voting

Unsurprising Poll Results from Massachusetts: Voters Think Obama Sides With the Banks

By Numerian

An interesting observation was made today by the pollster for Martha Coakley, the hapless Democratic candidate for the Massachusetts senate seat held almost forever by Ted Kennedy. It appears polls are showing that the voters, especially independents who would normally vote Democratic in a liberal blue state like Massachusetts, have instead run to support the Republican candidate as the agent of change. Wasn’t that supposed to be Barack Obama’s signature tune?

Massachusetts voters have given up on President Obama as an agent for anything but the status quo, and this is most evident in his willingness to dole out trillions of dollars in direct and indirect support to the banks. The Massachusetts polls show this issue to be foremost on the minds of the voters.
(more…)

The Celebration Went Unnoticed – A Major Leftist Win in Uruguay

Michael Collins

Uruguay’s left wing political coalition, the Broad Front party (Frente Amplio), retained control of the presidency in the November elections.  This wasn’t just any election.  The winner, flower farmer Jose “Pepe” Mujica, was the victim of imprisonment and torture during Operation Condor in the 1970’s as a result of his efforts as a Tupamaro rebel.  During that period of military dictatorship, the new president spent fourteen years in prison, including two years confined at the bottom of a well.

Mujica won 48% of the vote in the initial round of elections on October 25.  He then pushed his total to 52% for a comfortable victory in the November 29 runoff voting against Conservative candidate Luis Alberto Lacalle who gained 44% of the vote.  In the 2004 elections, outgoing President Tabaré Vázquez, also of the Broad Front coalition, won with just over 50% of the vote. (more…)

A Modest Proposal – An Iraqi Vote on Troop Withdrawal

A Modest Proposal

An Iraqi Vote on Troop Withdrawal

By Michael Collins

(Also published at OpEdNews, The Agonist, The Smirking Chimp )

Over the years, we’ve seen various “exit strategies” proposed for withdrawal from Iraq.  The best proposal was made by a Baghdad man on his way to a demonstration just a few days after that city fell.  A  U.S. reporter asked what should happen now.  The man turned to the reporter and said, “Thank you for getting rid of Saddam.  Now please leave our country.”

That advice was probably the best input that United States policy makers ever received (if they even noticed).   It was freely offered and no one died in the process.

Why not give democracy a chance?

The Iraqis have a right to a direct vote on the options for U.S. troop withdrawal.

The ballot would be simple.

Should U.S. troops leave Iraq?   Yes   No

If you answered Yes, how soon should they leave?

Immediately __    6 months __   12 months__    18 months__

Iraqis have wanted the U.S. out of their country almost from day one.  Various surveys show that a solid majority of citizens want coalition troops to leave within a year.  In 2004, 86% of Iraqis wanted U.S. troops out – 41% immediately and 46% after a new government was established.  At the start of 2006, 94% of all Iraqis supported their government setting a timeline for U.S. withdrawal from immediate departure to a timed departure over two years.   A few months later, even a poll by the U.S. Department of State showed nearly 70% of citizens wanted U.S. occupation to end.

Polls in 2007 and 2008 conducted by a variety of organizations demonstrate that a majority of Iraqis want foreign troops to leave.

Here’s why they’re upset.  Over a million Iraqis have died in sectarian and other forms of violence kicked off by the U.S. invasion.  For the most part, this has been Iraqis killing other Iraqis, an outcome of the extensive civil strife that was predicted before the invasion.

In addition, the quality of life in Iraq is dreadful and the citizens do notice.   Since 2007, large segments of the population describe a “declining quality/availability of (the) electricity supply, water, fuel, education, local government and medical care.”  Harm to an immediate family member was reported by 17% of Iraqis.

But the Iraqis are no fools.  They’ve lived with the darkest expressions of the Bush – Cheney White House since March 2003.  Nearly 80% of all Iraqis believe that coalition troops won’t withdraw even if they’re asked.  .

Just a month after the citizens of the United States saw the neoconservatives and their dreams of empire leave power , a new plan was announced.  Most U.S. troops will be withdrawn by within 18 months.  Thirty to fifty thousand will remain to help with security and the never ending process of training Iraqi security forces.

