The Bewildered Herd
"The public must be put in its place, so that each of us may live free of the trampling and
roar of a bewildered herd."

                        - Walter Lippmann, Public Opinion, 1922
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Wednesday, May 11, 2005
The Next Bush Ad
This is freaking hilarious.

Monday, December 06, 2004
From The Brad Blog: Election Fraud, What a Shock!
THE BRAD BLOG: "WHISTLEBLOWER AFFIDAVIT: Programmer Built Vote Rigging Prototype at Republican Congressman's Request!". I'm sure this won't be the last of these stories but here's a well documented one. I'm sure this sort of thing went on in virtually every precinct in the country. Little by little, perhaps it will all come to light, but I have to remember how gullible people can be and how unwilling the mainstream media is to even look into these irregularities.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004
"F" the South

OK, F%#k the South has a little off-color language but the message is quite compelling nonetheless. Paul Krugman says essentially the same thing, albeit more eloquently, is his excllent essay entitled Blue Americans, which appears on page 177 of his excellent collection of essays, The Great Unraveling. Or you can read it here at Common Dreams.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004
Double Standard for Election Standards
According to today's New York Times, as reported on, "the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the European Parliament, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and the Council of Europe - released a preliminary report on Monday declaring that the election [in the Ukraine] did not meet democratic standards." There were many reported abuses but that, in and of itself, is not surprising or remarkable.

Here's where the story turns strange indeed. One of the election complaints surrounds the discrepency between exit polls and "official" results. The observers' findings were seconded by Republican Senator Richard G. Lugar of Indiana, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

"Citing the disturbing fact that official results diverged sharply from a range of surveys of voters at polling places, Lugar said, 'A concerted and forceful program of election-day fraud and abuse was enacted with either the leadership or cooperation of governmental authorities.'" Well said, but a little strange to hear from a Republican. No mention was made that the same conditions he complained about in the Ukraine also were present in Ohio, Florida, New Mexico and virtually every state and precinct where e-voting touch screens were used. These discrepencies are exactly the same as the ones the talking heads talked about early election night and then just as quickly abandoned when they could not explain the anomalies without confronting uncomfortable truths.

So in the Ukraine they were a problem, but not here in the land of the free, the birthplace of modern democracy. Here the exit poll scandals were nothing to concern ourselves with. Ok, Bewildered Herd, nothing to worry about here, Go back to bed, America.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004
This Time, They're Right

OK, it's a spoof, but I for one would love to see the lying mainstream propaganda magazine really tell the truth for a change.

Monday, November 08, 2004
The Optimism of Uncertainty
The Optimism of Uncertainty, an older essay by Howard Zinn reads as if it could have been written the day after Tuesday's election. If offers the best expression of hope that I've read in the days since our election was stolen once again by those in power.

Here Comes the Truth, Right on Schedule
For the Dissident Voice, what I've been saying all along in an article by Bob Fitrakis entitled None Dare Call it Voter Suppression and Fraud.

Friday, November 05, 2004
The Answer?
Here's a comparison of each state's average I.Q. and who they voted for in this election. You may notice a trend. Is this the answer to the question posed by Britain's Daily Mirror?

