July 2nd, 2012
By Frank Byronn Glenn -- Why is it that every time a pundit or cable news talking head talks about our country they invariably throw in
the term "American exceptionalism"? They never really say what that means exactly, and they rarely have someone from another country or culture involved in the discussion or proclamation -- its just an American yelling "yah" for Americans as the best people on earth. It always seems like they are just reminding us that we are somehow unique as a country and special as a people in ways we can't even really articulate -- but that we all know in our guts is true -- just by acclamation -- and that it is universally recognized as true by the rest of the world.
And yet every year we drop lower in the world-wide stats for infant mortality.
We have the highest number of people in prison in the United States -- both by percentage of population -- and in absolute numbers. We rank lower than some countries that we have never heard of in "freedom of the press". America. Land of the free and home of the brave. The bright shining city on a hill -- the beacon of democracy for all the world to see and emulate.
We have the largest number of people without health insurance of any modern democracy. And it goes on and on.
California used to be recognized as having the best educational system in the world -- and then rich white businessmen, politicians, and
corporations decided that having free education for its citizens was ridiculous in a free market crony capitalism world -- so they began to dismantle public education in California by slashing funding for what those wealthy special interests believed was a hand-out to free-loaders. The real problem, though, was they just felt that if they could cut out on a few things they themselves didn't particularly need, they could make some money privatizing education and save some money in taxes by not paying taxes to help educate people not as well-to-do as they were -- and who were -- how shall we say this -- oftentimes a little darker in color -- and with different kinds of accents and a substantially different look.
But even in the area where the presumption always has been that we excelled above all countries of the world --
that of the freedom of the vote and the sanctity and sacredness of our voting democracy -- we have proven woefully inept and lackadaisically devoid of vigilance in our stewardship of this sacred ritual and American birthright.
We have know for years that the Diebold and other secret corporate voting machines were easy to hack, unreliable,
and were virtually certain that elections all over the country we suspect -- with anomalies -- discrepancies -- and what appeared to be rampant cases of flagrantly manipulated or fraudulently stolen elections became the political germane of American politics and democracy. We suspected that they were programmed to help political parties and special interest groups steal elections. There were places where there were only democrats registered to vote who suddenly all voted Republican. Likewise, predominantly Democratic counties suddenly went over-overwhelmingly for the Republican candidate.
We all knew it. We cried out. We all complained. We called for reform. People beseeched politicians and leaders from both parties to
re-assess what we had done. We all fanched and fumed, cried and lamented -- pleaded and prayed for our democracy -- for the future of our country. And state and county officials just kept putting them in. Computer geeks came on national television and stole elections in slow motion and in broad daylight in front of huge television audiences -- and yet nothing changed. Or if it did -- it was just that more of the machines were installed. The commons that had been our pride and joy and the tradition of the fairest, most enlightened, most fantastic democracy in the world -- were out-sourced and privatized and put in the hand of giant corporations with know political agendas -- and were abandoned to their absolute control -- and their secret and proprietary and un-examinable code -- because it was private and secret -- and legal, proprietary property of corporations who know managed, monitored, supervised, and controlled our electi0ns. We all knew it was corrupt. We knew elections were vulnerable. Everybody had stories of suspected election manipulation and fraud. The devils had taken control of elections -- the operating principle and founding process of our democracy. But we did nothing.
But leave it to the Irish. The tried it. They saw what happened. They did not trust it. They saw that elections could easily be stolen,
results manipulated -- voting results flip-flopped, elections over-turned, losers made winners with the seeming flip of a switch or the click or a mouse or keyboard press -- and winners one minute quite surprisingly and inexplicably became losers -- with no recourse -- no recount -- and no explanation.
Yes. Leave it to the Irish. They saw the E-voting machines could not be trusted. They saw they did not work. They saw that strange
things happened in election result reporting that no one could -- or would -- explain. Elections -- you see -- well, they are just mysterious that way. With these new-fangled voting machines.
So what happened. Easy. The Irish unplugged the E-voting machines. Every single one of them in the whole country of Ireland. The parted them out -- and scrapped them as junk. Get them out of here. Couldn't get rid of them fast enough. They tried them, they did not work, and they did not like them. So they threw them out. Simple. Smart. Better for democracy. Universally known -- accepted -- and dealt with!
So what happened here? What happened here in the United States? We all knew they were crap. Dangerous! Crooked. Devices of corporate deception, fraud, and theft. Corrupt to the bone. So the question is: Why can't we just throw them out -- now that we all know that about them -- like the Irish. Those smart, decisive, ethical, proud protectors of their democracy. I wish we were all Irish!
Irish Times -
In a final vote of no confidence, Ireland’s ill-fated e-voting machines are finally headed to the scrap heap.
Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan said he was “glad to bring this sorry episode to a conclusion on behalf of the taxpayer”.
“From the outset, this project was ill-conceived and poorly delivered by my political predecessors and as a result it has cost the taxpayer €55 million.
Plans to roll out the machines on a national basis in the 2004 local and European elections were abandoned by the then minister for the environment, Martin Cullen, after a report from an independent commission raised issues about their reliability.
Brad Blog -
In this country, the U.S. wasted almost $4 billion (with a "b"), via the Help American Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002, on the very same type of worthless, unreliable, easily hacked machines that the Irish are smart enough to get rid of entirely...
In Ireland's case, after it was discovered almost immediately that these things were junk, not worthy of any public democracy, they shelved them and are now finally trashing them entirely. We have known them to be junk for nearly a decade.
In our case, however we will still be using these same, oft-failed, easily-manipulated, secret vote counting pieces of crap across the entire nation, once again, to determine the results our 2012 Presidential election.