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An epic story of Afghanistan, SHADOW OF AFGHANISTAN, will open for a special 1-week Academy Award qualifilying engagement at the Drexel Gateway Theater on Friday, November 9th. The Gateway is one of 14 cities in the U.S., including New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle and Atlanta.

Filmed for over 20 years in Afghanistan by Oscar-nominated filmmakers Jim Burroughs and Suzanne Bauman, the movie covers the Soviet occupation; the exile of two million refugees maimed by Soviet mines; a violent civil war; the fatal alliance of the Taliban with al-Qaeda; and finally the invasion by forces lead by the United States. The story is seen through the eyes of a Afghan warrior, Wakil Akbarzai as he describes the struggle to serve a country that is continually being pulled apart by civil war and strife. The film also features a detailed view of the incredible dangers of covering and filming the continuous war in Afghanistan.

Shadow Of Afghanistan, will play for one week only at the Drexel Gateway Theater, 1550 N. High St. starting Friday, November 9. For more information including showtimes, call the Drexel Gateway at (614) 545-2255 or visit http://www.drexel.net/

Print this out and show it at the ticket counter to get in for only $5! $5 COUPON FREE PRESS READER

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Bob Bytes Back Archive: Nader for President

1982 Ralph Nader

by Bob Fitrakis

You’re in the booth this fall. You scan the names for President: Clinton, Dole, Nader, Buchanan, Perot. For the first time, instead of voting for the mainstream, we may have the choice of the radical left, right and center respectively.

Nader’s already on the ballot in California and the Northeast Ohio Greens are pledging to put him on the Ohio ballot as an Independent. Perot is hinting he wants to run, mostly by shouting to anyone who’ll listen: “Draft me!” Whether or not Buchanan ends up on the ballot depends on how much Dole dumps on him at the Republican convention in August. Pre-existing right-wing parties with ballot status like the U.S. Taxpayers Party could provide safe haven for the routed Buchanan Brigades and the troops necessary to get him on the ballot and turn out the vote.

If Clinton runs to the center with nothing new to say this campaign season, many progressive Democrats like myself will have little trouble pulling the lever for perhaps the most principled man in American public life–our beloved Ralphie. Sure, we understand that Newt Gingrich recently led the “barbarians to the gate,” but his social Darwinism and his George Wallace with a Ph.D schtick seems like a spent political force. If Dole runs as a centrist also, it won’t matter that much whether Bill or Bob is the Presidential caretaker. As corporations continue to downsize, rightsize, riff, pink slip and write off U.S. workers, Bill will, no doubt, feel our pain more than Bob. But unless he proposes to do something about it, as Ralph, Pat and Ross surely will, there’ll be a proverbial plethora of third party votes.

In mid-February, the Labor Department reported that median wages for fulltime male workers is almost nine percent less than it was in 1979. The New York Times points out that pay for top level corporate executives has “soared to nearly 200 times that of the average worker, compared with only 40 times that of the average worker two decades ago.” The arrogance of the corporate elite in the global economy is now well established. Steven Roach, chief economist at Morgan Stanley predicted a “worker backlash” even before Buchanan rode the NAFTA issue to a shocking political upset in the New Hampshire GOP primary. NAFTA now stands as a metaphor for economic despair and anxiety. While it didn’t start the trends toward lower wages, NAFTA sure as hell helped accelerate them. It’s a manifestation of the greater problem of top-down corporate control and undemocratic dominance over our lives.

On January 1, 1994, when NAFTA–a truly strange and bizarre idea to merge the world’s most advanced high-tech economy with a third world country–was implemented, what was then a small trade surplus with Mexico is now a $15 billion a year deficit. Clinton took a bundle of money from the notorious K Street international trading crowd–essentially Dole’s donors–to push a conservative multi-national corporate pact that won more Republican than Democratic votes in the House. The President conveniently points to the European economic community as precedent. Yet he fails to mention that the European Common Market was put together over a couple of decades and it includes all first-world developed countries, a freely elected European Parliament as well as continental environmental and worker safety standards.

