Some of you have tried to send your expressions of gratitude to Boxer and the noble 31, only to run into a problem: Some of our elected representatives have set up their home pages in such a way that they cannot accept email from people outside their districts.
To get around that roadbloack, go here. (And thanks to Katie for the suggestion.)
Hi, Joseph! I'm happy to have found your website, and find your posts incisive and inspiring. However, I'm not sure how this link helps me to get around the website form problem for specific representatives. What do I click on once I follow your link? The "issues" drop-down menu does not include "election reform" or "voting rights," so I don't know how this helps me. Am I missing something obvious? I hate to ask stupid questions, but would hate much more to miss out on the chance to thank every rep who stood up for us.
I was thinking, as an alternative, to get hold of each rep's fax number. Time consuming, I know, but better than not expressing my gratitude.
Bless you! -- Kate
posted by Anonymous : 2:03 AM
Yeah, I had the same problem. I thought it would take a while to thank 32 heroes, but little did I know...I ended up going to homepage websites and either emailing them from there or calling and leaving a message...as a result...I only got to thank a little more than a third of them.
And, yes, they need to add election reform...no one has that as an option...not even Kerry...who I also wrote (to support not criticize).
Perhaps we need to make more phone calls just to get them to add election reform as an option...but who decides that...that may be a problem if the majority party in power actually has that sort of control...i mean didn't they also have the power to change the name of french fries...
Is Khashoggi's Triad the Triad we know and "love"? A further look...
Yesterday, we directed your attention to the work of Daniel Hopsicker, who notes (as did we all) that one of the election companies in Ohio which behaved -- er, let us say, unusually -- was Triad Governmental Services (a.k.a. Triad GSI). He further noted that none other than Adnan Khashoggi, the Saudi/Egyptian financier and arms merchant involved with Iran-contra, has a penchant for naming many of his companies Triad. Moreover, Khashoggi used Palm Beach, Florida -- the original home of Triad GSI -- as one of his home bases.
Incidentally, this DOD document identifies Khashoggi as the supplier of arms to the Medellin drug cartel. (It's a pdf file; scroll down to paragraph 69.)
So the question of the day is: Did the fellow who sold bullets to the guys shooting at our DEA agents also help tabulate the vote?
In this light, I should note -- as I did not have time to note yesterday -- that the owner of record for Triad GSI is a fellow named Tod Rapp. He's a donor to (but of course!) Dubya and the G.O.P. -- although, truth be told, he didn't give much. Triad software was used to tabulate punch-card votes in Ohio. Needless to say, the code is very hush-hush.
A number of members of the Rapp family are involved with the day-to-day running of the business. The firm seems to be very much a family affair.
Now, I've had some semi-harsh words in the past for Bev Harris of www.blackboxvoting.org (and I still want to know what happened to those poll tapes in Florida -- are we now to consider them her personal property?). But she offered an interesting response to Hopsicker's report:
Well, I went down that path. The name "Triad" as well as the names "Global" and "World" do crop up often in connection with just about everything, including voting machines. But, I do find one of the assertions in the article to be lacking in factual underpinnings.
The author writes that:
"While there has been no suggestion of it anywhere in the media, the name "Triad" was used extensively by Khashoggi at exactly the same time (the early 80's) and in exactly the same place (Palm Beach, Florida) as the "Triad Governmental Systems" involved in Ohio's current election "difficulties." "
Well, actually, at that time the company was actually called Rapp Systems Inc., after the owners, who are mostly named Rapp.
I found literally thousands of companies named Triad, with little to no correlation among owners. In fact, my husband is an occasional producer, and our preferred recording studio in the Seattle area just happens to be called Triad Studios. I can assure you I would be astonished if there were any world domination types there.
Even so, I'd like to learn more about the company history of Triad GSI. Was there in fact a name change? Why and when did it take place? Hopsicker offers this from the company literature:
Incorporated in 1982, TRIAD GSI was founded to provided quality support and services for Rapp Systems' Election products, with election experience that spans a quarter of a century.
Privately-owned companies experiencing an uncertain year have been known to take financing from outside investors, and sometimes those investors do not want their names bandied about in public.
In that light, you may want to sift through this article -- an oldie-but-goodie from Jim Hougan, a terrific investigator who now writes spy thrillers under the name John Case. The article represents his contribution to a 1978 compendium titled "Crime At The Top: Deviance In Business and the Professionals." In it, we learn more about Khashoggi's Triads, and his strange relationship with Lockheed, which had to make certain payoffs (it is alleged) to get Saudi contracts:
For instance, rather than paying Khashoggi directly, a "second-tier" subsidiary based in Geneva would employ the "marketing services" of a subsidiary on the "first tier," based in California. In its turn, the California firm would "subcontract" all or most of those services to Khashoggi's Triad Corporation.
Hougan then goes on to relay the mind-boggling details of the mechanisms Khashoggi used to hide his direct involvement in such affairs. (Worth noting: Khashoggi seems to have pissed off both the Americans and the Saudis in his dealings. So why did they keep using him as a middleman?)
The story of the Lockheed/Triad scandal is long and incredibly involved, and Hougan provides as good an overview as you are ever likely to find. His recounting of that bit of history may shed light on Hopsicker's allegation of a possible hidden link between Khashoggi and the Rapp family's company.
That said, I have yet to find find any concrete link between the Triad GSI and Khashoggi.
But let's not stop looking. Shady characters tend to pop up every time we look into the election services industry...
Side note: A reader who kindly sent me a load of research material on Triad (most of which I haven't had time to examine) directs our attention to another firm called Triad -- Triad Strategies. It's a lobbying firm. You'll love their company motto: "We've found there are almost as many ways to influence behavior as their are behaviors to influence." Ah yes. How about passing the time by playing a little solitaire, Mr. Shaw?
Close to the top of this Triad's client list is -- Accenture. You remember them. Accenture counts the military vote.
Now, I'm pretty sure that this really is just a coincidence. Still, it's a cute coincidence, n'est-ce pas?
I stopped believing in coincidences a long time ago. The notion of a coicidence too often allows those predisposed to a certain point of view to ignore a trail of logic that they would rather not acknowledge.
I'm curious: what's so courageous about running a transparent scam? Look, I'm on the other side, but seriously, you people determined that Bush stole the election before the result was in. You plunged ass-over-heels into any crackpot theory that came along (Madsen's lunacy is a particularly embarrassing example), and when everthing had been thoroughly exploded, you retreated into the tired canard of "vote suppression." Someone really needs to figure out how vastly increased turnout can suggest that people are being prevented from voting, but I won't be holding my breath for the explanation.
Does Adnan Khashoggi own Triad Government Services?
I'm still not sure how to assess the latest update from Daniel Hopsicker, but I nevertheless urge everyone to read what he has to say. As an appetizer, he connects Wally Hilliard, the ultra-mysterious "flight school" owner linked to Mohammed Atta, with Adnan Khashoggi.
Hopsicker goes on to report that Khoshoggi has a large stake in at least one company used to count the votes. And that's where matters get really interesting.
Khashoggi's name, as most of you will know, comes up often in parapolitical research -- see the Wikipedia article here, to get just the barest taste of it. Any number of news reports have tied Khashoggi to Iran-contra, to "Poppy" Bush, to BCCI -- and even to a cadre of high-level escorts servicing the world's richest men. (Never underestimate the "hooker factor" in cementing American relations with the Saudi royal family.)
Khashoggi also has a notable preference for naming his companies "Triad."
Was Adnan Khashoggi a principal in a company which has been counting the votes of American servicemen overseas? Answer: highly likely.
Both Election.com, and Triad, the election company cited for causing most of the problems in Ohio, should receive close scrutiny for evidence of Khashoggi involvement.
While there has been no suggestion of it anywhere in the media, the name "Triad" was used extensively by Khashoggi at exactly the same time (the early 80's) and in exactly the same place (Palm Beach, Florida) as the "Triad Governmental Systems" involved in Ohio's current election "difficulties."
Khashoggi owned a number of companies named "Triad."
Khashoggi owned "Triad International Marketing."
Northrop, the Los Angeles-based aircraft and electronics manufacturer, owes Triad International Marketing, S.A., a Liechtenstein corporation controlled by Khashoggi, $31 million in commissions on sales to the Saudi air force," reported the L.A. Times on August 29, 1987.
Khashoggi owned "Triad America."
Hopsicker goes on and on in this vein, listing Triad after Triad under Khashoggi control. (Triad is also mentioned in the Wikipedia article.)
You may be particularly struck to learn of Khashoggi's ownership of Triad Farms in Kentucky, which played a prominent role in the massive drug ring described in a book called "The Blue Grass Conspiracy." Although that volume was one of the best works on true crime to hit the bookstores during the last couple of decades, it did not go far enough. The same crime ring (which seems to have had high level protection) had ties to the China Lake naval weapons station, not to mention the murder of a judge by Charles Harrelson. (Yes, I am talking about the convicted father of actor Woody Harrelson -- where do you think Woody got that maniacal gleam in his eye? -- and yes, this is the same Charles Harrelson who once claimed to have participated in the JFK assassination.)
Hopsicker also uncovers a 1988 election incident in which Triad employees behaved in a fashion suspiciously similar to that which we observed more recently in Ohio.
According to Jackie Beville, a former employee of the Supervisor of Elections in Hillsborough County, Triad workers adjusted the software to clear up a ballot-counting problem shortly before the election, and the machinery should then have been recertified following the work.
When questioned, she was told that Triad workers were just fixing problems caused by a lightning strike.
Beville disputes that the weather had anything to do with the repair work
Hmm. Does that fortuitous "lightning strike" remind anyone of a certain "bad battery" incident in Ohio?
