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In Rolling Stone, Robert Kennedy Jr wrote in June of ’06 that his study of the ’04 election had convinced him “that the president’s party mounted a massive, coordinated campaign to subvert the will of the people”.
Across the country, Republican election officials and party stalwarts employed a wide range of illegal and unethical tactics to fix the election. A review of the available data reveals that in Ohio alone, at least 357,000 voters, the overwhelming majority of them Democratic, were prevented from casting ballots or did not have their votes counted in 2004(12) — more than enough to shift the results of an election decided by 118,601 votes.(13) (See Ohio’s Missing Votes) In what may be the single most astounding fact from the election, one in every four Ohio citizens who registered to vote in 2004 showed up at the polls only to discover that they were not listed on the rolls, thanks to GOP efforts to stem the unprecedented flood of Democrats eager to cast ballots.(14) And that doesn’t even take into account the troubling evidence of outright fraud, which indicates that upwards of 80,000 votes for Kerry were counted instead for Bush. That alone is a swing of more than 160,000 votes — enough to have put John Kerry in the White House.(15)
(emphasis added; numbers are citations attached to the original article)
The article produced something of a firestorm, with the Bush Admin hunkering down in fervent denial and the mainstream conservative press largely ignoring the survey that provided the evidence.
In this week’s RS (not online yet), Kennedy reports that Ohio’s new Sec of State, Jennifer Brunner, ordered an audit of the state’s e-voting machines by two independent teams of specialists. The results were even worse than she expected.
[The] teams…found that the terminals are so insecure they simply cannot be trusted. “There is the ability,” concludes Brunner, “to mount a wholesale attack on our voting system.”
Researchers were able to alter election results using only a magnet and a personal digital assistant. Forty percent of touchscreen machines manufactured by Diebold – now known as Premier – flipped votes [overwhelmingly from Democrat to Republican as shown by the ’06 survey-MA], and one of the company’s machines erased votes without warning once its memory card was full. Even more alarming, electronic ballot counters could be rigged by poll workers to disregard votes without anyone knowing. “If that were done for just a few minutes every hour, you will have a vote total that doesn’t look too far off,” Brunner says. “Unless you did a hand count of every ballot, you’d never know it.”
All of which would pretty much explain the massive discrepancies Kennedy uncovered in ’06.
Nearly half of the 6 million American voters living abroad(3) never received their ballots — or received them too late to vote(4) — after the Pentagon unaccountably shut down a state-of-the-art Web site used to file overseas registrations.(5) A consulting firm called Sproul & Associates, which was hired by the Republican National Committee to register voters in six battleground states,(6) was discovered shredding Democratic registrations.(7) In New Mexico, which was decided by 5,988 votes,(8) malfunctioning machines mysteriously failed to properly register a presidential vote on more than 20,000 ballots.(9) Nationwide, according to the federal commission charged with implementing election reforms, as many as 1 million ballots were spoiled by faulty voting equipment — roughly one for every 100 cast.(10)
The reports were especially disturbing in Ohio, the critical battleground state that clinched Bush’s victory in the electoral college. Officials there purged tens of thousands of eligible voters from the rolls, neglected to process registration cards generated by Democratic voter drives, shortchanged Democratic precincts when they allocated voting machines and illegally derailed a recount that could have given Kerry the presidency. A precinct in an evangelical church in Miami County recorded an impossibly high turnout of ninety-eight percent, while a polling place in inner-city Cleveland recorded an equally impossible turnout of only seven percent. In Warren County, GOP election officials even invented a nonexistent terrorist threat to bar the media from monitoring the official vote count.(11)
Put what the audit discovered could be done with the machines together with what GOP operatives were actually caught doing – shredding Dem registrations, purging Dem voters, obstructing the vote in Dem districts, and the like – and a clear picture emerges of a stolen election, and stolen on a nationwide scale. Every battleground state seems to have had its Republican ops ready and willing to “play hardball” by breaking election laws wholesale on behalf of George W Bush and his Cult. With a GOP hack like Ken Blackwell Sec of State in Ohio in ’04, there seems to have been no check whatever on Republican dirty tricks.
For those who may say, “This is ancient history. The election is over. Why dig it all up now?” I say, “Neither party can be trusted and all those machines are still out there. If one side can rig an election, so can the other side. If one side goes unaccountable and unpunished, they will both be emboldened to do it again. Our democracy is on the ropes as it is. Do you want to kill it for good?”
Diebold changing its name is like a tiger pretending to be a zebra by adding a pair of pointy ears – a superficial disguise that will only fool the dumbest antelopes in the herd. If we are going to use evoting machines, we MUST have machines that leave a paper trail so ballots can be hand-counted if necessary (as bad as these machines are even when they aren’t being hacked, verified hand counts probably ought to be a regular part of the process).
