Thursday, October 28, 2004

Post-"Election" Planning

On a national level, I have learned about several projects coordinating post-"election" responses. has a listing of planned actions by city.

No Stolen Elections outlines plans for coordinating first through a "Signal Committee" and then an "Urgent Response Network." This site also has a directory of local actions plus the following pledge which is hosted by United For Peace and Justice:
"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."
This Time We're Watching is literally counting down the seconds until "election" day. This is a joint project of The Ruckus Society, The Truth Force Training Center, and The League of Pissed of Voters. TTWW is more of a resource hub than a specific action campaign or coalition.

Bev Harris from has made a film called Votergate. Apparently she is going to keep filming through the "election" and eventually release a 90 minute version. There is a 35 minute preview available for free download. It does a good job of telling the story of Bev's ongoing successes at exposing voting vulnerabilities and fraud. History may associate her significance with Woodward and Bernstein's Watergate reporting. Still, I think she comes up way short in discussing only technical and procedural changes in voting. That is, even if there was no question about the integrity of voting, it is still not indicative of democracy for ideas to be kept from competing. This is the case via disenfranchisement, media consolidation, limited debates and having only two major parties who engage in simulated competition.

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 - Justice Dept Not Prepared To Document Election Aftermath - 10-19-04
NYTimes - Imagining the Danger of 2000 Redux - 10-17-04
WashPost - Bush Lawyer Anticipates Delay in Tally - 10-16-04

On the local front here in Humboldt County, this evening I got a phone call from Eureka Mayor Peter La Vallee. Yesterday I heard from City Councilman Jeff Leonard. I also have a phone message from Meghan Vogel, the Eureka Times-Standard reporter who wrote most of the coverage received by the No Confidence Movement earlier in the year. Together primarily with Realizing Community essayist Scott Menzies, we are reaching out to community groups with whom we can present a unified post-election response. Both Mr. La Vallee and Mr. Leonard encouraged me to turn out speakers for the next Council meeting, scheduled for the night of "election" day. We will then certainly be announcing a press conference for Wed and likely pushing for a town hall meeting on Friday.

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Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Immediate Next Steps for Election Reform in Humboldt County

The Bush and Kerry campaigns have literally thousands of lawyers planning and preparing for the aftermath of the upcoming presidential "election." In Humboldt County, We The People should also plan and prepare for the aftermath.

In 2000, the unresolved "election" outcome was rightly called a "constitutional crisis." With another such crisis being manufactured we are facing a chaotic situation on the order of an earthquake, hurricane or tornado. For each of these natural crises we have agencies that have done a lot of advance planning and preparing, just as the lawyers are now doing for the "election."

As We The People plan and prepare for the aftermath, there are two immediate objectives. First is to formulate the outline of our response. Second is to involve the City Councils of Humboldt County communities.

Later this week I will detail a more comprehensive set of strategies. These will focus on topics including instant runoff voting and proportional representation, and how We The People can redirect our efforts from outreach and education towards plans for implementation.

In the meantime, the very next step is scheduled for TONIGHT (Tuesday 10/19). Please consider this a call to action and an invitation to attend the final Eureka City Council meeting to be held prior to the "election." In the three minutes allowed for public comment, I intend to inform the Council of our intention to be prepared with a response when the aftermath begins. I will let them know that we intend to work with them as a conduit to higher level state and national officials and as a means to further legitimize the organizing we do locally. I will also ask for their input regarding the most effective ways for us to win their cooperation.

Due to the rules of the Council meetings, the Council is not allowed to take any action at that time and the Council Members are not even required to respond. In fact, the norm is that they do not comment in response to remarks made in this forum. Given the timing and sensitivity of the topic, it would be a welcome measure of respect to prompt a response this time. If I am unable to do so on my own, additional speakers would be useful towards this end.

The Eureka City Council meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month at 531 K St. in Eureka, CA. Meetings begin at 6:30pm. I hope to see you TONIGHT!

