Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

What the feck happened to Moderate America?

Thu 25 October 2012, 5:37pm

Starting in the next five minutes, Kevin Anderson and I do a preview before tomorrow night’s MainStreetMatters panel. On the short list of things to talk about.

- What’s happened to Moderate American, when virtually no one doesn’t already know what way they are voting in November?

- Who’s behind the voter fraud billboards in Milwaukee that the client decided to take down after criticism from voting rights activist?

- What happens if we have another hanging chads story from 2000 only this time in Ohio?

Tomorrow night the main panel meets here

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Comments (31)

  1. There is an interesting article in the current issue of Harper’s magazine which claims that there has been massive fraud in American elections since the introduction of electronic voting machines and the results have always been in favour of the Republicans. It specifies the names of the companies and their executives and details their ties to the extreme right.

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  2. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    That’s the problem with automated vote counting. There are so many opportunities to spread smoke around the whole process of how the votes are tallied up.

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  3. Mick Fealty (profile) says:

    There’s also a possibility that talk of Voter Fraud without any extant paper trails is a useful talking point around which to drap a conflictive post tally argument…

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  4. True, Mick.
    The tried and true method of a simple pencil mark and hand counting that many of us use would be a nightmare to implement in the USA. You may be voting at one time for President, Senator, House Representative, Judges, dog catchers and various propositions. They really do need some form of automated counting. Not sure how control is exercised in the UK but here in Canada we have an independent Electoral Commission. There is no similar body in the US; each State has its own system and these are often in the hands of the political parties (according to the Harper’s article).

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  5. Mick Fealty (profile) says:

    Indeed. The fact that the parties (though they are looser than even Canada’s party system) invest most governmental institutions with their most senior personnel means that there’s virtually no rescue from partisan interest.

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  6. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    I hate to repeat an old hobby horse of mine but a paper trail doesn’t help to do anything except expose the limitations of counting the votes automatically in the first place.

    But aside from my usual rant I agree that there’s a bit of a deeper problem in the USA; the two parties are practically part of the state.

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  7. aquifer (profile) says:

    There is very little voter fraud in America in terms of people casting extra votes, as we are wont to do here.

    Yet republican states have insisted on using the kinds of ID that poorer Democratic voters are less likely to have.

    It is worse than a disgrace, it is disgusting.

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  8. Comrade,
    Some of the electronic systems in use don’t even have a back-up paper trail. And the law in some States mandates that, if there is a recount, the same system used for the first count is the only one allowed to be used in the recount.
    Regarding the electronic systems, according to the Harper’s article, a couple of tests were carried out by university computer specialists to see how difficult it would be to hack the systems and install a patch to alter the count. In some cases it took less than 10 minutes.

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  9. Yes, aquifier. The only acceptable ID in some States is a Driver’s Licence and in poor inner city, generally Democratic leaning, areas, poor folk don’t have them since they can’t afford to own a car.

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  10. Damian O'Loan (profile) says:

    The question of the middle ground is interesting. In most Western two-party systems, the dissatisfaction is most evident in low turnout. Australia, like the US, strikes me as a country divided between conservatives and liberals with radically distinct points of view. Concurrently, in countries like France and Greece, you see a greater harmony between the far left and right, with populist appeals that are translating into parliamentary influence.

    I would expect the future of the two-party system to be a choice between the centre ground and the extremes, with measures to maintain ‘democratic stability’. Or compulsory voting, as already widely practiced. The chasm you allude to seems unsustainable.

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  11. What the feck happened to Moderate America?

    Perhaps, like the Slugger O’Toole site, it became an agent of the Henry Jackson Society.

    OK: I know you need the advertising, but there ought to be limits.

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  12. Taoiseach (profile) says:

    Can’t understand how any genune democrat can oppose voter ID in the context of massive voter fraud. In North Carolinas there are over five hundred registered Demorcrats who are older than 112 and still voting – all of whom are actually dead.

