Clueless is as clueless does

This book review by Matt Taibi of Thomas Friedman’s The World is Flat is brilliantly funny. Go read it.

Taibi’s review has been widely linked and praised by bloggers but I have found a blogger who didn’t like it—John Ray, who wrote about it:

But reading these diatribes of rage and hate does certainly explain the horrors that happen when Leftists gain unrestricted power (i.e. in Communist regimes).

My guess as to why Ray didn’t like it goes like this: Before Ray can fit a piece of writing into his worldview, he needs to decide whether it was written by a Leftist or not. In this case, Friedman’s book is a rave about the wonders of globalization, so Ray decided that he must be “conservative-leaning”, and that someone who criticises Friedman must therefore be an evil Leftist full of rage and hate. Ray isn’t bothered at all by the fact that everyone else thinks it’s a great review. In fact, after he reads posts from conservative bloggers praising Taibi’s review, Ray concludes that his

point about the article by Taibbi being just a rage outburst with only marginal information content stands well confirmed.

I guess that the more people disagree with you, the better confirmed your theories are….

Comments

  1. #1 Ian Gould
    May 4, 2005

    1. “Well, you go explain that to the 8 million Iraqis who voted in free and fair elections for the first time in their lives, and the 25 million who enjoy a free press and freedom of political thought for the first time not just in Iraq, but in modern Arab history.”

    what “free and fair” elections – the ones where the parties running were hand-picked by a foreign occupier; campaigning was heavily censored and voters didn’t known until the day of the election (if then) what candidates were actually running on the various party lists? The one for a government with extremely limited powers which can’t amend the laws imposed by that same foreign power? This election was actually considerably less free than those held under the Iraqi constitutional monarchy between the 1930’s and the 1950’s. Had Syria staged an election in Lebanon under similar circumstances there’s no way it would have been accepted as democratic.

    As for “freedom of thought and expression” – its ironic that you posted on the same day as media reprots of widespread torture by Iraqi police and widespread intimidation of Iraqi reporters.

    Your suggestion that the Iraqi dictatorship would have lasted 50 or 100 years is a pure exercise in speculation. It’s on par with “an alien spaceship might have crash-landed in Iraq giving Saddam access to their antigravity technology.”

    3. Actually all three of the regimes I mentioned HAVE attacked their neighbours. Zimbabwe has sent troops into both Congo and Angola. Burma has violated both Bangladeshi and Thai territory in pursuit of ethnic rebellions and occuopies an area which is disputed between Burma and Bangladesh. (About 50,000 members of the Rohinga ethnic minority who lived in that area were killed by the Burmese government in the course of its occupation – but they’re muslims so who cares?)

    “It’s a logical fallacy to say “Well, you can’t justify removing one horrible regime if you don’t remove them all or prove this regime is worse than all the others.” ” No, actually the logical fallacy is to argue that there was a moral imperative to act to remove one repressive regime but that it is somehow already to leave other such regimes in place.

  2. #2 Jeff Harvey
    May 4, 2005

    Dave,

    I can’t believe some of what you are saying. Its not surprising since you are merely rehashing all of the establishment nonsense drip fed to the public in the U.S. by the corporate media there (e.g. that the U.S. is a basically benevolent superpower with all of the attendant myths I spoke of earlier). First of all, fraud or no, there should not have been a recall election in Venezuela anyway. Besides, its a bit rich talking about ‘stolen elections’ when the 2000 U.S. election farce was nothing more than a right-wing coup, with the Republcan-dominated supreme court delivering the final blow. It takes a lot of hubris for anyone in the U.S. to talk about the rules of ‘democracy’ when they haven’t even got a healthy one at home (read Stauber and Rampton’s excellent “Banana Republicans: How the Right Wing is Turning the U.S. into a One-Party State” and you get the chilling idea. The current Bush-Cheney junta and the neocon crazies they have embraced are far from democratic.

    Moreover, the U.S. has been supporting subversive activities painting Chavez as a bad guy simply because he has not been fulfilling his service function for U.S. elites, as most of the other banana republic regimes (client states) the U.S. supports in the region do (e.g. Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Panama, and may I add Costa Rica to that list, even though its not brutally repressive like the ther U.S. clients are).

