Bulletin N° 374




Election Day 2008
Grenoble, France

Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,

In our on-going research on ethics and social class conflicts in American society, we recently revisited the writings of British anti-psychiatrists, doctors R.D. Laing and David Cooper. In their famous critique of Jean-Paul Satre's philosophical writing between 1950 and 1960, Reason and Violence (1964), the British doctors write of the French philosopher's contributions to human knowledge, following the evolution of his thinking after his 1943 magnum opus, L'Etre et le Néant: from the transitional work, Saint Genet (1952), to the first volume of La Critique de la Raison dialectic (1960), and its concluding synthesis embodied in " Questions of Method".

Dr. Cooper calls Sartre's analysis of Jean Genet, "the story of a liberation". At the age of 10 Genet was transformed into an object by the "good" people with whom he lived. Like a glove turned inside out, his inner life was externalized; he was "raped" and transformed into an object forever.

This being which he believed himself to have received from the adults was that of being a
person in one of the senses of the Latin persona --a mask or a role with pre-established
patterns of conduct. It was a being in-itself and for-others, and not a being-for-itself. By his
decision to be that which the others had made him be, Genet effected a forceful conjunction
between pure willing (pour soi, subjectivity), which defined him après coup by the totality of
his acts, and a substance (en-soi, objectivity) which was prior to his acts and which appeared
to produce these acts by a kind of internal necessity. Faced with a choice between existing
a pure subjectivity or a pure objectivity --an apparently insoluble contradiction-- Genet saved
himself from madness and suicide by an heroic act of cheating.

According to this view, all evil is a projection. The good people invent the wicked man, who is nothing more than the incarnation of their otherness, "their own negative moment." 

The honest people are able to hate in Genet that part of themselves which they have denied
and projected into him.

In La Critique de la Raison dialectique, write the Laing and Cooper in the introduction to their book :

[Sartre] attempts to establish the dialectical bases of a structural anthropology. This work is
critical in so far as, by an approach which is itself dialectical, it seeks to demarcate the limits
and validity of dialectical reason, to determine affinities and oppositions of dialectical and
analytical reason. In this first volume of Critique we are presented with a theory of different
ways in which totalization are initially constituted and perpetuated. In the second volume**
Sartre promises to examine the possibility of a totalization of totalizations, that is to say,
History itself.
If this project succeeds, Sartre will be not the philosopher of the age, for he has explicitly
abdicated the role of protagonist of a philosophical system, but he will be the primer mover
of one of the greatest syncretic revolutions in human thought. So one waits.

**Note: Volume II of Critique was published posthumously in 1982.

Sartre's Critique represents a virtual mountain of dense philosophical writing (more than 750 pages) which gives birth, so feared Sartre, to a mouse represented by the concluding essay, "Questions of Method" (less than 100 pages). David Cooper evaluates this terse conclusion of Sartre's theoretical arguments (which Sartre placed at the beginning of this philosophical discourse in order to reduce confusion) :

In American sociology we have real acquisitions but theoretical uncertainty. Psycho-analysis
 got off to a flying start, but has tended to become fixed and rigid with a great deal of detailed
 knowledge, but lacking a theoretical base. Marxism, on the other hand, has a theoretical base,
 it embraces all human activity, but it no longer knows anything, its concepts are Diktats. Its
 aim is no longer to acquire knowledge but to constitute itself a priori as absolute knowledge.
 As against this double ignorance (sociology and psycho-analysis on the one hand and
 Marxism on the other) existentialism has been able to renew and maintain itself.


The work of R.D. Laing and David Cooper in the field of applied phenomenology deserves more attention. Their evaluation of Jean-Paul Sartre's works serves to advance science in the direction of human liberation. We are reminded that slave owners never forgot what human freedom was and the diverse paths by which it could be achieved. They remained watchful and worried, and they did what was necessary to prevent human liberation from developing among their hosts in the parasitical relationship they intended to perpetuate indefinitely.

In the 5 items + below, we offer CEIMSA readers a sober (and not so sober) view of the context in which the US national elections are taking place, not as an exercise in "derealization" but as a "reflexive" instrument to better evaluate where these elections are coming from and where this phenomenon is likely to end.

