Nods Are As Good As Winks To Blind Horses

What if we have been duped?

Given that approximately one third of the nation voted on electronic machines, most of which provided no paper receipts, it is entirely possible that many more precincts than we know of had more votes tallied than voters to give them. In Franklin County, Ohio, on electronic machines,  Bush received 3,893 extra votes* yet only 638 voters cast ballots. This may have happened again and again and yet we wouldn’t even hear of it if voter officials chose to keep it secret.

In many instances, registered and/or provisional voters preferred/supported candidates differently then over-all results showed. Partisan Secretaries of State routinely made decisions that favored themselves and their parties. Florida again conducted a partisan purge of it’s registered voter lists. State after state had unclear standards as to whether provisional votes were counted or allowed even to be cast. We know that thousands of provisional ballots were tossed. How many were tossed that we do not know about? Voters were routinely turned away for failing to produce legal IDs, the standards of which varied from precinct to precinct and state to state. Greater than 70 percent of Ohio’s voters used punch cards which, through producing chads, have a high error rate.

In other words, maybe the nation didn’t really move decidedly toward GOP positions and ideals as Karl Rove (whose grandfather “allegedly helped run the Nazi party, and helped build the Birkenau Death Camp”**) suggested***. It would be advantageous for the party if this is to be believed, because too many faddist followers would then embrace the party and it‘s positions, resolving to be members of the main.

In short, a substantial and deciding portion of the nation’s votes easily may have been hijacked and no matter which colored map you consult, the results would change the scheme.

This isn’t sour grapes, but a progressive awareness that dirty tricks from unwarranted and untimely redistricting changes to paperless voting machines to partisan poll officials would ultimately ensure pivotal wins for the republicans.

Kerry gave up too soon and we got what some of us feared we would get all along.  I, for one, am still not over it.

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/07/politics/campaign/07elect.html

** http://www.commondreams.org/views03/1006-08.htm

*** http://apnews.excite.com/article/20041107/D8676VMG0.html

46 thoughts on “Nods Are As Good As Winks To Blind Horses

  1. Brock,

    Well said! I think Kerry folded too quickly in order to protect his 2008 prospects.

    I have always advocated open source voting platforms both hardware and software that is open to audit from all interested parties… that provides a paper receipt. Here is a demo of one such possible system

    Until we allow for open audits and paper trails, our voting system will become more and more malliable until it is a joke, moreso than it is now.

    I am not trying to be a whiney lil’ bitch here, but pointing out things we need to work for next go round… we can work for candidates all we want, but until the vote is trustworthy, things will never change.

    again! great post, interesting links too wink

  2. Brock,

    I too think that “black box” voting systems are a disaster.

    Then again, after leaning towards interest in your post, I end up discounting it completely when you blow your credibility with pot shots at Kar Rove’s grandfather. Texbook example of an extremely good way to alienate anybody who doesn’t already totally agree with you.

  3. Also, wouldn’t an analysis of electronic voting returns versus “analog” voting returns yield a trend toward bush in the Diebold states?

    Think how easy it would be for someone to look at the precints using electronic voting and those using the old fashioned method, then compare results. It’s hard to believe no one has done this, especially dems eager to cry foul. The fact that no report has been made of a trend toward Bush in the e-voting precincts seems to be pretty solid evidence that there has been no such foul play.

    Besides, look how incompetent the administration has been in Iraq. Do yo really think they are capable of perpetuating nationwide election fraud without getting caught?

  4. I find myself strongly agreeing with Zach. You say it isn’t sour grapes, but certain parts of your post sounded like it was, and make me wonder if these were points you’d be making if Kerry had won the election. I think America is badly in need of electoral reform, yes, but this election is over and it’s time for America’s ‘liberal’ element to move on and think about where they go from here. Let the past be the past, no matter how recent it may be.

  5. Brock:

    You are on the right track. I am beginning to believe however, that the electronic anomalies are a smoke screen to cover up the other possible method to commit fraud with other diebold equipment (scanners). I read a news story with some precinct numbers from election results that show a consistent conflict between exit poll numbers and recorded votes.

    I can’t pretend to know how scientific this is but the article did say that historically there is little to no significant variance between exit polls and recorded votes. This has been observed in states where the optical scanning is used as opposed to punched documents, and electronic tabulation.

