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Jackie Ashley

George Bush: Pre-Modernist Politician?

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There may be some room for scrutiny regarding exit polls versus results but at the end of the day, this humble Australian who watched events from afar, had no idea what the Dems were really about. Their whole campaign seemed to be fueled by the likes of Michael Moore and Hollywood celebs - and in traditional America, it's obvious they didn't take the message to the voting booths. A Bruce Springsteen concert is one thing but political change is another. I certainly got the feeling that California with its high flyers just didn't play well in the red states.

So what's in store for 2008? Do the Republicans look to Rudy Giuliani and the Dems at Hillary Clinton? I'd like to see those debates.

James

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An open letter to my friends around the world:

On Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2004, the sky did not fall. The world as we know it did not come to an end. There was no hidden conspiracy to overthrow the "will of the people". The United States did not gain control of the world.

My fellow citizens elected a poor choice - but they were offered a poor choice. George W. Bush is probably not the worst US president - anyway, he's got some stiff competition (can you spell "R I C H A R D N I X O N?). We will muddle through, as will the rest of the world. I would have preferred a different outcome, but I was not in the majority - and as Mike so eloquently points out, if you want democracy you're going to have to live with a sword that cuts both ways.

The religious issue is troubling, but, again, as Mike points out, is nothing new. The bright side is that George W. Bush now has to clean up his own mess - and it will need tidying up - and he won't have anyone to blame but himself.

The sun will come up tomorrow, people will fall in and out of love, and yes - people will continue to die in Iraq. All of those things would have been true whether Bush or Kerry occupied the White House.

I have faith that my fellow citizens will eventually come to realize that our current system of choosing a leader is deeply flawed, and that change will come. It may even come faster because of the events of Nov. 2.

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On the other hand, I would suggest that comparing Bush's reelection to the decision to appoint Mussolini is just a bit over the top. American presidents reign for only four years - eight if they are re-elected - and then they go. If, as I believe, Bush's economic and foreign policies are as unsuccessful in the next four years as they have been in the last, then, in 2008, a very different president will be elected. That is, after all, what democracy is all about… If we are to understand what's just happen, I think we need to look at it with an open mind - as historians should! - rather than making highly exaggerated statements... (Mike Tribe)

I may well be wrong about the importance of Bush’s re-election. However, I dislike the implication that I have reached this position because that I am in some way a poor historian because I have not “an open mind” and have been making “exaggerated statements”.

One of the things a historian does it to make comparisons between events. My point about Mussolini was that he was the first fascist to gain power. This made it easier for other fascist to gain power later (Franco/Hitler). Bush is the first openly Christian fundamentalist to gain power. This was not true of the 2000 election. Bush made no real effort to obtain the Christian fundamentalist vote. As a result large numbers of them did not vote for either candidate. This has been the big change. This is why it is only now we can talk about a pre-modernist president.

I pointed out that I did not believe history would repeat itself (Mussolini leading to a more extreme fascist like Hitler). However, Bush poses a far greater threat than Mussolini ever did. He is the leader of the world’s only superpower. He does not need allies (although a poodle like Blair is helpful).

Mike Tribe and Mike Toliver have pointed out that the United States is a democracy and therefore we will only have four more years of Bush. This raises two main issues. James Richards and Dawn Meredith have pointed out that there are grave doubts about the legitimacy of the result. I do not know of another example in history where the exit polls have got it so wrong. Several independent observers have pointed out that the election process was deeply flawed. There is no place in a democracy for a system where votes cannot be checked afterwards. This system is open to corruption. Why cannot the Americans use a system of voting that is clearly fair and above board? What is wrong with the system used by Britain and other European countries? As much as we disliked Margaret Thatcher, there were never any claims that she stole elections. The last time that claim was made in Western Europe concerned Hitler’s victory in Germany.

