements with nearby families and supplying meals throughout the season.

A bill in the Illinois Senate passed unanimously and now moves to the House for debate.

The Frontier League has teams in Joliet, Crestwood, Schaumburg, Sauget, Normal, and Marion in Illinois; Avon, Ohio; Traverse City, Mich.; Washington, Pa.; Evansville, Ind.; Florence, Ky.; and O’Fallon, Mo.

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Permanent link to this article: http://watchdog.org/293283/frontier-league-supports-bill-exempt-certain-players-state-minimum-wage/

May 14

President Trump Inspires Graduates at Liberty University

Trump at Liberty UniversityPresident Donald Trump gave his first commencement speech at Liberty University on Saturday, encouraging “dreamers” to ignore critics, take risks, never quit, and remember that “in America we don’t worship government, we worship God.”
“America has always been a …

Permanent link to this article: http://www.daytonohioteaparty.com/?p=2247083

May 14

Gaining 10 in 2018 – What will make this happen?

I just received this from our friend Rep John Becker. ********* Welcome to the OHIO 2018 Senate Straw Poll and Sentiment Survey. This quick exercise focuses on two areas: ●  CANDIDATE: Your Republican candidate preference for Senate in 2018 to challenge incumbent Democrat Sherrod Brown. ●  ISSUES: Which issue areas and voter sentiment statements you believe will engage and excite Senate voters come 2018. At the end of the survey, you can indicate if you […]

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.ohiolibertycoalition.org/gaining-10-in-2018-what-will-make-this-happen/

May 10

President Donald Trump Fires FBI Director James Comey

James Comey imagePresident Donald Trump has fired FBI Director James Comey, in what many say was a move that might have occurred months ago. James Comey had failed to uphold recognized legal procedures and failed to properly carry out his responsibilities

Permanent link to this article: http://www.daytonohioteaparty.com/?p=2247079

May 10

Overhaul of Dodd-Frank headed to U.S. House

A financial reform bill is heading for a vote in the U.S. House after clearing the Financial Services Committee.

The CHOICE Act is an overhaul of the Dodd-Frank legislation signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2010. Illinois Congressman Randy Hultgren, R-Plano, supports the measure. He pointed out a key provision would prohibit taxpayer bailouts of banks of any size.

“A lot of promises were made when Dodd-Frank passed that it would do away with ‘too big to fail,’” Hultgren said. “It really hasn’t done what it said it was going to do. So that’s really a big part of this … making sure that it’s very clear that we’re not going to be bailing out these entities. They’re going to have to deal with it themselves.”

In 2008, Congress approved the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), which helped bail out banks in the wake of the subprime mortgage crisis. Hultgren doesn’t want a repeat of that scenario.

“They can’t get the private benefit and then, if they make bad decisions or huge risks, put that back on the taxpayers,” Hultgren said.

The CHOICE Act also repeals the so-called Durbin Amendment in Dodd-Frank, which caps fees that banks can charge on debit card transactions.

“This is price fixing,” Hultgren said. “It’s government coming in and saying what has to happen in the marketplace.”

Some said the Durbin Amendment would be a win for consumers, as merchants passed along savings from the lowered swipe fees. However, a 2013 report by the University of Chicago Coase-Sandor Institute for Law & Economics found that consumers lost more on the banking side than they gained on the merchant side.

“[We’ve seen] a loss of services that banks were able to provide before, like free checking and no-cost accounts,” Hultgren said. “Many of these things have gone away.”

Hultgren said the Choice Act would provide relief for smaller banks and credit unions in Illinois by rolling back many of Dodd-Frank’s 23,000 pages of regulations. The 14th District Republican argued many institutions are being micromanaged by the federal government, leading to banking closures across the state and nation.

“If it’s something local that was never part of the problem, we need to recognize that they need some different ways that they can function,” Hultgren said.

A vote on the CHOICE Act in the U.S. House is expected by early June.

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Permanent link to this article: http://watchdog.org/293234/overhaul-dodd-frank-headed-u-s-house/

May 10

Haupt: Identity politics handcuffs democracy

“I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

– Martin Luther King, Jr.

During the height of the Cold War, everyone was seeking refuge from the Communist “curtain of fear.” The principal at our parochial school demanded our parents vote for John Kennedy because he was a Catholic. Mother Jude, with holy authority, told us if we did not insist our parents support candidate JFK, it would be sinful.

This reverently stoic nun claimed since JFK was a Catholic, he emboldened the spirituality to protect us from the dreaded USSR. When I told my father what she had commanded, I soon learned my first lesson in identity politics. He told me blatantly: “We never vote because of religion! If we vote for Kennedy it’s because of his capability to govern our nation.”

During a campaign speech, JFK reiterated that: “I am not a Catholic candidate for president. I am the Democratic Party’s candidate for president, who happens also to be a Catholic.”

Throughout his campaign, JFK’s spiritual beliefs were the subject of controversy. Many who disliked him claimed they did not want the Pope running the White House. Although he had a conservative record with 14 years in Congress, and often disagreed with the ambassador to the Vatican, this was ignored. He led the coalition to stop unconstitutional aid to parochial schools, yet few of his critics could see beyond his Catholicism. They continually referenced the articles with scrupulously selected quotations taken out of context from statements, made by church leaders.

Although the Counsel of Bishops strongly endorsed church-state separation, which reflected the views of almost every American Catholic at the time, he was chastened unmercifully for his religion by his foe.

“For while this year it may be a Catholic against whom the finger of suspicion is pointed, in other years it has been, and may someday be again, a Jew or a Quaker or a Unitarian or a Baptist.”

– JFK

Identity politics is voting or supporting an individual because of their pigmentation, number of x and y chromosomes, their religion or ethnicity. Identity politics is nothing new. It has been around since the Dark Ages. Although America has led other societies to declare all people equal before the law, this falls on deaf ears each election. In the last decade, American liberals have pandered to their dependent special identity groups to win elections because it works.

During the 2004 Democratic Convention, Barack Obama told reporters not to look at America as Red States or Blue States but as The United States. Academia and the media were mesmerized by this young unifier and his post-racial post-partisan consonance. He became their poster child for the entire election. Yet after two terms in office, we not only have a Red and Blue America we have a battered and worn “black-and-blue” America.

“The legacy of discrimination is part of our DNA that is passed on.”

– Obama

Jesse Jackson, the linchpin of race baiting, at the Democratic Convention in 1984, defined his base as a “rainbow coalition.” This consisted of racial, ethnic and religious minorities as well as women. But few took notice that this colorful and diverse collage included everybody in America except for those of European ancestry, who founded our Republic. He accepted most women, except those who were independent, successful and would not separate themselves politically from their fathers and husbands.

At that time Jackson lacked the political force to generate much enthusiasm from his lackluster montage of mercenaries. But three decades later, American politics has taken a far left turn in the wrong direction. We are beleaguered by a host of social, cultural and political trends that are transforming the country more rapidly than a con man can steal your money in a New York City “street corner shell game!” And this is influencing the governing of our Republic in ways that were never anticipated by our noble founders at the Convention. George Washington told the other delegates, we must “Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.”

The identity politics of special interests are a danger to America’s tradition of limited government and our ability to maintain law and order. This political philosophy is a by-product of our new age progressive politicians. Their fundamental philosophy is underpinning our Constitution to pander to their base and keep them corralled in a pen of dependence. During the debates in Philadelphia our framers verified they were obsessed with the challenge of keeping our republican government in check. They feared it would aggrandize its power whenever possible. Not only has identity politics diminished the power of lawmakers to govern, it has created animosity across the U.S. Liberally disproportionately redistributing wealth, taxpayers are questioning what they are receiving for their investment? The liberal use of their dollars to buy votes is not a fair return for the amount they invested.

“Today in America we have the best politicians in office money can buy.”

– Stan Gelds

If anyone in the U.S . doubts the power of special interest politics, they need not look any further than the Trump administration. We have a commander in chief who is trying to return America back to its constitutional traditions. Yet each time he proposes legislation, special interest groups inundate representatives with calls and emails excoriating his efforts. As much as America despises Obama-Scare, both Republican houses refuse to put it out of its misery. Nearly 2,000 appointed positions in the Trump administration remain vacant! This leaves many agencies without competent leaders or staffing. Trump is noticeably behind all recent presidents in securing the confirmation of Cabinet appointees and other top positions that require Senate approval. Just recently a progressive lynch mob publicly belittled and scourged a proven patriot war hero for his private religious beliefs! He finally withdrew to protect his family and state.

“Liberalism itself has failed, and for a pretty good reason. It has been too often compromised by the people who represented it.”

– Hunter Thompson

There is no separating special interest from politics. Special interest identity groups, big and small, have a corrupting influence at the very heart of our political system. Each election candidates vow to reform a system that has been broken by the prejudice and influence of special interest groups. Yet many of them feed from its tempting trough. Identify politics not only influences elections but it now convolutes presidential appointments and legislation brought to the floor.

Although Democratic nominees should be judgmentally decided on character and qualifications, progressives piece half-verbiage phrases together to destroy the character of anyone who does not buy into their brand of “control-politics.” The media feeds off of half-truths and misinformation to nurture its hungry cabal of throngs.

“In the political world we live in today, mis-quotations are a national vice.”

– Ellen Sutter

Exploiting politically correct but factually inaccurate racial motifs and gender politics is dividing our nation and threatens our critical place in the world. All patriotic Americans know the world needs a strong and free America. An un-united America at home cannot lead a chaotically divergent globe.

America has entered its darkest period because progressives have ganged up with academia and the left media to use race, sex and “feel-good” identity politics for their political success. President Ronald Reagan told us, “I believe now, as I always have, America’s strength is in We the People.’’

When will we start fighting back for America?

“We must never remain silent in the face of bigotry. We must condemn those who seek to divide us. In all quarters and all times, we must teach tolerance and denounce racism, anti-Semitism and all ethnic or religious bigotry wherever they exist as unacceptable evils. We have no place for haters in America, none, whatsoever.”

– Reagan

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Permanent link to this article: http://watchdog.org/293201/haupt-identity-politics-handcuffs-democracy/

May 09

Ohio Governors to meet in front of Ohio Conservatives

Yo’re invited to meet the four candidates who are running for Ohio Governor in 2018.  We have put together a special We the People Convention Event to be held on Saturday, June 24, 2017 at the Berlin Church in Lewis Center, Ohio. This is a private meeting intended to give TEA Party and Liberty Group Leaders and Activists direct access to the candidates who will be running for Governor. This event will NOT be a debate. […]

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.ohiolibertycoalition.org/ohio-governors-to-meet-in-front-of-ohio-conservatives/

May 06

Conservatives Call for Senate to Act Now to Repeal Obamacare

Heritage-foundation-logo-blueThe Heritage Foundation, along with conservatives across the country, is calling on the U.S. Senate to join the House of Representative in taking real action to repeal and replace Obamacare.  Obamacare is collapsing, with more and more insurers dropping …

Permanent link to this article: http://www.daytonohioteaparty.com/?p=2247060

May 06

Guest Voice: How the New York Times misrepresents the U.S. Supreme Court

A recent New York Times story, titled “A Polarized Supreme Court, Growing More So,” illustrates how left-of-center media distort perceptions of the U.S. Supreme Court.

The story’s problems begin with the lead paragraph’s assertion that Justice Neil Gorsuch’s appointment is “a conservative replacing another conservative.” What the Times probably intended to say is that the appointment replaces an originalist with an originalist. Originalism and conservatism are not the same thing.

Originalism is untied to political results, whether liberal or conservative. It applies the methods English and American judges have used for centuries to interpret most documents, including constitutions. The primary difference between modern originalists and non-originalists hinges on whether judges should be consistent or whether they should change the rules of interpretation for some hot-button constitutional issues.

In the article, as elsewhere, the Times describes the Court as split five-to-four, with the majority constituting a “conservative bloc.” It is more accurate to describe the Court as split four ways: (1) liberal activists (Elena Kagan, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor), (2) originalists (Clarence Thomas and Gorsuch), (3) advocates of judicial deference (John Roberts, Samuel Alito), and (4) an erratic social libertarian (Anthony Kennedy).

“And, in a shift in recent years,” the Times writes, “partisan affiliation has become a very strong predictor of voting trends for all its members.” The sentence is technically true but substantially misleading. This description would be better: although Democratic appointees have been reliably liberal on most issues, Republican appointees have commonly slipped to the left—a slippage reduced recently as GOP administrations have adopted better vetting procedures.

