Senator Barack Obama waves to a crowd of over 250,000 people in Berlin, Germany on his visit to the country in July 2008.  The Popcorn Reel spoke to Greg Palast during that month, and the BBC author-investigative reporter predicted that the senator would lose the election in November because of massive election fraud and voter disenfranchisement by the Republican Party, and in some cases, the Democratic Party.  (Photo: Agence France Presse)

THE POPCORN REEL QUESTION OF THE WEEK/SPECIAL REPORT
Has The Outcome Of Next Month's U.S. Presidential Election Already Been Decided?
Part Two: Investigative journalist and author Greg Palast says it most definitely has -- in Senator John McCain's favor

By Omar P.L. Moore/The Popcorn Reel

October 9, 2008    (Part Two)        (Here's Part One of the report)

Colorado is regarded by both the McCain and Obama campaigns as a "battleground state". 

And polls -- which one should always be wary of believing no matter who's ahead -- are now showing that Senator Barack Obama is leading by three, four or five points in Colorado. 

Colorado, a southwestern state which was won by George W. Bush in the 2004 presidential election, is not immune however, from the same kind of vote purging and suppression that occurred both in Ohio that year and in Florida in 2000. 

BBC Investigative journalist Greg Palast, born in Brooklyn, New York, said this past summer that Colorado was just one state where the Republican Party purged. 

Mr. Palast revealed that the Democratic Party is doing the very same thing: removing otherwise eligible voters from the rolls. 

During The Popcorn Reel's July conversation with Mr. Palast, the investigative journalist had some very troubling things to say about what he says will happen to the election night landscape on November 4 in America.

And that's of course, if there isn't any chaos or unthinkable consequences jeopardizing the election before that date comes. 

(Case in point: recent rumors of an event yielding "fireworks" 72 hours before the presidential election -- according to some within the McCain camp[?] -- makes for a potentially ominous three and a half weeks between now and November 1.)

If that's not enough to give one pause, another southwestern state, New Mexico, is seeing similar vote purging problems, declared Mr. Palast three months ago. 

"The Republican Party of Colorado engineered that mass purge.  But when I was in New Mexico that was engineered by the Democratic Party because they don't like poor folk voting.  And Bill Richardson (the former governor of New Mexico and former Democratic presidential candidate) is about to be sued by civil rights groups for blocking Hispanic voters from registering and voting.  And he's supposedly Hispanic.  But he's an upper class Hispanic.  This is the big thing ultimately: it's not about race.  It's not even about party.  It's about class."

In a recent BBC Newsnight report (see the end of this story), Mr. Palast travels to New Mexico and elsewhere in the country and uncovers some of the shenanigans that have been taking place ahead of next month's election.     

"In fact on native (American) reservations where votes are being thrown away wholesale, ballots are being thrown away -- tossed and lost -- who's doing that?  The Democratic Party," he said to The Popcorn Reel back in July, when he had just returned to New York from New Mexico.

For those who didn't hear which party is also part of the dirty tricks playbook routine, Mr. Palast repeats:

"The Democratic Party." 

"But see, what Obama has to understand is that it is always the defenseless -- minorities, low-income people, the elderly, new young voters -- these are the vulnerable voters who lose their vote.  Now the local Democratic parties don't mind that at all.  They don't want those voters.  They absolutely don't want those voters.  The problem is that the head of the national ticket -- that guy could pay the price."

Meaning, according to Mr. Palast, that Senator Obama could well be victimized by his own Democratic party come November 4 -- victimized by the very party that he has become the leader of by virtue of his historic candidacy for president.

It is events and scenarios like these that have discouraged many Americans from participating in the political process, revealing the cynicism that has crippled the country.  Barely a third of the U.S. population typically votes in presidential elections, whereas in many other countries, especially across Europe, in Cuba, and many Middle Eastern nations voter participation is much higher, ranging from 70% to close to 100%.

American voting demographics in many general elections show that the elderly are generally more reliable voters than the young -- although that could change for the second successive U.S. presidential election next month. 

But if, say, the elderly are typically making their presence felt at the voting booth and typically for Democrats, why on earth would the Democratic Party want to disenfranchise them?

Mr. Palast had a straightforward answer to this.

"There is no such thing as the Democratic Party.  It doesn't exist -- it's a mythological creature, okay?  All politics is local.  All politics.  All politics is local and all vote theft is local.  Therefore, incumbent politicians are happy with the electorate they have -- that's what elected them.  The last thing they want to do is have a new energized electorate -- do you think that Bill Richardson, Henry Kissinger's partner -- would win a Democratic primary in New Mexico if you had Hispanics and Native Americans on that voting roll?  Do you think that Zell Miller (a former senator), the cracker redneck racist from Florida, and a Democrat, would win a Democratic primary in Georgia if black people were allowed to vote there?"

"The Democratic Party, remember, is the party of Jim Crow (the obstructionist and racist laws discriminating against blacks in America in the 1950's and 60's), not the Republican Party. 

"Remember that," Mr. Palast said.

"You have a tremendous attack on the Hispanic voters in Los Angeles by some Democratic officials.  So yes, so the top of the ticket (gets hurt).  Or you have the elderly attacked.  Again, you have politicians of both parties who do not want those people in.  Now of course there's a greater prejudice against the defenseless voter by a Republican because generally people vote Democratic."