There is of course another important factor in the election. At the time the election took place America was at war. The president was also commander-in-chief. There has never been a case in history where the president failed to win re-election during a war. I am sure Bush was fully aware of that. Before the war on terror, Bush was a very unpopular president. Given the mess he has made of the economy, he would have been defeated easily this time if it had not been at war. Maybe that is why he was so keento invade Iraq.

The other issue is what kind of thing can Bush do in the next four years. He now has the benefit of not having to please the American electorate. One can only guess at what the budget deficit will be in 2008. Although I feel sorry for those American citizens who will suffer as a result of his domestic policies, as a non-American, my primary concern is over his international policies. This includes the environment and relationships between nations.

What chance have we now got concerning international agreements on the environment? What will the United States do about the Aids crisis in Africa? What efforts will be made to deal with debt in the underdeveloped world? Will any measures be taken to deal with the obscene numbers that die every day from starvation? What chance the Middle East peace process now? Will the United States now invade Iran?

It might only be four years of bad rule for people living in the western world. For millions in the underdeveloped world, they will not live to see the end of Bush’s period of government.

I also take issue with the statement that there is some sort of moral equivalency between fundamentalist Islam and fundamentalist Christianity. I don't happen to like either, but having lived through the Iranian Islamic Revolution and its aftermath, and having married into a family of Northern Ireland protestants, I can assure you, John, that fundamentalist Islam is much, much, much worse... (Mike Tribe)

This is of course a very European view of the problem. Try looking at this issue from the point of view of someone who is living in the underdeveloped world. Is there really a great deal of moral difference between a Christian Fundamentalist who orders the bombing of houses because he believes that suspected terrorists are living there than a terrorist/freedom fighter who blows himself up in the company of the enemy. The only difference is in the number being killed. Bush’s policies have resulted in an estimated 100,000 civilians being killed in Iraq. Terrorists cannot compete with that sort of number. However, both do it with the conviction that they have the full support of God.

In the short term I would expect people to turn away from politics in disgust. Ignore them and perhaps they will go away. In the long term people will revolt against the virtual one-party state in the US . This is the nadir of democracy. Nader next time! (Derek McMillan)

Do you really think a left-wing revolution will take place in the United States in the near future? Personally, I think there is more chance of a right-wing military coup than that.

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One of the factors which I think many Europeans (like myself) often forget is the isolationist nature of the current US majority. The war in Iraq is the kind of thing they can do, but look at how difficult it is becoming for even a hyperpower like the USA to sustain even a relatively small army in Iraq.

This makes it even more difficult for them to do another Iraq in Iran. Can you imagine any other military powers taking part in a joint invasion of Iran? And bear in mind that Iran has a population of 70 million (as against Iraq's 25 million), most of whom also live in cities. I'm sure you'd get a few token planes from the RAF and the Italian Air Force, but the British Army doesn't have the capacity to run expeditionary forces in two Middle Eastern countries at once.

I don't underestimate the US capacity to do harm to the rest of the planet, but let's just hope that they turn inwards and spend the next four years on harming themselves! It's a bit tough on the 50% who are part of Worldly America, rather than Godly American (Simon Schama's coinage yesterday), but those people are the only ones who can really help themselves.

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I can certainly understand the dismay many of you have expressed at the re-election of "W". What I cannot understand is the loss of perspective this seems to have generated.

The US is not omnipotent - maybe "W" thinks so and apparently so do many of you - but we simply can't have it our own way. We are the country defeated by a bunch of peasant farmers in Vietnam. The same result may well occur in Iraq. I would have hoped that our leadership would have learned from our experience in Vietnam that "nation-building" without the support of the people in that nation is a fool's errand.

Similarly, although the US has a tremendous impact on the global environment, so does Europe. It will become increasingly obvious that environmental destruction is far more threatening to our survival than terrorism. Of course, it would have been far better for this to be universally recognized sooner - but it will be recognized. Mother Nature has a way of grabbing our attention. If one supposes that John Kerry would have been "better" for the environment (and I do suppose that) - still there is not much he could have done if the majority of people (and corporations) fail to recognize the problem.

