Fooled Again: How the Right Stole the 2004 Election & Why They'll Steal the Next One Too (Unless We Stop Them), by Mark Crispin Miller

reviewed by
Lauren Langman

Fooled Again?  Hell, we were more than fooled, we were screwed.  It is hard for me to review this book from the dispassionate stance of my day job as a social scientist. Perhaps such “objectivity” is not possible. Rather, I read the book as a vindication for a progressive activist who felt dumfounded on election eve when the Ohio “votes” came in.  No, it couldn’t be. Ohio had high unemployment, strong labor unions, large minority populations, college students, and large numbers of activists. I also thought that in Florida the Democrats would not let 2000 happen again – but it did, and they let it. Moreover, insofar as some of my own research is on the political use of Internet, I knew that most youth, eg 18-30 year olds, did not get much political info from print journalism, radio or TV of MSM (main stream media).  Indeed, after Howard Stern was fined and started his constant diatribes against Dubya, it seemed to me a new voting bloc of millions, the 8 million horny adolescent males of the “Stern gang” was going to be a factor in the election. Even the hip-hop crowd was mobilized. Indeed, almost 60% of youth voted for Kerry.

On the basis of my reading cat entrails and tea leaves, as well as following the Gallup, Rasmussen, CBS and Newsweek polls, and then the exit polls, which are usually extremely accurate, Kerry on election night was ahead overall and seemed certain to win Ohio. I was planning to write a book on how the Internet helped Kerry win. But it was not to be. Soon came the reports of “irregularities” - from the purging of registered minority voters to changing locations of polling places to broken machines to unlikely counts. The only thing all these reports had in common was to depress the Kerry vote. Some cried foul.

The New York Times (NYT) dismissed vote fraud as a conspiracy theory – an obsession of the tin foil hat crowd, you know, the ones who thought 9/11 was pulled off by either CIA or Mossad or the alien abduction folks. Many of my comrades told me Kerry blew it (which is true but he still won the election). But now we know that, like Gore in 2000, Kerry did win, notwithstanding the seeming several million vote lead of Dubya. But, like Gore, Kerry caved in early. Now, Mark Crispin Miller offers a wonderful treatise exposing how the 2004 election was stolen - and not just in Ohio. Miller shows the national election was riddled with massive “irregularities,” and provides in extraordinary detail enormous evidence of many kinds of vote fraud used across the US to re-empower Dubya and his ilk.

It wasn’t just a matter of fiddling in the states with the most electoral votes. Even in cases where Kerry squeaked by, his vote was depressed, and where Bush was considerably ahead, the Kerry vote was trimmed anyhow. For example, in New Mexico, there were 17,000 or so undervotes, mostly in Spanish speaking areas (favoring Democrats). Bush won by 7,000 votes. Same thing in South Dakota where Native American votes were suppressed or “lost” as a right wing upstart, Thune “defeated” Tom Daschle.  It seemed funny that wherever the actual “vote” differed significantly from the exit polls, the voting machines were provided by Diebold, Sequoia or ES&S. Funny too, it was always the Republican that emerged as the “surprise” winner.

Miller argues that unless folks realize how and why the 2000 and 2004 elections were stolen, it will happen again The 2004 election, like the WMDs, the Saddam conspiracy behind 9/11, and Powell’s UN “show and tell-and lie,” was based on lies. But even worse than mendacity, it was based on violations of electoral law by partisan and often theocratic forces, which a complicit mainstream media ignored. Just as culpable were the spineless castrati Democrats, starting with Gore and Kerry, who did not want to appear “sore losers.” So, at the price of almost 3,000 dead troops, over 100,000 Iraqis corpses, a free reign of torture, the end of habeas corpus, unchecked domestic spying, and at least four hundred billion dollars, the poor timid things were afraid of being mocked the very people who perpetrated all these deeds.

