Solartopia Green Power and Wellness Hour – 08.24.17
ELECTRONIC ELECTION THEFT, RENEWABLE GREEN POWER & THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE fill our souls today in Solartopia today.
ELECTRONIC ELECTION THEFT, RENEWABLE GREEN POWER & THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE fill our souls today in Solartopia today.
Donald Trump. (photo: Bill Clark/Roll Call)
By Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman, Reader Supported News
13 February 17
s the nightmare reality of Donald Trump sinks in, we need to put our resistance in a larger perspective.
There’s no need here to list what he is doing and is prepared to do to what remains of our rights, freedoms, economy, ecology, human dignity, sense of justice, the future of our children and much, much more. Donald Trump appears at this point to be our worst national nightmare.
For many of us, it will be the challenge of a lifetime to solve this problem. Millions of words will be written about it in the months to come.
But we might start by comparing him to the kinds of leaders our nation has forced on other countries, and by making some kind of amends. Trump is, in fact, our own imperial vulture come home to roost.
Indeed, he’s actually (so far) a moderate compared to scores of murderous dictators the US has installed in other countries throughout the world. Especially since World War II, our imperial apparatus has constantly subverted legitimate attempts by good people to elect decent leaders.
In all such cases, people no different from most of us have suffered terrible, tangible consequences. No matter how much pain we may now feel in America, it pales before the horrors we’ve imposed with Trump-style dictators in other nations.
To get them installed, the Central Intelligence Agency and other imperial organs have often merely subverted elections. As was done here in 2016 and for countless elections before (and perhaps to come), substantial portions of the population have been systematically stripped of their right to vote. Where that’s proven insufficient, vote counts have been flipped by electronic and other means to guarantee a secure corporate outcome.
But where even that’s not been enough, our imperial minions have simply exiled, killed outright, invaded, employed mass violence, concocted civil wars and done whatever else necessary to remove those popular leaders that have not suited the American corporate interest.
One recent instance has been in Honduras, where the elected president, Manuel Zelaya Rosales, was ousted in a U.S.-backed coup and the military took over from 2009 to 2013. Honduras became the most violent non-war zone on Earth in those years.
Here is a partial list of other duly elected leaders the United States has had removed, disappeared and/or killed to make way for authoritarian pro-corporate regimes. In each case, their demise resulted in death, denial of democratic rights and massive suffering to individuals within those countries who stood in the way of America’s imperial agenda:
Lumumba, Congo; Allende, Chile; Aristide, Haiti; Mossadegh, Iran; Arbenz, Guatemala; President Joao Goulart, Brazil; Prime Minister Georgios Papandreou, Greece; Sukarno, Indonesia; Tecumseh, John Ross, Sitting Bull, Chief Joseph, Sealth and countless other indigenous Americans; and too many more.
Here is a very incomplete list of violent, torture-prone kleptocrats the US has installed to serve its corporate interests:
Pinochet, Chile; Duvalier, Haiti; Somoza, Nicaragua; Marcos, Philippines; Suharto, Indonesia; Diem, Ky, Thieu, Vietnam; Pol Pot, Cambodia; Batista, Cuba; Saddam Hussein, Iraq; the Shah, Iran; the Regime of the Colonels, Greece; and too many more.
Taken in sum, the horrors these coups have imposed on innocent people throughout the planet comprise a terrible karmic debt our nation owes the rest of humankind.
The idea that such retribution would come home to roost may have been best stated by our 16th president. It is chiseled on the wall of the Lincoln Memorial in our nation’s capital, for all to see.
At the end of the Civil War, in his Second Inaugural Address, Abraham Lincoln mourned that this “terrible war,” which killed more than 620,000 Americans, had come “as the woe due to those by whom the offense came.”
The offense, of course was slavery. To pay for it, Lincoln warned, we would see the war “continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword.”
Are we, as modern Americans, now being called to pay for the blood drawn and the pain imposed by our imperial armies? And for all the wealth and comfort and dignity unjustly stolen from innocent peoples around the world?
As we squirm and mourn and march and organize, we might keep in mind the image of Donald Trump as imperial payback.
We might remember that as we work to overcome this homegrown vulture of our own making we must make right what we’ve imposed on so many others.
And that the restoration of sanity, dignity, and democracy to this nation can only come with a genuine sense of perspective … and with the resolve to never again impose any such suffering anywhere else in this world.
Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman are co-authors of THE STRIP & FLIP SELECTION OF 2016: FIVE JIM CROWS & ELECTRONIC ELECTION THEFT at www.freepress.org, where Bob’s FITRAKIS FILES are available. Harvey’s SOLARTOPIA! OUR GREEN-POWERED EARTH is at www.solartopia.org.
Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.
Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman talk about the anomalies in the 2016 election.
by Steve Palm-Houser
SEPTEMBER 20, 2016
On September 14, two candidates for Franklin County Prosecutor answered questions about how they would respond to officer-involved shootings, if elected. As the candidates’ forum at Mt. Olivet Baptist Church proceeded, only one mile away 13-year-old Tyre King was pursued and shot multiple times by Columbus police. He was taken to Nationwide Children’s Hospital and pronounced dead a few minutes after the candidates’ forum ended.
Adrienne Hood spoke at the beginning of the forum. Her son Henry Green was killed by Columbus police on June 6. “It’s unfortunate that the person who can give me the justice that my son deserves is not here,” she said, indicating the empty chair reserved for Ron O’Brien, the incumbent County Prosecutor candidate. O’Brien has not responded to demands by Green’s family to indict the officers who shot him and appoint an independent prosecutor to oversee the case.
People’s Justice Project organizer Tammy Alsaada posed the first question to Democratic candidate Zach Klein and Green Party candidate Bob Fitrakis. “Would you keep families together by expanding diversion programs for youth, for addiction, and for mental health issues in underserved and overlooked communities?” she asked. “And how would you help keep people out of the system and get the treatment they need?”
“Yes,” Zach Klein said. “I’m a firm believer that the cycle of incarceration breeds a cycle of poverty, which breeds a cycle of incarceration. I think we need to be aggressive in expanding our diversion program to ensure that there is treatment” for drug addiction and mental health issues. “We also need a diversion program that recognizes when some people turn to crime to make ends meet. It may be a small number of people, but there are people who lack opportunity. Jail is for people that we’re afraid of, not for people we don’t know what to do with.”
There is currently “no rhyme or reason or policy directive out of the prosecutor’s office for who is eligible for diversion,” Klein said. “It’s all at the whim of whether the prosecutor knows the defense attorney. That’s not fair, open, or transparent.”
Bob Fitrakis also responded “yes” to Alsaada’s question. “As prosecutor I will not arrest anyone for drug possession,” he said. “It’s a medical problem, and that’s how it will be handled.” Instead, he would go after the people involved in heavy drug trafficking. “Many of these are connected with legitimate businesses. The people who fueled the crack epidemic in this town in the 1990’s were Southern Air Transport. They were bringing heroin and other drugs into this country. Instead of going after someone with ten balloons in their stomach, let’s go after the large aircraft that are coming in by the planeload, contaminating these communities.”
Fitrakis cited the recently revealed admission by Richard Nixon’s domestic policy chief John Ehrlichman that the War on Drugs was started not to curb drug use, but to marginalize blacks and the hippies who opposed the Vietnam War. “This has been a systematic campaign against the poor community, against the black community,” he said. “We need to redefine the problem.”
“Research shows that mass incarceration disproportionately affects low-income people, and people of color,” said Jasmine Ayres, field director for the Ohio Organizing Collaborative. “We need more information to make evidence-based decisions on policies and practices. For example, black people in Franklin County are 3.8 times more likely to be in jail than whites.
“Will you collect and share demographic data — including race, gender, and income level — on who is charged, what they are charged with, what plea is offered, and what bail is recommended? And how would you set alternative metrics to evaluate your staff?”
“Will I comply with the open records law? Yes,” Bob Fitrakis responded. “There needs to be full transparency. For many years, before the Free Press went after the judges, they were double-bonding people. The bondsmen were running the court until they were exposed.
“I’m going to remove the jump-out boys,” he said, referring to plainclothes police officers who patrol so-called “crime hot-spots,” a code word for neighborhoods with many poor, black, and Latino residents. “They post white police, walking around with money, pretending they’re on drugs, acting like bait. They should be removed or charged criminally, because they’re causing the violence. They need to get off the streets.”
Fitrakis recalled teaching police officers about the U.S. Constitution in 1980. “They weren’t really receptive to it, but we were able to work out certain things,” he said. “We should pay our police well, and we should make sure they know our fundamental principles.”
Zach Klein responded, “Yes, as someone who’s running for prosecutor, trying to get that information that you seek. It doesn’t exist. We should have an open, transparent system in the prosecutor’s office that uses the best practices and technology, that’s not only available, but easy to understand.