    Related to the evil doctors alledged heritage (I had never heard that before), GWB himself had a rather busy grandfather, Prescott Sheldon Bush, who was a banker (Brown Brothers Harriman) and created at least a portion of the Bush wealth that they are using against America today by financing Hitler’s militarization of Germany. Whether he personally was a symptathizer (as rumored, but usually dismissed as attacks on the family) or not, the fact remains that the family has some history of war profiteering.

    Getting back to the present criminals, these creatures stole the 2000 election by a 5 to 4 SCOTUS vote (gotta love that wacky Antonin, he’s a caution, and his little buddy Clarence too).

    These Snidely Whiplashes had four years to plan their insurance policy fallback alternatives. We all knew they needed one with junior at the helm. In actuality the entire Rovian Revolution began in the early ‘70’s as these creatures moved about through different administrations.

    Check out this link on a PBS site:
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/pentagon/paths/

  6. Getting back to the present criminals, these creatures stole the 2000 election by a 5 to 4 SCOTUS vote (gotta love that wacky Antonin, heユs a caution, and his little buddy Clarence too).

    Of course, the major newspapers all went down there and recounted the ballots on their own. Their finding? That Bush won by a slim margin.

    So, they could have recounted forever and Bush still would have won.

    Of course, inconvenient facts like this don’t fit into the “we was robbed” or “we are persecuted” narrative of the left (whom I used to be a part of, but with whom I feel more and more disgusted with these days), so they are conveniently forgotten.

    Just keep on telling yourself stories like this that feel good instead of actually performing introspection, and we can look forward to GOP hegemony of the White House for my whole lifetime. Yippee.  downer

  7. If you buy into the attitude that Bush’s Boys are mainly incompetent, then you could come away thinking the crimes they would seek to commit could easily be revealed. I’ve seen this administration initiate things I never thought anyone with common sense would try and waited, impatiently, for the public en mass to call them on each of their ill-advised schemes. Yet, bad judgments were always forgiven and the country moved on; the criminals walked away essentially unchallenged. They might not be as inept as they seem on the surface and it sometimes only takes one well-fought, well-timed battle to win an entire group of spoils.

    The tinkering that may have been done to voter totals would only need to be done in moderation and with certain precinct returns. A false re-election of Bush would be a far less difficult thing to achieve than the invasion of Iraq with it’s subsequent responsibilities of taming and reforming an entire Mideast region.

    Bush had plenty of support from officials in positions to assist him, whether he would know of their machinations or not. In the end, the only people who understood the coding of those electronic machines understood their true potentials to misrepresent voter totals.

    This election changed quickly toward the end and that is suspicious too. Why did Kerry choose to concede so quickly?

    I think it’s a mistake to say “move on” without looking back extremely carefully at an election that had newly attempted elements to it. With one third of the nation voting on these machines for the first time, on machines the manufacturers could have designed receipt-giving aspects to and cheaply, but wouldn’t and weren’t required to for the most part, you should wonder why and you should want the results checked carefully. That isn’t sour grapes at all. It’s just good policing of a system that has been broken and is yet to be fixed by congress.

    What if surrendering and moving on is exactly what we shouldn’t be doing?

    And no Neon, I doubt I would be making these points if Kerry had won. Kerry wasn’t in the position, even if he had the inclination, to steal an election.

  8. i thought kerry did the right thing in conceding.  like it or not, it was obvious he could not pull off the win.  this country could not have stomached another disputed election and he sensed this.  he did the right thing.

  9. Thanks much for that link, Eggman. It provides answers to more than a few of the questions I’ve had.

  10. Wally O’Dell, CEO of Diebold, Inc., is a biggie in the Ohio Republicans.  He promised to do “whatever it takes to deliver Ohio for the president.”  Hey, his words, not mind.  I report, you decide.  Fair, and balanced.

    You’re right, grey – Kerry did the right thing.  If a crime was committed, we’re going to have to set our sights in next time.

  11. Sorry to double post, but I just caught Zach’s saying the newspaper counts called 2000 Florida for Bush.  Sure, if you ignore the huge number of votes misdirected by a badly designed ballot in W. Palm Beach.  It was more than enough to have thrown the election the other way, but the technical issues didn’t make for good sound bites.

    Here is a good analysis of the ballot-design problem on AskTog. 

