Quick! Name the most important yet widely-ignored national news story of the past six years. Think hard now. Make a short list. Peak Oil? 911Truth? Weapons of Mass Destruction? The Iraq War? A hint: this is an issue upon which hangs the very fate of our 200 plus year old experiment with representative government. Got it? This is a story that, if published by any credible journal of record in any sort of systematic investigative manner, would rock the republic to its very foundations, and probably sell piles and piles of newspapers in the process. You've guessed it by now, haven't you, even though you've seen nary a peep about it in MSM (mainstream media) coverage of our national political culture these past six years? The answer. Our U.S. electoral system is badly broken. Our Constitutionally protected process of “free and fair elections” in which the principle of “one citizen, one vote” used to hold legal sway, has been systematically dismantled in a concerted “dirty tricks” campaign by Republican party apparatchiks whose fingerprints can be traced all the way to the White House. This hijacking of our electoral process, moreover, has been aided and abetted by obsequious Democratic party leaders, including Al Gore and John Kerry, as well as a compliant corporate press congenitally incapable of shining a light on the most earth-shattering political story of our time. Now I know what you're thinking. Conspiracy theorist. Wing nut. Wacko. After all, “no voter disenfranchisement occurred in this election of 2004, and for that matter the election of 2000,” observed Texas Congressman Tom “The Hammer” DeLay during January 2005. “Everybody knows it. The voters know it, the candidates know it, the courts know it, and the evidence proves it.” I'll be the first to admit that I tend to believe just about everything that Tom DeLay says, given his record of unimpeachable integrity as both a businessman and a politician. But to embrace DeLay's conclusions, you have do what the MSM does. Ignore the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Consider: Ranking House Judiciary Committee Democrat John Conyers' Ohio report. Or citizen activist Bev Harris and Black Box Voting's uncovering of electronic voter fraud. Or University of Pennsylvania statistician Steve Freeman's “exit-poll versus actual results” number-crunching. Or Ronnie Duggar and Greg Palast's investigative reporting. If all of this is new to you, here are three new resources to use in beginning to make sense of our now-dysfunctional electoral landscape. Begin with People To People TV's clever and brilliantly titled new film “Electile Dysfunction.” Directed by Penny Little, with supporting appearances by everyone from Danny “Media Dissector” Schechter to the Reverend Jesse Jackson, this 1 hour plus grassroots guerilla film provides a hilarious and provocative look at the perils of electronic voting machines, and the ways in which the Orwellian “Help America Vote Act” (HAVA), passed by Congress with the blessing of the defense industry (ah – a clue) in 2002, actually set the stage for the corporate hijacking of the electoral process now underway in many key counties in many key states around the Union. While the film manages to incorporate a number of key pieces of evidence in building its case, it is most useful as a frank and funny (if that is the right word) introduction to our situation, with a focus on the perils of electronic “voting” (and we can use that term loosely). Once you've screened this film, you're ready for Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman's “How The GOP Stole America's 2004 Election and Is Rigging 2008.” The book is a valuable companion text to “Electile Dysfunction,” as the authors provide a detailed point-by-point account of what they call electoral “death by 1,000 cuts.” This is not a book for the easily distracted. Specifics abound. Footnotes are copious, as are URLs for further research. But our authors set up the story in clear and coherent manner, moving from pre-election day shenanigans to the actual election itself, examining the relationship between exit polls, the vote count, and then the controversy over the recount, as well as looking at the many creative ways Republican party operatives on the ground blocked access to the polls. (To mention but one of many insidious tactics, called “caging,” which involved Republican party tricksters mailing registered letters to thousands of Democrats in mostly minority and/or urban areas, and then challenging those voters who refused to sign for the letters, or who simply ignored them, on election day at the polls.) And finally, for a page-turning global perspective on what this all means, Mark Crispin Miller's new book “Fooled Again: How the Right Stole the 2004 Election and Why They'll Steal the Next One Too (Unless We Stop Them)” is a must. Miller, a longtime observer of contemporary media and politics at New York University, is that rare breed of scholar who possesses both a witty sense of humor and the courage to look into the abyss without flinching. “The election of 2004 was stolen by a theocratic movement,” Miller concludes, “just as hostile to the promise of democracy as any Bolshevik or Nazi of the past or any fuming Islamist today.” Miller documents Republican dirty tricks, not just in Florida and Ohio, but across the United States, drawing on copious amounts of evidence from, brace yourselves, the experiences of actual voters, as well as the local coverage of fraud that went unreported in the national press, allowing the entire story to quickly become marginalized by the MSM by early 2005. Make no mistake – if the conclusions advanced by these three new texts are accurate, citizens in our now-dying representative democracy are somewhat akin to that allegorical frog sitting unwittingly in that rapidly warming pot. To where do we jump now, and will we make our move in time?