vote fraud

Theatre of Democracy

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“One of the points about distractions is 
that everything that they do is destabilizing.
                            Bruce Sterling

The main point about the current distractions is that as we are caught up in them there are dozens of other things going on that we are missing. I think that’s by design and even when it’s not, opportunists are quick to pounce. 

In my own locale there are a couple of examples that due to distractions few are taking heed of the creeping fascism soon to overwhelm us. This time it’s a Republican dirty dance but only because they have the majority. The Dems will betray us next time if they get the chance.

Voting is kabuki theatre but should we just give up and let the fix be in without even putting up a fight? Some will say we ought to just walk away and not feed the false system but that’s a debate for another time.

The Tennessee legislature voted in 2008 to use paper ballots, got it delayed for the 2010 elections and now …

State representatives are trying to reverse most of a 2008 law that called for the replacement of electronic voting machines across the state with paper ballots read by computerized scanners. The move would kill off a plan that supporters say would create a verifiable record of votes but opponents say will be costly and open to tampering. more

Paper ballots can be scammed too, there’s a long history of it but I would rather take a chance on my neighbor counting and recounting the votes than Diebold or ES&S and their ‘friends.’ It’s not about the costs. It’s about ease of fraud.

Running for office is about to become even more of a corporate adulterous affair than it is now.

In the wake of the 2010 Citizens United v Federal Election Commission decision by the US Supreme Court, which ruled that corporations have the same right to free speech as citizens and should be able to directly fund independent political broadcasts, the Tennessee legislature has gone one step further and decided that companies should be able to give money directly to candidates – and that includes foreign companies! more

Politicians may as well get corporate logos and foreign flags tattooed on their ass so that they can just drop their pants, bend over and show us what to kiss. No words needed. For some of them it would be the most honest thing they’ve ever done.

When Obama visits ‘ground zero’ in New York this Thursday, the theatre of the absurd will go from bad to worse. He couldn’t get Bush to join him in this perverted orgy of the success of death and lies but possibly Giuliani will be there to silently smile about his role in mass murder and cover up.

Maybe Obama will finally explain to the 9/11 families just how Bin Laden blew up the towers?

Nah … now I’m being absurd.

Will the 2010 elections be fixed?

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In one way or the other they will be.

Where the election is a fiction, the representation is a fiction also.  Like will always produce like.
Thomas Paine to the Citizens of the United States, January 29, 1803

The essential problem with the American republic today is that “the representation is a fiction” because our elections are fraudulent fiction.  President Obama and the Congressmen running the United States do not really represent us, the American people.  Our politicians are beholden to the people who put them in power, i.e.  the people who own and control the electronic voting machine systems used across the United States.

The only way to peacefully restore the stolen sovereignty to the American people is to restore integrity and transparency to our elections.  The widespread use of electronic voting machines is how our republic is stolen from us every time we hold elections.  The easiest and surest way to get our nation back is to return to hand-counted paper ballots in every polling place across the United States. 

The Constitution gives the states and counties the authority to determine the manner of voting.  The citizens in every county need to be involved and present at the counting of the votes in every polling place to properly authenticate the tally.  This is the absolute essential condition, the conditio sine qua non of an open and democratic election.  If the people are not involved in the counting of the votes, the election is not authentic.  It’s that simple.  A few hours spent counting votes is a small price (but the absolute minimum required) to pay for preserving our republic. {more}

From the local and state to the national elections there has always been a certain amount of vote fraud. Unscrupulous people conspired, money was passed, it happened. Even John Kennedy may have been elected thanks to the ‘Chicago voting machine.’

Today’s voting  ‘technology’ forced upon us by the federal government makes things a little easier for those who want to fix an election, but that’s not the only way to manipulate the vote

In electronic voting with no paper trail, the South Carolina debacle of Alvin Greene winning the democratic Senate primary was so blatant that it appears the fraudsters are open about giving us the finger and daring us to do anything about it. It may also be to create disillusionment about the whole voting process. I’ve heard more than a few say here lately “why vote, it’s fixed.”

With overwhelming support, my state of Tennessee passed the Voter Confidence Act which required a paper trail for the 2010 elections and even with federal money to implement it, it has been delayed. Why?

It’s never been clear why Republicans are so bent on delaying this law. It would eliminate the hazards of paperless, unverified electronic voting. In Tennessee, 93 of 95 counties use touch-screen machines with no paper trail to verify results. The Voter Confidence Act calls for replacing these by the 2010 elections with paper ballots to be marked by voters and then read by optical scanners–a system allowing for recounts and audits of the actual tallies. Some county election commissioners are against making the change because they’d have to buy paper ballots.