One thing Hopsicker does not mention is that this is not the first time Adnan Khoshoggi's name has cropped in connection with a dubious Dubya election. Back in the year 2000, Slate published a piece by Timothy Noah titled "Did Adnan Khashoggi Throw the Election to Dubya?" Noah's piece, written for Slate's "Chatterbox" column, is, for the most part, written in a humorous and even snide vein. Still, he does note the verifiable fact that Theresa LaPore -- remember her? -- was a Khashoggi employee before she played a role in the Florida election scandal.
"And not just Triad," says Hopsicker -- who goes on to make a few further points that I cannot help quoting:
Election.com should be examined for the invisible hand of the Saudi financier and CIA “fixer.”
News reports stated Election.com was owned by an offshore Saudi front company in Bermuda consisting of five unnamed Saudi billionaires, until scrutiny forced a sale to Accenture, the remnants of the disgraced and disbanded Arthur Anderson, the accounting firm which made Enron possible.
Many have expressed mixed feelings about Hopsicker's work in the past, but the Khashoggi-Triad connection is one that we should be able to firm up. And once we do -- well, the election controversy rockets to a whole new level.
Incidentally, you can hear an interview with Hopsicker here. The interview is far more discursive and amorphous than the afore-cited article -- frankly, it sounds like the sort of thing you might hear from a couple of old conspiracy buffs kicking back brewskis -- but it is still worth a listen.
As I said, I'm still unsure what to make of all this. But I encourage readers to check and double-check Hopsicker's work. If you can take his argument further, great. If you want to knock his work down, great. But let's get a discussion going!
Funny I should have asked about Khashoggi, Carlyle and Tria..ngles:
Business Journalist Dan Briody (NPR) Author of The Iron Triangle: Inside the Secret World of the Carlyle Group (Wiley). The Carlyle Group is one of the most powerful and well-connected private equity firms in the world. Its investments -- most notably -- in timely defense and aerospace industries has made it highly profitable. The group's roster includes or has included former President George Bush, Sr., (advisor), former Secretary of Defense Frank Carlucci (former chairman), Saudi Arabian Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal (investor) and former Secretary of State, James Baker III (managing director and senior counselor). Briody writes that the Carlyle Group "operates within the so-called iron triangle of industry, government, and the military" and that it "leaves itself open to any number of conflicts of interest and stunning ironies."
"...An interesting footnote to Iran-Contra is that in 1986, Saudi Arabian arms broker Adnan Khashoggi hired Hill and Knowlton and Gray and Co. to milk Maximum publicity out of his major donation to a $20.5 million sports center, named after him, at American University.
OH MY GOD, look at that public relations connection that I just mentioned (in connection to Khashoggi and AU):
"Although it is generally hard to distinguish between public relations and propaganda, Hill & Knowlton, the worlds leading PR agency, represents an extraordinary example for the manipulation of public opinion with public relations activities. Hill & Knowlton did not only lobby for countries, accused of the abuse of human rights, like China, Peru, Israel, Egypt and Indonesia, but also represented the repressive Duvalier regime in Haiti.
It furthermore played a central role in the Gulf War. On behalf of the Kuwaiti government it presented a 15-year-old girl to testify before Congress about human rights violations in a Kuwaiti hospital. The girl, later found out to be the daughter of Kuwait's ambassador to the U.S., and its testimony then became the centerpiece of a finely tuned PR campaign orchestrated by Hill & Knowlton and co-ordinated with the White House on behalf of the government of Kuwait an the Citizens for a Free Kuwait group. Inflaming public opinion against Iraq and bringing the U.S. Congress in favor of war in the Gulf, this probably was one of the largest and most effective public relations campaigns in history.
Running campaigns against abortion for the Catholic Church and representing the Church of Scientology, large PR firms like Hill & Knowlton, scarcely hesitate to manipulate public and congressional opinion and government policy through media campaigns, congressional hearings, and lobbying, when necessary. Also co-operation with intelligence agencies seems to be not unknown to Hill & Knowlton.
Accused of pursuing potentially illegal proxy spying operation for intelligence agencies, Richard Cheney, head of Hill & Knowltons New York office, denied this allegations..."
The connection between Khashoggi and Carlyle would be through the Bin Laden family. Khashoggi is a close friend of that family -- in fact, he got his start, it is said, in joint business ventures with them. At the same time, The Bin Ladens heavily invested in Carlyle.
At this point, we are admittedly playing a "six degrees of separation" game. But you have to admit -- the degree of separation is, in this case, rather narrow.
Weird, isn't it? Khashoggi, it has been rumored, supplies American women to the Saudi dynasty. Yet he is close to the family which gave birth to the man who hopes to overturn that very dynasty.
Incidentally, the Richard Cheney who works for Hill and Knowlton is not the same guy as our beloved veep.
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From time to time, I've drawn parallels between the JFK assassination controversy and our much more recent fight to have Republican vote fraud recognized. In both cases, an underground resistance struggled against the prevailing wisdom of both parties. For the Warren Commission critics, the holy grail was either a new investigation or a new trial. After much effort, both goals were reached, and on both occasions, hopes shattered.
The critics then set a new goal -- the battle for history.
This objective seemed the most difficult of all. Even the most fervent JFK activist (and those guys could get pretty damned fervent) had little hope of ever seeing a college or high school textbook which repeated anything but the Oswald-did-it scenario.
Well, last night I read a textbook -- yes, a genuine college-level text, used in a course on 20th Century American history -- which presented both sides of the assassination controversy, in a brief but reasonably fair fashion. Indeed, the authors of the text seem to express a slight bias toward the anti-"lone nut" position.
Unfortunately, the pro-conspiracy side of the book's argument segued into a discussion of Oliver Stone's film. An unfortunate choice, that. Even Stone would probably agree that students should be referred to any number of books (choose your author: Russell, DiEugenio, Lane, Davy, Scott, etc.) and not to any made-in-Hollywood product. (Hell, this thread offers newbies as good an intro as any.)
Even so, the fact remains. We're in. We made the textbooks. We're winning the battle for history -- at least on that front. Yes, the fight took 40 years -- but many expected it to take longer.
Now we must engage in another battle for history. Our new front concerns the question of Bush's legitimacy and the Republican party's control over electronic voting. We can win this fight too.
And thanks to the internet, thanks to the new rapidity of communications, we won't need 40 years to do the job.
Investigations and lawsuits are fine. Never shy away from an opportunity to meet the enemy in those forums; even if the opposing forces should prevail, the struggle itself will always uncover new facts. For example, there are rumors that the Arnebeck suit has a hidden Ace -- a "smoking gun" piece of evidence. Even if his suit is tossed out (and don't be surprised if Moyer does just that), the evidence, if it exists, may still see the light of day.
This is a battle for brains. We cannot right the wrongs committed by the far rightists and the fundamentalists until we change more minds. The Republicans themselves made this point repeatedly during the debate over the challenge to Ohio's electors: They complained that we are undermining the country's faith -- and the world's faith -- in the American electoral system.
True enough; that system is broken. Faith should be undermined. The less faith, the better. We are advocates of reality, not faith.
According to one poll, 42% of our fellow citizens think that vote fraud played a small or large role in the last election. That's no small number. We have come close to convincing the majority of our fellow citizens that our position has merit. When the number of doubters shoots past the 50% mark, we will have achieved the most important victory -- and other victories will follow.
A side note: Those of you who watched the debates may have noticed that the Republicans kept repeating (in their usual scripted way) the same theme: They screamed that the Democrats were alleging that George Bush personally changed the vote "from a computer in the White House."
I know of no-one who has seriously made that suggestion. (Maybe someone somewhere tossed out that idea in a humorous fashion; if so, I'm unaware of the particulars.) So why do the Republicans keep trying to convince their constituents that vote fraud activists made such a claim?
I'm reminded of the attacks on Gary Webb. When the L.A. Times and other media snipers decided to smear his CIA/contra cocaine stories, they pretended that Webb had claimed the CIA agents were literally out on the streets of Central Los Angeles selling crack. Of course, Webb made no such suggestion. But he was easier to demonize once a "false Gary Webb" was held up for public ridicule. The number of people who heard the smear campaigners' goofball misrepresentation of his work exceeded the number of people who read his actual reportage.
If the trick worked once, keep working it...
Overviews. The morning-after accounts of the electoral challenge are coming in. The best I've seen is Democracy Now's interview with ground-level Ohio activist Harvey Wasserman, who compares this fight to the civil rights struggle. (Indeed, the current fight is an extension of the civil rights struggle.)
Steve Freeman -- yes, the same University of Pennsylvania prof who provided a seminal analysis of the exit polls -- has contributed a superb editorial to the San Francisco Chronicle. Freeman makes the important point that the U.S.-sponsored exit polls in the Ukraine were far less trustworthy than the ones conducted here:
So why is the response rebellion in the former Soviet Union nations but passive acceptance here? It's not that exit polls are reliable everywhere but here. In fact, both of the exit polls in the Ukraine were flawed. One did not adequately cover the strongholds of the government candidate; the other used face-to-face interviews, thus asking respondents to risk retribution. Both polls are alleged to have been sponsored by the West, principally the United States, hoping to install a friendly, pro-NATO government. The U.S. exit poll, in contrast, was independent, well-funded and run by the most experienced exit pollsters in the world
.Freeman has much more; this is a good piece.
Salon has a few words to say about the fight, although their story concentrates on the concurrent Gonzales fiasco.
You'll also want to read what Bob Fritakis has to say. Here's a point I should have raised earlier:
Even the Senate's new Democratic leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, joined the challenge -- a startling, unexpected but hopeful twist. Indeed, he spoke not of voting problems in Ohio but of problems in Nevada.
"Today, our brave men and women of the armed forces are working to bring the right to free and fair elections to Iraq," Reid said. "Their sacrifice absolutely demands that we work to ensure our own elections are fair. That is what today’s debate is about." Reid cited problems in his state, saying: "In this past election in my home state of Nevada, phone calls were made to heavily African American parts of Las Vegas to trick those voters into not voting. Those calls, which we were unable to trace, told voters that Election Day was November 3rd, not November 2nd. Our registration process in Nevada was also tainted by the proven destruction of Democratic voter registration forms. That fraud is still under investigation."
