Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 25, 2006

WB: Some Like It Hot


Now it's the Rovians who potentially are standing in the oppressor man's shoes. Would they really have the stones to try to steal an entire congressional majority, wholesale instead of retail? I guess that would depend on how narrow the Democratic margin was on November 8, and how many close races there were -- close enough to make a challenge seem at least halfway plausible.

Some Like It Hot

Posted by b on October 25, 2006 at 12:03 UTC | Permalink



An entelechy is that which realizes or makes actual, what is otherwise merely potential.

For the Bush family it will simply be another day - like any other day - for the entitled nobility, who take from others that which does not belong to them.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Oct 25 2006 12:32 utc | 1

This is a call for information only.

Can anyone tell me if there is any other country in the so-called "democratic" world where the people are stupid enough to allow paperless elections? Maybe there is - just wondering.

(I do remember that they tried to instigate "computer tallying" in the Philippines about 15 years ago but had to drop the idea due to the howl that went up).

Posted by: DM | Oct 25 2006 12:53 utc | 2

@DM Can anyone tell me if there is any other country in the so-called "democratic" world where the people are stupid enough to allow paperless elections? Maybe there is - just wondering.

Some are trying to get it in place in Germany - no luck so far - the only box to be "approved" was immediately hacked by the major IT magazine. Also absenty ballots (which everybody can get easily via mail) would stay on paper.


Posted by: b | Oct 25 2006 13:11 utc | 3

Maureen Dowd today:

"It’s a hilarious spectacle of a whole party re-enacting the classic scene in Mel Brooks’s “Blazing Saddles,” in which the sheriff holds the gun to his own head to take himself hostage."

Hmm. I think Billmon might have plagiarised her, two days in advance.

Posted by: pseudonymous in nc | Oct 25 2006 13:17 utc | 4

On topic, Billbray was sworn into Congress in double-quick time, before the vote totals were certified, and in a district where Diebold machines were taken home by poll officials. Why? Because once sworn in, he became fireproof from legal challenge, even if it turned out that he'd been elected through fraud.

I've said elseblog that even if the Dems win enough seats to take control, it's not a done deal until they're sworn in. I'd call Billbray's quick swearing-in the first trial balloon, and Fund's column a bigger, uglier one.

And I ask again: what will people do about it?

Posted by: pseudonymous in nc | Oct 25 2006 13:30 utc | 5

I expect Virginia to be stolen for senator macaca.

Posted by: beq | Oct 25 2006 13:38 utc | 6

Trying to rig even just the 40 or 50 or 60 key swing races would be a hell of a plot, worthy of the Bavarian Illuminati.

From what I have gathered it would take around 120 people if you go for a low-tech rigging, with people being on-site to change the results. 60 election officials to give access to central computers and possibly 60 tinkerers to change the results. And presto!

Or you could go the hich-tech way and change the results while being transmitted to central tabulating computers. And that just takes a corrupt deliverer, a central password, a hacker and some money for the hacker. Does not quite take the whole Illuminati, just the corrupt vendor and the little hacker in the basement.

Of course there would be signs that the election was rigged in non-randomness of numbers and such. But who believes that kind of evidence anyway?

Posted by: a swedish kind of death | Oct 25 2006 14:11 utc | 7

@DM Can anyone tell me if there is any other country in the so-called "democratic" world where the people are stupid enough to allow paperless elections? Maybe there is - just wondering.

I do not know any such place.

I would like to take the moment and point out how votes are reported in Sweden (after being handcounted twice (the first one is preliminary), a count were anyone is welcome to sit and check while the counting is going on). Votes are continually reported precinct by precinct on the webbsite run by the election authority.

This is for example how those 218 voting (3 abstaining by voting blanc) in the polling place Nattavaaraby in northernmost Sweden voted in the national parliament election (the single vote for Piratpartiet is under 'Övriga', others). I have not seen anything like this site in US elections and it is quite handy should anyone try to change the results.

Posted by: a swedish kind of death | Oct 25 2006 14:48 utc | 8

@DM Can anyone tell me if there is any other country in the so-called "democratic" world where the people are stupid enough to allow paperless elections? Maybe there is - just wondering.

The Netherlands mostly uses paperless voting machines They are currently considering moving to Internet voting.
NIIS SoS Research
is a report discussing security issues. It includes quite a few interesting links.

Posted by: Lugubris | Oct 25 2006 15:27 utc | 9

Most of the U.S. economy only cares somewhat about election results. Democrats can be bribed too. For most of the people with $250 million or more, it's better just to let politics play itself out.

