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Billionaires & Ballot Bandits
Palast’s upcoming New Book

Greg Palast 

 

 

An Excerpt from Billionaires & Ballot Bandits

How the Election Games are fixed by the Koch gang,
Karl Rove and their buck-buddies

 

Part 1 – THE GAME

 

In the Beginning

In early 2010, a man named Karl Rove met with a financier known as the Ice Man.  The billionaire had more than his share of legal and political troubles.  Rove told him he had a plan to defeat Barack Obama and seize control of Congress for the GOP.

The Ice Man said, “I’m in,” and handed over a check for $20 million.

And Ice Man promised more.

“Karl is the best political mind out there,” he said.

Way out there. 2012:  Ballots Up the Congo

How I ended up here, up the Congo River, hunting for missing ballots in the US presidential election, well, that’s a story in itself.  I’ll get to that.

But first, I have to take you deep into the Heart of Darkness, Washington DC, where, in 2004, this same Karl Rove arranged for his pudgy little poodle to take on a terrible and cruel assignment.  The poodle, Tim Griffin, had the small hands, small mind and small heart perfectly suited for the job of re-electing the President, by hook or crook.   Mostly crook.

Rove, then Senior Advisor to President George W. Bush, said,

“We are beginning to look like we have elections like those run in countries where the guys in charge are, you know, colonels in mirrored glasses.”

Rove wasn’t complaining.  He was boasting. …more

No Child’s Behind Left

Greg Palast 

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

Ãœber-Vultures: The Billionaires Who Would Pick Our President

Greg Palast 

The untold story of the sources of the loot controlled by Paul “The Vulture” Singer, Ken Langone and the Kochs””and why they need to buy the White House

For TruthOut/Buzzflash

Greg Palast’s investigative reports are broadcast by BBC Television’s Newsnight. His new book, Vultures’ Picnic: a Tale of Oil, Sex, Radiation and Investigative Reporting will be released by Penguin USA on November 14.

[October 5, 2011] Paul Singer likes to breakfast on decayed carcasses. What he chews down is sickening, but just as nausea-inducing are his new table mates: Ken Langone and the Koch Brothers, Charles and David.

Singer has called together the billionaire boys club for the purpose of picking our next president for us. The old fashioned way of choosing presidents””democracy and counting ballots and all that””has never been a favorite of this pack. I can tell you that from my investigations of each of these gentlemen for The Guardian. When the Statue of Liberty has nightmares, she dreams that these guys will combine to seize America via a cash-and-carry coup d’état. …more

It’s Not Default of Obama:
Jail GOP Deadbeats for Debt Crisis

Greg Palast 

Exclusive for Truthout/Buzzflash.com

Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist gave debtors’ prison a bad rap. Too bad. I’d say that locking away GOP Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a penitentiary for deadbeats seems like a darn good idea.

Bush reads from My Pet Budget

Let’s talk about how we ended up in this pickle, bucking up against the “debt ceiling.” From 2001 to 2008, a Republican President took an annual surplus of $86 billion left for him by Bill Clinton and ran up the budget deficit to over half a trillion a year ($642 billion in 2008). Altogether, George W. Bush blew up the national debt by over $3 TRILLION–then left the bills to Barack Obama. …more

So, Osama walks into this bar…

Greg Palast 

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?

…more

Shake your head and throw something at your TV

Greg Palast 

from MoviesOnline.ca

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!

***

Please make a tax-deductible donation and get a signed copy of Bush Family Fortunes. Or get a downloadable version here!

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.

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www.GregPalast.com

Crisis in Ecuador
Greg Palast Interviews President Correa

Greg Palast 

Palast Interviews President Correa

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”

Watch part of the interview.
…more

Bush’d again?
New Orleans, Mr. O and Mr. Go

Greg Palast 

For The Huffington Post

Five years ago this week, a beast drowned New Orleans. Don’t blame Katrina: the lady never, in fact, touched the city. The hurricane swept east of it.