We discussed Nevada in these pages fairly earlier on, but the hullaballo over Ohio tended to overshadow all other concerns.
In state after state, reports cropped up of attempts to mislead black voters into thinking the vote was on November 3, not November 2. We should place in the same category the "pseudo-GOTV" telephone campaign designed to make independent voters think that John Kerry supported gay marriage.
Not long ago, I came across a GOP site which laughed at these attempts to mislead voters: Anyone dumb enough to be taken in by such tactics (the writer argued) deserved to have his vote taken away. So let's say I'm a scamster, and let's say I use a ruse to convince your grandmother to give me her credit card information. According to the Republicans, if she's that stupid, she deserves to be robbed.
Lovely philosophy, that.
Oh...and for a note-perfect parody of the arguments raised by Republicans during the debate, check out The Common Ills. Funny stuff!
THANKS, EVERYONE! I've already written a note of gratitude to Barbara Boxer. (I even told her "I love you" -- an outburst which shouldn't bother my girlfriend, since she feels the same way.) If you want to express your thanks to her and to the noble House members who supported the challenge to the objectors, Buzzflash gives you an easy way to contact each and every one.
And let me offer my own gratitude to the readers who had kind words for my own humble efforts. I'm tempted to say that your notes almost brought a tear to my eye -- but that admission might injure my rep as a cantankerous ol' grizzly bear. So let me just say...thanks.
Joseph, when you said, "So let's say I'm a scamster, and let's say I use a ruse to convince your grandmother to give me her credit card information. According to the Republicans, if she's that stupid, she deserves to be robbed."
You've put things into a perfect nutshell. The Republican problem seems to be one of SELF-control doesn't it? This is beginning to make psychological sense to me. When one feels an overwhelming and inherent sense of lack of personal control, one tends to want to control others. In this way one can repeatedly "prove" to oneself that one does have "some" control. It's the same with self-esteem and bullying. Could this be the party difference?!
I dearly wish you wouldn't conjoin the Kennedy assasination and vote fraud -- such a forced convergence is a Republican dream, the sort of thing they would come up (to dismiss both), so why hand it to them on a platter?
A corrupted voting system is much simpler to assess; there are already hundreds of affidavits attesting to same. The evidence for conspiracy in the Kennedy assasination is of an entirely different character and quality.
There's so much else missing from American textbooks -- things for which there is a clear historical record -- you don't need to look to Dallas 1963.
For god's sake, please don't bring up it up again, you only give food to those who claim the whole thing is nonsense.
posted by Anonymous : 11:54 PM
I agree, "We're in the history books!" I'm really incredibly happy, and at peace, with the outcome of the blogosphere's efforts to get this done! I think it's HUGE! And there's still the jailing of Blackwell, Feeney, and whoever else crawls out of the woodwork as we continue our work!
This morning I woke up thinking that the historians will not be like the mainstream media, they are very meticulous about the facts. Thank goodness!
Keep up the great work, Joe! This is one information highway I drive down daily...Thanks!
posted by Anonymous : 2:29 PM
I don't think he was comparing an assassination to the Ohio vote. I think he was comparing how people rush in whenever anyone questions and says, "Hush up! Don't say that!" Kind of like you did when you attacked him. I got his point, understood and think it's strong. Enjoyed the links. (I didn't go to Salon, I don't view ads for access.) I watch Democracy Now! but had already forgotten that segment, thanks for highlighting it. And thanks for the Common Ills's Senator Dumb Butt, that was hilarious. And really funny because it's so true. Jim Newman 1-13-05
My main reaction to the challenge to the electors is below. The issue of vote fraud is not dead -- for one thing, there's still the lawsuit.
In the meantime, I just discovered something odd, thanks to Google. If you go to your browser's URL field and type in www.conspiracy.com, you will be redirected back here -- to Cannonfire. At least, such was the case for a short while today. But why? Has this been going on for a while? Do the people who run www.conspiracy.com redirect readers to a new site each day? I certainly had nothing to do with this!
# ARIN WHOIS database, last updated 2005-01-06 19:10 # Enter ? for additional hints on searching ARIN's WHOIS database.
posted by Anonymous : 11:06 PM
Expanding on previous comments, it looks like someone is watching you...and perhaps trying to diminish you as well, Joseph.
"President Bush Names Internap CEO Greg Peters to National Infrastructure Advisory Council
Will Advise Federal Government on Security of Critical Information and Economic Infrastructure
ATLANTA – January 5, 2005 – Internap Network Services Corporation (AMEX: IIP), the leading provider of performance-based routing services over the Internet, announced today that President George W. Bush has appointed Internap President and Chief Executive Officer, Gregory A. Peters, to serve on the National Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIAC).
The President established the NIAC in order to support a coordinated effort by both government and private sector entities to advise him on security of information systems supporting the nation's critical infrastructure. As a NIAC member, Peters will join a select group of leaders appointed to provide the President advice on these issues from a variety of sectors of the economy, including banking and finance, transportation, energy, manufacturing, and emergency government services. "
Looks like you have their attention. Wear that badge with pride!
This could go either way. It could have been done by a friendly techie at that company who reads your site and wants to elevate it's status. I personally think it is probably more good than bad for the moment. Consider it a huge compliment either way!!
The google bomb is there, but also right now, anyway, if you do a "curl www.conspiracy.com" or the like, it's just a redirect to google news.
It's just a domain name without a site.
Someone who "owned" a whole bunch of these kinds of non-sites could do a google bomb all by himself.
posted by Anonymous : 2:58 PM
conspiracy.com indeed was redirecting, though they changed it to now redirect to news.google.com. Note the "Location: " header they send (I changed the angle brackets to square to avoid problems with embedded htmlin a comment):
curl -si http://www.conspiracy.com | less
HTTP/1.1 302 Found Connection: close Date: Fri, 07 Jan 2005 20:43:52 GMT Server: Microsoft-IIS/6.0 X-Powered-By: ASP.NET X-AspNet-Version: 1.1.4322 HTTP_REFERER: www.conspiracy.com Location: http://news.google.com/ Cache-Control: private Content-Type: text/html; charset=utf-8 Content-Length: 140
[html] [head] [title] Object moved[/title][/head][body] [h2]Object moved to [a href='http://news.google.com/']here[/a].[/h2] [/body][/html]
posted by Anonymous : 3:50 PM
Heh heh...so, today, if you type in www.conspiracy.com, you get...the news.
Thanks much all, for your comments and help. Right now, my first suspicion is that someone put in a "redirect order" (not sure what the technical name actually is) to my page as a sort of joke, or perhaps as a tip of the hat.
The odd thing is...no-one seems to have done anything with that site for the past eight years. A URL like that might have fetched a decent price during the go-go years of the net boom.
A friend of mine was willing to make an offer for www.conspiracy.com. He's willing to go up to a cool $300 bucks. He thinks he can make some money with that name. So if the owners are reading this...howzabouts?
Great blog!, Good to see you. I am sure that your blog page looks great to me which mean looking crowded so, My site - Global Domain Name Registrations - open event during one month web site domain search. http://www.globalnames.com You better check it out some time.
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."
Thank you beyond thank you Joseph for helping to carry us to this wonderful victory. Had it not been for you and the few other faithful bloggers (bradblog, solarbus, scoop, etc.), and faithful commenters, we would never have made it this far! You made history today!! Without help from the mainstream media! It's a done deal, and I really liked how Conyers entered his whole report into the record today in under 15 seconds!
The Republican side of the debate had little if any substance. That kind of thing always disturbs me. And I had to tune out (out of respect for reality) several times.
But I especially like knowing that we have the power to put things in motion. We have a voice. It will get even better from here on. I mean, when/if there is no longer a major controversy, and the bloggers continue their responsible journalism, the title of "tin foil" will be lost to the ages. But really, we aren't finished with Blackwell and Feeney yet, are we?
Sigh. I happened to catch Peter Jennings on the news a little bit ago saying with a condescending grin, something on the order of, "yes, well, the constituents do like their ceremony." HA. Reminded me to quit the TV news for good!
BTW, Staples has pulled its ads from some right-wing Sinclair news program based on emails from complaining customers. How bout that!
Anyway, my immediate goal is to find a really comprehensive list somewhere of who is who in the retail and service world and find out which party they donate to. I think we must start supporting only those who believe in democracy - those who believed in this effort. No matter what happened today, we know democracy did not happen on Nov. 2.
Always remember, we are the majority. THAT is the reality. We just need to find our voice, and I think we have.
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.
posted by Anonymous : 11:49 PM
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:
cobb24.org choosetheblue.org buyblue.org
posted by Anonymous : 1:01 AM
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 once...it'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.
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, JMF
posted by Anonymous : 5:40 AM
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.
posted by Anonymous : 8:59 AM
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?
posted by Anonymous : 10:59 AM
Thanks from me, too. Meanwhile, after trolling through Kos postings about the parts of the House debate I missed (no CSPAN, only NPR) and all Senate debate I missed, I found self thinking that its likely a GOP cynical strategy learned from pals in corporate industries (nuclear, waste etc.) that if you never acknowledge rebutalls or refuted facts, if you simply lie all day long, the more outrageous the better, it is hard for the opposition especially those of us on the "outside" to know where to start.
Plus, when it is gets over the top we get so mad that we are sometimes reduced to spluttering obscenities. All of this plays into their hands totally, we are all just rude, incivilized nutcases. (It's kind of like the Soviet mental illness paradigm.)
The real problem is that they manage to convince their base that some of this stuff is the truth, the alternative reality phenom, which, as has been noted, means that people after a while can't accept that things are any different because they are too invested in it.
