Great American Conversations
                    With The Alumni of RHS
               Issue 117 ~ December 10, 2000

"The margin is narrow, but the responsibility is clear."
                     ~ John F. Kennedy ~

"A new poll showed that if the election was held today,
people would be confused because it is normally held in
                ~ Kevin Nealon ~

         A Reply re: Lawyers and Democrats
         Jim Vache '64

         If They Want Gore So Bad
         Bob Mattson (64)

         Electrical Supplies:
         Bill Didway (66)

         Science: The Reality of Fact
         Bill Didway (66)

         Watership Downs
         Linda Reining Pitchford (64)

         Irregularities in the Y2K Presidential Election
         Dick Epler (52


Subj:    A Reply re Lawyers and Democrats
From:    Jim Vache '64

Ah, where shall I start regarding "An Insulting
Comparison"? I have read the author's fulminations before
and wondered what it would be like to be on the receiving
end. Now I know. Not pleasant.  I shall try to avoid ad
hominem attacks, which seem to be the major thrust of the
author's wit. I find such attacks distasteful and
illogical. It is interesting, however, that the email
address is a cite to Robert Frost's famous poem, an
essentially optimistic, humanistic paean by the poet who
composed another famous poem in honor of that famous
liberal JFK. And the  email suffix address is "cheerful".

I will start with the reference to the Bard. I assume that
he is referring to Jack Cady's line in Henry VI, part II,
Act III, scene 2 line 86: "The first thing we'll do, lets
kill all the lawyers."  Apparently that sentiment is
shared by the author, I will assume in a hyperbolic sense.

Now, what is interesting is the context. Jack Cady is the
leader of a mob bent on destroying the kingdom and
creating anarchy. So, those who really agree with this
sentiment in the sense that Shakespeare meant it might
want to reflect on the irony. The Bard is saying that if
you want to destroy the rule of law, start with the
lawyers. (Which, of course is precisely what all
revolutionaries do.) Prescient indeed: Shakespeare told us
something that John Locke proved in his Second Treatise on
Government, "Where law ends, tyranny begins."

I would like to think that the author of "Insulting
Comparison" had caught the meaning of my contribution from
another part of the Bard's work: "A plague on both your
houses," Romeo and Juliet Act II. Scene 5, line 96, but I
suppose that would require the author to recognize that my
point was that both sides are playing unwholesome games
with the law.  But since the democrats/liberals are the
only bad people in our current situation, that would not

The whole question of the role of lawyers in our culture
is an important one. It doesn't seem to me that it helps
much to propose killing them all. I suspect that the
author will be ready next time to trot out the "The
Japanese have many fewer lawyers" and "we are suffering
from a litigation explosion" and "the trial lawyers have
ruined this country" myths. I hope so. I like to debate
those issues. My only condition would be that the author
be prepared to support his opinions with facts.

Like: "the law has become significantly less a means
toward justice and much more a mental obstacle course."
That, my Bomber friends is an empirical claim. Where is
the data? For example, the author might want to examine
the decline in the numbers of lawyers serving in state
legislatures over the last generation. They (we) aren't
writing the laws any more. The author might want to
examine the growth in "popular" law making in the last 15
years, a process that completely bypasses the "legal"
system or at least reduces the role of lawyers in law
making significantly. and so on. Now, about the author's
actual response to my comments? My point was that to
suggest that the democrats/liberals are the ones who are
abusing the legal process and who always do that, as
opposed to the noble motives and actions of the
Republicans, is just wrong historically. Our author
responds to that by objecting to my linkage of the
Democratic Party with its past. (Well, that is not exactly
what he did. He objects to my supposed linking of Al Gore
to the past, which, of course I did not do!) What pray
tell, does that have to do with my suggestion? Exactly
nothing. It is like saying that the Republicans are bound
to perdition because Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew were
Republicans. BTW, is it ok for me to mention Spiro in the
same breath as Eisenhower, Taft, TR, Cal Coolidge,
Lincoln, etc.? Or has he been drummed out of the GOP?  Oh,
darn it, I forgot about the first Sen McCarthy, too. So,
as near as I can tell, that is the response of the author
to my comments about the misreading of legal history that
is so common among the Rs today. I wonder if the author
would care to actually comment on what I wrote? If so, I
would request that he establish that I am a " liberal
Sandbox contributor". Does he have a way to tell that a
person is a liberal? How does he know that I am not a
Trotskyite, or a Progressive or Luddite, or a moderate or
a Daoist, or a Maoist or a...well, you get the idea.

