A defection that stinks to high heaven
Posted on November 25th, 2014

Dr.Kamal Wikramasinghe

Ranil Wickremesinghe and Chandrika Kumaratunga

The personalities, factors and mechanics behind the defection of the former Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena from the UPFA to announce his candidacy – as the common” opposition candidate – in the upcoming presidential elections make the move stink to high heaven” at strategic as well as operational levels.

It is no secret that Sirisena’s defection is a desperate plot orchestrated by Chandrika Kumaratunga, with the assistance of the British, US and Norwegian embassies in Colombo. It is a strategically menial attempt by the bitter and twisted Kumaratunga to ‘get back at’ President Rajapaksa: the media briefing of the announcement was all about her own excitement about her re-entering politics to save the SLFP” rather than any offers by Sirisena to the public aimed at making him look like a worthy alternative to President Rajapaksa.

The causes behind Kumaratunga’s desperation run deep: at a deep psychological level, she seems to be displaying the symptoms of an extremely acute case of relevance deprivation syndrome” following the end of political involvement that defined her. She seems to be incapable of adjusting to the accompanying loss of privilege, made worse by her apparent belief that the Sri Lankan nation owes life-long sustenance to her – and to anyone with the Bandaranaike family name for that matter.

Chandrika Kumaratunga with Maithripala Sirisena

The attempt to make a presidential contender out of Maithripala Sirisena is an impromptu reaction by Kumaratunga to the pruning of privileges granted to ex-presidents at the last budget. The reduction in her retirement income and other perks seems to have been the last straw as far as she is concerned. It appears that she found a subject with feudal loyalties in Sirisena in her attempt to further her own ambitions of re-joining the gravy train.

The defection is scandalous at the level of personal motivations of both Kumaratunga and Sirisena; They have proved that they represent the most undesirable political culture of ‘entitlement to spoils’ as a sine qua non for engaging in politics: Kumaratunga was stung by the removal of extensive state benefits to former presidents, and she found a like-minded” agent in Maithripala who has been known to be unhappy, as is well known, about the level of benefits he himself was able to extract from the government.

In addition to the primary motivation of vying for more government hand-outs, Kumaratunga has obviously sought revenge for President Rajapaksa’s 2005 election win that virtually ended the Bandaranaike dynasty in Sri Lankan politics, putting Kumaratunga’s ‘nose out of joint’; Contrary to her annoyingly persistent claims that she made” Mahinda Rajapaksa, it was a case of the Sri Lankan people making the right choice despite” her. She is obviously bitter about the end of the family heirloom.

Chandrika is hiding behind Sirisena

Chandrika, of course, would have loved to enter the limelight again as a contender for executive president herself, if she could. Contrary to her disingenuous citing of family reasons” as the reason to turn down requests to contest (by naive individuals of the opposition), the real reason was the legal impediment imposed by the Supreme Court, barring her ever entering Sri Lankan politics again.

It is a nearly-forgotten fact that in October 2008, the Supreme Court found, in the Water’s Edge case that as President Kumaratunga abused her executive powers to facilitate a corrupt, illegal transfer of state lands meant for a ‘public purpose’ to a private golf course, in breach of Article 12(1) of the Constitution.

In the damning unanimous decision that imposed a fine of Rs. 3 million on her, the Supreme Court declared that Kumaratunga had failed to function in a manner consistent with the expectations of a public officer, much less an executive president, and she had completely betrayed the position of trust bestowed upon her by the constitution and by the people of Sri Lanka.

This conviction makes Chandrika Kumaratunga’s complaints about the alleged high levels of corruption” in the country become the deserved subject of ridicule – and she knows it.

In addition, she would be fully aware that the Sri Lankan people who abjectly suffered the effects of terrorism have not forgotten or forgiven her pitiful mismanagement of the war by virtually handing over the state responsibilities to the fraudster Eric” Solheim, an ignominy she shares with Ranil Wickremesinghe. In fact, this is still the defining difference in public’s view, between President Rajapaksa and all other pretenders to the job.

It is clear that Kumaratunga resorted to the next best alternative for her personally – rather than to the Sri Lankan people or the country – to seek the agency of Sirisena, a person with subservient allegiances to the Bandaranaike name.

An attempt to pervert the course of democracy

Kumaratunga’s desperate plot to further her own ends through the cat’s paw of Sirisena however, would not have been possible if not for the on-going, totally rudderless status of the opposition; the move, apart from failing to make up for a genuine challenge to President Rajapaksa’s presence in the local political scene, seriously jeopardises Ranil Wickremesinghe’s political future (if he ever had one) and that of the UNP as the leading” opposition political party.

