from the grassroots to the planetary

Monthly Archives: September 2012

Protesters unveil a banner at the Lincoln Memorial in 2010 to protest the Citizens United ruling. The Annan report criticises the ruling for shaking Americans’ confidence in the political process. (Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“The greatest danger to democracy in America is the belief that we have one.” Former Green Party Presidential Candidate David Cobb

“The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps, of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can ‘throw the rascals out’ at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy….

But either party in office becomes in time corrupt, tired, unenterprising, and vigorless. Then it should be possible to replace it, …by the other party, which will be none of these things but will still pursue, with new vigor, approximately the same basic policies.

. . .The policies that are vital and necessary for America are no longer subjects of significant disagreement, but are disputable only in detail, procedure, priority, or method.” Carroll Quigley
Tragedy and Hope – 1966

“The modern banking system manufactures money out of nothing. The process is perhaps the most astounding piece of sleight of hand that was ever invented. Banking was conceived in inequity and born in sin . . . Bankers own the earth. Take it away from them but leave them the power to create money, and, with a flick of a pen, they will create enough money to buy it back again . . . Take this great power away from them, and all great fortunes like mine will disappear, for then this would be a better and happier world to live in. . . . But, if you want to continue to be the slaves of bankers and pay the cost of your own slavery, then let bankers continue to create money and control credit.”
Sir Josiah Stamp, Director of the Bank of England, 1927
Quoted in Web of Debt by Ellen Hodgson Brown, 2007

Koch or Pepsi? That is the Question
As the theater of make-believe that is the American electoral process unfolds before our wondering eyes, its the same old same old, only more so. Having covered the last three elections on video extensively in both Washington, D.C. and Ohio (click here for our retrospective playlist), we’re questioning whether or not we have the energy, resources and interest to do it again.

With Mr. Obama’s many disappointing moves looming large, even in the light of the GOP’s dangerous delusional absurdities, many former ‘election protection’ activists seem to be wrestling with the same conundrum.

In their new book, Will the GOP Steal America’s 2012 Election? and the articles based on it, award-wining investigative reporters Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman cite this lack of election protection enthusiasm as a potential electoral danger this time round.

So baldfaced are the GOP’s several approaches to monkeywrenching the electoral process that the issue is finally getting wider attention. What follows is a selective digest of recent video, audio and print coverage of this issue, plus some good news of two victories for democracy. Wasserman, Fitrakis, Palist, Maddow, et al are on it. Scroll on down.

Electronic voting machines in Ohio. Who owns them?

THE SIMPSONS – Homer Votes 2012
Who will Homer Simpson vote for in the 2012 Elections? Barack Obama or Mitt Romney?

Former US President Carter: Venezuelan Electoral System “Best in the World”
by Ewan Robertson
By Global Research News
Global Research, September 23, 2012
Venezuela Analysis

Former US President Jimmy Carter claimed Venezuela’s electoral system is “the best in the world” (agencies).

Mérida, 21st September 2012 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – Former US President Jimmy Carter has declared that Venezuela’s electoral system is the best in the world.

Speaking at an annual event last week in Atlanta for his Carter Centre foundation, the politician-turned philanthropist stated, “As a matter of fact, of the 92 elections that we’ve monitored, I would say the election process in Venezuela is the best in the world.”

Venezuela has developed a fully automated touch-screen voting system, which now uses thumbprint recognition technology and prints off a receipt to confirm voters’ choices.

In the context of the Carter Centre’s work monitoring electoral processes around the globe, Carter also disclosed his opinion that in the US “we have one of the worst election processes in the world, and it’s almost entirely because of the excessive influx of money,” he said referring to lack of controls over private campaign donations. more

Could New Voter ID Laws Really Disenfranchise 10 Million Latinos?
By EMILY DERUY – ABC News
Sep. 24, 2012

Millions of Latinos may have a difficult time voting this year.
New laws that require voters show proof of citizenship and photo identification at the polls — as well as recent voter roll purges — could hinder at least 10 million Hispanics in 23 states who try to cast a ballot in November. The number of Latinos eligible to vote who might be blocked from voting this year is equal to the margin of victory in a number of states, according to a new study http://b.3cdn.net/advancement/18ff5be68ab53f752b_0tm6yjgsj.pdf by the Advancement Project, a civil rights group.

Overall, 17 states have enacted laws that would require voters to present photo identification at the polls before casting a ballot. Propoents have said the laws are needed to combat voter fraud, but civil-rights activists have countered that the laws are a political ploy on behalf of Republicans to limit turnout from minority voters who traditionally favor Democrats.

