Time to Vote, People!


Early voting starts today — finally. You may recall that the Ohio Voter Suppression Team of Jon Husted and Mike DeWine made a last-ditch appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court and got a decision last Monday from the most corrupt and partisan Supreme Court in my memory that early voting, scheduled to start last Tuesday, could be shut down until this week, and hours severely curtailed.

Today it's on. But Husted and DeWine still would prefer you didn't vote. So that's why you have to.

This is particularly crucial in Cuyahoga County where you can vote at the Board of Elections at E. 30th and Euclid Avenue from 8 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday, except next Monday and 8-4 Saturday October 25 and November 1. They'll also be open on Sunday November 2 from 1-5pm.

Why? Because the Cleveland Plain Dealer has joined forces with Husted and DeWine to suppress the vote. Oh, not directly. They're doing it with their relentless stream of stories about the utter worthlessness and weakness of the Democratic Party, escalating from the oversaturation coverage about Ed FitzGerald's trivial transgressions to an incessant drumbeat of stories about worsening polls for Democrats, people deserting the party, to even urging the election of far rightwing Republican extremist Jack Schron to run the largest Democratic county in Ohio and rule over a population that largely opposes everything he believes in.

LaTourette Retired From Congress But He’s Still Pulling The Strings

The inexplicably popular ex-congressman Steve LaTourette, from Ohio’s 14th district in the northeast corner of the state, retired from Congress in 2012 to become a lobbyist.

Oh sure, he did give lip service to the increasing rancor in Congress as a reason, but he seldom returned to his district any more and showed an increasing taste for the D.C. circuit and the enhanced lifestyle a lobbyist’s salary can bring. He became president/CEO of the Republican Main Street Partnership, whose goal is to support “moderate” Republicans, if they can still find any.

LaTourette anointed David “I’m not a moderate but I play one on TV” Joyce as his successor, and with no real Democratic opponent on the ballot that year, Joyce easily won.

This year, Joyce has a REAL opponent in Moreland Hills attorney Michael Wager. Apparently, that’s got LaTourette concerned for his little mini-me David Joyce.


And apparently, the ads Joyce has bought attacking Wager on specious grounds such as “He’s a successful attorney and businessman” (hey — isn’t that what Republicans are always saying you should be?) aren’t working. And he sure wasn’t happy with Wager’s ad spoofing his intended-to-be-heartwarming ‘Just Dave” ad because he pulled it.



So LaTourette to the rescue! We’ve learned that Main Street's PAC is planning to dump $67,000 worth of its own ads next week, presumably to attack Wager. So glad I don’t have a TV.

What Will Be The Matter With Ohio

Interested in seeing what Ohio will be like if John Kasich wins a second term? Take a good look at Kansas, a deep red state so savaged by its Republican governor that it appears to be on the verge of replacing him with a Democrat.

This story, “Sam Brownback’s Conservative Utopia in Kansas Has Become Hell,” explains it.


[Brownback’s] administration, he declared, would be a “real live experiment” that would prove, once and for all, that the way to achieve prosperity was by eliminating government from economic life.

He was freer to do so than most extremists because Republicans had swept every state office and held huge majority in the legislature. (Hmmm …. Sound familiar?)

Brownback established an Office of the Repealer to take a scythe to regulations on business, he slashed spending on the poor by tightening welfare requirements, he rejected federal Medicaid subsidies and privatized the delivery of Medicaid, and he dissolved four state agencies and eliminated 2,000 state jobs. [Adjusted for population that would be equivalent of ore than 7,000 jobs in Ohio.] The heart of his program consisted of drastic tax cuts for the wealthy and eliminating taxes on income from profits for more than 100,000 Kansas businesses. No other state had gone this far.

Yet he wanted more, and there were some level-headed Republicans in the legislature standing in his way. So in 2012 he went on a crusade to remove them. He got plenty of help from Kansas’ favorite sons, the Koch Brothers, and he succeeded.

