Saturday, December 18, 2010

ARCHIVES: Press Release on Voter March Grassroots Group, April 15, 2001

PRESS RELEASE    
Contacts:
Louis Posner, Esq.   
New York Headquarters

212-492-5175

chairman@votermarch.org
Bob Rogers             Wash DC Metro
703-620-0625

dc@votermarch.org
Anne Keith  Media – East Coast
804-760-0296

Media@votermarch.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

The Internet’s Fastest Growing Grassroots Group 
New York, NY-- Voter March, a grassroots group formed in the response to the debacle of the 2000 election has logged over one million hits to its Website (http://web.archive.org/web/20070917115303/http://www.votermarch.org/).  Part of the growing Pro-Democracy movement, Voter March has built an online community of activist members. There are more than 60 state and local chapters of Voter March, many of which are several hundred strong.  Membership in Voter March email lists and egroups is currently over 10,000 individuals, with more people joining every day.  Linked to thousands of websites throughout the Internet, Voter March is the fastest-growing grassroots group in the country.

Voter March is the organization that staged the very successful Inaugural Day Voter March in DC’s Dupont Circle on January 20 of this year and is the organizer of the Voter Rights March to Restore Democracy planned for May 19, 2001 in Washington D.C. and San Francisco. Information about both events can be found at the Voter March website, http://web.archive.org/web/20070917115303/http://www.votermarch.org/ and for the West Coast at http://web.archive.org/web/20070917115303/http://www.voterwest.org/.

An Internet-based advocacy group founded in November of 2000, Voter March is not funded or controlled by any other organization. Voter March organizers are all volunteers, donating their time and skills to the cause.  The Voter March platform calls for critically needed voting and electoral reforms.  The chairman and founder is Louis Posner, a New York City attorney listed in "Who's Who in America."  Robert Rogers of Virginia, a retired aviation test pilot, is Vice Chairman and a founding member.

ARCHIVES: Press Release for Voter Rights March, May 19, 2001

PRESS RELEASE    
Contacts:
Louis Posner, Esq.   
New York Headquarters

212-492-5175

chairman@votermarch.org
Bob Rogers             Wash DC Metro
703-620-0625

dc@votermarch.org
Anne Keith  Media – East Coast
804-760-0296

Media@votermarch.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

Grassroots Group to Demand Voting Reform at Bi-Coastal Event
New York, NY and San Francisco, CA -- On Saturday, May 19, 2001, individuals from coast to coast will gather for the Voter Rights March to Restore Democracy.  There will be an East Coast march/rally in Washington, DC and a West Coast in San Francisco, California. The DC event will be held at the West Capitol steps and adjacent area of the National Mall including First to Third Streets from 12:00 noon to 5:30 pm (ET).  At 12:00 noon there will be a circular march past from the West Capital steps past the U.S. Supreme Court, followed by speakers and entertainers at 1:00 pm.  West Coast marchers will gather at Justin Hermann Plaza at 10am and march to the Civic Center Plaza for a rally from noon until 4:00pm (PT).  The purpose of the march is to demand critically needed voting reforms, to call for a full investigation of the irregularities in the 2000 election, and to protest the illegitimate President's service to the right wing agenda during his first 120 days in office.  Political commentators will share the stage with prominent activists and entertainers voicing their outrage over the latest presidential election.  The event is sponsored by Voter March, a grassroots group formed in the response to the debacle of the last presidential election. Part of the growing Pro-Democracy movement, Voter March is an entirely volunteer organization that staged the very successful Inaugural Day Voter March in DC’s Dupont Circle on January 20 of this year.   Information about both events can be found at the Voter March website, www.votermarch.org. 
     “We expect the crowd on May 19 to be as diverse as the one at the inaugural protest—male, female, old, young, gay, straight, black, white-- many of them ‘first-time’ protesters,” says Voter March Chairman Louis Posner.  “The indignation over the Supreme Court's highly partisan decisions is wide-spread and cuts across all social lines.  Voter March continues to grow as more and more people commit to ensuring that the rights of voters can never again be trampled on.” 
     As with the January protest, there will be bus convoys to the DC event from New York, Philadelphia, Houston, Cincinnati, Minneapolis and many other cities.  The San Francisco event will have large groups traveling from Los Angeles, San Diego, Seattle, Phoenix, Nevada and many other Western cities. 
     As part of the May 19 events, Voter March will present a platform calling for a Voters' Bill of Rights that includes: 
1)      Strict enforcement and extension of the Voting Rights Act, to prevent the disenfranchisement of voters, and full investigation and prosecution of offenders; 
2)      User- friendly voting, requiring funding to replace old and unreliable machines to ensure that every vote is counted fairly and accurately;
3)      Establishment of real campaign finance reform and restrict the use of "soft" money campaign contributions;
4)      Abolishment of the Electoral College and its replacement with a majority rule election, or substantial reform of the electoral system to allow for proportional representation;
5)      Increasing voter participation in elections by eliminating bureaucratic hurdles, registering citizens to vote and reducing the voter apathy that results in half of the eligible population not voting. 
     The Voter Rights March will also be protesting Bush's right wing agenda that is drastically turning back gains in environmental protection, separation of church and state, world peace initiatives and other civil rights and social issues. 
     An internet-based grassroots advocacy group founded in November of 2000, Voter March is not funded or controlled by any other organization. Voter March organizers are all volunteers.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

ARCHIVES: M19 - A Report from the Voter Rights March

M19 - A Report from the Voter Rights March, Democratic Underground
May 22, 2001
by William Rivers Pitt


"You can't stop a rooster from crowing once the sun is up, and the sun done come up." - Old folk saying
 
The train jarred to a stop in the station as a wet dawn peeled across the sky above Washington, D.C. I rose groggily from the cramped, lotus-like ball I had been trying to sleep in for the last ten hours, gathered up my bag, and walked into the cavernous emptiness of Union Station. My head was thumping sickly as I collected my wits; in order to ensure a quiet night of rest, I had medicated myself with several beers and a healthy dollop of Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum. Sometimes the cure is worse than the disease.

When I had first boarded the train at 8:30 pm in Boston the night before, I had figured on a long, lonely trip down to D.C. I had not been five minutes in my seat, however, when I heard a snatch of conversation from the seats in front of me: "...saw the VoterMarch website a few weeks ago, and knew I had to come."

I lurched over the headrest and introduced myself. Here were Laura and Adam, taking the same journey for the same reasons as I was. Laura, in fact, had been in Washington for the inauguration with the 30,000 other protesters who had been so assiduously ignored by the media. Laura and Adam were perfectly normal people. They were not pierced, purple-haired anarchists. Adam worked for Sun Microsystems, and Laura was out from Colorado on a tech-work contract that would keep her in Boston a year. They both could have passed for accountants in any city in America. This was, I felt, a very good sign. I reasoned that it would be harder for the media to ignore a protest driven by ordinary citizens.

Laura, Adam and I wandered into the bowels of Union Station on the morning of May 19th in search of a cup of coffee. This proved to be a hard nut to make. The place was deserted, all food shops closed. We finally found a barbecue joint run by an early-rising Korean family, and as we sipped their potent brew, we talked about why we were here.

The Voter Rights March to Restore Democracy had several specific purposes behind its inception: to bring attention to the fact that the November election was a catastrophe and that election reform is a moral American imperative, to point out that some 180,000 votes have yet to be recounted in Florida despite a requirement for same inked into the books of the Sunshine State's laws, to cast a glaring light upon the scurrilous actions taken by the United States Supreme Court on December 13, 2000, to shout as loudly as possible that George W. Bush is not President because he was selected and not elected, and lastly to remind all who would listen that Albert Gore, Jr. is the rightful President of the United States for good or ill.

This is a long laundry list of grievances, but underneath it all is a motivation that harkens back to the days before the voting reform laws passed in 1964. At the bottom, the Voter Rights March was about protecting the basic American right to vote, and about ensuring that all the votes which are cast are counted fairly and equally. If this seems like a reactionary and foolish platform, bear in mind that by the end of this day, May 19th, I would meet a dozen people from Florida who believed their votes had not been counted. The hurt and anger in their eyes was fresh and electric; after 157 days they had not "gotten over it," and were I to make a bet, I would confidently put money on the idea that they never, ever would.

