good documentation on vote fraud
disinformation on Peak Oil
unearthed a clue that 9/11 was deliberately allowed to happen but refuses to "connect the dots" about 9/11 and Peak Oil
Greg Palast is a US reporter who became famous (notorious in Republican circles) for his outstanding investigative journalism about the Florida 2000 "election" and the ways that the Jeb Bush administration schemed to kick many thousands of black voters from the election rolls. During that time, Palast reported for the British Broadcasting Corporation, which was willing to air his hard hitting exposes while most US corporate media did not dare touch his work. Much of this work is in his book "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy," and is at his website www.gregpalast.com
Palast's role in the independent 9/11 investigations has been mixed. On the one hand, he helped unearth a crucial document that showed how the Bush regime ordered a "stand down" into the investigation into Bin Laden's relatives in America. Journalist Michael Ruppert's comments on this facet are these:
I have the utmost respect for Greg Palast. His production of the W-199(I) report showing that the Bush Administration had ordered the FBI to stop investigating some of bin Laden's relatives outside of Washington, D.C. was a watershed moment in this case. Nonetheless, the pattern is very clear when taken as a whole that the Administration had a direct motive to let the attacks happen and make sure they succeeded. There was provocation.
- Mike Ruppert www.leftgatekeepers.com/articles/
However, in his articles and public speeches, Palast has been extremely allergic to drawing the parallel between the FBI's "stand down" of the investigation into the Bin Laden family in America and the Air Force "stand down" on 9-11 that was absolutely critical for the attacks to succeed.
Palast has even gone out of his way to claim that there isn't any evidence that "Bush Knew" about the "attacks" in advance, despite a mountain of evidence that proves beyond reasonable doubt that Bush definitely did know (and probably was complicit, which is even worse than merely "letting it happen").
When challenged at a talk in April 2003 at the University of Oregon, Palast admitted that he had not looked at the Air Force stand down, the "war games" on 9/11 or other core aspects to the military / intelligence agencies complicity in the "attacks." He noted that some stories take years to prove, and promised that he would look into the details. Despite these private comments at a book signing after a speech of his (at the University of Oregon), shortly afterwards he wrote a particularly insidious article "The Screwing of Cynthia McKinney" which seemd to defend her while distancing from the obvious facts she pointed out about 9/11.
|Greg Palast vs. Peak Oil|
Greg Palast is misleading his readers about the global oil situation in several ways. Perhaps the most blatant is the fantasy that Venezuela supposedly has far more oil than Saudi Arabia. While no member of OPEC allows independent verification of their national oil reserves, no serious observer states that Venezuela surpasses the Saudis in the size of their oil fields. What Palast is hinting at is the large tar sands that Venezuela does have, but they are not a trillion plus barrels, and they require nearly as much energy to process as they contain. The fact that oil companies are now starting to process the tar sands (in Canada and Venezuela) is proof that the easy to get, high energy return on energy invested conventional oil is winding down. While Palast is correct to note that oil is at the heart of United States imperialism versus the Chavez government in Venezuela, to pretend it has more oil than Saudi Arabia is embarrassing for Palast's credibility.
FEAR OF CHAVEZ IS FEAR OF DEMOCRACY
by Greg Palast
Monday December 3, 2007
... Why is the Bush crew so bonkers about Hugo? Is it because Venezuela sits on the world’s largest reserve of coconuts?
Like Operation Iraqi Liberation (”OIL”) - it’s all about the crude, dude. And lots of it. The US Department of Energy documents I obtained indicate that the guys holding Bush’s dipstick figure that Venezuela is sitting on 1.36 trillion barrels of crude, five times the reserves of Saudi Arabia.[emphasis added]
An excellent rebuttal of Greg Palast's blindness about ecological limits was written by Richard Heinberg, author of "The Party's Over" and "Powerdown."
MuseLetter #171 / July 2006
by Richard Heinberg
An Open Letter to Greg Palast on Peak Oil
Journalist Greg Palast is a prominent advocate of the view that Peak Oil is just an oil company conspiracy to hike the price of petroleum. While there are some kernels of truth in his analysis, Palast misunderstands the issues.
Peak Oil doesn't fit into a rigid ideology. Yes, the oil companies are profiteering, but oil is also finite and production is maxxed out. It's revealing that few of those complaining about Exxon profits or $3 per gallon gas mention conservation, Amtrak, and the insanity of the illusion of the goddess given right of every 'merican to use as much energy as they want. How many people upset at rising oil prices recommend nationalization of the oil companies as part of a policy to mitigate the impact of expensive oil on the most economically vulnerable part of the population?
