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9-11 Inside Job and Neocons Hacked 2004


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On the eve of Inauguration Day, many who voted against the president

haven't come to terms with his reelection

LEXINGTON -- Since someone has to go first and broach The Subject, Rich

Baughman launches a cryptic query across the table: ''So, Marcia, have you

thrown in the towel yet?"

Marcia Osburne doesn't have to ask what he is talking about. With a sigh, the

55-year-old biologist replies: ''I think he won, but I still think it's a stolen election.

All the people who were prevented from voting -- the media doesn't cover this at

all. I have to find things out on the Internet."

The ''he" in question, of course, is President Bush. The setting is a restaurant in

downtown Lexington where half a dozen friends with liberal leanings have

gathered early Monday morning for their regular breakfast of eggs and politics.

This week, the latter is a lot harder for them to digest than the former.

For some anti-Bush voters, the mood is further darkened by their conviction, or

at least suspicion, that voting irregularities in Ohio and elsewhere tipped the

election to the president. For others, it is the thought that Bush won fair and

square that is depressing. Either way, they are starting to believe that, with all

due respect to T.S. Eliot, January is the cruelest month.

Yet out of this despondency a renewed activism seems to be stirring. Among

those seated at the breakfast table in Lexington is Lisa Thompson, 52, the chief

information officer at Risk Management Foundation, who is married to Baughman.

 Both dismayed and energized by Bush's reelection, Thompson has joined the

American Civil Liberties Union , Planned Parenthood, and the National

Organization for Women since election day. She has written 75 letters on such

issues as abortion and civil rights to members of Congress and political groups.

And she says she is just getting started.

''I'm way past the venting," Thompson says in an earlier interview. ''I'm trying to

look for an organization that is well organized to utilize people like me. I'm

willing to work, give time, money, go march, do whatever." She adds: ''I can't

believe I'm back fighting for issues I fought for back in college."

Andrea LaFrance, a 42-year-old graphic designer from Waltham , says that since

the election she and her friends have begun asking: ''Where can we make a

difference?" Two early answers they came up with: helping build homes for the

homeless and recruiting good candidates for local office. LaFrance, who heard

numerous reports of irregularities while working a phone bank for the Kerry

campaign on Election Day, says she is also ''scanning the horizon for organizations

involved in election reform. I'm looking for: Who's doing something? There's a lot

of energy out there to harness."

But even as they focus on the future, the past gnaws at foes of Bush -- including

Senator John F. Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat who lost to the Republican

president in November. On Monday, at roughly the same time Osburne was

making her remark about a ''stolen election," Kerry told a crowd at Boston 's

Martin Luther King Jr. memorial breakfast that ''thousands of people were

suppressed in their efforts to vote" and that ''voting machines were distributed

in uneven ways."

At least one activist who believes there was widespread vote fraud in

November is unimpressed by Kerry's salvo. ''Whatever he says means little

or nothing to me," Joseph A. Lopisi, a member of the Coalition Against

Election Fraud, said yesterday. ''Speaking means nothing; actions mean

everything. He didn't take action. He could have joined that lawsuit in Ohio .

He could have put a lot of money into securing the voting machines in Ohio

and Florida ."

Lopisi, a 56-year-old attorney from Arlington who said he was not active in a

 political organization before joining the coalition, recently helped distribute

to congressional representatives a 250-page summary of what he called

evidence of ''voter fraud, voter suppression, and computer manipulation." He

was also part of a recent vigil outside Kerry's Beacon Hill home that sought

to persuade the senator to join the fight against formal congressional

certification of the election results.

That battle did not succeed. Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat of California, was

the sole senator to join Representative Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Democrat of Ohio,

and a small band of other House lawmakers in a failed bid on Jan. 6 to block

congressional certification. House majority leader Tom Delay, a Republican,

mocked the effort as inspired by ''the 'X-Files' wing of the Democrat Party." A

spokesman for House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, a Republican, said Democratic

opponents were ''just trying to stir up their loony left."

