Partisanship in the Machine
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November 2, 2012
By Adam Weatherall
Everyone I know has played the Parker Brothers classic game monopoly. Rolling the dice, going past go, and collecting 200 dollars, is fun. But more than just fun it’s a life lesson, if your family game sessions resemble mine in any way you experienced the more cutthroat version of monopoly that comes into play once all the properties have been purchased and there is no longer a safe haven on the board. It’s knives out if you land on boardwalk or park place towards those final hours. The point where the family happiness is truly put to the test is the same time mom and dad start taking frequent trips to the kitchen to review their future joint ventures and start exchanging monopolies. It is then that things truly become tense. Therein lies the lesson, no matter how well you have played the game a strategically placed monopoly can shatter all the dreams you might have built on St.James and Tennessee Avenue. The lesson one hopefully takes away from monopoly, (with all your limbs and family structure still intact) is a monopoly is never fair. When someone has a monopoly it drastically changes the parameters of the game in question.
And now as we sail together into the murky waters often patrolled by conspiracy theorists and other like minded recluses that call these waters home. I seek to impart a message to you that might be brushed aside by the average American as mere ramblings of an incoherent man, especially to those of us whose minds dwell in the perfect Americana memory of yesteryear. My message is that this election has been purchased ahead of time, or at least an attempt was made to purchase our vote thereby monopolizing our vote. From new last minute voter registration laws, to citizens united , and now I have the great misfortune of reporting to you, the purchase of the very machines in which we vote.This attempt to buy the vote was undertaken by some of the richest men in the country. In what can be described as a full assault on the last and most sacred tenets of our democracy…the vote. Their aim at first seemingly was to marginalize the minority vote which went heavily for Obama in 2008, but now with new information being revealed more nefarious schemes seem to be afoot. For the first time in our nation’s 212 years of voting all the steps are in place to make a monopoly of sorts on every part in the voting process, and to a few rich men and their far right leaning predispositions.
I first must stress to the reader my extreme disgust with the “conspiracy theory”. While my stubble has turned to the beginnings of a healthy beard this post Sandy pre-election week, I can assure the reader it is not evidence of a new personal undertaking in hermitage and paranoia. The beard is a happenstance of my situation as I sit glued to an internet device, and a television, my cell phone holstered at my side. I have been following a string of information I seek to unveil as fact. To my extreme horror I was quite easily able to accomplish just that. What started as an annoying singe in the back of my brain spread like wildfire across the internet, as others picked up on the information string. Grumblings could be heard from across the interweb, I was not alone. The information that frightened myself and other political junkies so is that former colleagues of presidential candidate Mitt Romney from his Baine Capital days have been quietly purchasing companies that handle our country’s vote.
What is perhaps most disturbing is that there are many people within our mainstream news media and government that have been alerted and don’t really seem to care. Specific links to some voting machine companies were denied by owners of the companies themselves most notably by a H.I.G spokesman within recent months. A representative from Forbes declared “there was no way to affirm these denials as fact statements as investments from Romney’s family and friends are definitely invested in funds associated with the company.”. One thing is clear after Mitt’s unsuccessful run for presidency in 2008, close associates and even his wife in the form of 10 million dollars in direct investments to a fund called Solamere started buying interest in voting machine companies. Though sometimes the investment ratio compared to the company’s entire equity was as small as .4 percent it still makes little sense to invest in these companies. Here’s why this makes no logical sense from a business perspective. Almost every company invested in the last few years was either in the news or some process of litigation for having failed in an election to unpopular criticism. In short Companies like Hart Intercivic, or Triad G.S.I , simply were not a good investment especially for an investor’s portfolio that before this point had no to very little exploration into this area. While Hart Intercivic stresses that its voting machines will only be used in 2 counties in Ohio. It’s the nation’s third largest vote tabulating company for a reason. Actually Hart Intercivic scantron machines are being used extensively across multiple swing states. What is perhaps more disturbing about corporate owned voting machines is there software is kept secret by corporate copyright laws and frankly there are very few technicians that even could hope to understand the inner workings of each company’s specific machine. Simply stated only the company itself knows if the machine is working correctly. Only the owners of these companies are privy to that information, their machines schematics protected by corporate copyright laws. Liberal leaning sleuths seek to discover the exact nature of ownership through a web of millions of dollars in last minute investments most of which have been happening in the last months since the RNC convention in Tampa and Mitt Romney’s cinch of the republican party nomination. We have determined that the majority of these men are all very conservative in at least the way they donate to campaigns. As I take a breathe and allow the reader to do so as well, I also must convey that the late hour of this article’s delivery allows for last minute information. As of this morning the very same voting machines that have been previously stipulated to be under far right wing control are being pulled as of 10:21 am east coast time. More than 10,000 machines thus far, November 6th 2012, are being pulled from service as last minute problems indicate voters attempting to vote for Barack Obama were not able to do so, their votes instead being casts for Romney. The former says nothing of citizens united, or of the massive voter I.D. campaign undertaken by the right that seek to change this electorate into a drastically different one than voted in 2008.
