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Republican Robocall Pretexting Campaign

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the dirty-tricks-and-phonespam dept.

674

WCityMike writes, "In 53 Congressional campaigns across the country, including the Pennsylvania 6th, the Connecticut 4th, the North Carolina 11th, the New Hampshire 2nd, and the Illinois 6th and 8th (and possibly all races), the National Republican Congressional Committee is conducting a $2.1 million campaign to make it appear as if Democrats are spamming callers with telemarketing calls. The NRCC hired Conquest Communications Group to conduct a massive nationwide robocalling campaign with calls specifically scripted to appear as if they're coming from the Democratic candidate — in violation of FCC regulations on such 'robocalls,' which requires the identity of the caller to be stated at the beginning of the message [47 CFR 64.1200(b)(1)]. The call begins with 'Hello. I'm calling with information about,' and then says the name of the Democratic candidate. There is then a pause; if the recipient hangs up here, they will receive repeated calls back with the same message, potentially up to 18 times or more (according to one callee). If the callee doesn't hang up, they hear a smear message from the machine about the Democratic candidate. The NRCC thinks the legality of the calls is, conveniently, a 'complicated legal question that's not going to get adjudicated this weekend.'" Update 20:47 GMT by SM: Thankfully we all learned how to deal with these folks last week.

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674 comments

"smear message"? (4, Interesting)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 7 years ago | (#16740751)

Actually, since most people don't vote for the candidate they want, but instead vote against the one they like the least, negative advertising (including "smear messages") is the most useful information to have.

Re:"smear message"? (2, Insightful)

thefolkmetal (970306) | more than 7 years ago | (#16740837)

I've actually noticed the exact opposite here. People can talk trash all they like about another candidate, but if you don't sell a platform, you aren't giving the people anything to vote for. Smear tactics like that are going to be the downfall of any candidate who chooses to use them.

Re:"smear message"? (4, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 7 years ago | (#16740879)

negative advertising (including "smear messages") is the most useful information to have.

You would not believe how difficult it is to effectively judge a candidate unless you hear them speak live. I spent quite a bit of time perusing newspapers, candidate websites, and Google trying to find information to base my determinations for voting this election.

I am getting so much negative campaigning but not enough real facts from the candidates themselves. I really wish that someone would stop the fucking smear campaigns and instead clearly list what they intend to do. If they ran before, I want someone (obviously the campaigns website won't) to list exactly what they said they were going to do and exactly what they did do so I can compare.

If this information is easily accessible in the State of Minnesota, please let me know where it is. My current vote is based on what I have gleamed from the newspapers and the campaign websites. Bleh.

I suppose my methodology is better than my co-workers who are "voting Union line" or someone who is "voting Party line."

Re:"smear message"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16741093)

They don't know what they intend to do til they get elected and find out how much each side of the debate is willing to pay / negotiate for.

I don't think that's quite the motivation.... (5, Insightful)

StressGuy (472374) | more than 7 years ago | (#16741007)

I believe that Republicans vote Republican and Democrats vote Democrat....the campaign managers know this and they have a pretty good idea of how many of each demographic they have to work with. So, their job isn't to try and convince you who to vote for, you've already decided that. Their job is to get you into the polls so you can actually cast that vote.

Somewhere along the line, they decided that the best motivator was to get you pissed off enough at the other guy that you would make the time to get into the polls.

Unfortunately, this has caused campaigns to go from "vote for me because" to "don't vote for the other guy because".

It just seems to get worse with time.

Re:I don't think that's quite the motivation.... (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 7 years ago | (#16741463)

Quite the opposite.

The purpose of negative campaigning is to discourage supporters of the opposing candidate from voting. Paint the person you have to vote for as so completely unlikable that it'd turn your stomach to walk into the voting booth to do your duty.

Horrible, isn't it?

Re:I don't think that's quite the motivation.... (2, Interesting)

toadlife (301863) | more than 7 years ago | (#16741533)

I think attack ads simply cater to that "49%" - that being the people that are of below average intelligence. I don't know about others, but I don't pay much attention to smear ads. I realize that if a candidate votes against a bill that would have funded health care for poor kids, it doesn't necessarily mean that candidate wants poor kids to die; It most likely means that the bill had a bunch of other non-related bullshit attached to it that would have wasted my money, or simply didn't belong in the bill in the first place.

A lot of people lack to intelligence or knowledge to see through these smear ads, and I'm pretty sure that's why they work.

George W. Bush: +1, Infidel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16741203)


A vote for Republicans is a vote for Osama bin Laden's Sugar Daddy [whitehouse.org].

Call 1-800-ALQ-AEDA [slashdot.org] and demand the arrest of this world class war criminal.

Thanks for your patriotisim.

