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ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...

By Brad Friedman on 11/20/2004 10:52pm PT  

As if to say "Fuck off, Americans! We're busy with more important things!", The New York Times is running a smarmy little piece in tomorrow's Week in Review under the headline: "Still Unhappy About the Election? Here's a Place You Can Vent."

It's a piece about some of the email that's been sent to the "National Association of State Election Directors" --- whoever the hell they are --- complaining about the way the election was run and the way votes were counted, mistabulated, or whatever.

The New York Times has been bravely leading the way in ignoring the story of America's failure to hold an honest, clean and transparent election. Even though they've had time to dismiss the whole affair as "the conspiracy theories of leftwing bloggers."

Their criticism and sniffing dismissal of those of us who give a damn about getting this story right and told to the American people accurately is ironic coming from the "newspaper of record" which spent a year helping us get into a war by becoming the unquestioning lapdog of the Bush Adminstration's rhetoric and inaccurate propaganda. They had to issue an apology for their crappy reporting. And they've got the gall to criticize "bloggers" for covering this story?!

Still Unhappy About the NYTimes Disgraceful Coverage of This Story? Here's a Place You Can Vent!

UPDATE: I've decided to help The NY Times do their job. Please see these 15 Unanswered Questions about the Election Results that they may wish to investigate. Apparently they need a cheat sheet to get started!

ReddIt this story!



While Voters in Dem Districts Waited in Line for Hours!
By Brad Friedman on 11/20/2004 9:13pm PT  

I came across this story a few days ago but failed to blog it in the crush of...something or another. Glad I was reminded of it again today.

The Columbus Free Press, (which, by the way, should be lauded for the superb job they have been doing covering the post-Election outrages in Ohio, unlike so many of their media brethren) documents the latest scandal to surface from Ohio's Election Night, this time in Columbus:

The Board of Elections' own document records that, while voters waited in lines ranging from 2-7 hours at polling places, 68 electronic voting machines remained in storage and were never used on Election Day.
...
An analysis of the Franklin County Board of Elections' allocation of machines reveals a consistent pattern of providing fewer machines to the Democratic city of Columbus, with its Democratic mayor and uniformly Democratic city council, despite increased voter registration in the city. The result was an obvious disparity in machine allocations compared to the primarily Republican white affluent suburbs.

The formula used to determine where and how many machines will be placed is based on a maximum usage of 100 votes per machine so that the length of voting lines won't become a burden to voters.

Once a machine is recording 200 voters per machine, 100% over optimum use, the system completely breaks down. This causes long waits in long lines and potential voters leaving before casting their ballots, due to age, disability, work and family responsibilities.

A preliminary analysis by the Free Press shows six suburban polling places with 100 votes a machine or less, and only one in the city of Columbus meeting or falling under the guideline.

The legendary affluent Republican enclave of Upper Arlington has 34 precincts. No voting machines in this area cast more than 200 votes per machine. Only one, ward 6F, was over 190 votes at 194 on one machine. By contrast, 39 Columbus city polling machines had more than 200 votes per machine and 42 were over 190 votes per machine. This means 17% of Columbus' machines were operating at 90-100% over optimum capacity while in Upper Arlington the figure was 3%.

In the Democratic stronghold of Columbus 139 of the 472 precincts had at least one and up to five fewer machine than in the 2000 presidential election. Two of Upper Arlington's 34 precincts lost at least one machine. In the 2004 presidential election, 29% of Columbus' precincts, despite a massive increase in voter registration and turnout, had fewer machines than in 2000. In Upper Arlington, 6% had fewer machines in 2004 One of those precincts had a 25% decline in voter registration and the other had a 1% increase. Compare that to Columbus ward 1B, where voter registration went up 27%, but two machines were taken away in the 2004 election. Or look at 23B where voter registration went up 22% and they lost two machines since the 2000 election, causing an average of 207 votes to be cast on each of the remaining machines. In the year 2000, only 97 votes were cast per machine in the precinct. Thus, in four years, the ward went from optimum usage to system failure.

If you're not outraged about that, whether on the Right or Left, then I hope you'll not do me the insult of calling yourself an American.

The system is broken. Period.

ReddIt this story!



(Also - Bloggers Right, Mainstream Media Wrong)
By Brad Friedman on 11/20/2004 1:17pm PT  

From today's Cleveland Plain Dealer:

A trio of activist lawyers armed with mysteriously wrong exit polls and hundreds of voter horror stories announced plans Friday to contest Ohio's presidential election as soon as the vote is official.

Their challenge could lead to widespread reconsideration of dozens of alleged election irregularities around the state - from reported computerized voting glitches to provisional-ballot mishaps to unusual incidents involving voter rolls, poll workers and machine technicians.
...
Carlo LoParo, a spokesman for the secretary of state's office, said many glitches brought to light on Internet blogs and in the alternative press will be corrected in the state's official canvass of the election.

