Environmental Ethics
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Ernest Partridge, Ph.D

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R. I. P. American Democracy


By Ernest Partridge
Co-Editor, "The Crisis Papers."

November 2, 2012



"The election's over. We won... Its all over but the counting,
and we'll take care of the counting."

Congressman Peter King, (R. NY).
Election night, 2004.

“The people who cast the votes decide nothing.
The people who count the votes decide everything.”

Josef Stalin


Fragments of this essay have been rattling around in my head for weeks. However, I have been reluctant to write it out and send it online. One clear implication of this piece is that because the outcome of this election is pre-determined, voting is pointless. Yet I don’t want to discourage voting, for I might be mistaken. Even so, I would like to put these opinions on record before the election, so that I might not be accused afterward of “20-20-hindsight.” Accordingly, I will not submit this elsewhere, and will confine its appearance to The Crisis Papers and The Online Gadfly. And yes, I intend to vote on Election Day, and I urge all readers of this essay to do likewise.

This “election” is not a contest, it is a charade.

I am not certain who will win the Presidential election. But of this much, I am quite convinced: the winner will be the candidate preferred by the “oligarchy” – the one-percent of the one-percent who effectively own the Congress, the Courts, the Media, half of the nation’s private wealth, and the machines and software that counts and compiles the votes. This apparently means that Mitt Romney will be the next President, for he is one of the oligarchs.

The preference of the American voters is quite irrelevant, as it has been in the past three elections.

A point of clarification: By “oligarchy” I don’t mean to suggest that we are ruled directly by a monolithic cabal of super-wealthy banksters and corporate CEOs. There is no secret “congress” of oligarchs pulling the political and economic strings of this republic. The existing Congress of the United States, through the surrogacy of the army of corporate lobbyists, fully suffices to represent the interests of the oligarchs. As Sen. Dick Durbin (D. Illinois) correctly observed “the bankers own this place” (i.e., the Congress).

Granted, not all the super-rich fully endorse the policies of the Republican Party. Warren Buffet and George Soros immediately come to mind. Many very wealthy individuals are contributing to the Obama campaign. In fact, in the 2008 election, most of the political contributions from Wall Street went to the Obama campaign. Moreover, it is doubtful that many oligarchs are much concerned about the so-called “women’s issues” – abortion, contraception, etc. These issues are intended only to enlist the support of the “useful idiots,” the low-information white evangelicals who are persuaded to vote against their economic interests, as they vote against science, sodomy and sin.

Even so, in American politics today, what a consensus of the oligarchs want, those oligarchs get. And this includes the outcome of the Presidential elections.

“The Bush elections were stolen, I’ll grant you that,” rebuts my hypothetical critic. “But how do you account for the Obama victory in 2008?”

Simple: Obama was preferred by the oligarchs, who were uneasy with the thought of an ignorant Jesus freak a weak heartbeat away from the Oval Office. Obama, they figured, could be managed, which is why he was so generously supported by the banksters. And subsequent events proved them to be correct. Wall Street bankers like Tim Geithner, Larry Summers, and Robert Rubin were invited to join the Obama economic team, while “real-world economists” such as Paul Krugman, Joseph Stiglitz and Robert Reich were left out in the cold. Economic crimes by the banksters, which caused millions to lose their jobs and homes, have not been prosecuted. (After all, laws, like taxes, “are for the little people”). Under the Obama administration, the Stock Market has recovered all the losses brought on by the 2008 crash, the Bush tax cuts to the very rich have remained in place. The oligarchs could scarcely have been treated more generously by a McCain/Palin administration.

But now, the support of the oligarchs has shifted to Mitt Romney who, after all, is one of them. And that probably means that he will be the next President of the United States, the “horse race hysteria” of the media notwithstanding. Unless, somehow, a controlling faction of the oligarchy decides that their interests will be better served by a second Obama administration.

Not a contest – just a charade.

To the hypothetical “Man from Mars”, or for that matter, an interested and informed foreigner, the success of the Republican party must appear astonishing to say the least. After all, here is a party that openly advocates the privatization (and thus the effective abolition) of Social Security and Medicare, once upon a time regarded as “the third rail of American politics.” It also proposes to severely curtail or eliminate such “safety net” programs as food stamps, school lunches, Medicaid, child health (CHIP). It will increase taxes on the majority of citizens while it further cuts taxes on the wealthy, thus accelerating the flow of the nation’s private wealth from the 99% to the top 1%. It will cut school budgets and make university education unaffordable to most qualifying students. It will continue to dismantle the domestic industrial base as it ships skilled jobs overseas. And it will, contrary to the will of a large majority of women, outlaw almost all abortions along with the most popular methods of birth control, as it bestows legal “personhood” on the fertilized ovum, notwithstanding the fact that 98% of sexually active women use birth control.

