Sunday, August 12, 2007

Give 'Em the Bird, Vote For a Third! Pt 5 - Party Line Voting

I came across some great websites for getting information about not only past elections but past votes in Congress. One is the official House of Representatives House Clerk's website. It has links to roll call votes (mostly through Thomas) and it has links to the results of past elections of US Representatives, including the 2006 election results. What I like is the breakdown of which party got how many votes.

As I looked through the 2006 Official results, I saw some interesting things. For example, in New York State, there were an awful lot of Blank/Scanning Error votes, some on the order of 10% or more! In fact, my own Congressman, Rep John "Still The One" Hall beat incumbent Sue Kelly by fewer votes than there were uncountable ones! Out of curiosity, I compared the "spoilage" to another state's vote. In Wisconsin, they cast about two million votes statewide, and the number of spoiled votes in the Senate race was about two thousand, or about one-tenth of one percent! Something is very wrong here, and very alarming.

With paper ballot voting, there wouldn't be nearly so many counting errors, and not nearly so many votes thrown away uncounted. The fancier the technology gets, the easier it is to mess it up. What are we waiting for, mind reading technology so we just walk into a booth, pull a lever, and all our thoughts are "calculated" and "analyzed" and a vote spits out for the Republican candidate anyway? Even with a Democrat running unopposed? Don't let the fancy stuff fool you into thinking your vote will be counted. Demand paper balloting as the best insurance against Election Vote Counter Fraud.

Find and support candidates who favor a move away from electronic voting. Repeal the Help (corrupt) America('s) Vote Act (HAVA). Don't let the Democrats and Republicans continue to run this country against your best interests. GIVE 'EM THE BIRD, VOTE FOR A THIRD!


willyloman said...

You keep saying "Vote for a third!". Why don't you run? you're better informed than 90% of the candidates I have read about.
Have you ever run for office?
You run for office, I'll get a job at Diebold and request your district, and flip the election (if needed) your way.
Beat 'em at their own game! Then you can make me your advisor or something.
Repeat after me "911! Terror! Death!" very good! You can be a republican!

Wayne A. Schneider said...

But I don't want to be a Republican.

I want to be..a...a...Lumberjack!

Leaping from tree to tree, with my best girl by my side, oh, you know the rest! :D

Anyway, I am, what the "political experts" would call "un-electable". I don't like people. Not persons, mind you, but people. (Think Tommy Lee Jones explaining it to Will Smith in "Men In Black".) Now, a behind-the-scenes kind of advisor, that's where my strengths would lie. I don't know the political landscape at all, let alone to anything approaching Rove's level. But I know what human beings are, and my advice to the president (which I would gladly make public, as all advice to a public official should be) would always be with an aim toward the good of Humanity, not simply Americans. Besides, why do Americans deserve to be treated any better than anyone else? Because of the arbitrary geo-political boundary within which we happen to have been born? I need something more substantial that that. We are all Human Beings on this planet, who all deserve to be treated with the same respect that they would be willing to afford others like or unlike themselves. (That should shut up the "he's a terrorist coddler"-crowd.)

But I could never get elected myself. I don't have a good smile, and I'm not telegenic enough. That ain't me today in that picture, that's for sure.

But thanks for the confidence. I'll try to continue giving my fellow human beings the occassional good advice in between all the beautiful nature shots of Jane's and her anecdotes of "Life Among These United Cats" (tm), and, of course, my silly song parodies. It's the least I can do. (Did I mention I'm lazy at heart? Doesn't go over well with the electorate. Doing campaign stops in the T-shirt and sweat pants I slept in would not earn their complete trust, either. The constant yawning wouldn't help, I'm sure. And asking the voters first not for their vote, but for a cigarette would certainly sink my candidacy.)

willyloman said...