You want to know the name of the S.O.B. who attacked New Orleans? Locals call him “Mr. Go”the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet (MR-GO).

MR-GO was undoubtedly the most bone-headed, deadly insane project ever built by the Army Corps of Engineers. It’s a 76-mile long canal, straight as a gun barrel, running right up from the Gulf of Mexico to the heart of New Orleans.

In effect, MR-GO was a welcome mat to the city for Katrina. Experts call it “the Hurricane Highway.”

Until the Army Corps made this crazy gash in the Mississippi Delta fifty years ago, Mother Nature protected the Crescent City with a green wreath of cypress and mangrove. The environmental slash-job caused the government’s own hydrologist to raise alarms from Day One of construction.

Unless MR-GO was fixed or plugged, the Corps was inviting, “the possibility of catastrophic damage to urban areas by a hurricane surge coming up this waterway.” (I’m quoting from a report issued 17 years before The Flood.)

A forensic analysis by Dr. John W. Day calculated that if the Corps had left just 6 miles of wetlands in place of the open canal, the surge caused by Katrina’s wind would have been reduced by 4.5 feet and a lot of New Orleaneans would be alive today.
…more

Five Years and Still Drowning
The New Orleans CNN Would Never Show You

Greg Palast 

It’s been five years already. In New Orleans, more than half the original residents have not, cannot, return.

“They don’t want no poor niggers back in – that’s the bottom line.”

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.

“Katrina didn’t do this. Man did this.”

…more

The Right Testicle of Hell:
History of a Haitian Holocaust

Greg Palast 

Blackwater before drinking water

For The Huffington Post


Just in!
Our plea to send medicine to a friend’s father in Haiti was answered by Democracy Now! producer Sharif Abdel-Kouddous who will make the delivery in Port-au-Prince. Apparently DN, unlike the US government, doesn’t require armed “Security” to save lives.

1.
Bless the President for having rescue teams in the air almost immediately. That was President Olafur Grimsson of Iceland. On Wednesday, the AP reported that the President of the United States promised, “The initial contingent of 2,000 Marines could be deployed to the quake-ravaged country within the next few days.” “In a few days,” Mr. Obama?

2.
There’s no such thing as a ‘natural’ disaster. 200,000 Haitians have been slaughtered by slum housing and IMF “austerity” plans.

3.
A friend of mine called. Do I know a journalist who could get medicine to her father? And she added, trying to hold her voice together, “My sister, she’s under the rubble. Is anyone going who can help, anyone?” Should I tell her, “Obama will have Marines there in ‘a few days'”? …more

Where’s Your Homework, Mr. President?

Greg Palast 

Greg Palast gets a lesson from super-teacher Bill Roney. Listen to the podcast on ActionPoint radio.

Click twice to enlarge

The Looney-Tunes Right Wing is all bent up that our President is planning to tell kids to do their homework in a broadcast to schools set for Tuesday. They’re panicked he’s going to “sell socialism,” says one, and apparently, encourage kiddies to join the military to marry someone of their own sex.

But the teacher does have a serious question for the President: Barack, why haven’t you done your homework?

That’s right, Mr. A Student. Where is it?

Teacher wants to know.

And not just any teacher. William (Bill) Roney has been Yonkers’ Teacher of the Year, recipient of a Disney national teaching award, recognizing him as one of America’s top classroom educators; he was even picked for Ronald Reagan’s teacher in space program until that idea, well, blew up.

The latest fad among politicians is to put our schools in the hands of “entrepreneurs” (as if coming up with a bogus derivative to sell to Iceland is preparation for teaching long division to fifth graders). But I’ve decided to commit a heresy by asking advice on fixing our schools from, heavens!, a teacher. And this one knows his stuff.
…more

Bush under the Mistletoe
A kiss-off suggestion

Greg Palast 

Is that George Bush under the mistletoe, waiting for your good-bye kiss?The Bush Goodbye

Well, give'm the kiss-off they won't forget:

For the holidays, give the films that got us busted, censored, threatened. (Oh, what fun!) Make a donation to our investigative reporting foundation ...more

Night of the Living Vote-Snatchers
from Steal Back Your Vote!

