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Rekindle The Spirit Of Kennedy’s 1980 Run: Social Democracy

Thinking about the death of Senator Edward Kennedy causes me to reflect on my own life and political activism. First, I was struck by the fact that “Teddy” was only one year younger than my father. The Senator always seemed eternally youthful, optimistic, and idealistic. I harbored in the back of my mind, up until the time his brain cancer was announced, that somehow – someway – he would still end up as President someday.

But, I was there for his last battle in 1980, supporting him and his United Automobile union allies in Detroit. In many ways, it was the last shoot-out in the Democratic Party between the liberal/progressive forces longing for a return of the New Deal/Great Society and the emerging new pro-corporate Democrats.

Not that the corporatism of Carter and his economic moderation was not offset by his championing of human rights and a rational energy policy, rather those of us who pushed Kennedy in 1980 realized that the “stagflation” – simultaneously high unemployment and high inflation – associated with Carter and the Democrats would likely pave the way for the rise of Ronald Reagan and his politics of deregulation and casino capitalism.

Ted Kennedy would later, during a tribute to the intellectual architect of the [John] Kennedy/Johnson War on Poverty Michael Harrington, call himself a European style “social democrat.” This idea of an America that took care of the least of its brethren and joined the rest of the advanced industrial nations with universal health care was what we were fighting for in 1980.

Harrington, the co-chair of the Democratic Socialists of America, had gone on an early tour to test the waters as a progressive presidential candidate himself. But most of us understood that he was a “stalking horse” for Teddy. Harrington’s frequent trips to Detroit showed that there was tremendous support within the progressive wing of the labor unions for a run by the last remaining Kennedy brother. I had the privilege of chauffeuring Harrington around from meeting to meeting on a few occasions and talking strategy with the likes of the legendary Millie Jeffries and Saul Wellman. The two were once old Left adversaries, but both agreed that Carter had to be challenged within the Democratic Party.

The Michigan caucuses that year came down to who could turn out the most forces. Then-Mayor of Detroit Coleman Young stood strongly with President Carter. The Mayor’s real fear of Reagan, mitigated by Carter’s largesse to the Motor City that at one point reached a 70% match of the entire Detroit budget through various federal grants during 1980 election year, caused him to pull out all stops to deliver the caucuses to the sitting President. The UAW threw the massive political resources of the international union into the caucus fray. Ultimately, it came down to the role of the Associated of Communities Organizing for Reform Now (ACORN), that ended siding with Carter in exchange for delegates to the Democratic National Convention.

Sadly, the ACORN forces were some of my closest allies and the political commune I lived in and partially owned at 12749 Kilbourne on Detroit’s east side often was referred to as “ACORN East.” That summer ACORN’s interns and students sent from Minnesota by a little-known college professor, Paul Wellstone, worked out of my house.They continued to do so through 1984.

I remember what appeared to be a scuffle in the New York delegation during the 1980 Democratic primary where Harrington was accused of blocking Carter delegates from speaking. We fell a few delegates short at the convention, and from putting forth our dream of a resurrected Camelot. I stayed away from the Democratic convention, instead organizing demonstrations in Detroit at the Republican convention where not only Ronald Reagan was nominated, for the former CIA director George Herbert Walker Bush emerged as his Vice President.

It was the last gathering of the New Left tribes and the 60s countercultures. I worked very closely with the San Francisco Mime Troupe who were organizing the “:Reagan for Shah” committee. I played the role of a young Republican pleading with Reaganites to have Reagan declare himself Shah and get rid of the liberals who were ruining the country. I few were quite drunk and sympathetic saying, “That’s exactly what we’re going to do.”

I regretfully sat out the Carter campaign in 1980 and instead worked for Barry Commoner and the People’s Party. I recall the slogan, “The 5% Solution.” If we could just get 5% of the vote, we would have a real environmental worker’s party on the ballot. Like the dream of a re-born Camelot, the structure of American politics has long worked against a viable left-wing third party.

Still, I can’t help but wonder these days as I ponder the life of Ted Kennedy and his tremendous perseverance in the U.S. Senate during the dark days of Reagan and Bush who were both elected in 1966 to public office for the first time. Voted in as enemies of the Great Society, the New Left, and the 60s counterculture, they represented a violent reaction against the idealism of the 1960s.

