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For The Record  

FTR #468 Through a Glass Darkly-A Look at the 2004 Elections

Recorded July 11, 2004
MP3 Side 1 | Side 2

Examining a number of unsavory possibilities relating to the upcoming election, the program begins by taking a look at the untimely death of Athan Gibbs, a critic of electronic voting who developed a viable alternative to the unverifiable technologies being advanced by allies of the Bush administration. A major topic of speculation vis a vis the election concerns the theory that the Bush administration might try to produce Osama bin Laden before the election. In that regard, the broadcast sets forth pressure by the administration on Pakistan to produce the capture of a major Al Qaeda figure before election—around the time of the Democratic convention if possible. Next, the program sets forth a number of articles indicating that Ralph Nader may very well be working as a conscious stalking-horse for the Republicans—his disclaimers to the contrary notwithstanding. Next the program examines the fractious Al Sharpton, whose abortive candidacy for president was managed by Roger Stone—who led the Florida GOP mob that forced the halt of the Miami-Dade vote recount in 2000. The program concludes on an emphatically speculative note—discussion of the possibility that an earthquake in California might drastically affect the electoral process. The program reviews the fact that man-made earthquakes are a reality—the US and the former Soviet Union had a treaty on such matters on the books by the mid-1970’s. (For more information on this subject, see FTR#69.)

Program Highlights Include: Ralph Nader’s professional association with Rupert Murdoch—who is publishing and flogging Nader’s latest book; GOP financing of Nader’s campaign; Nader’s history of treachery toward former professional associates; Al Sharpton’s history of working for the Republicans and against the Democrats; two recent forecasts of possible earthquakes in California for later this year; Arnold Schwarzenegger’s recent sacking of the Democrat who was in charge of the California National Guard (who was replaced by a Republican); review of the influence of Machiavelli’s The Prince on the current administration; Machiavelli’s advice about the need to destroy a population that is seeking to regain its democratic heritage.

1. In FTR#466, we examined the subject of computerized voting and the potential pitfalls that the technology holds for democracy. This broadcast begins by highlighting the death of Athan Gibbs, a critic of computer voting machines that do not provide a paper trail. Gibbs, who had developed a technology that assured a viable accounting of votes, was killed in a car/truck collision in Texas. “The subject line on yesterday’s e-mail read: ‘Another mysterious accident solves a Bush problem. Athan Gibbs dead, Diebold lives.’ The attached news story briefly described the untimely Friday, March 12th death of perhaps America’s most influential advocate of a verified voting paper trail in the era of touch screen computer voting. Gibbs, an accountant for more than 30 years and the inventor of the Tru Vote system, died when his vehicle collided with an 18-wheeled truck which rolled his Chevy Blazer several times and forced it over the highway retaining wall where it came to rest on its roof. . . .”
(“Mysterious Death Benefits Bush” by Bob Fitrakis; Coastal Post; 4/2004; p. 1.)

2. ” . . . Gibbs’ death bears heightened scrutiny because of the way he lived his life after the 2000 Florida election debacle. I interviewed Athan Gibbs in January of this year. ‘I’ve been an accountant, an auditor, for more than thirty years. Electronic voting machines that don’t supply a paper trail go against every principle of accounting and auditing that’s being taught in American business schools,’ he insisted. ‘These machines are set up to provide paper trails. No business in America would buy a machine that didn’t provide a paper trail to audit and verify its transaction. Now, they want the people to purchase machines that you can’t audit? It’s absurd.'” (Idem.)

3. “Gibbs was in Columbus, Ohio proudly displaying his TruVote machine that offered a ‘VVPAT, that’s a voter verified paper audit trail’ he noted. Gibbs also suggested that I look into the ‘people behind the other machines.’ He offered that ‘Diebold and ES&S are real interesting and all Republicans. If you’re an investigative reporter go ahead and investigate. You’ll find some interesting material.'” (Idem.)

4. “Gibbs’ TruVote machine is a marvel. After voters touch the screen, a paper ballot prints out under plexiglass and once the voter compares it to his actual vote and approves it, the ballot drops into a lockbox and is issued a numbered receipt. The voter’s receipt allows the tracking of his particular vote to make sure that it was transferred from the polling place to the election tabulation center.” (Ibid.; p. 2.)

5. “My encounter with Gibbs led to a cover story in the Columbus Free Press March-April issue, entitled, ‘Diebold, electronic voting and the vast right-wing conspiracy.’ The thesis I advanced in the Free Press article is that some of the same right-wing individuals who backed the CIA’s covert actions and overthrowing of democratic elections in the Third World in the 1980’s are now involved in privatized touch screen voting. Additionally I co-wrote an article with Harvey Wasserman that was posted at MotherJones.com on March 5, 2004. Both articles outlined ties between far right elements of the Republican Party and Diebold and ES&S, which count the majority of the nation’s electronic votes.” (Idem.)

6. “As I wrote in the Free Press article, ‘Proponents of a paper trail were emboldened when Athan Gibbs, President and CEO of TruVote International, demonstrated a voting machine at a vendor’s fair in Columbus that provides two separate voting receipts.’ In an interview on WVKO radio, Gibbs calmly and methodically explained the dangers of ‘block box’ touch screen voting. ‘It absolutely makes no sense to buy electronic voting machines that can’t produce a paper trail. Inevitably, computers mess up. How are you going to have a recount, or correct malfunctions without a paper trail?'” (Idem.)

7. “Now, the man asking the obvious question, and demonstrating an obvious tangible solution is dead in another tragic accident, a week after both articles were in circulation. When I called TruVote International to Verify Gibbs’ death, I reached Chief Financial Officer Adrenne [sic] Brandon who assured me ‘We’re going on in his memory. We’re going to make this happen.’ Every American concerned with democracy should pledge to make this happen. To beat back the rush for state governments to purchase privatized, partisan and unreliable electronic voting machines without verified paper trails. Gibbs’ last words to me were ‘How do you explain what happened to Senator Max Cleland in Georgia. How do you explain that? The Maryland study and the Johns Hopkins scientists have warned us against ‘blind faith voting.’ These systems can be hacked into. They found patches in Georgia and the people servicing the machine had entered the machines during the voting process. How can we the people accept this? No more blind faith voting.'” (Idem.)

