A new progressive revolution?

By Meryl Lipman of Portland, Oregon. About herself Meryl says, "I am a refugee from Beverly Hills, California, who arrived in Oregon via Washington DC, Copenhagen, Moscow, Minsk, Seattle and Dubna (Russia). I make my living as a Soviet-area specialist, academic professional (PCC), freelance writer and skydiving coach and in my spare time I'm pursuing a masters degree at PSU."

Having had the good fortune to live in Europe when the Berlin Wall came down and the Soviet Union during that country's historic breakup, I was recently inspired by the newest velvet revolutions in Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan. I was simultaneously discouraged by our own lack of drive to reestablish our country as one of responsible leadership.

Finally, I was grateful I live in Oregon, where citizens remain passionately engaged in civic life, from environmental conservation to gay marriage. When it comes to national politics and the direction of our country, it could be that Oregon is uniquely positioned to lead the revolution that will restore America to its former ideal.

I believe this revolution should take a 3-pronged approach.

First, we must get bright young people enflamed about the injustices of the current administration.

City Club New Leaders, The World Affairs Council's Young Professionals group and The Oregon Bus Project are but great beginnings. One Sunday I read The Oregonian with horror, specifically an article stating that an increased number of teens believe government should have more control of the media (are we trending toward an Soviet-style age of Pravda, Izvestia and underground samizdat presses?). We must educate our students, help them organize, let them emerge as leaders and take center stage, because they can attract their peers. We must look at the peaceful revolutions that have worked in the past 15 years (Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Ukraine), exalt the brave leaders of these revolutions and market dissent as cool, hip and sexy. In this way we can expedite critical mass.

Second, we MUST take back our elections process, which has been hijacked by corporate interests, including voting machine companies with declared political ties, whose executives boast felony convictions for computer fraud and whose major stockholders include foreign interests.

Using the adage 'Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me,' we must take a long, hard look at the 2000 and 2004 elections including the numerous computer glitches that, as Diebold CEO Walden O'Dell promised in his infamous August 14, 2003 letter, helped deliver Ohio's electoral votes to the president in 2004. As Oregonians, we mistakenly believe our vote by mail system to be safe from alleged election fraud. After all, we have resisted the widespread introduction of paperless voting machines. But despite our intelligent paper balloting system, Oregon employs optical scanners and vote tabulators that run on standard PCs using Diebold's proprietary software. In other words, one corrupt elections clerk plus one good hacker equals election fraud in our beloved, progressive state. As citizens, we need to be infuriated at the use of our taxpayer dollars to line the pockets of Diebold and ESS, simultaneously implementing an elections system that could rob us of self rule.

Third, we must begin re-programming the Democratic Party to think in terms of new and creative solutions, not band-aids on broken-down old programs (that idea actually belongs to former Gov. John Kitzhaber).

We have to stop apologizing for being a party of liberals and intellectuals. It is a sad day when leaders are required to dumb themselves down or apologize for their intelligence in order to attract support. To revamp the Democratic agenda (this idea belongs to me), we commence with a dramatic shift in languaging. We start thinking and speaking of ourselves not as the 'Democratic Party' but as the 'Opposition Party' and the Republicans as the 'Ruling Party,' which, given the high probability of election fraud, seems to indeed be the case. We stop calling for social change, or even a revolution of ideas. Instead, we empower ourselves by declaring a New Republic!

A week before the August 1991 coup, I was sitting in the Moscow apartment of a student and friend of mine who later emigrated to Chicago. Inna and I were discussing the legacy that Mikhail Gorbachev would leave to his people. Being anti-Gorbachev, she accused him of being ineffective on the world stage. 'What about the Berlin Wall?' I countered. 'What about the liberation of Eastern Europe?' She shrugged her shoulders, took a sip of black Russian tea and said something I never forgot. 'You can't force an idea that isn't ripe,' she said, 'and you can't stop an idea whose time has come.' Let us find a way in Oregon to make a progressive American government an idea whose time has come.

Oregon Voter Rights Coalition: www.democracyfororegon.com
Truth In Voting (Eugene): www.truthinvoting.org

Comments

  • (Show?)

    Finally, I was grateful I live in Oregon, where citizens remain passionately engaged in civic life, from environmental conservation to gay marriage. When it comes to national politics and the direction of our country, it could be that Oregon is uniquely positioned to lead the revolution that will restore America to its former ideal.

