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ORANGE IS THE NEW ORANGE: The President should be behind bars  

by Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman
Orange face of Donald Trump

Angst, fear and loathing are the overwhelming emotions six months into the disastrous Trump presidency. Just exactly who, or what, do we have at the helm of the United States Ship of State, and the little red button that could end life as we know it? This month’s Free Press cover depicts a Trump regime floundering in rough sea waters, with the Don confident, but clueless.

The planet and its leaders are watching in horror as the ship appears to be capsizing. Trump and his fools enrich themselves, all the while gleefully decimating domestic social programs, dooming the environment and destroying our nation’s relationships around the world.

Charles Wince, the artist, is asking: just who is steering this ship of fools?

A buffoon? A bully? An oft-bankrupt billionaire businessman? A Benito Mussolini in the making?

Simply put, what we have is an international criminal hell-bent on continuing his crime spree within and without his corrupt administration. Making the world safe for oligarchy.

Casinos, luxury hotels equals Money laundering

Let’s see, casinos, pricey real estate, the Russian mob, the U.S. mafia…hmmm. One plus one plus one equals money laundering.

The notorious meeting between Donald Trump, Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort and assorted Russian operatives spawned new allegations and suspicions that the Trump family colluded with Russian intelligence to try to gain electoral victory over Hillary Clinton. The details remain murky but the truth is likely more diabolical.

Not that Clinton wasn’t busy demonizing the Russians and using the Clinton Foundation for political pay-offs.

The meetings with Putin’s comrades and Trump’s entourage, may indicate the President may merely be a bagman and money washer for the Russian mafia.

This perception is magnified by Trump’s unprecedented refusal to release his tax forms, which may indicate his net worth to be largely in rubles.

Trump has a long history of involvement with the Russian government. Trump’s first visit Russia was in 1987 at Soviet Ambassador Yuri Dubin’s invitation.

Craig Unger’s New Republic article, Trump’s Russian Laundromat essentially argues that Trump’s money laundering for Russian mobsters is what propelled his worldwide real estate empire.

Trump’s closely-held private real estate holdings, according to Unger, provide the perfect resources for illegal money laundering. Unger cites “…a flow of highly suspicious money from Russia.” He points out that, “Over the past three decades at least 13 people with known or alleged links to Russian mobsters or oligarchs have owned, lived in, and even run criminal activities out of the Trump Tower and other Trump properties. Many used his apartments and casinos to launder untold millions in dirty money.”

Business Insider noted that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Department Of Justice (DOJ) recently settled a major money laundering case involving a real estate company owned by the son of powerful Russian government official Pyotr Katsyz, former Vice Governor of the Moscow region. Katsyz’s son Dennis owns the real estate company Prebezon, that was accused of laundering millions of dollars through New York City real estate when the case was “unexpectedly settled two days before going to trial in May,” according to Business Insider.

The attorney representing the Katsyz family was none other than Natalia Beselnitskaya, who met with Donald Trump, Jr. on June 9, 2016, to allegedly disclose damaging information concerning Hillary Clinton. She was described as a “Russian government attorney” in Trump Junior’s emails. Democratic House Judiciary Committee members sent a letter to Sessions inquiring about Beselnitskaya’s involvement in the settlement.

Also in attendance on June 9 was Renat Akhmetshin, described by CNN as “a U.S. citizen lobbyist promoting Russian interests and a former Soviet military officer” and Aras Agalarov, owner of the Crocus Group, a Moscow-based property company .

The mystery man, or 8th person who emerged at Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with Russians, turned out to be Irakly “Ike” Kaveladze, a Crocus Group Vice President accused of laundering more than $1.4 billion into the U.S. from Eastern Europe. Kaveladze allegedly used 2,000 shell companies to launder money into the U.S..

Essentially, Trump, Jr.’s meeting was a perfect Russian triumvirate representing an alleged money launderer, the Russian military and and a pro-Putin oligarch.

If Trump is to be impeached and his clumsy cover-up of Russian ties revealed, it will be because the laundered money was easy to follow from the election tampering to Putin meddling.

Forget about the Russians, Trump supports American-made election riggers

While Trump’s apparent law-breaking focuses on the Russians, his primary anti-American assault is his bogus Election Integrity Commission led by Kris Kobach, whose Crosscheck program stripped countless non-millionaire citizens from the voter rolls in at least 30 states, critical to putting Trump in the White House. The man who rigged Ohio’s 2004 election, Ken Blackwell also serves on the Commission.

