Election

British Elections: The Leaders’ Debate – Foreign Affairs

Michael Collins

I enjoyed Sterling Newberry’s excellent article of April 19, Liberal Democrats on the Verge of Historic Takedown.  The numbers were certainly there for a Nick Clegg – Liberal Democrat stampede if only Clegg had the ability to finish off the old parties, as he refers to Labour and the Conservatives.

Last night’s party leaders debate was a must win.  Clegg had to differentiate himself by showing that he was more than just another of the hallow men who occupy so many positions of power in the new millennium.

He had the momentum but did he have the substance and skill to close the door on Labour and the Conservatives?

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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.
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A Matter of Trust – Mexico’s July 6 Congressional Election

A Three Part Series Part 1

In the wake of Felipe Calderon’s surprising electoral win over Andrés Manual Lopez-Obrador in 2006 Presidential Elections, demonstrators protesting alleged election fraud occupied the center of Mexico City from July through December. On three occasions, crowds of over one million were reported. Image: Erasmo Lopez

Michael Collins and Kenneth Thomas

Also published here

“Se requiere que las ciudadanos no estén ausentes ante una clase política que, desde el punto de vista ciudadano, no ha respondido y claramente ha fallado,” dijo el Presidente de la República. Sociedad civil confronta a los poderes de la Unión El Universal, June 25, 2009

Translation: “It is necessary that the citizens not be seated behind a political class which, from the citizen’s point of view, clearly has failed,” said the President of the Republic. (President of Mexico, Felipe Calderon El Universal, June 25, 2009)

Every once in a while, a politician tells the unvarnished truth. It’s difficult to recall the last time it happened. Outgoing president Dwight D. Eisenhower’s 1961 warning of the dangers of the U.S. military-industrial complex comes to mind. Ike told the truth but too late to matter since he was leaving power.

President Calderon is just three years into his six year term as President of Mexico.

Just two days prior to Calderon’s statement, Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador (ALMO), Calderon’s opponent in the bitterly contested 2006 presidential election, had filed a complaint against the media conglomerate owned television network, Televisa. Obrador argued that Televisa has shown extraordinary bias against his party, the PRD. Candidates are entitled to make complaints about biased coverage to the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) created as part of Mexico’s 1990 election reform law.
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Unfinished Business: Tasks Ignored During the Bush Reign of Horror

Unfinished Business


What’s so funny?   It must be an inside joke.   Image cc

Tasks Ignored During the Bush Reign of Horror

Michael Collins
“Scoop” Independent News

The last eight years can best be described as the illegitimate rule of deviant forces bent on enriching the few at the expense of the many.  Poverty is up, real income is flat for the majority of citizens while the elite have “super sized” their holdings with a callous disregard for the nation and economic realities.

The phantom “Yellow Brick Road” has come to an abrupt end through an expression of will by the people.  President-elect Obama won by a wide margin in the popular vote and an even wider margin in the Electoral College.  He is their choice.

What Obama promised matters.  What the people expect matters more.  What matters most is the crucial statement of the people.  This election was a resounding no vote on executive lying, misdirection, deception, fabrication, and non stop failures.  It was also a clear no vote on the unrestrained exercise of power used to attack individual rights promised in the Constitution and the willful neglect of the collective needs of citizens made manifest by their daily struggles.

This election was a clear statement by many who expressed their revulsion at the pervasive, mind numbing propaganda from the masters of deception (a problem that predates Bush by decades).  Citizens knew that we’d never find Bin Laden in Iraq.  But the propagandists managed to turn the majority opposition in both parties into an invasion with marginal support by using the “n” word – nuclear weapons of mass destruction.  When no weapons of mass destruction were found, opposition to the war returned to a solid majority and remained there.

The propagandists tried to tell us that the economy was doing just fine, growing by leaps and bounds.  Citizens noticed that there were few new jobs created, except by federal expansion to meet “security” needs.  They also noticed that the real levels of unemployment and inflation were crushing.

The propagandists told us that Wall Street provided a never ending stream of benefits that we’d all enjoy.  Citizens were wary and then outraged when the financial system collapsed into a free fall of corporate ruin infecting the entire economy.

When these fatally flawed entities begged for a bailout, citizens spoke in numbers and with intensity rarely if ever seen by Congress.  Prior to the first bailout bill, congressional offices received a torrent of calls and emails showing overwhelming opposition to corporate welfare.

On just this one occasion, Congress responded to the will of the people.  The bailout was narrowly defeated in the U.S. House of Representatives.  While it was passed a few days later, this statement left its mark.  The people were finally fed up.  They were willing to risk their own well being to see that the authors of the disaster were not rewarded.