8. A major topic of speculation vis a vis the election concerns the theory that the Bush administration might try to produce Osama bin Laden before the election. In that regard, the broadcast sets forth pressure by the administration on Pakistan to produce the capture of a major Al Qaeda figure before election—around the time of the Democratic convention if possible. ” . . . This spring, the administration significantly increased its pressure on Pakistan to kill or capture Osama bin Laden, his deputy, Ayman Al Zawahiri, or the Taliban’s Mullah Mohammed Omar, all of whom are believed to be hiding in the lawless tribal areas of Pakistan. A succession of high-level American officials—from outgoing CIA Director George Tenet to Secretary of State Colin Powell to Assistant Secretary of State Christina Rocca to State Department counterterrorism chief Cofer Black to a top CIA South Asia official—have visited Pakistan in recent months to urge General Pervez Musharraf’s government to do more in the war on terrorism. In April, Zalmay Khalilzad, the American ambassador to Afghanistan, publicly chided the Pakistanis for providing a ‘sanctuary’ for Al Qaeda and Taliban forces crossing the Afghan border. ‘The problem has not been solved and needs to be solved, the sooner the better,’ he said.”
(“Pakistan for Bush: July Surprise?” by John B. Judis, Spencer Ackerman & Massoud Ansari; The New Republic (Online); 7/19/2004; p. 1.)

9. “This public pressure would be appropriate, even laudable, had it not been accompanied by an unseemly private insistence that the Pakistanis deliver these high-value targets (HVTs) before Americans go to the polls in November. The Bush administration denies it has geared the war on terrorism to the electoral calendar. ‘Our attitude and actions have been the same since September 11 in terms of getting high-value targets off the street, and that doesn’t change because of an election,’ says National Security Council spokesman Sean McCormack. But the New Republic has learned that Pakistani security officials have been told they must produce HVTs by the election. According to one source in Pakistan’s powerful Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), ‘The Pakistani government is really desperate and wants to flush out bin Laden and his associates after the latest pressures from the U.S. administration to deliver before the [upcoming] U.S. elections.’ Introducing target dates for Al Qaeda captures is a new twist in U.S.-Pakistani counterterrorism relations—according to a recently departed intelligence official, ‘no timetable[s]’ were discussed in 2002 or 2003—but the November election is apparently bringing a new deadline pressure to the hunt. Another official, this one from the Pakistani Interior Ministry, which is responsible for internal security, explains, ‘The Musharraf government has a history of rescuing the Bush administration. They now want Musharraf to bail them out when they are facing hard times in the coming elections.’ (These sources insisted on remaining anonymous. Under Pakistan’s Official Secrets Act, an official leaking information to the press can be imprisoned for up to ten years.)” (Ibid.; pp. 1-2.)

10. “A third source, an official who works under ISI’s director, Lieutenant General Ehsan ul-Haq, informed TNR that the Pakistanis ‘have been told at every level that apprehension or killing of HVTs before [the] election is [an] absolute must.’ What’s more, this source claims that Bush administration’s officials have told their Pakistani counterparts they have a date in mind for announcing this achievement: ‘The last ten days of July deadline has been given repeatedly by visitors to Islamabad and during [ul-Haq’s] meetings in Washington.’ Says McCormack: ‘I’m aware of no such comment.’ But according to this ISI official, a White House aide told ul-Haq last spring that ‘it would be best if the arrest or killing of [any] HVT were announced on twenty-six, twenty-seven, or twenty-eight July’—the first three days of the Democratic National Convention in Boston. . . .” (Ibid.; p. 2.)

11. ” . . . Pakistani perceptions of U.S. politics reinforce these worries. ‘In Pakistan, there has been a folk belief that, whenever there’s a Republican administration in office, relations with Pakistan have been very good,’ says Khalid Hasan, a U.S. correspondent for the Lahore-based Daily Times. By contrast, there’s also a ‘folk belief that the Democrats are always pro-India.’ Recent history has validated those beliefs. The Clinton administration inherited close ties to Pakistan, forged a decade earlier in collaboration against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. But, by the time Clinton left office, the United States had tilted toward India, and Pakistan was under U.S. sanctions for its nuclear activities. All this has given Musharraf reason not just to respond to pressure from Bush, but to feel invested in him—and to worry that Kerry, who called the Khan affair a ‘disaster,’ and who has proposed tough new curbs on nuclear proliferation, would adopt an icier line. Bush’s strategy could work. In large part because of the increased U.S. pressure, Musharraf has, over the last several months, significantly increased military activity in the tribal areas—regions that enjoy considerable autonomy from Islamabad and where, until Musharraf sided with the United States in the war on terrorism, Pakistani soldiers had never set foot in the nation’s 50-year history. . . .” (Ibid.; pp. 3-4)

12. Much of the program deals with Ralph Nader’s 2004 presidential campaign, which many see as an attempt at delivering the presidency to George Bush. (For information about Nader’s 2000 campaign, see FTR#264.) In his 2004 bid, Nader has been claiming that his candidacy will take more votes from Bush than from Kerry. A recent Salon.com article skewers that claim: “Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader—still not on the ballot in a single slate—has received a recent windfall of contributions from deep-pocketed Republicans with a history of big contributions to the party, an analysis of federal records show. Nearly one in 10 of Nader’s major donors—those writing checks of $1,000 or more—have given in recent months to the Bush-Cheney campaign, the latest documents show. GOP fund-raisers also have ‘bundled’ contributions—gathering hefty donations for maximum effect to help Nader, who has criticized the practice in the past. The donations from wealthy Republicans—combined with increasingly vocal Democratic charges that they represent a stealth GOP effort to wound Democrat John Kerry-prompted Nader’s vice presidential running mate, Green Party member Peter Camejo, to suggest the consumer advocate reject the money that doesn’t come from loyal Nader voters. . . .”
(“GOP Donors Funding Nader” by Carla Marinucci; San Francisco Chronicle; 7/9/2004; p. A1.)

