Thursday, October 30, 2008

TV Humboldt Offers Election Integrity Videos and More

For at least the past two years or so Paul Benson has been working on an indy media project that is now TV Humboldt, currently allowing Humboldt County media makers to upload video shorts to be included in a one hour loop that refreshes each week. At least that's a part of it and just where this part happens to be at now. It is a fluid, evolving project with big ambitions I don't fully know yet.

Backstage TV Humboldt is a companion site that is more of an interactive environment for media makers and audience alike. I've only met Benson a few times, but I can see he's coming from the right place. This paragraph is currently on the the Backstage home page:

HELP CHANGE MEDIA AS WE KNOW IT

All of our projects, are in line with our long-term strategy to help move media away from bottom-line corporate economics and toward a media system where everyone has a chance to get their work out to the world, without selling their souls. Let the WORLD decide who gets recognized, not some C.E.O...
Yesterday I met up with Benson and his video camera to shoot this three minute video about the open letter to the media, from the media, challenging the industry to recognize "federal election results are unprovable, even though the media reports them as fact." You'll catch it in this week's hourly loop, plus here at YouTube:


For other recent posts related to the letter, see "How to Disarm Weapons of Mass Deception" and "Telling No Lies and Still Not Telling the Truth."

Five more truth-tellers signed the letter today including the influential Danny Schechter, who posted the letter at Media Channel and included it in his daily e-mail newsletter. Also the venerable Sam Smith of The Progressive Review, author Allene E. Swienckowski, Lisa Finerty, Chair, Democrats Abroad - Rome Chapter, and Dave Stancliff, freelance journalist whose writing has appeared in various Humboldt publications. He recently wrote "Your vote faces challenges like never before," (archive) which may have been the furthest the Eureka Times-Standard has ever gone in condemning electronic voting machines outside of guest columns they've let me publish.

Today I also found the letter posted on the website of the Progressive Democrats of Sonoma County, who once invited me to speak about my book, We Do Not Consent (free .pdf). The local Veterans For Peace Chapter 56 also published my "Disarm" piece in their November newsletter (.pdf).

Rounding out the link-fest here, I want to get back to TV Humboldt, which has posted "Stealing America - Vote by Vote" as an "election week bonus" video. According to Benson this plays in a "a specially-designed player that allows the whole movie to play continuously -- If you watch it on YouTube, you have to watch it in 10 separate parts, which are not always so easy to find and navigate to." It's great for the movie to have all the exposure it can get, though at the film's own site you can also watch it uninterrupted and grab the embed code as I've done below.


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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Telling No Lies and Still Not Telling the Truth

In January 2004 I wrote an open letter to Dennis Kucinich, Ohio Congressman and then-presidential candidate. I have reprinted the letter at the bottom of this post. The gist was you can tell no lies and still not tell the truth. Here is the closing:

Americans reading this letter should begin expecting--causing--the very context of our national debate to be broadened. Dennis Kucinich, you have a deeply held belief that your destiny is to lead the world. Please recognize that the only way to fulfill this magnificent potential is to change the system with truth telling.
Even at that time, before I ever started blogging, my writing exhibited what I later proactively embraced and described as advocacy journalism, defined as writing whose success can only be judged by its ability to produce the real world change being written about. With that in mind I have documented my community and online organizing efforts in more than 500 essays in the GuvWurld and We Do Not Consent blogs. I have developed various memes and recurring themes, though this truth-telling frame had been somewhat dormant before recently storming back in yet another open letter, this one to the media, from the media.

What a difference four more years of fascism makes! This time dozens of people as well as organizations are signing on to the call for truth-telling: "federal election results are unprovable, even though the media reports them as fact." Some notable names added since my last posting: filmmaker David Earnhardt, economist Catherine Austin Fitts, Co-Executive Directors of VotersUnite.org John Gideon and Ellen Theisen, BlackBoxVoting.org founder Bev Harris, and scholar Steven F. Freeman, PhD. I'm trying to keep WDNC current and in sync with (or ahead of) Scoop's tremendous effort.

The next thing I hope to see is supporters of the letter using their media access to expose and explore the central question and themes of the letter: are federal election results provable?, and if not, should we accept corporate media reporting unprovable results as fact?

