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"The right to vote...is the primary right by which other rights are protected"-Thomas Paine
The long awaited completion of award-winning filmmaker, Dorothy Fadiman's Stealing America, arrives just in time for the 2008 elections. Stealing America peers into the darkness of U.S. elections with stunning clarity, supported by deep research and significant interviews of several key investigators. More than a film, the entire project encompasses a Grassroots call to immediate action. Both the film and its website inform the public and demand that citizens step into their role as overseers of public elections. The stakes couldn't be higher.
"This is the most important film I have ever made," Fadiman told us at the New York City premier on August 1st. "You, me, all of us, we must get involved."
Dorothy Fadiman has been producing media with a focus on social justice and human rights since 1976. Her film subjects have ranged from progressive education in WHY DO THESE KIDS LOVE SCHOOL? (produced with KTEH-TV) and progressive change for women in some of the least developed villages of India in WOMAN by WOMAN: New Hope for the Villages of India (produced with KQED-TV); to a three-film series on reproductive issues and a five-film series on AIDS in Ethiopia including From RISK to ACTION: Women and HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia.
Fadiman has won more than 50 major awards, including an Emmy for her 1995 production FROM DANGER to DIGNITY: The Fight for Safe Abortion, and an Oscar nomination for Best Short Subject, as well as the Gold Medal from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for her 1992 production WHEN ABORTION WAS ILLEGAL: Untold Stories. Her films have been broadcast on PBS, and have been screened in many international venues. Fadiman's new book , PRODUCING with PASSION: Making Films That Make a Difference was released in June, 2008.
While Ohio deservedly takes the lion's share of attention in Stealing America it was the state that decided the 2004 election Fadiman shows that shenanigans occurred across the nation. At least thirteen states reported vote-switching that ultimate horror of computerized voting, the one that most effectively destroys voter confidence in the entire electoral process. As if a corporate-owned government isn't scary enough, these idiot thieves can't even figure out how to maintain the illusion of democracy.
I have to admit I find the subject difficult. I lived through it, I investigated it, I blogged about it, and I was captured by an obsessive need to know: are elections real? Every time I investigated an election, the results did not make sense. I even testified in court. The official results did not match the signature count in Franklin County, Ohio's Nov. 2006 election, but the judge was unimpressed. So, there comes a point when that November 2nd nightmare in Ohio is just too painful. And, yet, the dream has not ended. More votes will be counted on undetectably mutable software in the next election than ever before. Now is not the time to give up. Stealing America
Stealing Americadetails the dire conditions of U.S. elections, and lays out several actions each of us can take. Hers is only one team, and yet they have had a profound effect already.
Since Stealing America premiered in August, a remarkably noticeable difference in corporate media has occurred. The film slams mainstream media for its silence on the 2004 anomalies, and her effort had the intended effect. Pick up any mainstream news source today, and you will find articles revealing vote switching, ridiculous results, even results that conflict with the machine's own internal memory check. Run 2,000 ballots through an optical scanner three different times and you'll get three different results, as Palm Beach County, Florida discovered this year. Corporate media is catching up to bloggers, and warning Americans the vote count is in question. We can thank Stealing America for shaming corporate media into doing its job.
Leon County (Tallahassee), Florida is where the first known election insider tested the optical scan machines back in 2005, where the now-famous Hursti Hacks took place. Supervisor of Elections Ion Sanchez reminds the public, "We are the gatekeepers of democracy." But it is the voters who keep public officials honest. Fadiman repeatedly stresses that civic engagement is required. Now.
One inescapable reality that Stealing America drives home is that 80% (now 95%) of the votes are being counted by Republican owned corporations. But Fadiman boldly points her accusatory finger at the Democratic Party, as well, for its absolute wimplicity in refusing to investigate the plethora of anomalies. Ohio's successor Secretary of State, Democrat Jennifer Brunner, tested the machines and "wanted to throw up" when she read the report. It caused her sleepless nights, and yet, she certified them for use in Ohio. My anger is unassuaged. Thank goodness the film intersperses Comedy Central shticks with cold reality.
A substantial theme of the film attacks the exit polls, whose numbers simply flipped to comport with official results. Fadiman suggests we hand count the ballots but recognizes that most jurisdictions will only audit a tiny percent of them. So she demands that a responsible audit scheme be developed and used one that will provide a 99% confidence level. My dear citizens, that audit is only as effective as the overseers. You must observe these audits this year.
Fadiman shows you how in her Grassroots Campaign. Here are several links to get you started:
Free download starting on October 21st.
Have a movie party, and be prepared with these discussion points.
Pick a job any job:
But Fadiman urges you to let these actions be the beginning of what you do:
"What we stand to lose is everything." Get engaged. Together, we'll build a democracy.
In 2004, Rady Ananda joined the growing community of citizen journalists. Initially focused on elections, she investigated the 2004 Ohio election, organizing, training and leading several forays into counties to photograph the 2004 ballots. She officially served at three recounts, including the 2004 recount. She also organized and led the team that audited Franklin County Ohio's 2006 election, proving the number of voter signatures did not match official results. Her work appears in three books.
Her blogs also address religious, gender, sexual and racial equality, as well as environmental issues; and are sprinkled with book and film reviews on various topics. She spent most of her working life as a researcher or investigator for private lawyers, and five years as an editor.
She graduated from The Ohio State University's School of Agriculture in December 2003 with a B.S. in Natural Resources.
All material offered here is the property of Rady Ananda, copyright 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009. Permission is granted to repost, with proper attribution including the original link.
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