Patriotically as always,
Kilgore Trout

Re:"smear message"? (1)

Psykosys (667390) | more than 7 years ago | (#16741441)

There's "negative advertising" and then there's dirty, grossly misleading (and possibly illegal) tricks. I agree that the line between them might be kind of fuzzy (except where law comes into it), but would argue that it's pretty clear that when a robocall begins with the name of a Democrat, and fails to state until the very end that it's from the Republicans, and harrassingly repeat-calls those who choose not to listen, a line is being crossed.

This story is amusing... (2, Interesting)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 7 years ago | (#16741611)

This story is amusing because Republicans are claiming the same thing about Democrats. In fact, a caller on Rush Limbaugh's show today described a call she received at 3 in the morning from someone claiming to be a Republican, and that others are also receiving calls specifically from 10 to 3 at night, the theory being that pranksters are trying to anger voters.

Hello, I'm posting with some information (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16740775)

regarding my nuts.

Should do things the DNC way ... (1, Informative)

SengirV (203400) | more than 7 years ago | (#16740789)

... And simply slash the tires of GOP voters so they can't get to the polls - http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12498215/from/RSS/ [msn.com]

Re:Should do things the DNC way ... (5, Insightful)

jctull (704600) | more than 7 years ago | (#16740969)

This is not a useful comment in the light of the real issue being reported in the original post. You have picked a one-up, unique situation where a rogue individual serves as a bad example of how to conduct oneself during an election. The RNCC actions, on the other hand, are a disgraceful, and illegal action attempting to disenfranchise voters, or get them to think ill of the Democrat candidate at a grand scale (much more effect than a few slashed tires). This is so much more duplicitous and underhanded than one guy's son getting caught slashing tires of potential voters, not that the dumbass who did the tire-slashing deserves any less jail time than those that are behind the the robocalls.

Re:Should do things the DNC way ... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16741303)

It's the b-b-but defense. When one person's party does something astonishingly stupid and vile, all the blind and stupid faithful, rather than stand up and say to their leadership that they disapprove of the activity and don't want to see it happen again in the name of their party ideals, they trot out any inane example they can of where the "other guys" did something wrong.

North Korea got nukes on Bush's watch?

B-b-but Clinton gave them a (useless for processing) nuclear reactor!

Mark Foley is engaging in predatory activity and the leadership is covering it up?

B-b-but Gary Studds did something similar twenty years ago!

Your party got the country stuck in a quagmire in an unjustified war?

B-b-but Lyndon Johnson was in charge for part of Vietnam!

Your president sees the only net loss of jobs in the history of the country?

B-b-but Jimmy Carter!

In the event that the Democrats manage to (re-)corrupt themselves as badly as this pathetic, thuggish excuse for a legislature has, expect to see the "b-b-but Bush!" defense over and over for a bit as well.

Almost nobody in this country who engages in politics in any sort of high profile manner, and this is especially true of the internet, generally seems to have any shred of decency in their body. Don't be too surprised at the dishonest, illogical, and idiotic things that spout forth from them, such the GP poster's inane comment about the isolated tire-slashing incident (b-b-but Katherine Harris!)

Re:Should do things the DNC way ... (5, Funny)

diersing (679767) | more than 7 years ago | (#16741457)

My fellow citizens, it is an honor and a pleasure to be here today. My opponent has openly admitted he feels an affinity toward your city, but I happen to like this area. It might be a salubrious place to him, but to me it is one of the nation's most delightful garden spots.

When I embarked upon this political campaign, I hoped that it could be conducted on a high level and that my opponent would be willing to stick to the issues. Unfortunately, he has decided to be tractable instead--to indulge in unequivocal language, to eschew the use of outright lies in his speeches, and even to make repeated veracious statements about me.

At first I tried to ignore these scrupulous, unvarnished fidelities. Now I will do so no longer. If my opponent wants a fight, he's going to get one!

It might be instructive to start with his background. My friends, have you ever accidentally dislodged a rock on the ground and seen what was underneath? Well, exploring my opponent's background is dissimilar. All the slime and filth and corruption you can possibly imagine, even in your wildest dreams, are glaringly nonexistent in this man's life. And even in his childhood!

Let us take a very quick look at that childhood: It is a known fact that, on a number of occasions, he emulated older boys at a certain playground. It is also known that his parents not only permitted him to masticate in their presence, but even urged him to do so. Most explicable of all, this man who poses as a paragon of virtue exacerbated his own sister when they were both teenagers!

I ask you, my fellow Americans: is this the kind of person we want in public office to set an example for our youth?

Of course, it's not surprising that he should have such a typically pristine background--no, not when you consider the other members of his family:

His female relatives put on a constant pose of purity and innocence, and claim they are inscrutable, yet every one of them has taken part in hortatory activities.

The men in the family are likewise completely amenable to moral suasion.

My opponent's uncle was a flagrant heterosexual.

His sister, who has always been obsessed by sects, once worked as a proselyte outside a church.

His father was secretly chagrined at least a dozen times by matters of a pecuniary nature.

His youngest brother wrote an essay extolling the virtues of being a homo sapien.

