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In case you missed this the first time…

Continuing on a theme of enfranchisement and voting, I’m going to excerpt large swathes of this report from Alegre’s corner from the delegates themselves who were pressured and intimidated in Denver in 2008 to change their votes from Hillary to Obama. And in case you doubt the veracity of these accounts, here is a report from the LATimes.

These are their own words.  Read it and weep.  It really was a fraud.:

ARKANSAS: “I was so angry at the sham of a roll call that I just wanted it to be over… ” “the last time I felt such unbearable group pressure was on a jury”   ” Obama representatives yelling, you’ll be sorry” to “hold outs”.  It was brutal.”

An alternate kept calling out that the state voted 70% for Hillary yet recorded its 47 delegate votes for Obama – “how could that be?”

CALIFORNIA: Chris Stampolis reports “I cast my signed vote for Hillary this morning.  It will be added to the roll call count for California”.  Except, we may never know how California voted…

Delegate Ray Panko reports that, “The California vote was about 230+ for Obama to 160+ for Clinton which did not reflect the state vote.  The process was completely controlled by the DNC and the Obama campaign. They had us all vote at breakfast. They took our votes and tallied them. They did this to see how close the numbers would be between Obama and Clinton. The aim was to prevent the public from seeing the closeness of the race. California passed because the Obama/Dean,Nancy Church(DNC) told it to pass. It was a sham, show, farce, gimmick.

Overall, the process was reprehensible.  Each delegation was told a different story. No one was told the actual rules of the DNC which say delegates are required, in good conscience, to vote on the first ballot a vote that reflects the will of the voters who sent them to the convention. Gloria Allred was prevented from speaking to the California Hillary delegates to inform them of this rule and that it applies regardless of whether or not the candidate releases us or not.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…

People understood that pledged delegates would do what they came to Denver to do – vote for one of the nominees to reflect the votes of those who sent them.  We expected there to be respect for the 18 million votes and Hillary’s historic candidacy.  We even thought that Super Delegates would be allowed to do their job – to select the electable Democrat.   But that was not to be.  Instead, the roll call turned into one chaotic caucus rigged to be sure that the final vote would never be known, without any sublety or reverance for the sanctity of the vote or individual obligations.”

A Super Delegate reported that “CA “passed” without ever recording its votes because the Hillary delegation stood firm and had the vote been given accurately, Hillary would have been temporarily ahead in the roll call”.

Clinton delegate and LA attorney Gloria Allred grabbed a napkin from the tables at the California delegation breakfast and wore it as a gag to protest not being allowed to speak at the breakfast.  “I was not elected to be a potted plant,” Allred said through her gag, holding up DNC rules that say delegates must vote as they are elected. Californnia had 204 delegates pledged to Hillary Clinton, versus 166 for Obama.”

CONNECTICUT:  “I felt blindsided, bullied, mugged.  I saw delegates being verbaly arm twisted with threats of loss of positions.”  “One Obama delegate was bright red, yelling right up in my face”.

FLORIDA: Barbara Bassett to Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz: “Do not be party to the DNC and its efforts to further disenfranchise the voters of our state.  Had our votes counted on Jan 29, 2008, we would be looking at the nomination of Senator Clinton. Again if our votes counted on May 31, 2008 we would be looking at the nomination of Senator Clinton… Stand up and say, ‘We the People of the great state of Florida vote for Hillary Clinton’.  I want to be heard, once during this election.  I want to be heard. ONE person, ONE vote. I count, I matter.  We voted, we spoke and we look to you to honor the integrity of our vote”.

Ladyhawwke: To Former President Jimmy Carter  BY FAX: (404) 331-0283.  “I am one of the 18m who supported Senator Hillary Clinton in her quest to become the first female president in history.  I had hoped for a fair roll call in order that Sen. Clinton’s delegates would have the opportunity to vote for her as our Party’s nominee.  I am angry and disillusioned.  I have never seen such a farce that was perpetrated upon the American people by the sham roll call. Where were you when our voices were crying out to be heard?  Why is it important to have fair elections abroad and not in the U.S.?  Why were the delegates threatened by members of congress, Nancy Pelosi and Howard Dean?”

A delegate insisted that someone take notice that the state, which voted heavily for Hillary and was punished by having its delegates halved, somehow announced 136 votes for BO and 51 for Hillary.  At least 6 Clinton delegates had been replaced by Obama supporters before the Convention.  Others were intimidated and warned their jobs and positions would be pulled.”

