Marcia Fudge stands up for voting rights

The same day that one Cleveland-area congressman, Dennis Kucinich, was battling his fellow Democrats by defending the right of Republicans to silence the voices and influence of millions of Ohio voters, the other, Marcia Fudge — who has continued in her predecessor Stephanie Tubbs Jones' footsteps as a real champion of voting rights — was on the floor of Congress speaking out for the rights of the voters and bringing to the floor a dozen of her colleagues to do the same in a one-hour session she hosted.

She addressed the issue of the legislation Republicans across the country are trying to ram through to limit peoples' access to the ballot. She and her colleagues focused on these roadblocks to voting that Republicans, in an anti-democratic, anti-American frenzy, are seeking to enact.

You can watch her here:

She said, "To all of the governors and all of the states that have passed this legislation, please understand it is time for you to do the right thing. To all of the secretaries of state and all of the state legislators that have by design brought out and tried to keep predetermined people from voting, do the right thing. Anybody that cares about democracy in this country or cares about the reputation of this country and the way that we handle our business, please know that it is time to do the right thing. If you care about the generations that follow us, then do the right thing. for the veterans who are coming back, who are homeless, who don't have addresses, for people who don't drive, for the sick, for the disabled, for the elderly, for the children, do the right thing. Mr. Speaker, I would say to all of the people who are on this floor tonight, we all understand the gravity of the problem. We're just saying to all of these states on the map of shame, it is time for them to do the right thing."

For election-integrity buffs like me, the full session is here:

Everything you ever need to know about Herman Cain

to bring down the curtain on his so-called political career. No, not whether he harassed women sexually. Much, much, much worse:

Here's the key excerpt. He said this at an Americans for Prosperity (for Billionaires Only) event today. Go read it all and barf:

"I'm very proud to know the Koch brothers. ... Just so I can clarify this to the media, this may be a new announcement for the media: I am the Koch brothers' brother from another mother. Yes. I am their brother from another mother, and proud of it. You see, the reason that I am running for president, folks, is because I want to unite the United States of America, not divide the United States of America."

Yes indeedy, Herman Cain wants to "unite" us all as impoverished wage slaves toiling so Charles and David Koch can make another billion despoiling our environment. He wants to "unite" us by making it clear he himself serves ONLY the 1% and the hell with the rest of us. Hey, you know — that might actually do it. We can all "unite" against Herman Cain.

Herman Cain — joined at the hip to American's most hated billionaires. Good work, buddy! And thanks for making it so clear.

The Empty Suit files his personal finance report — at last!

Well, well, well. Josh "The Empty Suit" Mandel, the I'm-running-but-not-officially Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, has finally decided that he will deign to comply with election law and file his personal financial disclosure report — nearly six months late.

It reveals, of course, that his wife is very rich, with lots of lucrative investments. Big news flash. This isn't going to surprise anyone, and it wouldn't have surprised anyone six months ago.

What is disturbing is how cavalierly Mandel ignores the rules of the game. He clearly thinks that his big corporate donors will spend him into the U.S. Senate seat where he will serve their interests above those of the Ohio voters he will try to trick and mislead into sending him there. It's part of the game he plays. He pretends he has not really made up his mind to run while abandoning the office of treasurer he assumed only this last January (with no qualifications to do so) to run around the country raising money. He's tight-lipped about his positions on critical issues, only every now and then letting a word or nod of assent to an extremist Tea Party position escape from his non-campaign. That he would be an unresponsive-to-constituents corporate lapdog is manifestly clear.

Josh, we know your wife is rich. We've know it for years. But in playing this game, you demonstrated the contempt you have for following the rules and being accountable to voters.

