50 years ago today, Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated. This is the story of RFK’s profile in political courage, gambling his brother’s election to the Presidency in order to save Martin Luther King Jr. from lynching. It was a Republican, King Sr., who made JFK president — saving Martin Jr., from lynching. This harrowing and little known drama ...more
by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., for EcoWatch
from the foreword to Billionaires & Ballot Bandits
American democracy is under assault.
In one super-PAC alone, Karl Rove and the Enron grifter Ed Gillespie, have assembled $200 million from big polluters and Wall Street moguls to buy the 2012 election.
Two of the Koch Brothers, Charles and David, pledged $130 million to elect candidates who favor unrestrained corporate profiteering.
The senators and congressmen they fund and elect are not representing the United States—they are representing Koch and its oil industry cronies, Big Pharma, and the Wall Street banksters currently mounting a hostile takeover of our government.
I have no problem characterizing these corporate-centric super-PACs as treasonous. We are now in a free fall toward old-fashioned oligarchy; noxious, thieving and tyrannical.
Pow! Zap! Full color investigative comics by Ted Rall:
Tales from the Crypt of Democracy – Soul Crushing Political Terror.
This astonishing 48 page graphic exposé is wrapped inside the new eBook edition of Billionaires & Ballot Bandits (now renamed The Best Democracy Money Can Buy), the book by Greg Palast with Bobby Kennedy Jr.
The number one book in elections in America in which Greg Palast investigates Karl Rove, the Koch gang and their buck-buddies.
“Tim Griffin should be in jail.” That’s the conclusion of civil rights attorney Robert F. Kennedy Jr. after going through the evidence I asked him to review.
Predictably, I haven’t seen one US press report noting that in 2007, Griffin resigned from the Justice Department in disgrace, ahead of what could have been (should have been), his indictment.
Kennedy thought a couple of other characters should join Griffin in the lock-up: first, Griffin’s boss, the man whom George W. Bush gave the nickname, “Turdblossom”: Karl Rove.
And there’s yet another odiferous blossom, Griffin’s assistant at the time of the crime: Matt Rhoades. Rhoades isn’t in jail either. He’s the …more
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In 2008, Bobby Kennedy and I wrote a voter protection comic book, Steal Back Your Vote. Over a quarter million copies were distributed to activists and in communities where voters are most vulnerable.
In 2012, we’re back, because they’re back: the vote rustlers, with their caging, purging, blocking, spoiling, vote-tossing ballot banditry.
And we need your group to add its name as an ACTION RESOURCE …more
What a terrible task to take on at such a dark moment when I would prefer to keep my thoughts private, but someone must speak.
I am, and I hope you are, sickened to see Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post savage our colleague Robert F. Kennedy Jr. while he and his children are in great distress.
I will not answer, and thereby repeat, the cruel libels thrown at Kennedy by the Post.
But let me get this on the record: Kennedy is, and this is no exaggeration, the most committed family man I know. Every single day, he shuts down work, no matter the flood of urgent demands from around the world, for family time, for his kids. He is deeply religious, with a piety and intelligence he communicates with his family so impressive it makes me doubt my atheism.
Kennedy uses his family name, not to further his career, but to widen his children’s understanding and involvement in the world and to try to teach our ignorant nation lessons in moral conduct that his kids have already learned well.
To blame Kennedy for his wife’s illness …more
“What he [Griffin] did was absolutely illegal and he should be in jail.”
Illustration from Steal Back Your Vote comic
That’s hardly the kind of endorsement a candidate for Congress expects. But that is the conclusion of voting rights attorney Robert F. Kennedy Jr. after digging into the evidence of Congressional candidate Tim Griffin’s role in directing the Republican National Committee’s racially biased attack on voters known as “caging.”
A brutal mano-a-mano race in Arkansas’ Second District has become a showdown between Sarah Palin’s banner carrier Griffin (funded by SarahPAC) and Democrat Joyce Elliott who has drawn homeboy Bill Clinton back to Little Rock.
The ex-President, in Arkansas this week, was especially worked up about Griffin’s caging list vote suppression scheme. (Our Good Ol’ Boy in Chief told me back in 2008 he would bust out the story, and it only took him two years to do the right thing, a personal best for Bill.)
From Greg Palast’s and Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s investigative comic Steal Back Your Vote!
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. Don’t don’t don’t Mail In Your Ballot—unless…
For those of you who mailed in your ballot, please tell me, what happened to it? You don’t know, do you? 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 won’t even know it. Furthermore, tens of thousands of ballots are not mailed out to voters in time to return them – in which case you’re out of luck. Most states won’t let you vote in-precinct once you’ve applied to vote absentee. Every time I hear of a voter going “absentee” to avoid computer screens, I want to “go postal” myself.
