Archive for October 5th, 2004

Another “lesson” in revolutionary logic

October 5, 2004

Prosecutor Luisa Ortega granted an interview to Tal Cual to explain the logic behind the charges against Sumate. It goes something like this:


“The charges that the Public Ministry assigned to them are conspiracy against the republican political form given to the Nation, which is consecrated in Art. 132 of the penal Code.”


 


“Sumate conspired using resources from a foreign power”


 


“The Constitution in articles 130 and 131 establishes the civil duty to fidelity of the citizens towards their nation. We can do politics, ask for a recall vote or elections, what we can not do is to do politics asking for the participation of a foreign organization, because the legislator says that is a crime”


 


Well, the foreign organization “did not participate”, it gave funds to help organize a petition drive. This was not a conspiracy, this was a legal political activity and the funds were used for printing educational leaflets. Using this same logic, then all human rights organizations such as COFAVIC or Amnesty International, will have to cease receiving foreign funding, the same for environmental organizations such as Greenpeace. In fact the exchange at the end proves it:


 


At the end the reporter asked: so, as an example, the human rights organizations that receive funds from abroad can also be the subject of an investigation?


 


It depends what the funds are used for. If the funds were used for a sewing course there can be no crime, because that is not a political activity.


 


This is simply being used as a political weapon, while Government funds are used to finance the campaign of Chavez and all of his supporters. This my friends is another form of persecution and intimidation and has absolutely no justification in a democracy. It is more akin to what is done in totalitarian and fascist regimes.


 


Daniel discusses the other case of intimidation against once Chavez’ Minsiter of Finance General Uson. His crime? Telling the obvious truth. The charge? Tarnishing the image of the Venezuelan army, as if we have not seen our highest ranking Generals inability to complete full sentences, or carrying bags of food around instead of doing their job. By the way I ask: How many people have been jailed for burning those soldiers to death? Such is justice or in-justice in this silly revolution.

On Mathematical Models of the recall vote and fraud part XII: Benford’s law proves fraud

October 5, 2004


I have talked about Benford’s law and its prediction as well as quoted results in previous posts, but today I finally received the green light to talk about the details of the work by Pericchi and Torres which you can find in detail here.


Recall that Benford’s law or Necomb-Benford’s Law (NB) applies to the distribution of first and second digits in a table of numbers. That is, if you take a sample of numbers from many “natural” populations, the first or second digit are usually not evenly distributed, but follow the following equations for the frequency of their occurrence:


 


Prob(1st digit = d) = log10(1 + d-1);     d = 1, . . . , 9


For the first digit, and:


                 Prob(2nd. digit=d) = Sum (k=1 to 9)( log10(1 + (10k + d)-1));       d = 0, 1, . . . , 9


For the second digit.


What Pericchi and Torres have done is to check for the NB behavior for the first and second digit in the results of the August 15th. recall vote for both automated and manual votes. They concentrate their analysis on the distribution of second digits because it is not affected by limited ranges of numbers. For example, if one studies the first digit and no voting machine had more than 600 Si or No votes, there will be fewer first digits from 7 to 9, since the only contributing ones would be those from 70 to 99.


The first figure below shows the comparison for both the manual (Top) and automated (Bottom) results for the SI vote for the second digit of all voting notebooks in the recall vote.


 



 


Figure 1. Manual (Top) and Automated (Bottom) results for the second digit of all the voting results for the total of Si votes in each notebook. The smooth line in both cases is the theoretical value for the NB law and the broken line is the results of analyzing the recall data.


Note that in the case of the Si vote, the data from the recall vote closely follows what is expected from the NB law. In fact, as will be shown below the results are probable.


However, the results are quite different for the No vote as shown below:



 


 


 


Figure 2. Manual (Top) and Automated (Bottom) results for the second digit of all the voting results for the total of NO votes in each notebook. The smooth line in both cases is the theoretical value for the NB law and the broken line is the results of analyzing the recall data.