The article’s thigh-slapper is its description of Kennedy as “a moderate conservative.” Anyone familiar with Kennedy’s judicial style knows that he is not a moderate anything, much less a conservative. It is true that he has voted to strike down some particularly ambitious pieces of congressional legislation, but he has also reaffirmed the very liberal view that the federal government may exercise almost unfettered control over the national economy. More importantly, he has written a series of opinions reaching radical social results through an untethered and virtually unprecedented methodology.

Similarly revealing are the “experts” the Times chose to quote. Apparently, there are no experts in flyover country or in the South. Everyone worth hearing is from the Northeast or West Coast.  This is an extraordinary omission because the nomination of Gorsuch, a Coloradan, was widely viewed as an effort to rebalance the court toward the country’s center.

Neither do practicing lawyers exist in the Times’ world. Everyone quoted is affiliated with an academic or policy institution.

Nor do consistent originalist experts exist—even though the Gorsuch hearings dwelt largely on originalism. The Times quotes four liberals and one activist libertarian. No originalist scholars at all.

The Times article cites just one case by name: Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. The Times treats that case, as is common among liberal writers, as an unqualified “conservative” victory. In fact, it was a split decision, with originalists winning on one issue but losing on the other.

Several years ago, the Times was properly criticized for describing the Court’s activist liberals as its “four moderates.” While the latest article doesn’t make that mistake, it does reveal the Times’ propensity for putting its left-of-center views at the hub of the ideological universe. Thus the reporter describes Obama appointee Merrick Garland as “not especially liberal.” And he selected for publication an unrebutted claim that Garland was “centrist.”

Yet the reporter’s own article shows this to be untrue. It includes another unrebutted quotation in which a long liberal wish list is described as “safe” with Garland. If he were a centrist, presumably liberals would lose sometimes!

In fairness, the Times does quote an expert who cautions against its stereotyped nomenclature—pointing out that labeling Gorsuch and Garland as “‘conservative” or “liberal” is “too simplistic and unfair to both of them.” That caution, however, is buried at the end.

Rob Natelson is Senior Fellow in Constitutional Jurisprudence at the Independence Institute’s Senior Fellow. This column previously published in the American Conservative and on the Independence Institute’s website.

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Permanent link to this article: http://watchdog.org/293176/guest-voice-new-york-times-misrepresents-u-s-supreme-court/

May 04

President Trump Signs Executive Order to Protect Religious Liberty

Religious-Liberty image from HillsdalePresident Donald Trump today signed an executive order designed to protect religious liberty, fulfilling yet another campaign promise! He declared “No one should be censoring sermons” during a White House Rose Garden ceremony, and added “We will not allow

Permanent link to this article: http://www.daytonohioteaparty.com/?p=2247056

May 04

Vice President Pence Defends Budget Deal on Limbaugh Show

Mike_Pence,_official_portrait,_112th_Congress

Vice President Mike Pence and Rush Limbaugh had a heart to heart chat on the FY 2017 budget when Mike Pence called the Limbaugh show. Many believe that the budget is a total Democratic win and a Republican loss. …

Permanent link to this article: http://www.daytonohioteaparty.com/?p=2247055

May 04

Study: Income tax rate has major impact on pro sports teams win-loss record

Upset that your favorite basketball or hockey team is watching the playoffs from their sofas? A UIC professor says a state’s tax burden shares some of the blame.

University of Illinois at Chicago professor Erik Hembre has released a working draft that shows a professional team in a state with high income taxes could win up to four fewer games in an 82 game season compared to a team in a state without income taxes. This is because the better players are more likely to gravitate toward states that allow them to keep more of their money.

Hembre found that, since the mid-1990s, a 10 percentage point increase in income taxes means anywhere from a 1.9 to 3.0 percentage decrease in winning percentage. That formula also takes into consideration other factors such as the weather in Miami being warmer than Minneapolis in January.

The logic behind this, Hembre said, is that players in free agency are being offered deals from states with no income tax that are, all other factors aside, more competitive than other teams because a player would be able to keep more of their salary.

“There’s been this negative correlation between income taxes and winning percentage in both the NBA and the NFL every single year for the past 20 years,” Hembre said. “It’s not saying that income taxes are the only factor. It’s saying that income taxes are a factor, just like the weather. Every single year for the past 20, there’s been this negative correlation, and it’s been growing in the NBA.”

He said the results are more pronounced in sports such basketball, football and hockey because they have salary caps that give free-agent signings more impact.

But agent Michael Naiditch, founder of Chicago-based N.E.T. Sports, thinks players don’t care about their tax burden as much as they should.

“Basketball players often live pretty well, and I think they care more about lifestyle than they do about savings,” Naiditch said.

Decisions on where sports’ free agents decide to sign also is more complicated than money. Factors like weather, family and winning championships all cloud the data, Naiditch said.

A professional athlete also has to file taxes with states other than their place of residence. Some states have what is commonly known as the “jock tax,” which taxes an annual percentage of a player’s total income based on the days they performed in each specific state.

According to 2016 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, hundreds more professional athletes live in Florida than any other state because of it not having an income tax.

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Permanent link to this article: http://watchdog.org/293161/study-income-tax-rate-major-impact-pro-sports-teams-win-loss-record/

May 03

Congressional plan for coal miner health care bailout begs question: Who’s next?

Republican members of Congress face a dilemma, particularly those from coal-mining states.

As Congress considers a $1.3 billion bailout of health benefits for retired union coal miners, they must weigh the arguments for and against such federal bailouts.

 

“My district has more United Mine Workers members than any other Congressional district in the nation,”Congressman Mike Bost, R-Ill., said. “West Virginia has a total of 8,000. Kentucky has a total of 3,000. And I have a total of about 4,500 in my district. It’s a lot of people.”

But Bost also served 10 years in the Illinois General Assembly, and knows that Illinois’ pension systems are more than $130 billion in debt.

Bost said he understands why some taxpayers are worried that a federal bailout for the United Mine Workers’ health care benefits could open the door to a federal bailout for public pension systems across the country.

“There is a danger in bailouts,” Bost said. “But this one is different.”

Congress is considering a $1.3 billion bailout of health benefits for 22,600 former coal miners. The bailout is included in the $1 trillion spending plan designed to keep the federal government running. Bost said Congress is looking to use money from the coal mine reclamation fund to pay for the health care bills of what he calls a “finite group” of elderly people. Bost said this week that he’s pleased Congress has reached an agreement on what he calls “vitally” important benefits.

“The coal companies used a loophole to abandon these people,” Bost said. “It’s the right thing to do.”

Rachel Greszler, a research fellow at The Heritage Foundation, disagrees, saying taxpayers shouldn’t be paying for what the union promised its members but never delivered.

“There was never a promise from the [federal] government,” Greszler said. “It was the union itself. They set up this fund and wanted to pay out benefits right away, in 1947, to people who were retiring. But they never made contributions. It’s the same thing as Social Security. If you start paying benefits to people who didn’t earn them, you’re digging a hole that at some point you have to climb out of. But the problem that you have with the coal industry is that they can’t climb out.”

Coal mining in the United States is not what it used to be. More than 860,000 people worked in the coal industry at its peak in 1923. Nearly 75,000 people worked in the industry in 2000. In 2016, just 65,000 people worked in mines. The number of coal mines also is down significantly, as is total coal output.

Greszler said that’s the biggest problem for union mine workers.

“There’s one worker for every 11 retirees,” Greszler said.

There are also questions about the bailout plan itself.

A new Inspector General’s report from the U.S. Department of the Interior found numerous flaws with the $1 billion former President Barack Obama sent to the United Mine Workers health-care fund between 2011 and 2015. The report said the union listed nearly 1,800 people born in the 1800s as beneficiaries. The report also found the union added thousands more people to the list of “previously retired” miners.

Slippery Slope?

Greszler said Congress is setting a dangerous precedent with a bailout for miners. Even if it’s only their health care.

“If you open the door to the mine workers, how can you say in the future, ‘We’re just going to pick and choose?'” Greszler said.

Bost agrees.

“I don’t know what we’re going to do with the Central State’s pension system,” Bost added. “That’d be a true bailout because there is no revenue there.”

The Central State’s pension fund also is in trouble. It’s underfunded by about $18 billion, and thousands of truck drivers say they could lose their pensions as well. The Central State’s pension fund was supposed to be the retirement account for nearly 400,000 Teamster members in the Midwest. But under funding, questionable accounting, and scandals dating back to Jimmy Hoffa’s days have left the pension fund in the brink of collapse.

But Greszler said miners and truckers aren’t the concern.

She said taxpayers need to be very worried about a Congressional bailout of state and local government pensions.

“If you say, ‘We’re just going to provide a small, limited bailout for the coal miners’, that’s $5 billion,” Greszler said. “But then you just open the spigot. And if you open it to private unions, how can you not then bail out state and local governments? That’s retired firefighters and teachers, and there’s plenty of sympathy for them.”

Greszler said the total unfunded liability for public sector pensions tops $5 trillion.

But the miners’ health care bailout had the bipartisan support of lawmakers from coal-mining states.

“I’m proud to have secured this important provision as we put together the final package,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentuck, said Monday on the House Floor. “I’ll continue to fight for relief for coal communities going forward.”

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Permanent link to this article: http://watchdog.org/293157/congressional-plan-coal-miner-health-care-bailout-begs-question-whos-next/

May 03

Haupt: How overtaxation can kill an economy

“I hate big government, but I really hate a government that doesn’t work. So when they say we either have to raise taxes or cut core services, it’s actually a false choice.”

– Scott Walker

During the late 1970s and continuing for a decade, America experienced unprecedented prosperity.

President Ronald Reagan created wealth and jobs, and everyone prospered. Under his leadership, Americans changed the incentive structure on all taxes, inflation, and regulation. This enabled our economy to roar back to life after the anti-growth, high-inflation Carter years that devastated the US. But as usual, few political leaders profit from the sins of the past. And in the past eight years, America has moved away from protecting capitalism, which has decimated growth and prosperity. This is why blue color America rebelled and elected a president with a stellar record of free market success. He campaigned in blue and red states to give everyone the same opportunity to be prosperous like him.

“Government’s first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives.”

– Ronald Reagan

The policies of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi caused America to lose its status as the world’s growth and job-creation machine. Their economic mismanagement of our nation was an unmitigated disaster. Economists warned them if they did not curtail expanding government, we’d go belly up.

This gang of four’s policies not only failed to articulate a recovery; they set us back to the nightmare created by Franklin D. Roosevelt. The activist Federal Reserve and Obama’s fiscal stimulus policies ravaged social and economic progress. Their systemic solution to try and revive a failing economy was to raise taxes and redistribute wealth. This was only a straw man to cover up their plans to facilitate their brand of progressive social engineering.

“Those who believe that what our people desire is big government are living in a state of delusion.”

– Marco Rubio

Before our wise founders set forth to create a free market nation of free men, they were congruent in philosophy on one key principle: History demonstrated that the larger a government is, the more expensive it is to run. Since they wanted to give us a republic, they looked to Rome as an example of what “not to do.”

The cataclysm of the Roman Empire was a result of the greatest tax burden in history for the average citizen. The 3rd century taxation was so desolating that many citizens were driven to starvation and bankruptcy. Rome was so desperate for money they chased after widows and children to collect taxes owed by their deceased. By the 4th century, the Roman economy was dolorous. Many farmers vacated their land and moved into the cities to receive public amenities. By then, Rome was spending most of its taxes on military and public entitlements and people wanted more.

“What people want is big government that they don’t have to pay for.”

– Timothy Noah

Greece mimicked the Romans in 2008 as their economy wilted quicker than a lily in summer. Most of Europe entered the global recession, but Greece bottomed out. Unemployment reached 28 percent in 2013, which was worse than the U.S. during the Great Depression. Government spending was 50 percent of Greece’s economic output by 2013. Greece’s score from The Economic Freedom of the World Index was the lowest in all of Europe’s free nations.

During the heart of this tumultuous fiscal crisis, Greece soon tried to atone for this profligacy by implementing a fiscal “austerity” program to reduce government’s size and cut back onerous levels of entitlements. But the people revolted and Greek leaders cried uncle!

“Big government doesn’t help the middle class, it buries it.”