Greg Palast 

Excerpted from the Greg Palast, Rev. Jesse Jackson, and Robert F. Kennedy’s comic book voter guide Steal Back Your Vote.

In 2002, George W. Bush signed the Help America Vote Act.

When a Bush tells you he’s going to “help” you vote – look out!

The result: in the 2004 presidential election, over three million votes – 3,006,080 – were cast and not counted. Like, what the !@#!?

That’s from the official data from an agency created by George Bush called the “Elections Assistance Commission.”  When a Bush tells you he’s going to “assist” our elections… (well, you get it).

Three MILLION ballots disappeared – Pfft!

And not just anyone’s ballots.  U.S. government experts reported, for example, that a black voter’s ballot is 900% more likely than a white voter’s ballot to get “lost” in the machine. Bush fired the experts.

Three million voters went missing in ”˜04 – but that ain’t nuthin’!www.StealBackYourVote.org

Law professor and voting law expert Robert F. Kennedy Jr. warns that it’s about to get a whole lot worse.  Nasty new spores of the “Help” America Vote Act went into effect since the last election that have turned the process into a vicious game of “Chutes and Ladders,” with traps and tricks between you and your vote…

Example: the Republican Secretary of State of Colorado “helped” her state vote by eliminating 19.4% of the voters from the voter rolls.  That’s one in five !@#$#@ voters!

Over three million missing ballots ”“ and now the voters themselves are disappearing by the millions.  Where the hell did they go?

*  *  *  *  *
Greg Palast is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Billionaires & Ballot Bandits, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, Armed Madhouse and Vultures’ Picnic , a BBC Television Book of the Year.

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Chewing the Buddha ”“ Bush at the Olympics

Greg Palast for  Tricycle: The Buddhist Review

Lhasa, Tibet – China’s secret police are just terrible at keeping themselves secret.

The detective, dressed in her business suit and pumps appropriate to urban Lhasa, did not expect to be trailing my wife and me up the steep hillside to a monastery 15,000 feet up an ice-crusted ridge. Even at 200 yards behind us, I could see her shivering in the thin, frozen air, trying, absurdly, to look like just another hiker on the barren slope.

But then, she really wasn’t trying to hide. Her presence was meant to send a message of fear and intimidation.

I got the point earlier when a photographer we’d helped sneak into Tibet was arrested, her film of protesting Tibetans seized and her camera smashed as she was hustled onto the first plane leaving the country.

When my police shadow looked away, I snapped a photo of the long boxes below me, roofs of the prison complex. It housed more Buddhist monks than any monastery.

At a hermitage carved into the summit rock I found my host sitting cross-legged under an ancient tapestry depicting a monster ready to devour quiet souls.

The holy man had questions for us:

Does Christianity have a god? (Answer: “Sometimes.”)

What is a ”˜President‘?

It was 1993. I told the monk the new President, …more

The House I Live In

Greg Palast 

America is a nation of losers. It’s the best thing about us. We’re the dregs, what the rest of the world barfed up and threw on our shores.

John Kennedy said we are “a nation of immigrants.” That’s the sanitized phrase. We are, in fact, a nation of refugees, who, despite the bastards in white sheets and the know-nothings in Congress, have held open the Golden Door to a dark planet. We are not imperialists and that’s why Bush lies and Cheney lies and, yes, the Clintons lied.

Winston Churchill didn’t lie to the Brits about their empire: He said, These lands belong to the Crown, we own’m and we’ll squeeze the value from them. “Imperialism,” as Karl Marx complained, was a good word in Britain, a word that got you elected in Europe until too recently.