BudgetWatcher at Plunderbund - And get out the vote

It’s crunch time and hopefully everyone is working to Get out the Vote by encouraging friends and family to vote “No” on Issue 2. If they need encouragement as to why they should vote “No” today’s post by BudgetWatcher over at Plunderbund ( might be just the thing they need. The post details the hypocrisy of big business pro-Issue 2 supporters who state they’re concerned about government spending, but then, take as much of it as they can. The post starts out…

”Pro-SB5 group, Building a Better Ohio. has been lining up business groups in support of Issue 2. The measure, designed to limit the collective bargaining rights of public workers in Ohio, has no direct impact on private sector employees. But, as the Dayton Daily News reports, the private sector is helping to fund the campaign because, as the President of the Dayton Chamber of Commerce was quoted in the article:

“Business supports lowering taxes, reducing the cost of government and making it more efficient”

Sounds altruistic, right? Businesses have to make a profit, so they should know a thing or two about cutting costs, being efficient, and by all means, never wasting taxpayer money.

There’s also a question of fairness. The article goes on to explain that proponents [of SB5]

“say it puts public workers on more equal footing with the taxpayers who pay their salaries.”

Well, gosh, that sounds completely reasonable.

Five companies were named in the DDN story as having contributed to the Building a Better Ohio campaign. Who are these altruistic corporate souls who want to look out for the taxpayers paying the bloated salaries of government workers?

Well, interestingly, two of the five companies happen to have been recipients of quite a few taxpayer dollars themselves.”

Getting out for HB 319 repeal

You may be reading in the papers about a lot of gamesmanship going on over the Ohio congressional map. There's been stuff about the Republicans allegedly making some kind of backroom deal with the Black Legislative Caucus. Then the Democrats come out and say they are sticking together (with no encouragement from election-rigging advocate Dennis Kucinich). There's supposedly a compromise, then there's not. I expect much of this is GOP spin, abetted by our state's right-wing media.

The thing is, we still need to push as hard as we can to get the signatures to repeal the map, HB 319. That is our bargaining chip. We can't twiddle our fingers and hope the Republicans come to their senses and come to the table with a fair deal.

Here is what Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur so accurately said the day the map was unveiled:

"The Republican map is all about incumbent protection. The very same Republicans who are trying to take away the rights of policemen, firefighters and teachers with State Issue 2 are turning around and giving lifetime job security to incumbent members of Congress. How unfair. In a state that votes 50-50, they have eliminated competition and produced three Republican members of Congress for every Democratic member. Such rigging sacrifices representative government in the cause of incumbent protection."

Please let me know if you have a signature collecting event or opportunity and I will post it. Expect petitioners to be at major polling places this coming Tuesday. Tom in Northwest Ohio tells us that, barring bad weather, he plans to be at the Way Public Library, 101 East Indiana Ave in Perrysburg, this Saturday November 5, from 10-noon. He says, "I should have Wood, Lucas, Ottawa, Fulton and what ever other counties I can get." Just bring a few blank ones, Tom, so you get anyone who wants to sign.

Help defeat Issue 3: Volunteers needed for Tuesday, November 8

OK, maybe you're already volunteering to help out the massive statewide effort to defeat Issue 2. That's great. But Issue 3 is far more likely to pass, and that will create chaos and probably a load of litigation in Ohio, as I've outlined before. Issue 3 was written by the Tea Party to repeal the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare") which it can't legally do. But the way it is written, Issue 3 could fossilize all state health-care policies and programs, preventing them from being able to respond to needs as they arise (It would probably also make all the abortion bills the legislature has on tap unconstitutional, but that bonus is not enough to make this issue good). And any complications couldn't be undone by legislation because it's a constitutional amendment.

Luckily, all of our state newspapers, which generally lean so conservative they make shit up to endorse the right-wing agenda, have recognized the potential destructiveness of this measure and are urging a "no" vote. (For simplicity's sake, we are urging a no vote on all three state issues).

If you'd like to help prevent this piece of Tea Party grandstanding from being embedded in our state constitution, the campaign is looking for volunteers to hand out literature at the polling places with the heaviest traffic. If you'd like to do so, can you let the campaign know, preferably by 1 p.m. tomorrow? (Although I am sure they can still use your help if you can't get to them by then). Email Kathleen Gmeiner at, In the subject line write: Volunteer November 8th.

