December 10 2004
BENDING DEMOCRACY UNTIL IT BREAKS: On Wednesday
U.S. Representative John Conyers, ranking minority member
of the House Judiciary Committee, held an "unofficial
hearing" to review voting irregularities in Ohio. Conyers
the hearing by saying:
one question I am asked more than any other about the
voting irregularities in Ohio is whether John Kerry was
the true winner of the election. My answer is that I do
to the text of his remarks, the Michigan Democrat followed
this by declaring quite conspicuously in the present tense
that "I very much want John Kerry to be the next President
of the United States." With his very next breath, however,
Conyers assured the public that, "this is not about
John Kerry, this is about the voters."
Reverend Jesse Jackson was on hand to demagogue the issue
with remarks so rote and predictable they can be summed
up accurately, if not comically, by their seven word title:
Selma to Palm Beach to Columbus." In a fit of delusion
so great it would make Don Quixote blush, Jackson said,
"I urge the Congress to act before Michael Moore comes
back and exposes the violations and the capitulation again."
You simply cannot make this stuff up.
objective voices of moral and professional authority speaking
before the Conyers "hearing" on Wednesday included
Rosenfeld, a senior producer for Air America Radio.
Representative Sheila Jackson Lee stood out by delivering
a stem winder full of reprehensible rhetoric and racial
divisiveness. Here is but a
small taste from Ms. Lee:
I can ask question after question about this election
and hear nothing but silence from the Republican Party.
The reason for this silence is evident; they fear the
truth is not in their favor. Truth is the friend of those
who are righteous and the devil of those who seek injustice."
given all that you've just read, you would expect the Conyers
hearing would be agitating over voting irregularities so
great, so egregious and so systemic that they constituted
a massive conspiracy to specifically disenfranchise African-American
voters. You would, of course, be wrong.
are a few examples from the
summary of irregularities Conyers and Co. are investigating:
County. [MACHINE] Arrows on absentee ballots don’t
line up with the correct punch hole. “If absentee
voters cast their vote by trying to line up the arrow
with the punch card, they could punch the wrong number.”
County. [MACHINE] In Columbus, Ohio, overcharged batteries
on Danaher Controls ELECTronic 1242 systems kept machines
from booting up properly at the beginning of the day.
Matt Damschroder, Franklin County Board of Elections Executive
Director, admitted to Franklin County Commissioners that
77 machines malfunctioned on Election Day.
County. [LINES AT POLLS] Where voters use touch-screen
units, long lines developed and voters turned to a federal
judge for help as the time grew near for polls to close.
To speed the voting, some of those voters were given paper
County. Cincinnati. [LINES AT POLLS] People stood in line
for over an hour in the rain in some places only to find
they were in the wrong line. A lot of them gave up and
County. [ABSENTEE BALLOTS] At least two absentee ballots
did not include Kerry’s name. Workers accidentally
removed Kerry when removing Ralph Nader’s name.
County. Cincinnati. [MACHINE] Problems with punch card
voting machines delayed the start of voting for up to
an hour Tuesday morning at a suburban precinct. Voters
were unable to slide their punch-card ballots all the
way into any of the six voting machines that had ALL evidently
been damaged in transit.
County. Cincinnati. [INTIMIDATION] Voters and vote monitors
complained that the GOP precinct judge was questioning
every voter about his or her address and “being
a jerk about it.”
County. [MACHINE] One precinct in Youngstown, Ohio, recorded
a negative 25 million votes, which was discarded from
official results. [ES&S iVotronic voting machines]
County. [MACHINE] The glass on top of one ES&S iVotronic
voting machines was too far from the screen, making it
difficult for people to use their fingers to cast ballots.
A screen went blank on a Youngstown voter while he cast
doesn't look like a massive conspiracy to me. Nor does it
look anything like Selma in the 1960's. What it does look
like, and what it really is, is an open election held by
human beings in a state in which
more than 5.6 million people cast ballots.
will never be perfect. Voters will make mistakes. Election
officials will make mistakes as well. Machines will break
and there will be confusion. It's foolish to think otherwise
when you're trying to facilitate a process for 120 million
people to express their opinions within the space of a single
day. You can wail and moan over the imperfections in the
system, but that really only amounts to crying over the
spilt milk of democracy.
course we should strive for perfection, even if it is unattainable.
And we should do our best to wring instances of fraud and
intimidation out of the system as much as humanly possible.
that's not what is going on here. This is partisan political
theatre of the worst sort designed to undermine the integrity
of the process. This is a group of Democrats, in the wake
of losing another bitter election, taking the myriad of
imperfections inherent in our process and blowing them up,
stringing them together and assigning heinous motives of
conspiracy and racial oppression.
