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
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.”
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
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.
Download one of Ted’s masterpieces, “To Afghanistan and Back,” for FREE.
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
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.
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
I can’t help feeling that Robin Williams was a victim of his industry: the happiness industry.
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
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
I wish my enemies to take note that my quadruple by-pass heart surgery three weeks ago was quite successful. My doctors say I can suit up for dragon-slaying in about six weeks. Bless you all for your thousands of healing notes and thoughts.
The day before going under the knife, I was reminded that, “You can’t take it with you” – because the insurance company will take it first. (Bada-bing!) So, I invited my attorney to the cardiac unit (no kidding) to tweak my last will and testament – insuring that royalties to my books and films will continue to go the Palast Investigative Fund.
I truly wish you a long, happy and healthy life. But, alas, one day we all must shuffle off our mortal coils.
So, please, don’t leave without saying goodbye. It’s easy. Simply include the Palast Investigative Fund in your will. And contact us to let us know.
I am pleased to announce my new association with Al Jazeera for a series of in-depth globe-spanning investigative reports. It is a great honor to join with journalists whose inestimable courage I cannot hope to replicate, but whose high standards we will dignify with our best work. Al Jazeera: “Journalism is not a crime.”
For those of you who seek more elaborate tax-savvy estate planning, our not-for-profit foundation has retained the services of an expert who can help guide you, please contact us.
But, if you’re the impatient type, you can donate RIGHT NOW, and enjoy one of our special thank you gifts. Donate at least $50 dollars and get a signed copy of Billionaires & Ballot Bandits. Donate $1,000 and get a listing as a producer of the film, Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: The Movie.
By the age of fifteen, Rick Rowley was doomed – born in the middle of Nowhere, Michigan, a wasteland of rust and snow so awful we let autoworkers have it.
As a kid, Rick would put his head down on the railroad track and wait for the rare vibration of a train on the move far away. He was fifteen years old on the day he got up and followed the hum down the track. He walked for over two hundred miles, surviving on peanut butter and Wonder Bread all the way to …more
Like the restless Jewish prophets before you, you are an outcast in your own land. And like the prophets before you, you are trouble, Aaron, a lot of trouble.
Thank you for troubling us, Aaron. You are trouble, but very good trouble.
Socrates’ suicide, like yours, was a state-sponsored execution. And like Socrates in death, you’ve conferred an immortal obligation on the living to resist the temptation to let the rulers attach their strings, the strings that turn us from people with hearts into puppets with property.
Rest in peace, Aaron Swartz. And I promise you, I won’t. …more
….for donations to our foundation, so you can take my word for it when I say, we need it.
The Theft of the 2016 race is under way — and the vote rustlers expect to grab Congress in 2014 as an appetizer. Plus, the billionaire boys club is sucking our financial blood as if the world economy is their vampire blood bank.
Donate at least $80 right now, and I’ll send you, as thanks, the Vultures Combo: our new film on DVD, Vultures and Vote Rustlers AND a hardbound copy of Vultures Picnic, and I’ll sign both. Check out thetrailer. And it’s tax-deductible.…more