 

In the Beginning…

The story begins in 2000, when the Busheviks stole Florida through ‘normal’ dirty tricks such as false voting information, excluding/suppressing minority votes, and “errors” in counting. (All these tactics, and more, reappear in 2004, especially in highly white Florida counties.) Recently, David Moore (2006) shows how when Fox News called the “election for Bush”, even though he was not ahead, the result was preordained. Between voting machine “irregularities,” and the tendentious call that W was ahead, our fate was sealed. As Robert F Kennedy Jr. put it:

The voting-machine companies bear heavy blame for the 2000 presidential-election disaster. Fox News' fateful decision to call Florida for Bush - followed minutes later by CBS and NBC - came after electronic machines in Volusia County erroneously subtracted more than 16,000 votes from Al Gore's total. Later, after an internal investigation, CBS described the mistake as "critical" in the network's decision…Gore conceded the election - then reversed his decision after a campaign staffer investigated and discovered that Gore was actually ahead in Volusia by 13,000 votes.

Further, during the recount, mobs of “ordinary voters” – actually Republican Party operatives - intimidated counters. They slowed the recounts until the Supremes intervened just in time. W’s lead shrank to 537 votes when the recount was halted. W “won” by a single vote in his dad’s Supreme Court. The upshot is that Governor Jeb Bush and secretary of the state Katherine Harris controlled the machinery of the election while also having an immensely obvious vested interest in the outcome. There are a number of strategic places where carefully honed, well financed, albeit local operations can subvert the democratic process - even the minimal “democracy” that exists in our country. Thus in 2004, Kerry was ahead of W in the polls before the election, way ahead among early voters, and on Election Day, he nonetheless “lost.”

While there was no nationally coordinated electoral theft directed from an identifiable headquarters, the 2000 election showed that rigging could be performed anyway. In 2002 Diebold added a secret patch to its voting machines.[2]  A number of elections that year were highly questionable, Miller points out, with “upsets in Colorado, Minnesota and Georgia, all states using Diebold or ES&S machines, all states with a strong Christian right and/or a confederate legacy. The results were that Allard “beat” Strickland, Coleman “beat” Mondale, and Saxby “beat” McClelland. The right wing media, that is most of MSM, insist there was no evidence of fraud. And three right wingers enter the Senate.

The Bushies were emboldened. Who wouldn’t be? What made massive vote fraud so hard to detect was that there was no easily understood, one-size-fits-all form of cheating. There were many means, ranging from disinformation (providing false dates/addresses of polling places especially to poorer voters, purging of voters, arbitrary disqualification of voters) to a paucity of voting machines in poor areas, to hacking computerized machines. Except for political junkies, how many people were aware of the radical gerrymandering in Texas, thanks to Tom Delay, or the imposition of new forms of “poll taxes” in Georgia?

 

Ohio 2004- Deja Florida All Over Again

The most blatant abuses of 2004 occurred in Ohio, where secretary of State Ken Blackwell, played the Katherine Harris role.  The theft took many forms. One was voting machines provided by Diebold, whose president Wally O’Dell, promised that “Bush would win.” Electronic voting machines, mostly without “paper trails,” were produced overwhelmingly by Diebold, Sequoia, Triad and ES&S - companies headed by staunch Republicans.[3] A number of studies as to how to hack voting machines, and even the confession of a former programmer called “Diebold Throat,” were ignored by media. The stories were widely carried on the blogosphere, indeed my own blog reprinted a number of them. Huffington.com had an entry titled, “The Staggeringly Impossible Results of Ohio's '05 Election. Indeed, this journal, Logos, was among the earliest publications to publish a major piece questioning the literally ‘electrifying’ result.[4] For political junkies, Brad Blog and Black Box Voting were the most important sources of investigation and information about the fraud.[5]  Mass media, forget it.

In the Republican precincts, there were a surplus of machines, polling places were easy to get to and easy to find. In poorer areas (read Black and/or non-Cuban Spanish speaking nieghborhoods) where Kerry support was strongest, there were numerous obstacles: polling places were relocated and/or obscured, voters purged, disqualified, provisional voting was blocked, fewer voting machines, machines broke down, and many voters were challenged without basis. In many cases, tallies were done in secret.  All in all, citizens were disenfranchised while reporters were barred from polling places. And often whatever recounts occurred were performed by the makers of the machines. Finally, it seems Blackwell diverted money from the HAVA  (Help America Vote Act)  to support this treachery. Much of this was documented in the little publicized Conyers report, books by Wasserman and Fitrakis (2005), Freeman and Bleifuss (200 ),  and two Mother Jones articles by Robert Kennedy Jr. (See below, p. xx).