    Sorry, I had to stop about here... I love the idea of us as leaders, and I walked the suburbs of Gresham and Tigard for the No on 37 Campaign this past election (and local house/senate races). You've got to try this sometime and meet the people of this state. I wish they were all progressives, I wish they were all paying attention... but they're really not. Most people were glued, with their families to the TV, on really nice days. So, before before OR goes revolutionary, you've got to walk the beat and meet these folks who make up the electorate.

    On the other hand, as M. Mead said, never underestimate what a small group of people can do to change the world, or something like that. And, if that's the case, then Portland and OR, DA!

  • Steve Bucknum (unverified)
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    There is potential, and there is reality.

    Meryl speaks to our potential. Albert (and I) have seen the reality. The people that don't agree with us, don't agree with lots of passion thrown in.

    I would add a fourth prong to the approaches:

    The Democratic Party, liberals, and progressives have to get out of their urban enclaves, and speak passionately, with resolve, and with real solutions to the rest of our State and the rest of our nation. In other words, the "Red" counties and States. To do this, there needs to be a period of listening. Why do those people in "Red" areas vote the way they do? They won't buy into our "Blue" world view until we become the people offering solutions in their lives, not the problems. "Red" areas currently have a world view that the Democratic Party causes problems (see lots of my other posts, and read on my website - www.crestviewcable.com/~ccdem). We need to listen, then frame our views into solutions that match the perceptions of the "Red" folks. We can do this, and when we do, there will be no stopping us.

  • K. Sudbeck (unverified)
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    Well, I agree with Steve. Come on out and talk to us in the rural areas. But beware, when did the word progressive and civil liberties get highjacked? I am all for progress, reform, and the protection of civil liberties. So, I am progressive, just not liberal progressive. Case in point, I feel it is my fundamental right to carry a handgun(if I wanted)without governmental interference. I also believe, if I want to home school my children, that is my fundamental right. The government should provide the structure for society. Not interfer. I concur with the government should not interfer with the media, including the internet and blogging. Come on out and visit. But, I do miss the old days of "Welcome to Oregon, now go home". A progressive platform from the past.

  • David Wright (unverified)
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    To do this, there needs to be a period of listening. Why do those people in "Red" areas vote the way they do? They won't buy into our "Blue" world view until we become the people offering solutions in their lives, not the problems.

    Steve, you are right on. And it's a huge challenge.

    I would caution, though, that it's not just a matter of listening to other peoples' problems and then offering your solutions to those problems.

    We all need to listen to other peoples' definitions of fundamental values as well. That's where the real challenge lies.

    For example, if you were to ask any random person in the State whether they believe in "justice and fairness for all citizens", you're going to get about a 99%+ "YES" response. In that sense, justice and fairness are shared values.

    But the trick is, what do you mean by "justice"? What constitutes "fair"?

    If you listen to my problem, but then offer me a solution that fits your definition of "fair" but not mine, I'm still not going to be receptive. And vice-versa.

    For that matter, we may not even agree on what the problem is in the first place. I may describe a situation that I see as unfair and in need of fixing, where you see a situation that's already fair. And vice-versa.

    Or we may both recognize a problem, but disagree about why it's a problem, so each might offer a "solution" that would make the problem worse in the eyes of the other person.

    So don't get me wrong, communication and real listening to the other side is very important and worth while. But as we listen to each other, we should also dig deeper and try to understand where we're coming from, not just what we're saying.

  • Steve Bucknum (unverified)
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    David -

    You raise good points, but whew! Action is better than inaction. We don't need to be perfect, but we do need to be in motion.

    The Republicans have mastered the art of sounding like they are in agreement with people, thereby getting their support. We could stand to learn from that. We don't need to define every word to go forward, we don't need to study every nuance, we really need to get on the road!

  • David Wright (unverified)
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    Ummmm....

    The Republicans have mastered the art of sounding like they are in agreement with people, thereby getting their support. We could stand to learn from that.

    So, the Democrats should start tricking people into voting for them by just telling them what they want to hear? <nobr>  ;-)</nobr>

    I understand your point about getting up and taking action rather than getting bogged down in semantic analysis. I'm just suggesting that by speaking passionately about "real solutions" as you see them, you may still just be advertising "real problems" to the people you speak with if you don't understand the deeper motivations of your audience. Could be more harm than good that way.

    I see it repeatedly on this web site. A "blue" approach to an issue is discussed, some contrarian (such as myself) will raise objections to that approach, and in many cases the objections are dismissed out of hand as being invalid because they don't fit the "blue" world view. This doesn't happen all the time, and the discussions are still interesting anyhow, but there's not a lot of convincing going on. In either direction, I'm sure. And it's not for lack of passion or resolve on the part of the blue folk.