– Rubio

Like so many countries before, Greece suffered a crisis caused by too much government and the politicians decided the solution was to “drum roll” its size and scope. It is a sobering reality. The tax burden was so oppressive people didn’t want to inherit property. Throughout the land people were lining up renouncing their inheritance. They’d rather give it away than pay the taxes.

When this tax revenue dwindled to a trickle, Greek politicians squeezed even more from the taxpayers. They had drones on social media to see if people had lifestyles more extravagant than income they reported to tax police. Greek officials foolishly thought the more they raised taxes and printed money to pay their bills, the sooner the economy would improve.

“To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”

– Thomas Jefferson

The economic decline of any civilization is caused by political elites who give away the farm and milk the cows dry every time someone demands something. By permitting voters to dictate social policy, they must increase public debt and debase the currency. This results in obloquious taxation and insidious restrictive laws. The people sell their liberty like Judas sold his soul for “30 pieces of silver.”

To support the waterloo of giving government unrestricted power, they put the propaganda machine into high gear to ensure everyone that this is for their good. Deluded by patriotic fervor, voters are too simple-minded to notice they’re being plundered by the state. Whether it’s direct or indirect taxation by printing money like Obama and Carter did, the result is the same. Tactics to support wealth redistribution have been used for centuries to market political agendas at the expense of all taxpayers.

“Unrestricted government power always leads to lost liberty and freedom.”

– Nick Davis

The economic blunders in Greece and Rome will be replicated worldwide for centuries. People cannot comprehend that government does not have any money except what they steal from them. And “He who giveith takeit away”! We have felt the sting of these past failures already.

There are many blue states on a bad trajectory, such as California and Illinois. If there’s any hope for the politicians in Sacramento and Springfield to right the ship, they best do it now. If they beg the feds for money. D.C. must tell them no! This is your faux pas for bankrupting your state houses. Ludicrous, unfunded pensions and obscene benefits for blue state employees are a ticking time bomb. D.C. must school them. There are no more gifts of bailouts from ol’ Uncle Sam.

“A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money.”

– G. Gordon Liddy

Plato saw the writing on the wall in 400 BC: “Democracy is a charming form of government, full of variety and disorder.” Politicians will continue to misappropriate funds when taxpayers foot the bill. Perhaps in 1,000 years, historians will be writing the same thing about us. It’s not far-fetched if we don’t remember our history.

Rome was not built in a day and it did not fall in one. It was a transition from the frugal governing by Julius Caesar to when Odoacer deposed the Emperor Romulus into exile. They were unable to defend themselves and were easily conquered.

“The Roman Empire was much like us. They lost their moral core, their sense of values of who they were.”

– Ben Carson

We must transform our tax policy into an engine of growth and innovation and apply “tough love” to cut back on social engineering and entitlements before we meet the fate of Rome and Greece. We have no more money to buy votes.

Government’s “We have what it takes to take what you have” attitude, “grab our money and run with it,” must be changed. We must maintain capitalism and free markets in order to field our strength as a world leader, to protect our liberty and freedom. Anyone can increase taxes and balance the budget, but it takes guts to tell people the free ride is over.

D.C. must learn how to say “no!” If we fail to do this now, big government will be our Waterloo. Lyndon B. Johnson once said, “In 1790, the nation which had fought a revolution against taxation without representation discovered that some of its citizens weren’t much happier about taxation with representation.”

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Permanent link to this article: http://watchdog.org/293117/haupt-overtaxation-can-kill-economy/

May 01

Hillsdale College Offers Free Course: “The Presidency and the Constitution”

Hillsdale College LogoHillsdale College is offering a great, free, online course, “The Presidency and the Constitution”. See the message below from Hillsdale College president Larry Arnn:

 

Dear Fellow American,

Donald Trump’s election gave voice to the growing conviction of …

Permanent link to this article: http://www.daytonohioteaparty.com/?p=2247044

Apr 24

OLC Gun Raffle 1705

The Ohio Liberty Coalition is proud to offer our first of many gun raffle packages. Not only does this package have a phenomenal Ruger AR 556 rifle, but it also comes with a gun case, ammo, cleaning kit, eye & ear protection, extra magazines with a connector, and an Emerson knife to complete the package. Total prize value of this package is $1,500. Half of the proceeds from this raffle will be equally split between […]

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.ohiolibertycoalition.org/gr1705/

Apr 20

Obamacare repeal-and-replace efforts revived

Efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare are gaining new momentum in Washington D.C. weeks after House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., pulled a replacement bill from the floor after it failed to gain enough Republican support.

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, said he has been asked by the White House to revive plans to change the nation’s health care law.

“Keeping the status quo is unacceptable,” Davis said. “If we do nothing, in the year 2020, because of planned reduction in Medicaid reimbursements, the state of Illinois is going to have to come up with potentially hundreds of millions of dollars. I don’t think anyone in Springfield thinks we can make that happen right now.”

Many other states face the same predicament. In addition, roughly one third of U.S. counties have just a single insurer on the individual market, driving up costs.

Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-New Jersey, told Advance Media that a vote on a new bill could come as soon as next week.

“It’s not dead,” MacArthur told Advance’s Newark-based The Star-Ledger. “I spoke with the vice president and the [House] speaker over the weekend, and it’s moving.”

President Donald Trump said Tuesday that replacing Obamacare will be key to his tax reform plans.

While it’s remains unclear what the proposed health reform would look like, Castle Group Health President Mark Gurda said it’s hard to trust anyone in the debate.

“I don’t think there are any credible sources you can rely on for dictating the road forward,” Gurda said. “Do you trust the Democrats in the health care reform? Not necessarily. They got us to this point, and they think there’s nothing wrong. If the Republicans go along and say there’s nothing wrong, you may find yourself in September with a third or half the country with no insurers. You can’t play that chicken game. The stakes are too high.”

Politicians aren’t the only ones in the debate who can’t be trusted, he said.

“Can you trust the insurers to do what’s right for the public? Not necessarily. I unfortunately am in the camp that it’s going to get worse before it gets better for 2018,” Gurda said.

One major criticism of the previous reform attempt was it included a provision to allow for a 30-percent penalty that insurers could levy against people who re-upped insurance after having it lapse.

“What we’re asking Americans to do is to be able to keep continuous coverage,” Davis said. “If you have coverage, make sure you keep it. Otherwise you may have to pay a little bit more.”

Critics said that’s still an individual mandate which is a key part of former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

Reform advocates warn if nothing is done soon, insurers will vanish from the Obamacare exchanges and offerings left behind, if any, will be too expensive for the people who need it most.

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Permanent link to this article: http://watchdog.org/293009/obamacare-repeal-replace-efforts-revived/

Apr 11

GCTP to Host Constitution Boot Camp, Saturday, April 22, 8:30 AM – 3:00 PM, Xenia Community Center

We the People

Greene County TEA Party is hosting a Constitution Boot Camp on Saturday, April 22, 2017. Presented by Building Blocks for Liberty, this is a great opportunity to learn more about the Constitution and help maintain our freedoms in this

Permanent link to this article: http://www.daytonohioteaparty.com/?p=2247032

Apr 08

Limited Strike on Syria Shows Strength in the Face of Evil and Proves Trump is No Friend of Russia

Trump April 2017
President Trump’s successful missile strike against a Syrian air base sent a strong message that the use of chemical weapons will not be tolerated, warning our enemies and reassuring our allies! The action also shattered the illusion, pushed by …

Permanent link to this article: http://www.daytonohioteaparty.com/?p=2247030

Apr 06

Jay Sekulow Calls for Grand Jury Investigation of Susan Rice

Jay Sekulow pic

Jay Sekulow is calling for a grand jury to impartially investigate the widening scandal: mounting evidence that Susan Rice and the Obama administration illegally used government surveillance assets to collect and leak classified information for a partisan political attack

Permanent link to this article: http://www.daytonohioteaparty.com/?p=2247028

Apr 04

The People’s Justice

 

As the U.S. Senate holds confirmation hearings, the spotlight of the world’s greatest deliberative body will shine brightly on Judge Neil Gorsuch. Before donning the black robe of a Supreme Court Justice, the nominee is required to demonstrate impartiality, balance, and restraint before the law. These qualities, as opposed to conviction, passion, and persuasion are the true measure for a Justice of the People.

While it is the job of the Congress and the President to be proactive, it is the job of the Courts to be reactive. This separate but co-equal branch must serve as an unwavering and indifferent body against the passions of the majority. To quote U.S. Senator Ben Sasse, “The Constitution is a decidedly and intentionally anti-majoritarian document, it exists to protect our rights and liberties even when one might hold unpopular views.”

Yet, today things feel out of balance. In response to the seemingly unending political gridlock in Washington D.C., there has been significant growth of power in the Executive Branch over the last two decades. This growth has created a far-reaching bureaucracy of over two million unelected officials writing, executing, and adjudicating regulations, which reach into every aspect of our daily lives. The consolidation of such power into the hands of one branch of government sets a dangerous precedent for all Americans.

James Madison famously wrote in Federalist 62, “It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood: if they be repealed or revised before they are promulg[at]ed, or undergo such incessant changes, that no man who knows what the law is to-day, can guess what it will be to-morrow.” Our Founding Fathers recognized that tyranny was not limited to the British Monarchy in the late 18th Century; tyranny only requires an unchecked branch of government to thrive. Hundreds of thousands of federal regulations are an indication that it has found traction in the 21st Century U.S. Government.

According to Columbia Law Professor John Coffee’s estimate, there are as many as 300,000 federal regulations that carry criminal penalties. These regulations are far reaching, touching nearly every aspect of our lives, most often without our knowledge. The only thing that stands in between the People and the Government’s tyrannical overreach is the Separation of Powers doctrine. The preservation of liberties that all Americans enjoy are secured by this doctrine in the Constitution, which holds each branch accountable to staying in their “enumerated and delegated” lanes.

Whether conservative or liberal, every American should have an interest in a full revival of the Separation of Powers doctrine. When one branch outstrips its enumerated powers, the other two must respond in earnest in defense of the document they swore to defend and uphold. One step in the path of restoration of balance is the nomination of Supreme Court Justices who are willing to submit their personal political leanings in favor of adherence to the law.

The U.S. Senate has a tremendous opportunity to bring balance to the U.S. Government by evaluating a Supreme Court nominee through the lens of Constitutionalism. The American people deserve a Justice who does not represent the will of one party over another, but who represents the Constitution. Because this nominee embodies these principles, I suspect that Neil Gorsuch will be our next United States Supreme Court Justice, the People’s Justice.

“A judge who likes every outcome he reaches is very likely a bad judge, stretching for results he prefers rather than those the law demands.” -Judge Neil Gorsuch

Jonathon-Jakubowski-Thumbnail-150x150Jonathan Jakubowski is the Executive Chairman of the Wood County Republican Party, Division Leader of SmartSolve, founder of Champions in Action, and advisory board member of the Forge Leadership Network

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Permanent link to this article: http://ohioconservativereview.com/2017/04/04/gorsuch/

Mar 29

MVCI Meeting on Article V Convention, April 3, 2017

MVCI logo

ARTICLE V CONVENTION

LAST HOPE FOR AMERICA OR A DANGEROUS IDEA?
Pro-Con or Con-Con: The Great Debate
MONDAY, APRIL 3, 2017, 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM

Washington Heights Baptist Church
5650 Far Hills Avenue, Dayton, Ohio 45429

MVCI encourages

Permanent link to this article: http://www.daytonohioteaparty.com/?p=2247010

Mar 29

President Trump Cancels Job-Killing Regulations

Trump in Wilmington

President Donald Trump kept yet another campaign promise by signing an executive order canceling excessive Obama-era EPA regulations that have been killing jobs. He stated “The war on coal is over… We’re going to have safety, we’re going to

Permanent link to this article: http://www.daytonohioteaparty.com/?p=2247009

Mar 27

Ohio county picks electronic polling vendor that had previous election snafu

Shutterstock image

AT THE POLLS: Electronic poll books can make the polling process more efficient, but their implementation in one Ohio county in 2015 caused many headaches.

 

An elections vendor recently got a contract to operate electronic poll books in Ohio’s Cuyahoga County beginning this November despite major issues in another Ohio county in 2015 that caused a judge to keep the polls open later.

Cuyahoga County’s elections director tells Watchdog.org, however, that his county plans a gradual ramp-up and has safeguards in place to avoid previous electronic polling pitfalls.