Aren’t we missing a step?

Who asked the Iraqi people about the withdrawal schedule?  As the self-proclaimed proponents for democracy and human rights, shouldn’t the United States inquire as to the will of the people before initiating any policy changes?  Failing to do so means we’ve skipped a critical step.  How democratic is that?  It’s their country after all.

Did someone forget to raise those questions when the new plans were developed?

Relying on the ever shifting positions of a very unpopular Iraqi government is useless in assessing the will of the Iraqi people.  The only way to determine their will is through a national election.  Should U.S. troops stay or go?  If they should go, what is the preferred timeline?

Those who speak the language of empire might say that this modest proposal, democracy for Iraq, allows Iraqi citizens to determine U.S. foreign policy.

The answer to that is simple.  Right now U.S. foreign policy trumps Iraqi domestic policy and democracy.   Denying the vote to the Iraqis on this most vital matter denies their rights to self determination and belies the role of the United States as a proponent of democracy.

A 2003 Senate Committee on Foreign Relations report on Iraq stated that:

“Iraqis remain a proud people. Gratitude over the removal of Saddam mixes with a strong strain of nationalism. Military occupation elicits complex reactions, and Iraqis, citing their long history of civilization, believe that they are capable of running their own affairs.”  Committee on Foreign Relations, July 2003

That statement was made in 2003.  It’s 2009.

Do we believe in the right of self determination for the long suffering people of Iraq?  If so, at long last, let’s prove it by letting them chose their own fate.

END

Permission granted to reproduce in whole or in part with attribution of authorship and a link to this article.

Massive Multiplayer Political Game (MMPG)

The Massive Multiplayer Political Game (MMPG)


Scene at the End of the World El Profe CC

“Now what” asked the boy? “You are my son,” responded his master. “Go do my work. I will be there for you.”

Michael Collins
“Scoop” Independent News
Washington, DC

Fantasy encircles the U.S. presidential race. We have an urgent responsibility to address climate change and other environmental problems that imperil the 6.6 billion people on the planet. Anyone hear about that from the candidates? We have a health care crisis in the United States with over 40 million uninsured and premium rates skyrocketing for those with insurance. Any real solutions for that problem? Our economic system is on its last legs and our infrastructure, bridges, etc., crumbles as you read this. Zero real solutions, right, other than solutions that line the pockets of political donor’s.

This is a time for intense focus, serious discussions, and open debate on policies and programs. It’s the entire human species at risk. Have we heard anything about that in the presidential primaries? Not even close.

But we have an alternative – respond to their game playing with our own, a Massive Multiplayer Political Game (MMPG). That doesn’t mean we stop working as hard as possible for real change. We’ll continue to tell “the elect,” in no uncertain terms, that it’s time for truth. But every now and then, why not take the edge off by mocking our profoundly incompetent “rulers” in a virtual world of our choice.

The game is called “Sim/End Game;” a massive multiplayer political “God game” where the key characters claim to save the world but actually bring on the End Game, extinction of the human species. There’s hard core reality embedded in this fantasy game.

The key characters are based on the current leaders in the party primary races.

Republicans – The Hunt for Body Count

The only distinct competition between Republicans is which plan has the highest body count.

(1) (2) (3) (4)

Mitt Romney is a lot of hot air on body count. He talks a tough game on “terrorism” but there are few figure attached since his threats are so generic. We can make cautious assumptions and impute figures based on the general tone of his remarks on the war.

Let’s say he keeps us in Iraq for another four years. Combined casualties are running at about 191,000 a year including the huge increase in suicide rates for those who’ve served in Iraq (120 a week). That leaves Romney with a total body count of 760,000, nothing compared to his opponents. (R: Dave Delay CC)

McCain and Huckabee are the clear body count visionaries. John McCain said it would be just fine with him if we’re in Iraq for another 100 years. Using the previous annualized figures, that would be 19 million dead. There are on 26 million Iraqis. If McCain bumps up his effort over there, he can easily exhaust the entire 26 million citizens. This guy is scary. (L: maren CC‘)

But McCain is just a piker when we look at candidate Mike Huckabee. He says we’re in the midst of World War III against Muslims. But that’s not all. He’s a believer in the “End Times” when his version of Jesus returns to earth to battle the antichrist. Since most everyone dies in that battle, we’re looking at, oh, let’s say 6.4 billion dead! Just 200 million will survive: the true believers in Huckabee’s version of the world. (R: Florian CC )

Ron Paul can’t be used as a player because he opposed the Iraq invasion from the start on principle. With Dennis Kucinich out of the race, he’s the one true anti war (not just anti Iraq) candidate in the running.

