DECENT PEOPLE ARE NOT RACISTS OR RELIGIOUS BIGOTS
FASCISTS WANT CITIZENS WITH SHORT MEMORIES.....BUSH IS A MAJOR LEAGUE ASHCROFT
Gore +540,000 (Popular Vote)- Bush +1 (Scalia)... freeper masterlist of addresses......
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US elections are a frighteningly antiquated, inequitable and undemocratic hodge-podge of rules and regulations designed to keep out the poor and disadvantaged in maximum numbers. More important, the American ideological system -- which came dangerously close to breaking down completely -- once again saved the day, papering over and then removing from awareness the fundamentally jungle-like struggle of all against all that is the underlying reality when it comes to the power and money of the ultimate prize.... What was at stake, as Ralph Nader pointed out in his finally disappointing campaign, was a system of spoils and patronage....The transfer in sheer wealth and prestige should not be underestimated....And Florida's inequities were only Florida's. Had the recounts begun in Iowa, New Mexico, Wisconsin and Maryland, the whole edifice might indeed have crumbled, revealing it to be a very poorly held together paper castle designed, in the final analysis, to keep people from thinking too deeply and too critically. What does it mean, therefore, for one candidate to have won the popular vote, and the other to have won the election as the result of a decision by a nine-member Supreme Court staffed by five right-wing republicans voting in favor of their party, with the other four of them mounting a lusterless defense of principle and equity? That certainly cannot be called democracy....There is also the undemocratic electoral [college] system which is a legacy of oligarchy and slavery. How it has endured for so long is inexplicable. The system was originally designed in the 18th century to protect property and race, so that a popular election might take place, only to be reratified (or not) by a small group of designated electors who would be seen as confirming (or not) the election results. It is this group that Bush gained to his advantage, even though the popular vote (one person-one vote) had gone against him....
The whole [electoral] system functions essentially as a system of control rather than of democratic participation. We shall never know how many abuses took place in the past. Two per cent of the US population owns 80 per cent of the wealth, and to continue maintaining this disproportionality, the majority has either to be kept under control ideologically or kept out of the system, preferably both. No more than about 35-40 per cent of eligible citizens vote, because the remainder senses, correctly, that their vote does not mean what it should. What counts is that wealthy candidates can manipulate both the mechanisms of voting and/or the media (preferably both) and guarantee the absence of change that has kept the US a country of the very rich supported by a middle class that aspires, or believes that it can aspire, to the American "dream." And it is the survival of this dream with its underlying belief in the need to perpetuate the system that has kept this country so extraordinarily anachronistic by comparison with other industrial democracies. No wonder then that the US has effectively dismantled most of the attributes of the welfare state (absence of health insurance, social security and labor unions under constant attack, badly funded educational system, unceasing complaints about "government spending" on welfare even as the defense budget has exceeded $350 billion, the largest ever in history, extraordinarily punitive prison and police systems). The market rules over everything without regard for the justice and security to which each citizen should be entitled.
I do not want to be misunderstood as saying that everyone in the US is brainwashed. Far from it. What I do want to point out is that a) the system favors the rich and powerful (one of the reasons why Bush won was that he spent far more money than anyone), and in effect works to preserve their ascendancy through a multiplicity of means, including the electoral and ideological systems, at the same time that the whole world is filled with the rhetoric of American democracy and freedom, most of it misleadingly propagandistic; and b) that in reality there is a constant struggle in America which the disadvantaged, including women, racial minorities, and underpaid workers like teachers and nurses, try to wage against the system, with varying degrees of success, but which at present is mostly a discouraging struggle as the [manipulatiors] of the "free" market undermine labor in favor of the largest employers who are coddled by the government through favorable tax laws, loopholes in social security payments, and unfair labor practices.
To me, the ideological system is the most interesting case of all. Not having come to this country until most of my secondary schooling was over I was first struck and have continued to be fascinated by how the powerful presence of violence and conflict in this society is routinely masked and covered up with a more overwhelming rhetoric and unending stream of pacifying thought, stressing the country's unity, the perfection in it of democratic practice and theory, the animating and always benign influence of the Constitution (which although a secular document reflecting the wealthy, white, slaveholding, Anglophilic men who wrote it, is treated with the reverence accorded to scripture by any good fundamentalist anywhere), the completed fulfillment of public idealism, and the utter benignity of everything about America, always the most exceptional country that ever existed. I suspect that all this is ingrained in school children, so that by the age of 12 or 13 -- barring the birth of a critical sense in the individual -- most mature Americans tend to believe all this, or at least have little opportunity in the public domain to voice different sentiments. Certainly it is absolutely true that in the mainstream, discourse is heavily policed: alternative or radical or dissenting voices are either kept out completely or sent to the margins where they have no chance at all of gaining acceptance. So it was with the elections during the past month. No sooner did the Supreme Court make its scandalous decision than the commentators began to put the spin out that American democracy has been restored, national unity established, and so on and on ad nauseam. As if the flaws in the system were forgettable accidents, and therefore not worth dwelling on.
