Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Wisconsin, election fraud, and propaganda

This blog used to be all about election fraud, until the right hijacked the topic with their claims of voter fraud -- a very different animal.

The term "election fraud" refers to schemes to miscount already-cast votes, usually through rigged electronic voting devices. The term can also refer to other shady tactics, such as robocalls which tell people to go to the wrong precinct.

The phrase "Voter fraud" is used to describe a scenario in which people pretend to be eligible to vote even though they aren't. All studies have proven that this problem doesn't really exist.

Nevertheless, millions of Americans believe that this country faces an epidemic of voter misidentification. This triumph of propaganda serves the interests of Republicans pushing for draconian ID laws which will keep seniors, students, the homeless and the poor away from the voting booth.

Wisconsin provides a prime example of this myth-meme in action. From the right-wing blog The Gateway Pundit:
Democrats in Wisconsin are busing in supporters from Minnesota today for the recall vote against Governor Scott Walker.
On Twitter Democrats say they are driving in from across America.
Notice how the Pundit does not humor us with examples or screen caps proving that these tweets exist and that they came from actual Democrats. You know damned well that if such evidence existed, we would see it. The Pundit does, however, favor us with a very unconvincing clip from the 24/7 lie machine known as Fox News.
There’s more…  A man called into the Chris Plante Show today. He said Democrats are giving away free stuff to supporters who go vote in Wisconsin. The caller said Democrats have four buses coming into Wisconsin from Michigan to vote Democrat.
As Sherlock once said: "Bleat, Watson. Pure Bleat!" Those mythical buses drive through Blogistan Right during every close election. The evidence proving their existence is about as believable as the eyewitness accounts of Goatman.

You want shady activity? Here's the real deal. In the previous post, I asked if it was possible to track misleading robocalls to their source. Indeed it was: Some of those calls came from a phone connected to a Wisconsin phone bank controlled by the GOP. Although we may not yet have a clear narrative of what happened, we do have something tangible to investigate.

I predicted a Walker win weeks ago; his victory did not upset me. My focus is on propaganda. The important battle is the one for the minds of men and women. The important election has not yet been held. It will occur in the near future.

Suppose that, a week from now, you say the following words to someone you just met: "There was election rigging in Wisconsin." What, in all likelihood, will be the first image to pop into your listener's mind? Will he or she think of those fictional -- but much publicized -- buses? Or will he or she think of that very non-fictional GOP-owned phone? 

If the average person picks the bus instead of the phone, then this country will have voted -- yet again -- for hallucination over reality, for propaganda over the provable. That's the truly important election. Unless we find a way to win it, democracy can't work


Alessandro Machi said...

I think we're reaching the point that without twitter messages of actual observed buses, along with photos, that people just assume it's insanity at work.

Ultimately, the discussion was never about what percentage of the Wisconsin yearly state budget shall be apportioned to state pensions, and that is the real crime in all of this.

By the way, it appears that 20% to 30% is a killer, so it looks like 10% may be the max.

Mr. Mike said...

The insanity of the Right that makes them believe those busses exist, it's related to the insanity prevalent during the 2008 primaries when everybody thought Obama was the Second Coming.

Anonymous said...

Joe Stiglitz has written a book. Who knew when I studied that Joe Stiglitz was such a mensch.

Anyway, the subject of the book is the economic damage caused by inequality. A new subject in economics, which I think tells you a lot about the subject.

I saw him on TV last night (NY1). The brief section I saw involved him congratulating corporate America for their incredible selling skills. He said that he would never of guessed you could make people believe theories like "trickle down" but it turns out that you really can if you use a lot of resources.

I imagine if you apply enough resources they will believe anything. Specially if you reduce the funds to public education.


prowlerzee said...

Nice column. Here is some more reading on Walker's fraud, including allegations that he had taxpayers paying some of his employees who were working full time on his election, and that he's denying that he's under investigation yet he set up a criminal defense fund in a way illegal unless one is under investigation.

And let's not forget this: there has been a big push in the past year to replace Wisconsin's paper ballots with the new touchscreens.

theOtherOne said...

Yes, because linking to an Al Jazeera post written by an alternative magazine author is soooo convincing of your point.

I think the oft quoted phrase, "The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he did not exist," is applicable here. You can link to all the articles you want, but at the end of the day, it is to both parties advantage to be able to massage the ballot boxes as best they can, and it is silly to argue that your side does not look for an advantage and the other side does.

119% voting in Madison, WI...I'm soooo positive that they all are 100% legit.

You cannot do anything concerning money or responsibility w/o flashing your DL. Heck, I have been told, and please correct me if I am wrong, that you can't even vote in a Union w/o showing an ID. The "voter suppression" argument is by in large BS, and is only put forth to protect the fact that the NO ID loophole keeps the door open for voter Fraud. j

Joseph Cannon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joseph Cannon said...

j, you're being absurd. You know the penalties for misrepresenting yourself at the voting booth? Five years in prison and a ten thousand dollar fine. How easy would it be for you to find someone willing to take that risk?

Now step back and ask: How easy would it be for you to find enough people to take that risk to throw a state-wide election? You would need thousands upon thousands.

"Well -- they would do it if they were bribed!" Anyone so easily swayed by money would be swayed by the illimitable lucre of Fox News to tattle about the scheme. You are positing many, many busloads miscreants and not a single tattler.

Wouldn't that kind of money be better spent on an ad campaign?

I'll say it again: There have been studies of these issues and every one of them has concluded that the problem simply is no problem. Being a Republican, you of course have utter contempt for any science or research which does not fit into your ideology.

When I took civics class -- probably before you were born -- the teacher was proud to announce that even homeless people could vote in America. The Republican scheme is to create lots of homeless and then make sure that the homeless cannot vote. God help the Republic if THAT happens!

For all its problems, I'll take Al Jazeera as a news source over Fox any day of the week.

prowlerzee said...

More info on exit polls vs election results in WI. Bear in mind, this guy is a 9/11 truther, but alas we lost a lot of good ones, like Mark Crispin Miller, to that. Their work on election fraud can still be examined:

Anonymous said...

Wisconsin: None dare call it vote rigging
June 14, 2012
Bob Fritakis

If vote-rigging prospers, none may call it vote-rigging. It simply becomes the new norm. Once again, the universal laws of statistics apply only outside U.S. borders. The recall vote in Wisconsin produced another significant 7% discrepancy between the unadjusted exit poll and the so-called "recorded vote." In actual social science, this level of discrepancy, with the results being so far outside the expected margin of error would not be accepted.

May I state the obvious?
Rightwingers have introduced voter suppression laws because they're cheapskates because with fewer Dem voters, it won't cost them as much to have to pay folks to switch votes on those electronic voting machines/opscan tabulators/computerized voting systems.