Ignore the fey university hideouts of Europe. Go to Vietnam or to Brazil or to Morocco or to Tibet and you’ll find the same thing: America’s music, America’s freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of spirit and the heartfelt friendship of Americans for others have made the USA truly “the light unto the nations.” Americans are not liked worldwide, but loved-sometimes. I find that weird, but it’s true-and that drives Osama to bombs and madness.

We are a nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the cause that all men and women are created equal. It’s silly and precious to point out that these ideals have been mangled, abused, ignored and monstered by those with plans to make us an empire. We know that.

America is indeed exceptional. That’s not a boast, that’s a job we have to do. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson burdened us with that exceptionalism in crafting the most important international law signed up until the Geneva Convention: The Alien Torts Act, in which the USA takes onto itself the right to bring civil penalties against any act of torture, political murder and piracy that occurs anywhere in the world. It is now being used in suits brought against Chevron Oil in Ecuador and against IBM for the death of slave laborers in Nazi Germany.

Damn right America is exceptional. It is America that defiantly walked out of the first “world trade organization,” known as the British Empire, announcing, “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal and are ENDOWED BY THE CREATOR with INALIENABLE rights, and AMONG THESE are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Now, think about that. These rights don’t come from Congress or Kings or Soviets, they come from The Creator, that is, we are born free-and “we” are Sri Lankans as much as Minnesotans. Our rights are “INALIENABLE”: no one, NO ONE, may take them away, not the Ayatollahs of Tehran or Generalissimo Negroponte at the Department of Homeland Security or the kill-o-crats in Baghdad pre- or post- Saddam.

Will the snarling closet imperialists try to turn America from its cause and soul? Damn right they will. That’s why two U.S. military lawyers resigned from their posts at the Guantánamo prison camp. They wouldn’t put up with Bush-niks tearing up their Constitution. (“We the people” own it, not “them the Republicans.”) In Iran, these two guys would have been shot, in Britain arrested. In America, Bush fears them-that their story would come out-as it did. Only in America could that happen.

No question, the USA holds itself exempt from the legal standards of this world-which are execrable. Whose standard should we adopt? China’s torture standard? Britain’s Secrecy Act as a standard? Switzerland’s Nazi-money-protection standard?

Only in America would a Lyndon Johnson order federal troops to protect Black school kids’ right to attend class. You don’t have to tell me that Johnson then ordered the slaughter of three million Vietnamese-I know, I went to jail to oppose it. But go to Vietnam today and ask what people they most admire? Mention Russians, they laugh; mention Chinese, they may hit you; mention Americans and they say (to my astonishment, I’ll admit), “We love Americans.”

They don’t love Bush. That’s because George Bush is not an American. Look, I didn’t think much of Bill Clinton, and he dropped into some of the worst quasi-imperial habits of the New World Trade Order. But Clinton was also more popular worldwide than the pope and pizza combined because he represented that American sense of giving- a-shit, empathy and sincere friendship which are hallmarks of America’s Manifest Destiny.

Yes, America does have a Manifest Destiny-to Let Freedom Ring-which the evil and greedy and pernicious would twist into a grab for land and resources and ethnic cleansing. And so the Manifest Destiny of the journalists in our shitty little offices in New York and London is to expose these motherfuckers.

Ronald Reagan said, “America is the shining city on the hill.” And he hated it, doing his best to turn it into a dark Calcutta of the helpless. And when that didn’t work, George II tried to drown us in the Mississippi.

Go back to Taos, New Mexico, Voting Precinct 13. What you’ll find there is Pueblo Native war veterans who raise the flag every day and will fight and die for it knowing full well that the fight must also be taken to the pueblo’s racially biased voting booths.

Howard Zinn, a shining historian on our hill, reminds us, “It should be understood that the children of Iraq, of China, and of Africa, children everywhere in the world, have the same right to life as American children.”