13. Nader’s selection of a prominent Green Party personality as a running-mate belies Nader’s stated objective of taking votes away from Bush. “Ralph Nader’s latest presidential campaign does not have an official slogan. It does, however, have a kind of official rationalization. ‘I think I’m going to take more votes away from Republicans than from Democrats,’ Nader says, almost every time he speaks. Democrats doubt this theory. And Nader admits no Republicans have asked him to leave the race or expressed fear he will siphon votes from Bush. ‘I don’t think they’re in with the trend,’ Nader
(“Nader’s Republican Pipe Dream” by Peter Dizikes; Salon.com; 6/10/2004; p. 1.)

14. “But Nader insists his Republican backers are real. To find out more, I spent a good chunk of time over the last few weeks talking to Nader supporters in New England. I attended Nader meetups, Nader volunteer meetings, Nader campaign events and Nader press conferences. I spoke with Nader supporters who are still in high school, and Nader supporters with gray hair. I talked to people who have admired Nader since the 1960’s, and others who first heard of him last year. I found Nader supporters who have voted for him multiple times, Nader supporters who have never voted, and Nader supporters who voted for Al Gore in 2000.” (Idem.)

15. “What I did not find, however, was a single supporter of Ralph Nader who voted for George W. Bush in 2000, or who had been planning to support Bush this year before Nader entered the race. After a while, I felt like a stymied naturalist stalking a rare species. Sure, Naderus Republicanus must exist somewhere, but it is an unusual creature, capable of eluding human observation for long stretches of time. . . .” (Idem.)

16. Yet another Salon.com article highlights Nader’s professional relationship with Rupert Murdoch. Murdoch is both publishing and flogging Nader’s newest book, raising the possibility that the right-wing Murdoch, whose media empire is an emphatic backer of George Bush, may be deliberately promoting Nader’s electoral fortunes. ” . . . Another good question [former Democratic contender Howard] Dean might ask Nader, critic of corporate-controlled Washington and foe of rampant media consolidation, is why Nader’s new book, which arrived in stores this week and kicks off his presidential campaign, is being published by Rupert Murdoch. Chairman of the expansive conglomerate News Corp., the conservative Murdoch has been a chief advocate for more than two decades of extensive media deregulation. And his HarperCollins is not only publishing Nader’s The Good Fight: Declare Your Independence and close the Democracy Gap’ but providing the candidate with expensive public relations promotion and media bookings. ‘Is this a coincidence, or a backhanded way of helping Nader out?’ asks Chellie Pingree, president of Common Cause. . . .”
(“Strange Alliance” by Eric Boehlert; Salon.com; 7/9/2004; pp. 1-2.)

17. ” . . . But Murdoch’s publication of Nader’s book fits in with an emerging pattern of political activities. Recent news reports indicate Republican groups nationwide are actively aiding Nader’s effort to secure space on election ballots in the hope that he will hurt John Kerry’s chances . . . Against that backdrop, Nader’s alliance with the publishing arm of Murdoch, who has been a lavish supporter of Republican candidates and uses his media outlets—including Fox News, the New York Post and the Weekly Standard—to advance Republican causes and his own business interests, raises questions about the media mogul’s intentions. . . .” (Ibid.; p. 2.)

18. Next, the program examines charges by former associates of Nader’s that he repaid their loyalty and friendship with treachery. According to the family of former Nader aide Ted Jacobs, Nader provided disinformation about Jacobs to the FBI—thereby permanently damaging Jacobs’ career. ” . . . While Nader continues to campaign against corporate abuse, his own record, according to many of those who have worked closely with him, is characterized by arrogance, underhanded attacks on friends and associates, secrecy, paranoia and mean-spiritedness—even at the expense of his own causes. If he were a corporate CEO, subject to the laws governing publicly held and federally regulated firms, there can be little doubt he would have been removed long ago by his company’s board of directors. . . .”
(“The Dark Side of Ralph Nader” by Lisa Chamberlain; Salon.com; 7/1/2004; p. 2.)

19. ” . . . Ted Jacobs met Nader when they were both freshmen at Princeton and then attended Harvard Law School together. Later, as an attorney in private practice, Ted provided personal and professional legal assistance to his old college friend after he was catapulted to national prominence over the issue of automobile safety with the publication of ‘Unsafe at Any Speed.’ Ted became, in effect, Nader’s chief of staff And from 1970 to 1975, Ted was executive director of the Center of Responsive Law, the first organization Nader founded.” (Idem.)

20. “The two men’s ugly and painful falling out—in which Nader trashed Jacobs to the FBI when Jacobs was up for a federal job and Jacobs retaliated with an explosive affidavit alleging financial and legal improprieties by Nader—was the first of many destructive breaches between Nader and onetime allies. The story hasn’t been told before, but the Jacobs family recently made private papers available to Salon that document the sad split. ‘My dad kept everything,’ said Jacobs. ‘He had boxes of papers in our basement. They pretty much sat there until Nader announced that he was going to run again, and I decided to go through them.’ Nick was shocked by his discovery of this dark chapter in his father’s otherwise enemy-free life.” (Idem.)

21. “In various articles from the early 1970’s, Ted Jacobs was described as ‘Nader’s closest friend and advisor’ and the person who stood ‘between Nader and the world, absorbing the fury of the attacked, offering solace to the ignored, always speaking the absolute truth within the limits of what he believes Nader would wish him to reveal.’ But, according to the private papers shared with Salon, he informed Nader sometime in 1974 that he planned to leave the Center for the Study of Responsive Law but would first finish several projects.” (Idem.)

22. “On March 8, 1975, Jacobs arrived at the office to find the contents of two large file cabinets missing (including his personal diaries and documents relating to ‘financial matters’) and his desk drawers ransacked. Nader arrived at the office a short while later to tell him he had ordered the files removed. In a state of near shock, Jacobs tendered his resignation and demanded to know what was going on. According to contemporaneous notes written by Jacobs, Nader said he had confiscated the files because a year earlier, Jacobs had signed checks for magazine subscriptions without Nader’s permission. Nader also accused Jacobs of writing a check to himself for about $75 for expenses. Dismayed and shaken, Jacobs searched for a new job.” (Idem.)

