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November 8, 2006

A weblog about the politics and affairs of the old and glorious City of Albany, New York, USA. Articles written and disseminated from Albany's beautiful and historic South End by Daniel Van Riper. If you wish to make a response, have anything to add or would like to make an empty threat, please contact me.

UPDATE: It looks like item #1 in the article below is the correct answer. Read about it here.

November 8, 2006

So I Was Wrong

But the problems with fraudulent electronic voting machines remain

I am absolutely delighted that I was dead wrong about the election. As you may recall, in my last post for November 2, I predicted that Kirsten Gillibrand and many other Democratic Party candidates for Congress would be cheated out of their hard fought and well deserved wins. So I get to eat kitty litter and smile.

Diebold Fraud Box
Diebold Fraud Box

I’m wondering though, as I pick bentonite crumbs out of my teeth, how exactly this happened. These electronic voting boxes are now widely used across the country, and they figured prominently in this election. Yet, for the most part, the problems with the fraud boxes were scattered and mostly trivial. Relatively speaking, that is. (Check out this collection of posts from the bradblog of electronic voting fraud incidents posted as they were reported on election day.)

I do not believe that the people in power and authority necessarily have our best interests in mind. They have their own interests in mind. Thus I do not suddenly have renewed faith in our electoral system. Recent elections have proved that something is basically very wrong inside American voting booths. And it does not appear that problem has magically gone away.

Call me paranoid, call me a wet blanket, call me any damn thing you want. Like any patriotic American, I am happy about this rare electoral victory over America’s enemies. But I definitely do not feel a sense of relief.

So I have been floating several solutions to this conundrum in my mind.

1) The large number of votes overwhelmed the electronic fraud. This definitely did not happen in the 2004 presidential election, where that miserable twit John Kerry couldn’t concede fast enough on election night... even though he probably won. We really can’t blame Ralph Nader. Kerry, a designated sacrifice candidate, simply did not inspire enough voters to come out for him. I know I certainly gritted my teeth as I cast my precious vote for him.

These fraud boxes work best in close contests. In the 20th Congressional District, it appears that the tipping point came several days before the election when the New York Daily News managed to get hold of proof that John Sweeney has been known to wrap his fingers around his wife’s throat in a less than friendly manner. This does not play well with 51 percent of the voters.

So Kirsten Gillibrand, originally thought to be a lost cause, won by a strong four points, But I can’t help but think, how much should she have won by if there were no fraud boxes in the 20th? Six points? Ten? I mean, what sort of person votes for a wife beater?

It seems that the Democratic Party has picked up at least 27 House of Representative seats across the country. That means that they will have 54 more votes in the House than the Radical Re-pubs have. (If you don’t understand, think about it.) Plus, it looks like the Dems have captured the Senate. But how many more seats would they have won if the fraud boxes had not been in use?

2) The vendors of fraudulent electronic voting boxes decided not to cheat this time. Maybe Diebold and the rest decided that they are under too much scrutiny. Maybe they all read the November 2 post on albanyweblog and said, “Oh-oh, some guy on the internet says that people are going to riot if we commit fraud again. We’d better cool it until the heat’s off.”

Upside down elephant

Seriously, the opponents of proprietary electronic voting machines are better organized than ever. And even the corporate media has been reluctantly forced to acknowledge that there is a serious problem with these secret boxes. It is not unreasonable to suppose that these corporate manufacturers wanted to “prove everybody wrong.” That way, they can commit fraud another day.

Or maybe the corporations that feed off of our economy have had enough of the Gops. They’ve decided that the old puppets are worn out, time for a new set of shills.

3) The Democrats have bought off the vendors. Fueled by individual contributions via the internet, the national Democrats have been able to bypass the traditional sources of corporate cash. Thus, instead of the Democrats begging the corporations for financial favors, the corporations have been trying to get in good with the Democrats by offering contributions. As a result the Democrats are awash with money for the first time in decades.

