Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Press and their Gospel of Stupidity

April 20th,  12 of Iraq's 18 provinces are scheduled to hold provincial elections.  Today?  Special voting for the security forces.  While they voted, All Iraq News reports, provincial candidate Hatam al-Dulaimi, with the Justice Party, was shot dead in Tirkit.

The Electoral Commission had to make an announcement declaring special voting over and all centers closed unless people were in line waiting -- if they were, the center closed after those in line at that moment were done votingAlsumaria reports that there were 422 polling centers.  Yesterday, All Iraq News noted the electoral commission declared it has 110,000 vote observers to witness the special vote  and the regular vote April 20th -- the hope is that this will prevent voter fraud or voter intimidation.  Today, All Iraq News notes, Electoral Commission member Kadhim al-Zubaei declared that each polling station also has a complaint box.  Dropping back to Tuesday's snapshot:

Still on the political, from the April 2nd snapshot, "Alsumaria reports that Salah al-Obeidi, spokesperson for the Sadr bloc, declared today that pressure is  being put upon police and military recruits to get them to vote for Nouri's State of Law slate."  Al Rafidayn reports today that Ammar al-Hakim, leader of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, has also called out the efforts to pressure police and army to vote for a specific list of candidate (Al Rafidayn notes that al-Hakim avoided naming the list in question).  

Wael Grace and Mohammad Sabah (Al Mada) report allegations have already emerged of voter fraud and others problems including that some forces are discovering their names are not on the voter rolls.  Movement leader and cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's parliamentary bloc states that they have video proof of security service officers forcing those serving under them to participate and to vote for one party.  Kitabat adds that observers saw officers pressuring recruits to vote for Nouri al-Maliki's candidates in Karbala. 

Kitabat offers these hard numbers: 8143 candidates running for 378 seats in the 12 provinces holding elections. Security and military personnel voted in 14 provinces.  Yes, if they're from Anbar or Nineveh, they get to vote.  The non-security personnel, the bulk of the residents, don't get to vote.  Only in Iraq which is a failed-state could that be passed off as 'democratic voting' and 'inclusion.'  What it more closely resembles is a military junta.

All Iraq News notes that the Electoral Commission also noted turnout rates in the provinces: Wasit saw 75% turnout, 72% in Baghdad Province, 83% in Maysan Province, 69% in Saladin Province, and 80% in Dhi-QarAlsumaria notes that UNCHR states 25,000 security service employees voted in Wasit Province.  In Wasit Province, Al Mada notes that the voters included disable police officer Sameh Abdel-Hussein who rode in a police vehicle and made it to the polling station on crutches.  National Iraqi News Agency reports when all centers were closed the Electoral Commission declared that 72% of the security and military personnel had participated in the early voting today.

And the results?  Alsumaria reports that the Electoral Commission declared that today's votes won't be counted until April 21st  -- begin to be counted.  All Iraq News cites the commission's  Muqdad al-Sharifi stating that counting will not start until after the Iraqi people have voted April 20th.  On the 21st, electoral commission staff will begin counting all the votes.  Dar Addustour quotes al-Sharifi insisting that the commission will deal firmly with any charges of fraud or intimidation.   KUNA quotes the chair of the commission, Sarbat Mustafa, stating that the percentage was the largest in Iraq's "history of voting."

It's amazing how little of the above AFP is able to mention but they do find time for crap like this: "The polls are seen as a key barometer of Maliki's popularity ahead of Parliamentary elections next year."  Are they really, you idiots?  If so, you should be able to tell us by whom.

Who sees the polls that way? Now Nouri has insisted that's the case.  But it's just him.  So AFP plays stenographer for Nouri.

I really hate the idiots today.  They've never studied political science -- I've got two degrees in it and my specializations included voting and international relations -- but they're so damn sure of what they 'know.'  Still if you go back to 2009, when provincial elections were last held, you'll find me noting the trend confirmed in the 2010 parliamentary elections and you'll find them lost with their thumbs up their asses insisting it's self-prostate exam.

I swear, I hate stupid people who have a platform and repeatedly get it wrong.  You don't know what you're talking about, you're not trained in what you're talking about, you have been proven wrong repeatedly when you try to tea leaf election results.

