dbasdbs "... the people grew fat and got lazy Now their vote is a meaningless joke ..." / / "The right of voting for representatives is the primary right by which all other rights are protected. To take away this right is to reduce a man to slavery."
11/11/04 MUST -=SEE: MSNBC'S COUNTDOWN with Keith Olberman looks at 2004 election fraud. VIDEO
Monday 29 March 2004
When Katherine Harris had to decide which candidate won Florida in 2000, many people were disturbed to learn she was both the state's top elections official and co-chairwoman of the Florida Bush-Cheney campaign. This year, that kind of unhealthy injection of partisanship into the administration of a presidential election could happen again.
Ms. Harris's successor is staying out of partisan politics this year, but other secretaries of state are diving right in. In Missouri, as important a swing state as Florida, the secretary of state has a top position in the Missouri Bush-Cheney campaign. In Michigan, another battleground state, the secretary of state has signed on as co-chairwoman of the Bush-Cheney campaign, and has been supporting an openly Republican voter registration drive.
When international observers monitor voting in new democracies, a key factor they look for is nonpartisan election administration. (A guidebook monitors use instructs that this can be done by the use of either "mainly professional" or "politically balanced" administrators.) This advice is rarely followed here at home. Decisions about voting machines and voter eligibility, and about who has won a close election, are often in the hands of partisan officials. The private companies that are rapidly moving into the elections field have political ties as well. To remove the appearance, and perhaps the reality, of bias, this culture of partisanship in election operations should be dismantled.
In most states, the top election arbiter is a secretary of state who ran for office as a Republican or Democrat. While some try to carve out a more independent identity once in the job, many are actively involved in electioneering for their party, or in their own campaigns for higher office. West Virginia's secretary of state, who has installed a new statewide voter database and made important decisions about what voting machines the state will use, is running in his state's Democratic primary for governor. Ohio's secretary of state, who has been overseeing the purchase of new machines in his state, is also running for governor.
Many of the decisions secretaries of state make have the potential to change an election's results. Purging voting rolls too aggressively, as Ms. Harris did in 2000, can change the party breakdown of the electorate. Not purging voters who are ineligible can, too. Decisions about whether and where to install more reliable voting machines can change the outcome. So can rules about processing new registrations and the location of polling places.
bhss Katherine Harris
Private companies are playing a large, and growing, role in election administration. This trend has the potential to "professionalize" the system, but unfortunately, most of these companies have hurt their own credibility by getting involved in partisan politics. The chief executive of Diebold, one of the leading electronic voting-machine manufacturers, made headlines when he wrote a fund-raising letter saying he was committed to seeing President Bush re-elected. Other leading companies have, more quietly, abandoned their own neutrality. Accenture, which put together a voter database for Florida and is preparing one for Pennsylvania, is a generous donor to both parties, although it gives about twice as much money to Republicans as Democrats.
The idea of getting the secretary of state out of partisan politics is a foreign one to many states, where the job has always been an elective one. But at the very least, no state official who helps run elections should continue to be involved in political campaigns or other partisan activity. Companies that do this work should not make campaign contributions, and states should not hire them if they do. This country should start holding its election system to the same standards of impartiality that its election monitors routinely apply to others.
The New York Times | Editorial October 4, 2004
Diebold, the much-criticized electronic voting machine company, got another black eye last week. A federal court in California ruled that it had violated federal law when it falsely charged two students with violating its copyrights by posting critical information about its voting machines on the Internet. The case raises more questions about Diebold's honesty and its commitment to transparency.
The story began early last year when someone - it is unclear who - posted internal Diebold e-mail messages on the Internet that discussed flaws in the company's electronic voting machines. Two students from Swarthmore College then posted those messages on various Web sites. Diebold sent out a flurry of cease-and-desist letters claiming that the postings violated its copyrights. The students sued, charging that Diebold knowingly misrepresented its rights under copyright law.
The United States District Court for the Northern District of California agreed. Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, it is illegal to send a cease-and-desist letter while knowing that the claim of copyright infringement is false. The court held that Diebold knew that its e-mail messages "discussing possible technical problems" with its voting machines were not copyrighted, but went ahead anyway.
This is the second recent setback to Diebold's already troubled reputation. Last month, California's attorney general, Bill Lockyer, joined a false-claims suit against Diebold charging it with lying to the state about the security of its voting systems. Now, a federal court has ruled that Diebold made knowing misrepresentations to get damaging information about its machines' security off the Internet.
Diebold has a great deal to do to make its work transparent and its company trustworthy if it wants to remain in the elections business.
Making Votes Count: Editorials in this series remain online at nytimes.com/makingvotescount.
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ / "... And this is more and more my view of the American people in general. They've allowed an election to be stolen in November 2000. They made no fuss." Gore Vidal, LA WEEKLY, Nov.14-20, 2003 ?] Democracy At Risk By PAUL KRUGMAN New York Times January 23, 2004
The disputed election of 2000 left a lasting scar on the nation's psyche. A recent Zogby poll found that even in red states, which voted for George W. Bush, 32 percent of the public believes that the election was stolen. In blue states, the fraction is 44 percent.
Now imagine this: in November the candidate trailing in the polls wins an upset victory - but all of the districts where he does much better than expected use touch-screen voting machines. Meanwhile, leaked internal e-mail from the companies that make these machines suggests widespread error, and possibly fraud. What would this do to the nation?
Unfortunately, this story is completely plausible. (In fact, you can tell a similar story about some of the results in the 2002 midterm elections, especially in Georgia.) Fortune magazine rightly declared paperless voting the worst technology of 2003, but it's not just a bad technology - it's a threat to the republic.
First of all, the technology has simply failed in several recent elections. In a special election in Broward County, Fla., 134 voters were disenfranchised because the electronic voting machines showed no votes, and there was no way to determine those voters' intent. (The election was decided by only 12 votes.) In Fairfax County, Va., electronic machines crashed repeatedly and balked at registering votes. In the 2002 primary, machines in several Florida districts reported no votes for governor.
And how many failures weren't caught? Internal e-mail from Diebold, the most prominent maker of electronic voting machines (though not those in the Florida and Virginia debacles), reveals that programmers were frantic over the system's unreliability. One reads, "I have been waiting for someone to give me an explanation as to why Precinct 216 gave Al Gore a minus 16022 when it was uploaded." Another reads, "For a demonstration I suggest you fake it."
Computer experts say that software at Diebold and other manufacturers is full of security flaws, which would easily allow an insider to rig an election. But the people at voting machine companies wouldn't do that, would they? Let's ask Jeffrey Dean, a programmer who was senior vice president of a voting machine company, Global Election Systems, before Diebold acquired it in 2002. Bev Harris, author of "Black Box Voting," told The A.P. that Mr. Dean, before taking that job, spent time in a Washington correctional facility for stealing money and tampering with computer files.
Questionable programmers aside, even a cursory look at the behavior of the major voting machine companies reveals systematic flouting of the rules intended to ensure voting security. Software was modified without government oversight; machine components were replaced without being rechecked. And here's the crucial point: even if there are strong reasons to suspect that electronic machines miscounted votes, nothing can be done about it. There is no paper trail; there is nothing to recount.
So what should be done? Representative Rush Holt has introduced a bill calling for each machine to produce a paper record that the voter verifies. The paper record would then be secured for any future audit. The bill requires that such verified voting be ready in time for the 2004 election - and that districts that can't meet the deadline use paper ballots instead. And it also requires surprise audits in each state.
I can't see any possible objection to this bill. Ignore the inevitable charges of "conspiracy theory." (Although some conspiracies are real: as yesterday's Boston Globe reports, "Republican staff members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee infiltrated opposition computer files for a year, monitoring secret strategy memos and periodically passing on copies to the media.") To support verified voting, you don't personally have to believe that voting machine manufacturers have tampered or will tamper with elections. How can anyone object to measures that will place the vote above suspicion?
What about the expense? Let's put it this way: we're spending at least $150 billion to promote democracy in Iraq. That's about $1,500 for each vote cast in the 2000 election. How can we balk at spending a small fraction of that sum to secure the credibility of democracy at home?
Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company
/___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ // Fear of Fraud By PAUL KRUGMAN New York Times 27 July 2004 / "Jeb Bush says he won't allow an independent examination of voting machines because he has "every confidence" in his handpicked election officials. Yet those officials have a history of slipshod performance on other matters related to voting and somehow their errors always end up favoring Republicans. Why should anyone trust their verdict on the integrity of voting machines, when another convenient mistake could deliver a Republican victory in a high-stakes national election?"
It's election night, and early returns suggest trouble for the incumbent. Then, mysteriously, the vote count stops and observers from the challenger's campaign see employees of a voting-machine company, one wearing a badge that identifies him as a county official, typing instructions at computers with access to the vote-tabulating software.
When the count resumes, the incumbent pulls ahead. The challenger demands an investigation. But there are no ballots to recount, and election officials allied with the incumbent refuse to release data that could shed light on whether there was tampering with the electronic records.
This isn't a paranoid fantasy. It's a true account of a recent election in Riverside County, Calif., reported by Andrew Gumbel of the British newspaper The Independent. Mr. Gumbel's full-length report, printed in Los Angeles City Beat, makes hair-raising reading not just because it reinforces concerns about touch-screen voting, but also because it shows how easily officials can stonewall after a suspect election.
