While the two parties are playing games with slats on the border, Trump has allowed the backlog of citizenship applications to nearly double to over 730,000. In other words, he's winning the real immigration battle. ...more
My dad called me over and said, "I want you to listen to this." It was 1965 and Martin Luther King was speaking about the three kinds of love as defined by the Greek philosophers. King's philosophy lesson was given in a church surrounded by angry white men who changed their white sheets for police uniforms and were prepared to burn down the church as they had done before.
King was on a march from Selma, Alabama to Montgomery.
My father told me, "You'll do that," meaning I'd go down South, I'd join the Freedom Riders, become a lawyer for King, a knight for justice in an unjust world.
But why didn't he go himself? Why didn't he join the march, join the fight? I know: kids, responsibility, furniture. He was a furniture salesman. Furniture didn't march. It sat there. It was sat upon. And the rich farted into the mattresses he sold them. The furniture store was locked from the inside by a poisonous fear of leaving life to chance.
So he put the burden of his quest on ...more
While pundits are falling all over themselves spewing about the "civility" of the patrician George H. W. Bush, l must honor the memory those 50 men who were buried alive in a gold field in Africa so Bush Sr. could cash in.
To me, this is the most important story of my career ”” and almost ended it when Bush's gold mining company sued my ...more
My mom died Monday night. 96 years old. She lived a fierce and happy life in a horrible century. She said, "I married the man I love and had two wonderful children. I’m ready." May we all be so blessed.
Mom was the first woman to enlist in the Coast Guard in World War II. She was a union rights activist (SEIU) and a teacher until the age of ...more
Bob Parry has died. He was a giant. The reporter who uncovered the Iran-Contra scandal. Instead of a Pulitzer, he was fired by the AP.
Then fired by Bloomberg and Newsweek for more reports.
And, 30 years ago, he convinced me to take on ...more
A note to all who’ve made a donation to
our Investigative Fund
You are not only keeping us alive financially, but emotionally.
Eventually, our stories make national news, but, in those months while the mainstream resists, your encouragement really means a lot.
People ask me how I keep my sense of humor when I see all these horrors, from lost votes to lost lives. The truth is, I get the blues too.
Support, good wishes, and remembering the tough world I came from are what gets me back on track.
And here’s something they can’t steal from us: a Happy New Year, from my family to yours.
Greg Palast, reporting
Just before his eighty-ninth birthday, my father was watching a Viagra commercial on TV. It ends with the warning, “If an erection persists for more than four hours, contact your doctor.”
He called up his clinic and got the nurse. He’d taken some Viagra, he said, more than four hours ago and his erection still wouldn’t go away.
“Mr. Palast, you shouldn’t have done that! You’ll have to get to the emergency room immediately.”
“I can’t go,” he said. “I haven’t shown all the neighbors yet.”
In 1930, when my father was an eight-year-old kid in Chicago, he asked his older brother why people were outside in the cold snow waiting in a long line. His brother Harold said, “It’s a bread line. They don’t have anything to eat. …more
In 1995, in Chicago, veterans of Silver Post No. 282 celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of their victory over Japan, marching around a catering hall wearing their old service caps, pins, ribbons and medals. My father sat at his table, silent. He did not wear his medals.
He had given them to me thirty years earlier. I can figure it exactly: March 8, 1965. That day, like every other, we walked to the newsstand near the dime store to get the LA Times. He was a Times man. Never read the Examiner.
He looked at the headline: U.S. Marines had landed on the beach at Danang, Vietnam. …more
Today, we lost a journalist’s journalist, the moral commander of investigative reporters from New York to Johannesburg.
Known for bringing the world the story of Nelson Mandela, Danny gave up cushy jobs at ABC and CNN, the big bucks and a steady flow of mainstream awards to blow the whistle on the degradation of American news. Danny exposed what he called the “news goo” of talking hair-dos-denouncing them as repeaters, not reporters. One of his searing books told it all in the title: “The More You Watch, the Less You Know.”
Listen to Danny Schechter Remembered with Greg Palast on KKFI.
It was Danny Schechter who, two decades ago, hectored and harassed me until I gave up a darn good job as an investigator, pushing me to become an investigative reporter. (He did demand I wear a wig so I could get on the US boob tube. (No way. Instead I went into journalistic exile at BBC London.)
And it was Danny Schechter who first brought my investigations back to our benighted America in his film, Counting on Democracy.
Once, in Bosnia, when I ran into some reporters from Kazakhstan, and I told them I was from New York, they asked me, “Do you know Danny Schechter?” When I said yes, they were dazzled. But in America, Danny was, sadly, a prophet outcast in his own land. The hair-sprayed pseudo-news puppets, with their phony tales of derring-do, exiled Danny’s clarion reports to the confined pool of dissenting websites and DVDs.
It had been my plan to surprise Danny by dedicating our current film to him. I will do that still, and, as well, dedicate myself to the Sisyphean task he demanded of me and the many others he mentored: to tell the stories of the brutalized, cheated, hurt and silenced; to be a voice for the voiceless.
Alev ha-shalom, Danny Schechter, rest, finally, in peace.
