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https://plus.google.com/111704023535365141686 Laurence Hazlewood : Rachel Maddow needs to investigate the coup now underway with special attention to the massive influence...
Rachel Maddow needs to investigate the coup now underway with special attention to the massive influence of German Descended Repugs who seem to be fulfilling the American Bund's objective of overthrowing the Government of America.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_Americans

Names of those I have come across since this catastrophe began unfolding.

Donald J. Trump
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher
Rep. Reince Priebus
Alt Rt Blogger Jim Hoft
Michele Bachmann
Rush Limbaugh
Green Bay City Clerk, Kris Teske
Green Bay City Mayor, Jim Schmitt.
Actor Jon Voight.
Robert Zoellick 11th President World Bank,Ex United States Deputy Secretary of State and U.S. Trade Representative
Lowell P. Weicker, Jr.
Jesse Ventura – former Governor of Minnesota (1999–2003), his mother is of Hungarian-German descent
Strom Thurmond - United States Senator.
Brian Schweitzer – 23rd Governor of Montana.
Richard Fred Suhrheinrich – judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
Jackie Speier – U.S. Rep for California's 12th/14th districts
Steve Schmidt – campaign strategist
Donald Rumsfeld
Mitt Romney.
Brian Roehrkasse.
James E Risch, U.S. Senator for Idaho
Denny Rehberg
Luke Ravenstahl
Tim Pawlenty
Henry Paulson
Ron Paul
Sarah Palin
Richard Lugar
Tom Loeffler - Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
Matt Koehl leader of the American Nazi Party, which in 1983, influenced by esoteric Nazism, he renamed as the New Order
Henry Kissinger
Steve King.
Vera Katz .
Chuck Hagel.
Timothy Geithner
Kent Conrad.
John Boehner
Gary Bauer.

All the above are current polticians or persons of great influence. I have not been able to research exactly how many postions there are at state level that are filled by those with German ancestry. This is NOT an anti-German issue, I have great respect and admiration for modern day Germany and like the people enormously. Well, most of them.

This is about the survivors and descendants of the American Bund that was set up as a Fifth Column in pre-War America to destabilise and eventually seize control of the US Government in support of Nazi Germany. Many were interned after the USA joined the war, but many escaped capture and their decendants now occupy High Office in many states and organs of Government.

The papers relating to this are on record and can be checked out. I am NOT a conspiracy theory nut, but when I see an Elephant I recognise it as an Elephant NOT a kangaroo.

There are too MANY coincidences , too many examples of Repug Germans (even if they HAVE changed their names) who are in office and have worked against voter registration, passed State Laws limiting or curtailing voter rights. acted against the interests of American citizens for this to be mere coincidence. There is a plan to be discerned here, and with the appointments Trump has made to date that plan becomes more visible.

Please ask your friends across the states to look for the enemy hiding in plain sight, do a simple background check on those who now are consolidating the power that Putin has given them. It may not be too late to shine a light that others will see. But I sense that time is short, so make haste.

And if you are wondering why Germans would be helping Russians, just research "What is the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact?"

http://beforeitsnews.com/…/crooked-mayors-city-clerk-tried-…


Crooked Mayors City Clerk tried to do away with early voting site because "students lean more toward the Democrats." | Opinion - Liberal
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https://plus.google.com/115597226982182755530 Bankers Life Fieldhouse : Pacers Sports & Entertainment joins all the citizens of Indianapolis in mourning the passing of our ...
Pacers Sports & Entertainment joins all the citizens of Indianapolis in mourning the passing of our beloved former mayor, William Hudnut. It is impossible to overvalue the transformative impact "Mayor Bill" had on Indianapolis and Central Indiana during his four terms of City Hall leadership.

Continuing the revitalization of Indianapolis begun by his predecessor Richard Lugar, Bill Hudnut enabled us to dare to dream big and believe all things were possible through cooperation and collaboration. One cannot imagine what Indy would be today without his vision. We extend our most heartfelt condolences to his wife Beverly and his entire family.
Statement from Pacers Sports & Entertainment Regarding the Passing of Bill Hudnut | Indiana Pacers
Pacers Sports & Entertainment joins all the citizens of Indianapolis in mourning the passing of our beloved former mayor, William Hudnut. It is impossible to overvalue the transformative impact "Mayor Bill" had on Indianapolis and Central Indiana during his four terms of City Hall leadership. Continuing the revitalization of Indianapolis begun by his predecessor Richard Lugar, Bill Hudnut enabled us to dare to dream big and believe all things wer...
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https://plus.google.com/111301929703482412195 Shanthamalai Ayyappa : BLACK PEOPLE WHO INSPIRED A GENERATION OF BLACK'S B Barack Obama Biography U.S. President, Lawyer, U.S...
BLACK PEOPLE WHO INSPIRED A GENERATION OF BLACK'S B Barack Obama Biography
U.S. President, Lawyer, U.S. Senator (1961–)
NAME
Barack Obama
OCCUPATION
U.S. President, Lawyer, U.S. Senator
BIRTH DATE
August 4, 1961 (age 54)
EDUCATION
Harvard Law School, Occidental College, Columbia University, Punahou Academy
PLACE OF BIRTH
Honolulu, Hawaii
AKA
Barack Obama
FULL NAME
Barack Hussein Obama II
ZODIAC SIGN
Leo
SYNOPSIS
EARLY LIFE
EDUCATION
LAW CAREER
ENTRY INTO ILLINOIS POLITICS
U.S. SENATE CAREER
2008 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
FIRST 100 DAYS
2010 STATE OF THE UNION
CHALLENGES AND SUCCESSES
2012 RE-ELECTION
VIDEOS
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Barack Obama is the 44th and current president of the United States, and the first African American to serve as U.S. president. First elected to the presidency in 2008, he won a second term in 2012.
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“I am not opposed to all wars. I'm opposed to dumb wars.”
—Barack Obama

Barack Obama - Mini Biography (TV-14; 5:04) Born in Honolulu, Barack Obama went on to become President of the Harvard Law Review. In 2008, he was elected President of the United States, becoming the first African-American commander-in-chief.
Synopsis

Born on August 4, 1961, in Honolulu, Hawaii, Barack Obama is the 44th and current president of the United States. He was a community organizer, civil-rights lawyer and teacher before pursuing a political career. He was elected to the Illinois State Senate in 1996 and to the U.S. Senate in 2004. He was elected to the U.S. presidency in 2008, and won re-election in 2012 against Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

Early Life

Barack Hussein Obama II was born on August 4, 1961, in Honolulu, Hawaii. His mother, Ann Dunham, was born on an Army base in Wichita, Kansas, during World War II. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dunham's father, Stanley, enlisted in the military and marched across Europe in General George Patton's army. Dunham's mother, Madelyn, went to work on a bomber assembly line. After the war, the couple studied on the G.I. Bill, bought a house through the Federal Housing Program and, after several moves, ended up in Hawaii.

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GALLERY
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Obama's father, Barack Obama Sr., was born of Luo ethnicity in Nyanza Province, Kenya. Obama Sr. grew up herding goats in Africa and, eventually earned a scholarship that allowed him to leave Kenya and pursue his dreams of going to college in Hawaii. While studying at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Obama Sr. met fellow student Ann Dunham, and they married on February 2, 1961. Barack was born six months later.

As a child, Obama did not have a relationship with his father. When his son was still an infant, Obama Sr. relocated to Massachusetts to attend Harvard University and pursue a Ph.D. Obama's parents officially separated several months later and ultimately divorced in March 1964, when their son was two. Soon after, Obama Sr. returned to Kenya.

In 1965, Dunham married Lolo Soetoro, a University of Hawaii student from Indonesia. A year later, the family moved to Jakarta, Indonesia, where Obama's half-sister, Maya Soetoro Ng, was born in 1970. Several incidents in Indonesia left Dunham afraid for her son's safety and education so, at the age of 10, Obama was sent back to Hawaii to live with his maternal grandparents. His mother and half-sister later joined them.



Education

While living with his grandparents, Obama enrolled in the esteemed Punahou Academy, He excelled in basketball and graduated with academic honors in 1979. As one of only three black students at the school, Obama became conscious of racism and what it meant to be African-American. He later described how he struggled to reconcile social perceptions of his multiracial heritage with his own sense of self: "I noticed that there was nobody like me in the Sears, Roebuck Christmas catalog. . .and that Santa was a white man," he wrote. "I went into the bathroom and stood in front of the mirror with all my senses and limbs seemingly intact, looking as I had always looked, and wondered if something was wrong with me."

Obama also struggled with the absence of his father, who he saw only once more after his parents divorced, when Obama Sr. visited Hawaii for a short time in 1971. "[My father] had left paradise, and nothing that my mother or grandparents told me could obviate that single, unassailable fact," he later reflected. "They couldn't describe what it might have been like had he stayed."

Ten years later, in 1981, tragedy struck Obama Sr. when he lost both of his legs in a serious car accident. Confined to a wheelchair, he also lost his job. In 1982, Obama Sr. was involved in yet another car accident while traveling in Nairobi. This time, however, the crash was fatal. Obama Sr. died on November 24, 1982, when Obama was 21 years old. "At the time of his death, my father remained a myth to me," Obama later wrote, "both more and less than a man."

After high school, Obama studied at Occidental College in Los Angeles for two years. He then transferred to Columbia University in New York City, graduating in 1983 with a degree in political science. After working in the business sector for two years, Obama moved to Chicago in 1985. There, he worked on the impoverished South Side as a community organizer for low-income residents in the Roseland and the Altgeld Gardens communities.

Law Career

It was during this time that Obama, who said he "was not raised in a religious household," joined the Trinity United Church of Christ. He also visited relatives in Kenya, and paid an emotional visit to the graves of his biological father and paternal grandfather. "For a long time I sat between the two graves and wept," Obama wrote. "I saw that my life in America—the black life, the white life, the sense of abandonment I'd felt as a boy, the frustration and hope I'd witnessed in Chicago—all of it was connected with this small plot of earth an ocean away."

Returning from Kenya with a sense of renewal, Obama entered Harvard Law School in 1988. The next year, he joined the Chicago law firm of Sidley Austin as a summer associate and Michelle Robinson, a young lawyer assigned to be Obama's adviser. Not long after, the couple began dating. In February 1990, Obama was elected the first African-American editor of the Harvard Law Review. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard in 1991.

After law school, Obama returned to Chicago to practice as a civil rights lawyer with the firm of Miner, Barnhill & Galland. He also taught constitutional law part-time at the University of Chicago Law School between 1992 and 2004—first as a lecturer and then as a professor—and helped organize voter registration drives during Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign. On October 3, 1992, he and Michelle were married. They moved to Kenwood, on Chicago's South Side, and welcomed two daughters several years later: Malia (born 1998) and Sasha (born 2001).

Entry Into Illinois Politics

Obama published an autobiography, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, in 1995. The work received high praise from literary figures such as Toni Morrison and has since been printed in more than 25 languages, including Chinese, Swedish and Hebrew. The book had a second printing in 2004 and was adapted for a children's version. The audiobook version of Dreams, narrated by Obama, received a Grammy Award for best spoken word album in 2006.

Obama's advocacy work led him to run for a seat in the Illinois State Senate. He ran as a Democrat and won election in 1996. During his years as a state senator, Obama worked with both Democrats and Republicans to draft legislation on ethics, as well as expand health care services and early childhood education programs for the poor. He also created a state earned-income tax credit for the working poor. As chairman of the Illinois Senate's Health and Human Services Committee Obama worked with law enforcement officials to require the videotaping of interrogations and confessions in all capital cases after a number of death-row inmates were found to be innocent.

In 2000, Obama made an unsuccessful Democratic primary run for the U.S. House of Representatives seat held by four-term incumbent candidate Bobby Rush. Undeterred, he created a campaign committee in 2002 and began raising funds to run for a seat in the U.S. Senate in 2004. With the help of political consultant David Axelrod, Obama began assessing his prospects for a Senate win.

Following the 9/11 attacks in 2001, Obama was an early opponent of President George W. Bush's push to go to war with Iraq. Obama was still a state senator when he spoke against a resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq during a rally at Chicago's Federal Plaza in October 2002. "I am not opposed to all wars. I'm opposed to dumb wars," he said. "What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other armchair, weekend warriors in this administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne." Despite his protests, the Iraq War began in 2003.

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U.S. Senate Career

Encouraged by poll numbers, Obama decided to run for the U.S. Senate open seat vacated by Republican Peter Fitzgerald. In the 2004 Democratic primary, he defeated multimillionaire businessman Blair Hull and Illinois Comptroller Daniel Hynes with 52 percent of the vote. That summer, he was invited to deliver the keynote speech in support of John Kerry at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston. Obama emphasized the importance of unity and made veiled jabs at the Bush administration and the diversionary use of wedge issues.

After the convention, Obama returned to his U.S. Senate bid in Illinois. His opponent in the general election was supposed to be Republican primary winner Jack Ryan, a wealthy former investment banker. However, Ryan withdrew from the race in June 2004 following public disclosure of unsubstantiated sexual deviancy allegations by his ex-wife, actress Jeri Ryan.

In August 2004, diplomat and former presidential candidate Alan Keyes accepted the Republican nomination to replace Ryan. In three televised debates, Obama and Keyes expressed opposing views on stem cell research, abortion, gun control, school vouchers and tax cuts. In the November 2004 general election, Obama received 70 percent of the vote to Keyes' 27 percent, the largest electoral victory in Illinois history. With his win, Obama became only the third African-American elected to the U.S. Senate since Reconstruction.

Sworn into office on January 3, 2005, Obama partnered with Republican Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana on a bill that expanded efforts to destroy weapons of mass destruction in Eastern Europe and Russia. Then, with Republican Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, he created a website to track all federal spending. Obama also spoke out for victims of Hurricane Katrina, pushed for alternative energy development and championed improved veterans' benefits.

His second book, The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream, was published in October 2006. The work discussed Obama's visions for the future of America, many of which became talking points for his eventual presidential campaign. Shortly after its release, the book hit No. 1 on both the New York Times and Amazon.com best-seller lists.

2008 Presidential Election

In February 2007, Obama made headlines when he announced his candidacy for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. He was locked in a tight battle with former first lady and then-U.S. senator from New York Hillary Rodham Clinton. On June 3, 2008, Obama became the Democratic Party's presumptive nominee after winning a sufficient number of pledged delegates during the primaries, and Clinton delivered her full support to Obama for the duration of his campaign. On November 4, 2008, Barack Obama defeated Republican presidential nominee John McCain, 52.9 percent to 45.7 percent, to win election as the 44th president of the United States—and the first African-American to hold this office. His running mate, Delaware Senator Joe Biden, became vice president. Obama's inauguration took place on January 20, 2009.

When Obama took office, he inherited a global economic recession, two ongoing foreign wars and the lowest-ever international favorability rating for the United States. He campaigned on an ambitious agenda of financial reform, alternative energy and reinventing education and health care—all while bringing down the national debt. Because these issues were intertwined with the economic well-being of the nation, he believed all would have to be undertaken simultaneously. During his inauguration speech, Obama summarized the situation by saying, "Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America: They will be met."

First 100 Days

Between Inauguration Day and April 29, 2009, the Obama administration took action on many fronts. Obama coaxed Congress to expand health care insurance for children and provide legal protection for women seeking equal pay. A $787 billion stimulus bill was passed to promote short-term economic growth. Housing and credit markets were put on life support, with a market-based plan to buy U.S. banks' toxic assets. Loans were made to the auto industry, and new regulations were proposed for Wall Street. Obama also cut taxes for working families, small businesses and first-time home buyers. The president also loosened the ban on embryonic stem cell research and moved ahead with a $3.5 trillion budget plan.

Over his first 100 days in office, President Obama also undertook a complete overhaul of America's foreign policy. He reached out to improve relations with Europe, China and Russia and to open dialogue with Iran, Venezuela and Cuba. He lobbied allies to support a global economic stimulus package. He committed an additional 21,000 troops to Afghanistan and set an August 2010 date for withdrawal of nearly all U.S. troops from Iraq. In more dramatic incidents, he ordered an attack on pirates off the coast of Somalia and prepared the nation for a swine flu outbreak. He signed an executive order banning excessive interrogation techniques and ordered the closing of the military detention facility at Cuba’s Guantanamo Bay within a year (a deadline that ultimately would not be met). For his efforts, the Nobel Committee in Norway awarded Obama the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.



2010 State of the Union

On January 27, 2010, President Obama delivered his first State of the Union speech. During his oration, Obama addressed the challenges of the economy, proposed a fee for larger banks, announced a possible freeze on government spending in the following fiscal year and spoke against the Supreme Court's reversal of a law capping campaign finance spending. He also challenged politicians to stop thinking of re-election and start making positive changes. He criticized Republicans for their refusal to support any legislation and chastised Democrats for not pushing hard enough to get legislation passed. He also insisted that, despite obstacles, he was determined to help American citizens through the nation's current domestic difficulties. "We don't quit. I don't quit," he said. "Let's seize this moment to start anew, to carry the dream forward, and to strengthen our union once more."

Challenges and Successes

In the second part of his first term as president, Obama faced a number of obstacles and scored some victories as well. In spite of opposition from Congressional Republicans and the populist Tea Party movement, Obama signed his health care reform plan, known as the Affordable Care Act, into law in March 2010. The new law prohibited the denial of coverage based on pre-existing conditions, allowed citizens under 26 years old to be insured under parental plans, provided for free health screenings for certain citizens and expanded insurance coverage and access to medical care to millions of Americans. Opponents of the Affordable Care Act, which foes dubbed "Obamacare," asserted that it added new costs to the country's overblown budget, violated the Constitution with its requirement for individuals to obtain insurance and amounted to a “government takeover” of health care

On the economic front, Obama worked to steer the country through difficult financial times. After drawn-out negotiations with Republicans who gained control of the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2010 mid-term elections, he signed the Budget Control Act of 2011 in an effort to rein in government spending and prevent the government from defaulting on its financial obligations. The act also called for the creation of a bipartisan committee to seek solutions to the country's fiscal issues, but the group failed to reach any agreement on how to solve these problems.

Also in 2011, Obama signed a repeal of the military policy known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," which prevented openly gay troops from serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. In March 2011, he approved U.S. participation in NATO airstrikes to support rebels fighting against the forces of Libyan dictator Muammar al-Qaddafi, and in May he also gave the green light to a covert operation in Pakistan that led to the killing of infamous al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden by a team of U.S. Navy SEALs.

Obama gained a legal victory in June 2012 when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, which required citizens to purchase health insurance or pay a tax. In a 5-4 decision, the court decided the health care law’s signature provision fell within the taxation power granted to Congress under the Constitution. Voting with the majority were two associate justices appointed by Obama—Sonia Sotomayor (confirmed in 2009) and Elena Kagan (confirmed in 2010).

2012 Re-Election

As he did in 2008, during his campaign for a second presidential term, Obama focused on grassroots initiatives. Celebrities such as Anna Wintour and Sarah Jessica Parker aided the president's campaign by hosting fund-raising events.

"I guarantee you, we will move this country forward," Obama stated in June 2012, at a campaign event in Maryland. "We will finish what we started. And we'll remind the world just why it is that the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth."

In the 2012 election, Obama faced Republican opponent Mitt Romney and Romney's vice-presidential running mate, U.S. Representative Paul Ryan. On November 6, 2012, Obama won a second four-year term as president by receiving nearly five million more votes than Romney and capturing more than 60 percent of the Electoral College.

Nearly one month after President Obama's re-election, the nation endured one of its most tragic school shootings to date when 20 children and six adults were shot to death at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, on December 14, 2012. Two days after the attack, Obama delivered a speech at an interfaith vigil for the victims in Newtown and discussed a need for change in order to make schools safer while alluding to implementing stricter gun-control measures. "These tragedies must end," Obama stated. "In the coming weeks, I'll use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens—from law enforcement, to mental-health professionals, to parents and educators—in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this, because what choice do we have? We can't accept events like these as routine. Are we really prepared to say that we're powerless in the face of such carnage, that the politics are too hard?"

Obama achieved a major legislative victory on January 1, 2013, when the Republican-controlled House of Representatives approved a bipartisan agreement on tax increases and spending cuts, in an effort to avoid the looming fiscal cliff crisis (the Senate voted in favor of the bill earlier that day). The agreement marked a productive first step toward the president's re-election promise of reducing the federal deficit by raising taxes on the extremely wealthy—individuals earning more than $400,000 per year and couples earning more than $450,000, according to the bill. Prior to the bill's passage, in late 2012, tense negotiations between Republicans and Democrats over spending cuts and tax increases became a bitter political battle until Vice President Joe Biden managed to hammer out a deal with Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Obama pledged to sign the bill into law.

Second Term

Barack Obama officially began his second term on January 21, 2013, when U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts administered the oath of office. The inauguration was held on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and civil-rights activist Myrlie Evers-Williams, the widow of Medgar Evers, gave the invocation. James Taylor, Beyoncé Knowles and Kelly Clarkson sang at the ceremony, and poet Richard Blanco read his poem "One Today."

In his inaugural address, Obama called the nation to action on such issues as climate change, health care and marriage equality. "We must act, knowing that our work will be imperfect. We must act, knowing that today's victories will be only partial and that it will be up to those who stand here in four years and 40 years and 400 years hence to advance the timeless spirit once conferred to us in a spare Philadelphia hall," Obama told the crowd gathered in front of the U.S. Capitol building.

The Obamas attended two official inauguration balls, including one held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. There the first couple danced to the Al Green classic "Let's Stay Together," sung by Jennifer Hudson. Alicia Keys and Jamie Foxx also performed.

After the inauguration, Obama led the nation through many challenges—none more difficult, perhaps, than the terrorist bombings of the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013, which killed three people and left more than 200 injured. At a memorial service in Boston three days after the bombings, he told the wounded, "Your country is with you. We will all be with you as you learn to stand and walk and, yes, run again. Of that I have no doubt. You will run again." And he applauded the city’s response to the tragedy. "You’ve shown us, Boston, that in the face of evil, Americans will lift up what’s good. In the face of cruelty, we will choose compassion."

In the same month, Obama also found his efforts for gun-control measures thwarted in Congress. He had supported legislation calling for universal background checks on all gun purchases and a ban on sales of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. When the bill was blocked and withdrawn, Obama called it “a pretty shameful day for Washington.”

By June, Obama had suffered a significant drop in his approval ratings in a CNN/ORC International poll. In the wake of allegations of the Internal Revenue Service targeting conservative political organizations seeking tax-exempt status and accusations of a cover-up in the terrorist killings of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three others at a diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, Obama’s approval rating declined to only 45 percent—his lowest rating in more than 18 months.

Experts also attributed the ratings slide to new revelations about the extent of the U.S. National Security Agency’s surveillance program. Obama defended the NSA's email monitoring and telephone wiretapping during a visit to Germany that June. "We are not rifling through the emails of German citizens or American citizens or French citizens or anyone else,” he said. "The encroachment on privacy has been strictly limited." Obama stated that the program had helped stop roughly 50 threats.

In early July 2013, President Obama made history when he joined former President George W. Bush in Africa to commemorate the 15th anniversary of al-Qaeda’s first attack on American targets, the U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya. The event marked the first meeting between two U.S. presidents on foreign soil in commemoration of an act of terrorism.

Later that month, Obama spoke out about the outrage that followed a Florida jury’s decision to acquit George Zimmerman in the murder of African-American teen Trayvon Martin. "When Trayvon Martin was first shot, I said that this could have been my son,” the president remarked at a White House press conference. “Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago." Obama explained that this particular case was a state matter, but he discussed how the federal government could address some of the legislative and racial issues highlighted by the incident.

International Challenges

Obama found himself grappling with an international crisis in late August and September 2013 when it was discovered that Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad had used chemical weapons against civilians. While saying that thousands of people, including over 400 children, had been killed in the chemical attacks, Obama called Syria's actions "a serious national security threat to the United States and to the region, and as a consequence, Assad and Syria needs to be held accountable."

The president worked to persuade Congress and the international community at large to take action against Syria, but found a majority on Capitol Hill opposed to military involvement. Obama then announced an alternative solution on September 10, 2013, by stating that if al-Assad agreed with the stipulations outlined in a proposal made by Russia to give up its chemical weapons, then a direct strike against the nation could be avoided. Al-Assad acknowledged the possession of chemical weapons and ultimately accepted the Russian proposal.

Later that month, Obama made diplomatic strides with Iran. He spoke with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on the phone, which marked the first direct contact between the leaders of the two countries in more than 30 years. This groundbreaking move by Obama was seen by many as a sign of thawing in the relationship between the United States and Iran. "The two of us discussed our ongoing efforts to reach an agreement over Iran's nuclear program," reported Obama at a press conference in which he expressed optimism that a deal could be reached to lift sanctions on Iran in return for that country’s willingness to halt its nuclear development program.

Domestic Policies and Problems

Obama found himself struggling on the domestic front in October 2013. A dispute over the federal budget and Republican desires to defund or derail the Affordable Care Act caused a 16-day shutdown of the federal government. After a deal had been reached to end the shutdown, Obama used his weekly address to express his frustration over the situation and his desire for political reform: "The way business is done in Washington has to change. Now that these clouds of crisis and uncertainty have lifted, we need to focus on what the majority of Americans sent us here to do—grow the economy, create good jobs, strengthen the middle class, lay the foundation for broad-based prosperity, and get our fiscal house in order for the long haul."

