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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Around and about on a cold winter eve...

The video above, by Ben Swann, provides a clear, fast-moving (downright zippy) explanation of the origin of ISIS. Swann dares to say that which the mainstream media refuses to say: That ISIS was, in large part, created by the United States.

Actually, Swann does not merely say it -- he proves it. I've made the same point in many previous posts, and so have a lot of other writers.

I'm not an uncritical fan of Mr. Swann, who is far too close to the Ron Paultards and the libertarians. But on this issue, he has it right. In particular, you should pay attention to the questions asked around the nine-minute mark.

The video embedded above is not just a must-see, it's a must-share. Get the word out!

The Supreme Court poised to end Obamacare. Looks like this may really be it...
But the stakes in King v. Burwell, which the court will hear on March 4, could scarcely be higher: If the plaintiffs prevail, millions of people in 34 states who bought insurance on federal exchanges would suddenly lose the subsidies that make it affordable. Consequently, most would lose their coverage. A Rand study pegged the number at 9.6 million people, with premiums soaring 47 percent for those still able to afford them.
My take: The Republicans would be hit hard. People who, at the moment, say that they don't like the ACA will suddenly realize that the Repulicans want to toss them back into a world where working people have to pay a lot more money.

Democrats will be able to argue -- soundly -- that we all need to rally around the party in the 2016 election, however disappointing the candidate might be. The Supreme Court factor would outweigh all other concerns.

Elections. Brad Friedman has a blockbuster story in Salon...
Electoral integrity has not improved in the U.S. over the past year, according to a new study. In fact, elections in Mexico now have more integrity than ours, the new survey, based on the observations of some 1,400 international election experts, finds.
(I think that last sentence would have read better if the verb had showed up earlier, but perhaps German Brad has been studying.)
Computerized voting systems — such as Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) voting machines — are 100% impossible to verify for accuracy after polls have closed. Yet, they are still used in about one-third of the country, and elsewhere around the world.

Hand-marked paper ballots can be examined after an election, but most jurisdictions in the U.S. tally those ballots by computerized optical-scan systems which either report results accurately or not. Without a human examination of those paper ballots — only sometimes allowed in the rare event a recount — it’s impossible to know whether results have been accurately tallied and reported.

By way of just one recent example, which citizens happened to notice, a November 2014 referendum in a small Wisconsin town, tallied by a computerized optical-scan system last year, reported only 16 votes cast by some 5,350 voters. Luckily, the problem was so obvious, attributed to a programming error by a local election official, it was too ridiculous to be overlooked. The correct results were eventually determined by publicly hand-counting the hand-marked paper ballots.

But what of malfunction or malfeasance in vote counts that are not so easily discovered, thanks to a lack of human-verified results? For example, a computer optical-scan system in Palm Beach County, FL announced the “winners” of four different elections incorrectly in 2012. Only a sharp-eyed election official and an eventual court-sanction hand-count determined that three of four of the originally announced “winners” were actually the losers of their races.
There simply has to be a better system. There simply is no reason why elections cannot produce a paper trail, and no reason why the parties cannot agree on a means of keeping that paperwork under secure lock and key.
A better electoral system for whom? It worked for Bush, and Anonymous claims that if they hadn't shut down Rove's secret system, Ohio would have gone for Romney.
>>I think that last sentence would have read better if the verb had showed up earlier, but perhaps German Brad has been studying.<< Thanks for this clever Teutonic aside.
Molly in D-land
Yeah, I don't think our "officials" are very interested in fixing this. I'm not sure how voters can fix it when their votes are either not being counted, or are counted incorrectly (not to mention the endless drive to fix imaginary "vote fraud"). I'm actually surprised that only a 3rd of the country uses the electronic machines (my area does not, but it does use the vote tallying machines, which are almost as bad).
I'll say it until they send me to the new gulag in Alaska: Without fair elections-- from districting, to voter ID to transparent tabulation--deomocracy does not exist. Fair elections should be issue #1 for anyone claiming to be a Democrat.

Interesting case that seems to be up your alley. This blogger appears to have nailed it in his title.
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