By Kenneth J. Theisen, 11/8/06
President Bush when justifying his invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan often cites the claim that the U.S. is bringing freedom and democracy to these countries. In statements about Iran, he also frequently uses words like liberty, freedom, democracy, etc. In fact his speeches are filled with such words whenever he talks about his foreign policy. His speech writers and political handlers apparently believe that using these words will obscure the reality of these imperialist wars which bring death and destruction to the people of these occupied countries.
But we should not be surprised by the hypocritical nature of the Bush
regime abroad. After all, this regime came to power with the stolen
election in 2000. It then was “re-elected” by stealing the election
again in 2004. And based on what has happened in this midterm
election, the Bush regime has certainly not changed its stripes.
Throughout the country there is much evidence of attempts at voter
suppression, particularly in black, Latino and immigrant communities.
These are just a few examples.
In Virginia the FBI is investigating possible illegal voter
suppression. Virginia is a state that was “in play” for control of the
Senate. At this writing it may be headed for a recount in the Senate
election and that recount may determine which party controls the
Senate. Jean Jensen, head of the Virginia Elections Board confirmed
that the FBI is investigating claims of phone calls that were made to
heavily Democratic precincts. Voters were told that either their
polling places had been changed, or that they were no longer eligible
to vote, and would be arrested if they attempted to do so. The James
Webb senatorial campaign issued a written statement claiming
Republicans are behind an orchestrated effort to suppress and
intimidate Democratic voters.
In Missouri, another state that was “in play” in the Senate race,
Missouri’s Secretary of State, Robin Carnahan, was asked for photo
identification three times at the voting booth. Missouri Republicans
had tried to require photo IDs for voting but a court ruling struck
down the requirement. But apparently that did not stop the Republicans
from trying to suppress the vote by requiring the ID for the Secretary
of State. How many others were turned away at the polls in Missouri is
Arizona was another state where Democrats had a chance of picking up a
Senate seat. But there the Republicans engineered a new voter ID law
which was recently upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. Republicans
nationwide have been proposing and passing various photo identification
laws in order to discourage voting by blacks, Latinos, immigrants, the
poor, and college students. In late September House Republicans
attempted, but failed, to pass an immigrant-bashing “Election
Integrity” bill that would have barred voters if they could not produce
a passport or other proof of citizenship at the polls.
Voter IDs were also an issue in Georgia yesterday where signs outside
some polling stations said “Vote Here. ID required.” This occurred
despite the fact that a Georgia court struck down that requirement in
In Colorado, aides to Democratic House candidate, Angie Paccione, said
they received calls from constituents complaining of intimidation. One
Latina told of receiving a call where she was asked, “Are you Hispanic,
Latino, Black?” When she answered Latina, she was told, “Oh so you are
Hispanic. You”re Hispanic, so you can’t vote. You aren’t even
registered to vote, so don’t waste your time. Just by looking in my
records you can’t vote.” The campaign received another call from a
Latino who said he was threatened with arrest if he attempted to vote.
One of the tricks used extensively this year is the so-called
robo-call. Households across the country were bombarded at all hours
with recorded attacks on candidates in tight House races. Democrats
have accused Republicans of being behind many of these calls.
Democrats allege that Republicans crafted many of their messages to
delude voters into thinking that Democrats placed the calls so that
voters annoyed by the calls would then vote for the other candidate.
Republicans denied the charge, but in New Hampshire the National
Republican Congressional Committee agreed to end the calls to
households on the federal do-not-call list. Republicans have also
admitted that the required identification of the caller that should be
at the beginning of the call is often at the end of the call and not
heard as most callers hang-up before the end.
Not all attempts to suppress voting were subtle. In Arizona, Nina
Perales, a lawyer for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education
Fund (MALDEF), alleged three men intimidated Latino voters as they went
to the polls in Tucson, Arizona. She stated, “As voters are coming out
of their cars and walking up towards their polls, one person is
videotaping the voter as he walks towards the polling place.” Then
another person, wearing an American flag bandana and a shirt with the
image of a badge ironed or embroidered on it, approaches with a
clipboard to talk to the voter. “While the clipboard person is. .
.talking, the cameraperson comes up and starts videotaping their
face.” Then the third man, with a gun in a side holster, stands next
to the voter. Perales said this man wore a shirt with an American flag
on it. The men only approach Latino voters according to her.
In Orange County, California, a letter was sent to thousands of people
with Hispanic names. The letter warned recipients: “You are advised
that if your residence in this country is illegal or you are an
immigrant, voting in a federal election is a crime that could result in
jail time.” Actually, naturalized citizens can legally vote but the
intent of the letter was to intimidate, not educate.
And of course old tricks still work too, such as swelling the voter
rolls. In Daggett County, Utah there are 947 voters registered. But
that is 4 times the population of the county in 2005. Democrats claim
that County Clerk Vickie McKee is letting non-residents register in
order to give Republicans an advantage. It is not clear whether any of
the non-residents are residing in the county graveyard.
The election also illustrated the compassion of Republicans who gave
jobs to the homeless. In Maryland where Republicans hoped to elect
Black Republican Michael Steele to the U.S. Senate, Republican
operatives hired many black residents of homeless shelters in
Philadelphia. They then brought them by bus to Maryland where they
were greeted by the Republican Governor’s wife, Kendel Ehrlich. They
were next taken to the polls in mostly black Democratic areas where
they stood outside distributing flyers to voters urging them to vote
for Steele. The only problem was that the flyers indicated that Steele
was the Democratic candidate for the Senate instead of the actual
Across the country there were countless problems with voting machines.
These ranged from complaints that the machines could not even be
started by poll workers to claims that the machines had candidates
names already lit up when voters entered the booth. The Miami Herald
reported that several South Florida voters say the choices they touched
on the electronic screens were not the ones that appeared on the review
screen or the final voting step.
Keep in mind when Bush talks of democracy and freedom for the people of
Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran or the U.S. you know it comes from his heart.
And if you believe this you probably voted for him twice and bought
some swampland in Florida. But for the rest of you, it is time to join
with us in ridding the world of this hypocrite and his entire regime.
We can not wait to 2009. By then it will be too late.