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A Jail Cell for Blackwell

Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell was forced to reveal Monday in an Ohio Ethics filing that he had inadvertently invested in the notorious voting machine company, Diebold Inc. This is clearly a criminal act and Blackwell belongs in a jail cell. My favorite weasel words from the abysmally corrupt Republican gubernatorial candidate is that, because he didn’t know what his accountant and financial advisor were investing in, it’s “similar to a blind trust.”

The only people who would have to be blind are those who fail to see the deliberate theft of the election by Blackwell and the fact in April 2005, he personally negotiated what he called the “best in the nation” deal with Diebold to purchase their fraud-o-matic touch-screen machines for $2700. This, a la Halliburton, was an unbid contract.

The Diebold machines met with massive disaster in the November 2005 election as untrained workers lost memory cards and more votes that voters appeared in Carlisle and other Ohio cities. Read more

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The New Face of Apartheid: J. Kenneth Hackwell

The most unprincipled and opportunistic man in the history of Ohio, Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, stands poised to claim the Republican primary for governor. Blackwell and his far-right theocratic “rapture-ready” Christian dominionists will doom the Buckeye State to further despair.

It should come as no surprise that the Free Press is the only newspaper in Ohio willing to out Blackwell for appearing before white supremacists in the secretive Council on National Policy. Blackwell understands power; he understands that there’s plenty of money in putting a black face on the new politics of high-tech Jim Crow. Blackwell also understands that in order for his strategy to succeed, he must convince a significant number of black ministers to join him in his open bigotry against gays and lesbians.
This is simply the old apartheid politics of divide and conquer. Blackwell wants to rule the new Buckeye State Bantustan.

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Is the Mainstream Media Finally Getting Half the Rigged Voting Machine Story?

The fact that electronic voting machines don’t work may finally be sinking into a segment of the mainstream media. The fact that e-voting machines can, have been, and will be used to steal elections, continues to go unreported.

At least the corporate media has moved from framing the allegations of e-voting fraud as “conspiracy theory” into reporting epic errors in election results.

Both USA Today and the New York Times have run recent articles on the mechanical problems surrounding electronic voting that mirror much of what happened during the theft the presidential election in Ohio 2004. Read more

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How We Can Best Defend Our Nation

Our great nation is at a crossroads and we the people must move quickly and creatively to avert catastrophe and defend the national security of our country. On the third anniversary of the unconscionable and illegal attack on Iraq, we must confront the president and his small circle of sycophants. The Bush regime lacks the competence, vision, wisdom and moral compass to lead America. The case is clear. Read more

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Restoring Democracy in Ohio

As a former international election observer, who co-wrote and edited the 1994 report delivered to the United Nations on the first democratic elections since the peace accords in El Salvador, I saw far worse abuses of the election process in Ohio in the 2004 presidential election than I witnessed in Suchitoto, El Salvador.

The elections in Ohio, run by the highly partisan J. Kenneth Blackwell, Co-Chair of the Bush-Cheney Re-Election Campaign, aided by private partisan voting machine companies that use secret proprietary software, did not meet the minimum international standards for nonpartisanship and transparency. Blackwell banned international observers from Ohio polling stations and threatened them with arrest. He allowed Republican-dominated rural counties to avoid posting the election results at the precinct level and, instead, allowed them to be counted at the county level by suspect central tabulators.

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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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Blackwell, White Supremacy and the CNP

The biggest story in this year’s gubernatorial election should not be that the FBI is investigating James Petro, but Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell’s relationship with the far right Council on National Policy.

The CNP is a highly secretive reactionary group with fascistic tendencies and ties to racists and homophobes. The article that I wrote for the freepress.org website with senior editor Harvey Wasserman captures the shadowy world of the CNP. Ken Blackwell is perhaps the most unfit candidate ever to run for the governorship in Ohio history.

His ties to Rev. Rod Parsley and the so-called Patriot Pastors put the majority of Ohioans at risk from a small religious minority that practices bigotry. While Ken Blackwell runs commercials attacking Jim Petro for contract-steering, Ohio newspapers have documented that Blackwell does the same. Blackwell believes that President Bush is above the law and should have the right to spy on American citizens without warrant, wage an illegal war in Iraq and torture in the name of our country.

If you wonder where Blackwell, who suppressed the Democratic votes in the major urban centers in Ohio, by making it difficult to register to vote — remember his requirement that no one could register unless it was on 80 bond white unwaxed paper — gets his ideas, just google the Council on National Policy. The real story in this election is the attempt by these right-wing zealots to hijack our state. What we really need is universal health care, a living wage, less tax breaks for millionaires, more money for our schools and to keep the Ohio National Guard in Ohio instead of fighting an illegal an unjust war ordered by the worst president in U.S. history.

For more, read my article, Why Did J. Kenneth Blackwell seek, then hide, his association with super-rich extremists and e-voting magnates?

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ACTION ALERT: Fitrakis Urges Pressure on Boards of Elections to Issue Voter IDs

Bob Fitrakis, independent candidate for governor, spoke in suburban Columbus to the progressive group Blue Dublin on February 23 on the issue of voting concerns and legislation on election reform.

He recounted how tactics employed by J. Kenneth Blackwell, who served the dual role of Ohio Secretary of State and OH Co-Chair Bush/Cheney ’04, played a significant role in suppressing the democratic vote in Ohio during the ’04 and ’05 elections.

Fitrakis pointed to Lucas County as an example of how Blackwell and the GOP cronyism handed leadership positions to the Noes in running elections in Lucas County. Lucas County’s election was so mismanaged that Blackwell was forced to fire his subordinates at the board of elections and issue a scathing report on how the election in Lucas County was run.

Fitrakis termed recent GOP legislation, HB 3, as the equivalent to modern day “Jim Crow” tactics meant to further suppress the democratic base voters. He wondered why the Democratic party wasn’t circulating petitions to challenge the suppressive law, which he said could have a devastating effect on democratic base voters in the midterm elections.

Fitrakis urged citizens to place pressure on Boards of Elections to issue PHOTO VOTER IDS to the poor, and at nursing homes and college campuses, so that voters disenfranchised in the past will be able to cast their votes in November. Read more

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Did the NSA Help Bush Hack the Vote?

What do we make of the President boldly proclaiming that he has “spy powers?” Does he have X-ray vision too?

When he and his cronies crawl up into Cheney’s bunker with the sign on the door “He-man Woman-haters Club. No Girls Allowed (except Condi),” do they synchronize their spy decoder rings and decide what new absurd folly to unleash on the world?

Illegal invasion of Iraq, suspending writs of habeus corpus, secret CIA torture dungeons, or election rigging? Most people outgrow such childish games and fantasies by the time they’re ten years old. And by age twelve, most understand that the President is not a king. Or a dictator. That U.S. citizens have inalienable rights.

That there are such things as search warrants. If the executive branch of government is going to conduct surveillance on the American people, they have to get a warrant from the judicial branch specifying what they’re looking for and the reasons for the search.

The Bush administration’s utter contempt for the U.S. Constitution and the specific information we now know about its use of the National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance network should further call into question Bush’ 2004 presidential “election.” In a recent revelation, we have learned that the NSA shared the fruits of its illegal spying on behalf of Bush with other government agencies. Read more