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THE UNFULFILLED PROMISE
Posted by Time for change in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Tue Jan 15th 2008, 07:05 PM
The stakes are enormous; the incentive is obvious; the evidence is strong and persistent. Any system so clearly at risk of interference and gross manipulation cannot and must not be trusted to tally the votes in any future elections.
Though election fraud has undoubtedly played a part in every national election since the founding of our country, it has probably never posed as much threat to our democracy in the past as it does today. I say that because of the enormous potential for massive election fraud posed by the computerization of our elections (using secret software code) and because of the evidence indicating that it was used in 2000 and 2004 to install and maintain in office the most disastrous Presidential administration in our nation’s history, and in 2002 and 2006 to help Republicans win seats in Congress.

Independent investigations by qualified security experts have shown electronic computerized voting to be wide open to systematic insider manipulation (See here, here and here). This fact has been acknowledged in the mainstream American press, and even in government reports. Yet those who suggest that purposeful manipulation and election theft may have occurred in at least some recent elections are ignored or ridiculed by our corporate news media.

In this post I’ll discuss a recent report by the Election Defense Alliance of an analysis of the 2006 mid-term U.S. House of Representative elections, which I co-authored with Jonathon Simon, Bruce O’Dell, and Josh Mitteldorf. This analysis goes beyond previous analyses of suspected election fraud in 2002, 2004, and 2006, by taking a hard look at the possibility of exit poll bias (sometimes referred to as “sampling bias”) and finding very strong evidence against that possibility. To put that analysis in context I first need to briefly summarize the pre-existing evidence of election fraud mediated by electronic voting machines in 2004 and 2006. But keep in mind that this is merely a brief summary. There is much more evidence for election fraud in recent elections than what I discuss in this post – such as what I’ve discussed here and here and here.


A BRIEF SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE FOR ELECTRONIC ELECTION FRAUD IN 2004 AND 2006Exit poll discrepancy in the 2004 Presidential election

The best known case of strongly suspected election theft was the 2004 presidential election, where exit polls showed a nation-wide victory margin of 2.6% for the Kerry/Edwards ticket, and yet the “official” vote count showed a nation-wide victory margin of 2.8% for George Bush – a discrepancy between the official vote count and the exit polls of 5.4%, which was the largest exit poll discrepancy (pollsters refer to this as a “red shift”) in a U.S. presidential election ever demonstrated. An even larger red shift was demonstrated in 2004 in Ohio, which gave the electoral victory to the Bush/Cheney ticket. The national exit poll discrepancy was so large that it had a statistical likelihood of occurring by chance of approximately one in a million.

Our corporate news media responded to this mostly by ignoring it. When they did respond they claimed simply that the red shift was explained by exit poll bias. In other words, the argument was that Bush voters must have been under-represented in the exit polls. Perhaps Bush voters just didn’t care to participate in the exit polls as much as the Kerry/Edwards voters.

Shortly after the U.S. presidential election, a similar episode occurred with the Ukrainian presidential election, which showed the Russian favored candidate winning the official vote count but the U.S. favored candidate winning the exit polls. A big deal was made out of this by the U.S. press and the Bush administration, and consequently the election results were overturned, and the Bush administration’s candidate, Victor Yushchenko, was installed as President. Yet with all its hand wringing over the exit poll discrepancy in the Ukraine, the U.S. corporate news media refused to consider the possibility that the U.S. presidential election was similarly stolen.

Exit poll discrepancy in the 2006 Congressional elections

Something very similar occurred in the 2006 Congressional elections. The official nation-wide result for House races on Election Day 2006 showed a Democratic margin over their Republican opponents of 7.6%. Comparing that to a nationwide exit poll democratic margin of 11.5%, the difference between the official count and the results predicted by the exit polls was nearly 4%, just a little bit less than the red shift of 5.4% in the 2004 Presidential election.