23. “He was being seriously considered for a position as a staff member on the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, which required a routine background check conducted by the FBI (which collects raw data on individuals but does not seek to confirm it). While waiting to hear about the job, Jacobs was told that questions had been raised about his character, honesty and trustworthiness. He subsequently learned that the source of the innuendoes was Nader. According to Jacobs’ son Nick, to find out why he was denied a security clearance, Jacobs asked for and received a list of the people the FBI had interviewed and what they had said. He told the agency the accusations were untrue.” (Ibid.; pp. 2-3.)

24. “Nick says he has repeatedly asked the FBI for access to his father’s FBI file, but although the agency has said the file is OK to release, he has so far not received it. On Aug. 7, 1975, Jacobs wrote
his former friend a letter expressing his distress: ‘I thought that we had settled after our long talk in April . . . If I misunderstood you that day, it was surely the most costly misunderstanding in the 24 years I’ve known you. I was prepared to let you go your way in the hope that you would let me go mine and I was feeling very kindly disposed to you. That was until I learned of your statement to the FBI. The impact of that statement was as if I had been kicked in the stomach . . . We must have some sort of resolution to undo the damage done by your statements. As the record now stands, it will be an impediment for the rest of my life.'” (Ibid.; p. 3.)

25. ” . . . According to a statement Jacobs wrote after he was dismissed, Nader told the FBI that Jacobs was fired for skimming money from the Center for the Study of Responsive Law and other irregularities. In the affidavit that Jacobs drafted in the hope of clearing his name with the FBI, he wrote: ‘I was the only person Mr. Nader trusted with his extensive and complicated financial dealings . . . I regularly signed his name to leases, correspondence, contracts, tax returns, reports to government agencies and bank and stock brokerage accounts. Mr. Nader was aware of the fact that I regularly signed his name to these documents and would often specifically request we do so because he did not want his real signature widely known. . . . The fact is that I did sign the checks which were in accord with regular practice of payment of legitimate office expenses.'” (Idem.)

26. Jacobs responded with an affidavit alleging highly questionable activities on Nader’s part. “In the affidavit, Jacobs indicated that the reason he decided to leave Nader’s employ was his growing concern about the way Nader handled his personal and professional finances. Jacobs outlined in some detail what he characterized as questionable practices regarding taxes, bookkeeping, investments and stock transactions. He wrote, ‘Although Mr. Nader was earning approximately $500,000 per year in personal income, he paid little or no taxes since he deducted various expenses of his operations as ‘business expenses’ or he made contributions to ‘charitable organizations’ controlled by him.’ Jacobs continued, ‘He also engaged in what I viewed to be questionable end of year tax juggling, often pre-dating or post-dating checks to get a deduction in a particular year. He would often pad travel expenses and double-bill for travel expenses when he had two engagements in a particular out-of-town city.'” (Idem.)

27. “The former associate also charged that Nader’s nonprofit enterprises were run with very little oversight by their boards: ‘No independent outside audits were made of any of the Nader organizations until various states required Public Citizen statements.’ Jacobs also wrote in the affidavit that Nader was ‘inordinately harsh in his dealings with his employees and others. Although he had amassed a reserve of over $2 million in various foundations, organizations and in his personal brokerage account, he paid extremely low wages and often refused to pay employees and others for work done.'” (Idem.)

28. ” . . . But the damage was done. The highly qualified Jacobs didn’t get the job with the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, or any other position that required a security clearance. . . .” (Ibid.; p. 4.)

29. Another former ally to suffer serious political damage at Nader’s hands is former Democratic Congressman Toby Moffett [D-Conn.] ” . . . Like Nader, [former Democratic Congressman Toby] Moffett grew up in Connecticut. Their fathers, both Lebanese immigrants, were good friends. When Moffett finished graduate school, his father urged him to get in touch with Nader, who was already a national icon. To Moffett’s surprise, not only did Nader take his call, but he asked him to return to Connecticut and start an organization that would later become the model for Citizen Action groups around the country. ‘I saw a lot Ralph because he would come back to visit his parents [in Connecticut]. I would and stay and eat with the family. To me, he was a gigantic hero.'” (Ibid.; p. 5.)

30. “After working closely with the old family friend, Moffett ran for Congress from Connecticut in 1974 and won. ‘Three months after I was elected, [Nader] attacked me,’ says Moffett. ‘So our relationship began to sour pretty quickly.’ According to Moffett, Nader launched the first of numerous attacks against him over an aircraft noise reduction bill. While the bill stipulated that noise reduction measures would be funded mostly by the airlines, they were also to be subsidized by a tax on airplane travelers—not the general public—which Nader dismissed as a corporate handout. Moffett, along with nearly every environmental group, supported the bill. ‘It was an important piece of legislation that was supported by a coalition of progressive members of Congress, and it passed. Of course, now the Bush administration is tearing it apart.'” (Idem.)

31. “Nader continued to criticize Moffett during his four terms in Congress, which was disturbing enough, but as with Al Gore, Nader would eventually play a crucial part in ending Moffett’s career in elective office. After a fourth term in the House, Moffett ran for the Senate against Lowell Weicker, a Republican, in 1982. ‘My opponent was running these ads attacking me; the [National Rifle Association] was hammering me from the right,’ says Moffett. ‘And then Ralph Nader came up [to Connecticut] and endorsed him. I lost by a very slim margin. My family and I, and my supporters, we just had this blind rage and fury about it. So what he did in 2000 was no shock to me. And what he’s doing now is no shock. It’s always been about him and his ego.'” (Idem.)

32. The program underscores Nader’s duplicity during the 2000 campaign. ” . . . In 2000, again with the Green Party, he ran a full-fledged campaign, raising and spending money to get on the ballot in all 50 states. He drew huge crowds at places like Madison Square Garden in New York and Key Arena in Seattle. While he assured Democrats that he wouldn’t campaign late in the election season in key battleground states, he reneged on that promise, zeroing in on Florida, Oregon and New Hampshire in the last few weeks before the election. . . .” (Ibid.; p. 7.)

