Blogging Left

With the darkness now covering the land, the progressive spirit of the Enlightenment is getting dimmer and dimmer. But at the same time, the blogosphere allows folks an alternative means of communication that allows the truth to be known and someday, the progressive agenda will be realized.

Name:
Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

When I was an undergraduate, I read Escape From Freedom in an anthropology course, wow did I think that was cool stuff when I was 19, but how can you make a living doing that kind of stuff. Well, somehow I pursued an interdisciplinary education and trained to become a shrink, but with strong social and political values. (I did spend several years at the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis. Well, somehow I got caught up in protesting the war in Viet Nam, moved from a more individualistic perspective to a sociological perspective, and voila, here I am, having made a career in sociology and what am I doing, Frankfurt School critical theory....yes maybe Nietzsche is right about eternal return. If interested in my professional work, see my website-tho it has not been updated lateley. I will soon have a volume of papers on alienatioun out. I am now working on a book on the carnivalization of our culture, how the degeneration of taste destroys the mind and fosters political indifference.

Friday, September 16, 2005

'Diebold System One of Greatest Threats Democracy Has Ever Known'

EXCLUSIVE! * A DIEBOLD INSIDER SPEAKS!

DIEB-THROAT : Identifies U.S. Homeland Security 'Cyber Alert' Prior to '04 Election Warning Votes Can be 'Modified Remotely' via 'Undocumented Backdoor' in Central Tabulator Software!
In exclusive stunning admissions to The BRAD BLOG some 11 months after the 2004 Presidential Election, a "Diebold Insider" is now finally speaking out for the first time about the...
In exclusive stunning admissions to
The BRAD BLOG some 11 months after the 2004 Presidential Election, a "Diebold Insider" is now finally speaking out for the first time about the alarming security flaws within Diebold, Inc's electronic voting systems, software and machinery. The source is acknowledging that the company's "upper management" -- as well as "top government officials" -- were keenly aware of the "undocumented backdoor" in Diebold's main "GEM Central Tabulator" software well prior to the 2004 election. A branch of the Federal Government even posted a security warning on the Internet.Pointing to a little-noticed "Cyber Security Alert" issued by the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), a division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the source inside Diebold -- who "for the time being" is requesting anonymity due to a continuing sensitive relationship with the company -- is charging that Diebold's technicians, including at least one of its lead programmers, knew about the security flaw and that the company instructed them to keep quiet about it."Diebold threatened violators with immediate dismissal," the insider, who we'll call DIEB-THROAT, explained recently to The BRAD BLOG via email. "In 2005, after one newly hired member of Diebold's technical staff pointed out the security flaw, he was criticized and isolated."In phone interviews, DIEB-THROAT confirmed that the matters were well known within the company, but that a "culture of fear" had been developed to assure that employees, including technicians, vendors and programmers kept those issues to themselves.The "Cyber Security Alert" from US-CERT was issued in late August of 2004 and is still available online via the US-CERT website. The alert warns that "A vulnerability exists due to an undocumented backdoor account, which could [sic: allow] a local or remote authenticated malicious user [sic: to] modify votes."The alert, assessed to be of "MEDIUM" risk on the US-CERT security bulletin, goes on to add that there is "No workaround or patch available at time of publishing."

