The 2016 Presidential Election of the United States of America has attracted a significant amount of attention from Americans and the world alike with daily, regularly vehement, opinions being expressed in respect to the candidates by the public and media at large. This article aims to consider the election at an almost preliminary level; the nature of voting, in particular the infrastructure and the question as to whether or not it ultimately makes any difference who Americans vote for on November 8th.
Electronic voting has been used in the United States for many years and currently is used exclusively by five states (Delaware, Georgia, Louisiana, New Jersey and South Carolina) alongside most of the remaining states using a combination of both paper and electronic voting . The electronic equipment that is used for voting is owned and operated by private institutions, some of which include (or have included): Diebold, Election Systems & Software (ES&S), Sequoia and Hart Interactive . The systems are of a proprietary nature, with the source code and other aspects of the systems being closed and vendors being involved in all aspects from designing to maintaining the systems, ultimately resulting in great difficulty when it comes to the public attempting to scrutinize the technology . Although, there have been many cases of computer experts raising concerns in respect to the technology, two notable examples as featured on a prominent documentary on this subject entitled ‘Hacking Democracy’ include Dr. Herbert Hugh Thompson hacking into the GEMS (Global Election Management System) central tabulator and modifying votes and Harri Hustri hacking the memory card used to store votes; both cases resulted in the ability to manipulate the vote count as was desired by the hacker . Another example was a computer programmer who under oath swore that he had written a prototype for a congressman which would alter the results of an election .
The significant power associated with these companies is illustrated by the fact that in 2010, Premier voting systems were used in “over 1,400 jurisdictions in 33 states and serve near 28 million American voters .” Concern has been expressed regarding how the companies conduct themselves with election officials and the agendas of key people involved within the organizations. As an example, a quote attributed to the chief executive of the company Diebold notes he is “committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year .” Another example includes Chuck Hagel, who ran for a senate seat in Nebraska. Prior to the election, the polls were so close that it was noted an outcome could not be predicted. Hagel ultimately won the election by fifteen points. It has been discovered that Hagel, up until two weeks prior to announcing his candidacy, was chairman of ES&S whose computer systems were responsible for counting his own votes for the election. Furthermore, the company’s founder was Hagel’s campaign treasurer. Hagel’s financial ties to ES&S were never disclosed and although a request was made to recount the votes, a state law requiring the votes be recounted using the same mechanism that was used initially deemed it pointless . A number of election officials also end up working for the electronic voting machine companies and sign on as lobbyists. Entities, such as The Election Center, who defend electronic voting, take money from electronic voting companies and don’t disclose how much .
If one delves into most elections that use electronic voting, there seems to regularly be discrepancies and questions raised. From recent elections  to perhaps the most well known controversy in the 2004 Presidential Election . The issue also isn’t specific to the United States, but can also be identified overseas . If one desires to investigate how the machines are tested, and whether or not any of the noted issues are formally documented, they are denied communication . Furthermore, not all electronic voting machines leave a paper trail of the vote and as Harri Hustri demonstrated in ‘Hacking Democracy’ it’s possible to manipulate the physical evidence if the machine does emit a print out .
It seems clear that citizens should be concerned with the proliferation of these machines and it could be confidently argued that electronic voting machines, especially in their current state, are not fit for use in elections with the obvious solution being a complete adoption of paper voting and the immediate ceasing of use of these machines for formal voting purposes.
King, E. (2016) How the U.S. Ended up with today’s paper ballots. Available at: http://time.com/4305508/paper-ballot-history/ (Accessed: 13 October 2016).
Simon, J. and Baiman, R. (no date) The 2004 Presidential Election: Who Won The Popular Vote? An Examination of the Comparative Validity of Exit Poll and Vote Count Data. Available at: http://freepress.org/images/departments/PopularVotePaper181_1.pdf (Accessed: 13 October 2016).
Zeller, T. (2004) Ready or not, electronic voting goes national. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/19/politics/campaign/ready-or-not-electronic-voting-goes-national.html (Accessed: 13 October 2016).
Hacking Democracy (2006) Directed by Simon Ardizzone, Russell Michaels UK
truthstream (2006) Rigged USA elections exposed. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JEzY2tnwExs (Accessed: 13 October 2016).
Staff, B. (2010) Dominion voting systems, Inc. Acquires premier election solutions assets from ES&S. Available at: http://www.benzinga.com/press-releases/10/05/b292647/dominion-voting-systems-inc-acquires-premier-election-solutions-assets-#/ixzz15sGvPDXa (Accessed: 13 October 2016).