That process, which turns unofficial election results into official ones, is still under way.
...
Susan Truitt, co-founder of Citizens' Alliance for Secure Elections and one of the participating lawyers, said Ohioans need to know their vote was properly counted.

"Our intent is to examine this election, and to prevail, so that we will have a democracy in this country," she said. "So that we will not have our voices shut down."

SIDENOTE: Notice LoParo's statement that it was "Internet blogs" and "alternative press" that have brought "glitches" to light. While the word "glitches" may or may not be accurate, it's certainly notable that even the Republican Ohio Sec. of State's office is admitting that the blogs and alt. press have noticed, caught and reported errors while the Mainstream Media continues to nap.

Whether one believe these are "glitches" and/or whether there is enough of them found to change the national election seems to me to be beside the point. Such "glitches" have already reversed the results of several local races and initiatives across the country as is. And since they are all about counting our votes correctly in the world's most important democracy, one would think that these issues would be a top priority for the MSM.

In other words, we (bloggers, etc.) have been right and the MSM has been wrong in not reporting and investigating these stories. Even the Republican Secretary of State's office in Ohio has now officially admitted as much!

WAKE UP, CNN!!!

ReddIt this story!



Or, There's No Place Like Home
...For Rick.
By Brad Friedman on 11/20/2004 12:47pm PT  

Love this story. Sen. Rick Santorum (R-"PA") as hypocritical as you likely already know him to be. But this time, it's only the U.S. Constitution that he seems to be violating, as opposed, for a change, to just common-decency and human-kind.

Or as John Aravosis of AMERICAblog (from whom I caught the link) put it --- "couldn't have happened to a nicer asshole".

This brouhaha should be of no major concern to Mr. Santorum, however. Since Republican legislators are now more than free to avoid violations of their once sacred "Rule of Law" by simply changing the rules of the law as any potentially-scandalous situation-of-the-moment may require.

Better dead than red.

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 11/20/2004 12:35pm PT  

It was the clever graphic at left that first caught my eye. But the article which accompanied it by Jason Bradfield, a once-conservative activist who came to his senses and is now working towards progressive pragmatism in D.C., explains what might have been going through a Bush voters head in 2004 --- from the perspective of someone who had voted for Bush in 2000.

He analyzes the way which progressives may be able to speak to the "hyper-individualistic 'me-first' worldview" of so many of those voters in the future.

It's a fairly heady but extremely articulate analysis as is Bradfield's own blog "Random Thoughts of an Ex-Conservative". Both are well worth the read.

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 11/19/2004 4:30pm PT  

I wish I could resize this one to fit here. But I can't. So please click here to check it out (one panel of which is at right, another down left, but there is more...)

And by the way, if you're of the mind that this should be a "time of healing" and "coming together", you are reading the wrong blog and/or listening to someone other than George W. Bush.

The fact that the divisiveness in this country is now on schedule to grow only fiercer and more counter-productive to the general welfare of our nation and our world is perhaps the only thing that the faux "President-Elect" and I would seem to agree on. The difference being that while he apparently takes pride and pleasure in that fact, it breaks my ever-lovin' heart.

But I just live in this country, so I play with the cards I am dealt.

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 11/19/2004 3:47pm PT  

The money quote from Mark Crispin Miller's piece from Tuesday...longer quote than usual...because it's well-deserved:

To nod agreement that this was indeed an honest win is to forget how Bush was shoehorned into office in the first place; to ignore the ease with which electronic totals can be changed without a trace; to suppress the fact that Diebold, Sequoia and ES&S—the major manufacturers of touch screen voting machines and central tabulators—are owned and run by Bush Republicans, who have made no secret of their partisan intentions; to deny the value of the exit polls, which turn out to have been “mistaken” only in the swing states; to downplay the weird inflation of the Bush vote in county after county, where the number of votes for president was somehow higher than the number of voters who turned out; to ignore the bald chicanery of the Bush supporters who ran the central polling station in Ohio's Warren County and forced out the press and poll monitors so they could count the vote in secret; to forget the numerous accounts of vote fraud coast to coast throughout the prior weeks of early voting; to overlook the fact that every single “glitch” or “error” that has been reported favors Bush; to ignore the countless instances of ballots—absentee, provisional—thrown away or left uncounted; to forget that the civilian vote abroad (some four million Americans) was being mishandled by the Pentagon (which had somehow become responsible for doing the State Department's job); and to ignore the many dirty tricks reported—the polling places quickly relocated at the last minute, the fake voter-registration drives, the thousands of Americans who found themselves not on the rolls, the police road-blocks, the bullying pro-Bush poll workers, the machines that kept translating votes for Kerry into votes for Bush. And so on.

