Friday, October 27, 2006

The Fight of Our Lives

RIP Habeas Corpus

We need to recognize just how important this coming election is. It is not a contest for who gets to ride in Air Force One and invite his friends to stay in the Lincoln bedroom. It is the fight of our lives. Will there be any checks on Bush's destruction of the Constitution? Will anyone put the brakes on our slide toward dictatorship? Will anyone recognize that there are covert plans being implemented to attack Iran and stop them?

There is no getting rid of Bush for the next two years, unless we impeach both Bush and Cheney and have someone as Speaker of the House that we could trust in the Oval Office. The Supreme Court has already been loaded with two new judges who favor corporations, fundamentalist interpretations of the Constitution, and the rich. Our only hope is to wrest control of Congress out of the hands of the GOP.

One would think, what with the discontent with the war in Iraq, the ever growing list of GOP scandals that range from money laundering to allowing the sexual harassment of teen-aged pages, that the Dems would win hands down. Not so. First we have the Diebold voting machines, easily hacked and without a paper trail that may have already been used in 2004 to steal that election. Then we have the massive GOP campaign to disenfranchise huge numbers of voters who habitually vote for Democrats: purging of voter roles, laws to demand picture ID (which poorer voters may not have), posting of GOP "watchdogs" to frighten poor voters out of standing up for their rights, sending too few voting machines to Democratic percents. In 2002, the New Hampshire Democratic phone bank lines were jammed by GOP operatives so that voters who needed a ride to the polls were unable to call and request one. Fliers have been sent to Democratic districts informing them that the election was being held the day after it actually was. In 2004, in Ohio, voting machines registered votes for Bush when citizens had voted for Kerry. Poor voters in a number of places were told that election records could be used to trace people who hadn't paid traffic tickets or child support. In 2000, GOP congressional staff members were sent to Florida to intimidate the staff trying to recount the votes. People were removed from voting rolls in Florida whose name resembled the name of a convicted felon. Push poling in North Carolina in 2000 spread the rumor that John McCain had fathered an illegitimate mixed race child.

We can expect all of these tricks to be tried again. We need to watch and see what is happening in our own communities. And the Democratic Party needs to demand impartial monitoring in Florida and Ohio and all the other precincts for which there were questions in 2000, 2002, and 2004. We need to hold both parties accountable to do their part to ensure an honest election. That means, among other things, that we need to demand that the Dems don't concede early and allow the GOP to steal the prize, once again.

We need to be aware of the kinds of fear tactics that the GOP is liable to pull, to write letters to the editor when we see them being used, to talk to our friends who believe them. We need to arm ourselves with facts. We need to claim the moral high ground and stop allowing the GOP to steal it by default. When they claim to be the party of life, we need to remind people that life doesn't end when the abortion doesn't happen. That prenatal care and support for women and children are just as important. That invading a country that is no immediate threat is not supporting life. That sending an army of mostly brown and working class youth to fight without proper equipment is not supportive of life. That dropping depleted uranium cluster bombs on cities is not supportive of life. That emasculating environmental protections so that our water and food supply are contaminated is not supportive of life. That ignoring global warming is not supportive of life. That watching a city drown while you vacation is not supportive of life. That pressuring the EPA to announce that it was safe for rescue workers to go into Ground Zero while the air was still highly toxic is not supportive of life.

When they claim to be keeping us safe, when they tell us that because we are in Iraq there have been no attacks in the US since 2001, we need to remind them that there were no attacks in the US between the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and 9/11 and that was eight years and we had not needed to invade anyone to do that, it had not cost us over 3,000 US soldiers lives, over 45,000 US soldiers health, over 600,000 Iraqi citizens lives, and our grandchildren's prosperity to achieve it.

At, in the article Another Stolen Election Headed Our Way, By Andy Ostroy the author, in context of an interview with Mark Crispin Miller, outlines a five part plan to prevent the theft of this election.

