Tuesday, November 04, 2008

First, the good news

As millions of Americans head to the polls today to elect the next president of the United States, take heed of this comforting thought: by the end of the day, one of the men pictured below will very likely not be the next president.
Now the bad news: barring a last minute surge in support for Ralph Nader or Bob Barr, one of the men pictured above will be the next president (or "commander-in-chief" for the military fetishists of both parties), where he will assume control of the most powerful state in world history. That means, come January 2009, one of these men will gain the power to unilaterally declare war on impoverished nations on the other side of the globe, without so much as a congressional authorization. That means, come next year, one of these men will be able to -- again, unilaterally -- declare someone an "enemy combatant" and hold them indefinitely in a U.S. military prison (with a little torture at a CIA black site thrown in for good measure).

And unfortunately, as we know from their numerous public statements, the next U.S. president is on record as supporting all of the following policies: expanding the military by more than 90,000 troops; sending tens of thousands of soldiers to further a failing military occupation in Afghanistan; furthering the so-called "war on drugs", particularly in Latin America (where the U.S.-backed government in Colombia has been busy murdering innocent civilians with the support of U.S. anti-drug funding); at the very least, increasing economic sanctions against Iran while leaving "all options are on the table" in dealing with the country's nuclear program; extending NATO membership to countries such as Georgia, thus committing the United States to a war with Russia in the event of another conflict over South Ossetia; launching attacks against "terrorist" targets in Pakistan (though McCain's muddled position seems to be to attack, but just don't brag about it); striking "terrorist" targets inside Syria; maintaining the death penalty; continuing taxpayer funding for abstinence education; perpetuating the embargo against Cuba, and icy relations with Venezuela; continuing to bailout failing corporations with taxpayer money; keeping tens of thousands of troops in Iraq (and tens of thousands of private contractors like Halliburton and Blackwater); ramming U.S. "intellectual property" laws down the throats of poor nations through the signing of ill-named "free trade" agreements; spying on the communications of Americans and foreigners alike, sans warrant; and so on, and so on.

Whether it's "country first" or "change you can believe in," one thing's certain after today's election: the maintenance of the status quo.

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