Category Archives: clean elections

The Judgement of Barack Obama, Part II

Note: It’s Pearl Harbor Day. Believe it or not, Barack Obama and George W., oceans NEVER protected us. We honor the service of the men and women who fought and died in World War II, especially on this day “that will live in infamy.”

The people our President-Elect surrounds himself with have always been of grave concern to me. We know so little about this man, yet we were supposed to trust his judgement over Hillary’s in the primaries, and McCain’s in the General Election. Why? Because he made a speech against the invasion of Iraq in 2002.

That speech was supposed to outweigh the fact that his friends are neoliberals, racists, misogynists, homophobes and domestic terrorists, and that he has consistently failed to adhere to liberal/progressive principles when he is forced to act instead of just speak. He did not filibuster, or even vote against, telecom immunity from being prosecuted for warrantless wiretapping, as he promised. (Hillary voted against it, keeping her promise.) He did not take public financing, as he promised; in fact, he raised about $500 million online during his 21-month campaign. Despite the ludicrous spin the Post puts on it, that money didn’t come from “small donors.” We know that Obama’s online donation system did not verify names and addresses, unlike Hillary’s or McCain’s, which would not allow donors from overseas, or who posted phony names and addresses, to give them money. Thus, those donors who gave $80 or less multiple times (as the Washington Post story admits, the average Obama donor gave more than once) could have easily gone over the $2500 personal donation limit by simply logging in with many different names and addresses. Moreover, Obama is not required to disclose the names of anyone giving less than $200 to his campaign. How conveeeeenient, as RiverDaughter would say! The bottom line is, someone has bought Obama, and we don’t know who it is because no one will investigate where it all came from. So much for the Obamabot spin that Obama is a populist figure.

President-Elect Obama is no longer saying he will “end the war” in Iraq. He has moved the frame on abortion from “safe, legal and rare” to “in consultation with their families and pastors” and has nominated the anti-freedom Tom Daschle as head of the HHS, rather than a staunch pro-freedom advocate like Governor Janet Napolitano. Furthermore, what did Joe Biden mean when he predicted Obama was going to make unpopular decisions we would hate, and that the world would test Obama when he came into office?

What have we on the leftish side of the spectrum done by allowing ourselves to be fooled by this cipher into giving him the most important job in the world? Why did we let this happen to our country? Why did we elevate supposedly “inspiring” speeches over action?

And speaking of speeches…we now have a little insight into Obama’s 27-year-old chief speechwriter, Jon Favreau. Which is he – a neoliberal, racist, misogynist, homophobe or terrorist? If you guessed “misogynist,” you’re right! Here he is, showing the same respect to a cutout of Hillary that Obama and his cohorts have shown to the real Senator Clinton.



If you genuinely think this is no big deal, what if it were a cutout of Michelle Obama?

Photoshop by Murphy at PUMA Pac

Photoshop by Murphy at PUMA Pac

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No Money for Switching to Paper Ballots…

say House Republics.

TRENTON, N.J. – Legislation sponsored by a New Jersey congressman that would have reimbursed states wanting to adopt voting safeguards before the November presidential election failed to win approval Tuesday in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The bill, dubbed the Emergency Assistance for Secure Elections Act of 2008, fell short of the two-thirds majority it needed to pass, even after clearing a House committee unanimously. The vote was 239-178 in favor, with all but two Democrats supporting it and all but 16 Republicans opposed.

The two Democrats who voted nay on H R 5036 were Reps. Dennis Kucinich and Nick Rahall. [I can’t find an answer as to why Kucinich voted against it, but I’m assuming it didn’t go far enough for him.] The 16 Republicans who voted in favor of the bill were Reps. Vern Buchanan, Steve Chabot, Tom Cole, Tom Davis, Charlie Dent, Lincoln Diaz-Balart, Mario Diaz-Balart, Jim Gerlach, Dean Heller, Tim Murphy, Marilyn Musgrave, Jon Porter, Jim Ramstad, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Chris Shays, and Chris Smith. [Good for them. Even a blind pig finds a truffle every now and then.]

The bill would have allowed states and jurisdictions to be reimbursed by the federal government for converting to a paper ballot system, offering emergency paper ballots or conducting audits by hand counts.

The measure was designed to ensure that every vote is properly counted. Voters in all or parts of 20 states including New Jersey now cast ballots electronically without backup paper verification, according to the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J.

The bill would have provided reimbursements for states to provide voter-verified, audited balloting for the general election, but it would not have mandated standards for the states.

Republicans opposed the bill because of the cost. [No, they didn’t, as the next two paragraphs show.]