Let's be clear. The open letter from the media to the media states its intention "to change the corporate media narrative." By my definition this is advocacy journalism, though you can call it whatever you want.

As I wrote last Friday in How To Disarm Weapons of Mass Deception, if we recognize the corporate media as harmful weapons of mass deception, then our strategies have to account for dealing with a weapon. If we are ruthlessly honest, we recognize the necessity and correctness of protecting ourselves, and where possible, using the media weapon to our advantage ("beat the media at their own game"). It is a classic self-defense justification, though another key reason also supports this approach.

Classic tenets of journalism call for objectivity and neutrality. These are antiquated principles no longer universally observed, especially by the corporate media component of the fascist apparatus - the weapons of mass deception. We must absolutely not feel bound by them. If we are ever to create meaningful change, I believe advocacy journalism will be a crucial element to enable the necessary organizing. It is therefore very important that we learn how to be successful advocacy journalists, whether embracing the label or not.

In fact, it hardly matters if other people self-identify with or adopt my definition of advocacy journalism. What counts is the ruthless honesty, ensuring consistency between how we say we see something and how we act about it. We can disarm weapons of mass deception by supplanting its fabricated reality with what is really going on.

The burden is two-fold, falling to truth-tellers both inside and out of the media. If you don't work in the media, use your voice to encourage those who you watch, listen to, or read to use their platform to address the content of the open letter to the media, from the media. Remind the truth-telling media makers of things they have said or written to help make sure they remain consistent (ruthlessly honest) now.

Media truth-tellers who have enjoyed support and popularity among progressives have reached a sort of "put up or shut up" moment. Nobody is suggesting they be silent. Putting up means telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the ruthlessly honest truth. Those who recognize electronic voting machines have brought us secret vote counting know federal election results are inherently inconclusive and unprovable. Say this now and don't stop. Your audience, your country and your planet need this leadership and will follow as we crash through the finish line of this presidential horse race next week.

Those who can't go there may be telling no lies and still not telling the truth.

* * *
I was in San Francisco last weekend and spent part of Saturday passing out the leaflet below. I offered it to passersby with the greeting, "Will you help us take down the corporate media...from the inside?"

Click for printable version (4 per page)

* * *
An Open Letter
1/31/04

To Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-OH:

Congressman, I admire the positive vision you have articulated as the basis for your presidential campaign. Compared to other candidates, the positions you have taken most closely reflect my own. Most importantly, you have taken to re-framing issues as when Ted Koppel inasmuch as told you to drop out of the race or when Wolf Blitzer recently asked if you would consider being a Vice Presidential candidate. The corporate media of America has done the world a disservice by injecting its own agenda, shielding us from the truth, and perpetuating lies that manipulate public opinion. You are courageous and wise to address this.

While I am sincere in offering these compliments, they do not represent grounds on which I can support your campaign. Your stated positions may reflect my views, but what you are not saying ensures that America will continue to ignore many of the root causes of her dysfunction. When I talk with progressive Americans volunteering on your behalf, there is an emphasis on convincing people you are electable. I want to believe. But sir, there is a system in place to ensure you lose. The only way for you to win is to change the system. This must not be a euphemism.

The lack of truth telling is an obvious place to start. This problem pervades the White House, Congress, the media, and even the very premise of America. We are supposed to be about democracy and capitalism, Darwinian free markets where the "fittest" ideas get elected and survival means competing for more market share. The idea of a free market is central to both our political and economic systems. But to tell the truth, in America today, there is no free market and both democracy and capitalism are a myth.

Unless this stark assessment becomes part of our national dialog through your campaign, you may not be telling lies, but you won't be engaged in truth telling either.

If democracy, the free market of ideas, genuinely existed in America today, third party candidates could be taken seriously and their ideas would compete fairly in the arena of public opinion. Even as an elected member of Congress, anti-competitive treatment is hindering the exposure that you and your platform need (and are entitled to!). Election methods have clearly become both unreliable and untrustworthy, with disenfranchisement rampant and major campaign donors running voting machine companies. This description applies to America but does not depict democracy.

