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The Theft Component

By Jeff Berg

22 October, 2008

A representative look at the polls that break down the U.S. vote state by state shows the following:

Obama has a lead of 7% or more in state's worth 282 electoral votes.

McCain is leading or tied in states worth 212 electoral votes.

This leaves only four states and 44 electoral college votes. Maine (4), Nevada (5), North Carolina (15), Ohio (20). Obama is leading in each of these races as well albeit by less than 7%.

As it takes only 270 electoral college votes to be President this race is well and truly over. In fact it is not even close. Were it taking place in a fully functioning democracy there would be ZERO doubt at this point. Also, if the U.S. had a vigorously independent fourth estate this statistical reality would be everywhere in the media. In fact it would be the lead in story after story and the talk everywhere would have turned at this point to Obama's coming win excepting of course for Republican "dead-enders". The Republican guard so to speak.

The focus today would now be squarely on just how big the win will turn out to be, how massive the mandate, what this might mean for America, etc. By way of contrast the election coverage for Canada's October 14 national election was centred for most of the campaign on the size of the Conservative party's likely win. Why? It's what the polls showed.

It is also a fact that not for the first time the five major polling organizations covering the Canadian election were all within a couple of percentage points of being exactly right in their final projections of the popular vote. The seat counts that they projected for each of the parties were equally accurate. Furthermore before the polls had closed and with only a tiny percentage of the vote having reported both the CTV and CBC television broadcasts accurately called the result based on exit polling. The same is routinely done in Europe. Not so in the U.S. In fact in the U.S. the media will not report the actual survey results. Instead they will report only the data after it has been adjusted so as to conform with the official numbers. I kid you not. As they say in baseball you can look it up.

The simple fact of the matter is that while computer modeling, random sampling, and statistical projections have definite limitations elections ain't one of them. As a result there is quite simply no room for doubt at this point. This one is done, except for one thing.....

The theft component.

The Republicans have gone to extraordinary lengths to steal the last two elections. It is truly breathtaking just how badly compromised America's election process has become. What has been perhaps even more astounding has been the American and Canadian media's lack of willingness to engage this story. Is this election beyond the reach of theft? One would like to think so. It is after all in the interest of the entire world that America begin to recover its democracy, and the integrity of the vote is as good a place as any to start. But.....

For example: 1 in 6 voters have been purged by the Republican led Colorado state government. 1 in 6 is 16% of the vote. This is more than enough to wipe out Obama's lead in the state. These kinds of purges are happening all over the U.S.

In addition. The majority of the media is working hard at laying the groundwork for a "he said - she said" line about electoral fraud. Readying justifications for later explaining how the polls could be so wrong should McCain win. E.g. Daily pushing stories about ACORN. Referring constantly to the potential for "massive voter fraud" by Democratic supporters. On Meet the Press Sunday all the talk was about how the race will "tighten" in the last few weeks. How America is "Not a 60-40 country but a 51-49 country". Also. Running stories about "subliminal racism". I.e. People who say they'll vote for Obama but when they get in the booth don't.

If the Republicans once again steal the election the story line is ready. Once again it will be throw your hands up time for the media. The predominant meme being that "you never can tell" and "nobody really ever knows" and "those that claim to know are always the ones who end up with egg on their face" and the like. This will doubtlessly be followed by at least one or two finely penned and dripping with sincerity mea culpa's from prominent journalists explaining why they and so many others got it wrong.

Apologies will be extended to the American people explaining that the only thing wrong here is the opinion of the "experts". Once again no matter how one sided the theft of votes, no matter how obvious the advantage to the Republicans, the election will be presented as "largely fair" and the vote theft as "mostly balanced". Aka. "Even Steven" and so of no consequence. Across our television screens will be paraded octagonal boxes featuring 4 Republicans claiming the Democrats were signing up fraudulent voters, and 4 Democrats complaining that this isn't true. It will be presented as "impossible" to sort out, "basically"
immaterial to the result, and "Time for the country to move on to the more important problems at hand." Then, once again, all will go quiet on the electoral front in the United States of Amnesia for another three years.

The U.S. media masquerades as fair and balanced in its coverage of politics and elections via the following technique. The overwhelming majority of those brought on to explain the facts are extreme partisans for one of the two political parties. Paul Krugman aptly summed up this kind of "journalism" in the following manner. "If Bush said that the world was flat the headline the next day would be: "Shape of the world? Opinions differ." Genuine expertise on the other hand is left on the sidelines of academia, bookstores, and the internet. My favourite such kind marginalization being when pundits and politicians admonish physical scientists to "get real".

