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RFK Jr. Swings and Misses - Mother Jones Called Him Out

| 90 Comments | 2 TrackBacks

OK, Robert Kennedy Jr.'s article on "Was The 2004 Election Stolen?" (hint: he thinks the answer is 'Yes') is up at Rolling Stone.

Commenter hypocracyrules lays it down as a trump card to prove that "repugs" are inherently bad, evil, etc etc.

I thought I'd take a few minutes after cleaning the wok to quickly Google Jr's claims and see what comes up.

What happened was that I found a pretty dispositive article - in the sense that independent investigation was done on several of the specific claims made by Jr. - in, of all places, Mother Jones (the noted neocon journal).

The article, in the November/December 2005 issue is by Mark Hertsgaard, an investigative reporter whose books include "On Bended Knee: The Press and the Reagan Presidency" goes through several of the same claims that Jr. highlights, and traces the intellectual history of some of Jr's claims.

Go read both articles, if you want to - but here are some highlights.

Jr's claim:
In Warren County, GOP election officials even invented a nonexistent terrorist threat to bar the media from monitoring the official vote count.
Now to Warren County, where officials locked down the building used to count votes and told a Cincinnati Enquirer reporter that there'd been a terrorist threat. The skeptics are right that the FBI denied issuing any such warning. But it's not true that votes were counted in secret, say both Susan Johnson, the Republican Board of Elections director, and Sharon Fisher, the Democratic deputy director. Not only were Johnson and Fisher present, so were the four Board of Elections members (two Democrats, two Republicans) plus an observer from each party. The only person shut out, Johnson says, was the reporter, "but reporters have never been allowed into our counting room before."
Jr's claim:
Officials there purged tens of thousands of eligible voters from the rolls...
Blackwell's two most potent acts of disenfranchisement, skeptics say, were the purging of 133,000 mostly Democratic voters from the rolls and the non-counting of 92,000 ballots rejected by voting machines as unreadable. "It's clear to me that somebody thought long and hard back in 2001 about how to win this thing," says Fitrakis. "Somebody had the foresight to check an obscure statute that allows you to cancel people's voter registrations if they haven't voted in two presidential elections." Fitrakis notes that newspapers reported the purging of 105,000 voters in Cincinnati and another 28,000 in Toledo. But because the purging was conducted gradually between 2001 and 2004, no one saw the big picture until the Free Press connected the dots.

O'Grady, the Democrats' general counsel, agrees that Blackwell purged voter rolls, especially in large urban counties that figured to lean Democratic. But he points out that the purging was done legally, and he says it wasn't necessarily underhanded. The Democratic base, he says, is more transient, so a voter may accumulate three different addresses on state voting rolls—a perfectly sound reason for a purge. As for the larger argument that Ohio was stolen, O'Grady says, "That point of view relies on the assumption that the entire Republican Party is conspiratorial and the entire Democratic Party is as dumb as rocks. And I don't buy that."

Jr's claim:
The first indication that something was gravely amiss on November 2nd, 2004, was the inexplicable discrepancies between exit polls and actual vote counts. Polls in thirty states weren't just off the mark -- they deviated to an extent that cannot be accounted for by their margin of error. In all but four states, the discrepancy favored President Bush.(16)
The discrepancy between exit polls and the official results is a key part of the skeptics' argument: Kerry was projected to win nationwide by a close but comfortable 3 percent, and in Ohio by 6.5 percent. But the skeptics betray a poor grasp of exit polling, starting with their claim that exit polls are invariably accurate within tenths of a percentage point. In truth, the exit polls were wrong by much more than that in the 1988 and 1992 presidential elections.

Warren Mitofsky and Joe Lenski, the pollsters who oversaw the 2004 exit polls, concluded that one source of their incorrect forecast was an apparent tendency for some pro-Bush voters to shun exit pollsters' questions. "Preposterous," claims Mark Crispin Miller, who also sees trickery in the adjusting of exit polls after the election, though that is utterly routine. And is it really so strange to imagine that Bush supporters—who tend to distrust the supposedly liberal news media—might not answer questions from pollsters bearing the logos of CBS, CNN, and the other news organizations financing the polling operation?

Besides, how do skeptics explain New Hampshire? The state conducted a hand recount of precincts that critics found suspicious; the recount confirmed the official tally, as Ralph Nader's campaign, which paid for the exercise, admitted. Apparently one reason Bush did better than expected in those precincts was an influx of conservative Catholics who relocated from neighboring Massachusetts—the kind of anomaly that can confound even persuasive-sounding assumptions about voters.

Look, I don't doubt that there were a host of irregularities in Ohio, which went narrowly for Bush. Just as there were in Minnesota, which went narrowly for Kerry.

To take my earlier metaphor of umpiring a step further - and as someone who has been Chief Umpire of a competitive Little League - the goal is to minimize the number of bad calls, try and make sure they don't favor one team over the other, and hope like hell they don't determine the outcome of the game.

I'll leave the final word to Hertsgaard:
Meanwhile, the focus on vote rigging distracts from other explanations for the 2004 outcome and, more importantly, from what Democrats need to do differently in the future. Paul Hackett, the Iraq combat veteran whose congressional bid is covered elsewhere in this issue, suggests an answer. Hackett, who made no bones about his disdain for Bush and the war, nearly won a district that in 2004 chose Bush over Kerry 64 to 36 percent. Lesson: Democrats can do well, even in staunchly Republican areas, if they give people a reason to vote for them—an unapologetic alternative. Do that in 2008, and the election won't be close enough to steal.

2 TrackBacks

Tracked: June 2, 2006 11:19 AM
Kennedy: Republicans Stole 2004 Election from Outside The Beltway | OTB
Excerpt: I saw mention earlier today of a piece in Rolling Stone by Robert Kennedy, Jr. arguing that the Republicans stole the 2004 election. Given that it was 1) a Kennedy, and a junior at that; 2) in a rock mag; and 3) plainly idiotic, I ignored it. After ...
Tracked: June 5, 2006 4:39 PM
RFK Jr. on Election 2004: from The Volokh Conspiracy
Excerpt: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has turned his attention from the environment to the 2004 election, with predictable results. In this Rolling Stone


What did you expect from RFK Jr., a legitimate investigation?

Were there irregularities in Minnesota, too? I know, of course, about those in Wisconsin. (And in Pennsylvania.)

So RFK Jr. is shocked, SHOCKED to find irregularites in the voting process, eh? (Ask your family about Illinois, 1960 Bobby...)

Ugly as voting fraud, intimidation, and other efforts to game the system are, I'm afraid they're part of the way the game is played. I'm convinced that a large part of why neither party presses the issue in a particular instance is that both have more than enough dirty linen in their closets that they feel it could only be counterproductive.

Did you know that even if Nixon had won Illinois he still would have lost the election?

Would gracious acceptance of a stolen election be in Nixon's character?

The 1960 Illinois story is a myth.

And is it really so strange to imagine that Bush supporters—who tend to distrust the supposedly liberal news media—might not answer questions from pollsters bearing the logos of CBS, CNN, and the other news organizations financing the polling operation?

I'm in Santa Ana, California, where there area a couple of nasty dem. primary fights going on. We're getting telephone polls here 2-5 times a DAY. My wife hates it and doesn't want to talk to them anymore. So I - despite a deep baratone voice - just say "speaking" when they ask for Catherine.

And I lie to them, top to bottom. I'm not an asian/female/handicapped liberal environmentalist. I do not support reconquista. I do not have 5 children or make $20k a year (their database should show the truth on the last statement, but these people are LAME). When they ask who I'd vote for, I pick at random. And I LOVE open ended questions. They're rare, but they're GREAT. Which issues concern me most? Nuke power, bird flu and capitol gains. Or gun control, pre-school standards and wind farms.

I don't know how many people there are like me, but with samples of a couple of hundred, a dozen wreckers would make them useless.

Some other passages from the Mother Jones article you cite are below. You'll note that the author expresses his unqualified belief that Bush stole the 2000 election. He seems primarily concerned with the notion that "Bush stole" the Ohio 2004 election...and I will agree with both him and you that the evidence does not reach this level of proof. Never-the-less, the author is clear that he thinks the Republicans behaved in a manner that, while perhaps technically legal, is unfair to voters, and should be unacceptable to all.

I'd like to ask if "Armed Liberal" agrees or not with that last sentence?

Excerpts from the close of the article:

"In the end, reasonable people may differ about the strength of the skeptics' case. Personally I came away persuaded there was indeed something rotten in the state of Ohio in 2004. Whether by intent or negligence, authorities took actions that prevented many thousands of citizens from casting votes and having them counted. The irregularities were sufficiently widespread to call into question Bush's margin of victory. This was not a fair election, and it deserves the scrutiny skeptics have brought to it. They shouldered a task that mainstream media and the government should have assumed—and still should take on, especially since some key questions can only be settled by invoking subpoena power.

Yet it remains far from clear that Bush stole the election, and I say that as someone who has written that Bush did steal Florida and the White House in 2000 (and who—full disclosure—is friendly with skeptics Miller and Wasserman)."

Jeebus, you'd think someone would have put a stake in this by now.

No, I don't think Bush 'stole' Florida in 2000, I think Gore's team lost it for him with their mendacity in failing to ask for a full, statewide recount - which was the only fair thing to do. And which would have, per the Media Consortium analysis (pdf) have given him the state.

Look, if you're going to argue about this stuff, please read the basic texts.


No time today but quickly - and perhaps I'll comment over the weekend -

this is typical of propagandists - in this article there are - what? 100 cites?

Any person not interested in the "game" of politics, but interested in the facts of the case, and simply interested in the voting process in general -

would voice some concern about this article. There is one particular example contradicted by Mother Jones, but this doesn't touch the rest of the article.

And I remember a counter-response to Hertsgaard, but I'll have to find it, regarding the exit polling.

But again - any article like this Rolling Stone one, would cause an honest person with integrity pause.

Instead - what do we get? One or two "gotcha" points, a smear of RFK, a non-sequitur, and a Heathers-like sniffing dismissal.

And I'm supposed to be impressed?

A.L., you simply aren't interested in the truth of the matter, with due consideration for the article, the role of Blackwell in Ohio, the role of Republicans in general to stop up the vote.

And that's why hypocrisy rules. It's more important to play little games and be Right, push the propaganda, then to really look at the evidence.

So this is a joke and a game - and the "heated rhetoric" and breakdown of the system that you supposedly fret about - you are part and parcel of.

"The 1960 Illinois story is a myth."

After reading the article you linked to, I don't come away with that impression at all.

That may be what the article claims in summary, but when you actually look at thier evidence all they can honestly assert is something much more narrow - that attempts at recounting the ballots showed that the count of the ballots was accurate.

But this is a red herring. The charge was never that Mayor Daley arranged for the ballots to be miscounted. The charge is that Mayor Daley arranged for ballot stuffing. That is to say, while the count of the ballots might have been correct, that doesn't mean that every ballot actually represented the vote a real living voter, or that every voter only voted once. The charge was in Chicago that the dead had voted, and the writer does nothing to address this charge.

The writer actually recognizes how limited of a proof he is offering when he says, "The GOP's failure to prove fraud doesn't mean, of course, that the election was clean. That question remains unsolved and unsolvable." He then goes on to say that, "But what's typically left out of the legend is that multiple election boards saw no reason to overturn the results. Neither did state or federal judges." But this of course does not address whether in Chicago the Democrat controlled election boards themselves and even the local judges weren't part of the problem. Indeed, in the case of massive ballot stuffing, it would almost certainly have to be done with the help of local election officials - who of course would then find no evidence to turn over the the results.

