Monthly Archives: March 2012

Voting Fraud: A Growing Danger

Inappropriate election practices have long been an unfortunate part of American history.  During the period between the end of the civil war and the adoption of the voting rights act of 1965, various schemes were utilized to deprive African-Americans access to the ballot box. Once again, the degree of concern expressed by many over the fairness of national elections has reached a crescendo.
In a recent study, the Pew Center on the States found “millions of voter registration records nationwide that are either inaccurate or no longer valid…based on data [indicating] a voter died, moved, or had been inactive from 2004 to March 2011.”  The study revealed that 2,758,578 individuals were registered to vote in more than one state.  In addition, “12.7 million records nationwide…appear to be out of date and no longer reflect the voter’s current information, more than 1.8 million records for people who are no longer living, but have active registrations on voter rolls, and 12 million records with incorrect addresses…once duplicates among categories are eliminated, approximately 24 million registration records, or nearly 13% of the national total, are estimated to be inaccurate or no longer valid.” There are further concerns that “motor voter” registrations and similar efforts to expand participation in elections may open the door to massive voting fraud.   Interestingly, liberal media sources such as The New York Times, despite the hard evidence, have sought to minimize or deny the crisis.
Will fraudulent voting practices, as well as inaccurate voter registration, have an impact on the upcoming presidential election? Numerous studies from across the nation document brazen attempts to destroy or misplace ballots, and allow ineligible individuals to vote, or register to vote. Americans are increasingly concerned.  The refusal of the Justice Department to prosecute a clear case of voter intimidation in the city of Philadelphia by the New Black Panther Party in the last presidential election has been partially responsible.
John Fund, who has extensively studied election fraud, reports that “nearly 10% of Americans…believe that the election system doesn’t count their votes accurately.”  He documents significant misdeeds from the 2000 presidential election, in which over 15,000 ballots in Florida’s Palm Beach County were warped in an attempt to invalidate Bush votes. Also in the 2000 elections, Philadelphia had more registered voters than actual citizens. Similarly, in 2007, Indianapolis/Marion County had more registered voters than adult citizens. According to published reports, an internal Wikileaks memo documents abuses in the 2008 election including foreign contributions from Russia going to the Obama campaign, as well as accounts of ballot box stuffing in Pennsylvania and Ohio also on behalf of the Obama campaign.
Presidential election fraud is not restricted to the general election.  Last December, the chairman of the Indiana Democratic Party resigned in the wake of a scandal involving the 2008 Democrat presidential primary, in which claims of unlawful practices by the Obama campaign continue to surface.
What differentiates traditional—but still illegal–election misdeeds from current concerns is both the involvement of the Department of Justice and the impact of legislation such as motor voter.
“Motor voter” is actually the popular name of the 1993 National Voter Registration Act.  The legislation mandated state motor vehicle departments as well as other state agencies to offer voter registration forms and register those who came to their offices.  Inexplicably, it forbade employees of those offices from checking IDs of those it registered.  This not only made fraud possible; it essentially invited it.
Jack Kelly, writing in the Pittsburg Post-Gazette, notes that there have been recent investigations, indictments, or convictions for vote fraud in California, Texas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina and Maryland.
Hans Spakovsky, writing in the Free Speech & Election Law Practices publication, emphasizes the problem of noncitizens registering to vote.  He reports that in a random sampling of 3,000 registrations in California’s 39th Assembly District, 10% contained phony addresses or were not U.S. citizens.
A number of states have attempted to attack fraudulent registrations by passing legislation requiring a valid ID to vote.  To the dismay of  those dedicated to honest balloting, The Obama Justice Department has responded with significant hostility to this common sense measure.  Although almost all the reported fraud has aided hard-left Democrats, Kelly reports, even liberal United States Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens stated “There is no question about the legitimacy or importance of  state’s interest in counting only eligible voters’ votes” in a 2008 case that upheld Indiana’s stringent ID law following a challenge by the Democrat Party and its allies.
In testimony before the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Rules ad Administration, John Samples, The Cato Institute’s Director of the Center for Representative Government stated that the Motor Voter Act “has made it difficult if not impossible to maintain clean registration rolls…the inaccuracy in the rolls caused by the Act has thrown into doubt the integrity of our electoral system.”
The Judicial Watch organization, in response to its August 9, 2011 Freedom of Information Act filing, has received records which they describe as detailing friendly communications between the Justice Department and a former ACORN attorney now serving as Director of Advocacy for Project Vote.  The ACORN connection is ominous. 70 ACORN staff throughout 12 states were convicted of voter registration fraud; more than one third of the registrations that group submitted were found to be invalid.
Project Vote is described by Judicial Watch as a group that actively threatened lawsuits under the Motor Voter law in an effort to force election officials to increase the registration of individuals receiving public assistance—a prime source of Democrat support. According to Judicial Watch, “Project Vote was besieged with charges of corruption and fraud.”  Despite that checkered reputation, Judicial Watch found that Project Vote and the Justice Department worked in tandem, producing results that contained heavy amounts of invalid voter registration forms. Project vote also sought to allow individuals without any state identification to register to vote online.  The Judicial Watch investigation indicates that “it becomes clear that Project Vote and the Justice Department have implemented a ‘joint litigation strategy’ in the run-up to the 2012 elections.
J. Christian Adams is an attorney who served five years in the Voting Section of the Department of Justice. He has documented extensive accounts of that agency’s improprieties and partisanship in matters relating not only to its refusal to prosecute illegal election activities, but to actually encourage and abet such unlawful practices.
Citing little or no evidence, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. defends the Department of Justice actions by maintaining that attempts to properly identify voters is somehow discriminatory against minorities.  Jack Kelly’s research indicates otherwise.  He cites the work of researchers at the universities of Delaware and Nebraska , who found no chilling effect of ID requirements on minorities.  In fact, in Georgia, following the passage of a photo ID requirement, African American participation in elections increased from 42.9% to 50.4%.  Similar results were noted in Indiana and Mississippi.

