Abby Martin has taken her groundbreaking work to TelesurEnglish, now called The Empire Files. In this episode titled ‘The Tyrany of Big Oil,’ Abby talks with Greg Palast and Antonia Juhasz. Greg and Antonia delve into Big Oil’s grip on Washington DC and how far they will go to make a buck – leaving a wrath of destruction as they do.
Palast begins about 17 minutes into this episode discussing the story behind his investigation into why New Orleans drowned. To see more on this story, watch his film Big Easy to Big Empty and of course read Vultures’ Picnic.
Cohen says he’ll pay the $1.2 billion from his own pocket — but it’s a pretty big pocket. His net worth just hit ($9.4 billion). It would have been an even $10 billion, but last year he coughed up over half a billion for his company’s illegal trades. …more
On May 6, 2008, twelve fraudulent voters, dressed as nuns, attempted to cast ballots in the Presidential Primary in Indiana.
Luckily, ten of them were caught, stopped cold by Indiana’s new voter photo ID law. The law had been found to be constitutional by Federal Judge Richard Posner of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.
It turns out the nuns that Posner’s ruling turned away were, in fact …nuns. All the sisters had photo drivers licenses, but they had expired (the licenses, not the nuns). The Sisters of the Holy Cross, had, mercifully, given up driving (they were pushing 90 years of age.)
It was a cute story that ran nationwide. What wasn’t so cute, and ran nowhere in the US press, was that 72,000 Black voterswere blocked at the polls by this Posner-blessed photo ID law.
On September 18, hip-hop artist Pavlos Fyssas, a.k.a. Killah P, was stabbed outside a bar in Keratsini, Greece.
Larry Summers has an air-tight alibi. But I don’t believe it.
Larry didn’t hold the knife: The confessed killer is some twisted member of Golden Dawn, a political party made up of skin-head freaks, anti-immigrant fear-mongers, anti-Muslim/ anti-Semitic/ anti-Albanian sociopaths and ultra-patriot fruitcakes. Think of it as the Tea Party goes Greek.
Following Fyssas’ killing, other groups of dangerous psychopathic misfits, namely the European Union and Greece’s governing coalition, moved to ban Golden Dawn.
Over the weekend, Greece’s rulers arrested six members of Parliament who belong to Golden Dawn. Apparently, Greece’s political leaders prefer …more
It wasn’t too difficult picking out the Fat Bastard in the crowd of Russian models, craven moochers and media mavens. Besides, Fat Bastard and I were both desperate for coffee and heading for the same empty urn.
(We’d both signed on for Kazakhstan’s annual Eurasia Media Forum, a kind of Burning Man festival for Eastern oilgarchs and their media camp followers.)
Now, it is my policy never to mention an interlocutor’s weight, nor question the legitimacy of their birth, given my own vulnerabilities. (A would-be groupie told me, “You could do a few sit-ups, you know.” Yes, I know.)
But this particular Fat Bastard is asking for it. I had tried to put the belly of this beast out of my thoughts, but I still had a New York Times story folded in my pocket that begins:
ATHENS – As an elementary school principal, Leonidas Nikas is used to seeing children play, laugh and dream about the future. But recently he has seen something altogether different, something he thought was impossible in Greece: children picking through school trash cans for food; needy youngsters asking playmates for leftovers; and an 11-year-old boy, Pantelis Petrakis, bent over with hunger pains.
Fat Bastard – or Theodoros Pangalos, thinks the little Greek kiddies should …more
“Now that the sonovabitch is dead, why is the US still angry with us?”
“Us”, in this conversation, are the Taliban. The SOB in question is Osama bin Laden.
The Taliban’s frustration was relayed to me by Yahya Maroofi, Counsellor to Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai – Karzai’s Kissinger, if Kissinger had a soul.
