Why is it that, when Bushites steal elections, some people always jump
on the voters, or Americans in general, as stupid, clueless, uncaring, etc., etc.? Why make that assumption, right off the bat? Why not give some attention to the actual mechanisms by which unpopular Bushites with extremist minority views gain their power (i.e., the election system itself, for instance), and to what these supposed "stupid" voters actually believe?
I think we underestimate just how important it is to the Corporate Rulers and War Profiteers that majorities in American elections do not win. Our vote is an extremely important power--it is a power that, when used collectively, has the potential to regulate Corporations, and to significantly curb their activities, including the RIGHT to de-charter them and dismantle them. We, the people, are the sovereign power in the U.S.--or so our founders said. The war, and exploitation, and environmental destruction that is occurring in the world is mostly emanating from our shores, driven by Corporations whom we have the inherent right to control.
Ergo, Americans are more propagandized, and more disinformed, than any other people on earth. And with all this, still...STILL, 58% of Americans opposed the war in Iraq BEFORE the invasion. I will never forget that stat. And, if you look at ALL the polls over the last year or so, what do you find? Americans disapprove of every major Bush policy, foreign and domestic, way up in the 60% to 70% range. Iraq. Social Security. The deficit. Torturing prisoners. You name it. And that is not even to mention Bush's current 42% approval rating--or the utterly dismal and unprecedented 49% on the very day of his inauguration.
So, Americans are not so stupid. I think what Americans are, for the most part, is DISENFRANCHISED.
I am familiar with all of the election 2004 evidence, and I know that that election was stolen. (WHERE is Bush's support NOW? Where are the voters of Karl Rove's "invisible" get out the vote campaign? WHERE ARE THEY?) (Sorry to shout, but I think the evidence is SCREAMING at us.)
Anyway, I think 2004 was just outright stolen--by Diebold and ES&S, the two rightwing companies and major Bush supporters who own and control the vote tabulation with SECRET PROPRIETARY SOFTWARE. I think Ohio was added in (Rove Plan B)--overt suppression of Dem voters; massive violations of the Voting Rights Act--because Kerry's win was bigger than expected (approx. 10% margin.) (Plan C--phony "terrorist alerts"--which was well set up in "the news" prior to the election--wasn't needed, except in Warren County, Ohio, where a phony "terrorist alert" was used to eject all observers from the vote count.)
The Schwarzenegger coup was a bit more complicated. The key, I think, is to be found in our loss of Dem Sec of State Kevin Shelley, who was driven from office on trumped up charges after suing Dieobld for their lies about the security of their machines, and decertifying their touchscreens (election theft machines) prior to the 2004 election. He also provided Californians with a paper ballot option. (And, among other reforms, forbade "revolving door" employment in his office--one of the ways that Diebold, ES&S and Sequoia have corrupted our election system.)
One of the key things that was happening when Shelley was destroyed is that he had demanded to review Diebold's source code, via his lawsuit against them. (We don't have that right--to review their code--as per contract between the state and these private companies--you know that, don't you? Not even our Sec of State!)
Schwarzenegger now has his own lapdog appointee as Sec of State (Bruce McPherson), who will most certainly respect the "trade secrets" of the Bushite election machine companies who own our election system.
Back up to 2003. Shelley had just been elected, and had not had much time to figure out what was going on with California's election system. Bang, he's hit with an unusual Recall election. His predecessor, Repub Bill Jones, and Jones' chief aide, Alfie Charles--both now working for Sequoia--had authorized Sequoia and other electronic voting in Calif. Electronic voting was very new--full of bugs (still is)--and scandalously insecure and unreliable. Shelley simply did not have time to fully understand or do anything about these problems before the Recall vote.
The Recall election was extremely odd. The election period was extraordinarily short. There was no primary, in which party voters and citizens in general got to vet the candidates. There were 125 candidates on the ballot! Time magazine and Larry King jumped in, and gave Schwarzenegger--already trading on his acting fame alone--millions and millions of dollars in free publicity (Time put him on the cover, for godssakes, just before the election!). And Cruz Bustamante, whom voters had chosen as Lt. Gov. in the normal election (the one Gray Davis and Bustamante had just won), was put in the awkward position of having to rule about his own status. (If Davis lost the Recall, shouldn't the Lt. Gov. succeed him? --I sure thought he should. THAT'S WHY I HAD VOTED FOR HIM. THAT'S his JOB--to step in, if something happens to the Gov.)
