[Mb-civic] Apocalyptic President + CA voting action
ean at sbcglobal.net
ean at sbcglobal.net
Tue Mar 28 16:41:38 PST 2006
By Sidney Blumenthal
The Guardian UK
Thursday 23 March 2006
Even some Republicans are now horrified by the influence Bush has given to
the evangelical right.
In his latest PR offensive President Bush came to Cleveland, Ohio, on
Monday to answer the paramount question on Iraq that he said was on
people's minds: "They wonder what I see that they don't." After mentioning
"terror" 54 times and "victory" five, dismissing "civil war" twice and
asserting that he is "optimistic", he called on a citizen in the audience,
who homed in on the invisible meaning of recent events in the light of two
books, American Theocracy, by Kevin Phillips, and the book of Revelation.
Phillips, the questioner explained, "makes the point that members of your
administration have reached out to prophetic Christians who see the war in
Iraq and the rise of terrorism as signs of the apocalypse. Do you believe
this? And if not, why not?"
Bush's immediate response, as transcribed by CNN, was: "Hmmm." Then e
said: "The answer is I haven't really thought of it that way. Here's how I
think of it. First, I've heard of that, by the way." The official White ouse
website transcript drops the strategic comma, and so changes the eaning to:
"First I've heard of that, by the way."
But it is certainly not the first time Bush has heard of the apocalyptic
preoccupation of much of the religious right, having served as evangelical
liaison on his father's 1988 presidential campaign. The Rev Jerry Falwell
told Newsweek how he brought Tim LaHaye, then an influential rightwing
leader, to meet him; LaHaye's Left Behind novels, dramatizing the rapture,
Armageddon and the second coming, have sold tens of millions.
But it is almost certain that Cleveland was the first time Bush had
heard of Phillips's book. He was the visionary strategist for Nixon's 1968
presidential campaign; his 1969 book, The Emerging Republican Majority,
spelled out the shift of power from the north-east to the south and
south-west, which he was early to call "the sunbelt"; he grasped that
southern Democrats would react to the civil-rights revolution by becoming
southern Republicans; he also understood the resentments of urban ethnic
Catholics towards black people on issues such as crime, school integration
and jobs. But he never imagined that evangelical religion would transform
the coalition he helped to fashion into something that horrifies him.
In American Theocracy, Phillips describes Bush as the founder of "the
first American religious party"; September 11 gave him the pretext for
"seizing the fundamentalist moment"; he has manipulated a "critical
religious geography" to hype issues such as gay marriage. "New forces were
being interwoven. These included the institutional rise of the religious
right, the intensifying biblical focus on the Middle East, and the
deepening of insistence on church-government collaboration within the GOP
electorate." It portended a potential "American Disenlightenment,"
apparent in Bush's hostility to science.
Even Bush's failures have become pretexts for advancing his
transformation of government. Exploiting his own disastrous emergency
management after Hurricane Katrina, Bush is funneling funds to churches as
though they can compensate for governmental breakdown. Last year David
Kuo, the White House deputy director for faith-based initiatives, resigned
with a statement that "Republicans were indifferent to the poor".
Within hours of its publication, American Theocracy rocketed to No 1 on
Amazon. At US cinemas, V for Vendetta - in which an imaginary Britain,
ruled by a totalitarian, faith-based regime that rounds up gays, is a
metaphor for Bush's America - is the surprise hit. Bush has succeeded in
getting American audiences to cheer for terrorism.
Sidney Blumenthal, a former senior adviser to President Clinton, is
the uthor of The Clinton Wars.
From: "Richard Dawson" <rcdawson at att.net>
Sent: Sunday, March 26, 2006 10:09 PM
Subject: Fwd: Diebold Takes Aim at Open Voting
Once again we need to let our legislators know that we are paying
attention, and that, if we are to have electronic voting, we want honest,
secure software running the machines. AB 2097, Jackie Goldberg's bill to
require public disclosure of the software used to run voting machines,
will soon be heard by the Assembly Elections and Redistricting Committee.
They need to hear that we understand the importance of the bill and that
we want it passed.
