Monday, February 28, 2011

Rallies in Columbus and at UC tomorrow for worker rights!

If you can't attend please call your 33 State Senators starting with the Republicans. If you already called them please call again. If the old Tea Party Republicans can turn people out for their rallies what is our excuse for not turning out for progressive rallies. Sieze the day!

Rally in Columbus!

If you want to go to Columbus and need a ride email ASAP and we we help you get there!

The labor and community coalition against SB5 is calling for a rally:

Tues. March 1 starting 10am
And going all day long!
West Lawn of the Statehouse

National and state level leaders will be on hand to speak to the crowds.
The Senate Republicans are expected to vote it out of committee AND vote it out of the Senate in the same day. Please come to Columbus for this event! This bill is moving at lightning speed so we must make our biggest showing yet on the Statehouse grounds.Beginning at 8:30am, AAUP members are invited to come to the new Ohio Conference AAUP office at 137 East State Street, Columbus, 43215 for coffee and pastries. The office is only a half block from the Statehouse. (Parking options are shown on the attached map.)

Check out the AAUP Facebook page to offer a ride or look for a carpool. The Cincinnati Labor Federation will once again be chartering buses to Columbus. Check this website for more details: I'll also pass along more details as I receive them.

And at UC:

Cincinnati, OH - 24 February 2011 - On Tuesday, March 1, University of Cincinnati students will continue to show their opposition to Senate Bill 5 and the impending budget cuts. After a day of education, students will gather on UC’s McMicken Commons at 3:00 pm to rally against SB5. Students will then march through campus to the intersection of Clifton and MLK, where they will make their opinion visible to the public.

Last Monday, nearly 60 students, professors, and staff braved the rain to rally against SB 5 and deliver a letter to UC President Gregory Williams asking for his support. This Tuesday we will be even louder and show UC, Cincinnati, and Ohio that students support public workers, that we support our professors, that we will not roll over peacefully to budget cuts and tuition hikes, and that we support the democratic right of workers everywhere to collectively bargain.

“This is not a one-time thing,” says rally organizer Kyle Galindez. “First they go after firefighters, professors, and other workers. Next they'll go after the students.”

Senate Bill 5 would strip public workers of many rights that unions have gained, including the right to collectively bargain. It would affect large numbers of UC staff and faculty, including professors, groundskeepers, librarians, and others. This bill threatens professors’ right to collectively bargain not only about salaries and benefits, but also about how they teach their classes.

Stand up and defend our school and defend our future! Everyone is encouraged to join the action: students, professors, workers, and community members.

For more information contact Elisabeth Ampthor at 419.344.3149

Action Alert: Two rallies for workers rights today!!!

What will you tell your grandchildren when they ask you 'Grandma/Grandpa, where were you when the Tea Party was smashing the unions and workers rights? Were you one of those people that stood up for people's rights?'

1) OHEA Cincinnati Rally Against SB 5
Monday, February 28 · 4:00pm - 6:00pm

Intersection of Montgomery Rd. and Norwood Ave.
Cincinnati, OH

Rally organized and sponsored by Ohio Education Association:

"Please join us for a Rally to Protect Our Heroes! We will meet rain or shine at 4-6 p.m. Bring your friend, family, members, rain gear, and bring signs – let’s let Cincinnati and our elected leaders know we Oppose SB 5! Tell them to STOP attacking hard-working Police, Firefighters, Nurses, Teachers and Public Employees."

If you have questions, please email Katie Boerger at or call Cris Nedrow at 614-284-2357

2) Working Families Townhall Meeting (Senator Kearney, Rep. Denise Driehaus, Rep. Pillich ) Monday, Feb 28th at Tangeman University Center.
6 PM, Rally at 5 PM

3) PROTEST At UC: Defend Education, Support Public Workers!

Tuesday, March 1 · 3:30pm - 5:00pm

McMicken Commons


Monday Feb. 28th 2011 – 4-6 p.m at the intersection of Montgomery Rd. and Norwood Ave. there’s a rally to support the rights of working people.