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  13. Taoiseach @ 10:30 am:

    Had you read your Republican Party brief just a bit further, you’d have discovered (or perhaps not) this:

    The Raleigh News & Observer reports that the reason for the overabundance of 112 year olds is that they’re people who were registered before a state requirement switched from age to birth date, and that a default birthdate of Jan 1 1900 was filled in for people who didn’t update or whose records couldn’t be otherwise verified.

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  14. Taoiseach (profile) says:

    Well that’s good to know. Modern democracies need good records and voter ID.

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  15. Greenflag (profile) says:

    Moderate America or whatever is left of it is extant only in the Democratic Party .

    The GOP despite Romney’s attempts to position himself in the centre has become increasingly extreme and the vast majority of it’s Congressmen /Senators are now dependant on the Tea Party for their position or their upcoming election .

    Colin Powell who has recently endorsed President Obama expressed the truth when he stated that Republicans like himself are now an almost extinct within the GOP.

    The political and ideological difference between the GOP and the rest of the world is further seen in the recent BBC survey of world opinion which showed that the world’s developed countries bar none would prefer to see President Obama reelected than a President Romney . In fact the only country polled which preferred a President Romney was Pakistan i,e the country which accommodated Osama Bin Laden for a decade , The British , French, Germans , Australians , Canadians , Dutch, Japanese etc etc all favour Obama .

    And what would a ‘moderate ‘ Pres Romney be able to do if he were elected ? According to some the recently acquired moderate mask would very soon be taken off and then it won’t be a good new morning in America but instead it’ll be a downward spiral to blood in the streets and back to the future with Bush’s failed policies of tax cuts for the rich and shag the rest :(

    But don’t take my word for it

    Here’s a more detailed expose of how a ‘moderate ‘ Romney would be neutered between several rocks and even more numerous hard places .

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-10-25/moderate-romney-wouldn-t-make-it-past-inauguration-day.html

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  16. Greenflag (profile) says:

    @taoiseach ,

    ‘in the context of massive voter fraud’

    Massive is an important word . Unfortunately for those (Republicans ) who have raised this red herring the evidence and the numbers show that there is no ‘massive ‘ voter fraud ‘ and that any that there is has made no difference to any electoral result since the 1920′s .

    The truth is simply that the GOP do not want poor or darker skinned American minorities or Hispanics to vote in constituencies around the country where they could impact the local result . Ironically if the GOP win Florida it will be because of the minority of Cuban Americans in the south of the State .

    This will be the last election in which it may still be possible for ‘White ‘America to elect a GOP President without considering the interests and issues facing African Americans , Hispanics , and White Women . The demographic shift over the past decade will favour Democrats assuming that voter turnout among the above groups continues to rise .

    So like it or not the GOP will be forced to ‘moderate’ their extremism . In the meantime this election presnts them with one more chance to prove to the world that ‘trickle down economics works ‘ and that policies which favour the wealthy over the middle and lower income groups will ensure a propsperous and peaceful future for America and the world :(

    I suppose if your name is Rush Limbaugh you may believe that but then thats what keeps the suckers in line .

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  17. Greenflag (profile) says:

    Anyway folks heres the result for those who can’t wait till it’s all over until next year:when the never ending circus begins anew

    http://elections.huffingtonpost.com/2012/custom-presidential-election-map#njamdnjannaajenae

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  18. Taoiseach (profile) says:

    I wonder, now why would illegal immigrants favour the Dems. Hard one that. Democrat as a party of moderation is a laugh. Absolute line on abortion – support it or you’re out. No respect whatsoever for religious freedom unless you’re a muslim. A black racist voting block who support Obama 95% (or did in the last election). A presumption that anyone who supports traditional marriage is a homophobe. Real moderates.

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  19. Kevsterino (profile) says:

    Greetings Sluggerites,
    I thought I’d throw in my two cents, being a moderate American. I’ve been voting in National elections for about 40 years now and can’t recall a time when the electorate has been so polarized.

    When I started voting the old party alignments were pretty much intact. The Democrats were pro-labor and Republicans pro-capital.

    The Christian Right have now completed their takeover of the Republican Party and now dictate its platform with no meaningful opposition. The Democrats’ tent has been trending with anti-military secularists and environmental activists who attempt to include radical feminism and basically anyone suffering the condemnation of the fundamentalists running the Republican Party. One can hardly find a trace of pro-labor positions in the Democratic platform these days.

