Category Archives: Politics

Tree of Liberty

This text is from a letter written by Jefferson to William Stephens Smith from Paris on Nov. 13. 1787. The spelling has been preserved but I have arbitrarily split the text into paragraphs for easier reading. I have put some of the text in bold.

I do not know whether it is to yourself or Mr. Adams I am to give my
thanks for the copy of the new constitution. I beg leave through you to place them where due. It will be yet three weeks before I shall receive them from America. There are very good articles in it: and very bad. I do not know which preponderate.

What we have lately read in the history of Holland, in the chapter on the Stadtholder, would have sufficed to set me against a Chief magistrate eligible for a long duration, if I had ever been disposed towards one: and what we have always read of the elections of Polish kings should have forever excluded the idea of one continuable for life.

Wonderful is the effect of impudent and persevering lying. The British ministry have so long hired their gazetteers to repeat and model into every form lies about our being in anarchy, that the world has at length believed them, the English nation has believed them, the ministers themselves have come to believe them, and what is more wonderful, we have believed them ourselves.

Yet where does this anarchy exist? Where did it ever exist, except in the single instance of Massachusets? And can history produce an instance of a rebellion so honourably conducted? I say nothing of it’s motives. They were founded in ignorance, not wickedness. God forbid we should ever be 20. years without such a rebellion.[1]

The people can not be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty.

We have had 13. states independant 11. years. There has been one rebellion. That comes to one rebellion in a century and a half for each state. What country ever existed a century and a half without a rebellion? And what country can preserve it’s liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms.

The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.

Our Convention has been too much impressed by the insurrection of Massachusets: and in the spur of the moment they are setting up a kite to keep the hen yard in order. I hope in god this article will be rectified before the new constitution is accepted.

Thomas Jefferson to William Stephens Smith, Paris, 13 Nov. 1787[2]

Dead Man Driving

Dead man driving

There will always be dead people registered to vote just as there will always be dead people licensed to drive. No matter how hard you try to keep the voter rolls up to date, you are doomed to fail. Even if you removed every dead person from the voter rolls by close of business today, there will be another 4,000 corpses on the rolls by close of business tomorrow night. Just do the Math(s):

The population of the USA in 2014 was 318.9 million
Around 80 million were under 20 years old leaving about 238 million adults. Total reported deaths in 2014 were 2.6 million of which about 50,000 were under voting age.

In any given year around 2.5 million of 238 million American adults will die (that’s about 1%).

There are an estimated 150 million registered voters in the USA of which roughly 1% (1.5 million) will probably die in any given year. That’s around 125,000 every month or more than 4000 every single day.

That is why there will always be dead people registered to vote, another 4000 each and every day in fact. You can do a similar analysis for people who move from one electorate to another. There will always be a shed load of people who are eligible to vote in more than one electorate. This is not corruption, it is not incompetence it is a simple fact and a fact of no more significance than the fact that lots of dead people hold valid drivers licenses. They don’t drive because they are dead and they don’t vote for the same reason.

Detection of votes cast on behalf of dead persons, or of votes cast more than once by the same person are easily detected.

I have researched the the subject here in Australia and the incidence of voter fraud by impersonation is virtually zero. When I vote, my name is crossed off a list, if someone else tries to vote in my name (or has already usurped my vote) the fraud is detected more or less immediately. Routine post election analysis  confirms that election fraud by voter impersonation is virtually zero.

The real agenda here is the desire by some to introduce Voter ID in order to restrict the number of legitimate voters from exercising their rights as citizens. Voter ID will not stop voter fraud  because there hardly any voter fraud  to stop. Voter ID is a solution to a none existent problem. In any case, voter impersonation is probably the least effective and most inefficient strategy for swinging an election. Just imagine trying to organize several million voter impersonations; it is just not credible and every body knows it.

However; if you like false correlations and bullshit reasoning, you should keep an eye out for all those dead people driving and causing accidents out there.

Stats Source: National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 65 No. 4
Some sources say up to 200 million registered voters in 2016

President Queenie?

Observing Trump over the last year or so, I couldn’t help but think I had seen him before somewhere but the recollection stubbornly refused to materialize.

My first thought was Mussolini, Trump struts like Mussolini and pouts like Mussolini but the resemblance is only superficial. Then it came to me, Trump is the reincarnation of Queenie as played by the brilliant Miranda Richardson in “The Black Adder”.

