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Letter to Howard Dean about the DNC election report and the evidence of vote fraud in Ohio

by : Time for change
Monday June 27, 2005 - 08:23

Dear Governor Dean:

I have much admiration for you and high hopes for your success as DNC Chairman. And I think that you would have made a fine, if not a great President. However, I have to tell you I believe that you are making a big mistake by embracing the recent DNC report on the 2004 Ohio election, which significantly under-plays the extent to which that election represents a threat to our democracy.

In particular, the repeated assurances of the lack of evidence for election determining fraud is misleading, gives a false sense of security to U.S. citizens, and in my opinion fails to encourage the kind of political climate that is needed in this country to facilitate meaningful election reform - given the fact that our country’s government and news media is heavily dominated by the Republican Party. I would think, as a minimum, before making such assurances in this high profile report, that care should have been taken to adequately address the prevalent arguments that fraud did indeed play a major role in determining the outcome of the Presidential election in Ohio, and therefore the United States.

But this report did no such thing, as I intend to make clear in detail below. I believe that the following issues are relevant to my point:

1. Failed, unlawful recount, and lack of cooperation from the Secretary of State
First and foremost, an assurance to the citizens of this country that fraud played no major role in the outcome of this election should be based on a full investigation. A fair, lawful and transparent recount of the votes, as mandated by Ohio law would be the first step in this process. Yet, Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell did everything in his power to prevent such a recount.

Samples for the recount were chosen in a non-random manner, contrary to state law, and every effort appears to have been made to ensure that results of the 3% sample recount would match election day results, so as to prevent the occurrence of county-wide hand recounts. Perhaps the most flagrant example of this was Sherole Eaton’s testimony that a Triad technician in Hocking County modified a vote tabulator prior to the recount and advised election officials on how to manipulate voting machinery to ensure that a hand recount would match the machine recount: http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/121604Z.shtml Ms. Eaton was fired from her job as a result of this transgression. How many others witnessed similar events but did not possess enough courage to risk their livelihood in order to make their observations public, as Ms. Eaton did?

Furthermore, Mr. Blackwell has steadfastly refused to testify under oath with regard to the numerous “irregularities” associated with the Ohio election, and has made every effort to bar the public from access to essential documents that might shed some light on what happened on election day. Under these circumstances, statements to the effect that evidence of massive election fraud sufficient to swing the election “have not been found” are misleading and inappropriate, especially when given extra credibility by virtue of the fact that these statements are made by the opposition party. On the contrary, the burden of proof should be put on Blackwell to show that fraud was not involved.

2. Implausibly low voter turnout in Cleveland, Cuyahoga County
On page 3 of Section IV of the DNC report, there is a discussion about how, in general, voter turnout is strongly related to the ratio of machines per voter. This is an important point and it makes sense because, as pointed out later in the DNC report, insufficient numbers of machines per voter can result in reduced voter turnout because of voters leaving the voting lines when they are unable to wait several hours to vote. However, in Cuyahoga County the normal relationship is inexplicably reversed, so that voting machines per voter is negatively associated with voter turnout. Other than to note this as a fact, the DNC report does not comment further on this very strange finding.

Richard Hayes Phillips, a statistical expert in identifying statistical anomalies whose findings have been widely publicized, has stated that there are at least 30 precincts in Cleveland with inexplicably low voter turnout, ranging as low as 7.1%. In addition, he noted at least 16 precincts where votes intended to be cast for Kerry were apparently shifted to other candidates: http://blog.democrats.com/node/812

, likely a result of non-aligned ballots, similar to the infamous Palm Beach County “butterfly ballot” of 2000. He then goes on to calculate that a 60% turnout in heavily Democratic Cleveland would have resulted in 22,000 additional votes for Kerry.

I have not thoroughly evaluated these claims of Phillips, but certainly voting machine tampering could explain the otherwise unexplained dual findings of low voter turnout in Cleveland and the negative relationship between voting machine allocation and voter turnout in Cuyahoga County. I believe that this anomaly deserves serious investigation.