The Silk Road nation of Kazakhstan is an excellent place to encounter the dervishes of the Great Game for control of the camel-and-pipeline routes of the Central Asian steppes. Here we can witness the diplomatic-military idiocies of new empires pathetically attempting to ignore the dried skeletons of the imperial forces that went before them.
Maroofi was spending the day in Kazakhstan’s capital on his way to little-noticed peace negotiations – little noticed because neither Uncle Sam nor Great-Uncle Britain were invited. Attendance is limited to those frontline states that will be left holding the grenade when the US and UK pull out the pin with the removal of their troops in 2014. The lineup includes Kazakhstan, Russia, Kyrgyzstan (birthplace of the Boston Bombers) and the big new swinging dick on the block, Turkey, as well as Iran, the nation most feared and despised by the Taliban. The unannounced guests, of course, are the Taliban themselves.
I am moved to recount a bit of my lengthy talk with the Afghan minister after reading reams of meretricious bunkum about Afghanistan from the pens of US propaganda repeaters pretending to be reporters. My favourite is, “Hope Seen for Afghanistan After Coalition Leaves,” in the New York Times. To give us an expert view, two American reporters used their 20-column inches to take down the words of General Joseph F Dunford Jr, commander of all “international forces” in Afghanistan.
Dunford just arrived in Afghanistan for the first time about 12 weeks ago. He may not know a Tajik from a camel fart, …more
I’ve seen a lot of sick stuff in my career, but this was sick on a new level. Here was the handwritten log kept by a senior engineer at the nuclear power plant:
Wiesel was very upset. He seemed very nervous. Very agitated. . . . In fact, the plant was riddled with problems that, no way on earth, could stand an earth- quake. The team of engineers sent in to inspect found that most of these components could “completely and utterly fail” during an earthquake.
“Utterly fail during an earthquake.” And here in Japan was the quake …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
In one super-PAC alone, Karl Rove and the Enron grifter Ed Gillespie, have assembled $200 million from big polluters and Wall Street moguls to buy the 2012 election.
Two of the Koch Brothers, Charles and David, pledged $130 million to elect candidates who favor unrestrained corporate profiteering.
The senators and congressmen they fund and elect are not representing the United States—they are representing Koch and its oil industry cronies, Big Pharma, and the Wall Street banksters currently mounting a hostile takeover of our government.
I have no problem characterizing these corporate-centric super-PACs as treasonous. We are now in a free fall toward old-fashioned oligarchy; noxious, thieving and tyrannical.
“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
I’m happy to be able to announce today that our book Billionaires & Ballot Bandits has made it guerrilla combat style onto the New York Times Best-seller list in its debut week, coming in at number 10. Two weeks ago I wrote and said “This is it…” Well – what I should have said is – this is just the beginning…
Thanks to you, Billionaires & Ballot Bandits went viral, people are chattering about it on Reddit, Facebook, and even that old bastion of journalism–print.
Thanks to you, we’ve got the grey old lady’s attention. The New York Times says that I write “prose [that] has a zippy, breathless quality that might put you in mind of Michael Moore.” Coming from The New York Times, I guess we’ll take it as a compliment (‘zippy’ is a compliment… right?).
And just a couple of days ago Arianna’s Huffington Post called it “The Most Terrifying Book a Democrat Could Read” and they meant that in a good way. “Billionaires & Ballot Bandits delineates the potential theft of democracy. For me, as a Democrat, it was terrifying.”
While it’s great to get reviews from the Times and HuffPost, I want to hear what you think. Please go to Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Goodreads and write your review.
The mainstream media is finally paying attention to the work that we do at the Palast Investigative Fund – coverage of voting hijinks is starting to make the front pages of newspapers, headlining the evening news.
But we still have a long way to go to stop the Ballot Bandits.
As Robert F. Kennedy Jr. says in the book’s foreword:
“Remember, this is YOUR democracy. Voter suppression is real. It’s often a crime. And it’s happening to YOU. But there is something that you can do to prevent it. That is the message of Palast’s book.
