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Who The Hell Is Farhad Manjoo?

Here’s today’s assignment: who the hell is Farhad Manjoo? That’s right, bloggers. I spent a lot of time trying to find his credentials online. I found he was born in 1978 and graduated in 2000 from Cornell, where he wrote for his college newspaper. He also wrote for Wired News and now salon.com. So, the question becomes – why would a 20-something with apparently no advanced degrees in social science or political science be taken seriously by the mainstream corporate press?

Manjoo is much like the Tobacco Institute or the people they used to send around to show us film strips about “Readi Kilowatt” back during the Cold War. They are individuals who have developed a cottage industry as debunkers and denialists. And in a society famed for Know Nothings an anti-intellectualism, of course an opportunist like Manjoo would come forward.

Award-winning journalists are ignored or called conspiracy theorists. Ph.D.s are denounced by the droves. Sound familiar? Yes, that’s the sound of jackboots marching. The attack on the credentialed academy and the deference to the fly-by-night propagandist is a typical authoritarian model. What next? The youth corps tossing the truly credentialed down the stairs and out the windows at the colleges?

Why is Manjoo important? Because he serves the interests of W. Bush and Karl Rove and those who have perfected the art of “benign operations.” Why not go with a real expert – Kevin Phillips, the architect of the modern Republican Party, Nixon’s key strategist and creator of the “southern strategy.” He calls the Bush family “four generations of war profiteers” and stated that the Bush family couldn’t hold an election without a CIA manual.

We should think of Manjoo much like we think of Holocaust deniers. If you can find any REAL credentials he has, please let me know and I’ll post them.

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Reading Hallett And Why The Big D Always Defends The Republicans

Let’s begin with Hallett’s bizarre and disingenuous title to his July 11 op-ed in Columbus’ daily monopoly and Republican mouthpiece rag, the Dispatch. The last time the Dispatch endorsed a Democrat for President it was Wilson in 1916 and the pro-German Wolfe family liked his slogan: He kept us out of war. Hallett’s headline reads: “Democrats keep leveling charges at Blackwell they can’t back up.” The charges leveled against Blackwell prior to Election Day 2004 were primarily leveled by independent and nonpartisan grassroots voting rights activists, Greens and Libertarians. The Dems have generally been too cowardly to take on J. Kenneth, the good buddy of the Bush crime family.

Hallett says that “…Kerry told the Dispatch just a month ago that he did not lose the election because of fraud.” This is strawman argument 101. Bobby Kennedy, Jr. is on the record saying Kerry agrees with his analysis of the election in Ohio. Kennedy attributes the loss to both voter suppression and fraud. Hallett lost his integrity to fraud. In this article, he’s arguing against Kennedy’s article in Rolling Stone by using a Kerry quote that is only part of the story.

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Enquirer Endorses Plain Speaking

Jon Craig at the Cincinnati Enquirer is doing a great job writing about politics. They had the full Robert J. Kennedy Rolling Stone piece on their blog: http://frontier.cincinnati.com/blogs/gov/

The Enquirer plans to ask very direct questions to all the gubernatorial candidates and they included me as an independent. I plan to give them very direct answers. Here are the first two questions they posed and my answers:

Question: On May 15, President Bush announced a National Guard mobilization in which more than 150,000 troops could be sent to border states to help stem the flow of illegal immigrants. Gov. Bob Taft has said he would support Bush by sending troops from Ohio.

As governor, would you support sending Ohio National Guard troops to border states?

Bob: No

Question: In one to three sentences, feel free to explain why or why not.

Bob: This is the job of the border patrol. Moreover, it’s a pathetic symbolic action which reeks of militarizing our border with a friendly ally. The problem is not to patrol our border with an armed National Guard, but to take a look at the minimum wage in Mexico and other conditions that are driving desperate workers into the United States.

Question: House Bill 228 would make it a felony to carry out abortions in Ohio or transport a woman across state lines to have one. Would you sign this abortion bill?

Bob Fitrakis: Never.

Question: Explain why or why not in one to three sentences.

Bob Fitrakis: I believe that Roe v. Wade is good law and that the decision is between a woman and her God, not the self-proclaimed God squad — I would no more sign this bill than I would sign one on witch burning. To criminalize transporting a woman across state lines for an abortion will make Ohio the laughingstock of the midwest. I would do everything possible to make sure no woman has to terminate a pregnancy because of economic circumstances and do everything I can to ensure day care and preschool for all children.

