It’s late here in the UK so this will not get posted until tomorrow, but I’m hearing very d.isturbing news from the French regional elections, predicting that the Front National, comfortable winners in last week’s first round of regional elections, hasve been routed in all regions. For that to happen, and to happen through a massive increase in turnout, suggests electoral fraud on a hughe scale. Or has France joined Britain in adopting the Islamic version of democracy, which is one man one vote, one Imam one thousand votes.
I say that because the same thing happened in britain in May 2015, in constituencies where UKIP looked likely to do well, Labour and Conservatives, traditiuonal opponents collaborated to keep out the newcomers, and in areas where UKIP looked too strong for even collaboration to stop them, there were strange things going on with postal votes and ballot boxes going missing.
This comment from comedian George Carlin on America’s corrupt electoral system pretty well sums things up:
I don’t vote. Two reasons. First of all it’s meaningless; this country was bought and sold a long time ago. The shit they shovel around every 4 years *pfff* doesn’t mean a fucking thing. Secondly, I believe if you vote, you have no right to complain. People like to twist that around – they say, ‘If you don’t vote, you have no right to complain’, but where’s the logic in that? If you vote and you elect dishonest, incompetent people into office who screw everything up, you are responsible for what they have done. You caused the problem; you voted them in; you have no right to complain. I, on the other hand, who did not vote, who in fact did not even leave the house on election day, am in no way responsible for what these people have done and have every right to complain about the mess you created that I had nothing to do with.”
“The next time they give you all that civic bullshit about voting, keep in mind that Hitler was elected in a full, free democratic election””Now, there’s one thing you might have noticed I don’t complain about: politicians. Everybody complains about politicians.
Everybody says they suck. Well, where do people think these politicians come from? They don’t fall out of the sky. They don’t pass through a membrane from another reality. They come from American parents and American families, American homes, American schools, American churches, American businesses and American universities, and they are elected by American citizens. This is the best we can do folks. This is what we have to offer. It’s what our system produces: Garbage in, garbage out. If you have selfish, ignorant citizens, you’re going to get selfish, ignorant leaders. Term limits ain’t going to do any good; you’re just going to end up with a brand new bunch of selfish, ignorant Americans. So, maybe, maybe, maybe, it’s not the politicians who suck. Maybe something else sucks around here… like, the public. Yeah, the public sucks. There’s a nice campaign slogan for somebody: ‘The Public Sucks. Fuck Hope.'”
“I have solved this political dilemma in a very direct way: I don’t vote. On Election Day, I stay home. I firmly believe that if you vote, you have no right to complain. Now, some people like to twist that around. They say, ‘If you don’t vote, you have no right to complain,’ but where’s the logic in that? If you vote, and you elect dishonest, incompetent politicians, and they get into office and screw everything up, you are responsible for what they have done. You voted them in. You caused the problem. You have no right to complain. I, on the other hand, who did not vote — who did not even leave the house on Election Day — am in no way responsible for that these politicians have done and have every right to complain about the mess that you created.”
To which Fred Reed replied:
Overcoming The Shame Of Voting
I guess I need my consciousness raised. The newspapers keep fussing and fidgeting because Americans don’t vote. Something is wrong with us Gringos, they say. We’re shirking. We’re no damn good.
Huh?I look at the last ten or so presidents we’ve had, and think: hooboy, is that what comes of voting? Every one of those reprobates was elected. It’s a historical fact. If we can’t get any better results by voting, I figure we ought to make it a misdemeanor.
How much faith can you put in a system that, out of 280,000,000 people, comes up with Al Gore? Besides, there’s the question of culpability. If I voted for one reprehensible nonentity in preference to another, and he won, I would reckon that he was my fault. I don’t want a President on my conscience. Further, I do not see how anyone with the slightest self-respect could vote.
Anyway, you can’t vote for a candidate, because there aren’t any. The apparent existence of candidates is a sleight-of-hand.
Do you believe that, say, Gore is a candidate? No. He, like any candidate, is a committee consisting of three speechwriters, a gestures coach, two pollsters, a makeup artist, an image consultant, and several crooked advisers. An alleged candidate is a phantasm, a blank slate or, in the case of Al, a mass of unflavored bean curd.
A candidate is what his advisers tell you he is. Think about it. Often you can read in the Washington Post that the candidate, Senator Palmoil, say, is having image problems. Focus groups have discovered, the writer will explain, that he is seen as Insufficiently Manly, that he is not thought by the voters to be adequately decisive, and that his delivery of a speech is positively Caesarian.