I have participated in many protests in the last ten years. In 1991 I was marching against the Gulf War, shouting with swollen throat into the face of an 80% approval rating for that ill-conceived massacre. I marched against General Electric with those who were getting screwed by that company's pension fund, which is swollen with millions of dollars earned by everyday workers who see little of it after 30 years of service. I marched to protest the execution of Gary Graham on the eve of the 2000 election.

This gathering in Washington on May 19th, however, was something else entirely. The other protests I had participated in had been focused on a specific, narrow grievance - a war, a company, the death penalty. This march was focused upon the fact that a basic and fundamental American right had been abrogated, and because of this, a man had been installed in the White House who had not won the election. Nothing like this had ever happened in all of American history, and the fact that ordinary American citizens were compelled to come to Washington, D.C. from as far away as Alaska, California and Minnesota on May 19th in defense of the simple right to vote exposes the degree of rage that lingers in the electorate.

Laura, Adam and I came out of Union Station at 7:30 am and headed for Lafayette Park under a sky heavy with rain. We walked down Pennsylvania Avenue, passing the building holding the Department of Labor, whose steps were laden with homeless men huddled against the wet. We passed the Federal Courthouse, and I mentioned that the last time I had come to this city, in 1998, the front of that building had been crowded with reporters covering some aspect of the Clinton trials. We passed the headquarters for the FBI, housed in a building owned by Reverend Moon, and I wondered aloud how many more boxes of undisclosed McVeigh documents were still hidden behind those walls. Behind us, the Capitol dome loomed above the street. We would be seeing it again soon enough, when the March arrived at the western steps.

When we finally arrived in front of the White House, my heart sank. There were a few early-bird high school groups, and the anti-nuclear protest station that had been in place since 1981 squatted eternally in the Park, but beyond that I counted a meager collection of six Voter March participants. Most of them were 'Fringe Folk,' members of a group that had created a clearinghouse for protest announcements at www.FringeFolk.com. I would later be informed that the definition of 'Fringe' according to these people was defined by Bush, who claimed that the only people who opposed him were "on the fringe."

I made myself busy for the next couple of hours as the Park began to fill with protesters. I introduced myself to Democratic activists from Kansas, Pennsylvania and Arizona. I helped construct a sound stage where speeches would be delivered around noon. I snapped pictures of signs and banners that began to wave in the swelling crowd. Somewhere along the way I lost track of Adam and Laura, though I occasionally spotted them in the crowd.

I must have spoken to 50 people before 10:00 am, and I was impressed by the amount of information they possessed. This crew was not a bunch of young reactionaries simply looking for a reason to shout. The median age of the gathering was about 40, and they all knew exactly why they were there.

I would start a sentence about ChoicePoint, and they would finish my sentence with specified statistics on exactly how many Florida voters had been blown off the rolls before the election. I would say, "The Bush energy policy." and eight people would turn to finish my thought, using phrases like "money laundering" and "campaign contributor payoffs." I felt like I was sitting in my living room conversing with 100 manifestations of my own brain. I have never been quite so comfortable in the company of strangers. Even my 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas' t-shirt drew compliments, proving to me that these people had read the right books.
The speeches began around 11:30 am. By this time the crowd numbered in the hundreds, and more buses were arriving each minute. We heard from Lou Posner, one of the central organizers of the march, who looked like a blue-suited roadie for Crosby, Stills & Nash, but had the eyes of an assassin with his mark in the gunsight. We heard from Bob Kuntz of OralMajorityOnline.com, who declared his candidacy for the governorship of Florida and delineated all the reasons why Jeb Bush had to go. We heard from a woman who had been an observer during the recount, and she bore witness to the mob action and calumny that motivated this march.

Soon enough, the moment arrived. The signs and banners were hoisted, and the crowd formed into a long column as we began our march to the Capitol steps. I took a spot at the vanguard, just behind the main Voters Rights March banner and next to an elderly group bearing a loud sign that read, "WWII Veterans Against Bush." An older woman with a bullhorn became the chant leader; she looked and sounded like a union organizer with many marches under her belt. In front of us all, a man bore a huge American flag, and another man made sure that none of us marched in front of it. The flag was to be first.

As we passed the White House I found my voice, and raised a bull-throated roar that quoted the title of the column I wrote back in December: "Not my President! Not my President! Not my President!" As I howled, I pointed a fist at the residence, where the usurper lived in illegitimate splendor. The chant was picked up by those around me, and as we passed the Treasury building it was being shouted by everyone in the march. I paused to look at the mass of people behind me. I am no good at counting crowds, but it seemed clear that the six who began the morning had swelled into the thousands. Traffic stopped around us as our police escort led us slowly towards the Capitol. Many of the drivers we had slowed with our procession beeped and waved, drawing a cheer from the marchers.

Some of the chants heard on the street:
"Gore got more!"
"We'll move on when he moves out!"
"Cocaine conservative!" (another one of mine)
"George was AWOL!" (shouted whenever we saw people in uniform)
"Jail to the thief!" "Investigate the fraud!"
"Where's the Washington Post?!"
"Never forgive, never forget!" (me again)
"Count all the votes!"
"This is democracy!"
"Shame on the court!"

The march passed the Department of Justice, where we paused and shouted for an investigation of the Florida vote. We circled the Supreme Court and heaped vitriol upon those who had broken faith with the American people by selecting a President before the votes were counted. Every step of the way we were photographed by tourists, some of whom were gape-mouthed at the fact that there were still people angry about the election. Not one person, however, gave us the finger or shouted us down, a testament to the hope that America knows full well that all is not right with its election process.

We arrived at the steps of the Capitol around 2:00 pm sweaty, sore-voiced, but not nearly finished. Lou Posner addressed the crowd again, warming us up for the speakers to come. Among the crowd was a lone figure in a brown cowboy hat, a pot bellied man with a mustache and sweat-stains growing under his armpits. He held aloft a Bush/Cheney sign and tried to shout down the speakers, but was himself shouted down by the marchers around him. After a little while he disappeared. Before us, the Capitol was festooned with more tourists, many of whom clapped and cheered as the speakers berated the Democrats in Congress for failing to call for investigations into the election. Once this Bush supporter was gone, we were alone among the faithful, unmolested by any GOP supporters.

Darting through the crowd was a cameraman for CNN, and the march organizers did their best to give him clear shots of the crowd and the signs they carried. I wondered to myself if the images he was capturing would ever find their way onto a news broadcast. I had my doubts.

After a number of speakers got the crowd's juices flowing, a man in his 60s walked slowly to the microphone and began speaking in a quiet voice. His name was Ronnie Duggar, founder of The Alliance for Democracy, and he had spoken at Dupont Circle during the inauguration protests in January. As he spoke, the crowd hushed, for surely there was power in his diminutive frame. I had a mini tape recorder with me, and I held it aloft to record his speech. I cannot begin to give you the electricity his words gave the crowd with these simple, typed sentences. But I would be remiss if I did not share them with you, for they were the best I have yet heard. They burned. Here are some slices of his most notable comments, re-created to the best of my abilities from my tape recorder:

"After the secret, four-month Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, a matron of that city approached Benjamin Franklin afterwards, and asked what they had produced. 'A republic, if you can keep it,' Franklin said. Well, we haven't kept it. We've lost it. George W. Bush and his lawyers, led by the crafty James Baker III and five members of the Supreme Court, who invented a Constitutional right for the occasion, have usurped from the people the right to choose the President of the United States. The judges overthrew the government by selecting the President themselves, 5-4, rather than let events take their constitutional course."
 
