The Armed Madhouse goes to Chicago NYC Madison SF LA DC NM VT OR

April 7th, 2007

From Baghdad to New Orleans:
Sordid Secrets & Strange Tales of a White House Gone Wild

Code Pink, Global Exchange, Pacifica Radio’s KPFK, Flashpoints, WPFW, WBAI, WORT, KBOO, Ben Cohen of True Majority, PDA, Progressive Magazine, Buzzflash, Media Alliance and more present …

Greg Palast and friends Randi Rhodes, Robert Kennedy Jr., Amy Goodman, Ben Cohen and more to launch the the brand new, updated, defend yourself from the dying-regime edition of Armed Madhouse beginning April 21 in …

CHICAGO, IL
Date: Saturday, April 21
Event: CHICAGO GREEN FESTIVAL with Jim Hightower & Amy Goodman
Time: 2:00 PM
Location: McCormick Place / Lakeside 2301 S. Lake Shore Drive | Map

MADISON, WI
Date: Sunday, April 22
Event: WORT-FM RADIO
Time: 6:00 – 9:00 PM
Location: Barrymore Theatre 2090 Atwood Avenue | Map
More Info: LIVE with Air America host Laura Flanders

PORTLAND, OR
Date: Tuesday, April 24
Event: KBOO-FM/PORTLAND ALLIANCE
Time: 7:30 – 9:30 PM
Location: First Unitarian Universalist Church 12th Street at Salmon | Map

EUGENE, OR
Date: Wednesday, April 25
Event: University of Oregon Cultural Forum
Time: 7:00 – 9:00 PM
Location: University of Oregon PLC-180 (14th & Kincaid Streets)
More Info: KOPT Vocal Majority’s Brian Shaw to host; Radio Host Alan Siporin to introduce.

OAKLAND, CA
Date: Thursday, April 26
Event: FLASHPOINTS / MEDIA ALLIANCE / GLOBAL EXCHANGE
Time: 7:00 – 9:00 PM 6:30 PM screening
Location: Grand Lake Theater 3200 Grand Avenue | Map
More Info: Flashpoint’s Dennis Bernstein to host with Jeff Perlstein of Media Alliance

SAN FRANCISCO, CA
Date: Friday, April 27
Event: NEW LIVING EXPO
Time: 3:30 – 5:00 PM
Location: Concourse Exhibition Center, Rm 2 635 8th Street at Brannan, San Francisco, CA | Map

SAN JOSE, CA
Date: Friday, April 27
Event: SOUTH BAY MOBILIZATION
Time: 7:30 – 9:30 PM
Location: First Christian Church 80 South Fifth Street | Map

LOS ANGELES, CA
Date: Saturday, April 28
Event: LOS ANGELES TIMES FESTIVAL OF BOOKS with Amy Goodman and Mark Halprin
Time: 4:00 – 6:00 PM
Location: UCLA Ackerman Ballroom, Westwood, CA | Map
More Info: Greg will be on a panel, “State of the Union” with other special guests

LOS ANGELES, CA
Date: Saturday, April 28
Event: KPFK-FM/PACIFICA RADIO
Time: 7:00 – 9:00 PM
Location: Immanuel Presbyterian Church 3300 Wilshire Blvd. | Map

SANTA FE, NM
Date: Sunday, April 29
Event: SIMPLE CHANGE, KSFR-FM and COLLECTED WORKS BOOK STORE
Time: 7:00 – 9:00 PM
Location: The Lensic, Santa Fe’s Performing Arts Center 211 West San Francisco Street

NEW YORK, NY
Date: Tuesday, May 1
Event: WBAI PACIFICA RADIO/PALAST FUND
Time: 7:30 – 9:00 PM with Randi Rhodes and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
Location: Community Church of New York 40 East 35th Street | Map
More Info: Buy Tickets online

NEW YORK, NY
Date: Wednesday, May 2
Event: BORDER’S BOOKS & MUSIC
Time: 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Location: 10 Columbus Circle New York, NY | Map
More Info: Border’s Columbus Circle, 212-823-9775

WASHINGTON DC
Thursday, May 3
WPFW PACIFICA RADIO
7:30 – 9:30 PM New York Avenue Presbyterian Church
1313 New York Avenue
Dr. Wilmer Leon to host

MONTPELIER, VT
Friday, May 4
Event: GREG PALAST WITH BEN COHEN, TRUE MAJORITY
Time: 7:00 – 9:00 PM
Location: Unitarian Church of Montpelier 130 Main Street
More Info: WGDR’s Jim Hogue to host

Screenings featuring:
Palast’s film Big Easy to Big Empty —The True Story of the Drowning of New Orleans
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UNTIL PATRIOT ACT IV TAKES EFFECT…

July 19th, 2006

Maybe you read my blogs, catch my reports on BBC Newsnight or Democracy Now, or have a copy of the Best Democracy Money Can Buy lying around.

But if you really want to get to the heart and soul of my investigations, pick up a copy of my new book, Armed Madhouse. Between its covers is the Full Monty that my online columns and reports for Amy Goodman can only scratch the surface of.

And, I’ve just discovered that, until Patriot Act IV goes into effect, you’re still allowed to read Armed Madhouse. Here are some comments of folks who have read it:

“I would urge you to read Greg Palast’s latest book, Armed Madhouse. He does for the national elections what I did for the Ohio election…. He shows exactly how this election was stolen–not just in Ohio but in many other states as well.” — Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

“For all its humor, I find the book a serious resource of information for action and organizing, covering war, oil, economic struggle and globalization.” — Medea Benjamin, Founder, Code Pink

“Greg Palast is Jack Kerouac meets Seymour Hersh. That’s quite a combination. The guy is insightful, entertaining, and does his homework.” — Buzzflash.com

“Palast’s stories bite. They’re so relevant they threaten to alter history - simply by letting the hoodwinked public in on the game while it’s happening. Palast is exactly what a journalist is supposed to be - a truth hound, doggedly independent, undaunted by power.” — Chicago Tribune Media Services

“Palast, a tough-talking, fedora-wearing corporate fraud investigator turned intrepid journalist, has a habit for finding actual documents and then using them in edgy exposes.” — LA Times

“Upsets all the right people.” — Noam Chomsky

“I bought my father a copy.” — Janeane Garofalo, Air America

“The Sid Vicious of Journalism.” — Pacifica Radio

From Medea Benjamin
CoFounder, CODEPINK and Global Exchange
:

One of my favorite investigative reporters, Greg Palast has a new book out, Armed Madhouse, which tells the stories the Bush regime would rather you not know.

