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Green-Socialist Dream in Houston

Bob Fitrakis and Philena Farley

Ohio Green Party delegates Bob Fitrakis and Philena Farley at the Green Party national presidential nominating convention

More than a few have wondered why the Green Party headed for Houston in August to nominate Jill Stein for President. I heard a few press observers note that maybe it was because Houston is one of the hottest and most polluted cities in the nation – perhaps more in need of Stein’s proposed Green New Deal than any other major U.S. city.

The reality is that the national Greens chose Houston because the state Party there practices thoroughgoing grassroots democracy. Simply put, Houston’s state Green Party had the best proposal. The Ohio Greens had proposed Toledo and were a finalist, with a vision of the Cleveland fascistic Republican convention contrasted with adecentralized democratic meeting in the city that is, for all practical purposes, a suburb of Detroit.

Prior to the Saturday, August 6 nominating convention, there were no major questions outstanding. Stein was the presumptive nominee, had chosen her Vice President, and her platform was clear. This is despite the fact in the past few months, Stein had offered Bernie Sanders to be the Green Party presidential nominee (with Stein as VP), and offered former Ohio State Senator, Sanders supporter, and renegade Democrat Nina Turner a spot as her running mate.

There was also talk of Cornel West as a VP candidate. But in the end, Stein turned to a stalwart human rights activist with ties to the Black Lives Matter movement to balance the ticket and reach out to the Party’s growing minority base, Ajamu Baraka.

The two most fiery calls to action during Stein’s nomination process were from the always eloquent Cornel West and YahNe Ndgo. Ndgo, as if conjuring up the spirit of “criticism/self-criticism” from the 1970s, appealed far more to the primarily white 200 or so Green Party delegates than the numerous Bernie-or-Bust observers, who broke into frequent chants of “Jill! Not Hill!”

There was some tension in Stein’s nominating process when presidential hopeful Sedinam Kinamo Christin Moyowasifza-Curry immediately objected to the Alabama delegation casting their votes, because she claimed she had not been invited to that state. Moyowasifza-Curry has argued vigorously for the Green Party becoming a minority-led vehicle to advance issues of concern to people of color.

Although there were frequent procedural objections from the floor by Moyowasifza-Curry, Stein easily won the nomination. The platform that, among other things, calls for reparations for African Americans, passed with little debate and only one dissenting vote.

The Ecological Economics amendment placed the Green Party firmly on the record as a Left eco-socialist party, reading in part: “…The Green Party seeks to build an alternative economic system based on ecology and decentralization of power, an alternative that rejects both the capitalist system that maintains private ownership over almost all production as well as the state-socialist system that assumes control over industries without democratic, local decision making…” and “…“addresses the economic inequalities, social inequalities, and productivism of both capitalism and state socialism and emphasizes grassroots democracy in the workplace.”

The platform also included the Green Party’s commitment to election integrity, calling for the end to all privately-owned proprietary computer codes in the U.S. electronic voting process.

A highlight of the convention was a livestream by Julian Assange from the Ecuadorian Embassy in Britain. He spoke to the crowd about movements like the Green Party and how they keep American politics “honest.” He repeated his assertion that asking people to vote between Trump and Clinton is like asking people to choose between “cholera and gonorrhea.” Both Assange and West argued that the legendary “triangulation” of the Clintons, while they govern from the corporate center, is fanning the flames of right-wing takeovers to hold the Left at bay.

Stein asserted that all the fears of a Trump presidency – naked oligarchies, endless wars – actually occurred during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state. Stein also pointed out, along with West, that the current U.S. mass incarceration state that has disproportionately arrested blacks and Latinos was fueled on the federal level by the policies of Bill Clinton.

The key unanswered question from the convention is how many of the Berners will bolt from the preference of their leader and dedicate their energy and enthusiasm to the Stein campaign. Reports are already coming in of record small donations to the Stein campaign. In a press conference following her nomination, Stein said she had raised more money in the last three weeks than in the first year and half of her campaign.

Will the long sought-after, post-60s dream of an eco-socialist alliance, with state and local elected officials finally breakthrough in 2016?

Bob Fitrakis, Co-Chair of the Ohio Green Party, was an alternative delegate to the 2016 national Green Party convention and is the Federal Election Commissioner of the Green Shadow Cabinet. 

Connie And Cornel

Nathan Lane and Jill

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Bob Bites Back: Fear and hacking at the Democratic National Convention

Bernie delegates holding up Election Fraud sign at DNC

Why would the Ohio Green Party Co-Chair end up addressing Bernie Sanders delegates in Philly during the Democratic Party convention? I found myself with them in a pizza place in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania at the behest of the mostly-California-based Election Justice organization.