Latest Chapter of the PD’s Vendetta Against Ed FitzGerald Even Worse Than I Thought

I wrote yesterday about former reporter and now Ohio Republican Party operative Henry Gomez’s latest “article” in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, spinning a flimsy story out of Ed FitGerald’s alleged weakness among women voters and lack of support among women Democratic activists, quoting as exhibit A someone actual Democrats have been backing away from for a while. Whatever source makes your predetermined point, I guess.


I was in the store a little while ago and glanced at the PDs sitting unloved and unwanted in the rack (you don’t think I’d BUY this rag, do you?). And I noticed that this story was on page 1 above the fold, where it absolutely didn’t belong. This is not a news story. It represents a nadir in the media’s obsession with turning every election into nothing but poll numbers and money raised, leaving voters more and more cynical about the entire process.

Could it be any clearer that the paper’s agenda is to grind Ed into dust, run up Kasich's margin, and discourage Democrats from voting at all so that turnout is at an historic low —which after the election they will blame on the voters, while pontificating from their lofty perch?

How many page 1, above-the-fold stories have there been in the PD comparing the candidates’ positions on issues and doing an honest breakdown of John Kasich’s record in office and how much it has or has not benefited the average Ohioan? My guess is that the number is extremely low. Exposing what Kasich REALLY believes and what he has done, which he has concealed behind a campaign based on a massive lie — that he has somehow revived the economy in a state where job creation is at a national low — would cost him votes, and the PD can’t have that.

The PD Continues Its Nakedly Partisan Campaign for Kasich's Reelection

Every day you think the Plain Dealer coverage of this year’s gubernatorial election cannot get more ludicrous, more biased and more detached from anything that really matters to the future of the state. You think “reporter” Henry Gomez cannot move further away from the decent journalist he once was into being a dutiful stenographer for the Ohio Republican Party.

But each day Gomez and the PD manage to dig up yet another angle on just how badly Ed FitzGerald and the entire Democratic Party suck and how NOBODY supports them. So you shouldn’t either is the underlying message. They manage to find fringe characters in the Democratic Party with axes to grind to stab the party in the back.

Yesterday it was Shirley Smith who I am ashamed to say is my state senator but luckily won’t be for long. She ran for county executive in the Democratic primary, losing to Armond Budish. Now in an act that can only be attributed to bitterness and sour grapes, she endorsed Republican Jack Schron, a right-wing extremist who is wildly out of touch with the county and whose election would pretty much mean the end of the Democratic Party in Ohio. That’s probably exactly what the PD hopes to accomplish and Smith was willing to be their patsy. (That former Sheriff Bob Reid, another “Democratic” county executive candidate, did so wasn’t a big surprise after he came out against marriage equality and women’s reproductive rights and in favor of Republican voter suppression efforts).

Amen, Congresswoman Fudge

From my congresswoman, Marcia Fudge (D-11) about the appalling decision today in the U.S. Supreme Court to award the ethically bankrupt voter suppression team of Mike DeWine and Jon Husted their long-sought chance to put the kibosh on previously available early voting opportunities:

By ordering a last minute halt to the start of early voting in Ohio, the U.S. Supreme Court has taken away an important opportunity many Ohioans count on to cast a ballot. This decision injects unnecessary confusion into the electoral process. Our government works best when all voices are included. Limiting access to the ballot box in a manner that disproportionately discourages senior, minority, and disabled citizens, among others, from participating in the electoral process diminishes our democracy, and disenfranchises many Ohioans. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said more than 50 years ago: 'Justice delayed is justice denied.' The same is true of the Supreme Court's ruling today.

Worse and Worse ....

This email just arrived from Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, the chair of the Democratic National Committee.

Less than sixteen hours before polling stations were scheduled to open in Ohio, early voting in the state has been blocked by the Supreme Court at the request of Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted and Republican Attorney General Mike DeWine.

This week was supposed to be the “Golden Week” during which voters could both register to vote and vote on the same day. In 2012, 59,000 Ohioans cast their ballots during this period. However, this late change is likely to confuse voters, the media, and even election administrators and has happened because Republicans like John Kasich, Jon Husted and Mike DeWine have fought against Golden Week every step of the way.