In the case of the NO results while the comparison is quite reasonable for the manual notebooks, the same can not be said for the automated machines where essentially a flat distribution of second digits was obtained, much different than what is expected from BN’s law and quite different from Figure 1. for the Si vote .


In fact, one can do exactly the same analysis to the total number of votes per machine SI+No and one finds the following behavior:


 



 


Figure 3. Manual (Top) and Automated (Bottom) results for the second digit of all the voting results for the total of SI+NO votes in each notebook. The smooth line in both cases is the theoretical value for the NB law and the broken line is the results of analyzing the recall data.


In the case of the total number of votes, once again there are very important discrepancies between the predictions of the BN law and the results.


What Pericchi and Torres did then, was to say that the null hypothesis Ho is that which assumes there was no tampering of the data. They then calculate both the Pvalue and the probability of the occurrences of the data observed assuming no tampering or intervention occurred.


The Pvalue is defined as the probability that a result like the one measured or more extreme is obtained given the null hypothesis, i.e. assuming there was no intervention. Pericchi and Torres then calculate also what is the approximate probability according to the Bayesian Information Criteria (BIC) which takes into account the size of the sample.


The results for all cases are shown in the table below:


 



Table I. Evidence against the null hypothesis Ho. The data follows the Newcomb –Benford law, except for the case of the automated No votes. But the manual Si and NO do follow as well as the results of the audit.


What is most remarkable about the quoted results is that the approximate probability that the measured result was obtained for the No vote is 1.34 10-36 ( a one followed by 36 zeroes!). Thus, the probability that the results were not tampered with is simply miniscule or extremely improbable, the NB law is violated and one should think more about how the intervention of the data may have occurred. In my mind this proves fraud, because there is simply no way of explaining these results.


 


Even more remarkable, which is quoted in the table above, is the fact that similar plots for the audited results on the cold audit performed on Aug. 18th. show that they do follow the BN law:


 


 


 


Figure 4. Si (Top) and No (Bottom) results for the second digit of the audited results.  The smooth line in both cases is the theoretical value for the NB law and the broken line is the results of analyzing the recall data.


Thus, the audited results for the Si and the No follow the NB law, despite the much smaller sample size in the case of the audit. Thus, once again, the results from the audit and the actual vote are quite different, indicating not only fraud, but that the sample for the audit was carefully picked! I would like the Carter Center, Taylor, Rubin and Weisbrot to explain away this result. I challenge them to do so!

On Mathematical Models of the recall vote and fraud part XII: Benford’s law proves fraud

October 5, 2004


I have talked about Benford’s law and its prediction as well as quoted results in previous posts, but today I finally received the green light to talk about the details of the work by Pericchi and Torres which you can find in detail here.


Recall that Benford’s law or Necomb-Benford’s Law (NB) applies to the distribution of first and second digits in a table of numbers. That is, if you take a sample of numbers from many “natural” populations, the first or second digit are usually not evenly distributed, but follow the following equations for the frequency of their occurrence:


 


Prob(1st digit = d) = log10(1 + d-1);     d = 1, . . . , 9


For the first digit, and:


                 Prob(2nd. digit=d) = Sum (k=1 to 9)( log10(1 + (10k + d)-1));       d = 0, 1, . . . , 9


For the second digit.


What Pericchi and Torres have done is to check for the NB behavior for the first and second digit in the results of the August 15th. recall vote for both automated and manual votes. They concentrate their analysis on the distribution of second digits because it is not affected by limited ranges of numbers. For example, if one studies the first digit and no voting machine had more than 600 Si or No votes, there will be fewer first digits from 7 to 9, since the only contributing ones would be those from 70 to 99.


The first figure below shows the comparison for both the manual (Top) and automated (Bottom) results for the SI vote for the second digit of all voting notebooks in the recall vote.


 



 


Figure 1. Manual (Top) and Automated (Bottom) results for the second digit of all the voting results for the total of Si votes in each notebook. The smooth line in both cases is the theoretical value for the NB law and the broken line is the results of analyzing the recall data.