Until and unless we do, our elections are not safe or reliable in the hands of either party.
August 26, 2004
It Takes Real Courage to Desert Your Post and Then Attack a Wounded Vet
Dear Mr. Bush,
I know you and I have had our differences in the past, and I realize I am the one who started this whole mess about “who did what” during Vietnam when I brought up that “deserter” nonsense back in January. But I have to hand it to you on what you have uncovered about John Kerry and his record in Vietnam. Kerry has tried to pass himself off as a war hero, but thanks to you and your friends, we now know the truth.
First of all, thank you for pointing out to all of us that Mr. Kerry was never struck by a BULLET. It was only SHRAPNEL that entered his body! I did not know that! Hell, what’s the big deal about a bunch of large, sharp, metal shards ripping open your flesh? That happens to all of us! In my opinion, if you want a purple heart, you’d better be hit with a bullet — with your name on it!
Secondly, thank you for sending Bob Dole out there and letting us know that Mr. Kerry, though wounded three times, actually “never spilled blood.” When you are in the debates with Kerry, turn to him and say, “Dammit, Mr. Kerry, next time you want a purple heart, you better spill some American red blood! And I don’t mean a few specks like those on O.J.’s socks — we want to see a good pint or two of blood for each medal. In fact, I would have preferred that you had bled profusely, a big geyser of blood spewing out of your neck or something!” Then throw this one at him: “Senator Kerry, over 58,000 brave Americans gave their lives in Vietnam — but YOU didn’t. You only got WOUNDED! What do you have to say for yourself???” Lay that one on him and he won’t know what to do.
And thanks, also, Mr. Bush, for exposing the fact that Mr. Kerry might have actually WOUNDED HIMSELF in order to get those shiny medals. Of course he did! How could the Viet Cong have hit him — he was on a SWIFT boat! He was going too fast to be hit by enemy fire. He tried to blow himself up three different times just so he could go home and run for president someday. It’s all so easy to see, now, what he was up to.
What would we do without you, Mr. Bush? Criticize you as we might, when it comes to pointing out other men’s military records, there is no one who can touch your prowess. In 2000, you let out the rumor that your opponent John McCain might be “nuts” from the 5 years he spent in a POW camp. Then, in the 2002 elections, your team compared triple-amputee Sen. Max Cleland to Osama bin Laden, and that cost him the election. And now you are having the same impact on war hero John Kerry. Since you (oops, I mean “The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth!”) started running those ads, Kerry’s polls numbers have dropped (with veterans, he has lost 18 points in the last few weeks).
Some people have said “Who are you, Mr. Bush, to attack these brave men considering you yourself have never seen combat — in fact, you actively sought to avoid it.” What your critics fail to understand is that even though your dad got you into a unit that would never be sent to Vietnam — and even though you didn’t show up for Guard duty for at least a year — at least you were still IN FAVOR of the Vietnam War! Cowards like Clinton felt it was more important to be consistent (he opposed the war, thus he refused to go) than to be patriotic and two-faced.
The reason that I think you know so much about other men’s war wounds is because, during your time you in the Texas Air National Guard, you suffered so many of them yourself. Consider the paper cut you received on September 22, 1972, while stationed in Alabama, working on a Senate campaign for your dad’s friend (when you were supposed to be on the Guard base). A campaign brochure appeared from nowhere, ambushing your right index finger, and blood trickled out onto your brand new argyle sweater.
Then there was the incident with the Crazy Glue when your fraternity brothers visited you one weekend at the base and glued your lips together while you were “passed out.” Though initially considered “friendly fire,” it was later ruled that you suffered severe post traumatic stress disorder from the assault and required certain medicinal attention — which, it seems, was provided by those same fraternity brethren.
But nothing matched your heroism when, on July 2, 1969, you sustained a massive head injury when enemy combatants from another Guard unit dropped a keg of Coors on your head during a reconnaissance mission at a nearby all-girls college. Fortunately, the cool, smooth fluids that poured out of the keg were exactly what was needed to revive you.
That you never got a purple heart for any of these incidents is a shame. I can fully appreciate your anger at Senator Kerry for the three he received. I mean, Kerry was a man of privilege, he could have gotten out just like you. Instead, he thinks he’s going to gain points with the American people bragging about how he was getting shot at every day in the Mekong Delta. Ha! Is that the best he can do? Hell, I hear gunfire every night outside my apartment window! If he thinks he is going to impress anyone with the fact that he volunteered to go when he could have spent the Vietnam years on the family yacht, he should think again. That only shows how stupid he was! True-blue Americans want a president who knows how to pull strings and work the system and get away with doing as little work as possible!