"Diebold's upper management was aware of access to the voter file defect before the 2004 election - but did nothing to correct it," the source explained.A "MEDIUM" risk vulnerability cyber alert is described on the US-CERT site as: "one that will allow an intruder immediate access to a system with less than privileged access. Such vulnerability will allow the intruder the opportunity to continue the attempt to gain privileged access. An example of medium-risk vulnerability is a server configuration error that allows an intruder to capture the password file."DIEB-THROAT claims that, though the Federal Government knew about this documented flaw, originally discovered and reported by BlackBoxVoting.org in August of 2004, they did nothing about it."I believe that top Government officials had an understanding with top Diebold officials to look the other way," the source explained, "because Diebold was their ace in the hole."But even DIEB-THROAT -- who says "we were brainwashed" by the company to believe such concerns about security were nonsense -- was surprised to learn that an arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security was well aware of this flaw, and concerned enough about it to issue a public alert prior to the election last year."I was aware of the Diebold security flaw and had heard about the Homeland Security Cyber Alert Threat Assessment website, so I went there and 'bingo,' there it was in black and white," the source wrote. "It blew me away because it showed that DHS, headed by a Cabinet level George Bush loyalist, was very aware of the 'threat' of someone changing votes in the Diebold Central Tabulator. The question is, why wasn't something done about it before the election?"The CEO of North Canton, Ohio-based Diebold, Inc., Walden O'Dell has been oft-quoted for his 2003 Republican fund-raiser promise to help "Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year." O'Dell himself was a high-level contributor to the Bush/Cheney '04 campaign as well as many other Republican causes."A very serious problem...one malicious person can change the outcome of any Diebold election" The voting company insider, who has also served as a spokesperson for the company in various capacities over recent years, admits that the "real danger" of this security vulnerability could have easily been exploited by a malicious user or an insider through remote access."I have seen these systems connected to phone lines dozens of times with users gaining remote access," said DIEB-THROAT. "What I think we have here is a very serious problem. Remote access using phone lines eliminates any need for a conspiracy of hundreds to alter the outcome of an election. Diebold has held onto this theory [publicly] for years, but Diebold has lied and has put national elections at risk. Remote access using this backdoor means that one malicious person can change the outcome of any Diebold election."The ability to connect to the system remotely by phone lines and the apparent lack of interest by Diebold to correct the serious security issue in a timely manner -- or at all -- would seem to be at odds with at least one of their Press Releases touting their voting hardware and software.In an October 31, 2003 Press Release as part of a publicity blitz to "sell" the new voting machines to the voters in the state of Maryland, Diebold Election Systems President Thomas W. Swidarski is quoted as follows in a section titled "Security Is Key":
Diebold has fine-tuned its computerized system so that it meets stringent security requirements. “We have independent verification that the Diebold voting system provides an unprecedented level of election security. This is crucial to maintaining the integrity of the entire voting process,” Swidarski added.Attempts by
The BRAD BLOG to get comment from Swidarski were passed to one of the Vice-Presidents at Diebold who has not returned our voice mail message.We did, however, hear back from Diebold Spokesperson David Bear of the PR firm Public Strategies. He was referred to us by several different Diebold offices as "the man to discuss voting machine issues with."Bear claimed to have never heard of the Cyber Alert issued by US-CERT and when told of it, refused to acknowledge it as anything more than "an unverified allegation.""One of the greatest threats our democracy has ever known"Our source expressed emphatically that future democratic elections in the United States are at stake and feels that the problem will not be corrected until Congressional action forces the company to do so."In my opinion Diebold's election system is one of the greatest threats our democracy has ever known, and the only way this will be exposed is with a Congressional investigation with subpoenas of not just Diebold officials but Diebold technicians."If our experience in discussing the matter with Bear, the man Diebold referred us to for all matters concerning voting machines, is any indication, then DIEB-THROAT may be correct. Even a Cyber Alert Bulletin issued by an official arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security more than a year ago was not enough to phase Diebold. At least not enough to even inform their public spokesperson about the matter, apparently."I don't know anything about it," Bear claimed when we asked about the Cyber Alert, and he refused to acknowledge there were anysecurity concerns about Diebold's Voting Machines or its GEMS Central Tabulator software.Over and over, by rote, he repeated in response to our questions: "The GEMS software has been used in hundreds of elections and there's never been a security issue."Bear says that "Diebold machines have never lost a single vote," but beyond that could not speak to the vulnerability issue since, he said, "I don't know what vulnerability they're referencing."We sent the link to the US-CERT Cyber Alert to Bear, but have not yet heard back from about it. He did, however, send us a copy of the well-worn Caltech/Massachusetts Institute of Technology report [PDF] analyzing the 2004 Presidential Election which, Bear pointed out in his Email, "concludes that the most improvement [in vote-counting and integrity over 2000] occurred when counties/states changed to touch screen systems."DIEB-THROAT was taken aback, but not wholly surprised, when we shared the comments from Bear denying knowledge of the "backdoor" security