Tuesday, November 30, 2004

What's the Matter with Democrats?

What's the Matter with Democrats?
By Lakshmi Chaudhry, AlterNet. Posted November 30, 2004.

Author Thomas Frank tells us why the Democratic Party lost the 2004 elections and how it needs to rebuild – and address the needs of American working families.
It's hard find anyone on the left who hasn't heard of Tom Frank's latest book, "What's the Matter with Kansas?" Its brilliant analysis of the political impact of the culture wars made it a must-read from almost the moment it came out in June. That the book was published in an election year made it all the more timely – and, as it turns out, prophetic. On Nov. 3, many progressives were left shaking our heads and asking ourselves, "What's the matter with America?"
The outcome of the 2004 elections offered most visible and spectacular confirmation of Frank's analysis of backlash politics. In red states across the nation, working class Americans put their social values ahead of their economic well-being and voted for George Bush. It wasn't the economy, stupid! It was god, guns, and, of course, gays.
So what now?...

How Things Work in Texas

How Things Work in Texas
By Molly Ivins, AlterNet. Posted November 30, 2004.

Wendy Gramm and State Farm Insurance visit the Dollar Docket. Goody, goody, gumdrop. We could get Phil Gramm back again, this time as secretary of the treasury. Oh how I've missed that little ray of sunshine, the bleeding heart from Bryan, the man who thinks poor people are all fat. As author Jim Hightower used to say, if you need a heart transplant, try to get Phil Gramm's – it's never been used.
Just what we need for treasury secretary: the banking industry's errand boy. The man who helped bring us Enron.
According to The Washington Post, President Bush wants a new economic team. Can't imagine why. Oh, here it is: It's "part of Bush's preparation for sending Congress an ambitious second-term domestic agenda." He wants someone "who can better relate to Congress and be more effective in dealing with financial markets and television interviewers."
There you have it – Phil's perfect for the job. Mr. Charm. And he knows how to talk those seniors into getting rid of Social Security. He's in practice. He's been back here in Texas lobbying to make it legal to sell "dead peasant" life insurance to the Teacher Retirement System....

Senate GOP set to go 'nuclear' over judges

Senate GOP set to go 'nuclear' over judges

November 28, 2004

By CHUCK LINDELL The Cox News Service
WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans, boldly confident after their Nov. 2 electoral success, are preparing to end months of frustrating delays over President Bush's judicial picks by hitting Democrats with Republican's ultimate legislative weapon.
But the Republican threat to neuter long-cherished filibuster rules by steamrolling Democrats is risky — so potentially destructive that Capitol Hill calls it the "nuclear option." Democratic retaliation would be swift and long-lasting, raising the prospect of escalating clashes in a body that prides itself on gentility and cool judgment.
Even so, Republican leaders are signaling their intent to go nuclear in word and deed.
"We're going to use every tool we possibly can," said Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., who also unveiled a kinder, gentler phrase for the potential rules change: the "constitutional option."
"Republicans are loaded for bear, spoiling for a confrontation with Senate Democrats on judicial appointments," said Norm Ornstein, an expert on Congress for the conservative-leaning American Enterprise Institute. "For a lot of conservatives, this has really become an issue that leaves them passionate."
Democrats, with a new leader after the election defeat of Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., have yet to form a filibuster strategy for the 109th Congress, which convenes in January. But early indications show continued passion for blocking nominees considered too conservative, including Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owen....

What Now for John Edwards?

What Now for John Edwards?
McClatchy Newspapers
Nov 30, 2004, 06:38
Sen. John Edwards says he wants to keep fighting for health care, homeland security and relief for the poor and will decide in the next few weeks how he'll do that.

Edwards said last week that he is deciding whether to start his own political organization or go another route.

"We've had lots of proposals and offers," said Edwards, in a telephone interview from his Georgetown home. "I'm trying to decide right now what to do, what makes the most sense, what will allow me to do the things I think are the most important."

Edwards said his first priority is helping his wife get well. Elizabeth Edwards is fighting breast cancer and had her second treatment last Tuesday. In addition, Edwards is closing his Senate office, leaving the job he held for six years.

He begins his "Thank You Tarheels Tour" of North Carolina this week with stops in six cities over three days. He conducted a similar tour when he was elected as a political novice in 1998, holding town hall meetings, visiting newspapers, talking with constituents....

Monday, November 29, 2004

Turkeys in Washington ruin our holiday spirit

Molly Ivins
Creators Syndicate
Gee... thanks
Turkeys in Washington ruin our holiday spirit
AUSTIN, Texas -- As we continue to digest our Thanksgiving dinners and the ensuing leftovers, let us also devote some time to digesting a few political developments that have flown in under the wider media radar recently.
* Mental health experts say we face a crisis because one in six returning soldiers from Iraq is suffering from post-traumatic stress, and the number is expected to grow rapidly. You will not be amazed to learn that the Pentagon did not anticipate the problem, since it has yet to anticipate anything about Iraq correctly.

A study by the Walter Reed Army Institute found 15.6 percent of Marines and 17.1 percent of soldiers surveyed after tours in Iraq suffer from major depression, generalized anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can cause flashbacks, sleep disorders, violent outbursts, panic attacks, acute anxiety and emotional numbness. The numbers are expected to be higher among reservists than among career soldiers...

What a revoltin’ development THIS is!

Ed Naha: 'What a revoltin’ development THIS is!'
Posted on Monday, November 29 @ 10:16:51 EST
By Ed Naha
If you're like me, your anger over the last election has slowly morphed into a feeling of profound disgust. Personally, I can't bear to read any story that begins with "Bush Vows," "Bush Promises," "Bush Tells," "Bush Wants," "Bush Warns," "Bush Pushes," "Bush Orders" or, my personal favorite, "Bush Provokes." Only three weeks after the election and I'm already Bushed-out.
It's not like we don't already know the messes the next four years are going to bring us, unless some savvy Republicans start gnawing off their political paws like wolves caught in a trap of their own making - once they realize that obeying all of lame duck Dubya's orders could end their own careers. This next Administration is going to resemble "The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight," but with far deadlier results.
At no time does BushCo. and reality occupy the same space. Case in point? Fallujah. Remember how that beleaguered city was described as a hotbed of foreign insurgents, led by foreign rabble? Nope. The whole insurgency was led by a couple of local boys.
An electrician and a mosque preacher.

Beware perils of overreaching, GOP is warned

Beware perils of overreaching, GOP is warned
Analysts say agenda could backfire
By William Neikirk
Tribune senior correspondent
Published November 29, 2004
WASHINGTON -- Moving swiftly to consolidate their control over government in the wake of their big election triumph, President Bush and Republican leaders in Congress are facing a different kind of threat--themselves.
Political analysts warn that overly aggressive efforts to push a conservative agenda could leave Bush and his allies vulnerable to charges of political overreaching, and ultimately cause a voter backlash....

Sunday, November 28, 2004

The Politics of Victimization

The Politics of Victimization

[Mel Gilles, who has worked for many years as an advocate for victims of domestic abuse, draws some parallels between her work and the reaction of many Democrats to the election.-- Mathew Gross]

Watch Dan Rather apologize for not getting his facts straight, humiliated before the eyes of America, voluntarily undermining his credibility and career of over thirty years. Observe Donna Brazille squirm as she is ridiculed by Bay Buchanan, and pronounced irrelevant and nearly non-existent. Listen as Donna and Nancy Pelosi and Senator Charles Schumer take to the airwaves saying that they have to go back to the drawing board and learn from their mistakes and try to be better, more likable, more appealing, have a stronger message, speak to morality. Watch them awkwardly quote the bible, trying to speak the new language of America. Surf the blogs, and read the comments of dismayed, discombobulated, confused individuals trying to figure out what they did wrong. Hear the cacophony of voices, crying out, “Why did they beat me?”

And then ask anyone who has ever worked in a domestic violence shelter if they have heard this before.

They will tell you, every single day.

The answer is quite simple. They beat us because they are abusers. We can call it hate. We can call it fear. We can say it is unfair. But we are looped into the cycle of violence, and we need to start calling the dominating side what they are: abusive. And we need to recognize that we are the victims of verbal, mental, and even, in the case of Iraq, physical violence.

As victims we can’t stop asking ourselves what we did wrong. We can’t seem to grasp that they will keep hitting us and beating us as long as we keep sticking around and asking ourselves what we are doing to deserve the beating.

Listen to George Bush say that the will of God excuses his behavior. Listen, as he refuses to take responsibility, or express remorse, or even once, admit a mistake. Watch him strut, and tell us that he will only work with those who agree with him, and that each of us is only allowed one question (soon, it will be none at all; abusers hit hard when questioned; the press corps can tell you that). See him surround himself with only those who pledge oaths of allegiance. Hear him tell us that if we will only listen and do as he says and agree with his every utterance, all will go well for us (it won’t; we will never be worthy).

And watch the Democratic Party leadership walk on eggshells, try to meet him, please him, wash the windows better, get out that spot, distance themselves from gays and civil rights. See them cry for the attention and affection and approval of the President and his followers. Watch us squirm. Watch us descend into a world of crazy-making, where logic does not work and the other side tells us we are nuts when we rely on facts. A world where, worst of all, we begin to believe we are crazy....

Pull Welcome Mat for 'War Criminal' Bush? 

Pull Welcome Mat for 'War Criminal' Bush? 

Vancouver legal experts join movement to rule the U.S. president a violator of Geneva and U.N. conventions.
Fri., Nov. 26th 2004

Judith Ince
When George W. Bush visits Canada this week, he's sure to get an earful from demonstrators who see him more as a "war crimes president" than a "war president."
While activists prepare to put down their unwelcome mats, lawyers have been sharpening arguments to hold the president accountable for his actions in Iraq and Afghanistan. But amid the flurry of legal briefs flying across the country, the police, the immigration authorities, and the Minister of Justice seem to be unprepared for a brewing collision between Canadian law and political expediency.
Gail Davidson, a Vancouver lawyer and co-chair of Lawyers Against the War, says the prime minister should rescind his invitation to Bush, because the president is a "major war criminal."  Her arguments are familiar.  The extent of civilian deaths during the American conquest of Iraq—currently estimated at 100,000 —are chief among them. 
Prominent jurists have echoed Davidson's claims.  Most recently, Louise Arbour, the former war crimes prosecutor and current United Nations' High Commissioner for Human Rights, has called for an investigation into crimes against the Geneva Conventions during the recent American assault on Fallujah.

