Monday, October 31, 2011

Ohio's 3 major newspapers look past the union hysterics, do the homework on Issue 2

What happens when you look at the facts involved with Issue 2, instead of basing your decision on the emotional hysteria coming from unions bent solely on preserving their power?

You find out that the need for reform is real, and that Ohio NEEDS Issue 2.

That what the newspapers from Ohio's three largest cities found out when the looked past the rhetoric, and focused on the facts. The Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Columbus Dispatch, and the Cincinnati Enquirer all agree. Ohioans should vote YES on Issue 2. And what they say pretty much mirrors what we have been telling you.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

3BP poll results: lesson learned

Here are the results of our last poll. I have to apologize to our regular readers. Why? Because I put this poll in the same post as our report on the Ohio straw poll last weekend. As is obvious in the comments for that post, this drew in all the Paul fans who obviously are not 3BP regulars. We'll do another poll in the future without the Ron Paul spam voters. Lesson learned on my part.

Take away Ron Paul and our poll is similar to other polls of Ohio voters. Cain on top, with Romney coming in second.

Ron Paul will not be the nominee.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Taking a look at the "We are Ohio" teacher ad

Courtney Johnson, the teacher featured in the commercial, has received huge pay raises over the past 4 years. But she says Issue 2 is about...the children? An honest look at the ad by our friends at GOHP Blog.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Why most Issue 2 supporters don't put out signs

It's very simple. The unions and Democrats target you. You become a target.

You become a target for harassment, like when Ohio Democrats started creating a hit list of Ohio private employers who support reform.
They started listing Ohio companies, accused each one of "attacking Ohio's middle class", and listed each company's address and telephone numbers. And, they asked their followers to rebroadcast all of this information to their followers.

Yes, folks, the Ohio Democratic Party went into full attack mode against...Ohio job creators and employers! This is what you have come to, Democrats? Attempting to harm business who employ thousands of Ohio citizens?

You become a target for vandalism.

That sign belonged to Don Race in Huron County. He also had his mailbox torn down and some of his trees destroyed. Why? Because he supports Issue 2.
You become a target for trespassing.
Signs supporting Issue 2 are few and far between in the Valley, but one local resident said even the small amount that are around appear to be too many for some opposed to the measure.

John Creed of Liberty Township said his sign urging voters to vote yes on Issue 2 has been destroyed twice. The sign is located on his property and faces state Route 11.

"We fixed it once and you can see the tape on it," Creed said. "They came back over and got it again."

Getting to the sign is no easy task. The vandal would need to park on the side of state Route 11, go through high brush and climb over a fence just to reach the sign.

Creed said he believes the vandalism is an intimidation tactic and one of the reasons why more people don't have signs in their yards. He said he supports the issue because he believes property taxes are getting out of hand.

The anti-reform people are out boasting about how they don't see any "Yes on Issue 2" signs around. Part of the reason is their intimidation tactics. The other is that the silent majority will show its support on Election Day.

The Cleveland Metropolitan School District needs reform, not union chanting

Cleveland's schools are facing a $13 million deficit. Because of this, the district is forced to make cuts to pre-school, sports and textbooks.

But worry not, the Cleveland teachers union has a solution to these cuts.

Issue 2 will help Ohio schools deal with rapidly rising costs. Vote YES.

They Aren't Ohio: $30 Million to Kill Union Reform

Union bosses in Ohio and Washington, D.C. are – oddly enough! – opposed to the sensible government union reforms in Senate Bill 5. Exactly how opposed? Combine yesterday’s cash and in-kind numbers from the Ohio Secretary of State with the figures from July, and you’ll see that unions have sunk more than $28 million into the campaign against Issue 2.

Out of $30.5 million dollars given to We Are Ohio since the union front group was created this spring, the overwhelming majority is directly from union bosses standing to lose a little power to Ohio taxpayers when Issue 2 passes. It’s been expensive convincing Ohioans that government union reform will destroy the middle class and return Ohio to the days of Jim Crow laws. Who has contributed the most to “We Are Ohio’s” dishonest smear campaign?
  • Ohio Education Association (state NEA affiliate): $5.87 million
  • AFSCME (D.C.) $3 million
  • National Labor Table (D.C.): $3 million
  • AFSCME Local 11: $1.94 million
  • National Education Association  (D.C.): $2 million
  • Communications Workers of America (D.C.): $1.5 million
  • AFL-CIO (D.C.): $1.5 million
  • AFSCME Local 4: $1.46 million
  • Ohio Federation of Teachers (state AFT affiliate): $1.26 million
  • SEIU 1199 (New York): $1 million
  • SEIU 1199 (Ohio): $1 million
It’s also worth noting that more than $100,000 of the non-individual Ohio contributions are from the Ohio Democratic Party, and nearly every individual donor who lists a profession is a union rep. This could prove donors’ selfless dedication to the happiness of Ohio government employees (taxpayers and cruel “mathematics” aside)… but that isn’t what my past few months of Ohio Education Association research would suggest!

Get the facts about Ohio Issue 2, spread the truth before November 8th, and watch this space for more…

Follow me on Twitter: @jasonahart
Cross-posted at that hero, RedState, and BigGovernment.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Unbelievable: Ohio Democrat Party listed Ohio companies as targets for union retribution

Folks, the Democrats and We Are Ohio unions will stop at NOTHING to preserve the government union advantage over the officials we elect to manage our tax dollars. They will say, and do, absolutely ANYTHING to stop the reasonable reforms in Issue 2 from taking effect.

  • They lied to you about being able to bargain for safety equipment. 
  • They continually wage class warfare by asserting that unionized government employees are the entirety of Ohio's middle class, when in fact, they are actually a tiny single digit percentage.
  • The Plain Dealer and Politifact reported that they lied to you when they said Issue 2 would make it harder for nurses to care for patients, and also about legislators writing a supposed "loophole" into the law.
  • Disgustingly, they somehow brought race into the debate by saying that Issue 2 would take us back to the days of Jim Crow laws.
  • The continually cite a compensation report written by a questionable "researcher" who was caught on tape agreeing to "kill" information that didn't meet the Ohio teachers' union's desired outcome.

The Big Union Millions Fueling We Are Ohio

Today groups on both sides of the Issue 2 battle filed their pre-election campaign finance disclosure forms.  As expected, the battle over collective bargaining has been an expensive one.  Building a Better Ohio raised nearly 7.6 million dollars over the last quarter in support of a Yes vote on Issue 2, spending almost 6 million of that amount.  An impressive amount, but nothing compared to the DC-union backed We Are Ohio.  In their fight to defeat Issue 2, We Are Ohio raised over 19 million dollars and received another 4.5 million of in-kind contributions.  This is in addition to the millions they reported in their previous filing, bringing their total to over 30 million dollars.

