Man lying on the ground dead a woman screaming over his body, others looking on

Back when “tin soldiers and Nixon” were “cutting us down” in 1970, a group of Ohio State University students and campus activists started an underground newspaper in Columbus. Driven mostly by the murder of four students at Kent State – Allison Krause, Jeff Miller, Sandy Scheuer and Bill Schroeder – shot during a demonstration that was opposing President Nixon’s illegal attack on Cambodia and the Vietnam War, the Columbus Free Press was born.

Not surprisingly, the Free Press was the first western newspaper to expose Cambodia’s killing fields thanks to international law professor John Quigley’s reporting from Southeast Asia. In the first issue of the Free Press, the October 11, 1970 issue, a Free Press opinion attacked a special grand jury’s decision not to indict Ohio National Guardsmen for the Kent State killings.

The Free Press wrote at the time: “The jury conveniently disregarded the FBI report which stated that the guardsmen were not ‘surrounded,’ that they had tear gas, contrary to claims of guardsmen following the shooting.” The Free Press went on to point out the obvious facts: “…a film of the shootings shown on a northern Ohio TV station on the night of May 4th the slope, then turning, kneeling, firing a volley, and rising to fire a few more scattered shots before regrouping and going over the hill. Panic may have aided in the shootings, but it was not the cause.

THE GUARDSMEN FIRED ON ORDER, and the men who gave the order and the others who carried it out are free.” Of course, the same could be said of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney who waged an illegal war against the people of Iraq and murdered over a million civilians, yet still walk free. And the war endured under President Obama. The Kent State precedent of letting known murderers move among us set the stage for the smiley-face pro-torture policies of the Bush years.

Former Free Press Editor Steve Conliff did his best to bring Governor James Rhodes to justice for inciting the National Guard to violence against peace demonstrators. At the 1977 Ohio State Fair, Conliff pied Big Jim, exemplifying the underground press motto – If you don’t like the news, go out and make some of your own. Hardly the people’s tribunal longed for by the Free Press staff, but nevertheless, great political theater. Local Free Clinic physician Pete Howison performed an experiment at Conliff’s trial, proving that pie-ing did not constitute a violent assault. Conliff was found not guilty.

Rhodes was pied by proxy again in 1990 on the 20th when his statute, then on the Ohio Statehouse grounds, took a direct hit to the face by a strawberry cream pie, thrown by Howison. A photo of the red goop symbolically dripping down Rhodes’ face appeared in the next Free Press issue. In 1992, the Free Press moved into an East Broad Street office that had an unusual wall in the back erected only three-quarters of the way up to the ceiling. When the office started leaking after a rainstorm, I climbed over the wall to determine the damage. Ironically, I found the original ACLU legal files containing documents from their lawsuit against the National Guardsmen at Kent State. The morgue photos of the dead students are seared into my brain.

When Jim Rhodes died, the Free Press made a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from his FBI file. Here we learned the dirty truth of Rhodes’ ties to the mob and the FBI’s use of that information, some would call it blackmail, to win concessions from the governor. As the Free Press wrote in 2003, a January 14, 1963 memo noted that: “He [Rhodes] is completely controlled by an SAC [Special Agent in Charge] contact, and we have full assurances that everything we need will be made available promptly. Our experience proves this assertion.”

The FOIA file revealed that the SAC contact was none other than Robert H. Wolfe, publisher of the Columbus Dispatch. Dispatch reporter Bob Ruth had earlier disclosed to the Free Press that Rhodes had run a gambling operation in the OSU campus area. His headquarters during the 1930s was allegedly Gussie’s State Tavern, across the street from the law school. Serendipitously, the building would later house the shop Tradewinds, one of the early headquarters of the Free Press.

The FBI would cut the corrupt numbers man Rhodes all the slack he needed because: “He is a friend of law enforcement and believes in honest, hard-hitting law enforcement. He respects and admires [the] FBI.” In 2007, the Free Press decried “The lethal media silence on Kent State’s smoking guns” in an article I co-wrote with Harvey Wasserman. When tape-recorded evidence surfaced 37 years after the fact proving the original Free Press editorial to be correct, the mainstream for-profit corporate media, including the Dispatch, ignored it.

