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Election Day Worries

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  • robalini@aol.com
    Please send as far and wide as possible. Thanks, Robert Sterling Editor, The Konformist http://www.konformist.com
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 26, 2004
      Please send as far and wide as possible.

      Robert Sterling
      Editor, The Konformist

      50 Reasons Not to Vote for Bush
      Order at Amazon at:

      Exclusive: Election Day Worries
      By Michael Isikoff
      Investigative Correspondent

      July 19, 2004 - American counterterrorism officials, citing what they
      call "alarming" intelligence about a possible Qaeda strike inside the
      United States this fall, are reviewing a proposal that could allow
      for the postponement of the November presidential election in the
      event of such an attack, NEWSWEEK has learned.

      The prospect that Al Qaeda might seek to disrupt the U.S. election
      was a major factor behind last week's terror warning by Homeland
      Security Secretary Tom Ridge. Ridge and other counterterrorism
      officials concede they have no intel about any specific plots. But
      the success of March's Madrid railway bombings in influencing the
      Spanish elections - as well as intercepted "chatter" among Qaeda
      operatives - has led analysts to conclude "they want to interfere
      with the elections," says one official.

      As a result, sources tell NEWSWEEK, Ridge's department last week
      asked the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel to analyze
      what legal steps would be needed to permit the postponement of the
      election were an attack to take place. Justice was specifically asked
      to review a recent letter to Ridge from DeForest B. Soaries Jr.,
      chairman of the newly created U.S. Election Assistance Commission.
      Soaries noted that, while a primary election in New York on September
      11, 2001, was quickly suspended by that state's Board of Elections
      after the attacks that morning, "the federal government has no agency
      that has the statutory authority to cancel and reschedule a federal
      election." Soaries, a Bush appointee who two years ago was an
      unsuccessful GOP candidate for Congress, wants Ridge to seek
      emergency legislation from Congress empowering his agency to make
      such a call. Homeland officials say that as drastic as such proposals
      sound, they are taking them seriously - along with other possible
      contingency plans in the event of an election-eve or Election Day
      attack. "We are reviewing the issue to determine what steps need to
      be taken to secure the election," says Brian Roehrkasse, a Homeland


      Terrorism and the Election: Trial Balloons and Spin
      By Norman Solomon, AlterNet
      July 16, 2004

      Tom Ridge, the federal official in charge of defending the United
      States against terrorism, was on message when he told a July 14 news
      conference: "We don't do politics at Homeland Security." Such high-
      level claims of patriotic purity have been routine since 9/11. But in
      this election year, they're more ludicrous than ever.

      Days earlier, alongside a photo of Ridge, a headline on USA Today's
      front page had declared: "Election Terror Threat Intensifies." There
      was unintended irony in the headline.

      While a real threat of terrorism exists in the United States, we
      should also acknowledge that an intensifying "election terror threat"
      is coming from the Bush administration. With scarcely 100 days to go
      until Election Day, the White House is desperate to wring every ounce
      of advantage from the American Flag, patriotism, apple pie - and the
      subject of "terrorism."

      Newsweek reported a week after July Fourth that Ridge's agency "asked
      the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel to analyze what
      legal steps would be needed to permit the postponement of the
      election were an attack to take place." The media response was mostly
      negative, and the Bush administration proceeded with its intended
      dual message of portraying a postponement as far-fetched - yet not
      quite unthinkable.

      Even while the bulk of commentators panned the postponement scenario,
      the Bush political team had succeeded in getting it on the media
      table without causing a massive sustained uproar. That's dangerous.

      The leading White House strategist, Karl Rove, has a record of
      shoving the envelope in order to win. Forget ethics or honesty. Some
      of the documentation about Rove is downright chilling in the
      book "Bush's Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential,"
      co-authored by TV news correspondent James Moore and Dallas Morning
      News reporter Wayne Slater.

      If a terrorist attack occurs between now and Nov. 2, the
      administration would be much more likely to postpone the election if
      the Republican ticket is behind in the polls. That kind of
      unprecedented manipulation of the U.S. presidential election system
      should be strictly off-limits.

      Several days after Newsweek broke the story, a Washington Post
      editorial - ostensibly shooting at the trial balloon - commented
      that "powerful emotional and even political arguments exist for
      holding a presidential election on the day it was meant to be held,
      regardless of what happens and who is unable to vote, just as it was
      held during the Civil War and just as it would be held in case of a
      hurricane, flood, fire or other natural catastrophe."

      Yet the Post editorial's conclusion portrayed the postponement
      scenario in somewhat less than unequivocal terms: "Congress should
      think through the consequences of a disrupted election, but it should
      remain extremely wary of any scheme to hold a presidential election
      at any time other than the first Tuesday of November." That kind of
      language falls short of a clarion call to block Machiavellian
      postponement of the national Election Day.

      Meanwhile, rhetorical manipulations about terrorism and the election
      are already upon us. Pro-Bush spinners have put out the fatuous idea
      that a pre-election terrorist attack on the USA would amount to an
      effort to oust the incumbent from the White House. Yet President
      Bush's approval ratings skyrocketed across the country immediately
      after Sept. 11, 2001.

      If anyone stands to gain politically from a terrorist attack in the
      United States before Election Day, in my opinion, it's George W.
      Bush. But many journalists have bought into the opposite line, which
      sets the stage for Republicans to claim that a Bush-Cheney victory is
      necessary to show terrorists that America refuses to be intimidated.

      The GOP's Sen. Richard Shelby said as much on MSNBC's prime-
      time "Hardball" show July 8: "It won't work in America. I'll tell
      you, I believe if they try that in America and think it's going to
      influence the election, it will do the opposite. The American people
      traditionally have rallied behind the government, the flag, and we
      would do it in this case. We're not going to let outsiders,
      terrorists or other foreign powers, influence our elections, tell us
      what to do."

      While questioning Democratic Sen. John Breaux, the "Hardball" host
      Chris Matthews energetically blew smoke: "What happens, Sen. Breaux,
      if it looks like that al-Qaeda is playing cards here, playing a game
      of trying to get people to vote Democrat for president, to basically
      make their case worldwide? Doesn't it put your party in a terrible
      position of having al-Qaeda rooting for you?"

      The question, based on a faulty premise, pretended to know something
      that isn't known. Given that the 9/11 terrorist attacks became an
      overnight political boon for President Bush, it would be more
      rational to ask how much the Bush-Cheney ticket is likely to gain
      from a terrorist attack on U.S. soil before voters pass judgment on
      Election Day.
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