If some of its key publications are any indicator, much of the American
left seems unable to face the reality that the election of 2004 was stolen.
So in all likelihood, unless something radical is done, 2008 will be too.
Misguided and misinformed articles in both TomPaine.com and Mother
Jones Magazine indicate a dangerous inability to face the reality that these
stolen elections mean nothing less than the death of what's left of American
democracy, and the permanent enthronement of the Rovian GOP.
As investigative reporters based in Columbus, Ohio, we witnessed first-hand,
up close and personal, exactly how the 2004 election was stolen, and how it
will most likely be done in 2008. In the precinct in which Harvey Wasserman
grew up, and in the one where Bob Fitrakis now lives, we saw the well-funded,
profoundly cynical and deadly effective mechanisms by which the Bush-Cheney-Rove-Blackwell
GOP machine switched a victory for John Kerry to an easily-repeatable defeat
That Kerry and the spineless Ohio and national Democratic Parties have been
complicit is a crucial part of the problem much of the left also seems unwilling
to face. But if you live in Franklin County, Ohio, and watch the Republican
and Democratic Parties run joint pickets against progressive candidate, and
cut backroom deals allowing incumbents of either party run unopposed, you may
miss the full scope of the disaster.
And until the left faces the rot that defines the Democratic Party, there is
no hope for a fair election in this country. In other words: those who think
the White House can be retaken in 2008, but refuse to face the theft of the
vote in 2004, should prepare to be ruled by the likes of Jeb Bush, now and forever.
Before we go into the sordid details, we have to ask: exactly what is it about
Team Bush that makes people think they could not or would not steal an American
election? Do they lack funds? Do they lack expertise? Is there something in
the Machiavellian/mobster moral code of Karl Rove and the Bush Family that would
prevent them from doing here what they've been doing throughout the Third World
for so long?
CIA meister Poppy Bush long ago perfected the art and science of stealing elections.
US manipulators have interfered with and tipped elections for decades. Why should
Ohio be any different? Especially when all the world knew control of the most
powerful office on earth would be decided right here.
Lets do the bookends: before the voting, Ohio's infamous Republican Secretary
of State J. Kenneth Blackwell clearly and vehemently denied poll access to teams
of international observers from the United Nations and other international election
Since the election, he has effectively stonewalled and sabotaged all recount
attempts, to the point that no credible accounting of the Ohio election has
ever been done. To this day, at least 100,000 votes remain uncounted, electronic
voting machines remain unaudited, key hardware and data files have been trashed,
paper ballots have sat unguarded for anyone to pilfer and tallies in dozens
of key counties remain filled with statistical impossibilities.
In our How the GOP Stole America's 2004 Election & Is Rigging 2008, we
list more than 180 bullet points on how this theft was perpetrated. It was a
brilliant, cynical and masterfully executed campaign of death by a thousand
In Florida 2000, the means of the crime were limited to a few instances of
intimidation, butterfly ballots, computer manipulation and a corrupt Supreme
Court. But four years after, in Ohio, dozens of sometimes subtle, sometimes
blatant tricks were designed to steal a few thousand votes here, a few thousand
more there, until victory was in GOP hands. Unless they are exposed and blocked,
every one of these scams can and will be duplicated throughout the United States
in 2006 and 2008. The question is: will the left follow mainstream Democrats
with sheep-like acceptance as every election goes the same way from here on?
And if so, why bother even staging more votes in this country at all?
Starting with Russ Baker at TomPaine.com,
the indicators are grim. Last January, Baker penned an absurd, ill-reported
piece of nonsense called "What Didn't Happen in Ohio." Baker traipsed
into Columbus for a few days, interviewed the usual faux Democrats, and left
with a Big Story: "The Election Was Fair."
If Baker had done any meaningful research he might have seen the dozens of
other instances of intimidation, irregularities and fraud that went unmentioned
in his glib paragraphs. Instead he relied on Bill Anthony, chair of the Franklin
County Democrats and Board of Elections.
Bill is a pleasant, affable African-American with no commitment or fight for
democracy or even the Democrats. He has appeared on Bob's local radio show and
with Harvey on others. On one of them, Bill admitted that the Franklin County
BOE knew there would be problems with voting machines, and asked Blackwell for
paper ballots well before the 2004 election. Blackwell, Anthony said, turned
them down. The result was the now infamous chaos at the polls, with inner city
voters stuck in the rain for hours. Just what Blackwell wanted.
But did Bill Anthony fight Blackwell's absurd ruling? Did he make it a public
issue prior to the election?
Not a chance.
