The New York Times yesterday published an article about Biden’s “war room,” a “major new legal operation” to deal with election protection. Staffed with hundreds of lawyers and big names like Eric Holder, we are led to believe that the Biden campaign will, unlike campaigns before it (Clinton and Kerry, for example) be prepared to handle any threat to the election process.
But, the article itself and the attitudes expressed by the people involved in this “operation,” demonstrate that both the NYT and the Biden campaign have swallowed hook, line and sinker the head-fake of the Trump administration.
The Biden campaign is described as responding to “baseless accusations of widespread fraud.” But, the accusations of fraud are not baseless.
“It’s going to be fraud all over the place,” Trump said in June. “This will be, in my opinion, the most corrupt election in the history of our country…” Trump should know. The Republican party is orchestrating the corruption.
But, by accusing the Democrats of fraud, early and often, the Republicans accomplish the same head-fake they pulled off in 2016. The Republicans yell fraud. The Democrats respond that the election will be fair. The head of this “operation” stated: “We can and will hold a free and fair election this fall and be able to trust the results.” The Republicans cheat like hell and win. The Democrats are left holding their private parts. How many times do we have to watch this happen?
There the legal battles being conducted in numerous states, especially in swing states to suppress the vote. In Florida, for example, an appeals court ruled Friday that people who had completed sentences for felonies would have to pay fines and fees before they could vote thereby imposing a poll tax. This is only one example.
Nowhere, nowhere does the article mention an effort of the Biden “war room” to confront perhaps the most dangerous of all threats to the integrity of the election, the utter lack of transparency of the vote count.
In fact what the article demonstrates clearly is that the Biden campaign is not going to touch this issue, and the corporate media is not going to bring it up.
As Jonathan Simon has written:
“We are about to head into the most critical set of elections in living memory continuing to permit our votes to be counted unobservably and without verification in the partisan, proprietary, pitch-dark of cyberspace and trusting that manifestly corruptible process to deliver the truth—an honest and accurate counting of our votes.”
It’s a war room preparing for the wrong war, and we ought to be asking why?
It has become obvious to me that the Republican Party is stealing the 2020 election.
They are stealing it behind our backs and they are stealing it in front of our faces. All you have to do to come to this conclusion is spend some time researching targeted voter sabotage as practiced by the Republicans since at least 2000.
But, instead of looking at the evidence and making a plan for what to do when the Republicans pull off yet another theft of a major election, the Democratic Party, the corporate media and regular citizens are busily waltzing off a cliff in a haze of self-congratulatory delusion. If, they tell us, we just go out and vote, Trump will be defeated, and all will be well.
I do not believe this to be true. I do not believe it to be true because I cannot look at the evidence that is available and come to that conclusion.
One of the first things you learn as a researcher is to question most what you want to believe. People in this country WANT to believe that the voting process is fair, that all they have to do is vote. There is an almost pig-headed refusal to look at the evidence that the voting system is not fair, has been rigged in the past, is being rigged now, and that rigging will likely determine the outcome of the 2020 election.
The Democratic Party leadership and party strategists desperately want to believe that all they have to do is put out ads, analyze polls, make campaign appearances (sometimes) and get out the vote. This is all they know – conventional campaign tactics. And, they simply refuse to accept the fact that we have entered a world in which conventional campaign strategies are meaningless. I don’t care how many polls you analyze, or how well you analyze them, if the vote count is manipulated, your effort will be irrelevant.
But, on the corporate news programs I listen to hour after hour of discussion of the polls and demographics, and likely voter turn-out. Corporate news pundits giddily and endlessly talk to other corporate news pundits, none of them willing to acknowledge the fact that if the Republicans do in this election what they have been doing in other elections for two decades, none of the polls and none of the analysis, is relevant. This means, of course, that the pollsters and strategists themselves are not relevant, and that is one thing they will never admit. So, they lie to themselves and they lie to us.