Can this be proven? No, it probably can't. But I think you are way premature in claiming that the 1960 election story is a myth.

Anyone who believes that the Slate article proves no fraud in Illinois in 1960 (or any other year, for that matter), is either being disingenuous or is ignorant of how Illinois politics works.

Having been an observer and participant in IL politics for decades, I want to point out that fraud by illegitimate count simply does not, and has not since at least the 1920s) exist. The fraud is perpetrated (as mentioned above) in many, many ways before the ballots are counted. I know of several ways to cheat prior to the voting, for any system (including optical) that you want to test.

Post-voting, I have personally observed election judges in Illinois 'fix' the vote by: 1) deliberately creating an overvote which will then not be counted [by punching an extra chad, or marking an extra bubble, for example]; 2) marking an undervote in favor of their candidate; 3) creating an overvote by marking in a ballot already containing a legitimate write-in vote; 4) 'spoiling' ballots in various ways. All of these are done in a partisan manner, of course, and NONE of them are detectable by re-counting.

This doesn't even get anywhere close to the number of fraudlent ballots cast by the dead or multiple voters, etc.

I am guessing that Andrew J Lazarus isn't really as stupid as he would like us to believe. He's just being disingenuous in an attempt to stir the pot.

Odd, isn't it, how some are sooooooooo concerned about some types of vote fraud and totally unconcerned by others. I wonder why that would be?

As for hypocrisyrules, I assume he/she is being self-referential. Exactly why am I to believe that the number of cites governs the quality of the article/argument? I have seen any number of published work by nutcases with enormous numbers of cites and they're still crap.

The problem with Bugs, Jr (am I the only one who notices how much like Bugs Bunny the RFK side of the family looks?) and his quotes is that they don't support his claims so much as re-inforce his bias. If it were truly a good article it would include at least brief references to contrary findings. Of course, this might lead or force True Believers to the idea that mere belief isn't proof, and their heads might explode.

Essentially, the Keating Report shows that evidently some Democrats are too dumb to follow the law, and they are helped by incompetent Democratic election officials.

I find it passing odd that Lefties only want some laws enforced. If breaking the law favors their position, they're all in favor.

But again - any article like this Rolling Stone one, would cause an honest person with integrity pause.

I'd like to take this opportunity for some gratuitous nitpicking. Just because someone produces an article/blogpost/movie/radio bit/whatever that disagrees with your opinion, does not mean that you lack integrity or intellectual rigor if it does not "make you pause". Contrary to the apparent belief held by Kos Kiddies, rational people with well-reasoned beliefs will not suddenly drop everything to think like you do if you yell "wake up sheeple!" loud enough with sufficient repitition.

Take the Rolling Stone article, for instance. Read through point #2, which covers Ken Blackwell. Leave aside the blatant bias against the man, the hit-piece elements, and the non-sequitirs which don't support any argument of any kind. RFK spends a great deal of time accusing Blackwell of being a rabid partisan, of being heavily biased against Democratic voters, and insinuates (making an unfounded leap of faith) that this means Blackwell tried to throw the election. Any evidence, beyond the rolls purge which AL answered? Nope... but note who RFK cites as backers for his conclusions: Dennis Kucinich and John Conyers. As if they represent sterling examples of objective criticism--and indeed, they do little more than repeat unsubstantiated attacks on Blackwell.

I won't go through a critique of every single point, but there doesn't seem to be any new evidence in this article, just a compilation of every conspiracy theory and suspicion that's been voiced over the past two years, dumped into one place. If you've been paying attention to the blogs for a few years, you've seen this all before (though admittedly I'm a politics junkie, so I may be more immersed than your average reader). So I ask: why should this article make me "pause"? What grounds do you have for challenging intellectual integrity on the basis of others' reactions to pages upon pages of blatant innuendo?

the reason u should pause is simply to look at all the evidence. u said uve seen it all before from many different blogs and many different people and now one man has decided to go out and put it all together. regardless of his past and regardless of anything else he provides a strong argument with well documented sources. people seem to naturally shrug these kind of documents off by filing them under the untrustworthy term of conspriacy theory but clearly what RFK has written is more then that. this isnt some no name sitting at his computer with nothing to lose, he's making a bold claim here in a well read magazine. true it may be mostly democratic sources but a) its not like hes going to get republican's to back him up here and b) he cites a good number of independent sources as well.

somebody else said he should include contrary findings but realistically enough people out there are going to do that for him regardless of what he puts in and giving the other side any kind of help in that matter will definetily provide no help to something that he clearly believes is true. hes trying to convince people to get motivated on this to really take a look at the election of 2004 and consider what the evidence he has found means. whens the last time u saw a politician put in a criticism of his own work within it? they know they don't have to because to get a point across they have to go out there and be more then anything else convincing. now dont misquote that to misleading as there is a big difference. his article is simply a compilation of evidence (quite a bit of it too) that he has found, none of it is untruthful and all of it is well sourced. it may be an article with the intention of being persuasive but it isnt misleading in anyway as any one with half a brain can instantly realise that this is a democrats article, its obviously going to show a democrats point of view. its a well documented well written and strong peice of evidence and one regardless of ur beliefs shouold be considered with total sincerity with the goal of simply finding out whether or not its true. ignore your politics for this if you can and really consider what he wrote, if you truly do this it should definetily at least make you pause.


What? You must have misread my comments. I didn't claim that I believe what the Mother Jones author said about Florida 2000, only that he said it. Nor did I ask you to comment on that election. My question was directed at the Republicans in Ohio in 2004.

One of my points here is that it becomes interesting, given what you think about Florida 2004 (and I'm not sure I agree with you on this but that is another topic) that you choose to believe the author now wrt Ohio. Same guy. Sounds rather like cherry picking to me.

It seems you were confused about which sentence I was asking you to comment on when I said "that last sentence", which refers to my last one, not the last one in the post.

So to be perfectly clear, here is the question I would like you to respond to:

"He seems primarily concerned with the notion that "Bush stole" the Ohio 2004 election...and I will agree with both him and you that the evidence does not reach this level of proof. Never-the-less, the author is clear that he thinks the Republicans [in Ohio in 2004] behaved in a manner that, while perhaps technically legal, is unfair to voters, and should be unacceptable to all."

Still - one point - A.L. could have ignored this article. He was willing to engage it, rather than ignore it, if engage it with full snark and propaganda tactics.

This, and the last couple of articles have been an improvement over wading deep into the obscure "angels on the head of a pin" proofs of why Democrats and liberals are idiots.

Gotta recognize improvement when it happens!

Um, hypocarcy, the MJ article covered far more than one of the claims made by RFK Jr, and found that all his claims - excpet that the GOP acted aggressively to 'game the system' in their favor - which the Dems do as well (I'm doing GOTV work next week, and I'm not concentrating on heavily GOP-leaning voters). GOP figures have been convicted of election issues (phone jamming in New England) as have Democrats (tire slashing in Milwaukee, as I recall).


I do think we need better election systems, and am working hard to make them happen - by trying to elect Debra Bowen in California.

But for once can you do something in your comments aside from snark, ad hominems, and bold assertions not backed up by facts?

The MJ article was written by someone who did real research and looked at real data. If you don't have some to bring to bear here, you're wasting all of our time.


"But for once can you do something in your comments aside from snark, ad hominems, and bold assertions not backed up by facts?"

Hah-ha-ha! Coming from a blinded propagandist such as yourself, that's funny!

Dude, even your title is off!

RFK Jr. Swings and Misses - Mother Jones Called Him Out" -

now THAT is rhetoric and snark! The article by RFK Jr. is from YESTERDAY, while the MJ article is from six months ago!

So there is NO sense, that the MJ article is responding to JFK Jr. or calling him out - this is pure rhetoric and propaganda.

And you are going to point fingers at me for snark??

And it is still true that the MJ article in NO WAY adequately refutes the JFK Jr article. To think it does is either delusion or clever propaganda.

Since you are a clever guy, I opt for door 2.

Stop being a propagandist, I'll stop calling you one.

km, I'm not arguing that Democratic sources == automatically unreliable, I'm saying that his article is not a "compilation of evidence"; it's a compilation of (remarkably well-documented) innuendo and spin, and as such is no more noteworthy than your average DKos posting--though it's nice to see it all in expletive-free format for a change.

RFK doesn't have "evidence" the GOP perpetuated willing fraud, he has details which show that democracy is a messy, complicated business when you try to scale it beyond 100 people or so. He spins everything Republicans do in the worst possible light, using quotes from Democratic opponents and "loose voting" advocates as sources for his invective (while conveniently dismissing the possibility that such actions were legitimate attempts to prevent voter fraud; the biggest problem I have with his article is that he willfully ignores the fact that fighting voter fraud is part of Blackwell's mandate as well, and dismisses the notion out-of-hand). He accuses Blackwell et al of preferential bias--based on unsubstantiated attacks made by Kucinich and Conyers, who are plenty biased themselves. He cites cases which were ruled against the GOP approvingly, then ignores or bemoans those which were overturned on appeal. He cites logistical problems on election day--problems which have been occurring, in one form or another, during the entire 200+ years of our republic--as proof that there was some grand conspiracy, without examining the question of whether the Ohio abnormalities were significantly "out of line" with abnormalities in every precinct across the country.

Yes, I'm inclined to dismiss it as "seen it all before"--does anyone else remember the countless examinations and castigations of Blackwell that turned up starting in early 2004? Or the way the media and the blogs got hung up on every court decision involving elections not only in Ohio, but also in Florida, Iowa, Michigan, etc? Heck, you couldn't read a newspaper or a blog for months after Election Day without seeing another screaming headline declaring ABNORMALITIES IN OHIO, and intense scrutiny of... well, of nothing, as it turns out.

In short, there's no newly revealed smoking gun, and there's precious little "smoke" remaining if you breathe too hard on his pile of evidence. RFK did his side a service by compiling all the attacks, innuendo, and conspiracy theories in one place, devoid of the usual 4-letter words and "Chimpy McBushitler" idiocy that usually accompanies the claims; but it's still a pack of innuendo and spin. And I don't see why I should "pause" every time someone throws spin my way--pardon me for demanding actual hard evidence before I buy into an author's hypothesis.

You know you've wandered too deep into the fever swamp when you get fisked by Mother Freaking Jones.

hypocrisyrules--since RFK isn't breaking any new ground in his article, and the MJ article is refuting the old attack points he is recycling, I don't see the problem in applying it to the Rolling Stones article. In fact, I'd say it casts RFK as being rather mendacious for using pre-refuted arguments in his compilation--assuming he did a full investigation of the facts and explanations he reported on, and did not just accept his favored interpretation uncritically.

hypo -

Well, I may be a propogandist, but at least I bring facts and argument to bear. When I see one of each of those from you, I'll re-engage.

'Till then...


Here we go again with AL demanding "facts" for an argument that he's losing on the basis of structure or simple reasoning.

No "facts" are necessary to call into question your motivation, logic, or to point out the internal inconsistensies in your arguments, just to name a few issues that do not require "facts" to demonstrate.

By asking for same, you are requiring that hypo-rules meet a standard that you yourself do not feel compelled to reach in your own the aptly-named poster points out.

You effort to insulate yourself from this category of critique is transparent.

The 1960 Illinois story is a myth.
If it is, the article you cited reinforces the myth.

The Texas allegations were never investigated, and Texas Democratic fraud during those years has been well documented. Lyndon Johnson won his first election in Texas with the help of the Choir Invisible, whose names were entered on the voter rolls by John Connally and other cronies.

