Croker Sack

"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard." — Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956)

Saturday, June 11, 2005

What chance is there for reform?

An article in today’s edition of the Kitsap Sun provides some indication of how hard it will be to reform Washington’s elections laws and practices.

Note how Ron Sims describes his goal – restoring faith in the process. “Faith”: “unquestioning belief that does not require proof or evidence.”

Not a chance, Ron. So long as the process in King County is under the control of people who don’t obey the law, there can be no unquestioning belief in your purportedly certified election results.

Why does Sims want a "show and tell" meeting with Judge Bridges? Are there no voters in King County who are interested in being shown that their elections personnel do the job required of them by law?

Note that Senator Prentice has the usual blindly partisan view of things. She is clearly incapable of grasping why it is wrong to install a person in the governor’s office based on official canvass reports that are unworthy of belief. All that matters is who "wins" according to the vote totals.

Genteel Sam Reed hopes for a “civics lesson.” For whom?

Election reforms next, now that flaws exposed?
By REBECCA COOK, Associated Press WriterJune 11, 2005
SEATTLE
According to the official record, 1,678 people voted illegally in Washington's 2004 election.

No one knows for sure who cast those votes or which candidates benefited. A judge decided the fact that the number of illegal votes dwarfs Gov. Christine Gregoire's 133-vote margin of victory doesn't merit ordering a new election.
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"Do we have something to prove? Yes," said King County Executive Ron Sims. "We have to restore the people's faith in the integrity of the election process."
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"The evidence here suggests that the problems require more than just constructing new buildings and hiring more staff," Bridges said in his ruling.
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"I actually agree with that statement," Sims said, saying the larger building and additional staff are two parts of a much larger change. "One day, I want to go to Wenatchee and talk to Judge Bridges, and say: Tell me whether or not we have met the judicial standard you established. I want to look in his face and see in his eyes he is satisfied."
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"They still think they won," said Sen. Margarita Prentice, D-Renton. "I'm not going to make it so the loser wins and the winner loses."
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Public confidence in elections is at low tide now, Secretary of State Sam Reed acknowledged, but he hopes that will change.

"I'm hoping in the long run it will be a great civics lesson," Reed said. "They are going to see some reform, and hopefully that's going to restore their trust and confidence."

5 Comments:

Blogger JTT said...

REFORM?

* Most people only worry about their health after it fails.

* People change habits only when the pain is too high.

* Why change the election process when it works for you?

With one political party in power for decades, from the bottom to top rung, the ladder leads to a single result: Democrats stay in power!

Conclusion: to promote change, you must induce pain in the person or the process you want to change.

HOW DO YOU INDUCE PAIN?
1. Win elections by a large majority. For example: winning by 200,000 would be difficult to hide.
2. Prove election fraud with subsequent convictions.
3. Continuously watch and criticize the existing process: county government, state government, the courts, any and all elections.
4. Use the media and blogs to at least open the possibility to changed thinking.
5. Destroy the political "gangs" by breaking the labor unions (for example: the Machinist's Union at Boeing).
6. Shun the media mouthpieces for corruption (stop buying and advertising in the major newspapers).

You can't buy them. You can't scare them with words. You have to "hurt" them with incarceration, financial loss, and public redicule. You can only win by inducing "pain".

For Republicans to rule in a traditionally Democratic state, you have to fight the entrenched "machine" . . . not just attempt to take over one political office (such as the Govenor's office).

June 11, 2005 1:51 PM  
Blogger Micajah said...

Sure, it would be effective to win by an overwhelming margin, but that doesn't seem to be the scenario we face in the near future. In the precinct where I live, the vote was split between G and R almost exactly -- G got one more vote than R. Statewide, the result was similar.

One party hasn't been in power in this state for decades. This is the first time since 1994 that the D's have held majorities in both houses of the legislature and had their candidate in the governor's office.

Statewide, the R's can put up a pretty good fight, so long as they have viable candidates.

It's in King County that the problems lie -- and that county doesn't show any signs of moving toward the center any time soon.

Proving election fraud isn't easy. Not often will the culprits be caught redhanded.

But we should at least be able to apply enough pressure to get them to obey the laws that establish the procedure for verifying election returns.

As for the two major King County newspapers, the P-I seems to be the more consistently leftist paper; and it's the one that is in the greater financial bind. I would think it's better to support The Seattle Times, unless they move back to the left. Then, people who are inclined to read something before acting solely on prejudice or instinct might be influenced by the dominant paper.

How would you expect to move people toward your position without the news media? Few people go to speeches and rallies. It's only through the news media that you can talk to more than the people standing near you.

The TV and radio news outlets probably have more influence than newspapers, but I cannot imagine that many businessmen would shun them when it comes to buying advertising. It seems better to treat them the same as I suggest treating the papers: Patronize the ones that are generally farther from the left end of the ideological spectrum.

Over time, ratings and readership numbers matter to them.

June 11, 2005 2:49 PM  
Blogger JTT said...