In a crowded back room, angry and angst-ridden Berners, as they call themselves, listened intently as election protection attorney Bill Simpich outlined what can only be described as a Clinton election coup in the California primary. Simpich has filed three lawsuits in California so far, trying to ensure every vote is counted. Immediately following the primary in California, 2.4 million votes – overwhelmingly from Sanders’ supporters – remained uncounted, resulting from a combination of dirty tricks and illegal voter suppression activities.

When all the votes are counted, Sanders would likely be the victor.

Berners were outraged over the apparent election fraud and the Wikileaks release of 20,000 Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails just prior to the start of Hillary Clinton’s well-orchestrated coronation. They pondered the suspicious death of DNC staffer Seth Rich, found shot twice in the back on July 10 before he was set to testify in the Clinton email investigation. The delegates were particularly pissed about the content of one Wikileaked email from a DNC staffer named “Marshall” to DNC Communication Director Louis Miranda. Marshall wondered about Bernie – “Does he believe in a God.” In another email, staffers plotted to describe Bernie as a “Jew” and “atheist” in hopes of discouraging support for him from West Virginia voters.

In an interview about the revelations in the DNC emails, Sanders had stated, “The Party leadership must always remain impartial in the presidential nominating process, something which did not occur in the 2016 race.”

DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, implicated in the email scandal, was initially “quarantined to keep the peace,” according to DNC officials. But, Wasserman-Schultz resigned in shame only to be immediately hired by the Clinton campaign.

Lulu Fries’dat unveiled a 96-page report entitled “Democracy Lost: A Report on the Fatally Flawed 2016 Democratic Primaries” issued by Election Justice USA and endorsed by Fritz Scheuren, the former president of the American Statistical Association. The report concluded that “…an upper estimate of 184 pledged delegates [were] lost by Senator Bernie Sanders as a consequence of specific irregularities and instances of fraud. Adding these delegates to Senator Sanders’ pledged delegate total and subtracting the same number from Hillary Clinton’s pledged total would more than erase the 359 pledged delegate gap between the two candidates.”

The report also pointed out that, “Even small changes in vote shares in critical states like Massachusetts and New York could have substantially changed the media narrative surrounding the primaries in ways that would likely have had far reaching consequences for Senator Sanders’ campaign.”

I explained to the crowd that the lawsuit I filed, Johnson v. Edison Research Group, accuses the presidential primary exit pollsters of collaborating with secretaries of state to deliver bad numbers to the giant media polling consortium – NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox, CNN and the Associated Press. While none of the Republican primary election exit poll results were statistically suspicious, 12 out of 26 Democratic primary exit poll results were so far off the actual vote totals that they would not have been validated by the U.S. State Department Hillary used to head. Among the worst were Arizona, Alabama, Ohio and New York. Edison had unexpectedly canceled all further primary election exit polling just prior to the California vote.

Suddenly the Bernie supporters were asking “What should we do?” about all the election fraud. Their solution was to issue a statement about the primary election fraud and Wikileaked emails, and stage a walkout at the convention after Clinton’s name was put in nomination for president. They emailed a draft statement to participants around 1:30am. It was now clear that the walkout would happen and chaos would ensue.

Outside the Wells Fargo Center convention site, people were in the streets daily marching and chanting and setting up an “Occupy the DNC” continuous convergence at FDR Park. I joined Cheri Honkala’s, and the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign’s “March for our Lives” Monday at 3pm starting outside the Philadelphia City Hall. Honkala, Jill Stein’s Green Party Vice Presidential running mate in 2012, was joined by Cornel West, a leading Sanders surrogate and platform spokesperson who had recently endorsed Stein for president this year. West was his usual nattily attired self, in a three-piece suit, in preparation for the 4-mile march in 100-degree temperatures.

Jill Stein spoke briefly at the start of the march. Chants included: “Hell no DNC! We won’t vote for Hillary!” and “Jill, not Hill!” Halfway through the march it paused, and I was handed a megaphone to address the marchers on the issue of election fraud. I denounced the fact that “Private, for-profit, partisan corporations secretly count our votes and maintain our pollbooks with secret proprietary software.” I urged occupation and arrests to end this unacceptable and undemocratic practice.

Two voting machine companies Dominion (formerly Diebold) and Hart Intercivic were listed as donors to the Clinton Foundation. As the axiom goes, there’s not much money in vote counting, but a lot in vote results.

