"The action I am taking is no more than a radical measure to hasten the explosion of truth and justice. I have but one passion: to enlighten those who have been kept in the dark, in the name of humanity which has suffered so much and is entitled to happiness. My fiery protest is simply the cry of my very soul. Let them dare, then, to bring me before a court of law and let the enquiry take place in broad daylight!" - Emile Zola, J'accuse! (1898) -

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Could the US election be stolen? Why Not; It’s Been Done Before!



Returning our elected leaders to the status of our employees!


When this election is over and the new president is sworn in we as citizens of this nation have a huge task before us beyond that of merely living through the financial collapse that are duly elected officials have permitted to occur.  It appears that the Democrats will have a level of control not enjoyed in decades and we need to be about the task of delivering the message that they will not continue to enjoy their new found status unless they act on our behalf regardless of the fact that much of what I am about to suggest is not in their interests, or their interests as they would have them.


It is time for a real paradigm shift in this nation and a real restoration of a balance of power, the balance of power not between the three branches of government, albeit we know that must be accomplished, but a restoration of the balance of power between the people and our government. 


I am of the firm conviction that the entire concept of sovereign, governmental, congressional immunity must be damn near wiped out.  Our elected officials should be as vulnerable to prosecution and imprisonment as you and I for, and not limited to, acts of misfeasance, malfeasance and nonfeasance in the performance of their sworn duties, for lying, misrepresentations, libel and slander of one another in campaigns and personal relationships.  It is called” “No Man Is Above The Law” Accountability!


And that means when the people of this land raise up a question of justified Impeachment; the congress cannot simply fail to act or any citizen should be able to initiate an action against any all members of Congress for their removal and civil conviction for willful dereliction duty.


Public funding of political campaigns must become a reality to end the obscenity we are now witnessing.  That we permit, tolerate the kind of gratuitous money bingeing to go on while people have no jobs, health insurance or are pondering their winter existence as a homeless person is a crime!


The Presidential debates have to taken from the media and turned over to citizen panels.


Media outlets must be held accountable for the acceptance of any advertising that is not truthful, even smacking of libel, slander or inference and innuendo!


Voter registration and purging laws/mechanisms and schedules must be made uniform nationwide.  I cannot accept anymore of local and state preference manipulation, and every vote cast must leave a paper trail.  Whether one is a registrar at a local board of elections, a third party private sworn registrar or a member of ACORN or any other such activist organization, they, we will all have to follow all the same rules to the letter of the law.  


The matter of lobbyists, their money and influence must be obliterated, and I don’t mean “little laws” about how they can serve food at influence affairs.  It must end.  Christ chased the money lenders from the temple; it is time we chase the money peddlers from the halls of government!


There is more, much more, but our crusade must be that of taking back America and returning our elected leaders to the status of our employees, not just the authors of laws but the subjects of those laws as well.


French news reports this morning on the various ways our November 4th presidential election may be stolen.  This is a good summary, going where U.S. corporate media do not tread.


TOLEDO, Ohio (AFP) — With John McCain and Barack Obama already swapping accusations of widespread voter fraud, experts warn that a bitter and protracted fight could ensue if the race to the White House is decided by a narrow margin.


The legal battle over election rules has already made it all the way to the Supreme Court as Republicans fight to block potentially false registrations from being validated and Democrats struggle to prevent voter disenfranchisement.


Compounding the problem is the decentralized US electoral system, which hands often partisan local officials the power to make rules and maintain the voter registration rolls.


"I'm hoping it's not close," said Richard L. Hasen, a professor who specializes in election law at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.


"I am certain there will be problems on Election Day."


An estimated nine million new voters have registered for the hotly contested November 4 election, and the Obama campaign says Democratic registrations are outpacing Republican ones by four to one.


The McCain campaign contends that an untold number of those registration forms are false and warns that illegally cast ballots could alter the results of the election and undermine the public's faith in democracy.