The last response is this: To suggest that it is lawyers
who are soley or primarily responsible for the careful
parsing of language is again fallacious. I have no respect
for the performance of President Clinton during that sorry
episode in our history. But, if I remember right, and I am
sure that I do, Col. North, a Marine, and President Reagan
both anaged to abuse and misuse the language in a similar
manner. And, should we forget that while RMN was a lawyer,
many of minions who lied o the courts and to Congress were
not? Come to think of it LBJ was not a lawyer either, and
he had more than his share of problems with truth telling.
Respect for the Constitution and the Rule of Law? The
greatest Republican of them all suspended the writ of
habeus corpus.   I end with yet another literature quote.
At the heart of the attack in he Sandbox is a claim that
the lawyers/democrats/liberals have ruined this country.
Robert Bolt speaks to this issue in his immortal play, A
Man for All Seasons: (the story of the death of Thomas
More): "More: ...The law, Roper, the law. I know what's
legal, not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal.
Roper: Then you set man's law above God's!  More: No, far
below; but let me draw your attention to a fact -I'm not
God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you
find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager.
But in the thickets of the law, oh, there I'm a forester.

Roper: ...You'd give the Devil the benefit of law?
More: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the
law to get after the Devil?
Roper: I'd cut down every law in England to do that!
More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil
turned round on you - where would you hide, Roper, the
laws all being flat? The country's planted thick with laws
from coast to coast -man's laws, not God's - and if you
cut them down -and you're just the man to do it - d'you
really think you could stand upright in the winds that
would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law,
for my own safety's sake.

              -- regards, Jim Vache '64


Subj:   Electrical Supplies:
From:   Bill Didway (66)

It amazes me that California has such a shortage of
electricity now. Before deregulating the people were told
that electrical prices would go down. Last thing I read
prices have doubled in just the last few months. Energy
use is up power production down. To make deregulation work
there needs to be an abundance of producers and
electricity. A couple of reasons there is a problem is
that now is the time to bring down facilities for repair
and maintenance. Just between the warm weather and the
cold weather but it is colder sooner, power transmission
lines have failed for unknown reason, power plants have
had unexpected problems, companies shut down at a time
when revenues would be less and they would not loose as
much money. Usage has gone steadly up as more companies
open up, more homes are built, and California wants to put
people in electric cars. At least when the utilities were
regulated they knew when each would be bringing their
units down and work together to rotate the shutdowns to
keep the power available.

Now in Washington there is the push to deregulate, maybe
we already have. In Bellingham a paper/pulp mill is
shutting down as electric prices have doubled and they are
losing money. It's closing down is causing a company in
Burlington to worry that it may have to shutdown for a
while also. The domino effect and it could start

Gee I am glad the Clinton/Gore administration had a energy
plan in place. Just think what would have happened to us
if the hadn't.


Subj:   If They Want Gore So Bad
From:   Bob Mattson (64)  ~

If they want Gore so bad, why didn't they impeach Clinton?
How is this election going to play out next time, will we
still be able to vote?


Subj:   Science: The Reality of Fact
From:   Bill Didway (66)  ~

As I recall being told science is based on fact. If you
live long enough you sometimes can see scientific fact
changed by new discoveries, thus making the previous fact
non-fact. In fact, fact becomes factless. In the '70's we
were headed to another ice age. In the '90's we are headed
to another greenhouse.

Sure makes one comtemplate the facts.


Subj:   Watership Downs
Linda Reining Pitchford (64)  ~  Bakersfield, CA

Yes, I have read the book and I also saw the "cartoon"
that was made of the  book.  I think the movie came out in
the late 80's, early 90's.  I read the book in the 80's
and    I think I still have it. what did you think of the
book?  it got my "blood" boiling and made me cry in quite
a few places. don't think the "cartoon" did the book
justice; am not sure how well it did in the theaters, as I
saw it on "cable".


Subj:  Irregularities in the Y2K Presidential  Election
From:   Dick Epler (52)  ~ Mt. Vernon, Oregon
December 6, 2000

Most agree that this election is very different from any
in modern times. It seems we're treated to a strange new
phenomenon every few days. The first anomaly widely
reported was the bad call the networks made in calling
Florida for Gore even before the polls had closed. Even
though I abhor the practice, it's hard for me to fault the
networks, given that their prediction techniques had
previously worked so well. After all, most of the major
polls also got it wrong. Even before that happened,
however, a few polls indicated a large and unexplained
shift to Gore in the final weekend prior to the election.
Couple this with the readiness of the Gore camp to begin
challenging the Florida election the very day of the
election, and we have to suspect something interesting
going on behind the scenes. A month after the election,
here's what many believe happened. You can decide if any
of this sounds reasonable.

Several months ago, the Democrats recognized that, in
spite of unprecedented National peace and prosperity, they
were in danger of losing the White House. Here's the
problem: 1) the nation is still fairly conservative; 2)
their candidate, Al Gore, wasn't particularly inspiring
and was prone to making dumb mistakes; and 3) their
internal polls told them that many in the Democrat base
just couldn't bring themselves to vote for Gore. The only
good thing was that the polls also indicated such voters
wouldn't be voting for Bush either (their choice would be
"none of the above"). Most of this was widely reported at
the time.