On the economic side, fraud riddles Wall Street in collusive stock and bank deals; Halliburton gets no-bid contracts; mergers that kill jobs and consumer choices are rubber stamped for approval; industry leaders cycle between top lobbying positions and Cabinet appointments; and then there's the media. Consolidation has limited the breadth of viewpoints aired and promoted bald-faced lies to launch wars. It's no wonder democracy and capitalism have both corroded when media companies have financial stakes in topics of their coverage.

None of this has been an accident. George W. Bush and the Republican takeover of Congress have accelerated the demolition of American ideals in the last three years. But the Democratic Party is complicit. Of the many ways this is true, the most important is found in the way Democrats and Republicans openly and aggressively seek to maintain the two-party system. Such a contrived power-sharing model violates the spirit of anti-trust laws. It cannot be more plain: the Democrats are harmful to America.

The "Anybody But Bush" crowd is large and vocal right now, indicating the inherent potential energy behind a genuine system changing movement. It is imperative that these people (especially the editors of BuzzFlash.com) come to recognize that electing any of the current Democratic candidates will not bring the restoration of democracy but rather perpetuate the myth that it exists. This message must resonate through their defensive gesticulation that this is no time for division among progressive voices for change in America. I keep hearing the phrase "how much change are you ready for?" It has to be enough to change the system.

Congressman, discussing the myth of democracy and capitalism is only an introduction. This shift will re-frame progressive dialog from a focus on symptoms to a genuine examination of the disease. Extended further, Americans engaged on this topic makes for a great first step towards changing the system, a prerequisite for you to win the White House.

The central theme returns: not telling lies is not the same as truth telling.

Jolting America’s perception of reality will require busting other myths. Tell us the whole truth: corporations have more rights than humans and we must abolish corporate personhood; the Earth has exhausted its capacity for yielding profitable oil, and the calamitous destiny of "Peak Oil" must be addressed to be avoided; the obstruction of a complete 9/11 investigation shields the unsupportable collection of lies that comprise the official narrative; and no society has ever been able to trade freedom for security.

Be the leader we need and help America come to terms with the facts. Demonstrate that we need more than just a regime change, we need to re-calibrate our national compass to pursue rather than destroy the ideals of our Constitution and Declaration of Independence. Use these powerful documents. It is remarkable what a reading of the Declaration reveals. Our Founders didn't just predict future revolutions, they outlined the grounds that should trigger them. As Americans accept Orwellian contradictions, virtually all of these conditions exist today.

Americans reading this letter should begin expecting--causing--the very context of our national debate to be broadened. Dennis Kucinich, you have a deeply held belief that your destiny is to lead the world. Please recognize that the only way to fulfill this magnificent potential is to change the system with truth telling.

In Respect and Peace,
Dave Berman
Eureka, CA
# # #

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Friday, October 24, 2008

How To Disarm Weapons of Mass Deception

The phrase "weapons of mass deception" is a well recognized play on "weapons of mass destruction," and is well understood to refer to the corporate media. As a fascist state, it is really the corporate/military/government/media juggernaut that bombards and assaults freedoms and liberties, dumbing-down, propagandizing, manipulating, and feeding us The Big Lie. We have to protect ourselves, not only from our government's lawlessness, but also from weapons of mass deception. Kill your television, yes, a good place to start. Now we are going further...

Yesterday I appeared as a guest on the Peter B. Collins syndicated talk radio show (part 1, part 2). We talked about an open letter, published yesterday at We Do Not Consent, New Zealand's Scoop, as well as other progressive news sites (known list of x-posts below). PBC added his name to Mark Crispin Miller, David Swanson, Lynn Landes, Rob Kall, and more than 15 other media truth-tellers so far who have begun to disarm the weapons of mass deception.

George Orwell: "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act."

My rally cry has long been "Peaceful revolution is necessary, NOW!"

Put the two together and we have media telling the truth to their colleagues and industry, questioning how federal election results can be reported as fact when they can not be independently verified or even proven, and come from only one conflicted source, the very government whose grip on power is at stake.

The power of weapons of mass deception emanates at full strength unless we challenge the phony narrative and distracting drama portrayed as the important stories of the day. But the challenge alone is not enough. To disarm weapons of mass deception we must also supplant its fabricated reality with what is really going on.

The letter itself is only a first step. The list of signers, while meaningful, is static even as it grows longer. The impact of this truth-telling comes in telling it repeatedly and seeing those who encounter it begin to tell it yet again.