Smyth, J.C. (2003) Voting machine controversy. Available at: http://www.commondreams.org/headlines03/0828-08.htm (Accessed: 13 October 2016).
Collier, V., Gumpert, R., Solnit, R., Nolan, R., Oates, J.C., Kirn, W., Sullivan, R. and Neason, A. (2016) Harper’s magazine – part 3. Available at: http://harpers.org/archive/2012/11/how-to-rig-an-election/3/ (Accessed: 13 October 2016).
On the voting machine makers’ tab (2004) Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/12/opinion/on-the-voting-machine-makers-tab.html (Accessed: 13 October 2016).
Hatlem, D.J. (2016) Hillary Clinton versus Bernie Sanders: Taking election fraud allegations seriously (part 1). Available at: http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/05/09/hillary-clinton-versus-bernie-sanders-taking-election-fraud-allegations-seriously-part-1/ (Accessed: 13 October 2016).
Fitrakis, B. and Wasserman, H. (2004) Diebold’s political machine. Available at: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2004/03/diebolds-political-machine (Accessed: 13 October 2016).
New South Wales Attacks Researchers Who Found Internet Voting Vulnerabilities (2015) Available at: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2015/04/new-south-wales-attacks-researchers-who-warned-internet-voting-vulnerabilities (Accessed: 13 October 2016).
Harris, B., Allen, D. and Alexander, L. (2004) ‘Who’s Beholden to Whom?’, in Black box voting: Ballot tampering in the 21st century. Renton, WA: Talion Publishing, p. 52.
Major H. von Dach Bern
1. Basic Rules of Terror
If you resist political indoctrination and the enemy realizes that he is failing in his attempts to “convert” you to his ideology, he will attempt to obtain obedience through fear. He will try to create the fear by terror. The enemy has developed terror techniques which have proven very effective. You therefore must be prepared. If you are acquainted with these techniques you can resist them more easily.
These terror measures are:
a) Surveillance of telephone and letters through censorship.
b) Establishment of an agent and informer net.
c) Arbitrary arrests.
d) No public trials except “show trials.”
e) Arbitrary sentences.
f) Lengthy prison sentences out of proportion to the offense.
THE STATESMAN OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION
WITH OTHER ESSAYS AND ADDRESSES HISTORICAL AND LITERARY
MELLEN CHAMBERLAIN, LL.D.
When the action at Lexington on the morning of the 19th was known at Dan vers, the minute men there, under the lead of Captain Gideon Foster, made that memorable march — or run, rather — of sixteen miles in four hours, and struck Percy’s flying column at West Cambridge. Brave but incautious in flanking the red-coats, they were flanked themselves and badly pinched, leaving seven dead, two wounded, and one missing. Among those who escaped was Levi Preston, afterwards known as Captain Levi Preston.
When I was about twenty-one and Captain Preston about ninety-one, I “interviewed” him as to what he did and thought sixty-seven years before, on April 19, 1775; and now, fifty-two years later, I make my report — a little belated perhaps, but not too late I trust for the morning papers!
At that time, of course, I knew all about the American Revolution — far more than I do now! And if I now know anything truly, it is chiefly owing to what I have since forgotten of the histories of that event then popular.
With an assurance passing even that of the modern interviewer — if that were possible —
I began: “Captain Preston, why did you go to the Concord Fight, the 19th of April, 1775?”
The old man, bowed beneath the weight of years, raised himself upright, and turning to me said: “Why did I go?”
“Yes,” I replied; “my histories tell me that you men of the Revolution took up arms against ‘intolerable oppressions.'” “What were they? Oppressions? I did n’t feel them.” “What, were you not oppressed by the Stamp Act?”
“I never saw one of those stamps, and always understood that Governor Bernard put them all in Castle William. I am certain I never paid a penny for one of them.”
“Well, what then about the tea-tax?”
“Tea-tax! I never drank a drop of the stuff; the boys threw it all overboard.”
“Then I suppose you had been reading Harrington or Sidney and Locke about the eternal principles of liberty.”
“Never heard of ’em. We read only the Bible, the Catechism, Watts’s Psalms and Hymns, and the Almanack.”
“Well, then, what was the matter? and what did you mean in going to the fight?”
