History is so important. Norman Mailer said that all writers must know history. Professors Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman certainly do. They write the history no one else does--of election corruption in their home state, Ohio, and throughout the country since 2004.
Most recently, even more recently than the publication of their book this year, they have revealed to the public the strong connection between the Romney family and Hart InterCivic, the nation's second-largest voting machine manufacturer and custodian that participates in the electoral process beyond delivering the hugely defective product. H.I. operatives also help at the polls of their clients all over the country, with all of their equipment.
Need I say more?
Since the publication of his brand-new book Billionaires and Ballot Bandits, investigative journalist and author Greg Palast has revealed the blind-trust connection between the Romneys and the bailout of the automobile industry during the great recession back in 2008. Though hardly in need of assistance themselves, they profited from buying out another bankrupt entity, Delphi Auto Parts, for pennies and then going public on the Dow and raking in dollars, as much as 115 million of them. Now GM, along with its colleagues, can't do without auto parts, which are essential to the manufacture of cars. Strangled by gluttony and avarice, they paid the price demanded by these religious people, straight out of their bailout funds and ours.
Palast, in his outstanding Foreword, lauds the erudition and importance of the authors' works and how we have all benefited from them inestimably, those enlightened enough to read their work anyway.
Like Palast, Fitrakis and Wasserman (none of these distinguished authors are Democrats) look toward Election 2012 in their latest book and tell us what we can do to be sure that the people's will prevails.
"The purpose of this book is to show how, and to dissect the larger--potentially fatal--warning signs for American democracy, no matter which corporate party is doing the stealing," the book begins.
A massive grassroots upheaval is needed, for six compelling reasons (in addition to the new ones specified above), one that should have arisen far sooner, notes Palast in his Foreword. The reasons are the massive billions freed to spend on political campaigns thanks to Citizens United; the Electoral College, which forces focus on the swing states--campaigning since the party conventions has been confined to ten states; the disenfranchisement in infinite ways of the downtrodden of all descriptions who would naturally vote Democratic; the use of electronic voting machines as a particularly potent disenfranchiser; and finally, the Progressives' alienation from the President, only recently receding in the face of the hideous monster that threatens a disastrous upheaval, beginning with negatives: bye-bye, Obamacare, Public Television, most of Medicaid . . . the list goes on.
At least Obama began positively by announcing his intention to close the prisons at Guantanamo.
But then, thank God, ways out of the quicksand are listed, six of them, as above: take money out of politics; nonpartisan election administration; automatic registration of all U.S. citizens upon reaching age eighteen; polls that are located accessibly; an extended voting period, with "Election Day" lasting four days that include a weekend; and hand-counted paper ballots as the only voting vehicle, which means doing away with electronic voting, a huge conduit for election corruption.
The ways elections are stolen are described in depth in the next section, followed by an invaluable section on the history of stolen elections dating back to the controversy that put one stunning founding father into office who defeated another, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, respectively.
Jim Crow was born, more or less, when the southern states feared loss of power because of the hugely larger population in the North; each of their slaves was therefore counted as three-fifths of a person when it came to the vote they were not allowed to cast until the Fifteenth Amendment was ratified in 1870. The real Jim Crow era was ushered in soon after as a result of another crooked election, decided by back-room bargains that removed Yankee troops from the South, demolishing Reconstruction and the partial protection it had extended to freed slaves who did not migrate north. This was the Tilden-Hayes contest that Tilden actually won but Hayes subsequently sewed up.
Then there were three other corrupted elections: those of John Quincy Adams, William McKinley, and George W. Bush.
Third parties, including Socialists and two waves of Progressives, have been influential between then and now, though a three- or four-party system is still way off the radar. The authors wonder how many votes these and other parties really won in presidential elections and how many of these have been stolen. Will we ever know? Paper ballots back then were perishable in an infinite number of ways; today I'm sure they can be preserved at least as well as electronic data.
The definitions of a Republican and a Democrat so deviate from the partisan histories that both founders, Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Jackson, would turn over in their graves if they knew what had become of them. I therefore reject nineteenth-century associations of them with their later incarnations. Once can almost but not completely decide that if these founding figures were switched around, the associations might be more appropriate.
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