33. Continuing an examination of wolves in sheep’s clothing, the broadcast examines strange bedfellows Roger Stone and Democratic presidential contender Al Sharpton. “Roger Stone, the longtime Republican dirty-tricks operative who led the mob that shut down the Miami-Dade County recount and helped make George W. Bush president in 2000, is financing, staffing, and orchestrating the presidential campaign of Reverend Al Sharpton.”
(“Sleeping with the GOP” by Wayne Barrett; The Village Voice; 2/5/2004; p. 1.)

34. “Though Stone and Sharpton have tried to reduce their alliance to a curiosity, suggesting that all they do is talk occasionally, a Voice investigation has documented an extraordinary array of connections. Stone played a pivotal role in putting together Sharpton’s pending application for federal matching funds, getting dollars in critical states from family members and political allies at odds with everything Sharpton represents. He’s also helped stack the campaign with a half-dozen incongruous top aides who’ve worked for him in prior campaigns. He’s even boasted about engineering six-figure loans to Sharpton’s National Action Network (NAN) and allowing Sharpton to use his credit card to cover thousands in NAN costs—neither of which he could legally do for the campaign. In a wide-ranging Voice interview Sunday, Stone confirmed his matching-fund and staffing roles, but refused to comment on the NAN subsidies. . . .” (Idem.)

35. ” . . . Recruited in 2000 by his friend James Baker, the former secretary of state, to spearhead the GOP street forces in Miami, Stone is apparently confident that he can use the Democrat-bashing preacher to damage the party’s eventual nominee, just as Sharpton himself bragged he did in the New York mayoral campaign of 2001. In his 2002 book, Al on America, Sharpton wrote that he felt the city’s Democratic Party ‘had to be taught a lesson’ in 2001—insisting that Mark Green, who defeated the Sharpton-backed Fernando Ferrer in a bitter runoff, had disrespected him and minorities. Adding that the party ‘still has to be taught one nationally,’ he warned: ‘A lot of 2004 will be about what happened in New York in 2001. It’s about dignity.’ In 2001, Sharpton engaged in a behind-the-scenes dialogue with campaign aides to Republican Mike Bloomberg while publicly disparaging Green. . . .” (Ibid.; p. 2.)

36. ” . . . While Bush forces like the Club for Growth were buying ads in Iowa assailing then front-runner Howard Dean, Sharpton took center stage at a debate confronting Dean about the absence of blacks in his Vermont cabinet. Stone told the Times that he ‘helped set the tone and direction’ of the Dean attacks, while Charles Halloran, the Sharpton campaign manager installed by Stone, supplied the research. While other Democratic opponents were also attacking Dean, none did it on the advice of a consultant who’s worked in every GOP presidential campaign since his involvement in the Watergate scandals of 1972, including all of the Bush family campaigns. Asked if he’d every been involved in a Democratic campaign before, Stone cited his 1981 support of Ed Koch, though he was quoted at the time as saying he only did it because Koch was also given the Republican ballot line.” (Idem.)

37. “Just as Stone has a history of political skullduggery, Sharpton has a little-noticed history of Republican machinations inconsistent with his fiery rhetoric. He endorsed Al D’Amato in 1986, appeared with George Pataki two days before his 1994 race against Mario Cuomo, invited Ralph Nader to his headquarters on the eve of the 2000 vote, befriended Bill Powers when he was the state GOP chair, and debuted as a preacher in the church of a black minister who was also a Brooklyn Republican district leader. The current co-chair of his presidential campaign gave as much to Bush-Cheney as he did to Sharpton, and many of the black businessmen supporting this campaign or NAN have strong GOP ties. His conduit in the Bloomberg campaign, Harold Doley III, was the son of the first black with a seat on Wall Street. A major NAN backer over the years, Doley Jr. was appointed to positions in five Republican administrations, including Bush’s.” (Ibid.; pp. 2-3.)

38. “Stone, whose Miami mob even jostled a visiting Sharpton during the recount, said recently in The American Spectator that if Sharpton were to run ‘as an independent’ in the 2006 Hillary Clinton race, she would be ‘sunk,’ implicitly suggesting that this operation may be a precursor to another Stone-Sharpton mission. In his book Too Close to Call, New Yorker columnist Jeffrey Toobin exposed Baker’s tapping of Stone, as well as Stone and his Cuban wife Nydia’s role in firing up Cuban protesters, with Stone calling the shots the day of the shutdown over a walkie-talkie in a building across the street from the canvassing board headquarters. The Stone mob was chanting Sharpton’s slogan ‘No Justice, No Peace’ when the board stopped the count, which was universally seen as the turning point in the battle that made Bush president.” (Ibid.; p. 3.)

39. “The Washington Post recently reported that the Bush campaign was planning a special advertising campaign targeting black voters, seeking as much as a quarter of the vote, and any Sharpton-connected outrage against the party could either lower black turnout in several key close states, or move votes to Bush. Both were widely reported as the consequences of Sharpton’s anti-Green rhetoric in 2001, a result Sharpton celebrated both in his book and at a Bronx victory party on election night. . . .” (Idem.)

40. Sharpton is alleged to have worked as a confidential informant for the FBI. ” . . . Stone was the registered agent in America for Argentina’s intelligence agency, sucking up spy novels; Sharpton was a confidential informant for the FBI, wiring up on black leaders for the feds. . . .” (Ibid.; p. 6.)

