Saturday, June 17

About the Radio Station

Why is there an audio feed to this page?

The simple answer is because the Truth goes better with a soundtrack. It's one thing to endless type and type about something, it's another to become sonically emersed in it. To literally hear the pleas and cries for freedom.

Music has meant a lot in my life, I can honestly say it may have save my life - and there are many others that can say the same. In today's social and political climate, it's become increasingly clear that our entire way of life needs some serious saving.

Truth 2 Power Radio draws from a library of nearly 1000 Mp3's I've collected over the last 15 years, songs of power, passion and in many cases - outrage. Most song are including in a preset songlist which is updated periodically, but every once in a while I will be going on the Mic Live to DJ the broadcast in real time. (A Schedule pending - switching to Live Broadcasting can cause station outages) So stay tuned.

The Station Plays Songs from the Vietnam and Civil Rights Era, including:
MC5 - "Kick out the Jams"
The Rolling Stones - "Sympathy for the Devil", "Street Fighting Man"
Creedance Clearwater Revival - "Fortunate Son".
Jimi Hendrix - "All Along the Watchtower", "Freedom".
Marvin Gaye - "What's Going On", "Inner City Blues".
Stevie Wonder - "Past Time Paradise".
Jefferson Airplane - "Voluanteers"
The Beatles - "Back in the U.S.S.R", "Revolution"
Protest music of the working class in the 70's.
Black Sabbath - "War Pigs"
Judas Preist - "You Got Another Thing Coming", "Breaking the Law"
Iron Maiden - "The Trooper"
Bob Marley - "Get up, Stand Up", "I Shot the Sherriff"
Rush - "Freewill"," Subdivisions"
The Clash - "London Calling", "I Fought the Law", "Rock the Casbah"
Protest songs from the 80's, that reflect the impact of the Reagan Era with it's not-so-subtle class warfare and foreign police actions.
Bruce Springsteen - "Born in the U.S.A."
John Lennon - "Imagine"
Don Henley -"All She wants to do is dance"
Jackson Brown - "Running on Empty"
Metallica - "...And Justice for All", "
Dokken - "Will the Sun Rise?"
The Police - "Synchronicity II"
Guns N Roses - "Civil War"
Suicidal Tendencies - "Institutionalized"
90's Rock that reflects the rise of Clinton, the Great White Hope of the left, but also incredible disillusionment and anger.
Nirvana - "Rape Me"
Rage Against the Machine - "Know Your Enemy", "Freedom"
Queensryche - "Resistance"
Pantera - "I'm Broken"
Megadeth - "Foreclosure of a Dream"
Tupac - "Keep your Head Up", 'Letter to the President"
Bodycount - "Copkiller"
Bad Religion - "American Jesus", "21st Century Digital Boy"
Skid Row - "Youth Gone Wild", "Quicksand Jesus"
Arrested Development - "Tennesee", "
And the protest music of the 21st Century.
Pink - "Dear Mr. President"
Dixie Chicks - "Not ready to make nice"
Neil Young - "Let's Impeach the President"
System of a Down - "B.Y.O.B"
Green Day - "American Idiot"
Kanye West - "Jesus Walks"
Christina Aguilera - "Beautiful", "Fighter"
There are also dozens of tracks by unsigned local bands from around country (Civil Rite, Sedona, GlitcheD, Hypnogaja, Keen, Endever, Rue and Silenced Within) and signed groups that never received the recognition they deserved in their time - such as Living Colour, Follow For Now, Fishbone, Subject to Change, Cree Summer, Sevendust and Skunk Anansie.

I know that most music, especially these days, is stupid and disposable. It's meaningless at best and purient at worst. ("Don't you wish you're girlfriend was a freak like me?" Fuck no!)

This songs in this collection are all vital. They have meaning and resonance. When you sit and really listen to what people with the courage to speak Truth 2 Power have been saying for generations, it's reminds you that this struggle has been going for longer than most of us have been alive, and that it will continue after we're all gone. But that while we're all here - we have a responsibility to get in the fight, to take inspiration from those who've come before us and to inspire those who will follow.

And keep Rocking the entire time.

Enjoy

Vyan

Thursday, June 15

Liberal is the New Black

John Lennon once sang that "Woman is the Nigger of the World". In the last few weeks, something has become increasing clear to me. Times have indeed changed from the bad-old days of the Civil Rights movement and women's suffrage. No longer is it women who are the chief second-class citizen of this nation. It's not the gays. It's not the immigrants. It's not minorities, be they Black, Brown, Red or Yellow.

Granted, there are an increasing number of issues which affect each of them, but the one method for getting a full on smash-mouth whack at all the above - without being called nasty names, and being accused of being incivil, impolite, or basically a Fucking Dick - is to attack just one group.

Liberals.

Before Ann Coulter's most recent onset of verbal diarrahea I had already written about how Republicans have perfected the game of "Hating the Enemy - Namely, Us".
The constant cries of Liberals On the Rampage are an easy way to justify the use of any and all means (necessary or not) to fight back. Republicans are the heroes of their own self-written story.
Attacking Liberals is a way to say what they otherwise couldn't possibly say about Blacks. Things that are so vile, that if they were said about any ethnic group - Jews, Muslims, Athiests or even Christians - they would be simply noted for exactly what they are - Hate Speach.

With this in mind, it seems only logical that people such as Coulter would openly and without basis attack the marriage and integrity of the Jersey's Girls - simply for being friendly to Liberals. If she were to say that about a group of say - Lebanese women - "oh, they're husbands probably wanted to leave them, they don't shave their legs or douche."

(I have no idea if that's true, nor do I suggest that it is --- btw)

But can you imagine the thermo-nuclear explosion of outrage that would have generated?

Just listen to some of this stuff.
Glenn Beck: Liberals want to rape immigrants by denying them social security!

Joe Klein: No doubt "solutions" was a slip--but the notion that "Democratic ideas" might not be an oxymoron represented one small step forward for the perpetually benighted Donkey party

Rush Limbaugh : Let me tell you something, the Democrats are more fearful -- and I've told you this too -- they're more fearful of Christians than they are of Al Qaeda.

And our all time favorite potty-mouth girl, Ann Coulter : I think the government should be spying on all Arabs, engaging in torture as a televised spectator sport, dropping daisy cutters wantonly throughout the Middle East and sending liberals to Guantanamo.
These people aren't just coarsening the dialogue in order to make more outrageous ideas more palatable. Well, sure - opening the Overton window a crack is part of the goal, but it goes further than that. It's more like tourettes, they can't help themselves from acting out on this deep seated almost atavistic vitriol and contempt.

But why? What is it that makes them so pissed-off at all those damn dirty Liberals?

Perhaps it's the fact that the Liberals have long been the champions of the people they really hate. The original minorities. Blacks. Gays. Women. Jews. The Misfits and Weirdos. And let's not forget those fucking Hippies! With all their anti-corporate, earth grub-worm, commune-istic ways - and doing theoralsex outside (and underneath, and on top off) the holy and rightfully ordained arrangement of male/female matrimony. Lousy Scum.

