Blogging Left

With the darkness now covering the land, the progressive spirit of the Enlightenment is getting dimmer and dimmer. But at the same time, the blogosphere allows folks an alternative means of communication that allows the truth to be known and someday, the progressive agenda will be realized.

Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

When I was an undergraduate, I read Escape From Freedom in an anthropology course, wow did I think that was cool stuff when I was 19, but how can you make a living doing that kind of stuff. Well, somehow I pursued an interdisciplinary education and trained to become a shrink, but with strong social and political values. (I did spend several years at the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis. Well, somehow I got caught up in protesting the war in Viet Nam, moved from a more individualistic perspective to a sociological perspective, and voila, here I am, having made a career in sociology and what am I doing, Frankfurt School critical theory....yes maybe Nietzsche is right about eternal return. If interested in my professional work, see my website-tho it has not been updated lateley. I will soon have a volume of papers on alienatioun out. I am now working on a book on the carnivalization of our culture, how the degeneration of taste destroys the mind and fosters political indifference.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Diebold Source Code

Area Diebold Source Code!!!

News Update from Citizens for Legitimate Government
November 10, 2004

"Dr. Avi Rubin is currently Professor of Computer Science at John Hopkins University. He 'accidentally' got his hands on a copy of the Diebold software program--Diebold's source code--which runs their e-voting machines. Dr. Rubin's students pored over 48,609 lines of code that make up this software. One line in particular stood out over all the rest: #defineDESKEY((des_KEY8F2654hd4" All commercial programs have provisions to be encrypted so as to protect them from having their contents read or changed by anyone not having the key.. The line that staggered the Hopkins team was that the method used to encrypt the Diebold machines was a method called Digital Encryption Standard (DES), a code that was broken in 1997 and is NO LONGER USED by anyone to secure programs. F2654hd4 was the key to the encryption. Moreover, because the KEY was IN the source code, all Diebold machines would respond to the same key. Unlock one, you have then ALL unlocked. I can't believe there is a person alive who wouldn't understand the reason this was allowed to happen. This wasn't a mistake by any stretch of the imagination."

Friday, November 26, 2004


The Center for Disease Control has issued a warning about a new virulent strain of sexually transmitted disease. This disease is contracted through dangerous and high risk behavior. The disease is called Gonorrhealectim (pronounced "gonna re-elect him").Many victims have contracted it after having been screwed for the past 4years, in spite of having taken measures to protect themselves from this especially virulent disease. Cognitive sequellae of individuals infectedwith Gonorrhea lectim include, but are not limited to: Anti-social personality disorder traits; delusions of grandeur with a distinct messianic flavor; chronic mangling of the English language; extreme cognitive dissonance; inability to incorporate new information; pronounced xenophobia; inability to accept responsibility for actions; exceptional cowardice masked by acts of misplaced bravado; ignorance of geography andhistory; tendencies toward creating evangelical theocracies; and a strong propensity for categorical, all-or nothing behavior.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

The Enlightenment of the Founding Fathers

This was posted on another blog, useful reminder of what the fundies want as oppossed to the Founding Fathers
Thursday, November 25, 2004
The Enlightenment of the Founding Fathers
The Founding Fathers were products of The Age of
Enlightenment. These quotes draw sharp contrast between their thoughts and the nonsense going on now:"Lighthouses are more helpful than churches."-Ben Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack, 1758"Ecclesiastical establishments tend to great ignorance and corruption, all of which facilitate the execution of mischievous projects."-James Madison, letter to William Bradford, January 1774"Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise, every expanded prospect." -James Madison, letter to William Bradford, April 1, 1774"Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear."-Thomas Jefferson, letter, 1787"As to Jesus of Nazareth, my opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the system of morals and his religion, as he left them to us, the best the world ever saw or is likely to see, but I apprehend it has received various corrupting changes, and I have, with most of the present dissenters in England, some doubts as to his divinity, though it is a question I do not dogmatize upon, having never studied it, and think it needless to busy myself with it now, when I expect soon an opportunity of knowing the truth with less trouble. I see no harm, however, in its being believed, if that belief has the good consequences, as probably it has, of making his doctrines more respected and observed, especially as I do not perceive that the Supreme takes it amiss, by distinguishing the unbelievers in his government of the world with any peculiar marks of his displeasure." -Benjamin Franklin, letter to Ezra Stiles, March 9, 1790"All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit." -Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason, 1797"Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we called it the word of a demon than the Word of God. It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind."-Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason, 1794"The question before the human race is, whether the God of nature shall govern the world by his own laws, or whether priests and kings shall rule it by fictitious miracles?"-John Adams, letter to Thomas Jefferson, June 20, 1815"The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter." -Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Adams, April 11, 1823"History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance, of which their political as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purpose."-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Alexander von Humboldt, 1813
See Also:
Texas Freedom Network

Zogby on Vote Fraud

Zogby Vs. Mitofsky (Keith Olbermann)
NEW YORK - It was a spectacular irony - a Republican senator using the word “fraud” about the presidential election. More spectacular still, he was visiting his condemnation of apparent election manipulation on the incumbent party. And beyond all that, he and others based their conclusions largely on the incredible disparity between the last exit polls and the vote count itself. Of course, Indiana’s Richard Lugar was talking about
the presidential election in the Ukraine. But in so doing, he underscored that once again, the exit polls appear to have fulfilled the time-honored international tradition of the canary in the mine shaft. If only we could have used them in that way here.
“I don't think that exit polls can be used as a barometer for the accuracy of an election itself,” noted pollster John Zogby explained to me on last night’s Countdown, in what we think was his first full-scale television interview since the election. “At least until we find out if there's something broken with this round of election polls… I think that the gentlemen who are responsible for the exit polls should be fully transparent, release their data, discuss their methodology. Let us see what exactly it is that happened, and why it happened.”
It turns out one of those gentlemen doesn’t think anything happened.
In an unsolicited e-mail to Countdown, Warren Mitofsky wrote that he was “struck by the misinformation” in our program. He heads
Mitofsky International, which along with Edison Media Research, conducted the election night exit polling for the television networks and the Associated Press. I referred to the variance among the early and late exit polls, and the voting. Insisting “there were no early exit polls” released by his company or Edison, Mr. Mitofsky wrote “the early release came from unauthorized leaks to bloggers who posted misinformation.”
Mitofsky compared those leaks to “the score at half time at a football game” and said the “leakers were reading complex displays intended for trained statisticians. The leakers did not understand what they were reading and the bloggers did not know they were getting misinformation.”
His defense of his work grew more strident. “The presidential exit polls released at poll closing time when they were completed had an average error of 1.9 percentage points. There were no mistaken projections by Edison/Mitofsky or any of the NEP members.” One more thrust: “All the professionals correctly interpreted the numbers.”
While Zogby spoke of a “blue ribbon panel” to investigate both the voting irregularities and the exit polling, Mitofsky asked rhetorically, “Did anyone really think that 51% in an exit poll two hours before voting was finished in the western states gave Kerry a lock on the presidency?”
John Zogby, meanwhile, was more concerned about the short end of another poll this week -- one that indicated that about four in five Americans thought President Bush had been legitimately elected three weeks ago. “But, Keith, 20 percent don’t think the president is legitimate. And worse yet, if you take the other half, those that didn’t vote for him, about half of the other side doesn’t think the president is legitimate. That just hasn’t existed for a long, long time in our system. We need to restore, I think, some semblance of legitimacy and honor to the system.”
Warren Mitofsky seemed to disagree. “The exit polls have been better in the past. They were far from perfect, but nowhere near as bad as your broadcast made them sound.” He never mentioned Zogby in his e-mail, but he did blast others. “Only the unauthorized leakers and bloggers were misled - a fate they richly deserved.”
Mitofsky’s pride in his efforts is understandable. But the so-called ‘early waves’ of exit polling information were disseminated in generalized form to all the networks as darkness fell in the east on November 2nd. They were intended as background, as material that could be used to anticipate patterns and results. Those who characterized them loaded them heavily with caveats and disclaimers, and kept numbers virtually out of their characterizations. But the effect was impossible to misinterpret. Merely in their intended spheres, they helped shape coverage and tone, on-air and off.
And they, along with the voting irregularities so thoroughly chronicled on the net (and still just seeping into the mainstream media), created an atmosphere that Zogby thinks requires broad remedy: “I think it's in the interests of the nation that we study what happened in this election and widen that, let's study what happened with the exit polls, and let's come out with a definitive conclusions by a blue ribbon panel to restore the legitimacy of this election.”
Zogby thinks he knows the steps to take to do that. The first is for those who are raising questions, to keep doing so. “I can reassure them they’re not crazy for asking. It’s not just those who are far out, it is indeed many respectable, responsible people.” The pollster says he’s heard from thousands of them, asking him to get involved in their various causes and investigations, so many he can’t answer them all.
But he used Countdown as his mass e-mail reply. “I’ll take this opportunity right now to say I think that it’s in the interest of healing this country and restoring some unity to this country for us to have a thorough investigation of what happened both to the election and with the exit polls.” Zogby called for the proverbial blue-ribbon commission into the voting irregularities, and the full release of the exit polling data.
And he encouraged the recounts, even when, as they have in the first three of the nine precincts in New Hampshire, they have varied by just fifteen votes from the original count. The second tally in Ohio, Zogby says, “certainly is useful, but I don't think its enough…I called this election for months the Armageddon election, and in that context, one of the things that we discovered throughout our polling was the fact that there were going to be significant numbers, on both sides who were not going to accept the legitimacy of the other guy winning, especially if it was close election.”
Do they have reason? With three weeks’ reflection, he’s not convinced there was an altered vote - accidental or otherwise - at least not on “a grand scale.” But Zogby says the “system is not geared for a close election like this” and if “many millions of people… don’t think that their vote was counted accurately,” the results are almost as bad as if an election was rigged, or decided by static charges in a thousand computers.
Zogby says he’s at peace with his own Election Night forecast - made not with the Mitofsky or Edison exit polling, but with his own polls. He saw Florida and Ohio both “trending” towards Kerry, and producing a triple-digit victory for the Democrat. Within the pollster’s margin of error, he made no mistakes. But he may not be as thoroughly sanguine as he suggests. Off-air, in the preparatory interview standard for all guests, his November 2 forecast was mentioned.
“Thanks,” he said, “for reminding me.”
Which reminds me that it was mildly encouraging to see some focus given to this entire topic Tuesday night by my old CNN cohort Aaron Brown. A carefully-worded segment included a laundry list of the problems we’ve been reporting on Countdown for the last three weeks, and compared them to “the kind of dumb mistake that ruined the Hubbell telescope.” Brown referenced the UC Berkeley study on the prospect of 130,000 phantom votes in Florida (though he didn’t mention its conclusion that all of them went to President Bush), and even had about fifteen seconds of Blackbox’s Bev Harris and her slog through the computer printout records in Florida.
Such as they are.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Why The Will Democrats Lose

