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The Other Side of the News December 29, 2014 – 2014 Year in Review

The Other Side of the News December 29, 2014 -2014
Year in Review
Submitted by fightback on Mon, 12/29/2014 – 1:27pm
Bob Fitrakis discusses the important issues that happened during 2014 in central Ohio and the world

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How the GOP bought, rigged, stole and lynched the 2014 election

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by Bob Fitrakis
NOVEMBER 10, 2014
by Harvey Wasserman

First in a series

Since the Bush-Cheney-Rove theft of the 2000 election in Florida, the right of millions of American citizens to vote and have that vote counted has been under constant assault.

In 2014, that systematic disenfranchisement may well have delivered the US Senate to the Republican Party. If nothing significant is done about it by 2016, we can expect the GOP to take the White House and much more.

The primary victims of this GOP-led purge have been young, elderly, poor and citizens of color who tend to vote Democratic. The denial of their votes has changed the face of our government, and is deepening corporate control of our lives and planet.

There’s no doubt the Democrats have alienated their core constituency and given millions of their former supporters little reason to vote. Perpetual war, blank checks for mega-banks, stiffing the working poor while giving away the planet to the rich—-these are all part of the malaise. Our political landscape is currently defined by corporate personhood and its gutting of the Democratic Party.

Part of that is the destruction of our electoral rights, and the refusal of the Democrats to even face the issue, let alone do something about it. Our voting system is, to put it mildly, bought and rigged, further feeding the deadening sense of public futility and frustration.

As the GOP moves toward total control of our governance—the media, the internet, the Supreme Court, the Congress, local government and, in 2016, the presidency—our future depends on knowing the nuts and bolts of how the destruction of our democracy proceeds, and what we can do to stop it.

In this year’s takeover of the US Senate and many statehouses, barely more than a third of the eligible citizenry was credited with having voted. Official vote counts gave the GOP a consistent “bonus” of about 5% over pre-election polls. In the US Senate race in North Carolina and the Governor’s race in Florida, that margin clearly gave the Republicans their victories, and probably did the same in many other close races.

The GOP’s Jim Crow disenfranchisement campaign has outright robbed millions of citizens of their right to vote. It’s deliberately created an air of confusion and doubt that’s further suppressed the turnout.

Greg Palast, for example, has reported extensively on the Kansas-based “cross-check” technique, used in 28 states, where Republican secretaries of state denied voting rights based on arbitrary judgements that allowed them to eliminate several million potential Democratic voters. (Greg will discuss this on the Solartopia Show at prn.fm Tuesday, 11/11, 5pm EST; the show will be archived for later listening).

Deliberate (and often illegal) disinformation campaigns, destruction of voter registration forms, outright intimidation, repressive photo ID requirements and other suppression techniques made things worse. It’s by design, not accident, that America’s voter turnout is ranked 120th among all nations.

In evaluating the actual vote count, manipulation of untrackable electronic voting machines must also be accounted for.

Over the years, Bev Harris, Brad Friedman, Jon Simon, Richard Charney and many others have added vital research leading to the inevitable conclusion that the 2014 election—like 2000 and 2004—was essentially bought, rigged, stolen and lynched.

We do not believe the Republican Party legitimately won the US Senate or many of the statehouses they’ve been granted, any more than George W. Bush should have been handed the White House in 2000 and 2004.

Unless we finally face the core issues of election protection, history could repeat itself in 2016 as both tragedy and farce.

Because the dust is still settling, many of the specifics about 2014 remain hidden. In the coming weeks we’ll present as much of the evidence as we can gather.

In the meantime, we welcome President Obama’s new statements supporting net neutrality. There’s no more important foundation for what shreds of democracy remain to us than the ability to freely communicate. Handing control of the internet to mega-corporations, as proposed by the current (Democratic) head of the Federal Communications Commission, would be catastrophic. As with reclaiming our elections, our future on this planet demands an open global highway for unfettered communication. We must do everything we can to preserve and expand it.

We also congratulate US Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) for proposing that election day become a national holiday. After the 2004 debacle, we proposed a four-day election holiday to cover the first Saturday, Sunday, Monday & Tuesday in November. (The Constitution requires that voting happen the first Monday after the first Tuesday in November). This four-day stretch would help enshrine access to our election process as the sacred ritual it should be.

We also propose universal automatic voter registration, universal hand-counted paper ballots, abolition of the Electoral College, and a massive reform of the role of money in politics.

We hope Sen. Sanders’ initial proposal opens the door to a bottom-up remake of our electoral system. Without it, our democracy is nothing more than a hollow shell.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll explore how that shell was cracked yet again in 2014.

All indicators are that it could be definitively crushed in two years if we don’t act now.
to be continued….