Note that in the case of the Si vote, the data from the recall vote closely follows what is expected from the NB law. In fact, as will be shown below the results are probable.


However, the results are quite different for the No vote as shown below:



 


 


 


Figure 2. Manual (Top) and Automated (Bottom) results for the second digit of all the voting results for the total of NO votes in each notebook. The smooth line in both cases is the theoretical value for the NB law and the broken line is the results of analyzing the recall data.


In the case of the NO results while the comparison is quite reasonable for the manual notebooks, the same can not be said for the automated machines where essentially a flat distribution of second digits was obtained, much different than what is expected from BN’s law and quite different from Figure 1. for the Si vote .


In fact, one can do exactly the same analysis to the total number of votes per machine SI+No and one finds the following behavior:


 



 


Figure 3. Manual (Top) and Automated (Bottom) results for the second digit of all the voting results for the total of SI+NO votes in each notebook. The smooth line in both cases is the theoretical value for the NB law and the broken line is the results of analyzing the recall data.


In the case of the total number of votes, once again there are very important discrepancies between the predictions of the BN law and the results.


What Pericchi and Torres did then, was to say that the null hypothesis Ho is that which assumes there was no tampering of the data. They then calculate both the Pvalue and the probability of the occurrences of the data observed assuming no tampering or intervention occurred.


The Pvalue is defined as the probability that a result like the one measured or more extreme is obtained given the null hypothesis, i.e. assuming there was no intervention. Pericchi and Torres then calculate also what is the approximate probability according to the Bayesian Information Criteria (BIC) which takes into account the size of the sample.


The results for all cases are shown in the table below:


 



Table I. Evidence against the null hypothesis Ho. The data follows the Newcomb –Benford law, except for the case of the automated No votes. But the manual Si and NO do follow as well as the results of the audit.


What is most remarkable about the quoted results is that the approximate probability that the measured result was obtained for the No vote is 1.34 10-36 ( a one followed by 36 zeroes!). Thus, the probability that the results were not tampered with is simply miniscule or extremely improbable, the NB law is violated and one should think more about how the intervention of the data may have occurred. In my mind this proves fraud, because there is simply no way of explaining these results.


 


Even more remarkable, which is quoted in the table above, is the fact that similar plots for the audited results on the cold audit performed on Aug. 18th. show that they do follow the BN law:


 


 


 


Figure 4. Si (Top) and No (Bottom) results for the second digit of the audited results.  The smooth line in both cases is the theoretical value for the NB law and the broken line is the results of analyzing the recall data.


Thus, the audited results for the Si and the No follow the NB law, despite the much smaller sample size in the case of the audit. Thus, once again, the results from the audit and the actual vote are quite different, indicating not only fraud, but that the sample for the audit was carefully picked! I would like the Carter Center, Taylor, Rubin and Weisbrot to explain away this result. I challenge them to do so!

On Mathematical Models of the recall vote and fraud part XII: Benford’s law proves fraud

October 5, 2004


I have talked about Benford’s law and its prediction as well as quoted results in previous posts, but today I finally received the green light to talk about the details of the work by Pericchi and Torres which you can find in detail here.


Recall that Benford’s law or Necomb-Benford’s Law (NB) applies to the distribution of first and second digits in a table of numbers. That is, if you take a sample of numbers from many “natural” populations, the first or second digit are usually not evenly distributed, but follow the following equations for the frequency of their occurrence:


 


Prob(1st digit = d) = log10(1 + d-1);     d = 1, . . . , 9


For the first digit, and:


                 Prob(2nd. digit=d) = Sum (k=1 to 9)( log10(1 + (10k + d)-1));       d = 0, 1, . . . , 9


For the second digit.


What Pericchi and Torres have done is to check for the NB behavior for the first and second digit in the results of the August 15th. recall vote for both automated and manual votes. They concentrate their analysis on the distribution of second digits because it is not affected by limited ranges of numbers. For example, if one studies the first digit and no voting machine had more than 600 Si or No votes, there will be fewer first digits from 7 to 9, since the only contributing ones would be those from 70 to 99.


