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Sat Jul 7, 2012, 06:17 PM

Would DU veterans please tell the "newbies" of Andy Stephenson's importance here...

I for one entered the scene too late for full knowledge-base, so I would be interested in some fill-in myself. Thanks in advance!

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Reply Would DU veterans please tell the "newbies" of Andy Stephenson's importance here... (Original post)
PCIntern Jul 2012 OP
GreenPartyVoter Jul 2012 #1
Tsiyu Jul 2012 #2
Wheezy Jul 2012 #3
grasswire Jul 2012 #4
PCIntern Jul 2012 #5
grasswire Jul 2012 #7
PCIntern Jul 2012 #10
FarPoint Jul 2012 #6
jaysunb Jul 2012 #8
knitter4democracy Jul 2012 #15
PufPuf23 Jul 2012 #17
loose wheel Jul 2012 #23
grasswire Jul 2012 #9
grasswire Jul 2012 #11
PCIntern Jul 2012 #13
yewberry Jul 2012 #14
Tsiyu Jul 2012 #16
yewberry Jul 2012 #24
Tsiyu Jul 2012 #22
Raine Jul 2012 #12
NashvilleLefty Jul 2012 #18
RagAss Jul 2012 #19
Demonaut Jul 2012 #20
kickysnana Jul 2012 #21

Response to PCIntern (Original post)

Sat Jul 7, 2012, 06:22 PM

1. Andy was a fighter for election reform, particularly in regards to Diebold and

"black box voting." This was an especially hot topic in the wake of the 2000 and 2004 elections, which prompted several people to research the possibility of rigging elections electronically.

Sadly, Andy was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and didn't have the healthcare coverage to try and treat it. Some conservative websites around got wind of DU trying to raise money for Andy and turned it into a horrible horrible mess of accusations. I even saw posts (not here) where when it was announced that Andy had passed he had really faked his death and made off with the money. They harassed a very good man (and his partner) for the short remainder of his life. It was just evil. I can think of no other explanation for such a lack of sympathy.

(Turns out if you google his name, some of those mean-spirited posts still exist in cyberspace. )

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Response to PCIntern (Original post)

Sat Jul 7, 2012, 06:43 PM

2. He also got screwed over by some of the people

who were in the early "anti-Black Box" camp ( won't even mention the "B" word ) who only wanted to milk the issue for their own self-aggrandizement.

But Andy was a true reformer, and actually cared about the issue, not about bringing attention or $$ to himself. He continually and relentlessly explored all aspects of the issue here, and taught us all so much.

He was a tireless advocate for the paper ballot, for checks and balances in vote tabulation. ( After all, it doesn't matter if you voted if your vote doesn't count. )

Every time the issue of vote tampering or Black Box voting comes up, I think of Andy and wish he was here.

He was one of a kind.

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Response to PCIntern (Original post)

Sat Jul 7, 2012, 06:51 PM

3. I joined DU

when Andy was struggling. I was so moved by his story that I donated to the fund without really knowing him at all -- with barely five posts to my name--and I was so pissed off when I found out Paypal had frozen his donation account so he couldn't pay for treatment he desperately needed.

It's amazing I've been here seven years. As in those days, I still love seeing glimpses of the passionate DUers who help their fellow men and women, even when they don't have much to give.

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Response to PCIntern (Original post)

Sat Jul 7, 2012, 06:57 PM

4. Seattle Weekly article from that time

July 6 - 12, 2005

Two Cases of Bile

Voter activist Andy Stephenson's pancreatic cancer has generated both love and hate on the Internet.

by George Howland Jr.

The Internet saved Andy Stephenson's life. In May 2005, the voting-rights advocate's online community came together and raised $50,000 in 11 days to pay for surgery to treat Stephenson's pancreatic cancer. Now, the World Wide Web has spawned a bizarre campaign that accuses the nationally renowned activist of faking his illness.

