I’ve met Trump’s billionaire Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, the one who forgot to sell his tanker partnership with the Russians before being sworn into office — a venture with Putin’s son-in-law, no less — as revealed by ...more
Fear is the sales pitch for many products: from war on the Euphrates to billion-dollar submarines. Better than toothpaste that makes your teeth whiter than white, this stuff will make us safer than safe. It’s political junk food, the cheap filling in the flashy tube.
True security for life’s dangers—from a real national health insurance program to protecting teachers’ jobs, would take a slice of the profits of the owning classes, the Lockheeds, the JP Morgans. The War on Terror has become class war by other means.
And who will get us next? Don’t assume they’ll be clutching Korans. Until September 11, 2001, the deadliest terror attack in American history was carried out by …more
To celebrate Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s exit, I am re-publishing this investigation. – GP
Excerpt from Armed Madhouse
They take away your overtime, your 40-hour week, your regulatory protection against corporate marauders, your right to courtroom justice, your protection against unfair trade, even the right to get your ballot counted.
But there’s always hope.
Hope is the last thing to go. And your hope is your kids, that they’ll have an opportunity you didn’t have. On January 21, 2004, the President told you they’d have to take that away too. On that night, deep into his State of the Union sermon to Congress, when sensible adults had turned off the tube or kicked in the screen, our President opened a new front in the class war. And like the one in Iraq, it began with a lie. “By passing the No Child Left Behind Act,” our President told us, “We are regularly testing every child…and making sure they have better options when schools are not performing.” …more
Greg Palast reporting from Southold, New York
Excerpted from the NY Times Bestseller Armed Madhouse.
In the War on Terror, we are all on the front lines. Now Southold has apparently been targeted by al-Qaeda. I’m not surprised.
Southold, if you look at a map, is situated at the ass end of nowhere. We are known for our Strawberry Festival and fire truck parade. According to the Census, this tiny place is made up almost entirely of inbred farmers, real estate speculators and volunteer firemen.
At one end of town is the “Brand Names Outlet Mall” and the water-slide park. At the other end, there’s a ferryboat that takes those who feel lucky to the Indian casino in Connecticut. And in between, there’s Main Street where we hold the Strawberry Festival. (The festival is a quaint and annoying white-folks’ ritual, an opportunity for backstabbing, petty infighting and all-American small-mindedness. But that’s another story altogether.)
Last month, Town Supervisor Josh, with powers granted him by the Department of Homeland Security, declared a “national security emergency.” …more
[New York, December 18, 2012] Even for New York, this was WEIRD. There were a half dozen Santa Clauses on Second Avenue getting a sermon from a Midwestern preacher who looks like a cross between televangelist Jerry Falwell and a white-haired Elvis.
The Santa Crew and their mini-skirted elves were on their way to get drunk (drunker?) with another thousand Santa impersonators at “SantaCon,” an annual gathering of St. Nicks. But they were willing to let the Reverend Billy attempt to save their souls.
Reverend Billy did not object to their plans for lubrication, but to their original Sin: collaborating with the Devil’s work known as “Christmas Shopping.”
Unions, Good Government Groups to File Ethics Complaint Against Romney For Failing To Disclose His Big Auto Rescue Profit
Groups Urge Office of Government Ethics to Make Romney Disclose or Divest
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 the profits his family made from the auto rescue,” said UAW President Bob King. “It’s time for Gov. Romney to disclose or divest.”
In a Nation magazine cover story, investigative reporter Greg Palast reported that the Romney family personally profited at least $15.3 million from the auto loans of 2009 through his investment in the Delphi Corp. auto parts company. Yet Romney’s June 1, 2012, Public Financial Disclosure Report to the Office of Government Ethics …more
An excerpt from Billionaires & Ballot Bandits (now The Best Democracy Money Can Buy) by Greg Palast for Cold Play.
“There is a massive effort underway to register illegal aliens in this country!”
– Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce
The Arizona Republican hunt for “aliens” from Uranus to the Rio Grande has led to the removal of over 200,000 citizens, overwhelmingly Latino, from the state’s voter rolls. There’s more than an even chance that vote “suppression” – the polite word for racist, José Crow racial tactics – will result in the Democrats losing an open seat in the U.S. Senate where Democratic Hispanic Richard Carmona is pulling ahead of Republican Jeff Flake.
