Saturday, September 27, 2008

Slacker Uprising? Not in the Charlie Brown Nation.

Michael Moore released a new film this week called "Slacker Uprising." After watching the free download tonight I realized nobody would have paid to see this had it been released in theaters.

"Slacker Uprising" chronicles Moore's 62 city "get out the vote" tour in the weeks leading up to the 2004 "election." He drew huge crowds, controversy, and media coverage in cities and towns of all sizes. His affable personality, quick wit and good humor were shown in abundance. And as Rady Ananda observed in her own review of the film, the events were depicted as anti-war and anti-Bush but no so much on selling positive attributes of John Kerry or the Democratic (sic) party.

Frankly, this movie was painful to watch, but not in the way that it hurts see a mom talking about losing a son to war (which was a sad and moving moment in fine Moore movie making tradition). This was painful--for me--in the same way even conservative pundits describe cringing during Sarah Palin interviews. I doubt that everyone will respond to "Slacker Uprising" this way, though perhaps you can understand my reaction through the prism of the words I was writing at the time these rallies were happening:

The GuvWurld Blog is Back, September 4, 2004

...I think there needs to be a planned response to the inevitable election uncertainty. We have disaster contingencies for all sorts of emergencies so why not a Constitutional crisis? It behooves us to know what we'll be calling for and that we have some harmonized voices in a chorus. I think it also makes sense to encourage elected officials to pledge a response. They must be held accountable for their responsibility to hold others accountable.
# # #

Simulated Competition, October 12, 2004

The real competition occurs in these [court] battles while Bush vs. Kerry is simulated competition perpetuating the myth of democracy. This is the only point that now really needs to be made on behalf of the No Confidence Movement - if both major parties are preparing and planning for the uncertainty, so too must we plan and prepare.
# # #

Bush Lawyer Anticipates Delay in Tally, October 16, 2004

More validation for the premise of No Confidence:
President Bush's top campaign lawyer said yesterday that the winner of next month's presidential vote may not be known for "days or weeks" after Election Day if the contest is close.
Full story from today's Washington Post (in GuvWurld News Archive, links to original)
# # #

NYTimes Ponders Uncertain Election Outcome, October 16, 2004

I still have not read or heard of anybody making the argument that they have absolute confidence that the election will be 100% legitimate with a universally accepted outcome. This is an untenable position because there is NO BASIS for such confidence. From today's NYTimes:

(snip)
Some observers see potential for lasting benefits from another disputed election, at least once the dust has settled: they say it may finally rouse the country to overhaul the presidential election process.
While I recognize the election cannot and should not be pre-empted, I find this final excerpt to be highly motivational:
One thing that seems certain, though, is that there is no certainty about how the nation will handle the aftermath of a disputed election.
We can't know how the nation (or the world) as a whole will respond, but there is no reason for us not to be gathering in our communities to determine appropriate expressions of rejection for the impending sham.
# # #

Post-"Election" Planning October 28, 2004

So what else, let's see...the GuvWurld News Archive has several recent stories about expecting an uncertain outcome:

San Francisco Chronicle - Various Controversies Expected To Delay Election Outcome - 10-23-04
FindLaw - The Coming Post-Election Chaos - 10-22-04
GovExec.com - Justice Dept Not Prepared To Document Election Aftermath - 10-19-04
NYTimes - Imagining the Danger of 2000 Redux - 10-17-04
# # #
In general, I like Moore and his films. But watching "Slacker Uprising" was like seeing the Charlie Brown Nation running up to kick the football that is always pulled away at the last moment. Will Charlie ever learn? Will we?

Here we are four years later and my last two blog posts were "The Real Election Math," proving election results will again be unprovable this November; and "Hey Media! - Don't Report As Fact What Can't Even Be Proven (Federal Election Results)," in which linked to this speech (.mp3) I recently gave outlining a new campaign calling for the grassroots, progressive politicians, and progressive media to confront the corporate media in the simplest of terms.

