Posts Tagged ‘Palast’

Palast Takes on Petroleum Pigs

February 8th, 2012

Book Review: Vultures’ Picnic by Greg Palast
Greg Palast–the gumshoe investigative reporter fueled by an outrage he expresses in exasperated wisecracks–returns to bookshelves with Vultures’ Picnic: In Pursuit of Petroleum Pigs, Power Pirates, and High-Finance Carnivores.

Palast, who lefty commentator Jim Hightower called “a cross between Sam Spade and Sherlock Holmes,” (Palast wears the felt hat of Spade rather than the wooly deerstalker of Holmes, by the way) is a former corporate fraud and racketeering investigator-turned journalist.
Palast can be seen regularly on the BBC, but is almost invisible on the U.S. broadcast media. (I’ve never seen him on anything except C-SPAN.) However, in another life I interviewed Greg several times on a political news podcast. I always found him engaging, informed and incredibly passionate. We sparred a little on his apparent belief in the pure motives of Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez, but ultimately I think Palast is well-intentioned and forthright. (And where would many of us have looked in the early days of the George W. Bush administration for any glimmer of hope that we were right about that turd other than Palast?)
He’s also brave. Check that–Palast and his investigative team are brave. Rickety planes to nowhere, uniformed thugs swinging batons and even ham-fisted attempts at blackmail have left them undeterred in their muckraking mission. Hell, they relish it. Just ask Miss Badpenny or photojournalist Zach Roberts. They sure as hell aren’t there for the money:

In Vultures’ Picnic ($26.95 Dutton, 2011 404 pages) Palast starts with the disaster of the Deepwater Horizon and leads the reader down the rabbit hole of corruption, cover-ups and unrestrained greed in the oil, energy and banking industries. Governments don’t get off easy, either.

“The world runs on oil,” a member of the Petroleum Club heading out there to the Wild East told me. “and oil runs on payoffs and pussy.” It’s not a sentiment you’d find on a Hallmark cared, but then, the strongmen of the new Islamic republics don’t get Hallmark cards. Britain’s ambassador to Uzbekistan (ask Herman Cain if you can’t find it on a map–that’s me, not Palast saying that) mentioned that Uzbek President Karimov boiled his opponents alive, not something you bring up at state dinners.

I could go on. Suffice it to say that Palast smacks BP, Big Oil and hell yes, his old target Karl Rove (vote caging, election rigging–shades of Palast’s previous tour de force The Best Democracy Money Can Buy) with flair and a facility with words that is unrivaled in his profession. Does he corroborate everything with unimpeachable sources? No. Palast reports in hope that the verisimilitude of his tales and the credibility of his character will carry it through. That’s good enough for me.
I believe Palast; I have no reason not to. And more’s the pity: for all its entertainment value Vultures’ Picnic would be more fun to read if it weren’t so devastatingly obvious that the world is as pitch black as the oil that runs it.

Rave on Greg. Howl into the blackness.


Disclosure: Simon’s Groove received a free copy of this book from Greg Palast’s office to read and review. We plan to keep it.

Separation of Church and Hate: The Kate Mosque Solution

August 18th, 2010

Guest Post by Greg Palast

Since everyone seems to have an opinion about the mosque near Ground Zero (and President Obama has two), I’d like to ask you all a couple of questions:

Given that white Christian supremacist Tim McVeigh bombed the Oklahoma City Federal Building, shouldn’t we ban white churches from Oklahoma?

As New York City’s indigenous Lanape Natives died at Ground Zero by the thousands when overrun by Christian colonists, shouldn’t we ban Christian churches from their sacred ground?

If a mosque near Ground Zero is bad, then why not ban all Muslims from downtown New York? For this to work, should we require all Muslims in the city to wear yellow crescents?

My office was in the WTC towers, which will now be rebuilt with all the upscale shops I remember. So, Mrs. Palin, are you saying it’s OK for Muslims to shop at Ground Zero as long as they don’t pray there?

The new tower will have the old one’s Off-Track Betting windows and bars with after-work “happy hours.” So here’s a solution to make everyone happy: Why not camouflage the mosque as a place to gamble and get into your secretary’s panties?

How about disguising it as a discount fashion shop: Kate Mosque? Or as a Disney retail outlet: Mickey Mosque?

Jamie Kilstein has suggested to me that we ban Burger Kings from Ground Zero in honor of the victims of heart disease. But Jamie, the BKs are memorials to remind us that in the eyes of God, all of us – no matter what religion – are just hamburger meat.

“O. Bin Laden” signed Glenn Beck’s petition to ban mosques from Ground Zero. Al Qaeda sure as hell doesn’t want Muslims and Christians worshipping in amicable proximity.

Several new Christian churches have been welcomed near Ground Zero … in Hiroshima.

Am I being too kum-ba-yah by suggesting some of the money raised for the mosque go to building a synagogue in Saudi Arabia, rebuilding the Latin Church in Gaza burnt by Hamas kooks, rebuilding the Babri Masjid mosque burnt down by Hindi fascists, rebuild the Hindi temples destroyed by Sinhalese Buddhists, and for Christ’s sake, build a bridge, not a wall, to share, not divide, Al-Aksa and the Dome of the Rock?

WWTJD? (What Would Thomas Jefferson Do?)

My own view? I don’t want a mosque near Ground Zero; I want it right on top of Ground Zero, in the new tower, so when we go down again, we all go together.