THE POPCORN REEL QUESTION OF THE WEEK/SPECIAL REPORT
Has The 2008 Presidential Election Between McCain And Obama Already Been Stolen?
In Part One of a Special Popcorn Reel Report, Investigative Journalist Greg Palast and "Free For All!" filmmaker John Ennis say "Aye"
 

Investigative journalist Greg Palast (left) and "Free For All!" filmmaker John Wellington Ennis in a scene from Mr. Ennis' documentary "Free For All!", which arrives on DVD today in the U.S. and Canada.  This summer the Popcorn Reel spoke to both.  Mr. Palast said that based upon his extensive investigation that the election had already been put in Senator John McCain's hands.  (Photo: Shoot First, Inc.)

By Omar P.L. Moore/The Popcorn Reel

October 7, 2008    (Part One)     (Part Two here)

Just four Tuesdays from today, Americans will vote en masse in the presidential election between John McCain and Barack Obama.  In Canada, Canadians vote for their prime minister in parliamentary elections next Tuesday (Oct. 14).

The process of elections around the world have never ever been perfect. 

Every country's voting process is fraught with imperfection at best and at worse, manipulation and fraud. 

In the U.S. for example in the 1800's there was Rutherford B. Hayes, who lost the presidential election even though he had won the popular vote.  Moving forward a century, in the 1960 U.S. presidential election there was chicanery by the powerful political machinery of Democratic Chicago Mayor Richard Daley in the victory of Democrat John F. Kennedy, who defeated Republican Richard M. Nixon by just 100,000 votes. 

And in the last two presidential elections the questionable results continued. 

In 2004, with Republican President George W. Bush winning by less than three percentage points with voter manipulation in Ohio over Democratic Senator John F. Kerry, who promptly conceded while his running mate John Edwards wanted to fight it out.  In 2000, election machine manipulation and voter intimidation by Republican operatives and Florida's Secretary of State Katherine Harris, along with the U.S. Supreme Court's unprecedented decision in Bush v. Gore to prevent Florida from counting the votes that its own State Supreme Court ruled that it could, meant that Mr. Bush claimed the presidency in at best controversial and at worst coup-like circumstances over then-Vice President Al Gore, who had won the overall popular vote by more than half a million votes and lost the state of Florida by 537 votes.

Will history repeat itself on November 4? 

Greg Palast, an investigative journalist for the BBC and author of such books as The Best Democracy Money Can Buy and Armed Madhouse, has predicted that it will.

And will one candidate (based on the latest polls in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania it's likely to be Barack Obama) end up being declared the loser even though exit polls and raw numbers from the vote may well reflect that he won?

Again, Mr. Palast says "aye".

In a conversation with The Popcorn Reel in July Mr. Palast said that based on an investigation conducted by himself and environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. (who wrote an extensive Rolling Stone story on the theft of Ohio in 2004), the likelihood is that the United States of America will wake up on November 5 to the news that Senator Barack Obama will contest the election results in several states.

For those ardent supporters of Mr. Obama that possibility is hardly inviting and would similarly be unwelcome to McCain supporters if their candidate finds himself in the predicament that Mr. Palast has projected will befall Senator Obama on the evening of November 4. 

Even if Senator Obama contests the results, there is a strong chance that Senator McCain's camp will also challenge the results in several states through the courts asserting voter fraud (i.e., ineligible voters because of incorrect addresses or insufficient identification.)

The seeds for this type of chaotic post-election day fight have been sewn this summer and into the fall with reports in local newspapers in many states -- typically those termed "battleground states" -- that the McCain campaign has mailed out fake and misleading absentee ballot applications to over a million people registered as Democrats, Independents and even some Republicans, in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Michigan and Wisconsin; that e-mails reportedly being sent out by the McCain camp to black voters in Philadelphia and other urban areas of Pennsylvania are threatening to arrest blacks who happen to have outstanding parking tickets or other traffic offenses if they show up at the polls.  (This was also reported in Florida back in 2000.)  Moreover, students at the University of West Virginia have been threatened with the withholding of their financial aid if they register students to vote on campus. 

And these examples are just the tip of the iceberg.

There are accounts of people being told that the election is being held on November 5, twenty-four hours after its actual date, which in November 4.  In fact there is also widespread accounts of people, predominantly Jewish people, being push-polled -- an occurrence where people are being asked false, inflammatory questions about Senator Obama and his social-political associations and positions on political issues, positions either exaggerated or patently untrue -- in order to persuade them to change their likely vote from Mr. Obama to Mr. McCain. 

With 29 days to go until the November 4 election, and the polls in numerous competitive states looking favorably upon the Illinois senator and pundits like Chuck Todd of NBC News projecting that Senator Obama has just one more state to win to be assured of winning the election next month, it may well be too premature (and suspicious even) to declare a winner one way or the other. 