    For what it's worth. Hey, it's your party, knock yourselves out!

  • (Show?)

    we really need to get on the road!

    I know a bus that's ready to go :)

    Part of me wishes that instead of posting what I did earlier I had suggested that we hire some revolutionaries from the Far East to come over and show us how molotov cocktails are made and how one creates a tent city which stays open 24 hours a day for 7 weeks in Winter... I wonder if we're going to have to wait till it just gets so bad that there's no other choice but to storm the barricades?

    I'd like to hear more from Meryl Lipman about how it's done elsewhere - something tells me radicals in the Ukraine didn't go door to door on listening projects :)

    Someone, a sociologist at UW (was quoted during a speech at the Bioneers Conf. last year) said that nothing changes until activists take to the streets (again, not in listening projects, but that might work, too :) - so, once again the Bus Project comes to mind. But so do street protests.

    Night ya'all.

  • Steve Bucknum (unverified)
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    Albert Kaufman wrote -

    "Part of me wishes that instead of posting what I did earlier I had suggested that we hire some revolutionaries from the Far East to come over and show us how molotov cocktails are made and how one creates a tent city which stays open 24 hours a day for 7 weeks in Winter"

    Molotov cocktails - nothing could be easier. An old bottle, a little gasoline, a rag and a match. Tent cities - there are a lot of former Boy Scout/Girl Scouts around to help you with that. -- You don't need someone from the Far East, we've got local talent - you're not in favor of out-sourcing are you?

  • Meryl Lipman (unverified)
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    Wow, I never expected to get this much discussion out of my ramblings... Albert, it is true that many people, including Oregonians (though I'd like to idealize our population) have become complacent, but I wonder if they have detached out of true disinterest, or if they are complacent out of discouragement, disempowerment and resignation... I saw this phenomenon living in Russia just before the coup of August 1991 and also during the economic collapse of 1998. People hunkered down and made their lives very small. They were busy just trying to get by (for them it was bread lines, for us its health insurance). But, in 1991, although many Soviets despised Gorbachev, the day he was kidnapped in the Crimea and a group of Communist putchters tried to take control of the Kremlin, suddenly people were in the streets, defending their fledgling democracy. Hence, the last line of my article (you can't force an idea that isn't ripe and you can't stop an idea whose time has come). Ditto Ukraine last winter. Ditto Kyrgyzstan in March. I am clear the idea's time hasn't yet come for us, which is what you saw when you ran for office. But don't we, this small group of impassioned intellectuals, have an obligation to move things toward that moment?

    And,I want to stress that the integrity of the US elections system is a red AND blue issue. Or maybe a red, white and blue issue... Creating a system in which our voting systems are insecure is no guarantee that 'red' will always win. A corrupt Democratic hacker is as frightening as a corrupt Republican hacker. I don't think any of us would want to win an election fraudulently!!!

    Long live the Opposition. Dissent IS cool!

  • Meryl Lipman (unverified)
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    Albert, As for Ukraine, this is a great story. Here's a country that has had no democratic tradition for 500 years who suddenly got fed up with a fraudulent election backed by Moscow, who put up a candidate that was, among other things, a convicted gang rapist. Viktor Yushchenko, was a youngish, hip opposition candidate with a Ukrainian-American wife and a grassroots campaign. There was no media supporting him, he was actually blasted by the state controlled media. He made "Orange Revolution" posters and encouraged supporters to come out wearing orange. The students and the intellectuals got behind him (very important) and, in his case, while being poisoned by the authorities turned him into a hideous-looking creature, he remained popular because he DID NOT back down. After demanding a recount of the election in which he was fraudulently defeated, he called on international forces to help monitor the December 2004 elections. People from all over the world (including at least 1 from Portland - a prof at Reed College) went over as election monitors. Within 3 wks they had created an elections system that was virtually foolproof. Ironically, it was based largely on the US voting systems of the 1950s - paper ballots, double signatures when arriving at the polls, locked ballot boxes, bipartisan groups of 16 people in each precinct counting the votes. Recounts where there were any discrepancies. But between those 2 elections, people were in the streets, marching, wearing orange, feeling totally hip and cool because they were making history. Now, here's the great thing - for everyone who says, "get out of Portland, etc..." The first thing Yushchenko did when he finally won was to make a trip to Moscow, to meet Putin and discuss the ways that their countries might get beyond this fiasco for the sake of peace and prosperity. For more information, go to the World Affairs Council website www.worldoregon.org and look for the April 25 event with Paul and Tatiana Terdal, who went over as election monitors. It is being sponsored by the Portland Committee on Foreign Relations. It would be worth the $30 to hear them talk in detail about it...

