Thursday, November 08, 2012

What's the Story About Elections?

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Democrats Stole the Election
DOJ has fought against state initiated voter identification laws
David Coughlin
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
The electoral fraud evidence is accumulating to the point where I must conclude that the November election was stolen by the Democrats. In the months leading up to the election, report after report surfaced highlighting significant erosion of support for President Obama.
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Personal observation uncovered that no one, other than die-hard Democrats, who voted for Obama in 2008 was proud of that vote and most questioned whether they would vote for him again. On election night as results trickled in, with strange voting anomalies surfacing, the margin of victory, particularly in the swing states, did not pass the “smell test.” Electoral fraud can occur at any stage in the process, but there are three main types: 1) debasing voter rolls with deceased, illegal, and fictitious voter registrations; 2) preventing eligible voters from voting by disenfranchisement, rendering unable to actually vote or duplicative votes, or instituting rules or tests that voters (particularly military absentee voters) are unable to comply; and 3) altering the results by interfering with the voting process or the counting of votes, or manipulating the means of voting through tampering with machines or altering results. There are numerous examples of each of these fraudulent activities taking place before, during, or after the November election.
Nationwide it is estimated that there are 24 million ineligible voter registrations, including 1.8 million dead people listed as voters. The National Voter Registration Act includes provisions to ensure accurate and current voter registration rolls, but has never been enforced, despite known problems in many states. Dead people remain on the rolls, duplicates are not checked, and many registrations are suspect. There have been 400 cases of voter registration fraud prosecuted (ACORN under its many aliases) and 491 cases of absentee ballot abuse. The Columbus Dispatch estimated that more than 20% of registered Ohio voters aren’t eligible: in two counties there were 109 registered for every 100 eligible voters; and in 31 counties over 90% of eligible voters registered which is 20% higher than national average. Unless voter rolls are rigorously scrubbed each year, natural attrition will gradually erode the accuracy and dependability of the voter rolls.
Obama lost in each and every state where voter ID laws were in place. A poll watcher in Pennsylvania reported that up to 10% of ballots cast reverted to a default of Obama. Voters in Nevada, North Carolina, Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Wisconsin had touch screen voting machines that recorded Obama, even after Romney was selected. Republican poll watchers in multiple states were either turned away or not allowed to enter the precincts or thrown out once they had done so. People were openly bragging that they voted twice or more. In North Carolina, workers at a group home coaxed residents into voting for Obama. In Flushing, NY a Korean-American translator directed voters to vote for Democrat candidates. In St. Louis, voters found that someone had already voted with an absentee ballot in their name, forcing the use of provisional ballots. In Ohio, Democrats bussed Somali non-US citizen voters, who could not speak English from state to state, to vote for Obama. In Maine, a busload of black people was transported from rural town to rural town to vote. Only 20% of the overseas military turned in absentee ballots in 2008 and less than half were ever received and counted, and predictions are that it will even be worse in 2012. Requiring voter identification does not suppress the vote, but it does suppress the illegal votes. It is clear that there were multiple cases where people’s votes were not accurately recorded and ineligible people were able to poison the results with ineligible votes.
There are far too many examples of precincts that delivered fraudulent votes in key cities to pack the totals that may have impacted who got the electoral votes in many swing states. This tactic was so pervasive it earned its own name of “spigot cities.” In 59 Philadelphia, PA precincts, Obama recorded 100% of the votes. In Cleveland, OH districts, Obama recorded 100% of the votes. In 100 precincts in Ohio, Obama recorded 99% of the votes. In Broward County, FL precincts, Obama received over 99% of the votes. In one precinct, a rout over 99% is a possibility but hundreds of precincts recording over 99% exceed any possibility of credibility. In St. Lucie County, FL, 141% of eligible voters turned out to vote! (Statistically impossible) In Ohio, Obama won a county by 108% of registered voters. In two counties in Colorado, voting turnout exceeded the voter-age population. It is believed that this systemic voter fraud is protected by the Voting Section of the Justice Department, and that no meaningful investigations will ever take place to understand these voting “anomalies.”
The sheer volume of fraudulent activities, centered on the swing states, suggests a concerted effort to influence the results of the November election. The final totals of absentee ballots cast and actually counted have not yet been released, but new record low turnouts are predicted. Even if the number of fraudulent votes counted did not swing individual election results, the piloting of these criminal techniques portends bigger problems in future elections where these proven techniques can be rolled out beyond deep blue precincts. Massive and systemic electoral fraud seems to be the newest and slickest way for Democrats to steal elections.
Eighty eight percent of Americans who voted in November support establishing national standards for voting, including the hours polls are open, who is eligible to vote, and the design of ballots. The fact that there are very few examples of voter fraud prosecuted each year is more a reflection of the partisan nature of this administration than an indication of its scarcity. The American people are disgusted by the hint of electoral fraud and want it completely removed. The DOJ has fought against state initiated voter identification laws, despite proof that when voter id was enforced in Georgia higher voter turnout was achieved and no instances of voters being denied. Now is the time to invest in an internet enabled voting system based on a unique voter id that can be designed to be as secure as our banking system. The military would be an ideal pilot since the current approach is steadily eroding their ability to participate in this most important right and responsibility of citizenship.
