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5.0 out of 5 stars The Last Reporter, September 14, 2002
This review is from: The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: An Investigative Reporter Exposes the Truth About Globalization, Corporate Cons, and High Finance Fraudsters (Hardcover)
Greg Palast won't shut up. He won't shut up about how Jeb Bush and his lieutenant stole the election from Gore through a vicious manipulation of the voter rolls. He won't shut up about how cheaply Tony Blair's government can be bought. He won't shut up about how mainstream journalism is in thrall to the prevailing free market corporate ethos. He won't shut up about the Big Lie perpertreated by Milton Friedman and his gang that markets promote democracy, that markets are engines of viture. He shows with unshakable research that instead that instead of breeding virture and freedom, markets breed corruption, inequality, and through a politically moribund media, moral complacency.
The opening chapter on the high-tech mechanism that the Bush camp in Florida put in place before the elections in 2000 to expunge African-Americans from voter rolls is worth the price of the book. Palast tells us how Jeb's gang reinstated Jim Crow laws in the New South by hiring a database firm with strong ties to the Texas Republican party to compare lists of voters with lists of felons and purge names from the rolls that "matched" in only the most tenous ways. Roughly 60,000 voters, most of them Black (because the prison archipelago in the United States imprisons mostly Blacks) were stripped of the fundamental right of voting. Why take blacks off the rolls? Because, as Palast notes, better than 9 in 10 Blacks vote for Democrats. He personalizes these facts in the person of a Black minister who had met and broken bread with Jeb Bush on numerous occasions. The minister showed up to vote at his local precinct where he had been voting for over 20 years and discovered that his name had vanished from rolls. Palast goes into stunning detail on how the scam was perpertrated and shows conclusively that the Bush camp stacked the deck well before the election. Further, he proves even under these circumstances that Gore actually won in Florida.
Palast reported this high-tech lynching of Black voters rights in the Guardian (funded by public monies) before the actual election. No mainstream American media picked up on the story. When the Washington Post finally reported it, they did so months later under the cover of the Federal Election Commisions investigation into the manipulation of the election. Slate, to its credit, picked up on the story and helped with hard work of investigating the chicanery in Florida in the immediate aftermath of the elections, but as Palast notes, Slate is not the New York Times, or the Washington Post. He shows in lurid detail how the Republican power structure, including of course, the Supreme Court, swung into action under the guidance of James Baker and ended the counting on the basis of the flimsiest of legalistic doctrine. He depicts the almost comical ineptitude of a Democratic Party as it tries to take on the Repulicans. While the Democrats play by the Marquess of Queensbury rules, the Republicans play to win. Anti-nausea medicine is strongly recommended for this chapter.
Palast as a young activist attended lectures by Milton Friedman at the University of Chicago to better understand this radical restatement of Adam Smith's 18th century economic laws. In this regard Palast undoubtedly agrees with media historian Robert McChesney's analysis of Milton Friedman's faulty understand of democracy: "As Milton Friedman puts it in his seminal "Capitalism and Freedom," because profit-making is the essence of democracy (!), any government that puruses antimarket policies is being anit-democratic, no matter how much informed popular support they might enjoy. [Under this logic] Therefore it is best to restrict governments to the job of protecting private property and enforcing contracts, and to limit polictical debate to minor issues."
Palast is particularly angry at his peers in the media. At the same time he understands that they have very little freedom to report on anything that would pose a challenge to the values of the marketplace. He notes that it is only because the Guardian and the BBC is publicly funded can he explore venality and corruption in government and business. And by the way, he takes on the left as well as the right. His chapter on Tony Blair's government and how cheaply it can be bought demonstrates that the influence of corporate money has become so pervasive that even so-called Liberals must feed at the trough in order to fund their expensive media campaigns. The Clintonites hated him, too.
But Palast's work is invigorating, not demobilizing. The news he reports doesn't invite fatalistic acceptance of a corrupt system, rather it invites activism. This is probably why he is feared on both sides of the aisle. Someday, he just might get people mad enough to do more than just stand up and say I'm not going to take it anymore, but to take the next step and take back their governments from the cynical oligarchy which equates speech with money, which believes that suffrage should be defined as one dollar, one vote instead of one person, one vote.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 29, 2008 5:32:51 AM PDT
Josef Bush says:
A sharply written and organized, short review that prompts me to buy and read the book. A review by a man who obviously reads books regularly and understands not only the value of that habit, but the meaning of the exercise, which is -- to get knowledge fast, without benefit of first-hand experience. Lead on!

Posted on Jun 9, 2010 12:41:50 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 9, 2010 12:42:39 PM PDT
There's a vast corporate ownership of media, slanting the news in a pro-business and proconservative direction, and, "the Republican power structure, including of course, the Supreme Court, swung into action" . . . ? And 246 of 268 people agreed with this? No doubt some of the more/most intelligent people by far on average.

Only God can help us now.

Posted on Apr 5, 2014 12:44:45 PM PDT
Enigma says:
>>>Greg Palast won't shut up.

I agree he won't. This is a tactic used by people with no facts on their side, they just keep repeating the same lies over and over again and hope that the mis/uniformed readers will finally accecpt their absurdities as truth.