The default response of the weapons will be to ignore. The truth-tellers challenge will be mostly won merely by engaging with the weapon, insisting on not being ignored. Members of the reading and thinking public can and hopefully will self-identify as truth-tellers, rather than externalizing that label onto the courageous early adopters of the letter.

Confronting The Big Lie means calling out simple truths hiding in plain site. Consider it converting unconventional wisdom to conventional wisdom. That implies enormous reach and explicitly calls us all to action. How hard can it be to call a talk show host or e-mail an opinion writer and have them address this, from the open letter:

There are three very simple basic facts about the way US federal elections are conducted now, and we think they lead to an inescapable conclusion that must be addressed.

See if you agree:

1. We have secret corporate vote counting computers counting more than 95% of the votes cast in the United States;

2. The absence of paper ballots, and in some cases state's law, prevents meaningful re-counts throughout much of the country;

3. These electronic voting machines frequently produce results impossible in a legitimate election, such as John Kerry's negative 25 million votes in Youngstown, OH (Nov. 2004), or Palm Beach County's 12,000 votes in excess of the number of voters (Aug. 2008).

To us this suggests the conclusion that federal election results are unprovable, even though the media reports them as fact.

Can you draw any other conclusion?
Weapons of mass deception are a powerful force working against We The People. This common phrase is so well known, yet rarely considered in a way I would call ruthlessly honest. Ruthless honesty requires that we match up the way we see something with the way we act about it. We already see the corporate media as a weapon of mass deception. Ruthless honesty calls for disarmament.
* * *

Known cross-posts of the open letter as of now:

http://www.opednews.com/articles/We-Do-Not-Consent--Open-L-by-Press-Release-081024-862.html

http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/node/37087

http://usacoup.scoop.co.nz/?p=835

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0810/S00360.htm

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/10/24/202910/15/310/641419

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=203x509838


http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=389x4304200


Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) also has a blurb about the letter here.

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Posted by Dave Berman - 5:46 PM | Permalink
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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Open Letter to the Media from the Media

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE AND DISTRIBUTION TO ALL MEDIA

Current Signatories 2 November 11pm (PT): Dave Berman - Mark Crispin Miller - Alastair Thompson - Peter B. Collins - Michael Collins - Ernest Partridge - Bernard Weiner - Rob Kall - David Swanson - Rady Ananda - Lynn Landes - Dan Ashby - Linda Milazzo - Jan Baumgartner - Cheryl Biren-Wright - Amanda Lang - Joanne Lukacher - Andi Novick - Paul Lehto - Mark A. Adams - Catherine Austin Fitts - John Gideon - Ellen Theisen - Bev Harris - John Chuckman - Bernie Ellis - Steve Freeman - John Russell - Jason Leopold - David L. Griscom, PhD - David Earnhardt - Carolyn Zaremba - Ron Baiman, PhD - Donna Norton - Josh Mitteldorf, PhD - Kathy Dopp - Allene E. Swienckowski - Lisa Finerty - Dave Stancliff - Sam Smith - Danny Schechter - Eric Holland

Dear Media Colleagues,

You are receiving this message because you are known to American progressives as a truth-teller. In this presidential campaign, despite the typical horse-race coverage, we also see the overall corporate media narrative influenced by daily debunking efforts from candidates' rapid response teams, the blogosphere, and the reality-based coverage and reporting that you provide.

We need to take this to the next level.

There are three very simple basic facts about the way US federal elections are conducted now, and we think they lead to an inescapable conclusion that must be addressed.

See if you agree:

1. We have secret corporate vote counting computers counting more than 95% of the votes cast in the United States;

2. The absence of paper ballots, and in some cases state's law, prevents meaningful re-counts throughout much of the country;

3. These electronic voting machines frequently produce results impossible in a legitimate election, such as John Kerry's negative 25 million votes in Youngstown, OH (Nov. 2004), or Palm Beach County's 12,000 votes in excess of the number of voters (Aug. 2008).

To us this suggests the conclusion that federal election results are unprovable, even though the media reports them as fact.

Can you draw any other conclusion?