The Affordable Care Act continued to come under fire in October after the failed launch of HealthCare.gov, the website meant to allow people to find and purchase health insurance. Extra technical support was brought in to work on the troubled website, which was plagued with glitches for weeks. The health care law was also blamed for some Americans losing their existing insurance policies, despite repeated assurances from Obama that such cancellations would not occur. According to the Chicago Tribune, Obama insisted that the insurance companies—and not his legislation—caused the coverage change. "Remember, before the Affordable Care Act, these bad-apple insurers had free rein every single year to limit the care that you received, or used minor pre-existing conditions to jack up your premiums, or bill you into bankruptcy,” he said.

Under mounting pressure, Obama found himself apologizing regarding some health care changes. In an interview with NBC News, he said of those who lost their insurance plans, "I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me." Obama pledged to find a remedy to this problem, saying, "We are going to do everything we can to deal with folks who find themselves in a tough position as a consequence of this."

Managing Foreign Crises

The fall of 2013 brought Obama additional challenges in the area of foreign relations. In October 2013, German Chancellor Angela Merkel revealed that the NSA had been listening in to her cell phone calls. "Spying among friends is never acceptable," Merkel told a summit of European leaders. In the wake of these controversies, Obama saw his approval rating drop to a new low in November 2013. Only 37 percent of Americans polled by CBS News approved of the job he was doing as president, while 57 percent disapproved of his handling of the job.

Echoes of the Cold War also returned after civil unrest and protests in the capital city of Kiev led to the downfall of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych's administration in February 2014. Russian troops crossed into Ukraine to support pro-Russian forces and the annexation of the province of Crimea. In response, Obama ordered sanctions targeting individuals and businesses considered by the U.S. government to be Ukraine agitators or involved in the Crimean crisis. "In 2014 we are well beyond the days when borders can be redrawn over the heads of democratic leaders," Obama stated. The president said the sanctions were taken in close coordination with European allies and gave the U.S. "the flexibility to adjust our response going forward based on Russia's actions.”

In addition to the ongoing troubles in Ukraine, tensions between Israelis and Palestinians erupted into violence in Gaza during the summer of 2014. At the same time, tens of thousands of Central American children were being apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border after making the perilous crossing alone. Many Republicans called for the rapid deportation of these illegal immigrants, while others considered the situation a humanitarian crisis. Another of the president's woes came from the legislative branch. Speaker of the House John Boehner launched an effort to sue Obama for overstepping his executive powers with some of his actions regarding the Affordable Care Act.

In August 2014, Obama ordered the first airstrikes against the self-proclaimed Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, which had seized large swathes of Iraq and Syria and conducted high-profile beheadings of foreign hostages. The following month, the U.S. launched its first attacks on ISIS targets in Syria, although the president pledged to keep combat troops out of the conflict. Several Arab countries joined in the airstrikes against the extremist Islamic militant group. "The only language understood by killers like this is the language of force,” Obama said in a speech to the United Nations. “So the United States of America will work with a broad coalition to dismantle this network of death."

Presidency After 2014 Elections

That November, Obama had to cope with new challenges on the home front. Republicans made an impressive showing on Election Day and gained a majority in the Senate, meaning that Obama would have to contend with Republicans controlling both houses of Congress for the final two years of his term.

Obama flexed his presidential power in December by moving to reestablish diplomatic relations with Cuba for the first time in more than 50 years. The policy change came after the exchange of American citizen Alan Gross and another unnamed American intelligence agent for three Cuban spies. In a speech at the White House, Obama explained that the dramatic shift in Cuban policy would "create more opportunities for the American and Cuban people and begin a new chapter among the nations of the Americas."

In renewing diplomatic ties with Cuba, Obama announced plans "to increase travel, commerce and the flow of information to and from Cuba." The long-standing U.S. economic embargo on Cuba, however, remained in effect and could only be removed with the approval of Congress. Obama may not be able to sway Congress to agree on this policy shift as leading Republicans—including Boehner, McConnell and Florida Senator Marco Rubio—all spoke out against Obama's new Cuba policies.

In his 2015 State of the Union address, Obama declared that the nation was out of recession. "America, for all that we've endured; for all the grit and hard work required to come back . . . know this: The shadow of crisis has passed," he said. He went on to share his vision for ways to improve the nation through free community college programs and middle-class tax breaks.

With Democrats outnumbered by Republicans in both the House and the Senate, Obama threatened to use his executive power to prevent any tinkering by the opposition on his existing policies. "We can’t put the security of families at risk by taking away their health insurance, or unraveling the new rules on Wall Street, or refighting past battles on immigration when we’ve got to fix a broken system," he said. "And if a bill comes to my desk that tries to do any of these things, I will veto it."

Not long after his State of the Union address, Obama traveled to India to meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. According to several news reports, Obama and Modi had reached a "breakthrough understanding" regarding India's nuclear power efforts. Obama told the Indian people in a speech given in New Delhi that "we can finally move toward fully implementing our civil nuclear agreement, which will mean more reliable electricity for Indians and cleaner, non-carbon energy that helps fight climate change." This agreement would also open the door to U.S. investment in India's energy industry.

Supreme Court Victories

The summer of 2015 brought two major U.S. Supreme Court wins for the Obama administration. The court upheld part of the president's Affordable Care Act regarding health care tax subsidies. Without these tax credits, buying medical insurance might have become too costly for millions of Americans.

On June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court also made marriage equality a reality with its 5-4 decision to overturn an earlier 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that same-sex marriage bans in several states were constitutional. By reversing this earlier decision, the Supreme Court made same-sex marriage legal throughout the country. President Obama, who became the first president to voice support for same-sex marriage in May 2012, praised the court for affirming "that the Constitution guarantees marriage equality. In doing so, they've reaffirmed that all Americans are entitled to the equal protection of the law. That all people should be treated equally, regardless of who they are or who they love."


In his speech, Obama also said that the court's decision "is a consequence of the countless small acts of courage of millions of people across decades who stood up, who came out, who talked to parents—parents who loved their children no matter what. Folks who were willing to endure bullying and taunts, and stayed strong . . . and slowly made an entire country realize that love is love."


On the same day as this landmark decision, President Obama grappled with an incident of racial violence by speaking at the funeral of Reverend Clementa Pinckney, one of the nine African-Americans killed by a young white man during a Bible study meeting at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. In his eulogy for Pinckney, Obama said that the church’s late pastor "embodied the idea that our Christian faith demands deeds and not just words."

Iran Nuclear Deal

In July 2015, Obama announced that, after lengthy negotiations, the United States and five world powers had reached an agreement with Iran over its nuclear program. The deal would allow inspectors entry into Iran to make sure the country kept its pledge to limit its nuclear program and enrich uranium at a much lower level than would be needed for a nuclear weapon. In return, the U.S. and its partners would remove the tough sanctions imposed on Iran and allow the country to ramp up sales of oil and access frozen bank accounts.

As the administration began its effort to lobby Congress to endorse the deal, Obama made his first trip as president back to his father’s homeland of Kenya. In addition to having dinner with three-dozen relatives, some of whom he met for the very first time, Obama proudly proclaimed to a packed arena, “I am proud to be the first American president to come to Kenya—and of course I’m the first Kenyan-American to be president of the United States.”

Clean Power Plan

In August 2015, the Obama administration announced The Clean Power Plan, a major climate change plan aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the first-ever national standards to limit carbon pollution from coal-burning power plants in the United States. President Obama called the plan the "single most important step that America has ever made in the fight against global climate change."


The plan calls for aggressive Environmental Protection Agency regulations including requiring existing power plants to cut carbon dioxide emissions 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030 and use more renewable energy sources like wind and solar power. Under the regulations, states will be allowed to create their own plans to reduce emissions and are required to submit initial plans by 2016 and final versions by 2018.

Critics quickly voiced loud opposition to the plan including Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican majority leader, who sent a letter to every governor in the United States urging them not to comply with the regulations. States and private companies, which rely on coal production for their economic livelihoods, are also expected to legally challenge the plan.

Despite the backlash from those sectors, President Obama remained steadfast in his bold action to address climate change. "We've heard these same stale arguments before," he said in an address from the White House. "Each time they were wrong."

He added: "We're the first generation to feel the impact of climate change and the last generation that can do something about it."

2015 Paris Climate Conference

In November 2015, Obama further demonstrated his commitment to environmental issues as a primary player in the international COP21 summit held outside of Paris, France. Addressing the gathered representatives of nearly 200 countries, Obama acknowledged the United States’ position as the second-largest climate polluter and the nation’s primary responsibility to do something about it. The resulting Paris Agreement requires all participating nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to limit the rise of global temperatures over the ensuing century and also to allocate resources for the research and development of alternative energy sources. President Obama praised the agreement for establishing the “enduring framework the world needs to solve the climate crisis” and pledged that the United States would cut its emissions more than 25 percent by 2030.

Gun Control

Entering his final year as President of the United States, in early January 2016 Obama held a press conference to announce a new series of executive orders related to gun control. Citing examples such as the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school, the president shed tears as he called on Congress and the gun lobby to work with him to make the country safer. His measures, which have met with vehement opposition from members of both the Republican and Democratic Parties, as well as gun advocacy groups such as the NRA, would implement more thorough background checks for gun buyers, stricter governmental oversight and enforcement of gun laws, better information sharing regarding mental health issues as related to gun ownership and investment in gun safety technology. According to a 2015 Gallup poll, most Americans favor some kind of stricter regulations of gun sales.

Final Year in Office

Entering his final year as President of the United States, in early January 2016 Obama held a press conference to announce a new series of executive orders related to gun control. Citing examples such as the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school in Connecticut, the president shed tears as he called on Congress and the gun lobby to work with him to make the country safer. His measures, which have met with vehement opposition from members of both the Republican and Democratic Parties, as well as gun advocacy groups such as the NRA, would implement more thorough background checks for gun buyers, stricter governmental oversight and enforcement of gun laws, better information sharing regarding mental health issues as related to gun ownership and investment in gun safety technology. According to a 2015 Gallup poll, most Americans favor some kind of stricter regulations of gun sales.

Shortly after the press conference, on January 12, 2016, Barack Obama delivered what would be his final State of the Union address. Diverging from the typical policy-prescribing format, Obama’s message for the American people was centered around themes of optimism in the face of adversity, asking them not to let fears about security or the future get in the way of building a nation that is “clear-eyed” and “big-hearted.” This did not prevent him from taking thinly disguised jabs at Republican presidential hopefuls for what he characterized as their “cynical” rhetoric, making further allusions to the “rancor and suspicion between the parties” and his failure as president to do more to bridge that gap. But Obama also took the opportunity to tout his accomplishments, citing the Affordable Care Act, diplomatic progress with Iran and Cuba, the legalization of gay marriage and profound economic recovery as among them.

Further indicating his unwillingness to accept a “lame duck” status, two months later Obama made two important moves to attempt to cement his legacy. On March 10 he met at the White House with newly elected Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the first official visit by a Canadian leader in nearly 20 years. Central among the topics addressed during their meeting—which also included trade, terrorism and border security—was climate change, with the two leaders promising a commitment to building an international “low-carbon global economy.” Trudeau’s apparent concern for environmental issues and generally liberal agenda stand in contrast to his predecessor, Stephen Harper, with whom President Obama enjoyed strained relations due in part to Obama’s unwillingness to allow for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

A week after his meeting with Trudeau, Obama held a press conference at the White House to present 63-year-old U.S. Court of Appeals chief judge Merrick Garland as his nominee for the Supreme Court seat vacated with the unexpected death of conservative stalwart Antonin Scalia. Though Garland is considered a moderate “consensus” candidate, his nomination was immediately rebuffed by leaders of the Republican Party, who have repeatedly stated their intention to block any nominee put forward by President Obama, fearing that such a confirmation would tip the balance toward a more liberal-leaning court. In an allusion to the political standoff, President Obama closed his remarks about Garland by saying, “I am fulfilling my constitutional duty. I’m doing my job. I hope that our senators will do their jobs, and move quickly to consider my nominee.” During his presidency, Obama already filled two seats in the Supreme Court, with Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, though both were confirmed when there was a Democratic-majority Senate.

Leaving the Senate to weigh their options regarding his nomination of Merrick, President Obama set out on a historic mission to Cuba on March 20. The first sitting American president to visit the island nation since 1928, Obama made the three-day visit—accompanied by First Lady Michelle Obama and their daughters Malia and Sasha. Obama's visit was part of a larger program to establish greater cooperation between the two countries, the foundations of which were laid in late 2014, when Obama and Cuban president Raul Castro announced the normalizing of diplomatic relations for the first time since 1961. At the top of the agenda during the milestone meeting between the two leaders were human rights, the U.S.’s economic embargo on Cuba and Guantanamo Bay. Following their first conversation at the Palace of the Revolution, Castro and Obama held a joint press conference broadcast on state television during which they fielded questions from the press. While they acknowledged its complexities, both also professed a shared optimism about the road ahead.
1 month ago - Via Reshared Post - View -
https://plus.google.com/110609868731574112890 ali redford : Some peace history for Nov. 28th: >November 28, 1891 >The National Brotherhood of Electrical Workers...
Some peace history for Nov. 28th:
>November 28, 1891
>The National Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (now International, the IBEW) was founded when 10 men met at Stolley’s Dance Hall in St. Louis, Missouri. Their goal: the joining together of electricians in a common organization to make a better life for all.<

>November 28, 1905
>The political party Sinn Fein (meaning “we ourselves” in Gaelic) was founded in Dublin by Irish nationalist Arthur Griffith. Its objective was to end British rule in Ireland and seek national self-determination as a sovereign state.<

>November 28, 1991
>The U.S. Congress passed the Comprehensive Threat Reduction Act (the Nunn-Lugar legislation), which provided up to $400 million to assist with the destruction of Soviet nuclear and chemical warheads.
>The legislation was initiated by Senator Sam Nunn (D-Georgia) and Senator Richard Lugar (R-Indiana).<
peace history november
Susan B. Anthony and her three sisters entered a voter registration office set up in a barbershop. They were part of a group of fifty women Anthony had organized to register in her home town of Rochester. Anthony walked directly to the election inspectors and, as one of the inspectors would ...
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https://plus.google.com/116663453752565057906 Denison University : Former U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar, a member of the Denison University Class of 1954 and the Board of Trustees...
Former U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar, a member of the Denison University Class of 1954 and the Board of Trustees has received the J. William Fulbright Prize for International Understanding.
Fulbright for International Understanding goes to Sen. Richard Lugar '54 | Press Releases | Denison University
Former Senator Richard Lugar ’54 receives the Fulbright Prize for International Understanding.
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https://plus.google.com/111354813304908404809 Ivanna Roquet : ROFLMAO...Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind. Dennis Spooner Geocities278 × 338Search by image Dennis Spooner...
ROFLMAO...Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind.
Dennis Spooner
Geocities278 × 338Search by image
Dennis Spooner was born on 1st December 1932 in Tottenham, North London. He was the eldest of 3 children, and had 2 sisters. As a youngster he joined the ...
www.oocities.org/televisioncity/satellite/1181/images/dennisspooner.jpg

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https://plus.google.com/111354813304908404809 Ivanna Roquet : Photo by: Alex Brandon German Chancellor Angela Merkel poses with Senate leaders, Tuesday, June 7, 2011...
Photo by: Alex Brandon
German Chancellor Angela Merkel poses with Senate leaders, Tuesday, June 7, 2011, on Capitol Hill in Washington. From left are, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., , Merkel, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev., and Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) 
media.washtimes.com.s3.amazonaws.com/media/image/2016/06/28/AP_110607149710.jpg

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https://plus.google.com/105030879479059605082 Conspiracy Theories Today! : Election Fraud in America: A Comparative Analysis http://bit.ly/2fLSYjy This important article was ...
Election Fraud in America: A Comparative Analysis http://bit.ly/2fLSYjy

This important article was first published by Global Research in November 2004 in relation to the 2004 presidential race.

A ‘president’ who takes office through fraud and usurpation can make no legitimate claim to exercise the stolen power of his office.

Imagine the sensation that would have ensued if a United States Senator had declared, less than three weeks after the 2004 U.S. presidential election, that “It is now apparent that a concerted and forceful program of election-day fraud and abuse was enacted with either the leadership or co-operation of governmental authorities.”

The story would have made banner headlines around the world.

As a matter of fact, on November 22, 2004, BBC News attributed these very words to Republican Senator Richard Lugar. However, Lugar was speaking in his capacity as Chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee—and he was referring, not to the U.S. presidential election of November 2, but to the Ukrainian presidential election of November 21, 2004.

More http://bit.ly/2fLSYjy

#election2016 #voterfraud
https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-wSO2ok7Vba4/WCG3rp8brDI/AAAAAAAC70A/FCrVS64caVACDpqC-iLajfQNuuAqk32NQCJoC/w506-h750/813eef2b-e655-4a95-a164-679b139cce25
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https://plus.google.com/105668243339599562024 George Kanaris : Recalling the 2004 elections. Prof. Michael Keefer’s January 2005 analysis at the outset of GWB’s Second...
Recalling the 2004 elections. Prof. Michael Keefer’s January 2005 analysis at the outset of GWB’s Second term. Original article published in January 2005

So who ever thought the 2004 U.S. presidential election had the remotest chance of being honest and democratic?

Not, one might guess, the electronic voting security experts like Ken Thompson, Roy Saltman, Rebecca Mercuri, Bruce Schneier, Doug Jones, Victoria Collier, Aviel Rubin, Lynn Landes, and Bev Harris, who have for years been warning that the new voting technology coming into use in the United States offers unprecedented opportunities for electoral fraud.[1]

Probably not Osama bin Laden, who made his much-anticipated Jack-in-the-Box video appearance three days before polling day: wearing a gold-lamé hospital gown in front of a blank shower curtain, and with a nose that looked to have been quite recently punched flat, he landed some anti-Bush shots that Rush Limbaugh and the other ring-tailed roarers of the American right were happy to interpret as a last-minute endorsement of John Kerry.[2]

And certainly not Republican Congressional Representative Peter King, who made an equally notable video statement on the afternoon of November 2nd, long before the polls closed, in the course of a White House function that seemed to have put him into a celebratory mood. “It’s already over,” he told the interviewer. “The election’s over. We won.” Asked how he knew at that early hour, King replied: “It’s all over but the counting. And we’ll take care of the counting.”[3]

One of the people who took care of the counting–and who was responsible as well for some of the most decisive crookedness of the election, and the most flagrant illegalities of the post-election cover-up–is J. Kenneth Blackwell, Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State.

To give the man his due, Blackwell is at once more discreet and more grotesquely Orwellian than the tipsy Congressman King. Rather than flaunting his election-stealing prowess, he has preferred to boast in a Washington Times op-ed that while the election in Ohio was not in all respects perfect (“a seven-hour wait” outside polling stations, he acknowledges, “is clearly unacceptable”), it was nonetheless “perfectly inspiring–a testament to the strength and power of our democratic system, the commitment of American voters to have their voices heard and the integrity of the process that encouraged participation and demanded fairness.”[4]

Prior to the election, this versatile ironist was reported to be “coming out strong” in support of the proposal to ban same-sex marriage: in late October, Blackwell made an appearance with Pastor Rod Parsley, president of “The Center for Moral Clarity,” in the course of which he edified “an energized crowd” in the “Cathedral of Praise” by telling them that the notion of same-sex couples “even defies barnyard logic [...] the barnyard knows better.”[5]

But Blackwell’s talent–and his affliction–goes beyond irony or hypocrisy into a more permanent state of inversion that one might think of as resembling the punishment reported by the poet Dante for religiously inflected fraud.[6] In another speech in the same week of October–the context this time being his refusal to obey a federal court order requiring him to comply with the Help America Vote Act–Blackwell compared himself, in his willingness to endure the unlikely punishment of imprisonment, to Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and the Apostle Paul. A spokesman for the Ohio Democratic Party’s Voter Protection Program offered the appropriate rejoinder: “Many civil rights leaders went to jail to defend the right to vote. If this official wants to go to jail to thwart it, that would be unfortunate.”[7]

The talented Mr. Blackwell has garnered praise for having launched “The Ohio Center for Civic Character: A Citizen Education Initiative of the Ohio Secretary of State.” The Center’s goal, “a revolution of character-building in our great state,” is to be achieved by providing “today’s generation of leaders” with “a shared vocabulary of character-building ethics” which Blackwell calls “Uncommon Sense.”[8] It may come as no surprise that one of his most recent public appearances prior to the Bush inauguration was a lecture, delivered on January 12th, 2005 to an exclusive audience at the Scioto Country Club in rural southern Ohio, on the subject of “Ethics in Leadership.”[9]

Like the unsavoury Katherine Harris, who was Florida Secretary of State in 2000 and simultaneously state Chair of the Florida Bush-Cheney campaign, Kenneth Blackwell occupied a strategic double position as Co-Chair of the Ohio Bush-Cheney campaign and Secretary of State in what analysts correctly anticipated would be the key swing state of the 2004 election. From this position, a growing body of evidence shows, he was able to oversee a partisan and racist pre-election purging of the electoral rolls,[10] a clearly partisan reduction of the number of voting precincts in counties won by Gore in 2000 (a move that helped suppress the 2004 Democratic turnout),[11] a partisan and racist misallocation of voting machines (which effectively disenfranchised tens of thousands of African-American voters),[12] a partisan and racist system of polling-place challenges (which together with electoral roll purges obliged many scores of thousands of African-Americans to vote with ‘second-class-citizen’ provisional ballots),[13] and a fraudulent pre-programming of touch-screen voting machines that produced a systematic ‘flipping’ of Democratic votes into Bush’s tally or the trash can.[14]

In a nation that enforced its own laws, the misallocation of voting machines–a clear violation of the equal protection provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution–would alone have sufficed to invalidate the Ohio election.

Having overseen one of the more flagrantly corrupt elections in recent American history, Blackwell and his Republican machine proceeded to “take care of the counting”–which involved a partisan and racist dismissal of scores of thousands of African-American ballots as “spoiled,”[15] a flagrantly illegal “lock-down” of the vote-tallying process in Warren County on the transparently false grounds of a supposed terrorist threat,[16] massive electronic vote-tabulation fraud in this and other south-western Ohio counties,[17] and marginally less flagrant but evidently systematic forms of ‘ghost-voting’ and vote theft elsewhere in the state.[18]

Blackwell then saw to it (with the active assistance of partisan Republican judges, and the passive assistance of a strangely supine Democratic Party) that no even partial recount–let alone anything resembling a voting-machine or vote-tabulator audit–could get under way prior to the selection of Ohio’s Republican electors to the Electoral College.[19]

He also did his utmost to block public access to election data, ordering the Boards of Election in all eighty-eight Ohio counties to prevent public inspection of poll books until after certification of the vote, which he delayed until December 6th.[20] On December 10th, his Election Administrator, Pat Wolfe, intervened to prevent analysis of poll-book data by ordering, on Blackwell’s authority, a renewed “lock-down” of voting records in Greene County and the entire state. (According to Ohio Revised Code Title XXXV Elections, Sec. 3503.26, such records are to be open to the public; Ohio Revised Code Sec. 3599.42 explicitly declares that any violation of Title XXXV “constitutes a prima facie case of election fraud….”)[21]

Bizarrely enough, on the night following the statement to election observers in Greene County that all voter records in the State of Ohio were “locked down” and “not considered public records,” the Greene County offices were left unlocked: when the same election observers returned at 10:15 on the morning of Saturday, December 11th, they found the building open, a light on in the office (which had not been on when it was closed on the evening of the 10th), and all of the poll books and voting machines unsecured.[22]

When at last the Green and Libertarian parties’ lawyers were able to obtain a recount, Blackwell presided over one that was fully as corrupt as the election had been. Sample hand recounts were to be carried out in each county, involving randomly-selected precincts constituting at least three percent of the vote; any disagreements between the sample recount and the official tally were supposed to prompt a full county-wide hand recount. According to Green Party observers, however, a substantial proportion of Ohio’s eighty-eight counties broke the law by not selecting their hand-recount precincts randomly.[23] There is evidence, most crucially, that Triad Governmental Systems, the private corporation responsible for servicing the vote-tabulation machines in about half of the state, tampered with selected machines in counties across Ohio immediately before the recount in order to ensure that the sample recount tallies would conform with the official vote tallies.[24] (Triad’s technicians knew which machines to tamper with because, it would appear, Board of Election officials, in open violation of the law, told them which precincts had been pre-selected.)

Despite this widespread tampering, there were discrepancies in at least six counties between the sample hand recounts and the official tallies–and yet the Board of Elections refused to conduct full county-wide hand recounts.[25] As David Swanson writes,

Only one county conducted a full hand recount, which resulted in 6 percent more votes than in the original vote. Those extra votes were evenly split between Kerry and Bush, but–even assuming that one county’s votes have now been properly counted–how do we know where votes in the other 87 counties would fall? Should an extra several percent of them show up, and should they be weighted toward Kerry, the election would not have yet been what the media keeps telling us it is: over.[26]

Although required by law as Secretary of State to investigate electoral irregularities, Blackwell consistently refused to do so. He refused to respond to a formal letter from John Conyers and other members of the Congressional Black Caucus itemizing a host of alleged improprieties and asking what he had done to correct or investigate them. He also refused to testify in lawsuits against him arising from the election and its aftermath–in the expectation, no doubt, that any cases not declared moot once George W. Bush was safely reconfirmed as president by the votes of the Electoral College and of Congress would be dealt with by higher courts dominated by Republican judges.

