Thursday, November 30, 2006

Americans vote NO on Bush and take Impeachment off the table

Mark your calendar. On December 10th, Human Rights Day, Americans from across the country will meet to discuss the Impeachment of George W. Bush and Richard Cheney, President and Vice-President of the United States. The congruence of Human Rights Day and consideration of Impeachment is curiously appropriate. What better day to begin the process that is so needed to mend the lives of Americans?

While Nancy Pelosi considers the color of her drapes and tables discussion of an impeachment sentiment that propelled her and other Democrats into office Congresspersons ready themselves for oncoming rounds of business as usual. They expect the voters who put them in office to wait. They will be surprised. Americans are tired of waiting and have grown increasingly cynical about the character of those elected. It is all, too true, that the accumulation of power that now exists in Washington is a powerful incentive to forget that the election was not a popularity contest or a mandate. November 7th was a loud NO to Bush and his NeoConservative administration, nothing else.

On December 10th the people are setting about taking action themselves where normally they simply write letters to their representatives. Trusting those in government has come to be recognized as a chancy policy. David Swanson, an organizer for the December 10th event, said, “the blockages to impeachment we are seeing are from Congress; Republicans who are scared, and from newly elected Democrats who have other priorities.” When those elected fail to carry out the will of the people it is the right of the people to take action directly, according to Thomas Jefferson.

Last November 7th Americans made it clear that they are fed up with the present administration. That did not mean that they were enchanted by the alternative, just that their options were necessarily limited by the nature of the political process. Reports of malfunctioning voting machines that moved votes to Republicans and away from the determined efforts of voters to vote otherwise, were legion. Law suits and investigations are now ongoing but even voter theft estimated by experts, such as David Griscom, of around 3.5 million, was not enough to keep a Republican majority in either House of Senate; a miscalculation on the part of Karl Rove, most probably.

The massive turn out of voters from the left was balanced on the right by voters who stayed home, unable to vote for anyone acceptable. As of today, 51% of Americans want to see articles of impeachment delivered to the White House and they want answers from George Bush and Dick Cheney. That is, perhaps, the largest percentage to ever express the wish to see the President of the United States answer questions that include whether or not he should continue in office.

Americans have their reasons, and they are powerful and compelling.

Every day now American families learn that loved ones have been injured or killed in a war that is now admitted by nearly everyone to have been sought not to ensure the security of Americans but to burnish the bottom line of Bush's core constituents, the oil companies and military contractors who have been intimates of the Bush – Walker family for generations. For at least three generations the Bush family has made its money not from honest commerce but from special favors obtained through the offices of government influence. Former First Lady Barbara Bush unwittingly exposed the attitude of the Bush family when in the wake of Hurricane Katrina she said, “This is working very well for them." Mrs. Bush saw the loss of family and friends, long time homes, neighborhoods, and family possessions are less valuable than the charity on which they were then dependent. No decent person would agree. It is ugly, but when you strip away the pretensions that is who they are. .

In the wake of 9/11 George W. Bush enjoyed unprecedented popularity. His administration used that trust, extended from Americans of all political parties, to procure a war that has lasted longer than World War II, and cost the lives of nearly 3,000 dead American military, if we are to believe the State Department, which is now also questionable. Stories of dying military shipped out to bases away from the hostilities in Iraq have left open the question of how many have actually died and been wounded. In this war, families faced the need to send essential equipment to those they loved who stood in the line of fire, another first for America. Veterans of Iraq come home to neglect and dismissal by those entrusted to care for them.

It is the sense that nothing this administration says can be trusted that has led slowly to the conclusion that it is time for Bush to vacate the Oval Office and Washington D. C. “Stay the Course” has morphed into, “What? I never said that!” so rapidly that it leaves listeners gasping. It is as if they believe they can reinvent reality as needed.

Recently, Bush has found time to buy a new home off shore. Perhaps he plans to take up residence on the massive spread purchased in Paraguay. As we have learned, Paraguay does not honor extradition so that, also might not have been an accident. While there is no exit strategy from Iraq Bush might have had one handed him by Rove for his exit from the White House.

At the same time, in parallel, Americans are contending with assaults on their rights, their pocketbooks, and their persons in ways that would have been unimaginable just a generation ago.