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Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman have co-authored six books on election protection, which are at www.freepress.org, along with Bob’s FITRAKIS FILES. HARVEY WASSERMAN’S HISTORY OF THE US is at www.solartopia.org, How the GOP bought, rigged, stole and lynched the 2014 election, along with his SOLARTOPIA! OUR GREEN-POWERED EARTH

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10 Ways Kasich Hurts Ohioans

by Bob Fitrakis
OCTOBER 22, 2014

It’s hard to believe that our twitchy governor, John Kasich, is projected to easily win re-election. Remember, this is the man who went to Cleveland and told Browns football fans that he rooted for their arch-rival, the Steelers. But his real loyalty has always been to the rich and powerful. In the era of the Kent State shooting, he was one of Nixon’s Stepford-clone youth.

His new allegiance is to his media mentor, Rupert Murdoch. In 2012, the creator of right-wing agi-prop and faux news gave $1 million to the Republican Governor’s Association to get his bloviator elected in his first election. Kasich has returned the loyalty by pledging eternal fealty to “unnatural persons” called corporations.

After working for Murdoch and prior to being elected, Kasich spent his time hawking junk assets for the now-defunct Lehman Brothers investment bankers. He helped sell these worthless assets to the tune of $500 million into Ohio’s public retirement system, particularly the State Teacher’s pension funds. He made untold millions, which he refused to disclose, while looting the pensions of school teachers and public employees.

As soon as Kasich entered office he attacked the public employees he had just ripped off through Lehman brothers. On March 31, 2011, Kasich signed the draconian Senate Bill 5 into law. The new law required that no salary increases could be based on seniority and it drastically limited collective bargaining for the 360,000 public union workers in Ohio. Kasich told them to get on the bus, or get run over.

Now, the quirky governor’s campaign commercials claim he “listened.” Indeed, the bus was hijacked by working people in the form of 1.3 million signatures to repeal the bill. On election night 2011, Issue 2 supporting Kasich’s anti-union law failed 61 percent -39 percent.

Who Kasich really listens to is the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). More than three decades ago, this corporate front masquerading as an advocate for “limited government” and “free markets” began plotting to make the 1 percent richer and steal the wealth of our nation’s working class.

ALEC lists among its key founders Paul Weyrich, who openly advocates suppressing poor and minority voters, as well as the white supremacist, the late Senator Jesse Helms. Also on the ALEC website there’s a note stating “Among those who are involved with ALEC in the formative years were … John Kasich of Ohio.”

ALEC, now primarily funded by the notorious Koch Brothers, provided Senate Bill 5 as its model legislation and its legislation is a manual for destroying worker’s rights under the guise of “saving taxpayers money.”

WORKERS

Under Kasich, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, Ohio stood as one of the two worst economies in the nation at the end of 2013. When he took office in January 2011, Ohio ranked 26th in private sector job growth. While Kasich is running hard as a “job creator,” the U.S. Department of Labor notes that the state is 46th nationally.

From January-August 2014, the Buckeye state gained a mere 5,289 jobs. Also, while the rest of the nation has regained all of the jobs lost during the 2008 economic meltdown, Kasich still needs to create 213,000 new jobs just to return to pre-recession numbers in Ohio. The Kasich campaign keeps reiterating that “Kasich works.” The question is, for whom? If re-elected, the rumor is Kasich will turn Ohio into a “right to work” state.

CHILDREN

Kasich’s ALEC handbook includes the destruction of public education. Since taking office, Kasich has cut more than half a billion dollars from public education in Ohio. He also has failed to change the unconstitutional funding formula for the state’s K-12 school system. He increased charter school funding by $57 million, in particular, rewarding White Hat Management that runs many of Ohio’s charter schools and whose owner is a big Republican donor.

ENVIRONMENTALISTS

When Ohio Governor John Kasich first took office, he killed a train line –meant to restore passenger service between Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati. Kasich’s reasons may have made sense in a Tea Party world. But some $400 million had already been secured. When it died, all that money left the state, along with untold jobs and income. Hugely expensive highway projects have followed with intense environmental damage and instant obsolescence. Columbus may be the western world’s largest capital city without passenger rail service.

This June, Kasich signed the controversial Senate Bill 310 that froze Ohio’s renewable energy and energy efficiency standards at their present levels for two years. A report from the Ohio Advanced Energy Economy documented that between 2009 and 2013, the law Kasich overturned – the Renewable Energy Standards (RES) law – cost $456 million to implement, but saved Ohio residents $1.03 billion.

Since RES was implemented, more than $1 billion had been invested in Ohio by private renewable energy companies, some who now say they will move out of the state. Six weeks prior to Kasich signing S.B. 310, oil magnate David Koch donated $12,155 to Kasich’s re-election campaign – the maximum allowed under law.