The paper will announce that his handlers have decided that he needs to Adjust His Image. That is, the principal organ of Washington will announce to all the world that the Senator Palmoil is about to pretend to be something he isn’t. It will also name the advertising agency hired to perform the mummery.
Sure enough, in his next appearance on television, Palmoil will appear wearing a codpiece. It may have a NOW sticker on it so as not to be threatening to women, and not be excessively protuberant, and perhaps be in an ambiguous beige so as not to be clearly black or white, but it will look no end manly. He will then say Something Decisive, invented for him by the speechwriters and crooked advisers. He will contemplate at the teleprompter with an unblinking pole-axed stare, to communicate firmness, and avoid waving his hands around as if he were swatting bugs.
For the next week the talking heads of the Yankee Capital will drone about the effectiveness of the candidate’s access of masculinity, about the precise tone of voice in the saying of Something Decisive, and whether the NOW sticker on the codpiece was overkill. In short, the mechanism of deception will be discussed until it collapses into rubble.
Yet, though detailed in advance, though explained in its every calculated nuance, it will work. The polls will show that, yes, the Merkun People now believe that Senator Palmoil is now of one blood with Clint Eastwood, and that his newly-acquired earnest intonation has satisfied voters of his warm and rich inner life.
I’m going to vote for that?
Anyway, you won’t know who you’re electing until after you have elected him. A campaign is intended to hide the candidate, not to reveal him. The truth is that few candidates have the knowledge or experience to run a Shriners’ picnic. Occasionally the veil slips. Recently it was revealed that George the Shrub, son of Bush, didn’t know the names of the leaders of several mildly important countries. Do you believe that any of them do? The candidates usually are provincial governors, men who have spent their lives crawling up the ladder from law school to county chairman. How could they know of the likelihood of a Baluchi irredentist movement or where to find Bishkek?
Now, the professionals of Washington, the reporters and chattering craniums and mechanics of the image trades, do not see things just this way. They take elections seriously, odd though it may seem. They do not understand that they are hucksters playing an elaborate shell game, yet they carefully shield the scam from public gaze. The rule in journalism is that it is acceptable, indeed career-promoting, to trick the candidate into saying something unwise about abortion. It is not acceptable to show that he knows far less about the world than most of the reporters covering him.
Note that a news weasel will ask a candidate, “Governor, what is your position on Afghanistan?” The reporter will not ask, “Governor, precisely where is Afghanistan?” The governor will respond to the first question by saying that he favors decency and motherhood, a better life for all Afghans, and human rights for everybody. The response would equally apply to Key Largo or central Illinois. He doesn’t know where Afghanistan is.
Oddly, keeping the voters from learning that the candidate does know anything (an unlikely circumstance, but it has happened) is as important as concealing that he doesn’t. The voters will resent anyone more intelligent than they are, which we in Washington assume means anyone at all. If a candidate ever mentioned the influence of Sophia of Anhalt-Zerbst as empress of Russia in continuing the policies of modernization of Peter the Great, he would (or so it is feared) lose the election immediately.
The French will elect a man because he is intelligent and cultured. We want someone we can imagine managing a minor Safeway.
A crucial point however is that American elections are not about policy, but about the division of spoils-appointments, contracts, invitations to parties at the White House. Sure, Republicans behave slightly differently from Democrats-but only slightly. Which is to say that elections don’t matter.
The economy determines the fate of this country. Presidents don’t. They are at worst annoyances and embarrassments, at best a sort of national hobby. What counts is Intel, Microsoft, Boeing, Lucent Technologies, Cisco, AT&T, agribusiness, the Internet. We survive on a strong economic back and a weak governmental mind. Always have, always will.
Forty years ago, as an idealistic your firebrand, I was fighting elections as a member of the Liberal Party (the old Liberal Party when the word liberal still meant something) and actually got close to winning. The voters know me now, next time we’ll beat those Socialists and Conservatives,” I said, “and then we will shake things up.”
It was made clear to me that if I did ever win, I would toe the line and learn to play the game by the establishment’s rules. I quit politics and since then have registered a protest vote for the nuttiest fringe candidate, because in effect I learned that we only have an illusory vote. Government is not run by people we elect, and now it seems things have regressed so far towards the dark ages that no matter who we vote for, the oligarchs will elect the government so really we don’t have a vote.
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