And get a stack of print copies before we run out. Hand’m out on the voting line – non-partisan, so it’s OK. We’ll send them out via priority mail in time for the election. (Donate $100 and get a free copy of The Election Files DVD)
1. Donâ€™t donâ€™t donâ€™t Mail In Your Ballotâ€”unless…
For those of you who mailed in your ballot, please tell me, what happened to it?Â You donâ€™t know, do you?Â I can tell you that officially, three-fourths of a million absentee ballots were never counted last time, on the weakest of technical excuses. And you wonâ€™t even know it. Furthermore, tens of thousands of ballots are not mailed out to voters in time to return them – in which case youâ€™re out of luck.Â Most states wonâ€™t let you vote in-precinct once youâ€™ve applied to vote absentee. Every time I hear of a voter going â€œabsenteeâ€ to avoid computer screens, I want to â€œgo postalâ€ myself.
But for gosh sakesâ€”donâ€™t throw outÂ your ballot if you have a mail-in. Either mail it in, making sure to include ID if required (you first-time voters) or, better, WALK it into your county clerkâ€™s office. …more
Excerpted from Greg Palast and Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s “Steal Back Your Vote” investigative comic. You can download all 24 pages at www.StealBackYourVote.org.
Odd thing about the 207 voters of precinct 999 in Dona Ana County, New Mexico.
Not a single one could choose between George Bush and John Kerry in 2004.
Or at least thatâ€™s what their ballots said.
The Secretary of State at the time told me, â€œSome of those people just canâ€™t make up their minds.â€ Dirt-poor Dona Ana is 63% Hispanic and the precinct is made up entirely of overseas voters, mostly the Chicano soldiers in Iraq or on duty. The machines say that Hispanic soldiers donâ€™t care who becomes their commander-in-chief.
Or maybe, the machines failed to register their votes.
Few Americans realize that in 2004, 1,389,231 ballots were never counted because they were â€œspoiled.â€ How do ballots spoil? They get left out of the â€˜fridge? No, theyâ€™re supposedly unreadable, blank, or just somehow lost in the machines.
Hereâ€™s an unfun fact: not everyoneâ€™s vote spoils the same.
The U.S. Civil Rights Commission found that the chances of an African-American voter losing their vote is 900% higher than a white voter. Hispanic votes vanished at a rate 500% higher than Anglo votes.
Go to www.StealBackYourVote.org to download the guide for free or pick up print copies of the investigative comic book by Greg Palast and Robert F. Kennedy Jr.Â Every donation you make for copies of the comic allows us to send more out to low income groups in states like Ohio, New Mexico and Colorado.
Get the guide now – all copies will be sent out via priority mail. If your group would like to distribute the Steal Back Your Vote guide please contact keri (at) gregpalast.com for special rates.
Maybe it’s not a free nation anymore – but at least it’s a free comic book.
STEAL BACK YOUR VOTE, the investigative comic book voter guide by Bobby Kennedy and me is now available to download for free free free at StealBackYourVote.org. Â (That’s thanks to your generous donations to date.)
And now you can get packs of the full-color print edition for the cost of printing and shipping. Less than a buck a book. Â And we’ll shoot it to you right now by priority mail.
Officially, 2.7 million voters have been purged from the voter rolls since the last election. And those voters weren’t vanished by ACORN or Mickey Mouse. Â Â ‘The Purge’n General,” “Nuns on the Run” and “Votes Gone Rotten.” Â What’s so funny about the death of Democracy? Â Would you rather CRY?
Based on my investigation with Kennedy in the current issue of Rolling Stone. Â Featuring art by the graphic gonzo’s Ted Rall, Lukas Ketner and Troubletown’s Lloyd Dangle. Download the guide and find out what really is happening in the scary world of election theft, and …more
â€œThe new registrations thrown out, the existing registrations scrubbed, the spoiled ballots, the provisional ballots that were never counted â€” and what you have is millions of voters, more than enough to swing the presidential election, quietly being detached from the electorate by subterfuge.
“Jim Crow was laid to rest, but his cousins were not,” says Donna Brazile. “We got rid of poll taxes and literacy tests but now have a second generation of schemes to deny our citizens their franchise.” Come November, the most crucial demographic may prove to be Americans who have been denied the right to vote. If Democrats are to win the 2008 election, they must not simply beat John McCain at the polls â€” they must beat him by a margin that exceeds the level of GOP vote tampering.