TO MICAJAH:

Good response!

"Sure, it would be effective to win by an overwhelming margin, but that doesn't seem to be the scenario we face in the near future. In the precinct where I live, the vote was split between G and R almost exactly -- G got one more vote than R. Statewide, the result was similar."

Exactly my point: imagine this cartoon --
* a big, fat, cigar smoking party boss sitted at a desk.
* in front, little gentleman Rossi.
* behind the desk stand legions of party faithful whose livelihood depends on party loyalty.
* The boss says: "Son, you put up a good fight, but you've got to win by more than just a few hundred votes to defeat us. We're a smooth functioning machine. We run this place. What are you?"

"One party hasn't been in power in this state for decades. This is the first time since 1994 that the D's have held majorities in both houses of the legislature and had their candidate in the governor's office."

OK a decade. But, from my understanding, King County has built its political organization for much longer . . . and it's formidable. Today, this county dominates the state by sheer numbers alone. When I lived in Spokane, many people spoke in anger of King County dominance -- sucking on the hind teete, as they put it.

"Statewide, the R's can put up a pretty good fight, so long as they have viable candidates."

True! The Seattle corridor is not similar to elsewhere. But, I am reluctant to futher foster a regional fight. How do we encourage more balance?

"It's in King County that the problems lie -- and that county doesn't show any signs of moving toward the center any time soon."

Agreed! As we all know, you don't easily convince a person of something they don't want to believe. However, I hopeful of events, of personalities, of circumstances somehow forcing a movement toward balance in King County.

"Proving election fraud isn't easy. Not often will the culprits be caught redhanded."

How true! Almost makes you question the American election process. I'd hate to see the election process degrade to: WHO CAN DEFRAUD FIRST WITH THE MOST. The honesty of "the many" can be undermined by the dishonesty of "the one".

"But we should at least be able to apply enough pressure to get them to obey the laws that establish the procedure for verifying election returns."

How do you apply that pressure? Even with observers, there's lots of opportunity for mischief. Where there's a desire, there's a way. What bothers me is an apparent excuse that the "means justify the ends". I have heard Democrats say: "It's such a large benefit to the people to have us in power that we'll do anything to achieve governmental control." Do we file lawsuits for every election?

"As for the two major King County newspapers, the P-I seems to be the more consistently leftist paper; and it's the one that is in the greater financial bind. I would think it's better to support The Seattle Times, unless they move back to the left. Then, people who are inclined to read something before acting solely on prejudice or instinct might be influenced by the dominant paper."

Again, you're right! I'm probably speaking out of disgust: Associated Press reporters freely use clever adjectives in news reporting to put a slant on an otherwise simple report.

"How would you expect to move people toward your position without the news media? Few people go to speeches and rallies. It's only through the news media that you can talk to more than the people standing near you."

I'm in Port Angeles. I don't read Seattle papers. All I see here is AP reports. I am offended by the slanted reporting of network TV -- especially CBS. I get my NorthWest political news from the Blogs. But you bring up a good question: how do we know the truth? Can any of us verify the reports, the news stories? When I was personally involved in news-worthy stories and knew the truth, the newpapers reported greater than 50% of facts in error.

"The TV and radio news outlets probably have more influence than newspapers, but I cannot imagine that many businessmen would shun them when it comes to buying advertising. It seems better to treat them the same as I suggest treating the papers: Patronize the ones that are generally farther from the left end of the ideological spectrum."

I agree! Good suggestion!

"Over time, ratings and readership numbers matter to them."

In the end, it's money, power, and God. Too bad there's not much agreement on those topics.

I tend to explain our American society as comprised of a multitude of "organized gangs". These gangs range from the street corner . . . to the American Medical Association . . . to the White House. A married couple is a gang of two. We gangs all have our agendas. Even the most sophisticated gangs will use violence to achieve their goals. But somehow, in the USA, it all works! We are the most successful nation in history by a large margin. Even though I can complain and hope for better, our great American experiment is the best the world has ever seen -- in spite of Rossi being cheated.

June 11, 2005 8:24 PM  
Blogger Micajah said...

It's often a mess. I'm glad Churchill said this:

Speech on the House of Commons in the House of Commons, October 28, 1942
Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe… No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.

When I get really disgusted (as has happened a couple of times during and after the election contest), I think of Churchill's statement and remember that there aren't any better alternatives.

June 11, 2005 9:04 PM  
Blogger Nathan said...

"As for the two major King County newspapers, the P-I seems to be the more consistently leftist paper; and it's the one that is in the greater financial bind. I would think it's better to support The Seattle Times, unless they move back to the left. Then, people who are inclined to read something before acting solely on prejudice or instinct might be influenced by the dominant paper."

I'm sure glad I've got the Tacoma News Tribune. The Times is pretty good, but even there the leftist bias shines through a little too often for my taste. The TNT has always seemed more even-handed to me.

June 13, 2005 6:35 PM  

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