Saturday, April 02, 2005

Science proves that vote fraud is real! (Plus: Keeping out the "riff raff")

The day of the Fool is over, and I must return to serious subjects.

Vote fraud confirmed: US Count Votes has come out with a remarkable paper authored by a committee of twelve, most of them highly-qualified mathematicians and statisticians from major universities. This study highlights the serious ramifications of the exit poll discrepancy while demolishing the "chatty Dem" theory (more properly known as the "reluctant responder" theory), which remains the official explanation for that incongruity.

The only possibility left is vote alteration.

Alas, this important scientific study has yet to make an impact. The media, distracted by the Pope's death, hasn't noticed that Uncle Sam is also facing the Reaper. The only significant coverage of this report has appeared in the Akron Beacon Journal.

For those of you who are paying attention, the full analysis is here. An "executive summary" is here.

And if you'd like an ultra-brief summary of the summary:

The exit poll discrepancy in the 2004 American presidential election was the largest in the poll's history -- about five-and-a-half percent. The odds against the polls being so wrong are roughly one in a million. The "chatty Dem" theory is nonsense: Responses to the pollsters were higher in Republican strongholds -- where the exit poll discrepancies were widest.

Answer that, Mr. Mitofsky.

I suppose the only (weak) counter-argument he might offer would be along these lines: For some reason, Kerry supporters in Bush strongholds -- but not in Democratic precincts -- were remarkably eager to push all others aside and commandeer the pollsters. Not only is this scenario counterintuitive, it goes against all previous experience. It also goes against Mitofski's own data.

Once again, I would remind readers of another oddity besetting these troubling exit polls: On November 2, 2004, pollsters did not restrict inquiries to the votes cast on that date. They also asked voters about the 2000 election. 43% of the respondents said they had chosen Bush on that previous occasion, while 37% reported having cast a ballot for Al Gore. But Gore WON the popular vote. This simple fact -- which even math illiterates should be able to comprehend easily -- proves that the exit pollsters favored Republicans, not Democrats.

Author Josh Mitteldorff, in the executive summary of the US Count Votes report, does not favor the theory that touch screen voting had greater error rates than did punch cards. However, on page 18 of the report proper, we see data suggesting that mechanical voting machines had a significantly higher error rate than did paper ballots.

How to resolve this seeming contradiction? I remind readers that punch cards are run through a computerized central tabulator -- the "mother machine," as Teresa Heinz-Kerry once put it. Absentee ballots and provisionals must be counted by hand.

The issue of touch screen vs. non-touch screen voting reminds me of another important study -- the Leto-Hoffman study of Snohomish County, Washington. This investigation revealed that the ultra-close gubernatorial contest in that state would have been won more decisively if the vote were cleaner. Unfortunately, machine-counted votes had many more problems (to put the matter delicately) than did absentee and provisional ballots. Also see this account in the January 26-February 1 Seattle Weekly:

Their study findings, issued in December, got lost among the recount chaos. "I personally am surprised that the Republicans are shouting fraud from the rooftops," Lehto [sic] says, "and yet the Lehto and Hoffman study is non-news for the mainstream media."
This report, if read carefully, is damning. I was particularly intrigued by their investigation of Diebold's strange insistence that the power cords for the voting machines be "daisy chained." Most people don't realize that data can be transmitted over power lines.

Returning our attention to the new US Count Votes report:

So far, the best analysis of this analysis comes from Newsclip Autopsy. Highly recommend reading.

Here's an important excerpt:

The exit polls for the 2004 election not only tabulated views from the Presidential election. It also received information about the voters intentions for the U.S. Senate races. Guess what?! Yup. Strangely enough, the exit polls were far more accurate at determining who would win for Senator. As history shows us, there is no precedent for widespread "ticket-splitting" in other elections. That is, if you vote democratic for President, there is an overwhelming probability that you would vote democratic for the Senator. US Vote Counts summarizes this peculiarity this way:

"There is no logic to account for non-responders or missed voters when discussing the
difference in the accuracy of results for the Senate versus the presidential races in the same exit poll."

No logic, indeed. Unless this is a nation where "multiple personality disorder" is present in epidemic proportions!!! To allay that particular fear, this report confirmed another startling finding which was observed in a previous report by the same group. Exit polling accuracy was dependent on whether the election ballots were hand-counted or not!! This is a highly significant finding, considering that, in Ohio, only a non-random 3% of the ballots were hand recounted. Many of these instances had recounts which were different from the machine counts.
And how did Ken Blackwell, the corrupt Ohio Secretary of State, respond to all this?

"What are you going to do except laugh at it?" said Carlo LoParo, spokesman for Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, who's responsible for administering Ohio's elections and is a Republican candidate for governor. "We're not particularly interested in (the report's findings)."
There you have it: Laughter directed at science. Laughter directed at ten PhDs. As though placing the topic behind a curtain of guffaws replaces the need for a counter-argument.

