Examining Bookman's Opinion Smear Piece, 'THE LAME VOTE-RIGGING CRIES RETURN', from a Reality-Based Standpoint
By Winter Patriot on 8/4/2006, 3:00pm PT  

Guest blogged by Winter Patriot

I've been reading the most incredible editorial, from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
THE LAME VOTE-RIGGING CRIES RETURN

It's also available here and probably elsewhere too.

Here's how it starts:

By JAY BOOKMAN
Cox News Service
08/02/2006

Cox News Service

ATLANTA --- After night comes day and after spring comes summer, so I guess we all should have seen this one coming.

Well, I for one did see this coming, but I don't think this means we all should have.

After U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney was forced into a surprising runoff in last month's Democratic primary, her campaign proposed a likely explanation: Electronic voting machines used in the election were made by Diebold.

You can see right away how "clever" Jay Bookman is! He admits that the result was "surprising" and that the explanation posed by her campaign was a "likely" one. It almost seems he's interested in telling the truth ... but not really.

Even on the cold hard web-page, Bookman's words are clearly dripping with sarcasm. And, in an era when unintended irony is all the rage for supporters of the current corrupt bunch of war-criminals posing as statesmen, I am not shocked to see a true statement such as this one, disguised as ... um ... listen: this is a family blog, for the most part, so let's just continue.

"Team McKinney lawyers have affidavits from voters with complaints that they intended to vote for McKinney but that the machine switched their vote to one of her opponents," McKinney's campaign claimed on Election Day.

The claim of vote-switching was made early and often, and I point this out just in case Mr. Bookman or any of his fellow-travelers might be thinking the same thoughts as the idiot who replied to my blog on this topic and whose own blog inaccurately portrays the McKinney camp as having made the claim of vote-switching (or vote-flipping) only after the result of the election had been announced.

I pointed out his inaccuracy and offered him a chance to explain himself. Did he do so? Did he retract the lie?

Of course not! What were you thinking?

Does the pattern of behavior remind you of anyone? I'm just asking!

Which of course would explain everything.

Again the misplaced sarcasm, the unintended irony. It's unfortunate, because he was so close to crafting another true statement:

... which of course would explain why the "result" was so "surprising"!!

So ... sarcasm it is, then. Quite convincing, I should say --- NOT! I haven't seen such a lame tactic since I was debating in high school ... no, wait! Junior high! This is so easy! It's too bad that it's no fun.

This would be great fun if it were a game --- not great fun for Mr. Bookman, of course, but surely great fun for me. But of course it's not a game. It's a battle of truth vs. lies in which nothing but the future of our country is at stake and in which the liars get their ink by the barrel, while the truth-tellers write blogs. What a sad state journalism has reached in our country today. Or something that used to resemble journalism, anyway.

Listen, Mr. Bookman: I'm not saying there was vote-flipping going on. I wasn't there. How do I know? I won't make any statements I can't back up. So I'm not saying it happened. I'm only saying it's possible.

You weren't there either, were you? So how can you dismiss the charge so smugly?

The idea that electronic voting machines made by Diebold have been rigged by corporate and Republican interests to dictate the outcomes of elections has become a central unifying myth among a certain segment of the American left.

Sad but true: some writers who are widely read but whose knowledge appears to be neither wide nor deep have been very successful in portraying a certain segment of the American left as connected by "a central unifying myth".

In fact, the connecting factor is not a myth at all. It's reality-based, Mr. Bookman. Not like your column.

The large and increasing disparities --- the difference between what we know from polls and electoral results as announced --- in important elections in which Diebold machines have been used --- has been alarming to anyone who has been paying attention.

Except for those who have been rubbing their hands with glee over elections they could not have won in any other way...

And those devoid of knowledge, who may be paying attention but who are unable to detect the fact that they're being lied to...

Which of these two groups do you belong to, Mr. Bookman? Are you rubbing your hands with glee? Or simply devoid of knowledge?

Did you notice how Jay Bookman uses the name "Diebold", as if their machines were trustworthy: as if we were talking about ATMs or something. But we're not.