Read our book… Pass on the link, www.BallotBandits.org. And get the word out! There’s still time to steal back your vote…”
As a thanks to everyone who picked up the book, we’ll send you a free download of our film Election Files.
On Friday, Governor Mitt Romney had breakfast with billionaires.
JOHN PAULSON, Paul Singer and Ken Langone have dropped more than a million dollars each into the Romney “Super-PAC” Restore Our Future. As Butch said to Sundance, “Who ARE these guys?”
Singer’s known as “The Vulture” on Wall Street. Langone’s database company came up with the list of innocent Black voters that Katherine Harris wiped off the voter rolls of Florida in 2000. But who is Paulson, a guy so dark and devious he doesn’t even have a nick-name?
I tried to join them (“Sorry, sir”) just to ask why Romney was chowing down with the nation’s most notorious billionaires and ballot bandits.
Here is just a bit about Breakfast Billionaire #3: John Paulson from my new book, Billionaires & Ballot Bandits now renamed The Best Democracy Money Can Buy): How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps—An investigation of Karl Rove, the Koch Gang and their Buck-Buddies. There’s a comic book inside by Ted Rall with an introduction by Bobby Kennedy Jr. Get it here now.
It was just released today and already hit NUMBER ONE NON-FICTION PAPERBACK in the USA. (Barnes & Noble)
In August 2007, billionaire John Paulson walked into Goldman Sachs, the investment bank, with a billion-dollar idea. Paulson’s brainstorm had all the elements that Goldman found enchanting: a bit of fraud, a bit of flimflam, and lots and lots of the ultimate drug: OPM—Other Peoples’ Money.
Paulson’s scheme was simple. Paulson, a much followed hotshot hedge-fund manager, would announce that he was betting big on the recovery of the U.S. housing market. He was willing to personally insure that …more
We need to put this book up on #1 on Amazon and B&N and the Times list as we did with The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. If we slam the the NY Times Bestseller list again, they’ll have to talk about it; the peacock, the eyeball and at the fox will have to take notice.
Let’s make sure the media can’t ignore our book.
When they see a hit, that allows me and Ted Rall (who wrote the killer comic book inside) and Bobby Kennedy (who wrote the intro and key chapter), to get on the air to blow the whistle.
The book, say 50 reviewers, is funny. But vote theft is no joke, and as Kennedy says, “IT’S A CRIME.”
Stealing elections is an ugly business–and for the Kochs, the Ice Man, the Vulture, the Snake and the other billionaires, vote theft is a profit center.
So when I say, This is it!” I mean it. This is OUR moment. If you’ve ever donated to the Palast Investigative Fund, shared my work on Facebook, tweeted a link – yelled at your friends about voter caging, oil spills, vultures – then you’re part of my team – and I thank you.
People are already calling Billionaires & Ballot Bandits the sequel to The Best Democracy Money Can Buy (“Palast’s best”- Pacifica) – but I don’t want to make it a trilogy.
Let’s put the vote-rustling trickster out of business right now. We helped put the voter ID horror show, illegal “felon” and “alien” purges and the whole issue of ballot banditry into the mainstream media conversation. Now, let’s get the rest of the story out there of the other 6 ways they steal the vote (purging, prestidigitizing, blocking, caging…well, read it yourself.)
Billionaires & Ballot Bandits is an experiment – I receive no money from it – all my proceeds go to the a 501c3 not-for-profit Palast Investigative Fund.
If you already bought it THANK YOU. Really, we can’t thank you enough.
But we’re going to ask one more thing, spread the word. Get your printer warmed up and print out this leaflet it’s from Billionaires & Ballot Bandits and it’s your front line defense document. Make 20 copies and hand it out at your college, your nursing home or wherever people congregate these days in real life.
If you read my columns, watch my BBC or Democracy Now! reports, you’re just getting the news appetizers. The whole enchilada, the whole book, is tastier than you can imagine.
