the second half of my hard hitting interview with Greg Palast. Find out why the Democrats didn't get rid of e-voting when they controlled the house, senate and White House.
Audio: Greg Palast: The War Between the Billionaires
Thanks to OEN volunteer editor Don Caldarazzo for help editing the transcript.
I spent almost an hour talking with one of the best investigative reporters in the world, Greg Palast, about his newest book, Billionaires and Ballot Bandits. And we got into something very interesting-- that there's a war between two kinds of billionaires-- The vampire squids and the Vultures. And yes, this affects the elections and the nine ways they are going to be stolen and corrupted.
Here's the continuation of the interview (first part of interview can be found here.
Rob Kall: Why didn't the Democrats, when they had control of the House, the Senate, and the White House, get rid of e-voting?
Greg Palast: Because they made a trade. Number one, the machines that were being used in places like the punch cards, the butterfly ballots, these were costing more votes than the electronic machines. The Democrats lost in Florida, one hundred- seventy eight thousand votes in 2000 to vote spoilers.
People talked about the butterfly ballot because it was one of the rare times in which rich people in Palm Beach County lost their votes. Black people are used to this.
In the poorest towns in Florida, in Gadsden, they didn't lose a hundred votes. In Gadsden one in 8 votes, was lost due to machine error in the blackest, poorest town in 2000.
That stuff hasn't ended. So the Democrats thought, okay, we will give money to upgrade machines because we're losing votes. And so Karl Rove, being quite brilliant, in the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) said okay. Well you know, they basically pushed it toward electronic machines through bribery. And by the way, if you're wondering why the Democrats do it, it's called bribes. The Democratic Secretary of State of New Mexico bought unbelievably expensive, malfunctioning e-voting machines, for example, which lost every single vote for President in certain Hispanic districts, and that was a Democrat, her name is Rebecca Vigil-Giron and she's on our name to prison now for the bribery. That's how it works.
Rob Kall: What machines did they buy?
Greg Palast: In her case, it was ES & S machines.
Rob Kall: Well I have to tell you, Greg. I live in Bucks country and that's what Bucks County uses. They bought used machines, I believe, from New Mexico.
Greg Palast: (laughs) I like that! So, therefore, you know what Democrats are doing? Thinking, oh, I'll get around the electronic voting problem by sending in my ballot absentee. Shmuck. Don't... Go... Postal. Never mail in your ballot unless you absolutely must. Cause if you think they'll steal it electronically, why are you mailing it to them? It's really easy to steal it that way. All you need to do is have a mismark on your ballot, the wrong color envelope, the wrong shaped envelope, the wrong postage, you signed it differently on the outside of the envelope than the inside, you used a return address which does not match your voting address, used a middle initial when you didn't register with a middle initial, or you left the middle initial out when you registered with a middle initial.
Four hundred eighty-eight thousand [488,000] absentee ballots were mailed in and never counted in the 2008 race. That's a half a million ballots for minor glitches. And this time it's going to quadruple because the Republicans have an operation, a huge challenge operation. And they are going to go through every absentee ballot, and go through every one of the rules, and say that envelope was not properly sealed, someone used a different envelope, they didn't sign their name. This time instead of four hundred eighty-eight thousand absentee ballots in the garbage, figure two million minimum. Every expert I've talked to agrees with me, at least two million. So 'don't go postal' that's rule one in the ways beat the ballot bandits. Re-register, that's rule three. Rule two, which I just skipped is vote early, so walk your ballot in. So what you can do in places like New York, and I think you can do in many others places, is actually ask for the paper ballot, but do it in precinct, and do it at your early voting, so that if they say you've done it wrong, or if they say you're not registered, you can correct it. That's three of the steps, and there's seven but we don't have the time. But go to ballotbandits.org, download that poster, memorize it, give it to your mom, and your girlfriend, and your wife, and not at the same time, and make sure that you get it, and then if you read Billionaires and Ballot Bandits, which you can do until the Patriot Act 3 goes into effect, then you can learn how they're going to steal it ,so you can protect yourself and warn people.
Rob Kall: Okay, now you talk about Penny Pritzker and Robert Rubin in the book, in your chapter "Pennies from Heaven." Talk a little about there. That's the Obama side of this story. Talk a little bit about the Obama Billionaires. You said there are seven of them.