The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections agreed in February to contract with Tampa, Florida-based Tenex Software Solutions for electronic poll books beginning with the 2017 general election. The board will pay $1.7 million for the 1,450 books, with the state picking up 85 percent of the cost.

This will allow the county to replace those bulky paper rosters of registered voters at each polling location as election officials phase in the software during upcoming elections prior to November.

But, as Hamilton County discovered, new technology can sometimes have detrimental effects on elections.

Judge Robert Ruehlman ordered the polls to stay open an additional 90 minutes during the 2015 general election, and Ohio Secretary of State John Husted told boards of elections to embargo each county’s election results until 9 p.m. because glitches in Tenex’s electronic polling books caused long delays.

The county agreed to pay poll workers an additional $50,000 collectively for the additional time worked.

The Hamilton County Board of Elections post-election report found that 2,764 voters were told by Tenex’s software they had registered too late because the company did not update a database from a special election in August. Those voters had to vote provisionally, but many polling locations were short on provisional ballots, leading to more slowdowns.

Nearly 43 percent of voting locations experienced difficulty in locating registered voters in the books on election day. Most of those problems resulted from voters who didn’t have a date of birth in the database and couldn’t be found using a normal driver’s license scan.

“While this isn’t a failure of the e-Poll Book system, [precinct election officials’] confusion about how to look the voters up by other means forced a number of otherwise eligible, registered voters to be processed provisionally,” the report states.

The board worked with Tenex to create better instructions on the books on how to find voters when driver’s license scans were not being used.

That report also found that 65 percent of voting locations noted problems with router-to-printer connectivity, some of which was caused by workers unfamiliar with the new system. A post-election hearing discovered that poll workers felt the three hours of training they received on the new software was insufficient.

In all, nearly 84 percent of polling locations reported some problem related to the implementation of Tenex’s electronic polling software.

In the days after that 2015 general election, Republicans and Democrats alike were adamant the mistakes wouldn’t be repeated. The Cincinnati Enquirer called the programming errors “egregious,” and Tenex founder and president Ravi Kallem said the company was sorry for the issues.

“It’s a simple human error,” he said then. “I apologize for that. It’s our responsibility.”

Kallem didn’t return a call from Watchdog.org.

Former President Barack Obama’s Presidential Commission on Election Administration recommended the adoption of electronic polling books in 2014, saying they reduced poll worker errors, reduced check-in times and provided “greater flexibility.” The Hamilton County BOE noted the books provided the advantage of allowing poll workers to look up voters countywide. The software also will scan IDs faster than the old process of looking through a paper book.

Cuyahoga County photo

MCDONALD: The Cuyahoga County elections director plans more training and a slow ramp-up of the Tenex equipment to avoid previous election pitfalls.

Cuyahoga County chose KNOWiNK and Tenex as finalists and decided to wait until after the 2016 general election to see how the companies performed. KNOWiNK had operations in 18 counties, compared to three for Tenex.

Cuyahoga County Board of Elections Director Pat McDonald told Watchdog that KNOWiNK’s bid was $1.95 million, or $250,000 higher than Tenex’s bid.

McDonald said Cuyahoga County will phase in the new software slowly, with 76 of 380 polling locations using it during the May 2 election and a to-be-determined number of sites using the equipment during the September election.

“This controlled stage gate process allows us to evaluate results at each stage, identify process and software fixes and be ready for a large countywide general election,” he said.

McDonald said Hamilton County was one of the first to implement electronic poll books on a large scale in Ohio.

“We worked with them and other counties that have gone through e-poll book implementations and identified the best practices,” he said. “Most of these counties have identified training as one of the success factors. We have developed an extensive training program that will be used for this small May election and subsequently refined.”

McDonald also said Cuyahoga County would be using different equipment than what Hamilton County used in 2015, and that equipment has been successfully implemented in other counties.

“We are very comfortable that the equipment and printers we purchased can perform as expected,” he said.

Kallem told Cleveland.com the problems were resolved and past elections using Tenex software ran smoothly.

Following the election flap in 2015, Alex Triantafilou, a member of the Hamilton County Board of Elections and chairman of the county GOP, noted the 2016 presidential election was looming and “we’ve got to get it right” in the battleground state.

“There’s no sugarcoating it,” he told the Enquirer. “Last night was a disaster, and we need to fix it.”

Reached by Watchdog this week, Triantafilou now calls the problems that occurred that day “very minor issues” caused by “the rollout of brand new technology and the expected learning curve.”

He said the county encountered practically no problems with the Tenex software during the primary and general elections of 2016.

“Tenex was great and worked with us to solve the normal and expected issues with new technologies,” he said. “I’m a huge fan of Tenex and the way they’ve handled elections in Hamilton County.”

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Permanent link to this article: http://watchdog.org/291873/ohio-polling-vendor/

Mar 22

Social Media Training Tuesday, March 28, 2017, at T J Chumps in Fairborn OH

Social media icon Small

At the recent Lincoln Day Dinner hosted by the Greene County Republican Party, “Joe the Plumber”, who was the featured speaker, stressed the importance of using Social Media to further conservative thought and causes.

Now, Greene County TEA Party

Permanent link to this article: http://www.daytonohioteaparty.com/?p=2246998

Mar 21

“Tomi doesn’t speak for us”

We are not afraid to admit, we have never been real fans or followers of Tomi Lahren. Even from the beginning she seemed like a shill for Trump, certainly not the long-awaited feminine heroine we had in mind to stand up for principled conservatism.

Our initial feelings about her were confirmed last week when Lahren, a guest on “The View,” declared herself to be pro-choice (which is really just a nice way of saying that you’re pro-legalized murder). Her logic, “The government can stay out of my guns and stay out of my body as well.”

What’s more disheartening, is that she previously identified as being pro-life, claiming that abortion was the ‘murdering of an unborn baby,’ going on a tirade against Lena Dunham and her warped version of feminism. But when given the chance to bravely voice that and prove that Republican females are more than just a tanned, made-up face, she choked and caved, renouncing the Truth of abortion to garner the favor of a mostly liberal female audience.

It’s hard to see Tomi Lahren as anything other than a sellout who went on national television and took a shot at her own supporters by telling the world that all pro-life women are really hypocrites. That, or she really drank the post-modernist Kool-Aid and bought into relativist “truth.” Either way, she’s become a free agent of opportunity and it’s rather disappointing.

As three young conservative females, we wanted to set the record straight: Tomi Lahren is not the poster girl for our conservatism. We come from different backgrounds and different perspectives, as all women do, yet we are all united on this: Tomi Lahren’s “my truth” is not the Truth. Tomi has bought into the liberal idea that each person is entitled to their own personal reality that no one else has license to question or criticize. We know deep down there is such a thing as objective truth, and Tomi has turned her back on it for the sake of convenience or out of genuine apathy for abortion.

Let each us of us tell you why Tomi Lahren is #notmyconservative:

“As a young conservative feminist, it is the Tomi Lahrens of the Republican Party that concern me. They adopt the liberal version of feminism instead of courageously standing up to promote ours. They don’t believe in the Truth, so they make up their own. I want young women on the right to actually stand up for the rights of all women – including the unborn women which half of all abortions destroy; to fight the ridiculous yet institutional assumption that birth control and abortion are needed for women to succeed (maybe in a man’s world, but I thought the ‘future is female’?) To root their politics to an ideology, not their sex, to vote their conscience, not vow their blind allegiance to a Party, to think, not react, to learn, not just rant. I want them to know their ‘feminine genius’; that it includes a multitude of attributes (as they do), but that it should never cease to celebrate the power in female fertility and the unique ability to bring new life into the world, a power possessed only by women, something that men can never do. Refusing to celebrate what sets you apart from a man is a waste of a XX chromosome.”

-Jessica Kramer

“As a young conservative business owner, I understand how the world of business works. We are a capitalist society and I recognize that one must jump on opportunity when it presents itself to expand business and reach a new audience. However, the difference between leaders with principles and without them is their willingness to stand for Truth. Tomi Lahren saw the opportunity to further her career and instead of holding to Truth, she tossed it aside, for the sake of fame and money. She responded to negative feedback to her charade and in her usual blunt way stated, “this is my truth.” As conservatives, we should never trade principle for opportunity in a gimmick for attention. In light of her blatant disregard for life, and poor understanding of the constitution: Tomi Lahren is not my kind of conservative. I will not allow her shameless relativism to represent my age group, gender, and conservatism as a whole.”

-Jena Powell

“As a young conservative who is returning to school to pursue a degree in nursing, I have the immense privilege of caring for people in moments of great joy and unspeakable grief. If there is one thing I know to be true, it is that all people need clarity and compassion. Seeing a young conservative woman, with national reach, like Tomi Lahren, treat issues like abortion so flippantly is heartbreaking. What we need are clear, concise, compassionate voices that will not shrink away from the truth. Deep down we all know that the preborn are not just clumps of cells that are part and parcel of their mother’s body. We know they’re separate, distinct human beings. We know that whether a child was planned, or wanted has no bearing on whether the child is actually a human person who should be entitled to legal protection. Further, conservatives understand that inherent human value and dignity underscore our entire political philosophy. Unfortunately, there are few people who are willing to communicate these truths seasoned with grace. Tomi Lahren has flip flopped from a brash, uncompassionate display of truth to an outright denial of it. In a political atmosphere with plenty of hate and vitriol, we don’t need more shock jockey antics, we need grace, and candor. It’s time for young, conservative, pro-life millennials to take to the streets (and their social media accounts) armed with the truth and a commitment to communicate it clearly and compassionately. While we may not have national reach like Lahren, we have a responsibility to speak clearly to those who are in our spheres of influence, we cannot allow our voices to be co-opted.”

-Amy Williams

If the conservative movement does not stand for Truth, we stand for nothing. We cannot cower on the most important and controversial issues and be “Democrat-lite.” We must  instead counter the opposing worldview with unapologetic voices and sincerity. We must unite with one another and be unyielding, impenetrable, and unmoving. Now is not the time to stand back while people speak falsehoods under the banner of conservatism. Conservative isn’t a brand you get to claim, it’s a position you adhere to. Tomi Lahren has forsaken that position, and it’s up to us to reclaim the integrity of the label. As Americans our motto is life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. Limited government, yes. But the ultimate rule of government is to protect life. In the end, the “conservative” who does not stand for life and Truth, will never be a person we can stand beside.

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Permanent link to this article: http://ohioconservativereview.com/2017/03/21/tomi-doesnt-speak-for-us/

Mar 21

Democrats Opposing Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court show their Radical Left Ideology

Neil_Gorsuch_February_2017

Democrats who oppose Judge Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court are showing that they are all about politics and twisting the Constitution so they can impose their radical left ideology on the American people. They reject a true, unbiased

Permanent link to this article: http://www.daytonohioteaparty.com/?p=2246992

Mar 20

Congressional Testimony Shows the Russians had No Effect on the Election!

Your Vote Counts

The mainstream media has been deceitfully pushing the “Russia hacked the election” story for weeks. But testimony in Congress has now revealed that the Russians had no effect on the voting for Donald Trump! But you can expect most …

Permanent link to this article: http://www.daytonohioteaparty.com/?p=2246990

Mar 18

President Trump Works for Jobs, Growth, and a Better Future for All

Trump in Wilmington

Donald Trump is calling for American economic nationalism to bring jobs, growth, industry, and a better future for all Americans. He is working to restore the greatness of an American industry that gave our brave soldiers everything that they …

Permanent link to this article: http://www.daytonohioteaparty.com/?p=2246985

Mar 17

President Trump’s Budget Presents an Historic Opportunity for Conservatives

trump_thumbs_up_low_res__preview

President Trump’s budget presents an historic opportunity to actually reduce the size of the Federal government, refocusing the EPA on its basic mission of keeping the air and water clean and cutting billions of dollars in wasteful foreign …

Permanent link to this article: http://www.daytonohioteaparty.com/?p=2246982

Mar 15

Ohio pauses ESSA implementation

Ohio education officials are delaying their ESSA implementation plan until fall, giving the state more time to gather feedback on issues such as statewide testing and teacher evaluations.

The move was popular with the Ohio teachers union and state legislators focused on education policy, who complained to Superintendent of Public Instruction Paolo DeMaria that residents demanding less testing and simpler state report cards are being ignored.

A new testing and accountability plan is required under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, the federal law that replaced the Bush-era No Child Left Behind.

Read more here and here.