This fight is an example of the GOP’s hypocrisy on voting rights, made even worse by the fact that the decision came down as Ohio Governor John Kasich held a rally claiming to encourage his supporters to vote early – alongside Chris Christie, who vetoed early vote legislation in New Jersey.

Yup, you read that right. Our arrogant, cowardly governor is pumping early voting while his fellow Republicans are trying to shut it down, once again masquerading as the "nice" Republican while secretly supporting everything they do. Appropriate that he should be standing with Christie because if Kasich is reelected, he's likely to be engulfed in scandal in a year or two — just like his buddy and fellow former presidential hopeful.

Mike DeWine MUST Resign

Determined to make a mockery of the democratic process in Ohio and show how much contempt he has for the taxpayers footing the bill for his ideological crusades, attorney general Mike DeWine decided last week not to even wait for a decision in the appeal he and his henchman, secretary of voter suppression Jon Husted, had filed with a federal appeals court after they'd been smacked down repeatedly in their attempts to limit early voting in Ohio.

He went straight to the U.S. Supreme Court to ask them to bring to a halt the readiness of Ohio board of election to begin voting tomorrow. And today, what a victory — for those who with no respect or love for this country, our Constitution or the democracy! DeWine managed to finally eke out what he wanted and got the start of early voting delayed.

No, there was no case to be made that there was any conceivable valid reason for doing this — especially after he and Husted repeatedly lost. There is no gain to Ohio voters or its election process on any level. The only gain is for the Republican Party which, by limiting, discourages and turns away those most likely to have voting challenges and who are more likely to vote Democratic. They have placed loyalty to the party above ALL other values — including patriotism and faith. (Jesus would NOT approve, DeWine). There seems to be nothing and no one DeWine doesn't have contempt for — women, LGBT people, voters, the law, his church, his state, his country — if it interferes with his party's zeal to maintain power.

"I'm David Pepper and I promise if you elect me attorney general, I won't use a penny of your money trying to stop people from voting."

Michael Wager Airs First Ad

Democratic Congressional candidate Michael Wager has gone on the air with an ad pointing out how first-term Republican David "I'm not a moderate but I play one on TV" Joyce is not the friend of the average person he tries to give the impression he is. With this district being Ohio's only real swing district, revealing how closely his voting record adheres to the extremist views of the modern, Tea Party-dominated Republican Party wouldn't be an advantage. So Wager is helpfully pointing it out.

Don't be tricked, 14th district voters. David Joyce is NOT on your side. Is he deep down a "moderate" like he pretends? It doesn't matter because the extremists control the GOP and have frightened its potentially saner members into supporting things that damage the lives of most ordinary Americans. He's got to go.

You can watch the ad here:

You can find out more about Michael Wager and help out his campaign here:

Mike DeWine Should Resign

The cronyism in the attorney general’s office is bad. So is the misuse of our tax dollars in pursuit of personal religious and partisan agendas. But those are things you solve at the ballot box, not by calling for impeachment or resignation (not unless a Democrat does them or a Republican falsely claims they do, that is).

But Mike DeWine has stepped over the line, flouting legal ethnics and throwing gasoline on a fire of anger and mistrust. He needs to resign now, regardless of the political or electoral impact on either party.

On August 5, an African-American man named John Crawford was shot and killed at a Walmart in Beavercreek Ohio by police who claimed he was brandishing a gun and scaring customers. The “gun” turned out to be a toy rifle he’d picked up in the store.

First of all, most African-Americans and even many of us white people will immediately note the difference between the treatment of Crawford and the groups of white “open carry” activists who were charging into stores a few months ago brandishing weapons as a show of their alleged Second Amendment Rights. If you are white and you do this, you are a “patriot.” If you are black and you were to do this — although what average black man would be this suicidal? — you are a “thug.”

Video footage of the incident existed and Mike DeWine’s office had it. A public records request was made and DeWine delayed it until after a grand jury had found the officer blameless, saying he didn’t want to taint the jury. In doing so he tainted the jury. What he meant was that he didn’t want to cause the jury to be tainted AGAINST the officer rather than weighing all the evidence and then deciding. He didn’t just put his thumb on the scale of justice, he put his whole hand there and leaned on it.