On people’s right to clean water, Kasich has been a complete failure. Not only has he allowed the people of Toledo to be afflicted by toxic water, he has also permitted radioactive fracking water to be dumped in our state from Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

In one of the most cynical moves imaginable, when it was discovered that the fracking water being shipped into Ohio from Pennsylvania and West Virginia had high rates of radioactivity, Kasich assigned the rangers of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to solve the problem, relieving the more competent Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and Ohio Health Department of duty. These were the agencies that uncovered the radioactivity. And like his original mentor Nixon, Kasich developed a fracktivist “enemies list” targeting environmentalists for harassment.

WOMEN

While Kasich’s current commercials make him sound like the next best thing to feminist Betty Friedan, this June’s Cosmopolitan magazine ran an article entitled: “How Ohio Became One of the Worst States for Reproductive Rights in the Country.”

It is like a time machine taking us back to the 50s: a gag order on rape crisis counselors on talking about abortion, defunding Planned Parenthood, and the “heartbeat bill” banning abortions on pregnancies over 20 weeks. Because of Kasich’s and the state legislature’s new laws, abortion clinics all over the state are closing.

Regarding women’s income and employment rates, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research ranked the Buckeye State a mediocre 33rd out of 50 states in 2014 in economic opportunities for women.

LBGTQ COMMUNITY

On marriage equality, Kasich is a hater. He is fighting alongside Ohio Attorney General Michael DeWine to overturn federal rulings supportive of same-sex marriage in Ohio. One would think the ambitious Kasich would at least adopt the
decade-old 2004 George W. Bush strategy of being for “civil unions.”

He briefly embraced the position last year, before his spokesperson stepped in to clarify things – that Kasich didn’t really understand what civil unions meant, and the governor not support any recognition of any same sex relationships.

In his last year in Congress in 2001, the Human Rights Campaign gave Kasich a 10 percent out of 100 percent rating for supporting equality for LGBT people. Kasich still clings to Issue 1 from 2004, telling the Columbus Dispatch that “marriage is between and man and a woman.” Even if he occasionally invites a four-way with the Koch brothers.

TAXPAYERS

Kasich decided to balance the state budget on the back of local governments. He not only stripped half a billion from schools, but has decreased funding intended for cities, townships and counties. One of his techniques was ending the Ohio inheritance tax. The bulk of the proceeds from the inheritance tax went to counties and municipalities. The tax was progressive in nature, falling heaviest on the 1 percent (wealthiest people in the state).

Also, Kasich’s much-touted state income tax cut benefited his rich friends as well. The 21 percent decrease, to be fair, started under Governor Bob Taft, but the net effect embraced by Kasich was that very few of the tax savings were passed on to working and middle class Ohioans. If you made $40,000 a year, you paid $72.88 less in state tax under Kasich. If you made $206,250 a year, you’d pay $977.63 less. If you were one of Kasich’s millionaire donors you would have saved thousands of dollars a year.

Kasich has announced that his goal is to totally eliminate Ohio’s income tax by 2016. He plans to use the money in Ohio’s nearly $2 billion “rainy day fund” for a sound bite about how he’ll eliminate the income tax in Ohio as he runs for president that year. Ohioans will be further plagued by unconstitutional schools, vicious prisons, declining public services, deteriorating roads, bridges and sewage treatment facilities – public services formerly funded by the state income tax and inheritance taxes.

ELDERLY

Kasich eliminated a homestead property tax exemption cutting funds to thousands of seniors and disabled Ohioans. Budget analysts predict that Kasich’s defunding of public education and his inheritance and income tax cuts will raise property taxes by 12.5 percent to continue to fund schools. Seniors on fixed incomes will be hit the hardest.

WELFARE RECIPIENTS

In a cynical and shocking move, Kasich rejected a federal waiver in 2013 and instead reinstated Dickensian work requirements for the poor. With a bad economy, the federal government was allowing Ohio not to require hundreds of thousands of welfare recipients to report for make-work jobs. Social welfare agencies pointed out that it would cost more to pay staff to supervise the workers than the value of their work was worth. The Columbus Dispatch quoted Marilyn J. Tomasi, Vice President of the Mid-Ohio Food Bank, as stating, “What happened is the state rejected the waiver. 134,000 Ohioans showed up at food pantries.”

VOTERS

In a state where the Democrats, Republicans and Independents are fairly evenly divided, Kasich and his Republican cohorts have gerrymandered the Congressional districts to give 12 out of the 16 Congressional seats to Republicans and make sure that the seats are non-competitive.

The only reason Kasich has a chance of re-election in Ohio is because of our decade-long tradition of voter suppression. Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted (R) has decided that under the guise of “fairness” there will only be one early voting site in each of Ohio’s 88 counties, regardless of the county population. A county with over a million voters and a county with 10,000 voters have exactly the same number of locations to vote early – one.