Republicans have launched a slew of lawsuits aimed at preventing false ballots from being cast, the most high-profile an attempt to challenge as many as 200,000 of more than 600,000 new registrations submitted in the battleground state of Ohio that was blocked by a Supreme Court ruling Friday.


They point to investigations into whether liberal-leaning community organization ACORN deliberately submitted false voter registrations as proof of "rampant" and widespread fraud which McCain said could be "destroying the fabric of democracy."


But the Obama campaign said this was just a "smokescreen" to divert attention from Republican "plotting" to suppress legitimate votes and to "sow confusion and harass voters and complicate the process for millions of Americans."


Voters whose registrations have been challenged or those who find their names have been removed from the rolls are often required to cast provisional ballots, which are not immediately counted in some jurisdictions and are often rejected due to technicalities.


Meanwhile, a 2007 study by the New York University School of Law concluded that "it is more likely that an individual will be struck by lightning than that he will impersonate another voter at the polls."


"For these problems to be really decisive they have to be within the margin of litigation, which is typically a few thousand votes," Hasen said in a recent interview.


The 2000 election took weeks to resolve as Democrat Al Gore fought Republican George W. Bush all the way to the Supreme Court after Bush won the state of Florida, and thus the election, with a margin of a few hundred votes.


Four years later, Democrat John Kerry conceded defeat despite allegations of widespread voter suppression in Ohio, which handed Bush his second term with a margin of nearly 119,000 votes.


In the meantime, electoral litigation has become part of the standard play book.


The number of lawsuits filed over elections has more than doubled from an average of 94 in the four years prior to the 2000 election to an average of 230 in the six years following, Hasen found in a study published in the Stanford Law Review.


Misinformation has also been used to discourage voters from showing up on election day.


Students in Virginia, Colorado and South Carolina were wrongfully told by voting officials that they could lose their scholarships and their parents would no longer be able to claim them on their income taxes if they registered to vote in their college towns.


The Michigan Department of Civil Rights launched an advertising campaign this week to combat misleading rumors - some started by local officials in mailings to voters - that people would be denied the right to vote if they lost their home to foreclosure, have a criminal record or do not have photo identification.


Such tactics are not new, said Laughlin McDonald, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union's voting rights project.


Despite strict constitutional and legal protections for the right to vote, "the history of the country has been one of flagrant vote denial," McDonald told AFP.


Many of tactics once used to keep blacks from voting in the south - poll taxes, literacy tests, violence and intimidation - have been eliminated.


But some have been adapted, including the practice of purging voting rolls of people likely to vote for the other party by challenging them en masse.


"There's more (attempts at voter suppression) that's been going on in the lead-up to this election than any I can remember," McDonald told AFP.


"The fact remains the people who have the power to make the rules are all too often willing to do so in ways that serve their partisan interests."


Chris Hedges' Columns


The Idiots Who Rule America



Posted on Oct 20, 2008

By Chris Hedges

Our oligarchic class is incompetent at governing, managing the economy, coping with natural disasters, educating our young, handling foreign affairs, providing basic services like health care and safeguarding individual rights. That it is still in power, and will remain in power after this election, is a testament to our inability to separate illusion from reality. We still believe in “the experts.” They still believe in themselves. They are clustered like flies swarming around John McCain and Barack Obama. It is only when these elites are exposed as incompetent parasites and dethroned that we will have any hope of restoring social, economic and political order. 


“Their inability to see the human as anything more than interest driven made it impossible for them to imagine an actively organized pool of disinterest called the public good,” said the Canadian philosopher John Ralston Saul, whose books “The Unconscious Civilization” and “Voltaire’s Bastards” excoriates our oligarchic elites. “It is as if the Industrial Revolution had caused a severe mental trauma, one that still reaches out and extinguishes the memory of certain people. For them, modern history begins from a big explosion—the Industrial Revolution. This is a standard ideological approach: a star crosses the sky, a meteor explodes, and history begins anew.”


