Saturday, June 03, 2006

Hartmann Transcript and Reflections

A few people are trying to get me the audio from Thursday morning's interview with Thom Hartmann. I'll post it as soon as I get it. While we wait, some of my friends at Democratic Underground have made a transcript. It sure reads like Thom was digging what I said but it seemed to me like he hadn't read my work and wasn't really buying into what he was hearing. This could account for the interview lasting only about five minutes instead of the ten I was told to expect. Perhaps another listen will change my view.

Meanwhile, on reflection, I imagine how I might have won Thom over by more directly introducing some points I unfortunately never even got to say. Here is the transcript with my afterthoughts following my actual remarks:

Hartmann: Dave Berman is with us. His website, WeDoNotConsent.blogspot.com,
coincidentally the title of his book: We Do Not Consent, which you can actually download on the website WeDoNotConsent.blogspot.com. Dave Berman, welcome to the program.

Berman [actual]: Thank you, Thom.

Hartmann: Dave you're a reasonable chronicler of the state of elections and voting machines and voting theft in this country. What's going on? Where are we right now?

Berman: Well, I typically don't talk about it in terms of theft and I don't even really do the chronicling that places like BradBlog and Vote Trust USA do a better job with. What I'm more interested in doing is organizing the response from the people with the message: "We do not consent."

Berman [wishful thinking]: Where we are right now, Thom, is that our elections are still unverifiable. Paperless electronic machines are still in use around the country. Such conditions ensure inconclusive outcomes, meaning we will never have unanimous agreement about the results. Many people have called it faith-based voting since we have to have blind trust in the results reported. There is simply no rational basis for confidence in the results reported from American elections today. Now, its been like this and getting worse for some time. But I want to add something new to this equation, and Thom you are the perfect person not just to broadcast this message but also to take the lead in action. The media must not be allowed to present as fact what they cannot independently verify. Newspapers get election results from only one source, their local elections department, and then have no way to verify that this info is accurate. Where we are right now, Thom, and what we must stop is faith-based reporting about faith-based voting.

Hartmann: Ok. So, how is the message organized?

Berman: For starters, we have a resolution called the "Voter Confidence Resolution", which was developed through my previous blog, which was called GuvWurld, in which all of the essays in my book originally appeared there. The resolution, the "Voter Confidence Resolution," was adopted by the city council of Arcata, California, last July, and it's currently pending before the city council of Palo Alto, CA.

We're looking to see citizen groups around the country organize themselves for the purpose of pursuing local adoption of this resolution, which says that election conditions guarantee inconclusive results. We're never going to have unanimous acceptance of the results, when they're unverifiable elections. And, since that, under these conditions, the consent of the governed is not even being sought, we have to shatter the assumption that that consent actually exists.

The message is being organized on the local level. City Councilmembers and County Supervisors are realizing they are quite often stuck between a rock and a hard place, facing state and federal mandates that interfere with the ability to make sound local decisions in the best interests of the community. Often these local representatives are in an untenable position because they are basically being used as a conduit for the harm being done to We The People. The message, We Do Not Consent, must really come from the People. We direct it at all levels of government but most importantly the local level where our neighbors serving in office need to have our encouragement to engage in Municipal Civil Disobedience.

This is starting to happen. Gavin Newsom, Jason West and others performing same-sex weddings would be one example. In Monroe County, PA they refused to meet a Help America Vote Act deadline because they called the voting machine expenditure an unfunded mandate which they would not cover with taxpayer money. And then there's the Voter Confidence Resolution which was developed through my last blog, GuvWurld, and which was adopted last July by the City Council of Arcata, CA. The resolution says that current election conditions guarantee inconclusive outcomes, that an entire platform of election reforms is needed to create a new basis for confidence in the results reported, and that these current conditions fail to seek the Consent of the Governed, THE source from which government derives "just Power." We have to shatter the assumption that this Consent exists. The Consent of the Governed must be withdrawn. This won't happen all at once. But as one community after another stands behind a statement like the Voter Confidence Resolution, we can see that this is a path leading to a tipping point.


Hartmann: And the consent of the governed is the basis of American democracy in the American Republic.

Berman: You know it! Yeah, from the Declaration of Independence. It is THE source from which government's just power is derived, and we do not have to grant that, and we should not allow it to be taken for granted. It's time to withdraw the consent of the governed.

That's right Thom. Being the scholar that you are I figured you would appreciate the use of such historically relevant terms. We cannot shy away from thinking on this level of magnitude. Election reform is not the end goal. It is, however, the best tactic that I see for initiating a new peaceful American revolution. And let's demystify that. From Rebecca Solnit's book, "Hope In The Dark," I have adopted a definition that says peaceful revolution is a shift in the balance of power between We The People and the government. Since we currently have no say in the way our so-called leaders are chosen, to regain the franchise is necessarily revolutionary.

Hartmann: That's great. "We Do Not Consent", the book. Election reform is not an end goal, you say, but it's a tactic toward peaceful revolution?

