from the grassroots to the planetary

Monthly Archives: November 2012

SWING STATE: How the Fix was Nixed in Ohio

By James Heddle and Mary Beth Brangan, EON [Updated]

“Let’s fight like hell and stop this great and disgusting injustice! This election is a total sham and a travesty. We are not a democracy! We can’t let this happen. We should march on Washington and stop this travesty. We should have a revolution in this country! The electoral college is a disaster for a democracy.”
Post-Election Tweets by Donald Trump…Donald Trump?!

There are many who would agree with Mr. Trump, though not for the same reasons.

Here are Preview Clips from a new EON Work in Progress in cooperation with FreePress.org.
Please go to IndieGoGo.com/SwingState to help support it and please spread the word to your networks!

Why Did Karl Rove’s ‘Head Explode’ Election Night on Fox News?
There he was, near midnight on election night, ‘Boss Rove’ his very pundit self, disputing the other networks’ (and Fox’s own) data-crunchers’ unanimous decision to call the election for Obama. There he was, boldly naming exact counties in Ohio, which he was sure would soon flip for Mitt.

Why was he so sure? Why was he so wrong?

Were those counties rigged for a fix? If so, why wasn’t the trigger pulled?

Mitt Post Mortem
Pols and pundits may well ponder: How was it that Rove and the Republicans lost an election they were so sure they would win? Was it because of Storm Sandy? Was it because – as Grover ‘Drown-it-in-the-Bathtub’ Norquest opined – the Obama campaign’s TV ads successfully painted Romney as a ‘poopy-head?’ Was it because Romney was the ‘wrong messenger’ for a message that, according to George Will, nearly half the electorate agreed with? Was it because of the ‘gifts’ with which – as Mitt told his sorowing funders – Obama bribed all his minority moocher supporters? Was UberGeek Nate Silver just right all along?

Or was it because (once again, as in 2008), despite their best efforts, they couldn’t pull it off to steal Ohio? Who set up the fix, and how did they do it? Who nixed the fix, and how did they do it? There-in lies our tale.

Inside Story
As we write this just a week later, the 2012 presidential election, with all its hoopla, histrionics, horrendous voter disenfranchisement tactics, and electronic hankie-pankie has slipped away down the Great American Memory Hole. The flying, fickle, focus of media attention has moved on to military sex scandals, the Bengazi brouhaha, and delusional “Fiscal Cliff /Grand Bargain” posturing.

But the sordid and sobering inside story of that election has yet to be told.

Vote Fraud Ground Zero
Ohio was a microcosm of, and a key element in, that dramatic and revealing story. We documented the action as Green Party campaigning, relentless investigative reporting, election protection activism, pre-emptive litigation, and just plain brave, determined, angry grassroots voters combined to derail a last-minute election fix by the Rove/Romney forces.

If you don’t believe it, (or don’t want to know) you’ve been had, and the future of real democratic choice in our dysfunctional and fraud-vulnerable, privately-owned, electronic election system looks very bleak indeed.

If you do believe it, please help spread the word to your networks – and contribute what you can to help us tell the inside story in our projected TV documentary:

SWING STATE: How the Fix was Nixed in Ohio.

Pivotal Politcs – The Backstory
The world as we know it hangs by a thread. Our society is literally in a ‘swing state’ between sustainability and collapse; between ecocidal business-as-usual pursuit of ‘growth,’ and adaptive evolutionary change on a finite, ravaged planet; between faith-based denial and reality-based affirmative action.

The progressive/planetarian conundrum: where is the ‘progress’ in preventing election fraud so that the Obama Administration can continue its wars, drone strikes, domestic surveillance, prosecution of whistleblowers, suppression of dissent and quest for full spectrum dominance of the planet and its remaining resources?

Here’s our answer…

10 Days That Shook Karl Rove

We’ve just returned from Ohio, where we spent an intense week-and-a-half capturing on video the process by which the actions of a handful of people, combined with grassroots anger to prevent the 2012 election from being stolen by the joint efforts of Karl Rove’s billionaire-funded superpac machine and the GOP’s Romney campaign.

Though it is unlikely ever to be acknowledged by the Dems – much less the by the GOP – on the basis of our own personal observation, the story is this:

In their overriding commitment to the cause of election integrity, people strongly opposed to Obama’s policies prevented the election from being stolen from him.

