Posts Tagged ‘Presidential election’

No, I can’t prove voting machines were hacked

November 24, 2016

If you leave your car unlocked with the key in the ignition, sooner or later somebody will steal it.

If you entrust your nation’s elections to voting machines that can be tampered with, sooner or later somebody will tamper with them.

If your car is still on the parking lot when you come back, that is not a reason to leave your car unlocked and the keys in the ignition.

I think there’s enough circumstantial evidence to justify an audit of the 2016 Presidential election results in certain battleground states.

But if it turns out that there’s no proof that voting machines were tampered with in this election, that is not a reason to have voting machines that can be tampered with.


Is President Obama the best we can expect?

September 8, 2012

These two videos are segments of a debate yesterday on Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now program.  Glen Ford, a professor of sociology at Georgetown University, argued that Barack Obama, with all his flaws, is the most progressive President who has a chance of being elected, while Michael Eric Dyson, editor of the on-line Black Agenda Report, said that Obama, compared to Mitt Romney, is the more “effective evil” in his support of Wall Street and undeclared war.  Interestingly, Dyson plans to vote for Obama just the same.

Click on The Black Left Debates Barack Obama for a link to the complete debate, comment by Ta-Nehisi Coates and an interesting discussion thread.

Is Obama really the lesser of two evils?

July 26, 2012

Many liberals who are dissatisfied with Barack Obama intend to vote for him anyway because they think Mitt Romney is worse.  But is President Obama really the lesser of the two evils?

Both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are committed to tearing up the Bill of Rights in the name of the so-called war on terror.  Both are aligned with Wall Street financiers, and to continued war overseas.  On the other hand, Obama is less extreme than Romney, probably will make better (or less bad) Supreme Court appointments and make be better on social-cultural questions that don’t threaten the wealthy and the powerful.  But none of these things make him the lesser evil.

What the Obama administration has done, which the Bush administration did not do and the Romney administration probably would not be able to do, is to destroy the liberal opposition.  Democrats in Congress defended Social Security against President Bush; they have not defended it against President Obama.  They questioned President Bush’s claim of authority to imprison and torture people on his personal say-so; they have not questioned President Obama’s claim to kill people on his personal say-so.  If President Romney started a war with Iran, I’d expect a certain number of Democrats to oppose him; if President Obama did the same thing, not so much.

Republicans in Congress have been justly criticized for partisan obstructionism, but on issues of civil liberties, waging war and protecting financiers, there is a remarkable bipartisan consensus.  I would have thought Republicans would oppose President Obama’s assertion of unilateral power to commit acts of war, target people for killing and cloak his actions in secrecy, but on these issues they are at one with the Democrats.

I expect to vote either for Jill Stein, the candidate of the Green Party, or for ex-Gov. Gary Johnson of New Mexico, the candidate of the Libertarian Party.  It doesn’t really matter, since it is a foregone conclusion that President Obama will carry New York, but I would not vote for Obama or Romney even if New York were a battleground state.

Click on Obama May Not Even Be the Lesser Evil for a good article by Andrew Levine in Counterpunch which makes this point.

I have no dog in this fight

July 12, 2012

Click on Carlsontoons for more cartoons by Stuart Carlson.

Reasons for voting 2012

May 4, 2012

The only good reason for a principled liberal Democrat to vote for Barack Obama is that he is not Mitt Romney.

The only good reason for a principled conservative Republican to vote for Mitt Romney is that he is not Barack Obama.

That is probably the reason that Negative Ads Dominate 2012 Election, Study Shows.

What if Obama loses?

February 1, 2012

What happens if President Obama loses the election?   The Washington Monthly has a good special issue making the case that it could be worse than you would think.

Mitt Romney, the most probable Republican nominee, is, like Barack Obama, a defender of the status quo rather than a radical of the right.  But a Republican victory would mean not only Romney, Newt Gingrich or a dark horse Republican as President, but a new Republican majority in Congress.

Experience teaches that Republicans will use their majority more effectively than the Democrats do.  The Republican leadership will never tolerate the abuses of the filibuster and cloture that the Democrats have, and will be much less likely to either desire nor need compromise.

