Teachers in Reynoldsburg, Ohio, have issued notice they will strike beginning Friday, September 19, after they were unable to agree on terms of a new contract with the Reynoldsburg Board of Education. Teachers objected to provisions in the school board’s offer relating to merit pay, class size, and being forced to trade in their Cadillac health care plans for Obamacare. According to the Reynoldsburg Education Association:
This was a fight that was picked intentionally and with a purpose. The board’s first proposal, which they posted publicly on their website, was an appalling list of concessions and corporate reforms; the end of a traditional salary schedule to be replaced by merit pay without defined criteria for obtaining it, the end of traditional employer health insurance by shifting all employees to the Affordable Care Act, no language on class size, planning time to be spent in meetings rather than teacher self-directed planning time… [emphasis added]
The school board says it wants to give cash payments to teachers to buy their own health insurance on the “new state insurance market.” Ohio did not set up a state exchange which means teachers would need to purchase their insurance through the federal exchange under this plan.
The school board explained on their website, “The administration believes teachers individually will do a better job of acquiring coverage that suits their specific needs than the District does with its one-size-fits-all approach.” Under the current contract, teachers pay $75.00 per month for an individual plan ($155/family) with a $1400 out-of-pocket maximum per year ($2800/family).
The board went on to explain that this new scheme is more fair to single teachers, whose “personal lifestyle decisions” mean their health insurance premiums cost less than married teachers. Because all teachers would receive the same payment, single teachers would no longer have to subsidize families, according to the board’s reasoning.
Reynoldsburg Education Association spokesman Gina Daniels said the district’s proposal to eliminate group health insurance and pay teachers a cash stipend so they could buy their own health insurance through the exchanges is a sticking point in the negotiations.”We are concerned by the loss of group health insurance,” Daniels said. “REA wants Reynoldsburg to be able to attract and retain high-quality teachers and keep morale high. Eliminating group health insurance will not bring in or keep quality teachers in Reynoldsburg.”
Both sides are meeting with a federal mediator today in advance of the midnight strike deadline. Teachers have removed their belongings from classrooms and the school board has begun hiring replacement teachers in anticipation of the impending strike.
A few weeks ago I wrote about Julio Pino, a tenured Kent State professor who openly supports Hamas on his Facebook page and calls for the destruction of Israel. The convert to Islam also wrote, “MESSAGE MY WAY FROM ZION: While we were educating the world your parents and their ancestors were giving BLOW JOBS to apes!! THAT’S A FACT jack!!” and vowed that he would not work with his fellow professors who support Israel saying, “Collaborate with no one who collaborates with Israel, and let her or him know why. I have started with the head of our ‘Religious Studies’ program, who sends student-dupes to Israel every year.”
Kent State did not respond to my request for a comment about the Facebook posts and Adam Hirsh, Assistant Director of Hillel at Kent State declined to comment on the posts, instead referring me to a statement the group made earlier in the month about Dr. Pino’s “repeated hate rhetoric.”
Basically, the incendiary Facebook posts were met with a yawn. Just more bigoted rantings from Kent State’s resident anti-Semitic scholar.
But, oh, the outrage at Kent State this week when Urban Outfitters tried to sell a vintage Kent State sweatshirt that appeared to be blood-spattered! Many students were upset, saying it reminded them of the May 4, 1970 shootings of four students by members of the National Guard. In fact, the Plain Dealer reported that Kent State students were “collectively disgusted” by the shirt.
“I was just appalled,” said Marvin Logan, president of Undergraduate Student Government. “As a member who represents the entire student population, I felt for our community. May 4 is a sensitive topic. It’s a part of our legacy and should not be taken lightly.”
“How could somebody be so insensitive?” asked Jerry Lewis, a professor emeritus of sociology at Kent State who witnessed the Kent State shootings. “Even if you don’t know the parents like I do or you don’t know the wounded students, 13 people were shot protesting, legally protesting. (That) should be enough to make you outraged by the sweatshirt.”
Congressman Tim Ryan, a Democrat who represents Kent, even felt the need to weigh in on the controversial sweatshirts. ”It is deplorable for Urban Outfitters to exploit the pain and suffering of this national tragedy for their gain,” Ryan said in a press release. “May 4th was a seminal and transformational moment in American history and we should never lose sight of its immense impact. Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it,” said Ryan (or was it Santayana?)
Likewise, the university was outraged at the insensitivity of Urban Outfitters. ”We take great offense to a company using our pain for their publicity and profit,” the university said in a statement Monday. “This item is beyond poor taste and trivializes a loss of life that still hurts the Kent State community today.”
Kent State spokesman Eric Mansfield said he has been contacted by media from around the world about the shirts. Urban Outfitters also called to let him know the company was posting an apology on Twitter. “Urban Outfitters sincerely apologizes for any offense our Vintage Kent State Sweatshirt may have caused,” the company posted on Twitter. “It was never our intention to allude to the tragic events that took place at Kent State in 1970 and we are extremely saddened that this item was perceived as such.”
Mindy Farmer, who was leading freshman students through the May 4 Visitor Center as part of their First Year Experience class this week said, ”There was nothing but outrage,” about the sweatshirts. “May 4 was a sad event and we are seeing nothing but support (for the university). They have a sense of history and for that we are grateful.”
Farmer told the Plain Dealer that the Urban Outfitter sweatshirt incident is a teachable moment for students.
“We are the right place to combat ignorance,” she said.
Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder this week demanding that he hand over contact information for a former IRS attorney with ties to Lois Lerner.
Jordan, chairman of the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Job Creation and Regulatory Affairs, said in the letter he is requesting the contact information for former Department of Justice attorney Andrew Strelka. “The department’s efforts to prevent the committee from learning Mr. Strelka’s whereabouts suggest the department has cause for keeping him from speaking with the committee.”
Prior to joining DOJ, Strelka worked for former IRS executive Lois Lerner. He was the recipient of an email that directed him to “[b]e on the look out for a tea party case.” The email went on to say, “If you have received or do receive any case in the future involving an exemption for an organization having to do with tea party, let me know.”
While working at DOJ, Strelka represented the IRS in Z Street v. Koskinen, a civil suit related to the IRS targeting of conservative groups. He was suddenly removed from the case in July after reports surfaced about his time spent working for Lerner. Jordan says it was a “startling conflict of interest” for Strelka to represent the IRS in the case. Strelka maintained a relationship with Lerner following his departure from the IRS and, according to Jordan, “completed a detail in the White House before being mysteriously removed” from the Z Street case.
Strelka’s LinkedIn profile says that he is currently employed at Miller and Chevalier Chartered, a Washington, D.C., law firm. A spokesman for Congressman Jordan told the Columbus Dispatch that the committee tried to contact Strelka through information they found online, but “Mr. Strelka did not respond.”
According to Jordan’s letter, the Justice Department “interjected itself” into the committee’s efforts to contact Strelka and “even chided the Committee for attempting to contact Mr. Strelka directly.”
The Ohio Republican reminded Holder that obstructing a congressional investigation is a crime and “denying or interfering with a federal employee’s rights to furnish information to Congress is against the law.” However, Jordan said he is not surprised, given the Department of Justice’s history of obstruction and obfuscations.
Brian Fallon, a Justice Department spokesman, said in response to Jordan’s request, “As the Chairman’s staff is already aware, the committee’s request to speak with Mr. Strelka is being fielded by the department. The department will be responding to the committee’s request promptly.”
Rep. Jordan is demanding that Holder provide contact information by noon on Friday so the committee can schedule a transcribed interview “directly outside the prejudicial influence of the Justice Department.”
You can’t say it much more clearly than this.
A former Muslim, the son of a Moroccan imam, posted a video this week called “A Message to President Obama From a Former Muslim,” in which he outlines both the dangers and motivations behind radical Islam.
“Brother Rachid,” as he calls himself, says sarcastically that he does not disclose his full name because Islam is “the religion of peace.” He begins, “Dear Mr. President, with all due respect, sir, I must tell you that you are wrong about ISIL.” Rachid explains that his father is an Imam and he spent more than twenty years studying Islam. He said the president was wrong when he said that ISIL speaks for no religion. “I can tell you with confidence that ISIL speaks for Islam,” he said. “Allow me to correct you, Mr. President. ISIL is a Muslim organization.” He noted that even the name suggests ISIL is an Islamic movement.
Brother Rachid, who has said that he converted to Christianity after listening to Trans World Radio broadcasts into Morocco, now preaches Christianity via an Arabic satellite TV program, which is broadcast throughout the Middle East. He explained to President Obama in his video that ISIS’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, holds a PhD in Islamic studies.”I doubt you know Islam better than he does. He was a preacher and an Islamic leader in one of the local mosques in Baghdad. ISIL’s 10,000 members are all Muslims. None of them are from any other religion. They come from different countries and have one common denominator — Islam.”
He said ISIL members are following the prophet Muhammad’s teaching in every detail, imitating him by growing their beards, shaving their moustaches, and in the way they dress. “They implement Sharia in every piece of land they conquer. They pray five times a day. They have called for a Caliphate, which is a central doctrine in Sunni Islam and they are willing to die for their religion,” said Brother Rachid.
In his message to President Obama, Brother Rachid said, “You think ISIL does not speak for Islam because they beheaded an American and they kill those whom they consider infidels.” But he said, “In the same way, Islam’s prophet Muhammad beheaded — in one day — between 600 and 900 adult males in a Jewish tribe called Bani Quraiza. In fact, beheading is commanded in the Koran, in Sura 47, 4th verse it says, ‘When you meet the unbelievers and fight, smite their necks.’” Killing prisoners is also an order from Allah to Muhammad and all Muslims, Brother Rachid said.