Reporting the story took us from Columbus, to Cincinnati, to Washington, D.C., and back to Columbus as we followed the activities of reporter and Green congressional candidate Bob Fitrakis; investigative reporter Harvey Wasserman; managing wonderwoman Suzanne Patzer; cyber-sleuth Gerry Bello; crusading attorney Cliff Arnebeck; and, last, but in no way least, intrepid Green presidential candidate Jill Stein and Green VP candidate Cheri Honkala.

Their conjoint efforts – backed by election protection watchdogs, a turnout of angry voters outraged by GOP state officials’ blatant voter-suppression tactics, and the reportedly watchful presence of Department of Justice and FBI agents – combined to prevent activation of the last-minute electronic vote-flipping scheme put in place by Karl Rove’s agents and the Romney campaign.

‘Speaking Truth to Power”
We have been following the work of the Columbus-based FreePress.org investigative reporting team since the 2004 election in a series of documentaries and video reports. [Playlist here See also A LITTLE LIGHT’LL DO YA – Defending Democracy in America and The PRICE of LIBERTY – America’s Election Protection Movement] Their cutting edge reporting, litigation and organizing on election fraud vs. election protection issues have been a major force in the growth of the national election integrity movement in the U.S..

Despite their voluminous reporting and the publication of 8 books on election protection, their work has received much less mainstream media attention than it deserves…until now.

This time, their work exposing how the Romney family and allies owned the Hart InterCivic electronic machines that would count and tabulate many of the votes in swing state Ohio, and how un-certified ‘experimental computer patches’ had been placed on ES&S-owned electronic voting machines in key Ohio counties, made it into mainstream media attention.

The likes of the Business Insider, Forbes Magazine, Computerworld, WashingtonBlog, and even a Fox local affiliate picked up the story.

Green Power
Campaigning as the Green Party Congressional candidate gave Fitrakis, an attorney, as well as college professor and journalist, a bully pulpit for spreading the story. In this he was joined by the truly ‘dynamic duo’ of Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein and her VP running mate Cheri Honkala. They crisscrossed Ohio, including the facts uncovered in the FreePress.org reporting in their campaign speeches, and committing to demand – and fund if necessary – a total hand recount of ballots, if evidence of vote tampering was revealed.

Stein also traveled to Washington, D.C. to join a National Press Club press conference on election-eve chaired by FreePress.org Senior Editor Harvey Wasserman. [See videos here and here.]

Pre-Emptive Litigation
Fitrakis’ Green Party candidacy also gave him legal standing to intervene in the courts to attempt to preserve electoral integrity. Attorney Cliff Arnebeck represented Fitrakis in suits filed the day before the election in both the Federal District Court and the Ohio State Court. The suits addressed the last-minute, uncertified ‘experimental patches’ placed on electronic voting machines in key counties by GOP Secretary of State Jon Husted. They introduced testimony by retired National Security Agency (NSA) cyber-security master Michael Duniho detailing how the patches made the machines vulnerable to fraud.

In his presentation to the State Court Arnebeck put the State Attorney General and Secretary Husted on notice that, in the event of apparent anomalies in the Ohio vote count, they would be held legally responsible. The Court also suggested in its ruling that the question of who would bear the cost of any necessary recount could be discussed (meaning it would not necessarily be the Green Party.)

Arnebeck had also forwarded the information revealed in FreePress.org reporting to the Justice Department and the FBI, and received confirmation that their agents had been alerted. He believes that, because communication between Rove and his Ohio allies was known to be being monitored by Federal authorities, Rove was not made aware that his Ohio allies had decided ‘not to pull the trigger’ on the planned vote flip. Thus his eleventh-hour freak-out on Fox News (‘We have to move on, Karl’).

So, Why Tell This Story?
Admittedly, there is irony that in large part, thanks to the FreePress Team’s and the Green Party efforts, we now get four more years of ObamaNation: multiple wars; the presidential suspension of habeus corpus; drone attacks on innocent civilians; unprecedented prosecution of whistleblowers; proliferating domestic surveillance; police repression of dissent; more bankster bailouts; continuing ecocidal pursuit of economic growth combined with criminal inaction on climate change.