Damn right, they do. That’s what Jefferson meant by “inalienable.”

And they won’t get their rights to life and liberty from Osama’s Caliphate of oil states or China’s money-crazed “Communism” nor half of Africa’s neo-colonial presidential Draculas or the puppet princes installed today in Iraq by George Bush.

Bush is so far away from his refugee loser roots that he just doesn’t get what it is to be American. So he steals the one thing that every American is handed off the boat: a chance. When they take away your Social Security and overtime and tell you sleeper cells are sleeping under your staircase, you don’t take a chance, you lose your chance, and the land of opportunity becomes a landscape of fear and suspicion, an armed madhouse.

You want to say that George Bush is an evil sonovabitch? I’d go further: he’s UN-AMERICAN.

And that’s why he lost the election. TWICE.

**************
Greg Palast is the author of the New York Times bestseller, Armed Madhouse: From Baghdad to New Orleans ”“ Sordid Secrets and Strange Tales of a White House Gone Wild from which this is excerpted. Sign up for Palast’s investigative reports at http://www.GregPalast.com

 

A reader response –

Greg,

Some of us care. After caring for so many years, I’m tired of the feeling of futility. I watched Grapes of Wrath last night. I was discouraged by the beautiful landscape, devoid of cars and houses, that we no longer
have. And somewhat surprised by the similarity of those thug ranch hands to some of the tactics that still exist today. Although there has been an evolution of caring brought about by presidencies of long ago. They still exist, although conservatives are still trying to turn this nation into a sweatshop.

One thing that keeps coming back to me with regards to almost everything is that we are the final word. The buck stops with the people. Mrs. Joad said that, when she was learning and growing stronger in the end. But what I find so disturbing about this country now. It’s “me”, instead of “we”. We’ve let the comfort that petroleum has brought us turn us into greedy and selfish monsters. Even the kind ones. Kind monsters. Unintended, but nonetheless careless. Too busy to care. Working, breeding, driving,
consuming.

We get what we deserve. And those who don’t deserve it get it whether they fight it or not. Those who are selfish are dragging us all down.

I know it sounds pathetic. But it is. When will we realize that we’re in Iraq because we don’t demand that we leave. Or demand impeachment now. That “table” Pelosi talks about is ours. Not hers. Although I don’t know
the intricate workings of Washington. I do know that impeachment is not off the table. Global warming is because of us. Not George Bush. And we shouldn’t depend on him to do anything about it.

We’re dependent. And I’ve always been offended by Independence Day since I was just a young adult. We’ve been dependent so long we take it for granted. We take democracy for granted. And we don’t participate. So it’s no longer an independent democracy. Lobbyists even paid our representatives to vote a certain way.

I appreciate the work you do. It takes more than that, though. I’m afraid the people don’t realize that until it’s too late. They’re too busy shopping.

Today I have a nervous feeling in my stomach. I’m finally running out of steam. When one studies and discovers what has really gone on, it takes the wind out of one’s sails to see others who deny those truths. Without truth, what do we have. The truth is so scrambled now that it is one reason why apathy is so rampant.

I’m afraid that it’s still Grapes of Wrath. You are Tom Joad. I am Tom Joad. There is optimism in our potential power. But until we use it, it’s just potential.

I’m sorry for rambling. Especially since you know it all. But sometimes one must vent. And sometimes a voice out of the dark gives light.

-A fan

$300 MILLION FROM CHAVEZ
TO FARC A FAKE

Greg Palast 

for TomPaine.com/Ourfuture.org

Originally published 6 March

EN ESPANOL

Do you believe this?

In early March Colombia invaded Ecuador, killed a guerrilla chief in the jungle, opened his laptop ”“ and what did the Colombians find? A message to Hugo Chavez that he sent the FARC guerrillas $300 million ”“ which they’re using to obtain uranium to make a dirty bomb!

That’s what George Bush tells us. …more