In the body of the e-mail write:
City you live in
Times you are available
Phone number: Home- Cell-
If you prefer to make a phone call, contact:

Cleveland: Gary Benjamin 216-241-8422 x 21
Cincinnati: Donald Washington 513-541-7099 x 23
Columbus: Tawanda Boyd 614-456-0060 x 228
Other Cities: Kathleen Gmeiner 614-456-0060 x 223

The Wider Case Against SB 5 the Cleveland Plain Dealer didn't want to hear?

I happened to catch this editorial posted at ProgressOhio written by Cleveland-area insurance agent Jim Surace on why he opposes SB 5. According to ProgressOhio, it was rejected by the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

It caught my attention because it focuses on a case I've been making about SB 5 since early this year. While supporters of the union-busting measure have tried to gin up envy and resentment, making the case that public workers have cushy salaries, benefits, and job security compared to struggling workers in the private segment and that public-sector workers should share the pain, that overlooks that inflicting more economic pain on any segment of the community will increase the economic suffering of the entire community. Surace makes that case with great clarity from the viewpoint of a small businessperson who gets that when a significant segment of your community such as public-sector workers is making less, has fewer benefits, and has less job and retirement security, they have less buying power to patronize the community's small businesses.

He says, "I believe that the dismantling of workers' rights will lead to the dismantling of the middle class. The middle class is essential for our strong business community. Their buying power constitutes 70% of our economy. Issue 2 begins the process of reducing the middle class's standard of living and with it their ability to purchase goods and services from all our businesses."

He also says, "I would challenge anyone to find ONE small business owner in the state of Ohio who would tell you that a customer with lower wages is better for their business. Actually, businesses thrive when customers have more disposable income--businesses expand, make more profit and hire more workers.""

I love Rep. Bob Hagan more every time we hear from him

"Rep. Hagan Asks House Republicans to Make Contribution to Food Bank"

It seems Ohio's House Republicans carried the GOP tendency to waste time on trivia like guns in bars and regulating strip clubs while ignoring crucial issues to an even higher level today. They called a session in which they did exactly nothing. (Well, OK, I'll admit that could be preferable to what they have done this year when they have actually done something). They refused to vote on a Democratic proposal for a fairer congressional map, then they adjourned.

Said Hagan, “It is absurd that we were called to session today for twenty minutes to vote on absolutely nothing, to discuss absolutely nothing, and to give the taxpayers of this state only an invoice for mileage reimbursements and no substantive legislation."

So Hagan is proposing that the amount of that invoice — $7,992.81 — be donated to the Youngstown Second Harvest Food Bank.

"Rep. Hagan attempted to make a point of personal privilege on the House floor to draw fellow legislators’ attention to Youngstown’s recent designation as the leader in nationwide poverty," says the press release from the Ohio House Dems. "However, the lawmaker was barely able to plead for real help and attention when Republican counterparts began shouting objections and walking off of the floor."

Hagan is wrong about one thing though. It appears this pointless session last for nearly 25 minutes from convening to adjournment. Whoopee.

If you want to watch it, it's here:

I've got to warn you though: you'll have to look at clowns like Bill Batchelder and Lou Blessing.

Kucinich supports Ohio GOP gerrymander

When I got the email today from the Kucinich campaign, I thought I must have read it wrong. I mean, Democrats don't support Republican dirty tricks intended to discourage and confuse voters and take away their ability to choose and influence their representatives, do they?

So I read it again, and sadly, I hadn't misread. That is exactly what Dennis Kucinich is supporting.

His unbelievable email is titled "We Have a District (Maybe Not)."

He said,

"Dear Friends,
When we last talked, we had a district. Today, an effort is being made to take it away.
In the past week a mind-boggling number of re-mapping efforts by Democrats in the Ohio General Assembly have been made to try to reshape our district in such a way as to dilute the strength of my core constituency in Cleveland, Cuyahoga County. Yes, the Republicans drew a Democratic district, using most of my present district and creating a seat which is based in the Cleveland area. This map gave the advantage to my constituents in the greater Cleveland area. I have said so. Some statehouse Democrats want to repeal this map. I don't. We will find out today who will prevail."

