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[P]
Bush's Election Theft and Media Self-Censorship

By greenrd in Op-Ed
Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 02:51:26 AM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

On 15th February 2001, BBC Two's flagship current affairs programme, Newsnight , aired a report entitled Theft of the Presidency [transcript and full RealPlayer clip] by investigative reporter Greg Palast. Before the presidential election, a company called Database Technologies were hired by the state of Florida to excise convicted felons from the voting rolls. Their list of of felons was a fraud - one investigation found a 95% error rate. Palast claimed 20,000 Democrat voters lost their right to vote. This bombshell - later confirmed by investigations of the US Civil Rights Commission - was actually underrepresentative of the problem. The latest estimate is that between 80,000-100,000 voters - largely black, and mainly Democrat-voting - were illegally prevented from voting in Florida.

The allegations did not even rate a mention in many of the US's most prominent media institutions at the time. When the Civil Rights Commission later confirmed them, there was a little more interest - but nothing to indicate outrage over an election being illegally bought.


In a fascinating and wide-ranging interview, - well worth reading in full - Palast discusses the political significance of his two biggest scoops of 2001:

  • Bush's theft of the US presidency
  • The high-level blocking of FBI and CIA investigations into Saudia Arabia, terrorism and Bin Laden.
Also covered is the intriguing "Bin Laden is an extortionist" theory (judge for yourself), and why big-time investigative journalism is almost dead in mainstream US reporting. The last claim might be a bit of an exaggeration - but let's spend a little more time on it, because this is important: the ability for a story to get out to the broader public in a meaningful way underpins democracy, and determines the "social costs" (or lack of them) of abuses. High social costs - such as, for example, a heavily increased likelihood of being voted out of office or forced to resign in scandal - act to deter the powerful from the most egregerious abuses.

Here's one of Palast's example of what constitutes "checking out a story" for a less courageous reporter:

"Take this story of the list of Florida's faux felons that cost Al Gore the election. Shortly after the UK and Salon stories hit the worldwide web, I was contacted by a CBS network news producer ready to run their own version of the story. The CBS hotshot was happy to pump me for information: names, phone numbers, all the items one needs for a quickie TV story.

I also freely offered up to CBS this information: The office of the governor of Florida, brother of the Republican presidential candidate, had illegally ordered the removal of the names of felons from voter rolls -- real felons, but with the right to vote under Florida law. As a result, thousands of these legal voters, almost all Democrats, would not be allowed to vote.

One problem: I had not quite completed my own investigation on this matter. Therefore CBS would have to do some actual work, reviewing documents and law, and obtaining statements. The next day I received a call from the producer, who said, "I'm sorry, but your story didn't hold up." Well, how did the multibillion-dollar CBS network determine this? Why, "we called Jeb Bush's office." Oh. And that was it.

I wasn't surprised by this type of "investigation." It is, in fact, standard operating procedure for the little lambs of American journalism. One good, slick explanation from a politician or corporate chieftain and it's case closed, investigation over. The story ran anyway: on BBC-TV. Let's understand the pressures on the CBS producer that led her to kill the story on the basis of a denial by the target of the allegations. (Though let's not confuse understanding with forgiveness.)

First, the story is difficult to tell in the usual 90 seconds allotted for national reports. The BBC gave me a 14-minute slot to explain it..."

from Palast's MediaLens article Silence of the Lambs

This is not about stupidity, so much as untouchability. No-one is suggesting that reporters are so gullible that they always take official statements as gospel truth. Frequently - and not just in the case of reporters - this also held true in FBI and CIA investigations of terrorism pre-Sep 11, as Palast uncovered - subordinates initially want to run with a story, but they are called off by superiors, wary of political repurcussions. The media ignoring big news is not a simple phenomenon to explain [though some have tried], as there are many reasons behind it, some trivial, some not so trivial. Even Palast, as an industry veteran, has trouble getting a handle on it. One major factor, though, is the blighting of careers:

Q: ... From an outsider looking in, you have the BBC, a news organization owned by the government, and you have the American media, which has this great tradition of Woodward and Bernstein and Watergate. They are independent organizations that are not answerable to any government organization. Why is there this chasm between investigative reporting in the U.K. and in America?

Palast: Well, first of all you hit a good one. Woodward and Bernstein, which everyone comes back to, was three decades ago! What has happened in thirty years? When have we had a story in thirty years that has come close to that? I gave a talk with Seymour Hersh, who is one of the guys who broke the My Lai story. That was thirty years ago. He cannot work for an American newspaper. He writes for the New Yorker magazine. Think about that. One of our best investigative reporters in America, he has won at least two Pulitzer prizes, can't even work for an American newspaper. What is going on?

Investigative reporting is so rare in America we had to make a movie out of it. I was on a panel at Columbia University School of Journalism and there was a reporter who worked on both continents who said that the odd thing he found was the worst thing you could be called in an American newsroom is a "muckraker." Someone who looks like they are going after someone, someone who looks like they are getting too enthusiastic about going after someone. No one likes that guy.

Palast has a book coming out in March called The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: An Investigative Reporter Exposes the Truth About Globalization, Corporate Cons, and High Finance Fraudsters. Going by his past record, this should be a very interesting read. Amazon.co.uk's synopsis:

This is collection of articles written by Greg Palast. From East Timor to Waco, he exposes some of the most egregrious cases of political corruption, corporate fraud, and financial manipulation, globally. Included here are his expose on Jeb Bush and Katherine Harris's stealing of the presidential election in Florida; his reporting on the corruption at the heart of the Blair government; and stories on George W. Bush's pay-offs to corporate cronies; the payole behind Hillary Clinton; and the faux energy crisis.

I've preordered a copy - if only to remind myself what kind of a world we live in and what people like me are fighting against.

I think it's safe to say that corruption and outright criminal activity by high officials and corporations - worldwide - is more prevalent than what most people in the US would expect - especially those who only pay attention to the mainstream media. Back in the 1950's Americans had a comparatively rosy image of their government and society; now the public perception of their government at least is slightly more realistic. Progress, of a sort. But unfortunately, due partly to the lapdog US media (and I don't claim the media over here in Britain are much better, only a little bit) many of the major abuses of power that occur in the US simply aren't known about by enough people.

From (in no particular order!) Palast's expose of vote fraud, through US support for human rights abuses around the world, to Fox's firing of two reporters over their story on the health risks of Monsanto's Bovine Growth Hormone - banned by the European Union for health reasons - there have been a whole slew of stories too critical of corporations or the establishment for the lapdog US media to raise much of a fuss about. (This is a part of what some Europeans are referring to when they joke that mainstream politics in America is divided into the right-wing and the further-right-wing. And, from our perspective, that has a grain of truth to it - though it's unwise to make overbroad generalisations, there is a signifiant difference in average political attitudes between the US and more left-leaning EU countries, on many topics from welfare to social justice.) Let's hope investigative journalism disseminated on the Internet can one day significantly impact this problem, and generate sufficient outrage to lead to negative repercussions for the perpretrators. True, that's a tall order - democracy in the modern world is hideously skewed by special interest groups from left, right and centre, conservative and radical, "libertarian" and authoritarian (though it must be said that some have far more influence than others) - and sometimes even outright electoral fraud. It's easy to get cynical about our abilities to effect change, but ultimately, elected politicians are still extremely vulnerable to public opinion - which is why they spend so much money courting it. Knowledge and awareness of abuses is by no means a magic formula for holding the corrupt to account for their misdeeds, but it sure is a good first step. For this, in my opinion, reporters (and critics) of "uncomfortable political facts" like Greg Palast, John Pilger and Noam Chomsky deserve our support, even if we may not agree with everything they say.

I'll leave you with a quote from the interview with Palast:

My only hope for the future of journalism is one word: the Internet.

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Bush's Election Theft and Media Self-Censorship | 177 comments (153 topical, 24 editorial, 0 hidden)
Some might say... (3.35 / 20) (#1)
by m0rzo on Tue Jan 22, 2002 at 06:17:09 PM EST

that this topic has been beaten to death; bludgeoned with the metaphorical cosh of public debate - In most cases I'd be in agreement.

This article though is excellently written and provides fresh insight on one of the 21st Centuries notable political dissents. +1FP


My last sig was just plain offensive.

Typical horseshit (3.25 / 43) (#2)
by trhurler on Tue Jan 22, 2002 at 06:18:52 PM EST

As usual when reporting on any action of a US Republican, the BBC insists on attributing to malice that which can sufficiently be explained by incompetence. Folks, there was no grand conspiracy. Every state always screws up the voter rolls, because the laws are too complicated and the people who enforce them don't do it often enough to become familiar with them in any real way. Simpler(and more uniform, in this particular case,) laws are a good idea, but blaming the people who have the rather thankless task of wading through the swamp that is today's state election laws is not. (And yes, the Democrats have "benefitted" from this in the past too, not to mention engaged in REAL fraud in cities such as NYC and Chicago, where Democrat political machines are an almost celebrated part of local culture and history.)

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

Isn't that missing the point slightly? (4.15 / 19) (#6)
by bc on Tue Jan 22, 2002 at 06:42:08 PM EST

As far as I can see the article isn't about whether Bush stole the election or not (despite the inflammatory title taken from the BBC programme). The thrust of it is why the US Media completely failed to report it, whether it was due to malice, incompetence, or something else.

Consistently Mainstream UK News Organisations will report news that will be considered front page stuff even in the UK (covering a foreign election, in this case, or, in the past many details of Clinton's misbehaviour and the details leading up to the impeachment were reported in the UK on the front pages long before the US Media was forced to acknowledge it).

So what's wrong with US Reporting these days that 100,000 US journalists can totally miss such an important story, one hitting front pages elsewhere in the world?

Myself I would say that it helps to have nonprofit news organisations (such as the BBC, or the Guardian and Observer), as they are willing to take risks on issues such as this.

Also, the US media newspaper market appears to be a series of regional monopolies, afaik, rather than properly competitive. Each city or town has its own broadsheet and tabloid, whereas in the UK all newspapers are national, which forces competition, which forces a desperate search for the next, great scoop (much to the irritation of politicians, which is as it should be).

So whether Bush stole the election by deliberate malice, or whether this was just a matter of incompetence, isn't really central to the issue. Point of fact is that it was a major issue which should have been reported in US Newspapers and media at the same time it was being reported in the UK, and yet wasn't.

I'd be inclined to agree with you that it was incompetence rather than malice anyway.

♥, bc.
[ Parent ]

Overzealousness (2.44 / 9) (#11)
by jasonab on Tue Jan 22, 2002 at 07:37:01 PM EST

Consistently Mainstream UK News Organisations will report news that will be considered front page stuff even in the UK (covering a foreign election, in this case, or, in the past many details of Clinton's misbehaviour and the details leading up to the impeachment were reported in the UK on the front pages long before the US Media was forced to acknowledge it).
You say this like the BBC is putting the Lower Slobovia election on its front page before anyone else realizes that country exists. I would be surprised if the US election, especially one so contested, wasn't front page news. I really don't know what reference you're making about Clinton.
Also, the US media newspaper market appears to be a series of regional monopolies, afaik, rather than properly competitive. Each city or town has its own broadsheet and tabloid, whereas in the UK all newspapers are national, which forces competition, which forces a desperate search for the next, great scoop (much to the irritation of politicians, which is as it should be).
Of course, assuming this is true, it also means the UK media will hype a non-story much more then necessary to acquire readers. It would similarly seem to encourage yellow journalism and sensationalism.

In the end, your point simply seems to be that you prefer UK media because they're better at trashing the US than the American media.

[ Parent ]

Read my post again. (3.85 / 7) (#12)
by bc on Tue Jan 22, 2002 at 07:55:57 PM EST

You say this like the BBC is putting the Lower Slobovia election on its front page before anyone else realizes that country exists. I would be surprised if the US election, especially one so contested, wasn't front page news. I really don't know what reference you're making about Clinton.

No, that completely misses the point. My point is that the UK Media reported electoral irregularities where the US did not. This has nothing to do with how much coverage the Election itself recieved as a whole; of course it got front page billing (the US is an important country!), and so did reportage of the irregularities. Why weren't they covered in the US till much later?

Of course, assuming this is true, it also means the UK media will hype a non-story much more then necessary to acquire readers. It would similarly seem to encourage yellow journalism and sensationalism.

Certainly it will, and does. However, are you saying the public should be treated like babies without any ability for critical thinking? I'd far rather that news is hyped up, than that it be hidden. It is much more healthy in a democracy.

In the end, your point simply seems to be that you prefer UK media because they're better at trashing the US than the American media.

Heh.

Where did you pull this from? Do I strike you as rabidly antiamerican or as pumping up wonderful UKian news reporting outlets? I should hope not, the UK Media has its own problems, just like everywhere else (such as the sensationalism you mentioned), and as for the US, well I rather like it, all things considered. Please don't fabricate silly nationalist (or political) motivations to my posts.

♥, bc.
[ Parent ]

Not true (2.50 / 10) (#14)
by trhurler on Tue Jan 22, 2002 at 08:18:13 PM EST

The US media reported on all sorts of alleged election irregularities, loudly and constantly. Until, of course, the Supreme Court ruled against Gore, at which point it all died down because it wasn't interesting anymore to anyone except real assholes. Whether they reported on this particular one notwithstanding, they hardly let anyone off without a good grilling.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
not accurate (4.14 / 7) (#17)
by eLuddite on Tue Jan 22, 2002 at 08:40:11 PM EST

at which point it all died down because it wasn't interesting anymore to anyone except real assholes

And jurists, law professors, lawyers, etc. Apparently, a consensus of opinion in the legal community held that a coup d'etats was "interesting".

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Sure (3.33 / 3) (#19)
by bc on Tue Jan 22, 2002 at 08:48:17 PM EST

What I meant to say, or should have said, is that it seems like this particular facet of voting irregularities was not reported (and it appears an important issue, yes?).

♥, bc.
[ Parent ]
Look to PBS for quality US journalism. (3.75 / 4) (#48)
by demi on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 02:39:52 AM EST

Also, the US media newspaper market appears to be a series of regional monopolies, afaik, rather than properly competitive. Each city or town has its own broadsheet and tabloid, whereas in the UK all newspapers are national, which forces competition, which forces a desperate search for the next, great scoop (much to the irritation of politicians, which is as it should be).

First of all, almost all local news agencies in the US are nationally affiliated. Do you really think that reporters from Houston, TX, flew out to Goma to interview survivors of the volcanic eruption and its aftermath? Nevertheless, every station in town ran a story on it with their own network correspondents. There is incredible competition locally, regionally, and nationally to 'get the story', even if there is none.

There is another national news source, available to most, but not all US markets. That is PBS, which runs the News Hour, Frontline, and numerous financially-related news programs that are long on content and short on 'scoop'. PBS easily matches the best that BBC has to offer (not to mention the network news in the US, which is watchable only as entertainment), which was especially evident during the 9/11 mess. Where the BBC would occasionally run with speculative material that the US networks were 'afraid' to touch, PBS only offered discussion and whatever information people were willing to officially comment on. That is what I call quality reporting.

All of the nonsense about getting the story first has made it virtually impossible to trust any 'breaking' news, no matter what its source.



[ Parent ]

"Quality" journalism? My arse. (4.00 / 4) (#88)
by holgate on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 11:03:12 AM EST

Where the BBC would occasionally run with speculative material that the US networks were 'afraid' to touch, PBS only offered discussion and whatever information people were willing to officially comment on. That is what I call quality reporting.

And that's what I call dull, tame, lame, conservative reporting. The emphasis on fact-checking minutiae and having "on the record" sources is the main reason why newsgathering in the US -- especially PBS -- so often kowtows to the official line. It's no big surprise that the last great piece of investigative reporting by the American news media was Watergate, which relied on -- you guessed it -- speculative material from uncorroborated sources. Wouldn't get copy approval in 2002, that's for sure.

