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  • Colonels in Mirrored Sunglasses

    An excerpt from Greg Palast's Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps with comics by Ted Rall and an introduction by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

    Here are the facts, ma'am:

    In the 2008 election, no less than:

    • 767,023 provisional ballots were cast and not counted;

    • 1,451,116 ballots were "spoiled," not counted;

    • 488,136 absentee ballots were mailed in, but not counted.

    Add it up: in the last presidential election, no less than 2,706,275 ballots were cast—and never counted. I have not included a quarter million (251,936) provisional ballots counted only in part (that is, for some offices).

    That's the official number I've calculated (Show me more...)

    Billionaires & Ballot Bandits

    by Greg Palast

    If you're not sick and outraged and ready to vomit, then don't talk to me.

    When I see a cruel bucket of garbage and winky-winky racism and bullshit and venom like Paul Ryan talk to America like he's some kind of Boy Scout, I want a gun, or a TV network where I can tell the truth or a giant washing machine to dunk America and rinse off the crud of lies and pure manipulative evil that they're feeding us.

    But I don't like guns, I don't have a TV network, I just have this:  A book.

    It’s called Billionaires & Ballot Bandits:  How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps.

    An investigation of Karl Rove, the Koch Gang and their billionaire Buck-Buddies. The guys who bought Ryan.

    It's the most important bullet I've ever fired.

    I watch these smug jerks at the Republican Convention and I'm ill ... because I know something they won't tell you on CNN or CBS, let alone Fox.  And here’s the facts, ma'am:

    In 2008, no fewer than 2,706,275 ballots were cast—and never counted.

    It didn't make a difference then, but it will make a difference now.

    And, in 2008, no fewer than 3,195,539 legal voters were denied the right to vote.   Told to get the hell out of the polling station.

    Add it up.  That's at least 5,901,814 legitimate votes and voters tossed out of the count.

    So God Bless America. By the way, these numbers are from the raw data supplied to me by the US Elections Assistance Commission.

    It's official. It's in your face.  It's sick.  It's unreported. (Show me more...)

    RNC Opens with Pol who
    "Should be in Jail"

    by Greg Palast
    for Truth-out.org

    "Tim Griffin should be in jail." That's the conclusion of civil rights attorney Robert F. Kennedy Jr. after going through the evidence I asked him to review.

    But Griffin's not in jail: he's in Congress. And Tuesday, he'll be the first Congressman the Republicans have chosen to bring to their convention podium.

    Predictably, I haven't seen one US press report noting that in 2007, Griffin resigned from the Justice Department in disgrace, ahead of what could have been (should have been), his indictment.

    Kennedy thought a couple of other characters should join Griffin in the lock-up: first, Griffin's boss, the man whom George W. Bush gave the nickname, "Turdblossom": Karl Rove.

    And there's yet another odiferous blossom, Griffin's assistant at the time of the crime: Matt Rhoades. Rhoades isn't in jail either. He's the (Show me more...)

    7 Ways to Beat the Ballot Bandits

    by Greg Palast

    Click me, Print me out, use me, spread me around!

    From Greg Palast's new book:
    Billionaires & Ballot Bandits:
    How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps

    1. Don’t Don’t DON’T Mail In Your Ballot

    For those of you who mailed in your ballot, please tell me, what happened to it? You don’t know, do you? I can tell you that in the last election, half a million absentee ballots were never counted, on the flimsiest of technical excuses. And when they don’t count, you don’t even know it. Worse: Tens of thousands of ballots are not mailed out to voters in time to return them - in which case you’re out of luck. Most states won’t let you vote in-precinct once you’ve applied to vote absentee. Every time I hear of a voter going “absentee” to avoid computer screens, I want to “go postal.”

    2. Vote Early – Before the Ballot Bandits Wake Up

    Every state now lets voters cast ballots in designated polling stations and at county offices in the weeks before Election Day. Do it. Don’t wait until Election Day to find out you have the wrong ID, your registration’s “inactive,” (9.9 million of you) or you’re on some creep’s challenge list. By Election Day, if your name is gone or tagged, there’s little you can do but hold up the line. Demand a paper ballot.

    3. Register and Register, then Register Again

    Think you’re registered to vote? Think again, Jack. With all this purg’n going on (13 million and counting), you could be x’d out and you don’t know it. So check online with your Secretary of State’s office or call your (Show me more...)

    Why We Occupy - Greg Palast Live!

