Election 2012

International Observers Astounded By America's "Trust Based" Voting System, China Prepares for Leadership Transition

Voter ID is a must in emerging democracies

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unamerican?

A delegation comprised of election officials from nascent democracies, from the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, was astounded by how much trust is involved in America's presidential system, including lax identification procedures (in many Arab countries, thumbs are inked to prevent fraud). "It's very difficult to transfer this system as it is to any other country. This system is built according to trust and this trust needs a lot of procedures and a lot of education for other countries to adopt it," the head of Libya's national electoral commission told Foreign Policy. Wait till they learn about the electoral college. Hopefully they don't get any ideas from this.

Meanwhile, China's leadership transition, an every five years affair, is proceeding on pace amid a media blackout, with Xi Jinping expected to take over the presidency, while the current president, Hu Jintao, will remain in control of the military. Bo Xilai, one of the few alternatives to the establishment (a hard-line alternative at that), was officially expelled from the Communist Party this week. The 18th National Communist Party Congress, where the leadership transition will be made official, begins November 8th and lasts about a week. The United States electoral college, largely selected tonight, officially votes for president and vice president on December 17. Congress counts the votes January 6. 

NEXT: International Election Monitors Shocked by Lack of ID Checks

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  1. Trust-based? That’s fraud-based. Let’s stop pretending it’s anything else.

    We have an honest electoral system in a lot of the U.S., but there are jurisdictions where fraud controls, or at least strongly skews, the results. Mostly where the ruling party has been entrenched for many decades.

    1. Seeing as the end result of fraud is TEAM BE RULED no matter what (in most locations), I find it difficult to care.

      1. You’ve got to care. Episiarch, I’m going to tell you something. You, your friends, all the Onlies are going to get the fraud unless we succeed in what we’re doing. You’ve seen your friends get it.

        1. I’m sorry, ProL, I don’t speak Imbecile. Can you repeat that in English?

          1. Who are you, Warty? TOS, “Miri.”

            Go watch ten episodes, back to back, until you’re better.

            1. Maybe you should fake quote better.

              1. Maybe you should fake quote understand better.

            2. One of my favorite episodes and I still did not get it.

    2. I got asked for my ID when I voted today. I clearly live in a racist jurisdiction.

      1. They ask for it in Florida. But we’re in the South.

        1. It’s just like Selma, man!!

      2. I had to show mine in Colorado. Then I had to point out my name on the roll to the blind guy who was checking ID’s. I see a slight problem with that system…

  2. Snark and rage if you want (I know I will), but it’s a good thing that political succession in this and other countries is handled with a minimum of violence. If we could get the rest of government to function with a similar concern when it comes to avoiding violence and respecting the people, then we’d be pretty well off.

    1. What bugs me is that I think the corruption and growing Manicheism is pushing us to a point where the legitimacy our electoral process has long been perceived as having will vanish. If that happens, the violence very well may come here, too.

      1. Sure. Let it.

        1. I don’t think you’d like what’s on the other side of that. It’s not like we’ve plumbed the depths of horror in this country, as effed up as things are getting.

          1. Just trying to live in interesting times, ProL.

            1. You know that’s a curse, right? The lady who said “may you live in interesting times” wasn’t your friend, Epi.

              1. Yes, but I feel particularly cursed today.

                1. It’s got a bad vibe. I heard something scanning the radio dial about today being some kind of anniversary of significance in connection with the Weimar hyperinflation.

          2. Someone on here (Calidissident?) mentioned visiting Argentina on a business trip and being struck by the fact that first-world citizens can consent to living with third-world government and politics. Having lived in Central and South America most of my life, it worries me that the US might be headed towards that same fate — and violence doesn’t help those situations, it exacerbates them.

