Saturday, November 13, 2004


Pretty strong stuff...

Marines Self-Destruct

Quote of the Day

I would like to add that I think it is high time the members of this list debated the pros and cons of a fully moderated list with no postings allowed to the list before cleared by the moderator.

As an anarchist, I would also like to argue the following...
—member of NASPIR (Network of Activist Scholars of Politics and International Relations)

Friday, November 12, 2004


Rebels claim gas and chemicals being used in Fallujah

Via Axis of Logic, IslamOnLine reports,

“The US occupation troops are gassing resistance fighters and confronting them with internationally-banned chemical weapons,” resistance sources told Al-Quds Press Wednesday, November 10.

The fatal weapons led to the deaths of tens of innocent civilians, whose bodies litter sidewalks and streets, they added.

This could be a propaganda effort on the part of the insurgents. Or it could be true.

The report calls attention to the Pentagon's earlier denial and subsequent admission of the use of napalm during the initial Iraq invasion.

Has anyone asked the Pentagon about this latest charge?


Eliot Spitzer targets pharmaceutical industry, criticizes FDA

Eliot Spitzer is back in the news. According to Reuters—

New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer on Friday criticized the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson, for failing to ensure that the drug industry publicly disclose negative results about its drugs.

The failure, he said, has allowed companies to suppress negative information to the detriment of patients.

Spitzer sued GlaxoSmithKline Plc in June, charging the company with suppressing negative data about its antidepressant Paxil. The company settled the suit in August.

"The FDA's failure to jump into the issue of disclosure of clinical testing in an aggressive way is very problematic," Spitzer told the Reuters Health Summit in New York. "From day one, when we announced the Glaxo case, we have been saying, 'Where is the FDA'?"

He also criticized the failure of the U.S. Health and Human Services department to do more.

"I was surprised that Tommy Thompson at HHS didn't do something on this. It seems to me to be a no-brainer," he said.

I can't say which post Spitzer has his eye on, but you can bet it's at the federal level.

Previous post
My nominee for President in 2008


One election result reversed in Indiana after recount

According to the AP there has been another "computer glitch"—
A Democrat gained enough votes to bump a Republican from victory in a county commissioner's race after a recount prompted by a computer glitch in optical-scan voting.

The glitch in the Fidlar Election Co. vote-scanning system had recorded straight-Democratic Party votes for Libertarians.

Despite the problems, vote-scanning systems are still superior to touchscreen machines with no paper trail. But all such systems should be hand-counted as a verification of results.


Moral values not as important in the election as some people think

Will Lester at picks up a point today that I saw Andy Kohut of the Pew Research Center making on the NewsHour the day after the election—that the supposed "moral values" motivation for voters was an artifact of the way the exit polls were conducted.

Whether voters named "moral values'' their key issue partly depended on whether that subject was included in a list of choices provided by pollsters, according to a Pew Research Center analysis released Thursday.

When "moral values'' was included in poll questions, it was named more often than any other issue. But when voters were just asked to name the issue most important in their vote for president _ without being given a list of answers -- moral values trailed the war in Iraq and the economy, according to the Pew survey.

Specifically, in polls conducted by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International for the AP and the networks,

Twenty-two percent chose "moral values," followed by the economy (20 percent), terrorism (19 percent) and Iraq (15 percent)....

This corresponded roughly with the findings of the Pew Research Center. Of 1209 voters polled—

When those voters were given a list, "moral values" was the most popular choice at 27 percent, followed by Iraq at 22 percent and the economy at 21 percent.

But when they were asked an open-ended question about the top issue, Iraq and the economy moved past moral values. Iraq was picked by 27 percent, the economy by 14 percent and moral values tied with terrorism at 9 percent.

It should also be noted that those who responded "moral values" also included people who had something on their mind other than gay marriage and abortion—

Just over four in 10 of those who picked "moral values" from the list mentioned social issues like gay marriage and abortion, but others talked about qualities like religion, helping the poor, and candidates' honesty and strength of leadership.