Needless to say, no recount can detect the votes of the resurrected dead, especially not in Chicago.

Funny that this article, which was probably written by a 16 year-old honor student (possibly the same bright kid who hacks Juan Cole's email for Christopher Hitchens), speculates that Nixon may have been inspired to cheat in the 1972 election because of 1960. But Nixon was accused of improper campaign practices in 1972, not election fraud.

WR - Interesting; I'd always assumed that facts+reasoning were necessary to win arguments. And I'm not holding my breath to see when hypocracyrules (or you) change your minds.

I read the RFK article after mentioning it in a post and having hypo wave because I was genuinely interested in the claims - as I was when they were first made.

I then started Googling and quickly found the Mother Jones article - which pretty conclusively debunked several of the core factual claims that Jr. made in his article.

Other claims - the 50% of overseas voters ballot issues - were debunked on other sites. If I get a few minutes, I'll go through more of his claims, but it seems hardly worthwhile. KI'm not seeing anything or anyone supporting his argument with underlying facts - just with handwaving rhetoric (Bush is evil, so of course he did this...).

My motivation is to encourage intelligent (i.e. results - oriented) discussion of fair election practices. You, or anyone else is welcome to question my motivations, but that kind of ad hominem argument isn;t exactly a winning case.

I also welcome arguments that look at what I say and points out inconsistencies and broken links of logic. Looking back at your & hypo's comments, I don't see any - can you point me to some?


km wrote on June 2, 2006 07:41 PM

"somebody else said he should include contrary findings but realistically enough people out there are going to do that for him regardless of what he puts in and giving the other side any kind of help in that matter will definetily provide no help to something that he clearly believes is true."

BS. If he considered contrary findings, he wouldn't be subject to the roasting he's getting.

Do you have some disability that forces you to omit capitalizing and use "u" instead of "you"? If so, move on. If not, USE CAPITALS AND SPELL WORDS COMPLETELY! Sincerity is not a substitute for accuracy, neither for Kennedy nor you. And it's not an excuse for laziness or stupidity.

Hey, structure+reasoning produce such successes as Stalinism, Maoism, and dare I say it, Fascism.

By all means, let us dispense with verifiable data.

Quite telling about the credibility of RFK Jr's joke article is that the debunking of these myths are in some cases more than a year old, and yet RFK does not bother to do more than repeat the original myth.

Uh guys - knock knock.

The whole point is that the article is COPIOUSLY researched.

Very factual, intensely so. And NOT refuted by A.L.'s little breezy reference to a six month old Mother Jones piece.

The factual preponderance of disproving the article, is still on you guys. So A.L. is completely guilty of what he is accusing me of.

That's pretty obvious here. The whole point is that some breezy googling does not dismiss this copiously researched article. This whole article IS "facts+reasoning". A.L. is engaged in propaganda to not take it seriously, by doing a serious refutation.


first of all Jim C. my points are still valid regardless of punctuation spelling and whether or not im lazy. this is an internet chat site not anything of any real importance, if it were i mite consider your request, but for now quite frankly this is just a quicker way to get my point down. i really didnt think it mattered, and still dont think that sort of hting matters as long as the point gets across.

now on to the point

whenever a politicion presents anything (especially any sort of accusation) regardless of whether or not he puts in his own criticism of it or not he will get roasted. thats a fact of life in american politics and any politician knows this. what he wrote in essence was a persuasive essay with the knowledge that it will be picked apart. if you really believe that he wouldnt receive a roasting had he thrown in some self criticism in hsi accucsation of a stolen election then i really dont know what to say. he obviously knew that he needed to be as persuasive as possible if he realyl wanted to get any sort of a point across (he also does throw in some of the other sides perspective like blackwell justification for the paper weight restrictions and such, nothing massive but it is an acknowledgement of the other side's point of view).

unbeliever i see your point about hsi use of spin a bit more then he should of, but look at the mother jones article and theres easily just as much spin, just as much sourcing of only repuclican biased sources. the article makes claims such as the one posted here about right wingers usually distrusting liberal media like cnn? i mean spin is everywhere when it comes to these things and learning how to look through it is key to getting to the facts of any of these type of articles.

i also admit that i hafnt really followed the blogs over the past few years that would make his evidence (not sure what else to call it, even if you disagree with the validity of it, its all i can think of to call it) seem like simple repititions of other people's theories, so for me this is an overwhelming amount of data to receive, i can see it being easier to dismiss if you feel like you've heard it to many times before, but for me it was hard not to pause.

on to the facts

first with the exit polling, if these type of results truly did warrant investigations in other countries i don't see why it wouldn't at least arrouse more suspicion here. freeman (i'd count him as a relatively unbiased source) puts together a strong argument for how odd and rare what happened in 2004 is, the number he provides happen to be very condeming and tough to ignore. once again this isn't some hack brain blogosphere nobody this is somebody with a reputation on the line who clearly through the numbers alone has a worthy argument. this may not be the smoking gun your looking for, but in many cases such as this there may not be one single smoking gun, tihs is clearly a case more complicated than that.

the evidence of caging as well is relatively condemning, the fact that they took up a practice known to be illegal and had to be court ordered to stop (regardless of who did the ordering) is something to be considered when trying to get a picture of whether or not this was an illegaly run election or not.

and regardless of whether or not what blackwell did was truly attempts to prevent voter fraud or not it anti-democrat leaning which seems pretty strongly sourced from legitimate sources is once again something to look at. its undeniable that blackwell is a smart guy, smart enough at least to know the consequences of his actions, and theres no way he couldn't have realised that what he was doing would have a much stronger negative effect on the democrat party then his own. even if some of it was genuine attempts to prevent voter fruad in the interest of runnign a fair election this sort of thing at the very least needs to prevented in the future. and the paperweight crap that he pulled seems far to far fetched to be reasonably justified. plus his blatant ignorance of a judge's request to stop violating hte help america vote act (a genuinely decent act if you ask me). an extremely conservative man whose willing to ignore acts such as this and whose attempts at preventing voter fraud had a clearly biased effect is once again hard to ignore. i admit this is not a smoking gun, but as i said before this is a complicated case where one smoking gun may not be available.

for the most part what im getting at is i actually do agree after reading the article that there isn't enough evidence to condemn the republicans beyond any reasonable doubt, what i would say it means is that something should be done for the next set of elections. this suspicion and these type of accusations aren't baseless, but they could be if a more proper election was run. america undeniably has the smarts, the technology, and the ability to run a smoother election and i dont think anyone would disagree with that and the fact that to avoid these debates that usually go nowhere but are often bring undeniably suspicious facts and lead to a lack of trust in our leaders and the way they got where they are,,its a serious problem and needs to be corrected. this constant denying of anything wrong won't fix anything and will just lead to more denying and mroe argueing. its a realistic request to improve the electoral system and rather than some clearly biased arguments where both sides are far to stubborn to ever admit wrongdoing on either side (which im sure both sides have practiced in just based on common sense) a focus needs to lean towards better elections so the messiness can finally be avoided.

p.s. i do think the republicans really did screw with the results here, but there's not enough evidence to go beyond any reasonable doubt type of thing, still enough to show a decent smoke though.

If a Republican were to be elected mayor of Chicago, the voters would turn over in their graves!

This forum is too bandwidth-limited to actually discuss this topic.

We don't have the time or attention to bother with real real long posts, so we sort of vaguely refer to arguments.

Who's right, RFK or the guy who got published in Mother Jones? We can suppose that RFK's arguments were stupid and the other guy fisked him. Or we can suppose that he was right and the other guy tried to swiftboat him. To decide together we'd have to look at the details. But we aren't willing to do that. If one of us posted a very long comment explaining the details, mostly nobody would read it.

Is the professional statistician who did statistics right, or are the people who say he's lying and incompetent right? Well, the statistician is right. But it's possible that he's right for the wrong reasons. Maybe this time for unknown reasons the sampling was highly biased. Maybe for unknown reasons the sampling methods that worked before didn't work this time. But to actually discuss the topic would take a lot of words. My eyes would glaze over.

So that's what this discussion here will boil down to. I see five groups of people.

1. People who are sure the election was fair because they have spent over 1000 hours competently examining the evidence, and this is their honest competent conclusion.

2.People who are sure the election was rigged because they have spent over 1000 hours competently examining the evidence, and this is their honest competentg conclusion.

3. People who are sure the election was fair because they have skimmed over a bit of data and some reviews, and they trust the conclusions of some partisan choice.

4. People who are sure the election was rigged because they have skimmed over a bit of data and some reviews, and they trust the conclusions of some partisan choice.

5. People who are aware that they don't know.

I expect people in #1 or #2 are less than 1% of the commenters who post in this topic.

Is this fair? I can imagine that someone might say it was rigged without looking at all the evidence. If they look at evidence that it was rigged one particular way, look at the original evidence and the various interpretations, that might be enough without looking at all the other lines of evidence. But to be sure it's all good you'd need to track down every crackpot line and show they're all wrong. That's a lot of work.

Much easier to believe in the partisan analysts on one side and discount the partisan analysts on the other side. Bandwidth is limited. Life is short.

J Thomas:

Spot on. And have you read any of David Brin's stuff lately? I'm too tired to provide links that relate right now (having pulled another all-nighter), but he has cogent stuff to say about these sorts of issues. Especially resonant regarding today's societal fractionation and the degradation of ability-to-trust -- the suspiciousness and cynicism.

There's an old Borscht Belt comedy routine/running gag/tag line: "Voss you dere, Fritz?"

Almost anything with historicity -- involving people and the past -- is hard to verify. Say it has probability Pn and error bar ~e. A combined bunch of things with historicity is combinatorically more vague: P0~e0 x P1~e1 x P2~e2... One needn't be Philip K. Dick or Robert Anton Wilson to wonder "what the hell is actually going on [here]?"

Close elections (which both 2000 and 2004 were, objectively) make that harder.

Can I personally go and re-count ballots? I cannot.

We want to believe that the absolute count of votes is not a statistical entity. It goes against common sense to suggest it has error bars. But is that an empirically satisfying stance?

Tech and science are better because things in those fields can in principle be reproduced by anyone any time. But even there, big systems are intractable because you can't create and run full scale models. And attention is still limited. Beyond that, can I personally see electrons when I work with them? I cannot.

Being panritically rational (as described by Bartley) is an option, but it's thin emotional gruel compared to the atavistic satisfaction of being "right" and self-righteous.

But as Brin points out, the amazing things about today's civilization include how we've lately more often than not fended off protracted episodes of the kind of king-and-vassal structure that was the norm for thousands of years prior (he says 4k, I'd say much longer).

Being prudently suspicious is part of that. And Brin makes the case that we US'ers have been culturally soaked in "SOA"--suspicion of authority -- for generations. But too much suspicion and you're in the Purple Vein Zone or otherwise Not A Player -- including inability to even coherently express your opponent's view in a way your opponent would recognize as accurate. Blimey, balance is tricky.

As someone who was an Ohio resident & voter through '02, I have to take issue with this part:

"It's clear to me that somebody thought long and hard back in 2001 about how to win this thing," says Fitrakis. "Somebody had the foresight to check an obscure statute that allows you to cancel people's voter registrations if they haven't voted in two presidential elections."

I was quite aware of this restriction, it was clearly printed in the "reminder to vote & keep your registration valid" postcards that registered voters received prior to elections. It wasn't "obscure" or a big secret, as Fitrakis implies.


