WHEN: Saturday August 6, 2011 from 11:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.

WHERE: Whetstone Park Shelter House (Outside The Park of Roses near the West Parking Lot)
The Whetstone Shelter House is located right outside the Park of Roses near the Olentangy River and the Olentangy Bicycle Trail toward the West end of the park – east of the soccer fields, but at the bottom of the hill. This area of Whetstone Park has open green playing fields and the bicycle trail nearby in addition to the Park of Roses. There is even a Prairie meadow nearby.

WHY: Bringing together progressive environmentalists and activists for a day of fun, networking and activity. Bring your bikes, Frisbees and / or other sport and fun equipment and meet with friends and family for a full afternoon of eating, activity and meeting others with important shared concerns and perspectives.


11:00 a.m. – Event begins: Tables will be available to place the literature from your group and read and share literature and ideas of others. You can also go on a bike ride, play Frisbee or engage in other recreation.

12:15 – 1:30 p.m. – Sharing, potluck and brief presentations. At 12:15 people will introduce themselves and their organizations. Before dining begins there will be a short commemoration and remembrance of the Bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. During the meal a few brief (5 minutes or less) presentations will be made by several organizations about important issues, events and activities.

The Central Ohio Green Education Fund will provide Pizza and some drinks. Please bring other entrees, salad items, dessert, additional drinks and anything else you would like to share. (IMPORTANT NOTE: No alcoholic drinks are allowed in Columbus Public Parks).

1:30 – 5:30 p.m. Casual activity, recreation, conversation and networking. There may be an educational tour of the Prairie meadow.

5:30 – 6:00 p.m. Closing and cleanup.

Tuesday, August 23 – Special Event Movie: The Battle of Chernobyl
7:30 pm at the Drexel Theater, 2254 E. Main St. in Bexley
This poignant film shows the human side of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. It showcases video clips of the original explosion, original clips of the immediate and ongoing mitigation attempts, interviews with Gorbechev and workers at the plant, both at the time and recently, and interviews with the “liquidators”—those people who experienced deadly risk to prevent much greater contamination. The World Health Organization estimates that 800,000 (yes, that figure is correct) people were commandeered for cleanup. Many felt they needed to risk their lives and act to save humanity.
Dr. Bernhard Debatin, Ohio University professor of journalism, was living in Berlin at the time of the accident and was exposed. He screened this 92-minute film at Ohio University on April 26, 2011, the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl explosion. The well-informed and articulate professor has agreed to lead a discussion about Chernobyl, Fukushima and other nuclear matters following the screening.
The film is free and open to the public. Co-sponsored by the Sierra Club, the Columbus International Film and Video Festival, the Central Ohio Green Education Fund, the Drexel Theater and the Free Press.

August Brunsman and Jesse Galef talk about the Secular Students group, the atheist billboards and Day of Reason.

Bob Fitrakis on “Fight Back” this week:
Bob and guest Cliff Arnebeck
Discussing the new court filing revealing how the 2004 election was stolen and the apparatus is still in place
Podcast posted here when available!
or see: right column, look for 07/27 date

Based on
“New court filing reveals how the 2004 Ohio presidential election was hacked” article on

by Bob Fitrakis
July 19, 2011

A new filing in the King Lincoln Bronzeville v. Blackwell case includes a copy of the Ohio Secretary of State election production system configuration that was in use in Ohio’s 2004 presidential election when there was a sudden and unexpected shift in votes for George W. Bush.

The filing also includes the revealing deposition of the late Michael Connell. Connell served as the IT guru for the Bush family and Karl Rove. Connell ran the private IT firm GovTech that created the controversial system that transferred Ohio’s vote count late on election night 2004 to a partisan Republican server site in Chattanooga, Tennessee owned by SmarTech. That is when the vote shift happened, not predicted by the exit polls, that led to Bush’s unexpected victory. Connell died a month and a half after giving this deposition in a suspicious small plane crash.