Please join us for a Rally to Protect Our Heroes! We will meet rain or shine at 4-6 p.m. Bring your friend, family, members, rain gear, and bring signs – let’s let Cincinnati and our elected leaders know we Oppose SB 5! Tell them to STOP attacking hard-working Police, Firefighters, Nurses, Teachers and Public Employees.
If you have questions, please email Katie Boerger at or call Cris Nedrow at 614-284-2357

Saturday, February 26, 2011

What conservatives really want!

This article by George Lakoff, author of Don’t Think of an Elephant, is crucial reading for anyone that wants to understand what conservatives really want and how they seem to be getting it. We must understand their worldview, how they frame the debate and how we can challenge their framing and win the debate.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Patriotic Americans are standing up for workers in Ohio!

There’s a historic fight going on across the country and Ohio is a key battle ground. Today black, white and brown Ohioans of all ages and walks of life stood out in the cold rain to send a message to Gov. Kasich and the Tea “Party” Republicans. “We are patriotic Americans that support workers and public employees!”

If you can go to Columbus tomorrow and need a ride please contact us ASAP and we will try to find you a ride. (You can email Many organizations are sending up buses and many people are car pooling.

The rally in Columbus starts at 1-4pm but it will also go into the night. Some people are going early and coming back early and some are going up a little later. If you can’t make it please call your 33 State Senators. (It doesn’t take long!)

If you already have contacted your State Senators we thank you and urge you to please call them again tomorrow as soon as you can. If you have limited time please start with your own Sen. which you can find at this link by simply entering your zip code. Then click on Senators at the top and start by calling the Republicans.

You don’t need to follow a script and it’s better to sound unscripted. If you’ve never spoken to your Senators here’s an easy example of what I said. It doesn’t take long and you’ll likely get a voice mail.

Hi my name is (Justin Jeffre), I’m an Independent (you don’t have to say that if you aren’t) and I’m calling to urge Sen. (xxxx) to vote no on Senate Bill 5 (SB5) because it’s bad for working people in Ohio. I applaud common sense Republicans like Sen. Bill Seitz for standing up against this extreme bill which hurts workers and students in Ohio. Teachers, fire fighters, police officers and public employees aren’t overpaid or the problem. Tax cuts for corporations and the rich are.
Thanks for your service (It’s good to be polite), I’ll be watching this vote closely and please have a great day.

There are only 33 State Sen. and most are Republicans. I also called all the Democrats, but if you’re limited on time please start with the Republicans. I hope to see you in Columbus for this historic fight.

The Republicans know what they are doing, but when politicians see and hear the public roar they can be moved to stop what they’re doing. Bush backed of his scheme to privatize Social Security; Nixon ended the war in Vietnam and signed a lot of progressive legislation because the public roar. Let’s roar. You can be the change you wish to see in the world!

"A time comes when silence is betrayal"- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Protest at UC today: Support Workers!

Stealing Rights from Firefighters, Teachers, and Janitors only means
that Students will be next!

The Ohio legislature is facing a vote; to push this state and the
gains of the labor movement back more than fifty years, or remind the
public that through education, the working class, and the availability
of individual liberties, advancement is achieved.

Don't let Ohio go backwards, instead remind your representative that
through progress comes development.

Unite with fellow Ohioans on Monday February 21st at 3PM in McMicken
Commons to show support for public sector employees!

The right wing is mobilized and calling and writing our State Senators. Please stand up for working people and our rights to collectively bargain. Do not underestimate the importance of stopping this union busting bill.

More imporatntly don't underestimate your power to make a difference!!!

A call to action: Make your voices heard and support public workers

Dear Coffee Partiers,

If you’re like me you have been inspired by the young people in Middle Eastern nations like Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen where young people are taking to the streets to overthrow dictatorships and bring about democratic change. We need to let that spirit spread here in the US once again. The Tea Party Republicans have dominated the national narrative and it’s time for us to lift our heads and our voices for change.

We all know that since his election the media has pushed the astroturfed, billionaire funded Tea Party Republican movement to expand corporate power, demonize the poor and to destroy the middle class. They are currently waging a war on working people with their efforts to break the public employee unions that have been key to creating and protecting the middle class.