“Mr. President,” Brother Rachid continued, “I grew up in Morocco, supposedly a moderate country. Yet I still learned at a young age to hate the enemies of Allah, especially Jews and Christians. These are represented today by Israel and the West, especially the Great Satan, America.” He said, “We have been brainwashed to hate all of you in our sacred texts, in our prayers, in our Friday sermons, in our educational systems. We were ready to join any group that one day would fight you and destroy you and make Islam the religion of the whole world, as the Koran says.”
If Islam is not the problem, Brother Rachid asks, why aren’t Christians in the Middle East — many of whom live in terrible political and economic circumstances — blowing themselves up? Why are Muslims in the West and new converts to Islam joining ISIL, he asks.
Brother Rachid said, “I ask you, Mr. President, to stop being politically correct — to call things by their names. ISIL, al Qaeda, Boko Haram, al-Shabaab in Somalia, the Taliban and their sister brand names are all made in Islam.” He said that unless the Muslim world separates religion from state, the cycle will continue. He told Obama, “Until you deal with the root of the problem, you will be just dealing with the symptoms. ISIL is just one symptom. If it disappears, other ISILs will be born under different names.”
In a video talking about his faith earlier this year, Brother Rachid said that he loves Muslims, including his parents, who don’t share his faith. But, “Islam is an ideology. It’s a set of doctrines. So criticizing those doctrines doesn’t mean I hate them. So we are preaching, actually, the love of Christ for human beings, including Muslims because they need Jesus Christ and they are victims of an evil ideology — Islam.”
Brother Rachid told the president that terrorism must be cut off at the root. “How many Saudi sheiks are preaching hatred? How many Islamic channels are indoctrinating people and teaching them violence from the Koran and the Hadith? How many Friday sermons are made against the West and freedom and Democracy? How many Islamic schools are producing generations of teachers and students who believe in jihad and martyrdom and fighting the infidels? And finally, how many websites are funded by governments — your allies — that have sheiks that issue fatwas against basic human rights? If you want to fight terrorism, start from there,” he said.
Watch Brother Rachid tell President Obama the truth about Islam on the next page.
Ronald Reagan kicked off his general election campaign on September 1, 1980, at Liberty State Park in New Jersey with Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty as his backdrop. The crowd was strategically filled with flag-waving Eastern Europeans who were there to raise Reagan’s profile with blue-collar, ethnic Catholic voters. Though Reagan arrived at the venue wearing a sports jacket and tie, Mrs. Reagan convinced him to discard both because of the extreme heat that day. The result was a tanned, handsome Reagan in a white shirt with the sleeves rolled up and top buttons undone, his hair blowing in the breeze.
Reagan told the crowd he was the first Republican to visit the Democrat stronghold of Hudson County since 1968. “I’m here because it is the home of Democrats, because I believe today that in this country there are millions of Democrats who are just as unhappy with the way things are as all the rest of us are.” The newly minted Reagan Democrats cheered wildly.
Referring to the families who had passed through Ellis Island on their way to freedom Reagan said, “They came to make America work. They didn’t ask what this country could do for them but what they could do to make this refuge the greatest home of freedom in history. They brought with them courage, ambition and the values of family, neighborhood, work, peace, and freedom. ” All came from different lands but shared the same values and the same dream, Reagan said. He added, “Today a president of the United States would have us believe that dream is over or at least in need of change. Jimmy Carter’s administration tells us that the descendants of those who sacrificed to start again in this land of freedom may have to abandon the dream that drew their ancestors to a new life in a new land.”
Reminding the crowd of Carter’s terrible economic record, Reagan vowed he would bring a ”renewed dedication to the dream of an America, an administration that will give that dream new life and make America great again!”
Reagan also promised to care about the needs of workers. “Beginning in January of 1981, American workers will once again be heeded,” Reagan said. “Their needs and values will be acted upon in Washington. I will consult with representatives of organized labor on those matters concerning the welfare of working people of this nation.”
He explained his vision for rebuilding the American economy. “When we talk about tax reduction, when we talk about ending inflation by stopping it where it starts, in Washington, we’re talking about a way to bring labor and management together for America. We’re talking about jobs and productivity and wages. We’re talking about doing away with Jimmy Carter’s view of a no-growth policy, and ever-shrinking economic pie which means smaller slices for everyone of us,” Reagan said. “That’s no answer. We can have a bigger pie and that’ll mean bigger slices for every one of us. And I believe that together — together you and I can bake that bigger pie. We can make that dream that brought so many of us or our parents and grandparents to this land, we can make that dream live once more.”
In contrast, President Obama demanded a higher minimum wage and more “rights” for workers in his Labor Day address this year. Evoking Jimmy Carter’s ever-shrinking economic pie model, Obama lauded the president of Kentucky State University for chopping up his piece of the pie (cutting his salary by $90,000) so it could be redistributed it to lower wage workers at the university.
Watch Reagan’s speech on the next page.
In a wide-ranging press conference immediately following his enthusiastically received speech at Americans for Prosperity’s “Defending the American Dream” conference in Dallas on Saturday, Texas Senator Ted Cruz hinted at what his path to victory might look like should he decide to run for president. Cruz, who has thus far evaded questions about his intentions to seek the Republican nomination, has recently made non-committal statements like “time will tell,” but on Saturday he offered his vision of a Republican path to victory.
Cruz was asked by a reporter at the press conference whether he had any plans to travel to Scranton, since “every successful candidate who’s run for president since FDR has gone through Scranton, Pennsylvania.”
Cruz said that he has never been to Scranton, but took the opportunity to explain how he won his Senate race in Texas and what he thinks Republicans need to do to win the presidency in 2016.
Cruz said that he is a big believer in examining data and metrics. “For those of y’all from Texas, you’ll remember the Senate race we had here.” He said, “It was a $50 million primary where we were outspent 3-1. We had $35 million in attack ads run against us. When you’re being outspent 3-1 you have to run a very data-driven, metric-driven campaign because every dollar you spend, you’ve got to get 3x bang for the buck. You can’t afford to waste a penny.” Sean Theriault, a University of Texas at Austin political scientist, called Cruz “the Barack Obama of 2012,” for his extraordinary success using data and social media in his underdog win over David Dewhurst in the Republican primary. “It is a great case study of using these tools in politics,” Theriault said.
Cruz conceded that the demographic difference between Republicans and Democrats is significant and said Republicans need to do much better in the minority community. “I was proud here in Texas to do much, much better in the Hispanic community than Mitt Romney did.” But he said the biggest difference is not the demographic shift. “The biggest difference is the millions of conservatives who showed up and voted in 2004 that stayed home in 2008 and 2012. And they fall largely into two categories,” said Cruz. “Number one, evangelical Christians — millions of believers who showed up in ‘04 who didn’t show up in ‘08 and ‘12. And number two, going back to your question [about Scranton], the so-called Reagan Democrats.”
Cruz said the Reagan Democrats up and down the Rust Belt (many of them ethnic Catholics) “tend to be blue collar, union members, gun owners, strong national defense.” According to Cruz, Pennsylvania is right in the heart of Reagan Democrat territory and they showed up to vote in 2004 but stayed home in the next two elections. “If you look in the last 50 years, there is only one Republican who has a group of Democrats named after him: Reagan Democrats. If the Washington consultants were right — that the way you bring people out is moving to the mushy middle, standing for nothing, blurring your distinction with the Democrats — then you’d see all sorts of Democrats named after some of the losing Republican nominees,” Cruz said in an obvious reference to Mitt Romney and John McCain.
In outlining a Republican strategy for victory in the 2016 presidential race, Cruz draws a sharp contrast to Rand Paul, who is courting minorities and young people as he travels the country, testing the waters for a presidential run. Potential contenders Jeb Bush and Paul Ryan have also focused on growing the party by attracting minorities. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie could potentially attract Reagan Democrats but has a frigid relationship with the most conservative wing of the party. Texas Governor Rick Perry would likely appeal to a voting bloc similar to Cruz’s. Perry has strong connections to the evangelical community and his success as a job creator in Texas could potentially resonate with the Reagan Democrats Cruz says Republicans need to recapture.
Cruz went on to explain Reagan’s appeal to Democrats. “President Reagan drew a line in the sand. He didn’t say, ‘I’m just like Jimmy Carter,’ he said, ‘This race is about a fundamental choice and president Carter and I have fundamentally different visions for this country.’”
Watch the video on the next page.
A former Ohio high school basketball player is suing his high school, the athletic director, the school’s principal, and his former basketball coach, alleging they violated his First Amendment right of free speech and his Fourteenth Amendment right to due process, resulting in a “loss of liberty” when he was cut from the team.
The suit was originally filed in Medina County Common Pleas Court [read the complaint here] by Chase Johanson, who graduated from the school in 2013 and is currently on the track team at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. The case was transferred to the U.S. District Court Aug. 27 at the request of the defendants, who said the lawsuit belongs in federal court because the claims involve constitutional issues.
Johanson, who says in an online profile that he was a 6′ 7″ power forward for Medina High School and “my father played basketball at the University of Tennessee,” claims the problems at the school began in December of 2010 during his sophomore year when there was a conflict between a school-sponsored musical performance (in which Johanson participated) and a basketball game. “Following the code of conduct for the school, when such a conflict arises, there was an agreement that he could participate in the musical performance with no clarification of penalty,” the complaint explains.
But Johanson claims that he was forced to sit on the bench for half of the next basketball game as a result of his choosing to attend the musical performance, which ultimately led to two years of conflicts and meetings between Johanson, his mother, the athletic staff, and school administrators. Coaches claim that Johanson’s lackluster athletic performance and bad attitude didn’t warrant being rewarded with much playing time, while Johanson and his mother say that he was being unfairly targeted and punished by a coach who didn’t like him.