For all its humor, I find the book a serious resource of information for action and organizing, covering war, oil, economic struggle and globalization.

Armed Madhouse includes the hidden story of the war for oil in Iraq and, “Kerry Won,” a sad and funny investigation of how they swiped the White House a SECOND time.

Palast’s book is subtitled, “Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Class War” — and besides digging into oil and Iraq, Palast take on the full spectrum of attacks on our economic and civil rights, including the expose, “No Child’s Behind Left,” Bush’s assault on kids and teachers.

This book is our Weapon of Massive Instruction. Read it and use it.

In peace,
Medea

Note: Today, Medea Benjamin enters the 15th day of her hunger strike — which will last until the troops come home. I thank her for this note — and thank her for a courage I cannot imagine replicating. - Greg Palast

Hear Jim Hightower, Randi Rhodes or Larry David read an excerpt, or pick up a copy of Armed Madhouse at www.GregPalast.com

Read the rest of this entry »


The Book on CD

July 4th, 2006

ARMED MADHOUSE ON CD!

GAROFALO, RHODES, ASNER, BIAFRA, LARRY DAVID, AMY G–
READ THE BOOK BANNED FROM US AIRWAVES

Buy the Audio Book on Amazon.com

Drive your car pool completely mad — mad at the regime, mad at the No World Order, mad as hell and funny as hell — as friends of Greg Palast, “The Sid Vicious of Journalism” (Pacifica Radio), join the author in reading the New York Times bestseller, “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 Lines of the Class War.”

Get the facts that the mainstream media keeps hidden in the Fox-hole.

From “America’s best investigative reporter — and the funniest” (Randi Rhodes) comes a five-disk CD of the New York Times bestseller read by the author and …

Ed Asner
Larry David
Randi Rhodes
Greg Proops
Shiva Rose
Janeane Garofalo
Amy Goodman
Medea Benjamin
Mark Crispin Miller
Kevin Danaher
Jim Hightower
Brod Bagert
Jerry Quickley
Randy Credico
Brad Friedman
… and Jello Biafra as the voice of Osama bin Laden.

ARMED MADHOUSE CONTENT TABLE

DISK 1

Track 1
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 Lines of the Class War

Track 2
THE BEGINNING
Like the Cowardly Dog He Was
Guest Reader: Shiva Rose
Guest Reader: Randy Credico

Track 3
CHAPTER 1
THE FEAR
Who’s Afraid of Osama Wolf?
Including Marines in a tube, learning to speak Terrorist, Bush’s Khan job, national Security Document 199-I and Osama’s Mission Accomplished. [What are you afraid of? Our Fear Salesman-in-Chief has something for everyone.]

Track 4
The Fear: Who’s Afraid of Osama Wolf? (continued)
Osama’s Mission Accomplished
Guest Reader: Jello Biafra

Track 5
The Fear: Who’s Afraid of Osama Wolf? (continued)
What Does Osama Want?
Guest Reader: Randy Credico
Guest Reader: Jello Biafra

Track 6
The Fear: Who’s Afraid of Osama Wolf? (continued)
Terror in Tiny Town
Guest Reader: Greg Proops

Track 7
The Fear: Who’s Afraid of Osama Wolf? (continued)
The Khan Job and the Back-Off Directive
Guest Reader: Amy Goodman

Track 8
The Fear: Who’s Afraid of Osama Wolf? (continued)
What You Ought Not to Know, the 199-I Document
Guest Reader: Brad Friedman reads WAMY Literature

Track 9
The Fear: Who’s Afraid of Osama Wolf? (continued)
George and Tony Get their Al-Qaeda Fix

Track 10
The Fear: Who’s Afraid of Osama Wolf? (continued)
Neither America or Britain Are at War

Track 11
The Fear: Who’s Afraid of Osama Wolf? (continued)
Double Cheese with Fear

Track 12
The Fear: Who’s Afraid of Osama Wolf? (continued)
The Joke’s on Us

Track 13
CHAPTER 2
THE FLOW
Trillion Dollar Babies
A five-and-a-half-part tale including Nose-Twist’s Hidden Hand, Kissinger’s man in the dream palace, the No-Brainer vs. The Witches’ Brew, the Other Downing Street memo, the Houston Insurgency, Amy’s alligator boots, Mr. 5%, a call to Riyadh, Wolfowitz Dämmerung and “especially the oil.”

Part 1
PLAN A: IN AND OUT IN THREE DAYS

Track 14
The Flow: Trillion Dollar Babies (continued)
War Drums Across the Potomac
Guest Reader: Mark Cripsin Miller as Michael Ledeen
Guest Reader: Medea Benjamin
Guest Reader: Kevin Danaher

Track 15
The Flow: Trillion Dollar Babies (continued)
Nose-Twist’s Hidden Hand
Guest Reader: Randi Rhodes
Guest Reader: Brad Friedman as Grover Norquist
Guest Reader: Mark Cripsin Miller as Thomas Friedman

Track 16
The Flow: Trillion Dollar Babies (continued)
Part 2
NEO-CONS TAKE BAGHDAD
Guest Reader: Randi Credico as Bush

Track 17
The Flow: Trillion Dollar Babies (continued)
Kissinger’s Man in the Dream Palace
Guest Reader: Randi Credico as Kissinger
Guest Reader: Greg Proops as Abu Gilal

Track 18
The Flow: Trillion Dollar Babies (continued)
New World Orders 12, 3, 39 and 40
Guest Reader: Kevin Danaher as himself

DISK 2

TRACK 1: Part 2 1/2 A Brief History of Gulf Wars 1 through 6
Guest Reader: Greg Proops as Lawrence of Arabia and Winston Churchill

TRACK 2: Part 2 1/2 A Brief History of Gulf Wars 1 through 6 continued
(Saladin, the Kurds, Armenian massacre)

TRACK 3: Part 3 The War For OPEC
Guest Reader: Ed Asner as Ariel Cohen ‘no brainer’ in baby steps, Withches Brew

TRACK 4: The War For OPEC continued
(Nawaf Obaid, neo-cons anti Saudi, Nawaf reassures US – Saudis will make up oil shortfall, Prince/King Abdullah in Crawford, Texas)
Guest Reader: Brad Friedman as Nawaf Obaid

TRACK 5: Opec, Big Oil and the Trillion Dollar War Bonus
(very good war for oil majors, net profits, oil majors oil reserves rise in value)

TRACK 6: The Houston Insurgency
(Philip Carroll sent to Iraq)
Guest Reader: Ed Asner as Philip Carroll

TRACK 7: The Secret Return of Plan A
(Ed Morse takes 6 calls a day, sneers on neo-cons, fooling Amy Jaffe, 323 page document, 6 options)
Guest Reader: Shiva Rose reads 323 page doc points

