Three quick takes

Been an insane day at work, but just two quick takes:

(1) So in the US Senate, it appears that the Orwellianly named “For The People Act”, which should properly be called “The Perpetual One-Party State Through Ballot Stuffing Act” is dead in the water as Joe Manchin (D-WV) refuses to support it and also does not support ending the filibuster. (For non-US readers: in the US Senate, a motion to end debate and hold a vote requires a mini-supermajority of 60 votes.)

Powerline points out that, unlike congresscritters from gerrymandered whackadoodle districts, senators represent the entire state, so may lose their seat if they move too far out of step with their constituents.

(2) Meanwhile here in Israel, the main principles of the coalition agreement for the “Change Government” have become public. The two alternating prime ministers have veto power over each other, an arrangement that cannot help reminding me of the two Consuls in the Roman Republic.

Caretaker PM Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving PM in history, seems hell-bent on tarnishing what is otherwise an enviable legacy. His latest claims about “massive election fraud” do not even pass the laugh test: Israel’s voter ID is so stringent that this is basically impossible, and we only have remote voting for cases like diplomatic personnel on duty abroad.

Netanyahu supporters are anguished about his having to step down, and look for conspiracies everywhere except for what is plainly under their nose: that 3D chess master of tactical political maneuvering has finally run out of allies he hasn’t, pardon my French, screwed over yet. It’s no accident that many of the parties in the “Change Coalition” are either led by former close Netanyahu associates, or have such downticket, or both.

(3) Some European reporters cannot understand why Israelis even in the center are now adamantly against giving up ‘settlements’ in the disputed territories and ‘have adopted the extreme right position’. Well, guess what: the last time we voluntarily dismantled settlements (the 2005 Unilateral Disengagement from Gaza) we saw the territory used as launchpads for terrorist attacks and rockets fired indiscriminately at civilian residential areas. Gee, I have no idea how this would affect the popularity for the ‘land for peace’ position…

This isn’t like the Netherlands and Belgium negotiating about the future of the province of Limburg or the enclave of Baarle-Hertog. It isn’t even France and Germany negotiating the future of the Saarland. If it were a matter of giving up land for others to live on peacefully, some would oppose and some would support the move. Likely, if the other side were genuinely renouncing violence, ‘land for peace’ would carry the day with the center and even parts of the moderate right. ‘Land for terrorist rocket bases so moral narcissists can feel good about themselves ’ , however, has no appeal at all outside the far-left fringe.

7 thoughts on “Three quick takes

  1. What’s weird is that I don’t see the claims of “massive election fraud” being made anywhere in the mainstream sources – either rightwing or leftwing.
    What I am seeing is a lot of claims about legitimacy of breaking the electoral platform. (Disclaimer: I personally do see the arrangement made as questionable, but I have no horse in the race)
    Is it possible you were taken for a spin?

  2. Question: Does Israel have strictly manual counting of votes? What organizations carry out the counting/ballot security, and how are access and accountability administered?

    • I’ve voted and acted as a poll observer here. The counting is done per precinct and strictly manually. One votes by selecting a slip with the name of the party (or, in direct elections, the candidate) one wishes to vote for and sticking that in the provided envelope, then sealing it and dropping it in the ballot box. (Blank slips are provided for write-in candidates, if any. “Lekh tizd*yen”=”Go get f***ed” sometimes gets a vote or two ;)) The edge case of write-ins aside, there is no question of intent. If somebody accidentally sticks in two slips. it’s counted as one if they’re the same party [since from the same pile], as spoiled ballot otherwise (at least at the precinct I watched).
      Sum of manually tallied scores has to match with the total number of envelopes.
      In order to vote, you hae to come in person, with your national ID *and* your voter’s summons (every citizen who turns 18 is automatically registered).
      The precinct totals are transmitted electronically to the national election commission: if a discrepancy with the written report is later discovered, the latter prevails.

      We have no electoral district but nationwide popular vote with proportional representation and an ekectoral threshold thar in practice works out to 4 Knesset seats. Hence our welter of factions and the need to assemble complex coalitions.

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