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Posts Tagged ‘voting’

Russia Evicts USAID

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

The Russian government has evicted the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), according to the US State Department, accusing the organization of using its money to influence elections.

The US denied the claim.

Nearly 60 percent of the $50 million annual budget of USAID has been allocated to promoting democracy in Russia, with some of the money funding Russia’s only independent election monitoring organization, Golos, which has accused Putin’s party of voting fraud.

In a victory speech given by Vladimir Putin in March, the Russian president said his country “showed that our people can distinguish between the desire for renewal and political provocation that has but one goal: to destroy Russia’s statehood and usurp power”.

Putin has decried Russian NGOs accepting US aid as “jackals”.

The Public Is The Last To Know

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

The charade is played out every evening on election day. Television news anchors and beat reporters, on local stations and the networks, come on the air full of breathless anticipation, seeking to build an atmosphere of nail-biting uncertainty.

Unless a particular race results in a landslide of mammoth proportions – and the vast majority of them do not – projected winners are not announced until after a sufficient number of voting districts have officially reported in.

The choreographed suspense makes for wonderful theater, as the action continually shifts between the anchors in the studio and the reporters stationed at the various campaign headquarters. Every few minutes a fresh batch of figures is announced, widening the gap in one race, tightening it in another.

And every time the numbers are updated, back we go to the correspondents at the rented halls for stories of jubilation or desperation, renewed hopes or sinking expectations.

Meanwhile, back at the anchor desks, there is much speculation about what the latest data could possibly mean.

It’s all so intriguing, so exciting…so phony. Because one of the media’s dirty little secrets for many years was that thanks to exit polling, anchors and reporters covering the races on election night almost always knew the results hours before the polls even closed.

Even now, with 24-hour coverage of politics on cable TV and the Internet and after the controversy over the 2004 exit polls that indicated John Kerry would beat President George W. Bush, exit polling is still something of which many Americans are at best only dimly aware.

The existence of exit polls and the media’s reliance on them first began to permeate the public consciousness – at least among those who paid close attention to politics and the media – in 1980, when the networks called the presidential election for Ronald Reagan just a couple of hours after the first states had closed their voting booths and long before many voters had even cast their ballots on the West Coast.

But the subject was something journalists – understandably – were reluctant to speak about. An early public airing came in the November 1998 issue of Brill’s Content, a short-lived magazine dedicated to exposing journalistic excess.

In an article titled “Exit-Poll Results: The Public Is the Last to Know,” Warren Mitofsky, a former executive director of the CBS News Election and Survey Unit who has since passed away, wrote that by “early [election day] afternoon, the network exit-poll consortium will open the computer spigot to its members and subscribers. Within minutes, political insiders – politicos and journalists alike – will be buzzing with the results.”

As Mitofsky noted, the people who do the buzzing are the very ones who have agreed among themselves – in the name of civic responsibility, of course – to carefully guard the exit-poll projections from the public until the voting booths close.

But Mitofsky suggested that something other than altruistic devotion to good government drove this double standard.

“It is considered bad form to broadcast early exit-poll estimates before polls close because doing so could discourage late voters from casting ballots,” he wrote. “However, journalists and politicians consider themselves an elite class that is able to handle this potent news without contamination. Throughout election day they clamor for it while they protect the citizens’ right to remain uninformed.”

Does any of this make a difference? Mitofsky said it does, since “early exit-poll results influence print and broadcast news reporting. They also affect get-out-the-vote efforts by politicians and the spin their consultants put out to the press. They can even affect the stock market.”

As soon as exit-poll estimates become available, wrote Mitofsky, they “are then leaked by staffers at various news organizations to their many friends and acquaintances in and out of politics. In fact, these exit-poll results are stock-brokered like commodities – used by campaign sources and journalists to squeeze more information from one another.”

Something to bear in mind on election night this November when the reporters and pundits on television and radio will once again pretend to be as much in the dark as you are about the election results.

iVoteIsrael Making Registration a Cinch for US Expats

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

A new movement to register American expatriates in Israel to vote in the US elections aims to encourage them to cast their ballots for the good of Israel.

iVoteIsrael, an initiative of a group of olim from the United States, helps Israelis with American citizenship to wade through the daunting process of registering to vote in US elections.

According to founder Eli Pieprz, who made in aliyah in 2010, though “each vote is very consequential, very significant”, only 1 out of every 8 Americans in Israel exercised their right to vote in the last election.

In an interview with the Jewish Press’s Yishai Fleisher, Pieperz agreed that some electoral states are more influential in presidential elections than others, noting the importance of each Floridian vote in the 2000 elections between George W. Bush and Al Gore.

However, he also warned Israelis that failing to participate in elections could make a big impact on them.  “If I’m a US politician and I’m looking to try to get money without having any consequences, I’m going to look towards people who are not going to vote,” Pieprz told Fleisher.   “Those of us who are in Israel and are not voting and are not trying to impact the politicians, the influential who are making decisions in America, which has an impact on Israel, if we’re not exercising the limited power that we have, which is casting one vote or talking to our friends and getting them to cast a vote, we’re doing ourselves a severe disservice.”

