Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Stealing the Vote - Will the Republicans Be Able To Do It Again This Year?

Did Al Gore win in 2000? Yes, he did. The hanging chads, and the corrupt ruling of five members of the US Supreme Court were only part of the story. If thousands upon thousands of black voters had not been deliberately disenfranchised by Jeb Bush's Florida government, as documented and reported by Greg Palast at BBC and elsewhere, and if other intentional Republican cheating had not occurred (e.g., counting overseas military votes although the ballots arrived late), Gore would have been declared President in 2000. Despite Nader. Despite the hanging chads. Even despite a corrupt US Supreme Court which was willing to overturn the Florida Supreme Court in order to put Bush in the White House. Gore would have won, and those problems would not have mattered.

And then did Kerry win in 2004? Greg Palast has made a strong case that he did in fact win - specifically, that he actually won Ohio and New Mexico, and but for Republican cheating in those states, Kerry would have, and should have, been named President in 2004. In 2004, I contributed financially to Kerry's campaign and also I was one of the many lawyers who volunteered to help the Kerry campaign monitor elections in several important states. Given a choice of Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, I chose Pennsylvania, and was therefore responsible for monitoring a particular voting precinct in Scranton. (Afterwards, I joked that Kerry won Pennsylvania because I was there, and that had I opted for Ohio, Kerry would not have "lost.") The discrepancies in Pennsylvania and Florida in 2004 were not so many, but in Ohio and New Mexico they were enough, arguably (see Greg Palast's reports) to rob Kerry of the presidency.

Both Gore and Kerry did the polite, establishment thing and stepped aside for the sake of their own future careers - or whatever. To me, Gore was particularly disappointing in his refusal to fight, not for himself, but for the many disenfranchised voters whose votes were stolen in Florida. Many blamed Ralph Nader for the "loss" but the real blame belongs with the Jeb Bush-Jim Crow tactics that are frighteningly a major part of the Republican playbook, and which continue to threaten our "democracy" - that is, whatever remains of our democracy, now that big business has bought and paid for most of the politicians in Washington.

The mainstream media did not timely, accurately, and fully report the real story of 2000. Instead, weeks after the real story should have been on page one, the corporate media instead made allusions to the real story, as had already been reported in England and elsewhere in Europe, typically in a shamefully short article about the NAACP's "claims" buried on page 26. Nor did the media report on the vote stealing of 2004. The corporate media (General Electric, Disney, Rupert Murdoch, et al.) has also not reported the real story on the "Help America Vote Act" (an Orwellian name for a frighteningly repulsive federal law that continues to threaten our democracy).

For the real story - as there is hardly any guarantee we will get the unvarnished truth from the corporate media just because they have the constitutional "right" of a free press - one must read Greg Palast's articles and books at

Now Greg Palast has teamed up with Robert Kennedy, Jr., in an effort to prevent a repeat of the Republican vote stealing that has occurred in the last two elections. See Perhaps Obama will win in a landslide, as Kerry should have done in 2004, and thus it will be impossible for the corrupt Republican machine to steal enough votes to take the election this time. But all who care about democratic values should be vigilant. Vote stealing is a time-honored tradition, both in this country and throughout the world - both "democratic" and "non-democratic". But while Jimmy Carter may monitor the elections in other countries, we can't expect to have outside monitors with any clout monitoring our own elections. We certainly can't count on our media to monitor the election accurately; the media, and not just FOX, has been a huge part of the problem, both in 2000 and 2004.

There is a documentary, now showing in East Cambridge, at Kendall Square's landmark theater, about vote stealing - Stealing America - The Movie - which I have not yet seen but which I will see soon. From the previews, I can see that both Robert Kennedy, Jr. and Greg Palast, among many others, are interviewed in the documentary.

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