In the last U.S. election over 3 million votes were not counted according the U.S. government's own statistics. A statistical analysis of this data by Greg Palast showed that most of these votes came from districts that vote overwhelmingly for the Democratic party. This is what Palast had to say more recently. "On Super Tuesday, one in nine Democrats who tried to cast ballots in New Mexico found their names missing from the registration lists. The numbers were even higher in precincts like Las Vegas, where nearly 20 percent of the county's voters were absent from the rolls. With their status in limbo, the voters were forced to cast "provisional" ballots, which can be reviewed and discarded by election officials without explanation. On Super Tuesday, more than half of all provisional ballots cast were thrown out state-wide." ~ Greg Palast, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. This very same scenario has played out to the tune of millions of votes in the last two elections. All signs point to even more of the same for this contest.

What then must be added to these astoundingly large numbers are the many times many polling stations where Republican tactics ensured faulty voting machines. Voter intimidation tactics of many stripes and voter challenges. Not to mention the multiple hour line-ups and the millions who don't vote as a result. Again all of these occurring in districts that traditionally, aka every election, vote overwhelmingly for the Democratic party candidate.

One must next add in the tens of millions who have decided that the system is entirely designed for nobody but the fat cats and it doesn't matter who they vote for. If these people were not so crippled by lack of education, illiteracy, poverty, and the fact that they are not very far wrong, the overwhelming majority of these folks would vote Democrat. Or at least they would until they organized a third party that would genuinely address their needs.

The media is essentially utterly silent on the above facts. In America "class" is a four letter word far more taboo than any of George Carlin's "seven words you can't say on television." But instead of these stories we are treated with daily doses of the potential for massive illegal voting by illegally registered voters. In the last debate for example McCain called ACORN's practices "the greatest threat to democracy in American history."

And just how many cases of voter fraud have been successfully prosecuted over the last two elections? Twelve cases. That's right, count em, twelve. Over two elections. The comparison is so insanely disproportionate one gropes to find a historical analogue. The only thing that comes to mind is pre-war Germany where everywhere in the media it was considered reasonable to present daily the Nazi view about the problems the Jews were causing Germany, while at the same time keeping the facts as seen from the Jewish perspective, not to mention reality, out of sight and mind.

In this last Canadian election the Conservative Party of Canada gained 21% of the possible votes. (37% of the vote, 58% voted) In Ronald Reagan's "landslides" he gained about 26% of eligible voters. Both of which are landslides if you believe like Madison that the role of government should be "to protect the minority of the opulent from the majority".

Our electoral system in N.A. is frightfully broken and as a result our policies are disastrously divorced from real needs. Something that is intuitively grasped by nearly everyone. Which is why almost half the population has tuned politics out of their lives. Even still, even with all these advantages, the Republicans have had to steal their last two mandates. I guess there is some hope somewhere in that fact.

However it is safe to say that this hope had better express itself some time soon in the form of repeated majority governments that serve the long-term needs of the many and physical reality. For the purposes of the U.S. I define a majority government as controlling both Houses and the Presidency.

Today a possible financial meltdown has unnerved just about everyone. What is truly unfortunate for us all however is that this possibility is relatively speaking nothing at all compared to what the next twelve years have in store. Yes there will be a recession, probably a deep one, and yes it will likely last a few years. And yes for certain this is going to cause no small amount of economic misery. All true.

That said this financial debacle is little more than some really bad math and a whole lot of theft. In the U.S. for example this bail-out represents the greatest giveaway of public wealth since the "land holdings act" give away to the railroad robber barons of the 1800's. But as bad as this all undoubtedly is it is highly unlikely in this age of digital information and money that the central banks of the world are going to allow a few misplaced zeroes to take down the entire system. The required money will be printed and business as usual will be more or less restored. The storms to come will not be so amenable to human control. For they will be generated by the world of physical reality, a world rather less impressed by even our best laid plans. Something the last eight years can hardly claim to have accomplished.

Our best defense against these storms is proper preparation. Given its nearness the restoring of the integrity of America's vote would be a fit place for that first long overdue step in the direction of a better America and a more secure tomorrow. The world waits with interest and fingers crossed to see what we shall see on November 4.

Jeff Berg is a founding member of Post Carbon Toronto. His writing focuses on Energy & Emissions and their micro and macro implications ecologically, economically and socially. He can be reached at

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