Berman: Well, yeah. I mean, that's why I refer you to Brad Blog and Vote Trust USA and all the many, many great organizations that have come up throughout the country over the past few years. We do need to do the actual work of identifying appropriate reforms and pursuing them, but the thing is, even if we are successful at getting our elections to be verifiable, where are we?

I mean, we have a government that is LAWLESS! We have a government that has taken away, completely, our right to privacy....our right to free speech. You want to protest? They'll put you in a free speech zone. We have lost our "presumption of innocence"...you can just be jailed for nothing. So, even if we are to fix our elections, I'm afraid that that's not the 'be all, end all.'

Let me add some more context here. I say we need election reforms, and I say these reforms could be revolutionary. But it's like you might see on a bumper sticker: It's the lawlessness, stupid! We no longer have any expectation of privacy nor a presumption of innocence. In this way, we are not a Free People. Repairing the electoral system is crucial, but it is not the real big picture goal we should focus on. Peaceful revolution is necessary, NOW!

Hartmann: No, we have a lot of work to do. It's amazing the amount of damage that Bush has done in five years.

Berman: No doubt.

Hartmann: I mean, it's just mind boggling. So, Dave Berman, if local groups of people -- people listening to this program right now -- want to try to get a "We Do Not Consent" type of resolution passed by their city council, their county board, their state legislature -- whatever it may be -- how do they do that?

Berman: Well, the first thing would be to grab the copy off of the WeDoNotConsent.blogspot website. We have maintained, since the beginning, that the resolution that we got accepted here in Humboldt County, by the Arcata City Council should be regarded as a template. There are certain key elements that should be preserved from one community to another, but there is a big section of it that is basically an election reform platform. Here is where the discussion and debate is really open -- where every community needs to kind of take a shot at developing their own local standards for what is going to create a basis for confidence.

Right now, we're being asked, through unverifiable elections, to have blind trust in the results and, instead, we need to create a basis for confidence.

Hartmann: Ok, great. So people should download the resolution from WeDoNotConsent.blogspot.com and then....?

Berman: Well, then begin organizing and begin lobbying your city council or your county supervisors. I mean, I think it really needs to be on the local level.

Hartmann: Yeah, well said. Ok, Dave Berman. His book: "We Do Not Consent." The website: WeDoNotConsent.blogspot.com. Dave, thanks for being with us today.

Berman: Thank you, Thom.

Hartmann: Good talking with you. It's a great start...a great start getting out there and saying, 'Nope, sorry, we're not going to play this game.' I think we need to do more of that.
Those last pieces of the exchange work OK for me. It's just too bad I didn't get to include the bit about the faith-based reporting. I think this is a novel way to seek accountability from the media and it would be great to have Thom Hartmann pick up on this angle. It's not too late...

Posted by Dave Berman - 2:24 AM | Permalink
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Official transcript at:
http://www.thomhartmann.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=399&Itemid=119

Transcript: Dave Berman (We Do Not Consent), Jun 01 2006

Dave Berman is author of "We Do Not Consent" and chronicles the state of elections and voting machines and voting theft in the USA.

Thom Hartmann interview with Dave Berman 01 June 2006

[Thom Hartmann] Right now Dave Berman is with us. His website, WeDoNotConsent.blogspot.com, coincidentally the title of his book: We Do Not Consent, which you can actually download on the website WeDoNotConsent.blogspot.com. Dave Berman, welcome to the program.

[Dave Berman] Thank you, Thom.

[Thom Hartmann] Dave you're a reasonable chronicler of the state of elections and voting machines and voting theft in this country. What's going on? Where are we right now?

[Dave Berman] Well, I typically don't talk about it in terms of theft and I don't even really do the chronicling that places like BradBlog and Vote Trust USA do a better job with. What I'm more interested in doing is organizing the response from the people with the message: "We do not consent."

[Thom Hartmann] Ok. So, how is the message organized?

[Dave Berman] Well, for starters, we have a resolution called the "Voter Confidence Resolution", which was developed through my previous blog, which was called GuvWurld, in which all of the essays in my book originally appeared there. And the resolution, the "Voter Confidence Resolution," was adopted by the city council of Arcata, California, last July, and it's currently pending before the city council of Palo Alto, CA, and we're looking to see citizen groups around the country organize themselves for the purpose of pursuing local adoption of this resolution, which says that election conditions guarantee inconclusive results. We're never going to have unanimous acceptance of the results, when they're unverifiable elections. And, since that, under these conditions, the consent of the governed is not even being sought, we have to shatter the assumption that that consent actually exists.

[Thom Hartmann] And the consent of the governed is the basis of American democracy in the American Republic.

[Dave Berman] You know it! Yeah, from the Declaration of Independence. It is the source from which government's just power is derived, and we do not have to grant that, and we should not allow it to be taken for granted. So, it's time to withdraw the consent of the governed.

[Thom Hartmann] That's great. "We Do Not Consent", the book. Election reform is not an end goal, you say, but it's a tactic toward peaceful revolution?

