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Skepticism and critical thinking is not panacea, but can help to understand the world better
Campaign finance is at the very heart of complaints about elections. Let’s look at some of the claims about money’s role, and proposals to change it.
Money and its potentially corrupting influence is at the very heart of complaints about politics in the United States, and every two years, many candidates promise voters that they’ll try to reform a system that they say has been broken by congressional inaction and the Supreme Court.
Over the last year, Bernie Sanders has built his presidential campaign around the charge that the influence of wealthy individuals and corporations in elections has led to the passage of laws that have widened the chasm between the rich and the poor. Hillary Clinton has also called for significant campaign-finance reform, and even Donald Trump has joined in, calling out his Republican rivals for being beholden to their major donors. Most other Republicans have rejected calls for reform on the principle that political speech should not be restricted.
Here we take a look at the claims about the influence of money on politics and the various proposals to reduce it.
The problem of money in politics is so universally recognized that even Donald Trump, the ultimate capitalist, and Bernie Sanders, a self-described Democratic socialist, agree on it. Sanders has spent his career railing against the corrupting influence of wealthy and corporate donors, while Trump has unmasked the game by admitting that he gave money to politicians to curry favor with them. The success of both of these politicians suggests the degree to which Americans are fed up with the influence of money on politics. If we don't reduce that influence, our system risks losing its legitimacy.
Trump’s truth-telling aside (if that’s what it is), this premise is much shakier and polarizing than political rhetoric often makes it seem. Can money be separated from politics?
The answer to that is almost certainly no. At their core, democratic elections are a battle of personalities and ideas, and the only way to inform voters about their choices in an election is make sure that the messages of candidates reach them. And just about any way you cut it, that’s going to cost money—whether it’s to pay for advertising, to set up and run a website, to hire people as staffers, or to hold rallies or events that the media will cover. Campaigns for local office can often be run on the cheap. Candidates rely on volunteers to run their campaigns and on social media, rather than paid advertising, to spread their message. But they're never totally free.
The Holy Grail for many campaign-finance reformers is publicly-funded elections, but even in cities and states that have them currently, most are based on matching funds, which requires candidates to raise a minimum amount of money to demonstrate viability. And proposals for public funding of elections in Congress don’t totally eliminate private donations, either.
So that leads us to a second question: If we could separate money from politics, should we? This is really the fundamental divide over campaign financing in the United States. The Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission was based on the principle—long shared by conservatives—that campaign contributions are a form of political speech protected by the First Amendment. And to the dismay of most Democrats, the Citizens United ruling extended those protections not just to individuals but to corporations (and labor unions), leading critics to charge that the Supreme Court had decreed that corporations were effectively the same as people.
Whatever the interpretation, the ruling inarguably allowed wealthy individuals, businesses, and other groups to use money to influence elections with more freedom than they had before.
If Citizens United was so pivotal in aggravating the problem, the Supreme Court should overturn it. The ruling misinterpreted the First Amendment as a protection of money in politics, and it conflated corporations with individuals in a way that opened the floodgates for companies to spend millions—or even billions—to influence elections.
What precedent is there for the Court to reverse itself so quickly and dramatically?
Right now there's a vacancy on the Supreme Court, and whoever replaces the late Justice Antonin Scalia could determine the fate of Citizens United. Both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have pledged to appoint someone who would overturn the 2010 ruling, and while that’s a litmus test that President Obama hasn’t explicitly endorsed, it’s unlikely that anyone he nominates will win confirmation by the Republican-led Senate. The GOP presidential candidates, by contrast, are pledging to appoint a justice in the mold of Scalia, who voted in support of Citizens United. Still, even if a Democratic president decides Scalia’s replacement, the decision is now a precedent of the high court, and there’s no guarantee the justices will revisit the case—or a similar challenge—in the immediate future.
Even if the Supreme Court did reverse itself, would that have the effect of significantly reducing money in politics? Overturning Citizens United could lead to restrictions on or the elimination of super PACs that have sprung up as a result of the ruling and subsequent decisions by lower courts. Super PACs cannot contribute to or coordinate directly with candidates, but they can raise and spending unlimited amounts of money to support or oppose them.
And the Supreme Court has loosened campaign-finance regulations in other ways, such as a 5-4 ruling in 2014 that scrapped the limits on the total amount of money that wealthy donors could contribute to candidates and committees. “There is no right more basic in our democracy than the right to participate in electing our political leaders,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the decision. “We have made clear that Congress may not regulate contributions simply to reduce the amount of money in politics, or to restrict the political participation of some in order to enhance the relative influence of others.”
It’s also important to remember that prior to the ruling, wealthy corporate interests had plenty of latitude use their money to influence elections. Remember the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, which tore into John Kerry's Vietnam record with the help of millions of dollars from conservative donors in 2004? Money played a big part in elections before the Citizens United decision, and it will play a big part even if it is overturned by the Supreme Court.
If overturning Citizens United won’t fix things, we should toughen up disclosure requirements so that at least people will know what individuals and organizations are paying for the ads they see on TV.
How would you get Congress to act on this, given their inability to muster the votes to boost disclosure in the past? Even in Citizens United, the Supreme Court made clear that it was not restricting Congress’s ability to require organizations to disclose their donors. But Congress isn't likely to budge anytime soon.
The Republicans in charge of the House and Senate—and in particular Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell—oppose campaign-finance restrictions on principle. Even when Democrats had the majority, they fell a single vote short in the Senate of passing the Disclose Act, which would have toughened transparency requirements in response to Citizens United.
One of the big fears among good-government groups after Citizens United was that wealthy donors, corporations, and unions would not only be able to spend unlimited sums of money, but that they would try to do so secretly because of the loose disclosure requirements that allow donors to funnel money to super PACs through committees that don’t have to disclose the source of their contributions.
On the presidential level, that hasn’t played out quite so dramatically—if only because so many of the wealthiest donors in both parties have made donations directly to super PACs supporting candidates, allowing their names to be attached to them. But according to one analysis cited by Bloomberg News, secret money accounted for two-thirds of the political-ad spending in the 2016 campaign through the end of January.
Forget the wealthy and corporations. They’re always going to have influence in elections, one way or another. We need to focus on empowering average people by reinvigorating and expanding the public-financing system for campaigns, both on the federal and local levels.
How could the government get enough money to finance elections at a level that would be an effective counterweight to the oodles of private money out there? Ironically, it may have been Barack Obama who killed the federal public-financing system for presidential elections when he opted not to participate in 2008, despite his support for public financing in principle.
Since then, neither Obama nor any of the Republican nominees has accepted federal matching funds in exchange for strict limits on campaign spending, and neither of the nominees this year is expected to, either. The presidential race has simply become too expensive for Democrats to “unilaterally disarm” and agree to restrict their spending, the argument goes, and Congress has not updated the program in more than 40 years.
The odds may be long, but Democrats and advocates for campaign-finance reform have been pushing to modernize and expand the system. One proposal, known as the Government by the People Act, would have the government match small-dollar donations at a 6-to-1 rate (or higher under certain conditions) while also giving people a $25 refundable tax credit to encourage political donations.
The Fair Elections Now Act has similar provisions but would also allow candidates to raise unlimited donations so long as they did not individually exceed $150. The idea is to level the playing field for candidates who can demonstrate a minimum level of support while also helping to free up incumbent members of Congress from the burden of spending hours each day dialing for dollars rather than working on legislation or helping their constituents. Neither of these bills have any chance of passing, however, under a Republican-controlled Congress.
As with many election reforms, the action is now mostly at the local level. Last November, Seattle voters approved a system whereby citizens could contribute to candidates in local races without spending a dime of their own money. The city government will instead send registered voters four $25 vouchers that they can give to the candidate of their choice. “The promise of vouchers is turning every single voter in the city into a donor,” Alan Durning, the executive director of the Seattle-based Sightline Institute,
Yet even if public financing empowers ordinary citizens, it is not a panacea for political corruption. Just look at New York City, which has had both a popular public-financing system for decades and no shortage of crooked local legislators in recent years.
To play devil’s advocate for a second, maybe money really isn’t as big of an influence in politics as it’s cracked up to be. After all, Jeb Bush and the super PAC supporting him spent $130 million and won nothing in 2016. Michael Bloomberg is one of the richest men in the country and although that bought him three elections as mayor of New York, he determined that not even $1 billion could buy him the presidency. And Donald Trump is winning without spending a ton of money, in relative terms.
You’re right—Jeb Bush didn’t do well even with all the money spent on his behalf, but you could also argue that if he didn’t have the cash he did, he would have dropped out long before Republicans even started voting.
The same is true of Ben Carson, who stuck around long after his poll numbers cratered. And, yes, it’s true that Trump has succeeded not because of how much money he’s spent but how successful he has been at getting the media to cover him—allowing him to get his message out nearly for free. There are so many factors that figure into a presidential race that money is not always paramount.
But what about congressional, state, and local elections that don’t get as much media attention? In those contests, money can play a much bigger role. It can be the difference in whether a candidate gets noticed or an issue gets raised, and which side spends the most is more often a determining factor in the outcome of an election.
These are some of the intriguing questions left to consider:
What is the role of the Federal Election Commission, and how can it better enforce the campaign-finance laws that are already on the books?
How much would it cost to implement a public financing system that candidates would actually participate in?
After Citizens United, what is the remaining legacy of the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Act of 2002?
Besides various forms of public financing, what other proposals could reduce the influence of money in politics?Russell Berman is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he covers politics.
Oct 30, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org
Is it any wonder that the nation's "liberal" cable news stations CNN and MSNBC can barely contain their disdain for Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign and even (to a lesser degree) for that of Elizabeth Warren while they promote the nauseating center-right candidacies of the bewildered racist and corporatist Joe Biden, the sinister neoliberal corporate-militarist Pete Butiggieg and even the marginal Wall Street "moderates" Amy Klobuchar and Kamala Harris? Next time you click on these stations, keep a pen and paper handy to write down the names of the corporations that pay for their broadcast content with big money commercial purchases.
I did that at various times of day on three separate occasions last week. Here are the companies I found buying ads at CNN and MSDNC:
American Advisors Group (AAG), the top lender the American reverse mortgage industry (with Tom Selleck telling seniors to trust him that reverse mortgages are not a rip off)
United Health Care, for-profit "managed health care company" with 300,000 employers and an annual revenue of $226 billion, ranked sixth on the 2019 Fortune 500.
Menards, the nation's third largest home improvement chain, with revenue over $10 billion in 2017.
CHANITX, a drug to get off cigarettes ("slow Turkey") sold by the pharmaceutical firm Pfizer, 65th on the Fortune 500.
Tom Steyer (billionaire for president)
Lincoln Financial, 187 th on the Fortune 500, an American holding company that controls multiple insurance and investment management businesses.
Liberty Mutual, an insurance company with more than 50,000 employees in more than 900 locations and ranked 68 th on the Fortune 500 two years ago.
Allstate Insurance: 79 th on the Fortune 500, with more than 45,000 employees.
INFINITI Suburban Utility Vehicle (new price ranging from 37K to 60K), produced by Nissan, the sixth largest auto-making corporation in the world.
RCN (annual revenue of $636 million) WiFi for business
Jaguar Elite luxury autos.
Porsche luxury autos, selling new models priced at $115,000, $145,000, and $163,00, and $294,000.
Mercedes Benz luxury auto, including an SRL-Class model that starts at $498,000
Capital Group, one of the world's oldest and biggest investment management firms, with $1.87 trillion in assets under its control.
Otezla, a plaque psoriasis drug, developed by the New Jersey drug company Celgene and owned by Amgene, a leading California-based biotechnology firm with total assets of $78 billion.
Trelegy, a CPD drug produced by the British company GSK, the world's seventh leading pharmaceutical corporation, with the fourth largest capitalization of any company on the London Stock Exchange.
HunterDouglass – elite windows made by a Dutch multinational corporation with more than 23,000 employees and locations in more than 70 countries.
Humira – drug for Crohn's disease and other ailments, manufactured by Abbvie, with 28,000 global employees and total assets of $59 billion.
Primateme Mist – for breathing, produced by Amphastar Pharmaceuticals.
Glucerna – drug for diabetes, produced by Abbot Laboratories, an American medical company with more than 100,00 employees and total assets of $67 billion.
Prevagen – a controversial drug for brain health produced by Quincy Bioscience
DISCOVER Credit Card, the third largest credit card brand in the U.S., with total assets of $92 billion.
Fidelity Investments, an American multinational financial services corporation with more than 50,000 employees and an operating income of $5.3 billion.
Cadillac XT-6 high-end SUV, starting at $53K, made by General Motors (no. 10 on the Fortune 500 for total revenue), which makes automobiles in 37 countries, employees 173,000 persons, and has total assets $227 billion.
Comfort Inn, owned by Choice Hotels, one of the largest hotel chains in the world, franchising 7,005 properties in 41 countries and territories.
Audible/Amazon – books on tape from the world's biggest mega-corporation Amazon, ranked fifth on the Fortune 500, with 647,000 employees and total assets of $163 billion.
Ring Home Security, owned by Amazon
Coventry Health Insurance, no. 168 on the Fortune 500
SANDALS Resorts International, with 16 elite resort properties in the Caribbean.
Cigna Medicare Advantage, owned by the national health insurer Cigna, no. 229 on the Fortune 500
SoFi Finance, an online personal finance company that provides student loan refinancing, mortgages and personal loans.
Ameriprise Finance, an investment services firm, no. 240 on F500.
It's not for nothing that bit Fortune 500 firms are represented in my anecdotal sponsor list above. Last summer, SQAD MediaCosts reported that a 30-second commercial during CNN's prime-time lineup (Anderson Cooper, Chris Cuomo, and Don Lemon), cost between $7,000 and $12,000. The price has certainly gone up significantly now that Trumpeachment is bringing in new eyeballs.
The three most prominent and recurrent advertising streams appear (anecdotally) to come from Big Pharma (the leading drug companies), insurance (health insurance above all), and finance (investment services/wealth management). These giant concentrated corporate and industry sectors are naturally opposed to the financial regulation and anti-trust policy that Senator Warren says she wants to advance. Amazon can hardly be expected to back the big-tech break-up that Warren advocates.
Big corporate lenders certainly have no interest in making college tuition free, a Sanders promise that would slash a major profit source for finance capital.
The big health insurance firms are naturally opposed both to the Single Payer national health insurance plan that Sanders puts at the top of his platform and to the milder version of Medicare for All that Warren says she backs. Warren and especially Sanders pledge to remove the parasitic, highly expensive profit motive from health insurance and to make publicly funded quality and affordable health care a human right in the U.S. The corporate insurance mafia is existentially opposed to such human decency.
Both of the "progressive Democratic candidates" (a description that fits Sanders far better than it does Warren) loudly promise to slash drug costs, something Pfizer, Abbvie, Amgene, Amphastar, and Abbot Labs can hardly be expected to relish.
None of the big companies buying advertising time on CNN and MSNBC have any interest in the progressive taxation and restored union organizing and collective bargaining rights that Sanders advocates.
The big financial services firms paying for media content on "liberal" cable news stations primarily serve affluent clients, many if not most of whom are likely to oppose increased taxes on the well off.
The resort, tourism, luxury car, and business travel firms that buy commercials on these networks are hardly about to back policies leading to the real or potential reduction of discretionary income enjoyed by upper middle class and rich people.
So, gosh, who do these corporate and financial interests favor in the 2020 presidential election? Neoliberal Corporatists like Joe Biden, Pete Butiggieg, Kamala Harris, and Amy Klobuchar, of course. Dutifully obedient to the preferences and commands of the nation's unelected dictatorship of money, these insipid corporate Democrats loyally claim that Sanders and Warren want to viciously "tax the middle class" to pay for supposedly unaffordable excesses like Medicare for All and the existentially necessary Green New Deal.
In reality, Single Payer and giant green jobs programs and more that We the People need and want are eminently affordable if the United States follows Sanders' counsel by adequately and progressively taxing its absurdly wealthy over-class (the top tenth of the upper 1% than owns more than 90% of U.S. wealth) and its giant, surplus-saturated corporations and financial institutions. At the same time, as Warren keeps trying to explain, the cost savings for ordinary Americans will be enormous with the profits system taken out of health insurance.
Sanders reminds voters that there's no way to calculate the cost savings of keeping livable ecology alive for future generations. The climate catastrophe is a grave existential threat to the whole species.
These are basic arguments of elementary social, environmental, and democratic decency that the investors and managers behind and atop big corporations buying commercials on CNN and MSNBC don't want heard. As a result, CNN and MSDNC "debate" moderators and talking heads persist in purveying the, well, fake news, that Sanders doesn't know how to pay Single Payer, free public college, and a Green New Deal.
It's not for nothing that CNN and MSNBC have promoted the hapless Biden over and above Sanders and Warren – this notwithstanding the former Vice President's ever more obvious and embarrassing inadequacy as a candidate.
It's not for nothing that MSNBC and CNN have habitually warned against the supposed "socialist" menace posed by the highly popular Sanders (a New Deal progressive at leftmost) while refusing to properly describe Trump's White House and his dedicated base as pro-fascists. MSDNC has even get a weekly segment to the silver-spooned multi-millionaire advertising executive Donny Deutsch after he said the following on the network last winter:
"I find Donald Trump reprehensible as a human being, but a socialist candidate is more dangerous to this company, country, as far as the strength and well-being of the country, than Donald Trump. I would vote for Donald Trump, a despicable human being I will be so distraught to the point that that could even come out of my mouth, if we have a socialist [Democratic presidential candidate or president] because that will take our country so down, and we are not Denmark. I love Denmark, but that's not who we are. And if you love who we are and all the great things that still have to have binders put on the side. Please step away from the socialism."
It's not for nothing that the liberal cable networks go out of their way to deny Sanders remotely appropriate broadcast time. Or that they habitually and absurdly frame Single Payer health insurance not as the great civilizing social and human rights victory it would be (the long-overdue cost-slashing de-commodification of health care coverage combined with the provision of health care for all regardless of social status and class) but rather as a dangerous and authoritarian assault on Americans' existing (and unmentionably inadequate and over-expensive) health insurance.
Dare we mention that the lords of capital who pay for cable news salaries and content are heavily invested in the fossil fuels and in the relentless economic growth that are pushing the planet rapidly towards environmental tipping points that gravely endanger prospects for a decent and organized human existence in coming decades?
It's not for nothing that the progressive measures advanced by Sanders and supported by most Americans are regularly treated as "unrealistic," "irresponsible," "too radical," "too idealistic," "impractical," and "too expensive."
It's for nothing that Sanders is commonly left out of the liberal cable networks' campaign coverage and "horse race" discussions even as he enjoys the highest approval rating among all the candidates in the running.
With their preferred centrist candidate Joe Biden having performed in a predictably poor and buffoonish fashion (Biden was a terrible, gaffe-prone politician well before his brains started coming out of his ears) falling back into something like a three-way tie with the liberal Warren and the populist progressive Sanders, the liberal cable talking heads and debate moderators have naturally tried to boost "moderate" neoliberal-corporatist "second" and "third tier" Democratic presidential candidates like Butiggieg, Klobuchar and the surprisingly weak Kamala Harris. It's not for nothing that these and other marginal corporate candidates (e.g. Beto O'Rourke) get outsized attention on "liberal" cable stations regardless of their tiny support bases. Even if they can't win, these small-time contenders take constant neoliberal jabs at Sanders and even at the more clearly corporate-co-optable Warren (who proudly describes herself as "capitalist in my bones").
Thanks to Harris's curiously weak showing, Biden's dotard-like absurdity, and the likely non-viability of Butiggieg (the U.S. is not yet primed for two men and a baby in the White House), the not-so liberal cable channels are now joining the New Yok Times and Washington Post in gently floating the possibility of a dark-horse neoliberal Democratic Party newcomer (Michael Bloomberg, John Kerry, Michelle Obama, Sherrod Brown, and maybe even Hillary Clinton herself) to fill Joke Biden's Goldman-and Citigroup-approved shoes in the coming primary and Caucus battles with "radical socialist" Bernie and (not-so) "left" Warren.
So what if running an establishment Obama-Clinton-Citigroup-Council on Foreign Relations Democrat in 2020 will de-mobilize much of the nation's progressive electoral base, helping the malignant white nationalist monster Donald Trump get a second term?
As the old working-class slogan says, "money talks and bullshit walks."
"Follow the money" is the longstanding mantra in campaign finance research and criminal prosecution. It should also apply to our understanding of the dominant media's political news content. U.S. media managers are employed by giant corporations (MSNBC is a division of Comcast NBC Universal, no. 71 on the Fortune 500 and CNN is owned by Turner Broadcasting, no, 68 on the Fortune 500) that are naturally reluctant to publish or broadcast material that might offend the wealthy capitalist interests that pay for broadcasting by purchasing advertisements. As Noam Chomsky has noted, large corporations are not only the major producers of the United States' mass commercial media. They are also that media's top market, something that deepens the captivity of nation's supposedly democratic and independent media to big capital:
"The reliance of a journal on advertisers shapes and controls and substantially determines what is presented to the public the very idea of advertiser reliance radically distorts the concept of free media. If you think about what the commercial media are, no matter what, they are businesses. And a business produces something for a market. The producers in this case, almost without exception, are major corporations. The market is other businesses – advertisers. The product that is presented to the market is readers (or viewers), so these are basically major corporations providing audiences to other businesses, and that significantly shapes the nature of the institution."
At the same time, both U.S. corporate media managers and the advertisers who supply revenue for their salaries are hesitant to produce content that might alienate affluent folks – the people who hire pricey investment advisors, go to Caribbean resorts and buy Jaguars and Mercedes Benzes and count for an ever-rising share of U.S. consumer purchases. It is those with the most purchasing power who are naturally most targeted by advertisers.
Money talks, bullshit talks on "liberal" cable news, as in the legal and party and elections systems and indeed across all of society.
