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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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Mass Ohio Voter Purges Begin

By Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman

October 3, 2016

husted-in-court

Sunday, October 2, 2016, the Columbus Dispatch reported that Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted refused to mail absentee ballot applications to over one million Ohio voters.

Husted refused to mail to 1,035,795 registered voters. Those left off Husted’s mailing list include 650,730 registered voters who had changed their address. Of these, 568,456 moved within the Buckeye State and are still eligible to vote. The other 82,274 moved out of state and are presumably ineligible to vote.

The key target of Husted’s deregulation scheme are the remaining 385,065 voters who are registered at their current residence but simply failed to vote in the 2012 or 2014 federal elections.

Husted has had these voters harassed by their local Boards of Elections sending them letters demanding they verify their address. Failure to do so could lead to the voters’ deregistration and has led to them not being offered an absentee ballot. Social science data shows that the crux of Democratic Party voters move more often and vote less often than Republicans. Husted’s strategy is to purge poor and minority voters from Ohio rolls.

A U.S. federal court had recently blocked Husted’s strategy of just outright mass purging minority, young and mostly Democratic voters. A recent 2-1 ruling by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals halted various Husted practices including the removal of any voter who hadn’t voted in six years in Ohio, even if they remained at the same address.

However, the ruling did not block Husted from doing an end-run by using the absentee ballot application mailing to eventually deregister voters.

Husted has never been able to explain why, in a state that requires ID at the polls to verify a voter’s address, any voter would be removed from the computerized voting rolls. There’s no logical reason other than partisan politics to purge a registered voter in a computer era.

Overall, Republican Husted has targeted 13 percent of Ohio’s registered voters for absentee ballot disenfranchisement.

Also, voters who received Husted’s absentee ballot application mailing may have noticed the specific instructions on the envelope to the post office not to forward the mail to a new address, although the post office can return it to the sender. Husted’s office has used the return of two pieces of mail intended for the same voter to the secretary of state’s office or county board of elections as a reason to purge that voter.

Husted also admitted to the Dispatch that some of his absentee ballot applications got lost in the mail. Husted, who claims to be a fiscal conservative and has in the past refused to have backup paper ballots at polling sites because of the cost, cannot seem to explain why he is mailing more than 6.5 million absentee voting applications anyway.

Husted has allowed his office and the county boards of elections, without explanation, to disable their electronic audit logs that are built into central tabulators as well as certain county ballot scanning machines.

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Distrust of 2016’s Hackable Election Is a Media Landslide With Just One Solution: Hand-counted Paper Ballots

Finally, the major for-profit media is approaching consensus that it’s easy to hack U.S. political elections. Even candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are raising unprecedented doubts – from very different directions – about the reliability of the upcoming vote count.

Ultimately, there is just one solution: universal hand-counted paper ballots, with carefully protected voter registration rolls, and a transparent chain of custody.

The corporate media and the Democrats are obsessed with the “Russians.” Donald Trump rants about a mythological army of voters voting multiple times.

But the real threat to our election system comes from private for-profit corporations that register voters, control voter databases, then count and report the vote with secret proprietary software and zero transparency, accountability, or recourse.

After ignoring or attacking the reportage since Florida 2000 of Bev Harris, Greg Palast, freepress.org and numerous others, the corporate media seems finally to be getting the message: under the current system, any American election – even the one for president – can be stripped and flipped by a tiny handful of electronic hackers working anywhere from the Kremlin to a party HQ to a state governor’s office to a teenager’s garage.

Here is some of what the mainstream media is finally admitting. In an article posted on July 28, 2016, NBC News pointed out that our elections are vulnerable to hacking because they “are not part of the vast ‘critical infrastructure protection’ safety net set up by the Department of Homeland Security.”

CBS News wrote August 10, 2016, about “the hackers at Symantec Security Response” who demonstrated how “Election Day results could be manipulated by an affordable device you can find online.”

