ENTRY 0002, SEPTEMBER 16, 2003
A lot has happened in the last couple of weeks. The
circus-like atmosphere of the California recall is getting
Now the ninth circuit court of appeals has decided that it is unfair
rich counties to use the electronic ballots, while the poorer counties
have the outmoded punchcard system. The punchcards are
maintains voter rights groups, and it is likely that up to 200,000
would not be correctly accounted for if this election goes
Progressives are all for the delay, conservatives are against it.
a progressive, I am for it, but not exactly for the reasons that
To me, the election is just another symptom of two things that are
wrong with our society. The first is the fact that Republicans,
flush with stealing a presidential election, are now going gangbusters
to tip the scales in their favor every chance they get. In
Texas the republicans are attempting to gerrymander the voting
districts in the state, to make it
virtually impossible for a democrat to get elected to national
office. Why? so they can "Deliver Texas to the Republican
Party and increase its power
in Congress." Democrats in the state congress would easily be
and thus they had to leave the state to prevent the vote.
were so enraged by this activity that they called on the office of
Security to track down the democrats, so they could be arrested and
to show up. This, beyond almost anything, shows the lengths
will go to to achieve their goals.
In California, we have a problem as well. In this case, it
involves a massive deficit. 38 billion dollars, give or take a
nickel. The republicans (Spearheaded by Darrel Issa) saw this as
an opportunity to capture the governor's mansion of the most powerful
state in the country. It is necessary to note that Issa
tried unsuccessfully to win the republican nomination in the last
legitimate election. The rules being what they are for this
election, all that is necessary to win is to get the greatest
number of votes. Theoretically, if all the candidates got roughly
an equivalent number of votes, and all voters actually voted, our next
governor could be elected with only 60,000 votes. As opposed to
the 4+ million that voted for Davis.
Now the Republicans have seen the opportunity to take the office, and
are really working hard to get it. The governor's approval rating
is low, and with the energy crisis that was engineered last year by the
likes of Enron,
they seem to have sealed his fate. "The deficit is massive, the
unfit!" shout the zealots on the far right. When asked why, they
out that there was a surplus, and now there is a deficit. Never
that this governor was the one who got us the surplus. Never mind that the new budget reduces the
deficit from 38 billion to 8 billion. Never mind that the economic
policies that caused many of the state's problems can
be directly linked to the current REPUBLICAN administration in
Washington, D.C.. . I personally find it interesting that the
far-right will yell about the California deficit, but fall strangely
silent when you point out that the president has taken a budget surplus
and created a deficit that is
approaching 600 billion dollars. That's billion with a "B" (you
almost two thirds of a trillion dollars...)
So, problem #1 is this new do-anything-to-win attitude by the
republicans. But, as I mentioned, this whole election debacle is
a symptom of two problems. The second is how our society is
becoming more and more litigious. Lawsuits
used to be a last recourse, used when somebody had been severely
and there was no other recourse. When some rich bastard
into your car, and you were injured, you sued only if you were getting
runaround from the insurance company. When a law was bad and
people were suffering as a result, like when
minorities were prvented from voting, you went to court to challenge the
law. Now, it seems that lawsuits are the first recourse. If you don't
like the results, threaten to sue. Just a few months ago a
highschool girl sued to be the sole valedictorian for her school, based
on the fact that she had a higher GPA than the other two
valedictorians. This was simply because they were required to
take PE classes, which had a lower grade load, whereas the girl
had a medical deferral, and took classes that had a higher grade
load. Never mind that all three got A's in everything our sue-happy girl felt
she was superior, and did not want to share the stage, for fear it
might dilute her college prospects.
Never mind that she had already been accepted to college. Never
mind that the other two were just as good as she. Never mind what
is right and what is fair. All she was concerned with was being
the only one.