Rhodes’ good friends in the FBI had in their possession a tape that documented that the guardsmen were ordered to fire. Prior to the shootings, Terry Strubbe, a Kent State student had hung a microphone out of his dorm window and captured 20 seconds of sound, including the gunfire. In an amplified version of the tape, a Guard officer is heard shouting: “Right here! Get set! Point! Fire!” Those, like the Free Press, who argued that there was an order to shoot the students were dismissed per standard mainstream media protocol as “conspiracy theorists.” It’s never too late to embrace the truth.

Rhodes was a mobster being blackmailed by the FBI who agitated his guardsmen against the students and was in the middle of a heated primary campaign for U.S. Senate. The day before the shootings, Rhodes is on record stating that student peace demonstrators were the “strongest, well-trained militant revolutionary group that has ever assembled in America. They’re worse than the brown shirts and the Communists and the night riders and the vigilantes. They are the worst type of people that we harbor in America.”

The Free Press demands a Truth Commission on the Kent State shootings. Let all sides present their evidence, even the well-trained propagandists and coincidence theorists who specialize in blaming the victims, usually for political or monetary gain. Four remain dead in Ohio and justice remains unserved.

by Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman

Poster of Nixon about the drug war

The Drug War has been a forty-year lynching….
…the corporate/GOP response to the peace and civil rights movements.

It’s used the Drug Enforcement Administration and other policing operations as a high-tech Ku Klux Klan, meant to gut America’s communities of youth and color.

It has never been about suppressing drugs. Quite the opposite.

And now that it may be winding down, the focus on suppressing minority votes will shift even stronger to electronic election theft.

The Drug War was officially born June 17, 1971, ( when Richard Nixon pronounced drugs to be “Public Enemy Number One.” In a nation wracked by poverty, racial tension, injustice, civil strife, ecological disaster, corporate domination, a hated Vietnam War and much more, drugs seemed an odd choice.
In fact, the Drug War’s primary target was black and young voters.

It was the second, secret leg of Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” meant to bring the former Confederacy into the Republican Party.

Part One was about the white vote.

America’s original party of race and slavery ( Andrew Jackson’s Democrats (born 1828).

After the Civil War the Party’s terror wing, the KKK, made sure former slaves and their descendants “stayed in their place.”

A century of lynchings (at least 3200 of them) ( suppressed the southern black community.

In the 1930s Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal social programs began to attract black voters to the Democratic Party. John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson’s support for civil and voting rights legislation, plus the 24th Amendment ending the poll tax, sealed the deal. Today blacks, who once largely supported the Party of Lincoln,  vote 90% or more Democrat (

But the Democrats’ lean to civil rights angered southern whites. Though overt racist language was no longer acceptable in the 1970s, Nixon’s Republicans clearly signaled an open door to the former Confederacy (

But recruiting angry southern whites would not be enough for the Republicans to take the south. In many southern states more than 40% of potential voters were black. If they were allowed to vote, and if their votes were actually counted, all the reconstructed Democrat Party would need to hold the south would be a sliver of moderate white support.

That’s where the Drug War came in.

Reliable exact national arrest numbers from 1970 through 1979 are hard to come by.