Saving Room for the Rotten Pie

Saving Room for the Rotten Pie
By Molly Ivins, AlterNet. Posted November 23, 2004.

If the worst is yet to come from this administration, it's going to be hard to save room for all the outrage and indignation that's coming our way.
Dan Green of New York City says of the election results, "You can't be depressed now, the worst is yet to come." Following that good advice, I intended to keep my indignation dry and save the outrage for when it is really needed, kind of like saving room for the pumpkin pie after Thanksgiving dinner. If we're going to get through the next four years, we have to pace ourselves, I concluded.
But here it is, not even three weeks into the new Bush regime, and already I'm jaw-dropped, you've-got-to-be-kidding mad....

Porter Goss' WIA – Worthless Intelligence Agency

Porter Goss' WIA – Worthless Intelligence Agency
By Chalmers Johnson, Tomdispatch.com. Posted November 27, 2004.

With the re-election of President Bush and the appointment of Porter Goss to bring the CIA under White House control, it becomes increasingly hard to see how the republic will survive.
Two weeks after George Bush's re-election, Porter J. Goss, the newly appointed Director of Central Intelligence, wrote an internal memorandum to all employees of his agency telling them, "[Our job is to] support the administration and its policies in our work. As agency employees, we do not identify with, support, or champion opposition to the administration or its policies."[1] Translated from bureaucrat-speak, this directive says, "You now work for the Republican Party. The intelligence you produce must first and foremost protect the President from being held accountable for the delusions he has concerning Iraq, Osama bin Laden, preventive war, torturing captives, democracy growing from the barrel of a gun, and the 'war on terror.'"
This approach is not new, even though former CIA analyst Melvin A. Goodman declares that "the current situation is the worst intelligence scandal in the nation's history."[2] Back in 1973, when James Schlesinger briefly succeeded Richard Helms as CIA director, he proclaimed on arrival at the agency's Virginia "campus": "I am here to see that you guys don't screw Richard Nixon."[3] Schlesinger underscored his point by saying that he would be reporting directly to White House political adviser Bob Haldeman and not to National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger. In the contemporary White House, Goss need not bother going directly to Karl Rove since Bush's outgoing and incoming National Security Advisers, Condoleezza Rice and Stephen J. Hadley, have both been working for months under Rove's direction primarily to re-elect the President....

Does Bush Now Have Political Capital to Spend?

Does Bush Now Have Political Capital to Spend?
A Look at the Historical Record Suggests the Answer Is No
Friday, Nov. 19, 2004
At his first post-reelection news conference, President Bush remarked, "I earned capital in the campaign, political capital, and now I intend to spend it."
Political capital is a vague concept. Yet no one can doubt the gist of the President's meaning. Clearly, he believes he can now get his way politically in Washington. When "capital" is used in the political context, it means an advantage, or an accumulations of favors, or influence, that will give its holder political sway.
Bush's 2004 victory, however, has given him only a slight bit of additional political capital. Rhetoric notwithstanding, he is not, politically speaking, a wealthy man. In truth, he was politically bankrupt after 2000, and he is not all that much stronger today.
Just check the historical record, if you will. Especially given his claim to be a "wartime" president, Bush's victory rings as hollow as our history has to offer. The mainstream news media has played it as a big win. In fact, it is nothing of the kind. Puffery, pretension, and propaganda may create the image of political capital but these illusions can vanish quickly....

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Camouflaging fear and loathing as 'moral values

Timothy M. Gay
Camouflaging fear and loathing as 'moral values
Minneapolis Star Tribune
November 23, 2004 GAY1123

One of my favorite teachers was a wiry little man with thick, horn-rimmed glasses who taught fifth grade. It's been 40 years, but I can still see his crooked grin and hear his voice cracking with excitement.
He made learning fun, constantly getting the class to act out skits to reinforce one lesson or another. His eyes were keen and his heart was big: He always made sure that kids from broken homes or the wrong side of the tracks got starring roles in our productions. He helped implant in me a lifelong love of history. I was out sick with the flu for a couple of days that year; he waited until I returned to resume class readings of a Civil War book that he knew I loved. He was everything a great teacher is supposed to be: unfailingly kind, considerate and dedicated.
He was, also, we learned much later, gay. But because this was the mid-1960s in a small town, he didn't dare live as such -- especially since he doubled as the school's principal. Only in his twilight years did he follow his heart, moving to a city to live as a gay American.

The Resounding Silence Continues

The Resounding Silence Continues
By Anthony Wade, Bellaciao
Silence. That is all we continue to hear from our media. There was a time in America when the media would actually practice journalism. They would investigate. They would corroborate. They would scrutinize. In modern day America , this must be proving to be too daunting for our faux media. It seems to be easier to create news, based on what is fed to them. It must be far simpler to just accept what the administration says, instead of actually digging a little to find out if the facts coincide. The problem is that the American people deserve better. They deserve the truth, not parroting of created news stories. Votergate 2004 continues to swell all around us, yet the silence remains deafening. It is beyond silent, it is insulting.
When the cries first rang out from the Internet following the election there was just a sense that things did not seem quite right. Exit polls had clearly shown a Kerry landslide was imminent, yet in swing state after swing state, Bush tallies kept coming up on top. The truly bizarre thing was that in both Ohio and Florida , it was the heavy democratic counties that had not reported at the end and when they did come in, Bush actually gained votes in both states....

Exit poll data in Republic of Georgia vs. USA

Sara S. DeHart, Ph.D.: 'Exit poll data in Republic of Georgia vs. USA'
Posted on Tuesday, November 23 @ 10:13:02 EST
Something is rotten in Denmark
By Sara S. DeHart, Ph.D., Online Journal
Dr. Stephen Freeman is a University of Pennsylvania professor whose expertise includes research methodology. In a recent paper titled The Unexplained Exit Poll Data he reports that the International Foundations sponsored an exit poll in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia during their November 2003 parliamentary election and projected a victory for the main opposition party. [1] Exit poll data is considered so robust that when the sitting government counted the votes and announced that its own slate of candidates had won, supporters of the opposition stormed the Parliament, and the president, Eduard A. Shevardnadze, resigned his office under pressure from the United States and Russia. [2]
Contrast that event with what happened in the United States in the recent national election when in three battle ground states, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida, with data based on exit polls predicted an outcome in variance with the tallied vote outcomes. Major news organizations, including CNN changed their exit poll data to conform with the tallied outcomes, most of which came from paperless, electronic voting equipment. In each case the tallied outcomes favored the incumbent, George W. Bush. The odds for such an occurrence is one in 250 million for this to have occurred by chance. [1]...

Friday, November 19, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving! Saratoga Spirit will resume regular postings after Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Hearings on Ohio voting put 2004 election in doubt

Hearings on Ohio voting put 2004 election in doubt
by Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman
November 18, 2004
Highly-charged, jam-packed hearings held here in Columbus have cast serious doubt on the true outcome of the presidential election.
On Saturday, November 13, and Monday, November 15, the Ohio Election Protection Coalition’s public hearings in Columbus solicited extensive sworn first-person testimony from 32 of Ohio voters, precinct judges, poll workers, legal observers, party challengers. An additional 66 people provided written affidavits of election irregularities. The unavoidable conclusion is that this year's election in Ohio was deeply flawed, that thousands of Ohioans were denied their right to vote, and that the ultimate vote count is very much in doubt.
Most importantly, the testimony has revealed a widespread and concerted effort on the part of Republican Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell to deny primarily African-American and young voters the right to cast their ballots within a reasonable time. By depriving precincts of adequate numbers of functioning voting machines, Blackwell created waits of three to eleven hours, driving tens of thousands of likely Democratic voters away from the polls and very likely affecting the outcome of the Ohio vote count, which in turn decided the national election....

Colin and the crazies

Colin and the crazies
The culling of the US secretary of state is symptomatic of a swing even further to the right

Sidney Blumenthal
Thursday November 18, 2004
The Guardian

Colin Powell's final scene was a poignant but harsh exposure of his self-delusion and humiliation. The former general held in his head an idea of himself as sacrificing and disciplined. But the good soldier was dismissed at last by his commander-in-chief as a bad egg. Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld regarded him either as a useful tool or a vain obstructionist. They deployed his reputation as the most popular man and the most credible face in the US for their own ends, and when he contributed an independent view he was isolated and undermined.

As secretary of state has been a peripheral figure, even a fig leaf, ever since his climactic moment before the UN security council on which he staked his credibility. There he presented the case that WMD in Iraq required war, a case consisting of 26 falsehoods, and about which he later claimed to have been "deceived". When the statue of Saddam was toppled, he offered President Bush 17 volumes of his Future of Iraq project, but it was rejected. Predicting everything from the looting to the insurgency, and suggesting how it might be avoided, the project was politically incorrect.

Powell had wanted to stay on for the first six months of Bush's second term to help shepherd a new Middle East peace process, but the president insisted on his resignation. ....

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Dear World: Sorry About Bush

Dear World: Sorry About Bush
No, seriously. Very, very sorry. How sorry? Well, let America show you ... in pictures
- By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist
Wednesday, November 17, 2004

It's a movement. It's a phenomenon. It's a Web site. Or maybe it's far more than that. No one can really be sure.

No matter what it is, it's called http://sorryeverybody.com/ and it expresses, better than any outpouring so far, a sentiment that's omnipresent and palpable and still going strong, and every single Democrat and every single Kerry supporter and every single liberal of any stripe whatsoever probably felt it like a white-hot stab in the heart the minute Kerry's concession speech hit the airwaves and it undoubtedly went something like this:

Dear world: We are so very, very sorry. For Bush. For our bitterly divided and confused nation. For what's to come. Please know that tens of millions of us did not vote for him. Please do not hate us. Not all of us, anyway. OK, maybe Utah. Do you know where Utah is? Never mind.