by Will Kelley
So the Democrats lost again this November. I'm not talking about the loss of the Presidency. Kerry's loss is just a piece of the much bigger defeat suffered by the Democrats in the US Congress and states all around the country. This is the real story. The Democrats learned nothing from their loss in 2002. After that election Baxter Black drew the right inference when he combined Tom Daschle's deer-in-the-headlights look with his later actions. Daschle, said Black, was telling his fellow Democrats, "Stick with me, boys, I'm going down with the ship." Indeed, Daschle was unable to change course even enough for him to keep his seat in the Senate.
The problem with the Democrats isn't their positions on issues. The Democrats tend to hold the same positions as a majority of Americans. What's more, even though many people who agree with Democratic positions vote Republican at election time, Democrats can still come close to a majority. Yet, except for Clinton, they have been losing ever since Jimmy Carter was refused a second term in 1980, with no sign that the erosion of their electoral base will abate.
The central problem is that the Democrats don't know how to communicate. First, they don't know how to talk to ordinary people. Worse, though, is that they no longer have the ability to speak plainly even to themselves. The combination is a disaster.
National level Democrats are rhetorically incompetent. In the most recent election votes could be heard slipping away every time John Kerry said, "I have a program." First, this phrasing draws attention to him rather than the people. Second, though, some 25 years ago neo-conservative Republicans persuaded these same people to translate "program" as "government bureaucracy," and to sneer at bureaucrats. Kerry dug himself a deeper hole every time he used the word. Compare his rhetoric to George W. Bush's. Not only did the Bush administration not eliminate the Department of Education, the way an earlier generation of Republicans tried to, they used it to engineer one of the most massive national interventions in a basic institution that the country has ever seen. But did they call this huge federal initiative a "program?" No. Instead, at a time of profound economic disruption, one when tens of millions of people have been afraid of falling down the socioeconomic ladder, when evangelical churches seemed newly inviting because they offered the promise of salvation, when novels based on the problem of how to find redemption in the End Times became one of the best-selling series in history, the Bush Administration announced its goal: No Child Left Behind. They promised nothing to adults, mind you, those whose actions may have placed them beyond (social and economic) salvation. They did promise, though, that innocent children would not be Left Behind. Thus it was positioned not as a program, but as the substance of hope for our future. In the words of Humpty Dumpty: "There's glory for you!"
The Democrats will not start winning again until they learn to frame their goals and policies in terms that resonate with central symbols at play in American society. More than fifty years ago Richard Weaver wrote that there are "ultimate terms" in political rhetoric, words that attract images of values with compelling power. Some attract, and he called these "god words," while compellingly repellent words were dubbed "devil words." Republicans pay close attention to the use of both in their rhetoric, but not Democrats. I even heard a Democratic strategist reject Weaver's analysis because the man himself was said to be a strident "conservative." I hate to break it to that worthy strategist, but to reject an analysis on the basis of personal qualities of its author does not work outside self-enclosed organizations such as the Roman Catholic Church, Wahabi clerics, Communist editorialists, and Post-Structuralist graduate seminars. Those who did attend to Weaver's analysis started winning, and by now have swept every state except those with large proportions of people who work in the new sector of communication, information, and finance.
It will be hard to learn to use political rhetoric in an appropriate way, though, as long as Democratic insiders don't even know how to talk to themselves. Here's a perfect sign of how deep the problem runs: When national Democratic insiders speak, listen for what linguists call the "phony inclusive we." Democratic insiders use "we" to refer reprovingly to "you," the way a mother might say to a child, "We've made a bit of a mess of ourselves." Talk like this might be appropriate if it were restricted to the floor of Congress, where a legislator could make an argument on behalf of the whole, by saying, as Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) did, "We are going backwards."* The problem is that use of the phony inclusive "we" seems to be part of a rite of passage into national Democratic leadership. Insiders use it frequently, suggesting that powerful personalities among the central leadership still believe they have the right to speak as if they governed the country. But they don't, and to act as if they do indicates a profound loss of contact with political reality.
Constant use of the phony inclusive "we" is profoundly debilitating, because it indicates a Democratic inability to engage their opponents. While it might make sense if they were exhorting a majority to great deeds, use of "we" renders them unintelligible when they, as a minority party, try to criticize others. Just who is being spoken to? Who is being spoken about? Who is responsible for the actions they deplore? When they use the phony inclusive "we" an audience has little or no idea. The talk has been rendered vague and unfocused, while responsibility has been diffused to the point of vanishing. Worse, because the phony inclusive "we" is still "egocentric," to listeners it can sound as if the Democrats are trying to slip something past them.
This derangement of speech is restricted to Democratic insiders. Republicans, in contrast, have no problem with naming names and making claims. They are perfectly willing to charge that the Democratic Party wants to send the country to wrack and ruin, and the more scathing the sarcasm, the better. It is a strategy that has succeeded ever since Ron Paul ran for Congress in the district south of Houston in the early 1970s. Even now that the Republicans control both houses of Congress and the Presidency, and are consolidating power, they continue to snarl like an angry minority. And the Democrats can be herded like sheep. They don't understand that Republicans don't see them as opponents to be bested, but enemies to be destroyed. They cannot be appeased by the shapeless sounds of Democrats trying to "play well with others."
Voters, in the meantime, know how to respond. It is rather like the message an angel had St. John send to the church in Laodicea: "Because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth" (Revelation 3:16). Sounds about right. Until the Democrats go through serious internal reform we can expect voters to continue to choke on their words, refuse to swallow, and spit out the candidates even when voters prefer their programs.

Lets Get Real on Vote Fraud Mark Cripin Miller

This article is permanently archived at:
Let’s Get Real
By Mark Crispin Miller
November 16, 2004
Bush & company’s theft of the election was a crime so obvious that it requires more effort to deny than to affirm. This rip-off was as flagrant as the L.A. cops’ assault on Rodney King, Kerry’s stellar soldiering in Vietnam, or Bush’s lousy record in the Texas Air National Guard, and yet this national calamity is being dismissed as a delusion.
The reason for the Busheviks’ denial is as obvious as the theft itself: How better to commit the perfect crime than to insist it never happened?
And yet what makes this stance so dangerous is not just its use on the right, but its prevalence throughout the corporate media (MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann excepted) and even among those on the left. To charge that the Republicans did not legitimately rout the Democrats provokes the counter-charge that such claims “hurt the cause” by floating angry fantasy instead of scientific fact.
Rather than urge cautiousness, such automatic counter-claims quash all discussion of electoral fraud, as if the very notion were far-fetched. “This charge was false, so all charges must be wrong,” is the response that Karl Rove wants from us, as we will then conclude, conveniently for him, “Case closed!”
A niggling over-focus on particulars is just the attitude that propagandists seek to cultivate because it helps them cloud the issue. Thus were a few trivial aspects of John Kerry’s military record used to call that entire record into question. And thus did Rove succeed in driving journalists away from Bush’s scandalous Guard service by distracting them with the canard that those incriminating documents revealed by CBS were fakes—or rather, that one of them might not have been authentic.
To let ourselves believe that the “election” was legitimate because this claim or that has been disproved(apparently) is to not honor reason. On the contrary, a veritable sea of evidence, statistical as well as anecdotal and circumstantial, supports the claim that Bush, again, was not elected by the people.
To nod agreement that this was indeed an honest win is to forget how Bush was shoehorned into office in the first place; to ignore the ease with which electronic totals can be changed without a trace; to suppress the fact that Diebold, Sequoia and ES&S—the major manufacturers of touch screen voting machines and central tabulators—are owned and run by Bush Republicans, who have made no secret of their partisan intentions; to deny the value of the exit polls, which turn out to have been “mistaken” only in the swing states; to downplay the weird inflation of the Bush vote in county after county, where the number of votes for president was somehow higher than the number of voters who turned out; to ignore the bald chicanery of the Bush supporters who ran the central polling station in Ohio’s Warren County and forced out the press and poll monitors so they could count the vote in secret; to forget the numerous accounts of vote fraud coast to coast throughout the prior weeks of early voting; to overlook the fact that every single “glitch” or “error” that has been reported favors Bush; to ignore the countless instances of ballots—absentee, provisional—thrown away or left uncounted; to forget that the civilian vote abroad (some four million Americans) was being mishandled by the Pentagon (which had somehow become responsible for doing the State Department’s job); and to ignore the many dirty tricks reported—the polling places quickly relocated at the last minute, the fake voter-registration drives, the thousands of Americans who found themselves not on the rolls, the police road-blocks, the bullying pro-Bush poll workers, the machines that kept translating votes for Kerry into votes for Bush. And so on.
To forget or ignore all this and to accept—on faith—the mere say-so of Bush & Company (and our compliant media) is to make clear that you are not a member of what the Busheviks deride as “the reality-based community.” Those who help discredit false reports are doing that community, and this erstwhile democracy, a precious service. But, those who would abort the whole inquiry in the name of science or journalistic probity and “closure” are putting that community, and this nation, at grave risk.
Mark Crispin Miller is a professor of media studies at NYU and author, most recently, of Cruel and Unusual: Bush/Cheney’s New World Order. The DVD of his new film, A Patriot Act, is available at
his Web site.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Fraud Found in Florida NO SHIT MR HOLMES

