Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Rolling Stone Article on 2004 Fraud

Hi Everyone,

I found an article today on yahoo news (originally from Rolling Stone) about the election fraud in the 2004 election. The article, by Robert Kennedy Jr., details an enormous amount of evidence that Republicans stole not only the 2000 election but the 2004 election as well. The main point of the article is that the reason the exit polls (that showed Kerry winning big) and the vote counts (that handed the victory to Bush) differed is because the vote counts were fraudulent. Kennedy provides an enormous amount of evidence - most of it collected from non-partisan sources - that support the view that the Bush campaign perpetrated massive election fraud nation wide but especially in Ohio.

In particular, Kennedy discusses the illegal activities of the self described "Mighty Texas Strike Force." These people were veterans of the 2000 "Brooks Brothers Riot" in Florida. This group was put up in a Holliday Inn next door to the RNC headquarters for Ohio and their bills were paid by the RNC.

I'd like to point out here that on election day 2004, we posted comments from friends who were hearing from Ohio about turnout in Columbus was very high. Columbus voted for Kerry and 2004 was the first case that I'm aware of in which a state wide result went against the restult for Columbus (the swing city in a swing state). I had been making comments on this blog for weeks before the election that polls were showing that Bush was in trouble in Columbus (normally a slightly Republican area) and that would be his doom in Ohio.

For many of us, this is old news. But I'm hoping this brings up the outrage again. Democrats need to get fired up. It is clear that they need to overcome not just their own apathy but the outright tyranny of a Republican party gone mad with power and delusions of divine favor. We need not only to be aware of this, we need Democratic leaders to make a huge stink about it. We need them to demand that the press pay attention to it. In effect, the Democrats won in both 2000 and 2004 but conceded defeat because they didn't want a public fight over Republican perversion of the election. They must not have seen the stakes in the election as being worth the damage such a fight would cause. In the context of the NSA, FBI abuses and FEMA bungling, not to mention that war(s), it is now clear that the stakes are as high as they can get.

November 2006 may just be the last chance for American democracy.

23 comments:

US West said...

I think this time around, someone may have to raise a big stink! I think the DEMS have to be ready with their army of lawyers. If Bush could rule for 8 years after contested elections, DEMS can to. It isn't just about an eleciton anymore, it is about the fate of the nation.

I think it is sad that just when voter turnouts are the highest, the elections are the most unfair! We have been fighting voter apathy for so long! Americans have to quite thinking "It can't happen here!" because it has, several times!

Dr. Strangelove said...

The article is horrifying. USWest is right that Americans have to quit thinking that it cannot happen here.

Even so, I believe Kerry was right to allow the Ohio result to stand. He lost the moral high ground when he lost the nationwide popular vote. We need to remember that.

But even though the outcome of the election (Bush re-elected) was not affected, the DEMs need to investigate the Ohio problems and make election fraud a national issue again. Tubbs and Boxer laid the groundwork for this by protesting the Ohio vote count, even though they clearly said they did not wish to overturn the election result. This wins the moral high ground back, I believe.

If the DEMs capture either house in November, they need to put their efforts into investigating the elections of 2000 and 2004, and prosecuting those who perpetrated the fraud. And even more important, we need legislation and funding to protect the elections process, so this does not happen again. Election monitoring in the US... could it be a job for the National Guard?

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid the National Guard would make poor election monitors. They are traditionally disproportionately conservative. And do you think it would boost minority turnout to have armed men at the polling stations?

As for the turnout and fraud...Consider this: perhaps the fraud was a response to the turnout. The Bushies knew they couldn't win if Black turnout increased by a significant amount so they just implement operation Total Vote Awareness. 

// posted by Raised by Republicans

Anonymous said...

Did Kerry loose the popular vote? would he have is all the votes had been properly counted? I am not so sure. I think we should hire Jimmy Carter to monitor the elections. Better yet, let's go find a Canadian monitor group, more neutral. Act like the 3rd world, get treated like the 3rd world. It is something when even Nigeria has a fairer election than we do.

The national guard would not work. 1) It is too polioticized at the moment and 2) guys with guns intimidate voters. 

// posted by UsWest

Dr. Strangelove said...

What about Americorps? Or the Peace Corps? Or some combination of one or both of those with the National Guard? That mix mght be kind of fun to see.

Anonymous said...

I think US West is right. We would need international observers from the EU or Canada. She's also right to wonder if there was a enough fraud in enough states (OH, PA, FL) for Kerry to actually have won the popular vote in a fair election. Given Bush's approval ratings and total lack of "capital," that would seem to fit the mood of the country better than Bush's presumed mandate! 

// posted by Raised By Republicans

Anonymous said...

How can we petition for election monitors? DO we write the FEC? I want to DO something, not just sit. I work the damn polls, and from my end, it all runs fair. But when you disenfranchise one person, you have disenfranchised the entire populous and it does more than just piss me off!

This guy and all of his cronies need ot be impeached, and tried for treason. 

// posted by USWest

Dr. Strangelove said...

