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Stupid White Men -- by Michael Moore
A Very American Coup
THE FOLLOWING MESSAGE WAS INTERCEPTED BY U.N. FORCES ON 9/1/01, AT 0600 HOURS, FROM SOMEWHERE WITHIN THE NORTH AMERICAN CONTINENT:
I am a citizen of the United States of America. Our government has been
overthrown. Our elected President has been exiled. Old white men wielding
martinis and wearing dickies have occupied our nation's capital.
We are under siege. We are the United States Government-in-Exile.
Our numbers are not insignificant. There are over 154 million adults among us, and 90 million children. That's 234 million people who did not vote for, and are not represented by, the regime that has placed itself in power.
Al Gore is the elected President of the United States. He received 539,898 more votes than George W. Bush, But he does not sit tonight in the Oval Office. Instead our elected President roams the country without purpose or mission, surfacing only to lecture college students and replenish his stash of Little Debbie's Snack Cakes.
Al Gore won. Al Gore, President-in-Exile. Long live El Pres-idente Albertooooooo Gorrrrrrrrrrre!
So who, then, is the man that now occupies 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue? I'll tell you who:
He is George W. Bush, "President" of the United States, The Thief-in-Chief.
It used to he that politicians would wait until they were in office
before they became crooks. This one came prepackaged. Now he is a trespasser
on federal land, a squatter in the Oval Office. If I told you this was
Guatemala, you'd believe it in a heartbeat, no matter what your political
stripe. But because this coup was wrapped in an American flag, delivered
in your choice of red, white, or blue, those responsible believe they're
going to get away with it.
That's why, on behalf of 234 million Americans held hostage I have requested that NATO do what it did in Bosnia nnd Kosovo, what America did in Haiti, what Lee Marvin did in The Dirty Dozen:
Send in the Marines! Launch the SCUD missiles! Bring us the head of Antonin Scalia!
I have sent a personal request to U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan to hear our plea. We are no longer able to govern ourselves or to hold free and fair elections.
We need U.N. observers, U.N. troops, U.N. resolutions!
Dammit, we need Jimmy Carter!
We are now finally no better than a backwater banana republic. We are asking ourselves why any of us should bother to get up in the morning to work our asses off to produce goods and services that only serve to make the junta and its cohorts in Corporate America (a separate, autonomous fiefdom within the United States that has been allowed to run on its own for some time) even richer. Why should we pay our taxes to finance their coup? Can we ever again send our sons off into battle to give their lives defending "our way of life" — when all that really means is the lifestyle of the gray old men holed up in the headquarters they seized by the Potomac?
Oh JesusMaryAndJoseph, I can't take it! Somebody pass me the universal remote! I need to switch back to the fairy tale that I was a citizen in a democracy with an inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of Happy Meals. The story I was told as a child said that I mattered, that I was. equal to every one of my fellow citizens — and that not a single one of us was to be treated differently or unfairly, that no one was to wield power over others without their consent. The will of the people. America the Beautiful. Land that I love. Twilight's ...last... gleaming. Oh, say, can you see — are the Belgian peacekeepers on their way? Hurry!
The coup began long before the shenanigans on Election Day 2000. In the summer of 1999 Katherine Harris, an honorary Stupid White Man who was both George W. Bush's presidential campaign cochairwoman and the Florida secretary of state in charge of elections, paid $4 million to Database Technologies to go through Florida's voter rolls and remove anyone "suspected" of being a former felon. She did so with the blessing of the governor of Florida, George W.'s brother Jeb Bush — whose own wife was caught by immigration officials trying to sneak $19,000 worth of jewelry into the country without declaring and paying tax on it... a felony in its own right. But hey, this is America. We don't prosecute felons if they're rich or married to a governing Bush.
The law states that ex-felons cannot vote in Florida. And sadly (though I'm confident that Florida's justice system was always unimpeachably fair), that means 31 percent of all black men in Florida are prohibited from voting because they have a felony on their record. Harris and Bush knew that removing the names of ex-felons from the voter rolls would keep thousands of black citizens out of the voting booth.
Black Floridians, overwhelmingly, are Democrats — and sure enough, Al Gore received the votes of more than 90 percent of them on November 7, 2000.
That is, 90 percent of those who were allowed to vote.
In what appears to be a mass fraud committed by the state of Florida, Bush, Harris, and company not only removed thousands of black felons from the rolls, they also removed thousands of black citizens who had never committed a crime in their lives — along with thousands of eligible voters who had committed only misdemeanors.
How did this happen? Harris's office told Database — A firm with strong Republican ties — to cast as wide a net as possible to get rid of these voters. Her minions instructed the company to include even people with "similar" names to those of the actual felons. They insisted Database check people with the same birth dates as known felons, or similar Social Security numbers; an 80 percent match of relevant information, the election office instructed, was sufficient for Database to add a voter to the ineligible list.
These orders were shocking, even to Bush-friendly Database. They would mean that thousands of legitimate voters might be barred from voting on Election Day just because they had a name that sounded like someone else's, or shared a birthday with some unknown bank robber. Marlene Thorogood, the Database project manager, sent an E-mail to Emmett "Bucky" Mitchell, a lawyer for Katharine Harris's election division, warning him that "Unfortunately, programming in this fashion may supply you with false positives," or misidentifications.