 

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Permanent link to this article: http://watchdog.org/290971/290971/

Mar 13

President Trump Exposes the True Nature of Planned Parenthood

prolife heart-baby-feet-clipart-_672-616

In the midst of all of the discussion about a potential Republican replacement for Obamacare, some people have not noticed that the current bill proposed by the House Republican leadership would stop all Federal funding of Planned Parenthood!

Permanent link to this article: http://www.daytonohioteaparty.com/?p=2246977

Mar 12

ABA Gives Judge Gorsuch its Highest Rating for the Supreme Court

Neil_Gorsuch_February_2017

The American Bar Association (ABA), in spite of its leftist political leanings, has given Judge Neil Gorsuch its highest rating to serve as a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court! This should make it even more clear that Senators …

Permanent link to this article: http://www.daytonohioteaparty.com/?p=2246973

Mar 12

Open Letter to President Trump Promotes Freedom

 

Open Letter to President Trump Promotes Freedom

President Trump is working hard to “Make America Great Again.” However, a major element in that agenda is to restore our freedom again. That needs to be clear as President Trump’s agenda is worked in the Executive …

Permanent link to this article: http://www.daytonohioteaparty.com/?p=2246971

Mar 07

President Trump Signs New Executive Order to Help Protect America!

Refugees

President Trump has signed a new executive order to help protect Americans from potential terrorists from six terror-prone nations. The order replaces a previous order which was sidetracked by several very liberal federal courts, and resolves objections to …

Permanent link to this article: http://www.daytonohioteaparty.com/?p=2246968

Mar 04

MVCI To Show Powerful Movie “Climate Hustle” Monday March 6, 2017!

MVCI Climate Hustle

Miami Valley Citizens Informed (MVCI) invites you to a free showing of the powerful movie, “Climate Hustle” which provides tremendous facts to help us fight the many lies of the left regarding “climate change!” Click HERE for more information

Permanent link to this article: http://www.daytonohioteaparty.com/?p=2246961

Mar 03

The case against Case: College ignored own policies in biased sexual assault investigation

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CASE LAW: A student alleges anti-male bias in sexual assault investigations at Case Western Reserve University.

In a scenario that has become common on college campuses, a school ignored its own policies when conducting a sexual assault investigation, according to a new lawsuit filed against Case Western Reserve University in Ohio.

John Doe and Jane Doe, as they’re referred to in court documents, met in August 2014 during freshman orientation. John was a sophomore and part of the orientation team. Jane was an incoming freshman. The two became friends and eventually entered into a sexual relationship, according to the suit, filed March 1 in the U.S District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.

The two saw each other frequently, with John advising Jane on her courses and taking her shopping when she asked. But things changed on Sept. 13, 2014, when Jane asked John for space and said she needed time to think about her feelings. John says in his lawsuit that he was disappointed, but accepted Jane’s request.

Early in the morning of Sept. 14, however, a friend of Jane’s texted John that she wanted to see him. John says in his lawsuit that he was confused because just hours earlier Jane had asked for space. But shortly after the text from a friend, Jane herself texted and asked John to come meet her. John left his friends to find Jane, who had her arms around another man.

John was against disappointed, and turned to leave, but Jane ran up to him an asked to sleep at his fraternity house. The two went back to Jane’s dorm so she could change before returning to John’s fraternity, where he says he made her dinner and the two played billiards for a while.

Jane allegedly told John she wanted to sleep with him, so they went to the fraternity’s basement to be alone. They began kissing and things progressed in a way they had numerous times before. There was sexual contact, but they did not have intercourse, according to John’s lawsuit.

While facing each other on the couch, John’s lawsuit says, Jane “suddenly” pushed him away, got up and began crying. John was confused and tried to comfort her, and drove her back to her dorm when she asked. John apologized on the way home, not knowing what had gone wrong. He thought maybe she had been upset that he broke his promise to give her space, even though it was at her request. On the way back to her dorm, Jane again said she needed time apart to think about their relationship.

The next day, the two met up again and Jane again said she wanted to stop seeing John so frequently. After this, John texted Jane, sent her gifts and spoke to her when he saw her.

Several weeks later, John says in his suit, he gave up.

‘Blindsided’

A month later, Jane’s friend – who worked with the school’s Deputy Title IX Coordinator and Assistant Director of Student Affairs Shannon Greybar Milliken – suggested Jane speak with Milliken about John.

Jane had told this friend she “was just trying to process her feelings” about John, but was encouraged to report the incident on the couch as a sexual assault.

When Jane met with Milliken on Nov. 25 (weeks after John stopped contacting her) she did not request an investigation, according to the lawsuit, but one was initiated anyway. Before the investigation was underway, however, Milliken asked Jane if she needed support resources or academic accommodations.

When a student makes an accusation of sexual assault to her college, she may be given special accommodations, such as a change in dorms or classes.

Sometimes, however, those accommodations may provide an incentive to make an accusation. Accommodations can be helpful for actual victims, but they can also provide grounds for a shaky or unsure accuser to become locked into a story, fearing that if they later recant they may lose their privileges.

John’s lawsuit doesn’t explicitly make this assumption, but it should be noted that the accuser was failing one class and was allowed to repeat that class without her grade point average dropping or being removed from the school’s nursing program.

John wasn’t informed of the accusation until Dec. 10, two weeks after Jane spoke with Milliken. He was presented with a “no contact” order, and the next day he received an email telling him to meet with Trina Jones, a department assistant at the Office of Student Affairs. John wasn’t informed what the meeting would be about and did not say he could bring an adviser. John also wasn’t made aware that he would be meeting with Milliken and not Jones.

John showed up to the meeting “blindsided,” because there had been no “discussion of his rights and responsibilities or the CWRU policies and procedures,” according to the lawsuit, and without being informed he could bring an adviser.

Case Western policy states that accused students should also have access to support services, but when John told Milliken that he had been severely depressed, stopped going to classes for two weeks, dropped a course and was struggling in Spanish, Milliken offered him no assistance, according to the lawsuit. During that first meeting, John told her he was “having troubling verbalizing things lately. I was told I have a depression based aphasia. I have an impairment in the speaking portion of the brain. It is induced, so I have been taking pills.”

Despite learning of John’s disabilities, Milliken didn’t stop the interview or call in support, according to the lawsuit. Instead, Milliken asked John what happened during the alleged incident with Jane. John is religious, and told Milliken that he “became tempted to do things that were not moral.” John was referring to sex, but Milliken apparently took this as an admission of guilt.

Milliken asked Jane and John if they felt safe on campus. Jane said she did, John said he didn’t, but still was not offered any support services.

Milliken also during this meeting showed John a chart that outlined the disciplinary process, but told John she would be “skipping” most of it, but provided no explanation as to why.

A week after John’s interview with Milliken, on Dec. 23, John texted Jane trying to apologize for whatever he did to make her upset. He also wished her “peace for the holidays,” according to the lawsuit. Jane reported this text to Milliken, as it had broken the no-contact order.

When John returned from the holiday break, he again met with Milliken. This time Milliken asked him to confirm his earlier statements and proceed directly to a hearing. John says in his lawsuit that at this time he requested a formal investigation. Milliken kept a “Sexual Misconduct Check List” during the investigation, and claimed in it that it was she, not John, who requested the formal investigation due to the “seriousness of accusation.”

This checklist also claimed John had made a written statement. John says in his lawsuit that he never provided a written statement.

‘He didn’t stand a chance’

The hearing against John was stacked against him.

Fourteen witnesses were interviewed between Feb. 9 and 24, 2015, but John was never allowed to review or respond to their statements prior to his hearing. Additional witnesses were interviewed the day of John’s hearing, and one was interviewed the day after. The witnesses weren’t required to appear before the hearing board, so John couldn’t challenge them at his hearing, either.

Their statements were included in the investigation report, which was not provided to John before his hearing. John was allowed to see the report for only 20 minutes – the day after – his hearing, in order to allow him to prepare for his appeal.

Jane also wasn’t required to attend the hearing. Milliken didn’t provide the panel with the written accounts from Jane or any of the witnesses, and instead provided only her summaries, in violation of school policy.

Without any way to defend himself, John was found responsible and received a two-year suspension, a permanent ban from campus residency, a continued no contact order with Jane and the status of persona non grata.

John was given three days to appeal, which he did. Again without the ability to properly defend himself, John’s appeal failed, and, incredibly, his sanctions were increased to a three-year suspension. John would later find out that the Appeals Board Chair also worked for the school’s Title IX office.

John is alleging bias in the investigation.

He says in his lawsuit that Milliken and other CWRU employees ignored Jane’s “inconsistent and varying account of the events,” which were included in the investigation report. For example, Jane wrote in her formal complaint that she “did not give consent for the oral or vaginal sex performed by [John Doe],” yet John maintained throughout the investigation that there was no sexual intercourse. Jane also began her interview by being unsure of whether penetration occurred, and “assum[ing]” John had touched her breasts, to saying for certain that John had vaginal intercourse with her. John maintains he did engage in sexual acts with Jane, but did not have intercourse with her on the night of the alleged incident.

John also alleges he was “lured” into “a false sense of security when they falsely assured him it would be in his best interests to cooperate and tell them everything.” He says they also forced him to sign an agreement accepting the suspension by promising him he could retain his scholarship upon returning to CWRU.

John also alleges bias throughout the investigation because Milliken – who had conducted the investigation, including interviews with Jane, John and witnesses, and provided the investigation report to the hearing board with her recommendation to find John responsible – had written her thesis just one year previously, titled: “The Dangerous Reality: Sexual Risk Taking Among College Women.” The thesis focused on the depression and eating disorders experienced by women who engaged in casual sex. Milliken concluded in this thesis that “we have an epidemic in higher education regarding the sexual risk taking of college students, in particular women.”

John believes Milliken showed an anti-male bias during the investigation, in particular by describing his actions toward Jane as “wanting to control” her. He is suing CWRU for violating the anti-sex discrimination statute Title IX and his due process rights, and for breach of contract, alleging the school violated its own policies while investigating him.

In a statement to Watchdog, John’s attorney, Andrew Miltenberg, said the disciplinary process taken by CWRU assured a finding of responsibility against John.

“The absurdity of the discriminatory process at CWRU exemplifies how the single-investigator model used in so many higher education Title IX procedures denies due process to respondents by allowing one person, who at CWRU had a documented bias against accused males, to determine the outcome,” Miltenberg said. “John Doe couldn’t question his accuser or the witnesses. He was not provided with the report detailing the evidence against him. He didn’t stand a chance.”

No representative of Case Western spoke with Watchdog because schools refuse to comment on ongoing legal matters related to Title IX cases.

Read the original story here...

Permanent link to this article: http://watchdog.org/290125/lawsuit-college-ignored-policies-railroad-student-accused-sexual-assault/

Mar 03

GOP lawmaker confronts Kasich on Ohio’s green-energy mandates

In the final days of 2016, Republican Gov. John Kasich vetoed legislation that would have delayed the state’s renewable energy mandates from going into effect for two years.  Instead, they are set to resume this year.

Now state Rep. Bill Seitz is pushing to get rid of these costly regulations altogether.

AP file photo/Kiichiro Sato

XXXXXX: Ohio Gov. John Kasich vetoed a temporary freeze on the state’s renewable energy mandate in December. Now critics are pushing to repeal the “renewable portfolio standards.”

Ohio’s renewable portfolio standards require utility companies to derive an increasing share of their electricity from renewable sources like wind and solar. By 2025, 12.5 percent of utility power must be generated from renewable energy. Financial penalties are imposed for failure to meet the mandate. Ohio utilities currently derive 2.5 of their electricity from renewables.

The Ohio legislature imposed a two-year pause on these mandates in 2014 while a newly established Energy Mandates Study Committee examined whether Ohio should revive them. After the committee recommended legislators indefinitely suspend Ohio’s portfolio standards, the legislature sent to Kasich’s desk a measure that would have delayed implementation until 2019.

Kasich vetoed the bill two days after Christmas. In a statement released with the veto, the governor said “Ohio cannot afford to take a step backward on the economic gains that we have made in recent years… and arbitrarily limiting Ohio’s energy generation options amounts to self-inflicted damage to both our state’s near and long-term economic competitiveness.”

In response, Seitz plans to introduce legislation this session that would extend Ohio’s renewable energy target deadline to 2027 and turn it into a voluntary goal instead of a state mandate.  These changes would effectively abolish Ohio’s renewable portfolio standards.