Greg Palast: Yes, Obama has his billionaires,too. And remember, Obama crushed McCain in terms of money from big finance. Banks were the oil companies for the 2008 election and they all went for Obama. And why? First of all, who ever heard of Barack Obama, which means "the one we've been waiting for," right, the blessed one, we've been"well who was waiting for him? Who ever heard of this guy? And not many people go in four years from the cesspool known as the Illinois State Legislature, to the Oval Office. Someone picked him out, and that was Penny Pritzker. Penny Pritzker is a rogue banker billionaire. She ran, she owned something called Superior Bank on the South side of Chicago, which virtually invented the sub-prime loan: the worst racist, steering, predatory lending foreclosures... It was basically a vampire bank. It was so bad that the Feds closed it down (if you can believe it), they actually shut that bank down because of its predatory practices and fined Penny Pritzker four hundred million dollars [$400M] personally. I don't think the federal government's ever fined one person four hundred million dollars, except for Penny Pritzker. But, for Penny that was pennies, because she's worth about 3 billion. She decided to take the local state senator, who represented the victims of her bank,
A guy named Barry Obama, and move his district to the Gold Coast, where she and the rich people live, including Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan, and introduced him to the bankers like Robert Rubin, JP Morgan, Dimon, and the rest, and funded him up the wazoo into the U.S. Senate and then on into the campaign trail with the idea, the bankers all joined in, with the idea that, you know, since there was such a public reaction, almost impossible or any Republican to get elected, so what they needed was a guy who would be the bankers toy boy, and they got him. And you know, remember within a couple days of Obama's election he did something quite extraordinary.
He named his economic cabinet. He named Mary Summers, because Summers as Economic Czar because Summers could never be confirmed. He named Tim Geithner, the most incompetent, tin-head Secretary of Treasury we've ever had in America, since Alexander Hamilton, and these guys worked for Robert Rubin of Citibank, who deregulated the banks under Clinton, made a hundred and ten million dollars payoff from Citibank. They couldn't use him because he was dirtied with all the bailout money, so they brought in his little toadies, Geithner and Summers.
Rob Kall: And I think there were others, too. I think a guy who ran the OMB was also a Rubin guy too.
Greg Palast: Yeah, Rubin, Goldman Sachs, the whole gang, remember Rubin was C.E.O. of Goldman Sachs, then he became chairman of Citibank, co-chairman, so it's Citigroup. And so, the thing is that, the whole gangster, bankster crew came in, and they put Obama into place, and they are trying to keep him there. And you're saying why? Why not have a Republican, they've got their guy now? The answer is these other billionaires scare the mainline bankers. They're in a big battle right now. If you read Billionaires and Ballet Bandits, one of the most interesting things that's happening in America right now, is that for the first time in memory there's a huge, huge split between the hedge fund billionaires and the main-line bankers, and they're at war with each other. Total war. When I said that Barack Obama tried to stop "The Vulture" from making his money, he didn't do that because Barack Obama gives a tinkers damn about kids in the Congo. Remember, his daddy abandoned him, so he's abandoned Africa. The only reason why... you know, you don't need a Ph.D in psychology to figure that one out! Obama's never cared about Africa, but, you know, he was there for one day in his entire term, but, he does care what Citibank thinks, and what JP Morgan thinks, and what United Bank of Switzerland thinks, and they think that Paul "The Vulture" Singer, that "The Snake" Paulson, that "Ice Man" Simmons, that these guys are an absolute threat to the world financial order and to their profits. So they told Obama to go in and stop The Vulture. So what you see today, all this stuff: abortion and"
Rob Kall: Alright wait, we're going to get to this in a second, let me just do a quick station ID. This is the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show ( WNJC 1360 AM), sponsored by OpEdNews.com. Just remember, Google the words liberal news or progressive opinion and OpEdNews pops up at the top of the Google search results. I'm talking with Greg Palast, he's the author of Billionaires and Ballot Bandits, co-authored with Ted Rall and Bobby Kennedy, Jr. The subtitle is How to Steal an Election in Nine Easy Steps, and we've been talking about the billionaires and how there's a war going on between the banker billionaires, and the hedge fund billionaires. This is really interesting stuff. I like the idea of a war between the bad guys at the top.
Greg Palast: For those of you who don't know Greg Palast, I'm an investigative reporter for BBC and Rolling Stone, and Nation, and for an investigative reporter, a war between elites is always wonderful, because you get information you would never get otherwise as they, you know, slice each other up, usually in the background, but sometimes there's enough info, especially within their own industry chatter press. They're willing to whisper to me about each other, which is a whole new thing. So you have a lot of fun in Billionaires and Ballot Bandits because these guys are exposing some of the things they do, and how they're making their money, but also what we have is the nine ways they are actually stealing the election. Like I've mentioned the purges, the knocking out the absentee ballots, you know, and electronic, we call that prestidigitizing, like, presto! And that's three. So you know, in a way, it's a lot of fun. I know it's crazy to talk about billionaires"
Rob Kall: I interrupted you, when you were going to tell me more about how there's this battle between hedge fund billionaires and the banker billionaires. What is the main difference in what they are trying to do, and why do the banker billionaires think that the hedge fund billionaires are going to destroy the world economy?