But according to Michelle Alexander’s superb, transformative The New Jim Crow, and according to research by Marc Mauer and Ryan King of the Sentencing Project, more than 31,000,000 Americans were arrested for drugs between 1980 and 2007 (

Further federal uniform crime report statistics compiled by indicate that, between 2008 and 2014, another 9,166,000 were arrested for drug possession.
Taken together, than means well over 40,000,000 American citizens have been arrested for drugs in the four decades since Nixon’s announcement.
It is a staggering number: more than 10% of the entire United States, nearly four times the current population of Ohio, far in excess of more than 100 countries worldwide.
A number that has gutted the African-American community.  A national terror campaign far beyond the reach of even the old KKK.
Justice Department statistics indicate than half of those arrests have been for simple possession of marijuana.
According to US Bureau of Justice statistics, between 1980 and 2013, while blacks were 12% of the population, blacks constituted 30% of those arrested for drug law violations and nearly 40% of those incarcerated in all U.S. prisons.  Thus some 20,000,000 African-American men have been sent to prison for non-violent “crimes” in the past forty years.
If the Hispanic population is added in, as much as 60% of drug arrests are of racial or ethnic minorities.   \
On the 40th anniversary of the Drug War in 2010, the Associated Press used public records to calculate that the taxpayer cost of arresting and imprisoning all these human beings has been in excess of $1,000,000,000.
Sending them all to college would have been far cheaper.  It also would have allowed them to enhance and transform their communities.
Instead, they were taken from their families.  Their children were robbed of their parents.  They were assaulted by the prison culture, stripped of their right to vote and stopped from leading the kind of lives that might have moved the nation in a very different direction.
Nixon also hated hippies and the peace movement. So in addition to disenfranchising 20,000,000 African-Americans, the Drug War has imprisoned additional millions of young white and Hispanic pot smokers.
Thus the DEA has been the ultra-violent vanguard of the corporate culture war.
In 1983 Ronald Reagan took the Drug War to a new level.  Using profits from his illegal arms sales to Iran, he illegally funded the Contra thugs who were fighting Nicaragua’s duly elected Sandinista government.
The Contras were drug dealers who shipped large quantities of cocaine into the US—-primarily in the Los Angeles area—-where it was mostly converted to crack.
That served a double function for the GOP.
First, it decimated the inner city.
Then Reagan’s “Just Say No” assault—-based on the drugs his Contra allies were injecting into our body politic—-imposed penalties on crack far more severe than those aimed at the powdered cocaine used in the white community.
In 1970 the US prison population was roughly 300,000 people.  Today it’s more than 2.2 million, the largest in world history by both absolute number and percentage of the general population.  There are more people in prison in the US than in China, which has five times the population (

According to the Sentencing Project, one in seventeen white males has been incarcerated, one in six Latinos, and one in three blacks.
By all accounts the Drug War has had little impact on drug consumption in the US, except to make it more profitable for drug dealers (  It’s spawned a multi-billion-dollar industry in prison construction, policing, prison guards, lawyers, judges and more, all of them invested in prolonging the drug war despite its negative impacts on public health.

For them, the stream of ruined lives of non-violent offenders is just another form of cash flow.
Like the Klan since the Civil War, the Drug War has accomplished its primary political goal of suppressing the black vote and assaulting the African-American community.
It’s shifted control of the South from the Democrats back to the Republican Party. By slashing voter eligibility and suppressing black turnout, the Drug War crusade has helped the GOP take full control of both houses of the US Congress and a majority of state governments across the US.
But the repressive impacts hit everyone, and ultimately enhance the power of the corporate state.
Toward that end, the southern corporate Democrat Bill Clinton’s two terms as a Drug Warrior further broadened the official attack on grassroots America. Clinton was determined to make sure nobody appeared tougher on “crime.”  He escalated the decimation of our democracy far beyond mere party politics, deepening the assault on the black community, and the basic rights of all Americans for the benefit of his Wall Street funders.  Obama has been barely marginally better.
In political terms, the Nixon-Reagan GOP remains the Drug War’s prime beneficiary. Today’s Republicans are poised to continue dominating our electoral process through the use of rigged electronic registration rolls and voting machines. That’s a core reality we all must face.
But no matter which party controls the White House or Congress, by prosecuting a behavior engaged in by tens of millions of Americans, the Drug War lets the corporate state arrest (and seize assets from) virtually anyone it wants at any time. It has empowered a de facto corporate police state beyond public control.
Regardless of race, we all suffer from the fear, repression and random assaults of a drug-fueled repressive police force with no real accountability.
In the interim, the Drug War is not now and never has been about drugs.
Legalizing pot is just the beginning of our recovery process.
Until we end the Drug War as a whole, America will never know democracy, peace or justice.
THE SIXTH JIM CROW: ELECTRONIC ELECTION THEFT & THE 2016 SELECTION will be released by Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman by January, 2016. Their CITIZEN KASICH will follow soon thereafter. Bob’s FITRAKIS FILES are at; Harvey’s ORGANIC SPIRAL OF US HISTORY will appear in 2016.