This is a platform that should render the Republican Party roughly as popular as the Vegetarian Party. Add to all this the fact that the GOP nominee is a totally unscrupulous liar, as much of the public is fully aware.

Yet the GOP controls the House or Representatives and, through the filibuster, effectively immobilizes the Senate. It dominates the judiciary, from the Supreme Court on down. And, polls to the contrary notwithstanding, it will probably recapture the White House on November 6.

How is this possible?

The GOP advantages in this presidential campaign are well known.

  • Thanks to the Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision, the GOP has raked in vastly more campaign money than the Democrats. Money talks, and it tells us that Mitt is the oligarchs’ boy.

  • Voter suppression laws, recently passed by GOP majorities in the states, will prevent as many as five million citizens from voting. Most of these are black, Latino, poor and students, and thus predominantly Democratic voters. One must wonder how many of the “likely” Democratic voters tallied in the polls will show up at the polling stations, only to be told that they are not qualified to vote.

  • The national media (most of which are owned by ten mega-corporations) have been typically unbalanced: forgiving of the GOP candidates, and harshly critical of the Democrats. And of course, they have an acute interest is hyping the “horse race,” as they rake in the major share of the aforementioned campaign cash via paid political ads.

However, the most decisive GOP advantage has been totally ignored by the commercial media: the manipulation of the votes by means of secret, unverifiable “black-box” voting systems. And this issue will receive the remainder of our attention in this essay.

How The Fix Is In.

The significance of the accusation that the most important American elections are fraudulent can not be exaggerated, for it means nothing less than that American democracy has been effectively abolished. No matter that the media, the politicians and the public at large refuse to acknowledge this alleged fact. If true, this means that ruling political structure of the United States can not be altered by the electorate. We the People of the United States of America are no longer ruled with our consent. This is instead a government of, by, and for the oligarchs – the one percent of the one percent.

Such an accusation requires a supporting argument. And so we begin with some fundamental and confirmable facts.

  • Paperless DRE (Direct Recording Electronic) voting machines are in use in 17 states including the “battleground” states of Pennsylvania, Virginia, Florida and Colorado. The manufactures of these “black box machines are conservative republicans. Likewise, those who supply the operating software that records these vote on the machines, and that compiles (adds up) the state totals.

  • That software is secret (i.e. “proprietary”). It can not and therefore is not checked independently for accuracy.

  • Therefore, the vote totals reported by these machines and software are not, because they cannot be, independently verified.

These compelling facts are, to the best of my knowledge, not disputed or disputable. Instead, they are steadfastly ignored by the media and politicians.

And there are still more hard facts to consider:

“Exit polling,” which tallies not how one intends to vote but rather how s/he has in fact voted, has long been regarded “the gold standard” of election verification. Exit polling in recent elections in Belarus and Ukraine prompted the U. S. State Department to denounce those elections as fraudulent.

A survey by mathematician Richard Charnin of 300 exit polls in the United States, from 1988 to 2008, found that 137 fell outside of the margin of error. (Normally only fifteen would do so). Of those 137, all but five “shifted red” – i.e., the “official” vote totals included significantly more Republican votes than indicated by exit polls. Charmin has calculated the probability of this deviation as “one in one million, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion.” In other words, impossible.

This is only one of numerous statistical studies that support the allegation that the secret and unverifiable DRE voting machine can and often do “rig” the returns. You can find many of these studies through the links listed below this essay.

So why did Charnin’s survey not include exit polling after 2008? Because at about that time, raw data exit polls were no longer made public. Instead, exit polls were “adjusted” to conform with the official vote totals, thus rendering them totally useless as validators of reported election returns.

Thus, without a scrap of independent evidence, exit polls were judged by the media and the political establishment to be “fatally flawed”? And why? Because they failed to predict the “real” (i.e. the official) voting totals. Thus this reliable instrument, successfully applied and validated for decades both abroad and in the United States, was abandoned.

In a remarkable reversal, exit polling, which was heretofore used to detect fraudulent elections, now became suspect because it didn’t conform to election returns. No plausible reason, independently confirmable, has been provided to explain the sudden “unreliability” of exit polling. Instead, predictably, the media and political establishment have chosen to ignore this anomaly.

Chuck Todd’s False Equivalence.

