Friday, June 02, 2006

Fool Me Once…

If you haven’t read Robert Kennedy’s article in Rolling Stone, go do that now. I didn’t learn anything new by reading it, but it did reawaken the outrage I felt that dark day in November and it has both depressed and reinvigorated me. I think Kennedy sums up the situation nicely in the conclusion of his article:

The issue of what happened in 2004 is not an academic one. For the second election in a row, the president of the United States was selected not by the uncontested will of the people but under a cloud of dirty tricks. Given the scope of the GOP machinations, we simply cannot be certain that the right man now occupies the Oval Office -- which means, in effect, that we have been deprived of our faith in democracy itself.

American history is littered with vote fraud -- but rather than learning from our shameful past and cleaning up the system, we have allowed the problem to grow even worse. If the last two elections have taught us anything, it is this: The single greatest threat to our democracy is the insecurity of our voting system. If people lose faith that their votes are accurately and faithfully recorded, they will abandon the ballot box. Nothing less is at stake here than the entire idea of a government by the people.

Voting, as Thomas Paine said, ''is the right upon which all other rights depend.'' Unless we ensure that right, everything else we hold dear is in jeopardy.

And it is just that simple. I know that I voted with little enthusiasm in the last election and I have no real faith that the will of the voters will be achieved in the midterms coming up this November. With the outrageous hijacking of our government by corrupt and damaged people that has already occurred with little resistance from the people, I just don’t see another shady election making much of a difference. I will still vote, but I have no illusions that my vote will be counted if it becomes necessary that it doesn’t. And come 2008, when we have another Presidential election, if my fellow citizens in the battleground states have their votes manipulated, thrown out, distorted or destroyed, then my vote means nothing, whether it’s counted or not. We all have to wrap our brains around that concept before any real change will happen.

25 Comments:

Blogger Godlessfriend said...

Well this is certaintly the type of information that needs to be posted and circulated and it warms my soulless Irish carcass to gaze upon it. I must admit that I'm inclined to get a wee bit drunk and smash things about as an immediate response. However, I do appreciate the civility in a call to arms of this academic nature and thus behave accordingly. I would like to add that I do have a line in the sand that I will not allow the current erosion of our rights and obliteration of our constitution to cross. I'm hoping that I haven't selfishly scribed it too close to home. Regardless, if the skullduggery continues for much longer, I do believe there will be many brothers and sisters to help with the fight. Thanks for the post.

4:40 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

The thing that gets me the most about the Rolling Stone article is that none of it’s new. All that info has been sitting there out in the open waiting for someone to pick it up and run with it and when it happened it was a non-journalist publishing it 2 years after the fact. It’s one of the biggest, if not the biggest stories of the decade and every single journalist and news organization took a pass. I think the MSM has some explaining to do.

6:13 PM  
Anonymous David E said...

As a Canadian, I find the American electoral system bewildering. The ballot --whether electronic, mechanical, or paper-- is a kilometre long. Everything is on the ballot: federal, state, and local candidates as well as propositions. No wonder voter turnout is so low; doesn't anyone know about "the paradox of voting"? So many choices, so little time.

I won't comment on corruption at the ballot box. That's for you to sort out. But I much prefer a paper ballot where one level of government is being decided. I would refuse to use a touch screen; I have enough trouble posting comments without worrying if I've elected the wrong candidate.

An American explained to me why you don't have paper ballots any more. It just made me shake my head. You need separate election days for federal, state, and local. And you need to draft young people --new voters between 18 and 21-- to act as scrutineers and to count the paper ballots. And you need a permanent voters list. Maybe you should pick up some blue dye to put on voters's fingers.

There is a trend toward making voting easier --even in Canada-- by having email ballots, mail-in ballots, or phone-in ballots. I don't approve. The concern is that, if voter turn out falls below 50%, elected officials will lose their legitimacy. And so they should. The logical answer would be to make voting mandatory or make belonging to a political party mandatory. Afterall, most voter apathy has to do with the lack of choice on election day. Unfortunately, it's the small handful of party insiders who have determined who will be on the ballot long before then.

Sadly, shareholders are no longer expected to know anything about the company they own or do anything at the AGM. The same is true of voters. Our votes are a legal necessity, but the politicians don't want us telling them what to do. I suppose it's called "corporatism". But wouldn't it be fun is business were run like government and one shareholder meant one vote instead of one share, one vote?