TRACK 8: The Secret Return of Plan A continued
(The Stans, IOC’s, Azerbaijan, enhanced relationship with OPEC)
Guest Reader: Shiva Rose reads 323 page doc points

TRACK 9: Rodeo Day and no Ideology
(James A. Baker Institute, Amy Jaffe, lie detector test)
Guest Reader: Randi Rhodes as Amy Jaffe

TRACK 10: Part 4: Jerks, Euros and Hubbert Humbug
(Why did Saddam have to go, one theory the peak oil theory)

TRACK 11: No Peaking, The Hubbert Humbug
(we’re running out of crude, dude, Lapham why would a company say there is lots of its product, running out since we’ve been draining it from whales, problem too much oil, swimming in it, war for blood for oil)

TRACK 12: The Shell Game
(1956 oil price falling, Hubbert presentation, Nasser seized Suez Canal, reserves have doubled)

TRACK 13: Mr. 5% and the Red Lining of Iraq’s Reserves
(visiting imp called history, shallow oil wells, Saddam excuse to invade Kuwait, oil for food program)

TRACK 14: Saddam does the Jerk, why he had to go
(James A. Baker Institute/CFR report, Cheney takes recommendations, secret task force)
Guest Reader: Shiva Rose reads James A. Baker Institute/CFR report

TRACK 15: Part 5: Wolfowitz Daemmerung, Twilight of the neo-con Gods

Day of the Long Knives
(Chalabi raided, Iyad Allawi, new puppets – same strings, Sovereignty Day, enter John Negroponte, neo-cons consolation price, Bremer departure)

TRACK 16: Oil Wars Bonus Chapter

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas
Guest Reader: Jim Hightower
Guest Reader: Medea Benjamin as April Glaspie

TRACK 17: The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas continued
(Baker office at the Whitehouse)
Guest Reader: Jim Hightower

TRACK 18: Chapter 3: The Network

The World as a Company Town

The Holistic System of Systems, Petro-Dollars, Electro-Dollars, The Assassination of Hugo Chavez, Euro-Nations, Mundell’s Toilet and coming down from Hubbert’s Peak

Mr. Friedman Tees Off
(Mr. Beale speech, Clinton left surplus)
Guest Reader: Ed Asner reading Beale speech

TRACK 19: Mr. Friedman Tees Off continued
(Gas-tax, petro-Dollars cycling back, the other Saudi Arabia: China, syno-Dollars)

DISK 3

Track 1
CHAPTER 3
THE NETWORK (continued)
China Floats, America Sinks
Guest Reader: Randy Credico

Track 2
The Network (continued)
Yuan On Your Social Security? The Soylent Green Solution
Guest Reader: Randy Credico
Guest Reader: Mark Crispin Miller
Guest Reader: Ed Asner

Track 3
The Network (continued)
The World is Tilted
Guest Reader: Mark Crispin Miller

Track 4
The Network (continued)
The World is Tilted (continued)
…Like Thomas Friedman I’ve also flown to Bangalore

Track 5
The Network (continued)
Why Not Slip Into Something Less Comfortable
Guest Reader: Mark Crispin Miller

Track 6
The Network (continued)
Multi-dollars, Euro-nations and Mundell’s Toilet
Guest Reader: Ed Asner
Guest Reader: Mark Crispin Miller

Track 7
The Network (continued)
The Little Red Book of Chairman Rob
Guest Reader: Mark Crispin Miller

Track 8
The Network (continued)
The Electro-Dollar Riots in Ecuador

Track 9
The Network (continued)
The Electro-Dollar Riots in Ecuador (continued)
…There’s Duke Energy of the Carolinas.

Track 10
The Network (continued)
The Electro-Dollar Riots in Ecuador (continued)
…But Ecuador can afford it.

Track 11
The Network (continued)
The Electro-Dollar Riots in Ecuador (continued)
…But the scare of a “Yellow Peril” to U.S. and European workers has a short lifespan.

Track 12
The Network (continued)
The Assassination of Hugo Chávez

Track 13
The Network (continued)
The Assassination of Hugo Chávez (continued)
…Chavez was just warming up.
Guest Reader: Randy Credico

Track 14
The Network (continued)
The Assassination of Hugo Chávez (continued)
…There’s no question that Chávez’s largesse to the “negros e indios,” for the bricks and medicine and loans abroad, is made possible only by wildly high prices of petroleum.


Track 15
CHAPTER 4
THE CON
Kerry Won. Now Get Over It…

Track 16
The Con (continued)
Night of the Uncounted: How to Disappear Three Million Votes
Guest Reader: Larry David

Track 17
The Con (continued)
Counting By Colors
Guest Reader: Larry David

DISK 4

TRACK 1: Part 1: Great, White Republicans Take Voters Captive
(Bush.org e-mails arrive,

TRACK 2: The Tallahassee Lassie and the Bleaching of Voter Rolls
(Mindy Tucker Fletcher, Mindy vanishes ignorant returns as expert)
Guest Reader: Janeane Garofalo as Mindy Tucker Fletcher

TRACK 3: The Tallahassee Lassie and the Bleaching of Voter Rolls continued
(Agostini and Mindy explain, everyone does, no they don’t, Randy Prausa)

TRACK 4: The Ballot at the Back of the Bus
(Provisional ballot, Corinne Brown ‘Coup d’etat’, HAVA, millions of votes trashed)

TRACK 5: Two Hats One Head
(Ohio – Blackwell)

TRACK 6: The indecisive Indian

TRACK 7: The Color that Counts
(People of color in New Mexico suffer from indecision pandemic, unvotes, Klinkner stats)

TRACK 8: The Disappearing Democrats of Area 51
(Little Texas, Kunko, Santiago Juarez)

TRACK 9: The Great Brown Ballot Boycott
(Kunko’s strategically placed early voting booth)
Guest Reader: Jerry Quickley

TRACK 10: Democrats in Dreamland
(Rebecca Vigil-Giron)
Guest Reader: Shiva Rose as Rebecca Vigil-Giron

TRACK 11: Push Button Small Pox
(Sequoia Machines, Shouptronic Machine)

TRACK 12: No Count Champs
(Dick Carlberg, Florida’s hanging chads and optical scanners)

TRACK 13: Jim Crow goes Digital
(Santiago Juarez ‘Hollywood idea’, Ion Sancho no spoilage, Jeb fires Oliphant)


TRACK 14: Ignore that Man Behind the Screen Dorothy
(No glitches reported with electronic voting, how do you know?, computer logs destroyed in Ohio, Wasserman and Fitrakis)

