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The Importance of Election Reform AND Exposing the 2004 Election

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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-03-05 06:07 PM
Original message
The Importance of Election Reform AND Exposing the 2004 Election
Why election reform is so important

Many DUers and thousands, or perhaps millions of others in this country believe that we are fast moving in the direction of tyranny, as evidenced by what we believe happened in the 2004 presidential election. If I and people like me are correct in our belief that a massive electoral fraud was perpetrated upon us in 2004, it is likely that this fraud will re-occur repeatedly in future elections unless aggressive action is taken against it. And with every election cycle that this happens our task becomes that much more difficult, since we are then faced with a Congress that is even more steadfastly against meaningful election reform than the one we previously had.


In defense of conspiracy theory

For this belief we are often referred to as "conspiracy mongers" or conspiracy theorists. We get this especially from the main stream news media, but even some progressive publications and a minority of DUers join in this dismissal of our concerns. Well, I have some news for these people. Conspiracy is a fact of life in this world. It exists whenever people come together to commit a crime. The seeds of tyranny are sown whenever a people become so naive as to believe that "it couldn't happen here."

Most people agree that our current privatized election system, with its secret vote counting, is very vulnerable to fraud. So why is it so difficult to believe that the 2004 election was stolen? Faith in the integrity of the corporations who own and program our voting machines, perhaps?


And why do we need to investigate and expose what happened in 2004?

In order for meaningful election reform to stand a good chance of success in our country, given the current Congressional antagonism towards it, we need a great deal of grass roots support for it. But as long as election fraud remains only a theoretical possibility to most Americans, rather than a demonstrated reality, the amount of support for meaningful election reform is not likely to be great. Most people simply are not greatly motivated to act on the basis of what they perceive as theoretical future possibilities (and yes, that applies to me as well). And, in addition to that, most people have a great deal of trouble admitting that there is something gravely wrong psychologists call that denial, and that denial is a pervasive feature of human nature. Let me give you an example:

In the late summer of 2004 I attended a meeting of Montgomery County, Maryland Democrats for Kerry. There was great enthusiasm at this meeting, much optimism, and much talk of all the different ways in which we could ensure that John Kerry would win the November election.

As the meeting wore on, I began to feel uncomfortable with the fact that there was no talk of how to combat potential election fraud. Having experienced, following the 2000 Presidential election fiasco, the loss of two Senate seats in 2002 (Minnesota and Georgia), where our candidates (Mondale and Cleland) had large leads on the eve of the election and yet lost, and having read a fair amount about how our election system, with its privatized secret vote counting, was becoming very susceptible to fraud, I had expected some discussion of this issue. So I asked one of the primary speakers for the evening what was being done to address this problem. His response was to look like a deer caught in head lights he seemed to have no idea what I was talking about. I thought at the time that either I must be all wrong about the potential for election fraud, or else we were in bad trouble with regard to the 2004 elections.

Well, you know the rest of the story. I am afraid that if I were to attend a similar type of meeting in 2006 or 2008 and ask the same question, I would get the same response as I did in 2004.

That is why the story of what happened in 2004 needs all the investigation and all the exposure that it can get.

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ClusterFreak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-03-05 06:21 PM
Response to Original message
1. As long as private corporations are counting votes....America is doomed
...to more of the same. More fraud, more illegitimate elections. No Plamegate, no Delay indictments, no DSM, no Cindy Sheehan....NOTHING...can counter-act corporate electoral fraud.

Stopping it has to be the number one priority. Are we headed to the '06 mid-term elections with low-rated republicans rallying on election day to surprise victories? Will this happen across the board. Yes, why wouldn't it? What's to stop it? Nothing, right now.

People gotta wake up.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-04-05 06:07 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. The # 1 priority -- absolutely
And we have to keep fighting. We can't give up hope, otherwise we're done for.
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BeFree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-03-05 10:03 PM
Response to Original message
2. Good work, Tfc
Edited on Mon Oct-03-05 10:04 PM by BeFree
This is the most crucial issue facing our society. Everything hinges upon the election gate thru which our democratic republic flows. That gate is broken; damn near welded shut by the private overseers of the count, allowing only those they want in, in.

As the education spreads, due to our individual efforts outside, and our group efforts here, the wisdom will become ever more acknowledged by the masses. We must keep on keeping on.

Our successes are not many, but they carry great weight. We do have the ball rolling and as more come to their senses and help us push, that ball will pick up speed and power.

We will rollover the private overseers of the elections, it is inevitable, as long as we keep pushing. Good work.



