Beacon Journal editorial board: Tamela Lee, ECOT and the public trust

Excellent analysis and questions.

Both have surely violated the public trust. Why the difference in punishment? For one, cash. For another, the law.

I doubt Tamela Lee possessed the personal wealth to drag legal proceedings far enough along with the best lawyer(s) money can buy to negotiate a lesser verdict while William Lager lawyered up to use every legal maneuver possible to avoid responsibility. The law, too, is a factor. Lee’s crime was clear and blatant bribery. Lager has used legalized bribery (e.g. massive political campaign “contributions” over many years) to buy/rent/lease/retain public officials to change laws and regulations beneficial to his inept online charter school. The corporate form is also a helpful shield to insulate in many cases jail time. Laws and verdicts which often maximize fines to corporations (as well as the rich) to a percentage of whatever amount of money was unlawfully acquired invite unethical actions. Stealing $100 knowing that the maximum punishment/fine is $20 simply invites stealing.

The damage Lager has done to children through his phony school and to democracy through corrupting the political system are unconscionable. Fraud charges should be pursued. Significant prison time for Lager and revoking ECOT’s corporate charter can’t repair the damage already done, but they would provide at least some deterrent to prevent future irresponsibility and criminality.

AkronBeaconJournal-Masthead

https://www.ohio.com/akron/editorial/editorials/beacon-journal-editorial-board-tamela-lee-ecot-and-the-public-trust

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Frank Jackson Has Raised A Whole Lot More Money Than All Other Mayoral Challengers Combined

All the political cash is sickening. Am quoted in the article below, but a few points were left out: “The system of legalized bribery (e.g. campaign financing) is alive and well in Cleveland as demonstrated by Frank Jackson’s rapid rise of his campaign war chest…Legalized bribery will only end by legalizing democracy — via lower contribution limits and, ultimately, by amending the US Constitution to give voice to the needs of people and communities by abolishing the doctrines that money is constitutionally protected ‘free speech’ and corporations possess inalienable constitutional ‘personhood’ rights.”

Frank Jackson Has Raised A Whole Lot More Money Than All Other Mayoral Challengers Combined

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https://www.clevescene.com/scene-and-heard/archives/2017/08/02/frank-jackson-has-raised-a-whole-lot-more-money-than-all-other-mayoral-challengers-combined

US prosecutors told to push for more, harsher punishments

More, harsher punishments = more prisoners in federal prisons, many of which are corporate-run = more profits for corporations that run prisons = more cash available by agents of corporate-run prisons to lobby and contribute/invest in public officials to have more, harsher punishments.

Repeat.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/us-prosecutors-told-to-push-for-more-harsher-punishments/ar-BBB2Pgg

 

 

Portman could pass on DeVos

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There is a major effort to pressure U.S. Senator Rob Portman from Ohio to vote against the confirmation of Betsy DeVos for Education Secretary. The reasons are many.

One includes DeVos having “contributed” (more like invested) in Portman’s political campaign. Supposedly the vote is 50-50.

Portman, however, doesn’t have to vote NO for DeVos for her to be forced to return to oversee her failing for-profit charter schools in Michigan. Portman could sit on his hands and not vote at all.

The result would be identical.

Here’s a chance for Rob to show he’s above even the appearance of a conflict of interest. It would be a sign of integrity to recuse himself for being anywhere near the Senate floor when the vote comes up. He wouldn’t have to officially side with the Democrats — just go his own independent way by taking a pass.

Tom Price is Costly to Democracy

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Tell Senators Rob Portman (202-224-3353) and Sherrod Brown (1-888-896-6446) to oppose the nomination of Tom Price as Health and Human Services Secretary.

Tom Price purchased stock last June at a special privileged discount from a biomedical corporation, Innate Immunotherapeutics, according to the Wall Street Journal. This was contrary to his testimony during his confirmation hearing. Price sits on the House Ways and Means Committee’s health subcommittee, which is responsible for passing laws and regulations related to the medical industry.

In a separate investment, Price bought between $1,001 and $15,000 in shares of Zimmer Biomet, a medical device maker. A week later, he introduced legislation financially benefiting the company. The bill, the 21st Century Cures Act, became law.

This is pay-to-play political corruption through and through — something candidate Trump said he opposed. Price’s actions are costly to not only health care but to what’s left of our democracy. Price is not right to oversee the federal agency concerning health care and the health care industry.

Yet another example among 1000s of the use of big money from wealthy individuals and/or corporations seeking to capture the political system for their own ends — and why we need the We the People Amendment to the Constitution.

#EndCorporateRule #CorporateRule #Democracy #WeThePeopleAmendment #MovetoAmend

Addicted politicians to political investments oppose importing cheaper Canadian drugs

 

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A simple amendment to a bill in the U.S. Senate was introduced Wednesday night urging the government to permit U.S. residents to purchase pharmaceutical drugs from Canada. The practice is currently illegal.

Canadian drugs are much cheaper than those purchased in the US, not because of their inferior quality, but simply due to government price controls. The United States is the only industrialized country that does not use price controls for pharmaceuticals.

The amendment introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders failed 52-46. That’s not surprising in one sense given the political views of Sanders compared to the majority of the Senate. However, what was surprising was who voted for and against the amendment. Thirteen Republicans and a majority of Democrats supported the Sanders amendment, while 13 Democrats and a majority of Republicans opposed it.

A 2015 poll found that 72 percent of Americans support Canadian drug importation. President-elect Donald Trump also campaigned on a promise to allow for importation.

Those opposing the amendment claimed safety issues. This is a smokescreen.  Do we really believe Canadian drug standards are fundamentally different that here? Besides most Canadian drugs are originally manufactured in the United States.

No. A big reason for the vote was money – not the high drug prices, but the Senators drugged and addicted to political campaign donations…or investments from big Pharma – that is pharmaceutical corporations.

Leading the way among the 13 Democrats who opposed the Sanders amendment was New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, perceived as an early front-runner for the 2020 Democratic Presidential nomination. Over the last 6 years, he received $267,338 from Big Pharma. Many pharmaceutical and biotech firms reside in New Jersey. Other Democrats who opposed this reasonable measure were Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) who received $254,649; Robert Casey (D-PA) who received $250,730; and Michael Bennet (D-CO) who received $222,000.

By the way, Booker is also a Wall Street favorite. Securities and investment firms donated/invested $1.88 million to Booker during the 2014 midterm elections – ahead of all other 99 senators. Second was Mitch McConnell.

This behavior doesn’t do much for the reality, or even the perception, that politicians – Democrats and Republicans — are listening to average people. Another example of the disconnect between what people want and, in this case, the policies we don’t have. Another example of the hijacking of what’s left of our democracy through the addiction of corporate campaign cash. Another example why we need to abolish corporate personhood and money as speech through the Move to Amend We the People Amendment. And another example of why we can’t leave it to those we elect to represent us.

We must take charge – educate others, organize, mobilize and pressure politicians to do what’s just.

Giving limits for city candidates would more than triple since 2010 with new proposal

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By Doug Livingston / Beacon Journal staff writer
December 19, 2016
http://www.ohio.com/news/local/giving-limits-for-city-candidates-would-more-than-triple-since-2010-with-new-proposal-1.734533

The reporter didn’t quite get it right regarding what I said needs to happen — not just public financing, but ultimately a constitutional amendment to abolish corporate personhood and money as speech.