So, to make it up to you, I have written some new ads you can use on TV. People will soon tire of the swift boat veterans and you are going to need some fresh, punchier material. Feel free to use any of these:
ANNOUNCER: “When the bullets were flying all around him in Vietnam, what did John Kerry do? He said he leaned over the boat and ‘pulled a man out of the river.’ But, as we all know, men don’t live in the river — fish do. John Kerry knows how to tell a big fish tale. What he won’t tell you is that when the enemy was shooting at him, he ducked. Do you want a president who will duck? Vote Bush.”
ANNOUNCER: “Mr. Kerry’s biggest supporter, Sen. Max Cleland, claims to have lost two legs and an arm in Vietnam. But he still has one arm! How did that happen? One word: Cowardice. When duty called, he was unwilling to give his last limb. Is that the type of selfishness you want hanging out in the White House? We think not. Vote for the man who would be willing to give America his right frontal lobe. Vote Bush.”
Hope these help, Mr. Bush. And remember, when the American death toll in Iraq hits 1,000 during the Republican convention, be sure to question whether those who died really did indeed “die” — or were they just trying to get their face on CNN’s nightly tribute to fallen heroes? The sixteen who’ve died so far this week were probably working hand in hand with the Kerry campaign to ruin your good time in New York. Stay consistent, sir, and always, ALWAYS question the veracity of anyone who risks their life for this country. It’s the least they deserve.
The Daily Show has it right:
STEWART: Here’s what puzzles me most, Rob. John Kerry’s record in Vietnam is pretty much right there in the official records of the US military, and haven’t been disputed for 35 years?
CORDDRY: That’s right, Jon, and that’s certainly the spin you’ll be hearing coming from the Kerry campaign over the next few days.
STEWART: Th-that’s not a spin thing, that’s a fact. That’s established.
CORDDRY: Exactly, Jon, and that established, incontravertible fact is one side of the story.
STEWART: But that should be — isn’t that the end of the story? I mean, you’ve seen the records, haven’t you? What’s your opinion?
CORDDRY: I’m sorry, my *opinion*? No, I don’t have ‘o-pin-i-ons’. I’m a reporter, Jon, and my job is to spend half the time repeating what one side says, and half the time repeating the other. Little thing called ‘objectivity’ — might wanna look it up some day.
STEWART: Doesn’t objectivity mean objectively weighing the evidence, and calling out what’s credible and what isn’t?
CORDDRY: Whoa-ho! Well, well, well — sounds like someone wants the media to act as a filter! [high-pitched, effeminate] ‘Ooh, this allegation is spurious! Upon investigation this claim lacks any basis in reality! Mmm, mmm, mmm.’ Listen buddy: not my job to stand between the people talking to me and the people listening to me.
STEWART: So, basically, you’re saying that this back-and-forth is never going to end.
CORDDRY: No, Jon — in fact a new group has emerged, this one composed of former Bush colleages, challenging the president’s activities during the Vietnam era. That group: Drunken Stateside Sons of Privilege for Plausible Deniability. They’ve apparently got some things to say about a certain Halloween party in ’71 that involved trashcan punch and a sodomized piñata. Jon — they just want to set the record straight. That’s all they’re out for.
STEWART: Well, thank you Rob, good luck out there. We’ll be right back.
(Thanks to Atrios.)
Mark Kleiman has succinctly summarized Bush’s response to demands that he condemn the ads: “I’ll ask my friends to stop lying about John Kerry, if he’ll ask his friends to stop telling the truth about me.”
In a post last Friday, I said the SBV ad was a stalking horse and that the real target was the elimination of all 527 groups. Yesterday, Junior took the next step and proposed exactly that. Meeting with reporters at his so-called ‘ranch’ (I haven’t been paying attention–is he on vacation again?), he ordered all 527’s to ‘stop all this stuff’. He has a way with words, don’t he?
CRAWFORD, Texas — President Bush on Monday criticized the broadcast of a political advertisement that accused Sen. John F. Kerry of lying about his military record in Vietnam, as he called for independent groups to stop “all the stuff” aimed at influencing the November election.But Bush did not address the charges that have turned the presidential campaign into a series of daily skirmishes over Kerry’s military service and his subsequent protests against the Vietnam War. And after Bush’s comments, a White House spokesman said the president had not intended to specifically denounce the anti-Kerry ad.
Allies of the Democratic candidate said Bush’s remarks — coming more than a week after the ad stopped running — were too little and too late.
The president was asked about the ad, sponsored by a group called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, as he met with reporters at his ranch near Crawford. “I think we ought to be debating who best to be leading this country in the war against terror,” he said.
Pressed on the subject, Bush called for an end to ads paid for by independent organizations, such as the Swift boat group, and said “all of them” should stop running. “That means that ad, every other ad,” he said.
And just in case anybody missed the point that the enemy was all 527’s, not just the lying, inaccurate, or misleading ones, Scott-baby–and the rest of the sycophants–drove the point home.
