Tuesday, November 4, 2008

North Carolina Turns (Tar Heel) BLUE!

As I will be answering telephones with the League of Women Voters volunteers at the Board of Elections in Greensboro in Guilford county today, I will not have the chance to respond too quickly to breaking events. So, if anything really nasty happens (paraphrasing Alice Roosevelt's advice), email me (or call me if you have my number). I'll be happy to credit you as the source of any reliable scandal info. And there's plenty around already - and it's early! If you still don't know where or when or what you need to bring to vote, please go here (it's all covered!):

I've been calling North Carolina B L U E for several weeks, but with 2.6 million votes (over 40% of the registered voters) having already been cast during early voting (last Sunday was the first Sunday polls were ever open here due to voter demand!), and no new voter registrations allowed today, it's a done deal. "As" North Carolina "goes, so goes the union" (paraphrasing the maxim from Lincoln's time about Pennsylvania (which is already reliably blue) being the bellwether state). Liddy (wife of Bob) Dole (who has spent less than 30 days in each of the last years in N.C.) is so desperate at this moment in her losing Senate campaign that she has been running last-minute ads stating that Kay Hagen, her Presbyterian Sunday-school-teaching opponent, has promised to take "under God" out of the Pledge of Allegiance (which had it added in 1954 at the height of the frightened, bigoted responses to the controversy over school desegregation) and supports - wait for it - atheists, and even took campaign contributions from them - like that's something no one in a free-speech/free-association-loving country could legally (ethically?) do. Kay, a six-term state senator, responded immediately by calling Dole on her lies, which caused Dole to run a further ad which then stated that Hagen's judgment was questionable because of her friendship with those atheists (remember, this is a Sunday school teacher!), and added a further lie that Hagen had voted to give illegal immigrants drivers licenses (which she didn't). Something smells funny here as this is an odd charge to throw into the mix at the last minute in a state with a large Hispanic population. Will wonders never . . . okay, maybe this year the bad ones will. Oh yes, the two Charlotte millionaire Republican candidates for Governor and Lieutenant Governor are also slated to go down in the blue onslaught at the polls. Since I'll be busy wo-manning the phones with my compatriots, please keep on eye out for me as Greg Palast, Cynthia Boaz, Ange-Marie Hancock, David McCuan, Mark Crispin Miller and Michael Nagler caution us to temper our glee in this "long time coming" victory over the forces of darkness with knowledge of the trouble that is to be expected because the regular Rethuglican tricks are in place and will be rearing their ugly heads at every opportunity. And it's well documented. Palast paints a frightening picture of how the Rethugli-Con tricksters can pervert the votes in the following states:
It's November 5 and the nation is in shock. Media blame it on the "Bradley effect": Americans supposedly turned into Klansmen inside the voting booth, and Barack Obama turned up with 6 million votes less than calculated from the exit polls. Florida came in for McCain and so did Indiana. Colorado, despite the Democrats' Rocky Mountain high after the Denver convention, stayed surprisingly Red. New Mexico, a state where Anglos are a minority, went McCain by 300 votes, as did Virginia. Swing state Colorado. Before this election, two Republican secretaries of state purged 19.4 percent of the entire voter roll. One in five voters. Pfft! Swing state New Mexico. One in nine voters in this year's Democratic caucus found their names missing from the state-provided voter registries. And not just any voters. County by county, the number of voters disappeared was in direct proportion to the nonwhite population. Gore won the state by 366 votes; Kerry lost it by only 5,900. Despite reassurances that all has been fixed for Tuesday, Democrats lost from the list in February told me they're still "disappeared" from the lists this week. Swing state Indiana. In this year's primary, ten nuns were turned away from the polls because of the state's new voter ID law. They had drivers' licenses, but being in their 80s and 90s, they'd let their licenses expire. Cute. But what isn't cute is this: 566,000 registered voters in that state don't have the ID required to vote. Most are racial minorities, the very elderly and first-time voters; that is, Obama voters. Twenty-three other states have new, vote-snatching ID requirements. Swing state Florida. Despite a lawsuit battle waged by the Brennan Center for Justice, the state's Republican apparatchiks are attempting to block the votes of 85,000 new registrants, forcing them to pass through a new "verification" process. Funny thing: verification applies only to those who signed up in voter drives (mostly black), but not to voters registering at motor vehicle offices (mostly white). And so on through swing states controlled by Republican secretaries of state.
Last Friday, a federal court judge in Cleveland, Ohio, ordered:
Michael Connell, an information-technology consultant to the McCain '08 campaign, to give a deposition in a court proceeding. Mr. Connell, whose firm, GovTech Solutions, built Ohio's 2004 election results computer network, was in a position to have knowledge about the alleged manipulation of electronic voting results in that presidential contest (a technique known as "flipping") in order to switch the winner in Ohio from Sen. John Kerry to President Bush. The deposition is scheduled to take place today, November 3, one day before the 2008 general election. Connell is a former associate of Karl Rove, who is believed by those familiar with the events in question to have engaged in witness intimidation to prevent testimony about what happened in Ohio in 2004. They also believe that IT companies associated with the Republican Party have redeveloped the capacity to manipulate electronic voting results in Tuesday's election, both within Ohio and outside, including Pennsylvania and other key battleground states such as Colorado and New Mexico. One such firm, Triad GSI, is managing voter registration databases in 55 of Ohio's 88 counties and is hosting 25 of those databases. All this has led to speculation that the McCain campaign's insistence that they can win Pennsylvania, Ohio, and other states, despite being (in some places, significantly) behind in most of the polls, could be prompted by having been informed about planned cyber interference with electronic voting results. The reality is that a successful cyber attack only requires a few skilled IT experts with an in-depth understanding of digital security. Election returns in many states are presently emailed from local databases for statewide consolidation, without even the standard safeguards routinely used by banks and corporations. In other words, voting data can be relatively easily hacked. The lawsuit in Ohio is being pursued as a violation of voting rights laws, and it claims that Connell witnessed a "kingpin" cyber attack on electronic voting results in several Ohio counties, the consequence of which was to give the 2004 national election