This is the second installment of a series of excerpts from my new book, STEAL THIS BOOK, NOT MY VOTE. Due out April 7, 2012, the one-year anniversary of Kathy Nickolaus finding 14,000 votes two days after Joanne Kloppenburg was declared the winner of the 2011 Wisconsin Supreme Court election. Without those votes, there never would have been a recount, and we would never have known how corrupted our election systems have become. It is my hope that STEAL THIS BOOK, NOT MY VOTE can help inspire needed reforms to protect our elections in time for the recall of Scott Walker. May we then, as Wisconsin is known to do, go on to inspire a national movement.
Installment #2: How We Got Here
If you are reading this book, chances are you or someone close to you is tremendously concerned about what’s happening in the US government. If you’re like me, you’ve watched for years as the country has systematically appeared to “turn red.” Over the past decade as more and more right-wing neoconservative candidates have taken office, maybe like me, you’re wondering what’s gotten into Americans that they are moving so far to the right and spewing so much hate.
On February 9, 2009, a reporter for CNBC named Rick Sanitelli delivered a scathing rant from the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Former vice president for an institutional trading and hedge fund account, Sanitelli claimed his rant wasn’t scripted; instead, he said he was fed up with the banking bailout and other nefarious acts taking place in Washington.
Some believe his performance, however, turned out to be an exuberant pitch on behalf of an elaborate network of aligned corporate interests that included the Koch brothers, billionaire owners of the largest private corporation in America, and scores of well-funded, right-wing think tanks and advocacy groups. They’re raison d’être? By all appearances it was to overthrow the government of the United States and install a corporate oligarchy.
Sanitelli’s rant was pointedly meant to appeal to the masses of Americans who by this time were exasperated with the US “economic crisis.” Out of this moment, the Tea Party was born, springing forth fully formed and subsequently mainlined by the corporate-controlled media.
Although Sanitelli’s rant may have been a benchmark, it was by no means the first event meant to control the masses of disgruntled conservative Americans. Nor was the enormous organizing going on behind the scenes by the Kochs for years prior to Sanitelli’s planned tantrum. We can look to 2000, the year the presidential election was stolen as the date that marks the true foothold in the 50-year plan for the takeover. Putting Bush in the White House would successfully demonstrate that they could indeed game the national elections. With a stacked Supreme Court in DC, poorly designed ballots in Florida, Fox News ready to broadcast the steal, and corruption on all levels of the playing field, the stage was set. All the Supreme Court had to do was declare Bush the winner, and the deal of the decade was sealed.
In order to understand the breadth and depth of the plan, we must contextualize the historical background and long-armed reach of the tentacles of Koch Industries. A New York Times article suggests the Kochs were actually descendents of Nazi sympathizers. After Hitter committed suicide, their residual hate immigrated to America in the form of John Birch, whose world headquarters are still located in downtown Appleton, Wisconsin.The American Kochs appear intent on carrying out the philosophy of their heritage: world domination with no environmental protections, no civil rights, no constitution, a privatized paramilitary, and slave labor, with them and the chosen few at the helm.
Taking control of the media was essential on election night 2000. Lead perpetrator was Fox News, the Murdoch Rupert spin machine, although all major networks have become tightly controlled. Fox News first called the election for Bush in 2000. In an interview in 2007, Larry King declared Fox, “The Republican Brand.” Comedy Central’s John Stewart has frequently verified that Fox does, indeed, lie.
Bernie Sanders coined the term “propaganda echo chamber” to describe a group of media outlets who parrot each other’s uncritical views of a single perspective, generally involving repetitive lying. This tactic is used to turn an unsupported allegation into what appears to be accepted fact.
In 2011, Fox commentator Bill O’Reilly and reporter Mike Tobin were caught red-handed lying about Wisconsin. Using footage from a violent protest in Sacramento, complete with palm trees, they purposefully misrepresented Wisconsin’s peaceful protests as being violent and fueled by “union thugs.” Our peaceful protestors’ response? Blow-up palm trees.
Out of the “hanging chad” debacle in Florida in 2000 also came the legislative chess move, wherein the Help America Vote Act was passed. It not only required US polling places to use touch screen voting machines, but that US taxpayers fund them. Millions of government dollars were made available for counties around the country to purchase these new voting machines from Diebold, Sequoia and other shady corporations with deep ties to Rove and the Republican Party. These right-wing organizations owned the “proprietary” software and kept their programming in the machines untouchable, thereby allowing them access to manipulate the results. Using these corruptible machines, they could subtly, over the course of ten years, falsely show the country moving to the right by flipping small percentages of votes all across the board, over time, throughout every county in America.