Watch the wannabe fascist strongman Trump walk to a second term with no small help from a "liberal" corporate media whose primary goal is serving corporate sponsors and its own bottom line, not serving social justice, environmental sanity, and democracy – or even helping Democrats win elections.
Jan 11, 2020 | www.theguardian.com
apacheman -> DeltaFoxWhiskyMike , 7 Jul 2018 23:32Excuse me?
Huge numbers of people who disagree with me and don't share my particular beliefs are not sociopaths, nothing would stop them from running or holding office, and I've no problem with that.
Are you arguing that sociopaths have an inalienable right to hold office, even though they will inevitably use that office to aggrandize themselves at the expense of everyone else, and could spark a general war just for their own enjoyment and to gather yet more power to themselves?
THAT I'm not ok with, are you?DeltaFoxWhiskyMike -> apacheman , 7 Jul 2018 21:12
How do people who don't share your beliefs get represented if you rig the system to exclude them? People unlike you are sociopaths? It isn't even tempting. Your cost benefit study benefits you. The world is destabilized if your guys don't get in? No surprise.HauptmannGurski -> Aseoria , 7 Jul 2018 20:26I know, and Bush I was head of the CIA. Strange that one matters and the other does not.Sisyphus2 -> Byron Delaney , 7 Jul 2018 20:05Love this line: "the gig economy combined with record debt and astronomically high rent prices cancel out any potential economic stability for millions of people."Aseoria -> ildfluer , 7 Jul 2018 19:52
The under-employment rate is also very informative. People working less hours or in lower positions than their investment in education should have returned to them. They are working, but not enough to be able to independently sustain themselves, which makes them insecure in variety of ways.Do you think the interpreters might turn out to be agents, or perhaps even assassins, from other governments? Or maybe everybody will be knocked out with fentanyl gas at dinner. In the dining room.Aseoria -> consumerx , 7 Jul 2018 19:47Typical Good-Cop Bad-Cop from here in the vaunted "Two-Party" system of the USA govJanaka77 -> petersview , 7 Jul 2018 19:05I like the way the Republic of Ireland puts strict restrictions on political spending for their elections - including their presidential elections.apacheman -> memo10 , 7 Jul 2018 19:021. It all depends on what the penalties are. Confiscation of hidden assets would chill that behavior, strike one. Loss of the privilege to conduct business with federal and state entities would also chill such behavior, strike two. Finally, for persistent violations of the cap, loss of citizenship and expulsion form the country, three strikes and you are literally out, would be the ultimate penalty.Janaka77 -> scotti dodson , 7 Jul 2018 18:55
The alternative, continuing to allow unlimited wealth accumulation will ultimately destroy democracy and end in a dictatorship nearly impossible to remove without massive casualties. Is that preferable to trying to control the behavior of wealth addicts? Make no mistake: billionaires are addicts, their uncontrollable addiction to more is an extreme form of hoarding dysfunction, one that, like all uncontrolled addictions, has had disastrous consequences for everyone but them.
3. Fewer Representatives means you are concentrating power rather than dispersing it. More means smaller districts, which in turn means more accountability, not less. As it stands now, Congresscritters can safely ignore the wishes of the public, because when someone "represents" nearly a million citizens, it means they actually represent only themselves. If taken in conjunction with item #2, more citizens would be invested in the political process and far more likely to pay attention.
4. The Hare test is a standard written exam that is difficult to cheat. Getting caught at cheating or attempting to cheat would mark one automatically as a sociopath. The latest studies of brain structures show that sociopaths have physically different brains, and those physical differences are detectable. Brain activity as shown by fMRI also clearly marks a sociopath from a normal, since while they can fake emotional responses very well, their brain activity shows their true lack of response to emotionally charged images, words, etc. Using a three-layer test, written>fMRI>genetic should be robust enough to correctly identify most. The stakes are too huge to risk a set of sociopaths and their lackeys control of the machinery of government. The genetic test is the most likely to give problematic results, but if the written is failed, the fMRI would then be done to confirm or reject the written results, while the genetics would be a supplementary confirmation. Widespread genetic testing of politicians and would-bes would undoubtedly advance research and understanding dramatically.
When you do even a casual cost-benefit study, the answer is clear: test them. Ask yourself: is the thwarting of an individual's potential career in politics really that great a cost compared to preventing unknowingly electing a sociopath who could destabilize the entire world?Janaka77 -> Ben Groetsch , 7 Jul 2018 18:15
Another big difference of course is a little thing called the law.
Are you under the impression the British don't have rule of law? Their elected representatives make their laws, not their ceremonial royal family. Their royal family's job is to abide by the same laws as every other UK citizen, stay out of politics and promote British tourism and gossip magazines.WillisFitnurbut -> Byron Delaney , 7 Jul 2018 17:57
The United States is actually a federal republic, not a democracy.
The United States is actually both a federation (hardly unique by the way) and a representative democracy. Whether you call them members of Parliament or members of Congress, their representatives are elected by the people.memo10 -> DeltaFoxWhiskyMike , 7 Jul 2018 17:48
If we move the cheap manufacturing to the US, and wages are lower due to a depression, people will take the jobs, and the job numbers will improve. And China will be toast.
We will never beat China at manufacturing cheap and efficient products using human labor. Robotic labor maybe, but that might not happen for a decade or more at least--if they or another country doesn't beat us to retooling our factories.
Labor and manufacturing will never return in the US--unless we have another world war we win, in which all global production is again concentrated in the US because the rest of the worlds factories are bombed to rubble. Besides, they have the most central location for manufacturing in the world and a cheap source of endless labor.
What they don't have is innovation, tech and freedom to try products out on a free market. We are squandering those advantages in the US when we cut education and limit college education to the masses.WillisFitnurbut -> DeltaFoxWhiskyMike , 7 Jul 2018 17:42
The system is not crooked,
Are Americans the most immoral people on earth? I don't think so. Do we have the strictest code of laws on earth? I don't think so either. Yet we have the highest incarceration rate on earth. Higher than authoritarian countries like China & Russia.
This alone should tell you something is wrong with our system. Never mind the stats about differing average sentences depending on race & wealth.Doubt implies a reason behind the wrong, where uncertainty implies an unknowing trait--a mystery behind the wrong.Byron Delaney -> DeltaFoxWhiskyMike , 7 Jul 2018 17:00
The right, what with all its fake news scams, deep state BS and witch hunt propaganda, is uncertainty at best, a mystery of sorts--it provides us with a conspiracy that can neither be proved or unproven--an enigma.
Doubt, about if Russia meddled in the US election in collusion with the president or at the least his advisors, surely implies something is wrong, especially in the face of criminal charges, doubt is inherent and well intentioned, but not always true and can be proven false in the face of doubt.At one time the US was agrarian and one could subsist via bartering. Consider reliance on for-profit healthcare, transportation systems, debt, credit cards, landlords, grocery stores, and the lack of any ability to subsist without statewide and nationwide infrastructure. Right now, people in the US already die prematurely if they can't afford healthcare. Many are homeless. And this is when things are better than ever? What will happen here is what happened in Europe during WWII. People will suffer, and they will be forced to adopt socialist practices (like the EU does today). People in Europe really did starve to death, and people in India, Africa, and other countries are starving and dying today. China doles out food rations because they practice communism. That's why they have cheap, efficient labor that serves to manufacture products for US consumers. Communism and socialism help American corporations big time.DeltaFoxWhiskyMike -> kmacafee , 7 Jul 2018 16:51Citizens United is a First Amendment decision. Which part of the First Amendment do you want moot? What gives any government the right to decide which assemblies of citizens have no free speech rights?DeltaFoxWhiskyMike -> WillisFitnurbut , 7 Jul 2018 16:47Doubt is everybody's political currency.DeltaFoxWhiskyMike -> Byron Delaney , 7 Jul 2018 16:46You are aware, I imagine, that the US can adjust its money supply to adapt to circumstances? We can feed ourselves. We have our own power sources. We can improvise, adapt, and overcome. Prices go up and down. No big deal. Scaring people for political gain doesn't have the clout it onvce did.DeltaFoxWhiskyMike -> tjt77 , 7 Jul 2018 16:40Are you opposed to people deciding who moves across their nation's borders?DeltaFoxWhiskyMike -> Elephantmoth , 7 Jul 2018 16:38Open Secrets Top Donors, Organizations.DeltaFoxWhiskyMike -> memo10 , 7 Jul 2018 16:35Too many virtue signalers seem to think that only the innocent are ever convicted.DeltaFoxWhiskyMike -> WillisFitnurbut , 7 Jul 2018 16:29
The system is not crooked, but if you can set up a better one that doesn't bankrupt every community, have at it.You really, really, really like screaming racist, don't you? And slide in a Godwin. Wow. The concept that black pastors would be negatively impacted by financial attacks on their churches never ever occurred to you, did it? You get off on pretending to care about people that you have no direct, routine connection to. How virtuous of you. Wouldn't deliberately harming black churches make you the racist storm trooper?Byron Delaney -> WillisFitnurbut , 7 Jul 2018 16:08Violence will break out when credit cards stop working. Can't even imagine what will happen if people are starving. No problem in a socialistic country like Finland, but a big problem here. My guess is that Trump knows the economy is hanging by a thread, so needs to create an alternate reason (trade wars). Or he figures he might as well have a trade war if it's all going to pieces anyway. Of course China manufactures just about everything for the US. If we move the cheap manufacturing to the US, and wages are lower due to a depression, people will take the jobs, and the job numbers will improve. And China will be toast.WillisFitnurbut -> Byron Delaney , 7 Jul 2018 15:49Don't forget as the Trump trade war heats up and China decides to sell off US bonds en-masse (they own 1.17 trillion in US debt). That's gonna put a hurt on the already low US dollar and could send inflation soaring. China could also devalue its currency and increase the trade deficit. Combine those with all the things you've pointed out and you've got financial troubles the likes of which no large government has ever dealt with in human history.Melty Clock -> happylittledebunkera , 7 Jul 2018 15:43
Starving people--China can handle in droves; not so much the US. We're talking nasty violence if that kinda stuff happens here.True, but the POTUS is a head of state and the PM is not, so there's a limit to how far we should take comparisons.WillisFitnurbut , 7 Jul 2018 15:05Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness require it.Byron Delaney , 7 Jul 2018 15:02Occupy Wall Street began due to income inequality when the worst effects of the Great Recession were being felt by the population. Wealth inequality has only increased since then.kmacafee , 7 Jul 2018 14:11
Right now, the population is held at bay because the media and politicians claim that the economy is so incredibly hot it's overheating. But we know that's a lie. For one, the gig economy combined with record debt and astronomically high rent prices cancel out any potential economic stability for millions of people. This year, 401(k) plans have returned almost nothing (or are going negative). This was also the case in 2016. Savings accounts have returned almost nothing for the last decade (they should be providing approximately 5% interest).
The worker participation rate today is 3.2% below what it was in 2008 (during the Great Recession). The US population, meanwhile, has increased by approximately 24,321,000. That's a 7.68% increase. The labor force has increased by 5% during this time (unemployment rate was relatively similar, 5.6% vs 4%). From June 2008 to June 2018, the labor force increased by approximately 8 million. However, if the worker participation rate was the same now as it was then, there would be approximately 8 million more people in the labor force. If you add 8 million people to the current number of people who are counted as unemployed by the BLS, the unemployment rate is approximately 9%. This is about as high as the unemployment rate got during the depths of the Great Recession, right when Occupy Wall Street was born.
Now, OK, sure, the economy has REPLACED lost jobs, but it has not ADDED jobs for the last decade. The unemployment rate is false. It should be at least 8%. There's many millions of Americans who do not have steady, gainful employment - or any employment - and they are not counted.
The billionaires and their bought politicians are responsible for fixing this. They can fix it and should fix it. Otherwise, the economy and their profits are going to fall off a giant cliff any day now. The next recession has basically already begun, but it can still be alleviated. If things continue as they are, unemployment could be 16% by 2020, with the U6 measure approaching or exceeding 25%. If stocks drop enough, people may starve to death.Who supported Citizen's United? All cons and republicansmemo10 -> apacheman , 7 Jul 2018 14:10
Who supports campaign finance reform and legislation that would make Cititzen's United moot? Democrats and progressives
Really tired of the false equivalencies. Republicans are now the polar opposite of Democrats in policy and principles. Vote Blue this November and get rid of the republicans; every single one of them. It can be done if people get out and vote.1. Anything is possible but I don't think this is practical. The rich can just cheat on the definition of ownership, pass it around between family members, offshore it, sink it into their businesses in token ways, etc. When you try to take wealth (power) away from the most powerful people in the country they will start devoting SERIOUS resources to getting around it.apacheman -> memo10 , 7 Jul 2018 13:34
3. I'm not saying we need fewer people doing congress's job in total. But we should be electing fewer of them, and letting those fewer people do more hiring/delegating. The way things are now, most of the public only knows much about the president. Everyone else is mostly just a vote for a party. But if the country only voted for 50 Congressmen in total - or even fewer - then we would all have a more careful eye on them. We would know them better and see them more individually. They would have less pressure to toe the party line all the time.
4. As long as there's a written test then it will get cheated. Right now the testing is rarely given and the specific consequences don't determine powerful people's careers. Make it a widespread & important thing and people will learn to cheat it.
The genetic + fMRI research is interesting but the whole thing opens up serious cans of worms. We're talking about DQ'ing somebody from an important career based partially on the results of a genetic screening for a character trait. That's a dangerous business for our whole society to get into. Although I do realize the payoff for this specific instance would be very big.1. Why do you think that? Using teams of forensic accountants and outlawing secret accounts would go a long way towards increasing enforceability. But you are viewing it as a legal problem rather than a cultural problem. If an effective propaganda campaign aimed on one level at the public and another level at the billionaires, it could work. Many billionaires are already committed to returning their fortunes to the economy (mostly after they are dead, true). Convince a few and the rest will follow. Give them the lure of claiming the title of the richest who ever were and some would be eager for that place in history.WillisFitnurbut -> ConBrio , 7 Jul 2018 13:25
Anything can be done if the will is there.
2. Income taxes are just a portion of the federal revenues, ~47%. Corporate taxes, parkland fees, excise taxes, ~18% taken together and Social Security make up the rest. Revenues would increase as taxpayers topped off step amounts to keep control. The beauty of it is that Congress would see very clearly where the nation's priorities were. Any politician trying to raise fines so that they had more money under their control would soon find themselves out of office. Unpopular programs would have to be financed out of the 18%, and that would likely make them increase corporate taxes. But most importantly, it would cut the power of politicians and decrease the effectiveness of lobbyists.
3. Actually, we have too few, not too many. The work of governance suffers because there is too much to be done and too few to do it. Spreading the workload and assigning responsibility areas would increase efficiency. Most importantly though, it would break up the oligarchic duopoly that keeps a stranglehold on the nation's politics, and bring more third party candidates into office giving Congress a more diverse culture by adding viewpoints based on other things than business interests.
4. Actually, advances in fMRI equipment and procedures, along with genetics and written testing can prove beyond a reasonable doubt whether or not someone is a sociopath, do some research and you'l see it is true. False positives in any testing regime are always an issue, but tens of millions of workers submit to drug tests to qualify for their jobs, and their jobs don't usually run the risk of plunging the world into war, economic or environmental disasters. False positives are common in the workplace and cost many thousands their jobs.
And there's an easy way to prove you aren't really a sociopath: be honest, don't lie, and genuinely care about people...things sociopaths cannot do over time.
Seriously, it is a societal safety issue that demands to be done, protecting the few against false positives means opening the floodgates for the many sociopaths who seek power over others.Not just eliminate--alter and add to it, but since it takes 2/3 majority of the house and senate to amend the constitution--it's not an easy feat--that's why there has only been 17 amendments altogether and two of them are there to cancel each other out!tjt77 -> DeltaFoxWhiskyMike , 7 Jul 2018 12:51
You see, the beauty behind the National Popular Vote Bill is that it's done on a state by state basis and will only work when the required 270 electoral votes are gained with the bill--this means all voters would have their votes tallied in a presidential election and it eliminates swing states with a winner takes all approach. The electoral college and state control of elections are preserved and every one is happy.
I feel like you've not read up on any of this even though I provide a link. 12 of these bills have been enacted into state law already, comprising of 172 electoral votes and 3,112 legislative sponsors. That's more than halfway there.
To continue to say that changing the way we vote by altering the EC is a fantasy is in itself a fantasy because obviously it is gaining traction across the country.Which 'side' do you imagine I'm on Mike ? FYI.. Im not a member of any tribe especially regarding the republican or democrat parties... you may have noticed that as part of the progress towards a globalized economy, 'Money' now has open borders...but the restrictions of movement for people are growing as nationalism rises and wealth and the power it yields, becomes ever more concentrated in fewer hands...this is a dangerous precedent and history repeats if lessons of the past are not learned.Gary Daily , 7 Jul 2018 12:20
I can well recall when humanity and the ability of the individual to attain freedom and liberty based upon the merit of the individual was once celebrated.
What really irks me and causes me to voice my opinion on this forum, ( thank you Guardian for your continued efforts at informing us all and especially for promoting participation) is how easily people are duped .. when 'others' can easily see that they are being lied to. My parents fought for freedom and liberty against vicious tyranny in Europe and paid a HUGE price..by the time the scales had tipped the balance towards fascism, it was far too late for anything other than all out war... the fact that they survived the required sacrifice to pitch in to protect democracy, and the freedom and liberty which comes with it, still seems miraculous..Billionaires on the left should put some of that money into paying for and distributing subscriptions to newspapers and magazines which live up to the standards of professional journalism. These papers should be made available, free, at high schools, colleges, libraries, and commercial centers of loitering and "neighborly" discussions. May I suggest the NYT, WP, The Guardian, and The Economist.ConBrio -> WillisFitnurbut , 7 Jul 2018 12:16The "fact" that there have been 700 attempts to eliminate it should tell you that in all likelihood the The Electoral College will continue.aquacalc -> ghstwrtrx7 , 7 Jul 2018 12:01
Whether or not a group of states can effectively circumvent the Constitution is an open question."What the country sorely needs is a new constitution."memo10 -> DeltaFoxWhiskyMike , 7 Jul 2018 11:48
No thanks! The Founders were quite a bit more intelligent than the current national 'brain trust' -- on the both sides of the Aisle -- that would be charged with writing a new Constitution.Dorthy Boatman -> scotti dodson , 7 Jul 2018 11:36
A defense attorney once told me that his job was one of the toughest out there because an astonishing percentage of defendants are guilty as charged.
That's true. But it doesn't excuse the crooked system whatsoever. It doesn't make the innocent poor people any less innocent.Since when have politicians and rich people ever followed the law? And what recourse would that be exactly?WillisFitnurbut -> DeltaFoxWhiskyMike , 7 Jul 2018 11:17I like how you immediately expose your racism, right out of the gate. Haven't you got a storm trooper meeting to head out to soon?Elephantmoth -> DeltaFoxWhiskyMike , 7 Jul 2018 11:14Sorry I forgot the link: http://www.http://thehill.com/business-a-lobbying/business-a-lobbying/318177-lobbyings-top-50-whos-spending-bigSisyphus2 -> NYbill13 , 7 Jul 2018 10:41Back to the days of Dickens, workhouses, indentured slaves, etc.
American elections are a battle of billionaires. We are merely spectators David Callahan Depending on your politics, you may either cheer or fear the influence of top donors. In truth, we should be troubled by it
Thu 5 Jul 2018 02.00 EDT Last modified on Thu 5 Jul 2018 02.01 EDT Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via Email 'Economic inequality seems to be translating into civic disparities .' Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images Pull up a seat, this year's election is getting interesting.
In one corner, backing the Republican, are billionaire heavyweights like Sheldon Adelson and the Koch brothers. In the other, wearing the blue trunks, are mega-donors such as Tom Steyer and George Soros, as well as one of the richest Americans of all, Michael Bloomberg , who recently confirmed that he'll spend at least $80m to flip the House of Representatives to the Democrats – in a midterm election that will likely be the most expensive in history.
The rest of us, ordinary citizens without big bank accounts, will certainly play a role in the outcome this November. We cast the votes, after all. But more and more, US politics – along with civic life broadly – often feels like a spectator sport, as a growing array of billionaire super citizens battle it out in the public square.
The outsized clout of the rich is hardly a new story, of course. But this influence game is changing as the dollar signs get bigger and as the wealthy exert influence in more arenas using a more sophisticated array of strategies. The day before news broke about Bloomberg's vast election giving, for example, the Times reported on the successful efforts of a Koch-backed 501(c)(4) group to kill public transportation initiatives across the country.
That same week, the Walton Family Foundation – which has already helped bankroll a quarter of all US charter schools – announced another $100m in education grants. Around the same time, the billionaire activist Tom Steyer launched a new ad attacking Donald Trump that featured audio of children crying in immigrant detention centers. The ad is part of Steyer's unprecedented campaign pushing for Trump's impeachment; he's spent millions of dollars on the effort, on top of some $200m he's made in political contributions since 2014.
Depending on your politics, you may either cheer or fear the influence spending of specific top donors. In truth, we should be troubled about all such spending. Thanks to several factors, economic inequality seems to be translating into civic disparities at a faster pace and in ways that touch more parts of US society.
With ever deeper pockets, the rich can more easily afford to pull multiple levers of influence and many are doing exactly that
First, the rich have gotten much richer in the last 10 or 15 years. In 2005, the Koch brothers had a combined net worth of around $9bn; now they're worth over $100bn. Mike Bloomberg has added $46bn to his fortune during this same period, while Jeff Bezos – who has been flexing his civic muscle as owner of the Washington Post and is said to be planning a big move into philanthropy – is worth 30 times more today than he was in 2005, a stunning $144bn.
With ever deeper pockets, the rich can more easily afford to pull multiple levers of influence and many are doing exactly that, which is a second thing that's changed about the elite power game. Increasingly, top donors are simultaneously putting money into elections, private foundations that press an ideological agenda, 501(c)(4) groups and media.
