|Arc of Darkness by Michael Carmichael|
November 4, 2008
For eight years, the American people have been held hostage on a roller-coaster ride from Hell commandeered by their rogue Commander-In-Chief, “W.”, and his senior sidekick, Dick Cheney.
Careening from the chaos of the Florida fiasco of 2000, when the winner of the presidential election was shunted aside and the loser was inaugurated following a controversial finding by the Supreme Court under William Rehnquist, the American roller-coaster has taken its captive passengers and the rest of the world through a series of dizzying loop-the-loops. Half-way through the eight-year ride an interim election took place, and its results were just as troubling.
After a lengthy campaign, John Kerry led “W.” in the polls, but the official results reported another “upset” election anointing America’s rogue president for an undeserved second term. Robert Francis Kennedy Jr. and other experts performed a forensic autopsy on the 2004 election and pronounced their collective diagnosis -- the American electoral process was deeply traumatized, chronically dysfunctional and susceptible to covert abuse by computerized criminals. After his tearful concession the morning after the traumatic night, John Kerry told investigators that the election had been stolen.
Last week, Amy Goodman interviewed Mark Crispin Miller who addressed the issue of the troubling vote in the state of Ohio in 2004. Miller identified an evangelical anti-abortion activist named Mike Connell as the operative who infiltrated the computerized results in Ohio and re-calibrated them in order to deliver the presidency unto George W. Bush. Miller described Connell as, “Karl Rove’s computer guru.” According to Miller, Connell had been involved in cyber-hacking more than one major US election.
In the aftermath of the 2004 election, the world’s leading watchdog over global democratic procedures, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) examined the US elections. In their official report , the OSCE stated that the colloquial voting procedures in America failed to achieve the desired standard for democratic elections as defined by the 1990 Copenhagen Document. Citing recurrent problems with voter registration, partisan election officials, gerrymandering, inconsistencies with provisional ballots and the flagrant circumvention of spending limits by independent “527” organizations, the OSCE published a lacerating report on the US presidential election of 2004.
Following 2004, the USA quickly dropped to 17th on the Economist’s Democracy Index falling far behind more advanced democracies that include: Sweden, Iceland, Canada and Malta whose elections are held to higher standards. It is a sad fact that no major presidential candidate has called for meaningful voting and electoral reform.
After the troubling election of 2000, former presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford led a commission to reform America’s creaking electoral infrastructure. The Help America Vote Act (HAVA ) became law, but its provisions were not fully implemented by 2004, thus permitting another electoral debacle to mar the face of American history.
After the second soiled election, former president Carter and former Secretary of State James Baker led a commission to re-enforce America’s voting and electoral infrastructure. In 2006, the election results appeared to be less controversial than in 2000 and 2004, and there were hopes that this year’s presidential election would be less compromised than those of 2000 and 2004.
Today, Barack Obama is leading John McCain by a larger margin than John Kerry led George W. Bush, so it is only prudent to pose the question: “Will the vote in the 2008 American presidential election restore credibility to our status as a ‘democracy?’” However, the answer is already clear -- “No.”
Unfortunately, the initial reports for the early voting period are discouraging. Although Barack Obama and the Democrats are doing very well in the early voting, the internet is inundated with reports of serious flaws marring this year’s vote. In Colorado, election officials removed a Diebold voting machine that was flipping votes from one candidate to another in what may have been a first step in the right direction. While this development is welcome, other more serious flaws in the US electoral system are now endemic and will require new legislation.
Anticipating that the preponderant majority of America’s voters would reject their party this year, Republican officials ordered vast purges of voting rolls deleting 19% of the registered voters in battleground states. RFK, Jr. and Greg Palast have drawn attention to the troubling record of Donetta Davidson the former Colorado Secretary of State who purged 19.4% of the registered voters in her state. After that aggressive purge of low-income and minority voters who were overwhelmingly registered as Democrats, George W. Bush elevated Donetta Davidson to head the federal agency ominously titled, the Election Assistance Commission (EAC). Following Donetta Davidson’s arrival at EAC, her staff noticed a partisan slant to her policies that tarnished America’s reputation as a democracy that resulted in critical international publicity on the BBC, (see below).
