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Sarah Palin’s Reflection, as Seen from the Abyss

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Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And when you look into the abyss, the abyss also looks into you. — Friedrich Nietzsche

Many of us have been wishing for just a modicum of news coverage on Joe Biden, whose presence on the national stage has been dwarfed to near non-existence by the paparazzi-style coverage of Sarah Palin– our media’s latest flash-in-the-frying-pan darling, who has stepped into the shoes previously occupied by such notables as Paris Hilton, Brittney Spears and Anna Nicole Smith. 

Be careful what you wish for. Joe Biden finally got some news coverage this past Thursday, as he was “interviewed” by Barbara West, an anchor for Florida station WFTV (see video, below), who regaled Biden with a series of classic “when did you stop beating your wife” questions on Marxism. 

This interview needs to be preserved in the annals of American history, so that future generations can see, firsthand, how fearmongering and demagoguery work. For historical perspective on how this has played out in America over the past 300+ years, read on. Otherwise, just vote. For cripe’s sakes, vote — and urge everyone you know to vote. And if, by chance, on November 4th, you find you’ve been caged or purged or challenged – call Election Protection at 1-(866) OURVOTE (1-866-687-8683). Click here for more info on protecting yourself from voter fraud.

HAS IT BEEN ONLY 316 YEARS?

From June through September of 1692, nineteen men and women, all having been convicted of witchcraft, were carted to Gallows Hill, a barren slope near Salem Village, for hanging. Another man of over eighty years was pressed to death under heavy stones for refusing to submit to a trial on witchcraft charges. Hundreds of others faced accusations of witchcraft. Dozens languished in jail for months without trials. Then, almost as soon as it had begun, the hysteria that swept through Puritan Massachusetts ended. — “An Account of Events in Salem,” from the University of Missouri — Kansas City website

As years passed, apologies were offered, and restitution was made to the victims’ families. Historians and sociologists have examined this most complex episode in our history so that we may understand the issues of that time and apply our understanding to our own society. The parallels between the Salem witch trials and more modern examples of “witch hunting” like the McCarthy hearings of the 1950’s, are remarkable. — from the Salem Witch Museum website

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 HAS IT BEEN ONLY 60 YEARS?

Below is a video with clips of various anti-communist footage, produced by the U.S. government during the McCarthy era, and designed to red-scare the bejeebers out of Americans. The Sarah Palin speech (see video at end of post) is a modern version of the same, just not yet whipped into the full frenzy that this sort of fearmongering ever-threatens to incite.  

HAS IT BEEN ONLY 7 YEARS?

In the wake of 9-11, the Bush Administration exploited our justifiable fear of terrorists to both squelch American dissent over their agenda, and to strong-arm Congress into approving all the legislation they enacted (e.g. the Patriot Act, FISA, extraordinary rendition and related torture laws), all of which were designed to sidestep both the spirit and letter of Constitutional law. Over the past 7 years this legislation has, word by word, dismantled our U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. These documents have yet to be restored to the former integrity they held for over two centuries. While these fundamental changes to our democracy affect each and every American, we’ve fortunately been spared, thus far, some of the worst outcomes potential to this legislation, even as this potential will continue to loom over us until our Constitution and Bill of Rights are restored to their pre-Bush Administration integrity. We’ve been fortunate. Some, such as Maher Arar have not been so fortunate: 

For more on this case, see the full Congressional hearing (1 hour, 28 minutes) on this case, held in October 2007, here, which includes Maher Arar’s testimony. Also, see footage here (7 minutes) from a related hearing, in which an outraged Sen. Patrick Leahy demands answers from Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales regarding the extraordinary rendition and torture-outsourcing in the Maher Arar case. 

  

HAS IT BEEN ONLY 1 DAY?

In the above video, Sarah Palin resurrects the ghosts of Salem and the McCarthy era, as she weaves a scary tale of lies to suggest that Obama’s tax plan will turn American into a nightmare communist state. Inherent to this accusation is a promise to carry the torch of the Bush-Cheney Administration’s legacy of fearmongering, persecution and lawlessness.  History bears this out: certain people in America live in a constant state of fear. All they need is someone to take the stage and tell them, exactly, what it is they’re so afraid of: Witches? Socialists? Blacks? Muslims? Communists? The McCain Palin campaign is telling them exactly what they want to hear. 

dem·a·gogue: One who will preach doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots — H.L. Mencken

  

WILL IT BE ONLY 9 DAYS?