What do you do with too much money? Because of campaign finance rules, a lot of the contributions can’t be used to, say, buy ads on TV. You have to get creative.

If you are a Re-pub, then you go do things like vote suppression, annoying robo-calls and buying Al Sharpton. Perhaps Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean called up Diebold and their ilk and said, “Listen, gents. There’s all these groups like blackboxvoting and the Electronic Frontier Foundation who would love to rip you clowns some new orifices and throw you all in the can. All they’re lacking is cash for lawyers. So... what can you do for us?”

Then again, maybe the Democrats paid off the voting machine vendors. Maybe from now on the Party that cuts the best deal with the vendors will “win” the elections. There’s a nice thought to ponder.

4) Everything is going to Hell, so the cowardly Gops are bailing out. Anyone who has been following the issues can see that our economy is on the verge of collapse. Can you say, “deficit?” Then there’s the War Against Iraq, and our international reputation...

The slimy creatures who are in charge of the Radical Re-pub Party may have made a strategic decision to let the Democrats take control of Congress so that the corporate media can blame them for the impending social and economic collapse. Republicans, after all, are famous for never taking personal responsibility.

Ah, the corporate media. They tried very hard to campaign for the failing Re-pubs right up past the bitter end. On election night, after the polls closed, I watched with amazement as the talking heads on Time Warner Channel Nine cheered for John Sweeney. Even as his defeat became evident, they continued to slant their language heavily in his favor.

Or how about that little chimp Alan Chartock campaigning for NY State Comptroller Alan Hevesi’s Republican challenger? For about a month, it seemed that every time I happened to hear WAMC “the Alan Chartock Radio Network” there was old Alan Gottatalk himself telling us that “we need a comptroller that’s opposite to the sitting governors party.” Right.

I did worry that Chartock’s listeners would obediently help turn Mr. Hevesi out of office, but the evidence is that they didn’t listen to him. Nor did anybody pay attention to the Hearst Times Union. Mr. Hevesi won by the usual two to one margin, just like Mr. Spitzer, Mr. Cuomo, and Hillary did.

Most people I talked to before the election were defiantly stating that they were going to vote for Mr. Hevesi. Everyone knew about Mr. Hevesi’s petty expenditures of State money on himself and his wife. But everyone I talked to were terrified of his Republican opponent. This character wanted to give the State pension fund to the stock market. People realized that this was real criminal behavior.

This time the voters simply were not obeying the corporate media. The Hearst Times Union could only campaign soggily for their Republicans. Even Elizabeth Benjamin gave up trying to smear Mr. Spitzer’s character. What a contrast to the past thirty years of media campaigning.

The Hearst Rag even broke precedent and called for people to get out and vote. On their front page in big type, yet. For two days in a row. Talk about changing times.

This widespread refusal to take orders from the corporate media is the biggest news of this election season. The so-called “Republican Revolution” of 1992 was created entirely by the corporate media, which literally lied to America about the Republican party’s intentions. Remember the “Contract With America?” And remember how later on everybody was required to hate Bill Clinton, but nobody could coherently explain why?

The power of the corporate media has not been destroyed, not by a long shot. But with the rise of the internet, their monopoly on information is over. And with the loss of that monopoly, they can no longer shape public opinion at will.

I believe that this loss of the corporate media’s monopoly is the factor that the Republican party did not take into account when they laid their plans for conquest and control of our society. They thought that the corporate media would filter information for them and keep people stupid. They simply did not anticipate that technology would provide the internet.

But they have relied on technology to destroy our electoral system with electronic fraud boxes. For years the corporate media kept this tremendous issue, that of electronic fraud, out of the national consciousness. But again, the internet has allowed voting Americans to communicate information about this national scam.

Those fraud boxes are still in the voting booths. They are crouching like thousands of little monsters, ready to devour America. We’ve still got a problem.

Inside the Fraud Box
Inside the Fraud Box. It ain't the hardware, it's the secret software that steals your vote.

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