His great-aunt expired from a degenerative disease.

His nephew subscribes to a phonographic magazine.

His wife was a thespian before their marriage and even performed the act in front of paying customers.

And his own mother had to resign from a women's organization in her later years because she was an admitted sexagenarian.

Now what shall we say about the man himself?

I can tell you in solemn truth that he is the very antithesis of political radicalism, economic irresponsibility and personal depravity. His own record proves that he has frequently discountenanced treasonable, un-American philosophies and has perpetrated many overt acts as well.

He perambulated his infant on the street.

He practiced nepotism with his uncle and first cousin.

He attempted to interest a 13-year-old girl in philately.

He participated in a seance at a private residence where, among other odd goings-on, there was incense.

He has declared himself in favor of more homogeneity on college campuses.

He has advocated social intercourse in mixed company - and has taken part in such gatherings himself.

He has been deliberately averse to crime in our city streets.

He has urged our Protestant and Jewish citizens to develop more catholic tastes.

Last summer he committed a piscatorial act on a boat that was flying the U.S. flag.

Finally, at a time when we must be on our guard against all foreign isms, he has cooly announced his belief in altruism - and his fervent hope that some day this entire nation will be altruistic!

I beg you, my friends, to oppose this man whose life and work and ideas are so openly and avowedly compatible with our American way of life. A vote for him would be a vote for the perpetuation of everything we hold dear.

The facts are clear; the record speaks for itself. Do your duty.

My name is George Smathers (D-Fla) and I gave this speech.

Re:Should do things the DNC way ... (4, Insightful)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 7 years ago | (#16741017)

That was one person. This is the RNC itself.

Re:Should do things the DNC way ... (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16741477)

RTFA. It wasn't "just one person," it was SEVERAL Democratic campaign workers.

Also note that this story isn't about "the RNC itself" it's about a group called the NRCC.

And calling people is in no way similar to slashing people's tires. The Democrats destroyed property, some Republicans are being accused of being annoying. It's hardly the same.

Re:Should do things the DNC way ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16741621)

The NRCC isn't just a "group", it's a group specifically comprised of and sanctioned by republican members of the House of Representatives. It's not like MoveOn.org or Swiftboat Veterans for Smearing Decorated War Veterans and Their Entire Chains of Command. It's not the RNC, but it's not nearly as disconnected from the party as a lobbying group.

Furthermore, in many of these cases state laws exist which place strict limits on campaign calling by extending the regulations surrounding the do not call rules. Some estimates place the potential fines at up to $1 billion. Precedent already exists to prosecute these cases.

Are you a shill, or are you just a typical slashbot who felt the need to chest thump on a subject you don't understand?

Re:Should do things the DNC way ... (1)

Pink Tinkletini (978889) | more than 7 years ago | (#16741031)

That's not a bad idea. Kerry lost in 2004 in part because people perceived him as being unable to fight back as hard, or as dirty, as the Republicans. If the only way to fight dirty tactics is to fight back with dirty tactics of your own, then so be it.

Let's get this straight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16741091)

You are comparing a single small scale criminal act of a couple of individuals that happened two years ago to a multi-million dollar nationally co-ordinated campaign planned, paid for and executed by the Republican party itself to perpetrate election fraud?

Please mod this troll (3, Insightful)

Dr. Spork (142693) | more than 7 years ago | (#16741445)

Nice troll! One drunk left-winger, who has no connection with the DNC, does something stupid, and that's supposed to be morally equivalent to an organized RNC campaign across 53 districts where millions of illegal phonecalls are placed with the explicit goal of deceiving voters. Hmm, somehow the situations seem different.

Re:Should do things the DNC way ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16741517)

Yeah, comparing a coordinated campaign with millions of dollars behind versus some lawmaker's punk kid seems pretty fair.

Re:Should do things the DNC way ... (1)

Intron (870560) | more than 7 years ago | (#16741595)

"Wisconsin's 10 electoral votes in the 2004 election ended up going to Democrat John Kerry."

So it looks like it worked. Seriously, there are dirty tricks [wikipedia.org] in every election. Donald Segretti is still active in politics. People who don't understand that will get the voting machines that they deserve.

i for one... (0, Flamebait)

buckadude (926560) | more than 7 years ago | (#16740797)

I for one welcome our new republabot overlords... *wince*

Robot Nixon approves of this tactic (1)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#16741567)

I believe we should go one step further and allow these machines to vote directly, rather than indirectly through a meat proxy. Robot suffrage is absolutely vital to the future of any campaign involving a giant, bloodthirsty Robot Nixon [blogware.com].

I was wondering when this would happen... (3, Interesting)

StressGuy (472374) | more than 7 years ago | (#16740831)

Oddly enough, I've been getting a bunch of calls supporting our incumbant Republican senator....so many were coming in that I was wondering if it was actually a ploy from the Democrates to get me annoyed and blame the Republicans. However, the only smearing was against the Democrats. Still, what possible marketing model says that the way to get votes is to repeatedly harass potential voters by phone?.

