Home | About | Donate

Common Ground: For Secure Elections and True National Security


#1

Common Ground: For Secure Elections and True National Security

Gloria Steinem, Noam Chomsky, Adolph Reed Jr., et al.

Many Americans remain deeply concerned about reports of Russian interference with the 2016 election. Meanwhile, relations between the United States and Russia are at their lowest and most dangerous point in several decades. For the sake of democracy at home and true national security, we must reach common ground to safeguard common interests—taking steps to protect the nation’s elections and to prevent war between the world’s two nuclear superpowers.


#2

All of this hype about Russian meddling in US politics is sure a great diversion from the topic of the influence (or should I say, influenza) of Big Money. A coinkydink, I think not.


#3

The lead-in about Russia was un-needed. Also, given the importance of the subject, the prose is luke-warm and non-specific - even if decent in its intent. Most problematically, the document offers no specific steps for nuclear dis-armament. I guess that’s how you get both John Dean and Frances Fox Piven to sign. I’ll look elsewhere for advice.


#4

Shame on Chomsky et al for playing the boogeyman “the Russians did it” card. Ranks right up there with the Republican “thoughts and prayers” bullshit after every mass shooting. Shows how pathetically little of substance these people have to offer.


#5

The real life Russian agent Rick Gates was speaking with all through 2016 must have been exchanging pancake recipes with him. Meanwhile, the president that is very likely deeply indebted to foreign fossil fuel oligarchs is in Germany crapping on renewables.


#6

America has lost it’s freaking mind on so many levels it is impossible for me to know where to begin. The whole Russia meme bullshit or the farcical campaign finance laws, or how about the easily rigged voting machines or the criminally but legal gerrymandering and voter suppression…just for starters. Corruption is the only thing that holds our systems together anymore. We are damned and deservedly so…


#7

The lack of specifics surprised me too given some respectable names on the signing list. Right of the bat, instead of saying many of us are deeply concerned about Russian influence, cite a poll and say what the percentage is. Is it 40%? It isn’t any of the Trump voters obviously, and it isn’t a lot of us here either (who are deeply concerned about a lot of things, but don’t put the claim of Russian interference in this category).

I wish they picked either the nuclear posture issue or the election methods and equipment issue and drove that point home with more numbers and proposals with better numbers. Paper ballots are great - let’s get into specifics - can we have a national paper ballot format now? Can we make it human readable, compact, machine printable for those that need this service and able to be filled out by hand for those who vote at home or so we don’t need as much electronics to do the job? Can we either try to move forward on RCV now or make the ballot RCV compatible?

I’d prefer we separate the issue of actual voting and voting registration from campaign finance issues (which need to be solved, but maybe it is easier to make progress on just the voting part).


#8

Eminently reasonable ideas, but what a sad commentary on the state of US politics that it’s only “radicals” like Chomsky and Ellsberg who promote it. The US has 2 war parties and 0 (major) parties dedicated to peace. They are happy to play Russian Roulette with the future. If we don’t change that, our species is doomed.


#9

Gloria Steinem, Noam Chomsky - They have zero credibility on this issue. They both were frothing at the mouth for a Clinton who had her finger on the nuclear button with Russia in her sites before the primary even began and she didn’t let up on her hawkish rhetoric at any time throughout the election. This red baiting got really old way back in the 50s. Welcome the neo-McCarthyists.


#10

Is this the best our supposed thought leaders can come up with? First of all, the danger isn’t that Russians can hack our voting machines, if they even can, but that Russian and other authoritarian or fascist billionaires channel money into the elections through such agencies as the NRA and other such criminal organizations! Secondly, if Donald Trump manages to switch alliances from the representative democracies to the authoritarian fascist states, it seems that somehow peace is at hand, according to them. All we need is for American supremacists to partner with other such populations in Poland, Hungary, Ukraine, the Philippine’s, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and others in order to achieve Pax Americana, which, will not be called that. I understand that the writers desperately want to stop this descent into hell, but making a deal with the devil is not going to stop it.


#11

Well, CD readers, in case you forgot what the 2016 primary and election period was like, Alan the hack troll is giving a reminder. It was no secret that Steinem was openly promoting Hillary Clinton but Chomsky “frothing at the mouth for a Clinton”??? Does Alan the hack troll forget how Trump was kind enough to inform us of his intentions?? Does Alan the hack troll believe that Bernie Sanders was frothing at the mouth for Clinton? A bit harder to bad mouth Sanders now than in 2016 when he was charged with ‘defaming the name of Eugene Debs’ by hack trolls. Was Jill Stein frothing at the mouth for a Trump victory? Were all the Green Party candidates who ever ran for President frothing at the mouth to elect right-wingers to kill domestic policies and promote foreign aggression?

When they act below the level of a lobotomized Fox New loyalist, when they exhibit all the imagination of a bowel movement, then you know it’s a troll. Like Alan the hack troll.


#12

Thank you for your thoughtful and insightful comment.


#13

No, Alan, thank YOU. Thank you for reminding the readers how mindless, thoughtless and defaming comments are so readily presented.

The dangers of nuclear near misses has a history that goes back generations. In the last ‘lesser of two evils’ episode in the US, also known as presidential elections, we had two choices to bring the Doomsday Clock ever closer to armageddon. And that’s without the inclusion of political narratives.

Nuclear bombs have been accidentally dropped in this country. One massive H-bomb had all but one safety device fail. Other accidents happened outside the US. And that’s just US accidents. But the actual usage in war is beyond breathtaking. There is plenty of information on the net. Here’s a link to a Daniel Ellsberg interview on Democracynow last December.

Let me repeat a part of that interview. With AMY GOODMAN saying to ELLSBERG:

“So, you made copies of top-secret reports for plans about nuclear war years before you copied the Pentagon Papers—“

DANIEL ELLSBERG: “That’s right.”