We need to stand up like the people of Wisconsin to demand that the Republicans stop pretending that teachers and public employees are the reason that we’re having budget problems while they cut taxes on corporations and the wealthiest among us.
There’s a fight for justice, democracy and to protect working people right here in Ohio.

If S.B.5 is passed, our state's basic infrastructure - the most important elements of our safety, education, and advancement - will be left vulnerable. The employment status, pay, and benefits of thousands of state employees will be left in the hands of our state government, giving them no rights in negotiating the terms of their employment.

The exact wording of the legislation could not be more direct in defining its attacks on Ohio's public sector jobs "[S.B. 5 will make] changes to laws concerning state employees, including collective bargaining, salary schedules and compensation, layoff procedures, and leave"

In other words, S.B.5 will push our state 50 years in the past, to a time when workers were given limited rights and standards were set by the government.
Spread the word about these rallies and attend if you can. Please join us today February 21 in the "free speech zone" of McMicken Commons at 3PM, and show your support for the most important part of our states development, our working class.

John McNay, the elected President of UC's faculty/librarian union has an op-ed in the Enquirer, opposing Ohio SB5, opposite the op-ed of the bill's sponsor, Shannon Jones.

If you can only do one thing -- making phone calls is far better than emails, no time perhaps for letters. Here's a link to the phone numbers and emails of all 33 Ohio Senators:

If you go to -- -- bottom left corner, there's an option to enter your zip code with the plus 4, and then it tells you the senator representing that zip code.

If I can add an appeal to everyone -- there's only 33 Ohio senators. If you can, write, fax and email (don't stop at email) the Senator representing you -- but phone them all!

Rally in Columbus Monday, February 21st at 11AM President's Day Rally at the Statehouse in Columbus

Rally to Stop Senate Bill 5 - Defend Ohio Workers' Rights

The Ohio Education Association has a Facebook event page you can share.!/event.php?eid=190282400994663

There’s also a major rally Tuesday, February 22nd 1PM to 4PM (and probably into the evening). Pack the Statehouse in Columbus for more testimony on SB 5.

Tell your friends in Cleveland Tuesday, February 22nd a bus will be coming down to the Columbus rally. Contact Cleveland Jobs With Justice for more info(

Though many of us were inspired to get involved in 2008 too many of us have become disillusioned because the change we hoped for doesn’t feel like it has been coming fast enough. And not only that, there’s been a huge backlash to the election of our first black President and the modest changes he’s been able to push through. They are trying to roll back the progress that’s been made in the past 50 years.

The Tea Party Republicans are mounting counter protests and this is a fight that the Coffee Party shouldn’t just stand back and watch. This effort has been going on since the Reagan revolution and now they’ve kicked it into over drive. But we know that America’s glory days came about in the 50’s and 60’s when the unions were strong and government made rich people pay their fair share in taxes. Reagan’s own budget director has called the Republican mantra that tax cuts are the solution to all our problems and government is the enemy “demagoguery” that has created the financial mess we find ourselves in.

Democracy doesn’t end after there’s an election, it begins after Election Day. Our public servant’s job is to listen to the people and our job as citizens is to make sure they hear us. Half of democracy is just showing up, not just on Election Day but on a regular basis. Our ancestors have inspired the movements that we’re seeing around the world and it is time for us to get inspired and to get active.

Our civic duties should compel us to get informed, go to rallies, contact our representatives and make our voices heard. President Obama inspired many of you in 2008, but it’s important to remember he said he needed your help and he couldn’t do it alone. Simply voting or even working on politician’s campaigns isn’t enough. We must stand with the public employee unions and fight Gov. Kasich’s radical assault on working people. Thanks for all you do!

We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both. - U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis (1856-1941)

"If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich." - John F. Kennedy

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Why Kasich picking on teachers and other public employees is bullsh!t

Photo courtesy of here.

