by Greg Palast with Dennis J Bernstein for Nation of Change Donald Trump announced the formation of his Economic Advisory Council. Aside from a token academic that he’d never actually bothered to meet prior to the announcement, the all-male panel read like a rogues list ripped straight from the pages of Billionaires & Ballot Banditsby investigative reporter Greg Palast. Trump’s inner circle, which after an outcry over the glaring gender bias was supplemented by eight women, features some of the worst offenders when it comes to political powerbrokering for personal gain. But that’s just pay-to-play politics, and is therefore not so surprising. What did raise some eyebrows was Trump’s decision to embrace a group of guys he’d previously lambasted for “getting away with murder” due to their super-sized tax breaks: hedge fund managers, whom he’d also said half the time had “luck more than talent.” But The Donald can no longer afford to be picky, since the billionaire on “reality” TV only needs some actual real cash to fund his floundering campaign. In this week’s Best Democracy Money Can Buy: Election Crimes Bulletin, Flashpoints’ Dennis J. Bernstein gets the lowdown from Palast on Trump’s new hedge fund BFFs and the hidden payoff that’s facilitating their cosy relationship.
TRANSCRIPT (Originally broadcast on Aug 10, 2016)
Dennis J. Bernstein: Welcome back to the Elections Crimes Bulletin with bestselling author and noted BBC investigative reporter, Greg Palast, now reporting for Rolling Stone on these crazy elections as we try and figure out if your vote will count, or if it doesn’t really matter because the NRA might put a bullet behind Hillary’s ear — as per Donald Trump’s strong, strong suggestion. Greg, welcome!
Greg Palast: You don’t have much of a sense of humor, Dennis. Don’t you ever tell assassination jokes?
DB:Am I not subtle enough?
Palast: Well, you know, I figured that was a loaded question — bang!
DB:So Trump manages to keep the headlines, but maybe that’s better for him because if people really start delving behind the scenes, look into who supports him, what he’s been up to, this is where his real trouble is.
Palast: I’d like to think so. I’d like to think that instead of parsing his seventh grade sense of humor that we would be looking at the billionaires behind him. It’s fascinating because it was Donald Trump who told us, when billionaires like me write checks, we expect something back from the politicians, and a lot more than we put in. Now that he’s been exposed as not a billionaire — he just plays one on TV — he’s gone to the very guys that he’s attacked. …more
Trump desperately needs to get his tiny hands on some cash to fund his presidential campaign. On TV, Trump may play the role of a gazillionaire, but the reality of his reality TV persona is that it’s all paid for with other people’s money. His self-funding pledge is going the way of all Trump’s promises — down the gilded crapper. This week on The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: Election Crimes Bulletin, we focus on where and how Trump is going to get his campaign funds — and the deal he’s made with Wall Street’s devils in order to get it.
TRANSCRIPT (Originally broadcast on June 22, 2016)
Dennis J. Bernstein: All the news is about how Hillary has raised zillions and Donald has a mere one or two million dollars… I thought Donald Trump was a billionaire — he could pay for anything!
Greg Palast: Yeah, that’s the TV show, isn’t it? As he says, he loves debt. So, yes, he has a lot of money, OPM, other people’s money. He’s an OPM addict, an other peoples’ money addict. But as far as using it for himself, there’s very good reason he doesn’t have close to what he’s talking about. So just like bank robbers, he’s going where the money is.
DB: He’s got some cagey friends?
Palast: Yes. The guy who is now raising money for the guy who doesn’t supposedly need it and who said he will self-finance his own campaign. Where would you go if you needed to suddenly get bazillions and millions of dollars as a politician? It’s a quiz. What’s your answer?
No man’s passing should be a source of joy. But neither should it be a source of false histories and false tears. Justice Scalia was a right wing warrior who never let the Constitution get in the way of a chance to tear the guts out of Americans’ rights. …more
No man’s passing should be a source of joy. But neither should it be a source of false histories and false tears. Justice Scalia was a right wing warrior who never let the Constitution get in the way of a chance to tear the guts out of Americans’ rights.
His main legacy, knifing the Voting Rights Act and blessing the Jim Crow obstacle course created by bigoted, partisan voting officials. May he rest in peace. In the meantime, here’s a battlefield report about Justice Scalia from the voting rights war. Taken from the number one bestselling single issue adult comic book of all time, Steal Back Your Vote, by Greg Palast and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., with cartoons by Ted Rall and this done below, by Lloyd Dangle.
Stop me if you heard this one. See, these ten nuns walk into a polling station in Indiana and the guy in charge says, “Whoa, Sisters! What do think you’re doing?” “Voting,” says Sister Mary.
“Well, not here, ladies; not without your ID!” He demanded their driver’s licenses, but the ten quite elderly Sisters of the Holy Cross, including a 98 year-old, had long ago given up cruising.
“Scram, Sis!” said the man, and kicked their habits right out of the polling station.
I may not have gotten the dialogue exactly right, but I got the gist of it and the facts: the ten nuns who’d been voting at that station for decades were booted out in 2008, just after the state of Indiana’s Republican legislature imposed new voter ID laws.
The untold story of the sources of the loot controlled by Paul “The Vulture” Singer and why he needs to buy the White House
by Greg Palast
Greg Palast has been investigating Singer and other finance vultures for BBC Television’s Newsnight.
It’s out of the closet –– or, more accurately, out of the coven. The list of the billionaires who have given at least $2.5 million to Conservative Solutions, the pro-Rubio Super PAC, is headed by Paul Singer. Singer and his hedge fund crew at Elliott Associates, with their donations to the Republican National Committee and other “independent” groups like “Solutions”, makes it likely that Singer is now the top funder for the GOP.
