As George W. Bush handed further key government posts to hardline Republican right-wingers, an unofficial recount of votes in Florida appeared to confirm that Bush lost the US presidential election.
Despite the decision by the US Supreme Court to halt the Florida recount in the contested counties, American media organisations, includ ing Knight Ridder - owner of the Miami Herald - have commissioned their own counts, gaining access to the ballots under Freedom of Information legislation. The result so far, with the recounting of so-called 'undervotes' in only one county completed by Friday night, indicates that Al Gore is ahead by 140 votes.
Florida's 25 electoral college votes won Bush the presidency by two seats last Monday after the Supreme Court refused to allow the counting of 45,000 discarded votes. But as the media recount was suspended for Christmas, the votes so far tallied in Lake and Broward counties have Gore ahead in the race for the pivotal state, and hence the White House.
Gore's lead is expected to soar when counting resumes in the New Year and Miami votes are counted. In a separate exercise, the Miami Herald commissioned a team of political analysts and pollsters to make a statistical calculation based on projections of votes by county, concluding that Gore won the state by 23,000.
The media initiative is likely to bedevil Bush in the weeks to come, thickening the pall of illegitimacy that will hang over his inauguration on 20 January.
It has already led to a face-off between almost all the news media organisations in the state and Bush's presidential team. In the most extreme example of the Bush camp's desperation to avoid a recount, the new director of the Environment Protection Agency, Christine Todd Whitman, has proposed that the Florida ballots be sealed for 10 years.
Bush's spokesman Tucker Eskew dismissed the recount as 'mischief-making' and 'inflaming public passions' while his brother, Florida governor Jeb Bush, accused the papers of 'trying to rewrite history'.
Meanwhile, Bush made his boldest ideological statement yet with the appointment of John Ashcroft as Attorney General.
The appointment is especially significant, because as head of the Justice Department Ashcroft would be the man to bring any felony charges against President Bill Clinton over the Lewinsky affair. During the scandal, Ashcroft was among the loudest and shrillest voices for impeachment.
There have been many calls to President-elect Bush to pardon his predecessor as a sign of peace, but he made a point of rejecting them.
Ashcroft lost his Missouri Senate seat to the widow of the state's popular Democrat governor, Mel Carnahan. From the family of a Pentacostal minister, he is an outspoken social conservative and an ally of the extremist Pat Robertson.
Ashcroft represents a host of militant committees and activist groups, of which the Christian Coalition is most prominent. He is an opponent not only of abortion but even - as he said in one speech - of dancing.
Mr. Ashcroft sounds like the kind of fellow I would enjoy hanging out with which is more than I could say about you whinning bleeding heart idiots. Victimhood and self pity must be American luxuries. You assholes enjoy indulging in them quite a bit.
It seems to me that goat happens to be the BIGGEST JACKASSED FASCIST on the face of the earth!!!! It is apparent that after Mr. Ashcroft lost to a deadman in the 11/07 election for U.S. Senator from MO, Mr. Illegitimate made him Atty. General for the very reason that there will be a likelyhood that the calls to look into what really happend in FL & why Gore was cheated will get so deafining he's trying to put up a brick wall to ensure that no investigation will take place.
"It seems to me that goat happens to be the BIGGEST JACKASSED FASCIST on the face of the earth!!!!"
Why gee thanks CCotton... I didn't know you cared... I think I'm in love.
The feeling's mutual. Wait until October 2001 & the Bush Dynasty will be exposed naked to the world.
Publish date: 14/12/2000; Amnesty International.
Cuba Mmarks Human Rights Day With Mass Detentions And Sentences For Dissidents.
"The mass detention of dissidents and political opponents in the weeks around the 52nd anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights indicates a continued disrespect by the Cuban authorities towards several of the fundamental freedoms enshrined in the Declaration," Amnesty International said today. "Although the number of prisoners of conscience in Cuba appears to have dropped slightly during 2000, these events clearly demonstrate the government's will to suppress attempts to exercise the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly."
Up to 200 people believed to be involved in the planning of anti-government demonstrations or marches for Human Rights Day on 10 December were rounded up and held in custody in order to prevent them from participating in 'counter-revolutionary' activities. Although most of those arrested were released after being held for periods of up to 48 hours, four people remained in detention yesterday evening, two of whom had already been tried and sentenced.
Angel Moya Acosta and Julia Cecilia Delgado were tried this week in separate proceedings for "disrespect" after being detained in the mass arrests. They were each sentenced to a year in prison. Angel Moya Acosta has also been banned from traveling to Havana, where his wife and children live, for ten years. The speed with which they were charged, brought to trial and sentenced gives Amnesty International cause for concern that the proceedings might not have met international standards for fair trial. The organization believes that they may be prisoners of conscience.
The organization is also concerned for Leonardo Bruzón Avila and Marcos Lázaro Torres León, who were reportedly still held in detention without charge more than 10 days after their arrest in the context of the recent mass detentions.
A number of prominent dissidents have been in detention since October on charges related to their criticism of the Cuban government, including Carlos Oquendo Rodríguez, Jose Aguilar Hernández and Pedro Pablo Alvarez Ramos.
Angel Moya Acosta was declared a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International following his arrest on 10 December 1999 for participating in a peaceful demonstration in Matanzas province to celebrate the 51st anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Although he was charged with "resistance", public disorder, and "instigation to commit a crime", he was freed on 7 August without ever being tried.
For more information please call Amnesty International's press office in London, UK, on +44 20 7413 5566 Amnesty International, 1 Easton St., London WC1X 0DW web :http://www.amnesty.org