Monday, November 20, 2006

So He Chose Both 

Friends in high places inform us that the President has been finding it increasingly hard to choose between the frontal lobotomy and the bottle-in-front-of-me:
Rumours persist here (and I have heard them repeated at a very senior level in the UK, too) that Bush has actually resumed drinking; I throw this into the mix not to sensationalise, but because I have now heard the rumour repeated at a sufficiently high level that I believe we must face the possibility that it might be true.

Bush was huddled inside the White House eating beef and ice cream on election night with Rove, my friend Josh Bolten, and four other trusted aides who will stick with him to the end. He was not drinking on this occasion, I'm assured - but, more than ever, my depiction of an unstable man living out his final days in office inside his bunker seem no longer to be fanciful. Hemmed in by Democratic foes wherever he looks, determined to be remembered in history as an unwaveringly strong leader, and increasingly detached from reality: now that suddenly becomes a very frightening vision indeed.
Another disturbing paragraph, from elsewhere in the same column (by Andrew Stephen of The New Statesman):
Bizarrely, the results of CNN and ABC exit polls [on election day] - that six out of ten voters disapproved of Bush and that the Democrats would comfortably pick up the House and possibly the Senate, too - were soon known in detail by the DC chattering classes, but not a word was breathed to CNN or ABC viewers themselves. Even the BBC was not immune to the paranoia: a strict edict went out from on high that its reporters could accept results and projections from ABC or the Associated Press, but not if they came from other mainstream US news organisations such as CBS or NBC or CNN (don't ask me why).
(Thanks to our rip-roaring colleague Susie Madrak for the link.)

UPDATE (via Zemblan patriot J.M.): Did someone mention exit polls? A few of our less paranoid readers, noting that Democrats will soon control both houses of Congress, have concluded that the menace to democracy posed by electronic voting machines was perhaps a trifle overstated. If you are tempted to relax your vigilance, we ask you to contemplate the following:
"We see evidence of pervasive fraud, but apparently calibrated to political conditions existing before recent developments shifted the political landscape," said attorney Jonathan Simon, co-founder of Election Defense Alliance, "so 'the fix' turned out not to be sufficient for the actual circumstances." Explained Simon, "When you set out to rig an election, you want to do just enough to win. The greater the shift from expectations, (from exit polling, pre-election polling, demographics) the greater the risk of exposure--of provoking investigation. What was plenty to win on October 1 fell short on November 7 . . . .

In a reprise of his efforts on Election Night 2004, Jonathan Simon captured the unadjusted National Election pool (NEP) data as posted on CNN.com, before it was later "adjusted" to match the actual vote counts. The exit poll data that is seen now on the CNN site has been adjusted already. But Simon points out that both adjusted and unadjusted data were instrumental to exposing the gross miscount.

Simon, surprised that unadjusted polling data was publicly revealed, given the concerns after the 2004 election about the use of exit polls, downloaded as much of the data as he could in real time. Scheduled and planned revisions on the CNN site took place throughout the evening and by the following morning, the unadjusted exit poll data had been replaced with data that conformed with the reported, official vote totals. This was the planned procedure as indicated by the NEP's methodology . . . .

"In 2004 they had to weight it very heavily, to the point that the party turnout was 37% Democrat and 37% Republican, which has never been the case--leading to the claim that Rove turned out the Republican vote. This was nowhere witnessed, no lines in Republican voting places were reported. As ridiculous as that was, the distortion of actual turnout was even greater in 2006. The adjusted poll's sample, to match the vote count, had to consist of 49% 2004 Bush voters and only 43% 2004 Kerry voters, more than twice the actual margin of 2.8%. This may not seem like that much, but it translates into more than a 3,000,000 vote shift nationwide, which, depending on targeting, was enough to have altered the outcome of dozens of federal races.

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