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St. Pete Times: "No conspiracy needed to support paper trail" -MSM, guys!

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Amaryllis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-09-06 01:50 PM
Original message
St. Pete Times: "No conspiracy needed to support paper trail" -MSM, guys!
No conspiracy needed to support paper trail
By HOWARD TROXLER, Times Columnist
Published March 8, 2006

Since the 2004 election, an energetic and mostly Democratic group of folks has alleged (1) the election was rigged and (2) we need better safeguards for our electronic voting machines. As long as we are putting questions (1) and (2) together, we are going nowhere.

Mainstream America is not going to buy the conspiracy theory unless President Bush gets caught on tape saying, "Me and Diebold stole the election, heh, heh."

Neither does the conspiracy theory give Republicans (who, after all, are the majority in our Legislature) much room to support better safeguards. Republicans have been forced by default to defend the touch-screen machines used in 15 Florida counties.

So where we go from here depends on the goal.

If the goal is for Democrats to keep on accusing Republicans of stealing the last election, and Republicans to keep on calling Democrats sore losers and nutbags, then we don't need to do anything else.


Copyright, St. Petersburg Times. All rights reserved.

For the rest:
http://www.sptimes.com/2006/03/08/Columns/No_conspiracy...
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shance Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-09-06 01:56 PM
Response to Original message
1. Good. However, what matters is who counts the ballots.
Right now, 80% of all votes tabulated here in America is done by those beloved private voting companies Diebold and Election Systems & Software, dually owned by two fundamentalist Republicans, the Urovich brothers.

This places the word insanity into its own, as Mary Matalin says ad nauseum, "parallel universe".

We must address the privatization of our vote. It is illegal. It is unconstitutional. It is about as un "God" ly as something can get.

We need precinct wide citizen run public tabulation of all votes.

We need it now.
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Amaryllis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-09-06 02:03 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. YOu are absolutely right, but this guy has done nothing but pooh-pooh
Edited on Thu Mar-09-06 02:07 PM by Amaryllis
conspiracy theorists up till now, so this is a major step in the right direction. Also important in terms of framing if we want to get republicans on board with election reform.

Note:
"If the goal is for Democrats to keep on accusing Republicans of stealing the last election, and Republicans to keep on calling Democrats sore losers and nutbags, then we don't need to do anything else.

But if the goal is to get better safeguards in place for Florida's voting machines, then we have to make it possible for the rest of us, Republican, Democrat and everybody else, to get behind it."
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shance Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-09-06 05:15 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. Great point Amaryllis. Progress is always good.
Thanks for the post.
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Cocoa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-11-06 05:26 PM
Response to Reply #2
12. he's still pooh-poohing you
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-09-06 03:45 PM
Response to Original message
3. Good catch. K&R
:)
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kster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-09-06 08:16 PM
Response to Original message
5. Are we getting close or what
This guy doesn't want to be caught behind the eight ball, when the election theft machine scandal EXPLODES, thats my thinking.

Smart move on his part what kind of investigative reporter would he be WHEN this scandal EXPLODES, what will he or other reporters tell their kids and grand kids, when the biggest scandal in this country lets loose and they aren't the one's having exposed it.


I think we got them.

My


RECOMMENDED
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lostnfound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-09-06 09:46 PM
Response to Original message
6. Thank you, Mr. Troxler. Great column.
Gotta love the St. Petersburg Times, a major newspaper owned not by a media conglomerate but by a not-for-profit journalism institute.

Thank you.
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EVDebs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-09-06 10:53 PM
Response to Original message
7. Another conspiracy trail that the media conveniently ignores...
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Cocoa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-11-06 04:39 PM
Response to Original message
8. he's not with you, he's against you
this column is a very well-written critique of the kind of activism that appears here in this forum.
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OnTheOtherHand Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-11-06 05:12 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. good point, but narrow your brush...
A lot of different kinds of activism happen here.

However, there does seem to be a widespread attitude that any argument that the 2004 election was stolen is inherently good, and any argument to the contrary (not even necessarily that it wasn't stolen) is inherently bad. Maybe it's idealistic of me, maybe it's cynical, but I don't think poor arguments make good politics, even if Bush seemed to be on a roll with them for a while.

(Elsewhere on the board someone is withholding campaign contributions because Pelosi is ignoring all the PhDs who think the 2004 election was stolen. How about all the PhDs who don't? Sigh.)
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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-11-06 05:18 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. Oh! You must be a Freeper!
:rofl:

Great post.
Problem is what you and I know to be a poor argument is PROOF ( ! :bounce: ! ) to some others.

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OnTheOtherHand Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-11-06 09:57 PM
Response to Reply #10
13. I don't mind a big-tent approach -- heck, it would be progress n/t
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BeFree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-12-06 04:38 PM
Response to Reply #10
20. Et, tu, wilms?
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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-12-06 05:18 PM
Response to Reply #20
22. I'm afraid I'm not clear on the context of your question
And I want to be.

Please be more specific so that I might be better able to respond.

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Cocoa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-11-06 05:24 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. I think the "election was stolen" group has been very successful
unfortunately, they've succeeded fully in distorting the very important issue of election reform as it is discussed on the Internet, especially DU.

