Dems in Denver 2008 ?

Denver is being touted as having the inside track for the national convention in 2008.  Although I understand the attraction of Denver for the Mountain West strategy, I have another suggestion.  Let's wait a few months and see if Senator Brown and Governor Strickland can invite our convention to Ohio.  There are a number of reasons that this makes strategic sense and it could also help underscore the miserable job creation record of the outgoing administration.  Other thoughts?

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Yet Another Republican Official Cheats the System

There are a great number of reasons for progressives around the country to question the integrity of Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, particularly in light of the way in which the 2004 presidential election was run under his supervision. But now news is emerging that threatens to show Ohioans of all political stripes of his questionable ethics.

Earlier this week, The Cleveland Plain Dealer and others reported that Blackwell owned stock in Diebold, the manufacturer of (substandard) electronic voting machines. Although Blackwell claims that his ownership of the stock was an accident (he has since sold all shares in the company), a clear conflict of interest nevertheless existed as the Secretary of State is in charge of electoral issues in the state of Ohio and thus can take actions that would directly affect Diebold's stock.

While The Plain Dealer bought Blackwell's spin that the purchase of the stock was merely an accident, a report by Mark Niquette and Joe Hallett in today's issue of The Columbus Dispatch raises even more questions about Blackwell's stock portfolio.

Although he opposes potential November ballot initiatives to permit slot machines at Ohio's horse-racing tracks, Republican gubernatorial candidate J. Kenneth Blackwell holds stock in the world's leading maker of slot machines.


As secretary of state, Blackwell must certify all ballot issues and has a vote on the five-member, bipartisan board that certifies ballot language.

That prompted Kathleen Clark, a government-ethics expert at the school of law at Washington University in St. Louis, to suggest there could be a conflict of interest if Blackwell's actions appear to favor gambling interests. [emphasis added]

Ken Blackwell clearly believes that he is free to cheat the system, that the ethics laws and moral code of this country do not apply to him because he is a position of power. He's far from the only Republican to hold this belief. Consider,

  • Scooter Libby has not for one second denied the fact that he illegally lied to prosecutors to cover up for the actions of his superiors in the Bush White House. In fact, Libby seems to be proud of his actions, trumpeting them in court documents.
  • When it comes to selectively leaking classified information, spying on American citizens or many other actions in the past considered illegal and immoral in this country, President Bush and his staff have repeatedly assertedthe power to do whatever they want -- regardless of the letter or spirit of the law.
The list goes on with the actions of Tom DeLay (allegedly subverting Texas elections law and running the infamous K Street Project), Claude Allen (allegedly knocking off retail stores, in effect), David Safavian (allegedly lying to prosecutors about his relationship with Jack Abramoff), Bob Taft (taking illegally excessive gifts from lobbyists), Randy "Duke" Cunningham (accepting millions in bribes in return for government largesse), etc., etc., etc.

How many Republicans need to cheat the system by acting as if they were above the law before the American people are ready to throw them out? If the latest polling from the Associated Press is to be trusted, the point at which Americans lose faith in Republican officials has passed and Americans are ready to throw the bums out of office.

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Blackwell invested in Diebold

Check this out! Kenneth Blackwell accidently invested in Diebold. Accident my __! ent/shared-gen/ap/National/Ohio_Ethics_F iling.html

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The state's top elections official said Monday he accidentally invested in a company that makes voting machines.

Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, who is seeking the Republican nomination for governor, said he discovered the shares for Diebold Inc. while preparing a required filing for the Ohio Ethics Commission.

"While I was unaware of this stock in my portfolio, its mere presence may be viewed as a conflict and is therefore not acceptable," he said in a letter included in his filing.

Blackwell said his investments are directed by an accountant and financial adviser without his knowledge or help, "similar to a blind trust."

He said a manager of his investments account at Credit Suisse First Boston bought 178 shares of Diebold stock at $53.67 per share in January 2005. Blackwell said the manager did not follow instructions to avoid such investments.

He said 95 shares were later sold at a loss but he still held 83 shares until discovering them and liquidating them Monday, also at a loss.

The state negotiated a deal with Diebold last year for $2,700 per touch-screen machine. In a statement given in May as part of a lawsuit, Judith Grady, who oversees the secretary of state's compliance with the 2002 federal voting act, said Blackwell was not involved with price negotiations.

What had been a mundane political duty took on new meaning last year after Gov. Bob Taft's failure to report several golf outings led to his no contest plea to ethics violations. He was fined the maximum $4,000.

Bob Paduchik, a spokesman for Attorney General Jim Petro, Blackwell's rival in the GOP primary, called for further investigation.

Democrats weren't buying Blackwell's explanation.

"If he can't manage to know what's in his checkbook, why would the people of Ohio want to trust this man with the state's checkbook?" said Brian Rothenberg, spokesman for the Ohio Democratic Party

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Response to Rep. Bob Ney's political attacks

Zack Space, candidate for U. S. Congress in Ohio's 18th Congressional District, issued the following response to statements made on this date by Rep. Robert Ney:

"I find it a bit curious that Bob Ney would launch an unprovoked political attack against me in response to his friend, Tom Delay's announcement that he is stepping down from Congress. It seems Mr. Ney has used the occasion to brandish lies about my position on various issues, ranging from gun control to late term abortions. I was originally inclined to refrain from comment about Tom Delay's shameful departure, and his association with Mr. Ney. However, Mr. Ney's blatant misrepresentations compel me to respond.

"Bob Ney is the poster child for bad ethics in Washington and his two biggest buddies are disgraced Congressman Tom DeLay and convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff. It is no wonder that Bob Ney will slash and burn anyone in his way in order to keep his stranglehold on power. Bob Ney should follow his mentor Tom DeLay's lead and step down from Congress."

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The "Prayer" of the Republican House Member

House Spearker Denis Hastert's "Prayer"
With apologies to King David
by former Congressman Bob Shamansky (D-OH) - Candidate for Ohio's 12th Congressional District

DeLay is my bagman:  I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in still more money.
He leadeth me beside big donors.
He restoreth  my cash.
He leadeth me in paths of self-rightousness for his own sake.

Yeah, though I walk though the valley of grand juries,
I will fear not evil, for Tom is with me.
His hammer and his staff, they comfort me.
He preparest a defense for me in the presence of mine prosecutors.
My bank account runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow all my votes as Tom directs,
And I will dwell in the House of Representatives forever.

Bob Shamansky is a lifelong Central Ohio resident, lawyer, and local businessman. He served as a Special Agent in the United States Army's Counter Intelligence Corp during the Korean War, and as a Member of Congress representing Ohio's 12th Congressional District from 1981-1983.  He is seeking the Democratic nomination as a candidate in the 12th Congressional District.

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