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Year: 2012

The Obligatory, End of the Year
Top 10 List

Greg Palast 

The Palast Investigative Fund was quite effective this year. Vulture funds were banned, election theft made national headlines, and we outed gov't profiteer posing as a candidate. Here are the stories that got the most attention in 2012 ...more

Don’t Touch that Snooze Button

Greg Palast 

By my initial calculation, 9.3 million Americans lost their vote on November 7 - purged from voter rolls, blocked at the polls, or had their “provisional” and absentee ballots thrown in the dumpster. Let's get to the bottom of this: In the next 90 days we ...more

Sandy De-Filed Us!
Please Donate to our Hurricane Fund

Greg Palast 

I am asking those of you who can, to make a tax-deductible donation and download my New York Times bestselling book Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: How to Steal and Election in 9 Easy Steps. My staff is currently operating on our dangerously exploding credit card balance. I’m not making this up, my friends. Please donate $200, $20, $2000, $5.  Whatever you can ...more

Advisory: UAW files ethics charge on Romney auto bail-out profiteering

Greg Palast 

WASHINGTON - A coalition of community, labor and good-government organizations is calling on the U.S. Office of Government Ethics to investigate GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney for noncompliance with the Ethics in Government Act and compel him to either disclose his investments or divest them. “The American people have a right to know about Gov. Romney’s potential conflicts of interest, such as ...more

Sandy De-Filed Us!

Greg Palast 

A personal note from Greg Palast

Damn that Sandy! She flooded our New York office.
From our wet, dark office, and on the road, we are producing stories for
...more

A Hostile Takeover of our Country
Treasonous, Noxious, Thieving, Tyrannical

Greg Palast 

by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., for EcoWatch
from the foreword to
 Billionaires & Ballot Bandits

American democracy is under assault.

In one super-PAC alone, Karl Rove and the Enron grifter Ed Gillespie, have assembled $200 million from big polluters and Wall Street moguls to buy the 2012 election.

Two of the Koch Brothers, Charles and David, pledged $130 million to elect candidates who favor unrestrained corporate profiteering.

The senators and congressmen they fund and elect are not representing the United States-they are representing Koch and its oil industry cronies, Big Pharma, and the Wall Street banksters currently mounting a hostile takeover of our government.

I have no problem characterizing these corporate-centric super-PACs as treasonous.  We are now in a free fall toward old-fashioned oligarchy; noxious, thieving and tyrannical.

…more

How Mitt Romney Profited
from Delphi Workers’ Misery

Greg Palast 

Greg Palast on Current TV – The Young Turks

Cenk Uygur breaks down the numbers from investigative journalist Greg Palast’s report detailing how Ann Romney’s blind trust profited from the government bailing out General Motors. Exactly how much money did the Romneys make? Between $15 million and $115 million. “What happened, Romney? I thought you were against bailouts,” Cenk says. “Apparently you’re not as against it when it goes into your pocket.”

…more

Romney & Co Shipped Every Single
Delphi UAW Job to China

Greg Palast 

For Truthout

He’s kidding, right? Did I just hear Mitt Romney say, “I would do nothing to hurt the US auto industry”

Really? REALLY?

Here’s the facts, ma’am:

As I reported in this week’s Nation magazine cover story “Mitt Romney’s Bail-out Bonanza“, the Romneys are in a special partnership with the vulture fund that bought Delphi, the former GM auto parts division.

[Watch our Democracy Now! report on the Romney group’s auto plant closures.]

The Romney vulture fund investment syndicate shipped every single UAW production job – EVERY job – to China.

Just after Nation broke the story, Washington newsletter The Hill received the Romneys admission of profiteering:

“Romney’s campaign did not deny that he profited from the auto bailout in an email to The Hill, but it said the the report showed the Detroit intervention was ‘misguided.'”

The truth? On June 1, 2009, the Obama Administration announced …more

Going Postal: Excerpt from Billionaires & Ballot Bandits

Greg Palast 

The following excerpt is from “Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps,” a new book on the conservative – and big money-led effort to steal elections this November, based on investigations by gumshoe journalist Greg Palast and attorney and activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. It also includes comics by Ted Rall.

“I didn’t know I had to fill in the bubble.”

That was the totally lame excuse of a voter who blew away the election of a Democrat as mayor of San Diego, California.

In 2004, the “Surfer Chick,” Donna Frye, got the most votes for mayor of the city, but was refused office. Donna runs the surf shop on the beach (husband Skip Frye was the world surfing champ) and, concerned about real estate sharks killing the beachfront and waters, decided to run for mayor as a write-in candidate.

In California, nearly a third of voters mail in their ballots. But four thousand of the folks who wrote in Donna Frye on those mail-in ballots didn’t fill in the bubble.

On the ballot, there was a choice of candidates with a bubble next to their name and a space for Write-in candidate. You had to write in Donna Frye and fill in the bubble next to it. (Completely fill it in, but not excessively: no X or check-that would disqualify you too.)

Republican election officials tossed out the four thousand ballots with Frye’s name but no bubble-blackening. Though Donna complained, she told me she conceded ballots marked Surfer Chick.

