Sunday, January 02, 2005

The Ohio Roundup 

Sweet gag, this: before you hand that paper ballot to the Unsuspecting Voter, pre-punch it for Bush. The UV is unlikely to notice the missing (or dangling) chad unless she takes the trouble to inspect her ballot before she slides it into the voting machine. After that, if she votes for Bush, no problemo. If, however, she votes for Kerry, the ballot is automatically disqualified, because it's . . . double-punched.

Are you shocked to learn that there was an unusually high number of seeming idiots in Ohio this past November whose ballots were rejected because they'd voted for two presidential candidates? Or that in Cuyahoga County at least one Unsuspecting Voter got suspicious in a hurry after she was given a ballot that had been pre-punched for Bush? Read about it here (courtesy of our revered colleague Avedon Carol).

Zemblan patriot B.K. forwards a link to the Green Party website, which features a county-by-county breakdown of voting irregularities uncovered during the early stages of the Ohio recount.

Via Zemblan patriot K.Z.: The New Zealand website Scoop has published a large selection of leaked Mitofsky exit polls from Nov. 2. However, John Byrne of Raw Story cautions that:
[The leaked data] do not, however, provide the “raw” data that many have been looking for. Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich), whose minority half of the House Judiciary Committee is investigating election irregularities, has asked the networks to release the raw data–that is data that is broken down by county and state–and the networks have refused, claiming their tallies are proprietary.
And Zemblan patriot J.M. reminds us that Reps. John Conyers, Maxine Waters et al are still shopping for a Senator -- any Senator! -- to join them in challenging the Ohio electors this Thursday, January 6. Barbara Boxer has at least "contemplated" supporting the challenge, and J.M. has put together a roster of longshot possibilites including Sens. Feinstein, Reid, Kennedy, Biden, Feingold, McCain, Jeffords, Byrd, Inouye, Harkin, and Clinton. (He does, however, wonder whether Kerry will follow in the footsteps of Al Gore, who in 2000 asked his fellow Senators not to join the House challenge to the Florida electors -- an embarrassment you will no doubt recall from the opening moments of Fahrenheit 451). If you're feeling lucky, e-mail your Senator; you'll find addresses for all members of Congress here.

Meanwhile, visit the Ohio Election Fraud blog for a comprehensive list of articles relating to voter fraud and disenfranchisement in the 2004 election, and a calendar of upcoming events that includes tomorrow's "Boxer Rebellion" in San Francisco -- a 12:00 noon demonstration that will conclude with the presentation to Sen. Boxer of a petition urging her to back the Conyers challenge. BARBARians, take note!

UPDATE: Freshly plucked from the imperial inbox, a model missive from Zemblan patriot B.K., whose true name we are sworn never to reveal upon pain of full-body depilation:
Dear Senator:

I'm writing to urge you to stand with Representative John Conyers when he refuses to accept the results of the Ohio electoral vote on January 6. I'm sure you have had many e-mails and faxes detailing the reasons for being suspicious of the vote in Ohio and of the spurious recount that was recently announced. I'm one of many who believe that John Kerry won Ohio and that the election was stolen, as it was in 2000. Since November 3, thanks to the work of many selfless investigators, the questions about Ohio have become so numerous that even the President of Russia is making sarcastic remarks.

Rather than repeat the details, which Representative Conyers can do better than I, I want to talk about the choice facing you on January 6, which is not an easy one. Any Senator who refuses accept the Ohio vote will be buried under accusations of treason cranked out by the Republican noise machine, subjected to further pressure from grim flocks of savvy old pros croaking about the terrors of a "Constitutional crisis," and attacked not only by his Republican colleagues, but by some Democrats as well.

It's a tough call, perhaps the toughest you've ever faced, but I'm writing to you because you're one of the few I believe might still be considering taking a stand. I have three arguments:

1) Voting to ratify the electoral vote on the 6th in the face of considerable evidence of ballot tampering by the Republicans essentially means voting your party, the Democratic Party, out of existence. [Note: Jeffords is an independent - the others are Democrats.] In 2004 large and small contributors gave fortunes, volunteers broke their backs, and some voters stood on line for hours to elect Kerry, but nobody gives or "does" like that for a party that won't even stand up and insist on a clean count. Some of the big boys will still give, but many will give less and cover their bets by giving to the other side as well. Worse, even if everyone turned out again for the Democratic nominee in 2008, when he or she may well be running against another Bush, defeat is inevitable as long as the Republicans control the count.