    Lastly, you get nowhere with the pithy argument that U.S. interventions in Latin America were all aimed at preventing the spread of communism. This myth should have been laid to rest years ago. The destruction of the elected Julio Arbenz government in Guatemala by the U.S. and proxy forces in 1954 and since with the deaths of up to 300,000 indigenous people), and subversion of other countries in the region with accompanying genocide, was always meant as a measure to prevent the establishment of nationalist governments who would redirect the internal wealth of their respective lands to benefit all sectors of society, but primarily the poor. But this does not go down well with those with concentrated wealth and power in the north, and their counterparts in the south, and they have used communism as a convenient excuse for ensuring these countries remain as client states of the U.S., with much of the wealth being siphoned out to enrich the elites.

    You’ve run out of what few arguments you have when you claim that the U.S. was fighting communism in Nicaragua. This is so utterly ridiculous that its hard to know why I waste my time with you. As I said yesterday, the Inter American Development and World Banks – hardly temples of leftist extremism – hailed economic reforms under the Sandanistas as a ‘model’ for all of Latin America in 1984. But the U.S. establishment feared that the success of the Nicaraguan model would be repeated throughout Latin America, meaning that the sphere of influence (and profiteering) of power brokers in the U.S. would be lost. So they had to cut out the ‘cancer’, as George Schultz put it less than succinctly, of indigenous nationalism that threatened the status of U.S. corporate control over the region. The result was the utter destruction of the Nicaraguan economy and the deaths of tens of thousands of people. Of course this is probably all news to you, as the U.S. press sends any such unsavory material down the ‘memory hole’, as Orwell put it, or ignores such atrocities altogether. Its time that the U.S. populace shakes off its collective unconscious and takes responsibility for the criminality carried out in its name.

  3. #3 Ian Gould
    May 4, 2005

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2005-05-03-csm-brutality_x.htm. From this USAToday article (which also includes first-hand accounts from soldiers in the new, democratic armed forces of Iraq of beating prisoners to death):

    The Iraqi Association to Defend Journalists is investigating several cases in which security forces allegedly beat or intimidated Iraqi journalists. And in a report issued in January, Human Rights Watch said that torture and abuse by Iraqi authorities had become “routine and commonplace.”

    The report detailed methods of interrogation in which prisoners were beaten with cables and pipes, shocked, or suspended from their wrists for prolonged periods of time – tactics that are more associated with Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship than the democracy that is beginning to take root in that country.

    While the US military has been training Iraqi police and soldiers for almost two years, critics say it has offered recruits abbreviated courses that are ill-suited for Iraq’s security situation. The classes may have covered the basics, but have left many Iraqi police unprepared for the harsh conditions of their jobs.

    This, combined with a nascent justice system that has an erratic record of prosecuting insurgents, has spawned a return of Hussein-era tactics among many of the country’s security forces, say rights groups and analysts.

    In fact, many of the old members of Saddam Hussein’s security forces are filling the ranks of the new police units and security forces. And many of these hardened soldiers practiced in the brutality of his regime initially received no Western-style training, says Robert Perito, an expert on post conflict security at the US Institute of Peace.

    “In the long run, with the assistance of the US military unfortunately … [we are creating] a security force which is very much like the old Saddam security forces,” says Perito. “That’s not what we set out to do.”

  4. #4 Jeff Harvey
    May 4, 2005

    This excellent piece by Paul Street on ZNet sums up exactly how much the current U.S. administration cares about spreading ‘freedom and democracy’. The answer: it doesn’t. The hypocrisy could not be more evident.

    http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=11&ItemID=7774

  5. #5 Dano
    May 4, 2005

    Ian, that linky suffers from link rot, Jeff, good link, thank you.

    D

  6. #6 TallDave
    May 5, 2005

    Rune,

    Beating up a thief and keeping the purse he stole for yourself doesn’t make you a hero. Nor does fighting him, even if he attacked you first. Giving it back to the rightful owner after fighting him is the right thing to do, and that should be acknowledged.

  7. #7 TallDave
    May 5, 2005

    Jeff,

    And yet, somehow, despite our alleged lack of intentions, freedom and democracy somehow magically flower everywhere we go.

    I admire Znet’s intellectual heft; it must quite challenging to formulate arguments so obviously in cobflivt with reality. It’s a lot easier just to point out all the obvious things America has done for freedom and democracy (like I’ve done here), but where’s the difficulty level in that?

    The obvious fallacy of the piece is typical of leftist thought: their premise rests on the idea that anywhere democracy does not exist, the US is to blame for being allied to an undemocratic gov’t. The reality is rather the opposite: virtually everywhere democracy sprouts, America has planted and watered the seeds, and in many cases weeded the field of totalitarians and dictators.