“What we are now saying is we are going to scrap the renewable portfolio mandates in their entirety and [replace] them with goals,” Seitz told the Ohio Energy Management Conference in Columbus on February 21. “We are confident that [utilities] will probably meet the goal without any state mandate holding a gun to their head.”

His proposal would dramatically reduce the regulatory burdens that renewable portfolio standards impose on Ohio. A 2015 study from the Institute of Political Economy at Utah State University predicts renewable energy standards will have a “lasting negative effect on [Ohio’s] economy.”

The study estimates Ohio’s renewable energy portfolio standards will eliminate 29,366 jobs, reduce personal income by $258 million and increase electricity costs by $1.92 billion by 2026.

Another study, from the Columbus-based Buckeye Institute, found renewable portfolio standards increase energy prices, slow job creation and diminish economic activity.

“When electricity prices rise, electricity-intensive businesses tend to reduce their energy consumption, says Orphe Divounguy, an economist at the Buckeye Institute. “Reducing industrial energy consumption means that industry cuts back on production and hiring.”

A major victim of Ohio’s green mandates is one of the state’s largest private-sector employers, Timken Steel.  The manufacturer estimates annual operating costs for two Canton-based steel plants increased by $2.9 million as a result of these rules.

“Electricity is our third highest production cost,” former Timken lobbyist Peggy Claytor said. “A mere change of 1/10th of a cent per kWh, impacts our electricity bill to the tune of $1 million.”

Timken’s experience is common in states with renewable portfolio standards. According to the Institute for Energy Research, the average price of electricity is nearly 40 percent higher in states that mandate renewable energy than states that don’t.

While the raw numbers are bigger for large institutions like Timken, environmental regulations disproportionately harm poor families, said Wayne Winegarden, a senior fellow at the Pacific Research Institute.

“The higher electricity costs will fall most heavily on lower-income families and the weight of the adverse economic impact will disproportionately impact Ohio’s African-American households,” he said.

Seitz is confident his proposal will spare Ohio’s residents from rising energy costs and overcome Kasich’s opposition.

“We will do our part by launching a full scale effort to totally repeal these (former Gov. Ted) Strickland-era mandates,” he said. “With veto-proof majorities [this] session, we are optimistic of success.”

Seitz’s bill will face an uphill battle.  Although Republicans control enough seats in Ohio’s House and Senate to override a veto with a three-fifths majority vote, many Republican legislators support Ohio’s renewable energy mandates.

When Kasich vetoed the delay bill in December, they didn’t even try.

Read the original story here...

Permanent link to this article: http://watchdog.org/289415/cincinnati-republican-looks-to-rein-in-green-energy-mandates/

Mar 01

A Powerful Speech to Congress and the American People!

TrumpYoungstown August 2016

President Trump gave a powerful speech to Congress and the American people on Tuesday night! Even most of the biased media had to admit that it was a great speech, as he spoke on a number of issues important …

Permanent link to this article: http://www.daytonohioteaparty.com/?p=2246951

Feb 13

A quick guide to Ohio’s changing charter school landscape

A little more than a year out from an overhaul of the state’s charter school assessment system, Ohio’s charter sector is in a period of transition.

Crain’s Cleveland Business has a guide to the changes that have happened and those that are on the horizon at the local, state and national levels.

Read the whole thing here.

Read the original story here...

Permanent link to this article: http://watchdog.org/288319/288319/

Jan 18

Ohio charter law shows early signs of success

Researchers who studied the first year of Ohio’s charter school reforms say the 2015 law is “bringing promising changes to the state’s charter school sector.”

A new report from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute cites tougher oversight of Ohio charter authorizers and governing boards as key components of the overhaul.

The authors note that this is a first look only, “an early (and important) checkup on the implementation of HB 2, and to prompt action, if needed, to ensure faithful implementation of Ohio’s much improved charter school law.”

Read the whole thing here.

Read the original story here...

Permanent link to this article: http://watchdog.org/286175/ohio-charter-law-shows-early-signs-success/

Jan 03

Accel may take over I Can schools in Ohio

Consolidation could be coming to Ohio’s charter school sector.

The I Can charter school network is considering turning its schools over to the Accel network, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

Accel founder Ron Packard said the move “would be less of a purchase than a transfer of leadership.”

Accel has taken over 23 schools in Ohio over the past two years and, the paper reports, “has made strong initial academic improvement in several.

I Can has five schools in Cleveland, with other campuses in Akron and Canton, as well as one in Indiana.

Read more here.

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Permanent link to this article: http://watchdog.org/285220/accel-may-take-can-schools-ohio/

Dec 23

College football meccas are no havens for homesharing

Alabama is the heavy favorite to win this year’s college football playoff, with Clemson, Ohio State and Washington looking to unseat the defending champion Crimson Tide. But fans of the challengers can take some solace in knowing the University of Alabama’s hometown of Tuscaloosa is dead last in at least one category — homesharing.

Considering many of the 250-plus NCAA Division One teams attract enough out-of-town fans on football Saturdays to double the hometown populations, embracing the sharing economy seems like a no-brainer to meet fan demand and allow property owners to earn extra cash.

Shutterstock Image

In fact, a homesharing upstart called “Rent Like a Champion,” which started as a student housing service for Notre Dame fans, has grown so much that it currently pairs fans with local homeowners on football weekends in more than 20 college towns across the country.

In Columbus, Ohio, Buckeye fans can rent like a champion — even though the team couldn’t even win half its conference — with the virtual blessing of city regulators. Roomscore 2016, a project of the R Street Institute, graded 59 cities on their short-term rental (STR) rules. And Columbus tops the hometowns of all playoff peers with an A-minus.

Tuscaloosa, on the other hand, has had a short-term rental ban on the books for decades. This earns the city an automatic “F” according to R Street metrics that include legal framework and restrictions, tax collection, licensing requirements and “hostile enforcement” of STR regulations.

But city leaders are taking a fresh look at the issue, quarterbacked by council member and Alabama grad Matt Calderone. He says because homesharing already takes place in Tuscaloosa despite rules on the books (listings for the Crimson Tide’s 2017 season are already posted on Rent Like a Champion), it’s time city rules match reality.

“On a home-game weekend, we become one of the largest cities in the state of Alabama. And we become one of the most densely populated places in America,” Calderone told Watchdog.org. “So certainly there’s a demand and it would be impossible for us to build so many hotels to accommodate all those people.”

Calderone is quick to credit more than just football for the growing occupancy demand. He says the recent past has seen an influx of companies such as Mercedes, and a student body that’s doubled in just 12 years, with a majority of students now hailing from other states.

“I think that’s something that’s missed — when you have students that can’t afford or can’t make it home to Oregon or Texas or New York for Christmas or Thanksgiving or even just for a visit,” he said. “I think it’s nice to have options for parents to come in a home environment and visit with their children or just visit the city of Tuscaloosa in general.”

Right now, Calderone and his Administration and Policy Committee are collecting input from hotels, neighborhood communities and downtown groups. He expects a full report in the coming weeks, which he hopes will eventually lead to fair rules for all.

“We want to properly regulate it to keep a healthy economy and have enough protection in there for our neighborhoods and to make sure that we’re benefiting from potentially any lost tax revenues,” Calderone said.

Not making the grade

Coming up with STR rules when there were none before, however, does not guarantee a better grade.

Consider Clemson, S.C., home of Clemson University and college football’s second ranked Tigers.

Like Tuscaloosa, short-term rentals were not legal in Clemson until city leaders approved a new ordinance in June. The measure, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2017, almost exclusively addresses football:

“Unlike other municipalities where both the municipality and the residents may be largely, or even entirely, dependent upon year-round tourism, Clemson experiences an influx of tens of thousands of visitors in connection with an average of seven Clemson University home football games and one spring game each year, and, on a somewhat smaller scale, for University graduation ceremonies. Thus, tailoring the short-term residential rental ordinance to meet the specific and unique needs of the community appears both necessary and proper.”

Clemson is not on R Street’s list, but the new requirements are onerous enough to earn the city at least a “D-minus” using the R-Street metric — nearly as low as cities that ban short-term rentals altogether.

Among the provisions that deduct points from STR friendliness in Clemson: limiting dwellings to just 25 days per year for STR use; ongoing compliance inspections; and occupancy caps per dwelling of no more than two per bedroom and ten total.

In addition, “non-owner-occupied” STRs are not allowed to rent to more than two unrelated occupants at a time. Which could put a damper on a group of people related only by their wish to attend a football game.

In the meantime, R Street awarded Seattle a B+, which is good news for fans the University of Washington, the number four ranked football playoff team.

But fans heading to Atlanta to see the Huskies play Alabama on New Year’s Eve will find themselves in another “F” city. As with Tuscaloosa, STRs in Atlanta, along with Denver and Oklahoma City, are effectively illegal, earning failing grades from R Street.

Tampa, Fla., like Clemson, is not on R Street’s list. But  the site of the national title game on Jan. 9 would likely not make the grade either.

The Tampa city attorney’s office responded to a Watchdog.org request for clarification on the city’s STR rules saying city code “does not define or specifically regulate short-term rentals per se,” but the use is limited by zoning district. And the zoning districts can include “dwelling units” or “hotel/motel uses” — neither of which, according to city code, allow dwelling units or rooms within them of less than a week.

Biting the hand that feeds them

As it turns out, the shining spot for the college football playoffs is Glendale, Ariz., where Ohio State faces Clemson in the New Year’s Eve semifinal game.

For starters, Arizona is home to a first-in-the-nation state law called the “Home-Sharing Act.” The measure, enacted in May, prohibits local governments from banning STRs while allowing them to enforce local nuisance rules and prove need for any new regulations.

The law also reforms the tax structure to keep it simple and fair for all parties.

Christina Sandefur, executive vice president of the free-market Goldwater Institute in Arizona, wrote the model bill for the Home Sharing Act.

She says college football crowds are prime examples of why local governments should not turn homeowners into criminals for simply wanting to profit from an in-demand service.

“Cities shouldn’t bite the hand that feeds them!” Sandefur tells Watchdog.org. “Instead, they should embrace innovations that allow property owners to share their homes with travelers – it’s extra money for homeowners, greater – and often less expensive – options for travelers, and beneficial for local communities.”

Sandefur says plans are in the works to replicate the Arizona Home-Sharing Act in other states, including Tennessee, where the Beacon Legal Foundation recently won a lawsuit over Nashville’s homesharing cap.

WHERE THE TUSCALOOSA: Nick Saban has built a powerhouse at Alabama, but the city has been less successful in opening up to the sharing economy.

“We have better opportunities in states where cities have banned or severely restricted homesharing, but nothing has been done on a statewide level,” she said.

R Street scholars agree smart regulation is possible.

“With simple rules in place, regulators can protect the public interest and ensure that competition happens in the open marketplace, not in the back rooms of city councils or state legislatures,” their report concludes.

In Tuscaloosa, a place that welcomes competition on the football field, city leaders are taking a different approach with short-term rentals — less emphasis on winners and losers, and more on conciliation.

“We like our historic neighborhoods. We like having families like myself all the way to retired folks to professors in there. I think that’s part of the character of towns. Finding that balance is something we’re cognizant of,” Calderone said. “At the end of the day, I do see us moving in a direction of a regulated activity.”

As Tide coach Nick Saban might say, it’s a process.

Read the original story here...

Permanent link to this article: http://watchdog.org/284080/college-football-meccas-no-havens-homesharing/

Dec 14

Five developments in Ohio education

As 2016 draws to a close, the Thomas Fordham Institute decided to share five interesting developments in Ohio education policy to wrap up the year. The piece, written by Ohio Research Director Aaron Churchill, includes ESSA accountability, more data accessibility, and open enrollment.

Read more here.

Read the original story here...

Permanent link to this article: http://watchdog.org/284279/five-developments-ohio-education/

Dec 04

Special MVCI Meeting This Monday 12/5 with Trevor Loudon

MVCI logo

MIAMI VALLEY CITIZENS INFORMED

MONDAY, DECEMBER 5, 2016
at
Washington Heights Baptist Church
5650 Far Hills Avenue, Dayton, Ohio 45429
7:00 to 8:30 PM

GUEST SPEAKER – all the way from New Zealand:

MR. TREVOR LOUDON

“THE ENEMIES WITHIN”

Permanent link to this article: http://www.daytonohioteaparty.com/?p=2246840

Dec 01

Judge: Accused students have right to cross-examination

Part 1 of 1 in the series Due Process Wins
Creative Commons/User Queencitysurvey

DUE PROCESS WIN: A judge ruled that accused students deserve to cross-examine their accusers

An Ohio judge has ruled that a student accused of campus sexual assault potentially had his due-process rights violated when he was denied the ability to cross-examine his accuser.