Religious zealotry has always been with us. It has had negative impacts on humanity throughout history. Regardless of who is president, those people will push to change the social agenda - and they will have some success again without regard to who is president. I suspect that "W" is more interested in using them than being one of them - but it doesn't matter. People are afraid and in fear they do strange things.

Sorry, John, but I think you are making exaggerated statements. I was not surprised at the outcome of the election. Most of the people I talked with before the election were pro-Bush (and my state went for Kerry). I'm sure there was some minor fraud, but I seriously doubt Bush "stole" the election. Sadly, he didn't have to.

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One of the factors which I think many Europeans (like myself) often forget is the isolationist nature of the current US majority.

This is an important point. George Bush was himself an isolationist in 2000. He made a speech where he stated quite clearly that it was not America’s role to interfere in the way other countries governed themselves. This changed after 9/11. Bush now became influenced by those who wanted to export the American system of government to the Middle East. This was not done for ideological reasons. It was an economic decision. Bush and his advisers knew that the state of the economy would lead to his defeat in 2004. Some economists believed the crucial issue was the price of oil. A reduction in its price would stimulate the economy. This message was pushed in all 179 of Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers. Control of Iraqi oil would lead to a fall in the price of oil.

This was the real reason for the invasion of Iraq (it had nothing at all to do with human rights, democracy or WMD). The great irony is that it has had the opposite impact. The price of oil has actually gone up since the invasion.

The war in Iraq is the kind of thing they can do, but look at how difficult it is becoming for even a hyperpower like the USA to sustain even a relatively small army in Iraq.

This makes it even more difficult for them to do another Iraq in Iran. Can you imagine any other military powers taking part in a joint invasion of Iran? And bear in mind that Iran has a population of 70 million (as against Iraq's 25 million), most of whom also live in cities. I'm sure you'd get a few token planes from the RAF and the Italian Air Force, but the British Army doesn't have the capacity to run expeditionary forces in two Middle Eastern countries at once.

I agree that at the moment it is highly unlikely that Bush will order the invasion of Iran. It should already be clear to him that this will not achieve his desired objective (a fall in the price of oil). I think that there is a very good chance that Bush will invade Saudi Arabia. I say this because I fully expect a Muslim Fundamentalist revolution taking place in this country over the next couple of years. If this happens, the price of oil will increase rapidly. Bush will have no choice but to send in the troops.

Religious zealotry has always been with us.  It has had negative impacts on humanity throughout history.  Regardless of who is president, those people will push to change the social agenda - and they will have some success again without regard to who is president.  I suspect that "W" is more interested in using them than being one of them - but it doesn't matter.  People are afraid and in fear they do strange things.

True. The problem is that the White House now appears to be under the control of the Christian Fundamentalists. This is of course a contradiction in terms.

My dictionary defines a Christian as “a follower of a religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ”. Whereas a fundamentalist is someone who believes in the “literal truth of the Bible”. I have always found the teachings of Jesus Christ appealing. If I was a believer in God I would be a member of a church that supported the actual teachings of Jesus Christ (the Quakers). However, I am totally opposed to all forms of fundamentalism. In fact, I think it is completely illogical. The Bible is made up of both the New and the Old Testaments. The message in these two parts of the Bible are often in direct conflict. Whereas Jesus Christ preached forgiveness and understanding, and a peaceful solution to problems, the Old Testament is often about revenge “an eye for an eye”.

Christian Fundamentalists reject the teachings of Jesus Christ and advocate those ideas found in the Old Testament (the very things that Jesus Christ was rebelling against). That is why they are in favour of pre-emptive war and capital punishment. It also explains their obsession with sex. Jesus Christ had very little to say about this subject. Although he did have some wise things to say about equality. That is why George Bernard Shaw said Jesus Christ was the world’s first socialist.