Katherine Harris’s reward for her work in throwing the 2000 Florida election to Bush was a safe seat in Congress. Kenneth Blackwell has named his prize: he wants to be Governor of Ohio. In a post-election fundraising letter soliciting funds for his governorship campaign, he takes credit for delivering Ohio to George W. Bush–and thus, since Ohio decided the national outcome, for ensuring his second term as president:

I have no doubt the strong campaign we helped the President run in Ohio–coupled with a similar effort I helped deliver for State Issue One (the Marriage Protection Amendment)–can easily be credited with turning out record numbers of conservatives and evangelicals on Election Day. [....] And, I draw great satisfaction in hearing liberal members of the media credit the Marriage Protection Amendment as [the] single most important factor that drove President Bush over the top in Ohio

In the same letter, true to the general inversion of his world view, Blackwell takes credit for his success in preventing electoral fraud:

I have never shied away from the giving the liberals fits. And I’m sure that with all the potential voter-fraud we prevented during this last election, they will be looking to get even with me in my next political campaign. [....] As Secretary of State, I have been sued almost 30 times since this summer because I stood up for the rights of voters like you and against liberal trial lawyers and activist judges who wanted to give this election to Senator Kerry. [....] When the ACLU and the other members of the radical left worked to stop me from cracking down and prohibiting outrageous ways to commit voter fraud, I fought back and won. [27]

But what precisely does it mean to say that lawyers and judges who sought to protect the rights of minority voters from Blackwell’s manifold vote-suppression tactics would have ‘given’ the election to Kerry? This sounds rather like a coded acknowledgment of a Republican truth that was, notoriously, voiced openly in July 2004 by a Republican state representative in nearby Michigan: “If we do not suppress the Detroit vote”–for Ohio, substitute the Akron, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, or Toledo vote–”we’re going to have a tough time in this election cycle.”[28]

* * *

The Ohio recount of the presidential vote was declared officially terminated on December 28th, a day that in the Roman Catholic calendar of saints commemorates the Slaughter of the Innocents. With a derisory alteration of the official count (Kerry received an additional 734 votes, and Bush 449), George W. Bush retained a certified victory margin in Ohio of 118,755 votes–still large enough to look decisive, though well down from the lead of over 136,000 he was credited with in the first official tallies. As Bob Fitrakis, Steven Rosenfeld and Harvey Wasserman have remarked, the end came

amidst bitter dispute over official certification of impossible voter turnout numbers, over the refusal of Ohio’s Republican Supreme Court Chief Justice to recuse himself from crucial court challenges involving his own re-election campaign, over the Republican Secretary of State’s refusal to testify under subpoena, over apparent tampering with tabulation machines, over more than 100,000 provisional and machine-rejected ballots left uncounted, over major discrepancies in certified vote counts and turnout ratios, and over a wide range of unresolved disputes that continue to leave the true outcome of Ohio’s presidential vote in serious doubt. [29]

The end to the post-election process as a whole came on January 6th, 2005, when the United States House of Representatives and Senate, the assembled Congress of the American republic, voted to ratify the votes cast by the Electoral College–an act which formally made George W. Bush President for the next four years.

What is normally a purely ceremonial state occasion was interrupted, this year, by the brief irruption of a more authentic form of human dignity. Ohio Democratic Representative Stephanie Tubbs-Jones, supported by California Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer, rose to challenge the Ohio results, thereby forcing the Senate and House of Representatives to separate in order to conduct, in Tubbs-Jones’ words, “a formal and legitimate debate about election irregularities,” and to engage, if only for the two hours prescribed for such a debate, with the arguments of those Democratic representatives and senators whose sense of ethics and of duty had led them to join what Boxer called “the fight for electoral justice.”[30]

As Mark Weisbrot wrote in an article published by the Knight Ridder newspaper chain, Republican lawmakers responded to Senator Boxer, and to Representative Tubbs-Jones and her colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus, “with howls of derision.”[31] Some engaged in ad hominem tactics, labeling the objections “base” and “outrageous” (David Hobson, R-Ohio), and calling the objectors “aspiring fantasy authors” of “wild conspiracy theories,” whose behaviour exemplified “their party’s primary strategy to obstruct, to divide, to destroy” (Deborah Pryce, R-Ohio). Others denounced the debate itself as “a travesty” (Senator Rick Santorum, R-Pennsylvania), a “squandering [of the Senate's] time” by people “who persist in beating a dead horse” (Senator George Voinovich, R-Ohio); or, more gravely, as an exercise that “in the midst of a global war on terrorism [...] clearly emboldens those who would in fact undermine the prospect of democracy” (David Dreier (R-California), and “an assault against the institutions of our representative democracy” by the “X-Files wing” of the Democratic Party (Tom DeLay, R-Texas).

Out of this sound and fury there emerged the dim outline of a theory of Democracy-as-Confidence-Trick–according to which criticism must be silenced because, as House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Missouri) put it,

Every time we attack the process, we cast that doubt on that fabric of democracy that is so important. People do have to have confidence that the process works in a proper way. They don’t need to believe that it is absolutely perfect because after all it’s the greatest democracy in the history of the world. And it’s run by people who step forward and make a system work in ways that nobody would believe until they see it [...].

Take away the pseudo-democratic pieties, and what’s left as sub-text is a simpler message. In the laconic formulation of Ric Keller (R-Florida): “Get over it.”[32]

An overwhelming majority in Congress was anxious to do just that. Ohio’s Electoral College votes, together with those from all the other states, were ratified by votes of 267 to 31 in the House of Representatives, and 74 to 1 in the Senate.

What, exactly, were these large majorities agreeing to “get over”? Residual stirrings of anger–or possibly, on the Republican side, of conscience–over the fact that for the second time in a row a presidential election has been marked by appalling levels of corruption and fraud?

Ah, but while Al Gore won the popular vote nationwide in the 2000 election by some 540,000 votes–and would, it seems, have won Florida too, had the Supreme Court not intervened to stop the vote count, by as many as 23,000 votes[33]–aren’t things different this time? Ohio this time may have been a mess–no one’s “absolutely perfect,” even in “the greatest democracy in the history of the world”–but didn’t George W. Bush win the nationwide popular vote in November 2004 by several million votes?

Do you really think so? How interesting. How–let me borrow a term from the lexicon of George W. Bush’s newly confirmed Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales–how “quaint.”

* * *

Ohio was the swing state of swing states on November 2nd, 2004, the one whose twenty Electoral College votes decided the outcome of the U.S. presidential election. It is therefore a matter of some significance that the testimonial evidence of corruption in the Ohio election is corroborated by statistical evidence which shows the election in this state–and nationwide–to have been not just corrupt, but stolen.

The evidence in both categories is massively complex. But thanks to the no less massive analytical labours over the past two months of citizen pro-democracy activists, of social scientists, of mathematicians and statisticians, of computer programmers, and of alternative-media investigative journalists, it can nonetheless be conveniently summarized.

You want smoking guns? Here they are, starting with the evidence that John F. Kerry, and not George W. Bush, won the state of Ohio.

1. Uncounted punch-card and provisional ballots.

Well over 13,000 Ohio provisional ballots were never counted, and 92,672 regular punch-card ballots were set aside by vote-counting machines as indicating no choice for president. Thus, even after Ohio’s supposed recount, a total of over 106,000 ballots remained uncounted–though there was “no legal reason for not inspecting and counting each of these ballots.”[34] But there seems to have been a very good political reason for not doing so: the uncounted ballots came disproportionately from places like the cities of Cincinnati, Cleveland and Akron, all of which voted overwhelmingly for the Democrats.

2. Fraud through default settings on touch-screen voting machines.

Some 15 percent of Ohio’s votes were cast using the new touch-screen voting machines. In the city of Youngstown, in Mahoning County, there were repeated complaints about what election observers referred to as “vote flipping” by the ES&S Ivotronic touch-screen machines used there. This “flipping” phenomenon, also widely observed in other states, typically appeared to poll watchers “like a mere computer glitch, no different than a super market checkout machine that records an incorrect price for lettuce.”[35]

But what was happening, in the vast majority of cases, was no “glitch.” As Dom Stasi notes, “The laws of probability demand that multiple random errors trend toward even distribution, but only if they are truly errors.”[36] Yet in all of the published accounts of vote flipping, the “errors” consistently favoured Bush: voters who were trying to vote for Kerry found their votes being given to Bush, transferred to third-party candidates, or simply erased.[37] The Chairman of the Mahoning County Board of Elections is reported to have stated that “20 to 30 machines [...] needed to be recalibrated during the voting process.”[38] He is not quoted as saying that any action was taken, or could be taken, to compensate for the machines’ one-way errors–and there is evidence that many other machines were left uncorrected.

It is clearly not the case, as one Youngstown poll worker claimed, that the repeated anomalies were due to the machines being “temperamental.” A supermarket checkout machine doesn’t charge ten dollars for a tin of sardines because it’s having a bad hair day: it does so because that’s what it has been (perhaps mistakenly) programmed to charge. Similarly, ES&S machines flipped votes from Kerry to Bush because, as Richard Hayes Phillips proposes, they had been given “preselected default settings” that made them do so. And if they flipped votes in an apparently “temperamental” manner, ‘acting up’ only for every fourth or fifth or tenth voter, that would be a sign, not of electronic hissy fits, but of their having been programmed to move at preset intervals to the default setting.

One of the six machines in Youngstown’s precinct 5G appears to have had a default setting for no vote at all. It may have been single-handedly responsible for the fact that nearly 14 percent of the ballots cast in this precinct (where the votes were running in Kerry’s favour in a ratio of 12 to 1) were “undervotes,” that is, votes cast with no preference for president.[39] Elsewhere, the subtler effect of many machines moving at intervals to their default settings would have been a gently tidal lifting of the Republican vote tallies by thousands of stolen votes.[40]

3. ‘Ghost’ absentee voters in Trumbull County.

What appears to be a similar effect of widely diffused fraud came to light in Trumbull County when Dr. Werner Lange undertook the labour of inspecting 106 of the county’s precinct poll books. Among the absentee votes listed in these books he found a total of 580 apparent ‘ghost’ votes–that is, “absentee votes for which there were no absentee voters identified.” In other words, there were on average 5.5 faked absentee votes in each of the precinct books he checked. The number may not seem significant, but this level of faked absentee votes, if it turned out to have been reproduced across the state of Ohio, would have resulted in a total of over 62,000 faked votes.[41]

Just how widespread this particular form of cheating was we may never know, since it appears that in many counties the electoral data is now being destroyed.

Lange’s evidence has been challenged by Russ Baker, who in a study financed by “the Investigative Fund of the Nation Institute” describes himself as “an old-style investigative reporter.” The ‘investigation’ in this instance didn’t go beyond accepting the explanation of a Trumbull County official “that the poll books Lange looked at had been printed before absentee voting ended–including those who voted in the final days before the election at the Board’s offices. The books would–according to practice–be updated to include everyone.”[42]

But the investigator, bless his gum shoes, seems not to have understood what is at issue. Lange writes that his study “would have been completed weeks earlier if Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell [...] had not unlawfully ordered all 88 boards of elections to prevent public inspection of poll books until after the certification of the vote.” In other words, much if not all of his inspection of poll books was carried out after the official certification of the Ohio vote on December 6th–and thus more than a month after election day. When, if not at the time their votes were recorded, does Baker imagine that the identities of absentee voters would be recorded in the poll books?

4. Implausible voter turnout figures.

In Franklin County, which includes the city of Columbus, voter turnout figures in the 125 precincts won by Bush were on average nearly 10 percent higher than in the 346 precincts won by Kerry: the median turnout in Bush precincts was 60.56 percent; in Kerry precincts it was 50.78 percent.[43] Though the wide turnout differences here and in Ohio’s other largely urban counties may be ascribed in large part to Kenneth Blackwell’s vote-suppression tactics, including the partisan misallocation of voting machines, they have also raised suspicions that large numbers of Kerry votes went unrecorded. These suspicions are strengthened by the certified reports from pro-Kerry Cleveland, in Cuyahoga County, of precincts with turnouts of as few as 22.31 percent (precinct 6B), 21.43 percent (13O), 20.07 percent (13F), 14.59 percent (13D), and 7.85 percent (6C) of the registered voters.[44] Thousands of people in these precincts lined up for many hours in the rain in order, it would appear, not to vote.

Meanwhile, in pro-Bush Perry County, the voting records certified by Secretary of State Blackwell included two precincts with reported turnouts of 124.4 and 124.0 percent of the registered voters, while in pro-Bush Miami County, there were precincts whose certified turnouts, if not physically impossible, were only slightly less improbable.[45] These and other instances of implausibly high turnouts in precincts won by Bush, and implausibly low turnouts in precincts won by Kerry, are strongly suggestive of widespread tampering with the vote-tabulation processes.

Similarly anomalous patterns of differences in voter turnout have been detected by Richard Hayes Phillips in Lucas County, which includes the city of Toledo. In this case, the story has a piquant twist: thieves broke into Lucas County Democratic Headquarters on the night of October 12th, and stole computers containing all of the party’s local organizing and get-out-the-vote plans. It comes as no surprise that vote-tabulation manipulations in Toledo–and election-day vote-suppression efforts as well–appear to have been particularly well-focused.[46]

5. Vote-tabulation fraud in Miami County.

The fact that Miami County reported two successive sets of returns on election night attracted suspicion from the start. The county’s initial figures, with 100 percent of the precincts reporting, seemed improbably low, with 31,620 votes cast–only about three-quarters as many as in the 2000 election. But the second total, when it came in late on election night, seemed improbably high–50,235 votes cast altogether–as well as being peculiarly tidy in two respects: John Kerry’s share of the vote remained, to one-hundredth of one percent, exactly what it had been in the first set of returns (33.92 percent); and George W. Bush was shown to have won the county by exactly 16,000 votes.

The final certified figures (which include 1,542 provisional ballots added to the total) provided further surprises. In a county whose population had increased by only 1.38 percent since 2000, the number of votes cast rose by a whopping 20.86 percent. Bush’s margin of victory over Kerry in the county was larger by 7.3 percent than his margin of victory over Gore had been in 2000, meaning either that the county swung strongly in Bush’s favour, or else that he succeeded in capturing an overwhelming proportion–well over 90 percent–of the nearly 9,000 additional voters.

A third possibility also presents itself: namely, that a substantial number of the people who voted for George Bush in Miami County in 2004 do not in fact exist.

Richard Hayes Phillips proposes that the Miami County returns are riddled with fraud–sometimes rather sloppy fraud, as when the precincts of Concord South and Concord South West reported voter turnouts of 94.27 and 98.55 percent respectively, while in adjoining Concord South East the turnout amounted to only 56.55 percent of registered voters.[47] (The Concord South West turnout figure means, by the way, that only ten registered voters failed to vote–though more than that number of voters in the precinct have signed affidavits testifying that they did not vote.)[48]

6. Vote-tabulation fraud in Warren, Butler, Clermont (and other) Counties.

There is strong evidence of large-scale vote-tabulation fraud in these three contiguous and traditionally Republican counties in southwestern Ohio. The comparisons between the 2000 and 2004 figures that Richard Hayes Phillips provides are instructive. In Warren County,

the population increased by 14.75%, the number of registered voters increased by 29.66%, voter turnout increased by 33.55%, Bush’s point spread increased from 42.24% to 44.58%, and Bush’s victory margin increased from 29,176 votes to 41,124 votes. In Clermont County[...], the population increased by 4.39%, the number of registered voters increased by 10.20%, voter turnout increased by 24.86%, Bush’s point spread increased from 37.50% to 41.69%, and Bush’s victory margin increased from 26,202 votes to 36,376 votes. In Butler County[...], the population increased by 3.12%, the number of registered voters increased by 10.06%, voter turnout increased by 18.18%, Bush’s point spread increased from 29.40% to 32.52%, and Bush’s victory margin increased from 40,197 votes to 52,550 votes.[49]

These figures are vehemently to be suspected, not least because of the election-night “lock-down” of the Warren County administrative building–an event which may suggest that the team responsible for ensuring that Bush’s Ohio vote tallies added up to a convincing victory was at work behind those locked doors, and didn’t want their earnest meditations to be disturbed by election observers, journalists, or ‘terrorists’ of any kind.

At the precinct level, dubious figures throughout these three counties cry out for detailed investigation. For example, in Butler County’s St. Clair Township, where voter turnout rose by 8.27 percent, Kerry received exactly 10.00 percent fewer votes than Gore had in 2000; while in two precincts of Liberty Township (which accounted for a quarter of the purported increase in Bush’s margin of victory in Butler County, the numbers of registered voters are said to have risen since 2000 from 660 to 1,834 (an increase of 177.9 percent) and from 596 to 1,451 (an increase of 143.5 percent).

A more distinct marker of fraud is the fact that in all three counties C. Ellen Connally, a comparatively little-known African-American municipal judge from Cleveland who was running as a Democrat for the position of Chief Justice against a well-funded Republican incumbent, Thomas Moyer, received significantly more votes than did the Kerry-Edwards ticket–in Butler County, 5,347 more, and in Clermont County, 4,146 more votes. As Congressman John Conyers and his colleagues emphasized in their letter of December 2nd to Secretary of State Blackwell, this is a bizarre anomaly:

Have you examined how an underfunded Democratic State Supreme Court candidate could receive so many more votes in Butler County than the Kerry-Edwards ticket? If so, could you provide us with the results of your examination? Is there any precedent in Ohio for a downballot candidate receiving on a percentage or absolute basis so many more votes than the presidential candidate of the same party in this or any other presidential election? Please let us know if any other County in Ohio registered such a disparity on a percentage or absolute basis. [50]

Blackwell, needless to say, did not respond to these questions. But as Conyers and his researchers went on to discover for themselves, the obscure Judge Connally did in fact out-poll the Democratic presidential candidate in seven other Ohio counties: Auglaize, Brown, Darke, Highland, Mercer, Miami, and Putnam Counties.[51]

If this “disparity” of Connally out-polling Kerry is a sign that Kerry votes were being discarded or switched to Bush through vote-tabulation fraud in Butler, Clermont and Warren Counties, then it is also a marker of electoral fraud in these other counties as well.

7. Doing the sums: one analyst’s estimate.

After conducting precinct-by-precinct analyses of statistical anomalies in the election results “in fifteen Ohio counties accounting for 62% of the registered voters in the state,” Richard Hayes Phillips determined that, on a conservative estimate, “the reported margin of victory for George W. Bush in the State of Ohio is inflated by 101,020 votes.” This estimate, in addition to being conservative, is also incomplete. Phillips remarks that “These studies were conducted under time constraints and with such evidence as Ohio officials were willing to provide. Even in the counties that I have analyzed, I have examined only certain aspects of a well-orchestrated and multi-faceted plan to undermine democracy in Ohio.” Emphasizing, in conclusion, that he has yet to analyze the data from seventy-three of Ohio’s eighty-eight counties, Phillips implies that the manifold forms of electoral fraud and vote suppression identified were sufficient to divert to Bush what would have been, in a clean election, a clear Kerry victory.[52]

8. Cuyahoga County: other kinds of fraud.

In moving on to evidence beyond that which Richard Hayes Phillips took into account, I need first to explain one very large-scale false alarm. The election results published by Cuyahoga County (which includes the city of Cleveland) led a number of commentators in November 2004–myself among them–to believe that there had been massive ‘ghost-voting’ fraud in the suburbs of Cleveland.[53] But the official lists showing twenty-nine communities with voter turnout figures of more than 100 percent (and hence some 93,000 ‘ghost votes’ in the county) turned out to result from a bizarrely structured software program that grouped communities in the same congressional, house and state senate districts, and added the total number of absentee ballots within the combined districts to the voter turnout figures for each community in these districts-though not to the vote totals for candidates or issues.[54]

This programming oddity worked, the County’s website idiotically declared, in “even-numbered years.” What its intended function might have been is hard to say. It could have been a piece of innocent stupidity, or the residue of an abandoned ghost-voting scheme–or even a Karl Rovian fool-catcher, designed to set the blogosphere alight with easily extinguished flames.

But other, more subtle, forms of electoral corruption now appear to have been detected in the Cuyahoga County returns.

As may have been observed, the statistically-informed analyses of Richard Hayes Phillips are open to the objection that some of his judgments are, in the end, no more than subjective. Many of the anomalies he swings at are, without question, home-run pitches: the voter turnout figures in Concord, Miami County, for example, amount to a fast ball over the plate that Phillips hits over the back fence. In other instances, as in Warren County and the adjoining counties of southwestern Ohio, his analyses are corroborated by evidence like the Judge Connally disparity. There may be further cases, though, in which a skeptical reader might well ask for firmer evidence of fraud than one analyst’s “professional judgment.” Two recently published studies of the Cuyahoga County data appear to offer methods of analysis that could be usefully applied to the election returns from other Ohio counties–and, quite possibly, from other states as well. The first establishes the likelihood that what observers thought to be mere incompetence in the conduct of the election in Cleveland was actually a deliberately designed feature intended to throw large numbers of votes from Kerry to Bush; the second, if its “reverse-engineering” programming analysis can be confirmed, would show that a significant number of the official precinct vote-tallies in this county–and perhaps in many others–were fraudulently generated by a hacker.

James Q. Jacobs’ still ongoing work with the Cuyahoga County data reveals a significant connection between two apparently disparate features of the election: the fact that odd and wholly implausible clumps of votes in certain precincts went to third-party candidates in a manner that some observers have thought must point to computer hacking; and the fact, noted with frustration by many voters and election-day observers, that in many instances the same polling place was used for two or more voting precincts, and that because of inadequate or nonexistent precinct labeling, significant numbers of voters found themselves in the wrong line-ups.

Jacobs demonstrates a connection between the two: the anomalous third-party votes arose from the fact that the punch-card ballots given to voters in adjoining precincts listed the presidential candidates in different sequences. What he calls “precinct cross-voting” led to many ballots being counted by machines that were coded to attribute punch-marks in a manner differing from the printed sequence of candidates’ names on the ballots. As Jacobs’ detailed and statistically sophisticated analysis shows, the result was a steady diversion of votes from Kerry, the candidate favoured by an overwhelming majority of Cleveland voters, to Bush and to third-party candidates.[55] What at first seems no more than spectacularly incompetent election design appears, on reflection, more likely to have been intended to produce exactly this effect.

But if the clumps of third-party votes seem not to have been the result of hackers moving votes about and leaving some of them parked with third-party candidates, that doesn’t mean that hacking was not taking place. Another analysis that may have wide potential applicability has been published at the Democratic Underground website by a computer programmer who claims to have special expertise in the reverse-engineering of calculations, and who goes by the blogger cognomen of ’59sunburst.’ (Because this analysis has been anonymously published–and because, moreover, I have been unable to activate the author’s link to a field of supporting data–I present it with due reservations, in the hope that those possessing programming expertise may be able to critically assess its validity.)

Finding it curious that in 46 Cuyahoga County precincts George Bush received the same number of votes in 2004 as in 2000, while only in 12 precincts did John Kerry receive the same number of votes that Al Gore did in 2000, ’59sunburst’ speculated that Bush’s 2000 numbers in each precinct might somehow have been used “as a benchmark for altering the results of 2004″–with a putative hacker’s goal being to ensure that Bush’s 2000 level of support was either maintained or enhanced. ’59sunburst’ was able to develop a quite simple mathematical formula which made it possible “to calculate Kerry’s and Bush’s 2004 totals for over 400 precincts using Bush’s 2000 numbers and a randomizing factor”; this formula, s/he claims, works both for the preliminary results published on November 8th and the final results published by Cuyahoga County’s Board of Elections on November 30th.

After demonstrating, with figures from Cleveland precinct 1M, how the formula generates Bush’s and Kerry’s 2004 vote tallies for both the November 8th and the November 30th reports out of the Bush 2000 vote count and the number of votes cast in 2004, ’59sunburst’ anticipates the obvious objection: If you throw the right randomizing factor into such a calculation, “you can make anything come out the way you want it to.”

True–but it appears that someone was indeed making things come out the way he wanted to on election night. For, as it happens, Cleveland precinct 1N–the very next one on the list–requires the very same “randomizing factor” as precinct 1M (Factor: 0.0618) for the formula to work. The same phenomenon recurs repeatedly with other pairs (or triplets) of consecutively listed precincts: Cleveland 6G and 6H (Factor: 0.005), Cleveland 10D and 10E (Factor: 0.024), Cleveland Heights 3C and 3D (Factor: 0.0267), East Cleveland 2E and 2F (Factor: 0.0263), East Cleveland 2H and 3A (Factor: 0.0241), East Cleveland 3B, 3C, and 3D (Factor: 0.0158), and so on.[56]

If the “randomizing factor” numbers were different in each precinct, or only randomly coincided, there would be no reason to suspect a hacker’s presence. What gives the game away is the reappearance of the same numbers in successive precincts–an obvious economizing of effort on the part of a hacker whose sticky fingerprints on the Cuyahoga County returns are made visible by that very fact. The effects of this hacking appear to have been substantial: in the first pair of precincts discussed by ’59sunburst’ alone, Bush’s tally rose from 2 votes in 2000 to 23 in 2004 (precinct 1M), and from 2 votes in 2000 to 32 in 2004 (precinct 1N).