Robert Mercer is one example of an ambidextrous funder. The family foundation that he runs with his daughter Rebekah makes millions of dollars in grants to conservative policy groups every year, but Mercer was also among the top GOP campaign donors in 2016 and is also a top investor in Breitbart, the pro-Trump media site. The Mercers have been among the most powerful figures in politics in the past few years – influence that's only been possible because of Robert Mercer's success in the wildly lucrative hedge fund world. Being a star school teacher or nurse doesn't yield the same resources or clout.
Bloomberg is another example of multi-faceted donor, on a much larger scale. In addition to investing hundreds of millions of dollars in his own political career, securing three terms as New York's mayor, he's used both charitable and political giving to push his agenda on such issues as climate change, guns and education. Now he's poised to become the biggest donor ever during a midterm election cycle. This enormous influence spending has amounted to just a tiny fraction of his net worth.
Bloomberg's support for Democrats and causes like climate change underscores a third change in big money battles over America's future: the surge of new money from left-of-center donors.
This shift dates back to George W Bush's presidency, when alarmed wealthy Democrats set out to reverse conservative gains. Mixing philanthropic gifts with political donations and 501(c)(4) spending, they bankrolled the creation of Democracy Alliance, the Center for American Progress, and other institutions. Since then, other billionaires have swung behind progressive causes, including tech winners like Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz – who gave $27m to help defeat Trump in the 2016 election – and Steyer, who became an active mega-giver after he retired from his hedge fund six years ago.
The new money flowing from wealthy left-of-center donors, especially in response to Trump's rise, may look like a sign that American pluralism is alive and well in this second Gilded Age. Yes, public life in increasingly drenched in cash, but aren't many viewpoints getting heard as a more ideologically diverse upper class supports various causes and candidates?
Sometimes this is the case. On climate change, for example, progressive donors have helped counter the longstading might of the fossil fuel industry. Economic issues have been another story, though. Polls show that the wealthy are more conservative on such issues, which explains why very little money even from left-of-center donors goes to support work that strongly challenges inequality. Bloomberg's big give for Democrats this year is a case in point: he's made it clear that he wants to support moderate candidates, not populists from the Bernie Sanders wing of the party.
The Democratic party and progressive infrastructure is heavily dependent on patrons who've thrived under America's current form of capitalism and aren't interested in major reforms to that system, however much it fails ordinary workers. In 2016, Trump filled this vacuum with his own brand of economic populism.
There's also been a lack of pluralism among wealthy donors in other areas. The Kochs are having such a big impact on transportation policy because there are few counter-weights to their money in that niche. Top donors can be especially influential in certain states and localities, where there's not a diverse pool of givers. For example, the billionaire Eli Broad has long wielded outsized influence in Los Angeles, especially on education.
There's no easy way to counter the rising power of these super citizens. Campaign finance reform would help, but influence spending now extends far beyond elections, as philanthropy has been weaponized for policy combat.
Ultimately, the best solution to the new civic inequality lies in stronger social movements that convert Americans from spectators to activists. And one of the most reassuring trends of recent years is we've seen a lot of such people power, including the Tea Party, Occupy, Black Lives Matter and #MeToo.
Now we need more of the same, extending to more issues and more places – especially the core challenge of economic inequality. Otherwise, it's hard to see how the United States can escape from a new era of plutocracy.David Callahan is the author of The Givers: Wealth, Power, and Philanthropy in a New Gilded Age. He is the founder and editor of Inside Philanthropy
Dec 13, 2019 | www.unz.com
G. Poulin , says: December 11, 2019 at 9:37 pm GMTSo if propaganda is so easy and effective, remind me again why democracy is such a great idea?El Dato , says: December 12, 2019 at 6:00 am GMT@G. Poulin You have two choices:Johan , says: December 12, 2019 at 11:49 pm GMT
1) Democracy with a population that is at least minimally engaged and angrily stays that way (including removing powerful special interests from premises with pitchforks)
2) Being "managed" on behalf of various power centers. This can be liveable or can turn into strip mining of your "resources".
Sadly, there is no algorithm that allows you to detect whether your are engaged or are being engaged on behalf of others. That would be easy. But one should start with a minimal state, hard money and the sons of the upper crust on the front lines and forbidden from taking office in government.
That being said, this article is a bit meandering. Came for Bellingcat but was confused.
Who presented the Emmy Award to the film makers, but none other than the rebel journalist Chris Hedges.
Maximum Clown World.@El Dato "1) Democracy with a population that is at least minimally engaged and angrily stays that way (including removing powerful special interests from premises with pitchforks)"
There are no revolutions by means of pitchforks in a democracy, everything is weakened by compromise, false promises, infiltration, manipulation, etc. You cannot stay angry all the time too, it is very bad for your health, it needs to be short and intense to be effective, which is exactly what democracy prevents.
Democracy turns you into a petted animal.
Dec 13, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
"Why this expert warns that a voting watchdog has 'lost its way' -- and our elections are at risk" [ Alternet ]. "Verified Voting, the national advocacy group seeking accountable election results, has been "providing cover" for untrustworthy new voting systems and the public officials buying them, according to an esteemed academic board member who has resigned in protest
To be accused by the inventor of its "gold-standard" audit solution of selling out while states and counties are buy voting technology that will be used into the 2030s is remarkable .
Stark and other critics say that the cards produced by a so-called ballot-marking device (BMD) may not be accurate because potentially insecure software sits between a voter's fingers and the printout.
Thus, Stark contends that his audit tool cannot assess if the reported result is correct. Also, BMD systems are far more costly than hand-marked ballot systems, he and other critics have said.
They note that the acquisition costs are followed by per-machine service agreements designed to generate millions in annual revenues for vendors." • On BMDs, see NC here .
Dec 06, 2019 | www.nbcnews.com
It has long required the support of the wealthy -- and a certain level of personal wealth -- to run for president of the United States. In 2016, billions of dollars were raised by Donald Trump's and Hillary Clinton's presidential campaigns. But the rich control much of this cash flow . In 2014, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, the top .01 percent of all income earners in the United States accounted for 29 percent of all political committee fundraising.
There are many reasons why this is a dangerous thing. But a big one is accountability.
Aug 15, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
"Judge: Georgia must scrap old voting machines after 2019" [ Associated Press ]. "U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg's order on Thursday prohibits the state from using its antiquated paperless touchscreen machines and election management system beyond this year. She also said the state must be ready to use hand-marked paper ballots if its new system isn't in place for the March 24 presidential primary election."
Aug 11, 2019 | www.vice.com
"The top voting machine company [Election Systems & Software] in the country insists that its election systems are never connected to the internet. But researchers found 35 of the systems have been connected to the internet for months and possibly years, including in some swing states." • The only reason I can imagine, besides corruption, for election officials to buy these things is that they want the capability to fix elections, and that goes for both parties.
Jun 18, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Election forensics analyst Jonathan Simon said , "The great irony, and tragedy, here is that we could easily go the opposite direction and quickly solve all the problems of election security if we got the computers out of the process and were willing to invest the modicum of effort needed for humans to count votes observably in public as they once did."
Jonathan Simon, god bless him, has used 55 words to say 11: We could easily fix our fraudulent election system, but we won't.
The answer is not to hand it over to Microsoft and the Pentagon and the ass clowns who make robotic death machines. The Pentagon can't keep track of $21 TRILLION DOLLARS over the past 20 years -- what makes us think they can keep track of hundreds of millions of votes?
The ruling elite have no interest in making sure our voices are heard. They want that as much as they want nunchucks to the balls. If they sought to have our voices heard, we would have paper ballots, ranked choice voting, real exit polls and a president who doesn't look and act like an over-cooked ham-and-cheese sandwich.
It's time to demand real elections.
SybilDefense , 1 hour ago linkdarktideac , 1 hour ago link
I thought George Soros owns (controlling interest) %56 of all voting machines
Soros linked to voting machine mfrs
Now with Microsoft providing the lib-genda software...what could go wrong?
All this whiz bang gadgetry for unimportant things, like elections but when the Gov really wants info it's "fill this out in triplicate Mr Smith"!
Paper ballots should be mandatory, in triplicate, with the voter depositing copy A in the ballot box, mailing copy B to one of any approved secondary processing centers, chosen by the voters, retaining copy C for ones records and online verification that copies A and B remain true.
I see no reason why states couldn't swap ballots, allowing state 2 to "grade state 1's homework". At the end of the day, the state 1 opens a lottery drawn code telling them who will be grading their papers. For Example, at poll close, CA opens the supersecret envelope (reminiscient of Karnac the Great on Johnny Carson), revealing that TX will be in charge of processing CAs validation count. If it's off by a statistical significance...no fed money for the offending state until corrected)
There has to be a better way, and Microsoft/Soros/DARPA isn't going to enstill the confidence this country needs to survive. A #2 pencil, a few black dots and independent verification with (voter retained) proof is so simple it just may work. If the voter isn't intelligent enough to color the circle, they shouldn't be voting.
Ballot box computers should be reserved for researching the candidates, not for harboring the only copy of your choices...
Here's hoping Brenda Snipes isn't in charge of counting your 2020 Trump vote!schroedingersrat , 2 hours ago link
Yep, the US election system is the most stupid system I know. Why not just use paper votes or block-chain voting over the internet?Yars Revenge , 5 hours ago link
The funny thing is.. even if they tamper with elections. Your vote never mattered anyway!platitudipus , 5 hours ago link
Now we know the deep state purpose of "Russian meddling" and "interfering in our elections.
Its to justify installing security software on voting machines to "protect us."emmanuelthoreau , 6 hours ago link
If you think the 2016 elections were a ****-show, wait until you see the fireworks we have planned for 2020.Overdrawn , 7 hours ago link
Technology is destroying most if not all of western civilization's institutions, and replacing them with nothing but mobocracy. The feedback effect means that every 3-4 years the power of the loudest and most popular -- and hence the lowest common denominator -- gets amped up another few degrees. It is not abating. The phones are everywhere, everywhere , in public. Necks bent over everywhere. When they can get these things synced up to eye movement on a headset or pair of glasses for mass consumption (meaning, really, really easy to use), look out. Silence, baby. Human race goes under.
If you were raised in an oddball environment before computers -- and then smartphones -- infested every corner of the human imagination, it's obvious what's happened. 40 years ago people didn't behave this way. They had tons of problems, sure, and those were fucked up times, but at least there was still some fight left in them. I just see a bitter, aggrieved, very small-minded set of people out there now, absorbed in themselves, their genitalia/identity/skin color, who have nothing to offer this planet except destruction. I have come to believe they will succeed. I could walk away from all this tech tomorrow and wouldn't blink an eye. But I realize that for many, that would be an event akin to becoming a quadruple amputee.
We've always been cynical about how much a single vote can mean, but for the most part, people have believed that their vote showed up somewhere, numerically, in a digit in a column in a newspaper every other November. If nothing else. Once that belief goes out the window, forget it. What, then, will tie you to the land or the people around you? The law? Ha. Only force, and that means outright tyranny. Which is what democracy, Socrates argued in The Republic, always leads to.
And all to serve these ******* computers instead of ourselves.stopEUSSR , 7 hours ago link
In UK we have paper ballot papers and postal voting, both have been abused recently by the Labour Party.
One man boasted on Twitter than he burnt over 1,000 votes for the Brexit Party, so effectively they would have won the election had this crime against democracy not been committed.
Police Investigating Mystery Man Who Claims He 'BURNED' Brexit Party Votes
Fraud, Convicts, And Ethnic Exploitation – How Peterborough Was REALLY Won
https://www.politicalite.com/election-2019/exclusive-fraud-convicts-and-ethnic-exploitation-how-peterborough-was-really-won/CosineCosineCosine , 7 hours ago link
Why bother hijacking an election, when the deep state choose both candidates? And just because you use paper ballots doesn't mean it still can't be rigged. We use paper ballots in the UK, but elections can be rigged through the postal voting system amoungst other things.runningman18 , 7 hours ago link
Now THIS is cathartic journalism :))
Why do we need an answer? Well, our election system is... how do you say... a festering rancid corrupt needlessly complex rigged rotten infected putrid pus-covered diseased dog pile of stinking, dying cockroach-filled rat **** smelling like Mitch McConnell under a vat of pig farts. And that's a quote from The Lancet medical journal (I think).
But have no fear: The most trustworthy of corporations recently announced it is going to selflessly and patriotically secure our elections. It's a small company run by vegans and powered by love. It goes by the name "Microsoft." (You're forgiven for never having heard of it.)
Also - unless these voting machines are Faraday caged AND have Mu metal layers, they could be monitored or interfered with in real time, even if air gapped.
Know the basics of this and you're already a 1 in 100,000 tech red piller ;)
Passport ID, Paper system with a duplicate receipt ... ironically like Venezuela's system (the one thing they got right it seems) and monitoring of voting areas and counting streamed to the net of every polling station (ironically like the newish Russian system) make it close to foolproof and certainly verifiable if questioned and accountable.Baron Samedi , 7 hours ago link
The elites hijacked elections a long time ago using the false left/right paradigm. Just look at the banksters in Trump's cabinet to see the proof.wkirkpa , 7 hours ago link
Auditable paper ballots for voters with verifiable identity - preferably with receipts - and dye-marking the hands of the voters.
We are a long way from secure elections. Our (((oligarchy))) wouldn't have it any other way!
Remember the old refrains: "If voting could change anything it'd be illegal." -- Emma Goldman, and "The people who cast the votes don't decide an election, the people who count the votes do." -- Joseph StalinMike Rotsch , 7 hours ago link
Wow. Dude just climbed out from under his favourite rock and met the reality gnome. Good for him.
I'm good with technology. I wasted whole moments of my life pondering electronic elections. Here's the thing. There is NO manner of electronic election process that does not forfeit one, or more, mandatory elements required of a free and fair election process. None. At all. Can't be done.He–Mene Mox Mox , 8 hours ago link
Meanwhile, as we approach election time, we have cyber-operations taking place without Trump's knowledge.GreatUncle , 8 hours ago link
This article is nuts and full of BS! The Pentagon could care less who is president, since they only have to worry about congress funding them. Also, Microsoft is more worried about profits than people. Just ask anyone who works there.
The hijacking of American elections has been going on for 165 years. That is why almost every state has Ballot Access Laws, and why practically every district in the U.S. are gerrymandered by the two parties. And, you never had any truly free elections either, since the parties chose the candidates for you in the primaries, and all you do is ratify their selections. Your vote is rather meaningless.
I went to bed after having voted for BREXIT and through all the propaganda thought BREMAIN had won. I woke up the next morning and BREXIT had won. Those in tears were all BREMAIN as they thought they would win because the propaganda was so complete against the people.
SO NOW THEY ARE GOING TO FIX THE RESULT TO MAKE THE VOTES REFLECT THE PROPAGANDA.
One more step put in place the next step has to be to close down all channels of objection or certainly throttle it back to prevent people discussing it - the scrutiny of those being fit for public office removed.
May 15, 2019 | off-guardian.org
CNN rigged a poll to censor out nearly everyone under 45 years of age. Based on this nonsensical false sampling they claim Biden is now in the lead.
MSNBC was caught making up false numbers to report, increasing Biden from an actual 25% approval to a magical 28%, just enough to edge out Bernie Sanders. But this is a fraud, deliberate journalistic malfeasance at the highest levels. How could such a thing happen?
How could it not? Comcast owns NBC.
Comcast executive to host Joe Biden fundraiser"
CBS News 24/04/19
MSNBC is also that bastion of journalistic integrity that hired an exposed CIA mole, Ken Dilanian, to feed its viewers propaganda about "national security."
MSNBC also made hysterical, highly dangerous, and false claims about the Russians' ability and intention to shut down America's electrical grid, a completely false story that was retracted as soon as it went out by the Washington Post. This kind of unhinged war propaganda could lead the world straight to Armageddon.
Now, the parties truly "meddling in America's democracy" should be very clear, although I can only scratch the surface here concerning the long history of media corruption and outright lies broadcast all the time.Grafter
The criminal behaviour continues unabated. Lies and fraud abound. American behaviour worldwide is an embarrassment to any free thinking individual. They are a danger to all of us. We can start by removing them from Europe along with their so called "allies". Here in the disunited UK T.May and her little gang of Tory millionaires should be top priority for political oblivion. People worldwide urgently need to wake up to the sick joke that goes under the name of "American democracy".
Organisations like the BBC and all the rest of the corporate media are a greater threat to democracy than any foreign army or terrorist organisation.
They need to be constantly exposed for what they are rather than actually suppressed or controlled. They can be safely left to wither on the vine and decline into irrelevance. Social media and sites like this are a powerful antidote.
As Trump might say, 'Fake News!'
Apr 26, 2019 | www.zerohedge.comlaunching his campaign on Thursday , even pulling in $700,000 during a Philadelphia fundraiser hosted by a Comcast executive.
Befitting of his status as a former VP and the leader in most national polls, Biden managed to beat out Bernie Sander's day-one haul of $5.9 million, despite the still-simmering controversy over 'gropegate' and the backlash over his treatment of Anita Hill, a young black female lawyer who accused Supreme Court nominee (now Justice) Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment. Hill rejected a personal apology from Biden earlier this week, even as Biden clarified during an interview on ABC's "the View" that he wasn't apologizing for his personal behavior, but rather for the treatment she was subjected to during a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which he led at the time.
Biden's day-one haul also beat out the $6.1 million raised by Texas Congressman Beto O'Rourke during his first day, though recent polls show that enthusiasm for O'Rourke among Democrats has waned as South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg has benefited from a media blitz of fawning coverage.
Creative_Destruct , 45 minutes ago linktonye , 23 minutes ago link
After all the manipulated outrage, the electoral choices will most likely still be between about whom it can essentially be said "meet the old boss, same as the old boss." Underneath the thin layers of standard rhetorical ******** the same strings connect the puppets to the puppet masters.Taras Bulba , 3 hours ago link
Yeah, Biden is an "old school" Democrat alright.
Just ask him about Ukraine.Anunnaki , 4 hours ago link
In case anyone is wondering what kind of thug Kolomoisky (Hunter biden's sponsor at burisma), here is a run down of the murder of Russians in Odessa on 2 May 2014 and kolomosky's close involvement.
https://washingtonsblog.com/2014/05/key-man-behind-may-2nd-odessa-ukraine-trade-unions-building-massacre-many-connections-white-house.htmlAnunnaki , 4 hours ago link
Biden-Weinstein 2020. #MeToo wing of the Democrap PartyCatInTheHat , 4 hours ago link
All he offers is TDS and lazy platitudes. He thinks people love his “Everyman” shtick. He is a legend in his own minddustinwind , 4 hours ago link
BIDEN is a corrupt douche bag.
If Biden is Democrats anointed one They will get a repeat of 2016 in 2020.
Biden has ZERO charisma and comes across as a complete phonyCatInTheHat , 4 hours ago link
What I read was "Biden is a typical American politician." All the career politicians depend on big checks from the rich and corporate elites who greatly appreciate their services rendered. America is pay to play. It has been for a long time.John Hansen , 4 hours ago link
Biden is Hillary Clinton in male form.
If he runs an anti Trump campaign, which he is likely to do, because he has ZERO to offer Americans, he will LOSE.
No big deal, this is America, we are used to phonies, and false promises, just look at our border and demographic decline.
Apr 25, 2019 | irrussianality.wordpress.com
. The New York Times reports how 40 years later Robert Caro tracked down Luis Salas, 'the election judge who, under oath, had certified 200 disputed votes for Johnson in the notorious Ballot Box 13.' As the Times says :
He [Caro] knocked on the door of a mobile home near Houston, and the frail old man of 84 who answered was only too pleased to fish out from a trunk a 94-page history titled "Box 13," which described how he had switched votes from Stevenson to Johnson. He was proud of deceiving everyone. "We put L. B. Johnson as senator for Texas, and this position opened the road to reach the presidency."
Never again would Caro have to equivocate, "No one will ever be sure if Lyndon Johnson stole it." Now, in [his book] "Working," he writes yet another definitive sentence: He stole it.
Electoral corruption takes rather different forms nowadays. Corporate lobbying, gerrymandering, voter suppression, and the like are far more common than ballot stuffing LBJ-style. But regardless of the form these abuses take, the idea that we have some type of pristine process which is pure and 'democratic' until defiled by 'foreign meddling' is rather naïve. That doesn't mean, of course, that we shouldn't be doing all we can to make matters better, or that we shouldn't be wary of things which might make them worse. But in doing the latter, we need to keep a sense of proportion and not to over-idealize existing systems or over-exaggerate the scale of the dangers.
The likes of Timothy Snyder would have us believe that democracy is on the verge of collapsing into tyranny. In reality, the choices are between various forms of democratic imperfection. Some are better than others, but all are inevitably flawed. A little bit more imperfection here and there isn't the end of the world.Share this:
Feb 17, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com
From J.D. Vance's appearance last night on Tucker Carlson Tonight Vance has just said that the donor elites of the GOP are out of touch with the party's base. More:
CARLSON: But more broadly, what you are saying, I think is, that the Democratic Party understands what it is and who it represents and affirmatively represents them. They do things for their voters, but the Republican Party doesn't actually represent its own voters very well.
VANCE: Yes, that's exactly right. I mean, look at who the Democratic Party is and look, I don't like the Democratic Party's policies.
VANCE: Most of the times, I disagree with them. But I at least admire that they recognize who their voters are and they actually just as raw cynical politics do a lot of things to serve those voters.
Now, look at who Republican voters increasingly are. They are people who disproportionately serve in the military, but Republican foreign policy has been a disaster for a lot of veterans. They are disproportionately folks who want to have more children. They are people who want to have more single earner families. They are people who don't necessarily want to go to college but they want to work in an economy where if you play by the rules, you can you actually support a family on one income.