Under Husted’s predecessor, Franklin County, with 1.3 million people, had five early voting sites.

Also, Kasich tried to eliminate the competition. Federal court records document that Kasich’s office directed the removal of the Libertarian Party from the ballot in Ohio earlier this year.

On the day the Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Charlie Earl announced his campaign and was showing 6 percent in the polls, Kasich and his Republicans partisans in the legislature set out to destroy the third party. First they outlawed the party, but a federal court blocked their attempt.

Using Republican political operative Terry Casey, the governor then orchestrated a challenge to signatures on the Libertarian Party candidates’ petitions. The Libertarians sued, then Kasich had his lackey, Jon Husted, appoint well-known Republican partisan Brad Smith as the supposed neutral arbitrator in the case. Smith was the intellectual force behind the infamous “Citizens United” decision that proclaimed corporations are people and donations to candidates are the same as free speech.

Kasich was successful in keeping a Libertarian opponent off the ballot and made the state even more repressive to minor parties, other points of view, and democracy.

PRISONERS

One of Kasich’s original budgetary plans was to further privatize Ohio’s prisons. He didn’t succeed with that plan, but did save the state money by hiring Aramark for prison food service, a company that is famous for serving prisoners maggots. A recent demonstration by prison workers and unions was prompted by budget cuts to prison security staff.

The Ohio Civil Service Employees Association [OCSEA] called our prisons “violently dangerous” for prison workers. Under Kasich, the prison population has risen, causing overcrowding and dangerous conditions for both prisoners and prison staff.

Of course, you can’t ask Kasich about any of these issues, since he refuses to debate his opponents and prefers to run 30-second propaganda commercials funded by the kleptocrats who made him governor –and want to run him for president in 2016.
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Bob Fitrakis is running as the Green Party’s Lt. Governor candidate in this year’s election. In 1992, Bob Fitrakis ran against John Kasich for the 12th Congressional district and Kasich refused to debate him then.

Original article published:
http://columbusfreepress.com/article/10-ways-kasich-hurts-ohioans

Reefer Blandness

By Bob Fitrakis
10-03-2014

Despite decades-old rumors that Kasich may be self-medicating, the Governor vowed that there will be no medical marijuana legislation passed in Ohio this election year!

In fact, this summer, his Public Safety Department deployed undercover officers into the Community Festival. These plainclothes officers spent their time writing tickets near the Ohio Rights Group booth that was collecting signatures to put medical marijuana on the ballot.

Kasich came into politics as one of Richard Nixon’s freshly-scrubbed “Nixon Youth.” It would be more understandable for Kasich’s undercover cops at Comfest to secure the best dope for their boss. But instead, they were there to show that John Kasich is tough on pot.

You may have missed it, but Democratic candidate for governor Ed Fitzgerald has taken the courageous stance of coming out in favor of medical marijuana. Well, it might not have been that brave. With 87% of voters in the Buckeye State in a recent poll supporting perhaps the world’s oldest medicine. And since he’s trailing incumbent Republican Governor John Kasich by 30% – why not go where the people are?

– The other gubernatorial candidate on the ballot this fall is Anita Rios of the Ohio Green Party. The Green Party has long been in support of the full legalization of marijuana and industrial hemp.

This sets up a wide spectrum of options for voters this year: Kasich’s Reagan-style “war on drugs,” specifically marijuana; Fitzgerald’s moderate endorsement of medical marijuana now that he’s not really campaigning; and Rios’ and the Green’s enthusiastic support for Washington/Colorado-style full legalization of marijuana and hemp.

The tragedy of Fitzgerald’s position is that he was very likely forced to sample marijuana after the headaches ensued from his severely bungled gubernatorial run. Still, he is to be commended for joining the 87% of the state who already understood the need for marijuana as medicine.

Kasich, the Koch brothers and Rupert Murdoch remain entrenched with the 13% still committed to fighting the demon weed. Although if the past provides any insight, it is likely that Kasich’s, the Kochs and Murdoch – like Ronald Reagan, Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich – have all self-medicated at some point in time.
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Bob Fitrakis is on the board of the Ohio Rights Group and supports the legalization of medical marijuana. He is also on the ballot in Ohio as the Green Party candidate for Lt. Governor.

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The Other Side of the News June 9, 2014 – NextDoor.com wants to be your neighbor

http://www.wcrsfm.org/content/other-side-news-june-9-2014-nextdoorcom-wants-be-your-neighbor

Submitted by fightback on Wed, 06/04/2014 – 10:36pm
in computers George Tenet Jeff Bezos Nextdoor technology Scytl security
NextDoor.com creates friendly neighborhood social media sites for neighborhoods but there are CIA connections to the owners and investors.

