The Quebec Declaration: a continental Platt Amendment.

Les Schaffer schaffer at
Mon Apr 23 07:28:45 MDT 2001

[ Part II from Jose Perez ]

A note on George Bush and the niceties of "representational

Bush lost the November elections by half a million votes [not
counting, of course, the votes that weren't counted, of which there
were a million or more, and disproportionately Gore votes]. Bush
jr. was designated President nevertheless, at his request, by a one
vote majority of the Supreme Court, which the Constitution
specifically says should have nothing to do with presidential
elections, since the judging of presidential election contests is
reserved EXCLUSIVELY in that "sacred" text for Congress. All the
Justices that sided with Bush were, needless to say, Republicans.

When presented with the opportunity to make the George Junior the
president, the Surpemes ruled that, with only a month and a half left
until the inauguration, there just wasn't enough time, you see, to
finish counting the votes for President. Some countries find a month
and a half totally adequate to have an election, count the votes, and
install the new government, but not this one.

To justify this extraordinary claim, The Supremes dug up a moldy
Congressional enactment dating back more than a century to the
horse-and-buggy days, that specified mid-December as the deadline for
states finishing their counting if they wanted their results accepted
automatically by Congress. The Justices brought the counting to a
screeching halt on a Saturday and then stonewalled for several days,
not releasing their final ruling until a couple of hours before what
they would say was the final, absolute, set-in-concrete deadline --
just to make damn sure no more Gore votes were counted. One of them
was even brazen enough to explain, in stopping the counting, that IF
they decided to throw it to Bush, he would be irreparably harmed if a
continuing count showed he had in fact lost the election and was not
legitimately the president at all. It would undermine his authority,
you see.

The Supreme Court decision turned some gilded-age Congressional press
release, issued to placate public opinion after the LAST time an
election was stolen as brazenly as this one was, into a legal
commandment as momentous as those handed down on stone tablets. If I
remember the story right, a bush was also involved in that one, but it
was burning.

This Supreme Court decision was as bogus as a $3 bill. First, it is a
matter of settled law that an Act by a previous Congress over how
Congress organizes its own business does not bind future
Congresses. That's why every time a new Congress is elected, they go
through the whole rigamarole of re-adopting all the rules. So no
matter what some previous Congress (all of whose members are long
dead) thought should happen, it is the CURRENT Congress that decides
whether or not it chooses to abide by some long-forgotten promise.

And even if it that were not the case, the power to review, accept and
reject the presidential election certifications from the various
states is vested in Congress by the Constitution, and Congress itself
is powerless to divest itself and its members of the powers and
prerogatives the constitution accords it, because it does not have the
power to change the Constitution, that takes an amendment that has to
be ratified by the states.  And in FACT, despite the moldy law the
Supremes disinterred, more than a dozen members of the House did rise
and challenge the Florida Bush certification, which, under the Supreme
Court ruling, should have been impossible, out of order, and it did
not occur to anyone to deny them the floor.

And as if that weren't enough, it is clear that, under the
constitution, a decision by Congress on the outcome of a Presidential
election is final, authoritative and unappealable. People can decide
to throw the entire Congress out at the next election, (or, as Lincoln
said, "exercise their revolutionary right to overthrow it") but EVEN
IF Congress ran roughshod over the electoral regulatory scheme it had
enacted, there would simply be nothing to be done about it in some
court room.

Finally, no matter WHAT the legalities and technicalities, the Supreme
Court could (and should) have said that the right of the people to
elect the president trumps any and all procedural deadlines Congress
may have created, especially one as outdated as the one dusted off for
this occassion. And that is so even if these regulations were
applicable and binding, and the courts had a right to interpret and
enforce them, which, clearly, in this case was not true.

Because, after all, the right to vote is, supposedly, the very
cornerstone of American democracy. In American political theology,
it's what we have instead of the divine right of kings. Underlying the
entire political edifice of American democracy is the idea that
popular sovereignty gives legitimacy to the government. Of course,
that isn't true any more if it ever was. What we have now is the
golden rule: those who have the gold make the rules. Or have the
Supremes do it for them.

Now the reason the Supreme Court majority ruled this way is
transparent.  Like good Republicans, frankly, they liked George Bush

It was by then no secret to those who follow politics closely in this
country like, for example, the Republican politicians who make up the
Surpeme Court majority (although it remained fairly well hidden from
the rest of the population, that sort of thing being almost automatic,
given the state of America's "free" press), that the huge majority of
votes thrown out in Florida were in Blacker, poorer, and older
precincts -- all constituencies that voted very heavily for the Vice
President. Thus, allowing the counting to proceed would undoubtedly
have resulted in Gore's election.

