Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Electile Dysfunction Is A Very Real Problem

With Karl Rove thanking the Republican National Lawyers Association for their hard work these last few years in ensuring clean elections, I’m starting to have the sinking feeling that Rove is one step ahead again. We are still seven months away from the mid-term elections, but Bush’s approval numbers are steadily declining, as are the approval numbers for Republicans in Congress, and neither show any signs of stopping their downward slide. While this would normally be good news, where there’s Rove, there’s fire, and he is still in charge of the day to day political maneuverings of the GOP, and backs against the wall is perfect for someone like him. He always plays the political game like he’s got nothing to lose, and at this point, he really doesn’t. If he’s happy with what his henchmen have been able to accomplish on the voting front, the rest of us surely have cause for concern.

I mean, what better way to do away with free and fair elections, than to make them so problematic, so plagued with errors, so inefficient and so unreliable, that people become convinced that the whole system must be scraped. It sounds farfetched, but it’s exactly where we are headed, and very few Americans seem to give a damn.

I am not afraid of technology, and it certainly has a role to play in the administering of elections, but only if electronic voting can be made as secure and reliable as electronic banking. If people’s money was treated with the same carelessness as our votes currently are, there would be wall to wall coverage on the news and uprisings of people and businesses refusing to allow the theft of our money, whether by “glitches” “human error” or “fraud”, so why is there no outrage when it comes to our votes? I guess money really is what makes this country go, as many have contended, because it certainly isn’t the idea of “one man, one vote” anymore, if it ever was.

At this point, I don’t care if the last few election cycles have been stolen by the GOP, what I care about is democracy, and without a vote, we don’t have democracy. Sure, we still have the right to vote, but if that vote is not guaranteed to be counted, if they can be lost in the black hole of Microsoft Windows, if people living in urban centers, and those voting in predominantly Democratic districts have to wait hours in line to cast a ballot, while white, middle-class suburban NASCAR dads, Soccer Moms and rural Evangelical voters can breeze right through (read The Conyers Report), if hundreds of thousands of people can be scrubbed from the voter rolls, if the GOP can use phone-jamming schemes to suppress voter turnout, we don’t have a democracy and one man, one vote is nothing but a lie.

While I agree that fraud in the last several elections didn’t play as large a part as the failure of the Democratic infrastructure and the refusal to even participate in the so called “red states,” that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a very real problem with the way elections are now administered. I am all for building the Party, creating a cohesive set of values that incorporate all of the issues we care about and challenging Republican domination in the red states, but I am also for an accurate accounting of our votes. Again, if Rove is happy with what his Republican lawyer friends have been able to accomplish in the last two years, I’m pretty sure GOP improvements in electronic voting are not going to bode well for any candidate with a (D) after his or her name this November.

10 Comments:

Anonymous geocrackr said...

BING! - Thank you!

While Rove's favorite strategy is to attack and discredit his opponent's strength, his second favorite is to accuse them of what his party is actually doing. To wit:

"We are, in some parts of the country, I'm afraid to say, beginning to look like we have elections like those run in countries where they guys in charge are, you know, colonels in mirrored sunglasses."

Classic psychological projection.

You already know I don't agree with your assessment of the role of fraud in the last 3 elections, but you are still essentially correct -- "without a vote, we don’t have democracy." And a faith-based election system ("Surely the Democrats must be doing something to get ready for this!") is not a valid way to address this crisis.

12:11 PM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

"If people’s money was treated with the same carelessness as our votes currently are, there would be wall to wall coverage on the news and uprisings of people and businesses refusing to allow the theft of our money, whether by “glitches” “human error” or “fraud”, so why is there no outrage when it comes to our votes?"

Too many Americans take government, politics and voting for granted. They don't much care for any of it and would prefer to elect honest experts and let them handle things — rerserving the right to bitch and moan if things don't go well, of course.

To a remarkable extent this has worked well for most people for a long time. But like Richard Nixon, George W. Bush and his unindicted co-conspirators are proof this approach is a setup for trouble.

As for electronic voting, unscrupulous people can rig the built-in computers to do anything they want them to do, hide what they did and otherwise cover any tracks.

People who make and program the machines, and those who have access to their components and code later on, have the capability and opportunity to do mischief on a scale beyond anything our democracy has ever experienced.

The best way to protect our system and ensure a fair voting process is to use paper ballots, with watchdogs from both major parties on hand to monitor every step.

Oh, and if anyone is naive enough to think Republicans wouldn't cheat, that Karl Rove, Bush and the rest wouldn't do anything to win, just consider that phone-jamming caper.

3:02 PM  
Blogger The (liberal)Girl Next Door said...

GeoCrackr--I couldn't agree more, how is it possible that we don't agree on the role of fraud in the last 3 elections? Sure, the Democrats should have been able to win by a larger margin, but coming in a close second is not the same as winning, yet here we are with Republicans in office due to, literally unbelievable, last minute swings in their favor that defy statistical analysis and differ greatly from exit polling. May not be fraud, but it sure smells like it to me.

S.W. Anderson--Again, couldn't agree more. I would prefer paper ballots, hand counted in glass rooms (if precincts need to be made smaller and we have to wait a week to get results, fine) but I'm also not dismissing the possibility that there could be a technology-based solution that is open, accountable, accessible and verifiable.