    "The first thing that the military police say is, 'Give us your film.' They had real weapons and I had a fake press pass, so it was an easy choice.  They let me keep my pen -- but they didn't know it was one of those Austin Powers jobs with the video camera hidden inside."

    For donors to the Palast Investigative Fund only:  
    "Why We Occupy":  Greg Palast LIVE.

    Get the signed DVDdownload the film or download the audio.

    In an extraordinary talk mixed with live, undercover footage from his investigations from around the globe, Palast rips the sheets off the One Percent, exposing the Koch Brothers, Chevron, BP, Goldman Sachs, the IMF, WTO—the bribers and billionaires in stories that grip you, scare you—and make you laugh.

    Check out the trailer:

    (Show me more...)

    Fukushima: They Knew

    "Completely and Utterly Fail in an Earthquake"
    The Fukushima story you didn't hear on CNN

    by Greg Palast for FreePress.org

    I've seen a lot of sick stuff in my career, but this was sick on a new level.
    (Show me more...)

    Congo Vultures Bagged

    Vulture fund's $100m DR Congo claim blocked
    By Meirion Jones
    BBC Newsnight

    Bid to block $100m 'vulture' debt

    The Privy Council has ruled that a "vulture fund" cannot collect $100m from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

    The award was against Congo's state-owned mining company Gecamines who successfully appealed to the Privy Council in London.

    FG Hemisphere deny any wrongdoing.

    Nick Dearden, Director of the Jubilee Debt Campaign, said: "We welcome the fact that these funds will not flow into the coffers of a secretive vulture fund which tries to unfairly profit from the past debt distress of impoverished countries.

    Pursuit

    Vulture funds, also known as "distressed debt" investors, buy up the debt of poor nations cheaply when it is about to be written off and then sue countries such as Zambia or Liberia or DRC for the full value of the debt plus interest which can be ten or 100 times what they paid for it.

    They pursue any companies which do business with their target country in courts around the world and try to force them to pay money to the fund instead of the country.

    Critics say this holds poor countries to ransom and prevents them trading their way out of poverty rather than relying on aid. Until 2010 they often sued in the UK but Britain effectively made vulture funds illegal that year after the Liberian President Ellen Sirleaf Johnson (Show me more...)

    Fracking: New Dangers

    by Greg Palast for No Fracking Ireland

    Greg Palast Interview from DCTV on Vimeo.

    On the 20th of April 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oilrig blew out in the Gulf of Mexico, killing eleven men instantly, then destroying 600 miles of coastline. On 9 September 2010, a natural gas pipeline exploded in San Bruno, California, burning eight to death, one of several recent pipeline explosions in the USA. In 1992, in Chicago, a gas pipe leaked and 18 houses exploded, incinerating three people.


    What do these deaths have to do with plans for “fracking” for natural gas in Ireland?

    Everything. It was my job to investigate these three explosions, the Deepwater Horizon and California explosions as a reporter for the UK Channel 4's Dispatches, the earliest as a US government investigator. In all three cases, the deaths were preceded by the same reassurances about the safety of drilling and piping that I read now in the debate about fracking in Ireland.

    First, the Deepwater Horizon.  Eleven men died when the ‘mud’ - drilling cement meant to cap the wellhead - failed and methane gas blew out the top of the pipes and exploded. The Shannon Basin is not the Gulf of Mexico, but your safety will be just as dependent on Halliburton’s mud. (Show me more...)

    Can we list your Group
    in our Election Guide?

    A Request from Greg Palast

    We need you to join Operation PUSH, Rock the Vote, People for the American Way, League of United Latin American Citizens, Bobby Kennedy Jr., Thom Hartmann Show, Occupy.com and 150 other organizations.  Add your group's name to our book, website and film, Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps.

    What do you do?  Just hit 'reply' and say "YES, add us."

    (Please respond by Monday, July 16.)

    Then we'll send you a letter to confirm how you'd like to be listed (example: Presente.org), with your website, public contact and other info about your group you'd like to share with concerned voters.

    [Yes, individual supporters can join in:  click here.]

    In 2008, Bobby Kennedy and I wrote a voter protection comic book, Steal Back Your Vote. Over a quarter million copies were distributed to activists and in communities where voters are most vulnerable.

    In 2012, we're back, because they're back:  the vote rustlers, with their caging, purging, blocking, spoiling, vote-tossing ballot banditry.

    And we need your group to add its name as an ACTION RESOURCE (Show me more...)

