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11.13 Global report highlights Australia’s renewables potential amid mixed signals for coal

11.13 Interior department whistleblower: Ryan Zinke hollowed out the agency

11.12  This Land is Your Land:  The Zinke effect: how the US interior department became a tool of industry [behaving ignorantly again...]

11.12 Planned Parenthood's new president warns of 'state of emergency' for women's health

11.11 Trump responds to worst fires in California’s history by threatening to withhold federal aid [behaving ignorantly again...]

11.11 Interior department sued for ‘secretive process’ in at-risk species assessment [behaving ignorantly again...]

11.11 Keystone XL pipeline: judge rules government 'jumped the gun' and orders halt [behaving ignorantly again...]

11.09 Rainforest destruction from gold mining hits all-time high in Peru

11.09 A new way to make steel could cut 5% of CO2 emissions at a stroke

11.08 Medicaid’s stunning victory

11.06 On Eve of Midterms, Americans Urged to Vote 'Like the Planet Depends On It—Because It Does'

11.06 Big Oil Spending Tens of Millions to Defeat Washington State's Groundbreaking Carbon Fee Initiative [2:09 video]

11.06 India: Delhi pollution level deteriorates to 'hazardous' category

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11.13 'You Sound Nervous': Gillum Mocks Trump as President Demands End to Florida Recount

11.13 Kyrsten Sinema wins Arizona Senate race in breakthrough for Democrats

11.12 When Obstruction of Justice Is Glaringly Obvious

11.11 These 14 Democrats Are at Core of What Bernie Sanders Calls the 'Most Progressive Freshman Class' in Modern US History

11.10 Dear Democrats: Don’t be corporate stooges too

11.10 Trump's acting attorney general involved in firm that scammed veterans out of life savings [Absense of morals and empathy are a prerequisite in the Trump administration]

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11.09 Trump administration blocks asylum claims by those crossing border illegally [Making America Less Great Again...]

High Crimes?

11.10 US stops refuelling of Saudi-led coalition aircraft in Yemen war [But there are a few children still alive. It's too soon!]

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11.11 Tax reform: down with the ‘stepped-up basis’

11.08 Canada is richer than the US, according to a new wealth ranking — in fact, the US doesn't even make the top 10 [Graph of richest countries based on median wealth per adult]

11.05 Under Trump, Corporate Giants See Massive Drop in Penalties: NYT [Mafia-government...]

11.02 Los Angeles’ Measure B Is a Moonshot Aimed at Creating a Public Bank [Could save the public $Billions if setup smartly]

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11.13 Austin's Fix for Homelessness: Tiny Houses, and Lots of Neighbors

11.13 Portugal Dared to Cast Aside Austerity. It’s Having a Major Revival.

11.13 Caravan marks one month on the road: ‘We keep on going, laughing or crying’

11.13 Letter Shows Einstein’s Prescient Concerns About ‘Dark Times’ in Germany

11.12 With Trump sitting nearby, Macron calls nationalism a betrayal [Trump was confused...; video]

11.11 The message from the midterms: a new, progressive US is slowly taking shape

11.09 US navy ship ignored sinking migrants' cries for help, say survivors [Making America Less Great Again...]

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  Print view: Here's a Tool to Assess Candidates' Stands

Here's a Tool to Assess Candidates' Stands

SOURCE: Project VoteSmart
Wednesday, 13 October 2010
“It is easier to catch a greased pig than it is to catch a candidate with a straight answer to a straight question,” says Richard Kimball, president of VoteSmart.

Project VoteSmart, a nonpartisan public service organization dedicated to ferreting out the voting records and political stances of candidates for public office, has added a new feature to its website. Called "VoteEasy," this interactive research system gives voters instant confirmation on which congressional candidates agree with their own positions on the issues.

Project VoteSmart developed VoteEasy because the organization has found that few candidates dared to respond to the detailed Political Courage Test VoteSmart has developed to assess candidates' stands. For example, neither Andrew Harris (R.) nor Frank Kratovil (D.), opponents in the hotly contested Maryland First District race, has responded to the test.

This lack of responsivenesss is encountered frequently, according to VoteSmart officials. Candidates are often loathe to go on the record, for fear their viewpoints will be distorted or their unpopular stances will be exposed. To counter the lack of complete information available to voters, over the past year Vote Smart researchers have spent thousands of hours detailing each candidate’s political history (reviewing their votes, public statements, backgrounds and actions), thereby determining their positions even when they refused to answer the same questions put to them by Vote Smart (not to mention the national media) in the National Political Courage Test. These positions can be ascertained in the VoteEasy online feature, with candidates' stands verified by their own words and public records.

“This is fact checking on a massive scale and it is not popular with either major party,” said Richard Kimball, Vote Smart President. “It is easier to catch a greased pig than it is to catch a candidate with a straight answer to a straight question,” he said. “In fact, one Democratic congressional campaign told us the DCCC would withhold their campaign funds if they provided Vote Smart with answers, while the RNCC had one of their attorneys contact us and threaten legal action if we did not remove their candidates’ positions on the issues.”

Using VoteEasy is simple. Voters in any state just visit the VoteSmart website, go to the VoteEasy panel, and type in their zip code. They answer the same key issue questions their congressional candidates were asked by Vote Smart staff and national media. Then they can watch the candidates’ images on yard signs "squirm" as they advance and recede relative to how their views align with those of the voter. Clicking on a candidate's yard sign picture will reveal that candidate's record and background.

“We are turning opposition research on its head to serve the will of each voter," claimed Kimball. "Candidates who think our research is in error are welcome and encouraged to exchange their own answers for ours on VoteEasy."

Project VoteSmart: An Extraordinary Organization That Has Some Extraordinary Rules
  1. No one can join the Project's board without a political opposite. People as diverse as former Presidents Carter and Ford, former Senators McGovern and Goldwater, former Governor Dukakis, former Congresswoman Ferraro and current Senator McCain have served on the Project's board, supporting the efforts of the Project's students and volunteers, and ensuring balance and strict impartiality in PVS programs and services.
  2. The Project refuses financial assistance from all organizations and special interest groups that lobby or support or oppose any candidate or issue.
  3. The Project operates much like the Peace Corps -- of the over 5000 people who have come to help by working at the Project, ninety percent received no pay and those who did received only minimal salaries to cover basic living expenses.
  4. Unlike other organizations, the Project strictly protects its members and supporters. We never sell or provide names, addresses, or other contact information of any supporter or contributor to anyone, at any time, for any reason.

VoteSmart's republications in the Baltimore Chronicle have permission of the organization.

Copyright © 2010 The Baltimore News Network. All rights reserved.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.

This story was published on October 13, 2010.

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