Elections

Feb
15

Which Washington Crimes Matter Most?

Tag: Elections, Peace and War, Political Ideas

Michael Flynn participated in mass murder and destruction in Afghanistan and Iraq, advocated for torture, and manufactured false cases for war against Iran. He and anyone who appointed him to office and kept him there should be removed from and disqualified for public service. (Though I still appreciate his blurting out the obvious regarding the counterproductive results of drone murders.)

Many would say that prosecuting Al Capone for tax fraud was a good move if he couldn't be prosecuted for murder. But what if Al Capone had been funding an orphanage on the side, and the state had prosecuted him for that? Or what if the state hadn't prosecuted him, but a rival gang had taken him out? Are all take-downs of major criminals good ones? Do they all deter the right activities by up-and-coming criminals?

Michael Flynn was not removed by public demand, by representative action in Congress, by public impeachment proceedings, or by criminal prosecution (though that may follow). He was removed by an unaccountable gang of spies and killers, and for the offense of seeking friendlier relations with the world's other major nuclear-armed government.

Dec
18

Monday Morning Bernie Backing

Tag: Elections, Peace and War, Political Ideas

The growing push to defeat Trump by any of the following means:

Taking the CIA's warmongering on faith and blaming Vladimir Putin for everything, Accusing the FBI, Pressing for majority rule despite the electoral college, Protesting voters being stripped from the rolls, Objecting to intimidation at the polls, Trying to undo the blocking of votes by those lacking IDs, Remedying broken and insufficient and unverifiable machines, Counting paper ballots where they exist, Threatening impeachment over Trump's unconstitutional presents and emoluments from foreign nations unless he sells his foreign businesses, Arguing for disqualification on the ground of mental illness, Praying and fantasizing,

would be far more energized and popular if the "defeated" candidate were Bernie Sanders, who -- judging by all existing polling (and theorizing what his general election campaign would have looked like) -- would almost certainly not have been defeated by any means in the first place.

Dec
08

Virginia's Constitution Needs Improving

Tag: Elections, Political Ideas, Public Policy

Virginia's Constitution is three times as long as the U.S. Constitution (which is notably lacking any serious sections on oyster beds). Virginia's Constitution has also been updated at least three times as much as the U.S. Constitution. But it is now long overdue.

The U.S. Constitution has been updated with 27 amendments and 0 serious revisions through conventions. Virginia's Constitution has been amended many times including through five Constitutional conventions, held in 1830, 1851, 1864, 1870, and 1902. From 1776 to 1902 that's one convention every 25 years. Now there hasn't been one for 114 years.

I don't want to revise the Virginia Constitution just for the heck of it, but because it is badly needed. There is much in the Virginia Constitution that needn't be there at all, but that can be to our advantage if it facilitates opening the whole thing to desirable improvements. Some improvements are desirable because of the failure of the federal government to make them.

Nov
27

How I Produce Fake News for Russia

Tag: Elections, Media

Apparently I've written "fake news" on behalf of Russia without ever receiving a dime from Russia or realizing what I was doing. It took the intrepid reporting of the Washington Post to alert me to what I have been engaged in. My "fake news" has been published in at least 18 Russian propaganda outlets included on the Washington Post-endorsed Enemies List.

They are ahtribune.com, off-guardian.org, opednews.com, antiwar.com, beforeitsnews.com, blackagendareport.com, ronpaulinstitute.org, rt.com (that one is actually Russian), consortiumnews.com, countercurrents.org, counterpunch.org, globalresearch.ca, truth-out.org, truthdig.com, informationclearinghouse.info, washingtonsblog.com, mintpressnews.com, and nakedcapitalism.com.

Since everything I write is also at davidswanson.org it's a safe bet that that's a Russian propaganda site as well, even though I hadn't realized it.

Nov
22

Talk Nation Radio: Greg Palast on Stripping 7 Million Voters from Rolls, Swinging Election

Tag: Elections, Talk Nation Radio

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-greg-palast-on-stripping-7-million-voters-from-rolls-swinging-election

Greg Palast is an investigative reporter, whose news-breaking stories appear on BBC Television and in The Guardian and Rolling Stone Magazine. Palast has released a new movie: The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: A Tale of Billionaires and Ballot Bandits, based on his books. Palast says that the recent U.S. election was in fact rigged. We discuss how.

See http://GregPalast.com

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.Producer: David Swanson.Music by Duke Ellington.

Download from LetsTryDemocracy or Archive.Pacifica stations can also download from Audioport.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!

Please embed the SoundCloud audio on your own website!