The NAFTA issue isn’t going to go away. A recent poll shows that 55 percent of U.S. citizens now regard NAFTA as a bad deal. In fact, anti-NAFTA sentiment is what’s creating the openings for Nader, Perot and Buchanan in presidential politics this year. It is vitally important to understand why each is opposed to the pact that both Clinton and Dole promote.

Loss of the U.S. manufacturing base is why Perot’s followers, despite the failure of his Reform Party to gather enough signatures, are motivated and most likely to place his name on the Ohio ballot as an Independent come August. His being a wacky and semi-paranoid billionaire aside, Perot, while on the Board of General Motors, consistently fought to keep auto manufacturing in the United States. Perot upholds the tradition of Henry Ford. Fordism, while not in and of itself progressive, argued that a stable middle-class society can only be achieved by paying stable middle-class wages. Perot is not overly concerned with the human rights abuses or ecological disaster associated with NAFTA.

Nationalist and isolationist voters, prone to Buchanan’s appeal, are driven by anti-immigrant hysteria and job loss. This “Fortress America” national front sees not the exploitation of U.S. and Mexican workers and environmental degradation, but hordes of little brown people swarming our territory and taking our jobs. They need to realize that what we call the southwest United States was formerly the northern half of Mexico prior to the Mexican-American War. And the real enemy are those in the corporate boardrooms who are equal opportunity debasers and degraders of workers and the environment. It’s not likely that a “Know-Nothing” coalition uniting xenophobe and homophobe is the future of U.S. populism.

Nader, on the other hand, will show real compassion, not only for the nearly one million estimated U.S. workers who have lost their jobs due to NAFTA, but for the even more unfortunate Mexican workers being mercilessly exploited by U.S. corporations in the sweatshops known as the maquilladoras. And he’ll also eloquently speak out against the factories spewing toxins that know no border.

–Bob Fitrakis visited the maquilladoras in January 1993 and co-produced a video entitled The Other Side of Free Trade.

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First Of Dr. Fitrakis Video Blogs: October 29, 2007 Local Progressive News

Published October 29, 2007

Podcasting Truth T o Power

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Bob Bytes Back Archive: Hemp Seeds Sprout

by Bob Fitrakis

The Big Chill may be over in Columbus. Things are thawing out and some progressive seeds are being planted. Can the revolution be far behind? Well, if it’s the Hemp Revolution, it’s on this weekend at the Wexner Center from the same people who brought us the provocative Panama Deception. Since both President Bill and Speaker Newt are admitted former partisans of the hemp plant flower, it would be the perfect bipartisan family outing. The many uses of the hemp plant and the demonization of marijuana are well documented in the film. It’s enough to invoke vague and hazy memories of Jack Ford–son of the Republican President Gerald Ford–on the cover of Rolling Stone claiming that the White House was the best place to smoke dope. 

The war by Ronald Reagan in the 1980s against hemp–that led to such absurdities as the Smithsonian changing displays to avoid mentioning sacred American documents were printed on hemp paper –was little more than a political ploy to disenfranchise New Left activists from the late ’60s and early ’70s. But who would’ve thunk that hemp seeds would be sprouting here in the capital city with The Ohio Industrial Hemp & Medical Use Coalition?

Started by a couple of local college students, the coalition is already in the process of collecting signatures to legalize the industrial and medical use of hemp. If you want to check out this new breed of hempster, stop by their table at the Wexner Center after you participate in the Hemp Revolution experience.

It’s the Green Revolution that’s driving the hemp revolt. Eventually, there’ll be an eruption in local Columbus politics. The recent Central Committee elections in the Franklin County Democratic Party provided a few minor tremors. Two members of the Westerville Social Action group won seats on the party’s endorsement body. And there was a virtual war in Clintonville’s 18th ward.

The grassroots-oriented and liberal-leaning Clintonville-Beechwold candidate prevailed over an even more progressive Steve Kanner with the Party’s candidate coming in a distant third. And the ever-affable and unrepentant liberal Tom Erney won in the 19th ward. There’s already talk of forming an official Progressive Caucus (slogan: “We’re PC”) in the County Party.

