The Watering Hole, Monday, December 5, 2016: Deadly Force Is Not Always Justified

After posting some cryptic messages on his Facebook page on the morning of November 28, 2016, 18-year-old Abdul Razak Ali Artan, a refugee from Somalia, drove his car over a curb at Ohio State University into a crowd of people, then exited the car and began attacking people with a butcher knife. Officer Alan Horujko arrived on the scene within a minute and, as a police spokesman put it later, “eliminated the threat.” That’s cop-speak for “he killed him.” But did he really have to? Was killing Artan the only option available to “eliminate the threat”? You and I weren’t there but, even so, I seriously doubt Officer Horujko had no other option to “eliminate the threat.” And what exactly does “eliminate the threat” mean? Which was the “threat”? Artan himself or the butcher knife he was using on people? If Artan was disarmed of the knife, can one automatically assume he was still going to continue to try to kill people? It’s certainly possible, I agree, but can it be automatically assumed, and therefore used as justification to say that killing him was the only option available? Don’t cops carry several kinds of weapons? Don’t they have batons with which to beat down on someone’s arm to knock a knife out of his hands? Don’t they have tasers? Don’t they have any other options besides guns? And even with the guns, do they always have to shoot to kill? Is it because they’re such bad shots that the only chance they have of hitting a suspect is to aim for the torso? That’s what some argue. Well, they don’t call them bad shots (which many street cops appear to be based on the news reports of how many shots were fired versus how many times the suspect was hit), but they seem concerned that having to shoot at a knee or leg would be too chancy, and might result in a missed shot. They miss anyway, so I don’t understand that argument.

Ross Elder is a military veteran (he served in Operation Enduring Freedom) and freelance writer for Soldier of Fortune Magazine. Thank you for your service to our country, Mr. Elder. He believes that Americans simply do not understand why it is justifiable for police to use deadly force against even unarmed people. As he puts it, “The problem with the public outcry and the rioting in pursuit of “JUSTICE” is that most people know exactly nothing about physical combat and life threatening situations. They assume that if a person is unarmed that deadly force cannot and should not be employed. And they are wrong.” I couldn’t disagree with him more because there are several things wrong with what he said. First of all, we understand that there will be times when deadly force must be used, but they should always be as a last resort, not the first option, which is what appears to be happening with many of these cops killing unarmed black men. Second is his framework. He equates the situation of a police officer confronting an unarmed person (male or female) behaving in a potentially dangerous way with that of a soldier in a war facing an enemy in combat. They are not at all equivalent. The soldier has a duty to kill, distasteful as I find it. The police officer does not. The cop is not a soldier in a war, no matter how often you may hear some describe themselves as such. Their duty is to protect the public from the bad guys.

But that doesn’t mean their job is to find the bad guys and kill them. They’re supposed to stop the bad guys from doing any bad things they’re doing, and then bring them to justice for the bad things they did. By law there’s a process to which everyone is due, and it’s called “due process.” So important is due process that it’s enshrined as a guaranteed right in the US Constitution. That process involves many different people working in many different roles across many different government agencies. There are checks and balances along the way to ensure that the guarantee of due process is not ignored with impunity. And there’s a point early on in the process where the role of the police officer who first encountered the suspect no longer involves protecting the public from him, or even physically handling him in any way. He may testify against him during the trial, where his proper role is to present evidence. But he does not determine if the suspect is guilty of violating the law. And he does not determine what punishment the convicted will face. And he does not carry out that punishment. And even if the charge was “Failure To Obey The Lawful Orders Of A Police Officer,” the punishment would not be execution. Sadly, that has often been the punishment meted out for just such a crime, but without the whole due process thing.

Mr. Elder’s argument goes further astray when he starts equating the situation of a police officer confronting an unarmed person (male or female) behaving in a potentially dangerous way with that a civilian being attacked by a mugger or rapist, or even a killer. Again, the two are not equivalent at all. As a private citizen, you do have the right to defend yourself. And if you have a REASONABLE belief that your life is in danger, you can justify using deadly force. But civilians are not police officers, and do not have to concern themselves with protecting the rights of their attacker during the attack. And, yes, they do have rights. Once there is no longer a threat to your life (a real threat, not just a hypothetical one, or the old standby of the existential threat), there no longer exists a justification for the civilian to use deadly force. He’s not allowed to go after the attacker and kill him. Now some may say that states with so-called Stand Your Ground laws do allow such behavior if you continue to believe your life is in danger. But, again, it has to be a reasonable belief. And that’s part of the problem. People who are frightened, especially when they think their life is in danger, are usually unable to think reasonably.