    Spokoinoe noche.

  • Sid (unverified)
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    Luckily Microsoft isn't an Oregon company, because they're certainly blowing it when it comes to supporting a bill that would protect gays and lesbians from discrimination in Washington state. An evangelical pastor of a mega-church convinced the company to pull its support of the bill. Hopefully this stuff won't bleed into Oregon.

    Linux here I come! My FireFox is waiting for you.

  • Patrick (unverified)
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    All this talk about messaging and "languaging" is missing the point.

    Democrats need to start by substantively addressing the challenges of the vast majority of Americans, bridging blue, red, and those that don't give a crap.

    Time for Family Values: Americans have less time with their families. They have to work longer hours and take shorter vacations (if they even get them). This issue bridges the gap between the most secular humanistic, latte-sipping Volvo driver and the evangelical, gun-toting abortion protester.

    Health Care: Republicans think we should have medical saving accounts. Democrats want to do what?

    Economics in general: If you look at the last national election the economic future was more outsourcing, more corporate power, more unfair trade. If I was a social conservative, cranky about the economy, what was the Democratic alternative? <queue sound="" of="" crickets="">

    Instead of continuing to obess about Diebold machines, progressives need to put forward an agenda rooted in economic populism.

    Then we win.

  • Gonzo Journalist (unverified)
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    Nyet.

    I find it difficult to imagine we have anything to learn from the former U.S.S.R. relative to democratization or resonsible leadership.

    For the love of truth, please don't suggest you actually believe that Bush/Cheney won because the voting machines were rigged. Even the black helicopter/foil hats crowd are more sophisticated than that. You've been falling asleep to Air America, haven't you?

    Portland is (uniquely) out of step with the direction of our country: there is no other municipality in the country so willing to tax themselves in new and exciting ways (i-tax, development surcharges, local options/bond levies, not to mention those over the horizon probabilities (cell phones and real estate transfer?).

    I do have some confidence in Oregonians in general, but I am afraid that Portland is a lost cause.

    Dissent should aspire to be something more than cool, hip, and sexy. Thomas Jefferson wasn't looking to hook up with a freedom loving hotty. It had something to do with freedom from tyranny and the belief that individual liberty is the birthright of mankind. Or something like that.

  • Jan (unverified)
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    Widescale voting fraud can occur without hackers or corrupt election officials. Vote tabulation is done by software programs, which are written by private corporations with well-known partisan ties. None of the software is ever available for an inspection of the code - even the so-called certification of the software does not mean that the code was examined by anyone. Anyone who has written software code can tell you that there are any number of ways to write a program that can selectively transfer votes from one candidate to another. Since the companies know how the election departments test the vote tabulators, they know how to write the code in ways that will avoid detection. This means that all election officials can be totally ethical (and I believe that Oregon has some of the best), and the election can be rigged without any knowledge or failure on their part.

    The real issue is not whether one side is good and the other side is bad; the issue is that private corporations are in a position to sell the outcome of any election to the highest bidder. The presidential election aside, there are plenty of documented state-level elections where "surprise" upsets occurred in races where polling the day before showed the race was not even close (see Bev Harris's book Black Box Voting for some great examples).

  • Gonzo Journalist (unverified)
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    Jan:

    Let's bring back the Vot-a-Matic machines, which proved so reliable in Florida. What could go wrong?

    Do you remember all of the arguments in favor of electronic voting/tabulation? Humans can cheat/deceive at least as effectively as software. Are you willing to bank at the ATM? Do you balance your checkbook each month? If not, how do you know they didn't debit each $20 withdrawal twice? Mmmmmm.

    You need to double wrap the aluminum foil and put it around the entire top of your head (everything above the ears).

    They have repainted the black helocopters: they're all disguised as life-flight choppers now.

    Don't eat at Wendy's: it's finger food. Also: the Corporate Food Machine is controlling your energy level with additives and high fructose corn syrup. STOP FRANKENFOODS.

    Elvis isn't dead, he's just resting. Area 151 is actually an alien landing pad; and the government is leasing it in exchange for thought control.

    Give me a break: the conspiracy theories diminish real debate.

  • (Show?)

    There are plenty of conspiracy theories out there that are complete bunk, of course.

    That said, however, the code to all voting software should be made available to the public. It's counter-intuitive, but making the code public will increase security - because in a matter of hours, thousands of nerds all over the world will be going over the code looking for bugs and holes.