Some states, worried about the potential for abuse with voting machines that leave no paper trail, have banned their use this November. But Florida, which may well decide the presidential race, is not among those states, and last month state officials rejected a request to allow independent audits of the machines' integrity. A spokesman for Gov. Jeb Bush accused those seeking audits of trying to "undermine voters' confidence," and declared, "The governor has every confidence in the Department of State and the Division of Elections."
Should the public share that confidence? Consider the felon list.
Florida law denies the vote to convicted felons. In 2000 the state hired a firm to purge supposed felons from the list of registered voters; these voters were turned away from the polls. After the election, determined by 537 votes, it became clear that thousands of people had been wrongly disenfranchised. Since those misidentified as felons were disproportionately Democratic-leaning African-Americans, these errors may have put George W. Bush in the White House.
This year, Florida again hired a private company - Accenture, which recently got a homeland security contract worth up to $10 billion - to prepare a felon list. Remembering 2000, journalists sought copies. State officials stonewalled, but a judge eventually ordered the list released.
The Miami Herald quickly discovered that 2,100 citizens who had been granted clemency, restoring their voting rights, were nonetheless on the banned-voter list. Then The Sarasota Herald-Tribune discovered that only 61 of more than 47,000 supposed felons were Hispanic. So the list would have wrongly disenfranchised many legitimate African-American voters, while wrongly enfranchising many Hispanic felons. It escaped nobody's attention that in Florida, Hispanic voters tend to support Republicans.
After first denying any systematic problem, state officials declared it an innocent mistake. They told Accenture to match a list of registered voters to a list of felons, flagging anyone whose name, date of birth and race was the same on both lists. They didn't realize, they said, that this would automatically miss felons who identified themselves as Hispanic because that category exists on voter rolls but not in state criminal records.
But employees of a company that prepared earlier felon lists say that they repeatedly warned state election officials about that very problem.
Let's not be coy. Jeb Bush says he won't allow an independent examination of voting machines because he has "every confidence" in his handpicked election officials. Yet those officials have a history of slipshod performance on other matters related to voting and somehow their errors always end up favoring Republicans. Why should anyone trust their verdict on the integrity of voting machines, when another convenient mistake could deliver a Republican victory in a high-stakes national election?
This shouldn't be a partisan issue. Think about what a tainted election would do to America's sense of itself, and its role in the world. In the face of official stonewalling, doubters probably wouldn't be able to prove one way or the other whether the vote count was distorted - but if the result looked suspicious, most of the world and many Americans would believe the worst. I'll write soon about what can be done in the few weeks that remain, but here's a first step: if Governor Bush cares at all about the future of the nation, as well as his family's political fortunes, he will allow that independent audit.
Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company
By Greg Palast San Francisco Chronicle June 20, 2004 It's not too hard to get your vote lost - if some politicians want it to be lost.
In the 2000 presidential election, 1.9 million Americans cast ballots that no one counted. "Spoiled votes" is the technical term. The pile of ballots left to rot has a distinctly dark hue: About 1 million of them - half of the rejected ballots - were cast by African Americans although black voters make up only 12 percent of the electorate.
This year, it could get worse.
These ugly racial statistics are hidden away in the mathematical thickets of the appendices to official reports coming out of the investigation of ballot-box monkey business in Florida from the last go-'round.
How do you spoil 2 million ballots? Not by leaving them out of the fridge too long. A stray mark, a jammed machine, a punch card punched twice will do it. It's easy to lose your vote, especially when some politicians want your vote lost.
While investigating the 2000 ballot count in Florida for BBC Television, I saw firsthand how the spoilage game was played - with black voters the predetermined losers.
Florida's Gadsden County has the highest percentage of black voters in the state - and the highest spoilage rate. One in 8 votes cast there in 2000 was never counted. Many voters wrote in "Al Gore." Optical reading machines rejected these because "Al" is a "stray mark."
By contrast, in neighboring Tallahassee, the capital, vote spoilage was nearly zip; every vote counted. The difference? In Tallahassee's white- majority county, voters placed their ballots directly into optical scanners. If they added a stray mark, they received another ballot with instructions to correct it.
In other words, in the white county, make a mistake and get another ballot; in the black county, make a mistake, your ballot is tossed.
The U.S. Civil Rights Commission looked into the smelly pile of spoiled ballots and concluded that, of the 179,855 ballots invalidated by Florida officials, 53 percent were cast by black voters. In Florida, a black citizen was 10 times as likely to have a vote rejected as a white voter.
But let's not get smug about Florida's Jim Crow spoilage rate. Civil Rights Commissioner Christopher Edley, recently appointed dean of Boalt Hall School of Law at UC Berkeley, took the Florida study nationwide. His team discovered the uncomfortable fact that Florida is typical of the nation.
Philip Klinkner, the statistician working on the Edley investigations, concluded, "It appears that about half of all ballots spoiled in the U.S.A. - about 1 million votes - were cast by nonwhite voters."
This "no count," as the Civil Rights Commission calls it, is no accident. In Florida, for example, I discovered that technicians had warned Gov. Jeb Bush's office well in advance of November 2000 of the racial bend in the vote-count procedures.
Herein lies the problem. An apartheid vote-counting system is far from politically neutral. Given that more than 90 percent of the black electorate votes Democratic, had all the "spoiled" votes been tallied, Gore would have taken Florida in a walk, not to mention fattening his popular vote total nationwide. It's not surprising that the First Brother's team, informed of impending rejection of black ballots, looked away and whistled.
The ballot-box blackout is not the monopoly of one party. Cook County, Ill., has one of the nation's worst spoilage rates. That's not surprising. Boss Daley's Democratic machine, now his son's, survives by systematic disenfranchisement of Chicago's black vote.
How can we fix it? First, let's shed the convenient excuses for vote spoilage, such as a lack of voter education. One television network stated as fact that Florida's black voters, newly registered and lacking education, had difficulty with their ballots. In other words, blacks are too dumb to vote.
This convenient racist excuse is dead wrong. After that disaster in Gadsden, Fla., public outcry forced the government to change that black county's procedures to match that of white counties. The result: near zero spoilage in the 2002 election. Ballot design, machines and procedure, says statistician Klinkner, control spoilage.
In other words, the vote counters, not the voters, are to blame. Politicians who choose the type of ballot and the method of counting have long fine-tuned the spoilage rate to their liking.
It is about to get worse. The ill-named "Help America Vote Act," signed by President Bush in 2002, is pushing computerization of the ballot box.
California decertified some of Diebold Corp.'s digital ballot boxes in response to fears that hackers could pick our next president. But the known danger of black-box voting is that computers, even with their software secure, are vulnerable to low-tech spoilage games: polls opening late, locked-in votes, votes lost in the ether.
And once again, the history of computer-voting glitches has a decidedly racial bias. Florida's Broward County grandly shifted to touch-screen voting in 2002. In white precincts, all seemed to go well. In black precincts, hundreds of African Americans showed up at polls with machines down and votes that simply disappeared.
Going digital won't fix the problem. Canada and Sweden vote on paper ballots with little spoilage and without suspicious counts.
In America, a simple fix based on paper balloting is resisted because, unfortunately, too many politicians who understand the racial bias in the vote-spoilage game are its beneficiaries, with little incentive to find those missing 1 million black voters' ballots.
Greg Palast is the author of the New York Times bestseller "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy," a book Michael Moore has called "courageous reporting." He has uncovered fraud and corruption in the highest seats of power, exposing the back-room crimes and propaganda lies of the New World Order's robber barons-- from the pirates in the Oval Office to the corporate globalizers steamrolling the world over. Written in a no-holds-barred, in-your-face style, The Best Democracy Money Can buy is a must read for anyone who believes that the First Amendment is important enough to use and that democracy cannot be bought.
Palast's writings have appeared in The Washington Post, Harper's, and The Nation. He's been a guest on Politically Incorrect, C-SPAN's Washington Journal, and does regular investigative reports for BBC's Newsnight. Winner of Salon.com's 2001 "Politics Story of the Year," Greg Palast is a legend among his colleagues and his devoted leadership worldwide. Palast earned his MBS from University of Chicago, where he studies under the tutelage of ultraconservative Nobel Prize winner Milton Friedman. A native of California, he divides his time between New York and London.
Masters-of-War's top video pick on his site: BBC TV: Theft of the Presidency, by Greg Palast
View the full video here.
/ Vanishing Votes By Gregory Palast The Nation May 17, 2004 Issue
Go to Original
dOn October 29, 2002, George W. Bush signed the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). Hidden behind its apple-pie-and-motherhood name lies a nasty civil rights time bomb.
First, the purges. In the months leading up to the November 2000 presidential election, Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris, in coordination with Governor Jeb Bush, ordered local election supervisors to purge 57,700 voters from the registries, supposedly ex-cons not allowed to vote in Florida.
At least 90.2 percent of those on this "scrub" list, targeted to lose their civil rights, are innocent. Notably, more than half--about 54 percent--are black or Hispanic. You can argue all night about the number ultimately purged, but there's no argument that this electoral racial pogrom ordered by Jeb Bush's operatives gave the White House to his older brother. HAVA not only blesses such purges, it requires all fifty states to implement a similar search-and-destroy mission against vulnerable voters. Specifically, every state must, by the 2004 election, imitate Florida's system of computerizing voter files. The law then empowers fifty secretaries of state--fifty Katherine Harrises--to purge these lists of "suspect" voters.