The confluence of Peak Oil and climate change is very interesting - Peak Oil may mitigate the impact of climate change, since most climate scenarios assume constant increase in combustion, which is unlikely to be possible (even with coal and tar sands).
Palast is also on record claiming there was not any foreknowledge of 9/11 (he even said this in 2003, after numerous revelations that there was in fact foreknowledge). See the Complete 9/11 Timeline at www.cooperativeresearch.org for a good rebuttal to Palast's self-imposed blindness. (Palast's assistant Matt Pascarella admitted at a September 2005 conference in Portland, Oregon on vote fraud that he had a copy of Paul Thompson's "The Terror Timeline," a book version of the 9/11 Timeline.)
Palast did great work on the voter lists in Florida, but that doesn't make him an expert on everything. No one is that.
Hopefully, Palast is sincere in his ignorance, but there are many voices who are trying to get people to avoid looking at the reality of Peak.
The real scam of Peak Oil is that the public is excluded from decisions about how to cope with it (and with climate change).
Subject: RE: is Palast lying?
Date: Mon, 30 Jun 2003
From: Adam Hurter
Anthony et al,
I'm all about the benefit of the doubt sometimes, but I'm not inclined to let Palast off with "sloppy reporting" here (though I know he was your "Guerilla of the Year").
What NPR and NYT said are side-points, distractions even, perhaps. The point, to me, is that Palast said
"According to NPR, "McKinney implied that the [Bush] Administration knew in advance about September 11 and deliberately held back the information." Problem is, McKinney never said it. That's right. The "quote" from McKinney is a complete fabrication. A whopper, a fabulous fib, a fake, a flim-flam. Just freakin‚ made up. "
when, in fact, what really happened was,
McKinney in the famous KPFA interview in April '02 DID imply 9/11 Bush Admin. foreknowledge. You may recall - what happened was the KPFA interview did not make waves, but two weeks after it somehow the Washington Post ended up running the story on the back page of the front section... I remember reading it that day in D.C. I was down there doing media for the April 20 United We March action and we faxed McKinney's office immediately to thank her... anyway, after that Post article that 9/11 conspiracy talk heated up, and the 9/11 truth movement was given a jolt. It was clear to everyone what was going on- a Congressperson has spoken the unspeakable. I even remember the quote from some Bush higher-up in the WP article, "She [McKinney] must be joining the grassy knoll society." Yes, so THEY had to face what McKinney was implying, rather than pretend to ignore it and brush it aside with some ambiguous remark, which is always PR plan A. PR Plan B was damage control, name-calling, labelling (conspiracist nut).
Maybe Palast missed all this. Then he also seemed to miss McKinney Counterpunch article, in which, again, she said:
"We know there were numerous warnings of the events to come on September 11. Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, delivered one such warning. Those engaged in unusual stock trades immediately before September 11 knew enough to make millions of dollars from United and American airlines, certain insurance and brokerage firms' stocks. What did this Administration know, and when did it know it about the events of September 11? Who else knew and why did they not warn the innocent people of New York who were needlessly murdered."
This is serious shit she's bringing up.
As we all know, McKinney was later ousted from Congress in a top-down Republican coup, which, if you ask me, had a lot more to do with 9/11 than Israel (she had been defending Palestinean rights for the past decade). Last I heard from her she gave Kyle a big hug, thanked him for his 9/11 work and said she was working on a 9/11 "expose" herself (whatever that means).
So, I think, a key question to ask here is, why would Palast write that article? To start to answer that kind of question we always have to first look at- what is the "meme effect" of the article? To me the most important meme the reader gets is, "McKinney never actually implied there was something of a conspiracy on 9/11." The guise is that he is defending McKinney, but it strikes me that his ostensible defense of McKinney is by far a less significant idea that comes out.
Why would Palast spread this meme? Let's look for patterns in his work.
From his famous Peter-whats-his-face-award-winning "Did Bush Spike the Investigation of Bin Laden?" article,
"I must emphasize what we did not find: We uncovered no information, none whatsoever, that George W. Bush had any advance knowledge of the plan to attack the World Trade Center on 9/11, nor, heaven forbid, any involvement in the attack... What we did discover was serious enough."
