Oct. 31, 2004
Update: On the Eve of the Election
By Tony Brasunas
With just two days to go before this globally-anticipated U.S. election, Garlic & Grass offers two stories not covered in the mainstream media.
But before we get to those two stories, G&G has a quick piece of advice for all of our American readers: VOTE! Vote early and vote often, as Chicago voters of yore advised. For those of you who have already voted through the mail or via absentee ballot, it's time to remind your friends and family not to forget to vote. Why not forward them this page, or your own personal reminder, right now?
Election day unfortunately isn't yet a national holiday in the United States. I suggested in a previous issue of G&G that making a national holiday is one of four simple steps we could take to increase voter turnout to 90% by 2010. But already in most states, employers are legally required to let all employees off to go vote, so long as the employees ask in advance. Now's the time to ask, if you're going to need to vote during work.
Now to the two neglected stories...
ALL PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES, EXCEPT BUSH AND KERRY,
JOIN CALL FOR 9-11 TRUTH
All three candidates other than Bush and Kerry who could win the election* are making a call that cuts clear across the political spectrum:
NEW YORK CITY, NY (Oct. 26, 2004) - An alliance of 100 prominent Americans and 40 family members of those killed on 9/11 today announced the release of the 911 Truth Statement. The Statement is a call for immediate inquiry into evidence that suggests high-level government officials may have deliberately allowed the September 11th attacks to occur. The Statement supports an
August 31st Zogby poll that found nearly 50% of New Yorkers believe the government had foreknowledge and "consciously failed to act," with 66% wanting a new 9/11 investigation.
Focusing on twelve questions, the Statement highlights areas of incriminating evidence that were either inadequately explored or ignored by the Kean Commission, ranging from insider trading and hijacker funding to foreign government forewarnings and inactive defenses around the Pentagon. The Statement asks for four actions: an immediate investigation by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, Congressional hearings, media analysis, and the formation of a truly independent citizens-based inquiry.
The Statement's list of signatories includes notables spanning the political spectrum, from Presidential candidates Ralph Nader (Independent), Michael Badnarik (Libertarian), and David Cobb (Green), to Catherine Austin Fitts, a member of the first Bush administration, as well as Washington veterans like Pentagon whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg and retired CIA analyst Ray McGovern...
REP. JESSE JACKSON INTRODUCES IRV BILL IN CONGRESS
Finally! Instead of blaming lost elections on 'spoilers' who actually help the progressive cause, a Democrat is proposing to allow people to vote for whom they really want to. Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) is also known as "1-2-3 Voting" because it allows voters to rank their choices. Simply put, any voter could vote for David Cobb or Ralph Nader as their first choice, and for John Kerry as their second choice, and still never "vote for Bush." This movement for electoral reform cuts across the political spectrum, as conservative, liberal, socialist, and Christian candidates will all become 'votable.' With IRV, anyone can vote for whomever they want to with their first choice, and then have their vote counted for their second choice if their first choice doesn't get many votes. IRV also creates less bitter campaigns because of the huge incentive to build coalitions to get other candidates' second-choice votes. (IRV is another of the four steps I suggest would increase voter turnout to 90%).
Notably, voters in San Francisco will actually use IRV for the first time this election. So please remind all San Francisco voters whom you know to be sure to rank their choices for City Supervisor. Then, if the election in San Francisco goes well, IRV will hopefully spread across California and around the nation. And then Jesse Jackson won't be the only one pushing for it in Congress:
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Oct. 8, 2004) - Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., today introduced H.R. 5293, the Majority Vote Act of 2004, which would require States by 2008 to conduct general elections for Federal office using an instant runoff voting (IRV) system. It also directs the Election Assistance Commission to make grants to States to defray the costs of administering such systems. The law would be applied to all federal elections in the States and include the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, and the United States Virgin Islands.
Jackson said, "The term 'instant runoff voting system' means a system for the election of candidates under which 'runoff counts' of candidates are conducted in rounds. Voters vote by ranking candidates on the ballot according to the order of their own preference. If in any round no candidate receives a majority of the votes cast, the candidate with the fewest number of votes is eliminated and the remaining candidates advance to the next round. In each round a voter shall be considered to have cast one vote for the candidate the voter ranked highest on the ballot that has not been eliminated. The runoff counts are carried out automatically at the time the votes are cast and tabulated so there is no actual second election. A candidate is elected only when they reach 50 percent plus one...
Note that neither of these stories deals with Osama bin Laden's absurdly strange election editorial offered recently to the American people via videotape. Osama almost seemed to have been trotted out because the American populace needed to be more scared. Just when we had almost forgotten about him, and when the Iraq War was going so badly, here's that old enemy of ours. Remember him? Osama bin Laden. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Perhaps it was a Halloween trick. Or perhaps, as Winston Smith discovered in George Orwell's 1984, enemies can be manufactured and utilized when necessary.
A full and independent inquiry into whatever actually happened on 9-11 is necessary to uncover the answers. All of the presidential candidates, except Bush and Kerry, now clearly agree.
Tony Brasunas (email@example.com) is publisher of Garlic & Grass.
* All candidates, that is, who will appear on enough ballots to conceivably win the election. Many of the candidates for president whose names will appear on none, or on an insufficient number, of state ballots have joined the 66% of New Yorkers calling for a full and open investigation, but others have remained noncomittal.
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