Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Close Enough To Steal? Betcher Sweet Ass!

That's gotta be the first question anybody asks about any US National election since 2000.

The short answer is: Yes.

The reasons for this, however, are not short or simple.

1. Unreliable/Hackable machines: With the continued reliance by almost half the states (24, including California, Texas, Florida, and Ohio) on (PRIVATELY OWNED & LICENSED; i.e., Diebold, ES&S, Sequoiah) 'electronic' vote-casting and tabulating machineries, the "vote-stealing/flipping/ignoring equipment" is in place in the most populous, and most contentious states in the nation. Switching only one vote in 20 cast on Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) machines in 2004 (would have) provided the margin in popular votes by which The Chimperor and Darth Cheney were 're-elected.'

A recent report, released in early October by Common Cause, Verified Voting and the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law, noted that "(s)everal U.S. states still are not doing all they can to ensure the accuracy of votes over electronic voting machines and 10 states received inadequate grades in three of four categories of safeguards." The DRE machines are unreliable, fragile, and hackable, still nearly a decade AFTER their reliability was forst called into question AFTER the 2000 vote. Plus, even states using paper ballots mainly tabulate the results on proprietary equipment over which they exert no direct control as to programming or troubleshooting.

Here in New Mexico, as in most states, the Secretary of State presides over the machineries of the franchise. Unfortunately, for New Mexicans, the last two NM Secs of State (the incumbent, Mary Herrera, who replaced Rebecca Vigil-Jiron in '06) have held their positions mainly in virtue of their persistence in State or local government, and not in consequence of any particular skill or ability, and possess a collective IQ only slightly higher than an equal number of nasal polyps. I heard Vigil-Jiron, in 2004, admit on a local radio interview program she neither knew nor particularly cared about the significant differences between 'proprietary' and 'open-source' voting machine soft-ware. Mary Herrera more or less dismissed concerns about vote-theft and/or election fraud a couple of weeks ago on a similar program as baseless, consigning such concerns to the category of "blah-blah-blah."

2. US Attorneys: Another factor bearing on possible attempts by certain 'interests' to tamper with election results is the situation with the US Attorney corps. Albeit the political memory of the average Murkin is less than half-an-hour, still some of you will, hopefully, recall the scandal that erupted around the firing, in 2006, of between 8 and 11 US Attorneys, mainly for not being sufficiently attentive to and diligent in pursuing the political agendas of the local and national GOP/Congressional bosses.

Coincidentally, New Mexico provided the poster-boy for that scandal: the straight-arrow prosecutor, David Iglesias, who was fired by Gonzo/Rove for more or less ignoring the illegal and unethical importunings of the corrupt, senescent, deranged Sen. Peter ("Pajama Pete") Domenici, and his House-side 'lap-top,' the deplorable, dishonest (and now deposed, happily) Rep. Heather ("Leather Heather) Wilson, to pursue political prosecutions against high-ranking NM Dims, to aid Wilson in her race to hold her seat. Which she barely retained, by a scant hundred or so votes, in a race in which her opponent, one Patricia Madrid, suffered a brain-fart/mental collapse during their only debate.

Now Iglesias, and a handful of other, equally ethical, principled, professional US Attys were fired during the period. They were replaced, but that meant more than NINETY (93, in toto), who were apparently adjudged by the Mayberry Mafia in DC to be loyal enough team-players to be permitted to hold onto their positions. So, given what were the reasons for firing Iglesias and the others, any observant person might wonder what the complement of "loyalist" US Attys might have been doing for the last two years (at least) to 'deserve' to hold onto their well-paid, resume-padding sinecures.

We don't know, yet. If their activities have been under surveillance, in the press or anywhere else, I am not aware of it. So presumably they've had a free hand to work whatsoever mischief they and their bosses could concoct. The results should become evident on Election Day, and/or in the next few days following.

3: Sociology/psychology of Incumbency: Another thing to consider is the psychologically and sociologically demonstrable proposition that NO incumbent really wants there to be another election, ever. Also true is that, absent the power to cancel future elections, incumbents have absolutely NO incentive--and plenty of disincentives--to obstruct or disqualify the votes of as many of those voters whoi might vote for their opponents. Any 'new' registrant represents at BEST, a 50-50 chance of a vote for an opponent someday. So it is NOT in the interests of incumbents to make the process of registering to vote, or even the act of voting, particularly easier or more accommodating to voters. This dynamic is especially interesting because, of course, it is ALWAYS the incumbents who make the rules governing voting, registration, and eligibility. Rules exist to insulate the rulers from the insolence of the unruly, and this is never truer than in the area of voter registration/eligibility.

4. The usual. A favored GOPuke tactic is "caging":
The use of direct mail caging techniques to target voters resulted in the application of the name to the political tactic. With one type of caging, (GOP operatives) sends registered mail to addresses of registered voters. If the mail is returned as undeliverable - because, for example, the voter refuses to sign for it, the voter isn't present for delivery, or the voter is homeless - the (Pukes use) that fact to challenge the registration, arguing that because the voter could not be reached at the address, the registration is fraudulent. The Party challenges the validity of a voter's registration; for the voter's ballot to be counted, the voter must prove that their registration is valid.
Other old stand-byes include shorting opposing Party PRECINCTS on necessary supplies such as ballots or machines. Typically, too there will occur instances of intimidation and dysinformation, often used in tandem: a tqargeted voter, perhaps a young person or one with an "immigrant" surname will receive a mailing (or lately an e-mail) warning them that, for instance police will be present at polling places and will be on the alert to arrest 'illicit' voter, one of hwom--by implication--the addressee might be. Or, as happened recently, Democrat voters received a mailing informing them THEIR voting day had been changed to Nov. 5. Or, as happened in Florida in both 2000 and 2004, voters regarded as being likely opponents to the party in power (e.g., likely Democratic voters in largely minority communities) will be subjected to police interference on their ways to the polls.

These are all tried-and-true methods for screwing with the right of franchise. The GOPukes have had eight years to set inplace and perfect the techniques needed to steal elections. (Whether they will WANT to or not remains in doubt; but leapards and spots come to mind.)

This is all preface to: Barack Obama leads John McCain by something like 50-44 percent; in the neighborhood of 6-8 points this morning, which difference is the percent saying they're 'undecideds.' FDR, facing similar socio-economic circumstances in 1932 won 57.5% of the popular vote. It was an indisputable mandate for 'change,' which he endeavored --and to some extent succeeded--to provide. (Even so, in 1933, Sen. Prescott Bush and others attempted to launch a coup against the man they regarded as a Socialist.) Notwithstanding, FDR was able to accomplish some reforms, due to the magnitude of his victories: a 16-point margin, in '32, and 28 points in '36. If Obama wins, but only by a slim margin of the popular vote (regardless of the Electoral College m argin), his pledges for change will effectively be hamstrung, and his presidency probably doomed to be one of short duration and notable failure.

My point is, the Pukes don't need to "WIN" the election to win the election...all they need do is keep it close enough to steal.

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