But Kohut expressed it better on the NewsHour—

Moral values in a list of things that you're asking people what issues are on their mind, that's a an ambiguous term; it's a term that has a social desirability factor from the point of view of conservatives. If you put moral values on a list, it's hard for many people to say they weren't thinking of moral values when they were making their decision.

And, most importantly, we asked open-ended questions throughout the campaign, the moral values questions never rose to the level of the conditions questions, the Iraq, economy or terrorism. I think...

I'm not trying to understate the importance of moral values in this campaign and the importance of that issue, that cluster of issues to the Bush campaign and to the Republican Party, but I think there was an overstatement of that in the exit polls, and it's going to become part of the narrative that explains this election and perhaps not quite accurately. [emphasis added]

Moral values, at least as understood by the media, were certainly not on the minds of voters in Churchhill County, Nevada—

Last week, the small county in northern Nevada voted 71 per cent for the re-election of President George W. Bush....

On the same ballot, voters also crushed an effort to ban the county's legalized brothels by a margin of nearly 2-1.

The Coalition to End Prostitution in Churchill County was devastated. The warmth of support for prostitution may lead to the reopening of two brothels in the area.


Antiwar suppression begins in earnest

Via Why Are We Back in Iraq?, on November 4 at a small rally in New York City, police showed up with dogs and machine guns. Then on November 9 two tanks showed up at an antiwar demo in Westwood, a district of Los Angeles near the UCLA campus. The video is at LA Indymedia.

According to the Washington Post, here's what they have planned for the inauguration—

As tens of thousands of people come to Washington to watch the Jan. 20 swearing in, the city will be filled with military personnel, FBI agents in full SWAT outfitting, snipers on rooftops and scores of bomb-detecting dogs. The region's air defenses have been strengthened to prevent intruder aircraft, and sensors will be deployed throughout the area to detect biological, chemical or radiological material.

About 2,000 out-of-town officers will help with security and traffic details. Undercover officers will work the crowds, and D.C. police officers will be posted every six to eight feet along the parade route.

Plans call for sturdier barriers and more checkpoints and metal detectors along the parade route than in previous years. Officials also are setting up a higher-security ticketing and credentialing system for some events, to prevent people from using counterfeit materials to get into the balls and more restricted areas.

The Post, as usual, portrays this as a response to 9/11—

Security is always tight on Inauguration Day, but it will be magnified for the first inauguration since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Law enforcement officials have been preparing for months to protect U.S. and world leaders and citizens who attend.

But it is as much a response to security against antiwar protestors as it is to would-be terrorists, and here's the clue—

[O]fficials said the new Joint Forces Headquarters-National Capital Region is prepared to pre-deploy 4,000 active-duty combat forces in the District -- a significant departure from past inaugurations.

The military will support civilian authorities, if needed, and officials said they plan to project a much more forceful image than since at least the time of the Vietnam War.

About 2,000 troops, including members of the 82nd Airborne Division, were flown into Washington for Richard M. Nixon's inauguration in 1969, and some were stationed along the parade route. The military also helped protect the parade route for Nixon's second inauguration, in 1973. In recent decades, uniformed guards have played a mostly ceremonial role and specialized response teams stayed backstage. [emphasis added]

Thursday, November 11, 2004


A question for the Left

As you may have noticed, I've added this blog to the Progressive Blog Alliance (PBA), since I hate to be left out of a party. But the pressures and interests in my own life added to the self-imposed discipline of writing this blog don't allow me to participate often in the many conversations that are going on in the blogosphere. And taking the blogs all together, we are having either a grand conversation or lots of empty prattle or both, so I don't worry about it.

The PBA's group blog has been having the Left's discussion of the day, which is "We lost—now what do we do?" Ultimately I'll throw my own suggestions out, but in the meanwhile I was struck by an angry entry by DDJango. He articulates what amounts to a "populist progressive" manifesto, with which I can easily agree,1 and then adds,

[N]ow is not the time for alliances. It is the time to resist and oppose any and all compliance and complicity with Republicans on the part of Democrats. We don't need the Democratic Party. And the Democratic Party will continue to suppress a progressive populist threat from within.