vulnerability in the GEMS software and his contention that there was nothing more than "allegations."The vulnerability, and the ability to "manipulate votes" occurs because the GEMS software uses the public Microsoft Access database software to store vote totals in a separate data file. And, as DIEB-THROAT explained, Access is "full of holes. There are so many ways to get into it."Because GEMS uses the Access database, "you can enter and manipulate the file without even entering into GEMS," our source said in response ot Bear's denials."GEMS sits on top of this database and it pretty much feeds information down to the database from GEMS. It's almost like you're on the first floor of your house and all of your operating equipment is in the basement so that anything that happens on the first floor ends up downstairs. Well, downstairs has a wide open door to it. So we're dumping all the votes downstairs and that's wide open to the rest of the computer system.""A culture of fear"In trying to understand why the U.S. Homeland Security Department's Cyber Alert didn't force Diebold to make fixes, patches or corrections quickly available for their software prior to -- or even since -- the '04 election, DIEB-THROAT repeated over and over that Diebold was simply "not concerned about security". "They don't have security solutions. They don't want them...They leave security policy issues up to the states. They've known about this for some time. They don't really care," the source said, comparing the security flaw to "leaving the front door at Fort Knox open." It's just "blatant sloppiness and they don't care."The versions of the GEMS Central Tabulation software listed on the US-CERT site are 1.17.7 and 1.18 and DIEB-THROAT says the same versions of the same software are still in use by States around the country and haven't had any fixes or patches applied to correct the problem.Diebold spokesman, Bear, was unable to confirm whether or not Diebold had updated its GEMS software in any way since the US-CERT Cyber Alert was released telling us only that "There's different versions of the software for different needs" and that he didn't know if patches, fixes or corrections were ever released by the company."There's always an evolution," Bear said. "Before any software can be used it's federally qualified and then certified by the states...Where different versions are running, I just don't know.""They're still at that same version number," DIEB-THROAT said. "A lot of our customers still have it and there's not been any patch....They really don't care about this sort of thing. They really don't. People may find it hard to believe...in other words [the company says] 'we'll give you a machine to vote on and the rest is up to you.""This is a very profit motivated company," the source continued, "they don't care what happens after the sale. Once they have the contract they've got the customer tied up pretty good."Initially DIEB-THROAT claims to have been "brainwashed" by the pervasive "company line" at Diebold, that all of the talk about security concerns and the possibility that someone could hack the vote was the talk of "conspiracy theorists". Apparently that was -- and is still is -- "the company line." But after one of Diebold's head technicians who works out of their McKinney, Texas facility confirmed the gaping security hole in the software to our source, it was understood that these concerns were for real."Up until his confirmation, I had heard it through the grapevine, as rumors and such, but he confirmed it for me. The lead technician who worked on the software, who has a Phd in mathematics and so forth, was saying that 'this problem exists!'"So why hasn't that technician, or anyone else from within the company spoken out until now?"This is a culture of fear. Really. Only because we were good friends did [the head technician] confide in me that these were problems that needed to be fixed," DIEB-THROAT said."They all knew..."In regards to possible remote access to the GEMS Central Tabulator by modem via phone lines, a way that hackers could easily and simply change the vote total information in the Access database, Diebold's official spokesman seemed to be similarly in denial even today.When we asked Bear whether or not the Central Tabulator is still accessible via modem in their machines, he first denied that it's even possible, telling us "the Central Tabulator isn't accessable via modem."When we pressed about whether or not there are still modem capabilities in the machines and software they sell, Bear admitted, "There is a modem capability, but it's up to a jurisdiction whether they wish to use it or not...I don't know of any jurisdiction that does that.""Oh, boy. Such lies," DIEB-THROAT said in response. "There are several jurisdications that use [the modem capabilities] in the machines...Probably one of the most robust users of modems is Prince Georges County in Maryland. They've used it in every election. I believe they started in 2000. And Baltimore County used them in the November election in 2004. Fulton County and Dekalb County in Georgia may have used them in 2004 as well."While we were unable to hear back in response to messages left with Election Officials at several of those offices prior to the publication of this article, a review of "Lessons Learned" after the November 2004 Election conducted by the Maryland state Board of Elections obtained by The BRAD BLOG, confirms that modems were used to access the GEMS Central Tabulator to send in information from precincts on Election Night.We are still reviewing the complete document, but amongst the findings in the report is that "the GEMS system froze several times during heavy modem transmitting periods requiring the system to be rebooted, which generated delays and prohibited BOE from receiving polling places' transmissions."As well, the report concludes, "Modem lines testing in polling place still problematic; need better coordination with school system."It also says that "7% of voting units deployed failed on Election Day" and that an additional 5% "were suspect based on the number of votes captured." The BRAD BLOG hopes to have a follow-up article in the coming days which looks in more detail at the full Maryland state Board of Elections report and the alarming rate of failure for Diebold Touch-Screen voting machines.