Item A. is a series of videos covering the Ralph Nader/Matt Gonzales campaign for radical change in the American political economy and culture.

Item B. is an article from Professor Edward Herman on the growing threat of nuclear war.

Item C. is an article by Professor Richard Wolff on "The Crash" of capitalism.

Item D. is an article published by one of the best English-language sources for economic analysis in the world, "Dollars and Sense".

Item E., is an article from Greg Palast on "the morning after".

And finally, we offer CEIMSA readers a voluptuous bouquet of "farewells to Bush" and warnings to the "real loosers" in US electoral politics, with the 7 links below which were sent to us recently by our comrades around the world:

         1) A decidedly non-scientific assessment of the 2008 presidential election by the lage New York City comedian, George Carlin :

 4 Minute Video

         2) MIT Professor Noam Chomsky on "Obama Without illusions" :


         3) Texas Populist and political activist Jim Hightower's "Goodby to George W. and all that!" :

         4) Michigan film maker Michael Moore's documentary, "Slacker Uprising," on the mobilization of voters on college campuses in
                 battleground states during the 2004 presidential elections with the goal to encourage 18-29 year olds to vote :

         5) GoLeft TV is reviving our collective memory of the past 8 years under the Bush administration :

         6) For those who love the truth, warts and all, here is The Raw Story :


7) And we put the finishing touche on this bouquet with the Anti-Empire Report from the inimitable William Blum:


Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies
Director of Research
Université Stendhal Grenoble 3

from "The Nader Video Team " :
Date: 26 October 2008
Subject: Videos from The Nader Team.
Ralph Nader for President 2008  


We wanted to give you an easy place to find some of the best videos we've made for the Nader/Gonzalez '08 campaign.

Now's the time to start sending the ones that you like best to your friends, family, and coworkers.

Give them a reason to check out www.votenader.org.

There are many other videos on our YouTube page. Please take some time this week to visit.

Many single issue videos are there as well.

We all have to get the word out!

Ralph Nader on Wall Street DVD! Now on Sale!

Nader Press Corps on the Road

7 Things You Can't Say in '08: In Memory of George Carlin

Tom Morello: This Land

Three Way Presidential Debate: Obama, McCain, and Nader

Vice-Presidential Candidate Matt Gonzalez on Biden-Palin "Debate"

Three Way Vice Presidential Debate: Palin, Biden, Gonzalez

Society of Apathetics: Start Here (Interactive)

Why I Support Nader: Ashley Sanders

Onward to Election Day!

The Nader Video Team

from Edward Herman :
Date 26 October 2008
Subject: The Threat of Nuclear War Grows.

