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Earth Day Musings

Today I spent seven hours at the Cleveland Zoo for an Earth Day event. Not only did we collect hundreds of signatures, but we got some of the most politically educated and active people in the state of Ohio.

I am more convinced than ever that we are at a tipping point in Ohio and the United States. People see clearly that we need to develop alternative energy and build urban transit systems and light rail throughout our great state. There are plenty of solutions out there to make this a green and sustainable state. Our problem isn’t with our people. It’s with two decrepit and corrupt political parties that are wedded to the status quo and to the special interests that pollute and poison our planet.

I was asked whether I believed a two-party system can work. Generally, I believe no. We need to hear from many alternative parties and voices on the ballot. But, perhaps if those two parties were the Greens and Libertarians, we’d have a much better chance than the same old ruthless Republicans and spineless Democrats.

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Planes, Trains and Automobiles

The suburban dream came forth on heavy government subsidies, welfare if you will, and the promise of cheap gas. Most are familiar with the story of how General Motors and Big Oil conspired to destroy the mass transit system in L.A. and other major cities. But now that we’re in one long continuous unending war for fossil fuels in the Middle East, the question is what should we do locally here in Ohio?

Planes should be the transportation of last resort, only for long distance travel or absolute necessity. Local, affordable, fuel-efficient mass transit is a must in Ohio’s major cities. The creation of a European or Japanese-style rail system is essential.

Re-thinking suburbia (“sprawlburbia”) and  promoting green architecture, which encourages people to walk instead of driving everywhere, should be accepted goals for all Ohioans.

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Reviving the “No Nukes” Movement

Americans must first accept the fact that their president is criminal, and with his numerous twitches and jerks, perhaps criminally insane. But, around him is a small group of hardcore ideologues, so-called neocons.

In Ohio, we need to revive the “No Nukes” movement. The Bush administration’s dream of using “bunker busting” tactical nuclear weapons against Iran is an illegal violation of international law. Iran is no threat to the United States. Public documents indicate they are 10 years away from developing any sort of delivery system that would threaten the U.S.

It is absolutely hypocritical for the United States to allow Pakistan, which harbors bin Laden, sold nuclear weapons to the North Koreans, and created the Taliban, to have nuclear weapons while we threaten nuclear annihilation of the Iranian people. The Bush logic of saying “it’s bad to have nukes . . . so we’ll nuke you,” is beyond bizarre. The acceptance of the Israeli nuclear weapons, as well as our complicity in the creation of their nukes, must also be publicly dealt with.

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Arnebeck Starts Ohio Ethics Commission Investigation

A historic press conference took place today in Ohio’s capital city, Columbus. Cliff Arnebeck, the attorney for the Ohio Honest Elections campaign, revealed that he wrote a letter to the Ohio Ethics Commission asking for a “broader ethical investigation” of Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell. Specifically, Arnebeck wants an investigation of the allegation by fellow Republican Matt Damschroder, Director of the Franklin County Board of Elections, that Blackwell may have had a Diebold lobbyist contribute $50,000 to a political interest favored by the Secretary of State.

Also, Arnebeck wants the Ethics Commission to probe how Blackwell ended up as a multimillionaire while on the public payroll, and the effect of his minority investment in a radio company that managed to secure $2.5 million in loans from prominent banks at the same time that Blackwell was serving as state treasurer. Read more

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Hackwell’s Millions Deserve Ethics Probe

How did J. Kenneth Hackwell become a “multimillionaire” while a public official?

In 1998, the Akron Beacon Journal reported that Hackwell, then state treasurer, was also listed as “manager, officer and director of Blue Chip Broadcasters Ltd.” This limited partnership owned and operated six radio stations in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.

According to legend – or better, spin – four black investors from Cincinnati, Ross Love, Penguin Painters owner Lovie Ross, Hackwell, and Cincinnati attorney Kalvin Buford, scraped together $500,000 to save WIZF-FM, a black-owned Cincinnati radio station that was facing bankruptcy in late 1992. Of more interest is how this group of four investors secured a $1.5 million investment from Blue Chip Venture Company as well as a $2.6 million loan from three Cincinnati banks – Fifth Third, Providence and Star. The reality is that the banks were more likely investing in the new Ohio state treasurer, Hackwell, not in four minority investors with no real experience in radio and telecommunications. Read more

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New Warren County, Ohio Election Fraud Evidence To Be Released On Wednesday

On Wednesday morning, April 19, 2006, there will be a historic press conference at the law office I share with a voting rights attorney Cliff Arnebeck. An explosive announcement will be made involving election fraud in Ohio. Also at the press conference will be Dr. Richard Hayes Phillips, who is working with Ohio Honest Elections to document the voting irregularities and fraud in the 2004 and 2004 elections in Ohio. He will be discussing his recent examination of the ballots from Warren County’s 2004 presidential election.