I don't know about that. From what I have seen, the real people out there seem to be saying the same thing; they are tired of the Royalty Class candidates. They want someone real. Someone who will tell them they have had it with the system that rewards graft and respects deceit ("Rove is Brilliant"). The real people out there are 95% of this population and they are sick of being feed two candidates that niether party really wants (Kucinich for dems and Paul for right). "deliver me from clear skin and perfect teeth" Fight Club.
The only problem I have with your platform (I smoke myself) is the notion that we have to open the borders to anyone because we have to treat them the same. First of all, Americans aren't treated that great, so that may not be the best thing for everybody else. Second, that is a line handed out (in my opinion) by many "progressives" that are really working for the corporate interests. They want to help drive down wages in all areas (even doctors) and nurses, to benifit stock holders and Hedge Funders. The best thing for people outside this country, is get rid of these NAFTA type free trade agreements that don't set work standards and pay standards, like here in the US. That is how we make the rest of the world better. We don't export slave wages and child labor to benifit the hedge funds and share holders. It helps raise up other countries as well as makes our work force more competitive. Not by "racing to the bottom" but by raising the competition up.
I am not sure if that is what you were getting at, and I am sorry if I missed your point.
As far as the lumberjack thing goes..
"I like to press wild flowers, just like my dear papa".

Anonymous said...

I'm changing my voter registration to Independent -- not that it will make a great deal of difference in Idaho. But we can be just stubborn enough to elect a third party candidate, so who knows, right?

Now to the really important stuff -- Why are you good men smoking!? Do you want to leave us here with Mitt Romney and his horrible kind?



Wayne A. Schneider said...


Thanks for the comments. I believe that you may have read more into what I wrote than what I meant to be there. I was not trying to advocate an "open border" policy, nor am I in any way, shape or form a "corporatist" (if by that we agree to mean somone who favors corporations and their well-being above those of human beings; if you take the term to mean something else, then I have to find another word for it.) My comment about the "arbitrary geo-political boundary within which we happen to have been born" was simply a refutation of the absurd notion (held by many throughout the world, not just in the US) that where you were born determines your worth as a human being.

Although I do label myself a "liberal, libertarian, humanist atheist", I do that simply to help others understand where I'm coming from generally speaking. I do not adhere to any one philosophy in total. And I do not like to think of people by what group they associate themselves with (whether or not that group would have them as a member if they had a choice.) Sure I happen to be a white, heterosexual male, but I don't define myself by those parameters. I had nothing to do with being any of them, I just am. But I think of myself, and you, and Zooey and everyone else first and foremost as human beings, as all of humanity is.

And I believe that the leader of the most militarily powerful nation on the planet should also take that view. As soon as we start labeling people as being part of a certain group (whether it's one recognized by most everyone or one made up for one's own reasons), it becomes too easy to start thinking of those people as something not just "other" than human beings, but something less than human beings. And it becomes much easier to treat them inhumanely.

I don't have all the answers. I'm not sure if anyone does. What would I do about Iraq? I couldn't even begin to discuss it with anyone who felt we had any right, reason or moral principle to go in there in the first place. (You're not one of them, I know.) Because such a person would view any attempt at getting out of there as somehow "failing". What does "victory in Iraq" even mean?

What would I do about Climate Chaneg and the Global Warming we are currently experiencing? Again, I couldn't discuss that with anyone who denied that we are undergoing either of those phenomena. (Again, not you.) We would have to begin by agreeing that the planet is undergoing a change in its climate, and that human activity is contributing to exacerbating the effects of Global Warming. I do not believe that humans are solely responsible for the temperature of the planet rising, as I am sure that it has done that throughout its own history (even if unwritten by humans). But I do believe that our relentless pollution of the environement is making the situation worse than it would otherwise be. Once everyone acknowledges that, then solutions can be discussed. (Or counter-effects, or defense against it, or whatever needs to be done to ensure humanity's survival.) The planet Earth will go on just fine long after humans have made it completely inhabitable for humans.

Those are just some of the topics that would come up should I run for office that I don't know how I would handle if I had to argue with someone who denied the basic facts. I have little or no tolerance for willful stupidity (so much for working with other Congressman), and, if elected, I would probably end up being one of the most sarcastic politicians in recent memory. Oh, sure, it would make for fun clips on TV, but it would likely harm my chances of working with others.

I think I could serve my country (again) best by trying to persuade my fellow voters to not blind themselves to the existence and importance of political parties other than the two major ones. We need a diversity of opinion in our Legislatures, not just a them-or-us mentality. The problem with thinking that you have to choose between those two parties is that often they are both wrong. I would rather see a Congress filled with people who vote against everything, than a Congress filled with people who vote the way their party leaders tell them to vote just to win. When each of the two major parties strives solely to beat the other, the American People lose.