So, let's make this simple for voters:
1-Vote, vote, vote...and get everyone you know to vote as well
2-Write your congressmen and senators and demand uniformity and federal standards for the election process. Demand an end to electronic voting machines unless there's a viable paper trail. Demand paper ballots instead. Ask that election day be declared a national holiday
3-Bombard the media with letters and calls that demand coverage of election fraud
4-Organize demonstrations
5-Go armed to the polls next month with 1-866-OUR-VOTE and call it immediately to report any fraudulent and/or suspicious activity.

In parting, the most chilling thing Mark told me was his prediction of what the Republicans will do should Democrats win on Nov 7th, which he also expounded in American Spectator: "If the GOP should lose the House or Senate, its troops will mount a noisy propaganda drive accusing their opponents of election fraud. This is no mere speculation, according to a well-placed party operative who lately told talk radio host Thom Hartmann, off the record, that the game will be to shriek indignantly that those dark-hearted Democrats have fixed the race. We will hear endlessly of Democratic "voter fraud" through phantom ballots, rigged machines, intimidation tactics, and all the other tricks whereby the Bush regime has come to power. The regime will, in short, deploy the ultimate Swift Boat maneuver to turn around as many races as they need so as to nullify the will of the electorate."

Let us rally round the Constitution. Let us redeem all of the blood spilled for our freedom. Let us fight. Let us demand that our Democratic candidates fight. Let us raise our voices and if necessary, a stink.


Purple Avenger said...

You sound a bit nutty...

HOWEVER, as a professional with advanced degrees in computer science and 20 years experience in the field, who has just examined the Princeton study of the Diebold machines, I came to the same conclusion that Princeton did.

Those machines are indeed flawed. Not only at the software level, but at an unfixable hardware level as well. The architecture and implementation is just bad.

In this blog post I've sketched out the requirements and hardware design of a system that could eliminate all the criticisms of the Diebold design.

There is no way to "render safe" the Diebold units with "updated" software. The motherboards in them and the machine controls are architecturally flawed.

Is there anyone out there exploiting the Diebold machine? I don't know. Certainly they are exploitable by anyone, not just republicans. The Diebold units don't discriminate in their vulnerability -- anyone can rape them ;->

Maya's Granny said...

Purple Avenger,
This stuff does sound a little nutty, doesn't it? And, if I hadn't been following this for the last six years, reading literally hundreds of books and uncounted articles, in periodicals and on the Internet, I wouldn't believe it either. However, there isn't a single claim in this post that isn't as well founded as the Diebold information that your personal expertise tells you is true. Google any of it. You may decide that you don't trust the sources, but then again you might not. Google the sources as well.

And remember, I knew why Julia Child got her Medal of Freedom. I've worked as a research analyst for the State of Alaska Legislature: I don't do shoddy work.

Deja Pseu said...

Brava! Brava! We have to stand up to these thugs.

I don't know if you'd heard, but in Orange County the GOP congressional candidate sent out flyers targeted to Hispanics telling them (in Spanish) that they could be deported if they tried to vote. I deplore these kind of tactics no matter which side is using them, but it sure seems like the GOP has a monopoly on this kind of blatant disinformation and even intimidation these days.

J said...

I read this little blurb this morning:

Poll: Middle class voters abandoning GOP (AP)

And my first thought was, "Well it's about time, the GOP abandoned the Middle Class years ago."

Gosh, I hope we can take this one. I'll admit to being somewhat scared.

Maya's Granny said...

Pseu, I hadn't heard that one. But, it doesn't surprise me. The ones I have heard have taught me that there is nothing that folks won't do when they are trying to keep power.

Gina said...

I am actually quite afraid for this country and where it is going.

And it's true, isn't it, that we sound a bit like a bunch of conspiracy theorists. But I'd rather sound a bit nutty than be caught sleeping at the wheel, thinking everything is just dandy.

Rain said...

Great post and right on. That and challenge any of our right leaning friends with their 'logic' whenever we discuss politics with them. We have to stand up or we'll be mowed under.

Maya's Granny said...