Although I would appreciate the help of international election monitors, I don't think the idea of "foreigners meddling with OUR elections" would fly with the majority of the American public.

As for whether the Republicans could have committed enough fraud to have tipped the balance of the popular vote to Bush... I am very skeptical.

Bush the nationwide popular vote by slightly over 3 million. The total number of votes cast in all three states RbR mentioned--OH, PA, FL--is 19 million.

Assuming most of the fraud was not direct ballot tampering, but rather throwing away marked ballots or intimidating/deterring certain groups of voters with a propensity to vote Democrat, you would need to come up with at least 3 million extra votes in these states. Do you really believe that is feasible?

Anonymous said...

Wow. With gerrymandering and this, the US seems to be struggling. Would an electoral commission be a better option? The Australian Electoral Commission  for example handles all our districting, electoral rolls and vote counting. Part of the joy of having compulsory voting. Companies can even hire them to handle large internal voting (the government department I work for hired the AEC to handle voting with regards to an industrial agreement).

I raise this tentatively knowing that RbR has vented his displeasure on this blog with using such a system for electoral redistricting before. 

// posted by Numbat o Love

Anonymous said...

The problem in Ohio would not be solved by setting up the Australian system. In both situations, the voters must trust to the good will of the people in charge. In Ohio that person is the Secretary of State, in Australia it is the Prime Minister and/or his appointees.

A better system would be a bi-partisan commission in which competing parties would watch each other.

Of course any system would be vulnerable to some extent to criminal manipulation - which is what appears to have happened in Ohio in 2004. 

// posted by Raised By Republicans

Raised By Republicans said...

Actually, much of the fraud appears to have not simply detered voters but failed to count votes cast for Kerry and counted non-existant votes for Bush. If the count were some impossible to determine ideally perfect count, Bush would lose votes as Kerry gained, thus reducing the number needed to something far below 3 million.

Dr. Strangelove said...

RbR... if a vote is swapped, 1.5 million votes changing hands would make a 3 million vote swing. But 1.5 million out of 19 million swaps still seems a lot to me.

Numbat: I'm with you. (1) Preference voting, (2) bipartisan/"non-partisan" redistricting (some combination of those... and I use quotations to appease RbR) and (3) much better observed elections may be the three most important things we could do to save US democracy. Or what's left of it.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately we won't be changing our electoral system any time soon. So preferential voting - although I would like that - is not likely.

I think the problem in Ohio is one of a powerful state official who is willing to disobey the law and even direct orders from another branch of government. That problem is compounded by the unwillingness of an entire political party (the Republicans) to enforce the law when their own members break it.

In that sense, what the laws are don't matter because the biggest problem is that they aren't being enforced equally. 

// posted by Raised By Republicans

Anonymous said...

Now we are at the crux of it, aren't we. When there is no enforcement of law, it is as useless as if there were no law at all.

The problem is this sense of entitlement that detracts from the idea of service. We depended for a long time on people's sense of civic service. If the voters voted for you, you were in. When your time was up, either by constitutional mandate or lack of votes, you left. As RBR says, you have to have trust in the people- the imperfect humans- that are running the show to act appropriately and to place society higher than their personal desires.

A sense of civic duty is available in smaller and smaller portions. We all talk of patriotism, but there is no talk of civic duty- people avoid jury duty, compalin about taxes, fail to vote, cheat at voting, etc. But patriotism is a hollow emotion without the actions to back it up. Show me you love me. And civil society, which is a bunch of volunteers, is great, but it can focus so deeply on its own causes that it fails to see its place in the bigger picture- it becomes a soecial interest group. This turns civil society into a hollow movement as well.

And I think evidence of all of this is the gerrymandering, and the move toward and then failure of term limits, the level of corruption in the government. All of this demonstrates a lack of civic duty that arises from a sense of entitlement and greed. And that, in my mind, is part of the definition of nobility, of the second estate that this nation sought to avoid. And that is what will eat us a live- the greed. Numbat is right, we are in a lot of trouble in this country and it is harder and harder for me to hope that things will improve. I fear it will get worse, if and before it gets better. People will tolerate a long slow slide into crisis, but they won't tolerate a long climb out of it. They will want it fixed and the next president will have to show solid results in 4 years or be shown the door. Iraq is just the tip of the iceberg. There are systemic crisies in our government at all levels because there is no one that I see with the courage to lead.

You know, Al Gore did a brave thing leaving government where he had operated his whole life. He decided to try something else and look at the result! I'd say he, like Jimmy Carter, has made just as great a contribution to the nation out of office as he did in office. Bill Clinton has done a lot of good since leaving. Then you get folks like Cruz Busamante who are willing, in effect, to take a demotion in order to stay in office rather than getting out all together. Is this because he and those like him lack creativity, or because they feel entitled to a post? I didn't vote for him just for that reason.

The law, like the value of money, is only as strong as the value people place on it. You have to give it enough value to enforce it no matter who breaks it. But if you think you are entitled to leadership for some reason, and you have few if any scruples, or any sense of shame, then the ends justifies the means and democracy is out the door.Poof, just like that. It takes years to build and only seconds to destroy. 