Put-in-Bay, a popular Lake Erie island resort in Ohio, is well-known for its party scene and this summer, has earned the unfortunate nickname, “Roofie Island,” after more than a dozen women reported being drugged and at least three were raped. On weekend nights, island police regularly transport young women who suspect they’ve been slipped date rape drugs to the hospital — some tourists, others island employees.
To combat the problem, the Ohio Department of Public Safety (ODPS) has posted signs around the island warning women, ”Do You Know Where Your Drink Is? Don’t Turn Your Back — ACT!” The poster shows a woman seated at the bar next to a man who is slipping something into her drink behind her back.
“We want friends to look out for their friends, fellow bar-goers to look out for fellow bar-goers and bar staff
to look out for their patrons,” said Agent-in-Charge Eric Wolf from the Ohio Department of Public Safety. “We want everyone to be safe. If you see someone tampering with another person’s drink – don’t turn your back on them, don’t be afraid to step up and act.”
An August 15th ODPS advisory said that bystanders and bar staff should let the person know their drink may have been compromised, get the individual out of the situation and call 9-1-1 immediately, and contain the evidence if possible. “According to the Ohio Incident Based Reporting System (OIBERS), nine forcible rapes with
drugs as a weapon were reported in 2013.”
But Alissa Widman Neese, a reporter for the Sandusky Register thinks something is missing. “Where is the poster telling men — or whoever is allegedly drugging individuals in Put-in-Bay — to stop distributing drugs?” Neese asks.
“If officials are going to advocate individuals protecting themselves from a potential problem, perhaps they should also acknowledge the source of the problem is at fault,” Neese added. ”The victim or careless bystander is not to blame.” She added via Twitter:
Reporter's Notebook: Put-in-Bay police's poster promotes victim-blaming in drugging incidents http://t.co/jZG6gqb7SS
— Alissa Widman Neese (@AlissaWidman) August 26, 2014
Is warning a woman that her drink could be tampered with any more “victim blaming” than warning someone to look both ways before she crosses the street? Anyone who walks out into traffic without looking both ways is taking unnecessary risks. A woman in a bar who is falling-down drunk has to know that it’s risky to leave her drink unattended when there are men on the prowl with roofies at the ready. Warning someone of a very real danger is not blaming someone for a crime that has yet to be committed.
Neese thinks that the perpetrators need to be warned.
Does anyone seriously think that a violent pervert who is willing to drug a girl, drag her to an alley or a hotel room, and force her to have sex without her knowledge or consent is going to be swayed by a poster or a public service campaign?
Ladies, heed the posters and protect yourselves (and your girlfriends) from these sex offenders. Better yet, steer clear of situations where you could have your drink compromised and never put yourself in a position where you are not in control of your mental faculties. This is not “victim blaming,” this is common sense advice that could save your life. There are some guys that are creeps — violent losers who are bigger and stronger than you and who will take advantage of you and hurt you if given the opportunity.
A poster warning the perpetrator to leave you alone is not going to help you if you encounter this guy. Being and alert — and sober — and having a friend watch your back will. So will a gun, if you’re planning to stay sober.
In the midst of three weeks of hearings on the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), Ohio lawmakers introduced H.B. 597, a bill that would repeal the controversial standards and require the state to develop new standards that would go into effect in the 2017-2018 school year. In the interim, Ohio would use standards the state of Massachusetts used before they adopted the CCSS.
But according to former State Representative Diana Fessler, H.B. 597 (and Sub. H.B. 597, which replaced the original placeholder bill) is nothing more than “a tool for political gain” designed to protect Republicans in upcoming elections. Fessler explained the political maneuvering in an article at Ohio Conservative Review:
In August of 2013, Rep. Thompson (R-Marietta) introduced House Bill 237 to repeal Common Core (CC) in Ohio. The bill never budged. In an attempt to give the bill some traction, Rep. John Adams (R-Sidney) introduced a discharge petition. The bill still didn’t budge.
Anytime during the past year, Rep. Huffman, Speaker Pro Tempore of the House (the second highest position in the House) could have used his high rank to advocate for a good bill, HB 237. Instead, Rep. Huffman co-sponsored a new bill, HB 597. The new bill functionally rendered both HB 237 and the discharge petition moot.
The new bill, HB 597, an education bill, was not assigned to the House Education Committee. Instead, in a bizarre move, it was assigned to the House Rules and Reference Committee — a committee chaired by none other than Rep. Huffman. HB 597 sets Rep. Huffman up to tout advocacy for anti-CC legislation when he runs for Senator Faber’s open Senate seat in 2016.
The House Rules Committee is run by top House GOP leaders and rarely hears bills. Chairman Huffman replaced several members of the Committee prior to the hearings, including John Adams (R-Sidney) a leading proponent of the repeal effort. Adams and Huffman are expected to face off in 2016 for Faber’s open Senate seat.
Fessler says that the tight timeline makes it virtually impossible for Sub. H.B. 597 to pass before the end of the House legislative calendar. Chairman Huffman has said the full House will not vote on the bill until after the November election, which would leave less than two weeks for a bill to be introduced in the Senate and make it through the conference committee process before the legislative session ends.
According to Fessler:
If either chamber rejects the Committee’s new version of the bill, the bill dies (but the record of how members voted will stand and those votes will be touted during the 2016 elections). Accordingly, the greatest political advantage would come from both Chambers passing an anti-CC bill that later gets “hung up” in the Conference Committee or fails to gain ratification in both chambers.
The second greatest political advantage, and the one most likely in play, would come from just the House passing the bill and then letting the clock run out.
Passage of Substitute HB 597 by the House meets an important political objective: it ensures that specific Republicans in contested 2016 primaries will be able to portray themselves as being against Common Core. Ultimately, some candidates, including a certain chairman, will proclaim that they fought to repeal CC but, sadly, forces beyond their control prevailed. [emphasis added]
Actor Matt Damon accepted the Ice Bucket Challenge from his friends Jimmy Kimmel and Matt Damon this week, but admitted he was conflicted about wasting water. ”It posed kind of a problem for me, not only because there’s a drought here in California,” Damon explained in a YouTube video, “but because I co-founded Water.org, and we envision the day when everybody has access to a clean drink of water — and there are about 800 million people in the world who don’t — and so dumping a clean bucket of water on my head seemed a little crazy.”
Damon, who said he plans to pay the “fine” since it took him more than 24 hours to respond to the challenge, decided that using toilet water would be a good way to assuage his conscience about wasting water and, at the same time, raise awareness about his own charity.
Damon then co-opted the ALS challenge and asked viewers to support his clean water initiative. “I thought a good thing to do to try to tie those things together would be to take some toilet water,” Damon said. “And now, for those of you like my wife, who think this is really disgusting, keep in mind that the water in our toilets in the West is actually cleaner than the water that most people in the developing world have access to. So, as disgusting as this may seem, hopefully it will highlight the fact that this is a big problem and together we can do something about it.”
Damon, sounding like Kanye West interrupting Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at the 2009 VMA awards (I’m really happy for you. Imma let you finish”), gave a quick shout out to the ALS cause, but then went right back to promoting his own charity before dumping the bucket of toilet water on himself. “So, I’m happy to take the challenge and knock out ALS — I’m all for that. For more information about the clean water crisis and sanitation crisis please visit us at Water.org,” he said. Damon then nominated George Clooney, Bono and NFL quarterback Tom Brady to take the challenge.
Kent State University associate professor of history Julio Pino is well known for his anti-Semitic, jihad-supporting views. In 2002 the Cuban-born convert to Islam wrote a poem published in the Kent Stater that praised a female suicide bomber in Israel, saying her actions should be “pronounced ‘justice’ and spelled C-O-U-R-A-G-E.” In 2007, at the same time he was on the payroll of Ohio taxpayers as a tenured professor, he was also writing for Global War, a now defunct blog that supported violent global jihad. In 2011, Pino made news after he shouted ”Death to Israel” when an Israeli diplomat spoke at a campus event sponsored by the Jewish Hillel organization.
In early August of this year, Pina wrote an open letter to his fellow academics who support Israel, holding them “directly responsible for the murder of over 1,400 Palestinian children, women and elderly civilians over the past month.” Pino said, “Your names are scrawled on every bullet fired, bomb dropped, body buried and burnt forehead in Gaza. May your names become a curse word on the lips of every justice-loving person on earth, along with ‘Obama’ and ‘Netanyahu.’” He accused his fellow academics of being fascist collaborators and ended with a veiled threat saying, “We both know the fate of collaborators.” Pino signed the letter with a Che Guevara slogan: “Hasta la victoria siempre!” (“Until Victory, Always!”), and added, “Jihad until victory!”
While Kent State has, over the years, condemned Pino’s actions and violent rhetoric, it has not announced any official disciplinary actions against Pino for his incendiary rhetoric and attacks on Jewish and pro-Israel members of the campus community. The university called his most recent statements “reprehensible” and irresponsible” and said that “at Kent State, we value collegiality and mutual respect. Assailing the public with broad statements of culpability violates these principles.”
The toothless condemnations from the university have done little to quell Pino’s zeal for terrorist causes and the destruction of Israel, if his recent Facebook posts are any indication.
Pino’s profile picture shows protesters draped in Hamas flags.
In a tense, middle-of-the night press conference early Tuesday morning, Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson lectured members of the media about safety and implored them to assist law enforcement in calming tensions in the city.
After reporting that two individuals had been shot and several police officers injured during another night of protests in response to last week’s shooting of Michael Brown, Johnson showed members of the media items that law enforcement officials had confiscated during the previous night’s protests including a Molotov cocktail, fireworks that had been thrown into a crowd, and two guns. Johnson said the guns were confiscated from individuals who shot at an apartment complex from their vehicle, which was then stopped near the media staging area. He said journalists were swarming the car to snap pictures as officers were trying to secure the weapons, making the confrontation even more dangerous.