Once more, the Republicans assail Reason itself.

Please do everything you can to publicize the work of US Count Votes. This important scientific analysis should be leading all other headlines on Buzzflash, Bush Watch, Air America, Daily Kos...not to mention the New York Times, CBS, ABC and the rest of the mainstream media. Alas, even the wonderful blog by John Conyers has not yet covered this report.

Let's make sure the riff-raff can't vote: Conyers' blog does direct our attention to important developments in Georgia, Indiana, and other states. In order to combat the alleged epidemic of non-existent registered voters (a "spin point" the G.O.P. has pushed for many months), Georgia will now tighten identification requirements. The result, of course, will be depressed turn-out among minorities and the elderly.

-- Georgia would be the first state not to permit an alternative to a photo ID, such as a signed affidavit.

-- another provision of the bill, supposedly designed to prevent voter fraud, would totally eliminate the requirement that a voter seeking an absentee ballot state a reason for wanting it, even though there is far greater concern about the use of absentee ballots for fraudulent purposes. If measures like this pass, it becomes all the more imperative to enact voting reform legislation that I and others have introduced to protect voting rights.

-- "Neither Georgia's secretary of state nor the secretary of state of Indiana, where a voter identification measure has been under consideration, could point to an allegation of voter identification fraud."

-- The AARP has observed that more than a third of Georgians over 75 lack a valid driver's license.

-- The bill would have a disproportionate impact on rural voters, given that Georgia's 159 counties have only 53 driver's license offices, and ten of them are in metropolitan Atlanta.
Readers of Cannonfire will recall that I've been predicting this very development. Indeed, the whole point of the American Center for Voting Rights -- the now-notorious "non-partisan" Republican front group -- has been to whip up hysteria over the misleading issue of false registrations.

As we have noted earlier: Anyone can send in a fake registration form. If such acts have indeed taken place (the ACVR cites unofficial reports of registration forms bearing flagrantly bogus names), the listed party affiliation does not necessarily tell us who to blame. No evidence indicates that a single "fake" voter ever cast a ballot for Kerry; the exit poll discrepancy offers a profound argument against this notion.

We thus come to that famous question: Cui bono? Who benefits?

A Democratic registration form bearing a ridiculous "joke" name can only buttress the arguments of Republicans who favor the enforcement of strict photo ID requirements at the polls. Such requirements will make participation difficult for the poorest sectors of our electorate. Many poor people have expired driver's licenses, or no licenses at all -- and many may not relish the prospect of acrimonious interaction with cops at the poll booth.

(By way of comparison: My local library switched from a policy of allowing anyone access to the internet to a system which allows only official library card holders to surf the web. The result: Drastically reduced usage of the computers. Since cards go only to those with addresses and photo ID, the homeless lost much-needed access to email accounts and websites helpful to the poor.)

By asking "cui bono?," we can see the outlines of the scheme. Through the simple expedient of filling out a few bogus registration forms, far-sighted Republican operatives will now be able to fulfill their long-held goal of keeping the "riff-raff" away from the engines of democracy.
The $64 trillion dollar question now is, who's the sheriff here?

Who do we run to with this information when it seems all legal avenues have been poisoned by Republican influence or Democratic spinelessness? And the media, our means of circulating info, are solidly bought into the "accepted wisdom" that vote fraud is negligible?

Have we any recourse at all?

Yes, the internet, but that seems not be be getting us very far. Yes, the court of world opinion, but that's ignored here. Indeed we are now more or less officially disenfranchised.

So. We're being beaten up by the bully in the schoolyard and all our classmates are prepared to swear it never happened... or it was our fault... or something equally damning.

Does anyone have a clear idea what course we might pursue that could benefit us at all?

Or must we just wait for the obituary of the historians?
This story will never get mainstream media coverage. Consider the position of the handful of publishers and managing editors, who are asking themselves, "what if it's true"? These are people who (however fatuously) regardless themselves are guardians of the Republic. For them, promoting the notion that a coup d'etat has taken place is worse for the country than 4 more years of Bush. (The fact that it will happen again in 2008 if it's never reported in the first place doesn't seem to trouble them.)

Even if a few publishers/broadcasters were prepared to endure the invective, ridicule, the cries of treason, the angry emails, etc., what would be gained (in their view) by publishing stories which cast doubt on the legitimacy of the current de facto regime, with both the courts and congress in Republican hands, with at least half the country willing to believe any lie (the Republican noise machine wouldn't sit idle during this period), and with no other mechanism for an orderly removal of the Bush administration?

What *could* occur is social turmoil, the dumping of American assets world-wide, and an expedited default.

Given the choice between personal security (and preservation of their assets) and democracy, most people will choose the former. Publishers, of course, are very rich people, and will always choose the former.

