Damned Heretics

Condemned by the established, but very often right

I am Nicolaus Copernicus, and I approve of this blog

I am Richard Feynman and I approve of this blog

Qualified outsiders and maverick insiders are often right about the need to replace received wisdom in science and society, as the history of the Nobel prize shows. This blog exists to back the best of them in their uphill assault on the massively entrenched edifice of resistance to and prejudice against reviewing, let alone revising, ruling ideas. In support of such qualified dissenters and courageous heretics we search for scientific paradigms and other established beliefs which may be maintained only by the power and politics of the status quo, comparing them with academic research and the published experimental and investigative record.

We especially defend and support the funding of honest, accomplished, independent minded and often heroic scientists, inventors and other original thinkers and their right to free speech and publication against the censorship, mudslinging, false arguments, ad hominem propaganda, overwhelming crowd prejudice and internal science politics of the paradigm wars of cancer, AIDS, evolution, global warming, cosmology, particle physics, macroeconomics, health and medicine, diet and nutrition.

HONOR ROLL OF SCIENTIFIC TRUTHSEEKERS

Henry Bauer, Peter Breggin , Harvey Bialy, Giordano Bruno, Erwin Chargaff, Nicolaus Copernicus, Francis Crick, Paul Crutzen, Marie Curie, Rebecca Culshaw, Freeman Dyson, Peter Duesberg, Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman, John Fewster, Galileo Galilei, Alec Gordon, James Hansen, Edward Jenner, Benjamin Jesty, Michio Kaku, Adrian Kent, Ernst Krebs, Thomas Kuhn, Serge Lang, John Lauritsen, Mark Leggett, Richard Lindzen, Lynn Margulis, Barbara McClintock, George Miklos, Marco Mamone Capria, Peter Medawar, Kary Mullis, Linus Pauling, Eric Penrose, Max Planck, Rainer Plaga, David Rasnick, Sherwood Rowland, Carl Sagan, Otto Rossler, Fred Singer, Thomas Szasz, Alfred Wegener, Edward O. Wilson, James Watson.
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Many people would die rather than think – in fact, they do so. – Bertrand Russell.

Skepticism is dangerous. That’s exactly its function, in my view. It is the business of skepticism to be dangerous. And that’s why there is a great reluctance to teach it in schools. That’s why you don’t find a general fluency in skepticism in the media. On the other hand, how will we negotiate a very perilous future if we don’t have the elementary intellectual tools to ask searching questions of those nominally in charge, especially in a democracy? – Carl Sagan (The Burden of Skepticism, keynote address to CSICOP Annual Conference, Pasadena, April 3/4, 1982).

It is really important to underscore that everything we’re talking about tonight could be utter nonsense. – Brian Greene (NYU panel on Hidden Dimensions June 5 2010, World Science Festival)

I am Albert Einstein, and I heartily approve of this blog, insofar as it seems to believe both in science and the importance of intellectual imagination, uncompromised by out of date emotions such as the impulse toward conventional religious beliefs, national aggression as a part of patriotism, and so on.   As I once remarked, the further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it seems to me that the path to genuine religiosity does not lie through the fear of life, and the fear of death, and blind faith, but through striving after rational knowledge.   Certainly the application of the impulse toward blind faith in science whereby authority is treated as some kind of church is to be deplored.  As I have also said, the only thing ever interfered with my learning was my education. My name as you already perceive without a doubt is George Bernard Shaw, and I certainly approve of this blog, in that its guiding spirit appears to be blasphemous in regard to the High Church doctrines of science, and it flouts the censorship of the powers that be, and as I have famously remarked, all great truths begin as blasphemy, and the first duty of the truthteller is to fight censorship, and while I notice that its seriousness of purpose is often alleviated by a satirical irony which sometimes borders on the facetious, this is all to the good, for as I have also famously remarked, if you wish to be a dissenter, make certain that you frame your ideas in jest, otherwise they will seek to kill you.  My own method was always to take the utmost trouble to find the right thing to say, and then to say it with the utmost levity. (Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt for Life magazine) One should as a rule respect public opinion in so far as is necessary to avoid starvation and to keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond this is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny, and is likely to interfere with happiness in all kinds of ways. – Bertrand Russell, Conquest of Happiness (1930) ch. 9

(Click for more Unusual Quotations on Science and Belief)

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Obama wins election!! Fearful cynics confounded

With Pennsylvania and Ohio in the bag, election decided, short of midnight reversal

Decency triumphs, McCain appears to blame Palin, gives gracious speech

Will 2004 be repeated as Obama parties? No chance!

obama_for_president.jpgTues Nov 4 9.10pm: President-to-be Barack Hussein Obama has now won the US presidential election on the face of it, since both Pennsylvania and Ohio, home of Joe the Plumber, have been called for Obama by none other than Fox News. If right that means McCain cannot win.

Obama supporters in Grant Park, Chicago are cheering wildly, with McCain supporters still unaware of this setback since they are being entertained by a loud country singer.

McCain is reportedly no longer so enthusiastic with reporters about his choice of Sarah Palin as he has hitherto pretended.

The issue now becomes, can the prediction be proved false by a little sleight of hand in the internal workings of the new electronic system now counting the votes of 32.6% of the electorate?

A report commissioned by the Ohio secretary of state and written by Penn State and the University of Pennsylvania listed numerous potential vulnerabilities for machines built by Election Systems & Software, Hart InterCivic, and Premier Election Systems.

The report stated, “All of the studied systems possess critical security failures that render their technical controls insufficient to guarantee a trustworthy election.” CNET News reports that the conclusion was reached by the researchers after finding multiple ways a hacker could insert viruses, erase logs, produce incorrect vote totals, or block some or all totals and keep voters from voting.

The makers of the voting machines claim that many of the possible vulnerabilities are overly theoretical or have been fixed with hardware and software updates. Despite the worries of voters and researchers, the makers of voting machines are quick to point out that no breach of an electronic voting machine has ever been recorded. (Many Worry About E-Voting as Election Day Nears – Nov 3 – DailyTech Shane McGlaun blog<

Innumerable citizens are monitoring the polls many of them uploading video to YouTube courtesy of cameras distributed by PBS. But they are not going to be able to catch any hacking of the counts.

E-Voting’s Biggest Test
In Several Key States, Electronic Voting Machines Have Already Flipped Votes From One Candidate to Another
By Kurt Kleiner Nov. 4, 2008—

As the US heads into a historic and contentious presidential election, concerns over electronic voting technology could be about to stir up controversy over the legitimacy of some results.