Stephenson, 43, who could pass for talk-show host Conan O'Brien's brother, became active on voting-rights issues in 2004 when he learned about the security problems with electronic voting. A resident of North Seattle, Stephenson frequented the left-wing Web site Democratic Underground (www.democraticunderground.com). This virtual community led him to Bev Harris of Black Box Voting (www.blackboxvoting.org), a Renton-based, muckraking activist dedicated to exposing the flaws in our nation's voting infrastructure (see "Black Box Backlash," March 10, 2004).

Stephenson brought an in-your-face activism to what had been a sleepy topic—imagine a combination of ACT-UP and the League of Women Voters. He loved to go into elections officials' offices with his camcorder blazing, demanding information on obscure aspects of voting systems and software. In 2004, he ran for Washington Secretary of State as a Democrat against Republican incumbent Sam Reed, promising to clean up the election system, only to drop out before the filing deadline. That same year, he also began working with Harris on her national campaign to make voting more secure. In the process, he established his own national reputation as a voting-rights activist. Stephenson says eventually he and Harris had a falling out, and they are no longer on good terms.

None of these setbacks discouraged Stephenson from pursuing his goal of improving the nation's voting system. In January 2005, he went to Washington, D.C., as part of a grassroots lobbying effort on behalf of the Voting Integrity and Verification Act, sponsored by Republican Sen. John Ensign of Nevada. While in D.C., Stephenson became ill with what he assumed was food poisoning. He flew back to Seattle and noticed his skin had turned yellow. He went to the Country Doctor Community Health Clinic on Capitol Hill and received treatment from Karen Johnson, a nurse practitioner, who became his primary care provider.

Months of illness and diagnoses followed. In April, Johnson says the cause of his illness was determined. "He has pancreatic cancer," says Johnson. After researching the best options for his care, Stephenson chose to have his surgery performed at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Md. "It's the best of the best," says Johnson. "Andy does his research right."

There was one little problem: Stephenson didn't have health insurance or much money. He says the operation cost $50,000, and Hopkins demanded payment in full before the operation for an out-of-state, uninsured patient. (A Hopkins spokesperson would not elaborate on the bill, citing concern for patient confidentiality.)

Enter San Francisco's Elisabeth Ferrari. She has never met Stephenson in person, but had gotten to know him through postings on Democratic Underground. When she became aware of his need, she decided to raise as much money as she could through an Internet appeal. On Friday, April 28, she put out a fund-raising request on Democratic Underground. Other progressive outlets and activists including blogger/author William Rivers Pitt, Sirius Satellite radio's Thom Hartmann, Air America's Mike Malloy, and numerous Web sites picked up the fund-raising message. By Monday, May 9, she had raised all $50,000—most in small donations of $25 or less. "Democratic Underground has 60,000 subscribers," says Ferrari. "Andy has many, many friends there. He is a people magnet."

It was a remarkable achievement and a real testament to the power of Stephenson's activism. Country Doctor's Johnson confirms that Stephenson had a Whipple procedure—sometimes called the "Olympics" of surgery because of its duration and difficulty—at Johns Hopkins Hospital at the end of May. The surgeon removed a "golf-ball-sized tumor" from his pancreas, according to Johnson. Stephenson came back to Seattle to recover and prepare for his oncology treatment. Says Johnson, "He needs chemo and radiation probably."

Then came the backlash. The origins of the rumors are murky, but the basic theme was Stephenson was a scam artist who didn't have cancer. The rumor spread like a computer virus across the Internet and soon vitriolic postings were popping up all over the place.

The backlash falls into a couple of general categories. One group appears ideological in nature: Conservatives are attacking Stephenson because he's a progressive activist. "The right wing just went crazy," says Air America's Malloy. "This is one of the sickest things I've ever seen."

Another group appears to be people who are rightfully concerned about Internet scams.

Fred Grady, an accountant from Stanton, Neb., straddles both groups. He pays for a site called Scamdy.com that alleges Stephenson defrauded people. He learned of the controversy through a conservative Web site, Free Republic (www.freerepublic.com), that has an ongoing flame war with Democratic Underground. He is also very concerned that Stephenson's fund-raising was not done properly.