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Free Press Second Saturday Salon May 10

Free Press Second Saturday Salon
Saturday, May 10, 2014 from 6:30-11pm
1021 E. Broad St.
Join progressive friends for food, fun, music, art, socializing and networking. Presentation on new book “Condemned: The Whole Story” by death row inmate and one of Lucasville Five, Bomani Shakur. He will read from the book and call in live from prison.
614-253-2571
colsfreepress@gmail.com

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The ghost of rigged elections past: New revelations on the death of Michael Connell

Bob Fitrakis
December 11, 2013

Michael Connell, the Bush family and Karl Rove’s IT guru, was heading home from Washington D.C. to attend his company’s Christmas party on Friday, December 19th in 2008. An accomplished pilot, he was flying from the College Park, Maryland airport to the Akron-Canton airport in Ohio under unremarkable weather conditions. Yet his Piper Saratoga plane suddenly dove to the ground between two houses in an upscale neighborhood, when he was just 2.5 miles from the airport. The site was roped off, cleaned up within two hours at night against protocol, and the next day his wife found his omniscient Blackberry missing from his still intact knapsack.

The Free Press has uncovered crucial documents that shed light on Connell’s mysterious death as the fifth anniversary of his tragic accident approaches. The document reveals that then-Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell had signed a legal Statement of Work (SOW) contract with Connell for IT work on the infamous Election Night 2004, when Kerry unexpectedly lost when exit polls showed him winning. Connell and Blackwell agreed fourteen months prior to the 2004 election that that Connell would have “remote monitoring capabilities” to the computer counting Ohio’s presidential vote. That means Blackwell planned more than a year in advance for Connell’s private partisan external third party company and a subcontractor to have unfettered secret access to Ohio’s 2004 vote tally.

The newly discovered contract contains an “Exhibit B” which called for a “mirror” website to handle Ohio’s 2004 actual vote count on Election Night provided by Connell’s company, GovTech. The document stated: “GovTech shall install and host (as set forth in Exhibit B) a Mirror site of the Application to provide a fail over solution in the event of failure of the primary installation on Election Day.”

This “hot rollover configuration,” as the document explained, “can completely re-point the site if the primary site should fail by using some remote monitoring capabilities.” And that’s exactly what happened at 11:13pm when Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry was up three points over Republican incumbent George W. Bush.

Ohio’s 2004 votes were outsourced to Smartech in Chattanooga, Tennessee, owned by right-wing evangelical publisher Jeff Averbeck, subcontracted by Connell. The vote count inexplicably flipped at 12:21am changing from Kerry winning by over 3 percentage points to Bush winning by over 3 percentage points. Overall, there was an unexplainable rapid 6.7% shift in the vote count.

Smartech was also, curiously, the company that handled Karl Rove’s private email accounts from the White House. Millions of Rove’s email files have since mysteriously disappeared – including those related to the Valerie Plame scandal and the firing of seven United States attorneys – despite repeated congressional and court-sanctioned attempts to review them.

The timing of Connell’s accident was very suspicious. The prior month, on the day before the 2008 November election, Ohio attorneys Cliff Arnebeck and this author took Connell’s under oath deposition. The purpose was to inquire about his actions during the 2004 vote count and his continued involvement in IT operations for the GOP, including his access to Rove’s email files and the circumstances behind their disappearance.

In his 2008 deposition Connell was generally evasive, but did disclose key pieces of information that may have proved damaging to Karl Rove and the GOP. Why the vote count was transferred from Ohio 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 on Election Night. However, Connell swore under oath that, “To the best of my knowledge, it was not a failover case scenario – or it was not a failover situation.”

Bob Magnan, an IT election 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 2004 and that private contractors ran the system for Blackwell.

Who was Michael Connell?

A long-time, outspokenly loyal associate of the Bush family, Connell created the Bush-Cheney website for their 2000 presidential campaign and may have played a role in various computer malfunctions that helped the GOP claim the presidency in 2000. As a chief IT consultant and operative for Karl Rove, Connell was a devout Catholic and the father of four children. In various statements Connell cited his belief that abortion is murder as a primary motivating factor in his work for the Republican Party.

In 2001, Michael Connell’s GovTech Solutions, LLC was selected to reorganize the Capitol Hill IT network, the only private-sector company to gain permission from HIR [House Information Resources] to place its server behind the firewall, he bragged.

Blackwell hired Connell’s company GovTech on July 1, 2003 for seemingly nonpartisan election administration work. But Connell’s other company New Media Communications was working closely at the same time with SmartTech, a company owned and operated by former evangelical Christian publisher Jeff Averbeck. GovTech and Smartech together built Republican and right-wing websites that were hosted on SmartTech servers. Among their clients were the Republican National Committee, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and gwb43.com – yes, that’s George W. Bush, 43rd President.com.

