Sunday, June 11, 2006

Talking Points Memo On Elections (for Progressive media)

Since the start of this month there has been more high profile, corporate media coverage of our "election" charades than perhaps any other period during the Bush regime. Could this be a sign we are approaching a bona fide tipping point, after which things will be totally different? Well, I want to believe it, but I think we first need the progressive media to get on the same page about some talking points.

1. Secret vote counting guarantees inconclusive outcomes. Whether it is paperless DREs or optical scanners with interpreted or proprietary code, votes are being "counted" in secret, without even a chance for voters, elections officials or the media to examine the process or verify the results.

2. Unverified voting means there is NO BASIS for confidence in the results reported. Blind trust is required to accept current election results.

3. The media should not report what it cannot prove or independently verify. We now have faith-based reporting about faith-based elections.

4. The Consent of the Governed is being assumed, not sought, under current election conditions. According to the Declaration of Independence, the "just Power" of government derives from the Consent of the Governed.

5. Here is a partial list (in no particular order) of additional items to which we must say: We Do Not Consent.
a) The lost presumption of innocence;
b) Spying on Americans and an overall loss of privacy;
c) Government lawlessness;
d) Destruction of our environment;
e) The promise of endless war;
f) Free speech zones;
g) Depleted Uranium (Mr. Bush's slow-motion holocaust);
h) Government run media;
i) Secret prisons, torture and war crimes;
j) and We Do Not Consent to secret vote counting machines.
The larger question that should emerge from these talking points is: Has the Consent of the Governed been withdrawn, YET? Presented this way the question takes a tone of inevitability - not if, but when! This is how we pave a path to a tipping point.

This set of points varies in at least one very dramatic way from the high profile corporate coverage recently given to election integrity. For examples, start with Rolling Stone publishing Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s hefty recitation of the of the travesty of the 2004 "election" in Ohio, plus the ensuing TV appearances (CNN, Fox, MSNBC - all .wmv videos), and the online rebuttals and rejoinders (Farhad Manjoo at Salon.com, Paul Lehto, Bob Fitrakis, and even Bobby Kennedy himself). In all cases, progressive people are arguing over past events that can't be changed with people who are not even open to having their minds changed.

What would be better is educating progressive media about these powerful forward-looking arguments. Icons such as Thom Hartmann, Peter B. Collins (.mp3 of my interview last week), and Randi Rhodes can help us teach the public at large in a way that enables understanding of our current condition while fostering an appropriately strong and unified response. The talking points above allow us to discuss that which can be agreed upon, namely, what are the conditions for the elections we're about to have. The lesson, however, is that such conditions ensure inconclusive outcomes which should never be expected to produce unanimous acceptance. By narrowly defining a common view of the problem we become poised to take united action.

The Voter Confidence Resolution (VCR) is a document reflecting all the talking points above. The City Council of Arcata, CA was the first to adopt the VCR, and Palo Alto, CA will soon be considering its own version. Each community is encouraged to use Arcata's language as a template, keeping the main talking points and customizing other areas, including an election reform platform. This inspires local debate about sensible standards that should aim at delivering conclusive election outcomes and creating a basis for confidence in the results reported.

In Hartmann's recent AlterNet article about the RFK piece, he very bluntly says: "George W. Bush is not the legitimate president of the United States." But Hartmann doesn't go much beyond encouraging us to "speak out" in response. There is no doubt that Hartmann personally knows many people who have already been among the most outspoken. Our efforts have not been in vain, but they could be more successful with a common message and call to action. And it was with this in mind that I saw the need for this talking points memo. It is worth noting that when I recently discussed these same ideas with Brother Thom on his radio show, this is what he said:
"Its 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.
* * *
Additional recent major media election integrity coverage has included Jack Cafferty and Lou Dobbs (.wmv) on CNN. Big thanks to VoteTrustUSA and BradBlog for instigating and covering the coverage. Also see Why Old Election Numbers No Longer Matter, originally published 8/17/05 in the GuvWurld Blog, also appearing on page 9 of my new book We Do Not Consent (free .pdf download). Finally, Mark E. Smith offers a perspective worth considering in Global Warming vs. Election Integrity.

Posted by Dave Berman - 12:44 AM | Permalink
Comments (2 So Far) | Top of Page | WDNC Main Page

Read or Post a Comment

great job, great post. Just a couple of thoughts:

to rag on government lawlessness and government run media is going to sour people on government...when government is run of, by, and for the people, it can be a good thing

it's the corporate schills who have installed themselves and are working of, by, and for the corporations that are instituting the lawlessness and running the media (could work this into talking pt. 5h, for example)

I was hoping you would allude to dangerous and all-pervasive privatization that has occurred during the illegitimate Bush Administration --

but I'm not sayin' anything you didn't already know, and haven't thought of...

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous @ Aug 12, 2006, 12:56:00 PM
Permalink to comment | Top of Page | WDNC Main Page
 

Yes indeed, we do want to get back to government of, by and for the people. But can this be done without the masses first souring on the government? Seems we're already a long way toward that end anyway.

One of our chief aims now, as outlined in Blueprint For Peaceful Revolution, needs to be rejecting the government's intentional divisiveness. Of the many ways society is split, the one I am most focused on is the rift in the perception of reality. Folks who are still buying the official line can be helped by listening to them, and asking them probing questions, until they inevitably admit to believing contradictory things. To win them over, that is, to unite and overcome the divisiveness, we do well to help them confront their own cognitive dissonance.

You are spot on, of course, about the lawlessness depending heavily on corporate media. I mentioned "Government run media" in point 5-h. A more thorough phrase I've used previously is the corporate-military-government-media juggernaut. This reflects the nature of the fascist nucleus at the core of the American power structure today. Inherent in this is the privatization you mention too.

Basically, it sounds like you got it down and if I were a guest on a radio show, for example, talking about these points, you would make a great caller to flesh out the outline some more. Thanks for posting!

Posted by Blogger Dave Berman @ Aug 12, 2006, 11:19:00 PM
Permalink to comment | Top of Page | WDNC Main Page
 
<< Home
As shown on
Dave's new blog,
Manifest Positivity

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