Kennedy remained the last and greatest idealist of the 60s. Even during the hell-black night of Bush the Second. Let us pray that his death inspires Barack Obama and others to rekindle the dream that endured with Kennedy physically and hangs heavily in the air as we mourn his passing.

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Bob Bytes Back Archive: 9/25/1996 Desperate and Clueless

9/25/1996
by Bob Fitrakis

Another politically bleak week: trade gap widens by 43 percent; credit card delinquencies hit a record high; but violent crime goes down 9 percent. Yet Bill Clinton and Bob Dole continue to run for district attorney instead of president. It’s just the real national problems like trade policy and stagnant household income that they’re clueless about.

Ask them about drugs and crime, boy, do they have answers. Desperate for political hot-button issues, they bellow: “lock ’em up, beat ’em up, kill ’em quicker, more cops, fewer civil liberties….”

Dole wants to double prison spending-must have been talking to the Brothers Voinovich. I wonder if Paul Mifsud is still working for his campaign? Dole also called for more “drug news.” Here’s some: 85 percent of drug addiction is legally prescribed.

Ask Chief Justice Rehnquist, Betty Ford, Nancy Reagan, Kitty Dukakis, Elvis, etc. In the early ’80s, high school kids used to work themselves into such a frenzy at the “Just Say No” clubs that they had to go chug a beer just to cool down afterwards. Clinton wants to spend $700 million for “the largest anti-drug effort in history, “but he won’t give the Congressional Black Caucus an answer on whether he backs an investigation into the CIA’s (aka Cocaine Importing Agency) involvement with crack trafficking in the inner-cities of the U.S.

An American institution
Speaking of crime, the Pentagon finally released documents showing that U.S. Army training manuals used at the notorious School of the Americas advocated executions, torture, coercion, blackmail, and other God-fearing American tactics against Third World insurgents. Yes, indeed, our U.S. tax dollars at work abroad.

We, as a people, are responsible for our drug-running, murdering, and torturing government. Sorry, that’s the way democracy works. We are paid to train and “educate” most of the Western Hemisphere’s most heinous butchers. Like “Blow Torch” Bob D’Aubuisson who was the leader of El Salvador’s right-wing death squads, the Salvadoran soldiers who assassinated six Jesuit priests in 1989, and “our man in Panama” General Manuel Noriega.

Recently, the largest-ever protest occurred at Fort Benning, Georgia, home of the School of the Americas. Four hundred and fifty people-including 300 Catholic nuns-converged on the main gate and called for its closing. Believing “The Truth Cannot Be Silenced,” 13 U.S. citizens remain in prison for willfully and openly trespassing at the School in the finest tradition of civil disobedience.

As for President Clinton, the White House recently called the School “a force for good and not evil.” Hey, did I tell ya how they pioneered that really thin highly conductive wire that could be inserted in the penile shaft like a catheter and hooked to any portable military field telephone? Just a few cranks of the field telephone and your average Third World non-white Native American-type starts telling you everything you want to know. You usually don’t even have to torture him all that long to get information. Must be what the President means by a “force” for good.

Cliff and Jim
Enough bleakness, there’s still some heroic Americans fighting the good fight. Cliff Arnebeck, probably the most decent and thoughtful candidate in central Ohio this year, is once again calling for real Congressional campaign finance reform. Arnebeck is Deborah Pryce’s Democratic opponent in the 15th district.

Arnebeck, Tom Erney and I are all part of a lawsuit against the state of Ohio with our lead plaintiff, former Republican Congressman Clarence Miller. Our suit argues that it’s unfair for the Democratic and Republican parties to draw up the Congressional districts to favor their party’s incumbent Congressperson. Take for example, Franklin County: the state legislature created two relatively safe Republican districts by dividing the Columbus voters into two separate districts and attaching overwhelmingly Republican rural counties like Delaware, Licking and Union. If the city of Columbus had been left intact as a Congressional district, we’d actually have a competitive Congressional race this year. In Cleveland, they created a black minority district that votes 84 percent Democratic. And they call it “democracy.” We’re arguing that a non-partisan body should draw up Congressional districts in a fair and impartial manner. Whoa, is that radical or what?