'Stinking Evidence' of Possible Election Fraud Found in Florida
By Thom Hartmann
Thursday 18 November 2004
There was something odd about the poll tapes.
A "poll tape" is the phrase used to describe a printout from an optical scan voting machine made the evening of an election, after the machine has read all the ballots and crunched the numbers on its internal computer. It shows the total results of the election in that location. The printout is signed by the polling officials present in that precinct/location, and then submitted to the county elections office as the official record of how the people in that particular precinct had voted. (Usually each location has only one single optical scanner/reader, and thus produces only one poll tape.)
Bev Harris of, the erstwhile investigator of electronic voting machines, along with people from Florida Fair Elections, showed up at Florida's Volusia County Elections Office on the afternoon of Tuesday, November 16, 2004, and asked to see, under a public records request, each of the poll tapes for the 100+ optical scanners in the precincts in that county. The elections workers - having been notified in advance of her request - handed her a set of printouts, oddly dated November 15 and lacking signatures.
Bev pointed out that the printouts given her were not the original poll tapes and had no signatures, and thus were not what she'd requested. Obligingly, they told her that the originals were held in another location, the Elections Office's Warehouse, and that since it was the end of the day they should meet Bev the following morning to show them to her.
Bev showed up bright and early the morning of Wednesday the 17th - well before the scheduled meeting - and discovered three of the elections officials in the Elections Warehouse standing over a table covered with what looked like poll tapes. When they saw Bev and her friends, Bev told me in a telephone interview less than an hour later, "They immediately shoved us out and slammed the door."
In a way, that was a blessing, because it led to the stinking evidence.
"On the porch was a garbage bag," Bev said, "and so I looked in it and, and lo and behold, there were public record tapes."
Thrown away. Discarded. Waiting to be hauled off.
"It was technically stinking, in fact," Bev added, "because what they had done was to have thrown some of their polling tapes, which are the official records of the election, into the garbage. These were the ones signed by the poll workers. These are something we had done an official public records request for."
When the elections officials inside realized that the people outside were going through the trash, they called the police and one came out to challenge Bev.
Kathleen Wynne, a investigator, was there.
"We caught the whole thing on videotape," she said. "I don't think you'll ever see anything like this - Bev Harris having a tug of war with an election worker over a bag of garbage, and he held onto it and she pulled on it, and it split right open, spilling out those poll tapes. They were throwing away our democracy, and Bev wasn't going to let them do it."
As I was interviewing Bev just moments after the tussle, she had to get off the phone, because, "Two police cars just showed up."
She told me later in the day, in an on-air interview, that when the police arrived, "We all had a vigorous debate on the merits of my public records request."
The outcome of that debate was that they all went from the Elections Warehouse back to the Elections Office, to compare the original, November 2 dated and signed poll tapes with the November 15 printouts the Elections Office had submitted to the Secretary of State. A camera crew from met them there, as well.
And then things got even odder.
"We were sitting there comparing the real [signed, original] tapes with the [later printout] ones that were given us," Bev said, "and finding things missing and finding things not matching, when one of the elections employees took a bin full of things that looked like garbage - that looked like polling tapes, actually - and passed by and disappeared out the back of the building."
This provoked investigator Ellen Brodsky to walk outside and check the garbage of the Elections Office itself. Sure enough - more original, signed poll tapes, freshly trashed.
"And I must tell you," Bev said, "that whatever they had taken out [the back door] just came right back in the front door and we said, 'What are these polling place tapes doing in your dumpster?'"
A November 18 call to the Volusia County Elections Office found that Elections Supervisor Deanie Lowe was unavailable and nobody was willing to speak on the record with an out-of-state reporter. However,
The Daytona Beach News (in Volusia County), in a November 17th article by staff writer Christine Girardin, noted, "Harris went to the Department of Elections' warehouse on State Road 44 in DeLand on Tuesday to inspect original Nov. 2 polling place tapes, after being given a set of reprints dated Nov. 15. While there, Harris saw Nov. 2 polling place tapes in a garbage bag, heightening her concern about the integrity of voting records."
The Daytona Beach News further noted that, "[Elections Supervisor] Lowe confirmed Wednesday some backup copies of tapes from the Nov. 2 election were destined for the shredder," but pointed out that, according to Lowe, that was simply because there were two sets of tapes produced on election night, each signed. "One tape is delivered in one car along with the ballots and a memory card," the News reported. "The backup tape is delivered to the elections office in a second car."
Suggesting that duplicates don't need to be kept, Lowe claims that Harris didn't want to hear an explanation of why some signed poll tapes would be in the garbage. "She's not wanting to listen to an explanation," Lowe told the News of Harris. "She has her own ideas."
But the Ollie North action in two locations on two days was only half of the surprise that awaited Bev and her associates. When they compared the discarded, signed, original tapes with the recent printouts submitted to the state and used to tabulate the Florida election winners, Harris says a disturbing pattern emerged.
"The difference was hundreds of votes in each of the different places we examined," said Bev, "and most of those were in minority areas."
When I asked Bev if the errors they were finding in precinct after precinct were random, as one would expect from technical, clerical, or computer errors, she became uncomfortable.
"You have to understand that we are non-partisan," she said. "We're not trying to change the outcome of an election, just to find out if there was any voting fraud."
That said, Bev added: "The pattern was very clear. The anomalies favored George W. Bush. Every single time."
Of course finding possible voting "anomalies" in one Florida county doesn't mean they'll show up in all counties. It's even conceivable there are innocent explanations for both the mismatched counts and trashed original records; this story undoubtedly will continue to play out. And, unless further investigation demonstrates a pervasive and statewide trend toward "anomalous" election results in many of Florida's counties, odds are none of this will change the outcome of the election (which exit polls showed John Kerry winning in Florida).
Nonetheless, Bev and her merry band are off to hit another county.
As she told me on her cell phone while driving toward their next destination, "We just put Volusia County and their lawyers on notice that they need to continue to keep a number of documents under seal, including all of the memory cards to the ballot boxes, and all of the signed poll tapes."
"Simple," she said. "Because we found anomalies indicative of fraud."
Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning and best-selling author and host of a nationally-syndicated daily progressive talk show. His website is and his most recent books include "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People: A Call to Take Back America" and "What Would Jefferson Do?: A Return to Democracy."

Screw the Rural Rubes-Cities are the Basis of Civilization

This exchange from one of my local activist lists, most the article on cities-rubes, explains quite of bit about the election. This is long, but worth reading-L

Marilyn, I am unable to read all of this email, but I think you are correct. I am in Mississippi now with a sick parent. I think that people see the northern candidates as elitist who do not know or are concerned about them. We have to show people that we can speak their language and that we are concerned. The whole notion about morality and Christian values dominate the south. We must show folks that we care about them, and not just about the rights of minorities and gays. I had huge fights within my own family and community about gay rights. Like Kerry, I am against gay marriage, but I respect everybody's rights. Our message has been too complicated for the everyday man. We must speak plainer and emphasize that the protection of one man's right is the protection of every man's right, regardless if the person is in Mississippi or Massachusetts.

