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A Dictatorship is a Heck of a Lot Easier: Ray McGovern Election Day Premonition
NOVEMBER 2, 2004 — I should have listened to Ray McGovern.

The last time our country had a presidential election, it was rigged. This time (in spite of Condoleezza Rice) it was shut down and, as Tom Ridge of the omnipresent Department of Homeland Security said, “indefinitely postponed.”

Four months ago, on July 4th weekend, when Ray McGovern warned me about this going down, I didn’t take him seriously. I thought, instead, that he might be recovering from an insane Independence Day beach party. As I look back on what the 27-year CIA analyst told me, he was the only sober one among us.

“I would not put it past John Ashcroft and the President to trump up a terrorist threat right before the election where they say that the polling places are in danger and we’re going to have to postpone this thing,” McGovern said back then. “Maybe they’ll impose a state of emergency.”

Ray is losing it, I thought. He may have chaired National Intelligence Estimates, prepared the President’s Daily Brief and worked intelligence for the presidencies of JFK to Bush the elder, but hold on, — George W. Bush postpone an election? That’s a little far fetched, I thought.

“People say that there’s a line that the Bush administration won’t cross,” McGovern continued. “I haven’t seen that line. I don’t know that it exists. I see what Ashcroft has been saying: namely that it is inevitable that there will be a major terrorist attack before the election. I see what General Tommy Franks has been saying that, if there is such an attack, we would have martial law.”

Martial law? It didn't seem possible back then, so I didn’t pay attention. Neither did most Americans.

In August, when Congress announced that they had a plan in place to delay the November elections in case of a terrorist attack, we were watching HBO and planning our end of summer getaways.

“Of course, we have every hope that the election proceeds as scheduled,” Bill Frist announced as Tom Ridge raised the Terror Alert to Orange.

In September, when Diebold announced it was gearing up to have a national e-voting system in place by no later than November 2005, we were jamming back-to-school sales and raving about the latest flat screen technology.

“The National Federation of the Blind has complete confidence in the proliferation and capacity of electronic voting systems and in Diebold Election Systems,” said Dr. Marc Mauer, President, National Federation of the Blind.

Talk about the blind leading the blind.

In late October, when Bush/Cheney dropped eight points behind Kerry/Edwards in the polls, we were busy planning Halloween parties and redecorating the living room.

DeForest Soaries, chairman of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, announced he was busy looking into ways for all registered voters to vote online, “in the safety of their own homes,” as he put it.

Now it has happened. No elections, and so far, no attack.

“Better safe than sorry,” Sean Hannity has assured the Fox crowd. "After all, Election Day fell on the Day of the Dead this year. That’s just too much of a coincidence.”

Meanwhile, Bush and Cheney are a mile underground in a bunker. How convenient. As Bush once said about the presidency, “A dictatorship would be a heck of a lot easier, there's no question about it."

Back on the 4th of July, I asked McGovern why on earth our president would risk putting the election on hold.

“Bush has an extra incentive with a war crimes charge as a possibility," McGovern said. “He started a major war based on a pack of lies for objectives we were never told about. That certainly qualifies for that kind of prosecution. If I heard myself saying this sometime last year I would have thought, 'McGovern you’re going off the deep end here. Restrain yourself.'”

And what would happen if Tommy Franks had his way?

“At that point, you could kiss the republic goodbye,” McGovern said. “We would have a military regime.”

I should have listened.

— Nathan Callahan, July 12, 2004


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