“In 2014, which is the last year this data was available, there were 12,000 criminal filings in Franklin County. 190 went to trial. Think about the 11,810 cases that never went to trial, that fall squarely within the programs and opportunities that you’re talking about. But outside of knowing they didn’t go to trial, we don’t know anything about the defendants, the pleas, or the cases.
“Having an open and transparent prosecutor’s office restores the community’s faith in the criminal justice system,” Klein said. “We need to have a prosecutor’s office that is outward-facing, that is engaged in the community, that doesn’t just go home to the suburbs, that looks like the community,” Klein said. “What do I know about Ron O’Brien’s office? Four percent of his lawyers are African American. I think that’s abysmal. We need to have a more aggressive approach to recruiting African American, Latino, LGBT, and female lawyers.”
“Youth should not be tried as adults. Research shows that if you send youth to adult prison, they are more likely to re-offend. They are more likely to be sexually abused,” said Candice Williams-Bethea, a grassroots educator with the People’s Justice Project. “How will you handle the practice of trying minors in adult court? And how will you use developmentally-informed decision making appropriate to youth?
“Those statistics are real, which is why any prosecutor should be careful about charging any juvenile as an adult, or as a juvenile,” Zach Klein responded. “A prosecutor’s office should be working with faith and community leaders to play quarterback on this issue and others, to give juvenile offenders a chance to pull themselves out of the cycle. A proactive prosecutor will bring the parties together with a mentor program that can give kids an opportunity to make a difference, not just treat them like a number.”
“I’m not charging any juvenile as an adult if I am prosecutor,” said Bob Fitrakis. “Social science states the obvious: the amount of lawbreaking between affluent suburban white kids and inner-city kids is about the same. The only difference is who gets charged, who gets a record, and who ends up doing time and being profiled for the rest of their lives.”
As an attorney, Fitrakis sees “more justice when I go to mayor’s court in Worthington, Grandview, and Hilliard, when youth are charged with a minor misdemeanor because they’re good boys and girls and about to go off to a private school.” For the same offense a young person in Columbus might be given a first degree misdemeanor or a felony charge, he said. “That must end in the prosecutor’s office.”
Independent prosecutor for police-involved shootings
“Recently the Supreme Court of Ohio acknowledged the bias of the grand jury process when it comes to indicting police,” said Aramis Malachi-Ture Sundiata, statewide organizing director for the People’s Justice Project. “Will you appoint an independent prosecutor to investigate all police-involved shootings in Franklin County? And if not, how will you handle police-involved shootings?”
“If you appoint an independent prosecutor, who do you hold accountable?” Zach Klein responded. “When I am prosecutor, I want you to hold me accountable for decisions I make, not only in police-involved shootings, but in any issue of crime.”
Klein cited Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty, who lost a re-election campaign when he failed to indict police officers in the killing of Tamir Rice. “He was held accountable and got fired,” Klein said. “If we appoint independent prosecutors, I’m afraid that we might lose the accountability. You can’t vote an independent prosecutor out of office.”
“I have no problem with an independent prosecutor,” Bob Fitrakis said. “I just don’t think it goes far enough. I believe that there needs to be an independent civilian review board, with subpoena power, that is elected from the area commissions, and that is responsible in these shooting cases.
“Part of the problem is the tremendous hold the FOP has on elected officials,” Fitrakis said. “That has to stop. We need not only an independent prosecutor; we need a civilian review board with an auditor. We need real citizens from the high-crime neighborhoods. We should be able to elect people from those communities, because they’re the victims.”
At a Columbus City Council candidates’ forum last fall, Zach Klein went on record as opposing a civilian review board with subpoena power.
Both candidates agreed to meet with the groups who held the candidates forum’ 100 days after the election.
For each of the questions posed, the audience applause was consistently louder and longer for Bob Fitrakis than for Zach Klein.
From Nicole’s youtube channel:
“Streamed live on Jun 10, 2016
This week, the video of a meeting about election integrity in California in which attorneys Bob Fitrakis & Cliff Arenbeck explain why they’ve filed lawsuits demanding the release of exit polling and returns to show that fraud is inherent in our system. This morning, Bob Fitrakis joins in to tell us of their concerns, give an update on the lawsuit, and what comes next.
Find out more and watch the full video of the 5-27 meeting at trustvote.org
In hour two, we’ll open the phones to get your reaction at 954-889-6410 or via Skype to nicolesandler.”
