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Time for change

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Gender: Male
Home country: United States
Current location: Winter Garden, Florida
Member since: Fri Dec 3, 2004, 12:01 AM
Number of posts: 13,714

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When Police and other Government Officials Declare War on a People

When police repeatedly brutalize any group of people they are supposed to protect, and the “justice system” repeatedly fails to hold them accountable for their actions and fulfill the requirements of justice, then that means, in effect, that WAR is being declared upon the people. When that happens, and when repeated reasonable efforts fail to ameliorate the situation, people have two choices: They can continue with efforts to ameliorate the situation peacefully, in which case they can expect an intolerable situation to continue. Or they can fight back.

I acknowledge that this is an over-simplification of what are usually very complex situations. How is it determined when all reasonable efforts have failed and will likely continue to fail to ameliorate the situation? Who has the right to make that determination? Are the consequences of fighting back likely to be worse than the consequences of continuing to seek peaceful solutions? These and many other pertinent questions are extremely difficult to answer – so difficult that there are unlikely to be answers that a good majority of people can agree on. Nevertheless, people are faced with a decision of monumental importance, and choices must be made, one way or the other.

But the powers that be don’t see it like that. As recently noted by Mychal Denzel Smith in an article he wrote for The Nation:

Whenever there is an uprising in an American city, as we’ve seen in Baltimore over the past few days in response to the police-involved death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, there always emerges a chorus of elected officials, pundits, and other public figures that forcefully condemn “violent protests.” They offer their unconditional support for “legitimate” or “peaceful” protests, but describe those who break windows and set fires as thugs, criminals, or animals….

But those public figures ought to re-think their simple minded analysis of such situations. They ought to recognize that when government officials declare war on a people, those people are likely to feel enraged and desperate and to (rightfully) contemplate desperate actions. That is human nature, and it always has been. Therefore, public figures who condemn people who choose to fight back in desperate situations would be well advised instead to think about the conditions that caused people to feel so enraged and desperate, and what can be done to ameliorate those conditions.
Posted by Time for change | Wed May 6, 2015, 08:40 PM (6 replies)

CODE RED – Computerized Election Theft and the New American Century

I’ll always remember Jonathan Simon as the man who, on Election Night 2004, captured screen shots of the national Presidential exit polls (performed by Mitofsky International and Edison Media Research, under contract to six major news media organizations) for every U.S. state before they mysteriously disappeared forever. Simon’s screenshots introduced the American people to the concept of electronic election theft and “red shift,” occurring when an official vote count (which in this case handed George W. Bush a second term as President) is shifted substantially to the Republican candidate, compared to the exit poll results. In this election the votes were shifted by 5.4% nationally, turning what those polls showed to be a 2.6% Kerry victory into a 2.8% Bush victory in the national popular vote. The vast majority of states also showed a red shift ), including Ohio (many of whose votes were “processed” on remote servers set up by Karl Rove’s “IT guru” Mike Connell in Chattanooga, Tennessee), which was enough to give the Presidency to Bush. This chart, taken from Steven Freeman’s book, “Was the 2004 Presidential Election Stolen”, shows that red shifts occurred in 10 of the 11 swing states:

State……………Exit poll result……………..Official vote count……..Red shift
NH………………..Kerry by 10.8%...........Kerry by 1.3%............9.5%
OH………………..Kerry by 4.2%.............Bush by 2.5%............6.7%
PA………………..Kerry by 8.7%.............Kerry by 2.2%............6.5%
MN………………..Kerry by 9.0%.............Kerry by 3.5%...........5.5%
FL…………………Bush by 0.1%..............Bush by 5.0%............4.9%
NV………………..Kerry by 1.3%.............Bush by 2.6%............3.9%
NM………………..Kerry by 2.6%.............Bush by 1.1%...........3.7%
CO………………..Bush by 1.8%..............Bush by 5.2%...........3.4%
IA………………….Kerry by 1.3%.............Bush by 0.9%...........2.2%
MI…………………Kerry by 5.0%..............Kerry by 3.4%..........1.6%
WI…………………Kerry by 0.4%.............Kerry by 0.4%...........0.0%

I suspect that few American citizens remember this, or were ever aware of it, because it was hardly covered by our national news media at all (Keith Olbermann being the only significant exception).

But the purpose of CODE RED is not to stir up bad memories of a forgotten past. Rather, it is a plea to the American people to take seriously a continuing and growing threat to our democracy, in the hope that we will demand better.

Why should we believe that electronic election fraud is destroying our democracy?