Richardson’s “Queenie” is a peevish, pouting, petulant child with absolute power over life and death. A portrayal of comic genius but with undertones of terror.

  • What if Queenie came to life?
  • What if Queenie occupied the White House?
  • What if Queenie held the nuclear codes?

Oh Deary me!

Kompromat

One of Trump’s recent brushes with scandal reminds me of a story I heard years ago about President Sukarno of Indonesia when the KGB ran a “kompromat” sting against him back in the Nikita Khrushchev era.

KGB agents of the USSR were experts at the art of “kompromat” or sexual attack. Targets were researched thoroughly in order to learn their sexual preferences. The first contact with an object appeared to be incidental, but it was all over with blackmail when it was explained to the victim that he had no way out other than to cooperate with Soviet intelligence.

Indonesian President Ahmed Sukarno appeared to be an ideal target because he was known for his sexual passion. The KGB sent a group of young girls to him during his visit to Moscow. The girls got acquainted with Sukarno on a plane disguised as air hostesses, then he invited them to his hotel room in Moscow and arranged a grand orgy.

The orgy was secretly filmed and Sukarno was later invited to view the result. The KGB were expecting him to get really frightened and agree to cooperate with them at once.

Sukarno had other ideas, he asked for copies to take back to Indonesia to be shown in movie theatres. Sukarno told the flabbergasted KGB agents that the people of Indonesia would be very proud of him, if they could see him doing the nasty with Russian girls.

Putin is famously ex KGB.

Vietnam and Me

Approaching Gibralter
Approaching Gibralter

I saw a post a little while ago referring to Jane Fonda as “Hanoi Jane” and which characterized her as a traitor. It reminded me of my one and only involvement with the Vietnam war.

I was once a fully paid up member of the Royal Naval Reserve (RNR). Military duties involved weekly training at HMS Eaglet moored or rather cemented to Salthouse Dock, just around the corner from the Pier Head in Liverpool. We had our very own mine sweeper (HMS Mersey) which we used to invade the Isle of Man from time to time, on weekends only as is befitting for weekend warriors. The Royal Marines did the actual invading of course, our role was to provide the transport, hot kai and covering fire. Covering fire was fairly minimal because the locals objected to naval gunfire in the middle of the night.

Once each year we got to play with the grown ups in the regular RN in exotic places within the last remnants of the British Empire.

On one such outing in the late 60s, during a break in exercises with the US sixth fleet, I was on shore leave in Gibraltar with the rest of the crew. We were drinking with some US Marines in one of the many bars on Main Street when one of the Marines asked one of my shipmates “why ain’t you guys in Vietnam?” My mate, a fellow Scouser, injudiciously replied that “the Vietcong seemed to be doing just fine without us”. Naturally a bit of an altercation ensued. Glass went flying everywhere and much furniture was converted to firewood.

No one was seriously hurt but the incident inspired a Hornblower inspired commando raid the following night. Some intrepid souls swam out to a US destroyer and painted “Liverpool FC” in Liverpool’s signature red along its side. The graffiti wasn’t noticed until the following morning as the fleet was leaving harbour and the US destroyer was hastily recalled by an outraged american admiral. The entire crew of HMS Mersey were  obvious suspects and so the ship was thoroughly searched and the entire crew interrogated but no incriminating evidence was ever found, nobody confessed and nobody snitched. Strangely, HMS Mersey was the only vessel that had no red paint on board.

My country of birth did not get involved in Vietnam while my adopted country did. The Vietnam war, its causes and its aftermath will continue to be debated endlessly. I happen to be on the side that thinks the US invasion of Vietnam was a mistake but honest people can honestly disagree and dissent is not disloyalty. Political criticism of a war in no way impugns the bravery of those who fought in it.

Catch 22: Loyalty Oaths

catch22

This is an excerpt from Joseph Heller’s 1961 novel “Catch 22”.

Catch 22 is probably my favorite novel of all time, I have bought it at least 5 times and read it many times more than that. Catch 22 is one of those rare books that you can open at any page and just start reading, it really doesn’t matter where you start so long as you read it all.

This is a an excerpt in which Heller satirizes the American passion for exaggerated public displays of patriotism. Heller is often subtle, but not here. He  lampoons ideological purity and faux patriotism with sledge hammer blows of unmitigated derision. He laughs openly at those sad people who gather reassurance from being surrounded by identical little clones.