Former national coordinator for counter-terrorism Richard Clarke, reporting for ABC News on August 19, 2016, analyzed the particular security problems related to battleground states like Ohio and Florida: “In 2000 and 2004, there were only a handful of battleground states that determined which presidential candidate had enough Electoral College votes to win. A slight alteration of the vote in some swing precincts in swing states might not raise suspicion. Smart malware can be programmed to switch only a small percentage of votes from what the voters intended. That may be all that is needed, and that malware can also be programmed to erase itself after it does its job, so there might be no trace it ever happened.” Clarke was on the White House National Security Council during both Bill Clinton’s and George W. Bush’s administrations.

Zeynep Tufekci, an associate professor at the North Carolina School of Information and Library Science, in his August 12, 2016 New York Times op-ed “The Election Won’t Be Rigged but It Could Be Hacked,” wrote: “The mere existence of this discussion is cause for alarm. The United States needs to return, as soon as possible, to a paper-based, auditable voting system in all jurisdictions that still use electronic-only, unverifiable voting machines.”

On August 30, 2016, the Washington Post wrote: “Deleting or altering data on voter rolls could cause mayhem on Election Day disenfranchising some voters. Many voting machines themselves also are vulnerable, especially touch-screen systems that do not create a paper record as a guard against fraud or manipulation.” The Post also supplied a list of the 15 states with the most vulnerable voting systems.

The list of those now admitting the obvious includes the Boston Globe, The Atlantic, USA Today, The Guardian, Mother Jones, and Politico, some of which have previously mocked those of us reporting on this issue. Most important has been the highly influential The Hill, which weighed in on May 2, 2016 with “Election fraud feared as hackers target voter records.” The lede was straightforward: “A series of data breaches overseas are spurring concerns that hackers could manipulate elections in the United States.”

Trump advisor Roger Stone wrote a column in The Hill with the headline: “Can the 2016 Elections Be Rigged? You Bet.” He also referred to our latest summary volume, “The Strip & Flip Selection of 2016: Five Jim Crows & Electronic Election Theft,” as “a must-read book on the strip and flip techniques used to rig these machines.”

But in the 2016 primary election, there are other must-reads as well. Perhaps the most important is Election Justice USA’s report entitled “Democracy Lost: A Report on the Fatally Flawed 2016 Democratic Primaries.” This report cites six major areas of election irregularities in this year’s 26 primary elections:

1) Targeting voter suppression

2) Registration tampering

3) Illegal voter purges

4) Exit poll discrepancies

5) Evidence for voting machine tampering

6) The security (or lack thereof) of various voting machines types.

In their 96-page report, Election Justice researchers documented how Hillary Clinton’s campaign benefited from these “various types of fraud.” Their conclusion: “Based on this work, Election Justice USA has established an upper estimate of 184 pledged delegates lost by Senator Bernie Sanders as a consequence of specific irregularities and instances of fraud.”

Election Justice’s well-documented estimate that Sanders lost 184 delegates means that if the election had been conducted fairly, the Senator from Vermont would now be the Democratic nominee.

Another document essential to understanding election irregularities that allowed Hillary Clinton to capture the Democratic Party nomination is a paper co-authored by Axel Geijsel of Tilburg University in the Netherlands and Rodolfo Cortes Barragan of Stanford University. Their analysis found that primary election results in states with the most vulnerable and hackable voting machines and without a paper trail overwhelmingly favored Hillary Clinton 65 percent to 35 percent. Sanders led Clinton 51 percent to 49 percent in states where the vote count could be verified with a paper trail.

The correlation between the increased Clinton vote and the increased vulnerability of the voting machines has been avoided like the plague by the corporate media.

Equally important to read is mathematician Richard Charnin’s blog. Charnin is a man the mainstream media often attacks – but not with mathematical formulas to rebut Charnin’s detailed analysis. Rather they attack him because, like the vast majority of Americans, he believes that John F. Kennedy was not killed by a lone gunman. In 2016, official Democratic primary vote counts compared to exit poll results were significantly outside the margin of error in 12 of 26 states. Charnin concluded that the probability of those official vote tallies being correct are one in 78 billion. There were no such discrepancies in this year’s Republican primaries.

