voting irregularities

For the first time in history Serbian Police and Army publicly joins citizens protesting government corruption

Background:

Mr Vučić, 47, won the presidential election last Sunday with 55 per cent of the vote

The opposition alleges the vote was marred by “irregularities”, including muzzling of the media, as well as voter intimidation and bribes on election day.

Protesters have called Mr Vučić, who has been Prime Minister of Serbia since 2014, an autocrat, and have accused the Serbian Progressive Party (SPP) of corruption and of being instrumental in what they say was a fraudulent election.

What's the post-Trump reform agenda?

Not sure if anyone noticed, but I’ve been neglecting this blog lately. Too many fish in the barrel, not enough bullets. And others doing it much better, which is a good thing. 

But I’m surprised there isn’t much discussion (that I’ve seen) on the post-Trump reform agenda. We could need one sooner than we think - or later than we fear. In any case, here’s my two cents. This list focuses on institutional/structural changes - hopefully these are acceptable to people of all ideological stripes who are interested in strengthening democratic self-government rather than narrow partisan interests. Many will need constitutional amendments, and some are more realistic than others. But we have to start somewhere. 

 Prosecutors and judges 

1. The Attorney General becomes a non-political, non-partisan post. Yeah, you can still have a “Secretary of Justice” or whatever for policy issues, but prosecutions under federal law should be independent from political influence. Have the AG serve one, nonrenewable 10 year term, appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate, but cannot be removed except for gross incompetence/malfeasance. FBI reports to the AG. 

2. AG appoints US attorneys for fixed, staggered terms, say 6-8 years. Again, cannot be removed without cause. AG can choose to appoint special prosecutors for special cases. 

3.  All written and verbal communications by officials in the executive or legislative branch with the AG, other federal prosecutors or the FBI are matters of public record. 

4.  Federal district and appellate judges serve for fixed terms, say 12 years. Supreme Court justices maybe 16 years. 

 Campaign finance 

5. Sources and amounts of all donations to political candidates, causes or organizations greater than $1000 in a calendar year are matters of public record. This applies to any donation, in cash or kind, to anyone who seeks public office, and to any person or organization that communicates against others seeking public office, or advocates on an issue that is currently subject to political debate 

 The president 

6. The president becomes fully subject to executive branch ethics rules. 

7. The president must release complete financial info, including tax returns, assets and debts, and eliminate any financial conflicts of interest and all foreign sources of income by the time of his/her inauguration. If s/he fails to do so, this automatically triggers impeachment proceedings. 

8. If the president is impeached and removed from office, the vice president serves in a caretaker role until new elections are held, no later than six months after the president leaves office. 

 The Senate 

9. No more Senate filibuster. However, all matters of substance in the Senate must be approved by a majority of senators and by a majority of population represented by those senators as measured at the most recent census. A bill would become law if it passes the House by a majority, and both tallies in the Senate. Kamala Harris would have 37 million votes, Mike Rounds of South Dakota would have 814,000. Right-wingers will be happy to learn that Ted Cruz gets 25 million votes. 

10. Senate vacancies are filled by prompt special elections, not gubernatorial appointment (this always bothered me). 

 Elections 

11. No more electoral college. President chosen by nationwide popular vote.

12. No more party primaries, at any level. All elections have two rounds: if no one gets more than 50% in the first round, the top two candidates compete in the second. This would be a big culture shock at the presidential level, but I think we could make it work. 

13. Congressional and state-legislative district lines to be set by independent commissions with equal representation of both major parties and representation by minor parties. Agreement of reps of both major parties on these commissions needed for final approval, and districts must meet broad federal guidelines (contiguity, racial balance etc). 

14.  You want voter ID? OK, anyone who shows up at a polling place (which opens two weeks before election day) with a valid photo ID that proves citizenship can vote and is automatically registered for the next eight years. So no chance for voter fraud (which is virtually nonexistent anyway) and no more convoluted requirements for advance registration. You can get a special voter ID based on address-based forms of identification (birth certificate + bank statement etc) from your local DMV or elections office, without a fee, up to two weeks before the election, also valid for 8 years. 