Nonetheless, even Karl Rove, the Fox News contributor and Republican political operative who masterminded both of George W. Bush's presidential campaigns (and has protege Steve Schmidt currently at the helm of Senator McCain's campaign), has his own election map suggesting that Obama has already won the presidency.

Back in July Mr. Palast expressed strong doubt however, that the November 4 presidential election would be one conducted without major incident or controversy.  Extraordinarily high turnout would seem to be the best antidote to combating the likelihood of a skewed election.  There has even been a controversial October 1 deployment of U.S. military troops who have spent very recent tours of duty in Iraq into cities across the United States -- something that violates the centuries-old law of Posse Commitatus, which in essence forbids American military from patrolling on American soil.  The recent deployment of soldiers is expected to last for one full year.

Mr. Palast, who did an extensive report for the BBC program NewsNight on the DataBase Technologies/ChoicePoint mass purge of almost 100,000 black voters in Florida with the help of then Secretary of State Ms. Harris in 2000 which had a sizable impact on the result of the presidential election, forecasted a harbinger of things to come on the night of November 4. 

"What's happening is that a lot of the evil, shitty little tricks run by gangsters like Ken Blackwell and Katherine Harris are now actually part of the law.  Under the
(2006) Help America Vote Act (HAVA) -- and God help us when Bush wants to help us count votes . . . things like sending out letters to voters at registered addresses and if they come back bad they get knocked off the registration -- that was an evil trick of Karl Rove's office.  And against the law.  Now it's actually part of the law."

As Mr. Palast continued what he said didn't get any sunnier. 

"In Colorado -- did you know this -- an important swing state, the Republican Secretary of State -- you'll love this -- voided, eliminated every single registration in the entire goddamned state!  And then sent out letters telling everyone they had to re-register.  Now guess what?  Who doesn't get those letters?  Twenty percent of the people in [Colorado] lost their right to vote.  Twenty percent.  And who are they?  Right?  Guys like, with the name Fernandez.  The suburban population doesn't move.  You have to understand that mobility in America is in inverse proportion to your income, okay?  Jetsetters go on vacation but they don't move their houses.  Poor folk cleaning out the stables at the dude ranches in Colorado are itinerate -- they move around."

This is news that may come as a shock to those who haven't read Mr. Palast's book Armed Madhouse.  And the BBC investigative reporter, who was born in New York City and dons a trademark fedora-like hat, believes it will get worse before it gets better.  So why hasn't this news and  blanketed liberal new shows like MSNBC cable TV's Countdown With Keith Olbermann or The Rachel Maddow Show?

So far, neither show has even mentioned anything about the widespread election fraud that is going on right now, just weeks before the election. 

Greg Palast began the conversation by saying that "you can fool adults and The New York Times but you can't fool nine-year-olds."

In other words, something fishy this way smells. 

And nine-year-olds can tell when something stinks.  Unfortunately though, they are nine years too young to be able to vote in the United States. 

Mr. Palast is something of a political comedian, although he's hardly trying to be funny.  He shouts "fire" in the faces of those who find what he has to say politically inconvenient.  His books are laden with meticulously researched information and data and written with biting satirical humor to cushion the blunt force impact of the distressing facts and other news that he shares with his readers.

"By the way, in fact if you go back historically, the whole concept of voter registration was started to eliminate new immigrant citizens voting in places like Massachusetts.  The deliberate idea was to get rid of the itinerate population -- those who aren't stable in one place.  There's a tremendous Hispanic influx into these states -- they're citizen Hispanics, okay?  You have to understand, half of all citizen Hispanics are not registered.  And it's not increasing, it's declining!  You have to understand that in some states like Colorado, it's declining.  They're hooking these people down, eliminating them from the voter registry.  The number of poor people registered -- those with $50,000 incomes or less -- has gone from 72% to 65%.  In other words, you've had a drop in the number of registered.  All the shit that's going down -- it's really nasty."

Enough perhaps to make you shout out to your local or national media to get them to report on this information.  And according to Mr. Palast, the problem of voter elimination and purging the voting rolls of felons isn't a one-state problem.

"Felon purging?  Now it's national!  You have states like Colorado -- you know what? -- New Mexico and Colorado don't have laws against felons voting.  But they're removing them anyway!  Most people that get out of jail and have served their time, they don't even know they have the right to vote.  The Republican Party of Colorado engineered that mass purge," Mr. Palast said.

And Mr. Palast has some more troubling information about voting, the Democratic Party and voter suppression to share with Popcorn Reel readers and what can be done to combat it.  That's to come tomorrow.

Thursday: More from Greg Palast.  And filmmaker John Wellington Ennis opines about the elections of 2000 and 2004 and talks about his film "Free For All!"

Copyright The Popcorn Reel.  PopcornReel.com.  2008.  All Rights Reserved.

 


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