8. The Ohio exit poll.

The November 2nd exit poll showed with some clarity the scale of the Republican Party’s electoral fraud in Ohio. When I gathered the Ohio exit poll data from CNN’s website at 7:32 p.m. EST on election day, women voters (53 percent of the total) were reported as favouring Kerry over Bush by 53 percent to 47 percent, while male voters (47 percent of the total) preferred Kerry over Bush by 51 percent to 49 percent. The exit poll thus showed Kerry winning Ohio by a margin of 4.2 percent, with 52.1 percent of the vote to Bush’s 47.9 percent.[57]

According to the official vote tally, however, George W. Bush carried Ohio with 51 percent of the vote to John Kerry’s 48.5 percent–with a winning margin, that is, of 2.5 percent. (Subsequent adjustments to the tally as absentee and provisional ballots were counted cut the margin of victory from 2.5 to 2 percent.)

But do exit polls mean anything at all? According to the collective wisdom of political pundits in the U.S. corporate media, the Ohio exit poll–like the national exit poll, which showed John Kerry, not George W. Bush, winning the popular vote nationwide by a margin of 2.56 percent[58]–must simply have been wrong. Set aside the fact that professionally conducted exit polls have been repeatedly shown to have a high degree of accuracy (significantly higher than that of any other kind of polling). Set aside the fact that the 2004 polls were conducted with elaborate professional care by one of the most highly respected pollsters in the business. Set aside as well the very peculiar fact that all of the divergences between exit polls and vote tallies in the swing states in the 2004 election favoured George W. Bush–often by amounts far outside the statistical margins of error–and the further fact that none of the (frankly implausible) explanations put forward to deal with this statistical anomaly have been supported by the smallest shred of evidence.[59]

Perhaps we should also avoid any mention of the high-toned denunciations of electoral fraud delivered by George W. Bush, Colin Powell, and Republican Senators Richard Lugar and John McCain following the second-round presidential election in Ukraine on November 21st, 2004. For what was the key evidence adduced in this chorus of denunciations? And why were these Republican statesmen threatening Ukraine with diplomatic isolation and economic penalties if the election results were allowed to stand? Because there was a wide divergence in Ukraine between the exit polls, which gave Viktor Yushchenko a commanding lead, and the official vote tally, according to which the election was narrowly won by his pro-Russian rival, Viktor Yanukovich.

Those who have not yet wholly averted their eyes from the matter might want to note that the divergence between the second-round vote tally in Ukraine and what seems to be the more trustworthy of the second-round Ukrainian exit polls was 6.2 percent.[60] By an odd coincidence, the divergence between the exit poll result and the final vote tally in Ohio was exactly the same: 6.2 percent.

* * *

If George W. Bush didn’t win the vote tally in Ohio–and the evidence that he didn’t is cumulatively overwhelming–then he didn’t properly win the Electoral College vote either.

And the popular vote? For the sake of completeness, and of decency, let’s briefly lay to rest the idea that some tattered shreds of democratic legitimacy can be reclaimed for Bush’s presidency through the pretense that he must, after all, have won the popular vote on November 2nd.

I am not going to rehearse here any part of the rapidly accumulating body of analyses that shows Republican electoral fraud to have been carried out in many other states from coast to coast with much the same energy and inventiveness as in Ohio.[61] For as the mathematician who posts his analyses of exit poll data at the Democratic Underground site under the name ‘TruthIsAll’ has intimated, and as Dr. Steven F. Freeman has shown in a major new study which he has kindly shared with me in draft form, there is a simpler way of showing that, in the big picture, the numbers which underlie Bush’s supposed victory in the popular vote simply don’t add up.[62]

In comparison to the election of 2000, there were two dramatic changes in 2004: an increase of some 14 percent in the total number of votes cast (which rose from 105,405,000 in 2000 to 120,255,000 in 2004), and a significant decline in the proportion of votes cast for third-party candidates (which sank from 3,949,000 in 2000 to 1,170,000 in 2004). According to the national exit poll data made available by CNN on the evening of November 2nd, 83 percent of those who voted in 2004 had also voted in 2000. This means, in slightly different terms, that nearly 100 million people who voted in 2000, or close to 95 percent of the 2000 voters, also cast ballots in 2004.[63] In the 2004 exit poll, 13,047 randomly selected respondents stated that they had voted as follows:

Bush Kerry
Gore 2000 voters: 8% 91%

Bush 2000 voters: 90% 10%

Other 2000 voters: 17% 64%

New voters: 41% 57%



Al Gore, remember, won the popular vote in 2000 by almost 544,000 votes (50,999,897 votes to George Bush’s 50,456,002). Assuming that the 8 percent of Gore voters who migrated to Bush’s camp in 2004 more or less cancel out the 10 percent of Bush-2000 voters who swung to Kerry, one can take the base number of supporters for Bush and Kerry in 2004 as amounting to 95 percent of the Republican and Democratic presidential vote tallies in 2000–or, in round numbers, 48.4 million votes for Kerry and 47.9 million votes for Bush.

If 95 percent of the 3,949,000 who voted for third-party candidates in 2000 also voted in 2004, then given that 64 percent of these people voted for Kerry and 17 percent for Bush, that, in round numbers, would add 2.3 million votes to Kerry’s expected total and 600,000 to Bush’s, raising them to 50.7 million for Kerry and 48.5 million for Bush.

Add in the 20.2 million new voters, 57 percent of whose ballots, according to the exit poll, went to Kerry, and 41 percent to Bush. That means 11.5 million additional votes for Kerry, and 8.3 million additional votes for Bush. The final expected total comes out to 62.2 million votes for Kerry, and 56.8 million expected votes for Bush.

Compare these numbers to the official results: 61,194,773 votes (or 51 percent of the total votes cast) for George W. Bush, and 57,890,314 (or 48 percent) for John Kerry. The discrepancies are striking: Bush appears to have received 4.4 million more votes than he should have, and Kerry 4.3 million fewer than he should have.

The magic–as Congressman Peter King, whom I quoted at the outset, evidently understood–is in the counting. As a large and growing body of evidence makes clear, the official tallies of the 2004 presidential election are to an unprecedented degree distorted by fraud, much of it carried out through widespread and systematic tampering with electronic vote-tabulation machines.

There is, of course, another magic as well, whose secrets reside in all the manifold ways of not counting. In December 2000, Dr. Rebecca Mercuri, a leading expert in issues of electronic voting-technology security, together with Curtis Gans, director of the nonpartisan Committee for the Study of the American Electorate, estimated that at least two million of the ballots cast in that year’s presidential election never got counted. In the words of the journalists who reported this estimate: “That would disenfranchise a city the size of Houston.”[64] How large a city has been disenfranchised this time round, if in Ohio alone 106,000 ballots went uncounted?

And finally, there is the shabbiest magic of all–the magic of the corporate-media hacks and think-tank trolls, whose collective mission it is to conjure away the most glaring evidence, normalize the abnormal, and twist or bludgeon critical thinking into conformity.

* * *

What this adds up to, I have suggested in my title, is the death of American democracy. A strange death, because so many Americans, for good reasons and for bad, refuse to acknowledge that it has taken place.

The good reasons–those of the many thousand pro-democracy activists who remain fiercely attached to the rights and freedoms that are theirs by inheritance and struggle, who have uncovered through patient study the details of the theft, and who are seeking through firm public action to reassert the dignity and reclaim the stolen voices of those many hundreds of thousands of their fellow citizens deliberately abjected and silenced by fraud–these one must honour. One can honour as well the activists’ wit and their defiant good humour–evident, for example, in the placards carried in a demonstration in Denver on November 11th (Remembrance Day, in this country):

Dude, Where Did My Vote Go?

Vote Free or Die Bold

Correct Electile Dysfunction

Corporations Cannot Run Elections

The Computer Ate My Vote!

The Fox is Guarding the Voting Coop

I Do Not Concede.[65]

But let’s be realistic about what it means when, with the willing complicity of all the major outlets of the corporate media, a single corporatist party controls the executive functions of the central government, including all of the security apparatus of a thoroughly militarized state, both houses of the legislature, and the judiciary–and what it means when this same party, having acquired executive power in 2000 through electoral fraud and a judicial coup d’état, and having confirmed its control of the legislature through the corrupt midterm elections of 2002, then provides a convincing demonstration in 2004 of its power to turn what should have been a landslide electoral defeat into a dubious but effectively unassailable victory.

It might be suggested that the leader himself, in his inverted Orwellian manner, gave fair warning of what the public could anticipate in his second presidential election. One of the most rightly celebrated of all ‘Bushisms’ was delivered in September 2002 to an audience in Nashville, Tennessee: “There’s an old saying in Tennessee–I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee–that says, fool me once, shame on–shame on you. Fool me–you can’t get fooled again.”[66] Really? Why on earth not?

* * *

For now at least, the forms of a democratic republic remain in place–as, in a parallel way, the residual forms of the Roman Republic remained in place well after its devolution into a militarized imperial autocracy.

One of the early emperors, Tiberius, got sadistic pleasure out of writing deferential letters to the Roman Senate, humbly requesting the terrorized senators’ direction and advice. (It is not recorded, though others of his missives had a similarly noxious effect, that he ever went so far as to have the envelopes dusted–did the Romans use envelopes?–with weaponized anthrax.)[67]

Tiberius’s successor, known to history by the fond nickname, Caligula, given him by the Roman legionaries, likewise held the Senate in high esteem: he is said to have planned to have his horse–or was it his donkey?–elected to that august body.[68]

Notes

1 For writings by these and other critics of electronic voting technologies, see Michael Keefer, “Evidence of Fraud in the 2004 U.S. Presidential Election: A Reader,” Centre for Research on Globalization (5 December 2004), http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/KEE412A.html

2 For an incisive analysis of the Bin Laden tape, see Michel Chossudovsky, “‘Intelligence Asset’ bin Laden supports Bush Re-election,” Centre for Research on Globalization (31 October 2004), http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO410B.html

3 King’s remarks, recorded in Alex Pelosi’s new film Diary of a Political Tourist, are quoted by Thom Hartmann in “Restoring Trust in the Vote,” Common Dreams News Center (15 November 2004), http://www.commondreams.org/views04/1115-htm

4 J. Kenneth Blackwell, “How Ohio pulled it off,” The Washington Times (17 November 2004), http://washingtontimes.com/op-ed/20041116-085742-1497r.htm

5 “Blackwell Compares Gay Couples, Farm Animals,” WTOL11: Toledo’s News Leader (20 October 2004), http://www.wtol.com/global/story.asp?s=2457596

6 See Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy, Inferno, Canto XIX.

7 Gregory Korte and Jim Siegel, “Defiant Blackwell Rips Judge,” Cincinnati Enquirer (22 October 2004), http://www.enquirer.com/editions/2004/10/22/loc_blackwell22.html

8 For further details see Blackwell’s website, http://www.sos.oh.us/sos/occc/index.html

9 Bob Fitrakis, Steve Rosenfeld and Harvey Wasserman, “Ohio GOP election officials ducking subpoenas as Kerry enters stolen vote fray,” The Free Press(28 December 2004), http://www.freepress.org/departments/display/19/2004/1046

10 For evidence of the practice of purging voter rolls, see Greg Palast, “Electoral Fraud, Ethnic Cleansing of Voter Rolls, An Election Spoiled Rotten,” TomPaine.com (1 November 2004), available at http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/PAL411A.html , and Greg Moses, “The One-Two Punch of Racism: Whitewashing the Voter Fraud Issue,” The Free Press (10 December 2004), http://www.freepress.org/departments/display/19/2004/977 . This and other forms of Jim Crow electoral manipulation are analyzed in a report by the Democratic Investigative Staff, House Committee on the Judiciary, How to Make One Million Votes Disappear: Electoral Sleight of Hand in the 2000 Presidential Election. A Fifty-State Report Prepared for Rep. John Conyers, Jr., Ranking Member, House Committee on the Judiciary (Washington, D.C.: U.S. House of Representatives, 20 August 2001, available at http://www.electionreport.pdf). Substantial evidence of the Ohio Republican Party’s illegal practice of “caging” (sending registered letters to newly registered minority and urban voters, and then challenging those whose letters are returned as undeliverable–often because they refuse to sign for mail from the Republicans) is presented in the Status Report of the House Judiciary Committee Democratic Staff, Preserving Democracy: What Went Wrong in Ohio (Washington, D.C.: U.S. House of Representatives, 5 January 2005, available at http://www.house.gov/conyers ), pp. 40-43. I would recommend analysis of the following Cleveland precincts, where the astonishingly low numbers of registered voters in the Cuyahoga County electoral returns creates suspicion of purging: 5U (30 registered voters), 6E (21 voters), 6X (83 voters), 13Y (56 voters), 13Z (53 voters), 14C (13 voters), 14D (7 voters), 16C (51 voters), 18B (58 voters), and 19A (19 voters).

11 David S. Bernstein, “Questioning Ohio: No controversy this time? Think again,” The Boston Phoenix (12-18 November 2004), http://www.bostonphoenix.com/boston/news_features/other_stories/multi-page/documents/04256171.asp

12 Free Press Staff, “Franklin County, Ohio voting machine assignments, and other information,” The Free Press (20 November 2004), http://www.freepress.org/departments/display/19/2004/900 ; Bob Fitrakis, “How the Ohio election was rigged for Bush,” The Free Press (22 November 2004), http://www.freepress.org/columns/display/3/2004/995 ; Richard Hayes Phillips, “Stealing votes in Columbus,” The Free Press (23 November 2004), http://www/freepress.org/departments/display/19/2004/914 Phillips, “Another Stolen Election: Favoritism in the Suburbs,” Lyric Poetry Website (26 November 2004), http://web.northnet.org/minstrel/suburbs.htm

13 See Preserving Democracy: What Went Wrong in Ohio, Detailed Findings A.5: “Targeting Minority and Urban Voters for Legal Challenges,” pp. 43-47; and Richard Hayes Phillips, “Provisional ballots in Cuyahoga County,” The Free Press (24 December 2004), http://www.freepress.org/departments/display/19/2004/1034

14 Phillips, “Default settings in Mahoning County,” The Free Press (23 December 2004), http://www.freepress.org/departments/display/19/2004/1018

15 See Preserving Democracy: What Went Wrong in Ohio, Detailed Findings B.3.a: “Spoiled Ballots–Hanging Chads Again?”, pp. 70-72; and Richard Hayes Phillips, “Uncounted votes in Montgomery County,” The Free Press (10 December 2004), http://www.freepress.org/departments/display/19/2004/980 ; “Uncounted votes in Hamilton County,” The Free Press (24 December 2004), http://www.freepress.org/departments/display/19/2004/1036; and “Uncounted votes in Summit County,” The Free Press (24 December 2004), http://www.freepress.org/departments/display/19/2004/1035

16 Erica Solvig, “Warren’s vote tally walled off: Alone in Ohio, officials cited homeland security,” Cincinnati Enquirer (5 November 2004), http://www.enquirer.com/editions/2004/11/05/loc_warrenvote05.html ; Solvig, “No changes in final Warren Co. vote count, Emails released Monday show lockdown pre-planned,” Cincinnati Enquirer (16 November 2004), http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20041116/NEWS01/411160355/1056/news01

17 Richard Hayes Phillips, “Election results in southwestern Ohio,” The Free Press (21 December 2004), http://www.freepress.org/departments/display/19/2004/1012 ; Phillips, “Hacking the vote in Miami County,” The Free Press (25 December 2004), http://www.freepress.org/departments/display/19/2004/1038

18 Registration and vote tally irregularities in Perry County were noted by Congressional Representative John Conyers in a letter to Ohio Secretary of State Blackwell dated 2 December 2004, available at http://www.house.gov/conyers ; many further irregularities are itemized in Preserving Democracy: What Went Wrong in Ohio, Detailed Findings B: Election Day.

19 See Preserving Democracy: What Went Wrong in Ohio, Detailed Findings C.2: “Justice Delayed is Justice Denied–Recounts were Delayed Because of a Late Declaration of Results,” pp. 79-81.

20 See “The Case for Fraud in Ohio Election 2004 (V.B: Restricting Citizen Access to Election Records),” Bloomington Peace Action Coalition, http://www.bpac.info

21 Ray Beckerman, “Blackwell Locks Down Ohio Voting Records,” Yurica Report: News Intelligence Analysis (10 December 2004), http://www.yuricareport.com/2004%20Election%20Fraud/BlackwellLocksDownOhioVotingRecords.html

22 Preserving Democracy: What Went Wrong in Ohio, Detailed Findings C.4: “Greene County–Long Waits, the Unlocked Lockdown, and Discarded Ballots,” pp. 87-91.

23 According to Preserving Democracy: What Went Wrong in Ohio, Detailed Findings, C.5.a: “Irregularities in Selecting the Initial 3% Hand Count,” pp. 92-93, the samples were not selected randomly in Allen, Clermont, Cuyahoga, Morrow, Hocking, Medina and Vinton Counties; in Summit County the selection was random, but conducted without any recount witnesses present. According to a lawsuit filed on December 30th by the Green and Libertarian parties, the selection of sample precincts was non-random in 17 counties (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2004_U.S._presidential_election_controversy_and_irregularities ). David Swanson claims, in “The Media and the Ohio Recount: Missing in Action,” Counterpunch (3 January 2005), http://www.counterpunch.org/swanson01032005.html , that “86 of 88 counties broke the law and did not select RANDOMLY which precincts they would recount.”

24 William Rivers Pitt, “Proof of Ohio Election Fraud Exposed,” Truthout (15 December 2004), http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/121604Z.shtml ; this item reprints other texts, including a key affidavit and Tom Zeller’s article “Lawmaker Seeks Inquiry into Ohio Vote,” The New York Times (15 December 2004). Further details of Triad’s alleged tampering are available in two letters from Congressional Representative John Conyers to Triad officials, available at http://www.house.gov/conyers , and also in Preserving Democracy: What Went Wrong in Ohio, Detailed Findings, C.3: “Triad GSI–Using a ‘Cheat Sheet to Cheat the Voters in Hocking and Other Counties,” pp. 81-87. The December 30th lawsuit filed by the Green and Libertarian parties lists five counties in which tabulating-machine tampering was carried out by Triad, and one in which the tampering was carried out by a Diebold technician.

25 The December 30th lawsuit filed by the Green and Libertarian parties lists six counties in which, despite sample-recount discrepancies, the Board of Elections refused to conduct full recounts. Two flagrant cases of impropriety in the recount are narrated in Preserving Democracy: What Went Wrong in Ohio, C.5.b: “Irregularities in Applying the Full Hand-Count Requirement”:

“In Monroe County, the 3% hand-count failed to match the machine count twice. Subsequent runs on that machine matched neither each other nor the hand count. The Monroe County Board of Elections summoned a repairman from Triad to bring a new machine and the recount was suspended and reconvened for the following day. On the following day, a new machine was present at the Board of Elections office and the old machine was gone. The Board conducted a test run followed by the 3% hand-counted ballots. The results matched this time and the Board conducted the remainder of the recount by machine.”

“In Fairfield County, the hand recount of the 3% test sample did not match the machine count, even after two attempts. The Board suspended the recount and stated that Secretary Blackwell recommended that the recount should begin again ‘from scratch.’ The Green recount observers were then told that it was 4:00 PM, the building was closed, and all had to leave. The Republican recount observers, however, were allowed to stay in a conference room for an additional ten minutes or so for a private discussion. When the Board reconvened a few days later, it announced that it would be conducting a machine count of the county’s votes. When a Green Party observer objected, she was told by the Board that she was not allowed to speak.”

26 Swanson, “The Media and the Ohio Recount.”

27 “Text of Fundraising Letter from Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell,” available as an appendix to Bob Fitrakis, Steve Rosenfeld and Harvey Wasserman, “The ‘Crime of November 2′: The human side of how Bush stole Ohio, and why Congress must investigate rather than ratify the Electoral College (Part Two of Two),” The Free Press (5 January 2005), http://www.freepress.org/departments/display/19/2005/1067

28 Melvin Butch Hollowell and Len Niehoff, “Local Comment: To even consider suppressing the vote shames a democracy,” Detroit Free Press (27 July 2004), http://www.freep.com/voices/columnists/eholl27_20040727.htm . For a mainstream account of election-day vote suppression in Ohio, see Michael Powell and Peter Slevin, “Several Factors Contributed to ‘Lost’ Voters in Ohio,” The Washington Post (15 December 2004): A1, available at Yurica Report: News Intelligence Analysis, http://www.yuricareport.com/ElectionAftermath04/Factors%20ContributedToLostVotersInOhio.html . For a very useful listing of materials relating to vote suppression and electoral fraud, see Election 2004, http://shadowbox.i8.com/stolen.htm

29 Fitrakis, Rosenfeld, and Wassermann, “Ohio’s official recount ends amidst new evidence of fraud, theft and judicial contempt mirrored in New Mexico,” The Free Press (31 December 2004), http://www.freepress.org/departments/display/19/2004/1057

30 “Contesting Ohio Electoral Votes: Transcript of Press Conference: Senator Barbara Boxer and Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones,” Federal News Service (6 January 2005), available from the Centre for Research on Globalization (9 January 2005), http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/BOX501A.html

31 Mark Weisbrot, “Ohio Election Problems Highlight Urgent Need for Reform,” Knight Ridder Newspapers (8 January 2005), available at Common Dreams News Center (9 January 2005), http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0108-26.htm

32 Quotations are from Brian Dominick and Ariella Cohen, “Electoral Vote Challenge Meets Venomous Response in Congress,” The New Standard (8 January 2005), available at Znet, http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=90&ItemID=6979 ; Alan Fram, “Congress Formally OKs Bush Election,” Yahoo! News (6 January 2005), http://www.story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&c=5&u=/ap/20050106/ap_on_go_co/electoral_vote ; from “History in the Making: Dems Force Debate on Ohio Voting Irregularities,” Democracy Now! (7 January 2005), http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=05/01/07/1621240 ; and the C-Span broadcast of the House debate, available at rtsp://video.c-span.org/60days/wh010605_house.rm

33 That Gore would have won is clear: see Robert Parry, “So Bush Did Steal the White House,” Consortium News (22 November 2001), http://www.consortiumnews.com/2001/112101a.html ; the figure of 23,000 votes is from Daniel Lazare, The Velvet Coup: The Constitution, The Supreme Court, and the Decline of American Democracy (London and New York: Verso, 2001), p. 4.

34 Bob Fitrakis, Steve Rosenfeld and Harvey Wasserman, “Ten preliminary reasons why the Bush vote does not compute…,” The Free Press (3 January 2005), http://www.freepress.org/departments/display/19/2005/1065

35 Robert Lockwood Mills, “The greatest story never told,” The Free Press (20 December 2004), http://www.freepress.org/departments/display/19/2004/1006

36 Dom Stasi, “Moral victory: Religious exploitation, and the new American creed,” Online Journal (23 December 2004), http://www.onlinejournal.com/Commentary/122304Stasi/122304stasi.html

37 According to staff writers of The Nashua Advocate, over 97 percent of the vote-flipping incidents reported to the non-partisan Election Incident Reporting System (EIRS) favoured Bush: see “News: Election 2004: Who’s Reading the Words of ‘Internet Muckrakers’? Diebold, For a Start…,” The Nashua Advocate (14 January 2005), http://nashuaadvocate.blogspot.com/2005/01/news-election-2004-whos-reading-words.html

38 Richard Hayes Phillips, “Default settings in Mahoning County,” The Free Press (23 December 2004), http://www.freepress.org/departments/display/19/2004/1018

39 Phillips, “Default settings.”

40 For evidence of the election-swinging potential of this form of fraud, see Anthony di Franco at al., “Small Vote Manipulations Can Swing Elections,” Communications of the ACM 47: 10 (October 2004): 43-45, available at http://www.wheresthepaper.org/p43_di_franco.pdf

41 Dr. Werner Lange, “More Votes than Voters in Ohio: Absentee Vote Inflated, Certified Vote in Doubt,” Democrats.com/unity (12 December 2004), http://democrats.com/ohio-absentee

42 Russ Baker, “Election 2004: Stolen or Lost,” TomPaine.com (7 January 2005), http://www.tompaine.com/articles/election_2004_stolen_or_lost.php

43 Fitrakis, Rosenfeld and Wasserman, “Ten preliminary reasons.”

44 These are the certified figures, from Cuyahoga County General Election: Official Results Report, which is no longer available on the web; the data can now be obtained from James Q. Jacobs’ website (see note 55 below). The figures first released after the election, before there had been a partial counting of provisional ballots, were still more shocking: 7.1 percent (Cleveland 6C), 13.05 percent (13D), 19.6 percent (13F), 21.01 percent (13O), and 21.8 percent (6B). Cleveland precinct 10L was initially reported as having a 24.72 percent turnout–a figure which rose in the certified results to a 56.21 percent turnout. Perhaps by some accident all of the provisional and absentee ballots cast in this precinct were counted.