Guest article by Jason Haap aka The Dean of Cincinnati

Kasich says he's not picking on unions, but even a rudimentary sense of deductive reasoning shows this as flagrantly false. Kasich and the Republicans would rather pick on public servants than, for example, wage a small tax against the wealthiest one percent. As a result, we get the right-winged lunatic-fringe whipped into a frenzy about those who "abuse" the taxpayer, as if public servants like teachers are filthy stinking rich, or something. This is par for the course for Republicans -- abuse the middle class to protect the huge profits of the ultra-wealthy.

From the link above, Kasich talking:

“Look I come from a union town, McKees Rocks; we’re not at war with anybody. We’re not picking on anyone. What we’re trying to say is that if you want to create a rationale program to create jobs, so that Ohio can compete with Texas, and Florida and Tennessee, and North Carolina…we can’t compete in the current mode. We can’t do that so we have to bring about the changes we want, and we think a really good start is to make sure our local government officials have the ability to control their costs, to treat employees fairly, but to create equity between those people who pay the bills and those people who are basically have jobs because people have taxes.”


“Any successful business that loses an ability to control its costs, go bankrupt. In addition to that, this is a whole series of reforms that involve our prisons, involve our school, all of which is designed to set the stage for economic growth. We have been getting killed out here in terms of economic growth, job loss, loss of population, loss of knowledge workers, our students fleeing the state, a third of them after three years. This is all part of a program to make sure that we can revitalize, save Ohio, restore entrepreneurship, and create jobs—that’s what it’s all about.”

This is a strange way to imagine the role of public servants. Yes, they are paid by tax dollars -- but they provide a necessary service. And as a general rule, people recognize that teaching, for example, is not a job people enter to become rich. So what does he mean when he says he wants to "create equity between those people who pay the bills and those people who basically have jobs because the people have taxes"?

Maybe the middle-class shouldn't be over-tax burdened because Republicans like stumping for tax breaks benefiting millionaires.

And what's this comparison to "business"? First, a public service like "education" is not a business. It is a public service called "education." And second, when is anyone going to talk about Ohio's unconstitutional school funding formula, found as such by the Ohio Supreme Court on multiple occasions? No, Kasich ignores these other inconveniences, because they protect the interests of his rich friends, who benefit from an unconstitutional system that gives them tax breaks, even though they can easily afford to pay a little more.

I was impressed with the recent testimony given by former Hamilton County Commissioner David Pepper regarding this union-busting move by the Republicans.

Second, there is the fact that, on close examination, there is no evidence to suggest that collective bargaining is the cause of overall budget challenges. Many states that do not have collective bargaining—such as Arizona (highest gap), Nevada (4th highest) and North Carolina—have far larger budget deficits than many that do, including Ohio. There is simply no correlation.

Third, a quick look at salary decisions in Columbus suggests a one-sidedness in this body’s focus. I challenge you to aim higher! The Governor has given substantial raises to cabinet members, and hired aides that make double what your average Cincinnati firefighter makes. State legislators, working a part time job, make far more than my County’s sheriff’s deputies, who put their lives on the line every day. If we want to examine salaries, perhaps we should start with the highest as opposed to the lowest.

Fourth is the fact that the most expensive and costly decisions and actions in government are inevitably those made by the politicians, not the employees.


And just as the Governor justified higher salaries he is paying because he wanted the best people working for him, we can only get top-notch public servants if we can offer employment that at least assures they can raise a family with the wages they’ll earn, do their job safely, and understand that if they are injured on the job, they and their families are protected. Without basic protections such as these, a voice to seek those protections, and a process that ensures that this voice is heard, we will attract a lower caliber of worker, and we will degrade the quality of public work. And over time, the waning confidence our citizens have in government will only sink further.

Current County Commissioner Todd Portune also spoke up recently for the rights of public workers.

“In many cases, the problems that exist are the result of bad decision-making by those in office and they are now hiding behind these attacks on working people to mask their own faults,” Portune said. He blames the increase in the costs associated with local government on unfunded state and federal mandates.

“It is time to say ‘enough is enough’ of state and federal lawmakers getting elected on pledges to hold the line on taxes, while they, at the same time, foist necessary work and services onto the backs of local government to figure out how to do and how to pay for what must be done,” Portune said.