15.  Ballots are mailed to all registered voters four weeks before the election. Completed ballots can be mailed in or dropped off at a polling place at any time thereafter. 

16. For those who wish to vote in person, voting machines must meet strict security and transparency guidelines, including published software and an auditable paper trail. 

17.  Every election will automatically be audited (ie a sample of precincts/counties will have their votes hand-counted); any irregularities will trigger a broader recount. 

18. A county where officials are found to have harassed, intimidated or otherwise restricted voters will have its elections federally administered for the next ten years. A state that has three or more such counties will have all of its elections federally administered for the next ten years. 

 Miscellaneous 

19. No more penny. WTF is worth two cents? 

20. You want to sell health insurance across state lines? OK, health insurance can be sold across state lines, but the health insurance industry is now regulated at the federal rather than the state level. Actually all insurance should be regulated at the federal level. 

21. No more debt limit. Come on, it’s a stupid idea. 

22. If the appropriations bill for an authorized federal agency or department is not passed by the end of the fiscal year, the previous year’s appropriation is automatically renewed, with an inflation adjustment. So no more government shutdowns. 

23. Members of Congress can be prosecuted for insider trading based on knowledge they acquire as part of their legislative activities.

24.  The District of Columbia gets either the senators and representatives it would be entitled to if it were a state, or statehood. 

25. Puerto Rico gets either statehood or (once its finances are straightened out) independence. 

26.  Civics classes made mandatory in all schools, public or private. These will cover how the government works, how citizenship works, how to critically read news coverage, how to judge the reliability of news sources, how to engage in public debate, and how to distinguish facts from opinions.

Anyway, that’s my agenda. What’s yours?

Warble

Hem hem. There were some voting irregularities around this entry but I’m going to allow it.


She has just entered the tent when she hears it.

It is just a small sound but her wand is out instantly because their world is fraught with danger now and even the smallest of sounds could mean big trouble.

But then she hears the noise again and her wand drops.

It’s not an intruder, it’s not even an animal.

It’s singing.

And it’s coming from the direction of the shower.

Keep reading

“My Lucy”: Rutherford B. Hayes Loses His Love

Rutherford Birchard Hayes and Lucy Webb Hayes are not amongst the most well-known of our First Families, but their solid, successful family and deep love for one another is fortunately chronicled in the candid, personal diaries that the 19th President kept for most of his life.

When President Hayes is remembered, it’s usually because of the disputed 1876 Presidential election between him and New York Governor Samuel J. Tilden. Hayes lost the popular vote and there was widespread voting irregularities on both sides which resulted in the electoral votes being held up in three states – South Carolina, Louisiana, and Florida. At the time of the dispute, Tilden, a Democrat, was ahead in the Electoral College, 184-166, just one vote away from clinching the Presidency. The three states where the electoral votes were disputed were all controlled by Republicans and while Hayes led in South Carolina, Tilden was leading on ballots in Louisiana and Florida before a significant number of Democratic votes were declared invalid. The dispute continued for months. Eventually, Congress created a 15-man Electoral Commission to decide the election and the Commission did so along party lines, 8-7, on behalf of the Republican Hayes just days before Inauguration Day. Just a dozen years removed from the end of the Civil War, Southern Democrats again talked of rebellion due to the election of Hayes but Tilden refused to challenge the decision and, placating his opponents with the Compromise of 1877, Hayes removed federal troops from the South and ended Reconstruction. Unfortunately, the quick end of Reconstruction and the Compromise of 1877 left newly-freed African-Americans in the South in a position little better than slavery, with few improvements until the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s.