Issue #1:

"WR - Interesting; I'd always assumed that facts+reasoning were necessary to win arguments."

What I'd find interesting is what you would define as "fact". For example, both mine and hypocracyrules' posts are replete with "facts". Here's an example:

FACT (from #6): The author of the Mother Jones article argues that it is incorrect for RFK Jr. to have labeled the Ohio 2004 election "stolen", but agrees that this term can be accurately applied to Florida 2000.

QUERY to you based on this fact: Do you agree that the Republicans malfeasance in Ohio 2004 was untoward (as the RS author argues), and are you willing to go on record as accepting the judgment of this individual in light of his other claims that you find so wrong?

This has become a relevant issue on this thread because other posters have used similar guilt-by-association arguments on other threads to justify their skepticism about the veracity of RFK Jr.s Rolling Stone article on the basis of prior "debunked" claims; I think it is important for the originator of this thread to weigh-in on this type of "evidence" against the content of an argument based on the perceived "character" of the arguer.

And despite the reasonable and fact-based nature of this inquiry, you still mis-read my #6 comments and have yet to respond to this question. So your little game of pretending to demand "factual" or substantive questions before engaging seems rather unsupported by the FACTS at this point, I would say.

And finally, if you are going to cite the work of an author to support a point, you better be able to further defend their point of view. You seem to be studiously avoiding that in your exchanges with me.

Issue #2

"I also welcome arguments that look at what I say and points out inconsistencies and broken links of logic."

This is an imperfect and selective rewording of my statement:

"No "facts" are necessary to call into question your motivation, logic, or to point out the internal inconsistensies in your arguments..."

Here's an example of this from post #16 calling your motivation into question:

"Dude, even your title is off!

RFK Jr. Swings and Misses - Mother Jones Called Him Out" -

now THAT is rhetoric and snark! The article by RFK Jr. is from YESTERDAY, while the MJ article is from six months ago!

So there is NO sense, that the MJ article is responding to JFK Jr. or calling him out - this is pure rhetoric and propaganda.

And one from #13 calling your logic into question:

"What? You must have misread my comments. I didn't claim that I believe what the Mother Jones author said about Florida 2000, only that he said it. Nor did I ask you to comment on that election. My question was directed at the Republicans in Ohio in 2004."

Case closed.

Time for a group hug.

Since we are obviously all concerned about election fraud, and all seem to agree that it has happened at one time or another, why can't we all agree on reasonable measures to combat it?

Starting with tighter poll security, proper voter identification, and all those no-brainers.

In most historical cultures, attempts to undermine the ruling princple of society (by casting doubt on the legitimacy of the king, for example) has been considered treason; or, in the case of a foreign agent, an act of war. The ruling principle of our society is the democratic franchise, and attempts to subvert it ought to be treated as a direct assault on the United States - treason and sabotage.

So I'd make casting an illegal ballot a crime punishable by 10 years in a federal prison. Likewise deliberately tampering with voter registration rolls, obtaining multiple registrations or encouraging others to do so, or soliciting illegal votes, or paying anyone to vote. Coordinating such activity on a large scale would be conspiracy punishable by life in prison.

RKFJr gets similarly hostile treatment in Salon, not normally seen as a pro-GOP site.

Walter, you're mistaking claims for facts.

The MJ argument examines claims - that the votes were counted in secret, implying wrongdoing - and gets at facts - by interviewing Democratic officials who were there - that bely the claim.

So the reporter actually looked for facts to confirm or deny several of the key claims made by Kennedy, and the facts he uncovered refuted Kennedy's claims. If you have or can point to new facts - as opposed to claims - we can have a discussion.

But when someone makes a laundry list of claims, beginning with "it's raining in Los Angeles" and I look out my window and see sunshine - and then the next thing he says is equally quickly disregarded - it's hard for me to get all serious about the rest of the claims.

So bring up some valid claims, i.e. those backed by facts and we'll have a discussion.

Meanwhile, Glen Wishard makes my point.

A system we can all agree on as fair is critical, and we don't have it.

We ought to be working hard together to get it.


"Walter, you're mistaking claims for facts."

No I'm not. I'm just applying a broader defintion of "facts" than you are willing to allow here.'s your thread; readers will make up their own minds regardless.

At any rate, I am not here to divert this important conversation down trivial and meaningless passages. What I am trying to do is get you to acknowledge that the Republicans have a lot to answer for in Ohio 2004.

The conversation about how to "fix" the elections cannot occur in a partisan vacuum when one party holds all the levers of power.

If you can't do this, no one on the center or left will believe that you aren't simply shilling for Republicans. Think of it as a character/judgment test.

Take a stand, or excuse yourself from the conversation.

A broader definition of "facts"?

The mind boggles.

[Comment Deleted by A.L.]

And still no response from AL.

I suppose you rather find it "inconvenient" to criticize Republicans in this forum.

And you slam Dems for failing to do the same in theirs.

I like how goalposts are moved and definitions of known items change when someones argument fails or is non-persuasive.

I'm curious as to why this showed up in RS and not a legitimate journal. I would expect this kind of drive by journalism in the New Yoker or Vanity Fair, but RS just isn't known for hard hitting journalism that wasn't solidly couched in the leftist slant. I'd be curious to know if legitimate journals got hit up for this and turned it down, and wether RS was especialy lax in editorial review in order to get RJK to draw in the moonbat crowd to sell a few extra issues.

bq Hackett, who made no bones about his disdain for Bush and the war,

Actually, in the district he made plenty of bones about it, and in fact tried to obscure it.

Hackett, who made no bones about his disdain for Bush and the war,

Actually, in the district he made plenty of bones about it, and in fact tried to obscure it.

I'm just applying a broader defintion of "facts" than you are willing to allow here.
I think Walter must be a parapsychologist.

Points of information:

1): What does "one party holds all the levers of power" really mean?

2) What does "party {x} has a lot to answer for" mean? Does it mean "I know they are guilty of vote fraud crimes and there is no evidence or testimony that could possibly convince me otherwise"?

Regarding the latter: if so, as Julian Simon once said regarding another matter, "Excuse me -- I'm not dressed for church."

I'm not trying to be snarky here, just trying to get calibrated.



#40: Well, it's the weekend here. Maybe AL deserves a little slack. (Maybe not. What do I know? Nothin'.)

#41 (Gabriel Chapman):

Humans do that all the time. Bartley took that to task early on in his book The Retreat to Commitment.

I'd frame his description so: Much of what is called the search for truth about core matters is really the successive erection of inessential arguments, scaffolded with amphigory or rhetoric. Hardly anyone ever gets to where they will express a viewpoint that is part of their ground of being and falsifiable / refutable.

When the adversary shoots argument x down, the proponent of x doesn't say "Hmm, you might have a point" -- they go right on to argument y. x, y und so weiter don't have to have consistency, you just have to keep shotgunning, the way a trial attorney can advance multiple incompatible arguments for an accused client. Bartley suggests that the lack of reflection indicates that the proponent of x, y, etc. is never advancing actual core beliefs, so they can't be shot down, and so that the proponent can't be given pause -- what the other side says just can't be so, at at worst any "more so" than what I believe. If I read him right, I think he might have been on to something.

Further, as long as the focus is on "winning the argument" or "delivering the crushing soundbite", rather than triangulating on what both sides can stipulate, so that the investigation can refocus in a laserlike fashion on the remaining nut or crux, that's what you'll tend to get.

Almost all blog, news media and barroom discussion reflects an underlying metaphor (a la Lakoff) that an argument is a fight, not an exploration. So does the adversarial legal space, of course.

The tendency is pervasive and in some ways pernicious. But it "works", so people keep doing it -- until it kills them, and sometimes even after that. Lefties, righties, uppies, downies, outies and innies all seem to do it about as often.

Feynmann got to the bottom of the technical part of the Challenger mess because he thought like a truth finder, not an argument-winner.

As I've mentioned, matters of historicity really are hard to treat as objectively as "Gee, what does this o-ring sealant do in freezing temperatures?" We appear to be stuck with that. And with deciding what to make about which people say (or are said to say -- cue the paranoiac Hitchcock movie music) about matters of historicity.

An intemperate "YOU are IGNORING FACTS" reaction to "I don't find evidence for x conclusive" is inferior to a response such as "Well, what evidence would you find persuasive or conclusive?"

When's the last time you heard a conversation like that? :) I wish I could say I do it all the time. But I'm working on my batting average. Folly is our nemesis. I persist in wondering if it must ever be so.

When I said "...until it kills them, and sometimes even after that", I meant "until it [the tendency to prefer being right to finding out what's so] starts killing some of them., and sometimes even after that". Sorry for the bogus turn of phrase.

Thanks for that last explanation, Nortius.

I had an image of dead people turning over in their graves as they argued adversarial-style.

Walter, I'm deleting your slur aimed at Robin and warning you that the next time you say something like that, I'll ban you.

As to your charming notion that "facts" should be broadened to suit your taste, I'll suggest you read this post of mine.

"It's because I find myself in a risky place surrounded by people who have lost the ability to tell bullshit from reality. Our party is wounded, leaking ideologically and demographically, and we sit here drinking quack nostrums made from apricot pits and listening to fake spirit mediums tell us everything will be OK because our dead ancestors FDR, JFK, and LBJ are looking over us."



Although I think that the answers to your questions should be failry obvious, I'll respond because I think in doing so an important point emerges that is, in my view, one way to address the problems with elections in the US.

"1): What does "one party holds all the levers of power" really mean?"

In Ohio, Ken Blackwell was responsible for running the elections. Ken Blackwell is a Republican. In Florida 2000, it was Katherine Harris, also a Republican. Moving up from there, the administrative and legislative branches are controlled (with an Iron Fist, I'd add) by Republicans, and the Supes skew rightward as well.

Now, a valid counterargument would be that Dems control the voting in many other states. See below for more on this.

"2) What does "party {x} has a lot to answer for" mean? Does it mean "I know they are guilty of vote fraud crimes and there is no evidence or testimony that could possibly convince me otherwise"?"

No, of course it doesn't. What it means is that there is clear evidence that there was very likely an organized effort made by Republicans to disenfranchise voters (especially minorities) in a number of states, including Ohio. Where Dems are guilty of this, they too would have a lot to answer for. Demanding answers for the actions of elected officials of any stripe is a basic requirement in our Democracy, and should not be turned aside so whimsically or quickly or dismissed as partisan tactic (which unfortunately it can be used as).

Now, it becomes clearer to me after considering these issues that any key election reform effort would be substantially more likely to succeed in providing fair voting if it were completely non-partisan. That is, elections should not be run by party registrants, at the top (statewide) level. I don't know how this would be implemented in the real world, but its the only way to guarantee that those running the system do not have a vested interest in its outcome.

Maybe Canadians should be hired.

So Walter challenges me to say that the GOP "has a lot to answer for" in Ohio, and says that if I won't I should "excuse myself from the conversation."

On one hand, I devoutly wish I could excuse myself from conversations with people like Walter - the messianic stare of the converted does bother me a bit - but on the other, you live with the people you live with, and I live with a lot of people like him.

So, Walter, yes, I do think the GOP has a lot to answer for in having 'gamed the system' in Ohio and other places. And so do the Democrats (see Milwaukee and the Twin Cities - I'll go dig up some cites).

I don't think - as far as electoral mechanics go - either party has a monopoly on vice, and I'm not willing to take a stand with people who do.

How's that for an answer?



I can only think that you are once again misinterpreting or selectively interpreting what I said to score what you must think is a rhetorical point.