BREAKING - Leaked Progress Ohio memo says Issue 2 may be a dead heat

We have been warning about the bad news in the recent polls on Issue 2, and have stated why the huge wins they show for the anti-reform side won't be as big as the polls suggest. Now, the Washington Post is reporting on a leaked memo from liberal mob Progress Ohio to the "We Are Ohio" union front group. They also believe it's a LOT closer!
An internal memo from a key labor-backed group in the state is flatly warning that the polls are “flawed” and that a big win for labor is not even “remotely possible.” It adds that the right’s messaging has “worked,” and that there’s good reason to suspect that a “massive amount of voter confusion remains,” suggesting the fight could still go either way.

It's working in Wisconsin - UPDATED

Here is a full length version of the video I posted before.  It is much more detailed and very well done.  Notice the many similarities between the problems facing Ohio and Wisconsin.

Ohio voters need to see this video.  Make sure you share the video or this post with the people you know.  To enact the same kinds of reforms in Ohio, voters must vote YES on Issue 2.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Did Kevin DeWine really use Mitt Romney to embarrass Kasich?

By now you've surely heard about Mitt Romney's famous visit to Ohio yesterday. First, he visited a call center where volunteers were doing work for Issues 2 and 3, but then declined to endorse the issues. Conservatives around the country jumped on him. Then it was revealed that he actually did endorse Issue 2 over the summer. Not only did this reinforce his dreaded "flip flop" weakness, Rick Perry jumped at the opportunity to embarrass Romney by declaring he fully supported Issue 2 and stands by John Kasich.

Then, this morning, Romney came out and said that, yes, he DOES indeed support, er..."question 2", again strengthening the flip-flopper argument against him. Both conservatives and Democrats, including our old buddy ODP Chairman Chris Redfern, have had a field day with this. The entire visit was a disaster.

What can reasonable government union reform do for Ohio? It's working in Wisconsin.

One only needs to look at Wisconsin to see what kind of positive changes can come about when local elected officials, and thus, the voters who elected them, are given the freedom to control their costs. Remember the union hysterics over Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's reforms? Manitowoc County says they're working. They saved jobs and even still pay 100% of employees health insurance premiums, all because of the new flexibility reforms gave them.
MANITOWOC — No layoffs are included in the proposed 2012 budget County Executive Bob Ziegelbauer presented Tuesday to the Manitowoc County Board of Supervisors.

"We've gone through a bumpy patch over the last few years where because we didn't have the ability to make changes in our costs, we were forced with the choice of having to reduce the size of our staff," he said. "Now we have more control over the costs of our compensation and by making modest changes, we'll be able to deliver."

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Romney's refusal to back reform gives rivals a chance to upstage him

So...why did did Mitt Romney visit that call center in Cincinnati again?

Romney is in Ohio today, and as part of his visit, he stopped by a call center where dedicated conservatives are making phone calls to get out the vote in support of Issue 2 and Issue 3.  When asked by reporters if he supported the ballot initiatives, Romney punted.
"I am not speaking about the particular ballot issues," said Romney. "Those are up to the people of Ohio. But I certainly support the efforts of the governor to reign in the scale of government. I am not terribly familiar with the two ballot initiatives. But I am certainly supportive of the Republican Party's efforts here."
Mitt missed a huge opportunity to appeal to GOP primary voters by standing with them in supporting reasonable government union reform.

Good news and bad news in latest polls

First, the bad news. Two recent polls are trending in the wrong direction on Issue 2.

PPP released a poll last week showing the "NO" side is back out to a 20 point lead, 56-36. In August, the gap had closed, but now its opened again. Obviously, the constant stream of mistruths being put out by the enormous amount of out-of-state cash "We Are Ohio" has to work with is scaring some voters towards voting no. There are still reasons to believe that the November results will be close, though.

We Are Ohio's "Facts"

We Are Ohio insists Issue 2 – in addition to being unnecessary – is “unsafe, unfair, and hurts us all.” I’ve thoroughly covered the hypocrisy of a D.C. union front pretending to have Ohioans’ interests at heart… is there anything trustworthy about the group’s talking points?

Unlike their other arguments, We Are Ohio’s complaint that Senate Bill 5 is unnecessary cites academic research. Amid the other fabrications on We Are Ohio’s “The TRUTH about Issue 2″ page, you’ll find this:
MYTH: Public employees are overpaid, and their salaries need to be brought in line with the private sector.
TRUTH: A recent Rutgers University study found Ohio public employees earn 6 percent less on a yearly basis than their peers in the private sector. They earn 3.5% less on an hourly basis.
Contrary to the Rutgers study, two researchers at the American Enterprise Institute reported that Ohio government workers receive an average premium of 43% more than private industry employees when factors including job security are considered. But this is much more than a case of dueling think-tanks.

Monday, October 24, 2011

BREAKING: We Are Ohio's entire campaign relies on a corrupt researcher

If you've been following the Senate Bill 5 debate, at some point you have surely seen We Are Ohio refer to studies written by Rutgers University professor Jeffrey Keefe for the Economic Policy Institute. The study is a comparison of private-sector versus public-sector compensation, and is frequently cited by the anti-Issue 2 crowd.

In July, We Are Ohio spokesperson Melizza Fazekas steered Columbus Business First reporter Jeff Bell to Keefe's study.
The folks I interviewed said those trying to save S.B. 5 will hammer us with information on how the benefits and pay for Ohio’s public workers are better on average than those of us in the private sector. When asked that question, Fazekas quickly steered to me to a study on the compensation issue completed this year by Jeffrey Keefe, a labor and employment relations professor at Rutgers in New Jersey.

“We will combat it with the truth,” she said.

OEA Member Attacks Workers!

OEA employees on strike, summer 2010. Written on the middle striker's sign: "Because OEA sucks!"
The fight over Senate Bill 5 isn’t the first time government unions have leaned on emotion and hyperbole to get their way. Sometimes the tactic is turned against the Ohio Education Association (OEA) itself… by the union’s employees!

In a fun case of unionized union staff trumping the Solidarity FistTM powers of union bosses, OEA employees highlighted quotes from Ohio teachers despairing over an expiring union contract. This is one example from an August 28, 2009 post on an official OEA staff blog:
Here in Springboro, my members would be agast [sic] to learn that their union, the OEA, is not willing to bargain with its own union workers in a manner that reflects the willingness to practice-what-it preaches.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Ohio Democrats' Hypocrisy on Redistricting

A few weeks ago the Ohio Legislature passed new Congressional lines for the state.  The Republican-controlled Ohio House and Senate passed these new district lines by wide margins in each chamber, with several Democrats from the Legislative Black Caucus joining Republicans in support.  In past years this would be the end of the process, but in 2011 it isn't.  That's because the Ohio Democratic Party is trying to place a referendum on the ballot to challenge these districts.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Swing State Straw Poll results and new 3BP poll

Today the Franklin County Republican Party held the first ever straw poll of Republican presidential candidates. The event was a success, with over 400 people from all over Ohio attending and casting a ballot.