Ah, sometimes one must eat crow! Checked back with Purple Avenger, saw he had a question about my answer to why Julia Child had received a Medal of Freedom, so I checked it out (I had answered from my own knowledge of her OSS service in WWII, assuming that was what it was for) and discovered that it may not have been for what I thought it was -- the Medal of Freedom is for exceptional meritorious service, but on the site her French Chef work was mentioned and not her OSS. And I pride myself on not doing shoddy research! Hubris, MG, Hubris!

Betty said...

Maya's Granny: You said it. The Republicans have become master of accusing the other party of doing all the things that they, themselves are doing. Smoke and mirrors, the politicians call it. I am very worried about this and future elections. And, I am suspicious that the Republicans appear to be resigned to losing the House. I want to do a blog about all of this, but you do it so much better. And, I don't think you sound nutty.

Chancy said...

Yes it is discouraging and frightening to think about what this administration and its' henchmen are capable of doing

If the Democrats do not take the House we will know something is rotten in Denmark.

Thanks for a cogent well written analysis of the situation.

Joy Des Jardins said...

This was a wonderful post J. Sounding a bit nutty and being a bit nutty are two entirely different things...and I don't think you're guilty of either one. Drastic times require drastic measures...I venture to say...we are right smack dab in the middle of them. We're all sounding paranoid...and who's to blame us? We're frightened! We can't afford to have the same "powers that be" governing us any longer. We've been on a slippery slope for some time now....a position our country is not use to being in. This election is vital...every bit as vital as the one in 2008...when I pray we all make the right move to turn things around.

Purple Avenger said...

I grew up in the shadows of the democratic Erastus Corning political machine in Albany NY.

I can assure you all that dirty tricks, voter intimidation, rigged elections, etc are not the sole province of republicans. Corning was a master at all of these.

One of Corning's favorite tactics (still practiced to this day by the remains of his machine) of voter intimidation involved snow plows.

If the ward you lived in didn't vote the correct way in the last election, your streets wouldn't be plowed in the winter.

If you were a business person and didn't donate to the Corning machine, you would find building permits for renovations hard to come by.

Democrats have hardly been paragons of virtue based on my experience.

That being said, the fundamental problem here is that election fraud, voter intimidations, deliberate misinformations(like the various pamphlet scams), etc aren't really considered "serious" crimes and are rarely prosecuted, and when they are result in little in the way of penalties.

There is just too little deterrent value to make someone think twice about doing underhanded stuff.

My own feeling is that this stuff is a worse crime than murder. A murder is a crime against one person. Vote fraud is a crime against all society and a perversion of democracy itself. There should be severe mandatory penalties (I'm thinking 20 years at Club Fed), and some substantial rewards for those who blow the whistle on it. A carrot and stick approach.

Would the people trying the flyer scams risk it if they knew it could result in 20 years in the slam?

Probably not.

There's a reason why postman aren't often robbed, even in the worst neighborhoods. The perps know that the feds WILL land on someone robbing the mailman like a ton of bricks.

We need this level of certainty of punishment for those who would try to subvert elections.

Maya's Granny said...

Purple Avenger,
Yes. If we fixed it so that even if the dirty tricks hadn't been enough to throw the election, discovering that they had been used would result in prison time and an automatic reversal of the election results, we might go a long way toward correcting this sort of thing.

I agree that Dems are just as capable of dirty tricks as the GOP and have a history in many places of it. It isn't party specific -- power corrupts. It is almost always necessary, when one party has been in charge for too long, to throw them out and bring in new blood.

I never voted anything but Libertarian from the founding of the party in the 70s till 2004. A few things happened to make me back Dems. The first was seeing exactly what happens when the government doesn't regulate certain things -- corporations don't step in and monitor themselves (which, according to Ford v. Dodge could be illegal if it resulted in a loss to the shareholders,at any rate). Another was seeing the erosion of personal liberties under the current GOP. The marriage of neo-conservatives and fundamentalists has resulted in an attack on freedom that is unprecedented. And of course, all of the information that has come out about how the administration ignored warnings about Osama bin Laden, and the subsequent cranking up of the terror fears to amass power to the executive has not made me happy. The craven behavior of Congress in rubber stamping whatever Bush wants is leading us to a country that tortures people and locks them up without rights. The Constitution has always protected the individual from government excess. Now that is no longer true.

