Kam Williams — Commentaries

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Voted Best Male Entertainment Journalist of the Decade by the Disilgold Soul Literary Review in 2006, Kam Williams is a syndicated film and book critic who writes for 100+ publications around the U.S. and Canada. He is a member of the New York Film Critics Online, the African-American Film Critics Association, the NAACP Image Awards Nominating Committee, and Rotten Tomatoes.

In addition to a BA in Black Studies from Cornell, he has an MA in English from Brown, an MBA from The Wharton School, and a JD from Boston University. Kam lives in Princeton, NJ with his wife and son.


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Vote Fraud Costs Obama

New Hampshire Primary a Tale of Two Tallies
            By Kam William

If the fix is in, it doesn’t matter whether Barack Obama really deserves to be the Democratic nominee, he’ll never get a fair chance to compete for the presidency. Debates about whether the Junior Senator from Illinois is black enough or whether whites will be willing to vote for an African-American are moot so long as the sanctity of the ballot box can’t be guaranteed.

 The problem is that the Diebold Corporation is at it again, and the voting machine company appears to be already in the process of quietly perpetrating the mother of all vote frauds. In case you forgot, Diebold is the manufacturer of the electronic tabulator which counted the majority of the votes in the last two U.S. presidential elections.

I first called for the United Nations to monitor polling places all across the country after Diebold’s wholesale disenfranchisement of blacks in Florida decided the controversial 2000 race. And I reiterated that demand in 2004 after irregularities in Ohio put Bush back in office for another four years.

Now, judging by what went down virtually unnoticed in New Hampshire on January 8th, we’re again in dire need of U.N. observers during the 2008 primary season, just to give an the democratic process a chance to unfold untainted by fraud. For, while the punditocracy has been busy dubbing Hillary Clinton the Comeback Kid and attributing her surprise victory to women rallying to her support in the wake of her eyes welling up on camera, no one’s looking for a more plausible explanation than that overly-publicized Muskie moment.

The cold hard truth is that on the night of the New Hampshire primary, all the scientifically-conducted exit polls had predicted an Obama two-digit win. Given the +/-4.5% margin of error, this means it wasn’t a question of whether Barack would win, only by how much. However, everybody forgot that Diebold would be counting the votes electronically in 81% of the state’s precincts, while the other 19% were being tallied by hand.

And wouldn’t you know, when the results were announced, there was a statistically-significant difference between the tallies based on a paper trail and those recorded by Diebold’s machines? As reported by a watchdog organization called CheckTheVotes.com (see below), Obama garnered 38% of the votes counted by hand, followed by Clinton with 34%, Edwards with 17% Richardson with 5% and Kucinich with almost 2%. By contrast, Diebold’s tabulations had Clinton finishing first with a whopping 40%, while every other candidate had lower percentages than in the hand-counted districts.  The computers had Obama dropping to 35%, Edwards to 16%, Richardson to 4% and Kucinich to 1%.  

Does it seem suspicious to you that all the candidates but Clinton did worse when the votes weren’t verified, especially in the wake of the precedent of the prior Diebold debacles? Unless ab outcry is raised, and steps are taken immediately to monitor the electronic tallies in the upcoming primaries, it is readily apparent that the only Democratic machine Hillary will need to prevail is the one programmed by Diebold.  

Lloyd Kam Williams is a film and book critic, and an attorney and a member of the NJ, NY, CT, PA, MA & US Supreme Court bars.


Compare All Machine vs Hand Counts


Total Votes

Avg. Overall

by Machine

Avg. Overall
by Machine

by Hand

Avg. Overall
by Hand

Machine VS Hand








5.460% (15,717 votes*)








-0.824% (-2,373 votes*)








-0.004% (-11 votes*)








-0.639% (-1,840 votes*)








-3.081% (-8,868 votes*)








-1.205% (-3,470 votes*)








0.293% (844 votes*)









Chart courtesy of CheckTheVote.com

See: http://checkthevotes.com/index.php?party=DEMOCRATS#Compare%20All%20Machine%20vs%20Hand%20Counts


                                    State of the Black Union 2008
                                     by Kam Williams

Headline: Obama’s Conspicuous Absence Overshadows Annual Gathering

Senator Barack Obama opted to remain on the campaign trail in Ohio rather than accept an invite to address the convention of African-American intellectuals who had gathered to participate in the 9th Annual State of the Black Union. Curiously, despite the fact that Senator Hillary Clinton did attend, Obama had enough advocates on hand to counterbalance any potential blowback generated by his conspicuous absence.

In fact, some of the speakers opted to lobby openly on his behalf, such as Reverend Jesse Jackson, Sr. who warned the audience not to “miss this moment,” which he euphorically referred to as “Obamarama!” The event was staged in New Orleans at the Convention Center, the site where Hurricane Katrina refugees were stranded without food, water or any essential services for days on end.

Mayor Ray Nagin was on the dais during the morning session, alongside such luminaries as Reverend Jackson, Congresswomen Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-OH) and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Memphis high school student Darrin Keith Boyce, Bush administration rep and EEOC Chairman Naomi Churchill, Former Congressman Cleo Fields (D-LA), New Orleans Pastor Melvin Jones, Professor Michael Eric Dyson, Xavier University President Dr. Norman Francis and PolicyLink’s Angela Glover Blackwell.

The afternoon portion of the program featured Princeton University Professors Dr. Cornel West and Dr. Eddie Glaude, comedian Dick Gregory, Democratic National Committee member Donna Brazile, Florida State University Professor Na’im Akbar, Morehouse College President Robert Franklin, former Maryland Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX), Dillard University student Stephanie Woodward, Katrina Survivor Herreast Harrison and TransAfrica Forum Executive Director Nicole Lee. 

Besides Obama generally getting a pass, Mayor Nagin seemed to be treated with kid gloves, too, in light of the ostensible gentrification of what he once promised would remain a “Chocolate City.” Dick Gregory vehemently defended Ray’s embrace of the controversial nickname, pointing out that nobody ever complained when New Orleans was called “Sin City,” yet everybody unfairly got bent out of shape over the relatively benign sobriquet “Chocolate City.”

In fact, Mr. Gregory enjoyed the most memorable moments, primarily because he repeatedly went for the joke, this in sharp contrast to his colleagues who were soberly focusing on the social, political and economic concerns of the black community. As for Hillary, she appeared onstage alone with host Tavis Smiley at the very end of a very long day. However, her brief comments amounted to an anti-climatic uphill battle, because she had to follow a long line of inspirational speakers who had long since whipped the probably already pro-Obama crowd into a frenzy over her opponent. More a Barack pep rally than a critical assessment of African-American issues.

The State of the Black Union? Impatiently anticipating the arrival of the Black Messiah.

For photos, visit: http://tavistalks.com/events/signatureevents/stateoftheblackunion

Or: http://www.c-spanarchives.org/library/images/Pictures/Programs/204090/204090-02-m.jpg

For photo, visit: http://www.uncov.com/assets/2007/6/25/hanging_chad.jpg

posted February 24, 2008

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