I’m not sure whether issue 1064 has hit the newsstands yet—and the Rolling Stone is going to make us pay for the bad news this time: in an apparent follow-up to Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s 2006 piece Was the Election stolen?, the current issue contains an article co-written by Kennedy and Greg Palast in which they claim “election has already been stolen”:
According to an email being circulated by Palast, here’s some of what to expect:
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 have had their registrations REJECTED under new procedures signed into law by George Bush.
Kennedy, a voting rights lawyer, charges this is a resurgence of 'Jim Crow' tactics to wrongly block Black and Hispanic voters.
- A fired US prosecutor levels new charges - accusing leaders of his own party, Republicans, with criminal acts in an attempt to block legal voters as "fraudulent."
- Digging through government records, the Kennedy-Palast team discovered that, in 2004, a GOP scheme called "caging” ultimately took away the rights of 1.1 million voters. The Rolling Stone duo predict that, this November 4, it will be far worse.
- Since the last presidential race, "States used dubious 'list management' rules to scrub at least 10 million voters from their rolls."
Among those was Paul Maez of Las Vegas, New Mexico - a victim of an unreported but devastating purge of voters in that state that left as many as one in nine Democrats without a vote. For Maez, the state's purging his registration was particularly shocking - he's the county elections supervisor.
The Kennedy-Palast revelations go far beyond the sum of questionably purged voters recently reported by the New York Times.
"Republican operatives - the party's elite commandos of bare-knuckle politics," report Kennedy and Palast, under the cover of fighting fraudulent voting, are "systematically disenfranchis[ing] Democrats."
The investigators level a deadly serious charge:
"If Democrats are to win the 2008 election, they must not simply beat McCain at the polls - they must beat him by a margin that exceeds the level of GOP vote tampering."
Should be an interesting read, and let’s give Kennedy credit for getting this out there 2 weeks before the election, not 2 years later! The authors have also given an exclusive interview on the subject at the Huffington Post. I haven’t listened to it yet, but here’s HP’s lead in:
In the first part of the interview, both Kennedy and Palast riff on an encyclopedia's worth of voter suppression information: the nonexistence of "voter fraud"; the history of Republican (and, in some cases, Democratic) efforts to suppress the votes of African American, Latino, American Indian, young, and senior citizen voters; the ways that seemingly sensible vote "protection" measures like photo I.D. and database cross-matching requirements are designed to reduce the Democratic vote; why "provisional ballots" are really just "placebo ballots"; why absentee ballots are a bad idea; how "fraud prevention" measures cost a group of elderly nuns their right to vote in the Indiana primaries; how Colorado's Republican former secretary of state wiped 1/5 of the names off the state's voter rolls without the Democratic governor even knowing; and the new methods being unveiled this year to disenfranchise voters.Tight-lipped and unflappable, holding his cards close to his vest, Obama speaks only sparingly about this in the RS interview:
RS: In the last two elections, the Republicans worked to suppress the vote, especially in Democratic precincts. Reporting by Bobby Kennedy in Rolling Stone has raised questions about whether the Republicans stole the 2004 election in Ohio. Are you worried about those kinds of tactics this time? And what are you doing in advance to keep that from happening?There’s more: Obama on his plans for withdrawal from Iraq, his strategy for Afghanistan, education and tax cuts--no knockout punche or gamechangers here; no October surprise. But here’s what caught my eye.
BHO: Without leveling any accusations about past misdeeds, I can tell you that we're paying a lot of attention to how the election a month from now is going to take place. We've got an extraordinary team of lawyers in every battleground state — hundreds of them — fanning out across these states. A lot of the work is actually being done now: We have organized such a surge in voter registration that there were clerks having difficulty processing the registration, and there was some question as to legal requirements for them to hire more clerks. So there's already been a lot of work done, and I feel pretty confident that if there are any shenanigans out there that we'll be on top of them.
Is Obama setting himself up for another dubious “guilt by association” flap?
