Category: Election

Creeping Plutocracy after ‘Citizens United’: How US Election Spending skyrocketed to the GDP of some whole Countries

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Currently Trump is out of noney

The 2020 election cycle is forecast to smash previous spending records, with the Center for Responsive Politics estimating it will cost US$11 billion. That would be comparable to the 2019 GDP of Equatorial Guinea or Chad.

Creeping Plutocracy after ‘Citizens United’: How US Election Spending skyrocketed to the GDP of some whole Countries

Election 2020 sees record $11 billion in campaign spending, mostly from a handful of super-rich donors

Total spending in the 2020 federal elections is projected to set a new record of almost US$11 billion by November. When adjusted for inflation, that’s over 50% higher than 2016 election spending. This year’s federal election spending – for the presidency, the Senate and the House of Representatives – is on track to be double what it was in 2008.

The real challenge for American democracy is where this money comes from.

Election 2020 sees record $11 billion in campaign spending, mostly from a handful of super-rich donors

California Republican Party Admits It Placed Misleading Ballot Boxes Around State – The New York Times

State officials in California have ordered an investigation into more than 50 deceptively labeled “official” drop boxes.
Fake Republican Drop Box

Government officials say the receptacles are illegal and could lead to voter fraud, but the party says it will continue the practice. State officials in California have ordered an investigation into more than 50 deceptively labeled “official” drop boxes. State officials in California have ordered an investigation into more than 50 deceptively labeled “official” drop boxes.Credit…Mike Blake/Reuters By Glenn Thrush and Jennifer Medina Oct. 12, 2020 The California Republican Party has admitted responsibility for placing more than 50 deceptively labeled “official” drop boxes for mail-in ballots in Los Angeles, Fresno and Orange Counties — an action that state officials said was illegal and could lead to voter fraud.

California Republican Party Admits It Placed Misleading Ballot Boxes Around State – The New York Times

We Can’t Ignore Rural Voter Resentment

Political scientist Katherine J. Cramer has studied the changing political attitudes of rural Wisconsinites — a group that helped put Donald Trump in the White House. “Rural resentment” may not get much attention, but it’s a real and powerful force in US politics.

We Can’t Ignore Rural Voter Resentment

The Pennsylvania GOP Is Undermining Its Own Vote-By-Mail Reforms For Trump

If there are enough delays in counting votes, the state could run up against the December 8 “safe harbor” deadline to submit Pennsylvania electors to the electoral college — a situation that could allow for a Republican power play, according to a recent report by Barton Gellman in the Atlantic. “According to sources in the Republican Party at the state and national levels, the Trump campaign is discussing contingency plans to bypass election results and appoint loyal electors in battleground states where Republicans hold the legislative majority,” Gellman reported. “In Pennsylvania, three Republican leaders told me they had already discussed the direct appointment of electors among themselves, and one said he had discussed it with Trump’s national campaign.”

The Pennsylvania GOP Is Undermining Its Own Vote-By-Mail Reforms For Trump

The Despicable Acts of Cheating During Last Night’s VP Debate | The Smirking Chimp

When it came to cheating, there was also the in-your-face choice of a woman moderator, an obvious advantage to Ms. Harris, also a woman. Susan Page, the moderator, is a journalist, drawn from the main stream media (aka fake news). Her bias was obvious as she consistently attempted to interrupt Mr. Pence when he talked well beyond the two-minutes allotted for the answer to each of her questions, most of which Mr. Pence chose to ignore, veering off into tried-and-true platitudes about the American people and how lucky they were to have his boss looking after them so capably and with such loving concern. You just can’t say what needs to be said to praise the man sufficiently in just two lousy minutes so it was his duty to ignore the agreed-upon rules in the interest of the truth, which the American people deserved to hear. Didn’t they? Sure, they did.

The Despicable Acts of Cheating During Last Night’s VP Debate | The Smirking Chimp

Pence-Harris debate gives Trump no relief: a Biden victory is in reach

Senator Harris during her debate with Vice-President Mike Pence.

The President is on steroids, but we are way beyond mere October surprises. No, America is now into shock therapy to jolt American voters into retiring Trump – and the lightning bolts keep coming.