Another interesting finding Miller reports is that overseas voters tend to be better educated, more cosmopolitan than the population as whole. Such voters, except for military officers, are overwhelmingly liberal. And indeed, massive numbers of absentee ballots of overseas voters, mostly destined for Kerry, were often not sent, often not received in time to cast the vote, and if received, often not counted. Miller estimated that this may have amounted to millions of “missing” Kerry votes. Oh, and it was the military’s officer class who handled much of this vote.

 

Guns, Gays and Abortions

Miller, like this author, is from Chicago where graveyards give up their dead on election day and the zombies vote early and vote often.  But the widespread extent of fraud in 2004 required a small army - and many of the foot soldiers of the Christian Right volunteered, as they saw it, to redeem America from sin and the evil, to stop the “baby killers,” Sodomites and pornographers. But Christian soldiers are not the majority and could not change a “fair” election. Contrary to media reports, the 2004 election was not determined by so-called “values” questions. Despite the “commonsense understanding that new waves of evangelical Christians made the difference, “there is no evidence that the Christian right [voters] extended Bush’s reign.”  Their numbers did not push Bush over top. What they did have were multitudes of people, often election officials, in strategic positions where they could change outcomes. It was these people that made the difference. Miller shows that there was no new “Great Awakening.” The main change that gave Bush any more support, if only incremental was the increase in married women, supporting him. His support moved from 50% in 2000, to 55% in 2004. This was based largely on the bizarre perception that he was defending the US against terrorism - “if we didn’t fight them in Baghdad”, we would have to fight them in Peoria.

The notion that the “values” issues determined the outcome may be the most telling evidence of the success of Rove propaganda machine. If the masses of “good conservative Christian folks,” and almost as good “conservative Jewish folks, supported Bush, then there was no disenfranchisement, no fraud in the counts.[6] Yet even many liberals and the progressive left readily swallowed the family values stuff. Indeed progressive religious leaders like Rev. Jim Wallis and Rabbi Michael Lerner, neither trained in survey research and/or electoral polling, believed it was the “values vote” and then aimed at mobilizing religious progressives rather than ballot integrity. 

Miller demonstrates  that the “election” was stolen, typically by electoral officials, many of whom are evangelical Christians following a “higher law.” Miller argues that these paranoid zealots were determined to launch a pre-emptive strike to “fight evil.” They had to steal the election before Democrats stole it first - as talking head media puppets like Sean Hannity, Pegy Noonan, Matalin, Bill Bennet, Rush Limbaugh etc warned about imputed Democratic treachery in 2002 and 2004.[7]  When the Conyers report on irregularities was “debated” in the House, Republican members routinely lamented the “sad day” it was when anyone suggested that a victory by “good” Christians was flawed.

The Busheviks insured that Dubya would lead their crusade.  Never underplay the fact that these true believers, while not more than 20-25% of the population, sincerely believe that their life styles are the only acceptable ones, and that political opponents embody all perfidy. Miller notes that such voters, and indeed Bush, do not really desire political debate, especially with one’s enemies. How do you compromise with sheer evil? They abhor nuance and facts. So round up a the posse, load the guns, and zap the enemy. This “paranoid style” is, of course, long rooted in American history.[8]

While most of the Christo-Fascist base comes from the lower middle and working classes, the political leadership are well-heeled fanatics from Rove to Reed to DeLay to Ashcroft to Hatch.[9] They detest diversity, loath personal rights, abhor equality for women, and hate gays (except for closeted republicans who prey on young boys). They disdain subtlety, complexity and independent thought, especially any questioning of the literal Bible. Given this backwoods invasion into the Republican Party, Dubya lost support among some traditional Republicans, those for whom conservatism meant isolationism, keeping noses out of bedrooms, and balanced budgets.[10] But the current alliance of preacher and plutocrats may be splintering too.