And that was true, as has now been confirmed. Even the very partial,
throw-out-every-possible-Gore-vote recount conducted by USA Today and
the Miami Herald showed that Vice President Gore would have won the
"recount."  (Although it wasn't really a recount, it would have been
the first time tens of thousands of votes rejected in the initial
rounds would have been tallied).

(And yes, I know the USA Today newspaper headline said the opposite,
that Bush still would have won. This was due to some fancy
mathematical footwork, which ended up excluding from the totals USA
Today repprted additional votes Gore picked up in several counties --I
think it was 7-- where recounts had been completed when the Supremes
stepped in.

(I guess to save money in this era of advertising cutbacks, the two
papers in fact only looked at about a fourth of the votes disqualified
in Florida (only the socalled undervotes), and none at all in the
counties that had completed that last round of recounts (which was
also only of undervotes). But when USA Today added up the totals, they
used the OLD certified results, and added to those the net change
produced by their own partial recount, hence they excluded the
additional Gore votes in those 7 counties. That way they could claim
Bush "still" would have won, and is legitimately the President. Neat
trick. NOT.)

(You can tell the level of dedication to democracy and honesty in
government of the U.S. press as a whole in that this fraud went
largely uncommented in the mainstream press. [It has also something to
do with the level of "innumeracy" in this country, but let that pass.]
Needless to say, it went completely beyond the socalled "radical" or
"alternative" media which, at least on this issue, showed itself every
bit as hopeless as the bourgeois media if not moreso.)

The whole Herald/USA Today recount was a farce anyways. It seemed
almost calculated to detract from and confuse matters by scabbing on
the much more complete retally being conducted on behalf of a who's
who of the most prestigious news organizations by an independent,
university-affiliated research center. The Herald/USA Today effort
didn't include the so-called "overvotes" which, as another newspaper's
examination in one heavily Republican county showed only a few days
after the Supreme Court decision, BEFORE the Herald recount got under
way, were very strongly pro-Gore.

These votes had been rejected because of machine defects, like not
being able to tell an erasure from a real vote, and merely technical,
completely harmless voter error, like both marking Gore's name and
writing it in the provided space where the ballot said "write in." The
law in Florida, like in all other states I have heard of, is that a
ballot is a legal vote if it clearly expresses the intent of the
voter, notwithstanding any non-compliance with instructions or other
voter mistakes. This is not third grade, under the law, neatness does
not count.

Thus the decision by Republican-dominated canvassing boards in various
Florida counties to discard these votes was, beyond any shadow of even
an unreasonable doubt, election fraud.

(You will notice that while the press, Congress, state and federal
prosecutors have been overwhelmed in "investigating" what was
undoubtedly a perfectly LEGAL action by President Clinton in pardoning
various people, including a Jewish businessman who somehow got
criminally indicted for violating some tax code provision no one else
ever gets prosecuted as a criminal for violating, the open-and-shut
criminal election fraud case in Florida, which has now been carefully
and openly documented in local press reports, has gone entirely
unnoticed (and, in fact, even the Herald has never reported what the
Orlando paper found about the discardded "overvotes" in Lake County).

(This is so even though, since the fraud disproportionately
disenfranchised Black people, it wasn't just a state crime but a
federal crime that violated just about every civil rights law passed
during reconstruction and the civil rights area, from the Ku Klux Klan
Act of 1871 to the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

When I digressed, I was explaining how there came to be so many
"overvotes." And that is, that those in charge of counting the votes
simply decided certain kinds of perfectly LEGAL votes would not be
counted, on the pretext that they had one or another technical
deficiency that made the automatic scanners spit them out as
"overvotes" (votes for two candidates in the same race) when, IN FACT,
the ballots clearly and unambiguously reflected the voter's preference
for ONE candidate (vice president Gore in the majority of cases
examined by an Orlando paper in the case of heavily Republican Lake
County). As *experienced* members of canvassing boards (there had been
three other elections in Florida last year), these Republican
operatives undoubtedly knew just who was most likely to make the kind
of mistake these overvotes reflected. They would be working people,
especially Blacks, immigrants, and older voters. The less of those
votes, the better for George W. That's why the decision was made to
set aside those votes. Not because the intent of the voter wasn't
clear -- the only LEGAL basis for rejecting a vote in Florida -- but
because it WAS clear, and would have favored Gore. Anything else is a
fairy tale.