GEORGIA: (text message) “This is insane.  They are yelling at the delegates to vote bo or their political careers are over”.

IDAHO:  A delegate: “the feel was of a Republican convention, totally controlled and scripted.  No humor or mistakes”.

ILLINOIS:  “Bill and Hillary did way MORE for Obama than he ever deserved!!  I am anxious to see how he will return the favor for them!  He owes them both, big time!”
IOWA: “Does anyone think this has been a fair, open, transparent process?  Voting before nominating speeches?   Voting in front of people who have power over many of the delegates?   No clear process to avoid ballot fraud?   Remind you of caucuses???   Chaos and lack of clarity and consistency?”

KENTUCKY: Moretta Bosley: “I was overwhelmed by e-mails in support of Hillary.  I want you to know that kept my word and voted for Hillary despite strong pressure to do otherwise.”
A delegate: “Our Hillary delegation was shouted at, told that they would be perceived as racists, told that their careers would be over if they voted for Hillary.   Perhaps because of this, Hillary had a private meeting to thank our delegates.  Clinton won the state by nearly 40 points.  Nonetheless, the roll call was annnounced as Obama 36, Hillary 24.”

Martha Ziskind, a prominent Louisville attorney: “I’m feeling pretty disheartened  right now, particularly by the media’s vitriol.  Hillary didn’t just speak for the “undereducated”.  If anything, her story strikes an all too familiar chord with well-educated, highly competent women of a certain age…  My only comfort is that I know she will continue to make a name for herself in the Senate — and perhaps the Supreme Court”.

MARYAND: Donna Inches: I am extremely proud of the Clintons, however, I am no longer a democrat.  I cannot forgive the DNC as easily,  I cannot forget the caucus fraud, nor can I forgive the democratic leaders who allowed the mass media to treat Hillary in such a horrendous manner.  I cannot ignore Obama’s unscrupulous associations or his dirty politics.   He is not my candidate…  My mom called me after Hillary called to suspend the roll call vote.  I don’t believe I have ever heard my mother cry before.  It broke my heart.  She told me that her vote for Hillary is the last time she will ever vote.   The despair in her voice was unbearable…  I can only say, I will not be voting for McCain, but I will be voting against Obama.

MASSACHUSETTS: “What a contrast to the Olympics where in spite of the cutthroat competition, there is at least a veneer of sportsmanship and mutual support”.

MICHIGAN: Not only did Hillary not “lose by a tiny margin”, she lost through thuggery and cheating. And this is the man around which we’re supposed to rally?”    “And as with MI earlier, unearned votes were taken from HRC and given to BO.”

MINNESOTA:   “I voted for Senator Clinton today, and my delegation chastised me.  I was told, ‘You just made your worse political decision, and it will be your last.’   At least I can sleep at night knowing I voted for what I believed in”.

NEW HAMPSHIRE: “What thugs they are.  They make it clear that they really do not need us and have no intention of doing anything about the unity they mouth.”   “Our state voted strongly for Clinton but was threatened that funds would be withdrawn. The state cast its votes for Obama”.

NEW JERSEY:  “We overheard delegates from our state which had voted strongly for HRC saying that they understood DNC funding for local races in their state would be dependent on a unanimous delegation vote”.
A delegate was told “he needn’t worry about his vote – the totals for New Jersey were irrelevant, that the delegation was going to announce as unanimous”.

NEW YORK: “My guess, with no inside information at all, is that no-one expected her votes to melt away or be driven away – that the BOs would be gracious enough to let her have her votes and she would then nominate by acclamation.  That she did, but they had snarked away her delegates for maximum humiliation value”.

From her office, after being quoted as saying she would vote for Obama, a note that “Carolyn B. Maloney has asked me to inform you that she will be voting for Sen. Clinton tonight on the first ballot”.  Except we may never know how New York voted…

Jeanne Wikler:  “Driving west through the golden hills of the California desert I realized why, to me, Hillary is the true leader. While Obama gives you the impression that he is a special person, Hillary gives you the impression that YOU are a special person”. Lady Boomer NYC: (excerpts from Null and Void: Democrats Roll Call in Retrospect) “What exactly did we see on the “Democratic” Convention floor last Wednesday, August 27, 2008? Why was the roll call halted halfway through? Why did state after state in which Hillary won the primary election and a majority of delegates declare their votes for Obama? Who and what do all those delegates’ votes represent? As each “Great State of” our Union called out its numbers, I wondered, what was the actual delegate count? … The delegate count in this election was not a fair reflection of the Democratic Party electorate. 1) Hillary Clinton WON the popular vote.  2) There exists growing documentation, that caucus fraud was rampant. This occurred in the form of systematic, deliberate suppression, misinformation, pressure, and bullying, mishandling of voter and caucus rolls, and ignoring basic caucus rules. 3) Each delegate elected from a district or region in a primary state represents approximately 12,225 primary voters, but only 2,110 voters in a caucus state. Accordingly, a caucus delegate represents about 5.8 times fewer voters than one elected in a primary. So, when Obama “won” a caucus, each of those delegates stood for far fewer voters.