See, not only is half of America still deeply dejected about the onslaught of Dubya Dubya II, but much of that half wants the world to know just how crestfallen we are, and just how awful we feel for inflicting Bush and his middle-finger foreign policy on them like a virus, a toxin, a nasty STD, yet again.

Some of us — hopefully most of us — are trying to understand and appreciate the effect our recent election will have on you, the citizens of the rest of the world. As our so-called leaders redouble their efforts to screw you over, please remember that some of us — hopefully most of us — are truly, truly sorry. And we'll say we're sorry, even on the behalf of the ones who aren't....

The DeLay two-step

The DeLay two-step
Mark Kleiman
In 1993, when Dan Rostenkowsi was indicted, the Republicans in the House were looking for a way of pinning his strictly private financial scandal on the other Democrats in the House. Someone had a clever idea: make it a rule of the House Republican Conference that anyone in a leadership position who was indicted would have to step down. So the rule was duly passed.

Like many of the ideas behind the Gingrich Revolution (remember term limits?), that turns out to be sauce for the goose only. With Tom DeLay facing indictment in the fundraising scandal surrounding the Texamander, the House Republican Conference is expected to rescind the rule tomorrow. (Hat tips: The Stakeholder, via Kos.)

What should we do about it? Why, we should make them pay.

The contemporary Republican Party has demonstrated a complete lack of scruple and no sense of limits in either taking power or using power. (The current "purge" -- their word, not mine -- of the Directorate of Operations at the CIA to rid it of those not personally loyal to GWB is just the latest example.)

If they keep playing football and we keep playing croquet, guess who's going to keep winning?

Pelosi and Reid, and the rest of us, need to take a page from the Republican playbook of 1993-2000. No surrender, no compromise, no bipartisanship, no civility, no reaching out to Republican officeholders (as opposed to detachable Republican voters): nothing but scorched earth from here to victory.

No, it won't be pretty. But continuing to be ruled by these thugs is worse.

America's Reputation Destroyed by Iraq Invasion

America's Reputation Destroyed by Iraq Invasion
Nov 17, 2004, 08:17

Secretary of State Colin Powell is heading off to Europe soon to try to heal divisions generated by the Iraq war. No less pernicious, according to some analysts, are that war's effects on the U.S. reputation in Latin America.

The Iraq war, says former Mexican Foreign Minister Jorge Castaneda, has "contributed to a wide, deep and probably lasting collapse of sympathy for the United States" in the region.

Castaneda, a candidate for the Mexican presidency in the 2006 elections, is hardly a knee-jerk leftist. He served as foreign minister in the pre-Sept. 11 period, when U.S.-Mexican relations were at a high point.

Beyond the war itself, Castaneda says Latin American faith in the United States was sullied by the disclosures that overthrown Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had not been collaborating with al-Qaida, and the unconventional weapons thought to have been in Saddam's possession never materialized.

Michael Shifter, an analyst at the Washington-based Inter-American Dialogue, says the Iraq war was a grim reminder for Latin Americans of U.S. intervention in the hemisphere. Because of Iraq, he says, "It's going to take a long time to restore the trust. A lot of goodwill has been depleted."

With so much of Washington's attention and resources directed toward Iraq, there has been neglect of hemispheric issues, Shifter says, describing U.S. policy as one of "indifference and disengagement." Democracy for Cuba may be a priority for the United States but not for Latin America, he said.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Bush Places Order for Rice

Daily Reality Check
Bush Places Order for Rice

The worst-kept secret in Washington, DC, finally transpired: Secretary of State Colin Powell is out and, if President Bush has his way, current national security adviser Condoleezza Rice will be in. Ladies and gentlemen, the moderates have officially left the building.
Remember all that talk of the Bush administration's need to reach across the aisle and let the healing begin? Well, that was only two weeks – and about 2,137 resignations – ago. Instead of minding the gap, President Bush has decided to reach out to his right, as if his hawkish conservative supporters needed placating.
There are three main problems with President Bush's selection of Rice as the new Secretary of State:
1. Powell was a moderate, Rice is a hawk. Which means that, under the new Bush lineup, the hawks outnumber everyone else by a final score of Quite a Few to Zero. While Powell was often ineffective as the administration's only voice of moderation, now even he's gone and we're left with this lineup: Secretary of State Rice, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, and Vice President Cheney. That's three people with very similar points of view, all advising the president on foreign policy. No matter what those views are (but especially in this case when we know what those views are and we know the unimpressive results), that is not a healthy way to govern. This group will sing together like the Vienna Boys Choir – that is, if all the Vienna Boys Choir sang about was invading other countries.
2. Rice has a credibility gap the size of the Grand Canyon. Let's put it this way: If President Bush ever needs someone to reprise Powell's infamous UN presentation that was chock-full of misleading facts, then he chose wisely with Rice. Unfortunately, that was the most inglorious moment of Powell's tenure. Also unfortunately, Rice seems to be amply qualified for this particular task. She relentlessly promoted misleading intelligence before the Iraq War, insisting that Saddam Hussein was in fact actively pursuing a nuclear weapon, and that aluminum tubes were proof. We know now that Hussein had no such nuclear program, and the aforementioned tubes were unsuitable for such a purpose. But Rice continued to make such statements about WMD even after the initial thrust of the war.
Rice's handling of the 9/11 Commission was similarly disappointing. After initially refusing to appear in front of the commission, she finally sat down and gave a disastrous performance. One lowlight: she claimed that the now-infamous Presidential Daily Briefing (PDB) from August 6, 2001 said "nothing about the threat of attack in the US." The title of the PDB? "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States."
3. Rice wasn't a particularly effective national security adviser. One of Rice's main jobs as NSA was to manage interagency conflicts within the national security community. Thanks in part to her biased interested (see above point #2), Rice had problems with this task, leading to less than ideal results. "State Department officials dislike her intensely because they love Powell and believe her staff demeaned the State Department," said one former State Department official. In short, Rice has been a divider, not a uniter. She hasn't had any particular success at pulling together our own agencies, and as Secretary of State, her job of top American diplomat would be complicated abroad by her hard-earned reputation as Bush confidant here at home. In short, Rice has willingly thrust herself into the Bush administration crowd that doesn't play well with others, but her new role demands it. It's a difficult position for even a seasoned diplomat to handle, and Rice's track record of diplomacy while serving as NSA isn't much of a confidence booster.
Rather than learn any lessons from a divisive campaign season, Bush is hard at work insulating an already Igloo-like bubble that he's constructed for himself. Remember those times when President Bush couldn't name anything he's done wrong? Personnel decisions like this one are a big reason why. Moves like this don't reek of introspection on the president's part, and they certainly don't invite an infusion of new ideas into a foreign policy team that's appeared to have lost its way. Instead, Powell's departure and Rice's subsequent promotion is a clear sign from President Bush that he's unwilling to fully examine the failures of his first administration, and would prefer simply to offer more of the same.



CYNTHIA WEBB ASKS WHETHER TELECOM IS BACK? Well, maybe for the oligopolistic Baby Bells, but the innovative technology players are struggling hard to get us the infrastructure that America's so-called "information age" needs but doesn't yet have.

The news on broadband and high-speed, big information pipe connectivity is mixed.

But to know where America should be, we should be looking at where other nations are.

National Journal's Tech Daily reported on 19 October 2004 that a new report from the Int'l Telecommunications Union (ITU) showed the United States dropping from 11th to 13th in broadband penetration among 75 nations from 2002 to 2003.

In the year 2000, America was #3. Now we are #13.

The top three in broadband penetration today are South Korea, Hong Kong and Canada.

For frustrated broadband believers, here's an article that says it all (needs a subscription) regarding South Korea's broadband preeminence over America. The intro: "Nearly everyone in S. Korea has Internet access that puts Americans' to shame. Result: This little nation could have a giant influence on the digital future."

I hope Telecom (and Broadband) do come back. But so far, Michael Powell's reign at the Federal Communications Commission and Bush's poor broadband policy execution are making America's information age roadmap look pathetic.

-- Steve Clemons

The Iraq Solution – Coming Sooner Than You Think

posted 16 Nov 04
The Iraq Solution – Coming Sooner Than You Think
Without Reservation
A biweekly column by Karen Kwiatkowski, Lt. Col. USAF (ret.)
Professor Mark LeVine has suggested "Four Solutions for Fallujah" in language suitably West Bank and Euro-colonial.
One solution is based on a Syrian case. In 1982, Asad put down a revolt in the city of Hama. The Syrian army killed 20,000 citizens and flattened the city. The Hama solution was a "demonstration" intended to deter other cities from getting similar ideas.
A second alternative is the 2002 Israeli siege of Jenin. A highly criticized and brutal offensive, in the end it succeeded in wearing down the resistance and maintaining Israeli strategic advantage.
A third is the 1920 British experience in Iraq. A massive display of force on the resistance backfired and further inflamed anger against the British. After losing 3,000 of 50,000 troops, the British withdrew later that year. The 1920 expulsion is known in Iraq as Ath Thawra al Iraqiyya al Kubra, or the Great Iraqi Revolution, and it unified the country across religious and ethnic lines.
A fourth alternative put forth by LeVine is "the more unsettling 'French' scenario" where "... a growing awareness of the human toll of the occupation, coupled with levels of political corruption that are already staggering would lend force to a desire to internationalize the next phase of Iraq's transition to full sovereignty."
While we haven't heard a lot from the top brass at the Pentagon regarding their real strategy for winning the peace in Iraq, there is plenty of advice to go around.....

Monday, November 15, 2004

Do the Exit Polls Indicate Voter Fraud?

November 12, 2004
Do the Exit Polls Indicate Voter Fraud?

There are two lines of analysis that are typically used to justify the claim that the 2004 election result was somehow stolen by the GOP. The first is various bits and pieces of "evidence"--the precincts in Cuyahoga County, Ohio with more votes than registered voters, the counties in Florida (Baker, Holmes) with huge Bush margins but big Democratic registration advantages, etc.--that supposedly indicate vote tampering. I find this evidence profoundly unconvincing and think Farhad Manjoo and others have it basically right: there's not a lot of there there. Vote tampering does not appear to have happened on the scale necessary to affect this election.