Lastly, he said, “all Americans should be shocked at what they are witnessing in this movement to eliminate collective bargaining and attack public employees because what these lawmakers are doing is actively working to reduce the standard of living of the American middle class.”

Unfunded mandates? Let's look at some specific examples with which I happen to be familiar.

In 2009, the State of Ohio spent over $30 million on the Ohio Graduation Test.

In 2008, the State of Ohio funneled nearly $60 million dollars into private schools for their compliance with record keeping activities such as "keeping attendance," and "distributing report cards" -- things any school should do to be open in the first place!

In other words, without even really thinking, I have already identified $90 million dollars in the kind of money about which Portune discussed. $90 million is not chump change!

And since 2008, this tax money to private schools has broken the $60 million dollar level. See for yourself.

Naturally, Kasich's sends his daughters to Worthington Christian Schools (which pull in over $200,000 per year in tax dollars) -- so it's in his financial interests to keep the money pouring into those institutions. It keeps his tuition payments down!

That number still pales in comparison to Elder High School -- a single school pulling in over $300,000 last year in tax dollars!

So I think it's interesting how none of this stuff gets discussed at the level of critical mass. The Republicans will be happy to take away from people like "teachers," under the banner of "reform" for education, but when it comes to the millions upon millions in unfunded mandates, they are silent. And when it comes to the fact that someone has to pay for this public service, raising taxes is off the table entirely. Not to mention the unconstitutionality of the school funding system in the first place.

Kasich is completely full of it.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

How the right is rewriting the Reagan legacy (Tear Down This Myth!)

Last Sunday marked Ronald Reagan’s 100th b-day and we once again heard the myths about his legacy. The reality is that Reagan’s legacy is far different than what so often gets repeated and were he alive today he probably couldn’t be elected as a conservative Republican.

(If you are a Reagan loving Republican Tea Partier reading beyond this line could blow your mind.)

This article describes “when Reagan was (much) less popular than Carter” and “how the Gipper was transformed into a conservative demigod”. It seems the further we get away from the Reagan years the easier it is to forget what he actually did while he was in office in the United States of Amnesia.

As I described in this article most other modern Republican Presidents (with maybe the exception for Bush I and II) would be considered far too liberal for today’s GOP which has moved to the extreme right. (Heck, Reagan was probably even more liberal than some Blue Dog Democrats.)

As one caller recently explained about Reagan to Rush Limbaugh before being muted, "He's a tax-raiser, an amnesty-giver, a cut-and-runner, and he negotiated with terrorists," Stark continued. "Why is he a hero to conservatives?"

As Cenk Uygur pointed out on MSNBC, Reagan raised taxes 11 times as President and as Governor of California he signed into law the greatest tax increase in the history of any state. He nearly tripled the Federal Budget Deficit. During his administration the debt increased to nearly $3 trillion.

It should be noted that the Republicans undermined the President of the United States of America and the US government by negotiating with terrorists during the infamous October Surprise which is widely believed to be the reason Reagan beat Carter. He secretly and illegally traded arms for hostages with Iran during the Iran Contra Affair. In 1984 Reagan “cut and run” out of Lebanon. He had deployed an American “peace keeping force” in Beirut but withdrew US troops after 241 servicemen were killed in a bombing ordered by Hezbollah during the Cold War.

You’ve probably heard things like “Reagan won the Cold War without firing a shot”. But in realty Reagan supported brutal dictators around the world, funded and trained drug running death squads in Latin America and he certainly doesn’t deserve all of the credit for the end of the Cold War. Most Americans at the time gave most of the credit to Gorbachev.

I quote in "Tear Down This Myth" a USA Today poll that was taken after the Berlin Wall collapsed (in October 1989) and a majority of Americans credited Gorbachev and only 14 percent credited Reagan.

Reagan helped to start the Taliban by funding Osama Bin Laden and his Muhajadeen to fight the Soviets-who were also dumb enough to invade Afghanistan which needless to say didn’t work out so well for them either. (Can you say blow back?) Of course he had bipartisan support for those things. Imagine this, he worked with Democrats and was known for making compromises. How is that the model Tea Party Republican?