As Americans the vote has been our Democracy’s most holiest of tenants, blood being spilled to defend it on soil both near and abroad. So it saddens me that any entity would seek to control it. America was an untested experiment in democracy until the quiet revolution of 1800 in which Jefferson won the vote and for the first time in history the crown of power passed peacefully from one group to the next. At that moment, and in the 212 years since that moment America has become more than just an experiment it has become a fact in working democracy. One that ebbs and flows but ultimately becomes substantial more progressive as time passes.
All remains unclear as to the exact motivations of the board of trustees that control the companies that own the machines that we will be voting on today. One thing is clear if you follow the money you can find their political bend quite easily. Nearly every member of Hart Intercivic and H.I.G capital giving near voter maximums to the Romney campaign. With dollars being invested like that it’s obvious they want one side to win more than the other, and when a businessman invest you can almost always guarantee that it is in his best interest to do so. The fact that almost every company involved in some way with the 2012 vote counting process leans toward the right should put a chill down your spine. Shouldn’t we expect some degree of bi-partisanship within the companies whom are solely responsible for delivering our voting results? Or in this day and age of “the partisan wars” is that too far-fetched a concept to believe feasible. While I suspect only Democrats, and Independents will pay attention to the grumblings of writers like myself, Republicans should be up in arms too. In 2010 far right leaning candidates swept the board in midterm elections, in what some national press referred to as a ride tide of republican wins. These candidates often from newly formed and unvetted tea party positions pushed out long term republican regulars, thus making their party an uncomfortable place for senators like Olympia Snowe. This primary looked a great deal different for Mitt Romney than it did in 2008, though there were waves of popularity for challengers like Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul, Mitt held the line as his party’s main contender. The only thing that has changed in the 4 years since the “Maverick” had been bashing him on the campaign trails are the newly formed direct links to the companies that tally our vote.
The days of Jefferson’s Republicans and John Adams Federalist are long since gone, but in order to keep that same spirit of peaceful revolution we as a people must trust that our votes will be counted and thus matter. From the hanging chads in murky corners of Florida owned by Triad GSI a company which still counts a large percentage of American votes despite the fiasco that ensued, to the pure insanity that is the electoral college and the way our votes are actual divided out. The American voter has much to contend with in the way of trust and needs no other excuses to give up on the process. After this election no matter the result we must seek to inject some sort of bipartisanship in the process or forever relinquish trust in our most sacred of institution.
Surely by now the reader is at least alerted to a new string of possible Google searches that might in last minutes of this most precious of vote days enlighten them. If my ramblings have frightened you I must impart that you are not alone. I too am scared, scared that for the first time in my short voting life that my vote truly won’t be counted. The modicum of respect usually carried by the office of the president was never given to our current P.O.T.U.S, Barack Obama. The republican party vowed on the day of his inauguration to work to fight against any measures put forth by the president. Then over the past 4 years, did just that. Partisanship is now at the same irreconcilable levels as when our country was steeped in civil war.
In order to maintain the stability of our union we must ensure that no one ever has a monopoly on our votes. If you recall in the Parker Brothers game of monopoly there is only one top hat, monocle adorned billionaire on the box, and inevitably no matter what backroom deals mom cuts with dad, there is only one winner in the game monopoly. Yet we exist in a nation of many, and many more who not only deserve a chance to win but our working to achieve just that. A monopoly on the vote makes it harder for every group to stage their own quiet revolution and take back the power like it was done in both 1800 and 2008. Whether that group be Occupy or the Tea Party. While I still have hope that paper ballots being brought in last minute due to Sandy’s unrelenting furiosity might in some way help to alleviate voter manipulation. I will stay ever vigilant this vote day with my eye out for that little man with the monocle and the top hat and the game of monopoly now in play with all of our votes.
Please search Triad G.S.I, Hart Intercivic, H.I.G. capital, Tagg Romney, Todd Rapp. And many other keywords from this article for a clearer explanation of the issues discussed there in. Thanks, happy vote day!