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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-04-05 09:36 AM
Response to Reply #2
5. Thank you BeFree -- I like that way of looking at it
We're losing now, but if we keep on pushing and fighting and educating we will be successful.
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EOTE Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-04-05 09:27 AM
Response to Original message
4. Kicked and nominated.....
This is the only thing that really matters now, isn't it?
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-04-05 10:21 AM
Response to Reply #4
7. Well, as far as I'm concerned it should be # 1
Not the only thing though. We can't let everything else go while we're dealing with this. But there are lots of us. Some work on election issues, and others work on other things. But we damn well better make sure that we put adequate resources into dealing with election issues.
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yodermon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-04-05 09:57 AM
Response to Original message
6. You're right of course, BUT:
Isn't it impossible for the rethugs to believably pull off election fraud if the candidates are polling beyond a certain margin? I mean, if all the various extant bushco/rethug scandals finally come to a head, and the repukes are tarred with this mess, and they are all polling in the low 30's leading up to 2006.. how could they convincingly pull off fraud against that wide of a polling margin? wouldn't it be blatantly obvious, even to Joe Sixpack? How could they *possibly* get away with it?

You can only pull off fraud in reasonably close elections.

I'm not saying stop the election reform movement, far from it. I'm just saying that maybe we don't have to hang ALL of our hope on reforming ALL election procedures before 2006.

Or am I being nave, and they really CAN pull off fraud when their guy is polling in the low 30's?
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-04-05 11:46 AM
Response to Reply #6
10. I believe that you are right about that
And I don't say anywhere in my OP (and I don't believe that I've ever said) that we should not work on other means of winning elections.

I believe that you are probably correct that there is some limit to how much fraud they can pull off in a given election. But I don't know precisely how much capability they have, and and don't think that many (if any) other people do either. And I fear that it may be growing with time.

That's why I believe that this should be our # 1, but not our only priority.
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-04-05 03:34 PM
Response to Reply #10
19. I think there was a limit in 2004, a pre-programmed % that they were
Edited on Tue Oct-04-05 03:35 PM by Peace Patriot
stuck with. That's why they did Ohio (Plan B). I'm pretty convinced that Plan C was a phony "terrorist alert" shutdown of the vote on the west coast--which would have been used if Kerry had won bigger than he did. It was crucial that they retain power in 2004 (what with Treasongate coming down and all).

Anyway, that was 2004. Their access to the machines will probably be better (more flexible) in '06, but monitoring will be better also, and suspicions will be higher. My guess, they'll cool it for a while, and try to stop the movement to get rid of these machines. They'll let a few good Dems (and some bad ones--more bad than good) get "selected," but not enough to tip Congress toward serious investigation or impeachment. And we might even get a War Democrat in '08. That could be our one good shot at reforming elections--since even War Democrats have to pay lip service to progressive values such as good government.

That's one reason I don't care who they select as the prez nominee. Oh, I'll fight for an antiwar populist during the primaries for sure, to keep the pressure on the War Dems, but, knowing as I do, that no one who truly represents the interests of the majority CAN be nominated, in these circumstances, I will then fully support the War Democrat, no matter how bad he/she is, because--I am completely convinced--there. is. only. one. issue. And it is transparent elections.

And if we don't achieve transparent elections by, say, around 2010-12, our democracy is over. (That's when Jeb will be installed to clean up the "terrible mess" that the War Democrat has made of our crippled economy, and/or to lock down the country after a nuke exchange in the Middle East.) (Where do these fatcats think they are going to go--Mars? There will be no escape from "the cold and dark" after a "limited" use of nukes.)

(P.S., maybe they'll get smart and not use nukes. But we really have to realize how much of the fascist agenda is in place, to turn us all into slaves and cannon fodder, as that other environmental meltdown unfolds--fifty years, at best, to the end of the biosphere, according to the World Wildlife Fund--and the super-rich try to create or find some bubble in which to protect themselves and horde their wealth.) (They ARE planning to send men to Mars, you know--one of their more bizarre spending programs, considering what else they've done.)

I don't think they'll throw away their Diebold/ES&S advantage (er, surety) by selecting Republicans who are polling at 30%-40%. I think they'll go with War Democrats, to some extent--with a plan to blame them for the war (how quickly the news monopolies will forget!) and all else.

There are many parallels to the 1920s-30s--some scary as hell, some more hopeful (like FDR's idea of "packing the Supreme Court"). But there is one thing that is not parallel--and is unprecedented--and that is electronic voting. Utterly invisible vote stealing at the speed of light.

