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by Stephen Lendman
On Sunday, April 14, PSUV's Nicolas Maduro (United Socialist Party of Venezuela) faces opposition Rountable of Democratic Unity (MUD) candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski.
Most Venezuelans deplore him. They do so for good reason. He represents oligarch power, ties to Washington, and returning Venezuela to its ugly past.
Mid-April Venezuelan Presidential Elections Scheduled
by Stephen Lendman
Venezuela's National Electoral Council (CNE) President Tibisay Lucena announced Sunday, April 14. Acting President Nicolas Maduro carries Chavez's torch.
He'll do it responsibly. Millions of Venezuelans depend on him. He won't them down. It won't be easy. He faces enormous obstacles. So did Chavez.
Vatican Changing of the Guard
by Stephen Lendman
In April 2005, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected Pope Benedict XVI. At the time he said:
"Dear brothers and sisters. After the great Pope John Paul II, the Cardinals have elected me, a simple and humble worker in the vineyard of the lord."
By Linn Washington, Jr.
America’s corporate news media love highlighting David-besting-Goliath stories…except apparently, when the fallen Goliath is major media mogul Rupert Murdoch – the billionaire owner of America’s caustic FOX News and other entities.
By Kourosh Zaibari
Venezuelan Leadership Up for Grabs?
by Stephen Lendman
New reports about Chavez's health raise concerns. He's struggling to recover from complicated cancer surgery. Previous articles explained. More on his current status below.
On October 7, Venezuelans overwhelmingly reelected him. They want no one else leading them. He transformed national politics responsibly. He established participatory democracy and social justice.
Venezuelans Vote Again
by Stephen Lendman
In America, money power controls elections. People have no say. Each party replicates the other. Venezuela is different.
Voters take full advantage. They choose real democrats over fake ones. It shows in how Venezuelans are governed.
I took a walk up the hill yesterday.
It was a little muddy for sneakers.
I could feel the chill
Coming up through my soles.
At the top I turned
And was surprised to see
By Dave Lindorff
One little-noted but important result of the November election in the US that returned President Barack Obama to the White House for another four years is that the right-wing Israeli government and the Zionist lobbying organization AIPAC (for American Israel Public Affairs Committee) took a surprising drubbing and emerge a much weaker political influence going forward in US politics.
Money Party Wins US Election
by Stephen Lendman
The same party wins every time. Duopoly power rules. America is a one party state with two wings. Each replicates the other. On major issues mattering most, not a dime's worth of difference separates them.
The late Gore Vidal explained it as well as anyone. Some of his best comments included:
By Dave Lindorff
Okay, the etch-a-sketch vulture capitalist who would have given us four years of that smarmy missionionary-at-your-door smile, was thankfully sent packing by the voters, and Barack Obama gets four more years in the White House.
Today is election day here in these United States of America and this contest is- we have been told- the most important election of our lifetime and yet an estimated 90 million eligible voters will not vote at all.
Why is that?
Obama Votes for Romney
by Stephen Lendman
"Well, he might have," said Mark Crispin Miller on his blog site. He doesn't know. Nor do other voters. Corporate owned, programmed and manipulated electronic voting machines control things.
It is estimated that 90 million eligible votes will sit out this election. While there are small handfuls that articulate principled stances against voting, the overwhelming majority is part of an epidemic of indifference or self-imposed impotence.
Vote Independent or Stay Home
by Stephen Lendman
Voting for Obama or Romney is like choosing between death by hanging or firing squad. Either way you're dead.
The same goes for choosing Republicans or Democrats. Each party replicates the other. On issues mattering most, not a dime's worth of difference separates them.
TCBH! Election Issue, Part I:
I’m Voting Third Party This Year
By Dave Lindorff
I, for one, can’t do it.
Hi. You're beautiful. And I don't give a damn who you're voting for.
You don't give a damn who I'm voting for?
I swear on the Fourth Amendment.
We don't have that amendment anymore.
You know that?
Yes. What's the catch? Which hack are you hocking?
None of them. I'm serious.
For real? What planet are you from? Scratch that. Will you marry me and what planet are you from?
I'm not entirely sure.
I'm not sure what planet I'm from, and of course I'll marry you. Now I do want to ask you one thing.