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I'm sorry you were annoyed by my comments about exaggeration and lack of historical perspective, John, but I really do believe that your comparison with Mussolini and 1930s European fascism is going too far...

I abhor GWB's domestic agenda and look upon his foreign policy as, at best, misguided. I do not think, however, that this heralds the eventual triumph of some sort of Christian-Fascist totalitarianism, or of a right-wing military coup.

There are some purely mechanical/constitutional reasons for this. As you know, constitutional changes in the USA -- such as a federal ban on same-sex marriages -- require a 2/3rds majority vote in both houses of Congress and then the assent of 3/4ths of the state legislatures within a set time limit. That's why the ERA failed a few years ago. This makes radical changes in the constitution virtually, if not technically, impossible.

The point that has been made about the Supreme Court is a very good one. Changes made to the composition of the Court by a right-wing president and ratified by a right-wing senate will be with us for years. But again, this will probably not be a rapid change. New members can only be appointed when existing members either die, retire or are impeached. This doesn't happen all that often. And even conservative justices are, when all is said and done, first and foremost lawyers, and they tend to respect the rule of law and legalistic niceties. I doubt if even the most reactionary of supreme court justices would countenance a fascist dictatorship of a military coup.

Again, remember that 1/3rd of the senate is elected every two years. If the American people really see things going on in the court that they don't like, then they can change the composition of the senate at these elections.

I'm concerned, still, John, by your tendency to see Christian and Islamic fundamentalism as being equivalent. You mentioned the acts of terrorism against abortion clinics, and this is a good point. However, such actions can hardly be seen as representative of Christian fundamentalism. How many civilian hostages have Christian fundamentalist beheaded? Can anyone even conceive of some Christian group kidnapping, say, a pro-abortion doctor, sending videos of him in chains to the media, and then beheading him for TV cameras?

I agree that, at root, all types of fundamentalism share certain characteristics, but they simply aren't all "equivalent", and comments about skinning people alive or disembowling them in the name of Christ are simply irrelevant.

On the BBC yesterday, some "expert" or other said he saw the huge vote for Bush as being a reaction against the perceived secularization of society. He observed that an immense majority of voters declared themselves "believers" of some sort or another (evangelicans, catholics, jews, moslems, etc) and yet, he said, they had seen an increasing tendency in America to belittle the spiritual aspect of public life. Little things like insisting that public schools couldn't display "belenes" (traditional models of nativity scenes) even though these are pretty basic cultural symbols for the growing hispanic community, the city council who had to take down the menorah in the square in front of the town hall at hannukah in case it offended non-jews, seemed to indicate an increasing secular "fundamentalism" which was denying what many of these voters saw as a basic foundation stone of society.

Now, I know that as a non-believer yourself, you might feel uncomfortable with this sort of view, but, according to the BBC's "expert", it seemed to influence people in the USA when they came to cast their votes. And, as you yourself observed, "The problem with giving people freedom is that they might use that freedom to do things they might not like. "

John, I respect your views, and I'm sorry and surprised that you feel offended by what I said. To give offence was the last thing on my mind. I apologize of th way I expressed myself was in some way inappropriate.

In the end, looking into the future is a most uncertain venture. You could be right to see dire consequences in GWB's re-election. I could be right in thinking that the system is somehow "self-righting". OK. I retire in 10 years time. If you're right and the USA has fallen to a Christian-fascist dicatorship or a military coup, I'll buy you dinner in Andalucia in 2014. I'll even spring for the Easyjet return fare....

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If you're right and the USA has fallen to a Christian-fascist dictatorship or a military coup, I'll buy you dinner in Andalucia in 2014. I'll even spring for the Easyjet return fare.... (Mike Tribe).

I never suggested that there would be a Christian-fascist dictatorship or a military coup. There is as much chance of that as a communist revolution.