It will surprise nobody this November when the outcome is a spoiled mess, riddled with controversy. In fact, we can already say the results--based on the conditions--are guaranteed to be inconclusive, unknowable and unprovable.

We must challenge our industry to refuse to report as fact what can't be proven and hasn't been independently verified, particularly when the only source of the information is the government itself.

The reality is that 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 the reported results the greatest credibility.

Transparent coverage of a transparent counting process would create a basis for confidence in the reported results where none currently exists.

As we all know, there is a vibrant community of engaged citizens across the US who collectively self-identify as the "election integrity community." They are asking us truth-tellers to challenge our industry, essentially reframing the debate.

Many of them have appeared on our shows and in our columns over the past few years, and they are eager to be sources for us now. But they are also counting on us to take this message forward and we don't see how we can be truth-tellers without doing that.

Please join us in this concerted effort to use truth-telling yet again to change the corporate media narrative of this presidential campaign.

Respectfully yours,

Dave Berman, WeDoNotConsent.blogspot.com; Voter Confidence Committee of Humboldt, CA

Mark Crispin Miller, Author, www.markcrispinmiller.blogspot.com

Alastair Thompson, Co-Editor/General Manager, www.Scoop.co.nz

Michael Collins, "The Money Party," usacoupscoop.co.nz/?tag=michael-collins;electionfraudnews.com/MichaelCollins.htm

Ernest Partridge, Co-Editor, The Crisis Papers www.crisispapers.org/

Bernard Weiner, Co-Editor, The Crisis Papers www.crisispapers.org/

Rob Kall, Executive Editor & Publisher, www.OpEdNews.com

David Swanson, Co-Founder, www.AfterDowningStreet.org

Joan Brunwasser, Election Integrity Editor, www.OpEdNews.com

Rady Ananda, Senior Editor, www.OpEdNews.com

Lynn Landes, freelance journalist, www.thelandesreport.com

Tom Courbat, Founder, SAVE R VOTE, www.savervote.com

Dan Ashby, Co-Founder and Director, www.ElectionDefenseAlliance.org

Linda Milazzo, OpedNews Senior Editor; HuffingtonPost blogger, www.OpEdNews.com

Jan Baumgartner, Managing Editor, www.OpEdNews.com

Cheryl Biren-Wright, Managing Editor, www.OpEdNews.com

Amanda Lang, OEN Managing Editor, www.opednews.com

Joanne Lukacher, Communications Director, Election Transparency Coalition, www.re-mediaetc.org

Andi Novick, Legal Counsel, Election Transparency Coalition, www.re-mediaetc.org

Valerie Lane, Chair, SAVElections Monterey County

Paul R Lehto, Juris Doctor, Author of Election Law Encyclopedia articles

Mark A. Adams JD/MBA founder of http://www.ProjectVoteCount.com

Catherine Austin Fitts, Scoop “Mapping The Real Deal” Columnist, solari.com

John Gideon, Co-Executive Director, VotersUnite.Org

Ellen Theisen, Co-Executive Director, VotersUnite.Org

Bev Harris, founder and director,Black Box Voting (Web site http://www.blackboxvoting.org)

John Chuckman, Columnist & Cartoonist More Websites: Postcards, Trading Cards, Places

Bernie Ellis Organizer, Gathering To Save Our Democracy (Tennessee) and Convener, National Election Reform Conference Nashville, TN April, 2005 - http://www.votesafetn.org

Steve Freeman, author, academic and founder of ElectionIntegrity

John Russell (FL-5) D - www.johnrussellforcongress.com

Jason Leopold, investigative journalist, author - TPR: The Public Record

David L. Griscom, Ph.D., impactglassman.blogspot.com; Co-Founder, AUDITAZ; Member Coordinating Committee, Election Defense Alliance.