In fact, the other two subcontractors working with Connell on Election Night, Averbeck and the Rapp family which owned the company Triad were all ardent right-to-life activists.

The King Pin strikes

Connell’s death came at a moment where election protection attorneys and others appeared to be closing in on critical irregularities and illegalities. On the night of the 2004 election, exit polls and initial vote counts showed John Kerry the clear winner of Ohio’s presidential campaign. The Buckeye State’s 20 electoral votes would have given Kerry the presidency.

Connell was deposed as part of the King Lincoln Bronzeville v. Blackwell case that alleged civil rights violations during the 2004 election. During the case, the Ohio Secretary of State’s office was forced to produce the election computer system configuration chart that was used in Ohio’s 2004 presidential election when there was a sudden and unexpected shift in votes for George W. Bush. This “architectural map” clearly shows the election night server layout system from the Ohio Secretary of State’s office to servers owned by Smartech at the Old Pioneer Bank in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Expert witness Stephen Spoonamore, renowned bank and computer fraud expert and GOP member, 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.

In a 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.”

“The King Pin I thought was probably sitting somewhere in the middle on the high speed line. The King Pin is a computer with a person sitting at it that doesn’t just steal the information and then use it later like we saw, it’s a person who has onboard their Kingpin computer the code and instructions for the Secretary of State’s office and the code and the instructions for a county tabulator. Instead of this happening, this happens….So at 9:00 in the evening Kerry’s leading in Ohio and the Kingpin in watching these results go through and this operator is sitting here in a company called Smartech,” Spoonamore told “Free For All” documentary filmmaker John Ennis.

“And remember when I speculated this, everyone said that’s ridiculous, that’s completely impossible. Well, we now found that not only was I right, and we know where it was sent. We didn’t just have it introduced, it was designed in the Secretary of State’s office that they could switch the control from their computer talking to the counties to having Smartech do it. When we found out who owned it and then we found out it was also doing Karl Rove’s email,” Spoonamore said.

Former Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, Blackwell’s successor, confirmed: “This office had a backup system, election night reporting system, with Smartech.” On December 14, 2007, she released her evaluation and validation of election-related equipment, standards and testing, the Everest study, which found that touchscreen voting machines were vulnerable to hacking with relative ease.

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 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.”

“I do not believe George Bush won, I believe Kerry won and I’m a member of the GOP,” admitted Spoonamore.

Was it really an accident?

Connell’s sister contacted the Free Press to voice doubts that the crash was an accident. She later told a Wisconsin newspaper, The Daily Page: “At first, it was really hard for me to believe Mike was dead because somebody wanted him dead. But as time goes on, it’s hard for me not to believe there was something deliberate about it.” Connell reportedly had canceled two flights because of suspicions that something was wrong with his plane.

Various threats had been reported involving Connell and other IT experts close to the GOP. On July 24, 2008, Arnebeck emailed Attorney General Michael Mukasey, stating: “We have been confidentially informed by a source we believe to be credible that Karl Rove has threatened Michael Connell, a principal witness we have identified in our King-Lincoln case in federal court in Columbus, Ohio,…”

Spoonamore stated that in an October 2006 meeting with Connell, Connell asked questions about how to “permanently destroy hard drives.” Spoonamore told Connell, “If this is what I think you’re talking about, this meeting is over.”

Spoonamore urged Connell to testify before Congress and come clean on the 2004 election. Contacts were made first with U.S. Congressman John Conyers’ office and later directly with Representative Dennis Kucinich. Conyers’ office initially agreed to allow Connell’s and other skeptics of the 2004 election results to testify, but suddenly withdrew the offer. Kucinich agreed in principle to set up a hearing, but meanwhile the 2008 election was fast approaching and Connell had decided to lawyer up.

Following the 2008 election, Connell wrote in his New Media Communications newsletter: “In our 230 year history, our democracy has suffered worse fates. It’s just that none come to mind right now…This is just a moment in time and this too shall pass. Enduring is the fact that 2000 years ago, a babe was born in Bethlehem. When our Lord God sent his only Son for our salvation,…In spite of the current economic and political conditions, salvation is eternal.” He would be dead the next month.

After Connell’s death, a redacted government document arrived by mail at the Free Press office addressed to Arnebeck stating that Connell’s death was authorized since he was a “NST” – National Security Threat.

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. On this, the fifth anniversary of his death, the mainstream press continues the cover-up but the Free Press continue the investigation into the Connell’s convenient and mysterious accident and how easy it is to steal U.S. elections.

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Often Mentioned COINTELPRO

From Democracy Now!

