"Where's Kenny Rogers When You Need Him?: The Big Boys Got Their Bailout, But the Elected Leadership and the Voters Meet at the Election Day Showdown"
October 6, 2008
At the precise moment when we couldn't imagine it getting worse, it does. After all, the Democrats, since they acquired majority status in the Congress, delivered funding for George Bush's wars several times. They authorized retroactive immunity for telecoms that helped Bush's Administration illegally spy on us. And they never really considered any alternatives to the basic bailout wish list given to them by Bush and his Treasury Secretary, Henry Paulson.
Sadly, I must say that this failure on the part of the Democratic leadership is by far the greatest perfidy of the Democrats yet. I shudder to think what betrayal of the Constitution and the people of this country yet awaits us. I am forced to ask, "What do they stand for?"
I think they have shown us time and time again what they stand for, what their values are, and that they are willing to leave the people behind in their quest to acquiesce to what Bush's base asks for. And remember, Bush told us that his base were the haves and the have mores! So, if the Democratic leadership is more loyal to them than they are to the working people in this country, then a new political alignment of historical proportions is taking effect that the working people of this country must recognize. By their policy choices, it should now be clear that the Democratic leadership in Congress must be removed and a political party that reflects the people's values must be built. Not only do the people need a party of their own, it should now be clear to a vast number of people that the people in this country need a movement that places our values on the political agenda. This was what I said in my remarks accepting the Green Party'snomination as their candidate for President of the United States.
In 2000, when there was clear evidence that the election had been tampered with, and that particularly, black voters had been disfranchised, the Democratic leadership did nothing to recognize and correct this fact. Criminal behavior was met with de facto acceptance, a failure to investigate, and ultimate acquiescence by the Democratic leadership.
Through my Congressional office, on my own initiative, I investigated and discovered one of the mechanisms used to disfranchise voters and put my findings on the Congressional Record. Sadly, because of inaction by the Democratic Congress, the basic mechanism used by the Republicans to steal the vote in 2000 could, in fact, be used today to further disfranchise voters. Further, one million black votes across our country were not even counted, 78,000 of them in Florida alone.
What kind of election is it when the votes don't get counted!
In addition, in the late 1990s, electronic voting machines were introduced into the U.S. election architecture. From that time until today, where they are used, voters and inexperienced or untrained election staff have had to cope with machine meltdowns; screen freezes; dead and dying batteries in the middle of the voting process; deployment of untested machines, particularly in the South, that failed repeatedly due to heat; vote flipping (usually in only one direction); ballots that don't list all the candidates without manipulation of the machine""which could be problematic for some voters; incorrect ballots being displayed on the machines so that voters are allowed to vote in elections for which they are not eligible; machine sleepovers in insecure places where they could be tampered with; meaningless recounts in the absence of a paper trail where only bits and bytes previously entered can be counted; and the absence of a paper ballot that allows for accountability and transparency during and after an election.
Later, it was learned that these machines were not only hackable, but that the instrument used by the voter, the PCMCIA card, could be programmed to change the outcome of the election! Some of the machines were found to have wireless adaptations that opened the election to an additional level of insecurity due to wireless capabilities in everyday blackberries, treos, and other handheld devices.
With all of these defects known, electronic pollbooks were allowed to become an additional part of the election architecture and they produced an additional layer of disfranchisement when incorrect voter information was loaded into them and voters had no means to contest it. In too many cases that took place in my own 2006 election, voters were turned away from the polls only because the pollbooks contained incorrect information!
Elections in this country are now firmly in the grips of electronic voting machine technicians, inexperienced and poorly trained official poll workers, and computer companies using secret software. Sadly, the Democratic leadership has done nothing to eliminate this potential source of fraud, even in this""an election year!
In 2004, the Democratic nominee, John Kerry, promised that the black vote was not going to be disfranchised as it had been in 2000. John Kerry conceded the election the day after Election Day, even as reports were coming in of massive black voter disfranchisement. It was the Green Party and the Libertarian Party that went to Ohio and sorted out exactly what happened and pressed for criminal prosecution of those guilty of election fraud. Sadly, in 2004, after the experience of 2000, an estimated three million votes were not counted.
The Green Party's Bob Fitrakis in Ohio is sounding the alarm again for this year's election. Some blogs like Bradblog, and organizations like Black Box Voting continue to sound the alarm now, even more urgently, and press for election integrity.
Last week I became the first Presidential candidate to sign the StandingForVoters. org pledge to not concede the election unless all votes are counted, and all challenges to the results have been adequately made. We really need the Democrats to sign such a pledge because they have caved in the past two Presidential elections.
In addition to that, the Democrats now have the power of the majority. They are in control of the Congress. And the way the Constitution is written, power flows up from Capitol Hill to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue--not the other way around. But even while in control, the Democrat leadership has done nothing to prepare the way for election integrity in this election. Even in the face of massive preparations for theft again by the Republicans through the use of the same techniques used in 2000 and in 2004 and adding to them voter caging (removing targeted voters from the voter rolls) and enforcement of new voter ID laws. Even judges appointed by Democrats have helped to thwart citizen legal action on behalf of election integrity!
It should be clear that even in an election year, there are serious issues that should be on the table; the Democrats control the Congress and can make public policy to their liking, reflecting their values.