Archive for the 'TAKE ACTION!' Category

How to win an election when the chips are down. From GOP playbook.

Posted in '06 Election, '08 Election, Democratic Underground, General, TAKE ACTION! on August 18th, 2006

Own the media (done)

2. Own the voting machines (done)

3. Purposely bias polls, and use the media to convince people that the vote is legitimate. (done)

4. When things are really looking bad resort to “Plan B”.

    Bad is defined as:

  • The general populace has really had enough of your bullshit
  • Democrats have finally caught on that you actually have rigged the voting machines

Plan B:

1. Announce far ahead of time that the voting machines are rigged, and if you lose, it is because the democrats have rigged the vote. Say this a lot (with the help of the media), so it appears that the democrats are in control of the voting machines. (in process)

2. Just before the elections, heighten the terror alert, or drag out some scapegoat of a plot to put in the news.

3. Rig the election as usual, and the media pundits will rationalize for you how security concerns changed voter choices in the final days (the best part is the pundits will be unwitting participants, they don’t even need to know the real truth)

4. The democrats will not be able to claim the vote was rigged, because it now appears that if anyone could rig the vote, it was the democrats (see step 1 of Plan B)

How do we “defuse” Plan B? The democrats need to start speaking up now, and loudly about who owns the voting machine companies, and the linkages to the GOP.

Posted on Democratic Underground by Pobeka

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Talking Points Memo On Elections (for Progressive media)

Posted in '06 Election, Bob Fitrakis, General, RFK Jr., TAKE ACTION! on August 12th, 2006

Since the start of this month there has been more high profile, corporate media coverage of our “election” charades than perhaps any other period during the Bush regime. Could this be a sign we are approaching a bona fide tipping point, after which things will be totally different? Well, I want to believe it, but I think we first need the progressive media to get on the same page about some talking points.

1. Secret vote counting guarantees inconclusive outcomes. Whether it is paperless DREs or optical scanners with interpreted or proprietary code, votes are being “counted” in secret, without even a chance for voters, elections officials or the media to examine the process or verify the results.

2. Unverified voting means there is NO BASIS for confidence in the results reported. Blind trust is required to accept current election results.

3. The media should not report what it cannot prove or independently verify. We now have faith-based reporting about faith-based elections.

4. The Consent of the Governed is being assumed, not sought, under current election conditions. According to the Declaration of Independence, the “just Power” of government derives from the Consent of the Governed.

5. Here is a partial list (in no particular order) of additional items to which we must say: We Do Not Consent.

a) The lost presumption of innocence;

b) Spying on Americans and an overall loss of privacy;

c) Government lawlessness;

d) Destruction of our environment;

e) The promise of endless war;

f) Free speech zones;

g) Depleted Uranium (Mr. Bush’s slow-motion holocaust);

h) Government run media;

i) Secret prisons, torture and war crimes;

j) and We Do Not Consent to secret vote counting machines.

The larger question that should emerge from these talking points is: Has the Consent of the Governed been withdrawn, YET? Presented this way the question takes a tone of inevitability – not if, but when! This is how we pave a path to a tipping point.

This set of points varies in at least one very dramatic way from the high profile corporate coverage recently given to election integrity. For examples, start with Rolling Stone publishing Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s hefty recitation of the of the travesty of the 2004 “election” in Ohio, plus the ensuing TV appearances (CNN, Fox, MSNBC – all .wmv videos), and the online rebuttals and rejoinders (Farhad Manjoo at, Paul Lehto, Bob Fitrakis, and even Bobby Kennedy himself). In all cases, progressive people are arguing over past events that can’t be changed with people who are not even open to having their minds changed.

What would be better is educating progressive media about these powerful forward-looking arguments. Icons such as Thom Hartmann, Peter B. Collins (.mp3 of my interview last week), and Randi Rhodes can help us teach the public at large in a way that enables understanding of our current condition while fostering an appropriately strong and unified response. The talking points above allow us to discuss that which can be agreed upon, namely, what are the conditions for the elections we’re about to have. The lesson, however, is that such conditions ensure inconclusive outcomes which should never be expected to produce unanimous acceptance. By narrowly defining a common view of the problem we become poised to take united action.

The Voter Confidence Resolution (VCR) is a document reflecting all the talking points above. The City Council of Arcata, CA was the first to adopt the VCR, and Palo Alto, CA will soon be considering its own version. Each community is encouraged to use Arcata’s language as a template, keeping the main talking points and customizing other areas, including an election reform platform. This inspires local debate about sensible standards that should aim at delivering conclusive election outcomes and creating a basis for confidence in the results reported.

In Hartmann’s recent AlterNet article about the RFK piece, he very bluntly says: “George W. Bush is not the legitimate president of the United States.” But Hartmann doesn’t go much beyond encouraging us to “speak out” in response. There is no doubt that Hartmann personally knows many people who have already been among the most outspoken. Our efforts have not been in vain, but they could be more successful with a common message and call to action. And it was with this in mind that I saw the need for this talking points memo. It is worth noting that when I recently discussed these same ideas with Brother Thom on his radio show, this is what he said:

“Its a great start getting out there and saying, ‘Nope, sorry, we’re not going to play this game.’ I think we need to do more of that.

* * *
Additional recent major media election integrity coverage has included Jack Cafferty and Lou Dobbs (.wmv) on CNN. Big thanks to VoteTrustUSA and BradBlog for instigating and covering the coverage. Also see Why Old Election Numbers No Longer Matter, originally published 8/17/05 in the GuvWurld Blog, also appearing on page 9 of my new book We Do Not Consent (free .pdf download). Finally, Mark E. Smith offers a perspective worth considering in Global Warming vs. Election Integrity.

WE DO NOT CONSENT – The new blog and online book (free download)

Also see The GuvWurld Blog AND The Voter Confidence Resolution

Posted on Democratic Underground by GuvWorld 

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Democracy In Crisis – An Exclusive BRAD BLOG Interview with Mike Papantonio

Posted in '06 Election, Brad Blog, General, Legal, Mike Papantonio, RFK Jr., TAKE ACTION! on August 2nd, 2006

The Electronic Voting Machine Company Qui Tam Cases Explained… ‘Citizen media is replacing mainstream media…and a lot more successfully than anybody dreamed.’

An Exclusive Interview for The BRAD BLOG as Guest Blogged by Joy and Tom Williams…

Mike Papantonio and Bobby Kennedy co-host Ring of Fire on Air America. The two attorneys have filed qui tam lawsuits against the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) companies for defrauding the government. We previously posted an exclusive interview with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. about this case.

Papantonio is a Florida attorney who has already gone after a number of big corporations for the American people. He is named partner and head of the Mass Tort Department at his firm. He has handled many famous cases throughout the nation, including asbestos, breast implants, Dalkon Shield, Fen-Phen, hemophiliac-AIDS, L-Tryptophan, railroad disasters and the Florida Tobacco litigation. He is listed in Best Lawyers in America and Leading American Attorney. He is also the author of In Search of Atticus Finch, A Motivational Book for Lawyers; Clarence Darrow, The Journeyman; Resurrecting AESOP, Fables Lawyers Should Remember and a co-author of Closing Arguments — The Last Battle. In addition to all this, he is a popular lecturer in the legal field.

We would like to say something about what a dynamic and articulate man he is, and how much we think he’s doing for our country, but, really, res ipsa loquitur, the thing speaks for itself, and this is no accident. Mike Papantonio is a hard-working, extremely generous, friendly and personable — and dedicated — man. One would be hard-pressed to find a better duo for the difficult job ahead. The Kennedy/Papantonio alliance is a particularly brilliant one. Mike took the time to talk to us about aspects of the qui tam cases they have set in motion already…

BRAD BLOG: Can you tell us about these qui tam cases?

MIKE PAPANTONIO: What we’re doing with these qui tam cases is really not much different than the approach we used in the national tobacco litigation. We’ve put together that same kind of team, not the same people, but the same kind of people who are used to working with complex litigation. Because of that, there’s a benefit to the U.S. attorney saying, “Well, you know, we don’t know if we really want to do this.” And once they say that, those are the golden words that will allow us to go in and handle the case ourselves. Exactly like we’ve done with tobacco, asbestos, virtually every major pharmaceutical case in the country, it’s always originated with the same kind of lawyers. And those are the kind of lawyers that do fairly complex stuff.

BB: I want to thank you for doing those cases, by the way, Mike.

MP: Thank you for saying that, sometimes it just takes a while to register, to where you say, well you know, I didn’t want to have to do this, but apparently we have to. That’s how I feel about this right now.

BB: How do you feel about the idea that you might be saving our Democracy?