The second line of analysis invokes the now-infamous early releases of the NEP exit poll data, which showed Kerry with a 3 point national lead, solidly ahead in Ohio and also leading in Iowa, Nevada and New Mexico. The reasoning, laid out most clearly in a paper, "The Unexplained Exit Poll Discrepancy", by Steven Freeman of the University of Pennsylvania, is that exit polls are very accurate surveys and highly unlikely to produce the results referred to above by chance if the real world results truly were +3 Bush, etc. Therefore, the reasoning goes, our measurement of the real world (the actual vote counts) must be wrong and the original exit poll results right. Conclusion: there's something very funny going on with this election....

A Parable for Our Times: The Rise and Fall of Newt Gingrich

November 13 / 14, 2004
A Parable for Our Times: The Rise and Fall of Newt Gingrich

The 1994 elections marked the biggest Republican victory in a generation. Led by right-wing ideologue Newt Gingrich, the GOP took control of both houses of Congress for the first time in 40 years--in what was known as the "Republican Revolution."

In the House, Republicans made a net gain of 52 seats for a comfortable majority. In the Senate, nine seats swung to the Republicans. Well-known Democratic power brokers like House Speaker Tom Foley (D-Wash.) and New York Gov. Mario Cuomo were beaten by relative unknowns. Plus, reactionary ballot measures like California's anti-immigrant Proposition 187 and a Georgia "two-strikes-and-you're-out" sentencing referendum won by overwhelming margins.

Gingrich claimed that the election results represented a "political sea change"--and a mandate for the Republican right. He vowed to pass the Contract with America--a 10-point program of right-wing proposals that included tax cuts for the rich, welfare "reform," harsh restrictions on government spending and various other items that had been on the Republican wish list for years--within the first 100 days of their reign.

The mainstream media hung on every word from the Gingrichites and produced countless stories familiar to us today--about how the Republicans would be free to do whatever they wanted in Washington for years to come.

It didn't turn out that way. Not a single bill from the Contract with America became law. The popularity of the Republicans steadily faded. And Newt Gingich, the leader of the "revolution," became the most hated man in American politics.

In reality, the Republican victories in the 1994 elections didn't represent a "political sea change." They were a protest vote against the Clinton administration that had taken over the White House two years before.

Clinton won the presidency by capitalizing on widespread hope for "change" after 12 years of Republican rule. But he didn't deliver on anything he promised. Two years into the Clinton presidency, most people didn't feel that their lives had improved. Shortly before the 1994 election, the centerpiece of Clinton's campaign--the promise to enact health care reform--collapsed in the face of Republican opposition and Clinton's own willingness to bargain away his proposals.

The disillusionment with Clinton provided openings for Republicans to exploit voters' angers and fears. On Election Day, the demoralized Democratic base stayed home--while Republicans turned out their supporters in large numbers.

But the Gingrichites confused this anti-Clinton vote with a "mandate" from voters to impose right-wing policies. Once the Republicans' hit list of attacks on workers and the poor was unmasked, it sparked a backlash....


November 11, 2004
Have Extensive "Political Capital" For Blocking Presidential Extremism

I just spent an hour totaling the Senate results for the entire country. Democratic candidates received 3,184,943 more votes than Republicans nationally - a victory margin of nearly 4% in the popular vote. Disproportional representation in the Senate accounts for the difference. Barbara Boxer's margin of victory in California alone (1,956,938 votes more than her Republican challenger), is greater than the Republican margins in Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, South Dakota, North Dakota, North Carolina, South Carolina, Oklahoma, New Hampshire, Missouri, and Utah put together. This may be the most votes ever received nationally by a political party for a Senate campaign.

What a mandate. In fact, the Democratic Senatorial mandate is virtually identical to the Bush's self-proclaimed Presidential "mandate."....

On 'Moral Values,' It's Blue in a Landslide

NY Times
On 'Moral Values,' It's Blue in a Landslide
Published: November 14, 2004
...There's only one problem with the storyline proclaiming that the country swung to the right on cultural issues in 2004. Like so many other narratives that immediately calcify into our 24/7 media's conventional wisdom, it is fiction. Everything about the election results - and about American culture itself - confirms an inescapable reality: John Kerry's defeat notwithstanding, it's blue America, not red, that is inexorably winning the culture war, and by a landslide. Kerry voters who have been flagellating themselves since Election Day with a vengeance worthy of "The Passion of the Christ" should wake up and smell the Chardonnay.

The blue ascendancy is nearly as strong among Republicans as it is among Democrats. Those whose "moral values" are invested in cultural heroes like the accused loofah fetishist Bill O'Reilly and the self-gratifying drug consumer Rush Limbaugh are surely joking when they turn apoplectic over MTV. William Bennett's name is now as synonymous with Las Vegas as silicone. The Democrats' Ashton Kutcher is trumped by the Republicans' Britney Spears. Excess and vulgarity, as always, enjoy a vast, bipartisan constituency, and in a democracy no political party will ever stamp them out.

If anyone is laughing all the way to the bank this election year, it must be the undisputed king of the red cultural elite, Rupert Murdoch. Fox News is a rising profit center within his News Corporation, and each red-state dollar that it makes can be plowed back into the rest of Fox's very blue entertainment portfolio....

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Dirty work at Philly polls

Margie Burns: 'Dirty work at Philly polls'
Posted on Saturday, November 13 @ 09:13:09 EST
By Margie Burns, Online Journal
In Philadelphia, the Republican Party hired local people including down-and-out addicts as neighborhood poll watchers, paid the poll watchers to challenge their neighbors' voting, and sent visiting teams of burly enforcers in window-tinted vans in a mixed strategy of intimidation, pay and misinformation to suppress voting on November 2, according to a Brooklyn law student who worked as a poll monitor.
"I witnessed the difficulties of getting out the vote firsthand, exacerbated by the Republican Party's operations in urban, predominantly Democratic communities," she says.
Third-year Brooklyn Law student Anne Edinger went to Philadelphia's largely African-American Ward 16, division 8, on Election Day. Edinger was assigned to the Bouvier Street polling place with a friend and another volunteer. "It was clearly low income, overwhelmingly pro-Kerry, and, according to a police officer, a drug area."
"We were volunteering for [Election Protection 2004, a nonpartisan organization], and our purpose was to make sure that any eligible citizen got to vote." Election Protection 2004 was formed after the 2000 election by several groups, including the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
First hurdle: they arrived when the polls opened, at 7 a.m., to find the street shut down for road construction in an inner-city neighborhood that seldom sees amenities. "The crew was tearing up the entire street with a jackhammer, which would keep it closed, noisy, and dusty for the entire day. To access the polling place, located in a private residence, you had to walk 500 feet through this dust. The foreman said that since the work was for the gas company he could not suspend the job."
The street crew advised Edinger to get a police order....

Game Boy

Global Eye
Game Boy

By Chris Floyd
Published: November 12, 2004

We said it here over and over, going back to 2003: If the U.S. presidential election was close enough to be gamed, it damn sure would be gamed. And the chunks of evidence now rolling in -- like so many cracked shells of fact in a high tide of pompous drivel -- increasingly indicate that millions of votes were indeed monkeyed with on the way to amassing George W. Bush's teeny-tiny one percent majority last week.

It seems we were all a bit too quick to concede the reality of Li'l Pretzel's "mandate." For example, in county after county, state after state, unprecedented discrepancies between the exit polls and the final result turned up -- in areas that used electronic voting, that is, usually without a recountable paper trail. In almost every such case, exit poll leads for John Kerry -- sometimes very substantial leads, beyond the realm of statistical error -- were converted in the end to narrow victories for Bush. Yet strangely enough, in those areas that relied on paper ballots -- utterly tangible records of voter intent -- the exit polls and final counts were in virtual lockstep. Of course, for decades exit polls have been phenomenonally successful in gauging the actual electoral outcome -- until the advent of national elections involving Bush and his political puppeteer, Karl Rove.

There was also the wild imbalance between party identification in voter registration and the actual vote in key counties across the nation, particularly in Florida. In the latter, counties where Democrats comprise more than 70 percent of the voters suddenly showed Bush winning 50, 60, even 70 percent of the total. In Calhoun County, for example, an 82 percent Democratic registration somehow morphed into a 63 percent Bush vote. To be sure, an incumbent in wartime, running on a campaign of wild fearmongering and deliberately stoked (or is it stroked?) sexual panic might peel away a few of the other party's voters. Yet every single measure of the electorate this year showed that partisanship was extraordinarily high and remarkably solid: Only a sliver of party-identified voters crossed the line to vote for the other side. So where did they come from, these astounding registration reversals that produced, in discrete packets here and there, hundreds of thousands of extra Bush votes that no one had expected?

We've often spoken here of the fact that more than one-third of all American votes were counted this year on machines owned, programmed, installed -- and in some cases even inspected -- by private companies whose bosses are major Bush financial donors and campaign officials. Some of the main players in the virtual-vote game were originally bankrolled by a single Bushist tycoon, Howard Ahmanson, who spent decades pushing "Christian Reconstructionism" -- i.e., complete theocratic rule of society and government by Christian mullahs who advocate, among other delights, death by stoning for homosexuals. Studies by leading scientists at Stanford, Johns Hopkins and other bastions of the "reality-based community" showed that these corporate e-vote systems are eminently -- even laughably -- hackable, either from the inside, by the Bushist companies themselves, or from the outside, by, say, "information warfare" specialists at the CIA or Pentagon, as investigative journalist Robert Parry notes. Nor would this hackery require placing gremlins in the thousands of voting machines operated by the Bushist firms; the final tabulations are actually made by a handful of central computers drawing together totals from outlying precincts, as analyst Thom Hartmann reports. Thus one little aptly placed "worm" could poison the well of an entire state.

Meanwhile, legions of phantom voters stalked polling booths across the land. In one key Ohio county alone -- carried by Bush -- the number of votes cast outstripped the number of actual registered voters by 93,000 -- a pattern repeated in numerous e-voting precincts. Yet another Ohio county sealed its vote count from public scrutiny after Bush's Homeland Security commissars told terrified local officials that their suburban area had suddenly become a terrorist target of "the highest order," MSNBC reports.

