Sunday, December 20, 2020

Possible Solutions


    As the election results drag down to their final days, and more and more fraudulent results are unearthed ,voters are asking what we can do to prevent more vote-fraud in the future.  I've been running a thread about this on Facebook, and here are some answers we've come up with.

    1) While it's theoretically possible to build a system of transparent and instantly correctible tabulating computers, that day is not yet.  Therefore, the first thing we need to do is throw out computerized voting and tabulating machines.  Fill out sturdy paper ballots by hand, with black ink from any kind of pen, seal them by hand, count them by hand and tally the counts by hand -- with constant witnesses and security cameras along every step of the way.

    2) All ballots, whether in-person or mail-in, must be received by midnight on election day.  That must be the unquestioned cut-off.  (And of course anyone who prevents ballots from being received by that time must be arrested and jailed.)  Walk-in voting can start at midnight on the day before, and mail-in ballots can be mailed in up to a week before.

    3) Matching that, all ballots must be kept securely locked up and no ballot counted before midnight-plus-one on election day.  The news media are not to see anything in advance.

    4) Ballot-counting must be thoroughly witnessed -- in person and on camera -- by representatives from every party (or non-party) on the ballot.  The news media may be invited in to watch and record the process.

    5) Ballots considered "questionable" must be separated as "provisional" and securely set aside to be verified and counted after the unquestionably legitimate ones.  Such verification and counting must likewise be thoroughly witnessed.

    6) Mail-in ballots can be sent only to voters who request them at registration;  not broadcast to all and sundry.  

    7) Ballots must be printed only in the state, county, municipality, and precinct where they are to be cast, not farmed out to foreign printers.

    8) The number of ballots printed shall not exceed the number of registered voters by more than one half of one percent, to allow for physical losses without allowing box-stuffing.

    9) Voter registration must close at least two weeks before election day.  No more register-and-vote on the same day funny business.

    10) In order to register to vote, people must show proof that: a) they are who they say they are, b) they live where they say they live, c) they are at least 18 years of age, and d) they are American citizens.  

    (Such proofs can include birth certificates and utility bills, birth certificates and drivers' licenses, court decisions, tribal registries, passports and utility bills, citizenship papers and utility bills, real-estate tax statements, military records, baptismal records, hospital records, midwives' affidavits, and legally verified entries in family bibles.)  

   11) Convicted felons who have served their time shall have their prison records sent to county registration offices on being set free, so they can apply for and receive restoration of rights before the closing of registrations in advance of the next election.

    12) Citizenship shall be conferred by birth, legal naturalization, government fiat, or completed military service with an honorable discharge.

    13) Voting registration offices must also include an investigative wing to examine suspicious registrations.  For example, a lot of registrations coming from the same physical address, with only minor differences, should be checked to see if the address is an apartment complex, a group home, a mental hospital or a cemetery.  The investigative division shall make annual reports to the state government.

    These are the very least of the reforms that need to be made to ensure that the kind of cheats that have been reported -- and still are being reported -- in this last election don't happen again.

    Anybody, please feel free to add more ideas.


--Leslie <;)))>< Fish      

        

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Anarchist PIzza


Back in my wild and wooly college days at the University of Michigan I ran around with various political reform groups, including Students for a Democratic Society.  At the time, SDS was deliberately non-Marxist;  it even had an Anti-Totalitarian clause in its constitution which forbade membership to any "supporter of totalitarianism" -- which meant total government control of society.  Of course SDS was an irresistible target for the Marxists, who kept trying to infiltrate it and take over.  In reaction to these attempts a number of us began studying the opposite of totalitarianism, which is Anarchism.  One thing that both fascists and communists can agree on is that they totally hate real ideological anarchists.  Dealing with attacks by both of them tends to give the anarchists a weird sense of humor.

For example, some snarky political jokes:

    Q:  What's the difference between a Communist and an Anarchist?                                                            A:  Communists want the government to run everything;  Anarchists want the government to run nothing -- not even to exist.

    Q:  What's the difference between a Socialist and an Anarchist?                                                                  A:  Anarchists grow up and get real jobs.

    Q:   What's the difference between a Libertarian and an Anarchist?                                                            A:   About $20,000 a year.

Another cute trick we used on the Marxists was to infiltrate their meetings and shame them into "reality-tripping": getting working-class ID and spending at least their summers taking working-class jobs and living on that income -- and nothing else -- in real working-class neighborhoods.  This proved wonderfully effective;  those who managed to stick it out for a whole summer or more were no longer Marxists when they came back to school, but were eminently practical and realistic -- and tended to vote Republican.  