VANCE: Have Republicans done anything for those people really in the last 15 or 20 years? I think can you point to some policies of the Trump administration. Certainly, instinctively, I think the President gets who his voters are and what he has to do to service those folks. But at the end of the day, the broad elite of the party, the folks who really call the shots, the think tank intellectuals, the people who write the policy, I just don't think they realize who their own voters are.
Now, the slightly more worrying implication is that maybe some of them do realize who their voters are, they just don't actually like those voters much.
CARLSON: Well, that's it. So I watch the Democratic Party and I notice that if there is a substantial block within it, it's this unstable coalition, all of these groups have nothing in common, but the one thing they have in common is the Democratic Party will protect them.
CARLSON: You criticize a block of Democratic Voters and they are on you like a wounded wombat. They will bite you. The Republicans, watch their voters come under attack and sort of nod in agreement, "Yes, these people should be attacked."
VANCE: Yes, that's absolutely right. I mean, if you talk to people who spent their lives in D.C. I know you live in D.C.
VANCE: I've spent a lot of my life here. The people who spend their time in D.C. who work on Republican campaigns, who work at conservative think tanks, now this isn't true of everybody, but a lot of them actually don't like the people who are voting for Republican candidates these days.
bkh , , November 7, 2018 at 9:23 am
Nov 07, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.comwon control of the House again, ending an eight-year stint in the minority:
The US Democrats have taken control of the House of Representatives in the mid-term elections, dealing a serious blow to President Donald Trump.
While the GOP is poised to add to its Senate majority, yesterday's election was the best midterm result for the Democrats since 2006. They flipped dozens of Republican-held seats, including some that they were not expected to win (e.g., IL-06, OK-05), and with those gains voters have delivered a sharp rebuke to the president and his party. It is normal for the president's party to lose seats in the first midterm following a presidential election, and Democratic gains were in line with pre-election predictions. The striking thing about this year's result is that the president's party has lost so much ground despite relatively good economic conditions. Republicans had an extremely favorable Senate map, and despite that they barely managed to eke out a win in Texas of all places. It was not as thorough of a repudiation as the GOP deserved, but it was a significant rejection all the same.
The president's poor approval ratings and his unimpressive record to date have further dragged down a Republican Party that wasn't very popular to begin with. Americans seem to lose patience with unified government fairly quickly. Yesterday voters gave the Democratic Party an opportunity to put the president in check and hold him accountable for his overreaching and illegal wars. Trump and his officials should expect to face much more rigorous oversight and scrutiny from relevant Congressional committees, and Trump's haphazard and incompetent conduct of foreign policy should run into much stronger resistance from the Foreign Affairs and Armed Services Committees. Trump won't be able to count on the leadership in the House to roll over for him over the next two years, and he and his Cabinet members are likely to be facing one investigation after another.
Losing control of one house of Congress under current circumstances is a huge vote of no confidence in Trump and the GOP, and it could not have come a moment too soon.
Two More Years November 7, 2018 at 9:15 amI voted for him in 2016, but I lost confidence in him as he started doing favors for Wall Street, Israel, and Saudi Arabia instead of doing the job we hired him for, the job he promised to do during the campaign: deport the illegals, stop immigration and foreign work visas, get us out of the Middle East, rebuild US infrastructure, i.e. "America First".
Yesterday I voted against the only national GOP politician I could get my hands on. He lost, and I'm glad, especially because he was a Tea Party Republican who betrayed our Tea Party principles by voting for Trump's out of control deficit spending and for more stupid Mideast wars.
We've got a lady Democrat now, but she looks fairly sane. We'll see. The problem with Democrat politicians is that a lot of them only pretend to be normal until they get to Washington.
I am no Trump fan, but what is going to change? It will still be a do nothing Congress. The wars will still go on and the health-care dilemma will still be ever-present. It is sad that the past 2 years have been wasted. Even if the Republican Congress could not do something about health-care due to the size of the problem, they could have at least done something about infrastructure, immigration, and these dumb wars. The failure is just as much Paul Ryan's fault as it is Trump's. I watched last night with far more interest than 2016 and am amazed that so many old Boomers were elected given the supposed youth movement. It never occurred to me that there are alot of Septuagenarian war-mongers who should have retired a decade ago still receiving votes. The Democrats took the House, but what is left of this nation is toast regardless.EliteCommInc. , , November 7, 2018 at 9:32 am
"Losing control of one house of Congress under current circumstances is a huge vote of no confidence in Trump and the GOP, and it could not have come a moment too soon."SteveM , , November 7, 2018 at 9:33 am
How much of this was national in nature is unclear. Many of the republicans that lost were "Never Trump" advocates or very "lukewarm" at best. I think this reflects more failure on the local level to turn or translate the positives into something beneficial locally.
I am just surprised the Republicans managed to lose the house given the economic numbers (though I remain deeply distrustful of them -- given exports) and what has been repeated stumbles by democrats.
Texas, is a perfect example. While Sen Cruz was not a never Trumper, he was mild fair in the president's corner. His election was about him, not the president. And I think the vote reflected less confidence in his leadership. Neither Texas nor Sen Cruze are as conservative as believed or at least not as they once were considered. Unfortunately, what carried him over the top was ethnicity, not his leadership.
It's probably too early to tell, just how big a factor the president was in the election or how much change will result. Thus far, the establishment that existed previously remains despite the presidential election that was intended to reshape or at least curb its self serving appetite --
Given the the money at play -- it is doubtful that that things are going to change much. Now that I put at the admin door step. Because his folded a lot against the reasons he was elected, during the last two years.
Re: "and with those gains voters have delivered a sharp rebuke to the president and his party."rayray , , November 7, 2018 at 10:44 am
And with what promises did the Democrats win those votes? Why with the bogus "Medicare for All" and the equally bogus "Free College Education for All".
The problem with health care in America is not the cost of insurance, it's the cost of health care services. Moving the "who pays" food around the plate accomplishes nothing. A "Medicare for All" plan under the existing fee for service model will only increase the pathological per capita health care cost in the U.S. Too bad the MSM in love with Nitwit Newbie Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is too stupid to connect the dots.
And higher ed is unaffordable simply because it's also over priced. Using government subsidies to sustain a bankrupt higher ed model amounts to re-arranging even more deck chairs on the Titanic.
The Democrats are the Party of Free Lunch and Free War. While the Republicans are the Party of Free War and Free Lunch.
@SteveMSid Finster , , November 7, 2018 at 10:46 am
The fact is that any "solution" to health care that has any integrity to it is a single payer solution. That's also probably the only solution that reduces, as you accurately state, the pathological per capita health care cost.
And to be clear, in terms of fiscal viability, the party of reducing taxes and raising budgets is currently and has been historically the GOP. The current administration has picked up that baton as well.
One final thing, I wouldn't count out Ocasio-Cortes as a nitwit. I've been reading her white papers and following her evolution and she makes 95% of the current GOP crop seem like toddlers. Yes, her idealism will backfire hard as it always does. But what's the other option? Endless corrupt cynicism? She's impressive. I'm pulling for her to stay focused and do well.
Forget what Trump said as a candidate. Every winning candidate since arguably 1988 ("kinder, gentler America") has run as a non-interventionist and promised to restore jobs, then immediately morphed into John McCain the moment they took the Oath of Office. Instead, watch what Trump has done since getting elected. From that perspective, it is obvious that there is no such thing as "Trumpism", only a meaner, more dysfunctional, more reckless version of Dubya.Oblomov , , November 7, 2018 at 11:06 am
The alternative to Ocasio-Cortez style state worship is the simple wisdom that governments are neither efficient nor effective at delivering what she proposes.
Nov 06, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
a , Nov 6, 2018 1:33:39 AM | link
While this and the previous post on the US elections may well be right that the republicans and trump will retain their majorities, the posts omit major factors playing a determining role in these ev
While this and the previous post on the US elections may well be right that the republicans and trump will retain their majorities, the posts omit major factors playing a determining role in these events..
1. Gerrymandering.. supposedly creates about a 5% advantage to the republicans. 5% in a 2-party system is almost a landslide. even this article downplaying the role of gerrymandering includes this line,
"All that said, it's still the case that analysts estimate that Democrats will have to win the overall House vote by some 5 to 10 percentage points in order to win a House majority. "
2. Voter-suppression. indications are that this may create and even bigger bias than gerrymandering. it includes numerous tactics, in florida the felon-dienfranchisement tactic alone suppresses 1.4 million majority black voters. it may be difficult for naive people like me to imagine the mindset of the vote-suppressors, this excellent short article by meghan tinsley, sketches the historical origins of these tactics, e.g.
" The end of federal support for Reconstruction in 1877 ushered in the Jim Crow era, wherein southern states waged a relentless campaign of racial terror against empowered black citizens. From the outset, disenfranchising black citizens was a priority: the Black Codes enforced severe penalties for minor 'crimes', such as vagrancy, and permanently barred convicted felons from the vote. As these tactics spread, those who imposed them became increasingly brazen about their purpose: in 1884, the Alabama Supreme Court upheld felon disenfranchisement as an effective means to "preserve the purity of the ballot box".
With the entrenchment of segregation in the late nineteenth century, felon disenfranchisement, combined with poll taxes, literacy tests, and grandfather clauses, effectively disenfranchised virtually all African-Americans in Southern states...
In 1965, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act, hailed as the single most important legislative achievement of the Civil Rights Movement...
The effects were immediate and wide-reaching: whereas only seven percent of eligible African-Americans in Mississippi were registered to vote in 1964, the number had jumped to sixty-seven percent by 1969. Ostensibly colourblind policies, including laws that would require citizens to present state-issued photo identification before voting, were blocked because they would disproportionately prevent African-Americans from voting."
3. The sheer tidal force of money. The 1% control the world now, and they make sure that their freedom to use their money to dominate democracy is unrestricted cf. 'citizens united' etc. Thomas Fergusons work indicates that the number of votes follows the amount of money spent linearly... e.g.
and other work suggests US policy reflects the interests of the 1% and not that of the people at large, when they differ,
4. Electronic vote flipping. this has the least hard evidence, but there are anecdotes, even in this election, of voters in texas ticking straight democratic slate options but finding that the machine had entered their senate vote for ted cruz. There are also anecdotes in earlier elections of vote tallies flipping suddenly, of electronic data not being recorded or being erased before it could be checked and analysed etc. For those inclined to pooh-pooh such reports, here is a troubling article on the 2012 mexican elections,
Jul 03, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
Peter AU 1, dh-mtl
Secure transaction histories provided by blockchain (same technology as Bitcoin) allows for internet-based direct democracy.
Under such a system, there will still be the need for government services like police, fire, inspection, schools, etc. but many (all?) of these can be outsourced. Auditors can report on their compliance/progress. Auditors can be themselves be audited, and a "government" that is responsive to the people would also support whistle-blowers instead of f*cking them over.
Direct democracy could greatly increase efficiency of public services and make government respond to the people instead of oligarchs and industry groups.
Defense? LOL! What is popularly termed "Defense" is offensive to the intelligence of any critical thinker.
Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 29, 2018 9:49:10 PM | 46
Peter AU 1 , Jun 29, 2018 9:58:40 PM | 47Jackrabbit'I don't know much about blockchain but blockchain democracy sounds good.Pft , Jun 30, 2018 3:39:27 AM | 62
Defense as in a force that only defends a country's sovereign territory, not this so called defending a country's interests which is no more than a politically correct term for aggression.
Diplomacy as a first line of defense.Ramn Mazaheri from a link from kalrof 1 saysdh-mtl , Jun 30, 2018 8:34:19 AM | 74
"Socialism is clearly based on two fundamental precepts: empowering the long-oppressed with democratic rights, and massive state-organised economic redistribution, which is anathema in capitalism. Thus, socialism is both a structure of government and an economic policy. Therefore, Iran certainly has socialism."
This might be the clearest definition of socialism I have read.
Obviously, redistribution is the main problem for neoliberal capitalists. In the 50's and 60's the west had the redistribution capitalist formula with capital controls and high taxes on the very rich which forced them to spend profits on expanding productive enterprises that produced jobs and benefits/wages that reduced corporate profits and corporate taxes, and a healthy middle class with spending power allowed their businesses to grow.
Globalism coupled with neoliberalism ended the Golden Age and those countries who try and reproduce social justice and reject globalism and free trade are sanctioned as enemies, or even worse, attacked or subject to regime changeSome thoughts on 'Government'Geoff , Jun 30, 2018 9:00:34 AM | 75
1.Human societies are complex abstract systems.
2.The system is a set of rules (thus abstract) that govern how members of the society interact with each other, in order to collectively provide the necessities of life.
3.Government is the body (i.e. group of people) accepted by the members of the society at large to tend the system (i.e. to develop it, manage it, operate it, change it as required, etc.). Without a government there is no system, and no society.
4.Societies work best when the rules are set up to maximize the aggregate benefit of all members. This is best achieved when the members of the society collectively (i.e. democratically) choose the people (i.e. government) who develop and manage the rules that govern them.
5.Large societies require large complex systems. High societal performance requires high levels of complexity.
6.To function effectively, very large, highly complex abstract systems requires that authority be distributed throughout the system, and be based on the person's role within the system.
7.The most important function of societal governance is to organize the production and distribution of the necessities of life for the society's members, i.e. the economic system.
8. For those parts of the economic system that are not natural monopolies, markets are very effective tools for economic planning and organization.
9.Markets are, by definition, a set of rules. Markets work best when the rules are set by in an unbiased fashion to provide a fair playing field for all participants.
Some thoughts on what has gone wrong in the U.S.
1.The members of the U.S. society no longer collectively choose their leaders. Because the democratic system has been corrupted by money, a very small, very wealthy elite (many of them not even American), limit the choice to those who will serve the interests of the elite. The U.S. has turned into an 'Oligarchic Dictatorship'. The turning point was the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980.
2.This 'Oligarchic Dictatorship' works for the benefit of the elites, not the aggregate benefit of the society as a whole. Thus the system (while optimized for the few) is, in aggregate, sub-optimized.
3.Dictatorships are based on centralized authority, where as complex systems require distributed authority. The U.S.' oligarchic dictatorship, unable to handle complexity, tries to simplify the entire political-economic system. The result of trying to simplify the system, in order to make it compatible with centralized authority, is a system that increasingly fails to meet the needs of the people and is unable to effectively change and adapt as required to changing circumstances.
4.Market deregulation has not changed the fact that the markets are, by definition, a set of rules. It has only changed who makes the rules, from the government to market participants themselves. And in this case, as always, the 'Golden Rule' applies - he who has the gold makes the rules. And when market participants make the rules themselves, for the benefit of themselves, markets always tend towards monopoly. The U.S. economy is no longer a 'Market Economy' but rather a system of serial monopolies.
What can be done to redress the problems?
Until the people of the U.S. reclaim their democracy – Nothing!
The U.S.' system of government is not the problem. The problem is that the system has been hi-jacked and turned from a democracy into an 'Oligarchic Dictatorship'.How much time and study have gone into the observations posted just in this one thread. Many Americans I meet just aren't able to investigate that much. I find most people in the small american town that I live in, are just intersted in exchanging banal pleasantries, which isn't too bad in its own way, but provincial perhaps at best.Curtis , Jun 30, 2018 9:50:17 AM | 78
And amongst all the current epoch's american instiutionally educated I feel there is a lack of some indefineable quality of "experience," which I just don't have the wisdom to grasp in its entirety, but I kind of think of it as some people, if they can't see it directly, they just aren't capable of comprehending it. If you were to try to explain it to them, in the manner of these posts, they would become irriated or bewildered, or think you were eccentric .
Unfortunately, it's this same principal used by individuals and corporations, governments, which is, if they don't tell you, it won't harm you and you won't ever know. It's here where there's a problem I think, because it's been my experience that to be kept in the dark, is far more harmful, then it is to have delusions upended, as painful as that might be.PSCurtis , Jun 30, 2018 9:50:17 AM | 78 b4real , Jun 30, 2018 10:02:35 AM | 79
The US is at 16 on the CPI Corruption Perception Index for 2017. But keep in mind perception is something that can be manipulated. I think the US should be lower and and cheer when it moves lower because it could mean more are getting the idea of the nature of the beast.
https://www.transparency.org/news/feature/corruption_perceptions_index_2017@55 PeterPeacefulProsperity , Jun 30, 2018 11:45:16 AM | 80
"It is not so much a delegating of authority but having someone to mediate between views and find a solution that is acceptable to all."
Respectfully, it is absolutely a delegation of authority. When that delegation is not tightly constrained to one particular issue it will be usurped by corrupt individuals. IMO elections are good for one purpose only and that is to identify the psychopaths among us who should not ever be allowed near the reins of power.
"A national government is needed to approve going to war (or using diplomacy instead of war...
Your premise is based upon what I am arguing against, the existence of an entrenched government. While I fully concede that genie will not be put back in the bottle any time soon, it is government that allows the greed and evil of a few to disrupt and complicate the lives of the many.
All individuals are ultimately responsible for their own well being and safety. To depend upon the actions of others when your life or livelihood is threatened is foolish.
It is not possible to dismiss my argument using examples that exist today under an entrenched government.
Criminals are released from prison every day and relocate to new communities (or not) and continue their crimes. Vendettas between families are commonplace everywhere today. Crips, bloods, the mexican mafia, ms13, etc are present in almost every city in the usa. Just an FYI, but I have found that beating the shit out of people who invade my space has been very effective. It also dissuades others from trying the same. I live in a rough neighborhood, and this is simply a fact of life for me.
It is the laws of the 24/7 rule makers which allows them to strengthen and prosper.
A 'new' bridge recently collapsed in Miami killing and I can guarantee you, "No one could have foreseen" and there will be no consequences for those whom profited in its construction. This under existing government.
I appreciate your response, (you are one of my favorite posters) but I believe you along with the majority are too dependent on a structure that does not ever have your best interests at heart.
"When I talk to Anarchist friends they ALWAYS go silent when I mention railways and..."
I would say to you I have no problem with people who want railways building them and maintaining them. Should I choose to ride one, I would gladly purchase a ticket. I see no contradiction or hypocrisy in such. What I would object to is people who have no intention of utilizing it, being forced to subsidize it, lose their homestead in its construction and again being forced to subsidize it when the inevitable mismanagement of said train (due to greed) causes it to become unprofitable.
Hillary 'lost' six BILLION during her stint at state.
The Pentagon cannot account for between 6.5 and 21 TRILLION dollars of taxpayer money. Americans are subject to prison should they decide the government has not been a good custodian of their funds and decline to contribute any longer. They will take everything you have acquired and everything you may acquire in the future should any "free" american take this decision and act upon it.
"Thomas Paine was right in the first place when he pointed out that the vast majority of people would be better off without governments and other trappings of centralized civilization, which of course are designed to subjugate the many to concentrate wealth, power, and luxury for the few."
(another of my favorite posters)
" Most state positions were occupied by citizens chosen by lot for limited terms"
This would only slow the corruption not curtail. Now if "violation of the public trust" became a capital offense with public execution becoming mandatory upon conviction a democracy might have a chance to succeed. It really is that simple. I think Thomas Jefferson may have mentioned something about that...
It was not my intent to hijack this thread.
To get back on topic, it should have been apparent to any thinking individual that Obama and Congress failure to prosecute the bush/cheney regime would lead to a continuation of the war crimes they unleashed. It is called precedent, and when Obama decided to look forward rather than reinforce the rule of law, he left the door open for a recurrence of torture by American soldiers. I can assure you that the full story is not being told, in regard the torture and disappearance of people in Yemen. Especially with trump stating that he has no qualms about using such means.
In a similar instance, congress voted to retroactively legalize illegal warrantless surveillance by the telecoms in 2007. I was not surprised when Snowden revealed the extent to which this process had grown. It is the same with the torture of Yemen people. It is the corruption that is inherent in people which gravitate to these positions. Hillary not being prosecuted for running her private server, (too many people do not understand the difference between using a personal email address and running a personal server) and I am certain that there is some other (non) surprise coming in the future by another government official for doing something similar or more extreme. Comey has already been found to have been using a gmail addy for government business.
It is their nature and will be proven time and time again. Also people, these are only the things they do which become known. Can you imagine what they are doing and have done that remains secret?
b4realAll roads of evil in this world lead to the City of London, as some of the commenters have already pointed out here on many occasions. The US is only the muscle man taking orders from the Brutish Crown Corporation and its peado-satanic "elites".Noirette , Jun 30, 2018 11:55:35 AM | 81
The butcher of Iraq, with Nazi family roots, gen. Schwarzkopf was knighted by Her fucking "Majesty" for his services for the global empire in destroying that ME country, just as many US commanders, officials before him and after him. Iran's P Mossadegh was removed by the CIA on orders by the BP, one of the most evil companies in the world. Much more sinister, dark company is SERCO, a name that only few people hear from the MSM:
At the same time the US is being managed by the British agents who monitor and influence, often shape, manage, distract the public opinion as needed: Frost, John Oliver, Simon Cowell, any more.
London have always been a cozy, safe home for many "divide and conquer" radical propaganda agents of the Empire: SOHR, Chowdhary, Qardawi, Osama bin Laden, Khomeini, Muslim Brotherhood, many more...
The most densely populated by millionaires, billionaires and security cameras.
That's were global trade of oil, finance "engineering", gold manipulation have been taking place.
Rooted in John Dee necromancy, Jewish Kabala, Francis Bacon group (aka "William Shakespeare") created anglosphere, in opium wars,...
Another interesting recent read:
NEOCONS Part 4: How Safari Club became real CIA - The Sordid History of British Manipulation of American Democracy Series: Read it and weep!
Trump will end this Brutish anti-human global empire, that's why they are so hell-bent on destroying him...
Kudos for great reporting and comments!
