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Dennis Kucinich, Move To Amend

Dennis Kucinich Speaks to Move To Amend On “The Otherside Of The News” with Dr. Robert Fitrakis


Dennis will be Keynote Speaker At Move To Amend Ohio Statewide meeting.

Join the MTA annual meeting April 1 and hear Dennis Kucinich at 1:00 p.m.

 

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Fight Back – Episode: 03/27/15 Columbus City Council Candidate Will Petrik

Fight Back – Episode: 03/27/15 Columbus City Council
Will Petrik Guest
https://www.facebook.com/will.petrik

See more at:

http://www.talktainmentradio.com/shows/fightback.html

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Free Press Free Fourth Tuesday Film Night “Black Lives Matter”

Free Press free film night:
“Black Lives Matter”
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
7:30pm

Free Press free fourth Tuesday film night:
Black Lives Matter Newsreel: Why Columbus Needs a Citizens Review Board
Tues, March 24, 7:30pm, Drexel Theater, 2254 E. Main St.
Police shootings of citizens in Columbus are almost always ruled as justified, the Columbus Dispatch reported. “Of seven cities surveyed by The Dispatch — all similar in size to Columbus — Columbus had the second-highest rate of police shootings, both fatal and nonfatal, in 2013. Last year, the city ranked fourth, at 1.1 shootings per 100,000.”
To highlight the need for a civilian review board to investigate officer-involved shootings, videographer Will Delphia has compiled a newsreel of footage from the local and regional #BlackLivesMatter movement.
Discussion will follow.
colsfreepress@gmail.com or 614-253-2517

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To Cuba With Love

by Bob Fitrakis
FEBRUARY 21, 2015

Americans In Cuba With Love

“…Cuba’s voice is a voice that must be heard in the United States of America. Yet it has not been heard. It must now be heard because the United States is too powerful, its responsibilities to the world and to itself are too great, for its people not to be able to listen to every voice of the hungry world.” ~ C. Wright Mills, Listen, Yankee: The Revolution in Cuba, 1960.

Mills’ words are unfortunately still true today. Cuban people remain hungry and we have not heard their voices because the U.S. has silenced them for more than 50 years by imposing a brutal “blockade” that we call an “embargo.” If any ship in the world goes to a Cuban port, they may not enter a U.S. port for six months. Any company that trades with Cuba is banned from the U.S. market. If any product uses any materials, pieces or parts from Cuba, it is not allowed to be sold in the United States.

Cuba’s crime? Being the only nation in the western hemisphere with the cojones to resist the world’s only “megapower.”

It appears that President Barack Obama however, in the aftermath of a thrashing by the Republican Party in the midterm Congressional elections, suddenly heard the whispers of his own conscience and the Cuban people. On December 17, he announced the re-establishment of diplomatic relations with the largest island in the Caribbean.

The action is largely symbolic, but did make it a bit easier for U.S. citizens to go to Cuba. You can now take an 80 minute-flight directly from the United States, receive an official visa and have a Cuban stamp on your passport. No more sneaking through Mexico or Canada, though you still cannot visit as a tourist.

We visited as educators and journalists with the folks from Code Pink.

Senator John McCain recently called Code Pink “low-life scum” for recently attempting a citizens’ arrest of Henry Kissinger for war crimes. The Code Pink organizers spurned in the U.S., sought affection elsewhere when they sent a delegation of 150 people “To Cuba with Love” from February 8-15, 2015. I was part of that “largest group to visit Cuba from the United States.” Code Pink director Medea Benjamin saw the trip as the “move toward world peace” and a “powerful solidarity message” to the Cuban people.

Because Cuba exists in part in a strange 1950s time warp thanks to the embargo that began in 1961 and continues to this day. The city of Havana seems frozen in time, like a 1950s postcard faded and frayed at the edges. The city of Havana’s architecture varies from crumbling but still stunning Spanish Colonial mansions to brightly colored stucco haciendas to huge art deco and art nouveau apartment buildings with each unit sporting its own balcony. In the rural areas, Cuba appears more Amish and pre-industrial with farmers using oxen and horse-drawn plows.

Cuban native Jesus Noguera Ravelo invited a small Code Pink group to his home in Havana, where he answered questions about life in Cuba and its future. He insisted that there has been more change in the last ten years than in the previous thirty.

Revalo had originally aspired to be a diplomat and majored in international studies. He was working on his Masters when he realized that, rather than stamping visas all day, he should be using his fluency in English to share the Cuban experience with English speaking visitors as a tour guide.

Tourism has been either the first or second leading industry in Cuba since the early 1990s. A key point is that Canada never broke diplomatic ties with Cuba and the rest of the English speaking world now has normal relations with the country.

The entire Code Pink group was greeted at the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the People (ICAP) by its President Ricardo Alarcon, who served for 30 years as Cuba’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN) and was President of the National Assembly of People’s Power from 1993 to 2013. He expressed hope that the Code Pink visit would be an “exchange of knowledge.”

While the head of ICAP was encouraged by the restoration of diplomatic ties after President Kennedy broke them off 55 years ago, he called the remaining embargo of Cuba continuing “economic warfare.” He called Obama’s decision “very positive.”

Alarcon questioned the logic of Cuba remaining one of four countries on the U.S. list of governments that sponsor terrorism, along with Iran, Sudan and Syria. That’s right – North Korea isn’t on the list nor was Libya when the U.S. and NATO attacked it in 2011. He pointed out the irony of the United States torturing people at Guantanamo while labeling Cuba a terrorist state.