TRACK 15: Voting’s Private Parts
(Vigil-Giron, AE&S, vote count outsourced)

TRACK 16: Mystery Machines
(Computer refuses Kerry vote, Judge can’t vote)

TRACK 17: The Voting Industrial Complex
(Vigil-Giron, Cruise Ship ES&S sponsored)

TRACK 18: Do you know where your Absentee Ballot is?
(Teresa LePore, Fishes and Loaves, Colorado)

TRACK 19: Part 4: Old Dogs, Old Tricks

Felons of the Future
(2000 Elections, scrubbed black voters)

TRACK 20: Republican High
(Switched registrations, Ion Sancho’s stepdaughter)

TRACK 21: Lord save us from Reform
(ID requirements, Justine Fox-Young, fake voters)
Guest Reader: Shiva Rose as Justine Fox-Young
Guest Reader: Mark Crispin Miller

TRACK 22: The Kissinger American
(Kerry won New Mexico, Democrat in charge, Bill Richardson)

TRACK 23: Richardson ready for Take-off
(New Mexico stopped recount, $1 Million for recount)

TRACK 24: 59 Million Pinheads on Parade

DISK 5

TRACK 1: Chapter 5: The Class War

Hope I die before my next Refill, Dispatches from the War of the Movers and Shakers against the Moved and Shaken, including No Child’s Behind Left, The Grinch that stole overtime and The Chavez of Louisiana

Welcome to 1927
(Have and have-mores, Fishhead, New Orleans, Huey Long, The New Deal)
Guest Reader: Randy Credico as Bush
Guest Reader: Brod Bagert as Fishhead

TRACK 2: Tomorrow’s Bacon
(Class War Body Count, more Billionaires, Median income down)

TRACK 3: The Grinch that stole overtime

TRACK 4: No Deal
(Roosevelt’s new Deal)

TRACK 5: Just put down that Lawsuit, Pardner, and no one gets hurts

TRACK 6: When Ahnold got Lay’d

TRACK 7: The President explains everything you need to know about Social Security
Guest Reader: Randy Credico

TRACK 8: Oil Wars and Class Wars
(Delphi Workers, GM, Airlines in Chapter 11)

TRACK 9: Democrats in Drag
(Gore, Perot, NAFTA)

TRACK 10: Democrats in Drag continued
(Autoparts, NAFTA, Half a Million jobs lost, owners vs workers)

TRACK 11: Sam’s Club on Pennsylvania Avenue
(Walmart, Gore)

TRACK 12: No Child’s Behind Left
Guest Reader: Randy Credico

TRACK 13: No Child’s Behind Left continued
(Privatized tutoring, teachers fired, Edison Schools)

TRACK 14: Hope I Die Before My Next Refill

TRACK 15: 1927. Again

TRACK 16: There is nothing new under the Sun
Huey Long
Guest Reader: Brod Bagert

TRACK 17: The House I live in

TRACK 18: The House I live in continued

TRACK 19: Credits


Travel Blog

June 30th, 2006

Thomas Friedman’s Underpants

[New York] Von Eckardt, our chief investigator, joined me and Krugman in the green room. She’s a big fan of Paul’s and couldn’t wait to hear two of her favorite economics writers talk privately about the great issues of the day.

“I wring them out as absolutely tight as I can,” said Krugman, “and by the morning they’re just a little damp but you can still wear them.”

I had a different technique for stretching the supply of underwear on book tours: Wear them into the shower or, in a pinch, turn them inside out.

“There’s one guy that has a clean pair Fed-Ex’d to him every day and he puts the dirty ones in a return envelope.” The “guy,” of course, had to be Thomas Friedman.

Von Eckardt was fuming. “THAT’S WHAT YOU GUYS TALK ABOUT? YOUR UNDERPANTS?!”

Actually, I thought it was all quite informative.

Arnold’s Army

[San Diego] I feel so much safer. Arnold’s Army is on the way to the Mexican border. One thousand National Guardsmen of California, guys with names like Sanchez, Kowalski, Huang and Gutierrez, are being sent by a guy named Schwarzenegger to stop the invasion of immigrants. OK, I’m down with that — ever since the first Pilgrims immigrated to these shores, just about every new American has wanted to shut the Golden Door behind them.

But the bogus border patrol has nothing to do with stopping illegal immigration. After all, even as dim a flashlight as our president, who ordered the governor to send the Guard to battle stations, knows that a couple hundred more professional border patrolmen would do a better job than a thousand weekend warriors marching around the desert. And besides, if the Guard actually stopped the flow, there’d be riots in West Hollywood when restaurant patrons discover they’ll have to bus their own dishes.

According to George Bush, there’s more to this boundary buildup than stopping trans-border commuters. The president tells us the war on immigrants is just part of the War on Terror. Our borders, he tells us, are open and the bad guys can just wade right in. But if we’ve learned anything at all from the Sept. 11 attack, it’s that al Qaeda flies business class.

Make Them Steal It

[Chicago] Martin Luther King III mentioned to a group of civil rights leaders that I was in the room. King had my book. “I’m going to take Greg’s book and place it on my father’s grave. He will be pleased.”

It was, I admit, hard not to tear up at that moment. Then I thought, “Don’t do that! You’ll get the book dirty!” And I told Martin, “I have a better idea. Let’s march down to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and throw the book through the window.”

Jesse Jackson said, “We march, we win. Every time.” Maybe. But I know this. If we don’t march, we lose.

How many times am I asked, “Why vote if they’re going to steal the election?” That’s the point: Make them STEAL it. Make them know they can’t win UNLESS they steal it.

Shoplift This Book

[Berkeley] Cody’s is closing. Just about hippest bookstore in America. It’s in Berkeley on Telegraph Avenue. In another time, I was the sandwich-sign man who stood in front of the store, surrounded by poets and pot-smokers. Today, the poets are gone.

And so is Cody’s. It was famous for its author talks: Salmon Rushdie, Gregory Corso (you’re too young to know him), Mario Savio. Cody’s just hosted its last author chat (mine).

I was tear-gassed in front of Cody’s. It was after Nixon invaded Cambodia. Lots and lots of crazy-ass memories. But Berkeley isn’t “Berzerkley” anymore. The Berzerkers have gone into real estate, third wives, hair transplants. No place for Cody’s.

I shared the Good Old Times with the crowd. “I used to shoplift here,” I said. Andy the owner frowned. “I wish you wouldn’t say that.”

I dawdled, browsed the shelves. Picked up a copy of Bukowski’s “Confessions of a Man Insane Enough to Live with Beasts.”