Johnson said that when the media is asked to relocate, it is for their own safety or to facilitate law enforcement operations.
“I’d ask you not to glamourize their activities,” Johnson said of the protesters who were bent on illegal activities and provoking confrontations with police. There were 31 arrests on Monday night along with several fires set by protesters around the city.
Johnson described the volatile situation on the ground. “You were out there. You saw the chaos. You saw the shootings. We had officers in the midst of gunfire. In the midst of gunfire! And I guarantee you that the officers’ wives and husbands and parents are calling them now,” an emotional Johnson said. “I stood there and heard on the radio the screams of the officers who were under gunfire. I got back to our SWAT vehicle and saw the gentleman laying in the back who had been shot. I saw a car pull up and drop a gentleman off who had been shot in the hand that was dazed walking down the street.” Capt. Johnson added, “We can’t have this. We do not want any citizen hurt. We do not want any officers hurt. But when you’re shooting at apartment complexes and children are laying in the bed in apartment complexes and bullets are flying through the air, the saying on the street is, ‘a bullet has no name.’ We do not want to lose another life in this community.”
Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson gave a rousing and heartfelt speech at a rally today at a Ferguson church for Michael Brown, the unarmed 18-year-old man who was shot by police a week ago. In a rally attended by the parents of Brown and a lineup of nationally known civil rights leaders, Johnson, who has become the face of the law enforcement effort in Ferguson, was greeted with a standing ovation by the crowd of approximately 1500 people.
Capt. Johnson began by speaking to Michael Brown’s family. “I want you to know my heart goes out to you and I say that I’m sorry. I wear this uniform and I should stand up here and say that I’m sorry,” Johnson said. The crowd cheered and again gave Johnson a standing ovation.
“This is my neighborhood,” Johnson continued. “You are my family, you are my friends, and I am you.” He vowed to protect the community’s right to protest.
He said his heart was full seeing a church full of people clapping and cheering. “This is what the media needs to put on TV.”
Johnson admitted that the last 24 hours had been tough for him, saying that he had met some members of Michael Brown’s family. “They brought tears to my eyes,” Johnson said. “And shame to my heart,” he added.
He said, however, that his daughter had encouraged him with the story of Peter and Jesus in the New Testament. “When Peter failed, Jesus picked him back up,” his daughter told him.
He promised to stay with the community of Ferguson “as long as it takes.” Capt. Johnson said, “Because when this is over I’m going to go into my son’s room — my black son, who wears his pants sagging, wears his hat cocked to the side, got tattoos on his arms, but that’s my baby.” Johnson paused for another standing ovation.
“And we all ought to be thanking the Browns for Michael,” he continued. “Because Michael’s gonna make it better for all of our sons so they can be better black men. It will be better for our daughters so they can be better black women. Better for me so I can be a better black father. And we know they’re going to make our mamas even better than they are today.”
Johnson encouraged the community to pray and allow the death of Mike Brown to make them better. “I love you, I stand tall with you, and I’ll see you out there,” Johnson concluded.
Watch video on the next page.
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency in Ferguson and ordered a curfew beginning Sunday at midnight until 5 a.m. in an attempt to curb the ongoing looting and protests in response to the shooting of Michael Brown by a police officer last week.
Nixon, surrounded by community leaders at a Ferguson church, announced the curfew during a “press conference” that was more like a gathering of community activists. Nixon was shouted down at several points during his remarks and during the Q & A as members of the community demanded the immediate indictment of the police officer involved in the shooting and demanded that the police stand down and cease their strong-arm tactics against the protesters.
Nixon would not say how long the curfew would last and would not say whether journalists would be arrested for curfew violations. He did say there would be a “staging area” available for the media to ensure “transparency.”
Many in the crowd made it clear that the protests would continue until “justice” was meted out for the shooting. “This poor child…this 18-year-old young man was killed in cold blood. That’s why people have been in the streets,” shouted one woman from the back of the room.
A fragile peace was shattered early Saturday morning as looters again robbed businesses while police in riot gear watched, mostly without intervening. Some protesters tried to stop the looters on their own, guarding stores and businesses to protect them from theft and property damage. Police have been under fire for the use of excessive force in opposing the protesters in Ferguson, utilizing armored vehicles, tear gas, and rubber bullets to control the crowds.
While Gov. Nixon praised the “courage and resolve” of protesters who tried to stop the looting, New Black Panther leader Malik Shabazz asked for “rules of engagement” between police and protesters and said the police wouldn’t be able to enforce the curfew. “We gotta do it ourselves. They go out there, it’s over,” Shabazz said.
Congressman Lacy Clay (D-MO) said at the meeting that he has asked Attorney General Eric Holder to take over the investigation into the shooting, asking him to investigate it as a civil rights violation. “Let the Feds prosecute. You’re not going to get a fair trial in St. Louis County,” Clay said.
After disregarding pleas from the police in Ferguson, Missouri, to restrict their protests to daylight hours, angry demonstrators took to the streets for a fourth night in a row in response to the police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown on Saturday.
The Ferguson Police Department expressed sympathy over the unarmed teen’s death, saying “police are working to restore confidence in the safety of our community and our neighborhoods so that we may begin the healing process.”
The city and the police department pledged to cooperate fully with local and federal investigations into the shooting.
“We ask that any groups wishing to assemble in prayer or in protest do so only during daylight hours in an organized and respectful manner,” the statement said. “We further ask all those wishing to demonstrate or assemble to disperse well before the evening hours to ensure the safety of the participants and the safety of our community.”
But early Wednesday evening a crowd gathered around a burned down gas station for another night of protesting. Officers set up barricades in an attempt to control the area, but when protesters refused to disperse and blocked a busy street, police moved in with tear gas and rubber bullets sending protesters running.
In the middle of the melee, Twitter started lighting up with messages of solidarity from Palestinians in Gaza, some of them sending advice for how to resist police or deal with the effects of tear gas.
Inas Safidi, whose Twitter profile says she lives in “Palestine,” began with a message of support for the protesters:
— Inas Safadi (@InassSafadi) August 14, 2014
— Inas Safadi (@InassSafadi) August 14, 2014
Saying that the Islamic State of Iraq (ISIS/ISIL) is conducting a campaign of genocide against Christians, Yazidis, and others in Iraq in it’s efforts to establish a caliphate, a group of religious leaders has signed a petition calling on the United States to destroy the terrorist group.
ISIS/ISIL has engaged in crimes against humanity by deliberately causing mass starvation and dehydration, and by committing unconscionable acts of barbarism against noncombatants, including defenseless women, children, and elderly persons.
It is imperative that the United States and the international community act immediately and decisively to stop the ISIS/ISIL genocide and prevent the further victimization of religious minorities. This goal cannot be achieved apart from the use of military force to degrade and disable ISIS/ISIL forces.
Signatories of the petition include Robert P. George, professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University, Russell Moore, President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, Ben Carson, author and retired neurosurgeon, author and speaker Eric Metaxas, and Edward Whelan, head of the Ethics and Public Policy Center.
The group approved of President Obama’s use of airstrikes against ISIS/ISIL in key cities and the humanitarian aid the U.S. has provided but said much more needs to be done and, “There is no time to waste.”
Saying they always favor non-military means of resolving disputes and protecting human rights, unfortunately, they believe the evidence is overwhelming that such means will not be able to halt the genocide unfolding in Iraq.
Therefore we call upon the United States and the international community to do everything necessary to empower local forces fighting ISIS/ISIL in Iraq to protect their people. No options that are consistent with the principles of just war doctrine should be off the table. We further believe that the United States’ goal must be more comprehensive than simply clamping a short-term lid on the boiling violence that is threatening so many innocents in ISIS/ISIL’s path. Nothing short of the destruction of ISIS/ISIL as a fighting force will provide long-term protection of victims.
They called upon President Obama and Congress to expand airstrikes against ISIS/ISIL and to provide full air support for Kurdish and others opposing ISIS/ISIL. They also said the United States should provide arms, ammunition, equipment, and intelligence to Kurdish forces, Sunni tribesmen, and others fighting ISIS/ISIL.
In addition to military aid, the signatories said the humanitarian crisis is urgent. “Local churches and aid agencies are overwhelmed, and we have grave concerns about how these victims of violent religious persecution will be cared for this winter. The U.S. can and should take the lead in providing food, water, medicine, and other essential supplies.”
The group said it was important to note that the U.S. “is not without responsibility for the plight of victims of ISIS/ISIL genocide.” They said the crisis in Iraq would not be happening “but for errors and failures of our nation’s own in Iraq.” Though they were not all in agreement on precisely what the errors and failures were and who was to blame for the problems, they did agree that, “The point is not to point fingers or apportion blame, but to recognize that justice as well as compassion demands that we take the steps necessary to end the ISIL/ISIS campaign of genocide and protect those who are its victims.”
President Obama made a surprise video appearance at the opening ceremonies of the 2014 Gay Games in Cleveland on Saturday. Joining Greg Louganis, Lance Bass, the Pointer Sisters, and Broadway’s Andrea McArdle and Alex Newell in celebrating the event, Obama said, “Since 1982 the Gay Games have given lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender athletes and supporters around the world a chance to come together to compete, celebrate, and inspire others.”
President Obama, who is vacationing on Martha’s Vineyard, noted how the country has changed since the games began in 1982. “We’ve also seen America change in that time, even since 2006, when the games were last held in the United States in my hometown of Chicago. We’ve come a long way in our commitment to the equal rights of LGBT people here and around the world,” he said.