Lieutenant Governor Ohio Green Party candidate, Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman connect the dots with Nixon and treason:

by Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman

Richard Nixon was a traitor.

The new release of extended versions of Nixon’s papers now confirms this long-standing belief, usually dismissed as a “conspiracy theory” by Republican conservatives. Now it has been substantiated by none other than right-wing columnist George Will.

Nixon’s newly revealed records show for certain that in 1968, as a presidential candidate, he ordered Anna Chennault, his liaison to the South Vietnam government, to persuade them refuse a cease-fire being brokered by President Lyndon Johnson.

Nixon’s interference with these negotiations violated President John Adams’s 1797 Logan Act, banning private citizens from intruding into official government negotiations with a foreign nation.

Published as the 40th Anniversary of Nixon’s resignation approaches, Will’s column confirms that Nixon feared public disclosure of his role in sabotaging the 1968 Vietnam peace talks. Will says Nixon established a “plumbers unit” to stop potential leaks of information that might damage him, including documentation he believed was held by the Brookings Institute, a liberal think tank. The Plumbers’ later break-in at the Democratic National Committee led to the Watergate scandal that brought Nixon down.

Nixon’s sabotage of the Vietnam peace talks was confirmed by transcripts of FBI wiretaps. On November 2, 1968, LBJ received an FBI report saying Chernnault told the South Vietnamese ambassador that “she had received a message from her boss: saying the Vietnamese should “hold on, we are gonna win.”

As Will confirms, Vietnamese did “hold on,” the war proceeded and Nixon did win, changing forever the face of American politics—-with the shadow of treason permanently embedded in its DNA.
The treason came in 1968 as the Vietnam War reached a critical turning point. President Lyndon Johnson was desperate for a truce between North and South Vietnam.

LBJ had an ulterior motive: his Vice President, Hubert Humphrey, was in a tight presidential race against Richard Nixon. With demonstrators in the streets, Humphrey desperately needed a cease-fire to get him into the White House.
Johnson had it all but wrapped it. With a combination of gentle and iron-fisted persuasion, he forced the leaders of South Vietnam into an all-but-final agreement with the North. A cease-fire was imminent, and Humphrey’s election seemed assured.

But at the last minute, the South Vietnamese pulled out. LBJ suspected Nixon had intervened to stop them from signing a peace treaty.
In the Price of Power (1983), Seymour Hersh revealed Henry Kissinger—then Johnson’s advisor on Vietnam peace talks—secretly alerted Nixon’s staff that a truce was imminent.