From the takings of the Trans-Texas Corridor to the sell off of assets held by the Federal government for the people of America, to the rescinding of the 4th Amendment and the rampant corruption of our nation's courts, the issues abound. Americans are drowning in issues as the economy goes South and the popping of the real estate bubble threatens to leave Americans tied to homes that are worth far less than they cost. It is as if there was an unannounced going out of business sale and up for purchase is all property held or controlled by the government paid for through the taxes of ordinary Americans.

George W. Bush will doubtless go down in history. It is shaping to be a legacy of greed, avarice, indulgence, and deceit that would make Nero blanch; the actions of George W. Bush follows a logic that is consistent to his family's heritage and to his own well documented, personal values. It is not that the Bush – Walker family does not have values, it is the content of those ideas about themselves, government, and other people's money than has proven to be so toxic to the well being of America.

In the first and last instance, the question always returns to our beliefs and values. Values are the foundations on which America was built.

Our nation was founded by a people who gathered in homes to discuss the issues. The Committees of Correspondence discussed the theory and grounding for government as a tool of human organizing. They discussed the individual, God-given rights, and their freedoms. America was a do it yourself enterprise then. Evidently, it must return to its roots.

On December 10th remember the values than brought America into existence. Remember the many, many individuals who risked everything to make a vision real. Remember the people who will gather across the country to consider the issue of impeachment. From these beginnings much will spring. America renews itself on the courage of its true patriots.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Celebrate an American Anniversary: December 16, 1773 The Boston Tea Party

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On August 14, 1765 a small group of colonists came together to form a secret society in furtherance of independence. They first met in Boston under a tree located at the corner of Essex and Orange Streets near Hanover Square. They had gathered to protest the Stamp Act. When they left they had founded a secret society that would promote independence for the colonies, a front line for action. Effigies of two tax collectors had been hanged from what was ever after known as the Tree of Liberty.

The Sons of Liberty came into existence because awareness was growing that action would soon be necessary. As the 233rd anniversary of the Boston Tea Party approaches all Americans should take a moment to thank those stalwart men who agreed on the need to preserve the autonomy of the colonies and took action. Today we have lost sight of the specific events that motivated the dumping of artificially cheap tea into Boston Harbor. But the reasons went to the insistence of the colonists that they were free, a truth we should never forget.

The colonists in New England had served in the French and Indian Was fought out far to the west of them but since they were not allowed representation in the British Parliament they rejected the idea that they were obliged to pay for that war.

In the wake of the French and Indian Wars the British Crown demanded payment for the expenditure of monies that war had cost the Crown, this despite the fact that the war was the continuation of a territorial conflict between the British Crown, France, and Spain. For Britain, the spoils of war was Canada, ceded to them by France. The colonists saw no reason that they should pay for the adventuring taking place far to the west of their own hard won colonies. But Britain had decided that the independence of those colonies, now developing and profitable, needed to be brought under firm control and used the War, which ended with the Treaty of Paris, February 10, 1763, as their excuse.

The Crown was well aware that the colonists were used to governing themselves; after all, that is why the Puritans had gone there in the first place. But by imposing a tax the Crown hoped to both raise money and at the same time assert the right to impose whatever policies the Crown wished later.

Imposition of the Stamp Act and the Townsend Acts in 1765 and 1767 were, therefore, a strategy aimed at both augmenting income to the Crown and establishing grounds for further control. This was clear to the colonists. Tensions rose, erupting in the Boston Massacre in 1770.

Many Americans could see where the actions of Parliament were taking them and began to prepare for war in their towns. The Committees of Correspondence started meeting to read and discuss the causes in detail. The population as a whole was alive to the issues and well informed.

The Boston Tea Party took place on December 16, 1773, the culmination of that campaign by Parliament to coax colonists into establishing the right to tax. The previous Stamp and Townsend Acts has been rescinded, leaving only that small tax on tea. The Crown put the first part of the agenda, raising money, on the back burner to establish the principle that they could impose control without representation. The colonial leadership in Boston was determined that their plan be thwarted. American freedom was not to be purchased for the cost of cheap tea.