You might say nukes, and global warming meltdown, are unprecedented as well. But I have some faith in the human race, that, a) nukes will not be used, and b) that we are clever enough to figure out how to save the planet.

But since the U.S. is such a major player in all this, a) and b) are NOT POSSIBLE without transparent elections in the U.S., whereby we elect people who START ACTING IN THE INTERESTS OF THE MAJORITY.

There. is. no. other. issue.



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nashville_brook Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-04-05 10:35 AM
Response to Original message
8. in 2000 -- after massive abuse in FL, we said, well wait till 2002
Edited on Tue Oct-04-05 10:37 AM by nashville_brook
we'll get the house and senate back and stop BUSH in his tracks.

in 2002 -- after massive polling discrenpancies in GA, and other states, we said, well JUST WAIT till 2004. we'll get the presidency back stopping BUSH in his tracks.

in 2004 -- after massive abuse in the form of keeping people from the polls; massive polling discrepancies; and mountains of evidence in vote switching in OH, FL and NM just to name a few, we said, well, wait till 2006 -- we'll get the house and senate back and stop THE CROOKS in their tracks.

2006 is coming up and we've got the research. we have the evidence of tampering; we know the EXIT POLLS and the final count DON'T ADD UP; we know only DEMOCRATIC voters were disenfranchised having to wait in lines 8-hours long; we know about the UNDERVOTES/OVERVOTES; we know electronic voting has backdoors that were most likely used; we know we were strong-armed and continue to be strong-armed to IGNORE these issues.

we know what happened. we have mountains of EVIDENCE. we have WHISTLEBLOWERS. AND YET WE STRUGGLE because folks like KOS who would trade our DEMOCRACY for their personal agrandizement in circles of POWER.

yes, we COULD stop Bush in his tracks in 2006. but we're not going to.

WE NEED everyone here at DU and across the mainstream to WAKE UP.
DO YOUR PART in your precinct. Network to eliminate ELECTRONIC VOTING, provide good old fashioned PAPER BALLOTS and once again RESPECT the will of the people.

and whatever you do -- DON'T BELIEVE THE EXIT POLLS. those are just an estimate of how much the REPUBLICANS will CHEAT BY.

(even better, DO BELIEVE THE EXIT POLLS and actually use them this time)

we have EVERYTHING to gain and really NOTHING TO LOSE.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-04-05 11:55 AM
Response to Reply #8
13. I think that says it all --
We have a long way to go.
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nashville_brook Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-04-05 12:38 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. thankfully the law doesn't depend on popular opinion
this is an area where rapid transformation is a possibility. we don't have to change everyoone's mind, just change the machines. it would be nice if our commerades were more supportive -- if there were a cindy sheehan for voting issues -- but our goal doesn't *depend* on their blessing or involvement.

it would, however, be nice.
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bleever Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-04-05 11:19 AM
Response to Original message
9. Faith-based elections are no more acceptable than faith-based banking.
We need a receipt, and we need to be able to review the records at any time, for any reason.

Great post, Tfc.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-04-05 11:52 AM
Response to Reply #9
11. Thank you Bleever -- I think what we really need is
paper trails AND enforcable state laws that require full and fair recounts. In Ohio we had a paper trail for the good majority of the state (at least theoretically, assuming that they didn't destroy it during one of their national security "lockdowns"), but only about 3% of it was used, and that 3% was selected by the election officials, who work at the pleasure of Blackwell.
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bleever Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-04-05 04:54 PM
Response to Reply #11
22. The illegality of that recount may yet come back to haunt its
perpetrators.

One big difference I've come to see between the 2000 and 2004 elections is that this time, people aren't just mad. They (we) are going to stay on this story. The fact they could run that fake recount and call it done is a crime unto itself.

I hope the lawsuit filed by Cobb and Badnarik will be fruitful.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-04-05 05:33 PM
Response to Reply #22
23. It would be great if that lawsuit was successful
What kind of chance do you think it has?
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bleever Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-04-05 05:57 PM
Response to Reply #23
25. That question is beyond me, but in general I'd say that where legal claims
Edited on Tue Oct-04-05 05:57 PM by bleever
exist, and motions are filed, once the system is engaged it is much more likely to continute in motion according to the law as written, which is a completely different realm from the political one, where a story is only alive until you get people to think about something else.


ed: sp
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emcguffie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-04-05 11:54 AM
Response to Original message
12. I couldn't agree more.
We have to expose the truth.

We have to have some kind of reliable exit polls set up for the next election.

We need a new television news station -- one that will tell the truth and cover the news. One that is privately owned. Like what Ted Turner did to begin with. (Remember CNN?)