When we asked our source if they had any evidence to show that the security flaw described by the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security was actually exploited in the 2004 election, DIEB-THROAT told us only: "I wouldn't say I have evidence that it was exploited....only that it was known. To the feds, to state officials and to Diebold. They all knew. In spite of the gap they moved forward as normal...As if it didn't exist."

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The Silence of the Scams:

The Silence of the Scams:


Psychological Resistance to Facing Election Fraud

Diane Perlman, Ph.D.,
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
April 20, 2005


Few Americans know about the historic event that happened on January 6, 2005, the official date for counting electoral votes. For the first time since 1877, congressmembers challenged the electoral count. Representative Stephanie Tubbs-Jones of Ohio, accompanied by the lone senator, Barbara Boxer of California, led the challenge to the Ohio vote count. Although massive fraud was reported around the country, only Ohio was officially cited.

It is curious that an issue so profound and consequential is barely on the radar screens of most Americans, especially those who supported Kerry.

Though we are not certain of the actual outcome, statistically impossible discrepancies exist between results of exit polls and official counts in counties without paper trails. Also documented are patterns of anecdotes about corrupted procedures and accounts of strange behaviors, phenomena and illegal interventions in Ohio, New Mexico, Florida, Pennsylvania and other places. Many say there is fraud in every election, but there was far more in 2004 than in any previous year, and if the errors were random, about half would go in Kerry's favor. Virtually all went in Bush's favor.

But rather than demanding a thorough investigation, the many Americans seem eager to forget the incidents and put the election behind them, thus implicitly supporting such corruption. In my conversations, I observed that white, US born males were more emphatic about accepting the outcome and the futility of challenging it, while others were more willing to recognize being dominated and open to questioning what happened. White males may be more susceptible to obeying patriarchal authority, and the fish does not know it is swimming in the water. This difference was reflected in Congress. Women and members of the Congressional Black Caucus were most active. Representative John Conyers lead the investigation and press conferences, and women, Stephanie Tubbs Jones in the House and Barbara Boxer in the Senate led the historical challenge.

A Political Psychological Puzzlement

Under what conditions do millions of allegedly "free" people knowingly acquiesce to being deceived, dominated and deprived of their own political will? How is it that even those who were politically engaged for the first time resign themselves to an unjust fate, refusing even to consider what happened to our country? Why do progressive citizens actively dismiss and even malign a small group of courageous, devoted people working day and night on their behalf to uncover, calculate, analyze, and evaluate the extensive, varied forms of criminal sabotage that undermined their democracy? How are Americans becoming complacent with escalating fraudulent activity? In other words, how do so many people live with the knowledge that they have been tricked before, were just tricked again--and then submit to life under the power of those who tricked them?

Why were hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians out for days in the freezing cold, refusing to accept fraud, while Americans helplessly colluded with forces of domination? Granted, we face a conspiracy of silence in the media, a propaganda campaign discrediting exit polls (which are accurate in counties with paper trails and other countries), and a dismissal of those who challenge the vote as nuts, sore losers and "conspiracy theorists." Censorship, brainwashing and intimidation create an environment of passivity and fear in subtle yet powerful ways that keep the system going with the complicity of those who have been robbed.

Another significant reason, pointed out by readers commenting on an earlier version of this article, was that Yushchenko himself was bold and courageous about challenging the vote. Unlike Gore, who discouraged a challenge, and Kerry who backed down easily after Edwards promised to count every vote, Yushchenko, who was poisoned and scarred, provided a powerful model of leadership, inspiring his supporters to be brave as well. The Democratic Party itself, except for the few who lead the challenge, acted cowardly, hardly inspiring the public. Why should they rise to the challenge if their maligned leaders wimped out?

Another reason is that citizens of the Ukraine know their history of oppressive, deceptive government. Unlike Americans, they are not inclined to trust the integrity of their leaders and system, and hunger intensely for justice and the freedoms that we have enjoyed.

Even with these explanations, we must still wonder what is going on in the collective psyche that allows mass submission to the systematic and progressive usurpation of power.

