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Excerpt: "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."

American flag. (photo: Timo Kohlenberg)
American flag. (photo: Timo Kohlenberg)

Open Letter for Secure Elections and True National Security

By Gloria Steinem, Noam Chomsky, Michael Moore and Daniel Ellsberg, RootsAction

13 July 18


ctivists and writers including Noam Chomsky, Katrina vanden Heuvel, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Alice Walker, and Daniel Ellsberg have signed the Open Letter on this page -- to call for secure elections in the United States and steps to ease tensions between the United States and Russia in order to prevent a catastrophic conflict between the nuclear superpowers. If you agree, join them by signing here!

Background: The Nation: “Common Ground: For Secure Elections and True National Security”

Open Letter

Common Ground: For Secure Elections and True National Security

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.

Whatever the truth of varied charges that Russia interfered with the election, there should be no doubt that America’s digital-age infrastructure for the electoral process is in urgent need of protection. The overarching fact remains that the system is vulnerable to would-be hackers based anywhere. Solutions will require a much higher level of security for everything from voter-registration records to tabulation of ballots with verifiable paper trails. As a nation, we must fortify our election system against unlawful intrusions as well as official policies of voter suppression.

At the same time, the U.S. and Russian governments show numerous signs of being on a collision course. Diplomacy has given way to hostility and reciprocal consular expulsions, along with dozens of near-miss military encounters in Syria and in skies above Europe. Both sides are plunging ahead with major new weapons development programs. In contrast to prior eras, there is now an alarming lack of standard procedures to keep the armed forces of both countries in sufficient communication to prevent an escalation that could lead to conventional or even nuclear attack. These tensions are festering between two nations with large quantities of nuclear weapons on virtual hair-trigger alert; yet the current partisan fixations in Washington are ignoring the dangers to global stability and, ultimately, human survival.

The United States should implement a pronounced shift in approach toward Russia. No political advantage, real or imagined, could possibly compensate for the consequences if even a fraction of U.S. and Russian arsenals were to be utilized in a thermonuclear exchange. The tacit pretense that the worsening of U.S.-Russian relations does not worsen the odds of survival for the next generations is profoundly false. Concrete steps can and must be taken to ease tensions between the nuclear superpowers.

Signed by: Andrew Bacevich, Rev. Dr. William Barber II, Phyllis Bennis, Noam Chomsky, Stephen F. Cohen, John Dean, Phil Donahue, Thomas Drake, Daniel Ellsberg, Ambassador Jack F. Matlock Jr., Michael Moore, Walter Mosley, Viet Thanh Nguyen, John Nichols, Frances Fox Piven, Valerie Plame, Adolph Reed Jr., Governor Bill Richardson, Congresswoman Patricia Schroeder, Norman Solomon, Gloria Steinem, Senator Adlai Stevenson III, Katrina vanden Heuvel, Alice Walker, Jody Williams, James Zogby

(Signers have endorsed this Open Letter as individuals and not on behalf of any organization.) your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+51 # jwb110 2018-07-13 10:06
The first change that need to happen is to go back to hand written and hand counted ballets. We don't need to have the results instantaneously .
+11 # librarian1984 2018-07-13 10:28
What a pity, all these fine people become Putin puppets. But how convenient for FlufferNutter, to have all the new trolls in a convenient list format.

In '1984' Orwell depicts a nation constantly at war. Citizens would forget who they were at war with because it shifted and it really didn't matter. All that's important is to have an enemy. For anyone whose mind is open there's ample evidence that Russia was chosen arbitrarily as a bogeyman. It could just as easily have been China or Belgium.