Bush's limp mandate was also engorged with a double dose of electoral Viagra: voter purges and voter suppression. As intrepid investigator Greg Palast notes, key states controlled by Bushist officials conducted mass purges of qualified voters from the rolls, utilizing an array of arcane laws, obscure regulations and -- as in Florida 2000 -- race-specific lists of supposed convicted felons, drawn up by private corporations using deliberately vague criteria that guaranteed false "matches" with legitimate voters, disenfranchising thousands of people -- the majority of them law-abiding African-Americans. Meanwhile, an unprecedented voter suppression operation flooded low-income areas with bogus "official" letters and phone calls warning the poor they could be imprisoned for voting if they had unpaid bills or outstanding debts.

To Our Readers

Has something you've read here startled you? Are you angry, excited, puzzled or pleased? Do you have ideas to improve our coverage?
Then please write to us.
All we ask is that you include your full name, the name of the city from which you are writing and a contact telephone number in case we need to get in touch.
We look forward to hearing from you.

Email the Opinion Page EditorEven when these targeted minorities were able to get to the polls, they had to run a gauntlet of antiquated machinery that produced a massive amount of "spoiled" votes by mangling ballots, leaving those infamous chads unpunched and otherwise failing to register the voter's choice. Official U.S. government studies confirm that the majority of this "spoilage" does indeed occur in minority precincts; in 2000, for example, more than 1 million African-American votes were simply thrown in the trash. With this year's higher turnout straining the thin resources of such precincts, experts say the spoilage rate will be even higher.

Of course, given Bush's strong support among the vast Deluded-American community, he might have won the election anyway, even without all this criminal katzenjammer. But now we'll never know. His "mandate" -- miniscule as it is -- will be forever tainted by doubt, smeared with the vicious sleaze and contempt for democracy that has marked every aspect of his malevolent reign.

Paranoid Past the Fringe

Jonathan Chait
Paranoid Past the Fringe
LA Times
November 12, 2004
Are conservatives crazier than liberals? I think so. Just consider the behavior of both on one topic: election fraud.
You may have seen e-mails circulating among liberals charging that President Bush won the election through skulduggery. Like most conspiracy theories, these begin with indisputable facts — a voting machine in Ohio that erroneously awarded Bush 4,000 votes; the manufacturer of touch-screens pledging to help Bush; counties in Florida whose tallies for Bush vastly exceeded GOP registration — and then careen off into implausible conclusions.
This sort of paranoia, of course, can be found on both edges of the ideological spectrum. But here's the difference: Mainstream liberals have thoroughly rejected it. Even magazines like the Nation and websites like dailykos.com, which represent the party's left, have unequivocally declared that these pieces of evidence do not add up to a fraudulent election.
Mainstream conservatives, by contrast, wallowed in just this sort of paranoid speculation four years ago when the election was still up in the air....


November 12, 2004
Kevin Drum

....Whether or not the national press has a liberal bias in its actual reporting, it's indisputable that most of the reporters themselves are standard issue social liberals. Thus, while they may or may not approve of, say, radical environmentalists, they write about them anyway. Why? Because they're aware of them. They are, roughly speaking, part of their social circle. They are comprehensible. They make good copy.

For the most part, though, they don't write about radical Bible Belt Christians. Sure, there's an occasional piece when a judge smacks a two-ton monument of the Ten Commandments on his courthouse lawn, but that's about it. Why? I don't think it's so much a conscious decision, as Bob suggests, but rather that most reporters are barely aware they exist. Christian extremists are decidedly not part of their social circle, and writing about them is more akin to anthropology than reporting.

But there's a bit more to it than that. Lefty extremists actively crave attention. They organize marches in cities, they chain themselves to redwood trees, they toss buckets of blood on women in fur coats. They want the national press to write about them.

Bible Belt Christians, by contrast, don't. For the most part, they are an insular group, sending their newsletters to each others, attending each others' conferences, and mobilizing voters in their own churches.

The result of all this is that most Americans are well aware of lefty extremism, even though the actual number of lefty extremists is fairly small. And to a lot of people, they look pretty scary.

But most Americans aren't well aware of Christian extremism. Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson occasionally show up on morning chat shows, and sometimes they slip up and say something scary, but not often. Thus, when something like this screed by Frank Pastore shows up in the LA Times, readers are shocked. What they don't realize is that within their own fire and brimstone circles, this kind of talk is commonplace among Bible Belt Christians. And there are way more of them than there are members of the Earth Liberation Front.

If more people knew about this — really knew about it — they'd find it scarier than a few isolated nutballs who drive nails into old growth trees. But they don't. And the reason they don't is because our media really does have a liberal bias. Unfortunately, it's not one that does liberals any favors.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Serious Problems Remain With Voting System

Serious Problems Remain With Voting System

November 10, 2004

Although major voting problems appear to have been avoided this year, serious issues remain in the nation's electoral system: electronic voting machine problems, long lines, confusion over provisional and absentee ballots and the lack of paper trails for lost votes. Computerized voter databases and upgraded technology, both mandated by the 2002 Help America Vote Act (HAVA) but so far under-funded and inconsistently enforced, should help resolve some of the problems by 2006. Some of the problems from this year's election include:

* Electronic voting machines recorded "extra" votes.  A voting machine in a suburban Columbus, OH precinct recorded an additional 3,893 votes for President Bush even though there were just 800 voters registered in the precinct. Similar glitches were discovered in e-voting machines across the country. There were as many as 10,000 extra e-votes cast in Nebraska and 19,000 mysterious "extra ballots" were added on electronic machines in Florida.

* No paper trail for electronic machines meant some votes "disappeared."  More than 4,000 early votes were lost in North Carolina's Carteret County because an electronic voting system could not store the volume of votes it received. This could have been avoided with a verifiable paper trail. 

* Long lines made voting difficult for millions of Americans. The most common problem of all in this year's election was long lines which caused hours-long waits in many precincts in the country.  The problems appeared to be particularly acute in some low-income areas due to the lack of adequate numbers of voting machines. 

Daily Talking Points is a product of the American Progress Action Fund.

How Big A Role Did Fraud, Ballot Theft and Suppression of the Vote Play in The Election?

November 12, 2004
Strategy Notes:
John Belisarius
How Big A Role Did Fraud, Ballot Theft and Suppression of the Vote Play in The Election?

In the last few day's accusations of massive vote fraud, ballot theft and suppression of the Democratic vote during the 2004 elections have mushroomed to such a level that both the New York Times and the Washington Post have given the charges front page coverage.

Unfortunately, almost all the discussion of this issue has become focused on the specific question of whether a sufficient number of votes might have been stolen or suppressed to have changed the outcome of the election. In many cases, the unstated assumption seems to be that if such violations did not rise to the level where they changed the result then they can safely be ignored.

That's the wrong way to look at this issue. What the vast majority of Democrats find most disturbing about 2004 is that Bush's victory was based on a pervasive strategy of dishonesty -- a dishonesty that included major distortions of Kerry's record by the Bush campaign's own television commercials, outright lies told by the Swift Boat Veterans, grotesque distortions circulated among rural or minority voters (such as the claim that Democrats would take away religious people's bibles or that Martin Luther King was a Republican), flyers listing false reasons why voters should believe themselves disqualified, leaflets and phone calls falsely announcing changes in polling places and phony voter registration groups that collected and then destroyed voter registration forms.

Layered on top of this were techniques for suppressing the vote in Democratic areas that included last minute changes in polling places, use of felon lists known to be inaccurate and the provision of inadequate numbers of voting machines and ballots.

It is this entire pattern of appallingly anti-democratic behavior that should be at the center of the national discussion today, and not just the specific question of whether these kinds of activities -- along with any direct theft or alteration of votes by electronic or punch card voting machines -- could have risen to a level sufficient to reverse Bush's victory.

Regarding the precise amount of voter fraud and suppression that actually occurred during the election, data are still trickling in. A widely quoted article by Harpers magazine writer Greg Palast pulled together a variety of issues to draw the conclusion that Kerry might actually have won the election. Follow-up articles in Salon and The Nation by Farhad Manjoo and David Corn, however, while entirely sympathetic to Democrats basic suspicions and complaints, reviewed Palast's evidence and reached the opposite conclusion.

The debate is not over. Two web sites that continue to collect and evaluate reports from around the country are the Election Incident Reporting System and the CalTech/MIT Voting Technology Project.

But the most important thing for Democrats to remember about this debate is that they should not allow it to be reduced simply to the question of whether or not the election was "stolen". What vast numbers of Democrats as well as many moderates and independent voters already believe and believe very strongly is that Bush's victory was based on a campaign that was deeply, deeply dishonest and profoundly unfair.

What You Don't Get About Kerry's Actions 11/3

What You Don't Get About Kerry's Actions 11/3
by LooterScibby
The opening tone of this piece is harsh, but I think it gets the point across. Please, no scapegoats people.--Chris

This is for all of the folks who say, "Kerry abandoned us" when he conceded the election on Nov. 3. Let me screw your heads back on straight.

Edwards said every vote will be counted and when Kerry conceded hours later, also reiterated that promise. Why? That concession is legally irrelevant (he does not end the election) and the most important things are context, narrative and conventional wisdom.

Every political act is framed in a certian context, it develops a narrative which solidifies into conventional wisdom that may doom it or enhance it. Here is what Kerry did.

Kerry did not want the context to be "when will he concede? Will he concede? Concede. Concede," with the narrative "Kerry the sore loser, trying to grasp on in the face of 3 million plus popular votes," with an Ohio media circus, 10,000 Republican lawyers and a 1000 Republican CLEANERS (remember "the cleaner" from Pulp Fiction") to clean up murdered votes.

Instead, Kerry wanted the Republicans to declare victory, get drunk, fucking party and focus on dividing up the spoils as each piggie tries to muscle up to the feeding bin. All the while, good folks like Black Box Voting and others are busy working to collect evidence and prepare challenges. The choice of battle and timing is ours.