In the days when we still had a democracy, courts held that the voter’s intent should determine if a ballot gets counted. But since Bush v. Gore, what the voter clearly wants isn’t worth a bubble.

But the Rovearians insist that this is the only way to prevent wholesale fraud.

All over the nation, party hacks are playing “gotcha” with mail-in ballots. Here are some of my favorites, each one costing several thousand folks their vote:

– Wrong envelope.
– Wrong postage. Questionable signature. Stray mark (spoilage). Folded wrong.
– Lost by election officials.
– And an X instead of a dot in the bubble.

The “wrong signature” is the most suspect of all. If an election official thinks a signature has been forged, then he should call the cops. This is the serious crime of ballot fraud (filling out and mailing a ballot which is not yours). This is one of the only voting crimes that actually do occur, though it’s incredibly rare. So if there’s real evidence of a crime, the answer is not to toss out a ballot, toss out the evidence, but to jail the criminal.

So I went to visit two of the fraudsters who didn’t fill in their bubbles. Maybe I’d have them busted.

“Mom! Why didn’t you fill in the bubble?!”
“I’m sorry! I didn’t know you had to fill in the bubble! Your sister’s a lawyer and she helped us fill it out.”

In the last presidential election, over twenty-seven thousand “suspicious” (i.e., forged) signatures were detected. And yet not one of these forgers was busted. Why? Maybe because they weren’t forgeries but merely a slight change in signature (remember Melissa Tais?) or the pen used. Or the election official doesn’t like the choices of the signatory. Heavens! Could such a thing happen in America?

There is a solution: if an “absentee” ballot has an error or questionable signature, the election clerks could simply call the voter and have them come in to correct it. Oregon does that. So does . . . well, actually, no other state does that. Because Rove and his fellow tossers want it that way.

So you lose your vote. And here’s the charm: you don’t even know it! Ha ha ha!

Does it matter?

It has more than once changed “Hail to the Chief” to “Hail to the Thief.”

In 2012, it is expected that about 26 million votes will be mailed in. And, in the name of preventing voter fraud, about ONE IN FOURTEEN WILL BE TOSSED OUT. That’s nearly two million votes tossed in the gotcha! dumpster.

But don’t both parties do it, play “gotcha” with the ballots? Yes, they do. So then it all evens out, right? Wrong!

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve already guessed that the probability that a mail-in ballot will get the heave-ho is based on the color of the person whose name is on the ballot and his or her income bracket.

And just to make certain the class-biased count would pick one of their candidates, the Kochs spent at least a million on absentee ballot handling in the June 2012 Wisconsin gubernatorial recall race. Using their new monster database, Republicans received a preprinted ballot and envelope with all the personal data properly filled-in to make it reject-proof. Just sign and drop in a mailbox.

It’s legal and brilliant. What’s brilliant and possibly not so legal is that in November, the same database could be “inverted” to target the Blue-ballot absentee voters and do the same match for the purpose of pumping up rejections and challenges. They won’t? During the recall, a group called United Sportsmen of Wisconsin sent Democrats absentee ballot request forms with the wrong address and deadline. USW, which existed only during the Wisconsin recall, was created by John W. Conners-until recently, Director of the Kochs’ Americans for Prosperity. That’s sportsmanship a la Koch.

Reprinted from “Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps” by Greg Palast. © 2012 by Greg Palast. Used with the permission of the publisher, Seven Stories Press.

Mitt Romney’s Bailout Bonanza

Greg Palast 

How Mitt and Ann made millions and Mitt’s hedge fund donors made billions from the auto-industry rescue that he condemned.

By Greg Palast for The Nation Magazine

Mitt Romney’s opposition to the auto bailout has haunted him on the campaign trail, especially in Rust Belt states like Ohio. There, in September, the Obama campaign launched television ads blasting Romney’s November 2008 New York Times op-ed,“Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.”

Elements of this article appear in Palast’s brand new NYT bestseller:
Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps

Watch Palast talk about this expose on Democracy Now!

But Romney has done a good job of concealing, until now, the fact that he and his wife, Ann, personally gained at least $15.3 million from the bailout – and a few of Romney’s most important Wall Street donors made more than $4 billion. Their gains, and the Romneys’, were astronomical – more than 3,000 percent on their investment. …more

It’s Magic!

Greg Palast 

For FireDogLake

Here’s an easy way to spoil a vote: digitize it . . . then lose the digits.

Prestidigitation is the French-derived term for conjury, legerdemain, sleight-of-hand, presto-change-o hand-jive, disappearing trickery . . . or, in the language of Karl Rove, “Helping America Vote.”

Following what the media called the “Florida debacle,” the winners of the debacle agreed to “reform” the voting system. So the Bush administration proposed and Congress passed the Help America Vote Act.

The best way to prevent voting reform is to pass a voting reform bill – especially if it’s written by the folks that helped themselves to your vote in the first place.

The Help America Vote Act is not the most Orwellian named, satanic law ever passed by Congress, but it tries. To avoid ballots with hanging chads, the law simply does away with ballots, providing about $4 billion in subsidies for Direct Recording Equipment (DREs), …more