Now 16 years after the theft of the presidency in Florida 2000, and a dozen since it was done again in Ohio 2004, the corporate media are approaching consensus that it is indeed very easy to strip millions of legitimate citizens from the voting rolls, and then to hack electronic voting machines and computerized central tabulators to flip the official final outcome.

The threat to this year’s election does not come from non-existent armies of mythological hordes voting multiple times. It comes from the private partisan companies with their secret proprietary software that control the voter rolls, the electronic machines, and ultimately the final outcome at all levels of government. The mega-corporations are the ones that flipped George W. Bush into the White House and Hillary Clinton into the Democratic nomination, not to mention manipulating countless Senate, House, and state and local elections along the way.

For a hopelessly vulnerable electronic election system which is flawed, hackable and riggable from top to bottom, there is just one solution: transparent unhackable voter rolls, and universal hand-counted paper ballots open to public scrutiny from the precinct level to the final official tallies, as dutifully reported by our slowly awakening corporate media.

Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman are co-authors of The Strip & Flip Selection of 2016: Five Jim Crows & Electronic Election Theft, available at www.freepress.org and www.solartopia.org, where Bob’s Fitrakis Files and Harvey’s Solartopia! can also be found.

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Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman, THE STRIP & FLIP SELECTION OF 2016: Five Jim Crows & Electronic Election Theft CICJ Books 15$

Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman, THE STRIP & FLIP SELECTION OF 2016: Five Jim Crows & Electronic Election Theft
CICJ Books 15$

flipandstrip

A “…masterful dissection of elections and voting as a system between the Civil War and today. Quite a time period to cover in less than 100 pages, but authors Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman face this challenge, prefaced and introduced by the famed author and investigative reporter Greg Palest and actress and activist (head of Progressive Democrats of America) Mimi Kennedy.” ~ Marta Steele.

Buy online or send a check for $15 to: CICJ Books, 1021 E. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43205

Buy the print book online

 

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Is the 2016 election already being stripped & flipped?

Vote sign

Disturbing signs of the time-tested “Strip and Flip” strategy for stealing elections have already surfaced in 2016. Will they ultimately decide the outcome, as they have in too many recent elections?

The core approach is to STRIP citizens of their voting rights, then FLIP the electronic vote count if that’s not enough to guarantee a win for the corporate 1%.

Historically, “stripping” has been based on race. It’s rooted in the divide-and-conquer strategies of slavery and Jim Crow segregation. Today it centers on racist demands for photo ID and other scams designed to prevent blacks, Hispanics, the young and the poor from voting.

“Flipping” is related to electronic voting machines, on which the vast majority of Americans will vote this fall. Nearly all these machines were bought with money from the 2002 Help America Vote Act, which came after the theft of the 2000 presidential election. Virtually all these machines are 10 years old or more, and can easily be hacked. Swing states Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa and Arizona, among others, have GOP governors and, except for Florida, secretaries of state who can easily flip the vote count once they are cast, without accountability or detection. Also, private partisan voting machine companies have unlimited access to the electronic poll books, voting machines and central tabulators.

Those who dismiss such warnings as “conspiracy theory” might confront this simple question: “How will the electronic vote count in the 2016 election be verified?”

The answer is simple: “It can’t be.” The vote count in 2016 for the offices of President, US Congress, governorships, state legislatures, county commissioners, dog catchers and thousands of others will come through electronic black boxes. The veracity of the outcomes will vary from state to state based on the whims and interests of those in charge of the electronic tallies.