Kudos go to Rick Santorum, who was the only candidate to directly address the audience live via Skype. Herman Cain pre-recorded an address specifically to the Ohio crowd. A local candidate for Columbus city council spoke in place of Ron Paul. For the other candidates, a brief history was read live and one of their videos was played.

PPP shows Mandel momentum in Senate race

Last weekend, it was a new set of fundraising numbers that Sherrod Brown’s campaign had to worry about.Now, they have a poll from Democrat firm Public Policy Polling showing a hard-charging Josh Mandel consolidating his support amongst his Republican base and now independent voters. The poll is standard-issue coming from PPP, too, and Brown’s team has to realize that the over-sampling of Democrats and under-sampling of independents skews even this unfavorable result. The topline in any poll is the news, and to be sure, the incumbent still leads this race to the tune of 48% to 40%. But as soon as you look under the hood of this survey it starts to get messy for Senator Brown.

Friday, October 21, 2011

OEA Employee: "OEA's attitude is about power"

OEA Employees on Strike, Summer 2010
If We Are Ohio’s rhetoric is any indication, unions don’t care for elected officials who stand in their way. The Ohio Education Association (OEA) is the state’s largest public union, so their employees seem like the folks to confirm this! From an August 29, 2009 post on an official OEA staff blog:
Some negotiations are settled peacefully and uneventfully by enlightened boards of education who value their employees.
Of course, OEA defines “enlightened boards of education” as the ones who give OEA whatever it demands.
And then there are those boards of education whose modus operandi is to constantly be power-hungry, contentious, self-serving and extremely short sighted.
Am I the only one who thinks “self-serving” is an odd way to describe public officials who look out for the public?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Ohio Republicans: the Swing State Straw Poll is this Saturday!

3BP readers don't need to be told how important Ohio is in the electoral college, especially to Republicans.  Iowa is now famous for its straw poll, but as critical as Ohio is to any Republican running for president, shouldn't Ohio also have an early say?  The Franklin County Republican Party agreed, and has organized the first ever presidential straw poll in Ohio.

Media Memo: D.C. Unions Spending to Kill Issue 2

Earlier this month, The Columbus Dispatch reported that a Virginia-based conservative group was sending out Yes on 2 mailers:
A secretly funded Republican-friendly group based in Virginia has started spending money in Ohio to urge voters to uphold Senate Bill 5, the new law that would significantly weaken collective bargaining power for public workers.
The story was titled – simply and accurately – “Outside group spending money to save Senate Bill 5.” Several days later, the Dispatch mentioned the mailers again in a story about pro- and anti-Issue 2 spending:
Alliance for America’s Future, a GOP-linked group based in Virginia, is funding a pro-Issue 2 mailing campaign to Ohio voters, according to news reports. The organization is run by Barry Bennett, a former top aide to U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt, R-Loveland. Disclosure of its spending on Issue 2 is not required, Redfern said.
Absent from the Dispatch story on We Are Ohio’s 5-to-2 spending advantage for TV ads is any explanation of how We Are Ohio can afford to cram commercial breaks with rhetoric debunked as “Mostly False” by PolitiFact.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Why does "We Are Ohio" employ socialists and embrace communism? -Part 2

Yesterday, we shared with you how the anti-Issue 2 group "We Are Ohio" is made up of organizations that have given their full endorsement to a movement that seeks to overthrow the entire American economy, by violent means, if necessary.  In fact, 74% of the money behind We Are Ohio comes from the unions who have publicly praised a movement that consists of radical Marxists.

Occupy Wall Street, and its various offshoots in other cities, seems not to be satisfied until the society that has produced the most mass prosperity, the most advancements in technology and freedom, in human history, is replaced by the model more like the failed and deadly Soviet model.  And We Are Ohio is fully on board with that!

But not only do they support the socialists behind the Occupy movement, they even employ one.

Plunderbund: government employees have to pay for parking, or something...

I have to thank our pals over at Plunderbund.  They posted a spoof article last night that had me in stitches.  It turns out that despite being pertually angry liberals, they can occasionally crack a pretty good joke.


It wasn't a spoof?  Good Lord, that was serious?

Politifact Ohio knows which side on Issue 2 has been telling the truth

Just wanted to throw out a quick shout-out to GOHP Blog and show you the excellent graphic they put together, highlighting Politifact Ohio and and Plain Dealer's recent analyses of the ads from both sides of the Issue 2 debate. 

Graphic courtesy GOHP Blog

Protect Ohio Protectors: Another Union Front

Apparently unsatisfied with union front group We Are Ohio's dishonest emotional appeals against union reform, Protect Ohio Protectors built their own "No on Issue 2" website. Because they needed to... repeat the same dishonest emotional appeals:
This year we need to make sure we get out and vote because we are under attack by extreme politicians who have supported Senate Bill 5, the unfair, unsafe law that hurts all of us.
By "extreme politicians" the unions mean, of course, any politician operating from an address outside the AFL-CIO's pocket. And really, what makes Senate Bill 5 unfair - the fact that it brings government compensation closer in line with what most taxpayers receive? What makes it unsafe? The cost-saving measures that will help local governments keep safety workers employed?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Why does "We Are Ohio" employ socialists and embrace communism? -Part 1

Democrats and the media want you to believe that the "Occupy" movement is about "the 99%". The reality is that it is an extreme left movement that wants nothing but the complete collapse of capitalism. Take this observation from Charles Gasparino at the New York Post.
It’s not an overstatement to describe Zuccotti Park as New York’s Marxist epicenter. Flags with the iconic face of the Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara are everywhere; the only American flag I saw was hanging upside down. The “occupiers” openly refer to each other as “comrade,” and just about every piece of literature on offer (free or for sale) advocated socialism in the Marxist tradition as a cure-all for the inequalities of the American economic system.

GOP holds fundraising edge in Congressional delegation

Guest post by Van Wilder

With the Ohio Supreme Court ruling that gives the green-light to the Ohio Democrat Party to continue their quest to challenge Governor Kasich and the GOP-led General Assembly at every turn via referendum, it is at least somewhat likely that Ohio’s Congressional primaries, let alone the general, could be a colossal mess. Since it could be over a year from now until we know exactly where the lines will fall, we simply have to look ahead making a few assumptions based on what we know to be rock-solid truth.

First of all, regardless of who is running for Congress and in which district they choose to run, Ohio Republican candidates outpaced their Democrat counterparts in the third quarter. Secondly, we know that at least two current Congressmen still will not be going back to represent Ohio come January 2013. Also, we know that at there will be at least two (maybe three) cases where sitting members of Congress will be running against each other in a primary or general election, and likely many more that contain former members trying to reclaim old seats along the new lines. Finally, the third quarter was undoubtedly the toughest in which to raise money so far this cycle, and is notorious for being a slow quarter in off-year Congressional fundraising historically.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Mandel fundraising should scare Sherrod

Guest post from Van Wilder.

