Tuesday, May 21, 2019

On The Line/Sugar and Cyanide

photo by Crystal Jankowski

On The Line
picket line photos by  A.J. Matthews 

This week two separate actions across the Glass City brought attention to the power of the people fighting against the corrupt system. First up, Toledoans for Safe Water and Advocates for a Clean Lake Erie (ACLE) made some noise outside the federal building in Toledo, letting Judge Zouhary know that the people have a right to be in on the secret discussions concerning the Lake Erie Bill of Rights citizens' initiative. Second, UAW union nurses and support staff at St. Vincent's/Mercy Health Medical Center are on strike after talks fell through concerning hiring more staff to prevent overwork and abate unsafe working conditions.
Now our guest blogger, Coast Watcher, takes a closer look at how our system of governance has been turned against us--and why we must be ever vigilant.

photos by Crystal Jankowski
Sugar and Cyanide
 by Coast Watcher

One tactic used by bought-and-paid-for politicians is to hide a "rider," an additional clause or clauses containing legislation harmful to ordinary voters inside bills on unrelated—and usually beneficial—topics. What I term a Sugar and Cyanide Bill. A favorite target for those who frame such riders are appropriation bills. The failure to pass appropriation bills can lead to delays in funding for vital government programs.

In House Bill 166 Ohio lawmakers added an across-the-board state income-tax cut, new health-care consumer protections—and language that effectively nullifies Toledo’s hard-won Lake Erie Bill of Rights (LEBOR) citizens' initiative. HB166 was voted into law on Thursday, June 9.

Of course at first glance this bill would look popular. Who doesn’t like a cut in income tax or good health care? The problem is that like a Trojan Horse, or a Trojan virus designed to kill computers, the bill contains an element of pure evil. If the bill goes unchallenged it will effectively prevent citizens from trying to protect their water supply through legal action.

The executive branch of government actively seeks to destroy the environment for the greater profit of Big Business. The legislative is totally in the pockets of Big Business when it comes to framing law. That leaves the judiciary as the sole course of action for the citizen. Now, thanks to those same bought-and-paid-for politicians, in Ohio at least even that avenue is closed, allowing those who pollute the water supply for over 12 million people to do exactly as they please.

Parts of HB166 could face scrutiny in the Ohio Senate. Those parts will not include the clause negating the Lake Erie Bill of Rights. Instead, in a clear example of complete disregard for citizens of Ohio, the senate is more likely to argue over the scrapping of Ohio’s $40 million motion-picture tax credit.

In common with other states, Ohio’s State Constitution forbids riders on unrelated topics to be inserted into bills. This prohibition was blatantly disregarded by those who framed HB166, and the Ohio House went along with it. It opens the bill up for legal challenge, but it also means that the whole legal process will take time to settle. This means the polluters get  more years—even decades—in which they can continue to dump whatever toxic materials they like into Lake Erie and the watercourses that flow into it.

Just as damaging to the lives and rights of ordinary people are bills containing hidden clauses that discriminate. Often tucked away inside legislation are clauses aimed at harming LGBTQ+ citizens. North Carolina has a woeful record for this. In 2016 House Bill 2 contained language that stripped North Carolina workers of their right to sue under a state anti-discrimination law, a right that has been upheld in court since 1985. Described as "a Trojan Horse of hate," the manifestly discriminatory bill was aimed at firing up the anti-LGBTQ+ prejudice felt by bigots in the NC house to the point they would pass the legislation in a landslide, thus enabling those who inserted the clause—Big Business sponsored politicians—to serve their corporate paymasters.

Occasionally attempts to place riders in unrelated bills fail. In 2005, a West Virginian bill aimed at limiting the number of members cities can appoint to boards of parks and recreation included a rider making English the official language of West Virginia. Most of the senators and congress people of the state were unaware of the rider until after they’d passed the bill. Thankfully it was vetoed by the then governor on the ground that it violated the state proviso that bills must only be related to one topic.