    Funny thing is, the same design flaw worked in favor of a democratic candidate in a previous election.  All parties should have an interest in accurate voting technology.

  12. Decrepit,

    Everything you say is true, but immaterial. The ballot (designed by a democrat, if I recall correctly) was what it was. Given that ballot and all the other conditions on the ground, Bush incontrovertibly won more votes in Fla.

    Hey, I wanted Gore to win too, and I think we need serious electoral reform in terms of ballots, machinery, the works.

    However, that doesn’t mean I feel cheated or persecuted.

  13. Off subject but – Way to hang in there, John – in a way that mattered most.

    I wouldn’t have wanted to be dealt your cards.

  14. Brock, The sense that I get now is that we may never really know. I have been collecting links on this subject for the last few days. Before I list them, I want to mention that, in another thread, etan reported the FOI request submitted by BlackBoxVoting.org. Also Ralph Nader is moving to challenge the results in New Hampshire. (I’m not really sure why he is doing it. Perhaps because of the dramatic discrepancy between Kerry’s margin in the exit polls and in the final machine tally – well beyond sampling error.)

    Exit Polls. These have been in the news the last few days. The first link is to an article by Zogby. It discusses polls in general, so you have to scroll down to find the blurb on exit polls. Re these, Zogby says that (1)they predict landslides rather well, (2)they can be unreliable in calling close elections and (3) the insights gained have value beyond prediction.

    http://usinfo.state.gov/products/pubs/election04/polls.htm

    This Slate article, In Defense of Exit Polls, says that the exit polls were used properly by the networks. However, the early afternoon results were leaked to the Internet and the general audience read too much into Kerry’s small margin in several key swing states.

    http://slate.msn.com/id/2109186/

    Conspiracy Theories.

    1. Exit polls in states with and without e-voting

    Quoting Cannonfire – “To recap: In three states with no paper trails, we have exit poll/final tally disagreement. In three states with paper trails, we have exit poll/final tally congruence.”

    http://cannonfire.blogspot.com/2004/11/case-for-fraud-updated.html

    In Rage Against the Machine, Slate disagrees with his finding.

    http://slate.msn.com/id/2109141/

    I’m not convinced either way yet. These are opinions of journalists and bloggers and I’m just not sure that they have properly factored sampling error into their conclusions.

    2. Op-Scan machines in FL

    This article in Common Dreams discusses anomalies in the FL results. “While the heavily scrutinized touch-screen voting machines seemed to produce results in which the registered Democrat/Republican ratios largely matched the Kerry/Bush vote, in Florida’s counties using results from optically scanned paper ballots – fed into a central tabulator PC and thus vulnerable to hacking – the results seem to contain substantial anomalies.” They do discuss the Dixiecrat effect (registered rural Dems voting for Republicans) and discount it to some extent.

    http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/1106-30.htm

    These graphs show the scope of some of the “anomalies”.

    http://www.rubberbug.com/temp/Florida2004chart.htm

    This is the article’s take on the machines.

    [Others offer similar insights, based on other data. A professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, noted that in Florida the vote to raise the minimum wage was approved by 72%, although Kerry got 48%. “The correlation between voting for the minimum wage increase and voting for Kerry isn’t likely to be perfect,” he noted, “but one would normally expect that the gap – of 1.5 million votes – to be far smaller than it was.”

    While all of this may or may not be evidence of vote tampering, it again brings the nation back to the question of why several states using electronic voting machines or scanners programmed by private, for-profit corporations and often connected to modems produced votes inconsistent with exit poll numbers.

    Hanging chad in Ohio

    Greg Palast, the journalist who reported the FL felon list affair in the 2000 election, maintains that Kerry won Ohio.

    Bush won Ohio by 136,483 votes. In the United States, about 3 percent of votes cast are voided—known as “spoilage

  15. Of course, the major newspapers all went down there and recounted the ballots on their own. Their finding? That Bush won by a slim margin.

    1. Did they do a recount of Florida or just the counties that Gore challenged? I’m hazy on that.

    2. In the 2000 election they used the felons list to disenfranchise tens of thousands of black voters who were not felons. (The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, Palast)

  16. Nope, you didn’t duplicate, but you did educate. Thanks for all those links – I’ve got a lot of reading to do now and I will.

    BTW if reading books gets you brain, what does reading the Internet get you?