MP: Morris Dees is a civil rights lawyer and a very good friend of mine. As a matter of fact he started the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery. If you talk to someone like Morris, and you ask him, what is it that brought some closure, some beginning for closure to the civil rights movement, he’d say it was really no one event; it was kind of a collection of displaced separate events. That’s always stuck with me, because with anything that’s worth doing, it’s rare that you will accomplish it with one event that you are able to manage, or one success that you are able to gain. It rarely works like that. I think there are some similarities here, just like I thought the same thing with tobacco. When we first started talking about tobacco, everybody thought we were pretty much nuts, because we were taking on some of the biggest corporations in the world. But it wasn’t just our effort, it had been the effort of people who’d gone before us, and all we did was take what they’d already done for us and make it a little bit better — a small reinvention of the wheel, in a way that just helped the wheel roll a little better. It’s the same thing here.

I think of Lowell Finley. Lowell Finley is a great lawyer who’s handled these voter cases a long time, but he’s had to handle them by himself. First of all there’s the economics of it, and if all you are doing is going to court and arguing with some Judge, about the fact that he ought to enjoin the further use of the company, the product, or that he ought to put limitations on how the product’s used, that doesn’t really get you where you need to go, and it costs you instead of the company. The only thing that corporate America understands is when they have to say to their stockholders, or to their partners in their businesses, “Hey, we have to write a big check now and it could put us out of business.” That’s all they respond to. Having done complex litigation for 25 years, I’ve never seen any other formula. You know, in a perfect world we could throw them in jail.

In Japan, for example, if you are following this latest story — I think it has to do with an auto case where they didn’t tell the consumers the truth — the consumer doesn’t really get to sue them the same way they do in the States, but the good news is that they throw them in jail. So that’s where I wish we were. I would gladly give up the multi-million-dollar recoveries from all the pharmaceutical cases, from everything we’ve done, for the last 25 years. If I knew we had a law that said, “Well, you guys can’t really sue them for money but we can have these creeps thrown in jail,” I’d gladly give up every dime. But, unfortunately, in the US, the only avenue we have to punish these companies is to take their money away. And so that’s the method of operation that we’ve used in pharmaceutical cases, in asbestos cases, and tobacco cases, and roll-over cases — all of those consumer cases are only driven by the fact that greed is such a driving force with corporate America that they only react when you take some of their ill-gotten money away from them.

BB: So it’s not only the machine fraud. The Republican Party has been involved with all kinds of methods to disenfranchise voters, from intimidation, to destruction of Democratic voter registrations, and all kinds of other things that result in people not having their votes counted, or not being able to vote. Is there any possibility of a class action lawsuit down the line for the American people because they had their election stolen?

MP: I don’t really see that. I understand class action suits very, very well, and I don’t really see that as a possibility. It’s not likely that you’re going to have a case where you say the same offense that prevented person A from voting also prevented person B and person C, where you can show those three events are exactly the same. And unfortunately in a class action suit there are certain hoops that you have to jump through, like similarity in action, numerosity, all of these things that you really have to be specific about to get to the class action threshold. There may be some small cases, for example, where the Indians are disenfranchised, in a particular area — yes, that has a ring to it. Or where the Hispanics in a certain state are disenfranchised — that has some appeal to it. I don’t think that we are ready to get there yet with these. The trick to any particular litigation is to lay out the best strategy you can with what you have.

When I look at this, the best strategy that I’m able to come up with, and Bobby’s able to come up with, is a strategy that forces us into a room with the people who are making these decisions — so I’m able to sit across the table from those people and ask them some tough questions. That: a.) forces them into committing perjury; and b.) exposes them as being the criminals that they are. I think that the best way to get there, is to do it by way of qui tam lawsuits and I may be wrong, but sometimes you have to stick with your strategy and that’s where we’re headed with it.

BB: Bobby was talking about how widespread this machine tampering is getting. It suggested to me that since these machines don’t tamper themselves, and since the Republicans don’t do things ad hoc, there may be a room filled with high level people who are sitting around analyzing data, plotting strategies, coming up with numbers and giving instructions, and if you could find out who those are wouldn’t you have a massive conspiracy case?

MP: Yes, you would. Tom, I keep hearing of people afraid to say that there’s any design, that everything that happened in Ohio must have just happened to be coincidental, disjointed events. I’m not afraid to say I think there is something that has more of a design to it.

For example, there is no question Feeney, down in Florida, met with people who were trying to put together a system to game voting. Here you have a Republican Congressman, this guy who represents Floridians, who represents Americans, and he’s sitting down trying to figure out how he can defraud Americans of their right to vote. Now, you’ve got to find that here too. Does it all fit together? It might.

[Ed Note: We have been reporting on Florida vote-rigging whistleblower Clint Curtis for the past year and a half. He is the programmer who has alleged Republican Congressman Tom Feeney asked him to create a software prototype to flip votes on electronic voting machines. A summary of our coverage is posted here. Curtis is now running for Congress in Florida’s 24th district in hopes of unseating Feeney this fall. The Clint Curtis for Congress website is here.]

I think for something as critical as this is, you have to have a very methodical approach, just the same kind of an approach I would use if I were going to sue Merck for a defective product for 10,000 people. But that’s not new stuff. If you were to follow me around in a given month, you would see that I use the same methodology almost all the time, because it’s proven methodology, and that’s the way this has to be approached. It’s easy to get your attention pulled in so many directions that you forget that you still have a methodology that you need to follow. So all of these things are issues. You say to yourself, “My God, I know this is happening,” but you have to be patient. You have to say to yourself, “I gotta get there.”

BB: That’s not to say in following your planned strategy you might not turn up a lot of things in the woodwork during the process.

MP: Yes, I think you will. I think we’ll turn up exactly what you’re talking about in the process. And then at some point, that’s something that will become useable. Right now with the way that politics are situated in Washington, if you were to turn up the fact that Dick Cheney, for an example – just for an example – if Dick Cheney and Karl Rove had sat down and said, here is the master strategy that’s even better than Lee Atwater’s Southern Strategy, and here’s how we are going to create this Republican machine that’s never going to go away — if they were to have said that, and I actually had documents to show that they said it, that ordinarily would work…. But with the present environment, with the media that we are confronted with, and with the Justice Department, (not so much the Justice Department, but the people who are running the Justice Department, because we have very good U.S. Attorneys who are career people and they don’t like this anymore than we do) — unfortunately, until we take back Congress and then take back the White House, we could have all the smoking guns you want, but the infrastructure to do anything with it is not there.

Every time I talk about this Democrats get mad, but it’s just absolutely the truth: Had Bill Clinton gone after and really sustained his investigation into the Iran-Contra affair for the full two years that he was there with a Democratic Congress, had he aggressively gone after the people he needed to, we wouldn’t have had Wolfowitz, we wouldn’t have had Rumsfeld, we wouldn’t have had Richard Perle, we wouldn’t have most of the Neocons that are running things right now. They would be in jail. But he didn’t do it. So the question is, if we can get Congress back one more time, and we can gain control of the infrastructure that puts thugs in jail, then we can have some change, but it has to begin in November, it has to happen.

This is it — 2006 is the test.

But until we have either the House or the Senate, we don’t even have a bully pulpit. We have a press that is a completely dismal failure. And there’s a clear reason why they’re a dismal failure. Want to hear it?

BB: Of course!

MP: In the next 900 days, they have the last opportunity to enhance the 1996 Telecommunications Act. Michael Powell, if you will remember, took a shot at it last year, and he was very close, a lot closer than anybody thought. If they can get there, then what you are going to have is that Viacom, or NBC, or Rupert Murdoch is going come to your home town, and own your newspaper, own your radios, own your televisions, own everything, so that the one message that, say, Rupert Murdoch wants to deliver is delivered on virtually every venue available to you.

BB: That’s so dangerous.

MP: It’s awful. But the corporate media understands that this is it.


Really, they’ll never again have this opportunity to have such a bumpkin President, such a lapdog bunch of Congressmen, and such a bottom-feeding kind of Administration. They’ll never have this again. They are afraid they will lose this opportunity by actually telling the stories, that people like you are telling. They are afraid to tell the story about the fact that 80,000 votes were shifted from John Kerry’s name to George Bush’s name in Ohio; or, that in the same state of Ohio, in one district, there were only 800 people who were registered, but 4000 votes showed up on the ledger.

BB: About qui tam: I understand that when you file, the government has the option of taking the case, instead of the citizen who files. Is that true?

MP: Correct.

BB: Is there any chance that the government might take the case and then go ahead and spike it?

MP: You mean sit on it?

BB: Yes.

MP: Yes, that’s exactly everybody’s fear, and that’s what we are trying to work around right now. The answer is, yes, that could very well happen, and we’re doing the best we can to not allow it to happen. Interestingly enough, within 60 days they have to make a decision, the decision if they are going to take the case, and they have a right to have one extension, they can get one continuance for that decision, so that’s one thing we have to be very conscious of.

