To the Editor:
Joshua Frank's article about the Ohio recount is rife with lies, innuendo and inaccuracies.
This should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with Frank's smear tactics, sloppy "reporting" and his personal vendetta against the 2004 Green Party presidential campaign.
Frank writes that "something is fishy in the air in Ohio" and that Greens "should be outraged" over the Cobb-LaMarche campaign's fundraising for the recount. The only thing fishy is Frank's distortion of the truth. Greens should be outraged-not at the Cobb campaign-but at Frank's unsubstantiated charges and character assassination.
Amazingly, Frank's article is totally devoid of any mention of the reason for conducting a recount in the first place: widespread reports of voter suppression, intimidation and fraud in the Ohio election. No mention of long lines and a shortage of voting machines in African-American communities. No mention of the electronic voting machine that registered more votes for George W. Bush than there were registered voters in that county. No mention of the hearings organized by Ohio citizen groups which produced hundreds of affidavits and sworn testimonials of problems with the election, including racial bias. No mention of the lawsuit filed in the Ohio Supreme Court to challenge the results of the election.
Frank points out how the Cobb-LaMarche campaign raised $250,000 for the Ohio recount but fails to mention the most significant and important expenditure of those funds: the $113,600 fee required by law to recount all 88 of Ohio's counties. The rest of the funds raised have and are being used for the recruitment, training and organization of the hundreds of volunteers needed to monitor the recount and for costs typically incurred by campaigns. Any responsible journalist worth his or her salt, actually interested in the truth, would have known and reported this.
If Frank thinks that people get rich from working on grassroots, third party presidential campaigns-as he suggests-I've got some swampland in Florida I'd love to sell him.
Frank also flings baseless personal accusations against me which are false, inaccurate and misleading. His vindictive brand of writing violates basic standards of ethics, journalism and human decency.
Our campaign has received thousands of messages lauding our efforts to protect, restore and improve the integrity of our electoral process. The Reverend Jesse Jackson, who marched with Martin Luther King, Jr., has called us "freedom fighters" who are "doing something great for America."
The Cobb-LaMarche Green Party presidential campaign is proud to be leading the effort to recount the Ohio presidential vote.
Blair Bobier, Media
Blair Bobier Esq., “Media Director” for the Cobb campaign, whines that my story regarding the Ohio recount and the Greens’ efforts in it is “rife with lies, innuendo and inaccuracies.” He also states that I hurl “baseless personal accusations against [him] which are false, inaccurate and misleading.” And says that my “vindictive brand of writing violates basic standards of ethics, journalism and human decency.”
Huh? Get a grip man. What is this Watergate and the Washington Post?
First, when you assert that somebody has used “lies”, it’s not a bad idea to back it up with facts. Something it seems Bobier is unable to do. Which raises questions as to the veracity of his grievance.
To say that I fling “personal accusations” in the way of Bobier is silly. The man is a public figure who has run for public office in Oregon, headed a national presidential campaign, and is now a leader in a national election recount in Ohio. The “accusations” aren’t personal but rather political in nature.
If I were going for a “personal” attack I would have alleged “Mr. Bobier has cheated on his wife” or a private affair along those lines. But this isn’t about Bobier’s personal resume per se; it is about how the Green Party is conducting themselves at the national level.
If anything, Bobier’s self-serving slur that I violate “basic standards of ethics, journalism and human decency,” is a personal “character assassination,” of which I thought the mighty Bobier detested. Not my raising questions as to the motives of the Green recount in Ohio. Get it straight Mr. Lawyerman.
Conveniently, Bobier also neglected to mention that I emailed him for comment one week prior to publication regarding the Greens’ activity in Ohio. [see below] He failed to reply.
He has also been notified that FOIA requests have been filed to open up the books of the recount effort in Ohio, as well as formal requests to the Cobb campaign to do the same. They have responded that this will not happen until after the recount is concluded, when this mess is all but forgotten.