As the Toledo Blade said:

DeWine & Husted Make Last-Ditch Appeal to U.S. Supreme Court to Block Early Voting Times

*The voter protection team of David Pepper & NIna Turner. Needed now more than ever!*

On the campaign trail, Democrats David Pepper, running for attorney general, and Nina Turner, running for secretary of state, like to refer to themselves as "the voter protection team."

We have never needed a voter protection team more than now. The incumbents AG Mike DeWine and SoS Jon Husted apparently don't think there's ANY amount of your money that's too much to spend pointlessly appealing to the courts to shut down early voting opportunities.

We wrote yesterday about the three-panel federal appeals court's unanimous decision in favor of a judge's ruling that Husted could not ax Golden Week and weekend voting. It was his sixth straight defeat in the courts out of six tries. Then he announced he was going to appeal to the full court to see if he could get a better decision (better for him and his party, not for voters).


Now DeWine has, unbelievably, raised him in the voter suppression competition, apparently not wanting to take a back seat in the election rigging game.


He's asking the U.S. Supreme Court to set aside the appeals court's order blocking the state from shortening the early voting period which is supposed to begin next Tuesday. He's falling back on that garbage about how many other states have less voting opportunities, apparently thinking we need to reverse progress and aim toward the lowest common denominator.

Husted Pretends He's a Voting Rights Champion for Obeying Federal Law

One of the most cynical and patriotically bankrupt things that politicians do is pretend that the military is some special category of people that deserve special rights, although those same politicians are often the ones who vote against services they really need. So of course Jon Husted has gone there in his first campaign ad.

Even while he is dragging case after case into court with our tax dollars fighting for his right to make voting harder for the average Ohioan, he's boasting about all the wonderful things he's done to make voting easier for those in the military. His ad focuses on this aspect of his alleged record as secretary of state.

The problem is that all the things he's bragging about, like expanding online access and electronic tracking for active duty military, are required by federal law. Gee, I wonder if he will run an ad next about how he nobly expanded early voting hours if the court turns down his latest appeal begging not to have to do so. At least he's not suing to NOT have to follow the law on access for the military. He's probably thought about it, but decided it would be bad p.r.

Ohio Democratic Party chairman Chris Redfern issued a statement saying,

Given the number of times that federal courts have ruled that Jon Husted has violated the U.S. Constitution and the federal Voting Rights Act, it is pathetic that Husted is touting an instance in which he actually followed the law as if it were an achievement, not his duty. Husted’s ad is tragically ironic given it airs the day after Husted and Mike DeWine filed an emergency motion with the U.S. Supreme Court to block active military voters, members of the Ohio National Guard, and our veterans from enjoying the early voting opportunities they’ve used in past elections. Ohio deserves a Secretary of State that respects the laws and the voters like State Senator Nina Turner.

Defeats Don't Dim Jon Husted's Zeal to Block Voting

*Unlike Jon Husted, Nina Turner is passionate about helping EVERYONE vote, whether they line up with her politically or not*

It seems like nothing will deter Ohio's Secretary of voter suppres...I mean STATE...Jon Husted from his crusade to throw obstacles in the way of Ohio voters, a crusade fueled with tax dollars from the very people he's trying to disenfranchise.

Yesterday Husted was handed yet another court defeat in his attempt to strip Ohioans of opportunities to vote when a three-judge appeals court panel upheld by a 3-0 vote Judge Peter Economus' ruling that Husted could not curtail early voting hours or take away the so-called "Golden Week" when voters can register and vote at the same time. If you're keeping score, he's now 0-6.

But does this send Husted the hint that it's time to stop squandering our tax dollars on his attempts to sabotage democracy and rig Ohio's elections via laws and directives that impose burdens on certain voters more likely to vote Democrat?

What do you think?


Attorneys for the state of Ohio have formally asked the full federal appeals court to review a lawsuit affecting the swing state's early voting schedule. Ohio's attorneys said in a Wednesday court filing that immediate action is needed to reverse a judge's order that allows early ballots to be cast next week.