Ironically, electronic voting machines were meant to make elections more reliable and secure. After the 2000 presidential election, when spoiled ballots and “hanging chads” sent the disputed result all the way to the Supreme Court, Congress began dispensing billions of dollars to help states replace punch-card ballots with more-sophisticated voting technology. Since then, however, concerns over the trustworthiness of electronic voting system have steadily grown.

Already in several key states, early voting has seen touch-screen voting machines “flip” votes from one candidate to another. Some voters casting early ballots in Virginia, Tennessee, and Texas say that machines have flipped their votes. All were able eventually to correct the mistake, but this has added a sense of urgency to long-held unease over the security and reliability of electronic voting systems.

Earlier this month, a report from Election Data Services (EDS), a Washington, DC-based firm that tracks election administration, said that electronic voting machine usage will drop this year for the first time ever. In Tuesday’s election, 32.6 percent of all ballots will be cast using an electronic voting machine, compared to 37.6 percent in 2006, the equivalent of 10 million fewer voters. “Basically, the activists and the political scientists have kind-of won that battle,” says EDS president Kimball Brace. “Most election administrators don’t find it worthwhile trying to fight the battle and are trying to move on.”

Nonetheless, that percentage will still be higher than it was during either of the last two presidential election races: in 2000, 22.0 percent of votes were cast electronically, compared to 29.2 percent in 2004. Also, several key swing states, including Ohio, Indiana, and Nevada, will rely heavily on electronic voting. Ohio and Indiana will use a combination of optically scanned paper ballots and electronic voting machines, while Nevada will rely almost entirely on electronic voting, according to the same EDS study.

Meanwhile, the political situation in Ohio couldn’t be more tense. Republicans and Democrats are already wrangling in court about voter registration issues and so, if the race is particularly tight, the state could well be the scene of fierce legal action centered on electronic voting irregularities.

E-voting machines are receiving an unprecedented amount of attention from experts and activists. Grassroots organizations such as Black Box Voting and Video the Vote are urging voters to monitor the election and have already publicized problems with some voting machines, including touch-screen vote flipping.

Many computer security experts have previously raised concerns about the reliability and accountability of these machines, an issue that is complicated, they say, by the fact that they are manufactured by a number of different private companies and make use of proprietary (or undisclosed) computer code. In 2004, Avi Rubin of Johns Hopkins University, Dan Wallach of Rice University, and colleagues published an analysis of an electronic voting machine used in Maryland and concluded that the machine was “far below even the most minimal security standards applicable in other contexts.”

The manufacturer, Diebold Election Systems, now Premier Election Solutions, disputes the conclusion. Nevertheless, in 2007, the Maryland General Assembly voted to move back to paper ballots, although it will still use e-voting machines in Tuesday’s election.

More recently, in a review commissioned by the state of California, researchers at the University of California found that electronic voting machines used in that state had security issues that made them vulnerable to vote tampering. The report prompted California to require that all voting machines also produce a paper trail.

Wallach of Rice University says that touch screens can often be poorly calibrated, causing the on-screen image to be misaligned with the touch-sensitive layer of the screen. Even a properly calibrated machine may not work well for an especially tall or short person because of their angle of view, he adds.

Critics’ greatest concern about electronic voting machines, however, is that they might be vulnerable to fraud. “I think it’s the complexity and the lack of transparency,” says Steven J. Murdoch, a computer security researcher at the University of Cambridge. “It’s certainly not apparent to the ordinary voter how it works, or whether it can be tampered with.”

Murdoch thinks the move towards electronic voting was driven in part by “modernization for modernization’s sake. When I was calling this a bad idea, I was being called a Luddite, but I’ve spent most of my life working with computers.”

However, David Beirne, executive director of the Election Technology Council, which represents voting-machine manufacturers, says that electronic systems are designed to solve real problems. He says that paper ballots are expensive, cumbersome, and often “spoiled” by voters who mark them incorrectly.

“Unfortunately, I think the criticisms have reached such a point that no voting system can satisfy the critics,” Beirne says. He also complains that critics often present unlikely scenarios, or ones that could easily be defended against with good management practices. And they don’t compare the machines against the vulnerabilities of paper ballots.

Charles Stewart, a professor of political science at MIT who has studied voting technology, agrees that paper ballots are also vulnerable to fraud. “Right now, we know a hundred different ways to corrupt paper systems that any idiot could perform. I don’t know of anything that any idiot could perform on voting machines,” he says. But Stewart also argues that the industry has been slow to address real security concerns that have been apparent for years.

A number of technological schemes have been suggested for fixing security problems related to electronic voting. The most common is to require that each machine generate a voter-verified paper ballot and to audit a sample of paper ballots after an election. Some states (including California) have moved towards this method.

Another proposal is to use encryption to ensure voters and observers that votes haven’t been tampered with. In one such scheme, developed by Wallach and colleagues and called VoteBox, when voters completed a ballot, their identity and a record of their vote would immediately be encrypted and posted online. Each machine would also issue an encryption key to voters so that the record could be decrypted to make sure the vote had been recorded correctly.

Copyright © 2008 ABC News

Call 1 866 OUR VOTE at msnbc if you detect irregularity in voting. But it seems that the only indication of true internal hacking is an incredible gap between exit polling and official count.

Critics’ greatest concern about electronic voting machines, however, is that they might be vulnerable to fraud. “I think it’s the complexity and the lack of transparency,” says Steven J. Murdoch, a computer security researcher at the University of Cambridge. “It’s certainly not apparent to the ordinary voter how it works, or whether it can be tampered with.”

Murdoch thinks the move towards electronic voting was driven in part by “modernization for modernization’s sake. When I was calling this a bad idea, I was being called a Luddite, but I’ve spent most of my life working with computers.”

Too big to reverse!

However, now it appears that Obama’s landslide will be too big to reverse. The InTrade betting now (10.46 pm NYC) is 375 Obama to 142 McCain.

A Slate blogger is already publishing under the banner “President Obama – He won Ohio. He’s going to win the White House”:
president-obama-wins.jpg

Obama Wins the Presidency
Even as visions of a mega-landslide victory for Democrats faded with McCain victories in dubious tossups like Georgia and North Dakota, Obama’s core strategy paid off: Win all of John Kerry’s states from 2004 and pick up a handful of moderate states that elected George W. Bush.
An Obama win in Ohio preserves the state’s role as an electoral kingmaker. McCain had virtually no chance of winning the election without it, and Ohio has almost always voted for the winning candidate in recent memory.
Just how dramatic this year’s political reorganization turns out to be depends on more final results. Virginia and Indiana are both still too close to call, and many Western states are still wrapping up their voting. While it’s still entirely possible that McCain can pull out a respectable loss in this election, a win would require a miracle.- Chris Wilson. (9.27pm)

Won! Obama has at least 284 electoral votes – 11.03pm, NBC.

