Posts

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Trump’s Racist “Rigged Election” Attack is as Old as America

by Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman

Trump in front of flag with red baseball cap on

Donald Trump speaking at a rally in Fountain Hills, Arizona. Photo by Gage Skidmore

Donald Trump’s demand for “monitors” at polling places to prevent a “rigged election” is an old and ugly story.

It’s obviously aimed—-KKK style—-at stopping black and Hispanic citizens from voting.  But in fact both major parties have used such terror tactics—- and updated electronic ones—-since the birth of the nation.

The cure—-we call it “the Ohio Plan”—- is scorned by both corporate parties:  universal automatic voter registration, transparent registration rolls that can be easily monitored, a national holiday for voting, and universal hand-counted paper ballots that stay in one place and are tallied (and re-tallied) in full public view.

The “rigged election” story dates back to the Constitution.  Its Electoral College gave a three-fifths “bonus” to slave owners for blacks who could not actually vote.  The race card carried through Jim Crow segregation and the KKK terror unleashed against post-Emancipation blacks who dared try to vote.  It continues through the Drug War and the tens of millions of African-American and Hispanic citizens stripped of their freedom and franchise.

Today it’s being done by computer programs that quietly eliminate millions of black and Hispanic voters from the registration rolls.

In Florida 2000 Gov. Jeb Bush stripped some 90,000 mostly black and Hispanic citizens off the registration rolls in an election decided for his brother by 537 votes.  In 2004 GOP operatives did it again to some 300,000 Ohioans in a state Bush won by 118,775.

In moves that Trump should love, between the 2004 and 2008 elections, in a state with about 5.5 million eligible voters,1.25 million Ohioans were de-registered. In 2012, the number purged was 1.1 million. So far this year, Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted has de-registered over a million Ohio voters, more than 600,000 clearly eligible to vote and on the rolls of their county boards of elections.

Photo ID, limited polling station access, machines that break down, provisional ballots that don’t get counted, absentee ballots that don’t get sent, elimination of days to vote, deliberate official misinformation and intimidation—-all do exactly what Trump wants.  They eliminate the “threat” of non-white voters.

In reporting on Trump’s assertions, the New York Times quotes Ohio’s GOP Secretary of State Husted as the “voice of reason.”  But like other Republican Secretaries of State across the US, Husted is aggressively stripping millions of black and Hispanic voters from the registration books.  Nationwide, tens of millions of exactly the kinds of people Trump doesn’t want to vote will have been stripped off the voter rolls come November.  Much of this is explained in Greg Palast’s new film The Best Democracy Money Can Buy.

As Michelle Alexander has explained in her New Jim Crow, tens of millions of blacks and Hispanics have been stripped of their votes since Richard Nixon declared the War on Drugs in 1971.  Alongside filling history’s biggest gulag with about 2.2 million prisoners, America’s Drug War has anchored the GOP’s Southern Strategy by stripping blacks and Hispanics from the rolls in southern states where they comprise some 40% of the potential electorate.

Neither Trump nor his mainstream critics mention mass incarceration’s “twin” means of election rigging:  electronic voting machines.   Some 80% of this year’s votes may be cast on touchscreen and other computerized devices that are absurdly easy to flip.  The courts say the corporate-owned source code is proprietary.  So there’s no meaningful accountability.  Allegedly safe Scantron paper ballots are easily manipulated with corrupted tallying machines.

Significant computer manipulations helped rig GOP presidential victories in Florida 2000 and Ohio 2004, and critical down-ballot elections elsewhere.  These include 2014 US Senate races in North Carolina, Colorado and Alaska that now loom large in terms of who might or might not be confirming new Supreme Court appointments.

Corporate-sponsored critics brand this “conspiracy theory”.  But neither they nor Trump can answer this most basic question:  “how, in fact, do we verify the legitimate tally of votes cast on electronic machines with no effective paper trail, i.e. the vast majority of those that will be cast this November?”

If we’re to have meaningful elections in the future, they must be conducted on paper  ballots that are held at their precincts in transparent containers that do not move.  Those ballots must be counted in public, by hand.  Voter registration should be open automatically to all citizens, with registration rolls open to the public and easily monitored.  Voting should be open to all on the basis of a signature.  And we need a national holiday for voting so working people do not have to pay with their jobs for exercising their democratic rights.

The “Ohio Plan” would also eliminate corporate money from our elections, end gerrymandering and abolish the Electoral College.

This coming election, up and down the ballot, could indeed be “rigged”.  But it will happen exactly counter to what Trump says.  Rather than eliminating millions of black and Hispanic voters, as he wants, we need to guarantee their franchise.  We must be able to verify their presence on registration rolls.  We need to make sure they have reasonable time and place to cast their ballots—-free from KKK/Trump-style thugs intimidating us all.