So, the Democratic leadership was just flummoxed. They should never have permitted that Recall to occur. It was an extremely manipulated and wrongful event. And Shelley had had barely enough time to find out where the pencil sharpener was--let alone ride herd on all the new electronic systems, and all the unusual decisions and circumstances.
With 125 candidates on the ballot, it would take only a programming kindergartner to shave votes to Schwarzenegger in whatever amounts he needed. Further, the short campaign prevented the public from finding out about Schwarzenegger's meeting with Ken Lay of Enron and other Bushites in Los Angeles in May 2001. Investigative reporter Greg Palast, who found out about that meeting, believes that the Recall was cooked up there--to stop Bustamante and Davis from recovering the $9 billion that Enron/Lay had stolen from Calif. If voters had known about the Schwarz/Enron connection--or even if they had been generally aware of the Enron theft--they would have been far less likely to blame Davis for the budget problems.
The news monopolies, of course, provided no help to the voters at all. And in that situation, with word of mouth and alternative news as the only vehicles for the truth, it takes TIME for the truth to get around. And, in the Recall election, there was no time.
So, I believe that the Recall was a test-run of the election theft machines, combined with a poorly informed electorate. (--whereas I believe that 2004 was a straight-up election theft, with the voters determined to oust the Bush Cartel).
Fast-forward: Shelly is now gone, and California has NO PROTECTION against Bushite ownership of our election system. Like the U.S. as a whole, we are in a very serious situation here, with Schwarz about to rig a second special election and destroy the big Democratic majority in the state with redistricting.
And here is yet another problem--possibly the worst: We have BI-PARTISAN corruption in the electronic elections business. And it IS a business now--a big business, involving lots of money. Elections are not a public matter any more. They are run by BUSHITE CORPORATIONS (who WON'T TELL US what's in their SECRET programming code!)
We have elections officials, both Dem and Repub, at the local level who are much too entangled with the private election machine business, if not outright corrupt. Check out this hogfest at the Beverly Hilton, planned for this August--a week of fun and sun for election officials from around the country, sponsored by Diebold, ES&S and Sequoia. It will burn your eyeballs!
One of the featured speakers at this event is L.A. county elections head Connie McCormack, a Democrat, and an advocate of paperless voting and Diebold, whose best friend Deborah Siler is the former chief Diebold salesperson in Calif. (--now asst. registrar in Solano County). McCormack was THE leader of the campaign to destroy Kevin Shelley.
Lavish lobbying. Future jobs offers. The heady power of controlling huge amounts of money in big business deals over electronic voting systems (systems that are endlessly costly to the taxpayers, because of continuing servicing and upgrading needs) And the heady power of being "the expert" and "the professional" who knows all the gobble-de-gook of electronic voting--versus the peon voters who don't have a clue how their votes are counted any more. (McCormack had the nerve to sneer at electronics specialist Kim Alexander, a voter advocate--"she's not a professional.")
McCormack led other county election officials in FIGHTING Shelley's reforms. It is the Sec of State's job to ride herd on these officials--ESPECIALLY with these new electronic systems--and to insure the integrity of the vote, and they fought him every way they could. McCormack told a legislative committee she wanted to "bulldoze" the Sec of State's office to get the touchscreens approved. He was holding up fed money--to pressure them to comply with security and auditing requirements.
I won't go into the details of how the SF Chronicle and other news monopolies drove Shelly from office. It's one of these Bushite-type black ops/secret dossier tales--murky, opaque, weird--where you can't figure out where things are coming from, and the story just doesn't add up. Shelly "misusing" fed election funds? No way! The witchhunt against Shelley stank to high heaven; Shelley did nothing wrong, and had no money--no legal fund--to defend himself with. Tells you something about Shelley--one of the last honest elections officials we will ever see in the U.S. of A.
