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Highest Bidder

[google 5293358684028460699 nolink]
Totally off Course
Be Careful What You Say 2
Lynching by Laptop Part 2
Dying Regime
Be Careful What You Say
Dying Regime Part 2
Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. -Frank Zappa

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Second Saturday Salon, November 10

Saturday, November 10, 2007
1000 E. Main Street

Join the Free Press and Ohio Honest Elections for a casual get-together to enjoy refreshments and progressive company. Let’s talk about this past week’s election and our organizing to assure the presidential election in 2008 is free and fair! Looking forward to seeing you there.

Parking in rear or next door at the Salvation Army.

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An epic story of Afghanistan, SHADOW OF AFGHANISTAN, will open for a special 1-week Academy Award qualifilying engagement at the Drexel Gateway Theater on Friday, November 9th. The Gateway is one of 14 cities in the U.S., including New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle and Atlanta.

Filmed for over 20 years in Afghanistan by Oscar-nominated filmmakers Jim Burroughs and Suzanne Bauman, the movie covers the Soviet occupation; the exile of two million refugees maimed by Soviet mines; a violent civil war; the fatal alliance of the Taliban with al-Qaeda; and finally the invasion by forces lead by the United States. The story is seen through the eyes of a Afghan warrior, Wakil Akbarzai as he describes the struggle to serve a country that is continually being pulled apart by civil war and strife. The film also features a detailed view of the incredible dangers of covering and filming the continuous war in Afghanistan.

Shadow Of Afghanistan, will play for one week only at the Drexel Gateway Theater, 1550 N. High St. starting Friday, November 9. For more information including showtimes, call the Drexel Gateway at (614) 545-2255 or visit http://www.drexel.net/

Print this out and show it at the ticket counter to get in for only $5! $5 COUPON FREE PRESS READER

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Police Officers And Prejudice


by Bob Fitrakis

Recently, a white suburban woman who refused a lawful request to sign a traffic ticket became a cause celebre when she threw a fit about being groped by the police. Obviously she’s never exercised her First Amendment rights at a Klan rally where groping is the order of the day. Her story is news precisely because it is so unlikely. But what about the more common and constant victims of police abuse like Rashad Grayson, his parents and little sister, who are just a few of many African-American citizens currently suing the Columbus police for abuse.

On August 15, 1993 at nine in the evening, the 13-year-old Rashad was admittedly in front of his house playing with fake nunchakus, a harmless plastic toy with foam-rubber covering. One of Columbus’ newest and finest police officers, Samuel Feldman, was out to make perhaps his “first arrest.” According to Feldman’s deposition on file in Franklin County’s Common Pleas Court, he had just finished his probationary “coaching” period. He had already been suspended for 10 days during that probationary period for an “unreported use of force” violation.

Now Feldman was on his own and he knew a criminal when he saw one. Feldman decided to arrest Rashad for “disorderly conduct.” Feldman, who admits under oath to having played with real nunchakus himself while a teenager, found Rashad to be “recklessly engaged in some type of turbulent behavior.” The white Feldman, “considered Rashad a suspicious person” because he was swinging his toy nunchakus in a “proficient manner.” He also assumed that there might already be an unseen “possible victim.” Officer Feldman explained his theory of probable cause: the black youth “could have used the nunchakus on this person” who didn’t exist.

“Bad boys, bad boys, whatchya gonna do when they come for your toy nunchakus?” Rashad did nothing but comply with the officer’s deranged prejudices, but his parents made the mistake of questioning Officer Feldman’s actions and attempting to videotape the arrest. By the time it was over, Rashad’s mother, who was videotaping, was tackled, his sister was Maced, and his father, Samuel Grayson, was beaten with a police baton. The “suspicious” Rashad was quickly forgotten as up to 30 police officers and a helicopter cordoned off the area and his family was dragged off to jail. The police later returned and arrested Rashad for “disorderly conduct.”

Rashad was acquitted of this charge and the prosecutor’s office refused to bring charges against his parents. This is a far more common scenario in Columbus, but not as sensational as a black cop arresting a white, middle-class woman.