Much of CODE RED is devoted to explaining why we should take this threat seriously. There are two major reasons:

One is the massive statistical evidence. Simon provides detailed accounts of numerous research studies that show substantial disparities between baselines, such as exit polls and hand counts, and official election results (i.e., red shifts), from 2004 to 2014, which have brought us, little by little, to our current status, which includes a radical Republican House of Representatives, a Republican Senate, a margin of Republican control of Governorships and statehouses not seen since the presidency of Herbert Hoover, and gerrymandered House and state legislative districts throughout the country such that large Democratic margins in the popular vote are now required just to maintain the status quo. These studies include: The 2004 Presidential election that re-elected George W. Bush as President; the 2006 House elections which, though won by the Democratic Party, was so red shifted that what the exit polls predicted to be a Democratic landslide resulted in only modest Democratic gains; red shifting of the 2008 Presidential and Congressional elections, despite the Democratic wins; red shifting of the 2010 Congressional elections (with special emphasis on the strange Republican win of a special Senate election in liberal Massachusetts that prevented a Democratic filibuster-proof Senate), severe enough to bring a radical right Republican House to power that has persisted to this day; red shifting in Wisconsin in 2011 and 2012 that destroyed the attempt to recall a radical right wing governor and state senators, and; massive red-shifting in the 2014 national House, Senate and Governor races, that brought us to our current state of affairs. The statistical evidence is somewhat complicated, but well explained in the book, and buttressed by an extensive question and answer format addressed to those who view claims of electronic election fraud with a skeptical mind.

But even if you find the statistical arguments mind-numbing, too hard to believe, or unconvincing for any reason, there is another, perhaps better reason for taking this issue very seriously: The acknowledged vulnerability of electronic voting to vote manipulation. Worse yet, electronic voting in the United States is conducted by a handful of corporations, with little or no effective oversight, and attempts to inspect the machines and software that count our votes have been almost completely thwarted by legal barriers on the grounds that they are owned by the corporations that conduct the vote counting. And if that isn’t bad enough, those corporations have strong ties to the Republican Party. It seems to me that a nation that allows private corporations to count votes outside of public scrutiny can hardly be called a democracy. But apparently most Americans have been led to believe that the possibility of election theft through the manipulation of electronically cast votes is so remote that it is not worth thinking about.

Consider that in recent years right wing forces have contrived a great variety of ways to gain unfair advantage in our elections. They have passed myriad voter ID laws and other measures to prevent Democrats from voting. Judicial decisions have allowed almost unlimited amounts of money to pour into our elections, absent requirements that the donors identify themselves. [link: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/03/opinion/sunday/the-great-gerrymander-of-2012.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0|Congressional districts throughout the country have been gerrymandered] Myriad states have been so gerrymandered that huge Democratic majorities in the popular vote are needed just to gain equal representation in our House of Representatives. And a great variety of dirty tricks have been used, such as sending letters to constituents that tell voters to vote on the wrong day. All of these ploys have received some national media attention. Why has the threat of electronic election manipulation, which has more potential to steal elections than any of those other means, not even been discussed by our national news media, let alone been presented to us as a major and continuing threat to our democracy?

Who should NOT read Code Red

There are some people who should not read Code Red. That includes anyone whose mind is made up that:
- Wealthy and powerful people never ruthlessly pursue their goals at the expense of their fellow citizens
- It’s OK for our votes to be counted in secret because we can always trust those who count our votes
- In the United States, election theft is rare because of the exceptional security we have in place to prevent it
- In the United States, election theft is rare because of the American character or our Constitution
- Anybody who doesn’t agree with all of the above is either un-American or a whacky “conspiracy theorist”

If you are convinced of any of the above statements you will not benefit from reading Dr. Simon’s book because you won’t believe or even take seriously anything that he tells us. But if you have some doubt about the above statements, reading this book will give you an understanding of the vulnerabilities of today’s U.S. election system, and how those vulnerabilities are corrupting our democracy, that you didn’t previously have and that few Americans do have. If you’ve wondered why the U.S. government has become so unresponsive to the needs of ordinary American citizens, you will likely gain a much better understanding of this.

How can a democracy elect and re-elect a national legislature of whom only 10-20% of citizens approve?

Lastly, consider this. Wouldn’t you think that a nation governed by democratic principles would be able to elect a national legislature that receives the approval of at least half of its population? Yet, since the coming to power of an increasingly radical right wing Congress in 2010, Congressional approval has hovered consistently below 20%, a situation unprecedented since regular polling of Presidential approval began in 1974. That begs an explanation, which you will find well provided in CODE RED, where you will also find a sober and compelling discussion of a way forward, how to dig ourselves and our country out of this unholy mess.
Posted by Time for change | Mon Mar 23, 2015, 09:13 AM (123 replies)
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