As international crises continue to dominate the world stage, the president took a break from his vacation and busy golf schedule to record the message for the Gay Games, boasting about his accomplishments on behalf of the LGBT movement since becoming president. ”I’m proud of my administration’s record and of the citizens who’ve helped push for justice.”
The president had a special message for those living in countries that persecute LGBT individuals, explaining what he believes to be the “very idea” of America. “You should know that the United States stands with you and for your human rights, just as our athletes stand with you on the field at these games,” he said. “After all, the very idea of America is that no matter who you are, what you look like, where you come from, or who you love, you can make it if you try. That’s who we are. That’s who we should continually strive to be. ”
Obama wished the athletes well. “We’re also a country that loves competition, so let’s get these games underway. Good luck to the athletes, have a great time in Cleveland and Akron, and go, Team U.S. A.!”
“The Gay Games is thrilled to have President Obama take his time to show his commitment to the Games’ mission of inclusion, participation and personal best,” said Hollie Ksiezyk, co-chair of the 2014 Gay Games.
Fellow co-chair Steve Sokany agreed. ”It was a special moment that no one in the arena will forget and a great way to kick off the exciting Games week,” he said.
Journalist Connie Schultz, wife of Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, tweeted about how deeply moved she and Sen. Brown were by the opening ceremony:
— Connie Schultz (@ConnieSchultz) August 10, 2014
— Connie Schultz (@ConnieSchultz) August 10, 2014
Approximately 8,000 athletes are expected to participate in 36 events over the next week.
Watch the video of Obama on the next page.
Dr. Kent Brantly, the doctor who was flown home to the U.S. from Liberia after being infected with the deadly Ebola virus, released a statement from his isolation room at Emory University Hospital today. ”I am growing stronger every day, and I thank God for his mercy as I have wrestled with this terrible disease,” Brantly said. He thanked those who had been praying for his recovery as well as for the recovery of Nancy Writebol, the nurse who was also infected and flown home, and for the people of Liberia and West Africa.
He said that he and his wife and children did not move to Liberia specifically to fight Ebola. “We went to Liberia because we believe God called us to serve Him at ELWA Hospital.” Nevertheless, he said that God often leads people to unexpected places. “When Ebola spread into Liberia, my usual hospital work turned more and more toward treating the increasing number of Ebola patients. I held the hands of countless individuals as this terrible disease took their lives away from them. I witnessed the horror first-hand, and I can still remember every face and name.”
When Brantley started feeling ill, he immediately isolated himself until the test confirmed his diagnosis three days later. Upon hearing that the result was positive, “I remember a deep sense of peace that was beyond all understanding. God was reminding me of what He had taught me years ago, that He will give me everything I need to be faithful to Him,” Brantly said in the statement released by Samaritan’s Purse, the missionary organization that assisted in bringing Dr. Brantly home for treatment.
Now that he is back in the United States, Brantly said his focus remains the same, “to follow God.” Brantly asked that as people continue to pray for his recovery, “More importantly, pray that we would be faithful to God’s call on our lives in these new circumstances.”
Samaritan’s Purse reported that Dr. Kent Brantly’s condition is improving. His wife, Amber, has been able to visit him in the isolation unit at Emory University Hospital and said he was in good spirits.
“I have been able to see Kent every day, and he continues to improve,” she said. “I am thankful for the professionalism and kindness of Dr. (Bruce) Ribner and his team at Emory University Hospital. I know that Kent is receiving the very best medical treatment available.”
At a Monday fundraiser in Iowa, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) bolted when “DREAMer” Erika Andiola interrupted his lunch with Congressman Steve King (R-IA). Andiola, the co-director of DREAM Action Coalition, approached the table where Paul and King were seated and introduced herself.
“My name is Erika,” she said. “I’m actually a DREAMer myself.” Immediately upon hearing the word “DREAMer,” Sergio Gor, Paul’s communications director, nodded to the senator, who had just taken a bite of his burger, and the two stood up and left before Paul could even finish chewing the chunk of burger in his mouth.
Rep. King hung around to have a lengthy and rather animated discussion with the young woman, who had been brought to the U.S. illegally by her mother when she was 11 years old.
It was clearly an ambush designed to provoke responses from King and Paul. After Paul departed, Andiola invited King to tear up her Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) card and she followed that up with a recitation of the typical talking points of the pro-amnesty crowd, all designed for maximum YouTube exposure.
King listened to Andiola’s concerns and then passionately (and mostly patiently) tried to explain to the young woman that the president didn’t have the constitutional authority to issue DACA cards, attempting to sell Andiola on the benefits of a country that is governed by rule of law. The exchange went on for more than seven minutes.
In an email to National Review, Sergio Gor said Paul had to leave to meet with the media. “Senator Paul had a media avail after the event and that’s where we had to be. CNN, Buzzfeed, Wall Street Journal and several local outlets attended the media avail.”
Appearing later on MSNBC, Andiola said that Rand Paul should think twice about being seen with Steve King if he’s considering running for president in 2016. “Steve King has been one of the most extreme anti-immigrant folks in Congress and I don’t know if Rand Paul actually learned a lesson from Mitt Romney, but Mitt Romney lost the election with the Latino vote because he didn’t support the DREAM Act and he believed in self-deportation.”
Andiola also said that Paul would need to face the issue of DREAMers if he wanted to run for president. “It’s a tough issue, but the reality is that if you have someone that is actually affected by it that’s trying to talk to you, you don’t run away. You actually sit there and you try to talk,” she said, “At least King … he talked to us. And Rand Paul, who is trying to run for office in 2016 didn’t even finish his burger and, you know, bailed out.”
So, was Rand Paul’s departure from what was clearly an ambush by the pro-amnesty activist a canny demonstration of political acumen or an act of cowardice?
Brent Larkin, former editorial director at the Plain Dealer wrote on Tuesday:
Not only will Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald lose the election for governor by a huge margin, he’ll probably take the entire statewide ticket down with him. At this point, not even a scandal in the administration of Gov. John Kasich would prevent the Republicans from sweeping all five administrative offices.
That’s a pretty serious indictment, and it’s one that hardly anyone would disagree with after the week the Democrat candidate for governor Ed FitzGerald has had.
His campaign for governor was already on shaky ground. According to a recent Quinnipiac poll FitzGerald trailed Gov. Kasich by 12 points, with 65% of voters not knowing enough about him to form an opinion him less than 100 days before the election. Now, his name ID has likely increased significantly, but for all the wrong reasons.
On August 1, news broke about a 4:30 a.m. brush with police in 2012 in the parking lot of an industrial complex after an electrician working nearby called to report what he thought was suspicious activity in a car in the middle of the night.
“I don’t know if they’re having sex in the parking lot or what they’re doing here,” Casey Hager told a dispatcher. “I don’t know if they don’t notice all my lights inside … but all I keep seeing is like something going back and forth, and I’m like, eh, you know what, this is a little fishy. And I know the owner here wouldn’t really want this here.” Hager later said he saw two people climb into the back seat of the vehicle.
Westlake police who responded to the call found FitzGerald — the Cuyahoga County executive at the time — in the front seat of the car with a woman who was not his wife. The woman turned out to be Joanne Grehan, who was visiting Cleveland with a trade delegation from Ireland. According to FitzGerald, the two had been at a restaurant with a group and he offered to drop her off at her hotel. He said they got lost trying to find her hotel and pulled into the industrial park to figure out how to get to their destination. According to the police report, FitzGerald and the woman were just talking and no charges were filed.
Former Ohio Congressman Steve LaTourette hurled another grenade in his war on the conservative wing of the Republican Party, this time writing in Politico that leaders of groups like Club for Growth, FreedomWorks, and Tea Party Patriots are “grifters” and con artists who are “lining their pockets with the hard-earned money of working men and women … promising things in return that they know they can’t deliver.”
And Ted Cruz is the devil (or something), because Cruz makes a great malefactor in LaTourette’s Us vs. Them faux unity fairy tale. Grifters are the new Wacko Birds.
LaTourette, who retired in a huff after he was denied chairmanship of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in 2012, compared Jenny Beth Martin, Chris Chocola, and Matt Kibbe to snake-oil salesmen and Ponzi scheme operators and said groups like his Defending Main Street PAC and the Chamber of Commerce are working to run them out of Washington.
LaTourette’s vitriolic Politico tantrum comes as he and his friends at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce sit licking their wounds after failing to muscle through the immigration reforms they’ve been championing.
“Just look at what happened this past week, when hard-right House members with extensive ties to these outside groups, egged on by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, snarled up a sensible effort to pass a bill that would at least begin to address the crisis of undocumented children at the U.S.-Mexico border,” LaTourette wrote at Politico. “It was an embarrassing display of congressional dysfunction, and it showed that the grifting wing has learned nothing from last fall’s shutdown fiasco.”
In the article, LaTourette takes great pains to try to paint President Reagan as the Great Compromiser of Our Time, a man who demonstrated his goodness and brilliance by giving in to Democrats at every turn. “Reagan’s record and rhetoric stands in marked contrast to the grifting win [sic] of the party today, even as the grifters invoke his memory in their disingenuous appeals,” he fumes.
LaTourette is clear that he wants the “grifters” exposed and removed from his party.
“Exposing the grifters is exactly what is happening in the Republican Party today. Groups like the organization that I head, groups like the Chamber of Commerce, business groups and traditional Republican organizations are working to run the political snake-oil salesman out of town—or at least out of our party,” LaTourette said. [emphasis added]
But LaTourette is the last person who should be accusing anyone of being a grifter or a con artist.
