Greg Palast is an investigative reporter, whose stories appear on BBC Television, The Guardian, Al Jazeera and Rolling Stone. You can read/watch his reports at GregPalast.com. He is the author of the NY Times bestsellers The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, Billionaires & Ballot Bandits, Armed Madhouse, and the highly acclaimed Vultures’ Picnic. His full-length feature, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, was released in 2016. His new film, Vigilantes: Georgia’s Vote Suppression Hitmen—from Academy Award winning producer Maria Florio and executive producer Martin Sheen—will be released Fall 2022.
Why do we even have voter registration?
On National Voter Registration Day, investigative journalist Greg Palast and Flashpoints host Dennis Bernstein ponder the big question: Why do we even have voter registration?
We didn't always have registration of voters in America. It started pretty much in Pennsylvania when they were trying to stop Black people who had been moving up from the South from voting. Registration was initially only in the cities for city dwellers. You had the Italian immigrants, the Black diaspora coming up from the South, and then in New York you had Jews. Registration was something that was meant for minorities, for working people, for immigrants to give them a hurdle. In fact, when New York City first started registrations, they only allowed you to register on Saturday, which was a way to stop Jews from registering to vote.
It's a crime to vote if you're not American, a go to jail crime. There is no reason for these laws, except the value of registration is to stop people from voting. And the real value of registration is to remove people's registration, the so-called purge, like the enema of the voter rules.
So, registration itself is the number one vote suppression horror show in America, and it hasn't been here forever. And by the way, North Dakota has no voter registration and you don't see a bunch of Canadians rushing in and picking their governor. You don't see moose or buffalo crowding the polling stations. Without voter registration, somehow they have fair and clean elections. So, why do we have registration? So we can remove registrations and stop people from voting.
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It all comes down to Georgia
It all comes down to Georgia. Fani Willis, the Fulton County District Attorney, just laid out her case against Donald Trump. Reverend Warnock is running for reelection in a race that will determine who controls the United States Senate. Stacey Abrams is having a rematch with Governor Brian Kemp, who's been attempting to tip the scales in his favor by bringing felony charges against Black election workers and enacting a new anti-voter law, SB202, which (among other things) has unleashed mass challenges to the votes of over a quarter million Georgians. And we're premiering our new film, Vigilante: Georgia's Voter Suppression Hitman, in Atlanta on October 5 to get the word out before the midterm elections about Kemp's most brazen, racist attack on voting rights yet. So, Georgia's where the battle for the future of the United States is being fought on multiple fronts!
The Politician Protection Racket
If Donald Trump and Brian Kemp succeed in using electioneering as an excuse to wriggle out of indictments and grand jury subpoenas, then running for office will become the ultimate get out of jail free card, which will open up a whole new can of worms.
Brian Kemp: From witness to unindicted co-conspirator?
It seems a mystery. Why is Governor Brian Kemp of Georgia playing hide and seek with the Atlanta grand jury investigating whether Trump and associates attempted to tamper with the 2020 election results?
Why is the Governor resisting the subpoena? After all, the national press has played Kemp as some kind of hero for allegedly standing up to Trump, refusing to overturn Georgia’s majority for Joe Biden.
But Kemp is no hero. The reality: Kemp and his elections chief played games with Georgia’s voting process — for Trump and for their own political careers. They only refused Trump’s post-election demands they knew would have put them at risk of hard time on a chain gang.
Kemp’s resistance to testifying seems all the more odd because Fulton County (Atlanta) District Attorney Fani Willis has bent over backwards to accommodate the skittish pol. Because he was moaning about the time taken away from campaigning against Stacey Abrams, she agreed he could appear by video. And, surprisingly, Willis was going to let his attorney sit with him, something a grand jury witness is almost never permitted.
Kemp has gone crying to a judge pleading he shouldn’t have to answer questions about calls made to him by Trump and cronies. Kemp claims “sovereign immunity” — the right of kings not to answer questions, reserved in the US for official state actions. He claims “executive privilege” as if being CEO of Georgia is grounds to conceal evidence of a crime. He claims it would take time from his campaign — that’s one I’ve never heard in court. If that succeeds, we’ll have even more crooks run for office.
It’s always dangerous to speculate on what’s going on in Brian Kemp’s brain, but let me suggest that he knows his benign status as mere “witness” may quickly change to something far more serious.
