Thursday, January 06, 2005

Victory? Yes -- and no

First, let me express the pride I now take in my vote for Senator Barbara Boxer. She displayed true political courage. The Democratic party leadership begged her not to support the challenge to Ohio's electors, yet she stood up for democracy nonetheless.

I doubt that she will win re-election. The Republicans will target her as they never have before. Next time she runs, they'll make sure that a formidable, supremely well-funded candidate stands against her. (Another try by Michael Huffington? Ghastly thought...) Until then, she will be subjected to a non-stop barrage from the radio rightists. Keep in mind, California is becoming redder and redder each year.

The other heroes, of course, are Stephanie Tubbs-Jones, John Conyers, and all the other House members who took a stand for democracy. All 32 of them.

Our side did not have the votes, of course. We did not have the media. We did not even have most of the left-wing websites. Hell, most of the time we didn't even have Michael freaking Moore.

Yet somehow, the heroes listed above managed to assure that George W. Bush will forevermore have an asterisk beside his name in the history books. The integrity of the results in both of his elections has been questioned. When historians ask "Why were the electors challenged in 2004?" -- they will turn to the Conyers report, which presents overwhelming evidence of fraud.

That is our victory.

Ah...but what happens when unborn schoolchildren ask their instructors why the 2004 results were formally challenged? Alas, I'm not sure that the events of this day will be allowed to enter their history books -- and even if they are, I'm not sure that teachers of the future will be apprised of the outrages detailed by the House Judiciary Committee.

We are the only ones who can make sure that the true history of what just occurred is preserved.

As I watched the proceedings on CSPAN, I was often filled with outrage. Republican after Republican claimed that "everyone agreed" that George Bush won this election, even though one poll reports that 42% of the electorate believes that vote tampering played a small or large role in Bush's victory.

Republican after Republican claimed that there was "no evidence" of vote tampering in Ohio, even though the Conyers report overflows with such evidence. Obviously, they never read that report.

One Republican offered a shot at the many internet citizens who have followed this issue closely: "Blogging doesn't make it so."

At least bloggers don't mind doing a little reading. Most congressmen could not be bothered to skim the details of the investigation central to their vote.

Time and again, Republicans made statements indicating that they had not informed themselves of the basic issues. They referred to the recount as if it were a full hand recount, and not a three-percent-of-the-precincts recount. They never once mentioned the fact that this "three percent" was cherry-picked, not chosen at random as the law requires. According to one Republican congressman, exit polls are as believable as "a Godzilla movie;" in fact, such polls have a history of high accuracy and remain our sole method of verifying a vote lacking a paper audit trail. (Why didn't this same congressman laugh off the exit poll disparity in the Ukraine?)

Time and again, the Republicans made reference to the bipartisan make-up of the various boards of election in Ohio. But those board members serve at the discretion of Ken Blackwell, whose activity was nothing short of criminal. Besides, how can a lowly Democratic member of a county board doublecheck the software of a tabulating system deemed proprietary by its Republican owners?

The Republicans claimed that computerized voting systems could not have affected the many votes cast with punch cards and optical scan cards. Our side has been screaming for months that all such cards are fed into a very-hackable central tabulating system. (Yes, the punch cards provide an audit trail, but only a small fraction of their total number were actually audited in the recount -- and we haven't even begun to discuss the serious chain-of-custody questions.)

Not a single Republican -- and no Democrats, for that matter -- mentioned the fact that the directors of Diebold and Sequoia include felons, and that they have been caught putting illegal "back doors" into their software. Our democracy is in the hands of people with serious criminal records.

Neither did any participant in the House debate mention the fact that the Ahmanson family, which largely owns ES&S, prefers theocracy to democracy. The results of any election tainted by the machineries of Diebold, ES&S, Sequioa and Triad are about as believable as -- well, I'm tempted to make further reference to the filmography of Inoshira Honda.

In short: The Republicans painted themselves as realists, even as they cobbled together a fantasyland version of the events of the past two months.

Displaying a love of fantasy that even J.R.R. Tolkien would have considered excessive, many congressmen took this opportunity to castigate Michael Moore. Moore, they insinuated, was the covert leader of the movement to challenge the electors. One Republican devoted his time on the floor to outlining the alleged sins of Michael Moore, as though one film-maker's personal history was somehow relevant to the details of the Conyers report.

The facts: Michael Moore was not (from our point of view) "good" on this issue. He did not challenge the legitimacy of the November 2 election until very recently. His website published very little material which people in our fight considered useful or sympathetic. Most of the time, his name simply did not come up -- not in my correspondence with fellow writers, not on the websites I visited, not on the email lists devoted to this topic, not at the rallies against voter disenfranchisement, not in the major stories published by writers devoted to fair elections. Those of us who gave his name any mention at all did so only to express disappointment with his apparent cowardice.

Hell, my dog played a bigger role in this movement than did Michael Moore. (That's literally true. Pooches are natural antidepressants, and lord knows I needed something to keep me cheerful over the past two months.)

The fact that Republicans attempted to switch the topic to Moore only buttresses the point I made yesterday: Conservatives now claim an Orwellian sovereignty over reality itself. I'm sure that their demonization efforts will lead the dittohead faithful into blaming Moore for the electoral challenge. Millions of Republicans will come to believe in that absurd scenario -- just as they believe that the American military found WMDs in Iraq, and that Osama and Saddam were partners.

Maybe the GOP propagandists can blame the tsunami on Moore as well. Why not? Reality is now what the Republican party says it is.

If we don't want them to commandeer the epistemological debate the way they have commandeered democracy, we must redouble our efforts to demolish their lies. Earlier today, Tom Delay referred to folks like you and me as "the X-Files wing of the Democratic Party." I'll take that as a compliment.