I also agree that "the Democratic Party will continue to suppress a progressive populist threat from within." But my question is simple—If the Left cannot take over the machinery of the Democratic party, as the Right was so successful in doing with the Republican party, how can it hope to wield any real power? Or to put it another way, If you can't prevail in a political party that is closer in sympathy to your positions than the other party, how can you hope to prevail in the country at large?

I don't make this remark to repudiate the anger, which I share; or to single out this one opinion, because the sentiment is widespread; or to praise the Democratic party, with which I seldom sympathize. But I'm very concerned that we look for effective strategies and tactics, and to repudiate the Democratic party seems an admission of the ineffectiveness (or nonexistence) of those strategies and tactics.


1 DDJango's final bullet—"rejecting religious involvement of any kind in government, while recommitting to the right of each individual to freedom of belief, thought, worship, speech, and choice"—is a very complicated matter, worthy more of a book than a bullet. [back]


Quote of the Day

The Tao Te Ching is sufficiently obscure that every Chinese translator wants to have a go at it. So I'm giving the Quote of the Day in three flavors—

Tao Te Ching, Chapter 18

The most literal—

When the great dao declined,
jen and i arose, "humanity and righteousness."
Next, when brightness and know-how came in vogue,
the great pretence fully started.

When the six family relationships are not in harmony
There's open talk of "kind parents," "dutiful sons" and deep love to children.
A confused country enmeshed in disorder praises ministers in chaos and misrule.
T. Byrn

The most readable—

When the Way is forgotten
Duty and justice appear;
Then knowledge and wisdom are born
Along with hypocrisy.
When harmonious relationships dissolve
Then respect and devotion arise;
When a nation falls to chaos
Then loyalty and patriotism are born.
P. Merel

And the hippest—

When people ignore Tao,
they start talking about "righteousness" and "sanctity".
When they forget what's true,
they start talking about "self-evident truths".
When they do not respect each other,
they start talking about "political correctness" and "family values".
When the nation is unstable,
they start talking about "patriotism".
J. Garon

Wednesday, November 10, 2004


Morning musings . . .

I'm off to a slow start today, possibly because I stayed up late at the Pink Snapper soaking up local wisdom.

The drink of the day was the Irish Car Bomb

Shot of Jamieson's Irish whiskey topped with Bailey's Irish Cream
Drop it into a pint of Guinness

When mixed properly, it should taste like chocolate milk. Chocolate milk and Coca-cola are to strange drinks as chicken is to strange meats.

But not to leave you thirsting for knowledge, MSNBC's First Read had an interesting opening today.

Like 10,000 spoons when all you need is a knife, isn't it (a little) ironic...

...that Arlen Specter survived tough primary and general election challenges in 2004 without having to run too far to the right, only to find himself now citing Rush Limbaugh in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, and calling to assure Pat Robertson that he will support Bush's SCOTUS nominees, in his effort to secure the Judiciary chairmanship.

...that the increased GOP majority in the Senate may cause headaches for Bill Frist.

...that after Kerry suffered some blows over his thin Senate record during the campaign, he now plans to work really hard during the lame duck.

...that DLC president Bruce Reed spoke yesterday at the centrist organization's post-election forum about a need for Democrats to become "an insurgent reform party."

...that insurgent reformer Howard Dean may bid to chair the reform-resistant DNC.

...that McCain told Imus this morning that he called Kerry after the election and Kerry hasn't returned his call

They also point to a Daily News item that says that John Ashcroft "was willing to stay on indefinitely" but the White House said no.

The deeply religious ex-Missouri senator was dubbed the "Crisco Kid" because his minister dad once anointed him with cooking oil.

The grease never wore off.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004


My nominee for President in 2008

Hillary Clinton? If you think the South is lost for the Democrats, a Hillary candidacy would pretty much eliminate the need for an election. It really wouldn't matter who the Republicans run. Hillary is to Southerners what George Bush is to sanity.