I have suggested before, but I don't really get any response much, I think we should organize grassroots, maybe through DFA, and literally go door to door in our communities with a very well-put-together presentation of various proofs that the elections are, and have been, being stolen.
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nashville_brook Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-04-05 12:48 PM
Response to Reply #12
15. no more "weighted" (fixed) exit polls --
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

Kerry held a steady 3-4% lead at each point in the timeline of the National Exit Poll, starting at 4pm (8349 respondents) to 7:33pm (11027) to 12:22am (13047). The Final Exit poll(13660) was released 1:25pm and radically changed the consistent timeline weightings and percentages in order to match the recorded vote.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-04-05 06:00 PM
Response to Reply #12
26. Grassroots organizing on this issue would be great
I'm sorry that you've met with poor responses.

I don't know much about how to organize efforts like this.

But if you have some ideas, please let us (me) know.
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nashville_brook Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-04-05 12:55 PM
Response to Original message
16. for anyone wanting a quickie intro to privatized voting, listen to
This American Life segment from Nov 7, 2003 -- EPISODE 250 (you have to "search" on these keywords -- "voting machine")

Act One. Rock, Paper, Computer.
Reporter Jack Hitt explains the alarming difference between theory and practice when it comes to computerized voting machines. Specifically, those made by a company called Diebold. (16 minutes)

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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-04-05 02:44 PM
Response to Original message
17. Time for Change, thanks for this post. Recommended!
Edited on Tue Oct-04-05 02:56 PM by Peace Patriot
Suggestion: Don't be defensive about "conspiracy" and don't put it up front in your argument. Leave that for the end, as an off-hand, minor point, even a joke--that anyone, given these facts, could dismiss it as tinfoil. START with the election SYSTEM. SECRET, PROPRIETARY programming code recording votes and running the vote tabulation, in extremely insecure, hackable computers, owned and controlled by rightwing Bushite corporations (mainly Diebold and ES&S).

Non-transparent, unverifiable elections are tyranny. Period. No other democracy in the world would permit this.

How did this happen? $4 billion boondoggle for electronic voting companies, appropriated by Bush's "pod people" in Congress. Tom Delay blockading even a meager "paper trail" requirement for electronic voting systems (let alone real auditing and recounts with paper ballots). Corruption. Lavish lobbying. "Revolving door" employment. Democratic election officials ALSO sucked in. Example: A week of fun, sun and high ending shopping for election officials from around the country, at the Beverly Hilton this August, sponsored by Diebold, ES&S and Sequoia.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

HAVA was supposed to reform elections, after the mess of 2000 with the hanging chads. Bush's Congress took the opportunity not to reform our election system but to completely CORRUPT it, by quickly converting it to electronics run by big Bushite corporations, with no ban on "trade secret" vote tabulation, no "paper trail" requirement (thus making recounts and audits impossible), few or no controls on performance and security, no ban on private company access to voting data and the innards of the machines (through internal modems and servicing "requirements"), with the "Wizard of OZ" gobble-de-gook of electronics thrown at woefully unprepared election officials and voters around the country ("Don't look at the man behind the curtain!"), and billions of dollars to be had for the taking, in exchange for expensive lemon machines that routinely break down and can't be audited, as well as expensive, long term serving contracts that compound the problems of security and transparency.

Think Halliburton, and you will understand what our election system has become: an unaccountable boondoggle for friends of the Bush Cartel.

Now ask yourself--given what we know about Bush Cartel corruption of our government--whether or not these friends of Bush (a Bush-Cheney campaign chair, head of Diebold, and the far rightwing funders of ES&S) would USE their SECRET, PROPRIETARY programming code with no audit trail to keep Bush in office against the will of the people?

It's a no brainer.

-----------------------

Other issues, objections, illusions, delusions and tinfoil accusations that need to be addressed:

START with the FACTS about the election SYSTEM. Non-transparent, unverifiable, controlled by Bushites.

No objector can get past those facts.

Two Bushite corporations counted 80% of the vote in 2004, and there is no way to audit the result that they came up with.

The end result that they came up with, using their SECRET formulae (Bush won) is the ONLY evidence that Bush won. All other evidence points to a Kerry win (and a rather big one).

----

Objection #1:

Wouldn't the war profiteering corporate news monopolies expose any such a conspiracy?

No, they wouldn't. In FACT the TV networks acted in concert to HIDE EVIDENCE OF A KERRY WIN, their own national and state exit polls, which they DOCTORED on election night to FIT the results of Diebold's and ES&S's secret formulae, thus DEPRIVING the American people of major evidence of election fraud, and squelching protests and calls for investigation.