As far as money laundering and skimming go, we're bombing at least eight countries, and even our representatives don't know where our troops are. Seems like they've abandoned oversight as well as morality.
-17 # reality 2018-07-13 10:33
Without struggling against the invisible coup that installed Trumpler in the Blackhouse, he or Pence will be reinstalled in 2020, and the dempublicans gains in 2018 will be substantially mitigated by the military, police, intelligence complexes, the global hackers, Assange, Wikileaks, many Bernie or Bust 'Bots, some of the elite of the black supremacy, ginos, dinos, linos sinos, ainos, as well as their comrades in materialism and ends justifies the means, etc., the tea party and remocrats, merx for more through to mercs for unending unnecessary global nuclear war; putin's puppets All! If you didn't vote Hillary you voted Prump/Tutin! Which is a great and needed bumpersticker; it's hers if she wants it in 2020- to right our Ship of State. An injustice to any is an injustice to all, and if it isn't addressed individually, it becomes a global injustice as well. "You can't struggle with the man's house (mansion) using the man's tools", Audrey Lourdes, "be the change you wish to see in the world", "the root of all oppression lies in (supposed) science", Gandhi.  Remember, if responsibility isn't exercised, its Siamese twin sister, freedom, will wither, like an unused muscle, as well; now, sadly, because of self-possession , it needs to be exorcised before it's exercised.  No one must be conned by the corporate structure's convolution, divide and conquer
only works on the divided. If you're not taking bullets you're making them. If you will, please copy, share. reality
+13 # Blackjack 2018-07-13 10:59
"Putin puppets?" Seriously? "Chosen arbitrarily as a bogeyman?" Methinks you've been reading too many of RR's posts!

Our national security priorities are based on MONEY. That's all. For decades. And, true, no one is bothering about oversight, but that is because of the policies that have been put in place for a very long time that will ensure that the money keeps rolling into the right coffers.
0 # reality 2018-07-31 09:05
Reply in 5 parts: 1: Dear Blackjack, grandlakeguy, Moxa, economagic, BetaTheta, Dale, evolver, Rodion Raskolnikov, et Al,