41. Concluding with an emphatically speculative item, the program examines recent forecasts of earthquake activity for California later this year. This information is presented in the context of a number of past broadcasts in which it has been established that technology exists for the deliberate triggering of earthquakes, where sufficient slippage exists on a fault system to produce such an event. The possibility that a major quake occurring shortly before the election might have a significant impact on the outcome should be carefully considered. Such a disaster could lead to the delay or cancellation of the election in California and would have far-reaching consequences for the U.S. as well. If the quake were severe, it could lead to an imposition of martial law in the U.S., due to the far-reaching economic and ecological consequences attendant upon such an event. A major California quake would also hand political center stage to the Terminator and George W. They could be packaged as the saviors of California. The grateful citizens’ [delayed] votes would go to Bush, even though Schwarzenegger will be the one who garners most of the action. Such an event could well be used to position Schwarzenegger for a run for national office. “Scientists have found striking evidence of a three-year cycle of earthquakes on the San Andreas Fault, a development that might lead to the first practical short-term earthquake forecasting in central California. The new research, which one expert called a tour de force of geoscience, suggests that the next peak of the cycle is likely to come late this year. . . .”
(“San Andreas Quakes Show Cyclical Pattern: UC-Berkeley Study Finds Fault Slipping in Periodic Bursts” by Keay Davidson: San Francisco Chronicle; 1/9/2004; p. 1.)

42. Yet another prediction of a quake for California for later this year. “A US geophysicist has set the scientific world ablaze by claiming to have cracked a holy grail: accurate earthquake prediction, and warning that a big one will soon hit southern California. A Russian-born University of California at Los Angeles professor Vladimir Keilis-Borok says he can foresee major quakes by tracking minor temblors and historical patterns in seismic hotspots that could indicate more violent shaking is on the way. And he has made a chilling prediction that a quake measuring at least 6.4 magnitude on the Richter scale will hit a 31,200-square-kilometer (12,000-square-mile) area of southern California by September 5. . . .”
(“Expert Warns California to Brace for Big Quake by September” (AFP); Yahoo.com; 4/15/2004; pp. 1-2.)

43. The program notes that Schwarzenegger recently replaced the head of the California National Guard with a Republican. This may, or may not be of significance. Certainly, the National Guard will be centrally involved in any major disaster response in California. Whether or not this is coincidental or of any significance at all remains to be seen. Schwarzenegger also recently replaced the head of the California Highway Patrol—another institution that would be pivotally involved in a major emergency response by the state’s infrastructure. “Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger abruptly removed Maj. Gen. Paul Monroe as commander of the California National Guard on Tuesday and replaced him with Maj. Gen. Thomas Eres, who has served as director of the guard’s office of homeland security. . . . His [Monroe’s] replacement, Eres, 59, takes over immediately. Eres rose through the ranks during 35 years of service in the National Guard. In civilian life, he is senior partner in the Sacramento law firm of Nossaman, Gunthner, Knox & Elliott. He is a Republican. Monroe is a Democrat. . . .”
(“Schwarzenegger Removes National Guard Commander” by Carl Nolte; San Francisco Chronicle; 3/4/2004; p. A19.)

44. In his introduction to the portion of the program dealing with California quake predictions, Mr. Emory notes that this information falls in a gray area that hovers between “reality” and “paranoia.” In that same vein, a [hopefully] humorous comment by Florida Governor Jeb Bush may well be nothing more than the tasteless joke it appears to be. Let’s hope so, anyway. ” . . . Gov. Jeb Bush joked during a Florida Cabinet meeting Wednesday that the people of San Francisco may be endangered and, ‘That’s probably good news for the country.’ The subject was environmental land and Bush was looking at a map showing locations with a lot of different wildlife. ‘It looks like the people of San Francisco are an endangered species, which may not be a bad thing. That’s probably good news for the country.’ People in the room broke into laughter. ‘Did I just say that out loud?’ the governor asked.'”
(“Jeb Bush Says People of San Francisco Are Endangered Species” by Jim Sparkman; ChronWatch; 11/17/2003; p. 1.)

45. Among the factors mandating discussion of these troublesome and (to some) far-fetched ruminations concerning possible seismic subversion of the electoral and democratic processes is the overtly Machiavellian nature of this administration. One of the stratagems that Machiavelli counseled in The Prince was the deliberate use of annihilation to interdict a population’s renascent democratic instincts. “Indeed, there is no surer way of keeping possession than by devastation. Whoever becomes the master of a city accustomed to freedom, and does not destroy it, may expect to be destroyed himself; because, when there is a rebellion, such a city justifies itself by calling on the name of liberty and its ancient institutions, never forgotten despite the passing of time and the benefits received from the new ruler. Whatever the conqueror’s actions or foresight, if the inhabitants are not dispersed and scattered, they will forget neither that name nor those institutions; and at first opportunity they will at once have recourse to them, as did Pisa after having been kept in servitude for a hundred years by the Florentines. . . .But in republics there is more life, more hatred, a greater desire for revenge; the memory of their ancient liberty does not and cannot let them rest; in their case the surest way is to wipe them out. . . .”
(The Prince; Niccolo Machiavelli; Penguin Classics [translated by George Bull]; ISBN 0-14-044107-7; pp. 48-49.)

46. This particular bit of Machiavellian wisdom should be viewed against the background of Machiavelli’s influence on the thinking of the current administration. This description reviews information from FTR#’s 445, 466. “The political thinker Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527), long a believer in the famous Florentine Republic of the Renaissance, began to lose faith in his later years as the tides of imperial power and ambition—French, German, and Spanish—swept across the Italian peninsula, washing away the old republican politics of city-states like Florence and Siena too small to survive on their own. Unlike Machiavelli’s less-well-known books, which embraced republican politics and institutions, his most famous volume, The Prince, was dedicated to Lorenzo de’ Medici, the duke of Urbino. It encapsulated the techniques, from amorality and fraud to religion, by which the ascendant princely rulers might govern most successfully.”
(American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush; by Kevin Philips; Viking [HC]; Copyright 2004 by Kevin Phillips; ISBN 0-670-03264-6; p. 320.)

47. “As the 2004 presidential election took shape, another such Machiavellian moment was at hand. U.S. president George W. Bush, while hardly a Medici, was a dynast whose family heritage included secrecy and calculated deception. Harkening to the increasingly imperial self-perception of the United States, the president’s theorists and tacticians boasted of taking the advice of Machiavelli and the Chinese strategist Sun Tzu. The late Lee Atwater, chief political adviser to the elder Bush, and Karl Rove, strategist for the younger Bush, friends and collaborators, were both devotees of Machiavelli and The Prince, hardly a coincidence.” (Ibid.; pp. 320-321.)