Howard Dean? Today Dean is reported to be considering taking the chairmanship of the Democratic National Party. If he takes it, he must pledge not to run in 2008. I think it's a good spot for him. He's far more progressive and feisty than anyone we've seen in the position for a long time. Besides, a comeback for him in the current media environment seems unlikely.

Anybody who has ever served in the Congress should be immediately eliminated. They have a record, and this is invariably fatal. The primary condition for being elected President of the United States is for most people not to know who you are but to like how you look. So forget Biden and Kucinich. Oh, and it also matters how you "sound." So forget anybody from New England.

This normally leaves the list of Democratic governors to choose from, which is how we got Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. Carter let himself get bamboozled by the Republicans during the Iranian hostage crisis and could only hang on for one term. Clinton and the Democratic Leadership Council turned the Democratic Party into "Republican-Lite," but he surely would have done more if he could have. Still, if it hadn't been for Ross Perot's third-party candidacy, he probably wouldn't have been re-elected.

Many progressives would love to vote in the first woman President. Given the state of the country, there are an astonishing number of female governors. If they're not forced back into housework by the Christian Right, someone of the group might be a viable candidate.

I took a look at Jennifer Granholm of Michigan. She has allowed the "First Gentleman" to go out and discuss gender roles. Bad move. Not only that, he's a professor. I'd sooner touch poison ivy.

From what I read of her, Jane Napolitano of Arizona looks very attractive. She was the former attorney general of the state and has begun some progressive healthcare programs in Arizona. She's from a section of the country where the Democrats still see some hope. She might even end up being pitted against John McCain of Arizona. Now that would be interesting.

But if the Republicans are murmuring about Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York City, I think the Democrats also might cast about for someone other than the conventional.

And my nominee is (drumroll)— Eliot Spitzer, attorney general of New York. Spitzer came to mind as I was reading about the trials and tribulations of Marsh & McLennan. I know you've probably not heard of them, but they're only the world's #1 insurance broker.

They announced a 3000-person job cut today while they "restructure"—

Unfortunately, we must also adjust staff levels based on the realities of the marketplace and our current situation.

Their "current situation" is this—

In an Oct. 14 lawsuit, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer accused Marsh of rigging bids and colluding with American International Group Inc. and other insurers to fix prices.

Jeffrey Greenberg was ousted as Marsh chairman and chief executive on Oct. 25. Cherkasky had run Marsh Inc. and was once Spitzer's boss as the New York County district attorney's investigations chief.

On Monday, Marsh ousted two senior Marsh Inc. executives, including President Roger Egan, linked to the practices being investigated by Spitzer. Neither was accused of wrongdoing. Marsh's general counsel also stepped down.

The company set aside $232 million as the "minimum expected liability" for any civil settlement with Spitzer. Individual employees might still face criminal charges.

It also said its Putnam Investments mutual fund unit agreed in principle to pay $40 million to settle U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charges over its brokerage practices.

"Roger Egan stepping aside was a surprise," said Wayne Bopp, an analyst for Fifth Third Investment Advisors in Cincinnati, whose $34 billion of assets include Marsh shares. "You have to wonder how deep the problems are."

Bopp called the $232 million reserve "a good start" but added, "I would expect them to pay more. The lower number may be a good starting point for negotiations."

Wall Street has become the victim of an historical and geographical accident—it is located in the State of New York. If their financial forebears had known that Eliot Spitzer was to become attorney general of the state, they would certainly have located the financial center of the nation somewhere else—preferably in a business-friendly environment like, say, Paraguay.

Spitzer has been giving Wall Street fits. But it may ultimately be the Bush administration that feels his forensic wrath—

Toward the end of October,

On behalf of New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, Chief Investigator William Casey today accepted a Complaint and Petition from a group of New York City citizens including 9/11 family members, survivors and a Ground Zero triage physician. The Complaint demands that the AG open a criminal inquiry and/or grand jury investigation into the many still unsolved crimes of September 11, 2001 over which he has jurisdiction.

If anything comes out of this, it could propel Spitzer into the national limelight. Wall Street knows him well, but the general public doesn't. And the very fact that he has accepted the complaint suggests that it's a limelight he's not attempting to avoid.