The fund-raising effort for Stephenson was the work of amateur activists, not professional charities. Spontaneous mutual aid has both good and bad characteristics. Stephenson's friends did not provide the kind of checks and balances that are associated with mainstream philanthropy. For instance, the money went directly to Stephenson—there was no board of trustees controlling a third-party account and carefully documenting expenditures and donations.

Meanwhile, Stephenson was readmitted to the hospital because of postsurgical complications on Wednesday, June 22, and remained there at press time on Thursday, June 30. Stephenson says Medicaid is now covering him, so his medical bills are not a cause of concern.

I visited Stephenson in his hospital room at Virginia Mason Medical Center and listened to surgeons, a resident, and nurses discuss his cancer with him.

His spirits rise and fall on an hourly basis with the news of his condition. Through it all, he pushes his political issues, railing to me about decisions at the King County Elections Division.

His current diagnosis and treatment are unclear as the doctors struggle to figure out how best to help him. It is very clearly, however, a matter of life and death. "I am prepared for whatever the outcome is," Stephenson says. "I want to live—I don't want to die—but if not I've left a legacy."


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Response to PCIntern (Reply #5)

Sat Jul 7, 2012, 07:32 PM

7. keep in mind...

...that the news article doesn't reveal the ugly, despicable aspect of the wingnuts who attacked Andy and DU, and who continue to attack even today. Bitter, ugly hearts who hated Andy for what? Because he was gay? Because he was a voting rights activist? Because he was deeply admired and loved by many? Because he was sick without insurance and some people cared enough to help him?

These people still hate, and they still harass, and they still are ugly-hearted. They hang out at a site called www.conservativecave.com and they obsessively read DU and comment to each other about us.

And they have hurt other DU-ers. None to the degree they did Andy, though.

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Response to grasswire (Reply #7)

Sat Jul 7, 2012, 07:57 PM

10. Terrible...

It never seems to change.

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Response to grasswire (Reply #4)

Sat Jul 7, 2012, 07:31 PM

6. I think tomorrow is the anniversary of our loss.

Rest in peace Andy....but keep one eye on the ballot.

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Response to grasswire (Reply #4)

Sat Jul 7, 2012, 07:33 PM

8. I get really realy pissed when I think of those days..

and...some of those people that played in that shit box are still "beloved" members of this community.

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Response to jaysunb (Reply #8)

Sat Jul 7, 2012, 08:41 PM

15. Me, too.

I just knew him from his posts here, and I was a relatively new member at the time. I will never forget the ugliness, the vitriol, and the fact that a man died knowing that some hated him to that level.

Still disgusts me to this day. He was a good man who fought the good fight, and he deserved better than that.

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Response to grasswire (Reply #4)

Sat Jul 7, 2012, 09:08 PM

17. DU has changed in a way that would be sad for Stephenson.

EF has been a straightforward and imperfectly open human being for years at DU and people are now asking for her to be banned in Meta for not being perfect.

Bev Harris went from daylight to villain at DU.

The breadth of discussion at DU has narrowed and become biased regards to Party or personality over policy rather than the New Deal / Great Society Democratic Party.

IMHO DU3 2012 would have reacted with less support for Andy Stephenson than DU 2005.

I conclude the comparison sad and problematic for the World, the USA, myself, DU, and the Democratic Party.

My perspective is that of a contempary bystander and life long Democratic Party member and prior a supporter and proud to be anti-war and pro-economic justice.

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Response to grasswire (Reply #4)

Sun Jul 8, 2012, 12:37 AM

23. Pancreatic Cancer


I had an aunt on my mom's side die from that. I was fairly close to her, and I learned what I could learn about it.

A whipple procedure in April for pancreatic cancer diagnosed in January doesn't make sense. Because of the function of the Pancreas and the nature of the bile duct any cancer there metastasizes quickly and spreads. It would be surprising that a person that wasn't receiving treatment was even still on their feet in April. If he was diagnosed with operable pancreatic cancer in January, he should have been under a surgeon's knife in January. The cost versus his life isn't even a consideration for an otherwise healthy 43 year old man. Did his Primary Care Provider fail to explain this to him?

My aunt lasted two months. If it wasn't for palliative surgery, she would have been in even more intense pain that last part of it.

