November 5th, 2008

I voted today – it’s warmer down south

Now if Don Young and Ted Stevens win – I may consider heading south; life is too short. Quoting from “Mudflats:”

The Alaskan Republican Party has just reaffirmed their endorsement of, and told you to vote for A CONVICTED FELON! You show ‘em Alaska Republicans! Hold your head high, walk in to the voting booth with the blessing of your political party, fill in that little oval, and vote with impunity for A CONVICTED FELON! Drive home with a satisfied smile, kiss your spouse, and say, “What did you do today, Honey? I voted for A CONVICTED FELON!“ Proudly call your friends and relatives out of state, and tell them how you, and all your buddies in the Republican party, puffed out your chests, and proudly hitched your wagon to the star of an 84-year old CONVICTED FELON! Maybe you should call your local party headquarters and suggest a fundraiser…you could do t-shirts, and hats that say, “I VOTED FOR A CONVICTED FELON!”

Amen brothers and sisters!

November 3rd, 2008

The vote

Ok, if you are undecided, go here. Be confronted with several statements of both candidates, with attribution, and the website will tell you which candidate comes closest to your beliefs.

I read that a record number of Americans will vote: 73.5%. In my country that would be considered a low to medium usage of ones fundamental right.

October 23rd, 2008

(if) The world could vote

The world can’t, and I am the first one to say that inhabitants of a country should be the only ones who elect their representatives. As in, erm, you get what you deserve, and, no invasion, thank you very much. Still, claiming to be the last superpower with supreme moral values does come with obligations doesn’t it? So here is how that is perceived outside of America’s legal borders (yes, really!). Please note the irrelevance of one label in the graph and the indecisiveness of one rather large and let’s say involved country. As Diane would say: 90 days.

October 15th, 2008

Is Ralph Nader a kook?

“The United States effectively has a one-party system, the business party, with two factions, Republicans and Democrats.” – Noam Chomsky

Both Republicans and Democrats over the years have been critical of Nader. Of late some Democrats, who would proudly wear the badge “liberal,” have directed their anger at Nader in the form of derogatory comments that would do Rush Limbaugh and others of his ilk proud. Just how nutty and arrogant is Nader, you tell me? Seems to me that Nader’s suggestions on how to handle our financial crisis is better informed and thought out than those of candidates Obama or McCain. Ralph was on PBS last night, “The News Hour,” and you can listen to the audio here (link is an MP3 and runs about 10 minutes):

“Presidential candidate Ralph Nader speaks with the NewsHour’s Ray Suarez about his latest bid for the White House and discusses his platform on the critical issues facing the country this election year.”

FWIW The News Hour also ran a story about the corporate party candidates last night, it is available here (MP3 link) and if you listen closely you might just hear the ticker-tape in the background. I think it provides an interesting contrast to Suarez’s interview with Nader:

“Kwame Holman reports on the latest news from the campaign trail”

May 30th, 2008

The outside vote

Care how Europe views the States? Here is the link. What it says is not really surprizing, although it fails to make an important distinction between the state and administration one one side and the country and people on the other hand. A generalization that in my opinion is dangerous. Anyway, Obama wins down.

Opinion towards America has become steadily more hostile throughout the presidency of George W Bush, with the Iraq war probably being the single most important factor. (…)

Meanwhile, Mr Obama, the only consistent opponent of the Iraq war in the race for the presidency, commands a clear lead. He is especially popular in Italy, where a remarkable 70 per cent would vote for him if they could.

In France, historically the European country with the strongest anti-American sentiment, 65 per cent would back Mr Obama. In Germany, the Democratic Senator would get 67 per cent of the vote – while Mr McCain would receive a derisory six per cent.

Mr Obama appears to have made less of an impact in Britain than elsewhere in Europe. A relatively modest 49 per cent of Britons would vote for him, while 14 per cent would back Mr McCain – twice the totals favouring the Republican candidate in Germany or France.

Another 13 per cent of Britons would not vote for either man and 24 per cent “don’t know”.

March 31st, 2008

The facts

FactCheck.org claims to sift claims from facts in the US political arena, in a non-partisan way. I can’t vow if this is true or not. But they do have a vid-cast now, so pulling it in Miro is a piece of cake!

February 4th, 2008

Ralph Nader for President (?)

After I emailed a close friend last week that Ralph Nader was considering another run to be U.S. President, my friend wrote back:

a smart Democratic supporter told me when Nader’s name came up, that if Nader knew he could not win, that it was about ego and was nothing but a spoiler without his running Bush would not have gotten elected.

I wrote back to my friend:

First, I don’t believe that Nader is responsible for Gore’s loss. The dems could have challenged the election results, they didn’t. It’s sad to watch the footage of House members pleading with Al Gore from the floor of The Senate for one Senator to come forward and challenge the results (that’s all that was needed), no one stepped forward.