Outside the Beltway, though, questions about the election have further inflamed

passions among people who oppose Bush's policies. For instance, Rick Winer, 51,

of Framingham, who sells health insurance to self-employed workers, says he

faults Bush for failing to stem the outsourcing of jobs and for catering to big

business. Citing the discrepancies between exit polls and the final results on

Election Day, Winer says: ''I don't believe the country voted to return him to

office. I feel it was a fixed election. . . .What bothers me the most is that in 2000,

not a single senator stood up to contest anything, and this time only one [senator]

stood up."

As for Lopisi, he plans to continue his efforts to, in his words, ''bring Mr. Bush

and his administration to justice for stealing two elections."

He does not trust the media to do it -- ''They make us look like idiots,

conspiratorial" -- and he does not trust Congress to do it. So this week he

launched a website,, that includes links to other

websites launched by citizens' groups that contain information about voter

fraud. ''It's really up to the everyday person to realize they're not finding the

truth from the media and the entire system is corrupt," Lopisi said.

What-might-have-beens While passions may run especially high here in

Massachusetts -- a bastion of liberal Democrats that Kerry carried by 62 percent

to 37 percent for Bush -- there are also numerous signs nationally of a

still-polarized electorate amid the inaugural pomp. A Washington Post-ABC

News poll, published yesterday, found that fewer than half of poll respondents

wanted the nation to ''go in the direction that Bush wanted to lead it." (Bush won

the national popular vote in November 51 percent to 48 percent.)

Entrepreneurs from Kansas, Idaho, and New York are selling blue or black

bracelets with such messages as ''Count Me Blue," ''Hope," and ''I Did Not Vote

4 Bush." A grass-roots movement is using the Internet to urge Americans to take

part in a national economic boycott called ''Not One Damn Dime Day." Organizers

have said they have 10,000 people signed up on their website who have agreed not

to spend any money tomorrow, as a way of expressing opposition to the war in


That issue dominates discussion at the table in Lexington, where Thompson and

Baughman, 51, a vice president at Archimedes Systems, are joined by their teenage

daughter, Sarah. Osburne is accompanied by her husband, David Rothstein, 56,

also a biologist. Jim Fesler, a 60-year-old retiree, and Jackie Fesler, a 55-year-old

technical writer, round out the group.

Their tone is, by turns, defiant, perplexed, anxious, and angry, with occasional

glimmers of hope. What-might-have-beens float to the surface: ''If 70,000 voters

in Ohio had switched their votes, he would have lost," says Baughman. Anger

surges when they discuss the Iraq war. ''The sanctions were working," says Osburne.

''There was no reason for all those people to die." Baughman calls the war ''a

recruiting bonanza for terrorists." The conversation turns to the alleged voting

irregularities in Ohio. Bush carried that key state by nearly 120,000 votes amid

reports of voting machine problems and long waits for some urban voters to cast

their ballots. Rothstein calls it ''pernicious" that some people ''had to wait in line

for six hours to vote." Adds Osburne: ''And it only happened in poorer areas in

Ohio, suggesting that it was deliberate."

Beyond their concerns about the legitimacy of the election lie a host of other

disagreements with the president. They express pessimism about the upcoming

election in Iraq, ask why no one has been held accountable for prewar intelligence

errors, and voice fears that Bush's proposed changes to Social Security will lead

to benefit cuts down the road. His educational and economic policies, they agree,

are a disaster for the nonrich. ''This incredible skewing toward the haves, getting

people to vote against their own interests: It is incredible," says Rothstein. The

president's syntax also comes under fire: ''It is embarrassing to hear him speak,"

says Baughman. ''He can't put two sentences together."

Amid the hail of criticism, Rothstein suddenly ventures: ''I have a positive thing to

say." The table falls silent. ''I think Bush is personally not a racist and not a gender-

biased person," he says. That triggers an animated discussion during which they

concede that Bush has made strides in hiring women for top positions but that his

policies are not favorable for minorities or women.

So where's the silver lining if you're a liberal or a Democrat or both, sitting under

a dark cloud on Inauguration Day, trying to cope with the fact that a conservative

Republican president is about to embark on four more years, with conservative

Republican majorities in both branches of Congress? Apparently, you look down

the road, past tomorrow's inaugural.

''Parties can self-destruct," Jim Fesler offers hopefully. ''They're pushing a lot of

stuff that could put them out to the fringe."