            1. Yeah that was me, although it was a school trip (I’m a business major, so most of the time, except free time of course, was spent visiting local businesses). I think there are some parallels definitely, and things have gotten violent in the past in Argentina and other countries in similar situations. I really hope that doesn’t happen here, but at the rate things are going, it’s definitely possible unfortunately

      2. True, but I’m a natural optimist — and I’m still hoping that Otto von Bismark’s observation about God’s providence for fools, drunks, and the USA will hold out for a few more.

        It does make one wonder whether a libertarian president would intensify the polarization, or be such a WTF in American politics that it counterintuitively leads us away from polarized politics.

        1. I think that polarization is a good thing. I don’t ever want the Marching Morons to go goose-stepping arm-in-arm down the boulevard in complete agreement on anything. That’s where dictatorship comes from.

          1. You’re an anarchist, right? Isn’t the prevailing notion among anarcho-capitalists for how to get to anarchy a variant of the state withering away? How does that happen without strong cultural norms in favor of such a thing?

            I think some amount of unity around liberty-enhancing ideas is a good thing. For example, the US has strong cultural norms in favor of free speech and that has helped avert the restrictions on speech that we see in other countries.

            1. One of the ideas about the transition to anarchy is that people stop thinking that the government is “of the people, by the people, for the people” and become disillusioned by it, and inevitably realize it’s a parasitic organism on society. The sooner people lose faith (and faith is exactly what it is) the sooner that government will trend towards irrelevancy.

              However, the current zeitgeist is that government is the great protector, destroyer, and creator and is omnipotent and well-meaning in all actions. So we have a long way to go.

              1. The degree to which the statists have successfully promoted government as the solution to everything is frightening and appalling, and that’s not getting reversed any time soon.

                They really won that battle, but that’s not surprising seeing as both TEAMs are incredibly statist, which isn’t surprising as it increases their power.

                And that’s why minarchy will never work.

            2. I mentioned this in the David Friedman thread–the path to anarchy is likely through minarchy (if it’s possible at all). Without the cultural willingness to move away from the idea that government is the end-all, be-all, it would be very hard to get there from here.

            3. I’m a moral and individualist anarchist, in that I don’t believe it can ever or will ever be achieved on a long-term basis, given the way humans are programmed to behave around one another.

              I don’t believe any government is capable of being moral, and I also believe that it is inevitable. I don’t find any contradiction between those two propositions.

              So I basically only pay attention for the lulz and live my life as I see fit. If I want to smoke weed, I smoke weed. If I want to go faster than the posted speed limit, I do that. That’s individual anarchy. You all engage in it, all the time, without even thinking about it.

              1. There’s always the space station. Why not seize it?

                1. Because I’m afraid this might happen.

                  Where’s your freedom now, assholes!

                  1. The Green Slime. For some reason that movie scared the shit out of me when I was a kid. I remember being very paranoid during meteor showers, that could of been the Triffids though.

                    1. Are you sure you aren’t actually me, RBS? B/c that sounds exactly like my childhood. I still have the Triffids VHS.

                    2. I don’t know, did your dad take you to see Arachnophobia, leaving you with a persistent fear of spiders?

                    3. 1) Yes, and 2) no. Because I always loved monsters, I thought the spiders were teh awesome. In fact I’ve been desperately trying to talk my wife into allowing me to have a tarantula for a pet.

                    4. I love monsters too but spiders are just too much. One of the worst days of my life involved a fistfull of mushrooms, an inner tube and a bunch of branches overhanging a river…

                    5. One of the worst days of my life involved a fistfull of mushrooms, an inner tube and a bunch of branches overhanging a river…

                      Sounds fun.

              2. @Jim “I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.”

                1. Precisely this.

                2. Heinlein really nailed it when he had Prof. de la Paz say that. It sums up moral/individual anarchism in a nutshell, and also the way humans actually live even though they tell themselves they don’t.

                  1. Prof De La Paz is great. I still have no idea why Heinlein is considered less of an influence on libertarianism than Ayn Rand.