(Maybe YOU didn't uncover any much info., Mr. Palast, but other people have found shitload. Try www.cooperativeresearch.org)
Palast drew a line in the sand right there, putting himself clearly on one side of a debate. OK, buddy, if your article is not meant to imply that there was no deliberate allowing of 9/11 or terrorism in general to occur, then what the hell was it meant to imply, what is it worth? Not much good, if you ask me. (note- I and a few others actually emailed Palast passionately about all this, and he did not reply, though he did reply to me in a different instance)
The question, again, is always- what kind of meme-shift is the piece of media opening for the reader/viewer/listener? I believe to many readers in this situation it would be, "Greg Palast has caught Bush turning his head to terrorism because of money (believable), but even he doesn't believe there was some sort of conspiracy in 9/11." That meme plus -- "It's all about the money connections to the Saudis" But is it really? Were 15 of the 19 hijackers really Saudis, as one layer of the official story goes? Or is it more complex than that, has it perhaps much more to do with the U.S.-led Empire scripting war than the alleged Saudi connection? Questions I ask to the world. www.oilempire.us has some pretty right-on leads and answers.
My thoughts for now.
Quoting Anthony Lappe <anthony@ gnn.tv:
Thanks for sending this to me. GNN has been very interested in this story.
Here's my take. It sounds like Palast did some sloppy reporting here. But let's look at this statement from NPR:
NPR: "McKinney implied that the administration knew in advance about September 11th and deliberately held back information."
She never said "Bush knew," she is merely asking for an investigation into 9/11 that should include a look at what Bush knew and when. As I'm sure you know, even Sen. Bob Graham, the then head of the Senate Intelligence Committee at the time, has accused Bush of a 9/11 "cover-up."
The Times report is fairer, in that it characterizes McKinney as saying
McKinney implied that "Bush MIGHT have known" - and I think the author is correct is calling Palast out for his attack on that reporter.
|Greg Palast proves 2004 election was stolen|
Kerry Won. . .
November 04, 2004
Bush won Ohio by 136,483 votes. Typically in the United States, about 3 percent of votes cast are voided--known as “spoilage” in election jargon--because the ballots cast are inconclusive. Drawing on what happened in Florida and studies of elections past, Palast argues that if Ohio’s discarded ballots were counted, Kerry would have won the state. Today, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports there are a total of 247,672 votes not counted in Ohio, if you add the 92,672 discarded votes plus the 155,000 provisional ballots. So far there's no indication that Palast's hypothesis will be tested because only the provisional ballots are being counted.
Greg Palast, contributing editor to Harper's magazine, investigated the manipulation of the vote for BBC Television's Newsnight. The documentary, "Bush Family Fortunes," based on his New York Times bestseller, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, has been released this month on DVD .
Kerry won. Here's the facts.
I know you don't want to hear it. You can't face one more hung chad. But I don't have a choice. As a journalist examining that messy sausage called American democracy, it's my job to tell you who got the most votes in the deciding states. Tuesday, in Ohio and New Mexico, it was John Kerry.
Most voters in Ohio thought they were voting for Kerry. CNN's exit poll showed Kerry beating Bush among Ohio women by 53 percent to 47 percent. Kerry also defeated Bush among Ohio's male voters 51 percent to 49 percent. Unless a third gender voted in Ohio, Kerry took the state.
So what's going on here? Answer: the exit polls are accurate. Pollsters ask, "Who did you vote for?" Unfortunately, they don't ask the crucial, question, "Was your vote counted?" The voters don't know.
Here's why. Although the exit polls show that most voters in Ohio punched cards for Kerry-Edwards, thousands of these votes were simply not recorded. This was predictable and it was predicted. [See TomPaine.com, "An Election Spoiled Rotten," November 1.]
Once again, at the heart of the Ohio uncounted vote game are, I'm sorry to report, hanging chads and pregnant chads, plus some other ballot tricks old and new.
The election in Ohio was not decided by the voters but by something called "spoilage." Typically in the United States, about 3 percent of the vote is voided, just thrown away, not recorded. When the bobble-head boobs on the tube tell you Ohio or any state was won by 51 percent to 49 percent, don't you believe it ... it has never happened in the United States, because the total never reaches a neat 100 percent. The television totals simply subtract out the spoiled vote.
Whose Votes Are Discarded?
And not all votes spoil equally. Most of those votes, say every official report, come from African-American and minority precincts. (To learn more, click here.)