So what he is saying here, basically, is that he's absolutely fine with a Republican map that gives Republicans 50% more influence than the partisan voter divide and Democrats 50 % less as long as HE keeps his seat. He's fine with diminished Democratic representation in Congress. He's fine with fewer allies, less influence, and worse outcomes as long as HE keeps his seat.

He goes on to say, "In the meantime, if I am to remain in Congress to continue to stand up for jobs for all, health care for all, education for all, retirement security for all, a cleaner, greener environment and peace -- I will need your help, your contributions, your organizing skills."

Because Republicans are really, really focused on jobs and the economy ....

Yeah right. Then why are their actions sounding like something from an Onion story?

With joblessness becoming entrenched and poverty growing by leaps and bounds, with tens of millions still unable to afford health care and this country's inequality among the worst in the world, the Republicans in Congress, who campaigned last year on "Democrats aren't doing anything to create jobs but we will be job-creating whirlwinds," have yet to propose a single SERIOUS job-creation bill. (We have seen several of them, including Ohio's out-of-touch Senator Rob Portman, propose something they called the "Real" American Jobs Bill that's nothing but a package of already-tried ideas such as corporate tax cuts, "free" trade deals that have COST the country millions of jobs.)

However, they have time to bring to the floor a measure to reaffirm "In God We Trust" as the country's motto and to encourage its use in public spaces. House majority leader Eric Can'tor, one of the most egregious little twits in Congress, rushed the measure to the floor for a vote. He's blocking votes on Obama's proposed job creation bills.

According to this article, Nancy Pelosi's spokesperson Nadeam Elshami responded, "The last time we checked, 'In God We Trust' is the national motto of the United States, adopted in 1956, and China was still getting off scot-free while Republican House leaders refuse to bring up a bipartisan bill to level the playing field for American workers, How hard is it for the Republican leadership to reaffirm its commitment to the middle class by allowing a vote on the bipartisan China currency legislation that will create more than 1 million jobs? Apparently, they're just too busy,."

[Side note: Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown is NOT too busy — he has been working hard on this issue, which gives China an unfair edge in international trade.]

Venue change for Gov.'s Cleveland rally tomorrow

Gee, I wonder if the Gov. is trying to shake us. Did he get wind of the fact that NO on 2 activists planned to be in the parking lot of the Independence Civic Center to greet him and he's trying to confuse them and get them off his trail?

Word is he's still coming and he's bringing Mary "The invisible Lieutenant Governor" Taylor with him! Yahoo!

His Yes on 2 rally is now scheduled for 4-5:30 p.m. at the Old Elmwood Recreation Center, 6200 Elmwood Drive — still in Independence. Maybe he thinks it's friendly territory since the city voted for him by approximately 2000 votes to 1300. Are you sorry now, Independence?

Organizers will have signs but feel free to make your own. "No on 2" is probably all it will take to addle the gov.

Clevelanders! Gov. in town Thursday!

Are you still on the fence about whether SB 5 ought to be repealed? OK, you're not.You know it should be (NO on 2!). But maybe you'd like to hear from the Gov. himself about why it's so important to strip teachers, firefighters, police officers, librarians and other public sector workers of their negotiating rights. Clevelanders, you're in luck.

This Thursday, from 4:30-7 p.m., there's a "Yes on 2" rally at the Independence Civic Center, 6363 Selig Drive. And the headliner is none other than our beloved Gov. What an opportunity to .... well, you can probably figure it out for yourself. And you never know — maybe the Gov. will be his usual blustering, unrepentant self and call police "idiots" or threaten "break the back" of the teachers' union again, and guarantee a few thousand more "no" votes on SB 5.

HB 319 repeal: it's on!!!!

I just got home a little while ago after a stop at Cuyahoga County Democratic Headquarters, where I picked up a short stack of crisp, hot-off-the-presses petitions to repeal HB 319 — the lopsided, confusing congressional map that treats voters like pawns in a partisan game.