What I'm saying is that you seem to be intentionally narrowing the definition of "facts" to suite your own arguments and avoid responding to challenges in your reasoning, logic or motivation.

As I wrote in #33, a fact was provided but still no reply was given; rather, you've chosen to take off on semantic tangents that have nothing to do with addressing the (very relevent to this thread) comments by Hertsgaard about Florida 2000.


"...the messianic stare of the converted does bother me a bit..."

Quite an interesting thing to say from someone who just admonished me for a similar (admittedly) pointless slur in #50.

Cleaning up all voting fraud would be a good thing, but Walter's, I don't think it would have the effect you think it would have.

No, I haven't read the RS article; I frankly don't have time for yet another conspiracy theory. But I do know a couple of things:
  • Votes are tabulated at polling places.
  • Vote counts are certified at the county level.
  • The easiest places to monkey with votes are at the polling place and the county level.
  • Democrats control the precincts and the counties with the highest populations.

Therefore, Democrats have an inherent advantage in the vote fraud industry. They've simply got more votes under the thumbs of fewer people.

Now, unless you truly believe Republicans are both (a) inherently more evil and (b) inherently equiped to overcome their structural disadvantages --i.e. smarter -- then eliminating voter fraud will likely cost Democrats votes.

De-gerymander California and of course it gets much worse.

If this whole brouhaha is about smearing Bush, go ahead, knock yourself out; the Rolling Stone article will change something on the order of zero minds about the current Administration. But if you really care about defeating Republicans, be careful what you ask for.

Now, unless you truly believe Republicans are both (a) inherently more evil and (b) inherently equiped to overcome their structural disadvantages --i.e. smarter -- then eliminating voter fraud will likely cost Democrats votes.

So what? We need an election system we can trust. That isn't about partisan politics. If some partisans jump on it because they think their party will benefit, and if they're wrong, OK fine. We can use the support. Then if they see the results and try to change it back, we can oppose them.

Why attribute bad motives to Walter when he's likely to support your goal?


I'm not sure why, after reading my post in #51, he would come up with comments like that accusing me, basically, of being opposed to a fair system that may work against what he (incorrectly) perceives are my goals, electing Dems.

He's wrong.


Putting aside the above issue, there are a few things of value in your comment regarding the mechanics of the voting process that introduce various points of manipulation. But I think you're leaving out others, like cleaning up/purging of the voter rolls and access to voting machines, that would be best handled by a politically independent body. It is not practical to create a system where all participants are "independent", of course, but doing so at certain key points would be a vast improvement; such as at county-wide certification.

At the polling place, clearly a machine needs to be as tamper-proof as possible and also leave an independent hard copy of the vote tabulation for verication purposes. You have to ask yourself why internet-connected, buggy, e-voting computers are becoming even more, not less, common.

The issue that your post inadvertanty raises is that perhaps there are forces in both parties who feel threatened by improved voting; although certainly your post implies that the Republicans would be the more supportive of reforms because you claim they have the most to gain.

I don't agree with this and I certainly see no evidence to support this idea coming from the current Republican party.

"Democrats control the precincts and the counties with the highest populations."

As you know, politicians for federal offices are not elected by popular vote but by electoral votes, and the system as it stands works against states like NY and Cali with high populations (of Dems, as it turns out). So this last comment does not in fact suggest that Dems have an increased ability to manipulate the outcome of national elections.

On the other hand, good evidence does exist that Ohio Republicans used every dirty trick in their possession to attenuate the number of likely Kerry voters. And while this may occur in other states to some degree (and I'd like to see the cites for Dem malfeasance in Milwaukee and the Twin Cities promised by Armed Liberal above), Ohio was clearly the swing electoral state in 2004.

Pardon; I was assuming that if you're anti-Republican, you are pro-Democrat. My mistake.

As to Wisconsin malfeasance, asking A.L. to do your digging for you is a bit disingenuous. Google is a freely-available resource. But, here are a few Wisonsin-related links:

Cast ballots outnumber voters by 4,609 -- Milwaukee Journal Sentinal
Cards could not be sent to addresses of 10,000 who registered at Milwaukee polls on election day -- Milwaukee Journal Sentinal
Kerry wins Wisconsin in another cliffhanger -- Milwaukee Journal Sentinal
After the most intensive presidential campaign in Wisconsin's history, Sen. John Kerry defeated President Bush in the state by a half of a percentage point.
While Democrat Al Gore won Milwaukee County by 21 points in 2000, Kerry was winning it by 35 points with virtually all of the county in.

So yes, one (possibly) corrupt county cost Bush 10 votes in the Electoral college.

So, let's swap Ohio's 20 Electoral Votes for Wisconsin's 10 and see where we get. Hmmmm.

Bush -- 276
Kerry -- 262

Bit more of a squeeker, but the guy who won the popular vote at least gets the Presidency this time.

Oh, wait, are you telling me that's not what you wanted?

Give me a break.

BTW, does anyone else get the impression this is RFK Jr.'s opening salvo for 2012? Or even, Odin forbid, 2008?

What I "am" is anti-corruption, which just so happens to put me more toward the "anti-Republican" side of the issues these days.

And what I "wanted" in 2004 is irrelevant to my comments above. You digress from the point in an effort to paint an opponent into an idealogical box, which I take it is how you'd like to go about arguing this issue. That line of attack, I think, has exhausted its limited utility in this particular case.

I asked for Armed Liberal's cites because, first, he indicated that he would provide them, and second, because I am interested in knowing what he thinks are the strongest examples for Democratic malfeasance in the 2000 and 2004 elections.

His continual effort to wave these complexities away by playing the pseudo-balancing "both sides do it" card is transparent.

Here's how he puts it: "I don't think - as far as electoral mechanics go - either party has a monopoly on vice, and I'm not willing to take a stand with people who do."

Which is fine, because no one is claiming a "monopoly", clearly. Is this simply a straw-man, tossed off by a lazy mind unwilling to engage the issue he raises, or is he genuinely confused about the apportioning of blame and the importance therof?

This is an important issue to engage in this manner, in my view, and may help to illustrate a point that I think is worth making, and that is that Republican election malfeasance is more widespread, more effective, and more well organized (meaning is endemic to the party philosophy, rather than just isolated examples of foolery).

For this reason, it wouldn't surpise me if he tries to ignore this issue.

The Milwaukee allegations you provided, for example, are exceptionally weak compared to Ohio, Florida or New Hampshire.

If this is the best that's out there wrt Democratic malfeasance, and it cannot be connected to party leadership (as the NH phone jamming, all the way to The White House) then you'd have to conclude that Republican efforts exceeded Dems in the last two presidential elections. And, relevant to this discussion, if it is institutional cheating, which the balance of evidence supports, than any proposed solutions to the voting issue clearly needs to take this into account. Seems obvious to me.

If you'd like to propose solutions to problems but are not willing to condemn the most flagrant violators, like AL, then how can your ideas be taken seriously?

Actually, the "most flagrant violators" are the people who are unwilling to look at both sides of an issue.

As to the Milwaukee stories (two minutes of googling) being "weak", what part of "Cast ballots outnumber voters by 4,609" sounds like weak evidence.

As I said, conspiracy theories don't much interest me these days. And corruption is very much a bi-partisan problem. ("Congressman Jefferson, your lawyers on lines 2, 4, and 5.") And I'm very much on record as being fed up with both parties.

I'm all for changing the way we hold elections. Hell, I even think radically increasing the number of members in the House of Representatives is a good idea. (Which would, of course, decrease the influence of "Red" states on Presidential Elections by decreasing their proportional representation in the Electoral College.) RFK Jr. isn't doing anything that will make real changes more likely. Instead, he's flogging debunked conspiracies in (dare I say it) his own self-interest.

A.L. isn't the problem here. Someone who thinks "Republican election malfeasance is more widespread, more effective, and more well organized" (in other words, that Republicans are both more evil and more intelligent -- at least institutionally -- than You and Me) is a problem.

Guys, I'm in San Diego with my sons & will try and put something up tonight.

A passel of articles on this, for the interested.

This post at The Left Coaster probably has the best collection of links - the link to the salon piece, a response to the salon piece over at Daily Kos, as well as links to Mystery Pollster.

On the exit poll issue - as is of course, likely, the snide and quick dismissal favored by A.L., isn't an appropriate representation of the facts. According to Stephen Freeman (response of Stephen Freeman printed by Mystery Pollster)

A representative sample:

"In summary, I think that perhaps I biased my paper somewhat unfairly towards suggesting count errors as explanations, but that was probably in response to what I still see as an extreme bias at the press in dismissing them.

When you say that suggesting the possibility of count errors is delusional, perhaps you have done the same? (It seems as though you spend a lot of time on the tin foil hat circuit.)

Thinking coolly and scientifically: Is it delusional to question the Bush-voter-refusal hypothesis as conclusive without independent evidence? On the other hand, considering the scores of allegations, the history (especially in Florida), the lack of safeguards with electronic voting, the conflict-of-interest in election oversight, etc…, etc… (and now the Berkeley study) is it delusional to consider that, just possibly, even part of the discrepancy might be due to the possibility of miscount?"

My own thoughts - exit polls are not s reliable as have been thought - but if exit polls have any basis in reality - and they had enough basis in reality to help spark the Orange Revolution of the Ukraine - then the sheer number and predominance of inaccurate exit polls, freighted towards Bush, should have any honest broker (which A.L. of course has no interest in being) have pause.

To go into improvements - and for Mark Poling - you gave a good suggestion previously about the australian open source system. However, I view the Diebold machines that lack an audit trail, as shadowy BY DESIGN, for (at least) two reasons.

1. No one in their right minds using Microsoft ACCESS, the most insecure as a basis to develop secure software - especially when other options can be had cheaply.
2. From what I can tell, every other product that Diebold produces HAS an audit trail. No bank would settle for less. So clearly , Diebold knows audit trails - and yet, for this product, they are left out because?

The two reasons above, plus the commitment of the CEO of Diebold to "do his part" to deliver votes to George Bush - that doesn't give any conservative voters here pause?

Put the shoe on the other foot.

a. Clearly wildly varying exit polls, pointed in the great majority in one direction, towards the democrat candidate.
b. Documented vote suppression tactics by the democratic person in charge.
c. A promise by a fervent democratic supporter/CEO to deliver votes to the democratic candidate, who also manages the company that designs voting machine.
d. The voting machines that are made, somehow are at complete variance with the security and audit trails implemented by all other products of the same company.

And you guys would be blase about it? Jeez, how many millions upon millions were spent on the Whitewater investigation, for incredibly less cause??

It's truly pathetic - the insane level of denial by A.L. and defenders.

Lastly, once more - the hypocritical tone of A.L.

As Walter has remarked above "that Republican election malfeasance is more widespread, more effective, and more well organized (meaning is endemic to the party philosophy, rather than just isolated examples of foolery"
- the fatuous equivalence that A.L. engages in - "democrats do it too" - is a copout, pure and simple. It's the remark of someone plainly uninterested in the truth.

Japan won a Gold Medal at the Olymic Games. The United States won Gold Medals at the Olymic Games. So clearly, the teams performed equally well.

That is the STUPID logic used by A.L. No. Japan won 1 gold medal, the United States won 9. CLEARLY the United States outperformed Japan in the Olympics.

And in the same way, the Republicans have "outperformed" the Democrats in suppressing the vote, and vote fraud by a pretty significant margin. Somewhere between 10 to 1 and 5 to 1 outperforming on vote fraud. (Hey! Republicans CAN do politics right, if not govern well!)