Distorted it to the point where a column which nearly directly opposes them is posted as if it supports them, and no one realizes it, and the thread gets 7 recommendations (so far).

Fortunately the democratic party and others have resisted what must be enormous pressure to call the election stolen. Not that it stops them from claiming that Conyers is calling the 2004 election stolen, which he very explicitly said he is not doing.
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OnTheOtherHand Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-11-06 10:28 PM
Response to Reply #11
14. I am going to take a more optimistic view
Clearly there are some hard-core folks here who take it as revealed truth that "Kerry won it, this I know, for the exits tell me so" &c. (It's not just the exits, of course -- that's just the issue I know best and therefore get into the most trouble on.) And woe unto any who would challenge the revealed truth!

But if folks can believe that Kerry won the election, and yet appreciate the importance of a reform message that makes sense to people who don't and won't believe that, then good for them. Maybe the column doesn't nearly directly oppose them (or many of them) after all. Sometimes the opinion here appears monolithic, but it isn't really (quoth the optimist).

I, too, am glad that the Dem leaders aren't calling the election stolen.
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Amaryllis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-11-06 10:47 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. I believe it was stolen but don't believe that leading with that is the
Edited on Sat Mar-11-06 11:09 PM by Amaryllis
way to get people interested in election reform. I think we win far more people by talking about the need for verifiable elections that by trying to convince them it was stolen. Most anyone can understand that counting votes on proprietary software with no way to verify the outcome has no place in a democracy, and that we need verifiable, transparent elections based on checks and balances rather than faith-based elections with secret vote counting by private, for-profit corporations with political and financial conflicts of interest.

I like Chuck Herrin's approach.(Republican computer security expert.)
http://www.chuckherrin.com/ConservativeEmpathy.htm
http://www.chuckherrin.com/LiberalEmpathy.htm

I dont agree with Cocoa that this column directly opposes the election reform movement. It expresses my view accurately, and I am very active in election reform. How I discuss it here with is different than how I present it in public. It's all in how you frame it if you're trying to get people to see the need for transparent elections. If you read Bradblog, you will notice he never claims the election was stolen. He just presents the facts and lets people make up their own minds. Land Shark does a great job of framing the debate also and he never talks about stolen elections in presentations.
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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-12-06 04:41 AM
Response to Reply #15
16. Seems the author sees need for reform while not believing many reformists.
I'm not talking about occasional snarks, nor about the free expression of ones belief that the election was stolen.

But as the OP article's author makes clear, there may be a difference between what one believes, and what one must do.

That it took so long for him to write in favor of reform, having previously cited what he considers a lack of evidence, is evidence to me of an opportunity delayed due to a failure to communicate an effective "frame" through all the noisy data injected into the debate, as proof, be that exit poll data, or "ties to Dominionists".

You said, "How I discuss it here with is different than how I present it in public."

Amaryllis, this forum is public. And one of the few about Election Reform.

So why should anyone come in here and comment in a way that one might not (or should not) in public, with a "frame" that is ineffective, or unreliable, or counter-productive, or inaccurate?

That's a turn off to those outside the "choir", Dem or Repub. It spreads mis-info that serves to discredit the movement. Destructively, it chases away serious reformists and students of election management systems. And it makes it even more politically difficult for politicians and BoE's to align their efforts with the goals we espouse.

And I sense all that has happened here, and believe contributed mightily to the forum's loss of "DU Admin Picks" status, and worse, many an informed poster.

:(

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OnTheOtherHand Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-12-06 08:43 AM
Response to Reply #16
17. dare I add something?
Well, maybe two.

Amaryllis, obviously I come from a different starting place than you do, and that does not trouble me.

Wilms is absolutely right that this forum is public, but I would add a qualifier to the question about frames. It does not trouble me that folks feel they can frankly express here the view that the 2004 election was stolen, even if they would not use that argument in public presentations. I don't think Wilms intended to advocate self-censorship in the interest of "framing."

That said, I know that folks who make factual arguments are subject to personal attacks. I came to this forum because I was sick of watching Febble getting treated like a pinata. I don't really care much who believes what about the 2004 election, but I think we should make every effort to get our facts straight. And I really don't think that this board has the right to trash its own credibility the way that it too often does -- not because its members disagree about stuff, which I welcome, but because of how it handles disagreements.

Wilms, it is hard for me to overstate how much I agree with your basic point. I have tried to spend time both inside ER and in 'the outside world' so that I can report to each from the perspective of the other.
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OnTheOtherHand Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-12-06 01:55 PM
Response to Reply #15
18. oh, consider why your last GD:P thread was still preaching to the choir
Edited on Sun Mar-12-06 01:55 PM by OnTheOtherHand
You linked to your GD :P thread citing Bev Conover's article here, saying you hoped that it wouldn't just preach to the choir. OK, so let's check the content against your statement, "I think we win far more people by talking about the need for verifiable elections tha(n) by trying to convince them it was stolen."