The book was written half a century ago but never was a line more relevant to today’s fact free political discourse than: “You never heard him denying it until we began accusing him, did you?”

Read on and enjoy this excerpt from one of the greatest satirical novels ever written.

QUOTE

When fellow administrative officers expressed astonishment at Colonel Cathcart’s choice of Major Major, Captain Black muttered that there was something funny going on; when they speculated on the political value of Major Major’s resemblance to Henry Fonda, Captain Black asserted that Major Major really was Henry Fonda; and when they remarked that Major Major was somewhat odd, Captain Black announced that he was a Communist.

“They’re taking over everything,” he declared rebelliously. “Well, you fellows can stand around and let them if you want to, but I’m not going to. I’m going to do something about it. From now on I’m going to make every son of a bitch who comes to my intelligence tent sign a loyalty oath. And I’m not going to let that bastard Major Major sign one even if he wants to.”

Almost overnight the Glorious Loyalty Oath Crusade was in full flower, and Captain Black was enraptured to discover himself spearheading it. He had really hit on something. All the enlisted men and officers on combat duty had to sign a loyalty oath to get their map cases from the intelligence tent, a second loyalty oath to receive their flak suits and parachutes from the parachute tent, a third loyalty oath for Lieutenant Balkington, the motor vehicle officer, to be allowed to ride from the squadron to the airfield in one of the trucks. Every time they turned around there was another loyalty oath to be signed. They signed a loyalty oath to get their pay from the finance officer, to obtain their PX supplies, to have their hair cut by the Italian barbers. To Captain Black, every officer who supported his Glorious Loyalty Oath Crusade was a competitor, and he planned and plotted twenty-four hours a day to keep one step ahead. He would stand second to none in his devotion to country. When other officers had followed his urging and introduced loyalty oaths of their own, he went them one better by making every son of a bitch who came to his intelligence tent sign two loyalty oaths, then three, then four; then he introduced the pledge of allegiance, and after that “The Star-Spangled Banner,” one chorus, two choruses, three choruses, four choruses. Each time Captain Black forged ahead of his competitors, he swung upon them scornfully for their failure to follow his example. Each time they followed his example, he retreated with concern and racked his brain for some new stratagem that would enable him to turn upon them scornfully again.

Without realizing how it had come about, the combat men in the squadron discovered themselves dominated by the administrators appointed to serve them. They were bullied, insulted, harassed and shoved about all day long by one after the other. When they voiced objection, Captain Black replied that people who were loyal would not mind signing all the loyalty oaths they had to. To anyone who questioned the effectiveness of the loyalty oaths, he replied that people who really did owe allegiance to their country would be proud to pledge it as often as he forced them to. And to anyone who questioned the morality, he replied that “The Star-Spangled Banner” was the greatest piece of music ever composed. The more loyalty oaths a person signed, the more loyal he was; to Captain Black it was as simple as that, and he had Corporal Kolodny sign hundreds with his name each day so that he could always prove he was more loyal than anyone else.

“The important thing is to keep them pledging,” he explained to his cohorts. “It doesn’t matter whether they mean it or not. That’s why they make little kids pledge allegiance even before they know what ‘pledge’ and ‘allegiance’ means.”

To Captain Piltchard and Captain Wren, the Glorious Loyalty Oath Crusade was a glorious pain in the ass, since it complicated their task of organizing the crews for each combat mission. Men were tied up all over the squadron signing, pledging and singing, and the missions took hours longer to get under way. Effective emergency action became impossible, but Captain Piltchard and Captain Wren were both too timid to raise any outcry against Captain Black, who scrupulously enforced each day the doctrine of “Continual Reaffirmation” that he had originated, a doctrine designed to trap all those men who had become disloyal since the last time they had signed a loyalty oath the day before. It was Captain Black who came with advice to Captain Piltchard and Captain Wren as they pitched about in their bewildering predicament. He came with a delegation and advised them bluntly to m ake each man sign a loyalty oath before allowing him to fly on a combat mission.

“Of course, it’s up to you,” Captain Black pointed out. “Nobody’s trying to pressure you. But everyone else is making them sign loyalty oaths, and it’s going to look mighty funny to the F.B.I. if you two are the only ones who don’t care enough about your country to make them sign loyalty oaths, too. If you want to get a bad reputation, that’s nobody’s business but your own. All we’re trying to do is help.”