Former FBI agent Gary Aldridge, a Republican who wrote an "expose" about the Clinton White House called "Unlimited Access" - an innuendo and salacious rumor filled pot-boiler. As detailed by ex-Conservative David Brock in "Blinded by the Right":
Aldrich's animosity toward the Clintons was fueled by a clash of manners between the starched-shirt Republicanism of [G.H.W.] Bush years, which Aldrich idolized, and the culture of the Clinton crowd, which Aldrich described as "Berkeley, California, with an Appalachian twist."
Berkenstock wearing Hippies and White Trash?
As Aldrich explained it to Rush Limbaugh in an interview in Limbaugh's newsletter, "It was also about the counterculture. I came face to face with the people I used to investigate in the 1960s. I didn't know it at first, it took me a while to understand it. But then finally I did: it was drugs, sex, and rock 'n roll aged about twenty years."
And let's not forget the Fags, Dykes, Goths and Ho's. That would be just plain rude.
Aldrich described the Clintonites as "broad-shouderd, pants-wearing women and pear-shaped, bowling pin men." In the Clinton White House. Aldrich hasd seen "jeans, T_shirts an sweatshirts, men wearing earrings and ponytails, " and "one young lady dressed entirely in black, black pants, black t-shirts, black shoes, even black lipstick." Another female staffer wore a "vry short skirt...[and] kept ostentatiously crossing and uncrossing her legs."
Wonkette? Nah, never mind.

Photo of William J. Clinton

In his book "My Life" President Bill Clinton - who had very close proximity to seeing genuine racial hatred in Little Rock, AK - rightly and correctly recognizes these Conservatives and Republicans for exactly what they are. These are the same people who stood at the school house door and shouted "No", when young black school children wanted to learn. These people are still pissed beyond comprehension at the counter-culture and civil rights movement. Clinton on Gingrich.
Gingrich and the Republican right had brought us back tothe 1960s again; Newt said that america had been a great country until the sixties, when the Democrats took over and replaced absolute notions of right and wrong with more relativistic values. He pledged to take us back to the morality of the 1950s, in order to "renew American civilization."

In focusing only on the excesses of the 1960s, the New Right reminded me a lot of the carping that white southerners did against Reconstruction for a century after the Civil War. When I was growing up, we were still being taught how mean the Northern forces were to us during Reconstruction, and how noble the South was, even in defeat. There was something to it, but the loudest complaints always overlooked the good done by Lincoln and the national Republicans in ending slaver and preserving theUnion. On the big issues, slavery and the Union, the South was wrong.
Back in the 50's you absolutely knew that you didn't want Nigras moving into your neighborhood. Your wife knew her place, or she'd see the back of your hand. And the only good fag was a dead fag, especially if he/she/it was a member of your own family.

But you can't say that stuff anymore, not in polite company - instead you can read Katie O'Beirn explaining to you about the "Women who make the World Worse", who naturally - are Liberal Women. Or let Michele Malkin tell you about "Liberals Gone Wild." and feel completely vindicated in your own blind hatred.

Not exactly D.W. Griffith, but these skreeds draw from exactly the same place and seek to produce exactly the same result. Justifying the Hate, making it not just acceptable but righteous. Just under 100 years ago Griffith used a quote from President Woodrow Wilson in his film "Birth of a Nation", a virelently racist film which help spawn a new resurgence in the then dwindling Klu Klux Klan.
The white men were roused by the mere instinct of self-preservation -- until at last there had sprung into existence a great Klu Klux Klan, a veritable empire of the South, to protect the Southern Country.
Besides the mildly covert racism, homophobia, and Christo-facist leanings of Coulter, O'Beirn, Malkin and their ilk, the leading Civil Rights organizations in the country have begun to note a marked rise in activity among overt Hate groups in recent weeks and months.
"The immigration furor has been critical to the growth we've seen" in hate groups, says Mark Potok, head of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center. The center counts some 800 racist groups operating in the U.S. today, a 5% spurt in the past year and a 33% jump from 2000. "They think they've found an issue with racial overtones and a real resonance with the American public," says Potok, "and they are exploiting it as effectively as they can"
The danger here can not be understated. But the more troubling issue is mounting and effective defense against these endless attacks, particular when some of our own refuse to even recognize the signs of what is happening.

I've written quite extensively about the Election issues over the past year including stories about Diebold being sued in CA, election whistleblowers William Singer, Ion Sancho, and Steven Heller as well as writing intensely regarding the Kennedy article in Rolling Stone, here, here, here and here. The reason this is so important is because this is what those people we see being blasted with firehoses by Sherriff Bull Connor were fighting for, and it's being slowly pissed away.

a freedom riders bus is torchedThere the rights that the Freedom Riders fought for.
In 1961, the Freedom Riders, a dedicated group of men and women, black and white, young and old (many from university and college campuses) across the country boarded buses, trains and planes bound for the deep South to challenge that region‘s outdated Jim Crow laws and the non-compliance with a US Supreme Court decision already three years old that prohibited segregation in all interstate public transportation facilities.

At stops along the way, the Freedom Riders entered “whites” and “colored” areas contrary to where they were supposed to go and ate together at segregated lunch counters. They met little resistance along the way until Rockville, S.C. where an angry mob beat the Freedom Riders as they pulled into the station. This was the first of many such beatings the Freedom Riders were to receive at the hands of angry mobs.

Undaunted by the beatings. the Freedom Riders continued on their journey until Mother’s Day, May, 14th, 1961 when they were met by an angry mob (dressed in their Sunday finest as if they’d just come from church) in Anniston, Alabama. Due to the ferocity of the mob, the bus decided not to stop at the station and it quickly left, already wounded by the mob who had slashed the bus’s tires at the station. A few miles outside of Anniston the tires began to deflate and the bus was forced to pull over. As the bus driver fled in glee, a mob of men who had been following the bus got out of their cars and surrounded the stricken bus. From somewhere in the crowd a firebomb was thrown inside the bus and exploded. As the Freedom Riders tried to escape the smoke and flames they found they could not as the exit doors were blocked by the surging mob. Just then one of the gas tanks exploded on the bus and the mob rushed back allowing the Freedom Riders to push the doors open and escape. As they exited the burning bus, the Freedom Riders rushed outside still choking from the thick smoke and were beaten by the waiting vigilantes. As lead pipes and baseball bats were swung, only an onboard undercover agent prevented the Freedom Riders from being lynched that day as he fired his gun into the air. Later that same day the Freedom Riders were beaten a second time as they arrived in Birmingham, Alabama.

But the Freedom Riders and those who Marched with MLK were far from the only ones to risk, and sometimes lose their lives for the cause of freedom.
FBI photographs of Andrew Goodman, James Earl Chaney, and Michael Schwerner
(Aug 4, 1964. Neshoba Country, Miss.) The bodies of three civil-rights workers—two white, one black—are found in an earthen dam, six weeks into a federal investigation backed by President Johnson. James E. Chaney, 21; Andrew Goodman, 21; and Michael Schwerner, 24, had been working to register black voters in Mississippi, and, on June 21, had gone to investigate the burning of a black church. They were arrested by the police on speeding charges, incarcerated for several hours, and then released after dark into the hands of the Ku Klux Klan, who murdered them.
But rather than rise to the challenge and call, so-called Liberal Media outlets such as Salon, Mother Jones have attacked Kennedy's article, using fuzzy logic and guilt by association techniques to bury it's significance. "There's nothing new, there are no credible sources...." Blah blah blah.

This entire debate reminds me of the running arguement between Bruno and Brian on the FX Reality show Black. White. Each had dyametrically opposing view on the continued existence and relevence of racial discrimination in modern times. Bruno felt that is was "largely in the eye (or minds-eye) of the beholder", that what one person may interpret as a discriminator act was probably nothing - whereas Brian felt that racism surrounds us in our daily lives and we either choose to recognize it or ignore it. Ever since the passage of the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act and the Public Accomodations Act - openly displaying and expressing racial bias has become literally a Federal Issue. People don't do it anymore, not among mixed company - hence Brian's frustration when trying to find his "racism". Real Racism has long ago gone deep - underground, and people who attempt to dig it out are often accuse of "playing the race card" to supposed hide their own failures.