In just over two quarters of active fundraising, Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel has established himself nationally as a leading challenger among 2012 US Senate candidates. When numbers for the 2nd quarter of 2011 were made public, sitting Senator Sherrod Brown had raised $1.5 million, which is hardly lackluster on its own. However, the likely Republican nominee crushed that showing with his own $2.3 million haul. Plenty of candidates in the past have proven to be of the “flash in the pan” variety, though, so numbers for Mandel’s second quarter in the race have been highly anticipated among national prognosticators.

While the full reports are not yet available, both campaigns have released preliminary numbers. Josh Mandel comes out on top yet again, bringing in another $1.5 million in the 3rd quarter. Incumbent Sherrod Brown only brought in $1.25 million, and has a burn rate almost four times that of Mandel’s campaign operation. As noted by several national outlets, the initial report from the Mandel camp did not include a cash on hand figure, but local outlets like the Columbus Dispatch have reported that this number is likely $3.25 million as of the filing deadline.

Union Bosses Use Soldiers as Props

The hits keep coming in the dishonest campaign against government union reform. This week Jack Reall, President of International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Local 67 in Columbus, sent the following in an email:

Is there anyone union bosses won't hide behind to shield the huge salaries they take from government workers? Does IAFF not realize this sort of transparent cynicism will only drive voters away? I'm no expert on the subject, but treating military uniforms as costumes for the purpose of silencing opposition strikes me as a low point among low points.

Also worth noting: members of the armed forces have no collective bargaining privileges. Really, aside from a tasteless attempt to frame Issue 2 supporters as unpatriotic I don't see what message IAFF could be trying to send. Which would be consistent with everything We Are Ohio does, in a way!

When not outright false - refer to the alleged health insurance contributions of a We Are Ohio spokesman - union rhetoric is heavy on drama and light on details. D.C. unions are funneling millions into Ohio to flood the airwaves with pro-union public workers - whose dues fund uninterrupted union propaganda against the voters who pay their salaries. And, while union apologists smear anyone interested in fixing the broken status quo as a villain who is "attacking workers," We Are Ohio is happy to attack public workers who step out of line.

Don't blame government union members who buy We Are Ohio's partisan theatrics; unions are pros at building a front of selflessness and credibility, so many teachers, police, and firefighters don't have a reason to seek alternate news sources. Get the facts, let people know where those dues are being spent, and encourage your neighbors to support commonsense reforms that will save government jobs without raising taxes.

Vote Yes on Issue 2!

Follow me on Twitter: @jasonahart
Cross-posted at that hero and RedState.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Legal Experts Find No Fault with "Life or Death" Ad

When Building a Better Ohio released the "Life or Death" ad it threw liberals into a fury.  Their outrage and controversy wasn't a claim that the ad was inaccurate.  Instead, "We Are Ohio" and their union backers argued that the use of footage from their own ad was unlawful.  They threatened stations that running the ad could leave them legally liable and even "cause the loss of a station's license".

But legal experts have now weighed in, and they say Building a Better Ohio had every right to use footage from the "Zoey" ad:
Professors at Ohio State University Moritz College of Law say the woman thrust herself into the public debate by appearing in the ad, making her a “limited-use” public figure.

That gives groups the right to use her image in relevant advertising. 
I have to believe "We Are Ohio" had their own legal experts telling them essentially the same thing, so why the threats and hysterics over the ad? As has been true from day 1, they don't want you to know the truth about Issue 2.

One of the left's favorite arguments against Issue 2 has been that its passage would adversely impact the ability of safety forces to do their jobs.  What makes the "Life or Death" ad so effective is that it shows the exact opposite is true.  Local governments need Issue 2's reforms to rein in costs without being forced to lay off the employees who protect us.

Marlene Quinn entered the public debate on Issue 2 telling Ohioans about how firefighters saved her great-granddaughter.  She's rightly concerned for their safety and the safety of all, but what the "Life or Death" ad shows is that the real danger lies in maintaining the status quo.

See the ad liberals have so desperately fought to keep off the air,

then go out and Vote Yes on Issue 2.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

OEA President: "Members can not afford higher dues"

The Ohio Education Association (OEA) has nearly 130,000 members, and takes “fair share” dues from thousands more education employees across the state. OEA is the biggest in-state donor to We Are Ohio, so documented proof of OEA hypocrisy is… inconvenient.

OEA President Patricia Frost-Brooks, through an OEA employee's eyes
Is that why the official blog of the Professional Staff Union (PSU), which represents more than 100 OEA employees, disappeared a few weeks after I began posting quotes? Of course not, according to We Are Ohio apologists!

Still, in that boring, irrelevant blog, an 8/29/2010 email from OEA President Patricia Frost-Brooks included this startling revelation:
I’m also taking into account those locals who have had wage freezes, no step increases, and pay higher cost for health care, or who took no increases in pay to keep healthcare.
Last summer, the OEA President was eager to explain why OEA salaries couldn’t increase forever with no relation to reality. A fair argument, with union staff pay averaging more than $95,000.
I’m also taking into account the local presidents who have told me to please keep the cost down of PSU because there [sic] members can not afford higher dues for their(PSU)contract
Cause and effect, both together in one sentence!? When it comes to once-public funds that have been siphoned into OEA’s hands, OEA is quick to explain nothing is free.

More money for OEA employees has to come from somewhere, and President Frost-Brooks doesn’t want members to have a reason to step out of line. Taxpayers, on the other hand, are none of OEA’s concern, so basic economics go out the window when defending the unsustainable benefits union bosses promise to members.

In an email from the previous year’s OEA – PSU contract fight, President Frost-Brooks showed how much tact $196,294 could get you in 2009:
Communications by PSU lack credibility because they are misleading and sometimes inaccurate.
Nothing says “solidarity professional” like calling your employees liars! I doubt this is the sort of representation many Ohio teachers have in mind when they fork over hundreds of dollars to OEA each year.

Unlike communications from OEA employees, the words of OEA bosses carry unquestionable authority. Undermining my point that government union leaders tend to be selfish hacks, Frost-Brooks took a paltry $190,000 from Ohio educators in fiscal 2010.

Ohio teachers and taxpayers should unite to limit the power of selfish, cynical union bosses: Vote Yes on Issue 2!

Follow me on Twitter: @jasonahart
Cross-posted at that hero.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Columbus Dispatch forced to issue a correction after printing a union member's lie.

Call this "We Are Ohio" Lie #4902.

Doug Stern is a Cincinnati firefighter who is opposed to Issue 2's reasonable reforms. He is so opposed, that he appeared in a "We Are Ohio" commerical. As a firefighter, Mr. Stern has my respect. But that doesn't give him license to lie to the public about the tax-payer funded benefits he receives.

