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This is What Democracy Looks Like

Today's Note From a Madman

Thursday, November 9, 2006


In Florida, It's 2000 All Over Again

Funny thing happened on the way to replace Rep. Katherine Harris in her Florida US Congressional District. Plainly speaking: they did it again!

It appears that over 18,000 votes hadn't registered on the voting machines. Now where have I heard that before? Sarasota County elections supervisor Kathy Dent asked Harris' Secretary of State replacement, Sue Cobb for a team to supervise a recount and audit of the vote count.

I heard a joke this morning: Why aren't the Democrats screaming about voter fraud and dubious machinery in 2006? Answer: Because they won. But that's not the case in Florida where they reminisce on the good old days of 2000.

"My machines have recorded accurately for 40 elections,"

Does that include 2000, Ms. Dent?

And, get this, the machinery "malfunction" happened with more than enough votes to give the REPUBLICAN candidate, Vern Buchanan, the win over DEMOCRAT Christine Jennings by less than 0.2 percent. Like in most elections, whenever there is a recount there always seems to be more lost votes found for the Democrats than the GOP.

"Sarasota voters have been victimized by not having their votes count,"

Why should they fare any different than the rest of the nation, Ms. Jennings?

I have a joke, too: Why aren't the Democrats screaming about voter fraud and dubious machinery in 2006? Answer: Because they won by so much of a margin that there was no way those CHEATING REPUBLICANS could have possibly stolen this one (and kept on a straight face). Although with so many of these Righties coming out of the closet, maybe "straight" is no longer a word these guys are comfortable with. .

For those of you who have been living in a hole, or have possibly been in a coma these past six years, let me remind you that it was Harris who "helped" George Bush win(?) all of Florida's electoral college votes in the 2000 presidential election, putting him over the top and giving him the White House. She has also been shunned by the same REPUBLICANS in her bid for a seat in the US Senate. Just a few days ago, as President Bush was "helping" other politicians in the Sunshine State, Ms. Harris was relegated to the audience and not allowed to share the stage with the president.

And the original excuses sound a whole lot like 2000's excuses. It kind-of makes me feel a little nostalgic for the "good ol' days". (Somebody slap me!)

"The supervisor of elections in Sarasota reported 18,382 under-votes in the congressional race. That means one out of seven Sarasota voters were victimized by not having their vote count. . . . We will not rest until every vote is counted."
-Jennings, referring to Supervisor Dent's contention that "voters either accidentally overlooking the congressional race or purposely not voting for either candidate,", as reported by the Bradenton (Fla.) Herald's Duane Marsteller and Richard Dymond

According to Dent, this means that 13 percent of Sarasota County's 142,284 voters chose no one to represent them in congress. I guess Pat Buchanan's name wasn't on the ballot.

At the same time that the congressional votes were "missed", an additional 10,000 people voted for or against a county charter amendment. That must have been some hot issue to get an folks to come all the way down to the polling place and cast their vote while ignoring a hot congressional race.

If there was ever a need for a paper verification, this should make the case. It's six years after the 2000 Florida debacle and all of the votes still don't count. Excuses like "It's a confusing ballot" and "We followed the letter of the law" just don't make it anymore. We're not supposed to try and just make it confusing, but not confusing enough to be illegal. Everyone's vote is supposed to count, and when there is a mandatory recount, there needs to be an alternative way to do so. Hey... A paper ballot would do nicely, dont'cha think?

-Noah Greenberg

Cautious Optimism

LOVELY! It's a sweep in the House and the Governorships. Hopefully, we can still win the Senate, too (We Have -NG), since we are ahead in the two close races in VA and MT--and have won in MO. NJ wasn't even all that close. It was great to go to the Ward 9 party for an hour, see friends, watch infamous PA Senator Rotten Sanitation get squashed--then go home, get a 4-hour nap and wake up to this good news.

Dedicated ward and precinct work, antiwar vigils and rallies, public protests over social and economic issues, letters to the editors and OpEds, Internet contact, and some articulate conservative and military allies, have all produced results--and that should be energizing and also attract media notice, since many of our mass rallies and marches have obtained little publicity. Our country is NOT NeoConfederate, not even old-fashioned Republican--just apathetic, depressed, very badly educated in politics, propagandized and influenced by too much money, and populated by overworked, exhausted and underpaid citizens addicted to the media's right-wing talking heads and pseudo-news. First thing to do is reclaim equal time and set laws that forbid and roll back media monopolies. Tell Sir Rupert Murdoch to swim back to Australia and Reverend Moon to Korea!

Speaking of TV, I woke up around 1:00 AM and actually tried to find TV news for the first time in years. I don't have cable. Was there anything on non-cable TV? Nothing. Anywhere. Just a few years ago there would have been all-night coverage on CBS, NBC and ABC. Now, nothing but trash. (Plus Pat Robertson on some pseudo-Christian channel trying to make the best of it by peddling his anti-gay hate bigotry.)

But now the Dems know how to win! For far too long Democratic Party leaders have been superficial, apathetic and too damn willing to compromise with bad legislation. The NeoCons of the DLC as well as those of the GOP got their come-uppance in this election--Lieberman to the contrary notwithstanding. The Democratic leadership, suffused with a lot of new blood, can BEGIN to learn how to regain political courage and turn into law some genuine economic, environmental and social policies that will help, not harm, Americans and the world. This is just the beginning. We, the grass roots, are the ones who must train the Dems in Congress to recover solid principles. Then in 2008 it can be 1964 all over again, but this time with the hindsight of how to maintain a genuine democracy and not throw it away on useless war and imperialism.