Even on DKos when the subject of a suspected "Levee Bomb" in New Orleans was brought up - all fricking hell broke loose.
Mama D said, she does not stand to get rich by lying before Congress. Unlike the oil execs.

It was a gross display of cultural insensitivity. At one point, Shays said to Mama D, [paraphrase] "Let's not start speaking in tongues..."

A couple of faces in the background registered surprise and shock at that comment.

Yet again, the concerns and issues brought by survivers of Katrina were dismissed and derided. "The collapse of the levee couldn't have been deliberate" they say, and it couldn't have been racially targetted because it actually occured in a largely "white neighborhood". As if the levee's collapse wouldn't have a much larger impact on the predominantly black population of New Orleans - a few Whites in the way would have been just the same type of "collateral damage" that Andrew Goodman or tens of thousands of Iraqi Civilians have been over the last three years.

You have to realize just who you're dealing with here. The Ends Justifies The Means with these people, every time. The Neo-Conservative wing of the Republican Party is the New Klan, sneakier and more stealthy than the Old Klan- except their target isn't Blacks, it's Liberals and Democrats.

So it is with Election Fraud. The one political issue that makes all other issues irrelevant. If the vote doesn't count, nothing does. Those who argue that Election Fraud is a serious and grave concern are branded "conspiracy theorist" just as Brian on Black. White. was accused having a "chip on his shoulder". Such a "massive conspiracy" couldn't possibly function without being detected, right?

Ok, if that's true where was the massive conspiracy that generated the Black Codes and maintaind segregation for nearly 100 years after the ratification of the 14th Amendment? Not everyone was member of the Klan, but most people either knew better than to try and fight them, or simply prefered to deal with issues that affected themselves - not "those people - other there".

The fact is it wasn't a conspiracy at all, it was right out in the fucking open. And the same is true with current election fraud issuse, the type of animus that very well could have driven a few individuals in key positions (Blackwell) and a few hundred more witting and unwitting accomplises to just cut a few corners here and there and/or fail to speak up all in order to "Get them darn Liberals" is all right in front our faces.

Far fetched? I don't think so. I think the amazing thing is the obviousness of it all.

Don't you know Liberals are the big bad boogeymen who want to "steal Christmas and God from you", the turncoats who only want "cut and run", refuse to "support our troops" and are ready to deliver your children into the hands of pedophiles and perverts. It's gotten so bad Liberals are afraid to be called Liberal. It's become a cuss word, an epithet.

They might was well be Filthy Niggers. Or Fags. Or Feminazis. (Oh wait, they kinda are aren't they?

But as a matter of fact, they are far from anywhere near as dangerous as the right would proclaim. Liberals are confused and angry after years of this treatment, frustrated and just this close to turning on each other. (Which it actually does resemble many of my own Black brothers and sisters in South Central LA where I grew up).

However they could be dangerous. The could finally begin to realize the threat that they and all of us face as this type of unrestrained self-righteous Hate-speach continues to foment in our nation. They could bond together, reigniting the type of coalition that fired the old civil rights movement. The movement that changed the nation as Bill Clinton points out.
the [60's] and the movement it spawned produced advances in civil rights, women's rights, a clean environment, workplace safety and oppurtunities for the poor.
And that ladies and gentleman - is exactly what Self-Righteous Right truly fears. The return of the Left. They view the world in zero-sum terms, like accountants. More power, access and oppurtunity for others - means less money, power and control by the old monied elites and their dynasties. The Bushes. The Hiltons. The Forbes. The Rockefellers, and all their cronies and syncophants in the Hamptons. All are fighting against the very realization of the American Dream itself, but the tide of history is in our favor. Ever since the Enlightenment of the 17th Century the societies of man have moved ever towards the preservation of greater freedom, not less.

Eventually, we shall overcome. Someday.

But Last year Rosie Parks died. This year saw the passing of Coretta Scott King. Many of the old Civil Rights Warhorses are losing their steam (Rep. John Conyers being a notable exception). The time is coming where we will need to begin the planning and actualization of a new Human Rights Movement.

A movement that focuses on spreading and protecting the basic and fully equal rights to election integrity, personal privacy, habeas corpus, trail by jury, freedom from torture, access to affordable healthcare, quality education, security, retirement protection, comprehensive sex education, preservation of reproduction rights and access to contraception along with an improved adoption and foster care system for alternative parenting options, an aggressively green energy policy, and the right to love and marry one consenting adult of your choice for all persons, regardless of race, nationality, religous persuasion, gender or gender orientation.

A movement that fights are relentlessly as does the right, if not nearly as underhandedly.

We need to embrace who we are. We are the Fags. We are the Niggers. We are the Dykes, the Kikes, the Goyim, the Gaijin, the Rag-heads, the Geeks, the Freaks, Weirdos, Nutballs, and Moon-bats. We are also the bold, whom fortune will ultimately favor. The meek who will enherit the Earth.

We're coming for our rights, and we're not stopping until we have them -- all of them. It won't be easy, it's going to be painful, difficult, dangerous, frustrating and thankless - but worth it.

Are you with me?

Vyan

A Crack in the Cone of Silence on Kennedy and Ohio

Scoop Independent News has a report up on the RFK Jr. Rolling Stone Article which rebuts both Salon and Mother's Jones and asks the question - why do so-called "liberal" outlets find it so hard to support Kennedy?

The prevailing silence on election fraud 2004 was interrupted June 1 by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in his article Was the 2004 Election Stolen? He argues clearly and forcefully that the 2004 election was stolen, basing his analysis and evidence on events and outcomes in the state of Ohio. Had Kerry won the Ohio race, he would be president today. Hence, the theft of Ohio was the theft of the election.

Kennedy relied on far more than his own record of activism and a name representing decades of political prominence. The well written and thoroughly documented article in Rolling Stone Magazine makes a number of assertions, each backed up with references to evidence linked within the body the article. Kennedy is unambiguous in his claim that the 2004 election was stolen by the Republicans.

I have to quibble here, Kennedy is unambiguous that they tried to steal it -- not that their efforts were the deciding factor. It very well could have been, but truly proving that will take a far more exhaustive investigation than any that has taken place so far. This is a point with Scoop itself admits later in the piece.
This is a remarkable political event. The legitimacy of a sitting president is being challenged by a socially and politically active member of America’s best known political family. In addition, the challenger, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., is a consistent advocate for a wide variety of liberal causes. From promoting greater economic justice to protection of the global environment, Kennedy has been there for liberals. Just eleven days after the article appeared, Associated Press ran a major story with an even handed discussion of the 2004 election in Ohio and New York Times Op-Ed Columnist Bob Herbert ran a strongly worded column supporting Kennedy. How odd it is that Kennedy’s bold assertion and well documented case met with a carping attack from Salon Magazine, a self styled journal for open minded progressives.
Yes, it is strange. Odd even, but that is exactly what happened. Although that doesn't neccesarily mean it's the result of a C-O-N-spiracy.
Journalist Greg Palast, NYU professor and author Mark Crispin Miller, Steven Freeman, PhD, Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman of The Free Press, plus internet researchers like TruthIsAll have commented frequently with substantial evidence and great passion. In effect, they have been forced into a corporate media burka. Even the supposedly liberal Daily KOS eschews any reference to claims of a stolen election in 2004.
Salon has long been a credible media outlet, and even broke the story of Henry Hyde's affair just as he was beginnnig impeachment proceedings against Bill Clinton - for having an affair. But on this subject, they seem to have been lost in the wilderness.
... it is surprising to find that since before the 2004 election, Salon has published articles that have the back handed effect of legitimizing the Bush election and presidency by dismissing substantive arguments concerning election fraud. Motives are not the issue here. The net result is the main concern. When questions are raised about the election, Salon’s initial article attacking Kennedy provides the Republicans and those accused of theft with an ideal cover. After all, even Salon Magazine says the election was legitimate, is the putative response from the media savvy of the right when challenged with the facts of massive voter disenfranchisement and the unbelievable statistical anomalies surrounding the exit polls and vote count.