Metaphysical Politics – Democratic Vagaries

The Democrats have some dangerous policies that will create significant increases in body count. But they lack the creepy Republican blood lust and focus on death. They’re all about their “version” of the future, the specific qualities that make them capable of solving all the problems that they refuse to discuss. Solipsism meets narcissism. It’s all about them. (L: Daniella Zaclkman CC)

Hillary Clinton is joined at the hip with her husband. “I never did anything without discussing it with her first” says Bill Clinton. That refers to Bill’s two terms and also, apparently, every one of her primaries. Hillary’s theme is – “experience.” She’s been there, she knows how the world works, and she’s got that special “wisdom” that comes only from the experience of listening and watching great events. If we were a royalty, she could be our “Watch Queen.”

Barak Obama is a true metaphysician.. His campaign is a 100% vision. “Hope” is the centerpiece. If it all works out, he’ll replace Bill Clinton as “the man from Hope.” He let his vision slip in his victory speech when he talked about a night “years from now” when our children “inherit a planet that’s a little cleaner and safer.” (L: Daliella Zalkman CC’)

I guess he didn’t see the movie or read the book. Either we start cleaning up our mess in a couple of years or we’re all doomed. Oh well, at least he’s got a vision.

*********************

 

Sim/End Game

Massive Multiplayer – Online Role Playing Game
Virtual Fantasy World
Persistent Presence – Players Attributes Remain During Absence
God Game – Territorial with Delusions of Salvific Power

Sim/End Game allows players to assume the role of a Savior with the recurring theme of failure despite their delusions of omnipotence. The territory is a fantasy version of this world just before humans reach the point of total extinction. The job of each Savior is to prevent human extinction. Each fails due to the fatal flaw, “hubris.” Their delusion of salvific powers is caused by two mistaken assumption: (1) there will always be conflict and war no matter what anyone does and (2) the Saviors come from a land occupied by a special breed with special powers. This creed is taught throughout their land at the instruction of the tiny minority in control. They teach that the land and its people are so different, so exceptional; they’re entitled to save the world through any means available: “exceptionalism” where “the end justifies the means.”

While their stated goal is salvation, the Saviors (candidates) inevitably commit acts that cause the destruction of the human species. The tension of the game is between the ego based claim that the Saviors are “God’s” agents and the reality that they’re just flunkies for the Archons, rulers of the “le nouvel ordre du monde” (the new world order).

While the characters are able to buy “special powers” and weapons, they must ultimately deal with The Deity.

SAVIORS

(All images El Profe Creative Commons or with permission.)

Mad McCain

His power comes from rage.
Don’t piss him off. El Profe CC

Magnificent Mitt

Not even an empty shirt to cover
his perfection – sparkling. El Profe CC

Lady Macbeth Clinton

She’s had enough! She will do anything
to claim her right to rule. El Profe CC

Quick Change Obama

Barack does it all with words and charm.
It’s all hope from “the hope-ster.” He’s
a young man in a hurry. El Profe CC

The Minister of Death
Huckabee

He has the final solution – we’re all going to die
except “the chosen.” All questions have been
answered for The Minister of Death and his crew.
We’re rockin’ in to the End Times!
El Profe © (with permission)

SPECIAL POWERS

Shut the F… Up

The ultimate control mechanism to keep any intruders silent, no matter how truthful they may be. El Profe CC

The Myth of Eternal Conflict

http://i174.photobucket.com/albums/w82/simonwilchesc/Process-1.gif
(CLICK link above to activate image if none appears.)