The 4% red shift in the 2006 mid-terms – if that represents election fraud – was not nearly enough for Republicans to maintain control of either the House or the Senate. But in 2004, it would have been enough to throw the 2004 Presidential election to George Bush – in the nation-wide popular vote, as well as in Ohio, where Bush “won” his electoral vote victory. As described by Jonathon Simon in “Landslide Denied”, the 2006 exit poll discrepancy was far beyond the margin of statistical error. And, it is also important to note that the calculated red shift when comparing official 2006 House results with exit polls is almost identical to the calculated red shift when comparing official House results with pre-election polls.

If the red shift demonstrated in the 2006 mid-terms was due to election fraud, that fraud was obviously not enough to prevent the Democrats from taking control of both the Senate and the House. But it certainly was enough to deny the Democrats a large number of additional House seats that would have constituted a landslide of much greater proportions than what the official election results indicated. Yet this was met with even more silence from our corporate news media than was the case in 2004. Presumably this was just another case of exit poll bias, where Democrats were more likely than Republicans to participate in exit polls.

Now let’s take a look at the recent Election Defense Alliance study:


FINGERPRINTS OF ELECTION THEFT: WERE COMPETITIVE CONTESTS TARGETED?

There is only one explanation other than election fraud that can possibly explain the huge red shifts found in both the 2004 U.S. Presidential election and the 2006 U.S. House elections. That potential explanation is exit poll bias, as described above. After the Election Defense Alliance published “Landslide Denied” and once again was completely ignored by the U.S. corporate news media, they decided to attempt to put the issue of exit poll bias to rest by further analyzing the results of the 2006 exit polls, this time with primary emphasis on attempting to rule out the possibility of exit poll bias.


Designing an analysis to rule out exit poll bias

The concept was pretty simple. If exit poll bias explains why Democrats have much better results with exit polls than they do with official election results, that means that Republican voters are less likely to participate in exit polls than are Democrats.

So, to eliminate exit poll bias, the following study design was chosen: First, several counties were chosen where pre-election polls demonstrated at least one “major contest” to be “competitive” (meaning within 10 percentage points) and at least one major contest to be “non-competitive” (meaning a difference of 10 percentage points or greater). A “major contest” was considered to be the elections for U.S. House, U.S. Senate, and Governor. So, counties where at least one of those races was “competitive” and at least one was “non-competitive” were chosen for this analysis.

If the previously demonstrated red shift was due to election fraud, it makes sense that election fraud would have been more likely to occur in “competitive” races. Why commit a federal crime for an election that isn’t even competitive? So, this study was designed to compare competitive races versus non-competitive races in the same counties. If the red shifts are greater in competitive than in non-competitive races, that would be additional and sound evidence of election fraud.

So, why would this study design eliminate exit poll bias? That’s very simple: If the study demonstrates larger red shifts in competitive than in non-competitive races, that could not possibly be explained by exit poll bias. Why not? Because the exact same voters are statistically evaluated for each of the comparisons between the competitive and the non-competitive races. Nobody can explain those results away by theorizing that Democrats are more likely to participate in the exit polls than Republicans because the exact same voters are analyzed for each comparison. In other words, even if it was true that Democrats are more likely to participate in the exit polls than Republicans, that still wouldn’t explain why competitive races demonstrate a larger red shift than non-competitive races.


Study results

As we expected, the results showed much larger red shifts in the competitive races than in the non-competitive races. In the competitive races the average red shift was 3.6%, whereas in the non-competitive races the average shift was 1.7%, but it was actually in the other direction (we call that a “blue shift”). Thus, the difference in red shift between competitive and non-competitive races was 5.3%.

The results were analyzed statistically using three different statistical tests: linear regression; Student paired t-test; and, Student non-paired t-test. In each case the differences between the competitive and the non-competitive races were highly statistically significant – virtually ruling out the possibility that the results could have occurred by chance.

The analysis was actually somewhat more complicated than what I’ve described here, as I’ve simplified the issues a little bit to make this post easier to read. If you’re interested in more details you can read them here.