Carl Davidson wrote:

Well, folks, what can I say? It's interesting how you can look at the same graphics and see different things. In the county-by-county, more nuanced red-blue-grey map, the first thing I noticed was not a network of cities, but the blue crescent of rural counties in the Deep South. It's what we used to call the Afro-American Black Belt nation. Then I saw the blotches of blue rural counties in the Southwest, and what I saw was what we used to call Atzlan, the Chicano-Native American nation in the Southwest. These are rural areas with majority or large minority workforces of minority 'nonwhite' nationalities. The next thing I noticed was the stretch of blue rust belt cities. But even here, what often makes these blue collar towns decidedly 'blue' is the large inner core of African American, Arab-American and Latino voters. A majority of unionized whites vote blue, but the far larger numbers of nonunionized white workers do notSo the problem I see with 'urban identity politics' is that is hides or glosses over these realities of race and class, and masks over our allies in many rural counties. Not that I'm against networks of cities. There's a lot to be said for it; I especially love the dynamic culture and intellectual life of the cities. Moreover, there is no solving of the problems of race and class anywhere without solving the crises of the inner cities. Finally, cities are a global problem. Mike Davis pointed out in a recent essay that this year or next, if it hasn't happened already, a 50% plus one majority of the earth's population will be in big cities, most urban slums and favelas. But the truth is that you can't really separate city and country. Take even simple examples. If you ate something today, a farmer grew it and a farm worker harvested it. If you have ANYTHING, pick up ANYTHING around you while you're reading this. Well, a trucker brought it to you, most likely a trucker who lives in a 'red' area. I spent a good number of years traveling the countryside meeting these folks. It true it's quite different than the cities. But don't be fooled by stereotypes: Politics out there run the full range from left to right, just in different issues and terms than you might hear in the cities. Did you know that nearly 20% of truckers listen to classical music and books-on-tape when they're roarin' down the Interstate? Here's an interesting, alternate way to look at it. The GOP right has a hegemonic 'encirclement' program. It goes like this: Unite the rural areas, win over the suburban areas, and divide the urban areas along lines of race and class, using the not-so-hidden subtext of appealing to threated white male entitlements and moralistic, chauvinistic identity politics. The problem is that their coalition is unstable and has a hard time delivering the goods; it has immense class conflicts built into it and divisions among its ruling elites as well. So one thing we might think of is running a reverse counter-hegemonic, counter-encirclement 'Rainbow' strategy against them: unite the cities around core 'Economic Democracy' solutions to the urban crisis, win over the suburbs by paying similar attention to their sprawl and environmental problems as well, and isolate the right in the rural areas by mobilizing Atzlan, the Black Belt and Willie Nelson's Farm Aid folks against the land-destroying and other rapacious practices of GOP agribusiness. The DLC Democrats, unfortunately, are more interested in class snuggle than this kind of class struggle. So such an alternative undoubtedly means finding an alternative to them as well. CarlD wrote on 11/15/04, 2:39 PM:
This is long but it is the best thing I have read. Please read it. If you want to see the maps, you can download them from:

The Stranger It's the Cities, Stupid.