Common sense is to court voters, not create hurdles. I’ve said it before and I most likely will say it again, but why can I get a receipt at McDonald’s when I buy a Quarter Pounder and not one when I cast a vote for someone who can seriously change the world I live in politically? We have the knowledge to land a man on the moon, but a receipt or an option for a paper ballot for a vote is unheard of? {more}

Adding insult to injury is the fraud of the two party system. In the national elections, I’m hard pressed to find anyone in the dual headed monster worth voting for anywhere in the country even if the elections were honest. There are a few who would work for the people and within the framework of the constitution but they have no money and little support and we know how that goes.

The illusion of democracy is not even that anymore.  It’s wide open fraud, in your face by those running the show saying go ahead, talk all you want, there’s nothing you’re going to do about it.

“A republic if you can keep it” once said Ben Franklin. Obviously we haven’t been able to.

John Quincy Adams in 1821 set forth the vision of the American republic and predicted what we have become by not sticking to that vision.

She has abstained from interference in the concerns of others, even when conflict has been for principles to which she clings, as to the last vital drop that visits the heart…. She goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own…. She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence … the fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force…. She might become the dictatress of the world.

Nashville’s Tea Party Convention Imploding?

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The National Tea Party Convention, or what’s left of it, will be in Nashville Feb. 4-6.

‘Civil War’ in the Tea Party Nation?

What took so long?

The bought and paid for element of the ‘tea party’ movement has finally been outed in the local media, brought on by defections in the ranks. Some folks eventually did catch on to the scam. Others are just trying to distance themselves from the event because it’s a co-opted fraud and they’ve been caught being a part of it.

The Tea Party Nation webmaster quit and talked a little but only about the money.  “They are not indicative in any way of the Tea Party movement,” he said.

A major sponsor walks away not wanting to be tainted by the controversy.

Where it gets interesting is that now Republican Reps Marsha Blackburn and  Michelle Bachmann, two of the ‘star’ speakers, are having second thoughts. Worried that their association with such a contrived convention may lose them some supporters and votes, they are using the excuse that attending may  ‘violate congressional ethics rules.’ Slick move there ladies. 

The attempt by the Republican, neocon and for profit hijackers to capitalize on the tea party version of protest is failing. Of course the Democrats are fawning over this as they exploit the situation but it’s nothing more than theatrics in the false left/right paradigm.

brianakira in a comment summed up many of my thoughts …..

All of these ‘Anyone But Bush’ ‘Anyone But Clinton’ and Code Pink and Ron-Paul-Revolution and Tea Party movements are ABSOLUTELY USELESS and if they just result in another Dem-Rep government.

The only thing that has any chance of success would be a non-partisan, non-ideological movement to vote ‘Anyone but Dem-Rep”.

No need to get into left or right or any sort of philosophy. Just urge people to look at all independents and third parties, whether far left or far right or Christian or atheist or joke candidates or one issue fanatics or pacifists or whatever — just in general encourage any and all non Dem-Reps to run, and encourage voters to vote for them, even if it ends up as just a protest vote — until the majority of citizens realize that Dem-Rep is just one puppet party. If there’s someone you admire in either wing of Dem-Rep, let them know that you like what they say but you’ll be treating them like the plague as long as their affiliated with Dem-Rep.

I really believe this is the only way America can ever become a representative democracy again.

Grassroots still has a chance. You just have to watch who you bed down with.


In other local Tennessee politics,  Keith Talley, the TNDP Communications Director via The Peoples Voice rants about why we can’t get compliant voting machines with a paper trail.

Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Chip Forrester called yesterday’s action by the Senate to delay the Tennessee Voters Confidence Act a partisan move by Republican leadership to deny the state’s voters fair and accurate elections.

“Tennessee voters got the shaft today by a shameless group of Republican politicians bent on winning at all costs,” Forrester said. “They evidently could care less about trampling on democracy. I hope voters understand they have been had by a group of politicians who cooked up an elaborate scheme to steal elections here in Tennessee. “Their claim that this was only about saving taxpayer money is a bogus one. We have $35 million already set aside in federal funds to buy this equipment and train workers on it. To knowingly mislead the public about this issue is wrong and a disservice to the state.”

State lawmakers overwhelmingly passed in 2008 the Tennessee Voter Confidence Act, which requires all county election commissions to make the switch to optical scan machines and paper ballots before the November 2010 elections. {more}

Goodbye Terry Gross, We Niver Knew Ye

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Thomas Paine’s Corner


On liberal media denial

By Joe Bageant

1/19/06 (but still quite relevant, particularly as the election draws nigh)

Having come to understand that mainstream media are in the business of selling fried chicken and cars, giving Wall Street head, and stealing bandwidth from the public’s airwaves, none of us expect them to question anything afoot in the empire. We quite understand they cannot be wasting profitable air time on a nation whose collective memory is 30 seconds long. So we watch them pull their punches and wait for the commercials, which are their whole point anyway. If, god forbid, you are the pointy headed type interested in details, turn on NPR. And if you consider yourself hipper than the couch taters out here in Budland, go onto the net and visit Salon. Or if you are so worldly and hip you are a downright commie, then subscribe to Mother Jones. That’s the way it used to be.