The tolerance of unlawful election practices, and the complicity of government agencies in those practices, is a truly existential threat to American freedom.

AN UNNECESSARY APOLOGY

The President’s apology in the wake of the Koran burning incident in Afghanistan throws into a harsh light the growing surrender to “Islamic Rage,” much of which is fundamentally political and thoroughly undemocratic.
The Korans in question had been misused (religious Muslims might say defiled) by Afghan detainees attempting to surreptitiously send messages.  After the ruse was detected, the defaced texts were disposed of in a manner that was proper and respectful; they were burned.  In fact, this is the manner in which the military disposes of worn out flags. This appropriate course of action was used as an excuse to whip up anti-American furor in the Muslim world.  Six Americans were killed in the resulting riots; The White House has yet to demand an apology for this loss of life.
Over the past twenty-three years, there have been at least eleven major Islamic riots in response to incidents that were either wholly fabricated for political reasons or were in response to the exercise of freedom of speech.  As outlined by Mark Humphreys, they include:
·       The Salman Rushdie Riots of 1989;
·       The Miss World Riots of 2002;
·       The Newsweek Riots of 2005;
·       The Muhammed cartoons Riots of 2005-2006;
·       The Pope Benedict Riots of 2006;
·       The Sudan “teddy bear” incident of 2007;
·       The Johann Hari Riots of 2009;
·       The Taslima Nasrin Riots of 2010;
·       The “everybody Draw Mohammed Day” of 2010;
·       The “International Burn a Koran Day” Riots of 2010; and
·       The “Koran Burning” Riots of 2012.
     The pace of these civil disorders has accelerated sharply since 2009, as many Islamic leaders perceive the west, and in particular the USA, to be more susceptible to the pressure they present.  It would be incorrect to assume that these events are spontaneous.  Paul Marshall, writing in Imprimis, notes that they are “stoked and channeled by governments for political purposes…the highly controlled media in Egypt and Jordan raised [these] issues so persistently that an astonishing 98 percent of Egyptians and 99 percent of Jordanians…had heard of them.”  In response to the “cartoon Mohammed” incident in Denmark, Saudi Arabia and Egypt urged boycotts of Danish products.  Marshall notes that Iran and Syria “manipulated riots partly to deflect attention from their nuclear projects…Turkey used the cartoons as bargaining chips with the U.S. over appointments to NATO.”
     An objective view of the treatment of Islam by western governments would indicate that the riots have been extremely effective.  Islam, and particularly the figure of Mohammed, is treated far more delicately by European and North American governments, media, and other institutions than the indigenous Catholic, Christian, or Jewish faiths.
     In the west, the Islamic religion is flourishing under the ideal of religious toleration that is wholly missing in the Moslem world.  In the United States alone, according to the Washington Examiner, since the September 11 attacks, Islamic Centers have increased significantly in number.  The Examiner reported in  February, 2012 that there are currently 2,106 U.S. Islamic centers, compared to 1,209 in 2000, and only 962 in 1994, after the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
     While Islamic governments whip up citizen frenzy over trivial incidents or perceived slights to their state religions, they have either sanctioned or failed to stop extreme acts of religious bigotry and repression within their own nations.  Writing in Newsweek, Ayaan Hirisi Ali, a Dutch Citizen originally from Somalia, describes a “rising genocide” against the Christian faith throughout the Muslim world.  She describes the horrific acts of the Boko Haram in Nigeria, slaughters in the Sudan, Egyptian security force murders of Copts, Saudi Arabia’s ghetto-type imprisonment of Christian guest workers, and ethnic cleansing in Iraq.
    Last week, Rep. Joseph Pitts [R-PA16] introduced H. Res. 556, which passed 417-1, condemning the government of Iran for its state-sponsored persecution of religious minorities and its ongoing violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political rights.
   Rep. Pitts’ efforts notwithstanding, Marshall’ Imprimis study finds that “western governments have begun to give in to demands from the Saudi-based ‘Organization of Islamic Cooperation” (OIC.)  He cites explicit examples of various European and North American governments essentially bowing to the anti-free speech demands of militant Islam.
     While the First Amendment would appear to protect Americans from speech restrictions regarding the Islamic faith, threats of violence have had a chilling effect.  American universities, publishing houses, and television producers have “self censored” under the threat of violence.
     Marshall reports that the facts get even more frightening.  President Obama, in his 2009 speech in Cairo, declared that he had a “responsibility to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.”  Following suit, Secretary of State Clinton has acted cooperatively with the OIC, which continues to tacitly condone repression and murder against Christian and Jews while pushing for anti-free speech restrictions in regards to criticisms of Islam in the West.