  17. I’m tempted to just say ‘screw it’ when it comes to the results of this election.. the whole ‘Bush won, get over it’ attitude. Not like this means ‘do nothing’, but rather, ‘you’ve got another good reason to keep fighting for the truth. At the same time, I feel compelled to respond to this. I’ve formed a substancial portion of my opinions from “The New Pearl Harbor” by David Ray Griffin, an overly suggestive but intelligently written book dealing with the Twin Tower attacks and their ramifications for international politics, but especially a critical account of the government’s inaction on that day.

    When considering the possibilities on matters such as these, I don’t look for absolute inclusiveness, I look for exclusiveness; isolating those things that are almost certainly impossible. Granted, that leaves a lot of things to say “a lot could happen”, but if it’s important and it could happen, isn’t it worth investigating? I consider the following: does the entity in question have motive for a particular action? Do they have the capability, and can they do it while maintaining the currently observed circumstance? Correct me if I’m off-base, but doesn’t that make everything else superfluous? Lots of people would want the oil in Iraq, the weapons funding or whatever. So I guess the question is, does the US government have the people’s interests at heart, or the interests of other entities (especially those who could influence the vote – by release of information to the media, altering of evidence or stonewalling of investigations, gerrymandering, etc.)? That’s a serious question, and it deserves to be answered by an impartial investigation. It deserved to be answered before Bush got into office, but it deserves to be answered just the same.

  18. Jeremy and others on various threads: there’s no need to post “Bush won, get over it”.  That is such a cheapass comment.  Why don’t you say something of value?

    We are going to talk about politics and stuff.  Get over it.

  19. I’m willing to admit that Bush stole this election and the last if only someone explains the meaning of the title of this post!

    Zak@Raised to stand by my convictions….

  20. I’m torn. On the one hand I’m perfectly willing to accept the idea that Bush has won for the time being, but on the other I do think that any credible issues of voter fraud need to be looked into even if they didn’t have any major impact on the election results if only because if they got away with it once they might try it again.

    As a concerted effort on the part of the Bush administration I don’t think there was any real attempt to commit fraud, but that doesn’t mean that certain individuals or groups didn’t try to commit fraud on their behalf. Or the behalf of the Democrats for that matter.

  21. Jeremy – what Shana said.
    Zach – the horse isn’t in on the joke.  But it isn’t my perception that Bush stole either election.

    2000 was a series of ineptitudes and small crimes that collided and sent the election spinning off in the wrong direction.  As close as it turned out, lots of things could have set it right, including if Clinton had kept his zipper up and been able to campaign for Gore.

    This election was duped, fair and square.  Bush/Cheney/Rove went for the base of Maslow’s pyramid, fear. (“If we make the wrong choice, we could be attacked again”)  Kerry went for self-actualization (“Vote your hopes, not your fears”) and lost by a small margin.

    There were points of dishonesty on both sides, but by far the biggest was Bush’s portrayal of Kerry as being unconcerned with terrorists and unwilling to fight them.  (And his self-portrayal as a resolute warrior:  “I will never stop defending America,” etc.  Words of an old man safe in the big house.)

    Bush continues to blow off our allies – a huge mistake.  He gave Iran a perfectly good rationale for its nuclear program – mistake.  He mired our military in a conflict that had little to do with fighting terrorists – mistake.  He simply has not turned in a competent performance at the job.  But he did manage to scare a small majority into voting for him.

  22. Hmmm

    While I do not think Kerry should have conceded so quickly, I do think that fighting about it is counter productive.

    This election was one small battle in the greater war regarding voter fraud (from both camps).

    Without a verifiable, trusted, OPEN vote, our democracy federalist republic is a joke. I wont even get into the bigger dogfight on the electoral college… first we need a fair vote, something we have not had in ages, if ever.

    Unless we move towards forcing this issue, paper trails, third party open audits … all the things we are regulating in the corporate world with Sorbanes/Oxley, etc, should be a no brainer manditory requirement for our elections.

    Open the system up or shut it down.

  23. The big danger is one of hubris. There’s a tendency after you win your second term to think you’re invulnerable. You’re not just king of the mountain, you’ve mastered the mountain. That can often lead to mistakes of excessive pride.”

    DAVID R. GERGEN, former presidential adviser.