Have these news monopolies told you the truth about the Iraq war, or anything else? No, they haven't. But whether or not you would believe that they would change numbers and doctor election data, the fact is that they DID.

They also failed to apprise the public of this fast conversion to electronic voting, with no auditing controls, nor of Bushite control of the vote count behind the closed door of "trade secret" computer code.

They have abdicated their responsibilities as journalists from Day One of this regime. Their fiddling of the exit polls is just the grand capper of their crimes against the truth.

----

Objection #2:

Wouldn't the war profiteering corporate Democrats--who themselves are now dependent on Diebold and ES&S for "selection," and who are now beholden to extremely powerful election officials around the country who have sold out our right to vote for lavish lobbying junkets or future job offers--object to partisan Republican control of the vote tabulation?

Are the Democrats insane?

No, they are corrupt, scared or lacking in computer skills.

Some don't have a clue any more--along with the voters--how our votes are being counted. They take the party line (or the party line is enforced upon them) that Bushite corporations controlling the vote tabulation shouldn't even be looked at, let alone exposed and descried.

Others--probably the bulk of them--know damned well what's going down, and have become cynical, corrupt power players, or have made compromises involving weakness and fear (trying to remain positioned in government to do some good, so they shut up about things they can't change--like the corruption of other Democrats on electronic voting).

These are your "deer in the headlights" Democrats: Ask them about secret, proprietary programming code, and they react as if they've never heard of the words "trade secret," "voting," "transparency" and "elections."

(--and personally I've become very suspicious of this reaction, given the spread of knowledge about the perils of electronic voting; it's their JOB to get votes, and they DON'T KNOW how the votes are counted, or by whom?!) (--the word "insouciance" comes to mind, or the image of a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar--"who me?", "WHAT cookie jar?").

Many Democratic leaders voted for the war, and continue to vote for billion and billions of unaccountable taxpayer dollars to Halliburton and other criminal corporations. Many Democratic leaders voted for the Patriot Act, the bankruptcy bill and torture memo writer Alberto Gonzales as chief law enforcement office of the U.S. Many Democratic leaders have NEVER OBJECTED to illegal war or torture.

How much evidence do we need that many Democratic leaders no longer believe in democracy?

But whether or not you would believe that the Democrats would let Bushite corporations gain control over the tabulation of our votes, without one word of objection, the fact is that's what they DID.

----

Objection #3: It's just a conspiracy theory.

A conspiracy theory--like, say, the theory of evolution--is an attempt to assemble verifiable facts into an overall picture or narrative of some phenomenon, in order to understand that assemblage of facts and their possible inter-relationships, and to make informed, rational guesses concerning where else to look for information, and what may happen in the future.

In this case, the facts pointing to a conspiracy are compelling, beginning with the FACT of a non-transparent, unverifiable election SYSTEM, controlled by Bushites with "trade secret," proprietary programming code.

The FACT is that the Democratic leadership raised no objection to this egregious violation of the basis of democracy: honest elections.

The FACT is that Bushites stole a previous election.

The FACT is that a Bushite Congress appropriated $4 billion dollars for a new electronic voting system with no auditing or quality controls.

The FACT is that both Democratic and Republican state election officials signed contracts with Bushite corporations that included "trade secret" tabulation of our votes, and proceeded to purchase unreliable, insecure, hackable "lemon" voting systems all over the country.

The FACT is that the news monopolies utterly failed to inform the public about the non-transparency of this voting SYSTEM, and actually hacked their own exit polls to HIDE evidence that the result of this non-transparent election system was WRONG.

The FACT is that it takes only one hacker, and a couple of minutes, leaving no trace, to manufacture or switch tens of thousands of votes in a central electronic vote tabulator--at the speed of light, unseeable by human eyes--and no state election rules anywhere in the country could have caught it. The auditing and recount rules do not work! That is a FACT.

And the FACT is that there is extensive external evidence that Bush did not win--a case for fraud that likely cannot be "proven" in a court of law for the very reason that the perps eliminated direct evidence beforehand--ARRANGED FOR there to be no direct evidence (lobbied against a "paper trail; unfairly prevented a "paper trail" requirement from ever getting out of committee; put no controls on partisan companies or "trade secrets" or lavish lobbying, etc.).

---------

There are many, many more such facts to consider. And when you assemble them and think about them, it is simply UNINTELLIGENT not to begin forming a theory of how the election was stolen, and it is STUPID to dismiss the likely conspiratorial aspects of it out of hand.