    Of course we could have let the Soviets have Saudi Arabia instead of allying to an unfree dictatorship, but some of us prefer life outside the gulag.

  8. #8 TallDave
    May 5, 2005

    Ian,

    Again, reality and perspective. How many such investigations took place under Saddam? How quickly did you think Iraqi police would adjust from being a blood-soaked police state with officially santioned rape and torture centers for political thought crimes to a level of civility typical of, say, the Vermont State Police?

  9. #9 TallDave
    May 5, 2005

    Jeff,

    you are merely rehashing all of the establishment nonsense drip fed to the public in the U.S. by the corporate media
    Well, I don’t know about that. You have to look pretty hard to find a pro-US textbook these days, even in America. And the media content is firmly controlled by liberal editors and newswriters, not the corporations. CEOs don’t write bylines. (Then again, we don’t have gov’t media to send hecklers to right-leaning party events like the BBC does in Britain, so what do we know).

    Unfortunately, I can believe what you’re saying, because you’re parroting the memes spread by leftists (esp in academia) for decades and recycled for regurgitation to the helpless young by teacher’s unions. You’re the same people who thirty years ago fervently believed Communism was just agrarian reform, and seventy years ago gave Walter Duranty a Pulitzer Prize for covering up the Soviets’ brutal slaughter of 5 million Ukrainians (the Pultizers still proudly list Duranty despite years of pleas from liberated Ukrainians whose families died horrible deaths in the forced famines Duranty claimed weren’t happening). Lenin had a name for your kind: “certain useful idiots in the West.”

    Moreover, the U.S. has been supporting subversive activities painting Chavez as a bad guy
    I don’t know how many times I have to say it — he stole the election. It’s been proven. That you nevertheless keep touting him as a “populist” while accusing the US of caring nothing about democracy shows that your opinions are utterly impervious to facts. This revelation would be cause for introspection and re-evaluation if you were afflicted by such notions. But I suppose life is simpler without facts or self-doubt.

    Re Nicaragua: Again, you seem somewhat ignorant of military history, as well as economic history. The World Bank has been advocating socialism virtually since its inception (and with great results! Just look at Africa today!). Nicaragua was arming their antidemocratic ideological allies in El Salvador (you know, the other “model” gov’t, the one that opposed elections until forced to hold them, which they then lost despite attacking poll workers) which is how the US came to oppose them.

    As for Guatemala, Arbenz was no angel, but of course I agree the effects of the coup were unfortunate. As I said, America hasn’t been perfect. But would Arbenz have been any better than what replaced him? It’s pretty unlikely, given unfree leftist gov’ts’ track records, but I suppose it’s possible. So maybe it was a mistake (since leftists spend decades backing Communism (100 million murdered so far), they should probably cut the U.S. some slack). But then, the US did a lot of good for tens of millions elsewhere. I don’t see any other countries who have had the positive effects the U.S. has.

    The simple, obvious fact is that there are a lot more places that are free, prosperous democracies today because of the U.S. than places that would be free, prosperous democracies if not for the U.S. In fact, it’s hard to come up with any of the latter.

  10. #10 TallDave
    May 5, 2005

    Ian,

    1) LOL Yes, the Dawa party that all the critics claimed would institute a theocracy was “handpicked” by the US. You’ve moved to the realm of the ridiculous now. Look, the international observers said it was imperfect, but free and fair nonetheless. You just make yourself look silly when you disagree with them.

    As for “freedom of thought and expression” – its ironic that you posted on the same day as media reprots of widespread torture by Iraqi police and widespread intimidation of Iraqi reporters.
    Freedom is relative. They’re not as free as we are, but a hell of a lot more free than they were under Saddam. Hopefully, things will continue to get better, until these incidents are all in the past. As I pointed out above, these things were taken for granted under Saddam; at least now they’re being investigated.

    3) Mostly border skirmishes, not an attempt to invade and overthrow another gov’t. Also, none of those countries remotely approaches Saddamist Iraq in terms of militarization. But again, I agree something should be done about them, and I hope something is done.

    “It’s a logical fallacy to say “Well, you can’t justify removing one horrible regime if you don’t remove them all or prove this regime is worse than all the others.” ” No, actually the logical fallacy is to argue that there was a moral imperative to act to remove one repressive regime but that it is somehow already to leave other such regimes in place.
    Who says it’s all right? It’s just not practical to overthrow all of them at once. Iraq was a good start, though.

