Greg Palast, a bestselling author and a freelance journalist, has worked more than any other to uncover Republican election larceny, most likely leading to a George W. Bush victory in 2000 and 2004. His book, Billionaires and Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps speaks of the Republican blueprint for election thievery in 2012 … and more.
Most likely if Barack Obama had not run a superlative campaign this year, he – and the American people — would have been victims again, just as Al Gore and John Kerry were.
If you think Obama’s election victory in 2012 was a feat, consider the 2008 election when Obama won by more votes. Greg Palast has calculated that almost 6 million legitimate votes and voters were tossed out of the count. The vast majority of these voters and votes Republicans coldly calculated would go to the Democrats. If you think this number is manufactured, Greg Palast calculated this revelation from the records of the US Election Assistance Commission, but in his footnote he says it is worse.
Here is the official breakdown: .8 million provisional ballots were cast and not counted; 1.45 million ballots were “spoiled”; .49 million absentee ballots were mailed in, but not counted; 2.38 million would-be voters had their registrations rejected; .5 million already registered were wrongly purged from the rolls; .3 million properly registered were turned away from the polls by poll workers, saying they had improper ID. Palast has details in his book.
If you paid much attention this year, you know that Republicans in states where they have control were using every trick in the book to suppress voting, intimidate voters, purge voting rolls, throw out registration, and so on. We know that hundreds of billions of dollars and gerrymandering won House elections, but you do wonder what the voting fraud toll was this year.
With Citizens United, can you see why Palast’s book, published before the election, had a chapter called “Why Obama Is Likely to Lose in 2012.”
Now you might say, “What’s the difference? He won, didn’t he?” Consider. Are you going to be around for the next election? Buying elections and stealing votes is not going to go away. There is too much at stake for billionaires. Their investment in politicians and elections is quite small, but their gain is humongous at all government levels.
It is pretty obvious that the Republican focus on austerity is a ruse with the goal of maintaining rich tax breaks, like the preferential low tax rate on long-term capital gains, for example. Last year capital gains accounted for 42% of all income for those making more than a million dollars yearly, and it will cost taxpayers $440 billion over 5 years. The rich would rather cut social security, Medicare, Medicaid, mortgage interest deductions, all benefits and deductions helping the poor or the middle class. Watch the “fiscal cliff” negotiations and see how much Democrats, including Obama, do for us. Overall gains for the rich continue, including keeping tax breaks, weakening unions and such, but there are specifics as well.
Let’s start with the Koch Brothers’ interest in the XL Pipeline. Why would we run an oil pipe two thousand miles to Texas? Koch Industries owns Flint Hills Refining of Corpus Christ, Texas. It will not buy oil from the Saudis whose oil is $18 a barrel higher than the heavy crude from Venezuela, but Hugo Chavez is wanting more per barrel now. The Kochs don’t want to depend on Chavez, so they were willing to spend a quarter of a billion to beat Obama and get their heavy crude from Canada’s tar sands through XL. Aquifers be damned.
Another darling, Texan, Harold Simmons, gave $50 million to the Republican Party — peanuts for a man worth $10 billion. His two big businesses are NL Industries, called National Lead Company until 1971, and Waste Control Specialists LLC. Their value is dependent on government rules, permits, environmental regulations, taxes and property for poison disposal. His $1.2 million bet on Rick Perry is probably the best investment. He figured Perry would crash and burn, running for president, and still be available as Texas governor to do his bidding.
Texas law restricts his donations to Perry as governor in Texas, but not running for president. Simmons Waste Control business depended on Texas government to find him a spot to dump mostly government-contracted toxins and poisons, including nuclear waste. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, appointed by Perry, approved the twenty square miles in West Texas over expert objections, experts citing its closeness to the Ogallala aquifer.
Toxics and poisons have a way of making people sick, or possibly of poisoning drinking water, not to speak of lead-poisoning suits from Simmon’s former holding of Dutch Boy paints. Texas fixed that through tort reform, doing away with suits poisoned people might bring against Simmon’s companies.
Their gain, our demise.
Now, are you still feeling happy about the middle class victory on November 6th?
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