Although Farhad Manjoo, Salon’s Technology and Business staff writer has produced several articles on problems with voting machines in the past, lately he is best known for challenging those who claim election fraud in 2004. In fact, Manjoo went so far as to dismiss a Greg Palast-BBC expose of Florida Republican voter suppression efforts before the 2004 election. This is a writer who the right hates to love.
It's right here that Scoop hits the nail on the head - the end result of unreasonable skeptism against election fraud is that is provides political cover for the incompetent and/or malfeasance which may or may not have occured.

But even before Manjoo, that Liberal bastion Mother Jones was well into the election fraud dismissing act.
Recounting Ohio, Was Ohio stolen? You might not like the answer, by Mark Hertsgaard is the precursor for Manjoo’s recent epistle against the Kennedy article. The article appeared in the November/December 2005 issue.

The article is a review of three early books claiming a stolen election: Did George W. Bush Steal America's 2004 Election? : Essential Documents By Bob Fitrakis, Harvey Wasserman, and Steve Rosenfeld; What Went Wrong in Ohio: The Conyers Report on the 2004 Presidential Election; and Fooled Again: How the Right Stole the 2004 Election & Why They'll Steal the Next One Too (Unless We Stop Them) By Mark Crispin Miller.

Hertsgaard begins with a stunning assertion to anyone who chooses to read or is familiar with the three publications or the authors: “The source for much of the skeptics' case is The Free Press, an online news service based in Columbus.” In the article he comments on his low regard for the general quality of evidence among those who claim fraud. Yet he fails to provide one single shred of evidence, even of the Fox News kind (“some say”), to support this claim. Think about it. Congressman John Conyers, D, MI, is the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee. He is a veteran of the Nixon impeachment hearings, the Civil rights movement, and countless other political battles over his 40 plus year political career. Why and how would he fall under he spell of The Free Press editor Bob Fitrakis and company?

Similarly I've seen the exact same hyper-skeptism specifically of Fitrakis. Not because of the quality of his information, but simply because the information came from him. It's Dismissal by Association.
He goes on to characterize Fitrakis, and by association Conyers and Miller, as “unabashedly left-wing and happy to meld journalism with activism.” To simplify, he implies that they will mislead in order to make their point. Before he ever considers the evidence offered in any of the three books, Hertsgaard engages in the cheapest argument of all, guilt by false association. This journalistic drive by attack on the credibility of Conyers, Miller and Fitrakis results in an unintended but clear consequence for Hertsgaard; the complete demolition of his credibility as a reviewer of the books or arguments therein.
But what about the facts?
Hertsgaard indicates little, if any knowledge of the considerable amount of work done on exit polls by Steven Freeman, PhD, Ron Baiman, PhD and the team at the Election Archive.Org, (formerly USCountsVotes) and the internet poster TruthIsAll He also brings forward the “reluctant Bush responder” argument to explain why the exit polls showing Kerry a winner were wrong. This had been largely discredited at the time and pollster John Zogby calls this reasoning “preposterous” (see footnote 36 ). Hertsgaard then reasons backwards and implies that a partial recount in New Hampshire, which failed to find fraud, somehow shows that all the work regarding exit polls is invalid without any support other than his assertion.

The apogee of Hertsgaard’s illogic is achieved in his citation of a lawyer for the Ohio Democratic Party. This is his kill shot, his moment of Zen when he offers us the dilemma that will cause us to fall down and worship in his temple of superior understanding:

As for the larger argument that Ohio was stolen, O'Grady says, "That point of view relies on the assumption that the entire Republican Party is conspiratorial and the entire Democratic Party is as dumb as rocks. And I don't buy that."

There is so much obviously wrong with this type of false choice, it is stretches the mind to uncomfortable limits. The “entire Republican” party does not have to be “conspiratorial” to advance a tenable fraud hypothesis regarding Ohio. Nor does the “entire Democratic Party” need to be “dumb as rocks.” The use of this type of over generalization says much more about Mr. O’Grady’s state of mind at the time he uttered this and the author’s weak sense of logic and argumentation than it does about election fraud. It is a disappointing display of ignorance to even include this in the discussion of a topic as serious as this.

Not so coincidentally this very arguement is identical to one I received on Dkos just two days ago.

I got it. They are all against the truth. They have all been blinded by the light and cannot see the truth like you can. I got it.

Or, just maybe, they all agree with me, that RFK Jr's recent publication is not new news, but is simply a compilation of available speculation that does not prove that the election was stolen. It's not news to compile old news into a new shiny package like he did, no matter how much you want to promote the story.

Either you are right, and the whole MSM is in the conspiracy, or you are wrong, and I am right.

I am comfortable with that. I know who's right.

Yeah, I'm sure "You Know You're Right" -- (Nirvana). This same type of presumption is displayed in the Manjoo article.
Farhad Manjoo shows his hand very early in the response to the Kennedy article. In the forth paragraph, the twin smoking guns appear:
I scoured his Rolling Stone article for some novel story or statistic or theory that would prove, finally, that George W. Bush was not the true victor. But nothing here is new. If you've spent time on Democratic Underground or have read Mark Crispin Miller's "Fooled Again," you're already familiar with everything Kennedy has to say.
Manjoo’s scouring is a fool’s errand. Proof is the first smoking gun. This is a transparent ploy that would be apparent to the tens of thousands of high school debaters who hold each other to higher standards of reasoning and evidence than the editor of Salon applies. You cannot prove a claim like Kennedy’s without a thorough investigation. There has been no thorough investigation and beyond any doubt whatsoever, the author knows that.

Therefore, the author is arguing from a false premise that he knows is false. In the scouring exercise, it must have been apparent that Kennedy did not claim to prove that the election was stolen. Kennedy amassed impressive arguments and evidence and made a judgment, his right and obligation as an involved citizen and political figure. Yet he is faulted by one of Salon’s favorites as claiming to have done something he never claimed to do.
But although there hasn't been a thorough investigation, there has been some investigation of these claims and issues.
If Manjoo’s scouring had been a little more thorough he would have found the following pertinent history. Conyers went to Ohio to investigate the election. He had a limited staff under very difficult circumstances and received no cooperation; either from the Republicans who run the state of Ohio or major media concerns who sponsored the exit polls yet refuse to widely release the raw data. While he was doing this, his counterpart, Congressman Bob Ney of Ohio, was with fellow Republicans in Washington, DC, readying a veritable Soviet show trial to demonstrate that the election was legitimate. The results of the Conyers efforts are published and available. The results of Ney’s efforts are an embarrassment Ney’s key witness was the head of a supposedly non partisan voting rights group created just days before the hearings. The group was headed by the “National Election Counsel to Bush-Cheney '04.” Apparently Manjoo was too involved scouring Rolling Stone to notice the larger picture.

