U.S. Electoral Fraud
A “Coalition of Centrists” in the Making
In a surprise announcement, New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, endorsed President Barack Obama. Bloomberg calls himself an “independent” and is known for being a “moderate,” and calling for an end to the current gridlock in Congress and working in a “bipartisan” spirit. As Mayor, he also heads what he says is one of the “largest armies” in the country, referring to the highly armed New York Police Department (NYPD) and large bureaucracy of city government. The NYPD, which also works directly with the CIA, has its own tanks, helicopters and missiles.
Collin Powell, former Secretary of State and Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff also endorsed Obama, as he did in 2008. Like Bloomberg, Powell is considered a “moderate,” who also promotes “bipartisanship.” He has supported Obama’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Obama spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the campaign is “very excited” about the endorsement: “We think it sends a strong signal about why he should be sent back for another four years to be Commander in Chief.” This is an indication that the role of Obama in the coming period is as Commander in Chief and that he must make certain the public treasury can be utilized for U.S. war aims in conditions where the economy is not recovering.
Bloomberg, after repeatedly saying he would make no public endorsement and expressing criticisms of both Obama and Romney, changed his mind. It appears Hurricane Sandy was a main factor. He endorsed Obama November 1 saying, “The devastation that Hurricane Sandy brought to New York City and much of the Northeast — in lost lives, lost homes and lost business — brought the stakes of Tuesday’s presidential election into sharp relief. The floods and fires that swept through our city left a path of destruction that will require years of recovery and rebuilding work… In just 14 months, two hurricanes have forced us to evacuate neighborhoods — something our city government had never done before. If this is a trend, it is simply not sustainable. Our climate is changing. And while the increase in extreme weather we have experienced in New York City and around the world may or may not be the result of it, the risk that it might be — given this week’s devastation — should compel all elected leaders to take immediate action.”
Bloomberg titled his editorial, which ran in his Bloomberg News, “A Vote for a President to Lead on Climate Change.” He emphasized, “We need leadership from the White House — and over the past four years, President Barack Obama has taken major steps to reduce our carbon consumption, including setting higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks. His administration also has adopted tighter controls on mercury emissions, which will help to close the dirtiest coal power plants (an effort I have supported through my philanthropy), which are estimated to kill 13,000 Americans a year.” He contends that Romney has “reversed course,” on climate change issues. He said, “If the 1994 or 2003 version of Mitt Romney were running for president, I may well have voted for him because, like so many other independents, I have found the past four years to be, in a word, disappointing.
“In 2008, Obama ran as a pragmatic problem-solver and consensus-builder. But as president, he devoted little time and effort to developing and sustaining a coalition of centrists, which doomed hope for any real progress on illegal guns, immigration, tax reform, job creation and deficit reduction. And rather than uniting the country around a message of shared sacrifice, he engaged in partisan attacks and has embraced a divisive populist agenda focused more on redistributing income than creating it.”
He then goes on to say Obama has achieved some important victories. Bloomberg says Obama’s “Race to the Top education program — much of which was opposed by the teachers’ unions, a traditional Democratic Party constituency — has helped drive badly needed reform across the country, giving local districts leverage to strengthen accountability in the classroom and expand charter schools. His health-care law — for all its flaws — will provide insurance coverage to people who need it most and save lives.”
He concludes saying, “Neither candidate has specified what hard decisions he will make to get our economy back on track while also balancing the budget. But in the end, what matters most isn’t the shape of any particular proposal; it’s the work that must be done to bring members of Congress together to achieve bipartisan solutions.” He says Obama can be successful if “he listens to people on both sides of the aisle, and builds the trust of moderates.”
A Coalition of Centrists
In a situation where the machinery of the two parties is disintegrating and individual candidates with their own machinery are backed by contending factions among the rich, the solution posed is not one of bringing the parties together. This is not what is meant by bipartisanship. On the contrary, a "coalition of centrists" is called for which will work together to "achieve bipartisan solutions." Bloomberg, a billionaire himself and a representative of Wall Street, is positioned to be part of this group of "moderates" and help put it in place.
Bloomberg, together with former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, former Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen and potentially now Colin Powell as well, are all well-known “bipartisan” and “moderate,” forces. Bill Clinton too is perhaps the quintessential “centrist.” He has been vigorously campaigning with Obama and no doubt will have a role to play after the elections.
Has a deal now been made to bring Bloomberg into this “coalition of centrists”? Will these forces form a committee to secure control of the purse strings? Or perhaps take a place in the next Obama administration?
If so, it would mean Obama has his forces in control of both Chicago and New York City and their massive police forces. It also means various different alliances bringing together this “coalition of centrists,” are in the works. If Obama can pull these various forces together, as the recent endorsements indicate, it is further evidence that the ruling circles see him as the champion able to preserve the union under conditions of the current cold civil war going hot. He is the one who can be successful in putting the public purse strings directly in the hands of the monopoly financiers, keep the people repressed while keeping the union whole. Or at least that is what the rulers hope.
Only days before millions of Americans cast their ballots, a climate of suspicion hangs over Tuesday’s national elections.
Accusations of partisan dirty tricks and concerns about long voter lines, voting equipment failures and computer errors are rampant, particularly in key battleground states such as Ohio and Colorado, where absentee and provisional ballots could decide a close election. […]
State and local election officials and partisan watchdogs are on high alert for problems, as is the U.S. Department of Justice. All of them plan to post election monitors at potential trouble spots across the country.
The extra preparations will certainly help, but they have not stopped reports of phony election workers showing up at people’s homes to collect their absentee ballots or anonymous callers falsely claiming that voters can stay home on Election Day and cast their ballots by phone.