1 Connecticut 113 Kerry
2 Massachusetts 111 Kerry
3 New Jersey 111 Kerry
4 New York 109 Kerry
5 Rhode Island 107 Kerry
6 Hawaii 106 Kerry
7 Maryland 105 Kerry
8 New Hampshire 105 Kerry
9 Illinois 104 Kerry
10 Delaware 103 Kerry
11 Minnesota 102 Kerry
12 Vermont 102 Kerry
13 Washington 102 Kerry
14 California 101 Kerry
15 Pennsylvania 101 Kerry
16 Maine 100 Kerry
17 Virginia 100 Bush
18 Wisconsin 100 Kerry
19 Colorado 99 Bush
20 Iowa 99 Bush
21 Michigan 99 Kerry
22 Nevada 99 Bush
23 Ohio 99 Bush
24 Oregon 99 Kerry
25 Alaska 98 Bush
26 Florida 98 Bush
27 Missouri 98 Bush
28 Kansas 96 Bush
29 Nebraska 95 Bush
30 Arizona 94 Bush
31 Indiana 94 Bush
32 Tennessee 94 Bush
33 North Carolina 93 Bush
34 West Virginia 93 Bush
35 Arkansas 92 Bush
36 Georgia 92 Bush
37 Kentucky 92 Bush
38 New Mexico 92 Bush
39 North Dakota 92 Bush
40 Texas 92 Bush
41 Alabama 90 Bush
42 Louisiana 90 Bush
43 Montana 90 Bush
44 Oklahoma 90 Bush
45 South Dakota 90 Bush
46 South Carolina 89 Bush
47 Wyoming 89 Bush
48 Idaho 87 Bush
49 Utah 87 Bush
50 Mississippi 85 Bush

The I.Q. data came from a book entitled I.Q. and the Wealth of Nations by Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen. A web table with additional info about the data is also listed here.

A Good Question
As usual, we're the laughingstock of the world. Britain's Daily Mirror asks the question we've all been asking ourselves.

NY Times Kills Bush Wired Story
This will come as no shock to those of us who have been following the Is Bush Wired? story for some weeks now. According to FAIR, Fairness and Accuracy in Media, the New York Times killed a story about it four days before the election Tuesday! Would it have made a difference? Who knows, but after rambling around the blog circuit and online news sources like, to suddenly be reported by a mainstream newspaper like the Times would have meant many more people to know about it. And for many peope, who trust the mainstream media, it would have made it much to dismiss it. This also may have led to other media outlets picking it up and forcing the White House to answer the allegations with something other than "bad tailoring." But read it for yourself, here's FAIR's Bush Bulge story.

Thursday, November 04, 2004
Why I Won't Give Up
OK, I'm not letting go of this until I see a satisfactory explanation. Early on election night, the talking heads were abuzz with talk of exit polls but as they became increasingly off compared to the precinct reporting, talk of it swiftly disappeared. After the last election, diligent reporters like Greg Palast (in other words, outside the mainstream media) reviewed the exit polling data and compared it to precincts across the country that used e-voting touch screens. What they found was that where no paper trail was created there were wide anomalies between the exit polls and the vote tally the machines came up with. Where there were paper trails, no anomalies. Mere coincidence? Only if you're an idiot, especially when you learn that the companies that create and manufacture the machines are overwhelmingly republican supporters. This election, many more precincts used touch screens with no paper trail and absolutely no way to do a recount. Yet, the anomalies began showing up right away but were just as quickly swept under the rug as nothing to concern ourselves with. Uh, huh. Right.

Another important point to keep in mind is that prior to the use of electronic voting, exit polling has always been an extremely accurate predictor, a fact ignored in the discussions in this year's election night coverage. The votemaster at Electoral Vote Predictor received a lot of e-mail about this problem and posted the following.
If we go to computerized voting without a paper trail and the machines can be set up to cheat, that is the end of our democracy. Switching 5 votes per machine is probably all it would take to throw an election and nobody would ever see it unless someone compares the computer totals and exit polls. I am still very concerned about the remark of Walden O'Dell a Republican fund raiser and CEO of Diebold, which makes voting machines saying he would deliver Ohio for President Bush. Someone should look into this carefully. The major newspapers actually recounted all the votes in Florida last time. Maybe this year's project should be looking at the exit polls. If there are discrepancies between the exit polls and the final results in touch-screen counties but not in paper-ballot counties, that would be a signal.
For a better technical explanation of this problem, check out the Open Voting Consortium, an organization trying to find a solution to this before it's too late. Also, a wealth of information is at Black Box Voting.

If you think I'm a conspiracy nut, indulge me. If I and the other people troubled by this potential catastrophe are wrong, what harm is there in verifying that the election did indeed reflect the true will of the people. If I am wrong, I promise to shut up about it. But if my suspicions are indeed correct, then our so-called democracy has a bigger problem than most of us can even fathom. But wouldn't it be nice not to have any lingering doubts? I for one, would sleep better at night.

