Sunday, November 02, 2008

Campaign '08 Update: Random Courage & Senseless Acts of Conscience

Jefferson Memorial at Sunset

“Warriors do not win victories by beating their heads against walls, but by overtaking the walls. Warriors jump over walls; they don’t demolish them.” Carlos Castaneda

Campaign '08 Update: Random Courage & Senseless Acts of Conscience

By Richard Power

Over the next 48 hours, those of us who have lived with our eyes open, and our voices raised, for the last eight years will be struggling to keep dread in check and hope on hold. The stolen elections of 2000 and 2004 cannot be forgotten. (Click here to refresh the bitter memory.) But neither can the world's hope that the USA will choose reason over madness. (Click here to re-live an extraordinary moment.)

Yes, Clinton-Gore built a "bridge to the future." (Of course, it had some hidden tolls that many of us did not acknowledge, i.e., Telecommunications Act, NAFTA, etc. But it was a bridge nonetheless.)

Bush-Cheney dragged the nation, kicking and screaming, back across into the 20th Century, and then in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, they dynamited and demolished that bridge.

McCain-Palin say, "My friends, there is no way to forge the divide ahead. The only way forward is to go back. Come with us deep into the 19th Century!"

There is no sane alternative to electing Obama-Biden. The nation wants a change of course, and has confidence in the Democratic ticket. Every indicator shows this to be true. The people of the world (except for those who benefit from our blunders) desperately want it too.

But what will happen if this election is stolen?

There is evidence that the Rovian machine is running on empty. Its operatives are antsy and unhinged. Its leadership is conflicted.

But the Sun Tzus of human history say NEVER to assume a powerful adversary is finished until he is utterly vanquished, and Rove has not even been held accountable for contempt of Congress.

Do you remember the phrase about practicing "random kindness and senseless acts of beauty"?

Well, over these last hectic 48 hours, we will need many "random courage and senseless acts of conscience."

Here are some encouraging from the last few days --

An agreement reached late yesterday before a federal judge in Colorado ensures that tens of thousands of Colorado voters illegally purged from the registration lists will have their votes counted. The decision was hailed by voting rights and good-government groups in Colorado and nationwide as a victory for voters and a clear message to election officials must take the necessary steps to make sure that ballots cast by eligible voters must be counted.
"This is a major victory for voters. All eligible Colorado voters who followed the rules should have confidence that on November 4th they will be able to vote and their vote will be counted," said Ben Monterroso, national director of Mi Familia Vota.
Brennan Center for Justice, 10-30-08

Despite pressure from Ohio Republicans and President George W. Bush, the Justice Department has declined to intervene in a voter dispute in Ohio that could have purged at least 200,000 voters from registration rolls.
Jamie Hais, a spokesman for the civil rights division, said the Justice Department has been "in discussion" with Ohio’s Democratic Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner and is satisfied she has taken steps to ensure compliance with federal laws on voter eligibility.
Public Record, 10-30-08

Some three dozen workers at a telemarketing call center in Indiana walked off the job rather than read an incendiary McCain campaign script attacking Barack Obama, according to two workers at the center and one of their parents. Crooks and Liars, 10-28-08

[Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R)] announced an extension of early voting hours in Florida, because high turnout was causing the usual confusions and awful waits and accusations of disenfranchisement. The Republican legislature had restricted them to 8 hours a day on weekdays (so basically, if you have a job you cannot vote) and 8 hours total on weekends (so the weekend lines are so interminably long you give up). Now polls will be open 12 hours a day on weekdays and 12 hours total this coming weekend!
This is good for Democracy, but bad for Republicans. Ben Smith writes, “‘[Crist] just blew Florida for John McCain,’ one plugged in Florida Republican just told me.”

If the worst happens Tuesday night, start waving around this "Open Letter to Sen. Obama," signed by Gore Vidal and others --

