Four outrageous political stories that will make you scream

Four outrageous political stories that will make you scream

Summary: There are days when it just doesn't pay to be a thinking American. When you're a thinking American, some of the idiocy being perpetrated in our country is enough to make you scream.

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TOPICS: Government
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There are days when it just doesn't pay to be a thinking American. When you're a thinking American, some of the idiocy being perpetrated in our country is enough to make you scream.

Today, I've been trying to decide which of four epic idiocies I was going to pick to write about, when I just decided to present all four to you. I figure misery loves company and if this stuff makes me want to scream, you'll probably feel the same way.

Outrage #1: Remotely hackable voting machines

You may remember Diebold from the controversy a few years ago when it became clear their voting machines were potentially hackable. People got even more up in arms about a potential conflict of interest, when it was revealed that Diebold's then-CEO was a top fundraiser for President Bush.

To escape further scorn, Diebold's election operation changed its name. Yeah. I know. They became Premier Election Solutions. Well, according to an article in Salon, their solutions are seriously problematic.

Apparently, a team from Argonne National Laboratory has been able to demonstrate how a Diebold machine can be remotely manipulated, changing votes without any evidence of tampering.

I'm a little confused by this report, especially since Diebold changed its voting division's name a few years ago, but we'll be watching this one very closely. Argonne does some seriously credible science, so this is a seriously credible outrage.

Outrage #2: 20,000 missing Libyan missiles

This isn't strictly political, but since we decided, as a nation, to involve ourselves in Libyan affairs, it's fair game for the Outrage Express.

According to our colleagues over at CBS News, there may be as many as 20,000 missing surface-to-air missiles. These were stockpiled by the Libyan government, but now, no one knows where they are.

The risks to worldwide security are obvious.

Outrage #3: Florida primary

We finally have proof that Florida politics is nuts, completely separate from whether we're talking about Democrats or Republicans.

Astute students of political theatre will recall the 2008 Presidential elections, where the Florida and Michigan Democratic committees decided to snub their noses at the national primary process and jump their primary dates to the beginning of the line. They, along with voters, were punished by the DNC by reducing the value of each vote from the offending states.

The crime against democracy was obvious.

Lest you think Florida may have learned its lesson, I bring to you Outrage #3, this time the Florida GOP machine. Apparently, Florida's GOP politicos want to jump their primary date from its scheduled date later in the spring all the way up to January 31. Not only are they violating the desires of their own national committee, they could cause havoc to the entire primary process -- along with the election strategies of their own candidates.

Just once -- just once -- I'd like to see my own state of Florida make it through a Presidential election without seeming like we spike the state's water supply with nutjob juice.

Outrage #4: A governor suggests suspending elections

In case you think I'm siding with one party or the other, we're about to jump from GOP idiocy to Democratic idiocy, this time in the person of North Carolina's governor Bev Purdue.

Ms. Purdue apparently thinks our economy is in such a shambles that, perhaps (and this is a verified quote), "we ought to suspend, perhaps, elections for Congress for two years."

Now, you and I know that the United States Congress is much more part of the problem than part of the solution. We know that Congress is ineffective, problematic, counter-productive, and that most Congress-critters put their own self-interest above that of America as a whole.

Even so, America is all about elected representation, and for a Democratic Governor to even hint about abolishing elections is a major outrage. It's even more stupid strategically, given how embattled the Dems already are with the loyal opposition's claims of "socialism".

Outrageous outrages

So there you are. Four outrages that'll make you scream. Stay tuned. Given how politics "works" in these United States, I'm sure I'll have a boatload more for you in the coming weeks and months.

Topic: Government

About

David Gewirtz, Distinguished Lecturer at CBS Interactive, is an author, U.S. policy advisor, and computer scientist. He is featured in the History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets and is a member of the National Press Club.

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  • RE: Four outrageous political stories that will make you scream

    I usually don't agree with you but in this you are spot on... those hackable voting machines need to go - are there any voting machines that are less hackable? The missiles definitely need to be found ASAP - IMHO this needs to be a top priority, and Florida... Florida just needs to chill out and stop trying to buck the process.

    But the one that really just ticks me off is Bev Purdue wanting to suspend congressional elections - North Carolina ought to immediately hold impeachment hearings against her for even suggesting to suspend voting. What a crock of fresh steaming crap!
    athynz
    • RE: Four outrageous political stories that will make you scream

      @Pete "athynz" Athens I believe she is just trying to keep her job, and is in fear of being voted out. In order for the Democrats???s plan to work, they have to be elected for life.
      Rick_Kl
      • RE: Four outrageous political stories that will make you scream

        @Rick_Kl
        Don't be an ass, Rick: Congress currently has a Republican majority, so she would be locking in that majority for another election cycle. Stupid is stupid, and knows no political boundary lines (it's one of Niven's Laws).
        orangemike
      • RE: Four outrageous political stories that will make you scream

        @orangemike It's true that congress currently has a Republican majority. It's also true that polling indicates that if the elections were held today, the Dems would lose even more seats... possibly enough to give the GOP a veto-proof majority in the House.<br><br>She's now trying to claim she was joking. If that's an example of how she delivers a joke, she shouldn't try for a career in stand-up comedy (though she should definitely quit her day job).
        Ptorq
      • Not true.....