The purge is back, big time. Following the disclosure in December 2000 of the black voter purge in Britain's Observer newspaper, NAACP lawyers sued the state. The civil rights group won a written promise from Governor Jeb and from Harris's successor to return wrongly scrubbed citizens to the voter rolls. According to records given to the courts by ChoicePoint, the company that generated the computerized lists, the number of Floridians who were questionably tagged totals 91,000. Willie Steen is one of them. Recently, I caught up with Steen outside his office at a Tampa hospital. Steen's case was easy. You can't work in a hospital if you have a criminal record. (My copy of Harris's hit list includes an ex-con named O'Steen, close enough to cost Willie Steen his vote.) The NAACP held up Steen's case to the court as a prime example of the voter purge evil.
The state admitted Steen's innocence. But a year after the NAACP won his case, Steen still couldn't register. Why was he still under suspicion? What do we know about this "potential felon," as Jeb called him? Steen, unlike our President, honorably served four years in the US military. There is, admittedly, a suspect mark on his record: Steen remains an African-American.
If you're black, voting in America is a game of chance. First, there's the chance your registration card will simply be thrown out. Millions of minority citizens registered to vote using what are called motor-voter forms. And Republicans know it. You would not be surprised to learn that the Commission on Civil Rights found widespread failures to add these voters to the registers. My sources report piles of dust-covered applications stacked up in election offices.
Second, once registered, there's the chance you'll be named a felon. In Florida, besides those fake felons on Harris's scrub sheets, some 600,000 residents are legally barred from voting because they have a criminal record in the state. That's one state. In the entire nation 1.4 million black men with sentences served can't vote, 13 percent of the nation's black male population.
At step three, the real gambling begins. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 guaranteed African-Americans the right to vote--but it did not guarantee the right to have their ballots counted. And in one in seven cases, they aren't.
Take Gadsden County. Of Florida's sixty-seven counties, Gadsden has the highest proportion of black residents: 58 percent. It also has the highest "spoilage" rate, that is, ballots tossed out on technicalities: one in eight votes cast but not counted. Next door to Gadsden is white-majority Leon County, where virtually every vote is counted (a spoilage rate of one in 500).
How do votes spoil? Apparently, any old odd mark on a ballot will do it. In Gadsden, some voters wrote in Al Gore instead of checking his name. Their votes did not count.
Harvard law professor Christopher Edley Jr., a member of the Commission on Civil Rights, didn't like the smell of all those spoiled ballots. He dug into the pile of tossed ballots and, deep in the commission's official findings, reported this: 14.4 percent of black votes--one in seven--were "invalidated," i.e., never counted. By contrast, only 1.6 percent of nonblack voters' ballots were spoiled.
Florida's electorate is 11 percent African-American. Florida refused to count 179,855 spoiled ballots. A little junior high school algebra applied to commission numbers indicates that 54 percent, or 97,000, of the votes "spoiled" were cast by black folk, of whom more than 90 percent chose Gore. The nonblack vote divided about evenly between Gore and Bush. Therefore, had Harris allowed the counting of these ballots, Al Gore would have racked up a plurality of about 87,000 votes in Florida--162 times Bush's official margin of victory.
That's Florida. Now let's talk about America. In the 2000 election, 1.9 million votes cast were never counted. Spoiled for technical reasons, like writing in Gore's name, machine malfunctions and so on. The reasons for ballot rejection vary, but there's a suspicious shading to the ballots tossed into the dumpster. Edley's team of Harvard experts discovered that just as in Florida, the number of ballots spoiled was--county by county, precinct by precinct--in direct proportion to the local black voting population.
Florida's racial profile mirrors the nation's--both in the percentage of voters who are black and the racial profile of the voters whose ballots don't count. "In 2000, a black voter in Florida was ten times as likely to have their vote spoiled--not counted--as a white voter," explains political scientist Philip Klinkner, co-author of Edley's Harvard report. "National figures indicate that Florida is, surprisingly, typical. Given the proportion of nonwhite to white voters in America, then, it appears that about half of all ballots spoiled in the USA, as many as 1 million votes, were cast by nonwhite voters."
So there you have it. In the last presidential election, approximately 1 million black and other minorities voted, and their ballots were thrown away. And they will be tossed again in November 2004, efficiently, by computer--because HAVA and other bogus reform measures, stressing reform through complex computerization, do not address, and in fact worsen, the racial bias of the uncounted vote.
One million votes will disappear in a puff of very black smoke. And when the smoke clears, the Bush clan will be warming their political careers in the light of the ballot bonfire. HAVA nice day.
"... And this is more and more my view of the American people in general. They've allowed an election to be stolen in November 2000. They made no fuss." Gore Vidal, LA WEEKLY, Nov.14-20, 2003 ndfndnd Diebold, Electronic Voting and the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy ndfndnd By Bob Fitrakis The Columbus Free Press February 25, 2004 "Maybe the Diebold decision makes sense, if you believe, to paraphrase Henry Kissinger, that democracy is too important to leave up to the votes of the people."
The Governor of Ohio, Bob Taft, and other prominent state officials, commute to their downtown Columbus offices on Broad Street. This is the so-called "Golden Finger," the safe route through the majority black inner-city near east side. The Broad Street BP station, just east of downtown, is the place where affluent suburbanites from Bexley can stop, gas up, get their coffee and New York Times. Those in need of cash visit BP's Diebold manufactured CashSource+ ATM machine which provides a paper receipt of the transaction to all customers upon request.
Many of Taft's and President George W. Bush's major donors, like Diebold's current CEO Walden "Wally" O'Dell, reside in Columbus' northwest suburb Upper Arlington. O'Dell is on record stating that he is "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the President" this year. On September 26, 2003, he hosted an Ohio Republican Party fundraiser for Bush's re-election at his Cotswold Manor mansion. Tickets to the fundraiser cost $1000 per couple, but O'Dell's fundraising letter urged those attending to "Donate or raise $10,000 for the Ohio Republican Party."
According to the Columbus Dispatch: "Last year, O'Dell and his wife Patricia, campaigned for passage of two liquor options that made their portion of Tremont Road wet.
On November 5, Upper Arlington residents narrowly passed measures that allowed fundraising parties to offer more than beer, even though his 10,800-square-foot home is a residence, a permit is required because alcohol is included in the price of fundraising tickets. O'Dell is also allowed to serve "beer, wine and mixed drinks" at Sunday fundraisers.
O'Dell's fund-raising letter followed on the heels of a visit to President Bush's Crawford Texas ranch by "Pioneers and Rangers," the designation for people who had raised $100,000 or more for Bush's re-election.
If Ohio's Republican Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell has his way, Diebold will receive a contract to supply touch screen electronic voting machines for much of the state. None of these Diebold machines will provide a paper receipt of the vote.
Diebold, located in North Canton, Ohio, does its primary business in ATM and ticket-vending machines. Critics of Diebold point out that virtually every other machine the company makes provides a paper trail to verify the machine's calculations. Oddly, only the voting machines lack this essential function.
State Senator Teresa Fedor of Toledo introduced Senate Bill 167 late last year mandating that every voting machine in Ohio generate a "voter verified paper audit trail." Secretary of State Blackwell has denounced any attempt to require a paper trail as an effort to "derail" election reform. Blackwell's political career is an interesting one: he emerged as a black activist in Cincinnati supporting municipal charter reform, became an elected Democrat, then an Independent, and now is a prominent Republican with his eyes on the Governor's mansion.
A joint study by the California and Massachusetts Institutes of Technology following the 2000 election determined that between 1.5 and 2 million votes were not counted due to confusing paper ballots or faulty equipment. The federal government's solution to the problem was to pass the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002.
One of the law's stated goals was "Replacement of punch card and lever voting machines." The new voting machines would be high-tech touch screen computers, but if there's no paper trail, how do you know if there's been a computer glitch? How can the results be trusted? And how do you recount to see if the actual votes match the computer's tally?
Bev Harris, author of Black Box Voting: Ballot Tampering in the 21st Century, argues that without a paper trail, these machines are open to massive voter fraud. Diebold has already placed some 50,000 machines in 37 states and their track record is causing Harris, Johns Hopkins University professors and others great concern.
Johns Hopkins researchers at the Information Security Institute issued a report declaring that Diebold's electronic voting software contained "stunning flaws." The researchers concluded that vote totals could be altered at the voting machines and by remote access. Diebold vigorously refuted the Johns Hopkins report, claiming the researchers came to "a multitude of false conclusions."
Perhaps to settle the issue, someone illegally hacked into the Diebold Election Systems website in March 2003 and stole internal documents from the company and posted them online. Diebold went to court to stop, according to court records, the "wholesale reproduction" of some 13,000 pages of company material.
The Associated Press reported in November 2003 that: "Computer programmers, ISPs and students at [at] least 20 universities, including the University of California, Berkeley, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology received cease and desist letters" from Diebold. A group of Swarthmore College students launched an "electronic civil disobedience" campaign to keep the hacked documents permanently posted on the Internet.
Harris writes that the hacked documents expose how the mainstream media reversed their call projecting Al Gore as winner of Florida after someone "subtracted 16,022 votes from Al Gore, and in still some undefined way, added 4000 erroneous votes to George W. Bush." Hours later, the votes were returned. One memo from Lana Hires of Global Election Systems, now Diebold, reads: "I need some answers! Our department is being audited by the County. I have been waiting for someone to give me an explanation as to why Precinct 216 gave Al Gore a minus 16,022 [votes] when it was uploaded." Another hacked internal memo, written by Talbot Iredale, Senior VP of Research and Development for Diebold Election Systems, documents "unauthorized" replacement votes in Volusia County.