This is especially important in the general election in the red and swing states.” http://riverdaughter.wordpress…

Edith Padilla:  ” Hillary was just fantastic!  I was so proud of her.  So proud to have been part of her campaign. The lady interviewed at the end on CNN said so much of what we all felt last night.  Hillary is the one that should be our leader, we love and support her no matter what happens.  Our party should be ashamed of themselves expecting her and Bill to clinch the deal for BO!”

Marcia Pappas:  “On a personal level”.  Those words are so true. I have personal  friends who did not stand up for Hillary. I can’t even look them in the eye, break bread with them, or even make small talk.  I have taken this very personal, and I know many other women who feel the same. I have professional friends as well, who did not support Hillary. Mind you, not many, but they were out there, and the tension was so great I could cut it with a knife.”

GN:  I don’t know if in the future I’ll support the women who didn’t understand the importance of supporting the greatest symbol of women’s achievement.  In sadness I wonder, where has all the Sisterhood gone?  Generation gap?  But even the women ‘of a certain age’ couldn’t reliably be counted on.  And my closest friends didn’t necessarily get it.  For how long has sisterhood imperceptibly been slipping away?

Mike Brady: “Watching her these past two nights….she amazes me with her grace and strength.  Her friend Eleanor Roosevelt would be proud.”

“Getting up with grace, especially in the face of injustice and indignity is indeed a rare quality!!!”

PENNSYLVANIA: An elderly weeping delegate who wanted to vote for Hillary was consoled by several fellow delegates who said they were all sent to Denver by their friends and neighbors to vote for Hillary but, “no-one seemed to care”.

OHIO: Flo Gurwin  After watching the convention proceedings in Denver, I certainly do believe in HIS change–his ability to continually change his mind.  I do not trust him.  I think he’s a snake and the scumbags surrounding him leave little doubt in my mind that he is not the sort of person I want for my president.”

Mary Anne Saucier, writing from the “home front” reports, “The Obama people are really angry, upset, scared, and thereby potentially dangerous people.  After getting selected but not elected by the corrupt Democratic Party, Obama and his minions are now confronted by uncooperative voters. Yesterday, my neighbor, three doors north of my house called to say that two Obama canvassers, aggressively working both sides of the street, were on their way toward my house.

“They are trying to find out how people are going to vote,” she warned.  My neighbor, just recovering from back surgery, is a feisty independent lady, as am I, and would not say.  She figures that is her business and she owns her vote.  My comment was that they probably would not stop at my house because I have a “Hillary for President” sign in my yard. We live on a busy street and my sign has been there since the early days of the Democratic Primary.  Over all the many years I’ve put political signs in my yard, none have ever been stolen or in any way damaged or mutilated.  What happened yesterday is a first, but not unexpected after what has happened this year to so many who have refused to support unqualified Obama.  No one stopped at my house, but I immediately found my Hillary sign in a crumpled heap with one side slit to cut it off the metal frame.  Now, I have another treasured war trophy to encourage the faint of heart to join the crusade for substance, democracy, and valid votes over vapidity, intimidation and fake control.”

OREGON: Sue Castner: “I DID scream “nay” when Pelosi called for the unanimous acclamation.  When I told the Oregon DNC state committeeman I wanted it recorded, he said it didn’t matter.  It was already recorded.  So much for celebrating the passage of the 19th Ammendment on Tuesday.”

RHODE ISLAND: “I think the whole party just blew what should have been a Democratic shoo-in”.    “Nancy Pelosi and The DNC insulted and humiliated the Clintons during this convention and it I can’t be the only one who noticed.”

TENNESSEE:  Jackson Slade: To the Editor, NYT:  “After hearing Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s superb speech, I must express my admiration for Senator Barack Obama’s confidence.  By choosing Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. as his running mate, he obviously feels that he can win without her and her passionate supporters.”

