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Ohio: Between 44th and 46th in Education, A Schoolhouse Divided

When I first came to Ohio, the state’s higher education was ranked 37th among the 50 states, and that was under the Democratic administration of Dick Celeste. Under Voinovich, and now Taft, state aid to higher education has fallen – depending on who’s counting – between 44th and 46th. This makes Ohio the Mississippi of the Midwest. Even more dangerous in the new plan by J. Kenneth Blackwell to impose his “bumper sticker” solution to K-12 education in Ohio.

Instead of calling for the end of the war in Iraq or raising the taxes on the top 1% of the population in Ohio – don’t worry, this doesn’t include you – thus bringing more money into the Ohio school systems, Blackwell simply wants to reshuffle the deck with his so-called “65% solution.” This would end control by local school board who understand their districts, and instead require the boards to spend 65 cents on every dollar on classroom instruction.

This allows Blackwell to continue cutting taxes on Ohio’s wealthiest citizens while pretending to put more money into education. I have a book of writings on education in Ohio, particularly Columbus, entitled “A Schoolhouse Divided.” The problem with Ohio schools is that most of the central city schools are victims of race and class apartheid, where lily white suburban schools co-exist next to majority minority school districts like the Columbus Public Schools. In Columbus, with few exceptions, there’s been an agreement from both political parties to pretty much loot the system and steer contracts to political donors.

What’s needed more than ever is real school choice run by professional unionized teachers without crushing bureaucratic oversight. Every public school should be a school of choice. Every public school should have its own democratically and locally elected school board. A marketplace of economic techniques should flourish in the central cities. Large school buildings could easily be divided up by floor into two, three or four schools. Publish the results and let the parents choose.

Blackwell’s 65% solution is no solution. It’s a bumper sticker for children who can’t calculate 65%.

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Who The Hell Is Farhad Manjoo?

Here’s today’s assignment: who the hell is Farhad Manjoo? That’s right, bloggers. I spent a lot of time trying to find his credentials online. I found he was born in 1978 and graduated in 2000 from Cornell, where he wrote for his college newspaper. He also wrote for Wired News and now salon.com. So, the question becomes – why would a 20-something with apparently no advanced degrees in social science or political science be taken seriously by the mainstream corporate press?

Manjoo is much like the Tobacco Institute or the people they used to send around to show us film strips about “Readi Kilowatt” back during the Cold War. They are individuals who have developed a cottage industry as debunkers and denialists. And in a society famed for Know Nothings an anti-intellectualism, of course an opportunist like Manjoo would come forward.

Award-winning journalists are ignored or called conspiracy theorists. Ph.D.s are denounced by the droves. Sound familiar? Yes, that’s the sound of jackboots marching. The attack on the credentialed academy and the deference to the fly-by-night propagandist is a typical authoritarian model. What next? The youth corps tossing the truly credentialed down the stairs and out the windows at the colleges?

Why is Manjoo important? Because he serves the interests of W. Bush and Karl Rove and those who have perfected the art of “benign operations.” Why not go with a real expert – Kevin Phillips, the architect of the modern Republican Party, Nixon’s key strategist and creator of the “southern strategy.” He calls the Bush family “four generations of war profiteers” and stated that the Bush family couldn’t hold an election without a CIA manual.

We should think of Manjoo much like we think of Holocaust deniers. If you can find any REAL credentials he has, please let me know and I’ll post them.

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Reading Hallett And Why The Big D Always Defends The Republicans

Let’s begin with Hallett’s bizarre and disingenuous title to his July 11 op-ed in Columbus’ daily monopoly and Republican mouthpiece rag, the Dispatch. The last time the Dispatch endorsed a Democrat for President it was Wilson in 1916 and the pro-German Wolfe family liked his slogan: He kept us out of war. Hallett’s headline reads: “Democrats keep leveling charges at Blackwell they can’t back up.” The charges leveled against Blackwell prior to Election Day 2004 were primarily leveled by independent and nonpartisan grassroots voting rights activists, Greens and Libertarians. The Dems have generally been too cowardly to take on J. Kenneth, the good buddy of the Bush crime family.

Hallett says that “…Kerry told the Dispatch just a month ago that he did not lose the election because of fraud.” This is strawman argument 101. Bobby Kennedy, Jr. is on the record saying Kerry agrees with his analysis of the election in Ohio. Kennedy attributes the loss to both voter suppression and fraud. Hallett lost his integrity to fraud. In this article, he’s arguing against Kennedy’s article in Rolling Stone by using a Kerry quote that is only part of the story.

Read more

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Manjoo Errs In Fact, Knows Very Little About Ohio Election Law

In Farhad Manjoo’s “Was the 2004 Election Stolen? No” he claims Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s article in Rolling Stone contains “numerous errors of interpretation and his [Kennedy’s] deliberate omission of key bits of data.” As an Election Protection legal observer in Columbus and one of the four attorneys who challenged the Ohio election results, I was struck by Manjoo’s own numerous errors of fact and deliberate omissions of widely-known studies and data.