Blackjack, Really, what part of "Putin's puppets all" smacks of bogeyman? He's probably the richest man on the planet, at least in top 3 minimum, he's overtly the titular head of the global oligarchy by his pronounced and prolonged anti: life, environment, feminist, LGBTQ, etc., policies and global political, etc., engineering, assassinations, exponentially more than Trumpler; certainly you wouldn't suggest his puppet Trumpler is worthy of the prime spot in the personal heirarchy of the biheaded, bipolar axi of global supposed profit, pleasure and power actuality the world is cowering to as we speak? Yes, merx for more through to mercs for unending unnecessary global war, notsees, totalitarian, socialist, materialists through to totalitarian, notsee, capitalist, materialists, all embrace the supposed garnering of ever increasing delusional (short-term) profits, pleasures and powers in ever increasingly centralizing and cyclical patterns, 'ends justifies the means', delusional constructs likes 'sides', etc., "so the $ keeps rolling into the right coffers", as you say, but, only non-materialist s will actually ever struggle against that- you're not one? grandlakeguy, 1. Not true, the global hacking of our 2018 election, predominantly by Russians and Ukrainians, as well with online auto 'bots impersonating thousands of people and mass-posting extreme...
0 # reality 2018-07-31 09:12
Con't: Part 2: ... propaganda for Trumpler and against Hillary, etc., was far worse than the remocrats have ever done to the dempublicans, etc.- including the stealing of the 2000 election by the Supremacy Court, thuggery, and illegal throwing of 95,000 non-rem voters off the voter lists in Fl, etc.. As well, the devastation that the current installing of Trumpler in the Blackhouse will do is astronomically worse than king george and his dick, cheney did during their reign on the "American..." parade (daymare, not a 'dream'), supposed "...way of life", etc.. 2. Bernie would have been defeated in the general against Trumpler, mainly because he was mostly running to promote socialism instead of running for the Presidency of the united suck of assassins. Where's this third party, not the Green Party, it's admin. has been taken over by the socialists and it's been neutered; unforgivably, Stein bragged about the Hillary loss and installation of Trumpler soon after that fiasco- I'm a real, non-socialist Green, she's a gino. Now, the socialists are trying to destroy the dempublicans party for TrumputiN; the dems shouldn't let them. Moxa, "If the dems played fair", as you say, Bernie, regardless of my staunch support, still wouldn't have won the primary. economagic, "...a second one...", how about a first, no party in the united suck of assassins is actually representative of it's constituents, not even my Green Party, which was the best one until Stein turned anti-Green...
0 # reality 2018-07-31 09:16
Con't: Part 3: ...for TrumputiN. BetaTheta, We've never had a democracy, only somewhat progressing democratic processes, until Prump/Tutin. Indeed, global hackers, including here, la machine, definitively, was the strongest criminal influence in the invisible coup that installed Trumpler; and we must struggle against all elements of it now and forever. Before any endeavors to "...have constructive... ", as you say, anything with Russia, we must totally stop their hacking of, and influence on our elections, now and forever- regardless of the costs. Neither TrumputiN are capable of it, our elections coming up in 3 months are already being hacked by Russia; and the intelligence, military, police industrial complexes aren't doing nearly as much as they should because they and Trumpler want the elections to be hacked in the remocrat conspiracy's favor- duh. You go too far, the rems want the hacking, there's no "...powerful neocon movement to restart the cold war...", as you project; all the TrumputiN puppets, all the corporate structure's convolutionarie s, the whole of la machine, apparently including you, want the remocrats to defeat the dempublicans and non-rems by hacking or whatever- yet, even though I'm struggling against war for the latest 43 of my 58 years as an activist/advoca te, and now only an advocate/activi st on all issues for all life, if it takes a war to stop their hacking of our elections then there will be one! Dale, Indeed, excellent perspectives... .
0 # reality 2018-07-31 09:19
Con't: Part 4, and last: ...evolver, I think it very much matters, and "...we(e),..." should do anything and everything necessary to secure our elections; though, good observations about recent political events globally. Rodion Raskolnikov, Not true, their article is pro-Russian to a fault, sadly. All, If you didn't vote Hillary
you voted TrumputiN! Which is a great and needed bumpersticker; it's hers if she wants it in 2020- to right our Ship of State. An
injustice to any is an injustice to all, and if it isn't addressed individually, it becomes a global injustice as well. "You can't struggle with the man's house (mansion) using the man's tools", Audrey Lourdes, "be the change you wish to see in the world", "the root of all oppression lies in (supposed) science", Gandhi.  If responsibility isn't exercised, its Siamese twin sister, freedom, will wither, like
an unused muscle, as well; now, sadly, because of self-possession , it needs to be exorcised before it's exercised.  No one must be conned by the corporate structure's convolution, divide and conquer only works
on the divided, life is indivisible, as your potential is illimitable. The intellect can't lead for the life doesn't follow. If you're not taking bullets you're making them. If you will, please copy, share. reality
+44 # grandlakeguy 2018-07-13 11:28
Whatever mischief the Russians inflicted on our last election is nothing compared to the outright and wholesale ELECTION THEFT that has been conducted by the criminal Republican party since they got away with stealing the White House in 2000!

And the Democrats continue to do virtually nothing about it.
+5 # Moxa 2018-07-13 20:52
Agreed, but what about the DEMOCRATIC election theft in the primary? Just think, had the Democrats played fair we might have President Sanders right now.

Compared to the shenanigans of our two parties, I expect whatever Russia may have done to influence the election was insignificant.
+8 # grandlakeguy 2018-07-14 12:26
I agree with you Moxa, what the Democratic party did to Bernie in the primaries was despicable. Bernie would have demolished trump in the general election despite all of the voting manipulation. I can never forget the video of the San Diego Registrar of voters whiting out Bernie votes before putting the ballots in the scanner.

Clearly the DNC preferred the risk of a Trump presidency rather than the horror of actual representative governance that would work for the citizens instead of for the corporate donors. That would clearly have occurred under a President Sanders.

It is time for a third party!
+4 # economagic 2018-07-16 06:44
Or a second one.
+21 # BetaTheta 2018-07-13 11:39
Republican oligarchs are a greater threat to our “democracy” than their Russian counterparts. But the 80,000 vote margin of Trump’s electoral victory suggests that Russian propaganda may well have tipped the scales.

At least one loose-lipped Russian parliamentarian (Nikonov) implied as much. Perhaps they could be permitted a bit of triumphalism over payback, given our dick-headed treatment of Russia after the collapse of the USSR. And we have attempted or succeeded in at least 80 coup attempts on foreign governments since 1953.