Though I have no legal training, I don’t understand how a state law can override your federal right to not be deprived of life, liberty or property with out due process of law. It doesn’t matter that we may be talking about a civilian doing the killing and not the government. That’s irrelevant. The power to deprive someone of their life is not the government’s to give away to civilians. You can’t say that enumerated right only applies to police and judges trying to take your life and not to civilians. That’s stupid! It doesn’t say anything about to whom that power is denied, and it certainly would not be the framers’ intent that civilians be allowed to go around killing each other for whatever reasons they wish. So letting a state write a law that specifically allows someone to do that would clearly be unconstitutional. So, no, Stand Your Ground laws must be struck down and the old standard of Duty To Retreat must be reimposed.

Perhaps you’ve seen this meme:


Mr. Elder says this meme “is not only misleading, it’s just plain stupid”. He writes, “First, let’s talk briefly about combat and self-defense.” Well, no, let’s not. A police officer on Main Street, USA, is not a soldier in Afghanistan. But he continues, again, based on the very false idea that what the cop is doing is exactly the same as what the soldier is doing. “When it comes to shooting an attacker, there is no school of training that directs you to take one shot then wait to see the reaction of the person you just shot. Then, if they are still a threat, if you actually hit them, take one more shot and, again, wait to see the reaction of the attacker before repeating this process until the threat is no longer present. If there IS such a school of training out there, please let me know. Then, run screaming from the building because you are being improperly trained by really stupid people.” No, they are not. It’s only stupid if you believe your one and only objective should be to kill the person you’re confronting. But it’s not. The street cop’s job is not to kill. That’s usually left to SWAT teams and Hostage Negotiating Teams. The street cop is there to make sure as many innocent lives are protected as possible while making sure the suspect is not denied his rights under the Constitution. He’s supposed to arrest the perpetrator, not skip the arrest, decide he’s guilty, sentence him to death, and then carry out the execution. All within a minute of arriving on the scene. Or in the case of Tamir Rice, two seconds. What gave those police officers the right to claim a life-threatening danger existed anywhere outside their own minds? And therein lies the crux of the problem. We allow someone’s frightened state of mind to become a justification for using deadly force in a situation where it clearly ought not be warranted. And with Stand Your Ground laws, sometimes the killer only has to tell the cops, “I swear, I thought he was going to kill me,” and the questioning of him as a murderer stops, no arrest is made, and he never has to prove that what he said was true.

I realize the law may be written differently, but it should not be so that merely believing your life is in danger justifies the use of deadly force. What if it’s not? What if it never was in danger? Are you still going to say that the use of deadly force was justified when in reality no actual threat to your life existed? How? To defend it is to say that you imagined a situation that just wasn’t real, and then acted on that false belief to take another person’s life. And you think that should be a valid, legal defense? “I swear, I thought he was an alien from outer space, and I had to kill him before he returned to his natural form and killed us all. It’s okay. We’re all safe now. You’re welcome.” What if he really, truly believed that? And what if, just what if, he was actually right? I know, it’s highly unlikely, but you have to agree it’s not totally impossible, is it? But, no, he probably killed that guy because he’s a murderous asshole who just didn’t like the guy he killed for some other reason having no connection to reality. But why give him some potentially legal excuse at all? Why not make the law say he has a Duty To Retreat, and can use deadly force only when confronted with no other options? Stand Your Ground laws pretty much make deadly force your go-to option, since they allow you to assume the other person is going to kill you if you don’t kill him first. What if, in your twisted little mind, you assume the other guy will kill you because of the color of his skin or the religion you believe he practices? Because there are people out there who will kill another person for those reasons. And it doesn’t matter if they’re made to answer for them or not, because their victims will still be dead.

The average police officer on patrol is not a combat soldier in a wartime situation. Nor is that officer a civilian under assault without the benefit of a police officer nearby to assist. They are trained in self-defense techniques, including unarmed combat. Are they unable to utilize those techniques, or feel they are just not good at them? Then why are they graduating the academy? And because they are not in a combat situation, they can’t think of themselves as soldiers whose goal is to kill. Their job is to subdue the suspect (thus eliminating the threat to public safety), arrest him, and bring him to face the due process of law to which he is entitled. We say that people in America are innocent until proven guilty. It may surprise many Americans to know that’s not how it works even in some of our “friendly” foreign countries. If enough evidence exists to believe you might have done the crime, it’s up to you to prove you didn’t. You should feel lucky we do it the right way here, assuming the right way means not convicting innocent people for crimes they didn’t commit. Assuming, of course, you live long enough to enjoy that due process of law. Your chances of enjoying that due process are better if you’re white. Which is a whole other side to this problem into which I do not wish to go.