I knew it! I want a prenuptial agreement.
No. No. I want to tell you something about me and ask you if you can understand it. I want to know if you can understand why I'm not voting for Obama.
But I don't care why.
OK, let me guess. He's less evil than Romney but less evil is still evil, and you don't want to be evil, and you just haven't managed to grasp that the more evil candidate is even more evil?
Good guess, but … completely wrong. You have to remember here that I'm not a blithering idiot. I know it's hard, but try. In fact, I'm willing to suggest that lesser evilism is a truism, requiring exactly zero cerebral exertion to comprehend. The more evil candidate will do more evil. Got it. But I'm still not voting for the less evil one.
OK, I have another guess.
You want the more evil candidate to win because you imagine it will create the sort of mass resistance that will turn the country completely around, whereas the less evil guy will just keep boiling us slowly like frogs.
Now that's slander.
How can it be slander when it's a guess?
Of the frogs, I mean. If you heat a pot the frog jumps out, and if you drop him in an already boiling pot he cooks. It's all backwards because frogs are just not as stupid as humans. We like to imagine . . .
So you DO want to make Romney president!
No. I do not want to make Romney president. Not to create mass resistance. Not to make it easier for President Hillary to put the final nail in our national coffin four years hence. Not because I'm mad at Obama and he hurt my wittle feelings. Not for any reason.
OK, I've got it.
You've got it?
Yeah, you're not going to vote at all because that way you're sending a message to the whole corrupt system that it sucks and you don't.
Um, we've got almost 100 million people trying that, and it hasn't sent anybody so much as a postcard yet.
All right. Let me think.
By all means. I'm not the thought police.
I can see that.
OK. This is it. You believe that Jill Stein or Rocky Anderson or some other hopeless candidate is our last true hope. You think they can win, or could theoretically win, or might begin to build a party that could theoretically someday win, or something like that.
That's five guesses.
We don't waste time in swing states.
Well, they're all wrong. They're so far off Diebold couldn't count them. They're not in the same ballpark. Those guesses are about as close to right as …
OK, so this isn't fair, because the answer is some crazy thing having to do with that other planet you're from or something. It's not fair unless it's something I know about.
You know about it.
Yeah, well, I call.
Are we playing poker?
Yeah, and I call. What have you got?
What are we playing for?
Beer? Are you, or are you not, better off than you were four beers ago?
All right. Here's the deal.
It's too late to deal. I call.
All right. All right. You know how we're always supposed to vote for the lesser evil candidate, but then four years later they're both more evil?
You know how last time the lesser evil candidate was for taxing the rich and ending wars and fixing NAFTA and restoring the rule of law and protecting civil liberties and tackling climate change and passing the Employee Free Choice Act, and this time the lesser evil candidate is for cutting Social Security and Medicare and spying without warrants and letting the CIA and Special Forces kill people every day and expanding NAFTA to the whole damn world and establishing an assassination program for men women and children and imprisoning people forever without charge or trial and drilling more oil?
Well, yeah, when you put it that way.
No, I'm not putting it that way. Remember, I'm agreeing that the more evil guy is more evil. We've been there, done that, right?
Right, so … ?
OK, so if we vote for the lesser evil guy every time but then the two choices are both more evil, there must be something else we should be doing. And I have an idea what it is. And we can't do it if we're doing lesser evil voting. So, I don't want Obama to win. I don't want Romney to win. I don't imagine that Stein or Anderson can win. I don't think the outcome of the election can send a message. I'm not interested in the outcome at all, because I'm more interested in whether the people of this country are doing this other thing I have in mind, and it just so happens that the only way they can do it is if they are the kind of people who vote for Stein or Anderson.
So, you want Jill Stein or Rocky Anderson?
No. I voted for Stein. Anderson is great too. I don't give a rat's derriere whether they get 1% or 20%, except as a side effect. I'm not interested in them, although I like them both. I'm interested in the millions of people who are going to vote or not vote and in what kind of people they are.
Who cares what kind of people they are if Romney ruins their country.
He can't. He can't do it if they're the kind of people I have in mind. And either Obama or Romney will do it, perhaps at slightly different speeds, if people allow them to.
I don't understand.