On the few occasions that the corporate media takes notice of the allegation of voting machine/software fraud they respond, not with reasoned rebuttal, but rather with ridicule. Typical of this is the October 21 Tweet of NBC’s Chuck Todd:

"The voting machine conspiracies belong in same category as the Trump birther garbage."

Todd gives us no supporting argument, but that is understandable since this is a tweet. However, Todd has access to the camera and microphone of a national TV network, not to mention a network website. His argument supporting the alleged equivalence, if he had one, would have been enthusiastically and widely published by the corporate media. So far, silence.

Not so Brad Friedman, one of the more prominent proponents of so-called “voting machine conspiracies.” In a lengthy and well-documented response to Chuck Todd Friedman identifies seventeen examples of voting machine failures and vulnerabilities. He ends the list with the comment, “and I could go on.” Indeed he could, as can you. As a start, read Jonathan Simon’s “Open Letter to the Media” and take a look at a few of my articles on election integrity.

Chuck Todd’s attempt to equate “voting machine conspiracies” with “birtherism” fails to survive close scrutiny.

(1) The claim that Obama was not born in the United States has been decisively refuted by the presentation of his Hawaiian birth certificate and by the contemporaneous birth announcements in Honolulu newspapers.

Regarding “voting conspiracies,” “where’s the birth certificate?” Where is the solid irrefutable evidence that the conspiracy is unfounded? There is none. The machines, with their secret software, are deliberately designed that way. Even so, there are numerous ways that machine voting might be validated, for example with spot checking of machines during election day, or with a few randomly selected precincts simultaneously using both paper and machine voting. (See my “‘Shut Up!’, they explain.”)  But none of this, to my knowledge, has been attempted. In addition, if voting machines were accurate, this could be validated through “unadjusted” exit polls. But as noted above, such polls have been discontinued and earlier raw exit polls have decisively indicted election fraud. Thus there is no available evidence that machine voting is “above board.”

(2) Conversely, “birthers” are unable to come up with any credible evidence that Obama was born in Kenya or anywhere else other than Honolulu, Hawaii.

On the other hand, the evidence of massive voting machine fraud is abundant. While direct evidence from the machines is, by deliberate design, unobtainable and the operating software is secret, indirect evidence from exit polling and statistical analysis is compelling, and no less so despite the total failure of the media and political establishment to acknowledge, examine and publicize that evidence.

Absent either confirming or refuting evidence, those who, like Chuck Todd, would equate “voting machine conspiracies” with birtherism are left with nothing but insult and bluster.

Finally, consider this: Most media analysts agree that the state of Ohio is the pivot in this election: “as goes Ohio, so goes the Nation.” Most of the Ohio votes will be tallied by unverifiable “black boxes” owned and operated by Hart Intercivic Corp. The principle investors of Hart Intercivic are friends, business associates and relatives of Mitt Romney, most notably Romney’s son Tagg.

From what we now know about electronic voting machines, the programmers of the Ohio machines could be instructed to “flip” one out of ten Obama votes to the Romney column, without leaving any evidence whatever of the tampering.. That would suffice to give Romney Ohio’s electoral votes, and presumably the Presidential election. Absent a confession from one of the programmers and a copy of the offending program, there is no possible way that this crime could be disclosed. And even in such a case, we can be confident that President Romney’s Attorney General would never prosecute.

So why, with virtually no chance of disclosure and even less chance of prosecution, would not Tagg Romney and Associates not order the implementation of such software? The only reason I can think of is something like “civic conscience.”

And we now know just how much “civic conscience” counts among the Romney crowd.

In View of All This, How Can Obama Possibly Win?

Scenario One: I am totally wrong and the pollsters and pundits are right. We are seeing the close of a fair contest with an uncertain outcome. The voting machines are, for the most part, accurate. (This we must accept “on faith” since it is a simple fact that we have no way of knowing this for sure). Obama wins a close Electoral College contest. He may or may not also win the popular vote, although, as we well know, this is irrelevant to the outcome.

I devoutly hope that this will be the case. However, as this essay makes clear, I have serious doubts.

Scenario Two: In these closing days, a sizable portion of the electorate finally comes to recognize and appreciate the decadence, deceit, irrationality, greed, and male chauvinism of the Republican Party and of their nominee. Independent polls reflect and report this late surge of public opinion in Obama’s favor. Resisting this surge by fraudulently installing the repudiated candidates might, at long last, risk the exposure and the public rejection of the corrupt electoral process. That is a chance that the oligarchy dare not take. So they let the public have its way. Possible, but unlikely.