The second smoking gun in paragraph four of the Salon article is Hertsgaardian in its presentation: “If you've spent time on Democratic Underground or have read Mark Crispin Miller's Fooled Again, you're already familiar with everything Kennedy has to say.” In another replica of Hertsgaard’s rhetoric, the author performs guilt by association with unsupported assertion maneuver. This equals, perhaps surpasses Mark Hertsgaard’s claim that Fitrakis and Miller were the sole source for the Conyers committee report on Ohio.

Ah, we've found the culplut - those crazy DUers did it.

What is www.DemocraticUnderground.Com? The author has already told us in paragraph two:

Then there are the legions of activists, academics, bloggers and others who've devoted their post-Nov. 2 lives to unearthing every morsel of data that might suggest the vote was rigged; their theories, factoids, and mountains of purportedly conclusive data likely take up several buildings' worth of hard-drive space in Google's server farms.
Here is the predicate for the association of Kennedy’s ideas with those of the internet forum. Legions are not defined. Does the author mean 100, 500, 1000? There is no estimate on the number of election fraud researchers and activists on Democratic Underground (DU) but 100 would certainly be pushing the number.
Ok, ok, but what about the evidence? What about the Exit Poll discrepancy? What about the Caging? The rejection of registration forms and provisional ballots? The lack of voting machines in key democratic areas and the incredibly long lines which caused so many voters to turn away in frustration? How well does Salon do when they aren't engaged in character assasination?

Warren Mitofsky had egg on his face after his exit polls showing a clear Kerry victory were unintentionally released at critical points throughout Election Day. He went so far as to issue a final poll the day after the election which incorporated the actual vote count. Not surprisingly, Bush won that heat.

Manjoo tries to counter the significant evidence of election fraud presented by Steven Freeman, PhD, US Counts Votes, and others who claim the exit poll victory for Kerry was more reliable than the obviously tainted vote count in Ohio and elsewhere. He resurrects the “reluctant Bush responder” hypothesis. Bush voters were somehow ashamed of their votes and didn’t reveal them to exit poll workers. This argument was characterized by polling exert John Zogby as “preposterous” (see footnote 36). In addition, it has been dismissed by academics and spreadsheet wielding internet bloggers. Nevertheless, he persists.

In one of the saddest displays of feeble argumentation, Manjoo offers the following as an explanation of the exit polls showing a Kerry victory.

…a political scientist at Bard College, explained to me, the numbers Kennedy cites fit the theory that Kerry voters were more likely to respond to pollsters than Bush voters. For instance, in the Bush strongholds -- where the average completion rate (of exit poll surveys) was 56 percent -- it's possible that only 53 percent of those who voted for Bush were willing to be polled, while people who voted for Kerry participated at a higher 59 percent rate. Meanwhile, in the Kerry strongholds, where Mitofsky found a 53 percent average completion rate, it's possible that Bush voters participated 50 percent of the time, while Kerry voters were willing to be interviewed 56 percent of the time. In this scenario, the averages work out to the same ones Kennedy cited: a 56 percent average response rate in Bush strongholds, and a 53 percent average response rate in Kerry strongholds. But in both Bush strongholds and Kerry strongholds, Kerry voters would have been responding at a higher rate, skewing the poll toward Kerry.
This critical paragraph consists of simple verbal calculations, plus or minus three. There is nothing else there except Manjoo’s words surrounding numbers which conveniently counter the statistical and mathematical analyses Kennedy cites. This is simply amazing. Meaningless words and numbers are produced to refute Kennedy’s sources without any basis whatsoever. None. The run on sentences above are based entirely on the phrase “it’s possible.” In that case, it’s also possible that the sentence was generated by a trance medium working for Salon who generated exactly what was needed to discredit Kennedy at the moment of inquiry.
Ok, but how does Scoop explain what Manjoo said about the various down-ticket races and Kennedy's "mistake" involving the very similar result of 2000?
Then there is Manjoo’s dismissal of the significance of an obscure 2004 Democratic candidate for Ohio Supreme Court outpolling Kerry in key areas. He argues that a similar candidate in 2000 (Democrat running for Supreme Court) outpolled Gore in a similar manner. The author failed to note that Gore’s 2000 campaign abandoned Ohio in the last weeks of the campaign and that Resnick outpolling Gore was no surprise given her two term incumbency, popularity, funding level, and, of course, the fact that Gore gave up on the state. Sad but true, there is no hope for Salon. Mighty Manjoo has struck out…again.
From this a pattern of Election Fraud Denial can be seen and charted. First there's the crime of being "Under the Influence" of questionable sources.
1) Characterize those who claim 2004 was a stolen as being under the influence of “loose with the truth” fanatics. Hertsgaard did it in Mother Jones when he claimed that Congressman Conyers and the other Democrats who investigated Ohio and Miller were under the influence of the powerful Bob Fitrakis and The Free Press organization. Manjoo did the same when he varied the theme and claimed that Kennedy is now under the influence of DemocraticUnderground and Mark Crispin Miller
Don't look too closely at those pesky Exit Polls.

2) Diminish the value of the exit polls at all costs. (a) Invoke exit poll leader Warren Mitofsky’s self deprecation strategy. Have you ever heard of a major researcher suddenly diminishing his own work at the end of a long career? (b) Also resuscitate discredited explanations for the exit polls like “reluctant Bush responders” and offer those up as proof by simply saying “it’s possible” that Bush supporters were reluctant. (c) By all means, do not evaluate or interview those who have done extensive analysis on the exit polls. Simply dismiss them as “legions of activists, academics, bloggers and others who've devoted their post-Nov. 2 lives to unearthing every morsel of data that might suggest the vote was rigged…” without bothering to evaluate or mention their evidence.
And when actual facts get in the way - make up your own.

3) Offer up your own evidence that ranges from questionable to incredible. Claim that the popular Ohio Supreme Court incumbent Judge Resnick’s performance in the 2000 election compared to Gore is a valid comparison to the obscure Judge Connelly’s performance compared to Kerry. Also use soundbites like that from Democratic counsel O’Grady that simply make no sense at all.
Lastly, make sure that you point out that they haven't "proven" something they haven't even claimed.

4) And finally, always demand that those making a serious case “prove” that the election was stolen by simply ignoring that proof is established through an in depth investigation. Ignore the fact that there has been no official investigation. But don’t demand an investigation yourself. That would not be prudent.
It should be in everyone's best interest, those on the right, left and center to improve our election integrity -- but it appears there are many who would prefer to let the problems remain and fester rather than call for a serious and detailed investigation when issues come up.

I have to admit that as a California Poll worker, I find the recent allegations that election workers may have tampered with electronic voting machines involving the Bilbray/Busby election this past week to be onerous. The allegation here doesn't seem to be based on any actual evidence that tampering occured, and that is troubling.

There should be some presumption of innocence.

Election workers work very long hours for very little pay, and perform a largely thankless task. It is true that election regulations and laws just may been violated in San Diego (and franky, elsewhere) by the failure to maintain the devices in a secure location, these requirements are complicated with the need to have the polls open on-time when not all polling places are actually available to worker prior to election day. A better balance needs to be established between what we might wish to occur and what is physically possible.

In both cases, these questions must be asked and explored - without the kind of faulty logic and guilt by association employed by Salon and Mother Jones - even if the ultimate answers aren't to the liking of those asking.

Vyan

Wednesday, June 14

Bush's Best. Week. EVER.

Ok, so let me get this straight.