Dave Coughlin recently retired from IBM after 31 years. He is now a political pundit who manages his web site “Return to Common Sense” and is an active member of the White Plains Tea Party. He was educated at West Point (Bachelor of Science, 1971) and the University of Alabama in Huntsville (Masters, Administrative Science, 1976). He currently resides with his wife in Hawthorne, NY. Dave can be reached at dscough@yahoo.com 
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The GOP Can Not Legally Help Stop Vote Fraud, No Joke
By PolitiJim
November 13, 2012
My good friend Alan Vera of True the Vote told me long ago that we have a two party system: the Corrupt Party and the Stupid Party. To that fact, during the weekly True the Vote webcast, Catherine Engelbrecht related a meeting she had with RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, asking what the GOP would do about voter integrity. The answer?
Nothing. They aren’t legally able to. (I’m not joking.)
As part of a lawsuit settlement with the Democrat Party, the Gutless Old Party agreed to not engage in any voter protection initiatives. Two of the clauses read this way:
(e) refrain from undertaking any ballot security activities in polling places or election districts where the racial or ethnic composition of such districts is a factor in the decision to conduct, or the actual conduct of, such activities there and where a purpose or significant effect of such activities is to deter qualified voters from voting; and the conduct of such activities disproportionately in or directed toward districts that have a substantial proportion of racial or ethnic populations shall be considered relevant evidence of the existence of such a factor and purpose;
(f) refrain from having private personnel deputized as law enforcement personnel in connection with ballot security activities.
ACORN Whistleblower Anita Moncrief added that when she spoke at the Republican National Convention, she had to submit her speech to make sure nothing she said could be construed as violating the order not to assist voter integrity.
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I now think the characterization “the Stupid Party” may be too kind.
Engelbrecht said to add insult to injury, the judge who signed the agreement has long since retired, but every single year comes back for the sole purpose of renewing the order for another year.
Moncrief pointed out during her comments [in the conference] that in visiting the Democrat advocacy groups in Ohio, they were organized, motivated and purposeful in getting out their vote as was witnessed by the long line of Somali and Ethiopian voters bussed in to polling places. When she visited the Romney campaign offices, she said there was utter confusion, many were just sitting around waxing about how the couldn’t wait to “Free Willy.” (ORCA was the name of the failed computer program the Romney campaign tried to use to “micro-target” volunteers to get out the vote where it was needed.)
It was down all day, and finally late in the day people were sent out with printed registration cards to go find people to vote.
Wasn’t I told by all the non-TEA Party Republicans that Romney was the best chance we had because he ran such great businesses and had the money to compete with Obama? Just asking.
Moncrief said one other thing of interest. When she visited random Ohio polling places, there was almost never a GOP poll watcher and always a Democratic one.
We wondered why the RNC wasn’t screaming bloody murder over the evidence of voting fraud? Of course, the RNC petitioned to get it changed this year but the Obama appointee denied it. Surprise, surprise.
Now you know.
And while True the Vote has done amazing things in bringing awareness to the issue of voter integrity, it is clear from the comments made tonight that they are just resigning themselves to the lost election and enormity of the Democratic advantage. And that’s not okay.
Obama only won by 400,000 votes in 4 states, all of which showed Romney ahead in the days leading up to the election, but losing by a substantial margin, all of which have precincts that inexplicably went 99% for Obama and had voter registrations that exceeded their population, all of which have public statements of problems with voting machines changing Romney votes to Obama.
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Fox News Conservatives Lose Credibility
By Cliff Kincaid
November 8, 2012
NewsWithViews.com
http://www.newswithviews.com/Kincaid/cliff663.htm
Although Republican Mitt Romney lost an easily winnable election, many conservative commentators and analysts took a beating as well. They were determined to believe that Romney would win no matter what Obama threw at him. They underestimated the aggressive nature of the Obama political machine and its ability to exploit economic, class, and cultural divisions in society for political gain.
Except for Juan Williams, the liberal Fox News commentator who predicted an Obama win, the personalities on Fox News were wildly off the mark in their predictions for the election. Karl Rove, Fred Barnes, Michael Barone and Dick Morris had all predicted a Romney win. Generally speaking, they thought Republicans were more excited about Romney than Democrats were about Obama. This turned out to be a fatal miscalculation.
One of the obvious and immediate conclusions is that Romney failed to get enough of the social conservative vote. Exit polls show Obama getting more of the Catholic vote, 50 percent, than Romney, who got 48 percent. Catholics make up approximately one in four U.S. voters.
Although Catholic leaders were emphasizing the themes of “life and liberty,” a reference to Catholic teachings being challenged by the Obama Administration’s pro-abortion mandates, Romney largely avoided the issue during the campaign. It was a strange omission. Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, said, “The collision course of the Obama Administration with the Catholic Church could have been averted yesterday, but now it is assured instead.”
In Maryland, a very liberal state, gay marriage won, but 47 percent voted against it. That was ten points more people than voted for Romney in Maryland. He lost the state 61-37 percent. Again, reflecting his aversion to social issues, Romney stayed out of the controversy, preferring to run a campaign based almost exclusively on economics.
On the matter of the numbers alone, Juan Williams had predicted Obama winning with 298 Electoral College votes to Romney-Ryan’s 240. The total now looks like 303-206 for Obama, though the figure is likely to rise to 332 for Obama.
