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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.

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Big Lies Blackwell Loses Appeal Reichwing Bizarro World Mantra Continues

Deb Riechmann of the Associated Press has issued the single biggest lie of any mainstream corporate media outlet since Kenneth Blackwell orchestrated the theft of the 2004 presidential election. She refers to Ken Blackwell as the “honorary co-hair” of the Bush-Cheney Re-election Campaign in Ohio. Blackwell was a very active and involved co-chair of the Ohio Bush-Cheney Re-election Campaign. This is like referring to Hitler as the honorary Fuhrer of the Third Reich. And, he prided himself in being a very partisan activists, bragging that it was his idea to put the gay-bashing Issue One on the November 2004 ballot claiming that led to Bush’s victory. To now pretend that he held some honorary inactive role is false and disingenuous.

The Dispatch reported today that “…Blackwell has lost his appeal of a court decision, ordering him to pay $64,613 dollars in attorney’s fees related to a lawsuit filed during the 2004 presidential election.” Voting rights groups sued Blackwell, in part, for waiting too long to issue a directive on provisional voting in Ohio. Blackwell ruled late that votes in Ohio would not be counted if people were registered in the right county but at the wrong precinct, which sometimes means the wrong table at the same polling place. This disenfranchised thousands of urban Ohio Kerry voters. Meanwhile, rural Republican counties like Miami admit they refused to enforce Blackwell’s directive and even used the term “merged” voter to allow voters registered in other counties, but now residing in Miami County, to vote.

As part of Blackwell’s “Big Lie” campaign, he was a mere “honorary co-chair” for Bush and the lackey he’s training to replace him, Greg Hartmann, has a similar ludicrous talking point. Hartmann told the Cincinnati Enquirer today that Ohio’s election system is “the best in the country.” What Blackwell and Hartmann understand is that if you’re the laughing stock of the democratic world, you simply repeat the same mantra to the corporate media asserting the opposite. If you’re the most biased repressive state in the Union when it comes to voting rights and your elections are the most notoriously corrupt, you simply claim you’re number one. Then raise millions of dollars from rich Republican donors to run propaganda ads selling the Big Lie.

Meet & Greet For Ohio’s First Statewide Green Party Candidates

You are invited to a meet & greet for Ohio’s first Statewide Green Party candidates:

Bob Fitrakis for Governor

Anita Rios for Lt. Governor

Timothy Kettler for Secretary Of State

On Friday Aug. 4th from 4pm to 7pm

At the Gerber House of the Collingwood Arts Center 2413 Collingwood, Toledo, Ohio

Snacks and beverages provided but bring political opinions and ideas to share.

Please pass this invitation along to other interested folks. for more information call Anita Rios 419-243-8772

Hope to see you in person! You can see the building here http://tinyurl.com/okygw

You can see the building here

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Bill Moss-Carter-Baker Commission-Dr. Fitrakis-We The People-Stand In The Gap

On August 2 one year ago, my dear friend Bill Moss passed away. We had talk about him running for governor this year and envisioned a three-way race with three black men: Bill Moss, Michael Coleman, and J. Kenneth Blackwell – sort of the good, the bad and the ugly of Ohio’s black politics, although Mike’s not really bad, just wishy-washy. That adjective was never associated with the only independently-elected black man in Columbus history. Moss, who ran for mayor as a Democrat and for State Rep, was elected to the Columbus School Board repeatedly without the endorsement of the Democratic Party.

I dedicated my book “A Schoolhouse Divided” to Bill, because he was the key source and the inspiration for giving all children a quality education. Before Bill’s tragic and untimely death, he was working hard to expose the corruption in the 2004 election. His last major performance before the Election Assessment Committee in Houston, Texas was a classic. There he confronted the Chair of the Carter-Baker Commission and asked them what they planned to do when they realized a lot of the suppression of voters in Ohio was pre-planned and criminal.

I wish Bill had lived and I was managing his campaign. All I can hope for now is to follow a few of his last words to me: “Stand in the gap.” Even though he had just suffered from a stroke, there was plenty of fight left in him and he was still planning to restore democracy in Ohio and America. Bill Moss was a warrior and a soldier, but what people didn’t understand – he relished the fight against the forces of oppression and what he called The Money Party.

To Bill, it was always the people vs. the Titans. And he always believed that the people would prevail in the end. He believed in his heart that the choice was between serving God or mammon.

Help me stand in the gap and continue the fight that Bill Moss started.

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Rep. Jim Trakis Introduces Ohio HB 638: Allows Independents To Choose Partisan Label Before Election

Congratulations to Republican representative Jim Trakas for believing in democracy. He introduced House Bill 638 in Ohio on July 27, 2006 that would allow independent candidates to choose a partisan label before an election. No more “Other Party” label and praying to get 5% of the vote. Any name can be used as long as it doesn’t mimic the name of an existing party, and isn’t overly long.

The Republican Party itself is the most successful third party in history. Back when the Whigs were whipping the populists into a religious fervor while looting their pockets, much like today, small parties at the state level with names like The Abolition Party and The Free Soil Party pressed the great issue of the day – abolishing slavery. Out of that grew a larger third party coalition known as the Republicans.

With the Republican and Democratic Parties agreeing to span the political spectrum from A-B and engage in the most boring, stilted and irrelevant debates in modern history, it is more important than ever to hear new voices and political perspectives. In many ways, the mainstream corporate media mirrors the boring political non-debates of our day. The great moral issues call out for debate and redress: an illegal war in Iraq, a president who embraces torture, the spying on American citizens, the repression of minority and poor voters’ rights.

Let the Libertarians and Greens flourish and the Republicans and Democrats wither and hopefully, go the way of the Whigs.