portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article commentary united states

election fraud | political theory

Corporate elections: Don't buy this bill of goods

Although I'm alarmed at the direction our country is heading under the leadership of the criminal cabal now ensconced in the White House, I don't think any of the politicians, even including Nader, has the guts to really fully challenge the Republicans and their rampant, baldfaced criminality.
Although I'm alarmed at the direction our country is heading under the
leadership of the criminal cabal now ensconced in the White House, I don't think any of the politicians, even including Nader, has the guts to really fully challenge the Republicans and their rampant, baldfaced criminality.

It may have seemed mysterious to a lot of people why Gore stood down so meekly in the face of the 2000 Florida travesty. But I think I know the reason.

I was in Washington in January, 2001, on the eve of the "Inaugurauction" (or "coronation" as some called it), protesting the 5-4 Supreme Court vote that put these SOBs in the White House. I marched in the Martin Luther King parade a few days before, which is held every year on the other side of the river from DC, in Anacostia, the "ghetto" neighborhood (why isn't it held right in downtown DC? good question, and the subject for a whole other story).

I participated in an act of street theater. I was in the retinue of a mock "King George III," who wore a Bush Jr. face mask and crown, and dressed in a long trailing royal velvet robe, which I, marching behind, held up off the ground as he walked in the parade.

I used to hold the stereotype of poor people, including poor minorities, as typically too downtrodden and politically disengaged to be impassioned about politics. But I swear I have never seen such visceral anger among masses of people in this country in my life, as I saw among the poor black residents of Anacostia. While everyone knew of course that this was street theater, and many people did laugh, nonetheless, the sense of rage about the elections and widespread knowledge of the racist tactics used against minority voters in Florida and elsewhere, was overwhelming. The anger was so intense that many bottles were thrown at us, and I was very concerned for our afety. One man chased after us as we marched, yelling in our faces, "George Bush is the devil! George Bush is a racist satan!" You see, there are some things you just can't joke about.

THIS is why Al Gore was silent in the face of the crime that was the Florida vote scandal. The poor folk in Anacostia didn't buy the slick corporate media propaganda about "hanging chads." They knew it was a fraud. The rumors of large numbers of black folk being turned away from the polls spread far and wide well before Greg Palast's masterful exposÚs on the BBC documenting Katherine Harris's fraudulent removal of close to a hundred thousand names of predominantly black voters from the voting rolls by various schemes, or the elaborate rigging of the voting machines in predominantly minority precincts, where the machines were systematically set up to throw away ballots with accidental stray marks or "overvotes," while predominantly white and
Republican precincts were set to spit the ballots back out to voters for correction and resubmittal.

Quite simply, Gore was afraid. Afraid of waking the sleeping giant of popular rage in the heart of the "other" America, the America of the disenfranchised, brutalized, defrauded, and impoverished, and disproportionately minority America. Politicians like Gore remember the LA riots, the Watts riots, and on and on. They are fundamentally afraid to rock the establishment too much, even if that means acquiescing in untold injustice. Afterall, they're part of it and they do pretty well by it. They cherish comfort and respectability more than justice. The Republicans and Democrats both benefit from the existing establishment, and engage in an unsavory, good cop/bad cop alliance.

Look what happened to Jesse Jackson when he started to denounce the Florida fraud, calling for a special investigation. Within days, a classic black-op was launched against him in the media, and he was accused of philandering and fathering an illegitimate child with a member of his congregation! Soon, he was backpedalling, toning down the rhetoric, even calling Bush Jr. on the phone, making nice, and calling for "calm" in the press! He had gotten the message. It was a dizzying climbdown.

Look what happened to Scott Ritter when he took on this regime: the
entrapment, the sealed court ruling throwing out the charges against him, and the illegal leak of this information in the press. Soon, Ritter's image and words disappeared from the corporate press. Senior CNN talkinghead types cited the incident to label him "damaged goods" and excuse their otherwise inexcusable kowtowing to the warmongers. A critical voice of scepticism against reckless militarism was silenced overnight. Politicians like John Kerry excused their prowar votes in Congress, pleading ignorance and claiming they'd been "deceived by the president," even while Ritter had long since exposed the lies for what they were. Only now that the damage has been done is he being belatedly rehabilitated.