White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said later that despite the president’s mention of the Swift boat ad, he had not meant to spotlight it.Bush and his aides, when asked previously about the ad, had skirted a direct mention of the group while broadly assailing negative commercials by organizations unaffiliated with either presidential campaign or major political party. The president’s aides have stressed that most of the advertising has been financed by pro-Democratic groups and has targeted the president for attacks.
A top Bush official, who asked not to be named, said the president’s comments Monday “were precisely” along those lines. (emphasis added)
While the corporate media–and way too much of the blogosphere, I’m afraid–is dutifully being sidetracked by the SBV controversy, Bush and Rove are aiming right at the heart of the only tool the Democrats have with the potential to level the financial playing field. If they succeed in killing off the 527’s, there will be nothing to prevent the RMP from buying every election between now and Armageddon.
Just for the record.
Every time Bush has been asked to denounce the vicious and slanderous attacks on Kerry’s Viet Nam record by the so-called ‘Swift Boat Veterans’, whose allegations have been thoroughly debunked and whose lack of credibility is second only to Junior’s, he has responded by denouncing not the SBV but all 527 groups. All of his spokesmen, including Scott McClellan do the same; all the B/C’04 spokesmen do likewise. The corporate media Echo Chamber, needless to say, copies both.
This seems to be taken as an attempt to sidestep the B/C campaign’s ultimate responsibility for both the group and its ad, which we now know were each bought and paid for by Bush Buddy and multi-millionaire (that’s redundant, isn’t it) Bob Perry. It isn’t, at least not primarily. If it were, the many voices of the Mighty Wurlitzer would be in full attack mode against SBV critics, and they aren’t. No, the Admin is responding as it is because that’s a sizable chunk of the point for them. It’s part of the plan.
It isn’t hard to figure that Rove is behind this–it’s a fairly standard tactic he’s used with great success the last few years: libel the opposition with outrageous, attention-getting, corporate media-loving lies and then turn all that attention toward the real target. In this case, the real target is the 527 groups who have neutralized the Rich Man’s Party’s fund-raising advantages and closed a lot of glaring loopholes in the Democrats’ spending strategy. Remember, these are people who went before the Supreme Court and argued that ‘money=free speech’. SG Olson said at one point that people were entitled to as much free speech as they could afford to buy. Now that stance has come back to bite them in the form of 527 groups like MoveOn.org who have been extremely successful doing just that. The last thing Karl needs is for the left and center to exercise that right, a right that conservatives accept as Gospel, and remove the RMP’s only real weapon–the staggering sums the rich (and those they control) can and do donate to Republican campaigns.
Rove is perfectly aware that that the RMP has nothing and does nothing that the mass of American voters wants from them, that in fact most of the RMP agenda is anathema to them. That’s why so much energy goes into governing in secret, that’s why they tell so many lies, that’s why they distort, deny, and spin the facts at every turn. If people knew and understood what they were doing, their hold on power wouldn’t last five minutes, and preventing that means controlling the debate. Controlling the debate means spending huge sums of money your opponents can’t hope to match. In other words, they can’t win elections so they buy them.
Liberal and progressive 527’s endanger that control by going a long way to level the monetary playing field, so Rove is using the SBV to build a wall of opinion against all 527’s. It’s the ancient lawyer’s trick of attacking the credibility of the witness when you can’t attack his testimony on its merits. While we’re arguing about the SBV’s credibility, Rove is using them to convince the country that 527’s are anti-democratic, laying the groundwork for outlawing them later.
Misdirection: Palm the coin while everybody’s watching the fluttering bird.
Don’t fall for it.
There’s nothing new about this administration (and its cronies at the state level) using institutions of state power for political intimidation, but I have the impression that such actions have been carried out more blatently of late. Recent articles point out that:
(1) Potential visitors to this summer’s political conventions were visited by FBI agents and asked three questions: “…were demonstrators planning violence or other disruptions, did they know anyone who was, and did they realize it was a crime to withhold such information” (emphasis added).
(2) Porter Goss, Bush’s nominee to head the CIA (which Stansfield Turner described as “the worst appointment that’s ever been made”), introduced legislation on June 16 that would allow the president to order the CIA to monitor and arrest American citizens within the United States.
“This language on its face would have allowed President Nixon to authorize the CIA to bug the Democratic National Committee headquarters,” Jeffrey H. Smith, who served as general counsel of the CIA between 1995 and 1996, told NEWSWEEK. “I can’t imagine what Porter had in mind.”
Somehow I don’t share Smith’s difficulty imagining that.
(On a related topic, check out Atrios’ very interesting comment.)
(3) Jeb Bush’s Florida cops are intimidating elderly black activists who help friends and neighbors get to the polls. This short article will make your blood boil. Take two minutes out of your day and read the whole thing.