[ Parent ]

Your standards are different from mine. (3.66 / 3) (#104)
by demi on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 01:10:27 PM EST

And that's what I call dull, tame, lame, conservative reporting. The emphasis on fact-checking minutiae and having "on the record" sources is the main reason why newsgathering in the US -- especially PBS -- so often kowtows to the official line.

OK, if you like your 'news' to be punchy, irreverent, breathless, and incisive then there are countless internet oulets that freely allege and accuse without factual basis. Feel free to print out their pamphlets, pass them out, and repeat their unsubstantiated 'facts' that have been suppressed by the mainstream media. But don't ever think that you are getting higher quality information than what has been error-checked, verified, and discussed live by people who are qualified to comment. If you think that PBS simply kowtows to the official line, then the more radically slanted news sources are better suited to your needs IMO.

It's no big surprise that the last great piece of investigative reporting by the American news media was Watergate, which relied on -- you guessed it -- speculative material from uncorroborated sources. Wouldn't get copy approval in 2002, that's for sure.

The real story, of course, was not in 'breaking' Watergate, which was speculative, but in the cover-up and attempt at suppressing the story, most of which was recorded directly on tape or witnessed directly. Without evidence do you really think we would have come close to impeaching and removing Nixon? Would you want a system where a president could be impeached and removed without evidence or witnesses? And if the media is under the control of the government, then why are so many investigative reporters actively trying to ensnare Bush in the Enron mess?



[ Parent ]

Not the only occasion. (3.66 / 6) (#59)
by BobaFatt on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 06:24:09 AM EST

Compare the massive coverage of the Guantanamo Bay prisoners in teh UK media with the seeming lack of interst shown by the US news sources. While the front page of almost every Sunday paper in the UK was filled with the story, the USA Today had nothing on the FP at all.


The Management apologise for any convenience caused.
[ Parent ]
not quite (4.00 / 1) (#145)
by Guy Ginn on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 11:50:02 PM EST

The USA Today is widely considered trash. It's only big because it one of the few papers with nationwide publication. It is not considered good, except for the pretty pie charts.

On the tv side, it was all over the place. All of the cable news channels- CNN, MSNBC, FOXNews- spent endless hours with talking heads debating the issue. I was ill Monday, so I saw a British government official debating the point.

Complaints were reported, the US response was reported, the British saying 'no complaints' was reported.

To say that this issue was swept under the rug is simply false.

[ Parent ]

I give way to your superior experience. (none / 0) (#149)
by BobaFatt on Thu Jan 24, 2002 at 06:16:27 AM EST

I must admit, I did base my comments somewhat on the copy of USA Today on sale at Charring Cross station, and the report from a few days back when the prisoners first arrived on The World At One on Radio 4 citing the lack of media coverage in the USA compared to the UK


The Management apologise for any convenience caused.
[ Parent ]
The real crime (1.84 / 19) (#7)
by medham on Tue Jan 22, 2002 at 06:45:53 PM EST

The real crime was the attempted scuttling of the ironside of military ballots by the Democratic Monitors in Tallahassee. The military--which predominantly comprises appreciators of Larry Niven, Jacky Pournelle, Robert Heinlein, and von Hayek--barely was able to escape a criminal disenfranchisement.

I don't recall the BBC making a fuss about that, mostly because it's still controlled by 30s-era Soviet moles.

And this matter of minority voters being mistaken for felons is certainly attributable to honest ineptitude. I believe Charles Murray has an article where he outlines the important role of IQ in all of this.

The real 'medham' has userid 6831.
[ Parent ]

Oh come on (3.33 / 3) (#62)
by thenerd on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 06:39:14 AM EST

I don't recall the BBC making a fuss about that, mostly because it's still controlled by 30s-era Soviet moles.

Do you know anything about the BBC at all?

Please don't let your bitterness get in the way of accurately describing an institution with a reasonable amount of integrity. This is a rare thing these days, almost impossible to find in the US.

[ Parent ]

um... (3.33 / 3) (#92)
by Ludwig on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 11:41:57 AM EST

I'm pretty sure he was kidding. I'ts sometimes hard to be sure with medham, but the reference to the miltary being comprised of fans of three sci-fi authors and an economist were a pretty good hint.

[ Parent ]
Richard Littlejohn? (3.00 / 2) (#95)
by deaddrunk on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 11:53:53 AM EST

Is that you?

[ Parent ]
You are missing half of the point (3.66 / 6) (#67)
by Tezcatlipoca on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 07:35:55 AM EST

And that is the role of the "free" press.

If the press does not have any incentive to do investigative journalism then it is pretty useless. If Republicans did or did not conspire is beyond the point, the sad and scary thing is that the press did not build a case strong enough to force politicians to look at the real issues (the messiness of the US lectoral system) and ways to solve them according to law and common sense (for goodness sake, in many countries when there are so many irregularities the election is cancelled and a new one is held).
---
Those who sleep can't sin.
Those who sin, sleep well.

[ Parent ]
Attributing to malice (none / 0) (#169)
by drhyde on Fri Jan 25, 2002 at 08:04:14 AM EST

The first time someone (let's pick US Republicans for this example) does something wrong we can attribute it to a mistake. The second time, incompetence. The third time is enemy action - malice.

[ Parent ]
The US Civil RIghts Commission is a joke. (3.84 / 19) (#9)
by Apuleius on Tue Jan 22, 2002 at 07:31:25 PM EST

Here's some of the reporting about the circus caused by the commission's report, which asserts that black people were disenfranchised but fails to find a single black person to come out and say he had been prevented from voting. The commission's minority dissent is here.


There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
Musings (3.96 / 27) (#15)
by quantum pixie on Tue Jan 22, 2002 at 08:28:35 PM EST

For quite a while now, I have been mulling over a paradox of the 2000 election. The problem is simply that I have been led to believe two things, but that these things to not appear to be consistent.

Here is what I know:
  • Bush is stupid.
  • Bush stole the presidency of the United States of America.
I am sure that you can see the source of my confusion. After all, the presidency is not, say, the cash drawer at the liquor store down the street. The presidency is not the sort of thing that can be stolen by any mindless thug with a pistol. It is a rare breed of individual who can defraud his way into one of the most powerful political positions on earth, and such a person is not generally described as "stupid".

Perhaps, you say, he is only a puppet for a powerful organization, say, the Illuminati. I suppose this is possible, but why would the Illuminati pick some dumb hick to be president, one who could not even garner a solid majority vote? Were I running the Illuminati (and I assure you that I am not), I would choose a puppet so appealing that he or she could not help but win the election, by sheer personal charisma. Alternately, why would the Illuminati not have one of their own become president? Surely they are not all ineligible by virtue of being Frenchmen, extra-terrestrials, or what have you.

One might counter, saying that this is all well and good, but Bush won the election by luck, not by merit or through the backing of a powerful organization. To that I can only reply that it surely must have been a mighty stroke of luck indeed. The United States has only had fifty-odd presidents, so the idea that at least one of them has been elected by luck is staggering, to put it mildly. I do not doubt that Bush had several strong strokes of luck, but I imagine that all successful people do. The world is just too chaotic and unpredictable of a place to make one's way by skill alone.

Finally, one might argue that Bush won because he was stupid and thus appealed to the vast constituency of stupid voters. This is possible, certainly, but most stupid people do not wish to be ruled by other stupid people. Most stupid people are clever enough to realize that lacking intelligence has put a real crimp on their own ambitions and do not want the same for their country. More pointedly, perhaps, I do not think their are enough stupid voters to sneak Bush in past all the wise, knowing Democrats. It seems more likely that people merely have different values and priorities, and thus what seems like idiocy to an outsider might actually be a perfectly reasonable course of action. What is more, the stupid vote hypothesis does not explain how Bush managed to outmaneuver Gore after the election.

I do not have a good resolution to my dilemma, as you can see. I merely find it puzzling that Bush is both stupid and managed to steal the presidency.

---------
Free qpt!
Simple... (4.09 / 11) (#16)
by localroger on Tue Jan 22, 2002 at 08:39:39 PM EST

why would the Illuminati pick some dumb hick to be president, one who could not even garner a solid majority vote?

Because they want a dumb hick who can easily be manipulated as their front guy. Certainly they don't want someone who thinks for himself and might make decisions contrary to their interests.

This is the real reason these people hate Bill Clinton so much. Clinton's faults don't really add up to much when you compare him to other popular presidents like Reagan, Kennedy, or FDR; but after twelve years (sixteen if you count Carter as so ineffective as to not be much of an obstacle) of pretty much doing what they want, here comes a rightist (for a Democrat) but not quite right-leaning enough man who actually wants to run the country on his own, and has the brains to do it. The Right reacted like spoiled children deprived of their favorite toy and continue to react like the same spoiled child plotting to kill the rival who took the toy.

With Dubya they have once again gotten a good reliable sock puppet in the office. Too bad they're wearing him out so fast.

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

Nonsense (3.42 / 7) (#18)
by quantum pixie on Tue Jan 22, 2002 at 08:46:20 PM EST

There are plenty of people who have no convictions or real intelligence, yet look quite slick. Why not choose one of those?

---------
Free qpt!
[ Parent ]
One question... (2.28 / 7) (#38)
by demi on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 12:52:09 AM EST

Because they want a dumb hick who can easily be manipulated as their front guy.

Who are 'they'? The 49,782,406 members of the voting public that voted for Bush?



[ Parent ]

No.. (3.00 / 7) (#42)
by Danse on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 01:15:47 AM EST

Probably referring to the people with the real money that got those 49,782,406 votes for him.






An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
How did they get the votes for Bush? (3.57 / 7) (#43)
by demi on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 01:31:04 AM EST

Are there 50 million people in the US who basically take orders from someone when it comes time to vote? Nobody bought my vote, as far as I can tell. Do you honestly believe that just having money means that you can make people vote a certain way? Ask Ross Perot, Steve Forbes, or Nelson Rockefeller (although it may have helped Bloomberg in the NYC mayoral race).



[ Parent ]

Yes, in a way... (3.83 / 6) (#54)
by Danse on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 05:26:44 AM EST

When you can buy more airtime, travel, and mindshare, then yes, people are a lot more likely to vote for you than for the guy who they've heard a little about, but haven't seen much of on tv. They may not even like you all that much, but at least they know who you are. Then there's the odd fact that the media, and by extension the people, take you more seriously when you've got a bunch of money and corporate backers. It works kind of the opposite for me, but I'm well aware of the fact that the vast majority of Americans don't think the way I do about these things.

When it comes down to 2 real candidates (I don't consider Nader a real candidate since he didn't get anywhere near the number of votes that Gore and Bush got) like this last election, then people pretty much vote along party lines. Third party candidates don't stand much chance in the big-money environment in which our elections take place. They simply can't get their message out to a wide enough audience often enough for it to stick. We see and hear the 2 major candidates all the time. We hear their positions on the issues constantly. We don't get that kind of coverage for 3rd party candidates (Nader couldn't even get into the debates). It's really too bad. I would like to see what happens if a 3rd party candidate got that kind of coverage. Btw, Perot did pretty well for a 3rd party guy. If he hadn't been able to bankroll himself (and he still didn't get near the coverage of the others), he never would have made the dent that he did. Of course it didn't help that he sabotaged himself.






An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
advertising costs money because it works (4.14 / 7) (#63)
by eLuddite on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 06:41:20 AM EST

Nobody bought my vote, as far as I can tell.

From an interesting article I like.

According to an Associated Press analysis of Federal Election Commission data which was released on November 9, 2000, 81 percent of year 2000 Senate winners and 96 percent of House winners outspent their opponents. The AP analysis found 26 of 32 Senate races and 417 of 433 House races won by the candidate with the most money to spend as of October 18, the last date for which figures were available. Larry Makinson, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan group that studies money and campaigns, said, "The depressing thing about American democracy is I can check the fund-raising balances at the Federal Election Commission and tell you what the election results will be before the election." Thus, the key to American democracy is money, which directly impacts the election results.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

causal correlation? (2.85 / 7) (#77)
by Funk Soul Hacker on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 09:28:57 AM EST

Thats nice, except it dosn't mean anything. Ever think the more popular candidate might get more money? (more people donate because they like 'em, more corps donate because they think they'll win, etc)


--- Right about now, Da Funk Soul Hacker
[ Parent ]
Chicken and Egg (3.00 / 1) (#135)
by Danse on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 07:00:51 PM EST

Seems to me that the money would have to come first for national candidates. Otherwise you can't buy exposure. Without exposure, you can't get more money, or votes. But I agree that the study alone can't really draw any conclusions, except that there is a correllation between having more money and winning elections. It would be interesting to devise a new study to investigate this further though.






An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
Then go and stand for the Presidency. (3.85 / 7) (#68)
by Tezcatlipoca on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 07:57:29 AM EST

In US politics you can only win an election if you have money. Loads of it, and most probably that money will not come from normal people but from corporations. Why do you think both main parties in the US have refused to reform the campaign financing rules?

If a normal citizen has no hope to be elected unless he or she gets enough media exposure, and the media exposure is costly, then the whole system is open to abuse.

People's votes are not bought in a literal sense, but people are offered very limited choices in campaigns that are not different to trying to sell soap, a burger or a trip to Las Vegas. When politics becomes an excercise of marketing and not a forum to debate ideas one should get deeply worried.

---
Those who sleep can't sin.
Those who sin, sleep well.

[ Parent ]
civics 101 (3.28 / 7) (#44)
by eLuddite on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 01:42:20 AM EST

The voting public did not nominate or elect Bush to lead the GOP. Localroger wasnt refering to the electorate, he was refering to GOP strategists. That's why he wrote "because they want a dumb hick who can easily be manipulated as their front guy."

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Oh? (3.37 / 8) (#46)
by demi on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 02:13:53 AM EST

I thought there was a such thing as a 'primary system', where the candidate is decided by a convention of registered voters within his own party. Do we not have that anymore?



[ Parent ]

good point (2.75 / 4) (#49)
by eLuddite on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 02:47:38 AM EST

I have just one question: how do you identify "the 49,782,406 members of the voting public that voted for Bush" in an election with "registered voters within his own party" who turned up at the GOP nominations.

Do we not have that anymore?

I think that's irrelevant to the point localroger was making. I also think you make it sound as if the nomination exercise and internal party politics are above constant Machivellian manipulation. Almost as if party politics were "democratic".

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

heh. (3.25 / 4) (#50)
by demi on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 02:54:56 AM EST

I also think you make it sound as if the nomination exercise and internal party politics are above constant Machivellian manipulation. Almost as if party politics were "democratic".

Indeed, that would be a silly thing to think. I've always thought that the best way to do it is with an open primary system, like they have in Louisiana and some other states. You could easily wind up with two republicans or two democrats running against each other, though. A lot of people would not like that proposition.



[ Parent ]

NYS Republican Primary in 2000 (4.90 / 10) (#53)
by BlaisePascal on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 04:21:27 AM EST

New York State had an interesting republican primary, because of how the three candidates came to be on the ballots.

One key thing about NYS election law is that to be on a general election ballot, you either have to 1) be nominated by one of the dozen recognized political parties, or 2) meet a high petitioning standard for independent candidates. The State lets each political party establish its own rules about how to become a party nominee.

The Republican party has a primary election, which has a rather baroque and unwieldy nomination process.

George W. Bush cleared the nomination hurdle easy -- he had the strong backing of the NY Republican Party, the Republican Governor, the RNC, and the rest of the Republican leadership and machinery.

The other two major Republican candidates, Steve Forbes and John McCain, completed their petitions and submitted them in time to be on the Primary ballot, but the petitions were challenged -- not by George Bush's campaign, but rather by the Republican Party itself. The Party was trying to have it so that Bush, and -only- Bush, would be on the primary ballot.

Since New York is the 2nd most populous state, and has the 2nd largest number of delegates to the Republican Convention, eliminating Forbes, and especially McCain, from the ballot would do a -lot- to help ensure Bush's eventual nomination.

McCain and Forbes sued, and won the right to appear on the ballot. However, the outcome of the suit threw out the Republican rules for primary nomination as unconstitutional.