The phrase "out of touch" comes to mind....BTW - I'm a registered independant, and thinking of going Libertarian.

Re:I was wondering when this would happen... (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 7 years ago | (#16741227)

...so many were coming in that I was wondering if it was actually a ploy from the Democrates to get me annoyed and blame the Republicans. However, the only smearing was against the Democrats.

That's why this conspiracy theory makes no sense -- you get (supposedly, according to some guy) 17 calls that you think are from the candidate so you want to vote against him and then the 18th has a "smear" about him -- and then you still vote against him, despite the fact that you were going to vote against him because of something you now know was his opponent's action? That must be quite a "smear"!

The phrase "out of touch" comes to mind....

You, on the other hand, hit it on the nose. By the way, can we please file "pretexting" in the Did We Ever Really Say That? drawer, next to "metrosexual"?

Re:I was wondering when this would happen... (1)

Dr. Spork (142693) | more than 7 years ago | (#16741287)

I don't think you get it. Republicans don't use the name of their own candidate. They act like the "message" is from the Democrat's campaign. Sure, by the end, you'll figure out it's a smear, but the vast majority of people don't wait until the end. They just hang up when they hear "I'm calling with information about Dan Maffei" and blame their annoyance on the innocent Dan Maffei - for example, but this seems to be going on in all the competitive districts. I know Dan's webmaster and she's received many messages from people who claim they won't vote for Dan after he interrupted their dinner with the robo-call. They really have no idea that it's actually Dan's opponent, Jim Walsh, who is interrupting their dinner with a dirty and illegal smear message.

Dan's campaign answers all the complaints with detailed explanations, and the people often write back furious as the actual perpetrators. But for everyone who blames Dan and tells us, I'm sure there are 100 people who will go on thinking, up until they enter the voting booth, that Dan was responsible for those harassing robo-calls.

Re:I was wondering when this would happen... (1)

dodongo (412749) | more than 7 years ago | (#16741537)

Still, what possible marketing model says that the way to get votes is to repeatedly harass potential voters by phone?.


Bzzzt! The tactic isn't being used to *get* votes, it's being used to harass / annoy voters for the other party's candidate so much that those voters stay home. Mathematically, it's generally just as good to have your voters turn out as it is to have the other party stay home. Republicans aren't motivating anyone to go to the polls tomorrow, so they're going to plan B: Try and get as many Democrat voters as possible to stay home in districts with close races.

This is useful for a number of reasons. Especially if it's done in a close race, which has been shown to be a major turnout motivator, that may keep throw-the-bums-out voters at home, and prevent votes for the other party / viewpoint in other races and ballot initiatives.

Conquest Communication Group Link (2, Informative)

Kiralan (765796) | more than 7 years ago | (#16740855)

Looks like Conquest saw Slashdot coming. They have already removed all of the 'Contact Us' links on their home page, as well as the page referred to in the article :->

Re:Conquest Communication Group Link (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16741117)

Why don't you just give them a call at 804-358-0560 [archive.org]?

Nice, that number works! (1)

Dr. Spork (142693) | more than 7 years ago | (#16741605)

The answering machine lists various employees and their extensions. Unfortunately, the operator is not available.

Re: Conquest Communication Group Link (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16741391)

They didn't exactly do a bang up job; they forgot to ask google to remove the google cache. Type this into google's search bar:

site:www.conquestgroup.com Conquest Communication Group

and use the cached link to view the pages.

Those Evil Republicans (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16740867)

On slashdot, any bad news is always because of those evil republicans right? The Democrats are practically saints because I've hardly seen a peep of news about them on this site?

Slashdot going political was the worst idea since New Coke. This section has become nothing but a Republican/convervative/US bashfest from day one.

It's pathetic that News for Nerds has devolved to this blatant electioneering just about Election Day.

Re:Those Evil Republicans (1)

SeattleGameboy (641456) | more than 7 years ago | (#16741009)

When the Republicans stop being evile, then Slashdot won't post more evil news.

EVERY news outlet (national and local, well, maybe except FoxNews) is reporting about how slimy Republicans are this election season (fear mongering, race baiting, mother of all negative campaign).

I mean seriously, have Republicans no shame?

Republican bashing? (1)

msimm (580077) | more than 7 years ago | (#16741183)

I'm sure most Republicans would be just as disappointed to here this news. And frankly I think its more indicative of the American political system and its failings then the evils of one party or the other.

Re:Those Evil Republicans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16741193)

At least as much as the Democrats, who:

- Waited to announce someone they called a "child predator" until October so they could use it as an October Surprise.

- Indicated that doing poorly at school would get you "sent to Iraq".

- Blamed the Republicans for "orchestrating" the Saddam guilty verdict coming out this past weekend.

And I know I'm missing a ton, because I really haven't been paying attention to them.

