When Strategy Fails, Rove Will Fight Dirty

Let us begin in the middle -- that is, at the center of a chess board, the most important area strategically to control in any game -- and take a bird's eye view. There is no question that all things being equal, the Democrats will utterly slaughter their opponents from one side of the nation, slashing and slicing, all the way to the other.

I am therefore amused at the Monday-night quarterbacking going on -- still -- as though with only a week left, the outcome of this upcoming election is still somehow debatable. Karl Rove -- aka Bush's colon -- might have his math, as he so arrogantly chirped recently, but the rest of the science-abiding world can still add and subtract, and it is quite obvious to anyone with the ability to dress themselves in the morning that there are simply not enough members of the hate constituency to deliver this election to the Republicans. There are not enough homophobes, bigots, and criminal braggarts left to offset the massive exodus of the recently awakened from the rotting base of the GOP.

The strategy played thus far by the RNC has been catastrophic, and all the talk of a Rove endgame surprise -- that is, a legal surprise -- is pure nonsense to anyone who understands strategy, as well as to anyone who knows that once you have lost control of the center, you are at a material disadvantage, and your opponent is positioned but a few moves from checkmate, there is absolutely nothing that can be done to salvage the game.

Then again, Rove has never been a strong chess player, or strategist even. His success comes simply from his willingness to act outside the law, an endless amount of money with which to do it, and connections that will keep him safe from legal prosecution. That is not genius, it is simply power crank. Because he is such a weak strategist, Rove tends to play the same game over and over and over. But his favored divide-aggravate-focus strategy is not working this time; it is simply far too visible, and the GOP is far too corrupt for even the most faith-based of their base.

So then why have I been in near panic for the last few weeks?

Because all things are not equal, or even barely Constitutional, and they have not been for some time now.

Distilling panic

Because I play chess, I can see that (a) the Republicans must hold the House to avoid impeachment, (b) yet because it is simply not probable that the GOP can hold the House, then (c) the game must be altered to favor the GOP in some way.

There is no question that the Republicans must keep the House, if they are to avoid criminal investigations which will no doubt land many of them in prison. More importantly, the unprecedented abuse of power by the White House cannot be allowed to be examined or investigated, because there is enough evidence to not only impeach this administration, but also to convict them of serious, criminal, even treasonous acts.

But that is not all that is at stake here, because of the unprecedented corruption, criminal activity, and outright violations of domestic and international law that include as bedfellows fascists and corporate interests. Halliburton, Exxon, and AT&T, for example, will no doubt face serious probes. Halliburton alone has been engaged in enough criminal activity to make the combined crimes of Enron, Arthur Andersen, and WorldCom look like standard operating procedure in comparison.

But how?

My friends, no matter how rough the road may be, we can and we will, never, never surrender to what is right. —Dan Quayle

Since the House must be kept under GOP control at all costs, thereby assuring a safe haven for the blue chip mob, how can such a miracle be pulled off in the face of simple math?

I am obviously not speaking from a position of direct knowledge when I present what I feel are logical scenarios. This is pure speculation on my part. That said, however, I am speculating as a person who studies history, as a chess player, and as someone who understands what is really at stake here.

The only way that Republicans can fix an election watched this closely and with so much focus on vote fraud allegations -- and with good reason -- against a party that excels in suppressing the vote, is for them to have three very important control mechanisms in place and operational: numbers, media and diversion.

It's all in the numbers

Karl Rove's recent deployment of a "question the polls" edict to his minions shows that the argument is already being planted by which to minimize the shock of an impossible GOP win. But that alone is not nearly enough when real math is to be Republicanized.

Have you ever wondered why it is that the GOP will go out of its way to falsely register Democratic voters as Republican voters? The most recent example of this bizarre activity occurred in Orange County, where 12 Republican operatives have tricked Democrats into registering as Republicans. What is the point of putting so much effort and money into wrongly registering people, when in the end, regardless of party affiliation, people vote in private for whomever they choose?

The answer is, quite simply, that if you are going to fix an election, you have to show that the exit polls are wrong, an argument that tends to cause mass riots in other countries, but in the math-impaired States seems to have no effect.

One way to show that the exit polls are inaccurate is to point to increased registration for a particular party and thereby claim larger voter turn out, because despite how someone actually votes, the GOP can claim she/he voted for a Republican candidate based on her/his party affiliation, listed on their newly minted registration card.

But this too is not enough to make the numbers game work. Consider, for example, the obvious issue surrounding black voters appearing on election day in large numbers. African-Americans generally vote for Democrats, and because they can be identified as opposition voters simply by the color of their skin, their visibility might counter the Republicanized math version of reality.

In Ohio during this past election cycle, it was possible to see Democratic voters in large numbers waiting in line for up to 11 hours because of the color of their skin, something that the bigots of the RNC cannot afford to simply put, the visible presence of black voters might make lying about the tally that much more difficult. Which is why Ohio was such an obvious mess of numbers.