But now we are seeing what were once considered the more intelligent and in some cases more principled media such as NPR, Salon and Mother Jones distance themselves from meaningful controversy — pulling the few wimpy punches they have. (Bullshit controversy, however, is still in fashion.) We are talking about Mark Crispin Miller’s new book, Fooled Again — How the Right Stole the 2004 Election and Why They’ll Steal the Next One, Too (Unless We Stop Them). Miller has become a known and respected progressive figure, one of the few in-your-face bespectacled lefty author types with any credibility. But when it comes to promoting Fooled Again, the guy can’t even get arrested. No interviews, nothing. In fact, these days even his cash bounces — Miller can’t even buy a spot on National Public Radio for his book. Now you may be saying to yourself: “Public Radio doesn’t sell advertising.” Which would make you one of those delusional souls who believe that shameless brand hawking by the oil companies and the financial establishment on NPR is not advertising. I mean, after all, ADM and Wal-Mart? NPR has sales people out chasing these sponsors. They sell these damned announcements. The only difference between NPR’s “paid sponsorships” and the puke jock shows’ commercial radio ads is that the NPR folks don’t have a real rate card. Which is either stupid or brilliant, I’m not sure.

Anyway, when it comes to NPR and PBS, and especially Philadelphia’s WHYY, Miller can’t buy a date. As in the past, he attempted to sponsor spots on behalf of his newest book. And WHYY accepted the sponsorship. But then aaaaaaaaagh! There came the sweaty excuse ridden attempts to back out on their end. Various excuses included that the book was too old (it was out two months) and that it was a paid political ad, (it supports no candidate.) Ultimately NPR and PBS have pretty much told Miller to go to hell.

It is safe to say that WHYY and the rest of the public media gang are simply scared to death of uttering the book’s title on the airwaves. They know that the neocons will jump up all over their asses claiming liberal bias. Maybe even launch one of their infamous letter writing campaigns. The Republican game plan of unrelenting bullshit, that steady grinding away day in day out — it works. They have managed to wear down those media they don’t already control from the top, make them either doubt themselves or make them damned afraid of repercussions. We can well imagine what the GOP assault on public radio and television has created around places like WHYY. Hell, if they can get Bill Moyers they can get anybody. Right?

WHYY would not accept Miller’s sponsorship on behalf of Fooled Again on the grounds that it was a paid political message. By golly, it was a matter of principle! That’s what it was! We won’t take just anybody’s money. Yeah, right. If you’ve ever suffered through a pledge drive you know that the brass at NPR would put Terry Gross and Nina Totenberg out on the street as workin’ girls if they thought it would bring in another couple of hundred. But honestly speaking, the facts are as WHYY claims. The station does not accept political ads. It only accepts paid advertisements for commercial products. Which is exactly what the sponsorship of Miller’s book is.

Then there is that charge of it being old news. Hell, maybe the evolving corruption of our voting system is old news in a nation with said 30-second memory. Maybe the subversion of our government by an organized syndicate is not worthy of more than a few days media attention. Maybe that’s why the book is not getting reviewed. But besides treading lightly around the neocon pit bulls, there is also that nagging issue of denial. To admit that two national elections were rigged shakes us to the bone.

Right now, between the Bush junta’s bloody cry for an inquisition or at least universal surveillance and torture, and the Christian right’s demented hallucinations of Kofi Annan as the anti-Christ (honest to god, just look in the Left Behind books) we live in that bizarro world that often precedes fascism — that bizarro world in which every topic imaginable is politicized, and even not to speak represents taking a political stand.

Along with the passive denial of NPR, there is the active denial. We find characters like Salon’s Farhad Manjoo who’ve lit into Fooled Again with a suspicious vengeance. In a way it is to be expected. Manjoo has practically made a career of writing in liberal venues that there is no odor of polecats in Ohio, Florida and elsewhere. Sometimes I think Salon keeps that boy around so the goppers can’t cry bias. Hell, his first act was jumping Greg Palast for his groundbreaking exposure of the Republican election fraud in that first crooked election.