We're talking about the the least secure elections system anyone has ever designed --- or probably ever could design. We're talking about a company whose software is not only secret but was probably designed by a sophisticated trickster who has been imprisoned for multiple counts of computer fraud. We're talking about a vendor who has left major security risks unrepaired and unreported for more than a year. We're talking about a vendor which has consistently refused --- or failed --- to honor its commitments to its customers --- boards of elections around the country --- and to the voting public at large. A company whose machines have been associated with one bungled election after another. We're talking about a history of "bribing" Elections Officials and buying off Lobbying Groups for the Blind. We are supposed to trust these people with the very heart of our democracy? Because someone like Jay Bookman says so?

Listen, my friends, and I will try to keep this simple. The market drives the economy. You can only sell what your customers want to buy. So if your customers are bankers then they want every account to balance to the penny; they want everyone to be able to get a paper receipt always; they want everyone to be able to check their account status and verify it; they want to be able to show evidence of all the transactions on an account in case they get challenged; they want their customers to be confident that the machines are doing the math correctly; and they are smart enough to know that the confidence cannot be false: They require the kind of confidence that cannot be preached from the rooftops but only earned through consistent trustworthiness. They know all this and they know what they want and the market serves them well --- they get the machines that they want. And often they get them from Diebold. That's the good news. Two bits of good news, actually: Bankers can get what they want. And Diebold can make reliable machines.

Now: What do political office-holders want? They want to stay in office! Does that mean they want to win elections? Not necessarily. Does it mean they care whether a fully auditable paper trail legitimizes their victory? Heck no, they just want to stay in office. (Not all, to be sure, but plenty of incumbents value their incumbency above anything else. This is clear from their actions, is it not?)

And what kind of machines do you think they get? What kind of machines do you think they want? Is it any wonder that the country's single largest seller of electronic voting equipment is also the vendor with the worst "security" record and the largest number of known vulnerabilities?

Is it any wonder that concerned citizens band together and make a little bit of noise when we learn that we're expected to trust the future of our country to these machines? and to the politicians who buy them?

The first time I read the preceding paragraph, I thought "Come On, Bookman. How ludicrous can you get?"

But later I realized my question had not been sufficiently rhetorical. "Ludicrous" looks like an understatement.

Even before the election, McKinney was a champion of that far-fetched allegation, which helps to explain why that particular group treats her as a heroine. It also explains why it's no surprise that she has now raised allegations of vote-rigging to explain her own political problems.

Oh, no, Mr. Bookman. There's nothing far-fetched here at all. We've seen how easy it is for the machines to be rigged. We have heard claims of vote-flipping before. Some of us are programmers and we understand how easy it would be for machines to be programmed to do this. We had accounts of machines that lit up for one particular candidate, unless the voter pressed the same button ten times in a row. We've read accounts of machines doing this over and over --- all day long. These reports come from poll-workers, and voters, and they have been so numerous; it's really tough to see how you can dismiss another set of similar reports, unless you have a private agenda.

As for Congresswoman McKinney, her own political problems are many and varied. Vote-rigging appears to be one of them. So-called journalists with private agendas appear to be another one. Such problems! Some people seem to be so blessed!

For McKinney and her co-theorists around the country, Diebold has come to serve much the same function that the United Nations serves for their counterparts on the conspiratorial right. Both groups feel a strong but vague sense of being unfairly denied power, and of their country being taken away from them. Both are also eager to blame that powerlessness on something other than themselves, on some nefarious outside agency.

So, while one group complains about black helicopters, the other complains about what they call "black-box voting."

The canard about the United Nations and black helicopters does nothing for Mr. Bookman's argument except to show that he has nothing better to talk about. Clearly he has no evidence that the Diebold machines used in Georgia are trustworthy. For if he did have such evidence, he would surely present it right about now, wouldn't he?

But this lack of evidence is no knock against Mr. Bookman. Nobody has any evidence that the Diebold machines used in Georgia are trustworthy.

In fact we have just learned of a remarkably easy way in which the Diebold TS machine can be hacked. This is the kind of paperless touch-screen machine that they use in Georgia.