With this lie, they make us believe that a corrupted voting system is fair because THEY WANT TO BELIEVE THAT IT IS FAIR. If it is not fair, if all the traditional campaign strategies are useless, they might have to DO SOMETHING. They might have to stop rabbiting on endlessly on cable news, stop comparing each other’s living rooms, stop telling jokes and selling a “return to civic grace” as the answer to all our problems. They might have to do something. And, that’s the problem.
The demographics of the voting population, the polls, getting out the vote, promoting mail-in ballots, won’t make a damn bit of difference if the Republicans at the state and county level manipulate the vote count to win as they have done in the past.
There is absolutely no reason to believe that they will not manipulate the vote count and a great deal of evidence that they will. But, by ignoring this fact, the DNC, the strategists and the pollsters and the corporate news pundits keep themselves at the center of a rat wheel of influence, money, talk and activity.
The result, I fear, is that once again on November 4, we will be sitting in our homes looking at stunned corporate media pundits, strategists and pollsters disoriented and wondering how Donald Trump managed to win the electoral college yet again. They will babble about how amazing it is that the exit polls (if we even have them) could be so wrong. They will make the excuse that Trump voters don’t show up in the polling because they are ashamed to say they are voting for Trump. But, they will never, never question the integrity of the voting process itself.
When Trump has apparently secured enough electoral college votes to win, there will be nothing the Democrats and the corporate media and the strategists and the pollsters will be prepared to do. They will wring their hands and lament. They will talk about writing strongly worded letters. But, they will not question the validity of the results of the election and they will not fight to ensure that there is a fair election vote count. They have never effectively done so in the past and they will not do so in 2020.
Between now and November 3, (in order to try not to go bat-shit crazy) I intend to examine and share the information that is available to demonstrate what is almost certain to happen on November 3.
I am painfully aware that this is a process that makes people feel uncomfortable. People do not want to examine or talk about the corruption of the voting system. It’s inconvenient, it’s frightening, it’s paradigm changing and it means that they might have to DO SOMETHING.
People struggle to hold on to what makes them feel safe, and if this election is stolen like others before it, it will mean that we will be living in a different world. People are understandably afraid of that. But, putting our heads in the sand will not save us. On the contrary, I believe putting our heads in the sand will leave us disoriented, disorganized, demoralized and even more vulnerable to the onslaught of authoritarianism that will follow if Trump manages to remain in power.
The rights we think we have, the rights that we rely on to conduct daily life, will no longer exist for us, and that is a frightening prospect. But, no matter how much we want to believe that all we have to do is get out and vote, that desire doesn’t make it a reality.
Even among the community of people who study election sabotage and who have been warning about hackable modems in voting machines, voting systems that cannot be audited, the purging of voter lists, outrageously biased voting rules and a hundred other things that can and will be used to alter the vote count, there is still the tendency to want to argue that “overwhelming turnout” can overcome any voter system sabotage that may occur.
I simply cannot understand how this makes logical sense.
If Republicans sabotage the vote count, turnout, “overwhelming” or otherwise will not make that vote count accurate. If you can change vote tallies you can change thousands of votes or hundreds of votes. I have asked this question over and over to various experts in the field. The best answer I get is a rather weak statement about how “overwhelming voter turnout” will make it harder to alter the vote.
But, I don’t even understand the logic of this. Why will it make it harder? And how?
I can cast a vote for one candidate, but I cannot in any way determine how other people in my country cast their votes. If the county says that I was the only person voting for Biden in the entire county, how am I supposed to contest that? I have no access to the actual votes. I have no idea how other people voted. And, evidently in Georgia, there is not even an auditable vote count. So even if people in authority demanded a “recount,” it wouldn’t make vote sabotage any clearer.
In the state of Georgia, a recount of the votes involves nothing more than putting computer generated ballots through the same scanners a second time. A human being cannot determine by looking at these ballots who the voter voted for. The actual vote is recorded in a bar code that is unreadable by a human. So, a recount is just recounting the same ballots (which might be manipulated) all over again. That is useless.