In a word, this story will never be covered seriously, unless Bush & Cheney make a public confession and depart in a helicopter. Short of that, it's a lost cause.
Take this information to your local 'public radio' and confront them- NPR has been exposed as just another Bush shill- why do they insist on playing Bush propaganda? The excuse here is "NPR is neutral"

Time to Reclaim our PUBLIC airwaves- starting with your local PUBLIC radio station.
Are the American people ready for a "samizdat"? This would be an underground press -- an underground media. The problem is that people need to know that they are being lied to and kept in the dark -- people who think they are well-informed won't seek out an underground media and won't take part in keeping it going.

I suspect that an American samizdat should be a video production, distributed via tapes and DVDs.
Maybe we should re-release Farenheit 911 underground. Everything in that film was the truth.
The fact is that we have been lying to ourselves since the begining. This country has been ruled by fear, intimidation, and lies (marketing) of the aristocracy from the beginging. The greatness of our country lives within the individual. As individuals, we are blessed and are a blessing to others. Our nation state is, as all are, a necessary evil. It's power has always come from the suppression of the individual. We are great because of our power. We are powerful and power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. The question is, when will the "neccessary evil" become and "intolerable evil." At that point, the balance will shift. Not from right to left. But from stability to revolution. We have had a revolution about once every hundred years (1776, 1860-65). What this articale demostrates is a move toward "taxation without representation." The more successful they are..the bolder they will get. The bolder they get...the more they will incite the passion for the oppressed. Rome, Greece, Egypt all stand as testimony to this fact. We know how those all turned out. We are only 230 years old. The important question is, how far along the spiral stair case we have gone. And, are we going up or down. I hope we are still going up.
Elections will continue to be stolen until the day the American people are no longer divided. You know the saying, "United we stand, divided we fall." We have been divided for a very long time and until the elections read more like 70% versus 30% they can steal the election.

At 49% versus 51% it's easy to do, they can not do it though if we are united. The only thing we can do is get the word out anyway you can.
Anonymous 6:08 (and other Americans for that matter):

Please see this story for inspiration:

Discouraging that several days later, only one large newspaper in the U.S. has carried the story.
Perhaps the mainstream media isn't reporting this story because it is a bunch of #$%@!

You people need to get a LIFE! Or better yet, move to Canada. The gov't gives out free drugs.
Averil says...

It's time to rid ourselves of the GOP made Voting Machines. Let's get a true count with paper ballots, and hand counts.
Let justice be done though the heavens may fall.
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Friday, April 01, 2005

Godfried Danneels? Godfrey Daniels!

No, this isn't an April Fool's Day joke. One of the names being bandied about when folks talk about the next pope is Godfried Danneels.

(Younger folk may not know that "Godfrey Daniels" was an expression associated with W.C. Fields. I hope I don't have to explain who Fields was...)

By Catholic standards, the Belgian cardinal is a liberal -- which, times being what they are, may explain why the odds in his favor are worsening. Too bad, because this is a guy who might carry the church into the 21st century -- well, maybe the 20th century -- well, maybe the late 19th century -- on issues of sexuality.

Believe it or not, Danneels has come out in favor of using condoms to fight AIDS. DUUUDE!!

He even has a (fan-made) web page, which features this slogan:

The Fight for the Papacy is ON! Let's get ready to RUM-BLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLE!
People say he's got a good sense of humor, although I haven't yet discovered any witty quotes attributable to him.

If Danneels gets the nod...well. I won't rejoin the church of my birth, but I promise not to make fun of it quite so often. On the other hand, if Dionigi Tettamanzi dons the big hat, watch out. (He's the Opus DIE candidate.)
The present Pope made sure that all the Archbishops who were made Cardinals, who might remotely be considered as the next Pope were clones of himself. It doesn't really matter who becomes Pope now, because whoever it is will have the same views and the same antipathy toward change as this Pope.

God forbid that it's an Opus Dei candidate, but it well may be. This Pope Canonized Jose Maria Escriba de Balaguer who founded Opus Dei. Balaguer instituted ritual flagellation and other humiliations in his little Opus Dei club. He forced his followers to call him "Father" and to substitute the idea of himself as God when they prayed "Our Father who art in heaven". He was a real piece of work...changed his name to Escriva because it had more class. And this is a guy this Pope and this Pope's successors believe is a Saint. A pox on the whole lot.

Ratfuck Diary (
One of Danneels's better recent lines was the "Ik ben geen paard!" (I'm not a horse!) during the press conference he gave on thursday before the papal funeral, in respons to the question of a Dutch journalist who asked what he held from the fact that he was in the shortlist of some bookmakers.

