PRISON BLOG 45
Electoral Learnings of America for make benefit Glorious Nation of New Zealand PART ONE
A friend of mine has recently returned from a holiday in the USA and the Caribbean and was good enough to send me a few copies of the Miami Herald and USA Today newspapers. Several interesting quirks of American life present themselves upon perusal – the foremost is their electoral system (as they were early November issues) and it is this that I’ll focus on. But I must mention the Native American casino Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino that uses what appears to be a faux Maori tattoo-type design in their ad) and the fairly cheap prices for consumer goods (although it may be plus tax), like the new cars for SFA: 2006 Dodge Caravan US$11,688 and ugly pig-nose Ram series of angry/inadequate male status symbols starting at US $15,888, whilst over at the Ford dealership off I-95 are several hundred gigantic new “Supercabs” and :Supercrews” for under $20K and a lease on 2007 Rager Supercabs ute for US $159 per month – which if my maths is right is fuck all. As for the good folks at PotamKin on the Palmento Expressway they’re thrashing Chevy (“An American Revolution”), Chrysler Jeep (“Buy American” + flag) and Mitsubishi (“25 years in America”) – all with 0% financing, which I think is very Islamic of them, and once again every car seems very large. They start at big and go up to super-massive - there just aren’t any small cars on sale! The smallest I can find is a 2007 Chevy Areo (US $9,448) – a four door. Nice to see the Impala badge still there along with the wonderfully all-American Chevy Malibu – could it sound more Yank than that? Well the Jeeps actually do = “Liberty Sport”, “Grand Cherokee Laredo” and the Chrysler “Pacifica” comes close. Like NZ there are a lot of pharmacutecal ads (though not as much for pshychotic disorders as the US) but there are an abundance of health insurance ads. And going by surnames alone, Miami consists of three equal amounts of Whites, Jews and Hispanics. Anyway…
USA Today’s October 24 issue contains two full page ads that give some insight into the forces at work on the constituency. The first is from the Alliance for Energy & Economic Growth which tells us that the “jobs not done” with Congress passing the Energy Policy Act. Under the title “Energy Security” they tell us “Congress needs to finish the job by passing vital legislation to increase domestic supplies of energy and expand access to oil and natural gas resources onshore and in the Outer Continental Shelf.” So its not so much about “security” of supply at all, but about more drilling and mining. The ad doesn’t say for whom to vote – just a big ad in a national paper telling voters and candidates they should support “increasing access to domestic oil and natural gas resources, and supporting advanced coal and nuclear energy technologies”.
Another player with deep pockets is a chap called James Robinson and his book “We Have a Choice” subtitled “Humility or Humiliation”. Unfortunately he’s a hard-core Christian (fundy?). Key words from his extensive excerpts : Spirit, Mercy, Lord, Sacrifice, Enemies, Evil, Brokenness, Agony. The anti-decadence, anti-“indulgent and perverse lifestyles” tone is very Islamic; the apocalyptic prophesies of his “many times in prayer” however is totally Christian. He leaves 9/11 till the fifth paragraph and abortion to the eight and envokes “voters and legislators” only at the end – so it’s a well-padded sermon. But I can’t imagine the Destiny Bishop, Tamaki, forgoing a luxury cruise or a new wardrobe to put a full page ad in the national press: that’s commitment.
So on ad spend religion and Big Oil are up there. Nothing Brethren-like I can make out. Indeed the Florida Republican ????????? candidates ad even has a list of those who endorse him (include. Various state professionals associates and newspapers) – unheard of in NZ. What might we have thought had National told us their list? Their real list? In this respect the American system is much more open than our own, more open at least – not necessarily without corruption: over the past year [the FBI had] 600 agents who worked on 2,200 public corruption cases, resulting in 650 arrests, 1,000 indictments and 800 convictions - Miami-Herald The funniest/dodgiest case was “Operation Tennessee Waltz”: Some Tennessee legislators were moving so quickly that ‘we were actually having to discuss how we were going to show it down’ so that bills aiding the [FBI’s] phoney firm didn’t become law.”
Taito Phillip Field needn’t feel alone: the Feds have searched Alaska State Senator Ben Stevens office in an oil industry bribery scandal. Talk about embarrassing your parents – his Dad is a Republican US Senator.
And speaking of federal legislators we see another marked difference to NZ – the complete absence of youth from senior congressional posts. In our parliament most WIPs are fairly young, with the elderly defined as anyone over 65 and accorded in the public mind a (quite unfair) assumption they are inadequate to lead – Brash was dogged by this taint from the outset. In the US it’s an old man’s game however – check out the list of likely Senate/House Chairman (from Nov. 10 USA Today):
Appropriations: Sen. Byrd, 88 / Rep.Obey, 68
Armed Service: Sen. Levin, 72 / Rep. Skelton, 74
Environment/Resources: Sen. Boxer, 65 / Rep. Lantes, 78
Health/Education: Sen. Leachy, 66 / Rep. Congress, 77
They might as well move the whole show to a condo complex in Fort Lauderdale and be done with it. I take it from the geriatric composition of the Dem’s front row that they have the seniority rule and the Republicans do not? I mean what party would put the Thurmondesque Robert Byrd, with his Don Knotts warbling, finger wagging-punctuated tirades and ethereal lapses mid-speech of staring silently into the far distance that seem to last for hours like he is waiting for his mind to be beamed back down from the sponsorship – what rule could justify – putting a man like that in control of the allocation of the most massive sums of money that human civilization has ever known? The answer, I’m afraid, is the Democratic Party and, surely, it’s seniority rule. The junior Senator for the great State of New York will have to bide her time in forced difference I suppose.
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Hawkes Bay Prison
Private Bag 1600
Tim Selwyn (Editor of Tumeke!)
Hawkes Bay Prison
Currently appealing sedition conviction