As Americans we cannot allow this high-tech Jim Crow destruction of the electoral process to lead to a permanent, one-party dictatorship.

This official lynch mob must be replaced by a national commission to promote universal hand-counted paper ballots and universal automatic voter registration, with legally protected, transparent voter rolls.

At least now the media and establishment have to admit U.S. election systems can be, and have been, hacked — a fact the Free Press has investigated and reported for over 15 years.

Resign or be convicted

All of this raises the blackmail issue. Which foreign entities, including crime syndicates, have information to compromise Trump and his close personal entourage?

It’s not just the Russian connections we should be investigating. As The New Yorker pointed out, “Throughout the Presidential campaign, Trump was in business with someone that his company knew was likely a partner with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.”

Trump’s “Trump Tower Baku” was a failed luxury hotel project in Azerbaijan, considered one of the world’s most corrupt nations. His partner was Zaya Mammadov, a billionaire oligarch tied to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, who worked as the Azerbaijan Transportation Minister for $12,000 a year.

The Guardian reported in mid-June that “Donald Trump — like Richard Nixon” is now “under investigation for obstruction of justice.” There is already speculation that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is also investigating Trump’s alleged money laundering.

Trump has questioned Mueller impartiality regarding the Russian investigation and has contemplated firing Mueller in perhaps his own version of Nixon’s infamous “Saturday Night Massacre” when he fired Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox.

Donald Trump must resign the presidency by August 9, the anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki and the resignation of Richard Nixon.

In Trump’s brief tenure, he’s already fired James Comey, the FBI Director, for failing to pledge personal loyalty. Trump went on to try to intimidate Comey by suggesting he might have “tapes” of their conversations. The Washington Post reported that Trump then tried to get CIA director Mike Pompeo and Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats to kill the FBI investigation into Trump’s Russian connections.

Trump’s coverups must stop. If, by the time this issue comes out, he hasn’t resigned, he needs to resign or be convicted.

Demand Trump Resign on National Nagasaki/Nixon Day

To prevent nuclear war, ecological collapse, economic ruin and the Jim Crow destruction of our democracy, August 9 has been designated for demonstrations to demand Trump’s resignation.

Rallies are already in the planning stages in California and Ohio. Demonstrators are encouraged to wear orange jump suits and t-shirts, and yellow wigs or hats, in solemn evocation of the likely upcoming indictments of Trump and his mafia family, Russian and otherwise.

A demonstration at the “mushroom cloud” peace statue in Santa Monica, California, to be broadcast and/or podcast on Pacifica/KPFK radio, will highlight a national call for Trump to step down in the face of his proven, highly destructive inability to lead the country, and amidst his alien, illegal assault on American democracy.

Group photos with a “RESIGN” signs are also encouraged.

Please notify us through colsfreepress@gmail.com about upcoming events.

Originally published here: http://freepress.org/article/orange-new-orange-president-should-be-behind-bars

 

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Columbus Police on the Attack Again: Disabled demonstrators arrested


Policeman throwing a woman out of her wheelchair, still from video by Atticus Garden.

by Bob Fitrakis
JULY 7, 2017

Policeman throwing a woman out of her wheelchair

What appears to be a phony 911 emergency medical call was used as a pretense for Columbus Police to forcibly evict and arrest wheelchair-bound Medicaid recipients in a building that houses Senator Rob Portman’s office.

July 6 was a national day of action to sit in at Senate home offices across the country to protest cuts to Medicaid as the U.S. Senate seeks to roll back the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Five activists peacefully occupied Portman’s Senate office at 37 West Broad, where they remained overnight. The next day activists from ADAPT, a disability rights organization, joined members of local groups Junto Unsilenced, Socialist Alternative, and Yes We Can.

Kelly Weber, who organized the sit-in along with John Shade and Bilal El-Yousseph and with support from UltraViolet and Planned Parenthood, said the original demands were for Senator Portman to vote no on the bill to repeal the ACA and to hold a town hall meeting in the district.

The Free Press witnessed one of the largest displays of police vehicles storming the building in history. One onlooker wondered if there had been a terrorist attack.

Video recorded by a demonstrator shows a wheelchair-bound woman being tossed from her chair by the police. One witness stated that police were dragging people out of wheelchairs. Three witnesses told the Free Press that they saw and videotaped people being pushed out of wheelchairs and of a hearing-impaired person being arrested.