We saw this in Florida in 2000. Exit polls showed Gore with a plurality of at least 50,000, but it didn't match the official count. That's because the official, Secretary of State Katherine Harris, excluded 179,855 spoiled votes. In Florida, as in Ohio, most of these votes lost were cast on punch cards where the hole wasn't punched through completely--leaving a 'hanging chad,'--or was punched extra times. Whose cards were discarded? Expert statisticians investigating spoilage for the government calculated that 54 percent of the ballots thrown in the dumpster were cast by black folks. (To read the report from the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, click here.)
And here's the key: Florida is terribly typical. The majority of ballots thrown out (there will be nearly 2 million tossed out from Tuesday's election) will have been cast by African American and other minority citizens.
So here we go again. Or, here we don't go again. Because unlike last time, Democrats aren't even asking Ohio to count these cards with the not-quite-punched holes (called "undervotes" in the voting biz). Nor are they demanding we look at the "overvotes" where voter intent may be discerned.
Ohio is one of the last states in America to still use the vote-spoiling punch-card machines. And the Secretary of State of Ohio, J. Kenneth Blackwell, wrote before the election, “the possibility of a close election with punch cards as the state’s primary voting device invites a Florida-like calamity.”
But this week, Blackwell, a rabidly partisan Republican, has warmed up to the result of sticking with machines that have a habit of eating Democratic votes. When asked if he feared being this year's Katherine Harris, Blackwell noted that Ms. Fix-it's efforts landed her a seat in Congress.
Exactly how many votes were lost to spoilage this time? Blackwell's office, notably, won't say, though the law requires it be reported. Hmm. But we know that last time, the total of Ohio votes discarded reached a democracy-damaging 1.96 percent. The machines produced their typical loss--that's 110,000 votes--overwhelmingly Democratic.
The Impact Of Challenges
First and foremost, Kerry was had by chads. But the Democrat wasn't punched out by punch cards alone. There were also the 'challenges.' That's a polite word for the Republican Party of Ohio's use of an old Ku Klux Klan technique: the attempt to block thousands of voters of color at the polls. In Ohio, Wisconsin and Florida, the GOP laid plans for poll workers to ambush citizens under arcane laws--almost never used--allowing party-designated poll watchers to finger individual voters and demand they be denied a ballot. The Ohio courts were horrified and federal law prohibits targeting of voters where race is a factor in the challenge. But our Supreme Court was prepared to let Republicans stand in the voting booth door.
In the end, the challenges were not overwhelming, but they were there. Many apparently resulted in voters getting these funky "provisional" ballots—a kind of voting placebo—which may or may not be counted. Blackwell estimates there were 175,000; Democrats say 250,000. Pick your number. But as challenges were aimed at minorities, no one doubts these are, again, overwhelmingly Democratic. Count them up, add in the spoiled punch cards (easy to tally with the human eye in a recount), and the totals begin to match the exit polls; and, golly, you've got yourself a new president. Remember, Bush won by 136,483 votes in Ohio.
Enchanted State's Enchanted Vote
Now, on to New Mexico, where a Kerry plurality--if all votes are counted--is more obvious still. Before the election, in TomPaine.com, I wrote, "John Kerry is down by several thousand votes in New Mexico, though not one ballot has yet been counted."
How did that happen? It's the spoilage, stupid; and the provisional ballots.
CNN said George Bush took New Mexico by 11,620 votes. Again, the network total added up to that miraculous, and non-existent, '100 percent' of ballots cast.
New Mexico reported in the last race a spoilage rate of 2.68 percent, votes lost almost entirely in Hispanic, Native American and poor precincts—Democratic turf. From Tuesday's vote, assuming the same ballot-loss rate, we can expect to see 18,000 ballots in the spoilage bin.
Spoilage has a very Democratic look in New Mexico. Hispanic voters in the Enchanted State, who voted more than two to one for Kerry, are five times as likely to have their vote spoil as a white voter. Counting these uncounted votes would easily overtake the Bush 'plurality.'
Already, the election-bending effects of spoilage are popping up in the election stats, exactly where we'd expect them: in heavily Hispanic areas controlled by Republican elections officials. Chaves County, in the "Little Texas" area of New Mexico, has a 44 percent Hispanic population, plus African Americans and Native Americans, yet George Bush "won" there 68 percent to 31 percent.
I spoke with Chaves' Republican county clerk before the election, and he told me that this huge spoilage rate among Hispanics simply indicated that such people simply can't make up their minds on the choice of candidate for president. Oddly, these brown people drive across the desert to register their indecision in a voting booth.
Now, let's add in the effect on the New Mexico tally of provisional ballots.