I don’t know what to do but try to put together for myself the evidence leading to the conclusion that the Republican Party will successfully steal this election. It’s there now. There’s no need to wait until the election to see the outlines of the methods Republicans are using to manipulate the vote. They are doing it before our eyes.
If you have information, please let me know. If you have information refuting the supposition, please let me know also. If you find an argument weak, suggest another one. I’m open to all reputable information and welcome all critique. But, I cannot stand silent behaving as if I believe that voting is going to oust Trump and the Republicans. They have too much to lose to allow this vote to go against them. And, delusion is dangerous. In this case will only leave us totally unprepared for dealing with the outcome of another stolen election.
I hope I’m wrong about this. I truly hope I am wrong, but I do not think I am.
There are three important stories in the news within the past week relating to Latin America.
First, the Trump administration has appointed Elliott Abrams U.S. Special Representative for Iran. For those of us who have been interested in Latin America for decades, Elliott Abrams is a criminal who is widely despised. He should be in jail. If there was anything like a justice system for high level corporate, political and white collar criminals, he would be.
As Common Dreams (8/6/20 ) has noted, “Abrams is one of the architects of right-wing “regime change.” He “has made a career of lying and committing criminal acts that have led to the death and suffering of innocent people from Guatemala to Iraq.” “He embraces militarism, covers up for gross human rights abuses, and has a history of supporting authoritarian regimes.”
As if this wasn’t enough, Abrams pleaded guilty to lying to Congress in 1991 as part of the Iran-Contra affair. He was later pardoned by George H.W. Bush. Abrams admitted that he had willfully withheld information from congress in 1986 when he testified about the “secret Contra supply network and his role in soliciting a $10 million contribution for anti-Sandinista rebels in Nicaragua” (the Contras).
See “CODEPINK Denounces Elliott Abrams’…” common Dreams. August 6, 2020
The second story is about the release of a report detailing a State Department plan for regime change in Nicaragua intended to oust popularly elected members of the Sandinistas.
Ben Norton reports in The Grayzone that:
This newly released document outlines plans for USAID to oversee a regime-change plan to oust Nicaragua’s elected leftist government.
USAID (also widely despised in Latin America), is planning to establish a “market economy” in Nicaragua and purge the Sandinistas.
The socialist government in Nicaragua is democratically elected.
USAID, as always, functions here as a “regime-change” vehicle that “uses the pretense of humanitarian aid to advance Washington’s aggressive foreign-policy interests.”
The document presents this as a plan for “Nicaragua’s transition to democracy.” This is a euphemism for removing the leftist Sandinistas.
The report doesn’t even pretend to be anything but a hardline neoconservative document. It refers to the “Ortega regime” and makes it clear that the intent is to install a “neoliberal administration that will privatize the economy and…purge all institutions of any trace of the leftist Sandinista movement.”
The third, and related story, is that Joe Biden has recruited Anna Navarro to help him mobilize the Hispanic vote. The Democrats are opening positions of power within the party to a variety of never-Trump Republicans who have no goals or interests in common with publicly stated Democratic positions.
As Ban Norton (3/1/20) points out in his article published on The Gray Zone, Navarro has become “something of a celebrity among the anti-Trump republicans…” She has also become a welcome anti-Trump Republican voice among the corporate media. She is, for example, a frequent commentator on CNN and “The View.”
As Norton points out, “corporate media networks give Navarro a massive platform to attack progressives like Bernie Sanders and rebrand her neoconservative politics before impressionable liberal viewers who despise Trump, Navarro’s professional background has faced little scrutiny.”
Navarro, however, “lobbied for El Salvador’s corruption-drenched right-wing government.” “Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) documents reviewed by The Grayzone reveal that Ana Navarro and her Republican lobbyist husband, Al Cárdenas, have worked with some of the most corrupt right-wing governments in recent Latin American history, including leaders who have overseen egregious human rights abuses and been convicted for serious criminal offenses.”
