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Greg Palast interview: "I think the Left is too fucking stiff."

GNN: So what's a lefty or progressive or just a mildly skeptical person to do?

Palast: Dance all night. I think the Left is too fucking stiff. The Left hasn't had an erection in years. We are not approaching people in a normal manner. I mean, these weird words like "imperialism." You go to the corner bodega, the average asshole in America isn't an "imperialist." They're just scared like everyone else, or they don't give a shit. In America we run between falling asleep, going to Disneyworld, and fear.
Guerrilla of the Week

Editor's Pick, May 10, 2004

Greg Palast is back with an updated, expanded edition of the bestseller that won't die, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy  http://www.gregpalast.com/store.htm GNN's Jenn Bleyer caught up with America's most prolific muckraker at a recent New York event. Palast was in rare form, pulling no punches as he explained how we're headed for another election debacle, the connection between Iraq and America's African-American community, and why Michael Moore is allowed to get away with what he does.

GNN: What's new in this edition of your book?

Palast: Well, there's nothing new in the sense that it's the same old thieving shits that have been walking away with everything in our nation that isn't bolted down, plus hunks of Mesopotamia. That ain't new. What's new is the information that I have on exactly how they do it. What's new on the election story? It's grim. Our president has signed the Help America Vote Act. When George W. Bush is going to help me vote, I'm concerned.

They're pushing it to go digital, and I think a lot of people are getting distracted worrying about the hacking. The real game is what the Civil Rights Commission calls the "no count," which is machines that don't work, power failures, machines that lock up. Hey, you have a laptop, right? Your presidency is hanging on it. This isn't about whether the machines work or not—they work perfectly. That's where I investigated. I went into Broward County's white precinct where touch screen voting works just wonderful, like a coconut oil massage. Real smooth. And you go into the black precincts and it's like plantation whips brought out in digital form. Precincts were shut down for hours while they told people, come back tomorrow. Power failures. You name it. In the black community, thousands of votes were lost in Broward County with the touch screen vote.

In the new edition of the book, I am revealing something that was discovered by the Civil Rights Commission in their raw data. 1.9 million votes were cast and never counted in the last election. Thrown in the friggin' garbage cans. Half of those were cast by African-Americans. And it's state after state after state, with all kinds of different machines. The biggest game they play is saying "blacks don't have education, they can't figure out the ballot." That's a wonderful little racist out. If you give black people the same machines, they have the same vote count as white people. Election supervisors told me they told the Jebster about it beforehand. You can't find this stuff in mainstream newspapers. Ted Koppel runs this story and it's, "blacks is too dumb to figure out how to vote." Dig: You're one thousand times more likely to lose your vote if you're black than if you're white.

GNN: Have you seen concrete evidence of this happening in other black counties in the country?

Sure. Chicago, Illinois is the worst place in the country. I watched as the machine totals on the back of the lever machines were simply read off differently in the black precincts. Chicago has the worst spoilage rate—that's what they call it, the "spoilage rate." That's because the Daly machine can't allow a black majority of the Democratic Party to take back their party from the white folks who maintain the political plantation in Chicago. Basically it's like political cotton pickin' out there. That's an old one.

GNN: So what's the solution?

Palast: Kill the white people, we know that. But since that's not going to happen, we have to say that we know. And we have to say we're not buying this jive ass bullshit they're doing with the Help America Vote Act.

GNN: Has their been any mainstream coverage of this story?

Palast: Absolutely none. The L.A. Times ran this big story about Greg Palast, one of the world's greatest investigative reporters. Big story. Whoa, I can send that to my mom! But then I go to the editor and say, if I'm such a great investigative reporter, why don't you run my story? "Well, what story?" A million black votes missing. "Oh, we've run that story." You've run that story? What, in the invisible ink edition? See, when you defend black people, you suddenly became an invisible man, like black people are. You're invisible. You're behind the glass.

That's not unrelated to what I found on Iraq. What I found on Iraq was a document that's the Iraq strategy, post-conflict plan for the economy. These little weasels had been working on it, as far as I can tell, since before they returned the rented tuxes from the inaugural. This is why we're there. Why are kids there getting their asses shot off? Saddam's gone. What the fuck are we still doing there? That's a simple question and nobody's answering it. The Left is still arguing about whether we should have gone in. Forget all that bullshit. The reason we're still there is to "sell off all the state assets, especially in the oil industry"— that's a quote. They don't want you to know that when your kid comes home in a box, it's because of Appendix B, which says we need 360 days to grab their oil. Big problem. In those 360 days, there's a lot of angry Iraqis. We can call them old Baathists. We can call them Al Qaeda agents. But I'd call them Vietnamese. It's coming.

GNN: If Iraq really does devolve into a modern Vietnam, how will they maintain popular support for it?