Three East India Company ships entered Boston Harbor. They were confronted with the sight of a crowd of 7,000 colonists, talking and shouting. That morning a group had met at the Old South Church and voted to demand the ships leave the harbor without paying the required duty. A delegation was sent to the Customs House to demand the ships lift anchor and leave the harbor. The Collector of Customs demanded payment; the ships would not leave otherwise.

A cry went up from the milling throng when this news was relayed to them. The response came just a few hours later from the Sons of Liberty.

“It was now evening, and I immediately dressed myself in the costume of an Indian, equipped with a small hatchet, which I and my associates denominated the tomahawk, with which, and a club, after having painted my face and hands with coal dust in the shop of a blacksmith, I repaired to Griffin's wharf, where the ships lay that contained the tea. When I first appeared in the street after being thus disguised, I fell in with many who were dressed, equipped and painted as I was, and who fell in with me and marched in order to the place of our destination.”

In 1834 the above report by George Hewes would be published. Hewes, then a very old man and one of the few surviving participants, reported that the group had marched in costume down the nearby hill where they had gathered, two by two dressed in Indian garb. They divided into three groups and made sure that the tea was no longer an issue; rowboats of men later made sure it was unusable. This resulted the next spring in the closing of Boston Harbor by order of Parliament.

The Sons of Liberty had adopted the forms and terms of the Iroquois tribe for their own secret rituals. When the Revolution began they extinguished their camp fire and picked up arms to fight in that war. Uncertain whether or not the new government would be stable they remained a secret society, ready to take action as necessary, until after the War of 1812.

In 1813, at historic Fort Mifflin near Philadelphia, various groups that were descended from the original Sons of Liberty had come together to form the Society of Red Men. In 1847 they would again meet at Baltimore, Maryland and found the national organization called the Grand Council of the United States, the Improved Order of Redmen. The Red Men is one of only three organizations ever chartered by Congress. That bill was passed by the 58th Congress 2D Session. March 15, 1904.

Over the Nineteenth Century their form had changed but they continued to impact the course of American life. The Revolution had been capitalized by the blood, sweat, and tears of ordinary Americans, asserting their right to determine their individual and community direction and culture against the greatest super power in the world as it was then. The America that was coming into existence would confront a series of crises that carried forward the same theme with different players. Will the people govern themselves or will they be subject to the control of others?

At the same time ordinary Americans were confronting the fact that a newly mobile society had needs for social insurance to spread the risk of events in the lives of individuals. In 1867 the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks came into existence to ensure that its members and their families would be cared for in the event of the death of the head of the household. The need for security of this kind resulted in an explosion in fraternal orders and programs aimed at ensuring that disaster would not destroy families. The Masons, the Foresters, the Moose, the Eagles, Woodmen of the World, and the reconstituted order that sprang from the Sons Of Liberty saw the need and began providing social insurance programs for their members. From those programs Teddy and Franklin Delano Roosevelt plucked the plans for such programs as Social Security, transferring these to government to be funded through taxation instead of through membership fees.

The variety in fraternal orders had allowed Americans to choose one that suited their needs providing for their own security while extending the benefits of their efforts into their communities. The take over by government began the slow but steady process that converted control by the people to control of the people.

The purpose of the fraternal orders was to see that Americans had in their own hands control of their security and well being. In the hands of the fraternal orders the costs of maintaining these programs remained low; retired businessmen administered them as volunteers. Since this was money they had raised themselves they counted every penny. With Government in charge costs and administration grew astronomically from then until today. Only when the people are in charge are the rights of individuals protected.

On December 16th America will celebrate the 231st anniversary of the Boston Tea Party. It is an occasion that has been overlooked and neglected for far too long. The date marks the occasion when a small group of people thought through the issues and took action that kept control local, changing the future of the world.

This December 16th many of us will gather to read the account of Hewes, toast the Sons of Liberty in whatever beverage most pleases us, and hold a moment of silence for those who took the actions that lead to Lexington, Concord and finally to the Declaration of Independence, establishing for the first time in human history the principles that each of us possesses our rights directly from God and through no king or government.