At any rate, here’s a guy, Miller, with all the establishment credentials that NPR just eats up when they interview Heritage Foundation “experts.” In fact, Mark Crispin Miller does a helluva job documenting his facts. Certainly as good as any of the aging Heritage Foundation gasbags NPR is so fond of for analysis. As in: Well Scott, actually this is not the first president to be caught pissing off the White House portico and throwing empty liquor bottles at the passing public … In 1832 President Andrew Jackson … But for now Mark Crispin Miller can go sit in the corner with the other non grata folks like Howard Zinn and Gore Vidal. As one radio host put it, “Miller is too angry. It doesn’t make for good radio.”

Some listeners feel that NPR “does the best it can in this best of all possible worlds. Sometimes they’re still pretty damn good.” True enough. But in these times, being “sometimes good” is not good enough — not when the goddam republic is burning down. They too need to carry water buckets with the rest of us and quit imitating corporate media. But then, NPR and PBS are themselves big corporate media. They are big, they are a corporation and they are media. So much so that they run soppy feel good material worthy of the Rush Limbaugh or the Paul Harvey show. Material like “This I Believe” series.

Tell you what I believe. I believe two national elections were rigged in this country. Millions of others believe the same. Tens of millions in fact. But most are in denial of what they deeply suspect and do not want to see verified.

Our national denial comes easily when everything converges to support it. First we had John Kerry’s quick concession of the election, lest a fellow Skull ‘n Boner accuse him of sour grapes. And looking about, none of our neighbors or colleagues seems worried about it. We are above all a mimicking species. Then there is the traditional press, from whom we’ve heard scarcely a chirp. Rather counter-intuitively, denial is especially easy for news reporters who can always fall back on “the facts” and the need for absolute proof. Proof being that someone is criminally charged with the very election fraud everyone is afraid to acknowledge because it is the death knell for any precious notions we’ve ever entertained about our system — the one system among all the troubled and grievously offensive governments on this planet, we have been told all our lives, that “works.” Acknowledging that it no longer works would mean fixing it, and fixing it calls for more strength and political will than Americans have ever shown. In fact, to be honest, when in your lifetime did ordinary Americans ever rise up together to stamp down or even point out corruption? I dare say never.

It has always been the duty of the press or a few spectacularly brave individuals to call attention to such things. And on rare occasions the press has done just that. But this is not one of those occasions. Not for CBS, PBS or NPR. Especially not for NPR. Given that the Republicans have them by the nose hairs, it is easier, not to mention far safer, for everyone to deny that criminals operate within our political system and have established what amounts to a corporate/political underworld. We can smell it at every turn, and have seen its very reflection in those exit poll results.

Big corporate sponsors do nothing that does not yield a return on investment, nothing that doesn’t buy some desired result. Thus, denial and distraction are what those sponsorships from Hewlett Packard and Monsanto really buy. At the same time the denial is all but spotlighted with the fluff and slop that replaces real coverage and demonstrates cooperation to the administration and sponsors. Stuff like “This I Believe.” Or that overt sop, Marketplace, where happy jock stockbroker types Kai Ryssdal, and that hyperactive airhead in Texas (I forget his name) play pocket pool with each other over the day’s market numbers, happily promoting the liberal capitalist notion that the second law of thermodynamics is false and that growth and consumption can be infinite in a world of diminishing resources.

NPR’s own ombudsman admits that NPR, like the Fox and all the rest, skews towards conservative spokesmen. In fact, NPR so resembles the mainstream ditch these days that at least two of its major correspondents slipped comfortably enough right over into Fox News and were openly congratulated for it by fellow NPR broadcasters.

PBS increasingly depends on the teat of corporate underwriters. Consequently, we can expect to be force-fed even more of the three tenors, the Lawrence Welk trio of the white middle class boomer generation. Meanwhile, as NPR whines under the table for scraps from the big dogs’ plates, the Heritage Foundation spends $30 million a year priming the info pumps of Fox and the other big guys.

All of which still leaves those crooked elections lingering as the backdrop to, or perhaps harbinger of, the 2008 elections, despite the lack of reporting on it. Reporters may perhaps be bound by a duty to refrain from assumptions. But I sure as hell ain’t. And I’m assuming that if the Bush junta got away with it the first time, they will keep right on doing it until somebody breaks their goddamned legs. People like Katherine Harris, Karl Rove and Republican Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell haven’t climbed to the top of the GOP dung heap because of their morals and restraint. They are big time Republicans precisely because they are willing to steal chickens and lie to the sheriff.


At some deep national level we all know, George W. Bush has no right to be farting into the Oval Office desk chair. Even the few genuinely moderate Republicans not driven into hiding by the Brownshirts look sheepish when you bring up Florida and Ohio. Yet Americans go on pretending that everything is OK. The people pretend along with the media that George W. Bush belongs in that chair. Pretend that his is the face of a man capable of deep and serious thought, that the smirk is not really a smirk and that he really gives a rat’s ass about those coffins at Dover or those black people in New Orleans. They pretend that it was not farcical when he told the nation this week that despite the city being soaked in petro-toxins and defined mainly by bulldozed piles of rotting timbers, clothing and sewerage, overturned cars and botulism filled refrigerators, “New Orleans is still a great place to bring the family and have fun.” They pretend that strange nationwide spider web of bitter GOP operatives could not possibly have worked together in Ohio and Florida and heaven only knows where else. Everything is OK.