When Lucy Webb Hayes is remembered, it’s usually as “Lemonade Lucy” due to the fact that, as First Lady, the strict Methodist banned alcoholic beverages from White House functions. However, the White House was not a boring, gloomy place during the Hayes Administration. The President, First Lady, and their five surviving children were a loving family and Lucy frequently held popular social events at the Executive Mansion, including creating the tradition of the White House Easter Egg Roll. Their home was frequently open to members of Congress, Cabinet officials and their families, and diplomats, particularly for Sunday evening hymn groups. Despite the lack of alcohol, for years Washington society excitedly recalled the 25th wedding anniversary celebration of the President and Mrs. Hayes at the White House where the 46-year-old First Lady, mother of eight children (five of whom survived to adulthood), donned the same wedding dress she had worn a quarter-century earlier and the First Couple renewed their wedding vows.

Although Rutherford and Lucy first met in 1847 in Hayes’s hometown of Delaware, Ohio, they began dating in Cincinnati where Lucy was attending college (she was the first college graduate to become First Lady) and Rutherford was practicing law. In his diary at the time, Rutherford wrote, “By George, I am in love with her!”, and later noted that when he first expressed to her that he loved her, “She did not comprehend it – really, no sham. I knew it was as I wished, but I waited, perhaps repreated…until she said, ‘I must confess I like you very well’ – a queer, soft, lovely tone, it stole to the very heart, and I, without loosing her hand, took a seat by her side – and the plight was fated for life.” It was an hour later before Lucy finally told him, “I don’t know but I am dreaming. I thought I was too light and trifling for you.” The couple were married in Cincinnati on December 30, 1852, and were extraordinarily close throughout their marriage. Shortly after their wedding, Rutherford wrote, “A better wife I never hoped to have. This is indeed the life…Blessings on his head who first invented marriage.”

Their close relationship continued as they began having children. Hayes practiced law and had an eye on politics. When the Civil War broke out, he served with honor, saw heavy fighting, was wounded on several occasions, and was Major General of volunteers when he resigned shortly after the end of the war. Hayes had been nominated for Congress while in the field but refused to campaign while still in uniform. He won anyway and served until being elected Governor of Ohio, a position he held for two terms (1868-1872), refused to break precedent and seek a third consecutive term, and then was elected again four years later – the office he held when he became President in 1877.

When Hayes had been nominated by the Republicans in 1876, his acceptance of the nomination included a declaration that he would not seek a second term if elected. When the 1880 election rolled around, President Hayes had no interest in breaking that promise and looked forward to retirement, handing the Presidency over to a fellow Ohio Republican, James Garfield, on March 4, 1881. Rutherford and Lucy retired to their beloved estate, Spiegel Grove, in Fremont, Ohio, and the former President was a progressive voice in retirement when it came to access to education and prison reform, although he opposed the women’s suffrage movement. Although he survived until 1893, however, the former President’s heart broke in 1889 when Lucy left him.

As he had done for most of his adult life, Hayes kept a personal diary through the days of heartbreak as Lucy suffered a stroke and slipped away. Nobody can tell that story better than Rutherford Birchard Hayes:

“June 22 [1889]. Saturday. Returned, from attending committee and board meeting of Ohio State University at Columbus, with Laura yesterday afternoon, reaching home about 5:30 P.M. Rutherford [Hayes’s son] met us. He looked as if something awful was on his mind. We got into the carriage when he said: 'I have very bad news for you,” and with sobs he told us that Lucy had an attack of paralysis about 4 o'clock P.M. – fifteen minutes before four was the exact time. She was sitting in our room, first floor, in the bay, with Ella sewing. Ella noticed that Lucy had difficulty with her fingers trying to thread a needle; went over to her. Lucy could not speak. She was sitting in the large low chair that stands near the southeast window. She did not fall out of it at all, but sank back in it, and seemed to realize what had happened to her; was depressed and in tears. Fanny and Mrs. Haynes and Miss Lucy Keeler were playing tennis just outside of the room; were called in. Sophie Fletcher, the cook, came also. Lucy Keeler drove rapidly for Dr. Rice and he was soon present. He spoke with encouragement and confidence to Lucy. She was perfectly conscious but not able to speak. She was still in the chair. Had had her placed in the bed. When Laura and I reached her bedside, she seemed to know us. In her old manner she pressed my hand and tried to smile, or smiled! The report of the attack published in the newspapers this morning has brought many dispatches from friends and acquaintances in all parts of the country – from Comrade John Eaton, Boston, to Tom Ballinger, Galveston. Sympathy and inquiry.