The Columbus Police claimed 15 people were arrested. Weber put the number higher at 23, including 20 women, with all the arrestees being from the group ADAPT. ADAPT had negotiated their action with the Police and were stunned by the violent nature of the arrests.

What prompted the police violence was a curious appearance by Columbus Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel in the building at 3:10pm, claiming they were looking for a man having a heart attack. ADAPT demonstrators were blocking three of the four elevators, but one was available for EMS to get a gurney into the building.

Those arrested were charged with obstructing medical personnel during an emergency, though a police officer, in cruiser 121, confirmed to the Free Press that no one was found having a heart attack at the site.

At the same time the EMS personnel appeared, Portman’s staff was having the occupiers removed from the office by simply asking them to leave, which they did.

In another bizarre event witnessed by the Free Press, a woman in a wheelchair who had complied with police officers and had moved to the sidewalk outside was asked to produce identification. When the officer saw that her I.D. indicated she was from Pennsylvania, she was immediately arrested. This could be a violation of the disabled woman’s First Amendment right to demonstrate, associate and travel.

The police escorted a spokesperson for the Huntington Plaza building over to the demonstrators on the sidewalk. The spokesperson informed the demonstrators that if they ever stepped on the property again, they would be arrested. While he made this pronouncement, the police were shooting video of the demonstrators. Many of the demonstrators pointed out that they would then be blocked from visiting the office of their Senator. The spokesperson for the building did not respond.

On June 29, disabled ADAPT activists in Denver, Colorado were forcibly removed from Senator Cory Gardner’s office and arrested. The Denver Post reported that one officer told them to “Stop fighting” but the demonstrators replied that they weren’t fighting. The Denver Post article stated that, “Police picked up some protesters, restrained them, forced them into their wheelchairs and wheeled them out of the office.” Those arrested in Denver were released on personal recognizance on July 1.

Weber noted that there will be a town hall meeting at 6:30pm on Tuesday, July 11 at the Statehouse grounds, whether Portman attends or not.

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Bob Fitrakis On WVKO Radio Columbus Series Audio 2012 Archive, Youtube Bonus at end

Fight Back Podcast Nov. 11, 2012
Bill Baker talking about Charter passing against fracking in MANSFIELD, OH 1.03 BILL OF RIGHTS ARTICLE 1

Fight Back Podcast November 24, 2012
Naked Short Selling, Brown Saddle Films, Christina Copeland
The Wall Street Conspiracy – Trailer The Naked Truth: Investing in` the Stock Play of a Lifetime Hardcover – February 15, 2008 by Mark Faulk (Author)

Fight Back WVKO Podcast November 17, 2012
Bill Baker Charter amendment in Mansfield Against Article 1 sec. 1.03 Bill Of Rights Anti-Fracking activist. Home Rule by Existing Ohio Law

Fight Back WVKO Podcast November 10, 2012
Karl Rove Melt Down, Election Summary, Jim Hettle
and Mary Beth Bryan Working on documentary incl. Romney

Fight Back WVKO Podcast November 03, 2012
Jill Stein Green Party Presidential candidate, Command Central
Voting Intricacies

Fight Back WVKO Podcast, October 27, 2012 Romney Family investments in voting machines

Fight Back WVKO Podcast, October 06, 2012
Special Guest Ass’t Professor Of Economics, Dr. Fadel Kaboub from Denison University

Fight Back WVKO Podcast, September 29, 2012
Brian Clash live. Terri Jameson Domestic Relations Juvenile court candidate.40:45> Gerry Bello Sept. 27, 2012 Free Press Article, “Vote counting company tied to Romney”

Fight Back WVKO Podcast, October 13, 2012
Cheri Honkala, VP Candidate For The U.S. Green Party 2012

Fight Back WVKO Podcast October 20, 2012
Kelly Nyks, “Split, A Deeper Divide“, Gerry Bello, Political analysis (31:37), John Wellington Innis, Edited Version, “Free For All” (34:25), Disussion of Michael Connell, (52:04), ‘Point Of Sale’ (POS) attack. Romney and voting machines.

Fight Back WVKO Podcast Sept. 15, 2012
Michael Alwood standing in for Peter Navarro Film Producer, official site “Death By China” Free on youtubeKnow Drones 47:58 Nick Mottern.

Fight Back WVKO Podcast Setp. 8, 2012 Bob talks to Senior Editor of the Columbus Free Press, Harvey Wasserman about Husted, Ohio SOS, bans Sunday voting and voter suppression.