My driver panicked about the time. Late for in-studio radio. With a crowd of fans near the front door registers, she insisted I slip out the back.

Back of the limo, shooting down Telegraph, I realized I had left without paying for the Bukowski. Damn. I should call Andy and tell him I owe Cody’s. I owe Cody’s a lot.
“Mr. Palast”

[San Francisco] Ginsberg told me, “I’m old — I cry every time I hear a friend’s name.” Last night was the 50th anniversary of the publication of Ginsberg’s “Howl” by City Lights Bookstore. It was about 11pm, but City Lights was still open so I cabbed over to catch the big crowd celebrating the event.

But the place was empty. I was the only customer in the rambling shop. I figured there was nothing else to do but pick up a copy of the small chapbook.

I brought the “Howl” up to the skinny kid at the register.

He waved away my money.

“Oh, we can’t possibly charge you for that, Mr. Palast.”

I walked out as quickly as possible, into the North Beach midnight, fighting tears, and feeling very old.

Never for Money

Why am I on this plane? What the hell am I doing? I’m down for 30 flights in 30 days. Atlanta, Dublin, Albany, London. LET ME OUT OF HERE. I turn up “Home,” the David Byrne’s song. He’s singing about the brutal aloneness of the road tour. What the hell for?

Byrne says, “Never for money. Always for love.”

OK, David. Where next?
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Yes, It’s About Oil

June 22nd, 2006

From The New American

Friday, June 16, 2006

Greg Palast, in his new book Armed Madhouse, offers a pretty plausible answer to this question: Why did the US invade Iraq?

Short answer: It’s the oil, stupid – and the point is not to sell it, but to control it.

This may seem like taking the long way around to an obvious conclusion, but Palast finds what I’d consider to be formidable – if not incontestable – support for his conclusions in pre-war reports about Iraq issued by the Council on Foreign Relations.

In December 2000, while Bush and Gore were both trying to cheat their way to victory in the protracted presidential election, the CFR and the Houston-based James A. Baker III Institute at Rice University convened a Joint Task Force on Petroleum.

The final report of that body, produced with “the generous support of Khalid al-Turki” of Saudi Arabia, and published in April 2001, concluded that “Iraq has become a key `swing’ producer [of petroleum], posing a difficult situation for the US government…. Saddam is a `destabilizing influence … to the flow of oil to international markets from the Middle East.”

Therefore, concluded the CFR report, the US “should conduct an immediate policy review toward Iraq, including military, energy, economic, and political/diplomatic assessments.”

That report – according to Palast, who cites individuals who participated in its composition — “was handed directly to Vice President Dick Cheney. Cheney met secretly with CFR task force members and other energy industry comrades to go over the maps of Iraq’s oil fields. That, apparently, sealed it.”

In dismissing the “war for oil” scenario, most of the Bush administration’s defenders point out that the Iraq war has resulted in diminished availability and higher prices – as if that result would be undesirable from a corporatist perspective. (Incidentally, Oil-for-Food export restrictions were quite profitable to both Saddam and OPEC, miserable and murderous though they were for the Iraqi people.)

“To believe that George Bush and Dick Cheney hustled us into war in Iraq to open up that nation’s untapped bounty of petroleum is to believe that these two oil Texans in the White House are deeply troubled that the price of oil will rise unless they get us more crude,” writes Palast. In fact, as he documents at great and fascinating length, politically connected interests in the oil industry have been trying to prevent “overproduction” in Iraq, the key “swing” producer, in order to stabilize OPEC.

Unnaturally increasing petroleum profits, as Palast notes (with, once again, impeccable documentation) was an objective shared by the Bush clique, Osama bin Laden, and OPEC. “Only through the unique power of government monopoly can a nation hold back production to the OPEC quota,” notes Palast. Thus it is immensely significant the Bush regime’s plans for reconstructing Iraq’s oil industry offered “a choice of seven options for their oil – all of them the same: seven flavors of state-owned oil companies.”

“Iraq’s [oil] output in 2003, 2004 and 2005 was less than produced under the restrictive Oil-for-Food program,” Palast points out. At the same time, profits of the five US oil majors have tripled, at least in part because of artificial scarcity. And the cost of the war has exceeded a quarter-trillion dollars. “To fund his binge spending, our President could have taxed us directly [which is to say, signed congressional tax increases into law], say, a dollar a gallon tax on gasoline,” Palast continues. “Instead, our leader has arranged an indirect tax on gasoline” in the form of OPEC’s more than $70 a barrel price of crude, “which translates roughly into a dollar a gallon at the pump. Think of the gas pump price spike as a war tax.”

And yes, it gets worse:

“Saudi Arabia and other OPEC nations take our billions and then they lend them back to us to fund Mr. Bush’s deficit. In 2005, $243 billion in petro-dollars was collected from Americans at the pump (and in your heating and electric bills) and left the country. At the same time, it cycled back, and then some, as foreigners bought up nearly a third of a trillion dollars ($311 billion) in US government debts.”

In this fashion the Iraq war, rather than defending our freedom and independence, is killing, impoverishing, and dispossessing us. It is exactly the sort of war our Founders urged us to avoid. It is also a splendid illustration of the reason why the Framers gave Congress the exclusive power to commit our nation to war through a formal declaration – as it occasionally did back when America was a constitutional republic, before becoming whatever it is we are now.

[Hat tip to the brilliant and witty Scott Horton for recommending that I read Armed Madhouse.]


Writer wears muckraker badge proudly

June 22nd, 2006

Monday, June 19, 2006
Bill Eichenberger
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

Radio commentator Jim Hightower described author and investigative journalist Greg Palast as “a cross between Sam Spade and Sherlock Holmes.”

A name that Hightower might also have included: Lenny Bruce.

Palast, winner of the George Orwell Courage in Journalism Award, isn’t just a righteous crusader for truth and justice (in a previous life he investigated corporate fraud and racketeering); he’s a genuinely funny guy.

His most recent book, Armed Madhouse, opens with a nightmare scenario in the not-toodistant future, a time when Jeb Bush is president of the United States, Osama bin Laden is president of Eurasia and a cult has arisen to worship the recently deceased holy man Michael Moore.

Palast worked in the United States until the late 1990s; for the past several years, he’s worked for the BBC and the Guardian in England.

Q: Are you offended to be called a “muckraker”?

A: Most of the pinheads in America who consider themselves journalists aren’t reporters; they’re repeaters.

They go to press conferences and raise their hands politely, hoping to ask the president’s official prevaricators what they should say. They rewrite press releases and pen bootlicking profiles of corporate CEOs who poison kids, then take away health insurance.