“Navarro hails from a wealthy family in Nicaragua, and still today she remains a staunch supporter of the Contras, far-right death squads that the CIA armed and trained in the 1980s in a regime-change war targeting the country’s socialist Sandinista government. The Contras waged a relentless terrorist campaign, massacring and torturing civilians in hopes of destabilizing the country. And Navarro has celebrated them as freedom fighters.
Navarro, now calls herself a “strategist” has branded herself a “moderate.”
None of this bodes well for Nicaragua or Latin America. And, it only reinforces the argument that Joe Biden, the corporate Democrats and the corporate media are turning the Democratic Party into Republican-light. It gives us even less reason to stay with the party.
Bill Barr, after being threatened with a subpoena by Jerry Nadler’s Judiciary Committee, appeared before the House on July 28, 2020. There was no reason for anybody who has watched Barr with increasing outrage and fury, as he has politicized the administration of justice in this country, to hold out much hope that these hearings would reveal much.
Democrats are hopeless at taking on people with even moderate intelligence in a hearing setting. They refuse to adopt an aggressive approach to Republican authoritarians. They are so concerned with being “nice” or “polite” or “well mannered,” they never anticipate the depths of obfuscation and bad behavior to which the Republicans are willing to sink.
When I switched channels over to MSNBC from TCM where I had been contemplating hiding in escapism for the duration, there was nothing but noise, loud, irritating, obnoxious noise. Then, the camera switched to a screen inside the committee hearing. On this screen was a video, displaying images of protesters, tear gas, confrontation, people pounding at fences. What? Isn’t this the Barr hearing?
It was the Barr hearing. What was going on was that bad-boy Jim Jordan, the crazed ex-wrestler who refused to report his colleague for sexual abuse, had introduced as an “opening statement” a long, selectively edited campaign video purporting to give an accurate representation of the protests occurring in various cities in the United States. The video employed one of the right’s main strategies, fear, creating fear and therefore anger in their base. That’s what Fox News does 24/7.
If you watched the video divorced from any other news, you would think the country was descending into total chaos and violent anarchy. That is exactly what the Republicans wanted to portray. They spent the rest of the hearing, pounding home the point and punching the key words over and over – protest, chaos, anarchists, violence, crime, hate…”my constituents are afraid.” As usual, the Republicans had all been briefed on the key words to use during the hearing to drive home the point. Like faithful soldiers, they complied.
This is a strategy they have used for decades. Even years ago, ten or fifteen Republicans would be interviewed independently on television. All of them would use the same words and phrases to describe a situation, to get their point across, to insert their frame on the news. They are good little soldiers, obedient and loyal and willing to do and say anything. That’s one of the many reasons we need to fear them and fight them.
But, even though, Jerry Nadler scolded Jordan for violating Committee rules by not notifying committee of the intent to show the video, the damage was done.
Why are Democrats always like Charlie Brown with the football? Every time, they stand around and watch Lucy put the ball on the ground, suspecting nothing. Then, they watch Lucy yank the ball out from under them. Then, they issue a scolding after the fact, or ignore the behavior with dignified silence.
Why didn’t Jerry Nadler know the Republicans were going to play this video? Why didn’t he review it? There had to be people in the hearing room, setting this up. If I had been burned as many times as the Democrats in hearings, I would have informants everywhere and somebody watching that room from the minute the doors were unlocked.
And, if you want to argue that Nadler couldn’t have known about the video, why didn’t he stop it? If showing the video violated the rules, why didn’t Nadler stop the video? Why didn’t he demand it be stopped when he saw that it was – a propaganda campaign ad that grossly misrepresented the situation? Nadler can’t walk but somebody could have been told to go and stop that video if it violated Committee rules. But, Jerry Nadler (and other corporate Democrats) refuse to enforce the rules?