"When Governor Bush was sworn in by Chief Justice Renquist of the court that had stolen it for him, the government itself was seized in a judicial and presidential coup de'tat."
"Congress and the presidency had already been de-legitimized across the past 20 years by the triumph of uncontrolled campaign finance corruption over the common good. Now, in Bush v. Gore, the Supreme Court de-legitimized itself and the court system arrayed below it. This is no longer a respectable government, because we've lost the only three branches of government we've got. We've lost our entire government to a corporate oligarchy that now governs us without our permission."
"The only basis for democratic legitimacy is the consent of the governed. The presidency has been seized, therefore the government has been seized. What does it mean to realize that your government is illegitimate? What does it mean? What do we do? We have lost the very authority of law for our everyday lives. What Bush damaged when he accepted the presidency was much more than our politics, much more than our democratic self-esteem. He made a mockery of our most fundamental agreement to respect and obey the law the government passes, to co-operate with the government, because it is ours."

"We will label these four years of Bush illegitimacy as the Lawless Years, the tyranny in American history, the Tyrannical Interlude. We trust that George II will not be succeeded by George III, throwing us right back to where we were in 1775, because we are men and women and students on fire with controlled anger and we refuse to consent!" 

Mr. Duggar went on in this vein for some time, his voice quivering with rage as he lashed the crowd with his words. The cheering swelled to a roar as he called upon us never to name Bush president. Call him Governor among friends and family, at the bar or at work, Duggar asked, and in this daily act of dissent spread the word that the fight is not over, will never be over, until the man not duly elected is cast from the White House like so much refuse. Duggar called for the organization of a multi-faceted group, based upon the framework of the old Rainbow Coalition, whose cause will be the re-invigoration of democracy and the reformation of American voting rights.

Duggar concluded his remarks quietly with a solemn invocation: "When we're ready, we'll start things up again as the new American Democracy, the new American Revolution, democracy and justice at last more nearly realized among us. And then we can whisper to each other, and to ourselves, 'Yes...the new American Democracy.'"
 
The speeches and music went on into the afternoon. I worked my way through the crowds, meeting, networking, getting and giving information. As the sun got lower in the sky I felt the quakings of exhaustion in my legs, and shouldered my pack to leave. As I made my way back to Union Station, I considered everything I had seen and heard.

I was reminded of an interview I had seen on television once. A musician was talking about the first Velvet Underground album ever released. The album sold only about 2,000 copies, this musician said, but everyone who bought it went out and started a band. I think this Voter Rights March will have the same effect.
We did not shut down Washington, D.C., and I doubt our number rose above 3,000 people. But each and every person who came, those from New Jersey, California, Alaska, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Florida, Oregon, New York, Virginia, Kansas, Colorado and Arizona to name a few, will all return home knowing they are not alone. They will become active within their sphere, and if we come back together in a year, our numbers will have certainly grown. Big storms gather around small particles, and there were thunderclouds on the brow of all present on May 19th.

This is only the beginning. I awoke at 12:17am that night to the voice of the conductor announcing the train's arrival in Boston. I had covered some 1,200 miles in just over 24 hours, and my body was at the end of its reserves. I gathered my stuff and reeled into the street to find a taxi.

A 50 year old cabbie who looked like some strange hybrid between Elvis and Johnny Cash let me sit in the front seat. He asked where I was coming from, and I told him D.C. He asked what I was doing there. I feared becoming engaged in an argument about politics in my weakened state, and chose only to tell him I had attended "some protest thing."

He turned his head sharply towards me. "I hope you was protesting Bush," he said. "That bastard is bad news."

Comments? Contact the author at w_pitt@hotmail.com.

code PZS4XEFVQK5X

Sunday, November 21, 2010

ARCHIVES: `Rent-a-Mobs' Descend on D.C. (January 20, 2001)

`Rent-a-Mobs' Descend on D.C

Insight on the News, Feb 12, 2001 by James D. Harder

The throngs of demonstrators at Bush inaugural events were not just students or young adults, but seasoned professionals who make protesting their full-time jobs.

While the U.S. Secret Service was setting up sniper posts and checkpoints along Pennsylvania Avenue, Teresa Gutierrez was making posters and arranging housing for the waves of protesters expected to sweep over Washington to harass the inauguration of George W. Bush. Gutierrez, a 50-year-old from New York City, came to Washington two weeks early to help get things ready for well-orchestrated protests.
Today's demonstrators aren't just students and twenty somethings flying by the seats of their pants. Many are seasoned professionals who are part of a fine-tuned, technologically savvy protest machine that is backed by labor unions and individual financial sponsors.

Gutierrez has been a staff member with the New York-based International Action Center (IAC) since its inception in 1992. Coming to Washington early gave her the opportunity to arrange housing, poster-painting venues, bus parking and other necessities for the tens of thousands of protesters who were being recruited to give Bush a black eye. The IAC has had so much practice organizing protests this year that critics have begun calling it "Rent-a-Mob." Two political conventions last summer, and high-profile protests in Prague and Washington state, have helped create a highly professional organization.

And, for Gutierrez, the inauguration was an opportunity to vent what she admits is hatred. "Being originally from Texas, I hate Bush," Gutierrez says, citing his policies on the death penalty and gays and lesbians. "He's not likely to be concerned about most of the stuff the IAC is concerned with," she tells Insight. She admits it is too soon to know what Bush will do as president but, like many of the protesters, she's already made up her mind. "The inauguration protests are not going to be the end of this struggle. January 20 is just the beginning of the fight against the Bush administration."

The IAC had been hard at work setting up 50 organizing sites across the country. Sarah Sloan, an IAC staff organizer, tells Insight that some unions in New York City subsidized bus charters so that low-wage workers could travel to the demonstrations -- including Local 1199 of the National Union of Health Care Workers, the biggest union in the city. "They're subsidizing their members to go on our buses," says Sloan, who added that other unions around the nation had set up similar programs. "There are 450 groups who have endorsed our call to action," Sloan adds.

But not all the protesters who came out on Inauguration Day were in the nation's capital to rain on Bush's parade. Loud Citizen is a Web-based creation of computer programmer Kevin Conner, who in November organized rallies in 300 cities to protest Democratic Party resistance to the Florida election returns favoring Bush. Conner led a "Patriot's March" on Jan. 20. Billed as a rally, not a protest, the marchers convened on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court to hear addresses by David Horowitz, the best-selling author and director of the Los Angeles-based Center for Popular Culture; Isabel Lyman, author of The Homeschooling Revolution; the Rev. Jesse Peterson, a radio talk-show host; and Chuck Muth, president of C-Four Communications.

The Christian Defense Coalition, founded by the Rev. Pat Mahoney, also held an Inauguration Day rally, urging Bush to rescind executive orders favorable to abortion that had been signed by President Clinton almost immediately after taking power from Bush pere.

But conservatives were a relatively small part of the street theatrics. The overwhelming number of signs and banners displayed by protesters and demonstrators at the inaugural ceremonies resembled those seen during the left-wing demonstrations at the Republican and Democratic nominating conventions last summer, protesting everything from the death penalty to environmentalism. However, there was no question the issues that brought out most of the protesters were spun directly from the wheel of Democratic Party politics.
"Initially we came together because we wanted them to count every vote. We felt that people had been disenfranchised down in Florida," says Teresa Ward, a spokeswoman for Democracy March. Like many other protesters, Ward and her group are pushing for campaign-finance reform and complaining about the Electoral College. They also share another characteristic with other protest groups that converged on Washington -- the claim that they sprang full blown from the brow of the Internet.

With political parties, special interests and labor unions spending large sums to organize and communicate over the Internet, it is not surprising that it has become the principal tool for strategic communication and mobilization of protest activism. Ideas are presented in affinity chat rooms until there are enough activists to start an email list. Soon a Webpage appears and the organization is under way. Voter March also claims to have been formed in this way. Lou Posner, a founding member of the group, tells Insight it arose spontaneously on the Web a week after Election Day.