Such a coalition could force the Dems to go on record on issues like the Hemp Initiative, the nuke dump, recycling, and human rights issues–slave labor in Burma, or political prisoners in China or sweatshops in the maquilladoras in Mexico. Not that the latter will matter much politically unless the caucus can tie it to concerns in Franklin County. Well, it could get interesting. I always say politics doesn’t have to be boring or cheesy.

Speaking of non-boring, Bill “a rolling stone gathers no” Moss, running as an Independent for the U.S. Congress 12th District, could ignite a populist spark. And as those Maoists used to say, “One spark can start a prairie fire.” Moss’s peculiar mix of pro-second amendment rhetoric, environmentalism, and anti-NAFTA and GATT sentiments will draw considerable media attention in a district that’s nearly a quarter African-American.

Some suggest that this is Bill’s version of “The Big Payback” to Cynthia Ruccia, the Democratic candidate for the 12th District, who dropped out as fund-raiser for Bill’s mayoral campaign last year. Word had it that Franklin County AFL-CIO leader Bill Dobbins leaned on her to quit the campaign. Dobbins is best known for complaining that “blacks are trying to take over the party here.”

Which reminds me of the story of the local machinist leader who told me when I was running for Congress in 1992 that the biggest problem facing his workers was that they had lost their right “to call a queer a faggot.” Ain’t a gay conspiracy moving your jobs overseas, brothers and sisters. And unless labor in Franklin County gets a lot more progressive, they’ll be losing elections for another 50 years: “Son, don’t tell me how to run elections. I been losin’ Democratic elections in Franklin County since 1943.”
Republished http://www.fraudbusterbob.com/
Bob Fitrakis was elected as a Democratic Central Committee member in the 55th ward.

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Bob Bytes Back Archive: Seeing Red (ACTV)

by Bob Fitrakis

Did you ever notice that if you look at Mayor Lashutka quickly from the side he looks a lot like former Soviet premier Brezhnev? When Greg speaks, it’s Leonid without the charisma. More importantly, the mayor’s policies are that same drab, debilitating 1970s Soviet gray. Hyperbole, you say?

Communism is known for its vehement disdain for free speech; recently so is the Lashutka administration. Last week, Maureen Conley, director of Columbus’ Department of Administrative Services, was quoted as saying that “the original intent [of public access TV] doesn’t matter.” She concedes that the original intent was the exercising of free speech. Maureen, and we presume the mayor, wish to go “forward” into a brave new world where the public’s voice is controlled. This wasn’t always the case. Just a few short years ago, the mayor made a public service announcement for ACTV, Columbus’ public access channel: “…In today’s democracy, the television camera is as important as the quill pen was to the founding fathers. ACTV is your TV, it’s your soapbox, your stage, your talk show. Make freedom of speech part of your daily life….”

Arbitrary and oppressive administrative fiats are now Lashutka’s style. Leonid would be impressed. Conley claims that “currently the cable access channel, according to our cable providers, is one of the lowest-viewed channels on the spectrum.” Yet, Warner Cable’s PR and marketing departments claim that no such data exist. One would think that Conley, as a former employee of Warner Cable–now charged with negotiating their contract with her current employer, the city–would know this. Or does she have a special relationship with Warner Cable that gives her access to secret information denied the public? More likely, Warner Cable’s attitude toward cable access–they could be making money off the channel–colors Conley’s opinions now that she oversees ACTV’s budget at City Hall.

Anyway, maybe it’s just Lashutka reverting back to his glory days when he chaired Citizens for Bork. You remember Bork? Reagan’s Supreme Court nominee who argued the doctrine of “original intent”–that the First Amendment only applies to the national government but not the states. And now it appears that it doesn’t apply in Lashutka’s Columbus.

And what about Lashutka’s trash policy? When Michael D. Long, director of the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio, demonstrates that it’s far cheaper to let the free market work and bury trash in the Franklin County landfill at $13 a ton, the mayor tells him to shut up and burn it at $32 a ton. Lashutka demands that Congress impose a costly and unwarranted “unfunded mandate” on local governments by enacting “flow control.”