The Kumaratunga plot could not have been implemented if the opposition had a half-decent candidate with an alternative policy agenda to present to the people of Sri Lanka. By readily agreeing to Kumaratunga’s shenanigan, Ranil Wickremesinghe has announced to the electorate that he has no faith in his own, or of his party’s ability to launch a credible challenge to President Rajapaksa at the elections. The sad irony is that Ranil Wickremesinghe is not far from the truth in his belief.

The real question that arises however is as to why he continues to lead the UNP. The situation is made more insufferable by the non-availability, within the ranks of the entire spectrum of the opposition, of a person with a record of achievement or leadership ability to match President Rajapaksa.

Against this background, Sirisena’s twin pledges at the media briefing – to abolish the executive presidency within 100 days and to make Ranil prime minister if he wins – make his bid for election an attempt to pervert the cause of democracy by facilitating the back-door-entry of a person rejected repeatedly by the people in to political power. The unlikely case of an election win by him then would be a suicide mission in political terms because the unlikely scenario of his abolishing executive presidency will transfer all power to the post of prime minister who would be Ranil Wickremesinghe.

This inauspicious opening gambit alone will make the Sri Lankan people reject Sirisena’s candidacy as a confidence trick being played upon them.

Claim to spoils” is behind objections to executive presidency

It is unimaginable that the opposition still, with new common” candidate and all, seems to rest its challenge to President Rajapaksa entirely on abolishing the executive presidency. There are no alternate plans for the economy, development or security of the country. The political bankruptcy within the opposition ranks seems to make them oblivious to the absurdity in identifying the executive presidency as the ‘burning’ issue that concerns the electorate. Clearly, there are other issues that occupy the ordinary peoples’ concerns which they seem to be ignoring in their political incompetence.

The identification of executive presidency as the problem arises from the greed of people like Maithripala Sirisena to the highest jobs in the land, without necessarily having any reasonable political or moral claim to the job: they seem to be relying entirely on the spoils” system in which election wins of the party entitle them to rewards in the form of highest government posts.

This is exactly the foundation of the term limits” for presidents in America, the source of all the Sri Lankan opposition’s much revered principles of democracy”. In America, both major parties embrace the rotation in office as a way of taking turns in the distribution of political prizes in a system of payoffs to the party faithful. Like with all American frauds, this unpalatable truth is wrapped around a code of a political ethic people like Ranil Wickremesinghe obviously uncritically adopt.

There are several features of the presidential term limits in America that should have attracted the opposition’s attention: the original US constitution did not limit presidential terms; it was the passage of the Twenty-Second Amendment to the constitution in 1947 that introduced the limits on elected president to two terms in office. Term limits at the federal level still apply only to the executive branch. The US Congress is not subject to election or term limits, and the judicial appointments at the federal level are made for life.

Prior to 1947 however, in the absence of any constitutional limits, all presidents who could win elections opted to serve only two terms as a means of sharing the spoils” by allowing someone else to occupy the post. Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-1945) became the only president to be elected to four terms. His election victories are attributed to unusual circumstances of his steering of America through the Great Depression of the 1930s, and his final win, to an ongoing world war.

Franklin D. Roosevelt’s unusual success however, prompted the Republican President Harry S. Truman to introduce the Twenty second Amendment, with the ostensible purpose of ridding the US of another four-term President, and as an effective way of invalidating Roosevelt’s legacy, considered one of the more progressive presidents.

Limiting presidential terms serves no useful purpose

It is often said that when they succeeded in limiting the presidency to two terms in the US, they limited democracy itself. Disastrously, the Congress gained more powers through Homesteading”, or securing lifelong careers in Congress for those prepared to serve vested interests, with Congress re-election rates currently approaching 100%.

As the US experience demonstrates, term limits emasculate its chief executive. With a president automatically considered a lame duck” by the sixth year of a second term, and a successor taking a year to establish an administration, the two-term limit makes the US effectively to be without a president for at least three out of every nine years.

Term limits are essentially based on the self-serving and patronising argument of those who can’t win elections, that the public need to be ‘protected’ by denying them the power to elect a capable, popular candidate too often. Contrary to this argument arising from political bankrupts, people should have the right to vote for the ‘right candidate’ as many times as they want. The opposition to President Rajapaksa by people like Sirisena on the basis that he is a strong president who has been elected twice cannot – and will not- hold water. Sirisena and those who thought propping him up would be a good idea will do well to read a remark by George Washington, the founding father and first president of the republic they love more than their own.

At the time of retirement Washington wrote in a letter to his French supporter and protégé Marquis de Lafayette: I can see no propriety in precluding ourselves from the service of any man who, in some great emergency, shall be deemed universally most capable of serving the public”.