But for gosh sakes—don’t throw out 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 clerk’s office. …more
Fired US Prosecutor levels new charges against GOP operatives.
Greg Palast and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. for Huffington Post
Virtually the entire mainstream electronic media drank ACORN Kool-Aid this month brewed up by the Republican National Committee. Almost no one seriously challenged John McCain’s comical assertions that ACORN, a grassroots voter registration group, “is now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy.”
While the Republicans had the distracted media searching for links between Obama and ACORN, RNC operatives were busily completing one of the most massive voter suppression and purging efforts in American history, stealing hundreds of thousands of Democratic votes across the embattled swing states and striving to arrange chaos and endless lines at the voting booths next week.
First the facts about ACORN. Months ago, we obtained, as part of our investigation for Rolling Stone magazine, the Republican’s list the GOP alleged were the very worst cases of vote and registration fraud by ACORN and similar groups. We went through the names the GOP asserted were “obviously, undeniably and clearly fraudulent” voter registrations.
First, there was Melissa Tais, a dubious ACORN registrant. Her two voter registration forms show, admittedly, suspiciously different signatures. Republicans suggested Melissa was part of a massive fraud to allow Democrats to vote twice.
They were wrong. Ms. Tais, a Cerrillos, New Mexico, waitress, told us she had signed one form on a table and one form holding the paper in her hand. Hence, a second, wobbly signature.
Then there was Patricia White, who Republicans claimed was a fictitious voter. When we filmed her at home in Albuquerque, she seemed real enough.
And so on, through the entire GOP list — not one fraud. And these were their best cases out of the five million “illegal voters” who Republican leaders claim have infiltrated America’s voting rolls.
The overblown histrionics about ACORN do not surprise those of us who have been watching the RNC’s election manipulation antics. For eight years White House operatives have been trying to gin up press stories about voter fraud. David Iglesias of New Mexico was one of seven U.S. Attorneys fired by the White House for their refusal to bring voter fraud prosecutions. “We took over 100 complaints,” from the GOP, he told us, “We investigated for almost 2 years, I didn’t find one prosecutable voter fraud case in the entire state of New Mexico.”
Iglesias, a McCain supporter, has, for the first time, leveled a new and serious charge: Despite finding none of the 200 voters guilty, he says the White House nevertheless ordered him to illegally prosecute baseless cases against innocent citizens, just to gin up voter fraud publicity. His refusal, he says, cost him his job. “They were looking for politicized — for improperly politicized US attorneys to file bogus voter fraud cases.”
Read the rest of the article at HuffingtonPost.com
Greg Palast and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. are authors of an investigation of vote suppression in the current Rolling Stone, and a comic book voter guide, “Steal Back Your Vote,” both available for download at StealBackYourVote.org. …more
An excerpt from the Steal Back Your Vote! investigative comic
But there’s something that you can do to prevent it. That’s what this guide is about. Start with page 19: ‘7 Easy Steps to Steal Back Your Vote.’
For many years, top investigative reporter Greg Palast and I have been exposing voter suppression.
This is a deliberate strategy to keep minorities from voting, senior citizens from voting, young people from voting in an effort to suppress the vote and maintain their hold on power.
Our concern is not partisan. We need every American to vote: Democrats and Republicans. You can do all the campaigning you want in a battleground state like Ohio or New Mexico, but if your voters aren’t counted, you’re going to lose the Presidency–and our democracy.
Pass on this link: www.stealbackyourvote.org. Go to the site. Download copies of this comic book, buy copies in bulk and watch Greg’s BBC Newsnight film. Get out the word! There’s still time to steal back your vote!
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. (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. 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. ‘The Purge’n General,” “Nuns on the Run” and “Votes Gone Rotten.” What’s so funny about the death of Democracy? Would you rather CRY?
Based on my investigation with Kennedy in the current issue of Rolling Stone. 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
“I don’t think the Democrats get it. All these new rules and games … could flip the vote to the GOP in half a dozen states.”
Rolling Stone Magazine has agreed to make the full article available for download.
“The new registrations thrown out, the existing registrations scrubbed, the spoiled ballots, the provisional ballots that were never counted — 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 — 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
Don’t worry about Mickey Mouse or ACORN stealing the election. 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
M.S. Bellows, Jr. for HuffingtonPost.com
(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).
Read the rest and listen to the audio podcasts of the interviews at HuffingtonPost.com
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.