PS Germany lost the last game in World Cup on purpose, they did not want to win, look carefully again - something's up on the global geopolitical stage...astonishing .. the "liberal" media MSM or the corporate establishment press has always gone along with all the coverups. Babyl-on. on torture.Guerrero , Jun 30, 2018 12:07:37 PM | 82
.. a recent poll showing US citizen support for torture that proved the misinformed nature of the public responding to the poll..... karlof, 30.
MSM (W, particularly Anglo, but not only..) is 100% on the side of the most hateful and sadistic parties / entities / orgs. / crowd. Simultaneously, a driver, motivator and a mirror.
This stance has infected and brainwashed USA citizens, who per their history and mind-set -- free market, revanchard immigrants, genocide, slavery, opportunities for incredible exploitation - have lost what one might call an 'integrative' mind set, where 'integrating' ppl in to *join* (as in the original touted melting-pot which wasn't what it was purported to be) is no longer of any value, interest.
Concurrently, collectivism (might be called community solidarity or other friendly terms, not argh communism!) is reduced to local contact on specific issues (protecting a park), p-to-p efforts (food bank, donations to charity) or very weak and useless pol moves.
Individualism and tribalism (the two actually go together) leave no room for any general societal schemes - including anarchism! weird.. -- > empathy becomes limited to close friends and family accompanied by the adoption of purely functionalist reasoning, very reductive, sketchy, as all other view-points are eliminated, scotched.. (A leads to B to C etc.)
Torture is good because it forces confessions that can save other lives. Separating families is necessary, it deters others from coming. Prisons need to be expanded, evil violent robbers, rapists shouldn't freely roam the streets, etc. Yes and even family bonds are subject to exclusion, blame, hate, violence
I upped the traits to make a point. You all get the picture.Guerrero , Jun 30, 2018 12:18:44 PM | 83"Third world people look to the government hoping
to able to apply for a benefit and, of course, they do receive certain benefits of the government.
Really? That's funny, everywhere I've looked throughout my adult life I've seen the rich and big corporations looking to the government for benefits, and hoo boy do they get them.Hoarsewhisperer , Jun 30, 2018 12:31:30 PM | 84"Third world people look to the government hoping to able to apply for a benefit and, of course, they do receive certain benefits of the government. Really? That's funny, everywhere I've looked throughout my adult life I've seen the rich and big corporations looking to the government for benefits, and hoo boy do they get them.
I certainly agree that the richies have increasingly had the inside track on government economic support, however the poor people in Mexico still hope and expect that the government will provide them with benefits, as it has in the past.
"The education policy of President Lázaro Cárdenas's six-year term originated scholarships and opportunities to underprivileged youth, underscoring an implicit belief that the last Indian in the sierra is a Mexican as well, and that a person of humble origens might become President of the Republic, or a great man or woman of letters, or a creator or a collaborator of enormous importance to the Mexican nation.
The rural normal schools were founded to help the poorest among the poor to gradually rise from the miserable pains of marginalization to better living conditions for themselves and their families. The mission of these schools was the instruction of their students in theoretical-practical knowledge of biology, literature, history, mathematics, and pedagogy, to train and prepare the normalists to alphabetize the population; so to speak: to liberate it. In those years, wherever a normal school was opened, it became a modernizing agent, it's mission was to teach future teachers to plant the alphabet and other basic forms of social knowledge in the arable population, with the expectation that their future students might become morally free."...Jackrabbit , Jun 30, 2018 12:47:18 PM | 85
What can be done to redress the problems?
Until the people of the U.S. reclaim their democracy – Nothing!
The U.S. system of government is not the problem. The problem is that the system has been hi-jacked and turned from a democracy into an 'Oligarchic Dictatorship'.
Posted by: dh-mtl | Jun 30, 2018 8:34:19 AM | 74
I agree with much of what you wrote to support this conclusion however, it seems that The People in AmeriKKKa would rather whinge about their govt than take action to reform it. The fact that they swallowed the indigestible trope that McCain is a War Hero, without a whimper of protest, suggests that Wimpiness is alive and well in the US of A.
The UK's victims of Oligarchical Dictatorship (and the subject of this thread) on the other hand, don't take kindly to being treated like docile obedient morons. And this latest example of Criminal Executive Malfeasance will be angrily discussed and added to a growing list of similar outrages.
If revolution comes to AmeriKKKa it is more likely to come from without, rather than within. If the Brits kick up a big enough stink about what their govt thinks it can get away with then AmeriKKKans will notice and begin to realise they are in the same boat. When Americans wanted Britain's jackboot removed from their neck, the Revolutionary French were happy to oblige. Funnier things have happened than the looming prospect that AmeriKKKans will be inspired, by Brit efforts to remove a home-grown jack-boot, to do likewise to relieve their own frustration.
Revolution doesn't have to be violent. It can be achieved by citizens uniting behind an effort to 'encourage' the govt to adopt a shortlist of reforms which will grant citizens the right to have grievances considered, acknowledged, and rectified by govt.
Switzerland has such a system. Here's a brief summary...
Switzerland has a tradition of direct democracy. For any change in the constitution, a referendum is mandatory. For any change in a law, a referendum can be requested by the people. In addition, the people may present a constitutional Popular Initiative to introduce amendments to the federal constitution. The people also assume a role similar to the constitutional court, which does not exist, and thus act as the guardian of the rule of law."Reality check:Jackrabbit , Jun 30, 2018 1:03:32 PM | 86
"Defense" becomes a racket as soon as it prompts others to increase THEIR "defense". The only answer to guns is more guns. It is a self-licking I've cream cone that is exploited by neocons, Zionists, MIC, and others to the detriment of everyone else.
Security forces are, by their nature, non transparent and therefore subject to corruption. Proper governance would REMOVE incentives for corruption. Examples: legalize drugs, prostitution, and gambling; create strong, respectful alliances, and deal fairly with other countries.
Absent adequate safeguards, security forces will quickly grow to a size where they serve themselves FIRST. Serving powerful elites is part of that.
We now have the technology to fundamentally change how we are governed. The establishment will fight that change tooth and nail.
PS Even the Judeo-Christian religious tradition is a protect racket. You must believe (as proved by donations and other visible support) or you will go to hell or be accused of being a witch or devil worshipper.We have to understand and come to grips with the fact that we are now ruled by a corrupt establishment. It is composed of many groups that have gotten cozy with each other: mafia, "cartel", industry groups whose foot soldiers are "lobbyists", CIA, MIC, neocons, oligarchs, etc. each has a grip that is reinforced by the others.Jackrabbit , Jun 30, 2018 1:24:28 PM | 87
AFAICT, Direct Democracy offers the only way to break the pervasive, pernicious grip that they collectively hold on society.Of course, the main political parties, their faux "ground roots" propaganda ops and partisan media "assets" should be added to the list.Jackrabbit , Jun 30, 2018 1:28:10 PM | 88George Carlin was right: It's one big club - and you ain't in it!juliania , Jun 30, 2018 2:46:46 PM | 89I thought the biggest club was the disenfranchised, Jackrabbit@88.juliania , Jun 30, 2018 2:50:06 PM | 90
According to some comments above only the very few enlightened atheists rise above the fray, us dumb unwashed peons who believe everything we hear, see, read. Well, good for you, but good for the rest of us as well. We are not so dumb as you make out. We are not as you have characterized us. We actually think! We actually make up our own minds, and lots of what we think and decide for ourselves comports with what you think and decide! And in addition, for goodness sake, some of us have faith. I know it's hard for you to fathom, but I assure you it is so.
The few are those currently in control, who have wrested power away from the people and do not serve them, the ones who refuse to let the truth be told, such as the PM in the UK, as the report makes Some folk suppose Americans are brain washed, revealing their own shortsightedness. One might say that about the citizens of any country, if all you see is what the media of that country presents to you.clear. It really has nothing to do with religion or the lack thereof, or even with the mass media.Sorry, should have been "as the Report makes clear." And erase the 'clear' at the end of the penultimate sentence. (Hiccup occurred with copy and paste.)ben , Jun 30, 2018 2:57:55 PM | 91b4real @ 79 said:"It was not my intent to hijack this thread."Krollchem , Jun 30, 2018 3:23:47 PM | 92
For Libertarian b4real:
https://www.texasobserver.org/the-rise-and-fall-of-the-freest-little-city-in-texas/Hoarsewhisperer@11Hausmeister , Jun 30, 2018 4:50:35 PM | 93
You may also appreciate the following article:
Empire's Double Edged Sword: Global Military + NGOs
Tearing down sovereign nations & replacing them with global system administrators.
by Tony Cartalucci
Interesting that even Western states are being replaced by "system administrators" The system is now feeding on itself...@ PeacefulProsperity | Jun 30, 2018 11:45:16 AM | 80b4real , Jun 30, 2018 8:51:56 PM | 94
"PS Germany lost the last game in World Cup on purpose, they did not want to win, look carefully again - something's up on the global geopolitical stage..."
Sounds interesting. I looked carefully again but could not see anything mentionable. could you please be a bit more specific?@91Daniel , Jun 30, 2018 9:04:43 PM | 95
You've got some reading to do...
Did you even read the article you linked to?
b4realDecades back, the KUBARK Manuael from 1963 a CIA torture training manual, was made public. It includes all the techniques that so "outraged" the US Congress when CIA torture was revealed during the Bush II regime, and are now "outraging" the British Parliament today.psychohistorian , Jun 30, 2018 9:04:46 PM | 96
But of course, not only were these torture techniques not new in 2005, they were not knew in 1963 either. The "arts" of torture extend back to prehistory, but can fairly be described as having become a science during the Nazi era.
Which brings me to some news in today's British press.
A woman named Gudrun Burwitz recently died at age 88. If the name doesn't ring a bell, perhaps it would help if we referred to her by her father's family name. For she was the daughter of top Nazi, Heinrich Himmler, Commander of the SS (Schutzstaffel), and claimed to be the author of the entire racial cleansing, "Final Solution," Holocaust program.
We are also told that Himmler somehow took a poison pill while in prison awaiting his execution, thereby "cheating justice." But this is about his daughter and the thread that leads to the Report on British torture.
Ms. Burwitz never disavowed Nazism and defended her father's reputation. She remained prominent in far-right politics throughout her life. She was reported to be a prominent member of Stille Hilfe (Silent Help), a secretive group known to provide legal and financial support to former SS members. She was also known to attend other neo-Nazi events and rallies before her death.
Oh, and she did hold jobs, too. She worked at BND (West German Secret Police/Intelligence) headquarters during the time the organisation was under the control of Reinhard Gehlen. Nazi General Reinhard Gehlen, of course, had headed the Russia Desk in the Oberkommando der Wermacht (OKW - Hitler's Supreme Headquarters). Later, he had been recruited by OSS/CIA Director Allen Dulles in the closing days of WW II and brought to service in the US.
This is a "rabbit hole" of considerable depth. I recommend reading "NATO's Nazi Beginnings: How the West implemented Hitler's goals" by Robert S. Rodvik.@ b4real with his call for some level of anarchismDaniel , Jun 30, 2018 9:22:23 PM | 97
Do you agree that humans are community oriented beasts at some level? What do you call that level of organization and how does one scale it...or is that a bad idea to you?
Is it anarchy all the way down?
I am fine to move this to the next open thread and feel some responsibility for my ongoing contextualization of stuff.Peter AU1 @27.Daniel , Jun 30, 2018 9:58:02 PM | 98
I agree that the Internet provided an awesome medium for the spread of information, much of which had only been available to readers of low-circulation alternative sources. We were witness to a "Golden Age" of largely unrestricted information flow.
And that is why the Internet in Europe and the US is being clamped down. Private companies people relied on, like youtube and facebook are deleting accounts and "throttling" traffic. Google is "deranking" sites such that some have seen traffic drop by 75%. "Net neutrality" has been overturned, so all of this and more is about to become much worse in the US.
A reminder for those who sometimes fall into a Pollyanna hopefulness.... as bad as our Western internet censorship is becoming, it's still a beacon of freedom compared to what China already has.Jen @57. Thanks for interjecting some real world examples into the theoretical "utopian" government/no government ideas being floated.Peter AU 1 , Jun 30, 2018 10:01:09 PM | 99
I'd add that internet voting has not shown itself to be trustworthy. Right now Estonia (or e-Estonia as it's now calling itself) is establishing an entirely internet-based life way. Everyone gets a bio-ID card. All financial transactions will go through that card, as is voting, medical records, education, etc. etc. etc.
Is this really "hack-proof?" If/when someone's entire life is hacked, will we even be allowed to know it happened?
China is developing their "social score" system similar to e-Estonia. In their case, they're bragging that whatever black box is keeping score will have the authority to prevent people from purchasing property, or boarding a train, or going to school, or voting or really anything at all.... all based on some algorithms programmed by some faceless bureaucrats.
Back to the "Venus Project" which someone linked earlier, such high-tech autocratic societies may be a big improvement for most people's lives. Maybe I'm some sort of Luddite to prefer things like paper ballots, filled out in ink and hand counted multiple times with observers from any interested parties.
But that still looks like a technology that isn't broken, and so doesn't need to be "fixed."@ DanielDaniel , Jun 30, 2018 10:13:49 PM | 100
When in China I could not access anything google. Google browser, google search, google blogs. As I mostly used yandex everything else was fine. I could access all western propaganda and alternative news/blogs that were not on a google platform. I take it google was blocked because they were heavily involved in color revolutions and regime change operations.Peter AU 1. I think you're reading too much literalism into the folk tales written down by bronze age nomads as they took up an agrarian lifestyle. You might enjoy the book, "The Evolution of God" by Robert Wright. He is a bit too "evo/psych"" for my tastes, but overall his description of the current understanding of the archaeological, anthropological, paleographical and historical evidence is quite well presented.
Nov 15, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Posted on November 15, 2017 by Lambert Strether By Lambert Strether of Corrente .
As readers know, I'm a big fan of paper ballots, and the recent Election in Virginia gives me a chance to explain why. (The "recount" phase -- erroneously named, as what's been happening is resolving absentee and provisional ballots -- seems to have culminated with the Republicans keeping control of the Virginia House by a whisker, 49-51 .) First, I'll do that, and set up two requirements that any system for counting votes in a democracy should meet. Then, I'll look at Virginia's "Back to the Future" transition from digital voting to paper ballots.
From Brad Friedman's essay on " Democracy's Gold Standard" (with numbering added), a set of requirements for voting systems suitable for a democracy:
Last March, the country's highest court found that secret, computerized vote counting was unconstitutional. Unfortunately, the country was Germany, and the Constitution violated by e-voting systems was the one that the U.S. wrote and insisted Germans ratify as part of their terms of surrender following WWII.
Paul Lehto, a U.S. election attorney and Constitutional rights expert, summarized the German court's unambiguous, landmark finding :"No 'specialized technical knowledge' can be required of citizens to vote or to monitor vote counts." There is a "constitutional requirement of a publicly observed count." "[T]he government substitution of its own check or what we'd probably call an 'audit' is no substitute at all for public observation." "A paper trail simply does not suffice to meet the above standards. "As a result of these principles, 'all independent observers' conclude that 'electronic voting machines are totally banned in Germany' because no conceivable computerized voting system can cast and count votes that meet the twin requirements of being both 'observable' and also not requiring specialized technical knowledge.
If you go through this set of requirements, you'll see that hand-marked paper ballots, hand-counted in public, meet every one of them. You will also see that digital voting systems, no matter how designed or implemented, cannot. They cannot, especially, meet requirements #1 ("no specialized technical knowledge to monitor") and #2 ("a publicly observed count"). The first requirement ensures that the voting process is not riggable by insiders with technical expertise (native, or hired); the second ensures that the actual voting is not rigged on election day. These are important requirements for a functioning democracy.
And that is how Germany conducts its voting today, from Deutsche Welle ( "German election: Volunteers organize the voting and count the ballots") .
On September 24, hundreds of thousands of volunteers will be handing out ballots, checking voters' names against lists, and counting votes once the polling station closes. The entire process is open to the public Every citizen is allowed to watch and monitor the entire counting process; and in effect, the volunteers monitor each other.
No specialized technical knowledge
[T]he volunteers open the ballot box, take out the envelopes and remove the ballot slips. They sort the ballots according to a pre-arranged system, decide on whether the votes are valid or invalid, and count the votes – reading out each vote aloud, which is noted in writing in a log.
At the end, the number of ballots is compared with the number of people who voted in that particular polling station.
Does that sound technical to you? The United Kingdom and Canada  also use handmarked paper ballots, counted in public, as do most  other countries. Many nations have -- I don't want to use the word "reverted" -- come home to paper ballots after experimenting with digital systems and finding them wanting; so have some states in this country.
Now, let's turn to Virginia. It's worth noting that Virginia's move back to paper is being applauded across the political spectrum . From the centrist Daily Banter , a summary of the history:
It wasn't until 2014, when the state experienced a myriad of problems on Election Day, that Governor Terry McAuliffe proposed an overhaul of the state voting system. By 2015, the Virginia Board of Elections decertified the use of WINVote, but they were still stuck with other DRE (Direct Recording Electronic) systems. This past summer, at a DefCon conference in Las Vegas, computer scientists staged a "Voting Machine Hacking Village" to prove the instabilities of DRE, which included a single password for all machines, physical ports to insert malware, and reliance on outdated software that had not been updated since the mid-2000s.
(Kudos, amazingly enough, to McAuliffe, who also managed to restore the franchise to felons .) The Richmond Times-Dispatch explains the Board of Elections' reasoning:
In emergency meeting, Virginia elections board votes to scrap all touch-screen voting machines
The Virginia State Board of Elections voted Friday to discontinue use of all touch-screen voting machines throughout the state because of potential security vulnerabilities, forcing 22 cities and counties to scramble to find new equipment just weeks before voting begins for the November gubernatorial election.
Behind closed doors at an emergency meeting in Richmond on Friday afternoon, the board heard about specific vulnerabilities identified after a cybersecurity conference this summer in Las Vegas, where hackers showed they could break into voting machines with relative ease.
In an interview, Elections Commissioner Edgardo Cortés acknowledged that the short time frame could put localities under the gun. However, 10 of the 22 localities that still use touch screens, either as their primary voting method or for more limited uses, have already begun buying new equipment, Cortés said. That leaves 12 that will have to start from scratch, but Cortés said the rapid swap is "doable" and worth the "hiccups" that may come with new equipment.
(The Banter points to "Russian targeting of last year's presidential election" (whatever that means) as do others , but if the threat of Russia hacking was a necessary cause for the Board's decisionl, it was certainly the DefCon that was the proximate one). In any case, the Board's decision was taken September 8, and by Election Day, November 7, the transition was complete with no reported problems, which shows you the advantages of adopting simple, rugged, and proven systems. Here is how the system works, as described in a press release from Albemarle County :
The Albemarle County Department of Voter Registration and Elections wants to alert voters that a new, digital scan voting system will be used in all County voting precincts in the upcoming November 3, 2015 general election. The previously used "touchscreen" voting machines have been replaced by the new voting systems as a result of the Commonwealth of Virginia's mandate which requires jurisdictions move toward the use of digital scan technology.
With the new system, voters will mark paper ballots at marking booths, and then deposit the marked paper ballots into a digital ballot scanning machine, which will read the ballots, and drop them into a secure ballot storage bin. When the polls close on Election Day, at 7 PM, the election officers at the voting precincts will obtain the tabulated totals of votes from a results report that will be printed by the digital scanning machine. After the election, the paper ballots will be kept in secure storage for a period of one year, to ensure a voter-verified paper trail in the event of a recount.
Recall our two requirements. Can the Virginia System be said to meet them?
1) Public observation. Yes and no. Yes, because the ballot is handmarked, and dropped in the box in public. No, because the ballots are counted in the innards of the optical scanner. (This can be mitigated by storing the ballots for recounts later, if needed.) And no, because the actual running of the count from the scanners does not take place in public, nor (AFAIK) the integration into the totals of provisional and absentee ballots.
2) No specialized technical knowledge. Yes and no. Yes, because clearly paper ballots are an improvement in every way from the horrid touch screens. No, in the same that once again, the innards of the optical scanner must be relied upon. (This could be mitigated, depending on the choice of vendor, by dealing with an actual scanner industry, as opposed to a bunch of tiny, sketchy outfits purveying custom, proprietary software.)
In summary, and IMNSHO, there should be no digital determination or intermediation of voter intent whatever ; why should we trust the scanner software engineers, or those who run them? There's no reason to, any more than there's reason to trust the engineers or operators of mechanical voting machines.) Virginia's ballots are indeed hand-marked, but they are not hand-counted in public.
With these strong caveats, Virginia's hand-marked paper ballots were well-received by the public, and that's progress. WAVY :
At a voting precinct at the Chrysler Museum in Norfolk, voters said they had no issues going back to pen and paper.
"It goes back to the old days, you know, we've been voting a long time, so we remember when they didn't have anything but paper ballots," said voter Winston Whitehurst.
Voter Kevin Rafferty said he enjoyed the switch.
"It works. I understand. At least if we're having to spend some time on it, we're the only ones in control, perhaps is the idea. Nobody else hacking on in I guess is their theory so hopefully it's safe," he said.
And WTVR :
"You can't hack paper," a man training a group of Hopewell poll workers on the new [optical scanning] machines said.
(But you can hack the scanners -- using "specialized technical knowledge" --
and you can social engineer any process where the ballots are not hand-counted in public.)
Of the two requirements, the ability to monitor election results without technical expertise is needed to prevent chicanery by those who structure the voting process. And the public count is needed to prevent chicanery on election day by those who inspect and count the ballots. Paper ballots can and do meet these requirements. That's why most Western countries use them, and why many other countries have returned to them, after experimenting with digital systems. Virginia's re-adoption of hand-marked paper ballots is a step forward, not backward.
 For those who are concerned that paper ballots prevent ranked choice voting, Maine advocates disagree : "Ranked choice voting is designed to work with paper ballots."
