- Democracy in the United States is only a shadow in a
corporate media cave of deceit, lies and incomplete information. We stand
ignorant of what the powerful are doing in our name and how the corporate
media ignores key issues affecting us all.
- A young professional couple from San Diego stated the
weekend before the election, "we don't think voting will make any
difference so why bother?" Over 80 million eligible voters joined
them by refusing to participate in the most recent election. While having
been a voter for 35 years, I can't fault them for their logic. November
2 gave us a choice between war and more war, corporate globalization and
more corporate globalization; the continuation of gifting billions of dollars
to Israel, the Patriot Act and an expanded Patriot Act; a police state
and a seriously growing police state, media monopoly and even bigger media
monopolies; and wealth inequality or an even greater wealth divide. With
the only alternative to these issues being minor candidates without a snowball's
chance, for many voting seemed meaningless.
- The issues where a choice was offered, abortion, Social
Security, and medical care, were so under-covered by the corporate media
that most voters still don't understand the differences. Voting ended up
being a faith-based decision embedded on visceral reactions to individuals
instead of key societal issues.
- The real winners November 2 are the military industrial
complex, who will continue to feed at the 500 billion-dollar military trough
and the corporate media, whose coffers were filled with billions of dollars
for campaign ads.
- And can we be sure we actually had a fair election among
those who did vote? Election Systems & Software (ES&S), Diebold,
and Sequoia are the companies primarily involved in implementing the new
voting stations throughout the country. All three have strong ties to the
Bush Administration. The largest investors in ES&S, Sequoia, and Diebold
are government defense contractors Northrup-Grumman, Lockheed-Martin, Electronic
Data Systems (EDS) and Accenture. Diebold hired Scientific Applications
International Corporation (SAIC) of San Diego to develop the software security
in their voting machines. A majority of officials on SAIC's board are former
members of either the Pentagon or the CIA including:
- * Army Gen. Wayne Downing, formerly on the National Security
- * Bobby Ray Inman; former CIA Director
- * Retired Adm. William Owens, former vice chairman of
the Joint Chiefs of Staff
- * Robert Gates, another former director of the CIA.
- So, we have a CIA/military private firm that programmed
the security in the voting machines for companies owned by some of the
largest military contracts in the country. No wonder the Co-founder of
the Citizens Alliance for Secure Elections, Susan Truitt said November
3: "Seven counties in Ohio have electronic voting machines and none
of them have paper trails. That alone raises issues of accuracy and integrity
as to how we can verify the count. A recount without a paper trail is meaningless;
you just get a regurgitation of the data. Last year, Blackwell tried to
get the entire state to buy new machines without a paper trail.
- The exit polls, virtually the only check we have against
tampering with a vote without a paper trail, had shown Kerry with a lead.
... A poll worker told me this morning that there were no tapes of the
results posted on some machines; on other machines the posted count was
zero, which obviously shouldn't be the case."
- Our level of non-participation really means democracy
has failed in the US. Democracy is the people making decisions about the
important issues in their lives. Freedom is the ability to act on these
decisions. Without an electoral choice democracy is non-existent and freedom
only means the right to choose your own brand of toothpaste. Without an
active independent media informing on the powerful, we lack both freedom
- Peter Phillips is an Professor of Sociology at Sonoma
State University and Director of Project Censored. For a listing of current
censored news stories see http://www.projectcensored.org/