Milo was not convinced and absolutely refused to deprive Major Major of food, even if Major Major was a Communist, which Milo secretly doubted. Milo was by nature opposed to any innovation that threatened to disrupt the normal course of affairs. Milo took a firm moral stand and absolutely refused to participate in the Glorious Loyalty Oath Crusade until Captain Black called upon him with his delegation and requested him to.

“National defense is everybody’s job,” Captain Black replied to Milo’s objection. “And this whole program is voluntary, Milo – don’t forget that. The men don’t have to sign Piltchard and Wren’s loyalty oath if they don’t want to. But we need you to starve them to death if they don’t. It’s just like Catch-22. Don’t you get it? You’re not against Catch-22, are you?”

Doc Daneeka was adamant.

“What makes you so sure Major Major is a Communist?”

You never heard him denying it until we began accusing him, did you? And you don’t see him signing any of our loyalty oaths.”

“You aren’t letting him sign any.”

“Of course not,” Captain Black explained. “That would defeat the whole purpose of our crusade. Look, you don’t have to play ball with us if you don’t want to. But what’s the point of the rest of us working so hard if you’re going to give Major Major medical attention the minute Milo begins starving him to death? I just wonder what they’re going to think up at Group about the man who’s undermining our whole security program. They’ll probably transfer you to the Pacific.”

Doc Daneeka surrendered swiftly. “I’ll go tell Gus and Wes to do whatever you want them to.”

Up at Group, Colonel Cathcart had already begun wondering what was going on.

“It’s that idiot Black off on a patriotism binge,” Colonel Korn reported with a smile. “I think you’d better play ball with him for a while, since you’re the one who promoted Major Major to squadron commander.”

“That was your idea,” Colonel Cathcart accused him petulantly. “I never should have let you talk me into it.”

“And a very good idea it was, too,” retorted Colonel Korn, “since it eliminated that superfluous major that’s been giving you such an awful black eye as an administrator. Don’t worry, this will probably run its course soon. The best thing to do now is send Captain Black a letter of total support and hope he drops dead before he does too much damage.” Colonel Korn was struck with a whimsical thought. “I wonder! You don’t suppose that imbecile will try to turn Major Major out of his trailer, do you?”

“The next thing we’ve got to do is turn that bastard Major Major out of his trailer,” Captain Black decided. “I’d like to turn his wife and kids out into the woods, too. But we can’t. He has no wife and kids. So we’ll just have to make do with what we have and turn him out. Who’s in charge of the tents?”

“He is.”

“You see?” cried Captain Black. “They’re taking over everything! Well, I’m not going to stand for it. I’ll take this matter right to Major —— de Coverley himself if I have to. I’ll have Milo speak to him about it the minute he gets back from Rome.”

Captain Black had boundless faith in the wisdom, power and justice of Major —— de Coverley, even though he had never spoken to him before and still found himself without the courage to do so. He deputized Milo to speak to Major —— de Coverley for him and stormed out impatiently as he waited for the tall executive officer to return. Along with everyone else in the squadron, he lived in profound awe and reverence of the majestic, white-haired major with the craggy face and Jehovan bearing, who came back from Rome finally with an inuured eye inside a new celluloid eye patch and smashed his whole Glorious Crusade to bits with a single stroke.

Milo carefully said nothing when Major —— de Coverley stepped into the mess hall with his fierce and austere dignity the day he returned and found his way blocked by a wall of officers waiting in line to sign loyalty oaths. At the far end of the food counter, a group of men who had arrived earlier were pledging allegiance to the flag, with trays of food balanced in one hand, in order to be allowed to take seats at the table. Already at the tables, a group that had arrived still earlier was singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” in order that they might use the salt and pepper and ketchup there. The hubub began to subside slowly as Major —— de Coverley paused in the doorway with a frown of puzzled disapproval, as though viewing something bizarre. He started forward in a straight line, and the wall of officers before him parted like the Red Sea. Glancing neither left nor right, he strode indomitably up to the steam counter and, in a clear, full-bodied voice that was gruff with age and resonant with ancient eminence and authority, said:

“Gimme eat.”