On November 5, Rove, who raised $330 million for Romney, had predicted Romney winning with 285 Electoral College votes and Obama losing with 253. He said at the time that he believed that Nevada, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania were “in play and very winnable” for Romney. “If crowds at his recent stops in these states are any indication of his supporters’ enthusiasm, Mr. Romney will likely be able to claim victory in these states as well,” he added.
In fact, Obama beat Romney by six points in Nevada, seven points in Wisconsin, and five points in Pennsylvania.
“The tie in the polls goes to the challenger,” Fred Barnes had said, in a Weekly Standard article headlined, “Why Romney Will Win.” He explained, “The Obama get-out-the-vote drive (GOTV) is not quite the powerful juggernaut it was in 2008 and the Republican effort is far better than four years ago.”
Barone, the anchor of Fox News election coverage, had predicted Romney winning 315 Electoral College votes and Obama only 223. “Fundamentals usually prevail in American elections. That’s bad news for Barack Obama… most voters oppose Obama’s major policies and consider unsatisfactory the very sluggish economic recovery.”
In this Fox News video, Barone, who is also the senior political analyst at the Washington Examiner, talked about a possible “hidden vote” that could lead to a Romney landslide. He said the polls showing an Obama edge were characterized by a “systemic problem” of failing to reach the actual electorate.
Morris’s prediction was Romney 325, Obama 213. “That’s right,” Morris said. “A landslide for Romney approaching the magnitude of Obama’s against McCain.” Obama beat McCain 53-46 percent.
In this video of a Morris appearance on the Fox News Greta Van Susteren show, Morris explained why he believes Mitt Romney could decisively defeat Obama and seal his fate as a one-term president. Morris said, “In the popular vote, he [Romney] is going to win by more than five points.” He said he came to this conclusion through an analysis of how the polls were overestimating Democratic turnout. “You have me back on the show,” Morris said. “You hold me accountable.”
He left no room for debate. “I’ve done this for a living,” he said, emphasizing his credentials as a political analyst.
On radio, Rush Limbaugh was convinced that more Republicans would vote for Romney in 2012 than voted for McCain in 2008, thus propelling Romney to victory over Obama. Limbaugh also emphasized that Romney was getting huge crowds at his rallies and that early voting for Romney was up. He said, “…my thoughts, my intellectual analysis of this—factoring everything I see plus the polling data—it’s not even close. Three hundred-plus electoral votes for Romney.”
In fact, Romney got only 48 percent of the vote, just two points over McCain’s total in 2008. Romney lost his home state of Massachusetts by 61-37 percent and Wisconsin, which is Paul Ryan’s home state, by 53-46.
In the end, prominent conservative news personalities made major miscalculations about where the election was heading and the nature of the two candidates and their campaigns. As Dick Morris says, they should be held accountable.
© 2012 Cliff Kincaid - All Rights Reserved
Cliff Kincaid, a veteran journalist and media critic, Cliff concentrated in journalism and communications at the University of Toledo, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree.
Cliff has written or co-authored nine books on media and cultural affairs and foreign policy issues. One of Cliff's books, "Global Bondage: The UN Plan to Rule the World" is still awailable.
Cliff has appeared on Hannity & Colmes, The O’Reilly Factor, Crossfire and has been published in the Washington Post, Washington Times, Chronicles, Human Events and Insight.
Web Site: www.AIM.org
E-Mail: cliff.kincaid@aim.org
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The Death of Reason
By Coach Dave Daubenmire
November 8, 2012
NewsWithViews.com
Note: I am writing this prior to the election. The results will in no way alter this opinion.
During the past week I spent a good deal of time outside the early voting center in Columbus. I saw the evidence of the complete breakdown of the election process. The cheating was obvious to anyone who took the time to notice.
Obama-buses poured into the center weighted down with indigents from all across Franklin County. As the exited the bus they were handed a Democrat slate card and herded into the building. No ID was accepted…notice I didn’t say required…accepted. The poll workers refused to look at an ID even if you offered one.
Busses full of Somalis were shepherded through. Some were unable to speak English so they were given a “translator” to “assist” them in casting their ballot. The “translator” was, of course, “non-partisan” and was kind enough to help them sign in and fill out the ballot according to the slate card they had been given.
America is dead, my friends. When voting is easier for a non-citizen than buying a beer is for a 16 year old you know our goose is cooked.
I partnered outside the voting center with other like-minded Pro-Lifers. Our message was clear. Vote Biblical Values. We endorsed no candidate, but by holding the bloody aborted baby signs we hoped to prick the conscience of those who still had a conscience that functioned properly.
A vast amount of our citizenry is ignorant. They speak only in the slogans and platitudes that they have been fed by the mind-controllers in the media. For the most part, the average Democrat voter is incapable of forming, or countering an argument based on reason and logic.
What I would like to share with you today is the fruit of our “public” education system. Our “education” is pure indoctrination. The last thing our schools are designed to do is to train the students to think logically or independently.
Group speak, group thought, a herd-mentality is what the change-agents masquerading as educational experts have as their ultimate goal. Reason is defined as “a sufficient ground of explanation or of logical defense.” Here are just a few of the “discussions” I had out on the streets. Please notice the inability to apply reason.
