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I think it's just the right time to be reminded of the following; taken from Introduction {PRELUDE: UN COUP D'ETAT TOUJOURS ABOLIRA LE HASARD} of ELIOT WEINBERGER'S 9/12, just out from PRICKLY PARADIGM PRESS.

" [...]
Al Gore received some 540,000 more votes than George W. Bush.
Presidential elections, however, are determined by the archaic system of an Electoral College, to which each state sends representatives who vote according to the will of that state's voters, nearly always on a winner-takes-all basis. An eighteenth-century invention, the College was a last-minute political concession to Southern slave owners when the Constitution was written.*
Last Novemeber, as everyone now knows too well, the race was so close that the contest for the Electoral College depended on the votes in the state of Florida. The state is governed by George Bush's brother; its legislature is overwhelmingly Republican; and its Secretary of State, in charge of overseeing the election, was the co-chair of Florida's Bush for President campaign.

The state has long been notorious for payoffs under the palms [...]
Predictably, the state's technicalities of voting varied widely. Wealthy white communities, more likely to vote for Bush, had modern voting machines. Black communities - and Bush nationally received even less black votes than Reagan - had antiquated machines which failed to count tens of thousands of votes. In a bizarre incident, thousands of elderly retired Jews, some of them Holocaust survivors, discovered that, because of a poorly designed ballot, they had mistakenly voted for Pat Buchanan, a minority party candidate who had expressed admiration for Hitler.

When the ballots were counted by the machines, Bush had won by 547 votes out of six million cast. In most American elections, such a small percentage automatically leads to a recount. Because the older machines are so inaccurate - even their inventor stated they fail to count 3-5% of the ballots - these recounts are usually done by hand.

The Republican Secretary of State refused to allow a recount and the Republican Florida legislature decalred the election over.

After weeks of maneuvers and reversals, the Gore campaign finally reached the Florida Supreme Court, which ordered a recount to begin. Republicans, in the hysterical surrealism of 24-hour news channels, relentlessly charged that the Democrats were trying to "steal" the election, and that humans could not count votes as "objectively" as machines - though hand counts are the practice in most states, including Bush's own Texas. More sinister [...] the Republicans brought in paid demonstrators to disrupt the recount. Their demonstrations were so violent that the major potential source of Gore votes, the Miami-Dade County election office, was forced to shut down.

It was apparent to all that Gore would win the recount - according to the Miami Herald, a conservative newspaper, by at least 20,000 votes. So the Republicans went to the US Supreme Court [...] who stopped everything while it considered the case, on the bewildering grounds that a recount would cause "irreparable harm" to Bush by casting doubt on his victory. (The irreparable harm to Gore was not a consideration.) The vote was 5 to 4.

Supreme Court justices are appointed for life; seven of the nine had been appointed by Republican presidents. [Just one e.g.: The son of justice Antonin Scalia was a partner in the law firm representing Bush before the Court.*]

At 10 p.m. on December 12, the Court, in another 5-4 decision, ruled against a recount for three reasons: there were only two hours left until the deadline - thanks to them! - therefore it was too late; the Florida Supreme Court had no jurisdiction over an election in Florida; and the recount was unconstitutional on the grounds that the various kinds of ballots and ways to count them violated the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, which guarantees "equal protection" for all citizens.

[...] This decision presented a practical dilemna. Every community in the US votes in a different way, with different ballots and different machines. Claiming that this difference was unconstitutional would clearly open the way to challenges to every future local and national election in the country. So the Court, even more astonishingly, also ruled that this constitutional violation only applied to this one election this one time in Florida.

Although the political bias and mendacity of thee grounds were blatant, Bush was now legally and irrevocably the President.

- ---- -

* to find out the full scandalous smallprint detils, I URGE you to track this tiny little jewel of a pamphlet down.


posted by Ian 7/13/2003 12:08:00 PM

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