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J. Katrina Blackwell

J. Katrina Blackwell hates the anniversary of the worst natural disaster in U.S. history. When you want to run the Bush Bantustan of Ohio and you’re counting on peeling black voters from the Republican Party, there’s nothing more disturbing than to recall black faces floating down the streets of New Orleans and desperate African Americans trapped on roofs. Once Ohio’s African American voters are reminded that Blackwell is a front for the Bush crime family, and he’s never really called their policies into question in New Orleans, his black vote evaporates. 

So, when you think of the anniversary of the greatest domestic policy failure in our nation’s history, remember that a vote for Ken Blackwell is a vote for Bush and his racist Katrina policy. 

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Save the Ballots!

We have one week to save the ballots from the 2004 presidential election in Ohio. Although many Democrats remain in denial, because John Kerry told them to shut up, the ballots are evidence of one of the worst crimes in American history.

Whether it’s the absurd claim that the last 359 voters in a Delaware precinct all voted for Bush, or that 36 straight people spoiled their ballots and had to use replacement ballots in Clermont County, or that people only double-punched ballots in urban heavy-Kerry precincts – Karl Rove, Ken Blackwell and a few of their technician friends and theocratic robots stole Ohio blind. The proof is in the ballots. They must be saved.

D-day, destruction of the ballots day, by law is September 3, 2006. The law does not REQUIRE the destruction of the ballots, but merely allows them to be destroyed at the “discretion” of the county boards of elections. When I visited Miami County’s Board of Elections, I found election records there dated back to the 1970’s. But, I’m not sure the boards of elections will keep those from the controversial 2004 election.

So here’s my call to action:
Call Ohio boards of elections and demand they save the ballots from the 2004 presidential election – for investigative and historical purposes. Suggest they turn them over for archiving at colleges, libraries or the Ohio Historical Society. It is important to let election officials know Ohio’s voters want the ballots to be saved!

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Two Candidates Do Not A Dictatorship Make

Heard Ted Strickland speak the other day at the Chamber of Commerce gubernatorial candidate breakfast at the Holiday Inn on the Lane in Columbus – best moderate Republican political talk I’ve ever heard. American politics runs in cycles. We’ve swung dramatically to the right since the appearance of Ronald Reagan and his CIA sidekick George the Elder. I walked out before I was condemned to the rhetoric of J. Kenneth. I wasn’t invited anyway.

Part of the problem with inviting third party candidates like Bill Peirce and I, is that there would be actual debate and innovative ideas. The next thing you know, a marketplace of ideas would flourish. There would be real political debate and, heaven forbid, democracy might break out. By merely having Strickland and Blackwell, you can span the political spectrum from theocratic Christo-fascism a la Blackwell, to modern 50s Republicanism a la Strickland. I suppose you could make the argument that having two candidates constitutes one more than a dictatorship.

If we are to change the disastrous course the Bush regime is on, Strickland cannot make arguments appealing to the right. He must feel the heat of the progressive forces to his left. If Strickland wins the governorship of Ohio by embracing Republicanism, the people of Ohio will lose. If you really believe in democracy, you should fight for democratic principles. That includes all certified candidates in the debate.

Bob Taft understood this. Why doesn’t Ted Strickland?

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Tremendous Void In Columbus’ Black Community With The Loss Of WVKO

It was great to be back live on “Front Street”, the public affairs radio talk show that used to be on WVKO 1580AM here in Columbus – back with my old pal Charles Traylor.

For ten years I was the only white talk show host on a black-owned and operated radio station, thanks to the late and legendary Bill Moss. First, I was on WSMZ starting in 1996 until 2002 when I moved to WVKO, a black gospel station.

The station, like the Free Press was committed to Old Testament righteousness. Speaking truth directly to the powerful. Sadly, it went off the air on May 5, 2006. Convenient for Ken Blackwell, since it was the station that broadcast live the hearings we held in Columbus to hear testimony from voters about the 2004 election debacle.

There’s a tremendous void in Columbus’ black community with the loss of WVKO, and there’s a greater need than ever for alternative voices. That’s why I’ll continue to blog, stream and podcast my thoughts throughout this election. We must break the corporate for-profit oligarchy that controls the infotainment business.

