Monday, February 20, 2006

It's The Election Machines, Stupid

I had already been suspicious of the '00 and '04 election results before reading "Fooled Again: How the Right Stole the 2004 Election & Why They'll Steal the Next One Too" by Mark Crispin Miller. However, reading that book, which was rather comprehensively researched, reminded me that the machines are not the only problem. What makes everything so much worse is that very few people in leadership positions are challenging the concept of voting machines pushed by partisan companies that leave no paper trail and are readily available for tampering. When somebody like me discusses it, we are dismissed as wacky conspiracy theorists. which is why there has been so little incentive to enact meaningful reform.

At this point I have no confidence that the elections in our nation are fair. I also have no confidence in the Democratic Party to make enough noise about this to make a difference. It is a given that the msm will be silent.

However, every now and again, I am capable of being surprised. Today was such a day. The Washington Post, in an editorial, addressed these touch-pad voting machines with no paper trail produced by Diebold. In specifically dealing with the situation in Maryland, the following was stated:

"...the touch-screen machines that have been in use are seriously flawed. Voters cannot know for sure whether their choices are correctly recorded and tallied because the machines do not produce any paper trails showing each vote cast; that makes an audit impossible. Computer experts note, too, that results can be rigged without risk of detection."

Interestingly, the Post makes it a bi-partisan issue, as if the GOP is as eager to correct the problem as are Democrats. Uh huh? Additionally, they refer to Dems who are allegedly trying to impede reform in the interests of attacking the Republican Governor. I don't know the local politics of the state that well, but it would not be the first time that Democrats were clueless. In fact the party ineptitude has been reaching new heights of late, so I don't take issue with the conclusion.

I do know this. If we allow machines with no paper trail, we can say goodbye to our democracy. Because the right-wing will continue to steal elections that they never won. At this point, they know the Democrats will do nothing but crawl back into the corner with their tail between their legs.

That is the saddest part of the story.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

A Radioactive Pat Robertson?

Considering that the religious right rarely, if ever, criticizes one of their own, it is refreshing to see them publicly backing away from Pat Robertson.

(sorry, it would be impossible for me to refer to this charlatan as 'reverend.)

An AP story today quotes fundamentalist leaders questioning whether or not Robertson is damaging the movement. In the interest of helping them out, the answer is yes, he is.

Still, not everybody is getting the message:

"Robertson started out as a Southern Baptist, but today he is a charismatic evangelical and believes that God is involved in guiding world events, said Barry Hankins, professor of history and church-state studies at Baylor University. He tries to interpret contemporary events as "being part of the drama of God's activity in the world."

"'He puts the most fantastic spin on things to have a gripping quality about them to keep the ground troops alert,' Hankins said.

"On the other hand, Brian Britt, director of the Religious Studies Program at Virginia Tech, said Robertson's remarks aren't just "off-the-wall, crazy uncle stuff" but part of a strategy that earns him headlines.

"When people attack Robertson, he wins sympathy for appearing to be an underdog, Britt said.

"'It reinforces an image of Christianity as a persecuted religion, a religion that is being hounded by the secularists out of the public square, rather than a dominant and hegemonic force,' Britt said."

Yeah, Robertson sure knows how to spin, but the fact that he cancelled an appearance at the NRB Convention, allegedly because he knew that they didn't really want him to speak there, is encouraging. It means that even with the control freaks that run the evangelical movement there are some limits.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Finally, It Takes Carter To Say It

I have been truly amazed at the lack of understanding from the Democratic party about what message will truly resonate with the American people.

The fact that President Bush has been allowed to get away with his illegal wiretapping in public opinion polls shows how utterly dismal the minority party is at communicating.

I keep hearing Dems refer to the overriding issue being the fact that terrorists may go free because Bushco did not follow the rule of law. All that this line of defense will do is cause Middle America to bemoan allegedly liberal judges and courts.

The main message that should be delivered is the fact that if court approval is circumvented, than Bush can eavesdrop on anybody, including his political enemies, and nobody would ever know. After all, Nixonian dirty tricks are what led to some of this legislation regarding checks-and-balances for surveillance.

Since Bush apparently could have gotten anything he wanted through the courts, than this is a very believable scenario. Look at Plamegate for proof of what this administration will stoop to. Why bypass the courts unless you have something to hide? Or if the scope of the program is so vast that it goes way beyond suspected terrorists?

Today, finally, somebody brought home this point loud and clear. It was Jimmy Carter, speaking today at the funeral of Coretta Scott King. Carter noted that the Kings were "victims of secret government wiretapping."

There. Point made. Touche.

Thank you Jimmy Carter. And for the one or 2 news organizations that chose to mention his remarks.