"They were handing them out like candy," Albuquerque journalist Renee Blake reported of provisional ballots. About 20,000 were given out. Who got them?
Santiago Juarez who ran the "Faithful Citizenship" program for the Catholic Archdiocese in New Mexico, told me that "his" voters, poor Hispanics, whom he identified as solid Kerry supporters, were handed the iffy provisional ballots. Hispanics were given provisional ballots, rather than the countable kind "almost religiously," he said, at polling stations when there was the least question about a voter's identification. Some voters, Santiago said, were simply turned away.
Your Kerry Victory Party
So we can call Ohio and New Mexico for John Kerry—if we count all the votes.
But that won't happen. Despite the Democratic Party's pledge, the leadership this time gave in to racial disenfranchisement once again. Why? No doubt, the Democrats know darn well that counting all the spoiled and provisional ballots will require the cooperation of Ohio's Secretary of State, Blackwell. He will ultimately decide which spoiled and provisional ballots get tallied. Blackwell, hankering to step into Kate Harris' political pumps, is unlikely to permit anything close to a full count. Also, Democratic leadership knows darn well the media would punish the party for demanding a full count.
What now? Kerry won, so hold your victory party. But make sure the shades are down: it may be become illegal to demand a full vote count under PATRIOT Act III.
I used to write a column for the Guardian papers in London. Several friends have asked me if I will again leave the country. In light of the failure--a second time--to count all the votes, that won't be necessary. My country has left me.
KERRY WON OHIO
JUST COUNT THE BALLOTS AT THE BACK OF THE BUS
In These Times
Friday, November 12, 2004
Most voters in Ohio chose Kerry. Here's how the votes vanished.
By Greg Palast
This February, Ken Blackwell, Ohio's Secretary of State, told his State Senate President, "The possibility of a close election with punch cards as the state's primary voting device invites a Florida-like calamity." Blackwell, co-chair of Bush-Cheney reelection campaign, wasn't warning his fellow Republican of disaster, but boasting of an opportunity to bring in Ohio for Team Bush no matter what the voters wanted. And most voters in Ohio wanted JFK, not GWB. But their choice won't count because their votes won't be counted.
The ballots that add up to a majority for John Kerry in Ohio -- and in New Mexico -- are locked up in two Republican hidey-holes: "spoiled" ballots and "provisional" ballots.
OHIO SPOILED ROTTEN
American democracy has a dark little secret. In a typical presidential election, two million ballots are simply chucked in the garbage, marked "spoiled" and not counted. A dive into the electoral dumpster reveals something special about these votes left to rot. In a careful county-by-county, precinct-by-precinct analysis of the Florida 2000 race, the US Civil Rights Commission discovered that 54% of the votes in the spoilage bin were cast by African-Americans. And Florida, Heaven help us, is typical. Nationwide, the number of Black votes "disappeared" into the spoiled pile is approximately one million. The other million in the no-count pit come mainly from Hispanic, Native-American and poor white precincts, a decidedly Democratic demographic.
Ohio Republicans, simultaneously in charge of both the Bush-Cheney get-out-the-vote drive and the state's vote-counting rules, doggedly and systematically insured the spoilage pile would be as high as the White House.
Vote spoilage comes in two flavors. There are "overvotes" -- too many punches in the cards -- and "undervotes." Here we find the hanging, dimpled and "pregnant" chads created by old, dysfunctional punch card machines, in which the bit of paper covering the hole doesn't fall out, but hangs on. Machines can't read these, but we humans, who know a hole when we see one, have no problem reading these cards ... if allowed to. This is how Katherine Harris defeated Al Gore, by halting the hand count of the spoiled punch cards not, as is generally believed, by halting a "recount."
Whose chads are left hanging? In Florida in 2000 federal investigators determined that Black voters' ballots spoiled 900% more often than white voters, mainly due to punch card error. Ohio Republicans found those racial odds quite attractive. The state was the only one of fifty to refuse to eliminate or fix these vote-eating machines, even in the face of a lawsuit by the ACLU.
Apparently, the Ohio Republicans like what the ACLU found. The civil rights group's expert testimony concluded that Ohio's cussed insistence on forcing 73% of its electorate to use punch card machines had an "overwhelming" racial bias, voiding votes mostly in Black precincts. Blackwell doesn't disagree; and he hopes to fix the machinery ... sometime after George Bush's next inauguration. In the meantime, the state's Attorney General Jim Petro, a Republican, strategically postponed the trial date of the ACLU case until after the election.