// posted by USWest

Anonymous said...

To be honest RbR the two systems are not the same. Regardless of who the authority comes from the implementations are different, and the implementation in Australia is rigorously controlled from a federal level by public servants. Maybe the devolvement of responsibility to county levels for elections is the issue.

(As an aside, one advantage of compulsory voting that I hadn't considered is that it stops some election fraud. If you are being fined for not voting or voting twice, then that is at least identified.) 

// posted by Numbat o Love

Anonymous said...

Numbat,

I don't mean to say that Australia and Ohio have the same system in every detail. But the fundamental feature of both systems is the mono-partisan nature of the authority structure. If I remember correctly from the last time we went over this, in Australia, the supposedly independent board of "public servants" are appointed by the Prime Minister acting alone. Only the expectation that he'll appoint objective people really supports that system.

It's the same in Ohio. In the past, Secretaries of State in Ohio have been expected to enforce the elections laws objectively and without bias. And in the past, they did that relatively faithfully. However, now we have a Secretary of State who is not only enforcing the law with bias but is overtly disobeying direct court orders. And since his political party controls the Governorship and the Assembly in that state, he can do this with relative impunity.

While the same problem may not have arisen in Australia (I suspect it probably has but power is so concentrated there that no one noticed), there is nothing inherent in the Australian system that prevents this sort of thing from happening. 

// posted by Raised By Republicans

Anonymous said...

And what I'm saying RbR is that the devil is in the detail and the ability to manipulate without redress. 

// posted by Numbat o Love

Anonymous said...

This case of electoral fraud should have been put forth by Democrats in November 2004, right after the election. No system of law enforcement in elections can function if the losing party is too incompetent or cowardly to make its own case. The reason we have bipartisan commissions is not to ensure objectivity, but because we believe in the adversarial system. The fault lies with the Beltway Democrats who think of elections as a job or a game, and have lost sight of the values involved. 

// posted by LTG

Anonymous said...

This case of electoral fraud should have been put forth by Democrats in November 2004, right after the election. No system of law enforcement in elections can function if the losing party is too incompetent or cowardly to make its own case. The reason we have bipartisan commissions is not to ensure objectivity, but because we believe in the adversarial system. The fault lies with the Beltway Democrats who think of elections as a job or a game, and have lost sight of the values involved. 

// posted by LTG

Dr. Strangelove said...

Well said, USWest. LTG notes that we believe in the "adversarial system" ot keep our democracy functioning. But I think USWest also argues (forgive me if I run to far with this) that this is not enough. Even RbR, perhaps the most ardent proponent of the adversarial system on this blog, says (if USWest quotes accurately) that, "you have to have trust in the people... that are running the show to act appropriately and to place society higher than their personal desires."

I think the strength of our republic may lie in the struggle between these two views. Ours is a system that works through the clash of self-interested parties, yet also needs these parties to rise above that self-interest to do their civic duty for the republic.

I fear that the Republican machine has overbalanced the current political climate toward self-interest and there is little civic responsibility left. How can we back up our patriotism with action--to show that we love our country, as USWest says?

Well... here's where I get on my soapbox and probably alienate the rest of the blog, but I have a modest suggestion: we need to start telling the truth. Always. Even if it costs us an election or two... hell, we're losing 'em anyway. It's not because they're playing the game better. It's because we've let them turn politics into a game at all.

If they (conservatives) distort, exaggerate, insinuate, and lie, we (liberals) must not play that game, no matter how tempting it is to "fight back". We must stop trying to fight fire with fire. Sometimes it's better to fight fire with water. Because when politics is a game of lies, evil will always win. (Thanks for listening to my rant.)

Anonymous said...

US West's paraphrase of what I said was a slight misinterpretation which I let slide until Dr. Strangelove took it further. I have not started to believe that trust in civic duty is a valid basis for government. On the contrary, my commitment to the advisarial (i.e. partisan) system is stronger than ever. The problems we see today are a direct result of one party getting control of multiple branches of government at the same time - thus short circuiting our political institutions.

In Ohio this problem is compounded by an unscrupulous rogue of a Secretary of State with an unually high degree of influence over the conduct of elections in that state.

The thought that gives me hope is that as Lincoln said, "you can't fool all the people all the time." Indeed, it is very difficult to fool half of them all the time. Look at Bush's approval ratings - especially over time.

The deficit, the Abramoff scandal, the Duke Cunningham/CIA Hooker scandal are the kind of things that will cause the current GOP coalition of nationalists, fiscal conservatives and theocrats to collapse.  

// posted by Raised By Republicans

Dr. Strangelove said...

RbR... too bad. I liked my interpretation of what I thought you had said :-)

I still think one can be committed to the adversarial system yet believe that a committment to civic duty is vital for democracy. (That's all I was trying to say you were saying.)

Anonymous said...

My position is that while the adversarial system is both a neccessary and, in the long run, a sufficient condition for democracy, committment to civic duty (while certainly desirable) is neither sufficient nor neccessary. 

// posted by Raised By Republicans