He has a problem with the part of the bill that states that government employees must pay 15% of their health insurance premiums. Why? Because he says he already pays more than that, so the law isn't necessary.
“They’re reforms that are completely and utterly unnecessary,” said Stern at We Are Ohio’s kickoff event yesterday morning in Cincinnati.


Stern said that as a Cincinnati firefighter, he also pays 20 percent toward his health-care premiums. A 2011 survey by the State Employment Relations Board showed that, on average, public employees are paying between 9.5 and 11  percent of their health-care premiums.
He told the Youngstown Business Journal the same thing.
"That would be wonderful if we could get back" to paying 15% on health insurance, he added, pointing out that he pays 20% in Cincinnati.
And the Toledo Blade, too.
Mr. Stern said it's not true that unions have been unwilling to negotiate. He said he and his fellow firefighters pay 20 percent of their health insurance in Cincinnati and haven't had a pay raise in two years.
As with so many of We Are Ohio's claims, its a lie. The Columbus Dispatch reported that Cincinnati firefighters actually only pay 5%, and issued a correction.
Cincinnati firefighters pay 5 percent of their health-insurance premiums. Because of incorrect information provided to The Dispatch, a story on Page B1 of Wednesday’s Metro & State section included a different percentage.
This is a person that We Are Ohio is putting forward as a spokesman. He is featured in their commercial and speaks at their campaign stops. And he has been outright lying about the facts of the matter.

And that's not the only thing he has lied about. He also told reporters that the bill would prevent them from getting good safety equipment.
One of Senate Bill 5's provisions excludes safety equipment issues from being covered during collective bargaining. "It is in the bill that we can talk about it. We can talk till we're blue in the face about safety equipment but that is not negotiation. There's no teeth behind that talk," Stern said.

Stern cited an incident a few years back in Xenia, where firefighters' request to replace 10-year-old fire gear, as mandated by their contract, was opposed by a council member who was looking out for his "pet projects" and his own interests. "He wasn't going to save that money to put it toward more staffing or better equipment. He was going to use it for a project that would help him get reelected," Stern said.
Stern has it backwards. Senate Bill 5 explicitly gives firefighters the ability to collectively bargain for safety equipment. They don't even have that power under current law!

But why let the truth get in the way of your narrative, right? Mr. Stern knows that as a firefighter, he automatically has a sense of goodwill and trust from the general public. We Are Ohio knows this, which is why they feature firefighters in so many of their ads.

Mr. Stern is abusing that trust when he goes out and directly lies to the public about this issue. We Are Ohio should be ashamed of taking advantage of and abusing that public trust. It's sad that they aren't.

We can't believe a thing the unions are telling us about this issue. Make sure you get out and vote YES on Issue 2.

NEA Attacks Ohio Union Reform

I’ve reported previously that We Are Ohio, the group lying its pants off to kill Senate Bill 5, is funded chiefly by D.C. unions. Yesterday, Hot Air noted that the National Education Association (NEA) plans to spend as much as $5 million more to block the reforms passed by Ohio’s elected leaders.

If NEA is genuinely concerned about Ohio teachers, they are saints compared to their Ohio affiliate, the Ohio Education Association (OEA). Don’t believe me? Consider OEA pay, the words of OEA staff, the treatment of OEA retirees, and smears against non-union teachers, for starters.

Maybe NEA is different…

Why is NEA desperate to keep Ohioans from voting Yes on Issue 2? In addition to instituting merit pay, putting a stop to last-in-first-out firing policies, and requiring government workers to pay for a small portion of their benefits, Senate Bill 5 ends mandatory “fair share” dues taken from non-members.

Take a look at NEA pay and tell me it’s not about the money:
Dennis Van Roekel, President $397,721
John Wilson, Executive Director $384,129
Becky Pringle, Secretary Treasurer $340,845
Lily Eskelsen, Vice President $326,563
Carmen Quesada, Director $308,773
John Stocks, Deputy Executive Director $277,613
Dorothy Harrell, Director $270,529
Cynthia Swann, Sr Policy AdvDir $258,751
Michael McPherson, Chief Financial Officer $249,499
HT Nguyen, State Affiliate Exec Dir $246,403
Len Paolillo, Executive Committee $241,556
John Yrchik, State Affiliate Exec Dir $228,786
Kimberly Anderson, Org Specialist $228,356
Julie McGinnis Garcia, CLO $224,117
Barry Melamed, Assoc. Director $222,951
Tamara Hamilton, Dir CareerDev ExelEd $222,220
Sheila Simmons, Director $221,934
Andrew Linebaugh, Director $221,733
Armand Tiberio, RegionalDir $220,416
Segun Eubanks, Director $214,015
David DuVall, RegionalDir $212,649
Dennis Friel, RegionalDir $212,160
Janet Dade, Director $210,970
Kathleen Lyons, RegionalDir $208,009
Leona Hiraoka, Director $206,885
Roxanne Dove, Director $206,816
Bouy Te, Director $206,751
Ronald Henderson, Director $206,161
Willard Raabe, Director $204,717
Daniel Hand, Director $204,343
Philip McLaurin, Director $203,845
Michael Edwards, Sr Policy AdvDir $203,778
Donna Healy-Dean, Director $202,462
Harry Lawson, RegionalDir $201,658
Jacob Sweeney, Org Specialist $201,191
Maurice Joseph, Deputy General Counsel $200,682
View complete spreadsheet, pulled directly from the union’s 2010 report to the U.S. Department of Labor.

36 NEA employees & officers were paid more than $200,000 last year. 97 NEA employees were paid more than $175,000. 183 were paid more than $150,000. 441 were paid more than $100,000!

Let me make sure I’ve got this right:
  1. Teachers are grievously underpaid.
  2. Corporations – who make “products” and “services” and sell them in a “marketplace” where people have “choices” – are to blame.
  3. Teachers in Ohio and across the country pay NEA hundreds of dollars every year so NEA can elect big-government politicians, cheer on deficit spending, agitate for higher taxes, and become millionaires in the process.
Does NEA even allow math teachers to join?

Like all government unions, NEA is in the business of self-preservation at taxpayer expense. Opposing Senate Bill 5 won't help get Ohio back on track... but that's of no consequence to D.C. union bosses. Vote Yes on Issue 2!
Follow me on Twitter: @jasonahart
Cross-posted at that hero and RedState.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The furor, and the truth, about the new "Yes on Issue 2" commercial

Building a Better Ohio released a new commercial today, and Ohio's unions and Democrats are having a full blown conniption fit over it. First, watch the ad "Life or Death" here:

So, why is "We Are Ohio" so hopping mad? Because this new ad uses footage from their OWN ad, "Zoey", which you can view here. Zoey's great grandmother is spliced into the new ad in support of Issue 2.