Harris also uncovered a revealing 87-page CBS news report and noted, "According to CBS documents, the erroneous 20,000 votes in Volusia was directly responsible to calling the election for Bush." The first person to call the election for Bush was Fox election analyst John Ellis, who had the advantage of conferring with his prominent cousins George W. Bush and Florida Governor Jeb Bush.
Increasingly, investigative writers seeking an explanation have looked to Diebold's history for clues. The electronic voting industry is dominated by only a few corporations Diebold, Election Systems & Software (ES&S) and Sequoia. Diebold and ES&S combined count an estimated 80% of U.S. black box electronic votes.
In the early 1980s, brothers Bob and Todd Urosevich founded ES&S's originator, Data Mark. The brothers Urosevich obtained financing from the far-Right Ahmanson family in 1984, which purchased a 68% ownership stake, according to the Omaha World Herald. After brothers William and Robert Ahmanson infused Data Mark with new capital, the name was changed to American Information Systems (AIS). California newspapers have long documented the Ahmanson family's ties to right-wing evangelical Christian and Republican circles.
In 2001, the Los Angeles Times reported, ". . . primarily funded by evangelical Christians particularly the wealthy Ahmanson family of Irvine the [Discovery] institute's $1-million annual program has produced 25 books, a stream of conferences and more than 100 fellowships for doctoral and postdoctoral research." The chief philanthropists of the Discovery Institute, that pushes creationist science and education in California, are Howard and Roberta Ahmanson.
According to Group Watch, in the 1980s Howard F. Ahmanson, Jr. was a member of the highly secretive far-Right Council for National Policy, an organization that included Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North, Major General John K. Singlaub and other Iran-Contra scandal notables, as well as former Klan members like Richard Shoff. Ahmanson, heir to a savings and loan fortune, is little reported on in the mainstream U.S. press. But, English papers like The Independent are a bit more forthcoming on Ahmanson's politics.
"On the right, figures such as Richard Mellon Scaife and Howard Ahmanson have given hundreds of millions of dollars over several decades to political projects both high (setting up the Heritage Foundation think-tank, the driving engine of the Reagan presidency) and low (bankrolling investigations into President Clinton's sexual indiscretions and the suicide of the White House insider Vincent Foster)," wrote The Independent last November.
The Sunday Mail described an individual as, ". . . a fundamentalist Christian more in the mould of U.S. multi-millionaire Howard Ahmanson, Jr., who uses his fortune to promote so-called traditional family values . . . by waving fortunes under their noses, Ahmanson has the ability to cajole candidates into backing his right-wing Christian agenda.
Ahmanson is also a chief contributor to the Chalcedon Institute that supports the Christian reconstruction movement. The movement's philosophy advocates, among other things, "mandating the death penalty for homosexuals and drunkards."
The Ahmanson family sold their shares in American Information Systems to the McCarthy Group and the World Herald Company, Inc. Republican Senator Chuck Hagel disclosed in public documents that he was the Chairman of American Information Systems and claimed between a $1 to 5 million investment in the McCarthy Group. In 1997, American Information Systems purchased Business Records Corp. (BRC), formerly Texas-based election company Cronus Industries, to become ES&S. One of the BRC owners was Carolyn Hunt of the right-wing Hunt oil family, which supplied much of the original money for the Council on National Policy.
In 1996, Hagel became the first elected Republican Nebraska senator in 24 years when he did surprisingly well in an election where the votes were verified by the company he served as chairman and maintained a financial investment. In both the 1996 and 2002 elections, Hagel's ES&S counted an estimated 80% of his winning votes. Due to the contracting out of services, confidentiality agreements between the State of Nebraska and the company kept this matter out of the public eye. Hagel's first election victory was described as a "stunning upset" by one Nebraska newspaper.
Hagel's official biography states, "Prior to his election to the U.S. Senate, Hagel worked in the private sector as the President of McCarthy and Company, an investment banking firm based in Omaha, Nebraska and served as Chairman of the Board of American Information Systems." During the first Bush presidency, Hagel served as Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer of the 1990 Economic Summit of Industrialized Nations (G-7 Summit).
Bob Urosevich was the Programmer and CEO at AIS, before being replaced by Hagel. Bob now heads Diebold Election Systems and his brother Todd is a top executive at ES&S. Bob created Diebold's original electronic voting machine software. Thus, the brothers Urosevich, originally funded by the far Right, figure in the counting of approximately 80% of electronic voting in the United States.
Like Ohio, the State of Maryland was disturbed by the potential for massive electronic voter fraud. The voters of that state were reassured when the state hired SAIC to monitor Diebold's system. SAIC's former CEO is Admiral Bill Owens. Owens served as a military aide to both Vice President Dick Cheney and former Defense Secretary Frank Carlucci, who now works with George H.W. Bush at the controversial Carlyle Group. Robert Gates, former CIA Director and close friend of the Bush family, also served on the SAIC Board.
Diebold's track record
Wherever Diebold and ES&S go, irregularities and historic Republican upsets follow. Alastair Thompson, writing for scoop.co of New Zealand, explored whether or not the 2002 U.S. mid-term elections were "fixed by electronic voting machines supplied by Republican-affiliated companies." The scoop investigation concluded that: "The state where the biggest upset occurred, Georgia, is also the state that ran its election with the most electronic voting machines." Those machines were supplied by Diebold.
Wired News reported that ". . . a former worker in Diebold's Georgia warehouse says the company installed patches on its machine before the state's 2002 gubernatorial election that were never certified by independent testing authorities or cleared with Georgia election officials." Questions were raised in Texas when three Republican candidates in Comal County each received exactly the same number of votes 18,181.
Following the 2003 California election, an audit of the company revealed that Diebold Election Systems voting machines installed uncertified software in all 17 counties using its equipment.
Former CIA Station Chief John Stockwell writes that one of the favorite tactics of the CIA during the Reagan-Bush administration in the 1980s was to control countries by manipulating the election process. "CIA apologists leap up and say, 'Well, most of these things are not so bloody.' And that's true. You're giving politicians some money so he'll throw his party in this direction or that one, or make false speeches on your behalf, or something like that. It may be non-violent, but it's still illegal intervention in other country's affairs, raising the question of whether or not we're going to have a world in which laws, rules of behavior are respected," Stockwell wrote. Documents illustrate that the Reagan and Bush administration supported computer manipulation in both Noriega's rise to power in Panama and in Marcos' attempt to retain power in the Philippines. Many of the Reagan administration's staunchest supporters were members of the Council on National Policy.
The perfect solution
Ohio Senator Fedor continues to fight valiantly for Senate Bill 167 and the Holy Grail of the "voter verified paper audit trail." Proponents of a paper trail were emboldened when Athan Gibbs, President and CEO of TruVote International, demonstrated a voting machine at a vendor's fair in Columbus that provides two separate voting receipts.
The first paper receipt displays the voter's touch screen selection under plexiglass that falls into a lockbox after the voter approves. Also, the TruVote system provides the voter with a receipt that includes a unique voter ID and pin number which can be used to call in to a voter audit internet connection to make sure the vote cast was actually counted.
Brooks Thomas, Coordinator of Elections in Tennessee, stated, "I've not seen anything that compares to the Gibbs' TruVote validation system. . . ." The Assistant Secretary of State of Georgia, Terrel L. Slayton, Jr., claimed Gibbs had come up with the "perfect solution."
Still, there remains opposition from Ohio Secretary of State Blackwell. His spokesperson Carlo LoParo recently pointed out that federal mandates under HAVA do not require a paper trail: ". . . if Congress changes the federal law to require it [a paper trail], we'll certainly make that a requirement of our efforts." LoParo went on to accuse advocates of a paper trail of attempting to "derail" voting reform.
U.S. Representative Rush Holt introduced HR 2239, The Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2003, that would require electronic voting machines to produce a paper trail so that voters may verify that their screen touches match their actual vote. Election officials would also have a paper trail for recounts.
As Blackwell pressures the Ohio legislature to adopt electronic voting machines without a paper trail, Athan Gibbs wonders, "Why would you buy a voting machine from a company like Diebold which provides a paper trail for every single machine it makes except its voting machines? And then, when you ask it to verify its numbers, it hides behind 'trade secrets.'"
Maybe the Diebold decision makes sense, if you believe, to paraphrase Henry Kissinger, that democracy is too important to leave up to the votes of the people.
NX BN "John Dean, of Watergate fame, says, "I've been watching all the elements fall into place for two possible political catastrophes, one that will take the air out of the Bush-Cheney balloon and the other, far more disquieting, that will take the air out of democracy." - "This Isn't America", By Paul Krugman, The New York Times, Tuesday 30 March 2004- "To say that the [Bush-Cheney] secret presidency is undemocratic is an understatement. I'm anything but skittish about government, but I must say this administration is truly scary and, given the times we live in, frighteningly dangerous." - (former Nixon White House counsel ) JOHN DEAN / . "If I may, I'd like to remind you what I said at the State of the Union. Liberty is not America's gift to the world, it is God's gift to each and every person. And that's what I believe. I believe that when we see totalitarianism, that we must deal with it." - George W. Bush, prime time press conference, White House, Mar. 6, 2003 / (ACTUAL PHOTO) / ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
"The idea of a supine Congress, the best that corporate money can buy, is allowing this to go past them without any question, puts me in mind of my favorite Emperor,Tiberius, who was a very brilliant man, and a patriot in his way. When he became Emperor, the Senate passed a bill, assuring him that any legislation that he sent them would be automatically accepted, and become law. He sent back word and he said, "You're crazy. Suppose, suppose the Emperor is mad, suppose he's ill, suppose there's a palace coup and somebody else is sending things in his name? How can you be so certain that what you're passing is really his, or should be passed?" They sent it back: "Anything your Imperial Majesty sends us is law for us." And Tiberius said, "How eager they are to be slaves."