Vote on November 4th. And do everything in your power to make sure that vote isn’t stolen from you. So much depends on this, with such a tremendous degree of voter fraud taking place by both Republicans and the Christian right. The extent of this fraud can only be known after the fact, when it’s too late to do anything about it.

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REPORT VOTER FRAUD: Don’t let your vote go down the toilet! Here’s how (UPDATED 11/3/08)

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Scared witless of another stolen election?

Brain numb? Stomach in knots? Can’t sleep? Feeling helpless? Hopeless? As if the voting booths in America have become little more than fancy-pants outhouses for neatly disposing of our votes? You’re not alone. But we can fight back.. 

This is serious, serious business. Voter purging, disenfranchisement and suppression is epidemic throughout the country. The Republican’s vote-stealing campaign is a powerful, well-oiled machine. Don’t let the hugeness of this issue overwhelm you. Fight back. There’s power in numbers. The more who fight against their sleazy campaign to thwart democracy, the less chance they have to succeed. On this page, you’ll find some tools for fighting back.

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UPDATE NOVEMBER 3, 2008:

Cutting to the chase, here’s a re-cap of the 6 best options for reporting and dealing with voter problems. Write down the phone numbers, below, and take them with you to the polls:

  1. A MUST READ: Please, please read this short Wall Street Journal article before going to the polls – Heading Off Election Day Mishaps Most Pitfalls Have a Remedy, if Voters Are Prepared; Bringing Along Proper ID.  This will help you avoid and/or remedy the more common problems yourself. You want to do whatever you can to avoid getting something called a “provisional ballot,” which is often times the equivalent of throwing your vote down the toilet. 
  2. If you are having a legal problem with your vote, call the Election Protection Hotline at 1-(866) OURVOTE  or (1-866-687-8683). If you are in the midst of voting and have a problem, DO NOT LEAVE YOUR POLLING BOOTH/STATION. YOU NEED TO MAKE THIS CALL BEFORE LEAVING YOUR POLLING STATION. When you call, a pre-recorded voice will answer, asking which state you are from. Enter your two-digit state code on your phone’s keypad. You’ll be forwarded to a legal expert in your state, who can help determine your voting rights.
  3. If you don’t have a legal question but simply want to report a problem you had, you can call a separate hotline 1 (866) MYVOTE1 (866-698-6831) and leave a recorded message. Be sure to leave your name and phone number on the recording if you want someone to investigate your problem.
  4. Report voter problems to Barack Obama’s website at: http://my.barackobama.com/page/s/vpcreport
  5. For overseas voters — both military and civilian — needing help with voting issues & problems, there is information plus a “Voters Help Desk” at Overseas Vote Foundation: https://vhd.overseasvotefoundation.org/ovf/index.php?group=default
  6. I’m not sure if this will be any help, but the Dept. of Justices offers the following advice: If you experience any problem or confusion while voting report the situation to one of the poll workers or election officials immediately. Do not wait until you have finished voting. If the election officials at the polling place are unable or unwilling to help you, the problem should be reported directly to the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. There are no special forms to use or procedures to follow–just call the Civil Rights Division toll-free at (800) 253-3931

Find more info at: Wired Blog Network

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p.s. I encourage readers to pass on any helpful  info/resources to me. I’ll post them here on this page. 

What you can do 

  1. Vote, and urge everyone you know to vote, no matter what.
  2. Fight voter fraud. The links on this page offer excellent info & resources. Check them out, then forward this page to everyone you know, and urge them to forward it to everyone they know. 
  3. Fight complaceny. Be informed and stay informed. Begin by watching the two videos below (15 mintues total). Then devote yourself to staying informed — no matter how godawful depressing and hopeless it may seem — from now until November 4th. It may very well be the most important work you ever do.  

 

SITES TO CHECK OUT

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Steal Back Your Vote with Robert Kennedy Jr. & Greg Palast

Voter suppression is real. It’s a crime. And it’s happening to YOU….. This is a deliberate strategy to keep minorities from voting, senior citizens from voting, young people from voting in an effort to suppress the vote and maintain their hold on power. Our concern is not partisan. We need every American to vote: Democrats and Republicans. You can do all the campaigning you want in a battleground state like Ohio or New Mexico, but if your voters aren’t counted, you’re going to lose the Presidency-and our democracy. But there’s something that you can do to prevent it. Pass on this link: http://www.stealbackyourvote.org. Go to the site. Download copies of this comic book, buy copies in bulk and download STEAL BACK YOUR VOTE: THE MOVIE. Get out the word! There’s still time to steal back your vote! — Robert Kennedy, Jr.