There has been nothing but lies from start to finish during the eight year reign of horror with only a few brave politicians speaking truth to corrupt power.  They were ridiculed and marginalized as a reward for their bravery.

Now it’s over and there’s unfinished business that requires our attention.  This business includes the following and much more:

End the Iraq occupation.  Assign responsibility and consequences.  Put a stop the fantasies of empire and actions that will lead to more ruinous overseas adventures.

Care for the wounded.  Admit the losses and provide for healing.

Admit that the planet is in peril.  Acknowledge our role in causing the problem.   Accept leadership in solving it and get to work.

Revive the economy based on real products and services and make sure everyone does well.  End the looting by banks and other dubious enterprises and punish those responsible.

Rebuild the United States of America wherever needed.

Provide health care services to citizens and disregard the nonsense about not being able to afford it.  It’s only fair to ask  those who say it can’t be done to sacrifice their own health care until they find a solution.

A Solid Dose of Reality to Start:  The Political “Numbers Racket”


Image

We’ve seen the rapacious looting of the U. S. Treasury by banks and other corporations that have failed miserably.  In a state of panic, their Secretary of the Treasury, Henry Paulson, took the money we paid in taxes and gave it to these corporate failures.  There are few strings attached and little to no accountability for Paulson’s actions, a former Wall Street executive who has rewarded his old company, Goldman Sachs, with billions.

Since the bailout bill passed, he’s already given away $350 billion without any oversight and the bag man, the Federal Reserve, refuses to tell Congress any details about where the money went.

This is nothing new.  They’ve just “kicked it up” to a much higher level of theft.  It’s the latest in a series of betrayals by the “masters of the universe” who clam to produce the wonders of our economic system.

It’s been largely smoke and mirrors.  Citizens are right when they complain about exported jobs, free trade that punishes U.S. workers and businesses, and the difficulties of simply getting by in a rough economy.  At the same time, we are confounded and confused by the propagandists and their Matrix version of the economy which claims “it’s all good.”  It isn’t.  In fact, the economy is much worse than we’ve been told for decades.

Political adjustments to measures of unemployment began in the 1960’s followed by distortions of inflation shortly thereafter.  When a downturn occurred, the numbers were adjusted and distorted further as an obvious “opiate for the masses.”  It worked to keep interest rates low, spur housing booms, and even wilder schemes, while denying Social Security beneficiaries’ real adjustments in their payments.

This “numbers racket” also clouded common sense judgments by the public.  How bad can it be?  Look at those unemployment figures!  Maybe it’s just me?

If the numbers don’t fit, just adjust the assumptions, change the rules of the game, and create a parallel reality.  The first targets in the unreal representation of the economy were unemployment and inflation rates. The blue line represents the rate of inflation by the pre 1980’s standards.  No wonder times are tough.

The blue line represents a realistic rate of inflation.  
Shadow Government Statistics
(Full size)


When Alan Greenspan, an architect of this change, said that we had conquered inflation, he was about as accurate and truthful as he was when he said that home equity lines and adjustable rate mortgages were a great way to take equity out of your home so you could put it in the stock market.


The blue line represents all of the unemployed.
Shadow Government Statistics (Full size)

Unemployment statistics were conveniently adjusted since the 1960’s when those seeking a job for more than a year were simply removed from the jobless figures.  There were still unemployed but their inconvenience to the propagandists was eliminated by “disappearing” them into the background of a shadow economy.

Kevin Phillips summed it up succinctly when he said:

“If Washington’s harping on weapons of mass destruction was essential to buoy public support for the invasion of Iraq, the use of deceptive statistics has played its own vital role in convincing many Americans that the U.S. economy is stronger, fairer, more productive, more dominant, and richer with opportunity than it actually is.”  Numbers Racket: Why the economy is worse than we know.  Harpers, May 2008.

How can we make rational judgments without a real picture of the world around us?

How can we judge leaders if they don’t have to answer for the reality that they create?

It’s time to take care of unfinished business.  As that process goes forward, whatever your priorities might be, it is important to see the pervasiveness and absolute necessity of the “official” lies for the liars and those they serve.

We need to seize the opportunity that we have as citizens to push through these fictions and create our own reality as we address the business left unfinished by those who promised us so much and delivered nothing but degradation and hardship.

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2008 Presidential Turnout Flat How did That Happen?

2008 Presidential Turnout Flat

How Did That Happen?

Michael Collins

(Wash. DC)  In 2004, we were told to anticipate a red versus blue election.  It didn’t turn out that way but that was hardly mentioned.

By 2008, we were told to expect record voter turnout for the presidential election. Now we’re told that the predictions were wrong, the pictures of long lines, massive early voting, and massive registration increases all went to produce just about the same vote total as reported for 2004.