BB: That can leave the disclosure until after the election then.

MP: Oh, absolutely. We’re trying to do what we can in that regard too.

BB: It’s too bad it couldn’t have been filed a little bit earlier.

MP: We had to have the facts. You have to have the relator, you have to have the whistleblowers, without those you can’t really do anything.

BB: I want to thank you for doing this. I really appreciate it.

MP: Well thank you, and I appreciate what you’re doing. I’m very optimistic about what you’re doing, because I think there’s a real rise in the citizen media. Citizen media is replacing mainstream media, and I think it’s doing it a lot more aggressively, and a lot more successfully than anybody dreamed. If you look at the numbers right now, 60% of Americans don’t trust the news. 60% say that they don’t even believe that the news can be adequately reported because government or corporations don’t allow it to happen. So what happens out there, is that the market always takes care of itself. There is some truth to that. And the market right now is moving rapidly towards the same kind of citizen media that you’re involved with. It’s one of those events that I talked about earlier, which coalesces with other things that are happening, so citizen media does get a story like this out, and it’s very effective. It’s amazing.

So when you run this story, somebody somewhere might read it and they might say, “Well I have information,” and they call someone or they call us, and you have a whole new dimension to the case that develops. Every day, somebody inside one of these voter corporations is mistreated, becomes disgruntled, finds their conscience, gets fearful that they are going to be arrested — because all those things do happen — and every time another of these key people decides to do the right thing, we have a better chance of getting to the whole story, so what you’re doing has a dramatic effect.

BB: Well I hope so, I just want to save this country.

MP: [Laughing] Well, I thank you for that. I will keep you posted as this story develops. It’s not something that happens right away. I think people may believe things are going to happen so rapidly that it’s going to be a huge flash, it’s more like a smoldering fire. And that’s not such a bad thing.

BB: No, because sometimes a smoldering fire will do a lot more damage in the long run than a flash. I’m hoping that this will actually change the consciousness in America so that when everybody goes to vote they look carefully at what’s going on around them. If we can at least get it out there that these voting machine companies are being sued, then maybe there will be more attention paid during the 2006 election, even if the case hasn’t been concluded.

MP: Joy, let me ask you something. Just put yourself in the position of an insider. The number ten guy with a huge voting machine company. All of a sudden, you understand that we’re already going fairly aggressively against one of your competitors. And you as number ten person in that company have firsthand knowledge that the company is committing fraud, and that the fraud is resulting in people being disenfranchised — just totally being disenfranchised from the right to vote. If you are that number ten guy, and as you listen to the story unfold, there ought to be a certain pucker factor. That fear factor is what you should react to, rather than being somebody that is brought into a lawsuit or a criminal case. The thing to do is to come forward now, and let people know up front that, yes, you know about it, and, yes, you’re willing to help correct it.

BB: And that’s part of the message we need to get out….

MP: That’s it!

BB: You were saying the other day it’s “like the civil rights issue” I think this is the civil rights issue.

MP: Oh yes, it is the civil rights issue; it’s the heart of the civil rights issue. It’s what people were murdered for, why they had to march in lines where they had dogs sic’d on them, and tear gas thrown at them, and bullets shot over their heads, or sometimes into their bodies. There’s no difference from what’s happening here, it’s just that people don’t understand or react to the racial aspect of it. Because it’s not simply a racial issue, it’s a class issue.

BB: Exactly, it’s the poor, as well as minority groups, as well as anyone who might commit the crime of voting while Democrat.

MP: If you think that this is happening in upper middle class neighborhoods, where white people drive 15 minutes to vote, you’re wrong. The problem was in the places where people had to take buses, and walk and take taxicabs to go vote, and then they would have to stand in line for four hours.

BB: And they might not even be in the “right” line in the same polling precinct. In Ohio there were frequently two polling precincts in one place, like a high school gym, and people would get in the wrong line, wait four hours, and then have to go to the end of the other line.

MP: Yes… and, then when they get there, their name isn’t even on the voting roll. So those are the nuances. We have to handle the direct issue right now. The direct issue is, even when they got there, the voting was probably gamed after they voted.

BB: Do you think that ChoicePoint is pulling people’s names off the rolls in 2006 as they did in 2000 in Florida?

MP: Oh, I just don’t know that yet. There’s no way to tell yet.

BB: This whole story is so intricate and so complicated, if they game the system again in 2006, it’s going to be a lot harder to tell because there are so many small races compared to the big major races for President….

MP: You hit a very good point. The point is: What about the developer who wants to have two of his friends put on the county commission so he can build a new high-rise? Nobody wants the high-rise, but, if he can get his friends put on there, my God, he might stand to make $15 million. Isn’t that just as much of a threat? The local issue is not quite as important as the national, but it’s pretty damned important.

BB: And, if the poll workers can take these machines home and have a sleepover with them, you can have one person put in a nasty chip, and change the whole outcome of the race!

MP: And without any evidence at all, so there would be no way to tell.

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Posted in Democratic Underground, General,, TAKE ACTION!, Video on July 28th, 2006

watch online, download, or purchase a DVD:

When more than half of Americans are not confident votes are counted accurately — that’s an intolerable condition for a democracy.

This short film finds that much of the uncertainty and persistent controversy surrounding past elections is rooted in the sheer number of lost votes, flipped votes, and plain old breakdowns occurring on the growing number of costly electronic voting machines used throughout America.

Under the guise of mandating accessibility for disabled voters, the 2002 Help America Vote Act (HAVA) is forcing a wholesale shift in how our votes are cast and counted — just in time for the 2006 elections.

You’ll see governors on both sides of the aisle condemning touchscreen DREs in favor of paper ballots, optically scanned or hand counted, as the only way to allow for meaningful audits and recounts.

This film highlights a deep history of success in past voting rights movements, and lays out next steps for restoring basic accountability and integrity to American elections.

Originally posted on Democratic Underground by garybeck of

Video added by Organik

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Congresswoman ‘Apologizes’ for Not Taking Allegations of Stolen 2004 Election Seriously!

Posted in General, TAKE ACTION! on June 16th, 2006
Was it Stolen? ‘Only Answer is Yes,’ says Schakowsky who Claims DCCC to Announce Steps Soon to Avoid ‘Repeat Performance’
EXCLUSIVE: Complete Text of Prepared Remarks from today’s ‘Take Back America’ Conference…

I just got off the phone with Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) who reportedly wowed ’em a few hours ago during her speech (posted in full below) on the closing afternoon of the “Take Back America” conference being held in Washington D.C.

In her remarks, Schakowsky apologized for “not taking seriously enough the allegations that the 2004 election was stolen.” She now feels it was, and claims that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) will be launching an initiative. From today’s speech:

I apologize for not taking seriously enough the allegations that the 2004 election was stolen. After reading Bobby Kennedy’s article in Rolling Stone, “Was the 2004 Election Stolen?”, I am convinced that the only answer is yes. He documents how 357,000 Ohio voters, the vast majority Democrats, “were prevented from casting ballots or did not have their votes counted…more than enough to shift the results.” Watch for the DCCC to take some very public steps in the near future to ward off a repeat performance. In the meantime, there needs to be a citizens’ effort starting now to assess the machines, the ballots, the registration process within each and every election jurisdiction in each and every swing district and state, in the case of Senate races. Where the situation looks perilous, go to the media, raise a stink, demand changes. This is a great project for the many of you who have been diligently working to guarantee fair and accurate elections.

Raise a stink? Can do. So can you! Sign Velvet Revolution’s petition declaring “No Confidence” in the Busby/Bilbray race!

(Hat tip to my buddy Peter B. Collins, who is in DC to cover the conference, for his quick phone call alert after Schakowsky’s speech earlier this afternoon!)

Schakowsky’s prepared statement from today’s Take Back America conference speech follows in full…


Remarks of Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky

My topic today is “Closing the Deal.” Closing the deal. I believe that on November 7, Democrats can be in the majority in the Congress – both Houses. And I believe that the activists and leaders who are here today can make it happen. I am optimistic – cautiously optimistic.