By steps we became free; by the same small steps we could return to serfdom; that was the possibility that kept the Sons of Liberty active long past the ratification of the Constitution. The events that set our original course speak a truth we need today to turn America back towards the foundation of God-given rights that changed the course of history. The cost of liberty will ever be eternal vigilance and the willingness to take action.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Make Bush and the NeoCons even unhappier

Ratify Our Rights
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Now is the time to Ratify the ERA

Wording of the Equal Rights Amendment
Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.

At the beginning of the next session Senator Ted Kennedy will again introduce a 'start over' Equal Rights Amendment. He has reintroduced the bill every year. We can make it unnecessary for him to do it sooner than most Americans could believe. I am a Republican woman and while there are many points on which I have disagreed with Ted Kennedy on this we are of one mind.

Now that the 109th Congress is fated to fade into a distant nightmare and the 110th Congress will bring to Washington more women than have ever before served it is time to get serious about ratifying the ERA. Make no mistake, the Equal Rights Amendment has never been more essential not just to women but to the entire fabric of our society. Now, we all know the value of freedom because we came so close to losing it.

You may think that women and men are equal under the law. You are wrong; although the American people from both genders, every age group and part of the country overwhelmingly believe in equal rights for male and female citizens, still, the Constitution, the highest law in the land, contains no wording that extends fully equal citizens' rights to women. It should never have been necessary to specify that women are members of humanity, but it is because all past generations have failed to do the right thing. They left that to us.

Equality is nothing more than a provisional privilege conferred by legislation until the ERA, amending to the existing Constitution, is ratified by 3/4 of the state legislatures.

A newly passed ERA was sent to the states from Congress in 1972 and everyone believed that it would be ratified by the required 38 states quickly but instead it became a political football linked to issues that have nothing to do with simple equality. Women like Phyllis Schlafly have made careers of opposing the equality that was promised to all Americans in 1776.

What happened instead was a series of laws
that assert 'fairness', many passed on the state level. Women had struggled just to get the vote for 150 years and they compromised. That was a mistake.

Today women hang their trust that their rights are protected on privileges conferred by legislators – but each of these laws can be overturned through the actions of the Supreme Court; Without the clear and specific backing of the federal Constitution all laws improving women's rights and opportunities can be overturned. If you ever doubted the need for ratification the crew just booted from Congress should have demonstrated to you just how fragile these rights can be.

Consider the present make up of the Supreme Court; taking over the institutions of America was far too easy for the Bush NeoCon Administration. Who is to say it cannot happen again? We need to take action now to ensure the rights of women.

A few women continued to work tirelessly.

In 2000 a retired research psychologist in Central New Jersey, was asked to speak to a group of Girl Scouts on equality for women. Jennifer Macleod, the speaker, was still active in the local chapter of NOW she cofounded in 1969. She spoke to the troop and, enthused and ready for more, the girls asked for a project they could undertake related to the ERA. Jennifer, an expert in survey research, made up a short questionnaire and showed the girls how polling must be done to accurately reflect the opinions of those polled.

There were three questions. Jennifer expected the Girl Scouts, polling their classmates, teachers, and parents, to find a range of opinions on equality for women. Instead, they found close to unanimous support for the idea that all of us are born possessed of inherent rights, as recognized in the Declaration of Independence.

Buoyed by this knowledge, Jennifer and a group of associates raised the money to have a national survey professionally conducted in July 2001, among American adults all across the country. The findings? 96% answered "yes" to the question, "In your opinion, should male and female citizens of the United States have equal rights?"; 88% answered "yes" to the question, "In your opinion, should the Constitution make it clear that male and female citizens are supposed to have equal rights?"; and, demonstrating a public lack of knowledge, 72% mistakenly answered "yes" to the question, "As far as you know, does the Constitution of the United States make it clear that male and female citizens are supposed to have equal rights?" The results were similar for both men and women, and in all age groups, educational levels, regions of the country, racial categories, and household composition.

The overwhelming majority of Americans believe the ERA has already been ratified. Let's make that a reality now.

Three State Strategy

The Constitution, in setting forth how amendments can be made, said NOTHING about any time limits -- although, as was the case for several amendments, a time limit can if desired be included in the body of a proposed amendment. The 1972 Congress, in passing the ERA -- which, fully intentionally, contains no mention of any time limit -- chose to attach a 7-year ratification time limit
separate from the amendment itself. Then, when the 1979 Congress extended the time limit by 3 years, that set the precedent such that any Congress can legitimately vote to change such a time limit.