  11. #11 Rune
    May 5, 2005

    Rune,
    TallDave,
    “Beating up a thief and keeping the purse he stole for yourself doesn’t make you a hero. Nor does fighting him, even if he attacked you first. Giving it back to the rightful owner after fighting him is the right thing to do, and that should be acknowledged.”
    Then you’ll agree with me that the action of freeing the countries in ww 2 deserves an acknowledged, but doesn’t make the US “better” than other countries.
    It was the actions of the USSR made them “worse” than the US (and other countries).

  12. #12 Jeff Harvey
    May 5, 2005

    Dave,

    You’ve swallowed the communist myth hook, line and sinker, just as I suspect you’re currently swallowing the ‘war on terrorism’ myth. hen the ‘angel of darkness’ Richard perle, and influential memeber of Bush’s team said five years ago that we should think of war not no negatively but as “Creative destruction”, its no wonder that former CIA man Ray McGovern said that, in policy circles, most of the current Bush cabal were known as ‘crazies’. In the interview, Perle went on to state that, there are “No stages. This is a total war. If we fight this total war, our children will sing great songs about us in the future”. With Dick Cheney talking abvout “50 years of war”, and other neocon fruitcakes utterly similar verbiage, its no wonder that the U.S. is feared by the vast majortiy of the planet’s people. These people, to quote Gore Vidal, are “Dreaming War”. These economic wars are mean to ensure the realization of the Grand mperial Strategy of 2002, whereby America has “No peer competitors” and attains “Full spectrum dominance” militarily: land, air, sea and space. All of this to force the planet to accept the U.S. as global master, and for the planet’s dwindling resources to further enrich the already bloated bank accounts of the established order. And Dave thinks, in his own simplistic vision, that its all about spreading democracy!!!!!!

    With respect ot U.S. policy, I suggest that Dave check Nicaragua’s economic performance and indices for human welfare during the early 1980’s (before the U.S. terrorist war) and now, when the country is a U.S. client state again. The results speak for themself. Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the western hemisphere (I hate to have to repeat myself but Dave is so selective of the facts). All this because a revolutionary movement booted out a vile U.S. backed regime and intituted economic reforms that did not enrich western investors. As for the World Bank being a socialist organisation, Dave is again speaking utter bull&%$@. Its neoliberal reforms (support for structural adjustment programmes intllecetual property rights, etc.) come straight from the neocon handbook. I won’t even dignify such perfidious ignorance with an answer on this point, except to say that economist Tom Athanasiou destroyed this endless right wing myth in his book “Divided Planet”.

    As far as stealing the election in Venezuela, the proof Dave cited – which is not proof at all – was categorically denied by the Carter Center which monitored the electoral recount. Moever, the study was written by two Venezuelan academics, who probably come from the established order there. Its the right wing establishment (mostly Spanish) that have so vigorously opposed Chavez’s reforms, whereas the indigenous people and poor give Chavez huge support. He’s done a lot to take on the elites in Venezuela, and it was indeed gratifying to see the U.S.-backed coup fail so miserably in 2002. I am sure the CEO’s of Exxon-Mobil and other energy multinationals were not so pleased at all, as Chavez had ensured that they were not plundering the country’s wealth but instead pushed through policies that led to a very effective redistribution of wealth. It was also great to see the anti-Chavez demonstrations dwarfed by those who supported him, even though propoganda units like CNN and MSNBC did everything they could to give the indication that those opposing Chavez were in the majority (which was blatantly untrue).

    BTW, calling the assault on Guatemala ‘unfortunate’ – in view of the 300,000 deaths it led to, tells me exactly how you view brutal American foreign policies. Bill Blum estimates that these polcies have left tens of millions dead throughout the world since the late 1940’s, and he’s almost certainly correct. The U.S. has bolstered some of the most vile regimes in recent history and has intervened time and again to prevent real democracy taking hold, all in order to maintain its status as global hegemon. As I suspect you are an American citizen, its just a shame that you acquiesce to the carnage and slaughter that has been carried out in your name. I in no way condone communism, which is and was a vile political system, but the U.S. brand of corporate capitalism and concentration of power and wealth is fast leading our planet to hell in a handbasket. You can blather on all day about ‘democracy’ but the historical record speaks for itself.