As Helen Caldicott recently put it: “What’s to become of us? Ask any experienced mental health practitioner what happens to a person who constructs and tries to maintain a life based on denial of fundamental reality. It can be done for a while, in spite of occasional outbursts of behavioral oddities (remember Dr. Strangelove’s disobedient arm that was always popping up in an embarrassing Nazi salute). But how long can such a pretense be maintained, even when the pretender is surrounded by the best handlers money can buy?”

Apparently, Helen, a damned long time. At least eight years.


By the way, if you wanna give WHYY hell personally, the phone number is (215) 351-1200. Email is

Cyrano’s Journal Online Senior Editor Joe Bageant needs little introduction. The author of the recent instant classic, DEER HUNTING WITH JESUS, Joe is an undisputed expert in the complex mentality of “red staters” who, while often working class, vote repeatedly for plutocratic frauds in the name of “God” & patriotism.


How to Stop and Prevent GOP Election Theft Forever

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Len Hart

Even prominent Republicans now concede that George W. Bush presided over the destruction of America, the subversion of the Constitution, defiance of the rule of law. Bush did this by way of two stolen elections. This article reveals how they did it and proposes a ‘fool proof’ method by which elections can be made theft proof! Princeton University has demonstrated how easily the GOP may ‘hack’ voting machines in key precincts, how simple it is to upload malicious code that turns votes for Democrats into votes for the GOP! It not enough to simply make this conduct punishable as ‘high treason’. It can be prevented –thus sparing a guilty gopper hard time in a GOP ‘corporate’ prison guarded by Blackwater.

A team from Princeton University set out to prove once and for all the Diebold voting machines could be hacked easily. Not only did they prove this to be a fact, they created a Diebold specific virus that spreads from voting machine to voting machine.

You can find out more information about the work they did and download a full PDF report on the security vulnerability at this link This video just reinforces exactly how vulnerable these machines are, and once you take into consideration the fact that these machines are effectively controlling the American Election, it looks even more scary! As always, for the latest news from the world of technology, gadgets, electronics and hacking visit: HACK
With eight days to go before the presidential election, a report has been released by Princeton University and other groups that sharply criticizes the e-voting machines used in New Jersey and elsewhere as unreliable and potentially prone to hacking.The 158-page report, which was ordered by a New Jersey judge as part of an ongoing four-year legal fight over the machines, says the e-voting machines can be “easily hacked” in about seven minutes by anyone with basic computer knowledge. Such hacking activity could enable fraudulent firmware to steal votes from one candidate and give them to another, the report said.The controversy involves the Sequoia AVC Advantage 9.00H direct-recording electronic (DRE) touch-screen voting machines made by Oakland, Calif.-based Sequoia Voting Systems.The report comes amid news stories in at least three states — West Virginia, Texas and Tennessee — where voters have told local election officials that they believe the e-voting machines they used tried to “flip” their votes to other candidates.The AVC machines can be hacked by installing fraudulent software contained in a replacement chip that can be installed on the main circuit board, according to the report. Such a part replacement is very difficult to detect, it noted.Andrew Appel, a Princeton University computer science professor who is one of the authors of the report, said that such security vulnerabilities cause doubts about the accuracy and reliability of the machines.

Princeton Report Rips N.J. E-voting Machines as Easily Hackable

A permanent fix must be written into US Federal law. Such a law would not merely establish penalties for the guilty GOPPERS who have indulged this practice to the utter destruction of Democracy itself. Federal law should prescribe a ‘hack’ proof system with checks and balances. In other words, we must run ‘hack proof’ elections. Here’s how it works:

  • When a citizen records a vote, the machine spits out TWO identical paper receipts indicating how the citizen voted.
  • The citizen looks over the receipt while STILL in the booth; if everything is OK, he presses the final SUBMIT key/button on the voting machine itself! If everything is NOT ok, he protests the result and threatens to call the ‘election cops’ if nothing is done.
  • The voter now has TWO IDENTICAL RECEIPTS! He/she leaves one behind in a big ‘lock box’ designed to receive all paper ballots, i.e, one of the two identical receipts.
  • The VOTER retains the second receipt against the eventuality that the election is challenged.
  • If the election is contested, a hand count is conducted of all deposited ‘receipts’ left behind in the big lock box.