We have such a person in President Rajapaksa and pretenders like Maithripala Sirisena will not be able to sway the publics’ impression of president Rajapaksa.

Chandrika Kumaratunga is bound to wake up even unhappier on January 9, 2015.

– See more at: http://www.dailynews.lk/?q=features/defection-stinks-high-heaven#sthash.vtfNIauB.dpuf

9 Responses to “A defection that stinks to high heaven”

  1. Ananda-USA Says:

    Excellent Summary of the Current Situation and past history of the HOPELESS contenders for the job of President and National Governance!

    1.” In addition, she would be fully aware that the Sri Lankan people who abjectly suffered the effects of terrorism have not forgotten or forgiven her pitiful mismanagement of the war by virtually handing over the state responsibilities to the fraudster Eric” Solheim, an ignominy she shares with Ranil Wickremesinghe. In fact, this is still the defining difference in public’s view, between President Rajapaksa and all other pretenders to the job.”

    This my PRIMARY OBJECTION to CBK … that she did not DEFEND and PROTECT Sri Lanka when she had the power to do pursue the war to a sucessful completion as President Mahinda Rajapaksa did. She had neither the COURAGE, nor the ABILITY, nor the WILL & DETERMINATION to do it. When she lost her eye, her courage evaporated and she became an apologist for the terrorists. A TRULY SHAMEFUL BLOT in Sri Lanka’s military history and governance.

    2. “Sirisena’s twin pledges at the media briefing – to abolish the executive presidency within 100 days and to make Ranil prime minister if he wins – make his bid for election an attempt to pervert the cause of democracy by facilitating the back-door-entry of a person rejected repeatedly by the people in to political power. The unlikely case of an election win by him then would be a suicide mission in political terms because the unlikely scenario of his abolishing executive presidency will transfer all power to the post of prime minister who would be Ranil Wickremesinghe.”

    That Maithripala Sirisena, a 47-year veteran of the SLFP could contemplate handing the nation over to the sole control of Ranil Wickremasinghe, is TRULY MIND BOGGLING and an ASTOUNDING FEAT OF TREACHERY towards the Patriots of Sri Lanka who fought and died to preserve the territorial integrity of their Motherland, while Ranil hampered the War Effort at every turn in collusion with foreign enemies! SHAME!

    3. “It is unimaginable that the opposition still, with new common” candidate and all, seems to rest its challenge to President Rajapaksa entirely on abolishing the executive presidency. There are no alternate plans for the economy, development or security of the country. The political bankruptcy within the opposition ranks seems to make them oblivious to the absurdity in identifying the executive presidency as the ‘burning’ issue that concerns the electorate.”

    Precisely! Undoing the Executive Presidency, and discarding the increased stability afforded by such a system (for example, in the USA and the France) that is essential a nation emerging from a 30 year military threat to her existence, while not presenting any alternative plans for Governance, Economic Development, National Security, Healthcare, Education, etc ad-infinitum, ad-nauseam, demonstrates that these FOOLS have NO CLUE on how to uplift the people and their quality of life! Their concerns REEK of UNFULFILLED personal ambitions, UNMET financial needs, and political agendas that became OBVIOUS in a recent interview of Sirisens, Senaratne, Dissanayake and Rathana on Sirira TV!

    As H.L.D. Mahindapala recently summarized, when we have in President Mahinda Rajapaksa “the greatest overachiever of our time” already leading the nation, what makes these small men without accomplishments, jumping ship in search of personal advancement on the strength of innuendos and false propaganda, think they can win the Presidential Election?

    Begone, FOOLS!

  2. Nalliah Thayabharan Says:

    Our Presidential elections are way better than US elections
    In one of the closest contests in U.S. history, the 2000 presidential election between Democratic Vice-President Al Gore and Republican governor of Texas George W. Bush (hereafter referred to as Bush Jr. to distinguish him from his father who was also a president), the final outcome hinged on how the vote went in Florida. Independent investigations in that state revealed serious irregularities directed mostly against ethnic minorities and low-income residents who usually voted heavily Democratic. Some 36,000 newly registered voters were turned away because their names had never been added to the voter rolls by Florida’s secretary of state Kathleen Harris. By virtue of the office she held, Harris presided over the state’s election process while herself being an active member of the Bush Jr. state-wide campaign committee. Other voters were turned away because they were declared–almost always incorrectly–“convicted felons.” In several Democratic precincts, state officials closed the polls early, leaving lines of would-be voters stranded.

