who can give up essential
liberty to obtain a little temporary
safety, deserve neither liberty
-- Benjamin Franklin
"All governments lie and nothing
say should be believed."
"Power tends to corrupt, and
absolute power corrupts
absolutely. Great men
almost always bad men."
1. Electronic Voting Fraud: A Real Threat to Any Democrat
Running for President
2. War on Whistleblowers,
3. King Obama, His Royal
Court, and the TPP
Rejecting Right-Wing Attack, US Supreme Court Upholds
5. "An Age
of the Statistically Unlikely": An Interview With
Presidential Candidate Jill
6. The Day After Trinity
is a Nederlog of Friday June 26, 2015.
This is a crisis blog. There are 6 items with 6 dotted links:
Item 1 is about an article that lists the
dangers of electronic voting in the U.S.; item 2 is
about the war on whistleblowers, that doesn't seem to grow less; item 3 is by Ralph Nader and about the TPP and Obama,
and is a good article; item 4 is about an outcome
of a recent SCOTUS-decision: "Obamacare" may continue; item
5 is about an
interview with American's Green Party presidential candidate; and item 6 is
basically a non-crisis item: a link to an interesting film of 1980
about the creation
of the first atom bomb and the role of J. Robert Oppenheimer.
Also, the crisis index has been updated until yesterday and
this Nederlog got uploaded a bit earlier than normal.
1. Electronic Voting Fraud: A Real Threat to Any
Democrat Running for President
The first item today is an article by Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman
The filename of this
article is a bit starker than the above title: "why-hilllary-
can-t-win". I do believe that fiilename is too strong, and have some
reasons coming up, but I agree that the possibility of
electronic voter fraud exists.
Here is the beginning
of the article:
The way our electoral
process now stands, electronic voting machines guarantee a Republican
victory in 2016.
No matter what she does,
Hillary Clinton - or any other Democratic nominee - cannot be elected
without a fundamental change in the basic mechanics of how our votes
are cast and counted.
It is a profoundly
disturbing reality that casts a long shadow over all that's wrong with
our electoral system, no matter who one favors for public office.
Just 15 years after the
theft of the 2000 election, the Democrats have finally begun to talk about voter rights and
various methods to guarantee public access to the polls.
I say. Two immediate problems that this beginning does not
(1) it presumes great dishonesty in governors and secretaries of state,
(2) it leaves the question why - for example - the Koch
brothers would invest
many millions into trying to win elections when they also could
buy them from
corrupted governors and secretaries of state, hanging in the air.
Then again, I also agree to two facts: (i) the 2000 presidential
elections were probably stolen, by manipulations in Florida by
Jeb Bush plus a pretty sick Supreme Court decision, and (ii) I know
from various discusssions in Holland about electronic voting
is a real possibility that electronic votings may
be falsified by a few corrupt officials.
Indeed, Fitrakis and Wasserman propose measures (that
are very unlikely to be practised) that were also proposed in Holland:
So we support universal hand-counted paper ballots,
automatic universal voter registration, a four-day national holiday for
voting, major restrictions on campaign spending and a wide range of
additional reforms meant to guarantee some kind of democracy in the
I agree, even though the counting will take more time
if the votes are hand- counted, simply because this makes it far
less likely that the outcomes will get falsified.
And Fitrakis and Wasserman have a - sort of - answer to the above
Do we really think the Kochs and their ilk would spend
billions to sway our elections without throwing in some pocket change
to flip the final tally? Especially in states where they already own both the governor and the secretary of
This is not a real answer, for it consists of two
questions. My own answer is: I really don't know, but I have two
additional points about Fitrakis and Wasserman, who also announced that
their book about these possibilities will be published before
the 2016 elections:
(a) they had a similar (e-)book about the 2012-election: "Will
America's 2012 election?", while
(b) these elections were perfectly predicted (correct outcomes in
all or all but
one state) by a statistician before they
- together with the felt near certainty by many strong sympathizers
GOP that the GOP would win, until the end - makes it more probable than
my opinion) that the 2012 election was honest.
But I agree that the
possibility of electronic voter fraud exists, and it is my guess
little or nothing will be done against it in the 2016 election.
on Whistleblowers, After Obama
The next item today is
an article by John Hanrahan that I found on Consortium News, but that
originated on ExposeFacts:
This has a summary, that I quote first:
The war on whistleblowers has injected fear of prosecution
into all honest communications between national security officials and
reporters, meaning that the public instead gets a steady diet of U.S.
government lies, propaganda and self-serving rhetoric (..)