Digression: I've already been contacted by a friend regarding an economic protest on Jan 20th, inauguration day, during which we should conduct no economic activity (presumably if you are traveling to DC to protest that is a little different...)
If you live in a blue state it may seem somewhat pointless to "adopt a republican" but they have friends and relatives too and frankly this has to be done face to face. Preferably someone who hasn't benefited economically or otherwise from Bush Co policies....
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
posted by Anonymous : 3:16 PM
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.
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BRAVO, JOHN CONYERS! The report is in, and it is awesome! (plus: More vote fraud news)
This is a huge news day for those following the vote fraud controversy.
The Report on Ohio vote tampering is here. Just a day before the ratification of the electoral votes, the House Judiciary Committee has just released its findings on the election horrors in Ohio. Yes, it's a long pdf file -- but it is filled with must-read material.
In fact, this report offers everything we could have hoped for. From the summary (emphasis added by me):
We have found numerous, serious election irregularities in the Ohio presidential election, which resulted in a significant disenfranchisement of voters. Cumulatively, these irregularities, which affected hundreds of thousands of votes and voters in Ohio, raise grave doubts regarding whether it can be said the Ohio electors selected on December 13, 2004, were chosen in a manner that conforms to Ohio law, let alone federal requirements and constitutional standards.
This report, therefore, makes three recommendations: (1) consistent with the requirements of the United States Constitution concerning the counting of electoral votes by Congress and Federal law implementing these requirements, there are ample grounds for challenging the electors from the State of Ohio; (2) Congress should engage in further hearings into the widespread irregularities reported in Ohio; we believe the problems are serious enough to warrant the appointment of a joint select Committee of the House and Senate to investigate and report back to the Members; and (3) Congress needs to enact election reform to restore our people's trust in our democracy. These changes should include putting in place more specific federal protections for federal elections, particularly in the areas of audit capability for electronic voting machines and casting and counting of provisional ballots, as well as other needed changes to federal and state election laws.
With regards to our factual findings, in brief, we find that there were massive and unprecedented voter irregularities and anomalies in Ohio. In many cases, these irregularities were caused by intentional misconduct and illegal behavior, much of it involving Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, the co-chair of the Bush-Cheney campaign in Ohio.
The document presents page after page filled with courtroom-quality evidence against Blackwell -- and let me tell you, this stuff is damning. This vile manipulator should, must go to jail. He is nothing short of a criminal mastermind.
On page 32 of the report, Blackwell -- who had the audacity to compare himself with Gandhi and King -- is quoted as saying that he would rather go to jail than to comply with the rulings of Judge Carr (a "liberal" judge, according to Blackwell). Why this show of defiance? Because that judge ruled that the Secretary of State issue specific guidelines on the use of provisional ballots. Somehow, I doubt that Gandhi or King would have disagreed with that ruling (which, I should note, was overruled on appeal; these days, the bad guys often win).
Well, Kenny-boy -- if you long for a stay in the joint, we'll be happy to see your wish granted.
Blackwell stands specifically accused of direct violations of the Help America Vote Act, as well as Article 1, Section 5 of the Ohio Constitution (see page 48 of the report) -- not mention the first amendment to the United States Constitution (page 49), the Voting Rights Act and all constitutional guarantees of due process (page 52), Ohio statutes regarding ballot tampering (page 59), the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (page 65), and possibly the National Voter Registration Act (page 69). He also has a statutory obligation to investigate election irregularities; the paper documents numerous problems, most of which received no investigation from Blackwell's office.
The report damns Blackwell for deliberately delaying the official count to render the recount challenges moot:
By setting the vote tally deadline so late and then delaying the declaration of results -- it took a full 34 days after the November 2 election for the results to be certified -- Secretary of State Blackwell insured that the time for completing recounts, therefore, was pushed to after the date of the Electoral College meeting. As a result of this intentional course of conduct, it appears tha Mr. Blackwell has ensured tha the controversies concerning the appointment of electors could not be resolved by December 7, 2004, thereby causing Ohio to lose the benefit of the electoral college safe harbor so that the appointment of electors is not necessarily binding on Congress.
Oh -- and do you recall Blackwell's nonsensical ruling that all registration forms must be on 80-lb paper? Turns out that forms obtained from his own office were printed on 60-lb stock. (See page 38.)
This is a powerful indictment. It speaks not just to Blackwell's criminality, but to the exit poll controversies, the recount controversies, and the bizarre behavior by Triad: "...it appears that Mr. Barbian's activities were not the actions of a rogue computer programmer but the official policy of Triad." Moreover:
We have received several additional reports of machine irregularities involving several other counties serviced by Triad, including a report that Triad was able to alter election software by remote access...
After these incidents -- there were more than a few -- are detailed, the report states:
Based on the above, including actual admissions and statements by Triad employees, it strongly appears that Triad and its employees engaged in a course of behavior to provide "cheat sheets" to those counting the ballots. The cheat sheets told them hoe many votes they should find for each candidate, and how many over and under votes they should calculate to match the machine count. In that way, they could avoid doing a full county-wide hand recount mandated by state law.
Does this pattern of activity violate state and federal law? Appears so. Check out page 84 of the report.
There is much more.
We were asking for a political miracle -- a new piece of evidence that would give much-needed credibility to a challenge by a Senator. (Perhaps Senator Kerry? Alas, he is reportedly away, and has sent an email to supporters announcing that he will not participate in a challenge to the electors). This paper offers "credibility cover" -- and more. It places all the evidence acquired heretofore in damning context.
I have never seen a more hard-hitting report by any congressional committee. Ever.
Exit polls: The Big Lie gets a big push. Since no-one now believes the "chatty Dem" theory of the great exit poll disparity, the Republicans must now publicize their "fall-back" position. Yep, they will try to convince the country that Mitofsky intentionally skewed the results to help Kerry.
So far, this nonsensical notion has been relegated to the dark corners of the net. (You may have noticed the snipings of a particularly obsessive right-wing conspiracy theorist in the comments section of this very blog.) But now the GOP Ministry of Love is making this idea the new Party Line. Yes, the meme is making the big time -- if you can call GOP flack Mickey Kaus the big time. Rush should be getting his copy of the script any day now.
The very concept is inane, of course.
Supposedly, Mitofsky -- formerly a long-time employee of Republican-run Viacom, whose firm is funded by a consortium of mainstream media outlets (also owned by pro-Republican interests) -- is a fervent Kerry supporter. So fervent is he, in fact, that he was willing to salt the exit poll results on November 2, in order to depress the Republican vote.
And were these faked exits leaked via ABC, AP, CBS or any similar mainstream outlet that might actually have reached a whole bunch of people? Nope. The big media could have discussed the polls openly -- no law prevents them from doing so. After all, they did pay for the data, and they no doubt would have publicized it heavily if the numbers showed Bush ahead. But the large broadcasters kept silent about the (preliminarily) good news for the Democrat.
Instead, on election day, the exits leaked out via blogs not so very unlike the one who are reading now. Atrios. Daily Kos. Guys like that.
As we all know, those conservative farmers in Iowa just can't get through their day without regularly checking on what good ol' Kos has to say. According to the conspiracy theory, those Iowa farmers saw the exits and said: "Shucks! Looks like Kerry's gonna win! Why bother voting? Guess I'll just stay here and plough the north 40..."
Talk about your tin foil hat notions!
Yet that's the scenario the Republicans want you to believe. After all, the only alternative scenario has a distinctly Ukrainian flavor.
The latest attempt to push this inane line centers on mysterious files posted to this site. Although no-one has verified their authenticity, and no-one knows how they got on the net, we are told that here, at last, is the gen-yew-ine raw exit poll data.
In recent days, I've been given this link by a horde of correspondents who never wrote to me previously -- always a sure tip-off that Rovian trickery is afoot.
I was particularly amused by Kaus, who claims that the exits favoring Kerry were the results of "weighting." All polls weight the results, of course. If, for example, you've interviewed ten men and twenty-five women, you'll have to weight the results to reflect the actual male-to-female ratio of our society.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Don't be surprised to see Mitofsky himself give credence to the Big Lie. Better than most, he must understand that we no longer live in a democracy. To thrive in an empire, one must parrot the lines assigned by Power.
Fritakis does it again. Bob Fritakis has another fine story on the Ohio debacle, as well as New Mexico and Florida. He quotes from various affidavits testifying to GOP malfeasance. His account nicely complements the House Judiciary COmmittee's report.
Here are some samples -- and as you read the following, keep in mind Ken Blackwell's recently-disclosed bragging about "delivering" the Ohio vote:
"I was a volunteer all day on Nov. 2 and noticed a big discrepancy in the number of voting machines. Where I vote, in an affluent neighborhood, a voting machine had been added (total of five machines). In the lower-income neighborhoods, there were two-three machines and people waiting over three hours to vote!"
Here's what the vote was like in a rich, white neighborhood:
"No problems. I was a runner in Bexley precincts 1A, 1B, 1C. There were no lines in my visits to these precincts three times. I will point out that 1B is perhaps the wealthiest precinct in Franklin County – including the Governor, OSU (Ohio State University) President, etc."
Here's what the vote was like in poor and black neighborhoods:
"Long lines. My vote would have been for Kerry. Not enough machines for people to vote. About 200 people in line ahead of me and it was pouring down the rain and freezing cold. I had worked all day and had the flu."
"I waited in line for 1 hour 45 minutes. A friend of mine left after voting. At this time I was standing where he was when I came in. I have a 1 hour 45 minute wait until I get to vote. Total three and one-half hours. My voting place had three voting machines and appears to be 90 percent black voters."
"11:30 am. I visited the Columbus Precinct 25C, where 1275 voters had voted. I observed three voting machines only… 4:30 pm. I visited the 25C precinct again. The lines were longer, well past the inside front door. I personally observed at least 175 voters in line, plus babies and children. The building was hot and uncomfortable. Almost all people in line were black. Less than 20 were white."