Diebold and friends are out to kill AB 2097. The bill is particularly
critical since the Schwarzanegger-appointed Secretary of State has chosen
to approve Diebold voting mahines despite continuing questions as to their
accuracy and their vulnerability to fraud.
The ITAA (Information Technology Association of America) lobbied against
Jackie's resolution ACR 242 two years ago that asked Secretary of State to
investigate using open source software for elections. We won that time.
They're taking the challenge of open-source software even more seriously
this time. It's going to be a tough battle.
PLEASE HELP. Phone, email, and/or fax the members of the Assembly
Elections and Redistricting Committee. If you haven't the time or
inclination to contact them all, at least be sure to contact the Chair of
the committee, Tom Umberg. Addresses follow. Beyond those addresses is a
copy of the letter that I sent. Please feel free to copy as much as you
want, but it is better if you can be a bit original.
Tom Umberg, Chair Dem-69 (916) 319-2069
Contact his staff, Larry Sokol and Ethan Jones.
Fax: 1 916 319 2169
Mark Wyland, Vice Chair Rep-74 (916) 319-2074
Assemblymember.Wyland at assembly.ca.gov
Fax: 1 916 319 2174
Betty Karnette Dem-54 (916) 319-2054
Assemblymember.Karnette at assembly.ca.gov
Fax: 1 916 319 2154
Johan Klehs Dem-18 (916) 319-2018
Fax: 1 916 319 2118
Mark Leno Dem-13 (916) 319-2013
Assemblymember.leno at assembly.ca.gov
Fax: 1 916 319 2113
Lloyd E. Levine Dem-40 (916) 319-2040
Assemblymember.levine at assembly.ca.gov
Fax: 1 916 319 2140
Michael N. Villines Rep-29 (916) 319-2029
assemblymember.villines at assembly.ca.gov
Fax: 1 916 319 2129
There must be some Republicans as well, but they will probably all vote
against the bill anyway. Let's just be sure that the Democrats are on
Honorable XXXX YYYY
Elections and Redistricting Committee
California State Assembly
Sacramento, CA 94249-0053
Dear Representative YYYY:
I urge you to support AB 2097, a bill to help ensure the integrity of
California's elections and to bolster public confidence in the honesty of
AB 2097, scheduled for an April hearing in the elections and redistricting
committee, would make California's use of a particular electronic voting
system contingent upon the public disclosure of the details of that
system's hardware and software.
All of the currently available electronic voting systems use proprietary
software. As a result, the software and the algorithms that it implements
remain secret, known only to the manufacturer. The public, and for that
matter the Secretary of State, have no way of independently verifying that
the software will faithfully record and accurately tally the vote.
Impartial evaluations, including those upon which California's Secretary
of State relied to approve Diebold machines, have found the available
systems to be vulnerable to manipulation. In other states where the
equipment has been used, election results, for which there was no
independent verification, were wildly inconsistent with exit polls.
None-the-less, California's Secretary of State approved Diebold machines,
and all of the manufacturer's continue to assert that their equipment will
Public disclosure would allow completely independent evaluations with the
opportunity for debate and correction of the problems. Such debate would
quickly resolve unfounded criticisms and help build public confidence.
Furthermore, depending upon the licensing agreements in place, having the
source code available would enable the state to correct software problems
without having to wait for a response from the manufacturer. At the same
time, the software owner's interest in the software would be protected by
copyright and by any patents that applied.
California cannot afford to take for granted the integrity of our
elections, nor can we depend entirely upon government officials to protect
election integrity. Recently, a whistle-blower who disclosed information
about deficiencies in Diebold equipment, information suggesting possible
criminal behavior, was himself charged with a criminal breach of
confidence. Rather than go after the criminal behavior of Diebold and
defend against election fraud, the state is going after the messenger.
Requiring public disclosure of voting machine operational details will
give the public the opportunity to evaluate voting equipment without
facing criminal charges.
Please support AB 2097 when it comes before the Elections and
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"A war of aggression is the supreme international crime." -- Robert Jackson,
former U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice and Nuremberg prosecutor
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