“It Was Time to Do More Than Protest”: Activists Admit to 1971 FBI Burglary That Exposed COINTELPRO

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How the City of Columbus could save us from radioactive fracking waste — but will they?

by Bob Fitrakis
November 23, 2013

The website says it all: RadioactiveWasteAlert.org.

The billboard with a young woman guzzling liquid with a radioactive warning on it under the phrase: “Don’t Frack My Water, Protect Columbus” set the stage for one of the most important public forums in the city’s history.

If we had to summarize the major themes that emerged from the Tuesday, November 12 Radioactive Frack Waste Forum, the first is this: the public has a right to know that much of the process allowing radioactive waste into the central Ohio watershed near Alum Creek is the result of hidden, behind-the-scenes maneuvering by Ohio legislators and Governor John Kasich.

Second: the frack waste is undisputedly radioactive and carcinogenic. Radium 226 found at 3000% over the allowable limit by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a long-established link to many forms of cancer, including breast and bone cancer.

Third: All landfills leak. If you put radioactivity into them, it will come out.

Fourth: Ohio has become a radioactive dumping ground for the fracking industry and is not importing the waste prohibited by the regulators in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Of the eight billion gallons of toxic radioactive waste injected into underground wells in Ohio over the last 30 years, half of it came from out-of –state.

Finally: Ohio is now poised to receive 19 million cubic feet of solid radioactive shell rock waste in the near future. Our 39 licensed landfills are de-regulated and open for the toxic imports.

The day before the Forum, “fracktivists” organizers went to Columbus City Council to present their well-documented findings. A few Council members noted that they had read about the radioactivity in the local news where it has been published in both the Free Press and the Columbus Dispatch, as well as reported by the local NBC affiliate, TV 4.

When Council President Andrew Ginther asked the City’s Public Health Director Theresa Long, she immediately declared, as public health directors have done in the past, that there was no threat to the health of Ohio citizens from a large radioactive waste site sitting right next to Alum Creek. She offered no data or facts with her analysis.

City Attorney Richard Pfeiffer asks the fracktivists the key question after the meeting: “What can the City of Columbus do, considering the current Ohio laws?”

That answer would be provided at the Forum. After an introduction by organizer Carolyn Harding, a series of radioactive waste experts and activists addressed this mounting health crisis. Dr. Julie Weatherington-Rice, an environmental consultant with a doctorate in soil science from Ohio State University, explained in detail what Long missed.

“They’ve de-regulated the drill cuttings. That’s 90% of what comes out of a bore hole. The mud is regulated yet every piece of cutting is covered in mud and it dries on the rocks. So if the mud is radioactive and it dries on the rocks, it means that the cuttings are of course radioactive,” she pointed out.

Weatherington-Rice said that most of the radioactivity comes from Radium 228 and 226. These are alpha and beta emitters. What the landfills use to detect radioactivity are Geiger counters. These are designed to detect gamma emissions.

Weatherington-Rice noted that the U.S. Department of Energy protocol requires that radium is not to be field tested by a Geiger counter, but isolated in a lab for 21 days to get a proper radioactivity reading. As she pointed out, amended House Bill 59, Ohio’s 2013 budget bill, has de-regulated “90% of the waste stream with no record-keeping requirement because they are calling the material ‘beneficial use.’”

For more than 30 years, Weatherington-Rice has been one of Ohio’s leading experts on groundwater protection. Long did not consult her before answering Columbus City Council members.

Terry Lodge, an environmental attorney from Toledo, detailed the backroom dealings that allowed radioactive material to be dumped so close to Columbus’ drinking water. He spoke of new Ohio laws that permit the “downblending” of highly toxic radioactive waste into less toxic material, freeing it from regulation. He also explained how defining drill cuttings as “beneficial use” as liners in landfills it can avoid testing or monitoring.

Lodge ended by saying, “I’m an activist. I’m ready for a fight.” Lodge is famous for using “guerilla” legal and populist strategies to fight frackers and other corporate polluters.

Perhaps the most chilling presentation was given by Dr. Yuri Gorby, a microbial physiologist and ecologist, who holds the Howard N. Blitman Chair of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He is an expert on the physical health effects of radioactivity and fracking waste. In his talk, Gorby stated that in his studies of fracking and radioactivity he noticed a variety of physical symptoms from bloody noses, burning eyes, rashes and neurological disorders including loss of memory, loss of sense of smell, anxiety, and tremors. Gorby said that he has been able to “fingerprint” through DNA many of the rashes directly to fracking. He warned that Ohio’s desire to allow the de-regulation of drill cutting with “no monitoring” will be disastrous for the health of our citizens.

His slide show, which is available at the website mentioned earlier, showed devastating illnesses among people exposed to toxic and radioactive fracking waste.

