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Greg Palast - Armed Madhouse, rev. ed. (2007) - Synopsis

Greg Palast - Armed Madhouse, rev. ed. (2007) - Synopsis

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Published by Mark K. Jensen
Synopsis of Greg Palast, Armed Madhouse: From Baghdad to New Orleans—Sordid Secrets and Strange Tales of a White House Gone Wild (New York: Plume/Penguin, 2007). Discussed at Digging Deeper (www.ufppc.org) on July 23, 2007.
Synopsis of Greg Palast, Armed Madhouse: From Baghdad to New Orleans—Sordid Secrets and Strange Tales of a White House Gone Wild (New York: Plume/Penguin, 2007). Discussed at Digging Deeper (www.ufppc.org) on July 23, 2007.

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Published by: Mark K. Jensen on May 21, 2009
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UFPPC (www.ufppc.org) Digging Deeper XXXIII @ Mandolin Café (Tacoma, WA) July 23, 2007, 7:00 p.m.

Greg Palast, Armed Madhouse: From Baghdad to New Orleans—Sordid Secrets and Strange Tales of a White House Gone Wild (New York: Plume/Penguin, 2007). Original ed., titled Armed Madhouse: Who’s Afraid of Osama Wolf? China Floats, Bush Sinks, The Scheme to Steal ’08, No Child’s Behind Left, and Other Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Class War, published June 2006.
THE BEGINNING. Vision of future (1-2). A regime of “militarized greed” (3). Palast’s investigative journalism (3). This book, “like my last,” can be read “in any order” (3). Summary of book (4-5). “I am not a nice man” (6). Ch. 1: The Fear: Who’s Afraid of Osama Wolf? It is ridiculous to advertise a terror “alert level” (9-10). On Apr. 29, 2003, Rumsfeld acknowledged that U.S. armed forces were leaving Saudi Arabia, which has been bin Laden’s mission (10-11). It’s about oil (111-14). Southold, NY, prepares for terrorists but Kimberly Haeg’s parents can’t pay their medical bills (14-16). U.S. pulled back from A.Q. Khan investigation to assuage Saudis (16, 18-20). Library record snooping (20-21). Call back from U.S. gov’t to Turkishspeaking applicant: “I see you speak Terrorist… uh, uh… Turkish!” (21-22). Failure to investigate Muslim club until Sept. 13, 2001, because of its Saudi connections (2226). Osama planned 9/11, but the U.S. “made” Osama (26-33). There is no war on terror; there are only some terrorists committing crimes (34-37). ChoicePoint can be asked under the PATRIOT Act for data the U.S. is barred from obtaining, thus outsourcing unconstitutional search and seizure (38-42). ChoicePoint’s involvement in Latin American election campaigns (4345). General Dynamics and Lockheed (4549). The politics of fear (49). Ch. 2: The Flow: Trillion Dollar Babies. “A Secret History of the War over Oil in Iraq” (52-55). Part 1: Plan A: In and Out in Three Days (52-64). Meeting in Walnut Creek, CA, home of Falah Aljibury in February 2001 of State Dept. people favoring overthrow of Saddam (52-54). Opposed by neocons in Pentagon favoring PNAC and privatization of oil (54-56). Grover Norquist (56-60). Wolfowitz’s testimony in March 2003 (60-64). Part 2: Chicago Takes Baghdad (64-78). “O.I.L.” (64-65). Garner, who favored elections, ousted (66-68). Bremer and his decrees (69-76). Harold Rhode in the Pentagon’s “Office of Net Assessment” part of plan to destroy OPEC (77-78) Part 2½: A Brief History of Gulf Wars One through Six — T.E. Lawrence’s 1919 memo (79-82). Part 3: The War for OPEC: The No-Brainers versus the Witches Brew (83-106). U.S. seat in OPEC is the true prize of Iraq war (pace neocons’ ambition to destroy OPEC), but a struggle continues in U.S. policy circles over what to do with it, with Big Oil [Philip Carroll of Shell Oil USA] production sharing agreement (PSA) plan prevailing (83-106). Part 4: Jerks, Euros, the Hubbert Humbug and Mr. 5% (107-24). Rejects the petrodollar theory of the war (107). Rejects the peak oil theory (108-14). The war was about suppressing, not getting, Iraq’s oil (114-24). Part 5: Wolfowitz Dämmerung: Twilight of the Neo-Con Gods (124-34). Big Oil’s victory led to raid on Chalabi, ouster of neocons (124-31). But a “neo-con counter-coup” in July 2005 (131-34). Oil Wars Bonus Chapter! The Best Little Legal Whorehouse in Texas on James Baker’s role in supporting the Saudis (135-41). Ch. 3: The Network: The World as a Company Town. Lines [of ‘Arthur Jensen’] from Paddy Chayevsky’s “Network”: “There are no nations” (143-44). The petro-dollar system (144-47). The revaluation of the yuan and privatization of Social Security are really “about moving our capital from a dying economy (America) to rising economies (China)” (147-53). Critique of Thomas Friedman (153-58). Euro presented as means for capital to subvert European welfare state capitalism, designed by American economist Robert Mundell, “Godfather of the euro” (158-62). China