McCain concedes in call to Obama 11.13pm.

pb055783.JPGJim Lehrer announces that McCain will speak at the Biltmore any minute and is interrupted by a producer on his earpiece and wrongly informed that he had said Obama instead of McCain, and handsomely apologizes, saying “I misspoke badly” even though, he says, “I thought I said McCain.” Which he did.

Lehrer says he finds Obama’s victory “inspiring”. David Brooks says he faces a “grueling scarcity” over the next two years which will test his character and resolve to make the most difficult decisions.

McCain speaks to the crowd on the lawn at his campaign headquarters, Hotel Biltmore, Phoenix, Arizona, reverting to his former self and gracefully endorsing the step forward America has taken in electing an African American to the Presidency. He says he extends his sympathy to Obama for losing his grandmother but his faith assures him that “she is at rest in the presence of our Creator and so very proud of the good man she helped raise.”

He pledges to do all in his power to help Obama to meet the challenges he will face, and to find ways to come together and bridge our differences as fellow Americans.

Thanks Governor Palin as an impressive new voice in American politics. We can all look forward to her service to the Republican party and to her country.

“A lost election will never mean more to me than the privilege of your faith and friendship, ” he tells the crestfallen faces. “I don’t know what more we could have done to win this election. Every candidate makes mistakes. But I won’t spend a moment regretting what might have been. This campaign will remain the great honor of my life. I thank the American people for giving me a fair hearing before deciding that Senator Obama and my old friend Senator Joe Biden should have the honor of leading us for the next four years. (Boos. Male voice: He’s a bum!). Please. Today I was a candidate for the highest office in the country that I love so much, and tonight I remain her servant. That is blessing enough for anyone and I thank the people of Arizona for it.” (Chants of USA USA). I wish Godspeed to the man who was my foremr opponet. and who will be my President. Americans never surrender. We never hide from history. We make history! Thank you and God Bless you and God Bless America! 11.21/9 pm.

“Vintage John McCain!” says Mark Shields. (Hit this Show Tab for Text of speech)Text of McCain’s concession speech
By The Associated Press – 3 days ago
Text of Republican John McCain’s concession speech Tuesday in Phoenix, as transcribed by CQ Transcriptions.
___
MCCAIN: Thank you. Thank you, my friends. Thank you for coming here on this beautiful Arizona evening.
My friends, we have — we have come to the end of a long journey. The American people have spoken, and they have spoken clearly.
A little while ago, I had the honor of calling Senator Barack Obama to congratulate him.
(BOOING)
Please.
To congratulate him on being elected the next president of the country that we both love.
In a contest as long and difficult as this campaign has been, his success alone commands my respect for his ability and perseverance. But that he managed to do so by inspiring the hopes of so many millions of Americans who had once wrongly believed that they had little at stake or little influence in the election of an American president is something I deeply admire and commend him for achieving.
This is an historic election, and I recognize the special significance it has for African-Americans and for the special pride that must be theirs tonight.
I’ve always believed that America offers opportunities to all who have the industry and will to seize it. Senator Obama believes that, too.
But we both recognize that, though we have come a long way from the old injustices that once stained our nation’s reputation and denied some Americans the full blessings of American citizenship, the memory of them still had the power to wound.
A century ago, President Theodore Roosevelt’s invitation of Booker T. Washington to dine at the White House was taken as an outrage in many quarters.
America today is a world away from the cruel and frightful bigotry of that time. There is no better evidence of this than the election of an African-American to the presidency of the United States.
Let there be no reason now … Let there be no reason now for any American to fail to cherish their citizenship in this, the greatest nation on Earth.
Senator Obama has achieved a great thing for himself and for his country. I applaud him for it, and offer him my sincere sympathy that his beloved grandmother did not live to see this day. Though our faith assures us she is at rest in the presence of her creator and so very proud of the good man she helped raise.
Senator Obama and I have had and argued our differences, and he has prevailed. No doubt many of those differences remain.
These are difficult times for our country. And I pledge to him tonight to do all in my power to help him lead us through the many challenges we face.
I urge all Americans … I urge all Americans who supported me to join me in not just congratulating him, but offering our next president our good will and earnest effort to find ways to come together to find the necessary compromises to bridge our differences and help restore our prosperity, defend our security in a dangerous world, and leave our children and grandchildren a stronger, better country than we inherited.
Whatever our differences, we are fellow Americans. And please believe me when I say no association has ever meant more to me than that.
It is natural. It’s natural, tonight, to feel some disappointment. But tomorrow, we must move beyond it and work together to get our country moving again.
We fought — we fought as hard as we could. And though we feel short, the failure is mine, not yours.
AUDIENCE: No!
MCCAIN: I am so…
AUDIENCE: (CHANTING)
MCCAIN: I am so deeply grateful to all of you for the great honor of your support and for all you have done for me. I wish the outcome had been different, my friends.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: We do, too (OFF-MIKE)
MCCAIN: The road was a difficult one from the outset, but your support and friendship never wavered. I cannot adequately express how deeply indebted I am to you.
I’m especially grateful to my wife, Cindy, my children, my dear mother … my dear mother and all my family, and to the many old and dear friends who have stood by my side through the many ups and downs of this long campaign.
I have always been a fortunate man, and never more so for the love and encouragement you have given me.
You know, campaigns are often harder on a candidate’s family than on the candidate, and that’s been true in this campaign.
All I can offer in compensation is my love and gratitude and the promise of more peaceful years ahead.
I am also — I am also, of course, very thankful to Governor Sarah Palin, one of the best campaigners I’ve ever seen … one of the best campaigners I have ever seen, and an impressive new voice in our party for reform and the principles that have always been our greatest strength … her husband Todd and their five beautiful children … for their tireless dedication to our cause, and the courage and grace they showed in the rough and tumble of a presidential campaign.
We can all look forward with great interest to her future service to Alaska, the Republican Party and our country.
To all my campaign comrades, from Rick Davis and Steve Schmidt and Mark Salter, to every last volunteer who fought so hard and valiantly, month after month, in what at times seemed to be the most challenged campaign in modern times, thank you so much. A lost election will never mean more to me than the privilege of your faith and friendship.
I don’t know — I don’t know what more we could have done to try to win this election. I’ll leave that to others to determine. Every candidate makes mistakes, and I’m sure I made my share of them. But I won’t spend a moment of the future regretting what might have been.
This campaign was and will remain the great honor of my life, and my heart is filled with nothing but gratitude for the experience and to the American people for giving me a fair hearing before deciding that Senator Obama and my old friend Senator Joe Biden should have the honor of leading us for the next four years.
(BOOING)
Please. Please.
I would not — I would not be an American worthy of the name should I regret a fate that has allowed me the extraordinary privilege of serving this country for a half a century.
Today, I was a candidate for the highest office in the country I love so much. And tonight, I remain her servant. That is blessing enough for anyone, and I thank the people of Arizona for it.
AUDIENCE: USA. USA. USA. USA.
MCCAIN: Tonight — tonight, more than any night, I hold in my heart nothing but love for this country and for all its citizens, whether they supported me or Senator Obama — whether they supported me or Senator Obama.
I wish Godspeed to the man who was my former opponent and will be my president. And I call on all Americans, as I have often in this campaign, to not despair of our present difficulties, but to believe, always, in the promise and greatness of America, because nothing is inevitable here.
Americans never quit. We never surrender.
We never hide from history. We make history.
Thank you, and God bless you, and God bless America. Thank you all very much.George Bush calls to congratulate the President elect.