Uh .... say WHAT, Mary Taylor?

This quote has been making the email rounds today, as Ohio Democrats have jumped on Mary Taylor's fumble-tongued misspeak at an event yesterday. It's clear she's been hanging around with Kasich too long and absorbed his rambling, off-the-cuff, semi-coherent speaking style which some inexplicably find endearing. ("Mister, don't tax my eggs!", "I'm not going to wear that silly hat Voinovich wore.")

Democrats are saying this is an inner look into what the Republicans in office in Columbus really think, and I have no doubt that is true, even though I got what she was groping for and missed by a mile.

She said:

"“Now I’m taking the Governor’s speech. But what he’ll tell you is we need to get reelected to make sure that we, we have reestablished the culture in government, reestablished the culture in Columbus so that when we leave, their attitude is WE DON’T WORK FOR YOU, YOU WORK FOR US. No other way around. It’s a long day the governor has never said that by the way John-- you’ve never said that, by the way… See the other way around… you.. how does this go, we work for you, you don’t work for us. It’s been a long day, see, if you spend too much time in Columbus and your people down there get you convinced that it is the other way around.”

Obviously she was feeling in the dark for "You don't work for us, we work for you." And maybe the reason she couldn't find her way through the thicket of words to that was that IT ISN'T TRUE and it certainly is not how they operate or ever intend to operate.

This is an administration that does its best to conceal its true policies from voters until they slam them through the legislature with no hearings and sign them quickly during the most inconspicuous time of the week. Would someone who saw themselves as YOUR servant do that? No — they would stand up boldly in the glare of the spotlight and take YOUR questions about why they want to do that thing you hate.

This is the real John Kasich

[The following is a post I did about three years ago. It was during the height of the SB5 fight. While the current media is trying to portray John Kasich, as a kind and humble guy, the following is the real John Kasich -- anger issues galore. We shouldn't forget it.]

The following video from Marc Kovac of Ohio Capital Blog has been making its way around the internet. It features John Kasich in a tirade concerning the horrible partisanship he feels he's been facing.

In a total disconnect from reality, he acts as if it's never existed before in politics. What happened to the gentler times like the mid-nineties when people reached across the isle to find comprise, he wonders.


I'm pretty sure it was during this time that the Republicans came up with the whole idea of zero compromise.

In addition, this has to be one of the most partisan budgets ever passed. One example would be the windfall it creates for for-profit charter schools, which, is at the expense of local communities.

John Kasich's bizarre tirade shows he is not a well man.

In the video, after he starts off with his odd premise that extreme partisanship has just popped up, he states…

"What's happening in Ohio now is that if you don't win, you sue, or make a pubic records request ... slow down the process”

Slow down the process?

Nina Turner Gets Some Big Endorsements

DSC_0316 23-54-45
*Two people who will protect voting rights: Nina Turner and Cuyahoga county executive candidate Armond Budish*

There’s no question which candidate would be the better secretary of state for ALL Ohioans. And it’s not incumbent Jon Husted. Husted has turned his office into the Secretary of Voter Suppression office, repeatedly suing to shut down voting opportunities that primarily impact minorities, poor people, working people, urban residents, the elderly, and students. He’s lost every time, but continues to spend our tax dollars appealing these cases.

And there’s no question that who is in that office could have major national implications for 2016. If the presidential race is close, the nightmare scenario the newspapers were salivating over in 2012 (which wasn’t close) could come true: the entire presidency could hinge on a few votes in Ohio, most likely Cuyahoga County. And Husted would be doing his damnedest to make voting as difficult as possible for the residents of Cuyahoga — and Franklin (Columbus) and Hamilton (Cincinnati) and Lucas (Toledo) and Summit (Akron) and Mahoning (Youngstown) county residents

Maybe that’s why a few heavy-hitters have stepped up in recent days to issue public endorsements of Turner.