I just couldn't wait. When I called them right before I left work and they said the boxes had just arrived from Columbus and they were unpacking them right now, I had to drop by (it's right on my way) and get some.

This morning in Columbus, the Ohio Democratic Party held a press conference to announce that they were pressing ahead with the THIRD repeal referendum in a mere eight months.

Titled Ohioans for Fair Districts, the campaign needs to gather 231,147 valid signatures by December 23. Redfern said, "[The Republicans in the legislature] rushed through the legislative process in just 48 hours an egregious map that was rated worse than any citizen-produced map. They left no time for public input, compromise or bipartisanship. The map was crafted behind closed doors for the sole purpose of protecting incumbent Republican members of Congress."

Exactly. It creates a 3-1 tilt in districts in a state that almost always splits close to 50/50, and most of those districts aren't remotely competitive. I mean, I like a safe Democratic district as much as anyone, but my district — the 11th — is almost 80 % Democratic under the Republicans' map. That's shameful and insulting. If they could fit every Democrat in the state into a handful of districts, they would. Oh wait, they did.

Not a newsflash. Josh Mandel = Screwup

Yeah, I know some days there's not much actual NEWS. And certainly it should be news to no one that the extraordinarily incompetent and unqualified Josh "The Empty Suit" Mandel has made a mess of something.

It seems that that database of public workers' salaries that Mandel splayed all over the front page of his official state website is riddled with errors. Never mind that posting this information has little to do with the functions of the treasurer's office (not that Mandel would know what they were) and seemed designed simply to try to gin up more anger and envy directed at public workers for political purposes – to support SB 5.

"Some constituents accuse Republican Treasurer and U.S. Senate candidate Josh Mandel, in records obtained by The Associated Press, of using the search tool to fuel antipathy toward government workers ahead of a Nov. 8 vote on Ohio's divisive new collective bargaining law."

Gee, you think?

Among the errors: "a retiree listed as a current worker, a misstated job title, and inflated salary figures by including overtime, summer pay for teachers or sick time payouts. One complainant said the site listed his daughter's stipend for graduate school as if it were state worker pay."

There's lots more:

And I just looooove this paragraph:

"[Mandel spokesman Seth] Unger said the site is no longer streaming salary data compiled by the policy think tank Buckeye Institute, in part because using outside data made it impossible for the state to fix errors that were discovered. He said the office has gathered source data directly from two government agencies -- the Ohio Departments of Education and Administrative Services, a move that was always planned."

Complacent on Issue 2? NOT!

I wasn't able to make the Issue 2 rally at Laborer's Hall in Cleveland yesterday with American Federation of Teachers nation president Randi Weingarten. But I did see the online photos showing the hall was overflowing with revved-up repeal supporters.

Then today I got this report on the event and others around the state from the AFL-CIO and I thought I'd share:

"With early voting deadlines fast approaching and only ten days left until Election Day, November 8, thousands of working families hit the streets and phones with a sense of urgency Saturday to talk to Ohioans about the need to vote NO on Issue 2 to repeal SB 5, the destructive bill that takes away the rights of workers and puts local communities at risk. Across the state it was standing room only at get-out-the-vote kick off events.

Volunteers from AFGE, OAPSE/AFSMCE, AFSCME Ohio Council 8, OCSEA/AFSCME, AFT, ARA, APRI, APWU, Asbestos Workers, ATU, BAC, BCTGM, Carpenters, CLUW, CFD, CSPCA, CTU/AFT, CWA, FOP, IAFF, IBEW, IBT, IATSE, Iron Workers, IUE-CWA, IUPAT, LiUNA, NAACP, NALC, OEA, OPCMIA, OPEIU, SEIU, SMWIA, SSLTA, TWU, UA, UAW, UFCW, UMWA, UNITE HERE, USW, Utility Workers, Working America and Workers United all participated in Saturday’s momentous effort to defeat Issue 2/SB 5.