"We were formed as a grass-roots organization in response to election irregularities and problems," says Posner. Voter March played a key role in organizing the main protest rally on Inauguration Day, acting as an umbrella organization for hundreds of smaller groups from across the country. They started at 10 a.m. with a rally at Dupont Circle in Northwest Washington before heading through the city on a three-mile march. Posner claimed his group is more mainstream than many of the others in his penumbra, but assured in the days leading up to the inauguration that marchers would be peaceful. "We're taking a pretty strong position that everything we're going to do is going to be legal and lawful," Posner told Insight.

With more than a dozen law-enforcement agencies committed to maintaining security, the authorities weren't taking any chances. For the first time the inauguration was designated a "national special security event," putting the Secret Service in overall charge. Serving under it for the inauguration were the U.S. Capitol Police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Park Police, the Supreme Court Police, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Washington Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), and extra forces from Maryland and Virginia.

"We'll have officers in the field and along the parade route, and we've also asked for anywhere from 1,200 to 1,400 officers from other jurisdictions to join us on the parade route," said Sgt. Joseph Gentile, director of public-relations for the MPD. The MPD force was the flagship organization heading into the inauguration, with all of its 3,600 officers on duty.

The Secret Service and other law-enforcement agencies used mountain bikes to keep tabs on the protesters. According to Shaughn Roettele, a mechanic with Revolution Cycle, a Washington bike shop, the most popular police bikes are made by Trek. He and several other mechanics at the shop were busy putting together an order of 15 of the $2,000 bikes for the Secret Service three days before the inauguration. Bikes have been an increasingly popular mode of transportation for law-enforcement agencies and have proved effective in keeping ahead of protesters. Saturday's parade route saw most of the law-enforcement agencies using the two-wheeled machines to cruise the parade route.

Not to be caught off guard by the crowds, the police didn't limit their efforts only to personnel and transportation. To the disappointment of tourists, about five miles of chain-link fencing six-feet high was erected near the Lincoln Memorial for the opening ceremonies and on large portions of The Mall. In a bold move that confirmed the security presence, people were required to pass through security checkpoints to attend the inaugural parade along Pennsylvania Avenue -- yet another sign of the intense security that blanketed the Capitol over the weekend. The Smithsonian and the Archives-Navy Memorial subway stops, both with entrances on The Mall, were shut down for the first time during an inauguration.

In many respects the scene was reminiscent of the police state that gripped Los Angeles during the Democratic National Convention last August. The Los Angeles Police Department also erected chain-link fencing outside the convention center and had a force there that was seen, felt and heard (see "Insight Staffer Shot at L.A. Riot Scene," Sept. 11, 2000). The increased security in the nation's capital was in part a response to protests during the last two years in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Washington, Prague and Seattle. According to MPD Executive Assistant Chief Terrance W. Gainer, there was one officer every 6 to 8 feet along the parade route, as opposed to one officer every 10 to 16 feet, as has been customary for inaugurations. Not that it deterred the protesters. They made sure their message was heard loud and clear.
"The rubric of security will not be falsely used to prevent demonstrating," declared Brian Becker, codirector for the IAC. To make that point as strongly as possible, the IAC filed a lawsuit at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia only four days before the inauguration. The emergency motion for a preliminary injunction challenged the unprecedented number of checkpoints used, the vagueness of the description of materials allowed to be carried by protesters and various permit restrictions.

"We don't want to be teargassed or create a war zone but, as George Bush proceeds up Pennsylvania Avenue and as the eyes of the world focus on this, the world will see there is a very divided United States," Becker declared.

While the police executed a well-organized plan for keeping the city safe, the protesters worked to maximize their impact. The presence of the Rev. Al Sharpton, the cause-addicted preacher from New York City, drew attention to the alleged disenfranchisement of black voters, a Democratic Party wedge issue. While Bush was taking the oath of office, Sharpton was taking an oath to uphold the Voting Rights Act and to work to federalize voting standards across the country. As Bush gave a brief inaugural address, Sharpton launched a stem-winder for what he dubbed a "shadow inauguration" at Stanton Park on Capitol Hill. Other protests included African-Americans recruited in the city for a "Day of Outrage," protesting an alleged "illegitimate" president, and the Gore Majority and Oral Majority, protesting what they muled was a stolen election.

The Justice Action Movement (JAM) assured Insight it had a large number of demonstrators out protesting everything from labor rights to environmentalism. But Adam Eidinger, a spokesman for the group, said the inauguration protests focused primarily on a package of electoral reforms called the Voters' Bill of Rights.
JAM was another group started two months ago as a coalition front. Many of the professional protesters who do the world circuit are looking for methods of protest that will allow them to avoid getting arrested. Eidinger claims JAM has taken on that project. Maybe -- but according to the Washington City Paper he currently is facing trial on 11 misdemeanor counts -- including criminal conspiracy, mischief and possession of the implements of a crime stemming from an arrest while on route to anti-GOP protests during the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia last summer. If convicted, he could face as many as five years in prison.

This sort of thing may help explain why groups such as Voter March made such an effort to distance themselves from the more experienced troupes of protesters. "Our group does not represent the `professional' protesters that you saw at the World Trade Organization [and] World Bank [meetings] and Republican convention," Posner tells Insight.

Several other groups also made a point of striking out on their own, including the National Organization for Women. They staged a demonstration outside the Senate earlier in the week to protest the nomination of former Missouri senator John Ashcroft for U.S. attorney general, and sent members out along the inaugural-parade route to defend abortion.

The AFL-CIO, whose headquarters is on 16th Street in Northwest Washington near the White House reviewing stand, decided to limit its protesting to Florida, according to public-affairs officer Rich Greer. "Our views were pretty clear when the polls closed up through the final Supreme Court decision," Greer tells Insight.
A half-dozen groups received National Park Service permits to protest along the 13-block section of Pennsylvania Avenue through which George W. Bush traveled from the U.S. Capitol to the White House. Permits also were granted for rallies at such prominent Washington landmarks as McPherson Square, The Ellipse, Dupont Circle and near the Supreme Court. In fact, no inauguration has attracted so much protest since 1973, when Richard Nixon was sworn for his second term after a crushing electoral victory over Vietnam War protest candidate George McGovern. An estimated 60,000 showed up on that occasion to march against the war and give McGovern a last hurrah.

Thirty-six days of election chaos proved to be enough to reorganize a "protest left" for a showdown in Washington. With one more spotlighted demonstration under their belts, organizations such as the IAC have expanded their e-mail databases, recruited new enthusiasts and, if they were lucky, found new financial sponsors to help carry them through the coming year.

Ted Hayes contributed to this article.

ARCHIVES: NYC Park Asks $12,500 from Lou Posner of Voter March for Park Use


Message #7362 
This is outlandish and I think political.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Louis Posner"
To: "Ethan Lercher"
Sent: Friday, June 01, 2001
Subject: [progressivealert] Voter March Permit Application
for Bryant Park

To:  Ethan Lercher
    Events Department
    Bryant Park Restoration Corporation
    New York, NY
    email: 
    website:  http://www.bryantpark.org/

Our original permit application letter was submitted on
February 14, 2001 for Saturday, August 4, 2001 at Bryant Park.  Today, for the
first time, you have advised me that aside from the limitations on time and
date and level of noise, that you now require a fee of $5,000 for use of a
public park and an additional $7,500 as a deposit for possible damages.
Please note that we have held events at Dag Hammerskjold Plaza in New York City,
at Lafayette Park, Dupont Circle, the Ellipse and the West Capitol Steps
in Washington, DC and Justin Hermann Plaza and the Civic Center in San
Francisco, and that at most we were required to pay nominal permit application
fees.  We have never been required to tender a deposit for possible
damages, nor have our supporters ever damaged any public property.

We do not intend on withdrawing our permit application at
this time.  However, the prohibitive costs associated with this proposed
event at Bryant Park will cause us to consider other options.

Louis Posner, Esq.
National Chair
Voter March
www.votermarch.org

ARCHIVES: Vincent Bugliosi Speaking Tours Organized by Lou Posner of Voter March

George W. Bush

Bugliosi condemned the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in the Bush v. Gore decision that decided the 2000 presidential election.
Louis Posner of Voter March, with Vincent Bugliosi (left) at New York City Speaking Tour

He wrote a lengthy criticism of the case for The Nation titled "None Dare Call It Treason," which he later expanded into a book titled The Betrayal of America. During 2001 and 2002, Louis J. Posner of Voter March organized speaking tours in New York City and Voter West in California for Vincent Bugliosi. Some of his criticisms were depicted in the 2004 documentary Orwell Rolls in His Grave.