Here is a chart that lists the results by County:


Election Defense Alliance discussion of the meaning of the results

Here are excerpts from the report that discuss the meaning of these results:

We have already discussed the evidence for an aggregate mistabulation of votes in 2006 of a magnitude sufficient to alter the outcome of dozens of federal and statewide elections. The aggregate evidence is based on the quasi-official exit polls conducted by Edison Research and Mitofsky International (‘Edison/Mitofsky’) for the media consortium known as the National Election Pool (‘NEP’).

Yet whenever a direct comparison between poll results and official vote counts is made and a discrepancy is noted, it is, inexplicably, always the polls (in other words, “exit poll bias”) that the media chorus hastens to discount and dismiss. Demonstrating the lax standards of computer security and the inadequate procedural safeguards universally applied to our electronic voting systems seems to make no impression. The present study was undertaken because we anticipated – correctly, as it turned out – that direct poll-vote comparisons, if they appeared to indicate outcome-determinative mistabulation, would likely face hasty dismissal, predictably on the grounds of sample bias (in other words, exit poll bias). We therefore sought a methodology that would serve to eliminate any effect of sampling bias from the equation.


Conclusions of the Election Defense Alliance

And here are excerpts from the conclusions:

The result shines a powerful triple beam into the dark corner of secret electronic vote-counting in American elections. First, it detects a clear pattern indicating a wholesale shift in tallied votes. This is consistent with our study of aggregate vote shifting presented in Landslide Denied. Second, it identifies the overall direction of the shift: in favor of Republican candidates, once again corroborating our aggregate findings in Landslide Denied. Third, it confirms the common-sense notion that any group with the will and ability to secretly manipulate vote tabulation would likely focus their efforts on changing the outcomes of close contests, where the power of electronic vote-shifting would be maximized through selective targeting, while at the same time minimizing the size of the aggregate shift – and the corresponding risk of discovery.

We restate here the concluding sentences of Landslide Denied, as these latest findings only serve to increase the urgency of our warning:

‘The vulnerability is manifest; the stakes are enormous; the incentive is obvious; the evidence is strong and persistent. Any system so clearly at risk of interference and gross manipulation cannot and must not be trusted to tally the votes in any future elections.’

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The Unfulfilled Promise
The Unfulfilled Promise of the American Dream: The Widening Gap between the Reality of the United States and its Highest Ideals




Time for change


Notwithstanding the lofty sentiments and purpose of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, the reality of the United States of America did not then – and never has – lived up to its ideal. Our nation remains today a long way from fulfilling the promise implied by those ideals. Yet, our Declaration was a great start, and it has long shone as a beacon of hope for people all over the world.

Throughout our history, while many have striven to close the gap between our highest ideals and the reality of our nation, others have focused on the accumulation of private wealth and power, at the expense of everyone else. In recent decades the latter have gained much ground, leading to increasing imperialism abroad and deteriorating democracy at home, characterized by routine (and legal) bribery of our public officials, the fusion of government and private corporate interests (corporatocracy), a corrupt election system largely in the hands of private corporations, a corporate controlled communications media, and the widespread acceptance of Executive Branch secrecy, routinely justified with little if any questioning, by the magic words “national security”. All of this is rapidly turning our country from the democracy proclaimed at our founding into a plutocracy (government by the wealthy and for the wealthy). The result is the most obscene wealth gap our country has ever known, the highest imprisonment rate in the world, rampant militarism, routine flaunting of international law, the least efficient health care system in the developed world, a pending environmental catastrophe that threatens to destroy the life sustaining forces of our planet, and myriad other problems that threaten to destroy our nation and tyrannize our people.

My new book, The Unfulfilled Promise of the American Dream – The Widening Gap between the Reality of the United States and its Highest Ideals, explores the roots and consequences of the demise of our democracy, and why most Americans have been unable to understand this process or even become aware of it. A good understanding of why and how we have deviated so greatly from the ideals of our nation is the first and necessary step towards getting back on the right track and revitalizing our society.

The book is currently being sold in electronic PDF format and can be purchased at http://www.unfulfilledpromise.com/Buy-the-... for $3.99. It will also soon be available in Amazon Kindle format. DU members who cannot afford to buy the book but would like to read it can pm me with your e-mail address, and I will send you a free PDF copy.