At that point they decided to convert the old "Clinton War
Room" from defusing bimbo eruptions (basically character
assassinations) to the development of strategies for
"winning" the election. Computers were used to analyze
voter demographics and to perform statistical and
probability analyses on the data to indicate where the
election would be close enough to influence. Based on the
results, a number of pre/post-election strategies were
developed to utilize the extensive Clinton spin machinery
(basically aggressive lying) for use by the media. Of
course, support of the media was assumed. The cornerstone
of all spin was to proclaim early and often the need to
adhere to "the will of the people" AKA "every vote should
Two comments: First, NO politician anywhere in history
ever really wants to see "the will of the people" decide
anything, especially elections. It's the same with polls.
No politician, or media person, would pay a nickel to find
out what people really think. There are many reasons for
taking a poll but that isn't one of them. Most of the time
people hire a pollster to see how well people are buying
their message and/or to find out what they still need to
work on. Nevertheless, "the will of the people" is a nice
phrase that many still believe is unique to America and of
course, it resonates so well with the media. In truth,
however, the framers of our Constitution knew all too well
the nature of politicians and so wrote the Constitution to
encourage "fairness" in all competitive endeavors. And so,
"fairness" is the BEST we can hope for in any election. At
least that's what we counsel the third-world nations. 
Second, deliberate election fraud has been made much
easier in modern times since federal voting laws have be
changed to make it so easy for people to register, while
doing nothing to simplify the purging of the registration
lists of those who have moved or expired. This is a big
advantage in the big cities. For example, Philadelphia, in
the current election, had a population a little less than
1.3 million, where one million were registered as voters.
The actual Philly turnout was 70%, mostly because several
black precincts had 100% turnout with 99% voting for Gore!
Interesting. And then in California and much of the
Southwest (think New Mexico), there were many illegal
aliens from Mexico who voted overwhelmingly for Gore.
Rather than Gore winning the popular vote by 300,000, many
believe he actually LOST by over 200,000 to Bush, as the
estimate of fictitious votes across the country is
estimated to be in the range of 500,000 to 1,000,000. 
Deliberate fraud, however, was not part of the early
strategy sessions.  Initially, the Democrat's strategy was
simply to make the election as close as possible with
legitimate voters. Essentially, that involved a message
that ignored the traditional Democratic base (the
intelligencia) to focus on three demographic groups, the
young, the old, and the great mass of the "don't know and
don't care" crowd produced by our public education system
(Bomberville excepted). Generally speaking, most of these
people, especially in urban areas, are dependent on
government support through welfare and social services,
i.e., they're made-to-order Democrat victims. Their
distinguishing characteristic, however, is their inability
to discern the difference between lies and the truth,
especially when the lies are fairly aggressive (think
Clinton wagging his finger at the camera while saying "I
did not have sex with that woman"). As such, they are very
susceptible to emotion-based political spin. On the down
side they really don't like voting that much. So another
key strategy was to target them with strong emotional
reasons to vote *against* Bush, and then to make it as
easy as possible for them to "correctly" mark their