I think Nader knew what these people are capable of, and even he was too scared to come out too publicly and strongly condemning these mafia thugs. Though generally very critical of them, he's hardly ever said a word about the crimes that put them in power in the first place.

My conclusion: no prominent establishment person who depends on the corporate media for power and respectability will really stand up and speak truth to power in this country. We need to stop looking for some white knight to help us. Only massive, grassroots organizing can bring about progressive change. The sooner we disabuse ourselves of the illusions promoted by the "society of the spectacle," of which corporate media and corporate elections are part and parcel, the better.

Even as I write this, groups like Bev Harris's Black Box Voting are attempting to launch legal actions in the 39 states that have adopted the same flawed, defective electronic, paper(trail)less voting systems that Florida now uses. A bombshell erupted (all-too-briefly) in the media when confidential memos from Diebold Corp., one of three Republican-controlled corporations making the ballot counting systems, leaked out showing disastrous security defects in these machines, which would allow them to be tampered with and rigged remotely at will, all without a trace.

I'd sooner see people not vote at all, and get out in the streets denouncing the vote rigging, than be seduced into thinking that their votes really count and thinking that merely passively participating in this fraud is an adequate response to the situation. I realize that it's not necessarily a binary, either/or proposition, and one can do both. But I just hope that enough people wake up from the delusions that have gotten us into this state of affairs in the first place.
If we don't vote 28.Mar.2004 16:43

Please vote for whoever you want

If we don't vote, then they don't need to rig the vote. If we don't vote, and they don't need to rig the vote, they will win the election legitimately.

It is better to vote overwhelmingly, so if the vote comes out on the wrong side, we can take it to the streets with something legitimate to back us up.

Taking it to the streets and saying we didn't vote, because we knew you were going to cheat, so now you are not legitimate doesn't hold enough power.

Saying overwhelmingly that they stole the vote, if they actually did, holds more power. They can't steal your vote unless you vote. It didn't happen last time because fewer people were personally impacted and you're right, enough of the powers that be (including the press) didn't want this thing to get out of hand, but there is a certain point where this kind of thing cannot be ignored. If you disengage from the process, there's nothing to be ignored except you.

Republican(s) pretending to be liberals/progressives 28.Mar.2004 20:41


The open publishing policy is great. Anyone can pretend to be anything. So author DN, a self proclaimed anti-war protester, can tell you why you shouldn't march to protest the war. GB, a self proclaimed anti-Bush protester, can tell you why you shouldn't vote (cause it's rigged.)

GB is not against Bush, GB is against anti-Bush voting.
DN is not against war, DN is against anti-war protests.

An analysis of the long-winded verbiage and format of the opening paragraphs in both posts (Corporate elections: Don't buy this bill of goods/Marching to Nowhere?) indicates GB (the don't vote against Bush person) and DN (the don't march against Bush's war person) are the same person.

Expect more posts like these. If you see a post that tells that you shouldn't do something (like vote, protest, talk to people, write letters to the editor or elected officials etc.) ask yourself this: Who benefits if I do what the poster says? If the answer is Bush there's a good chance it's a republican in progressive's clothing.

Be careful out there.

Nader on vote fraud 28.Mar.2004 21:59

Ralph Nader

From Nader's platform,  http://www.votenader.org/:

Wants electoral reform that creates a vibrant, active, participatory Democracy.

Our democracy is in a descending crisis. Voter turnout is among the lowest in the western world. Redistricting ensures very few incumbents are at risk in one-party districts. Barriers to full participation of candidates proliferate making it very obstructive, for most third party and Independent candidates to run. Obstacles, and deliberate manipulations to undermine the right to vote, for which penalties are rarely imposed, are preventing voters from voting. New paperless voting machines are raising questions about whether we can trust that our votes are being counted as they are cast. Finally, money dominates expensive campaigns, mainly waged on television in sound bite format. The cost of campaigns creates a stranglehold making politics a game for only the rich or richly funded. Major electoral reforms are needed to ensure that every vote counts, all voters are represented through electoral reforms like instant run-off voting, none-of-the-above options, and proportional representation, non-major party candidates have a chance to run for office and participate in debates, and that elections are publicly financed.