338 Obama 156 McCain 11.39 pm.

Florida falls to Obama. 11.47 pm

pb055264.JPGWith an extraordinary level of adoring veneration visible on many female faces in the crowd (click to enlarge pic) and equally rapt reverence from males Obama speaks, after hugging his daughters and kissing Michelle. We have been and always will be the United States of America. Change has come to America. My opponent has rendered services to this country that most of us cannot even imagine. I would not be standing here without the support of my best friend in the last sixteen years, the rock of our family and the nation’s next first lady Michelle Obama. Sascha and Malia I love you more than you can imagine and you have earned the new puppy that is coming with us to the White House. The road ahead is steep but America I have never been more confident that we will get there. 11.59pm/12.10 am
(Hit this Show Tab for the full Text of speech) August 28, 2008
TRANSCRIPT
Barack Obama’s Acceptance Speech

The following is the transcript of Senator Barack Obama’s acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, as recorded by CQ Transcriptions.

OBAMA: Thank you so much.

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you very much.

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you, everybody.

To — to Chairman Dean and my great friend Dick Durbin, and to all my fellow citizens of this great nation, with profound gratitude and great humility, I accept your nomination for presidency of the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

Let me — let me express — let me express my thanks to the historic slate of candidates who accompanied me on this journey, and especially the one who traveled the farthest, a champion for working Americans and an inspiration to my daughters and to yours, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

(APPLAUSE)

To President Clinton, to President Bill Clinton, who made last night the case for change as only he can make it…

(APPLAUSE)

… to Ted Kennedy, who embodies the spirit of service…

(APPLAUSE)

… and to the next vice president of the United States, Joe Biden, I thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

I am grateful to finish this journey with one of the finest statesmen of our time, a man at ease with everyone from world leaders to the conductors on the Amtrak train he still takes home every night.

To the love of my life, our next first lady, Michelle Obama…

(APPLAUSE)

… and to Malia and Sasha, I love you so much, and I am so proud of you.

(APPLAUSE)

Four years ago, I stood before you and told you my story, of the brief union between a young man from Kenya and a young woman from Kansas who weren’t well-off or well-known, but shared a belief that in America their son could achieve whatever he put his mind to.

It is that promise that’s always set this country apart, that through hard work and sacrifice each of us can pursue our individual dreams, but still come together as one American family, to ensure that the next generation can pursue their dreams, as well. That’s why I stand here tonight. Because for 232 years, at each moment when that promise was in jeopardy, ordinary men and women — students and soldiers, farmers and teachers, nurses and janitors — found the courage to keep it alive.

We meet at one of those defining moments, a moment when our nation is at war, our economy is in turmoil, and the American promise has been threatened once more.

Tonight, more Americans are out of work and more are working harder for less. More of you have lost your homes and even more are watching your home values plummet. More of you have cars you can’t afford to drive, credit cards, bills you can’t afford to pay, and tuition that’s beyond your reach.

These challenges are not all of government’s making. But the failure to respond is a direct result of a broken politics in Washington and the failed policies of George W. Bush.

(APPLAUSE)

America, we are better than these last eight years. We are a better country than this.

(APPLAUSE)

This country is more decent than one where a woman in Ohio, on the brink of retirement, finds herself one illness away from disaster after a lifetime of hard work.

We’re a better country than one where a man in Indiana has to pack up the equipment that he’s worked on for 20 years and watch as it’s shipped off to China, and then chokes up as he explains how he felt like a failure when he went home to tell his family the news.

We are more compassionate than a government that lets veterans sleep on our streets and families slide into poverty…

(APPLAUSE)

… that sits…

(APPLAUSE)

… that sits on its hands while a major American city drowns before our eyes.

(APPLAUSE)

Tonight, tonight, I say to the people of America, to Democrats and Republicans and independents across this great land: Enough. This moment…

(APPLAUSE)

This moment, this moment, this election is our chance to keep, in the 21st century, the American promise alive.

Because next week, in Minnesota, the same party that brought you two terms of George Bush and Dick Cheney will ask this country for a third.

(AUDIENCE BOOS)

And we are here — we are here because we love this country too much to let the next four years look just like the last eight.

(APPLAUSE)

On November 4th, on November 4th, we must stand up and say: Eight is enough.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, now, let me — let there be no doubt. The Republican nominee, John McCain, has worn the uniform of our country with bravery and distinction, and for that we owe him our gratitude and our respect.

(APPLAUSE)

And next week, we’ll also hear about those occasions when he’s broken with his party as evidence that he can deliver the change that we need.

But the record’s clear: John McCain has voted with George Bush 90 percent of the time.

Senator McCain likes to talk about judgment, but, really, what does it say about your judgment when you think George Bush has been right more than 90 percent of the time?

(APPLAUSE)

I don’t know about you, but I am not ready to take a 10 percent chance on change.

(APPLAUSE)

The truth is, on issue after issue that would make a difference in your lives — on health care, and education, and the economy — Senator McCain has been anything but independent.

He said that our economy has made great progress under this president. He said that the fundamentals of the economy are strong.

And when one of his chief advisers, the man who wrote his economic plan, was talking about the anxieties that Americans are feeling, he said that we were just suffering from a mental recession and that we’ve become, and I quote, “a nation of whiners.”

(AUDIENCE BOOS) A nation of whiners? Tell that to the proud auto workers at a Michigan plant who, after they found out it was closing, kept showing up every day and working as hard as ever, because they knew there were people who counted on the brakes that they made.