TEXAS: Frances Morey: “I was less than enthusiastic about the impeachment of Bush AND Cheney because Pelosi would have been next in line for the Oval Office”. She also noted that “going into this convention Obama was flat-lining in the polls. If there is a bounce to follow we know who is responsible–The Clintons”.

“This morning I got my credential and was directed to go to another room. There I showed my badge and my id and indicated my presidential preference on a sheet next to my name and signed my name. This is the state tally sheet. Texas delegation officials, Boyd Richie’s staff and volunteers, have total control of this. They will use this tally sheet to report the Texas delegation totals for todays roll call vote at the Pepsi center later today.”

Blanche Darley, wearing a button saying ObamaNation Scares the Hell out of Me, on the impact of HRC’s speech: “We love her, but it’s our vote …we don’t trust or like him…”

Nata Koerber: “Hillary has a life-time of service to the Democratic Party and has done everything required and then some to encourage support of Obama. The responsibility of uniting the Party lies squarely in the lap of Barack Obama, and Joe Biden, Obama’s preferred choice for VP.”

A HRC pledged delegate, realizing that it did not matter how his delegation voted, announced that “it is obvious that the Obama campaign has no regard for the Clinton delegates or voters, that they were making it clear that Obama does not feel he has to treat us with even minimal respect.”

VERMONT:  A demonstrator wondered if we would ever see totals, if there is a paper trail, and then corrected himself asking why anyone would believe it if one surfaced?

VIRGINIA: a delegate: “Maybe you noticed, excuse me but wasn’t that HER health care plan – the same coverage as offered to members of Congress???”

WASHINGTON:  a delegate reports that the delegation chair did not hold a breakfast vote, telling the HRC delegatess to vote after what turned out to be the deadline,  But in the end, “the

WA HRC delegation held firm, but never got to register its votes”.

WASHINGTON, DC: Nancy Beang: “Barack Obama…the audacity of hype.  It’s really unfortunate that people are so wow’d by…nothing. Nobody I’ve met, young or old, black or white, (and I meet LOTS of people) can tell me WHY they support him, except to say he represents change.  No list of accomplishments…even when I ask “what has he accomplished?” all those people just scratch their heads and look embarrassed.  The anointers are going to be sadly & sorely disappointed.  This was our Democratic year to pull it out, and I’m just afraid it ain’t gonna happen…it’s a good thing Hillary isn’t on the ticket…she won’t EVER be thought of as a loser.”  “after her speech last night, no one can blame her when he loses.  Obama funders and delegates heard grumbling that she did not praise BO enough or apologize for saying during the primaries that he had no experience.  Unity or appreciation anyone?  Guess not…”

A DC delegate: “Donna Brazlle in spite of her bluster that she would quit the Democratic Party if the SDs cast deciding votes, did not quit as promised and cast her vote with the DC delegation.”

Let me just add that if Barack Obama had won fair and square, I would have been happy to vote for him.  But from the very beginning of the primary season, he showed contempt for the voters, the voting process and  abiding by the rules and traditions of the convention.  His whips were heavy handed, red-faced macho balls of fury, threatening, intimidating and brutish.  By the end of the convention after all I’d seen and heard, Barack Obama was the last man on earth I would have voted for president.  My vote for McCain was in protest of the unforgivable manner that the DNC treated its voters and delegates and the way it allowed its party apparatus to be highjacked by Obama’s thugs.

For those of you Obots who are still in denial, there was nothing acceptable about they way the convention was conducted.  It was not merely political hardball.  This was a full out assault on the delegates and its sole purpose seems to have been the absolute decimation of Hillary’s delegates and the humiliation of Hillary herself.  It wasn’t just hardball.  It was political murder.

The delegate count was close, too close for Obama.  The threat of a floor fight was a very real possibility.  But the delegates folded under threat of ending their political careers and the loss of money to state campaigns.  THAT right there should tell Obama supporters everything they needed to know about Obama.  They were willing to let downticket Democrats lose in November by withholding DNC campaign money.  They were willing to smear holdouts as racists.  Under pressure, they caved, too afraid to speak up.  It was easier to go along with the crowd  in spite of their misgivings.

THAT’S what Obama is all about: no better than some selfish, self-aggrandizing thug with his band of amoral campaign aides.  No matter how you personally felt about Clinton, you owed it to your fellow party members and the people they represented to allow them to vote their conscience.  If that meant that Obama was not a shoo-in, then you had a responsibility to show why he was so much better.  It wasn’t your right to deprive others of theirs.