Bobier is right about one thing, though. I am indeed outraged at the way the Green Party ran this past election. I don’t swallow the Cobb mantra that a party can only grow by shrinking in size. Nope, I’m not delighted that the third largest party (and the largest progressive party) in the country came in sixth-place in the presidential contest. I am not pleased with the fact that the Greens lost ballot access in almost half the states they ran in. And yes I blame the Cobb camp for the ruination. In fact, they almost take credit for it themselves.
Bobier and Cobb have squandered the opportunity of being given the benefit of the doubt. Some have charged that the people now running the Greens were operatives of the Democratic Party. I didn’t believe this. But I now am starting to wonder.
I don’t deny that massive voter fraud took place in Ohio and other states this past election either. But it is not like this is new stuff guys. My take, as I recently wrote: “The truth is the recount will not shed much new light on voting fraud, nor will it change the outcome of an election that was a result of institutional defects, not voting machine or punch card failures. For our ‘dumbocracy’ rigs the electorate in favor of the power-elite, every time. It doesn’t matter who's the victor.”
Surely the Green Party should know this. And yes, I am critical of the way they are using funds to recount the votes in Ohio. It is a huge waste of money. They’d do better to point out why it is the Democrats keep losing across the board. I also think the Greens would do better to use their minimal resources to organize for future elections. Not waste it on a past election. Bobier, sorry your guy John Kerry didn’t win. But get over it.
Finally, if Bobier wants to open up the door to his conduct at the Breitenbush Foundation and elsewhere, then let’s put it all on the table. In the meantime, at least refute the allegations with facts.
Here are some ripe questions you may want to answer:
Were you not fired, or rather, asked to leave the Breitenbush Foundation because of your “mishandling” of the organization’s finances?
Did you in fact, fail to bring in any foundation grants, even though you repeatedly claimed to have several on the line?
Did the IRS and the Oregon State Department of Justice not investigate Breitenbush regarding your tenure? Did they not then fine the organization for your errors?
Is it wrong to say that you were fired? Is that one of the “lies?” If you in fact didn’t “mislead” the Board of Directors, it would be pretty simple to go back into the minutes of the board meetings, and see what was indeed said. Heck, while we are at it, why not open the books and see how you handled Breitenbush funds.
From there we can skip on over and unwrap the records on the series of other 501c3 orgs you have founded. Perhaps then you could disprove the scuttlebutt across the Pacific Northwest that you are a “foundation dole” after all.
I never claimed that one can get rich from this stuff. Rather, fraud can and does happen at any and every level. From non-profits to multinational corps.
And why is your shady tenure at Breitenbush relevant to the Green’s recount in Ohio, you ask? For starters, a load of money (by Green Party standards) is fast rolling into the Cobb quarters. And being a public figure like yourself, and seeing how you allegedly mishandled (or ripped off) the Breitenbush Foundation, I think people have a right to know how their money is being spent. Don’t you? Isn’t transparency an obligation, not a luxury?
And, of course, if you clear the Ohio ordeal up, open the donor names, salaries of employees etc., I’ll publish the outcome. Which is all anyone wanted in the first place.
Blair Bobier claims Joshua Frank did not email him for comment prior to publication of the article. That is false. Here's the email Joshua sent on December 1 to help jog Bobier's memory:
>Blair, do you have
comment about allegation that the Ohio recount effort
Furthermore, this claim is belied by the fact that Mr. Bobier tried to preempt publication of the article in another on-line newsletter by sending that publication a letter threatening a possible lawsuit.
The allegations made about Bobier's tenure at the Breitenbush Foundation were provided to us by a number of sources familiar with Bobier. We think this should be cause for concern to people donating money to the Cobb recount effort.
Mr. Bobier has phoned Dissident Voice and sent two letters demanding retraction of the article and an apology for what he deems to be libelous and defamatory comments about him. Both letters threaten a legal suit if we don't capitulate.
The story will not be retracted.
Happy holidays and thanks for reading Dissident Voice.
Sunil K. Sharma