The Republican Party tried to prevent the voters in NY from having a democratically nominated candidate for President. I'm from NY, and I was able to read in our papers what was going on. I have to wonder if similar shenanigans went on around the country.

Very early on, Bush was virtually hand-picked and backed by the Republican Leadership. He was groomed, pushed, backed, to the exclusion of any other Republican candidates. Although he was Governor of Texas, he has arguably less experience than John McCain or other potential Republican candidates. Given that he didn't have a strong voice before he was selected as a candidate, given that he wasn't a player on the national scene, I'm forced to assume that the RNC and other backers had a hidden reason for choosing him. My latent paranoia suggests that that reason is because he is charismatic, likable, and controllable.

I can look at Bush and see what he says, what his platform is. But what I can't see is what the agenda of his controllers are. As such, I don't trust him, or his administration.

[ Parent ]

primarys. HA (3.25 / 8) (#74)
by Funk Soul Hacker on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 09:22:27 AM EST

Before the primary season the majority of americans wanted John McCain to be president, followed by Gore. And who actualy ends up getting the nod? The people's third choice. Yeh, thats real effective democracy.


--- Right about now, Da Funk Soul Hacker
[ Parent ]
They are... (4.00 / 2) (#137)
by localroger on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 08:19:18 PM EST

...the Illuminati. Reference the sentence before the one you quoted.

Of course when sane people use a term like "the Illuminati" we're talking figuratively of the powers that work behind the throne; the men who buy the candidates by supplying them with the money they need to buy the ads they need and hire the talent they need to get elected. The men Pink Floyd sang about:

Wire transfers and long-distance calls
Hollow laughter in marbled halls
Steps have been taken, a silent uproar
Has unleashed the dogs of war.

Ordinary people have only a minor voice in American politics, especially at the national level. We get to make the decision between Tweedledee and Tweedledum if we come out in a landslide, but this time we equivocated so our masters chose for us.

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

The patriarchy and GWB. (none / 0) (#142)
by demi on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 11:22:52 PM EST

Ordinary people have only a minor voice in American politics, especially at the national level. We get to make the decision between Tweedledee and Tweedledum if we come out in a landslide, but this time we equivocated so our masters chose for us.

I don't mean to mock you at all here, but is there any way you could go into more detail as to who 'our masters' are? I don't take orders from anyone (when it comes to political preference). I cast my vote in the presidential election and take full responsibility for it. Am I just the exception to the rule?

Even used figuratively, I believe the entire concept of the US 'ruling class' is a myth. Government is much more transparent than most people think. The problem is that most people have never met their elected representatives, much less heard them speak or directly asked them a question. If you watch some speeches on C-SPAN, without any editing, you will find that the decisions made on Capitol Hill are very extensively justified at length, and usually very predictable given certain economic realities. If a senator votes against having Mexican truckers on US highways, usually at some point he will say it is because his home state employs 5,000 Teamsters (who are all excellent citizens of course). Occam's razor and so forth.



[ Parent ]

OK (4.66 / 3) (#161)
by localroger on Thu Jan 24, 2002 at 07:00:08 PM EST

I don't mean to mock you at all here, but is there any way you could go into more detail as to who 'our masters' are?

I'd think it pretty obvious. They are the small class of mostly old-money people who are hereditary captains of industry. Some of their children will go into politics; once upon a time some would be expected to enter the Church, where they could be expected to rise to high station in the Vatican; most will continue in business, helped immensely by the family connections to all those other men of wealth, and even those who want nothing to do with their class will always be watched over and protected.

The Bushes are among them; Ronald Reagan was not but he was their loyal lapdog and they accepted him. Michael Jackson and Madonna, for all their wealth, are not. Perhaps in a couple of generations their children will be.

There are really two groups of them in the US, those whose early success came on the East Coast in the early years of the country, and those from Texas and California whose money came from railroads and oil. The two groups don't always see eye to eye, and conspiracy theorists love to attribute things to their struggle for ascendancy.

In this sense our democracy is a put-on job. You can go to Yale, but you will not be allowed into Skull and Bones, you will not meet the proper people or if you do they won't remember you later in life, to edge into the club. You can make a lot of money but you won't be one of them; you may buy your way into their presence and even exert some influence, but you won't be taken seriously. Bill Gates, anyone?

These old-money networks are fiercely conservative and their primary goal is to preserve their position. Little things like laws are not allowed to get in the way of this. Sometimes they mess up, and the consequences are usually disastrous for the rest of us.

If you voted for President, you voted for one of two people who actually had a chance, you voted for the third whose presence was mainly allowed to foil one of the real contenders, or you threw your vote away. Not that it was really worth much; I didn't want Gore or Bush, and there was no chance at all that anyone else would win. The average American really won't vote for someone who doesn't have hundreds of millions of dollars to spend because he'll never hear of them. They won't get enough exposure to win enough primaries (if they're even allowed into the primaries; primaries being even easier to manipulate than the main event); and all they will end up doing is siphoning off a few votes or inspiring a few to make a statement that will be forgotten a month after the election.

It's important to understand this, because as long as most people think we have a real electoral system where everyone has a chance to be president, we will never have a real electoral system of that type. Money colors everything, and the people who run the show behind the scenes have more of it than you can ever dream of.

Ordinary people wonder what someone could possibly want with such vast sums of money once a few million was had; what you could possibly spend it on. The answer is power. There is no amount of money secure against someone else getting more, and getting power over you. It becomes an enormous chess game and we aren't even pawns; we are the dust on the chessboard. If these people want something to happen badly enough, it will happen, barring another force of equal power poised to stop them.

In order for ordinary people to constitute such a force they must do more than go to the polls and vote for the standard menu. They must rise up with an extraordinary unity and commitment, knowing that some of them will die and many more pauperized by the efforts of the powerful to contain them. The last time this happened in America was the turn of the 20th century, with the labor movement.

Much of the media we are given has been carefully crafted to make sure that never happens again. Sadly, it appears to be working.

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

Hmmm.... (4.00 / 9) (#23)
by SvnLyrBrto on Tue Jan 22, 2002 at 09:39:44 PM EST

>so appealing that he or she could not help but
>win the election, by sheer personal charisma.

Steve Jobs for president...

It would be intresting, to be sure. But, somehow, I think that Steve would be quite a bit too hard for the illuminati to predictibly control.

It would be just about the ultimate "one up" over gates tho.

Seriously tho... He's got that "unstoppable personal charisma" thing down nicely. Everyone jokes about the "Reality Distortion Field". I used to laugh too... until I actually was in His presence at the grand opening of the Palo Alto Apple Retail store.

He really DOES radiate this immense aura of charisma that makes it hard to even think of doing anything that might displease Him.

Fortunately for the world, its range appears to be limited to line-of-sight. Prey, though, that He never decides to use His power for evil. I get Robert Cringley's remark about "drinking the koolaid" now.


cya,
john

Imagine all the people...
[ Parent ]

I'd vote for jobs (2.40 / 5) (#71)
by Funk Soul Hacker on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 09:16:46 AM EST

That would be cool. Weird. But cool


--- Right about now, Da Funk Soul Hacker
[ Parent ]
It would, in fact, (2.20 / 5) (#79)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 09:45:55 AM EST

be Insanely Great.

Until Congress ousted him and replaced him with some sugar-water pusher.

lol.



People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]
Bush is *not* stupid (4.28 / 14) (#28)
by maynard on Tue Jan 22, 2002 at 10:43:57 PM EST

Bush is not stupid. Mark Crispin Miller makes this point repeatedly in his anti-Bush screed The Bush Dislexicon. Bush may have a limited vocabulary, he may have difficulty with formal logic and basic reasoning skills, he likely has trouble with basic math, but he is not stupid. Especially when it comes to people and relationships. He's also quite vindictive should he place you on his shit list. One thing that's noted about his governorship and presidency is that he rewards loyalty as strongly as he punishes disloyalty.

To his credit he shows an excellent memory for names, faces, and the relationships of people. Almost everyone who has met him (and not pissed him off) have walked away genuinely liking the guy -- somewhat like Reagan (though Reagan had a much better grasp of the media being a former actor). Remember Bush's remark about NY Times writer Adam Clymer? Whispering to Cheney that he's a "Major League Asshole" while a mike was live. That's probably Bush at his most candid. Which is, honestly not so different from you or me -- I just happen to disagree with his policy and 'ends justify the means' approach to governorship.

But Bush didn't win because he got lucky, or because he won the majority of votes, he won because he had a vast financial and corporate backing from the elites who run this country. We're talking the media moguls, the energy tycoons (like Enron, who donated more to his election campaign/RNC -- plus a lear jet for Bush's campaign traveling -- than any other single company), large manufacturers like GE... basically the people who count in this society. Bush was backed by them and it would have taken a tremendous swing of luck for him to have lost. This is American politics.

There are some wonderfully funny verbally mangled quotes of Bush in Dislexicon, but some the commentary and anecdotes of him throughout the book are also quite chilling (of course, this is an anti-Bush book, what do you expect?). I definitely recommend the book, especially now that it's out in paperback.

Cheers,
--Maynard

Read The Proxies, a short crime thriller.
[ Parent ]

Bush backed by Media Moguls? (4.37 / 8) (#31)
by elefantstn on Tue Jan 22, 2002 at 11:33:55 PM EST

I don't think so. I took a quick trip over to opensecrets.org and looked up the top donors to Bush's and Gore's campaigns. Out of those top 20 donors, Bush had 0 media companies, while Gore had

3.)Viacom
6.)Time Warner
13.)Cablevision Systems

So who were the media moguls backing?

[ Parent ]
certainly he's backed by media moguls (4.71 / 14) (#37)
by eLuddite on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 12:41:32 AM EST

Out of those top 20 donors, Bush had 0 media companies

The companies you listed are entertainment companies, by the way. Newspaper publishers also made contributions.

This means very little. For example, Time Warner's donation of $57,000 appears 6th in Gore's list while AMFM, Inc,'s donation of $80,250 doesnt appear in Bush's top 20 at all.

The fact that there are at least 20 non-media companies donating more money than was donated by media companies doesnt mean Bush didnt get substantial media donations, perhaps even more than received by Gore.

More importantly, your top 20 list doesnt include individual contributions from titled media players. For example, how Much did Steven J. Ross, Co-Chairman, Time Warner contribute? How about Andrew Tobias, the "Money Angles" columnist for Time Magazine? Howard Stringer, President, CBS Broadcast Group? Daniel B. Burke, President, Capital Cities/ABC?

You get the picture.

For the record, these are Bush's top media donors in 2000:

AMFM, Inc.
Comcast Corp
Time Warner
America Online
Media One Group

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

riiiiiiiiiiight (3.90 / 10) (#34)
by Lelon on Tue Jan 22, 2002 at 11:39:21 PM EST

"he may have difficulty with formal logic and basic reasoning skills"

nuff said


----
This sig is a work in progress.
[ Parent ]
Hey? (4.70 / 10) (#60)
by FredBloggs on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 06:25:46 AM EST

You mentioned these reasons he may be considered stupid:

1)Bush may have a limited vocabulary
2)he may have difficulty with formal logic and basic reasoning skills
3)he likely has trouble with basic math

And these for why he isnt stupid:

4)[not stupid]Especially when it comes to people and relationships
5)He's also quite vindictive should he place you on his shit list.
6)he rewards loyalty as strongly as he punishes disloyalty.

I`m sorry, but none of the second 3 statements show lack of stupidity, whereas the first 3 are a pretty accurate definition of stupidity.

He`s a moron. You`d have to be stupid to think otherwise!

[ Parent ]
I'm paraphrasing Mark Crispin Miller (3.33 / 3) (#100)
by maynard on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 12:55:09 PM EST

This comment is in reply to the several which refute the claim that Bush isn't stupid. What I wrote is basically what Miller said, though unfortunately I don't have his book handy to provide quotations.

In explanation: I just bought a two family house and moved. All of my books and other personal belongings are in the basement while I renovate the unit I'm living in so I can prepare it for leasing out to a tenant. So I don't have any books handy for fun quotations to back my points up. Oh well!

Cheers,
--Maynard

Read The Proxies, a short crime thriller.
[ Parent ]

What do you mean (2.57 / 7) (#70)
by Funk Soul Hacker on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 09:12:03 AM EST

Bush did lose the election. It's just that there would have been no way to know that by the deadline.


--- Right about now, Da Funk Soul Hacker
[ Parent ]
Selective memory. (2.50 / 8) (#80)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 09:47:32 AM EST

Did you fail to notice all the press reports that, if the recount had been done, Bush still would have won?



People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]
OT - Adam Clymer (2.00 / 7) (#83)
by titivillus on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 10:19:37 AM EST

My wife has met Adam Clymer, and reports to me that he is a major-league asshole.

[ Parent ]
You Fools! (3.62 / 8) (#69)
by wiredog on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 08:12:26 AM EST

You don't want the Truth, because you can't handle the Truth! The Cabal is behind it all! Think about it! What do the Slashdot Cabal, Mozart's Silver Flute, the Defenestration of Prague, Philip K Dick, and Dubya all have in common? Who was it that poisoned Rusty? And Inoshiro? It's not the Black Helicopters you fool! Those are just a ruse to distract your attention from the Real Truth! (They're chartreuse helicopters, anyway.) You have been wasting years of your empty life in an obsessive, paranoiac search for the Truth! A search that would eventually have resulted in your discovery of the single true conspiracy!

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
[ Parent ]
You miss the point. (2.20 / 5) (#124)
by tthomas48 on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 04:51:19 PM EST

Bush won the presidancy precisely because he was a good for nothing. He was the son of one of the biggest politicos of all time Bush Sr. A family that has always succeded again all odds, except for George Walker. So you have a son who's stiking out at everything in life. Can't manage an oil company. Can't manage a baseball team (having lived in Texas while he controlled the Rangers I'm still trying to figure out why people say he successfully managed that team. I guess if your definition of successful is tricking a city into building a brand new stadium for a team that sucks, then yes he was successful, but I digress). So what do you do? Use all your political connections to help that son do good. George didn't need to help Jeb. He can form a coherant sentence, he'll be able to get a job rigging local and national elections after he leaves office. He needed to help his poor idiot child, it's hard to have a son with an IQ of 80 and a brain that stutters like Model-T's engine in cold weather. And it doesn't really matter who they put in there. The whole point was to get Cheney in so they could move forward with their agenda. And moving forward they are. With the exception of the "Faith Based Inititative" BS, does anyone believe for a second that Bush has any clue about the policies he's enacting. It's all about Cheney and his secret bat cave. With its enormous maps with blinking lights, and model oil wells.

[ Parent ]
OT: Quote from Palast at the end (2.87 / 8) (#20)
by rajivvarma on Tue Jan 22, 2002 at 09:13:46 PM EST

Since when is "the Internet" one word!
Rajiv Varma
Mirror of DeCSS.

Sounds familiar (3.00 / 8) (#22)
by Phage on Tue Jan 22, 2002 at 09:27:44 PM EST

Firstly, welcome back after what seems like a fair bit of silence.

Secondly, I believe that bc from Adequacy had it right when the real story is the failure of the press to report items that may appear threatening. This is something I tried to express in my recent story on K5 that I know you saw.

+1 From me, and lets hope that this one doesn't get dragged into another fatuous argument with people who fundamentally miss the point.


I don't find Heathens to be sexy, as a general rule.
Canthros

Oh well. (3.50 / 2) (#94)
by Ludwig on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 11:49:39 AM EST

lets hope that this one doesn't get dragged into another fatuous argument with people who fundamentally miss the point.

It was a beautiful dream...

[ Parent ]

What can we do about it? (4.07 / 14) (#30)
by afeldspar on Tue Jan 22, 2002 at 11:19:43 PM EST

This article makes a good point that it's not An Evil Conspiracy that keeps news from being reported so much as it is a systematic effect: there is considerable risk in crusading for the truth, and considerable reward in playing it safe.

