Thursday, November 02, 2006

Election Paranoia

posted by PeterAtLarge

Okay, Bush, call me paranoid. But the specter of rigged elections still looms large in my mind. It’s supported by a ton of evidence, much of which is available for all to read in the archives of The Washington Spectator online.

The history is in itself convincing. There was Florida in 2000, remember, Bush? That election, according to those who have studied it in depth, should rightly have been invalidated on multiple counts of fraud. The results were rammed down the nation’s throat, first by the actions of the infamous Katherine Harris, whose extreme bias as arbiter of the Florida election process has been evident since that election through her own political ambitions—which hopefully will finally crash in flames next week; then by the patrician power tactics of James Baker and the hasty, split decision of the United States Supreme Court.

I wonder, incidentally, if Al Gore regrets not having fought this battle to the bitter end? Especially now, looking back on the record of your denial of sound science, Bush, your rejection of Kyoto, and your significant contributions to the deterioration of the environment of this nation and the planet through your seemingly unqualified and uncritical support of business interests. Had Gore known what he must know now, would he have been less compliant in “defeat”?

And then in 2004 there was Ohio. The same kind of story. Voters disenfranchised by various forms of chicanery, corrupt election officials, corrupted voting machines… All resulting in a surprising “victory” for Bush.

So call me paranoid if you will, Bush, but having followed the track record of those who engineered these past two election victories and watching the smug self-assurance that suffuses the countenance of your Rove even today, I can’t help but worry for next Tuesday. We know that the technology for fraud is readily available. As Mark Crispin Miller notes in the Washington Spectator article referenced above,
In 2004, 23 percent of the electorate cast their votes on "direct-recording electronic" (DRE) machines. Today, according to Election Data Services, it's over 39 percent. And nearly 41 percent will have their votes counted by computerized scanners—a method preferable to using DRE machines, as it allows for paper ballots, but a risky practice nonetheless. Thus over 80 percent of next month's vote will be counted secretly, by private vendors closely tied to Bush's party. (Italics mine.)
The GOP has also furthered mass disenfranchisement by passing Jim Crow laws of startling brazenness (yet that have gone largely unnoticed by the press). The Ohio legislature has passed a law that quadruples the price of recounts, makes machine audits near-impossible, hinders registration of new voters, tightens partisan control of the election work-force and requires all voters to bring IDs to the polls. Photo IDs, effectively a poll tax, are now required in Indiana and Florida—where, moreover, it is now illegal to hand-count paper ballots once they have been "counted" by machine. Through such laws—and epidemic lawlessness—the [Republican] party will control the vote throughout the nation on November 7.

Scary, no? At least to those of us who still want to believe in democracy as we used to know it, before you came along. Miller argues convincingly that the supposed tidal wave of Christian right voters in 2004 was largely a myth, created to provide plausible cover for an otherwise inexplicable victory. The same with the fear factor. As for the coming election, he predicts that the “terror-obsessed pre-propaganda […] tragically portends an imminent ‘surprise’ [to be] deployed, before Election Day, to make Bush's empty, crazy argument seem suddenly believable. Whether it's a second 9/11, or a huge ‘defensive’ strike against Iran, or a paralyzing combination of the two, a move like that would serve to make the recent Bush/Cheney line on ‘terror’ sound prophetic rather than insane.”

Or perhaps, more plausibly, your people have already found their cover for another inexplicable election victory (inexplicable, that it, given the now-evident mood of the country) in this latest Kerry nonsense. Should the fix be in, should you win again against all odds, we’ll all be reminded, after the fact, of how John Kerry’s remark served to turn the tide in your favor.

Paranoia, anyone?


denn said...

You are in tune,P: Early tonight, HBO ran the documentary that Diebold fought hard to stop, Hacking Democracy. LA times Lee tells me, ran the story today.
See Hacking Democracy, see Bush at the polling place saying how the whole world watches our marvelous election process, see Kerry give up and leave investigation to ordinary citizens, see Deibold head engineer lie on camera about security, see an election official actually cry when Black Box people demonstrate the simple changing of votes on actual Florida Diebold equipment by one person, untraceably, in a mock election supervised by an actual veteran elections manager.
a great and intriquing documentary.

PK said...

Paranoia?... Yeah, a big glass please... denn, unfortunately, in some respects, I don't have cable TV, and was unable to watch this. However, PBS had a good one on it not too long ago. All these systems are set up already, so I'm praying that we can get more people to mail in thier votes... What Kerry did is nothing my friend Peter. Have you gotten wind of our sterling security in the US in the last day or so? There were plans for a nuclear bomb, papers from Iraq, placed on the Net, in Arabic. Just taken off. I don't think what Kerry said will mater a whit when all of this hits the papers! Bush and his minions, and most of the GOP, are so enthralled with 'swift boating' any Dem they spy out of the corners of their eyes, that security takes a back seat. They can't chew gum and walk at the same time. As I mentioned in the last post, let's see them minimize and chuckle this one off... I'm not laughing!