He also believes that George W. Bush should be charged with the murders of more than 4,000 American soldiers as well as more than 100,000 Iraqis who have died in Iraq since the American-led invasion of that country, because of his belief that Bush launched the invasion under false pretenses. In his book, The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder, he laid out that evidence and outlined what questions he would ask Bush at a potential murder trial. Bugliosi testified at a House Judiciary Committee meeting on 25 July 2008, at which he urged impeachment proceedings for Bush.

ARCHIVES: Patti Smith, Singer-Songwriter, Activist, was a speaker and singer at the first protests against the Iraq War organized by Louis Posner of Voter March

Activism

Smith has been a supporter of the Green Party and backed Ralph Nader in the 2000 United States presidential election. She led the crowd singing "Over the Rainbow" and "People Have the Power" at the campaign's rallies, and also performed at several of Nader's subsequent "Democracy Rising" events. Smith was a speaker and singer at the first protests against the Iraq War organized by Louis Posner of Voter March on September 12, 2002, as U.S. President George W. Bush spoke to the United Nations General Assembly. Smith supported Democratic candidate John Kerry in the 2004 election. Bruce Springsteen continued performing her "People Have the Power" at Vote for Change campaign events. In the winter of 2004/2005, Smith toured again with Nader in a series of rallies against the Iraq War and call for the impeachment of George W. Bush.

ARCHIVES: Vincent Bugliosi's New Book Blows the Lid Off the Illegal Usurpation of the White House


The Betrayal of America
American Politics Journal
TAMARA BAKER
May 6, 2001 

Vincent Bugliosi's New Book Blows the Lid Off the Illegal Usurpation of the White House
 
Former Los Angeles deputy DA, author of the best sellers Helter Skelter (on the Tate-LaBianca murders committedby Charles Manson and his "family"), and Outrage (on the O.J.Simpson trial). And also the author of the hard-hitting book No Island of Sanity, which just eviscerated the Scalia Court over its handling ofthe Paula Jones nuisance suit against Bill Clinton. 

Well, he's written a new book just out this week -- The Betrayal ofAmerica : How the Supreme Court Undermined the Constitution and Chose Our President. And if it's anything like his previous writings, it'll beso hot you'll have to hold it wearing asbestos gloves.
Early indications are that the book will not disappoint truthseekers. It has two forewords, one by Molly Ivins, the other by Gerry Spence.These two folks are themselves among two of the greatest mavericks America has ever produced. And both of these folks put out the good word for Bugliosi's book. 

MOLLY IVINS :
"Vincent Bugliosi has written the modern equivalent of 'J'accuse'.
I am not a lawyer, but I do know that when Bugliosi quotesa Yale law professor as saying the day of the Bush v. Gore decision was 'like the day of the Kennedy assassination' for him and many of his colleagues, this is not an exaggeration." 


GERRY SPENCE :
"It is a pathetic spectacle that Bugliosi beckons us to behold - this high, hallowed court and its revered majority sold outto Power." 


Now, you can buy the book for $8.95 in paperback at Amazon or you can do this, as Lou Posner recommends : 

In support of Voter March West and the upcoming march and rally in San Francisco on May 19, and to help in fund raising for this major protest against the coup d'etat that occurred last December, the Avalon Publishers and Vincent Bugliosi have graciously offered to provide autographed copies of the new book for those that donate $50.00 or more to support Voter March West. 

There are a limited amount of books available so I suggest people get their donations in as soon as possible. We will mail the books to you or you can pick your copy up the day of the march. You might want to get a second book and donate it to your local library or send it to your Senator. 

To receive your book you can send an email to book@voterwest.org confirming your donation and then send the donation to either our P.O. Box or go to our website and use the PayPal system to use a credit card. Be sure and add to the PayPal method and the mail-in method that you would like the book along with your mailing instructions. If you want to pick it up at the march please let me know. 

Mr. Posner goes on to mention that Mr. Bugliosi will be in the San Francisco Bay area on May 16 doing a promotion of this book. He'll beon the KTVU Morning Show at 8:20 AM, then he'll be on the most popular show on KGO, the Ron Owens Show, from 10-11AM, and on KVON radio with Jeff Schectman at 11:30 AM. He will also be taping a show for KPFA for broadcast one to two days later. New Yorkers, get ready : On May 17 Mr. B. will be in Manhattan doing Jim Bohannon's nationally syndicated show. 

Lou Posner concludes :
With his powerful, brilliant, and courageous expose of crime by the highest court in the land Vincent Bugliosi takes his place in the pantheon ofpatriots who have stood up and spoken out against injustice. When an article he wrote on Bush v. Gore appeared in The Nation magazine in February, 2001, it drew the largest outpouringof letters and e-mail in the magazine's 136-year history, tapping a deep reservoir of outrage. Bugliosi's argument is here greatly expanded, amended and amplified. 


If you're sending checks, here's the snail mail :
Voter March West


Voter March


Contacts :
Louis Posner --

Anne Keith -- 
Katherine Florey -  MediaWest@votermarch.org 
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
GRASSROOTS GROUP TO DEMAND VOTING REFORM AT BI-COASTAL EVENT
 
On Saturday, May 19, 2001, individuals from coast to coast will gather for the Voter Rights March to Restore Democracy. 

There will be an East Coast march/rally in Washington, DC and a West Coast in San Francisco, California. The DC event will be held at the West Capitol steps and adjacent area of the National Mall including First to Third Streets from 12:00 noon to 5:30 pm (ET).
At 12:00 noon there will be a circular march past from the West Capital steps past the U.S. Supreme Court, followed by speakers and entertainers at 1:00 pm. West Coast marchers will gather at Justin Hermann Plaza at 10am and march to the Civic Center Plaza for a rally from noon until 4:00pm PT. 

The purpose of the march is to demand critically needed voting reforms, to call for a full investigation of the irregularities in the 2000 election, and to protest the illegitimate President's service to the right wing agenda during his first 120 days in office. Political commentators will share the stage with prominent activists and entertainers voicing their outrage over the latest presidential election. The event is sponsored by Voter March, a grassroots group formed in the response to the debacle of the last presidential election. Part of the growing Pro-Democracy movement, Voter March is an entirely volunteer organization that staged the very successful Inaugural Day Voter March in DC’s Dupont Circle on January 20 of this year. Information about both events can be found at the Voter March website, www.votermarch.org. 

“We expect the crowd on May 19 to be as diverse as the one at the inaugural protest—male, female, old, young, gay, straight, black, white-- many of them ‘first-time’ protesters,” says Voter March Chairman Louis Posner. “The indignation over the Supreme Court's highly partisan decisions is wide-spread and cuts across all social lines. Voter March continues to grow as more and more people commit to ensuring that the rights of voters can never again be trampled on.” 

As with the January protest, there will be bus convoys to the DC event from New York, Philadelphia, Houston, Cincinnati, Minneapolis and many other cities. The San Francisco event will have large groups traveling from Los Angeles, San Diego, Seattle, Phoenix, Nevada and many other Western cities. 

As part of the May 19 events, Voter March will present a platform calling for a Voters' Bill of Rights that includes :
1) Strict enforcement and extension of the Voting Rights Act, to prevent the disenfranchisement of voters, and full investigation and prosecution of offenders;
2) User- friendly voting, requiring funding to replace old and unreliable machines to ensure that every vote is counted fairly and accurately;
3) Establishment of real campaign finance reform and a ban on special interest campaign contributions;
4) Abolishment of the Electoral College and its replacement with a majority rule election, or substantial reform of the electoral systemto allow for proportional representation;
5) Increasing voter participation in elections by eliminating bureaucratic hurdles, registering citizens to vote and reducing the voter apathy that results in half of the eligible population not voting. 

