Armed Madhouse Review by Kam Williams

Armed Madhouse
By Greg Palast
Hardcover, $25.95
384 pages
ISBN: 0-525-94968-2

Book Review by Kam Williams

Before you enter these pages, I should warn you: I am not a nice man. Ask Alan Colmes, Fox’s house liberal. He once said to me, “Greg, you have no respect for the office of the President.” No, I don’t. Not one iota.

You want something heartwarming, Alan? Buy a puppy. But if you want just the facts, ma’am — facts rarely cuddly or cute here’s your book.”
-Excerpted from the Introduction

The mainstream media prefers to keep the American people in the dark when it comes to the truth about controversial questions like: why the Katrina evacuation and rescue really were botched, how the last two Presidential elections were fixed, and whether Republican tax cuts, downsizing, outsourcing, and undocumented worker programs represent an undeclared class war. Fortunately, intrepid journalist Greg Palast has been one to leave no stone unturned in quest of answers, researching deeply into such stories long after the rest of the press has chosen to parrot the White House talking points or big business¡¦ party line.

Palast, an expatriate from Los Angeles who now makes his home in England, has been deemed the most important investigative reporter of our time in Britain, where he appears regularly on the BBC and writes revealing exposes for the Guardian newspapers. His previous book, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, among other things, detailed the vote fraud in Florida which tainted the 2000 presidential race, putting Bush undeservedly in office.

In Armed Madhouse, Palast uncovers additional election irregularities, not only from 2000 and 2004, but the Republican plan already afoot to rig the results in 2008. Plus, he addresses such other underreported stories as the ¡§plan to drown New Orleans, the CIA plot to assassinate of Hugo Chavez, and the fact that the No Child Left Behind Act is actually designed to fail our kids.

Because Palast is shedding light on subjects either totally ignored in the U.S. or routinely dismissed as the talk of crackpot conspiracy theorists, his conclusions are likely to sound like the ravings of a paranoid nut at first blush. But because he has gone to great pains to document his every assertion, the evidence adds up to quite a convincing case by the end of this relentlessly compelling opus.

For instance, when revisiting the 2004 election, he states that the BBC revealed the massive attack planned against black voters a week before the election. Moreover, this impending disenfranchisement of African-Americans turned out to be ¡§the most-watched story around the globe at the time, precisely because of this nation’s long legacy of lynching, beating, hosing and siccing dogs on blacks attempting to exercise their right to vote.

Yet, in the U.S., only one network, ABC, even bothered to mention the alleged scheme, and that was to dismiss the damning BBC coverage as entirely incorrect. So, while much of the rest of the world was calling for the stationing of UN observers at polls all across this country to protect the democratic process, the domestic press was disinterested in the array of racist measures being implemented by the Republican Party’s to purge hundreds of thousands of blacks from the voting rolls and to discard the ballots of thousands more who might manage to vote. Welcome to Jim Crow, 21st Century-style.

Kudos to Greg Palast for this sobering wake-up call which could serve as the catalyst for the sort of wholesale social changes which America must make if the republic is to be saved.