Fight Back, WVKO Podcast Sept. 1, 2012 (Starts 11:12) Tom Over, live at the republican convention.

Fight Back WVKO Podcast Aug. 18, 2012 (Starts 8:20) Elections and Voting, Wisconsin Guests (Dennis Kern, John Washburn) Ohio Dem. Dennis Liberman removed from office (by Jon Husted Ohio SOS) for promoting weekend voting.

Fight Back WVKO Podcast Aug 11, 2012 Fighting The War Party, Richard Ehrbar III (L) – Candidate for Congress, Ohio District 3, Bob’s Opposition candidate.

FightBack WVKO Podcast August 4, 2012 (starts at 6:25)
Columbus City Council Mis-Representation, Reflex, Carpet Baggers, Hiroshima, Nagasaki memorial 62nd, No Drones, 51:47: Dave agin’ Obama and dems, Obama agenda, Workers and voting rights.

Fight Back WVKO Podcast July 14, 2012 (Starts 9:30) (Starts 9:43) Re-examining Lucasville, OH longest prison uprising in U.S. Ben Turk Redbird prison abolition. Live call from prison, Siddique Abdullah Hasan (Carlos Sanders) | Justice for Lucasville Lucasville Five.

Fight Back WVKO Podcast July 21, 2012 (Starts 7:43) Prison Industrial Complex Derrick Jones and Natural, movie “The Great Incarcerator”

Fight Back WVKO Podcast July 28 2012 (starts 7:20) Dell Perry, local Musician, Producer, Then (38.50)  R.P Ericksen author “The Left Has Always Been Right”.

Fight Back WVKO Podcast May 19, 2012 Front Street with host Charles Traylor,

Fight Back WVKO Podcast May 26, 2012 Rob Kall, Chief editor OpedNews.com, (21:12) NATO Summit, Chicago coverage from Freepress Photographer, Christopher Coston.  COINTELPRO worldwide campaign fighting U.S. policy opposition. Trayvon Martin discussion caller. Bob Bennett, Wally O’Dell (Diebold) mention. Infoshop Event.

Fight Back WVKO Podcast June 6, 2012 Sean Gilbow, 1851 centerDonald Goldmacher, Bay Area Activist “Heist, The Movie” Public Employees, School Districts for profit.

Fight Back WVKO Podcast June 9, 2012 Dr. Bob and Cliff Arnebeck, Richard Charnin, Scott Walker Recall (WI), Pattern: Exit Polls adjusted to match “outcome”. Harvey Wasserman calls in. Barbara With, Sheila Parks.

Fight Back WVKO Podcast June 23, 2012 Dr. Bob, Michael Alwood and Cliff Arnebeck, Campaign For America’s Future, Van Jones about Obama’s knowledge of election rigging. Judith, Texas Strike Force, WI robocalls, Michael Connell deposition, death (42:20). After Conf. Posse to Crossroads, 43:30. Letter from Bob Bauer, Jill Simpson and Don Seigelman, Max Cleland, Georgia election corruption. Rove fired from Whitehouse, 2007.

Fight Back WVKO Podcast May 12, 2012 Fascism, Corporatism, Socialism, Trotsky, Michael Alwood, Steve

Fight Back WVKO Podcast May 5, 2012 Bill Baker, Frack Free Ohio, Preferred Fluids, TX, President Speaking in Columbus

Fight Back WVKO Podcast July 7, 2012 Bob, Michael Alwood, AEP, Global Warming, Weather Mods, Full Spectrum Dominance, Nick Mottern: KnowDrones

 

BONUS:

 

 

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Trump Is Our Imperial Vulture Come Home to Roost – We Must Repent

Donald Trump. (photo: Bill Clark/Roll Call)
Donald Trump. (photo: Bill Clark/Roll Call)

Trump Is Our Imperial Vulture Come Home to Roost – We Must Repent

By Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman, Reader Supported News

13 February 17

 

s the nightmare reality of Donald Trump sinks in, we need to put our resistance in a larger perspective.

There’s no need here to list what he is doing and is prepared to do to what remains of our rights, freedoms, economy, ecology, human dignity, sense of justice, the future of our children and much, much more. Donald Trump appears at this point to be our worst national nightmare.

For many of us, it will be the challenge of a lifetime to solve this problem. Millions of words will be written about it in the months to come.

But we might start by comparing him to the kinds of leaders our nation has forced on other countries, and by making some kind of amends. Trump is, in fact, our own imperial vulture come home to roost.