After all, the motto of that show was: "THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE."


Anonymous said...

Like the poster above, I thank you for your blog over the past two months. As a former investigative journalist, I applaud your insightful analysis and impressive ability to sift through reams of information and spotlight the key points. Please hang in there for the long haul.

About Boxer: To my mind, she showed unprecedented courage and leadership. And, with a few notable male exceptions, the Democratic women carried the day with their reasoned arguments and palpable passion.

Once again, Mr. Cannon, (in the words of MoveOn), thanks for all you do.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for an inspiring and useful site, Joseph. The clarity
of your thought and the precision of your expression are rare
on the web. Let's be glad that Ms. Boxer has six years before
she runs again.

Miss Persistent, for info on the causes your consumer
dollars support indirectly, try these sites:

Ron Brynaert said...


Your paragraph which begins with "yet" and ends with "fraud" is hands-down your finest moment these last two months. Hell, it's the finest moment for all of us smaller bloggers who have managed to make history despite the overwhelming number of "liberals" against us. I just quoted that paragraph on my blog.

Thanks...and now it's time to finally get some sleep for's been so long since I've been able to step away from the keyboard. Just a respite, though. We have a long battle ahead.


Anonymous said...

Joseph: I just wanted to echo the high praise that others have extanded already -- you truly deserve it!

While I haven't agreed with some of your positions -- for instance, I'm extremely disappointed in Kerry's lack of initiative -- you've offered a selfless dedication to some very high precision journalism here. And I only wish I had one-tenth of your seemingly boundless energy.

I'm exceedingly angered by the utter lack of altruism exhibited by all those who ceaselessly pooh-poohed this investigation and electoral challenge. (And those Michael Moore detractions you referred to go beyond Fantasy Land.)

But when all is said and done, I must applaud the efforts of those who spoke up for truth in the midst of all these lies that inundate us. I applaud Senator Barbara Boxer. I applaud Comngressman Conyers and his House colleagues. And Joseph, I applaud you! You have served faithfully as a beacon on a very stormy sea. Take a bow.

Highest regards,

Anonymous said...

Joseph - I have been following your site since the "bulge" and deeply appreciate your coverage of the recent travesty aka the "election". You are a daily favorite. As Miss Persistent says, it's time now to vote with out wallets and hit them where they live. Oh, and *my* motto is: In Dogs We Trust. Keep fighting the good fight.

Anonymous said...

For the life of me, I don't know why the use of buying power never seems to enter the debate. Half or more of the electorate has no effective representation these days (Democrats don't get their way 49.8% of the time; they virtually *never* get their way). If this is democracy, what's tyranny?

Instead of boycotts of Republican corporate contributors, which can be difficult to sustain and of questionable value, why not concerted consumer action, to make a much larger point?

Tens of millions of effectively disenfranchised Americans have to be willing to introduce temporary distortions into the American economy. This could be as simple as staying off the phone or turning off the lights, for a designated hour. Actions would have to escalate, if the Republican establishment (or the Democratic one, for that matter) proves to be deaf.

However, faced with a potential major dislocation of the economy, politicians cannot afford to ignore the message, because their contributors -- not us -- will be telling them to listen.

Of course, this could be a very powerful weapon, for either side. But it may be the only way to save American democracy, given our winner (or is "cheater") take all system.

How about it?

Anonymous said...

Joseph, I just want to add my name to the long list of internet citizens who are immensely grateful for your thorough and insightful reporting, and for the integrity of your efforts. I began reading your blog during bulgegate, and admire your tenacity.
I am not usually known for boundless optimism, but I choose to view yesterday and the efforts leading up to it as our "foot in the door." We're at the stage where they're no longer ignoring us, they're not laughing much, and if the repug attacks are any indication, they're now fighting us. It may take a while, but I think yesterday was a small step towards the last stage, the one where we win.
I look forward to a sustained emphasis on the issue of voter fraud and suppression, and believe it will serve as a worthy backdrop beginning in 2006. I also like to entertain myself occasionally with imagining the resignation speech, when this administration's role in the fraud of two Presidential elections is finally uncovered for all to see. Wonder who will be whispering in his earpiece then?
I also hope Senator Boxer doesn't set her sights too low in the future. She's too good for the Senate, and may need the power of blue voters nationwide to keep her around especially if our votes are actually counted - Yesterday's proceedings were confirmation that there are many who stand much to lose if that happens.
Keep the faith, Joseph, and thanks for your inspiration.

Kim in PA

Anonymous said...

If I could just join in on piling on the praise-- I too came to Cannonfire looking for news about Bulge-gate, abd this is the first place I turned for fraud news on November 3rd. In the bleak aftermath of the election, never did I dare imagine that the myriad facts I'd been learning from Cannonfire, Brad Blog, and others, would eventually find themselves spoken on the floor of the Senate and the House, in front of all America.

Damn, that felt good. It wasn't the overturn of the results that I had been irrationally hoping for, but it's something. The end of the beginning-- and the beginning of a new, more public phase in the election fraud struggle.

And this is directly attributable to you, Joseph, and the amazing work you've done here. Consider it a point of pride when politicians and corporate news organs spit out the word 'blog' as if it were poison.

And I too am glad to be a member of the X-Files wing of the Democratic Party (even though I'm actually an Independent)-- after all, as someone wrote elsewhere, Mulder was right.


Fans and Friends of Lydia Cornell said...

"Watch FOX today. It is like watching Soviet TV after Brezhnev died." Quote from my friend Steve Kelly, head of programming over at KPSI, the ABC affliiate in Palm Springs.

Thank you Joseph, for ALL YOU DO to bring the truth out. And for helping defeat corruption and fascism.