These reporters are not scum. That would be unfair. It’s their editors who are scum — news murderers, every one of them, who beat their children and their dogs.

So they call me a “muckraker” — a person who digs through the mud and glop of government and corporate files.

Well, that’s exactly what I am. I shovel up the dirt and garbage of our American democracy and show it to you.

I didn’t create the muck, remember: I didn’t steal the election in 2004 nor steal a Mesopotamian oil nation.

So I report for the BBC in England and the Guardian. They love the smell of muck in the morning. All my editors and producers are going to heaven, where they will petition the Lord to forgive The New York Times its sins.

Q: What is your take on the blogosphere for political discourse in the United States?

A: Bless the blogs. . . . In the U.S., my reports — for example, exposing the secret Bush administration plans for the oil fields of Iraq, real creepy stuff — cannot break through the electronic Berlin Wall. So it gets picked up by the blogs, which the Powers That Be can’t block — not yet.

Q: In your futuristic introduction to Armed Madhouse,you paint a bleak picture of this country’s future. Will the truth be more grotesque than the fiction?

A: I don’t know. I’m a reporter, not a fortuneteller.

The intro was a joke. If you didn’t laugh, I’m a failure. Of course, the part about a future in which obese Texans wade across the Rio Grande to their jobs in Mexican maquiladoras is the absolute truth. It will happen. Count on it.

Q: Are you a pessimist, realist, cynic or optimist?

A: A, B, C and D. Why am I an optimist? Think about it: They had to steal the election.

Q: What did you think of Robert Kennedy Jr.’s piece in Rolling Stone, and why do you think your work on election fraud, and now Kennedy’s, was essentially ignored by the mainstream media?

A: Kennedy wasn’t ignored. A rich-celebrity white guy told the truth, and it got some airtime. Bravo for RFK. . . . Heisting the vote is class war by other means.

Working people don’t own newspapers. Black folk don’t own “mainstream” TV channels. One million provisional ballots were tossed out in the last election, and they weren’t cast by newspaper magnates. It’s not their vote at stake.

Believe me, if there were busted voting machines in Malibu, you’d hear about it big-time.


Armed Madhouse: Part I

June 14th, 2006

Working Assets Serialization

06.13.06 - (Eds. note: This piece is part of a serialization of Greg Palast’s newest book, Armed Madhouse. Palast’s Armed Madhouse book tour is co-sponsored by Working Assets.)

THE FEAR: Including Marines in a tube, learning to speak Terrorist, Bush’s Khan job, National Security Document 199-I and Osama’s Mission Accomplished.

What are you afraid of? Our Fear Salesman-in-Chief has something for everyone.

So, Osama Walks into This Bar, See?

…and Bush says, “Whad’l'ya have, pardner?” and Osama says…

But wait a minute. I’d better shut my mouth. The sign here in the airport says, “Security is no joking matter.” But if security’s no joking matter, why does this guy dressed in a high-school marching band outfit tell me to take off my shoes? All I can say is, Thank God the “shoe bomber” didn’t carry Semtex in his underpants.

I’m a bit nervous. It’s an “ORANGE ALERT” day. That’s a “low threat” notice. According to the press release from the Department of Homeland Security, low-threat Orange means that there will be no special inspections of passengers or cargo today. Isn’t it nice of Mr. Bush to alert Osama when half our security forces are given the day off? Hmm. I asked an Israeli security expert why his nation doesn’t use these pretty color codes.

He asked me if, when I woke up, I checked the day’s terror color.

“I can’t say I ever have. I mean, who would?” He smiled. “The terrorists.” America is the only nation on the planet that kindly informs bombers, hijackers and berserkers the days on which they won’t be monitored. You’ve got to get up pretty early in the morning to get a jump on George Bush’s team.

There are three possible explanations for the Administration’s publishing a good-day-for-bombing color guidebook.

1. God is on Osama’s side.

2. George is on Osama’s side.

3. It’s about the oil.

A gold star if you picked #3.

Osama’s Mission Accomplished

On Thursday, May 1, 2003, President Bush landed on the deck of the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln. Forgetting to undo the parachute clips around his gonads, our President walked bowlegged on the ship’s deck in a green jumpsuit looking astonishingly like Ham, first chimp in space. The scene was so exciting that the media failed to notice that the War on Terror had ended on the previous Tuesday.

On that day, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld quietly acknowledged that he was withdrawing America’s armed forces from Saudi Arabia.

I’m always surprised at the debate over “What drives Osama? What does Al-Qaeda want?” There should be no confusion: Al-Qaeda states its mission, like most enterprises, on its Web site. Osama had it written out in English, in capital letters, so it wouldn’t be difficult to miss the point.

DECLARATION OF WAR AGAINST THE AMERICANS OCCUPYING THE LAND OF THE TWO HOLY PLACES—EXPEL THE INFIDELS FROM THE ARAB PENINSULA The “two holy places” are Mecca and Medina, and their “land” is Saudi Arabia. That’s what Osama wanted: U.S. troops out of Saudi Arabia.

Bin Laden issued his demand on August 23, 1996; and on April 29, 2003, the Tuesday before the President was chauffeured by fighter jet onto the deck of the Abe Lincoln, Mr. Bush gave bin Laden exactly what he wanted: U.S. troops sent packing from the Land of the Holy Places.

That’s astonishing. Until George W. Bush, the United States of America has never, ever, removed all our military bases from a foreign land no matter how much locals bitched or moaned. We even keep troops in Okinawa over the island’s strong objections, and World War II ended sixty years ago.

Am I accusing George Bush Jr. of being the first President of the United States to cravenly accede to the demands of terrorists? No, Reagan got there first, in 1984, when he gave in to Hizbollah’s demand and ordered our Marines to retreat from Lebanon.

No matter, President Bush was correct in announcing, “Mission Accomplished.” However, it was not America’s mission that was accomplished. It was Osama’s.

Coming soon: Part II of Armed Madhouse, “What Does Osama Want?”

URL: http://www.workingforchange.com/article.cfm?itemid=20950


The Shock and Awe Campaign of Greg Palast’s “Armed Madhouse: Who’s Afraid of Osama Wolf?, The Scheme to Steal ‘08 and other Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Class War”

June 9th, 2006

By Steve Brown, Exclusive for the LA Free Press

“The soul,” he reported, “should never die ungodly in an armed madhouse.”
- Greg Palast quoting Allen Ginsberg

SOMEWHERE IN THE CALIFORNIA DESERT, 6/06/06: Clouds roll in across the hi-desert sky over Twentynine Palms, home to the country’s largest Marine base.  The base is where fake Iraqi villages, manned partially by real Iraqis, and supplemented with local talent, await visits from grunts scheduled to ship out for Iraq.  The training is to prepare them for what lies ahead, and ostensibly, to perhaps prevent more episodes like the slaughters in Haditha and elsewhere.