Lieutenant Governor candidate Bob Fitrakis today urged all Ohioans who despise authoritarianism and who support democracy to vote in the primary election May 6, request a Green Party ballot — and write in Anita Rios for Governor and Bob Fitrakis for Lt. Governor.
“The Republican Party showed its utter contempt for the democratic process by outlawing all four minor parties in Ohio. The Republicans disrupted our signature gathering process with the Senate Bill 193. This law banned all minor parties in Ohio but has since been overturned by a federal court,” Fitrakis said. “We are asking all voters, regardless of political party, to stand up for democracy and take the pledge to write in Rios and Fitrakis in the primary.”
Take the pledge: http://www.ohiogreens.org/node/327
Dear Free Press supporter:
I am extremely proud of our pre-election activism. Andrew Kreig at Justice Integrity Project (Did Expert Witness, Activists Thwart a Rove Ohio Vote Plot?) speculates that we (freepress.org) may have prevented another stolen election. Art Levin at Huffington Post agrees as does Brad Friedman at Bradblog.
We need your support! The Free Press went into the red in this effort. We do not send emails asking for money before we get started, instead we get to work and ask for help later :). As a result, we need to ask our friends and supporters to contribute what you can to support what has already been done.
If you saw the Karl Rove meltdown on Fox News on election night, you might have been unaware that the Secretary of State AND the Cuyahoga County websites went off-line at approximately the same time as Rove’s meltdown. Deja Vu, election night 2004.
What we sometimes refer to derisively as “establishment” media validated our reporting efforts.
Forbes : The Technological Foundations Of Today’s Election Are Shaky, Especially In Ohio
Forbes: Dear President Obama, Glad You Won, But Can We Fix The Voting Machines Before 2016?
Associated Press: Judge rejects lawsuit’s Ohio voting software claim
Business Insider: Here’s The Truth About The Story About The Romneys Investing In The Company That Makes The Voting Machines
Fox News local Channel 19 in Cincinnati.
Computerworld: Update: Lawsuit filed in Ohio over software updates to vote tabulation machines
Christian Science Monitor: US judge allows Ohio voting software, alleged to be vulnerable to fraud
Fight Back (Bob’s radio show), interview with Cliff, Gerry and Harvey. (Podcast)
We did not plan it this way, but our reporting turned into a three pronged effort.
• First, we reported on Scytl, and again here. Banking Insider called this the “true” October Surprise.
• Secondly, we reported on ownership of voting machine companies, particularly Romney family and business associates of Hart Inner Civic. Vote counting company tied to Romney
• Former National Security Agency data analyst and election software critic Michael Duniho (37 years, retired) testified in the lawsuit brought by Attorney Bob Fitrakis and Cliff Arnebeck. Duniho’s expertise is beyond reproach and his testimony was powerful.
• Finally we reported on the illegal software patch that was applied (as experimental). We filed a lawsuit in both State and Federal courts in an effort to have this patch removed. The Free Press confirms installation, secret justification of uncertified last minute election tabulation reporting software in Ohio The contract was leaked to the Free Press. If the Free Press did not exist, to whom would this person leak the contract? Who else could be trusted to report it?
We at the Free Press…Bob Fitrakis, Cliff Arnebeck, Harvey Wasserman, Gerry Bello, Suzanne Patzer, myself, the Board of Directors, and many others…agree with Andrew Kreig. We believe we prevented another stolen Presidential election. But we may never know for sure. In any case, we could not have mounted a more vigorous defense of voting rights and democracy. We need your support so that we remain as THE most important and most effective defender of election integrity.
Please contribute to the Free Press here — https://freepress.org/store.php
or simply send a check to Columbus Institute of Contemporary Journalism (CICJ) at 1021 E Broad St, Columbus, Ohio 43205. You contribution is tax deductible.
CICJ Board President
by Gerry Bello and Bob Fitrakis
October 24, 2012
Election officials lie to cover the facts
Since the Columbus Free Press broke the story of Tagg, Mitt, HIG Capital and your e-vote, there has been a bi-partisan effort on the internet to restore faith in the system. There are Democrats who wish the Free Press would remain silent, fearing that exposure of these facts will demoralize their base and lead to low voter turnout. Pundits like Chuck Todd have used the phrase “conspiracy theory” and even gone so far as to say “The voting machine conspiracies belong in same category as the Trump birther garbage.” An industry shill, Michelle Shafer, who currently works as media director for Scytl, a Spanish-based vote-counting company, and has worked for all but one of the major voting machine manufacturers, has replied via comment to our articles with additional falsehoods and misrepresentations.