    Warren Ellis: "Money is Fictional"

    Warren Ellis, author of Transmetropolitan, Crooked Little Vein and yet to be released Gun Machine gave the opening remarks for me last night in London for my UK release of Vultures' Picnic. Thankfully he posted them this morning, here's a bit of them, the full text can be found on his website www.WarrenEllis.com.

    Special thanks to Ollie and Anna for organizing an amazing evening, and to Laurie Penny, Nick Dearden and John Hilary.  

    I’m a writer of fiction. It’s fair to wonder why I’m here. I’m the last person who should be standing here talking about a book about real tragedies and economics. I come from a world where even the signposts are fictional. Follow the white rabbit. Second star to the right and straight on ‘til morning. And a more recent one, from forty years ago, the fictional direction given by a mysterious man to an eager journalist: follow the money.

    (Show me more...)

    The Euro is a Big Success - No Kidding

    by Greg Palast | The Guardian USA

    The idea that the euro has "failed" is dangerously naive. The euro is doing exactly what its progenitor – and the wealthy 1%-ers who adopted it – predicted and planned for it to do.

    That progenitor is former University of Chicago economist Robert Mundell. The architect of "supply-side economics" is now a professor at Columbia University, but I knew him through his connection to my Chicago professor, Milton Friedman, back before Mundell's research on currencies and exchange rates had produced the blueprint for European monetary union and a common European currency.

    Mundell, then, was more concerned with his bathroom arrangements. Professor Mundell, who has both a Nobel Prize and an ancient villa in Tuscany, told me, incensed:

    "They won't even let me have a toilet. They've got rules that tell me I can't have a toilet in this room! Can you imagine?" (Show me more...)

    How Bain Capital helped BP
    blow up the Deepwater Horizon

    A Book Review by Greg Palast, for FireDogLake.com
    on Poisoned Legacy: the Human Cost of BP's Rise to Power (St. Martin's Press) by Mike Magner.

    Here's my bead on Magner's book....

    I almost fell off the barstool when I read that it was Bain Capital (Mitt Romney, former CEO), that told oil giant BP it was a good idea to cut costs. (Show me more...)

    Billionaire Ballot Bandits - I've caught'em

    Karl Rove has you by the ballots.  With a $200 million war chest from a coven of billionaires, don't count on getting your vote counted.

    There's only one thing to stop him:  A COMIC BOOK.

    Please help us raise the cash to get this printed. The nation’s top elections-heist investigators can publish our new voter-protection comic book, BILLIONAIRES & BALLOT BANDITS.

    Donate $99 today and we'll list your name in the special thanks of the book for the 99% - plus a signed copy!

    Or, if you can't swing that, at least get a signed DVD which you can pre-order. (Show me more...)

    Killings, cancer, corruption and Azerbaijan:
    Eurovision in the Islamic Republic of BP

    by Greg Palast for Left Foot Forward
    Saturday, 26. May, 2012

    Palast's book Vultures' Picnic will be released in Britain June 26. Catch Palast with Special Guest Warren Ellis.
    More info here.

    Will “Beyond Petroleum” oil giant BP pick the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest today in Baku, Azerbaijan? If so, I wouldn’t be surprised.

    When I was arrested by the military police of Azerbaijan during my investigation of BP for Channel 4′s Dispatches in 2010, one of the cops who surrounded our crew in the desert told us, with great pride:

    “BP drives this country.”

    Indeed it does.

    In 1992, the newly independent former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan elected a kindly Muslim Professor, Abulfaz Elchibey, as President.

    But the voters had made an error: (Show me more...)

    Vote like an Egyptian?

     
    by Mark Bebawi
     
    It’s rare for us to have guest articles, but Pacifica Radio host of The Monitor, Mark Bebawi, has insight into an issue where to be dumb is to be deadly.  Mark, born and raised in Cairo, wrote his master’s dissertation at Oxford on the Egyptian Brotherhood.  George Bush sent me his copy.  (Or was that The Pet Goat?)
     
    So, to cut through the crapola about doings in Cairo, I’ve asked Bebawi to write a short “Egypt for Idiots” about the election today, a special for our readers.  

     
    For all the talk of revolution and the Arab Spring, what happened last year in Egypt was not regime change. It was more of a clothing change – a suit was removed and a military uniform was donned in a country that went from a nominally civilian dictatorship to a military council. But fundamentally the same people are in charge now as were during the Mubarak presidency.
     