How could equality ever fail to be relevant? In an era when women are serving in the military in roles that expose them to combat the arguments that they are frail and must be protected fail to persuade Americans. It was not women's weaknesses that moved men to deny them their inherent rights, it was the habit of control.

In 1999 the ERA Campaign Network went to work to help obtain ratification in at least three more not-yet-ratified states.

Vigorous ratification drives are well underway in Illinois (which came very close to ratification in 2004), Florida and Missouri, with many of the other not-yet-ratified states, including Arkansas, Arizona, Louisiana, and Oklahoma, and Georgia are building support for their own ratification
drives. Perhaps the legislators in three of these states now understand ust how important our rights are. Now that we have seen a Congress and President commit the treason of negating the 4th Amendment the time to be patient is over. Now we can demand action from Democrats and the Republicans who are now distancing themselves from the corrupt Bush Administration.

The states that
are not yet ratified are:

Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, and Virginia.

Contact the ERA Campaign Coordinators in the unratified states. They need help lobbying their legislators and money for building media campaigns. They are all veterans who have poured their lives into this issue. Help them so they can ensure the inherent rights of ALL Americans.

Your daughters and grand-daughters will be able to take their freedom for granted, and that is the best legacy anyone can have.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Howie Rich and Ed Crane: Their antics in South Carolina

The Moultrie Law Suit and Campaign

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On October 25st Timothy Moultrie, a candidate for Superintendent of Education for South Carolina, filed a law suit which should disqualify from the ballot the candidates for office presented by both the Republicans and Democrats. Moultrie is a Libertarian.

On Monday, November 6th, the Republican and Democratic parties of North Carolina were compelled to appear in court and respond to their assertion that they are not obligated to follow the law which binds the actions of all other political parties. This step brings the suit closer to the trial which will come soon.

If the Moultrie suit prevails none of the Republican or Democratic candidates elected today, Tuesday, November 7th, will be sworn in and take office.

To the casual onlooker it might appear that this is a grandstanding move taking place at the last minute. That would be inaccurate. The small group that filed the suit have carefully and methodically tried in every way since last March to get both the Republican and Democratic parties to follow the law. At each turn the relief they requested was refused and the law again ignored.

Except for the bland assertion that they are excused from adhering to the law neither major political party has acted to show it respects the law made by Republicans and Democrats.

Moultrie and the other proponents do not seek compensation, only compliance with the statutes which are routinely applied to them.

These requirements are simple and routine, including the obligation to hold county conventionsas provided by Sections 7-9-70 and 7-9-80, and hold a state convention as provided by Section 7-9-100.”

The suit goes on to ask for relief, ”Plaintiffs pray for the court to mandate the defendants to fully enforce the decertification provisions of Section 7-9-10 by issuing its order requiring both the defendants to again review the law, and to report to the court on a joint plan to give proper notice to non-compliant political parties, notice of the Election Commission's intention to decertify certain organizations, and a time frame for the correction of obvious deficiencies prior to the decertification process.”

Decertification of candidates now on the ballot could render those elections invalid and its officials and legislators elect unseated. It would also open up the question of past elections and candidates who were not legally elected and present the complex problems of legislation passed by those who could not legally decide.

South Carolina has long been subject to corruption in government and the entrenched establishment there has long been a friendly environment for those who seek to use government to achieve their own ends. Timothy Moultrie, a long time South Carolinian and a school teacher who has been worried over the educational opportunities offered to young South Carolinians for many years ran this year to promote his proposal for improving those educational opportunities.

His proposal is a tuition voucher that follows the student in the among of $10,000.00 for each student. His proposal would take control from the state government ,which uses the money as a political football and give it to parents who could then choose for their children better alternatives. Moultrie has spoken and promoted his proposal across the state and received favorable responses from teachers and parents alike. His proposals are to the point and well documented.

But there are those who oppose his plan and his candidacy and, surprisingly, a group of these are themselves self identified Libertarians.