Permit me to set the scene. I am standing beside a picture of an aborted fetus with a caption that reads “VOTE PRO-LIFE.” I only respond when someone speaks to me. The brain-dead Obamatron is always quoted first in the following interaction. BDV indicates Brain Dead Voter.
BDV “What about the death penalty? Are you in support of the death penalty?
ME “Pardon me, but what does that have to do with killing unborn babies?”
BDV “Why don’t you worry about the men being put to death?”
ME “Because a jury has found them guilty. I believe in our justice system even though it is not perfect. A jury of their peers declared guilt. Aborted babies are innocent. They have committed no crime. Why don’t you help defend the most innocent amongst us?”
BDV Go F--- yourself, a—hole.
NEXT BDV. “ A woman has a right to do what she wants with her body”
ME. “Really? Is a woman legally permitted to shoot drugs into her body?”
BDV “That’s different. Drugs are illegal.”
ME. “And killing a baby is legal?”
BDV “Hey. It is her body.”
ME “Really? Are you part of your mother’s body? And don’t half of all babies have a penis? Do you know of any woman who has a penis? The baby has its own blood type and DNA and it is different from the mother. How can that be her body?”
BDV. “Leave me alone dumbass.”
3rd BDV (Male) “Why don’t you want a woman to have a right to choose?”
ME “Oh I am for a woman’s right to choose, but I am fighting also for the babies right to choose. Have you noticed all of those who are pro-abortion have already been born?”
3rd BDV “But what about rape?”
ME “You think we should give the death penalty to the child because of what the father did? Shouldn’t we kill the guilty rapist and protect the innocent baby? Why do we punish the baby because his father was a criminal? Did you choose your father?”
He gives the double bird salute as he stammers away.
4th BDV “You need to stop the war on woman.”
ME “That is what I am trying to do. Half of the babies killed are future woman. I am trying to protect them from the real war on women. Women have to bear the grief alone when they come to realize that they have murdered their baby. Abortion permits men to be irresponsible.”
4th BDV “Keep your politics out of my uterus, you f—khead.”
5th BDV (Pointing at the sign) “How dare you show those pictures in front of young children.”
ME “Ma’am, I am more concerned about the children IN the pictures than I am the children seeing the pictures. If abortion is such a positive thing why are we embarrassed to show the pictures to our children?”
5th BDV “The children need to be protected from seeing this.”
ME. “I am pro-choice for the children seeing the pictures, but I am not pro-choice for the children appearing in the picture. You agree choice is a good thing, don’t you?”
I am too prudish to type what that tolerant lady spewed at me.
6th BDV “I am a Christian and Barack Obama is not for abortion!!
ME. “You are completely ignorant. I don’t know what to say.”
My jaw bounced off of the pavement.
7th BDV “Those pictures are faked. That is not really what happens in an abortion.”
ME “Hmmm…that is the same thing the Germans said about the pictures of Auschwitz. They ignored what was happening around them. They allowed the Nazi to declare that Jews weren’t people. Just like unborn babies…they are not people. It is easy on the conscience to kill a non-person.”
#7th BDV “You are a f—king racist.”
“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; -1 Tim 4:2
Americans are amoral. The government likes it that way.
The atheistic government schools are working exactly as designed.
The death of reason is evidence of their atheistic, amoral indoctrination. The schools teach the atheistic gospel more effectively that the church teaches the True Gospel.
Why are we surprised?
Coach Dave Daubenmire, founder and President of Pass The Salt Ministries www.ptsalt.com and Minutemen United www.minutemenunited.org, is host of the high octane Pass The Salt radio show heard in Columbus, Ohio.
In 1999 Coach Daubenmire was sued by the ACLU for praying with his teams while coaching high school in Ohio. He now spends his energy fighting for Christian principles in the public domain.
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The Real Winner of the Presidential Election
By Washington's Blog
Global Research, November 08, 2012
The Federal Reserve Is the Real Winner
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Image by William Banzai
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US News and World Report notes that Bernanke helped Obama to get re-elected by juicing the economy… at least temporarily:
The Federal Reserve had a key role in the presidential election—possibly even a decisive one.
Exit poll results show that, not surprisingly, a majority of voters said the struggling economy was their top concern …. In the end, voters seemed to believe the economy was gradually getting better, and Obama deserved more time to make things right.
Without question, the biggest factor impacting the economy this fall was the Federal Reserve’s decision in September to extend its controversial quantitative easing program indefinitely, until the economy is back on track for good. This type of monetary easing is an arcane strategy that doesn’t directly impact consumers. But it can have a powerful effect on the economy that filters through to ordinary people in many important ways. And the biggest advocate of quantitative easing has been Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke.
Consumer confidence, in fact, rose sharply in the weeks leading up to the election, even as business leaders were becoming more worried about problems such as the looming fiscal cliff. That’s one thing that pushed our Obamanometer reading onto Obama’s side. The Fed probably had as much to do with that as anything else.
Bernanke has also shown himself to be a pragmatist determined to do whatever is necessary to help the economy recover today, even if it risks unpleasant consequences—such as higher inflation—in the future. Voters seem to approve. So maybe the politicians ought to listen.
While Romney is as mainstream economically as Obama, he did make noises about auditing the Fed, criticized additional Fed easing, called Fed stimulus “artificial”, “ineffective” and “just making it up”, promised to appoint some monetary hawks, and said that he would challenge Bernanke’s re-appointment.