At long last, nearly everyone in our country sees what we’ve seen for a long time. Let’s just tick off a few of the problems of their own making that the Republicans face, beginning but not ending with the calamitous war in Iraq. During the time of this panel – one hour – your tax dollars will have contributed to the $11 million the U.S. spends in Iraq every hour – 24/7. And between Iraq and Afghanistan , the equivalent of one battalion of soldiers (600) is killed or injured each month. Move on to gas prices, heating costs, unaffordable health care, the Medicare Part D disaster. Katrina, Guantanamo Bay, Halliburton, Abu Ghraib; college tuition, the NSA spying on everyone (and proud of it), tax cuts just for the Paris Hiltons, drilling in ANWR, global warming, the 9/11 Commission failing grades, Dubai ports deal, stagnant or falling wages, everyone around the world hates us, Jack Abramoff, relentless attacks on women’s reproductive rights, labor unions, affirmative action, gays and lesbians, civil rights and civil liberties. You know, after a while it starts to add up. These guys have got to go.It’s no wonder the President’s approval, even after getting al Zarqawi, continues to slip. I don’t know if Bush is the worst President in history. I’m not an expert on the Presidents. As far as I know, there may have been less intellectual Presidents. There may have been more incompetent Presidents or one or two with worse judgment or more reckless or less curious. I don’t know about Chester Arthur or Millard Fillmore. Herbert Hoover was certainly delusional about the economy and James Polk allegedly manufacturing the war with Mexico. But it never mattered as much as it does now. The decisions of the President of the United States, you know, the Decider, have never been more consequential than they are today. While military misadventures of the past certainly claimed many innocent lives, it is only in recent times that the result could be worldwide death and destruction. There may have been Presidents more contemptuous of science, though I doubt it. But nothing else ultimately matters if our planet becomes incapable of sustaining human life. Even the most upscale gated communities can’t protect him and his friends. In the most profound ways, this President and his rubber stamp Congress are proving that elections really do matter. You would think that the real question is how can we lose? The answer is we’ve already proven it can be done. Even when we win, we lose. Fool me once…or whatever the President tried to say. This is no time to play the fool. We need to close the deal. Our challenge, particularly the challenge of the progressives and activists here at this great conference, is not crafting the overarching thematics of the campaigns. Fortunately, the big theme is change, and the goal to put this failed President on every ballot, so far, seems to be working.

For us, it must all be about execution.

1) First, we must not allow the Republicans to steal the election-again.

2) We have to mobilize the voters who are already with us, and run picture perfect, aggressive, leave no voter behind GOTV, Get Out the Vote campaign.

3) We have to persuade the persuadables. (I’ll go more into each of these.)

4) We have to travel. I’ll tell you about the Committee of 100 in my district.

5) We need to keep our eyes on the prize – beating the Republicans.

1) Stealing: I apologize for not taking seriously enough the allegations that the 2004 election was stolen. After reading Bobby Kennedy’s article in Rolling Stone, “Was the 2004 Election Stolen?”, I am convinced that the only answer is yes. He documents how 357,000 Ohio voters, the vast majority Democrats, “were prevented from casting ballots or did not have their votes counted…more than enough to shift the results.” Watch for the DCCC to take some very public steps in the near future to ward off a repeat performance. In the meantime, there needs to be a citizens’ effort starting now to assess the machines, the ballots, the registration process within each and every election jurisdiction in each and every swing district and state, in the case of Senate races. Where the situation looks perilous, go to the media, raise a stink, demand changes. This is a great project for the many of you who have been diligently working to guarantee fair and accurate elections.

2) GOTV: “Intensity equals turnout.” That is one of the political truths that we must NOT rely on. The Republicans learned about grassroots organizing from us and learned it well. We must count on their willingness and capacity to drag out their voters. There is a reason that they are throwing red meat at their base – Constitutional Amendments on same-sex marriage and Flag burning, and demonizing immigrants. They are attempting to motivate and mobilize their base voters. They also successfully targeted individual Republican voters in Democratic precincts, not just relying on larger demographic data. Their operation was often more sophisticated than ours. But we know how to do mobilization. It’s grassroots, door-to-door campaigns that enable us to beat them on the ground. Air strikes – radio and TV, just get you so far; the personal contact drives home the point. As great as job as we did in 2004, we need to do it more and better.

3) PERSUASION: In 2004, the Republicans left no constituency untouched. Their goal was to shave off just enough points from Jewish voters or Hispanic voters. For the first time, they won the majority of Catholics. Why did we lose Catholics? They had a Catholic strategy, and we didn’t. I’m told that Karl Rove met with selected Bishops and lay leaders on a weekly basis. Millions of “Voter Guides for Serious Catholics” were distributed both inside churches and, if that wasn’t an option, outside the churches. It says, “This voter’s guide identifies 5 ‘non-negotiable’ issues and helps you narrow down the list of acceptable candidates, whether they are running for national, state, or local offices. Candidates who endorse or promote any of the 5 non-negotiables should be considered to have disqualified themselves from holding public office, and you should not vote for them.” “It is a serious sin to endorse or promote any of these actions: 1. Abortion 2. Euthanasia 3. Fetal Stem Cell Research 4.Human Cloning 5. Homosexual “Marriage.” Who produced and paid for the distribution of these Voter Guides? Religious leaders? Forget it. This campaign was run by political operatives, armed with political money to defeat John Kerry and other Democratic candidates.

Well, we know how to produce voter guides. We know how to pass out voter guides. I’m no expert on Catholic teachings, but I didn’t see anything here about poverty, or health care or the dignity of work. Shame on us when we don’t compete at all.

4) We have to travel. If you live in a safe Democratic district like mine, you need to consider every candidate in every winnable district as our candidate – at least adopt one or more of those candidates as your own. Let me tell you about an effort I’m helping build in my district called the Committee of 100. It started in 2004 with a group of activists, many first time activists, who called themselves the Kerry Travelers. Since Illinois was solidly blue, we were able to send over 1200 people to various cities in Wisconsin to go door-to-door for John Kerry, helping to put him over the top. No moping for them after the November election. They created the Committee of 100, 100 people who each agreed to contribute between $100 and $250 to a Congressional candidate and go work in a swing district – mine being blessedly safe. We just met last Sunday. So far they have recruited 200 people and are aiming for 1,000 by election day. Representatives from the campaigns of 4 Democrats running for Congress in Illinois came and made pitches for their candidates. Canvass days were announced for each of them, and people signed up to travel to their districts. Much of the organizing for the Committee of 100 takes place on the internet, but this is no virtual community. You can do it too, and my young political director, Alex Armour, would be happy to help you get started.

5) Finally, we all need to resist, as hard as I know it is at times, griping about the Democrats, one, because it’s takes time away from the real work of defeating the Republicans, and two because it’s counterproductive, demoralizing the very people we need to be engaged and enthusiastic. I am not necessarily talking about staying away from primaries. I refer to the time spent complaining about this or that performance, how we’re not tough enough, we’re not articulate enough, we are too wishy-washy. I agree that those critiques are often true. But keep in mind this one thing. Right now we are winning! We are not doing everything wrong.

I refer you to an article in the May Washington monthly by Amy Sullivan, called “Not as Lame as You Think, Democrats learn the art of opposition.” Let me read just a few lines. “…the truth is that Newt Gingrich and the Contract loom so large – and today’s DC Democrats seem so small – largely because of the magic of hindsight. Back in 1994, Republicans were at least as divided as Democrats are now, if not more so…As for unity of message, the now-revered Contract with America didn’t make its debut until just 6 weeks before the election.” She goes on to say that “On virtually all of the major slips this White House has made in the past year, there have been unnoticed Democrats putting down the banana peels.” She gives as an example the Dubai port deal. “If you read the press coverage of the story, you would have thought the issue surfaced on its own. In fact, however, the story was a little grenade rolled into the White House bunker by Sen. Chuck Schumer…who had been tipped off by a source in the shipping industry.” After it became a story, the President went on TV and asked the American people if they really thought he would support any deal that would pose a threat to our country. And Americans answered with a collective, “Yeah.”

When someone starts griping to you, remind them we are winning and ask them to think of one good idea the Republicans have come up with. But if you just have to vent, pick a griping buddy and do it late at night or early in the morning when you are not working on winning.

Let me end with this. On Memorial Day, there was a Washington Post political cartoon by Tom Toles reprinted in the Chicago Sun-Times. It shows an old military veteran reading a newspaper with the banner headline that reads Security Bungle, and articles including Domestic Spying, Data Lost, Official Lying, America Loses Its Friends, and Inequality Growing. The Veteran is saying, “My country’s identity has been stolen.” I love this country. I know that what motivates you to be here at this conference, and to do what you do back home is a love of our country and its promise of justice and freedom, unfulfilled though it may be. This is a room full of patriots – true patriots, the real patriots. I DO feel as if our American identity has been stolen, but I believe that working with you we can, beginning in a mere 5 months, Take Back America.

Re-posted from the Brad Blog 6-14-06

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How to Keep Democrats From Blowing the November Election

Posted in General, TAKE ACTION! on May 9th, 2006
Posted by CrisisPapers in Editorials & Other Articles
Tue May 09th 2006, 05:09 AM
| Bernard Weiner |

I know it doesn’t make much sense, given how the Republicans seem to be imploding every day in new scandals and corruptions and reckless policies — and with the Administration’s approval numbers about to head into the 20s — but I can’t shake the fear that somehow Bush&Co. will keep both houses of Congress in the November election.

