Thursday, 25 February 2016
Wednesday, 24 February 2016
"And the future hangs over our heads
And it moves with each current event
Until it falls all around like a cold steady rain."
- Conor Oberst
What's the difference between a presidential race in the United States and a presidential race in Uganda? Nope? Well, as it appears, not much. Of course, they are poles apart in terms of economic, social and, naturally, geographic factors. But in terms of democracy, and specifically the election process, there's really not much difference at all.
Recently, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has backed the concerns of international observers about "shortcomings and irregularities" in the Ugandan election race. These concerns come after it was revealed that during the week prior to polling day, the main opposition leader was arrested 3 times in 5 days, the other 3 opposition leaders were also arrested and there had been an aggressive use of security forces against opposition candidates and supporters, with at least 2 people confirmed dead as a result.
Okay, granted, perhaps the election fraud is not as blatant in the land of the free and brave, but election fraud is still a criminal offense and it is still denying the electorate their freedom to choose who represents them (ignoring the obvious faults in that system, but at present it is the only form of voice the people have).
In the current US election Republican race, Ted Cruz has already been accused of misleading voters by spreading lies about opponent Ben Carson dropping out, using dirty tricks against Marco Rubio and sending fake government checks to voters in Texas. There's doubtless countless more and that's just one of the candidates!
The Democratic party is equally a joke. Their hideously out-dated caucus method is embarrassing and who ever thought it was a democratically viable option to "coin-toss" an election result? We might as well get Punxsutawney Phil to decide the outcome. The one who doesn't cast a shadow is a witch and we burn them (my money's on Hillary) and elect the other, because it makes about as much sense. Interesting to notice that Hillary won 6 straight coin-tosses, in 6 straight caucuses to give her 6 delegates! (now you're thinking about the witch thing again, aren't you?)
Remember Bush Jr's controversial victory in 2000? Even though Democratic candidate Al Gore won the popular vote by 500,000 votes, and all the major news outlets had already called Mr Gore triumphant (bar Fox News), he did not become US president. Instead, the Republican "clown" George W Bush became president, and, the rest, as they say, is "an alternative history line in some other weird, God-forsaken dimension because I refuse to believe those calamitous 8 years ever happened!"
So, how did Bush become the victor? Journalist Greg Palast has shown that Choicepoint, a data aggregation company, cooperated with Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris, and Florida Elections Unit Chief Clay Roberts, in a conspiracy of voter fraud, involving the central voter file, during the US Presidential Election of 2000. The allegations charge that 57,700 people (15% of the list), primarily Democrats of African-American and Hispanic descent, were incorrectly listed as felons and thus barred from voting. Palast estimates that 80% of those people would have voted, and that 90% of those who would have voted, would have voted for Al Gore.
Not only that, but the Supreme Court essentially decided the election by stopping the Florida recount, where all independent recounts show Gore would have won if the supreme court hadn’t halted the counting.
So, as you can see, no matter what the methods used, both are election fraud. But, of course, you didn't hear the UN Secretary General having concerns about "irregularities" in the US democratic process in 2000.
This is just one example, however, of many other suspected election frauds throughout US history. The presidential election of 1876 was the first major and considered the most controversial to date, the Chicago crime syndicate was believed to have "played a role" in John F. Kennedy's win in Illinois in 1960 and there were "possible data irregularities and systematic flaws during the voting process" which got, yes, you guessed it, Bush into power again in 2004. It appears that almost endless pots of money from corporations and rich individuals, the monopoly on mainstream media and good-old fashioned lies, misinformation and voter intimidation just sometimes are simply not enough.
A great example of the joke of the democratic process is a superb 2005 documentary titled "Street Fight", which shows the plight of a young councilor, Cory Booker, running for Mayor of Newark, New Jersey and his fight against the more experienced long-term incumbent, Sharpe James. The use of the local police to climb up lampposts to take down Booker's signs was one of James' many stunts to help drive up those percentage points.
If the people have no freedom of choice, be that in the US or Uganda, what the hell is the point of the system? Everybody knows the system's kaput. It's beyond band-aids now. Why try to preserve it anyway? No matter who "gets in", the structure is designed to corrupt by its very nature. That's what sadly happens if few wield power over many. It's the same old tired cycle, generation after beleaguered generation. King after king, queen after queen, oligarchs after oligarchs. Snafu.
If, as predicted by the polls, the current US presidential race goes with the two favourites, it will be Trump vs Hillary.
An orange faced buffoon with a dead animal hide intricately styled on his head vs a malign serial liar and vacuous queen of corruption.
The system would have chosen to the 2 most gleaming candidates out of a population of 300 million.
Be proud America.
The whole world must watch the sad, comic display.
"Greed is a bottomless pit,
And our freedom's a joke we're just taking the piss,
And the whole world must watch the sad comic display.
If you're still free start runnin' away.
'Cause we're comin' for ya."
- Conor Oberst.