I mentioned on Wednesday, they do all of this using the
self-righteous, morally superior credo that they want to
"count every vote." Except they're only interested
in counting "all the votes" in Ohio, because that
is the only state in America where the outcome of the Presidential
election could possibly be altered.
be even more specific: only the truly delusional believe
the outcome of the election will be changed. The Democrats
don't even believe it themselves, which is why they
aren't willing to call for a delay to the certification
of the results. But by continuing on with lawsuits and
"investigations" alleging voter intimidation and
suppression in Ohio (and its decisive 20 electoral votes),
Democrats can cast doubt and illegitimacy over Bush's reelection.
This isn't going to improve the process or enhance American
democracy, but it will help sow racial distrust and division
and further the warped Oliver Stone conspiracy theories
and the "we wuz robbed" mentality of many on the
would be funny if it weren't so damn tragic. There is something
otherworldly about the sight of partisan demagogues who
prance and preen under the auspices of saving democracy
when what they're really trying to do is to subvert it.
- T. Bevan 11:30 am Link
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December 8 2004
ONE WAY TO AID WOUNDED TROOPS: From Hugh
Hewitt's excellent blog:
number ONE request at Walter Reed hospital is phone cards.
government doesn't pay long distance phone charges and
these wounded soldiers are rationing their calls home.
Many will be there throughout the holidays.
support our troops --Send phone cards of any amount to:
Family Assistance Center Walter Reed Medical Center
6900 Georgia Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20307-5001
say they need an "endless" supply of these -- any amount
even $5 is greatly appreciated.
sure there are many ways to support the troops, but this
seems simple, straightforward and sounds like it will be
much appreciated by our wounded troops. J. McIntyre
5:56 pm Link
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BRINGING BALLOTS BACK FROM THE DEAD: Many of you
won't be shocked or surprised by this
article in today's Seattle Times. In the impending third
recount in the Washington state governor's race, Democrats
are petitioning the state Supreme Court to compel counties
to reexamine some 15,000 previously rejected ballots. In
other words, they want county officials to look at and rule
again on ballots that each respective canvassing board has
already looked at and declared invalid.
Democrats would be on hand to issue challenge after challenge
to these ballots, turning the entire system inside out and
upside down to come up with the 43 votes they need to get
their candidate into the governor's mansion.
of this is happening despite a 1996 memo issued by the Secretary
of State that said quite clearly that:
recount procedure provided for by statute is a mechanical
function of re-tallying the ballots cast and accepted
as valid by the precinct election officers or the canvassing
board during the canvass of the election. The
decision of the canvassing board with respect to the inclusion
or exclusion of a particular ballot during the canvass
is not open to question during the recount."
many county election officials in the state including Dean
Logan, the head of elections for the largest county in the
state, say they flatly disagree with the interpretation
of the recount statute Democrats are using as the basis
of their lawsuit:
don't see anything in the statute that gives us the ability
to go back after the election," said Dean Logan,
head of King County elections. "I think the recount
statutes are written in a way that contemplates you're
only going to recount ballots that were counted in the
what I'm about to say will sound intensely partisan, and
perhaps it is. But once again we have an example of Democrats
running roughshod over election law in pursuit of power,
all the while self-righteously wrapping themselves in the
mantra that "every vote must be counted." Frankly,
is the implication that by following the law Republicans
are somehow obstructing democracy and preventing all the
votes from being counted. All the ballots in this race that
were cast validly have been counted and recounted according
to the letter of the law. Now they are going to be counted
a third time.
be honest, in the larger scheme of things I could care less
whether the governor of Washington state is a Republican
or a Democrat. What I do care about is that regardless of
the outcome, both parties adhere to the law and not try
to retroactively engineer a victory through the courts when
following the law doesn't produce the desired results. The
only exceptions to this rule should be cases where substantial
evidence of vote fraud or voter intimidation/suppression
exists. That is certainly not the case in this race.
was that the case with the Bush-Gore debacle in Florida
in 2000 or in the Torricelli-Lautenberg switcheroo in New
Jersey in 2002. Whatever your political persuasion, it's
an undeniable fact that over the last few years Democrats
have been increasingly willing to turn to partisan lawyers
and legal shenanigans as a tactic to gain and hold political
power. Instead of resolving real and legitimate election
disputes, Democrats are now using the courts as a tool for
creating them. - T. Bevan 9:30 am Link
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December 6 2004
THE GOVERNMENT ON 'ROIDS: Yesterday on FOX
News Sunday Senator John McCain said it's time to to
"introduce legislation if necessary" to deal with
the ongoing steroid scandal in Major League Baseball. McCain
offered the following justification:
somebody watching right now is going to say, "How
is it any of your business?" Anti-trust exemption
was granted by Congress to organize baseball, and also
it's got to do with interstate commerce. So we do have
a role to play.