Go to Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble right now and write a review – then get it out to your mailing lists, your yoga studio, your sleeper cells and on your facebook page.
We don’t have the budget to advertise like the 1% do.
Thanks for everything – and remember you’re the reason why we can do what we do – you’re our Peoples’ Mic – now move your fingers and spread the word.
Karl Rove, the Kochs and their buck-buddies have a plan to swipe 5.9 million votes. Now you know it, now you need it. Today makes the difference, so please order.
And note: Whether you get the book on line, from a bookstore or from BallotBandits.org, the proceeds support our not-for-profit fund for investigating the billionaires and the ballot bandits that are threatening our democracy.
See you in our funny papers,
Greg Palast is the Author of the recently published, acclaimed book Vultures’ Picnic and the New York Times Bestsellers Armed Madhouse and The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. Palast has investigated US election irregularities since 2000 where he first uncovered Katherine Harris’ purge of thousands of innocent black Floridian voters from the voter rolls, thus handing the White House to George W. Bush. Palast has since reported extensively on election issues for BBC Newsnight, the UK Guardian papers, Harper’s Magazine, The Nation, Democracy Now! and Rolling Stone.
Palast’s brand new book Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps, will be out on September 18. You can pre-order Billionaires & Ballot Bandits from Barnes & Noble, Amazon or Indie Bound. Author’s proceeds from the book go to the not-for-profit Palast Investigative Fund for reporting on voter protection issues.
“Why Obama Is Likely to Lose in 2012” is the title of a column Karl Rove wrote in the Wall Street Journal in June 2011.
It’s not Rove’s prediction: this is his plan to make sure Obama will lose. That’s fine with me—if Rove prefers vanilla to chocolate, hey, it’s a free country. But how Rove plans to take Obama down is contained in the subhead, and it gives me the chills:
“even a small drop in the share of black voters would wipe out [Obama’s] winning margin in North Carolina.”
Here, Rove is not talking about winning by convincing black voters to vote Republican. The key to victory is preventing the black vote. Period. Rove suggests, with a wink and nudge, the Game Plan: …more
CHICAGO. In a school with some of the poorest kids in Chicago, one English teacher–I won’t use her name–who’d been cemented into the school system for over a decade, wouldn’t do a damn thing to lift test scores, yet had an annual salary level of close to $70,000 a year. Under Chicago’s new rules holding teachers accountable and allowing charter schools to compete, this seniority-bloated teacher was finally fired by the principal.
In a nearby neighborhood, a charter school, part of the city system, had complete freedom to hire. No teachers’ union interference. The charter school was able to bring in an innovative English teacher with advanced degrees and a national reputation in her field – for $29,000 a year less than was paid to the fired teacher.
You’ve guessed it by now: It’s the same teacher.
It’s Back to School Time! Time for the editorialists and the Tea Party, the GOP and Barack Obama’s Education Secretary Arne Duncan to rip into the people who dare teach in public schools.
And in Arne’s old stomping grounds, Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is stomping on the teachers, pushing them into the street.
Let’s stop kidding ourselves. This is what Mitt Romney and Obama and Arne Duncan and Paul Ryan have in mind when they promote charter schools and the right to fire teachers with tenure: slash teachers salaries and bust their unions.
Greg Palast is the author of the new Book Billionalres and Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps. For two decades, Palast was an investigator for Chicago-area unions, including the Chicago Teachers Union.
They’ve almost stopped pretending, too. Both the Right Wing-nuts and the Obama Administration laud the “progress” of New Orleans’ schools–a deeply sick joke. The poorest students, that struggle most with standardized tests, were drowned or washed away.
One thing Democrat Emanuel and Republican Romney both demand of Chicago teachers is that their pay, their jobs, depend on “standardized tests.” Yes, but whose standard?
Here are an actual questions from the standardized test that were given third graders here in NYC by the nation’s biggest test-for-profit company:
“…Most young tennis stars learn the game from coaches at private clubs. In this sentence a private club is….” Then you have some choices in which the right answer is “Country Club – place where people meet.”