Senator Sherrod Brown sent out a fundraising email on her behalf, in which he said:

In the past few years Ohio’s legislature, together with the current Secretary of State, have worked to cut early voting hours and limited access to the polls. That’s not my idea of “protecting the right to vote. When your Secretary of State starts restricting the very rights he’s supposed to protect, it’s probably [probably?] time for a new one.

Still More IOKIYAR in the Attorney General's Office

*David Pepper campaigning at Family Unity in the Park in Cleveland*

After reading yet another report about the chaos and dishonesty in attorney general Mike DeWine’s crony-servicing office involving a sexual harassment charge against one of his buddies, I was moved to go back and read what led to Marc Dann being forced from the office in 2008.

It’s astonishing how similar the stories are — except that, when told in the simplest terms and set side by side, DeWine’s seems much worse, much more deliberate and secretive. Both involved someone in the AG’s office, whom he was close to being charged with sexual harassment. Whereas the independent investigation into Dann’s buddies, which he cooperated with, led to their firing, DeWine hasn’t done anything except sweep the whole thing under the rug and say the equivalent of “Move along; there’s nothing to see.” There are signs his office mishandled the investigation to minimize the women’s claims.

Yet in Dann’s case, he was abandoned by his fellow Democrats who were pushing him to resign. The Republicans in the legislature were talking impeachment even though there were no rational grounds.

Then the roar against Dann rose to deafening level when it was revealed he was having a consensual affair with another adult, something hardly unknown in your average state capitol and something absolutely irrelevant to the discharge of the office. I think the state legislature was having Bill Clinton flashbacks or something. Sadly, even the Democrats doubled down on their demands that Dann resign, which he finally did.

Where Vetting Meets IOKIYAR

*A far superior candidate for governor and probably a far superior person than John Kasich*

So I was reading this morning about Congressman Scott Desjarlais.

“Who?” you’re saying?

Don’t feel bad. There’s no reason you should know who he is. He’s a second-term Republican from Tennessee, who is a staunch proponent of “values” — values such as cheating on your wife with multiple partners, including several patients (he’s a doctor) and pressuring both your ex-wife and one of the women you’re having an affair with to have abortions. To the hard-line Republican voters in this district, this is all fine — he’s a shoo-in for reelection. (And he’ll be back in Congress voting to limit women’s access to contraception and abortion — count on it.)

It started me thinking about comments I have heard from a few Ohio Democrats wailing, “Why didn’t we vet Ed FitzGerald better?” But the level of vetting — researching a candidate’s background for potential liabilities — that would have caught the types of trivial personal failings the Plain Dealer is now going on about on a daily basis would have required a microscopic level of deep-diving that would have disqualified ANY candidate we might have run. Don’t talk to me about Jennifer Brunner or Rich Cordray. If they were vetted to this extent, something would have turned up. Something would have turned up on 95 percent of us. And that’s a small pool left from which to choose potential candidates.

Recalling Again What's At Stake for Ohio

*THe right policies, the right guy*

Before going to the Cleveland Stonewall Democrats meeting tonight, I stopped at an open house at the Cleveland Culinary Launch & Kitchen. There someone noticed my FitzGerald/Neuhardt button and remarked that I was very brave to wear it. Nope, I said, just thinking about which candidate has the policies I support.

An hour later a block up the street, Ed FitzGerald spoke to the Stonewall Democrats and reminded me again why he is by far the right choice for governor and why he would be a hundred times better for 99 percent of Ohioans than John Kasich.

Since this was the Stonewall Democrats, he reminded us again of the weird and wobbly reaction(s) Kasich had after Rob Portman changed his stance on marriage equality when his son came out. Kasich said he approved of Portman's born-again support for marriage equality, but when asked if he now supported marriage equality himself, he said no, but he supported civil unions.

WOW! Big position change for him — or not. A few hours later his spokesman said actually he does NOT support civil unions after all. So much for that.

Kasich Being Kasich Again

We all know what the cowardly John Kasich says when he's going to do something deeply unpopular that could cause heavy blowback. He tries to say nothing or he wiggles around giving non-answers. When asked if he would line-item veto the anti-abortion measures stuffed inappropriately into the budget bill he responded only "I'm pro-choice." And he said almost nothing about unions during the 2010 campaign. You would have thought he barely noticed they existed. Then after he's sworn in— BOOM! SB 5.

