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THE UNFULFILLED PROMISE
Posted by Time for change in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Wed Dec 24th 2008, 01:41 PM
Another violent death of a man who appeared to have the key to how George Bush won the 2004 Presidential election
Michael Connell, the IT consultant who died in a plane crash last Friday, shortly before he was due to testify in federal court regarding his alleged role in tampering with the 2004 Ohio presidential election results, brings to mind the death of Raymond Lemme.

Because of the similarities between Lemme’s and Connell’s connection to the 2004 Presidential election, I think that people trying to figure out the cause of Connell’s death would do well to consider the death of Raymond Lemme. Therefore, I’m reposting my 2005 DU post on the death of Raymond Lemme, with some minor revisions to make it more current:


The Significance of the Death of Raymond Lemme to the 2004 Election

There is very good reason to believe that Raymond Lemme (who was barely mentioned by our corporate news media, if mentioned at all) had information shortly before his death, in July 2003, in a Valdosta, Georgia motel room, that could have blown open the plans of George W. Bush and his handlers to “win” the 2004 Presidential election. To evaluate this connection we should start with a brief summary of the unsolved mysteries surrounding Bush’s “victory” in Ohio, which everyone knew well before Election Day would almost certainly be necessary for a Bush Electoral College victory.


Brief summary of unsolved mysteries surrounding Bush’s Ohio victory

Here is a brief description of some of the most important unexplained “irregularities” noted in Ohio on Election Day.

The Warren County “lockdown”
The infamous Warren County “lockdown” occurred shortly before the polls closed in Warren County, when Warren County election officials locked reporters out of the building while they “counted” the votes, justifying this action on the basis of a “national security alert” involving a terrorist threat. The FBI later denied issuing such an alert.

Other than the above mentioned facts, there are many other ominous circumstances surrounding this event, as pointed out by fellow DUer Farmbo in his post: 1) The incident, which apparently involves a federal felony, has never been seriously investigated either by any news organization, by the state of Ohio, or by federal investigators; 2) The lockdown was planned in advance; 3) Just prior to this event, Ohio seemed to be safely in Kerry’s column; 4) According to a U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) report, Ohio’s statewide tabulation network was highly vulnerable to hacking.

Huge inconsistencies in voter registration figures
There were huge inconsistencies between NY Times articles which indicated that the rate of new Democratic voter registration in Ohio was ten times the rate of new Republican voter registration, compared to official Secretary of State figures that showed no advantage in Democratic over Republican voter registration. An explanation for this strange finding is detailed in this report, which notes that 165,000 voters were electronically purged, apparently illegally, in Cuyahoga County alone, and that this purging may have been targeted at Democratic voters. Further explanation comes from Mark Crispin Miller’s book, “Fooled again – How the Right Stole the 2004 Election, & Why They’ll Steal the Next One Too (Unless we Stop them)”, in which Miller describes the targeted purging of Democratic Ohio voters following break-ins at Democratic Party headquarters in Summit and Lucas Counties, Ohio, in which computers were the only things that were stolen. (For a more detailed description of the Democratic voter purging, see this post.)

Late addition of votes to Miami County
The late addition of 19,000 votes from Miami County, after 100% of precincts had reported, resulted in a net addition to Bush’s vote margin of 6,000 votes.

Electronic vote switching
Reports by voters of electronic switching of their votes from one candidate to another, favored Bush over Kerry by a ratio of 12 to 1, and were nine times more frequent in swing states (especially Florida, Ohio, and New Mexico) than in other states.

Withholding of voting machines in Franklin County
The withholding of voting machines from Democratic precincts in Franklin County, resulting in voting lines which were several hours long, with the subsequent leaving of those lines without voting by tens of thousands of voters, was calculated to result in a net advantage to Bush of about 7,000 net votes.