  24. What I was trying to say is ANYONE can start screaming “conspiracy!” if the election does not go their way; I’m sure the republicans would be doing the same thing if Kerry won.

    as Kerry said in his speech – he would not have conceded if there was ANY chance that he could have won.

  25. I take it that the Washington Post is not a major paper!? They counted the 2000 Florida vote four different ways, two favored Bush and two favored Gore. Or is the Washington Post’s article (and all the other articles) in Lexis-Nexis that says Gore would have won if certain standards were used, fraudulent?

  26. The 2000 results in Florida were within the statistical margin of error. Five hundred and some odd votes out of approximately 6 million is such a small margin that it is statistically impossible to know who actually won.  It was essentially a tie.

    That said, I think Kerry did the right thing in conceding and not putting the country through that whole mess again.  And I also think that every instance of voter fraud/election rigging needs to be investigated, no matter whose behalf it was on.  What does it matter who won if half the population doesn’t trust the results.  And not all of that is just sour grapes, there seem to be some serious problems here.

  27. So many people who felt robbed by the 2000 election are still, understandably, upset.  A president who lost the national popular vote was put in office by the electoral vote, and that outcome was hotly disputed for weeks.  I voted for Gore, and while I was disappointed in the outcome, I respected him for finally stepping down and ending the pain.

    One thing that many people tend to forget is that if Gore had simply carried HIS OWN HOME STATE of Tennessee, he would have been running for re-election, not Dubya.  There were other missed opportunities, as well.

    Now, John Kerry has lost not only the popular vote, but the electoral as well.  Was there some cheating involved?  Possibly.  However, even looking at a map of California, it’s hard to imagine that the intricacies of a Bush-headed Illuminati could have pulled off such a major coup.

    The Democrats have come to ally themselves with the outcast, the disenfranchised, the intellectuals, the urbanites.  What do they actually stand for anymore?  What’s the message of the Dems?  Even a largely liberal thinker like myself has to admit that I don’t think they have a strong base, I’m just voting AGAINST what the Repubs stand for.

    I try to tell my son, when he gets in trouble at school, don’t blame the kids who turned you in, blame yourself for being in a situation where you could be in trouble.  The Democrats have gotten lazy in the last 20 years.  If they’ve lost contact with the heart of America, they have only themselves to blame.  Consipiracies aside, someone left the alarm system off while the Religious Right crept in.

    I also think that science and mythology are butting heads more now than ever, and with more force.  When you have to discount scientific evidence to maintain your religion, you are having a reality problem.  The real war isn’t in Iraq, it’s here, and it’s Freedom vs Fundamentalism. 

    The problem, as I see it, is that even though I’d love to see a grass-roots movement overcome the traditional two parties, it’s very hard to convince these good, god-fearing Christians that they don’t have the right to impose their religion on everyone else.  Until we can get the Fundies out of the Republican agenda, the Sheople will continue to follow along.

  28. An interesting take on this election mess:
    in the NY times
    It basically asserts that ignorance, not conspiracy, drove the results of this election.
    Good point about the religious right, Skippy…this article goes into that, too.

  29. I hate to throw my opinion in there at the end of the discussion, but Bush did win.  AND there were discrepencies on BOTH sides.  All the tires (about 30 vehicles) on the GOP get out the vote were slashed… These instences of so called “Voter intimidation” was not only against the kerry voters.  I understand that the 2000 election was bullshit, but kerry did do the right thing and concede. 

    You cant question the way everysingle law works! The country would fall apart.  This country has been the most successful county in the world and the other countries were laughing at us because we could not even figure out who won the 2000 election! In other countries that would not have stood because they cant even question authority for fear of being killed.  This right of speech is a privlege and I for one am really f*cking proud to be an American.

    And to Skippy- I am a godfearing American and I voted for bush, but I am not some kind of Holy-roller.  I want the right to be able to pray in school or in public, and I want my children (if I choose to have them) to stand every morning in class and say the pledge of Allegence with “God” in the pledge.  I do not mean to rain on your parade or to be a b*tch, but I just want to let you know I respect your thoughts and I am glad that you and the other message posters are educated, and would much rather have you vote than a lot of other poeple that know of nothing that goes on.

    I definetly do agree that the gov’t is corrupt and there are bad things that go on, but that is with anyone that has any control of power.  Why do you think that the Marx/Engels ideas did not work?