Realizing that their moves to truncate the bloc of eligible voters would not go un-noticed, shrewd supporters of John McCain and Sarah Palin have repeatedly called attention to the case of ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. ACORN is a charity that registers America’s poorest citizens to vote that has benefited from financial contributions provided by the Obama-Biden campaign. After registering over one million new voters who are largely poor, minorities, women and young, ACORN’s officials revealed that a minute proportion of the new registration forms were deeply flawed. However, US law requires that all voter registration forms including incomplete or questionable applications must to be turned over to local officials.
This bureaucratic procedure, the verification of voter registration forms by local election officials, is now the subject of an investigation by the FBI, an agency already over-stretched by the massive number of financial cases boiling out of the meltdown on Wall Street. The background is illuminating for it has been reported that fewer than 100 instances of vote fraud are committed in any given year, but the MSM have been transfixed by the case of ACORN even though it does not represent one single solitary case of vote fraud. Why the FBI is concentrating on this case at this time remains obscure other than theories of partisan political influence.
With their audiences transfixed by the case of ACORN, Americans learned that Republican operatives supporting McCain-Palin had organized lists of foreclosures to challenge thousands of voters on Election Day as ineligible due to their lack of a current physical address on their registration forms. This dubious procedure is termed, “voter caging.” In Ohio, Republicans filed a lawsuit to require the Democratic Secretary of State to purge thousands of newly registered voters from the lists if there were slight inconsistencies in their registration documentation. Robert Francis Kennedy, Jr. focused on this desperate voter-suppression operation during his recent interview with Rachel Maddow.
To counter this legal but elitist ploy, supporters of Obama-Biden filed a lawsuit that was swiftly elevated to the US Supreme Court that ruled against the caging of voters in what is deemed to be a serious setback to the McCain-Palin campaign’s attempt to expunge the poor from the voter rolls. While this is a positive development, an aura of suspicion is beginning to descend over the election.
Another positive development for the Obama-Biden ticket is unfolding in Florida. Due to the overwhelming success of early voting, Governor Crist and his Secretary of State have extended the polling times four hours per day in order to assure working people, the young and the poor the opportunity to vote. Governor Charles Crist had been a favorite for the Republican Vice-Presidential nomination, but John McCain passed him over in favor of the Governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin.
In Florida, massive teams of lawyers are assembling under the leadership of Charles Lichtman who is in command of the Democratic squad, while his old friend, Ed Pozzuoli is heading the Republican legal eagles. Both parties are braced for post-election litigation as the polls remain close and within the margin of error.
It must be observed that the MSM have refrained from providing adequate coverage of America’s crumbling reputation as a viable democracy. However, America’s declining status as a democracy is routinely reported in the international press and media. The BBC is regarded as the most authoritative news agency in the world. Earlier this month, the BBC broadcast a lengthy report on its premier program, Newsnight, analyzing the egregious flaws in America’s voting system that could have an impact on the outcome of the presidential election. The world is enthralled as Barack Obama and Joe Biden confront the two-headed dragon of John McCain and Sarah Palin who are blatantly directing a campaign to restrict voting in the presidential election at the expense of the democratic ideals enshrined in the Constitution.
The international audience is keenly aware that McCain and Palin will not merely continue the horrible roller-coaster ride -- they will accelerate it. McCain’s promise to bomb Iran and Palin’s strident threats of doom to America’s enemies have not gone un-noticed by the global audience who now fear the continuation of the rabidly neoconservative theocracy in America.
An arc of darkness is sweeping across the face of America, and the only ray of hope that will overwhelm flagrant attempts to render democracy cold, dead and inert forever in the USA is for a pro-democratic revolution at the polls in a massive turnout of Americans demanding their right to vote.
September 18, 2015
IN THE early 1950s, I published a story by my friend, Miko Almaz. At the time, the new State of Israel was in dire straits, its leaders did not know how to pay for next month's food.