The Threat of  Nuclear War Grows
 by Edward S. Herman
In this Kafkaesque age everything is stood on its head­the champion violator of  international law and sovereignty and the territorial integrity of  states is gung ho for respecting state sovereignty and territorial integrity (of Georgia, but not Pakistan); primary terrorist and ethnic cleansing states (the United States and Israel) invade, bomb, and torture, but wax indignant at retail terrorism that flows largely in response to their wholesale terror; and these same two states, brimming over with nuclear arms and increasingly threatening to use them, are aghast that Iran might want and someday be able to make a nuclear weapon.
These two states are mainly responsible for the steadily rising probability that nuclear weapons will again be used in the not too distant future. Both have a stock of  nuclear weapons and up-to-date delivery systems:  that of the United States is of course gigantic, but Israel’s is substantial (estimated as between 60 and 200 ready bombs). Israel has developed its nuclear capability outside the authority of  the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, with the collusion of  the Western powers, which have been so aggressive in denying any similar rights to Iran (except during the period of the rule of the Western-imposed dictator, the  Shah). This weapons accumulation and refusal to accept the NPT has entailed no penalty for Israel­no threats, no sanctions, no refusal to assist its ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. Israel has threatened to use its nuclear weapons, earlier against the Soviet Union, today against Iran. Its threat of an attack on Iran, which is in itself a violation of the UN Charter, has not been treated at all critically in the West­in contrast with the horror at Ahmadinejad’s fuzzy condemnations of Israel, which have never included any expressed threat to literally attack Israel.
The United States has also steadily violated both the letter and spirit of the NPT. It had agreed in signing on to this treaty in 1968 to work toward the elimination of nuclear weapons. Not only has it not done this, it has made them officially a core part of  national defense strategy and in recent years has worked steadily to make them more usable in warfare. It has also withdrawn its NPT promise not to use nuclear weapons against any state that signs on to the NPT and promises not to develop nuclear weapons. The United States has also violated the spirit of the NPT by helping and supporting Israel’s development of  a nuclear weapons capability, of turning a blind eye to Pakistan’s nuclear development during years when it was serving as a useful client, and now recently agreeing to assist India’s nuclear program despite that country’s refusal to join the NPT. Pakistan and China of course resent this U.S. support of  a nuclear India, clearly based on political expediency and weakening further any control over nuclear weapons proliferation. 
The End of  Soviet Nuclear Containment
One important reason for Israel’s and the U.S.’s greater openness on the possibility of using nuclear arms is that the countries they threaten, with the exception of Russia, have no nuclear retaliatory capability. In earlier years the Soviet Union, with its own large nuclear weapons arsenal, was a barrier to nuclear threats, especially to countries which were allied with the Soviets. Its termination diminished the containing force that had previously put some limits on U.S. and Israeli violence.
A country like Iran would surely respond to a nuclear attack, but it couldn’t do so with a comparably devastating weapon. The stream of attacks in recent years by the two primary aggressor states has been grounded heavily in the imbalance of  power and weakness and limited ability to respond on the part of the victims (Panama, Serbia, Afghanistan, Lebanon, and Iraq). A nuclear capability on the part of  potential victims would enhance their power of self defense­a terrifying threat to aggressor states. 
Russia could respond, but it is substantially weaker in its retaliatory potential than the Soviet Union: it is smaller and militarily less formidable in the wake of its economic disaster of 1992-1998, substantial cutbacks in military expenditures, and national demoralization. It has made some recovery in recent years with higher energy prices and a stronger and more independent government, and the short war with Georgia indicates that it is now prepared to resist the West’s (mainly U.S.’s) political and military encirclement and possible attempts at further dismantlement. But it is still vulnerable and justifiably worried about a U.S. first strike capability, enhanced by the planned placement of U.S. anti-missile systems in Poland and the  Czech Republic, with perhaps others to follow. With God-instructed politicians in command in the United States, a  manageable (or ignorable) populace, and with its overweening power, aggressive nuclear attack and/or  misreadings that set off trigger-alerts are more likely than in the recent past.
Not only are the Russian triggers more alert and sensitive as a U.S. first strike potential and threat grows, Russia has also warned that it is elevating its tactical nuclear weapons to potential use where it is threatened by advanced electronic technology that it cannot match. During the years  after 1990, with its devastating economic and political setbacks, it fell further behind the United States in its weaponry, and feels obligated to offset this­or at least talk and threaten to offset this­with the formidable weaponry it still possesses. 
Deteriorating Moral Environment
Another important reason for the growing probability of nuclear warfare is the deteriorating moral environment.  This has resulted in good part from militarization and  war itself, both of which get people habituated to the resort to force and a steady diet of killing, which are normalized. Militarization and war also contribute to justifying the development and use of  outlandish weapons, allegedly needed to “defend” the home country and clients from the threat of  demonized enemies. Enlightenment values erode and disappear quickly in such a moral environment; mass killing becomes acceptable and even laudable--the large-scale killing of civilians at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was the basis of  celebration in the United States.
One measure of the deteriorated moral environment is in fact the open acceptance of  aggressive war as an appropriate policy option even in the absence of a military attack or serious threat. This was notorious in the case of the 2003 attack on Iraq, and is equally obvious in the case of  the ongoing threats to attack Iran.  Pugnacity and a willingness­even eagerness­to use force is a political necessity, at least for  satisfying the establishment media and major election funders. What the public thinks on this is less clear­the public usually drags it feet in the war-making process, often preferring diplomacy and reliance on the UN, and has to be managed into a proper frame of mind, although once the bombs start falling patriotic zeal takes over. Writing during World War I, Thorstein Veblen pointed out, that “once a warlike enterprise has been entered upon, it will have the cordial support of popular sentiment even if it is patently an aggressive war.” Furthermore, “The higher the pitch of patriotic fervor, the more tenuous and more threadbare may be the requisite moral sanction.  By cumulative excitation some very remarkable results have latterly been attained along this line” (in his chapter “On the Nature and Uses of Patriotism,” in An Inquiry into the Nature of Peace [1917]).
The Democrats are deemed by the establishment to be less trustworthy as war-makers than the Republicans­they are supposedly weak on “national security.” This causes their politicians and aspiring political nominees to lean over backwards to demonstrate their bomb-worthiness. For both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama all options were “on the table” in dealing with that gigantic threat that Iran might be able to defend itself some time in the future, and Obama has compensated for his Iraq war foot-dragging by promising an escalation in Afghanistan and maybe Pakistan. He also chose Joe Biden as his running mate, for his “experience” (he’s been wrong lots of times) and known foreign policy pugnacity.
Biden has recently proclaimed that he is a “Zionist,” and in fact virtually every Democratic politician has appeared before AIPAC to pledge allegiance to the state of Israel. This steady genuflection, and the financial dependence of the Democrats on organized Zionist money, has been a further factor in moral degradation. It has completely stymied any political opposition to Israeli ethnic cleansing in Palestine and the war against Lebanon in 2006, and as Israeli leaders wanted the Iraq attack and are eager for a war with Iran, the Democratic Party went along with the Iraq war, dragged its feet in extrication even after the antiwar vote of 2006, and has demonized Iran and helped set the stage for war there. 
It has been pointed out by Michael MccGwire that of the two first class global threats, nuclear war and global warming, the first could be eliminated with small costs (actually, its elimination would release large resources for human improvement and welfare), whereas combating global warming will be quite expensive. But eliminating the nuclear warfare threat, and in the process, demilitarizing, would be contrary to the interests of  the Pentagon and rest of the military-industrial complex, and those special interests that benefit from or thrive on permanent warfare. At the moment these real special interests are in command. Whether the financial crisis and permanent war setbacks will change the situation and allow a move toward a decent and rational world order remains to be seen.