That press conference in itself was an amazing move to say the least. Dean and Curia-man Cardinal Ratzinger had "urged" his fellow-cardinals to abstain from contact with the press; Danneels's reaction was to call for a press conference, stating gently that the freedom of expression is a basic human right; while deciding the day after the funeral without giving a blink during the congregation together with his collegues that a press silence should be kept from that moment on... "collegiality" - Vaticanese for more internal democracy within the Church institutions - being one of his favourite topics. When a journalist shortly before that asked him whether such a press conference was not to be interpreted as a signal for his NOT being a candidate, he answered that there are many more good candidates exept from him, citing the adagium: "those who enter the Vatican as a pope, leave it as a cardinal".

Vatican politics...

Joy Tomme: Balaguer really is a sissy compared to other canonisations effectuated dring this papacy. Take a look at archbishop Stepinac from Zagreb; he was the "spiritual leader" of the Croat puppet state installed by the Germans during WWII, and under whose reign 800.000 orthodox Serbs have been massacered (a fact that throws some different light on the origins of the 'Balcan wars' in Europe at the beginning of the nineties, immediately after the recognition of the independence of Slovenia and Croatia by... Germany and the Vatican (I swear you that this is the truth. I must admit, however, that I do not understand the reasons behind this papal decision, given the pope's personal history - the Holocaust, which in Poland wiped out jews and non-jews alike, John-Paul's repeatedly expressed denunciation of anti-semitism and war in general... There is someting other behind it, but I do not see what).

as a belgian catholic i was pleased to see that our cardinal is quiet popular ... he's a liberal and a very tolerant person. In your site i noticed you think he is frenchspeaking, that is not so. Cardinal Danneels is Flemish and so his mothertongue is (the Flemish variant of) Dutch. Like most Belgian 'officials' he is fluent in the 3 official languages of our tiny little country (Dutch, French & German)...
Although I would like to see a more liberal Pope and Danneels is certainly first place on my list I know there isn't much hope of him ever being Pope. I wouldn't wish it on the man either. He has often said that the papacy is something no-one would ever long for and that he was perfectly happy teaching before he became a cardinal. He said that "the water was a little too cold" and he's rather "remain watching by the side of the pool".
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Thursday, March 31, 2005

In honor of April 1...

Here are my current favorite amusements to be found on the internet:

1. Dick and the angels. I recently discovered that this image was produced by latter-day members of the I AM Religious Activity, which had its origins in the American fascist movement of the 1930s. They have a whole website filled with sublime images of Bush and Cheney in celestial surroundings. Alas, I lost track of the URL.

2. The Jewish homosexual mind control conspiracy. As narrated by one of the South Park kids. (Scroll down to the tale of Kay Griggs -- "Desperate wives.")

3. The story of "Blind Man's Penis."Right now, you can acquire this classic article only via Google cache. Read it now before it disappears altogether.

4. A UPI bigwig and Moon follower on Hitler: "By his extreme evil, Hitler not only consigned himself to hell but became a constipating cork in the colon of spiritual upward mobility."

5. Signs. A Schiavo "happening."

6. Giant penis for Bush.

7. The W stands for wood. Okay, so I put this montage together. I'm still rather proud of it. And the photos are all real.

8. Harry Potter. There are many similar web pages, but I particularly enjoyed this one.

9. Getting back at Nigerian scamsters. Long, but worth it. You know, for some reason receives two or three of these letters each day.

10. Review of Eisenman's "James, Brother of Jesus." Scroll down to Jesse Clark's response. A note-perfect parody of everything that is wrong with scholarly writing.

11. Family Circus. Some genius has been posting wonderful reviews of just about every Family Circus cartoon book, here seen as examples of post-modernist gay and lesbian pornography.
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Not everything that's bad about scholarly writing -- where are the gratuitous and completely meaningless "mathematical" symbols?

The parody reminded me of Mojo Jojo.
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Wednesday, March 30, 2005

More on the so-called "American Center for Voting Rights" (and other front groups): IMPORTANT UPDATE

Brad Friedman has been doing his usual excellent job covering the American Center for Voting Rights, or ACVR. (How should we pronounce that acronym? I propose "Ass-seever.") If you haven't yet heard of this organization, don't worry: You soon will. They have been positioning themselves for a "Swift Boat" style media impact.

The only known members of this allegedly non-partisan group -- which spews GOP spin points while pooh-poohing genuine concerns over computerized vote fraud -- are Republican party movers-n-shakers, such as "Thor" Hearne and Jim Dyke. Their source of funds remains unknown. Their only address is a mail drop in a UPS store in Texas -- even though the only known leaders of the group operate elsewhere. (What kind of legitimate group uses a mail drop?)

The Republican National Committee is already citing the report of this newborn group to buttress its claim that Democrats, not Republicans, intimidate voters. An RNC flyer instructs us to "check out the documented Democratic intimidation tactics at"

Non-partisanship at its finest!

(Anyone else out there recall how the Christic Institute had its 501(c)3 status revoked for allegedly partisan behavior? A lot of folks on the left and right disliked that organization, and I don't want to revive the controversy. Suffice it to say that most of its members, both in private and in public, evinced no faith in either major party.)