Some of it was undoubtedly attempting to appease Ron Paul supporters (and other libertarians), who hate the Fed. But at least some of it appears to have been genuine.
As such, the big winner from the election is the Federal Reserve.
Postscript: Numerous economists say that we must end or substantially rein in the Fed. Both liberal and conservative protesters – Occupy and Tea Party alike – have railed against the unchecked power of the Federal Reserve.
Support among the public and House for auditing the Fed is almost 100% … but Democratic Senate leader Reid has vowed to kill an audit (even though he previously supported it). Given that Obama has been re-elected, and the Dems have kept the Senate, it appears that the Fed will retain its powers without any real checks or balances.
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Presidential Elections: Powerful “Special Interest Groups” Won Again
By Dr. Paul Craig Roberts
Global Research, November 07, 2012
Url of this article:
The election that was supposed to be too close to call turned out not to be so close after all. In my opinion, Obama won for two reasons:
(1) Obama is non-threatening and inclusive, whereas Romney exuded a “us vs. them” impression that many found threatening, and
(2) the election was not close enough for the electronic voting machines to steal.
As readers know, I don’t think that either candidate is a good choice or that either offers a choice. Washington is controlled by powerful interest groups, not by elections. What the two parties fight over is not alternative political visions and different legislative agendas, but which party gets to be the whore for Wall Street, the military-security complex, Israel Lobby, agribusiness, and energy, mining, and timber interests.
Being the whore is important, because whores are rewarded for the services that they render. To win the White House or a presidential appointment is a career-making event as it makes a person sought after by rich and powerful interest groups. In Congress the majority party can provide more services and is thus more valuable than the minority party. One of our recent presidents who was not rich ended up with $36 million shortly after leaving office, as did former UK prime minister Tony Blair, who served Washington far better than he served his own country.
Wars are profitable for the military/security complex. Israel rewards its servants and punishes its enemies. Staffing environmental regulatory agencies with energy, mining, and timber executives is regarded by those interests as very friendly behavior.
Many Americans understand this and do not bother to vote as they know that whichever candidate or party wins, the interest groups prevail. Ronald Reagan was the last president who stood up to interest groups, or, rather, to some of them. Wall Street did not want his tax rate reductions, as Wall Street thought the result would be higher inflation and interest rates and the ruination of their stock and bond portfolios. The military/security complex did not want Reagan negotiating with Gorbachev to end the cold war.
What is curious is that voters don’t understand how politics really works. They get carried away with the political rhetoric and do not see the hypocrisy that is staring them in the face. Proud patriotic macho American men voted for Romney who went to Israel and, swearing allegiance to his liege lord, groveled at the feet of Netanyahu. Obama plays on the heart strings of his supporters by relating a story of a child with leukemia now protected by Obamacare, while he continues to murder thousands of children and their parents with drones and other military actions in seven countries. Obama was able to elicit cheers from supporters as he described the onward and upward path of America toward greater moral accomplishments, while his actual record is that of a tyrant who codified into law the destruction of the US Constitution and the civil liberties of the American people.
The election was about nothing except who gets to serve the interest groups. The wars were not an issue in the election. Washington’s provoking of Iran, Russia, and China by surrounding them with military bases was not an issue. The unconstitutional powers asserted by the executive branch to detain citizens indefinitely without due process and to assassinate them on suspicion alone were not an issue in the election. The sacrifice of the natural environment to timber, mining, and energy interests was not an issue, except to promise more sacrifice of the environment to short-term profits. Out of one side of the mouth came the nonsense promise of restoring the middle class while from the other side of the mouth issued defenses of the offshoring of their jobs and careers as free trade.
The inability to acknowledge and to debate real issues is a threat not only to the United States but also to the entire world. Washington’s reckless pursuit of hegemony driven by an insane neoconservative ideology is leading to military confrontation with Russia and China. Eleven years of gratuitous wars with more on the way and an economic policy that protects financial institutions from their mistakes have burdened the US with massive budget deficits that are being monetized. The US dollar’s loss of the reserve currency role and hyperinflation are plausible consequences of disastrous economic policy.
How is it possible that “the world’s only superpower” can hold a presidential election without any discussion of these very real and serious problems being part of it? How can anyone be excited or made hopeful about such an outcome?
Copyright © 2012 Global Research
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US Elections: From the “Lesser to the Greater Evil”. The Demise of Critical Liberalism
By Prof. James Petras
Global Research, November 03, 2012
Introduction
There is ample evidence that the Obama Presidency has pulled the US political spectrum further to the Right. On most domestic and foreign policy issues Obama has embraced extremist positions surpassing his
Republican predecessor and in the process devastating what remained of the peace and social movements of the past decade. Moreover, the Obama Presidency has laid the groundwork for the immediate future promising a further extension of regressive policies following the presidential elections: cuts in Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare. Incumbents and their opposition compete over hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign funding from wealthy donors, which they will have to repay in the post-election period in billion dollar handouts, subsidies, tax abatements, anti-labor and environmental policies. Not a single positive proposal was put forth by the Obama campaign but numerous militarist and regressive social policies were articulated. The Obama campaign ran a fear campaign, playing off of the reactionary proposals of the Romney-Tea Party alliance: a cover for his own record of unprecedented military spending, sequential wars, immigrant expulsions, mortgage foreclosures and Wall Street bailouts.