Never mind that, said ol' Bucky. His response: "Obviously, we want to capture more names that possibly aren't matches and let [county election] supervisors make a final determination rather than exclude certain matches altogether."
Database did as they were told. And before long 173,000 registered voters in Florida were permanently wiped off the voter rolls. In Miami-Dade, Florida's largest county, 66 percent of the voters who were removed were black. In Tampa's county, 54 percent of those who would be denied the right to vote on November 7, 2000, were black.
But culling names from Florida's records alone was not enough for Harris and her department. Eight thousand additional Floridians were thrown off the voting rolls because Database used a false list supplied by another state, a state which claimed that all the names on the list were former convicted felons who had since moved to Florida.
It turns out that the felons on the list had served their time and had all their voting privileges reinstated. And there were others on the list who had committed only misdemeanors — such as parking violations or littering. What state was it that offered Jeb and George a helping hand by sending this bogus list to Florida?
This entire incident stunk to the high heavens, but the American media ignored it. It took the British Broadcasting Corporation to dig deep into this story, running fifteen-minute segments on its prime-time news program revealing all the sordid details and laying responsibility for the scam right at the doorstep of Governor Jeb Bush. It's a sad day when we have to look to a country 5,000 miles away to find out the truth about our own elections. (Eventually the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Past picked up the story, but it received little attention.)
This assault on the voting rights of minorities was so widespread in Florida that it even affected people like Linda Howell. Linda received a letter informing her that she was a felon — and therefore advising her not to bother showing up on Election Day, because she would be barred from voting. The only problem was, Linda Howel] wasn't a felon—in fact, she was the elections supervisor of Madison County, Florida! She and other local election officials tried to get the state to rectify the problem, but their pleas fell on deaf ears. They were told that everyone who complained about being prevented from voting should submit themselves for fingerprinting—and then let the state determine whether or not they were felons.
On November 7, 2000, as black Floridians flocked to the polls in record numbers, many were met at the ballot boxes with a blunt rebuke: "You cannot vote." In a number of precincts in Florida's inner cities, the polling locations were heavily fortified with police to block anyone on Katherine and Jeb's "felons list" from voting. Hundreds of law-abiding citizens looking to exercise their constitutional right to vote, mostly in black and Hispanic communities, were sent away—and threatened with arrest if they protested.
George W. Bush would officially be credited with receiving 537 more votes than Al Gore in Florida. Is it safe to assume that the thousands of registered black and Hispanic voters barred from the polls might have made the difference if they had been allowed to vote—and cost Bush the election? Without a doubt.
On election night, after the polls closed, there was much confusion over what was happening with the counting of the votes in Florida. Finally a decision was made by the man in charge of the election night desk for the Fox News Channel. He decided that Fox should go on the air and declare that Bush had won Florida and thus the election. And that's what happened. Fox formally declared Bush the winner.
But down in Tallahassee, the counting of the votes had not yet been completed; in fact, the Associated Press insisted it was still too close to call, and refused to follow Fox's lead.
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The Best Democracy Money Can Buy:
An Investigative Reporter Exposes the Truth About Globalization, Corporate Cons, and High Finance Fraudsters
... clear documentary evidence that Blacks were racially profiled to be eliminated from voter rolls by Florida's voter/felon purge. Essentially, at the behest of Katherine Harris, under Jeb Bush's close watch, Florida systematically and intentionally denied voting rights to approximately 90,000 voters whose right to vote in Florida was legally unquestionable
Hear Greg Palast tell the story http://radio4all.net/proginfo.php?id=4409
More info from the Amazon Website:
Muckraking has a long, storied tradition, and Palast is evidently proud
to be part of it. In this polemical indictment of globalization and political
corruption, Palast (a reporter with the BBC and London's Observer) updates
the muckraking tradition with some 21st-century targets: the IMF, World
Bank and WTO, plus oil treaties, energy concerns and corporate evildoers
of all creeds. Some of Palast's reports are downright shocking (if familiar).
He shows, for example, how the WTO prevents cheap AIDS drugs from reaching
victims in Africa and how World Bank loan policies have crippled the economies
of Tanzania and other developing countries. On the home front, the details
Exxon's horrific safety record before the Valdez disaster and reveals the
price-gouging by Texas power companies during the California energy crisis.
In Britain, Palast exposes the "cash for access" policies of the Blair
administration, and blasts the legal system for shielding Pfizer Pharmaceuticals
from lawsuits by victims who had defective Pfizer valves installed in their
hearts. These are all good, important stories. Most of them, however, have
been published before. This book is essentially a collection of Palast's
newspaper articles, hastily stitched together with some commentary and
exposition. As such, it lacks cohesiveness and the depth his subjects deserve.
In addition, Palast's bombastic style and one-sided perspective do much
to undermine his own credibility. How seriously should readers take a journalist
who labels former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers an "alien" and
dismisses Wal-Mart shareholders as "Wal-Martians"? There is much of value
here, but readers who want a full-bodied, serious analysis of how globalization
is affecting developing countries or how corporate giants pay for political
favors should look elsewhere.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.