And that's because you're so damn stupid.  I remember your kind, AFP, in graduate classes.  No one could tell you anything -- and usually you were citing Ayn Rand as gospel -- but by the middle of the semester you were out of the class -- the class I would ace even when my arguments ran contrary to the teachings because I could back up what I stated.

Not only do you fail to back up your claims but you run from them three and four years later after they've been discredited, pretending you never made them.

The 2009 elections offered a sign that Iraqis were moving towards a national identity.  We noted that, we noted it wouldn't be provable until the 2010 elections but that if you looked at the hard data that appeared to be the strongest impression.

AFP and the others?

They looked at some data -- who knows what -- and declared that what 2009 meant was Nouri was going to have a strong showing in 2010.  So convinced were they that Quil Lawrence declared Nouri the winner of the 2010 elections on NPR, the day after the 2010 elections, when voting has just begun to be counted.

Now since they don't talk about it, we have to.  They were wrong.

The 2009 results did not indicate Nouri was popular.  Nor will the 2013 results.  There's a simple reason for that: Nouri's not on the ballot.

These people are idiots who need to stop talking, take a seat and take a breath.

They don't know what they're talking about but because it says "AFP" people are going to treat it like it's gospel.  The Gospel of Stupidity.  St. Imbecile Blinding The Masses.

I've learned to tolerate the ones who lie about the US elections -- probably helps that I truly didn't care in 2012 who won the presidential election.  But I still do care about the Iraqi elections so do you think that news outlets might try using care and stop pimping scripts?

How about reporting what actually happens -- which, by the way, is your job -- and leaving analysis for people who are trained it?

We're going to do voting 101 to push back against the pimping.

Nouri's popularity cannot be measured in Iraq when only 12 of the 18 districts are voting.  This is especially true this go round when Anbar Province and Nineveh Province -- where he's hugely unpopular -- are not voting.

Nouri's popularity cannot be measured in an election where his name is not on the list.

Local areas will vote for local candidates for a variety of reasons including (but not limited to) personal relationships, personal knowledge of the candidate, name awareness and disgust with other candidates.

For those who still don't get it, what vote is a win for Nouri?

A vote for Dawa?  That is his political party.  And although he remains the president of it, he chooses not to run with them.  No, he created State of Law, his own political slate, and runs on that.  So do we call that a vote for Nouri: A vote for State of Law?

There's no way to measure Nouri's popularity in provincial elections and no one who has studied elections would make that claim.  A lot of idiots in a circle jerk would make it but not anyone with formal training.

Misreading the results in 2009, these same 'experts' told us that they meant Nouri was highly popular and would win the 2010 elections.  But that's not what the data actually said.  In 2010, we weren't surprised that Nouri didn't win by a big margin or, more importantly, that Nouri didn't win.  That's because the 2009 data's strongest finding was that Iraqis were reaching for a national identity.

Nouri's State of Law didn't offer that.  That's why Iraqiya beat it in the 2010 elections and that's why, pay attention Prashant and AFP, Nouri's making token efforts at looking welcoming to Sunnis right now.  Whether the parliamentary elections are held in 2014 as planned or Nouri's gets his desire for early elections, Nouri knows the same base he appealed to last time will not allow him to win.  He knows he needs to expand his base of potential voters.  He may even realize that he's lost a significant amoung of voters who voted for him last time.  He may not.  AFP, by their 'reporting,' clearly does not realize that.  But then for all their proclamations and predictions, the only thing they were trained in was reporting -- a task that, despite their training, appears to be beyond their grasp.

I realize that many people only read one language.  If that's you and you read English only, refer to Sameer N. Yacoub and Adam Schreck's report for AP which I have problems with but which is a solid attempt at voting.  (Problems?  One example: Kirkuk.  The reason Kirkuk is not voting has to do with Nouri's failure to implement Article 140 and how a vote would be seen as a possible predictor of a referendum on Kirkuk itself.  Delaying the vote in Kirkuk is the same as delaying the census that the Constitution orders in Article 140.)

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