So there it is - facts and argument. Yet of course, some niggling detail that I missed or got wrong, will because the prima facie reason why this whole comment will be dismissed (and all the work that went into it).

And so will be demostrated my handle - hypocrisy rules, very few people care about the truth of things - and very few of those people post with an interest in the truth, with some pleasant exceptions.

Republican election malfeasance is more widespread, more effective, and more well organized (meaning is endemic to the party philosophy, rather than just isolated examples of foolery).

I wouldn't call it philosophically endemic, but there is a certain noisy faction of Democrats (including Robert Kuttner and Paul Krugman) who pronounce elections fraudulent before they're even held, and then assume they've been cheated if they lose. Some of the same people have been telling black voters that they might lose the right to vote when the Voting Rights Act expires.

When people become discouraged and cynical about the democratic process, they effectively disenfranchise themselves. (That's why the price of a Democratic vote in St. Louis had to be raised last year, from $5 to $10.) They stay home.

Keep it up, Walter. The Democratic Party is ten times more vulnerable to this paranoia than Republicans are. Like the Deaniacs, you think you're "energizing the base", when what you're really doing is sucking the blood out of it. There aren't enough left-wing fanatics to replace the people you're alienating.

Hypcrisyrules, you can't very well expect partisan Republicans to agree that Republicans do more vote fraud than Democrats. What point is there in trying to have that conversation? You might as well try to argue with white southerners that they're more racist than black southerners. What possible good can it do?

But every patriotic republican will agree that we urgently need to fix the voting system. (No, Diebold is not the only one without an audit trail.) We all lose when the voting is subverted. If it happens to turn out that republicans and democrats do roughly the same amount of voter fraud that doesn't make it any better.

The facts about the chance for voting fraud aren't in dispute. Anyone who says we don't urgently need to fix this is a partisan who thinks his party winning is more important than honest elections. A traitor to the Constitution.

This is a completely separate issue from getting partisans for one party to admit that their party has done more vote fraud than the other party has. Get solid proof of that and you have a court case, and what they believe about it doesn't matter. WIthout proof that will stand up in court you just have a typical blog argument like could the germans have won WWII if Hitler hadn't interfered with military strategy, or would we have won iraq if we'd called up more troops, etc. Pointless.

Every patriotic american agrees that we have to clean up the voting system, and soon. Drop the side issue unless you get evidence for a court case or an impeachment.

I'm not a republican, but I know we need to fix the voting system.

I also know that the whining that started with Gore losing is not going to stop no matter what the state of the voting system. That doesn't mean don't fix it -- that's just reality.

HR -- I tried to go through your post. When you use terms like "voter suppression" I am very doubtful you are describing the situation as it would be viewed by a disinterested observer. When you string together several slanted "conclusions" like that, and then infer a larger truth, your reasoning to me seems dubious.

But I'm not going to argue details with you. Like I said, I'm not a republican anyway, and the system needs fixing. I would just caution you to separate the need to fix the system from the, quite frankly, muddle-headed self-gratifying conspiracy theories of many years ago.


"This is a completely separate issue from getting partisans for one party to admit that their party has done more vote fraud than the other party has. Get solid proof of that and you have a court case, and what they believe about it doesn't matter."

I already provided this example above regarding the Republican phone jamming in New Hampshire.

" can't very well expect partisan Republicans to agree that Republicans do more vote fraud than Democrats. What point is there in trying to have that conversation? "

If "partisan Republicans" want to demonstrate that they are capable of putting aside partisanship and acknowledge reality, then a productive conversation can be engaged regarding this non-partisan issue. If, on the other hand, they would rather this conversation occur only within the confines of their own idealogy, then what is the point of that? I think a partisan answer to that question suggests itself pretty quickly.

This is rather straightforward to understand in my view, and is not a "side issue".

For example, notice the unproductive comments like Wishard's above trying to suggest that arguing these valid points amounts to "partisan suicide" for Democrats. Such comments do little more than illustrate the partisan rancor and posturing that itself is a major roadblock to election reform.

And finally, I voted Democratic in every last election, yet I am willing to acknowledge that many Democratic politicians and partisans have been and will likely be in the future guilty of some level of voter manipulation or fraud. But there are important differences in degree, as hypocracyrules notes, that destroy any pretense of mutual guilt in this matter.

If I can set aside partisanship to address this issue, I don't see why others won't or can't either. And getting people to acknowledge who the most flagrant violators are may seem partisan to those locked into this mindset, but it is not. It just so happens that the facts support a unequal apportioning of blame. Too bad.

"If 'partisan Republicans' want to demonstrate that they are capable of putting aside partisanship and acknowledge reality, then a productive conversation can be engaged regarding this non-partisan issue."

Considering the general thrust of your arguments, what this boils down to is "As soon as you Republicans admit the Republican Party is criminally and institutionally corrupt, we can have a fruitful discussion."

Wow, what a great invitation to effective bipartisan action. Let's try the same formulation on other hotly debated issues:

"As soon as you Jews agree that Israel has no right to exist, we can have a fruitful discussion."

"As soon as you Palestinians agree Palestine has no right to exist, we can have a fruitful discussion."

"As soon as you Evangelical Christians agree that Christ didn't rise from the dead...."

"As soon as you Muslemns agree that Muhammed was not a true prophet..."

"As soon as you Athiests admit that God created the world in seven days...."

Wow. So obvious, yet so elusive.


The Republican party IS corrupt.

The indictment of Republican Delay.
The investigation of Republican Jerry Lewis.
The indictment of Republican Duke Cunningham.
The investigation of Republican Virgil Goode.
The investigation of Republican Duncan Hunter.
The Republican Hookergate scandal
The James Tobin phone jamming case - with the defense financed by the NRCC to the tune of a few million.

Spend some time over at TMPMuckraker

You will find corruption on both sides of the isle - the sorry case of Jefferson shows this - but again, Republican ARE outperforming Democrats here, by margins of 5-1 to 10-1.

Do you really want to dismiss this with -

"Considering the general thrust of your arguments, what this boils down to is "As soon as you Republicans admit the Republican Party is criminally and institutionally corrupt, we can have a fruitful discussion."

That's just a weak defense of "na-na-na I'm not LISTENING!!"

You know what? I understand that - as a Giants fan, you know, Barry Bonds is God - I'm all in favor of better living through chemistry. I'm perfectly willing to give him a pass.

But that type of protect-your-own favoritism needs to not be applied to the most powerful political positions in the land.

It is your insistance that the "corruption" of the Republican Party is unique in some fashion that makes your arguments clearly unserious. Even rather hypocritical.

I agree that it is not fruitful to either get "Partisan Repbulicans" to admit that they do more election fraud or get "partisan Democrats" to admit that they do more voter fraud. Let's rather talk about what is needed to make the system better.

1) We need to have an accurate voter rolls. That means that Voters need to be certified when they are put onto the rolls and need occasionally to be purged from the rolls. If accuracy of certification was the number one priority then there would be no day of vote registration and there would probably be significant restrictions on who can register voters. So the folks who were brought in and paid on a per name basis would not be allowed. There would likely be a requirement for a verifiable address, this would impact homeless voters. If I remember correctly, in King County Washington there were 100s of voters that listed their home address as the voter registration office of the City County Building. Obviously this is an issue that we need to come to agreement on, what level of validation is required before someone gets onto the rolls and how to you handle it if one side "spams" the election officials with thousands of names just prior to the cut off making certification difficult

2) Related to who gets on the the question of when they get taken off. Right now there is no coordination between states to remove someone from the voter rolls. I do not have the cites (it can be googled) but several Florida Snow birds admitted to voting in both New York and Florida since they had houses in both places (via absentee voting) . It is my understanding that most states do not even clean the voter registration when a voter moves from one county to another. Lacking a national system, localities have to fall back other means of keeping the voter registration up to date. This may include the, "if you didn't vote in the last X number of elections your name is purged", it can also be, "if we sent you a card and it was returned as undeliverable" you are purged. For accurate and secure voting the rolls need to be purged on a regular basis. I would be interested in the opinions of when and how voter rolls should be purged.

3) The flip side of the two above questions are that while we want accurate and secure voting, we as a country want people to be engaged in the civil process and thus we do not want to make the voting process so cumbersome that large numbers of people are unwilling to go through the process. This almost certainly leads to day of vote registration, flexibility in voting location. There are serious questions about how you balance off conveniance versus security. If is my understanding that many of the "unsecured" aspects of the newer voting machines is actually surrounding monitoring who voted and where so that flexibility of location is possible but duplicate voting is not.

4) One argument that I just don't get is the arguemnt that people should not have to show ID to vote. I kind of understand the argument that the poor and homeless are less liekly to have Govt Issues photo ID, my experiance is that most places require IDs to: Drink, cash checks, fill prescriptions, etc. This is one of those issues that as soon as someone raises it as an objection I tend to shut off all further arguments.

5) Last one, makeing sure that the person who is supposed to vote and absentee ballot actually votes the absentee ballot. This is expecially relevent in nursing home situations. I can understand that many elderly citizens take pride in the fact that they have voted in every election since they were 18. The reality of the situation is that may of these citizens are not physically able (or mentally alert) to fill out the ballot themselves. It is to be expected that family memebers will fill out some ballots, these are likely to go against the wishes of the voter some percentage of the time, there are also stories of the head nurse or administrator filling them out, I more problems with this. I believe that some county official was idicted in Florida for basically hand delivering, and aiding in the voting at a large number of nursing homes, this slanting the vote by a large amount. I would be interested in thoughts about how to address this specific issue.

Those are the voting issues that I see as most pressing I would be intereted in responses as well as other issue that other commenters see as pressing and how they can be addressed without opening options to game the system.

I would think a much more honest and accurate example would be

"As soon as Tony Soprano admits that he's a member of a well-organized criminal enterprise, we can take his suggestions for how to reform the RICO statute seriously."

...or as applied to the present issue

"Once you can demonstrate that you recognize the Sopronos to be engaged in unlawful activities, we can have a productive conversation on gangs and corruption."

If in reply you continue to assert that there's a bunch of teenagers hanging out at your corner antagonizing passers-by, and therefore its pointless to insist that enforcement and reform focus on the bigtime criminals because, hey, everybody's guilty of something, then you're basically just opting out of this conversation.

You starting to get the drift now, Mark?



Good word choice - "unique". I would use the word choice - "endemic", "systemic", "more frequently occurring" - sure, it's not "unique" - corruption is ubiquitous in human history. But using "unique" that's just a smokescreen, yes?

You've got historians with a hell of a lot more knowledge than you or I, saying this period of time in administrations is more corrupt than any age since the Gilded Age - again, at the NATIONAL level.

(If you go to the state level, you can find a lot of corruption in the last 40 years, in Illinois, Texas, etc.)

Daniel Markham, J Thomas,

Clearly, your points are correct - we need to focus on making things better. In this case, a system like Australia's would help, as pointed out by Mark Poling.

There are interested parties that would prevent this from happening though. And those interested parties - many of them Republican, some democrat - would need to be taken on.


Walter's, by your Soprano's analogy I'm a criminal because I voted for Bush last election. Thanks. You really aren't getting this whole democracy thing, are you?

What you say you want (voting processes cleaned up everywhere) I am behind 100%. (I happen to think that works to Libertarian advantage, but considering how little difference that makes in the Real World, I think that's effectively being non-partisan). But your supposed means-to-the-end (the Republican party punished/reviled/ridiculed/outlawed/whatever for winning -- sorry, "stealing" -- the Presidential election) I see as being outlandishly counter-productive to bringing about real reform.