It is unlikely, that the voter would be required to supply the final receipt. Any discrepancy between the paper ballots and the machine means one thing and one thing only: the machine was ‘hacked’.

It is conceivable that the ‘receipt’ be machine readable. In that case, a hand count of all receipts would be mandatory if the results of the machine do not match the count of deposited receipts left in a ‘lock box’.

A final point: a new federal law should prescribe the above remedy as a standard in all federal elections. US Codes should create the crime of ‘election fraud’ to be defined in numerous clauses and specifically mandating the above procedure. The ‘hacking’ of any machine utilized in a national election should be addressed in the law which would make such ‘hacking’ a federal offense with severe mandatory hard jail time!

In the meantime, John McCain is predicting he will win the election by winning Pennsylvania! This tells me that McCain is planning to steal the election just as Bush stole Ohio.

Did Tom Brokaw accidentally spill the beans about the vote-rigging in 2004 in Ohio?

On Meet the Press, Brokaw interviewed McCain, and shared this rather suspicious memory:

Brokaw: “Four years ago, I interviewed President Bush at a time when it looked like he may be in trouble against John Kerry — the final weekend of the campaign. I showed him a map. He said, ‘Oh, I just don’t do that. Karl Rove does that.’ As soon as the interview was over, he said, ‘I’ll win here,’ and pointed to southeastern Ohio. Where will you win, if you win?

Why was Bush so convinced he was going to win Ohio? Even though he was down in all the polls, and was way down in all the exit polling on Election Day?And, more to the point, why is McCain still pouring so many resources and so much time into Pennsylvania? —Daily Kos

With any luck, McCain will be sorely disappointed. It may no longer be possible to win the White House by winning –or stealing –a couple of the so-called ‘battleground’ states –Ohio, Pennsylvania or Florida. Because Obama has many more ways than Kerry to get to 270, the outright theft of the election also becomes increasingly problematic for the GOP.

We can only hope that Obama will have his ‘detectives’ out in force. Support efforts to round up and imprison GOP vote cheats, frauds and other criminals! Take back America!


Does the US electoral system HAVA brain?

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by Rady Ananda

The Help America Vote Act is so flawed it makes the USA PATRIOT Acts look like time-out for ill behaved children. Bipartisanly passed in 2002, HAVA strips U.S. citizens of their right to know their vote is counted as cast. HAVA legalizes secret vote counting on undetectably mutable software. That bears repeating: the software can be changed and no one would know; it cannot be proven because malicious code can erase itself. HAVA took control of US elections out of the hands of election officials and gave sole control to private, for-profit corporations.

Citizen oversight of US elections is the only way I can think of to develop democracy in this nation.

At the end of this NPR interview of Nassau County Election Commissioner, William Biamonte talks about the Judge in the case USA vs. NY State Board of Elections (which case still controls NY elections to this day). Biamonte says:

“And the conclusion was – I’m not saying it verbatim – but the conclusion, in essence, was the judge said, “I don’t care if they don’t meet standards. I don’t care if they don’t meet New York State’s, uh, if they can’t escrow their software. I want one machine in each polling place.’ So, the federal judge, by his ordering that Consent Decree, allowed the vendors not to fully comply with a very important and very secure standard.”

He is not kidding – the statements by the Judge – Gary L. Sharpe – are what are amazing. Let me start with his willful ignorance:

“Why is it that New York thinks that it can thumb its nose at the federal government and not comply with federal law?”

Well, maybe because the Help America Vote Act was crafted by now-convicted felons. Maybe because the Administration that pushed for this legislation was never elected, but illegitimately occupies the White House. Maybe every federal law that has been passed in the last seven years has no legitimacy, if it emanated from the White House.

Or maybe because software driven voting systems that the (now discredited) Dept of Justice is suing New York to implement cannot be made secure.

Sharpe is no sharp tact. How can he ignore the mountains of scientific evidence condemning software driven voting systems? Is this willful ignorance? Or is he merely part of the system that is overthrowing democracy with secret vote counting. Then, Sharpe says in this December 2007 hearing:

“I suppose I could follow the example of Eisenhower in 1957 and call out the National Guard and make them install machines in compliance with federal law.”

Oh, don’t flatter yourself, your honor. There’s a big difference between forcing states to provide an education to everyone regardless of the color of their skin, and forcing states to implement voting systems so deeply flawed that not a single credible computer security expert approves them.

There’s a big difference between enforcing justice and enforcing fascism, by denying voters their constitutional right to a fair vote count. If Sharpe does call out the National Guard, he will merely be acting like Stalin who famously said:

“It’s not who votes that counts; it’s who counts the votes.”

