Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That's how it goes. Everybody knows.

                           – Leonard Cohen

“In a dark time, the eye begins to see,” wrote Theodore Roethke. Now we move from vote stripping (profoundly unethical, but legal) into the fetid slime of criminal, mass vote flipping. Hold your breath, or your nose, and roll in it with me.

For weeks Trump warned that the system is rigged. But the Great Con Man knew perfectly well whom to bet on. Two days before the election he changed the litany, just slightly: “Folks, it's a rigged system. It's a rigged system and we're going to beat it. We're going to beat it." dieboldadstalin

A recent Harvard study ranked the U.S. electoral system as the worst in the developed world . But let’s not be too hasty to blame the Republicans. Palast, Fitrakis and Wasserman have convincingly shown that in the primaries the DNC was able to manipulate the vote, all to the detriment of the Sanders campaign.

In State after state, claims Jonathan Simon, author of Code Red: Computerized Election Theft and the New American Century, “The vote counts were more in favor of Clinton than the exit polls, which were more in favor of Bernie Sanders. We saw a very consistent pattern of that.” In Massachusetts, Sanders won all the precincts with hand-counted paper ballots but lost all the ones with electronic voting machines. As we will see, what was going around would come around.

But in this business the Democrats are mere amateurs. The real pros are the Republicans. That the DNC should have lowered itself to such corruption is evidence that they occasionally visit this realm. The Republicans, however, have lived there for decades. The DNC can do its dirty work in the primaries because they control both the process and most of the elected officials and “superdelegates.”

The Republicans, however, have been doing it in every national election since at least the year 2000. How? For decades, they’ve put their resources into “downballot” (state and local, all the way down to school board) elections. As a result, they’ve controlled the gerrymandering process, which has won them about two-thirds of governorships, state assemblies and, most critically, secretaries of state – the people who control the election process in almost every state. These are the people whose people actually count the votes.

Now we must speak about exit polls, which are the State Department’s own “gold standard” used to measure the honesty of – and in several cases – decertify elections in other countries, most recently in Nicaragua and Uganda. Our own Agency for International Development (a well-known front for the CIA) has stated:

Detecting fraud: Exit polls provide data that is generally indicative of how people voted. A discrepancy between the aggregated choices reported by voters and the official results may suggest, but not prove, that results have been tampered with.

I know…simply to contemplate this subject, we must set aside the colossal irony that the U.S., which has bombed nearly fifty sovereign nations since the end of World War Two and destabilized countless others precisely by corrupting their elections, should present itself as the arbiter on human rights and fair elections. And yes, it is a mark of our own innocence that so many well-meaning Americans never question this narrative. Eric Draitser explains why this issue is so important:

…the stealing of the election is relevant because the claim to democracy is, in essence, America’s claim to global leadership, to the righteousness of its own hegemony. To call the democratic façade into question is to undermine the very notion of “American Exceptionalism” which both Wall Street parties so ignominiously proselytize as gospel.

Palast continues:

Exit polling is, historically, deadly accurate. The bane of pre-election polling is that pollsters must adjust for the likelihood of a person voting.  Exit polls solve the problem...In 2000, exit polls gave Al Gore the win in Florida; in 2004, exit polls gave Kerry the win in Ohio…So how could these multi-million-dollar Ph.d-directed statisticians with decades of experience get exit polls so wrong? Answer: they didn’t. The polls in Florida in 2000 were accurate. That’s because exit pollsters can only ask, “How did you vote?” What they don’t ask, and can’t, is, “Was your vote counted?”

In the most egregious example, Ohio’s Secretary of State had complete control of the electronic voting machines and almost certainly flipped the vote in 2004, giving the election to Bush. Do you remember how exit polls showed John Kerry with a huge lead that mysteriously evaporated in the evening after the polls closed?  Do you remember how, at almost exactly the same moment, the U.S. refused to recognize the legitimacy of the Ukrainian election – because of the exit polls?

Do you remember all the controversy surrounding Diebald and its CEO Walden "Wally" O'Dell, who was

… feted as a guest at then-President George W. Bush's Texas ranch…who pledged to raise more than $100,000 for the Bush reelection campaign. Most memorably, in 2003 O'Dell penned a letter pledging his commitment “to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the President.”

Ah, Ohio, as you go so goes the nation. That Secretary of State, the ironically-named African-American Ken Blackwell – who was also Bush's honorary campaign co-chair as he administered that crucial 2004 election – has been named leader of Trump’s transition team for domestic issues.

Wisconsin, a more liberal state saddled with a Republican governor, is another terrible example.

So let’s look at some of the most important 2016 results. Consider the eight swing states with at least ten electoral votes:

State      Winner       Votes         %     Governor

Ariz.       Trump          11        50-45      R

Fla.         Trump          29       49-48      R

Mich.      Trump          16       48-47      R

N.C.        Trump           15       51-47       R

Ohio       Trump           18       52-44      R

Penn.     Trump           20       49-48     D

Virg.       Clinton          13       50-45      D

Wisc.     Trump             10      48-47    R

Note several things:

1 – Six of the states have Republican governors and Secretaries of State.

2 – Trump won all six states.

3 – Clinton won one state, and its governor is a Democrat.