Howie Rich and his wife, Andrea Millen Rich, live in a high rise in New York City. Rich, along with Andrea a long time adherent of the philosophy of Ayn Rand, became a millionaire through investments in low end apartment buildings in New York. He is the son of an egg salesman from Brooklyn. His wife is from Johnson City, Tennessee and the couple met during the formation of the Libertarian Party there in the early 1970s. From there they, along with Ed Crane of Cato and a cadre of other associates many of whom they have known for over 30 years, seen to have made it their business to funding and run Initiatives in states where they are not resident and now have begun to fund candidacies in those states as well. The astroturf organizations they start follow the same model of their activism while they were working withing the Libertarian Party, hostility to local organizing and control by anyone but themselves.

The group refuses to answer questions on where the millions of dollars that flood into states originate but it appears that much of the money comes from the same large oil company who funds Cato Institute, Koch Industries.

The Republican candidate for Superintendent of Education in South Carolina, Karen Floyd, had received massive contributions and support from Howie Rich and his friends.

Moultrie noted that South Carolina has had problems with carpet baggers since Reconstruction and they always come with their own agenda and not for the benefit of South Carolina and its people.

Howie and his friends left the Libertarian Party in 1983 because the LP did not nominate their candidate, Earl Ravenal, for president at that convention, held in New York City. Crane, elected as National Chairman of the LP at the Dallas Convention in 1974, had exerted nearly complete control of the LP after the end of the 1976 Presidential campaign by Roger MacBride, who was a supporter of local organizing.

Hart Williams, the blogger who outed the Howie group in his long and detailed articles over the last four months noted that history of the group and the fact that this covert behavior seems to be taking place using money from undisclosed sources from Maine to California. It has been a significant factor in the 2006 elections with its support of Republican candidates and initiatives that simulate local action but include riders that profoundly impact communities in ways the people who live there do not see in advance.

Hart Williams was interviewed on his investigative work by PBS on its show, NOW earlier this summer. The Williams blog published a segment that included the techniques used in South Carolina on Sunday and the long article includes this quote along with a vast amount of other material on how the election there was impacted.

Fast forward to present-day South Carolina. The South Carolina coverage has, naturally focused on the "school choice" aspects of the campaign. But they've also noticed that Howard Rich has been flooding the races with maximum contributions through a DIFFERENT bewildering variety of pseudonymous companies, corporations, and Limited Liability Companies (LLC's).” The question on the legality of using such a plethora of different entities to avoid laws limiting funding donations has yet to be answered.

Timothy Moultrie expressed surprise that any one who called themselves a libertarian would be involved in such a deceitful practice. Those long time Libertarians who have known Howie Rich and Ed Crane for many years were not surprised. In any event, Moultrie said he will continue his battle for the children of South Carolina as he entered the voting booth today. The people, he believes, need to take back their government and ensure that it does their will and does not continue to reduce them to the status of peons, peasants, and serfs.

As Americans brace themselves for the aftermath of today's election the issues raised in South Carolina, issues that clash so resoundingly with the original vision of American government as the tool of the people, will be much on our minds.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Stealing Elections Texas Style: Mrs. Blankenship goes out to vote.

Mrs. Marilyn B. Blankenship noticed what a lovely day it was as she went into vote early at the Renner-Frankford Branch Dallas Public Library at 6400 Frankford Rd. two blocks from her home in Collin County, Texas near Dallas. Mr. Arthur Edwards, the widower of her oldest friend from the 4th grade, accompanied her on the short ride to the Library; he waited in the car for her to finish her brief civic obligation. A native Texan, Mrs. Blankenship appreciated the mild autumn weather. Growing up in Texas, the daughter of two strong parents, had left its mark on her. She had learned self discipline from both of them, along with a strong sense of honesty.

Exercising her civic obligations was something Mrs. Blankenship took very seriously as a Texan and as an American.

After finishing college she had begun teaching school in 1952. Over her career as an educator she had watched the school system of Texas change in troubling ways. Children, she believed, need not just information, they need to acquire inquiring minds so they can think for themselves.

Mrs. Blankenship went into the familiar interior of the Library and picked up her ballot. A long time Republican this time she was determined to vote for change. Taking her ballot she went into the voting booth and inserted her card into the Diebold Voting Machine. Diebold is a local company in Texas; one of their facilities was just down the street.