[This post originally appeared on Pick Wayne’s Brain on December 4, 2016.]

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss anything you wish.

The Watering Hole, Wednesday, November 9, 2011: CRASH AND BURN!

In the end, it wasn’t even close. As of this writing:

The people chose unions over Republicans: 61% to 39%, with 99% of the vote counted in Ohio.

And Zygotes lost their bid for personhood, 58% to 42%, with 91% of the votes counted in Mississippi.

Of course, the next natural disaster to strike the U.S. will be God’s revenge for these votes. (/snark)

This is, unmistakeably, a clear sign that the Republican Agenda is not being accepted by a vast majority. Which means, of course, that Fox Gnus will spin this as a ratification of all things Republican.


Kucinich Opposes The Army’s “Virtual Reality” Video Game

Dennis J. Kucinich, Democratic Congressman for Ohio’s 10th District, seeks to eliminate federal money used to support a virtual reality warfare game used by the United States Army to lure in new recruits.

The Army’s traveling virtual reality experience which glorifies killing; costs an estimated $9.8 million to run.

Six fully-armed military vehicles, 70 flat screen displays, 50 players. It’s 19,500 square feet of video game firepower, and the Army has aimed this beast directly at America’s youth. The Virtual Army Experience represents one of the latest examples of how the military has embraced video games both as a training, and especially, a recruitment tool. The traveling Virtual Army Experience allows recruitable teens to run through a simulated mission to deliver supplies to aid workers in a fictional city. It also lets them wield laser guns and show off their driving skills against virtual opponents.

Under the fold is a video that shows the Army’s VAE (Virtual Army Experience).  After watching the video, I can completely understand why he opposes this propaganda so much.

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Connie Culp – First Full Face Transplant Recipient Talks About Experience

On Tuesday, Connie Culp let the nation witness the results of her full face transplant.   Five years ago after a shotgun blast, inflicted by her husband, damaged the majority of her original face.

The bony structure that once supported her face was gone, as was most of her face. She could not breathe other than through a tracheotomy, could not smell, could not even drink or eat normally.

Several dozen reconstructive surgeries left her not much better off. Connie became afraid to go out in public where doctors say children would run away from her because of her appearance.

Doctors at the Cleveland Clinic set out to try something that had never been done before, not to the extent they had planned for Connie, a total face transplant.

Specialists say their purpose for even considering the surgery is not cosmetic. Their goal was to restore her facial functions and to give Connie the ability to eat and breath, to smell and to interact socially as normally as possible once again.

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Joe the Plumber Goes Hollywood

Many of us thought he would disappear from the limelight, after everyone found out he was an unlicensed plumber with unpaid back taxes.  Well, that doesn’t seem to be the case.  According to Della Croce, who has managed rock stars, Joe the Plumber is a special case.  “Never in 25 years have I seen this level of interest in a celebrity,” Della Croce said.

Joe the Plumber didn’t just hire a publicist, he hired a publicity team.  Della Croce is dishing on their latest client Joe.

The Press Office in Nashville, where clients include rockers Grand Funk Railroad and Eddie Money, will help him handle the flood of interview and appearance requests that have poured in since he was mentioned during a presidential debate and quickly became a household name.

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Ohio GOTV Video For Obama


You know this whole thing could still come down to Ohio.

The presidential race was so close last time, in fact, that the margin averaged out to just nine votes per precinct across the Buckeye state. That’s one of the motivating points in a new GOTV video on YouTube, which Obama’s aides uploaded on Thursday night, appealing for more volunteers in the homestretch.

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More Ballot Changes In Ohio Confuse Voters

The Brennan Center for Justice has sent a memo to the County Board of Elections were the TSX is used. It seems some counties in Ohio they have split the presidential candidates into two columns on their paper ballots. This has caused problems with voters in the past. Lawrence Norden from the Brennan Center has the details of why this is so confusing on the TSX also.

More recently we’ve found out that some counties that use touch screen machines have split the presidential contest onto two pages — meaning on the first screen voters might see Barr and Nader, and on the second screen McCain and Obama. For reasons explained in a memo we sent to county officials, that’s likely to confuse and frustrate a fair number of voters. So far we have confirmed that Portage (home of Kent State), Hancock, and Wayne Counties have split the presidential contest this way. Others like Montgomery, Stark, and Butler Counties have managed to get the presidential contest (eight candidates and a write-in slot) onto one screen.

