By The Associated Press
Elyria Chronicle-Telegram. June 16, 2023.
Editorial: In defense of Trump, Vance targets the Justice Department
U.S. Sen. J.D. Vance wants the wheels of justice to turn even slower.
The Cincinnati Republican, in a fit of pique against U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, said he would “grind his department to a halt.”
Vance announced Tuesday that he would place a “hold” on Department of Justice nominations to protest what he described as “the DOJ improperly targeting conservatives.” (He excluded nominations for the U.S. Marshals Service.)
This was Vance’s unfortunate revenge for what he sees as the Justice Department caring “more about politics than law enforcement” and the indictment of former President Donald Trump on federal charges last week. Trump, who has pleaded not guilty, is accused of improperly retaining classified documents and refusing to return them despite being given multiple opportunities to do so.
Before the indictment had even been unsealed last week, Vance had made up his mind about the case.
“We live in a third world country with a two-tiered justice system,” Vance said in a statement sent out at 9:37 p.m. last Thursday, the day the indictment became public knowledge, but before the details of the charges had been released.
He continued: “The actions of the corrupt Department of Justice should stand as a warning to all Americans: if the leader of our great nation could fall victim to such an injustice the same could happen for anybody.”
Let’s pause for a moment to remember that Trump is no longer “the leader of our great nation,” which is why he’s in trouble for hoarding classified documents. Trump lost the 2020 presidential election, however much he falsely claims that he didn’t.
Nor are most Americans in danger of being charged with illegally making off with classified documents. When those who have access to government secrets willfully break the laws governing such documents, they are generally charged.
For example, retired Air Force Lt. Col. Robert Birchum was recently sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to unlawfully possessing and retaining hundreds of classified national security documents.
Conservatives are quick to point out that both President Joe Biden and former Vice President Mike Pence also were found to have improperly retained classified documents after departing government service. The difference is that, unlike Trump, both returned the documents when they were discovered.
The Justice Department has notified Pence — who, it must be noted, is a conservative and a GOP presidential candidate like Trump, albeit one with a low chance of winning — that he won’t be charged.
Biden’s possession of classified documents is being reviewed by a special counsel. It’s a good bet that Republican outrage if Biden were to be charged would be muted, to say the least.
None of that appears to matter much to Vance and Trump’s other stalwart defenders in the GOP.
Bernie Moreno, a Republican vying to challenge U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Cleveland, next year, was likewise dismissive of the charges against Trump.
In a new release sent out at 9:05 p.m. last Thursday, again before the indictment’s details were made public, Moreno dismissed the charges as more than “just blatant election interference.” They were, he said, “a miscarriage of justice.”
Nor is Vance the only Republican looking for ways to gum up the works at the Justice Department.
The Washington Post reported this week that U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, who represented Lorain County in Congress until his district was redrawn last year, was looking into creating a list of “policy riders” to attach to bills to restrict Justice Department and FBI funding.
Among the potential targets for Republicans is funding for a new FBI headquarters and the special counsel’s office.
How successful those efforts would be is questionable given that Democrats still control the Senate and that some Republicans would prefer not to be called out in campaign ads for defunding law enforcement.
Nor can Vance by himself prevent Justice Department nominees from being confirmed. At most he’ll be able to slow the process, which he, for all his bluster, seemed to realize.
“Let’s make this department work a little bit more slowly until Merrick Garland changes course and actually does his job the right way,” Vance was quoted as saying by NBC News.
The “right way” apparently involves ignoring alleged lawbreaking by Vance’s political allies.
Talk about politicizing the justice system.
Youngstown Vindicator. June 18, 2023.
Editorial: Ohio deserves hub for nation’s Space Command
Ohio’s pivotal role in rocketing the U.S. to the pinnacle of world leadership in space exploration and research cannot be minimized.
Consider John Glenn, a Cambridge native, who marveled America by becoming the first U.S. astronaut to orbit the Earth in 1962 in NASA’s inaugural Mercury mission. Consider Neil Armstrong, a Wapakoneta native, who seven years later “took one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” as the first human to walk on the moon. Or consider, from our perspective in the Mahoning Valley, Warren native Ron Parise, who spent more than 25 days on two space shuttle missions and who was instrumental in bringing amateur radio equipment to shuttle flights.