It all started with Michael Needham from Heritage Action saying that President Obama is “lawless.” Liberal National Journal columnist Ron Fournier interrupted, saying “You’re calling him lawless?” as if Needham had hurled a racial epithet at the president. That set off a heated panel discussion on Fox News Sunday between Needham, Fournier, and Juan Williams, who ultimately concluded that the Republican Party has become “almost a completely white party.”
Williams said that Republicans and those on the right “have demonized” the president with talk about impeachment. He said, ”Lots of people, especially in the minority communities, see it as an attack on the first black president. Think it’s unfair. And so it’s going to spur their turnout in the mid- terms, which is going to be critical in several races.”
Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace asked Williams to clarify his comments. “Do you think that the Republican opposition to this president … is racial, or do you think it is based on principles and policies?” Wallace asked.
“Well, all I can do is look at the numbers. If you look at the core constituency, the people who are in, let’s say Tea Party opposition, support of impeachment, there’s no diversity, it’s a white, older group of people. As to whether or not it’s racial, look, President Obama and others have said there are some people who don’t like him because of his race; some people who do like him. But I would say if you just break it down as a matter of political analysis and say who is this group, it reminds me that the Republican Party has become almost a completely white party,” Williams said.
Needham objected strongly to Williams’ charges. “Chris, if you were to open up your dictionary to the word irony, you would find Juan Williams in there claiming I’m demonizing people because I am saying the president of the United States is lawless, which by the way the Supreme Court agreed with.” Needham added, “You’re the one demonizing people who are concerned about the fact that we have a crisis of the Constitution, with Jonathan Turley, a liberal law professor, just testifying in the last couple of weeks … you are the one demonizing. You’re demonizing good people who are concerned about a president who’s weak and out of control.”
Williams shot back at Needham’s accusation that the president was lawless. “We had a principled argument about President Obama’s actions and use of executive actions and authority. But you call him lawless as if he’s an outlaw. As if, you know, you have him riding the range. We got to go get that guy.”
Williams then reached for the race card. “The people who want him impeached, they’re all white and they are all older and guess what, they are all in the far right wing of the Republican Party.”
“And he might as well have said they are all racist. That’s ridiculous,” Needham responded.
Watch the video on the next page.
On Fox News Sunday Rep. Steve King (R-IA) implored President Obama to avoid the constitutional crisis that would result if the president acts without congressional approval on immigration. King stopped just short of actually saying the word “impeachment,” instead calling it the “i” word.
“None of us want to do the thing that’s left for us as an alternative,” King said. “I think Congress has to sit down, have a serious look at the rest of this constitution, and that includes that ‘i’ word that we don’t want to say.”
King warned the president that unilateral action on immigration could have dire consequences. “I only say that now on this program because I want to encourage the president, ‘Please don’t put don’t put America into a constitutional crisis — please don’t do that. There’s too much at stake in this country to be deciding that you can take over the Constitution and write it at will.” King said.
Chris Wallace pressed King on whether impeachment would be on the table if the president “were to do that.”
“I think then we have to sit down and take a look at that — where would we draw the line otherwise? If that’s not enough to bring that about then I don’t know what would be,” King said, again avoiding the word ‘impeachment’. ”We’ve never seen anything in this country like a president that said, ‘I’m going to make up all immigration law that I choose and drive this thing, regardless of the resistance of Congress.’”
The Republican leadership has distanced itself from the prospect of impeachment with Speaker Boehner saying on Tuesday, “We have no plans to impeach the president. We have no future plans. It’s all a scam started by people at the White House.”
This week three Ohio abortion clinics were fined or closed after recent health inspections revealed unsafe conditions at the clinics that endangered the lives and health of women in the state.
Planned Parenthood in Bedford Heights was fined $25,000 by the Ohio Department of Health for a variety of violations including improper disinfection of surgical equipment used in abortions, the use of expired tests and chemicals, and improper disposal and storage or urine samples. In addition, the health department found:
- expired contracts for hazardous biomedical waste removal and cleaning
- failure to follow the state’s tuberculosis control plan
- violations of the single-use rule for certain medical items
- an unwrapped and extended condom, used for vaginal probe ultrasounds
- failure to have on staff a director of nursing who is an RN with surgical experience
- incomplete medical records on patients transferred to hospitals due to complications from abortions
- failure to adhere to infection control procedures
The clinic has ten days to submit a plan of correction and a month to attain compliance with the findings of the health department.
The Northeast Ohio Women’s Center in Cuyahoga Falls was denied a health care facility license after the health department found multiple code violations including a lack of staff training and emergency preparedness, a failure to employ a Director of Nursing who is an RN with surgical experience, and expired medications at the facility.
The Ohio Department of Health also issued an adjudication order revoking and refusing to renew Capital Care Network’s health facility license due to it’s failure to obtain a transfer agreement with a hospital. Ohio law requires ambulatory surgical centers to maintain a written agreement to transfer patients to a hospital in the event of complications or medical emergencies. The clinic had submitted to the state an agreement with the University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor, Michigan, but the Health Director found that an agreement with a hospital 52 miles away from the clinic violated the requirements of the Ohio Revised Code. Capital Care Network was the last remaining abortion facility in Toledo.
The two-year state budget, passed last year by the Republican-controlled legislature and signed into law by Governor Kasich, codified into law a rarely-enforced health department administrative rule that requires the transfer agreements. The budget also prohibited public hospitals from entering into such agreements with abortion clinics.
“We will have to close as a surgery center if we do not get a stay from the courts,” Capital Care owner Terry Hubbard said.
“Without Capital Care Network, life in Toledo will be safer for women and children,” said Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life. “This week, our government assured all of us that women’s health and patient safety is priority number one. It is deeply troubling that some people are advocating for this illegal operation to remain open, putting women’s lives at risk.”
Gonidakis added, “We’re deeply concerned, though admittedly unsurprised, that multiple abortion facilities are jeopardizing the lives and health of women. The real war on women is being waged everyday in these unsafe and unsanitary abortion mills. These reports shock the conscience and reaffirm our resolve to protect life from Ohio’s abortion industry.”
[HT: Truth Revolt]
Hours before the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Bill Clinton told a group of Australian business leaders that he could have killed Osama bin Laden, but chose not to because the risk of civilian casualties was too great.
Former Australia Liberal Party President Michael Kroger appeared on Sky News’ Paul Murray Live on Wednesday and released an audio recording of a speech former president Bill Clinton gave to a group of 30 Australian business leaders just ten hours before the planes flew into the World Trade Center.
“Bill Clinton was answering a question from a member of the audience about international terrorism and he made some extraordinary remarks, which have hitherto remained in my vault,” Kroger told Murray. “It was only when we talked about Clinton and bin Laden last week and many, many people contacted me and said they were quite interested to hear what they’d forgotten — that Clinton was in Australia the day before the planes hit the World Trade Center.” Kroger said he then remembered the tape and the comments Clinton made about bin Laden just a few hours before the planes hit the World Trade Center.
“I’m just saying, you know, if I were Osama bin Laden — he’s a very smart guy, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about him, and I nearly got him once,” Clinton said to the business leaders on September 10, 2001. “I nearly got him. And I could have gotten, I could have killed him, but I would have had to destroy a little town called Kandahar in Afghanistan and killed 300 innocent women and children. And then I would have been no better than him.”
Clinton added, “And so I didn’t do it.”
Kroger said that in the days after the attack, those who had heard Clinton’s September 10th remarks were “saying, ‘My God! Did you hear what he said at the meeting? He could have killed bin Laden and he didn’t!’”
Kroger noted that thousands were killed in the attacks and “the world changed. The world changed. And we’ve never been the same since, whether it’s airport security, whether it’s planes not flying over countries that are at war … the world has never been the same since September 11, 2001 and there’s President Clinton admitting just a few hours before it happened that he could have taken out bin Laden but decided not to. So it was an extraordinary thing for the president to say.”
“Here was a moment in time when — terribly for the world — this man, bin Laden, was allowed to continue with his terrorist activity as Clinton was made aware of where bin Laden was,” Kroger said.
Kroger also noted in the interview that the Rwandan genocide is another black mark against Clinton’s name. “He says in his diaries — in his autobiography — that he should have intervened in Rwanda and he didn’t and there was a massive slaughter that took place there and the Americans did nothing,” Kroger told Murray.
At Tuesday’s Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security hearing, Dr. Charles Blahous of the Social Security and Medicare Boards of Trustees testified that Americans owe $24 trillion in unfunded liabilities to those already in the Social Security system.
Congressman Jim Renacci (R-OH), a CPA, asked Blahous what the impact would be on the Social Security trust fund if all unfunded liabilities needed to paid out. Blahous said that they usually highlight the 75-year “open group obligation” which is currently $10.6 trillion, but said the “actual amount of unfunded obligations within the Social Security system is actually substantially higher than that. ” According to Blahous, the reason is that the shortfall does not play out gradually over time. “It’s actually something that is on the books now. There is an excess of benefit obligations over contributions for people who are already in the system. And that’s actually about $24 trillion. And that’s about 4.4% of future wages going forward,” Blahous said.
Actually, it’s even worse to that, according to the Social Security Trustees’ 2014 Annual Report to Congress. Tucked way in the back in Table VI.F1 in the appendix we find, “The excess of the present value of cost for past and current participants over the present value of dedicated tax income for past and current participants produces an unfunded obligation for past and current participants of $26.1 trillion.” (But what’s a of couple trillion here or there?)
Asked by Renacci if Social Security taxes this year will be adequate to fund current benefit obligations, Blahous explained that there will be a shortfall of around $80 billion this year alone.
Renacci wanted to know where the money will come from to make up the difference.
“Well, when the payroll taxes fall short of benefit obligations, the difference has to be made with payments from the general fund. Right now they’d be in the form of interest payments from the general fund to the trust fund and a large share of those interest payments would go out the door immediately to pay beneficiaries,” said Blahous. He added that $80 billion would be added to the federal deficit this year as a result of the shortfall.