We have a country that was dragged into war against its will and that opposes EVERY major Bush policy, foreign and domestic, way up in the 60% to 70% range, across the board in all issue and approval polls, and has done so for well over a year. You name it. The Iraq war. Torture policy. Social Security. The deficit. Women's rights. The great majority of Americans disagree with virtually EVERYTHING Bush stands for.

Is it so crazy to think that powerful corporate war profiteers and their political allies would seek to create a non-transparent election system that THEY control with secret programming, in order to thwart the will of that progressive and peace-minded American majority?

Given the FACTS, it is stupid--and even laughable--NOT to theorize a conspiracy and investigate the matter accordingly!

---------

Anyway, Time for Change, I would put the "conspiracy" stupidity at the end of your argument, not at the beginning. Begin with the FACTS. The mere mention of "conspiracy theory" shuts peoples' brains down. Even those who might hear a "conspiracy theory" out often feel so helpless, disempowered and DISENFRANCHISED, that they don't know what to do. (What do you want them to do? Riot in the streets?) Stick to the facts. Respond to common objections ("The Democrats wouldn't let them get away with that, would they?"). And provide a practical course of action. (For instance, pressure on state/local election officials for the bottom line of democracy: transparent elections. Paper ballot backup. No secret programming code. Etc.)

------

Two excellent info sites to give out:

For info on the perils of electronic voting and what to do about it (simple, clear), the "Myth Breakers" pamphlet at

http://www.votersunite.org

For ACTION--a plan to monitor '06-'08 elections by Ph.D. statistics experts, who need help and donations, at

http://www.UScountvotes.org
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-04-05 04:47 PM
Response to Reply #17
20. Thank you for all the information Peace Patriot
Let me try to explain my state of mind in writing this thread:

As you rightly point out, giving people the facts is very important -- and this thread doesn't have a lot of facts in it. That isn't because I don't consider the facts important, as I'm sure you know. In fact, just last month I posted a thread that contained what I considered to be the major facts that support a stolen election in 2004:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

Obviously, the OP for this thread would be too long to read if I included those facts (though perhaps I could have included an abbreviated version of them). So, in a sense you might say that this particular thread was written for a reason other than to present the facts. It was written partially to explain why I feel election reform is so important, given what we believe about the current state of affairs.

But also, the dismissal of us as "conspiracy theorists" is something that very much angers me. Just as the dismissal of "libruls" as the "looney left" angers me. We should not shy away from accepting the "liberal" label, and we should not shy away from having "conspiracy theories" to explain how the wealthy elite of this country are trying ruin our Democracy in order to amass unprecedented amounts of wealth. I'm proud to be a "conspiracy theorist" because IMO that means that I have an independent mind. So, I certainly didn't mean to sound defensive about it, and I'm sorry if I did. For it is not us who are paranoid, rather it is those who refuse to consider the possibility of major conspiracies and who dismiss and ignore us as "conspiracy theorists" who are hopelessly naive and in denial.

And that's the point that I meant to make.


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anaxarchos Donating Member (963 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-04-05 02:45 PM
Response to Original message
18. "Conspiracy Theory" plays a different role...
...in politics than it does in the popular culture. Typically, it is an act of the disenfranchised who know "something" happened or is happening but do not have access to the details or the power to make those details accessible. I suppose UFO theorists could claim the same but the distinction is easy to make.

Every popular movement which is locked out of power is riddled with a very different kind of "conspiracy theory". And those theories in turn, accurate and not, understate the actual events transpiring below the surface. In the recent past, during the sixties, the truth of this became strikingly clear. Everyone I knew believed that the Anti-War movement, that the Panthers, that many others were routinely targeted by the government. Nevertheless, very few had any inkling of the extent of Cointelpro, etc. (and those that did, we typically regarded as truly crazy). So it went on a very broad range of issues. To talk about just one example:

When I was growing up, there were elaborate theories on how "drugs" were being used by "the man" to control the "black community". In turn, conservative commentators would use the widespread acceptance of these to attack "black paranoia", and worse. This was before the secrecy around the Vietnam War unraveled and the politics of heroin in Laos was revealed. It was before Panama and before Iran-Contra. It was before the revelations that will eventually come from Afghanistan. It was before uneven drug laws, unevenly applied, swelled the prison population in America by a factor of 8 and black prison population by a factor of 15. It was before one out of three black men were disenfranchised, effectively undoing the Voting Rights Act.