Thousands of devoted Christian soldiers as election workers and poll watchers spread throughout the nation. Their passion was not based on getting jobs or stuffing pockets, but smiting Satan (as embodied in you and me)  This “theocracy on the hill,” a fascism of salvation, much like classical Fascist anti-modernism, stands rigidly against the Enlightenment project of Science and Reason enabling freedom, democracy and self-fulfillment. Slightly more than half the US does not believe in evolution and would embrace “Intelligent Design”, a bizarre theology masked as science. Global warming is no problem, especially for those who believe the “end of days” are upon us and all the “good Christians” will ascend to heaven. It is not clear if they will be butt-naked or, as websites suggest, dressed for a celestial cocktail party.[11]

Moreover, the “enemy” is not the Jews –  hell, Jews are “friends and allies” nowadays They will rebuild the temple and are needed to usher in the coveted Apocalypse. The enemy is the “secular humanist” conspiracy dedicated to crushing religion, if not screwing the daughters of the virtuous - though its seems from police rap sheets that many of the virtuous attend to that themselves. For the Christo-fascist, the enemy is a vile force corrupting the body politic. It is worth noting that this depravity reflects their own internal conflicts, externalized and projected to the evil “Other.” This gives the pursuit of the irrational a kick that no external reward can possibly match.

Thomas Frank in What’s Wrong with Kansas showed how the Republican Party played class politics not by assailing the rich but by attacking Eastern liberals. Those arrogant elites looked down their noses at “just plain hard working, church going, god fearing folks.” Yet even when conservative Republicans got into offices from the presidency to local school boards, the Republicans did little to forward the evangelical agenda. They launched an illegal war and lined their pockets instead.[12]  And by the way, Miller shows that not all vote fraud stemmed from Christian zeal, there was plenty of old fashioned American racism too.

But far worse than the Republican “true believers” controlling electoral machinery is the mainstream media. They refused to run stories of anti-Bush demonstrations. They explained away blatant electoral irregularities. Before the election, Greg Palast estimated that Kerry would face a million vote deficit, one factor being provisional ballots given to minorities and then discarded. Much of the management of corporatized mass media, while not sharing the life style values or authoritarian ideologies of the evangelicals, very much enjoy their company profits, personal bonuses and tax cuts. Nor are they inconvenienced by a war where only the sons and daughters of poor folks die.[13]

The NYT stands as the premier “liberal” newspaper, boasting editorialists Paul Krugman, Maureen Down, Frank Rich, and Bob Herbert. But “liberal” columnists belie its economic conservatism and unswerving support for the administration. Remember  Judy Miller’s “Saddam’s germ of the week” stories?  But one of the decisive NYT non-stories was the wireless radio receiver hunched on Dubya’s back during the first debate. Many noted that his answers in the debate were a bit “strange.” Computer enhancement showed a bulge that matched a radio receiver. The Bushies dismissively said it was the cut of his expensive tailored suit. The story was all over the blogosphere but the NYT editor decided there was not enough “evidence.” When Dubya faces a truly questioning press, he is easily flustered and falls apart. The NYT spared us this sight. An equally important omission was the NYT agreeing to postpone for a year the story of NSA domestic spying. Had NYT run these stories, many people would have seen that the emperor had no brains or scruples. [14]

 

The Silence of the Liberal Lambs

Perhaps the most important story of Miller’s book is the non-story. Almost none of the main stream presses reviewed his book. But even worse, few folks on the left have shown concern. However flawed bourgeois democracy may be, there are differences between the parties and individuals. Yes, Gore would have been far better than Bush. But the issue here is that Enlightenment doctrines of “popular sovereignty” have been discarded.  If voting does not impact “elections” what is the basis for the legitimacy? Voting becomes a simulation while the Republicans celebrate the death of the real democracy. After all, as Busheviks have said, they make their own reality (or is it hyperreality)  and one of these new realities is electoral victory that has no relation to physical votes cast. Karl Rove meet Jean Baudrillard.

Since publication of Miller’s book, there has been more coverage of the electoral fraud, especially in Ohio, especially the impossibility of the results, the Republican ownership/management of voting machines, voter purges and, in some cases, counting the vote. “Deep Diebold”, a programmer from within,  told how he was asked to program the “results”. Recently, Princeton University computer scientists Ariel J. Feldman, J. Alex Halderman, and Edward W. Felten did a thorough testing of voting machines. They showed how easily the machines can be opened with a hotel minibar key, hacked, implanted with a code to flip votes and leave no evidence. Their paper is available on line, as is the video demonstration, but let me quote their abstract:[15]

This paper presents a fully independent security study of a Diebold AccuVote-TS voting machine, including its hardware and software. We obtained the machine from a private party. Analysis of the machine, in light of real election procedures, shows that it is vulnerable to extremely serious attacks. For example, an attacker who gets physical access to a machine or its removable memory card for as little as one minute could install malicious code; malicious code on a machine could steal votes undetectably, modifying all records, logs, and counters to be consistent with the fraudulent vote count it creates. An attacker could also create malicious code that spreads automatically and silently from machine to machine during normal election activities — a voting-machine virus. We have constructed working demonstrations of these attacks in our lab. Mitigating these threats will require changes to the voting machine's hardware and software and the adoption of more rigorous election procedures.