Renacci thought the unfunded liabilities should have received more attention in the Trustees’ report. “So we have $17 trillion in debt, we have potentially $10-20 trillion in unfunded liabilities, we could have over $50 trillion total liabilities — just in those two areas — and we have $80 billion each year, at least this year, that is going to exceed what comes in,” Renacci said. ”I would somewhat believe we have a current problem that we need to fix and it’s something that we can’t kick down the road, as I continue to hear.”
Congressman Renacci’s office released highlights of the Trustees’ report:
- The combined trust fund reserves are still growing and will continue to do so through 2019. Beginning with 2020, the cost of the program is projected to exceed income.
- The projected point at which the combined trust fund reserves will become depleted, if Congress does not act before then, comes in 2033 – the same as projected last year. At that time, there will be sufficient income coming in to pay 77 percent of scheduled benefits.
- The projected actuarial deficit over the 75-year long-range period is 2.88 percent of taxable payroll — 0.16 percentage point larger than in last year’s report.
“As a CPA and former businessman, I came to Washington to bring a business perspective to an institution that sorely lacks it. We know that we spend more than we should, but the American people do not fully know the extent of our country’s dire financial situation. This is partly due to the fact that the Treasury leaves some of the largest liabilities, including Social Security, off of its balance sheet,” said Renacci, adding that he recently introduced the bipartisan Federal Financial Statement Transparency Act.
The bill would establish a Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board to develop Federal financial accounting concepts and standards. Renacci said the bill would lead to “a more honest depiction of our nation’s finances to ultimately allow Congress to better address our growing $17 trillion debt.” He said a clean balance sheet will serve as a benchmark for beginning to preserve Social Security programs for current seniors and for future generations.
U.S District Court Judge Frederick L. Scullin, Jr. ruled on Saturday that the District of Columbia’s total ban on carrying firearms outside the home was unconstitutional. Judge Scullin wrote in Palmer v. District of Columbia,
In light of Heller, McDonald, and their progeny, there is no longer any basis on which this Court can conclude that the District of Columbia’s total ban on the public carrying of ready-to-use handguns outside the home is constitutional under any level of scrutiny. Therefore, the Court finds that the District of Columbia’s complete ban on the carrying of handguns in public is unconstitutional.
The court granted the Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment and ordered the District of Columbia to stop enforcing the District of Columbia codes that effectively ban the carrying of handguns in the District ”until such time as the District of Columbia adopts a licensing mechanism consistent with constitutional standards enabling people to exercise their Second Amendment right to bear arms.”
Judge Scullin went a step further, prohibiting the District from completely banning the carrying of handguns for individuals “based solely on the fact that they are not residents of the District.”
Along with Columbia v. Heller (2008) and McDonald v. Chicago (2010), Sculling cited the Seventh Circuit’s Moore v. Madigan (2012) decision which said, “[a] blanket prohibition on carrying gun[s] in public prevents a person from defending himself anywhere except inside his home; and so substantial a curtailment of the right of armed self-defense requires a greater showing of justification than merely that the public might benefit on balance from such a curtailment, though there is no proof that it would.”
Noting that the District of Columbia appears to be the only jurisdiction that still has such a complete ban on the carrying of handguns outside the home Sculling wrote, “That does not mean that other jurisdictions are indifferent to the dangers that the widespread public carrying of guns; rather, those jurisdictions ‘have decided that a proper balance between the interest in self-defense and the dangers created by carrying guns in public is to limit the right to carry a gun to responsible persons rather than to ban public carriage altogether[.]‘”
Alan Gura, the lead attorney for the the Second Amendment Foundation, a plaintiff in the case, said on his blog Saturday:
Obviously, the carrying of handguns for self-defense can be regulated. Exactly how is a topic of severe and serious debate, and courts should enforce constitutional limitations on such regulation should the government opt to regulate. But totally banning a right literally spelled out in the Bill of Rights isn’t going to fly … Congratulations Americans, your capital is not a constitution-free zone.
In a video discovered by the Competitive Enterprise Institute from January of 2012, one of the chief architects of Obamacare says the Affordable Care Act provides no tax credits for citizens in states that do not set up their own exchanges.
Speaking to an audience at Noblis, a nonprofit scientific and engineering research organization in Falls Church, Virginia, MIT economist Jonathan Gruber urged states to set up their own insurance exchanges so citizens could take advantage of the tax credits. An audience member commented, “It’s my understanding that if states don’t provide [exchanges], then the federal government will provide them for the states.” Gruber responded,
What’s important to remember politically about this is if you’re a state and you don’t set up an exchange, that means your citizens don’t get their tax credits—but your citizens still pay the taxes that support this bill. So you’re essentially saying [to] your citizens you’re going to pay all the taxes to help all the other states in the country. I hope that that’s a blatant enough political reality that states will get their act together and realize there are billions of dollars at stake here in setting up these exchanges. But, you know, once again the politics can get ugly around this. [emphasis added]
At the time, states were being pressured to set up their own exchanges instead of leaving the federal government to manage them.
Gruber’s remarks at Noblis came five months before Halbig v. Burwell was filed. Halbig claimed exactly what Gruber is saying in the video: that Obamacare’s subsidies for private health insurance were limited to state-run health exchanges. Earlier this week, the D.C. Circuit Court agreed, striking down the Obama administration’s implementation of the federal subsidies under an Internal Revenue Service rule. The IRS had expanded the meaning of the “established by the state” language in the Affordable Care Act to include the federal exchanges after only a handful of states set up their own state-based exchange.
Jonathan Gruber, who helped design the Massachusetts law that was the model for Obamacare and was paid almost $400,000 to consult with the Obama administration on the new law, made no attempt to conceal his feelings about the new health care law in the 2012 speech. “I’m biased, I’m in favor of this type of law, I won’t hide that,” Gruber told the Noblis audience. In the years after the passage of Obamacare, Gruber worked as a busy consultant on the issue, with several states hiring him for his expertise in the area of health insurance markets.
Gruber has since evolved on the issue of subsidies for federal exchanges.
In January 2013, he called the idea that Congress only intended the subsidies and tax credits to be available through state exchanges a “screwy interpretation” of Obamacare. In an interview with Mother Jones, Gruber huffed, “It’s nutty. It’s stupid…it’s essentially unprecedented in our democracy. This was law democratically enacted, challenged in the Supreme Court, and passed the test, and now [Republicans] are trying again. They’re desperate.”
On Wednesday’s Sean Hannity Show, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney told Sean Hannity that he is not running for president in 2016. “I’m not running, Sean, but I’ll be rooting for the nominee,” Romney said. Saying that he had his chance in 2012 and lost, Romney thinks it’s time for someone else to have a shot at beating the Democrats.
He then ticked off a list of potential candidates he hoped would consider running: Paul Ryan, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Scott Walker, and Marco Rubio.
Romney suggested that he wouldn’t fare well in a face-off with Hillary. “I am not the person who should be the nominee to run against the Democratic nominee, who I think will be Hillary Clinton,” he said. However, Romney lambasted the former secretary of State for her disastrous record, including the “reset” button debacle with the Russians.
Romney also criticized President Obama saying, “He lacks the experience to do what America needs to do,” adding that he’s more focused on golf than on world events.
Hannity, meanwhile, gushed about what a great president Romney would have been, saying the country had “buyer’s remorse” for choosing Obama over the more experienced and more qualified Romney.
Using fake information during an undercover “secret shopper” investigation, the GAO created 18 fictitious identities through the federal exchange by telephone, online, and in-person. In 17 of 18 attempts the GAO was able to obtain premium subsidies and health insurance with fake information through telephone and online applications. According to the report, 11 out of 12 fake applications for the federal exchanges were approved, with credits totaling $2500 per month ($30,000 per year).
During the investigation, fake shoppers provided fake documents, such as Social Security numbers and proof of income and citizenship. They found that “Federal contractors made no effort to authenticate documents applicants provided” and the fake ID and income information proved to be no impediment to enrollment. According to the report, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is not required to authenticate documentation. “The contractor told us it does not seek to detect fraud and accepts documents as authentic unless there are obvious alterations,” the GAO said.
As of July 2014 the fake enrollees continue to receive subsidized coverage for the 11 applications, including 3 applications where GAO did not provide any requested supporting documents.
When the GAO made attempts to sign up for federal subsidies in person, they were unable to obtain assistance in five of six attempts. “One navigator said assistance was not available because HealthCare.gov was down and another [declined] to provide assistance,” the preliminary report said, noting that navigaors have received tens of millions of dollars in federal grants to provide assistance to those in need of healthcare.
The report also pointed out that CMS officials still do not have the electronic capability to identify enrollees who have “put their policies in force” by paying their premiums. “As a result, CMS must rely on health insurance issuers to self-report enrollment data used to determine how much CMS owes the issuers for the income-based subsidies,” the GAO report said. “Work is underway to implement such a system, according to CMS, but the agency does not have a timeline for completing and deploying it.”
Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) said, “We are seeing a trend with ObamaCare information systems: under every rock, there is incompetence, waste, and the potential for fraud.” Camp said, “Now, we learn that in many cases, the exchange is unable to screen out fake identities or documents.”
Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) said, “Fictitious people have used fictitious documents to gain tens of thousands of dollars in real subsidies. Yet, before subsidies were paid in January, the former secretary ‘certified’ the proper controls were in place to prevent these kinds of improper payments.” Coburn added that such incompetence and gross mismanagement is unacceptable and deeply troubling. ”At a time when we’re facing a $17 trillion debt, it is imperative that DHS take the necessary steps to address the problems identified in GAO’s report.”
