Staff Writer/Columnist Jim Trageser Flails Against the Wind...and the Facts
By Brad Friedman on 8/11/2006, 10:44am PT  

Blogged by Brad from the road...

UPDATE: Trageser sends us a one line reply to the following article (instead of bothering to return our call): "Thanks for the traffic bump!" was all that he wrote. To which we replied: "Thanks for not giving a damn about your country." We also realize we neglected to post Jim's contacts previously so you can thank him yourself. As posted with his "column", you may contact staff writer Jim at: (760) 631-6628 or jtrageser@nctimes.com. Letters to his editor may be sent to: letters@nctimes.com, though that's likely the same editor who allowed his factually incorrect and evidence-free article to be published in the first place, so who knows how much they actually give a damn about such things at The North County Times.

I've been completely off line for nearly a week, only to return briefly enough to find Jim Trageser's sad attempt at a column from Wednesday in the North County Times wherein he bashes the Busby/Bilbray election contest as nothing more than "a political stunt."

The evidence for his conclusions? Apparently he has none. Other than the "facts" he has simply made up out of whole cloth without, seemingly, bothering to speak to a single source involved in the contest.

Add to that several pieces of out-and-out incorrect information (he says that Bush beat Gore in 2000 and that "every post-election recount...all upheld Bush's narrow win in Florida" --- Here's the actual numbers from the studies you cite, Jim. Don't bother to read them, we'd hate to destroy your rich fantasy life) and you've got the perfect picture of everything that is wrong with today's lazy, faux media.

At one point, Trageser actually has the temerity to hunt and peck the following words out of his keyboard...

This tactic of refusing to accept the results of an election loss is civic poison. If enough influential people continue to claim that the elections are fixed, no fairer than a professional wrestling match, then the public's faith in the vote will necessarily be diminished.

Of course, if the vote really is being tampered with, we should want to hear about it so we can fix it.

First, Trageser uses the old poisonous saw that we should accept unproven and unprovable election results, as reported by a Registrar's office who has broken the law, simply because the idea of accepting the myth of accurate results --- "the public's faith in the vote" --- should be propagated despite that Registrar's failure to follow the law or even demonstrate the accuracy of his reported results in any way, shape or form.

Secondly, Trageser then suggests that he wants to "hear about it" if the vote is being tampered with. Despite the lack of suggestion from those bringing the lawsuit that the vote was "tampered with" (a lazy journalistic sleight of hand if ever we read one), one wonders how Jim plans on "hearing about" any such tampering if nobody is allowed to inspect the actual integrity of the results?

Why does Jim Trageser hate Democracy?

His semi-regular column in the paper is titled "FLAILING AGAINST THE WIND: Elevating political incorrectness to an art".

We got the "flailing" part. We've even got the "windy" party. The "incorrectness" part goes without saying. Apparently the "art" comes in the art of propoganda or the "art" of taking incorrect political flailing, tossing it into the wind, and seeing if it will stick. It doesn't.

If the Busby/Bilbray election contest is "all about politics" and "keeping Busby's name in the papers," as Trageser charges without evidence, why is it that not only has Busby refused to join the fight for accountability in the Busby/Bilbray election, she has even commented in several newspapers recently (including Trageser's own! Do you even read it, Jim?!) that she feels the initial count as reported was legitmate?

The basis of Trageser's main windy argument seems to lie in the fact that the only race challenged so far in court from the June 6th California election was the Busby/Bilbray U.S. House special election. Had Trageser bothered to ask anybody involved with this matter why that was --- including The BRAD BLOG who originally broke the story, on June 7th, of the Voting Machine Sleepovers which are the original basis for the current lawsuit --- he would have learned that there were two reasons that race, in particular, is being challenged.

The main reason is that the Busby/Bilbray race was the first and only federal race to have occurred since the Federal voting machine certification body (the National Association for State Election Directors, or NASED) instituted new security requirements for the specific Diebold voting systems used in the San Diego contest. Those new security requirements --- the state of California also instituted similar ones in the wake of dozens of vulnerabilities recently discovered and confirmed in those very voting systems --- were completely ignored when San Diego County Registar of Voters, Mikel Haas, irresponsibly allowed the Voting Machine Sleepovers for weeks prior to the election.

The second reason that only the Busby/Bilbray race has been challenged is that though the Sleepovers took place in other races and other counties on June 6th as well --- races which were not federal races --- the CA50 Action Group currently challenging the legitimacy and accuracy of the reported Busby/Bilbray results is organized by little more than volunteer grassroots election integrity advocates. They are funded (if you can call it that) by small donations from the Internet. They are forced to pick and choose where they will draw the line in the sand when it comes to fighting for electoral integrity in deciding how to spend those few dollars in such a way that the results may benefit democracy and the nation as a whole.

If Trageser's newspaper --- who may invest/waste more in a single month or two of salary to Trageser than the entire funding for the CA50 effort --- gave a damn about electoral integrity in their own home town and on behalf of their own readers, perhaps more races could have been challenged. So far, the North County Times has not given a dime to the effort as far as we know. Surely Trageser knows that Haas has illegally attempted to charge $150,000 to recount just the one Busby/Bilbray race. But if he or his paper wish to put forward to the money to challenge any other election from June 6th, we'll be happy to help them find an attorney willing to do it.

Such as it is, Trageser and the North County Times are seemingly more interested in deceiving their readers with columns from people who are rather adept at appearing as if they know what they're talking about, despite failing to take even five minutes to actually learn anything about what it is they are writing about.

Never mind that I have said in countless radio interviews and press conferences concerning Busby/Bilbray (along with others involved in raising questions about this race) that I don't really care who won the election...as long as it's the person who received the most votes. Neither Haas, nor Trageser at this time, is able to prove that that person is actually Brian Bilbray. But never mind the facts, yet again.

Oh, well. It's summer. We're sure Trageser has a family who needs to get out and enjoy the beaches. Why bother actually working on one of those columns when one can just as easily pull some words out of one's ass in about five minutes, call it a day, and hit the beach?

Do we know that Trageser was spending time at the beach with his family instead of working on and/or researching for his column? No. But if facts don't matter to him, then we won't bother to worry about them here, either.

Too bad Trageser shows such contempt for his readership. As usual, they --- the same voters for whom Mikel Haas has shown such contempt --- deserve better.

Trageser didn't immediately return our phone calls Friday morning seeking comment. But, hey, at least we tried. Which is much more than we can say for Trageser.

Keep flailing, Jim. It's only democracy at stake.