I'm reading a lot of rationalizations in the American press about how the current election mess somehow proves that the 'system' really works. It is as if the journalists really have to work to convince themselves that, despite all appearances, the United States is still a functioning democracy. Of course, there is no shame in a close election. However, it seems to me that the true mark of dictatorship is the passive reaction of the vast majority of the populace whan the Powers That Be use force to install their figurehead. It's the outrage and the action that distinguish the freeman from the slave. The slave is always quick to say that it doesn't really matter who the leader is, I actually like the leader better than the guy I voted for, I can't do anything about it anyway, the government will hurt me if I complain, etc., etc. Americans now sound and act like Eastern Europeans before the fall of the Berlin Wall. Whatever happened to the spirit of the American Revolution?
On Monday Canadians managed to avoid: 1) the return of the death penalty; 2) an American-style gun-addled society; 3) civil war with native peoples; 4) making abortion illegal; 5) the utter and complete destruction of the healthcare system; 5) the end of practically all government programs which don't involve armies or police; 6) a theocratic government where all decisions are made in the name of a strict evangelical protestant interpretation of the Bible; 7) the funding by the government of any and all religion-based schools, and the consequent starvation of the public school system; 8) a completely unjust tax system (not that the current one is so great); and 9) rule by an unholy combination of religious nuts and big corporations, with absolutely no say from any other voices. Whatever you may think of the arrogant, lying Liberals, Monday still wasn't a bad days work.
This may be the fifthcoup d'etat to take place in the United States in the past forty years. Up to now there has been: 1) the Kennedy assassination; 2) Watergate; 3) the October Surprise; and 4) the shooting of Reagan (which was effectively an assassination). It is now as likely as not that a change in government in the United States of America will be by extra-democratic means.
Bush has his brother taking care of the Florida election procedures, his cousin telling him how things were going as election night wore on and eventually prematurely deciding that he won, and the co-chair of his Florida campaign running interference for him from pesky challenges to the rectitude of the voting. As he wants to cut down on big government waste, why doesn't he eliminate the middlemen (and woman) and just call the election for himself?
Clinton is concerned about his "legacy", given the blue dress and all. He was hoping he'd be known for peace in the Middle East, but that doesn't seem to be working out. He will, however, be fondly remembered for many years to come for his openness in releasing government secrets, and will be even better thought of if he releases more, particularly if Bush becomes president and covers up the sins of his father. Clinton could also help his place in history if he gave executive clemency to Leonard Peltier. Both releasing secrets and granting clemency will make some people angry, but History will smile.
Do Canadians have any right to feel intellectually superior to Americans if a fellow who has a chance to be the next Prime Minister is a creationist? I feel like I'm in Kansas. Dinosaurs do indeed walk with men.
The main reason that Bush has been able to insist that it is up to Gore to concede is the fact that the networks mistakenly declared Bush the winner. Now it turns out that the decision to do so was made by Bush's first cousin. Fox, who hired the cousin, admits to knowing who he was, and now claims to be concerned about their credibility as he may have improperly divulged confidential information to the Bush camp during the course of election night. Bush could quite easily become President based entirely on the fact he had a relative in the right place at the right time! Fox cannot be given any credibility on any matter after this.
Don't you find it at least a little odd that hugepressure is being put on the guy who currently leads the United States election in both determined electoral college and popular vote to concede in favour of the guy who doesn't? I think Gore has a good chance of pulling this out, but he has to be tough. He could use some Bill Clinton advice right now, but he may still be too mad at Clinton to take it.
Things are getting clearer on the American election. First, the networks declare Florida a win for Gore. This is based on exit polls and is supposedly foolproof. Bush vigorously disputes this declaration, and the networks eventually, and mysteriously, back off. They admit to making a terrible mistake, and have taken all sorts of criticism for sheer incompetence. In the middle of the night Bush is declared the winner, based on his winning Florida. Finally, as the count in Florida procedes, it turns out that no one knows who won. All sorts of irregularities start cropping up. Is it crazy to conclude that the original network declaration was right, based on exit polls actually reflecting how people voted, but Bush was confident of victory because his brother, Governor of Florida, could assure him that the fix was in? This may sound crazy, but it reconciles the mystery of the foolproof exit polls failing, the confident protestations by Bush that the early declaration was wrong, and the corrupt election problems that are now appearing in great profusion, in a state where brother Jeb has control.
I've been following the Bush-Gore Florida result through the morning on the Miami Herald site. I noticed Bush up by 40,000 votes, then 25,000, then 10,000, then 4,000. Now he's up by 600. Did the networks, perhaps in response to their earlier Florida mistake, jump the gun?
Now that the executive and the legislature (with the judiciary soon to come) are firmly in the paws of the military-industrial complex, what will the United States look like in four years? It looks like open season on all those who aren't blessed by God to be very, very rich.
This is the first set of violent Israeli outrages against the Palestinians that has been covered by the internet. It is now much easier to read people like Chomsky or Fisk, and get away from the amazingly one-sided coverage of the Middle East by the mainstream American press. Will access to the truth make any difference at all?
A striking fact about the Nader campaign is that the United States is the only non-dictatorship in the world without some plausible left-wing party. The Democratic Party has always passed for this left-wing party. Now that the Democratic party has moved firmly to the right, there is absolutely no progressive party influence on U. S. politics, except for Nader. What would be downright weird in any other country is just considered normal politics in the United States. Why is this?
Am I being way too cynical to think that [vast amounts of money raised by U. S. Presidential candidates] + [increased need for candidates to advertise if the race is too close to call] = [built in reason for the large media corporations to commission polls and manipulate the news to make it seem that the candidates are running neck and neck]? Isn't there a conflict of interest if the news reporters can make more money on advertising if the race is close? Should they be allowed to charge for political advertising if they can manipulate the need for it?