Worthington School Board member Jim Timko continues his fight against the lock-step majority on the board. Timko refused to bow to community pressure and instead acted on his own conscience. He believes that former Worthington Kilbourne student Max Seeman “didn’t do anything wrong” in sitting during a senior pride rally. At least nothing so evil as to require a police paddy wagon to remove Max from the school and his suspension.

“The message it sends is we’re going to do everything we can to control your behavior,” Timko stated. “You don’t understand the Worthington mentality. ‘We don’t make mistakes.’ That’s what the school board is saying, and that’s wrong.”

Timko is consulting with one of the state’s leading civil rights attorneys to discuss his options following his September 9th censure by his fellow board members. He admits to being “flabbergasted” after the “junta” voted four to one for censure. And well he should.

The Worthington school board is going to have a hell of a time explaining to a judge how they offered a completed resolution of censure and disapproval, and issued a prepared statement on the resolution behind Timko’s back. Can you say violation of open meetings law? Can you say violation of Sunshine Laws? Obviously, the paddy wagon came for the wrong people. The board is acting criminally, not Max Seeman.

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Bob Bytes Back Archive: 9/18/1996 Gutter Snipe

9/18/1996
by Bob Fitrakis

What the hell is Cynthia Ruccia thinking? Ruccia, running for Congress in the 12th district against John Kasich, held a press conference last week questioning the Congressman’s living arrangement with a male aide in Washington. The Dispatch justly portrayed her desperate attempt to “out” Kasich as a descent into the “gutter.” What the Dispatch failed to note is that they pioneered such “gutter” politics against Kasich a few years back when they essentially used the same tactics.

If you remember, Johnny-boy was meeting with Hillary Clinton over the health-care issue in the pre-Newtonian days. The Dispatch ran a front page story describing the townhouse that John and his aide lived in and the lovely grilled fish prepared for the First Lady. Hugh DeMoss and I shared a laugh at the time over the Dispatch’s all-too-obvious displeasure with Congressman Kasich.

Although I disagree with Congressman Kasich on virtually every public policy issue, I believe his personal relationship with his aide or any other consenting adult is none of our business. Unsubstantiated gossip has nothing to do with political issues. And even if there was an ounce of evidence, what’s her point? One would expect more from Ruccia, a Democrat who decries the same tactics and moralizing from the far right.

Last time I wrote about Ruccia in a feature story suggesting the obvious-that the presence of longtime Democrat and former school board member Bill Moss was hurting her campaign-her attorney contacted Columbus Alive.

Her contempt for the First Amendment and her unprincipled attacks on Congressman Kasich should be rejected by the voters. Someone should have steered her away from the Mike Stinziano School of Campaigning.

Betty’s boop
Dog ate my homework, computer crashed, copy machine broke down. Just when you thought you’d heard all the lame excuses, Ohio’s Attorney General Betty Montgomery manages to take incompetence to the highest level. The Plain Dealer reported that Ms. Montgomery missed her deadline in a key court case because her copier broke. The good news is that the case involved Betty and the Guv’s attempt to foil Ohio’s Open Records Law by having state bureaucrats claim attorney-client privilege. Basically, they were creating a way to keep important or embarrassing information from the public. The Open Records Law is the state equivalent of the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). These post-Watergate, so-called “Sunshine Laws” are indispensable checks on government corruption. We use the FOIA and the Open Records Law a lot at Columbus Alive.

The bad news is that she’s our state’s attorney. ” …and the line was too long at Kinko’s, honest!”

Out of the mouths of babes
It’s getting really weird in Worthington. The case of Worthington-Kilbourne student Max Seeman, who was hauled off in a police paddy wagon at the request of Principal Dianna Lindsay, continues to cause consternation. Much to its credit, This Week in Worthington reprinted the transcript of Seeman’s disciplinary hearing. The transcript clearly shows that Max was removed for not standing-even though he wasn’t required to stand-during a mini-version of a Nuremburg-style senior pride rally.

Well, seems at least one Worthington School Board member understands the difference between a police state and an educational environment. School board member Jim Timko called for an investigation of the incident in a letter to This Week. His authoritarian-worshipping colleagues on the school board immediately passed a resolution of censure and disapproval. They demanded that he not release confidential information, that he not speak on behalf of the board, and that he abide by the first two points or resign.