WHAT IT IS 28.Mar.2004 22:23

politics as possible

I have been posting as "politics as possible" but this article is about politics as it really is. They call economics the "dismal science" --- it is political science that should be given that dubious title. Here in the U.S., we are living in an era that resembles more and more the Stalinist era in the history of the Soviet Union or the Nazi era in the history of Germany.

talk about pretenses ... 29.Mar.2004 00:06


Without being privy to any confidential information, or even the semiotic analysis you profess competence in, even the most humble reader could spot the flaws in your remarks. Because nowhere did I ever tell people not to vote. All I said was, if people are so complacent as to think that voting alone is an adequate response, then we're in even deeper trouble than if they didn't vote altogether and just raised hell in the streets instead. I also said there's nothing stopping them from doing both, of course.

By the way, thank you, because you've helped me to illustrate the biggest problem we Americans face. The biggest problem we face is not Bush. It's the mental laziness promoted by tv culture, among other things, with the result that too often we pass over the most crucial details without registering them, and only seize on what we are already predisposed to want to believe and hear.

different from what I heard 29.Mar.2004 06:26

a little bird told me

Gore and his family were physically threatened by Bush that unless they bowed out, they would be killed. Enough said. Gore did go on for a while, then got chicken. Gore already suffered three 'death by airplane' hits in Air Force 2 over Chicago airport, when ATC people veered three planes (sure, one is an accident, though THREE were sent) into Gore's airspace.

I don't know from little birds 29.Mar.2004 09:43


People can indulge all manner of wild speculations. The "veering airplanes" thing is interesting, but why not pursue it further? If it's really as hot a story as you think, surely it deserves more development than this little tantalizing snippet you've provided.

Personally, I profoundly doubt your version of events. It fails to take into account that there are far less dangerous and illegal ways to threaten and pressure a vain and power-hungry man like Gore. Why threaten his life, when all you need to do is threaten his reputation and future in politics?

Let's be honest. Gore was never such a serious threat to Bush in the first place. Gore deliberately limited the scope of his recount request to "undervotes," and focused almost exclusively on the predominantly white, south Florida counties of Miami-Dade and Palm Beach. He effectively hamstrung himself in building a strong case against the Florida fraud, without any intervention or pressure being needed from the outside. Gore's own ineptitude was a more effective weapon than airplane kamikazis.

Gore played right into the ridiculous media spectacle of the "hanging chads," while ignoring the elephant in the china shop that was the voting roll purges, the minority voters turned away from the polls, and the systematic tampering with the machines. This worked like a charm, in combination with the atrocious and Orwellian corporate media spectacle, in suppressing a really damaging airing of dirty linen. To this day, the corporate media have largely suppressed the big story in Florida, and continue to leave the impression in most of the public's eyes that it was all about little hanging pieces of paper, all just a silly mixup, and that notwithstanding the atrocious Supreme Court ruling, Bush would have won the (very limited) recount anyway, fair and square. This was the effect of the relentless spin they generated, not just during the events themselves, but even in the followup "investigations" and "results" of the spurious "recounts" the corporate press themselves performed, months later.

If You **Don't** Happen To Vote For President This Year, 29.Mar.2004 18:24

You'll **Still Get** Skull & Bones.

the most dire and pressing issue facing America today is the implementation electronic voting machines.

these were given a trial run in the 2000 Presidential race, where they shaved at least 16,000 votes from Gore's totals in Volusia County, Florida:

John Kerry voted 'Yea' to approve the HelpAmerica Vote Act (HAVA) which includes provisions for the Diebold, ES & S RNC-owned machines to be widely procured.

"Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything."
~ Josef Stalin

The voting machines are simply the final nail in the people's coffin. The comatose electorate rests silently as the hammer of authoritarianism falls.

Do something:

Really? 30.Mar.2004 23:05


So GB (Go Bush!), do you support voting against Bush (Yes/No)?

Trust but verify. 31.Mar.2004 00:04