November 11, 2004
Kevin Drum

EXIT POLL MADNESS....Should I pander to the masses? Or remain a responsible voice of calm and reason?

Ah, what the hell. Let's pander. A few days ago I promised that if any credible evidence of voter fraud came my way, I'd post about it. So here it is. I'll explain later why I don't actually believe there was widespread voter fraud this year, but the following analysis is credible, so I'm going to pass it along as promised.....

(Features an Interesting chart)

Thursday, November 11, 2004

The Religious Right

The Religious Right
Joe Bageant: 'Hung over in the End Times'
Posted on Thursday, November 11 @ 10:29:25 EST
If liberal society is to survive the rise of the Godwacks, we need to start by calling By Joe Bageant
Since George Bush's reelection, the Christian nutjobs have mounted an assault on my block. In the five years I've lived in this neighborhood I've never had so much as one Jehovah's Witness knock at the door. But last Saturday morning my neighbor Tinka-the-wool-weaver called to warn of approaching Bible thumpers working the doorbells on my side of the street. Sure enough, out the window were two women in long skirts with bad Bible hairdos headed my way. "Incoming Jesus freaks at nine o'clock high!" I yelled to my wife. We jumped back into bed and let'em pound on the door and drop tracts in the mailbox while Barb read the Washington Post and I caught anther 20 zees.
That, we thought, was the end the end of it. But next day while walking my dog Bingo -- a black pisshound of dubious origin -- a white van cruised alongside us slowly, as if confused about directions. I asked if I could help, and BAM! I should have know better. It was evangelist sucker bait...

Democracy is dead. Long live liberty

Election 2004
Peter Lee: 'Democracy is dead. Long live liberty!'
Posted on Thursday, November 11 @ 10:31:20 EST
By Peter Lee
Our country hasn't moved to the right...
...it's moved to the wrong.
Forgive me for not contributing to the healing process. 
George W. Bush is one of the worst presidents ever. The election results were appalling. The people who voted for Bush are idiots.
In recognition of the efforts of the American people to assist him in escaping accountability for his horrific first term, I divide Republicans voters into three groups:

1. Bone-mean
2. Bone-crazy
3. Bone-stupid
Bone-mean Republicans control the money, the party, and the power and call the tune. Heirs to the grand white southern tradition of racism that morphed into "states rights" and "conservatism", they find in Bush affirmation for their ideology of politically privileged disengagement....

Bush Win Means More Government From The Right

Bush Win Means More Government From The Right
Election Will Lead To Increase In Isolation, Division
Helen Thomas
POSTED: 3:45 pm CST November 5, 2004
America is in for four more years of conservative governance as a result of the Republican election sweep.
The world now knows that President George W. Bush has political support for his brand of hard-edged conservativism at home and his tough, unilateral foreign policy abroad.
Bush's lack of credibility in staging the Iraqi invasion and his willingness to alienate longtime allies apparently meant nothing to a majority of American voters.
The president views the outcome of the election as vindication of his policies. Now he can really get down to business.
With the same political party in control of the White House, the House, the Senate and the Supreme Court, there will be no way to block Bush's preemptive militancy. Who is going to stop him?..

How progressives can win the fight for America’s soul

How progressives can win the fight for America’s soul.

Fifteen years ago, the Berlin Wall fell, marking the official end of the Cold War. It was a high-water mark in American history, a victory of freedom over oppression. It’s now generally agreed that America won the battle of ideologies by using a powerful one-two punch: Ronald Reagan’s aggressive foreign policy, and the brilliant marketing and distribution of American consumer products. Those holding the reins of power behind the Iron Curtain couldn’t outspend America on weapons programs. Meanwhile, their young people were seduced by Levi’s and Coke and Bruce Springsteen and Madonna — American pop culture.

Once Gorbachev figured it out, it was game, set, and match. Suddenly America was the world’s only superpower.

Yes, we won because we were rich and powerful, but we also won because in the eyes of those young people trapped behind the old gray wall, America seemed to be having more fun. We had cool stuff and great music. They wanted to be like us.

Why do I bring this up? Because in the wake of President Bush’s recent electoral victory, Americans find themselves engaged in a new ideological war, only this time it’s internal, between the red thinkers and the blue ones. The “enemy” lives in your neighborhood and you live in his. The war is about “values” in one respect, but it’s really about the future of America....

This is a Game Where Principles are the Stake

Published on Monday, November 8, 2004 by CommonDreams.org
This is a Game Where Principles are the Stake
by Thom Hartmann
Even as the work goes on (for a look at an interesting analysis of Florida, check out http://thesquanderer.com/votingmachines.html), it's also important for us to keep last week's events in perspective.
Take heart. Democracy has come under assault in America before, we've survived, and the nation actually became stronger for the struggle.
The year 1798, for example, was a crisis year for democracy and those who, like Thomas Jefferson, believed the United States of America was a shining light of liberty, a principled republic in a world of cynical kingdoms, feudal fiefdoms, and theocracies.
That year President John Adams pushed through Congress - by a single vote - the Alien and Sedition Acts, and was aggressively putting into jail newspaper editors who disagreed with him and supported Jefferson. Benjamin Franklin Bache - Ben Franklin's grandson - had been one of the first, as he had just published an editorial referring to the President as, "old, querulous, Bald, blind, crippled, Toothless Adams."
Then-Vice President Jefferson was wretched. He'd left town the day Adams signed the acts, as a symbolic act. He would have nothing to do with their implementation....

Did Bush Lose... Again?

Did Bush Lose... Again?

Why did Florida voters with one type of machine vote one way,
and voters with a different machine vote another?

Why were the exit polls telling a different story?

Why do all the reports of problems favor the same candidate?

On this page, we try to clearly summarize some of the suspicious circumstances of this election. We also try to show both sides of the issues, and point you to where you can find more information. We do not take the position that fraud has taken place; only that there seems to be sufficient cause for further investigation.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Back to work An aftermath to-do list

Molly Ivins
Creators Syndicate
Back to work An aftermath to-do list
AUSTIN, Texas --- Here's my two cents worth on "What Is to Be Done?" First of all, let me rush to join the Bill-Clinton-for-Party-Chair bandwagon (which I believe started with a Los Angles Times editorial). Granted, that means Hillary couldn't run in 2008, which is fine by me since I think she is: (A) too divisive, and (B) I worry about her safety.

So put the Big Dog in at DNC. Let him raise money, recruit candidates and plot strategy. He knows and loves politics: who better? If he doesn't want that deal, he could at least travel about to various states to help strategize....

Bush planning changes, so we must organize, be ready

Ed Garvey: Bush planning changes, so we must organize, be ready

By Ed Garvey
November 10, 2004
What a difference a week makes. Last Tuesday I began my day confident that John Kerry would win a decisive victory. This week I am told by the grand poo-bahs that Bush voters go to church more often than Kerry voters.

We are told that "moral issues" decided this race and that mantra is repeated ad nauseum on talk shows. Nonsense. One exit poll and we are to believe that global warming, pollution of our lakes and streams, 100,000 deaths in Iraq, 1,120 dead soldiers, 45 million uninsured Americans are less important than gay marriage, stem cell research and the number of days we attend church?

Sorry, I don't believe it for a minute. This spin would be laughable but for the fact that the corporate media has swallowed this Rovism hook, line and sinker.

There is, of course, a real question that the media should be addressing: Did Sen. John Kerry win Ohio, Florida and New Mexico or was it mere coincidence that all exit polls showed President Bush losing those states? I honestly don't know the answer, but we should find out if cheating occurred. And we should plan for the future.

Newsflash for ordinary Repubs and born-agains: Bush doesn't care about you, either

Mark Morford: 'We are all Dubya's doormat'
Posted on Wednesday, November 10 @ 10:27:17 EST
Newsflash for ordinary Repubs and born-agains: Bush doesn't care about you, either

By Mark Morford, San Francisco Chronicle

This just in: Millions of moderate Republicans and gay-terrified evangelical Christians and intellectually numbed conservative parents who thought they were doing some sort of good by blindly voting for Dubya and hence protecting their wee ones from swarthy Islamic evildoers who want to steal their kids' Kraft Lunchables and nuke Disneyland, all should be emerging from a deep fog of savage denial any minute now.

Wake, they will, to the increasingly obvious fact that their beloved smirkin' president, the one who seemed to care about them so deeply just a couple weeks ago and who reached out to them and promised them the gun-happy gay-unfriendly moon in exchange for full access to their civil rights and a blank check to do whatever the hell he likes, he apparently doesn't give a damn about them. Not anymore....

Petition to Congress requesting an investigation into the Presidential Election

To:  United States Congress
TO: All members of the Congress of the United States of America; all Senators and Members of the House of Representatives

A Petition to immediately and without delay open a joint investigation into potential wrongdoing in the Presidential Election of 2004, specifically to investigate the potential of voting machine manipulation or purposeful malfunction, especially electronic voting machines manufactured and supplied by Diebold, Inc.; Electronic Systems & Software (ES & S); Sequoia Voting Systems, and others, and also to identify and investigate all allegations of improper conduct by election officials, workers, observers, challengers and operatives and employees of both major parties concerning the voting process including intimidation, dissemination of improper information, manipulation of registration records, improper handling of actual voting ballots and, in general, any and all potential improprieties which could have led to improper or inaccurate election results.

Such inquiries should not be limited to any particular state, precinct or district but strive to examine the voting process in any and all areas in which there is even the slightest indication of impropriety, but especially in the states of Florida, Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Nevada, New Mexico, Iowa, Arkansas, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota, Texas and New Hampshire, and not limit such investigation, and expand such investigations to cover Senatorial races as well, especially those in Kentucky, Florida and South Dakota.

We, the undersigned, request that our elected representatives act in accordance with the Constitution of the United States of America in a legal, impartial and expedient manner for an open hearing before the people of the United States and if such wrongdoing, illegal practices, manipulation of voting records or processes is of such a nature to indicate egregious or extensive tampering, alteration or misappropriation of the voting process that the violators be brought to justice and remedies, potentially including a nationwide audit, recall, recount or new election be imposed by your bodies.

