The Watch

The Watch is concerned about the increasing pressure towards feudalism in the United States from corporations, social regressives, warmongers, and the media. We also are concerned with future history concerning our current times, as non-truths which are “widely reported” become the basis for completely false narratives.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Stolen election

I Voted For a Donkey, But All I Got Was a Jackass Watch

Leading members of the GOP, including senator Richard Luger, have called the election flawed and have called for re-casting of ballots. Citizens have protested over having their choice for leader stolen by a broken voting system. The world watches with anticipation what will happen in . . . the Ukraine.

What’s interesting is that the election in the Ukraine is being called illegitimate because . . . wait for it . . . the exit polling didn’t match the official results.

The irony? Our media can report on this story with a straight face and not mention the fact that Kerry had massive leads in the exit polling of both Florida and Ohio (he would only have had to win just one of those states) before the official results came in.

A statistical analysis of the differences between exit polling and reported results shows that the reported results swing towards Bush way more often than Kerry, and even more so in swing states. In fact, Kerry's totals were well beyond three standard deviations from his expected totals based on the polls. The results imply that either there was a massive bias for underreporting of Bush votes in the exit polling, or that for some other reason all of the errors went Bush’s way. Here is Bob Harris explaining the statistical analysis:

The thing about genuine errors, extremes, and anomalies in results... is that they're random.

The chance that a flipped coin will land "heads" four times in a row is only 1 in 16 -- but you're just as likely to see it land "tails" four times in a row. And if it's an honest coin, flipped fairly, over time, you will. Very basic math will tell you exactly how likely a given outcome is.

But even without the math, we have a sense of this in our daily lives. If you were betting another guy a dollar a flip, and the coin came up tails ten times in a row (about a 1 in 1000 chance) common sense would tell you the coin was weighted.

And if somebody told you it wasn't -- that it was just an error or pure random chance, never mind, keep emptying your wallet -- you'd start to wonder about their motives.

Common sense. Not a conspiracy theory. Just what you're seeing, right in front of you.

Without getting into all the state-by-state details -- I'll let Prof. Freeman tend to the numbers -- what happened last Tuesday, where a wide variety of extremely accurate exit polls suddenly turned out to be at the extremes or even beyond their margin of error, was exceedingly unlikely -- even if the benefits of these errors had been evenly distributed.

But they weren't evenly distributed. They favored Bush. Over and over and over. That's the coin flipping. And flipping. And still coming up heads. Heads in Florida. Heads in Ohio. Heads in a bunch of other swing states (even while the exit polls remained relatively accurate elsewhere). Almost everywhere the election was close, the coin just kept coming up heads.

How bad was it?

According to Dr. Freeman's analysis... 1 in 250,000,000.

One in a quarter of a billion.

In simpler terms, that 50-50 coin flip just came up "heads" almost thirty times in a row.

Do you still trust that coin now?

That is what you're being asked to do.

See Voters Unite for over 400 documented cases of election machines and equipment breaking down, voter intimidation or deliberate discouragement, and other irregularities (there are also two excellent maps showing problems in Ohio in particular and the US as a whole).

Thank you to Bill for sending this link to a video message from Kerry, promising to work towards a more secure voting system that is not hackable. That’s nice, but it is hard to wonder where Kerry is in all of this. It seems like he has disappeared off the face of the earth.

A final note: before we get all misty-eyed about the Ukrainian love for democracy, it should be noted that there are many signs that theirs was actually an election that got hacked by Bushco as well. As Katrina vanden Heuvel notes in the Nation,

On the hypocrisy meter: Consider how the Ukrainian protesters' charges of election fraud have been treated so seriously by Bush and his team, while they dismiss such charges when they are raised here at home. And how exactly does the Bush Administration — which has said that it cannot accept the results of the Ukrainian presidential election as legitimate "because it does not meet international standards" — explain why those international standards don't apply to the U.S.? What right does this Administration have to lecture Ukraine when Bush came to office in a non-violent coup d'etat in 2000, and when numerous reports document that the 2004 election was marred by GOP voter suppression and intimidation tactics, flawed voting equipment and unexplained discrepancies between exit polls and official results in key swing states?

Then there's the reality that the mass street protests in Ukraine are not as sweet or homegrown as they appear. Although it is virtually unreported in our media, the U.S. has been closely involved in funding and training Ukraine's youth protests, and the united opposition.

As Ian Traynor reports in The Guardian, "...while the gains of the orange-bedecked 'chestnut revolution' are Ukraine's, the campaign is an American creation, a sophisticated and brilliantly conceived exercise in Western branding and mass marketing that, in four countries and four years, has been used to try to salvage rigged elections and topple unsavory regimes...Funded and organized by the U.S. government, deploying U.S. consultancies, pollsters, the two big American parties and U.S. non-government organizations...the operation — engineering democracy through the ballot box and civil disobedience — is now so slick that the methods have matured into a template for winning other people's elections."

It was even U.S. funding that organized and paid for key exit polls; those gave the opposition candidate Viktor Yuschenko an 11-point lead and set the stage for charges of vote fraud.

And so it would seem that this is just another US versus Russia battle, played out over a seemingly democratic election. Just like 2000, Bushco created early results that implied their side had won, declared victory early, then mobilized their supporters, and pressured the other side to concede defeat.

The overarching theme here seems to be that Rove and the GOP have figured out how to beat elections. They don’t run and then let the voters decide. They alternately fight against voter fraud from too much voting, rail against or support the legitimacy of exit polls, call into question or demand that questioning is forbidden about the process itself – whatever suits their goals at the moment.

After all, why should the results in the Ukraine be any more or less legitimate than our in the US? We are slipping into a twilight zone of uncertainty here, with our leaders sowing enough confusion so that any election can be called in their favor. Scary stuff.

Subverting the Dominant Paradigm Watch

If you are looking for flyers to get out messages that are not otherwise being presented by our corporate media, look no further than BigPath. These are really visually striking, they are free, and they get the point across very well. Visit often.

Also interesting are flyers and products designed by Oliver Willis, based on the concept of “Brand Democrat”.

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