For BBC-TV, I’ve been tracking Singer for nine years. And this is the key fact you need to know about the man whose cash would pick our President: Paul Singer likes to breakfast on decayed …more
This week, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, The Palast Investigative Fund is offering my film, Big Easy to Big Empty: The Untold Story of the Drowning of New Orleansas a FREE download. It wasn’t a natural disaster, it was a homicide. This is the story you’re not supposed to know. Get it, and pass on the link.
Screw the celebration. New Orleans hasn’t “come back.” That is, there are still the Bourbon Street bars serving “Hurricanes” to sloshed tourists and Mardi Gras when white Americans can catch trinkets from floats floating over the ghosts of the drowned.
New Orleans is back to 79% of its pre-flood population. Why am I not cheering? Because the original residents—that is, the majority of the pre-flood Black residents—are still wandering in …more
The military whistleblower’s 2010 Wikileaks dump included information that could have saved the 11 BP workers who died that spring in the Gulf of Mexico oil rig disaster.
Five years ago Monday, 11 men died on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig — despite Chelsea Manning’s effort to save their lives.
Let me explain.
The BP drilling rig blew itself to Kingdom Come after the “mud” — the cement used to cap the well — blew out.
The oil company, the federal government and the industry were shocked — shocked! — at this supposedly unexpected explosion in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
But BP knew, and Exxon and Chevron knew, and the U.S. State Department knew, that just 17 months earlier another BP offshore rig had suffered an identical, disastrous blow-out halfway across the planet in the Caspian Sea.
In both the Gulf and Caspian blow-outs, the immediate culprit was the failure of the cement, in both cases caused by the use — misuse — of nitrogen in the cement mix, a money-saving but ultimately deadly measure intended to speed the cement’s drying.
The cover-up meant that U.S. regulators, the U.S. Congress and the public had no inkling that the cost-saving “quick-dry” cement process had failed on an offshore rig only a year before the Deepwater Horizon blew.
You can watch the Deep Water Horizon report in Palast’s documentary compilation film,Vultures and Vote Rustlers, which will be available as aFREE downloadfor the next two days courtesy of the not-for-profit Palast Investigative Fund.
But Pvt. Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning tried to warn us. The details of the Caspian Sea blow-out off the coast of Baku, Azerbaijan, were revealed in the secret …more
Vulture investor Paul Singer has forced the nation of Argentina into default. Here’s the real story, from Billionaires & Ballot Bandits by Greg Palast.
A call came in from New York to my bosses at BBC Television Centre, London. It was from one of the knuckle- draggers on the payroll of billionaire Paul Singer, Number One funder for the Republican Party in New York, million-dollar donor to the Mitt Romney super-PAC, and top money-giver to the GOP Senate campaign fund. But better known to us as Singer The Vulture.
“We have a file on Greg Palast.”
Well, of course they do.
And I have a file on them.
I had just returned from traveling up the Congo River for BBC and the Guardian. Singer’s enforcer indicated that Mr. Singer would prefer BBC not run a story about him— especially not with film of his suffering prey: children, cholera victims.
Like any vulture, Singer feasts when victims die. Literally. For example, Singer made a pile buying asbestos company Owens Corning out of bankruptcy. The company had concealed from its workers they would get asbestosis from handling their product.
You don’t want to die of asbestosis. Your lungs turn to mush and you drown inside yourself.
The asbestos company was forced to pay tens of thousands of its workers for their medical care and for their families after their deaths.
But then Singer used his political muscle to screw down the compensation promised to the workers. He offered them peanuts. And, dying, they took it. Like the Ice Man, Singer The Vulture used the cudgel of “tort reform” to beat the weakened workers into submission. With asbestos workers buried or bought-off cheap, Singer’s asbestos death factories were …more
On Thursday, a federal jury found Mathew Martoma guilty of insider trading. Martoma, who’s only worth a hundred million or so, is small potatoes. He’s taking a fall for his boss–and his boss’ mommy–and her monkey.
Martoma’s boss is Steven A. Cohen, worth about $9 billion, who directs a criminal enterprise masquerading as a hedge fund called SAC Capital. The description of SAC as a crime scene is drawn from the findings of the jury, Securities and Exchange Commission charges and Cohen’s own confessions. While eight of Cohen’s partners-in-crime have been convicted and Martoma is about to join them in the Big House, Cohen has performed enough ju-ju on the system to keep charges filed against him personally to civil, not criminal, counts. So far.
Why would a guy who’s stuffed billions of dollars of tainted money in his pocket risk SEC charges just to get another billion? The answer: Steve needs to make his mommy’s monkey jump.
The story’s a lot of fun–and extraordinarily important, as Congress decides …more
Far more insidious, more corrosive and dangerous than the Governor of New Jersey playing traffic warden is the story of Gov. Chris Christie’s secret meetings with a gaggle of billionaires ––and the legality of the spending by the front organization set up following these hidden hugger-muggers.In 2012, a tax-exempt “social welfare organization” called Committee for Our Children’s Future, CCF, ran a series of TV ads telling America that Governor Christie has performed more miracles in New Jersey than Jesus did with loaves and fish. The New York Times found some old college chums who said they set up the “Children’s” crusade for Christie. But the ads cost about $6 million. The Times didn’t ask how Christie’s buddies, not wealthy guys, found the six big ones.
But CCF was not started in 2012. When I heard “Children’s Future,” my nose started twitching. I smelled Koch.
Get the full story of Chris Christie and his Koch addiction in the book, Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: Greg Palast investigative Karl Rove, the Koch Gang and their Buck Buddies and the film of the investigation on the DVD Vultures & Vote Rustlers.