6:34 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

David,

A big part of the problem is that how your voting system works is largely controlled at the county level. It's pretty easy to get unscrupulous folks installed at the county level. Where I live (just outside Tacoma WA) we vote largely by mail, the ballots are easy to understand and fill out and the system works really well.

Of course, now that we have unscrupulous folks installed at the federal level and a media and Democratic Party that, for the most part, doesn’t care who knows what will happen.

9:57 PM  
Blogger Kvatch said...

A big part of the problem is that how your voting system works is largely controlled at the county level.

No truer words. The solution is to ensure that a verifiable voting record is given to each voter so that the voter's can take matters into their own hands when elections are stolen by corrupt election's officials.

You can bet that the powers that be won't let that come to pass.

5:12 PM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

Michael wrote:

"It’s one of the biggest, if not the biggest stories of the decade and every single journalist and news organization took a pass. I think the MSM has some explaining to do."

This isn't the half of it. Look at the critically important stories that Time magazine and the Washington Post declined to publish for nearly a year, until after the election. And, to insult our intelligence on top of this monumental disservice, they gave as a reason that they didn't want to affect the election outcome!

I still fume every time I think of it.

8:17 PM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

Concerning liberal Girl's post, let's all take heart. Since '04 a whole lot of Americans have decided George W. Bush is as thoroughly no good as liberals knew he was all along. That sets the stage. People aren't going to be as complacent in upcoming elections.

Since the '04 election, just enough negative publicity has come out about election irregularities that antennae will be up and extra sensitive this November, especially in places where dirty work was carried out last time. Democratic Party organizations, voting place monitors and the press are more likely to cry foul or demand recounts where there's reason for suspicion.

The media are increasingly aware of all of the above. I'd be surprised if they mostly sleepwalk through another major election.

8:30 PM  
Anonymous David E said...

Thanks for explaining about the County level problem.

In Canada, the ballots are counted after the polls close in front of party representatives. It makes it hard to fudge the numbers.

One thing I find hard to understand is the small size of your House of Representatives. Britain has almost two hundred more representatives for a country of only 60 million. That's one representative for every 95,000. (Canada's ratio is about the same.) But America's House has one representative for every 700,000.

In theory, to be as representative as Britain and Canada, the US House should have about 3000 members. I know that sounds unwieldy, but it just strikes me as impossible for the House to be "representative" of the American people with a sampling as small as 435.

9:22 PM  
Blogger Godlessfriend said...

S.W.,
Don't be too surprised...Rove and company probably already have some Iran related debacle on standby for those press folks to preoccupy themselves with. I'm sure it will be a good one(think shock and awe). One good thing though...they already hate us. We won't have to waste time with winning their 'hearts and minds'. No sir, just a good old network news embedded ass whoopin'. I can just feel it now...enough bloody corpses, dead babies and depleted uranium lawn decorations to keep those 'heartland' folks hoodwinked for a generation. It's the least they could do...considering they don't have jobs anymore.

9:37 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

David,

The House of Representatives was originally set up to have 1 Rep per X (I can’t find or remember the real number) number of people. As the house grew members thought it would get unwieldy and capped the House at 435 members distributed proportionally based on population. It, actually, works pretty well as Congressmen have large a staff that deal with most issues and do research on issues and bills.

10:42 PM  
Blogger Aspazia said...

Beyond the corruption of the GOP and their dirty tricks, I worry that gerrymandering will make our vote basically meaningless in the house elections. Even if we rooted out all the evil machinations of the GOP, we would still be left with the awful legacy of gerrymandering.

6:41 AM  
Blogger Devil's Advocate said...

I realize this is difficult for you to accept, but your nation is not a democracy. It is a republic. And what the republic has deemed appropriate is to expand the powers of the executive beyond the check of the courts and the congress.

It really is too late. Do you think Al Gore, upon election and assumption of the role of the executive will relinquish any of the new despotic powers? Do you think Hillary will either? No matter who assumes this new executive role, THEIR WILL shall be imposed upon Americus, and thusly the world. They will not represent their constituency. And they will not relinquish one cent of that power, but will seek only consolidate more. Vote for Mikey Mouse for all anyone cares, because not one up-and-coming politician can be trusted by the people.