According to Hersh, Nixon “was able to get a series of messages to the Thieu government [of South Vietnam] making it clear that a Nixon presidency would have different views on peace negotiations.”
Johnson was livid. He even called the Republican Senate Minority Leader, Everett Dirksen, to complain that “they oughtn’t be doing this. This is treason.”
“I know,” was Dirksen’s feeble reply.
Johnson blasted Nixon about this on November 3, just prior to the election. As Robert Parry of has written: “when Johnson confronted Nixon with evidence of the peace-talk sabotage, Nixon insisted on his innocence but acknowledged that he knew what was at stake.”
Said Nixon: “My, I would never do anything to encourage….Saigon not to come to the table….Good God, we’ve got to get them to Paris or you can’t have peace.”
But South Vietnamese President General Theiu—a notorious drug and gun runner—did boycott Johnson’s Paris peace talks. With the war still raging, Nixon claimed a narrow victory over Humphrey. He then made Kissinger his own national security advisor.
In the four years between the sabotage and what Kissinger termed “peace at hand” just prior to the 1972 election, more than 20,000 US troops died in Vietnam. More than 100,000 were wounded. More than a million Vietnamese were killed.
But in 1973, Kissinger was given the Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating the same settlement he helped sabotage in 1968.
According to Parry, LBJ wanted to go public with Nixon’s treason. But Clark Clifford, an architect of the CIA and a pillar of the Washington establishment, talked Johnson out of it. LBJ’s close confidant warned that the revelation would shake the foundations of the nation.
In particular, Clifford told Johnson (in a taped conversation) that “some elements of the story are so shocking in their nature that I’m wondering whether it would be good for the country to disclose the story and then possibly have [Nixon] elected. It could cast his whole administration under such doubt that I think it would be inimical to our country’s best interests.”
In other words, Clifford told LBJ that the country couldn’t handle the reality that its president was a certifiable traitor, eligible for legal execution.
Fittingly, Clark Clifford’s upper-crust career ended in the disgrace of his entanglement with the crooked Bank of Credit and Commerce (BCCI), which financed the terrorist group Al Qaeda and whose scandalous downfall tainted the Agency he helped found.
Johnson lived four years after he left office, tormented by the disastrous war that destroyed his presidency and his retirement. Nixon won re-election in 1972, again with a host of dirty dealings, then became the first America president to resign in disgrace.
Bob Fitrakis is Editor-in-Chief of the Free Press and Harvey Wasserman is Senior Editor. Read more Harvey Wasserman at

Bob Fitrakis
September 6, 2011

Labor Day has come and gone, but the real battle over whether workers are actually honored and valued in Ohio will be decided on Election Day in November. To understand what’s at stake, one must begin with the concept of American exceptionalism — the notion that America has its own unique political ideology embracing individualism and entrepreneurship.

The reality is that what makes America different from other western European democracies is simply its lack of a mass Labor Party or a Democratic Socialist Party. The Democratic Party is arguably the second most pro-corporate party in the western world, and President Barack Obama reminds us of this daily. Obama’s numbers have hit record lows with only 26% of the population having any faith in his economic policies.

In a time that cried out for infrastructure development and large scale jobs programs, Obama instead spent his political capital and three quarters of a trillion dollars in taxpayers’ capital bailing out the financial corporations that had wrecked the system and the large corporations known for investing in machines and people overseas, not American workers.

Only the Republican Party, captured by an unnatural coalition of Christian zealots and corporatists are more anti-labor. Thus, it is no surprise in the Buckeye State, when one of Rupert Murdoch’s right-wing populist mouthpieces John Kasich, seized control of the governor’s office and immediately followed the corporatist policies championed by Mussolini in Italy.

Kasich’s agenda of destroying the public sector unions embodied in Senate Bill 5, hides a deeper philosophical contempt for ordinary working people. Kasich has spent his whole life serving wealthy and powerful men at the expense of those who labor.

First, as a young college student in the 70s, Kasich came to prominence in Ohio by becoming one of Nixon’s squeaky-clean campaign-prop youth. After his stint in Nixon’s youth corp, he managed to get himself elected to Congress in 1992 after tying his campaign to the so-called Messiah, Rev. Moon, who had been linked at the time to the Korean CIA.

After leaving Congress, Kasich threw in with the hate-monger and illegal hacker extraordinaire Murdoch and his News Corp. The agenda of his three mentors — Nixon, Moon and Murdoch — has always been to destroy labor in the United States. All three have been masters of promoting so-called wedge issues to divide American working people along race, ethnic, and religious lines in order to deliver more power to a small group of their wealthy backers and friends.

In the fantasy world of America, still taught by mainstream political scientists, we live in a “pluralist” society where people make their political voices heard by joining groups. This concept developed in the 1950s by noted political scientist Robert Dahl. Like economist Charles Lindbloom, Dahl initially argued that the 50s corporations were counterbalanced by organized labor. This “countervailing power” created a certain equilibrium in American power.

