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Bush And Hackwell About To Be Stoned

Check out Leftyblogs.com – the Top 50 Headlines of the Week includes a blog by Cincinnati’s Andrew Warner. He’s asking Strickland to drop out of Ohio’s governor race, so as not to be a “spoiler” for my campaign. Thanks for the insightful analysis, Andrew!

This Thursday, Rolling Stone subscribers should be getting a historic issue of the magazine with one of the most anticipated articles ever written. Voting rights activists are excited about the article written by Stone reporters, as well as an extended piece by Bobby Kennedy, Jr. on the Ohio 2004 presidential election. The article should be on the web by Friday.

We need to buy as many copies as we can get and make sure they’re widely distributed before the Bush White House breaks open one of its secret slush funds to keep this important article from being disseminated.

If you want to get a feel for what might be in the article, my good friends at the Ecological Options Network have now posted all their videos through Google, so enjoy these and let me know what you think:

Here are the Google links: 

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End The Atrocities In Iraq

This Memorial Day I reflected on the war dead in Iraq. Not just the U.S. soldiers, but the more than 30,000, and possibly as high as 100,000 innocent Iraqi civilians killed in this unjust war. When individuals make such atrocious mistakes, based on misinformation and lies, they should immediately cease their sinful actions and offer restitution. Rest assured that our president is a war criminal, guilty of conspiring, planning and waging an aggressive and illegal war on a country that posed no threat to us. J. Kenneth Hackwell, a well-known buddy of neo-con Richard Perle, supports the same policy of regime change embraced by the Bush administration. I believe that all life is intrinsically valuable and I like to call this position pro-life. That’s why I am opposed to war except as a last resort in an act of self defense.

The U.S. Marines who slaughtered the 24 innocent Iraqi civilians in the western town of Haditha are murderers and must be tried and condemned as such. The war in Iraq is over. We have lost the hearts of minds of the Iraqi people. Not that we ever had them. We were told our troops would be greeted with sweets and flowers – an absurd lie, and no imperialist occupying force has ever been thus treated. Now, as in Vietnam, our troops can’t tell the difference between the “good” Iraqis and the “bad” Iraqis. We are in the middle of a civil war, which is draining our country financially and militarily. The Bush regime is perhaps the most hated political regime in American history. Hated not only by the people of the world, but despised by the vast majority of U.S. citizens. If you love this country and support its troops, you’ll do all you can to bring them home and disassociated them with this illegal and immoral war.

As governor of the state I plan to issue a direct order prohibiting the Ohio National Guard from serving in Iraq and to appoint a commission of legal scholars and academics to investigate whether or not the president should be indicted for war crimes. That is the Ohio I would be proud of, the same one that stood firm against slavery during the Civil War. Not one that blindly supports an irrational war-mongering, war-profiteering faux Texan.

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Minimum Wage Is Not Living Wage

When the Republicans that control the state recently raised Ohio’s minimum wage to match the federal rate of $5.15, there was little cause for rejoicing. The federal minimum wage has not been increased since September 1997. Five fifteen an hour comes out to $10,700 annually, to support oneself or family. There’s a statewide initiative that I support that will raise Ohio’s minimum wage to $6.85 and increase the income of one in seven Ohio workers. An estimated 297,000 workers in Ohio make less than $6.85 an hour, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. Another 423,000 people would be affected by a “spillover” effect that would cause their slightly-above minimum wages, but less than living wages, to rise. In all, an estimated 730,000 workers, 58% of them women, would benefit from higher wages if the $6.85 an hour initiative goes through.

Not only should the initiative go through, but I propose if I am governor, to tie minimum wage increases to the rate of inflation. It is the poor and the working poor who are hit the hardest by the highly inflationary fuel prices. Moreover, I will instruct Ohio state agencies to only contract with companies that pay a livable wage. Even at $6.85 an hour, workers would only be paid $14,248 a year, which is still 14% below the federal poverty level. All public jobs in Ohio should be paying at least $10 an hour. When we make the state more livable for the least of our brethren, we make the state more livable for all people.

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Granny D Arrested In Washington DC Fighting For Clean Government

I had the privilege of having breakfast with Doris “Granny D” Haddock today. Granny D, who lives in the woods between Dublin and Peterborough, New Hampshire, came to Columbus to campaign for clean money in the state and to end the culture of corruption. Granny D is most famous for walking across the country at the age of 89 in support of campaign finance reform. The single greatest problem in our system is the fact that 1% of the population provides 90% of the money for political campaigns and political action committees (PACs). To clean up politics, you’ve got the get the dirty money out, particularly the corporate money, and get clean citizen-subsidized money into the process.

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New Emancipation Movement Needed

What do we make of the Columbus Dispatch headline today: “Senate Debate Turns Nasty”? Senator Ray Miller (D-Columbus) was confronted by Republican Senator Jeff Jacobson of suburban Dayton. Bizarrely, the confrontation occurred during a debate over a bill declaring September 22 as Emancipation Day in Ohio. As the Ohio Government TV channel faded to black during the Senate debate yesterday, viewers could see Jacobson walking up on Miller. Miller was giving a speech purportedly about President Lincoln’s views on slavery, when he was gaveled down by Republican Senate President Bill Harris of Ashland. Miller called Harris’ actions “outrageous and discriminatory.” That’s when Jacobson confronted him. Jacobson claims that he walked over to talk with Miller only to debate Lincoln’s views on slavery. The Dispatch reported that the Sergeant of Arms of the Senate had to step in between the two legislators. Ironically, the bill passed 33-0

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Redistricting Bill in Ohio – What’s the Hurry?