Above all, as they now do in Ireland, Switzerland, Germany, Romania, Japan and Canada, we need to cast our votes on paper ballots that are safety stored and counted by hand, preferably by our nation’s high school and college students, and our elders.

Maybe then, Trump or otherwise,  we can begin to think of America as a country where elections really aren’t rigged or stolen, stripped or flipped.

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Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman’s STRIP & FLIP SELECTION OF 2016:  FIVE JIM CROWS & ELECTRONIC ELECTION THEFT has just been chosen as one of America’s most censored stories ( http://projectcensored.org/4-search-engine-algorithms-electronic-voting-… ).  It’s available at www.freepress.org, along with Bob’s FITRAKIS FILES.  Harvey’s SOLARTOPIA!  OUR GREEN-POWERED EARTH is at www.harveywasserman.com, along with AMERICA AT THE BRINK OF REBIRTH, available in 2017.

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Why it Could be President Bush and VP Kasich

Get ready: the Republicans may not know it, but they’ve all but certified their ticket for 2016, and they will probably win.

The saturation bloviation that followed this week’s Republican presidential debates missed some monumental moments, including:

(1)   There was one (and ONLY one) candidate on the stage that had anything meaningful to say. It was Rand Paul. What he said about war and marijuana were of serious significance.

(2)   The GOP hard core on the stage and in the audience certified their obeisance to a free pass for the horrific presidency of George W. Bush, thereby opening the door for his brother, who can almost certainly win if he runs with the guy from Ohio.

Let’s deal first with Rand Paul. Like his father (and unlike virtually anyone else in the GOP) the Senator from Kentucky seems to have some actual principles. Both Pauls have been firmly committed to the legalization of marijuana for many years, and have not wavered.

When Rand (who’s a medical doctor) discussed pot in the debate, he couched it in terms of those who are struggling to get medical marijuana treatment for their children. Rather than slamming him, Jeb Bush then sheepishly admitted to having smoked it many years ago, puffing it up with the obligatory joke about his truly terrifying mother.

That’s old news. What’s new came from Chris Christie. The New Jersey governor has proudly proclaimed that as president he would send the drug gestapo even (or especially) into states where pot has been legalized to “enforce federal law.”

But when confronted with Sen. Paul’s lament on medical marijuana, Christie whimpered that NJ also has medical marijuana, and that he would not interfere with that.

It was utterly ridiculous. But it underscored how far pot has moved toward full legalization. These were the REPUBLICANS! Only Carly Fiorino jumped in with a lament over the death of her drug-addicted step-daughter, which somehow seemed to support her desire to jail all pot smokers.

Those of us in Ohio were then treated to a high-production-value commercial (it ran at least twice during the debate) featuring a Buckeye mother complaining that her daughter suffers from seizures, and that she and her husband have been forced to move to Colorado to get medical marijuana.

Bordering on the surreal for those of us living in the midwest, the ad was sponsored by a very well-funded group of corporatists who’ve put a legalization measure on the ballot here.

That initiative might fail. But Toledo has just voted to decriminalize and the floodgates feeding full legalization are clearly open. That the national Republicans (Fiorino and Christie aside) have finally stopped falling over themselves to slaughter anyone who even mentions legal pot is good news.

It should be further noted that when challenged, none of the other candidates joined Jeb in admitting that they inhaled. But here in Columbus we are surrounded by former college classmates of Governor Kasich who swear without reservation that he was (and may still be) a major pothead.

There are also those who claim he’s bisexual, but that’s another story. (We will be publishing CITIZEN KASICH, a study of the man who may be Vice President, in early 2016).

Rand Paul’s powerful denunciations of foreign intervention in general and the Iraq war in particular were also significant. His father Ron has delivered some uniquely cogent denunciations of our disaster in Vietnam.  Rand has been equally clear about the on-going imperial fiasco in the Middle East.

Here again we saw a mixed bag on stage. There was serious hemming and hawing about how bad George W. Bush’s plunge into the quicksand really was.

But Jeb was ready. “He kept us safe,” he said of his older brother.

It was an astonishing lie. It was W running the country when 9/11 happened. New York and then the nation were permeated with toxic dust that poisoned our persona and gutted our civil liberties.

Bush2 then presided over one of the nation’s most grotesque military failures, followed by an utter dereliction of duty during Hurricane Katrina, leading to the destruction of an entire great city and many unnecessary deaths. And that’s just for starters.

It is safe to say our nation will never recover from W’s eight years of unelected misadventures.

But the GOP faithful did not groan and puke over Bush3’s defense of his brother. They applauded! Wildly!!