2) The argument will be made, and perhaps has been made to you, that refusing to accept the votes of the Ohio electors will do even more damage to your party than going along would have done. Apart from the obvious absurdity of that argument, given the current highly opaque election process, the last year has brought many lessons. Look at what happened Senator Daschle, who ran ads showing himself standing tall against terrorism next to Bush and lost his race anyway. Painful experience shows that the Democratic Party will get more traction out of taking a stand on an issue a lot of voters feel strongly about, even if they're in the minority for the moment - and how could we be anything but a minority when all public discussion of electoral fraud has been choked off? With one vote, you could change that absurd situation on January 6.

The same argument applies to John Kerry's decision not to make a fight on this - I wouldn't be surprised if he has spoken to you and other members of the party about the need to do the same. He showed a similar lack of conviction when he flip-flopped on Iraq, and his campaign never recovered from it. People aren't fools, and when he and his running mate promised to commit twice as many troops to Iraq if elected, then talked about the "empty place at the dinner table," I was one of millions who did the math and came up with two empty places.

But you know what? They won any way, because the alternative was so bad, and I wouldn't be a bit surprised if Daschle won too. They all played old-style politics, knowing that the Republicans were proposing a disastrous alternative, and I'm sure Kerry, at least, won by doing so. But when the your opponents are using brass knuckles and bombs, playing by Queensbury rules is a sure way to lose and keep losing. The Republicans have once again controlled the vote count. Letting them get away with it again is accepting long-term one-party rule, in America, of all places.

3) Let me expand the focus from your party to what will be in store for the country after the defeat of American democracy on January 6. Because this is an old story, and the outcome isn't hard to predict.

When a national leader's only economic policy is to cut taxes, with most of the dividends going to the richest people in the country, he ends up wrecking the economy. That's what America did under Hoover, and that's what Germany did in the 30s - they also abolished the estate tax, as Bush plans to do. In the case of Germany, the only way they could keep from drowning in a sea of red ink was to build more weapons, draft a bigger Army and start invading other countries, whose resources were then given to German industry as the spoils of war. And that is what we will eventually be forced to do if we continue down this path.

In fact, that is what we are doing already.

Of course, we have an unparalleled arsenal at our command. But what are we going to do if Europe and Asia decide to restructure the international monetary system so that they don't have to keep underwriting a bankrupt country that's running wild in Central Asia and the Middle East - invade them? All of them? Because if they do make that fateful decision, it will lead to a depression here.

Is that really what it's going to take for our democracy to turn itself around, as it did under Roosevelt: a depression? Or will it take another World War, fought on American soil this time? If so, the tragedy will be all the more terrible because the majority of us voted against the people whose misguided policies brought it about, only to be let down by the system of checks and balances that Americans have been justly proud of for so long.

Trying to look on the bright side, we may still be able to turn things around ourselves, starting on January 6, for the same reason that - if we don't do it - our neighbors on the planet will gang up and turn them around anyway, at great cost to us. That reason is stated succinctly in a movie by Frank Capra - who also made the classic piece of Americana, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, about a Senator who takes a stand against the fat cats, the press and his own party, then finds out that he isn't as alone as he thought. The one I'm referring to is called Meet John Doe, and it ends when a rejoicing throng thwarts the plans of a fascist newspaper publisher named D. B. Norton. The line is spoken by that great character actor, James Gleason: "There you are, Norton! The people! Try and lick that!"

Only an ignorant man surrounded by zealots too cocky to see the hobnailed boot-prints on the slippery slope ahead would be foolish enough to try.

Bill Krohn
Los Angeles CA
Patriotic Zemblans, you have B.K.'s permission to modify, enhance, and/or personalize the above in whatever manner you see fit; should you choose to do a straight cut-'n'-paste, however, he does ask that you replace his signature with your own. When you finish, send the results to one or more of the following:


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