In the last week we've had Iraq finally complete it's government by finding a Defense and Foreign Minister, Turdblossom's impending indictment and frog-march has fizzed just in time for him to bitch-slap liberals for being "cut and run cowards", the so-called "most dangerous man in Iraq" was taken out by a 500-lbs bomb that left the building he was in a pile of rubble (but left the man himself in prestine condition ripe for a snuff photo orgy around the globe), Ann Coulter has finally put those "Jersey Girl Harpies" in their place (Thank God, I was so sick of their whining), and the President just had a fabulous photo-op doing laps and shaking hands around the Green Zone before turning tail getting his ass out of dodge before somebody blew it off.

The Net result?

He's up all of two-points in the polls. So naturally the right is besides themselves with high-fives, "In your Face" and "Liberals are Demoralized" comments - is it just me or is anyone truly buying this pile of perfumed horse-shit?

Just look at what Glenn Greenwald has to say.

No matter how many times one flips through news channels this morning, one hears the same thing. The new Iraqi government has been formed. We killed Zarqawi. Bush has a "new team" in place. Karl Rove has been "cleared" in the Plame matter. Polls after Zarqawi's death show an "uptick" in support for the war. And now the President plans a secret mission to visit Iraq in order to meet with the new Prime Minister. Happy days are here again.

Or are they?

Our occupation of Iraq is three years old. As of two weeks ago, the long-standing consensus outside of the ever-dwindling circle of True Believers is that the Iraq invasion was a failure -- a mistake -- and the best we could hope for was to figure out a way to extricate ourselves from that country without triggering even worse disasters. For months and months, polls have showed that solid majorities of Americans believe the war was a mistake. That consensus didn't arise as a result of a single event, or a report of a car bomb, or because one bad thing happened. It was because the war itself has been failing fundamentally. Nothing that we wanted to accomplish was actually being accomplished. Everything we said before the war about why we needed to wage it turned out to be false and has been discredited. Far from winning "hearts and minds" in the Muslim world, few things have harmed how we are perceived in that part of the world (supposedly the current aim of our war effort) more than our occupation has.

These are fundamental, deeply entrenched problems with our war effort. But to the media, a photo op here, a cosmetic personnel change there, and the death of a single terrorist -- and all of those problems magically vanish. In two short weeks filled with melodramatic, exaggerated media events, both the Iraq war and the president's deep political problems have fundamentally improved. Big news! The President has turned all of this around. He is now bold and successful again.

We have to remember who we're dealing with here. This is an Administration that is addicted to theatrical bullshit. Codpieces and "Mission Accomplished" banners.

This is an administration that has been presenting fake news from fake reporters and pundits (Williams, Gallagher, McManus, Guckert) for years now. It's an admiinstration that rehearses supposedly spontaneous interviews with the troops.

It's been long argued that the Falling of Saddam's statue was staged. There even some surprising credible reports that U.S. Forces did not Capture Saddam, and instead he was captured by Kurds first.

By early Sunday - way before Saddam's capture was being reported by the mainstream Western press - the Kurdish media ran the following news wire:

"Saddam Hussein, the former President of the Iraqi regime, was captured by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. A special intelligence unit led by Qusrat Rasul Ali, a high-ranking member of the PUK, found Saddam Hussein in the city of Tikrit, his birthplace. Qusrat's team was accompanied by a group of US soldiers. Further details of the capture will emerge during the day; but the global Kurdish party is about to begin!"

But it didn't stay that way for long.

By the time Western press agencies were running the same story, the emphasis had changed, and the ousted Iraqi president had been "captured in a raid by US forces backed by Kurdish fighters."

Now, I'm not trying to be Mr. Conspiracy Theorist - I happen to be a skeptic about just about everything, but some coincidences are just a little too coincidental to be true.

Let me just point to one conversation I heard this weekend between Mort Kondrake and Fred Barnes on The Beltway Boys.

The two were celebrating the killing of Zarqawi and saying that "if we'd followed Jack Murtha's plan to leave in 6-months -- this wouldn't have happened". Never mind the fact that Zarqawi was killed via an air-strike, something that can be accomplished from the deck of the U.S.S. Enterprise - not from the Green Zone.

Then they went on to argue that we just can't leave now because the Iraqis simply aren't capable of handling thigns on their own. "If the President leaves Iraq, he'll be a failure".

No, if the President doesn't to get the Iraq Military to Stand Up and Take Responsibiity for their own country - he'll be a failure and so will the fledgling Iraqi state. It seems amazing to me that Conservatives who were frequently one for the old metaphor "Give a man a fish and he eats for day, teach a man to fish and he eats everyday..." seemed to have completely forgotten it's meaning. Our single shiny goal should be to make them self-sufficient, period.

Greenwald is right. This is a Pageant as Dustin Hoffman's character in Wag the Dog would say. The President tosses the softball, and Barnes/Kondracke/Hume try to hit it out of the park. But it's all a load of bullcrap. If we really have trained over 250,000 Iraq Troops, and both Saddam and Zarqawi could have been captured and killed by local forces and/or remote airstrikes -- why the holy fuck are we still there?

This is pure stagecraft. The Theater of Pain. And we're all trapped in the audience watching the slow motion trainwreck as it continues taking us on all it's merry way to H.E. Double Hockey-Sticks.

"Happy Days are Here Again".

woo hoo. Hey, is that light the end of the tunnel or another train?

Vyan

Tuesday, June 13

The Blackballing of Truth (RFK Jr and more)

Although Robert F. Kennedy Jr. had an admirable performance on the Stephen Colbert Show last night, that one moment of exposure has been the exception rather than the rule since the publishing of his Rolling Stone article on the 2004 election last friday.

Since then Kennedy has appeared on Tucker Carlson, been attacked by Salon and defended by the Free Press, and again by the NY Times, but most of the Corporate Media has remained silent on this issue. Besides the fact that this issues is the subject of not one, but two books currently on the shelves and the fact that the Cuyahoga County's own analysis strongly supports many of the factual arguements he makes, Kennedy has been largely treated as a pariah. The "blackout" is so complete that when if you attempt to search for references to "Robert Kennedy" on Media Matters - you got nothing.

His coverage so far is so insignificant the right-wing isn't even bothering to smear him.

The most telling admission on this has come from a card-carrying member of the "mainstream" media.

The blogosphere has been abuzz. But in the days since Rolling Stone magazine published a long piece that accused Republicans of widespread and intentional cheating that affected the outcome of the last presidential election, the silence in America's establishment media has been deafening.

In terms of bad news judgment, this could turn out to be the 2006 equivalent of the infamous "Downing Street memo," the London Times story that was initially greeted by the U.S. media with a collective yawn.

While Kennedy's article perhaps gives far too much weight to suspicious discrepancies between exit polls and the final election outcome, it meticulously asserts and documents questionable methods of purging voter rolls, intentionally created long lines at Democratic polling places, court-defying practices regarding registrations and provisional ballots, a phony terrorist alert on Election Day and final tallies in some counties and precincts that, to Kennedy's way of seeing it, simply don't make sense. Already, it notes, three Cleveland-area election officials have been indicted for illegally rigging the recount.

But if you were looking in the five or six days afterward for follow-up stories, investigations or even a mention in the P-I, its cross-town competitor or just about any other major U.S. newspaper, you were almost certainly disappointed.

To his credit, CNN's Wolf Blitzer aired a brief and not-very-illuminating interview with Kennedy late the next day after the Rolling Stone issue hit the newsstands. There was a brief mention on the Lou Dobbs report later that same evening and MSNBC got around to mentioning the article's assertions several days later.

But for the most part, national and regional newspapers, the major networks and news services have behaved as if the article was never published, that it broke no new ground and there was nothing of interest or significance in it.

I myself had fully expected RFK to receive the full "Swiftboat treatment", but instead we get one aggressive interview with Carlson, followed by a fairly tame one by Colbert. Now what?