To forget or ignore all this and to accept—on faith—the mere say-so of Bush & Company (and our compliant media) is to make clear that you are not a member of what the Busheviks deride as “the reality-based community.” Those who help discredit false reports are doing that community, and this erstwhile democracy, a precious service. But, those who would abort the whole inquiry in the name of science or journalistic probity and “closure” are putting that community, and this nation, at grave risk.

(Thanks tipster DuffyB for the link!)

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 11/19/2004 12:54pm PT  

Our friend Pam, at her simmering "House Blend" asks an astute question --- though one for which the answer is likely self-obvious to any Reality-Based Americans.

She wonders why it is that a Saudi Prince is protecting News Corp from a possible hostile take-over bid as reported in Wednesday's Financial Times:

Prince al-Waleed bin Talal, the billionaire Saudi investor, has vowed to block any hostile takeover bid for News Corp, throwing his support behind Rupert Murdoch, chairman of the US media group.
...
Prince al-Waleed told the FT: “The idea is that if the need arises, we will act to keep News Corp independent under the leadership of Mr Murdoch and convert our stock to a voting stake and take whatever additional stake is needed.” He also supported Mr Murdoch's sons, Lachlan and James, who are deputy chief operating officer and chief executive of BSkyB respectively. “I want to be sure Mr Murdoch and his family and the directors understand I'm ready to assist.”

Follow the money. Ignore the sloganeering. Fox News and News Corp "support America" in the same way that George W. Bush "supports the troops".

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 11/18/2004 11:36pm PT  

...But if you count on The News to get your news, you probably hadn't realized that 1,216 US troops have now died in Iraq. For some reason or another.

The rate in the 19 days so far this month of 5.21 U.S. servicemen and women killed each day is the highest since the first 12 days of the initial invasion when 7.67 were killed each day.

Have a nice evening --- especially you folks in the "Red States".

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 11/18/2004 11:16pm PT  

...Comes DUBYA: The Movie!

(via Krup's Just Sayin')

ReddIt this story!



Another American Citizen Stands Up for Democracy
By Brad Friedman on 11/18/2004 11:06pm PT  

Speaking of Russ Baker (see the previous item), he's got an interesting story today in The Nation about Ralph Nader's recount in New Hampshire. Which began today, by the way.

Baker's piece explains the optical-scan concerns which drew Nader's attention and lead to the recount demand after they were noticed by citizen Ida Briggs, a software designer and statistical analyst in Michigan who --- unlike those covering Scott Peterson in the MSM --- decided to investigate the numbers in New Hampshire:

In general, according to Briggs, the "Diebold precincts" showed larger and more frequent deviations from expected voting trends than precincts relying strictly on hand counts, and even than those using an optical-scan counting system from another manufacturer. Creating trend patterns by looking at the 2000 and 2004 elections, she found rural, typically conservative precincts that hand-counted ballots as voting more for Kerry than they did for Gore, while larger, urban precincts using Diebold's AccuVote machines often did the opposite. Of the precincts where Kerry did less well than expected, according to Briggs, 73 percent used optical-scan technology and 62 percent used Diebold machines. Fully 92 percent of all out-of-trend votes were optically scanned. New Hampshire has 301 precincts; 126 of them use Diebold's AccuVote technology.

American citizen does it again. I look forward to what the hand recount may or may not show in the coming days. Though Baker also sagely notes:

Even a hand recount won't satisfy everyone--and shouldn't. The efficacy of the American voting system is dependent on a lot of things going right--and anecdotal evidence suggests many fruitful avenues of inquiry into things that may have gone wrong. Among these: whether ballots were improperly cast (fraud), and whether legitimate voters were prevented or discouraged from voting. To say nothing of whether, in a country where many people vote based on the most effective television commercials, people really understand what they are voting on and the stakes involved.

(Gracias to amigo Fin for the link!)

ReddIt this story!



...Sometimes There's Just Smoke.
By Brad Friedman on 11/18/2004 8:51pm PT  

I've been receiving tips and links concerning the odd story of Jeff Fisher, a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate down in Florida ever since Thom Hartmann's Nov. 6th article at CommonDreams.org spoke of Fisher "waiting for the FBI to show up" because he had evidence to prove "the Florida election was hacked" along with "who hacked it and how".

Fisher's story was and is compelling at first blush, though convoluted and spare in key details. He writes at varying lengths and coherency on his own website about mysterious meetings in McDonald's parking lots, a conspiracy played out to hack the vote from a computer lab at the Bay Point School for delinquent boys in Florida, wiretaps, computer professors and informants who feared for their own life.

