Sunday, April 09, 2006

Hugo Chavez Subverts Sinking Slider over Left Field Fence

Wow. You can't make this up -- and I didn't. Quoth the Sun-Times:

The City Council's most powerful alderman on Friday accused the Venezuelan-owned company at the center of the ballot-counting debacle March 21 of being part of an "international conspiracy to subvert the electoral process" in the United States.


"I'm saying that the potential for tampering with the American electoral process -- where presidential elections can be determined by just one state -- exists here. . . . Don't you think that [Venezuelan President] Hugo Chavez would love to be able to control elections in the United States of America? This is just the beginning."

But ... isn't subverting the election process in Chicago a little like corrupting the morals of Marilyn Chambers?

And what I do not think Ald. Burke -- or anyone else in Chicago -- has any interest whatsoever in investigating is a story that this very blog can now break exclusively. We're scooping them all. ESPN. Sports Illustrated. The Nation. Popular Mechanics.

Please, sit down before reading the next sentence.

Venezuelans subverted the 2005 American League playoffs and World Series.

Clearly, the White Sox were not good enough to go that far without subversion to help them. They didn't even have any .300 hitters. And their weak start this season only bears that out. Sure, they won today -- but barely. They still lost this weekend's series to the lowly Royals, only winning one out of three games.

OK, the Sox maybe beat the Astros fair and square. Houston sucked. But that playoff series against Anaheim was more fixed than Joan Rivers' nose. Not only was that dropped third strike to A.J. not dropped -- it was only strike 2!!! Watch the replays, man! You need hi-def and a Tivo so you can go frame by frame, and some video enhancement software also helps. And the closer you look, the more you see.

Yes, I said it.


Now what are you going to do about it?

POSTSCRIPT: Watch your back, Ted Turner. Ozzie and the Venezuelans could be subverting you next. Ozzie was sighted in the audience at last Monday's WWE RAW event, spurring rumors that the wily Caracasian and his renegade Presidente have joined forces with Vince McMahon.

This, of course, can only mean that Chicago elections are going to become even more crooked in the future -- if that's humanly possible -- and are going to involve a lot more oily musclemen, steroid-clotted bimbos, and bad heavy metal. Again -- if that's humanly possible.


Y2J said...

You don't know how deep this goes, ass clown! Ozzie WAS working with TNA, conveniently owned by an OIL COMPANY! Vince McMahon has stolen the insider track and his quest for world domination is that much closer to reality.

Call him crazy, just don't call him late for governmental overthrowing.

You heard it here first.

Anonymous said...

LOL. Funny blog. But the Burke thing, although seemingly stranger than fiction, has some basis in reality. Venezuela has tried to influence elections all over the hemisphere already, and there's no reason to believe Chavez wouldn't try to do it in The United States. As you mentioned, their baseball players are already forming a Fifth Column. Kidding aside, here is a piece that ran in the Miami Herald about Venezuela's elections:

Forget Dubai -- worry about Smartmatic instead
The greater threat to our nation's security comes not from Dubai and its pro-Western government, but from Venezuela, where software engineers with links to the leftist, anti-American regime of Hugo Chávez are programming electronic voting machines that will soon power U.S. elections.

Congress spent two weeks overreacting to news that Dubai Ports World would operate several American ports, including Miami's, but a better target for their hysteria would be the acquisition by Smartmatic International of California-based Sequoia Voting Systems, whose machines serve millions of U.S. voters. That Smartmatic -- which has been accused by Venezuela's opposition of helping Chávez rig elections in his favor -- now controls a major U.S. e-voting firm should give pause to anybody who thinks that replacing our antiquated butterfly ballots and hanging chads will restore Americans' faith in our electoral process.

Consider the lack of confidence Venezuelans have in their voting system. Anti-Chávez groups have such little faith in Smartmatic's machines that they refuse to run candidates in elections anymore as reports surface of fraud and irregularities from Chávez's 2004 victory in a recall referendum. Yet somehow Smartmatic International and its Venezuelan owners were able to purchase Sequoia last year without the deal receiving any scrutiny from federal regulators -- including the Treasury Department's Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States (CFIUS), which is tasked with determining whether foreign takeovers pose security risks.