Fifty-four marchers took arrest for going over the fences outside the Wells Fargo Center protesting election fraud and Citizen’s United. They were cuffed and given bottles of water, much to their relief.

Under a large white tent in FDR Park, Green Party stalwarts like Medea Benjamin, David Cobb and hip hop artist Immortal Technique revved up the crowd in anticipation of Jill Stein’s appearance. I saw a “Rigging is not Winning” sign.

The sky was filling with dark gray clouds. Luckily Howie Hawkins, Green Party legend from New York, was serving as security and allowed me backstage. Then a Parks and Recreation staffer rushed into the tent and demanded we shut it down before the impending thunderstorm. He proclaimed an emergency and told us to leave immediately. A black security person answered “Hell no! We don’t know if you’re with Hillary!”

As an election attorney for the Green Party of Ohio, I was drawn into the conversation and we realized the legal implications – stall as long as we can so Jill can finish speaking.

We refused to vacate the tent and shut down the rally as Jill was being ushered on the stage. We demanded a note from his supervisor. While Jill spoke, inviting the Berners to break from the Democratic Party, the Parks and Rec guy returned to show us an email on his phone verifying his orders. We perused it slowly and sent him away a second time where he vowed to return with police. He did, but by that time Jill was done speaking and Immortal Technique was rapping the rally up.

Then came the righteous cleansing rain.

When Hillary was nominated on Tuesday night, there was a mass walkout by Bernie supporters chanting “Walk out! Walk out!” “Election Fraud!” and “This is what democracy looks like!” Berners from California and New York visibly emptied large areas of the convention hall. Clinton controlled state delegations were down near the front for mainstream media cameras to pick up, while the seats that Sanders’ large contingent got were higher up. Some Bernie delegates stopped and had a silent protest at the convention media tent wearing black gags and tape over their mouths – words on the tape read “Election Fraud” and “Silenced.”

We were receiving constant messages from delegates in convention center. The first important post I noted on Monday was from a California delegate at 5:48pm urging people to join a class action lawsuit against the DNC. There were six links to devastating online articles and videos regarding the DNC’s election manipulation.

Many of the delegates messaged that they were being threatened with having their delegate credentials pulled, something that actually happened to Ohio State Senator Nina Turner. Reports are that she had refused to specifically endorse Clinton in her planned “second” to the Sanders nomination. Numerous Bernie supporters reported that their Bernie signs were confiscated by convention officials and Hillary delegates. New Yorkers complained that a white noise machine was placed by them to drown out their Hillary heckling.

Later in the week during the convention when Tim Kaine took the stage election integrity activists dropped a green banner over the side of the balcony reading “Election Fraud #wikileaks” and Hillary’s acceptance speech was marred by glowing neon green vests and T-shirts that read “Enough is Enough” indicating their plan to vote Green Party in November. Jill Stein was invited in to the convention center to be interviewed by Fox News, causing consternation.

As a fellow for the Institute for American Democracy and Election Integrity, I spoke on a panel at the parallel People Demanding Action (aka Progressive Democrats of America) conference on election integrity. Many in the audience were California Bernie delegates and during the Q and A they came to the conclusion that they should walk out during Clinton’s nomination address. There were two dissenters that led to a profane shouting match during the discussion.

After the Q and A, I raced back to FDR Park to join comedian/news analyst Lee Camp and my favorite investigative reporter Greg Palast on a panel. It never happened because the occupiers were heading over to the convention center for another round of arrests.

Now that it’s over, I read a report that the FBI was on the DNC email case. The great irony is that the FBI has announced it is going to investigate the source of the leaks, but not any potentially illegal activity that was in the email leak.

On a more positive note, I read a July 29 open letter to Bernie Sanders by 22 former campaign staffers and his current National Latino Outreach Deputy Director Cesar Vargas urging him to run for president on a Sanders/Stein Green Party ticket.

 

Appears in Issue:

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Green Party candidate Bob Fitrakis is running for Franklin County Prosecutor in 2016.

He promises to prosecute polluters, rogue cops, and corporate criminals.