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Response to PCIntern (Original post)

Sat Jul 7, 2012, 08:18 PM

11. link to their thread today -- beware, ugly ugly stuff as usual

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Response to grasswire (Reply #11)

Sat Jul 7, 2012, 08:28 PM

13. If you added all the I.Q.'s over there

You would still have a two-digit number.

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Response to grasswire (Reply #11)

Sat Jul 7, 2012, 08:31 PM

14. Wow, they're still lying about it, too.

Since they SO love to quote everything we post, here's on for you:

Yes, you vile, slimy maggots, you did interfere with Andy's treatment. We were a bunch of amateurs sending money to a paypal account, and someone (gee, I wonder who) reported the account as a fraud, so it was frozen. And you people harassed and defamed the man as he was dying. Really something to be proud of.

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Response to yewberry (Reply #14)

Sat Jul 7, 2012, 09:00 PM

16. You have to wonder why those cretins are so obsessed with DU

I followed a link there once and ended up crying I was laughing so hard. They're so unoriginal they have to mirror every post we make! They can't even think up their own topics!

I think most are very ugly, old, lonely freaks with no family and no friends. What else are the sociopaths supposed to do but put down decent, loving people? And they are so jealous of us, they have to stalk us like psychos and mock us like schoolboys.

It's a great place to go if you need some comic relief. But if you're sensitive to evil and hatred and bigotry stay away.

CC is a cesspool of vile people with nothing better to do than stalk DU. They crack me up AND make me feel sorry for them at the same time.

Poor things.

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Response to Tsiyu (Reply #16)

Sun Jul 8, 2012, 01:10 AM

24. Agreed.

The fact that they are pleased with themselves regarding the suffering and death of Andy is telling. There is something deeply wrong with these people.

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Response to grasswire (Reply #11)

Sat Jul 7, 2012, 11:17 PM

22. It's Saturday night, and what is pastor Charles Henrickson doing?

Last edited Sun Jul 8, 2012, 05:41 AM - Edit history (2)

Not studying his bobble for his sermon tomorrow!

Oh, no! He is mocking and trying to torment people who are grieving over the death of someone.

Really. What a nice "pastor."

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted."

But not by Pastor Henrickson! His Jeebus carries an AK47 and hates librulls and he would never give out any loaves and fishes to poor people! Love your enemies? Fuck no! Not Henrickson's Jeebus!

His Jeebus is a son of a bitch just like "Pastor" Henrickson. I feel sorry for his "flock." They are led by a vile, hate-filled, cruel, mocking, angry, lame piece of excrement.

His church (St. Matthews?) should be ashamed.

(see how it feels, you idiots?)

On edit: Looks like the Evil "Pastor" took down his Saturday Night spoof, because perhaps it's unbecoming for a preacher to be ridiculing the grief of others? You tool, Henrickson! Can you say "screen capture?"

Don't worry; we're not really obsessed with you freaks of nature and your "heroic" hatefest. Just wanted to give you a little taste of your own stalker ways. "Do unto others as you would have done to you" right, Preacher of Hate? You sure exemplified that missive last night, didn't you "Reverend"?

We can stalk you idiots too, and make your lives a living hell. But we all feel so sorry for you, having to live with yourselves, why bother? You're all suffering enough already in your homophobia, misogyny, racism, bigotry and unadulterated stupidity. I mean, you're the dumbasses who put Bush in power not once but twice! Great job, dumbasses! You fucked up this country just about beyond repair, yet blame "librulls." Take responsibility for once in your pathetic little stalker lives!

Now carry on with your obsession, CCers. You know what they say: Jealousy is the sincerest form of flattery! And we are very flattered by all your attention over there! And just think, every time an intelligent person accidentally stumbles into your cesspool, you give them plenty of links to get out and over here where there's some intelligence and actual discourse. All you can do is fling poo like your Chimperor Bush! Thanks for all the free advertising!

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Response to PCIntern (Original post)

Sat Jul 7, 2012, 08:20 PM

12. I remember and I hope that those who took away the peace of his last days suffer the same fate in

their final time on this earth.