The Voter Rights March will also be protesting Bush's right wing agenda that is drastically turning back gains in environmental protection, separation of church and state, world peace initiatives and other civil rights and social issues. 

An internet-based grassroots advocacy group founded in November of 2000, Voter March is not funded or controlled by any other organization. Voter March organizers are all volunteers. 

TO JOIN IN VOTERMARCH PROTEST CONTACT :
Michael Rectenwald
mike@legitgov.org
1-412-268-5922 


On May 19, CLG will co-sponsor the march on Washington D.C. to restore democracy. Citizens for Legitimate Government (CLG,) www.legitgov.org, a nonpartisan, pro-Democracy action group, encourages the march for democracy to protest the fraudulent selection of George W. Bush as P-Resident. Individuals will, as Votermarch describes, "express their outrage over the disenfranchisement of voters that occurred in election 2000 Silence of the Lambs by Greg Palast the U.S. Supreme Court's highly partisan decisions which usurped the rights of voters, and to call for critically-needed voting and electoral reforms." 

The March for Democracy on May 19 is one in a series of protests co-sponsored or sponsored by CLG and other pro-democracy groups, decrying the installment of G.W. Bush as president, against the willof the people. "CLG will protest for the duration of the GW Bush Occupation. We'll move on when he moves out," said CLG spokesman, Michael Rectenwald. Mike Rectenwald will be speaking in Washington on May 19.
CLG also wishes to express its disdain for Bush's anti-democratic policies, which were rejected when he lost the election. "Remember," said Rectenwald, "the selection of Bush by means of fraud, intimidation, propaganda and judicial injustice was necessary for the G.O.P. and their backers because the country rejected him and his policies. He was rejected, not elected, not only because he is an idiot, but also because he is bad for the U.S. and bad for the world." 

Further details regarding CLG and the May 19 march on Washington canbe obtained at CLG action

Citizens for Legitimate Government is a strategic grassroots group recently created by concerned, tax-paying citizens, after an activist U.S. Supreme abandoned its Constitutional obligations and upheld the Republican Party's efforts to eliminate the democratic process from the 2000 presidential contest. The members of the group refuse to recognize the Bush administration as legitimate. More information on the group's activities can be found on their website at CLG

ARCHIVES: Voter March Press Release - Grassroots Group to Demand Voting Reform (May 19, 2001)

Voter March
New York, NY 10163
www.votermarch.org

Contacts:
Louis Posner, Anne Keith, Katherine Florey

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

GRASSROOTS GROUP TO DEMAND VOTING REFORM AT BI-COASTAL EVENT

New York, NY-- On Saturday, May 19, 2001, individuals from coast to coast
will gather for the Voter Rights March to Restore Democracy. There will be
an East Coast march/rally in Washington, DC and a West Coast in San
Francisco, California. The DC event will be held at the West Capitol steps
and adjacent area of the National Mall including First to Third Streets from
12:00 noon to 5:30 pm (ET). At 12:00 noon there will be a circular march
past from the West Capital steps past the U.S. Supreme Court, followed by
speakers and entertainers at 1:00 pm. West Coast marchers will gather at
Justin Hermann Plaza at 10 am and march to the Civic Center Plaza for a
rally from noon until 4:00 pm (PT). The purpose of the march is to demand
critically needed voting reforms, to call for a full investigation of the
irregularities in the 2000 election, and to protest the illegitimate
President's service to the right wing agenda during his first 120 days in
office. Political commentators will share the stage with prominent
activists and entertainers voicing their outrage over the latest
presidential election. The event is sponsored by Voter March, a grassroots
group formed in the response to the debacle of the last presidential
election. Part of the growing Pro-Democracy movement, Voter March is an
entirely volunteer organization that staged the very successful Inaugural
Day Voter March in DC's Dupont Circle on January 20 of this year.
Information about both events can be found at the Voter March website,
www.votermarch.org.

"We expect the crowd on May 19 to be as diverse as the one at the inaugural
protest-male, female, old, young, gay, straight, black, white-- many of them
'first-time' protesters," says Voter March Chairman Louis Posner. "The
indignation over the Supreme Court's highly partisan decisions is
wide-spread and cuts across all social lines. Voter March continues to grow
as more and more people commit to ensuring that the rights of voters can
never again be trampled on."

As with the January protest, there will be bus convoys to the DC event from
New York, Philadelphia, Houston, Cincinnati, Minneapolis and many other
cities. The San Francisco event will have large groups traveling from Los
Angeles, San Diego, Seattle, Phoenix, Nevada and many other Western cities.

As part of the May 19 events, Voter March will present a platform calling
for a Voters' Bill of Rights that includes:
1) Strict enforcement and extension of the Voting Rights Act, to prevent the
disenfranchisement of voters, and full investigation and prosecution of
offenders;
2) User- friendly voting, requiring funding to replace old and unreliable
machines to ensure that every vote is counted fairly and accurately;
3) Establishment of real campaign finance reform and a ban on special
interest campaign contributions;
4) Abolishment of the Electoral College and its replacement with a majority
rule election, or substantial reform of the electoral system to allow for
proportional representation;
5) Increasing voter participation in elections by eliminating bureaucratic
hurdles, registering citizens to vote and reducing the voter apathy that
results in half of the eligible population not voting.

The Voter Rights March will also be protesting Bush's right wing agenda that
is drastically turning back gains in environmental protection, separation of
church and state, world peace initiatives and other civil rights and social
issues.

An internet-based grassroots advocacy group founded in November of 2000,
Voter March is not funded or controlled by any other organization. Voter
March organizers are all volunteers.

ARCHIVES: Democrats.com co-founder David Lytel to Speak at Counter-Inaugural Rally on Saturday, January 20, 2001.

Democrats.com co-founder David Lytel to Speak at Counter-Inaugural Rally on Saturday.
 
Democrats.com co-founder David Lytel will be a featured speaker on Saturday January 20th at one of the major counter-inaugural demonstrations in Washington. Lytel will address the rally organized by VoterMarch.org at Dupont Circle late Saturday morning. About 1:00 a march will begin from Dupont Circle to the White House and a rally on the Ellipse. 

David Lytel is a former member of the Ithaca Common Council who served in the White House in President Clinton's first term. “I am proud to have worked closely with Vice President Gore,” Lytel said. “But I believe that if we are to be successful in organizing opposition to the Bush presidency we need to look beyond Al Gore for effective progressive leadership. There are vitally important progressive victories to be won in the next two years on election reform, the minimum wage, retirement security, an HMO bill of rights and defense of abortion rights and other things. If progressives are to prevail we will have to get fearlessly out in front of our leaders,” said Lytel.
The demonstration is being organized by http://votermarch.org, an non-partisan group. "We are entirely independent and very new, so we invite everyone to join us and we welcome contributions from everyone at http://votermarch.org," said founder Lou Posner. 

Both Votermarch and Democrats.com share a commitment to election reform as a top issue. "Given the shocking success of the Republicans in declaring the election over before all the votes were counted,” Lytel said, "the most urgent issue is election reform. There is clear evidence of deliberate fraud, official misconduct and a conspiracy to suppress voter turnout in Florida. We would not tolerate any of these crimes against democracy if they took place in some other country, and we must hold our own country up to democracy's simple rule -- every vote counts.”
Democrats.com worked closely with the members of the Congressional Black Caucus on the challenge to the Florida electors and is very involved in the campaign against the Ashcroft nomination. Most recently Democrats.com has launched a site called http://AshcroftLied.com that details former Senator Ashcroft’s lies to the Senate and the American people about Judge Ronnie White, about his knowledge of the racist policies of Bob Jones University and about his own misuse of public office to raise money for his political campaigns. 

Lytel, a member of the Onondaga County Democratic Committee, was co-founder and managing editor of the award-winning White House Web site.