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NY AG Spitzer Widens Investigation of Insurance Price Rigging

This is one great specific example of the myth of capitalism (that is, we pretend the US is a capitalist nation when it is not). You'll notice others anywhere there is manipulation of the so-called free market:
The insurance controversy became public last week, when Mr. Spitzer sued Marsh & McLennan, the world's biggest commercial insurance broker, accusing the broker of rigging bids from insurance companies and fixing prices for corporate customers in exchange for fees from the insurance companies.

Three insurance companies have entered guilty pleas to rigging bids, and more criminal charges are expected, perhaps as early as this week.

Such bid-rigging schemes, investigators contend, have indirectly increased the costs of everything from houses to toothpaste as corporations pass along the expense. The bid rigging was discovered, Mr. Spitzer said last week, during an investigation into incentive fees insurers pay to insurance brokers.

But there are other potential conflicts of interest in insurance that may have a more direct impact on consumers. Investigators in New York and California are now examining whether brokers and consultants are demanding extra fees for favored treatment in the sale of employee benefits like group life and disability coverage.
Full NYTimes article (in GuvWurld News Archive, links to original).

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Saturday, October 16, 2004

Bush Lawyer Anticipates Delay in Tally

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)

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NYTimes Ponders Uncertain Election Outcome

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:

AMERICA could very well wake up on Wednesday, Nov. 3, not knowing who won the presidential election. Judging by the latest polls, the race is close enough in a number of key states that human error, technical foul-ups and the inevitable legal challenges could delay the results for days or weeks, in an unwelcome replay of 2000.

The likelihood of trouble at the nation's 200,000 polling places may be greater in 2004 than in any year in memory. Absentee and mail-in ballots, provisional voting, redrawn districts, untrained poll workers, millions of first-time voters and unfamiliar new technology are all conspiring to create a potential electoral nightmare in a tight contest.

The two major parties have brigades of lawyers ready to file legal actions at the first signs of irregularity at the polls. Already, lawsuits are challenging voter registration procedures in several states, and more litigation is sure to come anywhere that it might affect the outcome.
This article contemplates some of the approaches to change advocated by GuvWurld in the No Confidence Movement:

If either candidate wins without leading the popular vote, as Mr. Bush did in 2000, there could be serious calls to abolish the Electoral College and make other fundamental changes in the machinery of American democracy.

The only solution, he [Christopher Edley Jr., dean of Boalt Hall, the law school at the University of California, Berkeley, and a member of the United States Commission on Civil Rights] said, is a standardized national voting system that gives everyone an equal chance to have his or her vote properly counted.
The article adds, as if to suggest we have not yet bottomed out, but doing so could be the ultimate impetus for real reform:
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. Following up on one of Tuesday's entries, I will be addressing the Eureka, CA City Council this week aiming for a commitment to call upon state and national figures to reject the results. I welcome instruction from the Council on what response from the public would first be necessary to prompt their official action.

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Tuesday, October 12, 2004

101 Ways The US "Supports Its Troops"

"Support the Troops" is government propaganda. The following events are inconsistent with a government supporting the troops.

Did the Pentagon support the troops when it withheld medical data from the cold war, neglected to establish baseline medical records, or hushed information about vaccines forced on troops?

Are the troops short on chemical suits getting the same support as the troops short on body armor? Are these troops jealous of the other soldiers who got enough support to buy their own gear? As the world's sole superpower, the US military has warned other countries against even considering amassing a rival force, yet we still run short on rifles and bullets, and sometimes don't know who we are fighting. Unneeded body armor delivered in Kosovo embarrassed soldiers aware of the missing support it represented to the troops in Iraq.

The United States military is known for supporting its troops with the illegal weapon called Depleted Uranium. The weapons of soldiers in the field have been made nuclear by radioactive dust with a half-life of 4.5 billion years. DU is strongly believed to be the cause of the otherwise mysterious "Gulf War Illness," which is now affecting soldiers returning from the second Iraq war, as well as causing birth defects and cancers among American and Iraqi children of exposed parents. The United States can't and won't clean it up.