Secondly, I wouldn’t expect any other answer, except perhaps insults and name calling (speaking from experience), from someone who has thrown their everything into the Democratic Party. People like Ralph Nader are a real threat to them, as a critic Nader threatens damage to the Democratic base so he must be stomped out – even if what he advocates is good for our country. To party regulars it’s more important to protect the party than our country. See for example: http://www.democracynow.org/2000/10/17/naders_speech_at_madison_square_garden

As for ego, ask that dem supporter to name one U.S. President in the last 100-years who did not have a big ego? The trick is to find someone who can put their “ego” to good use and behave in a reasonable and pragmatic manner. Ralph Nader has not swayed in his advocacy for the common citizen since he started way back when. The results of his work, and the people who were inspired by him is quite visible. Mandatory seat belts, airbags, The Consumer Product Safety Commission, The Clean Air Act, and the list goes on and on.

We will never have anything but a 2 party system in this country if your friends observations are taken to heart. At some point ideology has to trump “realpolitik.” Sure, it will be painful, some bad people will probably be elected – but in the end we and our nation would benefit by having more than 2 parties (2 parties that more often than not seem to agree on legislation that is not in our best interest).

The Republicans and the Democrats closed ranks to keep Nader out of the debates, as you’ll probably recall. They did this because both parties knew Nader had traction with their constituents and because, if allowed to participate in a nationally televised debate, Nader might have convinced some of the viewers that the nominees were corporate whores who didn’t really give 2 hoots about citizens; that of course would have been unacceptable to the corporate backers of both the Republican and Democratic parties. Noam Chomsky and many others have pointed out that while you can say anything you want in the United States access to media “markets” (hence the citizenry) is denied to those who are truly critical of the ruling elites. We recently have witnessed similar media responses to John Edwards when, sincere or not, the large media corporations ignored what he was saying because it had a populist bent (don’t want to upset the sheep you know). I guess it’s kinda funny that I know more than a few Republicans (more to the right than most) who voted for Nader.

The behavior of both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party over the past 12-16 years has been shameful. Both are responsible for the mess we are in now: corporate control of our government, jobs going overseas, the balance of trade, etc. etc.

You might want to watch the film, “An Unreasonable Man” (2006) I think it’s out on DVD see: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0492499/

Best –CityKid

September 27th, 2007

The electronic voting re-revisited

After a devastating report, the administration decided next elections will not be run electronically (red pencil, and a slow and exciting election night again!). The only right decision, although they do want to “do it right”, read, re-develop. Oh well, only tax money. But it’s a good day for transparent voting in my country. Earlier on the nest: link link.

June 16th, 2007

The numbers in journalism

The project for excellence in journalism is an interesting site. Instead of focusing on the rhetoric it does a quantitative analysis on where the focus is in the media. Last week:

buildchartp2.jpg

Interesting huh? PH outdoing the cause of the king being a lame dead duck, and the demise of state finances by a long shot. What a mess. Speaking of finances. I tend to support the idea that it will be the Reps killing the $ for the war in Iraq, in a desperate move to cut loose the weight. Unless Cheney, who has been blatantly ignored the last couple of weeks, talks the crooks into bombing Iran; he’s already spreading (false) claims Iran is supplying the Taliban with weapons.

On a funny sidenote. Bush did get a ovational reception the other day. Where you ask? In Albania!

OK, I’ll stop. I have no right to comment on foreign leaders, although my government is so influenced by U.S. politics, I think I can now and then. 600 days to go. It’ll be a long 600 days.

March 14th, 2007

The electronic voting revisited

I wrote earlier about electronic voting and what happened here. The OSSE/ODHIR (say the Europeanelection watchdog wrote a report on the Netherlands elections in November 2006.

Currently, in the Netherlands, electronic voting is overwhelmingly the preferred method, and it has broad public support based on a high degree of trust in government and the electoral authorities.27. Whilst there have been no suggestions that trust at any level has been abused, the OSCE/ODIHR EAM believes that there is now a timely opportunity to further enhance transparency of implementation of new voting technologies, and public confidence, in an increasingly questioning and sceptical public environment. In particular:

Electronic voting systems should be monitored by an independent entity distinct from the authorities responsible for conducting elections. Such an entity should have broadtechnical expertise, and should be also responsible both for formulating and reviewing voting system standards.

There should be routine testing of voting machines before elections, and randomly selected machines should be subject to testing by an entity other than local election authorities. Mechanisms should be considered to verify that voting machines, as used on election day, are configured with the approved firmware and ballot definition.

In order to enhance public confidence in DRE voting machines, and to provide for meaningful audits and recounts, legislation regulating use of such systems should include provisions for a Voter Verified Paper Audit Trails (VVPAT) or an equivalentverification procedure. Software dependent vote recording mechanisms which do not permit an independent check on their operation should be phased out.

Voting system standards should not permit the use of systems which depend for their security on the secrecy of any part of their technical specifications. Reliance on proprietary systems should be reduced, where neither citizens, nor electoral officials, nor observers can determine how they operate.

Do you also read they are giving a slap on the hands while putting it nicely (“there is now a timely…”)? What they certainly said was these elections were NOT using those recommended technologies.