For once, I agree with hypocrisyrules; there are a whole bunch of people who stand to lose out if effective Voting Reform takes place. The people who will gain (rank and file voters) have to be sold on the idea in order to push it past local political machines. To make this work, we will have to convince rank-and-file Democrats and Republicans to pressure their local machines to reform. Your schtick (and RFK Jr.'s) will piss off half the people you need to convince.

That is frankly very stupid applied politics, if what you want is across-the-board reform.

Do you really want to get into the tit-for-tat game hypocrisyrules?

Edward Moore Kennedy - Democrat - U. S. Senator from Massachusetts. Pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident, after his car plunged off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island killing passenger Mary Jo Kopechne.

Barney Frank - Democrat - U.S. Representative from Massachusetts from 1981 to present. Admitted to having paid Stephen L. Gobie, a male prostitute, for sex and subsequently hiring Gobie as his personal assistant. Gobie used the congressman's Washington apartment for prostitution. A move to expel Frank from the House of Representatives failed and a motion to censure him failed.

DNC - The Federal Election Commission imposed $719,000 in fines against participants in the 1996 Democratic Party fundraising scandals involving contributions from China, Korea and other foreign sources. The Federal Election Commission said it decided to drop cases against contributors of more than $3 million in illegal DNC contributions because the respondents left the country or the corporations are defunct.

Sandy Berger - Democrat - National Security Advisor during the Clinton Administration. Berger became the focus of a criminal investigation after removing highly classified terrorism documents and handwritten notes from the National Archives during preparations for the Sept. 11 commission hearings.

Robert Torricelli - Democrat - Withdrew from the 2002 Senate race with less than 30 days before the election because of controversy over personal gifts he took from a major campaign donor and questions about campaign donations from 1996.

James McGreevey - Democrat - New Jersey Governor . Admitted to having a gay affair. Resigned after allegations of sexual harassment, rumors of being blackmailed on top of fundraising investigations and indictments.

Jesse Jackson - Democrat - Democratic candidate for President. Admitted to having an extramarital affair and fathering a illegitimate child.

Gary Condit - Democrat - US Democratic Congressman from California. Condit had an affair with an intern. Condit, covered up the affair and lied to police after she went missing. No charges were ever filed against Condit. Her remains were discovered in a Washington DC park..

Sowande Ajumoke Omokunde - Democrat - the son of newly elected U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, was booked on charges of criminal damage to property for allegedly slashing tires on 20 vans and cars rented by the Republican Party for use in Election Day voter turnout efforts.

Daniel David Rostenkowski - Democrat - U.S. Representative from Illinois from 1959 to 1995. Indicted on 17 felony charges- pleaded guilty to two counts of misuse of public funds and sentenced to seventeen months in federal prison.

Melvin Jay Reynolds - U.S. Representative from Illinois from 1993 to 1995. Convicted on sexual misconduct and obstruction of justice charges and sentenced to five years in prison.

Charles Coles Diggs, Jr. - Democrat - U.S. Representative from Michigan from 1955 to 1980. Convicted on eleven counts of mail fraud and filing false payroll forms- sentenced to three years in prison.

George Rogers - Democrat - Massachusetts State House of Representatives from 1965 to 1970. M000ember of Massachusetts State Senate from 1975 to 1978. Convicted of bribery in 1978 and sentenced to two years in prison.

Don Siegelman - Democrat Governor Alabama - indicted in a bid-rigging scheme involving a maternity-care program. The charges accused Siegelman and his former chief of staff of helping Tuscaloosa physician Phillip Bobo rig bids. Siegelman was accused of moving $550,000 from the state education budget to the State Fire College in Tuscaloosa so Bobo could use the money to pay off a competitor for a state contract for maternity care.

John Murtha, Jr. - Democrat - U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania. Implicated in the Abscam sting, in which FBI agents impersonating Arab businessmen offered bribes to political figures; Murtha was cited as an unindicted co-conspirator

Gerry Eastman Studds - Democrat - U.S. Representative from Massachusetts from 1973 to 1997. The first openly gay member of Congress. Censured by the House of Representatives for having sexual relations with a teenage House page.

James C. Green - Democrat - North Carolina State House of Representatives from 1961 to 1977. Charged with accepting a bribe from an undercover FBI agent, but was acquitted. Convicted of tax evasion in 1997.

Frederick Richmond - Democrat - U.S. Representative from New York from 1975 to 1982. Arrested in Washington, D.C., in 1978 for soliciting sex from a minor and from an undercover police officer - pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor. Also - charged with tax evasion, marijuana possession, and improper payments to a federal employee - pleaded guilty.

Raymond Lederer - Democrat - U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania from 1977 to 1981. Implicated in the Abscam sting - convicted of bribery and sentenced to three years in prison and fined $20,000.

Harrison Arlington Williams, Jr. - Democrat - U.S. Senator from New Jersey from 1959 to 1970. Implicated in the Abscam sting. Allegedly accepted an 18% interest in a titanium mine. Convicted of nine counts of bribery, conspiracy, receiving an unlawful gratuity, conflict of interest, and interstate travel in aid of racketeering. Sentenced to three years in prison and fined $50,000.

Frank Thompson, Jr. - Democrat - U.S. Representative from New Jersey from 1955 to 1980. Implicated in the Abscam sting, convicted on bribery and conspiracy charges. Sentenced to three years in prison

Michael Joseph Myers - Democrat - U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania from 1976 to 1980. Implicated in the Abscam sting - convicted of bribery and conspiracy; sentenced to three years in prison and fined $20,000; expelled from the House of Representatives on October 2, 1980.

John Michael Murphy - Democrat - U.S. Representative from New York from 1963 to 1981. Implicated in the Abscam sting. Convicted of conspiracy, conflict of interest, and accepting an illegal gratuity. Sentenced to three years in prison and fined $20,000.

John Wilson Jenrette, Jr - Democrat - U.S. Representative from South Carolina from 1975 to 1980. Implicated in the Abscam sting. Convicted on bribery and conspiracy charges and sentenced to prison

Neil Goldschmidt - Democrat - Oregon governor. Admitted to having an illegal sexual relationship with a 14-year-old teenager while he was serving as Mayor of Portland.

Alcee Lamar Hastings - Democrat - U.S. Representative from Florida. Impeached and removed from office as federal judge in 1989 over bribery charges.

Marion Barry - Democrat - mayor of Washington, D.C., from 1979 to 1991 and again from 1995 to 1999. Convicted of cocaine possession after being caught on videotape smoking crack cocaine. Sentenced to six months in prison.

Mario Biaggi - Democrat - U.S. Representative from New York from 1969 to 1988. Indicted on federal charges that he had accepted bribes in return for influence on federal contracts.Convicted of obstructing justice and accepting illegal gratuities. Tried in 1988 on federal racketeering charges and convicted on 15 felony counts.

Lee Alexander - Democrat - Mayor of Syracuse, N.Y. from 1970 to 1985. Was indicted over a $1.5 million kickback scandal. Pleaded guilty to racketeering and tax evasion charges. Served six years in prison.

Bill Campbell - Democrat - Mayor of Atlanta. Indicted and charged with fraud over claims he accepted improper payments from contractors seeking city contracts.

Frank Ballance - Democrat - Congressman North Carolina. Pleaded guilty to one charge of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and money laundering related to mishandling of money by his charitable foundation.

Hazel O'Leary - Democrat - Secretary of Energy during the Clinton Administration - O'leary took trips all over the world as Secretary with as many 50 staff members and at times rented a plane, which was used by Madonna during her concert tours.

Lafayette Thomas - Democrat - Candidate for Tennessee State House of Representatives in 1954. Sheriff of Davidson County, from 1972 to 1990. Indicted in federal court on 54 counts of abusing his power as sheriff. Pleaded guilty to theft and mail fraud; sentenced to five years in prison.

Mary Rose Oakar - Democrat - U.S. Representative from Ohio from 1977 to 1993. Pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges of funneling $16,000 through fake donors.

David Giles - Democrat - candidate for U.S. Representative from Washington in 1986 and 1990. Convicted in June 2000 of child rape.

Edward Mezvinsky - Democrat - U.S. Representative from Iowa from 1973 to 1977. Indicted on 56 federal fraud charges.

Lena Swanson - Democrat - Member of Washington State Senate in 1997. Pleaded guilty to charges of soliciting unlawful payments from veterans and former prisoners of war.

Abraham J. Hirschfeld - Democrat - candidate in Democratic primary for U.S. Senator from New York in 1974 and 1976. Offered Paula Jones $1 million to drop her sexual harassment lawsuit against President Bill Clinton. Convicted in 2000 of trying to hire a hit man to kill his business partner.

Henry Cisneros - Democrat - U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 1993 to 1997. Pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of lying to the FBI.

James A. Traficant Jr. - Member of House of Representatives from Ohio. Expelled from Congress after being convicted of corruption charges. Sentenced today to eight years in prison for accepting bribes and kickbacks.

John Doug Hays - Democrat - member of Kentucky State Senate from 1980 to 1982 Found guilty of mail fraud for submitting false campaign reports stemming from an unsuccessful run for judge. He was sentenced to six months in prison to be followed by six months of home confinement and three years of probation.

Henry J. Cianfrani - Democrat - Pennsylvania State Senate from 1967 to 1976. Convicted on federal charges of racketeering and mail fraud for padding his Senate payroll. Sentenced to five years in federal prison.

David Hall - Democrat - Governor of Oklahoma from 1971 to 1975. Indicted on extortion and conspiracy charges. Convicted and sentenced to three years in prison.

John A. Celona - Democrat - A former state senator was charged with the three counts of mail fraud. Federal prosecutors accused him of defrauding the state and collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars from CVS Corp. and others while serving in the legislature. Celona has agreed to plead guilty to taking money from the CVS pharmacy chain and other companies that had interest in legislation. Under the deal, Celona agreed to cooperate with investigators. He faces up to five years in federal prison on each of the three counts and a $250,000 fine

Allan Turner Howe - Democrat - U.S. Representative from Utah from 1975 to 1977. Arrested for soliciting a policewoman posing as a prostitute.

Jerry Cosentino - Democrat - Illinois State Treasurer. Pleaded guilty to bank fraud - fined $5,000 and sentenced to nine months home confinement.

Joseph Waggonner Jr. - Democrat - U.S. Representative from Louisiana from 1961 to 19 79. Arrested in Washington, D.C. for soliciting a policewoman posing as a prostitute

Albert G. Bustamante - Democrat - U.S. Representative from Texas from 1985 to 1993. Convicted in 1993 on racketeering and bribery charges and sentenced to prison.

Lawrence Jack Smith - Democrat - U.S. Representative from Florida from 1983 to 1993. Sentenced to three months in federal prison for tax evasion.

David Lee Walters - Democrat - Governor of Oklahoma from 1991 to 1995. Pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor election law violation.

James Guy Tucker, Jr. - Democrat - Governor of Arkansas from 1992 to 1996. Resigned in July 1996 after conviction on federal fraud charges as part of the Whitewater investigation.

Walter Rayford Tucker - Democrat - Mayor of Compton, California from 1991 to 1992; U.S. Representative from California from 1993 to 1995. Sentenced to 27 months in prison for extortion and tax evasion.

William McCuen - Democrat - Secretary of State of Arkansas from 1985 to 1995. Admitted accepting kickbacks from two supporters he gave jobs, and not paying taxes on the money. Admitted to conspiring with a political consultant to split $53,560 embezzled from the state in a sham transaction. He was indicted on corruption charges. Pleaded guilty to felony counts tax evasion and accepting a kickback. Sentenced to 17 years in prison.