This highly-slanted piece on the right-wing Cybercast News Service alleges that ACVR came into being in February. So far, no independent evidence indicates that this group came into existence before March 17; four days later, they testified before Congress, as if ACVR were the acknowledged experts in this field.

You like irony? Consider this: The CNS piece accuses Brad of being "partisan" -- even though he is not a Democrat and not (so far as I know) an official activist for any party. By comparison, Hearne was the General Counsel for Bush/Cheney 2004 -- yet CNS would have you believe that Hearne has no partisan bias.

ACVR is, in short, an obvious front group -- just like "Talon News." Can we say something similar about CNS...?

In its defense of "Jeff Gannon," Cybercast News Service proudly proclaims GOPUSA a "client": As you will recall, Talon was a front for GOPUSA, itself something of a Potemkin village populated largely by propagandists with ties to Reverend Moon. (See here.)

Fortunately, other media voices are taking note of this odd tale. The Lone Star Iconoclast of Texas offers this fine account of ACVR's miraculous conception, while the fine "Watching the Watchers" website has also targeted this issue.

The last-mentioned site connects ACVR to the Blue-Ribbon election-reform commission co-chaired by Jimmy Carter and James Baker. Baker, of course, is a long-time Bush family consigliere and co-conspirator in the election theft that occurred in the year 2000 -- a shady history which has led to calls for his resignation.

A side note: I'm not particularly wild about the stance Carter has taken so far. Frankly, I'm not sure if he understands the real issues involved:

Carter said his group will address "issues of inclusion" in federal elections and make recommendations on how to improve it.
The phrase "issues of inclusion" covers only a part of the problem.

Most vote fraud activists focus on the companies which manufacture all-too-hackable computerized voting machines -- companies run by Republicans and largely funded by the theocratically-minded Howard Ahmanson. More to the point: We now know that the exit poll disparity offers irrefutable evidence that fraud did occur in 2004. Not "may have occurred": DID occur.

If Carter has not yet made the transistion (based on evidence already available to all who care to read it) from "may have occurred" to "did occur," then his efforts will be just as valueless as Baker's.

Back to the American Center for Voting Rights:

Brad believes that the Carter/Baker commission may be the real reason for the creation of the ACVR. He notes that Hearne had knowledge of this commission's creation before any other group or news service. Since the ACVR has money and lawyers and paid staff, they possess a voice likely to catch the commission's ear, while grass-roots groups shout from outside the walls.

We may be able to buttress Brad's scenario once we learn just who is the power behind that mailbox in Texas.

A poster to his blog maintains that the strange mailbox "home" of the ACVR is within the same retail complex where T. Boone Pickens (a major funder of the Swift Boat crusaders against Kerry) maintains offices for British Petroleum Capitol LLC.

Some may file that possible link under "coincidence." But I doubt that anyone can fairly apply that label to the following connection:

The same UPS store -- and the very same mail box -- is (was?) also used by another group called "Todd's Fund." This is a charity established in the name of Christopher Todd Pitman, a victim of the 9/11 attack.

According to this page originally published on the Todd's Fund web site (now available only via Google's cache function), Todd's Fund owes its existence to "the pro-bono work of Baker Botts, a law firm in Dallas, Texas."

Baker Botts is James Baker's law firm, of course.

Again: Baker is now co-chairing the election reform commission. Again: ACVR learned of this commission's existence before any other group or news service. Again: ACVR and Todd's Fund use the same mailbox.

Curious, eh wot?
ACVR is partison I agree and so are you obviously. Don't reject everything so quickly, it doesn't mean that Republicans are not attempting fraud as well. If you value your vote then step back and think about this scenario.

Within any large group there always exists smaller "fringe" groups whose agendas are different from the main group. If these fringe groups exist within both parties they could be pursuing different fraud strategies. Ask yourself these questions. Could either the Democrats and Republicans have "Fringe" groups that are attempting to subvert the Voting process? If so can either one or the other succeed? If either one succeeds what happens to our Democracy?

Now maybe you can see that regardless of party affiliation if a fringe group succeeds in stealing the elections then America as we know it is finished. The group that was able to steal the election will use the additional power to consolidate their position. They will control future election outcomes from that point on and nothing short of revolution will take it away from them. Your vote whether Democrat or Republican will become worthless. It will not be your candidate but theirs that always wins.

I worked for T. Boone for a few years at Mesa Petroleum. I feel from that experience I don't think you are being paranoid, you could be "On the Money" if you get my drift.
I just finished reading a 74 page document produced by ACVR. It seems well researched, and provides exhaustive support of its conclusions.

I spent an equal amount of time on various blogs, including the DNC's. So far I see only meta-aruments designed to discredit the report and the organization. No one seems willing to dispute the actual content of the report, and back up their argument with documented fact.
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GOP politician: "Freedom is dangerous"

(I tried to post this and other material yesterday, but Blogger had other ideas. Sorry!)