No. (3, Insightful)

Peter Trepan (572016) | more than 7 years ago | (#16741207)

I mean seriously, have Republicans no shame?

They have Morality, which is different. Shame prevents you from being evil. Morality allows you to be as evil as you like, as long as you feel really bad about it.

Re:Those Evil Republicans (1)

patmandu (247443) | more than 7 years ago | (#16741109)

It's pathetic that you apparently believe that more of the same from the republicans is the answer...

Re:Those Evil Republicans (1)

nizo (81281) | more than 7 years ago | (#16741199)

By all means, if there are Democrats doing this, they should nailed for it just as much as anyone else. Anyone have any news articles about the Democrats pulling the same stunt?

Re:Those Evil Republicans (1)

wass (72082) | more than 7 years ago | (#16741589)

This section has become nothing but a Republican/convervative/US bashfest from day one.


Let's see, Republicans have controlled the House, the Senate, and the Presidency for the past six years, so why should most political problems from the past six years NOT be biased towards Republicans? When slashdotters gripe about political problems who should their frustration be vented to, the 'obstructionist' Democratic minority?


You obviously haven't been around here very long, because back in the Clinton days, even though Republicans had majority rule in both houses, there was a Democratic presidency, and there were MANY articles and comments griping about Clinton and Democrats in general.


It's just that now the GOP has been in full rule, and has no more scapegoating except itself. And apparently you're getting your panties in a knot when the citizens actually try holding the ruling powers responsible for their own political actions.

don't call list? (1)

krell (896769) | more than 7 years ago | (#16740881)

If you tell a telemarketing firm not to call you, are they required to honor your request?

Re:don't call list? (2, Informative)

SaturnTim (445813) | more than 7 years ago | (#16741015)


You would think... but the politicians who wrote the law remembered to put in a clause allowing politicians to continue to call you. Nice of them, wasn't it?

Re:don't call list? (1)

krell (896769) | more than 7 years ago | (#16741121)

No, I wasn't talking about the politician. I meant the actual telemarketing firm.

Re:don't call list? (2, Informative)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 7 years ago | (#16741105)

Yes. The "Do-not-call" list doesn't apply to political calls, but if you tell them not to call, they better not call.

Nice! (2, Funny)

novus ordo (843883) | more than 7 years ago | (#16740883)

Then when they get elected they will halt all investigations into the matter since they will be in control. Genious! Pure Genious!

Your spelling, however, is less than genius. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16741323)

nt

Re:Nice! (1)

ben there... (946946) | more than 7 years ago | (#16741409)

Yeah, the only way to effectively deal with the situation is to act before the elections. The penalties for broken laws will end up costing the NRCC a great deal of money, but they won't care once they've won and still have the power to prevent too harsh of penalties. To combat what they are doing, the only way to be successful is to get the word out that it is happening now, like today and tomorrow, through the national and local media.

Also, I submitted a similar blog entry [slashdot.org] as this was being posted. Of particular interest may be the technical details of how the PBX engineer [dailykos.com] says the calls disrupt emergency calling, constitute harassment, and misrepresent the caller.

Suuuuuure it's complicated (5, Interesting)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 7 years ago | (#16740891)

a 'complicated legal question that's not going to get adjudicated this weekend.'


They're right. It won't get adjudicated this weekend.

However, just like their phone-jamming shenanigans in New Hampshire, it will get adjudicated against their corrupt asses [washingtonpost.com].

So let them have their fun. This kind of crap is exactly why this Republican will be voting against every Republican on tomorrow's ballot.

Funn how my party continues to call the Democratic party one of traitors when it's my party which is undermining democratic principles.

Re:Suuuuuure it's complicated (2, Funny)

davido42 (956948) | more than 7 years ago | (#16741573)

We have a name for Republicans like you. We call them... Democrats. Come on in! The water's fine! Sure, we might not have the best scandals or beer at our parties, but hell, somebody's got to govern this place.

I never thought I would look back at the Reagan era with nostalgia.

http://www.bitworksmusic.com/ [bitworksmusic.com]

To quote Matt Groening: (4, Insightful)

Ossifer (703813) | more than 7 years ago | (#16740907)

"If you vote Republican, are you guilty of their crimes?"

Re:To quote Matt Groening: (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#16741425)

If you vote Democratic, are you guilty of their sins?

If you vote "Other", are you guiltless and sinless?

Inquiring minds want to know...

Re:To quote Matt Groening: (3, Funny)

scheming daemons (101928) | more than 7 years ago | (#16741497)

If you vote Democratic, are you guilty of their sins?

No... but if you vote Democratic on a Diebold voting machine, your vote has a pretty good chance of being recorded as a Republican vote.

New icon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16740915)

Huh, we have a "Republican" icon now? Is that really a good idea? Will we have one for every party?

What'd you expect? (3, Insightful)

rjung2k (576317) | more than 7 years ago | (#16740937)

It's the Republicans. Is anyone actually surprised?