3. Voter suppression through insufficient machine allocation - Franklin County
So-called “low voter turnout”, in addition to being due to actual low voter turnout, could also be due to fraudulent discarding of ballots (as suggested in point # 2, above), or it could be due to insufficient machine allocation, resulting in voting line waits of several hours, and the consequent need for many voters to leave before voting. There were numerous reports of this problem in Ohio on election day, most prominently documented in John Conyers’ U.S. House Judiciary Committee Democratic Staff Report http://www.truthout.org/docs_05/010605Y.shtml . These reports came from predominantly minority and Democratic precincts, especially from Franklin County, where lines of between two and seven hours long were reported.

A study that looked at voting machine allocation per voter by precinct partisanship http://copperas.com/machinery / showed that machine allocation was far less adequate in precincts that voted for Kerry. In fact, it appears from looking at the scatterplot that there were about 30 Kerry precincts where there was less than one machine per 440 registered voters, while there were no Bush precincts in this category. This same study showed that “voter turnout” decreased substantially in Franklin County as machine allocation decreased. And an extensive analysis by Elizabeth Liddle came to a similar conclusion http://uscountvotes.org/index.php?option=com_content&ta... . This is consistent with the DNC report analysis for all of Ohio, as noted above. Furthermore, as Bob Fitrakis reveals, all this happened while 68 voting machines were available in Franklin County but held back http://www.onlinejournal.com/evoting/111704Fitrakis/111... .

Richard Hayes Phillips calculates that this low voter turnout induced in Franklin County through the misallocation of voting machines resulted in approximately 17,000 lost votes for Kerry in Columbus alone. This is easy to understand, given the relationship between inadequate numbers of voting machines and “low voter turnout”, and the fact that this problem occurred very disproportionately in minority and Democratic precincts.

So, what does the DNC report have to say about this? It says that those who decided to leave the polls early because of long lines were split evenly between Bush and Kerry voters. This is simply unbelievable, given the highly disproportionate allocation of voting machines to Republican precincts. I think that statement is disturbing.

4. Anomalies in southwestern Ohio
Three large, heavily Republican counties in southwestern Ohio (Clermont, Butler, and Warren) provided Bush with a margin of 132,685 votes. These counties provided Bush with a margin of only 95,575 votes in 2000 - a difference of more than 37,000 votes compared to 2004, a year in which Kerry did considerably better than Gore in 2000. Each of these counties were among the top ten of Ohio’s 88 counties with regard to Bush vote margin compared to Bush’s vote margin in 2000.

Could this mean that these counties were trending even more Republican in 2004 than in 2000? Perhaps. But consider that the Democratic candidate for Chief Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court, Ellen Connally, a liberal African-American from Cleveland, and little known in southern Ohio, achieved 43.3% of the vote in these three counties in 2004, compared to only 31.0% for Kerry http://web.northnet.org/minstrel/connally.htm and actually polled more than 13,000 more votes than Kerry, though state-wide she ran considerably below Kerry.

Also consider the fact that part of the reason for Bush’s excess vote margin in the three counties was an extra-ordinarily large increase in voter registration from 2000, including a 30% increase in Warren County. Yet, according to the DNC report, an increase in voter registration was supposed to favor Kerry in 2004. Furthermore, Warren County was the site of the infamous lockdown, rationalized by the bogus excuse of national security, which allowed Republican officials to tally the Warren County vote in private http://www.enquirer.com/editions/2004/11/10/loc_warrenv... .

What does the DNC report have to say about this? First, the report goes to great lengths to show that Kerry’s vote percentage state-wide was highly correlated with the percent of African-Americans, the percent vote for the Democratic Senatorial candidate, Eric Fingerhut, and the percent not voting “yes” on Issue 1 (the ban on gay marriage). It then goes on to suggest that because these trends fit the expected pattern, the evidence is strongly suggestive that widespread fraud did not occur.
The correlation of Kerry’s vote percent with that of the Democratic Senate candidate, the percent of African-Americans in a precinct, and not voting yes on issue 1 should not be a surprise. But Kerry only lost Ohio by 2.1%. Therefore, it is entirely plausible that there could be slight anomalies from the expected pattern that could account for much if not all of Bush’s 2004 vote margin, and yet would do little to diminish the overall pattern. The DNC report does not specifically mention the comparison of Fingerhut’s performance in Clermont, Butler, and Warren Counties, versus Kerry’s performance. Fingerhut polled 36.1% of the vote statewide, compared to 24.5% of the vote in Clermont, Butler, and Warren Counties http://election.sos.state.oh.us/results/SingleRaceSumma...