There are two maps on this page. The one at the top should be familiar. It's one of those red-state/blue-state maps that have been tormenting Democrats, liberals, and progressives since November of 2000. Over the 36 days that George W. Bush and Al Gore fought for the White House in Florida, "red" and "blue" became metaphors for America's divided electorate. Red vs. Blue--Democrat vs. Republican; liberal vs. conservative; pro-life vs. pro-choice; gun-huggers vs. gun-haters; gay-huggers vs. gay-haters. The red-state/blue-state map opposite shows the results of 2004's presidential election--red states won by George W. Bush, blue states won by John F. Kerry. But the red-state/blue-state map is misleading. If a Republican presidential candidate takes 50 percent of the vote plus 1 vote in any given state, the whole state is colored red (even worse, a mere plurality of voters can turn a state red when third parties are involved). The same goes for the Democratic candidate--corral the most votes, and the whole state is colored blue. But painting an entire state one color or the other creates a false impression, an impression that we believe is hampering the Democratic Party's efforts to pull itself out of its tailspin. Take a look at the second map. This map shows a county-by-county red/blue breakdown, and it provides a clearer picture of the bind the Democrats finds themselves in. The majority of the blue states--Washington, Oregon, California, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Delaware--are, geographically speaking, not blue states. They are blue cities. Look at our famously blue West Coast. But for the cities--Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego--the West Coast would be a deep, dark red. The same is true for other nominally blue states. Illinois is almost entirely red--Chicago turns the state blue. Michigan is almost entirely red--Detroit, Lansing, Kalamazoo turn it blue. And on and on. What tips these states into the blue column? Their urban areas do, their big, populous counties. It's time for the Democrats to face reality: They are the party of urban America. If the cities elected our president, if urban voters determined the outcome, John F. Kerry would have won by a landslide. Urban voters are the Democratic base. THE URBAN ARCHIPELAGO It's time to state something that we've felt for a long time but have been too polite to say out loud: Liberals, progressives, and Democrats do not live in a country that stretches from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from Canada to Mexico. We live on a chain of islands. We are citizens of the Urban Archipelago, the United Cities of America. We live on islands of sanity, liberalism, and compassion--New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, Seattle, St. Louis, Minneapolis, San Francisco, and on and on. And we live on islands in red states too--a fact obscured by that state-by-state map. Denver and Boulder are our islands in Colorado; Austin is our island in Texas; Las Vegas is our island in Nevada; Miami and Fort Lauderdale are our islands in Florida. Citizens of the Urban Archipelago reject heartland "values" like xenophobia, sexism, racism, and homophobia, as well as the more intolerant strains of Christianity that have taken root in this country. And we are the real Americans. They--rural, red-state voters, the denizens of the exurbs--are not real Americans. They are rubes, fools, and hate-mongers. Red Virginia prohibits any contract between same-sex couples. Compassionate? Texas allows the death penalty to be applied to teenaged criminals and has historically executed the mentally retarded. (When the Supreme Court ruled executions of the mentally retarded unconstitutional in 2002, Texas officials, including Governor Rick Perry, responded by claiming that the state had no mentally retarded inmates on death row--a claim the state was able to make because it does not test inmates for mental retardation.) Dumb? The Sierra Club has reported that Arkansas, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Alabama, and Tennessee squander over half of their federal transportation money on building new roads rather than public transit. If Democrats and urban residents want to combat the rising tide of red that threatens to swamp and ruin this country, we need a new identity politics, an urban identity politics, one that argues for the cities, uses a rhetoric of urban values, and creates a tribal identity for liberals that's as powerful and attractive as the tribal identity Republicans have created for their constituents. John Kerry won among the highly educated, Jews, young people, gays and lesbians, and non-whites. What do all these groups have in common? They choose to live in cities. An overwhelming majority of the American popuation chooses to live in cities. And John Kerry won every city with a population above 500,000. He took half the cities with populations between 50,000 and 500,000. The future success of liberalism is tied to winning the cities. An urbanist agenda may not be a recipe for winning the next presidential election--but it may win the Democrats the presidential election in 2012 and create a new Democratic majority. For Democrats, it's the cities, stupid--not the rural areas, not the prickly, hateful "heartland," but the sane, sensible cities--including the cities trapped in the heartland. Pandering to rural voters is a waste of time. Again, look at the second map. Look at the urban blue spots in red states like Iowa, Colorado, and New Mexico--there's almost as much blue in those states as there is in Washington, Oregon, and California. And the challenge for the Democrats is not just to organize in the blue areas but to grow them. And to do that, Democrats need to pursue policies that encourage urban growth (mass transit, affordable housing, city services), and Democrats need to openly and aggressively champion urban values. By focusing on the cities the Dems can create a tribal identity to combat the white, Christian, rural, and suburban identity that the Republicans have cornered. And it's sitting right there, on every electoral map, staring them in the face: The cities. The urbanites. Howard Dean had it wrong when he tried to woo the "Pickup Truck with Confederate Flag" vote. In fact, while Kerry won urban areas by a whopping 60 percent--that actually represents a 15 percent drop in urban support from 2000 when Gore won the election. The lesson? Democrats have got to tend to their urban base and grow it. In cities all over America, distressed liberals are talking about fleeing to Canada or, better yet, seceding from the Union. We can't literally secede and, let's admit it, we don't really want to live in Canada. It's too cold up there and in our heart-of-hearts we hate hockey. We can secede emotionally, however, by turning our backs on the heartland. We can focus on our issues, our urban issues, and promote our shared urban values. We can create a new identity politics, one that transcends class, race, sexual orientation, and religion, one that unites people living in cities with each other and with other urbanites in other cities. The Republicans have the federal government--for now. But we've got Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Diego, New York City (Bloomberg is a Republican in name only), and every college town in the country. We're everywhere any sane person wants to be. Let them have the shitholes, the Oklahomas, Wyomings, and Alabamas. We'll take Manhattan. EMBRACING URBAN SELF-INTEREST To all those who live in cities--to all those depressed Kerry supporters out there--we say take heart. Clearly we can't control national politics right now--we can barely get a hearing. We can, however, stay engaged in our cities, and make our voices heard in the urban areas we dominate, and make each and every one, to quote Ronald Reagan (and John Winthrop, the 17th-century Puritan Reagan was parroting), "a city on a hill." This is not a retreat; it is a long-term strategy for the Democratic Party to cater to and build on its base.To red-state voters, to the rural voters, residents of small, dying towns, and soulless sprawling exburbs, we say this: Fuck off. Your issues are no longer our issues. We're going to battle our bleeding-heart instincts and ignore pangs of misplaced empathy. We will no longer concern ourselves with a health care crisis that disproportionately impacts rural areas. Instead we will work toward winning health care one blue state at a time. When it comes to the environment, our new policy is this: Let the heartland live with the consequences of handing the national government to the rape-and-pillage party. The only time urbanists should concern themselves with the environment is when we are impacted--directly, not spiritually (the depressing awareness that there is no unspoiled wilderness out there doesn't count). Air pollution, for instance: We should be aggressive. If coal is to be burned, it has to be burned as cleanly as possible so as not to foul the air we all have to breathe. But if West Virginia wants to elect politicians who allow mining companies to lop off the tops off mountains and dump the waste into valleys and streams, thus causing floods that destroy the homes of the yokels who vote for those politicians, it no longer matters to us. Fuck the mountains in West Virginia--send us the power generated by cleanly burned coal, you rubes, and be sure to wear lifejackets to bed. Wal-Mart is a rapacious corporation that pays sub-poverty-level wages, offers health benefits to its employees that are so expensive few can afford them, and destroys small towns and rural jobs. Liberals in big cities who have never seen the inside of a Wal-Mart spend a lot of time worrying about the impact Wal-Mart is having on the heartland. No more. We will do what we can to keep Wal-Mart out of our cities and, if at all possible, out of our states. We will pass laws mandating a living wage for full-time work, upping the minimum wage for part-time work, and requiring large corporations to either offer health benefits or pay into state- or city-run funds to provide health care for uninsured workers. That will reform Wal-Mart in our blue cities and states or, better yet, keep Wal-Mart out entirely. And when we see something on the front page of the national section of the New York Times about the damage Wal-Mart is doing to the heartland, we will turn the page. Wal-Mart is not an urban issue. Neither is gun control. Our new position: We'll fight to keep guns off the streets of our cities, but the more guns lying around out there in the heartland, the better. Most cities have strong gun-control laws--laws that are, of course, undermined by the fact that our cities aren't walled. Yet. But why should liberals in cities fund organizations that attempt, to take one example, to get trigger locks onto the handguns of NRA members out there in red states? If red-state dads aren't concerned enough about their own children to put trigger locks on their own guns, it's not our problem. If a kid in a red state finds his daddy's handgun and blows his head off, we'll feel terrible (we're like that), but we'll try to look on the bright side: At least he won't grow up to vote like his dad. We won't demand that the federal government impose reasonable fuel-efficiency standards on all cars sold in the United States. We will, however, strive to pass state laws, as California has done, imposing fuel-efficiency standards on cars sold in our states. We officially no longer give a shit when family farms fail. Fewer family farms equal fewer rural voters. We will, however, continue to support small faggy organic farms, as we are willing to pay more for free-range chicken and beef from non-cannibal cows. We won't concern ourselves if red states restrict choice. We'll just make sure that abortion remains safe and legal in the cities where we live, and the states we control, and when your daughter or sister or mother dies in a botched abortion, we'll try not to feel too awful about it. In short, we're through with you people. We're going to demand that the Democrats focus on building their party in the cities while at the same time advancing a smart urban-growth agenda that builds the cities themselves. The more attractive we make the cities--politically, aesthetically, socially--the more residents and voters cities will attract, gradually increasing the electoral clout of liberals and progressives. For Democrats, party building and city building is the same thing. We will strive to turn red states blue one city at a time. From here on out, we're glad red-state rubes live in areas where guns are more powerful and more plentiful, cars are larger and faster, and people are fatter and slower and dumber. This is not a recipe for repopulating the Great Plains. And when you look for ways to revive your failing towns and dying rural counties, don't even think about tourism. Who wants to go to small-town America now? You people scare us. We'll island-hop from now on, thank you, spending our time and our money in blue cities. If an urbanite is dying to have a country experience, rural Vermont is lovely. Maple syrup, rolling hills, fly-fishing--everything you could want. Country bumpkins in red rural areas who depend on tourists from urban areas but vote Republican can forget our money. You've made your choice, red America, and we urban Americans are going to make a different choice. We are going to make Seattle--and New York, Chicago, and the rest--a great place to live, a progressive place. Again, we'll quote Ronald Reagan: We will make each of our cities--each and every one--a shining city on a hill. You can have your shitholes. URBAN VISION The first president Bush had a problem with the "vision thing," and he lost. Democrats had a problem with vision thing in 2004, and they lost. But they don't have to continue having this problem. Above any other advantage, the new urban identity politics solves "the vision thing" for the Democratic Party. No longer are we a fractured aggregation of special interests or a spineless hydra of contingent alliances--we are a united front, with a clear, compelling image and an articulated system of values. Up until now, the Republicans have been winning the image war. When you think of "America," you imagine a single-family dwelling with a flag in the front yard and acres of corn waving in the background. It's an angry red fantasy. But propaganda is flexible, and audiences are pliant. Urban politics opens up a whole new visual vocabulary to be exploited by TV advertising, and it's a vocabulary rich in emotional content, particularly after September 11. This is the era of cityscapes, rapid transit, and crowds of people. Political advertising can no longer pander to nostalgia about the yeoman countryside--we must embrace our urban future. With all the talk of the growth of exurbs and the hand-wringing over facile demographic categories like "security moms," you may be under the impression that an urban politics wouldn't speak to many people. But according to the 2000 Census, 226 million people reside inside metropolitan areas--a number that positively dwarfs the 55 million people who live outside metro areas. The 85 million people who live in strictly defined central city limits also outnumber those rural relics. When the number of city-dwellers in the United States is quadruple the number of rural people, we can put simple democratic majorities to work for our ideals. Even people who don't live in cities look to urban centers for a certain image of America. The nation identified with New York City in such a visceral way on September 11 not just because Americans died there--Americans died in a Pennsylvania field and in Northern Virginia too--but because the New York skyline is a stirring image of American prosperity and achievement. It symbolizes the motivation and spirit of the American people, the wealth of our nation, the thrum of diverse cultures, and inexhaustible cultural creativity. Cities inspire us; they speak to our hopes and our passions. Small towns diminish us; they speak of lost history and downscaled dreams. The Democratic Party should compete on our own turf, change the terms of the debate, and give the American people heroes to believe in--as well as enemies to revile. Conservatives have vilified liberals for decades, and the new urban identity politics gives the Democratic Party its own partisan villains. The truth is that rural states--the same red states that vote reflexively Republican in national elections--are welfare states. While red-state voters like to complain about "tax-and-spend liberals," red states are hopelessly dependent on the largess of the federal government to prop up their dwindling rural population. Red states like North Dakota, New Mexico, Mississippi, Alaska, West Virginia, Montana, Alabama, South Dakota, and Arkansas top the list of federal spending per dollar of federal taxes paid. And who's paying the most? Blue states. Cities--and states dominated by their cities. Welfare states, in contrast, demand federal money to fund wasteful roads to nowhere. Welfare states guzzle barrel upon barrel of oil so their rural residents can sputter along on ribbons of asphalt. Take a state like Wyoming, the arid, under-populated home of our glowering vice president Dick Cheney. Wyoming receives the second-highest amount of federal aid in the nation per capita (Alaska, another red state, is number one), and it ranks second lowest in federal taxes paid (behind only South Dakota). Overall, the federal government spent about $2,413 per capita in Wyoming for the fiscal year 2002 (the last year for which data is available), compared with almost exactly half that amount, or $1,205 per capita, for Washington State. This ridiculous disparity extends even to Homeland Security funds, which ought to be targeted toward the most vulnerable areas--coastlines, big city landmarks, porous borders. But landlocked Wyoming, with exactly zero important strategic targets, merits $38.31 per capita in Homeland Security funds. New York state residents get a measly $5.47. An urban agenda would argue for kicking Wyoming off the federal dole. States should pay their own way, not come to cities begging for handouts. A refusal to subsidize rural waste will inform other policy decisions as well. Farm subsidies, for example, are obsolete and they cause needless friction in international trade agreements. The agricultural complex in the United States is so concentrated that very few voters have a personal stake in the continued existence of farm subsidies. Rural voters aren't going to switch party affiliations no matter what we do, so