But that is not to say we should ignore what has become pretty obvious Russian interference here and in other countries. The cycle of great power interference should be aired everywhere and resisted. And US/Russia relations cannot be healed until both sides own up and start working in more constructive directions. Perhaps neither the Trump or Putin camps are capable of this, but they will not be around forever.

There is a powerful neocon push to re-ignite the Cold War, as there is always lots of business opportunity in conflict. The rest of the world should not stand for it.
-5 # Robbee 2018-07-13 15:08
Quoting BetaTheta 2018-07-13 11:39:
Perhaps neither the Trump or Putin camps are capable of this, but they will not be around forever.

- forever?

what is this "forever" you speak of, pale face?

does it end? - does it have anything to do with time? - if so, how long does it last?

do you believe that dickhead's ravages to our system of injustice, our executive branch, end? if so, at any time during our lifetimes? if so, how?

during our lifetimes, do you suppose his rapt supporters will ever stop singing dickhead's praise?

do you believe that, during his lifetime, putin's ravages against the russian people end? if so, during russian lifetimes? if so, how?

as you may be aware, i offered to bet lib that if anyone became prez in 2020 and then accomplished MORE than hillary, albeit realistically and pragmatically and triangly promised to accomplish during her term in office, i would bow to lib's greater wisdom - if anyone can do better than hillary WOULDA, that would be SOMETHING! - it may not seem likely now, and these counter-revolut ionary supremes could declare ANYTHING unconstitutiona l - we pray lib wins!

at the same time in 2016, i asked lib to apologize to the millions dickhead's policies, appointmees and decisions would, in the meanwhile, before any could stop his train wreck of a government, kill - their tough luck! - to others, lib never counts the cost!
+3 # Benign Observer 2018-07-13 15:42
Somebody let the monkey out of its cage!
+7 # BetaTheta 2018-07-13 15:44
The “forever” of which I speak, Tonto, is just that: The march of time that sweeps away all things. It’s up to us to build something better to replace the present noxious systems. Beyond that, your scattergun syntax leaves me a bit baffled. Obscurity does not equal profundity.
+1 # evolver 2018-07-13 12:23
Does it really even matter in these moments of survival whether it is Russia, China or yes, Belgium after watching his nose brown at NATO. WE have to do what we can to STOP IT! Because CHAOS abounds and it is dangerous! Even if evolutionary! Survival of the fittest? It's INSTINCTUAL!

putin and trump are lustfully greedy and determined to be on top! Yes, pun intended.
+6 # Dale 2018-07-13 13:13
I am distressed to see such prominent thinkers as party to this statement. This is mainly a corporate Democrat anti-Russian ploy in the old school of anti-communism. Russia intervenes in American democracy. What Democracy? America is a Plutocracy, ruled by money. And the corporations and rich buy elections and politicians, including most Democrats. Most of all the utter hypocrisy. The United States is the country that interferes in the internal affairs of countries throughout the world, and no Democrat raises a voice when Russia is surrounded by American missiles. Today the U.S. engages in economic sabotage against Venezuela and threatens military invasion, maintains more than 60 years of build-up on the Korea border and threatens nuclear war. Those responsible for military interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and Libya are immune from any sanction, and the interventions continue. And the Dems vote for increasing the military budget. Get Trump for real reasons not trumped up red scare trumped up ones.
+3 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-07-14 07:56
Dale -- good points. So-called Russian meddling in the US election is only a microscopic problem. There are huge problems that no one dares to talk about.

The crisis we have now with immigrants and refugees pouring into the country along the southern borders is the direct result of US "meddling" in elections in El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and other nations. The US runs death squads in El Salvador.

The Nation went into the ditch when it was taken over by Kristina Vanden Heuvel. She's a member of the ruling elites and the Nation has become a mouthpiece for elite opinion. Her father was in the OSS and a good friend of Wild Bill Donovan, the founder of the CIA. She's close with that crowd. She's active in the Council on Foreign Relations. So what would be expect from the Nation. It used to be a very good magazine in the old days. Now it is pretty much the same as the establishment media.