. Again, much less of a span than the differential for Kerry, who polled 49% statewide, versus 31.0 percent in Clermont, Butler, and Warren counties.

5. Late vote surge in Miami County
In Miami County on election night, after 100% of precincts had reported, an additional 19,000 ballots were reported, giving Bush an additional vote margin of about 6,000, while changing the total Bush and Kerry percentages by no more than three hundredths of a percent http://www.freepress.org/columns/display/3/2004/983 . What makes this additionally suspicious is that Miami County reported a 20.9% increase in turnout for 2004, compared to 2000, despite a gain in population of only 1.4%, AND Miami County reported the second largest vote gain for Bush of Ohio’s 88 counties (2nd to Butler County), compared to his performance in 2000. The DNC report has nothing to say about this.

6. Vote switching in Mahoning County
According to the Washington Post, an investigation identified 25 electronic voting machines in Youngstown, Mahoning County, which transferred an unknown number of votes from Kerry to Bush http://www.ballotintegrity.org/cgi-bin/dcforum/dcboard.... . This was part of a larger national pattern, for which a review of the national Electronic Incidence Reporting System (EIRS) determined that 87 out of 94 reports of electronic vote switching to EIRS favored Bush http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph... . The post report goes on to state “Due to lack of cooperation from Secretary of State Blackwell, we have not been able to ascertain the number of votes that were impacted or whether the machines malfunctioned due to intentional manipulation or error.”

What does the DNC report have to say about this? In Section VII, on electronic voting, it notes that it is not possible to determine the baseline accuracy of DRE machines. Then, in Section IX, “Experience on the Ground in Ohio”, the vote switching in Mahoning County is covered in exactly ten words. Also, one sentence is allocated to this issue in Section X of the report.

7. As yet uncounted ballots
There remain 106,000 ballots uncounted, including over 92,000 for which machine tallies have not indicated a choice for President, and about 14,000 uncounted provisional ballots http://www.freepress.org/departments/display/19/2005/10...

. Most of these come from areas where Kerry voters predominated. The DNC report does not specifically say how many uncounted ballots remain, though it does note that counting them all could not possibly overturn the election. That is true, when considered as an isolated issue. However, when combined with all the other issues that the DNC did or did not address in its report, these ballots could make the difference.

In conclusion, the DNC report barely touched on many widely publicized issues (only a portion of which I have covered in this letter) that suggest that fraud could have or was likely to have made the difference in the 2004 Presidential election in Ohio. Addressing other issues, while failing to address these issues does not provide assurance that fraud was not pervasive in the 2004 election, though the DNC report suggests exactly that. The facts that Kerry won the Ohio exit poll by a statistically significant 4.2% and that no cooperation in investigating the possibility of fraud is forthcoming from the Secretary of State’s Office, add much additional weight to this problem. In my opinion, this is the most important issue facing us at this time, because until this issue is addressed we are unlikely to ever have a Democratic Congress, President, or Judiciary. Therefore, I beg you to distance yourself from this report and adopt a more assertive stance towards one of the most serious crises that this country has ever had.


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> Letter to Howard Dean about the DNC election report and the evidence of vote fraud in Ohio
Friday July 1 - 17:19 - Posted by 206c93c5f2c56404...

Your full of crap !

> Letter to Howard Dean about the DNC election report and the evidence of vote fraud in Ohio
Friday July 1 - 17:42 - Posted by fa15e807419754e4...

and you’re not?

> Letter to Howard Dean about the DNC election report and the evidence of vote fraud in Ohio
Saturday July 2 - 00:03 - Posted by 5c5b85b1ea52109d...