ARCHIVES: Lou Posner from Voter March was Insightful Activist

"I began to follow him [Greg Palast] around, residing at the time within New Jersey Transit (oh, grief) distance from Gotham City. I like to think that with all my writing I helped make him famous. I hope so. I published at the time at www.votermarch.org, whose owner, Lou Posner, was among those insightful activists who stood outside the Supreme Court building after the 2000 selection had occurred, protesting."

See OpEd News, Canvassing by Phone and Other Hang-Ups, October 28, 2008, by Marta Steele,

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

ARCHIVES: Voter March Founder Lou Posner Organized Wash DC Rally for Electoral Reform

Voters Rally for Electoral Reform, CNN Politics, May 19, 2001

Election reform advocates planned to rally in Washington, D.C., and San Francisco, California, to push for changes in the nation's voting system and a "full investigation" of the 2000 presidential election.

Despite losing the popular vote to Vice President Al Gore, George W. Bush won the presidency following a contentious five weeks of court battles and recounts that gave him the necessary electoral votes.

Saturday's demonstrations are organized by Voter March, the same group that brought thousands to Washington to protest Bush's inauguration in January. District police said at the time that the size of the demonstration rivaled those held at the Nixon inaugural in 1973.

Voter March founder Louis Posner said that he expected a diverse crowd at Saturday's rally -- "male, female, old, young, black, white, many of the 'first-time' protesters," he said.

Voter March seeks a reform of the election process -- including possibly scrapping the Electoral College system that allowed Bush to prevail.

The hotly contested election went into overtime after the November 7 vote when Florida's ballots -- and the state's 25 electoral votes that would decide the presidency -- were questioned.

The final blow to Gore's hopes came late on December 12, when the U.S. Supreme Court, by a 5-4 vote, ruled that Florida's attempts to recount by hand ballots that had been ignored on a machine count were unconstitutional.

Although, the court said that the state could remedy the problems, it allotted no time for such action before the midnight, December 12 deadline for the state to choose its electors.

"The indignation over the Supreme Court's highly partisan decision cuts across all social lines," Posner said. "Voter March continues to grow as more and more people commit their energies to ensuring that the rights of voters can never again be trampled."

Sunday, October 24, 2010

ARCHIVES: Florida Fights Back - The Film

"Florida Fights Back" Resisting the Stolen Election, was written, produced and directed by Jeannine Ross and Bruce Yarock.

Featuring Greg Palast, Vincent Bugliosi, Bob Kunst and Lou Posner

"Florida Fights Back" shows you how a crime was committed against Democracy in Florida in the year 2000 and how the politicians, from both sides, took the path of least resistance. Through all of this you will see the need to stand up, speak out and take action.

This film is of, by and for the people - not the powerful!

Includes footage of the 2001 Academy Awards Protest and The 2001 Washington D.C. Voter March.

See Florida Fights Back

Sunday, October 17, 2010

ARCHIVES: Voter Rights March, May 19, 2001, Lou Posner, Voter March Founder and Chair

Speech of Lou Posner, founder and chair of Voter March at the Voter Rights March to Restore Democracy
at the West Capitol Steps in Washington DC on May 19th at 1:00 pm:


What of ELECTION REFORM? The greatest democracy on earth has the most
antiquated and UNEQUAL voting machines in the Western world, and some of the
most unequal and unfair voting practices in the entire world! How can we
fail to address our duty to preserve the tools that ensure the principles of
our founding fathers that are the very bedrock of our democracy, the tools
and principles that make us CITIZENS in this world, citizens of a great
shining democracy and NOT subjects in a dark tyranny.

What of these? How can we fail to address this matter NOW?

For years, experts have decried the antiquated equipment and practices, they
and government agencies recommending reform, but our legislation has not
acted on those recommendations. What are we waiting for that we ignore these
sacred obligations to the constitution's most fundamental guarantee?

Today, let us look at "America," where a government is now disconnected with
its country. Look at what has happened to this so-called democracy, in our
recent presidential race. The high court stopped a legal hand recount and
substituted their own votes to replace those of the electorate, the bedrock
principle of ANY democracy. In other words, they canceled our democracy.
They declared their winner as THE winner, vacating the votes of millions
because of an alleged unfairness to only ONE citizen, who was only ONE
candidate, in a regional state governed with an iron hand by that one
candidate's brother. As a final insult, the Court told the people - not to
worry, this is a one-time only deal - it will not be repeated.

One might ask, if the decision is so good and fine, why can it not be
repeated? Now, the court knows it has created a precedent, yet it pretends
it will NOT be a precedent, as if this election and hand count were "sui
generis," when elections and hand counts go on and have gone on ALL THE TIME
IN THIS COUNTRY IN THE PAST IN ACCORDANCE WITH OUR OWN LAWS!
Indeed, the hand count is part of the WHOLE and NO LESS than the whole election. And all
the experts in many states know perfectly well that the hand recount is the
ONLY way to settle these things, being done routinely in the very state the
candidate hails from, signed into law by his own hand. Indeed, this
candidate, under the media radar, demanded and got a hand recount in another
state in the country, in a brazen example of hypocritical "privilege," and
"special rights." But the high court chose to ignore this inconsistency,
this inequality, and by so doing, gave aid and comfort to all the
irregularities and all the lawbreaking that accompanied this state's vote.
People who get away with committing crimes with impunity, passed over by the
highest court in the land, are only further emboldened to repeat them.

Ah, the beauty of possessing no conscience: Lie and then call your opponent
a liar. Demand hand recounts where they favor you and then call your
opponent a criminal for demanding hand recounts where they favor HIM. And
the final slap, GO AWOL and then accuse your opponent of despising the
military.

But the Court seems to ORDAIN that it will not happen again, providing a
balm to the masses, a false sense of security that their democracy is still
alive, unchanged and unmolested. But it is not, my friends. Judges may rule,
but they can never ORDAIN. They cannot project their decisions and their
orders into the future, onto future courts and what they will do. The Court,
comprised of mere mortals, have wrested from the "demos" the one power
granted directly to the people in the government scheme known as democracy.
That is a moral outrage no words can adequately convey.

Oh, but there were such difficulties, some say. It was messy. Yes, democracy
is messy, which is why laws are created to ensure fairness, laws this high
Court criminally ignored. It is not a fast buck made in a bubble economy. It
is, as Winston Churchill said, the worst form of government except for all
the other forms of government. A real democracy is hard work. It is patient
work.

It is NOT, as we have seen with our country, the perfect scam. Where we are
awash in evasions from officials who say, "I can't answer that, I refer you
to another official," and that official refers back to the first official,
or another official, or in the most egregious case, reporters are referred
to an outside, private company, which unilaterally disenfranchised thousands
of citizens of their right to vote, largely wrongly, it is later discovered,
but implemented without question in many areas of this one state. But when
some election supervisors, seeking to uphold their duty to the Constitution,
asked this company for information on their methodology and quality control,
they were told it was proprietary, commercial information and they couldn't
have it.

Think of that, my friends. The constitutional right to vote is outsourced to
a private company with no legal accountability. The privatization of a
citizen's right and duty to vote. It should strike fear in all our hearts at
the ease with which these "officials" dismiss this breach of government
trust and the social contract, as the state government refers you to the
company, but the company refers them back to the state, and in the end all
the accountability that an election is designed to be is lost forever in a
series of "I refer you to, I refer you to, I refer you to. . ." The perfect
scam. No democracy, no accountability, no blame. And all permitted to go
unpunished because of a high court's deliberate running out of an imaginary
and unnecessary clock, for the sake of "fairness" to only ONE of the
candidates, and to appoint that favored candidate a leader in a country
founded upon democratic principles.

WE MUST NEVER let this happen in our country.  A statement throwing down the
gauntlet, pledging that we will NOT let this illegality stand.   We will be
legitimately governed, but never ruled or overruled in this most important
of rights.  I used to fear the enemy, but today I fear my own corrupt
countrymen and their greed for power at the expense of people and democracy.

Elections are not merely a substitution of ballots for bullets, of this
candidate or that. An election in a Republic is the expression of the will
of it citizens; it is our franchise, our birthright, a viewpoint that is as
conservative as the Constitution itself. But in our country, it has been
trampled upon with mob actions by a party and pistol-whipped into
meaninglessness by a partisan court.