If Trump, as reported, demanded the Governor call a special session of the legislature to de-certify Joe Biden’s victory, and Kemp told him to go fly, then Kemp’s off the hook. So, why not tell that to the grand jury?
Kemp reportedly told Trump that, as Governor, Kemp could not de-certify the presidential vote. Then was it Kemp who suggested Trump make those calls to the man who did have the power to reject the vote count?
Question: Governor, did you suggest that Trump call the Secretary of State?
Question: Governor, did you suggest to Mr. Trump that, while Georgia law does not allow you to interfere, you intended to change the law?
Question: Governor, you have yet to turn over all notes and information about the Trump de-certification campaign. What happened to those records?
How could Kemp answer? Take the Fifth? Not wise for a sitting governor. Does he fudge it with, “I don’t recall”? Bad idea: Strategic forgetfulness is an indictable offence.
The most dangerous question would be whether Trump told him about, or asked for help with, sending a slate of fake Georgia “electors” to the Electoral College. That’s the highly technical core of the DA’s potential racketeering case against Giuliani and friends: submitting names of Electors who were never elected, who never even appeared on the ballot. Some Trump Electors, the official ones who ran on the November ballot, refused to have their names sent to Congress — so the Trump gang just manufactured a phony Elector list.
If Trump mentioned the scheme to create a fake set of Electors, and Kemp “forgot” to tell the DA, we could imagine Kemp listed as an unindicted co-conspirator. Not a winning campaign slogan: “Re-elect Kemp: Named but unindicted!”
Get the full story at GregPalast.com
Brian Kemp resists Georgia grand jury subpoena
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp is resisting a grand jury subpoena from Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who is investigating criminal interference in Georgia’s 2020 election by Donald Trump and his cronies. The question is why?
Indeed, we wouldn’t even have known that Kemp had been subpoenaed for the closed-door hearing if wasn’t for the 121-page motion his legal team filed with the Fulton County Superior Court. After refusing to provide sworn testimony by video in July, Willis’ office emailed Kemp’s lawyer Brian McEvoy on August 9, compelling Kemp to testify this past Thursday, August 18. However, his legal team filed a motion to quash the subpoena, which raises some real questions given that Willis had described Kemp as a “mere witness”. What questions is Kemp trying to avoid answering under oath? What’s he trying to hide?
Dennis Bernstein Greg, you are honed in like a laser beam in Atlanta, and that lady there ain’t messing around — that is for damn sure. The District Attorney there ain’t taken no junk from no one. We’re gonna see some interesting things unfolding. Let’s just start with the new developments around Trump’s attempt to overturn the election…What does Brian Kemp’s name have to do with this? Why is he suddenly in the middle?
Greg Palast Well, very big news, and he’s put himself in the middle. Fani Willis is the District Attorney of Fulton County, which is the big hunk of Atlanta, and she is investigating whether Trump illegally tried to overturn the election in Georgia. She hasn’t named him yet, or even subpoenaed him — named him as a target — but she has named Lindsay Graham and others, including Rudy Giuliani. Rudy Giuliani was forced to testify yesterday before her grand jury.
Now, understand that the complaint against her, by Trump and Kemp and everyone else, is that this is political, these subpoenas, this whole investigation…And they keep saying, “Atlanta Democrat” — that’s code word for Black. She’s a Black woman, but all of her actions have been approved and ordered by Republican justices.
Now she’s subpoenaed Brian Kemp, this is interesting. Brian Kemp is the Governor of Georgia, he’s running for reelection against Stacey Abrams, and he’s also the star of my film Vigilantes: George’s Vote Suppression Hitman. And so why is Kemp involved in this? Because, here’s the interesting thing: Kemp was the guy who did say he thought the election was probably correct. Understand that Trump had called him several times, as well as the Secretary of State, to say overturn the election, that is don’t call a special session of the legislature and don’t certify the results. In other words, don’t send anyone to the electoral college for Georgia. Kemp said that’s against the Georgia constitution, I have no authority to call a special session, I have no authority to overturn and decertify this election.