[Dave Berman] Well, yeah. I mean, that's why I refer you to Brad Blog and Vote Trust USA and, you know, all the many, many great organizations that have come up throughout the country over the past few years. We do need to do the actual work of identifying appropriate reforms and pursuing them, but the thing is, even if we are successful at getting our elections to be verifiable, where are we? I mean, we have a government that is lawless. We have a government that has taken away, completely, our right to privacy, our right to free speech. You want to protest? They'll put you in a free speech zone. We have lost our "presumption of innocence"; you can just be jailed for nothing. So, even if we are to fix our elections, I'm afraid that that's not the 'be all, end all.'

[Thom Hartmann] No, we have a lot of work to do. It's amazing the amount of damage that Bush has done in five years.

[Dave Berman] No doubt.

[Thom Hartmann] I mean, it's just mind boggling. So, Dave Berman, if local groups of people, people listening to this program right now, want to try to get a "We Do Not Consent" type of resolution passed by their city council, their county board, their state legislature, whatever it may be, how do they do that?

[Dave Berman] Well, the first thing would be to grab the copy off of the WeDoNotConsent.blogspot website. We have maintained since the beginning is that the resolution that we got accepted here in Humboldt County, by the Arcata City Council should be regarded as a template. There are certain key elements that should be preserved from one community to another, but there is a big section of it that is basically an election reform platform. And so, here is where the discussion and debate is really open, where every community needs to kind of take a shot at developing their own local standards for what is going to create a basis for confidence. Right now, we're being asked, through unverifiable elections, to have blind trust in the results and, instead, we need to create a basis for confidence.

[Thom Hartmann] Ok, great. So people should download the resolution from WeDoNotConsent.blogspot.com and then...?

[Dave Berman] Well, then you begin organizing and begin lobbying your city council or your county supervisors. I mean, I think it really needs to be on the local level.

[Thom Hartmann] Yeah, yeah, well said. Ok, Dave Berman. His book: "We Do Not Consent." The website: WeDoNotConsent.blogspot.com. Dave, thanks for being with us today.

[Dave Berman] Thank you, Thom.

[Thom Hartmann] Good talking with you. It's a great start, a great start getting out there and saying, 'Nope, sorry, we're not going to play this game', and I think we need to do more of that.

Posted by Blogger Dave Berman @ Aug 4, 2008, 11:19:00 PM
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We Do Not Consent, Volume 1 (left) and Volume 2 (right), feature essays from Dave Berman's previous blogs, GuvWurld and We Do Not Consent, respectively. Click the covers for FREE e-book versions (.pdf). As of April 2010, paperbacks are temporarily out of print. Click here for the author's bio.

Back Page Quotes

"Give a damn about the world you live in? Give a damn about what you and I both know is one of the most shameful and destructive periods in American history? If so, do something about it. You can start by reading We Do Not Consent."

— Brad Friedman, Creator/Editor, BradBlog.com; Co-Founder, VelvetRevolution.us


"If in the future we have vital elections, the "no basis for confidence" formulation that GuvWurld is popularizing will have been a historically important development. This is true because by implicitly insisting on verification and checks and balances instead of faith or trust in elections officials or machines as a basis for legitimacy, it encourages healthy transparent elections. It’s also rare that a political formulation approaches scientific certainty, but this formulation is backed up by scientific principles that teach that if you can’t repeat something (such as an election) and verify it by independent means, it doesn’t exist within the realm of what science will accept as established or proven truth."

— Paul Lehto, Attorney at Law, Everett, WA


"Dave Berman has been candid and confrontational in challenging all of us to be "ruthlessly honest" in answering his question, "What would be better?" He encourages us to build consensus definitions of "better," and to match our words with actions every day, even if we do only "the least we can do." Cumulatively and collectively, our actions will bring truth to light."

— Nezzie Wade, Sociology Professor, Humboldt State University and College of the Redwoods


"Dave Berman's work is quietly brilliant and powerfully utilitarian. His Voter Confidence Resolution provides a fine, flexible tool whereby any community can reclaim and affirm a right relation to its franchise as a community of voters."

— Elizabeth Ferrari, San Francisco, Green Party of California


"This is an important collection of essays with a strong unitary theme: if you can't prove that you were elected, we can't take you seriously as elected officials. Simple, logical, comprehensive. 'Management' (aka, the 'powers that be') needs to get the message. 'The machines' are not legitimizers, they're an artful dodge and a path to deception. We've had enough...and we most certainly DO NOT consent."

— Michael Collins covers the election fraud beat for "Scoop" Independent Media


"What's special about this book (and it fits because there's nothing more fundamental to Democracy than our vote) is the raising of consciousness. Someone recognizing they have no basis for trusting elections may well ask what else is being taken for granted."

— Eddie Ajamian, Los Angeles, CA


"I urge everyone to read "We Do Not Consent", and distribute it as widely as possible."

— B Robert Franza MD, author of We the People ... Have No Clothes: A Pamphlet for every American