(162-66). Ecuador and Argentina (166-76). Venezuela (176-85). Ch. 4: The Con: Kerry Won. Now Get Over It. The New York Times dismisses those who challenge the 2004 election (18788). Exit polls, spoilage: Kerry won (18899). Part 1: “Caging Lists”: Great White Republicans Take Voters Captive. John Wooden give Palast Bush caging lists (199201). Palast shows them to the Republicans (202-06). Provisional ballots, but many are not counted (206-10). Not counting votes in Ohio (210-12). Part 2: The Indecisive Indian. 7.3% of voters in “majority Native precincts”in New Mexico supposedly didn’t vote in 2004 (213-17). Purging of voter rolls (217-19). In one Hispanic area, spoilage was 9 times that of white districts (219-20). Some officials claim they “don’t want to vote for President” (221-22). Voters who don’t exist (222-23). Type-of-machine factor (22324). Using stray marks as reasons not to count votes (224-26). Part 3: Jim Crow Goes Digital. Electronic voting not the most important problem (226-36). Absentee ballots not the solution (236-39). Part 4: Old Dogs, Old Tricks. Reprise of the technique of purging felons (240-43). The illegality of vote suppression (244-46). Part 5: Democrats Concede 2008. New Mexico was a dry run for America in 2008 (247-51). The Baker-Carter Election Reform Commission recommended mandatory national voter ID card (251-53). “Disenfranchisement is class warfare by other means . . . income is the real predictor of vote loss” (254). Palast’s earlier investigations in New Mexico (255). New Mexico politics (265-58). Democratic national leaders’ lack of interest (258-59). Kerry caved in 2004 because he knew he would lose a challenge (259-61). Fearsome fact: 59 million Americans did vote for Bush (262-63). Election Chapter Bonus! The Necklace-ing of Dan Rather. On the “lynching” of Dan Rather over the Bush Texas Air Guard story(265-75). Ch. 5: The Class War: Hope I Die before My Next Refill. Growing inequality in the U.S. (278-84). “What’s at stake here is the New Deal” (284). ADM price-fixing recorded on tape (285-87). Americans can sue pricefixers, unlike Europeans (287-88). The attack on class-action lawsuits (288-92). May 17,