Selfishness. That's it. "I'm thinking of me, I don't care
how it hurts you. Screw you! Me first! Gimme, Gimme,
Gimme!" We have no compassion and no concern. All we think
about is ourselves. We are so wrapped up in ourselves that we
seem incapable of seeing what we may be doing to others,
how others may be suffering because of
us. Now, people have to
on the assumption that each and every decision they make might land
in court. It's a terrible way to have to live. If I give a
detention for not doing his or her homework, I might get sued for
that kid unfairly. If I don't give the kid detention, I
get sued for not providing adequate educational recourse for the child.
if you do, damned if you don't.
So how does this relate to the California recall election? Well,
it seems that the outmoded voting machines, which were scheduled to be
replaced in the early part of 2004 will be used in poorer (and minority
heavy) districts, meaning that they poor will have a greater chance of
having their vote not counted. So, the voting rights folks went
to court, to make sure the rights of the poorer voters would be
protected. Instantly, the ones who started the recall in the
first place (You know who you are) cried "Foul" and began complaining
that the judgement interferes with a legitimate election. Like
their recall doesn't. Davis had been in office for only a year
when the recall began. Regardless of whether it's legal, using
in this manner is unethical, period. Anyway, the recallers are
to stop the postponing of the election, saying it will harm the
process. The candidates have already spent lots of money.
voting machines, which they themselves said were inadequate and needed
be replaced are now perfectly fine. "Just go ahead!" they say.
The republican Secretary of State stipulated in court that the
punchcard voting machines were inadequate. The 14th amendment
would be violated if these machines were not replaced. So a
schedule was set up to replace the machines before the next scheduled
election in March, 2004. This was done to allow for the federal
money that was becoming available for the replacement of outdated
voting machines. The new machines are not here, and, according to
the republican (ex)Secretary Of State, no election can happen
until they are here.
So why are the folks up in arms about having the election right now,
bad machines be damned? Simple. They know that in the heat
of the moment, many people might vote for the recall who, after a few
months reflection might realize just how dumb an idea the recall really
is. They also realize that there is quite a surge behind Arnold
Swartzenegger right now. That will change, as people come to
their senses and realize the man has no real plan, and that walking
into the state capitol and saying "Hasta la vista, baby!" will not
change the deficit on little bit. They need to move now,
if they want to win. A delay will be potentially fatal to their
scheme. The longer the delay, the more of a chance people have to
think, and thinking is just what the Republicans don't want.
They want the election now, and if some minority votes don't get
counted, too bad.
Something else to think about is the fact that the next election will
be a primary. Thus, lots of Democrats casting votes for the next
candidate. Republicans are sticking with Bush, so they don't need
to vote in a pirmary. Democrats have much more reason to show up
than do Republicans. The Repubs fear the Dems will show up in
record numbers, while the Repubs
stay home. Death to the recall. And to any
So, again, the election must be held now, if the Republicans want
chance of winning. And again, fairness has nothing to do with it.
they care about is winning.
This brings me to another topic which I will mention only
briefly. Are the electronic voting machines foolproof?
Could somebody monkey with them so a democratic vote is changed to a
republican vote? Until such time as this can be prevented, I will
be leery of the new machines. Maybe a pritout can be produced,
the voter can check it off, make sure it says the right thing, then
this is stored away, if the need for a recount arises. Do I sound
like a conspiracy theorist? Maybe, but bear in mind the leading
manufacturer of electronic voting machines, Diebold, is
owned by a Republican who donates heavily to the republican party, and
assured us that this can't possibly happen. Even after university
research has proven not only that it can happen, but that this
kind of voter fraud would be relatively easy to perpetrate.
I don't know anymore. All I know is that the atmosphere in this
country is getting uglier by the day, and I don't much like it.
The republicans are in power, and are shouting "Screw You!!!!" at the
top of their lungs. They don't care about anybody who can't help
them, which is about 95% of the
Maybe next time I post a blog I will be cheerful.
Depends on what Bush pulls in the near future.
Well, I gotta run.
P.S. Why do I hate Darrel Issa? Besides the fact he's trying to
screw up our government and costing us millions?
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