We live increasingly in a police state as politicians whip up irrational and emotional fears of “bad boys” with black faces. We’re convinced we need 100,000 more cops on the street even though per-capita violent crime has declined since the early ’70s and is no higher than it was in the early 1930s. The prison industrial complex is involved in promoting a new, dehumanized, all-powerful, all-consuming enemy. And it is disproportionately minorities and the poor that are the victims of overzealous police tactics. A few years ago, a survey showed that two-thirds of Americans didn’t think a police officer should have to have a search warrant to enter the home of “a suspected drug dealer.”

If police officers want to be respected, they ought to respect our Constitution and our fundamental human rights. They ought to be required to continue their education, particularly in liberal arts. A decent Social Problems class might help offset their authoritarian mindset that has been documented in study after study. Police, whether they like it or not, are the foot soldiers defending American liberties. But now, with the Cold War over, there appears to be an “enemies gap.” With no Soviets to hate, we’ve turned a lot of that savage aggression inward towards our own citizens. The real lesson of Waco is the eerie similarity between the bomber pilot in Vietnam who said, “We had to destroy the village in order to save it,” and the militarist in the law-and-order establishment who argued that they had to kill the kids in order to save them from Koresh.

This helps to explain state Attorney General Betty Montgomery’s new “air force.” You may have seen the blurb a few weeks ago about Betty copping three 1970s-vintage military copters for the War on Drugs, specifically marijuana, the demon weed. There’s never been a more stupid, misguided and unwinnable war than the one against pot. And if the cops took my Social Problems course, they would learn that most addiction and drug abuse is legally prescribed or purchased at the liquor store. If Jesus had rolled one up after the Last Supper, sucked it into his lungs and passed it around to his disciples and proclaimed: “This is the breath of my life, this do in remembrance of me,” those copters would be out searching for stills instead of hemp stalks. And Betty Boop would be pledging a zero-tolerance policy against alcohol and soliciting campaign contributions at Three-Reefer Power Luncheons.

Dr. Robert Fitrakis is an associate professor at Columbus State Community College

The Real Fitrakis Files Coming Here, Going Back To 1996

BandW.bmpDr. Fitrakis has authorized me to release here, on a gradual basis, the Columbus Alive writings starting from 1996.

It IS history, it IS YOUR local revolution.

It will give you perspective as to where we came from and how far we have gone.

It’s a bumpy ride but it is truth and nothing but the truth.

So help me god! May she have mercy on our souls! 🙂

Support your local Revolution




The first article can be found at




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Come To The Free Press Second Saturday Salon!

Saturday, October 13 from 6:30pm-midnight
Free Press office, 1000 E. Main St., parking in rear, overflow at
Salvation Army next door

Every month we have music, art, refreshments, and networking with the
progressive community. This month, the salon is sponsored by the Ohio
Patient Network (working to legalize medical marijuana). Plus, we’ll
have a visit by John Judge, former Special Assistant to US Rep. Cynthia
McKinney, who is in town to speak about the Real Democracy Project. We
will also catch everyone up on central Ohio’s community radio project,
the upcoming Citizen’s Grassroots Congress (Oct. 20), and Green
candidates running in Ohio elections this year.

Hope to see you there!

253-2571 or truth@freepress.org

Bob Fitrakis & Suzanne Patzer


John Judge on Investigations to Impeachment




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Shock, Awe and Antioch: The Bush Administration’s Attack On Progressive Education


October 10, 2007

As the Free Press goes to press, the Antioch College Alumni Association has raised $12 million in donations and pledges in an effort to keep the socially-conscious college from closing next year.

Mysteries still surround Antioch’s rapid and poorly explained closing. The Board has bizarrely turned to the “marketing, branding and public relations firm” of Simpson Scarborough to peddle the closing decision.

SimpsonScarborough CEO Christopher Simpson previously worked as an editor and writer for the notoriously right-wing Washington Times – a newspaper owned by Rev. Sun Myung Moon. The dark side of Moon, a self-proclaimed Messiah, is well-documented in the public record. A 1977 congressional report placed Moon on the payroll of the Korean CIA. Moon also has financial ties to former CIA Director George H.W. Bush. Read more

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First Friday, Folk the War event, Community Radio

There will be no First Friday Flicks in October. Instead the Free Press will have the Third Thursday Theater night at 7pm at the Drexel Gateway with “How Ohio Pulled it Off,” about Blackwell’s failed election attempt, and it’s free!