John Doe, as he’s identified in court records, and his attorneys filed a preliminary injunction against the school in order to halt his suspension, which was set to begin Dec. 10. Judge Michael R. Barrett, of the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Ohio, halted the suspension, claiming the University of Cincinnati student has a reasonable chance of prevailing in court on his claims of due-process violations.

According to the original complaint and the judge’s decision:

The case arose from an encounter between Doe and a female student identified as Jane Roe. Doe, a graduate student, met Jane on the dating app Tinder in 2015. After speaking online for a few weeks, the two agreed to meet. Doe said that on Sept. 6, 2015, Jane went to his apartment, where the two started to kiss and make out.

Doe said the encounter escalated quickly and the two removed their clothing. Doe retrieved a condom, to which Jane said “hold on.” The two talked for a while before engaging in sexual intercourse. After the encounter, Doe said the two continued to hang out in his room. Jane allegedly said she did not want the encounter to be a “one-night stand,” but Doe didn’t call her again and couldn’t contact her again through Tinder.

Nearly a month after the encounter – on Sept. 28, 2015 – Jane reported to UC’s Title IX office that Doe had sexually assaulted her. One month after that, on Oct. 30, 2015, Jane was interviewed by UC’s then-Title IX coordinator, Jyl Shaffer. Jane at that time claimed the encounter happened on Aug. 30. She said she agreed to meet Doe for dinner and then planned to study, but Doe asked her to study at his apartment. She agreed, and had a glass of wine while she worked at his place.

Jane said she and Doe talked and flirted and eventually began to kiss. She claimed Doe took her dress off and “kept progressing,” although she did not tell him to stop. She said the two engaged in sexual activity and eventually intercourse. Doe then walked her to her car.

Jane was interviewed by Shaffer a second time on Nov. 6, 2015. Jane in that interview claimed Doe had been forceful with her, and that there was no explicit conversation about engaging in sexual activity. She said Doe made her feel guilty, even though she never said “flat out, no. I don’t owe you sex.” She said she merely responded with phrases such as “I don’t know.” During this interview, she also acknowledged that at one point during the sexual activity, she was on top of Doe.

On Dec. 18, 2015 – nearly four months after the encounter – Jane also reported the incident to UC police. She now told police that she “set a line for herself for no sex” but that Doe became forceful while they were kissing. The UC police investigated and reported to the Cincinnati Police Department and the investigation was closed without any charges being filed.

It wasn’t until Feb. 19, 2016 – now nearly 6 month after the sexual encounter between the two – that UC’s then Title IX Program Coordinator Remy Barnett notified Doe by email of the accusation against him. The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights issued a “Dear Colleague” letter in 2011 regarding Title IX – the anti-sex discrimination statute that now requires schools to adjudicate sexual assault – but only specified that accused students be notified of the outcome of an investigation. The letter did not require schools to promptly notify accused students of accusations (or even that the accused needed to be notified at all). Some schools, however, list in their Title IX procedures whether the accused should be notified.

UC is rare in that it includes a section on its Title IX website to assist accused students (many schools offer no such assistance to the accused, but numerous resources for accusers). The school’s Title IX procedures, adopted in 2014, also state that “Within seven days of the filing of a complaint, a Deputy Title IX Coordinator or designee will generally initiate a meeting with the respondent.”

Jane was interviewed yet again on Feb. 24, 2016. This time she said Doe was “strange” and “creepy.”

Asking questions

Doe was finally interviewed by Barnett and Shaffer, the Title IX coordinator on March 7, 2016.

Doe’s motion before the court includes notes from the UC investigation. In a stark difference to notes about interviews with Jane, the notes about Doe’s interview contain editorial comments from Shaffer, including a line claiming “Several times during the interview [John Doe] appeared to be processing to himself out loud.”

Jane was interviewed yet again on March 15, 2016, and this time said she did not tell Doe she did not want to have sex after he retrieved a condom, but instead said she tried to “redirect” him. She also acknowledged that she consented to certain sexual activity.

Barnett, UC’s Title IX program director at the time, had told Doe that she would interview witnesses on his behalf who knew where he was “during the incident alleged.” Barnett, however, interviewed multiple witnesses on behalf of Jane who had no first-hand knowledge of the incident.

Jane did not show up for the Administrative Review Committee (ARC) hearing on the case, thus denying Doe a chance to cross-examine her. Neither Doe nor Jane presented witnesses at the hearing. A Title IX coordinator didn’t attend the hearing. Doe was not told ahead of time that Jane would not attend the hearing. He had prepared multiple questions to be asked of her (most schools do not allow traditional direct cross-examination but may allow students to submit questions to be asked of the opposing party).

Instead of any kind of a traditional hearing, the ARC Chair read a summary of the Title IX investigation file, which included statements from Jane, Doe and Jane’s witnesses. Normally, UC required such statements in the absence of the actual person to be notarized, but these statements were not. UC officials claimed in court that they didn’t need to notarize the statements because they notified Doe of the charges against him. The university cited two court cases in its defense of this matter, but as Barrett wrote in his decision, those two cases “do not address whether a statement must be notarized in accordance with a school’s own procedures.”

During Doe’s hearing, the ARC Chair explained that normally the committee would be allowed to ask questions of the accuser regarding the Title IX report, but since she was not there, they would just move on. The chair asked Doe if he had any questions regarding the report.

“Well, since she’s not here, I can’t really ask anything of the report,” Doe responded. “Is this the time when I would enter in like a situation where like she said this and this never could have happened?”

The ARC chair told him he’d have time “in just a little bit to direct those questions.”

But after that, the ARC chair concluded the Title IX presentation, and again said that if the accuser had been there, Doe could have asked her questions. Doe was then allowed to summarize his side of the story.

Doe and his attorney told the court that had he been allowed to cross-examine Jane, he “could have questioned her about inconsistencies in her statements and the accommodations Jane Roe likely received from UC, such as changes in homework deadlines, grades, classes, schedules, and examination schedules or, in certain instances, job opportunities.”

Doe said he could have “demonstrated issues of credibility and that the accommodations provided to Jane Roe created a significant incentive for her to fabricate the allegation of sexual assault.”

UC countered that the district court in which this case was being heard had recently stated that “there is no general due process right to cross examine witnesses in school disciplinary hearings.” Barrett, however, included a clarifying statement from the same court, which concluded that cross-examination was essential in cases where there was a choice between believing an accuser or the accused.

Barrett also held that allowing students to submit written questions to be asked of opposing parties, as UC does, doesn’t necessarily violate due process rights. But in Doe’s case, because Jane did not attend the ARC hearing, and Doe was not notified in advance of this, he was not able to cross-examine her.

“While this is not to say that UC’s procedures must require the complainant to be present, at the very least, Plaintiff should have had the opportunity to submit written cross-examination questions to the ARC Chair in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct,” Barrett wrote.

Thus, Doe “adequately demonstrated that there is a likelihood of success on the merits of Plaintiff’s due process claim,” Barrett wrote.

Barrett also concluded that if the suspension against Doe was not halted, the UC student would face irreparable harm to his future. He also found that since UC permitted Doe to remain on campus during the investigation, it didn’t see him as a risk to other students.

‘Pleased with this decision’

The decision from Barrett is a win for accused students because it affirms the importance of being able to cross-examine one’s accuser.

In a statement to Watchdog, Doe’s attorney, Joshua Engel, praised the court’s decision.

“We are very pleased with this decision,” Engel said. “We are especially pleased that Judge Barrett recognized that cross examination is vitally important in the ‘he said, she said’ type cases. Without cross examination, an accused student has no ability to effectively challenge the credibility of his accuser and allowing an accuser to hide behind an investigative report undermines the reliability of any decision.”

Colleges can’t typically respond to the specifics of these cases, but UC spokesman Greg Vehr told WCPO-9 that the school would comply with Barrett’s decision.

“[UC] makes every effort to follow all Department of Education requirements and guidelines to resolve sexual assault and other Title IX-related complaints, and to continually monitor and update the processes we use in responding to any incident of sexual misconduct reported to us,” he said.

Read the original story here...

Permanent link to this article: http://watchdog.org/283187/judge-accused-students-right-cross-examination/

Dec 01

Ohio civil forfeiture reform bill set to pass next week

A bill designed to curb civil forfeiture practices in Ohio is set to pass next week despite opposition from the state’s law enforcement community.

The U.S. Justice Action Network, a coalition of conservative and progressive organizations, and fellow proponents of the bill appear to be closing in on victory after an eighteen-month battle for reform.

The bill, which passed the state House in May, is expected to see a Senate vote next week. Originally the bill would have eliminated the practice of civil forfeiture entirely. Opposition from prosecutors and police chiefs pushed lawmakers to amend the measure to allow for the seizure of assets valued at more than $25,000.

Critics of the bill such as John Murphy, executive director of the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association, argue that the state’s civil forfeiture law provides sufficient protections and says concerns regarding abuses are the result of overreach by authorities in other states.

Supporters say it strikes an appropriate balance between protecting the interests of private citizens and those of law enforcement.

Robert Alt, president of the Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions, emphasized the bill’s potential to reverse the negative public perception of law enforcement spurred by forfeiture abuses.

“This will remove that stain with how it is perceived that they are operating,” he said.

Read more here.

Read the original story here...

Permanent link to this article: http://watchdog.org/283075/ohio-civil-forfeiture-reform-bill-set-pass-next-week/

Nov 28

Online school loses appeal on attendance

The Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, Ohio’s largest online charter school, has lost an appeal against a ruling on how attendance is measured. The ruling allowed the state to use the amount of time a student is logged in to calculate enrollment and, thus, funding.

Read more here.

Read the original story here...

Permanent link to this article: http://watchdog.org/282738/online-school-loses-appeal-attendance/

Nov 28

Michigan lawmakers, regulators poised to choke out electricity choice

White Pigeon Paper Company, located in a tiny corner of Southwest Michigan, is the nation’s last family-owned mill in North America that produces clay-coated recycled paperboard.

“We are it,” White Pigeon Vice President and General Manager Dave DiBiaggio tells Watchdog.org. “And it’s a very difficult, competitive marketplace.”

Already saddled with monthly power bills of $250,000, and his electricity provider set to double rates, DiBiaggio decided in 2012 to leave his utility and try his luck in the state’s electricity choice market. He calculated that going to an alternative energy supplier would save his company $575,000 per year.

Michigan law allows 10 percent of its electricity customers to buy their power from an alternative energy supplier. The rest is controlled by large utility companies like DTE and CMS Energy in most of the state. In the area where DiBiaggio lives, the monopoly utility is Indiana Michigan Power (owned by American Electric Power, or AEP) and is operated by a different regulatory system than that of DTE and CMS.

But a pricing gambit by AEP killed DiBiaggio’s options before he even had a chance to make the switch.

“Of course [AEP] will sit there and say, ‘Oh yeah, you can shop around for electricity,’” he said. “But what they did was increased the transmission rates that they charge competitors to use their lines so significantly that they can’t be competitive.”

Here’s what happened. AEP got federal regulators to approve a formula for “capacity charges” in Michigan and Ohio. These are fees paid by alternative suppliers who buy incumbent utilities’ power for resale, but don’t generate their own electricity. And since the incumbent utilities are responsible for not only producing electricity, but ensuring it always has the “capacity” or ability to do so, they should collect a fee from alternative suppliers who buy their power, but don’t give any back.

So capacity charges themselves aren’t the problem, says R-Street electricity policy manager Devin Hartman. The problem is how they’re determined. Normally, state regulators use annual surveys by regional transmission operators to figure out capacity needs and charges. But Hartman says this new scheme by which the utilities call the shots undercuts the value of choice.

“Alternative suppliers should have to pay market-based capacity rates which they factor into their retail offerings rather than an administratively determined surcharge,” Hartman told Watchdog.org.

RELATED: A lesson from the land of Lincoln: electricity competition works

The fees are assigned on megawatt per day basis — that is, how much it costs utilities to continuously run one MW of power for a full day. For example, a one MW power plant with a one dollar capacity charge gets one dollar per day from alternative suppliers. If the plant can produce 500 MW, it gets $500 every day.