I'm sorry you were annoyed by my comments about exaggeration and lack of historical perspective, John, but I really do believe that your comparison with Mussolini and 1930s European fascism is going too far. (Mike Tribe)

I am afraid you have completely misunderstood what I said. Here it is again: “I believe the election of Bush is as significant as the decision by King Victor Emmanuel III in 1922 to appoint Benito Mussolini as leader of Italy. Mussolini made it possible for Franco and Hitler to gain power. However, I doubt if Bush will have this impact on the world. His views are unlikely to have any influence on important political leaders outside the UK and Italy. In fact, Bush’s victory is likely to make it more difficult for his supporters in Europe.”

Note I used the word significant. I was in no way suggesting that Bush is a fascist. Nor did I say he would resort to a military coup at the end of his current term. Bush is a Christian Fundamentalist/Neo Conservative. This is very different from fascism. We need to be aware of what we are fighting in order to defeat it.

I'm concerned, still, John, by your tendency to see Christian and Islamic fundamentalism as being equivalent. You mentioned the acts of terrorism against abortion clinics, and this is a good point. However, such actions can hardly be seen as representative of Christian fundamentalism. How many civilian hostages have Christian fundamentalist beheaded? Can anyone even conceive of some Christian group kidnapping, say, a pro-abortion doctor, sending videos of him in chains to the media, and then beheading him for TV cameras? (Mike Tribe)

I have addressed this point earlier. This is of course a very European view of the problem. Try looking at this issue from the point of view of someone who is living in the underdeveloped world. Is there really a great deal of moral difference between a Christian Fundamentalist who orders the bombing of houses because he believes that suspected terrorists are living there than a terrorist/freedom fighter who blows himself up in the company of the enemy. The only difference is in the number being killed. Bush’s policies have resulted in an estimated 100,000 civilians being killed in Iraq. Terrorists cannot compete with that sort of number. However, both do it with the conviction that they have God on their side.

On the BBC yesterday, some "expert" or other said he saw the huge vote for Bush as being a reaction against the perceived secularization of society. He observed that an immense majority of voters declared themselves "believers" of some sort or another (evangelicans, catholics, jews, moslems, etc) and yet, he said, they had seen an increasing tendency in America to belittle the spiritual aspect of public life... Now, I know that as a non-believer yourself, you might feel uncomfortable with this sort of view, but, according to the BBC's "expert", it seemed to influence people in the USA when they came to cast their votes. And, as you yourself observed, "The problem with giving people freedom is that they might use that freedom to do things they might not like. " (Mike Tribe)

I agree with the BBC reporter. I believe there was some fiddling going on but it is quite clear that more people voted for George Bush than John Kerry. It is also true that Christian Fundamentalism was the main reason people voted for Bush. An interesting survey was carried out as people left the polling booths. They were asked what single factor influenced the way they voted. Some voters cited terrorism, Iraq War or the state of the American economy, but the greatest number picked “moral values”. In other words, opposition to sex before marriage, abortion, gay marriage, etc. It also meant that they liked Bush’s moral views on capital punishment, gun ownership and pre-emptive war. Over 80% of all Christian Fundamentalists voted for Bush. More importantly, a very high percentage of this group actually voted. Unlike the poor who have been the main sufferers of Bush's policies.

I accept this is the price you pay for democracy. We have a similar problem in the UK. The only way the problem should be solved is through the ballot box.

I expect Bush to face several insurmountable problems over the next four years. The budget deficit will continue to increase (is that not a moral issue?). Higher oil prices (as a result of his failed policy in the Middle East) will result in higher unemployment and possibly a world recession.

Bush will get sucked deeper into the politics of the Middle East. The attack on Falluja will probably result in uprisings all over Iraq. It is likely to increase the chances of a Muslim Fundamentalist revolution in Saudi Arabia. This will force Bush to send in the troops. He will also have to introduce the draft (Blair will not be able to help him out over that one).

The question is: will the American elect another Republican Christian Fundamentalist in 2008? Well that depends who the Democrats chose as their candidate. If they decide on Hillary Rodham Clinton, than the answer is probably yes. I will explain this on another thread.