What I hope to accomplish as Franklin County Prosecutor?
* Prosecute any police using excessive force
* Prosecute polluters poisoning the people, soil, water, or air
* Prosecute individuals involved in scandals, such as Redflex and data-rigging within Columbus City Schools
* Set up a whistleblower’s hotline
* Prosecute anyone involved in vote tampering or voter suppression, including elected officials
* Make Franklin County a Bill of Rights Enforcement Zone
* Arrest any individuals or government officials illegally spying on the people of Franklin County
* Guarantee due process and equal protection for all people, especially immigrants, minorities, and the poor who are targeted unfairly by the police
* Advocate for decriminalization and legalization of marijuana and hemp
* Provide treatment and diversion programs rather than jail sentences for drug addicts and abusers
* Go after the real drug dealers with ties to the CIA who bring drugs in by the planeload – wealthy, well-connected cartels

Bob Fitrakis Biography
Bob Fitrakis is currently the co-chair of the Ohio Green Party and the Franklin County Green Party. He ran as the Green Party Lt. Governor with Anita Rios in 2014 when the Green Party received over 100,000 votes in Ohio. He was also a candidate in the 3rd congressional district in 2012 and as the Green Party endorsed candidate for governor of Ohio in 2006. He has been a member of the Green Shadow Cabinet as the Federal Elections Commissioner since 2013 after he worked with Jill Stein, the 2012 presidential candidate.
Fitrakis is a Political Science Professor in the Social Sciences department at Columbus State Community College, where he won the Distinguished Professor Award in 2012. He has a Ph.D. in Political Science from Wayne State University and a J.D. from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. He was a Ford Foundation Fellow to the Michigan State legislature and currently serves as a Near East Area Commissioner. He co-authored “What Happened in Ohio: A documentary record of theft and fraud in the 2004 election” (New Press, 2006), and has authored or co-authored 12 other books including six on election integrity. Fitrakis is the editor of the Free Press, freepress.org and columbusfreepress.com.
Fitrakis was admitted to the Ohio Bar in 2003. In his first major case, he sued Ohio State University for violating students’ civil rights who were organizing the annual Hemp Festival, and won. He represented anti-fracking activist madeline ffitch, arrested for civil disobedience at a fracking well in southeastern Ohio. He also had charges dismissed against Kevin Egler in Kent, Ohio for posting an “Impeach Bush” sign on public property. He was served as the attorney for the Columbus NAACP, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, the Ohio Green Party, the Ohio Rights Group, Columbus Film Festival, The Neighborhood Network, Columbus Institute for Contemporary Journalism, among others.
Fitrakis has been an election protection activist since March 1994, when he served as an international observer for the national elections in El Salvador. He co-wrote and edited the El Salvador election report for the United Nations. Fitrakis was an election protection attorney on November 2, 2004 in Franklin County. After witnessing election suppression, he called the first public hearings on voter suppression and election irregularities and was one of four attorneys to file a challenge to Ohio’s presidential elections results: Moss v. Bush and Moss v. Moyer. In 2006, Fitrakis was co-counsel in the King-Lincoln-Bronzeville lawsuit against the Ohio Secretary of State’s office seeking to end racially discriminatory electoral practices in Ohio and to ensure free and fair elections. He authored a 50-point consent decree to ensure election integrity in Ohio submitted to the current Secretary of State. Many of these proposals have been adopted by the state of Ohio.
In December 2004, Fitrakis testified before the Judiciary Committee of Congress at the request of Rep. John Conyers in both Washington D.C. and Columbus. The information gathered from the Fitrakis’ investigations and hearings resulted in the Conyers Report, “What Went Wrong in Ohio?” released January 5, 2005. Fitrakis spoke to the National Press Club in Washington D.C. on Ohio’s election issues. Fitrakis briefed John Kerry, worked on election reform with Rep. Maxine Waters (D-LA), and briefed the Democratic Party Senate leadership. He later briefed the Congressional Progressive Caucus as well as the Congressional Black Caucus and the Senate Democratic leadership. Dr. Fitrakis testified at the Election Assessment hearings in Houston, Texas in 2005, which became part of the Carter-Baker Commission Report on federal election reform.

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Candidate Forum – Franklin County Prosecutor September 14, 2016

Candidate Forum – Franklin County Prosecutor

September 14, 2016, 6 – 8pm

Mt. Olivet Baptist Church
428 E Main St
Columbus, OH 43215

 

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Bob on Nicole Sandler Show June 10. 2016

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.”

promoFitFCpros

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Bob Speaking @ Congressional Briefing April 21, 2016

Fitrakis from Ben-Zion Ptashnik on Vimeo.

apr21VideoIntro

Other links and info:

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/35846-members-of-congress-call-for-end-to-mass-voter-suppression-and-insecure-elections

http://columbusfreepress.com/article/how-voter-suppression-efforts-are-threatening-our-democracy