Watch this video and see how much confidence it inspires. It's a joke, or it's presented in a funny way, but it's based on serious --- and scary --- research!

As the theories go, rigged Diebold machines have supposedly caused the defeat of U.S. Sen. Max Cleland here in Georgia in 2002, and of playing major roles in the defeats of presidential candidates Al Gore and John Kerry against George W. Bush.

However, Cleland, Gore and Kerry have never given the allegations any credibility, and for good reason.

What's the reason? You don't know, do you, Mr. Bookman? We don't know either. Those elections --- according to all the information we could get prior to the "official results" --- were stone cold. And then when the "official results" were announced, and they were different from what we expected. And the supposedly losing candidates didn't scream, "Foul!" ... which is quite a mystery, really, especially given that any half-decent double-A ballplayer will scream bloody murder if his uniform gets nicked by a pitch and the ump doesn't call it.

Kerry tells people privately that he thinks the election was stolen, but he won't say so in public. Why? And what's with Max Cleland? And what's with Al Gore? And for that matter, what's with Francine Busby??

Personally I think the reason is spelled F-E-A-R ... fear of being portrayed as a "sore loser" ... fear of never again having any political clout ... fear of dividing the country ... fear of being accused of dividing the country ... fear of personal reprisals ... there are a lot of things that such "losing candidates" might be afraid of ... so let's start with FEAR.

But it's not only fear --- it's knowledge, too, I suspect. Knowledge that Diebold machines can be hacked in undetectable ways and that even perfectly valid accusations might wither on the vine due to lack of evidence.

Knowledge that Diebold machines are designed with maximum hackability everywhere ... and that fraud committed on machines that don't leave an audit trail can never be detected.

Knowledge about what happens to outspoken people who pose a threat to the criminal regime which has taken over our country, wasted our treasure and our international goodwill on killing foreigners who posed no threat to us, while robbing from the poor and giving to the rich --- yes, that regime --- knowledge of what happens to people who pose a serious threat to them.

Knowledge about a plane that mysteriously fell from the sky, killing eight people, including a famous Senator --- a crash in which FBI agents --- who were not a part of the official investigation --- arrived eight hours before the NTSB crew that was sent to investigate the crash --- and claimed they were there to head off "conspiracy theories"'.

Knowledge and fear intersect sometimes, don't they? It's almost never one or the other, but more often a combination of the two. But why should we labor over such mysteries, Mr. Bookman? Why not just jump straight to another paragraph in which once again you appear to be innocent of all knowledge whatsoever:

Generally, those making the allegations never offer any evidence or firsthand testimony that the voting machines were rigged or that results were actually altered; they offer, at best, evidence that the machines or their software could have been altered or that there were opportunities to do so.

Like most successful propaganda, this paragraph has a grain of truth in it. But only one.

Because we don't necessarily have to talk about "generally" ... we can talk about specific cases here.

Sometimes, those making the allegations show evidence of machines being hacked, and sometimes they report on elections in which the results were changed --- drastically --- when it became apparent that the machines had done it wrong, and sometimes they collect testimony from thousands of voters who all appear to be describing the same experience and I could go on and on --- but what's to be gained?

Folks like Mr. Bookman prefer to ignore all the evidence that has been building up over the years ... and keep on whistling.

Ignorance is bliss --- moving slowly past the graveyard, and whistling the whole time.

And all too quickly, "possibly could have been rigged" becomes translated by some minds into "was rigged," and we're off to fantasyland.

"Some minds" jump too soon, admittedly. But that doesn't invalidate all the evidence we've been talking about.

Occam's Razor says the simplest explanation that fits the available facts is the best one.

Bookman's Blunt Instrument says if the "result" was "surprising" then don't ask questions: just get on with bashing the people who want to know why they keep getting such surprises.

Ahh, the bliss!

Just this week, a lawsuit was filed in a California court seeking to overturn the results of a special election in June to fill a vacant congressional seat. (The seat was left open when the Republican incumbent, U.S. Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, pleaded guilty to accepting bribes.)

