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And Now, A Word About Your “Democracy.” September 23, 2008

Posted by littlebangtheory in Politics and Society.

There’s a rumor going around, has been for quite some time, that We The People live in the World’s Oldest Extant Democracy.

It would be nice to believe that, as I vaguely recall that I once did.  But frankly, it’s been a while since that was the case.

For starters, there’s the pesky detail that this never was a Democracy, but rather was established as a Republic, a representative form of government where every person (don’t worry, we’ll revisit that white lie in just a bit) gets a vote, but that vote gets transmuted into little more than a helpful suggestion by the Electoral College Fairy.

Don’t even get me started about “Super-Duper Delegates,” grrrrrrr!

But if there’s an overarching characteristic of a “Democracy,” however sloppily we choose to define the term, it’s the presupposition that its citizen have choices regarding their governance, and that they get to express those choices through Free and Fair Elections.

How quaint.  I can almost imagine what that would be like.

For starters, it wouldn’t be very much like the “elections” we hold here in America, Land of the Free, Home of the Homeless.  In fact, what we call “free and fair elections” fall so far short of being that, that the international agencies which monitor elections for freeness and fairness won’t even come here to observe this dog-and-pony show we have goin’ on – it’s just that bad, from its undemocratic design flaws through the rigging and gaming which characterize its implementation.

This, of course, is nothing new; in 1960, Mayor Richard Daley stole Cook County, Illinois for JFK, even while republican operatives stole neighboring Dupage County for Nixon.

But according to Mark Crispin Miller, Professor of Media Studies at the University of New York, the problem is getting worse at a gallop and having consequences which dwarf the simple self-enrichment and theft of power which have plagued us in times past (hereinafter referred to as “The Good Old Days.”)

In his latest book on the subject, Miller-as-Editor has collected fourteen well researched and heavily footnoted essays and articles into the volume, Loser Take All: Election Fraud and the Subversion of Democracy, 2000-2008. This is bound to become the definitive tome on the subject, presenting irrefutable proof of systemic and systematic voter disenfranchisement ranging from knowingly false “felon lists” to the removal of Democrats from voter registration lists if they suffer a mortgage foreclosure. After all, this slimy argument goes, you can’t be a resident if you don’t have a …wait for it… residence,  right??

Like I didn’t already hate these bastards enough.

And how about the widespread and hugely proliferating practice of “caging,” with which I was unfamiliar until recently (I’m betting most Americans are at least  that clueless.)  It works like this:

Republican operatives send major “batch mailings” out to long lists of likely Democrat voters.  These registered Dems receive what looks like generically marked Republican junk mail, and most of them toss it in the recycle bin.

But inside the envelopes are questionnaires of the type which local elections officials might use to evaluate your eligibility to vote, and if one doesn’t fill out and return the forms, your failure to do so is “helpfully” passed along to your State Elections Officials, and voila! You’re bumped from the registration rolls.

Pretty cool, huh?

Miller’s book details and documents many such schemes, both those executed with impunity since the year 2000 and those presently under way.  He also illuminates the many attempts by researchers and investigative reporters to bring these crimes and perversions of justice to the attention of the Main $tream Media, generally to no avail.

But wait, there’s more – just in case you’re not sufficiently sickened yet.

Consider the Federally mandated rush to electronic voting, voting on machines which cannot, cannot be made tamper-proof.

Consider the many documented cases of “flipping,” where an electronic Blue vote goes mysteriously Red (whoops!), as witnessed by so many Kerry voters who, in 2004, saw the Bush Light flash when they hit the “send” button, complained frantically to poll workers (again, to no avail) and had their collective fears supported by a directly correlating discrepancy between exit polls and “official” vote counts.

[By the way, “exit polls” are the World Standard for determining whether or not election results are correct, and elicit riots and recalls wherever the discrepancies are demonstrably egregious.  Here in the Land of the Free, by contrast, exit polls are ignored altogether by the electoral system and are used only for the market advantage of Main $tream Media outlets looking for the “scoop” of getting the earliest results.]

And still there’s more.  There are documented, proven cases of voting machines in heavily Democratic precincts being programmed to reset when they reach a predetermined count, say twenty or thirty thousand votes, and begin again their Sisyphean climb out of The Valley of Zero.

There are “man-in-the-middle” computer systems, independent computers which collect raw vote tallies and “process” them on the way to State collection centers, with frequent fuckery and manipulation of the numbers being duly noted and passed on to Higher Authorities, then buried.

And of course, there’s the blatant and totally transparent fact that all of the makers of these Electronic Voting Systems, all of them, are headed by die-hard Republicans with strong NeoCon ties.

All.  Of.  Them.

And in case you don’t think that’s relevant, I urge you to recall Diebold CEO Walden O’Dell’s 2003 claim that he was prepared to do whatever it took to deliver the 2004 election to George Bush.  The facts of the matter prove that that was no idle boast.