Looking back on the conspiracy theories of the sixties, you see a mixed bag. Some of the theories were obviously insane, some were remarkably accurate, and some simply attributed to individuals what in truth was anonymous and "systemic". But overall, the imagination of the theorists pales in comparison to the actual events that have since been revealed...

The responsibility for "conspiracy theory" rests squarely at the foot of authority. It is a direct result of the lack of power to establish conspiracy fact. Attacking the "theorists" is just another case of "blaming the victim".


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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-04-05 04:51 PM
Response to Reply #18
21. Yup. I agree. Waving the "conspiracy theory" flag is a tactic that shuts
down thought. If you can subconsiously subvert the theorist--with doubts about his/her sanity or reliability--you've nearly won the battle against the facts that they may be in possession of. Facts cease to matter. The issue becomes, "whom do you trust? --the entire news establishment, or this nut?"

The sheer weight of the news establishment--including its only theoretical competition--or the sheer weight of numbers in the government (all agents? all bureaucrats? not a single whistleblower?)--comes down upon the lonely individual and his hard working brain and passionate heart.

I remember the conspiracy theories of the 1960s, too. Especially the ones about drugs, and about the JFK, RFK and MLK assassinatons (just too damned convenient for the rightwing nuts that were, even then, plotting the downfall of progressive America in their "Christian Anti-Communist Crusade" tents out in the Mojave desert). The "black box" ops and all that (deniability, untraceability).

We never have gotten to the bottom of the JFK assassination, which seemed to start it all. I've been listening to some of the "LBJ tapes" that are running on Saturdays on C-SPAN radio, and it's mind-boggling to think of what this man was doing--slaughtering over a million people in Vietnam, and sending over 50,000 U.S. soldiers to their horrible deaths in war (for what????!!!!!), while he wheels and deals over better labor laws and black voting rights (all pro-people).

Mind-boggling is the only word. What the hell kind of insanity had hold of our leaders? You almost begin to believe in Dark Forces and Alien Abduction.

With the Bushites, I've come to the conclusion that it's just plain old greed--on a rather mind-boggling scale. First, last and in between. No other motive. Everything else (the Christian rhetoric, the neocons) is just window dressing.

It's kind of comforting, in a way. Understandable (if dastardly). Greed so bad they kill for it, true. But no big plot to Nazify the U.S.--except in so far as it serves their greed. The Nazis were much more focused on controlling hearts and minds, building an industrial war machine, and taking and GOVERNING territory. The Bush Cartel has no interest in governing, and they really don't care if anybody believes them or not, as long as the news monopolies maintain an illusion that somebody does. Hitler, on the other hand, cared, and so did his brownshirts and other supporters. They were out to transform the world. The Bush Cartel is not. They are mere looters.

Doesn't mean they are not highly dangerous. And it doesn't mean that they won't use Nazi tactics to create looting opportunities. They clearly have done so already, and have many menacing plans. I think what it means is that they are defeatable short of bloody revolution and civil war.

That's what I mean by "comforting." They have NOT convinced the majority to go on a jihad against the world. They have NOT convinced hardly anybody of anything. (The issue and approval polls over the last 2 years clearly show that--the American progressive majority remains huge.) They have USED everybody, including the Christian right, and the intellectual rightwing "think tank" true believers, and the War Democrats and the Israeli lobby (and have used Israel's very vulnerability, in fact, and its paranoia, and military fortress mentality) toward their purpose of looting the U.S. and the whole goddamned world.

It is in fact much harder to understand LBJ and Vietnam. (--for which I'm beginning to think that a psychological theory might be the answer--something about sublimating guilt for JFK's death into the mass slaughter of the war) (???). (--with the CIA and its drug financing being opportunistic, rather an causal.)

Whew, you've sent me far afield, anaxarchos! But I guess we're all thinking back to the '60s these days, trying to understand this junta and what to do about it. Our failure then, I think, had to do with something right under our noses--not dependent on a conspiracy theory--but plain fact. An economy based on war industries WILL CREATE war. And we can count on those who rule us making war--and using war for looting, or for working out their psychological problems, or for bringing Jesus back in Armageddon--as long as we fail to dismantle the aggressive war machine that presents such a powerful temptation to them.

They have made it very difficult to address the real problem--the war machine and its military/corporate welfare economy--with Diebold and ES&S now controlling our elections. And that's where we must start. Back to square one: our right to vote; our bottom-line right to determine our fate.

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anaxarchos Donating Member (963 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-05 07:49 PM
Response to Reply #21
31. We made the same mistake we always make, PP...

We let them get up.