"The lines were three hours long. I have three children and no one to watch them for that long. I was not able to vote. However, I would have liked to have voted for John Kerry. I wish we could have the chance to vote again."
"I reside in Columbus… My race is black. I am, or believe I am, a registered voter in Columbus, OH. I have been registered for 40 years. On Nov. 2, 2004, I arrived at the polls at 9:45 am. I left at 1.15 pm. There were only three voting booths. I had to wait three and one-half hours to vote."
"I had a lot of people in my precinct who vote religiously and some of them, their names were not in the poll books."
"There were two unidentified lines. It was not clear which line to stand in."
This last complaint is repeated many times. Keep in mind the the names were rotated on the ballots, and that one voting place served more than one precinct. Thus an intended vote for Kerry would emerge as a vote for Bush. (We've spoken about the cross-voting phenomenon before, and will again -- below.)
Back to the testimony:
"Imagine the sight, in a Black neighborhood where a lot of young black voters are showing up for the first time, you have full police presence, even though they are sitting in cars…. You have six cars in the parking lot, and you have a well-known Republican businessman in the community asking people, 'please disperse, please get into your cars.'"
Then there are the electronic problems:
"The electronic voting machine would not take my vote although I tried repeatedly by pressing the "vote" button. Election officials tried to help, then finally the screen (front of machine) went black and I was told I had voted." I felt that I had been blocked from voting. Multiple calls resulted in no help."
"I pushed the button besides John Kerry’s name and my vote jumped up to George Bush. I began complaining about them cheating again this year. The attendant ran over to my booth and announced “just push the button again, that’s been happening a lot.” I then pushed the button again. It remained on John Kerry. Many others in different precincts experienced the same problem."
Anecdotal evidence, you say? Yes, but look at the size of it. I've given you just a sample of what Fritakis has, and he gives you just a smaple of what is available. Has anyone seen a single first-hand anecdotal report -- anywhere in the country -- of an intended vote for Bush coming up Kerry?
Joe, thanks for keeping after this. We expatriate US citizens feel really quite powerless to effect change from our remote locations.
I've fired off letters, emails & faxes to the Congressional representatives in the Indiana electorate where I must vote asking for support. Indeed, per John Edwards, if every vote isn't sacred, democracy is a sham.
One phrase keeps coming to mind, though: If love means never having to say you're sorry, power means not having to respond.
I am so busy absorbing all of the information you've given us today!! I check in many times a day and now...I've got to (very happily) go read your new information. Be back later!! Keep up the astounding reporting!
Well I feel like a loser - so to speak - for buying into the leaked exit poll data. It did seem to not exactly jive, in a couple of ways, with what had been written about the polls previously. But I wouldn't have guessed it was bogus. (Sometimes I'm as naive as I am persistent :)
I can attest to the fact that weighting must occur. What I'm waiting to see is the % nonresponse in the raw data - which is what drives the weighting in the first place. If Republicans were underreporting, each response would have been weighted up, if females were overreporting they'd be weighted down. I just want to know the difference in responding between R and D. And, what I've really been looking forward to is data that does not include weighting adjusted for "actual" vote - because I think "actual" vote is a misnomer. It should be "reported" vote - especially from OH.
OMG! I'm only maybe 9-10 pages into the House Judiciary Committee pdf and I can't say it's anything short of totally damning!
What strikes here, and has been a budding thought come to fruition, is the fact that if the Congress, et. al. sits still for Blackwell, they, in effect, lose all their power to a "countryman." The idea that Blackwell could refuse to answer the questions of a Congressman was always to me a huge gaffe and potential turning point in...this...whole power structure. Thank goodness he mentioned Blackwell's refusal to respond. Being dissed by an SOS? Hopefully the R's have some pride :) too!
The disinfo hunt has gone well...email@example.com aka Activisms aka Auditors haven't been around lately, but another screen name known as Schools Out occasionally surfaces and puts out all sorts of absurd info via email to anyone who is interested in garbage - including some hilarious stuff about yours truly. I doubt Jeff Fisher will ever recover from what they dis to him.
Pardon my selfishness just this once - I changed my online personna from Bozos for Bush, to Bozos Rnot4 Bush...too many people actually thought I was a Bush fan - and I've started my own blog. I'd appreciate your critical input from time to time...never done this before! lol
Perhaps because I adore Ms. Boxer so much, I am a little saddened to see that it was she who signed up for the certification challenge. Because I am from California, this means a great deal to me. Next time she up for re-election, (I do believe she just won, so she has 6 years now, or did I vote for Feinstein?) that there is no way in hell that the Right-Wingers will NOT take this as a chance to hack her to peices. I think the challenge should have been made by someone who is close to the end of their political career, and Mr. Cannon knows who I am refering to.... Perhaps Ms. Boxer was looking to make her swan-song, but I believe that she still has a great deal of work to do.
Joe....liked your writings of today....part of the x files....like that touch. I think the fraud issue is still a hot one and will be pursued. Here's an email I wrote to one of the Ohio recounters who was thinking that it may not proceed....
I hope we are all still working on that issue. I believe that the Conyers report and the Arnebeck suit provide the framework and foundation for expanded investigations into all the irregularities surrounding the Ohio vote, count, and recount.
One must remember that the "third rate burglary" ....Nixon's words not mine....was the beginning thread in the ball that eventually rolled Nixon "flat out of office", less than two years later.
The irregularities in the 2004 election, and the "fourth rate burglary" of the Democratic headquarters in Toledo Ohio, are much more serious and widespread. All we need now is some ethical and competent investigators from the FBI and GAO to do their job and not be interfered with by those in authority over them. One last thing we need, DEEP THROAT has to come out of retirement. And I guess we need some bright, aggressive, ambitious reporters from the MSM [Mainstream Media] to get into this story. We also need to count our blessings. We have Internet Media News Services better than the print media services and brilliant bloggers that will get the word out once the evidence of fraud is verified.
Everything moves faster now than in the early 70ies. If everybody does their job, Bush and Cheney will be rolled out of the White House by a Tsunami of their own making in less than a year. There are reports that the waters of the Atlantic are receding from the banks of Jersey, and all along the East Coast. Bush and his buddies are now down on the beach of their own excesses. The killer wave is forming......good riddance....let 'em sink or sink. jH
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The sun will go down...tomorrow...It's only a day away...
The certification of the electors is a mere day away. I am not among those demanding that Kerry join with Conyers in challenging the electors, although I would note that Robert Parry makes an elegant plea for the Democratic candidate to take that step.
Parry reports that "One Kerry adviser told me the senator may be traveling outside the country on Jan. 6." That would be bad form on his part.
The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of Robert Byrd stepping up to the plate. Although if Edwards does the duty, he could capture some of the hard core support that Howard Dean now commands.
Kenny "the kapo" Konfesses: Raw Story editor John Byrne has uncovered an explosive letter in which Ken Blackwell, Ohio's controversial Secretary of State, reveals his true face. Before the votes were counted, he bragged about being "truly pleased" to "deliver" Ohio's votes to Bush. That phrasing will, of course, remind most people of Diebold CEO Walden O'Dell's infamous declaration, which used the exact same wording.
In apparent disregard for his nonpartisan role as Ohio's chief election official, the Republican Secretary and chairman of Bush's Ohio reelection campaign slammed Senator Kerry as a "disaster" who would have reaped "terrible" and "horrible" results on both Ohio and the United States.
"I have never shied away from giving the liberals fits," he remarked in the letter. "And I'm sure that with all the voter fraud we prevented during this last election, they will be looking to get even with me in my next political campaign."
Uh...Kenny? There's a typo in your letter. The word "committed" was misspelled as "prevented." As for the "get even" remark: You bet your ass!
Recount challenged. What do David Cobb (Green), Michael Badnarik (Libertarian) and John Kerry (Democrat) have in common? Aside from the facts that they all ran for president in 2004 and all challenged various aspects of the Ohio vote count, they now have one further common denominator: They now also claim that the recount was highly dubious. Specifically, they allege tampering by Triad, based upon the affidavit of Sherole Eaton. (Is this the same affidavit that was tossed out by Moyer in the Arnebeck suit?)
The lawsuit appends an affidavit by computer specialist and voting consultant Douglas Jones, who addresses the issue of Triad's visits to various Boards of Elections. Jones claims that Triad's activities compromised the integrity of the process.
The recount of the presidential election in Ohio has been extremely well publicized, and certainly every county Board of Elections was aware of the pending recount. By allowing a representative of Triad GSI to unilaterally access the voting machines, without anyone notifying the candidates seeking the recount and providing them with the opportunity to be present for any modification in the tabulator, undermines the fundamental right of all parties involved in an election to observe the handling of the ballots...
It may also be a violation of Ohio Revised Code 3505.32(c), which requires that such interaction with voting equipment be conducted in the presence of the Board of Election and anyone entitled to witness the official canvass of the ballots...
The Eaton affidavit states that the Triad representative stated that he could "put a patch on and fix it." This assertion, and its wording, are both troubling. The reported justification for working on the voting machine in the first place was a dead battery. If one is simply replacing a dead battery on a voting machine, there is no need to patch anything... In general, the word "patch" used in the context of computer systems refers to changes to the software, and it is generally the case that state election authorities must approve all such changes...
Moyer, of course, dismissed Eaton's affidavit as containing hearsay. Dig it: If I confess a murder to you, and you later report that confession to a judge, you are merely relaying "hearsay." The only testimony that counts is my recollection of what I said. That's first-hand stuff. So, how do you like the new rules of jurisprudence?
Clinton Curtis -- the fellow who claims to have been asked by his former employer (Yang inc. of Florida) to cobble together a prototype vote fraud program on behalf of congressman Tom Feeney -- will be on Alan Colmes' Fox News radio program at 11 p.m. tonight. (Wednesday night.)