These days, the old west rail hub of Las Vegas, New Mexico, is little more than a dusty economic dead zone amid a boneyard of bare mesas. In national elections, the town overwhelmingly votes Democratic: More than 80 percent of all residents are Hispanic, and one in four lives below the poverty line. On February 5th, the day of the Super Tuesday caucus, a school-bus driver named Paul Maez arrived at his local polling station to cast his ballot. To his surprise, Maez found that his name had vanished from the list of registered voters, thanks to a statewide effort to deter fraudulent voting. For Maez, the shock was especially acute: He is the supervisor of elections in Las Vegas.
Maez was not alone in being denied his right to vote. On Super Tuesday, one in nine Democrats who tried to cast ballots in New Mexico found their names missing from the registration lists. The numbers were even higher in precincts like Las Vegas, where nearly 20 percent of the county’s voters were absent from the rolls. With their status in limbo, the voters were forced to cast “provisional” ballots, …more
Donâ€™t worry about Mickey Mouse or ACORN stealing the election.Â According to an investigative report out today in Rolling Stone magazine, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Greg Palast, after a year-long investigation, reveal a systematic program of “GOP vote tampering” on a massive scale.
– Republican Secretaries of State of swing-state Colorado have quietly purged one in six names from their voter rolls.
Over several months, the GOP politicos in Colorado stonewalled every attempt by Rolling Stone to get an answer to the massive purge – ten times the average state’s rate of removal.
– While Obama dreams of riding to the White House on a wave of new voters, more then 2.7 million …more
(Visit the HuffingtonPost.com article to listen to exclusive audio interviews with Greg Palast and Robert F. Kennedy Jr.)
The perennial issues of vote fraud and voter suppression are becoming front-page news as several states conduct early voting and as Election Day itself nears. The candidates themselves will continue to stump, trying to win votes in contested states, but after tonight’s final debate, the parties will focus less on persuading undecided voters and instead put more and more energy into “get out the vote” or “GOTV” efforts or, more ominously, into “voter suppression” efforts, which discourage or bar the other side’s likely voters from casting ballots.
GOTV includes simple acts like helping homebound voters obtain and cast absentee ballots or driving voters who don’t have cars to the polls on Election Day. More broadly, the concept also can include all kinds of efforts to increase voter turnout: voter registration drives, websites that help voters confirm that they’re still registered in time to fix any problems (one good, nonpartisan example is the National Association of Secretaries of State’s CanIVote.org), and public service announcements reminding voters that Election Day is approaching.
Voter suppression practices are the flip side of such efforts. Suppression efforts can appear innocuous, such as requiring voters to show photo I.D.s – a requirement that excludes a surprising number of poor, minority, very young and very old voters and kept several elderly nuns from voting in Indiana’s Democratic primary this year. Suppression can pose as false righteousness, such as Fox News’s 342 negative mentions of a single voter-registration group in just four days (casting the group’s efforts to register underrepresented demographics as a threat to democracy, and frightening voters registered by that group into thinking that their registrations might be unlawful), or the past Republican practice of stationing armed, uniformed “Ballot Integrity” personnel in minority polling places (again, tamping down turnout).
Greg Palast and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. believe that the 2008 elections have already been stolen. What’s an American to do given these circumstances? They suggest: “Steal it back”.
Palast, an investigative journalist, and Kennedy, a voting rights attorney, paired up to create a nonpartisan voter guide that illustrates the six ways that American votes will be stolen this election and seven ways to steal them back.
You may ask who’s stealing your votes. Palast and Kennedy believe that the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), created in 2002, is one of the main reasons votes are systematically being stolen. Secretaries of state attempting to comply with HAVA are purging voters from the registration rolls and blocking new ones from registering. The purging occurs if a voter’s name does not match a government database.
Those who are at most risk for having their vote stolen are new voters, people of color, low-income, elderly and swing state voters, Palast told Truthout.
In 2006, Palast says that 40 percent of citizens who were purged from the voter rolls in California had Islamic, Vietnamese, Chinese and Hispanic names. These names were at most risk for misspellings.