Sharpe then reveals he is NOT ignorant about these flawed machines – none of which have been federally certified, btw. But instead of dealing with this fact, he cowardly accuses the NY SBOE of not doing its job:

“What seems to me to be the ridiculous option is what I see everybody talking about, which is you want me to do your job. You want me to pick voting system standards for you, through a special master or otherwise, you’re asking the federal court to do what New York State, in dereliction of its responsibilities refuses to do. I suppose you want me to conduct brain surgery this afternoon, too…”

Let’s blame the victim here – NY does not want these flawed machines, and is being forced to deploy them by a corrupt Dept. of Justice. And the judge acts like the fact that the machines are flawed is none of his business. Talk about shirking responsibility.

“Sixteen months ago, I told ya to pick a machine, and here we sit, in December, a week before Christmas, and you still haven’t picked a machine.”

The machines can be hacked without detection; who cares? Federal law says you must use them.

Again, now the judge blames the victim:

“So, if New York is paralyzed by its inability to meet its higher standards, that’s irrelevant, because noncompliance with federal law is not an option. It’s off the table.”

It isn’t NY that can’t meet its standards; it’s the vendors who can’t make a product that works. So, what is this on the part of Judge Sharpe? Willful ignorance? Why is he pretending it’s NY’s fault that “the voting industry sells crap,” to quote NY SBOE Commissioner, Doug Kellner.

I’ll tell you what’s off the table, Judge Sharpe – undetectably mutable software when recording or counting the public vote in a democracy. Jeez. Who does he think he’s fooling?

I wonder if the judge is thinking about what happened in DC this year, or in NJ, or in Palm Beach County – with optical scanner and paper ballots. I wonder if he rues his decision to enforce a federal law that so thoroughly fucks up the vote count by requiring a system that, when 2,000 ballots are scanned three different times, it gives three different results.

“Noncompliance is not an option.”

But, your honor, if we walk off the plank, we’ll drown! “Noncompliance is not an option. If federal law says you must walk the plank, then you must walk the plank. If federal law says you must drink poison, you must drink poison.” (Okay, just kidding here. The judge didn’t say the last two sentences.)

But, your honor, the testing lab that worked with NY (Ciber) has been decertified for its shoddy practices.

“Noncompliance is not an option.”

But your honor, all the systems that purportedly follow the 2002 or 2005 Voluntary Voting Systems Guidelines have been shown by computer security experts to be deeply flawed.

“Noncompliance is not an option.”

Does the US judicial system HAVA brain? Or does it just follow orders like a Good German? Or maybe we need a jury of informed voters to decide the issue. But the problem is not just with our corrupt Department of Justice, nor our clearly unjust judicial system. Electoral management bodies across the nation ALL know these machines can be hacked without detection, and yet they proceed to use them with Eyes Wide Shut. They’ve read the studies, so I gotta ask:

Does the US electoral system HAVA brain?

What can voters in the United States do in the face of such blind, willful ignorance (at best) to implement a federal law that flies in the face of the US Constitution by abdicating the right of voters to know how their vote was counted? What can voters do when electoral management bodies deploy what EVERYONE KNOWS ARE TOTALLY HACKABLE VOTING SYSTEMS?

I’ll tell you what they can do – they can choose not to vote in a ridiculously flawed electoral system. The only vote tallies we can trust are those counted by hand in a secure, publicly observable fashion at the precinct on election night; or on lever machines that are protected in a secure fashion, with multiple parties and the public observing the counts as they accrue during the day, comparing them with the number of signatures in the poll books. And when they are transcribed at the end of the day – multiple parties, and the public, and the media should witness the transcription.

Another thing we can do as journalists and bloggers is not report election results as fact. Unless you rely on verification of the vote count by an independent source – like you and your team hand counted the ballots under secure protocols – then election results can only be fairly described as “reported results.” See Dave Berman’s excellent article, How To Disarm Weapons of Mass Deception:

“We must challenge our industry to refuse to report as fact what cannot be proven and has not been independently verified, particularly when the only source of the information is the government itself.”

Voting in a fraudulent system is a waste of time and gives credibility to this charade called US elections. We will never rid ourselves of fake elections until we first stop participating in them.

In 2004, Rady Ananda joined the growing community of citizen journalists. Focused mainly on elections, her blogs also address religious, gender, sexual and racial equality, as well as environmental issues; and are sprinkled with book and film reviews on various topics. She spent most of her working life as a legal investigator for private lawyers, and five years as an editor. She currently serves as a senior editor at OpEdNews. All material offered here is the property of Rady Ananda, copyright 2006, 2007, 2008. Permission is granted to repost, with proper attribution including the original link. In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. Tell the truth anyway. Sign this petition:



Winter Patriot speculates that we may in for it again and has the inevitable question “If it happens, what are we going go do about it?”