Nathan Johnson, an environmental attorney at the Forum, quickly answered the question on what the City of Columbus can do.

“They are allowed by law to establish and charge the companies for a program that would monitor for radioactivity in a proper lab test,” he said, “As long as they weren’t selective and charged everyone bringing in drill cuttings.”

On December 3 at 7pm, the group will meet again at the Columbus Public Library on Grant Street.

originally published at the freepress.org

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Is there fracking fraud and lease flipping in Kasich’s Ohio? +Podcast

by Bob Fitrakis
April 18, 2013

The FBI and the state Inspector General’s office are investigating mineral rights lease flipping and falsification of public records in Noble County. Environmentalists claim this is a precursor to massive fracking planned in the rural Ohio area.

One family affected by this are the Bonds. They charge that state officials are harassing them and covering up the theft of gas and mineral leases at the behest of Ohio Governor John Kasich and his quest unleash the forces of fracking on rural Ohio.

The investigation focuses on Form 7, a public record that is filed with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) to identify who actually owns the mineral rights under the surface land. Each Form 7 is supposed to be accompanied by a mineral lease recorded at the County Recorder’s office.

In the Muskingum water conservancy area there are massive discrepancies between the Form 7s filed with the ODNR and the County Recorder’s records. Greg Pace, an environmental activist confirmed to the Free Press that at least one of the Form 7s appears to be fraudulent with a tampered notarized signature. “The fraudulent document has three different dates on it,” Pace commented.

The story begins with a November 10, 2011 call from Jeff and Kerri Bond to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) complaining that a brine tank owned by Jeff Miley, of Miley Gas Company, was leaking. ODNR inspector David Ball showed up and expressed little interest in the leaking Miley Gas tank. Instead, he insisted on inspecting the Bond’s gas well, which they use to heat their home. According to the Bonds, Ball told them “We’ll probably have to plug your well.”

Pace found it curious that the local inspector was “not focusing on contamination problems and didn’t want to pay a lot of attention to Miley Gas.” After the Bonds began to complain about Miley, brine from a tank began to leak into a pond on their property, creating a dead zone within the pond.

Dissatisfied with the ODNR, the Bonds turned to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA). The OPEA never showed up. Instead, ODNR inspector Ball reappeared with more ODNR employees, Gene Chini and Tom Tugend, then-Deputy Chief of Oil and Gas at the state agency. According to the Bonds, Ball then told them if they didn’t shut up they would be written up for violations.

Suddenly, the Bonds were written up for an oil and gas well on their property that had been abandoned 35 years earlier. They claimed Ball trespassed on their property without their knowledge or permission and found and tagged the abandoned well.

The Bonds allege that another ODNR inspector Cindy Van Dyne also inspected their property and told them to “keep it quiet” about the leaking brine, or they would be written up. The Bonds claim Van Dyne told them not to make any problems because “Governor Kasich doesn’t want us to make waves so we really aren’t going by the rules right now.”

On December 22, 2011, the Bonds mailed Miley a certified letter telling him to stay off their property. A copy of the letter was also sent to Tugend at the ODNR. Soon after, inspector Ball re-entered the Bond’s 176-acre farm and cited them for having a 2 foot pipe coming out of the ground without any identification. When the Bonds called Tugend to complain about the latest violation charge from Ball, they allege that Tugend told them “You don’t know how big business works, Mr. Miley is using a guess-tometer and a gentleman’s agreement.” Then the Bonds claim Tugend laughed.

A week after the Bonds mailed the certified letter, the Bonds were ordered by a state inspector to plug within 60 days 12 wells on their property that they had been unaware of. The Bonds next learned that Miley was alleged selling gas to Gatherco without any meters recording the amount. Miley purportedly purchased old gas wells for scrap from the ODNR, but then began to pump gas from them.

In investigating these allegations, the Bonds found out that Miley owned 1200 gas wells, but none had tax I.D. numbers, that all of them had been filed with the County Recorder in August 2011.

The Bonds decided to retain an attorney and began to wonder about the relationship between Miley and Tugend.

On March 6, 2013, Kerri Bond met with the Ohio Inspector General and filed a formal complaint. The complaint alleged that Tugend allowed Miley “…to turn in 16 years of false production records on wells he doesn’t have any rights to.” The complaint went on to state, that there are “no meters on any wells – no Form 7s – no tax I.D. numbers!”

They also checked the box requesting “confidentiality,”

noting they did so “due to fear of retaliation – which is already happening.” The Free Press has also learned that Kerri contacted the FBI local office in Cambridge and filed a complaint as well.

The Bonds are also alleging that the Form 7s, used in legitimate transfer of deed for mineral rights, are being falsified in their area. This is at the crux of their complaint to both the state Inspector General and the FBI.