According to the Washington Monthly’s team of writers, we can say goodbye to the Affordable Care Act and the Dodd-Frank financial reform law before they are even implemented.  We can forget about any meaningful action on global climate change, and a more brass-knuckle approach to foreign policy.  As a friend of mine summed up, the objective is to make United States like Rick Perry’s Texas writ large.

Click on the following links to read the series.

This Time It’s Different

What If Obama Loses?: imagining the consequences of a GOP victory

Campaign Promises: what they say is how they’ll govern

The Tea Party: picking the candidates and writing the agenda

Congress: the good news is … no more gridlock

The Courts: the conservative takeover will be complete

Foreign Affairs: the “more enemies, fewer friends” doctrine

The Environment: the end of the EPA as we know it

Financial Regulation: back to the good ol’ days of 2008

Obamacare: it’s toast

I agree a Republican victory is likely to take the country from bad to worse, but I see little to hope from a continued Democratic incumbency.  The Republicans would move the country in the direction it already is going, but at a faster and more reckless pace.

With a supposedly liberal Democrat in the White House and Democrats in control of the Senate, the United States is drifting toward war with Iran.  The United States is waging war in more countries than it was under President George W. Bush.  President Obama has claimed even more un-Constitutional powers than his predecessor did.

The two most significant reform laws enacted during his administration, the Affordable Care Act and the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, are complicated, hard to understand, hard to implement, easy to sabotage and require great integrity and capability in the way they are administered if they are to work.  The authors of these laws consciously rejected simpler and stronger measure, such as a public option on health insurance, or a limitation on the size and activities of banks with insured deposits.  Maybe the ACA and Dodd-Frank will help; the odds are against it.

There is little point in enacting new legislation if existing laws and regulations are not enforced.  President Obama has been actively hostile to prosecuting financial fraud; he evidently thinks that a threat to Wall Street is a threat to America’s financial stability.  I don’t mean to say that every single thing he has done has been wrong.  Some of his policies, such as repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell or his modest public works program, are good; others might turn out to be good; others arguably are less bad than the Republican alternative would be.  But the case for re-electing President Obama is not hope for something better, but fear of something worse.


Why President Obama could lose in 2012

June 12, 2011

ABC-Washington Post poll June 7. Click to view.

In 1980, candidate Ronald Reagan asked the question, “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” and defeated incumbent President Jimmy Carter.  In 1992, candidate Bill Clinton reminded himself, “It’s the economy, stupid,” and unseated incumbent President George H.W. Bush.

I’m not so foolish as to try to predict the outcome of the 2012 election.  Many things could happen in the next 17 months.  But right now the United States is in the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, and there is no reason to think things will be much better anytime soon.

The Democrats’ best hope is that the Republicans will nominate Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman or some other candidate whose appeal is limited to Fox News fans and Tea Party activists, and campaign on Rep. Paul Ryan’s proposals to voucherize Medicare and privatize Social Security.

The Republicans, however, may not cooperate.  I expect them to nominate Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty or some other Republican governor with a solid record, and keep the focus on the economy.  I do not think the Republicans have any good ideas of how to turn things around, but neither do the Democrats, and the Democrats, as incumbents, get the praise and the blame for how things are.

Now President Obama could make the argument that things would be even worse if John McCain had been elected.  He could make the argument that he could have done more except for Republican obstruction in Congress.  Those arguments might have some weight if he were fighting for a program to make things better – a public works program to repair the crumbling U.S. infrastructure, say, or the “cramdown” plan to allow U.S. bankruptcy courts to help restructure mortgages.  But the only things he has fought for were the second TARP bailout and reappointment of Ben Bernanke as chair of the Federal Reserve Board.

I don’t think the American voting public has confidence in either the Democrats or the Republicans.  The Democratic upsurge in 2006 and 2008 reflected discontent with President George W. Bush; the Republican upsurge in 2010 reflected discontent with President Obama.  Each party in turn is being given an opportunity to get the country moving again, but neither party will get an electoral majority unless they make good use of the opportunity.