“Young man, what we meant in going for those red-coats was this: we always had governed ourselves, and we always meant to. They didn’t mean we should.”
Being in the field means not always having continuous internet access available. But, this came in from a multiple-time attendee of seminars and partner…
Darin Bushman – Piute County Commissioner
I was just told by commissioner Collins of Clark County NV that all of us folks from Utah are a bunch of “inbred bastards” and if we are coming to Clark Cointy NV to support Cliven Bundy we all “better have funeral plans”. We should “turn our asses around on mind our own f-ing business”. Now there’s some classy leadership for you.
One of the advantage of being proactively engaged versus most who just post events and happenings is you see the seminar and workshop principles applied and utilized in action.
Note the last paragraph
April 22, 2012 – 2:06am
The federal Bureau of Land Management has suspended plans to seize the 500 to 750 head of cattle run by Clark County rancher Cliven Bundy south of Mesquite – and 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas – for now.
But Bundy, 65, realizes this is just a truce in an ongoing battle. Both the Mesquite City Council and the Clark County Commission have expressed support for a plan to turn the entire Gold Butte region into a federal conservation area. Mark Andrews, a local photographer who’s frequented the area for 35 years, writes in that the “BLM and the Friends of Gold Butte group have removed countless miles of road and open land access from free use. Places I used to go for decades are now blockaded. These are roads that are nearly 100 years old and in steady use. And this activity has become very aggressive and pronounced in the last 24 months.”
The area south of Mesquite “is really the only public area Clark County has left that’s not designated for some conservation area, or preserve, or monument, or whatever,” Bundy says. “I’m really the only resource user who’s still got any interest in the land,” he adds, referring to the grazing rights which have come down through his family for more than 100 years, a property right he insists was not granted by and therefore cannot be suspended by the bureaucrats of Washington.
Arguments that Bundy – the last active cattle rancher in Clark County – is damaging the range by overgrazing as many as 750 head or somehow cheating the public by not paying management fees to the BLM sound somewhat curious when we look at what’s happened to the 51 other allotments on which ranchers were grazing cattle in Clark County, within living memory.
Attempting to cooperate with their federal overseers, “year-by-year their operations were crippled by rising fees and reductions in AUM (animal units monthly),” wrote investigative reporter Tim Findley in the summer 1999 edition of Range magazine. “The numbers of actively used allotments were rapidly diminishing. The cattlemen took their cases to court, and won, but the BLM simply imposed new ‘force and effect’ regulations. More ranchers gave up.”
Zero grazing fees are now being collected on those other 51 allotments, which are going to waste. Nor would the BLM be likely to lease out the Mesquite allotment to anyone else, were Bundy finally evicted.
The right amount of grazing, in the minds of Mr. Bundy’s adversaries, is no grazing. The real plan here is to turn hundreds of square miles into another federal conservation area, if not an outright wilderness. Where’s the economic benefit in that?
The Review-Journal regularly receives letters to the editor which are essentially form letters, though they bear different signatures. Typical was one received this month above the signature of Terri Rylander, a member of Friends of Gold Butte, in which she identifies herself as “a business owner living in Mesquite.” (Her business is marketing and web page design.) She further asserts: “People may visit special places like Red Rock Canyon and Gold Butte for different reasons – camping, hunting, hiking, bird watching – but all visitors spend money in our communities at restaurants, hotels, gas stations, and retail stores. Protecting Gold Butte as a national conservation area with wilderness will put this unique area on the map, drawing visitors … and ensure a steady stream of revenue to local communities like Mesquite.”
‘Not good for local economies’
A June 2011 study conducted by researchers at the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business, Utah State University, holds otherwise.
“We find that when controlling for other types of federally held land and additional factors impacting economic conditions, federally designated Wilderness negatively impacts local economic conditions,” wrote USU researchers Brian C. Steed, Ryan M. Yonk and Randy Simmons. “Specifically, we find a significant negative relationship between the presence of Wilderness and county total payroll, county tax receipts, and county average household income.”
“Wilderness … is the most restrictive of all federal land-use designations,” the Utah researchers point out. “To preserve wild characteristics, the Wilderness designation prohibits roads, road construction, mechanized travel, and the use of mechanized equipment. Wilderness also impacts extractive industries such as mining, logging, and grazing.”
In a footnote, the researchers explain: “Grazing is expressly allowed in Wilderness Areas, but administrators may make ‘reasonable regulations’ including the reduction of grazing to improve range conditions.”
