Saturday, October 27, 2012

Emergency Will Rogers Emergency

Why Romney has already won this electronic election, unless…
by Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman
October 26, 2012

From the FREE PRESS, headquartered in Columbus Ohio.

Electronically, this election is over. Mitt Romney has won. 
The big loser is not Barack Obama, or the corporate Democratic Party. It is democracy itself. 
Unless YOU act now, and are prepared to fight this out for years to come, whatever remains of American democracy is done. 



No nation that suffers the theft of three out of four consecutive national elections can harbor the illusion that it is run by the will of its people. 

Those who would have it otherwise must work from now to Election Day and beyond, to: 

• Check your registration -- millions of us need to confirm that we are still registered voters and haven’t been purged from the polls. You can do this by checking with your county board of elections either by phone or online, or by contacting you secretary of state’s office; 

• Occupy the polling sites – come out in droves on Election Day to guarantee that EVERY citizen can fairly vote. Make sure there is no voter intimidation or other repression of voting. Look for broken machines, proliferation of voters forced to vote provisionally, and other irregularities. If something happens to your vote, report it to us; 

• Document the vote count – help implement a national network of precinct-by-precinct monitoring systems to track as closely as possible the voter turnout as a check against the final tabulated electronic vote count. Take photos or video of the final precinct voting results posted at polling sites; 

• Stop voting machine rigging – Observe the polling stations to monitor which technicians come to “service” the electronic voting machines and how they do it. Take photos or video of them and their vehicles; 

• Gear up now for post-election legal and direct action strategies to resist an electronic tally almost certain to be rigged on election night in at least nine swing states...or however many it may take. 

Though all the pieces are in place, the GOP theft is not inevitable. But the realities are harsh and demanding: 

There are no meaningful, legally binding public checks and balances on the tabulation of votes cast electronically. 

• Exit polling has proven accurate to within 1% of the vote – the gold standard for detecting vote tampering in other countries such as Germany, which uses paper ballots. In the U.S., when exit polls don’t match the vote count, there’s no investigation into tampering. Exit polls are always “adjusted” late election night to conform to the ultimate “official” vote count, even though shifts in Ohio 2004 and elsewhere were virtually statistically impossible. This election, exit polling will not happen in 19 states. 

• Despite an almost total blackout from the corporate media, the Romney family has a personal ownership (through the investment firms Solamere and H.I.G. Capital) in Hart Intercivic, which owns, maintains, programs and will tabulate alleged votes on machines in the critical swing states of Ohio, Florida, Virginia and Colorado. Despite various official disclaimers, the election could be decided on Hart machines producing "vote counts" with little connection to how 18 million people actually voted. 

• It is inconceivable that the Romney chain of ownership in Hart Intercivic will not influence how that goes. The story has gotten widespread circulation on the internet, but has been ignored or dismissed by most of the corporate media and attacked by the Democratic Party. Petitions at and elsewhere call for a Department of Justice investigation. Tens of thousands of citizens have signed on. But there is no legally binding way by which a professionally rigged electronic vote count can be overturned or even definitively discovered except through the use of unabridged but legally inconsequential exit polling. 

• Scytl, a Barcelona-based e-voting company, has been contracted to count votes in 26 states through the easily rigged Federal Overseas Voting Program. FVAP is ostensibly geared to let military and other overseas Americans vote absentee by electronic means. But Scytl is positioned to intercept and redistribute such overseas electronic votes as needed through its spyware sister company, CarrierIQ. In a close race, these "votes" can be distributed at will to make the difference in critical swing states. 

• Other key voting machine companies, such as ES&S, Dominion, Command Central and more, are controlled by major corporations, some of whose owners are outspoken in their support for the Republican Party. Such support is reminiscent of Diebold owner Walden O’Dell, whose election software and machines helped give George W. Bush a second term in 2004, as O’Dell promised. 

• Republicans hold the governorships in the nine critical swing states of Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, New Mexico and Arizona. They also hold the secretaries of state offices in all of those states but Wisconsin. Electronically flipping the vote count in any or all of them, with Hart Intercivic, Scytl, Dominion or other technologies, can be done quickly, simply and invisibly, with no public recourse. 

• The GOP’s systematic “high-tech Jim and Juan Crow” disenfranchisement of millions of Americans continues to lengthen the odds against a Democratic victory, with millions of citizens being deprived of their right to vote. These voter ID and other laws have been focused on disenfranchising Hispanics, Hispanics, African-Americans and others suspected of leaning to the Democrats. 

• Though some of these laws have been turned back by the courts, Tea Party activists, True-the-Vote zealots and other Republicans will be at the polls to challenge voters they suspect of being likely Democrats. Many of these challenges will be illegal, but effective unless countered by the physical presence of election protection activists. 

• At least one Virginia GOP operative has already been arrested for destroying voter registration forms in a tactic that would deprive citizens of their right to vote, as reported at Also, there is a criminal prosecution underway in Florida over the destruction of voter registrations. 

