Sunday, March 11, 2012

Voter ID Impersonation Does Exist

Last month the Minnesota ACLU placed a bet with Minnesota that they would pay $1000 for proof of a case of voter impersonation in the last 10 years.
"There is no voter impersonation fraud in Minnesota," said ACLU-MN Executive Director Charles Samuelson, "and we are willing to bet on it."
As pointed out on Look True North, this was a convenient time frame to be able to exclude the cases where, "Channel 5’s Tom Hauser pointed out that in 1997, KSTP reporters uncovered several instances of voters using false identities to vote and some were even convicted."  As a publicity stunt this had great promise for the opponents of Voter ID, with highly improbable downside risk.

Everyone thought this would be an impossible to achieve task, as the current system allows only very loose election day registration (which 500,000 some did) such that the votes will be counted even when the subsequent voter verification (postal verification cards) fails after the fact.  Since there is no way to identify the person who voted, after the fact, there is virtually no possibility of conviction or even charging.  However Minnesota Majority has found a case in Anoka County where a Mother voted using her daughter's name and certified it herself, thus giving documented evidence.  This is a clear case of voter impersonation that has been carried to court.

Here is the video of the press event

Dan McGrath of Minnesota Majority has obtained the court records that show that the mother appears to have requested an absentee ballot on September 24, 2008.  She then voted and signed with her daughters name, certified it as herself on Oct 26, 2008.  Her daughter then voted in person, 10 days later (how long is a phone call?), on Nov 4.  When the felony charged case came to court, the mother had 2 charges dismissed, the false certificate charge was stayed.  She received a year of probation, was required to pay $200 court costs, and the records were essentially expunged. Making it extraordinarily difficult to find the case, as Dam McGrath states in the video. One argument from the ACLU and LWV is that voter impersonation is a felony, why would anyone risk it.  Aside from the virtual impossibility of finding and charging for it, the court was clearly not wanting to leave any significant mark on her record, or to acknowledge the very real fraud perpetrated.  So what should they fear?

Minnesota ACLU's Chuck Samuelson denies that the Voter ID argument is won,
"the fact that it was caught and prosecuted proves Minnesota doesn't need voter photo ID".  
An odd turn of phrase since the whole point of his bet was that it had to be a case where it was officially caught and charged/convicted.  Which by his initial logic was to be a convincing argument.  It would seem that no amount or quality evidence will be considered adequate for those who argue against any reasonable verification system.

The problem of Voter fraud, and the potential for affecting the elections since the votes count and cannot be removed, is very significant.  This is pointed out in the Minnesota Majority analysis of the undeliverable Postal Verification Cards (the best evidence available for voter fraud).
In Minnesota’s 2008 general election (a presidential election year), 6,224 Election Day registrants provided unverifiable names and/or addresses resulting in challenge due to PVC returns for reasons other than forwarding addresses after voting.
1,244 Election Day registrants provided unverifiable addresses when voting in Minnesota’s 2010 election (a non-presidential election year). Even if only a fraction of these returned cards were the result of fraudulent registrations, the numbers could be significant enough to affect the outcome of several elections. In 2008, Minnesota’s US senate race was decided by just 312 votes and a state representative was elected by just 13 votes in 2010.
The burden on the State for election integrity is to assure that the treatment of all voters is "substantially equivalent".  There is a clear division here that fails that test.  Voters who properly register before the election day must have their identity confirmed before their vote is counted.  Voters who show up on election day and register do not have their identity confirmed, or found false, until after their vote is irrevocably counted.  This fundamentally violates the trust we should have in our election process.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Media Matters, Not Truth

When we read or watch news we always want to be able to know what is true, and what is not. Human nature is to believe that which agrees with our world view, and to dismiss what doesn't fit. It takes a significant event in our lives to change our way of thinking. We always wanted to think journalists and media news sources to be impartial purveyors of truth and honest evaluations, because for the most part we are dependent upon it.  This is a constitutional responsibility of a Free Press.  But if abrogated it diminishes the capability of the citizens to limit excesses of the government.  For that purpose the press was to be kept separate of the government and not obedient to a single faction.   But since the days of Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite we have learned that they are really just people relating stories, always with their own world view inescapably shaping the message that gets portrayed.  In a book "Bias" by Bernard Goldberg, 28 year veteran of CBS, wrote
(page 2) "Nor is it easy to write about other friends at CBS News, including an important executive who told me that of course the media tilts left -- but also warned that if I ever shared that view with the outside world he would deny the conversation ever took place"
(page 4) "Sadly, Dan [Rather] doesn't think that any critic who utters  the words "liberal bias" can be legitimate, even if the critic worked with Dan himself for two decades.  Such a critic cannot possibly be well meaning.
But real media bias comes not so much from what party they attack.  Liberal bias is the result of how they see the world."
For Bernard Goldberg, the revelation was that
"TV journalism had become a showcase for smart-ass reporters with attitudes, reporters who don't even pretend to hide their disdain for certain people and certain ideas that they and their sophisticated friends don't particularly like."
This revelation came about from consideration of the CBS news reporting during a Presidential Campaign
"Engberg's voice covered pictures of Steve Forbes on the campaign trail. 'Steve Forbes pitches his flat-tax scheme as an economic elixir, good for everything that ails us.'  Scheme? Elixir? What the hell kind of language is that, I wondered?"
Well it was among the signs of the progressive world view that has overwhelmed what we refer to as the main-stream-media. Producing a massive repetitiveness of the subtle message of derision that has convinced many that what they don't like is not a legitimate viewpoint.