In 1930, when my father was an eight-year-old kid in Chicago, he asked his older brother why people were outside in the cold snow waiting in a long line. His brother Harold said, “It’s a bread line. They don’t have anything to eat. They’re hoping for bread.”
My father ran to his mother’s bedroom and grabbed my grandmother’s diamond brooch, ran downstairs, and gave it to a man in the bread line.
Later, as the Depression rolled on, my grandfather lost everything. So Gil Palast was a failure early. Stayed a failure.
He ended up in the furniture business, in a store in the barrio in Los Angeles, selling pure crap on layaway to Mexicans; then later on, he sold fancier crap to fancier people in Beverly Hills and he hated furniture, and hated the undeserving …more
A note from Greg Palast
With the blood of cartoonists still fresh on the walls of Charlie Hebdo in France, I thought I’d move up the announcement that poison pen-man Ted Rall has been named a Fellow of the Palast Investigative Fund.
Now you can sign up to receive Ted’s ”˜toons and tales weekly, no charge.
Why the heck does an investigative reporting team need a guy who draws the funnies? Ted is, in fact, one of the USA’s top journalists””reporting from Afghanistan (“After We Kill You, We Will Welcome You Back as Honored Guests”) and the other places too scary to go to yourself – and from the belly of the New York beast.
The fact that Rall’s reports often come out as punch-lines in word balloons just makes his work even more brilliant.
We are honored to give Rall more opportunities to put himself in danger.
And be honest: How many of you bought my bestseller, Billionaires & Ballot Bandits, but only read Ted’s comic book included with it? (Like this brilliant Aliens Attack illustration.)
Ted, who lived in France, knew and got sloshed with the Charlie Hebdo crew. He writes,
“I was thinking about that this morning when I heard NPR’s Eleanor Beardsley call Charlie Hebdo “gross” and “in poor taste.” (I should certainly hope so! If it’s in good taste, it ain’t funny.)”
Like Rodney Dangerfield, cartoonists, says Rall, “get no respect.”
Hey, that makes him a perfect candidate for the Palast team. It’s an unusual fellowship …more
I knew Mario Cuomo well. Too well.
I helped write talking points for speeches that got him elected Governor and grieved that he did not become President.
But there was another Cuomo, the one that tried to stop the US publication of my book, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy; the Mario Cuomo who went to court to try to put the Palast Investigative team out of business while we worked to expose the Bush Family election heist and the con job leading to war.
I just read the glowing New York Times obit. Even in death, Cuomo has pulled off one last con. The Times lauds his single stellar accomplishment as Governor: “He closed the Shoreham nuclear plant on Long Island,” New York.
No, he didn’t. As usual with Mario, he gave a great speech – and won election by calling for the nuclear plant’s closure. But behind the scenes, the other Mario, the back-room wheeler-dealer, the toady to the bankers and power industry magnates, moved heaven and earth to stand in the way of the courageous statesmen and activists who actually closed this dangerous, radioactive monstrosity.
On July 2, 1985, the New York State Legislature was about to pass the historic law authorizing the public takeover of the out-of-control private company that owned Shoreham. Near midnight, one of Cuomo’s stooges …more
Williams was typecast for those parts with manic, unstoppable joy. Listen up, Aladdin! Williams’ genie said, You’re not suffering from poverty – what you need is a positive attitude! You know, put on a happy face! Let a smile be your umbrella!
Our culture despises and fears unhappiness. We pathologize unhappiness; we conflate it with a disease, “depression.” And it’s a disease we insist you can cure – so you don’t spread your unhappiness germs to the rest of us. We stigmatize those who are unhappy, like we stigmatize those who are overweight: If you’re fat, you just don’t have any self-control. If you’re unhappy, it’s your personal failure to just buck up.
We laud the congenitally happy, like Ronald Reagan, the chipper Gipper, the Grinning Grandpa, who could unleash his death squads and smile all the while.
We are a nation of salesman, commercially optimistic. We don’t like downers; we don’t like people who spoil the party.
And so we push those who find themselves unhappy to medicate themselves – avoid The Deep, get out of the blues and join the Disney. Williams chose booze, pills and …more
Download or listen to the full PRN broadcast.
Palast tells tales of undercover investigations, poetry, honey traps and why you stay the hell out of journalism school to Danny Schechter, the News Dissector.
Get Palast’s latest film Vultures and Vote Rustlers.
Greg Palast in Sarajevo, near where Archduke Franz Ferdinand was shot, tracing the trail of rogue financier ‘Goldfinger.’ (Photo: Richard Rowley for BBC-TV. The first ten readers to find Palast in the photo, will get a free copy of the film of this story, Vultures & Vote Rustlers.)
Happy birthday, World War One! Walking the mortar-cratered streets of Sarajevo, Bosnia, I was reminded that World War I started here, and World War II and World War III, World War V and VI and the current World War IX. Here in the city where the ghosts of Muslim, Catholic, Orthodox and Jewish victims outnumber the living, as I hunted another corpse-chewing financier, it became clear to me that the endless parade of war is not about a clash of civilizations, but the CASH of civilizations.
Before the Panzers rolled into Poland, they rolled into …more