The Dance of Domination

The psychology of electoral domination has two parts--what is being done to people and how they allow it.

Psychological techniques, used deliberately, allow many tricks to go unnoticed and unchallenged. For example, "mystification" is a plausible misrepresentation of reality in which forms of exploitation are presented as forms of benevolence. Like magic and the use of distraction, the issue of voting reform was manipulated and misrepresented, so people felt calmed by the illusion that the problems from the 2000 election were being corrected. In fact, the exact opposite is true. Elements of the Help America Vote Act, HAVA (a name as Orwellian as the Clear Skies Initiative, should be more accurately called "Hide America's Voting Anomalies"), includes intrusive identity checks, the introduction of the "provisional ballot" most of which were not counted, and the use of electronic voting machines. Each of these was brilliantly misused for the opposite intention--to corrupt and deny votes to Kerry in ways people wouldn't notice.

The subterfuge was successfully accomplished with use of censorship, illusion, distortion, brainwashing, propaganda, misinformation, disinformation, mystification, intimidation, shaming, and domination. As Bush might say, it was a "catastrophic success."

These techniques combine to form something like a collective hypnotic induction, which creates an illusion of a consensus that cannot be challenged. Few have the insight, training, or tools, to see through the manipulation. Even fewer have the courage to take on the challenge. For many, responses to domination may include disbelief, learned helplessness, psychic numbing, fear, cowardice, conformity, denial, cognitive laziness, avoidance, and submission to authority. These items are inter-related and the list is not exhaustive.

Before the psychological explanations, it is necessary to acknowledge a basic factor: the overwhelming ignorance of the facts. This can be exacerbated by a lack of desire to know the facts, and an avoidance of the awesome responsibility that comes with this knowledge. Of course if the facts were accurately reported in the mainstream media, the collective psychological climate would be conducive to a healthier public response. People accept fraud for reasons which may be conscious or unconscious. Some of the ways that they do this are described below.

Confusing Outcome with Process

Many don't want to deal with the corruption because they believe that challenging fraud won't change the outcome, so there's no point. This might be a self-fulfilling prophecy. It represents a kind of immature, black-and-white thinking, as the outcome is a separate issue from the process. Even if it doesn't affect the outcome, voter suppression is criminal.

Paradoxically, refusal to examine the process prevents discovery, which might change the outcome. The Ohio vote challenge required two-hour debates in the House and Senate. Most Democrats who supported the challenge, emphatically stated that they didn't expect it to change the outcome, as if they were intimidated into making that point first or they would be ridiculed and dismissed. Most Republicans ignored their actual words and made emotional, even hysterical accusations of them not accepting the outcome, being sore losers, and worse. Republicans ignored the issue of voter suppression and praised Kerry highly for not making a big deal out of this.

Numbers, Imagery and Perceptions

People believe that Bush won by 3,500,000 votes--a margin too large to challenge, compared to Gore's 500,000. They are not aware of the long list of dirty tricks, and knowing of one or two, don't believe they can add up to 3,500,000. To bring the popular vote to a tie, it only has to add up to half that, 1,750,000, or an average of 35,000 votes per state, Correcting for Ohio's fraud could change the electoral vote. People may believe subliminally that even if Ohio went to Kerry, the difference in the popular vote is too great. The report of the Conyers Committee may be the best single summary that we have at this time to suggest estimates of the numbers affected.

Ignorance of Extent of Dirty Tricks

If people knew about the amount and extent of dirty tricks, 3,500,000, or 1,750,000 may not seem so insurmountable. Some of the tricks documented include throwing out of Democrat voter registration forms, broken machines, misplaced machines, machine errors, reduced numbers of machines in Black and predominantly Democratic areas, less than in 2002, causing long lines, unmailed absentee ballots, absentee ballots requesting 86 cents, insufficient postage, which were returned, certification of more votes than registered voters in some areas, reversal of percentages of registered Democrats and votes for Bush in many counties, modem connected voting machines and tabulators, different standards for provisional ballot recounts in different areas, many provisional ballots, also called “placebo ballots”, not counted at all, voting machines defaulting to a Bush or 'jumping' by recording a vote for Bush when Kerry's button was pushed, phony companies registering voters and then tearing up the registrations of Democrats but not Republicans, exit polls not corresponding with reported votes in counties with no paper trail, while exit polls matched reported votes in counties with paper trails, voting elections officials creating what look like phony election machine poll tapes and tossing original, signed tabulations in the garbage, people posing as technicians coming in and tampering with machines, Republicans posing as Democrats, a lock down, refusing to let observers in, with the excuse of terrorist alert to observe the counting of votes in a country in Ohio, misinformation about the date and location of voting in Black neighborhoods, threats of arrest for voters with traffic tickets or any record, unusual discrepancies between numbers of votes for Kerry and Democratic candidates on same ticket, and widespread refusal of media to report on any of these, and a media campaign trashing exit poll data with made up reasons. And these are just the ones we know about.

