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Ed FitzGerald At Dayton Town Hall: “How Can Common People Understand Complex Issues?”


Enjoyed attending the Dayton “Town Hall” meeting last night with Democratic candidates for governor and lieutenant governor— Ed FitzGerald and Sharen Neuhardt.FitzGerald denounced his opponent, Republican Governor John Kasich, for his refusal to debate. He said that this refusal rests on a Republican calculation that most of the public won’t care. In this short video excerpt, FitzGerald’s deals with the profound question of how a democracy can function so that citizens have the information they need to make reasoned choices.

Earlier in the day FitzGerald met his Republican opponent with the editors of the Northeast Ohio Media Group — in the only meeting of this type scheduled for the whole campaign. Even in the informal format of this editor’s meeting, Kasich refused to answer FitzGerald’s questions. The headline from that meeting read — “Gov. John Kasich ignores Ed FitzGerald in their only meeting of election season. ” An hour video of the meeting is posted on the Columbus Dispatch.

In the Dayton meeting, FitzGerald paraphrased a quote an early twentieth century journalist that, “The vitality of our democracy depends on the common people understanding complex issues.” FitzGerald didn’t identify the journalist who made that statement, but it sounds like something H. L. Mencken would write. I found this quote from Mencken that seems similar:

When a candidate for public office faces the voters he does not face men of sense; he faces a mob of men whose chief distinguishing mark is the fact that they are quite incapable of weighing ideas, or even of comprehending any save the most elemental — men whose whole thinking is done in terms of emotion, and whose dominant emotion is dread of what they cannot understand.

FitzGerald asked: “How can the common people understand complex issues?” He said three entities have responsibility:

  1. The common people have a responsibility as a citizens to do that research whether served to them or not.
  2. Journalists have a responsibility to force public officials to talk about issues and to report on substantive issues, not silly issues — substantive issues in a substantive way.
  3. Candidates who ask for your support have to show kind of respect by meeting with you and taking all questions like I tried to do tonight.

FitzGerald said that all three of these entities are failing and made the point that Kasish’s refusal to debate is an outrageous insult to our democracy.

The Dispatch reports that “Kasich has $4.6 million for re-election and FitzGerald has $248,000.” Much of Kasich’s money is going into 30 second TV ads. FitzGerald noted:

People cannot understand the complex issues and challenges facing this state by watching 30 second commercials. Would you ever make a an important decision in your life based on 30 commercials? If someone else came to you and had a big crisis in their life — medical or financial — and said “I know what to do because I saw a 30 second commercial.” And you’d say, “Are you crazy? Talk to an expert, do research, look at your options.”

The FitzGerald / Kasich contest — with its propaganda, misinformation and with the power of big money to shape public opinion — illustrates that the very infrastructure of our democracy is in very bad shape.

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How Josh Mandel, "Misused The Treasurer's Office In Exchange For $100,000 From A Crooked Businessman"

In Ohio’s State Treasurer’s contest the Democratic challenger, Connie Pillich, has a tough ad accusing the incumbent, Republican Josh Mandel, of “misusing the treasurer’s office in exchange for $100,000 from a crooked businessman.”

The businessman in question is Ben Suarez, owner and founder of Suaez Corporation Industries, a direct marketing company. The Cleveland Plain Dealer published an article in June describing Suarez’s schemes —selling hundreds of products that include:

weight-loss and dietary supplements, jewelry, collectible coins, cleaners and space heaters,
diet aids that the Suarez company claimed could prevent heart attacks, cancer and other diseases,
a get rich book
“unclaimed funds” from government accounts

In 2011

…continue reading the article How Josh Mandel, “Misused The Treasurer’s Office In Exchange For $100,000 From A Crooked Businessman”

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Outrageous Republican Ad Smears Dee Gillis With Outright Lies — Where Is The Public Backlash?

The Republican ad smearing Dee Gillis shows her as a cigar smoking, martini swilling politician who voted herself a big raise. The DDN article points out her vote “would actually cost her $13,078 annually in lost compensation.”

I loved The Sunday DDN article written by Laura A. Bischoff and Lynn Hulsey — Law’s limbo means gloves off in hot race — about the outrageous lies told by the Republicans in the contest for the Ohio Senate’s fifth district.

Four years ago Republican Bill Beagle become senator for the fifth district by pouring money into negative ads against Democrat Fred Strahorn. Beagle raised only

…continue reading the article Outrageous Republican Ad Smears Dee Gillis With Outright Lies — Where Is The Public Backlash?

