October 25-31, 2006

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Open Mic

Insecure Voting

By Stuart Kiehl

In spite of the Foley pedophile scandal and GOP cover-up, Republicans will retain the House and Senate this November. Why? The GOP and their corporate allies have control and the security of the voting machines we have been forced to use without our consent.

The most fundamental and primary consideration for this country and the world is voter disenfranchisement and fraud in the vote count. This crime occurred in 2000 and 2004, and nothing has changed for this election or 2008.

Ohio and Florida are being stolen again, and other states are vulnerable. On a near daily basis, the fraud and corruption of the voting machines is now being exposed for what it really is: a GOP power play to monopolize all aspects of voting.

The system now in place was created by a corporate/government program called the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), which is essentially a federally mandated program of vote counting without any independent security oversight, done by machines made and controlled by GOP supporters, including Diebold, whose CEO publicly guaranteed Ohio to Bush in 2004. A Princeton computer professor took 10 seconds to hack into a Diebold voting machine.

That was the presidency and they knew it. But none of the $3.9 billion HAVA funding may be used to purchase new punchcard machines or to update an existing punchcard system. In simple terms, there is no verifiable vote-counting process in these machines or in this GOP controlled process, nor are other systems permitted.

Burger King can count the number of french fries sold daily, and all other major industrial countries have accurate and fair voting systems, but we do not. This is intentional.

The question, then, should be asked: What is the purpose of government and who controls it? The corporations or the people? Lincoln wrote, "Government of the people, by the people and for the people . . . shall not perish."

Well, folks, this administration is not for the people, and we are perishing. Not one single piece of legislation has been passed willingly by the GOP where the people benefit over profit. The charade of helping America vote is in fact a velvet coup d'etat, ignoring what this country was founded on: no taxation without representation. The Declaration of Independence reminds us, "Governments . . . deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." We have no representation if we can't vote, and the consent of the governed has been hijacked by GOP/corporate/government manipulation under the guise of fair voting.

The freedom our forefathers fought for has been prostituted by no-bid private profiteering, our values and ideals perverted, our resources plundered, our treasury emptied and our hopes dashed by corporate greed lubricated with this administration's planning and collaboration.

The solution? Today and tomorrow and the day after, ask every official representing you, from the local city council to your senators, for emergency legislation for this coming election that requires all voting equipment, regardless of the cost or inconvenience, to produce a paper record that lets voters verify how they voted and to de-certify the voting machines in their current configuration, as they are attempting to do in Colorado.

Do not relent. Create a groundswell. If enough towns, cities, counties and states refuse to accept this stranglehold, we will make a difference. Ultimately, this outcry will go up the political food chain, forcing a fair federal system of vote counting.

It is time to take this country back, demanding now that the charade for this November's election cannot continue under the current stacked deck. Anything less is acceptance of what Mussolini called "the merger of state and corporate power"--also known as fascism.

Stuart Kiehl lives in Sonoma County. The Byrne Report will return next week.

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