Tell that to the military families who shoulder their burdens silently as they watch their loved ones leave for their third, or fourth, or fifth tour of duty.

These are not whiners. They work hard, and they give back, and they keep going without complaint. These are the Americans I know.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, I don’t believe that Senator McCain doesn’t care what’s going on in the lives of Americans; I just think he doesn’t know.

(LAUGHTER)

Why else would he define middle-class as someone making under $5 million a year? How else could he propose hundreds of billions in tax breaks for big corporations and oil companies, but not one penny of tax relief to more than 100 million Americans?

OBAMA: How else could he offer a health care plan that would actually tax people’s benefits, or an education plan that would do nothing to help families pay for college, or a plan that would privatize Social Security and gamble your retirement?

(AUDIENCE BOOS)

It’s not because John McCain doesn’t care; it’s because John McCain doesn’t get it.

(APPLAUSE)

For over two decades — for over two decades, he’s subscribed to that old, discredited Republican philosophy: Give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else.

In Washington, they call this the “Ownership Society,” but what it really means is that you’re on your own. Out of work? Tough luck, you’re on your own. No health care? The market will fix it. You’re on your own. Born into poverty? Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps, even if you don’t have boots. You are on your own.

(APPLAUSE)

Well, it’s time for them to own their failure. It’s time for us to change America. And that’s why I’m running for president of the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

You see, you see, we Democrats have a very different measure of what constitutes progress in this country.

We measure progress by how many people can find a job that pays the mortgage, whether you can put a little extra money away at the end of each month so you can someday watch your child receive her college diploma.

We measure progress in the 23 million new jobs that were created when Bill Clinton was president…

(APPLAUSE)

… when the average American family saw its income go up $7,500 instead of go down $2,000, like it has under George Bush. (APPLAUSE)

We measure the strength of our economy not by the number of billionaires we have or the profits of the Fortune 500, but by whether someone with a good idea can take a risk and start a new business, or whether the waitress who lives on tips can take a day off and look after a sick kid without losing her job, an economy that honors the dignity of work.

The fundamentals we use to measure economic strength are whether we are living up to that fundamental promise that has made this country great, a promise that is the only reason I am standing here tonight.

Because, in the faces of those young veterans who come back from Iraq and Afghanistan, I see my grandfather, who signed up after Pearl Harbor, marched in Patton’s army, and was rewarded by a grateful nation with the chance to go to college on the G.I. Bill.

In the face of that young student, who sleeps just three hours before working the night shift, I think about my mom, who raised my sister and me on her own while she worked and earned her degree, who once turned to food stamps, but was still able to send us to the best schools in the country with the help of student loans and scholarships.

(APPLAUSE)

When I — when I listen to another worker tell me that his factory has shut down, I remember all those men and women on the South Side of Chicago who I stood by and fought for two decades ago after the local steel plant closed.

And when I hear a woman talk about the difficulties of starting her own business or making her way in the world, I think about my grandmother, who worked her way up from the secretarial pool to middle management, despite years of being passed over for promotions because she was a woman.

She’s the one who taught me about hard work. She’s the one who put off buying a new car or a new dress for herself so that I could have a better life. She poured everything she had into me. And although she can no longer travel, I know that she’s watching tonight and that tonight is her night, as well.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, I don’t know what kind of lives John McCain thinks that celebrities lead, but this has been mine.

(APPLAUSE)

These are my heroes; theirs are the stories that shaped my life. And it is on behalf of them that I intend to win this election and keep our promise alive as president of the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

What — what is that American promise? It’s a promise that says each of us has the freedom to make of our own lives what we will, but that we also have obligations to treat each other with dignity and respect.

It’s a promise that says the market should reward drive and innovation and generate growth, but that businesses should live up to their responsibilities to create American jobs, to look out for American workers, and play by the rules of the road.

Ours — ours is a promise that says government cannot solve all our problems, but what it should do is that which we cannot do for ourselves: protect us from harm and provide every child a decent education; keep our water clean and our toys safe; invest in new schools, and new roads, and science, and technology.

Our government should work for us, not against us. It should help us, not hurt us. It should ensure opportunity not just for those with the most money and influence, but for every American who’s willing to work.

That’s the promise of America, the idea that we are responsible for ourselves, but that we also rise or fall as one nation, the fundamental belief that I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper.

That’s the promise we need to keep. That’s the change we need right now.

(APPLAUSE)

So — so let me — let me spell out exactly what that change would mean if I am president.

(APPLAUSE)

Change means a tax code that doesn’t reward the lobbyists who wrote it, but the American workers and small businesses who deserve it.

(APPLAUSE)

You know, unlike John McCain, I will stop giving tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas, and I will start giving them to companies that create good jobs right here in America.

(APPLAUSE)

I’ll eliminate capital gains taxes for the small businesses and start-ups that will create the high-wage, high-tech jobs of tomorrow.

(APPLAUSE)

I will — listen now — I will cut taxes — cut taxes — for 95 percent of all working families, because, in an economy like this, the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle class.

(APPLAUSE)

And for the sake of our economy, our security, and the future of our planet, I will set a clear goal as president: In 10 years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East.

(APPLAUSE)

We will do this. Washington — Washington has been talking about our oil addiction for the last 30 years. And, by the way, John McCain has been there for 26 of them.

(LAUGHTER)

And in that time, he has said no to higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars, no to investments in renewable energy, no to renewable fuels. And today, we import triple the amount of oil than we had on the day that Senator McCain took office.

Now is the time to end this addiction and to understand that drilling is a stop-gap measure, not a long-term solution, not even close.

(APPLAUSE)

As president, as president, I will tap our natural gas reserves, invest in clean coal technology, and find ways to safely harness nuclear power. I’ll help our auto companies re-tool, so that the fuel-efficient cars of the future are built right here in America.

(APPLAUSE)

I’ll make it easier for the American people to afford these new cars.

OBAMA: And I’ll invest $150 billion over the next decade in affordable, renewable sources of energy — wind power, and solar power (OTCBB:SOPW) , and the next generation of biofuels — an investment that will lead to new industries and 5 million new jobs that pay well and can’t be outsourced.

(APPLAUSE)

America, now is not the time for small plans. Now is the time to finally meet our moral obligation to provide every child a world-class education, because it will take nothing less to compete in the global economy.

You know, Michelle and I are only here tonight because we were given a chance at an education. And I will not settle for an America where some kids don’t have that chance.