In 2004 Clinton Curtis, a computer programmer, testified before the U.S. House Judiciary committee, that on October of 2000, at the request of Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL), he developed a program to rig computerize voting machines, and in turn elections, in ways that were not detectable. (To see his actual live testimony, at the hearing see http://alternet.org/blogs/video/40755.)  He further testified that in his opinion, the Ohio election was hacked.  In his second article, Kennedy amassed a voluminous amount of evidence showing how easily the voting machines were hacked to flip votes. Wherever machines were used, especially Diebolds, the number of Bush votes was “unexpectedly” higher.[16]  He notes:

studies have demonstrated that hackers can easily rig the technology to fix an election - and across the country this year, faulty equipment and lax security have repeatedly undermined election primaries. In Tarrant County, Texas, electronic machines counted some ballots as many as six times, recording 100,000 more votes than were actually cast. In San Diego, poll workers took machines home for unsupervised “sleepovers” before the vote, leaving the equipment vulnerable to tampering. And in Ohio…dirty tricks may have cost John Kerry the presidency - a government report uncovered large and unexplained discrepancies in vote totals recorded by machines in Cuyahoga County.

As Miller himself noted, while the Republican conservatives were delighted with the votes for W and the “surprises” in Diebold based senatorial races there was barely a ripple of notice in the main streams of the liberal community. Perhaps the biggest story was the lack of a story and nary a bit of collective outrage.   Let us look a bit closer at the various other reports. Perhaps the Ron Baiman and Kathy Dopp analyis of the voting patterns should be noted.[17] They concluded:

Ohio's exit poll discrepancy pattern is consistent with a hypothesis of outcome-altering vote miscounts primarily favoring Bush. In other words, Ohio's exit poll discrepancies are consistent with the hypothesis that Kerry would have won Ohio's electoral votes if Ohio's official vote counts had accurately reflected voter intent. The patterns of Ohio's exit poll discrepancies are similar to the patterns in the national exit poll sample shown in the January 19, 2005 Edison/Mitofsky (E/M) report and discussed in earlier USCV  reports.  Ohio’s exit poll discrepancies vary with official precinct vote share in ways that cannot be fully explained by any “reluctant Bush responder” or exit poll error hypothesis offered to date.

One of the best investigative reporters, Greg Palast, showed huge numbers of African America votes in Ohio, were thrown out, cast into dumpsters.[18]

This is a fact: On November 2, 2004, in the State of Ohio, 239,127 votes for President of the United States were dumped, rejected, blocked, lost and left to rot uncounted. And not just anyone's vote. Dive into the electoral dumpster and these "spoiled" votes have a very dark color indeed… How many lost their chance to vote by scrubbing, purging and blocking? That's anyone's guess, but one million would not be an unfair estimate -- and that's not included in the 3.6 million tally of ballots uncounted.[19]

The most widely read articles were RFK’s Rolling Stone pieces.[20] His articles covered much the same ground as Miller:

But despite the media blackout, indications continued to emerge that something deeply troubling had taken place in 2004. Nearly half of the 6 million American voters living abroad never received their ballots - or received them too late to vote - after the Pentagon unaccountably shut down a state-of-the-art Web site used to file overseas registrations. A consulting firm called Sproul & Associates, which was hired by the Republican National Committee to register voters in six battleground states, was discovered shredding Democratic registrations. In New Mexico, which was decided by 5,988 votes, (8) malfunctioning machines mysteriously failed to properly register a presidential vote on more than 20,000 ballots.(9) Nationwide, according to the federal commission charged with implementing election reforms, as many as 1 million ballots were spoiled by faulty voting equipment - roughly one for every 100 cast.