When Brad Friedman first sent me this news, my first reaction to was to make a snide comment about Colmes. On his site, Friedman informs us "Alan is a regular BRAD BLOG reader, so be nice! ;-)"
Well, all right. I'll try.
Incidentally, yesterday's LAT carried an op-ed piece about Feeney. It seems the Floridian -- who has a reputation for language so harsh as to make even a blogger blush -- wants to do away with the hoary rule prohibiting members of one house of Congress from saying insulting things about members in the other house.
Obviously, the GOP hopes to turn all political discourse in this country into something resembling the "debate" available on the Free Republic web site. What's next -- "three minute hates," a la Orwell?
We need a senator. According to Brad Friedman, staffers working for Bill Nelson of Florida (a Democrat) intimated that Nelson might join congressman Conyers in challenging the Ohio slate of electors. No such luck, alas. Will Robert Byrd step up to the plate tomorrow?
Talking Points. Howard Dean supporters have compiled a list of talking points which we can use to counter commonly-heard misperceptions about the election controversy. This paper demonstrates some good, original thinking -- it presents arguments that don't just retrace those previously heard.
It's never too early for polls! According to the recent Ipsos poll, if the presidential election were held today, a generic Republican would lose handily to a generic Democrat.
Republicans may do that which Democrats may not. In Texas, three unsuccessful Republican state legislature aspirants are challenging their defeats. Whiners! Sore losermen! Conspiracy theorists! Tin foil hats! Black helicopters! Oliver Stone! Get over it! The time has come for the nation to move on...
. . . -------------------------- They now also claim that the recount was highly dubious. Specifically, they allege tampering by Triad, based upon the affidavit of Sherole Eaton. (Is this the same affidavit that was tossed out by Moyer in the Arnebeck suit?) --------------------------
To answer your question -- No.
The original "vote tampering" affidavit that they presented Judge Moyers was from Catherine Buchanan. Furthermore, this testimony was not concerning "Triad", but rather, "Diebold". She was told that Diebold had access to the computers during the recount procedures.
"They told us that Diebolt [sic] was coming to reprogram the computer, which doesn't make any sense. I mean, if you're going to calibrate a machine, you calibrate it before you're going to do testing to make sure it's going to be okay," Buchanan asserts. (from RAW STORY - December 17, 2004)
see this link: http://rawstory.com/exclusives/buchanan_1216.php
By the way, I want to thank you again for the huge effort you've made to organize all of these vote fraud stories into a single, concise read. You've made it so much easier for us to follow this truly historic (and dark) moment in American history. We now know, without a doubt, that democracy and the fourth estate are not NOT alive and well in the good ol' U.S.A. . . .
Regarding the Repupublican claim that early exit poll reporting drove potential Republican voters from the polls..
That theory was presented on CSPAN during the 2000 election cycle by Billy Tauzin (R) with a funny visual aid blow up. Tauzin claimed that the early call for Gore drove Flordia Republican Panhandle voters away from the polls in Florida. That later proved to be an unsubstantiated claim.
oops here's that Election 2000 news story on the exit poll claims by (R)Tauzin and (R)Chris Cox. CBS NewsHere's the Tauzin recant as reported by the Brookings Institution: Tauzin, a shrewd Louisiana Republican, prefers the media story because he can put a nice partisan spin on the narrative. In the middle of the recount wars last November, he lashed out at the news media and declared that "there is now a presumption of bias in the reporting"—in favor of Democrats, of course.
On Wednesday, he continued to insist on bias in the media voting models. But with the election now in the bag, Tauzin graciously declared that he saw "no evidence of intentional bias." But should a free press have to worry about getting the imprimatur of a congressional committee chair?
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Georgia has created a 57-page Word file with a number of charts, and her writing style suits her task perfectly -- it's lively, yet dense with information. The monograph is written to a higher standard than you will find in many professionally-published books. The author presents her case in an organized, easy-to-follow fashion which does not presume party affiliation. This is the expose of vote fraud to show to scoffers.
If you work in an office, consider running off a few copies of this piece. Bind them nicely. Leave them "just lying around." Alternatively, if you have conservative relatives, you may want to consider forcing them at gunpoint to study every page of this fine work. Do whatever you can to spread these words around; they provide the oil necessary to the gears of democracy.
Thanks for this link! Just wanted to post that I got through to Senator Robert Byrd's office today--no more faxed articles please! they say.
I have two GOP senators now so I plan to call them anyhow to tell them: certifying the Ohio electors is unconstitutional (so there), and NO to Gonzalez and NO to Social Security privatization. By the way, UBS (investment and banking) would be one of the biggest beneficiaries, the company that initially bailed out Bush's Harken Energy way back when....
Wayne Madsen's latest -- on vote fraud, and much else
Oh boy. Where to start?
Wayne Madsen caused quite a stir with his Online Journal pieces on electoral tampering, in which he claimed that money to pay the vote-riggers was channeled through a shady entity called Five Star Trust. His unnamed sources also gave him a copy of a $29 million check used in the operation.
The check, alas, proved to be a phony. Moreover, one of Madsens' sources seems to have been Marion "J.R." Horn of Five Star Trust, who had made the news after a conviction for wire fraud.
Since Madsen has kept most of his sources unnamed, and since the fake check fiasco left a sour taste in many a mouth, most commentators on the vote fraud controversy stopped citing his work. My own views remained -- and remain -- conflicted. Madsen may have stumbled onto something important, but could we be confident of his abilities to separate the Hersheys from the horseshit?
Now his latest article -- if it really is a formal article (it seems to have originated as a private letter to a Kos diarist) -- has seen publication under not-quite-reputable circumstances. Even if your info is solid, even if you've received the straight skinny from the archangel Michael himself, you do not want your words presented to the world on a website with a name like "Conspiracy Planet."
Well, presentation doesn't really matter. What of the substance of the piece?
Oh boy. Where to start?
As my ex- once said, "This isn't an essay. It's a brain dump." Free association provides the primary organizing principle. Madsen wanders far -- very far indeed -- from the topic of electoral fraud.
For example, Madsen interrupts his essay to provide a list of "mystery deaths." Many are genuinely mysterious. But most of the names (Danny Casolaro, David Kelley, John Tower, etc.) have nothing to do with the present election controversy. Even if we allow for a topic switch ("I'll take 'Mystery Deaths' for 400, Alex"), some of the names on this list strike me as something of a stretch.
For example, Madsen brings up Paul Wilcher, a name which some may recognize. In the 1990s, right-wingers often cited Wilcher as a "victim" of the Evil Clinton Conspiracy. I've read Wilcher's magnum opus -- another unorganized brain dump, which took the form of an open letter to Janet Reno -- and came away with the impression that its author was not someone who could have mounted a serious challenge to anyone in power. The guy was a flake.
Madsen also claims, intriguingly, that the late journalist Gary Webb "was investigating ACS and contract fraud in CA when he committed suicide on Dec. 10." ACS is Affiliated Computer Systems of Dallas, which Madsen links with possible vote hacking. (Or does he? His wording, to be frank, is unclear.) Webb had, in fact, written about ACS, but not in a context connected with elections. Moreover, Robert Parry, who has spoken to Webb's relatives, reports that Webb wrote several suicide notes to various people close to him, and that the family considers these missives genuine. (I will confess that one need not be paranoid to look askance at published reports that Webb shot himself in the head twice.)
Madsen also finds parapolitical overtones in the death of Chandra Levy and the attendant smearing of Gary Condit. I say that a vote-fraud story that veers into Condit-land has veered too far.
So why do I ask you to read what Madsen says?
Because, if nothing else, his work is interesting. Yes, his latest piece is a pile of unassembled pieces from several different jigsaw puzzles. But others may be able to organize this material, discard the extraneous, and conjure up a congruent image.
I strongly encourage researchers to do whatever they can to double-check Madsen's allegations regarding two Florida companies, Datamaxx and Seisint. These firms, he avers, are "personal data miners." They provided information helpful to the vote-riggers in 2000 and 2004 -- for example, Datamaxx provided the names of black "felons" who weren't' really felons in the earlier election.
Or so, at least, claims Madsen.
His most intriguing data nuggets concern a Christian cult called the Fellowship -- the roots of which, so far as I can tell, go back to the work of a Methodist minister named Abraham Vereide in the 1930s, although the group was not formally named the Fellowship Foundation until 1972.
Madsen claims that the Fellowship story goes deeper than most of us suspected. He connects the group to the scamsters behind the "Nigerian" emails. Is this notion feasible? Missionary work did put the Fellowship in Africa, and the Nigerian scam was far more than a mere email ruse, since it involved on-the ground operatives in that country.
So far, I've seen no evidence for Madsen's allegation. It should be noted, though, that many variations of the Nigerian letters include theological overtones reminiscent of the Fellowship's beliefs. On the other hand, American churches were prime targets for the scam.
According to Madsen,
Some of those "419 emails" have been discovered by US intelligence to contain coded instructions to the money launderers and financial manipulators in the States and in off shore bank havens like the Bahamas and Tortola.
This allegation will strike most readers as far too Ian Fleming-esque, but don't be too quick to dismiss the notion. If you study the material produced by international scamsters, you'll come across passages which -- to put it bluntly -- make no sense whatsoever. Using "Nigerian letters" to convey coded data strikes me as downright ingenious.
Of course, we have no hard evidence that such trickery has taken place.
"Wait a minute," I hear you saying. "What on earth does this convoluted Nigerian business have to do with vote fraud?" Well, the Nigerian scams do connect with the Five Star Trust -- or so it has been alleged, and not just by Wayne Madsen. And Marion Horn of Five Star may possess links to the Fellowship -- links forged during his stay in the pokey:
The Fellowship has some very unsavory founders -- all pro-Nazis: Abraham Vereide, Frank Buchman, and Gustav Gedat, J. Edgar Hoover and James Jesus Angleton were close to the Fellowship.