This, of course, in the lair of the Grand Illusionist, the Ronald Reagan who covered his own catastrophic regime with the B-movie madness of endless upbeat enthusiasm, even while delivering a saturation disaster.

Suddenly all the common wisdom that the GOP would not go for Bush3 evaporated. Here was the brother and son of previous Republican presidents, standing tall on a stage filled with utterly boring haters, hacks and one very rich performance artist. The Bush pall suddenly turned to sheen, at least in GOP eyes. Don’t “misunderestimate” that moment, as Bush2 might say.

The poll numbers still seem to favor Trump. But he is too much of a wild card for America’s oligarchs. On three key issues he actually veers left. He supports a single-payer health care system; he says he wants the tax loophole closed for hedge fund financiers; and he clearly believes that children’s vaccines can cause autism.  Sooner or later, the corporate/media hammer will come down on Trump, and he’ll have to decide whether to run third party.  If he does, the GOP (which learned a major lesson with Ross Perot in 1992) will have to decide whether they’ll let him live.  THAT will be the real moment of truth in 2016.

Only Kasich said anything else of significance. Briefly but not too subtly, he commented essentially that he has a lock on Ohio. It was an apparent throw-away comment early in the game, missed by most.

Kasich’s latest insult to Hispanic voters is emblematic of his tone-deaf nature. Within the party, it will pass.

But come next fall, one need only do the quick math: Bush carries Florida, Kasich counts Ohio, game over.

Do not “misunderestimate” the fact that 80% of the votes in 2016 will be cast on electronic machines, with access controlled on electronic registration rolls. With this comes a network of private, partisan, for-profit companies that favor the Bushes.

The GOP has both governors and secretaries of state in Florida, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa and Arizona. There are many others, but those five swing states could be more than enough.

(We’ll deal with this in THE SIXTH JIM CROW: ELECTRONIC ELECTION THEFT & THE STRIP/FLIP OF 2016, also to be published early next year).

Unless something is done about it between now and November 2016, there is no public recourse on any of the machines on which this election will be conducted. They are privately owned. The source code is proprietary. The boards of election have no access. There will be no meaningful recounts.

No matter how the public votes, wherever the governor and secretary of state are of the same party, the outcome can be altered with a few keystrokes in a few seconds. And unless things change, there will nothing to be done about it, especially in light of the billions the Koch Brothers and other GOP stalwarts are spending to buy the White House.

The voter rolls can be stripped and the vote count flipped with Republican spare change.

Yes, this is conspiracy theory. But anyone who doubts the conspiracy has not closely looked at the selections of 2000 and 2004.

The ones that brought us George W. Bush, who “kept us safe.”

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Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman have co-written six books on electronic election theft. They will publish two new ones this election season: THE SIXTH JIM CROW: ELECTRONIC ELECTION THEFT & THE STRIP/FLIP OF 2016, and CITIZEN KASICH.   Watch for them at www.freepress.org.

, , ,

Why it Could be President Bush & VP Kasich

Get ready: the Republicans may not know it, but they’ve all but certified their ticket for 2016, and they will probably win.

The saturation bloviation that followed this week’s Republican presidential debates missed some monumental moments, including:

(1)   There was one (and ONLY one) candidate on the stage that had anything meaningful to say. It was Rand Paul. What he said about war and marijuana were of serious significance.

(2)   The GOP hard core on the stage and in the audience certified their obeisance to a free pass for the horrific presidency of George W. Bush, thereby opening the door for his brother, who can almost certainly win if he runs with the guy from Ohio.

Let’s deal first with Rand Paul. Like his father (and unlike virtually anyone else in the GOP) the Senator from Kentucky seems to have some actual principles. Both Pauls have been firmly committed to the legalization of marijuana for many years, and have not wavered.

When Rand (who’s a medical doctor) discussed pot in the debate, he couched it in terms of those who are struggling to get medical marijuana treatment for their children. Rather than slamming him, Jeb Bush then sheepishly admitted to having smoked it many years ago, puffing it up with the obligatory joke about his truly terrifying mother.

That’s old news. What’s new came from Chris Christie. The New Jersey governor has proudly proclaimed that as president he would send the drug gestapo even (or especially) into states where pot has been legalized to “enforce federal law.”

But when confronted with Sen. Paul’s lament on medical marijuana, Christie whimpered that NJ also has medical marijuana, and that he would not interfere with that.

It was utterly ridiculous. But it underscored how far pot has moved toward full legalization. These were the REPUBLICANS! Only Carly Fiorino jumped in with a lament over the death of her drug-addicted step-daughter, which somehow seemed to support her desire to jail all pot smokers.

Those of us in Ohio were then treated to a high-production-value commercial (it ran at least twice during the debate) featuring a Buckeye mother complaining that her daughter suffers from seizures, and that she and her husband have been forced to move to Colorado to get medical marijuana.