So for the GOP to win, voters of color must be purged, and have been in large numbers already. This now applies to Hispanic voters as well, since the hate constituency has added them to this election cycle's undesirables list.

In Florida, for example, during the 2000 and 2004 election cycles, the GOP created a caging list by which to suppress Democratic voter turnout. That list was based on the color of the voter's skin, and regular citizens who had never committed a crime in their life ended up on felon lists across the state. In Florida, felons cannot vote, and at least 20 thousand innocent Americans suddenly found themselves listed as felons. During the same election cycles, the Hispanic community had actual felons scrubbed off a real felon list, because in Florida the anti-Castro Cuban community tends to vote Republican.

Now, however, the anti-immigration rhetoric has put Hispanics on the target list, so they too are being purged from registration lists across the nation or intimidated into not voting by phony GOP letters sent out warning them of arrests.

For a party who claims that they represent the majority of American people, even claiming a mandate last time around, they sure go to a great deal of trouble to suppress voter turn out, do they not?

Karl Rove's recent comments about his own private math system adds to the fuzzy math suspicions, because other than to monitor in advance what adjustments need to be made for each district, why does he need to watch polls so closely? Remember, these are people who claim over and over that they don't pay attention to the polls to begin with.

I have never heard Howard Dean say he watches all the national polls to this extent, or even the number of polls he pays attention to. Rove's assertion that he has access to roughly 65 polls and claims he is privy to polls that the public is not privy to, should have sent shockwaves through our brave new Democracy. Is Howard Dean privy to this same information, or is Karl Rove just the lucky one?

I have asked the following since day one of this presidency and still have gotten no answer: Why does Karl Rove get to run the national election representing only one party from the national seat of power and using the highest of security clearances and all the power of the presidency? How is this legal?

Add to this the brilliance of the early-voting system, which of course is just so convenient for us working folks, giving us extra options of when to vote, just in case we have to work on election day. Did it ever occur to anyone to simply make national voting day a national holiday, thereby giving people the day to cast their ballot?

And the early-vote coupled with the "ease-of-technology without paper" concept together make U.S. elections now the best hacked open secret in the world.

Consider Broward County, Fla., in 2004 as an example of how to adjust the numbers game in advance of the actual national voting day. It was amazing that no one seemed to really notice or care that on election day, 21 voting machines were mysteriously disappeared after having been left unattended for two weeks during the early voting period. Yes, they had votes on them. I tried to find these machines at the time: who took them, where they were taken to, and for what reason really, etc. Sadly, I did not get very far.

Someone has to set the tone: Enter the media

None of the GOP's contract on America can happen, of course, without the help of an obliging fourth estate, who will always deny accusations of election fraud while trying to make funny math seem like a logical explanation for the improbable.

Remember the "sore-loser" theory as a way to explain away anyone who questioned the math of the 2004 Ohio miracle? Or what about myth of the "values voter," who suddenly appeared in large numbers to give the Bush-Cheney cabal a mandate? The right wing targeted (also as part of the distraction mechanism) anyone who relied on logic and reason, labeling him or her a lunatic, idiot, or bad sport. The right had help from the mainstream media, of course, and from the label-phobic liberals who embraced this foolishness for whatever reason.

The exit polls simply could not account for the sudden influx sometime around 10 p.m. EST of these mysterious values voters, who inexplicably and suddenly moved Ohio into magical number territory. That did not stop the press from using this nonsense to explain away those who dared to question the supposed Christians of America. The exit polls told us who really won and have been accurately predicting elections all over the world for ages. But since Bush and the Republicans took over America, exit polls have suddenly become faith-based.

During the same election cycle, Ukrainian citizens took to the streets when the exit polls were out of sync with the official outcome. The American media supported the citizens of Ukraine in their effort to reclaim their electoral victory, but they abandoned their own citizens who pointed to the same type of discrepancies in our domestic election. Our media was more than willing to help spread democracy and champion free elections in another country, just not here, where it would be too close to their own paychecks, it seems.


The most important feature for a stolen election, Republican-style or otherwise, is to create a distraction to draw attention away from the theft. The media cannot do its part without some pieces and lies to work with, and the RNC has been very creative in throwing sand in the eyes of American citizens. In order for the media to even halfway buy into the tricky numbers game and subsequently sell it to the public, there must be an event or some dramatic effect that mobilizes the supporters of the GOP while at the same time silencing the opposition. Once again, enter the mysterious values-voters and their magic numbers.

Fatih is personal and sacred to any real practicing member of any religious institution. Using faith as a distraction was as brilliant as it was cynical. On the one hand, the hate constituency was mobilized by pride and fiercely protective of its supposed victory. It made a great deal of noise, if anyone remembers, despite the reality of what the math showed. On the other hand, the left was largely intimidated into near silence for fear of attacking something as personal as faith.

This time around, however, the real Christians in America have pushed back against the hate constituency and exposed not only their duplicity but also their small numbers. Sure, there are some small voter pockets of the pedophiles-for-God clique, but they are hardly a force of any import.