48. “The possibility that the United States could edge toward its own Machiavellian moment in an early-twenty-first century milieu of terrorism, neo-imperialism, and dynastization is not far-fetched. As we have seen, Rove, the Bush dynasty’s own political plotter, has been an avid reader of Machiavelli. While the analysis in The Discourses upholds republicanism, the advice Machiavelli gives in The Prince was dedicated to the Medicis and designed to work in the new princely, aristocratic, and neo-imperial milieu of sixteenth-century Italy.” (Ibid.; p. 330.)

49. “Chapter 4, in its discussion of Bush domestic policy and ‘compassionate conservative’ rhetoric, has already referred to Machiavelli’s advice that the Prince should lie but must ‘be able to disguise this character well, and to be a great feigner and dissembler.’ Moreover, ‘to see and hear him, he [the Prince] should seem to be all mercy, faith, integrity, humanity and religion. And nothing is more necessary than to seem to have this last quality . . . Everybody sees what you appear to be, few feel what you are.'” (Idem.)

50. “Other advice dwells on the merits of fraud, hypocrisy, faithlessness, and related practices, and twentieth-century academicians have noted Machiavelli’s appeal to leaders like Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini. Doubtless there are also hundreds of copies of The Prince at the CIA. Which makes it revealing, and arguably ill advised, that the two political advisers to the two Bush presidents should claim it as a bible of sorts.” (Idem.)

51. “Even in religion, Machiavelli’s advice to emphasize it is relevant to the early-twenty-first century United States. His career in Florence overlapped that of Friar Girolamo Savonarola, the Religious despot who ruled the gasping republic from 1494 to 1498 with a politics of fighting sin and immorality. Doubtless the youthful Machiavelli absorbed how close Savonarola came to achieving a theocracy even in republican Florence. Not a few Americans see a little bit of Savonarola in George W. Bush.” (Idem.)

52. “The advent of a Machiavelli-inclined dynasty in what may be a Machiavellian moment for the American Republic is not a happy coincidence, but one that demands attention. Luckily, the arrival of a U.S. presidential election every fourth year typically brings with it an uncommon intensity of national debate, so perhaps attention will be paid.” (Ibid.; pp. 330-331.)

53. “Since the events and upheavals of 2000-2001, the United States has had an abundance of unfolding transformations to discuss—in economics, national security, and even religion. Of these, many can be considered and managed separately. But one is pervasive enough to make its impact felt almost everywhere: the extent to which national governance has, at least temporarily, moved away from the proven tradition of a leader chosen democratically, by a majority of plurality of the electorate, to the succession of a dynastic heir whose unfortunate inheritance is privileged, covert and globally embroiling.” (Ibid.; p. 331.)


2 comments for “FTR #468 Through a Glass Darkly-A Look at the 2004 Elections”

  1. It looks like Florida’s Libertarian party is have a bit of a spritiual crisis that extends beyond its regularly scheduled spiritual crisis. Either that or the party is engaged in an elaborate ruse to employ the Trump method of converting over-the-top media antics into public support. But even if that’s the case, there’s still a spiritual crisis going on somewhere this mess:

    Politico Florida Beta
    Libertarian Party drama: Goat sacrifice, eugenics and a chair’s resignation

    By Marc Caputo 8:22 p.m. | Oct. 1, 2015

    Adrian Wyllie, chairman of Florida’s Libertarian Party, resigned his post Thursday to protest the party’s U.S. Senate candidate, accusing the rival of supporting eugenics and for being expelled from a cult group for “sadistically dismembering a goat in a ritualistic sacrifice.”

    The Senate candidate, who goes by the adopted name Augustus Sol Invictus, counter-accused Wyllie of spreading “half-truths and lies” for political gain.

    The dispute between the two has brewed for months, but finally came to a head after Wyllie was unable to persuade the Libertarian Party of Florida’s executive committee to publicly disavow Invictus, an adopted name that means something like “Invincible Sun Emperor.”

    “I’m not making this up. It’s crazy, I know,” Wyllie, a Palm Harbor businessman who ran for governor in 2014 and received 3.8 percent of the vote, told POLITICO after announcing his resignation and levelling his accusations against Invictus in a Facebook post. “I resigned to draw attention to this, as a protest. I did this as a pre-emptive strike. I don’t want anyone to think this guy represents Libertarians. He doesn’t. Under the law, we can’t keep him from the ballot.”

    Invictus, an Orlando lawyer, said he shares classic Libertarian beliefs: Opposition to the war on drugs, support for slashing the federal budget and programs and scaling back interventionist foreign policies. Invictus said he does believe in some environmental regulations, however, but has a harder political line on immigration and believes the government needs to restrict immigration.

    Invictus, 32, is an adherent of a religion called Thelema, established in the early 1900s by occultist Aleister Crowley. Invictus was expelled from the religion’s fraternal organization, Ordo Templi Orientis, but denies Wyllie’s specific claim about dismembering a goat.

    “I have never dismembered a goat in my life. I have performed animal sacrifices as part of my religion,” Invictus said. “I was expelled from the order for political reasons. And animal sacrifice was part of it. But that is a deliberate misrepresentation by Wyllie.”

    Wyllie said he brought up the issue of Invictus’ religion because the candidate has cited it as justification for supporting potentially violent revolution. Invictus denies that as well.

    Adding to the drama: former Republican dirty trickster Roger Stone, an on-again-off-again adviser to Donald Trump, has been recruited by fellow Libertarians to run against Invictus.

    “The guy is a nut, speaks in tongues or whatever. Weird stuff,” Stone said. “They need someone to run against him to make sure he doesn’t win and make us all look crazy.”

    Wyllie said he had no interest in running for Senate. But, he said, Invictus must be stopped and listed a series of reasons to oppose his candidacy. In early September, Invictus posted a detailed point-by-point refutation of Wyllie’s claims on Facebook. Invictus specifically said he does not support eugenics and forced abortions, contrary to Wyllie’s claims.