I watch a lot of politics. I have spent most of my adult life reading about, watching, writing about, studying politics, specifically politics and crime. But, now, when one of these big hearings is scheduled, I start feeling queasy in the morning. I feel obligated to watch, to witness this descent into authoritarianism. But I don’t want to watch. As someone said yesterday on Twitter, how can these hearings always end up being a loss for both sides?
I know corporate Democrats are largely cowards, feckless cowards who will not fight, or enforce the rules even when enforcing the rules would be to their advantage. But, how did we end up with such a sorry lot? And, what are they afraid of?
I think part of the answer lies in the fact that Democrats are living in a culture in Washington that no longer exists. They can’t seem to accept, acknowledge, understand, that they are facing ruthless authoritarians who will resort to anything, anything to win. They act like if they just stand erect, stare directly ahead of them and behave in a dignified manner (watch Adam Schiff), this ruthless, gutter fight for power on the part of the Republicans will disappear.
In fact, Joe Biden has said just that. He has stated that when we get rid of Trump, all his Republican friends are just going to go back to “normal” and we can return to a bipartisan Kumbaya that hasn’t existed for decades. Republicans haven’t been “normal,” haven’t participated in this gentleman’s club of bipartisanship for decades. And, they aren’t going to do so now. People keep saying we need somebody who can “unite us.” No, that’s not what we need. We need somebody who can marginalize and neuter these rabid authoritarians, see them for what they are, and push them as far away from power as we can get them.
An interesting “tell” here is the ability of the “squad” and some of the other recently elected Democrats to run circles around these career corporate Democrats in hearings. They are not still living in a culture that doesn’t exist.
First, they aren’t afraid. They aren’t afraid to use their common sense and ask questions that make Republicans squirm. They ask the sort of questions that these career corporate Democrats would rather die than ask. Secondly, these women come prepared. They generally don’t just read a prepared statement like they’ve never seen it before, stumbling over what are supposed to be their own words. Third, they usually actually show up and listen to the hearings. They don’t just appear and read a series of questions like bad third-grade actors. They know what has gone on in the hearing and are capable of adapting to the situation. Fourth, these women were by-and-large elected in an upset. They have not been groomed by the DNC. They were elected with a skill set that was larger than just being able to raise money and kiss butt. When I watch people who have been on capitol hill for decades perform at a committee hearing, stumbling through the text of canned questions written by their staff, I always think: They are there because they can raise money, lots of money. That’s the only reason they are there. The DNC supports these types of candidates over other candidates that are more qualified because they can raise money and will behave.
The DNC has worked tirelessly to keep new candidates from emerging in the Democratic party and has created a blacklist for consulting businesses who work for candidates challenging incumbents. The Congressional Black Caucus actually supported an incumbent, Elliott Engels, over a progressive black challenger. This tells you how institutionalized these Democrats have become. The DNC is actively working to keep people in Congress who will play ball, who will not enforce the rules, who will not fight, and who will not ask the tough questions.
Recently, I read an interview of somebody in the music industry. She said: “Oh, they don’t look for talent anymore. They look for somebody with the right look and a compliant personality.” That’s what the DNC looks for and they are selling us down the drain by doing so. That’s why an important hearing makes my stomach hurt.
Well, it seems that advisors around the White House were not able to keep Trump from having the disgusting and embarrassing pressers every day. He was out there again reading meaningless statistics, not wearing a mask, and becoming incensed when reporters asked him innocuous questions.
I have come to despise that sing-song voice he uses when he reads aloud. And, he read aloud today. I am sure his staff tried to get him to confine himself to reading aloud, but of course he couldn’t do that. And, like usual, he made an ass out of himself attacking a female reporter.
The female reporters in these White House briefings could provoke a total melt down from Trump if they just persisted in asking relevant questions and refused to back down. Or if one of them, just one of them, asked Trump if he realized that their job was to ask questions and his was to answer them. But, as it stands now, none of them are prepared to do this.