Instead of eat, Corporal Snark gave Major —— de Coverley a loyalty oath to sign. Major —— de Coverley swept it away with mighty displeasure the moment he recognized what it was, his good eye flaring up blindingly with fiery disdain and his enormous old corrugated face darkening in mountainous wrath.

“Gimme eat, I said,” he ordered loudly in harsh tones that rumbled ominously through the silent tent like claps of distant thunder.

Corporal Snark turned pale and began to tremble. He glanced toward Milo pleadingly for guidance. For several terrible seconds there was not a sound. Then Milo nodded.

“Give him eat,” he said.

Corporal Snark began giving Major —— de Coverley eat. Major —— de Coverley turned from the counter with his tray full and came to a stop. His eyes fell on the groups of other officers gazing at him in mute appeal, and, with righteous belligerence, he roared:

“Give everybody eat!”

“Give everybody eat!” Milo echoed with joyful relief, and the Glorious Loyalty Oath Crusade came to an end.

UNQUOTE

Foot notes:

The novel was published in hardback in 1961 to mixed reviews, with the Chicago Sun-Times calling it “the best American novel in years”, while other critics derided it as “disorganized, unreadable, and crass”. It sold only 30,000 hardback copies in the United States in its first year of publication.

Reaction was very different in the UK, where, within one week of its publication, the novel was number one on the bestseller lists. After its release in paperback in October 1962, however, Catch-22caught the imaginations of many baby boomers, who identified with the novel’s anti-war sentiments.The book went on to sell 10 million copies in the United States.

The novel’s title became a standard term in English and other languages for a dilemma with no easy way out. Now considered a classic, the book was listed at number 7 on Modern Library’s list of the top 100 novels of the century. The United States Air Force Academy uses the novel to “help prospective officers recognize the dehumanizing aspects of bureaucracy.”

The movie rights to the novel were purchased in 1962, and, combined with his royalties, made Heller a millionaire. The film, which was directed by Mike Nichols and starred Alan Arkin, Jon Voight and Orson Welles, was not released until 1970.

R. Reich 100 day Plan

Here’s the First 100 Day resistance plan [with thanks to Alan Webber]:

1. Get Democrats in the Congress and across the country to pledge to oppose Trump’s agenda. Prolong the process of approving choices, draw out hearings, stand up as sanctuary cities and states. Take a stand. Call your senator and your representative (phone calls are always better than writing).

2. March and demonstrate—in a coordinated, well-managed way. The “1 Million Women March” is already scheduled for the Inauguration —and will be executed with real skill. There will be “sister” marches around the country—in LA and elsewhere. They need to be coordinated and orchestrated. And then? 1 Million Muslims? 1 Million Latinos? What would keep the momentum alive and keep the message going?

3. Boycott all Trump products, real estate, hotels, resorts, everything. And then boycott all stores (like Nordstrom) that carry merchandise from Trump family brands. See: http://www.racked.com/…/136239…/grabyourwallet-trump-boycott

4. Letters to Editors: A national letter-writing campaign, from people all over the country, every walk of life and every level of society, from celebrities to sports heroes to grassroots Americans. In most papers, the Letters to the Editor section is the most-read part of the paper.

5. Op-Eds: A steady flow of arguments about the fallacies and dangers of Trump’s First 100 Day policies and initiatives, from name-brand thinkers and doers to ordinary folk writing for their city’s or community’s newspaper.

6. Social media: What about a new YouTube channel devoted to video testimonials about resisting Trump’s First 100 Day Agenda? Crowd-sourced ideas, themes and memes. Who wants to start it?

7. Website containing up-to-date daily bulletins on what actions people are planning around the country, and where, so others can join in. Techies, get organized.

8. Investigative journalism: We need investigative journalists to dig into the backgrounds of all of Trump’s appointees, in the White House, the Cabinet, Ambassadors and judges.

9. Lawsuits: Our version of “Drill, baby, drill” is “Sue, baby, sue.” Throw sand in the gears. Lawyers, get organized.

10. Coordinated fund-raising: Rather than having every public-interest group appeal on their own, have a coordinated fundraising program to fill the coffers of the most endangered and effective opposition groups. Is there a way to do a televised fundraiser with celebrities raising money for the Resistance?

11. Symbolic opposition: Safety pins are already appearing. What else? What more? Make the resistance visible with bumper stickers, a label pin, a branding campaign that has great language, great logo, great wrist band (remember the Lance Armstrong “Livestrong” yellow wrist band—it sold millions!).