  30. Nothing stops kids from praying in schools.

    Schools just don’t make kids pray.

    As for the under God thing in the pledge… I don’t have a problem with it.  I have a problem with people having a problem with kids not saying it, like I didn’t, if they don’t believe in said God.

  31. Yep, good thing we put in “under God” less than a century ago to prove “we” were different from the “Godless Commies” and now everyone acts like it has been there forever regardless of the authors original intent. Just remember the Supreme Court case about saying the pledge was because Jehovah Witnesses felt that the pledge was idolatry because it was pledging to a flag. Damn those religious people for wanting the freedom to not do exactly what some other religious people want. They MUST say the pledge and say God!  rolleyes

  32. You cant question the way everysingle law works! The country would fall apart.

    If we don’t question how the law works then how are we to know when it’s being broken or abused? If the country is so fragile that an honest questioning of how the law works is enough to make it fall apart then it is not worthy of keeping together in the first place.

    This country has been the most successful county in the world and the other countries were laughing at us because we could not even figure out who won the 2000 election! In other countries that would not have stood because they cant even question authority for fear of being killed.

    Who cares if the other countries laugh as long as we make it through our process and come to a conclusion without resorting to civil war? Let them laugh if they must, but it’s a mistake to generalize that all other countries are essentially brutal dictatorships. There are countries out there where people actually have more freedom than in America.

    This right of speech is a privlege and I for one am really f*cking proud to be an American.

    That’s a bit of an contradiction in terms there, Nicki. Free speech is either a right or a privilege, but not both.

    want the right to be able to pray in school or in public, and I want my children (if I choose to have them) to stand every morning in class and say the pledge of Allegence with “God

  33. Ouch I am a little new to the post it comment thing and Les you did good work takin my little soapbox apart. red face

        -But getting back to the original
    premise of this whole discussion -the “stealing
    of the election.”  The problems with voting have
    been going on for as long as we have been having
    elections, but weren’t made so pronounced until
    the 2000 election and Bush won Florida by 532 votes, thus giving him the victory.  The provisional ballots that you seem so concerned
    with this year were not merely “thrown out”, but
    evaluated to see if they should be counted.
    What about the voting machines in Philadelphia
    that already had 1200 votes for Kerry when they
    were first booted up????? And, how about the
    5300 absentee ballots that were collected in
    the prisons in PA, and as we all know felons should not be voting……….Face it, Bush won
    the election by getting over 50% of the votes, and 286 electoral votes.

    There are countries out there that have democracies too, but where are the countries that have more freedom than us? Why are there people rushing into our borders everyday to escape the burdens of their government?

    And now to the contradiction that I had made, in the first amendment of the constitution, it says that speech is a right.  In a crucial court case of 1962, Engel v. Vitale school prayer was the question.  They ruled against organized school prayer and with the pledge of allegence saying “God” it is to be considered an organized prayer.

    The idea of communism is a system of common ownership of property and material things and everyone having equal social status is an idea filled with rainbows and lollypops.

    Human nature is exactly why it did not work.  Laziness is a part of human nature.  The working man is receiving the same amount as the “slug”. What do you think the workaholic will do when he sees the slugs living as well as him? Become a lazy “slug” too…

    Maybe I was a bit too general and too quick too write back thanks for keeping me on my toes Les!  tongue wink

  34. Well, how about Canada, where gay people can get married?

    Or really, look into many western European countries’ situations.  None of these people are rushing for our borders.  New Zealand rocks my world.

    Much as people like to bash Japan about their preference for abortion over birth control, it’s one of the few countries in the world where a woman’s right to an abortion is never in jeopardy. 

    While I can see your points about communism, I can also see many advantages it offers…really, when I think about the future, my ideal will always be filled with rainbows and lollipops.  That’s what an ideal is. It keeps me going, anyway.  Not that I am a communist, but I think it would be interesting to see someone actually try to make it work instead of damning it with corrupt officials and ulterior motives from the start.  IMO, communism is what was going on before agriculture…it does actually exist (though they don’t call it that) in some small communities.  Sorry all my anth texts are packed away, so no evidence.  But think about Australian Aboriginees before the Aussies came in—they had no concept of personal property and all the Aussies thought they were theives.