But an even more impressive blackout has been the one surrounding the Vanity Fair Article on the "black propaganda" plot to falsify justifications for the Iraq War. That article details how the evidence that Iraq had attempted to purchase Uranium from Niger had been debunked at least 14 different times by various government agencies prior to the President's 2002 State of the Union address and the infamous "16-words".

Vanity Fair has found at least 14 instances prior to the 2003 State of the Union in which analysts at the C.I.A., the State Department, or other government agencies who had examined the Niger documents or reports about them raised serious doubts about their legitimacy—only to be rebuffed by Bush-administration officials who wanted to use the material. "They were just relentless," says Wilkerson, who later prepared Colin Powell's presentation before the United Nations General Assembly. "You would take it out and they would stick it back in. That was their favorite bureaucratic technique—ruthless relentlessness."

When and where these issues have been debated, which is largely on the blogosphere, the issue inevitably turns on the question of whether the suppression and modification of the vote in Ohio and the tragically mistaken intelligence which led us into the Iraq War were simply the result of innocent mistakes or deliberate malfeasance.

"They didn't lie or cheat, they were just wrong."

It's almost as if the idea that being grossly incompetent is some type of legitimate defense for what has occured. Kennedy argues at that 325,000 people, largely Black Democrats who would have voted in the range of 80-90% for Kerry, were systematically denied their oppurtunity to vote. Vanity Fair says that President Bush was told directly by as credible a source as Iraq Foreign Minister, Naji Sabri, that "Iraq has no WMD's" - yet he still went before the nation and proclaimed that we couldn't "take the chance" with Iraq and wait for the Inspectors for finish their work.

Even if these were "merely mistakes" they are the types of mistakes that we simply can't afford and should be asked to tolerate. The "mistakes" of Ohio have kept in Office a President who has persued a fruitless and costly war under false pretenses.

To quote Comedian Lewis Black:

These guys fucked up on a massive level, and no one - no one is being held accountable. How is that possible? If you or I messed up like these fuckers, we'd be gone. What if I came out here and told you I'm not really a Comic - I'm a Magician. Then I pulled out a rabbit out of my hat and just ripped off it's fur -- Close Enough Fuckers!!"
No, it's not close enough - not fucking nearly.

Vyan

Monday, June 12

Blocking the Vote in Ohio

In the comments of my Dkos post on Bob Herbert's Op-ed on Ohio Voter Fraud, I ran into a rather hard-headed individual who claims that "restricting provisional ballots wasn't an arbitrary decision by Ken Blackwell".

I countered that he had requested that provisional ballots that were missing the person birthdate should be rejected even the Ohio law didn't require this.

The person said - "Got a link".

I have him a link.

He then said - "Got anything better"?

Here's something better:

Secretary Blackwell’s failure to issue standards for the counting of provisional ballots led to a chaotic and confusing result such that each of Ohio’s 88 counties could count legal ballots differently or not at all. 371 In turn, this fostered a situation where subsequent to the election, Cuyahoga County mandated that provisional ballots in yellow packets must be “rejected” if there is no “date of birth” on the packet. This ruling was issued despite the fact that the original “Provisional Verification Procedure” from Cuyahoga County stated, “Date of birth is not mandatory and should not reject a provisional ballot” and simply required that the voter’s name, address and a signature match the signature in the county’s database.372

Now this comes from the Conyers Report on Ohio (Page 78). A careful reader might note that the source of footnote #372 happens to be Bob Fitrakis, the same reporter from the Free Press that I previously linked to. I could argue that if his data was good enough for Congress, it should be good enough for you - but after watching your any excuse in a storm routine all day, I probably shouldn't waste my time on that.

How about this, the actual analsys of voter disqualifications in Cuyahoga County by the Greater Cleveland Voter Registration Coalition.

Over 900 provisional ballots may have been wrongfully rejected because of database problems alone. Between 624 and 938 rejected provisional ballots, mostly classified as “not registered”, were apparently mistakenly purged from the registration lists, or involved other clerical errors in searching or entering data. Since this error was detected by only one type of search, which did not detect other voters who reported similar errors, the true number of provisional ballots wrongfully rejected is likely to be higher.

We estimate that 2 out of every 5 provisional ballots that were rejected should have been accepted as legitimate. If we combine incorrectly purged provisional votes, projected votes rejected because of initial registration errors, provisional ballots lost through polling place misinformation and innocent errors filling out the provisional application, it appears that over 41% of rejected provisional ballots (or 14% of all provisional votes) may have been unnecessarily rejected.

We estimate that simply changing residence exposes voters to a 6% chance of being disenfranchised. Youth, the poor, and minorities are disproportionately affected. In fact, with respect to just provisional ballots, we found a two-fold
increase in rejection rate in predominantly frican-American compared to predominantly Caucasian precincts
.

Avoidable errors and problems such as we studied amounted to over half the percent margin of victory in Ohio’s close 2004 Presidential lection.”Ballpark” extrapolation of our results to big cities statewide lead to the conclusion that in 2004 about 1.3% (range 0.9 to 1.6%) of votes (42,500 lost, 30,000 at risk) could have been lost statewide in a Presidential election decided by a 2.1% difference of votes cast (and our numbers probably understate the problem).

BOE errors: We project (Table 1) that the BOE totally failed to enter 2677 submitted new registrations and made serious errors (e.g. omitting voter’s date of birth) in entering another 1143 projected applications, for a total of 3,820 votes disqualified or at high risk of disqualification. Other types of entry errors, with low to possibly high risk of disqualification (numbering 8,131 + 4,114, Table 1) amounted to another 12,245 projected votes. About 40% of these 12,245 were address updates never entered, so that such voters would not receive information from the Board, might be purged for not having voted in 2 general elections, and would have to vote provisionally, with a 14% risk of rejection (see section 2, below).

Now if these voters had been purged and their votes lost consistently, then the net result would be an overall wash. But that isn't the case.

Americans who move more frequently are more often subject to the kind of registration errors described in this report because they need to re-register to avoid voting provisional ballot 11 . Those disproportionately affected include youth, home-renters (vs. home owners), the poor, African-Americans and Hispanics(Table 2).

Precinct by precinct comparison of the provisional ballot rejection as a percent of all votes cast in each Cuyahoga County precinct as a function of black/white percentages in the precinct population. Selecting precincts where there were at least 100 persons 18 and older, we found that the average rejection rate (as % of all votes cast) was 1.8% in precincts with 90% or more black residents, and 1.1% in precincts with less than 10% black residents. This result was highly statistically significant.

The report gets into quite some detail, but it does not unfortunately get specifically into the rejection of provisional ballots over the issue of a missing birth-date as mentioned by Fitrakis. It does however mention this:

What is the risk of any legitimate voter being forced to vote a provisional ballot and being disenfranchised? From the above, up to 938 such ballots may have been rejected due to purging errors and 825 due to BOE registration entry errors (unknown to the voter). Another 540 voters made errors of omission (e.g. missing signature, incomplete information) on the provisional ballot form that alert poll workers could have prevented.

That's 2303 legimate votes lost just for Cuyahoga County. How many more were lost throughout the state? Five times that? Ten? Twenty?

No need to randomly guess, the report provides it's own estimate.

By what factor should the errors in Cuyahoga County be multiplied in order to estimate their occurrence statewide in 2004? The majority of errors appeared to be concentrated in the most urbanized areas of the County where the most intense registration drives occurred.