But I don’t think Carmona wants to win with illegal alien votes. After all, an alien voting has committed a crime– yet no one was arrested. Why? I flew out to Phoenix to investigate–and ended up in jail. That is, I visited the infamous tent prison of Sheriff Joe Arpaio who has led the alien hunt in his state.
But before I broke into Arpaio’s prison, I called his political ally, Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce, who sponsored one of the nation’s nastiest ID laws, Prop 200. It requires all new voting registrants to prove they are US citizens.
“How many illegal aliens have actually been registered?” I asked.
Pearce’s PR flak told me, five million. All Democrats too. …more
This month marks the 10th anniversary of the passage of No Child Left Behind.
Before George W. Bush invaded Iraq he knew he would have to invade our classrooms first.
While the occupation of Iraq has ended the brutal occupation of our classrooms by the Forces of Stupid remains.
Herewith is a reprise of our original warning:
NO CHILD’S BEHIND LEFT
They take away your overtime, your 40-hour week, your regulatory protection against corporate marauders, your right to courtroom justice, your protection against unfair trade, even the right to get your ballot counted. But there’s always hope. Hope is the last thing to go. And your hope is your kids, that they’ll have an opportunity you didn’t have. On January 21, 2004, the President told you they’d have to take that away too. On that night, deep into his State of the Union sermon to Congress, when sensible adults had turned off the tube or kicked in the screen, our President opened a new front in the class war. And like the one in Iraq, it began with a lie. “By passing the No Child Left Behind Act,” our President told us, “We are regularly testing every child…and making sure they have better options when schools are not performing.” …more
I asked my daughter if she would like to add her own recollections about JK Rowling and the “alternative” Harry Potter endings Jo Rowling told us when we were hanging out in the Green Room at BBC Television Centre. (I provide investigative stories for the BBC current affairs program Newsnight.) My daughter and her oblivious twin brother don’t remember much, but what did leave an impression were my speculations about the untimely and suspicious death of my fellow investigative reporter, Karl Larsson–whom you would know as the fiction writer “Stieg” Larsson.
My daughter interviewed me about Larsson’s work and wrote this report for school. Her mother is allowing me to post it only on condition her by-line gives her nickname only. …more
From Armed Madhouse: just so we don’t forget…
So, Osama walks into this bar, see? And Bush says, “Whad’l’ya have, pardner?” and Osama says…
…But wait a minute. I’d better shut my mouth. The sign here in the airport says, “Security is no joking matter.” But if security’s no joking matter, why does this guy dressed in a high-school marching band outfit tell me to take off my shoes? All I can say is, Thank God the “shoe bomber” didn’t carry Semtex in his underpants.
I’m a bit nervous. It’s a “YELLOW ALERT” day. That’s a “lowered threat” notice. According to the press office of the Department of Homeland Security, lowered threat Yellow means that there will be no special inspections of passengers or cargo today. Isn’t it nice of Mr. Bush to alert Osama when half our security forces are given the day off?
Bush Family Fortunes is a documentary that will make you shake your head and want to throw something at your TV. If even half of what BBC investigative reporter Greg Palast reveals is true and you happen to be an American you may or may not be calling for a revolution depending on whether you are a democrat or a republican.
Bush Family Fortunes is a look at George W Bush’s career, his rise to power and the blatant back door activities that handed him the Presidential Office over Al Gore. Michael Moore already covered this with Fahrenheit 911 and really you will ask yourself is there really a need to do another documentary on the exact same topic? Normally I would say no but in this case I say yes. I am a big fan of Michael Moore’s filmmaking but let’s not kid ourselves he has an agenda with each and every film he makes and its as much about his political message as it is about the truth.
Greg Palast is a bit quirky in his presentation and it appears is stuck in a 50’s crime novel in his appearance as a cliché crime reporter but say what you will about how he dresses and acts he dug up the goods. Michael Moore revealed the icing and Greg Palast gets you through the icing, into the cake and down to the plate. Bush Family Fortunes reveals the lies, the deception and the absolute insanity that got George W Bush into the presidential office. From the Air National Guard Controversy to the 170,000+ Florida votes that were thrown out and never counted Bush Family Fortunes gives hard numbers, hard facts and shares documents I had no idea even existed and will leave you questioning democracy.