We feel it is our patriotic duty to request such action from you, our elected officials, and your duty to respond in a responsible manner.


The Undersigned

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Why They Won

Why They Won
NY Times
Published: November 5, 2004
The first thing Democrats must try to grasp as they cast their eyes over the smoking ruins of the election is the continuing power of the culture wars. Thirty-six years ago, President Richard Nixon championed a noble "silent majority" while his vice president, Spiro Agnew, accused liberals of twisting the news. In nearly every election since, liberalism has been vilified as a flag-burning, treason-coddling, upper-class affectation. This year voters claimed to rank "values" as a more important issue than the economy and even the war in Iraq.

And yet, Democrats still have no coherent framework for confronting this chronic complaint, much less understanding it...

'Rove's election diary: Taking care of the blue people

Bernard Weiner: 'Rove's election diary: Taking care of the blue people'
Posted on Tuesday, November 09 @ 10:08:37 EST
By Bernard Weiner, The Crisis Papers
Dear Diary: It was pathetic -- and so deeeelicious! The liberals hadn't a clue they were about to get their heads handed to them.
The Dems read the favorable exit polls, they saw Zogby's final poll showing their guy way ahead, they heard about the enormous number of new, especially young, voters -- Kerry's victory was in the bag. Heh heh heh.
Within an hour or two, they were mincemeat, as our totals not only kept pace with theirs but mysteriously surged ahead in key states.
Liberals are such fools. They knew my history and knew what we were going to do -- insure that our evangelical base showed up at the polls, smear Kerry at his points of strength, "suppress" the vote wherever and however we could, present them with some "October surprises." In effect, we dared them to try to stop us from doing what we said we'd do. But they couldn't because they prefer to whine and make a lot of intellectual noise rather than get in there and slug it out with us in the dark alleys of contemporary politics.
And then there was the huge hole left open for us in this country's non-secure system of ballot counting. Stalin said it best: It doesn't matter whose vote counts, it's who counts the votes....

Bush won no mandate

Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson: 'Bush won no mandate'
Posted on Tuesday, November 09 @ 10:12:24 EST
By Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson, The New Republic
No sooner had the red and blue ink dried on the maps of election commentators than triumphant Republicans began talking about their clear mandate for an ambitious domestic agenda. The people have spoken, Republicans proclaimed, and what they have said is that they favor the conservative agenda on taxes, Social Security, health care, gay marriage, and abortion. The administration, their humble servant, has a solemn duty to execute their wishes. And so President Bush has promised to move forward with ambitious but still only vaguely outlined plans for Social Security privatization, tax simplification, and restrictions on lawsuits. "I have political capital and I intend to spend it," he declared....

Bush's 'Incredible' Vote Tallies

Bush's 'Incredible' Vote Tallies
By Sam Parry
November 9, 2004

George W. Bush’s vote tallies, especially in the key state of Florida, are so statistically stunning that they border on the unbelievable.

While it’s extraordinary for a candidate to get a vote total that exceeds his party’s registration in any voting jurisdiction – because of non-voters – Bush racked up more votes than registered Republicans in 47 out of 67 counties in Florida. In 15 of those counties, his vote total more than doubled the number of registered Republicans and in four counties, Bush more than tripled the number.

Statewide, Bush earned about 20,000 more votes than registered Republicans.

By comparison, in 2000, Bush’s Florida total represented about 85 percent of the total number of registered Republicans, about 2.9 million votes compared with 3.4 million registered Republicans.

Bush achieved these totals although exit polls showed him winning only about 14 percent of the Democratic vote statewide – statistically the same as in 2000 when he won 13 percent of the Democratic vote – and losing Florida’s independent voters to Kerry by a 57 percent to 41 percent margin. In 2000, Gore won the independent vote by a much narrower margin of 47 to 46 percent.

[For details on the Florida turnout in 2000, see http://www.msnbc.com/m/d2k/g/polls.asp?office=P&state=FL. For details on the 2004 Florida turnout, see http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2004/pages/results/states/FL/P/00/index.html]

Exit Poll Discrepancies

Similar surprising jumps in Bush’s vote tallies across the country – especially when matched against national exits polls showing Kerry winning by 51 percent to 48 percent – have fed suspicion among rank-and-file Democrats that the Bush campaign rigged the vote, possibly through systematic computer hacking.

Republican pollster Dick Morris said the Election Night pattern of mistaken exit polls favoring Kerry in six battleground states – Florida, Ohio, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada and Iowa – was virtually inconceivable.

“Exit polls are almost never wrong,” Morris wrote. “So reliable are the surveys that actually tap voters as they leave the polling places that they are used as guides to the relative honesty of elections in Third World countries. … To screw up one exit poll is unheard of. To miss six of them is incredible. It boggles the imagination how pollsters could be that incompetent and invites speculation that more than honest error was at play here.”

But instead of following his logic that the discrepancy suggested vote tampering – as it would in Latin America, Africa or Eastern Europe – Morris postulated a bizarre conspiracy theory that the exit polls were part of a scheme to have the networks call the election for Kerry and thus discourage Bush voters on the West Coast. Of course, none of the networks did call any of the six states for Kerry, making Morris’s conspiracy theory nonsensical. Nevertheless, some Democrats have agreed with Morris's bottom-line recommendation that the whole matter deserves “more scrutiny and investigation.” [The Hill, Nov. 8, 2004]

Erroneous Votes

Democratic doubts about the Nov. 2 election have deepened with anecdotal evidence of voters reporting that they tried to cast votes for Kerry but touch-screen voting machines came up registering their votes for Bush.

In Ohio, election officials said an error with an electronic voting system in Franklin County gave Bush 3,893 extra votes in suburban Columbus, more than 1,000 percent more than he actually got.

Yet, without a nationwide investigation, it’s impossible to know whether those cases were isolated glitches or part of a more troubling pattern.

If Bush’s totals weren’t artificially enhanced, they would represent one of the most remarkable electoral achievements in U.S. history.

In the two presidential elections since Sen. Bob Dole lost to Bill Clinton in 1996, Bush would have increased Republican voter turnout nationwide by a whopping 52 percent from just under 40 million votes for Dole to just under 60 million votes for the GOP ticket in 2004.

Such an increase in voter turnout over two consecutive election cycles is not unprecedented, but has historically flowed from landslide victories that see shifting voting patterns, with millions of crossover voters straying from one party to the other.

For example, in 1972, Richard Nixon increased Republican turnout by 73.5 percent over Barry Goldwater’s performance two elections earlier. But this turnout was amplified by the fact that Goldwater lost in 1964 to Lyndon Johnson by about 23 percentage points and Nixon trounced George McGovern by 23 percentage points.

What’s remarkable about Bush’s increase over the last two elections is that Democrats have done an impressive job boosting their own voter turnout from 1996 to 2004. Over this period, candidates Al Gore and John Kerry increased Democratic turnout by about 18 percent, from roughly 47.5 million votes in 1996 to nearly 56 million in 2004.

What this suggests is that Bush is not so much winning his new votes from Democrats crossing over, but rather by going deeper than many observers thought possible into new pockets of dormant Republican voters.

Bush’s Gains

But where did these new voters come from, and how did Bush manage to accelerate his turnout gains at a time when the Democratic ticket was also substantially increasing its turnout?

While the statistical analysis of these new voters is only just beginning, Bush’s ability to find nearly 9 million new voters in an election year when his Democratic opponent also saw gains of about 5 million new voters is the story of the 2004 election.

Exit polls also suggest that voters identifying themselves as Republicans voted as a greater proportion of the electorate than in 2000 and that Bush won a slightly greater percent of the Republican vote.

The party breakdown in 2000 was 39 percent Democrats, 35 percent Republicans, and 27 percent independents. In 2000, Bush won the Republican vote by 91 percent to 8 percent; narrowly won the independent vote by 47 percent to 45 percent and picked up 11 percent of the Democratic vote compared with Gore’s Democratic turnout of 86 percent. [See http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2000/epolls/US/P000.html for details.]

According to exit polls this year, the turnout broke evenly among Democrats and Republicans, with about 37 percent each. Independents represented about 26 percent of the electorate. Kerry actually did better among independents, winning that group of voters by a narrow 49 percent to 48 percent margin.

However, Bush did slightly better among the larger number of Republican voters, winning 93 percent of their vote, while matching his 2000 performance by taking about 11 percent of the Democratic vote.

Registration Up

While this turnout might strike many observers as unusual in an election year that witnessed huge voter registration and mobilization efforts by Democrats and groups aligned with Democrats, the increased GOP turnout does seem to fit with the campaign strategy deployed by the Bush team to run to the base.

From the start of the 2004 campaign, political strategist Karl Rove and the Bush team made its goals clear – maximize Bush’s support among social and economic conservatives – including Evangelicals and Club for Growth/anti-government conservatives – and turn them out by driving up Kerry’s negatives with harsh attacks questioning Kerry’s leadership credentials.

This strategy emerged from Rove’s estimate after the 2000 election that 4 million Evangelical voters stayed home that year. The Bush/Rove strategy in 2004 rested primarily on turning out that base of support.

But, even if one were to estimate that 100 percent of these Evangelical voters turned out for Bush in 2004 and that 100 percent of Bush’s 2000 supporters turned out again for him, this still leaves about 5 million new Bush voters unaccounted for.

Altogether, Bush’s new 9 million votes came mainly from the largest states in the country. But nowhere was Bush’s performance more incredible than in Florida, where Bush found roughly 1 million new voters, about 11 percent all new Bush voters nationwide and more than twice the number of new voters than in any other state other than Texas.

Bush increased his turnout in all 67 Florida counties, marking the second consecutive election in which Bush increased Republican vote totals in all Florida counties, and overall achieved a 34 percent increase in Florida votes over his 2000 total.

Since Bob Dole’s 1996 turnout of 2.24 million Florida votes, Bush has increased the GOP’s performance in the state by an astonishing 74 percent. Making Bush’s gains even more impressive, Kerry also saw gains in all but five Florida counties and in 22 counties earned at least 10,000 more votes than Gore earned in 2000.