“They wanted to intimidate me and create the impression that I did something wrong,” Timko said. He said that his colleagues get elected and do “whatever the administrators want.” Their attitude is “we don’t make mistakes in Worthington,” he continued.

They accused him of violating confidentiality by responding publicly about the incident. Supposedly, his utterances as an elected official about a hearing purposely opened to the public by the parents of Max Seeman, with Channel 4 in attendance, somehow violated confidentiality.

Key point, Timko did not violate the confidence of the board by responding to a newspaper story. No one told the other educational jackboots on the Worthington board that something has to be a secret first to be considered confidential. Perhaps it was a breach of idiocy. He wasn’t dense enough to be on the Worthington school board.

On the plus side, students in Worthington Kilbourne’s American Radicalism class requested a discussion on the issue between Dr. Lindsay and Joan Seeman, Max’s mother. They must be reading too much Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine and Abe Lincoln.

FREE PRESS FREE FILM NIGHT

 

TUESDAY, AUGUST 25, 2009
7:30PM
Drexel Theater
2254 E. Main St., Bexley

A POWERFUL NOISE
Hanh is an HIV-positive widow in Vietnam. Nada, a survivor of the Bosnian war. And Jacqueline works the slums of Bamako, Mali. Three very different lives. Three vastly different worlds. But they share something in common: Power. These women are each overcoming gender barriers to rise up and claim a voice in their societies. Through their empowerment and ability to empower others, Hanh, Nada and Jacqueline are sparking remarkable changes. Fighting AIDS. Rebuilding communities. Educating girls.

Sponsored by the Free Press, Drexel Theater, Film Council of Greater Columbus, and the Central Ohio Green Education Fund
253-2571
truth@freepress.org

Give Me A Ticket For An Aeroplane – Ken Blackwell Just Wrote Me A Letter

August 11, 2009
By Bob Fitrakis

Give me a ticket for an aeroplane, ain’t got time to take a fast train
– since the Republicans destroyed mass transit in the U.S. and there
aren’t any fast trains – Ken Blackwell just wrote me a letter. That’s
same Blackwell we all now known as the Katherine Harris of Ohio for his
role in helping steal the 2004 election. Blackwell, billing himself as
“Former Ohio Secretary of State” and “Conservative Republican,” wrote a
letter regarding: “The One Way to Stop the Obama Machine.”

My first thought to stop the Obama “Machine” was – take cell phones
away from 18-24-year-olds. After all, the Obama political machine was
actually a decentralized cyber-force of youngsters. All of this
brilliantly captured in Danny Schechter’s recent documentary: Barack
Obama: People’s President.

Blackwell addressed me as “Dear Fellow Conservative.” This is perfectly
appropriate since I believe in the Bill of Rights, particularly the 8th
Amendment that forbids “cruel and unusual punishment.” Thus, in order
to preserve these traditional conservative values, I’d like to have a
grand jury investigate Bush and Cheney for torture and assorted crimes
against the Constitution and then prosecute them.

Blackwell began the letter by asserting that he was a “clear and
present danger” to the “Democrats.” Why? Because he “threatens
self-appointed black leaders, the Democrat Party machine, and even
Barack Obama’s grip on power.” Blackwell particularly takes offense to
the fact that Al Sharpton “…flew into the state to racially slander me
by calling me Ken Whitewell” during his ill-fated run for the
governorship of Ohio.

I understand Blackwell’s outrage and how out of touch Sharpton is with
the people of Ohio. Blacks here were referring to him as “Ken
Blackhell” and election activists as “Ken Hackwell.” How dare Sharpton
make a reference to Blackwell’s race simply because the black
conservative spent his time kissing Bush buttocks? Also, Sharpton
failed to point out that Blackwell’s favorite past-time paid real well
and was steady work.

Blackwell claims these evil Democrats “…have gone out of their way to
destroy me and other black Republicans like me.” I wondered why the
Dems would waste their time to “destroy” one person, because who else
is like him? And who cares? But Blackwell had gotten my attention.

Blackwell sees himself targeted because he stands “on principle.” Fair
enough. His principles happen to be opportunism, corruption, and
cronyism. But he has displayed a principled commitment to these values.