The evidence of voter theft and fraud is too massive to ignore.

 

What Has To Be Done

While it has taken a while for Miller’s work to have any impact, now others have joined in. Some legislators are convinced that something was rotten in the State of Ohio, as well as Texas, Georgia, South Dakota etc, so now we can see three different tracks. I would call the first the rise of ‘the credibles,’ by that, I mean well-known advocates. Robert Kennedy Jr, has been especially forceful. Lou Dobbs, never considered a liberal, has said that it was inconceivable not to have some kind of voting standards. Further, we have seen the growth of a cottage industry in skeptical analyses of the 2004, election. Consider only Freeman and Bleifuss (2006) reviewing much of the material Miller reported, but with academic expertise in polling, they asked:

That a journalistic examination of the exit-poll discrepancy is deemed ‘not fit to print” by both the corporate and the independent media indicates how far our standards have devolved. It seems undeniable to us that the very same set of facts applied to a foreign election anywhere in the world would have garnered front-page coverage in every American newspaper and would have been the lead story on every American news program. If election fraud in Ukraine or Haiti is news, why isn’t election fraud in the United States?

I call the second moment, “politicos awakening.”  For example, Republican governor of Maryland, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. indicated his skepticism over the electronic system. In an 11th hour effort: “Senator Barbara Boxer and Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) (D-CA, then joined by Senators John Kerry (D-MS) Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) introduced emergency legislation to amend the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) this afternoon to offer funding to states and counties who make ‘contingency paper ballots’ available to voters to be used at the voter's option instead of electronic voting systems”.[21]

As Miller notes, the politicians are not going to do anything, it’s up to the American people. And in recent polls, most people feel the election may not have been “honest.” Almost ¾ do not trust electronic voting.  But what is most important is that we are witnessing the birth of a widespread movement for ballot integrity (http://www.ballot-integrity.org). There are now hundreds, if not thousands, of such groups. And most often, they are bi-partisan. National groups like Voter Action and Common Cause work to secure paper trails. Suits involving to ballots paper-based voting systems have been filed in Pennsylvania, Arizona, Colorado and California.

The 2000 and 2004 elections were fundamentally flawed. There are a number of solutions to massive voter frauds. Above all, federal elections should be federalized, that is, run by a federal election bureau in which non-partisan civil service employees administer the election process. Miller advocates elimination computerized voting machines. If they are used, they must be tamper proof, leave paper trails and source codes must be available to election officials to insure against hacking, patches etc.  Even the conservative magazine Forbes criticized the ease in which voting machines can be hacked, and called for paper ballots.

Greg Palast has warned us about spoiled ballots, rejection of provisional votes, ignoring absentee votes and the purging of registered voters. We do need to worry about the integrity of 2006 or 2008 elections since there been no major reform effort. Voter Action has initiated law suits against Diebold, Sequoia and ES&S. There have been suits filed over voting systems in Pennsylvania, Arizona, Colorado and California. And there are serious questions about the current voting in Florida, Montana, Missouri and Indiana. Until there are federally managed elections, states need to insure that voter registration, voting and counting are conducted in a non partisan way - not under the control of elected officials. Elections should be held on weekends, over two days, Saturday and Sundays. That would make it easier for people to get to polling places. And since that would enable lower income folks to get to the polls, it would also make the vote more democratic.

As long as running for office requires campaign contributions, mostly to support television advertising, the pool for candidates will be narrow, policies and agendas will favor the rich, as do the RNC and DLC which now controls the DNC. Like in many other democracies, a public license to use the publicly owned airwaves should require the licensee to grant equal airtime to political candidates. Not only would this make elections more fair, but would enable a broader range of folks to seek office, and once elected, to devote time to legislation that to garnering campaign contributions. 

Miller weaves together a highly nuanced tapestry of how the theft was done. For anyone concerned with the future of democracy, even the highly truncated version of bourgeois democracy that provides the best candidates money can buy, Miller’s book is a must read.  It enabled the wealth of information and analyses formerly limited to the blogosphere to move to a wider audience.  Perhaps there is no more fitting way to close this review than with Millers own words. Responding to a smear in Salon, he wrote:

If, as you say, you want to see the system fixed, you must admit that it needs fixing now -- a great step forward that has just been taken by Bob Herbert of The New York Times as well as Robert Kennedy and other reputable people. It is past time to take that step, for there is every indication -- as Salon should now be pointing out -- that the Republicans are readier than ever to subvert the process once more on this next Election Day.