Greg Palast: Well, two things, because they've threatened to do so. First of all, some of it's very direct. "The Vulture" Singer, Romney's number one guy, has actually sued Citibank and JP Morgan for billions of dollars, because he is trying to bring down the economy of Argentina. He says that he has old bonds. He's like a repo-man and finds old supposed debts of these countries, which were actually canceled years ago. He finds these old debts and sues to get a hundred times what he pays for. So he'll put up ten million dollars and then sue for twenty billion, you know two hundred times of what he's paid. He has used Citibank. He has sued JP Morgan saying all the money they've received over decades from the country of Argentina belongs to him, and he's demanded that U.S. courts give Argentina, that the entire Argentine Central Bank, be emptied out and handed to him. I kid you not. So that Hilary Clinton"I do know that Hilary Clinton freaked out, because she saw the collapse of Argentina, an ally of America, as creating basically a terrorist state. As you know, Hezbollah has kind of moved into Argentina. They are very worried about creating a terrorist base in South America, which would happen with the collapse of the Argentine economy.
Rob Kall: Now, my understanding is that after Argentina collapsed, and they developed horizontalism, and their solidarity movement, that was the inspiration for many of the ideas of Occupy Wall Street. So"I see Argentina as a model that I would like to see happen in the U.S.
Greg Palast: Oh absolutely, one hundred percent. And in fact, the Nestor family has been a big supporter of my work, the President of Argentina. And in fact, you'll see in Billionaires and Ballot Bandits that the Argentine Embassy contacted me to say what the heck's going on Palast, because we don't expect Obama to be on our side? So they actually flew to New York, the ambassador's people flew to New York to find out from me, what was going on. I said okay"they go look at the political lineup. Because what happened is that Clinton went into court; unusual. Obama sent his guys into court; very unusual. Under unusual provisions of the U.S. Constitution, after all, Obama's a constitutional law professor, that allows the President of the United States to step into court actions and say that basically someone is actually impeding the conduct of the foreign policy of the United States. And so he accused, in these court filings, Obama and Clinton, as Secretary of State in their official capacities, said that Singer is threatening the foreign policy of the United States by bringing down Argentina. One thing that you have to understand about Argentina, the Argentines told the IMF and the big banks of New York to go to hell. We're not paying your usurious bond fees. Which is one of the most extraordinary and inspiring actions to happen in our hemisphere, as you correctly point out. They are the model to me of resistance to the New World Order. Fantastic. What people don't know is that while they did tell the banks, we're not going to pay these terrible bonds, but we'll give you stock in our nation instead. If we don't pay you, and we recover, we'll give you a piece of our economy. We'll pay you back based on how our economy does. Because Argentina told the banks to go to hell, Argentina's economy has roared and they've been making massive payments to these banks, which they don't mind. Their economy's roaring; they give them a little bit. They say okay, here you go. Singer says, "That's my money!" And so, in other words, the big banks are, you know, one thing about the big banks is that they always look forward. They don't care if you told them to go to hell before and they lost sixty-five billion. They see themselves making one hundred billion in the future from Argentina, and Singer wants to stop the whole game. Singer, and the vultures, and the Romney crew want to stop it. They want to seize the money. So there's this war.
Rob Kall: I'm hearing from you that Singer has this strategy where he buys up debt and then tries to collect it at huge multiples of that. But, I'm not clear about, still, the hedge fund manager billionaires versus the bank billionaires"what the war".
Greg Palast: Okay, remember the banksters.. Okay, I'll give you another example. Paul "The Vulture" Singer, the number one Romney guy, bought Greek government bonds when it collapsed. When the government of Greece and it's economy collapsed, Singer bought a bunch of Greek debt for about fifteen cents on the dollar, on the euro, right. Then the bailout, then the European Central Bank said okay we're going to bale out Greece and we'll give all the bondholders twenty cents on the dollar on your bonds. So Singer would have made a nice thirty percent [30%] profit for holding his bonds for a couple weeks. Thirty percent is a nice rate of return after a couple of weeks, right? Singer said no way. There are eight thousand bondholders, eight thousand, and only Singer and another Republican billionaire, one of the Bass brothers said no. Eight thousand bondholders agreed, two said no, but under the law they needed unanimity. Now, they said to Singer, if you do not agree to these terms and take your one-third profit, you're going to bring down the entire banking system of Europe. And he said "Yeah I will, won't I? Hehehe (evil laugh) It's nothing to me." Singer's worth many billionaires of dollars and he only have had a couple of bucks in the game. He makes money when things go bad, that's what happens.