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Democrat Rob Klepinger Says He's Running For Congress Because He "Got Tired Of Yelling At The TV"

In a 55 second video that he recorded for the Dayton Daily News, Rob Klepinger, the Democratic candidate seeking election to congress to represent Ohio’s 10th District, says he decided to oppose the incumbent Republican Mike Turner, because he “got tired of yelling at the TV.” Klepinger has taught chemistry in a local public high school for 20 years. He is 46 years old. Here is a transcript of his video:

Hello. My name is Robert Klepinger and I’m running for congress. I won the Democratic Primary of May 6 and I’m your candidate for Ohio’s 10th Congressional District. I’m running for congress

…continue reading the article Democrat Rob Klepinger Says He’s Running For Congress Because He “Got Tired Of Yelling At The TV”

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DDN Reporter Laura Bischoff Shows How DeWine’s “Pay To Play” Scheme Awarded Contributor Valuable Contract

In Ohio’s Attorney General Contest, challenger David Pepper is accusing the incumbent Mike DeWine of unfairly rewarding contributors with valuable contracts. In her DDN article this morning — Charges fly in spirited AG race — Laura Bischoff reports about Pepper’s “pay to play” accusation and cites a great article that she wrote in July that somehow I had missed.

Bischoff’s July article — Vendors gave big to DeWine, GOP — deserves a lot of attention and discussion. The article obviously was the result of many hours of research and outlines a strong a strong case that Mike Dewine, Ohio’s current Attorney

…continue reading the article DDN Reporter Laura Bischoff Shows How DeWine’s “Pay To Play” Scheme Awarded Contributor Valuable Contract

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A Step Backward For Democracy — Judge Black Rules Ohio's Law To Stop Campaign Lies Is Unconstitutional

District Judge Timothy Black was appointed to his position by President Obama in 2009. Judge Black ruled that a key portion of Ohio law that outlaws deliberate lying in political campaign advertisements is unconstitutional

In this campaign season with negative ads in full attack mode filling our TV’s, I’ve been wondering why there have been no reported complaints to the Ohio Election Commission (See Below). An article in this morning’s Columbus Dispatch explains that on September 11, U. S. District Judge Timothy Black declared unconstitutional a key part of Ohio’s campaign law that prohibited campaign lying and provided for complaints to

…continue reading the article A Step Backward For Democracy — Judge Black Rules Ohio’s Law To Stop Campaign Lies Is Unconstitutional

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Candidates Seeking Election To The State Board Of Education Should Tell Their Vision and Objectives For Public Education

According to the State Board of Education website, the focus of the state board is to deliver an education that will make “all students well prepared for success.” The definition of “success,” according to the state board, evidently is the acquiring of skills needed to earn a living, the skills needed for industry. What bothers me about the vision and objectives articulated by the leaders of Ohio education (see below) is that this vision / objectives for Ohio’s public education could just as easily be articulated by the ministry of education in North Korea explaining the vision / objectives for North

…continue reading the article Candidates Seeking Election To The State Board Of Education Should Tell Their Vision and Objectives For Public Education

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Dee Gillis Should Challenge Beagle To Debate This Question: “We Should Make Ohio’s Tax System More Progressive”

Democrat Dee Gillis is campaigning to replace Bill Beagle as senator for Ohio’s District 5. (This district covers most of Dayton and all of Preble County.)

Beagle is bragging in his TV ads that he voted with the Republican majority to reduce taxes by over $3 billion each year.

Gillis needs to respond to Beagle’s boast of reducing taxes. She needs to challenge Beagle to a debate about taxes. She should make these three points:

In order to reduce taxes at the state level the Republicans cut funding to local schools and local governments. These reductions have forced local communities to

…continue reading the article Dee Gillis Should Challenge Beagle To Debate This Question: “We Should Make Ohio’s Tax System More Progressive”

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Advice To Rob Klepinger: Make Your Passion For Democracy The Message Of Your Campaign

This is my note giving advice to Rob Klepinger, Democrat seeking election to the U. S. Congress to represent Ohio’s 10th District — Montgomery and Greene Counties. Rob is challenging the Republican incumbent, Mike Turner, congressman for the 10th (formerly the 3rd) for 12 years. Rob is 46 years old. He currently is employed as a high school chemistry teacher at a public high school. He has worked as a teacher for the last twenty years.

Rob Klepinger, Democratic candidate seeking election to congress to represent Ohio’s 10th District

Motivation is tough to discern, but, as I study your campaign, it seems

…continue reading the article Advice To Rob Klepinger: Make Your Passion For Democracy The Message Of Your Campaign

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Representative Roland Winburn Should Demand His Opponent Disavow Negative Attack TV Ad

If Ohio law has any meaning, the Ohio Election Commission (OEC) should immediately remove the current TV attack ad that slimes Democrat Roland Winburn — representative for District 43 in the Ohio House. It claims that Winburn, “Ripped us off.” This ad is nonsense — laughable in its extreme efforts to confuse and misinform listeners — it degrades the whole political process and provokes new levels of cynicism.

Winburn’s opponent is Republican attorney Jeff Rezabek. His website says, “Jeff shares our principles.” Does Rezabek approve of this trash produced by the OHROC that slimes Winburn and completely misrepresents the facts? You’d

…continue reading the article Representative Roland Winburn Should Demand His Opponent Disavow Negative Attack TV Ad

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