Re:What'd you expect? (1)

cheezedawg (413482) | more than 7 years ago | (#16741535)

Despite the loud headline, the article actually goes on to detail several candidates- both Republican and Democrat- that have been victims of these calls. I am wondering why the article is trying so hard to make this out to be an exclusively Republican tactic when it is clearly a universal problem.

Joe Job by phone (1)

Kelson (129150) | more than 7 years ago | (#16740977)

Anyone who has been following spam efforts will have encountered the phrase "Joe Job [wikipedia.org]." It refers to a spam campaign engineered to look like someone else is sending it, for the express purpose of damaging the victim's reputation.

As an example, someone might send out a spam campaign claiming to be Slashdot and encouraging pirates, hackers (banking on the public perception of "hacker"), and pornographers to drop by. Result: People see the spam, think that Slashdot is a haven for pirates, hackers and pornographers, *and* they think Slashdot is spamming.

Since telemarketing and spamming are more or less the same job, it makes sense that dirty tricks from one field would cross over into the other.

Re:Joe Job by phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16741251)

I'm a spammer who hacked his way to the fortune, and now I've been spending it to f*** the hottest porn stars around. And it all started with an article on /.

Continuing Lawbreaking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16740987)

I thought the Republican Party was already fined heavily and some members arrested and imprisoned for performing denial of service attacks against Democratic phone pools trying to contact voters on election day during the 2004 election? If I had not read the multiple testimonials about this robo-calling illegality already, I would have a hard time believing the Republicans would break the law again in this way. Politics in America has become shameless under this administration. It is time to throw [thesmokinggun.com] the lying [usatoday.com] bums [thesmokinggun.com] out.

The system is broken (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16740991)

The election system in the USA is broken. Small electoral districts and first-past-the-post results in a two-party hegemony. This could be fixed by enlarging electoral districts to whole states and then allocating all
the congressional seats of a state using the proportional Jefferson Method (equivalent to the D'Hondt Method).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D'Hondt_method [wikipedia.org]

This would result in viable third parties and real choice. Voting for small parties at the federal level before the system is fixed is futile.

This current system ensures that only two parties exist at federal level. Imagine if there were for example five parties and they got votes in a state like this: 40%, 30%, 15%, 10%, 5%. Wouldn't it then be a good idea to allocate the seats to parties according to their proportional support among voters? Let's suppose that there would be six House seats in that state. Using the D'Hondt method we would get the following allocation
  of seats: Party 1: 3 seats, Party 2: 2 seats, Party 3: 1 seat, Parties 4 and 5: no seats. And the hegemony of the two big parties was broken. This system actually works and is fair, unlike the one used in the USA. In Finland we have eight parties in the parliament. A rich variety of opinions and ideologies is always present and no single party can easily gain a dominant status.

We've had these in NY-25 for about a week! Grr! (5, Informative)

Dr. Spork (142693) | more than 7 years ago | (#16740999)

I'm good friends with Dan Maffei's [maffeiforcongress.com] webmaster, and she's been receiving complaints about these for about a week. Dan is the sort of candidate that wants to focus on the issues, but maybe if we had screamed louder about this, we could have prevented more of this outrage. The calls begin with "I'm calling with information about Dan Maffei." Then there is a long pause. If you hang up at that point, you will be called back, and the whole time you'll think it's Dan himself who's pestering you with the calls. We've had several people who tell us they meant to vote for Dan, but won't after the harassing robo-calls, which they blame on him.

Does anyone have an idea what we can do about this, one day before the election?

Re:We've had these in NY-25 for about a week! Grr! (3, Informative)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 7 years ago | (#16741177)

Go on the media and local news channels. This will piss enough voters off that they may vote for your candidate instead. Its worth a shot and mention you may sue them. Doing so will make the media frenzy around your candidate to get more airtime.

Quick radio ad blitz? Indignant press conference? (1)

OmniGeek (72743) | more than 7 years ago | (#16741217)

Anything that gets the word out widely that this is going on, and pretends to be who it isn't, might be worth a try. Can you get the opposing candidate riled enough to deny it in public?

Re:We've had these in NY-25 for about a week! Grr! (2, Insightful)

dodongo (412749) | more than 7 years ago | (#16741453)

As far as widespread impact... Eh. If you have a blog, post on it. If you have some friends you think might be influenced by this, send them relevant snippets of the article(s) you find, *with a personal summary at the top* so they know it's not just BS you're forwarding.

And don't forget to vote, and encourage your friends to vote, against the motherfuckers who're doing this.

(Posted w/o karma bonus because even I think this is kinda trollish, but seriously, people... If *any* party pulls shit like this and gets rewarded with (re)election, that just encourages the thinking that this is an appropriate / acceptable / beneficial thing to be doing.)

