Summer’s political blockbuster is Robert Kennedy’s Jr.’s 12-page “Did Bush Steal the 2004 Election?” article in the June 15 issue of Rolling Stone. We all know the legendary impact of being on the “cover of the Rolling Stone.” RFK Jr.’s heavily fact-checked article – there are 208 footnotes online at rolling – has re-ignited the debate over Ohio’s 2004 election. While the Free Press has never stopped digging, the last major national magazine article on the issue, “None Dare Call it Stolen,” appeared in Harper’s Magazine on September 7, 2005, a precursor to Mark Crispin Miller’s essential book Fooled Again: How the Right Stole the 2004 Election and Why They’ll Steal the Next One Too (Unless We Stop Them). If you haven’t read Fooled Again yet, I recommend it.

In order to fully understand Miller’s detailed analysis of the 2004 election theft, readers should be acquainted with the history of election stealing in America. Perhaps the best recent book on this subject is Professor Tracy Campbell’s Deliver the Vote: A History of Election Fraud, and an American Political Tradition – 1742-2004. As Campbell details it, if elections are the so-called lifeblood of American democracy, then we’re in desperate need of an immediate transfusion. While Campbell’s book doesn’t deal with the 2004 election other than a cursory glance, he makes up by drawing on literally hundreds of elections stolen from the colonial era up to the 2000 election in Florida. The book is a virtual rogue’s gallery of America’s most well-known political operatives including Boss Tweed, William Randolph Hearst, Huey Long and his clan, Lyndon “Landslide” Johnson and a host of others whose lack of commitment to real elections has shaped our history. Campbell’s work is particularly useful in understanding how election fraud played a role in bringing about the Civil War. Fans of local politics may find it interesting that the Gateway Arch in St. Louis was the direct result of a stolen bond issue election in that city. The real value of Campell’s book is that it breaks the reader away from the socialization and propaganda myth that has most people believing America has the freest and greatest democracy in the world, and hence, we have a right to illegally occupy whole nations to bring them our political way of life.

Just like you, University of Pennsylvania professor Steve Freeman wondered why all the exit polls, including the massive media “consortium” poll, indicated Kerry won on November 2, 2004. His book, Was the 2004 Presidential Election Stolen: Election Polls, Election Fraud and the Official Count by Steve F. Freeman and Joel Bleifuss, explains why. The exit polls were right; the election was stolen. Freeman and Bleifuss ask the obvious question: “If election fraud in Ukraine or in Haiti is news, why isn’t election fraud in the United States?” The authors call for “…a new wave of skepticism, of hope, of honest inquiry, of anger, and of common purpose.”

The 2005 Bush-Cheney Impeachments: Year 2008 10th Grade Civics Exam by Craig Leslie, is for those warm, dreamy, breezy days on the beach. Leslie envisions a just world where 10th grade students recount the details of the Bush-Cheney impeachment the previous year. The book includes a chronology of how the impeachment proceeded. The best part about the book is not the projection of future events, but the detailed account of actual historic events that already occurred during the Bush-Cheney junta. In fact, the multiple choice questions are so good, I may have to borrow a few for my Introduction to American Government class. This book serves as a primer for all the laws and articles of the Constitution violated by the W. Bush regime.

Another cautionary tale from the beginning of the Bush-Cheney years is told forcefully and in brilliant detail by Dean Kuipers, Deputy Editor of Los Angeles City Beat. In his Burning Rainbow Farm: How a Stoner Utopia Went Up in Smoke, returns to the area where he was raised in southwest rural Michigan to investigate the bizarre battle between the two owners of Rainbow Farm and the local right-wing theocrats, that ended in tragedy. One of the most outrageous acts of the so-called war on drugs, the deaths of Tom Crosslin and Rollie Rohm and their burning of their beloved paradise, needs to be known by a far greater audience. Kuipers’ book is just the vehicle for spreading the truth about an incident that remains too obscure because it happened just prior to 9/11.

Greg Palast, the best-selling author of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy is at it again with Armed Madhouse: Who’s Afraid of Osama Wolf?, China Floats, Bush Sinks, the Scheme to Steal ’08, No Child’s Behind Left, and Other Dispatches from the Front Line of the Class War. With the death of Hunter S. Thompson, Palast is filling the void. Not with gonzo journalism, but with top notch investigative journalism that unearths political corruption that just seems like the author and the reader are on acid. Once you’ve tumbled though the looking glass with Palast, the right-wing’s propaganda machine will be fully exposed. Fact-based and funny, Palast is the greatest muck-raker of our era. Armed Madhouse contains the best 2-page inside cover spread that I can recall under the heading “A Secret History of the War Over Oil in Iraq.” Palast makes his case admirably, that neocon globalization equals the planetary version of the company town.