In the meantime, we have already seen deeply disturbing signs of the “strip and flip” scam in the 2016 primaries. All, of course, have been to the detriment of the Bernie Sanders campaign:

·         Despite the claim that Hillary Clinton, “won” the Iowa and Nevada caucuses, there’s clear evidence Bernie was the rightful winner in both states. In Iowa Clinton’s “victory” apparently turned on six coin tosses, all of which she allegedly won.

·         There’s clear evidence that Bernie actually won the Massachusetts primary, which the corporate media and official vote count gave to Hillary. Analyst Richard Charnin has examined pre-election polls and post-election exit polls, both showing Bernie substantially ahead of Clinton prior to the voting. In a phenomenon we have seen elsewhere (most notably as George W. Bush “beat” John Kerry in New Mexico 2004), Bernie won all the precincts with hand-counted paper ballots but lost all the ones with electronic voting machines. Exit polls significantly “outside the statistical margin of error” are the international gold standard for determining election fraud. If the U.S. held the same standards as the European Union, the Clinton campaign would be investigated for election fraud not only in the Massachusetts primary but also in Missouri, Illinois and Ohio primaries.

·         In Arizona we saw a re-run of Ohio 2004, where left-leaning Democratic urban areas were stripped of precincts and short-changed on voting machines and back-up paper ballots, resulting in long lines and thousands of citizens being deprived of their vote. African-Americans in Cleveland, Columbus, Toledo, Dayton and Cincinnati waited up to seven hours and more to vote in 2004, causing mass disenfranchisement that helped give Bush Ohio and a second term in the White House. In Arizona this year, thousands of citizens were also robbed of their vote due to the elimination of precincts, machine shortages and the failure to provide back-up paper ballots. Many were handed provisional ballots which regularly are discarded and never counted. It is quite likely that with reasonable access to voting, Bernie would have won the Arizona primary.

A wide range of irregularities in other states have also dogged this primary season. They could well be the determining factor in who gets the nomination in both major parties.

A recent study by Harvard and the University of Sydney, Australia found that the United States had the “worst elections of any long-established democracy.” The U.S. ranked 47th out of the 47 long-term democratic nations.

Something serious must be done. Without radical action, these carefully engineered precinct eliminations, ballot and machine shortages, mass disenfranchisements and too much more will not only determine who wins the presidency this fall, but also who controls the Congress, numerous governorships and state legislatures and the whole gamut of elective offices around the country.

In the long run, only universal automatic voter registration, a four-day national holiday for voting, universal hand-counted paper ballots and other reforms will guarantee us a fair and reliable vote count. Posted at www.freepress.org, we call it the “Ohio Plan.”

But none of that will be in place this fall. In our coming articles, and in two weeks with our book THE STRIP AND FLIP SELECTION OF 2016, we will discuss what we can do in the interim.

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Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman have co-authored six books on election protection, including the upcoming power point compendium THE STRIP & FLIP SELECTION OF 2016: FIVE JIM CROWS AND ELECTRONIC ELECTION THEFT. Bob’s FITRAKIS FILES are at www.freepress.org. Harvey’s AMERICA AT THE BRINK OF REBIRTH: THE ORGANIC SPIRAL OF US HISTORY will be published soon via www.solartopia.org

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George Will Confirms Nixon’s Vietnam Treason

Lieutenant Governor Ohio Green Party candidate, Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman connect the dots with Nixon and treason:

08.10.14
by Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman

Nixon
Richard Nixon was a traitor.

The new release of extended versions of Nixon’s papers now confirms this long-standing belief, usually dismissed as a “conspiracy theory” by Republican conservatives. Now it has been substantiated by none other than right-wing columnist George Will.

Nixon’s newly revealed records show for certain that in 1968, as a presidential candidate, he ordered Anna Chennault, his liaison to the South Vietnam government, to persuade them refuse a cease-fire being brokered by President Lyndon Johnson.

Nixon’s interference with these negotiations violated President John Adams’s 1797 Logan Act, banning private citizens from intruding into official government negotiations with a foreign nation.