Wild stuff. But then again, so was the idea that three cuban exiles broke into the Democratic campaign headquarters in a Washington D.C. hotel at the instruction of an ex-CIA guy with funding from an eccentric millionaire down in Key West, Florida that was said to lead all the way up to the President of the United States.

I hadn't reported on the Fisher story at all on these pages, despite many who had emailed me about him, because something in the story just wasn't adding up for me yet. And then I had begun hearing accounts of late about various folks distancing themselves from Fisher.

Both Ralph Nader and investigative journalist Russ Baker had recently been cited --- by Fisher on his website --- as working along with him in pursuing his troubling tale. But Nader's camp has publicly disavowed such a relationship, and an associate of mine who spoke with Baker has told me that Baker also finds Fisher's story to be incredible and that he's not currently pursuing it.

My associate had spoken with Dr. Piotr Blass (a prominent figure in Fisher's story) and encouraged me to call him. With Fisher's phone number in hand as well --- his is posted on his website --- I decided to give them both a call to see what I could learn...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

ReddIt this story!



UC Berkley Analysis Announced Today!
By Brad Friedman on 11/18/2004 12:44pm PT  

More details on this shortly and notes we took during the Press Conference...

For the moment, see:

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 11/17/2004 11:31pm PT  

AP is reporting tonight that some 2,600 ballots in Sandusky County, OH were double-counted on Election Night. Once again, the error occurred in a strong Bush county where the ersatz "President" won 56% of the vote (if my bad math is correct, totals from the Ohio website are Bush: 17,824 Kerry: 13,909 in that county.)

According to the AP story:

2,600 ballots from nine precincts were counted twice, likely because of worker error, elections director Barb Tuckerman said.

Tuckerman believes the votes were counted twice when they were mistakenly placed alongside a pile of uncounted ballots. The room where the ballots were being fed into optical-scan machines on election night was so crowded that ballots had to be placed on the floor, Tuckerman said.

"It was totally hectic," she said.

The problem was discovered when Tuckerman found that one precinct showed 131 percent of registered voters had cast ballots.

So the original 136,000 vote advantage for Bush keeps dwindling by the day. And soon, a full recount of the entire state.

Getting, fun, huh? Here's some speculative --- yet interesting --- math about what could happen in that coming Ohio recount from "jsmdlawyer" at DailyKos. But by all means, Mainstream Media? There's nothing to see here...Move along...Let's see that hilarious Turkey pardoning footage again! That was a riot!

ReddIt this story!



(Might I suggest 'Journalism' as a good new addition to your prime-time schedule!)
By Brad Friedman on 11/17/2004 11:08pm PT  

I chanced across one of the CNN transcripts from a report on Nov. 10 that likely included screenshots from The BRAD BLOG as seen by several different folks on several different CNN programs that day.

This instance was from Newsnight with Aaron Brown where the blog of yours truly was probably shown under this text from Dan Lothian: [emphasis mine]

LOTHIAN: From e-mails to blogs screaming grand theft America, some believe massive fraud cost Senator Kerry a critical number of votes. Here's why...

Blah, blah, he goes on. Setting aside the fact that I don't believe this blog has ever charged "massive fraud", though we have in fact looked closely at the possibilities thereof, (and no, they didn't bother to contact me to find out if that's what I actually "believe") it was the end of the report that I found demonstrative of the typically maddening laziness from the bulk of the Mainstream Media. Especially now in the wake of one "massively" fucked up electoral system. Here was their closer: [emphasis once again mine]

BROWN: ...I've probably only gotten 2,000 e-mails on this particular one. One of the things that people say is that in those counties where e-machines were used, electronic voting machines were used, tended for one reason or another to favor President Bush, as opposed to counties where paper ballots or punch card ballots or old style voting machines were used. Is there, in fact, any evidence if that is true?

LOTHIAN: There's no widespread evidence of that. There's sort of anecdotal evidence. There were some places in Florida, for instance, where people complained that they went up, touched the screens, tried to vote for Senator Kerry and instead all of their votes were switched to Republicans. Those behind the machines, the companies that put out those machines said that those were sort of isolated incidents not widespread --- Aaron.

Ah, gotcha. The companies that make the machines then, the one's whose livelihood implodes based on documented evidence of widespread problems with those machines say that such reports "were sort of isolated incidents not widespread".

Well, that clears that up then! Thanks for the legwork, Dan! For a second I was worried that those machines might have been a problem!

To his (almost) credit, however, Brown replied with this:

BROWN: I suppose one person's isolated incident is another person's widespread. Dan, thank you very much, Dan Lothian in Boston tonight.

And since that time, a full week ago, I've not heard tell of a single follow-up report by Brown, or anyone else at CNN on the entire matter. I guess it was just "isolated incidents" after all.

ReddIt this story!



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