Reagan helped Saddam Hussein get WMD’s and turned a blind eye when he would use them. His use of WMD’s would be used as justification for the $3 trillion Iraq war which was based on lies.

Reagan supported “States rights” and he vetoed the Anti-Apartheid Act. He strongly support South Africa’s Apartheid regime.

Desmond Tu Tu denounced Reagan for his racism. Reagan consolidated and fulfilled the racist Southern Strategy.

Reagan did so by beginning his general election campaign in 1980 in Neshoba County, Miss., where white supremacists had recently fire-bombed a black church and had earlier murdered three Northern civil rights activists, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner, and James Chaney. In a thinly disguised appeal to white Southern racism, Reagan declared, "I believe in states' rights."

In this sense his values were right in line with the Tea Party Republicans. Reagan was the favorite candidate of the John Birch society. The group was considered fringe in those days, but now the extreme right has merged with mainstream conservatism.

Reagan believed he had seen a UFO and he often talked about extraterrestrial life visiting Earth. He dedicated lots of funding for SDI or Star Wars which never worked while ignoring the AIDS epidemic that was killing tens of thousands of Americans every year. AIDs has claimed many lives, but not one extraterrstrial has attacked yet.

Reagan hated public education saying, “Education isn’t a right, it’s a privilege”. Though he started out as a union boss he waged war on unions. He had the solar panels that Carter had placed on the roof removed and killed the investment in solar that Carter had championed. Carter was right and Reagan was wrong so now we lag behind countries like Germany that still have a lot of manufacturing jobs.

As this article describes there was a dark under belly to Reagan’s sunny optimism. "It wasn't all patriotic homilies: Just ask the "welfare queens," "radicals" and "filthy speech advocates".

Reagan gave amnesty to 3 million undocumented immigrants. How would that fly today?

Reagan’s own budget director sets the record straight.

The Reagan Revolution was a Lincoln Day Dinner speech. It never happened in the real world of fiscal policy. During the 1980's, Big Government got bigger and the Federal tax burden was just shuffled, not reduced. The main fiscal legacy of the Reagan era is that the Federal debt was raised from $1 trillion to $3 trillion. Unfortunately, when the economy rebounded after Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker's conquest of runaway inflation, Republicans embraced the dangerous shibboleth that deficit-financed tax cuts are good for growth.

Reagan’s real legacy is much different than the narrative Republicans are pushing. Flag waving Americans can only claim America’s past is so great by rewriting our history. If we went back to the original intent of the constitution our country would be a lot less free and democratic. We can’t understand where we really are as a nation until we get real about America’s past.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Ron Paul wins CPAC poll again, Palin comes in last & the progressive-Libertarian alliance

Ron Paul has won the CPAC poll once again. He got 30% and Palin only got 3%. I have written a lot about the real “middle” or “center” in this country which is what Greens and Libertarians share in common. The Democrats and Republicans share a lot of bipartisan positions that aren’t popular like the wars, bloated military budget, corporate welfare etc.

Ron Paul, a Libertarian, is one of the few Republicans that excites young people, especially young conservatives. And they turn out to support him.

Paul has teamed up with Ralph Nader on many occasions to talk about what they describe as the most exciting dynamic in politics today and that is the broad consensus for change between Libertarians and progressives. They teamed up in 2008 to point out their common ground positions and how these issues can be a place where people from the left and right can work together for change. And they are not alone.

People may find it strange that people on the “far left” like Dennis Kucinich and Bernie Sanders often find themselves voting alone with Ron Paul a guy from the “far right”. But that just shows how much common ground there really is between some on the left and some on the right.

What are examples of that common ground? Ending the wars and imperial foreign policies, getting rid of all of the well documented waste in the bloated Pentagon budget, no longer supporting dictatorships around the world, repealing the Patriot Act and reigning in the bureaucratic National (in)Security state and ending the failed war on drugs and prison industrial complex are all examples where we can show solidarity for policies that are both socially just and fiscally responsible.

Making these changes would free up massive resources that could be redirected into rebuilding America’s crumbling infrastructure and doing the things most people think government should do. This is the new progressive-libertarian alliance.