Past Talk Nation Radio shows are all available free and complete athttp://TalkNationRadio.org

and athttps://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/tracks

Nov
16

The Skeletons in Keith Ellison's Display Case

Tag: Elections

Congressman Keith Ellison, candidate of progressive Democrats and many regressive Democrats for chair of the Democratic National Committee eagerly urged the illegal and disastrous violent overthrow of the government of Libya in 2011, which he celebrated as a success despite what it meant for the rule of law, despite all the death and suffering, despite the predictable instability and weapons proliferation to follow.

Ellison moved on to pushing, and using his perch as co-chair of the Progressive Caucus to push, for a similar war on Syria. For years now he has advocated for the illegal and murderous creation of no fly zones and "safe zones" -- what Hillary Clinton admitted only to Goldman Sachs would require that you "kill a lot of Syrians." Ellison was an early backer of bombing Syria in 2013. He met with peace activists but rejected their appeal.

Back in 2007, before Ellison's leadership, the Congressional Progressive Caucus had helped organize 90 Congress members to commit to voting against war funding.  Most of them turned around and voted for war funding. That ridiculous disappointment was a high point for the CPC.

Since then, the CPC's commitments -- such as to vote against corporate healthcare -- have hardly been taken seriously, and so it's hardly been news when most members have gone back on their commitments.

But in recent years, the CPC has shifted away from even pretending to take a stand on things, and instead moved toward issuing statements full of non-committal rhetoric. Some began referring to it as the Congressional Progressive Statement Caucus.

Yet even that standard must be looked back to with nostalgia when it comes to Co-Chair Ellison's rhetoric on war. He promotes misinformation about protecting innocent people in Libya and Syria and uses those claims to justify war making. This is exactly what the war makers were looking for in funding Hillary Clinton for President. Should the Democratic National Committee now give it to them in the form of Ellison as Chair?

Of course there are differences between Clinton and Ellison. He hasn't been around long enough to do nearly as much damage, and he's legitimately better than Clinton in many ways. He introduced legislation in the Minnesota State Legislature to urge the impeachment of George W. Bush. He dropped support for that once elected to Congress but did sign onto impeaching Dick Cheney and Alberto Gonzales. He has voted against war funding, more than once. He has asked Obama to end the war on Afghanistan. He was against rewriting laws with signing statements, at least while Bush was president. It's conceivable that he no longer, post-Bernie, throws a fit if called a socialist. And on domestic issues there's no comparison: Ellison is excellent by Democratic standards.

But is that good enough? Does empowering someone who is a Muslim erase all concern over bombing Muslims and turning their nations into hell?

This is the best the Democrats have, we're told. But putting an active member of Congress into another fulltime job is not ideal. And the Democrats have unemployed figures like war-advocate Howard Dean crawling out into the spot lights.

Who would I propose instead? The first name that comes to mind (and I have not discussed this with him, it's possible he has no interest, and he certainly wouldn't sanction my criticizing of Ellison) is Dennis Kucinich. You want change? Hope even? Try him.

Nov
15

Talk Nation Radio: Jonathan Simon on How Machines May Have Counted Our Votes Wrong

Tag: Elections, Talk Nation Radio

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-jonathan-simon-on-how-machines-may-have-counted-our-votes-wrong

Jonathan Simon is author of CODE RED: Computerized Election Theft and The New American Century. He serves as Executive Director of Election Defense Alliance (www.ElectionDefenseAlliance.org), a nonprofit organization founded in 2006 to restore observable vote counting and electoral integrity as the basis of American democracy. In addition to CODE RED, Dr. Simon has published, both individually and in collaboration, numerous papers related to various aspects of election forensics and election integrity. We discuss the counting of votes in last week's U.S. elections.

The CODE RED website is www.CODERED2016.com.

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.Producer: David Swanson.Music by Duke Ellington.

Download from LetsTryDemocracy or Archive.Pacifica stations can also download from Audioport.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!

Please embed the SoundCloud audio on your own website!

Past Talk Nation Radio shows are all available free and complete athttp://TalkNationRadio.org

and athttps://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/tracks

Nov
14

AUDIO: I discussed what else on connect the dots

Tag: About David Swanson, Elections

Monday morning  at 7-8AM  tune in (KPFK 90.7 fm) 

                                  or log on: 

http://archive.kpfk.org/index.php?shokey=ctd

Lila Garrett’s  CONNECT THE DOTS.

Did the Democrats bring this disaster on themselves?  Monday morning guests suggest a change that will make a right wing putsch like this election less likely to happen. 

Congressman Alan Grayson of Florida, who along with many progressive Democrats was betrayed in his run for Senate by the right wing of his own party, lists other candidates who suffered the same fate. In his remaining days in this Congress, he plans to introduce a bill which could bring dramatic change to the election process. 

Former Assembly person Jackie Goldberg analyzes what went wrong and what went right with the election.  Believe it or not, some things  that should have won, actually did. 

Nobel Peace Prize nominee David Swanson has a different take on the significance of the election altogether.  What can we do about it?  Prepare to be activated.

