Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #466 Interview with Mark Ortiz

Recorded June 27, 2004
REALAUDIO

It is with great pleasure that Mr. Emory presents this broadcast, featuring Mark Ortiz—his co-host on Uncle Sam and the Swastika. Mark is running for the Democratic nomination for the congressional seat in his district (the 8th Congressional District of North Carolina) and this program highlights several key aspects of his campaign platform. In addition to initiating a serious, impartial investigation into the events of 9/11 and keeping American jobs at home, Mark advocates a serious revision of the technological instrumentation of American balloting. As the 2004 election approaches, the possibility that much of the balloting will be done on electronic voting machines without a verifiable paper trail remains a serious possibility. Much of the discussion focuses on the dangers of—and possible remedies for—the electronic voting issue.

Program Highlights Include: The Diebold Corporation—maker of many of the electronic voting machines that will be used in 2004 (barring a significant shift in the political winds); Diebold kingpin Wally O’Dell’s resolve to deliver his native state (Ohio) for Bush; Diebold machines’ dubious performance in elections in various states from 2000 until 2004; discussion of a county in Florida in 2000 that used Diebold machines which were recording a negative vote for Al Gore!; suspicions that electronic vote fraud was behind the upset of popular Democratic senator Max Clelland of Georgia in 2002; discussion of the 2002 election of Nebraska Republican senator Chuck Hagel; analysis of the Sequoia company—another of the firms involved in making electronic voting machines; Sequoia’s connections to organized crime; discussion of several bills pending in Congress that would partially remedy the problem of electronic vote fraud; analysis of the Canadian system of hand-counted ballots—a system Mark advocates for the United States.

1. The discussion begins a reading of author Kevin Phillips’ thoughts on the influence of Machiavelli’s The Prince on Bush adviser Karl Rove. The broadcast notes the similarity between the signature dishonesty and cynicism characterizing the Bush administration and the advice of the Florentine—this cynicism becomes the jumping off point for the dialogue. “The political thinker Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527), long a believer in the famous Florentine Republic of the Renaissance, began to lose faith in his later years as the tides of imperial power and ambition—French, German, and Spanish—swept across the Italian peninsula, washing away the old republican politics of city-states like Florence and Siena too small to survive on their own. Unlike Machiavelli’s less-well-known books, which embraced republican politics and institutions, his most famous volume, The Prince, was dedicated to Lorenzo de’ Medici, the duke of Urbino. It encapsulated the techniques, from amorality and fraud to religion, by which the ascendant princely rulers might govern most successfully.”
(American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush; by Kevin Philips; Viking [HC]; Copyright 2004 by Kevin Phillips; ISBN 0-670-03264-6; p. 320.)

2. “As the 2004 presidential election took shape, another such Machiavellian moment was at hand. U.S. president George W. Bush, while hardly a Medici, was a dynast whose family heritage included secrecy and calculated deception. Harkening to the increasingly imperial self-perception of the United States, the president’s theorists and tacticians boasted of taking the advice of Machiavelli and the Chinese strategist Sun Tzu. The late Lee Atwater, chief political adviser to the elder Bush, and Karl Rove, strategist for the younger Bush, friends and collaborators, were both devotees of Machiavelli and The Prince, hardly a coincidence.” (Ibid.; pp. 320-321.)

3. “The possibility that the United States could edge toward its own Machiavellian moment in an early-twenty-first century milieu of terrorism, neo-imperialism, and dynastization is not far-fetched. As we have seen, Rove, the Bush dynasty’s own political plotter, has been an avid reader of Machiavelli. While the analysis in The Discourses upholds republicanism, the advice Machiavelli gives in The Prince was dedicated to the Medicis and designed to work in the new princely, aristocratic, and neo-imperial milieu of sixteenth-century Italy.” (Ibid.; p. 330.)