On the First Friday in October, please join us at Victorian’s Midnight Cafe:

Friday, October 5, 2007 – Folk the War event
Noon-midnight. Speakers, music, poetry, open mic speak out against the war. Sign a petition, get a free sign. All folk musicians invited for open mic. Sponsored by The Iraq Campaign, Victorian’s Midnight Cafe, Artists for Political Reform, Ohio Patient Network.
Noon to 4pm: All-you-can-eat soup and bread bar. 4pm-7pm: Happy Hour ($3 Vic’s burgers)

and don’t forget:
Sunday, October 7, 2007 – “Duhmocracy” Victoria Parks’ CD release party at 4pm

Both at: Victorian’s Midnight Cafe, 251 W. 5th Ave. (Fifth and Neil)

We need your donations for the Columbus and Central Ohio Community Radio Project

Any way you look at it, there’s simply not enough variety in our local
broadcast spectrum. Radio in Central Ohio is dominated by right wing
propagandists and commercial mediocrity. Columbus needs broadcast
outlets that provide uncensored news/analysis and grassroots
multicultural programming.

The Neighborhood Network is applying for a full-power radio license to
increase our broadcast opportunities.

The FCC has opened a small window for nonprofit groups to apply for
full-power radio licenses until October 19!

We need to raise $5000 to complete the filing requirements: attorney
fees, engineer fees and filing fees.

The Neighborhood Network, a non-profit media organization currently
supplies programming for the Low Power FM Community Radio Station and
is a Pacifica Radio Network affiliate. Please support our efforts to
build the community media infrastructure in Central Ohio.

   Your donation of $25, $50, $100 or more is appreciated!
   Pay through Paypal at: https://freepress.org/store.php#Radio

or send a check to:
   The Columbus and Central Ohio Community Radio Project
   1240 Bryden Rd.
   Columbus, OH 43205


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Columbus Dispatch Endorses Untested Hackable Computer Voting Machines

The notoriously pro-Republican Columbus Dispatch is on another of its bizarre crusades. They’re out to make Ohio safe for easily hacked and illegally manipulated computer voting machines. Using the disgusting tactics pioneered by the tobacco, nuclear and Big Oil companies, the Dispatch has endorsed a position where compromised vendors who work for the secretive voting machine manufacturers are unbiased and independent academics who come to informed, factually-based opinions, are biased.

In the Dispatch’s editorial fantasy land, the “…busy election [of 2006] went ahead without significant problems, and there was no evidence that the results were tainted.” Apparently, Dispatch reporters and editors aren’t allowed to read other Ohio newspapers or, for that matter, their own website.

On August 7 of this year, Dispatch reporter Mark Niquette wrote: “Voting machines used in more than half of Ohio’s counties were determined to be vulnerable to tampering in studies completed in California and Florida, reports show.”

Perhaps the Dispatch crowd missed the Dayton Daily News report on March 21, 2007 that said, “After two days of tests, the results are in: about 2500 people cast ballots in November on 56 malfunctioning electronic touch-screen voting machines in Montgomery County, …” There were an unexplained 300,000 “undervotes” – no vote recorded as expected – in the U.S. Senate race in that county. The test indicated that this was due to improper machine calibration.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that 10% of the machines tested malfunctioned in Cuyahoga County as well in the 2006 primary.

In Franklin County, the only African American female on the Domestic Relations Court, an endorsed Democrat, lost her bid for re-election in a race that had 34,000 statistically unexplained undervotes. A Franklin County court found that this was the result of machines that had been improperly tampered with prior to the election by technicians working for the voting machine vendors.

How does the Dispatch see this? “The touchscreens and optical scanners worked as intended, and both systems are far superior to punch card voting. The election process is the best gauge of reliability.”

This is a curious comment, considering that statewide Democratic candidates lost across the board between 10-12% of the votes predicted by the Dispatch in its historically reliable pre-election poll. For decades, the Dispatch has prided itself on having the most accurate polls in Ohio, so much so that their editors have co-authored articles in a refereed political science journal about the Dispatch polls’ uncanny accuracy. 

With the rise of voting machines, the Dispatch has become perhaps the worst polling newspaper in the state.