We Are Ohio is scrambling to keep the ad off the air, and of course, the loonies are throwing a fit over at Ohio moonbat headquarters.

I am not a lawyer, and I have no clue whether We Are Ohio has a legal case against the ad or not. And I suppose I can understand their outrage to some extent. But if you notice, nowhere does We Are Ohio dispute the CONTENT of the commercial.

The TRUTH that the new ad communicates very effectively is this: The reasonable reforms in Senate Bill 5 will prevent more firefighters from being laid off.

Want proof? Here's a classic case study of how unchecked union power actually led to firefighters being laid off in Ohio.
Need a real-life example? Look to Chillicothe.

In 2009, a binding arbitrator determined the average income in Ross County was a little over $25,000 and the county held a 13.8% unemployment rate. With that in mind, one would think Chillicothe would want to keep their budget belts tightened, but not the arbitrator. Instead, he awarded the safety forces union with pay increases of 3% for the next three years. This decision resulted in starting salaries being almost $10,000 more than the county average income. Additionally, another arbitrator awarded the police union with a 7% pension pick-up, meaning that the City had to “pick-up” 7% of the employees’ required contributions to their pensions.

How could the City of Chillicothe possibly pay for these cost increases without a tax hike?

The answer? They couldn’t. Because of increased costs, the City of Chillicothe had to ask voters for a 25% hike in their income taxes.
Notice what happened there? Who had the final say in the negotiations? Was it the city officials that the people elected? The city officials who have to answer to the voters at election time? No. It was a third party arbitrator, who answers to nobody! Shouldn't the voters have the final say? Most people would agree, (except the union bosses.)

Back to Chillicothe. That tax levy the city requested to pay for the union benefits that the arbitrator forced on them? The voters rejected it. Anyone want to take a guess what the city was forced to do then?

Worried about responding to fires and serious medical runs from a station with only two firefighters, Chillicothe is closing its second one in less than six months.

The city is closing Fire Station No. 3 on E. Main Street. Beginning Friday, only the headquarters station on Water Street downtown will be open around the clock.

"At times, we're down to two firefighters (at the closing station) doing a fire response," when three or four are needed to appropriately handle runs, said Fire Chief Bruce Vaughan.

The approach of vacation season and the layoffs of five firefighters last year make it impractical to keep the station open with adequate staffing, Vaughan said.

There is no doubt that Chillicothe would not have laid off those firefighters, had they had the tools that Senate Bill 5 gives them. Instead, the unions pushed for more and more, knowing that the city could not afford it. But they didn't care. They knew they had a chance to take more if the dispute went to an arbitrator. And that's exactly what happened.

Let's imagine that the city officials made the wrong call in the eyes of the voters. The voters get to kick them out of office on election day. But what happens to a third-party arbitrator when HE makes the wrong call? What mechanism do the voters have to correct the situation? NONE.

This is exactly how unions have the upper hand against the taxpayers in Ohio. And it is time to put a stop to it, and give the voters, the taxpayers, the final say.

The result in Chillicothe, is that they lost firefighters, and the city is now less safe. Don't let this keep happening to more and more cities and towns around Ohio. The Chillicothe case exposes the TRUTH. Voting YES on Issue 2 will SAVE the jobs of our brave firefighters, police and EMS personel.

You know, maybe its a good thing that "We Are Ohio" is raising such a fuss over this ad. The more people see it, and learn the truth, the better.

UPDATE: Chillicothe received a federal grant to rehire the laid off firefighters. This is good news for Chillecothe, but we obviously cannot not expect the feds to bail out every city that has to lay off safety forces due to increasing costs. Several firefighters lost their jobs for months due to an arbitrator's ruling and the voters rejection of higher taxes. Were it not for a fortunate grant from the feds, they would still be out of work.

Confirmed: We Are Ohio's commercials are loaded with lies about Issue 2

The folks over at "We Are Ohio" have had a serious aversion to telling the truth.

In August, they outright lied about having had talks with representatives of Governor Kasich about a possible compromise regarding Senate Bill 5.

Next, they used our tax dollars to put their falsehoods on the official ballot arguments.

Then, the ads started. They've been a mixture of fear-mongering and a despicable injection of race into the issue. We've covered how misleading they are, and GOHP Blog has done so as well on several occasions.

In fact, the ads are so untrue, that even the Plain Dealer has called them out as liars in partnership with Politifact. Twice in 4 days!

First, they claimed that lawmakers who supported SB5 exempted themselves to the law. As the PD explains, this is untrue.
But keep in mind, elected legislators already were exempted from that pay schedule.

The other half of the claim, that "politicians exploited a loophole," underscores the commercial’s overall message, that state lawmakers used trickery to avoid playing by the same rules they’re forcing public workers to play by.

But the exemption is hardly a loophole. Lawmakers already were exempt from existing laws relating to the job classification plan and collective bargaining. SB 5 alters those laws while keeping the exemptions for elected officials and others intact.

Legislators’ salaries are set in state law. The Ohio Constitution prohibits lawmakers from in-term pay raises or decreases.
We Are Ohio tries to claim that the legislators should be judged on their merit, as well. Um, they are. They're called ELECTIONS. Duh. On the "Loophole" ad, Politifact and the PD rate it "mostly false."

Next, they took up the "Nurses" ad, where We Are Ohio claims that Senate Bill 5 makes it harder for nurses to give patients quality care.
We started by checking how many nurses belong to public unions and, therefore, will be affected by SB 5.

There are about 160,000 registered nurses in the state and between 6,000 and 10,000 of those are public employees, according to the Ohio Nurses Association. That means SB 5 would affect between 4 percent and 6.25 percent of Ohio nurses.

Aha. So only a tiny fraction of Ohio's nurses are even affected by SB5. We Are Ohio didn't mention that, did they? Politifact continues:
The current collective bargaining agreement that covers Turner, the nurse featured in the commercial, gives some insight into how SB 5 would affect nurses working conditions.

Turner, who works at the Ohio State University Ross Heart Hospital, is represented by the Ohio Nurses Association. The union’s contract with the university contains a clause that gives management the right to set staffing levels.

ONA’s contract with OSU says management has the right "to determine staffing and staffing patterns including, but not limited to the assignment of nurses as to the numbers employed, duties to be performed, qualifications required, and areas worked."

That sounds a lot like the rule that SB 5 would impose.
Catch that? The hospital where the nurse in the commercial works already has the authority to determine its own staffing levels. So in the ad, Turner is complaining about losing a "right" that she doesn't even have now.

But why let the facts stop the unions from scaring the public? Watch in the ad how they show Turner running down a completely empty hospital hallway! No other nurses, no doctors, no staff! Senate Bill 5 will force her to work the emergency room ALL ALONE! Ahhhh!! Talk about scare tactics! It's actually comical to watch.

Again, this commercial, being full of lies and mistruths, is rated "mostly false" by the Plain Dealer and Politifact.