Along with the controllable, corrupted voting machines came an “education” arm of the takeover called the Election Center. Originally funded by the voting machine companies, the Center trained election officials and clerks how to support and defend the machines, offering PR courses such as, “Crisis Management for Voter Systems” and “How To Answer the Difficult Questions.” As they changed the laws on local levels to protect the voting machine companies, statutes were quietly created to undermine the use of hand count paper ballots. In Wisconsin, it is a possible felony if an election worker hand counts ballots that have already been counted by a voting machine under Section 5.85, Wis. Stats.
Put former failed Enron accountants Arthur Andersen turned Accenture in charge of the voter registration rolls, and a national voting system was installed that could be permanently hacked to manipulate elections and turn the country into what Karl Rove refers to as the “permanent Republican majority.”
Legislative Fraud: ALEC
How did the HAVA act actually become enacted? In 2000, a neoconservative, Koch-driven organization known as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) emerged to begin writing the legislation that was showing up in one state house after another. ALEC members represent the “Republican Majority,” with the exception of a handful of Democrats who, according to Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), ALEC investigator for over ten years. He is there to keep an eye on what this potentially illegal and certainly unethical organization is doing: writing legislation designed to strip protection from individuals and eventually complete the takeover of the US government in favor of corporations. Republican members of every state legislature in the country have been helping craft the bills and then bringing them home to introduce as their own.
The extreme legislation we are currently dealing with in Wisconsin is aligned to the philosophies of ALEC, and most of our Republican legislators are or have been members. UW Madison professor Bill Cronon’s editorial blog about ALEC in March 2011 garnered him the wrath of the state Republicans, and early on revealed the long-range planning of this rancorous organization.
From the 2000 US Supreme Court being stacked with right-wing tools for Rove, to David Prosser being waved back to the bench even after finding over 800 anomalies at the recount that should have rightfully invalidated thousands of votes, judicial fraud is another key element to the takeover. When in March 2011, Dane Court Judge Sumi found Wisconsin Republicans guilty of not only breaking the open meeting laws but violating the public trust, the fascists were slowed. Without Prosser back on the bench, the Supreme Court would have been tied when the challenge came before them as to if the Republicans broke the open meeting laws. With Prosser back just in time, he was able to over-rule the lower court and propel this takeover forward again. Today we also know that during that trial, Justice Gableman was also receiving favors from the law firm representing the Republicans.
By overturning Sumi’s ruling, Prosser handed state Republicans the keys to the kingdom. By rationalizing that the legislature does not have to obey the law, the court set up a brazen new attitude. “Special Sessions” became the norm, wherein ungodly numbers of bills were rushed through committee, on to the Assembly, then over to the Senate to be rubber stamped by the Republican majority. There was no input allowed by Democrats in writing the bills. The Republicans allowed no amendments, no compromise, no intention other than to grab as much power and as many resources they were capable of stealing, Wisconsin citizens and the constitution be damned.
2008 and Obama
But what happened in 2008 with the presidential elections? If the Republicans have control of the voting systems, as they proved again in 2004 when Ohio became the new Florida, why did they “allow” Obama to win that year? Election fraud, after all, surely is not just Republican. In their book, Votescam, published in 1992, Jim Collier and his brother Ken unwittingly uncovered corruption in all levels and in both parties of the government.
According to an online Facebook post in August 2011 from Jonathan Simon of Election Defense Alliance, because of the financial crash in September 2008, Lehman Brothers going belly up made it impossible for the average American to believe the Cain-Palin ticket could override Obama’s “hope” surge. He also speculates that Obama’s election might very well have been a landslide had they not stolen at least some of the votes.
The Tea Party
Learning from that mistake, the Kochs figured they needed masses of people to flock to their rallies who would give their “astroturfing” movement the appearance of legitimacy. Not that the Kochs even needed their votes; those they could manufacture. What they needed was a cast of people to play the part of an angry mob who would represent the votes they were planning on stealing in the 2010 congressional and governors’ races, and eventually the presidential race of 2012. That way, if another Lehman Brothers happened on the way to the polls, the steal would still be believable.
After Sanitelli’s “spontaneous” rant, the stage was set. Posing as a “grassroots” organization, in the beginning the Tea Party claimed to have no real corporate sponsor, thereby lying right out of the gate. Their lies, however, attracted hundreds of thousands of well-meaning Americans with promises of fiscal conservatism and libertarian ideals. Believing the lies, masses of unfortunate people unwittingly took part in one of the farthest-reaching bamboozles of modern US history.
Fortunately, their true colors were soon publicly outed when Australian Taki Oldham blew their cover with his documentary, The Billionaires’ Tea Party. In it, he traveled with the party and discovered that behind the movement’s rhetoric was a highly coordinated network of shadow groups, including Club for Growth, which, according to Oldham’s report, were funding and fueling all levels of the hostile takeover of the government.