Pence-Harris debate gives Trump no relief: a Biden victory is in reach

Permissible Influences: Israel and the Australian Elections – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Foreign Interferance from the Chinese… No Way!! Israel your welcome but pls shut the door quitely on your way out!! (ODT)

The Labor leader has had to spring into action to douse any electorally damaging flames. Shorten, on a visit to the seat of La Trobe in Melbourne, assured gathered journalists that Wilson and Senator Lines had “reconfirmed” their support for the official pro-Israeli Labor line. Zionist Federation president Jeremy Liebler could rest easy: “Good on Bill Shorten and Chris Bowen for swiftly clarifying that Ms Parke’s views are inconsistent with Labor’s approach to Israel, and I’m confident the party leadership will issue a similar response to Josh Wilson and Sue Lines.” Ignoring the substance of Senator Lines’ remarks, Liebler put it down to hostility against the Jewish community “having a dialogue with the Labor Party”. Again, never mention the lobby.

Much of this, sadly, comes down to keeping up, and in, with the voters. Crude calculations figure. Votes from Palestinians and their supporters are insignificant and few; votes from Jewish voters, highly prized. The inner-city Melbourne seat of Macnamara, held by Labor, is of interest, given its slim margin and the retiring, pro-Israeli Labor MP, Michael Danby. To that end, negative comments on Israel are not so much niggles in electoral strategy as bombs waiting to go off.

Permissible Influences: Israel and the Australian Elections – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Wentworth Mystery: The Baffling Case Of The Missing Malcolm – » The Australian Independent Media Network

The desire for Malcolm’s presence is one of those strange paradoxes. If Turnbull is not that good at politics, he’s hardly needed, but if Turnbull can help boost the votes by campaigning, it begs the question: Why did you dump him?

via Wentworth Mystery: The Baffling Case Of The Missing Malcolm – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Queensland poll shatters the Coalition’s city-country myth

George Christensen (centre) at Parliament House with other federal Nationals MPs.

While a Galaxy poll published on Friday suggested Labor’s Annastacia Palaszczuk would hang on thanks to a 52-48 lead, the idea that One Nation would cut such a swathe through the Liberal-National Party, while crashing itself, has caught many off-guard.

Mr Christensen aside, probably the two unhappiest people on Saturday night were the LNP leader Tim Nicholls, and Ms Hanson, whose party looks to have secured just a single seat – that of Mirani.

via Queensland poll shatters the Coalition’s city-country myth

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An election fought over policies? No, this isn’t fantasy – The Drum (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

As the debate took a turn towards unicorns this week, the strangest development might be the fact we now have a Government and Opposition with genuinely different economic policies that they’re prepared to fight an election over.

Source: An election fought over policies? No, this isn’t fantasy – The Drum (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Hillary Clinton Won 6 Out of 6 Coin Tosses Last Night. Here’s How Statistically Improbable That Is

The Iowa Democratic caucus vote count was so close last night, that at least 6 precincts were decided by flipping a coin — an obscure procedure in the Iowa caucus bylaws.

Source: Hillary Clinton Won 6 Out of 6 Coin Tosses Last Night. Here’s How Statistically Improbable That Is

Money Men Say, Voters Move Over, It’s Not Your Election! | Common Dreams | Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community

David Brooks is a worried man. Like many establishment Republicans, the conservative columnist for The New York Times sees the barbarians pouring through the gates and fears for both his party and the republic. Hail, Trump! Hail, Cruz! It’s enough to send a sober centrist dashing through the Forum in search of a cudgel.

Source: Money Men Say, Voters Move Over, It’s Not Your Election! | Common Dreams | Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community

Why would anybody want to re-elect this government? – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Voters must have an intense dislike of asylum seekers. The latest Morgan Poll is great for the government, which sees them leading the opposition 56.5/43.5. Taking away personalities (ie, disregarding that many people obviously like Malcolm Turnbull), it really is hard to see what the government has going for them. If re-elected, they will make…

Source: Why would anybody want to re-elect this government? – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Has Abbott found his 9/11? – » The Australian Independent Media Network

The Syrian refugee crisis has become the story of the week. The images of hundreds of refugees streaming off ferries, dozens in unseaworthy vessels, and endless lines walking along rail-line tracks toward Germany in search of a new life, have flooded our television news services. In Australia, particularly on social media, the debate is in…