In their memo they explain the problem and what their research has shown when presidential candidates are put on two different screens.

Layout of the Presidential Contest on the TSX

We have recently been contacted by Ohio voters concerned that in certain counties using the AccuVote TSX, the presidential contest is spread over two pages. Based on calls to county boards in the past day, this complaint appears to be correct. Some counties (including Montgomery and Butler) report that they placed the entire presidential contest on a single page.

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Sherrod Brown Pushes Back At Bush On Probe Of Ohio Voter Registrations

Ohioans live in a state that it is important that all new voters are welcomed and that all of their votes are accurately counted. We also live in a state that in the last election of 2004, our Secretary of State, Ken Blackwell (R), was eviscerated by the judge in his response over Blackwell’s new directive to suppress votes in Ohio. This is what the judge had to say to Secretary Blackwell, “The exigencies requiring the relief being ordered herein are due to the failure of the defendant to fulfill his duty not only to this Court, as its injunction directed him to do. The Proposed Directive remains…and is every bit as much in violation of HAVA. Blackwell apparently seeks to accomplish the same result in Ohio 2004 that occurred in Florida in 2000.”

There is no grey area in what the judge had to say about Secretary Blackwell’s tactics in 2004. Now we move forward to 2008, Boehner (R) initially sent a letter to Mukasey, when he didn’t respond Boehner directly contacted President George W. Bush. He wants Bush to get involved with the 200,000 new voters to make them either verify information or cast provisional ballots, which we all know are oftentimes thrown out.

In response to this possible suppression of new voters, Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and five congressional lawmakers, urged Attorney General Michael Mukasey not to intervene in Ohio’s voter registration dispute where Republicans have challenged the integrity of 200,000 new voter registration forms.

“The eyes of the nation are once again on Ohio in the Nov. 4 election in this critical election,” Brown and the congressional Democrats said in a letter sent to Mukasey. “We have confidence in the work that is being done by Ohio’s bipartisan group of election officials and by Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner. We respectfully request that you refrain from taking any action absent more compelling evidence than partisan political requests.

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Bush Orders DOJ to Probe Ohio Voter Registrations

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First, this is a way for George W. Bush to try to suppress the vote in Ohio.  Secondly, in this state, all voters are required to present valid identification in order to vote.  House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, is leading the charge, by sending the letter to Bush to probe the matter.

President George W. Bush late Friday asked Attorney General Michael Mukasey to investigate whether hundreds of thousands of newly registered voters in the battleground state of Ohio would have to verify the information on their voter registration forms or be given provisional ballots, an issue the U.S. Supreme Court weighed in on last week.

The unprecedented intervention by the White House less than two weeks before the presidential election may result in at least 200,000 voters in Ohio not being able to vote on Election Day if they are forced to provide additional identification when they head to the polls.

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Ohio Man Charged In Making Death Threat Against Election Official

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Our Secretary of State has been put through the mill this election year.  Jennifer Brunner has worked harder than any Secretary of State, in my memory, to ensure that this state has no election fraud that we witnessed in 2000 and 2004.  

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Now, to make matters worse, a Columbus man has been charged Friday, with making a telephone death threat to Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner.

The State Highway Patrol says Dana McArtor was charged Friday with intimidation.

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Lessons: Never let Bush give a speech & No Presidential Campaign based on a guy from YouTube!

International Herald Tribune

Gail Collins did another awesome op-ed about, Is Anybody Happy?  She covered everything from George Bush’s speech on Friday to the fatal mistake made by McCain in using “Joe the Plumber” as the centerpiece, in the final days of his campaign.   These are the excerpts that I found most noteworthy, also her lessons to be learned are too funny.

First of all, George W. Bush showed up on TV Friday morning to reassure Americans. What could possibly be worse? Everybody knows that anything the U.S. president says is very likely wrong, and certainly won’t happen. If he announced: “I’m sending government agents to Spokane to arrest the looters,” we would expect that the officials would get lost, nobody would be arrested, and the looters probably never existed in the first place.

So hearts sunk throughout the United States when Bush appeared at a Chamber of Commerce gathering to say that the economy would recover.

“America is the most attractive destination for investors around the globe. America is the home of the most talented and enterprising and creative workers in the world,” said the president, who also insisted that “democratic capitalism remains the greatest system ever devised.”

Which translates into: All the money is going to Asia, nobody will ever get a job again and Karl Marx was right after all. Bummer.

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Joe the Plumber Admits The Truth

UpDate III:  Joe the Plumber thinks Social Security is a joke.