Published as the 40th Anniversary of Nixon’s resignation approaches, Will’s column confirms that Nixon feared public disclosure of his role in sabotaging the 1968 Vietnam peace talks. Will says Nixon established a “plumbers unit” to stop potential leaks of information that might damage him, including documentation he believed was held by the Brookings Institute, a liberal think tank. The Plumbers’ later break-in at the Democratic National Committee led to the Watergate scandal that brought Nixon down.

Nixon’s sabotage of the Vietnam peace talks was confirmed by transcripts of FBI wiretaps. On November 2, 1968, LBJ received an FBI report saying Chernnault told the South Vietnamese ambassador that “she had received a message from her boss: saying the Vietnamese should “hold on, we are gonna win.”

As Will confirms, Vietnamese did “hold on,” the war proceeded and Nixon did win, changing forever the face of American politics—-with the shadow of treason permanently embedded in its DNA.
The treason came in 1968 as the Vietnam War reached a critical turning point. President Lyndon Johnson was desperate for a truce between North and South Vietnam.

LBJ had an ulterior motive: his Vice President, Hubert Humphrey, was in a tight presidential race against Richard Nixon. With demonstrators in the streets, Humphrey desperately needed a cease-fire to get him into the White House.
Johnson had it all but wrapped it. With a combination of gentle and iron-fisted persuasion, he forced the leaders of South Vietnam into an all-but-final agreement with the North. A cease-fire was imminent, and Humphrey’s election seemed assured.

But at the last minute, the South Vietnamese pulled out. LBJ suspected Nixon had intervened to stop them from signing a peace treaty.
In the Price of Power (1983), Seymour Hersh revealed Henry Kissinger—then Johnson’s advisor on Vietnam peace talks—secretly alerted Nixon’s staff that a truce was imminent.

According to Hersh, Nixon “was able to get a series of messages to the Thieu government [of South Vietnam] making it clear that a Nixon presidency would have different views on peace negotiations.”
Johnson was livid. He even called the Republican Senate Minority Leader, Everett Dirksen, to complain that “they oughtn’t be doing this. This is treason.”
“I know,” was Dirksen’s feeble reply.
Johnson blasted Nixon about this on November 3, just prior to the election. As Robert Parry of consortiumnews.com has written: “when Johnson confronted Nixon with evidence of the peace-talk sabotage, Nixon insisted on his innocence but acknowledged that he knew what was at stake.”
Said Nixon: “My, I would never do anything to encourage….Saigon not to come to the table….Good God, we’ve got to get them to Paris or you can’t have peace.”
But South Vietnamese President General Theiu—a notorious drug and gun runner—did boycott Johnson’s Paris peace talks. With the war still raging, Nixon claimed a narrow victory over Humphrey. He then made Kissinger his own national security advisor.
In the four years between the sabotage and what Kissinger termed “peace at hand” just prior to the 1972 election, more than 20,000 US troops died in Vietnam. More than 100,000 were wounded. More than a million Vietnamese were killed.
But in 1973, Kissinger was given the Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating the same settlement he helped sabotage in 1968.
According to Parry, LBJ wanted to go public with Nixon’s treason. But Clark Clifford, an architect of the CIA and a pillar of the Washington establishment, talked Johnson out of it. LBJ’s close confidant warned that the revelation would shake the foundations of the nation.
In particular, Clifford told Johnson (in a taped conversation) that “some elements of the story are so shocking in their nature that I’m wondering whether it would be good for the country to disclose the story and then possibly have [Nixon] elected. It could cast his whole administration under such doubt that I think it would be inimical to our country’s best interests.”
In other words, Clifford told LBJ that the country couldn’t handle the reality that its president was a certifiable traitor, eligible for legal execution.
Fittingly, Clark Clifford’s upper-crust career ended in the disgrace of his entanglement with the crooked Bank of Credit and Commerce (BCCI), which financed the terrorist group Al Qaeda and whose scandalous downfall tainted the Agency he helped found.
Johnson lived four years after he left office, tormented by the disastrous war that destroyed his presidency and his retirement. Nixon won re-election in 1972, again with a host of dirty dealings, then became the first America president to resign in disgrace.
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Bob Fitrakis is Editor-in-Chief of the Free Press and Harvey Wasserman is Senior Editor. Read more Harvey Wasserman at solartopia.org.

