The New York Times | Editorial
It's Voter-Fooling Time in America
Fri Oct 20, 2006 15:46

It's Voter-Fooling Time in America
The New York Times | Editorial

Friday 20 October 2006

The homestretch of the campaign season historically puts treacherous distortions of the truth before the voters, none more so this year than a mysterious California letter informing thousands of Latino-Americans that immigrants have no right to vote. "You are advised," begins the Spanish-language letter, dripping with authority, that if "you're an immigrant, voting in a federal election is a crime that can result in incarceration." It now appears that someone in a Republican Congressional campaign conjured a contemporary spin on a classic scare tactic from torchlight politics.

Comparable outrages surface daily now, with an ad for black voters in six states misrepresenting the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s politics in a staged chat between two black women: "Dr. King was a real man," says one actress. "You know he was a Republican," the other chimes in.

Democrats are no less tempted to flash bare-knuckle mischief. In a prime example, Representative Nancy Johnson, a Connecticut Republican, is being portrayed by Chris Murphy, the Democrat, as heartlessly unresponsive to a woman whose child needed insurance coverage for a cleft lip and palate. Of course, Ms. Johnson has represented Mr. Murphy as being opposed to the surveillance of terrorists.

So it goes, with some ethically challenged spinners creating false news clippings and tucking them knifelike into campaign videos of real stories. Even Lincoln is being falsely quoted by defenders of the Iraq war. The 16th president never said that Congressional critics who damage wartime morale "should be arrested, exiled or hanged."

One of the more widespread canards is rooted in the divisive and fruitless immigration debate. Democrats in more than two dozen races are being falsely accused of wanting to give Social Security benefits to illegal immigrants - a distortion of a proposal to actually block immigrants from being credited for benefit days worked before they had legal status. One Web site coated with obvious racism and xenophobia is, which skewers Senator Debbie Stabenow, Democrat of Michigan, dressing her digitally in a sombrero, grinning and declaring, "No problema!"

What to do, beyond celebrating the continuing pungency of free speech across the nation? The most obvious answer is that voters need to pay ever closer attention to what the candidates say in this world of mixed media and mixed messages. The Internet is a powerful ally.

The head of Google, Eric Schmidt, is cautioning politicians stuck in the sound-bite era that "truth predictor" software is in the works so that computer-wise voters will be instantaneously able to check on the probability, if not the certainty, of what candidates claim as fact. Actually, careful parsing of egregiously misleading campaign ads is already available on the Web at, a nonprofit service that thinks voters should be treated as intelligent consumers entitled to the plain facts. If only the candidates saw it that way.


Kevin Tillman | After Pat's Birthday
Kevin Tillman writes, "Somehow we were sent to invade a nation because it was a direct threat to the American people, or to the world, or harbored terrorists, or was involved in the September 11 attacks, or received weapons-grade uranium from Niger, or had mobile weapons labs, or WMD, or had a need to be liberated, or we needed to establish a democracy, or stop an insurgency, or stop a civil war we created that can't be called a civil war even though it is."

In Two Weeks, Baghdad Violence Up 22 Percent
A two-month US-Iraqi military operation aimed at stemming sectarian bloodshed and insurgent attacks in Baghdad has failed to reduce the violence, which has surged 22 percent in the capital in the last two weeks, much of it in areas where the military has focused its efforts.

Robert Dreyfuss | The End of Maliki?: Will a Coup Unravel Iraq?
Robert Dreyfuss writes: "From Washington, London, Baghdad, and other capitals come rumors that Maliki's government will soon be overthrown by a nationalist general or colonel or that he will resign in favor of an emergency 'government of national salvation.' A coup d'état in Iraq would put a period - or rather an exclamation point - at the end of the Bush administration's bungled experiment with democracy there."

Jay Bookman | It's Time to Face Harsh Reality in Iraq
"American troops are still fighting and dying in Iraq and will be for months to come as we try to extricate ourselves from this mess, but it's over," Jay Bookman writes. "What we're doing in Iraq cannot be sustained, not militarily and not politically, and after the election a lot of people are going to start saying so."

US Reviews Baghdad Strategy as Troop Deaths Mount
The US military said on Thursday it was reviewing strategy in Baghdad, where US reinforcements have failed to halt spiraling violence, and expressed grave concern about mounting troop deaths.

Tables Turned for the GOP Over Iraq Issue
Four months ago, the White House offered a set of clear political directions to Republicans heading into the midterm elections: embrace the war in Iraq as critical to the anti-terrorism fight and belittle Democrats as advocates of a "cut and run" policy of weakness.

VIDEO | Keith Olbermann: Olbermann Addresses the Military Commissions Act in a Special Comment
"A government more dangerous to our liberty than is the enemy it claims to protect us from," says Keith Olbermann. "We have accepted that the only way to stop the terrorists is to let the government become just a little bit like the terrorists."

VIDEO | Is War With Iran Inevitable?
A Report by Geoffrey Millard and Scott Galindez
On Wednesday, October 11, Congressman Dennis Kucinich hosted a briefing on the march to war with Iran. Former chief nuclear weapons inspector David Kay testified that Iran currently does not pose an imminent threat to the United States or the region. Retired Air Force colonel Sam Gardner, who was assigned to the War Planning College, presented his analysis of current preparations for war with Iran.

VIDEO | Iraq for Sale: As Not Seen on TV
"Iraq for Sale," the latest documentary from Robert Greenwald, tells a depressingly familiar tale of corporate corruption and war-profiteering in Iraq. Focusing on companies like Halliburton, CACI International and Blackwater Security Consulting, it recites a litany of rapacity and exploitation that ought to have American citizens swarming Congress, demanding heads on pikes.

Deadline Live - 10-19-06 Hour 1 | 15.8mb - 39.40 Hour 2 | 15.6mb - 39.10
Jack talks with Jack Martin, special projects director at FAIR (Federation for American Immigration Reform) about financial remittances from the USA to South American countries, which are currently up by 51% to $45 Billion per year, all paid for by American tax-payers

Main Page - Friday, 10/27/06

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