While they gear up to strike again, the Democrats and media keep trying to “solve” the problem of election fraud by claiming endlessly, and groundlessly, that there's no problem, or by charging that the problem somehow lies with all those trouble-makers who insist on trying to talk about it, or that the problem is not partisan malfeasance but “incompetence.” Salon must finally break away from that impossible consensus, which means no longer seconding the Democrats as they keep struggling to avoid the issue, but calling on them to behave, at last, like democrats -- and, for that matter, like republicans -- which is to say, at last, like good Americans.


                                                             Epilogue

Now that the 2006 election is over, and Virginia (Webb) and Montana (Tester) squeaked to the Democrats by the narrowest margins, does that mean that we had  an honest election thanks to folks like Miller and the many others concerned with hacked voting machines, voter suppression etc.  No, far from it. The fraud not only continued, but the fact that the Democrats won despite the fraud means that there will be less public clamor for more rigorous election standards from purging voter rolls to paper trails. Rather, there was a much greater outpouring of support for Democrats than was expected-so great that even with the various forms of suppression, fraud etc, they won in spite of all the efforts by the Republicans.  After a careful analysis of the highly accurate exit polls, the Election Defense
Alliance concluded:

Unfortunately the evidence forces us to a very different and disturbing conclusion: there was gross vote count manipulation and it had a great impact on the results of E2006, significantly decreasing the magnitude of what would have been, accurately tabulated, a landslide of epic proportions. Because virtually all of this manipulation appears to have been computer-based, and therefore invisible to the legions of at-the-poll observers, the public was
informed of "isolated incidents and glitches" but remains unaware of the far greater story: The electoral machinery and vote counting systems of the United States did not honestly and accurately translate the public will and certainly can not be counted on to do so in the future.

Where do we go from here?  The first stage of solving a problem in recognizing it. As they say, the price of democracy, even its bourgeois versions, is constant vigilance.

 

Notes

[2] Diebold Added Secret Patch to Georgia E-Voting Systems in 2002, Whistleblowers Say http://www.atlantaprogressivenews.com/news/0091.html

[3] In face of mounting pressures,  the president of Diebold since resigned. His successor,  Thomas Swidarski, promised new levels of honesty-especially since that might mean millions of dollars of profits.

[4] See Kurt Jacobsen, “Tin Foil Hats, The MSM and Election Mischief.” Logos: A Journal of Modern Society & Culture Winter 2005. 

[5] Black Box Voting  publicized the study  of Finnish computer scientist Harri Hursti, who demonstrated the  the "back door"  to  Diebold touch-screen systems in Emery County, Utah

[6] Miller notes that many of the voter purges where done by Sproul & Associates, headed by  an evangelical Christian, a graduate of a Bible college.

[7] While most of the Republican Party is not anti-Semitic - indeed the party head is not only Jewish but gay - nevertheless, there are fierce anti-Semitic elements.

[8] Hofstadter (1964) showed how that mentality fueled McCarthyism and  the cold war, while Krugman (http://select.nytimes.com/2006/10/09/opinion/09krugman.html) , has seen that it describes the current Republican party, or at least many of its evangelicals and its leadership.

[9] DeLay was forced to resign in face of his scandals, especially tied to Jack Abramoff, while Reed, also so tainted, lost his bid for Lt. Governor.

[10] John Dean (2006) has argued that the Republican Party has been captured by authoritarians.

[11] It has been suggested that the ascent to heaven is a compensatory reaction to the downward mobility.  This was the theme of  Franks’ analysis. 

[12] Before DeLay was indicted, one of his aides was reported to have asked how that would play with his constituency.   He said,” fuck them, those fools believe anything Christian Radio tells them to believe.”

[13] Actually some of the MSM is not doing so well, for example, the music stations are losing listeners to the Ipod crowd, and the brain dead audiences for O’Reilly, Limbaugh etc are aging. More folks are going to the Internet

[14] In fairness, it should be noted that recently, fall of 2006, the NYT has started to call attention to the questions of honest elections that is had previously belittled.