OK, well, let me try to explain. It's hard to put into a sound byte. Change comes from broad-based popular movements that impact the entire culture. This is how we got civil and political rights, how we got workplace rights and environmental protections -- such as they are. Everything worth achieving has been achieved by educating, organizing, inspiring, and pressuring the government, and not by picking the right portion of the government to reelect, cheer for, and withhold all criticism from. Now, you can say you want to vote for the lesser evil person while simultaneously protesting him, but it doesn't work that way. Most people's minds and most popular organizations devote themselves to lesser evilism on a permanent basis, not just the week of an election. Obama in 2009 told the big environmentalist groups not to talk about climate change, and most of them haven't mentioned it since, even in the midst of a hurricane. One group mentioned it and declared that the tar sands pipeline would be Obama's test, but the price for failing the test is having that group and its members vote for Obama's reelection a little less cheerfully. Obama told the unions and advocacy groups not to say "single-payer healthcare" and they obeyed, forbidding mention of it at their rallies, asking instead for a mysterious "public option" that was then of course denied them. You'd think it would be hard for people to sell out this way, especially in non-election years, but they help themselves along by the art of selective information consumption. Most -- not all, but most -- Obama voters have managed not to know about drone wars or kill lists or the Trans-Pacific Partnership. And, of course, it's extra hard to engage in serious activism while unaware what's going on. By activism I mean educating, organizing, rallying, marching, lobbying, reporting, editorializing, inspiring, blockading, boycotting, interrupting, mocking, replacing, and nonviolently resisting evil policies in the thousands and thousands of ways available to nonviolent activists. Someone said to me yesterday: "But Martin Luther King Jr. didn't start a third party." Of course he didn't. Neither am I. I wouldn't have wanted him to. I wouldn't want you to. But he also didn't sell out to an existing party. He didn't endorse and campaign for candidates. He didn't tell anyone that voting was the only tool available, because -- of course -- voting comes far down the list of tools that have proven effective through history. And when the voting system is as corrupted as ours is now, the only way to render it even more useless is to promise half the candidates that you will strive to annoy them throughout their terms but never ever vote against them (unless it's in a non-swing-state and in small enough numbers not to matter), and if they'll let you come to meetings at the White House you'll see what you can do about not annoying them either. Latinos threatened not to vote for Obama and won some immigration reforms. Labor unions threatened to bend over, and Obama kicked their ass. Is this beginning to make sense?
So, you think activism is more important than elections and you really mean it? So when elections get in the way of activism you want people to change their electoral behavior in whatever way will make them better activists, regardless of what happens in the election?
Exactly! Is that marriage thing still on the table?
Uh huh. You know what I was thinking?
Remember when the peace movement was big several years ago? I mean, not super big, but big enough to be noticed?
And then the Democrats came into Congress and into the White House, and it dried up, right?
Well, what if it hadn't? What if it had kept growing? What if everything that went into electing Obama the first time had gone into the peace movement? What if the Nobel Committee in its infinite wisdom had given a peace prize to the peace movement? What if the peace movement had a billion dollars and a gazillion volunteer hours to work with? Wouldn't that have been worth more than having Obama instead of McCain? Wouldn't that have made both McCain and Obama better or replaced them with better people and led to a choice anyway of the lesser evil candidate who would have been even less evil? Or if it didn't, but the movement continued to grow, wouldn't it stand a chance of turning things dramatically around in the coming years, unlike Dr. 47% or Captain Drone Warrior if left to their own devices?
You actually understand this! Now I have to ask what planet you are from.
No, let me ask you something.
Did you call this "Swing State Pickup Lines" because "Why Can't You Morons Get This Stuff Through Your Thick Skulls" sounded less attractive?
By Sam Husseini
Earlier this year President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act into law. It allows for the indefinite detention without trial for any U.S. citizen deemed to be a terrorist or an accessory to terrorism.
Some might have thought that there would be wide-spread revolt among people who voted for Obama against legalized indefinite detention. And there was some protest, mostly led by Chris Hedges (who did not vote for Obama), with some legal victories against the law.