There is no hope that a third party can take power away from the current GOP. Only the Dems have a prayer. And they aren't really impressing me with their recognition of the importance of the agenda being enacted.

I believe that our way of life and values are under strong attack by our own government right now. We need to vote the bastards out. If we can do that, we then must hold the Dems accountable.

Purple Avenger said...

The Constitution has always protected the individual from government excess.

In theory ;->

In practice over the past two centuries, results have been spotty at best.

More often than not, the amount of justice one gets is directly correlated to the depths of one's wallet.

My family has some personal experience in this regard. My father had owned an electroplating business for 30 years. It wasn't a large operation, but we did a lot of specialty work for Bendix, Norton, Altech steel, and even some stuff for the Apollo launch pad at the cape. Most of the brake pads on airliners and fighter planes in this country were processed through our little operation.

In the early 90's the the business was essentially extorted away from us by EPA and NY Encon using threats of slapping us with a $500,000 "cleanup" bill for some supposed contamination leaking off the property.

This ruinous $500,000 bill could be "avoided" if my dad signed the business over to a hotshot lawyer in Albany who'd promised to "remediate" the property in exchange for the deed. Mind you, the property and buildings on it were worth far less than the claimed $500,000 cleanup cost. Perhaps $200,000 max based on comparable properties in the area at the time.

My dad had no choice but to give up the business and walk away losing everything. If he fought it, EPA and Encon would proceed and drive us out of business charging $500,000 for a bogus cleanup.

The "cleanup" the Albany lawyer did consisted of a carting away a couple of truckloads of dirt, nothing else. Certainly not $500,000 worth.

Subsequently, a few years later, it was discovered that the contamination blamed on us was actually due to a residential property a couple of hundred feet away up a little hill. The owner of that property, had been burying dozens of 55gal drums of toxic waste in his backyard over the years in exchange for hefty bribes.

Our story is one that has been repeated hundreds of times around the country in the last 20 years. This nation's electroplating shops are vanishing because of this collusion between EPA and lawyers looking to steal industrial zoned properties. The nation is the poorer for this, because our whole industrial manufacturing and construction base depends on electroplating. All the hydraulic pistons you see on bulldozers, backhoes, etc -- all are chrome plated. We rebuilt thousands of them over the years at the shop saving the owners of that equipment millions of dollars in repair costs over buying new parts.

The constitution didn't protect us. Indeed, it enabled a family business to be stolen without a fight.

If I seem jaded, its because I am.

Maya's Granny said...

Purple Avenger, with a family story like that, anyone might be jaded.

The Constitution can only protect us when we use it as written. When we ignore it, when Congress doesn't do its oversight duty for instance, then the Constitution can not protect us.

The danger I see now is that Congress is voting to change it, and while sometimes people use it to protect us and sometimes they don't, if some people get away with changing it, no one can use it to protect us.

Causal said...

Do-It-Yourself Impeachment, no joke.
The Citizens' movement!

The day the nation demands impeachment is almost upon us. On Jan 3rd, sacks and sacks of mail will be sent to congress demanding impeachment via the House of Representative's own rules. This legal document is as binding as if a State or if the House itself passed the impeachment resolution (H.R. 635).

There's a little known and rarely used clause of the "Jefferson Manual" in the rules for the House of Representatives which sets forth the various ways in which a president can be impeached. Only the House Judiciary Committee puts together the Articles of Impeachment, but before that happens, someone has to initiate the process.

That's where we come in. In addition to the State-by-State method, one of the ways to get impeachment going is for individual citizens like you and me to submit a memorial., part of the movement to impeach the president, has created a new memorial based on one which was successful in impeaching a federal official in the past. You can find it on their website as a PDF.


You can initiate the impeachment process yourself by downloading the memorial, filling in the relevant information in the blanks (your name, state, etc.), and sending it in. Be a part of history.