    I can't remember who I'm paraphrasing here, but the Microsoft approach says, "We've got the 400 smartest programmers in the world" while the open-source approach says, "We've got 40,000 programmers - some smart, some not-so-smart - but 40,000 of them are bound to find more bugs than just 400 super-smart guys."

    Open up the code. That will ensure that all the bugs are squashed.

  • Gonzo Journalist (unverified)
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    I'm more worried about the gas pump computers giving me 0.99 of a gallon and charging me the full gallon. Multiply that times 20 gallons for every fill-up across the counrty and you're talking real money.

    How do I know the City's water billing software isn't rigged against me? I remember reading something about the old program having a few bugs in it. How do I know the new one is working?

    Paranoia will destroy ya.

  • Jan (unverified)
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    We have had real democracy for 200 years, and it has blinded us all to the facts that are staring us in the face. We are essentially in denial.

    But if you are actually willing to look at this, then answer one question: If you had a checking account at a bank, and you personally kept a record of how much money you put in and took out, but the bank never gave you a receipt, never sent a statement, but just said "hey we have great people working for us, the software we use is flawless, but it's also proprietary, so you'll just have to trust us that everything's being calculated correctly.

    Then one day you came in and tried to take some money out, but the bank said you didn't have any money left. Would you think that the people who told you that there was something wrong with the bank's software were conspiracy theorists?

  • Gonzo Journalist (unverified)
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    Most people throw their ATM receipts in the garbage.

    Many people toss their bank statements in a shoe box.

    Few people actually track their ATM withdrawals, dutifully recording every debit, check, and credit to make certain the month-end balance is correct.

    I move the previous question: do you balance your checkbook? If you don't (surveys indicated 80% of the population under 30 do not), then you are placing complete faith in the financial institution to tell the truth and catch their own mistakes.

    Does it matter the bank is printing all this documentation that nobody reads? Should we ask the banks to release their software code? How many of you intellectual giants are prepared to audit the Diebold software code to determine if it's been rigged against you? Is your money less important to you than your democracy?

    If we want to win a national election, it's time to stop whining about why we lost the last one. Bush/Cheney won north of two million more popular votes, and the margin of victory in Ohio was much larger than any isolated examples of voter fraud.

    A more important question: how did we lose a rust belt state like Ohio against (arguably) the weakest Republican incumbent since Herbert Hoover? George Bush speaks with the skill of your average Soil & Water Conservation District incumbent, BUT HE STILL BEAT KERRY/EDWARDS WITHOUT STUFFING THE BALLOT BOX.

  • Jan (unverified)
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    You didn't answer my question.

  • Gonzo Journalist (unverified)
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    Yes, Jan.

    In response to your question, I would feel very differently about the potential for banking conspiracy if I walked into the bank to make a withdrawal and was told I had no money (when I thought I still had a positive balance).

    So what. 99% of the time that people walk in to show the bank the error of their ways, the customer sheepishly learns they have overdrawn their account.

    Bush/Cheney won. They may have lied to the electorate, but they didn't actually "steal" any votes. Get over it. Move on.

    Please answer my question: do you actually sit down and balance your checkbook?

  • (Show?)

    Gonzo, on the one hand, I'm with ya: I agree that the Bushies won this election.

    That doesn't change the fact that a large percentage of the population has profound suspicions about our electoral system. In many other cities (Chicago, for one) and states (Texas, for one) there is a long history of stolen elections.

    At least in the good ol' days, there were hard ballots that people could inspect. In an electronic system, there's nothing to inspect. The only thing worse than the Ballot Chad Fiasco of 2000 (with all those goofballs staring at little holes) would be some future election in which the election is decided by a handful of votes, and no one can assure us that the computers worked properly.

    And it's not about nefarious, corrupt software programmers. It's about well-meaning folks who innocently make mistakes. Trust me - I've written tens of thousands of lines of code, and sometimes a bug doesn't crop up until months later, when there's a perfect sequence or combination of rare events. This is normal.

    That level of code quality is fine for word processors, websites, even blogs... but it's not OK for election vote-counting software.

    They should release the code. Make it better. If it's truly secure and absolutely bug-free, then they have nothing to worry about. There's no trade secrets here, because any trained monkey can write a program to count votes in a single afternoon.

  • (Show?)

    Incidentally, we've taken this thread way off-topic. Let's get back on track, shall we?