For a quickie reporting job, Anthony is a dream. He's well-spoken, charming
and convincing. As an African-American with union connections, he would seem
the perfect liberal source.
In 2003, Anthony endorsed the Republican mayor's former press secretary for
the Columbus School Board. He then supported two Republican candidates on a
"Reform Slate" aimed at ousting the Board's only progressive Democrat,
Bill Anthony is just one of a legion of what are known throughout the state
as DINOs---Democrats in Name Only. The Ohio Democratic Party is a national embarrassment.
Its chair, Denny White, was not long ago a Republican, and will soon be one
again, once the party is fully disemboweled, a job very close to done. Throughout
Ohio, DINOs piously cover this piece of fraud and that piece of theft with glib
"I hate Bush" rhetoric. The pity is, out-of-state reporters actually
take them seriously.
Mark Hertsgaard is a well respected author and reporter and a long-time friend
of Harvey Wasserman, and of election critic Mark Crispen Miller. He has contributed
some very valuable work over the years. But he's done himself---and the voting
public---very wrong on "Recounting Ohio" in the new Mother Jones.
Mark is smart and thorough enough to leave open the possibility that Ohio's
election was, indeed, stolen. But he also falls prey to the DINO trap, failing
to cover far too much of what happened here while taking seriously centrist
Democrats who are known locally to have no credibility.
So Mother Jones questions the significance of the firing of a Democratic election
official who blew the whistle on computer manipulations by Triad, an obscure
Republican voting machine company. But Triad was involved in counting the votes
in nearly half of Ohio's 88 counties. Questions are still being raised about
Triad, including: "How did they get all these contracts in the first place?"
Mother Jones correctly points out that seven times the number of votes by which
Bush took Ohio were cast on Republican-controlled machines. But the magazine
fails to follow up with mention that those votes have been tabulated on proprietary
non-transparent software---a fact we pointed out in our own article in Motherjones.com
many months prior to the election.
Mother Jones also discounts the fact that a phony Homeland Security alert in
Warren County landed the vote count in an unauthorized warehouse rather than
the official secure location, and that reporters were barred from the vote count.
That count, which went hugely and suspiciously and very importantly for Bush,
was observed by nominal Democrats. But so were other highly dubious vote counts
around the state, as they had been in Florida 2000, which Mother Jones argues
adamantly was indeed stolen.
The irony of this is that the same issue of Mother Jones leads off with a dead-on
story about Ohio and national Democrats who are sabotaging the campaign of the
aggressively electable Paul Hackett for a key US Senate seat. And another MoJo
piece bemoans the fact that national Democrats seem adept only at losing.
Yet here the back of the book is a story discounting evidence compiled by a
legion of independent, grassroots election rights advocates, while favoring
phone interviews with the very Democrats being denounced in the front of the
Above all, the core of evidence that the election was stolen in Ohio 2004 comes
from some 500 sworn statements and signed affidavits taken by people of all
political parties, including two Republican hearings officers, in the weeks
after the election. Anyone truly committed to finding out what happened here
needs to start with that huge body of evidence.
As MoJo points out, none of this has been made easier by the "abandon
ship" of the biggest DINO of all, John Kerry. Kerry had $7 million in the
bank earmarked to "count every vote" and was apparently losing by
just 136,000 Ohio votes with more than 250,000 still uncounted when he turned
tail and conceded. Even Blackwell's corrupt, virtually meaningless first fake
recount dropped Bush's official tally by 18,000 votes.
The Democrats have since attacked the election protection movement here through
a lawyer named Daniel Hoffheimer who comes from none other than the stalwart
Cincinnati Republican law firm of Taft, Stettinius et. al. MoJo quotes another
Kerry/DINO lawyer Michael O'Grady, counsel to the state Democratic Party, who
argues that for Ohio to have been stolen, the entire GOP would have had to be
"conspiratorial," while the Democrats were "dumb as rocks."
In fact, that's an assessment many activists in Ohio heartily endorse, though
you might add the word "inert" to the description of the Democrats.
O'Grady claims, for example, that an impossible vote count in three southern
Ohio counties that gave Bush his entire margin of victory can be explained by
a feminist outpouring for an African-American court candidate who ran zero campaign
in those counties. But the presumption is that those same feminists somehow
didn't bother to vote for Kerry over George W. Bush. No local student of that
election could begin to take such an assessment seriously.
Or how about the quote from Chris Rakocy, a "tech specialist" about
those notorious touchscreens in Mahoning County where voters who chose Kerry
saw Bush light up. Rakocy says that problem was "only" on 18 of 1,148
machines, and that it was corrected early.