    Under orders from Governor Jeb Bush (Bush Jr.’s brother), state troopers near polling sites delayed people for hours while searching their cars. Some precincts required two photo IDs which many citizens do not have. The requirement under Florida law was only one photo ID. Passed just before the election, this law itself posed a special difficulty for low-income or elderly voters who did not have drivers licenses or other photo IDs. Uncounted ballot boxes went missing or were found in unexplained places or were never collected from certain African-American precincts. During the recount, GOP agitators shipped in from Washington D.C. by the Republican national leadership stormed the Dale County Canvassing Board, punched and kicked one of the officials, shouted and banged on their office doors, and generally created a climate of intimidation that caused the board to abandon its recount and accept the dubious pro-Bush tally.

    Then a five-to-four conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court in a logically tortured decision ruled that a complete recount in Florida would be a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal protection clause because different counties have different ways of counting the votes. At that point Gore was behind by only a few hundred or so votes in Florida and was gaining ground with each attempt at a recount. By preventing a complete tally, the justices handed Florida’s electoral votes and the presidency to Bush, a stolen election in which the conservative activists on the Supreme Court played a key role.

    Even though Bush Jr. lost the nation’s popular vote to Gore by over half a million, he won the electoral college and the presidency itself. Florida was not the only problem. Similar abuses and mistreatment of voters and votes occurred in other parts of the country. A study by computer scientists and social scientists estimated that four to six million votes were left uncounted in the 2000 election.

    The 2004 presidential contest between Democratic challenger Senator John Kerry and the incumbent president George W. Bush amounted to another stolen election. Some 105 million citizens voted in 2000, but in 2004 the turnout climbed to at least 122 million. Pre-election surveys indicated that among the record 16.8 million new voters Kerry was a heavy favorite, a fact that went largely unreported by the press. In addition, there were about two million progressives who had voted for Ralph Nader in 2000 who switched to Kerry in 2004. Yet the official 2004 tallies showed Bush Jr. with 62 million votes, about 11.6 million more than he got in 2000. Meanwhile Kerry showed only eight million more votes than Gore received in 2000. To have achieved his remarkable 2004 tally, Bush would needed to have kept all his 50.4 million from 2000, plus a majority of the new voters, plus a large share of the very liberal Nader defectors. Nothing in the campaign and in the opinion polls suggest such a mass crossover. The numbers simply do not add up.

    In key states like Ohio, the Democrats achieved immense success at registering new voters, outdoing the Republicans by as much as five to one. Moreover the Democratic party was unusually united around its candidate-—or certainly against the incumbent president. In contrast, prominent elements within the GOP displayed open disaffection, publicly voicing serious misgivings about the Bush administration’s huge budget deficits, reckless foreign policy, theocratic tendencies, and threats to individual liberties. Sixty newspapers that had endorsed Bush in 2000 refused to do so in 2004; forty of them endorsed Kerry.

    All through election day 2004, exit polls showed Kerry ahead by 53 to 47 percent, giving him a nationwide edge of about 1.5 million votes, and a solid victory in the electoral college. Yet strangely enough, the official tally gave Bush the election by two million votes. What follows are examples of how the GOP “victory” was secured.

    In some places large numbers of Democratic registration forms disappeared, along with absentee ballots and provisional ballots. Sometimes absentee ballots were mailed out to voters just before election day, too late to be returned on time, or they were never mailed at all.Overseas ballots normally reliably distributed by the State Department were for some reason distributed by the Pentagon in 2004. Nearly half of the six million American voters living abroad–a noticeable number of whom formed anti-Bush organizations–never received their ballots or got them too late to vote. Military personnel, usually more inclined toward supporting the president, encountered no such problems with their overseas ballots. A person familiar with my work, Rick Garves, sent me this account of his attempt to cast an overseas ballot:

    I filled out the forms to register to vote absentee since I live here in Sweden. They were even done at a meeting for “Democrats Abroad in Stockholm.” I mailed the forms and when I got my packet back I looked at it and they had me as being in the military. Of course I am not and never have been. I also never checked any boxes on the forms even remotely close to anything insinuating that I was in the military.

    So there was not enough time to fix the “error” and I did not even bother to vote because I knew they would check and find that I am not in the military and my vote would be invalidated. I now wonder even more if that happened because of the Pentagon taking over the handling of the absentee voter registration and too, how many more overseas voters had the same problem?

    Tens of thousands of Democratic voters were stricken from the rolls in several states because of “felonies” never committed, or committed by someone else, or for no given reason. Registration books in Democratic precincts were frequently out-of-date or incomplete.

    Voter Outreach of America, a company funded by the Republican National Committee, collected thousands of voter registration forms in Nevada, promising to turn them in to public officials, but then systematically destroyed the ones belonging to Democrats.