Thanks for your thoughtful critique of our work in the DNC Ohio 2004

All I will say about your overall argument that the report does not
take into account everything that is known about the 2004 election in
Ohio is that that is correct. The report did not have in its scope to
try to gather evidence regarding all of the administrative decisions
and processes involved in the election. So, for example, we did not
seek to gather documents regarding the handling of voter registrations
coming in shortly before the election, even though we expected that
mishandling of those would be related to voting problems. Indeed, it
seems from what we did find regarding especially provisional ballots
that mishandling of voter registrations was a problem. But resource
constraints drove the decision to limit the scope of the data
collection in that way. We were and are mindful that the study we did
was neither the only one nor the last. Others with advantages such as
subpoena power and a longer time horizon we hoped would be able to
push more insistently into such questions. Also, even though the
report includes descriptions of election-day problems and voter
protection efforts in parts of the state (especially Cuyahoga County),
it does not attempt a census of all the reports of that kind that have
been produced. The DNC report was not framed as a synthesis but as an
effort to get analytically sharp answers about specific questions.

Here are some comments regarding each of your numbered points.

"1. Failed, unlawful recount, and lack of cooperation from the
Secretary of State": We used a data file containing election returns
and information about voter registration and turnout in precincts
that, as I understand it, came from the Secretary of State’s office.
I did not personally acquire the data. As the DNC report states, Eric
Greenwald had that job. I believe that that file was supposed to
reflect the latest version of all the information, including revisions
based on recounts in precincts where those occurred. We went through
several versions of that data file, as our analysis turned up problems
in it. There were horrendous problems with data from Lucas County,
which traced to records being incorrectly combined in the file from
the SoS (I determined that by comparing the SoS data to a canvass file
we received from Lucas County). A few other counties apparently had
similar problems. Lucas is the only one I worked out all the details
for myself, before receiving revised data from the SoS. Up to the
penultimate version of the file that was used to produce the results
appearing in the DNC report, there were many outliers for Butler
County that I was told stemmed from a permuted records problem like
the one in the Lucas County data. I did not have time to verify that
with information other than the SoS data, as the deadline was
approaching and I needed to redo all of the statistical analysis to
use the corrected data. The number of oddities and outliers in the
analysis of the Kerry-Bush vote split fell considerably between the
penultimate and the final version of the data used for the DNC report.

The files we used to run the analysis reported in the DNC report,
except for information about precinct racial composition (which the
DNC does not wish to release), are available from my website, at

"2. Implausibly low voter turnout in Cleveland, Cuyahoga County": We
found many anomalous results in Cuyahoga County. The significant
negative coefficient for the effect of voting machine provision on
voter turnout (precinct report Table 3) is striking but small.
I did not emphasize it because it does not appear to be associated
with large practical declines in voter turnout, but you are right to
call attention to the anomaly. Cuyahoga was also unusual in the
analysis of the Kerry-Bush vote split. Only in Cuyahoga was a higher
proportion voting for the anti-gay marriage amendment associated with
a higher share of votes for Kerry, and there were unusally many
outlier precincts in Cuyahoga (precinct report Tables 34 and 35). We
remark in the DNC report that the results observed for Cuyahoga County
warrant further investigation.

"3. Voter suppression through insufficient machine allocation -
Franklin County": You state the following:

"So, what does the DNC report have to say about this? It says that
those who decided to leave the polls early because of long lines were
split evenly between Bush and Kerry voters."

I don’t believe such a claim occurs anywhere in the DNC report. The
Voter Experience Survey (Section III) finds that across the state
between 2 and 3 percent of voters left the polls due to long lines and
did not return. The precinct analysis of the effect of voting machine
provision on voter turnout produces a comparable estimate. The sample
size in the Voter Experience Survey is too small to make a reliable
estimate of the partisan breakdown of the voters who said they left
the polls due to long lines.

"4. Anomalies in southwestern Ohio": You mention that the DNC report
does not present results specifically for Clermont, Butler, and Warren
Counties. The results for all counties are available in the file
checkpres2simnlN.Rout that is included in the file DNCreplic1.zip,
downloadable from my website mentioned above. Here are the results
for the three counties you mention. I’m also including results for
Miami County, which is the topic of your point 5.