Part I of this series suggested that there may well have been massive vote flipping for candidate Mitt Romney in the Republican primaries (Rigged Elections for Romney (10/22/12) The article and the initial research analysis were received broadly. In addition, highly motivated citizens across the country and a team of high school students contacted the authors for help replicating the research in their states. The researchers, Francois et al., point out that this can be done with their open source techniques.
The basic argument is straightforward. If you look at precinct level voting data arranged from the smallest to the largest precincts, you will see Romney's gains increasing substantially as the cumulative vote increases. For example, Ohio and Wisconsin show this clearly as do eleven other states presented here. This extraordinary vote gain from smallest to largest precincts is so out of line, that the probability that this would happen by chance alone is often less than 1 out of a number represented by 1 preceded by 100 zeros and a decimal point, a value beneath the statistical package’s lower limits. As a result, the researchers termed the suspected vote flipping for Romney the “amazing anomaly.” (The Amazing Statistical Anomaly)
Mike Elk of In These Times discusses this new / old twist on "democracy".
Total run time: 29:00
Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Engineer: Christiane Brown.
Music by Duke Ellington.
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You and I are getting ready to tape a debate on the question of whether to vote for Obama (in "swing states"). It will air on Lila Garrett's "Connect the Dots" show on KPFK next Monday. I'm looking forward to it, if for no other reason, because I think our public discourse lacks much serious debate between people who respect each other's intentions. I have nothing but respect for you and believe you mean nothing but the best in advocating votes for Obama. You honestly believe I was catastrophically wrong to vote for Jill Stein in Virginia, as I've done, and I honestly believe you are horrendously misguided to be expending your valuable energy trying to get others to vote for Obama. And yet we'll be friends through this and regardless of whether one or both of us ever change our minds.
An hour debate will also be a refreshing change from the usual sound byte simplification of the media, and yet not necessarily sufficient. So, let me tell you a couple of stories.
By Robert E. Prasch
Those following the political blogosphere are, no doubt, aware of vitriol being directed at some long-respected progressive voices who have concluded that it is time to vote third party. Fatigued by being again, as they were in 1996, 2000, and 2004, asked to vote for the “lesser of two evils,” they are tired of the “same old song and dance.” And it is old. Some readers may remember the bumper stickers beseeching us to vote for the Neo-liberal pro-Iraq War Senator John Kerry over the Neo-liberal pro-Iraq War George W. Bush: “Kerry Sucks Less.”
The November election is not a battle between Republicans and Democrats. It is not a battle between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. It is a battle between the corporate state and us. And if we do not immediately engage in this battle we are finished, as climate scientists have made clear. I will defy corporate power in small and large ways. I will invest my energy now solely in acts of resistance, in civil disobedience and in defiance. Those who rebel are our only hope. And for this reason I will vote next month for Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate, although I could as easily vote for Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party. I will step outside the system. Voting for the “lesser evil”—or failing to vote at all—is part of the corporate agenda to crush what is left of our anemic democracy. And those who continue to participate in the vaudeville of a two-party process, who refuse to confront in every way possible the structures of corporate power, assure our mutual destruction.
The presidential election of 2004 left much to be desired. Millions of votes were suppressed, and the evidence is overwhelming that votes were flipped by interested parties. Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman summarize:
"The widespread use of electronic voting machines from ES&S, and of Diebold software maintained by Triad, allowed [Ohio Secretary of State Ken] Blackwell to electronically flip a 4% Kerry lead to a 2% Bush victory in the dead of election night. ES&S, Diebold and Triad were all owned or operated by Republican partisans. The shift of more than 300,000 votes after 12:20 a.m. election night was a virtual statistical impossibility. It was engineered by Michael Connell, an IT specialist long affiliated with the Bush Family. Blackwell gave Connell's Ohio-based GovTech the contract to count Ohio's votes, which was done on servers housed in the Old Pioneer Bank Building in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Thus the Ohio vote tally was done on servers that also carried the e-mail for Karl Rove and the national Republican Party. Connell died in a mysterious plane crash in December, 2008, after being subpoenaed in the King-Lincoln-Bronzeville federal lawsuit focused on how the 2004 election was decided (disclosure: we were attorney and plaintiff in that suit). Diebold's founder, Walden O'Dell, had vowed to deliver Ohio's electoral votes---and thus the presidency---to his friend George W. Bush. That it was done in part on electronic voting machines and software O'Dell happened to own (Diebold has since changed hands twice) remains a cautionary red flag for those who believe merely winning the popular vote will give Barack Obama a second term."