I wonder whether we can start to reverse this trend with a grass-roots effort by keeping our eyes open for stories that are not making the major news outlets, and organizing mailings to let these news outlets know that the public they are selling to are interested in these issues -- that there is reward for going after meaty stories, and there is the risk in ignoring them of seeing one's viewers go to other sources.

I know there are plenty of media watchdog groups out there, but have any of them ever tried this tactic? In all honesty, most media watchdog groups I've seen have focused on reporting "Here's why the mass media are a bunch of sucking-up, corrupt, bought-out running dogs! Here's why we are holier and smarter for not being part of their little cabal -- and you are also holier and smarter for turning to us instead of them!" I haven't seen much indication that they would actually want the state of U.S. journalism to change.


-- For those concerned about the "virality" of the GPL, a suggestion: Write Your Own Damn Code.

If we do something, will people listen? (4.71 / 7) (#52)
by fraise on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 03:55:05 AM EST

Thing is, options are already out there for we Americans to get alternative news, but most of us just don't care about it or give no value to it. For one thing, it could be as simple as learning a foreign language and reading foreign papers. Concerning my generalization, the exceptions seem to prove the rule...

Last year I tried running a free, no-ads mailing list with English translations of French articles on things to do with the US, French news being pretty darn good at stirring it up and getting their research done right (namely Libération and Le Monde, nowadays Marianne too). I "marketed" it on several well-visited sites, and guess how many subscribers I got? Two. One English gentleman, and one American who had lived in France.

From what I've seen of other efforts by people much more knowledgeable and in the public eye than me (such as Le Monde itself, which publishes an English version of its newspaper), it fizzles and dies, or is relegated to the back burner. It's just not worth the effort - most (again, most, not all) Americans simply don't care, or are wary of anything that doesn't come from media they already know. Any subscribers are Americans who have lived or currently live overseas, or French people wanting to brush up on their English.

[ Parent ]
contrived (2.62 / 16) (#33)
by gibichung on Tue Jan 22, 2002 at 11:35:21 PM EST

The Democrats in Florida had no complaints about the election until it was clear that they had lost. Since then, they've been grasping desperately for any excuse to change the results of the election they played an equal part in holding. It's desperate, and in my opinion, quite pathetic.

-----
"No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we require him to obey it." -- Theodore Roosevelt
well.. (3.00 / 3) (#41)
by Danse on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 01:07:06 AM EST

I would have been wary of accusing the Republicans of anything during the election too. It could easily backfire, regardless of whether you're right or not. Better to just try to win anyway and save the appeals for later.






An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
re. your sig (4.00 / 4) (#57)
by streetlawyer on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 05:39:56 AM EST

Since the Republic of Ireland celebrated 80 years of free civil government last year, perhaps you and Jefferson could consider giving up on this wrong opinion?

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
Completely off-topic... (3.66 / 3) (#86)
by /dev/niall on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 10:38:58 AM EST

... but I would argue that a country with a national censor is hardly free.

Thank god we have one though. Who knows what may have happened to our wonderful country if we were allowed to see films such as "From Dusk Till Dawn", "Natural Born Killers", or "Showgirls".

[ Parent ]

I wish we had one (3.66 / 3) (#87)
by streetlawyer on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 10:47:44 AM EST

He seems like a good guy. Jesus, I wish the UK had somebody who would save me from wasting ten quid on those three turkeys.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
Foreign customs. (3.50 / 2) (#112)
by ucblockhead on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 02:17:58 PM EST

Here in the states, we have people called "Movie Reviewers" that help you avoid such flicks.


-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

Did you read the article? (2.80 / 5) (#55)
by davidmb on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 05:26:57 AM EST

Seems the Democrats had perfectly valid reasons for complaining.
־‮־
[ Parent ]
They did? (2.00 / 5) (#81)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 10:05:31 AM EST

As near as I can tell, every democratic complaint has been hype and unsubstantiated assertions that fell apart upon close examination.



People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]
Except maybe the first one (3.00 / 1) (#155)
by peace on Thu Jan 24, 2002 at 10:25:41 AM EST

Election law allows for the demanding of a recount. What was troubling was that the Republicans made it seem that Gore was going outside the law in his demands for a recount or he was just a sore looser. The race in Florida was close. Gore had won the popular vote, meaning more voting people wanted Gore in office then Bush. It seemed reasonable to me that a recount should take place in order to see who really was elected the so called leader of the free world.

People seem to forget that Gore was sticking to election law.

Kind Regards

[ Parent ]

I don't think that's true. (2.00 / 1) (#156)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Jan 24, 2002 at 11:05:30 AM EST

People also forget that the law varies from state to state. IIRC, Gore didn't "demand a recount" until the deadline for doing so had passed. At that point, it was up to the discretion of the the Fla Secretary of State and after that, as they say, it was all downhill.



People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]
Unravaling the knarled web (none / 0) (#163)
by peace on Thu Jan 24, 2002 at 11:35:34 PM EST

There is definatly a status quo interest in causing so much confusion around what actually happend that it's impossible to have casual conversation about it. There is not a single book thats been published that I would trust for accurate investigative reporting on this issue.

However, to the best of my recolection, Gore was on the way to conceed the election that night when he got a phone call telling him to wait. The next morning there was still contraversy and the only way that Bush would not have been declared the winner was if Gore had contested the election somehow.

Kind Regards

[ Parent ]

Millions of votes cast, 9 votes counted (2.61 / 18) (#51)
by Robin Lionheart on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 03:47:56 AM EST

There was a lot of public interest in Bush's election fraud and vote tampering. It may not have succeeded but for the rank politicial favoritism of the Supreme Court's partisan decision. But once the electoral college made the coup d'etat official, the mainstream media mostly let Bush off the hook.

Or not (3.00 / 8) (#72)
by karb on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 09:17:17 AM EST

The hand recounts by the media that ended about six months after the election showed that Had The Supreme Court Allowed The Partial Recount Democrats Were Asking For Bush Still Would Have Won.

In fact, I believe the reason the democrats request for a recount could be challenged in court at all was because they asked for a partial recount of three heavily democratic counties.

If the dems had asked for a recount of all of florida, and the supreme court said 'no', then you could say they (scotus) stole the election.

Also, people whine about a partisan decision in the supreme court, but only because they had less partisans on their side.
--
Who is the geek who would risk his neck for his brother geek?
[ Parent ]

Statewide recount (4.75 / 4) (#116)
by Robin Lionheart on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 02:58:28 PM EST

If the dems had asked for a recount of all of florida, and the supreme court said 'no', then you could say they (scotus) stole the election.

SCOTUS halted a full, statewide recount ordered by the Florida Supreme Court. Gore's original call for a recount in only 4 selected counties was partisan and unjustified, but irrelevant.

Also, people whine about a partisan decision in the supreme court, but only because they had less partisans on their side.

That there were no Greens on the Supreme Court doesn't factor into my opinion of their decision at all.



[ Parent ]
Double standard for partisanship (long) (3.38 / 13) (#73)
by pooka regent on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 09:20:00 AM EST

The election mess has already been gone over ad nauseam, and normally I wouldn't comment here; however, I cannot let this comment stand unchallenged.

I've read enough newspaper articles written by people with political views like yours, and there is one main pattern to most of them:

* When the Democrats all vote one way, it's standing behind their candidate and the way things should be.

* When the Republicans all vote one way, it's being intolerant and partisan.

You say that the Supreme Court was partisan because it contained mostly Republicans who voted to end the unfair counts in order to help Bush (I'll explain why they were unfair below). However, the Florida state supreme court that voted to continue the unfair counts in order to help Gore contained mostly Democrats who voted one way. Why do I almost never hear people like you admit that the Florida state supreme court was also partisan?

It's like the Clinton impeachment trial; Republicans were called partisan all through it. Note, however, the final vote on conviction: 10 Republicans broke ranks and voted for Clinton's acquittal, while no Democrats broke ranks and voted for his conviction. Why do I almost never hear people like you admit that the Democrats were partisan in that vote?

The counts were unfair in the sense that the same standard is supposed to be used in all counts. Therefore, dimples and hanging chads should have been counted in all the states, not just Florida. Why do I almost never hear people like you admit that that should have been the case if the count were truly to be called fair?

If someone couldn't read the ballot, they should have asked a member of the canvassing board for help; that was why the canvassing board was there. If someone couldn't read it and didn't ask for help, he/she deserves to have his/her vote thrown out.

If what was needed was a voting standard, I would agree with what Justice O'Connor said: the standard is set by the instructions on the ballot. If someone couldn't read the instructions, they should have asked a member of the canvassing board for help; that was why the canvassing board was there. If someone couldn't read them and didn't ask for help, he/she deserves to have his/her vote thrown out.

The whole point I'm trying to make is that we have rules for a reason, and they should be broken and/or changed only when there is a good reason to do either. A good reason is not "I didn't follow the instructions on the ballot; could you please just count it anyway, even though you're holding everyone else to that standard? If you don't, I'll protest that you're racist, since I'm [insert label, based on race or group, that makes me a member of a protected minority]. You're discriminating against me and ignoring my right to vote by not bending the rules for me, even if you're screwing over everyone else by doing so." (I probably could claim that I was disabled if I were in that situation; unfortunately, I actually read the ballot, followed the instructions on it, and voted properly; however, since I did it by absentee ballot, my vote would probably have been thrown out if Gore had had his way.)

People like you call Bush stupid, and yet they have an even worse grasp of logic than they allege Bush to have. People like you apparently believe that if the Democrats didn't win, the election wasn't fair. People like you believe that the Democrats are always right. One would think that the people like you who are educated would have a good grasp of logic and wouldn't be vulnerable to this apparent brainwashing; for example, you educated people might occasionally disagree with the Democrats and agree with Republicans.

Before you think that I'm a brainwashed Republican, let me point out that sometimes disagree with Republicans and agree with Democrats; for example, I don't agree that we should have been in Kosovo, as Bush said we should have, and I agree with Richard Boucher's proposed change to the DMCA to only outlaw cirrcumvention when it's for the express purpose of infringing copyright.

The 2000 election is over. Get over it. The 2004 election is coming up in two years. Focus on it instead.

[ Parent ]
People like who? (4.00 / 5) (#111)
by Robin Lionheart on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 02:17:32 PM EST

I've read enough newspaper articles written by people with political views like yours...

Why do I almost never hear people like you admit that the Florida state supreme court was also partisan?

Why do I almost never hear people like you admit that the Democrats were partisan in that [Clinton impeachment] vote?

Why do I almost never hear people like you admit that that should have been the case if the count were truly to be called fair?

People like you call Bush stupid, and yet they have an even worse grasp of logic than they allege Bush to have. People like you apparently believe that if the Democrats didn't win, the election wasn't fair. People like you believe that the Democrats are always right. One would think that the people like you who are educated would have a good grasp of logic and wouldn't be vulnerable to this apparent brainwashing...

Hey, stop talking to that strawman, I'm over this way.

People like you assume that only someone who thinks that Democrats are always right and Republicans are always wrong could believe the Supreme Court's decision was biased. People like you don't know as much as they think about the opinions of people like me.

Before you think that I'm a brainwashed Republican, let me point out that sometimes disagree with Republicans and agree with Democrats...

One would think that people who don't want to be ignorantly pigeonholed would be more careful about doing the same to others.

[ Parent ]

Ok, do you understand recursion? (4.66 / 3) (#125)
by Sl0w h4nD on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 05:01:15 PM EST

When accusing someone else of stereotyping you, it's best to avoid the repeated use of a phrase like "people like you." Honestly, if you don't like partisan bickering, step outside of it. Also, disagreeing with your party on two minor issues doesn't make you even-handed. Unless you have a fundamental difference with the Republican party platform, like being against supply-side or trickle-down economics, or being an environmentalist, then you're still squarely following the party line.

Here's the problem that I think we would agree on: Politics that lead to party-line votes and constant spinning of the issues is unbearable--even to those who end up winning. The only way to fix this is for citizens to be informed enough to both influence and react to their government. Regardless of whether the media is liberal or conservative, by studiously reading up on political issues and events, anyone who cares to can eventually arrive at a close approximation of the truth. I think of it like calculus; I get an answer deriving information that infinitely approaches the true answer, which is as good an answer as we could hope to get. But that means that there is always infinitely more information to be processed, even if it adds only a tiny fact to the answer.

As for your closing line, I think one of the fundamental guiding principles of all intellectual inquiry is to never forget the past. Your desire to forget & move along ties into the theory of "postmodern forgetfulness." Postmodernism asserts that we're always attempting to perfect what the past has given us (i.e. the present), but at the same time discarding any lessons learned in the past because those lessons were part of that imperfect, flawed past.

[ Parent ]

I've thought alot about this problem (3.33 / 9) (#58)
by imrdkl on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 06:06:34 AM EST

As an expatriate (make damn sure you spell that right), I've considered this "problem" at length. I try to follow the major American news webs pretty closely, from Salon to Fox. I read local language and international newspapers, and even the USAToday/NYT, when I can find a copy. Here where I live, one can get the european CNN feed on cable, along with BBC, and a local station also runs Fox News (2 days old) in the early morning hours, in what seems to me to be an attempt to highlight the scariest segment of the post-11.9 american news media.

The constrast between the various feeds is quite colorful. If you follow web boards like this one closely, you might have come to the conclusion that news is the same everywhere, and to a certain extent, I agree. The timing and delivery is quite varied, but eventually what shows up on one web, is released on all the others, pretty much. But the comparison of foreign news to local US news right now is simply apples and oranges.

I appreciate the candor and eloquence of this article. It is well reasoned, informative, and justified. However, it is naive to think that the American media is (or should be) motivated to cover the election-thing any longer. I find it distracting and even irritating, just a bit, that this issue is dredged up yet again, when the real focus should be on the final scene in our greatest act of patriotism, the delivery of American justice (with cause) to the world.

The delivery of justice (4.00 / 4) (#61)
by Znork on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 06:29:02 AM EST

I find it quite interesting that you call delivery of American justice to the world an act of patriotism.

In general, the (so-called) justice of various countries is applied within those countries. The application of justice on criminals who are no longer in the country is in general applied through international treaties and various agreements between countries. Anything else may be 'patriotic', but it is also likely a violation of international law.

It is also very very dangerous to set such precedents.

The balance of powers shifts. How happy will you be when 30 years from now, China decides to deliver its special brand of justice to the world? Or some mid-east power? The road is paved for anyone with the power and desire to ignore international treaties and deliver their ideas of justice on the world.

You'd better be sure that nothing you say or do is illegal anywhere in the world or you risk much in a world where justice is dispensed without regards to borders.

[ Parent ]
But it is patriotism (2.80 / 5) (#64)
by imrdkl on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 06:50:18 AM EST

Our actions are very dangerous, and subject to scrutiny and imitation which will pave the way to either more stability, or more ignorance (as you point out), in the future. No disagreement there.

I have also contended for some time that our action in Afghanistan is not a war. One cannot make war on terror, because war is terror. But I also contend that our action has been just, and that it has the potential to continue to be just. But not without patriotism. Patriotism is what is needed now, to see this action through to trials, convictions, sentencing, and release of the innocent.

Therefore my original rant.

[ Parent ]

Stop political advertising then (4.42 / 14) (#65)
by Mike Hearn on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 07:19:43 AM EST

There was an interesting comment section in the Guardian today that was basically making the point that one of the reasons that it's harder for UK politicians to buy the electorate is that it is illegal to advertise political parties on TV and radio here.

TV and radio advertising is tremendously powerful but also tremendously expensive. One of the reasons that the richest candidates appear to win with such shocking regularity in the states is that they can afford (due to large business donations) to throw ads at people everywhere. The UK government is currently reviewing this legislation - I for one want to keep the ban. thanks -mike

Unfortunately, (3.31 / 16) (#75)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 09:24:16 AM EST

Like the right to own guns, the right to buy advertising time is written into the constitution. It's called "free speech".