CFIUS generally investigates such transactions only when the parties voluntarily submit themselves to review -- which Smartmatic did not do. But it retains the authority to initiate an investigation when it suspects a takeover compromises national security.

Smartmatic has a brief but controversial history. The company was started in Caracas during the late 1990s by engineers Antonio Mugica and Alfredo Anzola. They worked out of downtown Caracas providing small-scale technology services to Latin American banks. Despite having no election experience, the tiny company rocketed from obscurity in 2004 after it was awarded a $100 million contract by the Chávez-dominated National Electoral Council to replace Venezuela's electronic voting machines for the recall vote.

When the council announced the deal, it disingenuously described Smartmatic as a Florida company, though Smartmatic's main operations were in Caracas and the firm had incorporated only a small office in Boca Raton. It then emerged that Smartmatic's ''partner'' in the deal, Bizta Corp., also directed by Anzola and Mugica, was partly owned by the Venezuelan government through a series of intermediary shell corporations. Venezuela initially denied its investment but eventually sold its stake.

When the vote finally came, exit polls by New York's Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates showed Chávez had been defeated 59 to 41 percent; however, when official tallies were announced, the numbers flipped to 58-42 in favor of Chávez. Venezuela's electoral council briefly posted machine-by-machine tallies on the Internet but removed them as mathematicians from MIT, Harvard and other universities began questioning suspicious patterns in the results.

Flush with cash from its Venezuelan adventures, Smartmatic International incorporated in Delaware last year and purchased Sequoia, announcing the deal as a merger between two U.S. companies.

Smartmatic says the recall vote was clean and that it is independent of the Chávez government. Responding to my inquiries, Smartmatic-Sequoias sent a written statement: ``Sequoia's products consist only of voting devices and systems, all of which must be federally and state tested and certified prior to use in an election. As Sequoia's products do not have military, defense or national security applications, they do not fall within the parameters of the matters governed by CFIUS.''

In fact, Smartmatic International is owned by a Netherlands corporation, which is in turn owned by a Curacao corporation, which is in turn held by a number of Curacao trusts controlled by proxy holders who represent unnamed investors, almost certainly among them Venezuelans Mugica and Anzola and possibly others.

Why Smartmatic has chosen yet again to abuse the corporate form apparently to conceal the nationality and identity of its true owners is a question that should worry anyone who votes using one of its machines. Congress panicked upon hearing that our ports would be run by an American ally, Dubai, but never asked whether America's actual enemies in Venezuela have been able to acquire influence in our electoral process.

Richard Brand is a second-year law student at New York University and a former staff writer for The Miami Herald.

Stronger Than Dirt Pete Moss said...

Thanks for the comment, Anonymous. Interesting stuff. Although maybe you can understand why many of us in Chicago found it hard to take the accusations seriously, considering that they came from Ald. Burke, who has about as much standing to gripe about tortious interference with democracy as metaphor metaphor simile simile (see the recent sneaky installation of Burke's wife onto the Illinois Supreme Court). Also, why do we need to import Venezuelans to mess up our elections? We already have Diebold. I don't trust Hugo Chavez any more than I can throw him right down the middle of the plate, but this sounds like a stretch. He can't even figure out how to give free gas to the CTA -- and the theory also runs afoul of Occam's Razor. It's much easier to believe that Chicago election judges don't know how to operate machinery. Have you ever met these people? (No offense to actual election judges or their loved ones, although I doubt any of them are able to operate a world wide web anyway.) If incompetent staff and faulty equipment are evidence of a conspiracy, then they are all around us. And maybe they are. Hell, what do I know? Who am I to stand in the way of a perfectly good conspiracy theory? Plus, I think that if you look closely enough at both Diebold and Smartmatic/Sequoia, their ancestries go right back to the Third Crusade, circa 1190 AD, with direct ties through history with the Masonic Lodge, the Bavarian Illuminati, and the Knights Templar. Plus, I'm pretty sure Rob Reiner and Alec Baldwin have something to do with it.