    Democratic precincts–enjoying record turnouts–were deprived of sufficient numbers of polling stations and voting machines, and many of the machines they had kept breaking down. After waiting long hours many people went home without voting. The noted political analyst and writer, Gregory Elich, sent me this account of his election day experience:

    I recall being surprised when I went to vote before work here in Ohio in 2004. Normally, at election time, I can go to the polling place before work, walk in and be in a voting booth in less than two minutes, even in a presidential election. In 2004, when I arrived I saw a long, snaking line of people. I waited twenty minutes, and the line barely moved. It was clear I would be late for work if I persisted, so I left and decided to take an hour or so of vacation time in the middle of the day to vote. I thought surely, in the middle of the work day, the line would not be bad. The line was worse, and it took me close to two hours to vote.

    My neighborhood is about 65 to 70 percent African-American. The next day, in conversation with an African-American co-worker, she told me that she waited in line for four hours. And I heard stories later of people waiting as long as 7 hours. I also stopped at the post office, and voting was a topic of conversation for those of us in the post office line. The man ahead of me, who lived in a well-to-do neighborhood said he was surprised to hear the stories, because it only took him two minutes to vote. Just anecdotal stories, but there were so many more, that there certainly seemed to be a pattern in regard to wealthy vs. working class neighborhoods.

    Pro-Bush precincts almost always had enough voting machines, all working well to make voting quick and convenient. A similar pattern was observed with student populations in several states: students at conservative Christian colleges had little or no wait at the polls, while students from liberal arts colleges were forced to line up for as long as ten hours, causing many to give up.

    In Lucas County, Ohio, one polling place never opened; the voting machines were locked in an office and apparently no one could find the key. In Hamilton County many absentee voters could not cast a Democratic vote for president because John Kerry’s name had been “accidentally” removed when Ralph Nader was taken off the ballot.

    A polling station in a conservative evangelical church in Miami County, Ohio, recorded an impossibly high turnout of 98 percent, while a polling place in Democratic inner-city Cleveland recorded an impossibly low turnout of 7 percent.

    Latino, Native American, and African American voters in New Mexico who favored Kerry by two to one were five times more likely to have their ballots spoiled and discarded in districts supervised by Republican election officials. Many were readily given provisional ballots that subsequently were never counted. In these same Democratic areas Bush “won” an astonishing 68 to 31 percent upset victory. One Republican judge in New Mexico discarded hundreds of provisional ballots cast for Kerry, accepting only those that were for Bush.

    Cadres of rightwing activists, many of them religious fundamentalists, were financed by the Republican Party. Deployed to key Democratic precincts, they handed out flyers warning that voters who had unpaid parking tickets, an arrest record, or owed child support would be arrested at the polls–all untrue. They went door to door offering to “deliver” absentee ballots to the proper office, and announcing that Republicans were to vote on Tuesday (election day) and Democrats on Wednesday.

    Democratic poll watchers in Ohio, Arizona, and other states, who tried to monitor election night vote counting, were menaced and shut out by squads of GOP toughs. In Warren County, Ohio, immediately after the polls closed Republican officials announced a “terrorist attack” alert, and ordered the press to leave. They then moved all ballots to a warehouse where the counting was conducted in secret, producing an amazingly high tally for Bush, some 14,000 more votes than he had received in 2000. It wasn’t the terrorists who attacked Warren County.

    Bush Jr. also did remarkably well with phantom populations. The number of his votes in Perry and Cuyahoga counties in Ohio, exceeded the number of registered voters, creating turnout rates as high as 124 percent. In Miami County nearly 19,000 additional votes eerily appeared in Bush’s column after all precincts had reported. In a small conservative suburban precinct of Columbus, where only 638 people were registered, the touchscreen machines tallied 4,258 votes for Bush.

    In almost half of New Mexico’s counties, more votes were reported than were recorded as being cast, and the tallies were consistently in Bush’s favor. These ghostly results were dismissed by New Mexico’s Republican Secretary of State as an “administrative lapse.”

    Exit polls showed Kerry solidly ahead of Bush Jr. in both the popular vote and the electoral college. Exit polls are an exceptionally accurate measure of elections. In the last three elections in Germany, for example, exit polls were never off by more than three-tenths of one percent. Unlike ordinary opinion polls, the exit sample is drawn from people who have actually just voted. It rules out those who say they will vote but never make it to the polls, those who cannot be sampled because they have no telephone or otherwise cannot be reached at home, those who are undecided or who change their minds about whom to support, and those who are turned away at the polls for one reason or another. Exit polls have come to be considered so reliable that international organizations use them to validate election results in countries around the world.