45 Fitrakis, Rosenfeld and Wasserman, “Ten preliminary reasons.”

46 Richard Hayes Phillips, “Rigging the vote in Lucas County,” The Free Press (10 December, revised 24 December 2004), http://www.freepress.org/departments/display/19/2004/979 ; and “Another third rate burglary,” The Free Press (25 December 2004), http://www.freepress.org/departments/display/19/2004/1037

47 Richard Hayes Phillips, “Hacking the vote in Miami County,” The Free Press (25 December 2004), http://www.freepress,org/departments/display/19/2004/1038

48 See Fitrakis, Rosenfeld and Wasserman, “Ten preliminary reasons.”

49 Richard Hayes Phillips, “Election results in Southwestern Ohio,” The Free Press (21 December 2004), http://www.freepress.org/departments/display/19/2004/1012

50 The letter is quoted in Preserving Democracy: What Went Wrong in Ohio, B.1, pp. 54-55 note 240.

51 Preserving Democracy: What Went Wrong in Ohio, B.1, p. 54 note 238.

52 Richard Hayes Phillips, “Estimated Vote Count in Ohio,” The Free Press (5 January 2005), http://www.freepress.org/departments.display/19/2005/1071

53 See Teed Rockwell, “93,136 EXTRA Votes Found in ONE Ohio County,” Rense.com (19 November 2004), http://www.rense.com/general59/one.htm ; and paragraph 20 in the second part of my essay “Election Fraud in America,” Centre for Research on Globalization (30 November 2004), http://globalresearch.ca/articles/KEE411D.html . Katherine Yurica republished Rockwell’s essay, with Editor’s Notes dated 21 November and 12 December 2004 blaming Cuyahoga County for “obfuscating the election results” and describing the essay as part of the “historical record of what transpired: i.e. Cuyahoga County published false information and then apparently corrected it.” See Yurica Report: News Intelligence Analysis, http://www.yuricareport.com/ElectionAftermath04

54 The matter was explained, with ascending degrees of clarity and competence, by Manuel Roig-Franzia and Dan Keating, “Latest Conspiracy Theory–Kerry Won–Hits the Ether,” The Washington Post (11 November 2004): A2; David Knox, “Turnout turns out to be glitch,” Akron Beacon Journal (10 November 2004), http://www.ohio.com/mld/ohio/news/10143328.htm?1c ; and “Cuyahoga County Precincts-Revised!” Americans for America, http://pages.ivillage.com/americans4america/id20.html

55 James Q. Jacobs, “Precinct Cross-Voting and Ballot Order in the Ohio 2004 Presidential Race,” 2004 Ohio Election–Analysis, Summary, Charts, and Spreadsheets (14 January 2004), http://www.jqjacobs.net/bush/xls/ohio.html

56 ’59sunburst,’ “Cuyahoga Cty–2000 Bush Tallies Used to Fake 2000 Tallies?” Democratic Underground (27 December 2004), http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=show_topic&forum=203&topic_id=197869

57 It is important to distinguish between these exit poll figures and the altered Ohio figures which were posted by CNN at 1:41 a.m. EST on November 3rd; these showed women voters splitting 50-50 in their preferences for Kerry and Bush, and men supporting Bush over Kerry by 52 to 49 percent. One must also distinguish, in the national exit poll, between the figures available at 9:00 p.m. EST on November 2nd, which show Kerry leading by nearly 3 percent, and the revised figures posted at 1:36 a.m. EST on November 3rd, which showed a 5 percent swing to Bush. Richard Morin’s claim that the later national figures were based on “later interviewing” that found Bush in the lead (“New Woes Surface in Use of Estimates,” The Washington Post [4 November 2004]: A29) is demonstrably incorrect. As was immediately apparent from comparison of respondent numbers and percentage preferences, and as has since been acknowledged by the pollsters, these later figures were conflated with the vote tally percentages. See Michael Keefer, “Footprints of Electoral Fraud: The November 2 Exit Poll Scam,” Centre for Research on Globalization (5 November 2004), http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/KEE411A.html ; see also “The Case for Fraud in Ohio Election 2004 (IX.A: Irregular/Impossible Changes in Exit Polls over time on Election Night),” Bloomington Peace Action Coalition, http://www.bpac.info

58 See ‘TruthIsAll,’ “BEST EVIDENCE: WP/Mitofsky/NEP (13,047 Random; MOE 1%): 547 million to 1,” Democratic Underground (7 January 2005), http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=203×261825

59 For authoritative studies of the 2004 exit polls, see Steven F. Freeman, Ph.D., “The Unexplained Exit Poll Discrepancy,” Research Report from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate Division, School of Arts & Sciences Center for Organizational Dynamics (29 December 2004), available at http://www.matrixmasters.com/blog/usnewsarchive/2005_01_01_newsarchive.html ; Ron Baiman, “The United States of Ukraine? Exit Polls Leave Little Doubt that in a Free and Fair Election John Kerry Would Have Won Both the Electoral College and the Popular Vote,” The Free Press (19 December 2004), http://www.freepress.org/departments/display/19/2004/997 and Jonathan D. Simon, J.D., and Ron P. Baiman, Ph.D., “The 2004 Presidential Election: Who Won the Popular Vote? An Examination of the Comparative Validity of Exit Poll and Vote Count Data,” The Free Press (28 December 2004), http://www.freepress.org/departments/display/19/2004/1054 . Other significant articles include Jonathan Simon, “47 State Exit Poll Analysis Confirms Swing Anomaly,” Scoop (11 November 2004), http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/HL0411/S00142.htm ; Alastair Thompson, “Complete US Exit Poll Data Confirms New Suspicions,” Scoop (17 November 2004), http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/HL0411/S00227.htm#f1note ; John Allen Paulos, “Final Tallies Minus Exit Polls=A Statistical Mystery!” The Philadelphia Inquirer (24 November 2004), available at http://www.math.temple.edu/%7Epaulos/exit.html ; ‘TruthIsAll,’ “Breaking: Washington Post Declares Kerry Won,” Democratic Underground (4 January 2005), http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss.duboard.php?az=show_mesg&forum=203&topic_id=229251&mesg_id=229251 ; and Mark Blumenthal, “Exits: Were They Really ‘Wrong’?” Mystery Pollster (14 December 2004), http://www.mysterypollster.com/main/2004/12/exits_were_the_.html The most lucid brief analysis of the weighting of exit polls that I have seen is in a sequence of postings by ‘Fly by night’ to a discussion thread initiated by ‘TruthIsAll,’ “I learned something about exit polls today,” Democratic Underground(17 January 2005), http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=show_topic&forum=203&topic_id=288785

60 For an initial comparison between the U.S. and Ukrainian elections, see Michael Keefer, “Election Fraud in America,” Centre for Research in Globalization(30 November 2004), http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/KEE411D.html ; also published as “The Stolen U.S. Presidential Election: A Comparative Analysis,” Autonomy & Solidarity, http://www.auto_sol.tao.ca .

61 For a small reminder of the wholesale rottenness of the election in Florida, see Bev Harris, “Vote Fraud–Volusia County On Lockdown,” Scoop (18 November 2004), http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/HL0411/S00246.htm ; and Thom Hartmann, “‘Stinking Evidence’ of Possible Fraud in Florida,” Scoop (19 November 2004), http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/HL0411/S00258.htm . And for a sample of the action on the west coast, see the excellent recent study by Paul R. Lehto, J.D., and Jeffrey Hoffman, Ph.D., “Evidence of Election Irregularities in Snohomish County, Washington General Election, 2004,” VotersUnite.Org (6 January 2005), http://www.votersunite.org/info/SnohomishElectionFraudInvestigation.pdf

62 Dr. Freeman’s new article, “Hypotheses for Explaining the Exit Poll-Official Count Discrepancy in the 2004 US Presidential Election,” should be published in the near future. The vote-tally figures given here, all of which are available from the Wikipedia site, are presented by Freeman in a somewhat more fully elaborated form.

63 On demographic grounds one would expect that over a four-year period more than five percent of the voters active in 2000 would have moved on to cast their ballots in a better world. A demographically-inflected estimate would increase the number of new voters in 2004–but since this would also increase Kerry’s numbers at the expense of Bush’s, I will hold to the exit-poll figure.

64 Los Angeles Times Staff Writers, “A ‘modern’ democracy that can’t count votes. Special Report: What happened in Florida is the rule and not the exception. A coast-to-coast study by The Times finds a shoddy system that can only be trusted when the election isn’t close,” Los Angeles Times (11 December 2000), http://archives.cnn.com/2000/ALLPOLITICS/stories/12/11/latimes.votecount

65 The Denver Voice, http://denvervoice.org/protest_rally_11-20-04.htm

66 Jacob Weisberg, “The Complete Bushisms,” Slate, http://slate.msn.com/id/76886

67 What may seem a particularly sour joke is perhaps no joke at all. The identity of the person who carried out terrorist anthrax-letter attacks in the United States in September and October 2001 remains unknown. However, the attacks were clearly intended to intimidate the Democratic opposition and the media: they targeted two leading Democratic members of the U.S. Senate, Senator Tom Daschle (D-South Dakota) and Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), as well as major media outlets. Moreover, the anthrax was of the Ames strain, and came from a U.S. defence-biowarfare source; and there is strong evidence to indicate that FBI investigation of the anthrax attacks has been blocked as a result of high-level political interference. See Barbara Hatch Rosenberg (Chair, Federation of American Scientists Working Group on Biological Weapons), “Analysis of the Anthrax Attacks,” available at http://www.911review.org/Wget/www.fas.org/bwc/news/anthraxreport.htm ; Patrick Martin, “Who is stonewalling the US anthrax investigation?” World Socialist Web Site (20 July 2002), http://www.wsws.org/articles/2002/jul2002/anth-j20.shtml ; and Steve Moore, “Why the FBI Cannot Catch the Anthrax Killer,” Centre for Research on Globalization (16 April 2003), http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/MOO304B.html

68 The name Caligula means “Little Boot.” The Roman historian Suetonius reports that Caligula had planned to make his horse Incitatus a Consul (the highest position in the government of the Roman Republic); this would have entailed conferring senatorial rank upon the horse. See Suetonius, The Twelve Caesars, trans. Robert Graves, revised Michael Grant (London: Penguin, 2000), IV. 55, p. 156.

Global Research Contributing Editor Michael Keefer, an Associate Professor of English at the University of Guelph, Ont. He is a former president of the Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English; his writings include Lunar Perspectives: Field Notes from the Culture Wars (Anansi).



The original source of this article is Global Research
The Strange Death of American Democracy: Endgame in Ohio | So who ever thought the 2004 U.S. presidential election had the remotest chance of being honest and democratic? Not, one might guess, the electronic voting security experts like Ken Thompson, Roy Saltman, Rebecca Mercuri, Bruce Schneier, Doug Jones, Victoria Collier, Aviel Rubin, Lynn Landes, and Bev Harris, who have for years been warning that the new voting technology coming into use in the United States offers unprecedented opportunities for electoral fraud : Global Research
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https://plus.google.com/105668243339599562024 George Kanaris : This important article was first published by Global Research in November 2004 in relation to the 2004...
This important article was first published by Global Research in November 2004 in relation to the 2004 presidential race.

A ‘president’ who takes office through fraud and usurpation can make no legitimate claim to exercise the stolen power of his office.

Imagine the sensation that would have ensued if a United States Senator had declared, less than three weeks after the 2004 U.S. presidential election, that “It is now apparent that a concerted and forceful program of election-day fraud and abuse was enacted with either the leadership or co-operation of governmental authorities.” The story would have made banner headlines around the world.

As a matter of fact, on November 22, 2004, BBC News attributed these very words to Republican Senator Richard Lugar. However, Lugar was speaking in his capacity as Chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee—and he was referring, not to the U.S. presidential election of November 2, but to the Ukrainian presidential election of November 21, 2004.

The primary evidence for Lugar’s charge of electoral fraud is a striking divergence between exit poll data and official vote tallies. As it happens, wide divergences of just this kind have also been a feature of two other important recent elections: the Venezuelan recall referendum over President Chávez’s mandate held on August 15, as well as the U.S. presidential election of November 2. In all three cases there is substantial evidence of fraud—though the dishonesty appears to be very differently distributed. In brief: the Venezuelan election was clean and the exit poll flagrantly dishonest; the Ukrainian vote tallies and exit polling seem both to have been in various ways corrupted; the American election, despite the Bush Republicans’ pose as international arbiters of integrity, was manifestly stolen, while the U.S. exit polling was professionally conducted (and though it was subsequently tampered with, accurate results had in the mean time been made public).

Hugo Chávez’s landslide victory in August was a surprise only to the hostile U.S. corporate press, which had represented the Venezuelan election campaign as a dead heat: the last opinion poll prior to the referendum in fact showed Chávez leading by a wide margin, with 50 percent of registered voters to the opposition’s 38 percent. In the official tally, Chávez won 58.26 percent of the votes, while 41.74 percent were cast against him. International observers, including the Organization of American States and the Carter Center, declared that the election had been fair: in ex-U.S. President Jimmy Carter’s words, “any allegations of fraud are completely unwarranted” (see Rosnick).

But on election day the leading New York polling firm Penn, Schoen & Berland disgraced itself by releasing (before the polls closed, and hence in violation of Venezuelan law) a purportedly authoritative exit poll, with a claimed margin of error “under +/-1%,” according to which Chávez had been defeated, gaining a mere 41 percent of the vote to the opposition’s 59 percent. The exit polling, it emerged, had been conducted—though not in Chavista neighbourhoods, where the pollsters did not venture (Gindin [15 Aug. 2004])—by an opposition group named Súmate, which had been formed to agitate for a recall referendum, and whose leadership had been implicated in the 2002 anti-Chávez coup. Súmate appears to have been largely funded by the U.S. National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which has been aptly described as “the CIA’s ‘civilian arm’” (Chossudovsky [28 Nov. 2004]), and by the CIA itself (see “Súmate”); in the period leading up to the election, Venezuelan opposition groups like Súmate received altogether more than $20 million from the U.S., including over $3 million funneled through the NED (see www.venezuelafoia ). As had been understood prior to the event (see Stinard [10 Aug. 2004]), fraudulent exit polling was part of a concerted U.S.-backed project of delegitimizing and destabilizing the government of a geopolitically important oil-producing nation. Had the election been less of a landslide, and had it not been conducted with what appears to have been scrupulous correctness, the plan might have succeeded.

Ukraine is likewise recognized as a country of pivotal geopolitical importance (see Aslund [12 May 2004], Chin [26 Nov. 2004], and Oliker); it is a key element in the U.S.’s Silk Road Strategy for domination of central Asia (see Chossudovsky, War and Globalization, pp. 65-75). Here the election results were much closer, and have been more vigorously contested. Viktor Yanukovych, the candidate favoured by Ukraine’s Russian neighbours, was declared the winner, with 49.4 percent of the vote to the Western-leaning Viktor Yushchenko’s 46.7 percent. But Yushchenko and his party—supported by a growing chorus of Western commentators and governments—have cried foul.

While the Ukrainian exit poll figures publicized in the Western media do support claims of electoral fraud, the exit polls themselves are not above suspicion. The most widely disseminated claim has been that an authoritative exit poll showed Yushchenko to have won the election with a 6 percent lead; Yanukovych’s governing party would thus have stolen the election, fraudulently swinging the vote by 8.7 percent. According to better-informed reports, however, two distinct exit polls were conducted. One of these, organized by the right-wing U.S. think-tank Freedom House and the U.S. Democratic Party’s National Democratic Institute (NDI), and carried out by the Kyiv Democratic Initiatives Foundation (see Vasovic), perhaps as part of a group calling itself the Exit Pollconsortium (see Kubiniec), found that Yushchenko won 54 percent of the vote to Yanukovych’s 43 percent. (It may be this poll that is referred to by the University of British Columbia’s Centre for Public Opinion and Democracy in its claim that “an exit poll conducted by independent research firms” showed Yushchenko to have won by 54 to 42 percent.) The other national exit poll, based on interviews rather than questionnaires, was conducted by Sotsis Company and the Social Monitoring Center, and gave Yushchenko 49.4 percent of the vote to Yanukovych’s 45.9 percent.

It is not my purpose to attempt an unraveling of the complexities of the Ukrainian election. The British Helsinki Human Rights Group has challenged the validity of the exit polls, claiming that in at least one city the exit pollsters were open Yushchenko supporters, and did not observe proper methodological protocols (see “Ukraine: 2nd Round”). While Western observers have reported major irregularities in the government’s conduct of the election, Michel Chossudovsky and Ian Traynor have on the other hand adduced strong evidence of interventions in the Ukrainian electoral process by U.S. governmental and quasi-governmental agencies that resemble the same agencies’ interventions in Serbia, Georgia, Belarus, and Venezuela. The voter turnout figures of 96 percent recorded in Yanukovych strongholds in eastern Ukraine are strongly indicative of fraud; so likewise may be “the 90% pro-Yushchenko results declared in western Ukraine,” where the British Helsinki Group observed that Yushchenko’s opposition party “exercised disproportionate control over the electoral process in many places.” I would like merely to suggest that the interview-based exit poll which gave Yushchenko a 3.5 percent lead over Yanukovych—and hence indicated an irregular swing of 6.2 percent in the latter’s favour—is more likely to have been properly conducted than the exit poll which was organized by Freedom House and the NDI, and which may well have been marked by Súmate-type improprieties.

Let us turn to the American presidential election, where the same kind of data has encouraged similar suspicions—though thanks to the soothing ministrations of the U.S. corporate media, with nothing resembling the massive public outcry in Ukraine. George W. Bush was hailed the winner on November 2, with 51 percent of the vote to John Kerry’s 48 percent. But there are good reasons to be skeptical of the official vote tallies. The last wave of national exit polls published on the evening of November 2—polls which appear to have been duly weighted to correct for sampling imbalances—showed Kerry, not Bush, leading by 51 to 48 percent (see ‘Mystery Pollster’). A divergence of 6 percent between weighted exit polls and the official numbers is a strong indicator of electoral fraud.

At the decisive point, moreover, the divergence between the exit poll results and the vote tally was wider still (see S. Freeman [21 Nov. 2004]). Prior to the election, political analysts identified Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania as the three key swing states: the candidate who carried these states, or a majority of them, would win the election.

Bush won Florida, with 52.1 percent of the vote to Kerry’s 47.1 percent. (This tally, by the way, diverges by 4.9 percent in Bush’s favour from the state exit poll, which gave Bush a paper-thin 0.1 percent lead.) Kerry won Pennsylvania, with 50.8 percent of the vote to Bush’s 48.6 percent. (Here again the vote tally differs in Bush’s favour from the exit poll results—this time by 6.5 percent.)

That left Ohio as the deciding state, the one on which the national election results depended. George W. Bush won Ohio, according to the official vote tally, with 51 percent of the vote to John Kerry’s 48.5 percent. The divergence in this case between the vote tally and the exit poll, which showed Kerry as winning by 52.1 percent to Bush’s 47.9 percent, is fully 6.7 percent.

Is it possible that these three divergences in Bush’s favour between exit polls and vote tallies could have occurred by chance? I wouldn’t bet on it. Dr. Steven Freeman of the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Organizational Dynamics has calculated that the odds against these statistical anomalies occurring by chance are 662,000 to 1 (S. Freeman [21 Nov. 2004]).

Or are exit polls perhaps just not as reliable as people think? Dr. Freeman has an answer to this question as well. In the last three national elections in Germany, the differential between the exit polls and the vote tallies was, on average, 0.27 percent; and in the last three elections to the European Parliament, the differential in Germany was 0.44 percent (S. Freeman [21 Nov. 2004]). Professionally conducted exit polls are highly accurate—which is why they have been used (in some cases more honestly than in Venezuela and Ukraine) as a measure of electoral integrity in places where improprieties have been anticipated. The U.S. exit polls were conducted by Mitofsky International, a survey research company founded by Warren J. Mitofsky, who as the company’s website proclaims “created the Exit Poll research model” and “has directed exit polls and quick counts since 1967 for almost 3,000 electoral contests. He has the distinction of conducting the first national presidential exit polls in the United States, Russia, Mexico and the Philippines. His record for accuracy is well known” (see “National Election Pool”).

The fact that Mitofsky International systematically altered the U.S. presidential exit poll data early on the morning of November 3, contaminating the exit poll figures by conflating them with the vote tally percentages, has quite rightly become a matter of controversy (see Keefer [5 Nov. 2004], and Olbermann, “Zogby Vs. Mitofsky”). But there seems no reason to doubt that the Mitofsky exit poll data made available by the CNN website on the evening of November 2 was professionally gathered.

Mightn’t one propose, as a last resort, that Bush’s election-winning divergence of 6.7 percent between the Ohio exit poll results and the Ohio vote tally was, at any rate, somewhat less scandalous than the 13.7 percent swing Yanukovych’s party was blamed for by the Freedom House-NDI exit poll? (Ignore, if you like, the lesser 6.2 percent swing indicated by the Sotsis and Social Monitoring exit poll—which, if accurate, shows the Freedom House-NDI poll to be skewed in Yushchenko’s favour by fully 7.5 percent.) But if stealing elections is like knocking off banks, the fact that one practitioner can dynamite the vault of the central bank and get away with it, while his less fortunate compeer draws unwanted attention by blowing out all of the windows of the neighbourhood Savings-and-Loan, doesn’t make the former any less a bank robber than the latter.

The parallels between the Ukrainian and the U.S. presidential elections extend beyond the exit poll divergences. Ballot-box stuffers appear to have achieved a 96 percent turnout in parts of eastern Ukraine, with turnout figures in some areas exceeding 100 percent. There is evidence of similar indiscretions on the part of Bush’s electoral fraud teams. Twenty-nine precincts in a single Ohio county reported more votes cast than there are registered voters—to a cumulative total of over 93,000 votes (see Rockwell). And in six Florida counties the total number of votes reported to have been cast exceeded by wide margins the total number of registered voters (see Newberry). Senator John McCain, manifesting the same stunning lack of irony as other Republican spokesmen, has weighed in on the issue: “IRI [the International Republican Institute] found that in a number of polling stations, the percentage of votes certified by the Central Election Commission exceeded 100% of total votes. This is simply disgraceful” (see “McCain”). McCain is of course referring to eastern Ukraine; when it comes to Florida or Ohio, he keeps his eyes wide shut.

The question of advance indications of electoral fraud offers a final point of comparison. In the United States, as in Ukraine (where international observers described the polls and vote-counts in previous elections as deeply flawed), electoral fraud was widely anticipated prior to the 2004 presidential election. As the materials itemized in the first three sections of this Reading List make clear, the electronic voting technologies in use in the U.S. were widely denounced by electronic security experts months and even years in advance, as permitting, indeed facilitating, electoral fraud; there is clear evidence that the 2000 election and the 2002 mid-term elections were marked by large-scale fraud on the part of the Bush Republicans; and U.S. computer scientists and informed analysts warned insistently that fraud on an unprecedented scale was likely to occur in this year’s election.

How has it been possible for the massive ironies arising out of the similarities between the elections in the U.S. and Ukraine to pass unobserved in the corporate media? Have the media been simple-mindedly buttering their bread on both sides? If so, it is a habit that makes for messy eating. On November 20, an article in The Washington Post informed those who might question the U.S. election that “Exit Polls Can’t Always Predict Winners, So Don’t Expect Them To” (Morin). Two days later, The Washington Post carried breaking news of the early election results from Ukraine—and quoted a purported election-stealer who holds exactly the same opinion of exit polls: “‘These polls don’t work,’ said Gennady Korzh, a spokesman for Yanukovych. ‘We will win by 3 to 5 percent. And remember, if Americans believed exit polls, and not the actual count, John Kerry would be president’” (see Finn).

Key Issues and Evidence of Electoral Fraud in the US

Mainstream media assessments of the integrity of the 2004 U.S. presidential election have tended to focus on particular and local problems—computer errors or ‘glitches’ for the most part—that came to light on the day of the election or shortly afterwards. Naturally enough, the fact that these problems were noticed, and in some cases corrected, works if anything to enhance public confidence in the integrity of the electoral system.

The stance of the mainstream media is inadequate in at least two respects. First, some of the ‘problems’ were not mere accidents, but open and flagrant violations of democratic principles. Prominent among these was the election-night ‘lockdown’ of the Warren County, Ohio administrative building, on wholly spurious grounds of a ‘terrorist threat’: as a result, the public, the press, and the local legal counsel for the Kerry-Edwards campaign were prevented from witnessing the vote count (see Solvig & Horn, and Olbermann [8 Nov. 2004]). This maneuver generated widespread outrage: Warren County’s Republicans may perhaps have ‘misoverestimated’ the degree to which previous conveniently timed ‘terror alerts’ and Osama bin Laden’s late-October Jack-in-the-Box act had tamed the electorate.

But more importantly, while ‘problems’ and ‘glitches’ have commonly been covered by the corporate media as local issues, they can be recognized as belonging to a larger pattern. As James Paterson’s compelling analysis of The Theft of the 2004 US Election makes clear, Republican intentions were evident well before the election. And as Joseph Cannon has remarked, “An individual problem can be dismissed as a glitch. But when error after error after error favors Bush and not a single ‘accident’ favors Kerry, we’ve left glitch-land.”

There is widespread evidence, which goes well beyond any mere accumulation of local problems, that “glitch-land” is indeed far behind us. The landscape to which the 2004 U.S. presidential election belongs includes the murky swamps of Tammany Hall-style election-fixing—and the still more sinister morasses of ‘Jim Crow’ as well.