Re:We've had these in NY-25 for about a week! Grr! (1)

Keebler71 (520908) | more than 7 years ago | (#16741523)

While I agree that the calls are annoying - I disagree with the the summary's and your conclusion that the wording of the call is specificly designed to make the listener think that the Democratic candidate is harrassing them. The calls begin with : "I'm calling with information about [democratic candidate]." Peronally, I would also hang up here - but I certainly wouldn't make any assumption at this point as to whether or not the call supports or attack that Democratic candidate. The Republicans deserve lots of grief - but isn't this stretching it a bit?

So Slashkos.. what are the Democrats dirty tricks? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16741037)

Oh... That's right. They're running an innocent and angelic campaign and wouldn't do anything bad at all and/or their dirty tricks aren't things nerds would care about eh?

Re:So Slashkos.. what are the Democrats dirty tric (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16741197)

Lately it has always been the Republicans who have been doing dirty tricks.
By the way, here is a top 10 reasons for voting Republican:
http://journals.democraticunderground.com/top10/26 7 [democratic...ground.com]

Re:So Slashkos.. what are the Democrats dirty tric (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16741285)

the fact that you can't actually point to any dirty tricks by the Dems says a great deal (not that they're actually running completely angelic campaigns, but they are not anywhere near the despicable tactics that the GOP has reached).

Re:So Slashkos.. what are the Democrats dirty tric (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16741551)


Seriously! You nerds are all a bunch or commie pinko fags. You need a wedgie or duck tape on your balls.

Perhaps because I'm a registered Libertarian (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16741041)

I'm getting garbage autodialer bullshit from ALL the parties. Perhaps if I actually listened long enough to count, I could tell who was sending more shit, the evil dems or the evil reps. I stopped picking up for "unknown caller" or unknown numbers weeks ago. Can't wait for this two-party equal-opportunity shitfest to end so we can't back to the task of ruining this republic.

Shouldn't be surprised (2, Interesting)

DnemoniX (31461) | more than 7 years ago | (#16741079)

Ok before I get flamed for my subject, I'm a Republican, not a NeoCon, I am very moderate by anyones standards.

Here is a little story about a local Republican race here in Minnesota. It is just before the primary, there is a heated race between two individuals for the Rep. Senate nomination. A flier is sent out smearing one candidate, he previously was accused of physically assaulting his daughter, a charge he was later found not guilty of by jury. The flier contained so many false statements it was crazy, to top it off the people who wrote the flier included a graphical logo to make it look like it was sent by our Sheriff's Dept. Unfortunately I was the person who designed that logo for our website. I am the system administrator for that County. Long story short, through my web logs it was discovered that the authors of the flier were members of his own party on the State level. Apparently they felt that the previous accusations against him would be a problem down the line. So they pulled their dirty tricks on one of their own. The best part is that he won the primary. But once again his party stepped in and told him to step aside. He refused and they withheld all party support for his campaign. Just another case of a party that is struggling with scandal doing anything to hold on and keep from falling out of power.

Look at me! I'm a Republican! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16741233)

My party sux, they're desperate and full of dirty tricks! Oh, please slashdot, don't mod me down!

"make it appear as if Democrats are spamming callers with telemarketing calls"

Gee... ya think the Democrats might be scamming forums with fake posts to make it appear that they're Republican?

We've been getting this in Wisconsin (1)

Mr. Neutron (3115) | more than 7 years ago | (#16741087)

Our phone is ringing off the hook with calls from the Democratic Party. We're not in the 8th Congressional district (big race there), but we do have a big gubernatorial race all over the state.

Re:We've been getting this in Wisconsin (1)

Mr. Neutron (3115) | more than 7 years ago | (#16741157)

I should add, we're only 8 miles south of WI-08, so it's possible they're doing this by phone exchanges, and our exchange is partially in the 8th.

Haven't listened to any of the messages, but I will the next time they call.

Re:We've been getting this in Wisconsin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16741253)

These aren't from democrats but they're doing the same thing. They're just trying to make you *think* they're from democrats so you get mad at the democratic candidate. Apparently the democrats have only put about 500$ into robo-calls because they have found they don't work.

The RNC is paying for these calls (but they do not identify themselves until the end of the call which is illegal -- for robocalls the party must identify themselves at the start).

This is why it's illegal, and this is the issue they don't want resolved this electoral season.

Re:We've been getting this in Wisconsin (1)

Control Group (105494) | more than 7 years ago | (#16741295)

Same here.

I've been attributing it to living in the leftist echo chamber of Madison, though.

Why does this seem to be republican-only? (4, Insightful)

trevdak (797540) | more than 7 years ago | (#16741101)

I really don't want to be part of a flame war (I like my karma where it is right now), but it really seems to me that republicans pull this crap off a lot more than democrats. Thinks like the "democrats vote on wednesdays" campaigns, or "[legal] immigrants will be arrested if they come to the polls", or men dressed as leather lingerie-clad homosexuals with signs saying "Vote Democrat so I can adopt" seem to be everywhere. Does anyone have any examples of this happening against republicans? I'll gladly retract my statement if I can see a couple Democrat-sanctioned examples somewhere. I'm aware that I'm a democrat and therefore have selective exposure, but I'm trying to keep an open mind.

