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Vote: no confidence

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Metro Justice Organizer Jon Greenbaum is irked by what he sees when he glances at the headlines of his local daily newspaper. He's also irked by what he doesn't see: an investigation into voting irregularities during the 2004 presidential election.

On the eve of a planned march on the Democrat and Chronicle offices to protest the paper's scant coverage of the issue, Greenbaum finds a bittersweet irony in the recent play the allegedly flawed election in Ukraine is receiving in many media outlets.

"If it is front page news in Ukraine then somebody tell me why that criteria does not relate to the United States, when we've got the same problem," he asks.

Greenbaum blames what he views as "the basic nature of the 'he-said' journalism prevalent right now in corporate journalism" for a lack of critical questioning about allegations of voter fraud, discrepancies between exit polls and final results, and persistent difficulties experienced by minorities trying to vote in many states.

"These are all red flags. So the stories should be investigations," Greenbaum says. "The front-page news should be 'Wow, there's something here we need to look at.'"

Some in Congress agree. Congresswoman Louise Slaughter is one of several in Congress who've called on the General Accounting Office to investigate "the efficacy of voting machines and new technologies used in the 2004 election," and how the system can be improved.

Greenbaum acknowledges the small groups of activists Metro Justice expects to turn out won't rival the millions thronging the streets of Kiev. But that doesn't dampen his spirits. Greenbaum thinks the protest has made a difference even before it goes forward. Democrat and Chronicle Managing Editor Jane Sutter called to meet with Metro Justice, he says.

"If we hadn't called the demonstration do you think they'd want a meeting with us?" Greenbaum asks.

The protest gets under way at 5:45 p.m. Thursday at the Hall of Justice on Exchange Boulevard.


Oh, Canada!

As this week's edition of City Newspaper goes to press, President Bush is making his first-ever visit to Canada as president.

The trip to Ottawa comes after four years that have been filled with strains between the two nations, who share the world's longest unprotected border. Cross-border trade tops a list of possible items on the agenda when Bush meets his counterpart, Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin. Relations have been damaged by cases of "mad cow disease" on both sides of the border and high tariffs levied by the US on Canadian softwood lumber imports. Beef and lumber are two of Canada's main exports and the US is Canada's number-one trading partner.

Other items could include Great Lakes water (see "Great Lakes, cold feet," page 8), a continental missile defense system, Canada's role in Iraq and the War on Terror, and oil prospecting in Alaska's National Wildlife Refuge (which borders Canada's Yukon Territory).

Bush is likely to get a lukewarm reception from our neighbors to the North; Toronto's Globe and Mail, citing unnamed sources, wrote that plans for Bush to address a joint session of Parliament were scrapped for fear of hecklers from the majority Liberal Party. And thousands of protesters will be on hand in Ottawa and Halifax to speak out against Bush Administration policies.

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