Additionally, the filing contains the contract signed between then-Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell and Connell’s company, GovTech Solutions. Also included that contract a graphic architectural map of the Secretary of State’s election night server layout system.

Prior to the filing, Cliff Arnebeck, lead attorney in the King Lincoln case, exchanged emails with IT security expert Stephen Spoonamore. Arnebeck asked Spoonamore whether or not SmarTech had the capability to “input data” and thus alter the results of Ohio’s 2004 election. Spoonamore responded: “Yes. They would have had data input capacities. The system might have been set up to log which source generated the data but probably did not.”

Spoonamore explained that “they [SmarTech] have full access and could change things when and if they want.”

Arnebeck specifically asked “Could this be done using whatever bypass techniques Connell developed for the web hosting function.” Spoonamore replied “Yes.”

Spoonamore concluded from the architectural maps of the Ohio 2004 election reporting system that, “SmarTech was a man in the middle. In my opinion they were not designed as a mirror, they were designed specifically to be a man in the middle.”

A “man in the middle” is a deliberate computer hacking setup, which allows a third party to sit in between computer transmissions and illegally alter the data. A mirror site, by contrast, is designed as a backup site in case the main computer configuration fails.

Spoonamore claims that he confronted then-Secretary of State Blackwell at a secretary of state IT conference in Boston where he was giving a seminar in data security. “Blackwell freaked and refused to speak to me when I confronted him about it long before I met you,” he wrote to Arnebeck.

Read the email correspondence here [pdf]

On December 14, 2007, then-Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, who replaced Blackwell, released her evaluation and validation of election-related equipment, standards and testing (Everest study) which found that touchscreen voting machines were vulnerable to hacking with relative ease.

Until now, the architectural maps and contracts from the Ohio 2004 election were never made public, which may indicate that the entire system was designed for fraud. In a previous sworn affidavit to the court, Spoonamore declared: “The SmarTech system was set up precisely as a King Pin computer used in criminal acts against banking or credit card processes and had the needed level of access to both county tabulators and Secretary of State computers to allow whoever was running SmarTech computers to decide the output of the county tabulators under its control.”

Spoonamore also swore that “…the architecture further confirms how this election was stolen. The computer system and SmarTech had the correct placement, connectivity, and computer experts necessary to change the election in any manner desired by the controllers of the SmarTech computers.”

Project Censored named the outsourcing of Ohio’s 2004 election votes to SmarTech in Chattanooga, Tennessee to a company owned by Republican partisans as one of the most censored stories in the world.

In the Connell deposition, plaintiffs’ attorneys questioned Connell regarding gwb43, a website that was live on election night operating out of the White House and tied directly into SmarTech’s server stacks in Chattanooga, Tennessee which contained Ohio’s 2004 presidential election results.

The transfer of the vote count to SmarTech in Chattanooga, Tennessee remains a mystery. This would have only happened if there was a complete failure of the Ohio computer election system. Connell swore under oath that, “To the best of my knowledge, it was not a fail-over case scenario – or it was not a failover situation.”

Bob Magnan, a state IT specialist for the secretary of state during the 2004 election, agreed that there was no failover scenario. Magnan said he was unexpectedly sent home at 9 p.m. on election night and private contractors ran the system for Blackwell.

The architectural maps, contracts, and Spoonamore emails, along with the history of Connell’s partisan activities, shed new light on how easy it was to hack the 2004 Ohio presidential election.

Download the Plaintiffs’ Brief here [zip]

Bob Fitrakis is co-counsel in the King Lincoln case.

By Richard James
July 19, 2011

Another progressive coalition is seeking to repeal a new reactionary Republican election law in Ohio

The unions are once again the backbone of a campaign joined by various voting rights advocates to repeal Ohio House Bill 194, signed into law on July 5, 2011. The repeal coalition calls itself “Fair Election Ohio” and submitted the required 1000 signatures necessary for starting the repeal process on July 18.