Hurrah for Sestak! Hope Casey proves to be a worthy senator--but my relief at his crushing of Rickety Sanitarium is immense! Rendell deserved his huge victory (two years ago I would never believe I'd ever say that). Keep your fingers crossed for the two Murphys in a very close race here in southeast PA, and pray for an Allen defeat in VA.

Interesting that the largest plurality I've noticed for a GOP Senate winner is Snowe in Maine--one of the last remaining Republican moderates, who waffles from moderate and liberal votes only when pressure from the DeLay/Rove hyenas gets unbearable. Chaffee lost, but RI is basically a strongly Democratic state, so--although I used to live in RI and respect the Chaffees--that's no great surprise. It could be the beginning of a resurgence of moderate Republicans, too. Isolating the Dixie GOP NeoCons to drown in their own offal, setting an agenda for genuine conservative and liberal dialogue, and making "conservative" and "liberal" respectable words once again, will be good for the nation and the world.

BUT--the ultra-right, fundamentalist militia goon squads and mobsters, who brought us Oklahoma City and anthrax mail, and who have been quiet because they've been treated as a most-favored-nation by the NeoCons, will come out of the closet bearing their precious guns. Their paranoia will thrive on resentment, and they will almost certainly become more dangerous and treasonous.

So we need to be ever-vigilant. Relaxation can't happen. A take-over of our nation by the criminal element and the crazies must never occur again.

-Jenny Hanniver

Is Democracy Finally Coming to the USA?

Or is THIS Just a Tease?

Tonight, the Associated Press reports that Jim Webb will defeat Senator George Allen in Virginia, giving control of the Senate to Democrats:

That gives the Democrats control of BOTH houses of Congress, and for the first time ever, we will have a woman as Speaker of the House:

And if all of that wasn't exciting enough, Donald Rumsfeld resigned today as Secretary of Defense:

What a day! As the great Leonard Cohen once sang, "Democracy is coming to the U. S. A." For the first time in many years, I'm optimistic about the future of our country.

Congratulations to all of you who worked so hard for a Democratic victory in 2006!

-Eddie Konczal

In response to "'The Day After' Madman", Lew Warden writes:

Well, Noah, as I predicted months ago, Lieberman won, but the left wing Democrats clearly won the big prize and now control both House and Senate, which makes amnesty and another 20 million illegals a done deal. But aprez vou cíest deluge, to borrow a phrase. Anglo/American democracy is dead; La Raza will prevail. Bushís Free Market nonsense will now self-destruct, fueled by the same migration forces that are spilling out of Africana and overwhelming Europe. The tide is irreversible because they breed like rabbits and have entered Western Civilizationís strongholds in such number that they will never be assimilated into that culture. A new world is dawning. Enjoy the moment. Sometimes you get what you ask for. And be assured, there will always be a mass of human beings in Africa, Asia and Central and South America who will want to migrate and will work for less money than the existing workers of the West, and so the downward cycle of wages will continue. As the capitalistic economies become more efficient in producing consumer goods by reducing labor costs, they will also become less efficient in consuming those goods because of declining income levels. The old Marxist/Leninist dialectic works. Harry Bridges told me this some 50 years ago.

But donít expect the Iraq war or the war on with the Islamic Jihadists to stop just because the Dems are in power. Americans still need that oil to fuel our romance with the automobile. People will go crazy when gasoline reached $10 a gallon at the pump, and the Muslims still squat on top of all those lovely oil pools Ė some 70 percent of the worldís known reserves. And all those new workers from south of the border will have an automobile, and the newer the better, on the top of their want list. Try telling them they canít have a piece of that American Dream!

I thought it revealing that when CBS interviewed some Democrat notable just after the returns became clear about what the Dems in Congress hoped to accomplish, he recited a whole laundry list of socially uplifting goals, but made no mention of the war issues that dominated their propaganda for all the years of the Bush administration. So the TV reporter asked, What about the war? And the spokesman dithered and ducked and never did say what their post election war policy would be. So we shall see what we shall see.

And Bush was totally pitiful. If he thinks kissing Pelosiís ass will gain him anything, he is indeed insane. I donít think she will move to impeach him; he is much too valuable just hanging there twisting slowly in the wind, a constant reminder of just what damned fools and brazen crooks he and his clique really are. Getting rid of Rummy or even killing Cheney wonít do him any good. Pelosi will continue to torment him and love every minute of it.

We do live in interesting times, although the death of a civilization is not something to look forward to.

Whatever, Noah, enjoy the moment. Iíll continue to read your stuff Ė an interesting window into a body of opinion which I think characterizes the Liberal Democratic wing of your party.

And donít worry, Noah, the Republicans will never get back the House or control the Senate, not in my lifetime. Personally, I think the Republican party is toast and will continue to break up into warring factions. Both political parties, I have long observed, are a pack of hungry cannibals, more eager to devour their own kind than to dine on their real enemies.

(And may you live a very, very long time, Lew. And I would have said that even before you mentioned the "not in my lifetime" comment. -NG)

In response to, "Robert Gates, a former CIA Director will be the new Secretary of Defense, with the approval of the Senate. Let's hope this new face leads us in a better strategy and gets our troops home real soon," Rhian writes:

Yes, let's hope, but the good news is, Robert Gates has been getting old, muddling about in academia for quite a while, and probably has lost that 'running-the-CIA' edge. It is possible that with Rummy off the backs of military command, the support of Pelosi and Murtha, empowered now, that they will find the wherewithal to get it over with in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I'm sure that if redeployment at the least is not in the works within three months or so, that Pelosi and Murtha will find much to investigate criminally within NeoCon ranks, with indictments to follow.

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-Noah Greenberg