Just like Soviet industry, Lashutka insists on a Brezhnev-era “command economy” measure to protect his inefficient, wasteful and polluting trash-burning power plant. And just like Soviet Communism, he’s willing to destroy the environment and poison people to promote the bankrupt and backward policies of his regime.

Now, if we can only get the Wolfe family lapdogs on the Dispatch editorial board to denounce Lashutka’s communism like they recently denounced Gus Hall, chairperson of the Communist Party USA. But both the mayor and the Dispatch editors conveniently ignore or rewrite history. Whether it’s belief in Bork one day or free speech the next, reality is twisted for political expediency.

The Dispatch editors write: “As Hall entered his golden years, a million, perhaps even three million, Cambodians were being murdered by their communist Khmer Rouge countrymen…” implying that there was a world Communist conspiracy. In reality, the U.S. was backing Cambodia’s leader Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge killers–they were Henry Kissinger’s guys–because they were Chinese Communist allies. The Soviets opposed Pol Pot and supported the Communist invasion to overthrow him. Moreover, the Dispatch turned a blind eye to Communist Chinese human rights abuses and shilled for their Son of Heaven exhibition in Columbus, even after that government ran over unarmed, peaceful and democratic students with tanks in Tianamen Square.

The Dispatch and Lashutka both understand and apologize for Chrysler’s need to build Jeeps in Hanoi, Vietnam, where the company can hire virtual slave labor for 40 cents an hour, that will surely lead to the inevitable closing of the Jeep plant in Toledo. Just last year, the Dispatch wrote glowingly of Governor Voinovich’s trade mission to Communist China where he personally negotiated sweetheart deals for major political donors, even though Amnesty International cited that country for “human organ harvesting” from political prisoners. But the authoritarian government that presides over more than a billion potential Chinese Wendy burger scarfers can’t be all bad.

The Soviet Communists rightly fell because they were undemocratic, bureaucratic and serving the interests of a small elite. Meet the new Columbus communist boss, same as the old Russian boss. Republished @ 10/24/2007 www.fraudbusterbob.com

Bob Bytes Back Archive: Uneasy Ecology (environment and media)

Uneasy ecology (environment and media)
by Bob Fitrakis

San Francisco–Imagine my surprise while I’m sitting in a workshop called “(Un)covering the Environment” at the Media and Democracy Congress in San Francisco when someone hands a fax to the moderator–Columbus’ own Mr. Greenpeace, Harvey Wasserman–about the trash-burning power plant back home.

Harvey excitedly relayed the tortured tale of the trash-burner and the good news that Michael Long, executive director of the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio, has recommended turning it into a recycling facility. The bad news is that Columbus Mayor Biggus Guyus–a.k.a. The Crazed Anti-Green Cossack–is not happy with the proposal.

But Mayor Lashutka, even in his Buckeye football days, is usually slow off the line. Remember, he was the last person left in Columbus leading cheers for Battelle’s proposed radioactive and toxic waste dump on the banks of the Olentangy River. Battelle had changed its mind and had come up with a more innovative approach to the problem while the mayor was chanting, “Give me a T, give me an O, give me an X…” Read more

Will The GOP Election Theft Machine Do It Again In 2008?

diebold_1a.jpgby Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman
October 19, 2007

With record low approval ratings for the Bush/Cheney regime and the albatross of an unpopular war hanging from the GOP’s neck, do you think that a Democratic presidential candidate will win the White House, get us out of Iraq, and end our long national nightmare?

Think again – the mighty election theft machine Karl Rove used to steal the US presidency in 2000 and 2004 may be under attack, but it is still in place for the upcoming 2008 election.

With his usual devious mastery, Rove has seized upon the national outrage sparked by his electoral larceny and used it as smokescreen while he makes the American electoral system even MORE unfair, and even EASIER to rig. Thus the administration has fired federal attorneys when they would not participate in a nationwide campaign to deny minorities and the poor their access to the polls. It has spent millions of taxpayer dollars to install electronic voting machines that can be “flipped” with a few keystrokes. And under the guise of “reforming” our busted electoral system, it is setting us up for another presidential theft in 2008.