          2. I absolutely agree, Jimbo. I prefer a clear delineation WRT to politics and ideology. I despise collectivists, Marxists, and Socialists, and I really want to know who is whom, though that distinction is blurring with alarming speed.

            Unlike in EUR, where everyone is pretty much a Socialist or a Nationlist (or both), and the distinction is merely a matter of degree.

            1. Socialism and nationalism. Two great tastes that kill great together.

        2. I think it would take a series of libertarian presidents to actually change anything.

          1. I think politicians are going to be a lagging indicator in any real change towards a better government. My hope and desire is that things like the Tea Party are only the tip of the iceburg, as far as cultural trends towards classical liberalism go.

          2. Disagree, if anything it will take a catalyzing event (such as a constitutional crisis) and a fundamental reform of the structure and nature of government for there to be meaningful change. Otherwise, it’s gonna be the two TEAMs for the foreseeable future. There is Zero incentive to change the status quo and people are quite comfortable in the current scenario.

            1. I agree wholeheartedly with Bingo, which is why I say “bingo” to Bingo’s statement. The happy circle jerk between the TEAM-loving populace and the politicians who love that they love the charade has only been getting more intense.

              The only thing that will create real change is severe discomfort for the populace, whether that is living standards, super-oppressive government, or alien invasion. Otherwise, as long as people have their iPads and their house and the police only mistakenly raid a few people who aren’t them, things keep chugging along.

              The greatest oppressors aren’t the politicians; they’re your neighbors.

              1. Exactamundo. I think this is one of those things that separate the minarchists from the anarchists in the libertarian sphere as well. Minarchists still think that reforming the system from the top down is possible, anarchists think that it’s impossible and the only way to do it is from the bottom up.

                Anarchy starts at home, not in the polling booth.

              2. The problem is that there are hundreds of thousands of things that can be blamed (improbably or not) for severe discomfort before government as an institution. Let’s face it, neither anarcho-capitalism nor libertarianism are intuitive, especially to people who are accustomed to seeing government and society in a certain way. Most people aren’t inclined to self-educate.

                How many Bastille Days have lead to either better governments or freer people, in practice? Before general disillusionment with government can lead to a mass movement towards freedom, there needs to be a positive vision of a society with less or no government. A platonic ideal isn’t enough; people aren’t going to respond or be knowledgeable enough about it. An intuitive understanding of the benefits borne from experience with liberty — that is something that can be captured and supported by a mass that is uninterested in political philosophy.

                1. “How many Bastille Days have lead to either better governments or freer people, in practice?”

                  It’s gotta keep ’em on their toes, though.

                  They gotta know that’s at least on the table.

                  P.S. Ceausescu.

                2. I think you might have thought I was proposing mass discomfort as the “anarchist solution”, which I wasn’t. I was merely stating that nothing is going to change without it. There will be no successful libertarian movements getting everyone to give up their free shit; there will be no Ron Pauls or Gary Johnsons rolling back government en mass.

                  The only way I see things changing is some massive event or worldwide (true) financial meltdown that can’t be papered over any more.

                  1. We maybe take the Jesus route.

                    Turn libertarianism into a religion, and then work on converting people.

                    Jesus had like 12 guys workin’ for him. And one of them was kind of a bastard…

                    He basically took over the Roman Empire anyway. And they didn’t even have popular elections. It isn’t gonna happen through elections.

                    But we could go the revolutionary route, too. That worked for the communists. It could work for us, too.

                  2. This is is true.

                3. I’m talking about reform within the current system. It requires a catalyzing event for certain if you want to change out our government with a different government. And you’re right, there’s a pretty big chance that whatever follows from a catalyzing event will be worse in almost all aspects, but there is some small chance for positive reform (IMO decentralizing the federal government to be regional is a possible positive reform that could occur from a constitional crisis).

                  However, all anarchy requires is disillusion with the current, government followed by loss of faith and irrelevancy. Think of the collapse of the Soviet Union, which is about as big and scary as governments come, only instead of replacing it you let it fade into irrelevancy and replace it with nothing.

