Electoral Politics

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"Don't Let Problems at the Polls
Take Away Your Right to Vote"

Andrew Greenblat, True Majority

We've read news reports about plans to challenge voters at polling places around the country. Don't let some political hack deny you your most fundamental right as an American citizen — your right to vote. Below, we've created a short guide to protect your rights and advise what to do if someone tries to take them away from you. I encourage you to do two things:

"The Price of a Voter Database"

Jurriaan Bendien, Marxmail

In brief, it's expensive, although possibly a university might get a license
at a discount. Some options listed here.


Caliper's Maptitude for Redistricting is said to cost about four thousand
dollars per copy. The software permits mapmakers to analyze a large amount
of data-party registration, voting patterns, ethnic makeup from census data,
property-tax records, roads, railways, old district lines.

Maptitude

ESRI's ArcView geographic information system has an extension that automates
the redistricting process. The Districting Extension lets you manually move
boundaries, and instantly see the statistical result in table or chart
format. A redistricting wizard can automate the process even further. You
can set target values for quantities such as population for the software to
optimize, and then view statistics of the results. This lets you create
alternative redistricting scenarios.

Arc

ArcView

There's also Voter Vault, used by the Republicans.

Voter Vault

More news here.

Some other possibilities:

VotersOnLine

Voter Access

Adjutant

AlphaSoft

Esit

"Politics For Dummies"

Guillermo C. Jimenez

On the eve of Election Day, the suspense of an uncertain outcome gives the waning American presidential campaign a certain gravitas, a certain ominous majesty — which, unfortunately, it does not deserve. While it is true that the stakes in this election are enormous, when it comes to content this campaign has been as pathetically vacuous as any in history.

Joe Licentia writes:

"Elections Are A Scam"

Joe Licentia


As in every election we’re now being bombarded with propaganda about how “your vote makes a difference” and associated nonsense. According to the official version ordinary citizens control the state by voting for candidates in elections. The President and other politicians are supposedly servants of “the people” and the government an instrument of the general populace. This version is a myth.

Anonymous Comrade writes


"Osama's Endorsement"

John Chuckman

It has been a bad few weeks for Bush with discoveries startling enough to kill, or at least stun, a normal candidate. But there is nothing normal about Bush. He just keeps plunging ahead, grunting and gasping, like one of the undead.


We learned that Bush wears a radio device at important events. This fact alone could explain his strange plodding movements and words, a creature waiting, eyes blinking mechanically, for each new word in its ear to register before reacting.


I understand that the existence of a radio device has not been proven, but it takes a much greater stretch of the imagination than a radio device to explain the strange shape photographed on the President's back, and science always favors simple, clear explanations. Some of his legions of loyal followers in trailer parks across the nation likely favor the idea of a device grafted to his back by aliens — this is a possibility I suppose — but reason casts some doubt.

Rob Eshelman submits:

"The Middle East Cauldron:

The Next Five Years"
Immanuel Wallerstein


Whoever is President of the United States, the basic political dilemmas of the Middle East will be the same in the coming five years. There are three loci of crucial happenings and probable major shifts in the coming period: Iraq, Iran, and Israel/Palestine.

The issue in Iraq that will have most impact on the future of Iraq, the Middle East, and the world is when and under what circumstances U.S. military forces will quit the country. At this point, the U.S. military presence has come to be a surgical graft that the Iraqi body is rejecting, and rejecting definitively. Sooner or later, U.S. forces will have to leave entirely, including from the prospective permanent bases. There are only three manners in which U.S. withdrawal can take place: as an early autonomous decision of the U.S. government; at the later request of the Iraqi authorities; or ultimately chased by Iraqi insurgents.



The Year Of Surrendering Quietly
Alexander Cockburn


Every four years, liberals unhitch the cart and put it in front of the horse, arguing that the only way to a better tomorrow is to vote for the Democratic nominee. But unless the nominee and Congress are pushed forward by social currents too strong for them to ignore or defy, nothing will alter the default path chosen by the country’s supreme commanders and their respective parties. In the American Empire of today, that path is never towards the good. Our task is not to dither in distraction over the lesser of two evil prospects, which will only turn out to be a detour along the same highway.