Greg Palast’s Bush Family Fortunes is shocking and disturbing in a way that Michael Moore could never be. Greg Palast’s film is shocking because it’s not simple facts wrapped up in a chuckle like Fahrenheit 9/11 its hard hitting truths, from people who were on the inside, and with documents to back it all up.
If you like Political documentaries and still live under the allusion that everyday people elect our leaders watch Bush Family Fortunes. In The Matrix Neo woke up to find out he was asleep and machines had taken over the world. What would you do if you found out you were asleep and a Saudi Family, The House of Saud now ran the US governments highest office? Watch this movie! Whether you agree with the politics or not you can’t disagree with the facts! Scary! I watched this on NetFlix on Demand and this is one of my favorite things about Netflix. Sure the titles are not the greatest for Canadian users but the Documentaries are fantastic and make it entirely worth while!
Greg Palast is the author of the New York Times bestsellers The Best Democracy Money Can Buy (2003) and Armed Madhouse (2007), and co-author of Democracy and Regulations: How the Public Can Govern Essential Services (2003). Palast has won numerous awards for his investigative journalism. His stories have been published in many newspapers and magazines, as well as broadcast on the BBC and Democracy Now! His website is at www.GregPalast.com.
For In These Times
We got’m. I can hardly believe it.
Yesterday, the financial vultures, the carcass-chewers who were preying on the dirt-poor African nation of Liberia, gave up.
Two shadowy vulture funds, which had won a $43 million court judgment against Liberia, agreed to accept only $1.4 million to settle their claim following an investigation by our BBC Newsnight team. We had sought to determine if the vulture funds were covers for an elaborate fraud scheme. They folded rather than face further scrutiny and attacks from activists, Parliaments and Congress.
Refresher: In February, for BBC Television Newsnight and In These Times, our team hunted down a predator with a Ph.D., Dr. Eric Hermann, who, for a couple pennies
on the dollar, secretly bought the right to collect a $6 million debt owed by Liberia.
Hermann and his flock of vulture partners demanded Liberia pay $43 million—a devastating sum for that nation—or he would, in effect, block aid funding for Liberia’s recovery from civil war. The nation was now Hermann’s economic hostage.
I was investigating the strange links between Hermann and a company named Hamsah Investments; it smelled of fraud. Tipped off that I was about to arrive with a camera crew to question …more
“What he [Griffin] did was absolutely illegal and he should be in jail.”
That’s hardly the kind of endorsement a candidate for Congress expects. But that is the conclusion of voting rights attorney Robert F. Kennedy Jr. after digging into the evidence of Congressional candidate Tim Griffin’s role in directing the Republican National Committee’s racially biased attack on voters known as “caging.”
A brutal mano-a-mano race in Arkansas’ Second District has become a showdown between Sarah Palin’s banner carrier Griffin (funded by SarahPAC) and Democrat Joyce Elliott who has drawn homeboy Bill Clinton back to Little Rock.
The ex-President, in Arkansas this week, was especially worked up about Griffin’s caging list vote suppression scheme. (Our Good Ol’ Boy in Chief told me back in 2008 he would bust out the story, and it only took him two years to do the right thing, a personal best for Bill.)
Ecuador’s president promises punishment
after day of chaos.
Rafael Correa promises ‘no forgiveness’ for those involved in uprising, as opposition politicians are accused of staging a coup.
Ecuador remains in a state of siege with the military in charge of public order.
President Rafael Correa is promising to punish his enemies a day after a police rebellion triggered mayhem.
In February 2008 Greg Palast met with Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa. They discussed the Lawsuit against Chevron, Eradicating Foreign Debt and Why He Says “Ecuador is No Longer for Sale”
It’s been five years already. In New Orleans, more than half the original residents have not, cannot, return.
And that’s Malik Rahim, Director of Common Ground, who led the survivors who rebuilt their homes in the teeth of official resistance in “The City That Care Forgot.”
You’ll meet Malik and the people that everyone forgot in Big Easy to Big Empty: the Untold Story of the Drowning of New Orleans, chosen this week as Moviefone’s top pick of Katrina documentaries.
Donate and get the signed DVD with added material, including Palast with Democracy Now‘s Amy Goodman.
Meet Patricia Thomas who was locked out of her home in the Lafitte housing project near the French Quarter. We go with her as she breaks into her blockaded apartment.
From Armed Madhouse
We’ve seen this dreadful movie before. In 2005, another coal mine in West Virginia imploded. We wrote about it then ….