In his first claim about the Ellen Connally anomaly, where an under-funded retired municipal judge from Cleveland ran ahead of Kerry
in rural southwestern counties fails to indicate vote-shifting from
Kerry to Bush, Manjoo deliberately omits several well-known facts.The obvious fact on record is that Democratic nominee Al Gore pulled his
campaign out of the state six weeks prior to the 2000 election while
Kerry and his 527 organization supporters spent the largest amount of money in Ohio history. So to compare the non-Gore campaign in 2000 to the massive Democratic effort in 2004 seems disingenuous. Moreover,  Manjoo conveniently ignores the fact that sample ballots were everywhere in the state of Ohio and voters in these rural counties were repeatedly mailed and handed both party’s sample ballots. There were large and active campaigns in the key counties in question – Butler, Clermont, and Warren – passing out Republican and Democratic sample ballots. This is a major omission. Also, Manjoo might actually want to do some research on the amount of money Eric Fingerhut spent vs. John Kerry. Fingerhut’s major effort was walking across the state of Ohio because he didn’t have any funds. Hardly Kerry’s problem. Read more

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Hemp For Ecological Victory!

I spoke at the Hemp Festival tonight at Ohio State University, sponsored by the Students for a Sensible Drug Policy. I’ve never been able to understand why you would outlaw a miracle plant like hemp – that doesn’t even get you high — just because it’s the male cousin of marijuana. It’s a bit like outlawing corn because somebody can make cornmash from it during Prohibition. Or outlawing barley because it’s used to make beer. The famous but ignored Popular Mechanics article from the 1930s called hemp “the wonder product” and talked about 25,000 products that can be made from it. Hemp can be used for multiple purposes: fuel, food products, oils, clothing, paper products or a whole car, as Henry Ford demonstrated.

The war on drugs that Reagan pushed was really targeted against marijuana, after all, the CIA’s assets (like the Contras) were bringing in cocaine by the carload and the Reagan administration told the CIA that they didn’t have to report it to the DEA. Read more

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Airbrushed From History

With the clamor over Bobby Kennedy’s article in Rolling Stone, that has thankfully re-ignited interest in the theft of the 2004 election, I want to make sure that certain people aren’t airbrushed out of the picture. This important grassroots history was left out of the article.

First, let me make it clear that the original Kennedy article included specific references to the Free Press (the paper and website I publish) and my good friend Harvey Wasserman. Harvey and I wrote a piece prior to the 2004 election outlining how Bush was planning to steal the vote. Most of the evidence turned up about Ohio was a result of public hearings about election irregularities held on November 13 and 15, 2004 in Columbus, Ohio under the auspices of the Columbus Institute for Contemporary Journalism/Free Press. The co-sponsors of the hearings included: the Alliance for Democracy, CASE-Ohio, and the League of Pissed Off Voters. Cliff Arnebeck of the Alliance and Susan Truitt of CASE played key roles in the hearings and were two of the four lawyers who challenged the election results in Ohio. Amy Fay Kaplan and Jonathan Meier of the League were invaluable in organizing the public hearings where sworn testimony was taken. Read more

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Dr. Bob Fitrakis on WVKO April 27, 2006, Bush, Nazis, Terror Flights, Local Issues

Dr. Bob 4/27/06 on WVKO

this is hot so watch your volume

DrFitrakis042706.mp3

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Peace is Patriotic

As the third anniversary of the Iraq invasion approaches this weekend, I support the immediate withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Iraq.

The Iraq invasion is a stain on the integrity of the United States. It is an illegal and immoral war based on perhaps the most well-known lie in the world. That Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. It is now being justified by an even more ridiculous lie that we are there to bring democracy to Iraq.

Osama bin Laden and the al Qaeda terrorist network responsible for 9/11 are arch enemies of Saddam Hussein. Osama is a pan-Islamic fundamentalist seeking to create a greater Islamic empire. Saddam is a secular pan-Arab nationalist seeking a United States of Arabia.

Now, with the publishing of the Downing Street memos, we know that Bush and Cheney deliberately lied us into war. This violates not only the UN Charter, but the principles we established at Nuremberg. If we are to regain our integrity as a nation, we must seek the impeachment of our president. Read more

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Ending Corruption: Why Ohio Needs an Independent Green Governor

Only an independent governor associated with a third party movement can root out the fraud and make the rules fair for everyone in Ohio. The wealthy own the Republican Party, and they lease the Democratic Party as needed. The Democratic Party which controlled Ohio in the 1980s did little to rein in special interests and bring clean money into the process.

The Republican Party, which has always been better at corruption than the Democrats, has allowed the state to be systematically looted for political purposes. There’s always an ongoing battle in a democracy between the people’s interests and the wealthy few. Between democracy and oligarchy.

In the case of the Ohio Republicans, the few they want to rule are the rich. The ancient Greeks called this plutocracy. But under Republican governors George Voinovich and Bob Taft, the usual evils of unleased plutocracy have transformed into open kleptocracy — rule by thieves.

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