A Reasonable Solution?
I'm not sure how my friends in Canada will like this idea, since we mess things up wherever we go, but maybe if we promise to be good and clean up after ourselves they'll let us stay.

No Longer a Christian
Here's a great essay about why religious fundamentalism is bad for people and other living things. It's by a freelance writer in New Mexico. The essay is entitled No Longer a Christian.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004
The Death of Common Sense
OK, the Democrats have folded like the a cheap suit ... again! They appear to have learned nothing in the four years since the coup d'etat in 2000. The neo-cons stole the last election, in part at least, because Gore and the democrats were unwilling to keep fighting for the truth and because they underestimated the lengths to which the neo-cons would go to advance their agenda. So what happened this time around. Immediate concession. No questioning of the discrepancy between exit polls and the results. No discussion of the fact that exit polling had, prior to the use of electronic voting, been extremely accurate. No comparison of the exit poll discrepancies and the use of e-voting. I'm listening right now to John Edwards say all the right things about the importance of every vote counting. So will that mean they'll wait until all votes are counted? Nope, here comes John Kerry to piss on all those uncounted votes and concede, while at the same time continuing to talk about how important counting the votes are. This is why I hate the two-party system. Any minute now we'll start hearing about moving on and putting the divisiveness of the election behind us. In other words, you've done your civic duty by voting, now go back to bed, America. We'll take it from here. Go back to your soap operas, celebrity worship, sporting spectacles, and trying to feed your family. We can count on the media to deliver the press releases to us, the bewildered herd, and keep us shielded from uncomfortable truths. Except, of course, when they make us feel afraid in order to sway opinion in their direction, such as the lying that kept California's three-strikes law intact (we wouldn't want to stop people going to jail for the rest of their lives for stealing a loaf of bread, would we? Not while there's money to be made in building prisons.) and gay marriage illegal in eleven states.

Am I so far outside the mainstream now that I simply can't understand what's in people's hearts? Where is common sense? Has it finally died? Why would 51% of the voting public continue to support economic policies that give everything to the richest 1%? Why would 51% of the voting public continue to support killing our brave soldiers and innocent civilians for the sake of oil? Why would 51% of the voting public continue to support destroying the environment in which we all live? Why would 51% of the voting public continue to support being lied to at an unprecedented level. I can't remember ever feeling so angry at my fellow Americans, to the idiots who couldn't be bothered to vote, the idiots who voted against their own interests, and the idiots who voted to send their sons and daughters to be drafted and killed for private interests. Of course, that assumes the election results are indeed the true will of people which I'm not willing to concede just yet until more information comes to light.

It's a black day in the Brookston household today. And with the neo-cons in power again for another four years, I'm truly afraid for the future our nation and especially for the future of our children. This is not simply the case of one party over another. This is a true revolutionary shift in power that places all of us, the people, as second class citizens whose opinions will not matter one iota. Corporate interests and the interests of the super-rich will inform every decision for the next four years. And we let it happen. It's not Orwellian, it's much more like Huxley's Brave New World. But it's neither brave nor new. We're entering, as Morris Berman so articulately stated it in his brilliant The Twilight of American Culture, a new dark age where religious fundamentalism, feudal-like power structures (corporations), and a peculiar reverence for ignorance are the order of day. And we the people are nothing but a quaint notion.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004
Truth in Labelling
This just in from a friend in Canada where today is known as "Fingers Crossed Day." Thanks, Stephen. Fingers crossed here, as well.