I know very little about Spitzer other than his aggressive stance on corporate crime. But I feel comfortable in making one inference—his past must have been considerably less exciting than Mother Teresa's. Otherwise he would have been destroyed a long time ago.

Wouldn't you like to see him take a crack at Halliburton—as President?


Pseudoquote of the Day

A reader sent in this wonderful quote—

I see in the future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country...Corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.
—Abraham Lincoln, November 21, 1864

Well, it turns out that Lincoln didn't say that; he channeled it. According to the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency,

Allegedly written by Lincoln to Thomas Elkins on November 21, 1864. However, upon further examination by his son Robert Todd Lincoln, the source was traced to a séance in Iowa, where a medium reportedly channeled these words for the slain President.

Monday, November 08, 2004


The best place in the world to do business (edited)

While Western Europeans loathe just about everything the U.S. is up to, that sentiment is not shared by Europe's movers and shakers. The prospect of unregulated greed in the United States has made them sit up and salivate. And indications are that they're planning to follow the Bush-Rove model.

According to Larry Elliot in the Guardian,

Taxes are too high. The labour market is too cushy. Too much nannying is sucking the risk out of people's lives, stunting innovation. Europe, according to the CBI's president, John Sunderland, has to change and change fast.

Reform in Europe will be a central theme of the annual conference of the employers' organisation, which opens in Birmingham today. Sunderland, the chairman of Cadbury Schweppes, will use his opening speech to call for a Europe which is leaner and fitter. More like the United States, in other words.

The CBI believes last week's report from Wim Kok shows that even European policymakers have seen the light....

European capitalists are losing the game. When you reach their level, money is just the measure of winning or losing—

Europe's overall performance in the past four years, Kok says, has been disappointing. Growth has been weaker than in the US or Asia - the result both of continuing structural weaknesses and sluggish demand.

So come on, team! Let's see what we can get done!

The report calls for more R&D expenditure, the completion of the single market, cutting down on burdensome regulation to create the right climate for entrepreneurs, more investment in human capital to create an adaptable labour market and exploiting environmentalism for competitive advantage.

Does any of this sound familiar? Did you notice how they nestle the "burdensome regulation" theme among some good ideas?

And what will happen if the European populace doesn't follow them?—

"At risk - in the medium to long run - is nothing less than the sustainability of the society Europe has built [the social contract that underwrites the risk of unemployment, ill-health and old age] ... if Europe cannot adapt, cannot modernise its systems and cannot increase its growth and employment fast enough then it will be impossible to sustain these choices."

Why, they're just going to have to take away their social security!

Unheard of here in the U.S., the Guardian offers an opposing point of view—

According to Professor James Galbraith, one of America's leading Keynesian economists, this is not just a misreading of reality, but for European progressives a dangerous fantasy. "By accepting it they find themselves acknowledging the existence of an economy led to full employment, at least for a time, through the application of free market principles, including radical deregulation and the destruction of unions.

"Progressives thus find themselves in the position of defending the dismal economic performance of modern Europe - specifically, its high rate of unemployment - on the grounds that the alternative has unacceptable social costs. In this way acquiescence in mass unemployment becomes the price of defending civilisation. The case for social democracy is fatally weakened by the concession that it requires 10% of the population to remain idle or to labour off the books in the grey economy."

Gee! I didn't know the patient was so ill. Remaining idle and laboring off the books is what the wealthy do every day, and I've still to detect an adverse effect on them.

Also unheard of in the U.S. media, the Guardian presents an economic plan that does not take as its goal the maximization of profit—

Galbraith suggests an alternative blueprint. For a start, he gives far greater saliency to demand, arguing that the objective of full employment should be made a core objective of all policy-making institutions. "This includes the fiscal authorities and the central bank. It must be more important in practice than either price stability of fiscal balance, and the authorities must recognise that fiscal balance is a consequence, not a cause, of full employment.

Now I'm not saying that I necessarily agree with Professor Galbraith's objective—I would need to understand better his sense of the word "employment"—but at the very least it is a plan that serves the interests of the governed over the interests of their governors.