Undoubtedly a GOP win would have had even more dire consequences. Trump is more right than he knows. Rule by the corporate party with ‘two right wings’ – as the late Gore Vidal was fond of pointing out – is, in Trump’s words, ‘a travesty of democracy.’ Stein and Honkala’s being shackled to chairs for eight hours for just trying to enter a duopolistic presidential debate at Hoffstra University, is a clear case in point. [link?]

So why bother telling the story of how election fraud was prevented in Ohio?

Here’s why:

1. The U.S. electorate needs to know how vulnerable their electoral system is to rigging – past and present.
2. The story presents an inspiring and embowering template for progressive journalistic, political and legal action.
3. It will give documented historical credit where credit is due – to both the fix-plotters and the fix-busters.
4. It is a true story that needs to be told because it points to a clear agenda for fundamental reform of our dangerously dysfunctional election system – the bedrock of our truly democratic choice on all other issues.

According to an examiner.com article a report released by the Bipartisan Policy Commission and the Center for the Study of the American Electorate, reveals that, although there has been an increase in the number of eligible voters, this year 93 million eligible voters declined to show up at the polls.

According to PressTV, there were 121,366,971 total votes cast. Obama got 61,304,426, or 50.51%. Romney got 58,230,919, or 47.98%. Johnson (Libertarian): 1,178,442, or 0.97%. Stein (Green): 414,545, or 0.34%. Goode (Constitution):113,947, or 0.09%. Barr (Peace and Freedom): 49,380, or 0.04%. Anderson (Justice): 35,490, or 0.03%. Others: 39,822, or 0.03%

So, in fact, only an estimated 57.5 percent of eligible voters turned out in 2012, a drop from 62.3 percent in 2008. As Green presidential candidate Jill Stein is fond of pointing out, when nearly half of the eligible electorate stays home out of apathy or distrust of the system, real democracy is in trouble. But, as she also says, the party that galvanizes the stay-at-homes to turn out could change the shape of politics in America.

Citing FreePress.org reports among his primary sources, Forbes contributor Anthony Wing Kosner concludes:

1.Many of the systems currently in use do not maintain the basic principle of containment that prevents the breach of a single machine from having an impact on other parts of the system.
2.Many of the systems currently in use contain “back doors” through which alterations can be made to voting data without leaving a trace.
3.The transmission methods from precincts to the central tabulation repositories in many states are compromised and open to “man-in-the-middle” attacks.
4.The source code for all of these systems is closely held by the five big voting machine companies. When some of it was examined in the The 2007 Ohio EVEREST Voting Study, the software was deemed inept and insecure.
5.If there were systemic fraud in the system, we would have no way of knowing it, except through analysis of statistical anomalies.

SWING STATE will reveal how easy it is to steal privately-owned, electronically-based election systems. It will tell how the fix was nixed. And it will show what we know about how to repair (instead of fix) our broken election system.

As Fitrakis and Wasserman argue in their recent article An Election Protection Agenda for 2016 , there is a list of concrete steps than can and must be taken:
• Get money out of politics: Corporations are not people, money is not speech.
• Abolish the Electoral College (even Trump agrees with that one)
• A guaranteed right to vote at the age of 18
• Universal automatic voter registration
• Universal hand-counted paper ballots
• A four-day holiday weekend for voting
• Statehood for Washington, D.C.

Please go to IndieGoGo.com/SwingState, give what you can, and spread the word to your networks. This is a joint project of EON and the Columbus Institute for Contemporary Journalism (CICJ), both 501 c 3 tax-exempt organizations.

Yours for Election Protection,

Jim and Mary Beth

WHO COUNTS IN OHIO?
That’s the question being asked by our friends Harvey Wasserman, Bob Fitrakis and the rest of the FreePress.org investigative team based in Columbus.

Their research has revealed links between Romney and Hart InterCivic, the electronic voting machine company that will be counting and tabulating the votes in Hamilton County – a key swing county in a key swing state. You can view their Skype interviews on their findings below.

We’re off to Columbus to help provide video documentation of their efforts, and have set up an IndieGoGo funding site to help fund the joint project.

Please visit our IndieGoGo site, circulate the link to your network and contribute what you can.

Here’s the trailer.

Here are the FreePress.org updates:

Who’s Watching Where
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