Ohio Journalists On The Real John Kasich: Anti-Union, Anti-Choice, Anti-Marriage Equality

Source: Media Matters

Author: Joe Strupp

Emphasis Mine

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who announced his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination this week, may appear moderate. But according to reporters who cover him regularly, the former Fox News host’s tenure in the statehouse has included efforts to reduce collective bargaining, limit abortion rights, and fight marriage equality.

Ohio reporters who have covered Kasich closely raise several areas of interest for national media that have less experience covering him.

His efforts to cut state spending and balance the budget did reduce taxes, but put more of a burden on local governments, Ohio journalists point out. They also note his off-the-cuff style can lead to wandering speeches and incidents like the revelation that he called a police officer an “idiot” during a 2008 traffic stop.

“He can be quite a character sometimes, the national press doesn’t know how to take him,” said Shane Stegmiller of Hannah News Service and president of the Ohio Legislative Correspondents Association. “You never know what he’s going to say.”

Stegmiller cited the “idiot” incident, which occurred before Kasich’s 2010 election, but became public in 2011: “It blew up on him pretty big.”

Then there are his often-forgotten fights against abortion and gay rights, according to Chrissie Thompson, a Cincinnati Enquirer state government reporter since 2013.

The recent U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide stemmed from the Ohio-based Obergefell vs. Hodges case, in which plaintiff Jim Obergefell sued to be listed on his spouse’s death certificate as the surviving spouse. Defendant Richard Hodges, the Ohio director of public health, is a Kasich appointee.

“The department of health was the lead defendant in Obergefell vs. Hodges in the gay marriage debate,” Thompson said. “Kasich opposed same-sex marriage and he authorized the fight to protect our gay marriage ban.”

Since he took office, Kasich has also signed restrictive abortion bills that have led to half of the state’s 16 abortion clinics closing, with the potential for more to close in the near future.

He had signed some abortion restrictions and those have resulted in the closure of some of our abortion clinics in Ohio,” Thompson said. “He does not like to talk about it a lot.”

Another issue that occurred during his first year in office was the proposal known as Senate Bill 5, Kasich’s effort to clamp down on collective bargaining rights for public employee unions. Similar to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s more publicized union fight, the Kasich measure was passed and signed into law, but drew harsh criticism. It was eventually voted down overwhelmingly via a ballot referendum later that year.

“Senate Bill 5 was hugely controversial,” recalls Laura Bischoff, a 14-year statehouse reporter with the Dayton Daily News. “They wanted to really gut collective bargaining rights for public employees and it sparked huge protests at the statehouse, bigger than I’ve ever seen.”

Marc Kovac, statehouse bureau chief for Dix Newspapers and The Vindicator of Youngstown, agreed.

“Kasich was a staunch supporter of public employee collective bargaining reform, signing the former Senate Bill 5 into law and setting off a massive referendum effort that blocked that law from taking effect,” he said.

Bischoff also pointed to Kasich’s privatizing of some prisons, a move that drew corrections officer complaints about conditions and resulted in an audit that found 47 violations in one private institution.

“There is a question as to whether it saved money more than projected, the union that represents corrections officers said it was bad,” Bischoff said. “There was one audit report that was really bad about conditions the inmates were living in.”

Kasich’s economic stimulus program, JobsOhio, is another point of contention, according to reporters. The private, non-profit agency was created to help spark job growth, but in a secretive fashion that exempts it from state open public record laws and limits state audit oversight.

“People didn’t like the fact that it’s now somewhat shrouded in secrecy with public money,” said Jim Siegel, a Columbus Dispatch statehouse reporter since 1998. “There are concerns it could be used for cronyism. He believes in the private sector and letting the private sector do as much as possible on things. He’s made efforts to privatize as much as he can.”

And the job growth has been less than successful, Stegmiller says, noting the state’s job growth rate for the past 32 months is at 1.73%, below the national average of 2.09%.

“While Ohio had gained back a lot of jobs, it lags a lot of states in job recovery,” he said.

The state budget, meanwhile, is something Kasich touts as a success, journalists say. But the impact may be less positive than he lets on.

Reporters cite the claim that Kasich eliminated an $8 billion deficit and shored up the state’s “rainy day” surplus fund. But in reality, he cut funding to local governments and school districts, forcing many to increase their own taxes and fees.

“By reducing their funding, now they are having to go to voters and ask for local levies to help make that up,” said Jackie Borchardt of The Plain Dealer in Cleveland. “The local government or school district is having to raise more revenue that way. In his first budget, he did slash spending for education. He cut it and local governments have said they continue to chip away at their funding.”

