Tuesday, June 20, 2006

SPECIAL EDITION: “Until this issue is burning on the mind of every citizen” -- Words of Power Interviews Mark Crispin Miller

SPECIAL EDITION: “Until this issue is burning on the mind of every citizen” -- Words of Power Interviews Mark Crispin Miller

"US politics is now based not on voters but on donors, just as the media here is based far less on readers/viewers/listeners than on the media cartel's advertisers and big shareholders. The point here is that we need election reform and campaign finance reform and media reform. There is no separating them. What we need amounts to revolution." Mark Crispin Miller, Words of Power Interview, 6-20-06

By Richard Power

If there is a future for the U.S., and reality-based history is a part of it, Mark Crispin Miller’s contribution to the ongoing struggle of these last few years will be acknowledged as vital and uniquely important. With his one-man shows, and his books, and his blog, Notes from the Underground, Miller has provided invaluable context and continuity during this strangest, and most disturbing episode in the life of the nation.

His three books, Bush Dyslexicon: Observations on a National Disorder, Cruel and Unusual: Bush/Cheney's New World Order, and Fooled Again: How the Right Stole the 2004 Election & Why They'll Steal the Next One Too (Unless We Stop Them), taken as a whole, offer a profound overview of what is wrong with our body politic, how it all went so bad, and who is responsible.

In my reading of Bush Dyslexicon and Cruel and Unusual, two themes dominate:

The Bush-Cheney cabal, along with much of the right-wing movement that the cabal has co-opted for its own gain, is psychologically unhealthy, dangerously so.

The US mainstream news media, far from being “liberal,” is indeed complicit in efforts to curtail independent inquiry, marginalize dissent and fabricate a false “conservative” majority that serves corporatist interests.

Fooled Again is a chilling expose on the theft of the 2004 election, and it articulates the third dominate theme in Miller’s work to date:

The last three national elections, i.e., 2000, 2002 and 2004, were stolen, and unless such nefarious efforts are thwarted in 2006, and 2008, those democratic and republican institutions on which the promise of the US was established, will have been overthrown in all but name, and, furthermore, that if these institutions are lost, it will difficult to restore them without great suffering.

Fooled Again, along with the US Civil Rights Commission’s report on what happened in Florida in 2000, Vincent Bugliosi’s Betrayal of America, John Nichols’ Jews for Buchanan, Rep. John Conyers’ What Went Wrong in Ohio (2004), the US GAO’s 2005 report Federal Efforts to Improve Security and Reliability of Electronic Voting Systems Are Under Way, but Key Activities Need to Be Completed, and most recently, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s Was The 2004 Election Stolen? (Rolling Stone, 6-1-06), provide an exhaustive, and damning look at a democracy and republic gone wrong.

Of course, it is much simpler to remain in deep denial and play pretend politics, as Beltwayistan Democratic operatives, US mainstream news media propapunditgandists, and even scions of the progressive alternate media, e.g., Al Franken and The Daily Kos, have chosen to do. It is important to remember that all of their prognostications and all of their political analyses are flawed and wrongly premised. “The Democrats need to do this….” “The Democrats need to do that…” “If only Gore had done this…” “If only Kerry had done that…” Gore and Kerry both won, and we are in much worse trouble than many among us have come to grips with.

Here, in Words of Power’s first on-line interview, are Mark Crispin Miller’s responses to five big questions.

Words of Power: Listening to you on the Randi Rhodes Show recently, I was struck by something you said about 2004, i.e., that 2004 was much more extensive, much more elaborate, much more national, etc. because it wasn't even close, because Kerry had won by as much as 8 million votes. That jibes with everything I saw in the pre-election polls, and felt as I traveled around the country. It also jibes with common sense. The media covers up for them and is complicit, but it cannot hide who Bush is, especially after those three debates. Bush was already very unpopular then. Perhaps you could expand a bit here on how 2004 differed, in scope and audaciousness, from 2000 or 2002?