There are no doubt honest people who have looked at the evidence and disagree that the election was stolen in 2004. There might even be -- although I can't imagine how -- people who have looked at Ohio 2004 and concluded that what went down was a respectable electoral process up to all international standards and beyond all possibility of doubt. I'm even willing to concede that someone somewhere honestly thinks allowing private companies to count our votes on computers in a manner that can never be verified is a reasonable approach to democratic self-governance, given the complete absence from all recent history of any private company ever engaging in any questionable practice that might radically increase its profits.
But, according to a credible report from 2005, one key person who eventually came to understand that Ohio was stolen was the candidate from whom it was stolen: John Kerry. Kerry reportedly said that he did not want to speak out about this because he would be accused of being a sore loser. His running mate John Edwards, who -- by various accounts -- opposed conceding the election in 2004, has since been disgraced as an adulterer. Let's set aside for the moment the question of whether adultery is worse than election theft. What I want to know is this: would allowing the 2012 election to be stolen be a price worth paying to avoid the unpleasantness of John Kerry being called a sore loser on tee-vee?
Why would the 2012 election be stolen? Well, there is the matter of the 2012 primaries. And then there are the basic facts as laid out by the least likely media outlet in the world to twist them in favor of my argument: Fox News. Again, let Fitrakis-Wasserman, or Wassrakis for short, summarize:
"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. … [T]here 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. … 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."
Perhaps you're thinking that just because a crime can be undetectably committed is no reason to create the slanderous idea that it would be. However, we are dealing here with people already, beyond any question, disenfranchising millions by throwing away registration forms, stripping registration rolls, instructing voters to vote on the wrong day, warning voters they may be arrested for voting, and flooding the media with dishonest advertisements for candidates.
If anything disgusts me more than the false charade of democracy distracting most of my fellow citizens from the struggle to develop actual democracy, it is death bed confessions. I don't want to ever hear one from John Kerry. I hope that he may live many more years. But when he dies, I don't want to hear any Robert McNamara-like truth telling spilling out of his horselike face. I want to hear it now, this week, prior to the 2012 election. I want it out there preemptively. I want people prepared to look for election fraud. And I want candidates prepared to point to it if it appears, big as life, staring us all in the face as it did eight years ago.
Or perhaps you're counting on Barack Obama, whose supreme value is "bipartisanship," to speak up for himself unprompted, in the complete absence of a swift kick to his pusillanimous posterior.
Speak now, Senator Kerry. Show courage unlike the perverse daredevilism required to participate in war. Show courage when we need it. We need it now. Speak.
Bottom line: The president is complicit in creating an increasingly unequal -- and unjust -- society
So why oppose Obama? Simply, it is the shape of the society Obama is crafting that I oppose, and I intend to hold him responsible, such as I can, for his actions in creating it. Many Democrats are disappointed in Obama. Some feel he’s a good president with a bad Congress. Some feel he’s a good man, trying to do the right thing, but not bold enough. Others think it’s just the system, that anyone would do what he did. I will get to each of these sentiments, and pragmatic questions around the election, but I think it’s important to be grounded in policy outcomes. Not, what did Obama try to do, in his heart of hearts? But what kind of America has he actually delivered? And the chart below answers the question. This chart reflects the progressive case against Obama.
By Debra Sweet
I was listening to the "foreign policy debate" while reading blogs and tweeting. Among people I follow there was a lot of interest in whether the drone war would come up. It was brought up by Mitt Romney, approvingly, and then not spoken to by Obama. People also hoped Guantanamo would come up; it didn't.
By David Swanson
In April I had a chat with Congressional candidate John Douglass who had just about wrapped up his party's nomination for Congress here in Virginia's Fifth District. Douglass is a retired Brigadier General, a former Assistant Secretary of the Navy, and a former deputy U.S. military representative to the NATO Military Committee in Brussels, Belgium. He spent years buying weapons for the military and then years selling weapons to the military as CEO of Aerospace Industries Association. In Congress he would be back on the buying side of the revolving door of death dealing.