The post opened (Bev Conover's words) -- "Writer after writer keeps talking about how we are just going to march into the polls come November and vote the monsters out. If only that were true." And a bit later it said, "Meanwhile, the Bushes and their criminal allies continue on their merry way, pulling off 'miraculous' win after 'miraculous' win. Hey, God is on their side and if the exit polls say the other guy or gal should have won, declare the exit polls erroneous."

Well, I think the first part of that is rank defeatism flying in the face of experience (Ken Salazar? Tim Kaine? Jon Corzine?), and the last part is just more "for I know whom I have be-lee-ved" exit poll fundamentalism. Which gives me the choice of jumping in, saying what I really think, and possibly starting a flame war, or just staying the hell away.

An unknown number of folks made the same calculation I did and reached the same conclusion. The thread sank quickly despite (maybe even because of) some K&R, much of it from the usual suspects, i.e., the choir.

It's not that I object to your posting that sort of article (to the extent that it is possible not to object given what I think of the article). But it's hard for me to figure why you thought the post wasn't preaching to the choir. If you wanted that particular article to spark some serious discussion, perhaps you could have prefaced it with some questions or issues that folks like me could have addressed. I dunno, you may have been doomed from the subject header on: "let's get real" is not exactly an invitation to honest give-and-take.

Now there seems to be an entire small genre of articles that basically say, 'Hey, it is so obvious by now that the 2004 election was stolen, let's not belabor that. Instead, let's offer psychological analyses of WTF is wrong with the people who don't agree with us.' Some of those get posted on GD and GD-P, too. Nice. Very welcoming. ;)

I'm not quite sure why I try to explain this to you. It remains to be seen, by me, whether you can interpret any form of criticism, disagreement, or factual correction as something other than "argument for the sake of argument."
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OnTheOtherHand Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-12-06 05:26 PM
Response to Reply #18
23. oops, emoticon blooper -- meant GD:P, not GD :tongue: n/t
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BeFree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-12-06 04:37 PM
Response to Original message
19. Hoo-boy
This thread dragged them out of the woodworks, eh?

Thank Gawd there are some here who are willing to stand up to the shouts of "Sit Down" we have been faced with. We stand, and we say, "F U, You will not keep us quiet".

If one sees a small fire burning in the back of a theater, it is quite alright to shout FIRE. It is sloth when someone else claims that it is only a small fire and one should not shout out.

Well, we have our observant, public duty driven, folks here, and we have our slothful folks.

The election was stolen, and I will never forget, or forgive. There is a fire burning a hole in my democracy and I will never let anyone tell me I can't shout FIRE. Shouting FIRE is the best way to get their attention.
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OnTheOtherHand Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-12-06 05:14 PM
Response to Reply #19
21. OK, Amaryllis, here is your gut check n/t
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BeFree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-12-06 08:05 PM
Response to Original message
24. Troxler is an ass!
He's in the party of divide. His article misses so many important clues, and evidential matters, that it makes his scribbling worthless. He, along with the rest of the press have ignored, mis-reported and even gone so far as to deny many factual presentations, that it makes them party to the 'divide and conquer partisans' that have brought ruin and damnation to our nation.

He writes:

"Republicans have been forced by default to defend the touch-screen machines used in 15 Florida counties.

There he goes again. Saying we have forced the repukes to defend the machines. That's incredible. We have not forced them to do anything, the quality and quantity of the machines have them painted in their own corner.

I believe the local supervisors have good procedures in place.

Then he goes on to blast the very procedures (read machines) with these words:
1) Have an entirely public, transparent process of programming the machines before each election. The companies refuse to let that happen.

(2) Have a verifiable paper trail, such as an optical-scan ballot or other printed result that could be used in a recount.


Whoa! Is he saying there is a reason for the 'Conspiracy Theories'? Yes. But he's so mangled things by this time, it's a wonder anybody can follow his story. The real conspiracy is, as he states:

The companies refuse to let that happen.

The companies refuse to let that happen.

There's your conspiracy. The companies. He thinks, nay, he knows its fucked up, and he sees the conspiracy of the companies, but he tells us we are theorists! The gall! The bastard!

As proof he knows its f-upped, he writes:

Besides, the receipt could still say one thing and the voting machine another.

That's our case. The machines can say whatever they were programmed to say. He agrees. I guess he just doesn't have the balls to join us.

Then he finishes off with the biggest piece of garbage yet:

The last objection is a doozy - switching would cost a bundle, many tens of millions. Counties such as Pinellas, already cutting deep into their schools and other vital programs, can't and won't pay for it.

The switch to the machines cost a doozy. Switching back would be no more than printing ballots and enlisting volunteers to count those paper ballots. Or only buying one scanner per precinct to count the paper. As it is, usually there are four or more machines at each precinct. We can cut the cost by two-thirds right there!

I'm glad Troxler opened his mouth, finally. But frankly, with friends like him, who needs enemies?

Mr. Troxler, if you want to be educated, read the archives on this forum some day. You need an education; a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing, especially in the hands of someone with as much influence as you.
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Peggy Day Donating Member (859 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-13-06 05:07 PM
Response to Original message
25. How about hiring some computer savvy person-just kidding nt
Edited on Mon Mar-13-06 05:08 PM by Peggy Day
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