Thursday, October 28, 2004
The Bewildered Herd
"The public must be put in its place, so that each of us may live free of the trampling and roar of a bewildered herd." So said the "Dean of American Journalists," Walter Lippmann in his 1922 tome Public Opinion. I say, fuck him. As a member of the herd, I don't think my place is any different than his and what he's saying is a perversion of democratic principles in favor or an oligarchy where elite power controls a government rather than the people. This is exactly the situation we as Americans find ourselves in today because of elitists like Lippmann and many others. This is my very little attempt to confront the propaganda in our society and expose its all too public secrets. Public because our media is part of this elite system and looks after their interests, which not coincidently are their own as well, in distorting, omitting and misleading the public they're supposed to inform. It's not a conspiracy per se, simply the way our society currently operates.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004
Voting - It's the Least You Can Do
Laura, a friend of my wife who is active in the Democratic political scene out in Minnesota, recently described two problems she sees with our political system: liberals not getting involved in a meaningful way and our plurality voting system. I thought it summed up the issues pretty well and thought I'd share.
To start with - QUIT THINKING THAT VOTING IS THE END-ALL-BE-ALL OF CIVIC PARTICIPATION!! Voting is where you start, not where you end. Knocked on doors this election? Ever called your state legislator to tell them how much things suck at you kids' school or about your neighbor who can't get health care? How about writing a letter to the editor to say why you think our tax system is fucked up? And then enocuraging your friends to do the same. THAT is how you make a difference - you lobby for it. The other side does that. I've seen politicians votes change on a bill because I talked 3 people into calling to talk to them about it. If your answer to the above questions is 'no', than I honestly think you have barely any more right to bitch than the person who didn't vote at all. Again, voting is a minimum.

But how do we get even more voices heard - those that will never be represented by a mainstream liberal party like the Democrats even in our best-case scenario. Short of converting to a parliamentary system with proportional representation, the answer is instant run-off voting.

Instant runoff voting allows for better voter choice and wider voter participation by accommodating multiple candidates in single seat races and assuring that a "spoiler"-effect will not result in undemocratic outcomes. Instant runoff voting allows all voters to vote for their favorite candidate without fear of helping elect their least favorite candidate, and it ensures that the winner enjoys true support from a majority of the voters. Plurality voting, used in most American elections, does not meet these basic requirements for a fair election system that promotes wide participation, and traditional runoff elections are costly to the taxpayer and often suffer from low voter turnout.

Instant runoff voting is a winner-take-all system that ensures that a winning candidate will receive a majority of votes rather than a simple plurality. In plurality voting -- as used in most U.S. elections -- candidates can win with less than a majority when there are more than two candidates running for the office. In contrast, IRV elects a majority candidate while still allowing voters to support a candidate who is not a front-runner. IRV is a sensible method in single winner elections.

As long as our system breaks it down to a simple winner and loser, a vote for a minor party candidate is, by definition, a wasted vote. This would encourage people to take a longer look at minor parties and encourage more coalition building between different interests.
Thanks, Laura!

Thursday, October 21, 2004
My E-Mail to Ralph Nader
I sent the following letter to Ralph Nader this morning via e-mail. I realize it will make no difference but it felt good to at least try.

Dear Mr. Nader,

I have been a supporter of you and in fact voted for you in 2000. And I very much believe in your overall message that the corporatization of America needs to be stopped. Also, in years past I agreed that the Democratic and Republican choices were two sides of the same coin and that it made little difference which candidate won since they would both serve corporate interests. This year, however, is different. This year there is a chasm of a difference between the centrist Kerry and the so-far-to-the-right-it's-scary Bush that I believe your candidacy is actually hurting the country you claim to love. For you to not throw your support toward Kerry makes me downright angry. There are Republican volunteers (with republican money) who have been helping you get on the ballot in many states. Everybody seems to know why they're doing that except you. I'm sure I feel just as disenfranchised as many of your supporters but the importance of removing Bush and, more importantly, his neo-con overlords (who are in thrall to the corporate powers you claim to oppose) cannot be overstated. You must come out publicly NOW and ask your supporters to vote for John Kerry. Otherwise, the freedom to oppose our government may no longer exist (thanks to proposed strengthening of the mis-named patriot act) and your effectiveness in fighting corporate power will become seditious. We have to fight the battles we can win right now or we will not be able to fight the battles that need fighting later. I urge you to help John Kerry defeat George W. Bush and get this country back to a place where your message can make a difference.

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