    “Many of his supporters are known members of Neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups, such as American Front, Vinelanders and Stormfront, and he has been recruiting them into the Libertarian Party,” Wyllie said Thursday on Facebook.

    Invictus said that as a lawyer, he has represented some of these groups in a professional capacity. He said, however, that he’s no racist. “My four children are Hispanic,” said Invictus, who’s divorced.

    Invictus acknowledged he changed his name and wouldn’t confirm or deny Wyllie’s claim that his birth name was Austin Gillespie.

    Another notable change with Invictus: His public speaking persona is far different than his one-on-one interactions. On his Facebook page, Invictus has a fierce and dramatic oratorical style and occasionally sounds like a Southerner. In casual conversation, though, he has no accent. Invictus said the change is a result of nerves.

    “I still get that game-day adrenaline,” he said.

    The substance of his stump speech is unique in the Senate field. In a black-and-white video of a speech featured on his campaign website, he warns of government overreached and how he has been “hunted” by the FBI. At one point, he looks in the camera and addresses the law-enforcement authorities he says are watching him. Urging Libertarians to resist using the same tactics as the two major political parties, Invictus also asks his audience to think for themselves.

    “I want you to take LSD and practice sorcery,” he says at one point. “I’m also Old World Pagan and a white Southerner. So I know what it’s like to be treated like a wolf in a hen house.”

    “Adding to the drama: former Republican dirty trickster Roger Stone, an on-again-off-again adviser to Donald Trump, has been recruited by fellow Libertarians to run against Invictus.”
    Wait, so in addition to nominating a Senate candidate that’s been allegedly recruiting “known members of Neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups, such as American Front, Vinelanders and Stormfront” into the party, Roger Stone is getting recruited to run against him?! Uh oh for Florida’s Libertarians! Their fun new spiritual crisis is just getting started…

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 2, 2015, 2:52 pm
  2. The 2018 elections can be comprimised with election hacking if the new election security official selected by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (who, is a favorite of the Koch Brothers), is an unsavory character. Hopefully the Senate will properly vet this appointment.


    FEBRUARY 22, 2018 / 2:46 PM / UPDATED 12 HOURS AGO

    Exclusive: U.S. official focused on election security will be replaced

    Dustin Volz

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The head of a federal commission who has helped U.S. states protect election systems from possible cyber attacks by Russia or others is being replaced at the behest of Republican House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan and the White House.

    Matthew Masterson, a member of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission who currently serves as its chairman, has been passed over for a second four-year term as one of the agency’s four commissioners.

    “The appointment expired in December and we are going in a different direction for our nomination. We nominate people for a variety of positions and generally speaking choose our own folks,” AshLee Strong, a spokeswoman for Ryan, said by email on Thursday.

    Strong rejected the notion that Masterson was being removed or shoved aside, characterizing the change as routine.

    The commissioner post that Masterson, a former Ohio state official, currently holds is picked by the House speaker and formally nominated by the president. The three other commissioners are recommended by other congressional leaders.

    Masterson has been a popular figure among state election officials, many of whom have praised his expertise and leadership on cyber security issues and expressed chagrin at his pending departure. The agency was created by Congress in 2002 to assist states in complying with federal election standards.

    The action raises fresh questions over the degree to which Republican President Donald Trump and his fellow Republicans who control Congress are taking steps to protect the security of American elections, and some state officials have accused them of doing too little to address the threat.

    U.S. voters in November will go to the polls in midterm elections, which American intelligence officials have warned could be targeted by Russia or others seeking to disrupt the process.

    There is intense scrutiny of the security of U.S. election systems after a 2016 presidential race in which Russia interfered, according to American intelligence agencies, to try to help Trump win with presidency. Trump in the past has been publicly skeptical about Russian election meddling.

    Some Republicans over the years have sought to eliminate or reduce the Election Assistance Commission, arguing that it represents a federal overreach into the role of states in running elections.

    Masterson originally was picked by former Speaker John Boehner, a Republican and fellow Ohioan, and nominated by former President Barack Obama, a Democrat, before being confirmed unanimously by the U.S. Senate in 2014.

    A White House spokeswoman declined to comment. Masterson also declined to comment.

    Masterson is expected to remain a commissioner until his replacement is chosen by Ryan, formally nominated by Trump and confirmed by the Senate. He already was due to give up his rotating chairmanship this month.


    Masterson has spent the last year as the commission’s chairman, focusing largely on election cyber security, state election officials said. Twenty-one states experienced probing of their systems by Russian hackers during the 2016 election, according to U.S. officials.

    Though a small number of networks were compromised, voting machines were not directly affected and there remains no evidence any vote was altered, according to U.S. officials and security experts.

    “It is pretty remarkable that in this environment, given the importance of this issue, that the speaker would choose this moment to not reappoint the person doing the most work in this area,” said Judd Choate, Colorado’s election director and the immediate past president of the National Association of State Election Directors.

    The commission was formed in the aftermath of the 2000 U.S. presidential election won by Republican George W. Bush that came down to disputed paper ballots cast in Florida. Its responsibilities include maintaining voluntary guidelines for voting systems, including cyber security standards, that most states use when purchasing new voting equipment.

    Since the 2016 election, almost all 50 states have taken steps to purchase more secure equipment, expand the use of paper ballots, improve cyber training or seek federal assistance, according to groups that track election security.

    U.S. intelligence officials have described the targeting of state election systems as part of a wide-ranging effort by Moscow that also included propaganda efforts and hacking to sow discord during the 2016 campaign, boost Trump and disparage his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.

    Special counsel Robert Mueller’s office last Friday indicted 13 Russians and three Russian companies for their alleged involvement in a criminal and espionage conspiracy to tamper with the 2016 election.

    Under law, the Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate and House each recommend one commissioner to be nominated by the president to fill the agency’s four spots. The Republican-led House Administration Committee last year passed a measure that would terminate the agency on the grounds that it has outlived its usefulness.

    Reporting by Dustin Volz; Editing by Jonathan Weber and Will Dunham

    Posted by Mary Benton | February 23, 2018, 3:56 pm

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