This anxiety was heightened the other day when, in a local supermarket, I ran into Stephen Rosenfeld, one of the key electoral-integrity activists in this country.

Since he had been examining electoral chicanery in the 2004 balloting for more than a year-and-a-half, I asked Rosenfeld if he was close to finishing up his research.

My simple question released a torrent of information from him about how the Republicans were able to steal the election in Ohio, and thus the Electoral College vote that elongated the HardRight’s hold on power, with Bush as their front man.

Customers who were reaching around us to get to the bread and cookies were party to the rush of facts about how and why pundits are not now analyzing the presidency of John Kerry — but I don’t want to diminish Rosenfeld’s thunder by listing the details here, since he (with co-author Bob Fitrakis) has a book on the subject coming out in the Fall.

Suffice it to say that the information he laid on me, along with what has been picked up from other electoral-fraud experts — Mark Crispin Miller, Ernest Partridge, Steven Freeman, Bob Fitrakis, Harvey Wasserman, Brad Friedman, Alastair Thompson, Bev Harris, John Conyers, et al. — makes it clear that Kerry was robbed. In some states, it’s likely that the Republican vote-counting corporations massaged the numbers to create a Bush "victory." But it’s equally clear that, in key locales around the country, the GOP might not have needed to fiddle with the computer software since enough votes were stolen from the Democrats by other slimy methods.


As many have noted, the Bush campaign was aided enormously in this thievery because their campaign co-chairs in key states were also the Secretaries of State — that is, the officials in charge of conducting elections and certifying the vote results: Katherine Harris in Florida in 2000 (with brother Gov. Jeb Bush overseeing her work), and, in 2004, Kenneth Blackwell in Ohio, Terry Lind in Michigan, Matt Blunt in Missouri, Glenda Hood in Florida, et al.

It has been widely documented that nefarious techniques were employed in key states to aid Bush’s "victory," such as: removing hundreds of thousands of likely Democratic voters from the voting rolls; rejiggering the precincts so that when those voters went to their usual polling place, they were told they had to go vote elsewhere and when they got to the new place, they had to vote by Provisional Ballots (in Ohio, thousands of those ballots apparently are still uncounted!); making sure the voting machines in heavily Democratic wards were out of commission or malfunctioning or too few in number for the crowds who wanted to vote, thus forcing working-class citizens to stand in line for many hours, with the result that many gave up and went back to their jobs; thousands of unstamped ballots that were moved around to various precincts; locked warehouses in which various electoral irregularities were carried out; dirty tricks to keep likely Democratic voters from showing up (supplying them with the wrong voting date, telling them that anybody with unpaid parking tickets would be arrested at the polls, that sort of thing); not always catching that e-votes for Kerry automatically, either deliberately or because of technical malfunctions, were being switched into the Bush column, etc. etc.

With several hundred thousand voters kept from casting their ballots in Ohio, for example, the ultimate conclusion is that Kerry would have won that key state, and other close states, had the election been conducted honestly, absent the dirty tricks and fraud. But, of course, before any serious recounting could take place, Kerry, despite his promise to fight, quickly threw in the towel, as had Al Gore four years earlier, which haste and timidity permitted Bush&Co. to continue on their corrupt, incompetent, deadly ways.

These were shameful, cowardly Dem retreats by the candidates in the face of fire. Only now are Gore and Kerry starting to behave and speak out the way they should have during their campaigns, at least about the environment and civil liberties and the war in Iraq, leading one to believe that those two are readying themselves for another go in 2008.


And where were the rest of the Democrats during all this electoral thievery? Lost and asleep at the wheel, as usual.

One can’t escape the conclusion that even five years out, the Democrats in general just don’t know how to respond to cutthroat aggressiveness and criminality on the part of the Republicans. They never knew what hit them in Florida in 2000, in Ohio in 2004 and don’t really have their oppositional act together now in 2006, with the midterm election just six months away.

On occasion the Dems display a bit more starch in their spines, but in general liberals remain locked in a more naive frame of mind, from an earlier era, when elections, no matter what their deficiencies, were more or less on the up-and-up and fair-mindedness was the operational mode for politicians: Elections were held and the declared winners got to rule, but they governed by taking into account the legitimacy of the opposition minority. Those days are long gone, thanks to Rove’s bullyboy tactics.

The Democrats just don’t want to deal with, or don’t know how to deal with, the reality that in the Bush/Cheney/Rove era the Republican leadership has a singular goal in mind — to win, by whatever means necessary — and that it has a meticulously worked-out system for victory that violates every rule and tradition set up in years’ past. The lasting legacy of Karl Rove.

And yet the Dems are planning their first weeks in office post-November, as if all they need to do is to watch the GOP sink further in the polls and then waltz into control of the House and/or Senate.


Why am I so snarky here about the Dems? Because there is a too-long history of Democrats tending to gear up once every two and four years for an election campaign, refusing to face the fact that the Republicans are in campaign mode every minute of every day, with the goal of decimating and destroying their political opposition. It’s the permanent campaign which, not coincidentally, ties in to their permanent war ("the war on terrorism," a war against a tactic) that serves as the underpinning for their domestic and foreign agenda.

The end result has been an increasing slide into a homegrown kind of American fascism: a desire by the HardRightists for one-party rule; Bush’s fondness for dictatorial governance; his 750 "signing statements," where he asserts that he can override laws passed by Congress whenever he so chooses (see Charlie Savage’s mostly-ignored Boston Globe story, "Bush Challenges Hundreds of Laws: President Cites Powers of His Office"; and Bob Egelko’s "How Bush Redefines the Intent of the Law"); his conviction that he has a blank-check to initiate wars of choice; his authorization of torture; his ordering the NSA to spy on millions of American citizens; his attempts at neutering the Legislative and Judicial branches of government, etc. etc.

And permitting all this to pass beneath the public radar is a cowed, cooperative mass-media, whose reporters serve mostly as stenographers rather than as true journalists holding government officials’ feet to the fire. Clearly, if a Democratic President had behaved himself as Bush and Cheney have done — lying in order to foment a war, breaking the law on innumerable occasions, leaking classified information for political reasons, authorizing torture, etc. etc. — he would have been impeached and removed from office with extreme haste before he could do any more damage to the Republic.


So, if all this is true, with Karl Rove (assuming he’s not indicted shortly for perjury and obstruction of justice in the Plamegate case) unleashing his campaign and foreign-policy "surprises" during the next six months, what do we ordinary citizens do about the situation? Specifically, what can we do about the reality of a corrupted election system?

Thankfully, many citizens and public-interest groups have become involved in the electoral-integrity issue, both on the national level and in various key states, challenging the reliability and transparency of e-voting machines and vote-tallying procedures, suing voting officials in civil courts when honest elections and verified means for re-checking the votes are not satisfactory, etc.

But angry citizens are ignoring another powerful avenue to counteract election fraud, and the increasing chances for more such illegality: They should demand that their state attorneys general and local district attorneys bring criminal charges in their jurisdictions against the GOP, Diebold, ES&S, Sequoia, et al. Were this to happen, the "discovery" process might well yield an abundance of incriminating documents that would have an enormous impact on national politics. Example: the phone-bank sabotage case in New Hampshire, where GOP officials with ties to the White House were convicted of interfering with the Democrats’ phone system in that state just prior to the 2004 election.

But whether all these good-government moves will be enough to guarantee honest elections in November is up in the air, especially with many Bush-appointed judges on the federal appeals courts. The point is that by and large these legal moves are being initiated by citizens and organized groups, not by the Democratic Party.

(I have been following the suggestion of Ernest Partridge and others: I return solicitation letters to Democratic Party headquarters with a strong note saying I will send no money until the Democrats decide to fight like an opposition party should for honest, transparent, verifiable elections. No action, no donation. Similarly, many progressives are telling much the same thing: stop being so timid; electoral integrity and confronting electoral fraud needs to be front and center for progressives. We can have all the good candidates and popular policies in the world, but if the opposition is running the vote-counting mechanism, goodbye honest elections and the chance to defeat the GOP and begin to restore America’s traditional values to our political system.)


New revelations about electoral integrity and fraud, both good and bad, keep breaking all the time. As I write this, more states have become aware of built-in problems with computer-voting systems and are being forced, at least temporarily, to consider more secure methods for voting and ballot-tabulation. Brad Friedman reports:

"We’ve now been able to gather a great deal of additional information concerning details about the story we first posted yesterday on the official Pennsylvania state warning issued about the new ‘security vulnerability’ discovered in all Diebold touch-screen electronic voting machines.