(APPLAUSE)

I’ll invest in early childhood education. I’ll recruit an army of new teachers, and pay them higher salaries, and give them more support. And in exchange, I’ll ask for higher standards and more accountability.

And we will keep our promise to every young American: If you commit to serving your community or our country, we will make sure you can afford a college education.

(APPLAUSE)

Now — now is the time to finally keep the promise of affordable, accessible health care for every single American.

(APPLAUSE)

If you have health care — if you have health care, my plan will lower your premiums. If you don’t, you’ll be able to get the same kind of coverage that members of Congress give themselves.

(APPLAUSE)

And — and as someone who watched my mother argue with insurance companies while she lay in bed dying of cancer, I will make certain those companies stop discriminating against those who are sick and need care the most.

(APPLAUSE)

Now is the time to help families with paid sick days and better family leave, because nobody in America should have to choose between keeping their job and caring for a sick child or an ailing parent.

Now is the time to change our bankruptcy laws, so that your pensions are protected ahead of CEO bonuses, and the time to protect Social Security for future generations.

And now is the time to keep the promise of equal pay for an equal day’s work, because I want my daughters to have the exact same opportunities as your sons.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, many of these plans will cost money, which is why I’ve laid out how I’ll pay for every dime: by closing corporate loopholes and tax havens that don’t help America grow.

But I will also go through the federal budget line by line, eliminating programs that no longer work and making the ones we do need work better and cost less, because we cannot meet 21st-century challenges with a 20th-century bureaucracy.

(APPLAUSE)

And, Democrats, Democrats, we must also admit that fulfilling America’s promise will require more than just money. It will require a renewed sense of responsibility from each of us to recover what John F. Kennedy called our intellectual and moral strength.

Yes, government must lead on energy independence, but each of us must do our part to make our homes and businesses more efficient.

(APPLAUSE)

Yes, we must provide more ladders to success for young men who fall into lives of crime and despair. But we must also admit that programs alone can’t replace parents, that government can’t turn off the television and make a child do her homework, that fathers must take more responsibility to provide love and guidance to their children.

Individual responsibility and mutual responsibility, that’s the essence of America’s promise. And just as we keep our promise to the next generation here at home, so must we keep America’s promise abroad.

If John McCain wants to have a debate about who has the temperament and judgment to serve as the next commander-in-chief, that’s a debate I’m ready to have.

(APPLAUSE)

For — for while — while Senator McCain was turning his sights to Iraq just days after 9/11, I stood up and opposed this war, knowing that it would distract us from the real threats that we face.

When John McCain said we could just muddle through in Afghanistan, I argued for more resources and more troops to finish the fight against the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11, and made clear that we must take out Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants if we have them in our sights.

You know, John McCain likes to say that he’ll follow bin Laden to the gates of Hell, but he won’t even follow him to the cave where he lives.

(APPLAUSE)

And today, today, as my call for a timeframe to remove our troops from Iraq has been echoed by the Iraqi government and even the Bush administration, even after we learned that Iraq has $79 billion in surplus while we are wallowing in deficit, John McCain stands alone in his stubborn refusal to end a misguided war.

That’s not the judgment we need; that won’t keep America safe. We need a president who can face the threats of the future, not keep grasping at the ideas of the past.

(APPLAUSE)

You don’t defeat — you don’t defeat a terrorist network that operates in 80 countries by occupying Iraq. You don’t protect Israel and deter Iran just by talking tough in Washington. You can’t truly stand up for Georgia when you’ve strained our oldest alliances.

If John McCain wants to follow George Bush with more tough talk and bad strategy, that is his choice, but that is not the change that America needs.

(APPLAUSE)

We are the party of Roosevelt. We are the party of Kennedy. So don’t tell me that Democrats won’t defend this country. Don’t tell me that Democrats won’t keep us safe.

The Bush-McCain foreign policy has squandered the legacy that generations of Americans, Democrats and Republicans, have built, and we are here to restore that legacy.

(APPLAUSE)

As commander-in-chief, I will never hesitate to defend this nation, but I will only send our troops into harm’s way with a clear mission and a sacred commitment to give them the equipment they need in battle and the care and benefits they deserve when they come home.

(APPLAUSE)

I will end this war in Iraq responsibly and finish the fight against Al Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan. I will rebuild our military to meet future conflicts, but I will also renew the tough, direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and curb Russian aggression.

I will build new partnerships to defeat the threats of the 21st century: terrorism and nuclear proliferation, poverty and genocide, climate change and disease.

And I will restore our moral standing so that America is once again that last, best hope for all who are called to the cause of freedom, who long for lives of peace, and who yearn for a better future.

(APPLAUSE)

These — these are the policies I will pursue. And in the weeks ahead, I look forward to debating them with John McCain.

But what I will not do is suggest that the senator takes his positions for political purposes, because one of the things that we have to change in our politics is the idea that people cannot disagree without challenging each other’s character and each other’s patriotism.

(APPLAUSE)

The times are too serious, the stakes are too high for this same partisan playbook. So let us agree that patriotism has no party. I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain.

The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and independents, but they have fought together, and bled together, and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a red America or a blue America; they have served the United States of America.

(APPLAUSE)

So I’ve got news for you, John McCain: We all put our country first.

(APPLAUSE)

America, our work will not be easy. The challenges we face require tough choices. And Democrats, as well as Republicans, will need to cast off the worn-out ideas and politics of the past, for part of what has been lost these past eight years can’t just be measured by lost wages or bigger trade deficits. What has also been lost is our sense of common purpose, and that’s what we have to restore.

We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country.

(APPLAUSE)

The — the reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than they are for those plagued by gang violence in Cleveland, but don’t tell me we can’t uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals.

(APPLAUSE)

I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in a hospital and to live lives free of discrimination.

(APPLAUSE)

You know, passions may fly on immigration, but I don’t know anyone who benefits when a mother is separated from her infant child or an employer undercuts American wages by hiring illegal workers.

But this, too, is part of America’s promise, the promise of a democracy where we can find the strength and grace to bridge divides and unite in common effort.

I know there are those who dismiss such beliefs as happy talk. They claim that our insistence on something larger, something firmer, and more honest in our public life is just a Trojan horse for higher taxes and the abandonment of traditional values.

And that’s to be expected, because if you don’t have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare voters.

(APPLAUSE)

If you don’t have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from. You make a big election about small things.

And you know what? It’s worked before, because it feeds into the cynicism we all have about government. When Washington doesn’t work, all its promises seem empty. If your hopes have been dashed again and again, then it’s best to stop hoping and settle for what you already know.