The use of prison ex-cons like Marion "JR" Horn in KY, John Elder and Jeffrey Dean in WA, and others in the financing and carrying out of the rigging, was mostly arranged through Chuck Colson's Prison Fellowship Ministries, an organization that has carte blanche access to anyone deemed of value, especially computer programmers, after their incarceration and upon their release, especially if they promise service in return for parole.
SO far, I've seen no proof backing the claims in this paragraph. But I do note that Horn received a ridiculously attenuated sentence for massive wire fraud, which he committed while on parole for another offense.
I'll have to look more carefully through the bios of Angleton and Hoover to see if the links alleged by Madsen really do exist. (Alas, I've forgotten far too much of my Angleton lore. Wasn't he Catholic? His mother was a lovely lady from Mexico...)
Here are a few other Madsen allegations vis-a-vis the Fellowship:
The Prime Minister of Norway has just been outed as a member of this group.
In fact, most of the so-called "Coalition of the Willing" nations' leaders are members of The Fellowship, e.g., Tonga, Macedonia, Palau, Netherlands, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Solomon Islands, Uganda, Rwanda, Guatemala, El Salvador, Denmark, Romania, Iceland, Fiji, Georgia, Colombia, possibly also Howard of Australia and Blair of Britain.
The Fellowship believes that ANYTHING is permitted in order to bring about a 1000-yr Kingdom of Christ on Earth, and that includes stealing elections and even murder.
Some of the money used by the Fellowship to obtain real estate and maintain their group came from Saudi Arabia through lucrative defense contracts and pass throughs like the Islamic Institute.
In their group homes in Arlington it is obvious they keep the troubled teens of GOP big businessmen and politicians out of sight through a combination of intensive Bible study and "drug treatment."
Noelle Bush may have been one of their "Guests/Victims."
There should be a focus on Infinity Software of Tallahassee, the place Noelle was put to work when she was busted for trying to illegally obtain prescription drugs in 2002.
(C'mon. Admit it. Even if you think Madsen is full of it, that allegation about Noelle must bring a wicked smile to your face -- presuming, of course, that you don't like the Bush family.)
Finally, and most importantly...
Tom Feeney, Ashcroft, DeLay, Bush (Dubya and Jeb), Cheney, Sean O'Keefe, Condi Rice, John Bolton, Ed Meese, [Charles] Colson, Brownback, Ralph Reed, Frank Wolf, Ernie Fletcher, Katherine Harris, [Newt] Gingrich, JC Watts, Burr, Jindal, Lamar Smith, Zach Wamp, Scalia, Ensign, Kyl, [Kenneth]Blackwell, Bob Ehrlich, Karl Rove, Jack Kemp, James Baker, Clarence Thomas, Tom Coburn, Asa and Tim Hutchinson, Gens. Boykin and Myers, DeMint, Curt Weldon, Grover Norquist, George Allen, [Rick] Santorum, are all in this group. The late Lee Atwater was close to this group.
The Fellowship, which has strong links to the "Rev." Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church, operates in cells and not only takes over governments but also local church congregations to further their goals.
Moon, as all must know, wants an end to democracy; he has made no secret of this ambition.
He also has access to seemingly illimitable wealth, which he uses to fund the right. Nobody knows where the money comes from. Some have alleged that his church launders recovered WWII booty -- popularly known as "Yamashita's gold." We thus return to Madsen's initial allegation that Five Star Trust was involved with transactions involving Yamashita's gold.
How much of this story squares with the facts? I'm not sure. Hell, I'm not really sure I yet comprehend the story!
In the Revolutionary war, General Washington's spies placed certain information in a special category: "Interesting, if true." That's my assessment of Madsen's work. He may be on to the story of the century -- but until his facts are both confirmed and organized, we cannot be certain.
The say that when you are doing genealogical research you don't skip a generation. You'll just be wasting your effort developing someone else's family tree. I think a journalistic equivalent of this misfortune is affecting Madsen.
posted by Anonymous : 2:09 AM
Joseph I think you hit it on the head: "interesting if true". That's the way I treat it. It was my posting on my jamboi.dailykos.com blog that got republished and was commented on here. I've created a new blog, wmadsen.blogspot.com - Madsen Matters to focus on Madsen's reporting on Votergate. Everyone come on by and follow his ongoing investigation. I'm using it to put up his "in between material" -- between the major articles that will keep us up to date. I'm hoping he may agree to use the site as his own blog site so that he can just publish directly to us. :-)
a search on google for "John Howard" "Fellowship" "Australia" found 7,000+ hits, a quick search of the first few listings found not much beyond this: http://www.cecaust.com.au/main.asp?act=rel&dir=nat&dx=2-10-2004 - adds some new information to stuff we've previously known, other than that file it under "Interesting, if true." As for John Howard and this "Fellowship"... I honestly don't know, in terms of his personal life he's an extremely boring person (A Moe with serious Larryness :D) and in the bulk of what he's none I've never seen anything that would suggest a fundamental christian bent, and he was pretty angry when soon after the elections that new group Family First as well as Liberal (the party is not Liberal, never have been, never will be. They dont even know how they got that name) front-bencher Tony Abbot started crowing about "hundreds of thousands of babies being abborted every year! something must be done! It mustnt be funded by whats left of public health care!" etc, he got them to shut up and apologies pretty quick. :LamontCranston
"Please come in and sign our guest book," said Col Pak graciously. And after they were seated inside, he ceremoniously announced, "We would like to present you with the keys to Arlington House, the Fellowship House in D.C., the Jhoon Rhee Institute, the New York Center, and the whole city of Washington, D.C., for they all belong to you."
Rev, Moon comes to America 1965
From the mouth of the Beast itself
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The best single article on vote fraud available today comes to us -- but of course! -- by way of Bob Fritakis. His argument provides compellinig reason why a senator must join with Conyers to challenge this vote.
I will (with permission) repeat his ten points. I've edited the text, so consider what follows a precis, not a quotation -- and I strongly urge you to consult the original:
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...
2. Most uncounted ballots come from regions and precincts where Kerry was strongest....
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.
Interrupting: I have, on a couple of occasions, given my reasons for believing that the 54.46 figure ought to be higher.
4. Turnout inconsistencies reveal tens of thousands of Kerry votes were not simply recorded... 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...
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...
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...
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... 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, weighing the 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 the machines and the computer records before the recount occurred... 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.
Fritakis is one of the few real investigative writers left in this country.
Provisionals in Florida. This fascinating account informs us that most provisional ballots handed out on election day were tossed out, primarily because voters went to the wrong precinct or county. What is fascinating is the part left out by this account: Why did so many provisionals go to people in the wrong place? Think about that one...
Think, too, about this memorable line:
Had the election been closer - had it not, as one expert put it, "exceeded the margin of litigation" - postelection court fights over the inconsistent use of the ballots would have been a near certainty.
The margins of victory were, from the Rovian viewpoint, just right -- too wide to justify lawsuits, not so wide as to create widespread disbelief.
From a labor point of view. David Swanson, of the International Labor Communications Association, has compiled a fine piece on the differing attitudes toward exit polls in the Ukraine, as opposed to this country. Swanson also reminds us that the same "journalists" who tell us that the vote fraud story is a mere conspiracy theory also tried to peddled whoppers about Iraqi WMDs.
His list of vote fraud indicators deserves repition, though we could expand upon it considerably:
1. The manufacturers of voting machines who have made them easy to hack and impossible to verify by a meaningful recount, as well as making clear their loyalty to Bush.
2. The U.S. Congress and President, who have failed to make obvious corrections to our election system following the 2000 election, including requiring paper trails and non-partisan officials.
3. The television networks that have refused to release the exit poll data and refused to cover the story, all companies with a clear - and in several cases, clearly stated - interest in having Bush, rather than Kerry, control the FCC.
4. Bush-Cheney Ohio Campaign Co-Chair / Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, whose undisputed public actions before, during, and since the election have served to disenfranchise thousands of citizens.
5. A group of Republicans, claiming to be from Texas, who made illegal calls in Ohio to scare off potential voters. (This, I think, offers a fun, human interest story should an editor be in search of one).
6. Ohio judges who have refused to require that evidence be preserved and have refused to admit challenges to the election, including a judge whose own election could be affected but who refused to recuse himself.
7. Election workers in various counties, hired by Blackwell, who failed to open polling places on time, failed to equitably distribute machines and workers, directed voters to the wrong lines, resulting in the elimination of their votes, wrongly required identification, wrongly denied voters provisional ballots, shut observers out on grounds of "homeland security," failed to randomly select precincts for the recount, etc.
8. Activists who sought to intimidate voters outside of polls or distributed flyers sending people to the wrong polling place or telling them the election was on the wrong day.
9. Triad, a company that has admitted it tried to rig the Ohio recount.
The final point is, I think, irresponsible; Triad has made no such admission. As for the rest, one can only concur.
The Ahmanson family. For months now, I've spoken about the bizarre theocratic beliefs of the family which owns so much of the machinery of our elections. A reader reminded me of Salon's expose of the Ahmansons, as published a year ago. This piece, in turn, led me to discover the acrimonious follow-up exchanges the Ahmansons and their defenders had withe Salon writer Max Blumenthal. Interesting stuff -- and frightening. You'll want to read all about it here and here.
Bottom line: A small group of religious madmen control our fates.
First, my apologies for irregular posting. The reason comes down to three words: "Work, work, work."
Not long ago, I spoke to a recount volunteer in Ohio who asserted that the real conspiracy may be to keep us all working so hard just to pay sky-high rents that we have no time to think about larger issues. Conversely (or perhaps as illustration of that very point), a former friend recently let me know that anyone in today's society who allows himself a few hours each day for non-paid activity -- such as, say, running a blog -- must be a Seutonian decadent. As I said, he's now a former friend.