"That warning, which has now brought a lock-down on all Diebold systems in PA, where early voting is about to begin prior to their upcoming May 16th primary election, was reported by the Morning Call yesterday. The warning says the serious security vulnerability could allow ‘unauthorized software to be loaded on to the system’."


Many liberal pundits and thinkers are out there, many based on the internet, with solid ideas and suggestions for how the Dems might position themselves for victory in November and in 2008; for just one, see the new book "Crashing the Gate: Netroots, Grassroots, and the Rise of People-Powered Politics," by Markos Moulitsas Zuniga ("Kos") and Jerome Armstrong. But it’s not clear if the party establishment is open to what its base is telling them. If such blindness and deafness continues, this ignorance and timidity will guarantee a continuing series of losses at the polls, despite recent public-opinion surveys indicating how poorly the Republicans are viewed in the country, including, most importantly, by those calling themselves conservatives.

Perhaps the worst crime of the Democrats these days is their failure to recognize that ordinary citizens, including many of those moderate Republicans and independents, are way ahead of them in wanting a quick exit from Iraq and in approving impeachment hearings. That Dem timidity does not give evidence of a robust opposition party, willing to fight for what is best for the country; many moderate Republicans and independents may choose to vote for the devil they know than one about which they’re uncertain and apprehensive.

So what can you and I do to alter this picture of Democratic lassitude and possible defeat in November?

As with’s handy list, "What You Can Do," the first and most important task is for all of us to educate ourselves on what’s going on, and then spread the word, light fires of activism in our friends and neighbors, organize ourselves politically (whether running yourself or becoming active in the campaigns of Dem or third-party candidates), relentlessly demand that our elected representatives stand up for the Constitution and not roll over when the Administration continues its illegal rampaging at home and abroad, constantly call the mass media on their biases and deficiencies of investigatory coverage of the Bush Administration, and support the nation’s largest and most effective alternative press: the progressive websites and bloggers on the internet.


Finally, realize the import of a good share of the conservative Republican movement abandoning the extremism of the Bush Administration. All those conservative generals and Bill Buckley are just the tips of the iceberg of resentment and appalled anger at what Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Rove are doing to the once-respected Republican Party and to this country in terms of our stalled economy, the humongous deficits being racked up, the unending wars of choice our young troops are dying in (with Iran fast coming up as the next reckless-insanity theater of war), the ever-expanding levels of corruption in the Republican Party, the outsourcing and privatization of so much of traditional, established government functions — outsourcing even to potential enemies abroad!

These moderate and conservative Republicans are ripe for making alliances with progressives, populists and libertarians in opposing the dangerous, reckless policies of the Bush Administration. Smart Democratic policy would devise ways to lure those folks into the impeachment camp.

But, if the kinds of changes discussed above are not made, and the Dems lose both houses of Congress in November and still no radical changes are made in how to approach the 2008 presidential election, it may well be time for serious consideration of a third-party alliance. In short, 2006 may be the Dems’ last reasonable shot and they’d better not blow it. Let’s put our activism into hyperdrive in the next six months and make sure they don’t.

— BW

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Posted in General, TAKE ACTION! on March 29th, 2006

In the next two weeks there will be a final push to get H.R. 550, a bill introduced by Rep. Holt of New Jersey, on the House floor. H.R. 550 would protect the integrity of our elections by requiring a voter verified paper record of every vote, requiring mandatory random hand counted audits to verify the accuracy of electronic tallies, which is the only way to ever conduct an audit we can trust. It will also prohibit the use of secret software and wireless communication devices in voting machines.

The recent change in leadership of the Committee on House Administration has created a new opportunity for passage of this vital election integrity measure. Previous constituent meetings in June and August of 2005 were a huge success, generating 24 new co-sponsors on the bill from both parties. In addition, 27 States have now passed voter-verified paper record requirements.

THERE ARE THREE WAYS YOU CAN HELP — lobby in person in Washington, D.C. or your home district . . . and/or sign the petition:




Please take action NOW, so we can win all victories that are supposed to be ours, and forward this message to everyone else you know.

If you would like to get alerts like these, you can do so at

Or if you want to cease receiving our messages, just use the function at

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Copyright 2006, Patent pending, All rights reserved

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2004 Election Take Action!

Posted in, General, TAKE ACTION! on January 28th, 2006

Please help these organizations and recount efforts:

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Evidence? We Don’t Want Your Stinkin’ Evidence!

Posted in General, Main Stream Media, TAKE ACTION! on January 24th, 2006

January 24, 2005
By Ernest Partridge, The Crisis Papers

Like biologists with evolution and atmospheric scientists with global climate change, those who warn us that our elections have been stolen and will be stolen again must now be wondering, "just how much evidence must it take to make our case and to convince enough of the public to force reform and secure our ballots?"

The answer, apparently, is no amount – no amount, that is, until more minds are opened. And that is more than a question of evidence, it is a question of collective sanity.

In his new book Fooled Again, Mark Crispin Miller not only presents abundant evidence that the 2004 election was stolen, but in addition he examines the political, social, and media environment which made this theft possible.

When I first read the book immediately after its publication, I confess that I was a bit disappointed. What I had hoped to find was a compendium of evidence, from front to back. To be sure, Miller gives us plenty of evidence, meticulously documented. But evidence tells us that the election was stolen. Miller goes beyond that to explain how and why it was stolen, and how the culprits have managed, so far, to get away with it.

So on second reading, I find that it was my expectation and not Miller’s book that was flawed. We have evidence aplenty, to be found in John Conyers’ report, and the new book by Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman, in addition to the Black Box Voting website among numerous others. Soon to be added is Prof. Steven Freeman’s book on the statistical evidence of election fraud. What we don’t gain from these sources is an understanding and appreciation of the context in which this crime was committed. This we learn from reading Miller’s book.

If, in fact, the last two presidential elections have been stolen, and if in addition there is a preponderance of evidence to support this claim, then this is the most significant political news in the 230 year history of our republic.

So what is the response of the allegedly "opposing" party to the issue of election fraud? Virtual silence. And of the news media? More silence. Case in point: the media response to Mark Crispin Miller’s Fooled Again. As he reports: "There have been no national reviews of Fooled Again. No network or cable TV show would have the author on to talk about the book. NPR has refused to have him on… Only one daily newspaper – the Florida Sun-Sentinel – has published a review."

Force the question of election fraud and demand an answer, and the most likely response will be a string of ad hominem insults – "sore losers," "paranoid," "conspiracy theorists" – attacks on the messenger and a dismissal of the message. We’ve heard them, many times over.

Persist, and you might get as a reply, not evidence that the elections were honest and valid (there is very little of that), but rather some rhetorical questions as to the attitudes and motives of the alleged perpetrators and to the practical difficulties of their successfully accomplishing a stolen national election. Questions such as these:

  • How could the GOP campaign managers believe that they could get away with a stolen election?
  • Why would they dare risk failure, and the subsequent criminal indictments and dissolution of their party?
  • What could possibly motivate them to subvert the foundations of our democracy?

The answer to the first two questions is essentially the same: they believed and they dared because they controlled the media and thus the message. Miller’s sub-text throughout his book is that the great electoral hijack has been accomplished with the cooperation, one might even say the connivance, of the mainstream media, without which the crime could never have succeeded.

Immediately following the election, the critics were shouted down with such headlines as these: "Election paranoia surfaces; Conspiracy theorists call results rigged" (Baltimore Sun), "Internet Buzz on Vote Fraud is dismissed" (Boston Globe), "Latest Conspiracy Theory – Kerry Won – Hits the Ether" (Washington Post), and in the "flagship" newspaper, the New York Times: "Vote Fraud Theories, Spread by Blogs, Are Quickly Buried." (Miller, 38.)

Even more damaging than the slanted "reports" in the media, was the silence. The Conyers investigations? Ignored. The scholarly statistical analyses of exit poll discrepancies? Ignored. Evidence that Bush cheated in the debates with a listening device? Dismissed. The recent GAO report on e-voting vulnerabilities, and the Florida demonstration hacking of computer vote compilation? Ignored. And most appalling of all: the media blackout last week of Al Gore’s eloquent speech, warning of the threat to our Constitution and our liberties posed by the Bush regime.

And all this merely scratches the surface of media malpractice. For more, read the book.