Mr. Palast indicated that history was almost certain to repeat itself yet again on Election Night 2008. 

"We are going to have election officials say the next day when people are waiting on long lines, 'we couldn't believe the amount of people who showed up to vote.'  I mean, what is obviously going to be the hottest election in American history, without question.  And they're all gonna tell you that they were surprised.  And not all -- and there are going to be those officials who didn't want people to be there.  Get ready for it, because that's happening right now.  And Obama's not ready for it.  I've signed up for the Obama list and I got two e-mails a day asking for money.  Not one e-mail saying, 'here's how you protect your vote and we need you to register people or to make sure people get back on the voter registry,'" said Mr. Palast.

"They are just out to lunch", said Mr. Palast of the Obama campaign, adding that "low income voters are the Democratic Party's lunch on election day."  An implication that poor voters are more of an annoyance than a welcomed embrace.

Mr. Palast, who talked about the energy crisis and the housing crisis back in July when The Popcorn Reel spoke with him -- neither of which have abated -- also sounded a gloomy forecast that even a meteorologist wouldn't entertain: 

"In the end . . . Obama's going to be the loser because of this.  He's going to lose the election because the vote is going to be stolen in Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, Florida, and probably Michigan and Wisconsin . . . Indiana might be stolen.  The only place where it's not going to be stolen and (Obama) will win will be Oregon, the only state where the vote is honest," said Mr. Palast of the Pacific Northwestern state, which is the only state in the country that votes entirely by mail.

Said Mr. Palast of Senator Obama: "He's going to lose those states to vote theft.  Unless there's some kind of like, crushing walk away that we don't expect, you know, one way or the other.  Obviously vote theft only works if you are within a couple of percentage points.  So I see a massive problem that's not going to be taken care of.  And that's taking place now."

Several polls have recently shown that Senator Barack Obama is leading Senator John McCain handily in several key "battleground" states, but as the political rap group Public Enemy once sang, and as Mr. Palast would probably agree, "don't believe the hype."

Since The Popcorn Reel's conversation with Greg Palast three months ago the Obama campaign has vigorously taken notice and been very active in guarding against election fraud and disenfranchisement of voters, whether via rigorous I.D. photo requirements in some states or through other means.  Early voting in no less than 35 states has also been a key to stemming some of the voting problems and issues with electronic voting machines as well as malfunctions.  Senator Obama's campaign website has a section dedicated to a voter protection program called Counsel For Change, organizing groups in each of the states that Mr. Palast predicted Obama would lose in.  The site encourages attorneys to sign up to monitor the polls for potential legal challenges to voters in various states, including all of the states that Mr. Palast mentioned, which are termed "swing states".  The Obama campaign last month filed a
lawsuit against the Republican Party of Michigan in Macomb County, whose leader allegedly said that those in the county whose homes were foreclosed would be blocked from voting in next month's presidential election.

Anyone, whether an attorney or not, is encouraged by the Obama campaign to volunteer to be a poll worker and assist in helping to ensure that people vote.  Some states, including Arizona, have shortages of poll workers and desperately need people to help deal with the large turnouts expected.  The McCain campaign is similarly requesting volunteers to assist on election day.

Despite all of the news stories and Mr. Palast's forecasts based on his own investigation, the author of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy and Armed Madhouse says that "people have to take care of their own democracy." 

Contacting both the McCain and Obama campaigns and talk radio stations, local and national media, such as Rachel Maddow, Keith Olbermann, Randi Rhodes, Jack Cafferty of CNN, Jon Stewart, Campbell Brown of CNN, Thom Hartmann, Stephen Colbert, Amy Goodman and others, such as your local and state politicians -- senators, congressional leaders, etc., or by posting your own stories about the voting problems you may have personally witnessed or encountered, on You Tube -- these may all be just a few ways in which people can spread awareness and inspire change and prevent the calamities of the past two presidential elections.

Ultimately, Mr. Palast urged the American public to pay attention and be active.  "The point of (John Wellington Ennis's film "Free For All!") is that Ohio is not history.  Ohio is the springboard, it's the warm-up pen for 2008.  And so the tricks in Ohio are being sophisticated, more sophisticated, legalized -- formerly illegal -- they got away with it but they're illegal.  The tricks are being legalized, more sophisticated, and more widespread in 2008."

Next: "Free For All!" filmmaker John Wellington Ennis, whose highly recommended "Free For All!" documentary on the elections in Ohio in 2004 and 2006 is now available in the U.S. and Canada on DVD, weighs in on the election.


Audio: Excerpt from PopcornReel.com's Omar P.L. Moore's July 22, 2008 telephone conversation with author-investigative journalist Greg Palast  (about four minutes long; may be a little difficult to hear)


Part One of this Popcorn Reel Special Report is here   |    The Popcorn Reel Election '08 Page


Visit Greg Palast's website  |   Download the comic book guide by Mr. Palast and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. entitled, "Steal Back Your Vote"


Watch Greg Palast's BBC Newsnight Report on voter suppression   |   John Wellington Ennis's Free For All! website   |   Video The Vote website

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

 


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