>>>The opening chapter on the high-tech mechanism that the Bush camp in Florida put in place before the elections in 2000

Sounds diabolical, only one problem it isn't true. Karthrine Harris (Not Jeb) was following Florida State Law that had been enacted before either her or Jeb were born.

>>>Jeb's gang reinstated Jim Crow laws in the New South by hiring a database firm with strong ties to the Texas Republican party to compare lists of voters with lists of felons and purge names from the rolls that "matched" in only the most tenous ways.

Actually they hired the largest supplier of voter purge lists that ironically also supplied such liberal states of Massaschutets, New York, California and Oregon their voter purge lists. I guess those Jim Crow Laws that re being reinstated are happening in the North and the West too. Heavens have mercy!!!!!

>>>Roughly 60,000 voters, most of them Black (because the prison archipelago in the United States imprisons mostly Blacks) were stripped of the fundamental right of voting.

WOW - that number should be easy to prove - RIGHT?!?!?!?!?!?

In fact the Democratic Party spent millions of dollars in the weeks after the vote canvassing precincts, taking ads out on the TV and Radio and had thousands of operatives on the ground looking for these 60,000 voters. And guess what they found some, a whopping 14 in total and only 3 were black and guess what, 6 of them were Republicans!!!!

On top of the Democratic Party investigating and not finding anything, the US dept of Justice also spent millions of dollars investigating this after the election and they found no voter violations.

And yet another glaring inconsistency is that Palast says he has a list of 8,000 people that were disenfranchised. GREAT, tell us who they are. But no, to date he has never produced his list. Hmmmmm, he won't shut up about the list but when asked to produce it he can't yet the gullible and easily led still believe him - pathetic.

>>>Palast goes into stunning detail on how the scam was perpetrated and shows conclusively that the Bush camp stacked the deck well before the election.

Actually Palast lied again. Harris didn't take people off of the rolls as he claims. She forwarded the working list to local precincts whose elected officials were the ones who took the names off the voting lists. They went line by line and double checked the list and then gave the final version back to Harris. So who were these officials, well in Democratic Counties they were Democratic and ironically in 3 out of the 4 counties that Palast claims had the most black taken off the Democratic officer in charge was black.

So what Palast is really saying is Black democratic officers conspired with Bush to expunge black people off of the list, yet these disenfranchised voters have been sucked into a black hole for nobody to find. . . . . . . REALLY?????????????

>>>Further, he proves even under these circumstances that Gore actually won in Florida.

Palast makes up a bunch of BS and then says if you believe this it proves that gore won. LMFAO, is this the best you have. Let's try something different, let's look at FACTS rather than delusions of a wanna-be Sam Spade.

After the 2000 election, liberal media outlets spent millions of dollars and recounted all of the votes. They wanted to prove that Gore really was the winner but guess what no matter how they tried to count the chads they could not seem to come up with a legitimate way to label Gore the winner so instead we all read these headlines.

"Media Recount: Bush Won the 2000 Election
In the first full study of Florida's ballots since the election ended, The Miami Herald and USA Today reported George W. Bush would have widened his 537-vote victory to a 1,665-vote margin"
PBS

" Florida Recounts Would Have Favored Bush
George W. Bush still would have won Florida and the presidency last year. . . according to a study commissioned by The Washington Post and other news organizations."
Washington Post

"Newspapers' recount shows Bush prevailed
George W. Bush would have won a hand count of Florida's disputed ballots if the standard advocated by Al Gore had been used, the first full study of the ballots reveals. Bush would have won by 1,665 votes - more than triple his official 537-vote margin - if every dimple, hanging chad and mark on the ballots had been counted as votes, a USA TODAY/Miami Herald/Knight Ridder study shows."
USA Today

>>>He shows in lurid detail how the Republican power structure, including of course, the Supreme Court, swung into action under the guidance of James Baker and ended the counting on the basis of the flimsiest of legalistic doctrine.

WHAT - The USSC at that time had 5 liberals and 4 conservatives on it. Its first ruling was 9-0 and its second was 7-2. They didn't stop the recounts in FACT their first ruling rebuked the partisan FSSC who tried to change the election rules AFTER the vote and tried to allow Florida to only recount the 4 counties that Gore wanted recounted. This went against Florida Election law and the USSC with a 9-0 ruling said you can't change the law to favor Gore. They said to either recount the whole state (which Gore didn't want) or go with totals after the second recount (remember the state had two official counts and in both of them Bush won). The second USSC halted a third recount that 1) had no standard for counting votes 2) would have started AFTER the vote had to be certified. The fact is Gore's side did not want the whole state recounted, they knew they had no chance if that happened. Instead they wanted to re-write election law (remember the term al-goreing) after the vote. All the USSC did was tell the state they needed to follow their own laws.

The bottom line is

George Bush won the first count
George Bush won the second count
George Bush won the media recount
The US Dept of Justice found no voter violations
Al Gore only wanted 4 counties recounted and not the whole state, so who really doesn't want all the votes counted?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 30, 2015 9:02:55 AM PST
Thank you for setting it straight!
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