The first essential delusion. It powers the game by causing the characters to believe the fight is eternal and must continue; that arms are the only solution. El Profe CC

Exceptionalism

The second essential delusion: the “hubris” character leading all others to think that they have the solution based living in the exceptional land. El Profe CC

 

The Deity

This card can be used only once a week. When played, it immediately shuts down every character’s “exceptionalism” and shows that “eternal conflict” is an illusion. Players can use it to save their character and win the game immediately or to begin a journey for true world peace and harmony. It they do the latter, they must leave the game forever and return to the world as it is with new energy and insight to help save the human species through cooperation and respect for the lives and views of others. Choose your own Deity – Jesus, Mohamed, Gautama Buddha, Gaia, etc. All deities have this power. (Plus Haut CC)

END

A very special thanks to El Profe for cooperation in sharing his images.

This article may be reproduced in whole or in part with attribution of authorship, a link to this article in “Scoop,” and recognition and use of Creative Commons (CC) for the photographs and graphic art. Click the artist’s name or “CC” for links to requirements for reproduction. The one © image can be used only with permission from the artist.

See below for a start on the path to understanding our current circumstances.

Wealth and Democracy: a political history of the American rich. Kevin Phillips
Overthrow: America’s century of regime change from Hawaii to Iraq
. Stephen Kinzer

The Money Party (1). The Essence of Our Political Troubles
The Money Party (2). Lousy Leaders and How to Get Rid of Them
The Money Party (3). Big Lies that You Must Believe
The Money Party (4): Money Party To Citizens – Drop Dead!

Democrats Pass on Challenge to Secret Vote Counting in SC

Democrats Pass on Challenge to

Secret Vote Counting in South Carolina

This is the place to affix the STAMP. Link

Michael Collins
“Scoop” Independent News
Washington, DC

South Carolinians mounted a serious protest to the onerous “Stamp Act” imposed on the colonies by British rulers. The act levied a tax to pay for the “Seven Years War” which established Great Britain as the world’s dominant colonial power. South Carolinians resisted funding their own domination through payment of the tax.

Today, the Palmetto state faces a challenge beyond the Stamp Act. Their state constitution is clear, if not elegant, in its definition of the basic elements of elections:

All elections by the people shall be by secret ballot,

but the ballots shall not be counted in secret.

Touch screen voting machines like those used throughout South Carolina are inherently private. Citizens and officials are barred form accessing the fundamentals of the voting machines. As a result, meaningful information on errors or fraud is off the table.

Once a voter touches the box next to their candidate, the machine takes over turning the vote into an electronic ballot that cannot be examined, even with access. This voting machine right of privacy is written into agreements signed by election officials all over the country. It’s called “faith based voting.” We vote and then have faith that the machines will do their job.

That adds up to a clear case of “ballots … counted in secret,” direct defiance of the prohibition of counting ballots in secret referenced above..

Challenging the Privacy “Rights” of Voting Machines

The obvious contradiction of the state law and the state’s privatized voting systems spurred voting rights, judicial reform and media activist Mark Adams of Florida to object strenuously. He began by writing John Edwards an open letter asking him to oppose the process. Absent a favorable response, on Wednesday of this week, he sent letters to each of the democratic candidates.

In his plea to Clinton, Edwards, Gravel, Kucinich, and Obama, Adams argued this point:

In case you are not aware, Article II, § 1 of the Constitution of South Carolina states, “the ballots shall not be counted in secret.” No one can see a computer count, and therefore, computers count in secret and using computers to count votes in secret violates South Carolina’s Constitution!

Will you take legal action in South Carolina to require that its upcoming Presidential primary is conducted in a manner which complies with the plain language expressed in South Carolina’s Constitution and with all Americans’ rights to make sure that our votes are counted accurately? Will you take action, or will you stand by and allow our votes to be counted in the equivalent of a secret smoky back room? Complete set of Mark Adams letters to the candidates.

Democrats Say No Go but Paul Supporters Know the Score

The letters informed, but they didn’t move any Democratic candidates to file suit for injunctive relief. There was real interest among Paul supporters in South Carolina. In general, the Paul campaign watches the voting process closely and with a skeptical eye.

In South Carolina, there were anecdotal reports of sudden increases in precinct vote counts at the last minute impacting Paul’s votes and after the fact reductions in vote totals for their candidate. But a Paul suit to stop a Democratic primary lacked the weight necessary for a serious hearing.