Same as we did after the Revolution...
Same as after the Civil War and Reconstruction...
Same as after the New Deal and the Second World War...
Same as after the Civil Rights and Anti-War Movements...

We declared a truce on a promise of future "good behavior"...

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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-04-05 05:38 PM
Response to Reply #18
24. I agree
You sound a lot like eridani's post, a little bit down stream in ERD.

The power elites will do all that they can to put down or ridicule "conspiracy theorists" because they don't want anyone to believe that the status quo isn't what it's cracked up to be. It makes me so mad to hear the term "grassy knoll conspiracy theorist" as a put down. As far as I'm concerned anyone who isn't a grassy knoll conspiracy theorist simply is either in denial or they are not aware of the facts surrounding the JFK assassination.
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anaxarchos Donating Member (963 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-05 05:05 PM
Response to Reply #24
29. The other side of the coin is the reaction...
...to "conspiracy theory". The "solution" to conspiracy theory is sunlight, shined directly onto the object of conspiratorial interest. The brighter the light of openness and investigation, the more marginal the errant theory becomes.

Pick up any High School Civics text in America and you are guaranteed to read about the primacy of the citizen's right to vote and the "fabric of trust" underlying it. In the 2004 presidential elections, one half the electorate were, at best, "somewhat confident" that their votes would be counted accurately. After the election, opinion polls showed that 20 to 25% of the republic thought the election was stolen.

So, then, where are the investigating commissions? Where are the fine speeches claiming that if "one American" doesn't think that their vote doesn't count, then that is "one too many"? Where are the measures to "repair the social contract"? Where are the editorials demanding a restoration of a "broken trust"?

Instead, what? We have stone-walling, secrecy, silence, the promotion of those at the heart of the slimiest of maneuvers (Harris, Blackwell, etc.), the de-railing of recounts (sometimes illegally), the obstinate promotion of technologies, policies and practices already bankrupt in the eyes of far too many, exceptional cynicism even for government officials, and a non-stop attack on the critics of electoral policy...

And all of this in the name of what? We have reasons that in the face of the unraveling of the "fabric of trust", don't even rise to the level of the trite or the trivial: "No uniformity of standards", "costs too much", "wouldn't change the outcome", "takes too long", "distracts", etc...

In fact, one year after the 2004 presidential elections it is clear that it is not just many Democrats but many Republicans as well, a majority of officials and a sizable portion of the "base", who also believe that the elections were stolen... and this in strength far exceeding the number of those who could have direct knowledge of any "fraud". It is more suspicion than knowledge and, as such, the inevitable outcome of one too many jerry-mandered districts, of political partisans advanced as "Secretaries of State", of "deferred maintenance" on Northern voting machines, of "deferred cleaning" of chads in African-american precincts in the South, of "nudges and winks" on registration policies and so on.

By now, raising the issue of voting rights in America is similar to questioning the possibility of corruption in the Customs agency of Peru or the Sudan. The unified hostility in response is the product, not of a specific knowledge of corruption in one place but the certainty of a high degree of corruption in every place. Why open Pandora's Box?

In the face of the above, conspiracy theories were inevitable. One conspiracy, the "Conspiracy of Silence" noted above, is no longer just a theory. It is an established fact. How much of a stretch is it to believe that a "conspiracy to commit fraud" could exist? In many ways, it is the lesser act.


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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-05 06:48 PM
Response to Reply #29
30. I couldn't agree with you more Anax
I think you hit on some very important reasons for believing that this election was stolen, even if there was a complete absence of specific evidence to that effect.

Some people say, sure it's obvious that our system is vulnerable to massive cheating, but where is the evidence that it actually happened? I don't know what those who say that are thinking? Do they think that the people in power in this country have too many morals to do such a thing.

Perhaps I can understand the argument that maybe Bush didn't need to cheat to win this particular election. But then why all the obstruction to investigating what happened in Ohio?

But for me, perhaps the most cogent argument for believing that this election was stolen is: Why would a ruling party show such contempt for public opinion as is being shown now if they thought that they actually had to fairly win elections in order to stay in power?
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petgoat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-04-05 07:09 PM
Response to Original message
27. What Can We Do?





http://www.verifiedvoting.org

In states marked in blue, legislation has been proposed but not yet
enacted to require Voter Verified Paper Ballots.

In states marked in red, such legislation has not even been proposed
yet.

I doubt this will be in time to affect 2006 directly, but at least it
gets people talking about the machines.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-04-05 07:22 PM
Response to Reply #27
28. Nice that none of the red states are swing states
What is the green and the purple?
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