The first figure below shows the comparison for both the manual (Top) and automated (Bottom) results for the SI vote for the second digit of all voting notebooks in the recall vote.


 



 


Figure 1. Manual (Top) and Automated (Bottom) results for the second digit of all the voting results for the total of Si votes in each notebook. The smooth line in both cases is the theoretical value for the NB law and the broken line is the results of analyzing the recall data.


Note that in the case of the Si vote, the data from the recall vote closely follows what is expected from the NB law. In fact, as will be shown below the results are probable.


However, the results are quite different for the No vote as shown below:



 


 


 


Figure 2. Manual (Top) and Automated (Bottom) results for the second digit of all the voting results for the total of NO votes in each notebook. The smooth line in both cases is the theoretical value for the NB law and the broken line is the results of analyzing the recall data.


In the case of the NO results while the comparison is quite reasonable for the manual notebooks, the same can not be said for the automated machines where essentially a flat distribution of second digits was obtained, much different than what is expected from BN’s law and quite different from Figure 1. for the Si vote .


In fact, one can do exactly the same analysis to the total number of votes per machine SI+No and one finds the following behavior:


 



 


Figure 3. Manual (Top) and Automated (Bottom) results for the second digit of all the voting results for the total of SI+NO votes in each notebook. The smooth line in both cases is the theoretical value for the NB law and the broken line is the results of analyzing the recall data.


In the case of the total number of votes, once again there are very important discrepancies between the predictions of the BN law and the results.


What Pericchi and Torres did then, was to say that the null hypothesis Ho is that which assumes there was no tampering of the data. They then calculate both the Pvalue and the probability of the occurrences of the data observed assuming no tampering or intervention occurred.


The Pvalue is defined as the probability that a result like the one measured or more extreme is obtained given the null hypothesis, i.e. assuming there was no intervention. Pericchi and Torres then calculate also what is the approximate probability according to the Bayesian Information Criteria (BIC) which takes into account the size of the sample.


The results for all cases are shown in the table below:


 



Table I. Evidence against the null hypothesis Ho. The data follows the Newcomb –Benford law, except for the case of the automated No votes. But the manual Si and NO do follow as well as the results of the audit.


What is most remarkable about the quoted results is that the approximate probability that the measured result was obtained for the No vote is 1.34 10-36 ( a one followed by 36 zeroes!). Thus, the probability that the results were not tampered with is simply miniscule or extremely improbable, the NB law is violated and one should think more about how the intervention of the data may have occurred. In my mind this proves fraud, because there is simply no way of explaining these results.


 


Even more remarkable, which is quoted in the table above, is the fact that similar plots for the audited results on the cold audit performed on Aug. 18th. show that they do follow the BN law:


 


 


 


Figure 4. Si (Top) and No (Bottom) results for the second digit of the audited results.  The smooth line in both cases is the theoretical value for the NB law and the broken line is the results of analyzing the recall data.


Thus, the audited results for the Si and the No follow the NB law, despite the much smaller sample size in the case of the audit. Thus, once again, the results from the audit and the actual vote are quite different, indicating not only fraud, but that the sample for the audit was carefully picked! I would like the Carter Center, Taylor, Rubin and Weisbrot to explain away this result. I challenge them to do so!

Petkoff on the charges against Sumate

October 5, 2004

As usual Teodoro Petkoff uses common sense to compare ridiculous situations in today‘s Tal Cual Editorial.