As now constituted, presidential contests, focused almost exclusively on the candidates of the two major parties, are worse than useless in furnishing any opportunity for national debate. Consider the number of issues on which there is tacit agreement between the Democratic and Republican parties, either as a matter of principle or with an expedient nod-and-wink that, beyond pro forma sloganeering, these are not matters suitable to be discussed in any public forum: the role of the Federal Reserve; trade policy; economic redistribution; the role and budget of the cia and other intelligence agencies (almost all military); nuclear disarmament; reduction of the military budget and the allocation of military procurement; roles and policies of the World Bank, imf, wto; crime, punishment and the prison explosion; the war on drugs; corporate welfare; energy policy; forest policy; the destruction of small farmers and ranchers; Israel; the corruption of the political system; the occupation of Iraq. The most significant outcome of the electoral process is usually imposed on prospective voters weeks or months ahead of polling day—namely, the consensus between the supposed adversaries as to what is off the agenda.

To be sure, there are the two parties who vituperate against each other in great style, but mostly this is only for show, for purposes of assuaging blocs of voters in the home district while honouring the mandate of those paying for the carousel. In the House, on issues like dumping the us Constitution in the trash can of the Patriot Act, there are perhaps thirty representatives from both sides of the aisle prepared to deviate from establishment policy. The low water mark came on September 14, 2002, when a joint resolution of Congress authorizing the president to ‘use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001’ drew only one No, from Barbara Lee, the Democratic congresswoman from Oakland. A stentorian July 2004 endorsement of Bush’s support for Sharon’s ‘peace plan’ by the House of Representatives elicited 407 ayes and 9 lonely noes. [1]

"The Year Of Surrendering Quietly"
Alexander Cockburn, New Left Review



Every four years, liberals unhitch the cart and put it in front of the horse, arguing that the only way to a better tomorrow is to vote for the Democratic nominee. But unless the nominee and Congress are pushed forward by social currents too strong for them to ignore or defy, nothing will alter the default path chosen by the country’s supreme commanders and their respective parties. In the American Empire of today, that path is never towards the good. Our task is not to dither in distraction over the lesser of two evil prospects, which will only turn out to be a detour along the same highway.

As now constituted, presidential contests, focused almost exclusively on the candidates of the two major parties, are worse than useless in furnishing any opportunity for national debate. Consider the number of issues on which there is tacit agreement between the Democratic and Republican parties, either as a matter of principle or with an expedient nod-and-wink that, beyond pro forma sloganeering, these are not matters suitable to be discussed in any public forum: the role of the Federal Reserve; trade policy; economic redistribution; the role and budget of the cia and other intelligence agencies (almost all military); nuclear disarmament; reduction of the military budget and the allocation of military procurement; roles and policies of the World Bank, imf, wto; crime, punishment and the prison explosion; the war on drugs; corporate welfare; energy policy; forest policy; the destruction of small farmers and ranchers; Israel; the corruption of the political system; the occupation of Iraq. The most significant outcome of the electoral process is usually imposed on prospective voters weeks or months ahead of polling day—namely, the consensus between the supposed adversaries as to what is off the agenda.

Anonymous Comrade writes:

"The Government You Deserve"

John Chuckman

It has been said that people pretty much get the government they deserve. There is more than a little justice in the observation.


Pat Buchanan, long my choice as symbol for all that is wrong with America, has given a last-minute endorsement to George Bush's re-election. One is tempted to class his words, qualified as they are, with the grovelings of John McCain at Bush rallies.


After spending a couple of years successfully peddling columns attacking Bush for repeating the bloody stupidity of Vietnam, Pat has come to the conclusion that Bush isn't so bad after all. He says that while Bush is wrong on the war, he is right on just about everything else.

Beyond Voting
Howard Zinn, 1976
from The Zinn Reader
Seven Stories Press

Gossip is the opium of the American public. We lie back, close our eyes and happily inhale the stories about Roosevelt's and Kennedy's affairs, Lyndon Johnson's nude swims with unnamed partners and, now, Nixon's pathetic "final days" in office.

The latest fix is administered by reporters Woodward and Bernstein and the stuff is Nixon's sex life with Pat, Nixon drunk and weeping, Nixon cradled in the arms of Kissinger (who did it, we presume, for national security).

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