The Vanden Heuvels are part of the liberal imperialist establishment. They were close to Avril Harriman and his investment banking business. All this is why Kristina is invited to be on so many mainstream media programs.
0 # janie1893 2018-07-13 13:44
Blame the other!!! It is not working, folks! Get out and take some responsibility for your own freedoms! Do something or shut up!
+1 # elkingo 2018-07-13 14:18
Reasonable and compelling. My God, what shit am I talking? Emergent! Critical in its loving intention to save the world. But is it enough to avail against the cultural monstrosity that has the planet in its claws? Us, the Russkies, the Chinks - the rest: a world of psychotic nuclear-armed capitalist, genocidal, imperialist mega-states bent on Armageddon? No! Excessive? Think about it. Of course, Lib.1984 is right is citing main-man Georgie Orwell, "perpetual war for perpetual peace* (well dominance)" amongst 3 ill-defined mega-states. Of course, Dudes and Dudettes, the climate might get us first. Courage! Action? Insurrection?

* Well, that one is actual Gore Vidal.
+3 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-07-14 07:46
"The United States should implement a pronounced shift in approach toward Russia."

I wonder if these signer understand that they are supporting Trump, who promised in the campaign to implement a profound shift in US relations with Russia by renouncing the Obama/Clinton ramping of of a new cold war. He is bucking the massive onslaught of the CIA controlled media which wants relations between the US and Russia to be on a war basis.

These signers are significantly pulling their punches. This is a weak, or almost cowardly statement. They need to be forthright in what they say they want. We are all afraid of and against nuclear war. But we are a long way from that. So what do they oppose NOW and what do the support NOW. Do they support Trump's meeting with Putin with a one-on-one no CIA minders in the room discussion?

Riding both sides of the fence is just a way to get splinters in your crotch. That's what's happening here.
+4 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-07-14 07:59
Here is Robert Scheer's response to this open letter in the Nation --

"When Resistance Becomes Capitulation: A Response to an Open Letter in The Nation "

"I find this statement to be an inadequate response to the jingoistic blather of the Democratic Party, and of course the GOP leadership."
+1 # librarian1984 2018-07-14 11:14
We don't learn a fucking thing. How many times do we have to play out this ignorant macho crap until one of them slips and blows us all to bits. They even use the same words.

It's a dangerous game for ignorant people, and by definition anyone playing it is ignorant.

I really can imagine Hillary or Stephen Miller riding a nuke down with Putin's name on it, and no regrets at all.
0 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-07-14 15:22
The neo-cons are going nuts because they are afraid Trump and Putin will get along and put to death the myth that the US and Russia are mortal enemies. They know that a cold war against Russia and China is the gravy train for their paymasters in the weapons industry. They really don't give a damn about crumbling infrastructure, bad schools, eroding wages or all the rest. War is a money making venture, whether the war is cold or hot.

Somehow I wish there were no first amendment and total lunatics like Jonathan Chait could be locked up in some Dark Hole of Calcutta. But we can't. So he peddles his new cold war idiocy in promintent journals like the New Yorker. Trump has been Putin's asset since 1987. That would have been when he was a lowly KGB officer in E. Germany translating newspaper articles from German to Russian. He had time on the side to recruit Trump as a faithful asset.

We don't learn anything. So maybe we are doomed. The neo-cons will rule us forever.
+2 # librarian1984 2018-07-15 09:39
I agree with you wholeheartedly about the true intent of the propaganda we're seeing but disagree it suggests a flaw with the first amendment, a few words that set us apart from almost every other government in the world.

When we stray from it is when we fail. There should be MORE transparency, perhaps an understanding of where a nut like Chait gets his paycheck?

Our government and usurpers try to subvert the first amendment, suggesting they consider it problematic. That in itself recommends its importance.

What I wish is that TPTB hadn't gutted our schools of history and civics. It's an informed electorate that battles oligarchs, as they well know.
+3 # PABLO DIABLO 2018-07-14 21:58
Gotta keep the War Machine well fed so it can continue to buy politicians.
0 # economagic 2018-07-16 06:57
"For Secure Elections and True National Security"

The enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend. It seems to me that neither the Republican party nor those who rule Russia (officially and/or in fact) consider either of those ends as a laudable goal, but rather see the lack of them as features.

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