In the process, critical liberals have crossed the line, surrendering their integrity by deflecting attention from Obama’s militarist-socially regressive policies to focus on “opposing Romney” as a “greater evil”: progressives and critical liberals have multiplied and magnified the duplicity of the Obama political apparatus. In the name of opposing the current ‘greater evil’ (Romney) they dare not enumerate and specify the wanton political crimes and monumental socio-economic in justice perpetrated by their “lesser evil” candidate (Obama). Will the “progressives” ever play honest and publicly state: we back Obama in “swing states” because he has “only” murdered 10,000 Afghans, 5,000 Iraqis, is starving 75 million Iranian’s via sanctions, gives $3 billion for Israeli displacement of millions of Palestinians, personally oversees the arbitrary executions of US citizens and promises an extended kill list … because Romney promises to be worse … Expecting honesty from the proponents of ‘lesser evils’ is as farfetched as taking serious their criticisms between elections.
The political damage incurred by the social movements and US working class under the Obama presidency is unprecedented and has laid the groundwork for further social regression and greater imperial bellicosity.
Political Consequences of the Obama Presidency: Past, Present and Future
The Obama Presidency and the run-up to his past and present electoral campaigns have had a devastating impact on popular social movements, engaged in issues of peace, labor, immigrant and constitutional rights
and environmental regulation.
The peace movement virtually disappeared as its leaders urged its supporters to turn their activities to supporting Obama’s election. He rewarded them by escalating military spending, and engaging in sequential wars, directly or by proxy, in seven countries, wreaking havoc and destruction. He faced minimum opposition as ex-peace activists, in dismay, turned away or grabbed a post and apologized for war. By 2012 the follower- less peace leaders repeat the same mantra to support Obama; but dare not repeat the past lie (in the name of ‘peace’) rather they claim in order ‘to defeat Romney’.
The immigrant rights movements prior to the 2008 election of Obama mobilized several million…. till it was infiltrated and taken over by Mexican-American political hacks from the Democratic Party ad turned into an electoral machine to secure elected posts for themselves and Obama. He rewarded the immigrants by setting a record: seizing, jailing and expelling 1.5 million immigrants over his tenure in office. The immigrant rights mass movement has been largely dismantled and now Democratic political hustlers hire canvassers to round up and register, highly disillusioned immigrant voters.
Afro-Americans were the most neglected sector of the US working class under Obama: they experienced the highest levels of unemployment and home foreclosures and the longest period of joblessness. They became politically invisible as Obama bent over front ways to appease rabid White racists seeking to label him a ‘black president’. The established black leadership-political and religious – and the media celebrities went all out to block any expression of grass-roots opposition, claiming it would only “help the racists” – ignoring Obama’s embrace and bail out of White Wall Street and showing his backside to millions of black households under water. Without movement or leadership, fearful of the problem (economic racism) and the solution (4 more years of invisibility under Obama) most black workers are left to abstain or hold their nose and vote for ‘Oreo’ Obama.
The Occupy Wall Street Movement, precisely because it was independent of the Democratic Party and fed up with Obama’s total subservience to Wall Street, provided a temporary voice for the vast majority of Americans opposed to both political parties. The local and state Democratic officials applauded “the cause” and then repressed the movement.
A spontaneous movement without political direction, and lacking an alternative political leadership, was incapable of confronting the Obama regime: the movement declined and disintegrated, many sympathizers sucked up by the Obama ‘lesser evil’ propaganda campaign. The mass popular animus to Wall Street was defused by Obama’s claim to have saved “the economy” from catastrophe by channeling $4.5 trillion dollars into the bankers’ pockets.
Constitutional rights were savaged by Obama’s defense of military trials, Bush era tortures, expansion of arbitration executive power including the assumption of Presidential power to assassinate US citizens without a trial. While legal organizations fought the good fight for civil liberties, the vast majority of liberals were notable by their absence from any sustained democratic movement upholding the rights of 40 million
Americans under police surveillance, especially Muslim citizens and immigrants. They chose not to embarrass their Democratic President: they placed the re-election of a police-state Democrat over and above their putative defense of constitutional rights. No mass marches for civil liberties; no protests against Home Land Security; no campus-wide free speech movements against the abrogation of the right to criticize Israel .
For decades, the trade union confederation and senior citizen movements defended Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. With Obama in office, openly declaring and preparing major reductions and regressive clauses on coverage (raising age qualification) and indexing, there is no significant protest movement. Programs which for the better part of a century (social security) or half century (Medicare, Medicaid) were considered untouchable are now, according to Obama, “on the table” to be gutted (“reformed”, “adjusted”). The trade union millionaire bosses hire a small army of campaign workers and raise over a $150 million to re-elect a President who promises to make huge cuts in medical programs for pensioners and the poor. Obama has legitimated the regressive social positions of the far-right while the Democratic Party neutralized any trade union opposition or mobilization.
Last but not least, the Obama regime has co-opted progressive liberal social critics via backdoor support. In the name of “opposing Romney” the progressive pundits, like Chomsky and Ellsberg, end up in alliance with Wall Street and Silicon Valley billionaires, Pentagon militarists, Homeland Security boosters and Zionist ideologues (Dennis Ross) to elect Obama. Of course, the support of the progressives will be accepted -but hardly acknowledged- but they will have no influence on future Obama policy after the election: they will be discarded like used condoms.