  35. Ouch I am a little new to the post it comment thing and Les you did good work takin my little soapbox apart.

    Please don’t take my response as a personal attack. It wasn’t meant as such and I hope I didn’t make you feel like it was, but I did want to offer some counter-arguments for you to consider. I’m as human as you are and it can be tricky getting your point across in a text medium without the aid of body language to let folks know you aren’t attacking them.

    The problems with voting have
    been going on for as long as we have been having
    elections, but weren’t made so pronounced until
    the 2000 election…

    Actually, this has happened before in the nation’s past. I don’t have references at hand at the moment and I’m short on time (I need to get to work), but there have been other contentious elections like these previously. Part of the problem with our current method of elections is the fact that it doesn’t deal with close elections very well. Landslides are no problem, but close elections quickly become a nightmare.

    There are countries out there that have democracies too, but where are the countries that have more freedom than us? Why are there people rushing into our borders everyday to escape the burdens of their government?

    We don’t technically have a democracy, we have a representative republic with democratic leanings. There are several countries out there that are much more of a democracy than the United States is. There are also plenty of countries that are prosperous and with citizens in no big hurry to move to the U.S., but you never hear about them because that’s not very exciting.

    As for how free we are, there are a number of reports out there that attempt to rank how free any particular nation happens to be and they’ve become quite niche-oriented over the years. For example, the Reporters sans Frontières website does a survey to try and rank how free the press is in every country. The index for 2001-2002 takes ranks the United States as 17th out of 139 in terms of how free the press is.  Finland, Iceland, Norway, and the Netherlands all tied for first place.  Canada, Ireland, Germany, Portugal, France, Australia, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, and even Slovenia and Costa Rica scored better than we did. According to the Cato Institutes’s Economic Freedom of the World report for 2004 the United States is tied with New Zealand, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom for third. Hong Kong is number one followed closely by Singapore. Again, I don’t have a source handy so hopefully someone can help me out with this one, but in terms of overall freedom there’s a group out there that tries to track that as well (the Freedom House perhaps?) and I recall a report from a couple of years ago that ranked the U.S. at 13th in overall freedom though that’s probably changed by now.

    And now to the contradiction that I had made, in the first amendment of the constitution, it says that speech is a right.  In a crucial court case of 1962, Engel v. Vitale school prayer was the question.  They ruled against organized school prayer and with the pledge of allegence saying “God

  36. If I hear one more person say well but XYZ stole an election, or ABC had similar issues I am gonna go ballistic

    So because some bad shit happened in the past, that justifies it? How quaint.

    <rant>
    Look. I supported Kerry, or more exactly I supported not-Bush. I did not demand that every vote in Ohio be counted… I want every vote cast to be counted and verified. I do not mind losing. I mind cheating. I do not want anyone disenfrancised – period…

    I also would not want to have won by cheating either.

    The Right to Vote and the sanctity of the poll is more important than ANY candidate, party or issue, for without this system of peaceful revolution every four years we are just screwed – and the rest of our rights mean nothing; and we could set ourselves up for a not-so-peaceful revolution.

    Unfortunately the founders of our country did not place the Right to Vote as the first amendment, or a codicil thereof as with out this basic, fundamental right, all rest are naught.

    We have quickly devolved our democracy into oneupmanship – chase elections instead of ideas – and accept that our leaders will not answer to us, or themselves. We want low risk candidates who give us low rewards. We want someone who’s ideas are so simple we can know everything they think, yet then they can’t think out of the boxes we create for them. We demand the lowest common denominator

    Unfortunately, Americans get the government they deserve… I just want to know what kind of karmic mindfuck we must have done to deseve this one?

    </rant>

    Shit… that sounded too much like a stump speech… sorry about that… I just got my rant on and couldn’t turn it off grin

  37. Shana- You are right my ideals are also filled with rainbows and lollipops but that is the point they are ideals, something to strive for, but I really do not think that communism is a way to obtain our candyland dreams…It has BEEN tried and it failed.

