The Magazine

The Horror! The Horror!

The paranoid style of the American left.

Sep 3, 2007, Vol. 12, No. 47 • By NOEMIE EMERY
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Meanwhile, back on planet Earth, Cindy Sheehan is running for Congress; Valerie Plame is rich and famous; the young Republican "thugs" made all of one appearance seven years ago--chanting "Let us in!" when Miami-Dade County vote counters planned to move to a small inner room with no observers present; and press censorship is now so far-reaching that you can't even expose a legal, effective, and top-secret plan to trace terrorists without getting a Pulitzer Prize. "What if the publisher of a major U.S. newspaper were charged with treason or espionage?" Wolf asks breathlessly. "What if he or she got 10 years in jail?" Well, journalists have been harassed, pressed for their sources, and threatened with prison, but not by George W. Bush and his people. Back in the real world, only one prominent journalist has been jailed by the federal government in recent memory, and that was Judith Miller, imprisoned for 80-plus days for contempt by prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, the great hero of the anti-Bush forces for having indicted Vice President Cheney's chief of staff.

Such is life here in Fascist America. Of course, some think that the coup took place some time back, in the form of two, three, even four stolen elections over the span of six years. In 2000, they agree, the election was -stolen by the Supreme Court, after Governor Jeb Bush and other Republicans in Florida had systematically disenfranchised liberal voters through misleading ballots, illegal purges, faulty machines, and long lines. After 2002, most had moved on to a different fixation: the touch-screen electronic voting machines that they thought had been secretly programmed to tip key elections to conservatives. "There is strong evidence that Kerry won the popular vote [in the 2004 election]," Robert F. Kennedy Jr. told the Progressive before the 2006 midterms. "There were easily three million votes that were shifted. .  .  . There were 80,000 Democratic voters in twelve western Ohio rural counties who cast a vote for Kerry and had their votes shifted. .  .  . In six other counties there were tens of thousands of Kerry voters who had their votes shifted to Bush."

Exit polls and predictions were taken as proof that the vote count was tampered with. "On Wall Street, and in betting parlors nationwide, Kerry was the gamblers' pick," wrote Mark Crispin Miller, a professor of media studies at New York University. "There was the unprecedented gap between the exit polls and the official tally. .  .  . No one would discuss the soundest explanation of the mystery, clearly posed by Steve Freeman, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania: the exit polls were accurate, and the official numbers fraudulent. .  .  . Votes for Bush were invented, Democratic votes were prevented or discarded, or converted into still more votes for Bush." Miller is not a figure of the academic fringe; he has written frequently over the years--albeit not on his voting-machine theories--for such publications as the New York Times, Slate, and the New Republic.

In a long article in Rolling Stone in 2006, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. implied that the surprise 2002 wins in Georgia of Saxby Chambliss and gubernatorial candidate Sonny Perdue were due to the installation of touch-screen machines in the state that spring and summer, and especially to a visit in July 2002 by a president of the voting machine company, who oversaw the planting in many machines of what was described as a mystery software update, or patch. "It was an unauthorized patch, and they were trying to keep it secret," a former employee had told Kennedy. "There could be a hidden program on a memory card that adjusts everything to the preferred election results," the employee added. "Your program says, 'I want my candidate to stay ahead by three or four percent or whatever.' Those programs can include a built-in delete that erases itself after it's done." When election experts denied this was possible, the conspiracy theorists attacked them; and when the press refused to report on their theories, they complained it was in on the plot. Democrats who refused to complain were denounced as collaborators in the conservatives' fascist plot. As Mark Crispin Miller told Bob Cesca of the Huffington Post, the press and the Democrats were in a state of denial, unable to accept or to deal with reality. They refused to acknowledge that "the United States is clearly not a democratic country, or that the Bush administration are dangerous extremists, intent on building a one-party theocratic state."