You have to understand it’s not like Kemp doesn’t love Trump. Trump endorsed him, they were hand in hand, cheek to cheek when Kemp was running for governor against Stacey Abrams. They were very close. Kemp was a massive supporter of Trump’s reelection in Georgia. But, apparently, he wasn’t willing to go to prison for Agent Orange. Now, the question is, what’s going on here with the subpoena?
Bernstein Well, let’s, let’s talk about the subpoena, but first just say a little bit more about who Fannie Willis is… She really demonstrated when she dismissed Kemp’s attorney… Kemp’s attorney was saying this is a political investigation, I’m not gonna show up. She says, not only are you gonna show up, but I was gonna give you a little extra privilege and let you come into the grand jury room, but now you’re gonna sit outside. And she is an expert on the RICO statute, so she is coming in through that organized crime door — tough woman!
Palast Yes, tough woman. She’s very tough. In fact, a lot of African Ame
Trump raided, in part, because of law he signed to ensnare Clinton
In this week’s edition of the Election Crimes Bulletin, host Dennis Bernstein and investigative reporter Greg Palast discuss the recent FBI raid on Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home. Separate from the investigation being undertaken by the January 6th Committee, the raid on Trump’s Florida home was done at the request of the National Archives, who were seeking official documents Trump had illegally removed from the White House. And there’s a certain amount of schadenfreude to be had, knowing Trump’s home was raided, in part, because of a law he signed to ensnare Hillary Clinton — and to prevent her from running for office. But though this National Archives-instigated raid puts the former president in significant legal jeopardy, it’s a case out of Georgia that might be more likely to deprive Trump of his liberty — and his infamous comb-over!
Dennis Bernstein: I just wanna start off with a couple of quick headlines here. Here’s one about the Attorney General. He had a press conference with no conference part. Attorney General Merrick Garland said Thursday that the Justice Department had filed the motion to unseal a search warrant and property receipt from the FBI’s recent search of former president Donald Trump’s MAGA-Largo estate.
It looks like the folks who helped to take care of him are trying to take care of him in a different way. But let me just add this into the mix, and then I want you to comment. This is coming out of Ohio, the armed man [Ricky Walter Shiffer] who tried to storm the FBI’s Cincinnati office on Thursday, before getting into a shootout with cops that left him dead in an Ohio cornfield, appeared to be a conspiracy-addled Trump-superfan, who told his followers on Truth Social that he was ready for combat after the FBI raided Mar-a-Lago. He, by the way, was also guess where on in January? Yeah, at the insurrection.
Greg, we’ve talked about the situation growing more and more violent, and we’re seeing that happen — attacking the FBI, that’s pretty amazing.
Greg Palast: Well, in fact, yes, actually the amount of violence, having just come back from Georgia, it ain’t pretend. There were guys in a film that I’m working on right now…there was a so-called reenactment by the Civil War aficionados of the one single battle that the rebel won outside of Atlanta, they redid that battle. But it was interesting talking to the spectators and re-enactors. I said, why are you here? They said, to support the Confederate history. I said, well, isn’t that war over? And he said, nope, the Confederacy’s not over and the South will rise again. And then they started talking about how they’d already picked out the high points at the peach tree hotels in downtown Atlanta, waiting for that moment. Remember Trump’s statement to the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by”. Well, they’re still standing back and they’re still standing by — and they are armed to the teeth. And this ain’t no joke.
So, yes, obviously the armed reaction to the FBI raid [is worrying], but, let’s get into that FBI raid, ‘cause most of the media has just simply covered it as, well, you know, the FBI, how dare they break into… Even Pence was saying, how dare they break it to a former president’s residence? This is unprecedented. Well, you know, a lot of things about Trump are unprecedented.
If you take government property that isn’t yours, and he took many boxes…they aren’t his, they belong to you and me. They are the public’s documents. In fact, it was a guy named Donald Trump who signed a law when he was president saying that it is a crime for a president, or anyone who would control presidential papers, to illegally remove those papers. And that was because, if you remember, they were all berserko about Hillary Clinton’s emails. And so, Trump himself, he’s being raided based on the law that he himself signed and pushed that said, if you grab presidential documents
An American treasure
Top notch investigative reporting
Greg Palast is peerless in his investigative reporting. I applaud his courage, brilliance, integrity, and enormous skill set.
The background music is distracting and annoying and makes it harder to hear, so I will be going over to read reports rather than listening, however.
Thanks for all you do.