As the U.S.-based transnational corporations grew larger and more global in the 1970s and union membership declined dramatically, Dahl began to rethink his political theory in a series of books. At the beginning of the 21st century, Dahl published “How democratic is the American Constitution?” arguing that the Constitution is far less democratic than we openly debate. His realization that two corporate political parties is simply one more than a fascist dictatorship, by that time, was dawning on the current remaining political science theorists.

So, as the major theorists of pluralism bemoan the rise of transnational corporate power and the decline of labor, Kasich’s attempt to squash in the former industrial state of Ohio is arguably the most important issue on the ballot this November in the United States.

If Kasich succeeds in destroying the public unions in Ohio, he will effectively destroy the last vestiges of organizations that allowed people who work for a wage or salary to actively participate in Ohio politics. With the destruction of the unions comes the new 21st century power slogan and sound bite fascism, where the population will be pitted against each other – new immigrant against old, Christians against Muslims, public workers with pensions against private workers whose pensions were looted or denied by corporations – while Kasich’s friends will get richer.

To honor labor in the aftermath of Labor Day, workers who value democracy must campaign and say no on Issue 2, the repeal of SB 5. But, beyond that, they need to develop new political organizations to express their discontent with the right-wing corporate Republican Party and their junior partners, the Democrats.

Bob Fitrakis is the author of The Idea of Democratic Socialism in America and the Decline of the Socialist Party a book of political theory on American exceptionalism.

by Bob Fitrakis
July 4, 2011

You would never know it after reading the July 2, 2011 puff piece “In Ohio, a new Governor is off to a smooth start,” but Governor John Kasich is already on the ropes. In the Times’ analysis, the passage of Kasich’s controversial budget “…has been about as smooth as a knife through butter.”

In reality, Kasich is a founding member of the “gaffe of the week” club. His budget is based on busting all the public employee unions in the state of Ohio and began with the supposed savings Kasich cited in the union-busting Senate Bill 5. The bill not only went after state employees, public school teachers, and professors, but also attacked police and firemen. In a gaffe that went around the Buckeye state, Kasich justified union-busting by calling a police officer who gave him a traffic ticket “an idiot.”

Soon after that, during a speech in Cleveland, Ohio, Kasich pronounced himself a fan of the Cleveland Browns’ arch-rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers. After trying to get himself sworn-in secretly and refusing to live in the governor’s mansion, Kasich recently announced he will not honor the long-held tradition of the Ohio governor sleeping overnight in a barn at the Ohio State Fair.

When workers and their supporters gathered $1.3 million signatures to repeal Senate Bill 5, half a million more signatures than ever submitted for an Ohio initiative, Kasich stuck to the analysis that his budget will save the state.

Kasich emerged as a freshly-scrubbed Nixon supporter in the 1972 election after moving from Pennsylvania to attend Ohio State University. He parlayed his connections to Nixon and to Nixon supporter and cult-figure Reverend Moon into an internship at the Ohio legislature. His next step was from intern to hired staff, where he earned a reputation for being both volatile and lazy.

He had the good fortune, however, to run for state senator in a suburban district during the Reagan landslide of 1980. The ever-ambitious Kasich next ran for U.S. Congress against incumbent one-term representative Bob Shamansky. Good fortune again smiled on Kasich when legendary Ohio House Speaker Vern Riffe had the district re-drawn to favor Republican candidates because Shamansky failed to endorse Gov. Dick Celeste in the Democratic primary.

Kasich lorded over the gerrymandered 12th district in Ohio for nearly two decades. The district included the Republican stronghold Delaware County as well as the heavily Republican Licking County, thrown in with the east side of Columbus and the eastern suburbs, including Westerville, where he still lives.