The U.S. Constitution prohibits giving one religion preferential treatment.  This, however, is precisely what the leaders of Moslem leaders have demanded, while continuing to persecute western-based faiths in their own lands.  It is fair to question whether they do this out of true religious fervor, or merely to distract their own populations from their tyrannical and corrupt rule.

OBAMACARE IN CRISIS

President Obama’s signature legislative initiative, the “Patient Protection & Affordable Health Care Act,” (PPAHCA) may not exist in a recognizable form by the end of Spring.

   From its very inception, this major measure contained overwhelming flaws that virtually guaranteed ongoing controversy, and the strong possibility of being overturned either legislatively by a concerned Congress or by a Supreme Court decision ruling that key portions were unconstitutional.
   The original $940 billion estimated cost of this dramatic and broad new law was always overwhelming.  However, it has become clear that the measure will actually be far more expensive.  The Congressional Budget Office estimates that $1.76 trillion is the latest reliable figure, and that sum is sure to rise.  House Ways and Means  Committee Chair Dave Camp  was quoted in the Washington Times as estimating the actual cost as over $2 trillion.  The price tag issue in and of itself may eventually doom it.
   There are three extraordinary problems beyond the devastating cost, and they appear to be coming to the forefront this month. The first is Congressional anger over the “death panel,” the name wary Americans have given to the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) established by Section 3403 the PPAHCA.  The second is the serious constitutional objections over the bill’s requirement that Americans buy health insurance, known as the Individual Mandate.  Finally, there is the controversy that Health & Human Services Secretary Sebelius prompted when she issued regulations requiring religious institutions, along with all other employers, to provide coverage for services such as abortion that those organizations consider morally objectionable.
   Related to the IPAB’s cost-saving mission is the question of its effect on research of  new treatments.  Innovative techniques are expensive to develop.  Many question whether this new agency will have a chilling effect on research organizations that may see their innovations deemed to be too expensive.
   This week, the House of Representatives is debating a measure that would repeal the IPAB, largely based on public distaste for its unchecked power and “death panel” authority.  From the initial release of information about this bizarre institution, the majority of Americans expressed substantial discomfort with its concept. The IPAB is designed to have a 15 member panel tasked with achieving Medicare savings.  David Catron writes that the IPAB’s “sole purpose is to cut funding for some health care services seniors now take for granted.  And those cuts will kill people.”  Pollster and political expert Doug Schoen has stated that the IPAB is “flawed, unethical and represents the worst of health care policy reform.”  Due to the IPAB’s regulations, senior citizens are almost guaranteed to have a more difficult time finding a doctor who will treat them.
   From March 26 to March 28, the United States Supreme Court will hear an extraordinary six hours of oral argument on the issue of the Individual Mandate’s constitutionality.
   The PPAHCA’s Individual Mandate forces individuals to secure health insurance. Supporters of the law assert that this is the only way to fund the whole idea.  The Obama Administration has signaled its unease with its legal position by changing its argument that the Individual Mandate is justified under the Constitution’s Commerce Clause to one that asserts it can do so under the “Necessary and Proper” provision of the Constitution. The president’s unease is certainly warranted. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta has already ruled this measure unconstitutional.
   A California State Library Background Report noted that political opposition to the concept comes from both the left and the right.  Conservatives dislike the increased power and the lack of Constitutional authority;  leftists “are skeptical…especially as it is supported by the insurance industry.’
   While debate in Congress and before the Supreme Court take place, religious institutions, spearheaded by the Catholic Church, will continue their vigorous defense of their first amendment right to practice their faith free from unlawful federal interference.
   The regulations forcing Catholic institutions to cover abortions may also find their way into the Supreme Court, and there is a substantial chance that this unprecedented intrusion into the affairs of a religion will also be found unconstitutional.  The Catholics aren’t alone in their challenge.  An IBD editorial noted that two protestant colleges are filing suit in the U.S. District Court to challenge the imposition on their First Amendment rights, not on their opposition to abortion.
   Indeed, there is much to question about the reason this law was originally passed and what the expected results would be. It imposes a heavy financial burden on already beleaguered federal and state governments, and fails to provide improved or universal coverage. In fact, according to Forbes Magazine, Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wy) estimates that four million people will lose job-related health insurance.  Last year, health costs rose 9% for employers, notes the article, “triple the rate of the year before ObamaCare’s provisions began to be implemented.” It surrenders vital decision making power to unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats.
Practical concepts, such as tort reform, which would sharply reduce the expenses of doctors and hospitals, reducing federal bureaucracy, allowing innovative treatments to get to market more efficiently, and interstate sales of insurance policies which would increase competition and lower policy rates, were ignored.  It is difficult not to conclude that the real goal of the legislation was to give the executive branch of the federal government vast new powers over the one-sixth of the American economy represented by the health industry.