    In spite of this, the presidential election in Egypt is historic. It is the first time the outcome is not predetermined.  There are 13 candidates on the ballot and none of them will get a Mubarak-like 90 plus % of the vote. So who will people be voting for (Show me more...)

    Kennedy, The New York Post and the truth

    What a terrible task to take on at such a dark moment when I would prefer to keep my thoughts private, but someone must speak.
    I am, and I hope you are, sickened to see Rupert Murdoch's New York Post savage our colleague Robert F. Kennedy Jr. while he and his children are in great distress.
    I will not answer, and thereby repeat, the cruel libels thrown at Kennedy by the Post.
    But let me get this on the record: Kennedy is, and this is no exaggeration, the most committed family man I know. Every single day, he shuts down work, no matter the flood of urgent demands from around the world, for family time, for his kids. He is deeply religious, with a piety and intelligence he communicates with his family so impressive it makes me doubt my atheism.
    Kennedy uses his family name, not to further his career, but to widen his children's understanding and involvement in the world and to try to teach our ignorant nation lessons in moral conduct that his kids have already learned well.
    To blame Kennedy for his wife's illness (Show me more...)

    Condolences

    Our deepest sympathy goes out to the family of our friend and colleague, Bobby Kennedy, and his children, on the tragic death of his wife and their mother, Mary.

    Our thoughts tonight are with your family.

    - Greg, Leni & Zach 

    Arrest of BP Scapegoat:
    Real Killers Walk

    by Greg Palast – Special for Buzzflash at Truthout

    The Justice Department went big game hunting and bagged a teeny-weeny scapegoat.  More like a scape-kid, really.

    Today, Justice arrested former BP engineer Kurt Mix for destroying evidence in the Deepwater Horizon blow-out.

    (Show me more...)

    BP Cover-up
    Part 2: Bribery, George Bush and WikiLeaks

    by Greg Palast - Exclusive for EcoWatch.org
    Friday, 20. April, 2012

    Evidence now implicates top BP executives as well as its partners Chevron and Exxon and the Bush Administration in the deadly cover-up –– which included falsifying a report to the Securities Exchange Commission.

    Yesterday, Ecowatch.org revealed that, in September 2008, nearly two years before the Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, another BP rig had blown out in the Caspian Sea––which BP concealed from U.S. regulators and Congress.

    Had BP, Chevron, Exxon or the Bush State Department revealed the facts of the earlier blow-out, it is likely that the Deepwater Horizon disaster would have been prevented.

    Days after the Deepwater Horizon blow-out, a message came in to our offices (Show me more...)

    BP Cover-up 'They Knew.'
    Part 1

    by Greg Palast – Exclusive for EcoWatch.org
    Thursday, 19. April, 2012

    Two years before the Deepwater Horizon blow-out in the Gulf of Mexico, another BP off-shore rig suffered a nearly identical blow-out, but BP concealed the first one from the U.S. regulators and Congress.

    This week, EcoWatch.org located an eyewitness with devastating new information about the Caspian Sea oil-rig blow-out which BP had concealed from government and the industry.

    The witness, whose story is backed up by rig workers who were evacuated from BP’s Caspian platform, said that had BP revealed the full story as required by industry practice, the eleven Gulf of Mexico workers “could have had a chance” of survival. But BP’s insistence on using methods proven faulty sealed their fate.

    One cause of the blow-outs was the same in both cases:  the use of a money-saving technique—plugging holes with “quick-dry” cement.

    By hiding the disastrous failure of its penny-pinching cement process in 2008, BP was able to continue to use the dangerous methods in the Gulf of Mexico—causing the worst oil spill in U.S. history. April 20 marks the second anniversary of the Gulf oil disaster.

    There were several failures in common to the two incidents identified by the eyewitness. He is an industry insider whose identity and expertise we have confirmed. His name and that of other witnesses we contacted must be withheld for their safety.

    The failures revolve around the use of “quick-dry” cement, the uselessness of blow-out preventers, “mayhem” in evacuation procedures and an atmosphere of fear which prevents workers from blowing the whistle on safety problems.

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    Robert F. Kennedy Jr., president of Waterkeeper Alliance and senior attorney for Natural Resources Defense Council, said, “We have laws that make it illegal to hide this kind of information. At the very least, these are lies by omission. When you juxtapose their knowledge of this incident upon the oil companies constant and persistent assurances of safety to regulators, investigators and shareholders, you have all the elements to prove that their concealment of the information was criminal.” (Show me more...)

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