The Blade's article "Bush fund-raisers reap millions in contracts, corporate subsidies" and related series, The Ohio Trail, ought to be required reading for every Ohioan.
The relationship between wealth and political influence isn't new, but The Blade's articles show that it's been systemized here in Ohio in a frightening way.
The articles also connect the dots between a "no" vote for Issues 2-5 and the corporate political fund-raising in Ohio. The Blade reveals that two of President Bush's Ohio "pioneers" or "rangers" - donors who gave more than $100,000 or $200,000 to the Bush-Cheney campaign - were the CEOs of Timken and First Energy.
Both corporations are among the top five donors to Ohio First, the group opposing Issues 2-5. Issue 3, of course, would end corporate donations to political campaigns.
Ohio First charges that most of the funds to support Issues 2-5 come from outside Ohio. I guess that's true. There are thousands of ordinary Ohioans like myself who are working hard to spread the good news that passing Issues 2-5 would make our public officials more accountable to the people. Unfortunately, we're not millionaires.
Ohioans should ask themselves this question: "Why would a big utility conglomerate like FirstEnergy give $150,000 to fight the campaign to clean up government?" When you answer that question, you will know why we have to vote yes on State Issues 2, 3, 4, and 5.
When I read The Blade's insinuations of wrongdoing by Republicans, the supposed illegalities escape me. I see charges that entities have spent thousands to lobby and elect politicians whose policies proved advantageous to their businesses (which provide our jobs and pensions). I see cronyism whereby a candidate's supporters and friends are rewarded with appointments or legislation. Why not do what one's supporters elect one to do and why not appoint qualified friends and backers over strangers and ideological opponents? Seems logical to me.
Is this worse than Democratic Party illegalities? Didn't Bill Clinton make it legal for companies to sell super-computers to China, paving the way for their nuclear arms advancement? Didn't Mr. Clinton accept illegal donations from foreign governments who put our companies out of business in turn? Didn't he fail to take Osama when he could have? Hasn't Judicial Watch uncovered all sorts of truly nefarious shenanigans of the past administration which are ignored by the mainstream press? Didn't the Democrats excuse all of Mr. Clinton's lies and crimes? Indeed. What hypocrites!
As for tort reform - all would benefit! You imply that nursing homes supporting tort reform are suspicious. As it is, lawyers make money from imperfection in health care, rare side effects from drugs, elderly patients falling out of bed, and anyone's death for any reason. Lawyers pay expert witnesses and themselves exorbitant salaries - even when the medical folks settle out of court, not because they are guilty, but because it costs more to go to court. And court is a big risk with today's goofy jury decisions. So malpractice suits are big business - and a societal rip-off .
As for Mr. Bush's problems and polls, I still believe he is an honest President, with more than his share of natural disasters and a just war to support.
Barbara Mason Rohrs
As a former resident of Maumee, I remember when bashing The Blade was a respectable pastime. Indeed, I was as guilty as most locals of indulging in those cheap shots.
In the last four years I have observed myself and The Blade changing for the better. I've watched The Blade become one of the best (if not the best) regional papers in the nation, and I've learned that it's "OK" to reassess my judgments. (Some might call it flip-flopping.)
The reporting by our hometown journalists of political corruption in Ohio and military dishonor in Vietnam has been inspiring. Years of masterful photography by the likes of Herral Long are second to none. I thought that Blade readers and staff might enjoy reading the glowing reviews given to The Blade by the one of the largest and most influential political blogs in the nation: www.dailykos.com.
Congratulations and thank you for all you do.
The Blade has every right to investigate city hall because The Blade, and its journalists, actually all pay taxes.
Journalists have real jobs. They don't raise taxes for others to pay nor do they pass laws for others to follow. And because they are paid by the paper, they don't feast at the public trough.
In Toledo one must pass drug screens and background checks to get a city job. The voter/citizen/taxpayer has the right to know if candidates are credit-worthy, intelligent, and honest.
Seems to me we need a moral compass. Taxes are used to help the poor, the elderly, children, and the disadvantaged. The position of the IRS is quite clear: "you owe, you will pay, or we will collect." Some thumb their noses at the tax man. There are such unfortunates.
Some try to make the weak argument that The Blade doesn't need the info. Well, the citizenry certainly does. We are the ones who will decide on Tuesday if it's our business or not.
CHARLIE BLECKNER, JR.
A recent letter asked, "generally public school teachers receive higher pay than private school educators who operate on tighter budgets. Why then the substantially better scores? (Ohio Graduation Test)."
The letter writer missed the obvious reason for the difference in scores. Private schools can eliminate the troublemakers who detract from the learning process and take away quality teaching time, quickly and with little resistance. Our public schools serve all students. Our teachers do a great job even under stressful teaching conditions.
In the days following Hurricane Katrina, and the subsequent discovery by middle- and upper-class Americans that many in this country live in conditions similar to that of Third World nations, there was much talk of finally tackling the issues of race and poverty. Instead, the hurricane seems to have moved us backwards.
The Millions More Movement led by Louis Farrakhan and other African-American leaders did not call for help for those who are economically disadvantaged, or understanding along racial lines, but focused on further segregating black from white.
The tragedy of Katrina is only compounded by African-Americans deciding that their best hope for a good future gives up on the monumental strides toward equality and tolerance in the last 50 years.
Where was Sen. Barack Obama to stand up at the Millions More March and tell the crowd that the way to beat racism isn't by withdrawing from our economic and political system, but by finding ways to enter it?
Why did President Bush not assure those who attended the march that steps are being taken in Washington that will make it easier for African-Americans to reach a state of economic well being? We live in a society where the average white male makes 61 percent more than the average black male. This is not acceptable, and President Bush has said as much himself.
Some will say that the march was not a big deal, and Mr. Obama and Mr. Bush were right to ignore Mr. Farrakhan. But poverty is real, and African-Americans are disproportionately affected by it. To discount these facts and ignore those who are upset about them is to ignore the real lessons of Hurricane Katrina.
It's a shame that we now call it "Pay to Play." The two words that used to describe this kind of politics were far more descriptive. They were "graft" and "corruption."
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