Billionaires & Ballot Bandits
Wiped Away in 8 Mile—to Restore the Billionaires’ Future By Greg Palast
Billionaires John Paulson, Harold "Ice Man" Simmons, and Paul “The Vulture” Singer have dropped more than a million dollars each into the Mitt Romney “Super-PAC” Restore Our Future. As Butch said to Sundance, “Who ARE these guys?”
There is no such thing as a victimless billionaire. In 2012, I set out to uncover how they got their money, why they need to buy a president, and how they intend to do it. And the names of their victims.
The result is a short book, with a comic book inside by Ted Rall, called Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps—An investigation of Karl Rove, the Koch Gang and their Buck-Buddies.
Here’s an excerpt from two chapters of the book, about when the sulphurous scent of billionaire Paulson first hit my reporter’s nose. It was 2008, when I was working the vote-theft beat for BBC TV and Rolling Stone...
Wiped Away in 8 Mile
In 2008, at BBC London, I got a call from Detroit, which surprised me because I thought Detroit had died years ago. I was told that banks were foreclosing on tens of thousands of homes; families were being forced from their houses in herds. And as the judge’s gavel came down, sealing the foreclosures, something most interesting happened: the foreclosed residents had their names struck from the voter rolls.
It seems the Republican Party had challenged the rights of voters to cast ballots because their addresses were no longer valid, having lost their right to live where they lived. Lose your home, lose your vote. Even if they still lived in the state, or even if they had remained in the house.
What intrigued me was how the GOP got ahold of the names of those facing foreclosure. It was the summer of 2008, the world economy and General Motors had driven off a cliff, and foreclosed voters, even those who had moved away within the state, would have no time to challenge the challenge to their vote—nor even, if they mailed in their ballot, would they know their names had been removed.
American TV just didn’t give a shit, not about Black folks losing homes and votes. Those didn’t make pretty pictures. But BBC Television Newsnight told me to get there and find some families facing foreclosure (an all too easy task).
I started out in the “8 Mile” neighborhood of Detroit. In the film 8 Mile, Eminem had portrayed the place as a lower-working-class dead end, the decayed monument to America’s new era of downward mobility.
But now, it is much worse. When I found the home of Robert Pratt, the street had already been bank-bombed. Four or five houses had already been foreclosed and emptied, their windows smashed out, weeds belly high, doors hanging from one hinge, leaving the street like it had been busted in the face, with half its teeth missing.
That meant that the rest of the houses would go too. They were now, in this economic death zone, nearly worthless. Pratt’s home, he told me, could maybe sell for $30,000.
Maybe. He owed the bank $110,000 on it.....
When two multi-billionaire brothers, the Kochs, say they are on 'mission to rescue America,' don't believe it.
The only thing they want to rescue is their silky tax breaks so they can keep more loot and use that to buy politicans and keep protecting their favorite SLC, their true homeland.