    Republicans argued that in 2004 the exit polls were inaccurate because they were taken only in the morning when Kerry voters came out in greater numbers. (Apparently Bush voters are late sleepers.) In fact, the polling was done at random intervals all through the day, and the evening results were as much favoring Kerry as the earlier sampling. It was also argued that exit pollsters focused more on women (who favored Kerry) than men, or perhaps large numbers of taciturn Republicans were less inclined than chatty Democrats to talk to pollsters. No evidence was put forth to substantiate these fanciful speculations.

    Most revealing, the discrepancies between exit polls and official tallies were never random but worked to Bush’s advantage in ten of eleven swing states that were too close to call, sometimes by as much as 9.5 percent as in New Hampshire, an unheard of margin of error for an exit poll. In Nevada, Ohio, New Mexico, and Iowa exit polls registered solid victories for Kerry, yet the official tally in each case went to Bush, a mystifying outcome.

    In states that were not hotly contested the exit polls proved quite accurate. Thus exit polls in Utah predicted a Bush victory of 70.8 to 26.4 percent; the actual result was 71.1 to 26.4 percent. In Missouri, where the exit polls predicted a Bush victory of 54 to 46 percent, the final result was 53 to 46 percent.

    One explanation for the strange anomalies in vote tallies was found in the widespread use of touchscreen electronic voting machines. These machines produced results that consistently favored Bush over Kerry, often in chillingly consistent contradiction to exit polls.

    In 2003 more than 900 computer professionals had signed a petition urging that all touchscreen systems include a verifiable audit trail. Touchscreen voting machines can be easily programmed to go dead on election day or throw votes to the wrong candidate or make votes disappear while leaving the impression that everything is working fine. A tiny number of operatives can easily access the entire computer network through one machine and thereby change votes at will. The touchscreen machines use trade secret code, and are tested, reviewed, and certified in complete secrecy. Verified counts are impossible because the machines leave no reliable paper trail.

    Since the introduction of touchscreen voting, anomalous congressional election results have been increasing. In 2000 and 2002, Senate and House contests and state legislative races in North Carolina, Nebraska, Alabama, Minnesota, Colorado, and elsewhere produced dramatic and puzzling upsets, always at the expense of Democrats who were substantially ahead in the polls. All of Georgia’s voters used Diebold touchscreen machines in 2002, and Georgia’s incumbent Democratic governor and incumbent Democratic senator, who were both well ahead in the polls just before the election, lost in amazing double-digit voting shifts.

    In some counties in Texas, Virginia, and Ohio, voters who pressed the Democrat’s name found that the GOP candidate was chosen. It never happened the other way. No one reported choosing a Republican and ending up with the Democrat. In Cormal County, Texas, three GOP candidates won the touchscreen contest by exactly 18,181 votes apiece, a near statistical impossibility.

    This may be the most telling datum of all: In New Mexico in 2004 Kerry lost all precincts equipped with touchscreen machines, irrespective of income levels, ethnicity, and past voting patterns. The only thing that consistently correlated with his defeat in those precincts was the presence of the touchscreen machine itself. In Florida Bush registered inexplicably sharp jumps in his vote (compared to 2000) in counties that used touchscreen machines, including counties that had shown record increases in Democratic voter registration.

    In sum, despite an arsenal of foul ploys that prevented people from voting, those who did get to vote still went decisively for Kerry–but had their votes subverted by a rigged system.

    Companies like Diebold, Sequoia, and ES&S that market the touchscreen machines are owned by militant supporters of the Republican party. These companies have consistently refused to allow election officials to evaluate the secret voting machine software. Apparently corporate trade secrets are more important than voting rights. In effect, corporations have privatized the electoral system, leaving it susceptible to fixed outcomes. Caveat emptor.

    Postscript. In the 2006 mid-term congressional elections, the Democrats won back the House with a 30-seat majority and the Senate by one seat. This might lead us to conclude that honest elections won the day. To be sure, the U.S. electoral system is a patchwork of fifty different state systems, all with additional county-level variations. So there must have been honestly conducted electoral proceedings in many parts of the country.

    Still, what has to be explained is why the Democratic victory was so relatively slim. Given the massive crossover reported in the polls, why was it not a landslide of greater magnitude? From 15 to 30 percent of erstwhile Republican voters reportedly either switched or stayed home. Most Democratic gains in 2006 were in normally Republican, White, suburban, middle class districts. Meanwhile traditional Democratic strongholds held fairly firm. It seems the Republicans lost because while they focused on trying to suppress and undermine the Democratic base, they lost a large chunk of their own following.