Collectively, 25 Ohioans have served as NASA astronauts, logging more than 22,000 hours in space on more than 80 flights into outer space.
That robust history of space travel, coupled with the state’s leadership in aviation and space research, has sparked a growing chorus of movers and shakers to urge the administration of President Joe Biden to locate headquarters of the U.S. Space Command in the Buckeye State, specifically at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton with auxiliary NASA facilities in Cleveland and Sandusky.
To date, among those who have made that appeal include a bipartisan coalition of congressional representatives, including U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown and Republican Congressman David Joyce; a collection of economic development advocates, including the Youngstown / Warren Regional Chamber; and the Ohio Mayors Alliance, including Youngstown Mayor Jamael Tito Brown.
We add our voice today to that call for Ohio’s selection as the permanent hub of the Space Command, the nation’s newest military branch.
Reaching that lofty outcome, however, will not be easy. Competition is stiff for the headquarters. Space centers in Alabama and Colorado have been leading contenders, and at least three other states have been jockeying for the facility as well.
But Brown, who has taken a leading role in advocacy for this project, makes a strong case. Not only is Ohio rich in aviation and space firsts, it also is home to some of the most sophisticated space research and testing centers as well as to a growing network of technology-based industries, he argues.
Brown also makes the point that despite its recent successes, Ohio has continued to be hit hard by the lingering effects of the decline of steel and other traditional manufacturing industries in recent decades, and the federal government has not provided significant help.
In return for Ohio’s contributions to the nation’s military might and space prowess, the state has not received its fair share of federal investments, particularly in military infrastructure, many argue. Compare for example, Ohio’s paltry $2,750 federal funding per resident to Virginia’s $10,301 per capita rate, according to 2023 data from the World Population Review.
As the Ohio congressional representatives wrote in their letter to the president, “For generations, service members from the Midwest have answered the call of duty and served in our nation’s military. Yet, the Midwest is home to few active-duty military installations. The result is that while the region provides our nation with soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines, few serve in the region they call home.”
In making the final selection, expected sometime later this year, we also urge decisionmakers to keep politics out of the mix. An initial decision in 2020 to locate the hub in Huntsville, Ala., reportedly was canceled over some displeasure over the Southern state’s tough anti-abortion laws in the face of a pro-choice administration. Social policy and any political debates for that matter have no place in military and national defense decision-making.
What must matter, however, is ensuring the selection of the best site for the strength of the Space Command in particular and the national defense in general. Given Ohio’s legacy of aviation expertise, its growing base of research and technology centers and its rich human and capital resources, the Biden Administration would be remiss in not giving Ohio a fighting chance at showing the world its legacy of space leadership can continue and thrive for decades to come.
Toledo Blade. June 18, 2023.
Editorial: Ohio rich & poor
The best of times-worst of times dichotomy made famous by Charles Dickens in A Tale of Two Cities is alive and well in Ohio.
The best of times is illustrated by Ohio State University’s status as the total revenue leader in college athletics.
According to NCAA data for 2022, OSU has the only college sports program in the nation to bring in revenue of more than a quarter-billion dollars. Buckeye athletics spent more than $225 million with about 10% left as a reserve.
The worst of times is demonstrated by a report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition, revealing a large and growing gap between hourly wages and monthly rent.
The NLIHC report says it takes $19.09 an hour for a full-time worker to afford the average two-bedroom apartment in Ohio.
Seven of the top 10 job categories in Ohio pay less than $19 an hour and make it difficult for workers to pay the $993 monthly rent here. Registered nurses, truck drivers, and managers are the only widely sought Ohio job categories that pay enough to keep housing costs to a third of monthly income.
The sports programs at the University of Toledo and Bowling Green State University can relate to the problem of too little money and too many costs.
The NCAA statistics show UT as 97th in revenue with $35.6 million coming in, and the exact same amount being spent on Rocket athletics. BGSU has it much worse: 130th in athletic revenue with nearly $25.6 million trailing all Mid-American Conference schools, except Northern Illinois. Both universities get more than half their athletic revenue through mandated fees paid by students. Ohio State is 100% self-funded.