from Richard Wolff :
Date: 26 October 2008
Subject: The Crash of Capitalism.

Capitalism Crashes, Politics Changes
by Rick Wolff

This widening and deepening economic crisis is transforming US politics.  New possibilities are emerging for activists and potential activists if they can see and respond creatively to them.

One possibility follows from rethinking the Obama candidacy in the light of recent German politics.  Obama has already garnered an historically disproportionate share of the campaign contributions of the US business leadership.  The next president will arrive at an historic moment when most of the business leadership will be looking to (if not also begging) Washington for massive intervention to save the private capitalist economy.  These conditions may then ripen a major realignment within US politics.

The economic crisis is further straining the already stressed Republican alliance between traditionally conservative business and libertarian interests, on the one hand, and the small business and religious groups, on the other.  McCain's political difficulties and attempts to solve them -- for example, the Palin choice -- provide further evidence.  Pressed by mounting business needs for massive government help, a sizeable portion of the Republican Party may be ready for a "grand coalition" to govern the country with a sizeable portion of the Democrats.

The centrist Democrats gathered around the Clintons and also Obama may well see the political possibilities of splitting the Republicans in this way.  Such a grand coalition with the Republicans could control both the executive and legislative branches (and thus, within a very few years, also the judicial).  Such a grand coalition would be uniquely capable of undertaking the difficult and costly interventions required to manage the economic crisis and its dangerous political and cultural consequences at home and abroad.  Both components of such a coalition might see it and its task of crisis management as politically inevitable no matter how unpopular.  This might be an attractive prospect for major portions of both parties.

Recent German politics offers an obvious, instructional parallel because there a similar "grand coalition" now governs Europe's most powerful economy.  Another kind of crisis in Germany provoked its grand coalition.  Some years ago, Germany's social democratic commitments (a regulated capitalism with workers' protections and social welfare programs such as socialized medicine, generous pensions, subsidized education, etc.) clashed with the neoliberal demands of its leading capitalists.  They wanted to compete more profitably both within the European Economic Community and globally.  They resented the competitive advantages of US and UK firms whose governments (since Reagan and Thatcher) had rolled back earlier regulations on corporations and social programs.