  13. #13 TallDave
    May 5, 2005

    Rune,

    Well, I didn’t say it made the US “better,” I just said the US has done more for freedom and democracy than any other country. But I do agree the Soviets were actively inimical to freedom and democracy and hence “worse” than any free country.

  14. #14 TallDave
    May 5, 2005

    Jeff,

    And yet, we are spreading democracy — through war. There goes your supposed contradiction.

    Re Nicaragua: I’m not sure what your point is, or why you keep saying “client state” as though the phrase has some meaning beyond “we buy most of their exports, thus saving their people from even more wretched poverty.” We don’t appoint Nicaraguan gov’t officials and we didn’t write their constitution, so I’m not sure why the US to blame for their governmental problems. Meanwhile Cuba, cetainly not a US “client state” by any definition, has gone from the richest country in the region to one of the poorest.

    LOL Go back and read the last 30 years of World Bank recommendations for “emerging” countries. They ALWAYS recommended gov’t control of industry. And look where that got Africa: centralized thugocracies where no one is free and most people outside the “friends of the gov’t” are starving. The push for property rights and free markets (based on the strong correlation between property rights detailed in “The Wealth and Poverty of Nations” among other books) is a recent phenomenon.

    Again, you don’t know what you’re talking about re Chaves. Even the Carter Center statistician has admitted he was wrong and that the election was stolen.

    “A group of Venezuelan engineers and experts in mathematics rebutted the statement of U.S. statistician Jonathan Taylor, on whose researches The Carter Center based to claim that no fraud was committed in the August 15 revoking referendum on President Hugo Chvez, and Taylor publicly backed down in his web page (www.stat.standford.edu/jtaylo/) and admitted he was wrong.

    Jorge Rodrguez, a spokesman for the group, previously said they sent Taylor a mathematic model the engineer Elio Valladared developed to show Taylor that is was highly unlikely that similar results were obtained in 336 different voting stations, as Taylor ensured.

    Rodrguez added that Taylor sent him an e-mail admitting: “I have realized my model was wrong.”

    “Therefore, the figures The Economist quoted (in an article by The Carter Center official Jennifer McCoy claiming that the August 15 recall vote was transparent) are seriously defective.”

    Taylor corrected his model and admitted that the new results “all almost identical to yours. I regret not having realized my mistake before the article was published in The Economist.”

    http://www.eluniversal.com/2004/09/06/en_pol_art_06A489973.shtml

    Re Guatemala: Well, given the record of antifreedom leftists, it’s not unlikely the Arbenz regime would have murdered even more than died in the war; seizing all wealth from the middle and upper classes and forcing academics to parrot leftist dogma at gunpoint usually involves some extensive collateral damage. Also, it’s likely the civil war would have happened regardless of what the U.S. did. Lastly, the war can be equally blamed on leftist foreign sponsors like Cuba and the Soviets who were arming the other side.

    You can blather on all day about ‘democracy’ but the historical record speaks for itself.

    It sure does. Germany, Japan, S Korea, Taiwan, El Salvador, Afghanistan, Iraq…

  15. #15 TallDave
    May 5, 2005

    Sorry, sentence above should read: “the strong correlation between property rights and prosperity”

  16. #16 BrendanH
    May 5, 2005

    TallDave’s claims that Taylor, the “Carter Center statistician” (correct url: http://stat.stanford.edu/~jtaylo) revised his judgement on whether there was fraud is factually incorrect. He made a statistical error in one of his models but correcting the error does not lead to evidence of electoral fraud. Quoting Taylor (http://stat.stanford.edu/~jtaylo/venezuela/):

    While I did find a mistake in my calculations, I share the same opinion as Prof. Avi Rubin on these results: they do not constitute evidence of fraud.

  17. #17 BrendanH
    May 5, 2005

    Sorry: correct “correct” url: http://stat.stanford.edu/~jtaylo

  18. #18 TallDave
    May 5, 2005

    Hmm, I hadn’t seen that comment. But by his own admission, the possibility the results could have happened by chance is low. They also say “We emphasize that a lack of statistical evidence does not imply the absence of fraud. Rather, it rules out certain classes of fraud.”

    Anyway, the main criticism is not the similar results. It’s just one more piece of evidence in addition to rest. There is also

    1) The fact the exit polling showed him losing by 18%, and the vote tally has him winning by 18%. That would be the by far the widest discrepancy ever reported in the history of exit polling. That is simply not possible, and Bill Clinton’s pollster that did the exit polling insists the election was stolen.