    In other words, i can hardly recognize these 2 parties as the ones I originally considered at the start of my voting life.

    The middle ground has been squeezed hard and is just about gone.

    As far as voting rights is concerned, I’m alarmed at the difference in voting equipment between rich and poor areas. It would help if they used the same machines nationwide. But all voting law is based at the state level, so it would have to be state by state, and that will never happen.

    all the best

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  20. pauluk (profile) says:

    Why are the Democrats so opposed to measures that will help to content with voter fraud. Even Obama had to show ID yesterday when he voted.

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  21. Greenflag (profile) says:

    @ pauluk ,

    They’re not .What they are against is simple .

    A) Voter fraud in the USA is almost non existent probably less in absolute numbers to what Northern Ireland has despite the population imbalance .
    B) Bringing up the issue so close to a Presidential and Congressional /Senatorial Election was just a political tool to paint the other side as being pro -illegal voters even if there were only 25 of them .

    C) The USA Constitution does not allow for changes to be made so close to an election and this the Republicans ignored until finally they had to bow to the decisions of the Supreme Court that stated their measures (Republicans ) were illegal.

    Early voting in many states has helped to bring out the vote but not all states have early voting -Thus the poor -minorities and those working perhaps two or three jobs to make ends meet are much less likely to vote on Election Day than the well off assuming the latter haven’t yet voted .

    It’s the same old story i.e kick the weak and poor in the b***ix whenever you can -that way our kind of people stay on top . Northern Ireland readers should be more than aware of this oft seen phenomenon which of course is not only an American trait but can be found everywhere and particularly in the lesser developed countries and in those countries like the USA where the gap between the 1% and the 99% is increasing and the people in the middle are being aqueezed out of existence and the people at the bottom have been having their heads kicked in for about half a generation at this stage .

    Meanwhile the Wall St creators and masters of disaster continue to benefit from a different set of rules with the latest white collar criminal ex Goldman Sachs Director Gupta getting a 2 year jail sentence for his part in insider trading which got another financial services hedge fund crook 11 years .

    10 years would have been a a fair sentence ! -Hanging the b*****rd and several others along with him from Goldman Sachs and BOA might be ‘Justice ‘:(

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  22. Harry Flashman (profile) says:

    If, as is stated at the top of this thread, the Republicans benefit most from voter fraud then the Democrats should have no problem with voter ID should they?

    I mean poor people probably have more ID issued by the government than rich people, given that welfare is not exactly handed out to anyone who asks for it.

    I am not sure that one must own a car before one can get a driver’s licence in the US, that would surprise me as I got my first driver’s licence when I was 17 and didn’t own a car until my late twenties.

    No, it’s all bullshit, the Dems know that one of the biggest tools in their armory is voter fraud, if, as they assert no such voter fraud exists, or if it does it favours the Republicans, then it is a very simple matter to introduce ID to vote. Voter ID could be issued by the state or city administration very easily upon production of valid citizenship documents.

    The fact that the Dems are most opposed to voter ID tells you all you need to know about the issue of voter fraud, no amount of race-baiting moonshine about not letting brown skinned people vote will obscure that fact (how insulting to say that non-white people are incapable of producing valid ID).

    Have a read about Chicago, the mob, voter fraud and the election of JFK if you want to find out more, now remind me which party did JFK represent, and what city does the current Democrat President come from?

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  23. oakleaf (profile) says:

    No fan of either party as their much the same when elected. However the self righteous comments on this thread are a bit much. Its for yanks to decide who is elected not the French, Germans or even the ‘peaceful’ Brits.

    Ta.

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  24. Rory Carr (profile) says:

    The presidential contest between Nixon and JFK was undoubtedly one of the dirtiest ever fought. But it could have been a lot dirtier (and almost certainly an overwhelming win for Kennedy rather than the narrow victory that ensued) had Kennedy not refused to countenance the leaking of information held by the Democratic Party (courtesy of novelist, John Steinbeck) that Nixon had been undergoing thrice-weekly consultation with a psychiatrist since the early 1950′s.