    In several states, residents in Democratic areas were confronted by purged registration lists, falsely based threats of arrest, and exacting voter ID requirements. Irregularities were so outrageous in Virginia that the FBI was called in. According to the polls, Senate Republican incumbent George Allen should have lost Virginia by a substantial margin instead of a few thousand votes. Touch screen irregularities and voter discouragement tactics helped him close the gap but not enough. In Florida’s district 13, the Democratic candidate Christine Jennings lost by a few hundred votes after 18,000 ballots were lost by touchscreen machines that left no paper trail to rectify the situation.

    Democrats lost another seat in Florida and at least two in Ohio, Harvey Wasserman reports, that they should have won according to the polls. The Democrats should have won the House by 50 or more seats and the Senate by a wider margin, Wasserman suggested in a radio interview (Pacifica, May 2007).

    Touchscreen machines have been variously described as “faulty,” or ridden with “glitches.” This is not usually the case. If it were simply a matter of malfunction, the mistakes would occur randomly, rather than consistently favoring the GOP. What we are dealing with are not faulty machines but fixed machines.

    The United States is the only country (as compared to Western Europe) that makes it difficult for people to vote. Historically the hurdles have been directed at low-income voters and ethnic minorities. In 2006, various states disqualified voters if their registration information failed to match perfectly with some other record such as a driver’s license. Because of this at least 17 percent of eligible citizens in Arizona’s largest county were denied registration. In some states persons who conduct voter registration drives risk criminal prosecution for harmless mistakes, including errors in collecting forms. In Florida some 50,000 voters were purged in 2004 (in addition to the many purged in 2000), many of them African-American, who still were unable to vote by 2006. In various states and counties the subterranean war against electoral democracy continues.

  3. Nalliah Thayabharan Says:

    CBK was born to give almost everything belonged to Sri Lanka to retain in power and offer whatever she could to fulfill her vindictive lust. CBK is not just a bandit queen but also a biggest hypocrite one could ever come across. CBK is a disgrace.

    “Members of Rajapaksa family are ‘uneducated and uncultured rascals, the political climate in the country has been made “vindictive and threatening” and Rajapaksa had ‘muddied the thinking’ of masses.” This is what US ambassador Patricia A. Butenis had written of what former President Chandrika Kumaratunga had said when the Ambassador met her on the 14th December 2009 as leaked by ‘Wikileaks.’

    According to the cable leaked by ‘Wikileaks’ “Former President discussed President Rajapaksa’s abuse of power and said that under his leadership, the economy, the political climate, health care, education and international relations had spiraled down reaching a new low in the country’s history. Kumaratunga remarked that governance had broken down and corruption was appallingly bad. She noted that while she was responsible for nominating President Rajapaksa for the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, he had a detrimental impact on the party.”

    In response to Ambassador’s query on elections and General Fonseka’s candidacy, President Kumaratunga said,while she was surprised by Fonseka’s entry into politics, if “free and fair” elections were held Fonseka would win.

    According to US Ambassador as revealed by ‘Wikileaks’ Ms. Kumaratunga had said Fonseka came from a Buddhist extremist background, he seemed more honest than Rajapaksa and might not go back on his promises. She noted that the State-owned media, Rajapaksa’s propaganda machine, had been very effective and had brain-washed the masses. Kumaratunga observed that the rural people referred to Rajapaksa as “King” and pointed to the President’s 12 foot billboard cut-outs as distasteful examples of abuse of power.

    Every Sri Lankan must read Chowra Rejina to get an Idea of ‘WTF is going on behind the curtains of Sri Lankan politics. I don’t say that Victor Ivan is 100% correct. Actually there is no need to be so because if only a 10% of the content is true, it’s more than enough to prove that CBK is a Bandit Queen.

    1) Tawakkal take over of Puttalam cement

    2) Air Lanka take over by Emirates

    3) Shell gas monopoly

    4) Waters Edge transaction

    5) Rubber Block factory affair

    6) Alleged purchase of second hand vehicles at new car prices

    7) Giving Admiral Sandagiri an unprecedented three year extension after the age of retirement, considering that there had been serious allegations being made against him in respect of improper arms purchases.

    8) The French locomotive tender – when we purchased ships engines for locomotives

    9) Irregularities in the administration of the President’s Fund.

    A few more misdemeanors have been revealed recently by Victor Ivan in his book the Bandit Queen. The fact that he has not been sued speaks for itself.

  4. Christie Says:

    “The causes behind Kumaratunga’s desperation run deep: at a deep psychological level, she seems to be displaying the symptoms of an extremely acute case of relevance deprivation syndrome” following the end of political involvement that defined her” . Human enterprises also acts like individuals. Replace Chandrika with Indian Union. Looks like this time Indian Union failed even before starting. India still thinks in terms of 1951 when it divided the UNP with SWRD. Jai Hind!!!!

  5. Christie Says:

    Hon Chandrika comes from a household where Indians were her close associates and she feels home when In India. Waters E was given to Merchants who hung drapes at Rosmead. It looks like Indian Union, Indian colonial parasites and the vermin has failed for the third time. India may pull more strings and they got time till 8 January 2014. But Chinese believe it is a god day number and will be a win for the Chinese.

  6. Nalliah Thayabharan Says:

    Ranil and CBK make strange bed-fellows. CBK & JRJ were the most vicious and vindictive head of government in post independence history She is the only head of state or head of government in this country who hauled the opposition leader before a presidential commission of inquiry on criminal charges and even tried to imprison him on the eve of an election. But now what we see is a growing rapprochement between CBK and the UNP that she mercilessly hounded not so long ago. The UNP for its part obviously is operating on the principle that the enemy of their enemy is their friend.

    Given CBK’s capacity to hate and extract revenge, she is a vindictive enemy and therefore all the more valuable as an ally to let loose on the government. RW has also long had a predilection to set one person against the other and to enjoy the show as the adversaries fight like cats and dogs.
    There is no one in the UNP who believes that RW can defeat Mahinda at the next elections, and that belief itself is a debilitating factor that can become a self fulfilling prophesy. The advantage in Pallewatte Gamaralalage Maithripala Yapa Sirisena will be that they can at least hold out the hope of being able to cause a split in the SLFP vote. The idea can be sold to both the general public and the UNP rank and file that with the votes of the UNP, the TNA, (possibly the SLMC and CWC) and by creating a split in the SLFP, they might be able to defeat Mahinda. The same logic was at play at the last presidential elections as well, with Sarath Fonseka being used to create a split in the patriotic camp. They didn’t win.

    It is a commonly known fact that RW believes that his moment of destiny is as in the case of his uncle J.R.Jayewardene, after his sixties. There is the strong feeling among sections of the party after the Sarath Fonseka misadventure that the party rank and file should never be encouraged to vote outside the party. That may have to be overcome by selling the idea to them that the SLFP vote can be split by fielding Pallewatte Gamaralalage Maithripala Yapa Sirisena. Some may buy that, some may not – that’s a risk that has to be taken. Certainly a Pallewatte Gamaralalage Maithripala Yapa Sirisena candidacy will enliven the presidential campaign and it’ll be Christmas for the media!

  7. Hiranthe Says:

    whatever it is, Gota should beef up security to MS. Put more intelligent units to cover him. If LieTTE buys a good shooter, they will get rid of MS to the account of MR. Run-nil will openly tell he was killed on MR’s advise, similar to Janaka Perera’s case… then unwanted bad image to the country and MR also. No one wants this billy boy to die for no reason. He is harmless and useless but got cheated by the Bandit queen and the clan.

    MR in the mean time should meet MODI in Nepal during the conference and tell him “my big brother, I am going to lose my everything… Only thing which will save me is scrapping the 13A… please ayiya don’t misunderstand me… I will have to do this with your blessing. I will return the favour one day..” Modi will say yes because it was not his baby… it was Rajiv Ghandi’s…

    there come MR with a song ‘” Pala baba apata epa”!!!!

  8. SA Kumar Says:

    Hiranthe
    VP & CO buys a good shooter, they will get rid of MS to the account of MR.- gone forever .

  9. ranjit Says:

    I feel vomitish when I see these two together in the above photo. Bonny & Clyde this time highjacked an innocent soul to accomplish their thirst for power. At last Mangalaya said good things about this Sirisena Appaya. Day by day Ranil the clown is bringing shame to this grand old party by doing third class things. We have seen Ranil/Chandrika duel how they were running the country before and we all rejected them in wholesale and now these two dumb and dumbers are coming back hand in hand.So will our people give them back the power? I don’t think so.People are more educated now not like these two haggard old goats.

    President is the only leader we can trust and I know very well he will not allow any harm to come to our great nation. Let’s hope he will do exactly what the voter wishes before long and then we all can live together happily ever-after. He is a staunch Buddhist and he knows what is good and what is bad for our peoples and he respects all the other religions too and always do not forget to invite other religious leaders for big big functions in all over the island. He is the only people’s man and he understand what the poor man’s needs than the other Tie- Coat gentlemen. Keep trust on him and give your valuable vote and make him more stronger than before to tackle the evil menace from abroad and within.

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