The motivation to steal the election, says Miller, combined religious (or quasi-religious) dogma and self-righteousness and a perception of the opposing Democratic party, not as the loyal opposition, but as the enemy – deserving not defeat, but annihilation. ("You are either with us or against us," says Bush). Together, this adds up to what Miller calls "The Requisite Fanaticism." He writes:

It is not "conservatism" that impelled the theft of the election, nor was it merely greed or the desire for power per se… The movement now in power is not entirely explicable in such familiar terms… The project here is ultimately pathological and essentially anti-political, albeit Machiavellian on a scale, and to a degree, that would have staggered Machiavelli. The aim is not to master politics, but to annihilate it. Bush, Rove, DeLay, Ralph Reed, et al. believe in "politics" in the same way that they and their corporate beneficiaries believe in "competition." In both cases, the intention is not to play the game but to end it – because the game requires some tolerance of the Other, and tolerance is precisely what these bitter-enders most despise… (Miller 81-2.)

Reiterating a theme that is prominent in his writing, Miller points out that the psychological pathology most conspicuously at work in the right’s demolition of politics is projection: the attribution in "the enemy" of one’s own moral depravity:

The Bushevik, so full of hate, hates politics, and would get rid of it; and yet he is himself expert at dirty politics: an expertise that he regards as purely imitative and defensive. Because his enemies, he thinks, are all "political" – dishonest, ruthless, cynical, unprincipled – he is thereby "forced" to be "political" as well, in order to "fight fire with fire." As we have seen, this paranoid conviction of the Other’s perfidy suffuses and impels the propaganda campaigns of the right, and it was especially important in Bush/Cheney’s drive to steal the last election. Indeed it was their firm conviction that they had to steal the race, in order to frustrate the Democrats’ attempt to do it first. (Miller, 82.)

This is just a brief sampling of Miller’s astute political and psychological analysis of the "why" and the "how" of the stolen elections of 2000, 2002 and 2004. That analysis, which takes up about a third of the book (Chapters 3 and 4), adds an invaluable dimension to our understanding of the political disaster that has befallen our Republic, and that analysis suggests guidelines in the struggle to avoid the theft of the upcoming elections of 2006 and 2008.

I have written at length about what might be done if we are to restore the ballot box to the voters. These crucial steps come immediately to mind, as I read Miller’s Fooled Again.

Briefly, we need a media, we need an opposition party, we need an aroused public, and we need a miracle. But take heart: history tells us that political crises have a way of producing miracles.

The mainstream media (MSM) must be discredited and an alternative media established in its place. The internet offers a voice to an opposition that is excluded from the mainstream, and a few independent publications and broadcasts remain, however feeble in comparison to the MSM. If a sizeable portion of the public deserts the mainstream, and directly informs the publishers and broadcasters why they are doing so, the media, and particularly their sponsors and advertisers, will take notice. Recently, some of the media have become more critical of the Bush regime and the GOP Congress, but it is, by and large, too little and too late.

So either the commercial media must resume the role of watchdog of government power, as intended by Jefferson and Madison, or it must be made irrelevant. The Russian dissidents late in the Soviet era have given us an example: if you have no media, create one, even if it is suppressed by the government. It was called "Samizdat" – a painstaking process of typing several carbon copies of forbidden manuscripts on condition that the recipients would do likewise. Similarly, the Iranian dissidents during the reign of the Shah copied and distributed audio tapes of revolutionary speeches. In the computer age, there are huge advantages: Internet publication and, f the Internet is taken from us, CDs and minidiscs. For now, the Internet is our Samizdat.

The Democratic party is the only potentially effective opposition party in sight. But at the moment, it is a toothless tiger. We must tell that party that it must either lead the struggle to restore electoral integrity or step aside. When the Clintons, Cantwells, Liebermans and Feinsteins run for re-election, they must be opposed in the primaries by authentic progressives. Even if those progressives lose, but with a creditable showing, the "establishment" Democrats will nonetheless get the message. Next time you get a solicitation notice from the DNC or the Senate or Congressional Campaign Committees, tell them "no dice" unless they deal with the election fraud issue. Then tell them that instead of a contribution, you are purchasing Miller’s book and donating it to the local library.

As for the public, remember that more than half the public is awake, aware, and opposed to the Bush regime. Of these, a small but significant minority is convinced that election fraud is a serious problem. But that dissenting public lacks a voice, cohesion and leadership. This is a recipe for potentially sudden change: like fuel and oxygen, lacking the third necessity – heat of ignition. A message, from a Tom Paine or a Jefferson, or leadership from a Washington, a Gandhi, a Mandela or a Sakharov, can ignite the fire that will consume this evil regime. Or not. That depends on whether concerned citizens sit by and wait for others to act, or instead take some initiative and join the struggle – writing to Congress, talking to any and all associates that will listen and perhaps a few that won’t, contributing to alternative media, copying and distributing dissenting essays, and generally raising hell.

And finally, miracles: they are, by nature, unpredictable. Some possibilities: A few corporate and financial elites will finally come to realize that where Bush is leading, they don’t want to follow, and they will join the opposition. (There are a few intimations of this already). Similarly, perhaps a few journalists, and even some Republicans, will finally if belatedly decide that they would prefer not to live in a dictatorship. Bushenomics is bound to lead to an economic collapse that is certain to wake up the public. And even now, some state Attorney General or some District Attorney may be preparing an indictment for election fraud against an e-vote company executive that could break this conspiracy wide open.

But don’t wait for miracles to happen – make them happen.

If we are to take back our country, we must first take back our vote. Mark Crispin Miller’s book will tell you what has happened, how and why it has happened, and what must be done about it.

Will we, the people, take up the challenge? On that question rests the fate of our republic, of our liberties, and of "our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."

Dr. Ernest Partridge is a consultant, writer and lecturer in the field of Environmental Ethics and Public Policy. He publishes the website, The Online Gadfly and co-edits the progressive website, The Crisis Papers. He is at work on a book, Conscience of a Progressive, which can be seen in-progress here. Send comments to:

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PLEASE help pass the Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act (H.R. 550)

Posted in General, TAKE ACTION! on December 5th, 2005

Rush Holt’s HR 550, the most comprehensive piece of election reform legislation written, now has bi-partisan sponsorship and 159 co-sponsors. Let’s make some more noise for its passage. IT’S THE BEST WE’VE GOT RIGHT NOW!
Combining the call for voter-verified paper audit records with mandated, unannounced, random audit of election results, and linking prohibition of undisclosed software and internet connection with accessibility measures, H.R. 550, if passed, would force the Diebold, ES&S, Sequoia e-voting and vote-counting junkware out of the market.
Please sign Rush Holt’s petition and write to your Rep if he/she is not on the H.R.550 co-sponsor list. Thanks. freedomfries

Dear Members of the House Administration Committee:

On February 2, 2005, the Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act (H.R. 550) was reintroduced to the U.S. House of Representatives. Its goal is simple: to set a national standard of security and independent auditability for our electoral process, and restore confidence in the outcomes of elections. H.R. 550 would require all voting systems to produce an actual paper record that voters themselves can inspect in the voting booth to check the accuracy of their votes, and that election officials can use to verify the accuracy of the vote count. Commonly referred to as a "voter-verified paper record," it is the most effective way to ensure an independent audit and provide voter-verified evidence as to the accuracy (or not) of election results.

You have heard from Members of the Maryland Delegation, who circulated a letter to the House in March reporting that "election judges unable to provide substantial confirmation that the vote was, in fact, counted" in certain elections in 2004 in Maryland. You have heard from Members of the Florida Delegation, who circulated a letter to the House in April reporting that more than 1,200 undervotes (voters who entered the voting booth without recording a vote) were recorded in an election in early 2005 in Florida in which there was only a single item on the ballot. You have heard from other Members who circulated letters reporting "more than 10,000 instances where a vote was not counted in three counties during the 2004 general election," on the same make of equipment that also was reported to have malfunctioned in Virginia in 2004. You have heard from the bi-partisan team of Representative Rush Holt (D-NJ) and Tom Davis (R-VA, the Chairman of the Government Reform Committee) repeatedly about election disputes resolved with finality by a hand count of voter-verified paper records; about the Carter-Baker Commission of Federal Election Reform’s recommendation for voter-verified paper records; and about the Government Accountability Office’s September 2005 report confirming the existence of a wide variety of irregularities, malfunctions, and inherent risks in unauditable electronic voting. Since H.R. 550’s predecessor bill was first introduced in May 2003, half the States (see map) have implemented requirements for voter-verified paper records. It is time to make this critical security measure a national standard. It is time to act.

The Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act (H.R. 550) will:

Mandate a voter-verified paper ballot for every vote cast in every federal election, nationwide; because the voter verified paper record is the only one verified by the voters themselves, rather than by the machines, it will serve as the vote of record in any case of inconsistency with electronic records;
Protect the accessibility requirements of the Help America Vote Act for voters with disabilities;
Require random, unannounced, hand-count audits of actual election results in every state, and in each county, for every Federal election;
Prohibit the use of undisclosed software and wireless and concealed communications devices and internet connections in voting machines;
Provide Federal funding to pay for implementation of voter-verified paper balloting; and
Require full implementation by 2006

Sign the petition!