Indeed, he’s actually (so far) a moderate compared to scores of murderous dictators the US has installed in other countries throughout the world. Especially since World War II, our imperial apparatus has constantly subverted legitimate attempts by good people to elect decent leaders.

In all such cases, people no different from most of us have suffered terrible, tangible consequences. No matter how much pain we may now feel in America, it pales before the horrors we’ve imposed with Trump-style dictators in other nations.

To get them installed, the Central Intelligence Agency and other imperial organs have often merely subverted elections. As was done here in 2016 and for countless elections before (and perhaps to come), substantial portions of the population have been systematically stripped of their right to vote. Where that’s proven insufficient, vote counts have been flipped by electronic and other means to guarantee a secure corporate outcome.

But where even that’s not been enough, our imperial minions have simply exiled, killed outright, invaded, employed mass violence, concocted civil wars and done whatever else necessary to remove those popular leaders that have not suited the American corporate interest.

One recent instance has been in Honduras, where the elected president, Manuel Zelaya Rosales, was ousted in a U.S.-backed coup and the military took over from 2009 to 2013. Honduras became the most violent non-war zone on Earth in those years.

Here is a partial list of other duly elected leaders the United States has had removed, disappeared and/or killed to make way for authoritarian pro-corporate regimes. In each case, their demise resulted in death, denial of democratic rights and massive suffering to individuals within those countries who stood in the way of America’s imperial agenda:

Lumumba, Congo; Allende, Chile; Aristide, Haiti; Mossadegh, Iran; Arbenz, Guatemala; President Joao Goulart, Brazil; Prime Minister Georgios Papandreou, Greece; Sukarno, Indonesia; Tecumseh, John Ross, Sitting Bull, Chief Joseph, Sealth and countless other indigenous Americans; and too many more.

Here is a very incomplete list of violent, torture-prone kleptocrats the US has installed to serve its corporate interests:

Pinochet, Chile; Duvalier, Haiti; Somoza, Nicaragua; Marcos, Philippines; Suharto, Indonesia; Diem, Ky, Thieu, Vietnam; Pol Pot, Cambodia; Batista, Cuba; Saddam Hussein, Iraq; the Shah, Iran; the Regime of the Colonels, Greece; and too many more.

Taken in sum, the horrors these coups have imposed on innocent people throughout the planet comprise a terrible karmic debt our nation owes the rest of humankind.

The idea that such retribution would come home to roost may have been best stated by our 16th president. It is chiseled on the wall of the Lincoln Memorial in our nation’s capital, for all to see.

At the end of the Civil War, in his Second Inaugural Address, Abraham Lincoln mourned that this “terrible war,” which killed more than 620,000 Americans, had come “as the woe due to those by whom the offense came.”

The offense, of course was slavery. To pay for it, Lincoln warned, we would see the war “continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword.”

Are we, as modern Americans, now being called to pay for the blood drawn and the pain imposed by our imperial armies? And for all the wealth and comfort and dignity unjustly stolen from innocent peoples around the world?

As we squirm and mourn and march and organize, we might keep in mind the image of Donald Trump as imperial payback.

We might remember that as we work to overcome this homegrown vulture of our own making we must make right what we’ve imposed on so many others.

And that the restoration of sanity, dignity, and democracy to this nation can only come with a genuine sense of perspective … and with the resolve to never again impose any such suffering anywhere else in this world.

 


 

Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman are co-authors of THE STRIP & FLIP SELECTION OF 2016: FIVE JIM CROWS & ELECTRONIC ELECTION THEFT at www.freepress.org, where Bob’s FITRAKIS FILES are available. Harvey’s SOLARTOPIA! OUR GREEN-POWERED EARTH is at www.solartopia.org.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

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Solartopia Green Power and Wellness Hour – 01.12.17

THE DONALD TRUMP SHOW has now moved to prime time as The Donald turns his first press conference into a hilarious un-reality show of abject absurdity and terror.

Co-author BOB FITRAKIS join filmmakers JiM HEDDLE & MARY-BETH BRANGAN to review the data on why this is the product of yet another stolen election that had nothing to do with the Russians.

We’re then joined by the great investigative journalist KARL GROSSMAN to tell us about the SHUT-DOWN OF INDIAN POINT and other nuclear/Solartopian realities we can expect with The Donald.

