My guest is progressive writer and activist, Victoria Collier "with a focus on the intersect between democracy, justice and sustainability." I like that! Welcome back to OpEdNews, Victoria.
JB: We haven't talked in quite a while*. Your father and uncle wrote Votescam: The Stealing of America back in 1992. The world changes so fast these days. Why would we be interested in their findings now, in the 21st century?
VC: A fair question, particularly in these days of information overload. Why should we care about any particular piece of history? We have so much we need to know about what's happening now. But Votescam is actually more relevant today than ever before. It has just been republished as part of the Forbidden Bookshelf series by Open Road Publications, chosen not just for its historical value and status as "underground classic," but because its story continues to impact our lives and our government, and our futures.
The Votescam investigation was the first to expose the modern-day corruption in our elections systems, particularly the riggable computer technology used to count our votes. American elections are no safer, no more verifiably accurate, and no less corrupt than they were in 1970 when Jim and Ken began their work, which spanned over 25 years. If anything the situation has deteriorated appreciably.
And the question is, why? Why has American democracy taken a nose dive? This is where Votescam is such a vital book. It answers that question by exposing the corruption of key players in the elections system, some of them still in power, like Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who had been helping to rig elections long before he handed the stolen presidency to George W. Bush in 2000, and then dealt the death-blow to democracy through Citizens United in 2010.
The story of the Collier brother's life-changing struggle to bring the truth to light exposes the central role of the corrupt corporate media, who have been aggressively censoring the subject of insider election fraud for decades. This is why so few Americans know that their voting system has been privatized and outsourced to a handful of corporations with criminal pasts and partisan interests.
Nothing has changed, and nothing is getting better - it's getting worse. We have to understand why. Until we know our history, we can't change our futures.
JB: Agreed, Victoria. You've put a lot on the table. Hmmmm, let's start with my colleagues in the mainstream media. Why isn't this the story of the century? Of this century and the last one, for that matter? After all, if elections are not sacrosanct and so much is riding on them, how can we be confident that our leaders were actually elected in the first place? Why hasn't the press been all over this?
VC: You can ask that question about many important issues regularly censored by the corporate press. The problem of press corruption and control goes deep, and I don't think we can delve into it here. If you want to simplify it in the terms of the Occupy movement, the mainstream media is controlled by the "1%" and we will hear what they allow us to hear, through their networks.
Today, however, we have the Internet, which Jim and Ken did not have. This changes the game entirely.
But to answer your question more specifically; in the case of Votescam, the media had a uniquely personal reason to censor the information. Jim and Ken had exposed the direct role of the media networks in rigging the 1970 election in Dade County, Florida, by reporting phony results to the public.
In later years, the Colliers discovered the existence of a little-known and extremely shady organization called News Election Services (NES). A consortium of the major news networks created in 1964, in every national election NES was given the right to aggregate all state votes by computer and then report final results to all the networks, who continued to pretend they were competing for earliest data. Jim and Ken feared that this small media cabal in its locked-down secret headquarters had the capability of rigging votes on a national scale, top of the ticket races, including the presidency.
Obviously, this isn't a story the networks had any interest in promoting.
And to be honest, for years after their deaths, I did not talk about NES when I spoke publicly on Votescam, because I didn't feel a lot of people were ready to swallow the possibility of this level of corruption.