Now you know the truth about these ads. Inform your friends and family, and encourage them to vote YES on Issue 2.

OEA Employee: "Shame on you, OEA"

In a fight between two unions, who would The Big Guy choose?
The Ohio Education Association (OEA) is the biggest in-state donor to We Are Ohio, the union front slandering Senate Bill 5′s commonsense reforms.

OEA tells elaborate tales of “solidarity,” because union income depends on convincing educators the union is their only friend. See, OEA leaders get rich taking money from workers on the premise that public employees need protection from the public. Tiny plot hole: the union has an awful relationship with its own employees.

The Professional Staff Union (PSU) represents more than 100 OEA employees, who went on strike against OEA just one year ago. Here’s a September 2, 2010 post from the official PSU blog (I could list a URL for this post, but OEA staff wiped the site when I started sharing its content; here’s a PDF copy):
Retired Member Tim Kohl, who is a past president of Holgate TA (and self-proclaimed “past problem maker”) was denied access to OEA’s property today. Tim was a dues-paying member for 35-years. OEA’s hired “security” thugs told him “no one enters the property.” Shame on you, OEA – for disrespecting a long-time, dues-paying member in that way!
“Shame on you, OEA” – for doing the exact things you accuse elected officials of scheming. If you’d like more evidence OEA bosses have too much power, there’s plenty to be had.

On November 8, vote for sensible reforms to Ohio’s broken government union law. Vote Yes on Issue 2!

Follow me on Twitter: @jasonahart
Cross-posted at that hero.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Protesting Capitalism, One iPhone Delivered Tweet at a Time

The current liberal cause celebre is the "Occupy Wall Street" protest.  This group of various leftist agitators and unwashed college activist-wannabes with no particular job or social life to distract them has camped out in New York. They're marching on the Brooklyn Bridge and trying to come up with slogans that rhyme with '99 percent'. Meanwhile, the media, always ready to sensationalize a story, is all too happy to give this small group endless exposure.  

Now the far left is trying to spread the drum circles to other cities, from Cincinnati to ChicagoDC to LA.  They even had a small gathering of hippies outside the Statehouse in Columbus today (Some friendly advice: if planning to protest government, pick a day that isn't a state holiday.)

There's nothing unique about the rhetoric coming from these people; it's the same stale liberalism of the past 50 years reheated for 2011.  What makes these protests so utterly laughable is that members of the most consumerist generation ever are protesting capitalism.

As a member of the under-30 crowd, I (and my low bank balance) can attest to the fact that what my generation does best is spend. Most of us don't have families to provide for yet, aren't thinking about saving for retirement, hold significant disposable income (from either work or our parents) and are obsessed with status symbols.  It's why corporations make and advertise so many products geared toward the tastes of younger people.

In turn, younger people buy like there's no tomorrow.  The same people camping out near Wall Street to condemn corporate profits will be among the first in line for the latest iPhone, Call of Duty Black Ops: Resurrection (now available on PS3!), or a new PowerShot digital camera.  Don't misunderstand me, there is nothing wrong with people spending their money as they see fit, but for those same people to then complain about the success of these same corporations is the height of ignorance.

Just take a quick look at the Occupy DC website.  Bold revolutionaries for change to fight corporations, and you can connect with them through Facebook Inc., Twitter Inc., and my personal favorite, Google Groups (brought to you by Google Inc.).  Then there's the revolving 7 photos on the page.  There you can see these crusaders against capitalism, and they're doing it with their corporation-made cell phones, cameras, bullhorns, and bicycles in tow.

It's an irony that seems to be lost on these clueless protesters.  Take today's small Columbus event as an example.  In that Statehouse protest group was a 24-year old named Bethany.  This wannabe revolutionary's day job? She works for J.P. Morgan Chase.  Complete with her "Mean Corporations Suck" sign she attempts to explain away this inconsistency by claiming to be fighting to change the company from within and that her ideas "will be the ones they keep as [she] move[s] up."  Forgive me if I don't exactly see Bethany and her "Mean Corporations Suck" sign as future CEO material.

These 'Occupy ____' protests are nothing more than the whining of fringe left youth who feel they're entitled to everything they want without having to put in the time or work to achieve it.  For all their self-declarations of being a serious, intellectually based movement, just remember that these

are the people claiming to hate corporations.

Union Bosses Don't Answer to You

We Are Ohio rally protest sign
Class warfare is the only song We Are Ohio knows. So, for another four weeks they’ll keep playing the same tune, hoping voters don’t realize the outrageous truth.

Every year, Ohio’s government unions pay themselves handsomely with millions of dollars taken from public workers. It's a decent gig, considering that taxpayers (and even union members) suffer as a result of unsustainable union demands.

Next time you hear a union apologist slamming fat-cat Republicans or corporate villains, keep in mind what union bosses are paid. Senate President Niehaus’s Chief of Staff – the focal point of a recent controversy – pulls down about $139,000. Does that sound like too much?