David Earnhardt, filmmaker, "UNCOUNTED: The New Math of American Elections"

Carolyn Zaremba, Socialist Equality Party

Ron Baiman, PhD, Economist/Statistician, Vice President National Election Data Archive/U.S. Count Votes

Donna Norton, Member Elect, Sonoma County Democratic Central Committee; Member, Progressive Democrats of America, Sonoma County

Josh Mitteldorf, PhD, statistician for Election Integrity and Election Defense Alliance

Kathy Dopp, MS Mathematics, Executive Director, US Count Votes

Allene E. Swienckowski, author http://www.whenmeangirlsgrowup.com

Lisa Finerty, Chair, Democrats Abroad - Rome Chapter

Dave Stancliff, freelance journalist

Sam Smith, The Progressive Review

Danny Schechter, http://www.mediachannel.org

Eric Holland, MA Media Arts, Emerson 2002; Editor 1938music.com

SEND THIS EMAIL TO THE MEDIA

(Note: you can find an email address at this link)

A current list of this letter's signers can be found at http://usacoup.scoop.co.nz/unprovable. If you would like to add your name, please use the form on that page or submit your name and affiliation via e-mail to: unprovable@scoop.co.nz.

# # #

LAST WDNC UPDATE: 11/2/08 11pm PT

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Peter B. Collins, Dave Berman to Discuss Unprovable Federal Election Results - 10/23 5pm PT

Listen live through PeterBCollins.com Thursday at 5pm PT as I'll be on this great talk radio show to discuss whether the accuracy of federal election results can be proven.

For a long time I have argued federal election results are inherently inconclusive, unknowable and unprovable - based entirely on the conditions under which "elections" are conducted. There is simply no basis for confidence in the reported results, that is, no reason to believe them.

As I hinted last Friday, when I wrote about the Nation's John Nichols coming around to describing the 2000 and 2004 elections as "inconclusive," during tomorrow's interview we will begin to hear a louder chorus taking up this message and calling out the media.

Why should we be expected to believe reported election results that media have not and can not independently verify, which can't even be proven, and which come from only one source - the very government whose grip on power is at stake?

In fact, for as long as I've written the We Do Not Consent blog there have been others making this point. In the back of my book, We Do Not Consent, (free .pdf), there are testimonials that have permanently appeared in the sidebar of the blog as follows:

"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

and...

"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, Juris Doctor
Over the years, these points have been made in countless ways. Tomorrow we will unveil perhaps the most impactful expression yet. In the meantime, here's another that I submitted last week as a letter to the editor of the North Coast Journal. I'm posting it now because their new issue came out today without it.
Dear Editor:

Thank you for the even-handed run down of state and local ballot issues (Oct. 9). Perhaps you could also devote a little space to both sides of a national question: are federal election results provable?

One side says: we have secret corporate vote counting computers in more than 95% of the country; about 30% of the country doesn't even use paper ballots to allow a serious re-count; and these electronic voting machines frequently produce results impossible in a legitimate election, such as John Kerry's negative 25 million votes in Youngstown, OH (Nov. 2004), or Palm Beach County's 12,000 votes in excess of the number of voters (Aug. 2008).

These self-described "election integrity advocates" say there is no way to prove federal election results. They further allege that media is abandoning its most basic principles by publishing election results as fact, when the information has not and can not be independently verified. Worse still, they say, is that media reports of election results rely on only one source--the government--even though the government can not prove the reported results.

Opponents argue federal election results are provable because. Just because.

While this is fairly convincing, the Journal could do a genuine public service in affording more space for elaboration of this point of view. The Journal could also encourage the media industry at large to advocate for hand counting paper ballots, reasoning that this method of counting allows media greatest access to observing and documenting the process, affording the reported results the greatest credibility, and demonstrating that the reported results have been proven to the satisfaction of the thousands of ordinary Americans who would be involved in counting ballots.

Dave Berman
Eureka, CA
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Friday, October 17, 2008

John Nichols: 2000, 2004 Elections "Inconclusive"; Humboldt Dems to Show "Uncounted" This Sat

Sorry for the split headline, but it is time to do some dot connecting.

First, a note for Humboldt readers. The local Democratic Central Committee will be hosting a free screening of "Uncounted" beginning at 7pm this Saturday (10/18) at 129 5th Street, Eureka. The film is a "documentary that shows how the election fraud that changed the outcome of the 2004 election led to even greater fraud in 2006 - and now looms as an unbridled threat to the outcome of the 2008 election."

I'll be there and anticipate a lively group discussion (read: confronting Dems' cognitive dissonance) following the film. If you've ever met me or read anything else I've written, you may already have a sense of what I'll be saying, especially now that others are saying the same thing. Say what?