Lila Garrett (Host of CONNECT THE DOTS)KPFK 90.7 FM in LA; 98.7 Santa Barbara; 93.7 San Diego;99.5 China LakeAirs Mondays from 7AM to 8AM.Link to my podcastshttp://archive.kpfk.org/index.php?shokey=ctdEach show is online for 60 days.

Nov
13

Un-Trump the World

Tag: Elections

A couple of dozen young people marched back and forth through downtown Charlottesville, Virginia, Saturday evening shouting "Love Not Hate!" and "No Human Being Is Illegal!" and "Black Lives Matter!" and similar anti-Trump inspired slogans. They didn't hand out flyers or interact with other people at all, though I cheered for them.

Meanwhile some people my age looked on and made scornful condescending comments to the effect that the election was over and these fools should get over it. And one drunk guy, restrained by his wife or girlfriend, announced that "Black lives aren't worth s---!"

My response is different, if perhaps equally cynical. I'd like all the fools not marching and rallying to recognize that the dream of self-governance is over and to get over it. I'd like everyone to have gotten over it last month or last year or last decade.

I love that people march around shouting "Love Not Hate!" And the fact that anyone would object to that statement of preference ought to deeply disturb the most apathetic voter/consumer/spectator. In fact I've just helped set up a petition that reads:

"We will not stand by as hatred and violence are promoted by our president-elect. Racism and bigotry at home have been fueled by U.S. wars abroad, but also make more such wars easier. We commit to nonviolently resisting hateful attacks on our fellow human beings wherever they live."

I also love and am practicing the new trend of wearing a safety pin to indicate that one is a safe and caring person to anyone who might be worried about any variety of bigotry.

But here's where I get a bit cynical. Hillary Clinton told a room full of Goldman Sachs bankers that creating a no fly zone in Syria would require killing lots of Syrians. And she told the public she wanted to create that no fly zone. And if she had been declared the winner of the election, I can guarantee you that nobody would have been marching up and down my street yelling "Love Not Hate."

So, I worry that even those who value kindness to others value it only for the 4% of humanity in the United States but not so much for the other 96%, or value it only as directed by the less hateful of the two big political parties.

I also worry that it's even worse than that. I worry that, as cheerleaders for one political party over the other, people have lost touch with the idea of bringing demands from the public to the government. For seven years we had protests of the war on Afghanistan, for example. Then for eight years we didn't, even as the U.S. forces there grew by over 300 percent before declining. Perhaps next year those protests will recommence, but probably only in the unlikely event that the Democratic Party raises the issue.

Where was the outrage over the Trans-Pacific Partnership? Or over the lack of single-payer healthcare? Or over the failure to restrain inequality or environmental destruction? Or over the threat of a nuclear war with Russia? Why the selective outrage on-command as directed by televised coverage of the model or template protest in New York City?

But, really, what choice do people have? If they want others to join in, if they want the local media to cover them, they have to go where the momentum is. And when the momentum is for love against hate, everybody should be cheering and joining.

But we should also be directing our energy toward strategic areas for systemic change.

Is it a problem that the winner of the popular vote can be denied the U.S. presidency? Then let's compel our state legislatures to change the law to distribute electors in proportion to actual votes.

Is it a problem that a small cartel of major media corporations can choose to give someone like Donald Trump wall-to-wall free airtime, effectively handing him a nomination for president? Then let's channel widespread (including Trump's) disdain for the media into breaking up that cartel.

Is it a problem that the Democratic Party can slant the playing field of its primary to guarantee a win to a weak candidate? We should disempower and democratize parties, including by ending the corruption of privately financed elections, and by creating ranked-choice voting in the other 49 states as Maine's voters just did there.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is dead for the moment, and the president-elect made at least 1,000 speeches condemning NAFTA. Let's put an end to NAFTA, and not replace it with something worse.

It took President Obama two days after the election to put in his request for more billions for more war. Trump has already said he wants to end the arming of fighters in Syria. Let's end that supplemental spending bill along with that policy. And let's make clear that we won't stand for another form of escalation in Syria or Iraq.

Is it too early to impeach Trump? Then let's focus on blocking his horrendous cabinet nominations.

Much of recent Trump-driven hatred took the form of voter suppression. Let's demand investigations and prosecutions.

And what about loving future generations? Let's work to advance a wiser environmental policy at the local, state, and international levels, and to make clear to Congress and the president-elect that we will not stand for the destruction of the earth's climate.

Let's energize and strategize with everyone marching against the recent election. Let's take these protests where their leaders think they need to go. Even if we're just telling each other and the world that we're not among those accepting hatred and violence, that's all to the good.

But let's not start to believe that activism is principally for displaying our identities. Let's make sure we're transforming major structures that impact millions and billions of those whom we need to love and not hate.

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