We can expect the corporate media to continue to marginalize Ron Paul, Dennis Kucinich and Ralph Nader. They will continue to focus on the bipartisan corporate politics and ignore public opinion on those corporate policies, but this message keeps being repeated and will soon catch fire because some ideas are to powerful to suppress.

And in times such as these where domestic American politics has become so partisan, divisive and causes so much disappointment and disillusionment this is a new cause for great hope. Young people are transforming the Middle East and young people can transform the US. As the democracy movements around the world continue to fight for justice there is one common theme that keeps reemerging. Another World Is Possible!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Change in speaker!

Hey Coffee Partiers,
We are pleased to announce that our guest speaker for tomorrow night’s 6pm meeting at the Ohm CafĂ© is Bill Woods. Woods is the Ohio Chair of Common Cause and he’s also the founder of Applied Information Resources. Woods was instrumental in creating more transparency in our local elections and he’s been working on these issues for decades.
He will be discussing the ongoing efforts for Campaign Finance Reform at the national, state and local levels and what we can do to help. This is one issue that we know Coffee Party members are passionate about so we hope that you will come and join us for his presentation and our discussion afterwards.
Also, our condolences go out to Mike Shryock and his family for the recent loss of their son. We wish them the best at this difficult time. We will invite him to come and speak in a future meeting and we thank him for his tireless efforts in reforming our criminal justice system. We hope to work with Mike and the NAACP on these fronts in the near future.
See you at the Ohm!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Action Alert! "Count the Votes Rally" Tonight at 7PM

Liberal groups and Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune will gather tonight in Forest Park for a “Count the Votes” rally in the still-not-over election for Hamilton County juvenile court judge.

Here’s the release: Faith leaders join with Commissioner Todd Portune to demand justice and an end to tax payer funded appeals

What: Hundreds attend “Count the Votes!” Rally with Todd Portune, demanding justice for voters and an end of appeals.

Where: Word of Deliverance Ministries of the World, 693 Fresno Rd, Forest Park

When: Tuesday, February 8, 7:00 – 8:30pm

Who: Todd Portune, Hamilton County Board of County Commissioners. Rally sponsored by The AMOS Project; Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance; Baptist Minister’s Conference

Why: Faith and community leaders continue to be disappointed by the steadfast refusal of the Hamilton County Board of Elections to not count provisional ballots, due to poll worker error, cast by voters.

County Commissioner Todd Portune will join leaders from the AMOS Project, BMC and IMA to at a “Count the Votes” Rally to demand justice and put an end to the Hamilton County Board of Elections’ appeal attempts.

Leaders in the faith community have consistently expressed disappointment that votes cast by citizens who showed up at the right polling place, but was directed to the wrong table by the poll worker, are not being counted. The tax-payer funded appeal process must come to end, and the votes must be counted.

At the rally, Commissioner Portune will share his approach to help bring an end to the tax-funded appeals, and faith leaders will rally over 150 supporters to continue to stand for justice and fairness at upcoming Board of Elections meetings and Board of County Commissioner meetings.

Friday, February 4, 2011

“Waiting for Superman” unfairly targets teachers unions and promotes Charter schools

The much hyped documentary “Waiting for Superman” sparked controversy because it targets teachers and teachers unions while promoting Charter schools. Critics say it was biased and in many ways misleading. Here’s what 'Superman' got wrong point by point.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Dennis Kucinch, Olivegate and the need for strong tort laws

I usually like Kevin Osbourne’s take on issues, but he missed the mark by doing what too many in the media have done-- dismissing Kucinich’s right to sue a corporation for personal injuries. There’s a dangerous and ongoing PR campaign to take away our rights to seek personal redress through our civil justice system.

Osbourne puts Kucinich in the loser category and fails to give important details surrounding the case so the public can judge the facts for themselves. And he’s not alone -- Anderson Cooper put Kucinich on his “Ridiculist,"which itself is ridiculous. The corporate media’s general response has been to fail to present relevant facts and to blame the victim in much the way they treated the famous Hot Coffee case against McDonalds.