We must NEVER let this happen here. We cannot look away from our duty, in
constant need of recharging, to preserve the tools that ensure the
principles of our founding fathers that are the very bedrock of our
democracy and our republic, the tools and principles that make us CITIZENS
in this mortal world, citizens of a great shining democracy and NOT subjects
in a dark tyranny.

ARCHIVES: Voter Rights March, 5/19.2001, Speech by World War II Veteran

WORLD WAR II VET FIGHTING FOR VOTER RIGHTS
By Sergeant Joe Crisalli

"In World War II, to preserve our freedom, we had to hold back fascism from our shores.  We had to crush tyranny at the source in Germany and Italy. In the Pacific, we had to fight to guarantee that there would never be another Pearl Harbor attack.  Now, there is a new attack of tyranny and fascism – from within.  And it is time to fight again, a fight against the right-wing Republicans who attacked our freedom in their stifling of a fair election in Florida.

I am a veteran of World War II and proud to have served my country, and now I am part of a voters rights group in order to serve my country once again by insuring that
our freedoms are not infringed.

A government ‘of, by and for the people’ is what America is all about. We are now concerned with the ‘by the people.’ The right to vote and be counted is the way the people’s voice is heard.  The disenfranchisement of thousands of voters and the debacle in Florida proves that we must be vigilant.  The Battle for Freedom for a government BY the people must continue with the Voters March."

 
World War II veterans like Joe Crisalli lead the Voter Rights March in Washington DC on May 19th, Armed Forces Day, to restore the democracy they fought and died for. 


 

ARCHIVES: Voter Rights March, May 19, 2001, Speech by Michael Rectenwald, Citizens for Legitimate Government

SPEECH OF MICHAEL D. RECTENWALD

Thank you. And thank you, Louis and the Voter March organization, for allowing me to speak today on behalf of Citizens for Legitimate Government.

“Election” 2000, in Historical ContextI have been asked why our group is called "Citizens For Legitimate Government." “Isn't the government already legitimate?" enquiring minds, most of them Republican, want to know. The question led me to consider what makes a government legitimate in the first place. Legitimacy of government, I reasoned, is judged by the fit between the existing government and the declared principles of that government. To understand a nation’s principles, one would turn to its founding charter, its written laws, and its political history.
If one does this review, the short answer to the question becomes quite obvious. The U.S. government has been rendered illegitimate by its own standards, the standards of electoral democracy.

The standard of electoral democracy was eliminated when the vote counting for the Florida electorate was abandoned, and judges selected a president. Contrary to the Constitution, Dale Reynolds writes in his poem, “These Five Against Us All,”
[They] decided "Republic" meant Republican,
though conflicts of interest they hadn't disclosed
hadn't pre-empted the candidate they chose,
and outside journalists reported it was Bush by a nose.
Bush by 5 to 4, The United States Supreme Court said.
The standard for electoral democracy was eliminated when state officials and party operatives broke laws in key posts, spoiling the real electoral results. Reynolds continues, the Supreme Court “would not hear the protest of black Americans stopped outside the polls, / or stricken, curiously, from the voting rolls.”

The standard for electoral democracy was violated by the takeover of government by corporate interests--and we now have the epitome of that takeover in the white-collar criminal who resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

In terms of the letter and the spirit of the law, then, our current government is illegitimate--its establishment runs contrary to our nation's constitution, which expresses our dearest principles of representative, democratic government, and equal rights.

Against these principles, we saw government officials, party operatives, and a federal judiciary, along with their media mouthpieces, use every means possible to suppress the truth of the voters' expressed will, and to install their own will in its stead. The list of these crimes is long, starting with an illegal purge of tens of thousands of voters, and ending with the Supreme Court Injustices, and I refer you to legitgov.org for the complete record.

The violation of voting rights in the millennial year brings back the long history of struggle for representation against oppression and vote suppression. A complete history might start with suffrage for propertied men in England and the Americas from the 15th century; continue with a centuries-long battle for lowered property requirements for adult male voters; go on to the eventual inclusion of most white working men by the late 19th century; detail the exclusion of African Americans from voting until the late 19th century, along with a series of reversals and victories thereafter, including the Civil Rights movement; entail the exclusion of women from the franchise until the early 20th century; and include the barriers of racial profiling, property ownership, voting tolls, and literacy requirements lasting well into the 20th century, especially in the southern states.

The long battle for voting rights brings us to Selection 2000, when the United States was driven far afield of its historical goal--universal adult suffrage. In the year 2000, we were set back to a fate worse than that of pre-1832 Britain, when, before the first Reform Bill, only thousands of propertied men out of millions of British subjects could vote. In 2000, we were reduced to having three white patriarchs, one token black male, and one white woman determine the outcome of a presidential election--by, as Dale Reynolds puts it, a “majority of one.”

The millennial election brings back the 1940s in Florida, when the votes of African Americans were called “little jokers." Made of tissue paper, these ballots fell apart and were thrown away by laughing vote-counters; the ballot was a "little joker" played on the African American "voter." In election 2000, over 180 thousand little jokers were dealt in Florida. At least 20,000 voters were purged in advance in a Jim Crow-like manner, never even making it to little joker status. Six million Floridian votes were thus rendered little jokers as well. One hundred million votes thus turned to little jokers. These were considered by a Supreme Court, whose Chief Justice laughed scornfully and dismissed as ludicrous the idea of counting all the little jokers--in Florida, or anywhere else for that matter! The whole idea of an election had been an expensive joke played on the country--the vote wasn't required at all, the Chief Justice scoffed, it was always already a little joker!

The Selection and its aftermath is a nightmare of history come back to haunt us, in new, monstrous proportions. Our little jokers cast, the punch line of the bad joke was delivered: GW Bush, that Big Joker's face and his policies mock our expressed will. Bush's policies are an extension of the antidemocratic grab for power by which he seized office. The litany of these policies is familiar by now, so I will not repeat it. But a few adjectives will do: anti-women, anti-labor, anti-worker safety, anti-affirmative action, anti-public-health, anti-public education, anti-separation-of-Church-and-State, anti-consumer, anti-child, anti-environment, anti-end-of-the-Cold-War, anti-human, anti-other-species; Polices that benefit only one species--that species of Big Business Animal that wrecks the habitats of other species, like Exxon-Mobil, who junks Global-warming science while raising the Global temperature. Bush raids the national treasury and the national forests for one group only: Big Business Owners. He throws a few crumbs to the reactionary religious ideologues that delivered their lambs for the slaughter.

In light of this fraudulent and dangerous outcome, we say "Nevermore." Nevermore can our votes be little jokers. Nevermore can we be purged from the voting rolls--under the guise of justice, under the pretense of “equal protection,” to “protect the interests” of the heir apparent!
At this point, what do we do? We say “Nevermore.” But when complicity is tantamount to treason, and the consequences are literally world threatening, true patriots must say, too, “NOT NOW, NOT EVER!” We must explore every avenue for exposing and prosecuting the election theft, and for countering the Bush Occupation. We must continue to protest Bush's every appearance. We must oppose his every executive act with activism. We must boycott Bush's contributors, starting with Exxon-Mobil, the biggest polluter in Texas, the second biggest energy industry GOP contributor, and the force driving US policy against the Kyoto Treaty. We must register voters, starting with our neighbors. We must vote into Congress representatives and senators expressly opposed to the Bush coup and Occupation. (This expressed opposition should be a litmus test for their election). We must call for investigations! We must work for impeachment! We must turn these jokers into wildcards to trump the kings. We must work to bring democracy to this stacked deck. We must work to bring down this precarious house of cards called the Bush presidency. We must undo the coup! That is what we must do.
Join us at legitgov.org or any of the other activist groups you find here -- join all Citizens for Legitimate Government, in our long haul quest to undo the coup, and redo democracy.

We must undo the coup!!

Thank you!!!

Michael Rectenwald, CLG