In other words, if I want to drop a million dollars advertising my "nuke the gay baby seals for jesus" party, I'm allowed.



People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]
Campaign finance reform has no chance (3.87 / 8) (#98)
by roystgnr on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 12:13:12 PM EST

For this same reason.

Even if the courts decide that we can Constitutionally regulate "giving politicians too much money (to spend on advertising)", how can they justifiably regulate buying political advertising directly? And if free speech obviously protects at least that, would laws limiting the central pooling of campaign money do anything more than hurt the smaller donors who can't afford to take out an entire newspaper ad or buy an entire commercial slot themselves?

[ Parent ]

Sigh. (2.00 / 10) (#102)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 12:58:16 PM EST

I love it. Modded down to 2 for the crime of telling the truth.



People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]
lol. (1.07 / 14) (#113)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 02:19:49 PM EST



People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]
What to do about it (3.30 / 10) (#66)
by Secret Coward on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 07:33:05 AM EST

I would like to see a government sponsered media outlet that would compete with private industry. However, unlike PBS, NPR, etc., I would like to see a set of agencies with elected directors and immutable funding.

When people go to vote, they would vote for a proxy organization (trade group, church, civil rights organization). The proxy would then vote for a particular media director. The seven most popular directors would each run one media agency.

Furthermore, the agency should be a seperate branch of government so that the president and congress have no control over it (would require a constitutional amendment). The agency's funding would best be set in the constitution as well. Something like median national income times 10,000. Finally, all published material should immediately enter the public domain.

These agencies would be responsible to the organizations that elected them -- as apposed to private media which is responsible to their investers and customers (advertisers). This changes the motive for editorial decisions.

Government news agencies would cover issues that private news tends to censor or downplay with shallow reporting. Instead of hearing that 200 protesters were arrested, perhaps we would find out why 60,000 protesters were demonstrating.

I sincerely believe that the big five media conglomerates wield way too much power. They can pick and choose whether to publish a good story about politician A, or a bad story about politician B. If the vote on the Sony Bono Copyright Extension Act is any indication, few politicians have the spine to disagree with the media.

The worst idea ever. E-V-E-R. (3.33 / 3) (#118)
by derek3000 on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 03:08:38 PM EST

I'm sorry, but I had to say it. Making a government program is not the answer. How will you feel about your government-run media outlet when it doesn't run stories criticizing the government? What are you going to do, force them to run a story? Are you going to force ABC and NBC to tell the truth? If only it were that simple.

You're dodging the real problem, just like people who attack campaign finance reform. The problem is that Democracy doesn't work. It subjects the rights of the individual (or the news station, media outlet, whatever) to a public vote. This is ridiculous. If you don't believe me, then think about what our country would be like if the majority of people were religious zealouts. Don't think about probability, just go with it. Think about what kind of 'proxy groups' they would 'vote' for. And then think about what kind of people would head up the organization.

Reporter: "Rev. Falwell, here's that story that the commercial media won't cover about Jews stealing stillborn Christian babies in the night and deep-frying them for appetizers at bar mitzvahs."

Falwell: "Excellent work, Mrs. Whiteisright. It's a good thing that the people decided to fund us so that we could bring them these hard-hitting, investigative reports. Those kikes would've stopped advertising with the network if they ran it. Well, sometimes the Truth hurts--it's a good thing that we're immune to all that pressure."

And don't say "but that would never happen."

-----------
Not too political, nothing too clever!--Liars
[ Parent ]

More on media self censorship (and media literacy) (4.66 / 27) (#76)
by influensa on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 09:26:01 AM EST

Last year sometime I researched for and presented a lecture on media literacy at a conference on social justice for highschool students. After reading this article, I decided to go over my notes from my lecture, especially the stuff on the structure of corporate media. Here's some more info on how censorship happens in the media, without there being any central bureau of censorship (it is systemic). Actually... I'm just going to type out a bunch of notes on media literacy in no particular order. Forgive, I just worked a nightshift and I'm tired.

--------

-Every bit of media that you consume (ie. television shows and commercials, radio, billboards, magazines etc) is engineered and produced down to the finest detail. This is important to remember whenever you're consuming media. It was constructed, and that means that the person who put it together chose what got in, and more importantly, what did not.

-Mass media is mostly one-way. Most forms of communication have way more feedback, but TV for example, generally does not.

-Media is a business. Mass media is being produced to make money. This could be the most important point because it includes so much of contemporary media literacy. All mass media outlets are owned by corporations, some of them (ie. NBC, which is owned by General Electric) the media division is just a small part of a larger corporate empire. If it's not in GE's interest to produce shows critical of nuclear energy, then that's probably a good explanation of why NBC never has.

-You watch TV for free, the real product of mass media is not content, but audiences. Media outlets make their money from advertisers. The more people watching/reading/listening, the more money the media corp. makes. But it's not that simple. Advertisers regularly demand "acceptable programming environments" from broadcasters for example. Nike, or Tommy Hilfiger would not want to advertise their products during an expose on sweatshops.

-Advertisers pay a higher price for certain content. For example, advertisers are willing to pay more for commercial slots during programming that demographically is more likely to be watched by people with high disposable incomes. That's because the advertisers are going to sell more products to people with more money. Now, if you believe that generally rich people are more conservative, than you'll understand the gradual right-wing-inization of media content. The Canadian Gov't actually did a report that mentions this particular phenomen (greater conservative bias in the media over the years). It's called the Kent Commission.

-Media outlets are under constant pressure to create content that puts people in the mood to spend. Makes sense, because advertisers are footing the bill. What this means, is that we're not likely to see stuff critical of corporations, globalization/free-trade/global corporate rule, US Foreign Policy that benefits corporations etc. We are likely to see lots of happy consumers in our sitcoms though, people that don't question or criticize, and watch lots of television, but don't read often.

-Reporters want to be promoted. But they're never going to get a raise if they keep submitting stories that the editor doesn't find important, or disagrees with politically. If a reporter wants front page, they submit stories that the editor will agree with. The editors are chosen by the management/owners of the media outlet. They're likely to have a conservative bias, being CEO's and board members, or MBA's and such. This isn't very explicit, and it isn't absolute to say the least, but it does result generally in reporters self-censoring themselves. Writing "proper news" that the editors would approve of is the only way up the corporate ladder. Why bother wasting time on stories that will only make the back page, if even get printed? This is where direct censorship isn't even required. Although, as we've seen (examples are given in the article I'm responding to) that sometimes happens too.

-6 corporations own more than half of the mass media. The number of corporations that get more than half the clicks on the internet is also only really small, but I can't remember it. It was covered on slashdot a while ago. But that's important. 6 corporations dominate the media. That's a pretty small number. Fewer sources of information. It's also important to remember that most media corporations are also involved in other things, like GE/NBC.

----------

There are lots of good books to read on the topic of media literacy. The Media Monopoly by Ben Bagdakin is really good. Noam Chomsky has a lot of good analysis.

www.medialit.org had a lot of good stuff on it, but I think it's mostly geared for teachers.

Columbia Journalism Review has an excellent media "Who Owns What" database. Just browsing through that can be very revealing.

that's all... good night

Jeremy McNaughton

Live simply so that others can simply live.

Noam's not the answer (3.66 / 3) (#147)
by quistas on Thu Jan 24, 2002 at 04:21:56 AM EST

I was once really into Noam Chomsky, but you're wrong -- his analysis isn't strong. Noam frequently picks his data points where they support his point.
I'll give a brief example -- Noam wanted to prove that US military aid goes to authoritarian countries that are fighting socialist or progressive insurgents. He talks about Turkey, two other countries, how US military aid helped the governments and then tapered off after the objectives (kill the commies) had been achieved.
But that's such a limited view it's ridiculous. If you start looking at the larger picture, you see that Israel gets tons of money to defend itself against its neighbors, NATO countries got huge amounts of hardward while not fighting insurgencies... it's late and I'm tired, but suffice it to say that the more I tried to support his argument the less convinced I became.
Look to Chomsky skeptically, and you'll get much more value than you would accepting him without question.

-- q

[ Parent ]

You should read more carfefully (4.20 / 5) (#153)
by peace on Thu Jan 24, 2002 at 10:07:43 AM EST

Unfortunate that you should pick the foriegn aid data points to suppot your argument. Everywhere that I have seen Chomsky present these numbers he always says excepting Israel. He does not include any Europien numbers because he is concerned with the so called 3rd world. He conciders the current geo-political make up to be Europe and America against the rest of the world.

The numbers that Chomsky sights do not even include CIA monies spent to control political outcomes or fund rebel or civil wars as these numbers are classified.

Still, I would like to see any information you have that contradicts Chomsky's assesment of where American foreign aid goes, and how much.

Finally, I agree you can't take Chomsky's word as the gospel. Chomsky himself says this everywhere he speaks: "Don't take my word, or anybodies word, for it. Find out for yourself". I have to wounder if people who write Chomsky off believe there is some infalable source of information, and if there is, would they please sight it, it would end alot of contraversy.

Kind Regards

[ Parent ]

I did read carefully (3.00 / 2) (#166)
by quistas on Fri Jan 25, 2002 at 12:37:18 AM EST

See, but you're making my point for me -- Noam excludes Israel, he excludes Europe... the way to make a good point is to come up with a theory, look at the evidence, and decide if you're right or not. Noam starts with a theory, like "Kittens are evil", and then says "oh, but not house cats" and "actually just the strays that wander across my yard, but holy shit, are they evil." Given that criteria, I could prove all single-digit numbers are seven. And honestly, I don't remember enough of my research into this to rehash it in detail.. I was really in to political science briefly in college, before I discovered, in roughly this order, alcohol and girls, and that pretty much ended my flirtation with that major. -- q

[ Parent ]
I think your missing Chomsky's point (4.00 / 1) (#175)
by peace on Sat Jan 26, 2002 at 01:19:31 PM EST

For Chomsky, adding in Israel and Europe would not lesson the evil of the equation, it would increase it. You need to understand where Chomsky draws his political lines. He believes the USA/Europe/Israel are the terrorist "rogue nations" of the world. To him, these contries financing one another is like intra corporation purchases and sales. The line that divides insiders from outsiders is the distinctions of first and third world. That is where Chomsky draws the lines and his argument is that the West terrorises the third world.

Finally, saying you are excepting certain data points is not the same as ignoring them. The US lumps together it's foreign aid spending under certain catagories, Chomsky has set up different catagories then the US based on his research on how the monies are used.

I would suggest you apply the same scrutiny to the way the US government represents it's data. Given revalations about the USA's overt and covert opperations throught the third world and flat out lying I'm not inclined to believe it's declarations of foreign aid, causes and effect.

Kind Regards

[ Parent ]

Okay guys, reality check. (4.00 / 21) (#78)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 09:34:39 AM EST

First, assuming that this denial of voting occurred, how does this constitute stealing an election? How did the republican administration of florida know, months in advance, that denying the right to vote to a few thousand convicted felons would swing the national election?

Second, people keep harping on the idea that Florida was key to the whole country. Yet the margin of error was just as close in several other states - and in the other direction. (New Mexico comes to mind).

Face it, guys - while the election represents a low water mark for American politics, the ugly truth is that it was simply too close to call. The answer is to improve the voting mechanisms before the next election, not try to create conspiracies in the past.

If you really want to go this route, I'd like to point out that most all the legendary ballot-stuffing dead-voting political-machine-running misbehaviour in American politics was done by democrats not republicans. That includes poll taxes and Jim Crow laws, thank you very much.

It never ceases to amaze that the political party spent a century denying basic human rights to blacks - that was even founded for that purpose - now calls itself the party of the little man.



People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
Flawed. (4.40 / 10) (#97)
by Count Zero on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 12:05:22 PM EST

First, assuming that this denial of voting occurred, how does this constitute stealing an election? How did the republican administration of florida know, months in advance, that denying the right to vote to a few thousand convicted felons would swing the national election?

Whether they knew or not is irrelevant. Voteing rights were still denied. I could care less about their intentions, only that they did something illegal.

Second, people keep harping on the idea that Florida was key to the whole country. Yet the margin of error was just as close in several other states - and in the other direction. (New Mexico comes to mind).

True, but it still doesn't change the fact that a change in Florida's results would change the election. If anything, your comment just means we should have closely looked at other states as well.

If you really want to go this route, I'd like to point out that most all the legendary ballot-stuffing dead-voting political-machine-running misbehaviour in American politics was done by democrats not republicans. That includes poll taxes and Jim Crow laws, thank you very much.

So, since the Democratic party has done some immoral things in the past this justifies the Republican party to act imorally? No one's calling the Democractic party a paragon of virtue here, just trying to point out some illegal things Republicans have done. If you want to talk about the past or current illegal acts of Democrats, submit an article on it. Don't try and use it to make what the Republicans have done not as bad. The fact is *both* are wrong.

[ Parent ]
Second reality check. (3.28 / 7) (#103)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 01:09:42 PM EST

Whether they knew or not is irrelevant. Voteing rights were still denied. I could care less about their intentions, only that they did something illegal.

Okay, but since the title of this topic is "Bush's Election Theft" I think it's appropriate to ask how this list could have been intended to steal the election.

True, but it still doesn't change the fact that a change in Florida's results would change the election. If anything, your comment just means we should have closely looked at other states as well.

And if the election in New Mexico was reversed, handing the state to Bush? Which state would we go to then?

My *point* is that this whole exercise is *futile* (it cannot change the result at this point), *pointless* (As the Miami Herald pointed out, you can make strong cases for both sides, depending on which standards you use) and *harmful* (it further damages our faith in elections in general).

My *point*, which others have also made, is that it would serve us far better to reform the election system *now* than obsess about crimes committed in the past. We're stuck with Bush until 2004 - do you really think you can get him impeached? Let's make sure this debacle never happens again, rather than destroy ourselves obsessing about the now-irrelevant past.

By the way - do not assume I am a Republican. I voted for Nader.



People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]
Why we have to talk about it (4.33 / 3) (#117)
by dachshund on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 02:59:43 PM EST

My *point* is that this whole exercise is *futile* (it cannot change the result at this point), *pointless* (As the Miami Herald pointed out, you can make strong cases for both sides, depending on which standards you use) and *harmful* (it further damages our faith in elections in general).

I would submit that your statement is wrong on nearly every point. Certainly we can't change Election 2000, but as other posters have pointed out, these problems still haven't been fixed! Thousands of Florida voters are still being illegally denied their right to vote. So I would submit that there's at least one very serious reason for this discussion.

It's also very relevant that these voters are disproportionately poor minorities, with a tendency to lean democratic, and that the people responsible for these (continuing) mistaken policies stand to gain if thousands (even tens of thousands) of these individuals can't vote. Even if the policies are a simply mistake, it looks very bad for the Republicans who maintain them. If the simple wrongheadedness of these policies isn't enough to sway them (with elections coming up soon), then bringing public outrage to bear, even if it amounts to political sniping, is a legitimate and useful response.

I would also argue that failing to address these issues is what's going to cause harm to the whole process. Our faith in elections is damaged because they (apparently) aren't being held fairly, not because people are pointing it out. The solution to the problem is not to stop talking about it, but to talk about it a lot, and to fix it-- make sure it never, ever happens again. An absence of outrage short-circuits what is essentially a feedback mechanism designed to keep government honest and fair.

To digress slightly, I recently enjoyed the contributions of another poster, who blamed Amnesty International's regular criticism of Apartheid for the current turmoil in modern-day South Africa. There are some people who would agree with this hypothesis. I hope you're not one of them, but the reasoning seems awfully familiar.

[ Parent ]

I would agree with you - on a condition (3.50 / 4) (#128)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 05:17:08 PM EST

I agree that we have to understand what failed in order to fix it - but everyone (including the original poster) who digs this stuff up seems more interested in grinding axes than actually solving the problem.

That sort of thing is great for feeling self-righteous, but useless for improving elections. Particularly if you refuse to acknowledge that both sides were dorking around.