H.R. 550 currently has 159 co-sponsors

*Please feel free to thank the current co-sponsors of H.R.550, or encourage others by writing them.

Rep Abercrombie, Neil – 2/2/2005 Rep Ackerman, Gary L. – 3/2/2005
Rep Allen, Thomas H. – 2/2/2005 Rep Andrews, Robert E. – 11/18/2005
Rep Baird, Brian – 2/2/2005 Rep Baldwin, Tammy – 2/2/2005
Rep Barrow, John – 9/6/2005 Rep Becerra, Xavier – 2/9/2005
Rep Berkley, Shelley – 4/5/2005 Rep Berman, Howard L. – 2/2/2005
Rep Berry, Marion – 3/17/2005 Rep Bishop, Sanford D., Jr. – 2/16/2005
Rep Bishop, Timothy H. – 2/16/2005 Rep Blumenauer, Earl – 2/10/2005
Rep Bono, Mary – 9/28/2005 Rep Boucher, Rick – 4/5/2005
Rep Boyd, Allen – 3/2/2005 Rep Brady, Robert A. – 4/20/2005
Rep Brown, Corrine – 2/16/2005 Rep Brown, Sherrod – 2/9/2005
Rep Butterfield, G. K. – 3/17/2005 Rep Capps, Lois – 2/2/2005
Rep Cardin, Benjamin L. – 9/27/2005 Rep Cardoza, Dennis A. – 6/24/2005
Rep Carnahan, Russ – 9/13/2005 Rep Carson, Julia – 2/16/2005
Rep Case, Ed – 2/2/2005 Rep Clay, Wm. Lacy – 2/2/2005
Rep Cleaver, Emanuel – 9/13/2005 Rep Cole, Tom – 2/2/2005
Rep Conyers, John, Jr. – 2/2/2005 Rep Cooper, Jim – 2/2/2005
Rep Crowley, Joseph – 2/16/2005 Rep Cummings, Elijah E. – 2/9/2005
Rep Davis, Danny K. – 3/2/2005 Rep Davis, Jim – 3/2/2005
Rep Davis, Susan A. – 4/20/2005 Rep Davis, Tom – 2/2/2005
Rep DeFazio, Peter A. – 2/2/2005 Rep DeGette, Diana – 3/2/2005
Rep Delahunt, William D. – 2/16/2005 Rep DeLauro, Rosa L. – 3/10/2005
Rep Dicks, Norman D. – 2/2/2005 Rep Dingell, John D. – 3/17/2005
Rep Doggett, Lloyd – 2/16/2005 Rep Doyle, Michael F. – 2/16/2005
Rep Emanuel, Rahm – 2/16/2005 Rep Engel, Eliot L. – 4/5/2005
Rep Eshoo, Anna G. – 2/2/2005 Rep Etheridge, Bob – 2/16/2005
Rep Evans, Lane – 11/18/2005 Rep Farr, Sam – 2/2/2005
Rep Filner, Bob – 2/2/2005 Rep Fitzpatrick, Michael G. – 6/24/2005
Rep Ford, Harold E., Jr. – 3/10/2005 Rep Frank, Barney – 2/9/2005
Rep Gonzalez, Charles A. – 9/28/2005 Rep Gordon, Bart – 4/5/2005
Rep Green, Gene – 6/24/2005 Rep Grijalva, Raul M. – 2/16/2005
Rep Gutierrez, Luis V. – 2/16/2005 Rep Hastings, Alcee L. – 2/2/2005
Rep Higgins, Brian – 2/9/2005 Rep Hinchey, Maurice D. – 2/2/2005
Rep Honda, Michael M. – 2/9/2005 Rep Hooley, Darlene – 2/16/2005
Rep Inslee, Jay – 2/16/2005 Rep Israel, Steve – 4/5/2005
Rep Issa, Darrell E. – 9/6/2005 Rep Jackson, Jesse L., Jr. – 4/5/2005
Rep Jackson-Lee, Sheila – 3/2/2005 Rep Johnson, Eddie Bernice – 2/16/2005
Rep Jones, Stephanie Tubbs – 2/2/2005 Rep Kanjorski, Paul E. – 5/11/2005
Rep Kaptur, Marcy – 2/2/2005 Rep Kennedy, Patrick J. – 5/26/2005
Rep Kildee, Dale E. – 2/9/2005 Rep Kilpatrick, Carolyn C. – 2/2/2005
Rep Kind, Ron – 2/2/2005 Rep Kucinich, Dennis J. – 2/2/2005
Rep Kuhl, John R. "Randy", Jr. – 6/24/2005 Rep Lantos, Tom – 2/2/2005
Rep Larsen, Rick – 2/9/2005 Rep Lee, Barbara – 2/2/2005
Rep Levin, Sander M. – 7/13/2005 Rep Lewis, John – 2/9/2005
Rep Lowey, Nita M. – 3/2/2005 Rep Maloney, Carolyn B. – 2/2/2005
Rep Markey, Edward J. – 4/5/2005 Rep Matheson, Jim – 2/9/2005
Rep McCarthy, Carolyn – 2/9/2005 Rep McCollum, Betty – 2/9/2005
Rep McDermott, Jim – 2/2/2005 Rep McGovern, James P. – 2/2/2005
Rep McKinney, Cynthia A. – 2/2/2005 Rep McNulty, Michael R. – 3/2/2005
Rep Meehan, Martin T. – 9/6/2005 Rep Meek, Kendrick B. – 3/2/2005
Rep Menendez, Robert – 9/13/2005 Rep Michaud, Michael H. – 2/9/2005
Rep Miller, Brad – 7/21/2005 Rep Miller, George – 2/9/2005
Rep Mollohan, Alan B. – 2/2/2005 Rep Moore, Dennis – 2/2/2005
Rep Moore, Gwen – 9/6/2005 Rep Moran, James P. – 2/2/2005
Rep Murtha, John P. – 2/16/2005 Rep Nadler, Jerrold – 2/2/2005
Rep Napolitano, Grace F. – 2/9/2005 Rep Neal, Richard E. – 9/13/2005
Rep Oberstar, James L. – 2/2/2005 Rep Obey, David R. – 2/2/2005
Rep Olver, John W. – 2/16/2005 Rep Owens, Major R. – 2/9/2005
Rep Pallone, Frank, Jr. – 2/9/2005 Rep Pascrell, Bill, Jr. – 2/2/2005
Rep Pastor, Ed – 2/16/2005 Rep Payne, Donald M. – 2/2/2005
Rep Petri, Thomas E. – 2/9/2005 Rep Price, David E. – 2/2/2005
Rep Rahall, Nick J., II – 2/16/2005 Rep Ramstad, Jim – 9/6/2005
Rep Rangel, Charles B. – 2/16/2005 Rep Ross, Mike – 2/9/2005
Rep Rothman, Steven R. – 3/2/2005 Rep Ryan, Tim – 2/9/2005
Rep Sabo, Martin Olav – 2/2/2005 Rep Salazar, John T. – 6/24/2005
Rep Sanchez, Linda T. – 2/9/2005 Rep Sanchez, Loretta – 2/2/2005
Rep Sanders, Bernard – 2/9/2005 Rep Schakowsky, Janice D. – 2/2/2005
Rep Schiff, Adam B. – 2/2/2005 Rep Schwartz, Allyson Y. – 6/24/2005
Rep Scott, Robert C. – 2/2/2005 Rep Serrano, Jose E. – 2/9/2005
Rep Sherman, Brad – 2/2/2005 Rep Slaughter, Louise McIntosh – 5/5/2005
Rep Smith, Adam – 4/5/2005 Rep Snyder, Vic – 2/16/2005
Rep Solis, Hilda L. – 2/9/2005 Rep Stark, Fortney Pete – 4/5/2005
Rep Stupak, Bart – 3/10/2005 Rep Taylor, Gene – 11/18/2005
Rep Thompson, Mike – 2/16/2005 Rep Tierney, John F. – 2/9/2005
Rep Towns, Edolphus – 2/16/2005 Rep Udall, Mark – 2/9/2005
Rep Udall, Tom – 3/2/2005 Rep Van Hollen, Chris – 2/2/2005
Rep Velazquez, Nydia M. – 7/13/2005 Rep Wasserman Schultz, Debbie – 2/9/2005
Rep Watson, Diane E. – 3/10/2005 Rep Waxman, Henry A. – 2/2/2005
Rep Weiner, Anthony D. – 4/5/2005 Rep Wexler, Robert – 2/2/2005
Rep Woolsey, Lynn C. – 2/2/2005 Rep Wu, David – 2/2/2005
Rep Wynn, Albert Russell – 2/9/2005

Posted on Democratic Underground by freedomfries 

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