None of what follows—were it known—would likely play well with New York’s liberal Democratic electorate, whether pro-Clinton or pro-Sanders.
Forget the long lines. The late openings. The snafus. Forget the 125,000 voters disenfranchised in Brooklyn, where the Democratic Party lost 16 per cent of its base in one fell swoop, yet seemed strangely unconcerned.
After the Democratic primary in New York, a big question mark hangs over the primary elections still to come that highlights a huge problem that all the campaign finance reform in the world won’t fix.
I’m taking an exit poll. Post-election. And I’d like to ask a few questions. Question 1: Do you know who owns the company that counts your vote? Of course you don’t.
Question 2: Would you trust—to register and count your vote in the Democratic primary in New York—a company founded by a man who engineered and led the movement to ‘Draft Goldwater’ at the Republican Party convention way back in 1964? What, is this a trick?
Question three: As a voter, or a New Yorker, or most especially as a voter and a New Yorker, would you trust this same company—founded by the bat-shit crazy Goldwater guy—if you knew they were blamed for printing the ballots that created the infamous Florida vote snafu during the 2000 Presidential election?
Question 4: If you knew that this same bat-shit crazy Goldwater guy-founded Florida vote-snafu-causing election company has also—and for decades—been involved in widespread corruption and bribery of public election officials internationally, would you just about now begin kicking yourself for not asking for an absentee ballot?
“If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere, New… Y…Brunswick!”
Question 5: If you knew this same company, being relied on to register and count millions of votes across the state of New York, made a royal mess of an election just two years ago in the Canadian Province of New Brunswick—a place so sparsely-populated it makes nearby Maine look over-built—would that increase or lessen your confidence in this company’s ability to run an election in New York State?
New Brunswick used Dominion Voting Systems vote tabulation machines in the election, which was expected to speed up the process of counting the ballots. This was the first provincial election to use them. However, problems emerged within two hours of polls closing. Manual counts were not matching up with electronic counts.
They called it the New Brunswick vote counting fiasco. One of its chief effects were felt early: the ‘glitch’ slowed concession speeches by losers who, instead, began consulting attorneys.
The election winner, new premier Brian Gallant, announced that all’s well that ends well. “There is a reason we trust the counting of votes to an independent body, and we have faith in their ability to get it right in the end,” he said.
The loser, a Tory, called for a hand count of all the votes. Smart Tory.
Why haven’t you heard about this? Because you’re not expected to have heard of it.
Things You Really Didn’t Want to Know
It’s a shell game. A trick. Three shells and a pea, portrayed as a gambling game, but in reality a confidence trick used to perpetrate fraud. Remember that notorious mercenary contractor that changed its name from Blackwater to Xe after company bodyguards were accused of killing civilians in Iraq?
Try saying “Xe” out loud. Can’t? Me either. I wouldn’t know where to start. So a company filled with felons goons and thugs suddenly had a name you couldn’t pronounce, allowing them to stumble forward. It was a public relations triumph.
Election service companies are the same way. They come and go, then come again under another name, pop up, get caught pulling felonies, change owners, change names, move out of town, and then start up again. But the same people still run it.
The shuffling of names and owners of election companies uncannily resembles the CIA’s attempt to thwart plane spotters by shuffling around the FAA registrations of planes—“sheep-dipping” is the industry term—that were involved in extraordinary renditions.
Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
Me & Chuck Todd
On June 4, 2010, a previously unknown company in Toronto acquired the second largest election company in America, called Sequoia Voting Systems. Shortly thereafter this same company acquired the assets of Diebold, America’s third largest election company.
Would you like to know the name of this company? Before saying yes, I need you to know that NBC Political Director Chuck Todd has made it very clear he doesn’t care about the answer at all.
He recently tweeted: “The voting machine conspiracies belong in same category as the Trump birther garbage. Critics must be paranoid to fear that anyone would deliberately alter results.”
Question: Does Chuck Todd’s studied indifference make you more or less concerned? Is this A) A tempest in a teapot? Or B) “Houston we have a problem?”
If you answered B), I’m sure Mr. Todd would love to hear from you.
“They’re like, very big into ‘democracy promotion”… and coups”
First a quick trip down memory lane, to when it all began. A man named F. Clifton White was picked by President Ronald Reagan to head up a new quasi-governmental NGO called the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES).
White wasn’t just a crazed Goldwater fanatic. He was a savvy political operative, instrumental in getting Goldwater nominated for President on the Republican ticket in 1964.
