Attorney for white nationalist group developed computer program to drop minority voters off voting rosters in 30 states
By Miriam Raftery
Photo, left: Miriam Raftery with Greg Palast at film debut in San Diego
Listen now to our interview with Greg Palast, originally aired on KNSJ: https://www.eastcountymagazine.org/sites/eastcountymagazine.org/files/au...
Scroll down for highlights.
October 28, 2016 (San Diego)--Investigative reporter Greg Palast’s Academy Award-nominated documentary, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: A Tale of Billionaires and Ballot Bandits, pulls back the curtain to expose a dark conspiracy to steal votes from millions of minorities across America. A seasoned gumshoe detective turned award-winning investigative reporter, Palast leaves no room for doubt as he masterfully reveals the powerful players behind this insidious scheme.
East County Magazine editor Miriam Raftery sat down for an exclusive interview with Palast, in town for the debut of his film in San Diego on Monday. You can hear our interview by clicking the orange audio link, and scroll down to read our review of this must-see documentary.
Told in film noir style, seasoned with cartoons and special effects, the movie first makes you laugh, then cry. You’ll learn about a computer program called “Crosscheck” used in 30 states (all with Republican secretaries of state) that purports to list names of 7.2 million voters suspected of voting twice. The trouble is that most of those names are common names in Latino, African-American and Asian communities—likely Democratic voters. The names aren’t exact matches. Many have different middle names or variant spellings. There are no driver’s licenses or Social Security numbers on the lists to compare identities. In short, there is no rational reason to think these are the same people voting more than once.Yet even when confronted with these facts, GOP election officials just shrugged, tossed Palast out the door and refused to take action.
The program was developed by Kansas Secretary of State Chris Kobach, a Republican operative, backer of Donald Trump, and attorney who has represented anti-immigrant and white nationalist groups such as the Immigration Law Reform Institute and the Federation for Immigration Reform. Palast calls the program “lynching by laptop.” He also helped write portions of Trump's immigration plan including calling for Mexico to pay for buildnig a border wall.
Note to our Republican readers: Palast’s report is not a partisan witch hunt or unsubstantiated claim. He’s got the facts, documents, and interviews to provide rock-solid proof that this chilling conspiracy is indisputably real. Although this film singles out Republicans for the largest scale vote-stealing effort on record in the U.S, during the film’s premier in San Diego Monday night Palast spoke to the audience (photo, left)—and made clear that Democrats have also tried to suppress votes. He cited as an example the 2016 primary, in which likely supporters of Bernie Sanders were targeted, such as the thousands of votes by independent voters' ballots left uncounted in California.
Palast doesn’t stop with exposing the Crosscheck program. He meticulously follows the money to reveal Crosscheck’s billionaire backers—including the oil baron Koch brothers and Paul “the Vulture” Singer, a mastermind behind mortgage schemes, the housing industry collapse, the destruction of Detroit and a global trail of destruction preying on dying communities.
You’ll have to watch the film to find out what happens when Palast, going undercover, crashes their parties and confronts these brazen bandits about their actions---which are currently being investigated by state and federal authorities. Palast’s work has succeeded in restoring voting rights in some states—but not all.
He also tracks down some of the supposed double voters---from an out-of-work Detroit man about to lose his home to foreclosure to elderly African-Americans who remember Selma and the long fight to win voting rights that have recently been eroded by the Supreme Court. You’ll see cameo appearances by Ed Asner as Santa Claus, Willie Nelson playing himself (his name, oddly, appears on the list of purged voters), and others.
The fast-moving film, though edged with wry wit and flashy special effects, packs a powerful punch on an important issue. It’s arguably the most important film in a generation, revealing a dark web of power-brokers seeking to control who gets elected to Congress, the presidency, and other powerful positions. At stake is our democracy—and your constitutional right to participate in our democratic process.
Palast has East County roots. His mother, Gladys, still resides in La Mesa. (Photo, right: Palast and his mother, Gladys.) Palast has been called the “most important journalist of our time—up there with Woodward and Bernstein” by the Guardian. He’s broken major stories for the BBC TV, the Guardian, The Nation magazine, and most recently, Rolling Stone magazine.
He is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Billionaires & Ballot Bandits, Armed Madhouse , The Best Democracy Money Can Buy and the highly acclaimed Vultures' Picnic, named Book of the Year 2012 on BBC Newsnight Review.
The film Best Democracy Money Can Buy: A Tale of Billionaires and Ballot Bandits, along with a companion book by the same name and a comic book version, can be ordered online at www.GregPalast.com. If you write in “KNSJ” on your order form, a portion of proceeds will be donated to support San Diego’s local public interest radio station(89.1 FM) broadcasting from Descanso, or what Palast calls “your network of mass instruction.”
About your article on Best Democracy Money Can Buy
There are many conspiracy theories but only one has solid proof
that I've seen. Some of the others may also be true but there's just not the evidence to know one way or the other.
Is it possible that Russia or Soros could rig votes or that dead people are voting? Sure, people on all sides of the political aisle have tried to rig elections in the past through a variety of means from computer hacking to old fashioned ballot box stuffing.
The different with Palast is that unlike others making wild accusations with zero or flimsy circumstantial evidence, he's uncovered the document trail to prove beyond any shadow of a doubt what's going on. The other difference is the massive scale of this particular scam.
It should not matter if people are liberal, conservative, or something in between. (My own views are in the middle, like most Americans, liberal on some issues, conservative on others.) We should also be concerned about robbing ANYONE of their votes.
You may not be aware that I won a national journalism prize a few years ago for a story in CityBeat exposing electronic election rigging with voting machines. I also interviewed a whistleblower inside the Diebold voting machine company who told me how it was done and was able to verify many details; that ran at a national news online site. Two days later, the CEO of Diebold resigned in disgrace and the shareholders filed a lawsuit against Diebold, which eventually sold off its election machine divisoin. The story I broke got picked up by the Washington Post ando ther major media.
So you are absolutely correct that electronic voting machines can be rigged, and have been. The election I wrote about was in Georgia during the campaign won by Bush. But it would be just as wrong if Soros' owned machines were rigging it for Clinton. If it is, I hope someone with the resources to dig into it exposes it. I personally wish nobody had to vote on the electronic machines. My expose by the way helped convince California Secretary of State Deborah Bowen to outlaw the paperless version of those machnes that flipped votes. In CA, the only people using them now are the disabled such as those who are visually impaired and need help to vote. That doesn't mean the other machines are safe; optical scan machines like San Diego uses can also be rigged to flip votes, though at least there is a paper trail that could be audited if a candidate had the money to challenge an outcome.
Personally I wish we could just vote on paper ballots, hand-marked, but California's huge ballots with all those initiatives make electronic counting faster so it seems we are stuck with it.