    2) The sampling of polls by the Carter Center was not random, but (at Chavez cronies’ insistence) were prefetermined and known by the Chavez gov’t in advance.

    Taken as a whole, it’s pretty clear the election was stolen.

  19. #19 TallDave
    May 5, 2005

    I think it’s inportant to understand, my statement may be factually incorrect, but it’s not far off. It may not “constitute evidence of fraud” in that the result is not statistically impossible, but a “possible but very unlikely” result doesn’t argue for the election being valid; in fact it argues against it being valid. It just doesn’t constitute aboslute evidence by itself.

  20. #20 TallDave
    May 5, 2005

    Here’s what the MIT guys had to say. They used a different technique, which finds 99% likelihood the election was stolen. No one to my knowledge has refuted this study.

    First of all, the Carter audit, conducted on August 18, was based on a sample of about 1 percent of the ballot boxes. According to the Carter Center, the audit went flawlessly, except for the fact that the Head of the Electoral Council was not willing to use the random number generator suggested by the Carter Center but use instead its own program run on its own computer. At the time, this seemed odd, given that the objective of the audit was to dispel doubts.

    The paper finds that the sample used for the audit was not randomly chosen. In that sample, the relationship between the votes obtained by the opposition on August 15 and the signatures gathered requesting the Referendum in November 2003 was 10 percent higher than in the rest of the boxes. We calculate the probability of this taking place by pure chance at less than 1 percent. In fact, they create 1000 samples of non-audited centers to prove this.

    This result opens the possibility that the fraud was committed only in a subset of the 4580 automated centers, say 3000, and that the audit was successful because it directed the search to the 1580 unaltered centers. That is why it was so important not to use the Carter Center number generator. If this was the case, Carter could never have figured it out.

    In addition, we develop a statistical technique to identify whether there are signs of fraud in the data. To do so, we depart from all previous work on the subject which was based on finding patterns in the voting numbers. Instead, we look for two independent variables that are imperfect correlates of the intention of voters. Fraud is nothing other than a deviation between the voters’ intention and the actual count. Since each variable used is correlated with the intention, but not with the fraud we can develop a test as to whether fraud is present. In other words, each of our two independent measures of the intention to vote predicts the actual number of votes imperfectly. If there is no fraud, the errors these two measures generate would not be correlated, as they each would make mistakes for different reasons. However, if there is fraud, the variables would make larger mistakes where the fraud was bigger and hence the errors would be positively correlated. The paper shows that these errors are highly correlated and that the probability that this is pure chance is again less than 1 percent.

    The first variable we use is the number of registered voters in each precinct who signed the recall petition. This clearly shows intent to vote yes in a future election but it does so imperfectly. Our second measure is the exit poll conducted by Penn Schoen and Berland and complemented with an independent exit poll conducted by Primero Justicia. This also is an imperfect measure as it depends on potential biases in the sample, differences in the skill of the interviewer, etc. But this source of error should not be correlated at the precinct level with the one that affects the signatures. But it is very telling that in the precincts where the Penn, Schoen and Berland exit poll makes the biggest mistakes is also where the number of signators would have led you to believe that the Yes votes would be higher.

    This evidence is troubling because it resonates with three facts about the conduct of the election. First of all, contrary to the agreed procedure, the voting machines were ordered to communicate with the election computer hub before printing the results. Secondly, contrary to what had been stated publicly, the technology utilized to connect the machines with the election center allowed two-way communication and this communication actually took place. This opens the possibility that the center could have informed the machines what numbers to print, instead of the other way around. Finally, after an arduous negotiation, the Electoral Council allowed the OAS and the Carter Center to observe all aspects of the election process except for the central computer hub, a place where they also prohibited the presence of any witnesses from the opposition. At the time, this appeared to be an insignificant detail. Now it looks much more meaningful.

  21. #21 TallDave
    May 5, 2005

    Here’s the exact quote form Clinton’s poll firm:

    Schoen has little doubt what happened. “I think it was a massive fraud,” he told me. “Our internal sourcing tells us that there was fraud in the central commission.” This was not the first time he has encountered such things. “The same thing happened in Serbia in 1992, by [President Slobodan] Milosevic. He did it again in the local elections in 1996. As a result, hundreds of thousands of people died. Had he been caught [in this fraud] in 1992, this would not have happened.”
    In Venezuela this year, as in Serbia in 1992, I think it’s overwhelmingly likely that the exit poll was far closer than the officially announced results to the way people actually voted.”