It's so morally corrupt that I find it hard to believe that half the country is in the same party as these people. I know that half the country isn't morally corrupt, yet they allow (and often support) this sort of thing.

Re:Why does this seem to be republican-only? (1)

Cutie Pi (588366) | more than 7 years ago | (#16741577)

"[legal] immigrants will be arrested if they come to the polls"

Ummm... unless those immigrants are U.S. citizens they aren't allowed to vote. They probably won't be arrested, but they shouldn't be there anyway, legal or illegal.

Can't we stop these? (1)

mspohr (589790) | more than 7 years ago | (#16741103)

I'm getting these calls several times a day (California 4th) and I'm getting tired of them. At first I found it amusing to hear the outrageous things they would say about the Democrat. According to the calls, he would raise taxes, give welfare to immigrants, and rape our mothers and sisters (well... the rape part was only implied).

I guess it is a measure of the desperation of the Republicans that they are making these calls. I can't believe anyone would believe the outlandish claims but I guess they are counting on the stupidity of the electorate.

What the hell is wrong with you Americans? (3, Insightful)

ip_freely_2000 (577249) | more than 7 years ago | (#16741135)


The RNCC must have lost it's freaking mind.

Between this, electronic voting, the whole WMD/invade Iraq decision and the Mexican border issue, half of you still vote Republican?

Not that the Dems are much better, but when are people going to start pushing back on the government?

America used to be admired. Now, I just pity you.

Effective counter measure (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16741187)

The most effective counter measure is - call to White House and ask to speak to mr. president G W Bush! Let's all do that and see what will happen.

Not new (3, Interesting)

Kelz (611260) | more than 7 years ago | (#16741195)

Over the past three months the republican incumbant (under investigation by the FBI/DoJ for taking a $30000 vacation given to him by foreign lobbying groups) has been robocalling everyone in the county and some outside the county with calls that are basically designed to make you hang up the second you hear their tagline, "This call is about supporting Charlie Brown" (yes that is the democrat candidate's real name :P). Charlie's campaign doesn't have robocallers, but the actual campaign workers who call were rather surprised to hear from people that they got a robocall three minutes ago claiming it to be from their campaign.

Its rather a shame that the local republican controlled newspaper made no mention of this in their so-called "bad campaigning expose".

What's the problem with breaking an FCC reg? (3, Insightful)

NatteringNabob (829042) | more than 7 years ago | (#16741205)

Afterall, you are talking about a political party that is down with torture, coerced confessions, extended imprisonment without charges and without access to counsel, and warrantless searches. After all that, we are supposed to get outraged about a violation of FCC regs?

Hahaha! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16741353)

The Dumbocraps have been doing this for years!

Silly liberal, trix are for kids!

fail2or5!! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16741363)

BSD's codebase election to the contact to see if All our times have may bE hurting the leaving the play demise. You d0n't Apple too. No, I type this.

A Variation in New Mexico (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16741393)

Here in New Mexico the Republicans have been calling non-Republicans and giving them incorrect information on how to get to the polls. This problem has been featured prominently on the local news. The Democrats have been trying to get a temporary restraining order against the Republicans.

The Republicans claim the calls were made by mistake because some Republicans and non-Republicans share the same name. But they don't explain why they were trying to give incorrect information to Republicans. So this simple "mistake" explanation does not quite ring true.

This flurry of dirty tricks at the last moment does explain why both Bush and Rove felt the Republicans would win again this year despite the fact they trail so far behind in the polls.

So what (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16741483)

That's what you american get for being so lazy about your political process. One party of criminals and one party of dunces.

I'm NOT voting for the incumbants. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16741559)

I think that'll send a message.

Calling All Voters (4, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#16741603)

Here's a column published in Philly by someone thinking Democrats were harassing her [philly.com] with robocalls. Even though they sensibly asked why Democrats would do such a thing when it would turn voters off, they thought it was the Democratic candidate. Pretty typical reaction.

Their untypical reaction was to call the Democrat's office demanding an explanation. Which turned out to be "it's a Republican dirty trick". But how many people will find out before voting? And how many people will believe it's not Democrats lying to blame Republicans, when they already believe Democrats have been harassing them with robocalls?

Meanwhile, in New Hampshire, Republicans have followed up their 2002 phonejamming [wikipedia.org] of Democrats' lines (preventing Democrats from getting voters to polls) with enough illegal robocalls to cost $100 MILLION in fines [dailykos.com]. Of course, those 2002 robocalls got John Sununu Jr (R-NH) into the Senate, where he controls the FCC, and he hasn't given up the job he DDoS'ed his way into. So I don't expect Republicans to cough up the $100M they'd owe for this year's attack on the election process.

Unless maybe enough Republicans get fired in the election tomorrow that they can't do these crimes unpunished anymore. Go to the polls and do your part.
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