Walter Fauntroy - Democrat - Delegate to U.S. Congress from the District of Columbia from 1971 to 1991. Charged in federal court with making false statements on financial disclosure forms. Pleaded guilty to one felony count and sentenced to probation.

Carroll Hubbard, Jr. - Democrat - Kentucky State Senate from 1968 to 1975 and U.S. Representative from Kentucky from 1975 to 1993. Pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the Federal Elections Commission and to theft of government property; sentenced to three years in prison.

Joseph Kolter - Democrat - member of Pennsylvania State House of Representatives from 1969 to 1982 and U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania from 1983 to 1993. Indicted by a Federal grand jury on five felony charges of embezzlement at the U.S. House post office. Pleaded guilty.

Webster Hubbell - Democrat - Chief Justice of Arkansas State Supreme Court in 1983. Pleaded guilty to federal mail fraud and tax evasion charges - sentenced to 21 months in prison.

Nicholas Mavroules - Democrat - U.S. Representative from Massachusetts from 1979 to 1993. Pleaded guilty to charges of tax fraud and accepting gratuities while in office.

Carl Christopher Perkins - Democrat - Kentucky State House of Representatives from 1981 to 1984 and U.S. Representative from Kentucky from 1985 to 1993. Pleaded guilty to bank fraud in connection with the House banking scandal. Perkins wrote overdrafts totaling about $300,000. Pleaded guilty to charges of filing false statements with the Federal Election Commission and false financial disclosure reports. Sentenced to 21 months in prison.

Richard Hanna - Democrat - U.S. Representative from California from 1963 to 1974. Received payments of about $200,000 from a Korean businessman in what became known as the "Koreagate" influence buying scandal. Pleaded guilty and sentenced to federal prison.

Angelo Errichetti - Democrat - New Jersey State Senator was sentenced to six years in prison and fined $40,000 for his involvement in Abscam.

Daniel Baugh Brewster - Democrat - U.S. Senator from Maryland. Indicted on charges of accepting illegal gratuity while in Senate.

Thomas Joseph Dodd - Democrat - U.S. Senator from Connecticut. Censured by the Senate for financial improprieties, having diverted $116,000 in campaign and testimonial funds to his own use

Edward Fretwell Prichard, Jr. - Democrat - Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Kentucky. Convicted of vote fraud in federal court in connection with ballot-box stuffing. Served five months in prison.

Jerry Springer - Democrat - Resigned from Cincinnati City Council in 1974 after admitting to paying a prostitute with a personal check, which was found in a police raid on a massage parlor.

Guy Hamilton Jones, Sr. - Democrat -Arkansas State Senate. Convicted on federal tax charges and expelled from the Arkansas Senate.

Daniel Flood - Democrat - U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania from 1945 to 1947, 1949 to 1953 and 1955 to 1980. Pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge involving payoffs and sentenced to probation.

Otto Kerner, Jr - Democrat - Governor of Illinois from 1961 to 1968. While serving as Governor, he and another official made a gain of over $300,000 in a stock deal. Convicted on 17 counts of bribery, conspiracy, perjury, and related charges. Sentenced to three years in federal prison and fined $50,000.

George Crockett, Jr. - Democrat - U.S. Representative from Michigan. Served four months in federal prison for contempt of court following his defense of a Communist leader on trial for advocating the overthrow of the government.

Cornelius Edward Gallagher - Democrat - U.S. Representative from New Jersey from 1959 to 1973. Indicted on federal charges of income tax evasion, conspiracy, and perjury

Mark B. Jimenez - Democrat fundraiser - sentenced to 27 months in prison on charges of tax evasion and conspiracy to defraud the United States and commit election financing offenses.

Bobby Lee Rush - Democrat - U.S. Representative from Illinois. As a Black Panther, spent six months in prison on a weapons charge.

Bolley ''Bo'' Johnson - Democrat - Former Florida House Speaker - received a two-year term for tax evasion.


Nice list! What you neglected to mention, of course, is -

You covered 50 YEARS there of democratic corruption!

50 years!

I'm talking about court cases that are happening NOW - and the investigations are just beginning!

Also, I didn't even get into Bush's administration - David Safavian, and Libby would get mentions too, otherwise.

I also didn't go into governors - I could add a whole bunch more stuff!

So bottom line - this is WEAK!

If you want tit-for-tat, you have to stay in the same ballpark, guy.

Recompile your list, to investigations that have happens in the last MILLENIUM. It IS 2006 you know.

This is so transparently muddying the issue. And unless you can prove otherwise, shows you don't care much about corruption happening now, do you? It's OK If You Are A Republican?

Cmon man - don't be a propagandist - have a bit more honesty.

Don't know if any other liberals read this site - but is there a similar compilation of Repubs somewhere? Very few liberals would read WOC, this far down into a thread, but, I figure I might as well ask.

"Cmon man - don't be a propagandist - have a bit more honesty"

Try less hypocrisy.


Nice list to you to, hypocrisyrules, but I'm not defending any of those bastards. I am officially in the 100% turnover camp.

But as to the moral purity of the Democrats, what do you think about Clinton's pardon of Marc Rich? Hillary's amazing investment prescience?

How about Gore's strategy of pushing for a selective recount in Florida in 2000. Don't suppose he was trying to game the system in his favor, do you? (I especially liked the attempt to invalidate overseas -- mostly military -- ballots.)

Remember ths time the California State Assembly Democrats strategized how to extend a budget crisis for political advantage? To bad they left a microphone on.

Moving beyond things that reek but don't actually leave a courtroom stain, I also found this excerpt from a summary of the Clinton Legacy:

- Number of individuals and businesses associated with the Clinton machine who have been convicted of or pleaded guilty to crimes: 47
- Number of these convictions during Clinton's presidency: 33
- Number of indictments/misdemeanor charges: 61
- Number of congressional witnesses who have pleaded the Fifth Amendment, fled the country to avoid testifying, or (in the case of foreign witnesses) refused to be interviewed: 122

Of course, Republicans have held the White House and Congress for the past 6 years, so dirt's going to tend to gravitate to them. (Doesn't mean an operator like Congressman Jefferson can't get his piece of the pie, thought....) But in the end, both sides are full of politicians, which means you probably shouln't assume saintliness from any of them. My advice is find a candidate who you think will effectively pursue the policies you favor and vote for the bastard, regardless of the letter after the name.

And in the meantime, don't call the other side names because hey, they might win, and besides, you might end up marrying into a family filled with Those People.


That too! Order less hypocrisy from the menu.

Since we are so far down at the bottom of this thread, and to show I'm not a complete a&&hole, do yourself a favor, take 20 minutes, and watch the following:

Because you can never get enough Tater Salad


You're misreading my comments.

Of course I'm not suggesting that you're a criminal if you voted for Bush. The analogy was meant to call into question the assertions of someone who is not willing to recognize flagrant violations when they want to comment on how to fix the system to prevent future violations.

"But your supposed means-to-the-end (the Republican party punished/reviled/ridiculed/outlawed/whatever for winning -- sorry, "stealing" -- the Presidential election) I see as being outlandishly counter-productive to bringing about real reform."

That is not my suggestion for how to fix the system. If you read my comments, carefully (which you haven't been for most of this thread), especially in #51, you won't see this proposition anywhere.

What I am trying to do is draw out the motivations for many on this partisan site for their proposed reforms. As I said several times now, "If you'd like to propose solutions to problems but are not willing to condemn the most flagrant violators, like AL, then how can your ideas be taken seriously?"

Jeesh. This is like having your teeth pulled. I say let the conversation move into the realm of proposed solutions, and see how it proceeds from there. The issue that I am trying to get people here to at least partly acknowledge is sure to crop up again in that context.

Gosh you're like a living breathing talking point.

The point is, that "corruption" isn't regulated to one party or the other, its regulated to both parties, and it usually comes out most when one party or the other is in power, and thus, has the ability to influence legislation, etc.

When Democrats are in control, corruption among them is higher and visa-versa.

The "culture of corruption" is the two party system, not Democrats or Republicans but politicians who wield far too much power (which they have given themselves). So drop the petty party talking points and focus on the issue at hand.

If we really and honestly wanted to tackle voter fraud, we would demand a non-forgeable voter identification card, that needed renewal on a bi-annual basis. Most nations have them, but there has been aversion to such a device on both sides of the aisle here. From the left its the myth of "disenfranchisement" from the right its the equally silly "government data mining".

Lets face it, any form of biometric/thumbprint based voter platform would almost uniformly eradicate fraud, but the major barrier of course is the Constitution as its currently written that sets voter standards to be left to the states. If you actually read the Constitution, the Constitution never explicitly ensures the right to vote, it only prohibits discrimination from voting in terms of sex and color. It’s up to the State legislators to determine how their electoral votes are to be distributed.

This of course prohibits most Federal voting standards from being enforced, and thus this is how you can have Florida 2000 being such a misunderstood issue.

Furthermore on topic, not only did Mother Jones and NPR poke big gaping holes in RFK Jrs. little diatribe, Salon pulled a on him as well.

"When Democrats are in control, corruption among them is higher and visa-versa."

Countering alleged "talking points" with more of the same, I guess?

Please. This is an unsubstantiated claim, and once again not the issue. Current Republicans have taken it to a new level. Even disaffected party regulars and "real" conservatives have been saying this as well for years now. This silly effort at trying to make it all go away because of some implied moral equivalence or equal blame is simply bullcrap....and clearly a partisan tactic by those who fear that reprisals and/or justice will be meted out proportionally.

No more "unsubstantiated" than the "culture of corruption" bullshit that flows freely from the lips of every DNC hack and MSM talking head.

What "new level" has the GOP taken it too? Give me a holler when the current attorney general reaches anything of the level of Janet Renos consistant and longstanding stonewalling on all issues related to corruption. When Dick Cheney makes open admissions of making fundraising calls from his office, or pressing Monks for cash, or taking campaign donations in sealed envelopes during a coffee session in the White House.

My how short memories seem to be.

Democratic pollster Mark Blumenthal demolishes Kennedy's exit poll argument, again.

"Kennedy manages to dredge up nearly every long-ago discredited distortion or half-truth on this subject without any acknowledgement of contrary arguments or the weaknesses in his argument. It is as if the exit poll debate of the last eighteen months never happened."

Come to think of it, I'd forgotten the whole "Lincoln Bedroom B&B" we had back during the most ethical administration in U.S. history.

Boy, those were the days.

BTW, Democratic pollster Mark Blumenthal has fisked RFK Jr.'s Rolling Stone article. (Very amusing given an earlier comment about the infallible nature of exit polling).

If I can set aside partisanship to address this issue, I don't see why others won't or can't either. And getting people to acknowledge who the most flagrant violators are may seem partisan to those locked into this mindset, but it is not. It just so happens that the facts support a unequal apportioning of blame. Too bad., precisely is running about screaming about how the Republicans are so horrible they make the Democrats pure as the driven snow to be considered in any way 'set[ting] aside partisanship'? If you're really concerned about vote fraud, then perhaps what should be considered is how to prevent it rather than attempting to point fingers at one side or the other. Let's say, for the sake of argument, that you are correct and that the Republican party is a master of vote fraud. How, precisely, does that change the underlying concern of preventing vote fraud? I've seen plenty of finger pointing, but I've yet to see Walter or hypocrisy explain their plan for addressing election fraud. Until that day comes, I submit that they're not really serious about the problem.

this is so retarted

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