Mark Crispin Miller: Election fraud has been a problem in the USA for quite some time. (Andrew Gumbel's book is very good on this.) However, from this historical fact it does not follow that the fraud last time was just business as usual. The rip-off in 2004 was different from its antecedents in three major ways.
First of all, the theft was on an infinitely larger scale. We're not talking here about a close race whose results were muddied only in one state--as in, say, Illinois in 1960, or, for that matter, Ohio in 2004. (It was not really that close in Ohio, but that's another issue.) What happened in 2004 happened from coast to coast, at every level from the top down to the grass-roots, and at every step of the whole process: i.e., before, on and following Election Day. There is abundant evidence of massive fraud in many states, and in the treatment of US expatriate votes. Conservatively, I'd guess that Kerry won, or would have won, by some 8 to 10 million votes.
Second, the fraud last time was quite unprecedented in its technological sophistication. That is, it was a theft far stealthier than any that's gone down in any national US election, because of the extremely large role played, nationwide, by DRE machines. As even the GAO has pointed out, it's very easy to manipulate the vote count via DRE machine, and to do so undetectably. That development has brought the art of anti-electoral subversion to a whole new level
Finally, and most important, the election fraud last time was unprecedented in its motivation. (I didn't get to make this point on Randi's show, although I make it in Fooled Again.) This push to disenfranchise the electorate was not based on the usual rational reasons why both parties have, historically, engaged in dirty tricks,etc.: i.e., power-lust and greed. It's rational to want the spoils of war. In 2004, the drive to disenfranchise the majority was largely based on an irrational hatred of American democracy itself. Crucially, it was the party's theocratic bloc that played the largest role in that unprecedented drive, at least at the grass-roots level. These are the dominionists, who see the US as a "Christian republic," and therefore hate the Constitution. These activists believe sincerely that their political adversaries are evil, and so must be stopped by any means necessary--whether they are the majority or not. This is not entirely new in US history; the theocrats played a big role in the Federalists' presidential campaign against Thomas Jefferson in 1800. But in its scope and its success, it's certainly a new thing in modern presidential and electoral politics.

Words of Power: I am researching the other cyber security issues beyond the insecurity of electronic voting machines themselves. For example, I remember stories about the disappearance of back-up tapes from Katherine Harris’ office in Fraudida 2000. Then, of course, there are tabulation computers, and their physical and cyber security. What I am getting at is that there are other ways to hack the vote. I have no doubt that some of the most basic elements of cyber security program (e.g., audit trails, logs, strong authentication, certified information security professionals hired, outside security assessments conducted and the results mitigated) are not in place around the IT systems that support the voting process. Hospitals and air traffic control systems are weak. Why would state and local departments responsible for voting be any different? My concern is that people are focusing too much on just the voting machines themselves, and in particular on the issue of a paper receipt as "proof." So have you looked into these other issues at all? Do you have anything thoughts on such questions? Anything in Ohio 2004 of Fraudida 2000 jump out at you?

Mark Crispin Miller: It's true that we have so far over-focused on the e-voting machines themselves. The optical scanners (which are often manufactured by the same suspicious firms that make the DRE machines) are also problematic, as are the computerized tabulators. (Triad, the corporation that sold the tabulators used in Ohio, and that interfered aggressively with the court-ordered recount there, has close ties to the GOP.) And then, of course, there was the epidemic of old-fashioned vote suppression, through intimidation and disinformation. That sort of thing, which has been rampant in the South since1876, went on all over in 2004. Bush & Co., in other words, have brought Jim Crow to most of the United States. The problem here, in short, is not just technical, but civic in the broadest sense. It's not just about a certain kind of voting mechanism, but the influence of a subversive anti-democratic movement that has now siezed the Republican Party, the federal government and numerous state governments. Where there's a will there's a way; so we should ultimately focus on that will to undercut democracy. But we also have to get rid of computerized voting, which is that subversive movement's primary weapon against all the rest of us.

