A racist plot to steal the election?

Are we in the beginning phase of a repeat of Florida’s 2000 election debacle? The New York Times lead editorial March 14, headlined “Florida as the Next Florida,” warns that the Sunshine State’s new touchscreen voting machines produced a fiasco in the March 2 primaries, bringing back memories of the 2000 nightmare. The warning that hackers could tamper with electronic ballot boxes next Nov. 2 is timely.

In a letter to the Times, Howard Simon of the Florida American Civil Liberties Union wrote that even more serious is the state’s “failure to reinstate the thousands of voters illegally removed from the rolls before the 2000 election because they shared a birthday or a name with a felon or because they were convicted of a crime in another state.” He added, “A post-2000 state law authorizing the purging of felons from the voter rolls only makes matters worse.”

Simon was referring to a scheme by Gov. Jeb Bush to purge the Florida voter rolls in the months before the 2000 election. Database Technologies of Boca Raton was hired at a cost of more than $1 million to carry out this operation, in which 57,000 mostly African American, Haitian, and Latino voters were removed from Florida voter rolls. It was key to the Bush-Cheney theft of the 2000 election.

The fact that Jeb Bush has refused to restore their voting rights makes clear that the Bush-Cheney gang is still determined to disenfranchise African American, Latino, and poor voters. The deceitfully named “Help America Vote Act” actually makes it more difficult for working-class voters by requiring far stricter IDs to register.

Now is the time to fight back against these infringements on the 1965 Voting Rights Act and the principle of “one person, one vote.” Now is the time to launch voter registration drives and voter education to ensure a maximum voter turnout next Nov. 2. It we wait, it will be too late to block Bush-Cheney from stealing another election.

* * * * * *

Roots of corporate crime

There is something farcical in the trials of corporate executives now parading across our television screens. Attorney General John Ashcroft solemnly vows to ferret out the corporate “wrongdoers” and bring them to justice.

Sure enough, there is Enron’s Chief Financial Officer, Andrew Fastow, copping a plea and singing like a canary on the crimes of his former boss, Jeffrey Skilling.

Yet something is missing. What about Enron’s top gun, Ken Lay? What about his crony ties to George W. Bush? Why isn’t “Kenny Boy” on trial? And what about Citibank and J.P. Morgan? They gave Enron lessons on how to “cook the books” and “game” the California electricity market, fleecing their workers and the public of billions.

Don’t even get us started on Halliburton and its former CEO, Vice President Dick Cheney. He is a walking, talking conflict of interest who proves that corruption reigns supreme in Washington.

The verdict handed down against Martha Stewart is perhaps the clearest case of toiling to bring forth a mouse. She lied about an insider tip-off that her ImClone stocks were about to tank. It saved her $50,000. Bush received exactly the same kind of illegal tip-off that his Harken Energy stocks were about to implode, but the Ashcroft crimebusters are looking the other way.

These loudly trumpeted criminal cases are used to convince us that the problem is a few dishonest individuals while most corporations and their CEOs are “law-abiding.”

But corporate crime is so pervasive (most of it legal) that many see it as inherent to the system of monopoly capitalism. It is an illusion to think these corporations can be “reformed.” Public ownership is once again being debated as a possible solution. It places on the agenda the need for a forthright discussion of socialism, a system in which the means of production, the factories, energy, banks, are owned by the working class and operated to meet human need rather than corporate greed.

Tags:

Comments

comments

MOST POPULAR

Sorry. No data so far.