There’s still time

One thing can be said about the Bush administration: No administration in history has been so focused – and so far so successful – in protecting the interests of the rich and super-rich.

A case in point is the July promise Bush made that “corporate misdeeds will be found and will be punished,” all made possible by legislation authorizing “new funding for investigators and technology at the Securities and Exchange Commission to uncover wrongdoing.”

Never mind that it was public outrage over the shenanigans of officials at Enron, Global Crossing and WorldCom that forced Congress to act – and a reluctant Bush to join the chorus. And never mind that both promises have since been broken

We don’t expect Bush and the other millionaire members of his cabinet to change their spots – or their policies. But, as last summer’s events showed, they can be forced to retreat. The next battle will be fought in voting booths across the country on Nov. 5.

Simply put, that’s what this year’s elections are all about. Karl Rove & Co. has Bush hop scotching around the country in a desperate effort to keep control of the House and win control of the Senate.

They, too, have read the polls showing 56 percent of the people thinking the economy is “bad” or “very bad,” that 39 percent say it is “getting worse” and that 57 percent say economic issues will influence the way they vote.

On the surface, those are pretty good odds. But, as the saying goes, “The only poll that counts takes place on election day.” And there’s another: “Every vote counts, but it doesn’t count if you don’t vote.”

Thus the challenge: To use the days between now and Nov. 5 to help guarantee the maximum voter turn out. There’s a place for everyone in that effort: making phone calls, poll watching, ringing doorbells. Sign up now. As Yogi said, “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.”

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Thugs and rogues at UN

The Bush administration cannot pursue its unilateral first-strike foreign policy without destroying international bodies established to uphold world cooperation and national sovereignty. The current situation at the United Nations vis-a-vis Iraq is a case in point. Bush officials have been threatening, bullying and trying to bribe their way to getting a resolution which would give international cover to their Iraq war plans. They are holding aid and loans over some countries’ heads. They are offering other countries control of Iraqi oil fields and threatening some with a cut-off of oil if they don’t cooperate.

A U.S. union leader commented, “Multilateralism has been reduced to threats, bribes and bullying, all of which undermine the prestige of the United Nations.”

This is an administration that refuses to sign onto the International Criminal Court, pulled out of the Kyoto Treaty, walked out on the UN conference on racism, and sees itself as the boss of the world, with the weaponry to back it up.

In his 1966 book, “The Arrogance of Power,” Sen. J. William Fulbright wrote about the mounting Vietnam war fever, “We all like telling people what to do, which is perfectly all right except that most people do not like being told what to do.”

Fulbright’s observations resonate today as the Bush administration promotes its aggressive National Security Strategy and celebrates a congressional war resolution that many compare to the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution that set in motion the tragic escalation of the Vietnam war.

There are many lessons to draw from the mass movement that ended the Vietnam war. The most important is that the American people insist on our democratic right to determine our foreign policy. And the majority is for multilateralism, international cooperation and respect for international norms and law.

Most would agree with Fulbright: “When we violate the law ourselves, whatever short-term advantage may be gained, we are obviously encouraging others to violate the law; we thus encourage disorder and instability and thereby do incalculable damage to our own long-term interests.”

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