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Franklin County Prosecutor candidates weigh in on police-involved shootings, diversion programs, equal protection

by Steve Palm-Houser
SEPTEMBER 20, 2016

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On September 14, two candidates for Franklin County Prosecutor answered questions about how they would respond to officer-involved shootings, if elected. As the candidates’ forum at Mt. Olivet Baptist Church proceeded, only one mile away 13-year-old Tyre King was pursued and shot multiple times by Columbus police. He was taken to Nationwide Children’s Hospital and pronounced dead a few minutes after the candidates’ forum ended.

Adrienne Hood spoke at the beginning of the forum. Her son Henry Green was killed by Columbus police on June 6. “It’s unfortunate that the person who can give me the justice that my son deserves is not here,” she said, indicating the empty chair reserved for Ron O’Brien, the incumbent County Prosecutor candidate. O’Brien has not responded to demands by Green’s family to indict the officers who shot him and appoint an independent prosecutor to oversee the case.

Diversion programs

People’s Justice Project organizer Tammy Alsaada posed the first question to Democratic candidate Zach Klein and Green Party candidate Bob Fitrakis. “Would you keep families together by expanding diversion programs for youth, for addiction, and for mental health issues in underserved and overlooked communities?” she asked. “And how would you help keep people out of the system and get the treatment they need?”

“Yes,” Zach Klein said. “I’m a firm believer that the cycle of incarceration breeds a cycle of poverty, which breeds a cycle of incarceration. I think we need to be aggressive in expanding our diversion program to ensure that there is treatment” for drug addiction and mental health issues. “We also need a diversion program that recognizes when some people turn to crime to make ends meet. It may be a small number of people, but there are people who lack opportunity. Jail is for people that we’re afraid of, not for people we don’t know what to do with.”

There is currently “no rhyme or reason or policy directive out of the prosecutor’s office for who is eligible for diversion,” Klein said. “It’s all at the whim of whether the prosecutor knows the defense attorney. That’s not fair, open, or transparent.”

Bob Fitrakis also responded “yes” to Alsaada’s question. “As prosecutor I will not arrest anyone for drug possession,” he said. “It’s a medical problem, and that’s how it will be handled.” Instead, he would go after the people involved in heavy drug trafficking. “Many of these are connected with legitimate businesses. The people who fueled the crack epidemic in this town in the 1990’s were Southern Air Transport. They were bringing heroin and other drugs into this country. Instead of going after someone with ten balloons in their stomach, let’s go after the large aircraft that are coming in by the planeload, contaminating these communities.”

Fitrakis cited the recently revealed admission by Richard Nixon’s domestic policy chief John Ehrlichman that the War on Drugs was started not to curb drug use, but to marginalize blacks and the hippies who opposed the Vietnam War. “This has been a systematic campaign against the poor community, against the black community,” he said. “We need to redefine the problem.”

Equal protection under the law

“Research shows that mass incarceration disproportionately affects low-income people, and people of color,” said Jasmine Ayres, field director for the Ohio Organizing Collaborative. “We need more information to make evidence-based decisions on policies and practices. For example, black people in Franklin County are 3.8 times more likely to be in jail than whites.

“Will you collect and share demographic data — including race, gender, and income level — on who is charged, what they are charged with, what plea is offered, and what bail is recommended? And how would you set alternative metrics to evaluate your staff?”

“Will I comply with the open records law? Yes,” Bob Fitrakis responded. “There needs to be full transparency. For many years, before the Free Press went after the judges, they were double-bonding people. The bondsmen were running the court until they were exposed.

“I’m going to remove the jump-out boys,” he said, referring to plainclothes police officers who patrol so-called “crime hot-spots,” a code word for neighborhoods with many poor, black, and Latino residents. “They post white police, walking around with money, pretending they’re on drugs, acting like bait. They should be removed or charged criminally, because they’re causing the violence. They need to get off the streets.”

Fitrakis recalled teaching police officers about the U.S. Constitution in 1980. “They weren’t really receptive to it, but we were able to work out certain things,” he said. “We should pay our police well, and we should make sure they know our fundamental principles.”

Zach Klein responded, “Yes, as someone who’s running for prosecutor, trying to get that information that you seek. It doesn’t exist. We should have an open, transparent system in the prosecutor’s office that uses the best practices and technology, that’s not only available, but easy to understand.

“In 2014, which is the last year this data was available, there were 12,000 criminal filings in Franklin County. 190 went to trial. Think about the 11,810 cases that never went to trial, that fall squarely within the programs and opportunities that you’re talking about. But outside of knowing they didn’t go to trial, we don’t know anything about the defendants, the pleas, or the cases.