There were anomalies in the 2004 election pointing to corruption and election fraud in Republican counties in Calif. Kerry won the state by a 10% margin, Barbara Boxer by a 20% margin. That might not be so unusual, except that Boxer's margin vis a vis Kerry all came in the most rightwing counties in the state--meaning that a whole bunch of people voted for Boxer...and Bush!? And only in Repub counties. I think about 3% to 5% of the Kerry vote was stolen in Calif's Repub counties, to pad Bush's wholly manufactured national popular majority.
But, to me, that is a given these days: Repub election fraud, wherever they can get away with it. What is more disturbing is people like McCormack, Democrats who are shills for Diebold--because I think they have sacrificed the voters and election integrity for careers in electronic voting and all the attendant perks.
The result is that we have a President and a Governor of California with whom the majority of the citizens disagree on just about everything; a Congress that is unresponsive to the will of the majority; and a democracy that is at death's door.
How can we fix this?
a) paper ballots/hand counts at the precinct level
or at the least
b) paper BALLOT (not "paper TRAIL") backup of all electronic voting machines, strict auditing (a 5% to 10% automatic recount), strict security (a long list of needs), and NO secret, proprietary programming code!
In general, we need to purge the Dem Party of electronic voting business corruption--county, state, federal--and BAN Bushite voting machine companies from our elections. Throw their machines into the Pacific Ocean (our "Boston Harbor"!). And start over.
6. Join your local election reform group--or form your own--and start
putting pressure on state and county eleciton officials, and inform and moblize the public on election reform. Demand transparent, verifiable elections! It is our right--and most people will see that.
Do whatever you can! Don't get crazy around it! Just do things, one step at a time. Control over election systems is still a state/local matter. Go visit your county registrar, ask questions. Write letters. Get on the radio. Find others who are onto this. Join with them. Be firm! It is YOUR RIGHT to know how and by whom your vote is counted! It is your birthright to have honest, open electons!
And have faith in the American people! We WILL turn this around!
"Why is it that, when Bushites steal elections, some people always jump on the voters, or Americans in general, as stupid, clueless, uncaring, etc., etc.? Why make that assumption, right off the bat? Why not give some attention to the actual mechanisms by which unpopular Bushites with extremist minority views gain their power (i.e., the election system itself, for instance), and to what these supposed "stupid" voters actually believe?"
And one of the things at play here is really basic: If you believe americans are morons and voted for bush you get to feel superior. If you believe the american people were ripped off by con artists using rigged machines you get to feel like an idiot.
Lots of marks conned by con artists never report the crime, because they are shamed by being made the fool.
I think this explains a lot of peoples' aversion to looking at this issue logically. That coupled with typical aversion to technology and complexity and you get a trifecta.
I would rather believe we've been robbed than the american people are morons. Sure, some of them. But nowhere near the majority.
7. I know what you mean, glitch! But it's really not a matter of belief,
it's a matter of facts and data, and numbers just not adding up. Check out TruthIsAll's posts at the 2004 Electon forum. They reallly did steal it, big time. And if you're wondering why the Dem Party hasn't screamed bloody murder about all this, check out the Beverly Hilton event.
I will come back to this post late tonight, for further discussion.
I wondered the same thing after the 2004 theft, why it was so tempting for many to blame the democrats for loosing. Such a lie leaves such a bad taste....I cancelled my subscription to The Nation, for instance, after David Corn's vitriolic rants against those who suspected fraud.
The situation in California, is, as you say, likely to be completely out of control. While it is vitally important for us to continue to fight and raise awareness of the issue, this may all just have to run full circle until people will no longer stand for it.
I believe that the public is much more savvy and likely to be intolerant of this nonsense than Rove and others would like to have us believe. The lies are slowly being exposed, the mist is clearing. Once someone is branded as basically dishonest, as the Bush administration is ensuring for themselves, it is easy to see through everything that they do.
We are in it for the long haul. We must be both eternally vigilant and extremely patient.