Pushing the two major German parties -- Christian Democrats and Social Democrats -- proved insufficient for German business interests.  Too many constituencies inside both parties opposed those interests' neo-liberalism.  The end result was a stalemated German politics.  Its resolution was an explicit, formal "grand coalition."  The two parties agreed to share governing power.  It was clear that this coalition could and would pursue a neoliberal rollback of Germany's social welfare system (although likely more slowly than in the US and UK).  Germany's grand coalition aimed to overcome what its supporters saw as an economic crisis: German global competitiveness subverted by costly state regulation of business and taxes used for social welfare programs.

A similar grand coalition in the US could likewise be packaged as necessary to manage an economic crisis threatening the entire society.  This US election and its interaction with the capitalist crash have produced many of the preconditions for such a result.

Germany's grand coalition provoked unexpected consequences that raise intriguing possibilities for the US as well.  The most arresting consequence was the development of a new left political party, Die Linke ("the Left" in German).  It was formed by a merger of two political groups: (1) the left wing of the Social Democrats who opposed the party's grand coalition strategy, and (2) the successor party to the former communist party of East Germany.  Die Linke has been growing very quickly and receiving much larger votes than was expected in both regional and national elections.  With proportional representation, Die Linke won a significant number of seats in both the national and some regional parliaments.  It takes positions clearly and explicitly to the left of the grand coalition and thus of that coalition's Social Democratic component.

Die Linke is thus now the left opposition to German neo-liberalism.  It has been drawing massive voter support away from the grand coalition's Social Democrats whom it easily portrays as having abandoned Germany's working classes.  Yet, Die Linke confronts the problem of what alternative program to offer.  After all, the Social Democratic Party may leave the grand coalition and resume its historic role as the regulator of business and the protector of state social programs.  This would leave the far smaller DieLinke with no distinctive political identity and at the mercy of Social Democratic Party decisions.  The key issue for Die Linke thus has become what new left program it can devise and effectively project to keep attracting voters, especially the young, and to chart a new direction for Germany different from the traditional Social Democratic notions of state intervention.

Something similar may visit US politics.  If a grand coalition forms in the US, perhaps the left wing of the Democratic Party might find that unacceptable.  Perhaps some trade unions would finally decide that their relentless decline while allied with the Democrats would only be accelerated by becoming very junior partners in such a grand coalition.  Perhaps such breakaways from the Democrats and from traditional union politics would need and even want to build a new left party with the large but largely unorganized left constituencies across the US.  And like Die Linke, a new left party in the US would need to develop a new program different from the conventional "US liberalism."

Politics always mixes representations of what exists now, what could exist, and what should exist.  Not the least influence on the future of US politics will be the conceptions of possible futures we can now glimpse, debate, and pursue.  Those on the political Right may find the grand coalition described above a goad toward developing new right parties.  That only strengthens the case for new political thinking and action on the Left.

from Dollars and Sense :
Date: September/October 2008 issue
Subject: The Greed Fallacy.

The Greed Fallacy
You Can't Explaini a Change with a Constant

by Arthur MacEway

issue 278 cover  

This article is from the September/October 2008 issue of Dollars & Sense magazine.

Various people explain the current financial crisis as a result of “greed.” There is, however, no indication of a change in the degree or extent of greed on Wall Street (or anywhere else) in the last several years. Greed is a constant. If greed were the cause of the financial crisis, we would be in financial crisis pretty much all the time.

But the financial markets have not been in perpetual crisis. Nothing close to the current crisis has taken place since 1929. Yes, there was 1987 and the savings-and-loan debacle of that era. The current crisis is already more dramatic­and threatens to get a good deal worse. This crisis emerged over the last decade and appeared full-blown only at the beginning of 2008 (though, if you were looking, it was moving up on the horizon a year or two earlier). The current mess, therefore, is a change, a departure from the normal course of financial markets. So something has to have changed to have brought it about. The constant of greed cannot be the explanation.