It has been reported that Republican-controlled counties in Ohio and elsewhere sought to reduce the African-American vote by deliberately curtailing the numbers of polling stations and voting machines in working-class precincts: large numbers of would-be voters were effectively disenfranchised by line-ups that were many hours long (see Fitrakis [7, 16, 22 Nov. 2004]). The Republican Party’s purging of African Americans from voters’ lists gained the 2000 election for George W. Bush (see Conyers [21 Aug. 2001]); as informed observers had anticipated (Palast [1 Nov. 2004], King & Palast), this shameful illegality was repeated in 2004 on a wider scale. Large-scale polling-station challenges were used to further slow the voting, and to turn the new provisional ballots into a mechanism for effectively disenfranchising minority voters. In the swing state of Ohio this year, it appears that fully 155,000 voters—most of them African-Americans—were obliged as a result of polling-station challenges to cast provisional ballots (see Palast [12 Nov. 2004], Solnit). Although it is becoming clear that the great majority of these citizens were legally entitled to vote (see Williams), the likelihood that their votes will be fairly counted, or that Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State Ken Blackwell will permit them to be included in the official tally, remains slender. The effect of this Jim Crow mechanism appears to be compounded by racially-biased judgments of ballot spoilage. As Greg Palast reports, 54 percent of all ballots judged ‘spoiled’ in the 2000 election in Florida were cast by African-American voters, and similarly scandalous percentages are expected in key states this time round. Nor have African Americans been the sole victims of these tactics: it appears that in New Mexico, where Hispanics’ ballots are five times more likely to be laid aside as ‘spoiled’ than those of white voters, 13,000 Hispanics were effectively disenfranchised by means of provisional ballots (Palast [12 Nov. 2004]). Bush won New Mexico by less than half that number of votes.

But it is the co-presence of other forms of corruption, in addition to all these, that establishes the difference between an election dirtied by illegalities, and one that was not merely soiled and distorted by fraud but actually stolen. The evidence presented within the texts listed here suggests with gathering strength that the Karl Rovian maneuvers alluded to above were supplemented on November 2, 2004 by less conspicuous—and yet decisive—manipulations of the machines that recorded and tabulated the votes.

How precisely this apparent manipulation may have been carried out in different jurisdictions—by rigging machines in advance to mis-record or delete votes, by configuring proprietary software so as to allow ‘back-door’ access for unrestrained vote-tampering, or by hacking into the notoriously insecure vote-tabulation systems—remains as yet undetermined. However, the evidence has been coming to light with surprising rapidity.

As observers and analysts noted at once, troubling discrepancies were apparent between the exit poll results published by CNN on the evening of November 2 and the official vote tallies (see DeHart, Dodge, S. Freeman, Otter, and Simon). No less disturbing, as I observed in my article on the subject, is the fact that the exit poll data was systematically tampered with early on November 3 to make the figures conform to the vote tallies. At 1:41 a.m. EST on November 3, for example, the Ohio exit poll was altered: Kerry, who had previously been shown as leading Bush by 4 percent in that state, was now represented in the revised exit poll as trailing him by 2.5 percent. And yet the number of respondents in the poll had increased from 1,963 to only 2,020. An additional 57 respondents—a 2.8 percent increase—had somehow produced a 6.5 percent swing from Kerry to Bush. At 1:01 a.m. EST on November 3, the Florida exit poll was likewise altered: Kerry, who had previously been shown in a near dead heat with Bush, now trailed him by 4 percent. In this case, the number of respondents rose only from 2,846 to 2,862. A mere 16 respondents—0.55 percent of the total—produced a 4 percent swing to Bush.

However, the key exit-poll issue remains the divergence between the November 2 exit polls and the vote tallies. Steven Freeman concluded, in the first draft of his judicious study of the November 2 exit poll data, that “Systematic fraud or mistabulation is a premature conclusion, but the election’s unexplained exit poll discrepancies make it an unavoidable hypothesis, one that is the responsibility of the media, academia, polling agencies, and the public to investigate” (S. Freeman [11 Nov, 2004]).

Other evidence points toward a strengthening, indeed to a substantial confirmation of this “unavoidable hypothesis” of systematic fraud. Some of this evidence has been emerging from the swing state of North Carolina, and from the two key swing states of Florida and Ohio—either one of which, had John Kerry won it, would have made him the acknowledged President-elect.

In North Carolina, the tell-tale marks of electronic electoral fraud have been brought to light by an analyst who publishes at the Democratic Undergroundsite under the name of ‘ignatzmouse’. (“Ignatz,” remember, is the name of the mouse who in the Krazy Kat cartoons smacks the unhappy cat with the inevitable brick. That pesky mouse is once again on target.)

What gives the game away in the North Carolina election data is the disparity within the presidential and senatorial vote-counts between the so-called “absentee” votes—a category that apparently includes the early voting data as well as votes cast by citizens living abroad and military personnel—and the polling-day votes cast on November 2.

In the race for Governor, 30 percent of the votes cast for the Republican and the Democratic candidate alike were absentee votes; the other 70 percent were cast on November 2. The Democrat won with 55.6 percent of both the absentee and the polling-day votes. In most of the other statewide races in the North Carolina election there were similarly close correlations between absentee and polling-day votes. For example, Democrats won the post of Lieutenant Governor, with 55.7 percent of absentee and 55.5 percent of polling-day votes; the post of Secretary of State, with 58 percent of absentee and 57 percent of polling-day votes; and the post of Attorney General, with 56.7 percent of absentee and 55.2 percent of polling-day votes. In three other statewide races, and in the voting for three constitutional amendments, the correlation between absentee and polling-day votes remains very close (though tight races for three other positions in the state administration were won by Republicans with polling-day swings in favour of the Republican candidates of 4.2, 5.2, and 5.4 percent respectively).

Given the close correlations between absentee and polling-day votes in ten of the thirteen statewide races, the senate result looks suspicious: the Democrat’s narrow lead in the absentee voting became a clear defeat on November 2, with a 6.4 percent swing in the polling-day votes to the Republican. And the presidential results look more seriously implausible. In the absentee votes, Kerry trailed by 6 percent, a result that ‘ignatzmouse’ remarks “is consistent with the pre-election polls and most importantly with the exit polls of November 2nd.” But in the election day voting, there was a further swing of fully 9 percent to Bush. Bush led in the absentee votes (30 percent of the total) by 52.9 percent to Kerry’s 46.9 percent; but on polling day he took 57.3 percent of the remaining votes, while Kerry received 42.3 percent. In the absence of any other explanation, these figures point to electronic fraud—and, more precisely, to “a ‘date-specific’ alteration in the software, a hack, or a specific [software] activation just prior to the election.”

The Florida evidence is, if anything, more flagrant. On November 18, Professor Michael Hout of the University of California at Berkeley released a statistical study indicating that electronic voting technology had produced a very substantial distortion of the presidential vote tally in Florida. According to the analyses conducted by Hout and his team, irregularities associated with electronic voting machines accounted for at least 130,000 votes in Bush’s lead over Kerry in Florida—and possibly twice that much. (The uncertainty stems from the fact that the machines may have awarded Bush “ghost votes” which increased his tally without reducing Kerry’s, or they may have misattributed Kerry votes as Bush votes. As Hout explains, the disparities “amount to 130,000 votes if we assume a ‘ghost vote’ mechanism and twice that—260,000 votes—if we assume that a vote misattributed to one candidate should have been counted for the other.”)

Hout’s results have not gone unchallenged (see Strashny); obviously enough, the validity of statistical analyses depends on the extent to which all possible causal factors have been accounted for. But other data indicates that the ‘haunting’ of Florida’s electronic voting tabulators was if anything more serious than Hout and his associates believe. As I have already noted, in six Florida counties the number of votes purportedly cast exceeded the number of registered voters—by a cumulative total of 188,885 (see Newberry). These are apparently “ghost votes,” and unless we’re willing to assume a level of electoral participation resembling those claimed by totalitarian states like Ceaucescu’s Romania or Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, a significant percentage of the other votes cast in these counties must also represent the electoral choice not of human beings but of Republican hackers.

Further evidence which may help to identify the agents involved in Florida’s electronic voting fraud has in fact begun to emerge. Brandon Adams, for example, has noted striking divergences among Florida voters according to the makes and models of the voting machines they used in different counties; and a heavy hacking of vote-tabulation systems used in conjunction with the older optical-scan voting machines is now well-established (see Paterson).

Moreover, statistically-based work is being complemented by acquisitions of direct material evidence. In Volusia County, one of Florida’s six most seriously ‘haunted’ counties, where 19,306 more votes were cast than there are registered voters, Bev Harris’s BlackBoxVoting team caught county election officials red-handed on November 16 in the act of trashing original polling-place tapes which BlackBoxVoting had asked for in a Freedom of Information request. In addition to filming the behaviour of county officials, her team was able to establish that some copies of the tapes that officials had prepared to give them in response to the Freedom of Information Act request had been falsified in favour of George W. Bush—in one precinct alone by hundreds of votes (see Harris [18 Nov. 2004], Hartmann [19 Nov. 2004]). The Volusia County materials provide proof, moreover, that the GEMS central vote-tabulation system, which was supposedly “stand-alone” and non-networked, was remotely accessed during the election (Harris [24 Nov. 2004]).

Ohio, remember, was the deciding state. John Kerry conceded the election after calculating that the some 155,000 provisional ballots cast in Ohio would not suffice—even if they were properly counted, and even if, as expected, they were very largely cast by Kerry supporters—to overturn the tallied results, according to which Bush had won the state by 136,483 votes.

However, the exit poll data indicates that it was Kerry who won the state, and by a comfortable margin. Once again, there is substantial evidence of electronic electoral fraud. Teed Rockwell found, after careful study of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections website, that twenty-nine precincts in this county “reported votes cast IN EXCESS of the number of registered voters—at least 93,136 extra votes total.” The same website he studied (http://boe.cuyahogacounty.us/BOE/results/currentresults1.htm#top ) also repays further study, for Rockwell’s tallying of ‘ghost votes’ is in fact conservative. To cite just one example, Brook Park City is listed as having 14,491 registered voters, of whom it is claimed that fully 14,458 exercised their civic duty and cast ballots—for a turn-out rate of 99.4 percent. I leave it to the curious to discover how many of these high-minded but possibly nonexistent citizens supported their incumbent President.

Those who want to pursue the questions of vote fraud and suppression in Ohio may also want to consult the studies carried out by Richard Philips, whose work, together with the data available on the websites of Cuyahoga and other counties, provides depressing evidence of successful vote suppression in urban precincts. (It has been estimated that vote suppression tactics may have cost Kerry 45,000 votes across the whole state of Ohio [see Bernstein].)

The Green Party and Libertarian Party presidential candidates, belatedly followed by the Kerry/Edwards campaign, have called for a recount in Ohio. But if Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State Blackwell permits no more than a recount, without a rigorous audit of the electronic voting machines and tabulators as well, the numbers for a reversal of the election results are probably not there. On the optimistic assumption that a fair count of the 155,000 provisional ballots would result in 10 percent of them being disqualified and 70 percent of the remainder being validated as Kerry votes, those ballots might reduce Bush’s lead in Ohio by as much as 55,800 votes. However, it seems unlikely that a recount, including a re-examination of the more than 96,000 Ohio votes (most of them cast on old punch-card machines) that were discarded as spoiled, would turn up the almost 81,000 additional Kerry votes that would still be needed.

Together with the principle that every duly cast vote must be counted, advocates for democracy need to assert another complementary principle: the principle that votes cast not in polling booths, but in the hard drives of voting-tabulation machines; and not by citizens, but rather by ghosts summoned into existence by Republican hackers’ nimble fingers, have no business getting counted, and should be removed from the tally.

The effect of turning a ‘Ghostbuster’ computer-auditing team like Bev Harris’s BlackBoxVoting organization loose on the Ohio results, to carry out a serious audit of any polling precinct and computer-log data that hasn’t already been quietly destroyed, might well be startling. For while a simple recount would probably leave Kerry trailing by several tens of thousands of votes, a thorough computer-audit ‘exorcism’ of the vote tallies, should such a thing ever be permitted, might well lead to a reversal of the national election results.

Whatever the finally certified results may be, a larger informing context should not be forgotten. The regime of George W. Bush has made no secret of its scorn for the American Constitution and Bill of Rights, its hostility to any notion of international law, its contemptuous dismissal of the decent opinion of humankind both at home and abroad, its contempt, in the most inclusive sense, for truth.

Bush has claimed that the 2004 election gave him “capital”—which he now will not hesitate to spend. An early instance of this expenditure has been the assault on the city of Fallujah, and a compounding of the manifold war crimes of which Bush and those who serve him are already guilty.

But what is this “capital”? As the evidence is revealing with growing clarity, the 2004 presidential election was not in fact a victory for Bush, but rather the occasion for an insolent usurpation.

A ‘president’ who takes office through fraud and usurpation can make no legitimate claim to exercise the stolen power of his office.

As the knowledge of his offence becomes ever more widely disseminated, he may yet come, like Shakespeare’s Macbeth, “[to] feel his title / Hang loose upon him, like a giant’s robe / Upon a dwarfish thief.”
Election Fraud in America: A Comparative Analysis | Imagine the sensation that would have ensued if a United States Senator had declared, less than three weeks after the 2004 U.S. presidential election, that “It is now apparent that a concerted and forceful program of election-day fraud and abuse was enacted with either the leadership or co-operation of governmental authorities.” : Global Research
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https://plus.google.com/116734970475230889732 The clubof.info Blog : Expert: Interest groups and lobbyists have been busy peddling their client’s interests since 1816 when...
Expert: Interest groups and lobbyists have been busy peddling their client’s interests since 1816 when Delaware manufacturer Isaac Briggs teamed up with his colleagues in an attempt to convince federal lawmakers to impose tariffs on the import of foreign made manufactures. Alexis de Tocqueville, writing in his two volume set Democracy in America (1835, 1840), observed the unique American characteristic of banding together in civic and issue specific interest groups for the purpose of influencing lawmakers, regulators and public opinion at the local, state and national levels. Congressional legislation to limit the influence of lobbyists in the US Congress and the federal government at large arguably did not begin in earnest until the 20th Century. The landmark Foreign Agents Registration Act 1938, passed on the eve of World War II, “requires persons acting as agents of foreign principals in a political or quasi-political capacity to make periodic public disclosure of their relationship with the foreign principal, as well as activities, receipts and disbursements in support of those activities requiring foreign company or government.” That act remains in force today. Nice Try The Federal Regulation of Lobbying Act of 1946, the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 and the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007 are notable for their attempts to inform the public who was lobbying for what interest and for how much money. The Open Government Act of 2007 mandated a one year waiting period for federal public servants before they could make the move through the revolving door to lucrative for-profit opportunities. President Barak Obama issued an Executive Order in 2009 known as the Ethics Commitments by Executive Branch Personnel. That decree sought to impose a two year waiting period for executive branch appointees. US executive branch agencies can also write their own lobbying rules or modify those contained in legislative acts. Members of the US Congress can also play an active role above and beyond legislative actions. On December 18, 2008, then Senators John Kerry from Massachusetts and Richard Lugar of Indiana sent a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to the Clinton Foundation, and the soon to be confirmed US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, limiting the Clinton Foundation’s interactions with foreign governments. In the MOU, the Clinton Foundation was instructed to spin off the Clinton Global Initiative placing strictures on Bill Clinton’s ability to accept contributions from foreign governments. It appears that the Clintons ignored the MOU with the recent revelations of Qatar’s $1 million gift which went unreported. Thanks to Wikileaks, the DNC hack, Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning and others, the internal workings of the US-Corporate State have been pried open to reveal a can of filthy worms entangled with each other in every which way. And not a damn thing will change no matter who runs the country. The American people, their constitution, Bill of Rights and ideals set forth in the Declaration of Independence are being tortured by opportunists. Besides that, they were written by “white people” back in the 1700’s and so they hold no weight with large segments of the American citizenry. That, of course, plays right into the hands of the ‘color of money’ tech and financial interests who seek to eliminate the US nation-state leaving only the military, intelligence and the dollar’s printing presses as backstops. No Win Situation In practice, all the well-intentioned federal legislation, tireless efforts of lobbyist watchdogs and anti-revolving door advocates had done little to inhibit much of the influence peddling undertaken by foreign agents and governments, US law firms, interest groups, trade associations, corporations and lobbying houses. Nor have their efforts slowed the speed of the revolving door though which officials who on one day are protecting and defending the Constitution of the United States emerge on the other side claiming fealty to a corporation’s shareholders. The rules, regulations and procedures governing the process are not worth the paper they are printed on. The United States Supreme Court ruled that influence peddling by individuals or non-profit organizations are protected by the free-speech First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. In 2010 the court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission extended that concept to for-profit associations, corporations and labor unions. Predictably, organizations and wealthy individuals have flooded the federal government and the 2016 election cycle with money. According to the public interest website Opensecrets.org — which tracks lobbying and revolving door activity — from 2008 to 2016 over $15 billion was spent by assorted organizations for US federal level influence peddling for all manner of issues ranging from defense and finance to sports and healthcare. The National Football League works hard at the local, state and federal levels for public funds to get their stadiums subsidized at the expense of taxpayers In 2016 alone $1.6Bln was billed by lobbyists to their clients. In that same year 10,498 individuals and organizations registered as lobbyists. But even knowing how the system works, Americans see no alternative because they do not want to do the very difficult work of rebooting the system or holding their so called leaders accountable. A Look at AT&T, Time Warner Merger & Influence In October, the world’s third largest telecommunications giant AT&T, a creature of the former Ma Bell System monopoly, offered cable and content provider Time Warner shareholders an $85 billion merger package. Both Boards of Directors gleefully approved the deal. Now that merger must receive the approval of the US Department of Justice and assorted state and federal regulatory bodies. If approved by regulators, the merger would create one the world’s largest media conglomerates with one side of the monster, AT&T, very tight with the US National Security Agency. To increase the likelihood of success, AT&T, for its part, has mobilized some 100 lobbyists in Washington, DC, and scores more across the nation to cajole public utility, state legislatures and governors into supporting the merger. The company is already on the march in the US congress and at federal agencies like the Federal Communications Commission. Even the self-proclaimed titans in the US Congress who decry the influence of money in politics or swarms of lobbyists are on the dole. In 1999 Senator John McCain from the US state of Arizona and then Chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, that oversees the telecommunications industry, introduced a bill that cleared the hurdles for the AT&T’s acquisition of MediaOne Group making AT&T, at the time, the largest cable company in the United States, the Center for Public Integrity said in a report. “His efforts did not go unrewarded: Two weeks after he introduced his bill, AT&T employees and their spouses contributed $10,000 to his presidential campaign in addition to $3,000 they gave him three days after AT&T announced its merger plans.” AT&T’s federal influencers include revolving door types like former Senators John Breaux of Louisiana and Trent Lott of Mississippi who now work for heavyweight Washington, DC law-firm and influence house Squire, Patton and Boggs. AT&T will also apply pressure from its own Board of Directors, one of whom is former President Bill Clinton’s chief economic advisor Laura D’Andrea Tyson. Coincidently she once served as a board member for Ameritech Corporation, formerly part of the AT&T-Bell System and now owned by AT&T. And how about this? The Board also includes the former Chairman of the US Federal Communications Commission from 1997 to 200, William Kennard. Inches or Sins? America is bankrupt and on the highway to hell. The outcome of the 2016 election will not halt that process unless the American people find a way out of the political, financial, cultural and military morass they and their leaders have created.  There are two paths forward for Americans, it seems. The first is offered in dialogue from the movie SEVEN in which the serial killer John Doe (played by Kevin Spacey) innovatively murders seven people based on the Seven Deadly Sins. Sure, John’s methods are unsound but the ‘point’ he makes about the sickness and tolerance levels of society are spot on. John Doe: A woman… so ugly on the inside she couldn’t bear to go on living if she couldn’t be beautiful on the outside. A drug dealer, a drug dealing pederast, actually! And let’s not forget the disease-spreading whore! Only in a world this shitty could you even try to say these were innocent people and keep a straight face. But that’s the point. We see a deadly sin on every street corner, in every home, and we tolerate it. We tolerate it because it’s common, it’s trivial. We tolerate it morning, noon, and night. Well, not anymore. I’m setting the example. What I’ve done is going to be puzzled over and studied and followed… forever. The second path and a better alternative to John Doe’s shock doctrine is movie dialogue from Any Given Sunday in the famed inches speech by Coach D’Amato (played by Al Pacino). The football team has descended into the hell of cliques, internal clashes, off-field antics, and disagreements over play calling. No football team can be successful in such a situation. The team has to come together for some purpose. Americans face that challenge now. Coach D’Amato: Either we heal as a team or we’re ‘gonna’ crumble inch by inch, play by play until we’re finished. We’re in hell right now, gentlemen…we can stay here, get the shit kicked out of us, or we can fight our way back into the light. We can climb ‘outta’ hell… one inch at a time. You see life’s this game of inches. So is football. Because in either game — life or football — the margin for error is so small. I mean, one half a step too late or too early and you don’t quite make it. One half second too slow, too fast and you don’t quite catch it. I know if I’m ‘gonna’ have any life anymore, it’s because I’m still willing to fight and die for that inch, because that’s what living is, the six inches in front of your face. The inches we need are everywhere around us. That’s a team, gentlemen, and either we heal, now, as a team, or we will die as individuals. That’s football guys. That’s all it is. http://clubof.info
The Center for Responsive Politics

2 months ago - Via - View -
https://plus.google.com/103456675918948468345 Tom Wilson : If you question my motives or objectivity in the issues I raise, it is not a result from the disregard...
If you question my motives or objectivity in the issues I raise, it is not a result from the disregard of Reason. I do have a personal hook which informs my perspective, but did not form it: it merely validated the squalid reality of my experience of the Conservative agenda, beginning with the Army-McCarthy Hearings, which I remember because they preempted my afternoon TV shows, like Rooty-Kazootie, Crusader Rabbit and, occasionally, Howdy Dooty AND the anxiety it created in my home.

My dad was in the Secretariat of the Chief of Staff of the Army at the Pentagon. He knew people whose careers were threatened by McCarthy in his attempt to exempt Roy Cohn from the draft. The emergence of William F. Buckley, Jr., in connection with the Goldwater campaign was just a continuation of McCarthy's illegitimate path to power, based on greed, fear and the abuse of power so completely exposed in Trump's business career.

As an Army brat, I was raised apolitical, although it is obvious to me that both me and my dad were hard-wired Republicans on the Archetype of Richard Lugar. Adult leadership, in other words. I haven't changed and I voted for Nixon before I went to Vietnam and when I got back on that basis.

As Ray Price points out in his memoir as Nixon's chief speech writer before, during and after the fall WITH NIXON, Nixon had something of a split personality: His hard-wired, adult leadership Republican personality emerging from the better angels of his Quaker mother and up-bringing and his Pitch-Fork Pat, enemies' list, crypto-Nazi, William F. Buckley rabid skunk Conservative side that employed Pat Buchanan as the apex representative of the Plumbers and the resident George Lincoln Rockwell guru. I continue to associate myself with the Ray Price adult leadership side of the Nixon White House while doing battle with the Pat Buchanan crypto-Nazi side of the Nixon White House. By and large, the Ray Price side of the Nixon White House voted for H. Ross Perot in 1992, while the mix of Price-Buchanan who voted for Bush the Elder became the core constituency that Karl Rove used to elect Bushie, twice, and has delivered Trump to the voters as a candidate for President. Who could win, if Trey Goowdy gets his way.

But the thing that really pushed my buttons was being put on a Reagan White House black list by Charles Z. Wick because I was a Vietnam "loser" and had done business with the Soviet Union. It turned out, in the final analysis, that Nancy Reagan was the essential hard-wired adult leadership Republican when she fired Don Regan and saved her husband's Presidency from further betrayal by the same vast right wing conspiracy that Hillary Clinton first discussed in 1993 and blackmailed Comey into releasing his Weinergate letter to Congress last week.

I have been trying to direct illumination into the "fog of war" from the spiritual pollution of the Tea Party Conservative agenda to a clear figure of the reality of the vast right wing conspiracy. As George F. Will freely admits, Conservatism is a coalition of appetites, ignorance and fear. It's not a vision: it is a common focus resulting from the need to hate something and damage it if possible as an irrational strategy to relieve their personal fears and hatreds.

Until Gore Vidal exposed the moral fraud at the core of his being, William F. Buckley pretended he wasn't doing it while Nixon enjoyed it while rationalizing it as a means to power and Trump has created a brand to exploit it. If you want to see how the vast right wing conspiracy operates. connect the dots between Don Regan and Donald Trump's off-shore businesses. #PutinPenisBreath
White nationalists plot Election Day show of force
KKK, neo-Nazis and militias plan to monitor urban polling places and suppress the black vote.
2 months ago - Via Google+ - View -
https://plus.google.com/107044790348013452069 Brandon Eaker (TheEaker) : "Operational inconveniences for the Clinton Foundation or a reduction in donations.......are small prices...
"Operational inconveniences for the Clinton Foundation or a reduction in donations.......are small prices to pay when balanced against......the security of every American." Senator Richard Lugar at Clinton's Senate confirmation hearing 13 January 2009 -…
The background to Clinton's private email system - part of a larger investigation
"Operational inconveniences for the Clinton Foundation or a reduction in donations.......are small prices to pay when balanced against......the security of every American." Senator Richard Lugar at Clinton's Senate confirmation hearing 13 January 2009 - he wanted tighter controls on the Clinton Foundation before agreeing to affirm Clinton as Secretary of...
2 months ago - Via - View -
https://plus.google.com/103975410148857906381 Kharian Pakistan : We have seen many scammers Foundation, Secretary of State liar Foundation not much, at least every country...
We have seen many scammers Foundation, Secretary of State liar Foundation not much, at least every country know, face look beautiful. Hillary and Bill Clinton such corrupt liar Foundation Secretary of State . Rare in the world!