• Republican-controlled election boards in Ohio are already deceiving potential voters with mailed misinformation about dates and locations for casting a vote. Such mailings were used throughout Ohio 2004 and elsewhere. Also, phone calls are being made to voters in order to mislead them on the day, time and location of voting. 

There is much more. The idea that the Chamber of Commerce and the GOP's horde of billionaire backers would spend hundreds of millions of dollars to capture the White House and Congress but stop short of a few electronic key strokes is nonsensical. 

Unfortunately, we cannot count on the Democratic Party to do much about this. Al Gore and John Kerry have said nothing about the stolen elections of 2000 and 2004. When the Free Press first broke many of the stories about the theft of the 2004 election, we were attacked first and most consistently by the Democratic Party, which hired a lawyer from the state's leading Republican law firm to attack our reporting. 

This year the Free Press is coordinating an on-the-ground monitoring of the vote in Hamilton County, where the election could be decided on Romney's own Hart Intercivic machines. Please contact us at if you'd like to help or contribute. casting a vote. Such mailings were used throughout Ohio 2004 and elsewhere. Also, phone calls are being made to voters in order to mislead them on the day, time and location of voting. 

In the meantime, wherever you are, do all you can to turn the electronic tide. As Rev. Jesse Jackson has put it, "We can afford to lose an election. We can't afford to lose our democracy." 


Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman have co-authored five books on election protection, including the new e-book WILL THE GOP STEAL AMERICA'S 2012 ELECTION? 

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Making Instruments of Peace

If you have a passing acquaintance with Saint Francis of Assisi you may associate him with a general blessing of animals which happens in many parishes on his feast day of October 4th  (he was the original 'talk to the animals' guy). Every October 4th two things happen which give me profound pause and prayer reflection. It is my Father's birthday (now deceased in heaven) and Saint Francis' feast day. I joke that its because its my father's birthday that all deacons are ordained most places on October 4th (and he coincidentally was a Deacon also-although a Presbyterian one.)

   My Irish Catholic grandfather was named Francis Joseph, and had one son named Francis Michael (uncle Mike) and a grandson John Francis and another son born on Saint Francis' feast day. So I figured Saint Francis was looking out after my family and it only appropriate I get to know Saint Francis a little better.  This had me journeying to Assisi twice to visit his tomb in Assisi in Italy. (That and the prayer to make me an instrument of his Peace which my mother always had on the refrigerator.)

     Saint Francis wanted to be a missionary of Peace- he did get to visit the Sultan in Egypt around the time of the Crusades who esteemed him enough to grant him safe passage to the Holy Land and it is for that reason that the Franciscans of the Holy Land guard and caretake all Christian holy sites in Jerusalem and Bethlehem to this day.  You can visit the Franciscan Monastary in Washington, DC which is an exact replica of the Shrine of the Holy Sepulchre church there.

     The Franciscans also were the only religious clerics not to flee the Bosnian crisis and stayed there for four hundred years of turkish rule in the Croatian/Bosnian region, in an underground church presence, through Ottoman rule and later Tito's communism. The Franciscans are the guardians of the holy site of Medjugordje which is a town untouched by the Bosnian conflict in which it is still believed that the Blessed Mother appeared to visionaries (some of whom still regularly see her.)- Because this is still going on it does not have full Papal approval while under investigation but has been deemed worthy and credible enough a site such that pilgrims may venture there officially now.

     There is an exhibit of war torn peoples by a photojournalist at the National Press Club you must see soon in which another Franciscan Friar in Franciscan attire is seen approaching a tank to dissuade the driver from whatever aspect of war he was engaged in. The franciscans try to stop wars. Make me an Instrument of Your Peace. They do it even if it involves walking up to a tank driver and trying to tell him to turn around and not shoot.

     If you are trapped in the Washington diplomatic mindset wherein the West Side Story "I'm so pretty, Oh So Pretty" ethic pervades the glitteratti wannabee culture, you should go see what real war looks like as reflected in the photojournalist exhibit at the National Press Club.

    War means real babies die of malnutrition- where hundreds of thousands of people are displaced, dislocated, homeless, moved from decimated village after village, seeking shelter and food. War means babies die. Today a slight and elegant UNHCR french gentleman named Sebastien introduced a tatooed British photojournalist who noted that he lost part of his intestine and a long suffering wife to divorce as a result of war and trying to tell people in pictures (using words only when necessary) what War really looks like. And yes, Americans, you did this. Your tax dollars at work.

    There are photos of Afghani children starving. Women cradling infants too thin to hold their heads up, You did this when you were too stupid to see the Bush created war to justify arms and oil profiteering. You did this when you voted for more war and defense when we were not even attacked. You did this.

    This election there really is only one question worth asking. Who is more likely to stop the madness.
Who is more likely to realize that the collateral damage doesn't justify the end. Collateral damage is starving children, homeless dying women, and refugees too numerous to feed.

Yes, you're pretty .Oh so pretty, as pretty as pretty can be Mr and Mrs America.
Now get over yourself and look at what you all are doing in the real world. Do it at least once a year- on October 4th, the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi- the tortured war veteran from the war in Peruggia.