Source: Has Abbott found his 9/11? – » The Australian Independent Media Network

ABC cuts: had Abbott been honest about his true agenda, he would have been unelectable

Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull

Privatisation and cuts to respected public services might be the agenda of the Coalition government, but it’s certainly not that of the Australian people

My dad used to make us watch the ABC news every night. As a child, I hated it. It was always with a certain amount of resentment that I watched afternoon cartoons give way to the “youth programming” I could bear, if not understand. But the news was a step too far into a bleak space. Dad was stern on this point. “If you don’t watch the news, Van,” he’d admonish me, as I wriggled and whined, “you don’t know what’s going on”.

In the wake of the extraordinary cuts to the ABC and SBS this week, I can only imagine that the architects of this savage attack on our national broadcasters – the Coalition government, its supporters in the Murdoch press and the conservative “free market” think tanks – were told by their own ideological papas the exact same thing.

My dad plonked me in front of the unbiased, articulate and meticulous news reporting of the ABC because he was educating his daughter in how to be a good citizen. By closing ABC news outlets, firing journalists and nobbling independent journalism, the Coalition affirm not only their preference for corporate news but destroy alternatives to the corporate news worldview. Citizens “knowing what’s going on” in the era of climate change, expenses scandals and “on-water matters” is precisely what the Coalition are trying to head off.

Independent and autonomous by charter, the ABC is consistently recognised as a trustworthy brand. Relentless academic scrutiny of the national broadcaster shows that, even with former Liberal party staffer Mark Scott as director, its journalism is balanced and responsible. The Coalition’s neurotic sensitivity to political criticism have tempted them to believe their own propaganda, decrying responsible journalism as “ABC bias”.

Their language game is the dead giveaway that this is no mere budget cutback: according to Malcolm Turnbull, ABC journalists “who work hard every day to report the news objectively and without partisan bias or self-interest will feel very let down” by Quentin Dempster’s appearance at the weekend’s rally to defend those very journalists’ jobs. Andrew Robb chipped in, too: “The ABC … has been a protected species for a long time, has to make its share and its contribution”.
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Their rhetoric is so egregious because they know the ABC can’t engage in its own political defence.

Of course, the Murdoch papers are cheering on the Coalition’s attacks: Rupert Murdoch’s media baron father Keith was complaining about the competition a national news service provided to his corporate interests as far back as the 1930s. Corporate media serve corporate interests, which are indivisible from the Abbott government’s interests under their “open for business” mindset. They’ve been happy to shed the Australia Network to create a market for a new Sky-owned “Australia channel”, because national broadcasters – like state enterprises, welfare, environmental protection, universal healthcare or accessible education – are founded in community values the Abbott government doesn’t share and is isolating, starving and weakening.

The “budget emergency”, like so many other Coalition campaign slogans, was long ago exposed as a fairytale. The Coalition flagrantly spends on its own preferences: the useless Direct Action pay-the-polluters scheme, the derided school chaplains program, the diesel rebate to wealthy corporations. All are of greater priority to this government than autonomous journalism and sanctioned, independent critique.

It might be the agenda of the Coalition, but it’s certainly not that of the Australian people. Australians oppose the privatisation of services like the ABC. The Coalition’s work is not popular: as we watch the shredding of beloved programs and the sacking of trusted journalists – let alone what’s happening in healthcare, climate policy and universities – the internecine carnage of the Gillard and Rudd years will increasingly look like a bygone golden age.

Bill Shorten needs to articulate the rage and betrayal felt in the electorate. If Labor and the Greens can rise above their inner city gang wars and share a respectful stage the way that Shorten and Adam Bandt did at the weekend’s “save the ABC” demos, there is a chance not only to remove Abbott’s government at the next election, but to serve the interests of the vast majority of Australians. At this point, Shorten barely needs to get out of bed in the morning to provide a more cohesive alternative to the government. With a policy platform that articulates what the Australian community actually wants, he’d be unbeatable.

Abbott lied about cuts to the ABC, SBS and everything else because he would have been unelectable had he campaigned on his true agenda. To pretend otherwise is as disingenuous as the prime minister himself. Save the ABC.