If the Republicans were to keep control of Congress by refusing to accept the election results there would be a bunch of people really pissed off. They would be willing to do things to disrupt the U.S. economy.

So the economic elites would not allow the GOP to engage in a raw power grab that was completely obvious.

Also, there's a bunch of people that have acquired the skills of killing people from long range. These people have a stake in the election. If the election is a sham some of these military veterans will probably conclude the best way they can "support and defend the Constitution" is to put their skills to work removing the politicians who are subverting the Constitution and thwarting the will of the people.

So, I don't think the Republicans would try to contest a large number of seats to keep power. They might try on one Senate seat and up to three House seats. But more than that is basically opening Pandora's Box.

Of course, if the GOP is as corrupt as I suspect, letting the Dems take power in Congress might be even worse for them.

Posted by: Carl Nyberg | Oct 25 2006 16:01 utc | 10

Aren't there a number of GOP Reps about to be indicted for various scandals? I don't follow Josh Marshall, et al., that closely, but my impression is that Abramoff and others are singing and there are a number of reports and findings that are timed to be released right after the elections.

It may not be worth it for the GOP to try this scorched earth stuff for a couple of seats when they are obviously going to lose the majority anyway, if only for the sake of appearances. They'll be pleading for bipartisanship and cooperation. And they'll be plenty of corporate Dem Reps to vote their way on any issue of substance.

Posted by: biklett | Oct 25 2006 16:08 utc | 11

It is all deal, rustle, tumble, bribe, cheat, discuss, shoot a metaphorical gun, pay and pay for votes, charm, lie, drag people out, make deals, and more deals, extra deals, you deliver that block, I’ll rub your back, we will stop Them from voting, Yes sirree, now you have to rub my back, here we will close the polling at 5, Katharine has section five in hand, a terrorist diversion will be organised...

The charm of the Wild West? ;)

A system where power and influence, big bucks, holds sway.

Flipping votes care of Diebold is little extravagant. Doesn’t seem to bother people much.

Posted by: Noirette | Oct 25 2006 16:43 utc | 12

Didn't we just learn that the previous Clerk, Jeff Trandahl, abruptly resigned last November, in some connection with the Foley/Hastert drama? Interesting coincidence.

Posted by: kvenlander | Oct 25 2006 16:58 utc | 13

Is Billmon a computer expert?

Posted by: | Oct 25 2006 17:07 utc | 14

Can anyone tell me if there is any other country in the so-called "democratic" world where the people are stupid enough to allow paperless elections? Maybe there is - just wondering.

In Switzerland it is always possible to vote by post or at the booth. Both entail sending a piece of paper off to citizen counters, in the post box or the local slit. No receipt is ever given, the idea is bizarre. So the paper exist somewhere and can be recounted if it has not been thrashed, stolen, whatever. Recounts take place from time to time.

For many, not all votes (we vote all the time, month by month..) it is possible to vote on the internet. Not on special ‘machines’ built for the purpose (this in itself is bizarre..), but rather like paying thru paypal, or making payments /orders thru a banking system on the internet. Think: the whole banking system of the world is handled by the internet - Telekurs handles millions of transactions everyday, for billions of dollars, down to the last cent, without mistakes. (Credit card fraud, identity theft is another matter.) Internet voting is perfectly safe is properly set up.

All voting systems are corruptible and rest on trust, as well as accepted procedures. All are vulnerable to the domination and lies by officials - ‘we checked the ballots and half of them were not valid’ - dare challenge us! - the machines are safe and showed that result! - how does anyone dare challenge that 90% of people voted for Saddam! And so on.

The method in itself is not of primary importance.

Posted by: Noirette | Oct 25 2006 17:09 utc | 15

It would seem to me that computers have presented, for the first time, THE way to steal elections with just a FEW people involved and with NO fingerprints to worry about. And it's just which party gets a rigged base of computers installed first.

Yes, there are other ways to steal democracy we need to fight, but rigged computers would seem to be easiest way, by far.

Posted by: | Oct 25 2006 17:41 utc | 16

Purple Rain

Honey I know, I know, I know times are changing
Its time we all reach out 4 something new
That means u 2
U say u want a leader
But u cant seem 2 make up your mind
I think u better close it
And let me guide u 2 the purple rain

or Purple Fingers
"The Iraqi people gave America the biggest 'thank you' in the best way we could have hoped for."