War is hell, especially class war. Just ask the Sago mine workers. Billionaire Wilbur Ross purchased Sago of West Virginia in November 2005 through International Coal Group.
In the first six weeks under Ross’ company’s ownership, the Sago mine suffered two roof collapses. Ross said that, “We were comfortable, based on the assurances from our management that they felt that it was a safe situation.” Safe financially, maybe, but a third roof collapse in January 2006 caused twelve miners to suffocate.
Wilbur Ross – the man Fortune Magazine dubbed “a revered vulture investor” – has a heart. In light of the tragedy, Ross has asked Americans to donate to victims’ families. I don’t know, however, if you should send your money to his home in Palm Beach, or the one in the Hamptons or the one on Fifth Avenue.
For In These Times
I get the idea that Eric Hermann doesn’t want to talk to me. When I came to his office suite, his hedge fund’s name plaque had been unbolted from the building’s wall, the suite number removed and all the employees locked in.
I’m not surprised. Hermann is a vulture, not the carrion-eating type, but the kind that prey on the financially wounded. “Vulture” is a hedge fund industry term for the financiers who buy up the right to collect old loans of the world’s poorest nations, and then use every trick in the book — from lawsuits to bribery to hiring Henry Kissinger’s lobby firm — to muscle destitute countries into turning over their meager foreign aid funds.
Vultures, whether of the feathered or speculator species, don’t like to talk to reporters.
On February 25, the day after BBC Television’s Newsnight ran my report from in front of Hermann’s locked office door, Britain’s Parliament voted to bar vulture funds from using Britain’s courts to grab the assets of poor nations. …more
A week ago Friday, the day after BBC Television broadcast of our investigative report on Liberia vultures, Britain’s Parliament voted to put an end to the creepy business of financial “vultures” who siphon off aid money through manipulating Third World nations’ debt.
And our prior report on financial tricksters, on Democracy Now!, motivated two congressmen to confront the President personally, in the Oval Office with our findings. And now legislation has jets on in the USA.
We’ve kicked vulture butt, but now we need new boots.
This isn’t the easiest time to be an investigative reporter and I am damn sure it’s not the easiest time for you to be supporting folks like our tiny but tough Palast team. So, I wanted to be sure to let you know what YOUR support has accomplished.
These accomplishments are real, but so are the bills for airfare, for the car for the stake-out, for the special microphones, for the … you name it.
BBC TV is a wonderful and prestigious outlet for our work. But “Beeb” budgets simply can’t cover all our costs.
We can’t fly to Africa by flapping our arms.
Democracy Now! shows our stuff; we love them — but it’s you, our supporters, who pay our subway fares to Amy’s studio.
That’s why—for the first time this decade—I’m asking you to help keep our work alive with your financial support.
Here are a few ideas on how to do it:
If you can contribute $150 or more, I’ll send you signed copies of 5 great DVDs … perfect for Mother’s day, graduations, easter baskets, May Day celebrations, Bingo prizes, or better yet, to spread the word.
Click here, make the tax-deductible donation, and I’ll sign’em all.
When our investigative team pulled the pants down on Karl Rove’s vote “caging” scam, Congressman John Conyers, who made our disclosures central to Congressional hearings on Bush’s firing of prosecutors told our crew, “America owes you an huge debt of thanks.”
I appreciate that; but we still owe the credit card company for the dozen flights to get on the scene to film the Rove-bots.
Available again! Joker’s Wild, my classic, tarot-size investigative playing cards. Beautiful and great fun.
Better yet for us and maybe a little less burdensome to you, sign up for a modest monthly pledge of as little as $10. You will receive all new Palast releases — books or videos, as they become available. I will also mention you as a supporter in my next book (you may, of course, choose not to).
Right away, as a thank you, I will send all new signees a signed copy of a DVD of your choice plus the Joker’s Wild card deck.
If you’ve beaten the odds and had a great year, consider becoming a co-Producer by making a donation of $1,000 or more. If you do, I will list your name in our next film’s credits. Wait until your friends see that on your Google profile!
We will spend your donation wisely.
I truly can’t thank you enough,
Greg Palast is an investigative reporter for BBC Newsnight and the author of Armed Madhouse and The Best Democracy Money Can Buy.
Subscribe to Palast’s Newsletter and podcasts.
Follow Palast on Facebook and Twitter.