Now, in his candidate interview with the Cincinnati Enquirer, Kasich is being all coy about right to work again. He's previously said he doesn't think about the future (bunk) to deflect questions about whether this is something he would do in his second term.


Gov. John Kasich on Monday downplayed the importance of right to work to Ohio's effort to lure new businesses, citing his lead in the polls as evidence of his improved relationship with pro-union Ohioans.

Right to work often appears on short lists of criteria businesses weigh when they're considering locations for a new factory. So some conservative Republicans have called for Kasich to push right-to-work laws in Ohio, and Democrats have warned Kasich might prioritize the anti-union legislation if he's elected to a second term. But right to work hasn't come up in a conversation with a prospective Ohio CEO in two or three years, the governor told The Enquirer.

"I don't have them say, 'Well, you know, if you only had right to work.' I just don't hear anything like that," Kasich said. "We have a pretty good labor climate here. You're not seeing a rash of strikes."

I'm sorry but "downplaying the importance" doesn't mean it's something he's not going to do. He "downplayed the importance" of SB 5 to the point of never mentioning it.

The Empty Suit Strikes Again — and Earns Well-Deserved Ridicule

Maybe you remember the story of state treasurer Josh "The Empty Suit" Mandel and his good buddy Ben Suarez. In a nutshell, the narrative involves Mandel striking a deal with the CEO of the Canton-based Suarez Corporation to donate some big bucks to his failed (yay!) 2012 U.S. Senate campaign in return for using his office to lean on California officials not to pursue a legal case against Suarez, threatening to have the state of Ohio sue California to protect his good buddy. Oh, and the donations were of dubious legality. You can read that backstory at these links.





This week in his Plain Dealer candidate interview, Mandel justified threatening to bring the entire weight of one state to bear against another in court to protect his friend by saying, "I think that's what constituents expect of their public officials."

(I'll pause while you laugh.)

Mandel couldn't recall whether he was personally involved in writing the threatening letters on state treasurer letterhead. Well, I'm sure any of his employees might have taken it on themselves to write threatening letters to top officials in another state on behalf of a big Mandel donor without Mandel's knowledge. Yes, that makes sense. I think I hear you still laughing.

Luckily, here in Cleveland, we have comedian Mike Polk Jr. to skewer Mandel and his assertions. Today on his Facebook page, he posted the following, which you can read there.


Arrogance & Cowardice: A Dangerous Combination

Maybe you’ve noticed something strikingly different about this state election cycle. I know I have. I always look forward to the debates and either attending or hearing what came out of them. Can we ever forget such stellar moments as Mike DeWine talking about the “marijuana-laced banana” he claimed someone had been smoking in Sherrod Brown’s former office? That moment occurred back in the 2006 Senate race during a debate at the City Club of Cleveland.

There are no debates happening this time. The City Club, which normally has all the candidates for statewide office appear, has had only one such event: the debate between auditor candidate John Patrick Carney (D), Libertarian Bob Bridges, and woeful incumbent David Yost (R, of course). That took place this past Monday and from what I heard from two attendees, Yost tried to pull the bullying asshole card on Carney.

Clearly, the Republican officeholders feel they are sitting pretty for reelection and don’t want to run the risk of having a “marijuana-laced banana” moment — a combination of arrogance and cowardice that bodes ill for the state if they are reelected.

It clearly shows contempt for the public they purport to serve. They are indicating that they do not believe they are answerable to Ohioans and that they are impervious to public opinion. That means that no matter how unpopular a policy, whether it’s imposing new voting restrictions or further limiting a woman’s right to choose or enacting right to work, they will go ahead and do it without even attempting to justify it. They are already doing this, passing consequential, controversial measures like redistricting and abortion restrictions virtually overnight with no hearings at all. They’re telling Ohioans, “You don’t mean squat to us.”