- or at least it seems that way. Here is the start of the article:
Which is to say: the
persecution of whistleblowers and journalists will probably continue;
both American political parties support it; and the major news media
Here’s the thing about
President Barack Obama’s war on whistleblowers: In bringing espionage
charges in nine cases involving disclosures or alleged misuse of
classified information, the current administration has set a floor,
rather than a ceiling, on the number and types of whistleblower
espionage cases a future president can bring.
And here’s another thing:
With leaders of both political parties having either kept silent or
cheered on the Obama administration’s unprecedented crackdown on
whistleblowers, who in high position in Congress would have one shred
of moral authority or credibility to challenge a future president’s
excesses under the Espionage Act? On the question of keeping American
citizens in the dark and of punishing whistleblowers who dare to
enlighten them, we truly have bipartisan authoritarianism.
And then a third thing:
Don’t count much on major U.S. news media for any meaningful oversight
of, and opposition to, the treatment of whistleblowers under future
presidents. The mainstream press and big-name journalists — with some
intermittent, notable exceptions such as these two New
York Times editorials and this Newark
Star-Ledger editorial — have largely ignored the
jail-the-whistleblowers policies of the Obama administration.
also either support it or ignore it.
I agree that is a likely assessment, and it is worked out in some
detail in the rest of the article, that I leave to your interests,
except for the last paragraph:
Regardless of what
pessimistic answer one gives to that question, the U.S. public should
know by now that — as with all of the other repressive measures imposed
under Presidents George W. Bush and Obama — we aren’t going to get out
of any of these messes by figuring that the next president will somehow
be better in restoring some of our democratic rights. Only an inflamed
citizenry pressuring all of our unresponsive government and
journalistic institutions can help us move in that direction.
I also agree to that
conclusion, though I should say that I haven't seen much evidence - yet
- of "an inflamed citizenry" (apart from Occupy (<-
to be sure).
Obama, His Royal Court, and the TPP
The next item today is an
article by Ralph
Nader (<- Wikipedia). I found it on Common Dreams but it first
appeared on Nader's website:
This starts as
Yes, indeed: I agree to
all of that. This is a good article that I recommend you read all of.
Partnership (TPP) – a global corporate noose around U.S. local, state,
and national sovereignty – narrowly passed a major procedural hurdle in
the Congress by gaining “fast track” status. This term “fast track” is
a euphemism for your members of Congress – senators and representatives
– handcuffing themselves, so as to prevent any amendments or adequate
debate before the final vote on the Trans-Pacific Partnership – another
euphemism that is used to avoid the word “treaty,” which would require
ratification by two-thirds of the Senate. This anti-democratic process
is being pushed by “King Obama” and his royal court.
Make no mistake. If this
was only a trade treaty – reducing tariffs, quotas, and the like – it
would not be so controversial. Yet, the corporate-indentured
politicians keep calling this gigantic treaty with thirty chapters, of
which only five relate to traditional trade issues, a trade agreement
instead of a treaty. The other twenty-four chapters, if passed as they
are, will have serious impacts on your livelihoods as workers and
consumers, as well as your air, water, food, and medicines
The reason I call
President Obama “King Obama” in this case is that he, and his massive
corporate lobbies (royal court), have sought to circumvent the checks
and balances system that is the very bedrock of our government. They
have severely weakened the independence of the primary branch of our
government – the Congress—and fought off any court challenges with
medieval defenses, such as no American citizen has any standing to sue
for harm done by such treaties or the subject is a political, not
astonishingly enough, are entitled to sue the U.S. government for any
alleged harm to their profits from health, safety or other regulations
in secret tribunals that operate as offshore kangaroo courts, not in
I will only quote one more bit of it:
For ten reasons why the
TPP is a bad idea for our country and the world see my recent Common
If this all sounds so
outrageous as to strain credulity, go beneath the tip of this iceberg
and visit: Global Trade
Warch and Flush the TPP.
Both are good links.
Rejecting Right-Wing Attack, US Supreme Court Upholds Obamacare
The next item today
is an article by Deirdre Fulton on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
I say. There is more in
the article, and I suppose I agree to this decision - but then again,
"Obamacare" is in fact a version of "Romneycare", and I also
Handing a victory for
President Barack Obama and the Affordable Care Act—as well as millions
of people who gained more affordable healthcare under the law—the U.S.
Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that individuals who get their health
insurance through an exchange established by the federal government
will continue to be eligible for tax subsidies.
case, King v. Burwell, dealt with whether the Affordable Care
Act provides subsidies to everyone in the country who qualifies for
them on the basis of income level, regardless of whether they get their
insurance through a state-run exchange or an exchange run by the
federal government. Basing their argument on just four words buried in
the massive legislation, the plaintiffs claimed that subsidies were
supposed to be only for those purchasing health care through state-run
health exchanges—not the federal one.
Experts warned that a
finding in favor of the plaintiffs would eviscerate the healthcare law.
Affirming the decision of
the Fourth Circuit, the justices voted 6-3 to uphold the subsidies.
with the last paragraph in the article:
And while he
praised the Supreme Court ruling for not throwing millions off health
insurance, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) added:
"What the United States should do is join every other major nation and
recognize that health care is a right of citizenship. A
Medicare-for-all, single-payer system would provide better care at less
cost for more Americans.”
"An Age of the
Statistically Unlikely": An
Interview With Presidential Candidate Jill Stein
The next item today
is an article by Candice Bernd on Truthout:
This starts as follows:
Green Party candidate
Jill Stein officially announced she is running in the 2016 presidential
race on June 22, during an interview on Democracy Now!. She held a campaign
kickoff event the following day at the National Press Club in
Washington, DC, where antiwar activist Medea Benjamin and racial
justice activist Marsha Coleman-Adebayo introduced and endorsed her
The main planks of
platform include a "Green New Deal," ending mass incarceration and
police brutality, a $15 per hour federal minimum wage, a single-payer
health-care system, universal public education and the abolition of
student debt, breaking up big banks and nationalizing the Federal
Reserve, initiating a global treaty to reverse climate change and
ending extreme forms of extraction.
To start with, I note this
is Chris Hedges'
favorite presidential candidate, and I agree
with the "main planks" sketched above. And I will say what I think
about her chances and about voting for her in the presidential
elections after two more quotes, from a considerably longer interview.
First, there is this
on the Republican Bush and the Democrat Obama (who ruled the last 15
We had Bush and all the
terrible things under Bush. Then we had Obama, even with the Democratic
Congress in both houses for two years. And what did we get under Obama?
It was Bush on steroids. We continued to have more of that because the
electorate reacted against Obama - because what was he doing? He was
continuing to bail out Wall Street. He was looking the other way at
predatory mortgages and the continuing foreclosure crisis, the
offshoring of our jobs. On all cylinders, Obama really led the charge
in the absolute wrong direction, and so people then rejected the
Democratic Congress when they then had the option.
I agree, except for
the conclusion: I do not think the Republicans got the majority in
Congress because "peope ... rejected" a Democratic Congress. (It is
There is considerably more there, that I will leave to your interests,
but I will quote the last paragraph, also because this will give me an
opportunity to say something about Jill Stein's chances and about voting for her in the
I agree that a mere two
choices, also from parties that are mostly the same in many respects,
is far too little to make the American presidential elections
(in the senses of "fair, honest and decent"). But then this
has been almost always the case, at least for the last hundred years or
So are we going to
confine ourselves to those two choices? It's outrageous, because to do
so really tells the largest sector of the population not to vote. It
locks them out of the election, and then all hope really is lost.
Then again, voting for Jill Stein in a presidential election means -
apart from miracles, that may be rationally discarded - voting for a losing
Does that matter? I don't think so, and do so for mostly two reasons.
One. If I were American (I am not), and if Bernie Sanders would win the
Democratic primaries (which doesn't look very probable, though so far
doing well), I would certainly vote for him, and not for Jill Stein
I might agree more with her than with Sanders, and that simply because
agree mostly with Sanders and think he has a far better chance of being
Two. But I also am a liberal, and I find it quite OK if Americans say:
I will not
vote either for Republicanw or Democrats, because these are deceivers,
so either I will note vote, or vote for a candidate of a party that
a chance, simply because I like their ideals, and dislike
ideals and the practises of both the Republicans and the Democrats.
6. The Day After Trinity
The last item
today is not an article but a film about J. Robert
Wikipedia) and the
creation of the first atomic bomb
(<- Wikipedia) by the United States, in the first
half of the 1940ies, and is also about Oppenheimer's treatment under McCarthy
(<-Wikipedia). The film is originally from 1980 and takes almost 1
It is here simply because I
saw it yesterday and I liked it (and the themes are important).