And the $8 billion deficit Kasich touts wasn’t really a deficit, according to the Enquirer’s Thompson: “We never actually had a deficit, he used the word deficit and it was a projected shortfall.”

Kasich supporters also brag about his big re-election victory in 2014, in which he beat Democratic challenger Ed FitzGerald nearly 2 to 1. But what is often lost is that FitzGerald, then the Cuyahoga County Executive, was hit with a very public scandal after it was revealed the married candidate was found by police in a parking lot at 4:30 a.m. with another woman.

The circumstances of that incident remain unclear. But things got worse when it was found he had been driving without a license for about 10 years.

“He won 86 out of 88 counties in 2014, but he was running against a very weak opponent,” Thompson said about Kasich’s last election.

 

See: http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/07/23/ohio-journalists-on-the-real-john-kasich-anti-u/204560

Fitzgerald releases program

From  Rick Nagin

Last night before a packed house at the monthly delegates’ meeting of the North Shore AFL-CIO Federation of Labor, Ed Fitzgerald, Democratic candidate for Ohio Governor calmly, simply and eloquently presented his five point working class program for our state.  Despite the vicious, massively funded campaign  of the Republicans and the scandal-mongering of some of the corporate media, Fitzgerald stood tall and steadfast as he showed what is really at stake in this election and the stark difference between his program and the the anti-labor, anti-civil rights, anti-woman, anti-local government, anti-public education policies of incumbent Gov. John Kasich.  He also showed that even after two weeks of scandal-mongering, the latest polls show the race continues to be close with Fitzgerald trailing by only six points.  The grassroots efforts of Labor 2014 and the Democratic Party have only just begun.  There are one million more registered Democrats than Republicans in Ohio.  This means that if we reach voters with Fitzgerald’s program and explain the difference between him and Kasich, Fitzgerald will win. We must do everything possible to make this happen and reject the shameful readiness of some to surrender and throw in the towel  even before the fight has begun.  Defeating Kasich will be a huge blow to right wing extremism in Ohio and nationally.  Below is Ed Fitzgerald’s program.  Please make sure  this gets into the hands of everyone you can reach.
In Solidarity,
Rick Nagin
Five major differences between Ed Fitzgerald and John Kasich
1.  Ed is for public education.  That includes restoring funding, respecting teachers, reducing standardized testing and supporting early and higher education.
     – Kasich slashed the public education budget and promotes poor-performing, scandal-ridden, for-profit charter schools.
2.  Ed is for workers’ rights, including the right to bargain and a higher minimum wage.
     – Kasich pushed for passage of SB 5 and, make no mistake, will push for passage of right-to-work legislation.
3.  Ed is for civil rights, including women’s rights, marriage equality and voting rights.
     – Kasich restricted women’s rights, opposes marriage equality and suppressed voting rights.
4.  Ed supports local communities including local government funding, public safety – and safe drinking water.
     – Kasich slashed local government funding, cut public safety, cut heroin treatment and sold out to the industry on water safety.
5.  Ed wants an economy that works for all of us, especially the middle class which is suffering under Kasich.
      – Kasich consistently supports policies that benefit the wealthy while stealing money from the middle class to pay for tax giveaways to the rich. 

The Right’s ‘Big Lie’ Strategy: When Losing, Simply Rewrite History

“Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.” America, the Tea Party GOP is coming for your kids.

Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.”  (1984, George Orwell)

From AlterNet: Contemporary conservatives aim to disseminate an alternate version of reality through the media echo chamber and the schools.

America, the Tea Party GOP is coming for your kids.

Mike Huckabee, Republican front runner and presumptive 2012 presidential nominee is getting into the education business. He has started a project, “Learn Our History,” where on a monthly basis–sort of like BMG or Columbia House music–Huckabee’s organization will send subscribers Time Travel Academy, an animated children’s cartoon featuring a group of intrepid time travelers who teach lessons about U.S. history “without a political bias.

If judged by its artistic qualities, the cartoon is so poorly done as to be a pitiable joke. Its main characters are a contrived group of multicultural “tweens.” The history is predictable: Ronald Reagan is America’s savior, America is a Judeo-Christian country preordained by God to be exceptional, and flag-waving jingoistic nationalism is a virtue and never a sin. The guiding principle of this right-wing approved version of U.S. history is simple: “What we see and hear isn’t always the same as what we read in books, or see on TV. We know the truth. And that’s good enough for us.”