And this is more and more my view of the American people in general. They've allowed an election to be stolen in November 2000. They made no fuss. We have perpetual war for perpetual peace. We have the Enemy-of-the-Month Club: one month it's Noriega, one month it's Saddam Hussein, one month it's Khadafy, currently it's Osama bin Laden... "It's going to be a loooooong war!" said George W. Bush, with such glee,'cause it means he has Imperial powers. And it also means that we are not going to get the Constitution back. Once civil rights are gone, they are gone. People get out of the habit of them."
"...And this is more and more my view of the American people in general. They've allowed an election to be stolen in November 2000. They made no fuss" Bush Takes Back Good Move on Voting Pensacola News Journal Tuesday 27 July 2004
We were premature in praising Gov. Jeb Bush for taking the high road in the matter of restoring voting rights for felons who have served their sentences and been released from prison.
No doubt it's our fault for underestimating the politics involved. And for thinking that the embarrassing hash the state had made of its efforts to purge the rolls of ineligible voters had shamed the governor into seeking a good-faith fix.
Now it looks as if the governor simply sees political benefit in keeping people off the voting rolls.
It's almost as if the governor takes delight in showing his contempt for a political system based on a non-partisan respect for voting rights, the very essence of our system. Just when it looked as if he was stepping up to do the right thing, he showed partisanship more apt for an old-fashioned ward heeler than the governor of Florida.
Earlier this month the state had withdrawn the badly flawed list of names it had sent to local elections supervisors to use in purging ineligible voters. Included were the names of felons who had served their terms and become eligible to have their rights restored, but who might have failed to have it done. But the list erroneously included many voters whose rights had been restored; meanwhile, it turned out that many individuals had been voting despite not having their rights restored. The errors were so numerous that the state looked incompetent, at best.
Then, last week, an appeals court ruled unanimously that prison officials must follow the law - imagine that! - and do more to help released felons with the paperwork needed to schedule a hearing to get their rights restored. The state already submits the names for automatic restoration of rights, but the Catch-22 is that most are rejected, requiring them to ask for a hearing.
Under Bush, the necessary paperwork to request a hearing had been cut from 12 pages to one, making the process easier. But people released from prison usually have more pressing needs - such as finding a job and a place to live. And given that many ex-convicts have limited education, expecting them to wade through what increasingly looks like a hostile state bureaucracy after their release is one more burden in the way of returning to full citizenship.
The court ruling meant that the restorative process would begin prior to release from prison, a big help with the bureaucracy.
But Bush then announced that to "streamline the process" he was doing away with the one-page form. It would now be up to those released from prison to contact the state by letter, e-mail or phone to request a clemency hearing ... once they had been notified that they had been rejected in the "automatic" process.
That doesn't "streamline" anything - it makes it harder to get rights restored. Gov. Bush, of course, knows that. By pretending differently, he simply shows his contempt for the whole process.
The big story out of Florida over the weekend was the tragic devastation caused by Hurricane Charley. But there's another story from Florida that deserves our attention.
State police officers have gone into the homes of elderly black voters in Orlando and interrogated them as part of an odd "investigation" that has frightened many voters, intimidated elderly volunteers and thrown a chill over efforts to get out the black vote in November.
The officers, from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which reports to Gov. Jeb Bush, say they are investigating allegations of voter fraud that came up during the Orlando mayoral election in March.
Officials refused to discuss details of the investigation, other than to say that absentee ballots are involved. They said they had no idea when the investigation might end, and acknowledged that it may continue right through the presidential election.
"We did a preliminary inquiry into those allegations and then we concluded that there was enough evidence to follow through with a full criminal investigation," said Geo Morales, a spokesman for the Department of Law Enforcement.
The state police officers, armed and in plain clothes, have questioned dozens of voters in their homes. Some of those questioned have been volunteers in get-out-the-vote campaigns.
I asked Mr. Morales in a telephone conversation to tell me what criminal activity had taken place.
"I can't talk about that," he said.
I asked if all the people interrogated were black.
"Well, mainly it was a black neighborhood we were looking at - yes,'' he said.
He also said, "Most of them were elderly."
When I asked why, he said, "That's just the people we selected out of a random sample to interview."
Back in the bad old days, some decades ago, when Southern whites used every imaginable form of chicanery to prevent blacks from voting, blacks often fought back by creating voters leagues, which were organizations that helped to register, educate and encourage black voters. It became a tradition that continues in many places, including Florida, today.
Not surprisingly, many of the elderly black voters who found themselves face to face with state police officers in Orlando are members of the Orlando League of Voters, which has been very successful in mobilizing the city's black vote.
The president of the Orlando League of Voters is Ezzie Thomas, who is 73 years old. With his demonstrated ability to deliver the black vote in Orlando, Mr. Thomas is a tempting target for supporters of George W. Bush in a state in which the black vote may well spell the difference between victory and defeat.
The vile smell of voter suppression is all over this so-called investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Joseph Egan, an Orlando lawyer who represents Mr. Thomas, said: "The Voters League has workers who go into the community to do voter registration, drive people to the polls and help with absentee ballots. They are elderly women mostly. They get paid like $100 for four or five months' work, just to offset things like the cost of their gas. They see this political activity as an important contribution to their community. Some of the people in the community had never cast a ballot until the league came to their door and encouraged them to vote."
Now, said Mr. Egan, the fear generated by state police officers going into people's homes as part of an ongoing criminal investigation related to voting is threatening to undo much of the good work of the league. He said, "One woman asked me, 'Am I going to go to jail now because I voted by absentee ballot?' "
According to Mr. Egan, "People who have voted by absentee ballot for years are refusing to allow campaign workers to come to their homes. And volunteers who have participated for years in assisting people, particularly the elderly or handicapped, are scared and don't want to risk a criminal investigation."
Florida is a state that's very much in play in the presidential election, with some polls showing John Kerry in the lead. A heavy-handed state police investigation that throws a blanket of fear over thousands of black voters can only help President Bush.
The long and ugly tradition of suppressing the black vote is alive and thriving in the Sunshine State.
Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _______ / How They Could Steal the Election this Time By Ronnie Dugger The Nation Thursday 29 July 2004
On November 2 millions of Americans will cast their votes for President in computerized voting systems that can be rigged by corporate or local-election insiders. Some 98 million citizens, five out of every six of the roughly 115 million who will go to the polls, will consign their votes into computers that unidentified computer programmers, working in the main for four private corporations and the officials of 10,500 election jurisdictions, could program to invisibly falsify the outcomes.
The result could be the failure of an American presidential election and its collapse into suspicions, accusations and a civic fury that will make Florida 2000 seem like a family spat in the kitchen. Robert Reich, Bill Clinton's Labor Secretary, has written, "Automated voting machines will be easily rigged, with no paper trails to document abuses."
Go to FULL ARTICLE
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Everyone remembers Florida's 2000 election debacle, and all of the new terms it introduced to our political lexicon: Hanging chads, dimpled chads, pregnant chads, overvotes, undervotes, Sore Losermans, Jews for Buchanan and so forth. It took several weeks, battalions of lawyers and a questionable decision from the U.S. Supreme Court to show the nation and the world how messy democracy can be. By any standard, what happened in Florida during the 2000 Presidential election was a disaster. What happened during the Presidential election of 2004, in Florida, in Ohio, and in a number of other states as well, was worse."
A poster named 'TruthIsAll' on the DemocraticUnderground.com forums laid out the questionable results of Tuesday's election in succinct fashion:
that Bush won the election, you must also believe:
that the exit polls were wrong; that Zogby's 5pm election day calls for Kerry winning Ohio and Florida were wrong (he was exactly right in his 2000 final poll);
that Harris' last-minute polling for Kerry was wrong (he was exactly right in his 2000 final poll);
that incumbent rule #1 - undecideds break for the challenger - was wrong;
that the 50% rule - an incumbent doesn't do better than his final polling - was wrong;
that the approval rating rule - an incumbent with less than 50% approval will most likely lose the election - was wrong;
that it was just a coincidence that the exit polls were correct where there was a paper trail and incorrect (+5% for Bush) where there was no paper trail;
that the surge in new young voters had no positive effect for Kerry;
that Kerry did worse than Gore against an opponent who lost the support of scores of Republican newspapers who were for Bush in 2000;
that voting machines made by Republicans with no paper trail and with no software publication, which have been proven by thousands of computer scientists to be vulnerable in scores of ways, were not tampered with in this election."
Editor's Note (truthout.org) | How could the exit polls in this year's presidential election have diverged so drastically from the results that election officials and the media announced?
Professor Steven Freeman, a statistician at the University of Pennsylvania, offers a disturbing answer. Looking at the exit polls and announced results in Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania, he concludes that the odds against such an accidental discrepancy in all three states together was 250 million to one.
"As much as we can say in social science that something is impossible, it is impossible that the discrepancies between predicted and actual vote counts in the three critical battleground states of the 2004 election could have been due to chance or random error."