10. Wise words, Ojai Person! We need to be patient and methodical. The
truth will win out in the end. It always does. And there is lots to do in the meantime. Just keeping people heartened, and educating people, are vital tasks in and of themselves. And election reform is a bit tricky. We don't want people to give up, and not vote. But we DO want them to know the truth, and to be forming their opinions and casting their votes on the basis of truth and accurate information, and also on the basis of a wide variety of views. The news monopolies have narrowed public debate down to the far right and the right. That's pretty much it. And maybe Democratic centrists (who support global free piracy and war) can get a word in now and then. But what about de-chartering and dismantling corporations? Why isn't that on the table? Why should corporations live forever, and gobble up all property, and accumulate enormous profits that they then use to buy our politicians?
These things need to be talked about--a wide range of options for restoring democracy and creating the good and just society that we all want to be part of (or most of of do).
As for casting votes in a rigged system, there are several strategies to take--and none of them is NOT voting. One is to obtain a paper ballot, wherever possible (for instance, an absentee ballot). Another is to join with an election monitoring group, and closely scrutinize election results. Another is to work on more voter registration (about 50% of our people don't vote!), because, you know what?, if we had been able to give John Kerry a 20% margin of victory, instead of the 10% he did get, he might be in the White House today instead of the Bush Cartel. (True, they may have gone to Plan C--phony "terrorist alerts"--but that would have truly tipped their hand, and would have been very perilous for them, especially with the additional evidence of a Kerry victory.)
So voting IS WORTH IT! We never know what will happen. We must try! --if, for no other reason, than to EXERCISE our franchise and our sovereignty, and to keep some part of the election system functional, no matter what crap they throw at us.
It would be wrong NOT to tell people the truth--and that, unfortunately, is what some portion of the Dem Party is up to. They are NOT telling the truth about electronic voting. It's partly corruption (both directly related to e-voting, and not), partly entrenchment and fundraising considerations (they want peoples' donations and don't want them to know just how bad the election system has become), and maybe some part of it is ignorance. But I less and less believe in the ignorance excuse. These are people whose JOB it is to get votes! And they don't know and don't care how votes are counted, and who owns the secret code in the machines?
I just find that hard to believe. I know e-voting is new, and it is an esoteric business. Still, the Dems in Congress and at the DNC followed all the debates around HAVA--and some were quite good on those issues, and some where not. But it should have been perfectly apparent to all of them--when Tom Delay blocked a paper trail requirement--what the Bushites were setting up. It's a no-brainer! Diebold's CEO was the Bush-Cheney campaign chair in Ohio, for godssakes! ES&S was funded by rightwing billionaires. CA Repub Sec of State Bill Jones went to work for Sequoia!
And they didn't KNOW?
I think, at that point, the pro-war corruption might have come into play. I think certain Dems wanted the US war with Iraq--both for reasons of war profiteering and for geopolitical reasons (protection of Israel, mainly). Early in the 2004 prez campaign, it looked very much to me like they didn't care if they won--almost as if, given that they wanted the war, it was okay with them to let Bush and the Repubs take the rap for all the deaths and the cost. And after getting rid of the most viable true anti-war candidate, Dean, they took the line: we can do the war better than Bush. No questioning of Bush's lies. No questioning of the illegality of the war. We'll be more efficient at dominating Iraq.
So they shut up about e-voting. They said NOTHING about it--even about its most egregious aspects (Bushites with secret programming code--I mean, come on...).
Anyway, if we are going to have a democracy, people MUST know the truth, and let the chips fall where they may.
Yeah, there are some morons in our population. I'd say we have a problem with about 30% of the population that doesn't really believe in democracy (among them, some of the Christian right), and another 10% that are just greedbags and exploiters. That's Bush's current 40% support. And 5% to 10% who wiggle around and sometimes don't know quite what to think.
But when I look at stats like this--63% of Americans disapprove of torture UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES--I know we have a big progressive majority that doesn't buy the Bush Cartel's fearmongering, and who stick to principles of justice and ethics and lawfulness despite all the propaganda.
13. kster, I agree--paper ballots, hand counted at the precinct level. BUT...
it is a huge uphill battle against all the electronic systems that are being put into place, all over the country. Huge entrenchment. Huge corruption. How do people fight that? We have to be realistic. IF we had a paper ballot backup (or even just a voter-verified paper audit trail--the VVPAT) we'd be in a lot better position to call results into question, and THEN get the machines banned. And other auditing and security provisions--and of course open source code--would all help that goal. 1. Expose the uncertainty or falseness of the results. 2. Get them banned.