Will South Carolina remind Obama of New Hampshire? Image

Faith in the False Idol of Voting Technology

When voting machines are sold, the manufactures include a privacy clause that prevents in depth inspection of the machine software and methods of operation. You can buy it but the only people who can look inside are manufacturer representatives.

Kim Zetter of Wired Magazine reported on a comprehensive study done for Ohio on the iVotronic touch screens, the very machines everywhere in South Carolina. She noted that “the ES&S tabulation system and the voting machine firmware were rife with basic buffer overflow vulnerabilities that would allow an attacker to easily take control of the systems and ‘exercise complete control over the results reported by the entire county election system.'”

The study discovered that a hacker with just an infrared enabled Palm Pilot or cell phone can hack any of these voting machines with infrared ports. Once in, the hacker could alter memory, “ballot handling,” and manipulate other machine processes.

This news should have rocked the nation given the presence of touch screens in almost every state.

The iVotronic machines are the very same voting equipment that dropped a carefully estimated 14,000 votes for just one candidate for Congress in Florida’s 13th Congressional district in 2006. The problem was characterized as “machine malfunction” in the election contest filed with Congress in behalf of Democratic candidate Christine Jennings. Apparently, this was the type of “malfunction” that produces consistent results in just one direction, for just one candidate.

Maybe these recurring problems and design concerns are the reason voting machine vendors are reluctant to guarantee their products. Zero Guarantee from Vendors for Voting System’s Performance, P. Lehto)

Will Common Sense and the Law Prevail?

Not a chance! It’s not at all difficult to determine the clear intent of the South Carolina Constitution. The law means what it says, “the ballots shall not be counted in secret.” But doesn’t the U.S. Constitution state that “Article 1, Section 8. The powers of Congress. To declare war”?

So much for the English language and the law. We’re at the mercy of a justice system that genuflects before power and politics and embraces convenience. Will we be saved by judges who’ve created their own code, just like those Florida voting machines: “flip-flopping” every time in the direction of power and control, by the few against the rights of the many in a relentlessly consistent pattern that strips us of our most fundamental legal protections.

New Hampshire and South Carolina are just previews of February 5, “Super Tuesday” when primaries will be held in 24 states.

These states have voting and vote counting that is conducted in secret by machines made and serviced by private firms; and voting that cannot be easily and quickly verified. The citizens’ right to know is casually surrendered to e-voting manufacturers by the officials sworn to serve those very citizens.

Almost all of the states have restrictive recount laws that require a very close election, a 1% or less difference in some cases. This effectively bars recounts unless “malfunctions” or vote stealing is marginal. Even if election fraud or “machine malfunction” is suspected for very good reasons, the right to recount is limited to only elections where mistakes or stealing produce a very thin margin.

These touch screen “ballots” are nothing more than a computerized record (not a ballot). After the election, citizens almost always lack the right to examine that computerized records and are typically barred from reviewing the paper forms they mark for optical scan voting machines.

How can those elected claim to rule when they’re unable to prove the first and most fundamental requirement of an election – that they have the right to serve by having legitimately claimed a plurality or majority of the votes cast.

END

This article may be reproduced in part or in whole with attribution of authorship and a link to this article in “Scoop” Independent News.

“…the ballots shall not be counted in secret.”

..these ballots shall not be counted in secret.

South Carolina Constitution

An Appeal to John Edwards to Take a Stand for Voting Rights

Michael Collins
“Scoop” Independent News
Washington, DC

Media, election, and judicial reform advocate Mark Adams, JD, MBA of Tampa, Florida discovered something very important in the South Carolina Constitution. It provides for secret voting but bans secret vote counting.

All elections by the people shall be by secret ballot, but the ballots shall not be counted in secret. The right of suffrage, as regulated in this Constitution, shall be protected by laws regulating elections and prohibiting, under adequate penalties, all undue influence from power, bribery, tumult, or improper conduct. South Carolina Constitution, Article II, Section 1

The South Carolina primary occurs Saturday Jan. 19th for Republicans and the following Saturday the 26th for Democrats. With a recount in New Hampshire and the questions about that outcome, we may be looking at a series of questionable results in subsequent primaries. U.S. meddling in elections overseas has blown back to “the homeland.” Secret vote counting is one of the key elements driving questions and forms a core criticism of the various state election schemes.