Read Dr. Freeman's well-reasoned, well-written argument, and make up your own mind. -- sw
? I Smell a Rat By Colin Shea FreezerBox.com Friday 12 November 2004 / "Bush has not led the nation to unity, but ruled through fear and division. Dishonesty and deceit in areas critical to the public interest have been the hallmark of his Administration." //
I smell a rat. It has that distinctive and all-too-familiar odor of the species Republicanus floridius. We got a nasty bite from this pest four years ago and never quite recovered. Symptoms of a long-term infection are becoming distressingly apparent.
The first sign of the rat was on election night. The jubilation of early exit polling had given way to rising anxiety as states fell one by one to the Red Tide. It was getting late in the smoky cellar of a Prague sports bar where a crowd of expats had gathered. We had been hoping to go home to bed early, confident of victory. Those hopes had evaporated in a flurry of early precinct reports from Florida and Ohio.
By 3 AM, conversation had died and we were grimly sipping beers and watching as those two key states seemed to be slipping further and further to crimson. Suddenly, a friend who had left two hours earlier rushed in and handed us a printout.
"Zogby's calling it for Kerry." He smacked the sheet decisively. "Definitely. He's got both Florida and Ohio in the Kerry column. Kerry only needs one." Satisfied, we went to bed, confident we would wake with the world a better place. Victory was at hand.
The morning told a different story, of course. No Florida victory for Kerry - Bush had a decisive margin of nearly 400,000 votes. Ohio was not even close enough for Kerry to demand that all the votes be counted. The pollsters had been dead wrong, Bush had four more years and a powerful mandate. Onward Christian soldiers - next stop, Tehran.
Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics
I work with statistics and polling data every day. Something rubbed me the wrong way. I checked the exit polls for Florida - all wrong. CNN's results indicated a Kerry win: turnout matched voter registration, and independents had broken 59% to 41% for Kerry.
Polling is an imprecise science. Yet its very imprecision is itself quantifiable and follows regular patterns. Differences between actual results and those expected from polling data must be explainable by identifiable factors if the polling sample is robust enough. With almost 3.000 respondents in Florida alone, the CNN poll sample was pretty robust.
The first signs of the rat were identified by Kathy Dopp, who conducted a simple analysis of voter registrations by party in Florida and compared them to presidential vote results. Basically she multiplied the total votes cast in a county by the percentage of voters registered Republican: this gave an expected Republican vote. She then compared this to the actual result.
Her analysis is startling. Certain counties voted for Bush far in excess of what one would expect based on the share of Republican registrations in that county. They key phrase is "certain counties" - there is extraordinary variance between individual counties. Most counties fall more or less in line with what one would expect based on the share of Republican registrations, but some differ wildly.
How to explain this incredible variance? Dopp found one over-riding factor: whether the county used electronic touch-screen voting, or paper ballots which were optically scanned into a computer. All of those with touch-screen voting had results relatively in line with her expected results, while all of those with extreme variance were in counties with optical scanning.
The intimation, clearly, is fraud. Ballots are scanned; results are fed into precinct computers; these are sent to a county-wide database, whose results are fed into the statewide electoral totals. At any point after physical ballots become databases, the system is vulnerable to external hackers.
It seemed too easy, and Dopp's method seemed simplistic. I re-ran the results using CNN's exit polling data. In each county, I took the number of registrations and assigned correctional factors based on the CNN poll to predict turnout among Republicans, Democrats, and independents. I then used the vote shares from the polls to predict a likely number of Republican votes per county. I compared this 'expected' Republican vote to the actual Republican vote.
The results are shocking. Overall, Bush received 2% fewer votes in counties with electronic touch-screen voting than expected. In counties with optical scanning, he received 16% more. This 16% would not be strange if it were spread across counties more or less evenly. It is not. In 11 different counties, the 'actual' Bush vote was at least twice higher than the expected vote. 13 counties had Bush vote tallies 50 - 100% higher than expected. In one county where 88% of voters are registered Democrats, Bush got nearly two thirds of the vote - three times more than predicted by my model.
Again, polling can be wrong. It is difficult to believe it can be that wrong. Fortunately, however, we can test how wrong it would have to be to give the 'actual' result.
I tested two alternative scenarios to see how wrong CNN would have to have been to explain the election result. In the first, I assumed they had been wildly off the mark in the turnout figures - i.e. far more Republicans and independents had come out than Democrats. In the second I assumed the voting shares were completely wrong, and that the Republicans had been able to massively poach voters from the Democrat base.
In the first scenario, I assumed 90% of Republicans and independents voted, and the remaining ballots were cast by Democrats. This explains the result in counties with optical scanning to within 5%. However, in this scenario Democratic turnout would have been only 51% in the optical scanning counties - barely exceeding half of Republican turnout. It also does not solve the enormous problems in individual counties. 7 counties in this scenario still have actual vote tallies for Bush that are at least 100% higher than predicted by the model - an extremely unlikely result.
In the second scenario I assumed that Bush had actually got 100% of the vote from Republicans and 50% from independents (versus CNN polling results which were 93% and 41% respectively). If this gave enough votes for Bush to explain the county's results, I left the amount of Democratic registered voters ballots cast for Bush as they were predicted by CNN (14% voted for Bush). If this did not explain the result, I calculated how many Democrats would have to vote for Bush.
In 41 of 52 counties, this did not explain the result and Bush must have gotten more than CNN's predicted 14% of Democratic ballots - not an unreasonable assumption by itself. However, in 21 counties more than 50% of Democratic votes would have to have defected to Bush to account for the county result - in four counties, at least 70% would have been required. These results are absurdly unlikely.
The Second Rat
A previously undiscovered species of rat, Republicanus cuyahogus, has been found in Ohio. Before the election, I wrote snide letters to a state legislator for Cuyahoga county who, according to media reports, was preparing an army of enforcers to keep 'suspect' (read: minority) voters away from the polls. One of his assistants wrote me back very pleasant mails to the effect that they had no intention of trying to suppress voter turnout, and in fact only wanted to encourage people to vote.
They did their job too well. According to the official statistics for Cuyahoga county, a number of precincts had voter turnout well above the national average: in fact, turnout was well over 100% of registered voters, and in several cases well above the total number of people who have lived in the precinct in the last century or so.
In 30 precincts, more ballots were cast than voters were registered in the county. According to county regulations, voters must cast their ballot in the precinct in which they are registered. Yet in these thirty precincts, nearly 100.000 more people voted than are registered to vote - this out of a total of 251.946 registrations. These are not marginal differences - this is a 39% over-vote. In some precincts the over-vote was well over 100%. One precinct with 558 registered voters cast nearly 9,000 ballots. As one astute observer noted, it's the ballot-box equivalent of Jesus' miracle of the fishes. Bush being such a man of God, perhaps we should not be surprised.
What to Do?
This is not an idle statistical exercise. Either the raw data from two critical battleground states is completely erroneous, or something has gone horribly awry in our electoral system - again. Like many Americans, I was dissatisfied with and suspicious of the way the Florida recount was resolved in 2000. But at the same time, I was convinced of one thing: we must let the system work, and accept its result, no matter how unjust it might appear.
With this acceptance, we placed our implicit faith in the Bush Administration that it would not abuse its position: that it would recognize its fragile mandate for what it was, respect the will of the majority of people who voted against them, and move to build consensus wherever possible and effect change cautiously when needed. Above all, we believed that both Democrats and Republicans would recognize the over-riding importance of revitalizing the integrity of the electoral system and healing the bruised faith of both constituencies.
This faith has been shattered. Bush has not led the nation to unity, but ruled through fear and division. Dishonesty and deceit in areas critical to the public interest have been the hallmark of his Administration. I state this not to throw gratuitous insults, but to place the Florida and Ohio electoral results in their proper context. For the GOP to claim now that we must take anything on faith, let alone astonishingly suspicious results in a hard-fought and extraordinarily bitter election, is pure fantasy. It does not even merit discussion.
The facts as I see them now defy all logical explanations save one - massive and systematic vote fraud. We cannot accept the result of the 2004 presidential election as legitimate until these discrepancies are rigorously and completely explained. From the Valerie Plame case to the horrors of Abu Ghraib, George Bush has been reluctant to seek answers and assign accountability when it does not suit his purposes. But this is one time when no American should accept not getting a straight answer. Until then, George Bush is still, and will remain, the 'Accidental President' of 2000. One of his many enduring and shameful legacies will be that of seizing power through two illegitimate elections conducted on his brother's watch, and engineering a fundamental corruption at the very heart of the greatest democracy the world has known. We must not permit this to happen again.
/ Election 2004 By Bob Fitrakis, Steve Rosenfeld and Harvey Wasserman The FreePress.org Monday 03 January 2005
The presidential vote for George W. Bush does not compute.
By examining a very wide range of sworn testimonies from voters, polling officials and others close to the administration of the Nov. 2 election; by statistical analysis of the certified vote by mathematicians, election experts and independent research teams who have conducted detailed studies of the results in Ohio, New Mexico, Florida and elsewhere; from experts who studied the voting machines, tabulators and other electronic equipment on which a fair vote count has depended; and from a team of attorneys and others who have challenged the Ohio results; the freepress.org investigative team has compiled a portrait of an election whose true outcome must be investigated further by the Congress, the media and all Americans - because it was almost certainly not an honest victory for George W. Bush.
Crucial flaws in the national vote count, most importantly in Ohio, New Mexico and Florida, indicate John Kerry was most likely the actual winner on November 2, as reported in national exit polls. At very least, the widespread tampering with how the election was conducted, and how Ohio's votes were counted and re-counted, has compromised this nation's historic commitment to free and fair elections.