Blackwell’s always been a man of principle. First, when he was a
left-wing black nationalist in the 70s. And then, when he was a charter
reform progressive Democrat out of Cincinnati. And then when he was an
Independent, and again when he became a Jack Kemp help-the-poor
kind-hearted conservative. And finally when he was a Steve Forbes
help-the-poor-by-giving-money-to-the-rich Republican. Also, he was
perhaps most principle when he appeared before white supremacist groups
in Ohio and elsewhere and campaigned with far-right born-again
Christians like Rod Parsley. I guess it’s not hypocritical or
opportunistic to hang out with people that want to lynch blacks and
believe all Muslims will burn in hell (See “Why is the man who stole
Ohio campaigning with a white supremacist?” by Bob Fitrakis and Harvey
Wasserman, October 9, 2006 at
http://www.freepress.org/departments/display/19/2006/217).

Still, the highlight of Blackwell’s letter was his ranting against
Obama’s “Big Brother government.” It’s fair to concede that Blackwell
knows a lot about Big Brother. He served as the UN Human Rights
Ambassador for former CIA Director, and then President, George Herbert
Walker Bush. So, we gotta give him his props. He associates with people
(for example George Walker Bush and Cheney) who know about torture,
unconstitutional and illegal domestic electronic surveillance, and
overthrowing democratically-elected governments. No wonder they wanted
him to be Ohio’s Secretary of State.

To be fair to Blackwell, he did have major accomplishments as Ohio
Secretary of State. He allowed 24.93% of all voters in Cleveland,
Ohio’s major Democratic stronghold, to be purged prior to the 2004
election. Many voters thrown off the voting rolls had been registered
in majority black precincts.

And he does know a little about money. Blackwell and three friends took
a $500,000 investment, hooked up with Carl Lindner, the Cincinnati
billionaire, and parlayed it into a nearly $200 million investment in
radio. Of course, Blackwell’s role as State Treasurer and the deposit
of large sums of Ohio tax dollars into Lindner’s banks played no role
in Blackwell’s success, according to Blackwell. Essentially, Blackwell,
with no radio experience, got rich off the Clear Channel franchise and
mergers.

Blackwell is thrifty – outsourcing Ohio’s 2004 election count to
private companies like New Media, Triad, and Smartech – so the actual
statewide vote count could take place on Republican servers tied to the
White House in Chattanooga, Tennessee. (See “Behind the firewall: Bush
loyalist Mike Connell controls Congressional secrets as his email sites
serve Karl Rove” by Bob Fitrakis, July 29, 2008 at
http://www.freepress.org/columns/display/3/2008/1665).

I was so inspired by Blackwell’s letter and his plea for money, since
his Black Republican PAC is “Our best chance to stop the socialism of
the Obama presidency.” Blackwell clearly prefers the
welfare-for-the-rich socialism of the Bush administration where nearly
a trillion dollars was given to failed corporate investment bankers as
opposed to the Obama, where nearly a trillion dollars was given to
failed corporate investment banks. (See “Democratic Socialists?
Democrats not half that good” by Bob Fitrakis, May 24, 2009 at
http://www.freepress.org/columns/display/3/2009/1746).

I took up his challenge to respond within “96 hours.” Whew, I barely
got this in with an hour or so to go. Blackwell’s right – I should send
whatever I can spare, $35, $50, $75…– to a cause I can believe in.
Maybe I’ll send a check to the Single Payer Action Network (SPAN)
because I want health care reform or to All Aboard Ohio working to
bring a fast train, for that matter any train service, to Columbus,
Ohio.

Bob Fitrakis is the editor of freepress.org and also ran for governor
of Ohio in 2006 on the Green Party ticket.

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Senator Dewine’s Run For Ohio Attorney General: Return To The Scene Of The Crime

August 7, 2009

As the axiom states: “As Ohio goes, so goes the nation.” Strange and interesting things are happening in the legendary swing state.

First, it was Fox commentator, former Congressman, and originally freshly-scrubbed Nixon youth John Kasich emerging as the likely Republican nominee for governor of the Buckeye State.

Then, former U.S. Senator Mike Dewine announced his candidacy for Ohio Attorney General on July 22. In 2006, the then-incumbent Dewine lost to Democrat U.S. Representative Sherrod Brown by 12 percentage points, although final polls throughout the state showed him losing by twice that amount.