When I complained once about the servility of the White House press on Twitter, I received multiple replies explaining to me that reporters couldn’t ask pointed questions because they might lose the positions they had worked so hard to attain. This line of reasoning drives me crazy.
We have evidently become a society in which people simply assume that it is normal to abase themselves in order to keep a job. I cannot count the number of times I have heard political pundits state in a matter-of-fact manner that members of Congress can’t do this or that because they might then have an opponent in a primary, or God-forbid lose an election.
When did we become a country in which it was assumed that everybody would just do what they were told, sacrifice any standard, abandoned any integrity, kiss any ass just to hold a job? When did this become normal?
I’m sorry, but what ever happened to doing what is right? I know, it went out of fashion. I miss it.
Other notes from the News:
The Supreme Court will tomorrow take up whether Trump is going to be forced (like every other person) to turn over his tax returns. He is the first president since Nixon to refuse to do so. Trump’s lawyers have argued that this request for the tax returns is designed to “torment the president.”
Trump’s attorneys are arguing that he enjoys total immunity as long as he is in the White House.
In a friend of the court brief, lawyers argued that if the Supreme court rules for Trump and his lawyers “it will fundamentally alter the basic principles of accountability on which our democracy depends.”’
There are a lot of people who are still maintaining that our “institutions are holding.” I am not one of them.
Trudo, Hanna and Hunter Woodall (5/11/20) Daily Beast
In an interview on April 30, Joe Biden revealed that “…there’s some major Republicans who are already forming ‘Republicans for Biden.” He then specified that they were “major officeholders.”
“You don’t want something like this out on the street before it needs to be,” a GOP source said. “It just makes it much harder to do.”
Names that are being bandied about apparently include Jeff Flake, Bill Kristol, Michael Steele, Steve Schmidt, David Jolly and Mona Charen and John Kasich. .
Reached for comment, a spokesperson for the Biden campaign said, in part, “Vice President Biden is running for president to unite our country and rebuild the soul of the nation, and to accomplish that we need to bring together Americans from across the political spectrum to build the broadest possible coalition to defeat Donald Trump.”
At one point in late 2019, Biden even floated the prospect of selecting a Republican running mate.
In late April, Biden stated that he would consider naming Republicans to his Cabinet.
Derysh, Igor (Salon, 6/19/19).
In June of 2019, Biden assured rich donors at a New York fundraiser that “nothing would fundamentally change” if he is elected.
He promised not to “demonize” the rich and that “no one’s standard of living will change, nothing would fundamentally change.”
This was just after Biden appeared at the Poor People’s Campaign Presidential Forum where he said that poverty “was the one thing that can bring this country down.” “We have,” he stated “all the money we need to do it.”
Biden went on to say that the rich should not be blamed for income inequality, pleading to the donors, “I need you very badly.”
For the rich donors in New York: “I hope if I win this nomination, I won’t let you down. I promise you,” he added.
Biden also complained that some Democrats criticized his eagerness to work with Republicans after Republicans spent years blocking President Obama’s agenda and moving further right.
Biden pointed out that his ability to work with segregationists like former Mississippi Sen. James O. Eastland and Georgia Sen. Herman Talmadge showed that he could “bring people together,”
“I was in a caucus with James O. Eastland,” Biden said. “He never called me ‘boy,’ he always called me ‘son.'”
“At least there was some civility,” he said. “We got things done. We didn’t agree on much of anything. We got things done. We got it finished. But today, you look at the other side and you’re the enemy. Not the opposition — the enemy. We don’t talk to each other anymore.”
I hate to tell Joe Biden, but the problem here is not that we don’t talk to Republicans. The problem is that we have listened to Republicans. They want to establish a one-party Christian Nationalist state that has no room for democracy.
You cannot compromise, bring together, be civil to people who are trying to destroy democracy. You either fight them or you let them win. Joe Biden will let them win. He has done it his entire career.
A discussion of politics, law, justice, and crime.