Are We Ready To Vote Yet?
by Michael I. Niman
Impeachment articles charge Bush with election fraud
When future historians sit down to study this era, archived media stories will be of little use to them, unless the Brad Pitt-Angela Jolie baby grows up to rule the world. Probably the biggest history-making story to be ignored by the corporate media this month is the introduction in the US Congress of Articles of Impeachment against George W. Bush. The 35 Articles of Impeachment filed by Ohio Representative Dennis Kucinich document hundreds of crimes committed by George W. Bush and “co-conspirators” under his direction.
Wolves and henhouses
The general feeling among Democratic Party leaders is that Bush is just a few months away from being history himself, so there’s no sense in stirring up the coals. I suppose that would be fine, if, say, he were the highway commissioner. We could probably weather a few months of potholes or sloppy plowing. But we need to go back and look at our history here. The Iraq War was started by George H. W. Bush (whose ambassador to Iraq gave Saddam Hussein the green light to invade Kuwait) in the middle of his presidency and strung out to its end, so that Clinton inherited what would become, at last count, a 17-year war.
Bushes can make sloppy exits, and by all accounts our current Bush is a bit nuts.
If you look closely at Kucinich’s Articles of Impeachment, however, there’s another pressing issue at hand. George W. Bush doesn’t just threaten world peace, the global environment, our civil liberties, and the American economy every moment he stays in office. According to the impeachment documents, he has committed, orchestrated, or ordered crimes that undermine our ability to have fair elections. Hence, having him remain at the helm of the federal government during a presidential election year—especially this year where we have the rare opportunity to choose between two radically different candidates, and where Democrats have an opportunity to lock up control of Congress—puts the whole future of the country and possibly the world at stake.
Let’s cut to the specifics. According to the Articles of Impeachment, George W. Bush, “acting through his agents and subordinates, willfully corrupted and manipulated the electoral process of the United States for his personal gain and the personal gain of his co-conspirators and allies…and impeded the right of the people to vote and have their vote properly and accurately counted.”
This isn’t the 2000 Florida election theft that we’re talking about here. That might be how Bush got into office, but he wasn’t in office at the time, hence whatever he might have been involved in there is not part of the current impeachment documentation. Kucinich’s Article of Impeachment number 28 (Tampering with Free and Fair Elections, Corruption of the Administration of Justice) and 29 (Conspiracy to Violate the Voting Rights Act of 1965) deal with post-2000 elections, with a focus on what appears to be the theft of the 2004 presidential election in the tie-breaking state of Ohio.
With regards to the Ohio presidential contest, the documents cite a House Judiciary Committee investigation documenting “widespread instances of intimidation and misinformation” designed to suppress the minority vote, which would have gone overwhelmingly to Bush’s opponent, John Kerry.
The 2004 election theft
Article 28 specifically charges that “John Kenneth Blackwell, then serving as the Secretary of State for the State of Ohio and also serving simultaneously as Co-Chairman of the Committee to Re-Elect George W. Bush in the State of Ohio, did at the direction of the White House under the administration of George W. Bush…disenfranchise African American voters.” The document goes on to specifically charge that the Bush/Blackwell team purposely limited the number of voting machines and paper ballots in African-American sections of Ohio cities.
For example, Article 28 documents the “withholding” of 125 voting machines in the city of Columbus and how 42 predominantly African-American precincts in Columbus all were “missing” one voting machine that was present during the 2004 primary. The result, according to the documents, is that “African-American voters in the city of Columbus were forced to wait three to seven hours to vote in the 2004 presidential election.” With the election taking place on a work day, this act disenfranchised potentially thousands of black voters.
Article 28 also documents how Blackwell purposefully stymied voter registration by arbitrarily declaring that only voter registration forms filled out on one specific type of paper, 80 bond weight, would be legally acceptable in 2004. The documentation points out that Blackwell’s office itself used an illegal 60 bond weight paper. The only apparent purpose of the paper weight declaration was to derail active voter registration drives that were in progress and reject the registration of new, predominantly young and minority voters just before the election, in effect purposely disenfranchising them.
The Articles of Impeachment document how the Bush/Blackwell team conducted “a massive partisan purge of registered voter rolls, eventually expunging more than 300,000 voters, many of whom were duly registered voters, and who were deprived of their constitutional right to vote.” As a result, “24.93 percent of the voters in the city of Cleveland, a city with a majority of African American citizens, were purged from the voting roles.” Another 10,000 Cleveland voters, according to the Article 28, were disenfranchised by a “computer error” committed by the private Diebold Election Systems, which was under contract to Blackwell’s office.
Cleveland is Kucinich’s district, hence the theft of his constituents’ right to vote hit close to home. In Toledo, another city with a large African-American population, 28,000 voters were purged just before the presidential election of 2004. By contrast, in the 98 percent white Ohio county of Miami, no voters were purged. The impeachment documentation goes on to document uncounted provisional ballots, also in African-American communities.
The Injustice Department
All of this should have been investigated by the US Justice Department, which is charged with enforcing federal laws such as the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which guarantees and actively protects minority voters from disenfranchisement. Article 28, however, charges that the Justice Department, “under the direction and Administration of George W. Bush, did willfully and purposefully obstruct and stonewall legitimate criminal investigations into myriad cases of reported electoral fraud and suppression in the state of Ohio.” For example, the impeachment documents charge that Bush cronies [my word] “did, for partisan reasons, illegally and with malice aforethought block career attorneys and other officials in the Department of Justice from filing three lawsuits charging local and county governments with violating the voting rights of African-Americans and other minorities…”
This is just Article 28 that I’ve been quoting here. There are 34 more such detailed Articles of Impeachment that deal with crimes other than election theft. I know Democrats don’t want to open up the impeachment can of worms for fear that it would give Bush, and by association, John McCain, a sympathy vote, making it look like the Bush/McCain team is being unfairly picked on. That’s what happened with the Clinton impeachment, which Republicans initiated after the president lied about an extramarital sexual affair. But this isn’t just semen stains on a dress. Clinton’s sloppy orgasm didn’t change the direction of world history by stealing an election or starting a war.
Democrats are also fearful that the Bush/McCain team would get sympathy because so many of the documented charges appear to be outrageous. They can’t possibly be true. It must be partisan bickering—and we’re sick of politicians bickering when the country is going to hell. But the charges are well documented. And now they’ve been written into the nation’s history. It is unbelievable—unbelievable that we gave a free ride to these criminals for eight years, shamelessly allowing them to shred our constitution and trash our country.
Dr. Michael I. Niman is a professor of journalism and media studies at Buffalo State College. His previous columns are available at artvoice.com, archived at mediastudy.com, and distributed globally though syndication.blog comments powered by Disqus
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