2006 Revisited, by Doug Hunter
Locally, the voters in East and North San Diego County also don’t seem to have seen the light. We have our work cut out for us if we are to capture Local, State, and Federal Offices in this area any time in the near future. Many of you worked hard in our fledging San Diego County precinct organization. I thank you for that, and implore you to continue to work with us in our ongoing effort to turn SD County into a Blue County . We have made significant progress in developing a precinct organization, and we need your continued support. I am advocating that in the interim before the next election, we use our growing precinct organization to conduct polls in conservative localities, to give us some insight as to why the electorate votes as they do, and just what characteristics our candidates need to garner more votes.
I must also express some concern with initiatives, which seem to be popular at this time with the progressive and liberal constituencies in San Diego and elsewhere.
I think our Progressive Community is acting emotionally on this issue, when it should act rationally and wisely. Let me explain why I feel this way.
I supported Impeachment Petitions before the November Election, not because I thought they would be successful, but because I thought the issues should be kept before the American Public. I now oppose Impeachment petitions for several reasons. One, many members of the public will view direct action on Impeachment as an act of revenge, and we will lose votes in 08. Two, just consider the mechanics of impeachment. It will take at least two years to hold hearings, draw up Articles of Impeachment, and hold the trial, and when the Senate votes whether to Impeach or not, we will not have the requisite plurality, so what do we gain. We could lose the White House again. Third, it will probably be necessary, because of wording of the Constitution, to Impeach Bush and Cheney separately, so in which order do we proceed? If Bush first, Cheney would be president for a short time, even if the proceedings were scheduled concurrently and the votes were taken back to back. Would you want Cheney to be president for even 10 minutes? If in the other order, Bush gets to appoint a VP, and even with a majority in the Senate, we wouldn’t get a good choice. Bush would probably choose McCain, and thus probably secure his victory in 08. And last, I say hold hearings, but don’t call them Impeachment hearings. In two years, if the Democrats do their job and the American public knows the truth about this administration, they will clamor for action, and at that time we should initiate criminal prosecutions.
2. Election Integrity
I fear that activists on this issue will impede progress in using technology to improve the integrity of our elections. We undoubtedly have had vote rigging in some locations (I do not believe in San Diego County ), and the electronic voting units currently in use are very vulnerable in that respect. However, scanned paper ballots are less vulnerable only because the paper is available for audit, the scanners are easier to hack than the Touch Screen Units, and the central tally process is also vulnerable. If the touch screen units are equipped with printers, so that an audit trail is available, the Touch screen units are inherently more reliable than the scanners, since their memories are encrypted, and the scanner memories are not. Further, any balloting process can be corrupted, and many have been. Lyndon Johnson won his first Senate race with ballot box manipulation, Kennedy is said to have won his Presidency because the Daley machine delivered fraudulent votes to carry Illinois .
I say, tongue in cheek of course, forget about the ballots, and just use the Exit Polls. There is an element of enlightenment in this statement, however. For me, a statistically significant audit or random monitoring of the election process provides greater assurance of the integrity of the process than any other mechanism. I will not elaborate on what a statistically significant sampling would entail, but if any one is interested contact me and I will forward a description of a relatively simple “Parallel Monitoring” procedure, which would do the job.
I am very concerned that our newly elected representatives will cave in to the jingoist cries to “win in Iraq ” and “support our military”, and authorize funds for increasing troop levels. The vote of Joe Lieberman in the Senate is of critical importance on this matter, and I do not trust that unpatriotic hypocrite. What must we to get the politicians to understand that the citizens of the US want us out of Iraq ? Is the lesson of Vietnam completely lost to our elected officials? We must work to reform the Democratic Party, and PDA is the only organization with that goal as a core strategy.
4. Political Reform
In ranking income and expenditures, California ranks as the 5th or 6th largest organization in the world. After California comes a string of corporations, larger than most nations in terms of annual budget. Our founding fathers did not envision the growth and power of corporations, and the constitution does not provide for any limits on the excesses of corporations. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court has chosen, circa 1887, to grant corporations personhood (certain privileges of personhood must be granted corporations so that contracts may be enforced) and further, subsequently the 14th Amendment was interpreted as providing corporations with “equal protection under the law”, as provided for citizens by that amendment. These decisions have resulted in corporations, which do not necessarily die, and which can accumulate wealth exceeding any that a real person can ever amass, being able to exercise unchecked and unlimited power. Conspicuous among corporations that use this wealth and power to influence public policy are the oil companies, the pharmaceuticals, and companies engaged in arms manufacturing. These companies have undue influence on legislation; in fact their lobbyists write many of the laws, which are passed by Congress. My basic belief is that the constitution must be amended to check the power of corporations, that being an unrealizable objective at this time, I believe that Congress must do something to limit the power of lobbyists to influence legislation.
5. Gerald Ford
I am greatly disturbed by the accolades given to Gerald Ford by politicians of both parties. This flood of praise serves only to illuminate the hypocrisy so rampant in our Capitol. My personal recollection of Gerald Ford’s tenure as House Minority Leader is that he was one of the most partisan, strident advocates of the republican policies of feed the rich, starve the poor, of any recent politician. Does anyone remember the Dirksen/Ford road shows? His pardon of Nixon was inexcusable. By doing so, he gave future presidents some assurance that they would not be held culpable for their crimes. We currently are witnessing unprecedented criminal behavior by the Bush administration because Richard Nixon was not held accountable for his crimes. Gerald Ford deserves only condemnation.