“Having an open and transparent prosecutor’s office restores the community’s faith in the criminal justice system,” Klein said. “We need to have a prosecutor’s office that is outward-facing, that is engaged in the community, that doesn’t just go home to the suburbs, that looks like the community,” Klein said. “What do I know about Ron O’Brien’s office? Four percent of his lawyers are African American. I think that’s abysmal. We need to have a more aggressive approach to recruiting African American, Latino, LGBT, and female lawyers.”

Trying juveniles as adults

“Youth should not be tried as adults. Research shows that if you send youth to adult prison, they are more likely to re-offend. They are more likely to be sexually abused,” said Candice Williams-Bethea, a grassroots educator with the People’s Justice Project. “How will you handle the practice of trying minors in adult court? And how will you use developmentally-informed decision making appropriate to youth?

“Those statistics are real, which is why any prosecutor should be careful about charging any juvenile as an adult, or as a juvenile,” Zach Klein responded. “A prosecutor’s office should be working with faith and community leaders to play quarterback on this issue and others, to give juvenile offenders a chance to pull themselves out of the cycle. A proactive prosecutor will bring the parties together with a mentor program that can give kids an opportunity to make a difference, not just treat them like a number.”

“I’m not charging any juvenile as an adult if I am prosecutor,” said Bob Fitrakis. “Social science states the obvious: the amount of lawbreaking between affluent suburban white kids and inner-city kids is about the same. The only difference is who gets charged, who gets a record, and who ends up doing time and being profiled for the rest of their lives.”

As an attorney, Fitrakis sees “more justice when I go to mayor’s court in Worthington, Grandview, and Hilliard, when youth are charged with a minor misdemeanor because they’re good boys and girls and about to go off to a private school.” For the same offense a young person in Columbus might be given a first degree misdemeanor or a felony charge, he said. “That must end in the prosecutor’s office.”

Independent prosecutor for police-involved shootings

“Recently the Supreme Court of Ohio acknowledged the bias of the grand jury process when it comes to indicting police,” said Aramis Malachi-Ture Sundiata, statewide organizing director for the People’s Justice Project. “Will you appoint an independent prosecutor to investigate all police-involved shootings in Franklin County? And if not, how will you handle police-involved shootings?”

“If you appoint an independent prosecutor, who do you hold accountable?” Zach Klein responded. “When I am prosecutor, I want you to hold me accountable for decisions I make, not only in police-involved shootings, but in any issue of crime.”

Klein cited Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty, who lost a re-election campaign when he failed to indict police officers in the killing of Tamir Rice. “He was held accountable and got fired,” Klein said. “If we appoint independent prosecutors, I’m afraid that we might lose the accountability. You can’t vote an independent prosecutor out of office.”

“I have no problem with an independent prosecutor,” Bob Fitrakis said. “I just don’t think it goes far enough. I believe that there needs to be an independent civilian review board, with subpoena power, that is elected from the area commissions, and that is responsible in these shooting cases.

“Part of the problem is the tremendous hold the FOP has on elected officials,” Fitrakis said. “That has to stop. We need not only an independent prosecutor; we need a civilian review board with an auditor. We need real citizens from the high-crime neighborhoods. We should be able to elect people from those communities, because they’re the victims.”

At a Columbus City Council candidates’ forum last fall, Zach Klein went on record as opposing a civilian review board with subpoena power.

Both candidates agreed to meet with the groups who held the candidates forum’ 100 days after the election.

For each of the questions posed, the audience applause was consistently louder and longer for Bob Fitrakis than for Zach Klein.

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Bob Fitrakis Speaking The Jill Stein Rally, Capital University, Columbus, OH

September 2nd. 2016


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Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman, THE STRIP & FLIP SELECTION OF 2016: Five Jim Crows & Electronic Election Theft CICJ Books 15$

Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman, THE STRIP & FLIP SELECTION OF 2016: Five Jim Crows & Electronic Election Theft
CICJ Books 15$

flipandstrip

A “…masterful dissection of elections and voting as a system between the Civil War and today. Quite a time period to cover in less than 100 pages, but authors Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman face this challenge, prefaced and introduced by the famed author and investigative reporter Greg Palest and actress and activist (head of Progressive Democrats of America) Mimi Kennedy.” ~ Marta Steele.