    The psychiatrist, Dr. Arnold Hutschnecker, suffered from the twin character defects of being both snobbish and talkative which is how Steinbeck got to hear of it. The author then wrote to Adlai Stevenson’s campaign manager in 1958 suggesting that he release the information in order to scupper Nixon’s nomination prospects. The Stevenson camp, as might be expected from that most gentlemanly of presidential hopefuls, declined and Kennedy only got to learn of the details much later, but still in plenty of time to damage Nixon irreparably.

    Whether Kennedy’s reluctance can be attributed to Stevenson’s patrician example of noblesse oblige or a prudent fear of the enemy camp ratcheting up the dirt in response, is a topic that can be endlessly chewed over for years, but perhaps not just at present.

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  25. Good to see Harry Flashman conforming to his ‘profile’. It’s all down to ‘brown people’ and Chicago.

    Mote and beam.

    Has Harry read the extended essay in the current New Yorker on Who Created the Voter-Fraud Myth? Of course not: when facts get in the way of blind prejudice, junk the facts. Will he check the facts now? Of course not: that’s not the way of the trolling world.

    Anyone frothing about all the alleged election-bending of the Democrats and their servile ‘brown people’ would benefit from Lyle Denniston’s authoritative analysis, Race bias in voting: The next round on the SCOTUS blog. All that reading: it’s just too much for a poor blinkered soul. Better to ignore it, Harry, and keep parroting prejudices and received nostrums.

    I feel peculiarly proud of myself for not inviting Harry to discourse on the curious electorate of the richest local authority on the planet, the City of London. All ‘brown people’, no doubt. O, whoops, I did it again!

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  26. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    No, it’s all bullshit, the Dems know that one of the biggest tools in their armory is voter fraud

    If you look at all the issues with voting machines it turns out they all tie back to companies who have connections with figures in the Republican Party.

    Joe,

    Paper trails are a red herring. What are the criteria for determining whether the paper trail needs to be checked ? As I have said often here before, you press a button on the computer and it flashes up (within a second) a number reporting the result of the election. On what basis do you say either “that number looks right” or “that number looks wrong, let’s verify the paper trail” ?

    Taoiseach:

    No respect whatsoever for religious freedom unless you’re a muslim.

    Fruitcake alert.

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  27. Greenflag (profile) says:

    oakleaf ,

    ‘Its for yanks to decide who is elected not the French, Germans or even the ‘peaceful’ Brits.’

    True . But it’s also true that the Germans ,French and Brits and indeed the entire world has an interest and a concern as to who the Americans elect as their President . The decision can affect the lives of people everywhere .

    Europe regrettably was entirely ignored in the last debate between the candidates . But it’s been Europeans -specifically British , Germans , French who have given up their lives on the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq over the past decade . Just a couple of days back a young Northern Ireland woman from Comber Co Down was killed alongside a young Englishman in Afghanistan . Almost 500 Britons have given their lives in that war .

    Romney may spout about Israel being the USA’s greatest ally but he won’t mention the number of Israeli combat deaths in Afghanistan or the fact that Israel is the only other country in the world which prefers a Romney Presidency to an Obama bar Pakistan – the nuclear armed ‘protector ‘ and minder of Osama Bin Laden and the country which jailed the official who informed the Americans of Osama Bin Laden’s exact whereabouts ?

    Pro-Romney sentiment is rare outside the U.S. A recent BBC poll of 21 countries found Obama favored in 20, with Romney taking only Pakistan.

    Israel was not included in that survey, though, and Israelis are long used to being a prominent — if not the dominant — foreign policy topic in U.S. presidential campaigns.

    In Monday’s foreign policy debate between Obama and Romney, Israel was mentioned more than 30 times — far more than Europe, Afghanistan or the Arab Spring, let alone Africa or Latin America.

    The only country mentioned more often than Israel was the one the Israeli government keeps trying to draw the world’s attention to — Iran.