Despite Moore's gung-ho "get out the vote" attitude, or perhaps because of it, he is now a must on the media outreach list for this campaign. I stuck my toe in that water Friday afternoon with a call to the Peter B. Collins show during Brad Friedman's regular guest spot on election integrity. Listen to the excerpt in the GuvWurld News Archive, or catch the full hour in PBC's podcast archive.

"Slacker Uprising" had no potential to come anywhere near Moore's box office financial successes, so I can see keeping it out of the theaters. What I'm struggling with is why anybody thought there was a good time to show this dated and painful reminder billed in the opening as "one filmmaker's failed attempt to turn things around."

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Real Election Math

Paperless electronic voting +
Corporate vote counting guarded as proprietary secrets +
Nonsensical results such as negative vote totals =

"Election" results are UNPROVABLE.

Tell the media not to report as fact what can't even be proven and what hasn't been independently verified. The media should be the greatest advocates of hand counting paper ballots because this method of counting allows media greatest access to observing and documenting the process, affording their reporting the greatest credibility. Transparent coverage of a transparent counting process would create a basis for confidence in the reported results where none currently exists.

Listen to this .mp3:
http://tinyurl.com/3sppbd

I'm cross-posting this widely and encourage you to do the same.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hey Media! - Don't Report As Fact What Can't Even Be Proven (Federal Election Results)

On August 17, 2005, I published an essay at the GuvWurld blog called "Why Old Election Numbers No Longer Matter." When I spoke at today's Constitution Day event at the Eureka courthouse, I read the beginning part of this essay:

This apocryphal parable contains only true facts. I know because I made them up myself.
The date was Sept 33, 1965. Samdy Kouflax ate eight live pigs, a new record among those in his Pagan cult. This sign of virility and luck soon paid dividends as Kouflax threw one of golf's most memorable games. Going all nine chuckers, Kouflax completed a no-hitter to lead his Chicago Whitehawks to the Super Bowl with a victory over the Boston Celtics. Kouflax's solo grand-slam leading off the first inning was all the offense needed that season. Many also remember this game for the unusual brawl that broke out between two Celtic mid-fielders. The ensuing power play enabled the 'Hawks to expand their zone defense with 20 men on the ice. All in all, it was a fabulous year for Samdy and his wife Whora.
Can you imagine yourself getting into a debate about who won this game or what was the final score? Any such discussion would validate the legitimacy of the idea that there was an actual game with a winner, a loser, and a knowable point tally. If you were asked who won, or what was the final score, the only reasonable answer is that it cannot be known from such nonsensical reporting. There is nothing in this story to suggest that a real game of any sort was actually played.

U.S. federal elections are held under conditions that are equally farcical. At this point, any discussion of the numbers, or the outcome, is only serving to reinforce that an actual election took place.
After the reading, I ad-libbed pretty faithfully by the outline I posted yesterday. In all I spoke for just under seven and a half minutes. Since there were only about 30 people at the rally, this .mp3 in the GuvWurld News Archive will be (needs to be!) heard by exponentially more people, including the government and media types I'm recommending we aim our message at:
Hey Media! - Don't Report As Fact What Can't Even Be Proven (Federal Election Results).
The media should be the biggest proponents of hand counting paper ballots because this allows for the greatest coverage of the process - transparent coverage of transparent counting creates a basis for confidence in the reported results, a reason to believe where currently none exists. I didn't get into the HCPB message today, though I was followed by Bob Olofson who did cover that on behalf of the Voter Confidence Committee.

I was not the only speaker today to utter the phrase "Consent of the Governed." This reminded me that I had recently subscribed for Google alerts on this phrase. In the first seven days I've had 38 alerts. That compares with an average of about five per week that I've been getting for the phrase "We Do Not Consent." I encourage everyone to use both of these phrases and let's drive those numbers up.