 The idea that "foreign invaders" (as the Christian Science Monitor puts it) are the main threat for election theft seems very odd to me. Surely domestic operatives are, or at least should be, the main concern?
 I vividly recall a Quebec referendum where the Quebec "scrutineers" rejected a seemingly overlarge number of "No" ballots. But because the process was public, and not part of an algorithmic black box, the scrutineers could be called out. Although Canada does use electronic voting at the municipal level, the stakes are lower.
 Hilariously, a Google search on "How many countries use paper ballots" directs me to a WikiPedia page on "Electronic voting by country." 26 are listed. There are 195 countries.
 The convenience of election officials seems to bulk large in these disucussions; they don't want to be "up all night counting paper." Well, if the Germans (and the Canadians (and the Brits)) can make that investment in democracy, why can't we?
PlutoniumKun , November 15, 2017 at 6:50 amAnonymized , November 15, 2017 at 12:06 pm
Just an added note here to say that in Ireland, which uses Single Transferable Vote, the law states that the election candidates can appoint Counting Agents , known as Tallymen during the vote. They observe the opening of voting boxes and keep a tally during the count. As this allows them to get a good feel for voting patterns, it eliminates another potential source of fraud, box stuffing during or after the vote.
The Tallymen are so skilled they can often provide a very accurate result hours before the final result (vote counting is much more complex for STV). There is no interest at all from political parties for electronic voting because tally information is more fine grained than final totals (as it is box by box rather than district by district) and so provides each party with very valuable statistical information.Frenchguy , November 15, 2017 at 6:51 am
Same in Canada but we call them "scrutineers" or monitors (at least in Ontario). I worked as an election official a while back (I think it was at the last provincial election) and one of the scrutineers raised a big stink because the number of votes were not the same as the number of people who voted. I left around 10 pm and I heard they were there until midnight trying to resolve this. It was pure schadenfreude for me because I wasn't selected as one of the vote-counting electoral officials but was just a lower-paid electoral assistant who barred people from entering the building from the wrong door and gave directions to the correct entrance. "Serves those idiots right for not picking me" was what I was thinking when I left.Jim A. , November 15, 2017 at 8:12 am
In France, the process is basically the same as in Germany. An interesting note, that I don't see mentionned, is that once the public count is done and the number of votes matches the number of voters, ballots are destroyed (except blank votes). A very sensible step as the whole process is fraud-proof and ballots could be tampered with afterwards.
In this sense, there are no recounts (except the basic maths check). You can only report to the courts irregularities in the process and there will be a new election if enough polling station were affected to swing the election.
And the process is generally not too long. The average seems to be between one and three hours so it's almost always done way before midnight (British seems to take a very long time, if anyone cares to explain to me why ?). Of course, it helps a lot that we don't elect a whole bunch of people on the same night (no lieutnant-governor, judges, sheriffs ), it's always one election at a time with a dozen choices at most (and half the time it's only two because of the two-round system).lyman alpha blob , November 15, 2017 at 1:35 pm
Having used a number of different systems as I moved around the state of Maryland*, my favorite system was hand marked ballots that were scanned by machine at the voting place. My observations follow.
Old fashioned lever machines: They haven't made them for years, so there was always a shortage of machines which led to long lines. Despite the fact that people are familiar with them, they are an un-auditable black box like electronic voting machines.
Punched card machines. They always seemed physically a little difficult to operate and a slight misalignment could result in a miscast vote. But there is a recountable paper trail and only one or two scanners is required for each polling place.
Electronic voting machines. They're a completey un-auditable black box. They DO have the advantage of being easier to adjust for people with limited vision and other handicaps. Each voting station requires a separate machine, which means either greater expense or longer lines compared to other systems. My guess is that programming the ballots into them probably costs almost as much printing ballots and is more difficult to spot errors or fraud.
Hand counted ballots: The difficulty with hand counting ballots is that it is error-prone and slow.
Paper ballots and digital scanners would seem to be the best system that I have used with several caveats. You have to manually recount a random sampling of polling places to check for systemic fraud in the setup of the scanning machines. You have to have a good system to deal with errors and complications. How do you void ballots that have been mis-marked by accident? You have to make SURE that they aren't added to the tallys. You have to have a system for contested/contingent voting, a way to segregate and maintain those ballots until the eligibility of the voters is determined.
*It used to be that every county chose the vote system separatelylyman alpha blob , November 15, 2017 at 8:13 am
You have to manually recount a random sampling of polling places to check for systemic fraud in the setup of the scanning machines.
That is an excellent suggestion however getting officials on board is not so easy. Our state got new optical scan machines in all larger precincts a few years ago and since they had never been used I made the same suggestion you did to our city council and asked for a random audit. They refused and told me that by state law the city was not allowed to do an audit just because they felt like it and the only way a recount could be done was if an election was close enough to be within the mandated threshold needed to trigger one. If they were correct about our state law, the state has actually made it illegal for cities to check the accuracy of the machines they use. That would need to be changed in order for your proposal to work.
I do still prefer handcounted paper ballots – I did get to participate in a hand recount eventually and it was a LOT quicker than you might expect.
The other issue is cost – it would be a LOT cheaper to pay people to count by hand than to replace millions of large pieces of aging machinery every decade or so.Barry Fay , November 15, 2017 at 8:14 am
"You can't hack paper"
Maybe, but machines can't determine voter intent on paper ballots nearly as well as humans can. Our city uses these optical scanners and as noted last election season, we had a close race that triggered a recount that I participated in. The human beings actually counted more ballots than the machines did, as the machines didn't count those that were filled out improperly (circles not completely filled out, or checked rather than filled in, etc). Rough estimate, we were able to count approximately 2% more votes then the scanner did.
If we're going to keep pretending we still have a democracy here in the US, everybody's vote deserves to be counted in every election. The only way to do that is count paper ballots by hand.nonclassical , November 15, 2017 at 11:55 am
The FIRST TIME I heard that they were going to use IT technology for voting I thought they must be kidding. It is so obviously wrong ON THE FACE OF IT that I have always suspected the motives of those making that decision (although I suppose I should´t be too surprised at human laziness being a motivating force!). Anyway, it is to me just another sign of the dumbing down of America that this whole topic needs any discussion at all!!Tom , November 15, 2017 at 9:15 am
Voltaire would have loved political position that the machines were perfect and unable be hacked until Chavez-Venezuela bought voting machine manufacturer
suddenly voting machines were suspectVatch , November 15, 2017 at 10:16 am
Clinton conflates Virginia's switch to paper ballots with her claims that Russia hacked into voter rolls and possibly went even further. This is Clinton speaking about it on Monday at the Atlanta stop on her book tour.Tom , November 15, 2017 at 12:53 pm
So maybe we're finally getting some benefit from the claims that the Russians were able to manipulate the election results in the United States! In reality, it's Republicans and Democrats who manipulate election results in the U.S., but I'll accept a victory, even if it's for the wrong reasons.wilroncanada , November 15, 2017 at 7:33 pm
Exactly! Clinton applauds the reduced risk of paper ballots, but of course has to muddle it all up with the dreaded Russian threat. I swear, Clinton can't help but link almost everything to Russia now -- listening to her is like plaing a constant game of 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon, except it's 3 degrees and its Russia.EoH , November 15, 2017 at 9:48 am
She'll continue to play six degrees of Kevin Bacon for the rest of her life–with egg on her face the whole time.PaulHarvey0swald , November 15, 2017 at 11:42 am
One would think that governments would require that any software to be used in a public election must be open source – not proprietary – and that it and its application be open to public audit.
Vendors unwilling to comply can take their sales people elsewhere. If vendors are hard to find, governments could join together in providing seed money for any number of parties to develop and maintain the necessary code.
This is the sort of change that should be part of any elections improvement commissions, not that the likes of Kris Kobach and his commission have in mind anything but voter suppression. The use of proprietary software in a public election is as appropriate as a cordon of watch dogs, lighted torches, or police cars outside a voting center.XXYY , November 15, 2017 at 12:06 pm
This. And why don't we turn the students at state run universities loose on it?PaulHarv3y0swald , November 15, 2017 at 4:40 pm
Long time software engineer here.
"Making the source code available" for a critical system makes a good sound bite, but in reality has a number of substantial problems:
o There is no guarantee that the compiled code in the box is the same as the purported source code made public. Even technical experts would have a very hard time confirming this, since the code in the box has been compiled down to machine instructions whereas the source code is normally in a high level language.
o The process of building (compiling and linking) the code introduces myriad opportunities for bad actors. E.g., code can include conditional sections or definitions that can be built in various ways. The build process itself invokes other programs that themselves can be hacked. Building also normally brings in third-party libraries of uncertain provenance, and for which the source is typically unavailable.
o Inspecting realistic industrial software for *inadvertent* problems, called a code review, is a big effort (many man weeks) and requires people with the requisite skills (often arcane) and expertise in the problem domain. Inspecting code for *deliberate hacks* would be much harder, and could well miss hacks anyway depending on the skill of the hacker.
Relying on public source code for security is a very weak reed and should be avoided altogether if at all possible.Synoia , November 15, 2017 at 5:19 pm
Fair enough. But why would proprietary code be better? I mean what stops a private vendor from doing this, but without public oversight? I mean to say "public code" in what ever form could be a start.bsg , November 15, 2017 at 10:46 am
XXYY was not supporting proprietary code. I believe he was pointing out that "open source" does not have sufficient integrity for e;ections, thus closed source (proprietary code) is worse.nonclassical , November 15, 2017 at 11:52 am
After the 2000 election, congress passed the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). Among the provisions of the bill, money was given to states and counties to upgrade their voting systems. Most of these new systems came online in the mid 00's.
Now that it has been around a decade, the generation of machines purchased with the help of federal money are getting long in the tooth. The average person changes their cell phone every 2-3 years, so a touch screen machine machine over a decade old feels especially ancient to a technophile.
There will be a trend toward paper ballots with this next generation. More states have added tougher paper trail requirements on DRE (touch screen) voting machines. and there is a lack of federal HAVA money available to states and counties to buy top-of-the-line DRE machines with paper trails. Vendors for this generation are pushing hybrid systems that allow a voter to input their choices onto a touch screen, then the machine prints out a paper ballot which (theoretically) removes ambiguous choices and allows disabled people to vote without assistance. But ultimately, if a jurisdiction is going to a paper system anyway, why spend more money on expensive hybrid machines that will break down in another ten years? I anticipate a push to paper ballots with optical scanning tabulation machines in the medium future.UserFriendly , November 15, 2017 at 12:50 pm
and states can – do take away driver licenses – I.D. "legally" determining who gets to vote, by the hundreds of thousands, even over issues having nothing to do with driving, and primarily affecting the poor:
http://www.ncsl.org/research/human-services/license-restrictions-for-failure-to-pay-child-support.aspxken , November 15, 2017 at 2:33 pm
Minneapolis uses ranked choice with hand marked paper ballots that get scanned just like VA. But as I've said a million times ranked choice voting is bad for 3rd parties . Approval, range, or 3-2-1 are all much better options.
http://electology.github.io/vse-sim/VSEbasic/Joel , November 15, 2017 at 3:26 pm
The convenience of election officials seems to bulk large in these disucussions; they don't want to be "up all night counting paper."
What is the rush? Why not start counting at 8 am the next morning? The all night vote count thing serves no functional purpose. Get some sleep.Grebo , November 15, 2017 at 3:46 pm
What is the rush?
In my town, we have big election night parties at the downtown bars while volunteers go to the polling stations and phone back the preliminary results which are posted in the front windows or on the front doors.
A lot of politically connected people would have trouble sleeping the night of the election if they didn't have the results.Joel , November 15, 2017 at 3:23 pm
That was my initial reaction too. Then I wondered: who will be guarding the ballot boxes overnight?
In my town's municipal election last week, it seems almost a tenth of voters were confused by the design of the ballot and circled their choice rather than filling in the bubble.
Since we're in Massachusetts and all elections use Scantron ballots and tabulating machines, any circled ballot was marked "blank" the same as ballots where no notation was made.
A lot of people, including quite a few first-time and infrequent voters, and voters with eyesight issues, were disillusioned by the fact that their votes would not be counted. Some were shocked the ballots are not in fact counted by hand.
Oct 17, 2017 | www.unz.com
One month ago, I initiated here at Unz.com a discussion of the role of American Jews in the crafting of United States foreign policy. I observed that a politically powerful and well-funded cabal consisting of both Jewish individuals and organizations has been effective at engaging the U.S. in a series of wars in the Middle East and North Africa that benefit only Israel and are, in fact, damaging to actual American interests. This misdirection of policy has not taken place because of some misguided belief that Israeli and U.S. national security interests are identical, which is a canard that is frequently floated in the mainstream media. It is instead a deliberate program that studiously misrepresents facts-on-the ground relating to Israel and its neighbors and creates casus belli involving the United States even when no threat to American vital interests exists. It punishes critics by damaging both their careers and reputations while its cynical manipulation of the media and gross corruption of the national political process has already produced the disastrous war against Iraq, the destruction of Libya and the ongoing chaos in Syria. It now threatens to initiate a catastrophic war with Iran.
To be sure, my observations are neither new nor unique. Former Congressmen Paul Findley indicted the careful crafting of a pro-Israel narrative by American Jews in his seminal book They Dare to Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront Israel's Lobby , written in 1989. Professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt's groundbreaking book The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy said much the same thing nine years ago and discussions of Jewish power do emerge occasionally, even in the mainstream media. In the Jewish media Jewish power is openly discussed and is generally applauded as a well-deserved reward bestowed both by God and by mankind due to the significant accomplishments attributed to Jews throughout history.
There is undeniably a complicated web of relationships and networks that define Israel's friends. The expression "Israel Lobby" itself has considerable currency, so much so that the expression "The Lobby" is widely used and understood to represent the most powerful foreign policy advocacy group in Washington without needing to include the "Israel" part. That the monstrous Benjamin Netanyahu receives 26 standing ovations from Congress and a wealthy Israel has a guaranteed income from the U.S. Treasury derives directly from the power and money of an easily identifiable cluster of groups and oligarchs – Paul Singer, Sheldon Adelson, Bernard Marcus, Haim Saban – who in turn fund a plethora of foundations and institutes whose principal function is to keep the cash and political support flowing in Israel's direction. No American national interest, apart from the completely phony contention that Israel is some kind of valuable ally, would justify the taxpayers' largesse. In reality, Israel is a liability to the United States and always has been.
And I do understand at the same time that a clear majority of American Jews, leaning strongly towards the liberal side of the political spectrum, are supportive of the nuclear agreement with Iran and do not favor a new Middle Eastern war involving that country. I also believe that many American Jews are likely appalled by Israeli behavior, but, unfortunately, there is a tendency on their part to look the other way and neither protest such actions nor support groups like Jewish Voice for Peace that are themselves openly critical of Israel. This de facto gives Israel a free pass and validates its assertion that it represents all Jews since no one important in the diaspora community apart from minority groups which can safely be ignored is pushing back against that claim.
That many groups and well-positioned individuals work hand-in-hand with the Israeli government to advance Israeli interests should not be in dispute after all these years of watching it in action. Several high level Jewish officials, including Richard Perle , associated with the George W. Bush Pentagon, had questionable relationships with Israeli Embassy officials and were only able to receive security clearances after political pressure was applied to "godfather" approvals for them. Former Congressman Tom Lantos and Senator Frank Lautenberg were, respectively, referred to as Israel's Congressman and Senator, while current Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has described himself as Israel's "shomer" or guardian in the U.S. Senate.
A recent regulatory decision from the United Kingdom relates to a bit of investigative journalism that sought to reveal precisely how the promotion of Israel by some local diaspora Jews operates, to include how critics are targeted and criticized as well as what is done to destroy their careers and reputations.
Last year, al-Jazeera Media Network used an undercover reporter to infiltrate some U.K. pro-Israel groups that were working closely with the Israeli Embassy to counter criticisms coming from British citizens regarding the treatment of the Palestinians. In particular, the Embassy and its friends were seeking to counter the growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS), which has become increasingly effective in Europe. The four-part documentary released late in 2016 that al-Jazeera produced is well worth watching as it consists mostly of secretly filmed meetings and discussions.
The documentary reveals that local Jewish groups, particularly at universities and within the political parties, do indeed work closely with the Israeli Embassy to promote policies supported by the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It also confirms that tagging someone as an anti-Semite has become the principal offensive weapon used to stifle any discussion, particularly in a country like Britain which embraces concepts like the criminalization of "hate speech." At one point, two British Jews discussed whether "being made to feel uncomfortable" by people asking what Israel intends to do with the Palestinians is anti-Semitic. They agreed that it might be.
The documentary also describes how the Embassy and local groups working together targeted government officials who were not considered to be friendly to Israel to "be taken down," removed from office or otherwise discredited. One government official in particular who was to be attacked was Foreign Office Minister Sir Alan Duncan.
Britain, unlike the U.S., has a powerful regulatory agency that oversees communications, to include the media. It is referred to as Ofcom. When the al-Jazeera documentary was broadcast, Israeli Embassy political officer Shai Masot, who reportedly was a Ministry of Strategic Affairs official working under cover, was forced to resign and the Israeli Ambassador offered an apology. Masot was filmed discussing British politicians who might be "taken down" before speaking with a government official who plotted a "a little scandal" to bring about the downfall of Duncan. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who is the first head of a political party in Britain to express pro-Palestinian views, had called for an investigation of Masot after the recording of the "take down" demand relating to Duncan was revealed. Several Jewish groups (the Jewish Labour Movement, the Union of Jewish Students and We Believe in Israel) then counterattacked with a complaint that the documentary had violated British broadcast regulations, including the specific charge that the undercover investigation was anti-Semitic in nature.
On October 9 th , Ofcom ruled in favor of al-Jazeera, stating that its investigation had done nothing improper, but it should be noted that the media outlet had to jump through numerous hoops to arrive at the successful conclusion. It had to turn over all its raw footage and communications to the investigators, undergoing what one source described as an "editorial colonoscopy," to prove that its documentary was "factually accurate" and that it had not "unfairly edited" or "with bias" prepared its story. One of plaintiffs, who had called for critics of Israel to "die in a hole" and had personally offered to "take down" a Labour Party official, responded bitterly. She said that the Ofcom judgment would serve as a "precedent for the infringement of privacy of any Jewish person involved in public life."
The United States does not yet have a government agency to regulate news stories, though that may be coming, but the British tale has an interesting post script. Al-Jazeera also had a second undercover reporter inserted in the Israel Lobby in the United States, apparently a British intern named James Anthony Kleinfeld, who had volunteered his services to The Israel Project, which is involved in promoting Israel's global image. He also had contact with at least ten other Jewish organizations and with officials at the Israeli Embassy,
Now that the British account of "The Lobby" has cleared a regulatory hurdle the American version will reportedly soon be released. Al-Jazeera's head of investigative reporting Clayton Swisher commented "With this U.K. verdict and vindication past us, we can soon reveal how the Israel lobby in America works through the eyes of an undercover reporter. I hear the U.S. is having problems with foreign interference these days, so I see no reason why the U.S. establishment won't take our findings in America as seriously as the British did, unless of course Israel is somehow off limits from that debate."
Americans who follow such matters already know that groups like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) swarm over Capitol Hill and have accomplices in nearly every media outlet. Back in 2005-6 AIPAC Officials Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman were actually tried under the Espionage Act of 1918 in a case involving obtaining classified intelligence from government official Lawrence Franklin to pass on to the Israeli Embassy. Rosen had once boasted that, representing AIPAC and Israel, he could get the signatures of 70 senators on a napkin agreeing to anything if he sought to do so. The charges against the two men were, unfortunately, eventually dropped "because court rulings had made the case unwinnable and the trial would disclose classified information."
And Israeli interference in U.S. government and elections is also a given. Endorsement of Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election by the Netanyahu government was more-or-less carried out in the open. And ask Congressmen like Paul Findley, Pete McCloskey, William Fulbright, Charles Percy and, most recently, Cynthia McKinney, what happens to your career when you appear to be critical of Israel. And the point is that while Israel calls the shots in terms of what it wants, it is a cabal of diaspora American Jews who actually pull the trigger. With that in mind, it will be very interesting to watch the al-Jazeera documentary on The Lobby in America.
Rurik , October 17, 2017 at 4:29 am GMTPhilip Giraldi is a rare American treasure. A voice of integrity and character in a sea of moral cowardice and corruption. If there is any hope for this nation, it will be due specifically to the integrity of men like Mr. Giraldi to keep speaking truth to power.googlecensors , October 17, 2017 at 5:00 am GMTOne is unable to open the documentary – all 4 parts – on YouTube suggesting that google/YouTube are censoring it and have caved into the Jewish LobbyMalla , October 17, 2017 at 5:03 am GMTWhen the Jewish Messiah comes, all of us goyim (Black, White, Yellow, brown or Red) will be living like today's Palestinians. Our slave descendant will be scurrying around in their ghettos afraid of the Greater Israeli Army military andriod drones in the sky.Frankie P , October 17, 2017 at 5:42 am GMT
But if I was a Westerner, I would support Israel any day. Because if the Israeli state were to be ever dismantled, all of them Israelis would go to the West. Why would you want that?@Rurikwayfarer , October 17, 2017 at 5:43 am GMT
He has been set free by the truth, proving the old maxim.Understand a Spoiled Child, and You Will Understand Israel. source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spoiled_childDan Hayes , October 17, 2017 at 5:48 am GMT
Discipline the Spoiled Child, and Boycott Israel. source: https://bdsmovement.net/
Israel Anti-Boycott Act – An Attack on Free Speech?Philip,Uebersetzer , October 17, 2017 at 6:14 am GMT
My admittedly subjective impression is that your UR reports are becoming more open/unbounded after your release from the constraints of the American Conservative . In other word, you're now being enabled to let it all hang out. In my book that's all to the good.