Discomfort with Numbers

The best evidence for fraud in the 2004 election is statistical, according to Josh Mitteldorf of Temple University's Statistics Department. Many are uncomfortable with numerical and statistical science that quantifies judgments about likelihood. For example, statistician Dr. Steve Friedman of University of Pennsylvania, and graduate of MIT found that the discrepancy between exit polls and the actual vote count in each of three states, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, is 1 in 1,000,000, but the likelihood of all three states being discrepant in the same direction is 1 in 250,000,000. What people heard in the news was a smear campaign invalidating the credibility of exit polls, even though they are considered highly accurate, are used in many countries as indicators of fraud, and that exit polls in counties with a paper trail matched the official vote count, and in counties where there was no paper trail and evidence of computer irregularities, the official count was different than the exit polls and always favored Bush. They even made up fake reasons for this discrepancy regarding response bias--which did not exist where there were paper trails.

Disbelief

Many people don't believe the allegations of fraud because they didn't read about it in the New York Times or hear it on CNN. (The only mainstream media to report it was Keith Olberman on Countdown, MSNBC.) We might wonder about the media censorship on this story and intentions to promote disbelief in the populous, in addition to ignorance.

Conformity and Herd Mentality

Because of the media blackout, ignorance, and emotional tone of reporting, Americans have a false perception of consensus about objective reality. The majority conforms to this misperception and most do not have the psychological make-up to challenge the status quo. The few that are courageously addressing this are not heard, or else they are severely shamed, ridiculed and viciously accused of causing problems. Thus, even the thought of questioning is suppressed.

Learned Helplessness

Psychologist Martin Seligman's theory of learned helplessness explains how when one's repeated actions have no effect, people learn that what they do doesn't make a difference and give up, even in situations where they can potentially make a difference. People worked hard on this election and believe that they lost. They are burned out. They feel all their hard work, time, energy and money didn't help so they don't want to deal with it. Learned helplessness is also associated with elevation of levels of cortisol and immune suppression--suggesting it is ultimately not adaptive or healthy to give up. Conversely, taking action in the face of injustice is a sign of health, enhanced immune response and can be an antidote to depression.

Cowardice

It is reasonable to fear sticking one's neck out and challenging the powers that be. There may be legitimate reasons to be afraid of individual action, but this becomes part of the problem and rewards domination. As long as people remain silent and isolated from one another, we don't realize the safety implicit in concerted collective action. The safety in numbers can reduce fear.

Denial and Psychic Numbing

We are comforted with the belief that our leaders are good people who are protecting us. Many decent, well-meaning people believe the best about our system of government and democracy and can't believe that corruption is going on. It is frightening, unsettling, and intolerable for many Americans to question these core beliefs about our leaders and to accept the reality of extensive fraud. Also, ignorance is bliss, but for the moment, and knowledge implies responsibility, which may be feared and avoided.

Denial and numbing--not knowing and not feeling--protect us from this painful awareness in the present, but they cannot protect us from the real effects of these hidden realities which render us vulnerable to increasing domination and danger in the long term.

If one is in an impossible situation, these habits serve as survival mechanisms to avoid the pain of awareness. However, if one can do something to make a difference, then psychic numbing and denial are maladaptive.

Submission to Authority

The thought of challenging powerful, dominating authority with the prospect of losing is overwhelming. Increasing authoritarianism reinforces this dynamic in gradual, subtle ways. Some may also be afraid of challenging a president during a war and falsely believe it will harm national security.

Political Egocentrism

Many feel that there is no action that they can personally take on this level. It is too big for them, so they don't even seek out information or support or value the work that others are doing on their behalf.