Palast: They don't give a shit about popular support. Bush is running on fear. He's the fear candidate. He's the "you better get scared cuz those guys with the towels on their heads, they're coming to git you" candidate. People have to understand what the game is: pump the fear. His daddy created Osama bin Laden, who came back for us. His daddy created Saddam. And now he's creating Musharraf and all the other crazy bastards, and it's going to be a very fucking dangerous world. They're going to make it so goddamn dangerous that then they'll turn around and say, see, you need us. They're selling fear. That's their commodity.

GNN: You seem pretty convinced that this administration is coming back for a sequel.

Palast: No. The way I read it is that Bush is running unopposed. The only hope for regime change is that Kerry is acceptable to the elite. I've been talking to the oil guys behind the plans to take over Iraq, and they're not unhappy with Kerry at all. Obviously, Bush is their guy. He lets them drill in the Oval Office. Right now we've established a puppet government in Iraq, and the Saudis have established a puppet government here. That's what we're talking bout. But the puppets have started playing with their own strings, and that's a problem. That's why Jim Baker moved his office right into the White House. And now they're worried that Bush is creating too many problems. The big fear of the oil companies is not Iraqis. It's that the neo cons are going to try to undercut OPEC. So they have to control George.

GNN: And you think they have the same likelihood of controlling Kerry's puppet strings?

Palast: Kerry says we should have more troops there, and we should stay there until it's stabilized. Well. Iraq hasn't been stabilized since 1911. I have one question for Kerr. What the hell do you mean by "stabilized?" Is California stabilized? Think about this: Timothy McVeigh was our homegrown terrorist. And where did we train him? Gulf War I. He was part of the troops that buried Iraqi soldiers alive when they tried to surrender in their trenches in the Gulf. So he learned that you can murder unarmed people—the Iraqis were surrendering, they were unarmed—you can murder unarmed people if your cause is just. And he took that home from the Gulf War. People would say, how could a Gulf War hero with all these medals kill innocent people? Excuse me, how could a man who killed all these innocent people, kill more innocent people?? So those guys that were having Iraqis rape each other, they're going to come back, and they're going to be your cops on the south side of Los Angeles. Welcome home! The war will come back home. Forget the terrorists, we're creating our own.

GNN: So what's a lefty or progressive or just a mildly skeptical person to do?

Palast: Dance all night. I think the Left is too fucking stiff. The Left hasn't had an erection in years. We are not approaching people in a normal manner. I mean, these weird words like "imperialism." You go to the corner bodega, the average asshole in America isn't an "imperialist." They're just scared like everyone else, or they don't give a shit. In America we run between falling asleep, going to Disneyworld, and fear.

GNN: Can you tell yet which are the next Enrons and Global Crossings coming up the pike?

Palast: Well, people look in terms of collapse. What I look at is who's ripping off the public, who's stealing the public blind. Unfortunately, there was too much weeping over the Enron stockholders, who certainly didn't mind when the casino was running hot. I don't give a shit about people who lost money on Enron stock. Who are the next ones? The rip-off industry is coming back. We have Reliance Energy. The Koch Brothers—I'm deeply concerned about their little scams. Bass brothers. These are the barbeque billionaires who Bush hangs out with. I would look to Wackenhut Corporation, which is going from Prisons-R-Us to Spy-for-Hire. They're all dangerous. Plus, when they're not dangerous, they are, as Jello Biafra says, clownocrats. It's not just the evil do, it's that they're complete fuck-ups. It's like Castro and the exploding cigar.

GNN: What has Michael Moore's impact been on disseminating your work?

Palast: He's wonderful. He takes my stuff and he turns it into something that he can get past the censors, because he's a clown. If I can't get it into The New York Times, give it to the fat man in the chicken suit and you get it through as a joke. Which is fine, as long as it's done right. We don't have many choices. I don't mind doing skywriting. I have a dance track out, Silence of the Lambs. We're got a CD out with Jello Biafra. We've got DVD's. Larry Flynt is putting us in between the beaver shots. This weekend I was doing gospel with Jesse Jackson and the choir. Whatever we can do to get the word out.

GNN: Your detractors seem to go after you with pretty low-blow character attacks. Do they ever challenge the actual substance of your work?

Palast: Well, I must say I've been accused of being bald, and there's some substance to that. They never go after the substance. It's these whisper campaigns. I had that in England a lot—even worse in England. Everything from my sex life, or lack thereof, to that I'm twisted and maniacal, as Katherine Harris said. And the IMF said that I'm the master of misinformation. I like it cuz it's like, zing! The arrow hit. If anyone has information to counter what I've said, I'm going to publish it. I'll be the first guy to take back a story and correct it. I correct stories all the time. I have to work on the information that I've got. We're not talking papal infallibility here—we're talking journalism. Shit, it ain't the Magna Carta. On the other hand, most of the people who complain are whiners, bellyachers, and guilty as charged.