Therefore, one approach to extrapolation is to find the combined populations of the 10 largest Ohio cities (1.72 million, assuming that about half of Columbus is urbanized) and to divide that by the population of Cleveland (478,000) to yield a factor of about 3.6. Using this factor and data cited or derived above, these cities together would have experienced 24,300 disqualifications due to BOE or voter error 13 , 45,500 registrations or change of address at varying degree of risk because of BOE or voter error 14 , and up to 21,600 because of applications handed in after the deadline 15 . In addition, about about 12,500 provisional ballots may have been incorrectly rejected 16 .

With an average turnout of 65%, this amounts to a “ballpark” projection of about 31,000 final votes actually lost (0.65 x (24,300 + 21,600)), and 30,000 (0.65x46,500) at risk of loss, in addition to the 12,500 provisional ballots lost. Because of the assumptions involved, these numbers could easily be off by 20% in either direction. However, the key point is that the sum of these avoidably lost votes or votes put at risk add up to 72,500 votes or about 1.3% (range 0.9-1.6%) of votes cast in a (2004) Presidential election decided by a difference of 2.1% of Ohio’s votes 17 . Therefore, despite the range of uncertainty, there is no doubt that these sources of error must be addressed by election reforms.

Whether one agrees that this was only an series of innocent "mistakes" or part of a larger plot, the fact remains that this report confirms and even increases Kennedy's estimate (of 40,000 votes lost due to purging and discarded provisional ballots) by providing a statewide estimation of 72,500 - predominantly Democratic and African-American - votes lost in an election that was was decided by on just 112,000 votes.

This is not a small issue.

And doesn't Bush have like a 2% approval from African-Americans?

Vyan

Herbert : Kerry almost certainly won Ohio

In a new Op-ed for the New York Times, Columnist Bob Herbert puts a dent in the wall of silence that has surrounded Robert F Kennedy Jr. Rolling Stone Article "Was the 2004 Election Stolen?" Excerpted by Raw Story.

Republicans, and even a surprising number of Democrats, have been anxious to leave the 2004 Ohio election debacle behind. But Kennedy, in his long, heavily footnoted article ("Was the 2004 Election Stolen?"), leaves no doubt that the democratic process was trampled and left for dead in the Buckeye State. Kerry almost certainly would have won Ohio if all of his votes had been counted, and if all of the eligible voters who tried to vote for him had been allowed to cast their ballots.

Herbert correctly points out here that the almost pavlovian response people had to electronic voting machines like Deibold, ES&S or Triad are actually missing the big picture.

The primary goal in the plot described by Kennedy wasn't just to change specific votes (although that does appear to have taken place in certain instances), it was an all out effort to suppress the Democratic vote using a variety of means. First and foremost, knocking eligible voters off the rolls. Voting Machines like Diebold were a very small part of the overall picture.

According to Kennedy's analysis the enourmous number of Democratic voters who were unable to cast their votes just due to long lines (170,000) were enough to change the outcome of the election. But that was far from the only problem.

The lines themselves were caused in many cases by a lack of voting machines in key Democratic districts, particularly those that were heavily African-American. Herbert writes:

Walter Mebane Jr., a professor of government at Cornell University, did a statistical analysis of the vote in Franklin County, which includes the city of Columbus. He told Kennedy, "The allocation of voting machines in Franklin County was clearly biased against voters in precincts with high proportions of African-Americans."

Mebane told me that he compared the distribution of voting machines in Ohio's 2004 presidential election with the distribution of machines for a primary election held the previous spring. For the primary, he said, "There was no sign of racial bias in the distribution of the machines." But for the general election in November, "there was substantial bias, with fewer voting machines per voter in areas that were heavily African-American."

The issue of the purging of the rolls has been hotly debated here , here and elsewhere. It's my feeling - based on my own experience as a poll worker for the last several years - that this was step one in the overall plan. Although the law does allow for the purging of inactive voters and those who have moved to a new county, Ohio election officials appear to have implemented specific purges just weeks before the November election specifically in Democratic districts. The plot had three major elements in my opinion.

Step One. Scrub the Rolls.

    When someone who fully intends to vote is removed from the rolls, they are given a provisional ballot when they arrive a the polls. Filling out a provisional ballot takes extra time and tends to lengthen the wait time for subsequent voters. Removing a few inactive voters, or voters who've moved shouldn't normally be a problem. But in Ohio it was a big problem.

    Congressman John Conyers found the following in his analysis of the Ohio election.

    Just as we witnessed in the Florida presidential debacle four years ago, improper purging and other errors by election officials represent a very serious problem and have a particularly negative impact on minority voters. The fact that the Greater Cleveland Voter Registration
    Coalition projects that in Cuyahoga County alone over 10,000 Ohio citizens lost their right to vote as a result of official registration errors and that the NAACP received more than 1,000 purging complaints on election day indicate that the overall number of voters who may have been disenfranchised as a result of official mistakes and wrongful purging is in the scores of thousands, if not more. Congressional passage of HAVA's provisional ballot requirement was intended to mitigate errors such as this, but Secretary Blackwell's unduly narrow interpretation
    of this requirement, as well as weak rules for counting and checking provisional ballots, have
    made it far less likely that individuals whose registration was wrongfully purged or never entered
    would be able to receive a provisional ballot and have it counted
    .

Step Two. Force anyone innappropriately scrubed to vote provisionally, which increases the long lines at Democratic Polling locations.

    As reported by the Free Press.

    Nonetheless, tens of thousands of voters turned up in mostly Democratic wards in Cincinnati and Toledo, only to find they had been mysteriously removed from the voter rolls. In many cases, sworn testimony and affidavits given at hearings after the election confirmed that many of these citizens had in fact voted in the previous two federal elections and had not moved from where they were registered. In some cases, their stability at those addresses stretched back for decades.

    The problem was partially confirmed by a doubling of provisional ballots cast during the 2004 election, as opposed to the number cast in 2000. Provisional ballots have been traditionally used in Ohio as a stopgap for people whose voting procedures are somehow compromised at the polls, but who are nonetheless valid registrants.

Step Three. Toss the Provisional Ballots.

    Prior to the 2004 election, Blackwell made a range of unilateral pronouncements that threw the provisional balloting process into chaos. Among other things, he demanded voters casting provisional ballots provide their birth dates, a requirement that was often not mentioned by poll workers. Eyewitnesses testify that many provisional ballots were merely tossed in the trash at Ohio polling stations.

Ultimately the largest impact on the vote, and therefore the greatest unknown, were those voters who simply gave up and didn't bother to vote because of the long lines created by all the above. RS Charts.

Rolling Stone estimates here a possible Kerry victory of 1,600 votes, which isn't much. It almost certainly would have triggered a recount and been contested.

The question that is repeatedly asked by skeptics is "Did Kerry really win?" - which is presented as though all the illegal and questionable activity that occurred in Ohio doesn't matter if it didn't change the outcome.

But whether Kerry would have won is not the point, the point is that with so many people's votes cast aside no one can tell if it would have change the outcome.

To this very day we really don't know who actually won and exactly how Ohioans would have voted if they'd had the chance.

This point was made quite eloquently by Kennedy himself.

The issue of what happened in 2004 is not an academic one. For the second election in a row, the president of the United States was selected not by the uncontested will of the people but under a cloud of dirty tricks. Given the scope of the GOP machinations, we simply cannot be certain that the right man now occupies the Oval Office -- which means, in effect, that we have been deprived of our faith in democracy itself.

What this tells us is that many efforts to block and decertify Diebold in states such as Florida and California just might not make a difference in protecting the integrity of the voting process in the long run.

Vyan