And this brings me to my final point, which is the contempt for history and for rational understanding that underlies the ideological chorus in everyone of its individual manifestations. The subtle question is whether the willing manufacture of consent is worse or better than censorship by coercion. Back of the purification of reality that ideological consent requires is the idea that knowledge of history, the critical history that articulates the whole truth and violence of American politics, is to be opposed at all costs as basically disrupting what Foucault and others have called governability. The moment a large number [of citizens question the] whole thing, a red light goes on in the boardrooms of America where the real decisions are made. Remember that CNN, Time Warner, Disney, NBC, Sky News and the rest are part of the same ideological system, serve the same clientele, and are owned by the same relatively tiny group of people whose interest is to keep things as they are. Memory is an inhibition, a possible threat to their hegemony, just as it is very dangerous for a critic to keep making connections between supposedly un- or non-political institutions like the Supreme Court and the Constitution, and on the other hand, base commercial interests. --Edward Said, 12/26/00
Bush or his nomination robot reappeared Thursday, this time to announce that the president-elect's nomination for Sec. of Defense is Donald Rumsfeld, the 68 year old veteran of four Republican administrations who, as White House chief of staff, once was Vice President-elect Cheney's boss when "Big Time" was a White House deputy. Rumsfeld held the same Sec. of Defense post a generation ago in 1975 during the Ford administration, giving Bush one more father figure to depend upon as the incoming administration continues to consider expanding the U.S. interest in the civil war in Columbia.
Since Cheney wanted the hawkish Rep. Dan Coats or super-hawk Bush adviser Paul Wolfowitz in the slot, the choice of Rumsfeld, who has been called "a foreign policy hawk and social conservative" by the NYT is seen as a defeat of the budding isolationist policies of Colin Powell and Condi Rice and is reported to have been well-received by the Republican right wing. "General Powell's a strong figure and Dick Cheney's no shrinking violet," Bush said, "but neither is Don Rumsfeld nor Condi Rice." According to the USA Today reporter, Bush "said he knows there will be disagreements among them and when there is, 'I'll be prepared to make the decision necessary for the good of the country.'" One possible area of disagreement between Rumsfeld and Rice came up when, according to that reporter, "Rumsfeld sidestepped the question of changing the don't ask-don't tell policy on gays in the military, an issue that stirred trouble for Clinton when he took office in 1993. He said it was not an issue Bush had discussed and 'certainly, the priorities are in other areas for me.'"
As has been the case in previous photo-ops of the president-elect's nominee selections, Bush was photographed exactly as has been previously described by the Washington Post as, "slightly out of focus...his head is cocked to the left and tilted slightly backward, his mouth downturned in a perfect, cartoonish crescent, the way a first-grader might draw a frown. His eyes are squinty." Perhaps Bush again chose to use his robot persona rather than participate in the photo-op in order to move on to his other important duties. In the photo below we see Karl Rove, Bush political strategist, making some last-minute adjustments to the Bush robot. According to a source within the Bush camp, the president-elect has taken to calling the robot "Mini-Me," a name taken from his favorite Austin Powers film, the last film he has seen in public. Bush said he would have another announcement on Friday. Republican sources said that would include the nomination of Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson to be secretary of Health and Human Services. --Politex, 12/29/00
From our experience with Bush as Governor of Texas, his fix on gun control is to follow the policies of the NRA, fight bills that would close up loopholes in existing laws, and attend the funerals of the slaughtered innocent. Bush, of course, won't be attending the funerals of the seven people in Massachusetts Michael McDermott has been accused of killing, but perhaps he should, since his policies will not be changing on the national level. Meanwhile, the editors at the Boston Globe have made specific suggestions about what needs to be done to at least cut down on such rampage killings.
"Authorities say that the actions of suspect Michael McDermott, 42, were ''work-related.'' His motive is more likely to exist in the dark cloud of madness than in any analysis of Internet-related stocks or tax troubles....The reasoning of the gunman is frequently obscure. But the weapons - in this case an AK-47 assault rifle, a shotgun, and a semi-automatic handgun - burst forth in a bright river of blood. It runs unabated in a country that cherishes safety yet stubbornly refuses to pass stringent controls on firearms. A recent analysis of rampage killers by The New York Times found that half suffer serious mental illness. Yet police, as a rule, lack information about involuntary confinements in mental institutions when judging gun applications. The 1993 Brady Law, which mandates waiting periods before gun purchases, is full of loopholes. A national registry of people who are confined involuntarily to mental institutions would help, as law enforcement officers could match those records against gun applications. Still, that may not have applied here. For many people on the verge of mental breakdown, access to deadly weapons is easier than access to quality mental health care."