Don't underestimate how high the mountain is that we have to climb. There is almost no chance that we can get paper ballots/hand counts in most places, looking at the current scene realistically. Given the corruption and entrenchment, we are not likely to get the machines banned, but we might be able to get sufficient evidence with which to call for a banning of the machines. Some places don't even have the VVPAT. We have to get SOME MEANS of auditing--whatever we can get, the best we can get in the circumstances.
This is a long term project. That's what I meant by patience. We are not going to overturn this easily or quickly. MOST people, who don't know squat about the voting machines, would readily agree that a paper trail is needed (the ATM example). MOST, after discussion, would understand about a paper BALLOT (not trail), and a good audit (automatic recount of a good % of the vote). We CAN get those things, even with the current corruption and entrenchment.
I don't know if we can get open source code. It's a no-brainer, but also the "trade secret" source code is fundamental to the bad guys--it is their mechanism of control--so they will fight like demons for it. We may need to audit a couple of elections--and/or hope for whistleblowers--in order to get rid of it. It's a bigger voter education problem than ballot backup and audits. You will notice that NO ONE in the political establishment EVER MENTIONS IT. Dems sometimes give lip service to "paper trails" and so on. They NEVER MENTION who owns the secret, proprietary vote counting code, or that it is secret and proprietary. (This is the thing that Kevin Shelley was onto, and why they got rid of him. He was demanding to see Diebold's source code.)
The problem is EDUCATION and also MOBILIZATION of the voters. They are so incredibly uninformed right now--and the Democrats, as a whole, are guilty of egregious malfeasance on this.
So where do you START? That's why I include the second option (b).
The OTHER thing that is happening--that may override this fight--is this: Just how long are Americans going to put up with being ruled by a fascist coup? Other things may happen--for instance indictment of the entire Bush regime for the Plame outing--which may drastically alter the political landscape. Maybe THEN we can get paper ballots! --when people starting to seriously question how the hell these people got "elected".
"Paper Ballots and you hand count the ballots, you wouldn't need all these laws,lawyer and computer scientist just to get a recount. If a candidate wants a recount you recount the ballots, until every one is happy.
The people I've talked to Dem, Rep they really don't really care how the ballots get counted, its only the Neocons and the voting machine companies that seem to care.
The Neocons and the voting machine companies are the only ones that want us to have a team of lawyers just to fight for a recount and then a team of computers scientist just to be able to do the damn recount.
Remember family,Friends and neighbors Dem or Rep DO NOT CARE how the votes get counted. I have talked to many people about it." ---------------------------------------------------------------------
Ask your Friends if they care how votes get counted, then ask them why do you think that the voting machine company are fighting the people so that they can count the vote in secret. It seems to change the game (without all the explaining) and then they start to question the companies.
17. You hit the nail on the head. I heard Thom Hartmann speak on this
recently and someone asked him a question about informing people about this since it's so complex, and he said, no it's not, it's very simple. It is an outrage that private for-profit corporations are counting our votes in secret and they have no right to come between us and our vote.
then, as you say kster, you start asking them why do they think anyone would think it's okay for private for profit corporations with political and financial conflicts of interest to count our votes in secret?
the Thom Hartmann speech and or some one who is better than I, at explaining this, we could run a thread on how to get people Dem and Rep on our side a whole lot faster.If they know we are trying to stop the voting machine manufacturers from counting our votes in secret and not any specific party . Because I have a lot of Rep friends, that are 100% on my side when I explain it this way.
Because it is NO BIG DEAL to average every day Americans how the votes get counted.
Elections are where it's at man! Anyone who thinks otherwise is deluding themselves.
Here's a suggestion: Bookmark this forum and visit it every time you start your browser. Use it as a home page. Whatever, but visit it!
Visit the other forums once you're up to speed on election news, because without free and fair elections, not much else in politics matters.
Now if you want to starve the energy barons and war profiteers by putting up wind farms, conserving energy, etc., that's fine. Stick it to them in the marketplace, but otherwise, Elections are all we have left, and even that's debatable.
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