Exceeding Kerry

But Bush’s vote gains exceeded Kerry’s in all the large counties in the state except in heavily Democratic Miami-Dade, where Kerry increased his turnout by 56,000 new votes compared with Bush’s 40,000 new votes. This Democratic improvement in Miami-Dade seems to have come in large part from Democratic success in registering new voters in the county by almost a 2-to-1 margin over Republicans.

In spite of this new-voter registration advantage, Kerry only earned a 7-to-5 increase of new voter turnout over Bush in Miami-Dade, a statistical oddity given the fact that Kerry did a better job than Gore in turning out his Democratic base, earning a vote total equaling 85 percent of all registered Democrats in the county compared with Gore’s total in 2000 equaling 83 percent of all registered Democrats.

In other Democratic strongholds of Broward and Palm Beach counties, Kerry gained 114,000 new voters, earning nearly 770,000 votes, and bested Bush by more than 320,000 votes. But, this was actually a modest improvement for Bush over 2000, thanks to Bush’s increase of 119,000 new voters in these counties, from 330,000 votes in 2000 to 449,000 votes in 2004.

Bush’s performance in these two counties is worth studying in greater detail. In both counties, Democrats saw a significant increase in new voter registration since 2000, more than 77,000 newly registered Democrats in Broward and 34,000 newly registered Democrats in Palm Beach.

Republicans on the other hand only registered 17,000 new voters in Broward and a bit more than 2,000 new voters in Palm Beach. While both counties saw substantial numbers of new unaffiliated or third party registered voters, the Democratic advantage in both counties combined of more than 111,000 newly registered Dems against fewer than 20,000 newly registered GOP voters, as well as the voter intensity that these new registration rates usually represent, suggested that Kerry should have done better than Bush relative to the 2000 election.

Instead, Bush actually increased his vote total in the two counties by earning about 5,000 more new voters than Kerry.

New Level

Beyond southern Florida, Bush took turnout throughout the state to a new level, testing the bounds of statistical probability by winning votes seemingly from every corner of the state, from the panhandle to the Gulf Coast, from the I-4 corridor to the Atlantic Coast from Jacksonville to Miami.

Another county worth examining in some detail is Orange County, a swing county home to Orlando in the center of the state. As in Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, and Broward counties, Democrats successfully registered substantially more new voters than Republicans, about 49,000 new Democrats against about 25,000 new Republicans.

These gains broke what was once a statistical tie in registered voters between the parties, giving Democrats a 214,000 to 187,000 advantage across the county. But Kerry only managed a narrow countywide victory with 192,030 votes against 191,389 votes for Bush. In 2000, Gore carried the county with 140,115 votes against 134,476 votes for Bush.

While it's conceivable Bush might have achieved these and other gains through his hardball campaign strategies and strong get-out-the-vote effort, many Americans, looking at these and other statistically incredible Bush vote counts, are likely to continue to suspect that the Republicans put a thumb on the electoral scales, somehow exaggerating Bush's tallies through manipulation of computer tabulations.

Only an open-minded investigation with public scrutiny would have much hope of quelling these rising suspicions.

This slimebag liberal is gonna stay and fight

Screw It, I'm Staying
This slimebag liberal is gonna stay and fight
November 8 2004
Steve Horowitz

Before the election, I had taken to trolling at conservative forums and blogs. (See "Escape from the Planet of the Apes"). It was an instructive, if often frightening, experience. Not having been a member of the Klan or the American Nazi party, I had never encountered such open sewers of stewing hatred and blind rage.


November 8, 2004

HOW BUSH WON THE ELECTION....So what really made the difference in this election? Most of the attention has been on "moral values" and terrorism, and I was curious to see what the exit poll results showed. So I decided to take a look at the 2004 exit polls and compare them to the 2000 exit polls....


E-voting problems

E-voting gains a foothold at polling places in the U.S. and abroad, despite fears that the technology is flawed and votes easily manipulated. Is the voting booth still sacred? Does your vote still count?....


Sunday, November 07, 2004

The Ohio mandate

Mike Whitney: 'The Ohio mandate'
Posted on Sunday, November 07 @ 10:11:53 EST
By Mike Whitney
"A statistical analysis has been done that shows on several swing states, and in every state that has e-voting but no paper trails that the state totals have an unexplained advantage for Bush of around +5% when comparing exit polls to actual results of voting. In every state that has paper audit trails on their e-voting, the exit poll results match the actual results reported within the margin of error. So we have matching results for exit polls vs. voting with audits vs. A 5% unexplained advantage for Bush without audits." (Gleaned from the internet, but worth considering)
Rigged? You bet it was rigged.
Only three days have passed and already the results of election 2004 are beginning to stink like Fido's business on the front lawn.
The Associated Press's admission yesterday that nearly 4,000 extra votes were delivered to George Bush in Franklin County, Ohio when only 638 voters cast ballots, is just the tip of the iceberg.

The Most Dangerous Game

Great story on psychological warfare.

"Wars are not won on the battlefield: they're won in the minds of the people.

Evidence of a Second Bush Coup?

Evidence of a Second Bush Coup?
By Robert Parry
November 6, 2004
Theoretically at least, it is conceivable that sophisticated CIA-style computer hacking – known as “cyber-warfare” – could have let George W. Bush’s campaign transform a three-percentage-point defeat, as measured by exit polls, into an official victory of about the same margin.

Whether such a scheme is feasible, however, is another matter, since it would require penetration of hundreds of local computer systems across the country, presumably from a single remote location. The known CIA successes in cyber-war have come from targeting a specific bank account or from shutting down an adversary’s computer system, not from altering data simultaneously in a large number of computers.

To achieve that kind of result, cyber-war experts say, a preprogrammed “kernel of brain” would have to be inserted into election computers beforehand or teams of hackers would be needed to penetrate the lightly protected systems, targeting touch-screen systems without a paper backup for verifying the numbers. [More on “cyber-war” techniques below.]

Though there's still no proof of such a cyber-attack, suspicions are growing that the U.S. presidential election results were manipulated to some degree. Voting analyses of some precincts in Florida and Ohio have found surprisingly high percentages for Bush. Others have noted that the large turnout among young voters and the obvious enthusiasm of John Kerry’s voters would have suggested a better showing for the Democrat.

Exit Polls

But the most perplexing fact is that exit polls into the evening of Nov. 2 showed Kerry rolling to a clear victory nationally and carrying most of the battleground states, including Florida and Ohio, whose totals would have ensured Kerry’s victory in the Electoral College.

Evidence Mounts That The Vote May Have Been Hacked

Published on Saturday, November 6, 2004 by CommonDreams.org
Evidence Mounts That The Vote May Have Been Hacked
by Thom Hartmann
When I spoke with Jeff Fisher this morning (Saturday, November 06, 2004), the Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives from Florida's 16th District said he was waiting for the FBI to show up. Fisher has evidence, he says, not only that the Florida election was hacked, but of who hacked it and how. And not just this year, he said, but that these same people had previously hacked the Democratic primary race in 2002 so that Jeb Bush would not have to run against Janet Reno, who presented a real threat to Jeb, but instead against Bill McBride, who Jeb beat.

"It was practice for a national effort," Fisher told me.

And some believe evidence is accumulating that the national effort happened on November 2, 2004.

The gay marriage deception

The gay marriage deception
By Thomas Oliphant, Boston Globe Columnist  |  November 7, 2004
THE NEWS media have grossly misreported the contents of state referendum questions targeting Americans who are apparently seen as more dangerous to national security than John Kerry -- gay people.

Using unthinking shorthand that carries out the hidden agendas of the people who want gays banished to the fringes of society, the press has over and over again referred to these measures as banning gay marriage. In fact that is only accurate regarding three of the 11 initiatives passed last week.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Ohio machine error gives Bush extra votes

Ohio machine error gives Bush extra votes
The Associated Press

An error with an electronic voting system gave President Bush 3,893 extra votes in suburban Columbus, elections officials said.
Franklin County's unofficial results had Bush receiving 4,258 votes to Democrat John Kerry's 260 votes in a precinct in Gahanna. Records show only 638 voters cast ballots in that precinct.
Bush actually received 365 votes in the precinct, Matthew Damschroder, director of the Franklin County Board of Elections, told The Columbus Dispatch.
State and county election officials did not immediately respond to requests by The Associated Press for more details about the voting system and its vendor, and whether the error, if repeated elsewhere in Ohio, could have affected the outcome.
Bush won the state by more than 136,000 votes, according to unofficial results, and Kerry conceded the election on Wednesday after acknowledging that 155,000 provisional ballots yet to be counted in Ohio would not change the result.
The Secretary of State's Office said Friday it could not revise Bush's total until the county reported the error.
The Ohio glitch is among a handful of computer troubles that have emerged since Tuesday's elections.
In one North Carolina county, more than 4,500 votes were lost because officials mistakenly believed a computer that stored ballots electronically could hold more data than it did. And in San Francisco, a malfunction with custom voting software could delay efforts to declare the winners of four races for county supervisor.
In the Ohio precinct in question, the votes are recorded onto a cartridge. On one of the three machines at that precinct, a malfunction occurred in the recording process, Damschroder said. He could not explain how the malfunction occurred.
Damschroder said people who had seen poll results on the election board's Web site called to point out the discrepancy. The error would have been discovered when the official count for the election is performed later this month, he said.
The reader also recorded zero votes in a county commissioner race on the machine.
Workers checked the cartridge against memory banks in the voting machine and each showed that 115 people voted for Bush on that machine. With the other machines, the total for Bush in the precinct added up to 365 votes.
Meanwhile, in San Francisco, a glitch occurred with software designed for the city's new "ranked-choice voting," in which voters list their top three choices for municipal offices. If no candidate gets a majority of first-place votes outright, voters' second and third-place preferences are then distributed among candidates who weren't eliminated in the first round.
When the San Francisco Department of Elections tried a test run on Wednesday of the program that does the redistribution, some of the votes didn't get counted and skewed the results, director John Arntz said.
"All the information is there," Arntz said. "It's just not arriving the way it was supposed to."
A technician from the Omaha company that designed the software, Election Systems & Software Inc., was working to diagnose and fix the problem.

Copyright 2004 The Associated Press.