Well, it's a start

Two of our best state legislators, state rep. Mike Foley of Cleveland (unfortunately term limited just when we really REALLY need him) and state senator Bob Hagan of Youngstown, have made a modest and common-sense proposal that will never see the light of day in a legislature that common sense fled a long time ago.

Yesterday they held a press conference in Columbus to announce a bill that would prohibit tax-funded for-profit charter schools from using that money for lobbying and public relations.


Foley said,

As stewards of taxpayer dollars, it is our responsibility as legislators to ensure that state funding is spent in a responsible manner. The funding is sent to public schools for the purpose of educating Ohio students, not for lobbying luncheons or television commercials. While charter schools are certainly welcome to lobby legislators or organize supporters with outside funds, they should not subsidize these activities with tax dollars meant for students and teachers.

It's a start, although we really need to abolish for-profit charters and ban operators of all failing charter schools.

This comes on the heels of the recent release of the state school report card — and guess who flunked?


The Ohio Report Cards are now all out, and the news is worse for Ohio’s embattled Charter Schools than it was last year. Charter Schools received more Fs than As, Bs and Cs combined. Their percentage of Fs went up from about 41% last year to nearly 44% this year. Meanwhile, Ohio’s public school districts saw their As jump to the largest percentage and number of grades.

State Troopers — WTF?

The Ohio State Troopers Association announced this past week that it is withdrawing its endorsement of Democrat Ed FitzGerald for governor, to the undoubted glee of the Plain Dealer, which needs a daily story to hammer nails into what it has openly said it perceives as FitzGerald’s political coffin. Although a FitzGerald spokesperson says the troopers’ union knew about the overblown drivers license issue when it made its endorsement, it was clearly spooked by the trumped-up media attacks on him.

It might seem to make sense on the surface that troopers would decline to stand behind someone who failed to have a valid drivers license over a long period of time, since enforcing rules of the road is what they do, but it really doesn’t. Instead they’ve given a leg up to someone who thinks rules of the road are for the little people, not himself.

If they want to see disrespect for rules of the road, they should dig up the famous video of John Kasich referring to a police officer who stopped him for failing to yield to an emergency vehicle an “idiot” — three times. Obviously, Kasich has zero respect for officers just doing their jobs. He mocked the guy up and down for doing just that.

While the troopers say this move shouldn’t be taken as an endorsement of Kasich, of course it helps his reelection bid. And his reelection would likely be a serious detriment to them.

So it will be hard to have sympathy for them a year from now if Kasich is reelected and their negotiating rights have dried up and blown away as Ohio becomes a “right to work” state, draining unions of what little power and influence they have left. It will be hard to have sympathy for them a few years down the road when their numbers have shrunk, their salaries are thousands of dollars less than they are now, and their pensions and health coverage cost a LOT more — and they have no say in the matter.

Hollowing out the Plain Dealer --

James Renner, with Scene Magazine had an interesting write up the other day. It was about the removal of three seasoned journalists from their beats at the Plain Dealer. The three reporters were covering the county courts and local justice. Renner's article starts...

"With Three Reporters Pulled From the Courts Beat, the Northeast Ohio Media Group Continues to Kill the Plain Dealer Little By Little

According to sources inside the Plain Dealer, three top union reporters were pulled from their beats covering Cuyahoga County courts and local justice Wednesday. The plan is to replace them with non-union J-school grads looking for cheap jobs and covering those beats for the Northeast Ohio Media Group in its quest to gather all the listicle-worthy news you can handle.


Why would a VP give the boot to three top reporters?

The reason bandied about the Plain Dealer newsroom in the wake of the announcements is that the stories written by Dissell, Caniglia, and McCarty were generating some of the highest traffic online. Since these three reporters still work for the union-employed Plain Dealer, NEOMG and NEOMG boss Chris Quinn could not take credit for the Internet traffic. By replacing his award-winning journos, Quinn can now claim the clicks for future court stories."

The entire article can be found here:

Of course the majority of people who won't tell you this are... journalists. I have no idea why. They'll voraciously re-tweet that Ed FitzGerald once burped really loudly, but the fact that their industry is very very sick, they'll keep that covered up.

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