                  And no, I don’t expect to ever see this occur in my lifetime, it requires a profound change in people’s ethics and outlook for something like this to occur.

                4. An intuitive understanding of the benefits borne from experience with liberty…

                  For most people, there is no such thing. Real liberty is hard. You constantly find yourself being held accountable for your poor decisions.

                  I personally would rather be a poor free man than a comfortable pet. But most people disagree with that. My brother-in-law, for example. In his mid-30s, still lives in his parents basement. He is absolutely puzzled when I tell him that yes, I recognize all the cool things he can buy with his money that doesn’t go towards rent, but I prefer freedom of action in my own home.

                  The concept that I would value privacy and freedom of action over material comfort is completely, 100%, alien to him. He cannot comprehend it, in any way. And I think at bottom, most people would rather be a well-kept slave than a hard-working free man.

                  It only makes sense. Evolutionarily speaking, expending the least amount of energy to accomplish goals of phyical need and comfort was a winner. Freedom is a metaphysical concept. It would have been meaningless to primitive people more concerned with where their next meal is coming from than anything else.

                  1. Everything JJ said plus this: to me, the only logical source of morality and action is myself. I am solely responsible for my actions, and must bear the results of them, but because I accept that, I also deny anyone else’s agency over me, most of all some collective.

                    I bear no responsibility for your actions, nor you mine. In return I don’t get to tell you what to do, nor you me.

                    1. Yep. And I’m not just bashing left-wingers there (though I do so love to do that). I’ll never understand how a “patriot” can in the same breath decry collectivism based on class, and extoll collectivism based on nationality. I mean, I get it; it’s another biological imperative based on survivability in tribal times. But it doesn’t make any logical sense for all that.

                      “Grouping people into competing tribes that way is stupid. Grouping people into competing tribes this way is awesome and good.”

                  2. There was a real paradigm shift during the Enlightenment towards freedom. Whether it was because of self-interest, a virtuous cycle wrt freedom and prosperity, or something else, I couldn’t tell you for certain — but I think that the answer lies in an acceptance of liberty (to at least a limited extent) as a motivator for prosperity and as something that was, at least, somewhat better than the alternatives in some spheres of human life.

                    As I see it, liberty-minded people need to do a better job of correlating the good things about the US with freedom, and selling the hell out of it, rather than just twiddling our thumbs and hoping that people will get pissed enough about government mendacity to become anarchists. I am glad that liberty minded people in the 1600s and 1700s didn’t just look at the world and give up — and there was a lot less hope for liberty-minded politics then than there is today.

                    1. Actually I’m not sure about that. There have been some interesting studies done that claim people back then, despite having more economic hardship, actually had a much greater level of personal autonomy than they do now, due to the lack of any sophisticated method of surveilance and enforcement that states have today.

                      Additionally, since people weren’t invested with the bullshit notion that the government IS the people, they clearly understood when the gov’t did something that pissed them off, where to place the blame. The Social Contract theory that the Enlightenment gave us basically neutered that, and taught that as long as you participate, you are giving your willing consent and thus have no basis for complaint.

  3. Kids and international observers say the darnedest things.

  4. Well, I voted for GJ and wrote in my dog, G. H. Strickland, to be the first congressman for SC’s new district. The two retards on the actual ballot left a lot to be desired, and voted no on an amendment to our state constitution.

    1. Where can I donate to your dog’s campaign?

      1. Unfortunately he only accepts treats, which made his campaign nearly impossible.

        1. Does he accept treats from foreigners?

        2. Is it a poodle?

          I couldn’t vote for a poodle.

          I hate all forms of racism, but I guess you could call me a beagle supremacist.

          1. I hate all forms of racism

            Is that why you accused me of not being a “real” multi-racial American just because I disagreed with you?

            1. Dude, you’re kinda obsessed. It’s getting kinda creepy.

              Why don’t you go hump somebody else’s leg for a while?