The Future: Post-Election Consequences
With or without the re-election of Obama, his regime and policies have laid the groundwork for an ever more regressive and reactionary social agenda: living standards including health, welfare, social security will be cut drastically. Afro-Americans will remain invisible except to the police and racist judicial system. Immigrants will be hunted down and driven out of homes and jobs: immigrant student dreams will become nightmares of fear and trepidation. Death squads, proxy and drone wars will multiply to prop up a bankrupt US empire. Unaccountable and hypocritical progressives will shift gears and criticize the president they elected; or if it’s Romney they will attack the same vices they overlooked during Obama’s electoral campaign: more cuts in public spending and climate change will result in greater deterioration in everyday life and basic infrastructure; more floods, fires, plagues and blackouts. New Yorkers will learn to detox their toilet water; they might be drinking and bathing in it.
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A cure for America's corruptible voting system
Too many of us buy into the myth of US democracy. In fact, the 'secret ballot' could use of dose of daylight and transparency
Naomi Wolf
guardian.co.uk, Saturday 3 November 2012
When I went to vote last week in New York City, using an absentee ballot (because I will be out of the country on election day), I had a surreal experience that was also very ordinary: I marked my ballot – put it, as advised by the nice man behind the counter, into a sealed envelope, handed it to him and … nothing.
That is, he looked at me quizzically as I waited. For what? I realized that in every transaction I ever had with the government, I get some kind of receipt or documentation. But I had just handed over my most precious possession, my vote, and I had nothing to show for it. No scrap of paper noting for the record what I had done, and no way to verify that what I wished to do got recorded accurately.
The fellow offered, when I expressed some wish for something like this, to use my phone camera to take a picture of me holding the sealed envelope – for proof I had voted. Seriously.
We treat the black hole where our votes vanish as if we don't dare to validate them partly because the process is so highly mystified. One aspect of this mystification, which gatekeepers use effectively against us, is the glamour around the secret ballot. That noble "secrecy" is what keeps citizen groups from observing the vote count, demanding verification slips, and so on.
The secret vote was, in its time, a great idea. Before the secret ballot was popularized, it was standard practice to intimidate and threaten voters. But few know that America hasn't always had secret ballots. Indeed, the secret ballot didn't even originate in the US – the system we use is known, actually, as the "Australian ballot".
The majority of US states did not move to that system – in which publicly-provided, printed ballots with the names of the candidates are marked in secret – until after 1884. Until 1891, indeed, Kentucky still held an "oral ballot"; and it wasn't till the election of President Grover Cleveland in 1892 that the first US president was elected entirely via secret ballot.
Why do I point this out? Because our mystification of the secret ballot is one of the strange ways in which we treat our nation's voting system with truly weird magical thinking – much like the magical thinking (about which I have written here) that often attends global warming: a defiant, seven-year-old's refusal to connect point A and point B. By now, reams of solid reporting have documented the aberrations, high jinks, missing hard drives, voting machines that weirdly revert to one candidate, voting machines owned by friends of the candidate of one party, and other aspects of systematic corruption that attend America's voting.
The dogged and deeply patriotic Mark Crispin Miller has meticulously documented masses more of these examples – notably in the last election in Ohio – in his masterful Harper's essay last month, "None Dare Call It Stolen."
But this is what is weird about the way we are asked to think about the vote: as if nothing could ever ever ever go wrong with it, and as if it is crazy to entertain the notion that it might. To even raise the issue, with solid documentation, as many reporters and citizens have found out, is to risk immediate mockery – as
Miller notes, citing 2004 headlines: "Election Paranoia Surfaces: Conspiracy Theorists Call Results Rigged," chuckled the Baltimore Sun on 5 November; "Internet Buzz on Vote Fraud is Dismissed," proclaimed the Boston Globe on 10 November; "Latest Conspiracy Theory – Kerry Won – Hits the Ether," the Washington Post chortled on 11 November.
Meanwhile, solid reporting on the war on voting, and on the corruption of the voting infrastructure, continues to mount, as in the Rolling Stone piece this summer on the GOP's "war on voting". and the Huffington Post notes the eyebrows raised when a pro-Romney company buys a stake in the company that makes the machines that count our votes.
Well, as a student of closing societies, I can tell you that it is crazy to ask Americans to have pure faith that the system is incorruptible, and to ask them to just drop their votes into a black hole and trust in the Lord – or Diebold. If you look at weak democracies, the oligarchies that have taken undue control of them always seek to tamper with the vote. It is important for oligarchs to have elections to give their guy a veneer of legitimacy – and important for the vote always to turn out "their way". Indeed, something that is never reported in major news media here is that former President Carter's voting accountability organization sees America's system as relatively flawed and corrupted compared with the systems of many other nations. That is a situation that would typically bring observers from aid organizations like his to our polling places to help us count our vote. (See what happened to foreign poll observers in Miller's Harpers story who tried to watch the vote in America.)