12. Intellectual opposition: Take Trump on where he’s weakest—with serious ideas. I’ll try to do my part. You do yours, too.

13. Serious accountability: Establish performance metrics to evaluate his delivery on his campaign promises. An updated web site of promises made and not kept. This is one especially suited to public policy students.

14. Your idea goes here. Call a meeting of family and friends this weekend. Come up with to-dos.

The First 100 Days Resistance Agenda. We’re not going away.

What do you think?

Post-truth

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

New Zealand’s recent earthquakes being caused by seismic boats reminded me of similar nonsense from forty years ago.

“Six 1000 m high towers monitor dynamite explosions as Giant seismic ship drills on the Great Barrier Reef”.

So ran the headline in a Queensland newspaper back in the late seventies. I was the Party Manager of the cited giant seismic ship apparently wreaking such cavalier havoc on the barrier reef. The giant seismic boat in question was the GSI operated M/V Eugene McDermott, I’m not sure that McD’s 150 foot length qualified it as a giant of the seas but I do know for an absolute certainty that it conducted no surveys on the Barrier reef. All of us know that seismic boats do not do anything so crass as to drill for oil, and marine seismic exploration had long spurbed the use of dynamite.

What about 1000 m towers monitoring none existant dynamite explosions? the 1975 CN Tower in Toronto at 553 m held the record back then and wasn’t surpassed in height for 30 years when the 829.8 m Burj Khalifa was built in Dubai. Our Argo navigation system did use 100 foot towers however.

We docked in Cairns a few days after the story was published and a reporter came aboard with a request to interview me. Now talking to the press was frowned upon by GSI but I just couldn’t resist it. I asked the gentleman from the press if he would like to see our drilling equipmnt he appeared to be delighted at the prospect. I took him to the gunshack and showed him our drill press sitting on the work bench. I advised him that this was the biggest drill on board, I further advised him that if he didn’t fuck off immediately he would be thrown overboard and so off he fucked.

The Oxford English Dictionary has recently named “post-truth” the 2016 international word of the year after its usage spiked around the Brexit vote and the US election. Lies, bullshit and lazy reporting have sadly been a staple of the press for a long long time.

Voter Fraud

Source: Washington Post article

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump called supporters in Grand Junction, Colo., to watch the polls in St. Louis, Philadelphia and Chicago, as he continued to allege that voter fraud is rampant in communities across the country. (Victoria Walker/The Washington Post)

Washington Post

October 19, 2016

“Of course there is large scale voter fraud happening on and before election day. Why do Republican leaders deny what is going on? So naive!”

–Donald Trump, post on Twitter, Oct. 17, 2016

“Go sit there with your friends [at polling places] and make sure it’s on the up and up. Because you know what, that’s a big, big problem in this country and nobody wants to talk about it.”

–Trump, campaign rally, Sept. 30, 2016

Trump has made several claims alleging a “rigged” election system. We looked at two of the Republican presidential nominee’s claims: that there is widespread voter fraud, and that undocumented immigrants are voting and swaying elections. We’ll rate the two separately, starting with the first claim.

The Facts

The Trump campaign pointed to a 2012 Pew Center on the States study of ways to make the election system more accurate, cost-effective and efficient. At an Oct. 17 rally, Trump cited the three main findings of the speech to back up his claim that voter fraud is common across the country:

  • About 24 million (1 in every 8) voter registrations were significantly inaccurate or no longer valid because people moved, had died or were inactive voters.
  • More than 1.8 million records for people who are deceased, but whose registrations were still on voter rolls.
  • About 2.75 million people were registered to vote in more than one state. This could happen if voters move to a new state and register to vote without notifying their former state.
  • Outdated technology, shrinking government budgets and paper-based registration systems contributed to inaccuracies and inefficiencies.

But the study does not say that these problems indicated signs of isolated or widespread voter fraud. Yet Trump used the 1.8 million figure to inaccurately claim at the rally: “More than 1.8 million deceased individuals right now are listed as voters. Oh, that’s wonderful. Well, if they’re going to vote for me, we’ll think about it, right? But I have a feeling they’re not going to vote for me. Of the 1.8 million, 1.8 million is voting for somebody else.”