Under Ohio law, approximately 232,000 valid voter signatures are needed to put a repeal issue on the ballot. A similar coalition gathered more than 800,000 valid signatures to repeal Ohio’s anti-union Senate Bill 5. The Fair Election Ohio coalition is awaiting certification of its petition language by the current secretary of state. If certified, it has until September 30, 2011 to gather the additional 231,000 signatures to put the repeal on the ballot in 2012. Valid signatures by September 30 will put the law on hold until after the 2012 presidential election, according to the Columbus Dispatch.

Former Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner is spearheading the drive. She argues that HB 194 “makes it harder to vote” and even when you vote, she insists it makes it “harder to have your vote counted.”

The petition targets the most egregious provisions of the law, among them:

• A provision of the bill requires that cities must have precincts with a minimum of 500 registered voters. This provision does not apply to rural areas.

• Pollworkers are prohibited from telling voters if they are in the wrong precinct.

• The bill includes a new definition of the term “corporations” in regards to political contributions. Brunner argues that the bill will weaken regulations requiring corporations to report donations in Ohio.

• The bill has several “gotcha” provisions that will allow Republicans to toss out provisional ballots that have minor problems. Provisional ballots are overwhelmingly cast in Ohio’s urban centers by poor and minority voters.

• The bill also contains measures aimed at eliminating Ohio’s minor parties.

In 2006, the Libertarian Party of Ohio won a lawsuit against then-Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell about the difficulties of minor parties getting on the ballot in Ohio. The new law sets the deadline to file candidate petitions for minor parties in early February. The U.S. Supreme Court had previously declared that early deadline for third parties in Ohio as “unreasonably early.”

Minor parties are awaiting the ruling by current Ohio Secretary of State John Husted on whether the existing third parties – Constitution, Green, Libertarian and Socialist – will be placed on the 2012 ballot or removed. In a similar situation in both 1970 and 1972, then Ohio Secretary of State Ted Brown grandfathered the existing minor parties onto the ballot.

State rep Ann Gonzales wrote that she “wholeheartedly supports this bill.” She alleges “The reforms will streamline the election experience, address incidences of fraud, and increases the use of technology in elections” Ironically, there was only one incident of voter fraud officially reported in recent Ohio elections, however there are have been numerous allegations of election fraud through the use of private proprietary election hardware and software.

A recent King Lincoln vs. Blackwell filing concerning the 2004 Ohio presidential election outlines shocking factual allegations about Ohio’s outsourcing of its vote count in 2004 to a private company, SmartTech, in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

As Brunner points out, the new law would allow election officials to use voters’ Social Security number to purge voters from the voting rolls. Under the bill, state election officials, or the private vendors they contract with, are authorized to take driver’s license or state ID information and the last four digits of Social Security numbers and compare it to other private information databases and other private or government databases. If there are discrepancies in the data, voters may be purged from the voting rolls, even if it’s clear that more current information is correct.

One positive aspect of the bill is that it does allow voters to change their registration online.

In a victory for voting rights activists, the bill failed to include the draconian restrictions favored by the vast majority of the Republican Party. The intervention of Republican Secretary of State Husted aided in killing the most restrictive photo ID proposal in the nation.

In the aftermath of SB5, a key provision in the law limits the time allowed to gather signatures for statewide petition drives, like the one against HB 194.

For more information and to get involved in the fight against HB 194, contact ProgressOhio, 172 E. State St., Columbus, OH 43215, 614-441-0144,

Bob’s topic this week: Tim Burga, AFL-CIO
Discussing the fight against Ohio Senate Bill 5
Listen and call in this Wednesday July 20 from 7 – 8 PM
Call 877-932-9766
Tim Burga is currently the Chief of Staff for the Ohio AFL-CIO working on the the labor effort to repeal SB5 and an event:


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