I get it. I realize that I am not the likeliest candidate for this office. I don’t fit the typical pedigree, and I haven’t spent my career in the halls of Washington.

But I stand before you tonight because all across America something is stirring. What the naysayers don’t understand is that this election has never been about me; it’s about you.

(APPLAUSE)

It’s about you.

(APPLAUSE)

For 18 long months, you have stood up, one by one, and said, “Enough,” to the politics of the past. You understand that, in this election, the greatest risk we can take is to try the same, old politics with the same, old players and expect a different result.

You have shown what history teaches us, that at defining moments like this one, the change we need doesn’t come from Washington. Change comes to Washington.

(APPLAUSE)

Change happens — change happens because the American people demand it, because they rise up and insist on new ideas and new leadership, a new politics for a new time.

America, this is one of those moments.

I believe that, as hard as it will be, the change we need is coming, because I’ve seen it, because I’ve lived it.

Because I’ve seen it in Illinois, when we provided health care to more children and moved more families from welfare to work.

I’ve seen it in Washington, where we worked across party lines to open up government and hold lobbyists more accountable, to give better care for our veterans, and keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists.

And I’ve seen it in this campaign, in the young people who voted for the first time and the young at heart, those who got involved again after a very long time; in the Republicans who never thought they’d pick up a Democratic ballot, but did.

(APPLAUSE)

I’ve seen it — I’ve seen it in the workers who would rather cut their hours back a day, even though they can’t afford it, than see their friends lose their jobs; in the soldiers who re-enlist after losing a limb; in the good neighbors who take a stranger in when a hurricane strikes and the floodwaters rise.

You know, this country of ours has more wealth than any nation, but that’s not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military on Earth, but that’s not what makes us strong. Our universities and our culture are the envy of the world, but that’s not what keeps the world coming to our shores.

Instead, it is that American spirit, that American promise, that pushes us forward even when the path is uncertain; that binds us together in spite of our differences; that makes us fix our eye not on what is seen, but what is unseen, that better place around the bend.

That promise is our greatest inheritance. It’s a promise I make to my daughters when I tuck them in at night and a promise that you make to yours, a promise that has led immigrants to cross oceans and pioneers to travel west, a promise that led workers to picket lines and women to reach for the ballot.

(APPLAUSE) And it is that promise that, 45 years ago today, brought Americans from every corner of this land to stand together on a Mall in Washington, before Lincoln’s Memorial, and hear a young preacher from Georgia speak of his dream.

(APPLAUSE)

The men and women who gathered there could’ve heard many things. They could’ve heard words of anger and discord. They could’ve been told to succumb to the fear and frustrations of so many dreams deferred.

But what the people heard instead — people of every creed and color, from every walk of life — is that, in America, our destiny is inextricably linked, that together our dreams can be one.

“We cannot walk alone,” the preacher cried. “And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back.”

America, we cannot turn back…

(APPLAUSE)

… not with so much work to be done; not with so many children to educate, and so many veterans to care for; not with an economy to fix, and cities to rebuild, and farms to save; not with so many families to protect and so many lives to mend.

America, we cannot turn back. We cannot walk alone.

At this moment, in this election, we must pledge once more to march into the future. Let us keep that promise, that American promise, and in the words of scripture hold firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess.

Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America.
Bernard-Henri Levy tells Charlie Rose tonight, bursting with enthusiasm, it is a privilege to be here in this city tonight as democracy recovers itself and junk politics gives way to morality.

With his big tent campaign, by the way, Obama got more white votes than John Kerry.

The New York Times speaks

The Times has already got its editorial out about this momentous watershed in American history:

November 5, 2008
EDITORIAL
The Next President

This is one of those moments in history when it is worth pausing to reflect on the basic facts:

An American with the name Barack Hussein Obama, the son of a white woman and a black man he barely knew, raised by his grandparents far outside the stream of American power and wealth, has been elected the 44th president of the United States.

Showing extraordinary focus and quiet certainty, Mr. Obama swept away one political presumption after another to defeat first Hillary Clinton, who wanted to be president so badly that she lost her bearings, and then John McCain, who forsook his principles for a campaign built on anger and fear.

His triumph was decisive and sweeping, because he saw what is wrong with this country: the utter failure of government to protect its citizens. He offered a government that does not try to solve every problem but will do those things beyond the power of individual citizens: to regulate the economy fairly, keep the air clean and the food safe, ensure that the sick have access to health care, and educate children to compete in a globalized world.

Mr. Obama spoke candidly of the failure of Republican economic policies that promised to lift all Americans but left so many millions far behind. He committed himself to ending a bloody and pointless war. He promised to restore Americans’ civil liberties and their tattered reputation around the world.

With a message of hope and competence, he drew in legions of voters who had been disengaged and voiceless. The scenes Tuesday night of young men and women, black and white, weeping and cheering in Chicago and New York and in Atlanta’s storied Ebenezer Baptist Church were powerful and deeply moving.

Mr. Obama inherits a terrible legacy. The nation is embroiled in two wars — one of necessity in Afghanistan and one of folly in Iraq. Mr. Obama’s challenge will be to manage an orderly withdrawal from Iraq without igniting new conflicts so the Pentagon can focus its resources on the real front in the war on terror, Afghanistan.

The campaign began with the war as its central focus. By Election Day, Americans were deeply anguished about their futures and the government’s failure to prevent an economic collapse fed by greed and an orgy of deregulation. Mr. Obama will have to move quickly to impose control, coherence, transparency and fairness on the Bush administration’s jumbled bailout plan.

His administration will also have to identify all of the ways that Americans’ basic rights and fundamental values have been violated and rein that dark work back in. Climate change is a global threat, and after years of denial and inaction, this country must take the lead on addressing it. The nation must develop new, cleaner energy technologies, to reduce greenhouse gases and its dependence on foreign oil.

Mr. Obama also will have to rally sensible people to come up with immigration reform consistent with the values of a nation built by immigrants and refugees.

There are many other urgent problems that must be addressed. Tens of millions of Americans lack health insurance, including some of the country’s most vulnerable citizens — children of the working poor. Other Americans can barely pay for their insurance or are in danger of losing it along with their jobs. They must be protected.

Mr. Obama will now need the support of all Americans. Mr. McCain made an elegant concession speech Tuesday night in which he called on his followers not just to honor the vote, but to stand behind Mr. Obama. After a nasty, dispiriting campaign, he seemed on that stage to be the senator we long respected for his service to this country and his willingness to compromise.

That is a start. The nation’s many challenges are beyond the reach of any one man, or any one political party.

“His triumph was decisive and sweeping, because he saw what is wrong with this country: the utter failure of government to protect its citizens.” Yes indeed.