When she voted for the first couple of candidates the 'X” showed up just where she wanted it. This time she had decided not to vote for any Republicans, even those she had supported in the past. She came to the list of judges. Judges are a partisan position in Texas. Mrs. Blankenship looked at her notes. She had decided that this time her vote would go to the Libertarian candidates and one or two Democrats of whom she approved. One by one she tried to vote for her choice. Each time the machine, moved the vote to the Republican candidate. Mrs. Blankenship exclaimed in exasperation, leaving the booth to complain to one of the several ladies who was working at the polling place. One of the workers came and watched as again the machines changed her votes.

Shaking with distress Mrs. Blankenship left the Library. She could not be sure if her votes had been counted as she wanted. Now she did not notice the nice weather. Mr. Edwards could see she was upset and asked her what had happened; he advised her to call the F. B. I.

Mrs. Blankenship believes in standing up for the right thing. During the Monica Lewinsky scandal she had gone to the Library and copied down the names and addresses of 100 individuals in Congress who she hoped would vote to censure President Clinton for his deceitful behavior in lying to the American people. A trickle of responses has come back to her, mostly advising her to limit her complaints to her own representatives.

Stealing an election – and her own vote - struck her as far more serious than the misbehavior of Bill Clinton.

Mrs. Blankenship's concerns over the moral character and the intentions of those in power had been growing over the decades. She had watched as the quality of education offered to the children she taught had become truncated, the focus moving away from the core of essential literacy and understanding of civics and history to a candy coated curriculum that neither prepared the students for real life or established a life time love of learning. It was not a partisan issue, it went much deeper. The advent of Governor Bush has only accelerated the deterioration of the education offered to the children of Texas. Where would it end? Didn't they want the children to know anything? The question lingered in her mind, worrying her.

And now she was filled with a sense of violation. Did they expect that she would just walk out of the polling place and do nothing? Mrs. Blankenship opened the door of her home, sat down at her desk and began to write letters.

October 24, 2006

I am contacting in writing the Election Bureau of Collin County to continue the paper trail I have created concerning the voting irregularity I experienced on October 23, at 11:45 a. m. at Precinct 74 located at the Renner-Frankford Library in Dallas, Collin County. I filed a complaint by telephone on the day of the irregularity with Jan Lay in McKinney. She suggested I write to my federal representatives who passed the law requiring voting machines to be used which I have done. I have also talked by telephone with the Secretary of State’s office and sent a summary letter along with a copy of my letter to the elected federal persons representing me to Austin.

You will note that I am enclosing two articles of national concern that the Diebold voting machine which I used is not secure. Why are officials dragging their feet on making the computers create a paper trail so that voters like me can be sure that their votes were not stolen by a machine? There is proof that problems in Texas have occurred where votes were added that were never cast and other examples where votes have been credited to candidates not chosen.

The machine I was using recorded a vote for a Republican three times instead of the Libertarian I chose in three cases for individuals.listed in succession on the screen. I was so shocked I spoke out-loud that the machine was not recording my votes, but giving my votes to a candidate I did not choose. I had to make three corrections in successive order to correct these three errors. I was even more shocked when the summary appeared. I saw that Perry, Dewhurst and Combs were being credited with votes I DID NOT CAST FOR ANY OF THEM! I am positive who I chose for those offices and Chris Bell was being denied the vote I cast. These three errors in the summary were corrected by me before the ballot was submitted and my card withdrawn. I will forever believe that the machine I was using was rigged to switch votes to Republicans.

Collin County is known to be a Republican strong-hold , but I do not vote for a party. I vote for each individual candidate. If there is no opposition candidate and I do not want the lone candidate, I do not cast a vote at all in that category. I choose the candidates I support as an independent person who uses my vote as the Constitution intended it to be used. I have been voting regularly since 1952 when I cast my first votes in the presidential election.

Please take seriously my complaint about voting on a rigged Diebold machine and please do not pass this off as a glitch in the machine I was using. I do not think a glitch caused what I experienced in early voting October 23, 2006. I consider the errors as fraud on the part of someone who tampered with the computer in that machine.

Marilyn B. Blankenship