On Thursday, January 6, the Electoral College will be challenged by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) and other members of Congress under a law passed in 1887 in reaction to the fraudulent election of 1876. A fuller investigation requires assent by at least one Senator.
As this vote nears, Ohio's certified presidential vote (and quite likely those of at least Florida and New Mexico) is simply not credible. George W. Bush's 'victory' appears to have resulted from multiple frauds - a GOP 'do-everything' strategy to win the state that swung the election.
In today's article, we list the top ten glaring flaws in the Ohio vote that have allowed Bush to gather the votes to 'win' the presidency in Ohio with an apparent margin of 118,775 votes - the result from an official recount that manually examined only 3 percent of ballots cast.
This list involves very large totals of uncounted, tainted or fraudulent votes. Taken together, they exceed Bush's margin of victory in Ohio.
These expert analyses are based on state and local Board of Election statistics, U.S. Census reports, and other public documents. They were not conducted with any assistance from John F. Kerry's campaign. All the conclusions presented can be re-checked among the wide range of documents posted at www.freepress.org under the Election 2004 department. The authors will also respond to specific journalistic inquiries at firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional key sources are specified below.
These flaws involve very large numbers of votes. But they cannot fully explain how the results were recorded on Election Day for one crucial reason: the paper and digital record trail needed to analyze the actual voting has been sealed from public scrutiny by Ohio's Republican Secretary of State, Kenneth Blackwell, who both administered the state's election and served as the co-chair of Ohio's 2004 Bush-Cheney campaign.
Blackwell and other Republican officials continue to discount such criticisms. Blackwell has written that the election ran "smoothly." His office has refused subpoenas requesting him to testify, terming them a form of "harassment." Ohio Republican Party Chairman Robert Bennett has said that this year's election had "fewer glitches" than previous ones. "We have bipartisan (election" boards and very specific rules and procedures," he says. "To have fraud within the counting process in Ohio, you would have to have massive collusion."
Nearly 85 percent of the state used paper ballots. Most were tabulated electronically - meaning an evidence trail exists, if it has not been destroyed or fatally compromised. But we have reason to believe this destruction has already occurred in a number of Ohio counties, rendering a full recount and audit impossible. While the anomalies we have found in the Ohio vote are deep and serious, an in-depth study now indicates shocking parallels in New Mexico, which we will discuss in tomorrow's article.
The Bush-Cheney 'do-everything' strategy in Ohio covered a very wide range of tactics, from disenfranchisement of minority voters to discarding of ballots to tampered tabulators and much more. Taken as a whole, this compendium of error, fraud, cover-up and contempt indicates that this was not a legitimate election, and is not worthy of being certified by the Congress of the United States:
1. More than 106,000 Ohio ballots remain uncounted. As certified by Blackwell, Ohio's official results say 92,672 regular ballots were cast without indicating a choice for president. This sum grows to 106,000 ballots when uncounted provisional ballots are included. There is no legal reason for not inspecting and counting each of these ballots. This figure does not include thousands of people who did not vote, despite intending to do so in Ohio's inner cities, due to a lack of voting machines, having no available ballots, intimidation, manipulation of registrations, denial of absentee ballots and other means of depriving American citizens of their rightful vote.
2. Most uncounted ballots come from regions and precincts where Kerry was strongest. In Hamilton County, 4,515 ballots or 51.64 percent of the uncounted county total, came from Cincinnati, where Kerry won 67.98 percent to Bush's 31.54 percent. In Cuyahoga County, 4,708 ballots or 44 percent of the county total came from Cleveland, where Kerry won all 65 precincts. In Summit County, 2,650 ballots or 48.72 percent of the county total came from Akron, which Kerry won 68.75 percent to Bush's 28.00 percent.
3. Of the 147,000 combined provisional and absentee ballots counted by hand after Election Day, Kerry received 54.46 percent of the vote. In the 10 largest Ohio counties, Kerry's margin was 4.24 to 8.92 percent higher than in the certified results, which were predominantly machine counted. As in New Mexico, where George W. Bush carried every precinct whose votes were counted with electronic optical scanning machines, John Kerry's vote count was significantly lower among ballots counted on Election Day using electronic tabulators.
4. Turnout inconsistencies reveal tens of thousands of Kerry votes were not simply recorded. Systematic mathematical scrutiny reveals that the certified results at the statewide and precinct-to-precinct level display key patterns against a backdrop of implausible results. Most striking is a pattern where turnout percentages (votes cast as a percentage of registered voters) in cities won by Kerry were 10 percentage points or more lower than in the regions won by Bush, a virtually impossible scenario.
In Franklin County, where Columbus is located, Kerry won 346 precincts to Bush's 125. The median Kerry precinct had 50.78 percent turnout, compared to 60.56 percent for Bush. Kerry's lower numbers are due to local election officials assigning more voting machines per capita to Republican-leaning suburbs than the Democrat-leaning inner city - a political decision and likely Voting Rights Act violation. If Kerry-majority precincts in Columbus had a 60 percent turnout, as recorded throughout the rest of the state, he would have netted an additional 17,000 votes.
5. Many certified turnout results in key regions throughout the state are simply not plausible, and all work to the advantage of Bush. In southern Perry County, two precincts reported turnouts of 124.4 and 124.0 percent of the registered voters. These impossible turnouts were nonetheless officially certified as part of the final recount by Blackwell. But in pro-Kerry Cleveland, there were certified precinct turnouts of 7.10, 13.15, 19.60, 21.01, 21.80, 24.72, 28.83 and 28.97 percents. Seven entire wards reported a turnout less than 50 percent. But if the actual Cleveland turnout was 60 percent, as registered statewide, Kerry would have netted an additional 22,000 votes. Kerry is also thought to have lost 7,000 votes in Toledo this way.
6. Due to computer flaws and vote shifting, there were numerous reports across Ohio of extremely troublesome electronic errors during the voting process and in the counting. In Youngstown, there were more than two-dozen Election Day reports of machines that switched or shifted on-screen displays of a vote for Kerry to a vote for Bush. In Cleveland, there were three precincts in which minor third-party candidates received 86, 92 and 98 percent of the vote respectively, an outcome completely out of synch with the rest of the state (a similar thing occurred during the contested election in Florida, 2000). This class of error points to more than machine malfunction, suggesting instead that votes are being electronically shifted from one candidate to another in the voting and counting stage. All reported errors favored Bush over Kerry.
7. In Miami County, two sets of results were submitted to state officials. The second, which padded Bush's margin, reported that 18,615 additional votes were counted, increasing Bush's total by exactly 16,000 votes. Miami County's turnout was up 20.86 percent from 2000, but only had experienced a population increase of 1.38 percent by 2004. Two Miami County precincts were certified with reported turnouts of 98.55 and 94.27 percent. In one of the precincts this would have required all but ten registered voters to have cast ballots. But an independent investigation has already collected affidavits of more than 10 registered voters that did not cast ballots on Nov. 2, indicating that Blackwell's officially certified vote count is simply impossible, which once again favoring Bush.
In Warren County, in southern Ohio, an unexplained Homeland Security alert was cited by Republican election board officials as a pretext for barring the media and independent observers from the vote count. In Warren and neighboring Butler and Clermont Counties, Bush won by a margin of 132,685 votes. He beat Gore in these counties in 2000 by 95,575 votes, meaning an implausible pickup of almost 40,000 votes.
But Bush's numbers meant 13,566 people who voted for C. Ellen Connally, the liberal Democratic candidate for Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice, also voted for Bush. In Butler Country, Bush officially was given 109,866 votes. But conservative GOP Chief Justice Moyer was given only 68,407, a negative discrepancy of more than 40,000 votes. Meanwhile, Connally was credited with 61,559 votes to John Kerry's 56,234. This would mean that while Bush vastly outpolled his Republican counterpart running for the Supreme Court, African-American female Democrat running for the Supreme Court on the Democratic side outpolled Kerry. By all accounts such an outcome is inconceivable. Again, it indicates a very significant and likely fraudulent shifting of votes to Bush.
8. Democratic voters were apparently targeted with provisional ballots. These ballots require voters to fill out extensive forms at the poll. Under extraordinary rules established by Blackwell these ballots were set to be discarded if even minor errors were committed. Poll watchers in Cleveland and Columbus have testified that most provisional ballots were given to minority and young voters. The same is true with presumed liberal college and university students. In Athens, where Ohio University is located, 8.59 percent of student ballots were provisional. At Kenyon College and Oberlin College, liberal arts institutions, there were severe shortages of voting machines when compared with nearby religious-affiliated schools. Students at Kenyon waited up to eleven hours to vote. Provisional ballots were also required of mostly African-American students at Wilberforce College.
9. Ohio's Election Day exit poll was more credible than the certified result, according to intense statistical analysis. In-depth studies by Prof. Ron Baiman of the University of Illinois at Chicago shows that Ohio's exit polls in Ohio and elsewhere were virtually certain to be more accurate than the final vote count as certified by Blackwell. Ohio's exit polls predicted a Kerry victory by percentages that exceeded their margin of error. Compared to the voter access, voting technology and vote counting problems in Ohio, the exit polls were far more systematic and reliable. Critics of the exit polls' accuracy say too many Democrats were sampled, but a detailed analysis of that assertion shows no credible evidence for it. The stark shift from exit polls favoring Kerry to final results in Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio all went in Bush's direction, and are, according to Baiman, a virtual impossibility, with odds as high as 150 million to one against.