With concerns running high about voter intimidation, voter suppression and poorly trained poll workers, many think that the integrity of the elections – and the officials who run them – has been compromised. Nowhere is that more true than in Ohio, where Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted has drawn the ire of Democrats by limiting the amount of time for early voting. […]
In their national bid to root out voter fraud, True the Vote, a conservative organization, might have hundreds of thousands of poll watchers nationwide. They plan to challenge voters they suspect of casting ballots illegally. This could slow the election process and force challenged voters to cast provisional ballots, which are counted later.
Labor organizations and voting rights groups, such as Common Cause and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, also will have poll watchers making sure that voters aren’t harassed, intimidated or threatened by True the Vote members. “Our monitors will be monitoring their monitors,” said Judith Browne Dianis, a co-director of the Advancement Project, a national nonpartisan voting-rights organization. “We are going to make sure they’re not engaging in bullying at the polling places.”
The recent high-water mark for voter distrust is the 2000 presidential election, when Florida’s disputed votes and the resulting challenge to the U.S. Supreme Court left the race undecided for several weeks. The high court eventually declared Republican George W. Bush the winner.
Concerns about the 2012 election mushroomed last year as Republican state lawmakers around the country introduced a series of restrictive voting laws that critics claimed would affect minorities, college students and the poor disproportionately. Democrats and civil rights advocates argued that the laws were a less-than-subtle attempt to suppress the votes of some of the party’s strongest supporters.
Federal and state courts in 14 states ended up reversing, weakening or postponing many of the laws’ most contentious provisions, according to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law.
In the aftermath of those legal battles, a skeptical electorate wonders whether innocent mistakes, computer glitches and human error by elections workers have a deeper, more sinister intent.
After printing the incorrect election date on voter materials printed in Spanish – but not in English – election officials in Maricopa County, Arizona, made the same mistake a week later with a different document. Once again, the identical English-language materials did not have the error. […]
Pollsters and pundits have trained their eyes on Ohio, where President Obama maintains a narrow lead over Mitt Romney just days before the election. According to exit polls, Obama’s lead is even stronger among early voters. But several recent developments threaten to disenfranchise many of these voters and plunge Ohio into a bureaucratic nightmare on election night.
The Columbus Dispatch reported on Thursday that a data-sharing glitch and mistakes by election officials have caused thousands of absentee ballot requests to be rejected. While Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted maintains that this was a computer error, the Northeast Ohio Voter Advocates found an abnormally high rate of rejected absentee ballot requests in Cuyahoga County, a Democratic stronghold that includes Cleveland. The Cuyahoga Board of Elections determined that 865 ballot requests had been erroneously thrown out.
If these voters try to cast their vote in person, they will likely be forced to use a provisional ballot, as the absentee ballot error has thrown their registration status into question. At least 4,500 registered voters across the state will be left waiting for their absentee ballots, while as many as 6,000 provisional ballots cast by registered voters could be tossed out. The provisional ballots that do not get thrown out will not be counted until November 17, according to state law, further dragging out the confusion.
This absentee ballot fiasco is just the latest in Ohio’s dysfunctional election saga. On Wednesday, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals allowed Husted to discount ballots cast by people directed to the wrong polling station by a poll worker — one of the most common errors that led to thousands of votes getting thrown out in Ohio’s dysfunctional 2004 presidential election.
Husted became a national symbol of voter suppression after he banned early voting on nights and weekends, and attempted to defy a court order that restored early voting on the last three days before the election.
In his defense, Husted often touts his unprecedented initiative to mail absentee ballot requests to every registered voter in the state. But critics have pointed out that this measure will probably add to the confusion that could delay the results of the election. Anyone who chooses to return the absentee ballot application but later decides to vote in person will be required to use a provisional ballot, as election officials need to verify that they did not also send in their absentee ballot. The absentee ballot initiative, then, could be a bureaucratic nightmare in disguise. With innumerable legitimate votes cast on provisional ballots, Ohio’s 2012 election could end up mirroring 2004, when the state discarded thousands of votes and tipped George W. Bush over the edge to victory by the narrowest margin.
In Pennsylvania, considered a swing state where the Latino vote is important, state-sponsored billboards, in Spanish, have gone up in predominately Latino neighborhoods to discourage people from voting. The billboards say that state issued identification is required to vote. This is not true.
Television ads highlighting the state’s mostly-invalidated voter ID law also aired as recently as October 6. While Pennsylvania did pass a strict voter identification law, it was suspended by the state’s Supreme Court for this election. The Court ruled that too many eligible voters were likely to be disenfranchised as they could not secure the ID. It also ruled that registered voters are not required to show ID at the polls in order to vote this year.
The billboards read “Si Quieres Votar, Muéstrala” (If You Want to Vote, Show it), with a photo showing a women with driver’s license. The billboards are being paid for by state government using public dollars, just a few weeks before election day. Pennsylvania is doing this even though they are well aware that the billboards are false and will serve to disenfranchise eligible voters.
Before the Pennsylvania voter ID law was blocked by the courts, the state Republican House Majority Leader admitted it was enacted to “allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania” (by disenfranchise Latinos and other people of color who are most likely not to have government-issued photo Ids).
Recently, Clear Channel, which owns the billboards, was forced to take down billboards that were also misleading voters in Black and Latino neighborhoods in Ohio and Wisconsin after the public spoke up in outrage. Many Latinos are now organizing to demand that Pennsylvania remove the billboards. People are urged to sign a petition telling the Pennsylvania Department of Commonwealth and Clear Channel to take down voter suppression billboards immediately: http://act.presente.org/sign/pasigns. As well, efforts are going forward to inform all that ID is not required to vote.