Today’s Rolling Stone magazine carries the most compelling argument yet that the election in 2004 was subverted in Ohio (the deciding state) by a massive and carefully-orchestrated fraud involving officials at the highest levels of the state.
The thing about election fraud is that, when you perpetrate it by preventing hundreds of thousands of citizens from voting, and by altering results in black box voting machines with no audit trail, you can never say with absolute certainty that, in the absence of such fraud, the result would have been different.
What we had in Ohio, and in other states where election officials are supposed to uphold the law, were a bunch of rogues determined to do the exact opposite — to use their power to ensure their candidate won, no matter what the electorate wanted. They took their cue from the president who was selected by the Supreme Court after a similar debacle in 2000, and from the neocon establishment who used the machinery of power in Florida for a similar subversion of that election.
This is Enron morality — the law doesn’t matter, the rights of people don’t matter, and the ends justify the means. It is the way big business operates now in the US — break the law, and even if you’re caught (if you haven’t bribed the right politicians to ‘deregulate’ the offense, or the right officials to ignore the crime, or the right judges to dismiss it), settle out of court for a fraction of the benefit your crime gave you. If it’s good enough for big business, why not for the business of politics? Bush believes he is above the law — above 750 of them, in fact. The mentality is that if you’re rich and powerful, you set the rules, you don’t play by them; you make the laws, to your own advantage, you don’t obey them.
So what? Robert Kennedy Jr. has no answers, just more evidence of the crime. What does Rolling Stone suggest? Another investigation. Reading some books and reports. Yawn. We warned after 2000 that if the system wasn’t fixed, there could be a repeat in 2004. There was. Now it’s nearly two years later and still nothing has been done, despite evidence it will happen again in 2008. And it’s not just election fraud: ‘Swift boat’-style character assassination of opponents is now standard procedure, using massive amounts of money to spread lies about candidates who threaten the status quo. As soon as the Democrats choose their candidate for 2008, unless it’s an approved candidate friendly to neocons, the richest and most ruthless slander machine in civilization’s history will go into overdrive to discredit the candidate. Legality, morality, fairness won’t matter. Money trumps truth. The end justifies the means.
Gerrymandering and other undemocratic abuses of power, abuses perpetrated for years by both major parties but now honed to precision, will likely prevent Democrats from re-taking the House this fall despite the overwhelming unpopularity of the Republican Party.
When will Americans wake up to the realization that the system is horrifically broken, that the political system in the US is utterly incapable of reflecting the will of the people?
We don’t need more books or investigations. We need drastic changes to the system. Unfortunately, the lawyers and politicians who broke it are in charge of the system. The inmates are running the asylum.
Just like Iraq and Afghanistan, America cannot have democracy imposed on it. The political and electoral processes used in many European countries would probably, if fully and quickly adopted by the US, fix the system immediately. But that won’t happen. We have to watch and wait as democracy gets trampled in America over and over until the people won’t put up with it anymore. The result will be ugly. The worldwide economic Depression that the actions of the current batch of rogue politicians will inevitably trigger in the next decade may well be the catalyst for this change.
In the meantime there is one thing that could help, now. We need the Democratic Party to invite an international delegation of observers, with the credentials and authority to investigate, demand and subpoena information when necessary, and witness the entire federal electoral process in 2006 and again in 2008. Their job should be to be report, objectively and on a timely basis, abuses of power and processes, technologies and acts that subvert democracy, and to recommend immediate actions to rectify them. The 2006 elections would be a trial run, providing enough time for this year’s abuses to be fixed by the crucial 2008 election. The UN has experience in doing this, and their reports have had dramatic effect in reducing electoral corruption and fraud in other countries.
It won’t happen, of course. Americans won’t swallow their pride enough to admit to the rest of the world that their elections are rigged, and their electoral system is incapable of either enabling people to vote fairly or accurately tabulating the votes cast. In a country obsessed with deregulation without limit, an inadequately regulated electoral system is not only possible, it’s inevitable. And, just like unregulated pollution, unregulated corporate fraud, and unregulated governmentprofligacy, corruption and excess, it’s also lethal.
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