For example, if you were to assume that these election officials were
just being lazy slobs on election night, unwilling to look at the
paper ballots spit out by the scanner and tally them by hand because
it wouldn't make a difference anyways and it was already late, and
these public servants were not really engaged in a criminal conspiracy
to steal the presidential elections, BY THE NEXT MORNING, when the
official recount started because the election was so close, they knew
better. Yet they STILL insisted on discarding these ballots.

The "overvotes" were the majority of the votes disqualified in
Florida.  They involved mostly paper-ballot, not punch card counties,
so the whole moronic discussion about "hanging chads" and so on were
not an issue. These were paper ballots filled in by real people using
pen or pencil that other real people would have had no problem in
reading. There were God knows how many thousands or tens of thousands
of Gore votes discarded in this way.  Those found in Lake County alone
JUST from people who filled in their candidate's circle and THEN wrote
in the name in the write-in space provided enough additional Gore
votes to have put him over the top, given how the count stood when the
Supreme Court said "freeze!"

Since election day, the bourgeois press has been on this massive
coverup of what happened. People should understand that this is NOT "a
vast right-wing conspiracy" -- reporters for bourgeois media really
ARE that stupid. They believe, and want everyone else to believe, that
how you wind up flushing a couple of hundred thousand votes down the
toilet is an inadvertent mistake like the butterfly ballot in Palm
Beach and some old, rusty voting machines, you know, unintentional
stuff, unforeseen consequences, things like that.

According to this view, no one running an election in this country,
which practically holds the patent on elections, has a fucking clue on
how to run them. THAT is what reporters believe, honestly and truly,
and although many of their bosses know better, they are quite happy to
let their scribblers try to convince the rest of us of it.

Knowing what they NOW know about how mickey-mouse, shoddy, manipulable
the conduct of American elections really is, AND knowing that the most
hard-nosed capitalists and corporate interests, people who make Bill
Gates and John Rockefeller look like Sunday school teachers, are
willing to spend HUNDREDS of millions of dollars of their own profits
trying to sway election outcomes, STILL the reporters for the
capitalist press *insist* on not noticing, or insist on pretending not
to notice, that their very shoddiness makes American elections
eminently stealable, and that this is exactly what happened.

The Republicans engaged in a criminal conspiracy to steal the
elections.  Throwing out the Gore "overvotes" was just the last step,
I've detailed all the other anomalies and irregularities in previous
posts, I won't repeat them here.

Nevertheless, Bush's Florida showing was so poor the Republicans
*almost* failed even though Al Gore basically took a dive about 3
a.m. the morning after the vote and refused to get up until it was all
over several weeks later. (Which, by the way, should be a lesson to
those working people who wasted their votes on Gore hoping he might do
more to defend our interests. When it involved taking some of the
shine off this "marvelous democracy" the bourgeoisie tells us we have,
he wouldn't even defend HIS OWN interests, his life-long ambition. He
was, to a fault, loyal to the interests of his class, the ruling
class, refusing to take up those issues that just might, by accident,
have put a spotling on how things are really run in this "democracy,"
which includes treating OUR votes as toilet paper.  Gore would not
have defended our interests, he did not even defend the votes working
people gave him, which were more than enough to elect him President.)

Gore hoped that by being a good, loyal boy scout, the rulers would
reward him with the presidency he had won fair and square, by showing
he could fool more of the people than Bush could, which is what
presidential elections are all about. But, of course, the Republicans
on the Supreme Court saw it differently. They were emboldened in
throwing the election to the loser by Gore's whole performance since
election day. They trusted he would meekly accept getting royally
reamed by the Supremes, and they were not wrong. If the founding
fathers of the United States had had the backbone that Gore displayed,
we'd all be licking the queen every time we mailed a letter, paying
about $5 a gallon for gas, and complaining about the bastards in
Brussels trying to make us buy steak in kilos instead of pounds.

That such a brazen, shameless stealing of an election should take
place at the dawn of the 21st Century in the country that claims to be
the most democratic country in the entire world is a scandal, but it
is an even bigger scandal that the person imposed as President thereby
has the gall to lecture Latin America on democracy, and the biggest
scandal of all is that Latin America's representatives at the meeting,
with only one honorable exception, did not have the courage to suggest
to this arrogant hypocrite that perhaps he should talk a little less
about democracy, and practice it a little more.

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