Some Marines at the base have already been to Iraq - for three tours of duty.  And it looks like they’ll be going back.  Talk to their spouses.  The tension is high, and barely under control in some who have already said goodbye several times to their loved ones.  It seems the Marines tend to leave town under the cover of darkness, with little fanfare, while their returns are triumphantly broadcast on local radio so folks can welcome them home.  I don’t blame them for that - leaving their families for more than half a year of uncertainty and separation is a highly personal trial of endurance.  They should have the chance to say goodbye in peace, and they should be welcomed home when they return.

In between goodbyes and welcome homes, the town seems pretty stoic about their comings and goings for the most part, having such a strong military presence locally for many years.  The military culture is pervasive in town, from haircuts and tailors to tattoo shops and all the out of state license plates on new Mustangs driven by young men with little or no hair.

Then there is the ex-Marine I ran into at a local coffee shop referring to the Iraqis as “sand niggers,” while a prominent local businessman recounted his training day on base, where he gunned down hapless virtual Iraqi civilians while on patrol in a Humvee simulator.  I don’t think he’d hurt anyone in real life.

On the other hand, there is the pastor and local peace activist who, at the risk of becoming utter pariahs in their own community, have continued to hold candlelight vigils to remember those lost in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Over time, they have become more accepted and less controversial.  They are less frequently, if ever, referred to as “traitors,” as they were when the war first began.  Over time, the losses of Marines stationed at the base in “29” have grown, and the seriousness of their endeavor has become more apparent.

No short, straightforward old fashioned invasion in the Reagan tradition like in the original American Gulf War under the previous President Bush.  Three years on, this is civil war with our troops stuck in the middle, with the reasons given for us being there showing transparently false.

Today, Greg Palast’s new book, “Armed Madhouse,” hit’s the bookstores.  For those who are not familiar with Palast, he is the best American investigative journalist working today.  Unfortunately, due to the nature of the American corporate media, he is rarely seen here.  Instead, he works for the BBC Television and the Guardian newspaper in Britain - where journalism continues to be practiced (imperfectly, but at a far higher standard than in the American media, where investigative journalism is mostly a lost, if not missed, art form).  His last book, “The Best Democracy Money Can Buy,” recounted his reporting on the stolen Florida election of 2000, and much more.  While the American corporate media has chosen to ignore the manipulation of democratic elections in our republic in 2000 and 2004, the rest of the world learned about their theft via Palast’s investigative work.  From what Palast has to say in his new book about the millions of votes not counted in our last presidential election, you can look for the rigging of the 2008 elections to be even more impressive.

I am working my way through Palast’s “Armed Madhouse,” and it is not for the faint of heart.  The sheer amount of information gathered by Palast’’s investigative team (sometimes using admirably creative  techniques to gather information), is bound to be intimidating for more timid readers.  There will be some who will be overwhelmed by the details and the pace of the presentation of information devastating to any preconceived notions about American reality they may have previously held.

This is typical Palast.  During the two interviews I have conducted with him over the years, I count myself lucky to have recorded them.  He goes at blazing speeds with frequent asides and connections demanding further investigation, all whipped together with incredible anecdotes from his investigations that leave you incredulous.  Without the recording, I’’d be lost.  With it, in a half-hour interview, I’’d always have enough to write a book.

“Armed Madhouse,” is no different.  Packed with incredible information and documents that the lazy, narcissistic American corporate media couldn’t be bothered to hunt down and piece together, Palast’s new book should be required reading for all citizens.  Ditch the moronic partisan ideologies - read the real agendas behind Iraq and the mess we’ve gotten ourselves into there.  Learn about the corporate connections and the plans to create in Iraq, the Chile of the Middle East.  Read about the neocons vs. Big Oil, and how OPEC figures into the picture.

I don’t want to give away too much, but to say that this book challenges all generally held public preconceptions about American involvement in Iraq, is an understatement.  Palast’’s book is akin to jumping down the rabbit hole, into a warped world of intertwined and competing political and business plots and scams.  Once you’ve gone down that hole, you’’ll be a lot wiser, but also a lot less trusting - of anything you hear or see in the American corporate media.

The truly frightening part for me is that Palast, a highly skilled and capable investigative journalist and researcher, has uncovered and presented an incredible amount of revelatory information in “Armed Madhouse,” and it isn’t a work of his own bias and partisan political bent.  Rather, it’s to the point, factual, and terrifying in its detail.

Palast isn’’t afraid to present facts that upset - or totally topple - notions of how things work in America.  It’s knowledge he thinks Americans should have access to, about how our government really functions.  And with his level of research, everything from our true reasons for war, to our real agenda for public education, from the energy cartels to the rampant corruption that is beyond the imagination of most of us, you need to allot yourself time to read and re-read this book.  Then you will need time to recover from the shock of having to pick up the pieces of your shattered assumptions about America, and go on with your life.

This is a must-read book for anyone who cares about their country and can stomach the fact that we’ve been played as patsies for a long time now.  If you want to live on with the half-truths and lies of Limbaugh and the hate-mongering truly anti-American spew of Coulter, who also released a book today, then “Armed Madhouse,” may not be for you.

But if you want to know what is really going on, that knowing the truth of the matter, no matter how unpalatable it may be, is better than living and buying into a lie, then this is  your book.  It’s a damned good book - a great book for those who deeply love America, and it’s an incredible ride at the same time.  You get smacked up the side of the head with stunning revelations, whipped through twists and turns of plot at breakneck speed, introduced to the most villainous characters - and it’s all real.

To order “Armed Madhouse,” visit www.gregpalast.com.

Excerpt from “The Con: Kerry Won.  Now Get Over It,” from “Armed Madhouse.”

First, consider CNN’s Ohio exit polls broadcast just after midnight after the voting ended on Election Day. They show John Kerry defeated George Bush among women voters by 53% to 47%. And among men voters, Kerry defeated Bush 51% to 49%.

So here’s your question, class: What third sex put George Bush over the top in Ohio and gave him the White House?
Answer: The Uncounted.

In Ohio, there were 153,237 ballots simply thrown away, more than the Bush “victory” margin. In New Mexico the uncounted vote was fives times the Bush alleged victory margin of 5,988. In Iowa, Bush’s triumph of 13,498 was overwhelmed by 36,811 votes rejected. In all, over three million votes were cast but never counted in the 2004 presidential election. The official number is bad enough-1,855,827 ballots cast not counted, reported to the federal government’s Election’s Assistance Commission. But the feds are missing data from several cities and entire states too embarrassed to report the votes they failed to count. Correcting for the under-reporting of the undercount, the number of ballots cast but never counted goes to 3,600,380. And there are certainly more we couldn’t locate to tote up.