Well, you might have said back in 2008 that you didn’t know.  But you don’t have any excuse this time around.  2012 is on your heads.

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On the horizon in 2011

Happy New Year!

I’ve been trying to figure out what the next year should be about.  Should it be the economy?  The war?  Equal rights for women?  But I keep coming back to the same point: protecting our right to vote.  Without that, nothing else you want to accomplish matters.  It is this right that I think is most under threat, if it hasn’t already technically disappeared.

Here in NJ, we vote on electronic voting machines that don’t print a paper trail.  Back in 2006, Rush Holt, Congressperson from  NJ-12 (including Princeton), found out how easy it was to rig the voting machines and tried to introduce bills in Congress that would ensure the accuracy of the votes cast.  Here’s a recap of a Diebold hack:


In response, Holt introduced HR2894, The Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2009:

Voting is the foundation of democracy, but there are still states and jurisdictions in the United States that use unauditable electronic voting machines whose vote tallies cannot be confirmed independently. To ensure the integrity of our elections, Rep. Holt introduced bipartisan legislation in the 111th Congress.  Entitled The Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2009 (HR 2894), it would create a national standard that will ensure the accessibility, verifiability, and auditability of every vote in the United States. Votes are valuable, and each voter should have the knowledge – and the confidence – that his or her vote was recorded and counted as intended.  Enacting this legislation would be a big step in restoring that confidence.

[…]

As Rep. Holt has said, “It is time to stop gambling with our elections and implement a national standard that will require that elections be independently auditable, and routinely audited.  This legislation will ensure that every vote in the United States is recorded and counted as intended.

Bill Summary (click here for bill text)

  • Requires a voter-marked or ballot-marking-device paper ballot be produced for every vote cast in time for the November 2010 elections. (this deadline has already passed but it’s not too late for the upcoming primary season and presidential election)
  • Provides that printer-equipped electronic voting systems used in 2008 elections can be used after 2010 but are to be replaced with paper
  • ballots before the first federal election in 2014.
  • Ensures that the paper ballot is the vote of record in all recounts and audits.
  • Requires routine random audits be conducted by hand count in 3 percent of the precincts in all Federal elections, and 5 percent or 10 percent in very close races.
  • Bans wireless devices, Internet connections, and uncertified and undisclosed software in voting and tabulating machines.

This bill hasn’t passed yet.  It has been referred to the Committee for Technology and Innovation.  Note that the bill was stalled in a DEMOCRATIC Congress.  It’s hard to believe that there would be that much trouble fitting voting machines with a printer to print out a paper receipt of the vote cast for retention by the precinct for count verification, and a duplicate receipt to be retained by the voter.  And think of all the employment this could generate as thousands of voting machines are retrofitted throughout the nation.  This is not rocket science, people.   We have a year before the first primaries start.  Any excuse that would prevent a verifiable paper trail is unacceptable. If a machine can’t be retrofitted in time, paper ballots should be offered as an alternative.

This is an issue that voters of both parties can get behind.  Without verfiable voting, you can’t be sure that your vote counts for regulating the banksters, protecting social security, stopping the wars or even electing a third party candidate.  With more and more voting machines being rolled into every precinct around the country, there will be increased risk that the votes will be tampered.  Moreover, the temptation to do so will become overwhelming.  And we have seen in the past that problems with butterfly ballots and deliberate shortages of voting machines in just a few key districts can swing the results of an election and have significant political ramifications for our nation.  The argument over malice vs stupidity becomes irrelevant when one party declares victory and the candidate is sworn in because the votes cannot be verified.

We, the voters, have been burned too many times in the past 11 years to remain complacent about guarding our voting rights.  If the outcome of an election is predetermined, then your rights as a citizen to participate fully in your democracy are violated.  And if the thugs who rig an election get away with it because no one has the means to protest, then you no longer have a means to influence your government and the politicians in charge no longer feel constrained to behave in a manner conducive to your well being.

So, I would like the left blogosphere to take a leading role in moving HR2894 forward and see it passed into law.  There  is no more important bill in Congress right now.  Let’s put pressure on Congress to move this bill and see which representatives from both parties support it and which do not.  We need to start asking our politicians hard questions about how they intend to protect our voting rights and how serious they are about not obstructing voters’ choices in primary and general elections.

Make 2011 the year the voters put their feet down and defend their rights.  All other rights and functions of government flow from your right to vote.

PS, if anyone from Holt’s office can tell us how we can help, please contact us.

And, from Spain, here is the ideal voting experience: