Michelle Obama says what we feel about Donald Trump

It has been clear for some time that Donald Trump is not fit to represent the American people in any capacity.

Without any need to explore the depths of political rhetoric that has blemished this campaign, and the reputation of all Americans, Michelle Obama’s stirring speech shows how decent people feel about Donald Trump.

The majority of Americans are disgusted by the pride that Trump has displayed, boasting about sexual assault and then denying that he actually committed these crimes.

Not so fast, say his victims.

Trevor Noah’s takes on Trump

Trevor Noah, the 32 year old South African who recently took over from John Stewart as the host of the Daily Show, does the latest take down of the Donald.

It really will be a shame if Trump does not become the GOP nominee. I have not laughed this much in ages.

More at:
Trevor Noah: ‘It’s easier to be an angry white man than an angry black man’
Trump learns that thinking is hard

Trump proves that democracy is dead

John Oliver’s spectacular takedown of the former reality TV star, who continues to win support from voters in spite of a string of xenophobic, racist, mysoginistic, and anti-muslim rants proves that democracy is dead.

No wonder that Americans searching Google for moving to Canada has reached an all time high.

Good luck.

More at:
‘How can I move to Canada’ Google search spikes Super Tuesday night
America, you’re stupid: Donald Trump’s political triumph makes it official — we’re a nation of idiots
Here’s Donald Trump’s best strategy for winning the White House
Trump will lose, or I will eat this column
Trump is the GOP’s Frankenstein monster. Now he’s strong enough to destroy the party.
We Have a Serious Problem
The party declines
The Party Still Decides
All of Donald Trump’s Four-Pinocchio ratings, in one place

Let’s have better elections

A flawed election is better than no election. While in many countries that’s true, it should not be allowed to set the standard, as it does far too often.

Managing ballots and ensuring that they are all accounted for and properly tallied and accurately reported is analogous to accounting for all the transactions that occur in a cash business and ensuring that all the money is banked. It is logical that the controls that exist to make sure that cash doesn’t disappear should be found in the systems used for elections, but usually they aren’t.

That’s baffling.

In a business the primary controls are separation of duties, balancing the figures, and reconciling the data to other reliable figures. The person handling cash doesn’t handle goods. The person issuing the goods doesn’t handle the cash. The stocks are reconciled to the sales. Sales are reconciled to the money banked. The money banked is reconciled to the bank statements. Differences in the reconciliations precipitate investigation until they are satisfactorily resolved.

In a good business the systems report to management immediately when there is any attempt to circumvent the controls. And management makes sure that they know what’s going on.

In an election the ballots are the business’ equivalent of cash. The ballots used must balance with the number of voters authenticated against the polling lists. The number of voters that voted must balance to the number of voters authenticated.  A number of voters authenticated must balance to the independent tallies of voters that entered the polling station to those that left it, less the number of people who could not be authenticated. The number of votes counted must balance to the number of ballots cast less the number of spoiled ballots.

The people counting the number of voters are not the same as those who authenticate them to the polling lists. The people counting the votes are not the same people who issued the ballots to the voters.

At each stage each person responsible for a task should be reporting the figures to the electoral management body so that there is no opportunity for collusion. The central system can then perform the reconciliations automatically, and when something doesn’t balance, the system should notify management to initiate an immediate investigation.

In most elections it doesn’t happen like that.

It is up to observers, disenfranchised voters, and the losing candidates to detect and report irregularities. That’s not a system.

Usually it is only when the ballots are returned to the election management body that the reconciliations are done, if at all, sometimes days later.

When the announcement of the result has already been delayed by the logistical difficulties of getting the ballots back to the central electoral management body, the revelation that potential irregularities will further delay the outcome of the election raises suspicion and undermines the legitimacy of the result in the minds of the electorate.

The proposal that these basic controls should exist is frequently countered with the excuse that the infrastructure is not available and that developed country solutions are too expensive and won’t work in places where the electricity is unreliable and the Internet access is almost nonexistent.

And yet those are the countries that are leading the world using SMS to meet the public’s desperate need for banking services. That works fine! It can work for elections too.

Recently SMS technology was adopted for the Kenyan presidential election and it failed miserably. The lack of transparency as to what went wrong suggests that it was not the technology, but the implementation that was to blame.

Introducing these basic controls will, in the absence of massive collusion, eliminate ballot stuffing, manipulation of the results after capture, and many of the elemental errors that often contribute to lack of voter credibility.

Reading through the curricula of the political science degrees at the leading universities reveals that accounting is not a course that is offered. Perhaps that explains why the people advising election commissions don’t promote those controls that exist in well-run businesses.

That should change.

More at:
Kenya’s post election crisis
A Clear Definition of the IEBC Tech Failure
Zambia’s Banda sworn in as president despite dispute
Hamid Karzai bid to end Afghan election dispute
Afghan Parliament Still Stymied By Election Dispute
ELECT MID‐TERM EVALUATION OF THE PROJECT
Who Controls the Vote?
Hearing on election dispute at Supreme Court continues
Malaysian Coalition Extends 55-Year Rule; Opposition Disputes Outcome

The real deal

It’s ironic that one of the most formative speeches in American history, that of Theodore Roosevelt on August 31, 1910, was not well received by many of the his former supporters while he’d been President. It was labeled “communistic”, “socialistic”, and “anarchistic”. It was also hailed as one of the greatest orations ever given on American soil.

Roosevelt argued:

“In every wise struggle for human betterment one of the main objects, and often the only object, has been to achieve in large measure equality of opportunity. In the struggle for this great end, nations rise from barbarism to civilization, and through it people press forward from one stage of enlightenment to the next. One of the chief factors in progress is the destruction of special privilege.”

Now with the benefit of hindsight and the availability of data, Roosevelt’s belief has been vindicated.

The speech influenced policies directed at providing equality of opportunity, primarily through education. That same thinking influenced the introduction of the G.I. Bill, which as an expression of gratitude to the soldiers that had survived the second world war, also gave back to the nation through the tremendous years of economic growth that followed.

Given the abundance of academic support, the dearth of any informed argument to the contrary, it is surprising that neither of the candidates for the upcoming presidential election has seized this obvious opportunity to reestablish America’s economic progress.

Perhaps it’s because the descendents of those earlier critics still have too much influence.

More at:
The New Nationalism
Inequality from generation to generation: the United States in Comparison Miles Corak
Community-Driven Development, Participation, and Inequality: What Does the Evidence Say?
Inequality and Growth: What Can the Data Say?∗ Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo
Having your cake
A True Progressivism