My colleague, attorney Cliff Arnebeck, testified today on HJR 13, the redistricting reform bill. First of all, Arnebeck raised the key question: “What’s the hurry?” As polls show, the scandal-ridden Republican Party, in serious trouble nationally and in the state of Ohio, is scrambling to create their version of a “bipartisan” state redistricting apportionment board. Unlike Texas under the influence of Tom Delay, we still redistrict in Ohio the old-fashioned way – every ten years following the census. The real focus should be on securing the November 2006 election from the likes of Ken Hackwell.

Arnebeck asked why the Republicans opposed the 2005 Reform Ohio Now (RON) proposal as likely to produce politicians cutting deals in smoke-filled back rooms. Arnebeck is right in insisting that competitiveness should be at the core of any future redistricting and that we should probably wait until after the 2006 or even the 2008 election before we rush a redistricting plan through in what hopefully will be the last totally Republican-dominated Ohio legislature.

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Returning Democracy to Ohio Politics

Ohio’s electoral problem is based on the bipartisan collusion of a two-party system that makes it difficult for third parties, like the Libertarians and Greens, to get on the ballot.  The problem also stems from gerrymandered, uncompetitive legislative districts that favor incumbents and the party in power – whether Republicans or Democrats. I have fought to change this system for many years.  In fact, I was a plaintiff and sued the state of Ohio to try to get more competitive congressional districts after my 1992 Congressional race.

Another problem with Ohio’s electoral system is that while major party candidates are immediately certified for the ballot in Ohio, third party candidates are forced to turn their signatures in on May 1, and then wait for the Secretary of State to certify them.  In this case, Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell is himself a candidate for Governor, and he does not have to certify the signatures I submitted on May 1 until July 15.   This waiting period is designed to make it difficult for any alternative voices or ideas to arise in the stagnant political cesspool of Ohio politics.

To clean up this mess in Ohio, we should have Instant Run-off Voting (IRV), where people can vote for a first choice and a second choice. If your first choice isn’t one of the top two candidates, then your vote would go to your second choice. This guarantees that the winner has support from more than 50% of the voters, and works well with a larger number of candidates.

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The Filters Come Off

Here’s an article that ran in the Athens News. I’m actually quite pleased with it, since it doesn’t contain the usual corporate media filters. For example, the writer actually lists my credentials accurately. For 20 years I was only referred to as an “activist” in the Columbus Dispatch, usually no mention that I have a job as a fulltime college professor. When the writer did refer to my teaching, they left me at the lowly rank of instructor, but that’s OK. I’ve never seen any references to my investigative reporting and award-winning articles before.

OK, after you read the article, answer this question. Is this type of direct coverage too bold for my campaign? Or for American politics at this point in history?

Personally I prefer frankness, but what do you think?

http://tinyurl.com/jfol7

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Re-living the Outrages of 2004

I was doing some research last night for a book I’m working on and found myself once again being outraged by the blatant theft of the 2004 election in Ohio. Here are a few of the irregularities that caught my attention.

Our election system is broken. The good news, though, is that Newsweek is actually taking on the issue of the eminently hackable e-voting machines.

Election Incident Reports

[all URLs are from https://voteprotect.org]

http://tinyurl.com/pnuuq

034687
11/02/04, 8:45 AM PST
Early closing; Long lines
New Horizon Community Church in New Albany, OH, Franklin County, Ohio
Says that polling location is chaotic – no election protection volunteers. Says poll officials have been saying they will turn people in line away at time of closing.

051366
11/03/04, 11:48 AM PST
Voter Intimidation
Worthington, Franklin County, Ohio
Elderly voter unable to complete ballot due to five minute time limit (five minute time limit applies to someone waiting in line)

052556
11/04/04, 12:16 PM PST
Long lines
Church, Columus, Franklin County, Ohio
Poll worker said they would close doors at 7:30, even if people are in line.

http://tinyurl.com/orpyp

058446
11/18/04, 8:40 AM PST
Voter Intimidation; Identification-related problem
Southmoor Middle School, Franklin County, Ohio
Voters being told they must present ID because observers are there. Being told there is a five minute time limit to vote and rushed if taking too long

058457
11/18/04, 9:07 AM PST
Voter Intimidation; Late opening
Renyoldsburg High School, Franklin County, Ohio
Poll manager, pushing people – saying Rep. and Dem. over here and there – being very nasty to poll workers, voters, and other people. Pushed caller, and disturbing first-time voters. [P]

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Immigration Solutions

I’ve always found it ironic that we would be building a large fence to prevent Mexicans from coming into Los Angeles, San Antonio and the state of New Mexico. When I think of immigration, I start with the fact that the American Southwest is the former northern half of Mexico, won through the Mexican War and the rebellions in Texas and California.

We’ve always had nativist reactions to the latest wave of immigration. The only non-immigrants I know are my brothers and sisters at the Native American Indian Center of Central Ohio. Having been raised in Detroit, I got used to carloads of illegal Canadians coming in to take high-paying jobs in the city. Just as they got used to me crossing the border to take advantage of cheap currency and free health care at malls in Windsor.

If we really wanted to stop illegal immigration, we should start at the root of the problem – the North American Free Trade Agreement, which allows U.S. corporations to massively exploit the people of Mexico with low wages and toxic pollution. I believe in true international unions that negotiate a fair and livable wage for all people in North America. I favor a continental minimum wage and a generous guest worker program that allows labor to flow in a free and legal way across what are often becoming meaningless borders in a globalized economy.