We've already noted this shocking story from Jeb Bush's Florida, about right-wing efforts to allow students to sue professors who express an opinion -- or tell a truth -- that the student does not like. I would like to offer further discussion of a few outrageous observations from the bill's sponsor, one Dennis Baxley.

To buttress his censorship efforts, he offers this astonishing quote:

"Freedom is a dangerous thing, and you might be exposed to things you don't want to hear."
It gets worse:

"...if students are being persecuted and ridiculed for their beliefs, I think they should be given standing to sue."
Persecuted? Ridiculed? What paranoia!

In over 40 years, I have never witnessed or heard of a single instance in which any student in any legitimate public institution was "persecuted" or "ridiculed" by the staff for any privately-held belief. However, I know for a fact that behavior control methods in parochial schools often include tactics which many would categorize as "persecution."

What, then, constitutes "persecution" in Baxley's world?

"Some professors say, 'Evolution is a fact. I don't want to hear about Intelligent Design (a creationist theory), and if you don't like it, there's the door,'" Baxley said, citing one example when he thought a student should sue.
There you have it. A student is "persecuted" if he is asked to excuse himself quietly rather than waste class time with discussions of anti-scientific bullshit.

Too many people believe that the Puritans came to this country to escape persecution. In fact, the Old World rejected the Puritan insistence on persecuting others.

Today's Fundamentalists also pretend to be the underdog, revelling in sick hallucinations of martyrdom. In fact, Fundamentalism -- in all of its forms, in every country and culture in which the disease appears -- is always abusive, to both the believer and non-believer, to both the individual and the culture. We normal people simply hope to go about our lives without having this mad-dog insanity foisted upon us.

Let the theocrats stay confined to the bedlam of the American rural south. If they cannot behave themselves in a university setting, let them leave the room quietly while rational people discuss science, philosophy, art and truth in academic peace. Let the fanatics stay mired in the Dark Ages while the rest of us seek the goals of the Renaissance.

In that light, you'll also want to read this important column by Pual Krugman. An excerpt:

The religious right is already having a big impact on education: 31 percent of teachers surveyed by the National Science Teachers Association feel pressured to present creationism-related material in the classroom.

The closest parallel I can think of to current American politics is Israel. There was a time, not that long ago, when moderate Israelis downplayed the rise of religious extremists. But no more: extremists have already killed one prime minister, and everyone realizes that Ariel Sharon is at risk.

America isn't yet a place where liberal politicians, and even conservatives who aren't sufficiently hard-line, fear assassination. But unless moderates take a stand against the growing power of domestic extremists, it can happen here.
I second that warning -- in fact, I’ll issue it as a prediction.
Quoting Krugman:

Extremists have already killed one Israeli] prime could happen here."

Isn't Krugman 41 1/2 years behind the times? It's already happened a man named Kennedy.

We're over forty years down that road. It has led us into Coupworld, and seven presidents later,two of them neutralized, five of them tyrants, we see no light at the end of the tunnel.
The relative peace we in America observed from the era starting at the end of the Viet Nam war to the beginning of the Gulf War and then brought back by Prsident was just to much for the radical elements of the religious fanatics in this country.
Organised religion has caused man to much. Organised religion must go.
I believe in God but I want religion to die. Jesus tossed out the money changers, organised religion is now the money changers and it must be cast out.
Man's history is scarred by organised religion.
The relative peace we in America observed from the era starting at the end of the Viet Nam war to the beginning of the Gulf War was just to much for the radical elements of the religious fanatics in this country.
Organised religion has caused man to much. Organised religion must go.
I believe in God but I want religion to die. Jesus tossed out the money changers, organised religion is now the money changers and it must be cast out.
Man's history is scarred by organised religion.
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Monday, March 28, 2005

Brief notes

First: I hope readers will scroll down to my Easter message (the tale of John Dark). And then I hope you'll peek further down to the important story of Bush family links to a child-abusing cultist -- and I don't mean Moon.

Thanks, Dubya! How bad is the state of our economy? Read the text of this speech by David M. Walker, Comptroller General of the United States. A couple of numbers put the deficit into scale: The Federal Government owes or is committed to pay $43 trillion, while the net worth of all Americans is $47 trillion.

Greg Palast reports on the TWO secret plans for Iraq's oil (the real reason for the war, of course). You can read about it in the latest Harpers, and you can see his video report here.

Giuliana Sgrena: You think you know why she was shot? You think you know the circumstances? Doesn't matter whether you're on the left or right -- the fact is, everything you know is wrong. Check out this important Democracy Now interview.

Brad Friedman: I privately warned him to think twice about appearing on Dr. Stanley Monteith's radio show -- Monteith is (or should I say "was"?) a rightist with what some consider extremist tendencies. But we owe "Dr. Stan" a round of applause for providing Brad with a friendly forum in which to discuss vote fraud. A great show -- check it out!