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2012/10/27/163727292/among-israelis-romney-appears-the-favorite

    As for it’s up to the Yanks ? On a lighter note it is indeed -in fact it may be up to just one Yank -specifically Fred in Ohio who has by this stage seen more than enough of both Presidential contenders .

    http://www.npr.org/2012/10/25/163539213/double-take-toons-ohio-players

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  28. Harry Flashman (profile) says:

    Malcolm, if you read the thread properly instead of rushing to cut and paste more links you will see that my mention of dark skinned people being denied the vote was in direct response to the post made by that other champion of cutting and pasting in lieu of an argument, Greenflag, who first raised the issue.

    If you have a problem with race being brought into this issue your problem is with him not me.

    Comrade, once again if as you allege voter fraud benefits Republicans you would have to address why it is Republicans who campaign hardest to eliminate it and Democrats who seem so blase about the issue.

    In the United States you need valid ID to buy a beer, are poor Democrat voters unable to buy beer in America? Not so as you’d notice, so why can’t they take the valid ID they use to buy beer and present it at the polling booth?

    In Northern Ireland voter ID has been a factor in elections for decades, the poor are not disenfranchised in Northern Ireland. Are the likes of Greenflag alleging that potential Democrat voters in the US are so incapable or stupid that unlike voters in Northern Ireland, a country not noted for its vast wealth or stupendous intelligence, they can’t produce proper ID in order to vote?

    Rory, ah yes, it was the gentlemanly Kennedy team who refrained from taking advantage of Nixon, I mean old Bootlegger Joe would never stoop to such things would he?

    And do you really believe that the psychiatrist story came via Steinbeck? Because as you must be very well aware the Democrats years later broke into a psychiatrist’s office to get information on a later candidate, so successful were they that Nixon decided that if they could get away with it why couldn’t he, so was born Watergate.

    Gentlemanly Kennedys, that made me laugh though, thanks for the chuckle.

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  29. Obfustication, Flashman.

    Since you don’t like citations (though there’s one coming along shortly — I deal in verifiable facts, not blow-hard fantasy), a simple yes/no question:
    Did Mike Turzai (GOP House Leader, PA) boast the state’s new I.D. law was “gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania” ?

    If “no”, who forged the video of him saying just that?

    For the record, 25% of African-Americans (Flashman‘s non-racist ‘brown people’), 18% of over 65s (‘crumbly people’, perhaps), 11% of all voting-age population lack the I.D. cards demanded by the GOP-enforced most-stringent laws. [Source: Brennan centre for Justice, NYU Law School]

    No Kennedys were imputed in the drafting of this post.

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  30. Kevsterino (profile) says:

    Harry, are we reading different posts. I understood the gentlemanly reference to Adlai Stephenson, which is correct in my estimation of the man. No gentlemanly behavior in the direction of any Kennedy.

    As for the ID for buying beer, although it may be demanded for those under 25 or so, it is seldom, very seldom demanded for those over 25. That is at least true here in the backwoods of Missouri.

    Everybody here, on both sides of the argument, understands what the point is of these new ID laws. That is to shrink the voting strength of a particular group of people who are very likely to vote a particular way. And that, in my estimation, isn’t the American way of dealing with an election.

    all the best

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  31. Rory Carr (profile) says:

    Harry Flashman declares himself reluctant to accept John Steinbeck as the source informant to Adlai Stevenson’s right-hand man, William McCormick Blair Jr., of Nixon’s long-term psychiatric treatment.

    The source for this is Pittsburg writer, Bill Steigerwald, author of, Dogging Steinbeck which deals with inaccuracies which Steigerwald has recognised in Steinbeck’s account of a road trip across the USA in 1960 accompanied by his large and fierce French poodle, Charley (hence the “dogging” double entendre of Steigerwald’s title). Steigerwald wrote to the Sunday Book Review of the New York Times as a follow-up to a piece by Jim Arndorfer recounting Steinbeck’s failure to take up a suggestion from Adlai Stevenson that he write a novel discrediting Nixon and his subsequent revelations gleaned from the bombastic boasting of Nixon’s shrink.

    But it is probably pointless pf me to relate all this as Harry;s general rule is to deny and disparage any information which makes him uncomfortable. See if I care.

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