So what changed? The answer is relatively simple: the extent of regulation changed.

As a formal matter, the change in regulation is most clearly marked by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999, passed by the Republican-dominated Congress and signed into law by Bill Clinton. This 1999 act in large part repealed the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, which had imposed various regulations on the financial industry after the debacle of 1929. Among other things, Glass-Steagall prohibited a firm from being engaged in different sorts of financial services. One firm could not be both an investment bank (organizing the funding of firms’ investment activities) and a commercial bank (handling the checking and savings accounts of individuals and firms and making loans); nor could it be one of these types of banks and an insurance firm.

However, the replacement of Glass-Steagall by Gramm-Leach-Bliley was only the formal part of the change that took place in recent decades. Informally, the relation between the government and the financial sector has increasingly become one of reduced regulation. In particular, as the financial sector evolved new forms of operation­hedge funds and private equity funds, for example­there was no attempt on the part of Washington to develop regulations for these activities. Also, even where regulations existed, the regulators became increasing lax in enforcement.

The movement away from regulation might be seen as a consequence of “free market” ideology, the belief as propounded by its advocates that government should leave the private sector alone. But to see the problem simply as ideology run amok is to ignore the question of where the ideology comes from. Put simply, the ideology is generated by firms themselves because they want to be as free as possible to pursue profit-making activity. So they push the idea of the “free market” and deregulation any way they can. But let me leave aside for now the ways in which ideas come to dominate Washington and the society in general; enough to recognize that deregulation became increasingly the dominant idea from the early 1980s onward. (But, given the current presidential campaign, one cannot refrain from noting that one way the firms get their ideas to dominate is through the money they lavish on candidates.)

When financial firms are not regulated, they tend to take on more and more risky activities. When markets are rising, risk does not seem to be very much of a problem; all­or virtually all­investments seem to be making money. So why not take some chances? Furthermore, if one firm doesn’t take a particular risk­put money into a chancy operation­then one of its competitors will. So competition pushes them into more and more risky operations.

The danger of risk is not simply that one investment­one loan, for example­made by a financial firm will turn out badly, or even that a group of loans will turn out badly. The danger arises in the relation between its loans (obligations to the firm), the money it borrows from others (the firm’s obligations to its creditors) and its capital (the funds put in by investors, the stockholders). If some of the loans it has made go bad (i.e., if the debtors default), it can still meet its obligations to its creditors with its capital. But if the firm is unregulated, it will tend to make more and more loans and take on more and more debt. The ratio of debt to capital can become very high, and, then, if trouble with the loans develops, the bank cannot meet its obligations with its capital.

In the current crisis, the deflation of the housing bubble was the catalyst to the general crumbling of financial structures. The housing bubble was in large part a product of the Federal Reserve Bank’s policies under the guidance of the much-heralded Alan Greenspan, but let’s leave that issue aside for now.

When the housing bubble burst, many financial institutions found themselves in trouble. They had taken on too much risk in relation to their capital. The lack of regulation had allowed them to get in this trouble.

But the trouble is much worse than it might have been because of the repeal of the provisions of Glass-Steagall that prevented the merging of investment banks, commercial banks, and insurance companies. Under the current circumstances, when trouble develops in one part of a firm’s operations, it is immediately transmitted throughout the other segments of that firm. And from there, the trouble spreads to all the other entities to which it is connected­through credits, insurance deals, deposits, and a myriad set of complicated (unregulated) financial arrangements.

AIG is the example par excellence. Ostensibly an insurance company, AIG has morphed into a multi-faceted financial institution, doing everything from selling life insurance in rural India to speculating in various esoteric types of investments on Wall Street. Its huge size, combined with the extent of its intertwining with other financial firms, meant that its failure would have had very large impacts around the world.

The efforts of the U.S. government may or may not be able to contain the current financial crisis. Success would not breathe life back into the Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, and who knows how many other major operators are on their deathbeds. But it would prevent the financial crisis from precipitating a severe general depression; it would prevent a movement from 1929 to 1932.