The exit polls in 2004 were weighted in favor in Bush, not Kerry. We've noted this under-appreciated fact before, but here's further discussion.

Ralph Nader has joined the "save Terri" movement!
Hey, we can pay off the debts and have FOUR TRILLION DOLLARS left over!
There's much to despair over in current U.S. economic policy, but the $43 trillion figure is misleading in the extreme. It's based on an infinite horizon of liability, whereas the $47 trillion figure is derived from current assets only, not wealth and GDP that will be generated over that same infinite horizon.

For example, if the Bush tax cuts were measured on an infinite horizon, they'd also be worth trillions.

What the author of this report is really trying to do is make a case for cutting "entitlements" (i.e., programs people have paid for, and continue to pay for, but which Republicans want to loot so they can avoid taxing wealth).

The projected figures also ignore the role of public policy (i.e., the lack of national health insurance) in creating inflated costs to society. You'll notice the author of the report isn't talking about ways to reduce health care costs, only cutting benefits.
Fair enough, but I maintain that eh Comptroller Generals' little speech still serves our purposes, especially in light of the likely failure of Dubya's Social Security reform efforts. There's still some juice in that third rail. Despite the GOP's most vigorous brainwashing efforts, people just do not want their traditional benefits cut. Eventually, they will have to look elsewhere to solve the deficit problem. So right now, the important task is to convince them that the problem is extremely grave, and to make sure GWB bears the blame for it.
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Sunday, March 27, 2005

An Easter confession

(Note: The post below this one -- on Bush links to the Melvin Sembler, a child abuser -- represents a truly new area of investigation. But few read blogs on Easter Sunday. So I'll repost that report -- perhaps with additional info -- on Monday or Tuesday. For now, in light of the sacred nature of the day, I'd like to offer the following.)

I have a confession. Despite my jibes at the expense of "Jeff Gannon," and despite a personal vow always to write under the name that appears on my driver's license, I once used a pseudonym.

I am John Dark.

And who is John Dark? Therein lieth a tale...

Before Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" came out, you couldn't call up the Drudge Report without encountering a pop-up "poll" from NewsMax, which gave the impression that Hollywood was trying to ban Gibson's film. (Fundamentalists love to see themselves as victims of a "Hollywood" conspiracy.) The poll asked whether Gibson's take on the Easter story deserved public exposure; the results, we were told, would be personally handed over to the President himself -- as though King Dubya had the power to determine the film's fate.

Of course, this "poll" was just part of the film's canny marketing campaign. As usual, the Christians involved with this effort evinced a rather broad interpretation of the commandment against bearing false witness.

I didn't know if the film would have legs, but Mel Gibson sure did, and they needed pulling. Thus was born "John Dark" -- staunch defender of all things Mel. Dark took his crusade to usenet, and to points beyond -- even, as we shall see, to Gibson's production house itself.

Here is his first announcement:

I'm sure you've heard about Mel Gibson's upcoming movie "The Passion," which tells the story of Jesus Christ in the original jewish.

According to Newsmax, America's most trusted news source, Mel's in trouble. He's made some ivory tower Hollywood Big Shots angry, and now they want to burn all prints of this fine film about our Lord.

In other words, it looks like Barbra Streisand is at it again! First she writes and directs that smear-job against Reagan, and now this!

You may think that the people complaining about Mel's movie are just a few loudmouths expressing an opinion. Well, you're wrong.

According to Newsmax, these people have a "hidden agenda." In other words, IT'S A CONSPIRACY!!!

Poor Mel! He needs our help! And pronto!

If we all get together and raise some money, maybe we can buy back "The Passion" from the money grubbers and save it from being burned. I say church groups across the land should have bake sales and give the proceeds to Mel Gibson!

We can also have book sales. I can donate copies of "See, I Told You So" and "The Late, Great Planet Earth" along with some Tom Clancy stuff. I also have a copy of Ann Coulter's "Treason" which I spilled coffee on but I bet we can still get $3.

We can't expect Mel to carry the burden alone. He's done so much for us and it's time we did something for him.

Like me, you're probably "mad as hell" because Hollywood liberal marxists have FORCED you to pay for movies containing sex, drugs and filthy words. Seems the only thing they want to censor is our Lord. We can't let them get away with it this time!

Right now, here are three things you can do:

1. Send whatever you can to Icon Productions (Mel's outfit), 5555 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90038. Every little bit helps!

2. And while you're at it, send a message to Barbra Streisand, c/o Martin Erlichman Associates, Inc., 5670 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 2400, Los Angeles, CA 90036. Tell her "Mel is swell! Leave our Mel alone!"

3. If you go to the Drudge Report, the Newsmax "Passion" pole will pop up. Newsmax is going to make sure that George Bush and Congress will all see their pole. Climb aboard! Mel really needs a pole like this behind him.