Welcome back to a new age of decency, where leaders of politics and government are once again expected to look out for their citizens instead of lining their own pockets at their expense.

Farm animals to be saved

Another sign of this return to decency: Proposition 2 passed in California, phasing out the torture of farm animals by confining them to crates for their entire lives where they cannot even turn around.

The sight of these methods being defended by ignorant farmers blind to the suffering of their fellow animals on “Oprah Winfrey” last week was enough to make anyone turn vegetarian.

3 Responses to “Obama wins election!! Fearful cynics confounded”

  1. Truthseeker Says:

    Some interesting additional points:

    A study of Oprah’s influence suggests that she gained about 1 million votes for Obama.

    Without the economy tanking and the selection of Palin as VP candidate Obama would have lost, it appears.

    From a comment on the NYT editorial above:

    1647.November 05, 2008 5:07 pm

    For those who insist that Obama eked out a narrow victory, consider the following. Bush’s average margin of victory in two popular elections for president was 1,234,082 votes. Obama’s margin of victory was approximately SIX TIMES that amount, 7,384,000. Bush’s widest margin of victory in the electoral college was 34 votes, in 2004. In 2000 he won by 5 (disputed) electoral votes. His average margin of victory was 19.5 electoral votes. If Obama wins North Carolina and McCain Missouri, Obama’s margin of victory will be 191 electoral votes, roughly ten times the size of Bush’s average electoral victory.
    — K. Mims, Sacramento, CA

  2. Douglas Says:

    What happened? I was bracing for the inevitable election fraud result and was relieved that there was, as predicted, a “landslide” vote in favor of Obama.

    Here is a story my brother sent me which may explain it, although I have not seen anything further to confirm and/or followed up:

    Why the Republicans
    backed off last night

    Ohio Judge derails 2008 election fraud

    http://www.brasschecktv.com/page/472.html

  3. Truthseeker Says:

    Not sure what that video would explain, Douglas. Have not found anything useful in commentary or reporting to throw any light on the topic but wouldn’t expect much.

    The problem in assessing what if any efforts to subvert the vote count on election night were made or planned and then aborted is that by definition any successes at hidden internal machine hijacking or secretly at the central counting node would be invisible to election guards or investigators unless they surround the voting station and/or relevant office suddenly with a battalion of police officers and detectives and shouting “Freeze! No one move!” go in and don’t allow anyone to move while they remove the machines and get trusted highly skilled code jockeys with a background in hacking to examine the evidence line by line to detect changes, which must be almost as hard as getting Microsoft to issue a new operating system which is wholly free of bugs.

    If the exit polling didn’t jibe with the official count this would be a giveaway except that as we found in the post earlier the practice of the company in charge of exit polling has been adjusted to avoid the leaking of their tabulation early and according to this new policy they must therefore have waited for the official counts and then adjusted their exit polling numbers to fit.

    In other words, if it’s done how are we to know? Only through exit polling showing a wide disconnect with official counting, and that’s been erased from the record. Anyhow in this case logic indicates that whatever was attempted was concealed in the landslide of non white votes which buried McCain and Palin in Obamamania.

    Given the three Senate elections which have come down to a few hundred votes maybe we have implicit proof that machine hacking isn’t being done. In Alaska (still undecided whether longest serving Republican Senator in history and future jailbird Ted Stevens will make it in or not, many thousands of ballots still uncounted) and Minnesota (comedian Al Franken may make it if he can catch up 200 votes when the 2.9 million votes cast are all audited and recounted, though since Obama won in the state by 10 per cent he can already be said to have done rather poorly) and Georgia (aided by Obama workers Jim Martin awaits results of hotly contested run off in December 2nd as his opponent incumbent Saxby Chambliss is supported by a McCain speech scheduled for tomorrow, Thursday).

    In Minnesota questions surfaced about some ballots that spent time riding around in an election official’s car, but there doesn’t seem to be any evidence rising to the surface that actual hacking was attempted. The irony is that Franken was one of those busy earlier disparaging the very notion of voting machine manipulation as worth worrying about and here he is in a very tight race…

    Here is one anti-Bush commentator expert in manipulative election tactics, author Glen Greenwald at Salon, who thought on Nov 5 that the polling results agreed too closely with official counts in the general election lineup to allow any thought of Republicans manipulating the machines behind the scenes. He gives a table showing that Obama came out ahead of polling. But it seems clear that he does not mean exit polling, which is the required indicator of fraud in the machine count. Polling before the election is just predictive polling which can’t prove very much.

    In Ohio Obama won by 4.1% which was 1.6% better than the polls predicted. In Florida he won by 2.5% which is 0.7% better than the polls promised. In Pennsylvania he was 10.3% ahead which was 3.0% better than the polls.

    In what is a key source for anyone alert to the potential in this arena – The Brad Blog – (which today notes that Stevens is still wining by three votes in Alaska) Brad Friedman notes, however, that Al Franken had a 12 point exit poll win, and a GOP (!) threat to sue if any results diverge too much from exit polls, according to one report.

    In Alaska the mystery is that tens of thousands of voters seem to have vanished:

    (Shannyn Moore, guest on Brad Blog) In Alaska, more people voted for George W. Bush in 2004 than for Sarah Palin on Tuesday despite an identical 61-36 margin of victory. Yes. Only four years ago 54,304 Alaskans got off their sofas and voted for Bush, but decided to sit home and not vote for Palin in 2008.

    In turn, I have to ignore the 30,520 Alaskans who felt progressive enough in 2004 to vote for John Kerry, but weren’t inspired enough to get out and vote for Barack Obama.

    Clint Curtis, the programmer who was asked by a Florida Congressman to explain how the machines might be manipulated, and who later gave Congressional testimony on how he soon decided that the purpose of the enquiry was to use his explanation to carry out such manipulation, is the subject of Murder, Spies and Voting Lies, a documentary with Brad Friedman as investigator.

    I would have to glance past the 1,700% increase in the Democratic caucus in February, the 20,991 newly registered voters, and the three largest political rallies in Alaska’s history….

    Consider the most popular governor in history-and now the most polarizing-was on the Republican ticket. Consider the historic nature of this race; the first African American presidential candidate EVER! The second woman to ever make a presidential ticket; and she’s one of our own. Despite that, we’re supposed to believe that overall participation DECREASED by 11%. Not only that, but this historic election both nationally and for Alaska HAD THE LOWEST ALASKA TURNOUT FOR A PRESIDENTIAL RACE EVER!!! That makes sense. REALLY??? Something stinks.

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