In a Zogby Poll in August 2006, 92% of the respondents said yes to the question: “Citizens have the right to view and obtain information about how election officials count votes.” In the same poll of over 1000 registered voters, over half expressed little to no confidence in the 2004 elections.

Welcome to 2008.

On January 16, 2008, Mark Adams sent this email to candidate John Edwards and others in the campaign offering a perfect opportunity to strike a blow for voters of both parties to challenge secret vote counting.

“Subject: Senator Edwards, Will You Take Action to Make Sure that South Carolina‘s Elections Comply with its Constitution

“Senator Edwards:

“I heard your call for eliminating touch screen voting machines. Of course, being from South Carolina you are certainly aware of its use of touch screen voting machines. Last Friday afternoon, I looked into South Carolina’s use of the infamous iVotronic touch screen voting machines, and I discovered that it’s banned by South Carolina’s Constitution.

“Some of the key information from my article “South Carolina Elections Are UNCONSTITUTIONAL” I published on Monday January 14, 2008 on OpEdNews.com follows.

“Article II, § 1 of the Constitution of South Carolina states, “the ballots shall not be counted in secret.” Although there is case law which supports the right to have votes counted in public, this is the election integrity jackpot, a Constitutional provision prohibiting counting votes in secret! No more need to refer to case law, evidence, or logic to argue against secret vote counting, at least in South Carolina.

“Many are worried about election integrity. In fact, a Zogby poll from August of 2006 indicates that 92% of Americans are worried about our votes being counted in secret. See, Zogby Poll

“South Carolina is the best opportunity to make a case against allowing computers to count the votes in secret. I’ve discussed this with two leading election law advocates who have also brought election contests. They both think that this is the best opportunity to act that they have seen. The South Carolina Constitution prohibits secret vote counting! The election reform community expects one of the Presidential candidates to take action. Snip

“You know what to do, but to help expedite things, I suggest that you or your representative send a letter to the South Carolina State Election Commission pointing out that using touch screen computers to count the votes in secret violates the prohibition in Article II, § 1 against secret vote counting, and I would demand that they take immediate action to implement the use of paper ballots which are counted by hand in public to conduct the upcoming primary. I would notify them that you will take legal action as soon as possible to seek an injunction requiring that the election process comply with Article II or postponing the primaries until such time as they can be conducted in a Constitutional manner.” Snip

Carpe diem,

Mark A. Adams JD/MBA (Full letter here)

Doing the Same Thing Over and Over Again

In a very real sense, each primary will be about doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results. We’ve got federally mandated and funded electronic voting machines throughout the United States thanks to the bipartisan Help America Vote Act and billions of taxpayer dollars. We have just a few voting machine types, with demonstrated security problems in every state. And we have the foundation for suspicion and disaffection with the political process through secrecy and obscurity in voting systems, regulations. All this is consistently dismissed by a political class irritated with the increasing demands for openness and accountability.

One more ingredient in the mix is the foreshortened primary season. We’re rushed to pick a final candidate through “super” Tuesdays designed to force a selection with months to go before the national conventions this summer. What do we really know about the leaders in the field? One thing for certain is that they’re the best funded of the lot. They have to be. The compressed primary schedule requires one thing above all others, money and lots of it.

So we’re on the precipice of what has to be the most important election in the nation’s history given the stakes and all we’ve got is the vulgar quatrain of anti democratic processes in place: heavily funded campaigns from private interests (i.e., legalized bribery); ongoing voter suppression of the poor and minorities; secret vote counting; and a rush to judgment that prevents real deliberation and debate. It’s another mission accomplished by The Money Party.

“Those few of you who still think that we can trust having our votes counted in secret will be happy to know that your view is shared by many powerful and influential people. For example, Joseph Stalin said, “Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything.” If you want to roll back the evolution of civilization from citizen influence over government to a form of feudalism, then you might as well quit reading now.”

Mark Adams, JD, MBA

END

VoteCount2008.org – Adams web page
Mark Adams at FCC hearings, Tampa.
South Carolina Elections Are UNCONSTITUTIONAL! Mark Adams