“It’s astonishing that a group of volunteers accomplished this feat (nominating Goldwater), miraculous when you realize it was done in the face of the self-financed campaign of Nelson Rockefeller, the ridicule of the national press, and the obstruction of Goldwater’s ‘professional’ staff,’” he wrote in a book called “Suite 3505: The Story of the Draft Goldwater Movement.”
Although Goldwater lost in a epic landslide to Lyndon Johnson, Clifton White’s efforts were not in vain. Right wing activists introduced into politics in his Draft Goldwater movement paved the way for Ronald Reagan’s two Republican Presidential campaign victories. And his mailing list raised hundreds of millions (at least) for conservative candidates as well as organizations like the Heritage Foundation.
Clifton White also worked closely with then-CIA director William Casey on the Reagan administration’s pro-contra propaganda network. He ran a group like the notorious Committee on the Present Danger, only focused on Central America.
At the same time IFES was established, two sister quasi-governmental organizations—the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), and the International Republican Institute (IRI)—came into being. All receive funding from the governmental organization. All three focused on “democracy promotion.”
Yet for outfits hell-bent on “democracy promotion” they’ve gotten into a lot of nasty scrapes over the years, from supporting the 2009 Honduran coup d’état, or the coup in Haiti, where the IRI was accused of training and supporting pro-coup opposition parties in a Canadian Broadcasting Corp. documentary about the role of NGO’s called “Haiti: Democracy Undone.”
None of this—were it known—would likely play well with New York’s liberal Democratic electorate. Especially not if was also common knowledge how important an American NGO which has often been accused of meddling overseas is to the current American election.
Canadian, eh? Muckin’ in our election?
Clifton White’s most recent successor as the head of the IFES is a Canadian named Jean-Pierre Kingsley who “recently resigned to assume the helm of Dominion,” the private Canadian election company under discussion. The company is ultimately registered in Delaware, which adds an extra layer of anonymity, just in case the question of who owns the damn company comes up. It’s better this way. Everyone can answer truthfully: “Who the fuck knows?”
Two years ago, no one had ever heard of them. Yet today Dominion Voting Systems controls roughly half of all American votes. What’s most remarkable about is no mainstream journalists (paging Chuck Todd!) has thought it worthy of note. It’s a remarkable lapse.
Someone looked up their address, and was astonished: “This so-called Canadian outfit’s website lists a contact address, 215 Spadina Avenue, which lies right in the middle of a very run-down part of Toronto’s huge Chinatown, where, just a block away, you can buy live chickens out of wire cages. An odd address for such a powerful corporation.”
Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.
Phil Foster was famous in Louisiana for a while. He passed thick envelopes filled with cash to state officials, but walked away smelling like a rose.
That’s him, second from left, in a recent photo. Back in the game!
During the Fowler scandal, New Orleans newspapers asked, “What was Sequoia’s salesman Phil Foster doing when he delivered cash-filled envelopes on five occasions to businessman Pasquale Ricci, who passed them, in turn, to Louisiana election commissioner Jerry Fowler?”
Phil Foster has never publicly explained his role in the scandal that put Fowler in jail. But that was 2000 and 2001; today’s a new day, and here he is again, the ultimate bad penny, working for the same company. It was called Sequoia Voting Systems then. A little fresh paint, tart it up a bit… and today’s it’s Dominion Voting Systems.
Don’t you just love tradition?
Anyone alarmed at the notion that America has lost control of its borders should be absolutely panicked to learn that the accomplished thieves working for Dominion Voting System have been entering and exiting the United States at will.
Except… all they steal are elections, right? Is that even illegal? I don’t know. But bribery is. And the company has been convicted of that particular felony on numerous occasions.
The man behind the curtain at Sequoia Voting was ultimately discovered to be a man named Pasquale “Rocco” Ricci, from Marlton, New Jersey. Court testimony showed Ricci bribed Louisiana’s Commissioner of Elections Jerry Fowler for more than a decade.
Fowler got ten million dollars in bribes. Not to buy one vendor’s brand of voting machine, as prosecutors insisted, although, to their credit, without much conviction… The machines weren’t even worth that much.
Jerry Fowler got bribed to fix elections.
At the time of the 2000 election Sequoia Voting Systems was owned by a shadowy international financier who got his big break in a sweetheart deal with a subsidiary of Mobil Oil, called Container Corp of America, at a time when the company was controlled by the Rockefeller Family.
But that’s next.