June 23. Sunday. Lucy is apparently more difficult to arose. Her face and eyes looked natural, almost with their old beauty, when Dr. Rice tried to awaken her so she could swallow her medicine. I think she failed to swallow it. But she had life in her eyes and face. Now I fear, alas! I have seen her eyes for the last time. Those glorious eyes! are they gone – forever? She still grasps my hand, I think intelligently and with the old affection. This at 7 A.M.

[At] 7:20 A.M., Lucy opened her eyes and with a conscious grasp, as she looked in mine affectionately, responded to my inquiry, “Do you hear me, darling?” But her eyelids do not open as they did last night!…

[At] 8 A.M. Dr. Hilbish calls. He thinks the indications rather less favorable than yesterday… She is weaker and more disposed to sleep. She now looks natural and rests quietly.

June 24. Monday, 4:40 A.M. The end is now inevitable. I can’t realize it, but I think of her as gone. Dear, darling Lucy! When I saw and hear her last in full life, she was gathering flowers for me to carry to Mary, last Monday. When she found I would be too late for my train to Toledo if I waited longer, with her cheerful voice she said: “Oh, well, it makes no difference. I can send them (or I will send them) by express at noon.” This she did, and Mary got them. I was barely in time for the train – not a moment to lose. A characteristic act. It was like her. For me the last – oh, the last!

At 4 P.M., Now, more than three days since the attack, finds her much in the same condition she has been since the first day. We wait. Letters and dispatches come from all quarters – full of words that sustain and encourage.

June 24-25, 1889. It is past midnight, almost one o'clock. We do not expect Lucy to see the light of another day. All of our children, Birchard, Webb, Rutherford, Fanny, and Scott, are waiting for the inevitable close. With us are our dear young friends – our darling daughter, Mary, wife of Birchard [and] our cousin and much loved adopted niece has come from Mississippi to be with us, Adda Cook Huntington. Lucy Elliot Keeler, so near and dear to both of us, and, more fortunate than could be hoped, the eldest child – the representative of my never to be forgotten sister Fanny – Laura Platt Mitchell, so beloved by both Lucy and myself that no sacred circle could be complete in my home without her; and with [us, also] the favorite aunt of our dear Mary, Mrs. Miller, a precious addition to our company of relatives and friends. The doctors too, Dr. John B. Rice and Dr. Hilbish, so attentive and thoughtful and devoted, and uniting with these lovable traits such skill and knowledge and judgment in their high profession that we have the best assurance that all will be done and has been done that man can do to save the dear one, and to smooth her way into the unknown if that is to be; and with them the good nurses, Mrs. Dilenschneider and Miss Woolsey, whose sterling excellence has in these few anxious days made them esteemed friends for life.

And Lucy herself is so sweet and lovely, as she lies unconsciously breathing away her precious life, that I feel a strange gratitude and happiness as I meditate on all the circumstances of this solemn transition we are waiting for. Would I change it? Oh, yes, how gladly would we all welcome the least indication of the restoration of the darling head of the home circle. But we cannot, we must not, repine. Lucy Hayes is approaching the beautiful and happy ending of a beautiful, honored, and happy life. She has been wonderfully fortunate and wonderfully honored. Without pain, without the usual suffering, she has been permitted to come to the gates of the great change which leads to the life where pain and suffering are unknown. Just as she was reaching the period when the infirmities and sufferings of mortal life are greatest, she is permitted to go beyond them all. Whatever life can give to the most fortunate, she has enjoyed to the full. How wise and just this is! If ever a man or woman found exquisite happiness in imparting happiness to others, the dear companion of my life, my Lucy, is that woman. Should I not be full of joy and gratitude for the good fortune which gave me her? Few men in this most important relation of life have been so blessed as I have been. From early mature manhood to the threshold of old age I have enjoyed her society in the most intimate of all relations. How all of my friends love her! My comrades of the war almost worship her.