The Steal Back Your Vote Guidelines promote the importance of going to the secretary of state Web site for your state to confirm that you are registered ahead of the election.
The New York Times appeared to confirm Palast and Kennedy’s findings on mass voter purges in its report last week titled “States’ Actions to Block Voters Appear Illegal”. The newspaper found that tens of thousands of eligible voters were being illegally purged ahead of the 2008 elections.
In the crucial swing states of Indiana, Nevada, North Carolina and Ohio, The New York Times reported that Social Security databases are being used to verify voters, as opposed to more accurate state databases. Federal law requires Social Security databases to be used for verification only as a last resort.
The swing states of Michigan and Colorado are also violating federal law, according to The New York Times, because they are removing voters from the registration rolls within 90 days of the presidential election.
When a name has been purged from the voter rolls, election workers will hand out a provisional ballot. However, Palast points to 1.1 million provisional ballots that went uncounted in the 2004 elections as proof that provisional ballots often go uncounted.
“Once you sign that provisional ballot, the chances are officially one in three that your ballot will be thrown in the garbage can,” said Palast.
In their guide, Palast and Kennedy write that a provisional ballot will most often render a vote uncounted. They suggest seeking adjudication on the spot, by calling a voter’s rights hotline instead of accepting and signing the provisional ballot.
“Don’t go postal,” says Palast, urging voters not to mail in their ballot.
Palast told Truthout: “All you need is the most minor error, like you didn’t use your middle initial in your registration; not enough postage cost a third of a million votes in the US the last time around because most ballots are two stamps, not one. There’s a million ways to not count your vote on a mail-in; don’t do it.”
The other suggestions in the “Steal Back Your Vote” guide include voting early, getting involved in voter-registration and get-out-the-vote organizations, and pursuing legal action if disenfranchised.
Palast and Kennedy will be following the 2008 elections as they unfold, including publishing reports in Rolling Stone and BBC news.
Iâ€™m guessing it was excessive exposure to either radiation or George Bush, but Senator John McCainâ€™s comments from inside a nuclear power plant in Michigan are so cracked-brained that I fear some loose gamma rays are doing to McCainâ€™s gray matter what they did to Homer Simpsonâ€™s.
On Tuesday, the presumptive Republican candidate descended into the colon of a nuke to declare we need to build 45 new nuclear plants – that this is the way out of our energy crisis. Nuclear power, declared the senator, is a â€œsafe, efficient [and] inexpensiveâ€ alternative to oil.
Really? We can argue all day about whether nuclear plants are safe (they arenâ€™t â€“period). But there can be no argument whatsoever that these giant radioactive tea-kettles are breathtakingly expensive.
Nuclear plants are cheap until you actually try to build one. Not one of the last 49 nuclear plants cost less than $2 billion apiece. Iâ€™m looking down the road at the remainders of the Shoreham nuclear plant which took nearly 20 years to build at a cost of $8 billion â€“ or close to $7,000 per customer it was supposed to supply. When I say â€œsupposed to,â€ it was closed for safety reasons after operating just one single day.
Weâ€™re told that the new generation of plants will be different. Just like an alcoholic child-beater, the nuclear plant builders promise us that, â€œThis time it will be different.â€ Sure. And McCain believes them.
I donâ€™t. Maybe thatâ€™s because I headed the government racketeering investigation of the Shoreham nuclear plantâ€™s builders. Stone & Webster Engineering and its partner paid hundreds of millions of dollars to settle the civil racketeering claim over the evidence we found of fraud and perjury. Now Stone & Webster (a division of Shaw Group Inc.) will cash in big-time under Plan McCain.
The other big builder which will hit the jackpot under the McCain scheme is KBR, the one-time subsidiary of Halliburton, whose best known project is the rebuilding of Iraq. (Halliburton dumped KBR last year. Canâ€™t blame them.) KBR has built many nukes â€“not one within a mile of its promised cost.
But that doesnâ€™t bother McCain. So who is McCain getting his energy advice from? Iâ€™m looking at a photo of the perplexed senator inside the control room, looking like Homer without a donut, getting a lecture on the wonders of nuclear energy from a power company CEO, one Tony Early. Early is the former President of LILCO, the very corporation the Feds and State of New York charged with civil racketeering. (We did not name Early as a co-conspirator. When the government got him on the witness stand, it was clear the guy was too clueless to recognize he was in the midst of a billion-dollar swindle. McCainâ€™s got quite some team.)