Europe, the former Dutch premier [Wim Kok] concludes, has failed to live up to the promise made in the Lisbon agenda of 2000 to make Europe the best place in the world to do business by 2010.

The best place in the world to do business is not a people-friendly place.

We are so brainwashed that we can read a sentence such as "the case for social democracy is fatally weakened by the concession that it requires 10% of the population to remain idle or to labour off the books in the grey economy" without even asking what that means, much less what kind of values it represents.

In fact, in a true "social democracy" the people would be asking their electees how they are serving their interests—be they economic, or in health, or in defense. And the role of the media would be to ask those questions for the people and faithfully report the politicians' answers as well as the facts related to those answers.

I know. I live on another planet. And I will grant that the capitalists have a certain demented objectivity. They don't see the entire picture very well, but they have an excellent grasp of the parts in which they're interested. So we are ruled by idiots-savants.

The Bush-Rove strategy has been a real eye-opener for the European Right. So you will not be surprised if I tell you that a move is now afoot to restore "traditional Christian values" to Europe.

Rocco Buttiglione, whose nomination as the EU's justice commissioner was forced to be withdrawn last month, began a public campaign at the weekend to form a European "theo-con" movement for those who believe traditional Christian values should be part of public life.

Mr Buttiglione, a fervent Catholic and friend of the Pope, was forced to stand down after the European parliament balked at his views on homosexuality and marriage.

Rather than retreat, he intends to lead a "battle for the freedom of Christians" against what he calls the "creeping totalitarianism" in Europe that stifles anyone who does not share the beliefs of the majority.

This is a movement originating from Berlusconi's Italy. As it was for the Nazis, Buttiglione's sense of victimization is very powerful. Hitler did time. But not enough.1

Related post
EU Constitution signed; anti-gay candidate backs off


1As described on a UK educational site,

After hiding in a friend's house for several days, Hitler was arrested and put on trial for his role in the Beer Hall Putsch [high treason]. If found guilty, Hitler faced the death penalty. While in prison Hitler suffered from depression and talked of committing suicide. However, it soon became clear that the Nazi sympathizers in the Bavarian government were going to make sure that Hitler would not be punished severely.

At his trial Hitler was allowed to turn the proceedings into a political rally, and although he was found guilty he only received the minimum sentence of five years. Other members of the Nazi Party also received light sentences and Eric Ludendorff was acquitted. [emphasis added]


Sunday, November 07, 2004


Quote of the Day

Tom Paine was a pretty partisan guy, and ultimately that served truth a lot better than a ship full of neutral reporters would have.
—Keith Olbermann, Bloggermann

A slender reed (updated 11/08/04)

There is an article by Thom Hartman "Evidence Mounts That The Vote May Have Been Hacked" that raises suspicions about the Florida vote in counties that use optical scanners—
In Baker County, for example, with 12,887 registered voters, 69.3% of them Democrats and 24.3% of them Republicans, the vote was only 2,180 for Kerry and 7,738 for Bush, the opposite of what is seen everywhere else in the country where registered Democrats largely voted for Kerry.

In Dixie County, with 4,988 registered voters, 77.5% of them Democrats and a mere 15% registered as Republicans, only 1,959 people voted for Kerry, but 4,433 voted for Bush.

More visual analysis of the results can be seen at http://us, and Note the trend line – the only variable that determines a swing toward Bush was the use of optical scan machines.

Buzzflash has linked to this article and a reader also called my attention to it, so I suppose I should comment.

I'm as eager to see these criminals get caught as anyone, but what's being suggested here is a very slim reed. I don't know Baker County. But I'm a bit familiar with Dixie County, and I don't find the voting statistics remarkable at all. There really is something in the water. I guess that makes me a supporter of the "Dixiecrat" theory—

One possible explanation for this is the "Dixiecrat" theory, that in Florida white voters (particularly the rural ones) have been registered as Democrats for years, but voting Republican since Reagan. Looking at the 2000 statistics, also available on Dopp's site, there are similar anomalies, although the trends are not as strong as in 2004. But some suggest the 2000 election may have been questionable in Florida, too.