AP: Many donors to Clinton Foundation met with Hillary Clinton at State Department

More than half the people outside the government who met with Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state gave money — either personally or through companies or groups — to the Clinton Foundation. It’s an extraordinary proportion indicating her possible ethics challenges if elected president.

At least 85 of 154 people from private interests who met or had phone conversations scheduled with Clinton while she led the State Department donated to her family charity or pledged commitments to its international programs, according to a review of State Department calendars released so far to The Associated Press. Combined, the 85 donors contributed as much as $156 million. At least 40 donated more than $100,000 each, and 20 gave more than $1 million.

AP report: Clinton met with donors while secretary of state
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AP report: Clinton met with donors while secretary of state
Donors who were granted time with Clinton included an internationally known economist who asked for her help as the Bangladesh government pressured him to resign from a nonprofit bank he ran; a Wall Street executive who sought Clinton’s help with a visa problem and Estee Lauder executives who were listed as meeting with Clinton while her department worked with the firm’s corporate charity to counter gender-based violence in South Africa.

The meetings between the Democratic presidential nominee and foundation donors do not appear to violate legal agreements Clinton and former president Bill Clinton signed before she joined the State Department in 2009. But the frequency of the overlaps shows the intermingling of access and donations, and fuels perceptions that giving the foundation money was a price of admission for face time with Clinton. Her calendars and emails released as recently as this week describe scores of contacts she and her top aides had with foundation donors.

Clinton’s campaign said the AP analysis was flawed because it did not include in its calculations meetings with foreign diplomats or U.S. government officials, and the meetings AP examined covered only the first half of Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state.

“It is outrageous to misrepresent Secretary Clinton’s basis for meeting with these individuals,” spokesman Brian Fallon said. He called it “a distorted portrayal of how often she crossed paths with individuals connected to charitable donations to the Clinton Foundation.”

The AP’s findings represent the first systematic effort to calculate the scope of the intersecting interests of Clinton foundation donors and people who met personally with Clinton or spoke to her by phone about their needs.

Clinton Foundation won't take foreign, corporate donations if Clinton wins
Play VIDEO
Clinton Foundation won't take foreign, corporate donations if Clinton wins
The 154 did not include U.S. federal employees or foreign government representatives. Clinton met with representatives of at least 16 foreign governments that donated as much as $170 million to the Clinton charity, but they were not included in AP’s calculations because such meetings would presumably have been part of her diplomatic duties.

Last week, the Clinton Foundation moved to head off ethics concerns about future donations by announcing changes planned if Clinton is elected.

On Monday, Bill Clinton said in a statement that if his wife were to win, he would step down from the foundation’s board and stop all fundraising for it. The foundation would also accept donations only from U.S. citizens and what it described as independent philanthropies, while no longer taking gifts from foreign groups, U.S. companies or corporate charities. Clinton said the foundation would no longer hold annual meetings of its international aid program, the Clinton Global Initiative, and it would spin off its foreign-based programs to other charities.

Those planned changes would not affect more than 6,000 donors who have already provided the Clinton charity with more than $2 billion in funding since its creation in 2000.

“There’s a lot of potential conflicts and a lot of potential problems,” said Douglas White, an expert on nonprofits who previously directed Columbia University’s graduate fundraising management program. “The point is, she can’t just walk away from these 6,000 donors.”

Former senior White House ethics officials said a Clinton administration would have to take careful steps to ensure that past foundation donors would not have the same access as she allowed at the State Department.

“If Secretary Clinton puts the right people in and she’s tough about it and has the right procedures in place and sends a message consistent with a strong commitment to ethics, it can be done,” said Norman L. Eisen, who was President Barack Obama’s top ethics counsel and later worked for Clinton as ambassador to the Czech Republic.

Eisen, now a governance studies fellow at the Brookings Institution, said that at a minimum, Clinton should retain the Obama administration’s current ethics commitments and oversight, which include lobbying restrictions and other rules. Richard Painter, a former ethics adviser to President George W. Bush and currently a University of Minnesota law school professor, said Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton should remove themselves completely from foundation leadership roles, but he added that potential conflicts would shadow any policy decision affecting past donors.

Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon did not respond to the AP’s questions about Clinton transition plans regarding ethics, but said in a statement Tuesday the standard set by the Clinton Foundation’s ethics restrictions was “unprecedented, even if it may never satisfy some critics.”

Some of Clinton’s most influential visitors donated millions to the Clinton Foundation and to her and her husband’s political coffers. They are among scores of Clinton visitors and phone contacts in her official calendar turned over by the State Department to AP last year and in more-detailed planning schedules that so far have covered about half her four-year tenure. The AP sought Clinton’s calendar and schedules three years ago, but delays led the AP to sue the State Department last year in federal court for those materials and other records.

S. Daniel Abraham, whose name also was included in emails released by the State Department as part of another lawsuit, is a Clinton fundraising bundler who was listed in Clinton’s planners for eight meetings with her at various times. A billionaire behind the Slim-Fast diet and founder of the Center for Middle East Peace, Abraham told the AP last year his talks with Clinton concerned Mideast issues.

Big Clinton Foundation donors with no history of political giving to the Clintons also met or talked by phone with Hillary Clinton and top aides, AP’s review showed.

Muhammad Yunus, a Bangladeshi economist who won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for pioneering low-interest “microcredit” for poor business owners, met with Clinton three times and talked with her by phone during a period when Bangladeshi government authorities investigated his oversight of a nonprofit bank and ultimately pressured him to resign from the bank’s board. Throughout the process, he pleaded for help in messages routed to Clinton, and she ordered aides to find ways to assist him.

American affiliates of his nonprofit Grameen Bank had been working with the Clinton Foundation’s Clinton Global Initiative programs as early as 2005, pledging millions of dollars in microloans for the poor. Grameen America, the bank’s nonprofit U.S. flagship, which Yunus chairs, has given between $100,000 and $250,000 to the foundation — a figure that bank spokeswoman Becky Asch said reflects the institution’s annual fees to attend CGI meetings. Another Grameen arm chaired by Yunus, Grameen Research, has donated between $25,000 and $50,000.

As a U.S. senator from New York, Clinton, as well as then-Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry and two other senators in 2007 sponsored a bill to award a congressional gold medal to Yunus. He got one but not until 2010, a year after Obama awarded him a Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Hillary Clinton: A life in pictures
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Hillary Clinton: A life in pictures
Yunus first met with Clinton in Washington in April 2009. That was followed six months later by an announcement by USAID, the State Department’s foreign aid arm, that it was partnering with the Grameen Foundation, a nonprofit charity run by Yunus, in a $162 million commitment to extend its microfinance concept abroad. USAID also began providing loans and grants to the Grameen Foundation, totaling $2.2 million over Clinton’s tenure.

By September 2009, Yunus began complaining to Clinton’s top aides about what he perceived as poor treatment by Bangladesh’s government. His bank was accused of financial mismanagement of Norwegian government aid money — a charge that Norway later dismissed as baseless. But Yunus told Melanne Verveer, a long-time Clinton aide who was an ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues, that Bangladesh officials refused to meet with him and asked the State Department for help in pressing his case.

“Please see if the issues of Grameen Bank can be raised in a friendly way,” he asked Verveer. Yunus sent “regards to H” and cited an upcoming Clinton Global Initiative event he planned to attend.

Clinton ordered an aide: “Give to EAP rep,” referring the problem to the agency’s top east Asia expert.

Yunus continued writing to Verveer as pressure mounted on his bank. In December 2010, responding to a news report that Bangladesh’s prime minister was urging an investigation of Grameen Bank, Clinton told Verveer that she wanted to discuss the matter with her East Asia expert “ASAP.”

Clinton called Yunus in March 2011 after the Bangladesh government opened an inquiry into his oversight of Grameen Bank. Yunus had told Verveer by email that “the situation does not allow me to leave the country.” By mid-May, the Bangladesh government had forced Yunus to step down from the bank’s board. Yunus sent Clinton a copy of his resignation letter. In a separate note to Verveer, Clinton wrote: “Sad indeed.”

Clinton met with Yunus a second time in Washington in August 2011 and again in the Bangladesh capital of Dhaka in May 2012. Clinton’s arrival in Bangladesh came after Bangladesh authorities moved to seize control of Grameen Bank’s effort to find new leaders. Speaking to a town hall audience, Clinton warned the Bangladesh government that “we do not want to see any action taken that would in any way undermine or interfere in the operations of the Grameen Bank.”

Grameen America’s Asch referred other questions about Yunus to his office, but he had not responded by Tuesday.

The Clinton campaign lashed out at the AP over its portrayal of Yunus in this story. The AP story, Fallon said in the statement, “outrageously casts a shadow over Secretary Clinton’s meetings with Muhammad Yunus....President Obama awarded Yunus the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and Republicans and Democrats voted to unanimously award him the Congressional Gold Medal. Nevertheless, this story reduces Yunus to a charitable donation once made by an organization he chaired. That is grossly unfair, inaccurate and just goes to show how faulty this analysis truly is.”

Earlier this month, State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau acknowledged that agency officials are “regularly in touch with a range of outside individuals and organizations, including nonprofits, NGOs, think tanks and others.” But Trudeau said the State Department was not aware of any actions that were influenced by the Clinton Foundation.

In another case, Clinton was host at a September 2009 breakfast meeting at the New York Stock Exchange that listed Blackstone Group chairman Stephen Schwarzman as one of the attendees. Schwarzman’s firm is a major Clinton Foundation donor, but he personally donates heavily to GOP candidates and causes. One day after the breakfast, according to Clinton emails, the State Department was working on a visa issue at Schwarzman’s request. In December that same year, Schwarzman’s wife, Christine, sat at Clinton’s table during the Kennedy Center Honors. Clinton also introduced Schwarzman, then chairman of the Kennedy Center, before he spoke.

Blackstone donated between $250,000 and $500,000 to the Clinton Foundation. Eight Blackstone executives also gave between $375,000 and $800,000 to the foundation. And Blackstone’s charitable arm has pledged millions of dollars in commitments to three Clinton Global aid projects ranging from the U.S. to the Mideast. Blackstone officials did not make Schwarzman available for comment.

Clinton also met in June 2011 with Nancy Mahon of the MAC AIDS, the charitable arm of MAC Cosmetics, which is owned by Estee Lauder. The meeting occurred before an announcement about a State Department partnership to raise money to finance AIDS education and prevention. The public-private partnership was formed to fight gender-based violence in South Africa, the State Department said at the time.

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Kate, the Duchess Of Cambridge, right, shakes hands with Hillary Rodham Clinton while attending a reception with Prince William, second from right, co-hosted by the Royal Foundation and the Clinton Foundation at British Consul General's Residence Monday, December 08, 2014 in New York. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez, Pool) AP
The MAC AIDS fund donated between $5 million and $10 million to the Clinton Foundation. In 2008, Mahon and the MAC AIDS fund made a three-year unspecified commitment to the Clinton Global Initiative. That same year, the fund partnered with two other organizations to beef up a USAID program in Malawi and Ghana. And in 2011, the fund was one of eight organizations to pledge a total of $2 million over a three-year period to help girls in southern Africa. The fund has not made a commitment to CGI since 2011.

Estee Lauder executive Fabrizio Freda also met with Clinton at the same Wall Street event attended by Schwarzman. Later that month, Freda was on a list of attendees for a meeting between Clinton and a U.S.China trade group. Estee Lauder has given between $100,000 and $250,000 to the Clinton Foundation. The company made a commitment to CGI in 2013 with four other organizations to help survivors of sexual slavery in Cambodia.

MAC AIDs officials did not make Mahon available to AP for comment.

When Clinton appeared before the U.S. Senate in early 2009 for her confirmation hearing as secretary of state, then Sen. Richard Lugar, a Republican from Indiana, questioned her at length about the foundation and potential conflicts of interest. His concerns were focused on foreign government donations, mostly to CGI. Lugar wanted more transparency than was ultimately agreed upon between the foundation and Obama’s transition team.

Now, Lugar hopes Hillary and Bill Clinton make a clean break from the foundation.

“The Clintons, as they approach the presidency, if they are successful, will have to work with their attorneys to make certain that rules of the road are drawn up to give confidence to them and the American public that there will not be favoritism,” Lugar said.
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Clinton Foundation Donors Got Weapons Deals From Hillary Clinton's State Department
BY DAVID SIROTA @DAVIDSIROTA AND ANDREW PEREZ
Even by the standards of arms deals between the United States and Saudi Arabia, this one was enormous. A consortium of American defense contractors led by Boeing would deliver $29 billion worth of advanced fighter jets to the United States' oil-rich ally in the Middle East.
Israeli officials were agitated, reportedly complaining to the Obama administration that this substantial enhancement to Saudi air power risked disrupting the region's fragile balance of power. The deal appeared to collide with the State Department’s documented concerns about the repressive policies of the Saudi royal family.
But now, in late 2011, Hillary Clinton’s State Department was formally clearing the sale, asserting that it was in the national interest. At press conferences in Washington to announce the department’s approval, an assistant secretary of state, Andrew Shapiro, declared that the deal had been “a top priority” for Clinton personally. Shapiro, a longtime aide to Clinton since her Senate days, added that the “U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army have excellent relationships in Saudi Arabia.”
These were not the only relationships bridging leaders of the two nations. In the years before Hillary Clinton became secretary of state, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia contributed at least $10 million to the Clinton Foundation, the philanthropic enterprise she has overseen with her husband, former president Bill Clinton. Just two months before the deal was finalized, Boeing -- the defense contractor that manufactures one of the fighter jets the Saudis were especially keen to acquire, the F-15 -- contributed $900,000 to the Clinton Foundation, according to a company press release.
The Saudi deal was one of dozens of arms sales approved by Hillary Clinton’s State Department that placed weapons in the hands of governments that had also donated money to the Clinton family philanthropic empire, an International Business Times investigation has found.
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Under Clinton's leadership, the State Department approved $165 billion worth of commercial arms sales to 20 nations whose governments have given money to the Clinton Foundation, according to an IBTimes analysis of State Department and foundation data. That figure -- derived from the three full fiscal years of Clinton’s term as Secretary of State (from October 2010 to September 2012) -- represented nearly double the value of American arms sales made to the those countries and approved by the State Department during the same period of President George W. Bush’s second term.
The Clinton-led State Department also authorized $151 billion of separate Pentagon-brokered deals for 16 of the countries that donated to the Clinton Foundation, resulting in a 143 percent increase in completed sales to those nations over the same time frame during the Bush administration. These extra sales were part of a broad increase in American military exports that accompanied Obama’s arrival in the White House. The 143 percent increase in U.S. arms sales to Clinton Foundation donors compares to an 80 percent increase in such sales to all countries over the same time period.
American defense contractors also donated to the Clinton Foundation while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state and in some cases made personal payments to Bill Clinton for speaking engagements. Such firms and their subsidiaries were listed as contractors in $163 billion worth of Pentagon-negotiated deals that were authorized by the Clinton State Department between 2009 and 2012.
The State Department formally approved these arms sales even as many of the deals enhanced the military power of countries ruled by authoritarian regimes whose human rights abuses had been criticized by the department. Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar all donated to the Clinton Foundation and also gained State Department clearance to buy caches of American-made weapons even as the department singled them out for a range of alleged ills, from corruption to restrictions on civil liberties to violent crackdowns against political opponents.
As secretary of state, Hillary Clinton also accused some of these countries of failing to marshal a serious and sustained campaign to confront terrorism. In a December 2009 State Department cable published by Wikileaks, Clinton complained of “an ongoing challenge to persuade Saudi officials to treat terrorist financing emanating from Saudi Arabia as a strategic priority.” She declared that “Qatar's overall level of CT cooperation with the U.S. is considered the worst in the region.” She said the Kuwaiti government was “less inclined to take action against Kuwait-based financiers and facilitators plotting attacks.” She noted that “UAE-based donors have provided financial support to a variety of terrorist groups.” All of these countries donated to the Clinton Foundation and received increased weapons export authorizations from the Clinton-run State Department.
Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and the Clinton Foundation did not respond to questions from the IBTimes.
In all, governments and corporations involved in the arms deals approved by Clinton’s State Department have delivered between $54 million and $141 million to the Clinton Foundation as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments to the Clinton family, according to foundation and State Department records. The Clinton Foundation publishes only a rough range of individual contributors’ donations, making a more precise accounting impossible.
Winning Friends, Influencing Clintons
Under federal law, foreign governments seeking State Department clearance to buy American-made arms are barred from making campaign contributions -- a prohibition aimed at preventing foreign interests from using cash to influence national security policy. But nothing prevents them from contributing to a philanthropic foundation controlled by policymakers.
Just before Hillary Clinton became Secretary of State, the Clinton Foundation signed an agreement generally obligating it to disclose to the State Department increases in contributions from its existing foreign government donors and any new foreign government donors. Those increases were to be reviewed by an official at the State Department and “as appropriate” the White House counsel’s office. According to available disclosures, officials at the State Department and White House raised no issues about potential conflicts related to arms sales.
During Hillary Clinton’s 2009 Senate confirmation hearings, Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., urged the Clinton Foundation to “forswear” accepting contributions from governments abroad. “Foreign governments and entities may perceive the Clinton Foundation as a means to gain favor with the secretary of state,” he said. The Clintons did not take Lugar’s advice. In light of the weapons deals flowing to Clinton Foundation donors, advocates for limits on the influence of money on government action now argue that Lugar was prescient in his concerns.
“The word was out to these groups that one of the best ways to gain access and influence with the Clintons was to give to this foundation,” said Meredith McGehee, policy director at the Campaign Legal Center, an advocacy group that seeks to tighten campaign finance disclosure rules. “This shows why having public officials, or even spouses of public officials, connected with these nonprofits is problematic.”
Hillary Clinton’s willingness to allow those with business before the State Department to finance her foundation heightens concerns about how she would manage such relationships as president, said Lawrence Lessig, the director of Harvard University’s Safra Center for Ethics.
“These continuing revelations raise a fundamental question of judgment,” Lessig told IBTimes. “Can it really be that the Clintons didn't recognize the questions these transactions would raise? And if they did, what does that say about their sense of the appropriate relationship between private gain and public good?”
National security experts assert that the overlap between the list of Clinton Foundation donors and those with business before the the State Department presents a troubling conflict of interest.
While governments and defense contractors may not have made donations to the Clinton Foundation exclusively to influence arms deals, they were clearly “looking to build up deposits in the 'favor bank' and to be well thought of,” said Gregory Suchan, a 34-year State Department veteran who helped lead the agency’s oversight of arms transfers under the Bush administration.
As Hillary Clinton presses a campaign for the presidency, she has confronted sustained scrutiny into her family’s personal and philanthropic dealings, along with questions about whether their private business interests have colored her exercise of public authority. As IBTimes previously reported, Clinton switched from opposing an American free trade agreement with Colombia to supporting it after a Canadian energy and mining magnate with interests in that South American country contributed to the Clinton Foundation. IBTimes’ review of the Clintons’ annual financial disclosures also revealed that 13 companies lobbying the State Department paid Bill Clinton $2.5 million in speaking fees while Hillary Clinton headed the agency.
Questions about the nexus of arms sales and Clinton Foundation donors stem from the State Department’s role in reviewing the export of American-made weapons. The agency is charged with both licensing direct commercial sales by U.S. defense contractors to foreign governments and also approving Pentagon-brokered sales to those governments. Those powers are enshrined in a federal law that specifically designates the secretary of state as “responsible for the continuous supervision and general direction of sales” of arms, military hardware and services to foreign countries. In that role, Hillary Clinton was empowered to approve or reject deals for a broad range of reasons, from national security considerations to human rights concerns.
The State Department does not disclose which individual companies are involved in direct commercial sales, but its disclosure documents reveal that countries that donated to the Clinton Foundation saw a combined $75 billion increase in authorized commercial military sales under the three full fiscal years Clinton served, as compared to the first three full fiscal years of Bush’s second term.
The Clinton Foundation has not released an exact timetable of its donations, making it impossible to know whether money from foreign governments and defense contractors came into the organization before or after Hillary Clinton approved weapons deals that involved their interests. But news reports document that at least seven foreign governments that received State Department clearance for American arms did donate to the Clinton Foundation while Hillary Clinton was serving as secretary: Algeria, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Thailand, Norway and Australia.
Sales Flowed Despite Human Rights Concerns
Under a presidential policy directive signed by President Bill Clinton in 1995, the State Department is supposed to specifically take human rights records into account when deciding whether to approve licenses enabling foreign governments to purchase military equipment and services from American companies. Despite this, Hillary Clinton’s State Department increased approvals of such sales to nations that her agency sharply criticized for systematic human rights abuses.
In its 2010 Human Rights Report, Clinton’s State Department inveighed against Algeria’s government for imposing “restrictions on freedom of assembly and association” tolerating “arbitrary killing,” “widespread corruption,” and a “lack of judicial independence.” The report said the Algerian government “used security grounds to constrain freedom of expression and movement.”
That year, the Algerian government donated $500,000 to the Clinton Foundation and its lobbyists met with the State Department officials who oversee enforcement of human rights policies. Clinton’s State Department the next year approved a one-year 70 percent increase in military export authorizations to the country. The increase included authorizations of almost 50,000 items classified as “toxicological agents, including chemical agents, biological agents and associated equipment” after the State Department did not authorize the export of any of such items to Algeria in the prior year.
During Clinton’s tenure, the State Department authorized at least $2.4 billion of direct military hardware and services sales to Algeria -- nearly triple such authorizations over the last full fiscal years during the Bush administration. The Clinton Foundation did not disclose Algeria’s donation until this year -- a violation of the ethics agreement it entered into with the Obama administration.
The monarchy in Qatar had similarly been chastised by the State Department for a raft of human rights abuses. But that country donated to the Clinton Foundation while Hillary Clinton was running the State Department. During the three full budgetary years of her tenure, Qatar saw a 14-fold increase in State Department authorizations for direct commercial sales of military equipment and services, as compared to the same time period in Bush’s second term. The department also approved the Pentagon’s separate $750 million sale of multi-mission helicopters to Qatar. That deal would additionally employ as contractors three companies that have all supported the Clinton Foundation over the years: United Technologies, Lockheed Martin and General Electric.
Clinton foundation donor countries that the State Department criticized for human rights violations and that received weapons export authorizations did not respond to IBTimes’ questions.
That group of arms manufacturers -- along with Clinton Foundation donors Boeing, Honeywell, Hawker Beechcraft and their affiliates -- were together listed as contractors in 114 such deals while Clinton was secretary of state. NBC put Chelsea Clinton on its payroll as a network correspondent in November 2011, when it was still 49 percent owned by General Electric. A spokesperson for General Electric did not respond to questions from IBTimes.
The other companies all asserted that their donations had nothing to do with the arms export deals.
“Our contributions have aligned with our longstanding philanthropic commitments,” said Honeywell spokesperson Rob Ferris.
"Even The Appearance Of A Conflict"
During her Senate confirmation proceedings in 2009, Hillary Clinton declared that she and her husband were “committed to ensuring that his work does not present a conflict of interest with the duties of Secretary of State.” She pledged “to protect against even the appearance of a conflict of interest between his work and the duties of the Secretary of State” and said that “in many, if not most cases, it is likely that the Foundation or President Clinton will not pursue an opportunity that presents a conflict.”
Even so, Bill Clinton took in speaking fees reaching $625,000 at events sponsored by entities that were dealing with Hillary Clinton’s State Department on weapons issues.
In 2011, for example, the former president was paid $175,000 by the Kuwait America Foundation to be the guest of honor and keynote speaker at its annual awards gala, which was held at the home of the Kuwaiti ambassador. Ben Affleck spoke at the event, which featured a musical performance by Grammy-award winner Michael Bolton. The gala was emceed by Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, hosts of MSNBC’s Morning Joe show. Boeing was listed as a sponsor of the event, as were the embassies of the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar -- the latter two of which had donated to the Clinton Foundation while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state.
The speaking fee from the Kuwait America Foundation to Bill Clinton was paid in the same time frame as a series of deals Hillary Clinton’s State Department was approving between the Kuwaiti government and Boeing. Months before the gala, the Department of Defense announced that Boeing would be the prime contractor on a $693 million deal, cleared by Hillary Clinton’s State Department, to provide the Kuwaiti government with military transport aircraft. A year later, a group sponsored in part by Boeing would pay Bill Clinton another $250,000 speaking fee.
“Boeing has sponsored this major travel event, the Global Business Travel Association, for several years, regardless of its invited speakers,” Gordon Johndroe, a Boeing spokesperson, told IBTimes. Johndroe said Boeing’s support for the Clinton Foundation was “a transparent act of compassion and an investment aimed at aiding the long-term interests and hopes of the Haitian people” following a devastating earthquake.
Boeing was one of three companies that helped deliver money personally to Bill Clinton while benefiting from weapons authorizations issued by Hillary Clinton’s State Department. The others were Lockheed and the financial giant Goldman Sachs.
Lockheed is a member of the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt, which paid Bill Clinton $250,000 to speak at an event in 2010. Three days before the speech, Hillary Clinton’s State Department approved two weapons export deals in which Lockheed was listed as the prime contractor. Over the course of 2010, Lockheed was a contractor on 17 Pentagon-brokered deals that won approval from the State Department. Lockheed told IBTimes that its support for the Clinton Foundation started in 2010, while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state.
“Lockheed Martin has periodically supported one individual membership in the Clinton Global Initiative since 2010,” said company spokesperson Katherine Trinidad. “Membership benefits included attendance at CGI annual meetings, where we participated in working groups focused on STEM, workforce development and advanced manufacturing.”
In April 2011, Goldman Sachs paid Bill Clinton $200,000 to speak to “approximately 250 high level clients and investors” in New York, according to State Department records obtained by Judicial Watch. Two months later, the State Department approved a $675 million foreign military sale involving Hawker Beechcraft -- a company that was then part-owned by Goldman Sachs. As part of the deal, Hawker Beechcraft would provide support to the government of Iraq to maintain a fleet of aircraft used for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. Goldman Sachs has also contributed at least $250,000 to the Clinton Foundation, according to donation records.
“There is absolutely no connection among all the points that you have raised regarding our firm,” said Andrew Williams, a spokesperson for Goldman Sachs.
Federal records show that ethics staffers at the State Department approved the payments to Bill Clinton from Goldman Sachs, and the Lockheed- and Boeing-sponsored groups without objection, even though the firms had major stakes in the agency’s weapons export decisions.
Stephen Walt, a Harvard University professor of international affairs, told IBTimes that the intertwining financial relationships between the Clintons, defense contractors and foreign governments seeking weapons approvals is “a vivid example of a very big problem -- the degree to which conflicts of interest have become endemic.”
“It has troubled me all along that the Clinton Foundation was not being more scrupulous about who it would take money from and who it wouldn’t,” he said. “American foreign policy is better served if people responsible for it are not even remotely suspected of having these conflicts of interest. When George Marshall was secretary of state, nobody was worried about whether or not he would be distracted by donations to a foundation or to himself. This wasn’t an issue. And that was probably better.”
UPDATE (7:38pm, 5/26/15): In an emailed statement, a spokeswoman for the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office told IBTimes: "Taiwan’s 2003 donation was for the fund to build the Clinton Presidential Library. This was way before Mrs. Clinton was made the U.S. Secretary of State. We have neither knowledge nor comments concerning other issues."
This story has been updated to include an additional link to a 2010 State Department press conference about the U.S.-Saudi Arabia arms deal.
Clinton, Ryan team up on anti-poverty plan
A key to the bipartisan appeal? It will help millions of poor white voters who live in GOP-held districts as well as black voters in Democratic districts.
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https://plus.google.com/111072990110109355928 Annette Greco Meisner : 10-1-16, Clintons 'Pay to Play' - Senator Richard Lugar, the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign...
10-1-16, Clintons 'Pay to Play' - Senator Richard Lugar, the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said, "The main issue related to Senator Clinton's nomination that has occupied the committee has been the review of how her service as secretary of state can be reconciled with the sweeping global activities of President Bill Clinton and the Clinton Foundation. Steve Hayes has a good report of actual events proving her mis deeds and influence peddling.
http://www.jesus-our-blessed-hope.com/blog/aiding-abedin-the-clinton-family-favor-factory
Aiding & Abedin: The Clinton family favor factory
9-5-16, Steve Hayes, Front Page Magazine [Excerpt] -- As Bill Clinton entered the final year of his presidency, his aides put together a legacy-building trip to South Asia—the first visit to the...
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https://plus.google.com/103025089161608727309 James Patterson : Diplomat Jim Patterson with September 25 Highlights of American Foreign Relations Discussing Foreign...
Diplomat Jim Patterson with September 25 Highlights of American Foreign Relations
Discussing Foreign Policy with former Indiana Senator Richard Lugar, longtime member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Patterson is a former GOP elected official in Indianapolis and a Member of the Indiana State Society.  Diplomat Jim Patterson wit...
Diplomat Jim Patterson with September 25 Highlights of American Foreign Relations
Discussing Foreign Policy with former Indiana Senator Richard Lugar, longtime member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Patterson is a former GOP elected official in Indianapolis and a Member of the Indiana State Soci...
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https://plus.google.com/102480809893025723045 Juan Carlos Hernandez Photographer : Many donors to #ClintonFoundation met with #HillaryClinton at State - AP - Big Story - 23.08.2016 WASHINGTON...
Many donors to #ClintonFoundation met with #HillaryClinton at State - AP - Big Story - 23.08.2016