Thus it should come as no surprise that our exclusive investigations into the firings of eight federal prosecutors who refused to execute Rove’s plans for massive disenfranchisement of Democratic voters reveal a pattern of illegalities and fraud aimed at reducing the number of minority, poor and young voters at the core of Democratic support. In the wake of major news breaks, two felony convictions have come from the rigging of the illegal Ohio 2004 vote count and recount that gave George W. Bush a second illegitimate term. Stunning new admissions from county election boards that illegally destroyed voter records will almost certainly lead to new convictions. And the multi-million-dollar electronic voting machine scam that made possible the biggest electoral frauds in US history is under massive new attack, with key states moving to scrap the machines altogether in a desperate attempt to restore American democracy – but with the job far from done.

Rove, Ney and the undead Read more

Bob Bytes Back Archive: Unfun mandates (paying for ADA)


by Bob Fitrakis

The Big Guy–the Mayor of Mayors–got a bit testy last week when people in wheelchairs finally called him on the carpet over at City Hall. Greg Lashutka’s claim that the Americans with Disabilities Act constitutes an evil “unfunded mandate” is ludicrous. In Lashutka’s analysis and rhetoric, any federal law requiring state or local action that isn’t paid for with federal funds is an unfunded mandate–even those that advance civil rights or protect the environment.
By the mayor’s logic, the Emancipation Proclamation issued by Abe Lincoln would be the mother of all unfunded mandates. Think of the cost to those god-fearin’, hard-workin’ slave owners. And what about the Civil Rights Act of 1964? How dare the federal government make state and local governments pay to take down those “Colored Only” signs? Maybe the mayor could lead his able-bodied supporters in chanting “End Curb-Cut Oppression Now!”

Lashutka did the right thing by appointing one of the megaphone-toting demonstrators to a city advisory board on disabilities. But this doesn’t solve the problem that the mayor’s politics presents. Lashutka’s endorsement of Newt Gingrich’s Contract with America directly threatens the freedom and independence of people with disabilities. The anti-Gingrich protest last week that drew some 400 people, primarily union members and the disabled, got to the crux of the issue. It isn’t about balancing the budget; it’s about values and power. The Gingrich and Lashutka call to return funding to the states would end the federal mandate that allows disabled people to choose whether or not they wish to live on their own or in a bureaucratic institution. In line with Lashutka and Gingrich’s “state’s rights” slogan, the Wisconsin state legislature is already cutting Medicaid funding that allows disabled people to live in their own homes and is forcing them into nursing homes. These homes, of course, will be “privatized” and run by wealthy donors who understand the evils of “unfunded mandates.”

While the Newtster and the Big Guy spout off about fiscal responsibility, the nursing homes owned by their backers will cost us significantly more tax dollars in the long run. Doubtful, are you? Businessweek pointed out last year that “The State’s-Rights-Minded House” under heavy lobbying from baby formula makers, eliminated a rule requiring competitive bidding when states buy infant formula for the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) nutritional program. In 1994, the federal government saved an estimated $1.1 billion through its federal mandate that required competitive bidding. Prior to this regulation, only half the states required competitive bidding. Yes, attack the federal government and bring back the good old days when taxpayers paid $2.10 a can for Enfamil instead of 20 cents.

On Voino-vouchers and homo-necro-zoophiliacs

The happy-face world of Governor George Voinovich and the Wolfe Family Newsletter editorial board envisions nice, clean, middle-class Christian parents of white kids using our tax dollars in the form of an educational voucher to be redeemed at their choice of a public or private school. Buffy and Jody will use the funds to attend the local Leroy Jenkins or Billy Wasmus Christian Academy. And their parents will happily go to the polls in 1998 and vote for Voinovich for Senate. The guv’s current experimental pilot project is based on this scenario. But what will happen when reality sets in? The largest private inner-city school programs will undoubtedly be run by Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam. I’ll use my Ph.D. to set up my Anti-Plutocracy School in Columbus–that will include a mandatory year of analyzing the selfish motives of the Wolfe family. Get the picture?