do have a role to play." Interesting phrase. You don't
have to be an unrepentant free-market libertarian to see
this as a colossal overreach and a true waste of government
me digress for a moment to say that I am not even remotely
close to an expert on this issue. But the anti-trust exemption
McCain is talking about originated in a 1922
decision by the Supreme Court. Furthermore, the exemption's
primary aspect over the years has dealt with the ability
of owners to move franchises and players to move among teams.
Finally, no other sport has ever been granted a similar
exemption, though boxing, football, basketball, hockey and
golf antitrust exemptions have all been sought - and denied
- by the courts.
to the issue at hand. McCain says we must pass legislation
for the good of kids everywhere:
important aspect of this issue is not Barry Bonds or Jason
Giambi or Gary Sheffield. The important aspect of this
issue is that high school kids all over America believe
that this is the only way they can make it. Ask any high
is the tragedy of steroids. And we all know that it will
destroy a young person's body. And that's why we've got
to bring this to a halt.
says it's not about the individual players, it's about the
drugs. He wants to separate the two, because otherwise you'll
know that what he's really trying to do is legislate the
behavior and the ethics of role models in professional sports
- something that simply can't be done.
Bonds is a hero to hundreds of thousands of kids around
the country. But it also looks like he's a cheater. That's
a crushing blow to some and a disappointment to others,
but the choices Barry Bonds or Jason Giambi or Gary Sheffield
make are not something the U.S. government should be involved
in trying to manage.
League Baseball is a business and a brand. They can and
should manage their business in whatever manner they see
fit to try and make it both as popular and profitable as
possible. If Bud Selig thinks it is in baseball's best interest
to have a bunch of jacked-up roid mongers swatting balls
out of the park every night, fine. But odds are he won't
do that because in the long run it will lessen the appeal
of the nation's favorite passtime. In other words, it's
bad for business.
the same reason David Stern dropped the hammer on Ron Artest
and friends last month in response to the Pistons-Pacers
brawl. Stern is concerned, quite rightfully, that the NBA
brand is jeopardy of being overrun by the
image that NBA players are out of control thugs.
the one thing that McCain is probably right about is that
President Bush would "love" to sign legislation
mandating drug testing in baseball. President Bush is a
fan of baseball. So am I. But I also believe in smaller,
less intrusive government. Isn't that what the President
constantly says he believes in too?
BIG, BAD BCS: While we're on the subject of sports,
the undefeated Auburn Tigers and the Cal Bears, whose only
loss came against top-ranked USC, got shafted
by the BCS last night. Instead, Big East champ Pittsburgh
got a birth in the Fiesta Bowl with a 9-3 record.
we get John McCain to propose new legislation to deal with
the unfairness of the BCS formula. Young people's lives
are being ruined by it.
tried unsuccessfully to meddle on this issue once before,
but what the heck. Since there are millions of additional
dollars at stake for BCS Bowl bids, McCain can claim government
authority under the auspices of regulating "interstate
commerce." And Bush can sign the bill because he's
a big fan of college football.
OBSESSION OVER NEWSPAPER ENDORSEMENTS: People obsess
over newspaper endorsements every election year. This year,
however, you may recall in the two weeks leading up to the
election many on the left and in the media seemed particularly
obsessed with them.
there was a great deal of attention paid to the fact that
some 40-plus papers that endorsed George W. Bush in 2000
either switched to endorse Kerry or refused to endorse a
candidate at all. The suggestion made by some was that this
shift among the editorial class was a possible harbinger
of a move against Bush among the broader electorate. I guess
Kerry finished the endorsement race with 208 papers with
circulation totaling 20,791,336 and Bush came in with 189
newspaper endorsements with a combined circulation of 14,455,046.
final ironic twist. This year, the percentage of endorsements
each candidate received represented an almost exact inversion
of the percentage of electoral college votes they received:
year merely confirmed yet again what we know to be true:
while newspaper endorsements have some influence in local
and state races where voters may not know the candidates
and are seeking some guidance, at the federal level newspaper
endorsements don't mean squat. Of course, this won't stop
some from obsessing over who endorses whom in 2008. -
T. Bevan 10:30 am Link
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