Why would a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives – granted he was most well-known for falling asleep during the Iran-Contra hearings – and U.S. Senator, be seeking the seemingly lesser office of Ohio’s chief law enforcement officer?

The answer is: he would be chief law enforcement officer in one of America’s most politically corrupt states – sort of New Jersey without the reputation. Historically, the Attorney General of Ohio has been the key position for covering up the state’s systemic corruption and two-party pay-to-play system.

Back in 80s, Ohio’s Attorney General was none other than Billy Joe Brown (original name: Barone) whose major political backer was Eddie DeBartolo, Jr. DeBartolo is most well-known as the former owner of the San Francisco 49ers who was forced to sell the franchise after pleading guilty in a alleged scheme to bribe the former governor of Louisiana to secure a gambling license. Columbus police records indicate that DeBartolo has ties to organized crime and was a “person of interest” in a high–profile murder case in Columbus back in the 80s.

What Brown understood is that the Attorney General’s office is a good place to harass political enemies, dispense patronage, and cover up questionable activities by your cronies. The current Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray – most famous in Ohio for being a 5-time Jeopardy winner – has a well-deserved reputation for being squeaky clean and ethical.

Prior to Cordray, Mark Dann of Youngstown held the office briefly before being forced to resign amidst a sex scandal. Dann’s Attorney General’s office became a great place from which he and his appointees could shake women down for booty. Dann won, in part, because of the support of the election integrity movement which was hostile to Republican Attorney General James Petro, who went out of his way to thwart lawful Ohio Supreme Court supervised examination of the conduct of George W. Bush, Karl Rove, and Ken Blackwell in connection with Ohio’s infamous 2004 Presidential election.

What kind of Attorney General would Dewine make? Perhaps the best testament to Dewine’s character is in a piece written by Joe Gilyard, a former state cabinet member as Director of Criminal Justice Services during the Voinovich administration. Gilyard, a well-known Republican political operative recounts how he served as “Dewine’s hired gun” when he ran as Lieutenant Governor on the Voinovich ticket: “I was to protect him [Dewine] from sharks like Chief of Staff Paul Mifsud and even Governor Voinovich himself.” The late Mifsud was a former military intelligence officer and close friend of George Herbert Walker Bush, who ran his Ohio presidential campaigns in 1980 and 1988.

Mifsud would later serve time in jail related to falsification of government records in a contract-steering and bribery scandal. Early on, when Gilyard tried to blow the whistle on the corruption of Paul Mifsud, Dewine pledged his support. “…he thought Mifsud was a crook and we should go after him,” Gilyard wrote.

In order to go after Mifsud and Voinovich, Gilyard and Dewine would have to first clash with another legendary friend of George H. W. Bush, Franklin County Sheriff Earl Smith. Both Smith and the late John Walton Wolfe of Columbus’ politically-formidable Wolfe media conglomerate, used the Columbus Dispatch to go after Gilyard.

Dewine was openly and easily intimidated from the fight. As Gilyard colorfully recalled the story: “He [Smith] hurled invective upon invective on a now squeamish Mike Dewine, going so far as to call him Mike DeWeeny in the press.” The name stuck.

Gilyard wrote an eight-page memo about Smith’s activities that were under investigation by federal authorities. The memo was given to Mike Dewine, according to Gilyard. “He [Dewine] stood up, face whiter than usual, and said, ‘This meeting is over. Please put all your memos on the table.” Gilyard alleged that Dewine demanded all copies of the memo showing corruption by Smith and the Voinovich administration in order to cover up any investigation.

Gilyard admitted that “I went back to my office and destroyed everything except a hard copy and the disk. I took them home and secured them in case I needed them to prove my innocence in what had become a Machiavellian plan to steal $30 million in state bond money, give the Voinovich Company an ‘inside track’ to all county jail-building contracts and allow Earl Smith to escape from justice again.”

All of this is documented in a CICJ Books book I authored called “The Brothers Voinovich and the Ohiogate Scandal.”

Dewine, rather than stand up to the obvious corruption of the Voinovich administration, instead ran for the Senate because the heat was too hot in Columbus.