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=2149

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As Mike says, “American presidents reign for only four years - eight if they are re-elected - and then they go.”

Are you sure they go? It is said, Jeff Bush will be next Republican candidate. It looks to me as the beginning of a dynasty. In addition, it is the second time with suspicious manipulations in elections. Americans aren't too far of becoming a suspicious democracy as John said. Anyway, to handle a world empire is very difficult under democratic premises

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I whole-heartedly agree with Mike Tribe's and Mike Toliver's statements. The re-election of George Bush did not surprise me at all and even though I am worried of what might happen in the following four years I have to accept that the majority of the American people have elected their president and obviously they share most of his ideals and convictions. The left, the liberals, the Democratic Party obviously have not managed to present their ideas and programmes convincingly enough for the people to follow them.

Talking about the war in Iraq what options would John Kerry have had: withdraw and leave a completely destabilised country to its own devices waiting till the various ethnic and religious groups and factions - all fundamentalists in their own ways- have killed each other off - a Middle East Jugoslavia? Ho credibel was the Democratic stance against the war after the party had said "yes" in Congress when Bush asked them?

All the questions, John, you asked in one of your postings (environment etc) - how about asking our own governments and asking the European institutions.

I, too, think that the USA is the only superpower left but she is not the only powerful nation on the world and if the Europian Union managed to speak with one voice it would be able to be some counterweight to balance and control the American ally.

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John asks what the state of the US will be by 2008?. Great guestion. Under Republican "leadership" these last four years we have seen the Clinton legacy of a balanced budged trashed and the national debt is now at 9 trillion. Yet this was not even addressed during the election. Why?

Four more years of excessive spending.

A weaker dollar, a delayed economic growth in Europe because of that. (from an European point of view!)

And this is just one of the things that came up in thoughts today.

It would be very interesting to know what American collegues think of 4 more years!

A very interesting topic!! :)

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I am not an optimist concerning Mr. Bush Presidency for the next 4 years. The point is that USA got a special declaration concerning my country just to continue our isolation in Europe and world (but who gave them such a right to be a world judge?????) but the most dangerous thing is that USA top officials are talking about the using all possible actions and activities like in Iraq to teach our top officils how to live and build democracy. So even after the collapse of the USSR our world will be divided we and they and now our people are looking for Russia just to be sure that there exist someone who could defend us. When we were living in two big "camps" I was more secure that now when only one superpower exists and the world should follow the rules of it.

Our life is so short and I guess that I never will live without all these troubles how to educate and raise my children just to be peaceful and optimistic ....... :)

But I am finishing my remarks with peace and love to all people who are waiting, fighting for peace and tolerance and dreaming for the better future (like I was building and waiting for communism in my country....)

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IN the long line of historical figures who have emerged as GREAT leaders of the U.S.A. - George W. Bush's "2000-2004 dog-and-pony show" has NOT shown him to be a "great leader!" His subsequent re-election (!?) will hopefully, after this NEXT four years, recede into the annals of history, much the same as a pimple on one's backside will "eventually heal"...and, again, hopefully, this healing will not leave too large OR irreparable scars on the "behind" of World and American history.

As I see it, "We, the American People," need to institute a complete overhaul of our political processes and the methods by which the "government" is MORE accountable TO "THE PEOPLE." OUR POCKETS are the ones being picked in order to support "causes" which have been proven CLEARLY to DIVIDE us, rather than to cause us to stand UNITED...(go figger!)