Enter now

What then will be our current distraction, and how will it be delivered to a public finally wide awake and paying attention? My near-panic mode almost entirely hinges on this one question.

The fuzzy numbers game is obvious and a given, for me anyway, at this point. But it is the distraction mechanism that keeps me awake at night.

To really understand the full implications of the distraction question, it has to be cut into pieces and digested slowly for the full flavor of my concern to register.

What would a morally bankrupt, criminal, and arrogant person with a casket full of millions do in order to retain power? What would a person who is willing to violate the Geneva Conventions, torture and degrade people, and watch as an entire American city slowly drowns on live television do to retain power? And what would someone like this, with an endless supply of resources and money, with the highest security clearances and running a campaign from the national seat of power, be able to achieve?

Does this not frighten you? It frightens me greatly. What can be done that would occupy a no-longer friendly media and silence an outraged public when the election results come down and, once again, show up as imaginary numbers and mysterious calculations?

And this is where my usually logical, measured self begins to see the sheen of tin-foil. One scenario, especially, has kept me swimming in liquid foil for weeks, hoping to be wrong and hoping against hope to prove that history need not repeat itself.

In case of an emergency

The possibility of something sinister delivered as a diversion is not unthinkable, given this crowd and what they have already done. But how far would they be willing to go in order to retain power and thus avoid prosecution for crimes already committed?

If recent developments are any indication, we may be looking at something so drastic that I am fully ready to attire myself from head-to-toe in all manner of paranoia. There is logic here, and it is measurable, adding fuel to my near panic.

When the President recently signed the Military Commissions Act (better known as the Stalin “No Man, No Problem” Decree), amounting to the end of habeus corpus, my panic became palpable. This law is so antithetical to the principles of democracy, that to even put pen to paper in order to sign this farce of a bill into law amounts to treason, in my humble opinion.

This law literally gives the president alone full authority over all branches of government to decide who is an enemy of the United States and who is an ally. It grants the president power over that person's freedom, property, and basic human rights -- short of organ failure (as if murder in secret can be objectively investigated for signs of "organ failure" type torture). The operative word here is "secret" and the frightening reality is that if one considers the crimes this administration has already committed by the light of day, imagine what happens when night falls.

For whom was this law really passed, and why was it so urgent before the election? Add to the MCA the passage of HR 5122, which has buried in it authority for the president to federalize the National Guard. Again, for what purpose is this law needed, and why was it so urgently needed before the election? Are there not other, more pressing, more obvious issues to deal with?

My panic continues from my initial question to what, for lack of any real answers, my imagination addresses.

If there is no insurrection, then why suspend habeus corpus? Unless it is a contingency plan for a possible insurrection. Why pass this before the election, urgently, as though the country were on fire and despite the begging of the world? Perhaps the contingency planning for an insurrection is taking into account what the exit polls will once again fail to deliver. Perhaps the answer is as simple as it is historically supportable: (a) if the GOP cannot give up control of Congress, (b) and there is ample proof that they will retain control of Congress through election fraud, then (c) faced with a no longer sedated public, this brave new America of the GOP might require extreme measures in order to secure peace in the event of an uprising, (d) perhaps through something like domestic policing measures.

This may be my Soviet-background paranoia coming into play. Or it may be the shiny-happy tin foil that has grown on my skin over the course of this presidency.

But as a chess player, I too am watching the game and attempting to calculate well in advance the strategy and the desired outcome of my opponent. I have to play out each possible scenario to its end and find the most logical and probable solution, even if it is possibly the most morally challenging one. I have to assess my opponents from top to bottom and calculate what they are planning to do based on what they have already done.

All that said, in the end, the most frightening aspect of the brave new American election system is that it appears to move in the ether, with stage-craft, far removed from us citizen-voters, despite its direct effect on every facet of our daily lives. It is that sense of having no voice that frightens me to no end, and it is the fear that attempting to reclaim that voice might cause an already deadly animal to go on the defensive. But since when has fear ever stopped a revolution?

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Imagine you've forgotten once again the difference between a gorilla and a chimpanzee, so you do a quick Google image search of “gorilla." But instead of finding images of adorable animals, photos of a Black couple pop up.

Is this just a glitch in the algorithm? Or, is Google an ad company, not an information company, that's replicating the discrimination of the world it operates in? How can this discrimination be addressed and who is accountable for it?

“These platforms are encoded with racism," says UCLA professor and best-selling author of Algorithms of Oppression, Dr. Safiya Noble. “The logic is racist and sexist because it would allow for these kinds of false, misleading, kinds of results to come to the fore…There are unfortunately thousands of examples now of harm that comes from algorithmic discrimination."

On At Liberty this week, Dr. Noble joined us to discuss what she calls “algorithmic oppression," and what needs to be done to end this kind of bias and dismantle systemic racism in software, predictive analytics, search platforms, surveillance systems, and other technologies.

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