        @orangemike

        Congress does NOT have a Republican majority. The House has a Republican majority, the Senate a Democratic majority.

        If more people actually knew how their government worked, they wouldn't vote these fools into office in the first place. Government 101 anybody???
        linux for me
      • RE: Four outrageous political stories that will make you scream

        @Rick_Kl
        Actually, what I think she (Bev Purdue) is trying to do is get Congress's minds off of their re-election and onto the task at hand...solving our country's problems. I would suspect that out of each 24 month term, they only do 2 months of real work for which they were elected to do. The other 22 months are spent stumping and trying to get votes. If we suspend elections for a few years, perhaps these people who we elected to do their jobs will actually do them instead of spending their time trying to get re-elected.
        tech_ed@...
    • RE: Four outrageous political stories that will make you scream

      @Pete "athynz" Athens
      Voting machines ought not to be connected to the internet. A locked-down kiosk machine would be as secure as you can get. Why is this not obvious?
      dstarke1
      • RE: Four outrageous political stories that will make you scream

        @dstarke1: But often physical access for a minute is all you need...
        Natanael_L
      • RE: Four outrageous political stories that will make you scream

        @dstarke1
        The most complex voting machine authorized should be an indelible marker and paper ballot.
        notme403@...
      • RE: Four outrageous political stories that will make you scream

        @dstarke1
        It is obvious. They will be caught.
        great-ish-soul
      • RE: Four outrageous political stories that will make you scream

        @dstarke1 AMEN!
        tom@...
    • Politicians are about self preservation

      Purdue isn't the first politician to think about suspending voting, However most are smart enough to not say it out loud;-)
      Richard Flude
    • RE: Four outrageous political stories that will make you scream

      @Pete "athynz" Athens
      "are there any voting machines that are less hackable?"

      A paper ballot and a Sharpie.
      neutrino23
    • RE: Four outrageous political stories that will make you scream

      @Pete "athynz" Athens
      All politician everywhere would want elections suspended indefinitely once they've been elected. This woman merely spoke her mind. The others are wily enough not to say it. There are other things they would like, too, like increase their salaries and perks, jail or kill their opponents, appoint their family members, friends and hangers on to lucrative government posts, and more. Only in third world countries do they actually act on these impulses.
      itadmin@...
  • State of the Nation

    1. Apple has more money than the Government.<br><br>2. The 'Ripley Solution': 'ascend to orbit and nuke the entire site from space' ... seems like a better idea than current foreign policy.<br><br>3. All politicians appear to be greedy, self-serving ... former Hollywood actors.<br><br>4. 'Brewsters Millions' voting policy: 'None of the above' ... sounds about right.<br><br>Corollary: there MUST be a God - many people are actually happy(ish) - and the cost of space travel is so great that Mankind will never spread its contagion to the rest of the Universe.<br><br><img border="0" src="http://www.cnet.com/i/mb/emoticons/sad.gif" alt="sad"> <img border="0" src="http://www.cnet.com/i/mb/emoticons/sad.gif" alt="sad"> <img border="0" src="http://www.cnet.com/i/mb/emoticons/sad.gif" alt="sad"><br><br>PS Gewirtz was BEGGING for a sympathy vote, right?

    PPS 'In space, no-one can hear you scream'.
    jacksonjohn
    • Anyone without a hundred trillion dollar debt

      Has more more than the American Government. I can't think of anyone with less money;-)
      Richard Flude
    • RE: Four outrageous political stories that will make you scream

      @johnfenjackson@...

      Anybody who isn't $14T in the hole has more money than government. But, with declining wages, I'm sure the working class will catch up in no time.
      HypnoToad72
  • RE: Four outrageous political stories that will make you scream

    I agree with all of this - but for the Florida Primary - it was the Republicans who moved the date in 2008 and are moving it again in 2012. Democrats fought it back then, and they have already changed their Primary process in case the Republicans pulled the same stunt - which has happened.
    AlisonMA
    • RE: Four outrageous political stories that will make you scream

      @AlisonMA
      From wiki...
      The Florida Democratic Presidential primary took place on January 29, 2008. Originally, the state had 185 delegates up for grabs that were to be awarded in the following way: 121 delegates were to be awarded based on the winner in each of Florida's 25 congressional districts while an additional 64 delegates were to be awarded to the statewide winner. Twenty-five unpledged delegates, known as superdelegates, were initially able to cast their votes at the Democratic National Convention.

      However, the Democratic National Committee determined that the date of the Florida Democratic Primary violated the party rules and ultimately decided to sanction the state, stripping all 210 delegates and refusing to seat them at the convention. The DNC Rules and Bylaws Committed later met on May 31, 2008, and agreed to seat all of Florida's delegates with each delegate having only receive half a vote. As a result of this compromise, Florida's had 105 votes at the convention.

      From NYT...
      Tuesday, January 29
      In shifting its primary forward, Florida hoped for a bigger role in the nominating process. The Democratic National Committee penalized Florida for moving ahead of Feb. 5 without permission by awarding its delegates half a vote each at the national convention.
      notme403@...
    • RE: Four outrageous political stories that will make you scream

      @AlisonMA ... i'D SAY DON'T COUNT THE VOTES from FL!
      tom@...