I’ve previously posted on DU a slightly earlier version of the introduction to the book, which is also posted at my site. Here is the Table of Contents, followed by a brief description of the three parts of the book:


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction
Acknowledgements
Prologue – What is Wrong with the United States of America?

Part I – Root Causes of the Impending Demise of American Democracy
Chapter 1 – Legalized Bribery
Chapter 2 – Human Psychological Factors
Chapter 3 – Corporatocracy
Chapter 4 – Corporate Control of Media
Chapter 5 – Corrupt Election System
Chapter 6 – Government Secrecy
Chapter 7 – American Exceptionalism

Part II – A Sampling of Imperialist Actions
Chapter 8 – Slavery and its Legacy
Chapter 9 – Early U.S. Imperialism
Chapter 10 – U.S. Imperialism in Cold War
Chapter 11 – Iraq War and Occupation
Chapter 12 – Afghanistan War

Part III – Consequences
Chapter 13 – Election of George W. Bush
Chapter 14 – War and Imperialism
Chapter 15 – Class Warfare
Chapter 16 – Predator Financial Class
Chapter 17 – Shock Therapy
Chapter 18 – Contempt for Int. Law
Chapter 19 – The “War on Drugs”
Chapter 20 – Climate Change
Chapter 21 – “War on Terror”
Chapter 22 – Health Care
Chapter 23 – Unaccountable government
Chapter 24 – Response to 9/11 Attacks
Epilogue


PART I – Root Causes of the Impending Demise of American Democracy

It is somewhat difficult to separate the causes of our problems from their consequences, since they combine to form a long chain of cause leading to consequence, leading to more consequences, etcetera. Nevertheless, it seems worth while to identify the root causes of our problems, those that occur early in the chain and lead to so many of the tragic consequences we see today. The only chance we have of reversing the demise of our democracy is through addressing and attacking its root causes.

At the top of the list is the systematic bribery of public officials by the powerful corporations (Chapter 1) whom our government is charged with regulating in the public interest. Instead of calling it bribery, we call it “campaign contributions”, but what we call it isn’t as important as what it is. It is hard to fathom how democracy can survive when such a practice is legal and condoned.

Working in tandem with our system of legalized bribery is the nature of the people who inhabit our country. That is not to say that Americans are inherently substantially different than any other people. Human beings are imperfect, and that is probably a major reason why in a world where civilization began more than five millennia ago, the oldest written national framework of government in the world today – the Constitution of the United States of America – is only a little more than two and a quarter centuries old. Chapter 2 explores the roles of basic human needs, authoritarianism, psychological defense mechanisms used to prevent us from perceiving reality as it is rather than as we’d like it to be, and corrupted ideologies in causing us to passively accept the accumulation of power in the hands of ambitious and ruthless individuals who care about little else than expanding their own wealth and power.

When bribery of public officials is tolerated as an inevitable aspect of public life, government inevitably grows close to the wealthy interests that shower it with money in return for legislative and other favors. A malevolent symbiosis grows between the state and corporate power, resulting in rule by an oligarchy that is highly detrimental to the lives of ordinary people (Chapter 3). Using their accumulated wealth and power to manipulate our legislative process, the oligarchy grabs for more and more control of the communications media (Chapter 4) that are used to control the information available to and shape the attitudes of our nation’s people, in pursuit of their own narrow interests.

Since the 1980s an orchestrated campaign has been underway to demonize “big government”, thereby paving the way for private corporate control over more and more functions that were previously deemed intrinsic functions of government. Among those functions is the running of public elections (Chapter 5) – the function that symbolizes democracy perhaps more than any other single function. Consequently, the purging of selected registered voters from our computerized voter rolls has become a routine recurring event throughout much of our country, and without a doubt determined the results of the 2000 – and probably 2004 as well – presidential election. Just as bad, more and more of the counting of votes in our public elections have been turned over to private corporations, which count our votes using electronic machines using secret software to produce vote counts that cannot be verified by anyone.

