Local News Since 1890 Now Online!

Just Say No To Mike DeWine, Finally

In Local News, Politics, State News on October 1, 2014 at 9:35 am

dih-logo-SEMike DeWine has been in the public eye since his days as a Greene County prosecutor.  Part of a high-profile and wealthy Greene County (Yellow Springs) family, DeWine is now seeking re-election as Attorney General of Ohio. While he’s been taking every possible photo-op he can, Ohioans have likely forgotten what he really stands for – which is exactly what he’s counting on.

Richard Michael DeWine was born in Springfield, grew up in Yellow Springs and now lives in Cedarville – reportedly on inherited land. DeWine worked as a Greene County prosecuting attorney during the late 1970’s and was elected to the Ohio State Senate in 1980. Since that time he has been in politics as Ohio’s lieutenant governor and spent two terms in the United States Senate from 1995 until 2007.

DeWine’s voting record from his time in congress shows that he believes in curtailing the individual rights of private citizens, particularly their right to own a firearm. Being so vocally against the right to bear arms is an odd position to take considering that gun control is such a hot button topic in Ohio, especially for a Republican. His time as the state’s senior lawyer has been less than stellar.

Given his background, Mike DeWine will continue his fight against the rights of individuals. According to multiple news sources, including CNN, in August of 2013, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, was finally forced to disclose that Ohio driver license photos had been uploaded to a facial recognition database for criminal identification.

According to his statement at the press conference revealing this program, DeWine said, “Misuse of the facial recognition system is a felony offense.” But how can he make a statement like that when there are currently no written rules to govern its use?

According to DeWine, the program allows police to quickly compare photographs of suspects or crime victims to an electronic pool of mug shots and driver license photos in the Ohio database. Comparisons are made of facial measurements from one image to the next in search of a match. The problem with all of this is that it’s been active since June – in secret.

No surprise really, since, while in Washington, he voted in favor of loosening restrictions on cell phone wiretapping and in opposition to a law preventing employers from discriminating against workers based on sexual orientation. Any individual who is so obviously unopposed to deliberate discriminatory action has no business being attorney general.

Since his days as a county prosecutor, he has been against private individuals protecting themselves with any sort of fire arm. He has also constantly made it known that he wants firearm manufacturers to be held accountable for crimes committed using their products. All of this, and yet he is calling for a federal investigation in an effort to overturn the grand jury decision in the Beavercreek Walmart shooting, all to gain points with a African American voters. Shameful doesn’t even cover that kind of act.

If re-elected as the state’s highest ranking prosecutor, DeWine would also be charged with protecting the public against fraud and discriminatory activities. But, as of now, the slick, misleading activities of shell power companies such as Dayton Power & Light’s “DPL Energy” and others like it have gone unchecked. These shell billing companies are unregulated by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio and regularly con the elderly and uninformed into buying into their scam. Dozens of news stories have been done on the problem and DeWine has taken no action whatsoever.

One of the most confusing positions DeWine has taken revolves around immigration. DeWine, who represented a senatorial district where migrant workers are common, voted for building a fence along the United States / Mexico border, while at the same time choosing in favor of giving guest workers an easier path to citizenship. Conveniently, during the incomprehensible process of naturalization, the latter would probably allow greedy, corporate-owned farms to continue paying pennies to immigrant workers while helping to fill DeWine’s campaign coffers.

The record also reveals that DeWine would prefer that people stay as ignorant as possible and that the financially underprivileged are undeserving of a college education. In 2001, he voted against increasing tax deductions for college students. With Ohio’s staggeringly high unemployment rate, one would think that the government would do everything possible to make it easier for people to improve their skills, not limit their potential through nickel and diming beaurocracy.

Any out of work Republicans in Ohio who vote across the party, regardless of the candidate’s qualifications or platform, should remember that Mike DeWine is a trust fund beneficiary (in other words, he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth). According to financial statements from the 2004 fiscal year, his assets through DeWine Enterprises, Inc. – the family holdings – were valued up to $5 million and earning between $50,000 and $100,000 per year in capital gains.

That would certainly explain why, in February of 2006, DeWine voted in favor of retaining reduced taxes on capital gains and dividends. The former senator is certainly one of very few people in the state who can sit around collecting this kind of “unearned” income. Everyone else has to work for a living – at least those who still have a job.

DeWine will do no more in the coming term than he did in the previous one and, like most career politicians, he spends a great deal of time talking out of both sides of it. He cares only about his thirst for publicity and political glory. It’s time for Mike DeWine to retire – let’s give him a proper send off. Ohio has had enough of him.

 

 Congressional voting records are available at http://www.ontheissues.org.  

AG collecting BMV data: Who’s watching the watchers?

In Local News, Media, Opinion, Politics, sociology, Uncategorized on September 30, 2014 at 9:31 am

DIH LOGOApparently the National Security Administration (NSA) isn’t the only government agency collecting information on American citizens without oversight. According to multiple news sources, including CNN, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has just disclosed that Ohio driver license photos have been uploaded to a facial recognition database for criminal identification.

According to DeWine, the program allows police to quickly compare photographs of suspects or crime victims to an electronic pool of mug shots and driver license photos in the Ohio database. Comparisons are made of facial measurements from one image to the next in search of a match. The problem with all of this is that it’s been active since June – in secret.

With no rules or written regulations governing the use of this information, the AG can do whatever he wants with it. No official should have such wide-sweeping access to personal information on citizens.

Photo Courtesy RawStory.Com.

Ohio AG Mike DeWine    Photo Courtesy RawStory.Com.