4 – Trump won one state with a Democratic Governor, Pennsylvania, by one percent.

5 – He won four of them – Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – by one percent. Granted, this is not even circumstantial evidence of anything. But we have to understand these figures in the context of vote flipping.

6 – Hundreds of thousands of voters (primarily Black) were purged in those states, perhaps 300,000 in Wisconsin alone.

7 – Finally, consider the exit polls.

We can never know how many people went into booths in those states, voted for Clinton on electronic machines, left the building and told a professional poll taker whom they’d voted for, but whose vote, unknown to them, was then flipped. This was precisely the case in Ohio in 2004, and I see absolutely no reason to assume that the Republicans didn’t do it again, everywhere they could.

Indeed, according to Jonathan Simon, Clinton’s Florida lead in exit polls was 1.3% but she lost by 1.3%, a 2.6% shift. In North Carolina her exit poll margin was 2.1%, but the final vote count showed Trump with a 3.8% lead. She had a 4.4% lead in Pennsylvania but she lost by 1.2%, a 5.6% shift. The North Carolina and Pennsylvania shifts – 5.6% – are way outside the margin of error and therefore very unlikely to occur by chance. Altogether, exit polls were conducted in 28 states. In 23 of them the discrepancies between the exit polls and the vote count favored Trump. In 13 of them those discrepancies exceeded the margin of error.

So why don’t we hear more about about this? Consider Edison Research, the company contracted by major media outlets to conduct exit polling on US elections. Joe Lenski, its executive vice president, candidly admits that Edison massages its exit poll data once official vote counts have been released to align the exit poll numbers with the electronic vote totals. Indeed, the whole argument about vote flipping is possible only because many researchers have been able to post those exit polls before Edison can change them.

If you’ve read this far and remain skeptical, you may be taking the conventional stance that flipping is impossible because the voting machines are not connected to the Internet. Well, this has nothing to do with the Internet – and therefore with “Russian hackers.” It has everything to do with who actually, physically, has possession of the machines, and in almost all those states it was Republican Secretaries of State.

Manipulation occurs at two levels, on-site and post-voting. One cybersecurity analyst explains:

 …in-person manipulation is possible. Some machines are vulnerable, due to accessible ports where a hacker could plug a laptop or smartphone to add fake votes. The Sequoia AVC Edge machines feature a yellow “Activate” button on the back that can allow user to enter multiple ballots at a time. Nevada has employed these systems statewide, while Louisiana did the same with early voting without backup paper records…“It’s the technical equivalent to stuffing a voter box,” Scott said. “You can tap that as many times, for as many votes as you want to give the person.”…To exploit the tactics, a perpetrator would need access to a voter machine for an extended period of time, which is possible given background checks for election officials and poll workers aren’t a national requirement.

Wisconsin, by the way, uses machines that have been banned in California precisely because they are easy to tamper with. Other machines come with special “ballot protection” software to prevent this sort of thing. But, says Palast, in Ohio, the Secretary of State gave specific instructions to disable that software.

Another professional admits:

 …after the votes are collected…The results go from that machine into a piece of electronics that takes it to the central counting place…That data is not encrypted and that's vulnerable for manipulation…more than 40 states are using voting machines that are at least 10 years old…the more than 9,000 voting districts across the country all have different ways of running their elections -- down to the type of machine they use…only 60 percent of states routinely conduct audits post-election by checking paper trails. But not all states even have paper records…

Then we have the issue of early voting. Bill Palmer points out that seventy percent of Florida’s nine million voters voted early, and that exit polls showed her with a lead so massive that it was “mathematically insurmountable,” except of course for the possibility of fraud.

Before we go on, it bears repeating that this is precisely what the Democratic power structure did to Bernie Sanders, and it may help explain why Clinton (see below) was so reluctant to join Jill Stein in pressing for recounts.

In any event: for all the reasons we’ve listed above why Clinton was such a terrible candidate and her Wall Street sponsors so responsible for so much human misery, she still actually won the election, not just the popular vote.

About those exit polls and the Myth of Innocence: almost everything that the various progressive writers and authorities whom I’ve been quoting throughout these essays comes from careful study of the exit polls. However, with the exception of Palast, Simon, Mark  Miller, Fitrakis and Wasserman, very few of them have commented on the absolutely crucial discrepancies between those polls and the official count. I can only imagine a few possibilities. Either they really didn’t notice, despite Palast’s constant presence on Pacifica Radio, or they don’t believe that the discrepancies are important – or cognitive dissonance has set in.

I have long argued that liberals are subject to the myth of innocence at least as much as conservatives, and this is a prime example. Despite over fifty years of evidence from our first military coup (the first Kennedy assassination) onward past several October Surprises, past the second (9-11), past all the “false flag”terror events, the vast majority of liberal and progressive pundits have cleaved to the childish notion that American elections are fair, or at least that cheating is a minor aspect.

Worse, they have become gatekeepers of the truth who have often joined with conservatives to marginalize those who question our dominant narrative: It can’t happen here – this is America! To begin to question any aspect of the story we tell ourselves about ourselves is to open the door to the possibility that the entire story – and our own identity – is built on un-solid ground.

Let’s go deeper.

Read Part 7 here