The White House on Tuesday noted that a 2002 election reform act had authorized $3 billion to help states upgrade their voting systems, and that about one-third of that money was still available.

The Congressional Budget Office estimated the cost of the legislation at $685 million, but supporters said that applied only to a worst-case scenario where many states opted to change their systems. [See? One-third of three billion is one billion. One billion is MORE than 685 million. Ah, Republic math!]

I’m not surprised that Republics voted against helping states fund the switch to paper ballots. For many years, they have been on the wrong side of voter enfranchisement. Indeed, as conservative stalwart Paul Weyrich, co-founder of the Heritage Foundation, famously said, the more they can suppress the vote, the better it is for their party.

The hopeful thing for the future is that almost every Democrat voted for the bill. So, once we have more Democrats in Congress, which we most assuredly will in 2009, I feel confident that we will get rid of the paperless voting machines once and for all.

The next step after that, of course, would be returning our franchise to the government instead of keeping it within the purview of private corporations. Oregon votes by mail, and it seems to work quite well. I don’t see why Americans all over the country couldn’t do the same thing, or some variation thereof.

Of course, that would mean the Republic owners of the voting machine companies, like ES&S, Sequoia and Diebold, would lose their businesses. But hey – that’s the free market, guys. If no one wants your product, you lose!

Wouldn’t it be lovely if for once, rich Republics had to actually compete in their so-called free market, instead of being able to game the system with no-bid contracts?

Ah, hope is the thing with feathers…

Well, The Stock Market is Tanking, but Some Bankruptcies Work For Me.

Mainly…the possible impending bankruptcy of the premier election-stealing company of all time, Diebold Election Systems.

Read, oh supporters of clean elections, and rejoice:

Diebold Elections Systems, Inc. is no more. At least in name.

After a year and a half of conversely trying to dump their failed voting unit and/or lying to customers about the reliability and security of their voting systems, corporate parent Diebold is giving up the ghost of their election business which, according to an analyst in a Reuters report, was “responsible for less than 10 percent of Diebold’s revenue, and 100 percent of its bad publicity.”

According to a company statement [PDF] just released, Diebold Elections Systems, Inc. will become Premier Election Solutions as of today. The company president, David Byrd, who has overseen the disastrous election unit for some time, will stay on as President to go down with the ship, apparently.


After a string of disastrous reports on the quality and security of their voting systems, along with plummeting stock prices since last week, it seems clear that Diebold, the once-great, more-than-100-year old company, is doing whatever they can at this point to save the corporate parent. While their stock price (DBD) plummeted at today’s opening bell, and is currently down some 5.6% from yesterday, the price has begun to rise again in the last hour or so on news of the sale.

More than anything, however, the move may well be a harbinger of a coming declaration of bankruptcy for Diebold/Premier as we see it. With the unit now spun off from the blue chip Diebold parent, declaring bankruptcy or dissolving the company all together might be less trouble for investors and the main company as a whole, as their extraordinary legal and financial liabilities continue to mount…

Justice is cruel, eh, Diebold/Premier? Or is it…delicious?

One of My Pet Causes….

is election reform. Not just getting rid of the Republic-controlled, fully-hackable e-voting machines that produce no paper trail, but also taking corporate money out of our elections.

As long as the multinationals have the power to donate millions of dollars to any candidate they choose, we will have great difficulty pushing American values to the forefront of our legislative agenda. By American values, I mean:

  • Universal health care via a single-payer system;
  • A sane energy policy moving towards conservation and renewable energy sources;
  • Investment in peace (education and infrastructure) rather than war (military-industrial complex); and
  • Keeping jobs in America instead of sending them overseas.

The vast majority of the American people does not benefit from our government’s policies. We have tens of millions of uninsured adults and children; an unsustainable energy policy that contributes to global warming; crumbling schools and roads; and fewer and fewer jobs that pay enough to support our families. Our society seems to be operating just to benefit the super-rich. Why?

We could blame Bush and the Republican Party, and in fact, it is mostly their fault, starting with the Root of All Evil, Raygun. The two parties are, indeed, vastly different. The Republican Party is currently 100% in the thrall of the corporations, and has an actual fascist, criminal agenda, whereas the Democrats generally have the right ideas and intentions (and in fact, some of them are even liberal enough for me!). But some Democrats are no better than Republicans; they have also been corrupted by corporate money, and thus will not stand up strongly for our American values.

If we are ever going to make progress towards a more enlightened society, we need to clean up our elections. Believe it or not, a bipartisan bill has originated in the Senate which would go a long way towards making this possible. I hope you will sign the petition and do whatever you can to help bring this issue to public attention.