Words of Power: The 2006 mid-term elections are coming on us fast now. And there is widespread suspicion and documented evidence abut 2000 and 2004, but there is less understanding among people that I talk to about the mid-term elections of 2002. Looking forward to 2006, I have two thoughts. First, it is harder to steal a national election of hundreds of local races than it is to steal a presidential race (or a single key race like Busby), either of which can be brought down to a few precincts in a handful of battleground states. In 2002, the problem really was just in the Senate, which was so close at that time. All someone had to do was screw up New Hampshire (proven), and Georgia (that rat stinks to high heaven even if we never uncover it), and Minnesota (oh yes, I do think it is possible that Sen. Wellstone and his family met with foul play, and that they probably had to steal it for Coleman against Mondale anyway, but it was a lot closer for them than it would have been with Wellstone). My second thought is that perhaps their influence won't be so strong, and their cumshaw won't spread so far, now that they are so unpopular and weakened politically. Wishful thinking? What are your thoughts on how to steal a mid-term in general? What are your thoughts on 2002, and on 2006?

Mark Crispin Miller: As I say, where there's a will there's a way; and the Bush Republicans most definitely found their way in 2002, as I point out in Fooled Again. There were unexpected far-right victories in at least four Senate races that year: Minnesota, Colorado, Georgia and New Hampshire. Diebold figured prominently in all four. It was through fraud, I believe, that the Bush Republicans "won" back their Senate "majority" in 2002, thereby recovering from Jim Jeffords' defection. The GOP's astonishing unpopularity will surely make it harder for them to maintain their dominance, but don't think for a moment that it means they're doomed. Races always tighten up toward Election Day; and with the media (both corporate and "progressive") ever-ready to explain (away) all the anomalies, firsthand accounts of disenfranchisement and other troubling news, the burden of proof will, once again, be on the believers in democracy. So we have to be prepared to (1) ensure the largest possible national turn-out; (2) scrupulously monitor each and every sensitive race; (3) study the statistical data mercilessly; and (4) just say NO to the results, if and when we find them inexplicable.

Words of Power: I vividly remember attending your performance in NYC way back in 2002 or 2003. I was in the front row, you looked right at me, and said the Democrats were "craven." Being a life-long partisan, I bristled. But I confess, you were right. And I have come to the conclusion that Beltwayistan has corrupted and compromised the party I fought for all my life. It is a faux opposition, and a disgrace. And personally, I do not know what to do, except fight on and pick my shots, and perhaps consider a post-Nader Green Party. I know that, in the days before the 2004 election, Cheney threatened that the country would be attacked if Kerry won. I know that Kerry admitted to you it was stolen, but then denied it. It is hard not to see Kerry as complicit, at least by default. He had promised he would fight. Anyway, my question is why do the Democrats run away from this scandal? John Conyers and RFK Jr. are the only high-profile Democratic leaders to confront this issue head on. Why? Is it cowardice? Have they been bought off? Is it denial? It is inexcusable, but it is worse than that too, it is stupid. Unless, they are in on the take. What are your thoughts?

Mark Crispin Miller: Some of them are no doubt complicit. Most of them are in denial. I suspect that all, or almost all, of those who keep refusing to confront this issue have been influenced--some would say corrupted--by the system. US politics is now based not on voters but on donors, just as the media here is based far less on readers/viewers/listeners than on the media cartel's advertisers and big shareholders. The point here is that we need election reform and campaign finance reform and media reform. There is no separating them. What we need amounts to revolution.

Words of Power: What can people do -- directly, tangible -- in their own lives, and at both the local and national levels?

Mark Crispin Miller: Join the election activist reform groups in your state; and do all you can do to get the word out about how the system was subverted in 2004. That scandal has to resonate, before the movement for reform can grow into a mass movement-- which it must do, or it will never be effective. Harass the media, both local and national, for not covering it or for caving in to Diebold, Bush, et al., and rag on your elected (?) representatives. Don't let up until this issue is the issue burning on the mind of every citizen.

RELATED POST: Words of Power #22: Election Fraud As Information Warfare, and a National Security Issue

Richard Power is the founder of GS(3) Intelligence and http://www.wordsofpower.net. His work focuses on the inter-related issues of security, sustainability and spirit, and how to overcome the challenges of terrorism, cyber crime, global warming, health emergencies, natural disasters, etc. You can reach him via e-mail: richardpower@wordsofpower.net. For more information, go to www.wordsofpower.net

, , , , , , , , , ,