Robert Kennedy Jr. had a pretty good excuse for skipping his scheduled appearance with investigative journalist Greg Palast to promote their latest project, “Steal Back Your Vote” — a report on voting irregularities and fraud in the 2008 election.
Palast, speaking at the Progressive Democrats of America gathering at a downtown Denver church during the DNC Tuesday, excused Kennedy’s absence to be with his uncle, Monday’s inspirational surprise speaker Sen. Ted Kennedy, and introduced a surprise replacement of his own, Amy Goodman of Democracy Now.
Progressive investigative journalist Goodman asked a delegate to hold up a goody bag with sponsor logo from AT&T on one side and decried the influence of big corporate money on the modern American political process.
She talked about trying to get into a delegate gathering at Mile High Stadium Monday and being denied access by towering security guards. Goodman said delegates at a corporate party are in training for just how skewed by campaign contributions politics in America have become, and added that there can be no good reasons to keep the press out, only bad ones.
“When you’ve got money saturating politics, and even if you care deeply about the public good, you’ve got to see where the money is and that’s what this is about every four years,” Goodman said. “It’s about teaching (budding politicians) big-money politics.”
Goodman said AT&T’s sponsorship of the DNC is the Democrats’ reward for refusing to block a bill several weeks ago giving telecom companies retroactive immunity for facilitating domestic spying by the feds. She also urged support of independent media during both parties’ political conventions in order to limit and expose excesses by police against protesters in Denver and Minnesota.
Palast took back the microphone to talk up his project with Kennedy, which will be the subject of a feature in a major national magazine next month and which also will be released as a 24-page comic-book-style PDF illustrated by three top political cartoonists. The report will be available on the Web site www.stealbackyourvote.org.
Palast said former Colorado Secretary of State Donetta Davidson has made the state the epicenter of the rampant practice of purging voter registration lists for alleged irregularities — a tactic now even more en vogue in the wake of new legislation backed by the Bush administration.
“Now under the Help America Vote Act the entire nation is Floridated, but the champ, [former Florida Secretary of State] Katherine Harris, ain’t got nothing on Colorado,” Palast said. “We’re sitting at purge ground zero. The reason that there’s a convention here is this is a swing state where Democrats are piling in, tens of thousands of new voters in Colorado at the top of the bucket, but at the bottom of the bucket the spread sheets are going (poof).
“What’s happening? Donetta Davidson, who had been secretary of state in the state of Colorado, removed 19.4 percent — one out of five voters in the state of Colorado, she removed their names. And what happens to Davidson as a result of this? The answer is George Bush made her head of the brand new Election Assistance Commission, where she can train all 50 secretaries of state in her purging ways. In fact, President Bush, instead of calling her chairwoman of the EAC, was going to call her the Purging General.”