The real issue, however, is what is learned from the current financial mess. One thing should be evident, namely that greed did not cause the crisis. The cause was a change in the way markets have been allowed to operate, a change brought on by the rise of deregulation. Markets, especially financial markets, are never very stable when left to themselves. It turns out that the “invisible hand” does some very nasty, messy things when there is no visible hand of regulation affecting the process.

The problem is that maintaining some form of regulation is a very difficult business. As I have said, the firms themselves do not want to be regulated. The current moment may allow some re-imposition of financial regulation. But as soon as we turn our backs, the pressure will be on again to let the firms operate according to the “free market.” Let’s not forget where that leads.

Arthur MacEwan is professor emeritus of economics at UMass-Boston and is a Dollars & Sense Associate.

from Greg Palast :
Date: 3 November 2008
Subject: A McCain Victory ?
 t r u t h o u t | Perspective

How McCain Could Win
by Greg Palast

It's November 5 and the nation is in shock. Media blame it on the "Bradley effect": Americans supposedly turned into Klansmen inside the voting booth, and Barack Obama turned up with 6 million votes less than calculated from the exit polls. Florida came in for McCain and so did Indiana. Colorado, despite the Democrats' Rocky Mountain high after the Denver convention, stayed surprisingly Red. New Mexico, a state where Anglos are a minority, went McCain by 300 votes, as did Virginia.

That's the nightmare. Here's the cold reality.

Swing state Colorado. Before this election, two Republican secretaries of state purged 19.4 percent of the entire voter roll. One in five voters. Pfft!

Swing state New Mexico. One in nine voters in this year's Democratic caucus found their names missing from the state-provided voter registries. And not just any voters. County by county, the number of voters disappeared was in direct proportion to the nonwhite population. Gore won the state by 366 votes; Kerry lost it by only 5,900. Despite reassurances that all has been fixed for Tuesday, Democrats lost from the list in February told me they're still "disappeared" from the lists this week.

Swing state Indiana. In this year's primary, ten nuns were turned away from the polls because of the state's new voter ID law. They had drivers' licenses, but being in their 80s and 90s, they'd let their licenses expire. Cute. But what isn't cute is this: 566,000 registered voters in that state don't have the ID required to vote. Most are racial minorities, the very elderly and first-time voters; that is, Obama voters. Twenty-three other states have new, vote-snatching ID requirements.

Swing state Florida. Despite a lawsuit battle waged by the Brennan Center for Justice, the state's Republican apparatchiks are attempting to block the votes of 85,000 new registrants, forcing them to pass through a new "verification" process. Funny thing: verification applies only to those who signed up in voter drives (mostly black), but not to voters registering at motor vehicle offices (mostly white).

And so on through swing states controlled by Republican secretaries of state.

The Ugly Secret

Here's an ugly little secret about American democracy: We don't count all the votes. In 2004, based on the data from the US Elections Assistance Commission, 3,006,080 votes were not counted: "spoiled," unreadable and blank ballots; "provisional" ballots rejected; mail-in ballots disqualified.

This Tuesday, it will be worse. Much worse.

That's what I found while traveling the nation over the last year for BBC Television and Rolling Stone Magazine, working with voting rights attorney Robert F. Kennedy Jr. This we guarantee: there will be far more votes disappeared by Tuesday night than the three million lost in 2004. A six-million vote swipe, quite likely, shifts 4 percent of the ballots, within the margin of error of the tightest polls.

Begin with this harsh statistic: since the last election, more than ten million voters have been purged from the nation's vote registries. And that's just the start of the steal.

If the noncount were random, it wouldn't matter. But it's not random. A US Civil Rights Commission analysis shows that the chance a black voter's ballot will "spoil" or be blank is 900 percent higher than a white voter's.

Does that mean the election's stolen and you should forget voting and just go back to bed for four years? Hell, no. It means you vote and vote smart, learn how to pry their filthy little hands off your ballot (there's a link at the end).

Greg Palast's investigative reports appear on BBC Television and in Rolling Stone Magazine.  Palast is the co-author, with Robert F. Kennedy Jr., of "Steal Back Your Vote," the investigative comic book available for no charge at StealBackYourVote.org and www.GregPalast. com