We also went to big all-day rallies and got ourselves on the speakers' lists under various unremarkable names, such as "The Polyindustrial League", and sing our own folksongs instead.  For example, after a long and boring speech -- carefully repeated, word-for-word in Spanish -- by a droning Marxist, my buddies and I stood up and said: "We're the Anarchists.  Long speeches make us tired, so we'll just sing instead."  And then I and my buddies broke into a lively rendition of Joe Hill's "The Preacher and the Slave", followed by half an hour of other songs.  Needless to add, the audiences liked us a lot better than the speakers.

We would also hold well-planned but impromptu-looking square-dances (or other dances) at lunch hour in any handy park.  While crowds gathered and watched, we'd circulate among them handing out one-page flyers saying things like: "When people fight for your country in war, the least they deserve is full citizenship in the country they've defended" -- practical statements like that, which worked a lot better than political moralizing about The Ruling Class.

One of my favorite stunts, though, happened at the next-to-last SDS national convention, which was held at dear old U of M, in the South Lecture Hall.  The Marxists showed up in force, the Liberals did likewise, and we Anarchists managed to get a literature table in the front vestibule.  It soon became clear that the Liberals were losing ground to two competing factions of Marxists -- Progressive Labor and the Weathermen, who were later to tear the organization apart with their feuding -- but one thing they could unite behind was their absolute hatred of the Anarchists.  Seeing how the political winds were indeed blowing, we spent our efforts pitting the Marxists against each other and diverting them from ganging up on the Liberals.  Some of our distractions were distinctly surreal -- such as throwing paper airplanes whose noses had been dipped in tiny amounts of NI3 explosive, so that they'd go off with a snap-crackle and flash when they landed -- but probably our best stunt was purely spontaneous.

After speechifying and voting and arguing all day, the other delegates were ready to take a break and go "caucus" -- plot and scheme among themselves -- for an hour or so.  None of them wanted to leave the building and go outside, where the non-campus police might grab them, they planned to hold their meetings in the various rooms inside South Hall.  Seeing what was coming, we Anarchists plotted to order a pizza: extra large, with mushrooms and pepperoni, from the local Domino's Pizza, which had made itself famous the year before by delivering pizzas to occupied buildings.  We weren't about to desert our literature table to the mercies of the Marxists, either, so we asked specifically that the pizza be delivered to "the Anarchist literature table in the foyer of South Hall, at the SDS convention".  Few were the restaurants that would have delivered to that address, but we figured that Domino's would have the guts to do it.

Soon enough the moderator -- as I recall it was either Mike Klonsky himself or his sidekick -- stood up and announced:  "Caucus break!  Caucus break for an hour.  Weatherman Caucus, go to room 120 down the hall to your right, and bring your notebooks.  League for Industrial Democracy, go to room 140 in the same corridor, and bring your position papers.  Progressive Labor, go to room 110 in the same hall, to the left, and bring your policy statements.  Anarchists..."  Then he got a pole-axed look as he announced slowly: "Go to your literature table in the front foyer.  Your pizza has arrived."

And all of us Anarchists jumped up and stampeded out the door to the front foyer.

 A bunch of fascinated Liberals followed us out, and got to our table to see us surrounding a nervous pizza-delivery boy and a box opened on the table, displaying a mouth-watering pizza.  My buddy Rick was arguing: "Being Anarchists, we don't believe in government-controlled money, so we shouldn't use it."  My buddy Mary replied: "We can argue about proper labor-exchange mediums in the future, but right now the economy is run on cash money.  And if the pizza-shop doesn't get paid, it won't make any more pizzas, which will harm all of us.  'The laborer is worthy of his hire'."  My pal Kathy piped up: "And they gave us exactly what we asked for, and still hot, too.  Good behavior deserves its reward."  To which I added: "We should also reward the employee who had the guts to deliver a pizza to the 'Anarchist table at the SDS convention'."  So we quickly gave the pizza-boy the twenty dollars for the  pizza and a twenty-dollar tip for himself plus a fistful of literature.  Then we happily fell upon the pizza.  The watching Liberals gave us a spontaneous round of applause, and the pizza-boy strolled out mumbling: "...Yeah,  Anarchism."

I learned the rest of the story a couple weeks later.  It seems the pizza-boy had gone back to the local Domino's shop telling tales about his adventure and displaying the leaflets we'd given him.  He was a high school senior himself, working that summer to save up for college, and the incident got him interested in odd political theories.  Starting with the brief bibliographies listed in the flyers, he'd started going to the library and looking up books on Anarchism, and regaled his buddies with odd information from the books he'd read.  One questioned he'd relayed back to us was: "Who was Max Stirner, and why did Karl Marx hate him so much?" to which we replied: "A wild-ass teacher in a girls' junior high school, who liked to shock stodgy people."  