According to GAO, over 2.6 million application inconsistencies have been found for people who have signed up for health plans in the exchange. The House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight will hold a hearing on Wednesday morning with the GAO to discuss the findings of its report.
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) responded on Facebook to a True Blood episode that featured a storyline with a massacre at a fundraiser for Ted Cruz at the George W. Bush Presidential Library. In the episode, a pair of left-leaning vampires show up at the Republican fundraiser to search for the parents of their enemy. Pam, the female vampire, catches a glimpse of herself in a mirror with a sparkly dress and big hair and exclaims, “I’m a Republican!” Except instead of “Republican” she invents a sexually crude word that’s not worth repeating here because it’s juvenile and debauched. After Pam recovers from her shock at looking like a Republican, a bloody massacre ensues at the gala.
On his personal Facebook page, Cruz said he never expected to turn up on the “misogynist and profanity-ridden” show. “I’m sorry to have lost the vampire vote,” Cruz wrote, “but am astonished (and amused) that HBO is suggesting that hard-core leftists are blood-sucking fiends.”
But in retrospect, Cruz acknowledged that he probably never had a chance with the hard-core leftist blood suckers:
Then again, I guess I never had a chance w/ the vampire vote since the dead tend to vote overwhelmingly for Dems: https://t.co/U6uCqsRpuS
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) July 22, 2014
Cruz’s senior communications advisor (and frequent tag-team Twitter partner) Amanda Carpenter agreed:
True Blood plot showing vampires crashing Cruz fundraiser clearly false. Everyone knows dead people vote Democrat.
— Amanda Carpenter (@amandacarpenter) July 22, 2014
On the heels of an FBI raid of several Horizon-Concept charter schools in Ohio, several former teachers and employees have come forward to make shocking allegations of inflated test scores and falsified attendance records, racist and sexist behavior by Turkish teachers and administrators, and sexual harassment and abuse that went unreported by administrators. At a State Board of Education meeting last week, former employees described not only low educational standards, but also an atmosphere of intimidation — American teachers feared Turkish administrators who fired teachers at the first sign of disloyalty while Turkish teachers were promoted, often despite poor job performance. The charter schools, associated with the Turkish Gülen movement and its controversial leader, Fethullah Gülen, promote Turkish language and culture and many of the schools are known for their academic excellence.
Richard Storrick, who taught at Horizon Science Dayton High School for two and a half years, told members of the state school board about a “sex game” that went on in the middle school classroom of a Turkish teacher, saying that standards differ “whether you are from Turkish descent or of American descent.” Storrick said that no action was taken when the director of the school was informed about the game and in fact, the teacher was re-hired the next year and given additional responsibilities.
Storrick also said that Turkish students were treated differently than American students. “If you were a Turkish student, you knew you could get away with misbehavior, including fighting, and be back the next day. Turkish students were permitted to skip class or school with no repercussions,” Storrick said. Turkish teachers called African American students “dogs” and “monkeys.” Another teacher at the same school, Timothy Neary added, “Racism was an issue. Black kids would be disciplined much more severely than Turkish students. If there was a fight in school, the Turkish students would be back the next day. Many of the black students would get severe consequences.” He also said that sexism was a problem. “It was almost gross how they’d talk to women. They’d tell them to not talk or cut them off in midpoint,” Neary said, adding that the majority of teachers fired were women.
Kelly Kochensparger, who served as the Dayton charter school’s public communications director in addition to her teaching duties, said that middle school students were caught on tape engaging in oral sex. School administrators notified neither the parents nor the authorities, preferring to focus on maintaining the school’s positive image instead, she said.
UPDATE: Richard Stengel deleted the tweet with the #UnitedForGaza hashtag early Sunday morning and tweeted that it had been “a mistake.”
Earlier tweet with wrong hashtag was a mistake. My bad.
— Rick Stengel (@stengel) July 20, 2014
Richard Stengel, under secretary for public diplomacy and public affairs at the U.S. Department of State, took to Twitter on Saturday night and appeared to take sides in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Stegel, appointed to his post at the State Department by President Obama last year and confirmed by a 90-8 vote in the senate in April, used his personal Twitter account to call for an investigation into Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. The former managing editor of Time prefaced the tweet with the State Department’s Twitter handle and ended it with the hashtag #UnitedForGaza, indicating his solidarity with the Palestinians.
Not surprisingly, many Twitter uses were offended by the hashtag:
— Get Whiggy With It (@RachelRyansDad) July 20, 2014
— Meklove (@Meklove) July 20, 2014
— Southern Comfort (@kmgriner) July 20, 2014
— Mr. Aye Dee (@MrAyeDee) July 20, 2014
Several people offered excuses for Stegel’s tweet:
— Barbara Mazor (@StopBDS_PSFC) July 20, 2014
— Gotta Face Fact (@iFaceFact) July 20, 2014
These excuses might possibly be credible if Stegel didn’t have a history of anti-Israel statements and sympathy for Hamas and the Palestinians. In 2010, when he was still with Time, Stengel penned an incendiary article titled “Why Israel Doesn’t Care About Peace.” Discussing the article in a segment on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, he blamed the West Bank security fence for what he considered to be Israel’s complacency in the peace process:
They haven’t had a car bombing in two and a half years. And the sad truth really is that the wall with the West Bank has actually worked. I mean, most Israelis in the course of their lives don’t come into contact with any Palestinians at all. The wall is functioning. And the Gaza strip is so small and so isolated they feel that those folks, the Hamas folks are not that big of a threat…
I mean, the Israelis feel like, you know what? The status quo isn’t so bad and we don’t mind is there is no peace at all.
The fence, of course, was built after Israel offered 98 percent of the West Bank and the Palestinians responded with an intifada that killed more than 2,000 Israelis with bombs and exploding buses.
Ohio Senator Rob Portman told The Plain Dealer he didn’t know that money his PAC donated to Mississippi Conservatives PAC would be used for ads that portrayed the Tea Party and Senate candidate Chris McDaniel as racists. Portman said he had “absolutely no discretion” over how his donation would ultimately be used. “I believe using race as a political issue, as these ads apparently did, was wrong.”
“United States senators contributed money for ads to call Chris McDaniel a racist and to motivate black Democrats through hatred to come out and to vote for Thad Cochran,” Mitch Tyner, an attorney for McDaniel, told reporters this week. McDaniel ran against incumbent Senator Thad Cochran in the Mississippi primary, losing by just over 7000 votes in the runoff election.
Portman’s PAC, Promoting Our Republican Team, gave $25,000 to Mississippi Conservatives, a group associated with Haley Barbour that not only paid for racially charged anti-McDaniel ads, but also funded another group, All Citizens for Mississippi, that ran ads in the black community saying that McDaniel wanted to suppress the black vote and cut food stamps. A radio ad from All Citizens for Mississippi warned voters that, among other things, “A victory for Chris McDaniel is a loss for the reputation of this state, for race relations between blacks and whites and other ethnic groups.”
“As NRSC finance chair, I am working to secure a Republican majority in the fall, and I support Sen. Cochran’s re-election,” Portman said in a statement to The Plain Dealer. “My PAC donated money to a Mississippi PAC also supporting his election, but I had absolutely no discretion over how that money would ultimately be spent. In fact, I believe using race as a political issue, as these ads apparently did, was wrong. All who believe our country is heading in the wrong direction under the failed policies of the Obama Administration — including Tea Party activists and more moderate Republicans — must come together to take back the Senate and put our country back on the right track.”
Tom Zawistowski, executive director of the Portage County TEA Party and recent past president of the statewide Ohio Liberty Coalition, reacted angrily to Ohio Senator Rob Portman’s claims that he had no idea that the $25,000 from his PAC would be used by the Thad Cochran campaign to air racially charged attacks on the Tea Party.
“Isn’t it convenient Senator Portman, that you had nothing to say about the horrific, disgusting, totally dishonest racist ads run by Thad Cochran’s campaign until you were identified as having provide funding for this despicable human being Thad Cochran?” Zawistowski said in a press release. “Where was your moral outrage the days after the ads became public?”
Zawistowski said the Tea Party is made up of hard working, God-fearing, patriotic Americans who do not hate blacks or any other minority, yet Portman “did nothing to defend those TEA Party members from these vicious attacks” by someone he supported financially.
He asked why Portman is asking Tea Party activists to support a Republican who votes with Democrats most of the time and “who told black voters that the TEA Party is affiliated with the Ku Klux Klan,” saying that they want to deny blacks the right to vote. “Why in hell should we support someone like Thad Cochran after what he did?” Zawistowski asked.
Zawistowski said that Portman, a Republican who is considering a presidential run, should renounce his support of Thad Cochran immediately and demand that he drop out of the race. “You must demand that your fellow senators who supported Cochran do the same. Not to do so would show that you in fact condone the actions of the Cochran campaign and that you do not respect either the TEA Party movement or black voters.” He said that if Portman does not “choose the moral path at this critical time … we will do everything in our power to make sure that Thad Cochran and every RINO like him loses in the fall.”
Senators Mitch McConnell ($50,000), John Cornyn ($50,000), Bob Corker ($25,000), and Roy Blunt ($5,000) also contributed to the Mississippi Conservatives PAC that supported Cochran. [UPDATE: Just to clarify, the candidates themselves did not donate directly to Cochran's campaign. Instead, their leadership PACs donated to the pro-Cochran Mississippi Conservatives PAC.]
Mississippi Conservatives raised $2.9 million altogether — $1.7 million was spent on opposing McDaniel. A mere $122,904 was used to promote the incumbent Cochran. This week’s FEC filings show that Mississippi Conservatives, the group to which Portman and other Republicans contributed, was the sole funding source for All Citizens for Mississippi.