Saturday, November 01, 2008
From David Swanson:
Gore Vidal et al to Obama: Do Not Concede!
An Open Letter to Senator Obama and the Democratic Leadership:
On Election Night, DO NOT CONCEDE!
"Eight years is too much" is how Barack Obama explained why we must win the coming election and begin to restore America. But, even if we receive the most votes, will we win the election?
Both of the last two elections were conceded by the Democratic presidential candidate. The 2004 election was handed to George Bush while votes were still being counted in closely-fought Ohio. While the 2000 election was contested to the Supreme Court, it too was ultimately conceded to Bush "for the good of the country."
Some good.
Numerous politicians, investigators and authors, including Robert Kennedy, Jr., agree the 2004 election was stolen, not only in Ohio but in several other battleground states. Tactics included purging of legitimate voters and the use of nefarious voting software--but when even these actions did not yield the required numbers, Republican election officials simply changed the vote tallies in several states, all without a peep from the Democratic Party.
In the time since the last general election the public has learned much about these scandals, which have led some states to reject electronic touchscreen voting (and which caused the infamous Diebold voting machines corporation to hide behind a new corporate name,) yet the Democratic Party seems to have learned nothing.
If we cannot afford another Republican administration, we cannot afford a third concession in the face of election fraud. Already there is evidence of massive fraud such as voter purging and caging of Democratic voters, and "flipping" of votes in early voting on electronic touchscreen machines. It is reasonable to once again
expect further manipulation on election night by some Republican operatives and election officials, as was seen in 2004; should we also expect our Democratic Party leaders and candidates to repeat history, by once again conceding in the face of such blatant fraud?
Senator Obama, we need you, our Party and all candidates to stand firm, come what may on election night. You ask us to work for you, contribute to you--and to have your back; we ask that you promise to have our back: We ask that you PLEDGE TO STAND FIRM, AND NOT CONCEDE THE COMING ELECTION in the face of election irregularities, no matter how long it takes to contest such fraud, while there remains any doubt as to any part of the process. Be assured, Democratic voters will be more--not less--energized if we see you promise to stand firm.
Senator Obama, if there is any reason to contest the election, DO NOT CONCEDE!
Signed: (Titles for identification purposes only)
* Gore Vidal, Author
* Bob Fitrakis, Professor of Political Science, Columbus State Community College, Attorney; Editor of The Free Press (
* Harvey Wasserman, Senior Editor,, Author of SOLARTOPIA! Our Green-Powered Earth
* Mark Crispin Miller, Professor of Media, Culture and Communication at New York University, Author of Fooled Again, How the Right Stole the 2004 Election
* Tim Carpenter, Director, Progressive Democrats of America
* Mimi Kennedy, Chair, National Advisory Board, Progressive Democrats of America
* David Swanson, Co-Founder, After Downing Street
* Eric Bauman, Chair, Los Angeles County Democratic Party
* Garry S. Shay, Member, Democratic National Committee (CA) Lead Chair, Rules Committee, California Democratic Party
* Jo Olson, MD, Co-Chair, Progressive Caucus, California Democratic Party
* Mal Burnstein, Co-Chair, Progressive Caucus, California Democratic Party
* Marcy Winograd, Executive Board representative, California Democratic Party, 41st AD, Former Chair, Progressive Democrats of Los Angeles
* David Earnhardt, Filmmaker, "Uncounted: The New Math of American Elections"
* Don Goldmacher, Chair, Election Integrity, Progressive Caucus, California Democratic Party
* Michael Jay, Progressive Democrats of America, Special Projects, Former Delegate, California Democratic Party, 42nd AD
* Sheri Myers, Director, "Wake Up and Save Your Country"
* Robert A. Feuer, Former Chairman, Stockbridge, MA Town Democratic Committee
* Thomas Patrick O'Shaughnessy, Region 3 Vice Chair, Los Angeles County Democratic Party Chair, Irish American Caucus, California Democratic Party
* Howard Jennings, PDA-Virginia, State Co-Coordinator
* Sarah Stott, Chapter Chair, PDA-Virginia
* Lisa Pease, Co-editor, "The Assassinations: Probe Magazine on JFK, MLK, RFK and Malcolm X"
* Cindy Asner, Former Delegate, California Democratic Party, Member, National Advisory Board, Progressive Democrats of America
* Julie Lopez Dad, President, Santa Monica Democratic Club, Chair, 41st AD Committee, Los Angeles County Democratic Party
* Dr. Bill Honigman, PDA California State Coordinator and Orange County Chapter Leader, Delegate, California Democratic Party, 73rd AD
* Linda Milazzo, Senior Editor,, Blogger, Huffington Post
* Rady Ananda, Senior Editor,
* Jan Baumgartner, Managing Editor,
* Cheryl Biren-Wright, Managing Editor,
* Sherry Healy, Co-Founder California Election Protection Network, Coordinator, Election Defense Alliance
* Laura Bonham, Summit County, UT Democratic Party Chairperson
* Albert E. Fairchild, Retired Foreign Service Officer
* Dorathea Peters, Precinct Captain, Alexandria, VA Democratic Committee
Notes from the Underground, 11-1-08

Visit Steal Back Your Vote, download the comic book, distribute it to everyone you know who gives a damn.

To follow developments in election security issues on a daily basis, I refer you to the fantastic work of both Brad Friedman (Brad Blog) and Mark Crispin Miller (Notes from the Underground).

Richard Power's Left-Handed Security: Overcoming Fear, Greed & Ignorance in This Era of Global Crisis is available now! Click here for more information.

For the Words of Power Archive of Election Security Posts, click here.

For an archive of Words of Power posts on Campaign '08, click here.

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