Let My People Vote – Sarah Silverman
Common Dreams says:
In honor of National Voter Registration Day, and in recognition of a new study finding that bogus voter I.D. laws could disenfranchise up to 10 million eligible Latinos, a riotously profane video http://www.letmypeoplevote2012.com/ from Sarah Silverman blasting those laws. The seriously foul-mouthed ad was paid for by the Jewish Council for Education and Research, which might or might not regret it. More on voting rights at LetMyPeopleVote2012.com.
[Sarah seems to have forgotten Latino voters in this piece. ]

WILL THE GOP STEAL AMERICA’S 2012 ELECTION?
Green Power and Wellness
September 10, 2012
Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman discuss WILL THE GOP STEAL AMERICA’S 2012 ELECTION?….CORPORATE VOTE THEFT AND THE FUTURE OF AMERICAN DEMOCRACY. Bob and Harvey’s new e-book—their fifth on election protection—is introduced by Greg Palast and makes it clear that even if Barack Obama legitimately wins the popular vote this fall, he could well be kicked out of the White House. We look at the six key reasons why on this deeply troubling but absolutely essential investigation into what is being done to our electoral system.
www.harveywasserman.ning.com www.freepress.org

Will the GOP Steal America’s 2012 Election?
Published on Thursday, September 6, 2012 by Common Dreams
by Harvey Wasserman and Bob Fitrakis
The Republican Party could steal the 2012 US Presidential election with relative ease.
Six basic factors make this year’s theft a possibility:
1. The power of corporate money, now vastly enhanced by the US Supreme Court’s Citizens’ United decisions;
2. The Electoral College, which narrows the number of votes needed to be moved to swing a presidential election;
3. The systematic disenfranchisement of—according to the Brennan Center—ten million or more citizens, most of whom would otherwise be likely to vote Democratic. More than a million voters have also been purged from the rolls in Ohio, almost 20% of the total vote count in 2008;
4. The accelerating use of electronic voting machines, which make election theft a relatively simple task for those who control them, including their owners and operators, who are predominantly Republican;
5. The GOP control of nine of the governorships in the dozen swing states that will decide the outcome of the 2012 campaign; and,
6. The likelihood that the core of the activist “election protection” community that turned out in droves to monitor the vote for Barack Obama in 2008 has not been energized by his presidency and is thus unlikely to work for him again in 2012.
Winning a fair and reliable electoral system can be achieved only with a massive grassroots upheaval.

The Greatest Election-Stealing Conspiracy in US History
By Alex Slater, Guardian UK
10 August 12
In Washington, conventional wisdom is everything. It’s the driver of perceptions, and often of self-fulfilling political prophecies. That’s why you might notice a guarded confidence amongst the Obama campaign these past few weeks: generally speaking, most realistic experts predict a victory for the president in this November’s election.

This perception is reinforced by current polling, some of the most recent being published by Quinnipiac University, the New York Times and CBS News, giving President Obama an edge over Romney in key states like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida. Certainly, it will be a tight race, but by any realistic standard, the money is on Obama to pull out a victory, even narrowly.

But it’s exactly the likely closeness of the race that may turn Washington’s conventional wisdom on its head on election day. That’s because, until relatively recently, political experts and journalists have been oblivious to a widespread and pernicious phenomenon occurring in many critical swing states – one that, unless checked, could erase Obama’s electoral edge.

This phenomenon takes the form of a spate of new voter laws: efforts by Republican governors and Republican-controlled state legislatures to pass restrictive new voting rules just in time for election day. As a result, at least 5 million Americans could essentially lose their right to vote, according to the non-partisan Brennan Center in New York.

Report Cites US as Example of World’s Failing Democracies
International commission warns of growing influence of money in politics and attempts to suppress voter turnout
– Common Dreams staff
An international commission led by former UN chief Kofi Annan warns that the world’s democracies, and the United States specifically, are being corrupted by the increasingly strong role of “uncontrolled, undisclosed, illegal and opaque” financing of political campaigns.
… The Global Commission on Elections, Democracy and Security is presenting its finding today in London.
Regarding elections in the US, the commission’s report, Deepening Democracy: a Strategy for Improving the Integrity of Elections Worldwide, took special issue with the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Citizens United case.
Citizens United has “undermined political equality, weakened transparency of the electoral process and shaken citizen confidence in America’s political institutions and elections”, the report said.
According to the Guardian, the report criticizes individual states “which have sought to introduce voter identification laws and other measures that have the effect of suppressing African American participation in the political process.”