Forgive the bitching. That's not why you came here.
Right now, I'd like you to meet one Larry English, whose qualifications you will soon read. He has cobbled together an open letter on the subject of our troubled vote.
I'm not sure I agree with any analysis which argues that the problem is one of process, as opposed to criminal intent. And his suggestions for improvement bring us, as always, to the question of how to bell the cat.
Still, he makes some good points. So I thought I'd pass along his words.
To Concerned Citizens:
I am a professional in the area of information quality. I am very concerned that the election processes apparently are still severely broken even after Congress appropriated $3.86 Billion for Election "upgrades" in 2002. The evidence is clear from continued issues observed in the press and online discussions.
There are several things we understand in our field that are not well understood at large or by those who have the ability to "reform" the election processes. I would like to briefly speak to some of these points because they are particularly relevant at present.
Please let me share briefly some of my credentials to speak to this matter. I have been called one of the top authorities in the world in assessing and improving the reliability and accuracy of information processes. My book, "Improving Data Warehouse and Business Information Quality," was called "the Information Bible for the Information Age" by Masaaki Imai, creator of the Kaizen quality system, used by many world-class firms. It has been translated into Japanese by the first information services organization to win the Deming Prize for Quality. I was featured on the cover of the American Society for Quality’s "Quality Progress" Jan 2000 issue, as "One of 21 Voices for the 21st Century."
I conducted a major analysis of the 2000 Presidential Election, "Information Quality Mandate for Election Reform," in "DM Review," a four-part series beginning in Oct 2001. A PDF file of the complete article is found at http://www.infoimpact.com/newspdf/DMR_10.01IQLessonsFromElection2000-w-Links.pdf.
Problems with 2004 Electoral Information Processes:
Despite the considerable attention and concern on the part of both the government and concerned citizens for the issue of the reliability of electoral information processes since 2000, there are still numerous, recurring problems that have been observed in the 2004 election. A very small sample includes:
* Washington State has had multiple recount(s), including belatedly discovered ballots
* 46,000 voters were discovered registered in both Florida and New York
* 58,000 absentee ballots "disappeared" in Florida
* 38,400+ Election 2004 incident reports have been filed according to Verifiedvoting.org
* Numerous irregularities and controversy in Ohio, including write-in votes allegedly incorrectly defaulting to one candidate when run through the voting machine
* Voter registration problems persist
* Provisional ballot problems, including rejection of two thirds of Florida’s provisional ballots
* Electronic voting machine malfunctions
* Electronic voting machine failures occurred this year in Georgia, Maryland, California and other states, but the companies that certify the machines refuse to discuss the flaws.
Some Important, Relevant Principles:
Assuring the reliability of electronic technology is not a mysterious art; it's an established field of practice in use by many information professionals. As I examine these reports and many others, it strikes me that it may be helpful to present a few key principles that seem particularly relevant at present:
First, automating a process doesn't assure accuracy. Machines or computer software cannot guarantee accuracy in themselves. Assessing the accuracy of election processes requires human observers, since only human observers comparing against a real world entity (ballots, in this case) can play that role. Many software applications implement "edit and validation" rules in a way that causes errors. Furthermore, producing accurate data requires processes and data collection devices that are clearly defined and controlled, as well as clear guidance for the information producers (the voters, in this case).
Second, while assuring the integrity of capture of the individual ballots (and their count) is the central issue in any election, assuring accurate vote capture and counts requires assessing the reliability of the electronic voting devices and processes, not just individual ballots. Inaccurate votes are produced by defective processes. Not focusing on the process can lead to bias in conclusions. For example, some of the apparent "errors" we're hearing about may be caused by sampling error, such as an apparent lack of random selection of districts that's been reported for the 3% test recounts in Ohio.
Third, before use of electronic voting devices processing election information in private, we had defined election processes that could be audited (recounts). Apart from voter anonymity, all steps of the process were subject to examination. When electronic voting devices are used, they entail the need for rigorous assessment of all components, including hardware, software, backup and recovery, against various types of failure (hardware, data storage, software, power outage, etc.) integrity against tampering, chain of custody control, and ability to audit the results for recount purposes.
My recommendation is that there should be a vigorous investigation into the systemic and pervasive problems in the integrity and reliability of the election processes, including but not limited to voter registration, early voting, provisional voting, election-day voting, vote counting, vote recount, electronic voting, chain of custody, etc.
As an American citizen, I am very concerned about the persistent problems.
As an expert in applying quality management principles to information processes, I would be pleased to share my insights or provide expert testimony to the problems, root causes, and to the real reforms (process improvements) required to error-proof this most- sacred privilege Americans have, to select our representatives in government. Some requirements for real and sustainable election reform include:
* Accessible, easy and open registration processes
* Voter-friendly ballot design (regardless of voting technology)
* Well-defined voting processes that are error-proofed, reliable and controlled and auditable
* Chain of custody controls to prevent tampering
* Training of election workers so they can error proof their processes
* Training of voters (as to types of problems with the voting devices & how to prevent errors and disqualified votes)
Thank you for allowing me to help improve one of the most important, but one of the most broken processes in our democratic society.
Larry English, President INFORMATION IMPACT International, Inc. Larry.English@infoimpact.com
I think it's too late to talk about "improving" the way we do elections. The problem isn't mainly that the mechanics are all broken; the problem is more that we are being ruled by people who wish to break our elections. They want to break just about everything else, too.
No, I don't have any good ideas. The best I can come up with is to emigrate somewhere where you can get your citizenship and then have your votes actually counted. Of course Bush will be knocking on the door anyway to remind you that you are with him or you are with strawmen. It's your choice.
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These are strange days. If you want to know how strange, just buttonhole someone old enough to recall the heyday of the JFK assassination controversy, and remind him that Dan Rather and Arlen "single bullet" Specter are now damned as liberals.
As long-time readers will know, I closely followed the "Memo-gate" controversy, in which right-wing bloggers "triumphed" over a mainstream news organ. Blogging was then considered a very good thing. Only left-wing bloggers are ever denounced as irresponsible rumor-mongers.
Yet the blogosphere's attacks on the controversial memos always struck me as spurious.
Rightists claimed that the memos could be reproduced using Microsoft Word. But the similarities between the bloggers' reconstructions and the CBS "originals" turned out to exist only when the pages were seen from a distance. Close examination showed clear differences in character formation.
Contrary to the bloggers' assertions, the font used in the memos matched neither Times Roman nor Palatino. Instead, it matched a proportional-spaced version of a typewriter font, just like the ones often used in books produced in small runs before the late 1980s. (You can see many such "typewritten" books if you pore through a good research library. Typesetters did not work cheap. I used to know one; she drove a much better car than I did.)
The raised superscript became a point of controversy. But Word always places that superscript in a different location (relative to the rest of the line) than is seen in the CBS memos, where it is much higher. The difference was obvious to me even when the comparison flashed on the TV screen during "Hardball."
The right-wing bloggers lied about that point. They continued to lie even after Dr. David Hailey, of the University of Utah, pointed out the problems in a cautiously-worded paper. Freepers attacked him like a pack of Nazi thugs, demanding his dismissal.
Rightists on cable news programs (Pat Buchanan, for one) declared the memos to be proven fakes. No such proof has ever existed; the authenticity of the papers remains a point of controversy. They even claimed that CBS did the faking. Some rightists who (willfully or otherwise) misunderstood the nature of the Burkett controversy will even tell you that CBS confessed that the memos were fakes. They never made any such confession, nor should they have done so.
Odd, isn't it? This was always a story about journalistic integrity. Yet the rightists felt free to lie and lie and lie.
And they called for blood whenever an expert voice dared to make a comment contrary to their script. Rather not only lost his job, he even had his masculinity questioned by the brownshirt brigades.
If you want to read an excellent retrospective on this controversy -- one which puts a few new facts on the table -- this piece by the Columbia Journalism Review is a must-read.
I was most interested to learn about those who appeared on TV defending Bush against Burkett's claims. These people were presented as disinterested parties, yet they were anything but. In fact, they had strong links to the Bush campaign.
For example, Joe Allbaugh was usually identified in press accounts -- in The New York Times, the Baltimore Sun, and USA Today, to name a few -- as Bush's old chief of staff. He is much more. In 1999 Allbaugh, the self-described "heavy" of the Bush campaign, told The Washington Post, "There isn't anything more important than protecting [Bush] and the first lady." He was made head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency after Bush's victory, resigned in 2003, and went on to head New Bridge Strategies, a firm that helps corporations land contracts in Iraq.
Danny James, a Vietnam veteran and the son of "Chappie" James, America's first black four-star general, is also a political appointee whose fortunes rose with Bush's. He had his own reason to dislike Burkett. Burkett's 2002 lawsuit in a Texas district court against the Guard claimed that the staff of then adjutant-general James retaliated against him for refusing to falsify reports. It was dismissed, like other complaints against James and the Guard, not on the merits, but because under Texas law the courts considered such complaints internal military matters. Without further investigation, we are stuck at he said, she said.
I think the turning point for any political party -- the point at which it ceases to be a traditional American-style party and becomes an Orwell-style party -- occurs when Party leaders demand sovereignty over reality itself. That which is real is that which the Party declares to be real. "Memo-gate" offers one demonstration -- among many -- that the Republican Party has descended to an Orwellian depth.
I'll never forgive Dan Rather for lying about the Zapruder film, or for his deceptive attacks on the Warren Commission's critics. But the ignominious end of his career -- clawed to death by the same reactionary monster he helped to inflict on our nation -- almost makes me feel sorry for him.
Interesting idea, yours, that "the point at which [a political party] ... becomes an Orwell-style party occurs when Party leaders demand sovereignty over reality itself."
It immediately brings to mind Ron Suskind's quote of the White House aid:
"We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality – judiciously, as you will, -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors … and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."
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