But Rakocy stands alone against dozens of sworn statements and affidavits confirming
that the problem went on all day, and was never fixed, and may have involved
far more machines than 18, and not only in Mahoning County but also in Franklin.
Even at that, in heavily Democratic Youngstown (not to mention Columbus), just
18 machines could have accounted for switching thousands of votes. And, in fact,
Kerry's margins in both Youngstown and Columbus were suspiciously light.
And what would Mother Jones herself do to machines that disenfranchised even
one voter, no matter what the apparent impact on the ultimate vote count? Why
is the magazine named for her discounting the you-couldn't-make-this-one-up
reality of voters pushing one candidate's name on a touchscreen and seeing another's
name light up, time after time after time? Or are we taking this---and her---all
Then there's the song and dance from Warren Mitofsky. The father of exit polls
saw his work used to overturn a stolen election in Ukraine just prior to the
American vote. But when his poll-taking here showed John Kerry with a nationwide
margin of 1.5 million votes, somehow Mitofsky jumped ship on his own decades
Exit polls funded by six major news organizations showed Kerry carrying Ohio,
Iowa, New Mexico and Nevada as late as 12:20 am on Wednesday morning, well after
balloting stopped even in Alaska and Hawaii. These four "purple states"
gave the election to the "blue" Democrats, then miraculously switched
to "red" for Bush, giving him the White House once again.
Given all that's known about exit polls---and it's a lot---the odds on one
state switching like that are about one in one hundred. For four, it's a virtual
statistical impossibility. Add the fact that not one, not four, but TEN of eleven
swing states showed drastic shifts from Kerry to Bush and you enter the realm
of, well, a stolen election.
Add huge, unexplained shifts from pre-election polls to post-election vote
counts in crucial 2002 Senatorial races in Georgia, Minnesota and Colorado,
then remember what happened in Florida 2000, and examine the basic Bush attitude
toward democracy itself, and you've got a pattern to say the least. And an obvious
prescription for one-party rule as far as the eye can see.
Except when you are dealing with America's Democratic Party in 2004 and with
reportage that relies on a few phone calls and a disheartening lack of grassroots
perspective. If all politics is local, as Tip O'Neill well knew, then so are
all vote counts.
Our first article predicting what would happen in Ohio 2004 was published many
months before the election in, of all places, MotherJones.com. We warned that
electronic voting machines deployed by the likes of Diebold could give Ohio
and thus the nation to George W. Bush. Wally O'Dell, Diebold's infamous CEO,
pledged to deliver Ohio's electoral votes to Bush in 2004, and all evidence
points to the fact that he at least helped.
What we missed in addition was the myriad clever tricks the GOP would bring
to bear in pulling this off. Ohio has a long history as a test market. New products
like white bread and spam are brought here first, to see how they'll fly with
America at large.
In Ohio 2004, scores of tools for stealing an American election were tried
and proven out. Outside reporters have come here again and again to pull at
this one and tear at that one. Almost always, they get even that wrong. And
almost always, they fail to see the bigger picture.
If we have a "know it all" attitude, as is sometimes charged, it's
because we were (and are) here, we saw it happen, we witnessed the seven-hour
waits and the denials of the absentee ballots, and we took the testimony of
the hundreds who later went under oath.
And we see more unravel every day. Conspiracy theories happen sometimes when
actual conspiracies occur. The stakes involved, the players on both sides and
the events that are out there plain as day are all of a piece that's simply
too obvious for anyone on the ground here to miss.
Hertsgaard has the good sense to mention indictments that have recently come
down on election thieves in Cuyahoga County. We know that to be the tip of the
What matters now is whether the GOP will be allowed to repeat nationwide in
2006 and 2008 what they saw they could get away with in Ohio 2004.
Election theft skeptics tend to conclude their put-downs by urging we forget
about the vote-count stuff and concentrate on coming up with candidates so good
that "the election won't be close enough to steal."
Having seen what we saw here, knowing what Mother Jones is reporting about
the Democratic attacks on Paul Hackett, and about the loser instinct ingrained
in the Dems' DLC/DNA, we must charitably describe such a conclusion as being
profoundly wishful thinking.
Someday we may indeed have candidates far worthier than Al Gore and John Kerry.
But they both won the presidency of the United States, however corruptible their
margins of victory.
We need to guarantee that if someone worthwhile and willing to fight ever does
come along, we will have a left that's prepared to make sure the votes are fairly
As Rev. Jesse Jackson put it while speaking to election protection activists
here, "We can afford to lose an election. We can't afford to lose our democracy."
Who would agree more strongly than Tom Paine and Mother Jones?