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Stealing America raises serious questions
by Scott Rice - SGN Contributing Writer

Stealing America: Vote by Vote
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We live in frightening times, and our president has rarely let us forget that for the last eight years. From rhetorical mushroom clouds to fictional weapons of mass destruction to pervasive color-coded terror alerts that mysteriously ended just after the 2004 presidential election, the American public has been sold a perpetual war. And we, well-trained consumers that we are, bought it hook, line, and proverbial sinker.

However, W. isn't solely responsible for exploiting the fear of the masses these days. The recent Republican National Convention featured a two-minute and 45 second film that purported to be a tribute to the victims of the tragic events of 9/11 but was, in fact, incendiary propaganda. Another bit of proof that, however civilized we think we are; we still live in the age of win-at-all-cost politics.

The film covers everything but the victims of 9/11 for the first two minutes and 13 seconds. American hostages, dead bodies, carnage on land and sea, and gun-toting jihadists parade across the screen as the narrator reminds us that Muslim religious radicals want to kill us in the name of God. Fade to black. Fade in to the smoldering World Trade Center and the subsequent slow-mo explosion followed by buildings crumbling over and over. At two minutes and 13 seconds, with less than 1/5th of the film left, we finally see flowers being left in the rubble topped off with images of bloody photographs of the missing their families left affixed to light poles and taped to walls hoping for a miracle.

This is a scary movie. I saw another movie this week I think is even scarier. Stealing America: Vote by Vote is the latest film from long time documentarian Dorothy Fadiman and follows a trail of curious election results over the last 10 years.

The two main thrusts of the documentary concern the recent disparity between exit polls and election results and the development of new electronic voting machines in our national elections.

Since the 1960s, exit polling has been a reliable indicator of election outcomes. Senator Chuck Hagel's 1996 surprise victory over then-sitting governor, Ben Nelson, was the first time problems with exit polling were noticed. The answers voters gave when polled directly after voting simply did not match the elections results. These problems seem to have become progressively worse in the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections, elections I'm sure we all recall.

The filmmakers make a strong case connecting the exit poll disparities with Republican Party operatives like former Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris and former Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell and their unseemly manipulation of state and local election procedures. From last-minute purges of voter rolls and unfairly equipped precinct facilities (largely in heavily Democratic areas), the filmmakers believe the Republican Party purloined the elections of 2000 and 2004.

Along with political maneuvering, the advent of electronic voting machines produced by companies whose leaders have right-wing ties also falls under suspicion.

The production values are lackluster and the filmmaking is pedestrian. But that's not what this movie is about. This is a riveting and complicated story (it's inspired by the article "Was the 2004 Election Stolen?" written by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., for Rolling Stone magazine in June of 2006) about the Republican Party stealing elections resulting in the what many feel is an inept and bellicose administration that has with hubristic recklessness squandered public trust and international goodwill and destroyed the American economy. And it's told well. If you don't leave the theater angry, you'll certainly leave with some serious questions.

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