Rob Kall: I think being one who doesn't care about the bankers or the hedge fund people"is that bad if the banking system goes down? What happens if it does go down?
Greg Palast: Well that's a different question completely. I was talking about the war between them.
Rob Kall: Yeah, yeah.
Greg Palast: That's why the banks"what I'm saying is that the big banks, every single bank, no exception in Europe, would technically be bankrupt if the Greek bonds collapsed, because Greek bonds are held as reserved currency. So, what I'm saying"
Rob Kall: So if that happens, the euro collapses and the European common market collapses there"
Greg Palast: Yeah, I mean, you have twenty-five percent  unemployment in Spain. Maybe that's not enough, but I think that's pretty bad. So I think that the" and you have about twenty percent unemployment in Greece, and people's incomes have dropped by two-thirds. So, whether the ECB thing was good or not doesn't matter. I'm talking about a battle between the bankers who wanted that money from the ECB and wanted to save their system, versus the vultures who don't give a crap if the whole thing, if Europe blows up in flames. We tried that before in '33, it didn't work out too well. So, understand that there's a difference between these guys, and that's the battle that's going on that's in Billionaires and Ballot Bandits. And therefore, Singer needs to steal this election. That's why he's lined up thirty-seven hedge fund billionaires. And the banks, remember, here's a good way to think about it. Goldman Sachs is, as you know, a giant sucker squid, a vampire squid. Vampires need you to stay alive so they can suck your blood, whereas, vultures, and these are vulture investors as they're called, vultures want you to die because they eat your corpse. So you have your choice. You have the guys who want to keep you alive to suck your blood, or those who want you to die and eat your carcass. That's the choice we have on the ballot. And I'm explaining why that choice has led to this massive war over the vote, and the massive steal of the vote by these billionaires. That's what's going on here.
Rob Kall: You answered my next question, which is they are both evil, how are they different? And now, that answers it.
Greg Palast: Does that clarify it? (laughs)
Rob Kall: And now, the answer is we don't want sucker squids and we don't want vultures. How do we move forward to a planet and a human race that doesn't have to deal with this horrible affliction, the vermin of the financial world?
Greg Palast: How do we get rid of"well, we started out our conversation about my book, Billionaire and Ballot Bandits, by saying we have to get rid of the billionaires. Now, we're not going to get rid of them in a democracy unless we can show that we have overwhelming voting power. We do have movements which have succeeded. We don't always lose and the bad guys don't always win. You know, to get fancy about it, we've had this kind of dialectic struggle, back and forth since, you know, 1660 in the United States.
I mean after all, from the Civil War, the Abolitionist Movement, the Labor Movement, the Environmental Movement, the Women's Movement. All these things are ultimately forms of class war in America, where wide movements have succeeded. Now, does that mean, and therefore, is voting the only important thing you can do? I don't think so. I mean, in fact, if you go to GregPalast.com, besides Billionaires and Ballot Bandits, I have a DVD, a film out called Why We Occupy. And so, it's very important that you understand that there's more to life than voting. But on the other hand, you brush your teeth. That doesn't mean that you don't then go to the doctor. The last thing you want to do in this world, the last thing you want to do, is let Karl Rove and his billionaires, the last thing you want to do is let a vulture like Paul "The Vulture" Singer, John "The Snake" Paulson, "Ice Man" Simmons, who we haven't gotten to...just read the book. You don't want these vultures to eat your vote, you really don't. You can't let them do that. You have to what they're doing, know who they are, and take action to prevent it. If anyone thinks that that's the end of the story and the end of the struggle, I mean obviously that's nuts. The revolution will not be digitized.
Rob Kall: Now, let me get back to this getting rid of billionaires. I mean, I wrote about it over a year and a half ago. Tom Hartman wrote about it recently. You're talking about it and writing about it. Maybe we can make a movement happen here. Maybe we can really start getting this some legs in the media. You know, this guy Singer sounds like he's a criminal. Is he a criminal in any nation?