Has America’s Stolen Election Process Finally Hit Prime Time?

Prime Time

by Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman
December 29, 2011

It took two stolen US Presidential elections and the prospect of another one coming up in 2012.
For years the Democratic Party and even much of the left press has reacted with scorn for those who’ve reported on it.
But the imperial fraud that has utterly corrupted our electoral process seems finally to be dawning on a broadening core of the American electorate—if it can still be called that.

The shift is highlighted by three major developments:
1. The NAACP goes to the United Nations

In early December, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the largest civil rights organization in America, announced that it was petitioning the United Nations over the orchestrated GOP attack on black and Latino voters.

In its landmark report entitled Defending Democracy: Confronting Modern Barriers to Voting Rights in America, the NAACP directly takes on the new Jim Crow tactics passed in fourteen states that are designed to keep minorities from voting in 2012.

The report analyzes 25 laws that target black, minority and poor voters “unfairly and unnecessarily restrict[ing] the right to vote.” It notes “…a coordinated assault on voting rights.”

The Free Press has been reporting on this coordinated assault since the 2000 election, including the heroic struggle of voters in Ohio to postpone the enactment of the draconian House Bill 194 that was the most restrictive voting rights law passed in the United States. (See Voting rights activists fight back against new Republican Jim Crow attack in Ohio)

The NAACP points out that this most recent wave of voter repression is a reaction to the “…historic participation of people of color in the 2008 presidential election and substantial minority population growth according to the 2010 consensus….”

It should be no surprise that the states of the old Confederacy — Florida, Georgia, Texas, and North Carolina — are in the forefront of repressing black voters. Three other Jim Crow states with the greatest increase in Latino population — South Carolina, Alabama, and Tennessee — also implemented drastic measures to restrict minority voting.

The report documents that a long-standing tactic under fire since the 1860s — the disenfranchisement of people with felony convictions — is back in vogue. This has been coupled with “severe restrictions” on persons conducting voter registration drives and reducing opportunities for early voting and the use of absentee ballots complete these template legislative acts.

Most of these new Jim Crow tactics were initially drafted as model legislation by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a secretive and conservative corporate policy group whose founder, according to the NAACP, is on record in favor of reducing the voting population in order to increase their own “leverage.”

The Brennan Center for Justice estimates that the 25 laws passed in these 14 states could prevent as many as 5 million voters from voting, a number easily exceeding the margin of victory in numerous presidential elections.

Ohio’s HB 194, which awaits a 2012 referendum vote, would disenfranchise an estimated 900,000 in one of our nation’s key battleground states.

An important statistic in all the legislation is that 25 % of African Americans lack a state photo identification, as do 15% of Latinos, but by comparison, only 8% of white voters. Other significant Democratic constituents — the elderly of all races and college students — would be disproportionately impacted.

Ohio voters have just repealed a draconian anti-labor law passed by the GOP-dominated legislature and the state’s far-right governor John Kasich. Whether they will do the same to this massive disenfranchisement remains to be seen. But the fact that it’s on a state ballot marks a major leap forward. Ohio activists are also drafting a constitutional amendment that includes revamping the registration, voting and vote count procedures.(Can we transform labor’s Buckeye victory into a new era of election protection?)

2. The Justice Department awakens

On Friday, December 23, 2011, the U.S. Justice Department called South Carolina’s new voter ID law discriminatory. The finding was based in part on the fact that minorities were almost 20% more likely than whites to be without state-issued photo IDs required for voting. Unlike Ohio, South Carolina remains under the 1965 Voting Rights Act and requires federal pre-approval to any changes in voting laws that may harm minority voters.