4. “Chapter 4, in its discussion of Bush domestic policy and ‘compassionate conservative’ rhetoric, has already referred to Machiavelli’s advice that the Prince should lie but must ‘be able to disguise this character well, and to be a great feigner and dissembler.’ Moreover, ‘to see and hear him, he [the Prince] should seem to be all mercy, faith, integrity, humanity and religion. And nothing is more necessary than to seem to have this last quality . . . Everybody sees what you appear to be, few feel what you are.’” (Idem.)

5. “Other advice dwells on the merits of fraud, hypocrisy, faithlessness, and related practices, and twentieth-century academicians have noted Machiavelli’s appeal to leaders like Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini. Doubtless there are also hundreds of copies of The Prince at the CIA. Which makes it revealing, and arguably ill advised, that the two political advisers to the two Bush presidents should claim it as a bible of sorts.” (Idem.)

6. “Even in religion, Machiavelli’s advice to emphasize it is relevant to the early-twenty-first century United States. His career in Florence overlapped that of Friar Girolamo Savonarola, the Religious despot who ruled the gasping republic from 1494 to 1498 with a politics of fighting sin and immorality. Doubtless the youthful Machiavelli absorbed how close Savonarola came to achieving a theocracy even in republican Florence. Not a few Americans see a little bit of Savonarola in George W. Bush.” (Idem.)

7. “The advent of a Machiavelli-inclined dynasty in what may be a Machiavellian moment for the American Republic is not a happy coincidence, but one that demands attention. Luckily, the arrival of a U.S. presidential election every fourth year typically brings with it an uncommon intensity of national debate, so perhaps attention will be paid.” (Ibid.; pp. 330-331.)

8. “Since the events and upheavals of 2000-2001, the United States has had an abundance of unfolding transformations to discuss—in economics, national security, and even religion. Of these, many can be considered and managed separately. But one is pervasive enough to make its impact felt almost everywhere: the extent to which national governance has, at least temporarily, moved away from the proven tradition of a leader chosen democratically, by a majority of plurality of the electorate, to the succession of a dynastic heir whose unfortunate inheritance is privileged, covert and globally embroiling.” (Ibid.; p. 331.)

9. With the Machiavellian nature of the Bush administration as a foundation for the bulk of the program, Mark introduces the major points of his congressional candidacy, including and especially the need for a formal, impartial investigation of 9/11, the need to keep American jobs in the United States and the preservation of a verifiable, honest voting process.

10. Having come to power as a result of the Florida vote scam, the Bush administration can be expected to attempt to skew the results of this election as well. Mr. Ortiz discusses the Diebold Company, one of the firms that make the electronic voting machines that will figure prominently in the (probably)

computer-generated vote in 2004. After noting that the head of the firm—a staunch Republican named Wally O’Dell—has vowed to deliver his native state of Ohio for Bush, Mark notes the spotty record of Diebold machines. A Diebold-equipped county in the 2000 election actually began recording a negative vote for Gore! Diebold machines are suspected in the surprise defeat of the popular Democratic Georgia senator Max Clelland in the November, 2002 elections and have been fingered as having provided unreliable results in the March 2003 elections in California. In Nebraska, Republican Senator Chuck Hagel is widely believed to have benefited from electronic vote manipulation as well. Hagel is involved with the company that made the voting software used in the Nebraska elections.

11. Another major element of Mark’s presentation concerned the Sequoia Company. This firm makes touch-screen gambling machines and is another of the major manufacturers of electronic voting machines. Deeply connected to organized crime, Sequoia is a company that should be viewed with a jaundiced eye as well. Imagine if Machiavelli’s Prince had companies like Diebold and Sequoia at his disposal!

12. Mark also highlights pending legislation in Congress that would eliminate some of the loopholes in the electronic voting process, although he doesn’t believe that the bills currently under discussion go far enough.

13. At the conclusion of the broadcast, Mark advocates the implementation of a hand-counted ballot system. For those who find this preposterous, consider that—as Mark notes—Canada has just such a system and it works beautifully!

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