Bordering on the surreal for those of us living in the midwest, the ad was sponsored by a very well-funded group of corporatists who’ve put a legalization measure on the ballot here.

That initiative might fail. But Toledo has just voted to decriminalize and the floodgates feeding full legalization are clearly open. That the national Republicans (Fiorino and Christie aside) have finally stopped falling over themselves to slaughter anyone who even mentions legal pot is good news.

It should be further noted that when challenged, none of the other candidates joined Jeb in admitting that they inhaled. But here in Columbus we are surrounded by former college classmates of Governor Kasich who swear without reservation that he was (and may still be) a major pothead.

There are also those who claim he’s bisexual, but that’s another story. (We will be publishing CITIZEN KASICH, a study of the man who may be Vice President, in early 2016).

Rand Paul’s powerful denunciations of foreign intervention in general and the Iraq war in particular were also significant. His father Ron has delivered some uniquely cogent denunciations of our disaster in Vietnam.  Rand has been equally clear about the on-going imperial fiasco in the Middle East.

Here again we saw a mixed bag on stage. There was serious hemming and hawing about how bad George W. Bush’s plunge into the quicksand really was.

But Jeb was ready. “He kept us safe,” he said of his older brother.

It was an astonishing lie. It was W running the country when 9/11 happened. New York and then the nation were permeated with toxic dust that poisoned our persona and gutted our civil liberties.

Bush2 then presided over one of the nation’s most grotesque military failures, followed by an utter dereliction of duty during Hurricane Katrina, leading to the destruction of an entire great city and many unnecessary deaths. And that’s just for starters.

It is safe to say our nation will never recover from W’s eight years of unelected misadventures.

But the GOP faithful did not groan and puke over Bush3’s defense of his brother. They applauded! Wildly!!

This, of course, in the lair of the Grand Illusionist, the Ronald Reagan who covered his own catastrophic regime with the B-movie madness of endless upbeat enthusiasm, even while delivering a saturation disaster.

Suddenly all the common wisdom that the GOP would not go for Bush3 evaporated. Here was the brother and son of previous Republican presidents, standing tall on a stage filled with utterly boring haters, hacks and one very rich performance artist. The Bush pall suddenly turned to sheen, at least in GOP eyes. Don’t “misunderestimate” that moment, as Bush2 might say.

The poll numbers still seem to favor Trump. But he is too much of a wild card for America’s oligarchs. On three key issues he actually veers left. He supports a single-payer health care system; he says he wants the tax loophole closed for hedge fund financiers; and he clearly believes that children’s vaccines can cause autism.  Sooner or later, the corporate/media hammer will come down on Trump, and he’ll have to decide whether to run third party.  If he does, the GOP (which learned a major lesson with Ross Perot in 1992) will have to decide whether they’ll let him live.  THAT will be the real moment of truth in 2016.

Only Kasich said anything else of significance. Briefly but not too subtly, he commented essentially that he has a lock on Ohio. It was an apparent throw-away comment early in the game, missed by most.

Kasich’s latest insult to Hispanic voters is emblematic of his tone-deaf nature. Within the party, it will pass.

But come next fall, one need only do the quick math: Bush carries Florida, Kasich counts Ohio, game over.

Do not “misunderestimate” the fact that 80% of the votes in 2016 will be cast on electronic machines, with access controlled on electronic registration rolls. With this comes a network of private, partisan, for-profit companies that favor the Bushes.

The GOP has both governors and secretaries of state in Florida, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa and Arizona. There are many others, but those five swing states could be more than enough.

(We’ll deal with this in THE SIXTH JIM CROW: ELECTRONIC ELECTION THEFT & THE STRIP/FLIP OF 2016, also to be published early next year).

Unless something is done about it between now and November 2016, there is no public recourse on any of the machines on which this election will be conducted. They are privately owned. The source code is proprietary. The boards of election have no access. There will be no meaningful recounts.

No matter how the public votes, wherever the governor and secretary of state are of the same party, the outcome can be altered with a few keystrokes in a few seconds. And unless things change, there will nothing to be done about it, especially in light of the billions the Koch Brothers and other GOP stalwarts are spending to buy the White House.

The voter rolls can be stripped and the vote count flipped with Republican spare change.

Yes, this is conspiracy theory. But anyone who doubts the conspiracy has not closely looked at the selections of 2000 and 2004.

The ones that brought us George W. Bush, who “kept us safe.”

——————————————

Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman have co-written six books on electronic election theft. They will publish two new ones this election season: THE SIXTH JIM CROW: ELECTRONIC ELECTION THEFT & THE STRIP/FLIP OF 2016, and CITIZEN KASICH.   Watch for them at www.freepress.org.