to Bush (had Kerry won Ohio, he would have won the election). Serious statistical anomalies in several Ohio counties' election returns, as well as a shocking disconnect between exit polls and actual results in '04 in Ohio, have never been explained. Despite being urged by his running mate John Edwards to do so, Kerry declined to take legal action in Ohio. The suspicions by some Democratic operatives about impending Republican interference with electronic voting in 2008 have been further fueled by the sustained bellicosity of Republican spokespeople about voter registration errors by ACORN, believing that exaggerations of the ACORN problem have been encouraged by those involved in the Republicans' own covert e-voting fraud in order to distract the media from recent news about the possibility of this far graver threat to the integrity of American elections. The general news media are doing a serious disservice to the cause of vigilance about honest elections by having, so far, neglected the case involving one of the McCain campaign's consultants on digital technology. It would be a travesty of historic proportions if Sen. Barack Obama won the national popular vote for president by a large margin, but lost the Electoral College narrowly because of electronic voting manipulation in two or three states. . . . There is ample cause for general alarm and for the measures we've recommended, in what has emerged from the ongoing court action in Ohio. If evidence of electronic-voting manipulation follows the election tomorrow, it must be pursued regardless of who wins. And if the campaigns involved do not challenge the results where this evidence emerges, or if local and state authorities do not cooperate to resolve these questions, it is certain that a tidal wave of protest will develop. Nonviolent resistance was used successfully by African-Americans to win their civil rights in the 1960s, and earlier by American women to win the right to vote. Millions would not hesitate to use it again, if there is evidence of a stolen presidential election. The first Democratic president, Thomas Jefferson, said that "eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." The failure of the Bush administration to permit systematic reform of this nation's elections infrastructure so as to make it impossible for these manipulations to occur is bad enough. Even worse would be to refuse to take seriously the possibility that these abuses could alter or adulterate the results of what may well be the most important presidential election of our lifetimes. For more information on electronic voter interference and the above-cited legal action see: The Bradblog The Velvet Revolution E Pluribus Media Alternet Computer World Harpers New York Times Dkosopedia
Tikkun emails us:
Prayers Before Going to Vote Monday, November 03 2008 Meditation or Prayer Before Going to Vote by Michael Lerner Thank You, the Power of Healing and Transformation in the Universe, that Your energy has moved through human beings in the past and inspired them to create democratic institutions that would give me and others this wonderful opportunity to participate in shaping our world. I know that the outcome of this election will have consequences for all six billion people on the planet, and that if democratic norms were to be fully established that they too would be able to participate in shaping the decisions about how the world's resources should best be used. So I hereby take it upon myself to vote in a way that is sensitive to the needs of all the people of the planet, not just to those who are blessed to live in the richest and most powerful society. I recognize and affirm the unity of all being, and the interconnectedness and mutual interdependence of all people with each other and with the well-being of the planet itself. As I approach this holy act, I recommit myself to the message revealed to the prophets and sages of old: that our highest task on earth is to bring more love and kindness, generosity and sanctity into the world, and that to do so we must vigorously pursue a world of justice and peace and avoid violence and hurting others directly or indirectly. May my votes actually contribute to these results. Please give strength to those for whom I vote. If they are elected, let them actually contribute to achieving a world of greater peace, justice and love. If they are not elected, let my vote be one of the factors that contributes to empowering them to play a positive role in continuing their efforts for peace, justice and love, so that they represent my intentions and so that they do not personally fall back into despair or into personal opportunism and forget that they have the task of vigorously articulating the aspirations of those who were seeking through voting for them to bring more caring and more generosity into the world. Give me the wisdom to understand those who do not vote in the way that I do. I already know that most people on this planet share with me the desire for a world of peace, justice, loving-kindness and caring. So it is hard for me to understand why they don't support the candidates who I see representing those values. Please give me the wisdom to understand the complex psychological, social and political factors that could take fundamentally decent human beings and lead them into paths that may, I believe, lead to a world exactly the opposite of what they really want. And let that understanding empower me to be more compassionate in the way that I think and talk about those with whom I disagree, and more intelligent in finding ways to reach them, speak to their goodness, and bring them through my love and compassion for them to be able to see a better path to achieve the goals that they share with me. From this point forward, I commit myself to seeing the good in all others, and to finding the decency and generosity in those who disagree with me, and to keep that in front of my consciousness even as I continue to disagree with the paths that they have chosen - and let that understanding give me even greater energy to act for the causes of social justice and peace. Meanwhile, let me also have compassion for the leaders of movements and candidates for office whom I do support - let me not judge them for their personal failings, for the ways that they are not in their PRIVATE LIVES the fullest possible embodiments of the ideals that they articulate. Yet let me simultaneously have the energy and commitment to hold them accountable in their PUBLIC ACTS to working even harder for social justice and peace and ecological sanity. I know that my vote is only one little part of the whole, and nevertheless I will not belittle what I am doing today in going to vote. But neither will I use this vote as a way of excusing myself from doing more. I commit myself to putting more of my time and more of my energy and more of my money into activities explicitly aimed at tikkun olam, the healing and transformation of our planet. Please let me be witness to a dramatic surge of the world's energies toward love, justice, peace, nonviolence, spiritual awakening, and ecological sanity - quickly and in my lifetime, and let it be so. Amen. Shalom. Salaam. Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with us! Rabbi Michael Lerner Tikkun Community
Have you voted yet? Suzan

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