  • Jan (unverified)
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    OK, last comment, to answer Gonzo Journalist, I have in fact, on numerous occasions, balanced my bank statement to the penny. You say you would feel differently about your own bank acount, but "So what". That actually is my point - everyone assumes they have a right to have their money counted correctly. We no longer get to do that with our votes - that's the fundamental problem.

    And I really didn't much care for Kerry, and this is not about "getting over" the election. This is about we, as citizens of the US, having our fundamental rights stolen by corporate interests and sold to the highest bidder.

  • (Show?)

    George Bush speaks with the skill of your average Soil & Water Conservation District incumbent

    I appreciate the sentiment, GJ, but that's a really low blow. Most of my friends on the Soil & Water Conservation District in Y-C are much more articulate than George Bush.

  • (Show?)

    Regarding listening:

    1)It is not waiting for the other guy's mouth to quit moving long enough for you to share the revealed Truth with the benighted yokel.

    2)A dialogue with the Red part of Oregon does not consist of travelling to Eugene, Ashland, Hood River, etcetera and talking to throngs of people that are so Blue that they're virtually interchangeable with the denizens of NW Portland.

  • W. Bruce Anderholt II (unverified)
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    El Pueblo, unidos, jamas sera vencidos. (The people, united, will never be defeated).

    I'd write it in a Russian if I knew how: very common protest chant in Latin American...I heard it in Chile during the anti-Pinochet demonstrations.

    Found this online: свобода, братство, равенство. (Liberté , fraternité , égalité)

    I'm just trying to blend in! Is it feeling kind of paranoid around here, or is it just me?

    I find it hard to believe you are even joking about the Molotov Cocktails. You are joking, right?

    Personally, I don't think y'all would last two weeks under a legitimate totalitarian government. Ditto for offering up any kind of direct action if you truly suspected election fraud. I would discourage the cavalier use of phrases like "election fraud, surprise upsets, and (my personal favorite) "Private corporations are in a position to sell the outcome of any election to the highest bidder." As if the exit polls are more legitimate than the certified vote tabulations. Sheesh. You've been watching too much T.V. or spending too much time online. It's a beautiful day out: every should go for a walk and lighten up!

    The Gonzo Journalist is right: Portland is (uniquely) out of step with the direction of our country...There are more socialists on this blog than there are in Moscow.

  • Gonzo Journalist (unverified)
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    Salvador:

    No offense intended towards your Water and Soil Conservation District pals.

    My point is that Bush 43 wasn't a Reagan or Clinton quality of incumbent. The man barely speaks english. This should have been a landslide victory: the fact the rust belt states were even competitive suggests the party picked the wrong horse and then let him run a lousy campaign.

    The continued focus on bullshit conspiracy theories simply does nothing to fix the problem. Neither does examining the proverbial bark (on the forest through the trees). We don't need cosmetic surgery; we need to lose 100 pounds, quit smoking, eat right, exercise daily, and call our voters everyday to tell them how much we love them.

    Kari: I don't see that we went off topic. The sanctity of our electronic elections are perfectly analogous to our electronic banking system. Most people don't worry that the bank is trying to cook the books; why not extend that same level of trust to the voting machines? Trust, but verify: that's cool. But do we really need to examine the software code? Seems like that would create a whole raft of new security concerns.

  • Your Friend (unverified)
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    The only thing worse than the Ballot Chad Fiasco of 2000 (with all those goofballs staring at little holes) would be some future election in which the election is decided by a handful of votes, and no one can assure us that the bureaucrats worked properly.

    2004 Gregioire/Rossi Washington governor election.

  • (Show?)

    Fair enough, Gonzo, we're not too far afield from the topic (which wasn't about electronic banking, but item #2 was about the elections process.)

    In any case, your supposition is incorrect: But do we really need to examine the software code? Seems like that would create a whole raft of new security concerns.

    One need look only as far as the question of Linux versus Microsoft operating systems. Linux is secure, Microsoft is not. (And it's not because no one uses Linux - it, and the other *nix flavors, power vastly more web servers than Microsoft does; arguably systems more worthy of hackers' attention than home computers.)

    If you expose the code, thousands of people will review it for holes. The owners of the software will, of course, have to be willing to hear those problems and fix them when they're found.

    If you don't expose the code, maybe seven or eight people will review it for bugs; most likely the same people who wrote it. Like any writer trying to edit his own work, they'll be blind to minor technial problems as well as major strategic flaws.

  • Gregor (unverified)
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    Gonzo- I love Portland for being out of step. The Red States are goose stepping and I want none of it.