AEP asked Ohio regulators for a capacity charge of $355 per MW/day, and $394 per MW/day in Michigan, claiming that’s how much it needed to keep plants ready to run at full capacity.

Given that Ohio market prices at the time were about $16, these proposed charges were excessive enough for regulators there to hire an auditor. The auditor (who was coincidentally based in Michigan) discovered AEP threw everything but the kitchen sink into its calculation — rates of return, costs of construction in progress, costs of plants not being used and payroll and benefits for eliminated positions, to name a few.

Eventually, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) approved a $188 capacity charge. This capacity charge hike doesn’t appear to have harmed Ohio’s alternative suppliers as consumers, businesses and industries have reportedly saved $15 billion in electricity costs between 2011 and 2015.

Michigan regulators also didn’t accept AEP’s proposed capacity charge of $394/day. Instead of reducing the fee, as in Ohio, the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) raised the fee nearly 50 percent — to $588/day.

Shutterstock photo

CHARGED UP: Same regulatory mistakes could doom all electricity choice in Michigan

The result, according to Maureen McNulty-Saxon, a spokesperson with electricity choice advocacy group Energy Choice Now (ECN), was that electricity choice in southwest Michigan died overnight.

“Until the actions of the MPSC in 2012, there was a robust electric choice program in AEP’s territory of southwest Michigan,” she said. “Today, there is no participation in the electric choice program there.”

And now, she warns, Michigan legislators are on the verge of doing the same thing to the rest of the state under a hotly contested electricity reform bill passed by the Senate on Nov. 10, and goes to the House this week.

“Under Senate Bill 437, the MPSC is tasked with implementing a ‘capacity charge’ from Consumers Energy and DTE to be imposed on schools and electric customers,” McNulty-Saxon said in a statement sent to lawmakers and other stakeholders.

The incumbent utilities claim retiring coal plants are driving the need for investment into natural gas and other energy sources, and alternative suppliers need to pay their share. So tucked into the bill are several layers of requirements for alternative suppliers, including how capacity charges are set. McNulty-Saxon says the formula is nearly identically to AEP’s formula that wiped out the choice market in 2012 — essentially swapping PUCO for MPSC as state regulators, and AEP for DTE and CMS Energy as the monopoly utilities.

“It’s the poison pill utilities have used in Michigan before,” she said.

DiBiaggio is dismayed that the hundreds of millions of dollars saved by many of Michigan’s public schools and universities, hospitals, local governments and businesses could eventually disappear as alternative suppliers get squeezed out of the choice market, just as it did for him.

“You’re talking about jobs, you’re talking about tax dollars going into this little community in southwest Michigan.” he said. “[Now] this is a serious issue for the whole state of Michigan. And I’m just at a point where I’m very frustrated with the whole situation. Because the folks in Lansing haven’t really heard us. They don’t get it. They really don’t get it.”

And even less competition among electricity providers means prices could soar above rates that are already highest in the Midwest and 12th in the nation.

“I’ve got friends who run paper mills down in South Carolina and Georgia, and they’re paying two cents a kilowatt. How are we going to compete when we’re paying seven?” DiBiaggio asked. “If they put enough of us out of business, where are they going to put their electricity then?”

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Permanent link to this article: http://watchdog.org/282710/michigan-lawmakers-regulators-poised-choke-electricity-choice/

Nov 20

Donald Trump Excites Conservatives by Selecting Sen. Sessions for Attorney General

jeff_sessions_official_portraitSenator Jeff Sessions has been designated by President-elect Donald Trump as his choice to be Attorney General! Most conservatives are excited about this selection, since both Sen. Sessions and Donald Trump are committed to enforcing the law, including immigration

Permanent link to this article: http://www.daytonohioteaparty.com/?p=2246819

Nov 10

School board, teachers union outline ways to end Louisville teachers strike

The Louisville Education Association and Louisville Board of Education issued letters outlining what needs to happen for a teachers strike in the Ohio city to end.

The LEA asked for the district to bring in a mediator to help settle the dispute. “With meaningful negotiations, the LEA hopes to end this dispute and begin the healing process for everyone involved,” according to the letter, which was posted to the union’s Facebook page Monday.

Read more here.

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Permanent link to this article: http://watchdog.org/281617/school-board-teachers-union-outline-ways-end-louisville-teachers-strike/

Nov 07

Ohio set to back away from new graduation rules before implementation

They haven’t been implemented yet, but it already seems that Ohio is planning to lower its new graduation requirements amid concern too many students won’t be able to meet them. “It’s important to get this right, and not graduating in some cases 50 percent of students is not acceptable,” said Senate Education Committee Chairwoman Peggy Lehner, R-Kettering.

Read more here.

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Permanent link to this article: http://watchdog.org/281225/ohio-set-back-away-new-graduation-rules-implementation/

Nov 03

Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel to Speak at MVCI Meeting Next Monday November 7

MVCI logoMiami Valley Citizens Informed (MVCI) is having an important pre-election night meeting on next Monday, November 7, from 7 to 8:30 PM at the Washington Heights Baptist Church, 5650 Far Hills Avenue, Dayton Ohio 45429. MVCI has provided the

Permanent link to this article: http://www.daytonohioteaparty.com/?p=2246799

Nov 03

In double standard, Dems sue GOP over poll monitoring

AP file photo

HAULED INTO COURT: Democrats are accusing the Republican National Committee, chaired by Reince Priebus, of violating a 1982 court ban on poll monitoring by the RNC.

 

A court ruling that outlaws “ballot security” efforts by the Republican National Committee gives the Democratic National Committee free rein to run its own election-watch operations.

Under the decree, the RNC must obtain Democrats’ approval before training and placing poll watchers or conducting other forms of election-integrity operations.

The 1982 consent decree and its legal double standard came to light last week when Democrats accused the RNC of coordinating with the Donald Trump campaign, allegedly to suppress minority turnout.

U.S. District Judge John Michael Vazquez in Newark, N.J., ordered Republicans to turn over to Democrats any written or verbal agreements relating to voter fraud, ballot security, poll watching and poll monitoring.

Democrats charged, as they did in a 1981 New Jersey gubernatorial contest that spawned the consent decree, that the RNC attempted to suppress minority voting. The Republican Party accepted the terms of the decree, which is due to expire next year.

Democrats have filed lawsuits in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Nevada and Arizona, seeking court orders barring Republican groups in those states from coordinating with the Trump campaign, or Trump adviser Roger Stone, to photograph or question voters at predominantly minority polling places, Bloomberg News reported.

Hans von Spakovsky, a former federal election commissioner and fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation, confirmed that Democrats are not held to the same standards and restrictions now applied to Republicans.

“The original consent order from two decades ago is ludicrous. It appears as if it tried to restrict the RNC from having poll watchers in polls as allowed under specific state laws,” he told Watchdog.org.

Spakovsky called the terms of the decree “unjustified and unconstitutional interference with state election rules.”

Ironically, the ballot-security programs that initially got the RNC in trouble were subsequently adopted by federal election officials.

“The goal was to find outdated voter registrations, and 10 years later federal law was reformed to clean the voter rolls. That’s what RNC did. Now they’re handcuffed,” said Logan Churchwell, spokesman for the nonpartisan group True the Vote.

Bloomberg reported that Vazquez rejected the DNC’s request for a temporary restraining order against the RNC. The judge said he would make a final ruling before the election on whether the RNC has violated court orders.

Vazquez set a hearing for Friday.

Kenric Ward writes for the Texas Bureau of Watchdog.org. Contact him at kward@watchdog.org. Follow on Twitter @Kenricward.

 

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Permanent link to this article: http://watchdog.org/280814/gop-poll-monitoring/

Nov 02

Ohio county with plenty of broadband looks to build its own network

An Ohio county is considering building a fiber-optic network even though several providers in the area already offer broadband-capable speeds.

The Stark County Area Broadband Task Team recently heard a presentation from Magellan Advisors in which the consulting firm advised the county to create a broadband authority and consider a 130-mile middle-mile fiber-optic backbone with an estimated cost of $22.5 million.

Wikipedia photo

STARK COUNTY: The Ohio county looks to build it’s own “middle-mile” fiber backbone, although the area is already well served by private providers.

That plan could result in several more government-owned municipal broadband developments.

“An additional benefit of the middle-mile fiber backbone, is that it would provide political sub-divisions the ability to develop their own fiber initiatives,” Magellan wrote.

Stark County leaders began looking into the issue in 2014, entering with the mindset that internet access should be considered as important as power, water or sewer service — even dubbing the project page outlining the plans The Fourth Utility.

“We can’t afford not to do this,” Stark County Commissioner Richard Regula said at the presentation at Kent State University Stark campus.

In its analysis of the Stark County internet market, Magellan picked a number of residential and commercial sites by address, selected randomly in various sections of the county. Magellan’s team contacted each telecom provider identified as operating wireline services in the market to determine service availability.

The consultant noted there are two provider options for most addresses, hardly making Stark County a high-speed internet desert.

Twelve of 13 randomly selected residential locations could get Time Warner internet with speeds up to 50 megabits per second — or twice the Federal Communications Commission’s standard for broadband — for $64.99 per month. Slower speeds were also available for lower monthly rates.

All 10 randomly selected business locations could get speeds of at least 18 mbps, which puts them only slightly lower than current broadband standards. They do pay much more, however — $210 per month for those buying the Time Warner 50 mbps plan.

Magellan identified nine private providers that operate within the county as part of its report.

The company didn’t return a call from Watchdog.org on Wednesday requesting comment on the report.

Greg Lawson, senior policy analyst for the free-market oriented Buckeye Institute, said that given the internet landscape of Stark County, there’s no reason for government to get into the business.

“The only true justification is to provide service to underserved areas,” he told Watchdog, noting that even then there are usually other options available such as wireless service on phones.

“When you’ve got multiple providers who are providing adequate service, you’ve got what you need,” Lawson added.

The backbone suggested by Magellan would connect 140 community anchors, such as libraries, schools and hospitals and provide 1-gigabit capable download speeds within 1,000 feet of more than 8,000 businesses.

The consultant said the project would pay for itself within 20 years with “conservative projections,” while also noting the county could tap a number of federal program to pay the upfront costs, including the FCC’s Connect America and Healthcare Connect funds and the Rural Utility Service’s Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program.

Photo courtesy of The Buckeye Institute

LAWSON: Governments should only build broadband in underserved areas, and even there other options are usually available.

The task team notes that a good portion of Stark County’s commercial activity and population center is along the North-South Whipple corridor, and is looking first at deploying loop fiber-optic architecture there to capture the area with the likely largest demand.

“One of the findings the Task Team has found in previous broadband initiative failures were overly ambitious build-out plans based upon flawed assumptions and a lack of subscribers per mile. By addressing this dense corridor first, a network could capture the densest subscribers per mile in the county, before addressing additional phases to provide service to other regions,” the task team wrote.

“Using a deliberate, phased approach will help mitigate risk of large capital costs vs subscriber take-up rates as well as the possibility of disruptive technology change.”

Technology change is a factor governments must consider in an increasingly wireless world that could one day make fiber obsolete. Google Fiber, for example, which is pivoting toward wireless, has been called “a dead business model walking.” The next iteration of wireless — 5G — is expected to offer 1 gig speeds, and AT&T is testing technology to send broadband along power lines.

RELATED: Verizon says 5G ‘wireless fiber’ pilot program to start in 2017

Lawson said government broadband projects have been popping up in parts of Ohio with more frequency recently, with “a lot of pie in the sky thoughts” for enticing business relocations or vastly improving emergency communications. He argues those plans rarely work out as expected — and tend to be much more costly to taxpayers — and that broadband implementation should be left up to the private sector.

“There’s no question [broadband] is an important part of our lives, but it’s not power, it’s not water, it’s not sewer,” he said. “It’s not a core function of government.”

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Permanent link to this article: http://watchdog.org/280717/ohio-county-broadband/

Oct 31

WikiLeaks Expose Corruption at the Clinton Foundation

Tom Zawistowski 150Click HERE for a POWERFUL video from Ohio TEA party leader Tom Zawistowski: Look at how deflated these MSNBC reporters are about the latest WikiLeaks release Friday that showed the sleazy operation of the Clintons and the Clinton Foundation. …

Permanent link to this article: http://www.daytonohioteaparty.com/?p=2246790

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