After a disastrous bid for president, Kasich took a turn bloviating on Fox News and took another turn ripping off stockholders with Lehman Brothers. He sold $400 million in junk assets into the State Teachers pension fund just prior to Lehman Brothers going belly up. This has not stopped him as governor from attacking the teacher’s union for making bad investments and not being solvent. Despite the fact that teachers gave back $11 billion to make their fund solvent, Kasich has demanded 2% morec of their salaries in his budget.

Kasich ran for Ohio governor backed by the Republican Governors’ Association and Rupert Murdoch. Exit polls in his gubernatorial election showed that he actually lost by 2.7%.

Kasich’s most recent approval numbers show 33% approval and 56% disapproval, tying him with Florida governor Rick Scott as the worst in the nation.

An analysis of Kasich’s budget shows the standard Republican tax cuts to the wealthy followed by cuts to public schools and local governments. It also includes huge handouts to Republican-connected corporations.

In April, Kasich gave Diebold a $56 million package of grants, tax credits and loans to keep its headquarters in Ohio. Diebold made national news in the 2004 Ohio presidential election when its then-CEO Wally O’Dell pledged to deliver Ohio’s electoral vote to George W. Bush. This was no idle promise since much of Ohio’s vote was tallied and counted on Diebold computers and their GEMS software. The software is proprietary and secret.

Kasich also gave the Bob Evans restaurant company a $7.8 million incentive package to move its headquarters out of Columbus into the wealthy suburb of New Albany, well-known as being created by Ohio’s only billionaire Les Wexner. In the Bob Evans case, he cited population losses in cities like Columbus as the reason for the incentive package.

Lost on Kasich was the fact that Columbus had added nearly 155,000 residencies in the last 20 years, according to the U.S. Census. Kasich has always taken the Reagan approach on facts: “Facts are stupid things,” as Reagan said.

At the same time he was giving the wealthy Bob Evans owners nearly a $8 million welfare check, he was attacking public workers for having decent benefits when a waitress at Bob Evans had “shabby at best” health care benefits and no pension.

Here’s an analysis of Kasich’s budget:

• In order to fill an $8 billion budget deficit, Kasich extended a 4.2% income tax cut.
• Kasich’s budget cut $640 million from local government and $700 million from Ohio schools.
• Despite massive problems with Correction Corporations of America, a private prison company in Ohio, Kasich is putting 6 state prisons up for sale.
• The Kasich administration also plans to lease the Ohio turnpike, a 241-mile toll road in northern Ohio. Kasich began his term by refusing $400 million of federal money for passenger rail service from Cleveland to Columbus to Cincinnati. Columbus, Ohio, the nation’s 15th largest city has not had passenger rail service since 1979.
• Kasich cut state Medicaid payments to nursing homes by 6% and initiated new rules that lift the requirement that each nursing home room has access to a bathtub or shower (hey – it works in the Ohio State University dorms).
• Kasich will lease Ohio’s wholesale liquor operations to the so-called JobsOhio. Thus, he will be able to take credit for creating jobs when the state workers go from being public workers to private workers without any real net job gain.
• Kasich, of course, slashed funding to the Ohio Consumer Council and banned it from operating a call center to take consumer complaints and inform people of their rights against utility companies.
• Kasich’s budget also provides heavy subsidies to charter schools increasing the number of vouchers paid by the state from 14,000 to 60,000 by the 2012-13 school year.
• Kasich’s budget eliminates the seniority system for teachers in determining layoffs. Any new and cheaper teacher with a better evaluation will be kept over a higher-priced senior teacher.
• Senate Bill 5, which was passed in conjunction with the budget, eliminated all unions for public college and university professors.
• His budget also prohibits municipalities from regulating fast food restaurants ingredients or requiring restaurant nutritional data be displayed.
• Kasich’s budget does, in fact, move away from privatization and toward heavy government regulation in one key area – it mandates that those who obtain Freemason license plates to document membership in good standing in the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Ohio.

So there’s Kasich’s “smooth as butter” start. We can only hope his departure will be even smoother.


Bob Fitrakis ran against Kasich for Congress in 1992 and is currently the co-chair of the Ohio Green Party.