by Buzzflash.com columnist Maureen Farrell
Extracted from Top 10 ‘Conspiracy Theories’ about George W. Bush, Part 2.
See also… Top 10 ‘Conspiracy Theories’ about George W. Bush, Part 1
"There was one exact moment, in fact, when I knew for sure that Al Gore would Never be President of the United States, no matter what the experts were saying — and that was when the whole Bush family suddenly appeared on TV and openly scoffed at the idea of Gore winning Florida. It was Nonsense, said the Candidate, Utter nonsense. . .Anybody who believed Bush had lost Florida was a Fool. The Media, all of them, were Liars & Dunces or treacherous whores trying to sabotage his victory . . Here was the whole bloody Family laughing & hooting & sneering at the dumbness of the whole world on National TV. The old man was the real tip-off. The leer on his face was almost frightening. It was like looking into the eyes of a tall hyena with a living sheep in its mouth. The sheep’s fate was sealed, and so was Al Gore’s."
— Hunter S. Thompson, ESPN, Nov. 27, 2000
"[The Bush Family’s] sense of how to win elections comes out of a CIA manual, not out of the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution."
— Former GOP strategist Kevin Phillips, BuzzFlash, Jan. 7. 2004
While some believe a coup began on Sept. 11, others will tell you it began with the 2000 election. Even though George Bush’s first cousin declared him the winner and his brother Jeb assured him he’d won Florida, many Americans remained unconvinced.
First there was the surreal sight of the Bush family on national TV, as staged and phony as Susan Smith’s tearful plea to return her "kidnapped" children. Then came the well-groomed thugs, sent on Enron and Halliburton planes to stop the Florida recount. But it wasn’t just James Baker’s ploys or the Supreme Court’s ruling that signaled something was amiss — it was the attitude of ordinary citizens who were more concerned about their "team" winning than about democracy itself.
Unless you rely solely on FOX news (the modern equivalent to "living under a rock"), the shenanigans that occurred in pre-election Florida are now old news, and have been dissected at length in documentaries, magazines and to some degree, in the mainstream press. A St . Petersburg Times op-ed later deemed the election "stolen," the Associated Press reported that Florida had "quietly" admitted "election fraud," and Vanity Fair devoted a sizable portion of its Oct. 2004 issue to exactly how Team Bush pulled it off. By the time CNN sued the state of Florida for its ineligible voters list in 2004, the underbelly of the beast was plainly visible.
But in Nov. 2001, when Greg Palast uncovered then Secretary of State Katherine Harris’ role in the shameful voter roll purge in Florida, the news was explosive. The New York Times — the paper that would later print front page disinformation to sell the war in Iraq — took a pass, however, until three years later, when it was too late to do anything about it.
At first, election irregularities were featured as anomalies, like when the Washington Post covered computer glitches that literally subtracted thousands of votes from Al Gore and gave them to a Socialist candidate. By the time similar problems were reported during the 2002 midterm and 2004 primary elections, people were understandably skittish, with e-voting failures having "shaken confidence in the technology installed at thousands of precincts" — with as many as 20 states introducing legislation calling for paper receipts on voting machines.
In early 2004, Mother Jones predicted that "Ohio could become as decisive this year as Florida was four years ago" and sure enough, Americans awoke the day after the election without a decisive winner. And though John Kerry later conceded, questions have since been raised by computer programmers, mathematicians, journalists and others. "Was the election of 2004 stolen?" columnist Robert Koehler asked, before addressing the many "numbers-savvy scientists are saying that the numbers don’t make sense."
There were warnings before the election, of course, with red flags being raised by researchers at prestigious Stanford and John Hopkins Universities. But despite Diebold’s CEO’s promise to deliver Ohio’s electoral votes to George W. Bush, Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell’s prominent role in the Bush/Cheney campaign, and the suspicious election night lock-down in Warren County, Ohio, many still believed election angst could be attributed to a super-sized case of "sour grapes."
When Christopher Hitchens, who is admittedly not a Kerry fan, also weighed in, however, that excuse flew out the window. "Whichever way you shake it, or hold it to the light, there is something about the Ohio election that refuses to add up. . . ," he wrote.
Rep. John Conyers and the Government Accountability Office also found widespread irregularities, and when statisticians picked apart the election results, Bush was not the legitimate winner. Pollster John Zogby compared the 2004 election to 1960’s suspicious contest, and University of Pennsylvania professor Steven F. Freeman put the odds that exit polls were that wrong, in that many states, at 250 million to one.
The evidence was so compelling, in fact, that NYU professor Mark Crispin Miller took it upon himself to tackle the proverbial suggestion "somebody should write a book." His extensively-researched yet largely ignored Fooled Again: How the Right Stole the 2004 Election & Why They’ll Steal the Next One Too (Unless We Stop Them) shines a crucial light on the "stealthy combination of computerized vote theft, bureaucratic monkey business, systematic shortages of viable equipment and old-fashioned dirty tricks. . . " that led to democracy’s last debacle, and will most likely lead to the next.
Ohio’s 2005 election also failed the smell test, and by late Jan. 2006, the Washington Post looked into allegations of election tampering — without the dismissive, lazy reporting usually afforded the subject. Describing tests conducted by Florida’s Leon County supervisor of elections Ion Sancho, using "relatively unsophisticated hacking techniques," the paper quickly uncovered how easy it is to steal an election. "Can the votes of this Diebold system be hacked using the memory card?" election officials asked test participants, and though two marked their ballots "yes" and six said "no," by the time they went through Diebold’s optical scan machine, the results read seven "yes" votes and one "no."
"More troubling than the test itself was the manner in which Diebold simply failed to respond to my concerns or the concerns of citizens who believe in American elections," Sancho said. "I really think they’re not engaged in this discussion of how to make elections safer."
Hmmm. You don’t say.
There is a reason, you see, that "None Dare Call It Stolen," and that reasons extends beyond the preponderance of evidence. "If electronic voting machines programmed by private Republican firms remain in our future, dissent will become pointless unless it boils over into revolution," former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Paul Craig Roberts wrote. "Power-mad Republicans need to consider the result when democracy loses its legitimacy and only the rich have anything to lose."
James Madison predicted a similar scenario. "The day will come when our Republic will be an impossibility," he reportedly told the New York Post. "It will be an impossibility because wealth will be concentrated in the hands of a few."
Those would be the "one percenters." And chances are, you aren’t one of them.
Maureen Farrell is a writer and media consultant who specializes in helping other writers get television and radio exposure.