It's official: We have lost the country
                                   By Bev Conover
                                   January 7, 2001 | By their refusal to stand up with their House
                                   colleagues in objecting to Florida's 25 stolen electoral votes,
                                   thereby preventing George W. Bush's illegitimate ascendancy
                                   to the White House, all 50 Democratic members of the U.S.
                                   Senate have joined in the right-wing takeover of the country.

                                   To the courageous House Democrats, and most especially the
                                   Congressional Black Caucus—Corrine Brown, Eva Clayton,
                                   Elijah Cummings, Peter Deutsch, Bob Filner, Jesse Jackson
                                   Jr., Eddie Bernice Johnson, Barbara Lee, Sheila Jackson Lee,
                                   Carrie Meek, Cynthia McKinney, Patsy Mink, Maxine Waters,
                                   and Alcee Hastings—we say thank you for standing up for all
                                   the people, the Constitution, your principles and consciences:
                                   You have our profound gratitude and undying support.

                                   As for our worthless Democratic senators—with the
                                   exception of Hillary Clinton, who would have risked personal
                                   harm had she joined with the House members, given the veiled
                                   threat made by Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott soon after
                                   her election—we shall not forget that they sold us out.

                                   Then they have been selling us out for years. They lost what
                                   little spine they had soon after Watergate, when they let
                                   Ronald Reagan and his Vice President Poppy Bush off the
                                   hook on Iran-contra—they couldn't "put the country through
                                   that again." The word "impeachment" wasn't even whispered
                                   when Poppy gave us Iraqgate, yet they stood by while the
                                   Republicans trumped up charges that never rose to the level of
                                   impeachable offenses against Bill Clinton.

                                   In the aftermath of Watergate, they voted for campaign
                                   finance "reforms" that were worse than money being passed in
                                   brown paper bags or secret slush funds and led to the rise of
                                   powerful political action committees controlled by big
                                   corporations and political think tanks. And in order for
                                   Democrats to swill at the PAC troughs, many soon shed their
                                   liberal labels and became those dastardly "New Democrats,"
                                   forming the Democratic Leadership Council, which is nothing
                                   more than a haven for Democrats who really are Republicans,
                                   but are either too chicken to go over to the GOP or find it
                                   more advantageous to retain their Democratic label.

                                   Not only did they do little to help Bill Clinton during his first
                                   two years in office, they now have allowed the Republicans to
                                   steal the election that Vice President Al Gore won and want to
                                   cozy up to the commander-in-thief who will occupy the White
                                   House come January 20, and accommodate the Senate
                                   Republicans. And that is exactly what they are planning to do,
                                   as they crow about their "power-sharing" victory.

                                   Do they really think we are that dumb? Do they care? Is there
                                   something more chilling going on under the surface that makes
                                   what we think or do irrelevant?

                                   When was the last honest election? Or have we come down
                                   to, to paraphrase an old Soviet saying, "We cast votes and they
                                   pretend to count them?"

                                   Election fraud is nothing new. Chicago Mayor Richard Daley
                                   was great at getting out the graveyard vote. Jersey City's
                                   Frank "I am the Law" Hague regularly had ballot boxes
                                   dumped in the Hudson River. Florida, it seems, is the champion
                                   when it comes to election fraud and corruption. None of this is
                                   right, but have we moved on from, if you will forgive the
                                   expression, small potatoes stuffing of ballot boxes and the
                                   voting of corpses to widespread systematic theft of elections?
                                   As with certain exhibition sports, are our elections determined
                                   before the first ballot is cast?

                                   It is easy enough to rig the lever-style mechanical machines.
                                   Stuffing paper ballot boxes is no big deal, either. But
                                   computerized vote tabulating devices—whether they are
                                   counting punch cards or optically scanned ballots—are
                                   especially dangerous when, in fact, the codes are known only
                                   to the companies who make the software and local election
                                   officials have no access to them. Imagine what could happen
                                   if we go to paperless computerized voting systems.