AMY GOODMAN: “—and released them to the press?”

DANIEL ELLSBERG: “Essentially, my notes, and sometimes verbatim excerpts, not the entire plans themselves, but on plans that were then unknown to the president, to begin with, to President Kennedy. I briefed his aide, McGeorge Bundy, in his first month in office on the nature of the plans and some of the other problems, like the delegation of authority to theater commanders for nuclear war by President Eisenhower, which was fairly shocking to McGeorge Bundy, even though Kennedy chose to renew that delegation, as other presidents have.”

“But I was given the job of improving the Eisenhower plans, which was not a very high bar, actually, at that time, because they were, on their face, the worst plans in the history of warfare. A number of people who saw them, but very few civilians ever got a look at them. In fact, the joint chiefs couldn’t really get the targets out of General LeMay at the Strategic Air Command.”

“And there was a good reason for that: They were insane. They called for first-strike plans, which was by order of President Eisenhower. He didn’t want any plan for limited war of any kind with the Soviet Union, under any circumstances, because that would enable the Army to ask for enormous numbers of divisions or even tactical nuclear weapons to deal with the Soviets. So he required that the only plan for fighting Soviets, under any circumstances, such as an encounter in the Berlin corridor, the access to West Berlin, or over Iran, which was already a flashpoint at that point, or Yugoslavia, if they had gone in—however the war started—with an uprising in East Germany, for example—however it got started, Eisenhower’s directed plan was for all-out war, in a first initiation of nuclear war, assuming the Soviets had not used nuclear weapons.”

“And that plan called, in our first strike, for hitting every city—actually, every town over 25,000—in the USSR and every city in China. A war with Russia would inevitably involve immediate attacks on every city in China. In the course of doing this—pardon me—there were no reserves. Everything was to be thrown as soon as it was available—it was a vast trucking operation of thermonuclear weapons—over to the USSR, but not only the USSR. The captive nations, the East Europe satellites in the Warsaw Pact, were to be hit in their air defenses, which were all near cities, their transport points, their communications of any kind. So they were to be annihilated, as well.”

“I couldn’t believe, when I saw these, that the joint chiefs actually had ever calculated how many people they would actually kill in this course. In fact, colonels who were friends of mine in the Air Staff told me they had never seen an actual figure for the total casualties. We had exact figures of the number of targets and how many planes would be needed and every sort of thing, many calculations. But not victims.”

“So, I drafted a question, which the aide to McGeorge Bundy, Bob Komer, sent to the joint chiefs in the name of the president. And the question was: In the event of your carrying out your general nuclear war plans, which were first-strike plans, how many will die? First I asked, in the USSR and China alone, in the thought that, by the way, they’d be embarrassed to discover—to say, “We have to have more time. We’ve never really calculated that.” I was wrong. And my friends were wrong in the Air Force. They came back with an answer very quickly: 325 million people in the USSR and China alone.”

“Well, then I asked, “All right, how many altogether?” And a few days later, 100 million in East Europe, the captive nations, another 100 million in West Europe, our allies, from our own strikes, by fallout, depending on which way the wind blew, and, however the wind blew, a third 100 million in adjoining countries, neutral countries, like Austria and Finland, or Afghanistan then, Japan, northern India and so forth—a total of 600 million people. That was a time, by the way, when the population of the world was 3 billion. And that was an underestimate of their casualties—a hundred Holocausts.”

“It was very clear that they hadn’t included—I hadn’t asked, actually, what would Russian retaliation be against us and against West Europe. They were thought, at that time—wrongly—to have hundreds of weapons against the U.S. But they did have hundreds of weapons against West Europe, no question. West Europe would go, under any circumstances. If we were defending West Europe—Germany, for example—we were planning to destroy the continent in order to save it.”

“Six hundred million, that was a hundred Holocausts. And when I held the piece of paper in my hand that had that figure, that they had sent out unembarrassedly, you know, proudly, to the president—”Here’s what we will do”—I thought, “This is the most evil plan that has ever existed. It’s insane.” The weapons, the machinery that will carry this out, this was no hypothetical plan, like Herman Kahn might have conceived at the doomsday machine that he thought up at the RAND Corporation as my colleague. This was an actual war plan for how we would use the existing weapons, many of which I had seen already that time.”

And as was further stated in the interview that power is not just in the hands of a single person for any nuclear country. The finger on the button image. For security reasons its in the hands of many commanders. Needless to say, the destructive potential today to much greater. THAT was the purpose of the CD article. Almost every conceivable error one could have made about that article you did. It’s more than past time to grow up.


#14

The first thought I had was strange bedfellows: Gloria Steinem, a former CIA asset (true story!), bourgeois feminist and the Grande Dame of Identity Politics with two storied radicals, Chomsky and Reed? I guess survival is common ground, nonetheless…


#15

With the current Court we have, you are right: we aren’t going to solve money in politics anytime soon. It’s also going to be a state-by-state resolution for issues at the ballot box. That means voting in new Secretary of States and voting Democratic in gubernatorial races to balance out gerrymandered legislatures and to create more balanced district maps come 2020. That is the brass tax on election reform in our current circumstances, wherein even nonpartisan election commissions are under legal threat.


#16

Can’t take seriously anything signed by Gloria Steinem.


#17

I’d forgotten about Ms. Steinem’s CIA tour of duty. Thanks for the useful reminder.


#18

This is all well and good but sidesteps the glaring issue of the behavior of the United States on the world stage. Our greedy, paranoid “government”, (All aspects included), is only facing threats they have created by their actions. We would have NO enemies if we did not BEHAVE as an enemy. Shit, isn’t that obvious???