It repeated with the "Fake But Accurate" campaign, that resulted in the dismissal of Dan Rather and several others at CBS.  A view that even though the charges and sources were demonstrated to be completely fraudulent and forged, the prevailing view of the MSM was that it was still "accurate".

It has been refined with even more activism and politically motivated operations at the new breed of "watchdogs" at Media Matters. That Media Matters is overtly partisan is not the issue.  The degree to which they influence and interact directly with, and possibly between, the Media, the Democrats and the White House is.

You might be saying that Fox News is doing the same thing as Media Matters (collusion), as this article on the Daily KOS about an "expose" of an RNC memo by Jon Stewart tries to portray.   But even as comedian Stewart's video riff (available in the article) shows, Steve Doocy (Monday 2/20) actually stated
"the RNC sees trouble for the president regarding this, and apparently they sent out something according to the papers called pundit prep"
which Stewart hears and portrays as evidence that Fox is taking direction from the RNC.  However Steve Doocy was reading, or "taking direction", directly from the Saturday 2/18 New York Times 
A recent “Pundit Prep” document cited the national debt, unemployment and the price of gas as the three best ways to define the “Obama economy.”
Well as Jon Stewart states about viewers who take him too seriously, "Its a comedy show! Not news!".  But when you watch it, as so many young people do, you end up believing the lie that Stewart has so vividly and comedically portrayed.

But is Media Matters dramatically more involved/colluding with the Democratic Party and the Media? In a series of articles written at the Daily Caller, from interviews with former colleagues at Media Matters, and internal documents
The group operates in regular coordination with the highest levels of the Obama White House, as well as with members of Congress and progressive groups around the country.  ...
“We were pretty much writing their prime time,” a former Media Matters employee said of the cable channel MSNBC. “But then virtually all the mainstream media was using our stuff.”
...Media Matters staff had the direct line of MSNBC president Phil Griffin, and used it. Griffin took their calls....
Reporters who weren’t cooperative might feel the sting of a Media Matters campaign against them. “If you hit a reporter, say a beat reporter at a regional newspaper,” a Media Matters source said, “all of a sudden they’d get a thousand hostile emails. Sometimes they’d melt down. It had a real effect on reporters who weren’t used to that kind of scrutiny.”
A group with the ability to shape news coverage is of incalculable value to the politicians it supports, so it’s no surprise that Media Matters has been in regular contact with political operatives in the Obama administration.
Media Matters also began a weekly strategy call with the White House, which continues, joined by the liberal Center for American Progress think tank. Jen Psaki, Obama’s deputy communications director, was a frequent participant before she left for the private sector in October 2011.

Every Tuesday evening, meanwhile, a representative from Media Matters attends the Common Purpose Project meeting at the Capitol Hilton on 16th Street in Washington, where dozens of progressive organizations formulate strategy, often with a representative from the Obama White House.
The Daily Caller analysis of the war against Fox News story
A little after 1 p.m. on Sept. 29, 2009, Karl Frisch emailed a memo to his bosses, Media Matters for America founder David Brock and president Eric Burns. In the first few lines, Frisch explained why Media Matters should launch a “Fox Fund” whose mission would be to attack the Fox News Channel.

“Simply put,” Frisch wrote, “the progressive movement is in need of an enemy. George W. Bush is gone. We really don’t have John McCain to kick around any more. Filling the lack of leadership on the right, Fox News has emerged as the central enemy and antagonist of the Obama administration, our Congressional majorities and the progressive movement as a whole.”

“We must take Fox News head-on in a well funded, presidential-style campaign to discredit and embarrass the network, making it illegitimate in the eyes of news consumers.”

“So, [Fox News] is no longer a news organization. This is a political organization, and their aim is to destroy a progressive policy agenda. They’d rather win in the ballot box than see any sort of real debate on health care. It’s a real shame.”

Ed Morrisey at Hot Air points out the real problem with this,
The real issue was the fact that MMFA did that while coordinating closely with the White House, which prompted the question of whether Barack Obama and his staff weren’t really the hands pulling the strings on its MMFA marionette.

So what was going on at the White House at the time that Frisch sent this memo to Brock?  It was just within days that Obama and his administration launched their weird war on Fox News.  On October 11th, White House communications chief Anita Dunn — one of MMFA’s main contacts at the White House — went on a nine-minute tirade about Fox on CNN, calling it “an arm of the GOP.”
For Media Matters truth is no longer the goal and independence no longer desired.  Identifying an enemy/pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it, is their goal.  Alinsky rule number 13. So in the battle of ideas one, unscrupulous, but effective technique is to paint your opponent as not worth listening to, illegitimate. The constant repetition of this message is usually effective at convincing people, regardless of the accuracy of such accusations.  That way you don't have to listen or consider that which you don't agree, you can dismiss it as an unacceptable source.