let's jettison their issues when they fail to serve our core interests. Ethanol, a corn-derived alcohol, is another great example. Scientific consensus says that corn will never be a viable source for alternative fuel, since the very production of ethanol requires so much fossil fuel and the payoff is paltry. Ethanol is vanity research; the new urban politics should stand for real solutions. In the same way, we need to claim legislation like the Clean Air Act as our own. It is urban residents, not rural residents, who suffer when air quality is poor, and coal mines in rural states cannot dictate what size airborne particulates we should be willing to breathe. Asthma is a growing problem across the nation, but it is particularly acute among African American and Latino children growing up in the inner cities--the death rate from asthma complications is three times as high for minority children as it is for whites. This is unacceptable, and it's just one example of an issue urban residents can and should rally behind. Democrats are now emphatically the minority party. This doesn't mean we give up; it means we take a page from the Republican playbook, refining and relentlessly pushing a vision of our own. We must rededicate ourselves to the urban core. URBAN INDEPENDENCE The anti-urban vote does more than just overwhelm city voters in presidential elections. It also overruns city priorities on local policy debates. We should go our own way. After all, when a city like Seattle's fate is tied to that of a state like Washington, the city's interests are routinely routed. In 1993, for example, Washington voters limited state budget increases, hobbling education and transportation funding. The measure, which passed statewide by a 51 to 49 margin, tanked in Seattle, 46 to 54. A 1997 gay rights measure, meanwhile, suffered the converse fate, losing statewide while winning here. And Tim Eyman's two tax-slashing initiatives won in rural and suburban areas but went down in flames inside city limits. Laws limiting taxes have a disproportionate impact on cities, which rely on local levies to pay for basic social and human services like domestic-violence programs, low-income housing, and tenant advocacy. If you're wondering why the city is suffering draconian budget cuts--$24 million this year, $20 million in 2005--you can thank rural voters who seem unable to grasp a basic Christian tenet; greed is bad, sharing is good. The lesson is simple for urban residents: Seattle shouldn't cast its lot with the rest of the state. Rural and suburban voters have shown again and again that they aren't willing to fund urban infrastructure. Throughout Washington State, transportation taxes like 2002's Referendum 51 have tanked, while anti-transit measures like Tim Eyman's I-776 have passed overwhelmingly. While that might seem like grim news for cities like Seattle, there's a silver lining: When cities set their own transportation priorities, truly urban systems (like the monorail) get funded and built, while the suburban mega-highways that lard initiatives like R-51 go unfunded. We don't use suburban roads. We can let the suburbs figure out a way to pay for them. Cities have the clout, and the imperative, to give people alternatives to driving solo, and to punish those who insist on clogging our city streets. In Seattle, we've done exactly that. We've built bike lanes, expanded the bus system, and banned new park-and-rides inside city limits. We've funded a South Seattle-to-downtown light rail system. And we've overwhelmingly supported the monorail, an inner-city mass-transit system that's paid for by one of the most progressive taxes available: an excise tax on the value of cars in the city. Want to buy a Hummer? Fine. But you're gonna pay for it--and help fund public transit. If you want to rely on environmentally friendly public transit, though, we'll make it affordable and easy to use. That's a truly urban value. Transit like the monorail, in turn, promotes density in outlying areas (like Ballard and West Seattle), which leads to the creation of housing that's affordable to everyone--not just the proverbial penthouse-dwelling downtown urban elite. Cities like Seattle can further encourage dense urban housing by adopting policies that encourage developers to build dense low-income housing. And we've done it: Last year, Mayor Greg Nickels unveiled a new push to increase density outside downtown by increasing building heights and providing incentives to developers who build inner-city housing. The more housing that is built in cities, the more people can afford to live there. And the more cities pass laws that make it easier to live in cities--laws like Washington State's inflation-indexed minimum wage, which passed overwhelmingly in Seattle--the more cities will attract the kind of culturally and economically diverse populations that make them attractive places to work and live. And, as counterintuitive as it may seem to composting, recycling self-righteous suburbanites, living in dense urban areas is actually better for the environment. The population of New York City is larger than that of 39 states. But because dense apartment housing is more energy efficient, New York City uses less energy than any state. Conversely, suburban living--with its cars, highways, and single-family houses flanked by pesticide-soaked lawns--saps energy and devastates the ecosystem. Cities' freedom to go their own way extends, of course, beyond mere infrastructure. Urban dwellers are cultural libertarians--we don't just tolerate a diversity of lifestyles and attitudes, we embrace it. Seattle, for example, has over 1000 churches, mosques, and synagogues. From San Francisco to Ann Arbor to Seattle, cities have been the vanguard. Drug reform is a prime example. Eight states have passed medical marijuana initiatives; none could have done so without the pro-pot clout of cities. Last year, Seattle voters overwhelmingly passed Initiative 75, which effectively decriminalizes marijuana possession by making it cops' lowest law enforcement priority. And just this month, Ann Arbor passed a law legalizing medical marijuana, the second city in Michigan to do so. There are countless other examples. But the bottom line is this: Cities, not the outlying suburbs, are leading the way on drug reform. And where cities go, the nation will inevitably follow. Gay rights, another national issue, took a beating this November, as 11 states passed constitutional amendments banning gay marriage. But locally, Seattle has ensured that gays and lesbians enjoy the full protection of the law. Not only are Seattle city employees and employees of firms that contract with the city entitled to domestic partnership benefits, earlier this year, Mayor Nickels announced that the city would honor gay marriages from other progressive jurisdictions, such as Portland and San Francisco. But there's still more to do that the Feds and the State are loath to deliver: Subsidized childcare; safe injection sites; expanding the monorail through the rest of the city; discouraging excessive auto use by taxing mileage (to pay for more public transit); and providing family planning for low-income families. An aggressive new urbanist movement will go its own way, making the cities, not the states, the true laboratories of democracy. URBAN STATES In November 1960, a black 6-year-old girl named Ruby Bridges entered the newly desegregated William Frantz Public School in New Orleans. In reaction to her admission, white parents withdrew their kids from Ruby's class and she completed the first grade alone, with instruction from one teacher and support from a child psychiatrist. Ruby's walk to class on the first day of school inspired Norman Rockwell's The Problem We All Live With. In this painting (one of Rockwell's best, as far as we are concerned), a very black Ruby Bridges is escorted to school by four big white U.S. marshals. The image is powerful because it represents the federal government as an institution and enforcer of reason. The white bigots of New Orleans can complain, bitch, and threaten the lives of black boys and girls all they want, but in the end the federal government steps in to ensure that the rights of every American are protected. This image of the federal government is now in a coma. The lawmaking bodies that are clustered in Washington, D.C. (the Senate, the House, the Justice Department, the Supreme Court, the White House), no longer form the enlightened center from which reason and justice emanate. During the civil rights era, the federal government could claim to at least aspire to this transcendental order (the Great Society, the War on Poverty, the Voting Rights Act of 1965), but not today. Since the beginning of the 21st century, Washington, D.C., has exerted a force that is not progressive (as epitomized by Rockwell's painting) but oppressive. This is not an exaggeration. For example, the sole reason why the state of California--or more accurately, the cities of California through the agency of the state--turned to its own citizens to establish funding for stem cell research is because the federal government, in the form of the reelected Bush administration, holds a profoundly backward position on the matter. Under Bush, the federal government spent almost nothing ($25 million) this year on stem cell research, a policy that's entirely informed by the bizarre belief in a God who has a white beard, lives in heaven, and hates the idea of stem cell research. The reality is this: There are over 100 million Americans (most of them Christian) whose lives would be improved or saved by therapies and treatments that could be developed through stem cell research. The federal government, however, holds the opinion that God should not be deprived of worship from the souls that are supposedly housed in the miniscule cells of five-day-old embryos. Realizing this is just plain stupid (or country, an archaic synonym for stupid that should be revived in our post-2004 election world), California's citizens--its urban citizens--passed Proposition 71, which would allocate for research nearly $300 million a year over the next 10 years. This figure, $300 million, is three times larger even than what John Kerry proposed, and promises to bring the benefits of this new science to all Americans before the close of this decade. Clearly the federal government is no longer the enforcer of reason, the cities are, we urbanites are. Proposition 71 is just the beginning of a new, muscular urban politics. More and more decisions involving health, education, transportation, and law must be wrested away from our theocratic federal government by large humanistic cities. The federal government may give us its prayers but it will never give us even the most basic health care coverage. The State of Hawaii has what the rest of America doesn't have--universal health care coverage. Why can't other states do the same? Or, more to the point, why can't big cities compel the states they're located in to do the same? Again, it is not the State of Washington that is blue, it is the concentrated population of Seattle that is deep blue; and because Seattle is so damn big it has the power to dictate the politics of its generally hostile state. So, this is not about state rights--indeed, the counties in California that passed Proposition 71 by 60 percent or more were all urban (San Francisco with the highest percentage in the whole state, 71). It's about urban rights, about empowering the bastions of reason and rationality in a nation that is increasingly unreasonable and irrational. As a resident of the city, you should be proud to be an urbanite. URBAN VALUES It's no secret what the urban population is against--the Bush administration and its red armies have done us the favor of making it a cinch to identify: We oppose their sub-moronic, "faith-based" approach to life, and, as stated above, we hereby relinquish our liberal tendency to sympathize with their lack of, say, livable working conditions, a family wage, and a national health care program. We no longer have to concern ourselves with the survival of the family farm, nor do we have to concern ourselves with saving fragile suburban economies from collapse. They're against us; we're against them. This is a war. But if liberals and progressives want to reach out past our urban bases, it might be helpful to identify some essential convictions, thereby allowing us to perhaps compete on "values." Identifying and articulating our core convictions, as opposed to compromising and downplaying them in search of some kind of non-urban appeal, might actually attract voters in exurbs and rural areas who understand the importance of cities to the national economy. But even if it doesn't, ours is a superior way of life. Wherever people choose to live in this country, they should want to live as we do. So how do we live and what are we for? Look around you, urbanite, at the multiplicity of cultures, ethnicities, and tribes that are smashed together in every urban center (yes, even Seattle): We're for that. We're for pluralism of thought, race, and identity. We're for a freedom of religion that includes the freedom from religion--not as some crazy aberration, but as an equally valid approach to life. We are for the right to choose one's own sexual and recreational behavior, to control one's own body and what one puts inside it. We are for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The people who just elected George W. Bush to a second term are frankly against every single idea outlined above. Unlike the people who flee from cities in search of a life free from disagreement and dark skin, we are for contentiousness, discourse, and the heightened understanding of life that grows from having to accommodate opposing viewpoints. We're for opposition. And just to be clear: The non-urban argument, the red state position, isn't oppositional, it's negational--they are in active denial of the existence of other places, other people, other ideas. It's reactionary utopianism, and it is a clear and present danger; urbanists should be upfront and unapologetic about our contempt for their politics and their negational values. Republicans have succeeded in making the word "liberal"--which literally means "free from bigotry... favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded"--into an epithet. Urbanists should proclaim their liberalism from the highest rooftop (we have higher rooftops than they do); it's the only way we survive. And in our next breath, we should condemn their politics, exposing their conservatism as the anti-Americanism that it is, striving to make "conservative" into an epithet. Let's see, what else are we for? How about education? Cities are beehives of intellectual energy; students and teachers are everywhere you look, studying, teaching, thinking. In Seattle, you can barely throw a rock without hitting a college. It's time to start celebrating that, because if the reds have their way, advanced degrees will one day be awarded based on the number of Bible verses a person can recite from memory. In the city, people ask you what you're reading. Outside the city, they ask you why you're reading. You do the math--and you'll have to, because non-urbanists can hardly even count their own children at this point. For too long now, we've caved to the non-urban wisdom that decries universities as bastions of elitism and snobbery. Guess what: That's why we should embrace them. Outside of the city, elitism and snobbery are code words for literacy and complexity. And when the oil dries up, we're not going to be turning to priests for answers--we'll be calling the scientists. And speaking of science: SCIENCE! That's another thing we're for. And reason. And history. All those things that non-urbanists have replaced with their idiotic faith. We're for those. As part of our pro-reason platform, we're for paying taxes--taxes, after all, support the urban infrastructure on which we all rely, and as such, are a necessary part of the social contract we sign every day. We are for density, and because we're for density, we're for programs that support it, like mass transit. If you ignore the selfish whimperings of the Kirkland contingent, it's not too hard to envision a time when the only vehicles allowed on the streets of Seattle are buses, trams, and shuttles. Utopian? Wrong: reality-based. It's a better, smarter way to live, and the urbanist is always in favor of that. People who commute to the city for their livelihood and then attack urban areas and people in the voting booth are the worst kind of hypocrites. Commuters, we neither want nor need you. We welcome, however, new residents, new urbanites, the continual influx of people from other places who come here to stay (are you listening, liberal residents of Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming?). These transplants help create the density we find so attractive, and they provide the plurality that makes cities thrive. A city belongs to everyone in it, and expands to contain whoever desires to join its ranks. People migrate to cities and open independent businesses or work at established ones. They import cultural influences, thus enriching the urban arts and nightlife, which in turn enrich everything. Most importantly, they bring the indisputable fact of their own bodies and minds. We wait in line with them at QFC, we stand shoulder to shoulder with them at the bar, we cram ourselves next to them on the bus. We share our psychic and physical space, however limited it might be, because others share it with us. It's not a question of tolerance, nor even of personal freedom; it's a matter of recognizing the fundamental interdependence of all citizens--not just the ones who belong to the same church. Non-urbanites have chosen to burn the declaration of interdependence, opting instead for tyranny, isolationism, and "faith." They can have them. These, of course, are broad strokes. We all know that not everyone who lives in the suburbs is a raving neo-Christian idiot. The raving neo-Christian idiots are winning, however, so we need to take the fight to them. In this case, the fight is largely spiritual; it consists of embracing the reality that urban life and urban values are the only sustainable response to the modern age of holy war, environmental degradation, and global conflict. More important, it consists of rejecting the impulse to apologize for living in a society that prizes values like liberalism, pluralism, education, and facts. It's time for the Democratic Party to stop pandering to bovine, non-urban America. You don't apologize for being right--especially when you're at war.