Even so, as Election Day approached, it looked like Bush
was still going to win. And so the word went down to all
democratically controlled precincts to get a little
creative. Actually, manufacturing additional votes in most
black and Hispanic precincts isn't that hard as there are
so few Republicans that even if mischief is detected it
won't be reported. 
This explains a number of election day anomalies: it
explains why most of the polls were wrong; it explains the
large, previously unexplained weekend shift to Gore; it
explains Gore getting the popular vote; it explains the
large number of intelligent Democrats refusing to make ANY
presidential choice; and finally, it explains why
Republicans won the Electoral College, which, like the
House of Representatives, is a "Constitutional check and
balance" device that occasionally helps rural (Republican)
Much of this was anticipated by the Gore team and was
therefore factored into a post-election strategy.
Basically that involved the development of a series of
"vote mining" techniques to be used as needed. The first
technique was based on the statistical probability that
manual recounts will be more productive in high democrat
populations (precincts and counties) than in low democrat
populations. In Florida, for example, the counties of
Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, and Broward are highly democratic
where Gore won by substantial margins. Normally that would
make them ineligible for recount. That is, the recognized
purpose of recounts is to contest close votes. So a
different basis for the recount had to be manufactured.
Anticipating this, on Election Day, the Democrats hired a
Texas telemarketing firm to call Democratic voters to
suggest they may have voted for Pat Buchanan because of a
poorly designed ballot. Then an army of Democrat lawyers,
political operatives and union members were sent to
Florida to aid the demands for a recount. It worked. 
Here's how that particular vote mining technique worked:
suppose the known error rate of the machines 4% and that
the county is 70% Democratic. If the population of the
county is 200,000, then a manual recount should result in
a 3200 vote differential for Gore. Of course, if the
county were evenly split, it would be a wash, as both
candidates would get an equal number of votes thereby
offsetting each other. Generally speaking, voter
demographics suggest that manual recounts should produce
additional Democrat votes in any county with large urban
populations. Rural populations generally favor the
Three comments: First, all counting methods are
susceptible to error, of which there are two kinds: random
and systematic (biased). The key difference is that random
errors tend to add to zero; errors of bias produce
differences one way or the other. Manual vote counting
produces errors of bias according to the prejudices of the
counters, but in Florida, the more important effect was to
distort the result of the larger population (state or
county) by selectively choosing a smaller population
(precinct). Machine counting, on the other hand, produces
random errors with no net gain for either party (the
errors cancel). Obviously, when mining for votes, manual
vote counting of selective precincts is a requirement. 
Second, to ensure deadlines can be met if the machines
break, most states have a provision for manual recounts.
And finally, the purpose of vote certification deadlines
is to minimize the potential for mischief. Given enough
time most political operatives will be able to achieve a
desired result, if only for a brief time. 
Unfortunately for the Democrats the initial manual vote
count in Florida wasn't producing anywhere close to the
number of votes expected. Worse, absentee ballots heavily
favored Bush. Enter the strategy of mining for votes in
the large stack of "undervote" and "overvote" ballots that
were rejected by the machines and by most manual recount
procedures as well. From the beginning, this was
recognized to be a stretch. As Judge Burton, from Palm
Beach, said: "It's impossible to discern voter intent from
these ballots." In spite of that, Democrats decided to
invent a case for divining the intent of these voters
based on dimpled and/or pregnant chads. But again, they
didn't want to discern the intent of ALL the voters. The
scheme is dependent on counting only those in heavily
Democratic precincts. And then of course, some way must be
found to neutralize the large absentee military vote. 
It's important to point out that the overvote stack, where
voters voted for two or more presidential candidates is
small (essentially a collection of voter mistakes). On the
other hand, the undervote stack, where the voter's choice
was "none of the above," was huge. Obviously the ONLY
place the required votes could come from was this large
undervote stack. But they needed more time, which they got
from the Florida Supreme Court who essentially usurped the
authority of the legislature to change existing law by
extending the vote certification deadline and by requiring
that the Democrat's vote-mining efforts be included in the
final count. That decision has been vacated by the Federal
Supreme Court at this writing. 
Interestingly, only Broward County initially agreed to
discern voter intent of the undervote stack by correlating
the selection of local candidates with a "divined" choice
for President (the God dimple)! And that produced the
largest percentage net gain for Gore (470 votes). Yes,
this method has promise. So the Gore legal team went to
court in an attempt to force other counties to count the
undervote using methods adopted by Broward County. But
they lost in Judge Saul's circuit court. Enter the
Democrat's third vote-mining strategy to throw out ALL (or
at least Bush's large absentee vote) from Seminole and
Martin counties on a minor technicality. This from the
party that that says it wants to "count all the votes." 
What have we learned here? If Clinton paved the way by
showing Democrats how to get away with aggressive lying,
Gore has shown how an election can be made close enough to
manipulate after the election on several levels.
Interestingly enough, neither of these methods are open to
Republicans. That's because both are heavily dependent on
emotionally based class distinctions aimed at women,
blacks, and Hispanics, all artificially created victims of
a prosperous society.

One of our fellow Bombers, Jim Vache (64), a
Constitutional Law Professor at Willamette University
College of Law, recently wrote the SandBOX to disparage
the confusion between the political and legal arguments
currently being fostered on the nation's courts. I
couldn't agree more. I submit that this sad state of
affairs has accelerated in the last few years and is
primarily a product of Clinton's legacy. However, with all
due respect to a fellow Bomber, Jim's conclusion that "…
we have to resort to law (courts???) because our normative
agreements that form our republic are fading," is wrong. I
would respectively suggest that the "deeper problem" is
that many of our courts have become so politicized that
law no longer matters. The Florida Supreme Court decision
was based ONLY on political arguments, as there was NO
case law, and NO record (complaints and irregularities)
for a law interpretation. This is certainly NOT what
Justice Marshall (Marbury v. Madison) intended in
establishing the doctrine of judicial review. The Federal
Supreme Court agreed. And then, of course, we have David
Boies lying before the court about dimpled ballots being
counted in Illinois (NOT!). Clinton would be proud!

                     -- Dick Epler (52)
That concludes this issue of THE SANDBOX folks. Please
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Alumni of Richland High School, Richland Washington,
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Al Parker (53)
Shippenville, PA
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