People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]
Conditions (5.00 / 3) (#133)
by dachshund on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 06:51:51 PM EST

but everyone (including the original poster) who digs this stuff up seems more interested in grinding axes than actually solving the problem.

That sort of thing is great for feeling self-righteous, but useless for improving elections. Particularly if you refuse to acknowledge that both sides were dorking around.

Maybe it takes an axe to grind for broken things to get fixed. There's certainly no other good reason to dredge up the sordid affair; legislators certainly don't have any interest in dry history lessons that don't have any serious meaning for their voters. On top of that, it is something that'd be easier forgotten.

But it needs to be dredged up and remembered, because nothing's going to get better unless people are fired up to do something about it. And there are a sizable number of people in government who'd like it to go away quietly so they can either a) do it again, or b) evade the consequences of their actions.

What's most bizarre, to my mind, is that there exists a large faction of people who feel obligated to defend the process and just ignore any inconsistencies, no matter how screwy they may have been. To those people, I would say that your point applies even more forcefully. Bush is still going to be the President, even if every single Republican and Democrat in America join hands and agree that there were serious problems. So why aren't we all eager to sort this thing out?

PS Yes, Republicans and Democrats have cheated in the past. And they've been busted for it in some cases, allowed to get away in others. And that should never have happened. But I still don't understand how any number of historic wrongs ever equal a right. The proposition is a nightmare.

[ Parent ]

Democractic vote theft in recent elections.... (3.00 / 8) (#107)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 01:34:14 PM EST

As you say - the dems are no paragons of virtue. The engaged in many question able acts in the very election we are discussing here.

A google search also returned these links:

So, am I saying the dems steal all their elections? No. I'm saying that this process is fundamentally broken and needs reform. We need to do that and stop picking at the scabs of old wounds.



People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]
Not what is interesting about the debate (4.50 / 4) (#119)
by On Lawn on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 03:13:49 PM EST

But your being mistreated by raters.

A whole book came out with a breakdown of the pre-planned scheme called "At any Cost: How Al Gore Tried to Steal the Presidential Election" available at Amazon, B&N and the like.

My favorite commentary on the issue comes from the DNC which considers Gore as too smart for his own good for trying to manipulate the election with segmented recounts. Not only did it backfire, but if he had gone for a full election re-count he would have won.

But like I said, this isn't the interesting part of the debate for me. Its a solved issue in my mind what happened and neither side's actions are unreproachable. However, Bush taking it to the Supreme Court, and its subsequent rulings are in my mind are not among the actions of intrigue. In fact I can use it as a litmus test for finding ideologues who would throw out the constitution just to get their way (and Gore is not one of those.)

The more interesting part of the debate is how Media is controlled, how much and by whom. Its never a grand conspiracy theory. To me its not a right-wing vs left-wing media unless you want to listen to Rush Limbaugh or his left-wing versions.

I'm watching that debate with interest. So far I see people who are crying "foul" with simplified explanations and those with more interesting explanations. But neither have explained to me why when a Republican or Democrat is in office, the media is percieved as simultaneously against, yet for the president.

[ Parent ]
LOL (3.85 / 7) (#127)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 05:12:34 PM EST

But neither have explained to me why when a Republican or Democrat is in office, the media is percieved as simultaneously against, yet for the president.

I was thinking about this earlier. As near as I can tell, this comes down to a basic human behaviour: If you agree with me you are obviously an intelligent, unbiased and perceptive person. If you disagree with me, you must be an ignoramous with a hidden agenda.

But - how does this fit the US media? Well: First, it has been repeatedly shown that the vast majority of journalists describe themselves as "liberal" and they overwhelmingly vote democrat. Therefore, the media clearly has a liberal bias.

Second, US media are owned by giant money-grubbing corporations. And giant money-grubbing corporations are the ones who want republicans in power because they are pro-business. Therefore, the media clearly has a conservative bias.

Truth - some media companies (The NYT, and CNN come to mind) pretty clearly (in my mind) tilt to the left. Others (Fox) tend to be "right wing".

I've yet to find any media outlet that is conservative in the classic sense (i.e., what we would call "democrat" on social issues, but "republican" on fiscal ones) - which is where I tend to be.

As for the rating thing - today someone seems to be going around down-rating every post I ever made. 'Sokay. I actually find it pretty funny.



People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]
re: the recount (2.00 / 1) (#157)
by chopper on Thu Jan 24, 2002 at 11:20:36 AM EST

Not only did it backfire, but if he had gone for a full election re-count he would have won.

that, unfortunately, is an incorrect assumption which many have made.

hypothetically, if Gore had asked for a full, statewide recount (which he actually mentioned, but never officially requested), he still would have lost.

this is because Bush would have still challenged it, and the Florida Supreme Court would have asked for a statewide recount, like they did in the real case.

Bush would have taken it to the SCOTUS, like he did, and the SCOTUS would have made the same decision; 'make a statewide law, and you can recount'.

and i think they would've sat on the decision until the last minute, just like they did.

so, Gore would have lost anyway, even though the later media recount in such a case would have undeniably shown that he would have won.

feh.

give a man a fish,he'll eat for a day

give a man religion and he'll starve to death while praying for a fish
[ Parent ]

No I won't get drug down (4.00 / 1) (#159)
by On Lawn on Thu Jan 24, 2002 at 01:17:17 PM EST

hypothetically, if Gore had asked for a full, statewide recount (which he actually mentioned, but never officially requested), he still would have lost.

this is because Bush would have still challenged it, and the Florida Supreme Court would have asked for a statewide recount, like they did in the real case.

Hard to argue with a story now isn't it. Naw, like I said, from what I've read on both sides neither are above reproach.

To me its not an issue any more. Bush taking it to the supreme court was not one of those reproachable actions. Its his right when he feels his constitutional rights are being violated. Its the Supreme Courts right to listen to it or not. They did listen to it, and in an overwhelming majority (7-2) said the recount as it was occuring, as Gore had requested, was in violation. That is where the DNC consider's Gore to have been too smart for his own good.

The 5-4 decision was, as you mentioned the clock thing. However in the dissenting view, they didn't accuse anyone in the court of dragging their feet. Nor would they, for decisions take time, and they beat out the most realistic estimates of the time. In fact, they conseded that they would likely have to rewrite the constitutionaly mandated electoral election to allow for the recount. The dissenters thought it was in their power to do so, which I personaly disagree with.

I agree more with the estimate that if they started with a state wide recount, that it would not have been halted since the grounds of halting the recount were based on Gores attempt at a segregated recount. Its likely that a state wide recount would have made the time limit.

But like you said, your writing your "hypothetical" story and its hard to argue the outcome of another persons creative writing. But why argue this here? This is about media censorship or the perception of it. I won't say that I'm on Bush's side becuase I'm not. But I can say that I'm on the constitutions's side and the Supreme Court's interpretation of it. That happens to be Gore's side also.

So since I have your ear, what about the media? Do you think it let GWB off the hook? Do you think its politicaly or profitably motivated? What forces are at work that caused it to be that way? Those are the more interesting points of this discussion to me.

[ Parent ]

re: the media (5.00 / 1) (#172)
by chopper on Fri Jan 25, 2002 at 10:51:23 AM EST

first, while it is true that the dissenting view did not make any mention of the court taking its time, such opinions are generally not kosher for justices to make anyway; to accuse the majority of deliberately dragging their feet is fine for normal citizens and indeed the media, but if a justice said such a thing it would make them look a bit petty. everyone on the court as well as those involved outside the court knew that the case needed to be resolved as soon as humanly possible.

as to the media, i think that they let both parties off the hook. obviously, given the lack of coverage of the above story by the US media, one could argue that only G-dub was given a free ride, but as others have pointed out in this thread, Gore's camp attempted some pretty stupid shenanigans.

during the election fiasco, i was pretty much glued to the TV/internet 24/7. i remember seeing teases of several of these stories, such as the overseas ballots, the Republican party sending ballots to those who did not request them (a clear violation of election law), the whole 'cigarettes for ballots' thing (WTF?).

only a few materialized into news, and most were, i believe, picked for their controversy, but others, such as the above story, were strangely ignored. to this day, i'm still finding new stories about the election that weren't reported by mainstream news.

as to the motivation, that's a tough one. to be honest, i got the feeling from the major media that Gore was a bit of a dick, and GWB was using every trick up his sleeve to win. seeing as how both candidates were eventually made to look like children, i can't really tell what motivation the media had, if any, outside of keeping people watching, so i guess i would lean towards 'profitably motivated'. of course, the question begs to be asked: if the motivation was purely for profit, why not go with the above story? it surely would have been a knockout.

give a man a fish,he'll eat for a day

give a man religion and he'll starve to death while praying for a fish
[ Parent ]

Missing the point; and, party history (4.00 / 3) (#109)
by aphrael on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 02:02:40 PM EST

How did the republican administration of florida know, months in advance, that denying the right to vote to a few thousand convicted felons would swing the national election?

To a few thousand non-felons who were allegedly felons, if you believe the report.

But to an extent that's missing the point. Was the presidential election the only election going on in Florida that day? Certainly not; if nothing else there were congressional elections and state legislature elections --- could their results have been thrown? If so, that could quite possibly have been predicted. Certainly it's worthy of investigation.

while the election represents a low water mark for American politics

I'm not convinced; that honor probably belongs to 1876-1877.

the ugly truth is that it was simply too close to call.

That is definitely true; we were well within the margin of error for our election system.

that was even founded for that purpose

I think you misread your history. :) The Democratic Party was founded, more or less, by Andrew Jackson, as the party of the little man; it didn't become associated with the southern cause until the 1850s, when a series of political crises involving the collapse of the Whig party caused and the growth of successor parties caused the Democrats, who had always been a bisectional party before that, to lose most of their Congressional seats in the north. After that point, it became dominated by southerners, and was almost exclusively associated with the southern cause until the 1890s, when it became instead associated with the 'free silver' movement and tried to become the champion of the little-man farmer against the wealthy bankers of the east --- a posture much closer to its original.

[ Parent ]

Maybe I'm mis-remembering.... (4.00 / 2) (#110)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 02:13:28 PM EST

I think you misread your history. :) The Democratic Party was founded, more or less, by Andrew Jackson, as the party of the little man;

Wasn't the party originally the "democratic-republicans"?

IIRC, back in the day it was the democractic-republicans vs the whigs. As the crisis over slavery grew, the d-r's split into two parties - the democrat and republican parties we know today. At that point, the split was along north-south boundaries, with the republicans in the free north, and the democrats in the slave-holding south. Note that the pro-business stance of the republicans was already in evidence back then: one of the reasons that they opposed slavery was that slave labor was unfair competition against northern businessmen who had to actually pay their workers.



People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]
Yes and no. :) (4.00 / 2) (#114)
by aphrael on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 02:33:53 PM EST

The Democratic-Republicans were the opposition to the federalists, and came to power in 1800, and for something like 25 years were mostly unopposed. In the 1820s, though, the party split, at least in part over the politics surrounding the election of John Quincy Adams, and in part over the politics of the tariff; one wing became the 'Democrats', led by Andrew Jackson, while one wing became the 'Whigs'. The Whigs collapsed in 1852-1854; meanwhile, the Republicans emerged out of various political currents in the north, and ended up being the dominant party north of the mason-dixon line and east of the mississippi. The Democrats, meanwhile, retreated to the south. A really good book on this subject is the Impending Crisis.



[ Parent ]
Thanks (2.00 / 3) (#126)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 05:01:48 PM EST

Thanks for the quick lesson.



People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]
History, media stereotypes (4.00 / 1) (#148)
by Secret Coward on Thu Jan 24, 2002 at 06:11:54 AM EST

If I remember correctly from my Political Science course, the Democratic and Republican parties of today are basically the opposite of what they were 100 years ago. The people who would have voted Republican 100 years ago, would likely vote Democratic today, and vice versa. I should probably warn you, my Political Science professor wasn't exactly the brightest fella.

Groliers has a History of the Republican Party and a History of the Democratic Party.

If you really want to go this route, I'd like to point out that most all the legendary ballot-stuffing dead-voting political-machine-running misbehaviour in American politics was done by democrats not republicans. That includes poll taxes and Jim Crow laws, thank you very much.

Getting back to the topic, why do you feel so strongly about the Democratic party. I would guess that you consider yourself a Republican, you watch the news, you constantly hear Democrats and Republicans compared to each other. When you hear something you disagree with, your first thought is that the 'other' party is responsible. Such behavior is a natural result of stereotyping. The media plays with stereotypes quite well. The APA has a brochure on the psychology of racism. The psychology behind racism is the same psychology behind the perceptions of political parties.

Finally, I'd like to point out that the Democratic and Republican parties agree on a great many topics. The media never presents those topics as an issue, and thus people generally don't think about them. In the next election, I probably won't vote for any Republicans or Democrats.

[ Parent ]

I wish I had seen this in the queue ... (2.00 / 8) (#82)
by joegee on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 10:16:16 AM EST

... although it ended up where I would have voted it. I have nothing to contribute other than I have added a few books to my reading list.

Thanks much!

<sig>I always learn something on K5, sometimes in spite of myself.</sig>
For anyone who cares to dig in to this ... (4.35 / 14) (#84)
by joegee on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 10:20:30 AM EST

The Miami Herald's full post-election ballot count coverage, including results using different methodologies.

<sig>I always learn something on K5, sometimes in spite of myself.</sig>
Oh, wow. (2.85 / 7) (#85)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 10:38:30 AM EST

Your sig is on the nose. Here is what I just learned, following your link:

* Under the Florida Supreme Court order, which exempted counties where manual counts had already taken place, Bush would have added 1,128 votes to his official 537-vote lead -- if every dimple, pinprick or hanging chad on a punch-card ballot is considered a valid vote. That would have yielded a final margin of 1,665 votes.

His final lead would have fallen to 884 if dimples were counted as presidential votes only on ballots

His lead would have dwindled to 363 if votes were counted only when a punch-card chad was detached by at least two corners, perhaps the most common standard applied nationally.

And his margin of victory would have disappeared, replaced by a Gore lead of only three votes, if only clean punches were accepted.

In other words, the Repulicans should have just let the Dems screw themselves with these recounds.



People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]
Why did you assume that I was posting this info (2.40 / 5) (#91)
by joegee on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 11:31:39 AM EST

... in support of greenrd's thesis? Oh wow, I knew Bush won all the recounts except the one that used the most liberal and universally unacceptable standards.

You know, by those standards I could have won Florida myself, and I didn't even run.

Oh wow. :)

<sig>I always learn something on K5, sometimes in spite of myself.</sig>
[ Parent ]
Didn't assume. (3.00 / 4) (#105)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 01:15:37 PM EST

I just didn't know that.

(Actually, I did assume - that you read the stuff before you posted it - but I figured I'd highlight that bit for the people who are too lazy to click on your link.)



People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]
Thank you. (2.50 / 2) (#121)
by joegee on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 03:32:32 PM EST

I note that you actually seem to think about your beliefs -- a commendable quality for around here. Your comments are succint, and well-targeted. Whether I always agree with them or not, I enjoy reading them.

Thanks for your observations. Have a decent day/evening/night (whatever your region might be).

Peace,

-Joe G.

<sig>I always learn something on K5, sometimes in spite of myself.</sig>
[ Parent ]
Not the point... (4.66 / 9) (#115)
by notafurry on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 02:38:24 PM EST

In other words, the Repulicans should have just let the Dems screw themselves with these recounds.

You know, what disgusted me about the whole thing was not that Bush won. (The man's an incompetent moron, but hey, I didn't vote for him. Not my fault. Didn't vote for Gore, either.)

My problem with it is that no one - on either side - was willing to play fair. Both Bush and Gore were willing to use any dirty trick they could think of to win. Bush didn't stand back and say "Hey, this is important. My country determines the President by free election; if there's any question of the fairness of the vote, let's take the time and look at it". Gore didn't say "You know, it troubles me that there are these allegations of voter fraud in Florida, and I think we should look at it. But at the same time, let's look at these problems over here in these Republican counties". They both said (stripped of the hyperbole and rhetoric) "I deserve to win, because they are trying to rig the vote." Well, they were both right on the second half.