As stated in a previous Free Press article, through a closely held equity fund called Solamere, Mitt Romney and his wife, son and brother are major investors in an investment firm called H.I.G. Capital. H.I.G. in turn holds a majority share and has three out of the five board members on Hart Intercivic, a company that owns the notoriously faulty electronic voting machines that will count the ballots in swing state Ohio on November 6. Hart is majority owned by a private equity firm run by fundraisers for the Romney campaign.
The biggest current lie is that Hart Intercivic has little or nothing to do with the maintenance of its voting machines in the current election. That lie was recently told to the Washington Post by an official in Hamilton County, “Hamilton County director of elections Amy Searcy said Tuesday that officials purchased the system five years ago and that Hart is not involved with its operations or maintenance.”
A statement that Hart has nothing to do with the voting machines in Hamilton (Cincinnati) or Williams counties in the key swing state of Ohio is simply incorrect. Not only does Hart Intercivic have contracts to maintain some of their voting machines, but in Hamilton and Williams counties the tabulation software which will be used to count the votes on Election Day is also made and maintained by Hart, according to public records.
In April as the Free Press geared up for the general election, the Free Press obtained public records relating to election-related hardware, software, contracts, serial numbers and voter registration record storage contracts for all 88 counties in Ohio. According to records given to us by the Hamilton County Board of Elections (read Hamilton County’s actual response email) and Williams County, Hart Intercivic still has a contract to maintain and repair its equipment in each of those counties.
When asked by the Free Press who controlled the “vote tabluation and/or software” in Hamilton County, their board of elections replied “Hart Intercivic.” Also, in Williams County, Hart Intercivic also has the contract to write and maintain the tabulation software which runs on Dell-made computers.
A common practice during the disputed 2004 presidential election in Ohio involved both Triad and ES&S voting machine technicians showing up unexpectedly with “software patches” to install in voting machines just prior to the election. Election protection activists should be on the lookout for this behavior between now and November 6. With a maintenance contract, Hart’s technicians could add software patches right before Election Day that could possibly change the functionality of these machines. Adding patches without them being certified by the Secretary of State is illegal.
A software patch, ostensibly to fix some bug or increase functionality, inserted at the last minute, is one of the best ways to defraud an election. If a malicious attacker waits until the last minute, the software patch can be compiled to reflect the latest poll numbers, thus assuring that votes will be flipped within a seemingly undetectable margin of error.
County election officials from around the country have taken to social media to claim that the machines were bought a long time ago, and Hart has nothing to do with them. Diane Thompson, for instance, wrote:
“I am an Election Authority in the State of Missouri. We use electronic voting equipment….I can tell you, once we purchased those machines, the company that designed/built them has nothing to do with them. They are programmed by a third company not affiliated with their design.” This was posted on ThinkProgress.org.
A former Board of Elections official from Greene County, Ohio posted this misleading statement on his Facebook page 2 days ago:
“Many of my Facebook friends have posted about voting machines being owned by Bain Capital and therefore by members of the Romney family. At least in Ohio that does not threaten the integrity of the vote counting. In Ohio, machines are owned by the individual county Boards of Elections. …The vote tabulations are done in each county, not on a computer in Columbus (or Chattanooga). Spreading fears and doubts about vote integrity may end up suppressing the turnout.”
Voting machines, once purchased, have maintenance contracts. In fact, as is common in the computer industry, most of the money in a contract is in the maintenance of the software, not the sale of the hardware.
Hart could potentially apply software patches in two Ohio counties. Additionally, in many counties these systems interface with voter registration systems maintained by Triad Governmental Services (Triad GSI). Triad, based in Xenia Ohio, is a small family run operation. The Rapp family, who founded Triad, are hard-right evangelicals. Triad technicians “helped” with the recount in Ohio after the 2004 presidential election by bringing in new hard drives and performing maintenance on machines in county boards of elections to make sure “…the count would come out perfect” and the election officials would not have to do a full hand recount of their county.
The Democrats have it half right. The only way to ensure that election fraud will not happen is to have a massive voter turnout that makes cheating within the margin of error impossible. However, a citizen’s obligation to vote does not negate a citizen’s obligation to vigilantly defend the democratic franchise that lies at the center of our society.
Gerry Bello is the chief researcher at the Columbus Free Press. He holds a degree in computer security from Antioch College. Bob Fitrakis is the Editor of the Free Press. He holds Ph.D. in Political Science and a J.D. from the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University
Revised October 25, 2012