Steal Back Your Vote in 7 Easy Steps, by Robert Kennedy, Jr. and Greg Palast

  1. Don’t, Don’t, DON’T Mail In Your Ballot. For those of you who mailed in your ballot, please tell me, what happened to it? You don’t know, do you? I can tell you that officially, three-fourths of a million absentee ballots were never counted last time, on the weakest of technical excuses. And you won’t even know it. Furthermore, tens of thousands of ballots are not mailed out to voters in time to return them-in which case you’re out of luck. In most states, new voters must now include a photocopy of your ID. Which mis, like, nuts. Every time I hear of a voter going “absentee” to avoid computer screens, I want to “go postal” myself.
  2. Vote Early…very early. Every state now lets voters cast ballots in designated polling stations and at county offices in the weeks before Election Day. Do it. Don’t wait until Election Day to find out you
    have the wrong ID, your registration’s “inactive,” or you’re on a challenge list. By Election Day, there’s little to do but hold up the line.
  3. Register and Register and Register Think you’re registered to vote? Think again. With all this purg’n going on, you could be x’d out and you won’t know it. Check online at www.votersunite.org *. Then register your girlfriend, your wife, your mailman and your mommy. Contact the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, Rock the Vote, and your local party organization, and commit to a couple of days of door-to-door registration, especially in minority neighborhoods or at social service agency offices. And if you’ve served the time, you can sign: in almost every state, ex-cons can
    vote. *(for individual/personal state registration info, including deadlines, you can also check here)
  4. Vote Unconditionally, Not Provisionally In 2008, they’ll be handing out provisional ballots like candy, especially to Hispanic voters. If your right to vote is challenged, don’t accept a provisional ballot that will likely not get counted no matter what the sweet little lady at the table tells you. She won’t decide; partisan sharks will. Demand adjudication from poll judges on the spot; demand a call to the supervisor of elections; or return with acceptable ID if possible. And be a champ: defend the rights of others. If you’ve taken Step 1 above and voted early, you have Election Day free to be
    a poll watcher. If your run into trouble – you’ve been caged or purged or challenged – call Election Protection at 1-(866) OURVOTE. Then challenge the challengers, the weird guys with Blackberrys containing lists of “suspect” voters. Be firm, but no biting.
  5. Occupy Ohio, Invade Nevada. The revolution will not be podcast. Let go of that mouse, get out of your PJs and take the resistance door-to-door-to register the vote, to canvass the voters, to get out the vote. Donate time to your union (if you’re not in a union, why not?) or to the troublemakers I’ve
    already listed here and on our site. This may seem a stupendously unoriginal suggestion, but I know of no other method more effective for confronting the armed and dangerous junta that has seized the White House.
  6. Date a voter. Voting, like bowling and love, should never be done alone. As our sponsor, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, says, make a date to ‘Arrive with Five.’ And keep this comic book in your holster – with our 800 numbers and your photo ID in your hand. And Bobby, make sure your ID says, “Robert Kennedy JUNIOR” or your vote is toast. [EDITOR’S NOTE: I have a copy of this comic book. It’s loaded with helpful resources, and it’s well-worth the price — $1 to $1 million, take your pick — with every $100 sending 400 voter guides across the country, where democracy is getting creamed.] 
  7. Make the DemocracY Demand: No Vote Left Behind! I have this crazy fantasy in my head. In it, an election is stolen and the guy who’s wrongly declared the loser stands up in front of the White House and says three magic words: “Count the votes.” You can have all the paper ballots in the world, but if you don’t demand to look at them, publicly, in a recount, you might as well mark
    them with invisible ink. Democracy requires vigilance The Day After. That’s when you check in at http://www.stealbackyourvote.org/one more time.

Are you registered to vote? Do you know where to vote? What ID to bring? The poll hours in your state? About absentee & early voting? Find these answers and more at canivote.org, a nonpartisan web site created by state election officials to help voters with the voting process. At this site, you’ll be able to:  

  • Check your registration info
  • Find your polling place
  • Know what kind of ID to bring
  • Make your vote count: absentee and early voting
  • Learn about the candidates (local and state)
  • Become a poll worker

 

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by Mantis Katz for the canarypapers

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FOR MORE INFO:

Greg Palast’s Steal Back Your Vote site: This page has bookoos of info and links on voter fraud