Avoidance and Compartmentalization

People want to retreat, to focus on their own survival, family, daily life and pleasure, which are manageable. They are less focused on the scary bigger picture. This is completely understandable and even enviable. Furthermore, those struggling with high unemployment, lower wages, and other hardships created by the Bush administration are too preoccupied with their survival issues to pay attention to politics. In this way, disempowerment of certain segments of the population works to the administration's advantage.

The Spiral of Silence

I am grateful to readers of an earlier version for informing me about Elizabeth Noelle-Neumann's theory, The Spiral of Silence, which describes the spread of public opinion. All of the elements described above can be understood as interacting and potentiating this spiral. It refers to perceptions of public opinion, and when people perceive themselves to be in the minority, their sense of pressure to conformity, fear of isolation and the tendency to conceal one's views, and the role of the mass media in fueling this spiral.

Evolution, Adaptation and Survival

All of these reactions are understandable, but all become part of the problem. In the short run, they may minimize pain, but in the long run they are counterproductive and serve to magnify and multiply problems that are not being faced. Such avoidance mechanisms are not adaptive, as they play into the game of the destructive forces, allowing them to dominate. The continuation of the processes of systematic domination requires the ignorance, passivity and complicity of the majority of decent people, including the millions who supported Kerry. These people are colluding with their own domination.

The Courageous Minority

The reactions listed above are completely natural. Carl Jung said that consciousness is a work against nature. To go against the collective tide of ignorance, conformity and cowardice is a work against nature taken on by the courageous few. This collective, archetypal drama described by Jung was popularized by Joseph Campbell in The Hero's Journey. The Hero is the one who is willing to take on challenges that most people fear. According to Jung, the hero archetype represents the progressive force in society.

The people I have witnessed working intensely to investigate and challenge voter fraud have a particular psychological profile. They are courageous and willing to face pain and fear. They call up their strength to challenge authority, as our lives, our freedom and democracy depend on it. They are unable to deny what is going on or remain silent. They are heroes in our mythical, archetypal Hero's journey, willing to face the dragons that are guarding our "National Treasure."

They are acknowledged in a piece by William Rivers Pitt called "Heroes" on Truthout.org. Pitt quotes Bob Dylan: "I think of a hero as someone who understands the degree of responsibility that comes with his freedom."

Only by facing the pain can we transcend it. Consciousness is the first step. Action is an antidote to depression. It would be a sign of health, freedom, and conscious evolution if more people could muster up the courage to face the painful truth of what is happening in our country and support the great work of those courageous souls--who are not nuts or conspiracy theorists, but evolved, conscious, healthy leaders taking personal risks and sacrifices to elevate our democracy, restore our integrity and ultimately to increase our security on the world stage ... if we let them.

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Some Links for Detailed Accounts of Voter Fraud

For a proper psychological understanding of suppression, it is necessary to recognize the quantity and quality of information being suppressed. The extent of fraud and ignorance of it are mind-boggling. Below are some links with detailed information.

Links for detailed information about voter fraud
http://www.auditthevote.org/briefing.jsp

A Guide to Ohio and New Mexico Recounts: Statistical Anomalies and Evidence of Voting Machine Malfunction and Fraud in the 2004 Presidential Election January 5, 2005
By: Audit the Vote and Help America Recount

http://www.helpamericarecount.org/election.html
Analysis of 2004 Election Irregularities

http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/123004B.shtml
TV Networks Officially Refuse to Release Exit Poll Raw Data
By Gary Beckwith, The Columbus Free Press, 22 December 2004

http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0103-32.htm
Thom Hartmann in "Dialing for Democracy--Now Is Critical, January 3, 2005, CommonDreams.org

http://nightweed.com/usavotefacts.html
20 Amazing Facts About Voting in the USA

http://www.votersunite.org/info/mapflyer2004.htm
Partial list of incidents reported in the news

http://www.freepress.org/departments/display/19/2005/1065
by Bob Fitrakis, Steve Rosenfeld and Harvey Wasserman

Spiral of Silence Chapter
http://www.afirstlook.com/archive/spiral.cfm?source=archther

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An earlier version of this article appeared in Newtopia Magazine, April 16, 2005,
with © Newtopia Magazine.
http://www.newtopiamagazine.net/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=12
Modifications were subsequently made by the author.