Richard Moore

Date: Thu, 28 Sep 2006 19:42:02 -0400
From: Greg Palast <•••@••.•••>
Subject: American Blackout -- A Must-See Documentary


Featuring Cynthia McKinney, Greg Palast, Bernie Sanders, Bob Fitrakis 
and many others...

September 28, 2006
By Zach Roberts

I'm going to start this with a sales pitch: you need to buy this 
film. No, really. Not because Greg Palast receives second billing but 
because you must see this film.

American Blackout is the kind of documentary that only comes along 
every few years. It's the sort of film that changes things -- changes 
how you think. If there was any justice in this world this film would 
receive the same buzz and box office that anything that Michael Moore 
releases gets. Greg Palast told me the film "blew him away" -- this 
from a man who is almost always underwhelmed by documentaries, 
especially ones about his field of expertise.

the Trailer

When delving into the voter issue, the media distracts you with all 
the things it loves to talk about. But you need to forget the hanging 
chads and forget the malfunctioning machines. They're just a sideshow 
to the real story. The real story is a lot less sexy, dealing with 
road blocks, purged voters, 'misplaced' voting machines, uncounted 
ballots and long lines. This is the Civil Rights Movement all over 
again but this time there are no great monsters like Bull Connor. The 
lynchings today are electronic and political... and the freedom 
riders nowhere to be found.

American Blackout, directed by 
News Network's Ian Inaba uses a stunning mix of never before seen 
archive and firsthand interviews. Inaba knows how to make otherwise 
dull C-Span clips look like something completely new and interesting. 
He does this by split-screen and zooming so you know who you're 
supposed to be looking at -- Katherine Harris, Jeb Bush, ChoicePoint 
representatives. You see them lying to a Civil Rights panel, you see 
them sweat when questioned by Congresswoman McKinney.  All I can say 
is that I am stunned that I've never seen this technique used before 
-- it keeps you interested, on your toes and wanting for more. Yes, 
you will be wanting to see more of this documentary, these 90 minutes 
fly past quickly. So do take notes -- there will be a test afterwards 
-- the 2006 election.

Among the great footage in this documentary is a pan shot of lines of 
people waiting to vote -- I saw this once before, when I was 13 and 
apartheid came to an end. South Africa held its first free election 
and Black voters could be seen in lines that went on for miles. But 
this is America, we are not a developing democracy and should long 
have emerged from the dark ages of electoral segregation.

The story of Cynthia McKinney that sews the running thread through 
the film, is uglier than even I knew. Many only familiar with the 
Congresswoman's press coverage will be aghast at just how distorted a 
picture the media has fed us.
It literally defies belief.

Here we see her cross-examining Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld 
with such surgical precision and grasp of her brief that Rumsfeld is 
left stammering and ashen-faced. It makes us wonder what kind of 
country we might have right now if more had put this administration 
under such factual scrutiny. American Blackout lays out exactly why 
she has been so relentlessly hounded. Every one of her speeches 
brings to mind the hoarse pleas of Jimmy Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes to 
Washington, a force to be reckoned with. (In the DVD extras you can 
watch "Capitol Policeman Speaks Out" and see why she "lost it" back 
in March 2006.)

Inaba's film is intense yet easy to grasp for even the most 
non-political among us.

And for those who can't sit in one place for too long, the DVD comes 
with a shortened version which still gets the point across in under 
20 minutes.

Since I started with a sales pitch it only seems right to end with 
one: Remember when in the days after 9/11 our president told us to go 
out and shop? Do the patriotic thing and buy this DVD. In fact I 
would buy several: you are going to want to pass this one around your 
friends and chances are you're not going to get it back.

Buy it directly at the 
Blackout website. We get nothing from these sales except the 
knowledge that we are supporting one kick-ass filmmaker with a 
gotta-see-it call to arms against the racial poisoning of our 

a tax-deductible $50 or more to our educational foundation and Palast 
will send you a 
copy of American Blackout. All proceeds support the investigative 
work of the Palast team.

"A muckraking indictment" (LA TIMES) and "engrossing, fast-paced, 
stylish... a powerful examination of voting rights in America." 


Leni von Eckardt contributed to this article.


Greg Palast is a reporter for BBC Television and the author of the 
just-released New York Times Bestseller, 
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 Lines of the Class War.
Read his articles and watch his reports at: 


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