Failure to do a full hand recount
Numerous Ohio counties did everything they could to avoid doing a full recount, even after a recount was mandated by court order, so that when it all ended, only one county in the whole state had been fully recounted. In order to accomplish this, numerous violations of Ohio’s recount rules were perpetrated, including: At least 17 counties where the recount was chosen by Ohio election officials rather than randomly; at least 6 counties where tampering with the tabulating machines by voting machine company technicians was noted, including a case in Hocking County where the technician actually gave the election officials a cheat sheet, with instructions on how to make the counts match (The whistle blower of this felony, Sherole Eaton, was subsequently fired from her job); and, at least 6 counties for which, even when it turned out that the vote totals didn’t match, election officials still refused to do the required recount. Two Cuyahoga County election workers were later convicted of manipulating the 2004 Presidential election recount.


The testimony of Clint Curtis

In October 2000 Clint Curtis was a computer programmer and a life-long Republican who worked for the Florida based Yang Enterprises, Inc. (YEI). According to Curtis’ sworn testimony to House Judiciary Committee Democrats in December 2004, while working for YEI he wrote a prototype for a computer program that would switch votes from one candidate to another, at the request of Congressman Tom Feeney (R-FL) in October of 2000. Believing at the time that the purpose of Feeney’s request was to better understand how Democrats might plan to commit election fraud, Curtis complied with the request and wrote the program and presented it to his employer, Mrs. Li Woan Yang. According to Curtis’ sworn affidavit:

She immediately responded, “You don’t understand, in order to get the contract we have to hide the manipulation in the source code. This program is needed to control the vote in south Florida.”

(Curtis continues)

I was shocked that they were trying to steal the election and told her that neither I nor anyone else could produce any such program. She stated that she would hand in what I produced to Feeney and left the room with the software.

Please note that when Curtis said that neither he nor anyone else could produce "any such program" he meant that nobody could produce such a program that was undetectable. But since the public has not been allowed access to the "proprietary" software codes used to count our votes, the question of whether or not a computer program to switch votes from one candidate to another was detectable turns out not to matter so much. And that is the reason why Curtis was able to offer the opinion that he believed that the 2004 election was rigged using a program similar to the one that he wrote.

I had the privilege of meeting Mr. Curtis in January 2004, when we were both invited by “Justice Through Music” to participate in a small group to lobby Senators to object to the Ohio Presidential Election on January 6th. Curtis had gotten the idea to contact Justice Through Music because they were offering a $200,000 reward for anyone who could prove that the 2004 election had been stolen. However, Curtis was not interested in the money, nor did he accept any money in return for his information or testimony. Curtis told me that he believed the murder of his dog represented a threat from those who feared his testimony.

Skeptics have pointed out to me and others that Yang Enterprises did not receive any contracts to run elections in 2004 and that there is no proof that Curtis’ programs were used to rig the election. True enough. But I ask them to consider three things: Firstly, of the unsolved mysteries of Bush’s Ohio victory that I listed above, item numbers 2 and 4 appear to have involved electronic vote rigging, and item numbers 1, 3 and 6 seem very suspicious in that regard. Furthermore, Curtis said in his sworn testimony that he was told by his employer that his program was specifically needed to control the vote in South Florida. In fact, it was from south Florida where 48% of all voter complaints in the country of electronic vote switching that favored Bush were reported to the national Electronic Incident Reporting System (EIRS). And secondly and thirdly, we need to consider the circumstances and events surrounding Tom Feeney and Raymond Lemme.


Tom Feeney

At the time that Feeney asked Curtis to write the vote switching program Feeney was simultaneously a Florida legislator (soon to become Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives) and a registered lobbyist for YEI.

