Wednesday, December 18, 2002

So, aside from being a rich asshole what does a typical CNP member do? Being a rich asshole is part of it. Take Howard Ahmanson, for instance, heir to an S&L fortune. Ahmanson is (or was recently at least) on the Board of Governors of the CNP. In addition to being a CNP member, he's spent a lot of money on anti-evolution causes, funding the Discovery Institute's Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture, which is intended to "unseat not just Darwinism but also Darwinism's cultural legacy."

Ahamnson is a diehard Christian Reconstructionist. These are the people who think the Handmaid's Tale is a how-to manual, with an explicit goal of replacing constitutional democracy with Christian theocracy in the U.S. He was for years a member of the board of the Chalcedon Foundation, a reconstructionist "think tank" created by R.J. Rushdoony. Rushdoony was also a long-time CNP member, the CNP having, according to Phyllis Schlafly, "all the best people." Some of his choice quotes can be found here, but it suffices to say that biblical law requires the death penalty, perhaps by stoning, for a whole range of offenses. And people mocked Margaret Atwood.

Anyway, back to Ahmanson. What else does he do with his money aside from funding creationists, the CNP, and Christian Reconstructionists? One thing he does is invest in electronic voting machine companies. Though it appears to be currently unknown whether the investment group he was involved with still retains a controlling stake, it previously did have one in ES&S. Other notable players in ES&S include Senator Chuck Hagel (it's currently run by the McCarthy group, which is run by Hagel's Campaign Treasurer. 80% of Nebraska votes are counted by ES&S machines, and Hagel also owns a stake). News reports stated that Florida counties were very heavily lobbied by Republicans in the Florida executive branch to purchase touch screen machines from ES&S. They are also used in Texas, California, and elsewhere.

Electronic voting machines should top the list of concerns of anyone concerned about the integrity of the voting process ande democracy itself. The fact that scary folks like Ahamnson are involved isn't the only reason. These systems are proprietary, unauditable, unverifiable and have no paper trail. Voter fraud is nothing knew and has been a feature of elections since their dawn. These electronic machines just make it easy and untraceable. The fact that some people whose stated mission in life is to rip up the constitution are potentially involved in their development, marketing, and operation doesn't make me feel more confident about them.

UPDATE: just been informed Rushdoony is dead. post edited to reflect this.. Learn something new every day.
(from no more mister nice blog).