The time truely has come to prepare for the coronation of The Emperor of Americus.

9:19 AM  
Blogger thehim said...

Mollie,
I was a little too eager to buy into this article myself, but sadly, it contains a whole lot of misinformation. RFK Jr is mostly full of crap. Much of that article has already been debunked. You can see a full breakdown of the article's errors here.

4:33 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

Well crap! I have write off Rolling Stone and RK Jr. too...

8:41 PM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

devil's advocate, your cynicism is as understandable as it is regrettable.

Over time the relative power of the executive tends to ebb and flow. In part that's because bad actors like Nixon and Bush overreach, prompting reactions from voters and Congress.

8:54 PM  
Anonymous geocrackr said...

thehim-

Farhad Manjoo has already established himself as a conservative hack who staked his claim dismissing allegations of election fraud soon after it occurred, and would look even more like an idiot than he already does if he reversed himself now. More to the point, tristero at Hullabaloo hosted a thread on Manjoo's refutation, and a diarist at Daily Kos examines it point-by-point, and both provide overwhelming evidence that Manjoo's is the article full of misrepresentations and half-truths.

As near as I can make out, the only relevant argument posed by election fraud deniers is "the Republicans haven't admitted to it, so it didn't happen," along with generous doses of "la-la-la-la-I-can't-hear-you-I'm-not-listening!" Sort of a faith-based elections approach, the "reasoning" for which, coming from otherwise seemingly intelligent people, absolutely astounds me. Even ignoring the indisputable fact that every shred of the available direct and indirect evidence points to a concerted and sustained effort on the part of the Republicans to steal the election, given the Republican's known Culture of Corruption the burden of proof clearly lies with them.

Therefore, Manjoo's hackery is really irrelevant -- he failed to meet the appropriate burden of proof: "Where is the evidence that the election wasn't stolen?"

9:44 PM  
Anonymous geocrackr said...

Just stumbled on this: Steven D at Booman Tribute refutes arm-chair election fraud deniers with his own first-hand account of how the illegal actvities that Kennedy documents played out on the ground.

9:57 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

Sweet! RFK Jr and Rolling Stone are back in the game.

11:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You did a good job on KIRO this evening with Goldy!

12:39 AM  
Anonymous rkelly said...

The LoneStar Iconoclast interviews Greg Palast and it is basically a review of his new book: "Armed Madhouse." Greg Palast is certainly one of the most well respected investigative reporters in the world.

It is important for every American to read what he says about voter fraud because his reporting covers the dirt in every little corner.

http://www.lonestaricon.com/
absolutenm/anmviewer.asp?a=108&z=27

[p.s. mollie, i have sent you several emails and did not hear back?]

3:01 AM  
Anonymous geocrackr said...

Here's another authority to add to the "Manjoo may not be an actual hack, but he plays one on Salon" list.

rkelly - Palast has been pounding on election fraud since he documented the voter purge scheme in FL in 2000. If you (or anyone else here) happen to be in Seattle this week, he's going to be at Town Hall on Thurs, sponsored by Elliott Bay Books. As you might imagine if you haven't seen him before, he's a character, and a good speaker.

8:01 AM  
Blogger thehim said...

Geocrackr,

For a better explanation of why RFK Jr is incorrect about the exit polling, click here.

Not everything he said in his article is untrue, but he's absolutely out of line in using some of the evidence he used in order to make the claim that Kerry won the election. The link above has put the exit poll issue to bed for me. I haven't replicated the calculations, but I'm familiar enough with statistics to know that what was done there to show a Kerry oversampling is sound.

12:59 PM  
Anonymous geocrackr said...

thehim-

That model seems reasonable enough at first read. But even if it is correct, all it shows is that Kerry oversampling is statistically plausible if every precinct oversampled Kerry voters, a proposition which itself is rooted in unfounded conjecture. It does not in any way show that Kennedy was "absolutely out of line."

Regardless, it still fails to meet the required burden of proof given the Republicans' known Culture of Corruption: where is the evidence that Kerry voters were actually oversampled?

2:51 PM  
Blogger The (liberal)Girl Next Door said...

Roberta--My emails to you are bouncing back every time I try to respond, but I will keep trying.

8:04 PM  
Anonymous geocrackr said...

Yet another expert weighs in on Manjoo's asshattery concerning the exit poll statistics.

1:01 PM  

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