Remember, Warren County called its own Level 10 Homeland Security emergency alert on Election Day 2004 and diverted the ballots to an unauthorized warehouse. Two Warren County election workers told the Free Press that a Republican operative oversaw the ballots. One of his intriguing findings was predicted in the Free Press early on, suggesting that ballots would be found punched only for George W. Bush. In precinct 128, someone even punched the pink “Header Card” for Bush and Warren County officials counted it in their total. In other counties, the pink Header Card serves only to identify the precinct for the central tabulator.

Dr. Phillips also found a ballot in precinct 155 that contained punch holes in all four precincts studied, with odd numbered punches for president. According to election officials, this would not have been possible if the card was punched in the voting machine. For example, voters could only punch every other odd number on the ballot for president, but he found ballots with double votes for president, including a vote in an even-numbered space. The only conclusion that Dr. Phillips could come up with is that these were unauthorized, hasty and incorrect “attempts to punch ballots for Bush” by hand outside of the machine. In short, Dr. Phillips argues that this is proof of “old fashioned ballot stuffing.”

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Understanding Hackwell’s Right Wing Agenda

J. Kenneth Blackwell is a perfect neocon. He preaches fiscal responsibility while the budget at his office grows dramatically. He quotes Martin Luther King, Jr., yet he works for the anti-affirmative action, anti-civil rights corporate-sponsored Heritage Foundation. He talks about equality for all, but one of his key aides, Sherri Dembinski, third in charge of his office — which, by the way, oversees the chartering of nonprofit organizations — receives income and gifts from the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) charter school. ECOT is the largest charter school in the state.

The Akron Beacon Journal reported that managers of ECOT donated $330,000 to Ohio Republicans. If you wonder where they got that kind of money, in 2002 ECOT was caught by auditors at the Department of Education overcharging the state of Ohio as much as $7 million for children who cannot be verified as being on their school rolls. Dembinski serves on the board of ECOT, and Hackwell, of course, oversees the reporting of campaign contributions in the state.

After public scrutiny came upon Hackwell and Dembinski, she resigned and moved into a new role as vice president of an ECOT-related foundation that benefits students and organizations affiliated with the school.

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Fraudbuster Bob Takes to the Air

Look up in the sky. No, it’s not a bird or a plane. It’s Fraudbuster Bob Fitrakis, launching his audio campaign.

Dr. Fitrakis, a lawyer, award-winning journalist, and professor of political science, is running as an independent candidate with Green Party endorsement to become Ohio’s next governor. Our two party winner-take-all electoral system, which was the best of the 18th century but far behind what we need in the 21st century, hinders the campaigns of third party candidates. So, using the latest internet technologies, Fraudbuster Bob is going to leap into the sky and bring his message directly to the voters of Ohio using “virtual Fireside Chats.”

Listen to today’s message, and come back regularly to this blog and Bob’s gubernatorial campaign at www.bobforohio.com to hear the latest campaign news spoken directly by the candidate himself. And please be sure to tell your friends and family to log on as well.
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Katrina Victims Deserve Right to Vote

The civil rights movement is alive and well in New Orleans.  On April 1st, thousands of people marched across the Crescent City Connection Bridge to support the right of displaced New Orleans citizens to vote in the election scheduled April 22.  In a symbolic action that mirrored the 1965 march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama that generated a nationwide groundswell of support for the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act, the “March for Our Right to Return, Vote and Rebuild” in New Orleans was designed to ensure that the displaced residents of New Orleans are not disenfranchised and that the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is protected.

Marchers also supported the right to return home for those scattered in 44 states across the nation, as well as a priority to be given to “Katrina survivors” when jobs, contracts and training opportunities are dispensed along the Gulf Coast.

The main reason for the protest, led by Rev. Jess Jackson and others, is the city’s upcoming April 22nd election, which currently excludes two-thirds of the voters who formerly lived in New Orleans. The election has been pre-cleared by state officials and the U.S. Department of Justice, even though voters do not know who is running for office and those seeking office do not know how to communicate with the voters. Organizers of the April 1st event want the Secretary of State and Attorney General’s office to provide the public and candidates an updated voter list, including the FEMA list of Katrina survivors scattered across the nation.   Not to do so, they contend, would amount to a “public election with secret voter rolls,” which is a clear a violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Exposing Bush As A War Criminal

You’re not supposed to compare George W. Bush’s foreign policy to Nazi Germany. But that’s exactly what Australian-born Royal Air Force Flight Lieutenant Malcolm Kendall-Smith did at his recent court martial proceeding. Kendall-Smith refused to return to Iraq, citing the war against Iraq as an “act of aggression.”

“I have evidence that the Americans were on par with Nazi Germany with its actions in the Persian Gulf . . . this is on the basis that ongoing acts of aggression in Iraq and systematically applied war crimes provide a moral equivalent between the U.S. and Nazi Germany,” Kendall-Smith argued in his defense.

While the Holocaust rightfully tends to obscure other crimes that the German government committed, we ought to recall the principles of Nuremberg. It is against the law to conspire, plan, and wage aggressive war. That is precisely what Bush did in Iraq and now what he’s planning to do in Iran.

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