Fixing a punch card machine is cheap and easy. If Ohio simply placed a card-reading machine in each polling station, as Michigan did this year, voters could have checked to ensure their vote would tally. If not, they would have gotten another card.
Blackwell knows that. He also knows that if those reading machines had been installed, almost all the 93,000 spoiled votes, overwhelmingly Democratic, would have closed the gap on George Bush's lead of 136,000 votes
JIM CROW'S PROVISIONAL BALLOT
Add to the spoiled ballots a second group of uncounted votes, the 'provisional' ballots, and -- voila! -- the White House would have turned Democrat blue.
But that won't happen because of the peculiar way provisional ballots are counted or, more often, not counted. Introduced by federal law in 2002, the provisional ballot was designed especially for voters of color. Proposed by the Congressional Black Caucus to save the rights of those wrongly scrubbed from voter rolls, it was, in Republican-controlled swing states, twisted into a back-of-the-bus ballot unlikely to be tallied.
Unlike the real thing, these ballots are counted only by the whimsy and rules of a state's top elections official; and in Ohio, that gives a virtually ballot veto to Secretary of State Blackwell.
Mr. Blackwell has a few rules to make sure a large proportion of provisional ballots won't be counted. For the first time in memory, the Secretary of State has banned counting ballots cast in the "wrong" precinct, though all neighborhoods share the same President.
Over 155,000 Ohio voters were shunted to these second-class ballots. The election-shifting bulge in provisional ballots (more than 3% of the electorate) was the direct result of the national Republican strategy that targeted African-American precincts for mass challenges on election day.
This is the first time in four decades that a political party has systematically barred -- in this case successfully -- hundreds of thousands of Black voters from access to the voting booth. While investigating for BBC Television, we obtained three dozen of the Republican Party's confidential "caging" lists, their title for spreadsheets listing names and addresses of voters they intended to block on any pretext.
We found that every single address of the thousands on these Republican hit lists was located in Black-majority precincts. You might find that nasty and racist. It may also be a crime.
Before 1965, Jim Crow laws in the Deep South did not bar Blacks from voting. Rather, the segregationist game was played by applying minor technical voting requirements only to African-Americans. That year, Congress voted to make profiling and impeding minority voters, even with a legal pretext, a criminal offence under the Voting Rights Act.
But that didn't stop the Republicans of '04. Their legally questionable mass challenge to Black voters is not some low-level dirty tricks operation of local party hacks. Emails we obtained show the lists were copied directly to the Republican National Committee's chief of research and to the director of a state campaign.
Many challenges center on changes of address. On one Republican caging list, 50 addresses changed from Jacksonville to overseas, African-American soldiers shipped Over There.
You don't have to guess the preferences registered on the provisional ballots. Republicans went on a challenging rampage, while Democrats pledged to hold to the tradition of letting voters vote.
Blackwell has said he will count all the "valid" provisional ballots. However, his rigid regulations, like the new guess-your-precinct rule, are rigged to knock out enough voters to keep Bush's skinny lead alive. Other pre-election maneuvers by Republican officials -- late and improbably large purges of voter rolls, rejection of registrations -- maximized the use of provisional ballots which will never be counted. For example, a voter wrongly tagged an ineligible "felon" voter (and there's plenty in that category, mostly African-Americans), will lose their ballot even though they are wrongly identified.
KERRY BLACKS OUT
It was heartening that, during his campaign, John Kerry broke the political omerta that seems to prohibit public mention of the color of votes not counted in America. "Don't tell us that in the strongest democracy on earth a million disenfranchised African Americans is the best we can do." The Senator promised the NAACP convention, "This November, we're going to make sure that every single vote is counted."
But this week, Kerry became the first presidential candidate in history to break a campaign promise after losing an election. The Senator waited less than 24 hours to abandon more than a quarter million Ohio voters still waiting for their provisional and chad-spoiled ballots to be counted.
While disappointing, I can understand the cold calculus against taking the fight to the end. To count the ballots, Kerry's lawyers would, first, have to demand a hand reading of the punch cards. Blackwell, armed with the Supreme Court's Bush v. Gore diktat, would undoubtedly pull a "Kate Harris" by halting or restricting a hand count. Most daunting, Kerry's team would also, as one state attorney general pointed out to me, have to litigate each and every rejected provisional ballot in court. This would entail locating up to a hundred thousand voters to testify to their right to the vote, with Blackwell challenging each with a holster full of regulations from the old Jim Crow handbook.