Those of you followed the Florida 2000 election with great interest might remember that Feeney played a VERY prominent role in Bush’s “victory” in that election. For it was Feeney, not the U.S. Supreme Court or Bush’s lawyers, who first came up with the idea (or threat) of taking the 2004 Florida Presidential election out of the hands of the voters. It was Feeney who first put forth the argument that Article II of our Constitution gives the right to state legislatures to determine the winner of their state’s electors. And it was Feeney, as Speaker of Florida’s House of Representatives, who threatened to use that power to nullify a Gore victory if a recount of the votes resulted in Gore being declared the winner. And it was precisely this argument of Feeney’s that the U.S. Supreme Court was to use a few days later to hand Bush the Presidency.

What I am trying to imply here is that it is not plausible to believe that Feeney’s interest in vote switching programs was limited to his association with YEI. And while it is true that we do not know that the specific prototype that Curtis wrote was actually used to rig the 2004 election, Feeney’s asking Curtis to write such a program is evidence of high level Republican interest in stealing the election.


The death of Raymond Lemme

Raymond Lemme was the official from the Florida Inspector General’s Office who was charged with investigating Curtis’ allegations. In his affidavit, Curtis describes a June 2003 meeting with Lemme, where Lemme told Curtis that he (Lemme) “had tracked the corruption all the way to the top”, and that the story would break shortly.

But we will probably never know what explosive information Lemme had obtained, for he was found dead in a Valdosta, Georgia, Knights Inn motel room two weeks later, July 1, 2003. His arm was slashed twice with a razor blade, near the left elbow. The Brad Blog has thoroughly investigated this case and put forth several reasons to believe that Lemme’s death was not suicide, as has been ruled by the Valdosta police:

In the first place, nobody knows why Lemme was in Georgia, about 80 miles north of Tallahassee, where he lived and worked. No autopsy was performed, whereas had the death occurred in Florida, an autopsy would have been required.

Secondly, motel receipts are not consistent with the rest of the story. There is an unsigned check-in receipt dated June 29, 2003, and a signed check-out receipt dated June 30, 2003, 6:54 a.m. Yet Lemme was found dead in the hotel on July 1, the day AFTER he apparently checked out. The police claim that the check-out date on the receipt is wrong, and ascribe the “incorrect” date to machine error, but refused to provide additional detail on that.

Thirdly, there are mysteries surrounding and inconsistencies between the photographs of the scene of the crime and the police report. The initial police report stated: "a defect in the camera flash memory cards resulted in no usable photographs. Photographs will not be submitted with this report." Yet good quality photographs of the crime scene, some showing Lemme in the bath tub where he is said to have killed himself, and which were previously said not to have existed, later showed up. The legitimacy of the photographs was confirmed by the Valdosta police.

An official report by Detective Shannon Floyd states that there was no sign of foul play, and that there was no blood on the towel on which a black belt (apparently used as a tourniquet) was found. Yet, the pictures clearly show blood on the towel and severe bruising on the right side of Lemme’s neck.

When Brad Blog attempted to talk with Detective Floyd about her inconsistent findings, he was told that she no longer works for the Department, and the police refused to tell him how he could reach her.

Fourthly, after re-opening the case (late 04 or early 05), the case was quickly closed after the Valdosta police talked with the Florida Department of Transportation. The Valdosta police refused to comment on why the Florida DOT should have a say in when they close a death investigation in Georgia.

And lastly, Lemme’s work colleagues and family all agree that there were no previous indications that Lemme wanted to die.


Summary

In summary, there are several unsolved (not to mention uninvestigated) mysteries surrounding Bush’s Ohio “victory”, many which suggest the possibility or likelihood of electronic vote rigging (and the Edison-Mitofsky exit poll showed Kerry with a 4.2% victory over Bush in Ohio.) Clint Curtis has provided sworn testimony to Congress that he wrote a computer program, at the request of a Republican operative (Tom Feeney), which was capable of rigging the 2004 election, and which he believes was in fact used to rig the 2004 election. The man charged with investigating Curtis’ allegations appeared to be on the verge of verifying his allegations and tracking them “all the way to the top”. And then he died under highly suspicious circumstances, and the investigation into his alleged suicide was quickly squelched.
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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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