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How to Thwart Democracy

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How to Thwart Democracy
by Pokey Anderson
September 22, 2008
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There are many many ways to put things into motion that are enemies of democracy. One is to put flawed or fraudulent election systems into place. A related way is to corrupt the voter registration rolls by removing valid voters.

But, other techniques can accomplish similar anti-democratic goals. We should just be aware that election schemes are one of many routes for thugs to get what they want.
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COUP: Coups are not just for far away lands.  There was a little-known coup attempt against FDR in 1933-34. FDR was to be told that a 500,000-man army was assembled, and he could choose either to step down due to "illness," or he could remain as a figurehead.  JP Morgan interests were implicated in that coup effort. [For a superb article that is quite timely, with generations of perspective on JP Morgan, see "Rogue Whale, Seventy years after FDR, JP Morgan finally got its revenge against banking regulations with its Chase merger. But a new FDR is watching," by Sam Natapoff, American Prospect, 3/5/04, ]

ASSASSINATION: For example, JFK, RFK, MLK. Pakistan opposition leader Benazir Bhutto.

ASSASSINATION COVERED UP BY A FACADE OF AN ACCIDENT: The investigating board found no mechanical reason for Senator Paul Wellstone's plane to crash. However, there were cogent political reasons, and the timing was just too darn perfect.
Athan Gibbs, inventor of the TruVote system, was in a fatal crash in 2004, colliding with an 18-wheeler.  Gibbs was planning to present his new voting machine, and its paper verification features, to the Georgia legislature within a week of the crash.  Perhaps an accident.
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ILLNESS: If you can cause an officeholder or opponent (or their family member) to become so ill they cannot function, that is pretty much as effective as killing them. Several critics of the Soviet Union found themselves poisoned, including journalist Anna Politkovskaya, a Kremlin critic who fell seriously ill with symptoms of food poisoning after drinking tea on a flight from Moscow. Ukrainian opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko was disfigured by dioxin.

THREAT OF DEATH OR ILLNESS: Anthrax letters were sent to the two most powerful Senators at that time, heads of the Senate Judiciary Committee (Leahy) and Senate Dem leader (Daschle).
Later, as the DC snipers were on their killing spree, the Capitol Police warned Senators "that al Qaeda snipers might be looming near golf courses, ready to pick them off." [CNN, 10/18/02,]

Shortly after retirement, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor noted in a speech, paraphrased by NPR reporter Nina Totenberg, "It gets worse, she said, noting that death threats against judges are increasing. It doesn't help, she said, when a high-profile senator suggests there may be a connection between violence against judges and decisions that the senator disagrees with. She didn't name him, but it was Texas senator John Cornyn who made that statement, after a Georgia judge was murdered in the courtroom and the family of a federal judge in Illinois murdered in the judge's home." [ ]

IMPRISONMENT: Nelson Mandela.
Alabama Governor Siegelman.
Journalists including an AP reporter and Amy Goodman, the anchor for the top independent news program in the nation, were temporarily jailed while they tried to report on protests at the Republican National Convention. Some of the journalists were roughed up.

FIRING: Notably, the DOJ's partisan witchhunt and firing of US attorneys. Among the partisan tasks they were asked to do was to conduct investigations of voter fraud, which the fired attorneys declined to do, citing lack of evidence.

RECRUITING & FINANCING A CANDIDATE TO RUN AGAINST AN INCUMBENT: Republicans recruited an African-American woman to run against US Rep. Cynthia McKinney. That effort was successful, although she won the next contest.

EMBROIL YOUR ENEMY IN A SCANDAL THAT WILL CRIPPLE THEM OR FORCE THEM OUT OF OFFICE: Bill Clinton. Eliot Spitzer, John Edwards. (Yes, arguably Bill, Eliot, and John were willing participants. Notably, Spitzer has repeatedly jousted with JP Morgan; see As Attorney General then Governor of New York, home state of Wall Street, Spitzer was perfectly positioned to do battle with them, but now, with a $700 billion bailout being proposed, he is out of the ring.)

BRIBERY.  Both the illegal kind, and the legal kind in the form of campaign donations (which itself may be associated with criminal activity -- see for instance the case of Ohio's Tom Noe.)  Note also suspicious activities, for instance: "As often as once a week, [Senate Majority Leader Bob] Dole's assistant walks around the corner from his Pennsylvania Avenue office in Washington to a branch of Riggs Bank, where she withdraws as much as $8,000 in cash [for him]." (CNN,]
I'll close this list with an excerpt of a prayer spoken by US Rep. Dennis Kucinich in February 2002 ["A Prayer for America,"]:
"Let us pray that our nation's leaders will not be overcome with fear. Because today there is great fear in our great Capitol. And this must be understood before we can ask about the shortcomings of Congress in the current environment. The great fear began when we had to evacuate the Capitol on September 11. It continued when we had to leave the Capitol again when a bomb scare occurred as members were pressing the CIA during a secret briefing. It continued when we abandoned Washington when anthrax, possibly from a government lab, arrived in the mail. It continued when the Attorney General declared a nationwide terror alert and then the Administration brought the destructive Patriot Bill to the floor of the House. It continued in the release of the Bin Laden tapes at the same time the President was announcing the withdrawal from the ABM treaty. It remains present in the cordoning off of the Capitol. It is present in the camouflaged armed national guardsmen who greet members of Congress each day we enter the Capitol campus. It is present in the labyrinth of concrete barriers through which we must pass each time we go to vote. The trappings of a state of siege trap us in a state of fear, ill equipped to deal with the Patriot Games, the Mind Games, the War Games of an unelected President and his unelected Vice President."
Since then, Kucinich is one of a handful of members of Congress who has spoken out for impeachment.  Just as he was attempting to gain some momentum in the presidential primary, in December 2007, his 52-year-old brother died suddenly.  Three months later, the coroner ruled the cause to be heart and lung disease. 


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Pokey Anderson has broadcast or published numerous reports on voting machine issues over the past four years. She co-produces a weekly news and analysis radio program, The Monitor on KPFT-Pacifica in Houston. A previous article was "Even a Remote (more...)

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