While NRA-backed nominees like John Ashcroft, not to mention Bush and Cheney, themselves, apparently feel that they have a right to put guns in the hands of mentally ill Americans, we find it troubling that these same men see little need for increasing federal funding to treat mental illness. We believe such attitudes show how little respect Bush and his ilk have for the decent average citizens who are most often the victims of gun rage. --Politex, 12/28/00
Why do pictures of Bush and his nominees, taken on various days, look the same--exactly the same. It happened with photographs of Bush with nominees Condi Rice, Al Gonzalez, Ann Veneman, Christine Todd Whitman, and Paul O'Neil. Same exact look, different days, different newspapers. Inquiring reporters want to know. We've been told that Bush plans to have others do his work for him while he sleeps, does photo-ops, and makes decisions that only the President can make on the basis of uninformed whims and prejudices, but is he planning to even streamline his photo-ops so he'll have more sleep time to cover his ADD symptoms? There must be an explanation, but it may not be pretty. Cardboard cutout? Robot? --Politex, 12/27/00 MORE
Attorney General nominee John Ashcroft looks to be the latest GOP pol to catch grief for an ill-conceived visit to Bob Jones University. But shouldn't we cut the next top-cop some slack? After all it's not like he's off giving interviews to crypto-racist, pro-Confederate magazines, right? Well ... ummm ... OK, maybe he is.
In October 1998 Ashcroft gave an interview to the Southern Partisan magazine in which he lashed out at "revisionists" who make malicious attacks on America's founders, such as charging that George Washington was a racist. (The Q & A's introduction praises Ashcroft as a "jealous defender of national sovereignty against the New World Order.") "Your magazine helps set the record straight," said Ashcroft. "You've got a heritage of doing that, of defending Southern patriots like [Robert E.] Lee, [Stonewall] Jackson and [Jefferson] Davis. Traditionalists must do more. I've got to do more. We've all got to stand up and speak in this respect or else we'll be taught that these people were giving their lives, subscribing their sacred fortunes and their honor to some perverted agenda."
Setting the record straight? Is Ashcroft talking about the 1984 Southern Partisan article that argued that "Negroes, Asians, and Orientals (is Japan the exception?); Hispanics, Latins, and Eastern Europeans; have no temperament for democracy, never had, and probably never will"? Or did he mean that 1996 Southern Partisan article that cleared up that whole mix-up about slave owners not doing well by slave families? "Slave owners ... did not have a practice of breaking up slave families," the article noted. "If anything they encouraged strong slave families to further the slaves' peace and happiness."If you're not familiar with the finer points of Southern-fried, right-wing, Confederate-flag-waving political culture, the Southern Partisan is the leading publication of the Neo-Confederate movement, a movement which extols the Confederacy, Southern culture, and at least toys with the idea of the South again seceding from the union. Yes, they did once call David Duke "a candidate concerned about 'affirmative' discrimination, welfare prolifigacy [sic], the taxation holocaust ... a Populist spokesperson for a recapturing of the American ideal."
But, hey, they go in for more than just politics. They publish articles on everything from the latest tips on how to re-enact Pickett's Charge to some of the sharper commentary on why Jews "agitate for the radical secularization of our society." Of course, hob-knobbing with Neo-Confederate wing-nuts won't automatically sink Ashcroft's nomination. Trent Lott praised the white-man-Uber-alles organization Council of Conservative Citizens a few years back and he's still Senate Majority Leader. (Lott gave his own interview to the Southern Partisan back in 1984.) But before Ashcroft goes before the confirmation committee and starts quoting the Southern Partisan about how Negroes and Orientals have no temperament for democracy, someone in the Bush brain trust should intervene and tell him, "John, John, we don't talk that way anymore! It's disgraceful! We now say African-Americans and Asians!" --Joshua Micah Marshall
by Jerry Politex
I drove my silver Audi down Mesa Drive, the spine of Cat Mountain, hung a left at the cat's tail, drove quickly up the hilly, winding 2222 in low gear, took a right onto Balcones Drive, and came to a stop in the rear parking lot of Che Zee.
Another sunny, warm early spring day in Northwest Austin, Texas. The lunch crowd was pretty much thinned out by now, so I had choices of parking spaces. I got out of the car, the turbines winding down, and stood by the rear entrance to the restaurant, a pretty-good place for not very expensive Southwestern food. I didn't have long to wait.
He came into the parking lot in an old, rattletrap Nissan pickup. Paint worn off in places, rusty, dusty, squeaky. I recognized him from the description the moment he got out. Looked to be in his fifties. Grizzled. Kind of rusty, dusty, and squeaky. A stringbean of a guy with pale white skin, reddish hair, which was short but unkempt. He was wearing a black polo shirt with the tail out. Denim shorts that had shrunk to a tight fit over his bony hips, short enough for the front pockets to stick out of the frayed cuffs. A pair of old, once-white but now gray, paint-spattered tennis sneakers. Austin casual for a yuppie restaurant, ten minutes from the glass buildings of the city's burgeoning silicon gulch , a world of high tech hopes in buildings springing up like overnight mushrooms.
"Name's Wayne," he said with a crooked, good-natured smile, coming across the parking lot with his arm outstreatched like a spear, eager to shake my hand. "Recognized you right away, Politex. Good description."
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