Over 800 people rallied with AFT President Randi Weingarten, OFT/AFT President Sue Taylor, Cleveland Teachers Union David Quokle, Teamsters Vice President Al Nixon, Congress member Betty Sutton, North Shore AFL-CIO Federation of Labor Executive Secretary Harriet Applegate, and Ohio AFL-CIO President Tim Burga in Cleveland.

This weekend in Occupy

There are a bunch of events going on around the state as part of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Occupy Columbus is planning a big general assembly tomorrow, Saturday, October 29 at 3 p.m. at Bicentennial Riverfront Park, following a Soapbox Session and entertainment at 2.
There's an agenda and more info here:

Occupy Cleveland is doing an outreach event in Lakewood, an inner-ring suburb that borders Cleveland to the west, tomorrow, Saturday, October 29, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. at Marc's Plaza on Detroit Road. There members of the Cleveland Occupation will share information and answer questions.

Occupy the Hood Cleveland, which focuses on the outsized impact of economic injustice & corporate green on the black community, is hosting their Village Soup event from noon-3 p.m. Sunday, October 30, at 11250 Superior Ave. There will actually be soup there, along with community and sharing.

Immediately after that, from 3-6 p.m. Sunday, Occupy Cleveland will hold a planning session at Trinity Cathedral, 2230 Euclid Ave., in downtown Cleveland. They'll be discussing events and actions going forward.

They are emphasizing that they are looking to expand and that ALL are welcome (as at all Occupy events), even those who have no interest in camping or marching or anything like that. They say, "If you support the cause, you don’t need to camp, but helping plan events, reach out to communities, and organize rallies is so important. If you have experience with this sort of event planning , you will be vital. If you don’t, but just want to help, there is so much our occupiers need on a daily basis, and this meeting will help you put your every-day skills to great use for #OccupyCleveland!"

Get ready to fight again for a fair congressional map

We learned today that the Supreme Court will not grant the Ohio Democratic Party's request to restart the calendar to gather signatures to repeal SB 319, the joke of a congressional map the Republicans rammed through with no outside input at all. This despite the fact that the delay in certifying the signatures occurred because attorney general Dewine blatantly did something he knew he could not do: reject the petition certification because the Republicans in the legislature inserted an appropriation into the bill specifically to make it immune to repeal. And the Supreme Court said he couldn't do that.

That means that we've lost a month, since the map was passed on September 26. However, the petitions, from what I understand, are ready to go, and this still gives us a little more time than we had to get the repeal of voter suppression bill HB 194 on the ballot. So once we hopefully get SB 5 repealed (NO on 2!), there is no time to rest on our laurels.

There are hints here and there (wishful thinking? fact based? don't know) that the Democrats' determination to go ahead with this has the Republicans ready to come back to the table and draw a reasonable map. I hope it's true. But if it's not, we need to get out there and tell everyone that we want a map that's about PEOPLE not POLITICIANS — a map that keeps communities together and creates compact, logical districts so we don't have one PTA represented by three different congresspeople.

Ultimately, I hope we can change the system of drawing districts long before the end of the decade, into a system that is always about voters, communities and people rather than the interests of any political party or elected official. In the meantime, the game of chicken over the congressional map goes on.

Some thoughtful coverage of Occupy Wall Street

I swear to god, I will scream the next time I hear someone say "We don't know what they want" or "We don't know what they stand of."

Please. If you don't know, it's because you don't want to know.

One short excerpt from the much longer article linked above:

"Occupy Wall Street is meant more as a way of life that spreads through contagion, creates as many questions as it answers, aims to force a reconsideration of the way the nation does business and offers hope to those of us who previously felt alone in our belief that the current economic system is broken."

Columbus Examiner points out Kasich's jobs failure

This story in the online news outlet the Columbus Examiner is worth reading:

"Governor Kasich's first year on jobs may be worse than Strickland's last year."

Well. That certainly wasn't what Kasich was promising. He blamed Ted Strickland for jobs lost in a horrendous national economy and presented himself as some type of miracle worker who could fly in the face of that continuing recession.