It seems that Joe “the Plumber” Wurzelbacher is a registered Republican.  Surprise!  He voted in his first primary on March 4, 2008, registering as a Republican.  In fact, the gang at DailyKos found that every single Wurzelbacher in the Milford and Cincinnati area contributes to the Republican Party.

UpDate IV:  Joe “the Plumber” is no relation to Robert Wurzelbacher.  No connection to the Keating 5 Scandal.  Marty thought he might have had a connection there, but even Keith Olbermann on MSNBC said they were not related.

Update V:  “Joe The Plumber” Part II – The Vetting Of Joe.  Link to my new post.  With all the latest updates.  Including John McCain’s new Campaign Ad featuring “Joe the Plumber.”  Latest Update about “Joe the Plumber” – from Bloomberg and more.  (use my new post link)

This is what Marty Eisenstadt uncovered yesterday on his blog:

John McCain did great tonight in the debate. But every time John mentioned “Joe the Plumber,” some of us in the campaign banged our heads against the wall. If Steve Schmidt had any hair left, I hear he would have been pulling it out tonight. He reportedly screamed at John’s debate prep team tonight (out of earshot of reporters, of course). “You idiots – he’s related to Charles Keating… of the Keating Five scandal!” They thought they had a real live Joe Six-Pack who’s spurned Barack Obama’s tax plan. But what they forgot to do was check on Joe Wurzelbacher’s background.

Turns out that Joe Wurzelbacher from the Toledo event is a close relative of Robert Wurzelbacher of Milford, Ohio. Who’s Robert Wurzelbacher? Only Charles Keating’s son-in-law and the former senior vice president of American Continental, the parent company of the infamous Lincoln Savings and Loan. The now retired elder Wurzelbacher is also a major contributor to Republican causes giving well over $10,000 in the last few years.

Over at The Jed Report, he feels the same way I do about “Joe the Plumber”, but he found some interesting facts out also.

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McCain Loses Again – Focused On “Joe The Plumber”

Here is a small segment of Katie Couric talking with Joe the Plumber after the debates to get his reactions. He said he wasn’t swayed by the debate.

Joan Walsh took issue with McCain’s harping on Joe the Plumber. She has a good point bringing this up in her op-ed. I know I’m sick of hearing about him already. If you can’t be successful in Ohio making 250k+ something is seriously wrong. We have a low cost of living here, housing is very affordable, and grocery prices are always within reason. So either Joe the Plumber, is bad with his money or he has always been a diehard Republican that is trying to get attention from the media. Here are Joan Walsh’s noteworthy points about the debate.

John McCain promised to kick Barack Obama’s “you know what” on Wednesday night. He hinted that he’d bring up former Weather Underground leader Bill Ayers and worse. Instead McCain bludgeoned Obama with Joe the Plumber, and the effect was more farce than fierce.

McCain mentioned the now-famous plumber, Joe Wurzelbacher, an apparently wealthy Toledo businessman who complained he’d pay more taxes under Obama’s plan, more than he talked about Sarah Palin or Osama bin Laden, by far. Midway through the 90-minute conversation, Obama was addressing Joe the Plumber, too. And it was clear by then that McCain had lost three straight debates.

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200K Ohio Voters With Discrepancies

Secretary of State Jennifer Bruner is trying to work out the discrepancies by the Friday deadline. Some are as simple as misspellings, others are more significant. She is working overtime to make sure all county election boards can locate the mismatches. More on this breaking story from the Associated Press.

Close to one in every three newly registered Ohio voters will end up on court-ordered lists being sent to county election boards because they have some discrepancy in their records, an elections spokesman said Wednesday.

Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner estimated that an initial review found that about 200,000 newly registered voters reported information that did not match motor-vehicle or Social Security records, Brunner spokesman Kevin Kidder said.

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Federal Court: Ohio Must Verify New Voter Registrations

There have been approximately 666,000 new voters that have registered since January.  Ohio Republicans sued Brunner, she of course is a Democrat, need I say more.  Here is the latest update from the AP.

A federal appeals court on Tuesday ordered Ohio’s top elections official to set up a system by Friday to verify the eligibility of newly registered voters and make the information available to the state’s 88 county election boards.

The full 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati upheld a lower court ruling that Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner must use other government records to check thousands of new voters for registration fraud.

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Obama and Biden: A Rescue Plan for the Middle Class

Barack Obama is announcing today in Toledo, Ohio, a major policy address to lay out his economic rescue plan for the middle class. 