Of course your work and those of the other UR writers are enabled by the beneficence of its patron, Ron!There may be limits to their power in Britain. Jeremy Corbyn is hated by them, and stories are regularly run in the MSM, in Britain and also (of course!) in the New York Times claiming that under Corbyn Labour is a haven of anti-Semitism. Corbyn actually gained millions of votes in the last election. Perhaps they will nail him somewhere down the road but they have failed so far.JackOH , October 17, 2017 at 6:59 am GMT" . . . [W]ars in the Middle East and North Africa that benefit only Israel and are, in fact, damaging to actual American interests (emphases mine).Cloak And Dagger , October 17, 2017 at 7:43 am GMT
That's the money shot, Phil. I'm okay with Jews, okay with the existence of Israel, all that, but I think we were massively had by Iraq II. When Valerie Plame spoke in my area, she talked disgustedly about a plan to establish American military power throughout the Middle East. She used the euphemism "neocons" for the plan's authors, and seemed about to burst with anger. I looked up the plan, but don't recall the catch phrase for it.
I recall the basic idea was for the U. S. to do Israel's dirty work at U. S. expense and without a U. S. benefit, and I think there was the usual "God talk" cover in it about "democratization", "development", blah-blah.I remain skeptical that the Al-Jazeera undercover story in the US will be able to be viewed. I anticipate a hoard of Israel-firster congress critters to crawl out from under their respective rocks and deem Al-Jazeera to be antisemitic and call for it being banned as a foreign propaganda apparatus, much as is being done with RT and Sputnik.Mark James , October 17, 2017 at 9:32 am GMT
I fear that we are long past the point of being redeemed as a nation. We can only watch with sorrow as this great nation crumbles under the might of Jewish power – impotent in our ability to arrest its fall.ask Congressmen like Paul Findley, Pete McCloskey, William Fulbright, Charles PercyKevin , October 17, 2017 at 9:37 am GMT
I'd also add Adlai E. Stevenson III and John Glenn. Stevenson was crucial in getting compensation -- paltry sum though it was– payed to "Liberty" families for their loss. The Israelis had been holding out. Something for which the Il Senator was never forgiven (especially by The Lobby).
Netanyahu should not have been allowed to address the joint session. No foreign leader should be speaking in opposition to any sitting President (in this case Obama). It only showed the power of "The Lobby." Netanyahu who knew that Iran didn't have the weapons the Bush Adm. had claimed, was treated like a trusted ally. He shouldn't have been.Tyrion , October 17, 2017 at 9:53 am GMTAnd the point is that while Israel calls the shots in terms of what it wants, it is a cabal of diaspora American Jews who actually pull the trigger. With that in mind, it will be very interesting to watch the al-Jazeera documentary on The Lobby in America.
Maybe, instead of Russia-Gate, we have is Israel-Gate. This time Netanyahu discreetly interfering in US Presidential Election ..Chilling thought though!Randal , October 17, 2017 at 9:58 am GMT
And Israeli interference in U.S. government and elections is also a given. Endorsement of Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election by the Netanyahu government was more-or-less carried out in the open.
London's Mayor, Sadiq Khan, actually went to America to campaign for Hillary. Numerous European leaders endorsed her, while practically all denounced Trump. Exactly the same can be said of the Muslim world, only more so.
The problem with criticism of Israel is not that it lacks basis in truth. It is that it is removed from the context of the rest of the world. Israel's actions do not make Israel an outlier. Israel fits very much within the norm. Even with the recording this is the case.
All embassies try to further their national interest through political machinations and all people in politics tend to use hyperbolic language to describe what they are doing. I don't know if your shock is just for show or you are just a bit dim. The same applies to Buzzfeed's 'expose' of Bannon and the gasps the article let out at his use of terms like #War.
Unfortunately, contemporary idiots of all stripes seem to specialise in removing context so that they can further their specious arguments.geokat62 , October 17, 2017 at 9:59 am GMT
"so I see no reason why the U.S. establishment won't take our findings in America as seriously as the British did"
Sadly, Clayton Swisher is probably correct that the US establishment will take their findings in America just as "seriously" as the British media and political establishment, and government, did.
The British government attitude was that everything was fine because the Israeli government "apologised" and the "rogue individual" responsible was taken out of the country, and the British media mostly ignored the story after an initial brief scandal. Indeed the main substantive response was the Ofcom fishing expedition against Al Jazeera looking for ways to use the disclosure of these uncomfortable truths as a pretext for shutting that company's operations down.
But there's no "undue influence" or bias involved, and if you say there might be then you are an anti-Semite and a hater.
The supreme irony behind all this is that Trump has been prevented by his own personal and family/adviser bias from using the one certain way of removing all the laughably vague "Russian influence" nonsense that has been used against him so persistently. All he had to do was to, at every opportunity, tie criticism and investigation of Russian "influence" to criticism and investigation of Israel Lobby influence under the general rubric of "foreign influence", and almost all of the high level backing for the charges would in due course have quietly evaporated.@Rurikanimalogic , October 17, 2017 at 10:54 am GMT
Philip Giraldi is a rare American treasure.
Rare, indeed, Rurik.
And in this rare company I would place former congressman, Ron Paul.
Here's an excerpt from his latest article, President Trump Beats War Drums for Iran :
Let's be clear here: President Trump did not just announce that he was "de-certifying" Iran's compliance with the nuclear deal. He announced that Iran was from now on going to be in the bullseye of the US military. Will Americans allow themselves to be lied into another Middle East war?
http://ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/october/16/president-trump-beats-war-drums-for-iran/This state of affairs, where the Zionist tail wags -- thrashes -- the US dog is bizarre to the point of laughter. Absent familiarity with the facts, who could believe it all? Is there a historical parallel ? I can't think of one that approaches the sheer profundity of the toxic embrace the Zionists have cover the US & west generally.The Alarmist , October 17, 2017 at 11:01 am GMTSo how is using money we give them as foreign aid (it's fungible by any definition of the US Treasury and Justice Department) to lobby our legislators not a form of money laundering? Somebody ought to tell Mnuchin to get FINCEN on this yeah, I know, it sounded naive as I typed it. FINCEN is only there to harass little people like you and me.Bardon Kaldian , October 17, 2017 at 11:05 am GMT@googlecensorsjacques sheete , October 17, 2017 at 11:15 am GMT
Not true.@Mallajacques sheete , October 17, 2017 at 11:21 am GMT
Abby Martin is amazingly sharp. Many of the things she says can be confirmed by Uri Avnery, both his books and articles.
Here's a link to his weekly columns.
Incredible stuff there; thanks for posting it.@Mallajacques sheete , October 17, 2017 at 11:32 am GMT
Our slave descendant will be scurrying around in their ghettos afraid of the Greater Israeli Army military andriod drones in the sky.
According to the first vid, those drones will be built by the goyim.
Maybe there's a message there for us.@Cloak And DaggerISmellBagels , October 17, 2017 at 11:45 am GMT
I fear that we are long past the point of being redeemed as a nation. We can only watch with sorrow as this great nation crumbles
We are long past that point.
I myself am watching with joy, because this supposedly "great nation" was corrupt to the core from its inception.
For evidence, all one has to do is read the arguments of the anti-federalists who opposed the ratification of the constitution* such as Patrick Henry, Robert Yates and Luther Martin. Their predictions about the results have come true. Even the labels, "federalist" and "anti-federalist" are misleading and no doubt intentionally so.
Those who spoke out against the formation of the federal reserve bank* scheme were also correct.
The only thing great about the US in a moral sense are the high sounding pretenses upon which it was built. As a nation we have never adhered to them.
*Please note that I intentionally refrain from capitalizing those words since I refuse to show even that much deference to those instruments of corruption.Philip, glad to see you undaunted after the recent attacks on you. We can maybe take solace in the fact that their desire for MORE will finally pass a critical point, and dumbass Americans will finally wake up.jacques sheete , October 17, 2017 at 11:47 am GMTjacques sheete , October 17, 2017 at 11:58 am GMT
"She said that the Ofcom judgment would serve as a "precedent for the infringement of privacy of any Jewish person involved in public life."
I have news for that twister of words.
In my opinion, if you choose to put yourself in the limelight, you have no private life. That is especially true for those who think they're entitled to a position of power.
In other words, if you think you're special, then you get judged by stricter standards than the rest of us.
It's called accountability.
BTW, speaking of Netanyahu, why do we hear so little about the scandal involving the theft of nuclear triggers from the US?
"The Israeli press is picking up Grant Smith's revelation from FBI documents that Benjamin Netanyahu was part of an Israeli smuggling ring that spirited nuclear triggers out of the U.S. in the 80s and 90s."
http://mondoweiss.net/2012/07/netanyahu-implicated-in-nuclear-smuggling-from-u-s-big-story-in-israel.htmlThank you Mr Giraldi. You covered an amazing number of issues in such a well written and compact article.ISmellBagels , October 17, 2017 at 12:30 pm GMT
Thanks also to Mr Unz for publishing these sorts of things.@jacques sheeteAnon , Disclaimer October 17, 2017 at 12:42 pm GMT
What she really meant by that was HOLOCAUST ALERT HOLOCAUST ALERT!!@Mallaiffen , October 17, 2017 at 12:47 pm GMT
When you listen to Abby Martin describe her experience regarding this brutal apartheid system in Israel and the genocide of the Palestinian people, remember, Jeffrey Goldberg, editor-in-chief of The Atlantic , was a prison guard in the Israeli Defense Forces guarding the West Bank death camp. And David Brooks, political and cultural commentator for The New York Times and former op-ed editor for The Wall Street Journal , has a son in the Israel Defense Forces helping to perpetuate this holocaust of the Palestinian people. I hope I live to see the day when some Palestinian Simon Wiesenthal hunts these monsters down and brings them to trial in The Hague.NPR Morning Edition 10/17/17LondonBob , October 17, 2017 at 12:58 pm GMT
Rachel Martin talks to Vahil Ali, the communications director for the Kurdish president.
In which she tries to steer him into calling for armed American intervention in Kurdistan to resist the Iranian sponsored militia.The lobby is not as powerful in Britain as it is the US, we can talk about it and someone like Peter Oborne is still a prominent journalist, but I don't see that it makes that much difference. We seem to end up in the same places the US does.Sherman , October 17, 2017 at 1:15 pm GMTI had my meeting with the Rothschilds, Goldman Sachs and the Israeli Department of Hasbara last week and we discussed how our plan to suppress both the US and British governments is progressing.ChuckOrloski , October 17, 2017 at 1:25 pm GMT
Apparently we are meeting our targets and everything is going according to plan.
Thanks for update Phil!@geokat62Jake , October 17, 2017 at 1:27 pm GMT
Speaking about how greatly rare a treasure are the P.G.'s words, below is linked a deliberately rare letter written by Congressman Donald Rumsfeld on behalf of the AZC.
Also, re, "Will Americans allow themselves to be lied into another M.E. war?"
History shows that, in order for ZUSA to start M.E. wars, Americans are routinely fed Executive Branch / Corporate Media-sauteed lies. Such deceit is par-for-the-course.
At present, it would be foolish for me to not realize there is a False Flag Pentagon plan "on the table" & ready for a war with Iran.What is playing out in the UK, and is in early stages in America, is the fight between the two side of Victorian WASP pro-Semtiism.Michael Kenny , October 17, 2017 at 1:31 pm GMT
WASP culture has always been philo-Semitic. That cannot be stated too much. WASP culture is inherently philo-Semtic. WASP culture was born of Anglo-Saxon Puritanism, which was a Judaizing heresy. Judaizing heresy naturally and inevitably produces pro-Jewish culture. No less than Oliver Cromwell made the deal to get Jewish money so he could wage culture war to destroy British Isles natives were not WASPs.
WASP culture has always been allied with Jews to destroy white Christians who are not WASPs. You cannot solve 'the Jewish problem' unless you also solve 'the WASP problem.'
By the beginning of the Victorian era, virtually all WASP Elites in the Empire – who then had a truly globalist perspective – were divided into two pro-Semitic camps. The larger one was pro-Jewish. It would give the world the Balfour Declaration and the state of Israel.
The smaller and growing one was pro-Arabic and pro-Islamic. It would give the world the people who backed Lawrence of Arabia and came to prop up the House of Saud.
Each of these philo-Semitic WASP Elites groups was more than happy to keep the foot on the pedal to destroy non-WASP European cultures while spending fortunes propping up its favorite group of Semites.
And while each of those camps was thrilled to ally to keep up the war against historic Christendom and the peoples who naturally would gravitate to any hope of a revival of Christendom, they also squabbled endlessly. Each wished, and always will wish, to be the A-#1 pro-Semitic son of daddy WASP. Each will play any dirty trick, make any deal with the Devil himself, to get what he wants.
The Israeli lobby is more powerful throughout the Anglosphere than the Saudi/Arabic lobby, but the Saudi lobby is equally detestable and probably even a more grave threat to the very existence of Western man.
It is impossible to take care of a serious problem without knowing its source and acting to sanitize and/or cauterize and/or cut out that source. The source of this problem is WASP culture.That the intelligence services of many countries engage in such conduct is not really news. Indeed, you could say that it's part of their normal job. They usually don't get caught and when accused of anything they shout "no evidence!" (now, where have I heard that recently?) Of course, if the Israelis engage in such conduct, then, logically, other countries' services do so too.Fran Macadam , Website October 17, 2017 at 1:32 pm GMT
Thus, Mr Giraldi's argument lends credibility to the claims that Russia interfered in the US election and to the proposition that US intelligence agents are seeking to undermine the EU.
Since those two operations are part of the same transaction, i.e. maintain US global hegemony by breaking the EU up into its constituent Member States or even into the regional components of the larger Member States, using Putin as a battering ram and a bogeyman to frighten the resulting plethora of small and largely defenseless statelets back under cold war-era American protection, could it be that US and Russian intelligence services collaborated to manipulate Trump into the White House? If that were true, it would be quite a scandal! Overthrowing foreign governments is one thing, collaborating with a foreign power to manipulate your own country's politics is quite another! But of course, there's "no evidence"Not surprising that the Jewish public gets gamed by Israeli political elites, just as the American public keeps getting gamed by our own cabal of bought politicians. Trying to fool enough of the people, enough of the time, contra Lincoln (who was not exactly a friend of critical dissent against war either .)Anon , Disclaimer October 17, 2017 at 1:53 pm GMT@wayfarer
Daphne Caruana Galizia exposed both local thieves and the CIA-Azerbaijan cooperation in supplying ISIS with arms:
"Azerbaijan considers Malta to be "one of its provinces": https://daphnecaruanagalizia.com/2017/09/azerbaijan-considers-malta-one-provinces/
The Middle Eastern wars have repercussion .
Sep 16, 2017 | it.slashdot.org
Posted by BeauHD on Tuesday September 12, 2017 @03:00AM from the nick-of-time dept. Following the DefCon demonstration in July that showed how quickly Direct Recording Electronic voting equipment could be hacked, Virginia's State Board of Elections has decided it wants to replace their electronic voting machines in time for the gubernatorial election due on November 7th, 2017.
According to The Register, "The decision was announced in the minutes of the Board's September 8th meeting: 'The Department of Elections officially recommends that the State Board of Elections decertify all Direct Recording Electronic (DRE or touchscreen) voting equipment."
From the report: With the DefCon bods showing some machines shared a single hard-coded password, Virginia directed the Virginia Information Technology Agency (VITA) to audit the machines in use in the state (the Accuvote TSX, the Patriot, and the AVC Advantage).
None passed the test. VITA told the board "each device analyzed exhibited material risks to the integrity or availability of the election process," and the lack of a paper audit trail posed a significant risk of lost votes.
Local outlet The News Leader notes that many precincts had either replaced their machines already, or are in the process of doing so. The election board's decision will force a change-over on the 140 precincts that haven't replaced their machines, covering 190,000 of Virginia's ~8.4m population.
Dec 26, 2016 | politics.slashdot.org(facebook.com) 286 Posted by msmash on Thursday November 24, 2016 @01:01PM from the stranger-things dept. On Wednesday, J. Alex Halderman, the director of the University of Michigan's Center for Computer Security & Society and a respected voice in computer science and information society, said that the Clinton Campaign should ask for a recount of the vote for the U.S. Presidential election . Later he wrote, "Were this year's deviations from pre-election polls the results of a cyberattack? Probably not. I believe the most likely explanation is that the polls were systematically wrong, rather than that the election was hacked. But I don't believe that either one of these seemingly unlikely explanations is overwhelmingly more likely than the other." The Outline, a new publication by a dozen of respected journalists, has published a post (on Facebook for now, since their website is still in the works), in which former Motherboard's reporter Adrianne Jeffries makes it clear that we still don't have concrete evidence that the vote was tampered with, but why still the case for paper ballots is strong . From the article: Halderman also repeats the erroneous claim that federal agencies have publicly said that senior officials in Russia commissioned attacks on voter registration databases in Arizona and Illinois. In October, federal agencies attributed the Democratic National Committee email hack to Russia, but specifically said they could not attribute the state hacks. Claims to the contrary seem to have spread due to anonymous sourcing and the conflation of Russian hackers with Russian state-sponsored hackers. Unfortunately, the Russia-hacked-us meme is spreading fast on social media and among disaffected Clinton voters. "It's just ignorance," said the cybersecurity consultant Jeffrey Carr, who published his own response to Halderman on Medium. "It's fear and ignorance that's fueling that." The urgency comes from deadlines for recount petitions, which start kicking in on Friday in Wisconsin, Monday in Pennsylvania, and the following Wednesday in Michigan. There is disagreement about how likely it is that the Russian government interfered with election results. There is little disagreement, however, that our voting system could be more robust -- namely, by requiring paper ballot backups for electronic voting and mandating that all results be audited, as they already are in some states including California. Despite the 150,000 signatures collected on a Change.org petition, what happens next really comes down to the Clinton team's decision.
Dec 15, 2016 | marknesop.wordpress.comPavlo Svolochenko , December 14, 2016 at 2:43 pmGeorgia asks Trump to investigate DHS 'cyberattacks'yalensis , December 14, 2016 at 5:05 pm
If you want to know what Washington is doing at any given time, just look at what they're accusing the competition of.As the Worm Turns!
For all those Amurican rubes out there who beleived that Homeland Security was protecting them against foreign terrorists – ha hahahahahaha!
Dec 06, 2016 | www.moonofalabama.orgjfl | Dec 3, 2016 5:54:00 PM | 31A Bare-Knuckle Fight Over Recounts
Since recounts that overturn the vote totals seem unlikely, it appears the Clinton campaign's Plan B is to use any evidence of tampering that it can pin on Russia to lobby electors to change their votes to Clinton when the Electoral College meets in state capitals on Dec. 19.
Finding evidence of hacking of election computers that can somehow be blamed on Russia could be crucial for the Clinton team in their effort to convince electors to change their vote.
Laurence Tribe, a well-known and connected Democratic lawyer, has offered to defend pro bono any elector who breaks the law by changing their vote to Clinton. And there are plans to mount a constitutional challenge against the 26 states that legally bind the electors' to their state's popular vote.
Jill Stein's willingness to provide cover for 'the Russians hacked the election' recounts is interesting ...
Exhibit A in Stein's petition is an affidavit from Professor J. Alex Halderman, a professor of computer science at the University of Michigan, who alleges that Russia hacked the election.
Exhibit B from Stein's petition is an article from Wired Magazine about Russia's alleged role in the hack.
Exhibit C is a New York Times article quoting DellSecureWorks, a private security firm, saying Russia was behind the hack of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.
Exhibits D through G - meaning all of Stein's exhibits - are on alleged Russian hacking. One article is about an alleged attempted Russian hack of the 2014, post-coup Ukrainian election.
... although I think it unlikely that 'the Russians hacked the election' it does look likely that the authors of that 'meme' managed to get Jill Stein to carry their water for them. Why did she do that? Did she even read the petition - that drew $7 million in funding overnight - before signing it? What does it say about her if she didn't? What does it say about her if she did?
What does it say about her that she went for such a lose-lose proposition?
Can an actual run on the electoral college be in the works? Can that be the 'reasoning' behind Jeff Bezos' ProPornoTeam?
Noirette | Nov 30, 2016 12:58:53 PM | 115
www.moonofalabama.orgbigmango | Nov 29, 2016 1:52:16 PM | 22Jackrabbit | Nov 29, 2016 6:03:01 PM | 44
@Jack Smith | Nov 29, 2016 12:50:24 PM | 10
Correct. Many of the people (me included) who voted Green for obvious anti-Clinton reasons were also very suspicious of Trump. So Green made sense. But all of these people now feel utterly betrayed by Stein's greed or fronting for the Clintons. Why no New Hampshire recount? So good job Stein, you just destroyed the only credible left alternative while the Dems are mortally wounded on the their left flank and the Clinton mob are taking resumes for a new sheepdog to get the wayward Sandernistas back into their stinking little corner of Hillary's big tent where they belong.
...This recount is serious business. The Greens don't have the organizational aptitude or money to have accomplished what needed to be done within days. That indicates that Democrats/Clinton cronies are behind this. And the Clinton press corps have been engaged as well.
Now Stein has allowed the dems to buy her ass, one has to wonder - why? Debs is dead at 60.
Because carreerism, because her position was always to get ahead in a major party (not Repub. obviously), to capitalise on her popularity.
Many Greens are like that all over the OECD world. They get 'splinter support', often quite high in votes, using seductive discourse, to then join the Top Brass promoting "renewables" using all kinds of inclusive and enviro-friendly, vague but marginal, leftist discourse, avoiding the 'economy' and 'real numbers' and for that matter deeper politics e.g. "sustainable communities" , "sharing", "grass roots initiatives", "husbanding energy", "respecting traditional ways of life", "integrating people", "developping solar", "promoting electric cars" and forbidding plastic bags, etc. etc.
The powerful party apparatus integrates them as a 'voice' for whatever is the gout-du-jour memes and everyone, including the dominant energy conglomerates are all happy. The person earns potentially well a lot.