The report cited a national survey this year by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University law school, which found a majority of people believe nominally independent Super Pacs to be a danger to democracy.
“Nearly two-thirds of Americans said that they trust government less because big donors have more influence over election officials than average Americans,” the report said.
It concluded that, although Super Pacs must disclose their contributors and may not coordinate directly with candidates by law, in practice, “both constraints have been flouted”.
The report, again with a global perspective, provides a comprehensive series of recommendations to strengthen electoral processes and norms in all nations. Specific measures include:
• National Electoral Management Bodies (EMBs) should create a global certification process to evaluate and grade EMBs on their professionalism, independence and competence, including a code of conduct
• Urgent attention must be given to address the growing threat to democracy posed by financing of political campaigns, parties and candidates by transnational organised crime
• Domestic election observers should commit to global standards through the Global Network of Domestic Election Monitors
• A new transnational civil society organization – “Electoral Integrity International” – should be created to bring global attention to countries that succeed or fail in organizing elections with integrity
• Governments and donors need to prioritise funding and political engagement throughout the entire electoral cycle of countries with problematic elections, supporting necessary dialogue and citizen participation as well as technical improvements
• Regional organisations must create and communicate “red lines” of egregious electoral malpractice that would trigger immediate multilateral condemnation and sanction if crossed

Greg Palast’s Blog
September 25, 2012
Tales from the Crypt of Democracy
Pow! Zap! Full color investigative comics by Ted Rall:
Tales from the Crypt of Democracy – Soul Crushing Political Terror.
Out Today!
Check out Greg’s “Billionairs & Ballot Bandits”

Maddow: Tea party groups trying to steal election via voter purges

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Maddow – GOP Official Blocked from Purging Iowa Voters

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

British Banking and the Global Drug Trade
By Tom Burghardt
Global Research, September 25, 2012
Antifascist Calling…

Death penalty doesn’t mean anything unless you use it on people who are afraid to die. Like… the bankers who launder the drug money. The bankers, who launder, the drug money. Forget the dealers, you want to slow down that drug traffic, you got to start executing a few of these fucking bankers. White, middle class Republican bankers. — George Carlin, ‘Back in Town Special,’ 1996

In a recent investigation I presented the case that British banking and financial giant HSBC interfaced with banking institutions which had links to terrorist financing.

Drawing upon evidence published by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations in their mammoth report, “U.S. Vulnerabilities to Money Laundering, Drugs, and Terrorist Financing: HSBC Case History,” we learned that senior HSBC officers, despite misgivings voiced by staff in internal correspondence, had relations with Saudi Arabia’s Al Rajhi Bank, described by U.S. law enforcement agencies as moneymen for Al Qaeda. More

Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges, who is suing the government over a controversial provision in the National Defense Authorization Act, is seen here addressing a crowd in New York’s Zuccotti Park. AP/John Minchillo

We Won—for Now
Posted on Sep 17, 2012
By Chris Hedges
In January I sued President Barack Obama over Section 1021(b)(2) of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which authorized the military to detain U.S. citizens indefinitely, strip them of due process and hold them in military facilities, including offshore penal colonies. Last week, round one in the battle to strike down the onerous provision, one that saw me joined by six other plaintiffs including Noam Chomsky and Daniel Ellsberg, ended in an unqualified victory for the public. U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest, who accepted every one of our challenges to the law, made her temporary injunction of the section permanent. In short, she declared the law unconstitutional.

Fifteen Issues this Election is NOT About
Published on Monday, September 24, 2012 by Common Dreams
by Bill Quigley

ending the death penalty
closingGuantanamo
prosecuting Wall Street banksters
prosecuting torturers
ending drone murders
fighting for a living wage
killing, not trying Osama bin Laden
refusing to bomb Iran
huge campaign contributions
reversing global warming
surveillance society/incarceration industry
creating public jobs
phasing out nuclear power

“But if we are guilty of anything,” say student representatives from CLASSE, “it is of questioning the dogmas of the rich and powerful, who have spent the last decades trying to lower our expectations for what is politically possible.” (Photo: Canadian Press)



The Villified Us. We Won. (Quebec Students Hail Their Movement’s Victories)

by Camille Robert and Jeanne Reynolds
Many mocked us, many vilified us, many told us we would achieve nothing.
But after a wave of student mobilization in Quebec through the spring and summer, we can count our victories: on the first day of the new PQ government’s term, it cancelled a tuition hike and repealed an anti-protest law that curbed basic freedoms of expression and assembly. more

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Documenting the Election Protection Movement

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. George Santayana, The Life of Reason, Volume 1, 1905

Believe it or not, America, the self-proclaimed ‘democracy creator,’ has a rich history of election theft.

From 2004 to 2008 we produced the 7 documentaries and video reports viewable below, documenting recent citizen efforts to reverse that history. In many ways, they’re all as current as today’s election news.

International election observer, former President Jimmy Carter says, “we have one of the worst election processes in the world, and it’s almost entirely because of the excessive influx of money.”

As our friends Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman point out more specifically in their recent book and articles, the vulnerabilities of our system to election fraud (not the non-existent ‘voter fraud’ about which the GOP obsesses) have actually increased and become more blatant.

They show that the flood of corporate money; the Electoral College system; the systematic disenfranchisement of millions of voters through purges and ID laws; wide-spread use of privately-owned electronic voting machines; GOP control of nine of the governorships in swing states; and Obama’s lack of popularity among the election protection activists whose efforts helped put him in office, all put the integrity of this upcoming election in jeopardy.