Buy online or send a check for $15 to: CICJ Books, 1021 E. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43205

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Green-Socialist Dream in Houston

Bob Fitrakis and Philena Farley

Ohio Green Party delegates Bob Fitrakis and Philena Farley at the Green Party national presidential nominating convention

More than a few have wondered why the Green Party headed for Houston in August to nominate Jill Stein for President. I heard a few press observers note that maybe it was because Houston is one of the hottest and most polluted cities in the nation – perhaps more in need of Stein’s proposed Green New Deal than any other major U.S. city.

The reality is that the national Greens chose Houston because the state Party there practices thoroughgoing grassroots democracy. Simply put, Houston’s state Green Party had the best proposal. The Ohio Greens had proposed Toledo and were a finalist, with a vision of the Cleveland fascistic Republican convention contrasted with adecentralized democratic meeting in the city that is, for all practical purposes, a suburb of Detroit.

Prior to the Saturday, August 6 nominating convention, there were no major questions outstanding. Stein was the presumptive nominee, had chosen her Vice President, and her platform was clear. This is despite the fact in the past few months, Stein had offered Bernie Sanders to be the Green Party presidential nominee (with Stein as VP), and offered former Ohio State Senator, Sanders supporter, and renegade Democrat Nina Turner a spot as her running mate.

There was also talk of Cornel West as a VP candidate. But in the end, Stein turned to a stalwart human rights activist with ties to the Black Lives Matter movement to balance the ticket and reach out to the Party’s growing minority base, Ajamu Baraka.

The two most fiery calls to action during Stein’s nomination process were from the always eloquent Cornel West and YahNe Ndgo. Ndgo, as if conjuring up the spirit of “criticism/self-criticism” from the 1970s, appealed far more to the primarily white 200 or so Green Party delegates than the numerous Bernie-or-Bust observers, who broke into frequent chants of “Jill! Not Hill!”

There was some tension in Stein’s nominating process when presidential hopeful Sedinam Kinamo Christin Moyowasifza-Curry immediately objected to the Alabama delegation casting their votes, because she claimed she had not been invited to that state. Moyowasifza-Curry has argued vigorously for the Green Party becoming a minority-led vehicle to advance issues of concern to people of color.

Although there were frequent procedural objections from the floor by Moyowasifza-Curry, Stein easily won the nomination. The platform that, among other things, calls for reparations for African Americans, passed with little debate and only one dissenting vote.

The Ecological Economics amendment placed the Green Party firmly on the record as a Left eco-socialist party, reading in part: “…The Green Party seeks to build an alternative economic system based on ecology and decentralization of power, an alternative that rejects both the capitalist system that maintains private ownership over almost all production as well as the state-socialist system that assumes control over industries without democratic, local decision making…” and “…“addresses the economic inequalities, social inequalities, and productivism of both capitalism and state socialism and emphasizes grassroots democracy in the workplace.”

The platform also included the Green Party’s commitment to election integrity, calling for the end to all privately-owned proprietary computer codes in the U.S. electronic voting process.

A highlight of the convention was a livestream by Julian Assange from the Ecuadorian Embassy in Britain. He spoke to the crowd about movements like the Green Party and how they keep American politics “honest.” He repeated his assertion that asking people to vote between Trump and Clinton is like asking people to choose between “cholera and gonorrhea.” Both Assange and West argued that the legendary “triangulation” of the Clintons, while they govern from the corporate center, is fanning the flames of right-wing takeovers to hold the Left at bay.

Stein asserted that all the fears of a Trump presidency – naked oligarchies, endless wars – actually occurred during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state. Stein also pointed out, along with West, that the current U.S. mass incarceration state that has disproportionately arrested blacks and Latinos was fueled on the federal level by the policies of Bill Clinton.

The key unanswered question from the convention is how many of the Berners will bolt from the preference of their leader and dedicate their energy and enthusiasm to the Stein campaign. Reports are already coming in of record small donations to the Stein campaign. In a press conference following her nomination, Stein said she had raised more money in the last three weeks than in the first year and half of her campaign.

Will the long sought-after, post-60s dream of an eco-socialist alliance, with state and local elected officials finally breakthrough in 2016?

Bob Fitrakis, Co-Chair of the Ohio Green Party, was an alternative delegate to the 2016 national Green Party convention and is the Federal Election Commissioner of the Green Shadow Cabinet. 

Connie And Cornel

Nathan Lane and Jill

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Bob and Harvey Discuss Gov. Kasich’s Environmental Record

rainbow bob

Fight Back – Episode: 08/28/15 Governor John Kasick’s (sic) environmental record