Barack Obama and Joe Biden: A Rescue Plan for the Middle Class

Our country faces its most serious economic crisis since the great depression. We have lost 760,000 jobs this year and some leading forecasters project that the unemployment rate will exceed 8 percent by the end of 2009. Working families, who saw their incomes decline by $2,000 in the economic “expansion” from 2000 to 2007 now face even deeper income losses. Retirement savings accounts have lost $2 trillion. Markets have fallen 40% in less than a year. Millions of homeowners who played by the rules can’t meet their mortgage payments and face foreclosure as the value of their homes have plummeted. With credit markets nearly frozen, businesses large and small cannot access the credit they need to meet payroll and create jobs.

Here is the link to the entire Rescue Plan in a pdf file.

If they post a broadcast of his speech, I will do an update as soon as it is available.

Here it is from Raw Replay:

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Hillary Proclaims “McCain is no Maverick”

At a Human Rights Campaign dinner, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton called Republican presidential candidate John McCain not a maverick but a “mimic” of President Bush.

Joe Biden had to cancel his weekend campaign events because his wife’s mother is ill. He called Hillary to fill in for him at this event. Sen. Clinton, who did some heavy campaigning in Lansing and Grand Rapids, Michigan at the end of September, spoke via satellite to the national gay rights group on Saturday.

Rather than sharing her thoughts, she said, “I want to share with you the eloquent remarks that Joe had prepared.” Clinton sought to tie McCain to Bush, saying the Arizona senator offered voters “more of the same.”

He’s not a maverick. He’s a mimic,” she said. She noted that McCain doesn’t support extending job discrimination and hate-crimes laws to cover sexual orientation and supports the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

As in her campaign address in Michigan-Hillary told the crowd that we can’t turn this country around with the same team that got us into this mess in the first place. She expanded on that speech Saturday by saying that Americans need to takes steps toward “securing equality and dignity for all Americans, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.”

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Ohioans Speak Out Against McCain

Ohio has always had a distinctive divide when it comes to politics. Northern Ohio, from Massillon up to the Great Lakes has strongly favored Democrats-while Southern Ohio is GOP country.

What makes me stand up and take notice of this particular poll is that it was done in Southern Ohio. The Columbus Dispatch did a poll and found that Obama has a 7 point lead. Not only is that music to my ears-it means that the southern part of the state is waking up to the fact that we can’t afford any more heavy job losses-and that this state can no longer tolerate the Bush-McCain policies. The citizens of this great state are speaking out and becoming more vocal.

“Their qualifications are worlds apart,” said Bruce Tromp, 42, a software engineer from Springboro, near Cincinnati. “Biden has years of experience and is a skilled politician. Palin doesn’t even seem to understand the issues, let alone be able to form an intelligent opinion on them.”

The Ohio Democrats from around the state are rallying for Sen. Barack Obama-this new Dispatch Poll shows-that there are concerns about our economy throughout all the districts. With thousands of voters casting their ballots early to vote absentee, having this new setup will not be “the only poll that counts is the one on Election Day.” This will cut back on the election fraud this state has witnessed in the past.

Ohio is even more critical to McCain’s campaign this year since he pulled out of Michigan last week. Not only has no Republican ever won the presidency without carrying the Buckeye State, McCain almost has to run the 2004 electoral table to win, carrying every single state President Bush won four years ago, including Ohio.

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McCain Leaves Michigan – “Reeks” Havoc on Ohio

McCain is pulling up stakes in Michigan and leaving. With only a month before Election Day; he has decided to pull all TV ads also. The McCain Campaign is having a difficult time trying to change voter’s minds in many blue states.

McCain had several large rallies there that didn’t do as well as they had hoped.McCain is to stop dropping mail there and send most of his staff to more competitive states, including Wisconsin, Ohio and Florida. Wisconsin went for Kerry in 2004, Ohio and Florida for Bush.

With the Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm and skepticism among blue-collar voters about Barack Obama could make it competitive. But recent polls there have shown Obama extending what had been a small lead, with the economic crisis damaging an already sagging GOP brand in a state whose economy is in tatters.

Ohio has taken many steps to correct the problems they experienced in the last two elections. Election ’08 opened in Ohio with a surge of first-time voters and the subpoena of a electronic operative who may have helped steal the White House, a subpoena that may be followed by one for Karl Rove.

By our count, at least twelve Ohio counties have split the presidential contest over two columns on their paper ballots for this November’s election. This “column split” often confuses voters and results in double voting in the presidential race – and an uncounted vote. Today the Brennan Center urged election officials and advocates in Ohio to make sure that voters are aware of the split, and to make sure they vote only once for president.