But, as writer John Michael Spinetti points out,
"Laughing at a driver stuck in a ditch is good fun until it comes times for the laugher to take the wheel and get the vehicle back on the road again. Kasich doesn't have much room to laugh anymore, now that he's behind the wheel. With jobs still being lost and home foreclosures not a thing of the past, Gov. Kasich is getting a taste of the lash he flogged Strickland with so mercilessly last year."


Pat Buchanan

I unfortunately listened to the interview Diane Rehm did with Pat Buchanan recently. It was a sad interview that illuminated a man who has spent his entire adult life in a world of BS and sophistry. As long as anything sounds good, well, that’s all that matters to him. It’s just sad.

Diane Rehm was interviewing Mr. Buchanan, because he has a new book out titled Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?

So one of the reasons why Pat Buchanan thinks America is on the decline is, because of those nasty Liberals who teach honest and true history like there was slavery in America. Those terrible Liberals also teach things like the inhuman treatment of Native Americans, the struggle for civil rights and worker rebellions. In Pat Buchanan’s mind all of this makes people feel ashamed to be Americans. They don’t take pride in their country. He seems to leave out that public schools also teach about the inventiveness of Americans from Benjamin Franklin, to Thomas Edison, to the Wright Brothers, to Garrett Morgan, to a host of others. I’m pretty sure they also teach the brilliance of the design of the U.S. Government, the writing of the National Anthem, heroics in many of the wars and on and on. I can remember learning this stuff when I was going through public schools. I’m pretty sure others can too.

But, are we a strong nation or are we a weak nation? Do we need to sugarcoat everything and ultimately lie about our past just to make ourselves feel good?

If we are a strong nation then we can admit that we haven’t been completely perfect in the past. Maybe one of the reasons to keep in mind, and to teach the truth about our past; both good and bad; is so that we don’t make the same mistakes twice. That logic seems to be lost on Pat Buchanan and others. And because of that we seem poised to repeat mistakes we’ve already made.

Anyone STILL wondering why OccupyWallStreet is happening?

How ’bout this?

Brian Moynihan, the CEO of Bank of America, rated the worst bank for customer service, told a gathering of employees last week — no, not that a renewed dedication to serving customers was going to be a company priority, but rather than BoA was the poor, innocent victim of unfair criticism.

Taking a lesson from the whiny baby Republicans, he played the victim to the hilt, saying he was "incensed" that the bank was faring so poorly in the court of public opinion, especially following its recent announcement that it would begin charging a $5 monthly fee on debit cards.

“I, like you, get a little incensed when you think about how much good all of you do, whether it’s volunteer hours, charitable giving we do, serving clients and customers well,” he said. And he directed this at critics: "You ought to think a little about that before you start yelling at us.”

Really? Charity? Volunteer work? How condescending! How noblesse oblige! Maybe people would prefer full-time jobs with a living wage — something big banks were complicit in destroying with their risky speculative investments and their hoarding of this country's wealth. I'm tired of seeing talented, hard-working friends stressing about their inability to find enough work to pay their bills. I just heard it again tonight from someone I know who's bright, capable, creative, and dedicated. Maybe Moynihan should live like the rest of us for one day.

And if he's still wondering why people don't like BoA, this HuffPost article enumerates some of the banks greatest misses:

Does Josh "The Empty Suit" Mandel stand for ANYTHING?

OK, OK, that question is just TOO easy.

But seriously:

(Thanks to our friend Jill Miller ZImon for the link to the Cleveland Jewish News).

Do you remember Rich Iott, the Tea Party Republican who ran for Congress in Oh-09 against Marcy Kaptur last year? He really wasn't helped when it came out that he was a longtime, devoted Nazi reenactor.

Even Eric Can'tor, one of the worst Republicans in Congress, repudiated him. But Josh Mandel's campaign recently accepted a $1,000 donation from him. Because Mandel has shown time and time again he has no scruples, no principles. And I haven't seen the Republican Party, always ready to demand that Democrats return money from perfectly reputable sources that Republicans have decided to smear, demanding that Mandel give the money back and distance himself from Iott.

