The Silence of the Scams
Psychological Resistance to Facing Election Fraud

By Diane Perlman, Ph.D. 202 797 7577    cell 610 667 6703

Thought experiment: What if it was discovered, beyond the shadow of a doubt,
that there was a widespread pattern of election fraud, with higher spikes in
swing states, including hundreds of dirty tricks unreported in the media,
adding up to numbers which might shift the outcome of the election, and that most
Americans didn't know or didn't want to know?

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

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

Although we are not certain of the actual outcome, we do know of
statistically impossible discrepancies between numbers of exit polls and official counts
in counties without paper trails, patterns of anecdotes about corrupted
procedures, and accounts of strange behaviors, phenomena and illegal interventions ­
all of which come out in Bush's favor.

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

Many say there is fraud in every election, but there was far more in 2004
than in any previous year, and if the errors were random, about half would go in
Kerry's favor. Virtually all went in Bush's favor.

But rather than demanding a thorough investigation, the American people seem
eager to forget the incidents and put the election behind them, thus
implicitly supporting such corruption.

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

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

After obvious election fraud in 2000, and less obvious fraud in 2002, there
is an astonishing failure to correct old problems and prevent new, more
creative manipulations in 2004 and into the future. We must wonder what is going on
in the collective psyche that allows the systematic and progressive usurpation
of power. 

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

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

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

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

Before the psychological explanations, it is necessary to acknowledge the
overwhelming factor of ignorance of the facts, but there can be subliminal
awareness and lack of desire to know the facts. Of course if the facts were
accurately reported in the mainstream media, the collective psychological climate
would be conducive to a healthier public response. People accept fraud for reasons
which may be conscious or unconscious, described below.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some Links for Detailed Accounts of Voter Fraud

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

Links for detailed information about voter fraud
A Guide to Ohio and New Mexico Recounts: Statistical Anomalies and Evidence
of Voting Machine Malfunction and Fraud in the 2004 Presidential Election   
January 5, 2005
By: Audit the Vote and Help America Recount
Analysis of 2004 Election Irregularities
TV Networks Officially Refuse to Release Exit
Poll Raw Data    By Gary Beckwith
The Columbus Free Press  22 December 2004
Thom Hartmann in "Dialing for Democracy - Now Is Critical
January 3, 2005,

20 Amazing Facts About Voting in the USA
partial list of incidents reported in the news
by Bob Fitrakis, Steve Rosenfeld and Harvey Wasserman