Greg Palast: Yes, and that's what I'm saying. In England, following my broadcast on BBC. In China, in Germany, and Holland, after my broadcasts, because my broadcasts don't appear hear except on Democracy Now! and Young Turks, but his activities were outlawed. So, he is an outlaw in other nations. When we talk about Billionaires and Ballot Bandits, these billions were made by what is now considered crimes throughout the world. And Obama just wants to stop it on diplomatic, financial grounds, but it is a crime. This is a crime-wave of billionaires.
Rob Kall: This makes me think of Wikileaks and Julian Assange, and how the U.S. is trying to get him in the United States, they are trying to get him to go to Sweden first, and then ultimately they want him in the U.S. Is there a way that the UK or China could actually go after these billionaires, and make them so they literally are wanted men? I'm excited about the idea that you're also into the idea of getting rid of billionaires and it really seems to me that... We need a conference on it!
Greg Palast: I would not recommend (laughs) that Paul Singer land his private jet in Buenos Aires unless he wants to be marched off. Because they do take this stuff seriously in some places in the rest of the world. Unfortunately, let's not forget"
Rob Kall: I just realized this". So what you're saying is Paul Singer is a wanted criminal in other nations and he is giving money to Romney right now.
Greg Palast: Not just giving money. You have to understand. He is Romney's key advisor. He's the guy that told Romney to pick Paul Ryan. He is as Fortune Magazine says, he is "absolutely the most influential Republican on finance and economic issues, bar none," except that we don't see this in public.
One thing about Billionaires and Ballot Bandits, it's really the first public discussion about "Who are these billionaires behind Romney?" I've been tracking the Koch brothers since 1995 and no one was paying attention. Now people have gotten aware of Koch. They're important, they are, they also have their own four chapters in Billionaires and Ballot Bandits. But there's also all these other characters that other people haven't heard of who are actually even more influential, like Singer, who are (if you can imagine) even more vicious. And that's what we have to do. Like I say, a lot of these guys are international outlaws, but not here, and one of the reasons they need the White House, is because they're afraid that they're going to be shut down, because they've overreached, and now gone after, what four years ago were their allies in the banking system, and that's what the problem is. I hear the bells chiming, which means if I don't get out of here I'm going to be in hot water.
Rob Kall: One last question, you talked about how Argentina has been characterized as a terrorist nation, when really it's one of the most hopeful nations we've seen. Just the other day, just last week, MEK, the group that was characterized as terrorists from Iran, was taken off the terrorist list. Do you have anything to say about that?
Greg Palast: Yeah, well two things. Number one, Argentina's not considered a terrorist state by our government. What they're afraid of is if that if the current government collapses, even though they don't love the current government (the Obama Administration) they're afraid that it will be taken over by terrorists, because if you have a total collapse of Argentina, what Obama and the banks are worried about, especially the banks, Clinton, Obama, and the banks are worried that if you have a collapse of Argentina, that they will obviously stop getting their money; that's number one, their first concern. The second concern is what Loretta Napoleoni calls a "Failed State." Once you have a failed state, you have an opening for maniacs to move in. The main thing is that the bankers want their money, of course. So, right now, Argentina is in good favor with the banks because Argentina is paying them loads. People don't recognize it's a very successful place. I agree with you. If the United States imitated the leadership on economic issues we saw with Argentina and President Nestor, the United States would now be having four percent [4%] unemployment and eight percent [8%]a year growth. And I agree with you, we want to tango here, but we we're not going to tango if the guys who are trying to destroy Argentina take over our government, and that would make things even worse. Now, I've get going, but I would like to say this has been one of the more deeper, more substantive conversations I've had since we issued the book, which is now on the New York Times Best Seller list.
Rob Kall: Did I hear you saying something about the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show and OpEdNews here? (laughs)
Greg Palast: Yes, I think OpEdNews is where you get the real thing. It's not just progressive opinion; it's the hard, cold truth, the real facts. If you don't listen to Bob Kall, if you don't read OpEdNews, then you don't know what the hell is happening in America, you don't know what the hell is happening to you. So this is our weapon of mass instruction. Get on OpEdNews. Read it top to bottom, read it top to bottom, or you just don't know what's going on. This is Greg Palast, author of Billionaires and Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in Nine Easy Steps, and I'm telling you: don't let them steal your news, because that's how they steal your ballot. This is Greg Palast, reporting for OpEdNews, proudly. Thank you very much.
Rob Kall: Alright, it's been a great interview. Thank you. It's the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show ( WNJC 1360 AM). Thank you. And that's the show.