Bringing Together Hate
Taking a page from the family playbook, the Kochs also served to connect a network of hate groups into one organized focus, fueling them with money and lies, and setting them about to cause dissension between all parties on local stages. Fox gave Glenn Beck full control to rile up the hateful masses. Even though the Tea Party appeared to pit itself against the Republican Party, in truth, it was just a giant chess game to keep the peasants fighting among themselves, a predictable tactic to divide and conquer.
Many moderate Republicans were swept up in this violent swing the entire party took to the far right. Did the bullying group mentality of the Republican Tea Party influence otherwise moderate Republicans to go over to their dark side? One can only imagine the pressure coming from inside the party.
With each crisis after 2000, the country became more and more “at risk” from alleged “outside terrorists.” 9/11 cemented the Patriot Act, and Homeland Security began the police state in earnest. The shifted manipulation to the right allowed the “elected” officials to slowly eliminate personal and civil rights as a way to “protect” us. Homeland Security was, after all, for our own good. We could not risk allowing foreigners into the country, for fear they may try to overthrow the government and commit acts of terror.
As much as so many tried to warn us, little did the American public know when the Twin Towers came crashing down exactly the sort of closed society that would rise up from the ashes. This decade has been the crowning moment for the US corporate industrial war machine to finally gain total control.
Or so they thought.
We Have Met The Enemy
There are no “outside terrorists” more frightening than corporations and “elected” officials stealing our votes to install their political tools who are using their power to wage war against US citizens. Add to this an apathetic citizenry that sits back and does nothing, and we have indeed met the enemy and it is us. In reality, the industrial war machine has been creating these crises to use as an excuse to close our society, strip us of our rights, and turn our democracy into an oligarchy.
After a ten-year set-up and with Tea Party support reaching its zenith, the stealing of the 2010 gubernatorial and senate races of the Great Lakes states, Florida and Arizona signaled that the oligarchists had finally arrived. 2011 was the year to move quickly, for they also knew Americans would begin to figure it out, but with the media fraud churning out the propaganda, it was not fast enough. Financial martial law was quickly declared in Michigan by Governor Rick Synder. Wisconsin was to be not far behind. Had it not been for the 14 Democrats leaving the state, Wisconsin very well could have followed the way of Michigan.
Shock and Awe, And Post Traumatic Stress
Understandably it’s difficult to wrap one’s mind around the idea that this type of political evil has re-emerged on Main Street Wisconsin, but the sooner we face it, the more power we can add to the movement of reform, the sooner we can act. The term shock and awe could not be more accurate for a process that leaves people incapacitated as they discover how far-reaching the corruption really is. That We the People allowed this to happen is certainly our responsibility—for not paying attention or participating in our own government. At the same time, the media ran a very tight ship in aiding and abetting in the takeover by encouraging television and consumptive addiction, and repeatedly broadcasting lies in echo chamber. We have been trained to expect election fraud, as we slipped back into denial of a truth too morbid to admit.
In 2004, with Ohio as the new Florida, I believe We the People went numb watching our country being stolen again, right before our eyes. That night in 2004 I went to bed with Kerry and woke up with Bush—I had to go numb. The implication was staggering and I felt so helpless in the face of such evil. Dancing With The Stars became anesthesia for the masses. What else could we do?
Perhaps this is why most Election Integrity activists in this country suffer from post-traumatic stress. Once you see your country being stolen with your own two eyes and look directly into the face of the real terrorists who have taken control, you can never really rest again. Suddenly, the lies the media are broadcasting become not only apparent but woefully wrong and purposefully destructive. Every person who says, “I’m just not political, sorry” as a reason not to take action seems like a traitor, too.
For me, the rage I felt seeing the evidence of fraud from the Wisconsin Supreme Court recount being ignored made me want to shout the truth, louder and stronger than any of their propaganda. I knew sooner or later, any structure built on a system for the good of the few at the expense of the whole will collapse in on itself. It’s why the Kochs lost the first time around in 1945, because governments all around the world took action and stood up against the Third Reich.
This time around, We the People in every country of the world have to stand up, one person at a time, for each other and the earth. We must exercise the very rights they are trying to claim aren’t ours. As each individual finds and uses their voice, more power is added to the rising wave of change for the good of all.
I am now an official member of the Election Integrity movement. I earned my stripes driving circles around the capitol building in Madison until 3 AM raging the night of August 8, 2011, the first of the Wisconsin recall elections. I underestimated the disgust I would feel on hearing that Kathy Nickolaus was again delaying the results in the district we predicted they would tamper with: Alberta Darling’s seat in Senate District 8.
Yes, I understand this election integrity PTSD now. As long as current voting systems are allowed to remain in place, the United States should consider itself under terrorist attack from within. I cannot rest until we ensure open, transparent and hand-count, paper ballots elections.
