From the Archives
(January 2006) I’ve been pondering what to plant in my yard this spring because, yes, as a matter of fact I do have spring fever already.
Blame it on what writer John Rosenthal refers to as January Spring—that five-week period down south when temperatures suddenly soar into the seventies and the sky turns an unblemished blue that is all the more vibrant because we’ve seen nothing but foggy gray for so long.
We Southerners spy that blue and go into a fit—pull out T-shirts and shorts and freeze our tits off as we stand outside oohing and aaahing over the foolish pink tulip poplars and purple hyacinths that have bloomed way too early again and we silently agree to pretend that we don’t know that it will freeze again before winter is officially over.
So it’s 31 January 2006. Thomas Merton’s birthday and the 141st anniversary of the Thirteenth Amendment—which I suppose makes it a particularly appropriate day for Coretta Scott King to die.
Then again, maybe she just couldn’t bear the reality of a 58–43 split vote confirming a Supreme Court neocon who is so opposed to affirmative action.
(And then there were none....)
I guess we should all look forward to the boy king bragging about his latest victory in his fifth State of The (Dis)Union Address tonight, huh?
Not that I’ll bother to listen. I know branding and doublespeak when I hear it and would rather read the summary and assessments tomorrow.
And speaking of Bush&Co’s reign of error, Tomdispatch.com points out that four Januaries have already passed since our wanna-be emperor used his address to “brand Iran, Iraq, and North Korea—the first two then bitter enemies, the third completely unrelated to either of them and on the other side of the planet—as a World-War-II-style ‘axis of evil.’”
And it’s already been three Januaries since W said, with a straight face, "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."
Progressives are calling for people to “make a joyful noise and figuratively drown out” the Address tonight. This is part one of a two-part Bush Step Down rally that culminates Saturday in front of the White House, where they plan to demand that W step down and take his program with him.
Now I’m all for rallies that might accomplish something—or at least draw attention to an issue that can be addressed—but this is the pure-T definition of pipe dream.
I do hope that more independent news outlets will notice the statistics cited in Mark Crispin Miller’s Fooled Again: How the Right Stole the 2004 Election and Why They’ll Steam the Next One Too (Unless We Stop Them) and pressure politicians to investigate yet another potential crime committed by this administration though.
for GOP voters, the 2004 presidential election was little short of miraculous: Behind in the Electoral College even on the afternoon of the vote, the Bush-Cheney ticket staged a stunning comeback. Usually reliable exit polls turned out to be wrong by an unprecedented 5 percent in swing states. Conservatives argued, and the media agreed, that ‘moral values’ had made the difference.
(Can you say branding?) Miller says theft, not moral values, swung the election. And he uses statistics to back up his claim.
In reference to the 2002 congressional elections, he outlines how, in Colorado, Georgia, Minnesota, and
a couple of other states—there was what we might call "Diebold magic" everywhere. In all these states, you had far-right-wing politicians predicted to lose by pre-election newspaper polls and by exit polls,
yet all of them won.
During the presidential elections, electronic touchscreen machines flipped Kerry votes into Bush votes in at least 11 states and evidence of wrongdoing in Ohio is copious.
Bush allegedly won that state by 118,000 votes, but the various stratagems, tricks and tactics used to prevent people from registering, to prevent them from voting, to throw away provisional ballots [see John Conyers’ report to the House Judiciary Committee]—all ... add up to a number far greater than 118,000.
Ohio practices were applied in other key states as well, most notably Florida, Oregon, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, New York and New Mexico, where
we're told that Bush won by some 7,000 votes. We know of over 17,000 Democratic voters who were unable to cast a vote for president [though] because the touchscreen machines in their districts refused to record a vote for president.
These 17,000-plus New Mexicans turned out to vote in Democratic areas, and they didn't record a vote for president. Seventeen thousand is 10,000 more than 7,000. That glitch alone can account for the ostensible victory margin of Bush over Kerry in New Mexico. Greg Palast's new book will have a whole chapter on New Mexico. It's hair-raising stuff, and we haven't heard a word about it. The same kind of thing happened in Iowa, where Bush supposedly won by under 10,000 votes.
The press kept telling us after the election that a huge outpouring of religious voters account for Bush's miraculous victory.
Well that's nothing more than a talking point that the religious right itself put out after the election. There is no statistical evidence whatsoever that there was any increase in the number of religious voters. ... Exit polls were most inaccurate—by a big margin—in those areas that used electronic voting machines with no paper trail ... (and particularly noticeable in 5 swing states).
Miller advises people to check out the Election Incident Reporting System website, where you can type in the name of your state or county and see a transcript of all the complaints that were lodged that day by people who called 1-866-MY-VOTE.
And on that note, I am going to change into my gym clothes and go break some things in kung fu class.