Ask Cliven Bundy about those “reasonable regulations.”
“Environmentalists claim that Wilderness contributes to a healthy tourism industry,” the Utah researchers continue. But that argument “is simply not supported by the data.”
Nor is it clear that cattle damage the range. In fact, there’s plenty of evidence that ranchers, with their drip lines and water tanks – supporting quail and deer and other populations as well as cattle – and the ungulates themselves, cropping the graze close enough to the ground to allow new green shoots accessible to the tortoise while reducing the fuel buildup that fosters wildfires, are a net benefit to the country, before we even consider the benefits of local, organic beef.
A ‘state’ in name only
Citizens of any state east of the Rockies would likely riot at a proposal that the federal government take over 86 percent of their state’s land area. How did Nevada get into precisely that bind?
In his 1999 profile of Bundy for Reno-based Range magazine, Findley reported Bundy in the 1970s was willing to embrace the “multiple use” of the rangelands then being promoted. “He was patient and tried to cooperate with advice from those he considered his friends in the BLM,” Findley wrote.
“But everything we tried to do – every time we tried some compromise – they wanted more,” Bundy told Findley. “It was like talking to a greedy landlord. Everything became lockout or lockup.”
Findley introduces former Nevada District Court judge and rancher Clel Georgetta, author of the 1972 book “Golden Fleece in Nevada.” He presented the then “almost subversive” legal doctrine that claims by the federal government to more than 86 percent of the land of Nevada “amounted not only to a violation of the intention of Lincoln’s administration in promoting Nevada’s statehood in 1864, but of previous constitutional findings on the ‘equal footing’ of states admitted to the union.”
Thus was born the Sagebrush Rebellion. Legislation introduced in 1979 by then-state Sen. Dean Rhoads, directing the state attorney general to sue the federal government for control of all federal lands not specifically set aside for federal forts, post offices or Indian reservations, “is still a part of Nevada law,” Findley reported, “backed even more by a statewide referendum in 1996 in which voters overwhelmingly supported the idea of state control of public lands.”
So why hasn’t it happened?
“The Nevada attorney general has never taken the argument to federal courts,” Findley explained.
‘Public lands are a myth’
In his 1989 book “Storm Over Rangelands,” the late Nevada rancher Wayne Hage detailed how ranchers, miners, and others possess split title to the Western lands. Here in the arid West, no rancher could likely make a living off a mere 160 acres of deeded land.
So it’s not unusual for different parties to own, say, the grazing and water rights versus the mineral rights to overlapping parcels, while neither claims to “own” all that land, outright. Federal attempts to regulate those long-established rights out of existence violate basic constitutional rights, Hage successfully argued.
The BLM confiscated Hage’s cattle, up Tonopah way. He fought them through the courts for years – and won. But he died soon after. His children continue the struggle.
The federal government controls at least 86 percent of Nevada’s land area. But the federal government can show no bills of sale for these lands, approved by the legislature of the “state” in which they lie – the only method provided by the Constitution for the central government to gain title to, or wield plenary authority over, any lands within the several states.
Ironically enough, Nevada ranchers themselves have resisted reform in the past. Findley’s piece for Range magazine has President Ronald Reagan asking his interior secretary, James Watt, why the federal government couldn’t end its dominion over nearly one-third of the nation’s lands by selling them off or transferring them back to the states.
Watt had to explain to the president that wasn’t really what the ranchers wanted.
Years later, addressing a 1994 cattleman’s meeting, “Watt said Nevada sabotaged the Sagebrush Rebellion,” related Demar Dahl, former head of the state cattleman’s association. “When it came down to it, a lot of the big ranchers were afraid of losing their (federal) allotments.”
Local politicians, as well, find it “hard to turn down that $5 million or whatever,” that Uncle Sam routinely showers on local municipalities, Bundy acknowledges. “My side don’t have much cash. But the other side has put us, what is it, $60 trillion in debt.”
INDEED THEY HAVE. YET ONE OF THESE DAYS THEY WILL DESCEND AGAIN, WITH HELICOPTERS AND CONTRACT COWBOYS, TO TRY AND DRIVE THE LAST CATTLE RANCHER IN CLARK COUNTY OUT OF BUSINESS.
Vin Suprynowicz is assistant editorial page editor of the Review-Journal and author of the novel “The Black Arrow” and “Send in the Waco Killers.” See www.vinsuprynowicz.com.