Sure, if things had been handled appropriately and responsibly, Bush would probably have won. But it's hard to tell, because there was so much evidence of vote tampering and fraud, not to mention honest mistakes and problems, that we'll never know what really happened. And that's not a Republican problem, nor a Democrat problem. That's an "American Politics" problem.



[ Parent ]

Recount Reconsiderations (4.00 / 1) (#146)
by Robin Lionheart on Thu Jan 24, 2002 at 01:14:51 AM EST

An interesting review of this story appeared in Spinsanity:

On April 4, The Miami Herald with parent company Knight-Ridder and USA Today published the results of a review of 64,248 ballots in all 67 Florida counties. Among their findings were that hundreds of ballots were arbitrarily discarded, discernible votes were not counted by machines, and overvotes with a clear intent were ignored. Ironically, the study also found that under the counting standards advocated by Gore and the Florida Supreme Court, George W. Bush would have won, but under the standards Republicans pushed for, Gore would have been the winner.

The Herald's headline? "Review Shows Ballots Say Bush." USA Today's? "Newspaper's Recount Showed Bush Prevailed."

...

The Herald and USA Today led with a Bush "win," however, because headlines that read "Study Finds Florida Election Results Vary Depending on Standard" don't sell papers. Instead, these analyses arbitrarily focus on what would have happened if Gore had his way. Since he didn't, though, there is no rational reason to make that the exclusive focus of the first five paragraphs of the Herald's story. One has to get to the sixth paragraph of the Herald piece to discover that "Bush's lead would have vanished ... if the recount had been conducted under severely restricted standards advocated by some Republicans." USA Today doesn't find this fact worth mentioning at all.



[ Parent ]
Reginald? Reginald Johnson? (2.45 / 11) (#89)
by itsbruce on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 11:11:26 AM EST

Where aaaaaare you?


--It is impolite to tell a man who is carrying you on his shoulders that his head smells.

Same with Clinton (2.33 / 18) (#90)
by brent on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 11:21:12 AM EST

And a former President Clinton lied under oath and not a word from this so called investigative journalist? Maybe this story is beaten to death and nothing is new to report since a conspiracy beyond the state of Florida could have easily turned the election, say if Gore won Tennessee or a half dozen other states. Why this keeps getting resurected from the dead is beyond me? Gore lost. Bust won. Re-re-re-re-re-re-re-recount the recount, and include all the ballots that are lost in the bottom of the ocean, the everglades, the rental Ryder trucks, the corrupt election officials homes, etc. and maybe by 2020 we'll really know who won and what if after all of this Bush wins by only 1 vote, then what? What is accomplished? Maybe the would be consipircy dosen't materalize. Give it up and go after the real criminals in Clinton and Gore.

*sigh* (3.66 / 3) (#122)
by Wicket on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 03:41:45 PM EST

Give it up and go after the real criminals in Clinton and Gore.

What would that really accomplish? 40 million dollars of taxpayers money was already spent investigating Whitewater (which no wrong doings were found on the Clinton's part I might add).

Should we go after people that went AWOL then too? I doubt it, because it's all in the past. I think ENRON is going to be a big enough investigation than trying to dig up more dirt on Clinton and Gore.
intune.org - music discussion for the soul...
[ Parent ]

that kind of attitude is what kills journalism (4.25 / 4) (#136)
by mulvaney on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 07:11:44 PM EST

You can't just dismiss someone's research because they didn't research a bunch of other topics as well. To do this kind of original research, it takes a lot of time. We are talking about *one guy* here, after all -- he can't reasonably investigate every "scandal" that has ever happened.

You are engaged in a pretty big logical fallacy. You are assuming that since the reporter didn't report on "liberal" scandals, then he can't be trusted to report on "conservative" scandals. That doesn't make any sense.

It would be like confronting Newton, after inventing Calculus, by saying "Well, what about geometry? You didn't do any work with that, so how are we supposed to believe all this calculus stuff? You are just stirring up trouble..."

This is the kind of attitude that makes "muckraker" such a dirty word. I say, bring it on! Lets hear about all the evil things that Bush and Co. have done, and lets hear about all the evil things that Clinton and Co. have done. But don't dismiss researched articles just because you don't agree with the findings...

-Mike

[ Parent ]
OT (5.00 / 2) (#144)
by Kalani on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 11:27:14 PM EST

It would be like confronting Newton, after inventing Calculus, by saying "Well, what about geometry? You didn't do any work with that, so how are we supposed to believe all this calculus stuff? You are just stirring up trouble..."

The differential and integral Calculus both have applications in Geometry.

Maybe the analogy would work better if, while Newton was deriving F=p'(t), some asshole said "HEY! THAT DOESN'T TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE COD FISH IN ALASKA!" Why is this perhaps a better analogy? Well, the state of cod fish in Alaska is to the question of a quantitative definition of force measurement as the Clinton scandals are to the question of whether or not voter fraud was a reality in Florida.

-----
"I [think] that ultimately physics will not require a mathematical statement; in the end the machinery will be revealed and the laws will turn out to be simple, like the checker board."
--Richard Feynman
[ Parent ]
Bust always wins (4.66 / 3) (#150)
by Rand Race on Thu Jan 24, 2002 at 09:05:08 AM EST

And a former President Clinton lied under oath and not a word from this so called investigative journalist?

Yea, nobody has ever heard about that one. I do believe that particular event was quite well covered. Now Bush Minor's little episode of lieing under oath is a completely different story. Of course he didn't lie about something so odious as oral sex, he just lied to help cover up grave desecration for profit.


"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, He must approve the homage of Reason rather than that of blindfolded Fear." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

I hate this kind of topic... (3.52 / 23) (#93)
by slykens on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 11:45:18 AM EST

When I see things like this I just start to go crazy. It takes a few minutes to calm down and think about things without stereotyping the author. These are some of the reasons why...

Why is it that "liberals" believe they are the only people who are enlightened? Why is it that these same people freely argue that Bush "stole" the election based on contrieved evidence and a court he had no control over. Why don't we hear mentions of Gore's point man's father, Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago fame? In case you don't know this is the Kennedy election in which there was clear enough evidence of voter fraud in Illinois and Texas that something should have occured but in Illinois Daley's political machine stopped it and in Texas the all-Democrat election board sidestepped the issue. (See this article)

There was an article mentioned in an earlier comment from the Miami Herald. The BBC writer attempts to discredit any US media source as "lap-dog" media to the people in charge. We've seen studies before citing left-leaning tendencies in US media in general but from experience I would find it hard to believe that any media source in the US (save Fox news, which ironically is owned by Rupert Murdoch) would willingly admit that Bush legitimately won the election by almost any standard used in Florida.

Then the article talks about Database Technolgies which was hired by the State of Florida to ensure that felons would not be able to vote. The article makes the argument that the list used by Database Technologies was 95% incorrect and that most people purged improperly were democrats. Where did this company get its list? Wouldn't it have been provided by the State of Florida? The book referenced in this article is quite an interesting selection, and to me, is very telling about the author of the BBC piece. This book is to be published in March 2002, could this article be a method of drumming up interest? Could it be that Palast is nothing but interested in padding his own wallet with faux "whistleblower" Drugde-like journalism. (Quote from his web site: "He is available for large speaking venues - as a keynote or panel participant - and hopes that you will partner with him by preordering at" and goes on the provides links to buy his book) Where is the expose on Clinton's dealings with the Chinese or the backroom deals in the Senate that kept him from being convicted and removed from office? Look at the author's web site and legitmately tell me that he is not a biased reporter.

This is an opinion piece, like his book, and his web site. Why are people so interested in taking it as fact? Take some time to read his pieces at www.observer.co.uk, whom he works for. He hilariously uses the 'Landslide Lyndon' reference for Bush in one article. (Johnson got this nickname by winning a Senate seat by something like 86 votes, IIRC)

But the most telling sign of his ignroance of how things work in America is how he attempts to blame Bush for not bailing out Californians during their electricity problems. He clearly fails to understand that regulation of electricity is not a federal power and that Californians created the sitution on their own through wacky deregulation laws and NIMBY-ism. I am sure if he had a chance he would blame the current recession on Bush, similar to Tom Dashcle's recent attempts to blame it on the tax cut. (This desipte the recession starting in March 2001, about two months after Bush took office.) I find this ignorance surprising as he is in fact a US citizen.

But enough wondering into other topics, let me stick to the article. He talks about bin Laden as well but fails to mention Clinton's failed opportunities to kill bin Laden, even after we knew what he did in Africa.

We all need to step back sometimes and look at the big picture. For all you liberals out there who love this guy's writing, step back and think about his intentions, why is he doing it? For all of us conservatives, we need to step back too and see what facts he has to support his conclusions. Do I think Bush stole Florida? No. Do I think there were some questionable things done in Florida, BY BOTH SIDES, hell yes. But he does make one good point. Other than the tax cut and us not doing anything about being attacked on September 11, what would really be different if Gore was president? Government is just a big machine anyway and no matter what cog we put in the machine it still works the same way.

thank-you!!!! (3.00 / 1) (#120)
by modmans2ndcoming on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 03:26:00 PM EST

I was reading the transcript and I read the Councel on civil rights investigation. both sites were poor on how they came about with this information of the felons being able to vote, the transcript was sort of funny, the part where he interviews one of the people that were wiped from records was particularly amusing. here, the reporter asks the man flat out if he was a felon or if he had ever gone to jail....the man says no. what does the reporter do? does he show proof by looking to see if the man has an arrest record? does he even mention that he tried to find out if this man was telling the truth? no. he accepts the answer at face value. this, after he criticizes the US media for not investigating any farther than asking Jeb Bush's office if it was true. what, does a man that was wiped from the voter records for alegidly being a felon hold more credability than a government office? personaly I think that they are both just as credible. so who am I to belive?.....frakly I don't care anymore, I do not want to worry about it anymore, and, if these allegations were true, do you realy think that Tom Dachel would not drudge up as much information as possable so that he can make a scandal worthy of impeachment? I am very schepticle of the findings results considering there is no meat and potatos to the aligations to allow me to review their investigation meathods....hell I am just as critical of US press, just because it is the BBC does not mean that it is gospal....the BBC presents many points of veiw on a subject, this is just one of them.

[ Parent ]
Rant, Rail, React -- Not a whole lot of thinking! (4.71 / 7) (#123)
by Sl0w h4nD on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 04:10:38 PM EST

It's telling that slykens attacks the story's contentions as baseless without using any facts! Slykens mentions studies and such, but always in an IIRC (i.e. I heard it on Fox News) way. Basically, he's saying, "This doesn't jibe with conservative talking-points I've heard, so this guy must be wrong." So here's a fact that I can back up:
The database company was hired directly by Katherine Harris, is run by former Republican party functionaries, and the reason it's results were so inaccurate was that it used regular expressions to match felons to potential voters if the first letter of the first name was the same and the last name had the same group of letters--but in any order! I've done name-matching for far less important tasks, and I would never use criteria that simple and error-prone. This was probably the biggest blunder in the Florida election fiasco, but most citizens wouldn't really understand the magnitude of the evil and ineptness. I think most Kuro5hin readers can.

Seymour Hersh is mentioned in the article as a lone example of good American investigative reporting. He has written extensively about the crimes of Kennedy & Johnson, even going so far as to say that Kennedy was the worst POTUS of the 1900s. Just because conservatives have committed more crimes in US politics doesn't mean someone is liberal for pointing out those crimes.

Clinton's (& Gore's) worst crime (& the only one that deserved attention) was his use of the office in a fund-raising capacity, but I don't see slykens mentioning that. I wonder if that's because Bush & Co. have run with that and thwarted any attempts to stop it.

slykens, I hope you can go beyond simply containing your partisan temper next time and try to think about what would actually improve American government & society without heeding your party's spin. Your conclusion as it stands is that you know US government is screwed up, but as long as the guy I identify with is in office let's not throw a wrench in the works. That's a very short-sighted, simple-minded conclusion.

Palast's main point (& the reason he's actually effective at covering stories from a "liberal" POV) is that it doesn't matter how liberal or conservative individual reporters are in the US, because the decisions on what to air, how much time to devote, and who gets to present the news are made by higher ups who have definite interests in maintaining the status quo and not causing trouble for the news corporation.

[ Parent ]

Appalling, but... (4.00 / 1) (#132)
by defeated on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 06:50:32 PM EST

the reason it's results were so inaccurate was that it used regular expressions to match felons to potential voters if the first letter of the first name was the same and the last name had the same group of letters--but in any order!

If this is true, then why does Palast insist on beating the racial horse:
"At least 54% of the names on that list were black....They used this racial targeting system as a way to target and purge black voters"
Sounds like it was totally random.

[ Parent ]

If names & felon pop was random, then yes, els (5.00 / 1) (#138)
by Sl0w h4nD on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 08:34:46 PM EST

Okay, so there's a funny twist here. I went to look for articles on this issue, and found that the highest rated was written by none other than Greg Palast! (here) So for those of you who hate him sight-unseen & articles-unread, there's more fodder for you. But there are other articles that owe nothing to Palast (here) and (here (halfway down the page)). MyRightStart has long article that attempts to refute each of the voter irregularities in Florida, especially those dealing with blacks. The article proof consists of denials by those accused, which is what Palast was talking about. It's interesting because it's the only article that disputes the allegations.

I can't find the article that details the company's "proprietary techniques," but I will. I may have to search for awhile, but I remember this clearly because it is something I do in my work. In fact, at the time of the election I was using a RexExp that would match first & last name between two lists with the criteria that the listings be in the same state. I thought this was doing a great job cleaning up my lists. However, after using MapQuest to compare the actual locations of a few of these people with the same names, I almost always discovered that they were on opposite ends of the state. Now perhaps a few had moved, but overall my assumption was just wrong. I considered adding in a criteria which would calculate the difference in latitude/longitude based on zip code, but I figured I would try to keep my lists cleaner at about a 70% match than throw anomalies in with a higher match, which is better for statistical sampling and would probably have been the smart thing to do in voter purging. BTW, I was studying patterns of drug prescriptions by doctors (whose names I was matching between AMA & pharmacy records) to find flu & STD outbreaks, which is now all the rage amongst statisticians looking for anthrax outbreaks--hah! None of my models was supportable, because the information is too incomplete and disjointed.

Here's an article about how, post Sept. 11, the company has been selling it's services to employers wanting background checks on current and potential employees. (here)

[ Parent ]

Found a story to back it all up (none / 0) (#174)
by Sl0w h4nD on Fri Jan 25, 2002 at 03:36:33 PM EST

Palast's article in Salon is very professional, but he's not the most objective journalist. So I found a "review by The [LA] Times of thousands of pages of records, reports and e-mail messages suggests the botched effort to stop felons from voting could have affected the ultimate outcome. The reason: Those on the list were disproportionately African American. Blacks made up 66% of those named as felons in Miami-Dade, the state's largest county, for example, and 54% in Hillsborough County, which includes Tampa. Those individuals' politics are unknown, but African Americans voted more than 9 to 1 for Gore across the state."

DBT/Choicepoint reponded much more nicely to the LA Times than to Palast, but what's most surprising is that they pass the blame to the Florida State officials, the very people who paid them $4 million to do the job->"DBT officials blame state officials for casting too wide a net in their search for illegal voters. 'It defied logic,' company spokesman James Lee said. ... DBT proposed cross-checking voter lists with an array of federal, state and county records, from convictions to address changes. The company also urged searching only for voters with the same exact name as a felon. But Florida officials told DBT to include names that were merely similar or had matching birth dates or Social Security numbers. An 80% match was sufficient, state officials said. In March 1999, for example, Emmet 'Bucky' Mitchell, a lawyer for Florida's Division of Elections, sent an e-mail to Marlene Thorogood, the DBT project manager, urging her to loosen the criteria as far as possible. Checking felony data from other states, it mistakenly used a list of 8,000 Texans who had committed misdemeanors, not felonies. But DBT officials had little sympathy when some of the transplanted Texans complained of getting letters warning that they could not vote because they were felons. 'There are just some people that feel when you mess with 'their right to vote,' you're messing with their life,' Thorogood groused in an e-mail. Lee, the DBT spokesman, said the company will never again attempt a project like Florida's felon purge. "When it comes to performing work which may impact a person's right to vote," he said in a recent speech, "we are not confident any of the methods used today can guarantee legal voters will not be wrongfully denied the right to vote."