Neither DeWine, nor any of his cronies, has any right to dig through the records of Ohio citizens without due process. Within moments of disclosing this information, the American Civil Liberties Union pounced on the situation, and, for a change, rightfully so.

ACLU Associate Director Gary Daniels issued a statement calling upon DeWine to, “Pull the plug” on the system. “This system needs to be shut down until there are meaningful, documented rules in place to keep this information secure, protect the privacy of innocent people, and prevent government abuse of this new tool,” Daniels said.

According to his statement at the press conference revealing this program, DeWine said, “Misuse of the facial recognition system is a felony offense.” But how can he make a statement like that when there are currently no written rules to govern its use?

As he told The Enquirer, it’s the AG’s opinion that he didn’t need to inform the public when the system was launched because 26 other states already have similar databases in operation. Only now, after the information was prematurely uncovered by the press, has DeWine decided to publicly form an expert advisory panel of judges, prosecutors and law enforcement representatives to create rules preventing privacy abuse.

Where is the state legislature in that list of “experts?” Our state representatives should be the ones governing the rules of operation for such a system, not those who already have control over it and the ability to exploit the information.

All this begs the question, if DeWine is uploading identification photos, what else is he collecting? Every photo is part of a larger database of names, addresses, and Social Security numbers. So who is looking at all of that and how much access do they have? Even more importantly, what can be done to control its use?

Protecting the public is what an attorney general is supposed to do. Sadly, when the person holding that office has an overwhelming sense of omnipotence, the public has to protect itself instead from him. Then, only the state legislature can take the proper action to limit DeWine’s reach with such sensitive data.

People need to call, email, fax, write to their state representative and demand they act immediately to avoid mishandling of this information and force the AG to disclose every detail of this program to the public. The idea that he felt he was not obligated to tell anyone only emphasizes the need for extensive regulation by the State House.

In the meantime, be aware that likely anyone in the AG office has access to any and all personal information collected by the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles without proper due process of law, warrant or oversight. It’s not good enough that we’re supposed to simply “trust” Mike DeWine’s policies, especially knowing now that he has hidden this program for months. If he has concealed this, then what else could he be he hiding?

 

 

Do your homework before voting this election.

In Jobs, National News, Opinion, Politics, State News, Uncategorized on September 29, 2014 at 11:26 am

DIH LOGOHere we are in election season again, when liberals and conservatives alike spend millions of dollars trying to convince voters to either keep them in office or replace the incumbent.  As always, when they’re not kissing your baby, they’re stealing his lollypop. With so many candidates running who are essentially, “the lesser of who cares,” how will you decide at the ballot box?

A common theme of election strategies is the tired old, “let’s bash the other guy,” method, which is exactly as it sounds. In the months and weeks preceding the election, voters are inundated with television commercials, fliers and post cards all declaring the treachery of the opposing candidate, regardless of the validity of the claims. The goal is to “scare” you away from that candidate for fear he or she will bring about the end of democracy as we know it.

Another popular method of political marketing is the “two chickens in every pot” promise. The goal here is to simply convince you that no matter how you are living now, vote for “me” and I’ll make your life better, and the themes follow trends.

In the years following 9/11, for example, candidates promised better homeland security. After the recession hit, they promised banking reform and more jobs. In reality, however, politicians have little to do with any of that.

When you read about a lower unemployment rate, chances are it’s because many jobless simply stopped reporting their status or benefits have run out. Unemployment numbers fluctuate, organically, not because some politician changed the face of the workforce with the swath of a pen. Please try to keep this in mind: government does not, has not, and never will create jobs in the real world. Regardless of how much they hype job-creating policies, no politician can create jobs in private industry.

Probably the most famous photo of Truman. (Photo by W. Eugene Smith//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

Probably the most famous photo of Truman. (Photo by W. Eugene Smith//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

In fact, the majority of political interference just impedes business and slows workforce development – unless you have a nice, fat check to send them at election time. Then you get all the help you want until your money runs out.

The rest of the time, business owners must contend with the result of what these self-serving bureaucrats do best. Invasive regulations, ever-increasing taxes and other legislative roadblocks usually just muck up the works and prevent small businesses from growing – or hiring.

Local government interference can make things even worse, because that’s where the real decisions are made. When local politicians have a “pal” in a particular industry and a competitor comes in to try to set up shop, it can be harder to get official processes pushed through, like location approvals, licensing, and so on. It does happen, and far more often than you might think.

What gets even more annoying is the level to which some politicians try to convince people they are “regular folks,” when most of them are millionaires many times over. Great examples are Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, Congressman John Boehner, and many of their compatriots, on both sides of the aisle, each of whom are super-wealthy and many up for re-election. None of them have a clue what it would be like to have to survive paycheck to paycheck like so many of their constituents.

Whatever the ploy, a politician is a business selling a product in the same way that any company would try to get you to buy their brand of soap or corn flakes. It’s all marketing, and knowing that people make political decisions emotionally rather than based on any logic or facts, the more frightening the ad campaign the better.

The same goes for choosing to approve or deny the various ballot issues. Just because they send kids to bang on your door with big sad eyes and a long sad tale of how the children will suffer without passing a tax increase (while the kid has no idea what they’re shilling for, because they’re kids), that doesn’t mean you should pull vote “yes.”

Best advice, ignore the advertisements. If every voter did a little homework on the candidates and issues instead of voting a party line or from fear or guilt, there would be a marked improvement in the quality of our leadership.
The Jamestown Comet.com editor / publisher, Gery L. Deer, is an independent columnist and business writer. More at gerydeer.com.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 698 other followers