a shell game, with money, companies and corporate
brands switching in a blur of buyouts and bogus
fronts. It's a sinkhole, where mobbed-up operators,
paid-off public servants, crazed Christian fascists,
CIA shadow-jobbers, war-pimping arms dealers --
and presidential family members -- lie down together
in the slime. It's a hacker's dream, with pork-funded,
half-finished, secretly programmed computer systems
installed without basic security standards by
politically partisan private firms, and protected
by law from public scrutiny. It's how the United
States, the "world's greatest democracy," casts
its votes. And it's why George W. Bush will almost
certainly be the next president of the United
States -- no matter what the people of the United
States might want.
American vote-count is controlled by three major
corporate players -- Diebold, ES&S, and Sequoia
-- with a fourth, Science Applications International
Corporation, coming on strong. These companies
-- all of them hardwired into the Bushist Party
power grid -- have been given billions of dollars
by the Bush Regime to complete a sweeping computerization
of voting machines nationwide by the 2004 election.
These glitch-riddled systems -- many using "touch-screen"
technology that leaves no paper trail at all --
are almost laughably open to manipulation, according
to corporate whistleblowers and computer scientists
at Stanford, Johns Hopkins and other universities.
technology had a trial run in the 2002 midterm
elections. In Georgia, serviced by new Diebold
systems, a popular Democratic governor and senator
were both unseated in what the media called "amazing"
upsets, with results showing vote swings of up
to 16 percent from the last pre-ballot polls.
In computerized Minnesota, former Vice President
Walter Mondale -- a replacement for popular incumbent
Paul Wellstone, who died days before the vote
-- was also defeated in a large last-second vote
swing. Convenient "glitches" in Florida saw an
untold number of votes intended for the Democratic
candidate registering instead for Governor Jeb
"L'il Brother" Bush. A Florida Democrat who lost
a similarly "glitched" local election went to
court to have the computers examined -- but the
case was thrown out by a judge who ruled that
the innards of America's voting machines are the
"trade secrets" of the private companies who make
behind these private companies? It's hard to tell:
The corporate lines -- even the bloodlines --
of these "competitors" are so intricately mixed.
For example, at Diebold -- whose corporate chief,
Wally O'Dell, a top Bush fundraiser, has publicly
committed himself to "delivering" his home state's
votes to Bush next year -- the election division
is run by Bob Urosevich. Bob's brother, Todd,
is a top executive at "rival" ES&S. The brothers
were originally staked in the vote-count business
by Howard Ahmanson, a member of the Council for
National Policy, a right-wing "steering group"
stacked with Bushist faithful.
is also one of the bagmen behind the extremist
"Christian Reconstructionist" movement, which
openly advocates a theocratic takeover of American
democracy, placing the entire society under the
"dominion" of "Christ the King." This "dominion"
includes the death penalty for homosexuals, exclusion
of citizenship for non-Christians, stoning of
sinners and -- we kid you not -- slavery, "one
of the most beneficent of Biblical laws."
also has major holdings in ES&S, whose former
CEO is Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska.
When Hagel ran for office, his own company counted
the votes; needless to say, his initial victory
was reported as "an amazing upset." Hagel still
has a million-dollar stake in the parent company
of ES&S. In Florida, Jeb Bush's first choice for
a running mate in his 1998 gubernatorial race
was ES&S lobbyist Sandra Mortham, who made a mint
installing the machines that counted Jeb's votes.
also has a colorful history, most recently in
Louisiana, where it was the center of a massive
corruption case that sent top state officials
to jail for bribery, most of it funneled through
Mob-connected front firms. Sequoia executives
were also indicted, but escaped trial after giving
immunized testimony against state officials. The
British-owned company's corporate parent is private
equity firm Madison Dearborn -- a partner of the
Carlyle Group, where George Bush I makes millions
trolling the world for war pork, privatizations
and sweetheart deals with government insiders.
the shadowy defense contractor SAIC has jumped
into the vote-counting game, both directly and
through spinoffs by its top brass, including Admiral
Bill Owens, former military aide to Dick Cheney
and Carlyle honcho Frank Carlucci, and ex-CIA
chief Robert Gates. SAIC's history of fraud charges
and security lapses in its electronic systems
hasn't prevented it from becoming one of the largest
Pentagon and CIA contractors -- and will doubtless
pose little obstacle to its entrance into election
mad rush to install unverifiable computer voting
is driven by the Help America Vote Act, signed
by Bush last year. The chief lobbying group pushing
for the act was a consortium of arms dealers --
those disinterested corporate citizens -- including
Northop-Grumman and Lockheed-Martin. The bill
also mandates that all states adopt the computerized
"ineligible voter purge" system that Jeb used
to eliminate 91,000 eligible black voters from
the Florida rolls in 2000. The Republican-run
private company that accomplished this electoral
miracle, ChoicePoint, is bagging the lion's share
of the new Bush-ordered purge contracts.
unelected Bush Regime now controls the government,
the military, the judiciary -- and the machinery
of democracy itself. Absent some unlikely great
awakening by the co-opted dullards of the corporate
media, next November the last shreds of a genuine
American republic will disappear -- at the push
of a button.
September 23, 2003