I never heard anything further about the radicalized students in that pizza joint, but I always figured that our stunt was a good day's work.

--Leslie <;)))>< Fish 


       

 


 

      

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

None Dare Call It 'Germ Warfare'


    Just over a century ago an airborne plague called the Spanish Flu swept over the world, infecting at least 500 million people and killing at least 50 million before it burned itself out in 1920.  At the time nobody knew just what it was, where it came from, or how to deal with it.  Then as now the only remotely-effective defense the experts could think of was to wear face-masks in public, and a lot of people objected to that.  Nobody had any idea how to create a vaccine for it.  Nobody considered closing schools or shutting down the economy.  Not until 1991, with the benefits of modern medical knowledge, was the source of the "Spanish Flu" identified as a variant of the H1N1-A virus -- definitely a member of the Corona virus family -- while biologists were isolating  H1N1 Swine Flu in mainland China.  The Chinese government then insisted that it had been brought into China via pigs imported from North America.  This did not prevent the 2009 outbreak of H1N1 Swine Flu in China.

    In fact, with the exception of Polio, Ebola and AIDS,  all of the major viral plagues of the 20th century -- including SARS, MERS, H1N5, H1N1, Covid-19 -- can be traced to the Corona virus family, which is permanently entrenched in China.  It's also notable that over the last 50 years China has made great efforts to capture most of the world's medical-supply industry.  

    The present pandemic, despite odd accusations from the Chinese government, originated in the city of Wuhan, in China.  Wuhan is a sizable city, which supports the University of Wuhan, which maintains the Wuhan Medical College, which administers the Virology Institute of Wuhan.  The official story is that the virus traveled from infected bats in the city's live-animal market to the rest of the city.  The story from various doctors who have defected from China is that the virus "escaped" from the Wuhan Virology Institute to the live-animal market and from there to the rest of the city.  What we do know is that as far back as December 2019 the Chinese government banned travel from Wuhan to the rest of China -- but not from Wuhan to the rest of the world.  This allowed China to celebrate its lucrative New Year holiday season without being interrupted by the epidemic.   

     By January of 2020 the virus had spread to the rest of the world, and no quarantine orders could keep it contained.  By now it's become clear that China severely "mishandled" the outbreak -- by allowing the virus to escape in the first place, by allowing widespread travel once the New Year celebrations were over, by telling the WHO initially that there was no danger of human-to-human transmission, by withholding information about the genetic structure of the virus (necessary for constructing vaccines), and initially withholding sales of medical supplies to the rest of the world.  It's also obvious how political factions have "weaponized" reactions to the virus -- particularly in the US, where Democrat officials have used lockdowns to cripple the US economy, therefore wrecking the major victory of Trump's administration.  Since Trump has been a serious opponent of China's economic warfare policies, getting him out of office could only serve China's interests.

    Since this is not the first time that various forms of Corona virus have come out of China in the past 40 years, there's some reason to wonder whether such "escapes" are accidental or not.  

    For most other countries, the chief objection to deliberately spreading plague to one's political enemies -- in other words, "germ warfare" -- is that the plague will inevitably spread to one's own population.  China is one of perhaps two countries on Earth, the other being India, which would have no problem with that.  China has the biggest population in the world -- one and a half billion people -- while India has one and a third billion.  Both countries have been trying, for generations, to cut their excessive populations down -- sometimes resorting to draconian methods that would appall the rest of the world.  Remember that the Spanish Flu killed roughly one-tenth of the people it infected, and the other Corona viruses have lethality rates much lower than that.  The government of China would not grieve if it lost a million, or ten million, or a hundred million, or even half a billion of its own people;  after all, it would still have a billion more to obey its edicts and pay its taxes.  It would certainly feel no pain if the rest of the world lost half a billion people, or more.  

    So far, the only downside to the Chinese government for allowing the Covid-19 pandemic to spread has been "loss of face" -- i.e. embarrassment -- in front of the rest of the world, and one lawsuit filed in the UN's world court by, IIRC, the governor of Missouri for "reckless endangerment".  The upside has been the weakening of its assorted enemies, economically and politically.  Motive alone is not sufficient for conviction, and there's no evidence that the Wuhan Virology Institute actually did let loose the Covid-19 virus deliberately, but there's certainly motive for it not to be too careful about its safety and containment protocols -- and history to suggest that it hasn't been too careful in the past.  Nobody is saying the words "germ warfare" in public, but I suspect that a lot of health officials and politicians in the world are thinking them.

--Leslie <;)))>< Fish