The last sentence is interesting, because at the time of the election, DBT/Choicepoint was trying to negotiate with other states to offer the same services. I wonder if it is only because of the ruckus Palast made that they have run off the corporate world (as I mentioned in my earlier post). Also, as Palast points out, Florida chose DBT/ChoicePoint because of its ties to the Republican Party, especially the Voter Integrity group that chose counties with heavy minority populations as test cases for "voter cleansing."

Palast has another story about a Canadian mining company that Papa Bush is a Director of, which Amnesty International proved buried alive squatters at a mine in Africa. Recently, the Bush Administration accused these squatter miners of funding Al Qaeda (posthumously, I guess). Coincidence?

We are being played, and those who scoff at this gain nothing--not even an easy conscience, since the truth is evident.

[ Parent ]

Voter Fraud (2.00 / 2) (#130)
by acronos on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 06:30:28 PM EST

Somehow my account was used to vote a 1 for this comment and several others in this thread. I had nothing to do with this so I can only guess that either there was a server error (unlikely in my opinion as the errors seem to have purpose) or someone has hijacked my identity. I changed my password in hopes to fix the problem. I find it ironic that in an article accusing Bush (conservatives) of voter fraud that someone would respond to this conservative post by using voter fraud. I also can't help but note that in almost all cases the errors seemed to be in favor of the liberal position. I can't help but suspect that this was a liberal hijacking of this election.

BTW, I changed it back to 5. I will also scan all the other errors made with my account and I have to say I am likely to strongly sway my vote toward 5 (or 1) to compensate for the likelihood of other hijacked accounts.

If this was a computer glitch, I apologize.

The real Acronos.


[ Parent ]
You have been trained to give up... (none / 0) (#140)
by mathematician on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 09:59:41 PM EST

You change the subject, use the argument that two wrongs make a right ("they" did it too!), dismiss the entire article based on the people who wrote it and at the end just give up on doing anything.

Not everything is about liberals vs. conservatives. You have been trained to think that way. Above all there is democracy and the rules that even the legislators have to abide by. When those rules are not enforce, the rulers will take advantage of that fact.

Corruption, even if false, must at least be investigated. You would rather we drop the whole thing and get on with our lives.

Well, the future of your country is in your hands.

[ Parent ]

Let's not forget little old freedom, too. (none / 0) (#171)
by A Trickster Imp on Fri Jan 25, 2002 at 10:28:13 AM EST

> Above all there is democracy and the rules that
> even the legislators have to abide by.

And above democracy sits freedom. Democracy is just mob rule, an abstraction of might makes right. Government, as expressed tool of democracy, is rightly and strongly limited in encroaching on freedom.

This country is great not because of democracy, but because of freedom. Insofar as democracy conflicts with freedom, this country is great in that democracy is limited. It is great in spite of democracy, not because of it.




[ Parent ]
Research (4.68 / 16) (#96)
by dzeroo on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 11:58:40 AM EST

If anyone is interested perhaps you'd like to go here: www.promo.org The Project on Media Ownership (PROMO) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to making available the facts about who owns what in all the culture industries, and to studying the impact-economic, civic, social, aesthetic and political-of increasingly concentrated ownership.

I work with Professor Mark Crispin Miller at the New York University on this project. His book The Bush Dyslexicon and McChesney's 'Rich Media, Poor Democracy: Communication Politics in Dubious Times' are the main inspiration for our research. Our research is published in outlets like The Nation. Go read this for instance.

In addition we have several alliances with organisations like: Media Tenor; Media Channel; Media Knowledge; and FAIR

There is some downloadable material on the site and I'll be happy to answer any questions: jvandreunen@AAApromo.org (You know what to leave out).


== chicks are for fags ==


this is what should REALLY make you angry. (4.66 / 18) (#99)
by Lelon on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 12:29:54 PM EST

So we know that at least some legitimate voters were not allowed to vote because of the list of so called felons. Maybe it affected the election maybe it didn't. Maybe it was a deliberate act or maybe it was just stupidty. The problem is now, less than a year before another election, Florida STILL hasn't fixed the problem. They haven't released any list of legal voters who were barred from voting in the 2000 election, and they haven't taken any action whatsoever in making sure the exact same thing doesn't happen again. Are they planning on disenfranchising the same voters again? They got away with it once, why shouldn't they? Or perhaps taking any action would be somehow admiting the 2000 election was screwed up (as if anyone doesnt already know that). One of the florida assemblymen went so far as to say (in reference to florida's election process) "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." MY GOD HOW DUMB ARE THESE PEOPLE?


----
This sig is a work in progress.
Amen and Hallelujah. (1.71 / 7) (#101)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 12:55:38 PM EST

Sing it, brother.



People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]
The man and the quote... (4.09 / 11) (#106)
by Lelon on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 01:21:28 PM EST

Tom Feeney: "I don't fix something that's not broken."

Quite possibly the stupidest thing ever said by a human being.


----
This sig is a work in progress.
[ Parent ]
Surely the bigger problem... (5.00 / 1) (#158)
by sgp on Thu Jan 24, 2002 at 12:08:34 PM EST

is that this is not automated anyway.

I don't claim to know any details, but surely the electoral register would always be up-to-date and accurate; when you are imprisoned, you're struck off; when you're entitled to vote, you apply, are checked out, and added on to the list.

Surely the procedure should already be in place? If I am convicted, or for whatever other reason should be struck off the register, and some bureaucrat doesn't get around to doing it, the problem is in the system.
But surely such slips do not happen often; if they happen at all, there should be an inquiry into the system.

There are 10 types of people in the world:
Those who understand binary, and those who don't.

[ Parent ]

BFD (2.12 / 8) (#129)
by bukvich on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 06:17:49 PM EST

I am reminded of a conversation I had Monday morning with a friend of mine after our favorite football team, the Oakland Raiders lost a game and had a bad call go against them. Many players and fans were complaining. I protest: one call? You want to bitch about one call? They gave up 13 unanswered points at the end of the game is why they lost, it had absolutely nothing to do with one call. It's just too bad they didn't lose worse. They deserved to lose that game. Al Gore deserved to lose that election. (I voted for Nader.)

You spit in the face of democracy! (3.00 / 1) (#139)
by mathematician on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 09:45:57 PM EST

Democracy is about popular vote. Al Gore didn't "deserve" to lose the election. He not only won the popular vote, but if this story is correct, he should have won the presidency. If you're not living in a democracy, if it is your leaders that pick themselves, you live in a DICTATORSHIP!

You have been trained to give up :(

[ Parent ]

You Didn't Hear About It? (4.44 / 9) (#143)
by RHSwan on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 11:24:59 PM EST

I don't know where you were in November of 2000, but that is when I heard about these allegations. I even read the US Civil Rights Commission report when it came out. I also read the addendum the majority of the commission refused to allow in the report because it disproved their preferred statistical analysis. The commissioners who disagreed with the final report were not able to read it until the day before it was voted for release (of course, the report had already been 'leaked'). One of these commissioners is disabled and was unable to read the report herself (I think I have the gender right) before the vote. This behavior by the Commission weakens the effectiveness of the Commission.

I read Mr. Palast's reports and I don't think very highly of them. He didn't connect very many dots togethor. His basic thesis seems to be;

1) George Bush's brother is govenor of the state and the Secretary of State is a Republican.

2) The state of Florida contracted with a company to determine who was ineligble to vote due to past felony convictions (a large percentage of which, unfortunately, are African-Americans). The company did a poor job.

3) This list was passed to the counties (not controlled by the Govenor and the Secretary of State) and many counties did not check the list as they are required to do and purged the people on the list from the voting roles.

From this Mr. Palast determines the purging was intentional and because a large number of felons are African-American, racially motivated. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof and I have yet to see it from Mr. Palast. Unfortunately, the US Civil Rights Commission has from all appearances become politicized in recent years and is not as highly regarded as it should be.

As an aside, the US Civil Rights Commissions is currently fighting the President over the sitting of a new member. A commissioner died before their term was up. A new commissioner was appointed to serve out the remainder of that term (the time of service is in the appointment letter) and President Bush appointed a new commissioner after the term expired. However, the law covering the length of terms of commissioners is vague (It was changed from the original in the last renewal). Hence the legal wrangling.



Just remember.... (2.00 / 3) (#151)
by darthaggie on Thu Jan 24, 2002 at 09:18:49 AM EST

...had Albert C. Gore, Jr. simply carried his home state of Tennessee, Florida would have been rendered immaterial and he would have won. Has a "favorite son" ever failed to carry his home state prior to that debacle?

I am BOFH. Resistance is futile. Your network will be assimilated.
The fact is ... (1.75 / 8) (#152)
by cyberbuffalo on Thu Jan 24, 2002 at 09:51:57 AM EST

The simple fact is that no matter how you slice it Nader lost the election for Gore. Without Nader Gore would have won, no question. There were many borderline states that would have flipped over to Gore had the Greens voted with the Dems. It is time to stop finding ways to blame Bush.

Eh. (4.00 / 1) (#154)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Jan 24, 2002 at 10:24:16 AM EST

I would never have voted for Gore. I'm sorry, but he was so tainted with the Clinton Crap that I don't believe that he believes in anything except being elected. At least some Republicans are clear about what they stand for (making money) and don't hide themselves behind a cloak of demagougery.

If I hadn't voted for Nader, I would have voted for Frank Zappa or some other equally important candidate.

BTW - The Dems pretty much permenantly lost my vote when they announced that the 2001 tax cuts "caused" the recession when, in fact, none of those tax cuts has even taken effect yet.

If you want a socially progressive agenda, fine. I'm all for lending a helping and I'm even willing to talk about the redistribution of wealth. - But be honest about it - don't pretend that the rich are "screwing the poor" when the bottom 50% of all wage earners pay only 4% of all income taxes, while the top 1% are paying 33% (which is why they always get a "disproportionate share" of any tax cut).



People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]
Nonsense (4.00 / 1) (#160)
by kjb on Thu Jan 24, 2002 at 02:48:36 PM EST

The idea that "Nader lost the election for Gore" is absolute nonsense. It is based on Gore somehow deserving people's votes without having to earn them in any way. I voted for Nader because I didn't like Gore. There was no way in hell I was going to vote for him simply because he was "not Bush".

--
Now watch this drive.
[ Parent ]

i'm sick of hearing this argument (3.00 / 1) (#162)
by mickj on Thu Jan 24, 2002 at 08:19:47 PM EST

Gore blew the election himself. True, Nader hurt him a little, but not enough to blow the election. Especially, since a lot of votes were "nader traders"(which IMO is truly throwing away your vote), so they wouldn't have had any impact either way anyway. Chew on this:

If Al Gore had won his home state of tennessee, where he was a senator, florida would not have mattered. The state where he was from didn't want him as president, what does this tell you about Al(even clinton won his home state of Arkansas, which is traditionally republican.)

Stop blaming nader. It makes you democrats look like crybabies.

[ Parent ]

Gore and his 'home' state (5.00 / 2) (#165)
by ChannelX on Fri Jan 25, 2002 at 12:16:27 AM EST

It isn't correct to compare Gore and Tennessee with Clinton and Arkansas election-wise. In Gore's case he had not been Senator there for 8 years. In Clinton's case he was the governor of Arkansas when he won the election. See the difference? It is not too hard to see why Gore didn't win his home state when he wasn't active there in any respect for 8 years.

[ Parent ]
Blah blah blah (none / 0) (#173)
by Elendale on Fri Jan 25, 2002 at 03:03:58 PM EST

which IMO is truly throwing away your vote

If "the system" doesn't care enough to count my vote (last i checked, we were supposed to have equal votes here- not just a choice between two ugly candidates) then i'm certainly not going to vote for someone who wants to keep this system in place. Even if the other choice is essentially worthless.
Besides, under that logic a vote for Gore is a wasted vote too.

-Elendale (We're still talking about this?)
---

When free speech is outlawed, only criminals will complain.


[ Parent ]
Idiotic assumption (5.00 / 2) (#164)
by dreamsmith on Fri Jan 25, 2002 at 12:08:56 AM EST

"No question" my ass. Your assertion is based on the highly questionable assumption that had Nader not run, everyone (or at least a sizeable number of the people) who voted for Nader would have voted for Gore. In my experience, most of the people who voted for Nader, had Nader not run, would not have voted at all or would have voted for some other third party or independent candidate...

[ Parent ]
Heh heh. (3.50 / 2) (#167)
by DarkZero on Fri Jan 25, 2002 at 04:37:13 AM EST

I've heard this arguement dozens of times, and the fact that I've heard it so many times saddens me. Have we really become such slaves to the Republican and Democratic parties that any attempt to bring in a third party "loses the election" for whatever half of the ruling establishment it appears to be closest to?

[ Parent ]
Stealing the election (5.00 / 1) (#170)
by A Trickster Imp on Fri Jan 25, 2002 at 10:23:34 AM EST

Yeah, like the Republicans invented cheats to steal the election.

Yeah, like this is the first time in recent history that an election may have gone differently but for the presence of a popular third party candidate.

Such shock -- shock! and outrage amongst the kur5hin at the same old thing.




[ Parent ]
The fact is ... <rant> (none / 0) (#177)
by Go5 on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 04:48:04 PM EST

I'm blaming ALL of them.

I'm not a Green or a Nader-supporter, but in my view a vote for either Bush or Gore was a "wasted" vote, because they're both corporate pawns.

The comment about voter apathy is, IMHO, quite apt. Unfortunately our apathy suits big-business just fine -- that way there's less resistance to their manipulation.

And as long as I'm slinging blame, how about tossing a little to the voters? Many don't bother to educate themselves about the candidates or issues (not that it's easy).

</rant>

[ Parent ]

Both Sides (4.80 / 5) (#168)
by DarkZero on Fri Jan 25, 2002 at 04:53:12 AM EST

Really, I think I'd hate Bush's theft of the election a lot more if Gore had been some sort of political Paladin of Justice and Light trying to have every vote counted to see who really won. But unfortunately, Gore wasn't. They both went into the Supreme Court and tried to get the votes recounted under whichever standard would work best for themselves. The race was close because they were both assholes that the majority of voters didn't particularly care for, and that's the same reason why there is not, never was, and never will be any major public outcry against the theft of the election. No one really cares when the spoiled, immature son of a politician screws over the spoiled, immature son of another politican, regardless of whether or not it's in a presidential election.

I know there will be a lot of both left wing and right wing bull shit cropping up in these comments, but I think I speak for the majority of American voters when I say that this:

They were both stupid, worthless individuals that no one cared about, and that's why no one cares that one cheated the other out of the election. We viewed the election with apathy, and that's why we view the results with apathy.

Real Reasons To Be Scared (none / 0) (#176)
by n8f8 on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 06:34:09 PM EST

Felons lose the right to vote. There's something scary about that. We live in a society where the basic premise of citizenship is the freedom to voice your opinion about the government. I can't for the life of me understand why we would tolerate having the federal government take away anyone's right to voice their opinion or vote for whoever they want to. We are setting ourselves up. If it ever does get to the point where people have to break unjust laws, the government has a built in method to ensure the laws don't change. Lock up the lawbreakers and take away their right to vote the law writers and enforcers out of office.

Sig: (This will get posted after your comments)
Bush's Election Theft and Media Self-Censorship | 177 comments (153 topical, 24 editorial, 0 hidden)
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