Now not many of the “people [who] meet” at country clubs are from the South Side of Chicago–unless their parents are caddies. A teacher on the South Side whose students are puzzled by the question will lose their pay or job. Students on the lakefront Gold Coast all know that mommy plays tennis at the Country Club with Raul on Wednesdays. So their teacher gets a raise and their school has high marks.
And while Mayor Rahm promises kids in “bad” schools new teachers (the same ones at lower pay) at high-score schools, in fact, they are never actually allowed in.
You want to know what’s wrong with our schools? Benno Schmidt, CEO of the big Edison Schools teach-for-profit business is a creepy, greedy privateer. But he told me straight: that before Hurricane Katrina, his company would never go into New Orleans because Louisiana spent peanuts per child on education. He made it clear: You get what you pay for. Not what you test for.
So the charter carpetbaggers slither in, cherry-pick the easy students, declare success. The tough cases and special ed kids are left in the public system so they can claim the public system fails.
Here’s what the teacher who was terrible at $70,000 but brilliant at $41,000 told me:
“They’re not doing this in white neighborhoods. And they want to get rid of the older, experienced teachers with seniority who cost more. Get rid of the teachers and, ultimately get rid of the kids. And the charter school gets to pick the kids who get in.”
It’s simple. When you look at the drop-out rates in New York (41%) and Chicago (44%), the solution offered is to pay teachers less. They punish those who dare to work in poor schools where kids struggle and you can bet that “washing away” half the kids in our schools is, in fact, exactly what they’ve planned.
It’s notable that, when he lived in Chicago, Barack Obama played basketball with city school chief Arne Duncan, but Obama sure as hell didn’t send his kids to Arne’s crap public schools. Those are for po’ folk.
His kids went to the tony “Lab” School in Hyde Park. Obama knows what Duncan knows and what Romney knows: there’s no money and no need for universal education. Yes, they like to say that “children are our future.” But they mean the children of China are our future, the Chinese kids who will make the stuff we want and the children of India who will program it all for us.
After all, how much education does some obese kid from Texas need to stack boxes from China in a Wal-Mart warehouse?
Education is no longer about information and learning skills. It’s now about “triage.” A few selected by standardized tests or privileged birth will be anointed and permitted into better and “gifted” schools.
The chosen elite are still very much needed: to invest in India and Vietnam, to design new derivatives to circumvent the laughable new banking laws, and to maintain order among the restless hundred-million drop-outs squeezed out of the colon of our educational system.
The Obama/Duncan/Emanuel plan is to create Bantustans of un-chartered, cheaply-run dumpster schools within a government system. But Romney and the GOP would give every child a “choice” even outside government schools with “vouchers.”
Of course, the “vouchers” don’t vouch for much. Romney’s old alma mater, Cranbrook Academy, runs at $34,025 a year, not counting the polo sticks and horse. The most generous voucher program is Washington DC’s, beloved of the GOP, which pays about $7,500, or if the student’s “choice” is Cranbrook, about 2 months of school. Hyde Park Day School Chicago is $35,900. To give each kid a real choice, not just a coupon, means a massive increase in spending per pupil. I didn’t see that in the Republican platform, did you?
The experienced teacher in Chicago who took the pay cut was offered one consolation. She was told she could make up some of the pay loss by quitting the union and saving on union dues.
So that’s the program. An educational Katrina: squeeze the teachers until they strike, demolish their unions and drown the students.
Chicago’s classroom war is class war by another name.
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Greg Palast is the Author of the recently published, acclaimed book Vultures’ Picnic and the New York Times Bestsellers Armed Madhouse and The Best Democracy Money Can Buy.
You can pre-order Billionaires & Ballot Bandits from Barnes & Noble, Amazon or Indie Bound. Author’s proceeds from the book go to the not-for-profit Palast Investigative Fund for reporting on voter protection issues.