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Wisconsin Redux: Self-flagellating Progressives Continue to Miss the Real Problem

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The recent defeat of the recall effort in the Wisconsin governor's race was disappointing and disheartening. Progressives across the internet have written about what went wrong: how progressives failed to run a viable candidate against incumbent Scott Walker, how they failed to raise money and were overwhelmed by corporate spending. It's the progressives' fault, the democrats' fault, Obama's fault, the organizers' fault. All of these postmortems make reasonable, even worthy points.   But they fail to address what may be the biggest reason that progressives aren't winning elections in spite of the fact that national polls show that the majority of Americans share progressive values.   It's the machines.

The neoconservative/1%/corporatist crowd took over the country in 2002 with the Help America Vote Act. The obscenely named legislation was really a bribe to states to persuade them to turn their vote-counting over to a private for-profit industry hell bent on stealing elections for conservative corporation-loving politicians whenever and wherever they couldn't win by propagandizing the voting populace a la "Fox News."   And the states took those bribes. They bought DRE touchscreen machines and optical scans by the truckloads. Both of these systems count votes by means of secret, uninspectable, "proprietary" software written by programmers paid by partisan operatives disguised as corporate executives. Now more than 80% of the nation's votes are counted using secret software. What self-respecting democracy would tolerate the secret, unreviewable counting of its citizens' votes?

Ever notice how so many elections are "close" elections despite the fact that the candidates are polar opposites? The media likes to say that this is because the country is divided. There are certainly enough people being effectively manipulated by the likes of Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and Larry Kudlow, true enough. But in general the American people are politically a fairly sane, fairly middle-of-the-road bunch.   Yet since the appointment of George W. Bush by the U.S. Supreme Court, the country has experienced a rightwing extremism unknown in my lifetime.    Unfortunately, there was no return to sanity with the election of Barack Obama.   The shift to the right has pulled the republican party off of a moral and intellectual cliff.   They are no longer recognizable as a political party, but have a very unAmerican, even fascist core that has never been mainstream in this country. The democrats are now pulled so far to the right so that they are now more conservative than Presidents Nixon or Reagan.   There are few real liberals or progressives anywhere in government anymore. And the last true liberal on the U.S. Supreme Court was Thurgood Marshall, despite the whining of the right about Justice Ginsburg or the former Justice Stevens. But the majority of the populace itself is not so rightwing. And it's the populace that votes.   So why do these rightwing extremists keep getting elected and re-elected despite the fact that their views are not shared by the majority, and their policies are driving the middle class into serfdom?

My theory is that much of the media is controlled by these rightwing extremists as well, and they have to make the citizens believe that the elections were closer than they really were in order for the contrived outcome to have any credibility. They make these false results seem plausible. It's the selling of the fraud. But how long can we stay this stupid? How long can we afford to pretend that these elections are valid? How long can we pretend that we are a democracy?

Talk to the geeks - the computer programmers, the computer security experts, the mathematicians and statisticians.   They'll tell you that elections are being stolen in record numbers. They'll talk about exit poll discrepancies and "red shifts" and deviations that are statistically impossible. The evidence is out there and it is plentiful.   Our elections have become a sad joke, as evidenced by programmers who were so easily able to circumvent the security measures and install "pacman" on an electronic voting machine.

ALEC's push for legislation addressing so-called "voter fraud" is not only a means to suppress the vote, it is an effective diversion from the outright electronic theft of elections across the country.  Their strategy is to keep people preoccupied with minutiae and non-issues so they don't see the larger than life crime being committed in plain sight.   It's working very well for them.

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Jonathan Simon at Election Defense Alliance has published information that provides some evidence of the infamous "red shift" in Wisconsin. Could it be that Scott Walker did not win the recall?   Could it be that he, or someone on his behalf stole this election?  

There is overwhelming evidence that the elections of 2000 and 2004 were stolen by or on behalf of George W. Bush.   Had Mr. Bush not been elected, would 9/11 have happened?   We know that President Bush was asleep at the wheel.   He had demoted counter-terrorism efforts so that our best officers had to go through more bureaucratic layers to get to the President.   We know that President Bush didn't care much about Osama bin Laden or terrorism, although he did care about the Iraqi oil fields.   We know he ignored scores of warnings about the attacks.   Would President Al Gore have been so cavalier?   At the end of their terms, President Clinton and Vice-President Gore were obsessed with bin Laden, and they met multiple times per week with high level counter-terrorism officials in the months and weeks prior to Y2K. The Clinton administration was more serious about terrorism in its last two years than the Bush administration was in its first critical nine months. Members of the 9/11 commission have said that the attacks were preventable.     What if President Gore had stopped them?   No massive global "war on terror".   No war in Afghanistan.   No war in Iraq.   No hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer money wasted.   Hundreds of thousands of lives saved.   No Bush tax cuts.   No recession.   No Chief Justice Roberts.   No Justice Samuel Alito.   No Citizens United.

This is speculation, of course, or perhaps wishful thinking.   But what remains is the fact that election outcomes matter. And when we have one side that can control election outcomes by writing a few lines of undetectable code in machines that serve critical precincts in swing states, our democracy is gone. No matter how hard progressives and liberals work for their candidates and their causes,   no matter how much middle-class Americans reach into their purses and contribute to democratic causes, no matter how much pundits theorize, criticize or try to instill some sense of reason into what's happening, it won't matter.   Electronic election fraud has destroyed our democracy. Until votes are counted as cast, we'll never get it back.

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Professor of Criminal Justice

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Until progressives deal head on with the very real... by Jana Nestlerode on Friday, Jun 22, 2012 at 7:32:13 AM
The statistics regarding "red shift" are pretty co... by R.A. on Friday, Jun 22, 2012 at 4:25:21 PM
Progressives, like the author of this article, alw... by Kropotkin Forthewin on Friday, Jun 22, 2012 at 8:57:24 PM
I agree that we should stop beating around the bus... by Brian Kerry on Sunday, Jun 24, 2012 at 10:43:28 AM
John Kerry's concession was not "gracious", it was... by Jana Nestlerode on Sunday, Jun 24, 2012 at 11:33:12 AM