Sunday, December 04, 2005

Sunday Soapbox

So read this and be very, very afraid... I have strayed from my normal blogging pattern in order to spread this as widely as possible. It is true that the GAO is one of the most trustworthy institutions we have left in this country. So what do we need to do to hold the government to accountability?

If you conduct online banking, would you be satisfied with just a verbal assurance from the bank that your transaction went through? Of course not, you would want some kind of transaction verification number, something so that you can track what is happening to your finances.

We do not even have that with our election ballots.

If you don't think that people are corrupted and corruptible, that people in power will do all kinds of nasty things in order to keep their power, then I've got some prime real estate in New Mexico I think you'd be interested in.


chichimama said...

I love the GAO.

Elizabeth said...

There were all kinds of people making noise about electronic balloting, before it even existed AND the fact that Diebold is a Republican supporter (nevermind any hackers).

I absolutely don't understand why we can't have a printed receipt of our vote. There is no way you can convince me that it costs too much money blah blah blah. The reason we can't have a printed receipt is because that would mean the votes could possibly be counted.

This isn't even a Democrat vs. Republican issue. You know as well as I do that if the Democrats can manipulate the vote, they will. Just take a close look at the Kennedy/Nixon run of 1960 and tell me that the Chicago mob had nothing to do with Kennedy's election.

I agree that this is a very, very, serious issue and one that most people seem so blase about. Perhaps I misjudge them, but it seems most Republicans trust the government to such an extent that they can't believe something as base a voting fraud could ever happen. "Surely they have our best interest at heart. Surely our election process is secure."


Anyone who trusts the government is living in a fool's paradise. You never trust the govenment even if it's the government you voted for.

The Bush administration, more than any other before it, even Nixon (that's saying a lot), is the most secretive (Daddy Bush - head of the CIA) in all of history and is not to be trusted.

Do I trust that my vote is counted? NO.

Gracie said...

Wow - pretty strong words. I would be careful about trusting the main stream media regarding the current administration's alledged secretiveness. I have a lot more thoughts on this subject but I am going to stop here because this isn't my blog. But if anyone is interested, I will post the rest of my comment on my blog because I have been inspired.

Elizabeth said...

I don't trust the main stream media. Personally I think the so-called liberal media has been whipped into submission by the Bush administration.

I do, however, trust my own common sense and that tells me if you have electronic voting then your vote is not safe. There needs to be a paper trail somewhere. This won't stop voter fraud completely but it will make it a little more difficult. And yes, some people just might hold onto their little piece of paper knowing how important it is.

Maybe you should answer Gina's question. Would you be satisfied with just a verbal assurance from your bank that your transaction went through? Surely your answer must be 'yes.'

Gracie said...

Would I be satisfied with a verbal assurance from my bank? As opposed to a little paper receipt? For close to 10 years I have done 99% of my banking online. If I go to the ATM and do a transaction, I say no to a paper receipt. I don't worry about that sort of thing. If there is an evil out there big enough to empty my bank account one day - it isn't going to care if I have a receipt to prove they should put it back. I simply don't feel the risk is great enough to waste any time worrying about stuff like that.

"Personally I think the so-called liberal media has been whipped into submission by the Bush administration. " I am curious how you came to such a conclusion.

Elizabeth said...

Yes, you do online banking. Do you see your transactions online?

You don't get a paper receipt from the ATM because you see your transactions SOMEWHERE and you track things VISUALLY. Yes?

What if you didn't see your transactions at all? That is a more accurate comparison to what is being discussed.

Online banking is not VERBAL banking.

The question still stands. Would you accept a VERBAL assurance from your bank that your transactions are accurate?

I came to the conclusion that the media is tongue-tied by Bush based on my assessment of his performance and the lack of tenacity from the mainstream media to fully question that performance.

As for secrecy, I would appreciate it if you would personally write the President and ask him to unlock the Reagan and Bush (41) papers. Why he locked them to begin with is a mystery to me. National security? I doubt that.

Be sure and send it return receipt. Although I imagine you would trust him when he tells you he never received your letter.

Gracie said...

Lovely. I don't care about the Presidential Papers. I have no desire to seem them. What do you care either? Why do you doubt the issue is National Security? Why is this inconceivable to you? Do you think the President is evil and half the country was duped into voting for Darth Vader? And sugar, I have seen enough Top Secret papers to know that the American public doesn't need to know everything. If it is so important to you to know the fine details of what is going on behind the rightly and tightly closed doors of our government then go get a job down there...if you can pass the background investigation, give a knock on the door of the FBI or the CIA.

As for comparing voting receipts to banking receipts you are operating under flawed logic here. These two things and the value they hold are too dissimilar. Yes, I have a visual record or my banking online. It's nice. I trust the bank, I trust the system, if I didn't I would be cashing my paychecks and stuffing the money in my matress. The bank is the keeper of my livelihood. It can hardly be compared to the value of a voting receipt, which isn't going to put a roof over my head and food in my mouth.

As for your assessment of the President - as is anyone's, it is totally subjective. You
think he is doing a terrible job? Lots of people think he is doing a good job, under very difficult circumstances. Most people have the same information and simply view it differently. We all look at things through the lense of our on experience and though it seems clear to us - it is really just that - clear to us. It doesn't mean it is accurate.

Elizabeth said...

You still haven't answered the question. Would you accept a VERBAL assurance from your bank that your transactions are accurate? Yes or no is all that is really needed.

You completely missed my point about the Presidential papers. I keep forgetting that people on the right tend to be extremely literal and have a difficult time with abstract ideas.

I do not think the public needs to know everything. I never said, nor did I imply that. Nor did I say the President is evil, I said he is secretive.

You asked me why I thought the MSM is easy on Bush and I told you. Many of Bush's difficult circumstances are of his own making.

If you don't think your vote is as important as your bank account then I suggest you go live in China. I hear the economy is booming and you don't have to worry about pesky things like elections.

Gracie said...

I would like to compliment you: You are fabulous at making generalizations, truly impressive. What exactly was your point regarding the Presidential Papers? Please use small words and don't speak figuratively so that my little brain will be able to wrap around your grand point.

I asked you several questions (made obvious by the question marks at the end of the sentences). Feel free to go back and re-read them and may I suggest that you slow down so you don't miss the punctuation.

I can read. Though you have judged my comprehension limited, I am well aware of what you said and what you did not say. I apologize for assuming that your expressed issue with Bush's secretiveness reflected some unspoken desire to know the secrets. I did not claim that you were advocating a full open book policy. I merely stated that I know first-hand that keeping a tight reign on the information our government has is very important.

I did not answer the banking question because it is not a logical comparison to voting receipts. The argument falls apart because you are comparing two things that are not similar enough to each other to be relevant in either a concrete or abstract sense.

If you don't think your vote is as important as your bank account then I suggest you go live in China. I hear the economy is booming and you don't have to worry about pesky things like elections.

What I said was that bank accounts and voting receipts can not be logically compared. Do you think you could come up with some other comparison that makes sense? My vote has nothing to do with my bank account.

Banking Security actually means the difference between feeding myself and my children and us going hungry. It means the difference between me having a roof over our heads and a bridge over our heads.

Voting Security MIGHT mean the difference between my vote being counted or not being counted, which I never forget isn't all that relevant because I am not on the Electoral College.

The comparison is absurd.

Let's be silly for a minute and let me ask you...When the next election comes around, if you had to choose between banking security or voting security, which would you choose? The question makes no sense because you would never have to choose that. We live in America.

Oh and if you are from Texas and (I am guessing here that) you didn't vote for George, your vote didn't count anyway and having a receipt would not have made on iota of a difference.

theyellowwallpaper said...

Wow! This was a scary article. Thanks for linking it to your post. I've heard some of the accusations before in the past. It's hard to comprehend that in this country of such wealth and power, “a beacon of democracy,” that we can't even pull off an election…that accessibility and technology vary so widely from state to state and region to region. I still shudder when I think about Florida during the presidential elections.

When you likened banking receipts and voting receipts, it set off a debate in your comments. And the more I think about it, the more I realize this is the crux of the issue. By this I mean, when you retrieve money from a bank, it is a direct cause and effect. But, when you vote, it is based on the collective. For instance, when you recycle, you do so knowing that what little cans or paper you recycle are only a tiny drop in the bucket. But, you still do your part; why? Because if an entire city, state, or better yet, country recycles it has a dramatic impact on landfills.

I feel that many people view voting in this manner. Since there is no direct cause or effect (this is not to say that policies don't impact the people), it's easy to forget to vote, or not necessarily place much importance in voting receipts. But, we must. It is only through our collective that we can institute change.

Gina said...

Well, as the originator of the banking analogy, I don't think that it is flawed. But I am biased, of course.

I never really mentioned paper reciepts, but I don't necessarily think its a bad idea. It could be just like the bank- Do you want one or not? If you don't care and you think everything is fine and dandy, then refuse one. Or better yet, refuse the technology-driven vote and go for a paper one, not many people are aware that they still have the right to ask for a paper ballot. On a tangent, my sister asked for one at her polling place, and was at first denied. Only after insisting was she reluctantly given a paper ballot.

But, back to the point at hand. To me, the banking and voting issues are not that far apart. Both wire fraud and voting fraud are federal crimes (in a federal election anyway), but both felonies, if I am not mistaken. Apparently the government considers banking and voting to be not that far apart as far as punishment goes.

I consider my vote to be just as important as money. No, perhaps my vote will not keep a roof over my head, but does not the government have ultimate power over my life? Do they not make laws and decisions that affect my daily life? My vote is not something that I can hold in my hand, but I consider it to be of the utmost value.

And it isn't necessarily about the commodity anyway. It is about the protections and safeguards put in place to protect whatever commodity it may happen to be. I may not give two hoots about lightbulbs, but there is someone out there whose world and livlihood revolve around lightbulbs. Just because the commodities are dissimilar in nature does not diminish their respective values, in my opinion.

From what I gathered from that article, which was definitely not from an MSM source, it seems that little or no safeguards are in place in the voting machine technology.

Is it possible to agree that at the very least, our votes deserve the same technology and protections that our bank accounts do?

Yes, people suck, yes there are mistakes made. But, is that a reason to just stand back and watch it happen? I for one am not someone who throws their hands up in the air and says, "Oh well."

For some people, it is important to fight for the the right to own a machine gun and body-armor piercing bullets.

For some, it is ensuring that we have fair and open elections.

We all get to pick and choose our own battles. That is the greatness of this democracy we live in.