    Young Republicans admittedly posted red stars on the homes of professors they felt were too liberal. In my opinion, this is the biggest US news in 2005, bigger then Sciavo [sp?], bigger then DeLay, bigger then anything.

    Anyone who declares that people with suspicions should be dismissed are frightened of what might be found if we dig a little deeper. True, only the votes are legitimate, but are they accurate? My vote means more to me then money.

    Interesting to compare the ATM to the voting machines when they are made by the same corporation. Did you say the banks were scamming? The oil companies too?!? Hmmm?!?

    PS - Let's not call the Reds the Ruling Party. Let the laws rule and the rest of us fight about it. As for me, I tell my friends I'm with the Resistance and I ask them to join me.

  • Gonzo Journalist (unverified)
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    Gregor: you sound paranoid and deeply suspicious of any conglomerate larger than your circle of friends The "resistance" bullshit is either A) contrived, or B) likely to land you in jail. Tre Arrow is part of the resistance too: it hasn't served him real well.

    You correctly noted that Diebold is a manufacturer of ATM machines, voting machines, and a host of security and bank processing equipment. I fail to see how this constitutes some kind of "gotca moment" that refutes my analogy. On the contrary, most people who live off $20 ATM withdrawals NEVER BALANCE THEIR CHECKBOOKS, and (if they did) would learn that any "banking errors" they discovered was likely their own math error, not the banks.

    I am very familiar with Diebold (it was founded in 1859). The stock has been a very good investment: $10,000 invested in January 1980 grew to more than $171,000 last week. They produce phenomenal returns/profits NOT because they steal elections, BUT BECAUSE THEY MAKE GREAT, AND USEFUL, PRODUCTS!

    If you are willing to trust Diebold (and their software) with your finances; why not extend that same level of confidence in their voting machines. The whole "Corporate America is ruining our lives" b.s. is getting tired don't you think? You need to come up with some new boogeymen. Hey, I've got an idea: how about directing all your venom and rage towards the fascist islamicists that want to kill Americans wherever they find them. That might be fun.

  • Gregor (unverified)
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    Profits make perfect!

    I love you're mesmerizing "You are getting very sleepy" routine related to Corporate America ruining lives. Frankly, I am very much awake, not tired at all. Suspicion is healthy and very American. I believe there is a battle right here in this country that needs to be waged far more insidious and evil then going after a handful of Islamic fundamentalists.

    When were more people killed? At home taking poorly labeled Celebrex, or on 9/11? Sorry, not biting on the distraction to chase the terrorists. The real enemy is here at home.

    Are you a Zom-Bush or something?

  • Gonzo Journalist (unverified)
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    Oh, sorry. I forgot. Profits are evil. My mistake. What are you, 14 years old?

    More information about Gregor's Utopian Society at http://www.thesocialistparty.org/spo/

  • Gregor (unverified)
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    Ah, you've self-destructed ! You've been reduced to calling me names. You know, paranoia is tearing you apart right now. You're deathly afraid my suspicions are right and there is a Right Wing conspiracy and you're not in it. The jokes on you! Anyone outside the top 5% is merely a pawn to the Zom-Bush Brigade. You're just a pawn. Sorry little man.

    Gonzo, are you really a journalist or do you just play one in the blogosphere? I read "Hillary's Secret War", are you one of "those" Freedom Fighters?

    Did you know that since you visited the website for the Socialist Party you're on a list with the Department of Homeland Security? Better call them and beg forgiveness. They're watching you now.

  • Gregor (unverified)
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    Sorry to drag this weblog down. Meryl, I really enjoyed your insight into these voter issues and I hope the time will come soon.

  • Meryl Lipman (unverified)
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    No problem Gregor, I am actually thrilled that this has generated this much discussion and I thank Gonzo for adding to the debate and for infuriating people enough so they'll share their ideas. If we can't learn to listen and we can't form coherent arguments about why people should listen to us, then we're just talking into the echo chamber.

    As a response to something Gonzo said earlier, I would refute the statement that we have nothing to learn from the countries of the former USSR. Personally, I would never be so arrogant to assume we had nothing to learn from another country's attempts at democratization (both successful and failed).

    And I'm not sure we can ever be too observant. My ancestors are Gypsies and Jews from Eastern Europe and Russia. My direct ancestors looked at the climate of the 1930s and fled for the US. My indirects (great, great aunts/uncles) said they were paranoid, that it couldn't get any worse, that this was their home, etc... most of them met their end in the gas chambers of Auschwitz. I use this example to illustrate that it would be foolish and also dangerous to assume that "it" (whatever "it" is) could never happen HERE. Our country is not tamper-proof. Yes, it could happen here. And yes, we should be vigilant. Not paranoid, but watchful. We should never let the government forget that we're watching them. We are their employers and they should never forget that.