10. The Ohio recount wasn't random or comprehensive and may have involved serious illegalities. Under Ohio law, 3 percent of the ballots in a precinct are examined by hand. If the numbers match what was counted on Election Day, then the rest of the ballots are compiled electronically. In many districts, Republican Secretary of State Blackwell chose the precincts to be counted in a partisan manner, w choices toward precincts where there were no disputes while avoiding those being contested. Moreover, there have been numerous confirmed instances where employees of the private companies that manufactured the voting machines had access to theighing thee machines and the computer records before the recount occurred. In at least two counties, technicians from Diebold and Triad dismantled key parts of voting machines before they could be subjected to audits for recount. In some counties, vendor companies conducted the recount - not public election officials. At least one county - Shelby - has admitted to discarding key data before the recount could be taken. In Greene County unrecounted ballots were left unguarded in an unlocked building, rendering the recount moot.
These ten points are among the most serious clouding the electoral outcome in Ohio, but are only part of a larger pattern. Their correlation with similar evidence in New Mexico, Florida and elsewhere gives them added gravitas. Scores of sworn affidavits and the on-going work of teams of attorneys, statisticians and other experts have revealed far more points of contention and suspicion, many of which we will present in tomorrow's article.
The sources used for this report are available at www.freepress.org. The statistical analysis was primarily done by Richard Hayes Phillips, PhD. A transcript of his deposition in the election challenge lawsuit detailing these findings can be found at: www.freepress.org/images/departments/Dep_Phillips.pdf. The exit poll analysis was by Ron Baiman, PhD, and a transcript of the deposition describing his analysis can be found at: www.freepress.org/images/departments/Dep_Baiman.pdf. Additional material appears in court filings in Moss v. Bush and related legal actions filed with the Ohio Supreme Court.
Taken together, these ten points involve votes that cumulatively exceed Bush's 118,775 vote margin in the state.
These flaws must be thoroughly investigated before Congress ratifies the Electoral College. The legitimacy of the presidency and American Democracy is at stake. In tomorrow's article we will outline more of the evidence leading up to Thursday's historic vote.
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ / What They Did Last Fall / By PAUL KRUGMAN NY Times August 19, 2005
By running for the U.S. Senate, Katherine Harris, Florida's former secretary of state, has stirred up some ugly memories. And that's a good thing, because those memories remain relevant. There was at least as much electoral malfeasance in 2004 as there was in 2000, even if it didn't change the outcome. And the next election may be worse.
In his recent book "Steal This Vote" - a very judicious work, despite its title - Andrew Gumbel, a U.S. correspondent for the British newspaper The Independent, provides the best overview I've seen of the 2000 Florida vote. And he documents the simple truth: "Al Gore won the 2000 presidential election."
Two different news media consortiums
reviewed Florida's ballots; both found that a full manual recount
would have given the election to Mr. Gore. This was true despite
a host of efforts by state and local officials to suppress likely
Gore votes, most notably Ms. Harris's "felon purge,"
which disenfranchised large numbers of valid voters.
But few Americans have heard these facts. Perhaps journalists have felt that it would be divisive to cast doubt on the Bush administration's legitimacy. If so, their tender concern for the nation's feelings has gone for naught: Cindy Sheehan's supporters are camped in Crawford, and America is more bitterly divided than ever.
Meanwhile, the whitewash of what
happened in Florida in 2000 showed that election-tampering carries
no penalty, and political operatives have acted accordingly. For
example, in 2002 the Republican Party in New Hampshire hired a
company to jam Democratic and union phone banks on Election Day.
And what about 2004?
Mr. Gumbel throws cold water on
those who take the discrepancy between the exit polls and the
final result as evidence of a stolen election. (I told you it's
a judicious book.) He also seems, on first reading, to play down
what happened in Ohio. But the theme of his book is that America
has a long, bipartisan history of dirty elections.
He told me that he wasn't brushing off the serious problems in Ohio, but that "this is what American democracy typically looks like, especially in a presidential election in a battleground state that is controlled substantially by one party."
So what does U.S. democracy look like? There have been two Democratic reports on Ohio in 2004, one commissioned by Representative John Conyers Jr., the other by the Democratic National Committee.
The D.N.C. report is very cautious: "The purpose of this investigation," it declares, "was not to challenge or question the results of the election in any way." It says there is no evidence that votes were transferred away from John Kerry - but it does suggest that many potential Kerry votes were suppressed. Although the Conyers report is less cautious, it stops far short of claiming that the wrong candidate got Ohio's electoral votes.
But both reports show that votes were suppressed by long lines at polling places - lines caused by inadequate numbers of voting machines - and that these lines occurred disproportionately in areas likely to vote Democratic. Both reports also point to problems involving voters who were improperly forced to cast provisional votes, many of which were discarded.
The Conyers report goes further, highlighting the blatant partisanship of election officials. In particular, the behavior of Ohio's secretary of state, Kenneth Blackwell - who supervised the election while serving as co-chairman of the Bush-Cheney campaign in Ohio - makes Ms. Harris's actions in 2000 seem mild by comparison.
And then there are the election night stories. Warren County locked down its administration building and barred public observers from the vote-counting, citing an F.B.I. warning of a terrorist threat. But the F.B.I. later denied issuing any such warning. Miami County reported that voter turnout was an improbable 98.55 percent of registered voters. And so on.
We aren't going to rerun the last three elections. But what about the future?
Our current political leaders would suffer greatly if either house of Congress changed hands in 2006, or if the presidency changed hands in 2008. The lids would come off all the simmering scandals, from the selling of the Iraq war to profiteering by politically connected companies. The Republicans will be strongly tempted to make sure that they win those elections by any means necessary. And everything we've seen suggests that they will give in to that temptation.
Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company
/ "I think that right now we are in one of the most dangerous periods in our existence. Not since the Civil War has the state of our democracy been so doubtful." "I think this election is perhaps the most important in the last century, going back perhaps to the Civil War." - Walter Cronkite
Gore Vidal is the author of 25 novels, 5 plays, many screenplays, more than 200 essays, and a memoir (Palimpsest). The Times Literary Supplement notes that Vidal's United States: Essays 1952-1992 is "one of the great American books of the twentieth century." It won the 1993 National Book Award. Vidal's most recent book is Imperial America: Reflections on the United States of Amnesia. Vidal expresses his passionate views of Election 2004 and what's at stake.
Amazon.com: How important is this presidential election in the larger context of the Republic and its history?
Gore Vidal: The election of 2004 is the most important--fateful--since 1860, which unlocked the door to civil war.
Amazon.com: Is there one standout issue, and why does it make a difference? What are the most crucial issues?
Vidal: Given the various goals of the Cheney-Bush junta, just about everything is standing out like a row of forest fires in August. To the extent the U.S. Patriot Act is available to us, we are faced with a newly invented presidential power to wage "preemptive war" if he suspects terrorists of lurking in any country--or might one day lurk, or even worse, the inhabitants might one day produce nuclear weapons to keep us from attacking them as we have Afghanistan and Iraq. Mutual deterrence, which kept the U.S. and Soviet Union from war for a half a century, is out the window. The junta is on the march. Meanwhile, the Bill of Rights has been twisted into a pretzel. Any U.S. citizen "suspected" of terrorism can be arrested and held in prison without access to a lawyer, or trial by jury--indeed, without due process of law--until a vague military court exiles him to wherever they choose without revealing his "crime," if any. The list of dictatorial abuses is long. Why so little resistance? Congress, judiciary, and executive have been taken over by radical enemies of our Republic. In this they have been aided and abetted by the most corrupt and totalitarian-minded media in our history. At least in 1860, there were Lincoln and his supporters. Today we have corporate America with its eye on what is left of a dwindling fossil fuel supply. While what is left of those of us who conserve our Constitution is drowned out by CNN, etc., who told us that 70% of the delegates to the Democratic convention favored abortion on demand! Truth is dead on air.
Amazon.com: What are the top five books you'd recommend to become an informed voter? And what can your book Imperial America contribute?
Vidal: I will name four books: my own Burr,
Lincoln, and Inventing a Nation, plus
the United States Constitution. Annual polls of high school
seniors tell us that, when confronted with Bill of Rights issues,
they don't like the freedoms that we were originally guaranteed.
Apparently "freedom of assembly" is a communist
notion--at least for the few who have heard of communism. In my
book Imperial America, I itemize what we have lost--are
losing--in civil liberties;
also the nature and number of the lies told
to us to get us into wars which are essentially raids on the oil
supplies of weaker nations.
The American Republic has been discredited in favor of a military state with curtailed civil rights for all. Now remove your shoes.
More Vidal interviews HERE.
./ "No one will ever see all the details but the [current] crookedness is unique in our history. Enron was the first storm warning but no one realized how easily accepted that cluster of capers would be by a polity marinated in corruption -- as Ben Franklin predicted, in 1789, as our eventual fate." / - from "Gore Vidal Delivers Chilling Predictions of Despotism" By Arthur Jones, 8/2/03 // "... And this is more and more my view of the American people in general. They've allowed an election to be stolen in November 2000. They made no fuss." / - Gore Vidal, LA WEEKLY, Nov.14-20, 2003 / "We are on the precipice of being so ignorant that our democracy is threatened." / - Veteran News anchor Walter Cronkite, selected by the American people in the mid 1990s as "the most trusted man in America" / _________________________________ / / STEPPENWOLF MONSTER / Lyrics from the 1970 release "Monster" Words and music by John Kay, Jerry Edmonton, Nick St. Nicholas and Larry Byrom
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