Nothing about these people should give us any comfort that they won't resort to fraud on a massive scale in order to hold onto power.

3:18 PM  
Anonymous Roberta Kelly said...

Read what Congressman Ron Paul has to say about the Neocons and their agenda. www.house.gov/paul

Until the Neocons ~ Council on Foreign Relations, WTO, WB, IMF, plus all the other acronyms they think of to cloak the devil in the disguise of "compassionate conservatives" as though it is intelligent somehow ~ STOP running Washington DC, there will be no honest election.

The presidential candidates are all pre-chosen and have been for more years than anyone wants to digest as reality. The Congress is programmed to do exactly what they are told by the CFR as long as they are a D or an R.

Congressman Ron Paul is an exception and the CFR hate him. They will never endorse him to be the VP or Prez because he is for we the people and not the Neocons (multinationals, megaconglomerates, Global Elite, American Super Rich).

Bill Clinton himself has been indoctrinated into the CFR and thus, the NAFTA agreements and his use of nuclear weapons, a Bush family tradition. Bill and George HW are the best of friends and GHW is and has been a key player in the CFR since he has been in government and that is a long time.

We must all let the Neocons know we know who they are. These people are so proud of their secret club of Super Rich and as far as they are concerned Bush/Cheney, Rove, Rumsfeld, Rice, et al. have conducted the business of the Global Elite and full spectrum dominance with ease because the Global Elite chose them for the job and supported them to get it done. Thus, the stranglehold on us is still happening and this is evident in the criminals not being prosecuted.

The media multinational conglomerates are ALL included the ranks of the CFR! Look on the website and you can find all the usual suspects ~ Murdock (Fox News of course) Buffet (Washington Post), ABC, CBS, et al.

When we see the media begin to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, then we can trust the system again. But until that time, we are still "sentient mushrooms."

4:08 PM  
Anonymous Dale Hippert said...

"Rove is one step ahead again." Perhaps, perhaps not. The real issue is still whether or not he's one step ahead of Fitzgerald. The link below suggests he's not.

My overall view is that the template for the destruction of the Republican party as a near term force in National politics is in place. It consists of a fatal admixture of incompetence, cronyism and mendacity that is finally, albeit slowly, being registered by the American people...as reflected in each successive poll.

The template is periodiclly
'upgraded' with new damaging revelations like, Oh, every few days.

Iraq, gas prices, Iran, hurricanes, Fitzgerald, Abramhoff and god knows what yet to come. Let's flash forward 5 months to 9/11. By then it will be apparent that even attempted Republican voter fraud will not be enough to close the gap in some of the congressional matchups.
And, 'interested parties' will be looking closely for just such eventualities.


http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/032806Z.shtml

Fitzgerald Will Seek New White House Indictments
By Jason Leopold
t r u t h o u t | Report
Tuesday 28 March 2006

("Surely the Democrats must be doing something to get ready for this!")

G-crakr: Actually, some Dems as well as others HAVE been DOING SOMETHING. Whether it will be enough or effective or on time remains to be seen.

Much of the site below will confirm your worst fears. some of it will support what I claimed was happening.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2004_U.S._presidential_election_controversy

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) agreed to join Senator Boxer (D-CA) in re-introducing legislation in the Senate requiring a paper audit for all electronic voting machines currently in service in the U.S.

5:37 PM  
Blogger enigma4ever said...

You are such a good writer and you are addressing issues that our elected should be looking at and scrutinizing and fighting...but no the marshmallow reps are not paying attention to the drowning democracy....

7:52 PM  
Blogger The (liberal)Girl Next Door said...

Roberta--First of all, I've missed you. Second, do you think it's even possible that the media can be brought back around to telling the truth? I can't see how it would ever be in their best interest, perhaps they will stoop to telling some truth to gain back lost viewers, but the whole truth isn't likely, ever, I'm afraid.

Dale--It does appear to be a perfect storm. I just fear what they will do to avoid it.

Enigma4Ever--Thank you so very much. I wish your words didn't ring quite so true in regards to our "marshmallow reps" (I love that one, may have to start using it myself).

11:10 PM  
Blogger jae said...

Thank you for bringing these issues up for discussion.

A while back I put a comment on this blog where I said I thought it was too late for the U.S.

This is why:

http://fellowamericanj.blogspot.com/2006/03/reason-one.html

6:25 AM  
Blogger Rory Shock said...

I agree. complicating systems always serves the power structure. there is no other reason for things, like laws on finance, election mechanisms etc. to be complicated, other than the exclusion from power of those who don't have the time, money, interest, energy, 'literacy,' or whatever to decipher the arcane ways this shit works or to be able to identify the mechanism for manipulation of the intricate yet absurd machine ... what we need: paper ballots and the abolition of the electoral system ... and presidential elections on demand of 2/3 of the people at any frickin' time ... screw "continuity" ... look at what "continuity" is doin' for us right now ...

6:30 AM  
Blogger The (liberal)Girl Next Door said...

Jae--Believe me, I understand the sentiment. I vacillate daily, hell, hourly, between feeling like it's all pointless and not being able to give up fighting. I get the sense that you know what I mean.

Rory--Yup. Too many lawyers and not enough common sense. Governing isn't rocket science, politicians just want us to think that it is.

11:28 PM  

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