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Greg Palast ROCKS! 11.May.2004 02:37

monkeygrrrl

"So those guys that were having Iraqis rape each other, they're going to come back, and they're going to be your cops on the south side of Los Angeles. Welcome home! The war will come back home. Forget the terrorists, we're creating our own."

Preach on, brother!

Seriously, though, Palast is an amazing investigative reporter. He has his roots in investigation for labor unions, and he's totally radical even if you don't wanna believe it. I definitely recommend the book for whoever hasn't read it.

Palast and Michael Moore have a special knack for getting at people who don't normally think about the issues to listen b/c they bring a little humor to the situation.

Too stiff is right 11.May.2004 04:45

Amen Brother

Solidarity Forever!

Dissent is Treason!!

Especially among the Left!!!

Audio of most recent visit 11.May.2004 07:26

Jim Lockhart eagleye@PhilosopherSeed.org

Audio file of Greg's most recent visit to Portland, where he appeared with Antonia Juhasz at PSU. Each file is about 30 minutes in length:
Greg Palast

Antonia Juhasz



Try those links again 11.May.2004 08:36

Jim


We need... 11.May.2004 10:09

ranger

...more Greg Pallasts who understand real people and cut to the chase. Stop the BS and get to the point.

"Imperialism" and other words 11.May.2004 11:07

xyzzy

Dance all night. I think the Left is too fucking stiff. The Left hasn't had an erection in years. We are not approaching people in a normal manner. I mean, these weird words like "imperialism." You go to the corner bodega, the average asshole in America isn't an "imperialist." They're just scared like everyone else, or they don't give a shit. In America we run between falling asleep, going to Disneyworld, and fear.
Sure, speaking in tired terms that people have been trained to turn their brains off as soon as they hear is a problem. But there's another problem ? the entire fact that the masses get brainwashed into not considering certain ideas simply because of the labels attached to them.

See, even if a new word is coined to describe the foreign policy of the US government, "scuzzlefrump" for instance, that word will soon be turned into a trigger for the same "disengage brain and reject the idea forthwith" response that "imperialism" now provokes.

I think it's more important to simply talk with people than at them. Don't start out with labels, work up to them. Start out with a commitment not to do anything but think logically and question initial gut reactions. Discuss US foreign policy, mention the commonly-accepted meanings of the term "imperialism" (even invite the person you're talking with to check a dictionary), and a certain conclusion becomes obvious.


Portland

dirty old man? 11.May.2004 14:17

june

Great interview, but why did the editors highlight the one response that makes Palast come off as a mid-life crisis plagued weirdo? "The left hasn't had an erection in years." What is he talking about?

Free association 11.May.2004 15:53

Isn't cheap

"Great interview, but why did the editors highlight the one response that makes Palast come off as a mid-life crisis plagued weirdo?"

I didn't even think it made sense. How can we be too stiff if we can't even get it up? But not to worry, now everytime I delete a piece of spam trying to sell me viagra, I'll think of Greg. That'll come to about 100 times a day, vs. Michael Moore who I only think about every other day. Don't see what's wrong with that, sounds like I should think of Greg more often. I think I like 'im.

oh yes 11.May.2004 15:59

Sam Jones

nuthin´ but a rich, capitalist white guy making big bucks off us all while playin the "i am radical lefter than you" scam...
b.s. name dropping and city hoppin.
michael moore stealin all his stuff...yeah sure.
go to g. palast web site and all i see is buy, buy, buy give me money, make me rich so i can rub elbows with the rich on the right and act like i am the real elitist.
crap.

question for "Sam Jones" 11.May.2004 16:31

Quizmaster

on what basis or evidence do you define Greg Palast as: "rich"?

rich? 12.May.2004 02:46

Indy thinker

To Quizmaster----now you are sounding like somebody trying to defend the wealth of George Bush...
Palast is jetting all over the country, dropping big $$$, that doesn´t take money?...
His website is asking for lots of input of money, but I don´t see it going out except to further the author´s lifestyle.
Maybe we should have all us non-right wing activists disclose out financial situation...money corrupts.

"Indy thinker" smells like Disinformationalist Troll. 12.May.2004 03:22

Quizmaster

I don't "sound like" [your characterization] anything -

my original, short-and-simply stated question asked for EVIDENCE in the claim made by "Sam Jones" - which you've given no evidence for, either - that Palast is somehow "rich".

"lifestyle"?!? as an independent journalist, he has a right to make a living, and to research and distribute (including via speaking engagement) valuable information on dozens of stories that are not even close to being covered by multi-billion dollar U.S. corporate media. independent, non-corporate journalism is far from being a cash cow, and neither are small-to-moderate selling books for their author.