The 7 videos below portray part of the history of the election protection movement, many of whom this time seem to be saying, “If we help keep Koch-acola from stealing the election, we’re still stuck with Pepsi.”

EON Election Protection Links

The PRICE of LIBERTY – America’s Election Protection Movement

October 31, 2008

This fast-moving 58-minute documentary by award-winning filmmakers James Heddle and Mary Beth Brangan explores the issues and strategies embodied in America’s growing grassroots, people-powered ‘Election Protection movement. Scientists, journalists, activists, attorneys and whistleblowers reveal how, why and by whom the last two presidential elections were stolen, even as they work on many fronts to keep it from happening again.

A LITTLE LIGHT’LL DO YA – Defending Democracy in America
2005
Blacked out or dismissed as ‘conspiracy theories’ by corporate news outlets, reports of massive vote fraud in the 2004 presidential election circulated on the internet and independent media.

As the Jan. 6th, 2005 deadline for a challenge to the Electoral College vote drew near, a tiny village on the California coast raised funds to send a delegation of its citizens and an award-winning documentary team to Ohio and Washington, D.C. to get the facts.

They found overwhelming evidence of a stolen election and a small, diverse group of committed people – from the street and the elite – defending democracy against overwhelming odds.

This is their report.

HELP AMERICA VOTE…ON PAPER!
Sep 12, 2006

A citizen call for election integrity 18 mins.
An empowering, fast-moving 18-minute briefing on the dangers to democracy posed by privately owned electronic voting machines, what patriotic citizens, activists and officials of all parties are doing about it – and how you can help.

GETTING OVER IT – The Citizen Push for Election Integrity
Nov 3, 2006

Ed Asner hosts an Emergency Town Hall Forum on America’s vote fraud crisis and what we can do about it. San Diego, CA Oct. 25, 2006 With voting investigator Bev Harris, election integrity attorneys Lowell Finley and Paul Lehto, Utah whistleblower Bruce Funk, sportscaster/blogger Jim Lampley and local activists.

BUSTING the ‘Man-in-the-Middle’ of Ohio Vote Rigging
2008
STEPHEN SPOONAMORE, a lifelong Rebublican, successful serial entrepreneur, and top level cyber-security sleuth for major credit card companies and U.S. Federal defense and security agencies, blows the whistle on the design of the hacked computer system that delivered the vote to George Bush in 2004…and was still in place in 2008. Did his courageous whistleblowing contribute to the integrity of the 2008 election?

FREAKING OUT THE WHITE HOUSE
2008
CLIFF ARNEBECK, lead attorney in the controvercial King-Lincoln v. Ohio Sec. of State lawsuit, talks about the aim of the suit and the impact on the planned fix of the recent election of deposing under oath Mike Connell, head IT operative for the Republican Party and the McCain campaign, on the day before the vote.

AFTER ROVE: Democracy Restoration in the U.S.
2008
Ohio attorney CLIFF ARNEBECK gives an update on the King Lincoln-Bronzeville Neighborhood Association v. Blackwell suit he is is pursuing with co-council Bob Fitrakis. The suit aims to expose and dismantle the GOP’s ‘Man-in-the-Middle’ computer system set up by Carl Rove to steal Ohio’s elections.

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Pamm Larry, founder of California’s ground-breaking initiative to label GMO products,
speaks to a Marin County Synposium.


All Industry Eyes are on California…Again
This time its not about rolling back ‘smart meters,’ listing cell phone emissions or closing down nukes. It is because of the initiative Prop. 37 on the state’s November ballot calling for the labeling of GMO products. Why do you suppose the industry would object to that?

For more on the campaign go to CaRightToKknow.org
Here’s the ad:

And here’s our coverage of a recent Marin County Symposium on the issue:

Just Label It GMO ! – Pt. 1 – Jeffrey Smith

Jeffrey Smith, Founder-Director of ResponsibleTechnology.org – talks about California’s ground-breaking Prop. 37 Initiative on the CA . NOV. 6 BALLOT at Marin County’s Label GMO Symposium, July 25,2012. Sponsors included Good Earth Natural Foods, GMO Free Marin, Community Media Center of Marin.

Just Label It GMO ! – Pt. 2 – Pamm Larry
Pam Larry, Founder-Director of LabelGMOs.org – talks about California’s ground-breaking Prop. 37 Initiative on the CA . NOV. 6 BALLOT at Marin County’s Label GMO Symposium, July 25,2012. Sponsors included Good Earth Natural Foods, GMO Free Marin, Community Media Center of Marin.

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To help keep EON’s work going, please check out all the support options on our Donation Page or you can also send a check made out to EON to EON, POB 1047, Bolinas, CA
Or…just:


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