SingaporeSkyline: Financial district, SingaporeSingaporeHarbor: Harbor view, Singapore

Singapore was described to me as resembling a golf course, ever-so-groomed and maintained. That’s true, but it’s also a work in transitition.

I visited one of the city-state’s national research centers on Friday. It’s called Kent Ridge Digital Labs (KRDL), and it’s out by the National University of Singapore on the western side of this small island.

KRDL is an information-technology research lab, aimed mostly at software. It’s a key part of Singapore’s effort to move its economy into the new age. It thrived in recent decades on financial services, transportation and manufacturing — with high-tech manufacturing a particular expertise.

Can Singapore create a new economic force from brainpower? That’s not entirely clear.

Certainly some of the technologists here are as bright and capable as the ones who flock each year to Silicon Valley and the rest of the United States. I’m not sure if the local culture is as accomodating of creative thinking, of the individualism that seems to accompany the most successful entrepeneurship.

I’m meeting with government officials tomorrow. Singapore’s government is clearly the most important economic player, even in a largely capitalistic system.

The Bush Tactics

The Republicans’ hypocrisy is beyond belief. Their contempt for law and support of mob rule is frightening.

The Bush crowd screamed bloody murder when the Democrats, looking at the bizarre “butterfly” ballot in Palm Beach County, Florida, said it caused Gore voters to mistakenly vote for the right-winger Pat Buchanan. How dare anyone even think that these votes might be counted.

But the Republicans want to count absentee ballots (CNN) that are equally invalid. “A technicality,” scream the GOP public-releations hordes.

Then the Republicans started making noise about throwing out the Florida results if they don’t like what the recount shows. Maybe the Republican state legislature will vote for Bush electors. Maybe Congress.

These are people who would abandon the rule of law when it doesn’t suit them. They seem to be much more motivated than the Democratic activists, which is why they may win.

They are looking mighty hypocritical. They are also looking downright dangerous.

The Bush supporters used nothing short of goonish tactics to intimidate the Dade County elections officials into dropping their recount.

Two days ago, in my Thanksgiving column, I said the world was looking at the U.S. process not with disdain but with awe. We were following the rule of law, not mob behavior. I was wrong.

I am nearly ashamed of my country today. The Republican mob wants its man to be president, no matter what it takes. THere is a the cost to democracy, to the rule of law. They should think about what they’re doing, and so should their leaders in the GOP and their syncophants in the media.

I’ve been critical of the Gore team’s insistence on counting the so-called “dimpled chads.” But nothing Gore is doing begins to match the Bush crowd’s activities.

Bush may well take the oath of office as our next president. If he does, he will be a barely legitimate president in my view, though he will be a legal one and I will acknowledge his legal holding of the office.

But I will fervently hope Congressional Democrats have the courage to stand up to him and Trent Lott and Tom DeLay and the other right-wingers who want to turn America back decades socially and politically. And I hope they will resist the GOP’s rampage against law and order.

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