"somebody trying to defend the wealth of George Bush..." - that'd be you, "Indy stinker".

now - where's the documented evidence that Palast is "rich"?


You people have lost it 12.May.2004 08:24

me

Who care if Pallast makes a decent living. If his message is righteous and his lifestyle is not hypocritical, more power to him. What, only low-moderate income people have valid opinions? In that case, Bush will win by a land slide because that's his demographic. The scared shitless middle Americans.

To paraphrase my hero 12.May.2004 11:14

Indy thinker

Quizmaster: To paraphrase my hero, Bill Clinton, it depends on your definition of what "rich" is...

"Indy stinker" - I rest my case. 12.May.2004 12:37

Quizmaster

your mention of Clinton (as though any readers/users of this website would care about him, or that he's somehow 'relevant' to this topic whatsoever) is final proof of your clueless, Disinformationalist origin and how little you know about real grassroots activists.

yuck 12.May.2004 12:53

m

Oh that sounds like what we need, errections and "beaver shots." Fuck that guy. I went out to dinner with Palast and associates last time he was in Eugene and it was fucking gross. On stage he had fascinating stories to tell, but off stage he thought and spoke in terms of pure power. I swear, several of the people there, upon hearing about individuals they didn't know, right away asked "do they have any power?" Palast and Alan Siporin yacked all night about how to wrangle the democratic party into the hands of like minded progressives. it was a party of lefty insiders dropping names and slapping backs, first in the most expensive hotel in town, then at a college bar down the road.

"m" - You "went out to dinner with Palast" 12.May.2004 13:04

??

if you actually did this of course,

it also makes YOU, "m", one of the "lefty insiders" who is "dropping names and slapping backs" . . .

Hey, Didn't They Pull That One on M. Moore 10,000 Times? 12.May.2004 17:55

I Like Greg

"nuthin´ but a rich, capitalist white guy making big bucks off us all while playin the "i am radical lefter than you" scam...
b.s. name dropping and city hoppin."

So is Dick Cheney but I like Greg better just 'cause he's a lot more likely to be able to pass a polygraph. Beats Greg sure must beat being Dick, but then so does bamboo shoots under the fingernails.

dick vs greg 13.May.2004 07:19

william v. s.

trouble with greg and the m.moore´s of the world is that their whole schtick is criticizing and complaining. they never do. they never are in positions of responsibility or real power that effects the lives of others. it is very easy to complain about those that do.
greg and the m.moore listen to the music their audience wants to hear, package up whines and harranges against some right-side target, the left eats it up, and greg and m.moore´s laugh all the way to the bank...
speaking of m.moore - bet you are never going to see him do a movie ripping big corporate disney or hollywood...he is in bed with the big buck corporate profit muckers ripping us off at the box office, the videorental store and dvd sales...
personally, if i see a m.moore product in a store i do my own guerilla marketing of moving the product to another section of the store...frozen foods is my favorite. the guy is an obese fraud.
i would like to see somebody do a documentatry on greg and m.moores lives - follow them around and see how capitalistic and "un-left" they really are. shock people. bet greg and m.moore would not allow an independent documentary made on them...

This reeks of sexism 13.May.2004 10:22

redwood

I like Palast's books and his work but not his sexist comments. Are there no women in the left, Greg? Why would you even want to associate with Larry Flint? We will never make real lasting change as long as some of us are kept down.

Hustling the Left 25.Jul.2005 05:50

Nikki Craft info@hustlingtheleft.com

:<>:<>:<>:<>:<>:<>:<>:<>:<>:<>:<>:<>:<>:
Hustling the Left
Deconstructing
Manufactured Contempt
Entrenched in Larry Flynt's
Corporate Sexxxism Empire
 http://www.hustlingtheleft.com/

When White Males Attack:
Larry Flynt, Racism and The Left
 http://www.hustlingtheleft.com/mclune.html
:<>:<>:<>:<>:<>:<>:<>:<>:<>:<>:<>:<>:<>:

Hustling the Left 25.Jul.2005 05:56

Nikki Craft info@hustlingtheleft.com

:<>:<>:<>:<>:<>:<>:<>:<>:<>:<>:<>:<>:<>:
Hustling the Left
Deconstructing
Manufactured Contempt
Entrenched in Larry Flynt's
Corporate Sexxxism Empire
 http://www.hustlingtheleft.com/

When White Males Attack:
Larry Flynt, Racism and The Left
 http://www.hustlingtheleft.com/mclune.html
:<>:<>:<>:<>:<>:<>:<>:<>:<>:<>:<>:<>:<>:
Jew B Que from Hustler Magazine published by Greg Palast's Friends
Jew B Que from Hustler Magazine published by Greg Palast's Friends
Your Revolution by Sarah Jones
Your Revolution by Sarah Jones