Joseph Rugola:
Executive Director, AFSCME Local 4
Larry Wicks:
Executive Director, Ohio Education Association
Gary Martin:
Associate Director, AFSCME Local 4
Patricia Frost-Brooks:
President, Ohio Education Association
Doug Crawford:
Labor Relations Consultant, Ohio Education Association
Cecilia Weldon:
Labor Relations Consultant, Ohio Education Association
Bill Leibensperger:
Vice President, Ohio Education Association
James Martin:
Assistant Executive Director, Business Services, Ohio Education Association
Kevin Flanagan:
Assistant Executive Director, Member Services – Field, Ohio Education Association
Michael McEachern:
Labor Relations Consultant, Ohio Education Association
Susan Babcock:
Assistant Executive Director, Strategic/Workforce, Ohio Education Association
Rachelle Johnson:
Assistant Executive Director, Member Services-Programming, Ohio Education Association
Charles Roginski:
Regional Director, AFSCME Local 4
Mark Linder:
Labor Relations Consultant, Ohio Education Association
Venita Shoulders:
Labor Relations Consultant, Ohio Education Association
John Lyall:
President, AFSCME Council 8
William Otten:
Labor Relations Consultant, Ohio Education Association
Patricia Collins:
Director, Region 1, Ohio Education Association
Fritz Fekete:
Director I/S & Research, Ohio Education Association
Tom Drabick:
Director of Legal Department, AFSCME Local 4
Mary Suchy:
Director of Membership, Ohio Education Association
Randall Flora:
Director, EI&I, Ohio Education Association
Rodney Bird:
Labor Relations Consultant, Ohio Education Association
Jeffrey Kestner:
Labor Relations Consultant, Ohio Education Association
Don Williams:
Labor Relations Consultant, Ohio Education Association
Parry Norris:
Director, Region 2, Ohio Education Association
Harold Mitchell:
First Vice President, AFSCME Council 8
Alfred Nelson:
Labor Relations Consultant, Ohio Education Association
Cristina Munoz-Nedrow:
Director, Region 5, Ohio Education Association
Rebecca Villamagna:
Labor Relations Consultant, Ohio Education Association
Gary Carlisle:
Labor Relations Consultant, Ohio Education Association
Gregg Gascon:
Research Consultant, Ohio Education Association
Suzanne Kaszar:
Communications Consultant, Ohio Education Association
Linda Fiely:
General Counsel, Ohio Education Association
William Pearsol:
Labor Relations Consultant, Ohio Education Association
Stuart Graham:
CIS Consultant, Ohio Education Association
Talmadge Hutchins:
Labor Relations Consultant, Ohio Education Association
Robert Matkowski:
Labor Relations Consultant, Ohio Education Association
Victor Marchese:
Labor Relations Consultant, Ohio Education Association
Lavonne Lobert-Edmo:
Labor Relations Consultant, Ohio Education Association
Ronald Rapp:
Director, Governmental Services, Ohio Education Association
Michael Mahoney:
Director, Communications, Ohio Education Association
Vicky Davis:
Labor Relations Consultant, Ohio Education Association
Ruth Field:
Labor Relations Consultant, Ohio Education Association
Randy Weston:
Director of Political Action, AFSCME Local 4
Joseph Cohagen:
Director, Accounting, Ohio Education Association
Jerry Squires:
Labor Relations Consultant, Ohio Education Association
Elizabeth Chandler-Mark:
Labor Relations Consultant, Ohio Education Association
Mark Allison:
CIS Consultant, Ohio Education Association
John Grafton:
Labor Relations Consultant, Ohio Education Association
Robin Busby:
Labor Relations Consultant, Ohio Education Association
Cathy White:
Labor Relations Consultant, Ohio Education Association
Darren Clum:
CIS Consultant, Ohio Education Association
Melodie Terman:
Labor Relations Consultant, Ohio Education Association
Linda Lindsey:
Labor Relations Consultant, Ohio Education Association
Cynthia Peterson:
Education Reform Consultant, Ohio Education Association
Ann Bayou:
Labor Relations Consultant, Ohio Education Association

View data (pulled directly from U.S. Department of Labor reports) in Excel format.

What’s the difference between statehouse staff and union employees? Statehouse staff work for Ohio’s entire population, while government unions take dues from public workers for the service of fighting taxpayers.

If you decide Governor Kasich is a jerk or your state senator is a boob, you can vote for someone else. If you're disgusted by the way government unions take and spend dues… too bad. Current law enables unions to siphon money from public employees with no recourse from the public.

Union bosses have had too much control over Ohio’s government for far too long. This fall, vote for sensible reforms to government union power: Vote Yes on Issue 2!

Follow me on Twitter: @jasonahart
Cross-posted at that hero.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

AG Holder: I Don't Read Memos - and it's Bush's Fault

The "Fast and Furious" scandal downplayed by Obama loyalists in the media for the past several months is becoming a serious liability for President Obama, with Attorney General Eric Holder appearing to commit perjury during a House Oversight Committee hearing. Justice Department memos released this week contradict Holder's sworn testimony.

How bad is this situation for the White House? Even CBS News has been forced to show an interest in the story!

The question asked by House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) was trimmed from the CBS News report: "When did you first know about the program officially, I believe, called Fast and Furious?" Simple question. No ambiguity. Same goes for Holder's response: "I'm not sure of the exact date, but I probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks."

The CBS News clip above lets Holder slide with an incredibly weak line about not understanding the question, but I doubt the average citizen will be so willing to drop the issue. With Republicans on the attack, Holder sent a letter to members of Congress on Friday:
"I have no recollection of knowing about the operation, called 'Fast and Furious,' or of hearing its name prior to the public controversy about it," Holder said in a letter to key Republican and Democratic members of Congress.
He added that before early this year, "I certainly never knew about the tactics employed in the operation, and it is my understanding that the former United States Attorney for the district of Arizona and the former acting director and deputy director of ATF have told Congress that they, themselves, were unaware of the tactics employed."
Because this is Barack Obama's Attorney General we're talking about, Holder's letter was also required to meet a minimum threshold for Stuff Blamed On Dubya.
The attorney general noted the flawed tactics employed in Fast and Furious "were actually employed in an investigation conducted during the prior administration."
In review, Obama's Attorney General hadn't heard about Fast and Furious until this spring... even though he received several memos mentioning the program dating back to early 2010. So maybe he heard about the operation, but it was probably a different one - which he made no attempt to clarify in his testimony because... ? Holder definitely doesn't remember knowing anything, and what he did know but almost certainly forgot is really Bush's fault anyway.

How many mulligan-years are we supposed to give the Obama administration, and at what point do Bush policies that Obama continues become "Obama policies?" Is it unfair to expect that the Attorney General read the briefings deemed important enough to cross his desk?

Follow me on Twitter: @jasonahart
Cross-posted at that hero.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Sherrod Shills for Another Union Bailout

President Obama is so concerned about the economy, he sent three major Bush-era free trade agreements to Congress after less than 3 years!
The deals, which were originally negotiated during the Bush administration, would boost U.S. exports by $13 billion a year; both the White House and congressional Republicans have touted the three pacts as a means of creating tens of thousands of jobs without requiring additional federal spending.
Our own Senator Sherrod Brown is clear about his stance on free trade: he’s against it.
“With an exploding trade deficit that has caused massive job loss, now is not the time to pass more wrongheaded free- trade agreements,” Brown said in a statement released after the White House sent the measures to Congress on Oct. 3.
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is a frequent pinata for Senator Brown, as it was for candidate Obama. Sure, the preponderance of evidence supports NAFTA and makes Brown & Obama look like demagogues, but there are competing figures for any issue. Sherrod also finds it convenient to talk about China instead of out-of-control spending - and to smear every trade partner as if they were the Chinese.

While common sense suggests we should do our best to compete in the global marketplace, Sherrod Brown would rather spend more of your money on union bailouts:
“This extension of Trade Adjustment Assistance and the Health Coverage Tax Credit is long overdue,” Brown said in a statement.
Sherrod Brown rails against free markets as if the purpose of government were to smother everything else, but there’s one industry Sherrod adores: unions. Maybe D.C. union bosses have a Sherrod-Signal on the roof! Whenever union clout is threatened, they throw the switch and Sherrod swoops in – with bags of taxpayer cash.

"Competition?! Light the Sherrod-Signal, boys!"
Senator Brown acts concerned about the trade deficit with China, but his only answer to much worse federal budget deficits is to soak the rich. At the moment, Ohioans can’t do much to prevent Sherrod from fighting free-market policies while throwing our money at union bosses… but 2012 is right around the corner.

Follow me on Twitter: @jasonahart
Cross-posted at that hero.