I was both pleased and bemused last week when John Nichols posted to The Nation website a piece called "No More Stolen Elections." Two key excerpts (emphasis added):

"...[Bush campaign co-chair and Ohio] Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, made it possible for the Republican ticket to secure an election night "result" that was of dubious legitimacy, and circumstances taht [sic] made the ensuing recount an inconclusive exercise in frustration."

(snip)

The bottom line from both 2000 and 2004 is this: Smart, engaged activists from across the country were caught unprepared for monumental struggles over not just clean elections and electoral votes but, in a very real sense, the future of the republic.

Good people tried to intervene. But it was too little, too late. Mistakes made in the hours and days after the presidential elections in each of those two years would haunt the process to its conclusion -- or, to be more precise, to an inconclusive moment when power would be allocated without legitimacy.
Certainly I am pleased to see a major American journalist take the position I've held for years, that the Bush regime claim to power is illegitimate, and was made possible by election conditions that ensured inconclusive results (see: Voter Confidence Resolution, adopted by Arcata, CA City Council, 7/20/05).

But Nichols has two major disconnects that I'd like to put back together here. First, he attributes the inconclusive results to the election conditions - which are largely the same in 2008. To look back and say the previous results were inconclusive requires a degree of honesty which could only be called ruthless honesty if it acknowledged that the same conditions will always and again produce inconclusive, unknowable, unprovable results. "Too little, too late" last time means take a different approach this time.

The second disconnect is Nichols' call to action:
What should smart activists be doing?

Preparing to say, without caution or compromise, that they will not sit idly by and allow another presidential election to be gamed.

That's what the Rev. Jesse Jackson, populist leader Jim Hightower, author Barbara Ehrenreich, singer Holly Near, activist Tom Hayden, Rabbi Michael Lerner and other activists, academics and writers -- including this author -- were thinking when we signed on to the call to action for the "No More Stolen Elections!" campaign that launches this week.

The campaign asks Americans to take a simple pledge:

"I remember Florida 2000 and Ohio 2004, and I am willing to take action in 2008 if the election is stolen again.

I support efforts to protect the right to vote leading up to and on Election Day, November 4th.

I pledge to join nationwide pro-democracy protests starting on November 5th, either in my community, in key states where fraud occurred, or in Washington, D.C..

I pledge: No More Stolen Elections!"
If we already recognize that election conditions guarantee inconclusive results, waiting until after the "election" to protest is not what smart activists would do because it would again be "too little, too late." In fact, the same well-meaning progressive leaders behind "No More Stolen Elections" put forth a similar pledge that I wrote about just prior to the 2004 "election."
"I remember the stolen presidential election of 2000 and I am willing to take action in 2004 if the election is stolen again. I support efforts to protect the right to vote leading up to and on Election Day, November 2nd. If that right is systematically violated, I pledge to join nationwide protests starting on November 3rd, either in my community, in the states where the fraud occurred, or in Washington DC."
It has become cliché to cite the definition of insane as doing the same thing and expecting a different result. Does it make me a bad writer to use a cliché or a smarter activist to say let's do something different?

The original link to the first "No Stolen Elections" pledge no longer works, but I found it archived here. That's a page on the site of the Liberty Tree Foundation, one of the sponsors of the new pledge. There is a lot of other great work happening there, but I can't consider either of these pledges as good examples. It is counterproductive to reinforce the frame: "if the election is stolen again." We all know already the "election" is a charade. We also all know more than enough to conclude with certainty that the "election" results will be inherently uncertain, inconclusive, and unprovable.

Even though I've been making this point for more than four years, it has morphed and sharpened somewhat in the past several weeks. For reference, read here and here, and listen here (.mp3) as I spoke at a Constitution Day rally in Eureka last month, and here (.mp3) for a few minutes with Peter B. Collins and Brad Friedman.

While my blog posts have not been frequent, I have been doing other writing that I'll soon make available. It will be another, bigger example of others saying what I'm saying we should say. If you get it, you need to pass it on to the media. Don't be shy about expressing disbelief or even disdain that media would expect us to accept their reporting of election results as fact when the results have not and can not be independently verified by media, can not even be proven, and come from only one source -- the government whose power is at stake. If we buy that, we really are insane by any definition.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

No Flag Large Enough



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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