All power to the people!

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War, Strickland And Dems Like WHIGs, Blackwell Ran Out Of Room

In their first joint press conference, Ted Strickland and Ken Blackwell upheld the tradition of Ohio politics by not going into great detail on the great moral issues of the day. Of course, Strickland is infinitely preferable to the opportunistic Bush family sycophant, J. Katrina Blackwell.

One thing they could agree upon was excluding the Libertarian and Green Party gubernatorial candidates. Apparently, they were massively afraid that a real debate might perhaps break out and democracy might flourish. Indeed, there’s nothing more subversive than a marketplace of ideas. When asked by Bill Cohen, of Ohio Public Radio, what he thought about the two “minor” party candidates being left out of the event, Blackwell looked uncomfortable and mumbled, “Keep working,” and then ran. Literally ran out of the room. The video will be on the website soon.

I’ve thought long and hard about the bizarre nit-picking debate on the internet blogs over my exact words on how I would handle the Ohio National Guard situation. So let me be as frank as possible. If they would have let me in the debate, here’s what I would have said: I will do everything humanly possible to end the unjust and criminal war being illegally waged in Iraq. I will issue every order possible to block the deployment of the Ohio National Guard. I will give sanctuary to every soldier who seeks to disobey the illegal orders of the president of the United States. I will convene a committee of noted human rights scholars like Professor John Quigley at Ohio State to see whether the president should be tried as a war criminal.

Now my pragmatic friends, what’s Ted Strickland’s position on the war? Or, J. Kenneth Blackwell? The Democratic Party risks going the way of the Whigs, who refused to take a stand on the moral issue of its day – slavery. On basic principles of human rights, we cannot compromise on torture, illegal spying and criminal illegal wars. What defines us as Americans is not how much ass we can kiss with the powers that be, but that long tradition of direct dissent against the powers that be. Is my position clear enough?

Is my position clear enough?

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Full Transparency

So Diebold gets blasted on the front page of the Metro section of the Columbus Dispatch on Wednesday. Maybe the legendary blind men feeling up an elephant at the Big D’s editorial board are close to grasping the obvious: private, partisan, nontransparent e-voting machines with proprietary software are unreliable and undermine democracy.

The Diebold machines in Cuyahoga County, according to the recent Election Science Institute (ESI) study fail to perform in any acceptable way. ESI found that nearly 10% of Cuyahoga County’s voters’ ballots during the May 2 primary were “destroyed, blank, illegible, missing, taped together or otherwise compromised,” according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s coverage. 

Let’s see. Ten percent in Cleveland, the state’s key Democratic stronghold, another ten percent here, ten percent there. Pretty soon Blackwell’s 27% support among voters becomes a majority after he and his buddies at Diebold systematically disenfranchise urban voters. 

Of the course the idea for these machines not only came from Blackwell, but the epically corrupt Congressman Bob Ney, who brought us the HAVA bill and the rigged e-voting machines after the Bush boys stole Florida with punch cards in the 2000 election. 

My demand as a gubernatorial candidate is to hold the November vote on the only technology that is transparent: pencil and paper. Let us raise the demand and the slogan: No Voting Machines in November! Hand Counted Paper Ballots Only. 

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Pragmatism Is Another Word For Cowardice

In the middle of an illegal war in Iraq, which has branded him a war criminal in the eyes of the vast majority of people on earth, George W. Bush has made another attempt to turn America into an authoritarian nation. The Republican Congress wants to give the Fuhrer Bush control of the state National Guard forces. But luckily, as James Madison intended in that famous phrase “Ambition must be made to check ambition,” the governors have stood up as one for the principles of federalism.

At last weeks National Governor’ Association, the governors reminded Bush that “This provision was drafted without consultation or input from governors and represents an unprecedented shift in authority from governors as commander and chief of the guard, to the federal government.”

