The ultimate dirty trick

The effort by the tottering Bush administration to find ways to postpone the Nov. 2 national elections is its latest and most serious dirty trick to keep control of the government.

According to a blockbuster story by Newsweek’s Michael Isikoff, American counter-terrorism officials are reviewing a proposal that could allow for the postponement of the November presidential election in the event of a terrorist attack.

The Department of Homeland Security asked the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel to analyze what legal steps would be needed to permit an election postponement in the event of an attack, according to Newsweek.

But it gets even scarier. DeForest B. Soaries Jr., chairman of a newly created U.S. Election Assistance Commission, sent a letter to Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge seeking emergency legislation from Congress to empower his agency to make the call on election postponement. Soaries is a Bush appointee who two years ago was an unsuccessful GOP candidate for Congress.

In the history of the republic, even in times of acute crisis, elections have been held without interruption. The U.S. held elections during a Civil War to end slavery. It held two elections during World War II. The un-American idea of postponing the elections is illegal and unconstitutional.

Scare tactics are the stock in trade of the Bush gang, but what they fear most is the American people. Polls show the incumbents teetering on the edge of being put out of office. So they have to cook up new horror stories and new schemes to retain power. Desperation brings desperate acts. The ultra-right will engage in the most extreme forms of electoral terrorism to stay in power. After all, that’s how they came to power.

It is time to invoke the spirit of Paul Revere. Sound the alarm! Every member of Congress, every elected official, and the White House should receive a deluge of calls, e-mails, faxes and personal visits. No election postponement. Our democracy is in danger.

It is more urgent than ever to register voters, organize protests, and get out the vote Nov. 2.

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Ken Lay and Abu Ghraib

What do Former Enron CEO Ken Lay and the U.S.-run torture chamber at Abu Ghraib have in common? They are two faces of ruling class hypocrisy and cowardice.

George W. Bush’s buddy, “Kenny Boy” Lay, who oversaw the biggest corporate scandal in U.S. history, is facing 11 criminal charges of fraud. His defense? Ignorance.

At a Houston press conference Lay told reporters, “As CEO of the company, I accept responsibility for Enron’s collapse. … However, that does not mean I knew everything that happened at Enron.”

When the photos and videos of the unspeakable torture of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib hit the eyes of the American public, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Bush both pleaded ignorance. Rumsfeld told the Senate Armed Services Committee May 7 that he did not “recall” ever approving interrogation policies. Documents released later showed Rumsfeld approved torture techniques and Bush looked for legal loopholes out of the Geneva Conventions.

It’s one of those funny realities of ruling class power and capitalist “ethics” that corporate-government leaders often project themselves as “tough, take-charge” kind of guys, who aren’t afraid to make decisions. But then when the going gets tough for them, they are mysteriously out of the loop.

So which is it? Are you in charge, ready to take responsibility? Or are you so out of it that crimes are committed right under your nose?

The ultra-right often hammers public schools, children and teachers for not being “accountable.” Where is the accountability for Lay, whose thievery and fraud left thousands of workers without jobs or pensions? Where is the accountability for Rumsfeld and Bush-Cheney, who signed off on torture and misled the American public into war?

These people are making a mess of things. It’s up to the great majority of honest, hard-working people to make them accountable. They certainly won’t do it themselves.