Decades of Evidence
Through the years, election integrity activists have documented the evidence of election fraud around the country. From Bev Harris’ meticulous research available on blackboxvoting.org, to the testimony from a programmer as to how the machines are hacked, to Princeton University’s study on how easy it is to hack the programming pacs, it’s not for lack of evidence that we can’t get reform. We instead lack laws that protect the people, our rights and our votes, a media that won’t tell the truth, an apathetic and opiated public, and judicial and election systems in synch—a coordinated corruption—that have kept EI activists from moving this forward. It’s certainly not for lack of trying.
In this war that the Republican Tea Party launched on the country in 2011, I believe Wisconsin was given a golden ticket. When our Democrats left the state in February to allow us time to really read the budget bill, we did, and we got it. Then the Supreme Court recount allowed us to glimpse into our corrupted election system, and the nine recall elections provided a platform to install the first wave of reform.
Rising out of our shock and awe, a mighty force came to life on the ground. The people of Wisconsin organized on every level to stand strong to protect our rights. In short order, we organized the first six recall elections that summer and won two new seats in the Senate, and successfully defended against three recalls launched against the Democrats.
However, the recall of Scott Walker and four more Republican senators that began in November showed the state just how serious we were about rejecting this takeover. After two months of relentless circulation in every corner of the state through the heart of the Wisconsin winter, almost 2,000,000 signatures were collected for six recalls, including Lt Governor Kleefisch and one of the biggest ringleaders of the Republican Fascists, Scott Fitzgerald. As of this writing, we are waiting to see when the recall elections will be scheduled and who is stepping up to run against them.
A recent John Doe investigation launched around Walker’s alleged criminal acts while working in Milwaukee has netted numerous arrests for various crimes, including campaigning on public time and dimes. However, former associate Tim Russell was also charged with embezzlement and Russell’s partner Brian Pierick was charged with child enticement, as the FBI uncovered text messages to underage boys. Many believe that its only a matter of time before the corruption, as far and vast as it seems, is systematically, step by step, addressed and put to right. Because of this, a great revolution is indeed taking place in Wisconsin as we learn how to rebuild our state from this devastation.
Never before in US history has a state stood as ready, willing and able to utilize the power of recall as rigorously as Wisconsin. Our constitution not only allows it but also protects and encourages the use of recall when citizens feel their government and democracy are being threatened. We aren’t a state known for rashly using the recall. The recall of Scott Walker and all these Fascists is not only our duty, but if we do not find a way to rid our state of fascism, Walker and his cronies will continue to drive us into poverty, stealing our resources and destroying the fabric of our state using a billion-dollar propaganda echo chamber telling people “It’s Working.” When our politicians refuse to protect our schools, funds, workers, water and air from their corporate sponsors, we will literally die if we don’t stand up.
Wisconsin Citizens for Election Protection
After seeing our votes stolen at the recount, the whistleblowers in Wisconsin mobilized hundreds of volunteers to protect the summer recall elections, forced issues at assembly committee and GAB meetings, reached out to educate county clerks and work together with legislators and election workers for reform. Because of this efforts, more and more people are being educated on the truth and how to stand up and take action. We are committed to one day longer, one day stronger, and the corporations will never wear us down. Each day that passes gives us more time to expand our efforts and widen the circle of those committed to nonviolently standing up to protect democracy.
This in turn has breathed new life into the national Election Integrity movement, whose time has now arrived. Never before has the nation been ready to hear the truth and take action. Wisconsin has been given the task to start the process rolling for each and every state to follow suit until we clean up the government throughout the nation.
The Truth Is Setting Us Free
In May 2011, a Tea Party rally in South Carolina drew about 30 people. One held in Wisconsin netted about the same on August 5 in Lacrosse. This undeniable decline comes from the fact that average Americans are now aware of the awful truth of the Kochs, and are personally experiencing their end goal: the complete dismantling of the US government and the privatization of the country to profit corporations.
More and more citizens understand that the passage of Citizens United, proclaiming that corporations are “people,” opened the door to unlimited and secret campaign contributions just in time for the 2010 gubernatorial and senate steals resulting in the immediate and rapid power grab on both local and national levels. This attack on US soil also includes international mining companies and their assault all across the US via their ownership of mineral rights beneath our land. Combine the removal of protection for the land, people, air and water with the mining companies’ track record of leaving behind toxic pollution, and you get environmental warfare more effective than bombs.
Make no mistake, this stand is about rights. Our message is clear: A politician who makes an oath to protect the constitution becomes a traitor when he or she uses their power to pass laws that strip us of our rights in the name of economic hardship. If you do that, one way or another, you will be removed from office through sweeping grassroots reform, highly organized and designed to protect our rights. When we restore justice and take back our democracy, you will be held accountable.
And it all begins with election reform.
Purchase an advanced copy of STEAL THIS BOOK, NOT MY VOTE at www.barbarawith.com