Help me stand up to George W. Bush. As governor of Ohio I will issue an executive order as commander in chief of the Ohio National Guard to prohibit the further deployment of Ohioans to Iraq. I’ve been criticized on the web by so-called pragmatic Democrats. A better word for them is unprincipled. The Democratic Party, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton are equally responsible for the illegal war and the deaths of 100,000 citizens in Iraq. If Democrats would be more principled, and less pragmatic, 100,000 innocent Iraqis would be alive and the United States would not be hated throughout the Middle East.

Pragmatism is another word for cowardice.

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Ohio’s New Jim Crow Brought To You By Blackwell And The GOP

The front page of Friday’s Columbus Dispatch screams out “500 New Voters Might Not Exist” referring to ACORN’s paid voter registration gatherers falsifying registrations. What it fails to point out is that 500,000 voters may not get to vote in November because of the state’s new voter ID law. A few days ago, the Dispatch editorial writers wrote about how the new “poll tax” in the form of a driver’s license is not that bad.

In the third line of Friday’s article, the Dispatch revealed that the alleged voter registration fraud was caught when: “Election workers verifying new-voter forms discovered signatures with the same handwriting, addresses that were for vacant lots, and incorrect information for voters who already were registered.” Note, they caught the fraud not by picture IDs, but by old-fashioned signature comparison. As part of the repressive House Bill 3 to require voter ID, the bill also included a positive provision: to make voter registration gatherers sign their name on the new registration cards.

The oddest part about the voter ID law is that while you can bring in a utility bill, bank statement or government check stub, the official voter ID issued by the Board of Elections does not count.

Voting should be made as easy as possible to promote participation by all people. The state of Ohio should be issuing free voter identification cards. The state’s failure to take such action reflects the lack of commitment to democracy by the Ohio Republican Party. In this case, repressive elements of HB 3, like the voter ID, are ignored by the Dispatch and minor improvements in the law, like requiring the signature gatherer to include his/her name on the new registration cards, are touted.

But the bottom line is the statement by Matt Damschroder where he points out that this was not about voting nonexistent people, but about a few paid voter registration gatherers trying to make a quick buck. What should be on the front page of the Dispatch is “Ohio’s New Jim Crow Brought to You By Blackwell and the GOP: 500,000 voters might not vote.”

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Raise The Minimum Wage – More Young Leave Ohio Than Any Other State

I heard an interesting statistic recently. Our state loses more young people aged 18-24 to jobs and opportunities outside Ohio than any other state in our nation. Not something to be proud of. As an educator at Columbus State Community College, I’ve seen thousands of students pass through Columbus State to go on to bigger, better jobs in other states. We can turn this around in Ohio, if we make our state a better place to live and work. 

To rebuild Ohio economically, we must do three things:

1)      Raise the minimum wage
2)      Provide universal health insurance to all Ohio citizens
3)      Make all state government contractors pay a living wage

I fully support the campaign to raise the state’s minimum wage to $6.85 an hour. The more we create a stable middle class society, the more we’ll reduce crime and the need for our massive prison industrial complex. The more we pay people, the more likely they are to afford to send their children to college or get increased education and training for themselves. Instead of exporting the greatest amount of 18-24-year-old educated and trained young adults to other states, we may keep the talent here in Ohio.

These proposals, along with increased funding for education, will make Ohio a progressive and productive state.

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Dr. Robert Fitrakis Ohio Green Party Gubernatorial Candidate Finds The People’s Reality At the State Fair

I spent 12 hours at the Ohio State Fair on Saturday and Sunday at the Green Party booth. The best thing the Greens had going for them is that they are not Democrats, and particularly not Republicans. There was a fair amount of hostility against Bob Taft, even from the rock-ribbed rural Republican base. Couldn’t find any fans of Blackwell, either. And Strickland was an unknown to this crowd.

Some people were mad about the voting machines and long lines. We had a special appearance by General Bruce and the talking electronic voting machine on Saturday and Marj Creech, the “Honest Elections Cow” on Sunday. The cow was a huge, huge hit passing out voting instructions and stickers to youngsters. Of course the costume was a bit hot. Roast beef, as it were.

People want reforms and practical solutions. Our problem, as always, is to get the message out with limited resources and a virtual media blackout. Ohio is ripe for new and innovative ideas. Working the fair is a great grassroots way to get the pulse of the people.