Yet while some olim fail to participate because of lack of effort, others bow out of election season on principle, seeing their participation in elections as disloyalty to Israel or a failure to identify exclusively as Israeli.

“Participating in the political process through casting a vote, I don’t believe in any way that mitigates the huge sacrifice and frankly the huge excitement and drive that we all feel by making aliyah, living in Israel, and making our lives in the Jewish State,” Pieprz said.  “I think you could make a strong argument that for the average American Jew in Far Rockaway versus the average American Jew in Gush Etzion where I live, the President of the United States will have a more direct, a more acute impact on my day to day life than the American Jew in Far Rockaway, and I think that’s something that we really should be thinking of, that it’s not so much about America.”

“Our organization is called iVoteIsrael.  We’re not voting in the Israeli elections, we’re voting in the American elections to enhance Israel, to benefit Israel on a day to day basis and also to hopefully enhance and bolster our political power back in the States to affect decisions that affect our lives.”

What’s more, Pieprz says voters from Israel can make a big difference when it comes to counter-balancing powerful anti-Israel organizations working to get out the vote in the US.  In a press release issued by iVoteIsrael, Pieprz warned that “forces hostile to Israel are active, effective and are engaged in the campaign season”, and urged pro-Israel voters to be sure to cast their ballots.

Interested potential-voters are encouraged to visit the iVoteIsrael website, where they can register and sign up to participate in the campaign to encourage others to vote.

“Every vote that comes from Israel enhances Israel’s political capital,” Pieprz said.

There are approximately 3 million voting-age Americans residing outside the United States.

Guest Editorial: The Importance Of Voting (Part 2)

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

The candidacy of New York City Councilman Charles Barron for Congress against New York State Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries to replace the retiring Edolphus Towns has attracted much more than the usual interest.

Despite his notorious reputation for mindless anti-white, anti-Jewish and anti-Israel diatribes, and the sterling credentials of Assemblyman Jeffries, Mr. Barron’s support among voters in the 8th Congressional District seems to be growing.

It should be noted that in addition to his vile and vitriolic outbursts, Mr. Barron happens to rank at the very bottom among council members in terms of delivering funding for social services.

The following is an important analysis by a leading Brooklyn community activist concerning what’s at stake in this contest and the need for our community to come out to vote – for Mr. Jeffries:

The Voting Season
By Chaim Deutsch

It’s that season again; everyone is counting on your vote and every vote counts. It is a time for some serious reflection.

Living in the U.S. since birth, many of us take the right to vote for granted. We fail to realize the influence we have on government legislation through elected officials. While it may seem like your voice is just one of millions, the organized weight of a bloc vote actually has the power to affect legislation in a very significant way.

A voting bloc is a group of voters motivated by common interests and concerns. Often, voting blocs occur among ethnic or religious groups, though there may be many other reasons for different people to join together for increased voting power. Issues like the economy or war may also create powerful voting blocs in specific regions.

Understandably, candidates will often go out of their way to accommodate needs and wants of organized voters since their voice is very powerful and carries much clout comes election season. As a religious community with varied needs and concerns throughout the year, electing officials who are sensitive to our requirements is of utmost importance. And achieving it is entirely possible using the power of our bloc vote.

The elections taking place on June 26 are not regular elections. They are primary elections, which are held by political parties to determine a candidate for the race in the general elections in November. In the Jeffries-Barron race, since the overwhelming majority of voters in the 8th district are Democrats, one of the two is almost guaranteed to win the general election.

On June 26 we face an extremely important election. We urge you in the strongest terms to energize your community and encourage friends, family and colleagues who live in this newly redistricted area to vote for Hakeem Jeffries. We should not stand by and permit Charles Barron to bring his brand of intolerance to Congress.

Schumer, Silver, Nadler to Endorse Velázquez, Rebuffing Anti-Zionist Charges

Sunday, June 3rd, 2012

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer will joinNY Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Congressman Jerrold Nadler in endorsing Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez for re-election, today, Sunday, June 3rd, at 10:00 a.m. at the Roosevelt Hotel in Manhattan.

Getting the support of the top democratic leaders will boost Velázquez’ campaign. Getting the support of the three top Jewish politicians in New York state is not a bad thing either.

A court-imposed re-mapping of congressional voting districts in New York City has added a hefty part of the still-Jewish Lower East Side to Velázquez’ now Seventh District. The neighborhood used to be part of Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney’s district.

Indeed, the endorsements of the three “top Jews” are scheduled for an hour before the Israel Day Parade on Fifth Avenue today.

A source in the Democratic party told the NY Post that “having the three top Jewish Democrats in the state endorsing her certainly bolsters her credentials on Israel and within the Jewish community.”

Her major opponent, City Councilman Erik Martin Dilan, has called the 10-term incumbent Velázquez anti-Zionist.

In one of his campaign handouts, Dilan said that Velázquez had “the worst voting record on Israel in the New York congressional delegation.”