That’s not to say such attempts have ceased or will cease in spite of such restrictions. Ohio’s passing of HB166 is a clear example. Instead of calling the cops on the persons responsible for this flagrant violation of the law, the matter is passed to the courts where it will be tied up in legal limbo for decades. In the meantime, CAFOs and similar polluting agencies will continue to daily pour several hundred thousand tons of effluent into Lake Erie.

There’s no known cure for this tactic. Those politicians right of center will continue to use the method to pass legislation aimed at benefiting Big Business, or anti-women, or anti-LGBTQ+ prejudice at the expense of ordinary citizens for as long as they are bribed to do so or see an advantage in their favorability ratings.

BIO: Coast Watcher won't be fooled again. Neither should you. He advises that you keep an eye peeled for the next Sugar and Cyanide Bill the corrupt duopolists attempt to pass through your statehouse. Don't let them do it!

From Take It Back.org:
Breaking: Alabama goes off the deep end and bans all abortions including for victims of rape and incest– sparing only the life of the mother exception. Missouri follows suit.

Thank you for your help and support.



P.S. We will also send you Governor Ivey's Montgomery office number so you can contact her via telephone as well.

We welcome the opportunity for 21st Century infrastructure package. Our country desperately needs a real public infrastructure plan that focuses on long ignored and abandoned communities of color and low-income communities that fixes crumbling roads, bridges, ports, water, and sewer pipes, while investing in clean energy technology and green jobs to fight global climate change and increase resiliency and ensure our communities thrive.

The good news is that we already have a framework for exactly that plan, with growing support in the House of Representatives. Recently, more than ninety Members of Congress signed on as original sponsors of a new resolution, HCR 36. This resolution outlines 10 principles for any spending on infrastructure. These Principles are supported by a broad and diverse coalition of labor, community, and environmental organizations representing millions of Americans.


A sound infrastructure plan would create millions of good jobs while revitalizing America’s crumbling infrastructure. It would accelerate our response to the climate crisis.  It would be paid for by making Wall Street, giant corporations, and the rich pay their fair share. By contrast, a bad plan will drag down the economy by incurring all of the costs without the benefits, while missing an opportunity to protect our planet and further burden struggling families and communities of color.

President Trump says he will respond with an infrastructure proposal in three weeks. We’ll judge any plan by whether it meets the standards enumerated in the Lieu-Krishnamoorthi-Crist Congressional resolution.

In solidarity,
Ana Maria Archila
Co-Executive Director, CPD/A

From Roots Action:

To: U.S. Congress and state legislatures
From: You

6.1 million Americans nationwide are denied their right to vote due to felony disenfranchisement. Join us in demanding that EVERY American citizen of age -- including those who are incarcerated -- can cast a ballot and be heard in our democracy.

Click here to sign this petition.

A true democracy that is of, by, and for the people must extend the right to vote to all its citizens.

But right now, most states deny that right to millions of incarcerated Americans -- creating a class of people who are subject to the laws of this country but have no say in how they're governed. (Only Maine and Vermont allow incarcerated people to vote.)

On top of that, most states count incarcerated people as residents of their prisons when drawing electoral maps, not of their home communities -- even though people in prison are unable to vote in the prison’s district. The result? A form of gerrymandering that unfairly skews political representation towards the rural, whiter communities where prisons are often built.

Our mass incarceration system is silencing the voices and communities most impacted by it. And that’s by design -- dating back to the Jim Crow era, felony disenfranchisement laws are one of many tactics used to attack black people’s political power.

We believe that ALL American citizens have the right to vote. Join us in calling on federal and state officials to end felony disenfranchisement once and for all -- and allow incarcerated citizens to vote.

Sign here.


  1. I heard that rider was inserted into Ohio HB166 the day before the vote with the intention of making it virtually certain none of the state congress things would read it before voting.

    1. Of course they sneaked it in there--that way anyone who had half a heart would have had the time protest it. As it is, congress things can claim, "I never read that in there!" And they're off the hook. I say we don't them a pass. We hold them accountable for their actions and non-action.


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