I Smell a Rat
By Colin Shea
Friday 12 November 2004
I smell a rat. It has that distinctive and all-too-familiar odor of the species Republicanus floridius. We got a nasty bite from this pest four years ago and never quite recovered. Symptoms of a long-term infection are becoming distressingly apparent.

The first sign of the rat was on election night. The jubilation of early exit polling had given way to rising anxiety as states fell one by one to the Red Tide. It was getting late in the smoky cellar of a Prague sports bar where a crowd of expats had gathered. We had been hoping to go home to bed early, confident of victory. Those hopes had evaporated in a flurry of early precinct reports from Florida and Ohio.

By 3 AM, conversation had died and we were grimly sipping beers and watching as those two key states seemed to be slipping further and further to crimson. Suddenly, a friend who had left two hours earlier rushed in and handed us a printout.
"Zogby's calling it for Kerry." He smacked the sheet decisively. "Definitely. He's got both Florida and Ohio in the Kerry column. Kerry only needs one." Satisfied, we went to bed, confident we would wake with the world a better place. Victory was at hand.

The morning told a different story, of course. No Florida victory for Kerry - Bush had a decisive margin of nearly 400,000 votes. Ohio was not even close enough for Kerry to demand that all the votes be counted. The pollsters had been dead wrong, Bush had four more years and a powerful mandate. Onward Christian soldiers - next stop, Tehran.

Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics
I work with statistics and polling data every day. Something rubbed me the wrong way. I checked the exit polls for Florida - all wrong. CNN's results indicated a Kerry win: turnout matched voter registration, and independents had broken 59% to 41% for Kerry.

Polling is an imprecise science. Yet its very imprecision is itself quantifiable and follows regular patterns. Differences between actual results and those expected from polling data must be explainable by identifiable factors if the polling sample is robust enough. With almost 3.000 respondents in Florida alone, the CNN poll sample was pretty robust.

The first signs of the rat were identified by Kathy Dopp, who conducted a simple analysis of voter registrations by party in Florida and compared them to presidential vote results. Basically she multiplied the total votes cast in a county by the percentage of voters registered Republican: this gave an expected Republican vote. She then compared this to the actual result.

Her analysis is startling. Certain counties voted for Bush far in excess of what one would expect based on the share of Republican registrations in that county. They key phrase is "certain counties" - there is extraordinary variance between individual counties. Most counties fall more or less in line with what one would expect based on the share of Republican registrations, but some differ wildly.
How to explain this incredible variance? Dopp found one over-riding factor: whether the county used electronic touch-screen voting, or paper ballots which were optically scanned into a computer. All of those with touch-screen voting had results relatively in line with her expected results, while all of those with extreme variance were in counties with optical scanning.

The intimation, clearly, is fraud. Ballots are scanned; results are fed into precinct computers; these are sent to a county-wide database, whose results are fed into the statewide electoral totals. At any point after physical ballots become databases, the system is vulnerable to external hackers.

It seemed too easy, and Dopp's method seemed simplistic. I re-ran the results using CNN's exit polling data. In each county, I took the number of registrations and assigned correctional factors based on the CNN poll to predict turnout among Republicans, Democrats, and independents. I then used the vote shares from the polls to predict a likely number of Republican votes per county. I compared this 'expected' Republican vote to the actual Republican vote.

The results are shocking. Overall, Bush received 2% fewer votes in counties with electronic touch-screen voting than expected. In counties with optical scanning, he received 16% more. This 16% would not be strange if it were spread across counties more or less evenly. It is not. In 11 different counties, the 'actual' Bush vote was at least twice higher than the expected vote. 13 counties had Bush vote tallies 50 - 100% higher than expected. In one county where 88% of voters are registered Democrats, Bush got nearly two thirds of the vote - three times more than predicted by my model.

Again, polling can be wrong. It is difficult to believe it can be that wrong. Fortunately, however, we can test how wrong it would have to be to give the 'actual' result.

I tested two alternative scenarios to see how wrong CNN would have to have been to explain the election result. In the first, I assumed they had been wildly off the mark in the turnout figures - i.e. far more Republicans and independents had come out than Democrats. In the second I assumed the voting shares were completely wrong, and that the Republicans had been able to massively poach voters from the Democrat base.

In the first scenario, I assumed 90% of Republicans and independents voted, and the remaining ballots were cast by Democrats. This explains the result in counties with optical scanning to within 5%. However, in this scenario Democratic turnout would have been only 51% in the optical scanning counties - barely exceeding half of Republican turnout. It also does not solve the enormous problems in individual counties. 7 counties in this scenario still have actual vote tallies for Bush that are at least 100% higher than predicted by the model - an extremely unlikely result.

In the second scenario I assumed that Bush had actually got 100% of the vote from Republicans and 50% from independents (versus CNN polling results which were 93% and 41% respectively). If this gave enough votes for Bush to explain the county's results, I left the amount of Democratic registered voters ballots cast for Bush as they were predicted by CNN (14% voted for Bush). If this did not explain the result, I calculated how many Democrats would have to vote for Bush.

In 41 of 52 counties, this did not explain the result and Bush must have gotten more than CNN's predicted 14% of Democratic ballots - not an unreasonable assumption by itself. However, in 21 counties more than 50% of Democratic votes would have to have defected to Bush to account for the county result - in four counties, at least 70% would have been required. These results are absurdly unlikely.

The Second Rat
A previously undiscovered species of rat, Republicanus cuyahogus, has been found in Ohio. Before the election, I wrote snide letters to a state legislator for Cuyahoga county who, according to media reports, was preparing an army of enforcers to keep 'suspect' (read: minority) voters away from the polls. One of his assistants wrote me back very pleasant mails to the effect that they had no intention of trying to suppress voter turnout, and in fact only wanted to encourage people to vote.