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Response to PCIntern (Original post)

Sat Jul 7, 2012, 09:13 PM

18. When I first started lurking here, I kept coming back

primarily because of the postings of Will Pitt, the KOEB (Keith Olbermann Estrogen Brigade), and "God, Bush, and Cheney" which was Andy's original handle before he changed it to his real name.

Andy actually walked the walk, which is probably why the RW hated him so much. He worked for Bev Harris against Black Box Voting and the way it was being used to influence (steal) elections. At first, Bev seemed to be fighting the "good fight", although many here saw through her before I did. She and Andy had a falling out and Andy left her employ. Later, she sued several counties for fraudulent election practices and simply kept the money she won. Andy never gave us all the juicy details - he remained classy.

Unemployed and with no health care, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer which is what killed my father so I knew what that diagnosis meant. It is generally considered inoperable.

However, there is a Whipple procedure which can only be done by a few surgeons in the world which has proven to be successful in some cases. one of the very few places in the world that can/will perform this surgery is John Hopkins. Of course, Andy had no money or health insurance and this was long before the ACA.

Some DUer's set up a PayPal account to accept donations to help him out. Even as a lurker, I donated to the account. We reached the goal and Andy went to John Hopkins for the procedure. Many pictures were posted, including one of him in a humorous mask that I remember fondly - showing his indomitable spirit.

However, there was a problem. In a previously posted article it mentioned Scamdy.com, which I also lurked once I found out about it. I remember a poster there bragging about how he was a DU troll, and donated the minimum to the PayPal account. When Andy arrived for his procedure, it was trumpeted on DU. This poster chose this time to challenge the PayPal account, claiming that he was afraid that it was a "scam". In accordance with PayPal's policies, the funds were immediately frozen.

I remember one donor who was there and pleaded with the accountant to accept the funds and allow the procedure. After explaining her story, I remember her posting the accountant's reply: "don't believe everything you read on the internet".

Eventually, PayPal determined that the fund was legitimate and released the funds, but it greatly delayed the procedure which had already been delayed beyond reason. Andy did have the procedure, albeit extremely late. During his recovery, he was presented with a new puppy which he loved dearly and named Ballot (a perfect name, considering his work for paper ballots in exposing Election Fraud).

Many pictures were posted of him in his recovery room with Ballot. They were adorable and heart-lifting.

Unfortunately, Andy never recovered from his recovery. He died.

Meanwhile, over at Scamdy.com despite the many posted pics of Andy arriving at John Hopkins, the pics of him (and Ballot) in the recovery room, and the very fact that it was verified by PayPal, those f*cking vampires celebrated. They refused to believe their own eyes and envisioned Andy using the money to escape to a Caribbean Island and sipping pina coladas all day. As if $50k would last more than a year or 2 (I've been there several times). But it just shows how these vampires will justify anything.

It is difficult to explain exactly what Andy meant to everyone who read his posts, unless you read them.

It is also difficult to say if the efforts of the RW actually killed him or if the procedure simply did not work. However, his chances would have much better if the procedure and not been delayed as it was. And the vitriol was .... well, it was unprecedented. The grave-dancing also unprecedented.

So, if you ask me, they killed him. I can forgive a lot of things, but I cannot forgive that.

Andy Stephenson will always have a special place in my heart, as well as Great Aunt of Triplets (his relative who kept so many of us informed).

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Response to PCIntern (Original post)

Sat Jul 7, 2012, 09:17 PM

19. Honestly, I still can't talk about it.

Rest in peace my brother.

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Response to PCIntern (Original post)

Sat Jul 7, 2012, 10:09 PM

20. he united this place for a time that no other DU'er has done since, I never met him but

I understood his plight and he never whined or complained of his issue...he was a very strong individual

R.I.P Andy

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Response to PCIntern (Original post)

Sat Jul 7, 2012, 11:06 PM

21. He was brilliant at analysis and winning important people over...

He made a difference but if he had lived it might have made all the difference. It is a gift to be able to win skeptics over to the truth of what is going on and what is at stake. He had it.

He also had a great sense of humor and cared very deeply about America and Americans.

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