Wow! This is incredible! Did you notice? A whole paragraph with two facts, both correct, and no opinions at all.

Maybe there is hope for Mr. Bookman after all. He apparently knows how to tell the truth without disguising it in sarcasm.

Can it possibly last? No way! But the momentary relief from the constant barrage of ... aromatic material ... is worth pointing out. If nothing else, it breaks up the monotony.

Even though the district is heavily Republican, a Democratic candidate came close to winning the special election, which may bode poorly for the Republican Party come November. But there is no evidence that the California machines or voting results were altered in any way; the lawsuit - filed by a lawyer from Washington state - again merely claims that machines perhaps could have been altered, and on that basis it demands that the results be tossed out.

First of all the district is decidedly not heavily Republican. The Republicans outnumber the Democrats by just a bit, and the number of Independents way exceeds the margin. How many Independents are voting with the Republicans these days? "Heavily Republican" describes the spin in Bookman's writing but not the district.

Second, the "fact" that a Republican who was trailing in the polls "beat" a Democrat who was leading bodes extremely well for the Republican party come November.

Third, the lawsuit amounts to much more than "merely claims that machines perhaps could have been altered". It shows clearly that federal and state security requirements were not met, and that the "result" of the "election" is therefore legally invalid.

Fourth, the demand is not that the results be tossed out. The demand is that paper ballots be counted. If it turns out that the count validates the "result", then so be it. That's democracy. But if it turns out that the paper ballots tell a different story from the "official" "result", that's a different thing altogether.

Listen, Mr. Bookman. Clearly you haven't been following things very closely. So here's a capsule summary of what you've missed --- so far --- by not paying any attention to what's been happening in San Diego:

The election between Francine Busby and Brian Bilbray was marred, as reported in detail by The BRAD BLOG over the past two months, when the Diebold optical-scan and touch-screen voting machines used in the race were sent home with poll workers on so-called "sleepovers" for days and weeks prior to the election. That breach in security was in contravention of new state and federal security mitigation requirements enacted just months ago after dozens of severe vulnerabilities were recently confirmed in those specific voting systems.

According to the new state and federal security requirements, such breaches of security effectively decertify the systems for use in California. The election contest charges that the votes cast on those decertified machines are, in fact, illegal votes. The casting of illegal votes in one of several grounds under which a contest may be filed in California state court.

Dozens of election integrity organizations around the country including the California Election Protection Network, the Progressive Democrats of America and the Election Defense Alliance, to name just a few, have declared "No Confidence" in the reported results of the election. Even the DNC's Voting Rights Institute, for the first time in their history, has called for a complete hand count of the paper ballots and "paper trails" from the race in light of the security violations and other irregularities in the first federal race of the year, and the first since the new requirements were enacted.

San Diego County Registrar of Voters Mikel Haas has admitted to breaches of security during the election --- he said that storage of voting machines in poll workers' garages and cars could "not be considered security," and told the San Diego Union-Tribune that more than 100 voting machines were found to have broken security seals or other breaches of chain of custody --- but nonetheless has refused the release of dozens of chain of custody documents requested by voters.

Furthermore, Haas has arbitrarily (and illegally) set the cost for a manual hand count of ballots at nearly $150,000. That price, for which Haas has failed to give accounting, amounts to nearly a dollar per ballot and has stymied a request by CA-50 voter Barbara Gail Jacobson to hand count the paper ballots and trails as she is legally allowed under California's recount provisions. Compared to the fourteen cents per ballot charged for a similar hand count in neighboring Orange County, the charges have been characterized as arbitrary and capricious by the CA-50 Action Group organizers as well as other critics of the San Diego Registrar of Voters. The behavior of Haas, in apparent violation of several California laws, has raised questions as to why he has confounded citizen attempts to achieve transparency in verifying the so-far unproven results of the race as announced by his office.

Bilbray was sworn in by the Republican-led U.S. Congress just days after the election while votes were still being counted by Haas' office. The rush to swear Bilbray into office occurred several weeks before the election was even certified in San Diego County on June 29th.