              1. Yes, the chutzpah of it sticks in my craw. You could apologize for accusing me of being in “blackface”, especially when you have no idea of the realities of living as someone of mixed-race in America. If you had any decency you would apologize.

                1. Damn. I’m sorry I missed the thread this happened on. I like a little libertarian on libertarian violence occasionally. Also, HM, if you want to “get Ken”, just call him a cunt. Here, I’ll help you.

                  Ken, you’re being a cunt. Now apologize to HM.

                  Good luck fella’s. 😉

                  /instigator

                  1. I didn’t accuse him of anything.

                    I asked him if his name “Heroic Mulatto” was supposed be making fun of Obama because of his race…

                    Heroic Mulatto claims that he’s actually a Trinidadian of mixed ancestry–a claim to which I expressed some…skepticism.

                    I mean, I’m sure there are a lot of Muslim hating, Trinidadians of mixed ancestry out there, who get all bent out of shape when you make fun of rednecks–and don’t use the word “mulatto” to make fun of the president… And if Heroic Mulatto’s one of them? That’s great. More power to him.

                    But if I don’t want to vote for Johnson, don’t think all Muslims support terrorism, and remain…uncertain regarding that explanation for his easily interpreted as a jab at Obama’s name?

                    Then maybe he should try to sojourn on through life anyway! Why is what I think so important?

                    It’s kinda creepy.

                    1. Heroic Mulatto claims that he’s actually a Trinidadian of mixed ancestry–a claim to which I expressed some…skepticism

                      See, here’s the point. You have no right to express skepticism. You don’t know me. You have never met me. The only thing you’re basing your skepticism are your assumptions about me based on what I’ve written. Gleaning someone’s ethnic background based on text-alone is the very definition of racism. And you dare state that you hate racism in all forms? I even went as far as to post my baby pictures and you still claim skepticism….which is insulting.

                    2. Muslim hating, Trinidadians

                      I hate Muslims? That should come as a surprise to the Saudi family that I’m hosting for Thanksgiving dinner. But if you knew anything about Trinidad and Tobago, you’d know that quite a few Trinis have a dim view of Islamism due to the coup attempt of 1990.

                      who get all bent out of shape when you make fun of rednecks

                      Yes, I don’t believe someone should be mocked just because they are a White rural Southerner, which makes me a racist, I guess, unlike the bodhisattva Ken Shultz.

                      -and don’t use the word “mulatto” to make fun of the president…

                      Again, just because you’re so uneducated as to have never heard of the Tragic Mulatto literary trope doesn’t mean I have to apologize for your ignorance.

                  2. Thanks EDG. I don’t want to “get Ken,” I just want him to understand why he’s being a cunt. Maybe he’ll be big enough to apologize. I’m not holding my breath though.

            1. Now those are alright!

              But poodles? I could never vote for a poodle!

              There has never been a libertarian poodle.

              They’re all fascists.

  5. The electoral college firewalls damage from election fraud.

    If Illinois puts in a bunch of phoney Democrat votes they still can only get so many electoral votes.

    Without that limit and the election was simply a vote count then Illinois could swamp other state’s legitimate votes.

    One thing I think would be cool is if all states adopt what Nebraska and Maine have done and split up their electoral college votes

    1. I’d love to see California split their votes.

      It’s absurd that some 10 million Californians (40 percent of the voters) are basically never heard from.

      1. I’m stunned that the state is still just one state.

        1. It’s just the water.

          Southern California needs the water, the farmers up North would never give it up to another state.

          They’ve tried before. Just can’t figure out the water issue.

        2. There’s so many divisions within California that it would be difficult to break into two or three states, instead of a whole bunch. There’s the Nor Cal-So Cal divide , although politically the two areas (I’m referring to the Bay Area and the LA area)are both liberal, and share more in common culturally than the nearby rural areas. The OC and San Diego are known for being conservative, but it’s not the same type of people or culture that you’ll find in other conservative areas, such as the Central Valley or far northern California.