2001, meeting of Ken Lay, Michael Milken, Arnold Schwarzenegger, et al. on how to “settle” the state’s legal actions against Enron & friends (292-93). The attack on regulation (293-97). Bush’s plans for Social Security (298-99). Companies taking back assets and benefits from workers in the name of competitivity in an era of globalization (299-303). The Gore-Perot debate of 1993 was the Democratic Party’s “Munich” (304-09). The No Child Left Behind Act as “educational eugenics . . . to provide the new worker drones” (309-19). Anger at the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 propelled the career of Huey Long (319-25). Programs of Huey Long, “our Hugo Chávez,” were the prototype for the New Deal (325-26). THE END: The House I Live In. Statement of belief in America as “a nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the cause that all men and women are created equal” (329). Declaration of Independence still applies (330). “Yes, America does have a Manifest Destiny—to Let Freedom Ring—which the evil and greedy and pernicious would twist into a grab for land and resources and ethnic cleansing. And so the Manifest Destiny of the journalists in our shitty little offices in New York and London is to expose these motherfuckers” (331). George W. Bush is “UN-AMERICAN” (332). New Added Bonus Chapter! Busted: … and How to Steal Back Your Vote. Palast arrested for filming Katrina evacuees held behind barbed wire near Exxon Petroleum’s Baton Rouge refinery, a “Critical Asset and Vulnerable Infrastructure Point” (CAVIP) known as “Cancer Alley” (335-36). White House didn’t let locals know levees were breaching for “a day and a night” (337-41). Computers are not how they’ll steal the election; in fact, the Republicans are using this fear to arrange the next theft, by requiring state secretaries of state to reject voters whose ID doesn’t match “a state ‘verification’ list,” despite a lack of evidence of any significant voter fraud (344-51). The science of vote rustling is “a game of numbers, of probabilities, of shaving a percentage point here, a percentage point there” (351-52). Arizona’s Proposition 200, which became law in 2006, requires proof of citizenship to register (353-54). In some states fines are imposed on those submitting

voter registration lists with errors (354-55). Purging votes is the goal of an “Uncle Wiggily Strategy” (Palast’s term) that loads the dice against “Hispanic, Black, poor or ‘itinerant’” voters (355-71). Nine measures to “steal back your vote” (370-77). How New Orleans is being rebuilt shows “[i]t’s war out there— class war” (378-80). Don’t be discouraged, the people have always had to struggle for the right to vote (380). Acknowledgments, Sources, and Resources. 7 pp. Index. 12 pp. [Ads: Poster, cards] Illustration credits. 1 page. The Armed Madhouse Soundtrack. Invites “sound and video responses to our stories” ([407]). About the Author. Degree in finance. Worked for United Steelworkers and various labor, consumer, and environmental groups. “[H]as an academic side: He is author of Democracy and Regulation, a seminal treatise on energy corporations and government control commissioned by the United Nations based on his lectures at Cambridge University and the University of São Paulo” ([409-10]). Investigative reporter [Before I took up the questionable career of journalism in my late forties, I was, for two decades, an investigator” (351)]. Patron of the Trinity College Philosophical Society. [Additional information: Birth date unknown; in his 50’s. Palast is bald, dresses

nattily, cultivates private-eye persona. Palast’s roots are in the working class and in Los Angeles. He attended UCLA and the Univ. of Chicago on scholarships. Attributes (ironically?) to witnessing in the 1970s Hunter S. Thompson’s self-absorption a decision not to become a journalist; says he studied hospital administration. I’ve been unable to find anywhere any assertion that Palast graduated from any institution of higher education, but he says he attended graduate business school classes at the University of Chicago, where he “investigated” economists and free-market enthusiasts Milton Friedman and Arnold Harberger (Mike Sula, Chicago Reader, Apr. 5, 2002). His booking agency is SpeakOut! Katherine Harris called him “twisted and maniacal.” In his Feb. 21, 2005, tribute to Hunter S. Thompson after his suicide, Palast said his goal is to “keep myself out of [the world]” and that he regarded celebrity as the “the satanic sucker-punch.” Cautionary note: Palast’s facts are sometimes unreliable on important questions, especially on international affairs (e.g. who started Iran-Iraq war [31]; he can be extremely cavalier—simplifying and extrapolating to the point of being unintelligible—in his presentation of history and documentary evidence [79-82], and he gives a tendentious account M. King Hubbert’s prediction of peak oil [108-14]). Source citation is idiosyncratic and sometimes flawed (e.g. 30, 65, 169, 409-10 [claims as his own a book he edited]) or nonexistent (46)

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