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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