    Les-I do not take it as a personal attack at all I am happy that someone could spend as much time contemplating our situation. But to let everyone know that corruption, stealing, lieing is something that goes on in communism, democracy, representative republic and so on, if there is people involved there are favors being done, money being laundered, rules being bent/broke everyday. There are always people that will try to correct these wrongs, like everyone on this site posting how they feel about what has happened these past elections. I am not bitching because I think everything in the United States is lined in gold but I do wish that everyone could appreciate what we have been blessed with here. At least we can bitch about the way things are done, I thank my lucky stars everyday that I am not wearing a cloth over my face, being raped, or threatened for speaking my mind. I know that is a bit of an extreme but, things could always be worse…In the mean time, we can all sit here and bitch and strive for something a little greater than we have today.

    John Hoke- I do not think it is cute or quaint that there have been election F*CK ups in the past I am merely stating the point that when was the last time an election was taken to the supreme court (B4 2000)and made into a f-n production? And if the last comment was directed towards me, I was not saying “XYZ” or anyone stole any election. You must had misunderstood me.  As Les had commented: our system works great in landslide elections, but not too good when dealing with close elections.  Any laws or amendments take time to pass and yes we do need to change the way things work, but this election is over- Bush won, he did not cheat to win and yes I will compare campaigns, there was problems BOTH candidates encountered. I am proud to be an American/woman, the first amendment did not give anyone the right to vote, we did not get the right to vote until the 19th amendment and that sucks so you cannont say that this country is moving backwards, for you will be mistaken. I am not being trying to be a bitch though I am probably coming out like one, and I know “if I dish it I must take it” but please look at things from my point don’t agree but just try to understand. Please do not think I am mean, I respect your thoughts.

    Voicing my opinion here I know well that I am one of the few conservatives if not the only one and am exhausted from trying to disprove everyone, I live in IL and have to do it everyday at school and work. I will continue to try to let all take a glimpse at things from my view, but I do not think I am making any progress- but back to my idealistic world of rainbows and lollipops…  cheese Talk to y’all later

  38. Nicki

    Just to clarify… nope not comming across any bitchier than I am wink

    You are right, the election is over, and once the Electoral College votes in December, Bush will win (he has not yet to be hyper-technical).

    While I agree that at that point he will have narrowly won, I do not think that there was not any cheating going on – from both sides

    I could give a damn who won, as I said above:

    Look. I supported Kerry, or more exactly I supported not-Bush. I did not demand that every vote in Ohio be counted… I want every vote cast to be counted and verified. I do not mind losing. I mind cheating. I do not want anyone disenfrancised – period…

    I also would not want to have won by cheating either.

    To me the Vote is more important than the Election, call me crazy, but thats my stand wink

    So, count every vote, open up the process, audit it.

    We do more to protect our ATM transactions than our votes, *that* is the saddest part of the situation.

  39. Librarian states:

    I take it that the Washington Post is not a major paper!? They counted the 2000 Florida vote four different ways, two favored Bush and two favored Gore. Or is the Washington Post’s article (and all the other articles) in Lexis-Nexis that says Gore would have won if certain standards were used, fraudulent?

    Librarian, can you point me to some URL’s? Thanks.

  40. Nicki-
    “I am proud to be an American/woman, the first amendment did not give anyone the right to vote, we did not get the right to vote until the 19th amendment and that sucks so you cannont say that this country is moving backwards, for you will be mistaken.”

    I believe the point JH was trying to make was that it’s too bad the right to vote isn’t #1—that it isnt given the importance it deserves and that sucks because all our other rights depend on the right to vote for their justification/support.

    The comment about devolving was in reference to the loss of concern about issues and ideas in favor of whomever is the best actor.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, here, John.

    “I am not bitching because I think everything in the United States is lined in gold but I do wish that everyone could appreciate what we have been blessed with here. At least we can bitch about the way things are done, I thank my lucky stars everyday that I am not wearing a cloth over my face, being raped, or threatened for speaking my mind. I know that is a bit of an extreme but, things could always be worse…In the mean time, we can all sit here and bitch and strive for something a little greater than we have today.”

    So, which do you want?  I am not sure if you want us to stop bitching or keep on bitching.

    I quite appreciate my freedom to discuss this stuff—that is why I do it.  And I will do everything in my power to discount legislations like the patriot act and pa 2 which attempt to take that freedom away.  I am doing my job.

    Communism has not, however, been tried in a large group in earnestness.

    If I may offer some advice, I suggest you stop trying to disprove us and spend more time trading points with us.  I sense a lot of emotion in your posts but I have a hard time finding your evidence.  I might have an easier time seeing your POV if you gave me some facts.

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