The twelve Ohio counties whose ballots spilt the presidential race over two columns are: Ashtabula, Athens, Auglaize, Champaign, Delaware, Lawrence, Logan, Madison, Ottawa, Seneca, Shelby, and Wyandot.

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Barack Obama: Don’t Let McCain Steal Ohio-Vote Early

The last day to register is October 6th, and you can start voting on September 30th.  The Democrats only lost by 9 votes per precinct in 2004.  So cast your ballot in person or by mail.  Come on Ohio, we can’t afford another 4 years of the Bush-McCain Republican policies.

Muslim Women & Children Gassed In Dayton After “Obsession” DVD Hits Ohio

You may have heard that millions of copies of a right-wing, terror propaganda DVD have been mailed or bundled in newspaper deliveries to voters in swing states. This 60-minute DVD, titled Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West, landed on Ohio doorsteps last weekend. Funding for this hate-based DVD is coming from a New York-based group called the Clarion Fund. Huffington Post has some background on the Obsession DVD.

The program was orginally shown on Fox News in the days leading up to the 2006 mid-term elections, and far right-wing activist David Horowitz toured the country screening the film on college campuses during 2007. Mainstream religious groups have called Obsession biased and divisive. It cuts between scenes of Nazi rallies and footage of Muslim children being encouraged to become suicide bombers.

On Friday, two men according to a child eye witness, gassed a Dayton Mosque. These men sprayed a “chemical irritant” into a window of the Islamic Society of Greater Dayton, where 300 people were gathered for a Ramadan prayer service. From a Daily Kos entry, the room that the chemical was released is where babies and children stay while their parents participate in prayer services.

This is the report from the Dayton Daily News on the incident.

The 300 or so inside were celebrating the last 10 days of Ramadan with dinner and a prayer session, but the prayer session was interrupted so those suffering from tearing, coughing and shortness of breath could receive treatment. Wiley said an adult and juvenile were taken to area hospitals and others had their eyes or faces washed on the scene. He did not know how many people were treated at the scene.

Chris at the Daily Kos received an email from a friend of the victims that tells an even scarier story of the incident compared to the unfeeling one that the Dayton Daily put out.

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Sunday Morning News Line-Up

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Obsessed? Addicted? It’s politics

When you close your eyes at night, do the colors of CNN’s “magic” electoral map dance in your head like red and blue sugarplums? When you get in your car and hear the same talk-radio personalities saying the same things they said the last time you got in the car, do you wonder what day it is?

Link to story.

Metrolink officials say trains crashed after their engineer drove through red light

Federal transportation officials say it’s too early to determine what caused the crash that has killed at least 25 people and left 135 more injured, 40 of them critically.

Link to story.

Weakened Ike moves on after battering Gulf coast

Rescuers made their way through piles of debris and water-filled streets in Texas seaside towns on Sunday after Hurricane Ike flooded hundreds of miles of U.S. coastline, cut power to millions and pummeled the oil hub of Houston.

Link to story.

 Ohio Secretary of State Prevents Vote Caging

Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner won plaudits from voting rights activists by issuing a directive that they say will protect the ability of millions of registered voters to cast ballots on Election Day.

Link to story.

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Ten Ways the McCain/Palin GOP is Now Stealing the Ohio Vote

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The McCain/Palin GOP is already in the process of stealing the Ohio vote, as was done in 2004. Among those at the center of the GOP strategy is Bush Family computer operative Michael Connell, who programmed the key vote counting mechanisms that were used to give George W. Bush his second term.

Much has now changed in Ohio, including the transition from a Republican governor (Robert Taft) and secretary of state (J. Kenneth Blackwell) to Democrats Ted Strickland and Jennifer Brunner. Brunner has made strong public commitments to conducting a fair registration process, an orderly election and a reliable vote count this fall. She is being pushed by the King-Lincoln-Bronzeville federal civil rights lawsuit, filed originally against Blackwell.

To help guarantee an election that truly reflects the will of the voters, will convene a conference on election protection procedures webcast from Columbus this September 26-28. It will reinforce the positive steps Brunner has taken, and will help train poll workers and judges to safeguard the vote in Ohio and around the nation.

But much of the electoral apparatus remains beyond public control. Serious questions remain about how reliable the final vote count will be, and how much of it the Republican party will cage, confuse and steal in its crusade to put John McCain and Sarah Palin into the White House.

Here are some of the key factors that still endanger the vote in Ohio and around the nation:

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McCain needs Ohio, but Ohio isn’t for sale….