For years, Protestant fundamentalists have claimed that they alone talk to God on his private phone line and God wants them to have their own schools. Unlike the Catholics who set up their own schools in line with the First Amendment–you remember, “Congress should make no law establishing a religion…” –far-right religious fanatics have convinced the guv to mingle church doctrines and state tax dollars.

Still, they shall reap what they sow. The situation in Salt Lake City last week illustrates the problem. Fundamentalists complained that Christian kids were being discriminated against in public schools so Congress passed the federal Equal Access Act that rightly requires that all extracurricular school clubs be treated equally. Fundamentalist Christian clubs and, lo and behold, gay and lesbian support groups, benefited. In our system, one that values fairness and equality, this was predictable even in Salt Lake City. Student groups flourished; that is, until the school board voted to ban all extracurricular clubs. Meanwhile, the Utah State Senate passed a bill prohibiting teachers from condoning “illegal conduct in schools,” a thinly veiled attempt to intimidate faculty from sponsoring gay clubs. Hundreds of students staged a walkout and demonstration in defense of the First Amendment and demanding the separation of church and state.

U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) wants a limited ban of “just sexually oriented clubs.” This would equally ban those who advocate sex with dead animals of the same gender, Ronald Reagan’s old “Just Say No to Sex” clubs and the evangelical right’s “True Love Waits” that promotes abstinence and chastity.

If our multi-cultural, heterogeneous society is to succeed, we must be bound by an abiding faith in the Bill of Rights and fundamental fairness to all groups. And those like Pat Robertson, who demand that teachers have the freedom to keep the Bible on their desks, must also concede the right for them to keep a book promoting Satan on their desks. That’s why we separate church and state.

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“How Ohio Pulled It Off” – A FREE film showing at the Drexel Gateway

“How Ohio Pulled It Off” – a FREE film showing at the Drexel Gateway
This locally produced film chronicles the theft of the 2004 election in Ohio by Kenneth Blackwell and the voting rights activists that dogged him throughout his run for governor in 2006. After the 2004 election, Blackwell wrote an article in the Washington Times with the headline: “How Ohio Pulled It Off.” This atrocity of arrogance was followed by Ohio activists pulling aside the curtain and exposing the corruption and dirty tricks Blackwell employed to steal the election for Bush/Cheney, as the Co-Chair of their Ohio campaign. What Ohio activists REALLY pulled off was the resounding defeat of Blackwell in 2006! A great film – don’t miss it! Discussion to follow.
http://howohiopulleditoff.com/[google 5766652732462858977]

Thursday, October 18 – 7:00pm
Admission is FREE

THIRD THURSDAY THEATER NIGHT! Every third Thursday at 7:00PM
Documentary films brought to you by the Free Press and the Drexel Gateway

1550 North High St., Columbus, OH 43201
Parking in parking garage right behind theater off 11th Ave. – low prices, first floor is one-hour only
More info: 253-2571, truth@freepress.org

Bob Bytes Back Archive: Before The New Hampshire Primary–Dole, Buchanan, Voinovich

Revisited: Columbus Alive   Dr. Fitrakis


by Bob Fitrakis

It’s two days before the New Hampshire primary, and Bob Dole looks politically dead. Despite a poll or two that still shows him ahead of Pat Buchanan by a few percentage points, even the staunchest necrophile can’t repress the urge to hold old Bob down and drive a mercy stake through his heart.

As an old axiom goes: When there’s no more room in hell, Bob Dole shall walk the Earth. The man’s obsessed. Twenty straight years of imbibing that juiced-up presidential-wannabe adrenaline and spewing the pollsters’ spin has left an ugly corpse.