These are robust binomial logistic regression model estimates,
matching those reported for three counties in precinct report Table
34. Variable "dsenlogit04" is the logit of the vote for Fingerhut,
"I1logit" is the logit of the vote Yes on Issue 1, and "VANHAAprop" is
the proportion African American.

county 9 : BUTLER

Choice 1 : kerry04 Estimates and SE:
Est SE.Sand t.val.Sand
(Intercept) 0.407 0.0201 20.3
dsenlogit04 0.931 0.0198 47.1
I1logit -0.203 0.0189 -10.7
VANHAAprop 1.340 0.1150 11.7

LQD sigma: 1.115918
TANH sigma: 1.037107

Number of Observations: 288
Number of observations with at least one zero weight: 0

county 13 : CLERMONT

Choice 1 : kerry04 Estimates and SE:
Est SE.Sand t.val.Sand
(Intercept) 0.241 0.0368 6.54
dsenlogit04 0.841 0.0263 32.00
I1logit -0.158 0.0326 -4.84
VANHAAprop 1.790 0.6040 2.96

LQD sigma: 0.9000457
TANH sigma: 0.827516

Number of Observations: 191
Number of observations with at least one zero weight: 0

county 55 : MIAMI

Choice 1 : kerry04 Estimates and SE:
Est SE.Sand t.val.Sand
(Intercept) 0.538 0.0488 11.00
dsenlogit04 0.923 0.0402 23.00
I1logit -0.223 0.0510 -4.38
VANHAAprop 0.603 0.4200 1.44

LQD sigma: 1.083368
TANH sigma: 1.011146

Number of Observations: 82
Number of observations with at least one zero weight: 0

county 83 : WARREN

Choice 1 : kerry04 Estimates and SE:
Est SE.Sand t.val.Sand
(Intercept) 0.451 0.0488 9.24
dsenlogit04 0.855 0.0326 26.20
I1logit -0.331 0.0414 -8.00
VANHAAprop -0.121 0.0899 -1.35

LQD sigma: 1.259254
TANH sigma: 1.152096

Number of Observations: 157
Number of observations with at least one zero weight: 0

The only unexpected result is the negative estimate for the
coefficient for VANHAAprop in Warren County, but that estimate is not
statistically significant. I decided to highlight only statistically
significant deviations from the expected coefficient signs. There are
no outlier precincts in any of these four counties.

You write the following.

"Also consider the fact that part of the reason for Bush’s excess
vote margin in the three counties was an extra-ordinarily large
increase in voter registration from 2000, including a 30% increase in
Warren County. Yet, according to the DNC report, an increase in voter
registration was supposed to favor Kerry in 2004."

In fact we observe that larger increases in registration from 2002 to
2004 mostly went with higher proportions of votes for Kerry, but
larger increases in voter turnout from 2002 to 2004 mostly went with
higher proportions of votes for Bush. Regarding the increase in
turnout, the Summary of Principal Findings in the precinct report
states, "Increases in voter turnout above the rates expected based on
the 2002 general election were strongly associated with the proportion
voting Yes on Issue 1 (opposing gay marriage)." Other evidence in the
report shows that where registration increased sharply during 2004, so
did the proportion of voters forced to cast a provisional ballot (see
the provisional ballot survey conducted in Cuyahoga County, Sections
IV and V, and the analysis of data from Franklin County, at the end of
Section VI). So part of what happened was that Republican GOTV
produced better results than Democratic GOTV did, and part of what
happened is that Democratic registration efforts were thwarted by
inadequate (to say the least) election administration.

"5. Late vote surge in Miami County": For analysis of the Kerry-Bush
vote split in Miami County see the preceding item. We lacked data
about the number of voting machines in each precinct for Miami County,
so data from that county are not included in the precinct report
analysis that compared turnout in 2002 to turnout in 2004 (precinct
report Tables 6 and 8). For analysis that includes Miami County see
the file checkprecturnout2mN.Rout included in the file DNCreplic1.zip,
downloadable from my website mentioned above. Here are results from
that file for "Opt Central" counties. Variable "vlogit02" is the
logit of turnout in 2002 and "I1logit04" is the logit of the vote Yes
on Issue 1.