If you have any further ideas, send them to me or to Icon. And pass this message along to your friends. Let's do it for Mel.

Yours in Christ,

John Dark
A surprising number of people took this post seriously. Many informed me, privately and in public, that the film was in Aramaic, not "Jewish."

But John had only begun his mission. On Dec. 6, he wrote an open letter (shared with the usenet community) to Gibson and to NewsMax:

Dear Mel:

I'm your biggest fan, and I'm furious about Barbra Streisand's ruthless drive to burn all prints of "The Passion," your upcoming movie about Jesus in the original amaraic. Newsmax says this is a huge conspiracy, maybe the worst conspiracy since Hillary murdered Vince Foster.

I've been trying to come up with ways to fund a counter-offensive. My first suggestion was, of course, a church bake sale, with all proceeds going to Mel Gibson. But there's more we can do.

1. I see that the Newsmax "Passion" pole has gone down. Please try to get it back up, because it was a wonderful, dignified way to draw attention to this movie. Newsmax promised to show the results to our president. I wish I could see it when Bush receives this pole.

2. Newsmax also sells Ronald Reagan mugs and Ann Coulter talking dolls. Why not action figures from Mel Gibson's "The Passion"? I'd like to see a full-sized posable Jesus, like the old G.I. Joe. Maybe you could press a button and He will say things like "What would I do?" in amaraic.

3. Mary Magdalene really needs her own pole. Americans like beauty contests, and one of the big assets of this film is your casting of Monica Bellucci in this role. In my opinion, she is easily the most spirit-film Mary Magdalene ever to appear in a Jesus movie. She should get far more votes than that heretical hussy in "Last Temptation" and the Hawaiian chick in "Superstar." Granted, "Greatest Story" had a pretty cute Magdalene, but she acted like she was on Thorazine.

4. All of which brings me to the best idea yet: Donors to the cause can WIN A DATE WITH MONICA BELLUCCI! Of course, this would not be a lust-centered date like the ones I'm always seeing on the Jillian Barberie show. Instead, it would be devoted to healthy Christian activities such as bowling or NASCAR.

With strategies like these, we can beat Barbra and her fellow DEMONcRATS.

Yours in Christ,

John Dark
On usenet, a reader questioned whether Barbra Streisand was the true bar sinister leading the "attack" on poor Mel. John responded:

The real question is: Is there any horror this woman is NOT capable of committing? After the illegal and financially disastrous election of Grey Davis, the horrendous forest fires, and the continued presence of socialist measures (e.g., workman's comp, welfare for Arab terrorists) in our civil code, I can only wonder how much more Streisand this state can tolerate.

Her hatred of Mel Gibson's Christian message is a widely known fact in Hollywood. And make no mistake: She is astonishingly powerful. That's why the media is running hundreds of stories every day praising and glorifying her.

I do hope you are not in her employ. If so, I shall be praying for you.

Yours in Christ,

John Dark
Finally, in February, Brother John offered this final message:

I just thought everyone would want to know that if you go to the Drudge website you can once again climb aboard the Passion pole which the fine folks at Newsmax put together to support Mel Gibson. Everyone should take Mel's pole!

I think this is a terrific and very dignified way to make sure everyone knows about this epic film about our Lord, which is in the original jewish or arabaic or whatever.

I also want to say hat's off to Matt Drudge, the man who proved to the world that John Kerry was having ungodly sex with an intern. Once again, Drudge has proven himself to be one of the finest soldiers in Christ's army. And take note, ladies: I hear he's not married!
I've considered a resurrection of Dark in the months since, but this blog has taken up too much of my time.

You may be interested to learn of Icon's reaction to all this. Bottom line: They took Dark seriously, and tried to ameliorate his concerns -- although they neither confirmed nor denied the allegation that Barbra Streisand led the anti-Mel conspiracy. However, they did tell Brother John how he could involve himself and his church in the opening day festivities.

In fact, I did see the film on opening day, making sure to switch theaters after paying for some other movie. Later, a friend gave me the DVD as a gag gift. Needless to say, I didn't much care for Gibson's piety-drenched answer to the works of Herschell Gordon Lewis.
Let me wipe the tears of laughter from my eyes again...

CLASSIC! "Amaraic!" "Take Mel's (Passion) Pole!" "(Drudge) isn't married!"

OF COURSE they believed you were legit, they're Nutzis!
That was hilarious. Of course, since your letters were obviously satirical it's not the same thing as Talon News etc (though it could be argued that anthing that came from Talon News IS satire).

John Dark...I take a reference to The Singing Detective which Mel produced and appeared in...I like Dennis Potter too.
Mr. Dark, Do you have any other websites we should know about? If so, I suggest that you immediately apply for a hard WH press pass - pun intended. ;)

Kim in PA
"what would i do?" was coffee-snorting. brilliant.
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