Another plug is due for the GuvWurld News Archive, brimming with recent articles on the economy. There is also a category called Revised Truth where I filed a Monday Washington Post article "The Power of Political Misinformation." The piece cites research indicating many people cling to mistaken beliefs more strongly when presented with information that debunks their erroneous belief. I find this interesting, but not surprising, as it would seem to support the description of ruthless honesty found in A Blueprint For Peaceful Revolution. Some of the specific suggestions of that paper are a bit dated now, but the overall concepts and strategy are still central to the We Do Not Consent blog and even today's rally.

Finally, since I forgot at the courthouse I'd like to mention here that Velvet Revolution has launched a campaign to encourage and support candidates who raise challenges to election results.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Constitution Day and Citizenship Day

Since I have been asked to speak Wednesday at a Constitution Day rally I Googled the phrase and learned from Wikipedia:

Constitution Day (or Citizenship Day) is an American federal holiday that recognizes the ratification of the United States Constitution, and also recognizes all who have become citizens due to either coming of age or naturalization. It is observed on September 17, the day the U.S. Constitutional Convention signed the Constitution in 1787.[1]

The law establishing the holiday was created in 2004 with the passage of an amendment by Senator Robert Byrd to the Omnibus spending bill of 2004.[2] Before this law was enacted, the holiday was known as "Citizenship Day". In addition to renaming the holiday "Constitution Day and Citizenship Day," the act mandates that all publicly funded educational institutions provide educational programming on the history of the American Constitution on that day.[3] In May 2005, the United States Department of Education announced the enactment of this law and that it would apply to any school receiving federal funds of any kind.[4] This holiday is not observed by granting time off work for federal employees.

When Constitution Day falls on a weekend or on another holiday, schools and other institutions observe the holiday on an adjacent weekday.[4] This was the case in 2005, when Constitution Day was generally observed on Friday, September 16[2] and 2006 when the holiday was observed on Monday, September 18.
A guy (or even a country) could be forgiven for not remembering the creation or past celebration of this sort-of holiday. After all, a well-known dangerous man is said to have characterized the Constitution differently: "It's just a goddamned piece of paper!" It sure has been treated that way.

So Ellen Taylor has assembled an array of rabble-rousers to speak at the Humboldt County Courthouse in Eureka tomorrow at noon+15. This will be my first public speaking event in several months, likely since I very quietly took my leave of absence from the Voter Confidence Committee (VCC). It was a sabbatical, and it is now ending. I've been talking with members of the group over the past several days and next weekend will attend my first VCC meeting in five or six months.

It is not a done deal, but the odds look good for a shift in the group's emphasis over the next seven weeks. Tomorrow I'll be speaking about what I'd like to see happen, whether with the VCC or not, and not just here but everywhere citizens are organizing for election integrity. Frankly, it will not be much of a new message, just a different presentation based on timing. What follows is basically a stream of consciousness outline preview...

It is well understood that federal "election" results are unprovable...

Nothing that can be done here in Humboldt or in any other single given location can make federal "election" results provable...

The government and media will tell us the results and expect us to accept them, which is exactly what we should not do...

We need not and should not wait until after the "election" event to make our opposition known to accepting unprovable results (the objection is not to any particular result, but rather the claim that any result is even knowable)...

In towns across the country, we need swelling groups of citizens to appeal to anyone claiming to represent the People, starting at the most local level, city councils on up, asking for a commitment to reject unprovable federal "election" results...

The requested commitment may need to be conditional in some cases, going beyond the premise of secret vote counting necessarily producing unprovable results, spelling out familiar scenarios expected to repeat (electronic voting machines switching or losing votes, counting backwards, showing more votes than registered voters, etc.)...

A further potential condition should be expressed, namely the twin prospects of the "election" being canceled, or a subsequent refusal to allow an orderly succession of power...

Some may not be willing to commit to standing up against unprovable "election" results, but would finally make their stand if the Bush regime will not yield power...