The campaign pointed to three instances of voting irregularities — in Pennsylvania, Colorado and Virginia. But they were isolated instances that do not amount to widespread voter fraud — and do not show they are as common as he says they are.

Trump’s campaign then sent lists of nearly 300 instances of voting irregularities between 2004 and 2016. Some of the cases involved indictments and guilty pleas of actual voter fraud, where someone illegally mailed an early ballot or cast a ballot at a polling place to defraud the system.

But the lists also included unsupported allegations of fraud, investigations into potential fraud and reports of less nefarious activities, such as people voting incorrectly and voting machines malfunctioning.

Even if all 300 instances were confirmed cases of actual voter fraud, they would make up such a small portion of total ballots cast in that 12-year period that it would be preposterous to call voter fraud a widespread or a “big, big” problem.

More than 1 billion ballots were cast from 2000 through 2014. There were 31 incidents of specific, credible allegations of voter impersonation at the polls, according to research by Loyola Law School professor Justin Levitt, who has been tracking such data for years. So the problem that Trump is warning his voters to watch for at the polls — to make sure things are “on the up and up” — happens at the rate of 31 out of 1 billion ballots cast.

Out of 2,068 allegations of fraud cases in 2000 to 2012, there were guilty verdicts in 159 cases, according to an analysis by News21, a journalism project of the Carnegie-Knight Initiative on the Future of Journalism Education.

Coordinated voter fraud has happened, but on a much smaller scale. In 1994, a federal judge invalidated the results of a state Senate race. Democratic campaign workers forged absentee ballots, which ultimately tipped the election by 461 votes. Democrats on the three-member elected board of elections intentionally failed to enforce the election law, even though they were aware of the fraud.

But it would be certainly nearly impossible to do something like that to tip a presidential election, our colleague Sari Horwitz found. We’re talking about a nationwide effort of local, state and federal election officials colluding to commit a felony. Lawyers for both major parties and every poll watcher would have to be in on it.

A handful of people have tried to vote on behalf of dead people — usually their family member or spouse — but there is no evidence such voter rolls are being manipulated on a large scale. And there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud with people double voting.

The Pinocchio Test

Trump uses “voter fraud” has become a catchall phrase for all voting irregularities. Confirmed instances of actual voter fraud do exist, but Trump makes a totally unsupported extrapolation of these isolated cases to say they are indicative of a widespread fraud in the U.S. election system. We wonder whether it ever occurred to Trump that “nobody is talking about” the “big, big problem” of voter fraud because that “big, big” problem doesn’t exist. Trump earns Four Pinocchios.

Four Pinocchios

Vote Bernie in California

This  by Robert Reich

This morning I heard from an old friend here in California who said “I’m for Bernie, but he doesn’t really have a chance anymore. So isn’t my vote for him in the California primary just prolonging the agony, and indirectly helping Trump?”

I told him no, and gave him four reasons why he needs to vote for Bernie Tuesday and get others to vote for him as well:

1. True, the electoral numbers are daunting, and Bernie faces an uphill task, but a win Tuesday will help enormously. One out of 8 Americans lives in California.

2. Regardless of the electoral math, Bernie’s candidacy has never been mainly about Bernie. It’s been about a movement to reclaim our democracy and economy from the moneyed interests. And a win for Bernie in the California primary (and in other Tuesday primaries in Montana, New Jersey, North Dakota South Dakota, and New Mexico) will send an even clearer signal to Washington, the Democratic Party, and the establishment as a whole, that a large and growing share of Americans is determined to wrest back control.

3. The goals Bernie has enunciated in his campaign are essential to our future: getting big money out of politics and reversing widening inequality; moving toward a single-payer healthcare system and free tuition at public universities (both financed by higher taxes on the richest Americans and on Wall Street); a $15 minimum wage; decriminalization of marijuana and an end to mass incarceration; a new voting rights act; immigration reform; and a carbon tax. All will require continued mobilization at all levels of government. A win Tuesday will help continue and build on that mobilization.

4. Bernie’s successes don’t help Trump. To the contrary, they are bringing into politics millions of young voters whose values are opposite to those of Trump’s. Bernie has received majorities from voters under age 45 (as well as from independents). He’s won even larger majorities among young people under 30 – including young women and Latinos. Many have been inspired and motivated by Bernie to become political activists – the last thing Trump and the Republicans want. Those young people and independents need to be heard from Tuesday.

What do you think?