Our elites—the ones in Congress, the ones on Wall Street and the ones being produced at prestigious universities and business schools—do not have the capacity to fix our financial mess. Indeed, they will make it worse. They have no concept, thanks to the educations they have received, of the common good. They are stunted, timid and uncreative bureaucrats who are trained to carry out systems management. They see only piecemeal solutions which will satisfy the corporate structure. They are about numbers, profits and personal advancement. They are as able to deny gravely ill people medical coverage to increase company profits as they are able to use taxpayer dollars to peddle costly weapons systems to blood-soaked dictatorships. The human consequences never figure into their balance sheets. The democratic system, they think, is a secondary product of the free market. And they slavishly serve the market. 


Andrew Lahde, the Santa Monica, Calif., hedge fund manager who made an 870 percent gain last year by betting on the subprime mortgage collapse, has abruptly shut down his fund, citing the risk of trading with faltering banks. In his farewell letter to his investors he excoriated the elites who run our investment houses, banks and government.


“The low-hanging fruit, i.e. idiots whose parents paid for prep school, Yale, and then the Harvard MBA, was there for the taking,” he said of our oligarchic class. “These people who were (often) truly not worthy of the education they received (or supposedly received) rose to the top of companies such as AIG, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers and all levels of our government. All of this behavior supporting the Aristocracy only ended up making it easier for me to find people stupid enough to take the other side of my trades. God bless America.”


“On the issue of the U.S. Government, I would like to make a modest proposal,” he went on. “First, I point out the obvious flaws, whereby legislation was repeatedly brought forth to Congress over the past eight years, which would have [reined] in the predatory lending practices of now mostly defunct institutions. These institutions regularly filled the coffers of both parties in return for voting down all of this legislation designed to protect the common citizen. This is an outrage, yet no one seems to know or care about it. Since Thomas Jefferson and Adam Smith passed, I would argue that there has been a dearth of worthy philosophers in this country, at least ones focused on improving government.”


Democracy is not an outgrowth of free markets. Democracy and capitalism are antagonistic entities. Democracy, like individualism, is not based on personal gain but on self-sacrifice. A functioning democracy must defy the economic interests of elites on behalf of citizens. This is not happening. The corporate managers and government officials trying to fix the economic meltdown are pouring money and resources into the financial sector because they only know how to manage and sustain established systems, not change them. Financial systems, however, are not pure scientific and numerical abstractions that exist independently from human beings.


“When the elite begin to think that money is real, the crash is coming,” Saul said in a telephone interview. “That is just a given in history. Because what they’ve done is pull themselves out of the possibility of looking in the mirror and thinking, this is inflation, speculation, this is fluff. They can’t do it. And when you say to them, gosh, this is not real. And they say, oh, you don’t understand, you’re so old-fashioned, you still think this is about manufacturing. And of course, it’s basic economics. And that’s what happens every single time.


“The difficulty is you have a collapse, you have a loss of face by the people who are there, and it’s not just George Bush, it’s very, very deep,” Saul said. “What we’re talking about is the need to rethink the departments of economics, of political science. Then you have to rethink the whole analytic method of the World Bank. If I’m the secretary of the treasury, and not a guy like [Henry] Paulson, but I mean a sort of normal secretary of the treasury or minister of finance, and I say, OK, we’ve got a real problem, let’s get the senior civil servants in here. Gentlemen, ladies, OK, clearly we have to go in another direction, give me some ideas. Well, those people don’t have any other ideas because at this point they’re about the fourth generation of what you might call neoconservative globalist managers, unfairly summarized. So they then go to the people who work for them, and you work down; there’s no one in there with an alternate approach. I mean they’ll have little alternatives, but no basic differences in opinion. And so it’s very difficult to turn anything around because they’ve eliminated all opposing ideas inside. I mean it’s the problem of the Soviet Union, right?”


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