The Fix Is In!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Banana Republic North: In the past few days, John McCain has stopped campaigning in states which were once seen as toss-ups; Barack Obama has started campaigning in states which were once seen as safe for McCain; Obama has picked up a major endorsement and a huge funding increase; McCain’s campaign has been caught trying to pull off perhaps the most despicable political dirty trick since 9/11; McCain has been pandering to the ultra-rich; and — according to the latest polls — support for Obama has been imploding!

Obama’s lead over McCain has dropped from 12 points on Thursday to 10 points on Friday, 9 points on Saturday, and 5 points on Sunday.

That’s a seven-point decrease in three days. How can that happen?

Consider this: It’s far easier to rig the polls than it is to rig the election.

How? The pollsters talk to a small and carefully selected group of people. They can get whatever result they want, just by tweaking the sample. And they do. All the time.

Consider this, too: the election could never be stolen unless there were polls indicating it would be close. Then all they need is a last-minute gaffe, or surprise, or al Qaeda videotape; and the pundits can claim this was the difference in a race that was otherwise too close to call.

Can’t happen here? Try again! It happened four years ago. It happened eight years ago. It has happened in countless congressional elections in the past decade, and you can already smell it happening again.

And so … Election Day approaches, with all the appeal of a multi-train collision.

The police are ready for action, and so is the army. Are you?


My One And Only Post About Electoral Reform

Posted on Updated on

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Winter Patriot

It’s brilliant and stupid at the same time. It’s so practical, it’s practically perfect; but it’s also ludicrous, and it’s impossible to imagine that it could ever be implemented. Welcome to my one and only post about electoral reform.

Electoral reform is, of course, a chicken-and-egg problem. In order for us — We The People, remember us? — to reform the system, we would have to control it. But in order to control it, we would have to reform it.

And it’s not only a chicken-and-egg problem, but it’s also an impossible one, because we don’t have any chickens or any eggs.

But who cares? We’re knee-deep in campaign propaganda anyway, so we might as well fantasize about something else for a minute. And as I’ve promised, this will be my only post on the subject.


IF — and that’s a huge IF — it were my job to reform the electoral system, I would reinstate some of the time-honored details of democracy which we have lost. We would have paper ballots; they would be counted by hand in public; and anyone who wanted to watch could do so.

But I would discard one principle of ancient democracy which seems very dangerous to me in these modern times. Perhaps there was a reason for it in the old days, when the citizens were a privileged few, and all of them were active in politics. But today, as I see it, there is no justification for the notion that all the votes should be counted equally.

If you don’t believe me, consider the exit polls from the 2004 presidential election. Huge numbers of the people who voted for George Bush thought that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, and that Saddam Hussein had been responsible for the attacks of 9/11.

If they didn’t know the difference between the accelerator and the brake, they wouldn’t be allowed to drive a car. So why should they be allowed to drive our country?

If it were up to me, your ballot would start with a quiz. There would be questions about how the government is structured and how it is supposed to function. There would also be questions about recent history and current events. And the more questions you answered correctly, the more your vote would count.

I have no problem with voters expressing their opinions, as long as those opinions are based on knowledge. Under my system, if you knew what was going on, your vote would be fully counted. But if you knew nothing, your vote would count for nothing.


Some critics may charge that my idea for reform is too complicated. I agree. If punching a hole in a machine-readable card is too complicated, all thoughts of reform are ludicrous. And I’ve already said this was a ludicrous idea.

Some may say my plan is elitist and anti-democratic. I agree that it’s elitist. But under my system, the “elite” would not be the few whose families have too much money, but the many voters who make an effort to educate themselves. So anyone who wanted to join the “elite” could do so. And that’s not so anti-democratic after all, is it?

So much for the critics. The benefits would start flowing immediately, in incentives working on the politicians, the media, and the voters themselves.

If deluding supporters meant their votes would become worthless, there would be no reason for any party or any politician to do it — and those who did so would lose.

Any news provider that persisted in lying about the government and the world would effectively be disenfranchising its subscribers. So deceit would be counterproductive to the media as well.

If learning about the basics of government and keeping an eye on the news of the world meant that their votes would become relatively more valuable, some people would certainly start paying more attention. And those who prefer to sit back and slurp the propaganda would become irrelevant.


Does it sound too good to be true? That’s because it is. We don’t have any chickens, and we don’t have any eggs, either. We can’t reform the system without controlling it. And we can’t control the system without reforming it. So I won’t say anything more about reforming this broken system…

But I might suggest that this post be viewed not as a ludicrous proposal for reform, but as a serious comment on why our country’s experiment with democratic government has failed so dismally: for decade after decade, the world’s most powerful democracy has been driven by people who didn’t know the gas from the brakes. And every one of their votes counted just as much as yours.