Scenario Three: A dominant faction of the oligarchy has serious self-interested concerns about the consequences of a Romney victory. At the same time they are well-aware that they have done quite well during the first Obama administration and expect that they will do as well under a second. A Romney Presidency, they suspect, would be a “bridge too far.” Today the masses are restless but still controlled. Romney economics, as virtually all sane economists admit if only privately, will lead directly to a new recession far worse than the previous, resulting in millions more Americans losing their jobs, their homes, their pensions and their health care. The credulity and forbearance of the American public has its limits. If exceeded at last, the privileged few have good reason to fear the chaos that will follow.

Add to this the consequences of the resurgent Puritanism and nascent theocracy championed by Paul Ryan and the religious right. Romney is almost certain to appoint a Supreme Court justice who will vote with the four solid conservatives to overturn Roe v. Wade. The criminalization of most forms of abortion will follow. Soon thereafter the availability of the most popular modes of contraception will be restricted, as Griswold is also reversed, and as Romney, as he has promised, signs a “personhood” bill conferring Fourteenth Amendment rights of life, liberty, and property to fertilized ova. The women of America and the men who love them will not stand for this. The American public will then vote overwhelmingly to overthrow the oligarchs and theocrats. If this election is nonetheless nullified by fraud, the public may at last wake up to the fact that their elections are shams, and thus that the American people are subjects, not citizens, with a government that is imposed upon them rather than chosen by them.

More than a few enlightened oligarchs must be aware of all this. They must know that, in the long run, their fates are tied up with fates of the masses; that the prosperity of the nation, and therefore of themselves, is rooted in a prosperous, well educated and expanding middle class with an acknowledged stake in the national governance and economy. The lessons of history are simple and unequivocal. If there is anything at all that curtails the apparently boundless greed of these individuals – anything that keeps them awake at night in one or another of their many mansions – it is the realization that for every single one of them, there are hundreds and perhaps thousands of wretched individuals made miserable by their greed.

As Joseph Stiglitz wisely observed:

The top 1 percent have the best houses, the best educations, the best doctors, and the best lifestyles, but there is one thing that money doesn’t seem to have bought: an understanding that their fate is bound up with how the other 99 percent live. Throughout history, this is something that the top 1 percent eventually do learn. Too late.

In these desperate times, when constraints upon the ruling elites are out of reach of the ballot box, what is the public to do? The answer lies in our original founding document, the Declaration of Independence.

... to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. [W]henever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness

Hopefully, we have not yet come to that extreme condition. Perhaps it will take a few years of Romneyism and its attendant miseries to finally wake up the American public. When that happens, the push-back repression of the oligarchs will likely be brutal. It usually is. But ultimately it will fail.

Let us hope that the final overthrow of the oppressors will be non-violent, as it was in India, in South Africa, and in the Soviet Union.

But the first step toward the restoration of the American democracy must be the public realization that today democracy has been effectively and totally banished from the United States of America. Then the public must come to realize, as did discerning Russians during the Soviet era, that the official media lies without scruple, and that the truth must be found from foreign or from unauthorized domestic sources. Then at last the American people may come to fully appreciate that the government and the wealth of the nation rightly belongs to them and not to their oppressors, and they will unite in common cause to restore their democracy.

“The people, united, cannot be defeated”


For more about election fraud:

Victoria Collier:  "How to Rig an Election,"  Harper's Magazine, October 26, 2012.

Greg Palast: "Get Ready for Massive Voter Fraud-1.4 million lost last election."

Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman: “Why Romney has Already Won this Electronic Election, Unless...”

Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wsswerman: “Four Ways the Ohio GOP is Already Stealing the 2012 Election.”

“Stealing Our Votes And Our Democracy” (Video)

Jonathan Simon: “An Open Letter to the Media,”

Mark Clayton (Christian Science Monitor): "E-Voting Puts Vote Accuracy at Risk in Four Key States."

Ernest Partridge: Selected articles on election integrity.

Stephen Spoonamore:  "Busting the Man in the Middle in Ohio in 2004."

In this hour-long video, computer security expert (and Republican, by the way) Stephen Spoonamore explains how the 2004 election was stolen, and how it can be stolen again.

Some Websites:

The Election Defense Alliance.

The Free Press (Ohio).




Dr. Ernest Partridge is a consultant, writer and lecturer in the field of Environmental Ethics and Public Policy. He has taught Philosophy at the University of California, and in Utah, Colorado and Wisconsin. He publishes the website, "The Online Gadfly" (www.igc.org/gadfly) and co-edits the progressive website, "The Crisis Papers" (www.crisispapers.org).  Dr. Partridge can be contacted at: gadfly@igc.org .