The 2004 vote total was 122 million compared to 105 million in 2000.  We’re left with this question.  With all the excitement and effort plus a huge funding advantage for Obama, how is it that the voters going to the polls were about equal in number for 2004 and 2008?

Here are some of the headlines:

Voter turnout approaches some records, breaks others, Harvard Gazette, Nov. 6, 2008, Thomas E. Patterson, Harvard Kennedy School

“Judging from past experience, however, it would appear that roughly 134 million Americans voted in the 2008 general election – a 65 percent turnout rate.”

This estimate is 10 to 12 million votes over the actual count.  But that difference is is minor compared to the projection of Infoplease which estimated 148 million voters on Nov. 4, 2008.

Unprecedented Latino Voter Turnout Plays Critical Role in Early Outcome of the Presidential Election, Market Watch Nov. 5, 2008

In Virginia, where the reported margin of victory as of this writing was 120,299, the NALEO Educational Fund estimates that about 67,000 Latinos voted for Senator Obama. In Florida, where the reported margin of victory as of this writing was 178,745, the NALEO Educational Fund’s analysis estimates that about 548,000 Latinos voted for Senator Obama.”

The Latino vote surprised the skeptics who claimed that president elect Obama would struggle to motivate these citizens.  Clearly he did but their votes were not enough to generate an overall increase according to the final figures.

But look at the turnout figures as actually reported and gathered by David Leip for the Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections.


Reported vote totals for 2004 and 2008.  CNN, Nov. 7, 2008
Check David Leip, Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections for best cumulative results
over the next few weeks. “Other” candidates (using Leip)  incorporated in “Total.”

The vote counts are virtually the same for both years.  Some ballots remain uncounted.  North Carolina has identified 34,000, and Missouri, about 10,000.  Many of these are provisional ballots.  States average a 20% to 70% count of these special ballots for voters who turned up at the wrong precinct.  The only major number of votes left is in California.  They report 2.7 million uncounted ballots.  The accumulation of these figures represents a 2.5% change.  Compare a 3 to 5% turnout increase from 2004 to 2008 with the 16% increase from 2000 to 2004.

All the excitement generated by the campaign, all the efforts, all the controversy generated the very close to the same election figures that we saw in 2004.

Does this make sense?  What about the enthusiasm that the Democrats generated in the primaries.  Primary voters are highly motivated.  They tend to vote in very high numbers in the general election following the primary.

Democratic Primaries:  2008 Primary Turnout More than Doubled 2004 Turnout


The Green Papers:  2008 2004

The 2008 Democratic primaries for 34 states showed 34 million voters, twice as many when compared to 2004.  In fact, the difference between the two years, 17.6 million, is greater than the vote total for the same 2004 primaries, 16.1 million.

This enthusiasm was seen in both large and small states.


The Green Papers:  2008 2004

Both 2004 and 2008 were contested primaries but look at these numbers comparing the two years.  Increases in new primary voters ranged from 0.8 million to 2.0 million.

The same increases are seen in the smaller states.


The Green Papers:  2008 2004

This primary phenomenon was discussed in some detail in Michael Collins: Election 2008 – The Difficulty Stealing It This Time, Oct. 10, 2008

Where Are The Votes?

What happened?  Did the Republicans simply throw in the towel?   Did a big portion of those new Democratic primary voters suddenly forget where the polling place was on Nov. 4?   Or was it something else?

Instead of using the reported vote total as the basis to measure the polls and the observed events, we should ask the question – was the 2008 vote underreported?  Maybe those 34 million primary voters went to the polls and took a friend.  More pertinent, maybe the more than doubling of Democratic primary voters in 2008 was a solid indication that election 2008 would produce another major increase in turnout and total votes?

Moving beyond the political logic and common sense, it’s well worth considering the analysis offered by internet poster TruthIsAll. He has modeled and analyzed presidential elections non stop from the 2004 campaign through the present.   By analyzing the assumptions behind adjustments to the exit polls and other data, he’s developed a “True Vote” model with which he predicted the following.


2008 Landslide Denied: Uncounted Votes and the
Final National Exit Poll, TruthIsAll Nov. 5, 2008

Ironically, TruthIsAll’s total brings the estimates of Harvard’s Thomas Patterson and Infoplease closer to reality.

Whether it’s a common sense approach relying on factors like huge increases in primary Democratic voters or a more scientific approach like that found in TruthIsAll’s analysis, the obvious questions endure:  How did all this activity and enthusiasm fail to generate any measurable increase in turnout compared to 2004?  How did it get Obama just 3.0 million more votes?

A willingness to question the actual vote count is a very good place to start an inquiry on this unexpected outcome and the claim by those who count the votes that this is all there is?  After all, the vote counters and elections officials haven’t inspired much confidence over the past eight years.

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