Progressive Writers Bloc

Ends, Means, and Party Membership

By Uncle Bill Warner

Americans love a good scandal. Look at all the folks that people "know" are guilty after hours and hours of the media beating their cases to death. Michael Jackson, O.J.Simpson, Robert Blake and Gary Condit were all found "guilty" in the press, only to be found "not guilty" by juries who were prevented from reading the press.

Wouldn't it be nice if the press focused its attention on the people whose crimes hurt us all, the arrogant and corrupt folks who operate behind the scenes in our political process? Wouldn't it be dandy if these cases were actually investigated and taken to court? The public would have a real reason to get to know the intimate details of these cases.

Thomas Noe of Toledo (where the Democratic Party HQ's were burgled and their computer records stolen before the election), for instance, may not be quite so well known to you, since his involvement with the Republican Political machinations in Ohio during the past Presidential election have hardly been mentioned by the Press at all. Noe, a big Republican campaign supporter called a "veritable lawn sprinkler," was roundly thanked by G. W. Bush for his help last October for the over $100,000.00 he raised. Recently, it has come to light that $50 million of Ohio's Workers Compensation funds have been invested in Noe's coin business. Unfortunately, this investment seems to have come up over $12 million short. Oops, the rare coins that the state had invested in have disappeared. Some of the state's money was also used to buy really secure things like an autographed Mickey Mantle poster and vintage comic books. Nobody seems to care, except perhaps an Ohio worker who gets injured on the job and then finds out that his worker compensation fund has been looted to fund the Republican candidates. And "Coingate" appears to just scratch the surface.

One of the recipients of Noe's largesse was Kevin Blackwell, Ohio's blatantly-partisan Republican Secretary of State, who should be labeled "Public Enemy of Democracy Number One" for his shameless efforts to swing the election for the Republicans by any means available to him. He's the same Blackwell, who coincidentally happened to be Bush's re-election chairman in Ohio, the same one who voided thousands of Democratic voter's registrations and set it up so that voters in black (mostly Democratic) precincts had to stand in line for hours to vote.

In addition to Noe's manipulations of election finances, Walden O'Dell, the CEO of Ohio's Diebold's voting machine concession, stated in a fund raising letter asking $10,000 each from rich Bush contributors that he "hoped to deliver Ohio" to Bush in 2004. There are allegations that he indeed did just that with the paper-trail-free Diebold voting machines with privately-counted votes that were widely used in Ohio in 2004. I suspect that Noe and others, who have been involved in alleged corruption of the election process in Ohio may be investigated, maybe even indicted, but maybe not. After all hasn't Kevin Blackwell invited our new Republican Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez to investigate? An old cliché' about the "fox guarding the chicken coop" comes to mind.

In Ohio, Florida, California, and all over the country, Americans need to start being interested in what is going on. We need to demand that the Press do its job as the watchdog of democracy and shine light on ALL those who are accused of wrongdoing. We need to demand that all corruptions of our election process be publicized as thoroughly as the celebrity trials.

As a former Ohioan and former Republican, I am ashamed of the Republicans in Ohio for allowing the brazen repudiation of Democracy and the public interest by a corrupt and arrogant few in their Party. Were I a Republican today, I would demand better or drop my affiliation.

Will our corporate-controlled media ever deem it worthwhile to devote as much intense scrutiny to the shady characters who are stealing our democracy from us as they give to celebrity scandals? Oh, occasionally you hear mention about Florida's notorious Katherine Harris (Secretary of State who, like Blackwell, bent all the rules to elect Bush in 2000) running for the Senate, or maybe the bribes and money laundering involving Tom DeLay, Republican Majority Leader in the House, but alleged political criminals never stand in the spotlight for very long. If most Republicans knew what was going on through media attention to their party's "ends-justify-the-means" policy, they might just consider demanding that their party reform and live up to its stated ideals of honesty.

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