Tell me about what you find funny. Is there a comedian out there who captures your sense of humor?
I'll tell you the guy who these days makes me laugh: Chris Rock. I understand his humor. That doesn't mean that's my sense of humor, but it works for me.
Here a coupla more quotes from the article, starting with the intro:
No matter what you think of Obama, it's impossible not to recognize that he represents a historic turning point in American politics — and that the momentum of the race has tilted sharply in his favor in recent weeks. Part of the shift, of course, is due to the catastrophic meltdown on Wall Street. Part of it is due to the equally impressive meltdown of John McCain: his erratic and reckless mishandling of the crisis, his desperate unleashing of the same kind of smear campaign he has long condemned. But most of the credit goes to Obama himself, to his sure-footedness as a candidate and a leader. As we wrote in our endorsement of him seven months ago, "Obama has emerged by displaying precisely the kind of character and judgment we need in a president: renouncing the politics of fear, speaking frankly on the most pressing issues facing the country and sticking to his principles."
Americans may not be taking to the streets over the financial crisis, but they are taking to the streets for Obama. After he finishes his speech and his motorcade leaves the football field, lights flashing, people spill out onto the sidewalks for miles to catch a glimpse of him as he passes. There are salesmen cheering in front of a Ford dealership, workers in blue uniforms waving outside a sewage-supply company, secretaries holding signs, parents holding children. At an elementary school, teachers have gathered a hundred students on the lawn, row after row of five- and six-year-olds, squirming impatiently, hands clasped in their laps. Unable to resist, Obama halts the motorcade and walks over to say hello. The kids go nuts — screaming and running in circles and literally bumping into one another — as Obama flashes a wide smile, surrounded by a sea of tiny hands.
RS: What makes you better prepared than John McCain to handle a crisis — whether it's a terrorist attack, a financial meltdown or a natural disaster?Later in the interview:
BHO: We've had two significant moments where the judgment of a commander in chief would have to be applied in a very deliberate fashion. One is the war in Iraq, and the other is what's happened just over the last three and a half weeks on Wall Street. In both instances, what you've seen is John McCain being impulsive, not getting all the information that he needs, surrounding himself with people who are predisposed to agreeing with him. And as a consequence, I think he's made bad judgments. In Iraq he embraced a theory of preventive war without thinking through all the consequences. He embraced the intelligence that was patently bad, and we're suffering the consequences of it. And just over the last three and a half weeks, he's gone from being always for deregulation to now presenting himself as this champion of regulatory toughness. He's gone from the economy being fundamentally sound to two hours later saying that we're in crisis. I don't get a sense that that kind of approach is what's going to be needed right now. I think we need somebody who is able to see all sides of an argument, bring the best people together, evaluate all our options, make decisive decisions, correct those decisions when they're not working out, and has a strategic sense or a vision of where the country needs to go — who's not simply reacting all the time or thinking tactically.
RS: Looking back over the past eight years, what's the thing that Bush screwed up the worst?BHO on the source of his campaign finances:
BHO: I think Iraq has to rank number one. Although the economy and his failure, utterly, to anticipate the dangers of such a highly leveraged Wall Street, combined with such a highly leveraged federal government, combined with such highly leveraged consumers, at a time when we knew that baby boomers are about to retire and we need to start storing the acorns for the winter — it's breathtaking. The level of irresponsibility that's taken place over the last eight years is breathtaking.
What happens is that people have sent us a lot of money. It was interesting with the oil companies, for example. When I talked about how John McCain met with oil company executives and reversed himself on offshore drilling, and that same week raised a whole bunch of money from oil executives, they came back and said, "Well, you've raised all this money from oil companies, too." What they're doing there is they're counting the $25 check from some secretary who works in a back office somewhere. Cumulatively, it ends up looking like a lot of money. But there is a very big difference between us getting money from employees of all sorts of industries and us getting bundled big checks from industry lobbyists, which we never do.