[1] "Opt Central"

Choice 1 : votescast04 Estimates and SE:
Est SE.Sand t.val.Sand
(Intercept) 1.040 0.0179 58.00
vlogit02 0.671 0.0155 43.40
I1logit04 0.194 0.0303 6.42

LQD sigma: 2.340966
TANH sigma: 2.136888

Number of Observations: 593
Number of observations with at least one zero weight: 4

county place

GEAUGA & ACA & -5.14 \\
MIAMI & ABX & -6.95 \\
MIAMI & ABY & 5.02 \\
MIAMI & ABZ & 5.83 \\

There are four outlier precincts, three of which are from Miami
County. Two of them have substantially higher turnout than expected
based on 2002 and support for Issue 1 and one has substantially lower

"6. Vote switching in Mahoning County": In the analysis that related
the Kerry-Bush vote split to the vote for governor in 2002, no
Mahoning precinct is an outlier (precinct report Tables 30—33). The
analysis that compares the Kerry-Bush vote split to other 2004 votes
find nothing unusual in parameters estimated using the precinct data
from Mahoning. Here are the results for Mahoning from

county 50 : MAHONING

Choice 1 : kerry04 Estimates and SE:
Est SE.Sand t.val.Sand
(Intercept) 0.870 0.0194 44.90
dsenlogit04 1.120 0.0269 41.50
I1logit -0.298 0.0458 -6.51
VANHAAprop 1.040 0.0813 12.80

LQD sigma: 1.255465
TANH sigma: 1.179296

Number of Observations: 311
Number of observations with at least one zero weight: 0

county SPC precinct std.resid

Even though there are no outlier precincts in Mahoning, there are
three precincts in Mahoning County that have notably unususal results.
The summaries printed in checkpres2simnlN.Rout list every precinct
that has a studentized residual with magnitude greater than 3.0 (a
precinct that’s an outlier has a residual of magnitude greater than
4.0). You can see the three precincts that had Kerry-Bush vote split
results that were that unusual, relative to the estimated model. In
two of the precincts the vote for Kerry was unusually low and in one
the vote for Kerry was unsually high.

"7. As yet uncounted ballots": As you observe, we did extensive
analysis of the residual vote. Unavailable data prevented us from
doing anything regarding uncounted provisional ballots.

You state, "The facts that Kerry won the Ohio exit poll by a
statistically significant 4.2%...." We decided not to do anything
with the exit poll data once it became clear we would not be able to
find out the precincts they used (we tried pretty hard). That meant
we would have no new evidence to add to the extensive public
controversy on the topic. The DNC study therefore takes no position
regarding the exit polls. My own opinion, based on closely following
the extensive controversy and talking to various people, is that the
exit polls in Ohio had a Democratic bias. But that’s just my opinion.

Walter Mebane

* - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - *
Walter R. Mebane, Jr. email: wrm1@cornell.edu
Professor office voice: 607/255-3868
Department of Government cell: 607/592-0546
Cornell University fax: 607/255-4530
217 White Hall WWW: http://macht.arts.cornell.edu/wrm1/
Ithaca, NY 14853-7901
* - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - *

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Neo-Nazis and far-right protesters in Ukraine 3 live-stream
Friday 24 January
The far-right in Ukraine are acting as the vanguard of a protest movement that is being reported as pro-democracy. The situation on the ground is not as simple as pro-EU and trade versus pro-Putin and Russian hegemony in the region. When US Senator John McCain dined with Ukraine’s opposition leaders in December, he shared a table and later a stage with the leader of the extreme far-right Svoboda party Oleh Tyahnybok. This is Oleh Tyahnybok, he has claimed a "Moscow-Jewish mafia" (...)
Hugo Chavez is dead (video live)
Wednesday 6 March
by : Collective BELLACIAO
1 comment
President Hugo Chavez companeros venezueliano died after a long battle with cancer.
International initiative to stop the war in Syria Yes to democracy, no to foreign intervention!
Thursday 13 December
Your support here: http://www.peaceinsyria.org/support.php We, the undersigned, who are part of an international civil society increasingly worried about the awful bloodshed of the Syrian people, are supporting a political initiative based on the results of a fact-finding mission which some of our colleagues undertook to Beirut and Damascus in September 2012. This initiative consists in calling for a delegation of highranking personalities and public figures to go to Syria in order to (...)
Monday 12 November
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
At first glance, the results of America’s 2012 election appear to be a triumph for social, racial, and economic justice and progress in the United States: California voters passed a proposition requiring the rich to shoulder their fair share of the tax burden; Two states, Colorado and Washington, legalized the recreational use of marijuana, while Massachusetts approved the use of marijuana for medical purposes; Washington and two other states, Maine and Maryland, legalized same-sex (...)
Sunday 28 October
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
In a 2004 episode of Comedy Central’s animated series South Park, an election was held to determine whether the new mascot for the town’s elementary school would be a “giant douche” or a “turd sandwich.” Confronted with these two equally unpalatable choices, one child, Stan Marsh, refused to vote at all, which resulted in his ostracization and subsequent banishment from the town. Although this satirical vulgarity was intended as a commentary on the two (...)
Friday 28 September
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
PART I PART II PART III If there is one major inconsistency in life, it is that young people who know little more than family, friends and school are suddenly, at the age of eighteen, supposed to decide what they want to do for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, because of their limited life experiences, the illusions they have about certain occupations do not always comport to the realities. I discovered this the first time I went to college. About a year into my studies, I (...)
Friday 28 September
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
PART I PART II PART IV Disillusioned with the machinations of so-called “traditional” colleges, I became an adjunct instructor at several “for-profit” colleges. Thanks largely to the power and pervasiveness of the Internet, “for-profit” colleges (hereinafter for-profits) have become a growing phenomenon in America. They have also been the subject of much political debate and the focus of a Frontline special entitled College Inc. Unlike traditional (...)
Friday 28 September
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
PART I PART III PART IV Several years ago, a young lady came into the college where I was teaching to inquire about a full-time instructor’s position in the sociology department. She was advised that only adjunct positions were available. Her response was, “No thanks. Once an adjunct, always an adjunct.” Her words still echo in my mind. Even as colleges and universities raise their tuition costs, they are relying more and more on adjunct instructors. Adjuncts are (...)
Friday 28 September
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
PART II PART III PART IV When The Bill of Rights was added to the United States Constitution over two hundred years ago, Americans were blessed with many rights considered to be “fundamental.” One conspicuously missing, however, was the right to an education. This was not surprising given the tenor of the times. America was primarily an agrarian culture, and education, especially higher education, was viewed as a privilege reserved for the children of the rich and (...)
Monday 30 July
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
If there is one universal question that haunts all human beings at some point in their lives, it is, “Why do we die?” Death, after all, is the great illogic. It ultimately claims all, the rich and the poor, the mighty and the small, the good and the evil. Death also has the capability to make most human pursuits—such as the quest for wealth, fame and power—vacuous and fleeting. Given this reality, I have often wondered why so many people are still willing to (...)
Thursday 28 June
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
How much corruption can a “democracy” endure before it ceases to be a democracy? If five venal, mendacious, duplicitous, amoral, biased and (dare I say it) satanic Supreme Court “justices”—John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Anthony Kennedy—have their way, America will soon find out. In several previous articles for Pravda.Ru, I have consistently warned how the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision is one of the (...)
Tuesday 12 June
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
1 comment
Imagine, if you will, that the United States government passes a law banning advertisers from sponsoring commercials on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show or Rupert Murdoch’s Fox (Faux) “News” Network. On one hand, there would be two decided advantages to this ban: The National IQ would undoubtedly increase several percentage points, and manipulative pseudo-journalists would no longer be able to appeal to the basest instincts in human nature for ratings and profit while (...)
Thursday 7 June
by : David R. Hoffman, Pravda.Ru Legal Editor
LIVE, from the State that brought you Senator Joseph McCarthy, Wisconsin voters now proudly present, fresh from his recall election victory, Governor Scott Walker! At first glance, it is almost unfathomable that anyone with a modicum of intelligence would have voted to retain Scott Walker as Wisconsin’s governor. This, after all, is a man who openly declared he is trying to destroy the rights of workers through a “divide and conquer” strategy; who received 61% of the (...)
Tuesday 13 March
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
A question I’ve frequently been asked since I began writing for Pravda.Ru in 2003 is, “Why did you become disillusioned with the practice of law?” This question is understandable, particularly since, in most people’s minds, being an attorney is synonymous with wealth and political power. I’ve always been reluctant to answer this question for fear it will discourage conscientious and ethical people from pursuing careers in the legal profession—a (...)