Or maybe the Wolfe-family owned Dispatch means literally what it says. Voting machine hardware and software controlled by partisan Republican vendors protected by proprietary software is doing exactly was it was designed to do. Program the vote. After all, the last time the Dispatch endorsed a Democrat for President was Woodrow Wilson in 1916. And only then, because the Wolfe family’s German ancestry favored the slogan “He kept us out of war.”

The Dispatch and its Republican allies in the Statehouse have resurrected their favorite smear phrases for the fight. The Dispatch offered the following absurd comments in its editorial: “Conspiracy theorists and some Democrats warned for months before the election that Blackwell, the GOP’s candidate for governor, might use his office to slant the vote to favor him and fellow Republicans.” The Dispatch points to the fact that “Ted Strickland trounced Blackwell for the top job.”

What they fail to point out is that the normally reliable last Dispatch poll predicted Strickland would win with 36% of the vote. He only won by 24%. Now, if they predicted that Blackwell would be winning by 12% and that vote disappeared and Strickland won in a squeaker, say, a la Bush in 2000, the Dispatch would have seen this as election theft.

The crux of the Dispatch crusade is against university computer science professors proposed as part of Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner’s voting machine testing plan. State Senators Steve Stivers and John Carey are leading the charge against the academics. Stivers demanded to know “How many tests are we going to have to do?” He and his Republican cohorts appear to favor no security measures being tested.
On September 10, Stivers and Carey successfully postponed the testing of voting machines in Ohio, blocking it 4-3 along party lines. The Dispatch immediately leaped to their defense stating “The State Controlling Board is right to seek more information on a proposal to re-test Ohio electronic voting machines.” The Dispatch comes right to the point, “The questions pertain to the scope of the study, who will conduct the test and what standards will be applied.”

Dispatch news stories and editorials have no problem with Battelle Memorial Institute as project manager for the tests, despite the fact that they botched the 2002 exit polls that saw the improbable defeat of Max Cleland on Diebold electronic voting machines with no paper trail in Georgia. Battelle’s long relationship with the CIA and the U.S. Intelligence community is never questioned.

Nor are any questions raised about SysTest, the vendors’ tester of choice, despite the fact the SysTest was de-certified by the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) earlier this year after New York Times raised question about its CEO Brian Phillips’ relationship to the Republican Party. 

The Republican Party’s favorite “unbiased” tester was de-certified, the Denver Post reports, one month after Phillips accepted an invitation from a Florida law firm that represented a Republican candidate to “…witness a recount in a Florida election” on behalf of the candidate.

Donetta Davidson, former Colorado Secretary of State, told the Post: “When there’s a conflict over an election like there was in Florida we don’t want (these companies) to be hired by one party or another.”     

But in the Dispatch’s world, testers that work for Republican candidates and are financed by the voting machines companies are pure, while insulated academics are not to be trusted.

This is the same approach that said the academic scientists were wrong about cigarettes and radiation causing cancer and fossil fuels causing global warming. In the Dispatch’s world, all of those who whore for the Republican Party are vestal virgins and those with no ties are biased. Or, as Senator Carey denounced the academics in California who tested their voting machines and found them vulnerable causing their Secretary to State to decertify them, they are “leftists and extremists.”

Every test and study of the voting machines – from the General Accountability Office to the Carter Baker Commission, from Princeton to Stanford to Johns Hopkins, from liberal California to conservative Florida – have come to the same conclusion. Electronic voting machines are eminently hackable. That’s why the Columbus Dispatch doesn’t want them tested.
Bob Fitrakis is the editor of the Free Press and www.freepress.org. He co-authored “What Happened in Ohio: A documentary record of theft and fraud in the 2004 election,” New Press, with Harvey Wasserman and Steve Rosenfeld.

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You’re invited to “When the Levees Broke” Part Two

Monday, Sept. 10
“When the Levees Broke” – An American Tragedy
You are invited to join us in the screening of:
Central Ohio Greens video and discussion. “When the Levees Broke” Part Two, Spike Lee’s expose of the Katrina disaster, at 7pm.
Location: Northside Library, 1423 N. High St.
Email: dgibson6@columbus.rr.com

Website: http://www.hbo.com/docs/programs/whentheleveesbroke/