Dilan attacked Velazquez as one of the few members of Congress who refused to sign a 2010 letter calling on President Obama to impose sanctions on Iran to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons to be used against Israel.

The Velazquez camp told the NY Daily News that “suggesting the Congresswoman is anything but a friend, ally and supporter of Israel is politically driven nonsense.”

“She has been outspoken on issues ranging from holding Syria accountable for failing to support the peace process, condemning attacks by Hamas and Hezbollah on soldiers and civilians, furthering aid to Israel, calling on the U.N. to take to task the Iranian government for threats targeting Israel, and reaffirming the right of Israel to defend itself.”

Velazquez, Dilan, Dan O’Connor and George Martinez are on the ballot for the June 26 Democratic primary.

Jewish Press Radio with Yishai Fleisher: Votes to Make a Difference

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

Yishai is joined by Elie Pieprz, the national director of I Vote Israel, an organization dedicated to assisting American-born Jews residing in Israel with voting in American elections. Yishai and Pieperz talk about the goals of I Vote Israel and how overseas votes can really make a difference in election results. The segment wraps up with Yishai presenting a musical piece.

To download, right-click, and “Save Target As” HERE.

Rubin Reports: Western Civilization Faces the Big Test – Citizens! Heal Your Societies or Go Over the Cliff

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

http://www.rubinreports.blogspot.com/2012/05/western-civilization-faces-big-test.html

The current political crisis in Europe, and in America as well, is not at all hard to understand. Think of it like this: society is not infinitely malleable. If you pull a rubber band far enough it is either going to snap back or it will break.

Western democracies have worked very well for 60 years now. They have been remarkably prosperous; remarkably peaceful. They defeated the Communist challenge. In a sense they—and I include the United States here—are victim of this very success.

Out of rational self-interest, the realities of electoral politics, and a strong sense—misguided or otherwise—the welfare state and the payment of entitlements have been expanding.

You can—as my grandmother used to say—throw around money like a drunken sailor until you run out of money.

The self-imposed burdens have reached, and exceeded, the limit of what these societies could finance. This problem has been highlighted, of course, by an economic recession but it is not the product of that business contraction.

Things have been made worse by the fact that most governments in power have tried to apply the very old policies that were making the societies ill in the first place. The situation is akin to the medical practice of centuries ago in which an already sickly patient was bled further by the application of leeches. Death often followed.

Those governments buried in the equivalent of “old-think” in the USSR have just three alternatives:

–Deny any of this is happening. Every penny spent is absolutely necessary to stop old people from starving, women from keeling over in their 30s, the globe from heating up like a tea kettle, and in short the mass extinction of the human race.

–Self-defense. Say that anyone who wants to recognize reality is a violent Nazi hater of women and a racist flat-earther.

–Use a scapegoat. If only taxes were raised on rich, greedy people then the party can go on uninterrupted.

Obviously, I’m being facetious but that when all the verbal foliage is cleared away that list is pretty accurate.

But what about those governments, or oppositions, that wanted to be responsible by limiting spending, reorganizing or reducing entitlements, and cutting their own payroll to a level that could be sustained?

Well, that’s an uphill battle as we’ve just seen in Greece. People don’t want to be told to sacrifice, especially because they suspect that the elite isn’t doing so and that this same elite is responsible for the mess. So they can be—easily?—manipulated into voting for those who tell them to eat, drink and be merry, with a minimal tax on billionaires and millionaires paying off the caterer.

If you can buy or import voting blocks to ensure your victory that also helps. Is any government in France from this moment on going to limit immigration, fight Islamism, cut back on vacations, and raise retirement ages and the length of the work week? That’s doubtful.

Now this is the very moment that democracy comes into play. It is in the hands of the voters to decide whether to face the music or default on paying the fiddler. Can they be made to understand in the face of a clueless mass media and a fantasy-intoxicated intellectual class what is at stake and what needs to be done? Ask again in November.

Something very important should also be made clear here: political stances and solutions are not historically permanent. I would argue that liberalism (and a dose of the social democrats) was the best solution for the West’s problems in 1900. But it is no longer 1900. Huge social reforms have been made; out-groups have been brought into the fold with equal rights. The balance has shifted and that reality must now be the starting point in facing reality.

Could it possibly be that a government that has grown steadily for so many decades might have become too big? Is it conceivable that regulations imposed by the thousands have become too onerous? Is it within the realm of the real world that the burden of salaries and retirements for those who draw government pay checks have become too onerous? Might it be true that if you keep dividing society into warring groups they will eventually go to war against each other?

Or is this all a fantasy of a reactionary, evil, woman-hating racist mindset that should be dismissed by any civilized being?

Democracy is based on the idea that the average citizen is wise enough to understand what his society and country must do to survive and to do better, or at least minimally well. We are now going to find out whether that proposition is accurate.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/rubin-reports/rubin-reports-western-civilization-faces-the-big-test-citizens-heal-your-societies-or-go-over-the-cliff/2012/05/08/

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