The takeaway here is simple. The “liberals,” a cabal that ostensibly holds sway over public schools and universities, are corrupt and anti-American. In their fantasy, conservatives have access to a quasi-secret, pure and unadulterated version of history that is only available to true believers. The Right is the proverbial keeper of the flame. They are obligated, through a gospel of sorts, to both protect and share this “correct,” self-validating (and quite inaccurate) version of American history with all who will listen — and they’re using education and the media to do it.

The Time Travel Academy is patently absurd. Huckabee’s effort at overt historical revisionism is part of a larger national trend that has been decades in the making. Here, conservatives are playing chess while the Left and progressives are playing checkers. To that end, the Right has developed a two-fold strategy.

First, they correctly understand that the educational system is one of society’s primary sites for political socialization. There you create citizens. The classroom is also where citizens are equipped with the critical frameworks needed to ask hard questions about the common good, their role in society, and the State’s obligation to the people.

Conservatives have made a series of bold strikes in politicizing the classroom in the service of their agenda.

1. David Horowitz, failed academic and incendiary polemicist, and his group, the Center for the Study of Popular Culture (now called the David Horowitz Freedom Center), have been policing college classrooms for years. They have compiled aMcCarthy-like enemies list of professors who are “dangerous Leftists” that “poison” and “pollute” the minds of young people by criticizing the pet policy positions of conservatives. Offenders who earn the ire of Horowitz and his organization are routinely harassed. Some have even been drummed out of their positions as college professors for being too liberal and “Leftist” for Horowitz’s taste.

2. The Koch brothers, the astroturf puppet masters of the New Right, have beenfunding academic programs and research centers that parrot the extreme gospel of trickle-down economics, anti-statism, and other policy positions that are favorable to the most extreme elements of the conservative agenda. Subverting the rules of academic freedom, the Koch brothers have also donated monies with the condition that faculty members support their policy positions.

3. Christian Nationalist pseudo-historians such as David Barton offer an uncritical view of American exceptionalism and the Constitution where the United States is portrayed as a theocracy beholden to Judeo-Christian beliefs. They have become darlings of the New Right and the Tea Party. A historian without credentials, he has become a mascot for popular conservatives and praised by Newt Gingrich as a preeminent scholar in his field. Barton has risen to fame on the backs of Glenn Beck and Fox News, who together pander his “righteous” and “correct” versions of American history to their audiences. As part of a cottage industry that features such factually challenged writers as Jonah Goldberg, their jackbooted and incorrect versions of history (synthesized by ideological pedants and hobbyists) have become the intellectual cornerstones of contemporary conservative thought.

4. The Arizona Ethnic Studies ban, along with the efforts to rewrite Texas school books to reflect a conservative view of U.S. history, are entry points for (re)educating children in a mold that fits the Right’s social and political agenda. In the age of Obama these state-level moves are designed to quite literally whitewash American history and to remove the successes of liberals and progressives from the classroom. In total, these assaults on education are efforts to propagandize the country’s youngest and most impressionable citizens by elevating conservative mythology to the level of historical certainty.

The second part of the Right’s efforts to remake American citizenship involves the media. Aided and abetted by Fox News and the right-wing media echo chamber, there has been a concerted effort to create an alternate reality that destroys the post-Civil War consensus and the social contract that has guided this country since World War II. There are many examples that demonstrate the deleterious impact of the right-wing spin machine on the American public.

Viewers of Fox News are significantly more likely to be misinformed about politics and public policy. This effect becomes more exaggerated the longer a person watches Fox News. Conservative pundits are more likely to makeerroneous predictions about political events. As documented by a range of independent media watchdog groups, Fox News and other right-wing outlets use the lie of the “liberal media” to disseminate factually incorrect information to their audiences. In a moment when political polarization is at an extreme, it is no wonder that conversations across divides of ideology and party are so difficult. Why? The right-wing media has succeeded in creating an alternate reality for its viewers. The consequences for Americans are dire: Any efforts to move forward as a community in search of solutions to our common dilemmas are damned because the basic terms of the debate cannot even be agreed upon.

The timing of these events is critical. The United States is at a crossroads. The Great Recession has exposed an empire built on a house of cards. Imperial misadventures abroad have left a hollowed-out infrastructure. The country is mired in debt as wealth inequality rises to unconceivable levels, the plutocrats earn record profits, and the average worker faces stagnant wages and severe unemployment.