Bribery, the fusion of government and private interest, fake and biased news, and corrupt elections are not things that government and its corporate allies want us to know about. Consequently, they construct walls of secrecy (Chapter 6) to keep us from obtaining information that sheds light on their activities. The perfect phrase for facilitating this is “national security”. When our government tells us that the “national security” requires that certain things be kept secret from us, the understanding is that to question such a pronouncement is unpatriotic, and to actually attempt to obtain the “secret” information may be treasonous.

But indefinitely maintaining secrets from the American people can be very difficult, because at least some people want to know what their government is up to. So in addition to the formal mechanisms of secrecy, informal mechanisms are constructed (Chapter 7) to keep vital information away from us. One of the primary methods for doing this is to make certain sensitive subjects taboo – that is, to create the widespread belief that discussion of these topics is so outside the bounds of acceptable human discourse that anyone who discusses them should be shunned by society, or worse. The most common issue that falls into this category is any discussion that sheds light on the disparity between American ideals and the reality of life in our country today.


PART II – A Sampling of Imperialist Actions in U.S. History

Notwithstanding the fact that our founding document says that “all men are created equal” and speaks of the inalienable rights of humankind, the United States has throughout its history partaken of massive exploitation of other peoples.

It is estimated that at the time of our birth, 18% of our population was black slaves. In our expansion westwards during the late 18th and 19th centuries, we decimated the original inhabitants of our continent, and often treated them with great cruelty. In 1846 we manufactured an excuse for war with our neighbor Mexico, in which we continued to expand our country westwards and southwards. In 1893 we began our overseas imperialism with the conquest of Hawaii. Our overseas expansion was greatly accelerated in 1898 with our participation in the Spanish-American War, which led to our conquest of Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines. With our arrival at world superpower status at the end of World War II, we began the Cold War, which led to and served as a rationalization for covert and/or direct military actions against myriad foreign nations over the next 46 years. With the September 11, 2001 attacks on our country, we declared a perpetual “War on Terror”, which served and continues to serve as an excuse to invade and occupy Iraq and Afghanistan, nations that posed no threat to us. We do not know when or if this perpetual war will ever end. We don’t know how many additional imperial conquests it will lead to.

Most Americans don’t think much about all this. Many of these actions are done in secrecy, and the American people don’t find out about them until many years later – or we never find out about them at all. Those that we do know about are spun into the most favorable light, to make them seem benign or even noble.

But these actions come at great costs: in the lives of our soldiers; in the ruined lives of the peoples of the victim countries; in trillions of dollars cost to our people and their future generations; in our international reputation; in anti-American hatred leading to terrorism; and, to our democracy itself. For how can a nation claim to believe in the inalienable rights of humankind specified in its founding document, while making a mockery of that belief in the way it treats other peoples? For that reason alone it is worth while to take a brief look at our long history of imperialist actions.


PART III – Consequences

In the Prologue I give a brief account of what I see as some of the worst and tragic consequences of the root causes that I discuss in Part I – to enable the reader to see where this book is heading. When elections of our public officials are for sale to the highest bidder… when our public officials are so addicted to the “campaign contributions” of their wealthiest constituents that they develop a symbiotic relationship with them… when our communications media are owned and controlled by an oligarchy of wealthy elites… when our citizenry lack the ability to differentiate propaganda from reality… when we allow machines provided by private corporations to count our votes using secret electronic software… then we should expect that the consequences will not be pretty or comfortable for the vast majority of our citizens.

In Part III, I explore those consequences in much greater detail, in the hope that the reader will agree with me that these are very serious problems, and that they must be successfully addressed if our country is ever to fulfill the promise of its ideals, or even make progress in that direction. When enough Americans recognize our problems as problems, stripped of the gloss and spin put on them by our oligarchy, they will rise up and do something about them. Until then there will be no progress, and we are very likely to head in the direction of all the former empires of our planet, ending in chaos, widespread catastrophe, suffering, and ignominy.

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