Posted by: Cloned Poster | Oct 25 2006 17:44 utc | 17

Sorry Billmon, love your work but your wrong about this issue. Statistics is a science and political polling is a mature application of this science. This is not like picking the winner of a horse race or a sporting event but is instead an applied science.

When the results consistently fall outside the confidence interval and fall in the same direction there is a problem with the process not the polling. Because it’s a mathematical science one can then accurately calculate the probability of this occurrence. It turned out to be a one in several million chances for the 2004 election. This becomes especially noticeable when the pre election polls match the exit polls.

The same will happen in this election with some amazing Republican victories and comebacks. This will be followed by great fan fare about chatty dems and republican bias with little or no emphasis on the statistical probabilities associated with these events.

How is it done? The software is proprietary so outsiders can't really know how the software can be manipulated. An example of using a virus on a Diebold machine was accomplished at Princeton.
With this method a small number of people can impact a large number of systems. The scantron counters have also been problematic.

Look for a news event such as a Bin Laden video just before the election so it can be claimed that this news event invalidated the pre election polls. Arguments against the exit polls will become available as needed at which point Al Gore will again apologize for winning the 2000 presidential election.

Posted by: gp | Oct 25 2006 19:55 utc | 18

#16 deserves repeating:

Yes, there are other ways to steal democracy we need to fight, but rigged computers would seem to be easiest way, by far.

I heard an argument for punch cards: once all the cards for a particular candidate are piled-up, a flashlight can readily prove all cards belong to a certain class, and a balance can measure the quantity. Punch cards allow complete public oversight of the counting process. Human fraud is easily seen, understood, and addressed by human oversight.

With computers, nobody can see the electrons.

Posted by: Obs | Oct 25 2006 20:40 utc | 19

The U.S.'s very democracy itself is now resting on a system whereupon a single individual, provided physical access to a voting machine for only a few minutes, can introduce a virus that can change any voting outcome and then remove itself tracelessly after the election. This has been demonstrated successfully more than a handful of times and by established organizations.

Why there isn't an uproar is not just a symptom of the complicity and laziness of the media, but of the ignorance and apathy of the people. They're not going to tune in to or read about things that don't interest them. Now, get a celebrity to dance with a Diebold machine in a prime-time slot...

Posted by: Pyrrho | Oct 25 2006 21:36 utc | 20

The swearing in of Bilbray by Hastert a couple of months ago BEFORE the election was certified suggests that there may very well be some dirty work in our future.

Posted by: Brian Boru | Oct 25 2006 21:59 utc | 21

Computer chip circuitry can also be designed to function in response to remote signals. e.g. radio or cell phone signal, electrical powerline signal, etc. And lots of innocuous looking structure can function as an antenna. Look at RF tags, for example. You can write an antenna on a piece of paper with a pencil for cryin' out loud.

It's so stupid to have let these machines in the door. Dems should have had the imagination and vigor to jump on this much harder.

Posted by: | Oct 26 2006 2:47 utc | 22

Dems should have had the imagination and vigor to jump on this much harder.

they didn't want to be accused of being whiners, they've got baby syndrome.

Posted by: annie | Oct 26 2006 3:23 utc | 23


There are forces at work trying to ignore inconsistent election results whether caused by inadequate polling facilities, discouraging vulnerable voters, no exit polls funded by the TV networks and many other means.

There are also forces for supporting valid elections. I like these folks!

As long as we pay attention (and I do mean Pay Attention!) election fraud can be understood and in time countered.

The type of communication we are using now, blog posting, has been around for a long time. It's not going away.

Posted by: jonku | Oct 26 2006 8:03 utc | 24

Once more with Feeling.

How to steal an election by hacking the vote(Ars.Technica)

Posted by: holy | Oct 26 2006 8:36 utc | 25

I know this doesn't fly with anyone other than my ownsome, but one of the benefits of an open registered ballot rather than a 'secret' ballot would be transparency. Even if bribery or bullying were a part of the election process. Greater involvement for everyone, and a small step in the direction of real democracy.

Posted by: DM | Oct 26 2006 9:55 utc | 26

After reading the ars. technica link it seems that the best we can hope for is an "election" massively hacked in the unintended direction. That's the only way we HAVA chance to get rid of the damn things.

Posted by: beq | Oct 26 2006 14:46 utc | 27

don't you mean 'best we can hope for is an election massively hacked in the "unintended" direction'?

Posted by: annie | Oct 26 2006 15:23 utc | 28

annie. Drink your coffee.

Posted by: beq | Oct 26 2006 15:29 utc | 29

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