Now, you Obamaniacs might not want to read this next paragraph:
While McCain is pushing nuclear power, a Senator from Illinois who shall remain nameless (skinny, just gave up smokes), was already embracing radiation as the solution to pollution. This Senator voted for George Bushâ€™s energy bill, a law which contained massive giveaways to nuclear energy, legislation which dissâ€™es and dismisses conservation. Indeed, the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate has been derided as the â€œSenator from Commonwealth Edison,â€ the Chicago division of Exelon Corp., the nationâ€™s largest operator of nuclear plants â€“ and whose executives were the money backbone to his early presidential campaign.
So, weâ€™ve got both candidates hawking the nuclear snake oil. But there is one difference between them. A big big BIG difference.
McCainâ€™s ready to spend a hundred billion dollars on nuclear power, no questions asked. But Barack Obama puts a crucial condition on his approval for building new nukes: an affordable method of disposing the new plantsâ€™ radioactive waste.
Thatâ€™s not small stuff. While The New York Times reporters following McCain repeated his line about â€œinexpensiveâ€ nuclear power without question, a buried wire story on the same day noted that the Energy Department is putting the unfunded bill for disposing nuclear plant waste at $96.2 billion â€“ nearly a billion dollars per plant operating today. And no one even knows exactly how to do it, or where. Obama has the audacity to ask about the nuclear wasteâ€™s cost. â€œCan we deal with the expense?â€ he said on Meet the Press.
McCainâ€™s plan to spend endless billions on nuclear plants without a waste disposal system in place is like building a massive hotel without toilets. D’oh! I suppose you can always tell the guests to poop in buckets until someone comes up with a plan for plumbing. But the stuff piles up. And unlike the fecal droppings of tourists, nuclear waste will stay hot and dangerous for a thousand generations.
So there you have our election in a nutshell. We have two candidates who rise above their parties – only to agree on a ludicrous pro-nukes energy plan.
But at least Senator Obama, when confronted with an economic question, doesnâ€™t have to take off his shoes to add up the facts.
Nineteen goddamn years is enough. Iâ€™m sorry if you donâ€™t like my language, but when I think about what they did to Paul Kompkoff, Iâ€™m in no mood to nicey-nice words.
Next month marks 19 years since the Exxon Valdez dumped its load of crude oil across the Prince William Sound, Alaska. A big gooey load of this crude spilled over the lands of the Chenega Natives. Paul Kompkoff was a seal-hunter for the village. That is, until Exxonâ€™s ship killed the seal and poisoned the rest of Chenegaâ€™s food supply.
While cameras rolled, Exxon executives promised theyâ€™d compensate everyone. Today, before the US Supreme Court, the big oil companyâ€™s lawyers argued that they shouldnâ€™t have to pay Paul or other fishermen the damages ordered by the courts.
They canâ€™t pay Paul anyway. Heâ€™s dead.
That was part of Exxonâ€™s plan. They told me that. In 1990 and 1991, I worked for the Chenega and Chugach Natives of Alaska on trying to get Exxon to pay up to save the remote villages of the Sound. Exxonâ€™s response was, â€œWe can hold out in court until youâ€™re all dead.â€
Nice guys. But, hell, they were right, werenâ€™t they?
But Exxon didnâ€™t do it alone. They had enablers. One was a failed oil driller named â€œDubya.â€ Exxon was the second largest contributor to George W. Bushâ€™s political career. Enron was firstr. They were a team, Exxon and Enron.
To protect their corporate backsides, Enron’s Chairman Ken Lay, prior to his felony convictions, funded a group called Texans for Law Suit Reform. The idea was to prevent consumers, defrauded stockholders and devastated Natives from suing felonious corporations and their chiefs.
When Dubya went to Washington, Enron and Exxon got their golden pass in the appointment of Chief Justice John Roberts. On Wednesday, as the court heard Exxonâ€™s latest stall, Roberts said, in defense of Exxonâ€™s behavior in Alaska, â€œWhat more can a corporation do?â€
The answer, Your Honor, is plenty.
For starters, Mr. Roberts, Exxon could have turned on the radar. What? On the night the Exxon …more