IF nothing ELSE was proved over the past two years of CAMPAIGNING (yes, folks, it truly was TWO years, not merely ONE "official" year, as in times past...!) and the past three years of this globally unpopular "war on terror," these things have NOW been proven to be necessary - AND, I suggest that we ACT, while the pain is still fresh in the minds of everyone who was disappointed and/or DISGUSTED by the (ahem!) Presidential Election, we need to institute measures, immediately - if not sooner - to:

  • [1]Eliminate the "electoral college" and make "one person = one vote" a reality. Believe it or not, folks, we DO have the technology...we even have printing presses, and pens, and pencils!
    [2]Completely REFORM the currently bastardized "system of checks and balances" --TAKE IT BACK to the original meaning that the Founding Father's had in mind when they devised and instituted the concept -- "The Executive is separate from the Legislative, is separate from the Judicial." (jeez, does NO ONE remember High School Civics, Government or American History class?) in order to eliminate the "in-bed-togetherness" currently so rampant among the three branches of government.
    [3]We also need to run the government as a BUSINESS, with TRANSPARENCY, strict ACCOUNTABILITY, and SEVERE PENALTIES instituted and enforced upon anyone in any position of our Government who violates any Fiscal, Ethical, and Administrative boundaries in their official capacity. YOU DON'T WRITE THE CHECKS IF YOU DON'T HAVE THE MONEY IN YOUR ACCOUNT!!! If that axiom holds true for individuals and for businesses, should it not apply MORE SO to the collective "running of this country?"

These three items would be ENOUGH to for us accomplish, even as a "starting point," and they would be enough to make effective, long-term changes, in and of themselves, it seems to me.

I did NOT vote for "g-bubba" EITHER TIME - in my opinion, he's a mealy-mouthed, smarmy, smirking, little pip-squeak whose perception of his "abilities" and "powers" are so self-aggrandized that he cannot see himself for what he REALLY is: ineffectual, NON-diplomatic, war-mongering, and "drunk-on-his-own-power, and is only in his position by "virtue (!?)" of pandering to special interest groups, lobbies and personal friends in BIG BUSINESS - via his previous business experience (consider, please, that they went bankrupt!), AND through his FATHER'S political influence with the same businesses and lobbies.

He WAS NOT elected this time by popular vote (he won via the "electoral college" vote); nor did he win, as with the first time he was elected (which SHOULD have been the last!), by rigging an election in his brother's State of Florida and subsequent appointment by the Supreme Court.

It is my hope that the average person in any country OTHER than the US, will realize that our system of government has gotten way out of hand, as evidenced by these past four years under the policies of the megalomaniacal "g-bubba."

It is also my hope that after the NEXT four years are over, we can go back to being friends; so IN ADVANCE, I'll say "I'm sorry" on behalf of our country, if you WON'T say "I told ya so!" - the average American Citizen did NOT have any control over these past four years, and I can well guarantee, that short of a SECOND American Revolution, we, the people, will have no control over the next four years, either.

Again, those who do not LEARN from history are condemned to repeat it...REAP, eat it....enjoy! :)

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Nico asks what his American colleagues think of the next four years. I'm not good at predicting the future, but based on what we saw for the last four years, I think it's safe to say that not much will change. We still have a president that shoots from the hip (and the lip!), who is most interested in helping out the rich (as if they needed help) and who is convinced that it's his way or the highway. The only question I have is if things will go to hell in a hand-basket fast enough to show the people who voted for Bush what a huge mistake they made. If that is the case (and I think it might be), then the 2008 election will be "anything but a Bush (Republican?)". I personally hope a third party might rise up and challenge the two (one?) party system. John Anderson had an interesting editorial in the New York Times just before the election that promised just that. I don't hold out great hope for that, but I'd sure like to see it.

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In the nature of things if you have 1000 newly registered voters in a year, somehting like 100 of them will move house and about 10 will die. It is therefore possible for a Republican goon to stand up with a bundle of envelopes which "prove" voter fraud because they are marked "dead" or "moved away". They can then use this as an excuse for Republican goons to harrass black voters at every polling station. This may not have determined the outcome of the election of course but it is still disgraceful. Yes there were people in Ohio who were too frightened to vote.

This does not have to be the nadir of democracy.

Nader next time.

(OK last time I make that pun...promise)

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