Often I have said our last days together have been our best days. Who knows what the future might have brought to her? It is indeed hard – hard indeed – to part with her, but could I or should I call her back? Rather let me try to realize the truth of the great mystery. 'The Lord hath given, the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.“

June 25. Tuesday. Lucy died without pain this morning at 6:30. All were present. I held her hand and gazed upon her fine face to the last; when, kissing her good-bye as she left the earth, I joined the dear daughter and the other children in walking on the porch in the bracing air of the lovely morning.

June 26, 1889. I notice in the newspapers the phrase, 'the beautiful home in Spiegel Grove.’ Yes, it is, in its own plain, homelike, and sensible way, a beautiful home, but I now begin to realize that the soul has left it.

Lucy Hayes was 57 years old when she died on June 25, 1889. Obviously, the former President was heartbroken. Indeed, it was his heart which gave out on January 17, 1893, also at the Hayes’s beloved Spiegel Grove estate in Fremont, Ohio. Rutherford B. Hayes was 70 years old and before he died in the arms of his son, Webb, the 19th President’s last words were, "I know that I am going where Lucy is.”

Candlelight vigil in memory of the 1932 uprising in Izalco, El Salvador. Following an uprising of mostly indigenous peasants against government repression and voting irregularities, state and militia forces killed perhaps 30,000 people. Popularly known as la matanza, this watershed event was understood to be the end of indigeneity in El Salvador for decades. After the end of the Cold War and communist claims, many people are reclaiming their history, and their identity.

Una marcha fue organizada en Izalco el 21 de enero 2014  para conmemorar el 82 aniversario de la levantamiento indígena de 1932. Los miembros de la “Alcaldía del Común”,  una estructura de organización comunal de orígenes en la colonia, participaran de la procesión. Según los historiadores se calcula que el ejercito salvadoreño mato a 25 mil personas para sofocar el levantamiento de la población indígena en la zona occidental de El Salvador. Vea más fotografías en el siguiente enlace: http://goo.gl/skVMcI

(Photos: AFP via El Faro)

CALIFORNIA! Today is your day!

You vote Tuesday, June 7th.

  • You must be registered as Democratic or No Party Preference (NPP) to vote for Bernie. If you are an NPP voter, you must request a Democratic Crossover ballot.
  • If you have a Democratic mail-in ballot, you can drop it off in person at any polling location in your county. If you’re an NPP vote-by-mail voter, bring your blank NPP ballot to your polling location and exchange it for a Democratic crossover ballot.
  • Polls are open from 7AM to 8PM.
  • Text CA to 82623 to find your polling location.

Issues voting? Witness irregularities at the polls?

Call the hotline: (415) 795-8065 or e-mail CAVoteProtection@berniesanders.com

Following the Civil War, the United States went through an era of Reconstruction, during which, to put it politely, shit went fuck-all crazyballs. Take the Brooks-Baxter War, which kicked off when two gubernatorial candidates couldn’t agree on who had won the pleasure of leading Arkansas through possibly the worst period in its history.

Elisha Baxter and Joseph Brooks were opposing candidates in the 1872 Arkansas election. No one’s quite sure who won the election due to widespread voting irregularities. But Baxter’s backers controlling the voting process might have had a little something to do with that.

Confident that he had won – hey, cheating is a type of winning – Baxter declared himself governor. Brooks, meanwhile, also declared himself governor. Brooks then gathered up the sheriff and a group of armed cohorts and stormed the state house, expelling Baxter to a nearby hotel. Baxter called in a militia. Brooks also called in a militia, and then one-upped Baxter by rolling two six-pounder artillery cannons onto the capitol lawn. Baxter, in turn, brought out a 26-pounder and pointed it in the general direction of the state house. Yes, post-Civil War politics were a lot like a Loony Tunes sketch.

5 Uprisings Cut from U.S. History for Being Too Successful