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Who's Doing The Counting?

Friday, Sept. 07, 2007 1:15 AM

A word about the ballot measure which purports to bring 'fairness' to California's electoral votes by way of changing the majority-takes-all to share-by-percentage.

Don't be fooled.

The measures' backers (more on them in a moment), want you to believe that this will more accurately reflect the state's makeup, instead of continuing the invisible tyrrany of a slim majority (that is, if Democrats take a majority of the popular vote, they are awared all of California's 45 electoral votes, as opposed to a split amongst three parties).

It's a very slick sales pitch. What it really does is fudge the numbers and diminish the majority. I honestly don't think Republicans would be so quick to cheer if they had 20-some odd electoral votes whisked out from under their noses, but we're expected to believe this is all about 'being fair.'

Nor is it the first grand step in reforming the election process and the electoral college, because - news flash! - the electoral college is established in the body of the Constitution and through several amendments. It ain't changing without a Constitutional amendment, not a law, not some noble experiment in one of the largest states.

Lastly, the measure is being underwritten by a wealthy gentleman from ... Texas. Not only is this gentleman also one of the backers of the infamous 'Swift Boat Veterans For Truth' that sandbagged Sen. John Kerry by calling into question his service and patriotism, but, come on - why are we listening to someone in Texas tell us how to run California?

The old saying is that there are three kinds of lies. Lies, damned lies, and statistics the Petraeus Report.

The Washington Post is reporting that the 'progress' being crowed about to underwrite false promises about bringing troops home (whilst Bush is 'playing' for an extended presence) is based on shifty math.

Car bombs, for example, are not being counted as violence. Nor are incidents of Shiite-vs.-Shiite or Sunni-vs.-Sunni violence being counted, because it's apparently so difficult to track.

"If a bullet went through the back of the head, it's sectarian. If it went through the front, it's criminal," quipped one unnamed official.

Come on. This is the same as the number-games being played with Katrina recovery figures and other Bush Administration specials - lots of talk about progress and commitment, but a closer look at the numbers shows it all to be flash, and little substance. Fancy condos instead of bricks-and-sticks recovery for displaced residents.

And kudos to federal district judge Victor Marrero, who ruled against several provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act, lambasting Congress for a law that enables, "... far-reaching invasions of liberty."

Specifically, Judge Marrero upheld the ACLU's challenge to the national security letter method of obtaining records from phone companies and ISPs without the same requirements as other searches.

The judge warned that the Constitution was designed so that the dangers of any given moment could never justify discarding fundamental individual liberties.

Marrero immediately stayed his own order, allowing the government time to appeal the ruling.

(Marrero ruled against the use of national security letters under the original 2004 USA PATRIOT Act. After the Act was revised in 2005, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals directed him to review the law's constitutionality a second time.)

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