On the sauces for the male and the female turkey by Teodoro Petkoff


 


(In Spanish, there is a saying: “Lo que es bueno para el pavo es bueno para la pava”, what is good for the male turkey is good for the female one, meaning that they are so similar that you have to treat them the same)


 


They pretend to bring the Sumate people to trial under the accusation that they received funds from a US foundation. However, Chavez who received a juicy contribution from a powerful Spanish bank (BBVA)-which was more than proven in Spanish courts-was never asked to account for that crime, which is a true crime, according to our legislation. Two weights, two measures? On the other hand, while against Sumate the worst epithets are used, the President transforms himself into a Versailles gentleman when he addresses his “fellow countrymen” from the Fuerzas Bolivarianas de Liberacion (FBL, a guerrilla group that Chavez last Sunday acknowledged for the first time it existed). Towards a bunch of guys that are frankly outlaws (Chavez himself recriminates that they use weapons of war and reminds them that this is the exclusive right of the Armed Forces) he cordially and with endearment asks that they quit what they are doing, that they give up their weapons and come and plant coffee-which implies, obviously, that those crimes will have imp unity. Here we have a bunch of military in jail, accused of rebellion, there we have a bunch of supposed guerillas, in concrete rebellion but for them the language is one of buddies. I will bet the Prosecutors office will never even find out about it.

Petkoff on the charges against Sumate

October 5, 2004

As usual Teodoro Petkoff uses common sense to compare ridiculous situations in today‘s Tal Cual Editorial.


On the sauces for the male and the female turkey by Teodoro Petkoff


 


(In Spanish, there is a saying: “Lo que es bueno para el pavo es bueno para la pava”, what is good for the male turkey is good for the female one, meaning that they are so similar that you have to treat them the same)


 


They pretend to bring the Sumate people to trial under the accusation that they received funds from a US foundation. However, Chavez who received a juicy contribution from a powerful Spanish bank (BBVA)-which was more than proven in Spanish courts-was never asked to account for that crime, which is a true crime, according to our legislation. Two weights, two measures? On the other hand, while against Sumate the worst epithets are used, the President transforms himself into a Versailles gentleman when he addresses his “fellow countrymen” from the Fuerzas Bolivarianas de Liberacion (FBL, a guerrilla group that Chavez last Sunday acknowledged for the first time it existed). Towards a bunch of guys that are frankly outlaws (Chavez himself recriminates that they use weapons of war and reminds them that this is the exclusive right of the Armed Forces) he cordially and with endearment asks that they quit what they are doing, that they give up their weapons and come and plant coffee-which implies, obviously, that those crimes will have imp unity. Here we have a bunch of military in jail, accused of rebellion, there we have a bunch of supposed guerillas, in concrete rebellion but for them the language is one of buddies. I will bet the Prosecutors office will never even find out about it.

Another imprecise Forero article in the New York Times

October 5, 2004

Juan Forero writes an article today in the New York Times and manages to do his usually imprecise job in order to praise the revolution which he so obviously admires.


The first thing that struck me about the article is how the issue of the Venezuelan Government that loves the people so much spends so much money on this type of advertising while, for example, advertising for Venezuelan tourism has been neglected for five years. Moreover, to give the spin that these ads are made to attract new business is simply ludicrous, these ads are pure propaganda to make the ignorant believe that there is something truly happening in Venezuela. The Chavista Government has made every effort to drive away foreign business with its total contempt for the rule of law and erratic economic policy. I still remember Minister of Planning Giordani claiming to be driving away foreign businessman with his hat because there were so many and direct foreign investment into Venezuela has done nothing but go down since then. (And I have yet to see him wearing a hat)


 


But what truly amazed me was the superficial and imprecise use of numbers by Forero. He manages to minimize the amount spent by the Chavez Government by quoting a ridiculously low number of US$ 1.6 million for the amount of money spent by the Chavez Government in lobbying activities, a figure a factor of four lower than the true number. At the same time, he cites a US$ 2.2 million number in the context of the name Sumate which received only US$ 60,000 and which I am sure includes the funding received by pro-Chavez organizations from the National Endowment for Democracy.