Given the odds and the cost to his political career, Kerry bent, not to the will of the people, but to the will to power of the Ohio Republican machine.
We have yet to total here the votes lost in missing absentee ballots, in eyebrow-raising touch screen tallies, in purges of legal voters from registries and other games played in swing states. But why dwell on these things? Our betters in the political and media elite have told us to get over it, move on.
To the victors go the spoils of electoral class war. As Ohio's politically ambitious Secretary of State brags on his own website, "Last time I checked,” Blackwell said, “Katherine Harris wasn't in a soup line, she's in Congress."
NEW MEXICO GOES KERRY - BUT WHO'S COUNTING?
Why single out Ohio? So it also went in New Mexico where ballots of Hispanic voters (two-to-one Kerry supporters) spoil at a rate five times that of white voters. Add in the astounding 13,000 provisional ballots in the Enchanted State -- handed out "like candy" to Hispanic, not white, voters according to a director of the Catholic Church's get-out-the-vote drive -- and Kerry wins New Mexico. Just count up the votes ... but that won't happen.
Investigative reporter Greg Palast is author of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy (Penguin 2004).
Oliver Shykles and Matthew Pascarella of GregPalast.com contributed to this article.
View Greg Palast's BBC Television film, "Bush Family Fortunes," now available on DVD, at http://www.gregpalast.com/bff-dvd.htm
To receive Greg's investigative reports go to: http://www.gregpalast.com/contact.cfm
An Election Spoiled Rotten
Monday, November 1, 2004
by Greg Palast
It's not even Election Day yet, and the Kerry-Edwards campaign is already down by a almost a million votes. That's because, in important states like Ohio, Florida and New Mexico, voter names have been systematically removed from the rolls and absentee ballots have been overlooked--overwhelmingly in minority areas, like Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, where Hispanic voters have a 500 percent greater chance of their vote being "spoiled." Investigative journalist Greg Palast reports on the trashing of the election.
Greg Palast, contributing editor to Harper's magazine, investigated the manipulation of the vote for BBC Television's Newsnight. The documentary, "Bush Family Fortunes," based on his New York Times bestseller, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, has been released this month on DVD .
John Kerry is down by several thousand votes in New Mexico, though not one ballot has yet been counted. He's also losing big time in Colorado and Ohio; and he's way down in Florida, though the votes won't be totaled until Tuesday night.
Through a combination of sophisticated vote rustling--ethnic cleansing of voter rolls, absentee ballots gone AWOL, machines that "spoil" votes--John Kerry begins with a nationwide deficit that could easily exceed one million votes.
The Urge To Purge
Colorado Secretary of State Donetta Davidson just weeks ago removed several thousand voters from the state's voter rolls. She tagged felons as barred from voting. What makes this particularly noteworthy is that, unlike like Florida and a handful of other Deep South states, Colorado does not bar ex-cons from voting. Only those actually serving their sentence lose their rights.
There's no known, verified case of a Colorado convict voting illegally from the big house. Because previous purges have wiped away the rights of innocents, federal law now bars purges within 90 days of a presidential election to allow a voter to challenge their loss of civil rights.
To exempt her action from the federal rule, Secretary Davidson declared an "emergency." However, the only "emergency" in Colorado seems to be President Bush's running dead, even with John Kerry in the polls.
Why the sudden urge to purge? Davidson's chief of voting law enforcement is Drew Durham, who previously worked for the attorney general of Texas. This is what the former spokeswoman for the Lone Star state's attorney general says of Mr. Durham: He is, "unfit for public office... a man with a history of racism and ideological zealotry." Sounds just right for a purge that affects, in the majority, non-white voters.
From my own and government investigations of such purge lists, it is unlikely that this one contains many, if any, illegal voters.
But it does contain Democrats. The Dems may not like to shout about this, but studies indicate that 90-some percent of people who have served time for felonies will, after prison, vote Democratic. One suspects Colorado's Republican secretary of state knows that.
Ethnic Cleansing Of The Voter Rolls
We can't leave the topic of ethnically cleansing the voter rolls without a stop in Ohio, where a Republican secretary of state appears to be running to replace Katherine Harris.
In Cuyahoga County (Cleveland), some citizens have been caught Registering While Black. A statistical analysis of would-be voters in Southern states by the watchdog group Democracy South indicates that black voters are three times as likely as white voters to have their registration requests "returned" (i.e., subject to rejection).