Both Pat Buchanan and Steve Forbes cry, “Let the politically dead bury the dead.” Buchanan, make no mistake, sounds like the direct linear descent of that old evangelical Democratic presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan. Yeah, I know, there are echoes of Huey “The Kingfish” Long, the assassinated former governor of Louisiana, tossed in for Southern consumption. But Buchanan will score well in New Hampshire because he has resurrected that old Bryan plea: “Do not crucify the American people on a cross of gold.” He represents 1890s populism in its purest form, which is infinitely preferable to the 1880s Social Darwinist rhetoric of Newt Gingrich.

As a former platform spokesperson for Governor Jerry Brown in 1992, I recognize and cheerfully encourage Buchanan’s economic railings against Dole as “Mr. NAFTA,” “Mr. GATT” and “Mr. Mexico Bailout.” And I’m fearful of his social policies that take us back to the pre-Scopes Monkey Trial era of prejudice and bigotry. Many of Pat’s followers are homophobes, believing that sex between consenting adults of the same gender is an abomination. But so’s eating pork, according to the Old Testament. I’d have more respect for these people if they gave up gay-bashing and chained themselves instead to the doors of Bob Evans restaurants. And my pot-bellied pig Iggy feels the same way. I’ve waited my entire adult life for a progressive major party candidate to take on the Fortune 500 and the new robber barons. What do I get? The social reactionary Pat “The Born-Again Populist” Buchanan.

So the Buchanan mob chases Bob Dole around New Hampshire with torches and pitchforks, repeatedly jabbing the senator on his weak economic left side. Meanwhile, Steve Forbes levels media blast after media blast on Dole’s capitulation to the Christian Coalition and its Shiite social agenda.

Last Friday, at a “God and Country” rally sponsored by the Christian Coalition in New Hampshire, Buchanan stole the show. He gave Ôem that old-time religion. Our own deficit hawk and political nemesis of mine, John Kasich, bombed, so to speak. One-note Johnny hammered away at balancing the budget, yet clearly was not filled with the spirit as he spoke woodenly of the “Judeo-Christian tradition.” Kasich found it hard to keep a straight face while preaching that the Holy Spirit descended onto the founding fathers in Philadelphia in 1787 and wrote the Constitution as a “Christian document.” Kind of hard to imagine the Holy Spirit whispering to James Madison, “Count the blacks as three-fifths of a person for purposes of taxation and representation.” Kasich spoke zealously of the need to get government out of people’s pockets; the divorced Kasich just couldn’t work up a sense of righteousness about putting bureaucrats under people’s beds to monitor their sex practices. He gathered only faint applause from an audience that looked like rejects from the Rush Limbaugh TV show. As I look into the crystal ball and say the words “Abra cadaver” I see Dole being cremated, I mean creamed, in New Hampshire.

Where does that leave Governor Voinovich? Off the short list for V.P. Voinovich is a younger version of Dole, and Mayor Lashutka the evil prodigy of a Voinovich-and-Dole cloning experiment gone bad. If you saw Voinovich’s shtick during last week’s State of the State address you couldn’t have missed his incredibly sincere attack on casino gambling as anti-family and anti-jobs. The guv’s solution to creating more jobs: build more prisons and bring in a multi-state regional nuclear waste dump. I’d rather take my chances with the Mafia and casino gambling than go along with the guv’s radioactive family values.

Voinovich also pressured Ohio House Republicans to kill the concealed-carry bill last week. This alone may be enough for grassroots gun activists to pull the plug on Bob Dole if he’s still on Voinovich’s political life-support system by the time the March 19 primary rolls around. The guv gave one of the strangest and most hypocritical reasons for opposing concealed-carry for law-abiding citizens. It seems that under his Republican administration, Attorney General Betty Montgomery has only computerized 80% of Ohio’s arrests–leaving 20% of those arrested out of the statewide computer system that does record checks for felons under the federal Brady Bill. So, potentially 20% of the felons could purchase guns. Thus, the rest of us who aren’t felons, but law-abiding citizens, can’t carry guns to fend off the 20% that potentially can buy guns as felons. Incompetence, be thy name. Or is this another example of the guv doing less–and I mean a lot less–with more?

Bob Fitrakis ran for Congress in the 12th district against John Kasich in 1992.