No Republican President in history has ever won without Ohio.  Obama can win without Ohio but McCain can’t.  All Obama needs is the states Kerry won and to flip states like Indiana and Virginia and it’s all over he wins.  But if you look at how little Kerry lost Ohio by 118,000 votes, as noted by the Cincinnati Enquirer. Turn around about six votes per precinct statewide, they say, and it can happen — Ohio can make Barack Obama president.

That isn’t really a tough challenge in these economics times.  Ohio has been one of the hardest hit states during the Bush Presidency.  Every county in the state has lost jobs, and in Wilmington 8,000 DHL jobs are riding on the whims of John McCain. Since he and Rick Davis are such good friends with Deutsche Post World Net, in Germany that have a large air-hub in Wilmington, Ohio, they should put in a good word since Rick Davis is a lobbyist for them.  But instead of sending Rick to Germany to use his influence, this is the statement John McCain made.  “McCain said although he has urged an investigation into the UPS-DHL deal to ensure there are no antitrust violations, he can’t guarantee the jobs will stay.”

Sherrod Brown (D) Ohio has been begging John McCain to help in this situation.  “I’m personally calling on John McCain to send Rick Davis to use his considerable influence” with his former client, Brown said. Davis was earning $185,000 for his firm that year alone with lobbying work on the DHL deal.  Even Voinovich (R), whom I personally dislike, thinks some involvement by the German government is needed, calling the situation “one of the worst job catastrophes that any community in this nation is facing.”
Let’s add another dimension in the fight for Ohio, Health Care.  This is one of the best investigative reporting I have seen about Health Care and it was done by the Toledo Blade.  “Patients suffer as care, coverage limits collide.”

A Blade investigation, including interviews with about 100 physicians and a national survey of doctors with more than 900 responses, revealed that a growing number of doctors believe there’s an epidemic of insurers dictating medical-treatment decisions.
Increasing health-care costs and an influx of expensive drugs and tests, combined with an aging population, set off a health-care crisis in the United States.
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Europeanview’s view absolutely – Open Thread

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Good Morning everyone. The results of the Texas caucuses are not yet in and it will take a short while still until the dust settles a bit and more political analysis is available. So, mostly, the papers in Europe are reporting the statistical facts and stating the obvious. Until the pro’s have decided on what to say, here’s a piece of my mind. I’ll give you the press clippings from Europe later in another post. Injun honest. This is an open thread, so whatever’s on your heart, let us know!

Using the pure facts and getting back to my “gut feeling” later, the advantage still lies with Barack Obama. First of all he has the lead in delegates and, never mind her strong showing in Ohio last night, Hillary Clinton has not made a significant dent there. Ohio is clearly hers, as expected, as is Rhode Island, equally as expected. Vermont is a win for Barack Obama with the significant margin we have seen in his other victories, too. Texas has been attributed to Senator Clinton, however, this state’s message is mixed. The caucus results are not in yet and point to Senator Obama. So, when it comes to Texas the number of delegates allotted may be evenly split or even slightly higher for Barack Obama. Even if she wins all remaining primaries by huge margins, unlikely, she will not be able to get in front of his count in pledged delegates. This puts Senator Clintons “bounce back” into perspective.

The campaigning has turned aggressive during the last few days with the notorious “3a.m. ad” at it’s center. Senator Obama seemed flustered by this and he should quickly start getting used to that kind of campaigning, because this is exactly what will be coming from Republicans during a presidential campaign. Here, too, lies a weakness of Hillary Clinton’s campaign. In exit polls voters showed discomfort with the aggressive style. So, while this style has brought her some advantage in the short term lead-up to the primaries, it may be a disadvantage in the long run. It points too much to her being the political animal, the power-hungry member of the political elites in Washington.

No matter what, right now voters in the United States strongly disapprove of the government branches in Washington. In Reuters’Zogby Index you can see, that the Republican President has a 35% approval rate and the Democratic Congress a dismal 18% approval rate. Congress has squandered the landslide win in 2006, which was broadly considered a mandate to end the war in Iraq and a mandate to hold the current administration accountable for breaches of civil rights and international law. Their approval rate shows that voters consider their will disregarded by them. Now, if Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party should disregard the popular vote and nominate her against the majority in pledged delegates this would resonate badly with voters and would do damage to herself and the Party. Moreover, her aggressive campaigning is damaging beyond the nomination process as well. If Senator Obama is going to be the candidate, Hillary Clinton has already done a lot for Senator McCain’s campaign, by chipping away at Senator Obama’s standing.

The decision is in the superdelegates’ and party leaders’ hands now. The fact that Barack Obama will have a lead in pledged delegates is not likely to change, they may as well decide how the’re going to handle it now.