WASHINGTON (AP) — More than half the people outside the government who met with Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state gave money — either personally or through companies or groups — to the Clinton Foundation. It's an extraordinary proportion indicating her possible ethics challenges if elected president. At least 85 of 154 people from private interests who met or had phone conversations scheduled with Clinton while she led the State Department donated to her family charity or pledged commitments to its international programs, according to a review of State Department calendars released so far to The Associated Press. Combined, the 85 donors contributed as much as $156 million. At least 40 donated more than $100,000 each, and 20 gave more than $1 million. Donors who were granted time with Clinton included an internationally known economist who asked for her help as the Bangladesh government pressured him to resign from a nonprofit bank he ran; a Wall Street executive who sought Clinton's help with a visa problem and Estee Lauder executives who were listed as meeting with Clinton while her department worked with the firm's corporate charity to counter gender-based violence in South Africa. The meetings between the Democratic presidential nominee and foundation donors do not appear to violate legal agreements Clinton and former president Bill Clinton signed before she joined the State Department in 2009. But the frequency of the overlaps shows the intermingling of access and donations, and fuels perceptions that giving the foundation money was a price of admission for face time with Clinton. Her calendars and emails released as recently as this week describe scores of contacts she and her top aides had with foundation donors. The AP's findings represent the first systematic effort to calculate the scope of the intersecting interests of Clinton foundation donors and people who met personally with Clinton or spoke to her by phone about their needs. The 154 did not include U.S. federal employees or foreign government representatives. Clinton met with representatives of at least 16 foreign governments that donated as much as $170 million to the Clinton charity, but they were not included in AP's calculations because such meetings would presumably have been part of her diplomatic duties. Last week, the Clinton Foundation moved to head off ethics concerns about future donations by announcing changes planned if Clinton is elected. On Monday, Bill Clinton said in a statement that if his wife were to win, he would step down from the foundation's board and stop all fundraising for it. The foundation would also accept donations only from U.S. citizens and what it described as independent philanthropies, while no longer taking gifts from foreign groups, U.S. companies or corporate charities. Clinton said the foundation would no longer hold annual meetings of its international aid program, the Clinton Global Initiative, and it would spin off its foreign-based programs to other charities. Those planned changes would not affect more than 6,000 donors who have already provided the Clinton charity with more than $2 billion in funding since its creation in 2000. "There's a lot of potential conflicts and a lot of potential problems," said Douglas White, an expert on nonprofits who previously directed Columbia University's graduate fundraising management program. "The point is, she can't just walk away from these 6,000 donors." Former senior White House ethics officials said a Clinton administration would have to take careful steps to ensure that past foundation donors would not have the same access as she allowed at the State Department. "If Secretary Clinton puts the right people in and she's tough about it and has the right procedures in place and sends a message consistent with a strong commitment to ethics, it can be done," said Norman L. Eisen, who was President Barack Obama's top ethics counsel and later worked for Clinton as ambassador to the Czech Republic. Eisen, now a governance studies fellow at the Brookings Institution, said that at a minimum, Clinton should retain the Obama administration's current ethics commitments and oversight, which include lobbying restrictions and other rules. Richard Painter, a former ethics adviser to President George W. Bush and currently a University of Minnesota law school professor, said Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton should remove themselves completely from foundation leadership roles, but he added that potential conflicts would shadow any policy decision affecting past donors. Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon did not respond to the AP's questions about Clinton transition plans regarding ethics, but said in a statement Tuesday the standard set by the Clinton Foundation's ethics restrictions was "unprecedented, even if it may never satisfy some critics." GOP Vice Presidential candidate Indiana Gov. Mike Pence said the AP analysis was evidence of "pay-to-play" politics at Clinton's State Department. He called for the foundation to be shut down and for an independent prosecutor to be appointed to investigate. Some of Clinton's most influential visitors donated millions to the Clinton Foundation and to her and her husband's political coffers. They are among scores of Clinton visitors and phone contacts in her official calendar turned over by the State Department to AP last year and in more-detailed planning schedules that so far have covered about half her four-year tenure. The AP sought Clinton's calendar and schedules three years ago, but delays led the AP to sue the State Department last year in federal court for those materials and other records. S. Daniel Abraham, whose name also was included in emails released by the State Department as part of another lawsuit, is a Clinton fundraising bundler who was listed in Clinton's planners for eight meetings with her at various times. A billionaire behind the Slim-Fast diet and founder of the Center for Middle East Peace, Abraham told the AP last year his talks with Clinton concerned Mideast issues. Big Clinton Foundation donors with no history of political giving to the Clintons also met or talked by phone with Hillary Clinton and top aides, AP's review showed. Muhammad Yunus, a Bangladeshi economist who won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for pioneering low-interest "microcredit" for poor business owners, met with Clinton three times and talked with her by phone during a period when Bangladeshi government authorities investigated his oversight of a nonprofit bank and ultimately pressured him to resign from the bank's board. Throughout the process, he pleaded for help in messages routed to Clinton, and she ordered aides to find ways to assist him. American affiliates of his nonprofit Grameen Bank had been working with the Clinton Foundation's Clinton Global Initiative programs as early as 2005, pledging millions of dollars in microloans for the poor. Grameen America, the bank's nonprofit U.S. flagship, which Yunus chairs, has given between $100,000 and $250,000 to the foundation — a figure that bank spokeswoman Becky Asch said reflects the institution's annual fees to attend CGI meetings. Another Grameen arm chaired by Yunus, Grameen Research, has donated between $25,000 and $50,000. As a U.S. senator from New York, Clinton, as well as then-Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry and two other senators in 2007 sponsored a bill to award a congressional gold medal to Yunus. He got one but not until 2010, a year after Obama awarded him a Presidential Medal of Freedom. Yunus first met with Clinton in Washington in April 2009. That was followed six months later by an announcement by USAID, the State Department's foreign aid arm, that it was partnering with the Grameen Foundation, a nonprofit charity run by Yunus, in a $162 million commitment to extend its microfinance concept abroad. USAID also began providing loans and grants to the Grameen Foundation, totaling $2.2 million over Clinton's tenure. By September 2009, Yunus began complaining to Clinton's top aides about what he perceived as poor treatment by Bangladesh's government. His bank was accused of financial mismanagement of Norwegian government aid money — a charge that Norway later dismissed as baseless. But Yunus told Melanne Verveer, a long-time Clinton aide who was an ambassador-at-large for global women's issues, that Bangladesh officials refused to meet with him and asked the State Department for help in pressing his case. "Please see if the issues of Grameen Bank can be raised in a friendly way," he asked Verveer. Yunus sent "regards to H" and cited an upcoming Clinton Global Initiative event he planned to attend. Clinton ordered an aide: "Give to EAP rep," referring the problem to the agency's top east Asia expert. Yunus continued writing to Verveer as pressure mounted on his bank. In December 2010, responding to a news report that Bangladesh's prime minister was urging an investigation of Grameen Bank, Clinton told Verveer that she wanted to discuss the matter with her East Asia expert "ASAP." Clinton called Yunus in March 2011 after the Bangladesh government opened an inquiry into his oversight of Grameen Bank. Yunus had told Verveer by email that "the situation does not allow me to leave the country." By mid-May, the Bangladesh government had forced Yunus to step down from the bank's board. Yunus sent Clinton a copy of his resignation letter. In a separate note to Verveer, Clinton wrote: "Sad indeed." Clinton met with Yunus a second time in Washington in August 2011 and again in the Bangladesh capital of Dhaka in May 2012. Clinton's arrival in Bangladesh came after Bangladesh authorities moved to seize control of Grameen Bank's effort to find new leaders. Speaking to a town hall audience, Clinton warned the Bangladesh government that "we do not want to see any action taken that would in any way undermine or interfere in the operations of the Grameen Bank." Grameen America's Asch referred other questions about Yunus to his office, but he had not responded by Tuesday. Earlier this month, State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau acknowledged that agency officials are "regularly in touch with a range of outside individuals and organizations, including nonprofits, NGOs, think tanks and others." But Trudeau said the State Department was not aware of any actions that were influenced by the Clinton Foundation. In another case, Clinton was host at a September 2009 breakfast meeting at the New York Stock Exchange that listed Blackstone Group chairman Stephen Schwarzman as one of the attendees. Schwarzman's firm is a major Clinton Foundation donor, but he personally donates heavily to GOP candidates and causes. One day after the breakfast, according to Clinton emails, the State Department was working on a visa issue at Schwarzman's request. In December that same year, Schwarzman's wife, Christine, sat at Clinton's table during the Kennedy Center Honors. Clinton also introduced Schwarzman, then chairman of the Kennedy Center, before he spoke. Blackstone donated between $250,000 and $500,000 to the Clinton Foundation. Eight Blackstone executives also gave between $375,000 and $800,000 to the foundation. And Blackstone's charitable arm has pledged millions of dollars in commitments to three Clinton Global aid projects ranging from the U.S. to the Mideast. Blackstone officials did not make Schwarzman available for comment. Clinton also met in June 2011 with Nancy Mahon of the MAC AIDS, the charitable arm of MAC Cosmetics, which is owned by Estee Lauder. The meeting occurred before an announcement about a State Department partnership to raise money to finance AIDS education and prevention. The public-private partnership was formed to fight gender-based violence in South Africa, the State Department said at the time. The MAC AIDS fund donated between $5 million and $10 million to the Clinton Foundation. In 2008, Mahon and the MAC AIDS fund made a three-year unspecified commitment to the Clinton Global Initiative. That same year, the fund partnered with two other organizations to beef up a USAID program in Malawi and Ghana. And in 2011, the fund was one of eight organizations to pledge a total of $2 million over a three-year period to help girls in southern Africa. The fund has not made a commitment to CGI since 2011. Estee Lauder executive Fabrizio Freda also met with Clinton at the same Wall Street event attended by Schwarzman. Later that month, Freda was on a list of attendees for a meeting between Clinton and a U.S.China trade group. Estee Lauder has given between $100,000 and $250,000 to the Clinton Foundation. The company made a commitment to CGI in 2013 with four other organizations to help survivors of sexual slavery in Cambodia. MAC AIDs officials did not make Mahon available to AP for comment. When Clinton appeared before the U.S. Senate in early 2009 for her confirmation hearing as secretary of state, then Sen. Richard Lugar, a Republican from Indiana, questioned her at length about the foundation and potential conflicts of interest. His concerns were focused on foreign government donations, mostly to CGI. Lugar wanted more transparency than was ultimately agreed upon between the foundation and Obama's transition team. Now, Lugar hopes Hillary and Bill Clinton make a clean break from the foundation. "The Clintons, as they approach the presidency, if they are successful, will have to work with their attorneys to make certain that rules of the road are drawn up to give confidence to them and the American public that there will not be favoritism," Lugar said.
Many donors to Clinton Foundation met with her at State
WASHINGTON (AP) — More than half the people outside the government who met with Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state gave money — either personally or through companies or groups — to the Clinton Foundation.…
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https://plus.google.com/113219970662594055776 catherine hislop : "There’s a different leader in Syria now. Many of the members of Congress of both parties who have gone...
"There’s a different leader in Syria now. Many of the members of Congress of both parties who have gone to Syria in recent months have said they believe he’s a reformer."
~ Hillary Clinton on tyrannical maniac Bashar Assad

In the years before Hillary Clinton became secretary of state, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia contributed at least $10 million to the Clinton Foundation, the philanthropic enterprise she has overseen with her husband, former president Bill Clinton. Just two months before the deal was finalized, Boeing #WarMonger the defense contractor that manufactures one of the fighter jets the Saudis were especially keen to acquire, the F-15 contributed $900,000 to the Clinton Foundation, according to a company press release.

The #Saudi deal was one of dozens of arms sales approved by Hillary Clinton’s State Department that placed weapons in the hands of governments that had also donated money to the Clinton family philanthropic Empire an International Business Times investigation has found.

Under Clinton's leadership, the State Department approved $165 billion worth of commercial arms sales to 20 nations whose governments have given money to the Clinton Foundation, according to an analysis of State Department and foundation data. That figure derived from the three full fiscal years of Clinton’s term as Secretary of State (from October 2010 to September 2012) represented nearly double the value of #America arms sales made to the those countries and approved by the State Department during the same period of President George W. Bush’s second term.

The Clinton-led State Department also authorized $151 billion of separate Pentagon-brokered deals for 16 of the countries that donated to the Clinton Foundation, resulting in a 143 percent increase in completed #WeaponSales to those nations over the same time frame during the Bush administration. These extra sales were part of a broad increase in American #military exports that accompanied Obama’s arrival in the White House. The 143 percent increase in U.S. #ArmsSales to Clinton Foundation donors compares to an 80 percent increase in such sales to all countries over the same time period.

American defense contractors also donated to the Clinton Foundation while #HillaryClinton was secretary of state and in some cases made personal #payments to Bill Clinton for speaking engagements. Such firms and their subsidiaries were listed as contractors in $163 billion worth of Pentagon-negotiated deals that were authorized by the Clinton State Department between 2009 and 2012.

The State Department formally approved these arms sales even as many of the deals enhanced the military power of countries ruled by authoritarian regimes whose human rights abuses had been criticized by the department. Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United #Arabs Emirates, Oman and Qatar all donated to the Clinton Foundation and also gained State Department clearance to buy caches of American-made weapons even as the department singled them out for a range of alleged ills, from corruption to restrictions on civil liberties to violent crackdowns against political opponents.  

As secretary of state, Hillary Clinton also accused some of these countries of failing to marshal a serious and sustained campaign to confront terrorism. In a December 2009 State Department cable published by Wikileaks, Clinton complained of “an ongoing challenge to persuade Saudi officials to treat terrorist financing emanating from Saudi Arabia as a strategic priority.” She declared that “Qatar's overall level of CT cooperation with the U.S. is considered the worst in the region.” She said the Kuwaiti government was “less inclined to take action against Kuwait-based financiers and facilitators plotting attacks.” She noted that “UAE-based donors have provided financial support to a variety of #Terrorist groups.” All of these countries donated to the Clinton Foundation and received increased weapons export authorizations from the Clinton-run State Department.

In all, governments and #WarDogs corporations involved in the arms deals approved by Clinton’s State Department have delivered between $54 million and $141 million to the Clinton Foundation as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments to the Clinton family, according to foundation and State Department records. The Clinton Foundation publishes only a rough range of individual contributors’ donations, making a more precise accounting impossible.

Winning Friends, Influencing Clintons

Under federal law, foreign governments seeking State Department clearance to buy American-made arms are barred from making campaign contributions a prohibition aimed at preventing foreign interests from using cash to influence national security policy. But nothing prevents them from contributing to a philanthropic foundation controlled by policymakers.

Just before Hillary Clinton became Secretary of State, the Clinton Foundation signed an agreement generally obligating it to disclose to the State Department increases in contributions from its existing #ForeignPolicy #Government donors and any new foreign government donors. Those increases were to be reviewed by an official at the State Department and “as appropriate” the White House counsel’s office. According to available disclosures, officials at the State Department and White House raised no issues about potential conflicts related to #Islam #ClintonCrimes

arms sales.

During Hillary Clinton’s 2009 Senate confirmation hearings, Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., urged the #ClintonFoundation to “forswear” accepting contributions from governments abroad. “Foreign governments and entities may perceive the Clinton Foundation as a means to gain favor with the secretary of state,” he said. The Clintons did not take Lugar’s advice. In light of the weapons deals flowing to Clinton Foundation donors, advocates for limits on the influence of money on government action now argue that Lugar was prescient in his concerns.

“The word was out to these groups that one of the best ways to gain access and influence with the Clintons was to give to this foundation,” said Meredith McGehee, policy director at the Campaign Legal Center, an advocacy group that seeks to tighten campaign finance disclosure rules. “This shows why having public officials, or even spouses of public officials, connected with these nonprofits is problematic.”

Hillary Clinton’s willingness to allow those with business before the State Department to finance her foundation heightens concerns about how she would manage such relationships as president, said Lawrence Lessig, the director of Harvard University’s Safra Center for Ethics.

“These continuing revelations raise a fundamental question of judgment, Can it really be that the Clintons didn't recognize the questions these transactions would raise? And if they did, what does that say about their sense of the appropriate relationship between private gain and public good?”

National security experts assert that the overlap between the list of Clinton Foundation donors and those with business before the the State Department presents a troubling conflict of interest.

While governments and defense contractors may not have made donations to the Clinton Foundation exclusively to influence arms deals, they were clearly “looking to build up deposits in the 'favor bank' and to be well thought of,” said Gregory Suchan, a 34-year State Department veteran who helped lead the agency’s oversight of arms transfers under the Bush administration.

As #Hillary Clinton presses a campaign for the presidency, she has confronted sustained scrutiny into her family’s personal and philanthropic dealings, along with questions about whether their private business interests have colored her exercise of public authority. As IBTimes previously reported, Clinton switched from opposing an American free trade agreement with Colombia to supporting it after a Canadian energy and mining magnate with interests in that South American country contributed to the Clinton Foundation. IBTimes’ review of the Clintons’ annual financial disclosures also revealed that 13 companies lobbying the State Department paid Bill Clinton $2.5 million in speaking fees while Hillary Clinton headed the agency.

Questions about the nexus of arms sales and Clinton Foundation donors stem from the State Department’s role in reviewing the export of American-made weapons. The agency is charged with both licensing direct commercial sales by U.S. defense contractors to foreign governments and also approving Pentagon-brokered sales to those governments. Those powers are enshrined in a federal law that specifically designates the secretary of state as “responsible for the continuous supervision and general direction of sales” of arms, military hardware and services to foreign countries. In that role, Hillary Clinton was empowered to approve or reject deals for a broad range of reasons, from national security considerations to human rights concerns.

The State Department does not disclose which individual companies are involved in direct commercial sales, but its disclosure documents reveal that countries that donated to the Clinton Foundation saw a combined $75 billion increase in authorized commercial military sales under the three full fiscal years Clinton served, as compared to the first three full fiscal years of Bush’s second term.

The Clinton Foundation has not released an exact timetable of its donations, making it impossible to know whether money from foreign governments and defense contractors came into the organization before or after Hillary Clinton approved weapons deals that involved their interests. But #news #reports document that at least seven foreign governments that received State Department clearance for American arms did donate to the Clinton Foundation while Hillary Clinton was serving as secretary: Algeria, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Thailand, Norway and Australia.

#Sales Flowed Despite Human Rights Concerns

Under a presidential policy directive signed by President Bill Clinton in 1995, the State Department is supposed to specifically take human rights records into account when deciding whether to approve licenses enabling foreign governments to purchase military equipment and services from American companies. Despite this, Hillary Clinton’s State Department increased approvals of such sales to nations that her agency sharply criticized for systematic human rights abuses.

In its 2010 Human Rights Report, Clinton’s State Department inveighed against Algeria’s government for imposing “restrictions on freedom of assembly and association” tolerating “arbitrary killing,” “widespread corruption,” and a “lack of judicial independence.” The report said the Algerian government “used security grounds to constrain freedom of expression and movement.”

That year, the Algerian government donated $500,000 to the Clinton Foundation and its lobbyists met with the State Department officials who oversee enforcement of human rights policies. Clinton’s State Department the next year approved a one-year 70 percent increase in military export authorizations to the country. The increase included authorizations of almost 50,000 items classified as “toxicological agents, including chemical agents, biological agents and associated equipment” after the State Department did not authorize the export of any of such items to Algeria in the prior year.

During Clinton’s tenure, the State Department authorized at least $2.4 billion of direct military hardware and services sales to Algeria nearly triple such authorizations over the last full fiscal years during the Bush administration. The Clinton Foundation did not disclose Algeria’s donation until this year a violation of the ethics agreement it entered into with the Obama administration.

The #Monarchy in Qatar had similarly been chastised by the State Department for a raft of human rights abuses. But that country donated to the Clinton Foundation while Hillary Clinton was running the State Department. During the three full budgetary years of her tenure, Qatar saw a 14-fold increase in #State Department authorizations for direct commercial sales of military equipment and services, as compared to the same time period in Bush’s second term. The department also approvedthe Pentagon’s separate $750 million sale of multi-mission helicopters to Qatar. That deal would additionally employ as contractors three companies that have all supported the Clinton Foundation over the years: #United Technologies, Lockheed Martin and General Electric.

#GiveWarAChance #WarIsPeace #Democrats 
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https://plus.google.com/111478095437303229382 Quoteallthethings : We must perfect a worldwide system of accountability for nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. ~...
We must perfect a worldwide system of accountability for nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. ~Richard Lugar #RichardLugar #quote #quotes #openquotes #aphorism #citation #quotation
Richard Lugar Quotes - OpenQuotes

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