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Mob-Style Corruption In Ohio

The guilty plea on state and federal corruption charges from Terrence W. Gasper, the former Chief Financial Officer at the Ohio Bureau of Worker’s Compensation (BWC), masks a much greater scandal involving the systematic corruption of Ohio politics dating from former governor George Voinovich’s administration. As the Columbus Dispatch showed today, Gasper was hired at the direction of the late Paul C. Mifsud. Mifsud, who was Voinovich’s Chief of Staff, had direct ties to the Bush family. Mifsud was a former military intelligence officer who liked to brag of CIA connections and controlled a shadowy group called the Maltese Benevolent Society. Mifsud ran George H.W. Bush’s 1980 campaign for president in the Buckeye State as well as co-managing his 1988 run for president as well. Voinovich allowed Mifsud to essentially use Mafia-style “bust-outs” to collect political slush funds to bring the Republican Party to dominance in Ohio.

Mifsud saw the Ohio BWC as a cash cow and directly recruited convicted felon Tom Noe, a hobby shop owner from the Toledo area who sold baseball cards, beanie babies and a few old coins to secretly administer a $50 million rare coin fund. It was no surprise when he pleaded guilty to federal charges for laundering more than $40,000 into the 2004 Bush campaign. Much of this is outlined in my book “The Brothers Voinovich and the Ohiogate Scandal.” The Ohio Society of Professional Journalists awarded “The V Report” first place for coverage of government in Ohio. Basically, I detail former governor Voinovich’s corrupt activities through the legendary duo Paul and Pauly, that is, the late Paul Mifsud with his murky CIA ties and the late Pauly Voinovich, George’s brother, with ties to the mob.

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Prof. Tokaji: No Due Diligence

People have asked me to respond to what they perceive as Ohio State Law professor Dan Tokaji’s “balanced” analysis of Robert Kennedy’s Rolling Stone article about the stolen 2004 election. Tokaji’s piece is entitled “Back to Ohio” and he has a section called “A Gran of Salt” that deals with the Mighty Texas Strike Force. Let me suggest that you take Tokaji’s writing with a grain of salt as well. When I talked to Professor Tokaji, he informed me he relied only on the Conyers Report for his analysis and no additional research. What Professor Tokaji did, and I say this as a graduate of Ohio State Law School, was fail in his “due diligence,” that requirement drilled into every first year law student that one should meet reasonable expectations and put forth efforts ordinarily exercised by a person before they put forth certain statements or claims.

Below is a direct quote from Tokaji’s article:

“A Grain of Salt”

“There are other aspects of Kennedy’s report that would be very disturbing if true, but appear to rest on somewhat weaker evidence. For example:

“* Kennedy describes a group of Republican operatives known as the “Mighty Texas Strike Force” which allegedly “us[ed] pay phones to make intimidating calls to likely voters.” Kennedy’s source for this allegation is a report produced Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee in January 2005, entitled “Preserving Democracy: What Went Wrong in Ohio,” also known as the Conyers Report, which quotes a statement made by an unidentified hotel worker. While this allegation is what we lawyers would call hearsay — actually, it’s triple-hearsay, since the Conyers Report was relying on a statement made at a hearing by someone other than the hotel worker — if true it’s obviously very troubling.”

Now had Tokaji done a five-minute Google search, he would have found the following:

* The Mighty Texas Strike Force

* With new legislation, Ohio Republicans plan holiday burial for American Democracy

* Down to the Wire

* Lone Stars to the Rescue

* Texas Federation of College Republicans “The Mighty Texas Strike Force”.

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The Republicans Stole It Blind

RFK, Jr. wrote to my good friend Harvey Wasserman this quote from pollster Lou Harris: “’They stole the Democrats blind in the exurbs and rural counties. It’s obvious what they did – they stuffed the ballot box.’” Coming from a pollster with the credibility and experience of Lou Harris, this is an astonishingly powerful indictment.”

Farhad Manjoo, denialist for salon.com fails to note similar quotes from Harris that appear in Kennedy’s Rolling Stone article. The fact that a pollster of Harris’ stature would go on the record is precisely what’s new in the Kennedy article and of major significance.

As a Ph.D. in Political Science, I find the “reluctant responder” hypothesis by Warren Mitofsky implausible, as does pollster John Zogby. Basically, reluctant responders tended to be extreme third party candidate supporters, or voters for a major party candidate in an area dominated by the other major party. Mitofsky would have you believe Republican woman only became too shy to talk to pollsters only in the late afternoon and only in areas where people voted in a majority for Bush. This mythology fits into the Rovian spin that fundamental evangelical raced to the polls at the very last second to save W Bush. Local newspaper accounts and eyewitness observers reported no such surge.

