“It’s not who votes that counts. It’s who counts the votes.”
— Joseph Stalin

In my last column, “Top Ten Reasons Why Kerry Will Defeat Bush,” I predicted that John Kerry would win the presidential election by four or five percentage points– as long as the election was “legitimate.” As it turns out, more and more reports are coming in from various sources that the election was not legitimate, that once again it was rigged.

The modus operandi this time was similar to the 2000 presidential election, but this time it also had a more insidious component: computerized voting machines that have no paper trail.

Last year, when I first heard that states and counties across the country were actually in the process of buying computerized vote counting machines without a paper trail, I thought it was a joke. Surely, no one would be stupid enough or gullible enough or even corrupt enough to go for this idea.

At the time, progressive operatives, like Greg Palast (www.gregpalast.com) and Bev Harris (www.blackboxvoting.org), warned the public that the companies that manufactured these paperless vote-counting machines, specifically Diebold and ES & S, were closely affiliated with the Republican Party. In fact, as has been widely reported, the CEO of Diebold, Walden O’Dell, actually wrote in a campaign letter that he was “committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year.”

Naturally, I assumed that once Democratic Party operatives became aware of this story, they would be all over it like a cheap suit and immediately bring legal action against these companies. In addition, I thought they would bring it to the public’s attention and make it a campaign issue.

Unfortunately, only Robert Wexler (D-FL) and a few other Democrats brought legal action against the companies that sold these machines, and the Democratic National Committee never made the issue a cause celebre. It goes without saying that the mainstream news media gave the stories little attention and even less analysis.

When I realized that nothing serious was being done, I began to panic. But when I heard Kerry proclaim that “every vote would be counted” and that he had “10,000 lawyers” ready to pounce on any state or precinct that tried to throw the election, I assumed he had taken the paperless voting boxes into account and had either neutralized them in some way, or at very least, stood ready to challenge their validity if he lost the election.

As it turns out, he did neither. Which begs the question: Why did Kerry and the Democrats stand around with their dicks in their hands when these Republican-owned companies were selling their paperless, easily hacked, computerized voting machines to state governments across the country? And why did Kerry concede so quickly to Bush before all the votes were counted and before all the accounts of voter “irregularities” were checked? (As of this writing Bev Harris is pushing for a recount in Ohio.)

I wish I knew the answer to these questions, and I believe the truth will eventually come out. In the meantime, Kerry certainly has some explaining to do to all the poor saps who “worked their hearts out” for him during the election. In addition, it is more than a little ironic that the former war hero, who told his troops that he was “reporting for duty,” gave up the fight just as easily as Al Gore did in the last election. The horror… the horror.

And speaking of the last election, I remember watching a television interview with Mary Matalin, one of George W. Bush’s key advisors, on the eve of the 2000 presidential election. The interview was very telling at the time, and even more so in light of what has happened in the current election.

During the interview, when Matalin was apprised by one of the network news shows that it was declaring Al Gore the winner in Florida based on the most recent exit polls, she looked stunned and said, “That can’t be right!” Call me cynical, but it was as if she knew something everyone else didn’t, i.e., the fix was in and there had to be a mistake. Later in the evening, she was redeemed when “Fix News” said the exit polls were wrong and called the election for her boy Bush.

Of course for decades pollsters have always maintained that exit polls, which question people after they vote, are the most accurate, the “gold standard” of polls. Even sleazy political whore Dick Morris admitted as much during a recent interview with neo-fascist phone-sex addict, Bill O’Reilly.

In fact, on the day of the election, almost all the pundits and news hounds were predicting a victory for Kerry, once again, because the exit polls were going against Bush in all the battleground states. Even right-wing pretty boy Tucker Carlson called the election for Kerry. In addition, the Boston Red Sox had swept the Yanks and had broken the Bambino curse, and the Green Bay Packers had beaten the Washington Redskins, two clear omens that Kerry would win.

The Democrats were ecstatic, and were doing everything but breaking out the bottles of Dom Perignon to celebrate. Praise the Lord! They intoned. The evil idiot prince and his gang of badfellas were finally going to get what they deserved.

And then what happened? Toward the end of the day, the poll numbers miraculously flipped from Kerry to Bush. Divine intervention? Or was it a little prestidigitation on the computerized voting machines! Whatever the case, Fix News immediately called Ohio for Bush– just as it did in the last election. The other news organizations were a little more cautious and waited until the next morning to make the same call.

But what about the exit polls that had placed Kerry ahead, the same ones that had placed Al Gore ahead in the last election? The mainstream news media had to come up with an answer– and quick! So they blamed the discrepancy on the Internet bloggers, who they claimed had prematurely published inconclusive information about Kerry being in the lead earlier in the day. But did they know this for sure? They didn’t have time to investigate it, nor carefully analyze the information. And does it seem reasonable that a handful of Internet bloggers with limited audiences and resources could change the course of a presidential election in a few hours?

It didn’t matter. The mainstream news media reported it as if it were the uncontested truth, after which, the usual cast of political analysts underscored the story about the bloggers and repeated the mantra that exit polls were no longer valid and should be retired.

Never one to allow truth or accuracy to stand in his way, Bush took charge of the news cycle the next day and declared not only a great victory for himself, but a clear mandate for his elitist, right-wing policies. Members of the corporate-controlled mainstream news media had no problem with this. In fact, they couldn’t wait to genuflect and proclaim fealty to their Republican master, praising Him for winning the election “fair and square.”

Fortunately, progressives are not as weak-kneed as the mainstream news media, nor as apathetic as the general public, nor as easily intimidated as the Democratic Party, and they are going to pursue this computerized voter scam until they get to the truth.

The question is, will the mainstream news media report the truth, or will they stick with their “fair and square” story and put out the usual propaganda about left-wing conspiracy theories? Whatever the case, as long as we have paperless voting machines and unfair and unequal voting procedures, and as long as many Americans do not trust the mainstream news media, there will always be doubt about this election, and any election in the future. “Welcome to the machine!”

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