All of this support comes despite fully informed warnings from military medical officers such as Dr. Doug Rokke and Dennis Kyne. Not all concerns are heard. Some whistle blowers, such as William Lovett, Robert Jones and Stephen Funk have faced courts martial. For others retribution has been denial of medical care or psych ward lockup. Ever supportive of efforts to improve the military, news of faulty tanks, undefended helicopters and indeed even a report commissioned on lessons learned have been suppressed.

* * *

All of these links direct you to the GuvWurld News Archive, a vast resource of information the Bush administration would probably rather we not remember. This essay was supposed to go on until I had 101 references but I just don't have time to complete it. At this point I invite readers to submit further examples of the sabotage wrought by the US government. This can easily be expanded from the military to the economy, the environment, and many other topics.

Ultimately, I hope people will use the sabotage paradigm to show others how the political establishment, from both sides of the aisle, coordinates the disassembling of our best interests. For We The People to overcome, you and your Bush-backing neighbor must determine that you are not against each other and your preferred candidate, but rather united against Bush AND Kerry and their concerted efforts to perpetuate illusions and myths such as patriotism and democracy.

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Suggested Reading 10-12-04

Several good new additions to the GuvWurld archive:

I've recently read several articles quoting US military forces questioning their presence in Iraq. The best one was in Mother Jones, talking with current conscientious objectors as well as various Veterans for Peace.

ZDNet and the NYTimes both cover the push for a National ID card.

The BBC reports: "The FBI has shut down some 20 sites which were part of an alternative media network known as Indymedia."

There are also many new pieces on Voting so I encourage you to browse that whole section of the archive which you can sort either by date or alphabetically by publication.

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Simulated Competition

Sunday's Washington Post ran "Behind the Scenes, Officials Wrestle Over Voting Rules."

The thing here is that disputes among partisan voting officials should be resolved in the open, not behind the scenes. These myriad controversies inevitably involve the courts, and not all will be definitively resolved before the election. AP reports:
"Republican and Democratic lawyers both say at least one court challenge seems inevitable. Both sides are far more ready for the fight this year, and unlikely to let any viable challenge slip through their fingers. Instead of one Florida, the country could wake up on Nov. 3 to three or four."
The real competition occurs in these 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.

There are two aspects to what I now propose. First, local politicians not up for re-election should be asked to go on the record with a commitment to hold accountable the state and national officials we'll need to have calling BS on our behalf. We also need to be preparing our own collective statements within our communities, identifying before the election, standards we expect to be upheld - for news reporting and civil rights enforcement, at a minimum.

I am back on this and will be reaching out to a few local officials this week.

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Thursday, October 07, 2004

October 7, 2004 - Recent Posts to the Archives

A few of the new articles on --

"Rep. Henry A. Waxman has released a comprehensive examination of secrecy in the Bush Administration. The report analyzes how the Administration has implemented each of our nation’s major open government laws. It finds that there has been a consistent pattern in the Administration’s actions: laws that are designed to promote public access to information have been undermined, while laws that authorize the government to withhold information or to operate in secret have repeatedly been expanded. The cumulative result is an unprecedented assault on the principle of open government." Secrecy in the Bush Administration

"Bush's compassionate conservatism has turned out to be neither compassionate nor conservative. The policy of funding the work of faith-based organizations has, in the face of slashed social service budgets, devolved into a small pork-barrel program that offers token grants to the religious constituencies in Karl Rove's electoral plan for 2004 while making almost no effort to monitor their effectiveness." Faith Without Works

"Civil liberties and immigrant rights advocates say House Republicans are using legislation based on the 9/11 Commission's recommendations as cover to implement a series of troubling, un-related reforms condoning torture, limiting immigration and increasing surveillance of both non-citizens and citizens." Stripping More Civil Liberties in Name of Anti-Terrorism

"The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press provides a lengthy list of actions taken by public officials to turn basic government information into state secrets." Freedom of Information Threat Level Severe

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