Sports gambling in Ohio covers college athletics, and bettors watch more game broadcasts, driving up the ratings and that increases the rights TV must pay the college conferences for their games.
The universities will all get some of that money, much more to Ohio State than UT and BGSU, but they will all get something.
The low-pay Ohio work force has no one helping them make a decent living. In fact, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and NFIB-Ohio are working against them through support for State Issue 1.
The business groups want to make it hard to amend the Ohio Constitution because they fear a citizen-driven ballot issue to raise the state minimum wage to $15 an hour.
For the many Ohio businesses who cannot find entry-level workers at any price, day-to-day operations are as challenging as running the athletic programs at UT or BGSU. A high-profile campaign by state business groups to keep Ohio wages low will be counterproductive to economic success.
Columbus Dispatch. June 15, 2023.
Editorial: Anti-American bills will enslave minds of Ohio students
Two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued, news of freedom reached still-enslaved Black people in Galveston,Texas, on June 19, 1865.
That critical and complicated moment in American history will be celebrated Monday during Juneteenth, a holiday celebrated in the Lone Star State since June 19, 1866, and one that drew national attention during calls for justice and unrest sparked by the slaying of George Floyd in 2020 and several other Black Americans at the hands of police.
Two years after President Joe Biden signed legislation making Juneteenth a federal holiday, truths at the center of the holiday’s existence are disturbingly under attack around the union on nearly every level of education.
Much attention has been placed on Republican presidential candidate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ crusade against so-called wokeness, but Ohio has more than its share of anti-knowledge bills pending at our Statehouse.
They masquerade as attempts to protect the minds of vulnerable Ohio children, but these democracy- corroding bills seek to erase historical facts. Moreover, they would open the doors for the furtherance of the racism and white supremacy that fueled America’s original sin and continues to divide far too many who should be united.
Intellectual shackles will be forced on Ohio’s future leaders as their minds are enslaved with lies and/or incomplete truths.
As philosopher George Santayana wrote in 1905, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
Sinister bills proposed for Ohio’s future
Proponents of these deceptive bills say they want to save students from “indoctrination” or any shame that would come with learning harsh historical facts.
Their truth is the direct opposite. These bills will blind our children to history and fire holes into democracy and true patriotism. House Bill 103 and Senate Bill 83 are prime examples.
Approved in May, Senate Bill 83 — the disingenuously named “Enact Ohio Higher Education Enhancement Act” — takes aim at academic freedom, how so-called controversial topics like “climate policies, electoral politics, foreign policy, diversity, equity, and inclusion programs, immigration policy, marriage or abortion” are discussed, and the anti-racism efforts sparked by the 2020 protests and unrest that led to the federal Juneteenth holiday.
Unapproved by the House, the sweeping education reform package was added Wednesday to the Ohio Senate’s version of the state’s two-year budget.
Titled Establish Ohio Social Studies Standards Task Force, House Bill 103 would have a committee rewrite the state’s K-12 social studies standards, replacing them with the American Birthright model from The Civics Alliance, a coalition of right-wing and conservative groups. The standards emphasize Western history, American exceptionalism, patriotism and Christianity over civic engagement.
The National Council for the Social Studies, which represents over 10,000 social studies educators, has raised the red flag about the standards.
“If implemented in schools, these suggested standards would have damaging and lasting effects on the civic knowledge of students and their capacity to engage in civic reasoning and deliberation,” a statement from the council reads.
Demand emancipation in Ohio
As with other “emancipation day” celebrations, Juneteenth comes with picnics, festivals and other events.
But with the wave of book banning and legislative attacks on honesty, we must recognize Juneteenth as a reminder of where we’ve been as a nation. It is a call for freedom and justice.
The truth of America’s rich and complicated history will be distorted in Ohio if these anti-American bills are approved by the General Assembly and signed by Gov. Mike DeWine.
Ohio’s students deserve truthful examinations and discussion of the complex events and people who make us who we are. We cannot condemn them to repeat the past when it is very possible for them to create a future that benefits all Ohioans.
The truth does not imprison the mind. It liberates it.
The minds of Ohio’s students must be emancipated if we are to be truly free.