    I forget whether this is in the Declaration of Independence of the US Constitution (somebody help me out here) but in one of those documents, it is written that, should we, the people see the government going down a nefarious road, we have an OBLIGATION (not permission, mind you, but a responsibility) to take that government out of power and install a government of we, the people once more. If GW and his band of merry men won this election fraudulently, then that should be uncovered and he should be impeached. Vive la resistance.

    Oh, and should the FBI, CIA (again), TSA, Homeland Security Dept, etc... want to come get me, I'll quote a favorite author Ayn Rand (a true Republican), in her chilling book about Russia at the time of the 1917 revolution (title: We, the Living). "When they come to arrest me, tell them to be careful. I live on the fourth floor and the stairs get slippery (in winter)."

  • W. Bruce Anderholt II (unverified)
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    Gregor asked:

    When were more people killed? At home taking poorly labeled Celebrex, or on 9/11?....The real enemy is here at home.

    You're wrong Gregor, the real enemy isn't PFIZER! More importantly, even you must acknowledge a qualitative difference between flying hijacked planes into buildings and selling pharmaceuticals that may include an increased risk of death for a miniscule percentage of those who VOLUNTARILY take the drug.

    As for your quantitative lark: roughly 3,000 people died on September 11th. Though it is impossible to know with certainty, 5-31 deaths have been attributed to Celebrex...

    Of the original five Canadians who died due to gastrointestinal bleeds in the original Wall Street Journal report (1999), the afflicted included:

    ~a 77-year old woman, hospitalized in the previous 30 days for GI bleeding, may not have taken Celebrex

    ~an 84-year old man who suffered GI bleeding before taking Celebrex and also had a heart attack

    ~a 46-year old man with history of liver failure, alcoholism, and was taking another NSAID along with Celebrex

    ~a 75-year old woman who likely died of an aneurysm in the abdomen and had taken Celebrex for only 3 days

    It's also worth noting that Aleve and Aspirin have caused deaths due to gastrointestinal bleeding. But don't let facts get in the way of your fanaticism. Best of luck on the New Progressive Revolution, you're going to need it.

  • V. I. Lenin (unverified)
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    Proletariats of Orygun and ceety oof Portdtlandt. Dees is dee time to rize op and destroy dee capitaleest system vich has surved you so poorly for one hundreed yeers now. Dee Cubicle dvellers will inherit de virld, you haf nasing to luz but your chains of bondage...

    The Socialist Party of Oregon Party Platform 2001

    The goal of socialism is to advance humanity beyond its predatory state. We unite with others in working to create the fundamental changes within the existing system that will allow all people to achieve a socialist future -- a future devoid of oppression, of need born from waste, of greed born from corruption and excess, and of violence born of market and media manipulations. The socialist transformation will be complete when these societal ills have been eliminated.

    Socialism will establish a new social and economic society in which workers and consumers control production and community residents control their neighborhoods, homes, and schools. The production of society will be used for the benefit of all humanity, not for the private profit of a few. The vast income inequalities that plague a capitalist market system will be eliminated in an economy that protects the resources of the Earth, and that is founded on cooperation and collectivity, not individualistic competition.

  • Gregor (unverified)
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    W. Bruce, you are a doubting Thomas, aren't you? Are you making some sort of legal argument that depends on an attorney's slippery crafty words, or a Judge's superficial impartiality to take the pharmaceutical industry off the hook. Aren't you guys anti-courts?

    While I have to admit I don't have the numbers, it seems to me that if Celbrex only had five marginal people to bring their production screeching to a halt, they would be up and running again.

    The news I was reading at the time reported that they did their own recall, and they have not brought the drug back. It also reported that they KNEW there was a problem but perhaps they felt, in the interest of profits the collateral damage was acceptable.

    Be honest, and take the same suggestion you are giving me. We will never really know how many people have been killed by Celebrex. This Republican government and the pharmaceutical company will do everything in their power to ensure the public never knows. But in the end, where is this vunder drug?

    Is there a qualitative difference between the terrorists and the corporation? Sure. There terrorists are extremists and the corporations are mainstream.

  • Gregor (unverified)
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    Vladimir! When did you develop a German accent? Me thinks perhaps you are an infiltrator from the Reich, right here in the US! Hmm?!?

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