[Dateline: Chicago]Â â€œWhy would somebody say a crazy statement like that?â€ Bernie had his arms spread like gull wings, fingers scribbling facts in the air.
â€œWhyâ€ was not really a question.
Watch this five-minute video of Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rev. Jesse Jackson and their alliance to take on Kris Kobach, the Dr. Moriarty of vote suppression.
To Sanders, â€˜crazy’ is Trumpâ€™s cover.Â Bernie was worked up.Â He was talking about Trumpâ€™s claims of millions of people illegally voting twice.Â â€œTo my mind it was fairly obvious.Â What he was doing was sending a signal to every Republican governor in the country:Â you go do voter suppression. So that is the signal.Â So then he follows up with this so-called â€˜Commission.â€™â€
Jackson has declared warâ€”and drafted Bernie Sanders for the front-line assault.Â Their target:Â Donald Trumpâ€™s so-called â€œPresidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrityâ€â€”and its chief, Kris Kobach, Sec. of State ofÂ Kansas.
Rev. Jackson had just announced that heâ€™d asked the nationâ€™s premier voting rights attorney, Barbara Arnwine, to chair a commission of real experts to counter Trumpâ€™s and Kobachâ€™s commission of zealots and whack-jobs Trump assigned to rewrite the nationâ€™s laws to make voting an effectively whites-only affair. (Trump appointees include â€œProf.â€ Hans von Spakovsky who peddles the completely Loony-Tunes claim that over one million aliens voted in the last election.)
Jackson had called me down to his sanctum to explain Kobachâ€™s secretive â€œCrosscheckâ€ vote purging program and enlist Sandersâ€™ help in stopping Kobach from forcing this ethnic voter cleansing system on all fifty states.
Today, Wednesday, Kobach (and the nominal Commission Chairman, Vice-President Mike Pence), will hold the first meeting of what Trump calls his â€œVote Fraud Commission.â€
Weirdly, Kobach will have a formal swearing-in ceremonyâ€”for a commission without any congressional authority.Â Authorized or not, this commission can create big trouble for the remnants of our democracy.
They Gave Kobach their Files â€“ then Lied About It.
Last week, there was a big brouhaha over Kobach asking every state to turn over their voter files, including the last four digits of citizensâ€™ social security numbers.
In response to a public outcry, one GOP Secretary of State after another loudly proclaimed they would not turn over their voter rolls to Kobach and his Commission.
Itâ€™s absolutely true that the GOP officials of Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi did not hand over their files to Kobach in Washington.Â However, they failed to mention that theyâ€™d already turned over their files, including those social security numbers, to Kobachâ€™s office in Kansas.
In all, 28 states, almost all GOP-controlled, turned over a total of 98,263,382 voter files to Kobach.
And thatâ€™s far more dangerous than sending voter files to DC.Â The files sent to Kansas churned through Kobachâ€™s â€œCrosscheckâ€ computer programâ€”which spit out the names of 7.2 million â€œpotential double-registeredâ€ voters who, Kobach claims, could vote in two states in a single election.Â And for this â€œpotentialâ€ crime, hundreds of thousands will lose their right to vote.
While the Palast team, working for Al Jazeera and Rolling Stone, obtained the confidential lists of millions of names on the Crosscheck suspect list, this document was hidden in plain sightâ€¦ right there on the website of the Kansas Secretary of State!
No wonder the US media missed it.
But, as the journalist Yogi Berra once said, â€œItâ€™s amazing what you can see if you look.â€
So, enjoy the 5-minute flick, then watch the movie of the full investigation of Kobach and billionaires behind him:Â The Best Democracy Money Can Buyâ€”A Tale of Billionaires & Ballot Bandits.
And something new:Â to make a special, updated â€œactivistâ€ version of our film requested by Reverend Jackson to show in churches nationwide.Â Itâ€™s a request we are honored to fulfillâ€¦ if we can get the resources.Â Weâ€™re passing the plate.
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Greg Palast (Rolling Stone, Guardian, BBC) is the author of The New York Times bestsellers, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy and Billionaires & Ballot Bandits, now out as majorÂ non-fiction movie.
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