One of the people involved in Dopp's analysis noted that it may be possible to determine the validity of the "rural Democrat" theory by comparing Florida's white rural counties to those of Pennsylvania, another swing state but one that went for Kerry, as the exit polls there predicted. Interestingly, the Pennsylvania analysis, available at, doesn't show the same kind of swings as does Florida, lending credence to the possibility of problems in Florida.

Comparing rural Pennsylvania with rural Florida is ludicrous on its face. No wonder we lost the election. Whatever it is we're growing out there, they sure ain't Amish.

Hartman posits that the vote manipulation would have been done not at the individual voting machine but at the central tabulator. He reviews a demonstration by Bev Harris showing how easily the vote count may be changed in a Windows-based system.

I agree that the place to rig the vote would be in the tabulation software, and that Windows-based systems are easily altered, generally speaking. But the thing about optical scan machines is that there is a paper ballot. Could they really be that stupid? In certain counties, maybe. But on the other hand, I don't see how they could be that smart.

Hartman offers one further "anomaly"—

.... A professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, noted that in Florida the vote to raise the minimum wage was approved by 72%, although Kerry got 48%. "The correlation between voting for the minimum wage increase and voting for Kerry isn't likely to be perfect," he noted, "but one would normally expect that the gap - of 1.5 million votes - to be far smaller than it was."

Does the good professor not understand that many of the people voting for Bush are poor people? When you pool together the poor people and the liberals you can get quite a decisive vote. We ought to try it more often.

Meanwhile, Bev Harris at is attempting to make countrywide Freedom-of-Information-Act requests and is asserting that there was fraud in this election.

Black Box Voting has taken the position that fraud took place in the 2004 election through electronic voting machines. We base this on hard evidence, documents obtained in public records requests, inside information, and other data indicative of manipulation of electronic voting systems. What we do not know is the specific scope of the fraud. We are working now to compile the proof, based not on soft evidence -- red flags, exit polls -- but core documents obtained by Black Box Voting in the most massive Freedom of Information action in history.

Harris is meaner than a junkyard dog when it comes to vote shenanigans, and she needs money and volunteers. So you may want to check out her project.

A reader has pointed out in the comments that the total number of votes exceeds the registered voters as quoted for Dixie County. I hadn't noticed that, partly because that was not the point that Hartman was making. But the quoted text was cut and pasted, so I have gone back to the Hartman site to check. It now appears as—
In Dixie County, with 9,676 registered voters, 77.5% of them Democrats and a mere 15% registered as Republicans, only 1,959 people voted for Kerry, but 4,433 voted for Bush.

This corresponds with the voter registration as given by the Florida Dept. of State (FDS), which reports a turnout of 6,472 (66.9%) [link under "County Reporting"]. The FDS indicates that the database was last updated today at 1:46 pm EST and is a final report. The turnout exceeds the recorded vote by 80 votes, which should represent the "wastage."

Dixie County demographics

According to Wikipedia,

As of the census of 2000, there are 13,827 people, 5,205 households, and 3,659 families residing in the county.... The racial makeup of the county is 88.80% White, 8.98% Black or African American....

There are 5,205 households out of which 27.40% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.90% are married couples living together, 10.60% have a female householder with no husband present, and 29.70% are non-families. 23.90% of all households are made up of individuals and 11.60% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.44 and the average family size is 2.87.

In the county the population is spread out with 22.10% under the age of 18, 7.90% from 18 to 24, 26.60% from 25 to 44, 26.20% from 45 to 64, and 17.10% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 41 years. For every 100 females there are 113.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 117.20 males.

The median income for a household in the county is $26,082, and the median income for a family is $31,157. Males have a median income of $26,694 versus $17,863 for females. The per capita income for the county is $13,559. 19.10% of the population and 14.50% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 23.90% are under the age of 18 and 16.10% are 65 or older.

Related posts:
The USA Today post-debate poll:
What did it measure and what does it have to do with the Song of Roland?

Fear and loathing in Florida

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