      2. I agree. It keeps the best of both worlds; it enfranchises those who otherwise are not heard from in a winner-take-all scenerio, and the fact that it’s still just a set number of electoral votes no matter what helps curb the damage from fraud.

        I also think you could get both parties on board w/ it. Very little to say against it.

        1. I don’t know if you could get both parties on board.

          If the Democrats get the advantage of all those electoral votes, and they don’t have to split them now, why would they agree to a split?

          If you want somebody to give up something, you have to offer them something better than what they already have. And splitting the electoral votes would not be better for the Democrats.

        2. You might be able to get it onto the ballot as a proposition!

          That might work.

      3. It’s absurd that some 10 million Californians (40 percent of the voters) are basically never heard from.

        Heard from on what? The presidential election? That’s how it’s designed in the Constitution. Those 10 million Californians get heard on a myriad of other things. They get what, 53 Representatives in the House?

    2. This is actually the main reason–other than wanting to retain some remnants of federalism as a fading check on central power–that I oppose a popular election of presidents. The obvious shenanigans that happen in places like Chicago, Philadelphia, New York, etc. are at least somewhat muted with the Electoral College.

      1. Yeah, after the last 12 years, I kinda like the parliamentary system, too.

        Dare I say it? The Canadian system looks kinda nice.

        If Libertarians could do as well as the Wildrose Party, it would be out bestest showing ever.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wildrose_Party

        1. No, I don’t want the parliamentary system. It lacks the checks on power that our system has, which, for that matter, aren’t enough, either.

          1. The checks and balances, quite frankly, don’t seem to work very well. Power just seems to concentrate in the president anyway, and he seems to do pretty much whatever he wants–Constitution be damned–and the only thing we can do about it is impeach him?

            The big advantage of the presidential system is that we can vote a rotten president out of office–where in a parliamentary system you can’t. On the other hand, I can’t seem to get my DAMN fellow libertarians to vote for this rotten president’s opponent anyway, which makes me wonder how effective that feature really is, too.

    3. Only problem there is that would almost guarantee control of the House and the Presidency to one party at a time

  6. “[they were] astounded by how much trust is involved in America’s presidential system, including lax identification procedures…”

    Obviously, they weren’t in Chicago.

    1. Isn’t having multiple identities one votes under an improvement on democracy?

      1. Joe Kennedy thought so…
        (so did Jack)

  7. So the international observers discovered that the problem isn’t with election officials, but with the people voting.

    I’ve really been watching this whole “demand a photo id” argument for a while, and I’m sorry liberals, but I just don’t see how demanding to know if, you know, you at least went to the trouble to fake an id before voting is a massive racist conspiracy against the electorate. Yeah, yeah, NPR found the one poor, aging inner city octogenarian who lost her ID fifteen years ago and just hasn’t gotten around to getting it and now she might be denied her precious god-given all-important right to dispatch her civic duty upon American Democracy… FUCK!

    I give up.

    1. I’m sorry liberals, but I just don’t see how demanding to know if, you know, you at least went to the trouble to fake an id before voting is a massive racist conspiracy against the electorate.

      It’s not, but if the War on Terror Security State statists of all stripes let them know it was really about sneaking through a National ID and killing the last vestiges of Federalism, those useful idiot liberals wouldn’t be on board.

      1. Don’t you mean they would be on board? Like if they tied the voter id to single-payer healthcare, the liberals would suddently think that people having an id would be a good thing?

        1. Like if they tied the voter id to single-payer healthcare, the liberals would suddently think that people having an id would be a good thing?

          Absolutely.

  8. OT: http://www.news9.com/story/200…..front-yard

    Piedmont Mom Gets $2,500 Ticket After Son, 3, Urinates In Front Yard

    Just helping everyone’s evening along.

      1. Roads?!

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