As highlighted by recent polling data suggesting that the most die-hard Republicans want to split and form a third party, conservatism is in an existential dilemma. The symbolic politics of the age of Obama, when a black man is president of the United States, has triggered all manner of upset and madness on the part of the Tea Party GOP. The Right faces a set of changing demographics where their core constituency is aging and dying off (what social scientists term as “generational replacement”). And looking forward several decades, whites will no longer be the majority racial group in America. In total, the base of the Republican Party is in decline and their electoral coalition is facing obsolescence.

The Tea Party GOP’s search for a nominee to challenge Barack Obama has highlighted their bankruptcy of ideas. When not flailing about in the mucky waters of white populism, birtherism, and xenophobia, the positions offered by the GOP frontrunners are a laughable recycling of the failed policies of trickle-down economics, the Laffer curve, and an almost cult-like devotion to a belief that tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, in conjunction with draconian cuts on public services for the middle, poor, and working classes, are the only way to balance the budget and reduce the deficit.

Despite all evidence to the contrary–and warnings from responsible voices within the Republican Party about the dangers of “voodoo economics”–these tired ideas remain at the cutting edge of the Right’s vision for America in the 21st century. The irony here is deep: the Great Recession was caused in large part by these reckless policies and a devotion to “gangster capitalism.” Nevertheless, the Tea Party GOP wants to continue these policies as a means of saving the country.

Although culture warriors such as Pat Buchanan, and carnival barker pseudo-historians such as Glenn Beck would suggest otherwise, the forces of social and political conservatism have repeatedly been shown to be on the wrong side of American history. The triumphs of the Civil Rights, women’s and labor movements were high water marks for the country. While maligned by the New Right as near profanities, the long arc of American history suggests that the forces of progressive and liberal thought have expanded rights and liberties for the country’s citizens, as well as provided a more certain future in the pursuit of the common good than those alternatives offered by the Right.

For contemporary conservatives the solution to this dilemma is a simple one. When losing simply rewrite the history. Change the narrative. Then disseminate this alternate version of reality through the right-wing media and the schools.

This is the foundation of the Big Lie. The right-wing echo chamber offers a different version of the facts. In turn, their audience internalizes a partisan and ideologically skewed version of reality. Thus, shared solutions to the challenges facing the American people are almost impossible to reach because we as citizens are proceeding from a different set of priors about the nature of the problem.

The assault by conservatives on education is prefaced on a need to destroy those with whom they disagree. The Right has long identified “the Ivory Tower” as one of the last bulwarks that stands against their agenda. Because they have long prayed at the mantle of anti-intellectualism (see the appeal of professional mediocrity Sarah Palin to her “mama grizzlies” and the Tea Party brigands as proof) this is an easy move. The efforts by conservatives to privatize schools, destroy teacher’s unions, end tenure, and inaugurate a world where professors are all adjuncts subject to firing at any time (and compensated a pitiable salary) is the game plan to hobble their foes.

Collectively, conservatives want to create a class of consumer-citizens who are passive and ill-equipped to ask any hard questions about power, politics or society. The Right does not want critical thinkers or active citizens. Instead, they want to create drones who worship the market and live out a dystopian reality that is torn straight from the pages of one of Ayn Rand’s unreadable novels.

While Huckabee and company’s agenda may seem like child’s play at first, this is a real and deadly serious business. The Right is playing a deep game where they are remaking the very notions of citizenship and reality. What will progressives and the left do in response? Will they roll over and play nice? Or will they rise to the challenge?

The Right has been playing for keeps. The Left has been letting the fight go to the scorecards. It is time to step up and go for the knockout punch.

(Emphasis Mine)

see:http://www.alternet.org/story/150937/the_right%27s_%27big_lie%27_strategy%3A_when_losing%2C_simply_rewrite_history?page=entire

The Four Freedoms of the Tea Party.

In 1941, President Roosevelt introduced his Four Freedoms:"In the future days, which we seek to make secure,
 we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.

The first is freedom of speech and expression — everywhere in the world.

The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way — everywhere in the world.

The third is freedom from want — which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants — everywhere in the world.

The fourth is freedom from fear — which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor– anywhere in the world.”

see http://www.wwnorton.com/college/history/ralph/workbook/ralprs36b.htm

Today, the Tea Party advocates have their own Four Freedoms:

Freedom to watch others die a long, slow death because they cannot afford reasonable health care.

Freedom to watch many fail in life because they do not have access to a good education.

Freedom to watch millions fall from the middle class into poverty because their union barganing rights have been destroyed.

Freedom to watch seniors live in poverty because their savings have been lost by greedy speculators, and their safety nets destroyed.