Most people don’t know the facts of that famous case, even though it is still referenced. A 79 year old woman named Stella Liebeck received third degree burns to 16 percent of her body including her genitals. She spent 8 days in the hospital and needed skin grafts because of severe burns she received after spilling a scalding cup of coffee that was served at 187 degrees. Her quality of life was severely diminished for the rest of her life.

She only sought to have her medical bills paid for and she became a national punch line for it because the corporate media failed to tell her story. Instead they pushed the multi-million dollar corporate propaganda campaign for Tort Deform which is an ongoing effort to take away your rights to use the court system to seek legal redress after you've been harmed.

Osbourne wrote,

“But we’re deeply disappointed in the diminutive lawmaker for filing a lawsuit against the House cafeteria over an April 2008 incident in which he says an unwanted olive pit in a sandwich injured his teeth; he sought $150,000 in damages."This injury required nearly two years, three dental surgeries and a substantial amount of money to rectify,” Kucinich said. Yet C-SPAN footage shows the congressman speaking on the House floor on the same day, so it wasn’t that severe. Tellingly, the operator settled the claim within days. Still, the good congressman has a Cadillac health-care plan, like all federal lawmakers, making us question his motives. Sometimes, Dennis, you just need to let it go.”

But as USA Today reported, days before his column went to print, “None of his dental work, he said, was covered by his health plan nor did he have dental insurance that covered his injury.” So the fact that he had a “Cadillac health-care plan” is irrelevant. (Kucinich has championed Medicare-for-all and was a lone hold-out for a public option.)

Osbourne and the others fail to make their case altogether. Why shouldn’t Kucinich seek to have the corporation that caused his injuries pay his medical costs? Why is it telling that the operator settled his case quickly and amicably? If he was in the wrong and had ulterior motives why didn’t they fight it altogether? The corporate media was totally biased in their favor from the start.

Like many others, Osbourne points to the fact that Kucinich still did his job and spoke on the House floor the day the incident happened as proof that his injuries weren’t “that severe”. But that proves nothing. Anytime you have to have three surgeries because of an injury I’d say the injury was pretty severe. How severe do injuries have to be to seek compensation for medical bills in their opinion? They never say, it’s just their knee jerk response.

As USA Today reported,

In the letter, Kucinich said he had three dental surgeries over two years after he split a tooth -- key to some upper bridgework in his mouth -- right through the crown and to a point below the level of the bone.

The problem was the internal structure of the injured tooth was shot and, Kucinich says, he was in "excruciating pain." He said he shook it off and went back to work.

The bone became infected, then Kucinich said he had an "adverse reaction" to antibiotics and then an intestinal obstruction. After more dental issues, including a failed implant, Kucinich in the end had to get new bridgework and six replacement teeth.

According to USA Today Kucinich said he declined interviews about the lawsuit because he "did not want it said that I was trying the case in the media." MSNBC commentator Ezra Klein wrote in the Washington Post, “Can $150,000 possibly be worth the bad publicity he’s going to get from filing a lawsuit over an olive pit.”

But both Dennis Kucinich and Stella Liebeck were well within their rights to seek legal redress through the court system. Both of them first sought to resolve the issues without legal action.

Why should Kucinich be judged differently than any other citizen by the public or the “liberal media”? In reality, I suppose he isn’t because there’s been a multi-million dollar campaign to brain-wash the American people into giving up their constitutional rights and to scoff at those who exercise those rights.

I suspect that if those who have disparaged the cases of either Kucinich or Liebeck had suffered the pain and expense of their injuries perhaps their attitudes might be a little bit different. These cases aren’t frivolous, but the multi-million dollar propaganda campaign to bring about Tort Deform has paid off.

People are giving away their constitutional rights every single day without even knowing it. (Do you have a cell phone or credit card contract? Yeah, you too then.)

And it’s no wonder the American people have such a distorted view of our civil justice system where the average Joe could go head to head with the richest and most powerful corporations in the world. Even people that are supposed to be trained to separate facts from fiction are pushing the same spin/lies as the mind-molding corporate propagandists that seek to limit your rights to seek justice after you’ve been harmed.