Why doesn’t your government tell you this? Hey, they do. It’s right there in black-and-white on a U.S. Census Bureau announcement released seven months after the election-in a footnote to the report on voter turn-out. The Census tabulation of voters voting “differs,” from ballots tallied by the Clerk of the House of Representatives for the 2004 presidential race by 3.4 million votes.


Truth Hound

June 8th, 2006

By Robert C. Koehler, Tribune Media Services

“Governments don’t keep secrets to protect the public, but to deceive the public.”

Greg Palast happens to be talking about a certain Big Oil-friendly blueprint for the future of the Iraqi oil industry when he makes this point, almost in passing, in his just-released book, Armed Madhouse (Dutton), but he could be stating the general premise of the whole book, or of his career as a journo-sleuth in the Jack Anderson mold and stand-in for the little guy in the global economy. His raison d’etre is to ferret out those secrets and those deceptions and present them in all their cynical glory to the people for whom such knowledge is vital: you and me.

In my humble opinion, Palast, an American investigator better known beyond our borders, through his BBC current-affairs show “Newsnight,” than here at home, is exactly what a journalist is supposed to be - a truth hound, doggedly independent, undaunted by power. His stories bite. They’re so relevant they threaten to alter history - simply by letting the hoodwinked
public in on the game while it’s happening, which is precisely the role America’s mainstream media have abdicated.

“The irony is that, in the U.S. we have something precious,” he told me.
“The First Amendment. The problem is, we don’t use it.”

On second thought, you might want to avoid reading Armed Madhouse - it’s too infuriating, too heart-breaking. If you don’t think ordinary citizens should be players in the high-stakes games of governments and big corporations, stick with the feel-good, celebrity-fawning media that keep us preoccupied with trivia and assured that America is on track and so is
the war in Iraq and we’re still the world’s greatest democracy.

What I’m saying is, enter these pages at your own risk. The First Amendment isn’t for sissies. A guy like Palast, who wears secret wires in high-level interviews and winds up mysteriously in possession of classified and otherwise shrouded documents and doesn’t blow-dry his hair (or even have much hair), wields freedom of speech, at times, like a rapier: “Reverend Pat Robertson has a tough time with the separation of church and hate.”

And, at times, like a grenade-launcher: “The Reagan-Bush Frankenstein Factory is still producing new models. (Pakistan President) Pervez Musharraf, personal protector of the atomic bomb salesman, Dr. Khan, can be seen in photos arm in arm with our president as if they were going together to the senior prom. Given our experiences with Saddam and Osama, our monsters tend to get out of control after about eleven years.”

Or: “A whole list of corporate gimmes sought by lobbyists before Sept. 11 are now marketed to Congress as protection from Al-Qaeda. To cover this extreme greedismo, we’ve been sold a new Red Scare, and that is certain to bring us the new McCarthyism. Get ready. . . .

“From his bunker, Mr. Cheney has created a government that is little more than a Wal-Mart of Fear: midnight snatchings of citizens for uncharged crimes, wars to hunt imaginary weapons aimed at Los Angeles, DNA data banks of kids and grandmas, even the Chicken Little sky-is-falling Social Security spook show.

“In 1933, Franklin Roosevelt calmed a nation when he said, ‘We have nothing to fear but fear itself.’

“Today, George Bush says, ‘We have nothing to sell but fear itself.’”

Palast’s book defies simple description. It takes on a range of contemporary horrors, and I’m serious in issuing a warning about it. Like his 2003 book, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, which, among other things, exposed the “Jeb Crow” purges of the Florida voter rolls that kept so many African-Americans from voting in the 2000 election, Armed Madhouse will
leave you shaking with anger - particularly about Big Oil and pervasive GOP-instigated election fraud - and crying, “Where the hell is the New York Times?”

Why indeed are the media failing to protect us and our democracy? This is the fundamental question Palast raises, simply by asking impolite questions, combing through reports, hunting down secret documents with whatever-it-takes persistence and ignoring every tacit agreement on what constitutes “acceptable discourse.”

“What’s most frustrating,” he said to me, “is that my reports will get picked up - years later.” The Times, for instance, finally got around to acknowledging the Florida voter purges in 2004, in the larger context of assuring us that everything’s OK now.

“The story (only) comes out when it can’t bite.”

Ouch, I say. It’s excruciatingly painful to watch a crime unfold and be helpless to stop it. The crime, as always, is against the American promise. Yet the book is not without hope.

“Damn right America is exceptional,” Palast says at the end of Armed Madhouse. “It is America that defiantly walked out of the first ‘world trade organization,’ known as the British Empire, announcing: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal . . .’”

Remember that spirit, that audacity? Palast, bless his heart, is goading us to break the glass case in which the ideal of citizenship lies embalmed and re-embody it by demanding accountability from the fear salesmen and war profiteers who seem to show up whenever our backs are turned.

- - -
Robert Koehler, an award-winning, Chicago-based journalist, is an editor at Tribune Media Services and nationally syndicated writer. You can respond to this column at bkoehler@tribune.com or visit his Web site at commonwonders.com.


Greg Palast’s Book & Tour Details Election Threats

June 8th, 2006

From Alliance For Democracy

There are very serious plans underway to prevent Americans from casting their votes, or having those votes counted in upcoming elections. Now’s the time to educate ourselves and organize others to reverse this attack on this most basic right. Greg Palast, who broke the story of the disenfranchisement of thousands of Black voters in the 2000 election in Florida, details the threat in 2008 in his new book, Armed Madhouse: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Class War, published June 6.

Greg shows how 3 million votes went missing in 2004, and how in 2008 4 million votes will go uncounted. Black and Hispanic voters, who are more likely to vote for Democratic party candidates, are also more likely to be challenged at the polls or to have their votes lost–according to Palast, “if you are a Black voter, the chance that you lost your vote to technical errors in voting machinery is 900% higher than if you were a white voter.”

Greg was a featured speaker at the Alliance’s 2002 convention in Gettysburg, PA. Armed Madhouse came out yesterday, as Greg kicked off a cross-country book tour. The first stop was Portland, OR, where his appearance was co-sponsored by the Portland AfD chapter. Go to www.gregpalast.com for his tour schedule and excerpts from the book. The Boston/Cambridge AfD chapter will be hosting him for a talk and fundraiser in September.