Are you following all this, Mr. Bookman? Do you really want your democracy run by a system such as this? Personally, I wouldn't trust a system this goofy to index my CDs.

The truth is that if Republican leaders and their corporate sponsors could have rigged the voting in McKinney's race, they would have rigged it in her favor, so they could continue to portray her politics as the politics of the whole Democratic Party in Georgia.

Oh, no! The truth is that the Democratic candidate is expected to win very easily in November, so if the Republicans want to derail her --- and it's clear that they do --- their best chance is to do so in the primaries. Otherwise the fraud in November will have to be so aromatic that even you might smell it, Mr. Bookman. If you ever breathe through your nose.

And while some Republican voters may indeed show up to cast ballots against McKinney in the Democratic runoff Tuesday, Republican leaders in this state will privately be heartbroken if McKinney loses.

Au contraire, Mr. Bookman. Not so fast.

If they are so anxious for her to win, why are they mobilizing such an amazing set of resources against her?

Could it be that they are scared to death of somebody who asks the obvious questions?

Is that why the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has been repeatedly lying about her?

And is that why even after being advised by Congresswoman McKinney's attorney that they had lied, they not only failed to print a retraction --- but did it again instead?

Could it be that they are scared to death of a smart black woman who refuses to be bullied by dumb white cops?

I know that's a lot of questions. But apparently the bloggers have to ask a lot of questions, because the so-called journalists aren't asking any! What a shame!

My dear reader: If you are saddened or angered by all this, please take comfort in the fact that we are very near the end. There's only one more cluster of lies to disentangle.

It's also telling to note that the person most responsible for bringing Diebold electronic voting to Georgia was Secretary of State Cathy Cox, who has defended the integrity of the machines as a vast improvement over the previous method of paper balloting, which they are. As a result, Cox has been accused of either being party to the vote-rigging or serving as a paid dupe of the company.

This of course is a red herring: Cathy Cox and her actions and the accusations made against her have no bearing on the central question. Cox of course is a Democrat, so the fact that she is painted with the Diebold brush gives Republicans a chance to sneer at Democrats on this issue.

Is this the first time we've ever seen a Democrat doing the dirty work for a nefarious corporation?

Note the embedded pseudo-fact: "The machines are a vast improvement over the previous method of paper balloting". Cox says it; Bookman agrees. But ...

We know this how? Because we have seen so many recent "surprising" "results"?

You don't really know, do you, Mr. Bookman?

You don't really know much of anything, do you?

Not about this, anyway.

Well ...

Here's a question you might be able to answer:

Are you making all this up as you go along?

Or are you working from a script?

As it happens, Cox was on the same July 18 ballot as McKinney, in her case running for the Democratic nomination for governor. And what happened to the supposed darling of Diebold, in an election run on Diebold machinery?

Well, she lost.

This proves nothing with respect to the McKinney situation and Mr. Bookman knows it.

Just because somebody has been a friend of Diebold doesn't mean they will win every election --- especially if they have already done all the "good work" they can do for the company.

Jay Bookman probably knows that too. If he knows anything at all. But clearly he doesn't care about how ignorant he looks, and clearly he cares not a whit about what all this lying is doing to his soul.

Jay Bookman writes for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. E-mail: jbookman AT ajc.com

I agree. Maybe if you email Jay Bookman and tell him you enjoyed all two of the facts he included in his newest opinion smear piece, he might get the message. Facts are good --- we like 'em! And we'd like to see more of them, unadorned with great dripping gobs of sarcasm.

You could email Jay Bookman, and you could say all that. But I doubt that it would make a bit of difference. This wasn't Jay Bookman's idea. The hand that feeds him has a private agenda. And Jay Bookman would never bite that hand, would he? It seems that he is happy dishing out aromatic material, and collecting his paycheck, no matter how much damage the continuous lying does to his soul.

I suppose I should feel sorry for someone whose soul is so polluted.

But guess what? I don't.

Jay Bookman has made his pact with the devil --- and now he can burn in hell for all I care.

That's just my opinion, but I invite you to share it!