The data from the Moss v. Bush election challenge in Ohio, the exit polls, the statistical analysis by Dr. Richard Hayes Phillips and the bizarre illegal behavior in Auglaize, Miami and Warren counties all point to voter theft in these counties. Read more

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Manjoo Errs In Fact, Knows Very Little About Ohio Election Law

In Farhad Manjoo’s “Was the 2004 Election Stolen? No” he claims Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s article in Rolling Stone contains “numerous errors of interpretation and his [Kennedy’s] deliberate omission of key bits of data.” As an Election Protection legal observer in Columbus and one of the four attorneys who challenged the Ohio election results, I was struck by Manjoo’s own numerous errors of fact and deliberate omissions of widely-known studies and data.

In his first claim about the Ellen Connally anomaly, where an under-funded retired municipal judge from Cleveland ran ahead of Kerry
in rural southwestern counties fails to indicate vote-shifting from
Kerry to Bush, Manjoo deliberately omits several well-known facts.The obvious fact on record is that Democratic nominee Al Gore pulled his
campaign out of the state six weeks prior to the 2000 election while
Kerry and his 527 organization supporters spent the largest amount of money in Ohio history. So to compare the non-Gore campaign in 2000 to the massive Democratic effort in 2004 seems disingenuous. Moreover,  Manjoo conveniently ignores the fact that sample ballots were everywhere in the state of Ohio and voters in these rural counties were repeatedly mailed and handed both party’s sample ballots. There were large and active campaigns in the key counties in question – Butler, Clermont, and Warren – passing out Republican and Democratic sample ballots. This is a major omission. Also, Manjoo might actually want to do some research on the amount of money Eric Fingerhut spent vs. John Kerry. Fingerhut’s major effort was walking across the state of Ohio because he didn’t have any funds. Hardly Kerry’s problem. Read more

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Hemp For Ecological Victory!

I spoke at the Hemp Festival tonight at Ohio State University, sponsored by the Students for a Sensible Drug Policy. I’ve never been able to understand why you would outlaw a miracle plant like hemp – that doesn’t even get you high — just because it’s the male cousin of marijuana. It’s a bit like outlawing corn because somebody can make cornmash from it during Prohibition. Or outlawing barley because it’s used to make beer. The famous but ignored Popular Mechanics article from the 1930s called hemp “the wonder product” and talked about 25,000 products that can be made from it. Hemp can be used for multiple purposes: fuel, food products, oils, clothing, paper products or a whole car, as Henry Ford demonstrated.

The war on drugs that Reagan pushed was really targeted against marijuana, after all, the CIA’s assets (like the Contras) were bringing in cocaine by the carload and the Reagan administration told the CIA that they didn’t have to report it to the DEA. Read more

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Airbrushed From History

With the clamor over Bobby Kennedy’s article in Rolling Stone, that has thankfully re-ignited interest in the theft of the 2004 election, I want to make sure that certain people aren’t airbrushed out of the picture. This important grassroots history was left out of the article.

First, let me make it clear that the original Kennedy article included specific references to the Free Press (the paper and website I publish) and my good friend Harvey Wasserman. Harvey and I wrote a piece prior to the 2004 election outlining how Bush was planning to steal the vote. Most of the evidence turned up about Ohio was a result of public hearings about election irregularities held on November 13 and 15, 2004 in Columbus, Ohio under the auspices of the Columbus Institute for Contemporary Journalism/Free Press. The co-sponsors of the hearings included: the Alliance for Democracy, CASE-Ohio, and the League of Pissed Off Voters. Cliff Arnebeck of the Alliance and Susan Truitt of CASE played key roles in the hearings and were two of the four lawyers who challenged the election results in Ohio. Amy Fay Kaplan and Jonathan Meier of the League were invaluable in organizing the public hearings where sworn testimony was taken. Read more

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Call To Action: Help Stop David Duke Klan Member Hate Rally Against Undocumented Workers

So the organizers of an Ohio Statehouse rally attacking undocumented workers is being sponsored by a white supremacist hate group. The name of the organization, Americans for America, should have tipped us off that they were fascists. Much like in the 50s, when authoritarians terrorized believers in the First Amendment by creating the House Un-American Activities Committee in the US Congress.

The usual suspects are involved. The organizer is one of David Duke’s boys. You remember Duke’s grand dream of merging the Klan and Nazis into one big white supremacist network. Every election year the right-wing storm troops come out of their bunker to whip up race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnic and cultural hatreds. It’s their job. By promoting wedge issues that divide the population along falsely created identity lines, they can get the vast majority of people who work for a wage or a salary to hate the targeted group that changes from year to year.

In 2004, it was gays and gay marriage. Read more