So, what to do, what to do!  [wrings hands] Obviously, we can’t go back to the Old Faithful paper ballot/lever machine system now, can we, what with all those pesky hanging chads costing Big Al* the election…

…until we learn that ballots distributed in Florida’s most heavily Democratic precincts were intentionally printed on the wrong type of paper, virtually guaranteeing an epidemic of spoiled/uncounted votes.

Well Fuck Me Runnin’ if that ain’t The Mother of All Leftie Conspiracy Theories!

Except that many true Conservatives, such as Florida’s Clint Curtis know it to be true.  And God bless their Little Red Hearts, they’re just as pissed about it as I am.


If vote fraud and election rigging have been a part of the picture (albeit a somewhat subtler one) for lo these many years, what’s the big deal?

The Big Deal is that now it’s being done by overt criminals with the hegemaniacal hubris to grab America by the cock and shake us down to the tune of another trillion dollars to bail out their gambling buddies who have been robbing us for, um, ever and finally stepped in enough shit to cry about it.

The Big Deal is that NOW they’re using these tactics to install politicians who don’t give a Rat’s Ass about your stinking “Democracy,” such as it is, but prefer instead their own Theocratic Fundamentalism, a system wherein Choice is forbidden, contraception is criminalized, Stone Age myths replace science in our schools and anything akin to rational argument for another viewpoint is Blasphemy.

We all like to laugh when The Real Palin and his Pythons intone, “Nobody expects the Spanish inquisition!”  But to the Spaniards of the day, it wasn’t nearly that funny.

Today, We The People stand perched with our toes curled over the edge of an abyss just such as that.

* Did you think I forgot about Big Al?  Sadly, no – an independent recount of ALL the 2000 Florida ballots, financed by the major news outlets and fastidiously conducted by independent accountants, showed that Gore won the Florida election, and handily.  One has to wonder how different the world would have been these last eight ears…



1. dcup - September 23, 2008

It is to cry. I would wring my hands, but I’m too busy gnawing my fingernails down to the knuckle.

2. susan - September 23, 2008

Thanks for writing such a well researched post. Have you checked out Bev Harris’ blackboxvoting.org .. not that you have to. You pretty much nailed the subject.

3. Bob - September 23, 2008

Pitchforks and torches.

That’s all there is left to do.

4. beatgrl - September 23, 2008

Sniff, Sob, FUCK!!!

Thanks for putting this all together Ralph. It sounds even slightly worse than I realized. And I wouldn’t have realized much if I didn’t listen to Democracy Now! You think cable TV news and major newspapers could go ahead and explore this in depth for a few weeks?


Okay, we’re all screwed.

Actually I’ll see what I can do from here.

5. Sylvia Kirkwood - September 23, 2008

Well, you’re right and as much as I hate to admit it we’re screwed and it is much worse, I suspect, than many of us wanted to believe. I guess we’ve got our work cut out for us — just hope we can make a difference of some kind. Thanks for spelling out what I already suspected but didn’t want to believe.

6. Jess Wundrun - September 23, 2008

I think it’s important that if you have the time to contact your local dem precinct office and find out if they are doing poll watching training. I watched the polls for MoveOn in 2004 and it was obvious to me that the republican was waaaaaay better trained than me.

7. littlebangtheory - September 23, 2008

dc, have a tissue, but be kind to your knuckles, I have a feeling we’re gonna be needing them.

Susan, no, but I will. More information is always good, even when it feels bad.

Bob, I’ve been wondering when we’ll grow a collective pair and say, “ENOUGH!!” Keepin’ my pitchfork handy for just that day.

beatgrl, that expletive flew high as I listened to Miller on the radio today. But I’m not bending over for this one, I’m gonna scream my fool head off about it to everyone who will listen.

And Sylvia, yes, it’s MUCH worse – I only had the heart to feed y’all a small portion of this poison pie. The rest will come out when I purchase the book.

Oh, but just so nobody jumps off a bridge, this book purportedly ends with a chapter titled, Twelve things you can yadda yadda yadda,” which I’ll share ASAP.

‘Cause the powerlessness is the worst part of this whole mess, and we HAVE TO DO BETTER.

8. Suzi Riot - September 23, 2008

Nicely done! Our vote is the only power we have in this republic. If we don’t care enough to demand our most basic right, then we might as well be a dictatorship.

And hey… the way things are going, we’re headed down the path towards dictatorial plutocracy anyways.

9. Randal Graves - September 24, 2008

I adore cheery posts like this one!

yes, please post the nuggets from that last chapter. I fear that if I ordered the book and started reading, I’d go on a rampage before I hit chapter two.

10. Comrade Kevin - September 24, 2008

I don’t know if that will ever go away. It’s just like the corruption on Wall Street. Reform isn’t a destination, it’s a journey and a journey with no end point in sight. But so long as we have our eyes opened, we can limit its spread.

11. Bobbie - September 24, 2008

Please. We need the last chapter.

12. Utah Savage - September 24, 2008

My god, I thought I was deep in the woods of despair about this mess. If Mcpalin games this election we will certainly rise up and take our county back. I have my pitchfork at the ready.

Really great piece of research and writing.

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