    More from the same article on Chavez:

    “Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez has been running an authoritarian regime. By various means he has taken control of the legislature, the courts, the armed services and the police. His thugs have been intimidating and even killing the regime’s opponents. The literature on this is voluminous, but consider these reports from the Wall Street Journal: http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110005494 and http://www.opinionjournal.com/wsj/?id=110005478. Chavez is an ally of Cuba’s Fidel Castro and an enemy of the United States, and he has shown no commitment to democratic principles. He sought to block the referendum by extralegal means and, having failed at that, resorted to intimidation to win it. There is no reason to believe that he would stop at election fraud.”

    http://www.usnews.com/usnews/opinion/baroneweb/mb_040820_3.htm

    Yep, Chavez is just another unfairly maligned “populist.” And now he’s arming up. I wonder how many will die this time?

  22. #22 Eli Rabett
    May 5, 2005

    If you think that the exit polls in Venezula were correct and the recall election was stolen, perforce you think that both the 2000 and 2004 elections in the US were stolen. Sometimes paranoids are right.

  23. #23 Dano
    May 5, 2005

    Wow. Change a few words from the cut/paste on the Chavez article and it sounds like most regimes trying to grab power:

    “[Another Western Hemisphere country's] President [fill in blank] has been running an authoritarian regime. By various means he has taken control of the legislature, the courts, the armed services and the police. His thugs have been intimidating and even killing the regime’s opponents. The literature on this is voluminous, but consider these reports from [any source here]. [Blank] is an ally of [Blank]and an enemy of the United States, and [Blank] has shown no commitment to democratic principles. [Blank] sought to block the referendum by extralegal means and, having failed at that, resorted to intimidation to win it. There is no reason to believe that [blank] would stop at election fraud.”

    Saaay…do you folks think the Army judge was trying to get to the bottom of Abu Ghraib, or seeking to cover it up?

    Best,

    D

  24. #24 TallDave
    May 5, 2005

    Eli,

    I wondered if anyone would be silly enough to compare exit poll differences of a few points with one of 36%.

    Ding ding ding!! We have a winner!!

  25. #25 TallDave
    May 5, 2005

    Dano,

    Yeah, most leftist regimes trying to illegitmately seize power and steal elections resort to those tactics. They were big in Eastern Europe for some time. Cuba’s another regime famous for such things.

    Sssaayy, when do you think we’ll see a comparison of the US abuses in Abu Ghraib with Saddam’s far worse abuses in Abu Ghraib? You don’t think the media is overcovering one and covering up the other?

  26. #26 production line 12
    May 5, 2005

    Never have I been so impressed with a commenter as I am right now with TallDave. So many different debates with so many different interlocutors, beaten so comprehensively almost every single time, yet still he comes back for more and then some. If I wore a hat, I’d take it off.

  27. #27 TallDave
    May 6, 2005

    Here’s another Iraq story you’ll never read anywhere in the media.

    http://photos1.blogger.com/img/233/3034/1024/Little%20Girl%20in%20Mosul.jpg

  28. #28 TallDave
    May 6, 2005

    Oops, that was the pic, here’s the story.
    http://michaelyon.blogspot.com/2005/05/little-girl.html

    production: LOL Thanks… I think.

  29. #29 TallDave
    May 6, 2005

    And another:
    http://michaelyon.blogspot.com/2005/04/hello-ameriki-from-kurds.html

    “I was born free. I live free. I will die free.” Not if some people had their way.

  30. #30 TallDave
    May 6, 2005

    production: LOL Although if you think I was “beaten” let alone “comprehensively,” you obviously haven’t been reading very closely.

  31. #31 Dano
    May 6, 2005

    TD sez the BushCo regime is leftist. Haw. See, PL12, this is why one keeps reading this thread. You can’t make this stuff up.

    D

  32. #32 TallDave
    May 6, 2005

    D says the Bush gov’t is an authoritarian regime that had “been intimidating and even killing the regime’s opponents”. Haw. See, PL12, this is why I keep coming back here. Only the left can make up this kind of vicious garbage, and then complain the right is “anti-intellectual.” But it’s fun to watch!

    LOL that was even funnier than Jeff’s claim communist tyranny was a “myth.”