 


But perhaps the most laughable part of the article is to believe that Chavez’ attacks on Sumate generate in any way sympathy from Venezuelans who are anti-American. The attacks on Sumate are not aimed at propaganda and gaining favor, they are simply a political vendetta aimed at gaining revenge at an institution that made Chavez look bad by being effective and efficient in contrast to his Government. It is also an attempt to intimidate Sumate, its leaders and the opposition so insure they will no longer impede the progress of this so called revolution. I would bet that except within the hard core Chavismo, Sumate enjoys a high level of approval by most Venezuelans.


 


It also fails to point that the ads say little about what is really happening in Venezuela. In fact, Chavista oil executives and workers make more in US dollars today than in the “old” PDVSA despite the sharp devaluation of the Bolivar since the strike in 2002 and, despite the oil wealth, poverty levels, purchasing power and unemployment are all worse than when Chavez got to power. This, despite the largest oil windfall the country has enjoyed in any five year period of its history. But Forero can’t mention that, it’s simply opposition propaganda backed by official numbers and statistics.

Another imprecise Forero article in the New York Times

October 5, 2004

Juan Forero writes an article today in the New York Times and manages to do his usually imprecise job in order to praise the revolution which he so obviously admires.


The first thing that struck me about the article is how the issue of the Venezuelan Government that loves the people so much spends so much money on this type of advertising while, for example, advertising for Venezuelan tourism has been neglected for five years. Moreover, to give the spin that these ads are made to attract new business is simply ludicrous, these ads are pure propaganda to make the ignorant believe that there is something truly happening in Venezuela. The Chavista Government has made every effort to drive away foreign business with its total contempt for the rule of law and erratic economic policy. I still remember Minister of Planning Giordani claiming to be driving away foreign businessman with his hat because there were so many and direct foreign investment into Venezuela has done nothing but go down since then. (And I have yet to see him wearing a hat)


 


But what truly amazed me was the superficial and imprecise use of numbers by Forero. He manages to minimize the amount spent by the Chavez Government by quoting a ridiculously low number of US$ 1.6 million for the amount of money spent by the Chavez Government in lobbying activities, a figure a factor of four lower than the true number. At the same time, he cites a US$ 2.2 million number in the context of the name Sumate which received only US$ 60,000 and which I am sure includes the funding received by pro-Chavez organizations from the National Endowment for Democracy.


 


But perhaps the most laughable part of the article is to believe that Chavez’ attacks on Sumate generate in any way sympathy from Venezuelans who are anti-American. The attacks on Sumate are not aimed at propaganda and gaining favor, they are simply a political vendetta aimed at gaining revenge at an institution that made Chavez look bad by being effective and efficient in contrast to his Government. It is also an attempt to intimidate Sumate, its leaders and the opposition so insure they will no longer impede the progress of this so called revolution. I would bet that except within the hard core Chavismo, Sumate enjoys a high level of approval by most Venezuelans.


 


It also fails to point that the ads say little about what is really happening in Venezuela. In fact, Chavista oil executives and workers make more in US dollars today than in the “old” PDVSA despite the sharp devaluation of the Bolivar since the strike in 2002 and, despite the oil wealth, poverty levels, purchasing power and unemployment are all worse than when Chavez got to power. This, despite the largest oil windfall the country has enjoyed in any five year period of its history. But Forero can’t mention that, it’s simply opposition propaganda backed by official numbers and statistics.

Three short ones from today

October 5, 2004

-The pro-Chavez majority approved today changes to the penal code. Once it is approved, pot banging will no longer be allowed against a public official with a penalty of up to four months in prison to the enemies of the state that use that type of protest. Can they outlaw whistle blowing too?. The changes also introduce a penalty of up to five years in prison for invading private or public property.


-The CNE reinstated the random volunteers for voting centers that were removed for the recall referendum for having participated in the recall petition drive.


 


-Sumate Director Maria Corina Machado returned to Venezuela after participating in a seminar in Miami on the Venezuelan recall process. Speculation is that the threat to imprison her was an attempt at intimidating her at not coming back to Venezuela. The hearing is now scheduled for Nov. 2nd.

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