They did their job too well. According to the official statistics for Cuyahoga county, a number of precincts had voter turnout well above the national average: in fact, turnout was well over 100% of registered voters, and in several cases well above the total number of people who have lived in the precinct in the last century or so.

In 30 precincts, more ballots were cast than voters were registered in the county. According to county regulations, voters must cast their ballot in the precinct in which they are registered. Yet in these thirty precincts, nearly 100.000 more people voted than are registered to vote - this out of a total of 251.946 registrations. These are not marginal differences - this is a 39% over-vote. In some precincts the over-vote was well over 100%. One precinct with 558 registered voters cast nearly 9,000 ballots. As one astute observer noted, it's the ballot-box equivalent of Jesus' miracle of the fishes. Bush being such a man of God, perhaps we should not be surprised.

What to Do?
This is not an idle statistical exercise. Either the raw data from two critical battleground states is completely erroneous, or something has gone horribly awry in our electoral system - again. Like many Americans, I was dissatisfied with and suspicious of the way the Florida recount was resolved in 2000. But at the same time, I was convinced of one thing: we must let the system work, and accept its result, no matter how unjust it might appear.

With this acceptance, we placed our implicit faith in the Bush Administration that it would not abuse its position: that it would recognize its fragile mandate for what it was, respect the will of the majority of people who voted against them, and move to build consensus wherever possible and effect change cautiously when needed. Above all, we believed that both Democrats and Republicans would recognize the over-riding importance of revitalizing the integrity of the electoral system and healing the bruised faith of both constituencies.

This faith has been shattered. Bush has not led the nation to unity, but ruled through fear and division. Dishonesty and deceit in areas critical to the public interest have been the hallmark of his Administration. I state this not to throw gratuitous insults, but to place the Florida and Ohio electoral results in their proper context. For the GOP to claim now that we must take anything on faith, let alone astonishingly suspicious results in a hard-fought and extraordinarily bitter election, is pure fantasy. It does not even merit discussion.

The facts as I see them now defy all logical explanations save one - massive and systematic vote fraud. We cannot accept the result of the 2004 presidential election as legitimate until these discrepancies are rigorously and completely explained. From the Valerie Plame case to the horrors of Abu Ghraib, George Bush has been reluctant to seek answers and assign accountability when it does not suit his purposes. But this is one time when no American should accept not getting a straight answer. Until then, George Bush is still, and will remain, the 'Accidental President' of 2000. One of his many enduring and shameful legacies will be that of seizing power through two illegitimate elections conducted on his brother's watch, and engineering a fundamental corruption at the very heart of the greatest democracy the world has known. We must not permit this to happen again.

Democracy in Question -Zogby on Theft of a Nation

Theft of a Nation
Published on Thursday, November 18, 2004 by Inter Press Service
US Election:
by Ritt Goldstein

STOCKHOLM - John Zogby, president of the polling firm Zogby International, told IPS he has been calling it "the Armageddon election" for about a year. Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader believes the Republican Party was able to "steal it before election day."
Facts suggest something went very wrong on Nov. 2.
Speculation focuses upon a number of questions -- purposeful miscounts, anomalies surrounding electronic voting (e-voting) machines, particularly the optical scan types; and numerous reports of voting "irregularities" in heavily Democratic areas.
"What they 'do' is minorities," Nader said, highlighting the thrust of Republican efforts, "and make sure that there aren't enough voting machines for the minority areas. They have to wait in line ... for hours, and most of them don't. There are all kinds of ways, and that's why I was quoted as saying, "this election was hijacked from A to Z," Nader told IPS.
Zogby was concerned about the difference between some of the exit polls (surveys of individuals who have just cast ballots) and the official vote counts. "We're talking about the Free World here," he pointedly noted.
On Nov. 10, University of Pennsylvania Professor Steven F Freeman, whose expertise includes "research methods," compiled an analysis entitled 'The Unexplained Exit Poll Discrepancy'. The document was prepared in view of the unusually large differences between what exit polls had predicted and the recorded vote tallies.
His findings suggest Democratic challenger Senator John Kerry should have received far more votes than he did.
In three of the key battleground states -- Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania -- Freeman's analysis states the odds of Kerry receiving the percentage of votes recorded, given the exit poll findings, were less than three in one thousand, per state.
Freeman also determined that the odds of any two of these states simultaneously reaching their stated vote tallies were "on the order of one-in-a-million," and the odds of all three states arriving at the vote counts they did "are 250 million to one."
"Something is definitely wrong," said Zogby.
Highlighting both the expected accuracy of exit polls and the significant disparity that Kerry's defeat illustrated, Republican consultant, commentator and Fox-TV News regular Dick Morris wrote an article, 'Those Faulty Exit Polls Were Sabotage', suggesting a pollster conspiracy to swing the election for Kerry.
In doing so he, perhaps inadvertently, provided ammunition for arguments from the opposite side -- that the exit polls were correct but the final results were fudged. "Exit polls are almost never wrong," argued Morris, and in 10 of the 11 key states they had predicted significantly fewer votes for Republican President George W Bush than he was eventually credited with.
In New Hampshire, Bush tallied a surprising 9.5 percent more votes than predicted, the most significant difference in any of the key states.
Morris observed that outside the United States, exit polls are often used to provide a check on official vote counts, in his words, "to foreclose the possibility of finagling with the returns."
Among the most cited exit polls were those conducted by Mitofsky International, whose founder, Warren Mitofsky, is widely credited with having invented exit polling. Zogby, whose firm was not among those that provided network TV coverage of the Nov. 2 election, described the possibility of either incompetence or fraud causing the controversial deviation as "impossible."
According to Zogby, it would have required "wrong sampling in wrong areas throughout the country," or the purposeful manipulation of data to obtain exit poll results so significantly different from the official totals. He viewed neither as a possibility.
When asked what exactly had happened then, Zogby replied, "a problem, but I don't know where it is ... something's wrong here, though."
On Nov. 5, Nader requested a hand recount of New Hampshire ballots, subsequently telling IPS he had "reports of irregularities there, and we have the cooperation of the state government ... the state attorney-general and secretary of state."
Nader also said his headquarters had been flooded with requests for assistance from a number of states.
On Thursday, five of the 11 New Hampshire voting wards where Nader requested a recount will undertake new tallies. According to his staff, all 11 wards had their votes counted with optical scan machines, primarily the AccuVote models made by Diebold.
"If there are irregularities, it may have broader applications in other states," Nader said, adding that the current recount -- a 45,000-vote sample -- is expected to be completed within a week.
Allegations regarding optical scan machines' potentially allowing the manipulation of Florida's vote have been widely reported. In Ohio, the Green and Libertarian parties are pursuing a recount, numerous instances of voting irregularities having been reported there.
"As far as I'm concerned, this election was clearly stolen. What they did in Ohio was systematically deny thousands of African Americans, and other suspected Democrats, the vote," charged progressive author, commentator and activist Harvey Wasserman of Franklin County, Ohio.
"It was like Mississippi in the fifties, and it was deliberate ... had there been enough (voting) machines, and had people equal access to the polls with a reliable vote count, there is no doubt that John Kerry would have carried Ohio," he told IPS.
The Nov. 14 'Cleveland Plain Dealer', one of the country's top 50 broadsheets, reported a Nov. 13 voter hearing where: "For three hours, burdened voters, one after another, offered sworn testimony about election day voter suppression and irregularities that they believe are threatening democracy."
"People are deeply concerned that this is the end of American democracy, that we cannot get a fair election," Wasserman said, poignantly adding, "there was no question of apathy in this election -- we had more volunteers than could be used ... thousands and thousands of grass-roots volunteers."
If Kerry had taken Ohio, he would have taken the presidency.
"In the end, what Nader is doing in New Hampshire is the best answer. And if there's a recount in Ohio," that is also important, said Charles Franklin, a University of Wisconsin-Madison political scientist who specializes in statistical methods, elections and public opinion.
Somewhat concerned about the possible manipulation of e-voting machines, Franklin was more concerned over "the ordinary administration of elections," citing the simple logistical problems that had plagued voters.
He pointedly noted that the last two presidential elections highlighted "how the decisions of local people (officials) ... can have a considerable influence over who gets to vote, what rules govern."
When asked if he was aware of any parallels to the present election, Zogby replied, "I'm certainly aware of the election of 1960."
"It's been discussed, overtly, the roll that Richard Daley, and the roll that Lyndon Johnson played, separately," Zogby said, referring to an episode where the John F Kennedy campaign had supposedly asked, "How many votes do you have?", the reply allegedly being, "How many votes do you need?"
Of course, such examples also serve to highlight the influence "local people" can exert on an election's outcome.
In the end, many people speculated that the 1960 incidents were not part of a grand conspiracy per se, but the cumulative effects of the actions of a number of individuals who shared a similar perspective, acted semi-independently, and did whatever it took to win.
Political "dirty tricks" culminated in the Watergate scandal, forcing then President Richard Nixon (1969-1974) to resign, ushering in a long era without similar illicit activity, until questions raised by the election of 2000.
With American democracy, until now, providing an effective model for many, as Zogby said, "we're talking about the Free World here."
© 2004 IPS - Inter Press Service