Now, Mike Dewine wants to return to Ohio’s capital city and be the state’s chief law enforcement officer. He originally denied that Gilyard ever wrote a memo outlining the corruption of the Voinovich administration. Gilyard lost his job after his photo appeared on the front page of the Wolfe-owned Dispatch newspaper portraying him as a criminal based on charges brought by Earl Smith, although Gilyard was later acquitted of all charges. Stress and high blood pressure had wrecked his kidneys.

Under pressure from the state’s inspector general, Dewine later found a copy of the memo in a vacation home desk vindicating Gilyard. But it was too late for Gilyard.

It’s hard to believe how corrupt the Voinovich-Dewine administration was in the early 90s. During those years, the terrorist/Al Qaeda-connected, now discredited Bank of Credit and Commerce International helped finance a toxic waste incinerator in East Liverpool, Ohio as the regulatory wheels were greased by the Voinovich family.

Governor Voinovich’s brother Paul was paid $6000 a month retainer to lobby on behalf of the incinerator. Another money source for the incinerator was the notorious Swiss corporation Von Roll, a company that was busted for trying to sell a “supergun” to Iraq to lob nuclear warheads at Israel.

This massive corruption is what the spineless Mike Dewine escaped from by running for U.S. Senate. Now the man known for looking the other way when corruption runs rampant wants to be Ohio’s chief law enforcement officer, just in time to look the other way for the 2012 Presidential election.

Bob Fitrakis edits freepress.org and was one of the lawyers attempting to conduct the investigation of Bush, Rove and Blackwell in Ohio’s 2004 election.

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The Passing Of Aquino, The Rigging Of Elections And The Need For People Power

By Bob Fitrakis

The death of former Philippine President Corazon Aquino on August 1, 2009 should be remembered for many reasons: not just because she led the People Power revolution in the Philippines that stood for peace and human rights, and not just because she did it after the brutal Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos had her husband assassinated, but most importantly, she stood up to one of the first documented stolen elections.

While the American mainstream media steadfastly refuses to recognize the use of both computer hardware and software in modern election manipulation, President Ronald Reagan’s good buddy Marcos immediately knew the score with the new technology and blatantly used mainframe computers to rig his 1986 election. With the support of the Reagan administration, Marcos simply had the vote count shut down until “new tapes” were brought in that reversed Aquino’s victory.

All of this was captured on the nightly news, and more tellingly, in Hedrick Smith’s book The Power Game and the video he did called “The Power Game: The President.” The video documents the role of Senator Richard Lugar complaining to the world that somebody was cooking the numbers on the election computers. Fortunately for Aquino, most of the election workers walked out rather than accept the rigged election.

Not the case in Ohio in 2004. And coincidentally, August 2 marks the fourth anniversary of the death of the Reverend Bill Moss. He was the lead plaintiff who sued to overturn the 2004 Ohio presidential election. A key difference between the people of the Philippines and most of those in the U.S. is that the Philippine people took to the street in a general strike after the election was stolen.

The corruption of the Marcos regime was well-established, including the bullet to the back of Corazon’s husband Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr. when he returned from exile in the U.S. to ask for a democratic election. Recall Marcos had him assassinated right on the tarmac at the airport.

Yet, were the dealings of the Bush administration any less blatantly corrupt? You had the coup in Florida in the 2000 election, followed by the illegal occupation of Iraq, and the blatant embracing of torture and other violations of human rights before the eyes of the world. So, when Bush crony J. Kenneth Blackwell privatized the 2004 Ohio election bringing in private companies like Triad, Diebold, New Media, and Smartech – and the exit polls all indicated unprecedented vote theft – it was Moss who led the charge.

The election integrity movement remains to evolve into a real people power movement that will wrest control of the computer software and hardware from the private vendors with direct ties to the Republican Party and the CIA-connected Bush family.

This weekend we should honor our election integrity heroes who have passed. The wondrous “ordinary housewife” Corazon Aquino who became the 11th president of the Philippines and beat back Reagan’s version of the U.S. as an evil empire, and Bill Moss, the man behind the Moss V. Bush lawsuit in Ohio that resulted in the first challenge to a state’s entire electoral college slate in U.S. history.

There is much work to be done. But much inspiration in the legacy of Aquino and Moss.

Bob Fitrakis is the freepress.org Editor and was one of the four attorneys in the Moss v. Bush lawsuit.