Here is my modest proposal: let us end the secret ballot, because we have reached a point, with the internet, in which transparency and accountability is more important than absolute secrecy. Don't panic, because this is what I mean: your vote won't be publicly available, but why can't I get a number when I hand in my ballot, or when I vote in a machine – just as I do with bloodwork, or computer passwords, or other transactions in which I get accountability, but not disclosure of my actual name? Then, the votes get tallied and posted – with their corresponding numbers – online on a public site, and major media reproduce the lists. And I can check my number (unidentifiable to anyone else) to check whether my vote was correctly registered.
This would allow, in one sweep, all citizens to watch the watchers. It does not compel anyone to reveal his or her vote – but gives him or her the option of challenging a discrepancy, and the means to verify what he or she had actually intended to do. And in one easy, inexpensive, technically feasible gesture, it takes the power away from the Diebold-type private corporations and the various parties and the officials, and allows actual verification that cannot be spun or falsified. Most importantly, it removes a psychological blinder, which the American people are asked to wear every two and four years – the blinder that infantilizes us, that has highly interested individuals and groups say to us, "we are impartial, this is a magically noble and incorruptible process: trust us."
As President Ronald Reagan put it in another context: sure – trust, but verify.
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When corporations bankroll politics, we all pay the price
Letting taxpayers fund parties directly could revive our rotten system – and at £1 per elector, it would be cheaper too
George Monbiot The Guardian,
Monday 29 October 2012
It's a revolting spectacle: the two presidential candidates engaged in a frantic and demeaning scramble for money. By 6 November, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney will each have raised more than $1bn. Other groups have already spent a further billion. Every election costs more than the one before; every election, as a result, drags the United States deeper into cronyism and corruption. Whichever candidate takes the most votes, it's the money that wins.
Is it conceivable, for instance, that Romney, whose top five donors are all Wall Street banks, would put the financial sector back in its cage? Or that Obama, who has received $700,000 from both Microsoft and Google, would challenge their monopolistic powers? Or, in the Senate, that the leading climate change denier James Inhofe, whose biggest donors are fossil fuel companies, could change his views, even when confronted by an overwhelming weight of evidence? The US feeding frenzy shows how the safeguards and structures of a nominal democracy can remain in place while the system they define mutates into plutocracy.
Despite perpetual attempts to reform it, US campaign finance is now more corrupt and corrupting than it has been for decades. It is hard to see how it can be redeemed. If the corporate cronies and billionaires' bootlickers who currently hold office were to vote to change the system, they'd commit political suicide. What else, apart from the money they spend, would recommend them to the American people?
But we should see this system as a ghastly warning of what happens if a nation fails to purge the big money from politics. The British system, by comparison to the US one, looks almost cute. Total campaign spending in the last general election – by the parties, the candidates and independent groups – was £58m: about one sixtieth of the cost of the current presidential race. There's a cap on overall spending and tough restrictions on political advertising.
But it's still rotten. There is no limit on individual donations. In a system with low total budgets, this grants tremendous leverage to the richest donors. The political parties know that if they do anything that offends the interests of corporate power they jeopardise their prospects.
The solutions proposed by parliament would make our system a little less rotten. At the end of last year, the committee on standards in public life proposed that donations should be capped at an annual £10,000, the limits on campaign spending should be reduced, and public funding for political parties should be raised. Parties, it says, should receive a state subsidy based on the size of their vote at the last election.
The political process would still be dominated by people with plenty of disposable income. In the course of a five-year election cycle, a husband and wife would be allowed to donate, from the same bank account, £100,000. State funding pegged to votes at the last election favours the incumbent parties. It means that even when public support for a party has collapsed (think of the Liberal Democrats), it still receives a popularity bonus.
Even so, and despite their manifesto pledges, the three major parties have refused to accept the committee's findings. The excuse all of them use is that the state cannot afford more funding for political parties. This is a ridiculous objection. The money required is scarcely a rounding error in national accounts. It probably represents less than we pay every day for the crony capitalism the present system encourages: the unnecessary spending on private finance initiative projects, on roads to nowhere, on the Trident programme and all the rest, whose primary purpose is to keep the 1% sweet. The overall cost of our suborned political process is incalculable: a corrupt and inefficient economy, and a political system engineered to meet not the needs of the electorate, but the demands of big business and billionaires.
I would go much further than the parliamentary committee. This, I think, is what a democratic funding system would look like: each party would be able to charge the same, modest fee for membership (perhaps £50). It would then receive matching funding from the state, as a multiple of its membership receipts. There would be no other sources of income. (This formula would make brokerage by trade unions redundant.)
This system, I believe, would not only clean up politics, it would also force parties to re-engage with the public. It would oblige them to be more entrepreneurial in raising their membership, and therefore their democratic legitimacy. It creates an incentive for voters to join a party and to begin, once more, to participate in politics.
The cost to the public would be perhaps £50m a year, or a little more than £1 per elector: three times the price of a telephone vote on The X Factor. This, on the scale of state expenditure, is microscopic.
Politicians and the tabloid press would complain bitterly about this system, claiming, as they already do, that taxpayers cannot afford to fund politics. But when you look at how the appeasement of the banking sector has ruined the economy, at how corporate muscle prevents action from being taken on climate change, at the economic and political distortions caused by the system of crony capitalism, and at the hideous example on the other side of the Atlantic, you discover that we can't afford not to.
Twitter: @georgemonbiot
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