He also mentioned the hypocrisy of any demand by the U.S. for Cuba to restore fundamental human rights. The point was well made, since the U.S. is the world’s largest surveillance state and tortured both the guilty and innocent on Cuban soil at Guantanamo. Most Cubans we talked with conceded that there were problems in Cuba, but wondered why a country they associated with torture and the open shooting of blacks on the streets of major U.S. cities would be so concerned about Cuban human rights instead of putting their own house in order.

Alarcon also noted that the U.S. retains great relations with many countries that do not recognize fundamental human rights, especially rights of women. He proudly pointed out that Cuba’s Parliament is 48.8 percent female and the governments of the local provinces elected 46 percent women. Currently the U.S. Congress had 19.4 percent women.

Alarcon also reminded the delegates that since 2003, Cuban mothers and fathers receive one year paid maternity/paternity leave. The U.S. government has no law requiring paid leave for new parents.

Cuba, after being abandoned by the Soviet Union in 1991 is transitioning away from its old Soviet-style model of state planning of economy used in the 60s, 70s and 80s. In the new economy, the country – having survived the “Special Period” of the 1990s when the Soviet Union withdrew support – some 440,000 workers are now self-employed. Revalo is now one of the so-called self-employed Cubans. Virtually all Cubans worked for the state government until the Special Period.

Alarcon noted “we should not be afraid of capitalists. This time it won’t be like when Columbus came.” He emphatically stated, “Cuba is not for sale. You must get the approval of the government, which will say yes or no” to capital investment in the country.

Our tour guide Betty, who works for the same co-op travel agency as Jesus, told us we need to remember that “most Cubans owned nothing in 1959 when the nationalization of property occurred. Fidel recognizes we have made mistakes. Here we are now without any model, without anybody to look to, working out our problems.”

Ravelo said that one of the country’s major changes was moving from sugar-only agriculture to diversified organic farming “because they had to.” Without financial credits from the Soviet Union and a guaranteed market for the sugar exports, Cuba could no longer employ the industrial strength model of heavy herbicides and pesticides.

When asked why there was not better internet service in Cuba and whether it had to do with an authoritarian government, Alarcon answered that it was “because the U.S. does not permit us” to get internet service and it has to go through Canada which never broke relations with Cuba.

Alarcon offered a question to the delegates: “Why did your government make it so hard to come to Cuba? We invite you to come and make up your own mind. Why does your government stop people from coming and making up their own mind? One state cannot dictate to another state.”

He also suggested that one day the people of the U.S. may not be under the control of a “plutocracy” but it may “take some time” and that “we don’t want to impose a social revolution on the United States.”

The Code Pink delegates listened to the Cuban people, shared knowledge and ideas, and agreed to take their words back to the people of the United States. Their key request is that the U.S. government end the blockade. The second request is to remove Cuba from the state-sponsored terrorist list. The third request is to stop torturing detainees at Guantanamo and return that land to the Cuban people.

As C. Wright Mills stated, “If we do not listen to them, if we do not hear them well, we face all the perils of ignorance—and with these, the perils of dangerous mistakes.”

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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….

———–

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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Toledo Water Crisis with Mike Ferner and Anita Rios

Anita Rios and Bob Fitrakis talk about the Toledo water crisis, Ohio and other topics on the half hour. The first half hour is an interview with peace activist and former Toledo Mayoral candidate, Mike Ferner http://www.talktainmentradio.com/podcasts/Fight%20Back%20080414.mp3

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Back To The Caves With Kasich

07-27-14
By Bob Fitrakis, Green candidate for Lt. Governor of Ohio

My good friend Harvey Wasserman calls it a “Solartopian Revolution.” In the marketplace of energy technology, solar and wind have won.
One politician stands as the symbol of reaction against Ohio’s sustainable energy future. His name is John Kasich, Governor of Ohio.
When he signed the infamous Senate Bill 310, freezing Ohio’s renewable energy targets and standards, he signaled his preference for the Jurassic Era. He should have changed his re-election campaign slogan to “Back to the caves with Kasich.”
What’s his motivation? Kasich is addicted to Koch. That is, the Koch brothers. Six weeks prior to Kasich signing SB 310 into law, oil magnate David Koch donated $12,155 to the Kasich for Governor campaign. That is the maximum amount allowed under law.
To support his first Ohio gubernatorial election, the Republican Governors Association gave Kasich a million dollars, thanks to Rupert Murdoch. Kasich showed his dedication to fossil fuels during his administration by strangling a Cleveland-Columbus-Cincinnati rail line and turning down $400 million from the feds.
Kasich’s embracing low-tech solutions, pollution and inefficiency is politically motivated. That’s why this year, voters should send him a message and go Green. The Greens propose a state investment bank that will target green investments. We are committed to making Ohio the first state where the majority of the energy on the grid is renewable and sustainable.

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New Free Press and Bob In Wisconsin Videos, Donation Page

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/freepress-org-2-0-support-the-future-of-independent-media-in-central-ohio

Bob in Wisconsin @Democracy Convention Aug 7-11 Greg Palast sitting in front.

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WCRS Podcast – fightback The Other Side of the News – April 29, 2013 – May Day, food riot and drones

WCRS Podcast – fightback


The Other Side of the News – April 29, 2013 – May Day, food riot and drones

Submitted by fightback on Sun, 04/28/2013 – 6:51pm
in Atlanta drones food riot Jim Leftwich May Day
Bob Fitrakis talks with Free Press investigative reporter Gerry Bello about May Day, a newer food riot in Atlanta and drones in central Ohio.

30:00 minutes (27.47 MB)
http://www.wcrsfm.org/content/other-side-news-april-29-2013-may-day-food-riot-and-drones

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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.