This scenario is not guaranteed to happen, of course, but at the same time nobody can credibly argue about anything at all by saying "they'd never do THAT"...

So in one way or another we are looking for buy-in from the People and our representatives (sic), amplifying two messages...

First, that WE DO NOT CONSENT to "election" results that can't be proven, and which attempt to assume our consent and take it for granted; but also...

We must stand up to the media and insist they do not report as fact what can't even be proven, a sentiment repeatedly expressed here at WDNC for more than two years, as shown below in a June 2006 Humboldt Advocate article I called at the time "Best Election Protest Signs Ever."


Photo credit: Elaine Weinreb

Well this is a start anyway. I'll be ad-libbing around these themes and hope to post at least audio tomorrow...

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Thursday, September 04, 2008

Unemployment Rises, Media Act Surprised

The word "unexpected" should not be used when referring to much anymore, but especially not an increase in unemployment numbers. First the Eureka Times-Standard caught my eye with this AP story:

Jobless claims jumped unexpectedly last week
The Times-Standard
Article Launched: 09/04/2008 09:07:35 AM PDT

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The number of newly-laid off workers seeking unemployment benefits jumped unexpectedly last week, the government said Thursday, reversing three weeks of declines.
That instantly sent me to Google news where I found similar stories all using the word "unexpected" in Forbes, Times UK, Hartford Courant, and of course many others advancing the official narrative.

In contrast, here is what we all see and feel around us, acknowledged last month at Global Research:
Ann Taylor closing 117 stores nationwide.

Eddie Bauer to close more stores after closing 27 stores in the first quarter.

Cache, a women’s retailer is closing 20 to 23 stores this year.

Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug, Catherines closing 150 stores nationwide

Talbots, J. Jill closing stores. Talbots will close all 78 of its kids and men's stores plus another 22 underperforming stores. The 22 stores will be a mix of Talbots women's and J. Jill.

Gap Inc. closing 85 stores

Foot Locker to close 140 stores

Wickes Furniture is going out of business and closing all of its stores. The 37-year-old retailer that targets middle-income customers, filed for bankruptcy protection last month.

Levitz - the furniture retailer, announced it was going out of business and closing all 76 of its stores in December. The retailer dates back to 1910.

Zales, Piercing Pagoda plans to close 82 stores by July 31 followed by closing another 23 underperforming stores.

Disney Store owner has the right to close 98 stores.

Home Depot store closings 15 of them amid a slumping US economy and housing market. The move will affect 1,300 employees. It is the first time the world's largest home improvement store chain has ever closed a flagship store.

CompUSA (CLOSED).

Macy's - 9 stores closed

Movie Gallery – video rental company plans to close 400 of 3,500 Movie Gallery

and Hollywood Video stores in addition to the 520 locations the video rental

chain closed last fall as part of bankruptcy.

Pacific Sunwear - 153 Demo stores closing

Pep Boys - 33 stores of auto parts supplier closing

Sprint Nextel - 125 retail locations to close with 4,000 employees following 5,000 layoffs last year.

J. C. Penney, Lowe's and Office Depot are all scaling back

Ethan Allen Interiors: plans to close 12 of 300 stores to cut costs.

Wilsons the Leather Experts – closing 158 stores

Bombay Company: to close all 384 U.S.-based Bombay Company stores.

KB Toys closing 356 stores around the United States as part of its bankruptcy reorganization.

Dillard's Inc. will close another six stores this year.

MORE
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=ENG20080802&articleId=9728
Unemployment is on the rise. Who knew?

* * *
I posted a similar reality check with four links in two comments at the end of this terminally optimistic Eureka Reporter editorial from August 29. All four of these links are recent additions to the Economy section of the GuvWurld News Archive, now back online and continuing to compile "a growing record of stories the U.S. government would probably prefer history not record at the start of the 21st century."

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Posted by Dave Berman - 11:21 PM | Permalink
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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