  33. #33 TallDave
    May 6, 2005

    “CARACAS, Venezuela–On Monday afternoon, dozens of people assembled in the Altamira Plaza, a public square in a residential neighborhood here that has come to symbolize nonviolent dissent in Venezuela. The crowd was there to question the accuracy of the results that announced a triumph for President Hugo Chvez in Sunday’s recall referendum.

    Within one hour of the gathering, just over 100 of Lt. Col. Chvez’s supporters, many of them brandishing his trademark army parachutist beret, began moving down the main avenue towards the crowd in the square. Encouraged by their leader’s victory, this bully-boy group had been marching through opposition neighborhoods all day. They were led by men on motorcycles with two-way radios. From afar they began to taunt the crowd in the square, chanting, “We own this country now,” and ordering the people in the opposition crowd to return to their homes. All of this was transmitted live by the local news station. The Chvez group threw bottles and rocks at the crowd. Moments later a young woman in the square screamed for the crowd to get down as three of the men with walkie-talkies, wearing red T-shirts with the insignia of the government-funded “Bolivarian Circle,” revealed their firearms. They began shooting indiscriminately into the multitude.

    A 61-year-old grandmother was shot in the back as she ran for cover. The bullet ripped through her aorta, kidney and stomach. She later bled to death in the emergency room. An opposition congressman was shot in the shoulder and remains in critical care. Eight others suffered severe gunshot wounds. Hilda Mendoza Denham, a British subject visiting Caracas for her mother’s 80th birthday, was shot at close range with hollow-point bullets from a high-caliber pistol. She now lies sedated in a hospital bed after a long and complicated operation. She is my mother.

    I spoke with her minutes before the doctors cut open her wounds. She looked at me, frightened and traumatized, and sobbed: “I was sure they were going to kill me, they just kept shooting at me.”

    In a jarringly similar attack that took place three years ago, the killers were caught on tape and identified as government officials and employees. They were briefly detained–only to be released and later praised by Col. Chvez in his weekly radio show. Their identities are no secret and they walk the streets as free men, despite having shot unarmed civilian demonstrators in cold blood.

    I was not in the square on Monday. I was preparing a complaint for the National Electoral Council regarding the fact that I had been mysteriously erased from the voter rolls and was prevented from casting a vote on Sunday. In indescribable agony I watched the television as my mother and my elderly grandparents–who were both trampled and bruised in the panic–became casualties in Venezuela’s ongoing political crisis.”

    http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110005494

    Yeah, Dano, that sounds just like the U.S.

  34. #34 Eli Rabett
    May 6, 2005

    Hmm, let us see. Chavez won by about 20%. There was one exit poll run by his opponents under the umbrella of an American polling firm although they did not actually run the poll. They had Chavez losing by 20% and that poll was released early in what one might reasonably think was an attempt to influence the vote. Others (I found references to there being ~3) had Chavez winning by 20%, so we can reasonably expect that Penn, Schoen and Berland were lending their name to a disinformation effort by Sumate.

    Now that you know that there were exit polls that got it right, we await your comments on the US exit polls in 2000 and 2004

  35. #35 TallDave
    May 6, 2005

    Again, the 2004 and 2000 exit polls in the US were not off by anything like 38%. It’s silly to bring up the comparison.

    But since you bring it up, let’s examine just how ridiculous an analogy it makes. For there to be similar discrepancies in the 2000 & 2004 U.S. elections, Kerry and Gore would have had to poll above 80%. Which pollster had them at 80% again? You could have done all your polling at MoveOn.org headquarters and not gotten results that far off.

    Yes, there were polls run by Chavez allies that had him winning. Milosevic had those too. So did Saddam Hussein. Their pollsters all “got it right” too. Shocking: People who have protesters shot and fix elections also fix exit polls! Who’d have thunk it.

    To put your comments in further perspective, to be off by that much Labor would have had to win around 75% of the vote instead of the 37% they got. Do you see any polls off by that much? I’m looking but not seeing.

    I also await your explanation of how the MIT/Harvard study is wrong, or why there was 2-way communication to the voting computers, or why they wouldn’t use the Carter Center random generator.

  36. #36 TallDave
    May 6, 2005

    Oops, I guess it s/b 70/30, if you add 20 to either score or take the 40-point split. You might those poll results polling outside MoveOn.org. OK, find me that pollster who had Kerry or Gore at 70%! And explain all the other problems.

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