"[Iott] said war reenactments were a hobby he shared with his son, and he was only interested in the history and did not agree with Nazi ideology. He did not apologize for his actions and instead blamed Kaptur for the revelations."

Oh, of course. Whiny baby Republicans always blame their issues on somebody else.

Meanwhile, "Mandel was unavailable for comment."

As usual.

People, pay attention. Do you want someone with no ethical boundaries — who as a not-even-announced candidate already feels he's above answering to potential constituents — pretending to represent you?

Think about it.

Gov. on Hannity tonight, live from Ohio!

Want to see our beloved governor talking with Sean Hannity?

C'mon, dial down that loud chorus of "noooooooooo"s, OK?

Hannity will be interviewing the gov. live from Ohio at 9 p.m., and the gov. is so excited, he sent out an email:

"Here's what I'll be chatting with Sean about:

Since taking office in January, my administration has been focused on fixing years of mismanagement [lie #1] and laying the groundwork for job creation [lie #2] in our great state.

We balanced [lie #3] a nearly $8 billion budget deficit [lie #4] while preserving a vital income tax cut [lie #5], we eliminated the Death Tax, and we are removing job-killing [lie #6] red tape and regulations.

Part of our reform package [lie #7] is on the ballot in just 13 days as State Issue 2. It is critical that you vote YES [lie #8] in this election and give our local governments the ability to control their costs [lie #9].

Without Issue 2, we will see more tax levies on the ballot in our communities [lie #10], reduced services [lie #11], and fewer public safety officials like police and fire [lie #12].

These are the facts [lie #13] folks. Please vote YES on Issue 2 to keep up the momentum and move Ohio forward [lie #14]."

AFT president Randi Weingarten to rally the Cleveland No on 2 troops Saturday

American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten was set up as the villain in the charter-school propaganda movie "Waiting for Superman," which Governor Kasich hosted at several screenings. That's all you need to know to realize what a hero she is for teachers and their charges.

Weingarten will be in Cleveland this Saturday to host an event at Building Laborers Union Local 310 at 3250 Euclid Avenue from 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. She'll be there to speak to canvass volunteers prior to sending them out into the community to talk to people about why it's so important to repeal SB 5 by voting NO on Issue 2. She'll be joined by Ohio AFL-CIO president Tim Burga and other guests who will share why this union-busting bill is so bad for Ohio.

Two of Ohio's best progressives introduce jobs bill in Congress

Well, we all know that the Republicans in Congress, who got elected by saying that creating jobs would be no. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 7, 8, 9 and 10 — and possibly as far as no. 100 — on their priority list, summarily dismissed President Obama's American Jobs Act.

A handful of Republicans — including, disgracefully, Ohio Senator Rob Portman — came up with their risible "Real American Jobs Act," which was nothing but a compendium of right-wing ideological policies that have definitively failed to create jobs for decades — tax cuts, deregulation, more "free" trade.

Luckily, Ohio has ONE Senator who really is focused on creating jobs: Sherrod Brown. He has introduced S 1550, the National Infrastructure Bank Act of 2011. The bill creates a government-owned entity that issues loans to both public and private groups for infrastructure-related projects. It's part of the Democrats' strategy to introduce the American Jobs Act piece by piece and let the Republicans openly vote AGAINST jobs in a variety of sectors. Now they have the opportunity to vote against both construction workers AND the repair of the country's rapidly fraying infrastructure. Isn't that special?

Ohio Congresswoman Marcia Fudge has introduced a companion bill to S 1550 in the House, to give her colleagues like Paul Ryan, Allen West, John Boehner, and the vile Eric Can'tor a chance to show America just how unconcerned they are with putting Americans back to work — to prove they are the Party of No, the Republican'ts.

Congresswoman Fudge says in her press release today, "Whether you are a Democrat or Republican, we all have infrastructure that is crumbling, and we have people in our districts who are eager to get back to work. This legislation allows us to target the large number of deficient bridges in our communities and other dangerous infrastructure for repair, making travel safer for our residents. It will provide a path for Ohioans to get back to work."

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