                                   James M. and Kenneth F. Collier lay it all out in chilling detail
                                   in "Votescam: The Stealing of America," a book that has been
                                   banned by all major bookstores. The Colliers ask and answer
                                   the question, "Why can't we vote the bastards out?" "Because
                                   we didn't even vote the bastards in!"

                                   After reading the first five chapters online, we admit we were
                                   skeptical. Then Buddy MacKay, who lost the Florida
                                   gubernatorial race to Jeb Bush, said in a Dec. 6, 2000,
                                   interview with Carl Bernstein that the circumstances of his
                                   1988 loss to Connie Mack in the U.S. Senate race eerily
                                   matched what happened in Florida in 2000.

                                   "'This is a very difficult personal situation for me,' said
                                   MacKay, who went on to serve as Florida's lieutenant
                                   governor and governor and now serves as President Clinton's
                                   special envoy to the Americas. 'I have not wanted to get into
                                   it, although I'm convinced this thing is susceptible to fraud in a
                                   big way. . . . It's a damned outrage. . . . I was sort of crushed
                                   in 1988 that it could happen, and somebody should have
                                   changed something since then so it couldn't happen all over

                                   Bernstein wrote, "MacKay does not rule out the possibility of a
                                   calculated attempt to subvert the vote in 1988 or 2000. 'What
                                   could have happened in 1988, and we couldn't get to it at the
                                   time was that the machines could have been programmed so
                                   that in my big precincts every tenth vote got counted wrong . .
                                   . ,' said MacKay, who added that he attempted to investigate
                                   the possibility of malfunctioning or fraud at the time but got no
                                   cooperation from the manufacturers of the voting machines.

                                   "Shortly after the '88 election, analysis by two nonpartisan
                                   publications noted a surprising number of 'undervotes'—ballots
                                   in which no votes were counted for either candidate in the
                                   Senate race. 'What stunned election analysts,' said a 1989
                                   study in Campaigns & Elections magazine, 'was the large
                                   number of voters in four large counties [Dade, Broward, Palm
                                   Beach, and Hillsborough] who, having voted for President
                                   simply failed to record a choice for Senate.' (Dade, Broward,
                                   Palm Beach, and Hillsborough became known as the
                                   'Fantastic Four' in skeptical journalistic accounts of the time.)
                                   An analysis by The Miami News determined that there was 'a
                                   drop-off of more than 200,000 votes in these counties from the
                                   presidential to the senatorial contest, or more than six times
                                   Mack's margin of victory.'

                                   " Studies by both The Miami News and Campaign & Elections
                                   magazine concluded that the overwhelming number of
                                   'missing' votes were Democratic."

                                   After reading that, we bought the book and urge you to do
                                   likewise if you don't already have a copy. This may explain
                                   why the Democrats in the Senate thumbed their noses at us,
                                   and why we have to be careful about what we wish for in a
                                   new voting system.

                                   But the senators and the members of the House who ignored
                                   our pleas to object to the Florida electors would be wise to
                                   heed the warning of Rep. Maxine Waters—which also is our
                                   warning—that "the days of doing business as usual is over."

                                   As Rep. Waters said, "We shall never forget what happened
                                   in this election."

                                   We shall not take it lying down. Also, let the Republican thugs
                                   understand that they have done more than any individual or
                                   group to solidify the Rainbow Coalition, because they have
                                   brought people of good will—white, black, brown, yellow and
                                   red—together. And together we shall stand and fight to get
                                   our country back.

                                   While the dupes of the rabid right are reveling in this moment,
                                   their glee will be short lived if their commander-in-thief
                                   succeeds in ruining the economy, costs them their jobs, sets his
                                   captains of industry loose to drill into and dig up the landscape,
                                   jeopardizes their health by building more nuclear power plants,
                                   and hands them the bill for his maniacal Star Wars.

                                   And to any Green who can drop the nonsensical bit about Al
                                   Gore being his own worst enemy and who can understand the
                                   concept of a systematically stolen election—which we shall
                                   have much more to say about as time goes on—coupled with
                                   the blatant way African Americans throughout this country
                                   were robbed of their votes, we say join us in the Rainbow
                                   Coalition, because we intend to overcome.

                                         Bev Conover is the Senior Editor of

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