[As a courtesy to our guests, please keep comments to the book and be respectful of dissenting opinions. Please take other conversations to a previous thread. - bev]
To be frank with you, I was rather surprised when Bev at FireDogLake asked me to be the host for Greg Palast’s latest book, Vultures Picnic; In Pursuit of Petroleum Pigs, Power Pirates, and High-Finance Carnivores. There were lots of reasons why. First, I am not that savvy on the computer and my son had to put in a new hard drive to just get it working; then second, although I had heard of Greg Palast and knew he was one of the good guys, I hadn’t read any of his books. So why was I picked to host? I could think of at least a hundred other writer/activists a lot better than me. Then I read his book.
Oh ho, I read his book. Let me tell you, I am not a newbie in this corporate malfeasance business by a long shot. I’ve been jailed for civil disobedience fifty times, sunk my own shrimp boat on top of an illegal toxic discharge into the Gulf of Mexico, scaled chemical towers, and barged into two Senate hearings on the Deepwater Horizon to: 1) do a citizens arrest of Tony Hayward, CEO of BP, and 2) pour a half gallon of oil on myself. So I thought I had heard and seen it all—up close and personal. Nothing could surprise me. Wrong wrong. I was just seeing my little snapshot of heartache (particular to shrimpers from the Gulf Coast) but Greg Palast’s book gave me the front row seat in the motion picture version of “The 1%” featuring yours truly, BP.
The Vulture’s Picnic is a hefty book, almost 400 pages and I read it start to finish in two days. It was like nothing I had ever read. I have an injured workers group consisting of tossed out, sick, disposable workers from the oil and chemical industry on the Texas Gulf Coast and often they show up at my front door carrying documents and a gun. It’s a scary business telling tales. But Greg Palast’s book is like the president of the corporation settling into my couch and spilling his guts. And sitting next to his shiny boot is a briefcase of confidential documents.
Palast takes us on a fast paced, kick ass narrative that globe trots from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil blowout in the Gulf of Mexico, to the coast of Alaska, to New Orleans, to Liberia, to Azerbaijan, to Fukushima, Japan. It’s the real-deal investigative reporting of corporate irresponsibility. As Greg Palast said himself in an interview,” This book is a story of the 1%. It’s why we occupy.”
If you have ever despaired that justice can always be perverted by those with the fortunes to buy whatever they want, even governments, then read this book. Palast may not deliver justice (unless you believe that recording truth serves justice and in this book, there is that) but at the least this book will fill your belly with fire for the long fight into the night.