Sorry to be so cynical and negative but I have seen Greens do this time and time again.
I don't hate or dislike Jill Stein. Just, that is the general trend and from what I have seen (maybe superficial) she is not different from the mold.
The ways of the world and Nature bats last...
Nov 23, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Regarding recounts, when the total vote difference is in the single digit thousands in large states where hundreds of thousands or more votes were cast, the candidates shouldn't have to ask for a recount, it should be mandatory*.
I've been asking my city to do a recount to verify the accuracy of the machines for several years and was told that the state law would not allow for a recount simply for accuracy's sake (unbelievable!) and the only way for a recount to happen would be after a close election.
Well my significant other stood for election in a city race this year, and how ironic, came within about 50 votes of winning and we got to ask for a recount! This was an odd race where voters chose two out of seven candidates for the two open seats. One candidate won by a clear margin and 2nd and 3rd place were separated by about 50 votes. I was one of those recounting the votes by hand and when all was said and done we wound up counting over 100 votes more than the machines had counted and we only recounted ballots that contained votes for the 2nd and 3rd place candidates so there were potentially and quite probably an even higher number of ballots that weren't counted the first time around. A rough estimate is that 1-2% of the initial votes weren't counted at all by the machines.
The ballots that were initially counted weren't marked in any way so we had no way of knowing which ballots had been previously counted by the machines and which hadn't however we were able to make some educated guesses after looking through thousands of ballots.
- We found quite a few where people 'x'ed or drew a line through the circle rather than filling it in according to instructions and others where people had voted for one candidate, crossed it out, and then voted for someone else. We suspected these were the types of ballots that the machines were not able to count.
- Also when I had served as an election clerk several years ago I noticed that the ticker on the machine that is supposed to count the number of ballots fed into it would not count a ballot if it was fed into the machine too quickly after the previous one so this may have been another reason some ballots didn't get counted the first time.
- There were also reports on election day that some machines temporarily malfunctioned (one had been accidentally unplugged) which may have caused other votes not to be counted.
After the recount we picked up some votes but not enough to change the results which was actually pretty reassuring as the extra votes tallied were in the same proportion for each candidate to what the machines initially tallied which is what you'd expect over a large sample size.
What we found is that while these particular machines did accurately count the ballots they were able to count, they cannot count all of them due to user error which is pretty difficult to eradicate – some people simply won't follow directions properly no matter how clear they are.
We caught some flak when asking for the recount about the presumed large cost to the taxpayer however the cost turned out to be minimal. Each candidate had 8 volunteers plus 8 more election clerks who were paid $11/hr by the city to supervise the volunteers. Our 8 teams of 3 managed to go through around 12K ballots in about 5 hours.
The solution is to have all ballots for every election counted by hand in public immediately after the polls close. It isn't rocket science, it's not that expensive and it's the only way to ensure that everyone's vote is actually counted.
* Lest anyone accuse me of trying to get Clinton in, I say all of this as someone who would rather be shot in the face by Dick Cheney than cast a ballot for any of the Clinton's or their spawn, legitimate or otherwise.
TheCatSaid November 20, 2016 at 9:59 am
[Response to Ulysses' comment] This begs the question of whether those votes were cast or counted accurately. In my early days of learning about election fraud (particularly at the Black Box Voting.org website and discussion threads), a topic that came up time and again was that there was extensive history of election fraud associated with union elections. IIRC, as electronic voting machines were being actively promoted, one of the avid supporters of using these methods was trade unions.
A couple articles that touch on some of the history (though not specifically in relation to unions) are this one by Victoria Collier written in 2012 but with some important history, and chapter 4, "A Brief History of Vote-Rigging" from Bev Harris' book (available free online).
Harris later learned that the lever machine companies and technicians had all been convicted of election fraud, going back to the 1880s, all over the US. Lever machine tampering was also discovered not long ago that changed election results, resulting from a single "miscalibrated" machine that it turned out had been producing anomalous results for over a decade. Richard Hayes Phillips in his lectures and book about the theft of the OH 2004 election (and thus the presidency) describes with detail how one of the methods used was altering the punch cards or sending voters to the wrong precinct machine, so their ballot would end up with undervotes or overvotes and not be counted.
It would be interesting to know about the election procedures for that union election, particularly the Canadian vote. Was it on machines? Paper? How secure was the chain of custody of the ballots?
Nov 08, 2016 | www.zerohedge.comPinto Currency Vatican_cameo Nov 8, 2016 12:35 PMmanofthenorth Pinto Currency Nov 8, 2016 12:51 PM
Check out Call for America.
Their automated polling system tells a completely different story:
It seems to me that early voting should be abolished, voter photo ID SHOULD BE required by law in all states.
Also to keep things as clean as possible there should be a media "NO FLY ZONE" on polling outcomes until ALL POLLS are closed in all states.
So much wag the dog it is just disgusting.
Praying for justice.
roddcarlson -> Scuba Steve •Nov 8, 2016 1:16 PM
The early vote (aka the mail in ballots) were compromised. Right the FBI kept sacking the Dems with mail in ballot forms, it must've been like a drug bust all those voting confetti sitting there like paper dollars. Dems crying you are hindering our right to vote! Hopefully the later day voting goes in our favor, but considering Soros electioneering electronics machines with no way to track it may not.
If we lose the vote then America is cooked literally. But the vote was cooked books if it does happen, so we won't be judged for that. What we as a nation may be judged for is severe apathy and embracement of things for our personal gain years earlier where it was obviously wrong. We should have never let these politicians get away with things like Iraq after learning there were no WMD. Or free trade that was exporting our manufacturing base to every totalitarian government abroad. Or our keeping up with the Jones by bigger and bigger mortgages we could barely afford the old one. Or uncontrolled immigration. We should have put our foot down a long time ago and made these uppers fear like Vietnam the whole thing was unstable and going to capsize on their butts.
But I can pretty much tell you that Americans (true ones) aren't guilty of this electioneering. The invader Mexicans and other parasites think they are somehow going to get on top of this thing. You know I still love them to this day. I remember falling down some stairs carrying a heavy desk, while some legal Mexican American citizens came and picked me up and then helped carry the desk too. So I'm not judging people individually based on their skin or ethnic background, I however am not foolish to say there is a problem of means here either. Hope all the invader Mexicans like Mexico II where they get to live out of cardboard boxes and railroad cars, because they killed the American host and now get their very own Mexican culture that is wholly immoral here too. Well don't worry because you get a taste of this Hillary invasion as well, with your nemesis the Muslims she is going to import in here. You see parasite never stop loving bigger problems for the host.
If we lose this election white people need to start taking care of their own. I've had many races that were my best of friends, and I'm not at all going to say I hate those people I will never hate them. But the white people are under attack by a systematic attempt to dispossess them from people like Soros. We still hold the reigns of economic power, even in our weakened state. We can still peacefully (hopefully) use that power to say no to the 3rd world takeover of our country.
Again early vote may mean nothing given the found stuffed cheated ballots at Dem headquarters. But do not think that we accept this NWO takeover, we've overlooked many previous incursion that has let it get this bad but no more even with a Hillary win.
jcaz -> Ghost of PartysOver •Nov 8, 2016 12:02 PM
The line I stood in this am was Trump up and down- everyone unhappy with the prospect of more of the same corrupt shit.
Not buying this story.
Ghost of PartysOver d jcaz •Nov 8, 2016 12:14 PM
It is really pretty easy to understand. Wall Street, including all the Hedge Funds, Banks .... have bought and paid for HRC. They control her. Wall Street will get what it wants which is more of the same; market manipulation, inside dealings, payoffs, lack of perp walks. You name it. This is a very good scenario for those bastards. Hence markets will rally.
Trump on the other hand will lock those bastards up. Markets will fall.
Pres HRC means outstanding next QTR reports and of course bonuses. Any illegal activity will be met with a slap on the wrist (Corzine ring a bell)
Pres Trump means reigning in the the crap and the next QTR report will not be so rosy. And bonuses will be much, much lower. Any illegal activity will be met with a perp walk.
I am a Trump fan and I am a realist.
Oct 24, 2016 | www.breitbart.com
A Washington Post analysis of Pollfish data shows that 84 percent of Republicans, 52 percent of Democrats, and 75 percent of independents believe that a "meaningful amount" of voter fraud occurs during elections.
Sixty percent of Republicans believe that illegal immigrants are voting, much higher than Democrats and independents.
Democrats focus more on voter ID laws, with 32 percent suggesting that it contributes to voter suppression. (Only 26 percent of Republicans feel the same way.)
But 30 percent of Republicans and 27 percent of Democrats agree that voter suppression occurs by purging eligible voters from the registration rolls.
Oct 24, 2016 | www.zerohedge.comA U.K. based company that has provided voting machines for 16 states, including important battleground states like Florida and Arizona, has direct ties with billionaire leftist and Clinton crusader George Soros.
With recent WikiLeaks emails showing that Hillary Clinton received foreign policy directives and coordinated on domestic policy with Soros , along with receiving tens of millions of dollars in presidential campaign support from the billionaire, concerns are growing that these shadowy players may pull the strings behind the curtains of the upcoming presidential election.
As Lifezette reports , the fact that the man in control of voting machines in 16 states is tied directly to the man who has given millions of dollars to the Clinton campaign and various progressive and globalist causes will surely leave a bad taste in the mouth of many a voter.
The balloting equipment tied to Soros is coming from the U.K. based Smartmatic company, whose chairman Mark Malloch-Brown is a former UN official and sits on the board of Soros' Open Society Foundation.
According to Lifezette , Malloch-Brown was part of the Soros Advisory Committee on Bosnia and also is a member of the executive committee of the International Crisis Group, an organization he co-founded in the 1990s and built with funds from George Soros' personal fortune.
In 2007 Soros appointed Malloch-Brown vice-president of his Quantum Funds, vice-chairman of Soros Fund Management, and vice-chairman of the Open Society Institute (former name of OSF).
Browns ties also intertwine with the Clintons as he was a partner with Sawyer-Miller, the consulting firm where close Clinton associate Mandy Grunwald worked. Brown also was also a senior advisor to FTI Consulting, a firm at which Jackson Dunn, who spent 15 years working as an aide to the Clintons, is a senior managing director.
When taking that into account, along with the poor track record Smartmatic has of providing free and fair elections, this all becomes quite terrifying.
An astonishing 2006 classified U.S. diplomatic cable obtained and released by WikiLeaks reveals the extent to which Smartmatic may have played a hand in rigging the 2004 Venezuelan recall election under a section titled "A Shadow of Fraud." The memo stated that "Smartmatic Corporation is a riddle both in ownership and operation, complicated by the fact that its machines have overseen several landslide (and contested) victories by President Hugo Chavez and his supporters."
"The Smartmatic machines used in Venezuela are widely suspected of, though never proven conclusively to be, susceptible to fraud," the memo continued. "The Venezuelan opposition is convinced that the Smartmatic machines robbed them of victory in the August 2004 referendum. Since then, there have been at least eight statistical analyses performed on the referendum results."
"One study obtained the data log from the CANTV network and supposedly proved that the Smartmatic machines were bi-directional and in fact showed irregularities in how they reported their results to the CNE central server during the referendum," it read.
With such suspicion and a study which claims to prove that the U.K. firm's equipment tampered with the 2004 Venezuelan recall election, should be enough for states to reject these machines if they desire a fair election.
Smartmatic is providing machines to Arizona, California, Colorado, Washington DC, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin, which means these Soros and Clinton linked machines are going to take the votes of thousands of Americans.
While GOP nominee Donald Trump has been voicing his opinion that the elections are indeed rigged due to media bias, and the proof that mainstream polls are heavily weighted to favor Clinton , it is needless to say that if the results show Hillary as a winner in November, there is going to a mess to shuffle through to find signs of honesty.
MillionDollarBonus_ Ghost of PartysOver Oct 24, 2016 10:57 AM ,Cliff Claven Cheers BaBaBouy Oct 24, 2016 11:02 AM
MSNBC are reporting that Hillary is absolutely surging and now leading by double digits! America is going absolutely wild for Hillary!! This is very exciting – I can sense victory, and I see that bitter right-wingers can sense defeat as they pre-emptively blame their loss on vote rigging. There is no such thing as election rigging, unless we're talking about Al Gore losing to Bush – there was clear evidence of rigging during this election. But Republicans are known for rigging elections. Democrats have never, and will never rig an election.
HOW TO FACT CHECK THE LIES AND CONSPIRACY THEORIES OF THE ALT RIGHTWe the people ask congress to meet in emergency session about removing George Soros owned voting machines from 16 statesBeam Me Up Scotty Cliff Claven Cheers Oct 24, 2016 11:29 AM ,
Signed the Deplorably Dicked
DDTwo words: PAPER BALLOTS!!! How anyone with 3 brain cells or more can't see that paper ballots are the way to go when voting is beyond me. There is a paper trail, and they cannot be hacked. They can be recounted. Machines are easily manipulated and there is NO PAPER trail to recount. Use paper ballots and tell Gerge Soros to go fuck himself.Notveryamused Manthong Oct 24, 2016 12:11 PM ,The Soros voting machine issue is one of the largest problems with this election. Trump has mentioned him by name twice during the debates and has also talked openly about a 'rigged' election. I hope he will address this directly.Mroex Beam Me Up Scotty Oct 24, 2016 11:54 AM ,
We're already seeing the polls skew in Clinton's direction in unusual states like Arizona so even that is on the cards to be stolen.Yes you are Damn right. Paper ballots were used in the Brexit vote and surprise surprise the people wonfx MillionDollarBonus_ Oct 24, 2016 11:18 AM ,
I can wait a day or two for results, I do not need instant results
Paper ballots would be kept under lock and quarded by representives of both parties
then when the time has come they would be counted and verified by both party reps
FUCK any form of voting machine, be it electronic or be it mechanicalLOL, not even your big hero Barry would claim that. To wit: Obama said back in 2008: "I want to be honest, it's not as if it's just Republicans who have monkeyed around with elections in the past. Sometimes, Democrats have, too."AViewFromDublin fx Oct 24, 2016 11:26 AM ,
And this time, it seems to be more than some monkeying on part of Hitlery and Barry. Rather "we rigged some votes and screwed some folks." Go figure.
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-10-22/obama-warned-rigged-elections-b...War Machine crossroaddemon Oct 24, 2016 11:29 AM ,
Speaking at a rally in Charlotte, North Carolina, Million Dollar Bonus said: "To say you won't respect the results of the election, that is a direct threat to our democracy.
"The peaceful transfer of power is one of the things that makes America America.And look, some people are sore losers, and we just got to keep going" It was actually Hillary Clinton who said that, same difference lol,You make a good point, and to distill the matter to its essence, apart from a controlled media and well established and entrenched special, foreign and banking interests in DC... The CIA is a CRIMINAL MAFIA acting under color of law, currently taking Saudi money to pay jihadi and 'blackwater' type mercs in Syria, and by the way Yemen, and elsewhere, to include the slow ramp up in E Ukraine.Mroex crossroaddemon Oct 24, 2016 11:39 AM ,
hillary goes along with CIA and the neocon/zionist/MIC agenda but she's replaceable.
No they can and will steal this election if, in fact, Trump were to get a majority of votes (which by the way is unlikely - study the demographics... trump can not beat hillary when she has 70/80% of women, the latinos, blacks, leftists, and so on) - but the underlying issue remains:
An out of control, above the law, criminal mafia acting on behalf of the Saudis and Israelis (if you think Syria is about the petrodollar or a Qatari pipeline... Think again - it's about Iran and Russia and about Greater Israel and its Leviathan and Golan gas most of all - Zbig et al would prefer to be full battle rattle in Ukraine and Chechnya...) is stopped how?
Considering that US military personnel may quite literally be killed by CIA provided weapons, one might posit that one scenario is CIA personnel being hunted down and arrested (or not) by elements of the US special forces although this doesn't happen without either strong and secure leadership or some paradigm-shifting revelation.
For example- if more knew how exceedingly likely it is that 9/11 was an inside/Israeli job... Knew it... Things might change.
but I'm not optimistic.
hillary means ww3, and we are not the good guys. If we ever were..Things were way different back when JFK was killed, I know I was around then.
For one thing there was no internet, and people trusted and respected the media (TV and Newspapers) This trust made it very easy to coverup and / or bury details.
People overwhelmingly trusted government officials, Very few people questioned what government and media told them, again this makes it super easy to lie and coverup
I repect your question, and I hope you consider what I said. I am trying to make the case that assasination is no longer an option, not unless they want to truly start a real civil war. Which I would not rule out. But if they wish to keep the status quo and the sheep silent, assasination is way way to risky for the reasons I mentioned above
Oct 23, 2016 | www.unz.com
Paul Craig Roberts • October 21, 2016
Do Americans have a memory? I sometimes wonder.
It is an obvious fact that the oligarchic One Percent have anointed Hillary, despite her myriad problems to be President of the US. There are reports that her staff are already moving into their White House offices. This much confidence before the vote does suggest that the skids have been greased.
The current cause celebre against Trump is his conditional statement that he might not accept the election results if they appear to have been rigged. The presstitutes immediately jumped on him for "discrediting American democracy" and for "breaking American tradition of accepting the people's will."
What nonsense! Stolen elections are the American tradition. Elections are stolen at every level-state, local, and federal. Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley's theft of the Chicago and, thereby, Illinois vote for John F. Kennedy is legendary. The Republican US Supreme Court's theft of the 2000 presidential election from Al Gore by preventing the Florida vote recount is another legendary example. The discrepancies between exit polls and the vote count of the secretly programmed electronic voting machines that have no paper trails are also legendary.
So what's the big deal about Trump's suspicion of election rigging?
The black civil rights movement has fought vote rigging for decades. The rigging takes place in a number of ways. Blacks simply can't get registered to vote. If they do get registered, there are few polling places in their districts. And so on. After decades of struggle it is impossible that there are any blacks who are not aware of how hard it can be for them to vote. Yet, I heard on the presstitute radio network, NPR, Hillary's Uncle Toms saying how awful it was that Trump had cast aspersion on the credibility of American election results.
I also heard a NPR announcer suggest that Russia had not only hacked Hillary's emails, but also had altered them in order to make incriminating documents out of harmless emails.
The presstitutes have gone all out to demonize both Trump and any mention of election rigging, because they know for a fact that the election will be stolen and that they will have the job of covering up the theft.
Don't believe the polls that say Hillary won the Q&A sessions or the polls that say Hillary is ahead in the election. Pollsters work for political organizations. If pollsters produce unwelcome results, they don't have any customers. The desired results are that Hillary wins. The purpose of the rigged polls showing her to be ahead is to discourage Trump supporters from voting.
Don't vote early. The purpose of early voting is to show the One Percent how the vote is shaping up. From this information, the oligarchs learn how to program the electronic machines in order to elect the candidate that they want.
Oct 22, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
The only way Hillary could be stopped would be if the Republican Party elite stood with Trump, so Soros and the other donor who owns voting machines could be blocked from flipping/fractionalizing votes. But that isn't happening. Soros machines are in key swing states like Colorado and Pennsylvania, and we already have data from the primary that a good 15% (at least) can be flipped, compared to exit polls/hand counts/paper trail or non-donor machines.
I guess it's still possible, like what happened in the Michigan Democratic primary, that the real numbers are more like a 10% lead for Trump and they come out in force in unexpected locations, and Clinton's small, unenthusiastic base stays home, thus making it too difficult to successfully flip. But I'm trying not to count on something like that, because it seems too close optomism bias driven "poll unskewing" – I mean, the polls clearly ARE skewed in favor of Hillary, but I doubt they're off by 15%.
Stein could never take over the Democratic Party. It isn't even clear to me that the Greens could replace the Democrats, although I do think their massive increase in ballot access this year is a credit to the party and to Stein. That shows real organizing and management effectiveness.
I started this campaign season advocating for purging Clintonians out of the now hollow Democratic Party and taking it over. That still seems like the most efficient path to an actual left national party, in part because our current system is so corrupted and calcified. But I'm not sure it's possible. At this point, I can imagine a cataclysmic revolution happening during Clinton's term more easily than a reformed, citizen friendly Democratic Party.
Is it gin o'clock yet?
Oct 22, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
dcblogger October 21, 2016 at 2:18 pmPat October 21, 2016 at 2:29 pm
""Obama, Holder to lead post-Trump redistricting campaign" [Politico]. "The new group, called the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, was developed in close consultation with the White House. President Barack Obama himself has now identified the group - which will coordinate campaign strategy, direct fundraising, organize ballot initiatives and put together legal challenges to state redistricting maps "
I have a very bad feeling about this.jrs October 21, 2016 at 2:36 pm
It made my blood run cold.
I notice that they have the resources for that, but not for registering people to vote. Funny about thatKatharine October 21, 2016 at 3:16 pm
why isn't it just what Republicans have already done? They are a push back against obvious Republican gerrymandering.jash October 21, 2016 at 3:24 pm
Gerrymandering is not always Republican in origin. Maryland is a disgrace produced by Democrats.Lambert Strether Post author October 22, 2016 at 2:23 am
Why are districts needed at this time?
Do they stilll need to travel by horse back to hob-knob?
It seems clear that only about 5%(too high) are really setting the rules in the state/district.
Given the ease of communications , let each state be wide open – elect from a list state wide.hunkerdown October 21, 2016 at 4:09 pm
Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.2 The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct. The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of New Hampshire shall be entitled to chuse three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut five, New-York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight, Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South Carolina five, and Georgia three.Pavel October 21, 2016 at 2:54 pm
That the parties are even allowed anywhere near district-drawing processes is a sign that the system is a sham designed to preserve them against us. How much more evidence do people need to be hit over the head with that they're complicit in enforcing frauds and that's not okay?
Obama and Holder, fresh off their various triumphs - closing Gitmo, prosecuting the Bush-era torturers, and sending top-level banksters to jail - just the team to sort this out. Not.
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