The Republican governor of South Carolina Nikki Haley denounced the Justice Department decision as “outrageous” and vowed to do everything in her power to overturn the decision and uphold the integrity of state’s rights under the 10th Amendment.

The US Supreme Court has upheld the requirement of photo ID for voting. Undoubtedly the attempt by US Attorney General Eric Holder to challenge this will go to the most thoroughly corporate-dominated Court in recent memory. The depth of the commitment of the Obama Administration to the issue also remains in doubt.

3. The EAC finally finds that voting machines are programmed to be partisan

Another federal agency revealed another type of problem in Ohio. On December 22, 2011, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) issued a formal investigative report on Election Systems & Software (ED&D) DS200 Precinct County optical scanners. The EAC found “three substantial anomalies”:
• Intermittent screen freezes, system lock-ups and shutdowns that prevent the voting system from operating in the manner in which it was designed
• Failure to log all normal and abnormal voting system events
• Skewing of the ballot resulting in a negative effect on system accuracy

The EAC ruled that the ballot scanners made by ES&S electronic voting machine firm failed 10% of the time to read the votes correctly. Ohio is one of 13 states that requires EAC certification before voting machines can be used in elections. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported in 2010 that the voting machines in heavily Democratic Cuyahoga County had failed during testing for the 2010 gubernatorial election. Cleveland uses the same Republican-connected ES&S ballot scanners — the DS200 opti-scan system. Ohio’s Mahoning County, home of the Democratic enclave of Youngstown, also uses the DS200s. The same opti-scan system is also used in the key battleground states of Florida, Illionois, Indiana, New York, and Wisconsin.

Voting rights activists fear a repeat of the well-documented vote switching that occurred in Mahoning County in the 2004 presidential election when county election officials admitted that 31 of their machines switched Kerry votes to Bush.

But a flood of articles about these realities—including coverage in the New York Times—seems to indicate the theft of our elections has finally taken a leap into the mainstream of the American mind. Whether that leads to concrete reforms before another presidential election is stolen remains to be seen. But after more than a decade of ignorance and contempt, it’s about time something gets done to restore a semblance of democracy to the nation that claims to be the world’s oldest.


Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman have co-authored four books on election protection, including How the GOP stole America’s 2004 election, at Free Press, where Bob’s Fitrakis Files are also available. Harvey Wasserman’s History of the United States is at Harvey Wasserman.

Free Press Election Protection Conference, September 26-28, 2008, Mark Crispin Miller

If you are interested in helping make sure Ohio’s 2008 election is free and fair…
please
SAVE THE DATES:
September 26-28, 2008
for the:
Free Press Election Protection Conference
Co-conveners: Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman
at the
Center for Workforce Development conference center
315 Cleveland Avenue, 4th floor
Columbus State Community College, Columbus, Ohio

Workshops on:

Board of Election Monitors
Election Day Election Protection
Video the Vote

** Free Registration ** Free Parking **

Please RSVP:
614-253-2571
truth@freepress.org
Donation requested for refreshments
Parking in Columbus State lot at Cleveland by 670 or guest parking meters
Keynote speaker: Mark Crispin Miller – Meet Mark on Friday, September 26 for his talk at 9pm
Miller is a professor of media studies at New York University and author of the books: “Loser Take All,” “Fooled Again, How the Right Stole the 2004 Elections” and “The Bush Dyslexicon.” He is known for his writing on American media and for his activism on behalf of democratic media reform.

Featured films:
Free For All
produced by John Ennis
Sept. 26 – 7pm (free)
Columbus State – conference center
John investigates the evidence of the stolen 2004 election with sometimes frustrating and often funny results

Stealing America Vote-by-Vote
produced by Dorothy Fadiman
Sept. 28 – 12:30pm (tentative)
Drexel Gateway Theater, OSU
Experts and witnesses exposing the flaws of electronic voting