And to give a boost to this whitening of the voter rolls, for the first time since the days of Jim Crow, the Republicans are planning mass challenges of voters on Election Day. The GOP's announced plan to block 35,000 voters in Ohio ran up against the wrath of federal judges; so, in Florida, what appear to be similar plans had been kept under wraps until the discovery of documents called "caging" lists. The voters on the “caging” lists, disclosed last week by BBC Television London, are, almost exclusively, residents of African-American neighborhoods.
Such racial profiling as part of a plan to block voters is, under the Voting Rights Act, illegal. Nevertheless, neither the Act nor federal judges have persuaded the party of Lincoln to join the Democratic Party in pledging not to distribute blacklists to block voters on Tuesday.
Absentee Ballots Go AWOL
It's 10pm: Do you know where your absentee ballot is? Voters wary about computer balloting are going postal: in some states, mail-in ballot requests are up 500 percent. The probability that all those votes--up to 15 million--will be counted is zip.
Those who mail in ballots are very trusting souls. Here's how your trust is used. In the August 31 primaries in Florida, Palm Beach Elections Supervisor Theresa LePore (a.k.a. Madame Butterfly Ballot) counted 37,839 absentee votes. But days before, her office told me only 29,000 ballots had been received. When this loaves-and-fishes miracle was disclosed, she was forced to recount, cutting the tally to 31,138.
Had she worked it the other way, disappearing a few thousand votes instead of adding additional ones, there would be almost no way to figure out the fix (or was it a mistake?). Mail-in voter registration forms are protected by federal law. Local government must acknowledge receiving your registration and must let you know if there's a problem (say, with signature or address) that invalidates your registration. But your mail-in vote is an unprotected crapshoot. How do you know if your ballot was received? Was it tossed behind a file cabinet--or tossed out because you did not include your middle initial? In many counties, you won't know.
And not every official is happy to have your vote. It is well-reported that Broward County, Fla., failed to send out nearly 60,000 absentee ballots. What has not been nationally reported is that Broward's elections supervisor is a Jeb Bush appointee who took the post only after the governor took the unprecedented step of removing the prior elected supervisor who happened be a Democrat.
A Million Votes In The Electoral Trash Can
"If the vote is stolen here, it will be stolen in Rio Arriba County," a New Mexico politician told me. That's a reasoned surmise: in 2000, one in 10 votes simply weren't counted--chucked out, erased, discarded. In the voting biz, the technical term for these vanishing votes is "spoilage." Citizens cast ballots, but the machines don't notice. In one Rio Arriba precinct in the last go-'round, not one single vote was cast for president--or, at least, none showed up on the machines.
Not everyone's vote spoils equally. Rio Arriba is 73 percent Hispanic. I asked nationally recognized vote statistician Dr. Philip Klinkner of Hamilton College to run a "regression" analysis of the Hispanic ballot spoilage in the Enchanted State. He calculated that a brown voter is 500 percent more likely to have their vote spoiled than a white voter. And It's worse for Native Americans. Vote spoilage is epidemic near Indian reservations.
Votes don't spoil because they're left out of the fridge. It comes down to the machines. Just as poor people get the crap schools and crap hospitals, they get the crap voting machines.
It's bad for Hispanics; but for African Americans, it's a ballot-box holocaust. An embarrassing little fact of American democracy is that, typically, two million votes are spoiled in national elections, registering no vote or invalidated. Based on studies by the U.S. Civil Rights Commission and the Harvard Law School Civil Rights project, about 54 percent of those ballots are cast by African Americans. One million black votes vanished--phffft!
There's a lot of politicians in both parties that like it that way; suppression of the minority is the way they get elected. Whoever is to blame, on Tuesday, the Kerry-Edwards ticket will take the hit. In Rio Arriba, Democrats have an eight-to-one registration edge over Republicans. Among African Americanvoters...well, you can do the arithmetic yourself.
The total number of votes siphoned out of America's voting booths is so large, you won't find the issue reported in our self-glorifying news media. The one million missing black, brown and red votes spoiled, plus the hundreds of thousands flushed from voter registries, is our nation's dark secret: an apartheid democracy in which wealthy white votes almost always count, but minorities are often purged or challenged or simply not recorded. In effect, Kerry is down by a million votes before one lever is pulled, card punched or touch-screen touched.
Greg Palast's "Bush Family Fortunes - The Best Democracy Money
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Oliver Shykles and Matthew Pascarella contributed investigative research to this article.