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Life Arts    H3'ed 12/15/11

Palast Back in DC to Sign Vultures' Picnic

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Quipped Palast soon after, quoting from his lively narrative that the [British] National Union of Journalists is fighting for First Amendment rights in the UK, which has none: "You can borrow ours. We're not using it."

Back to BP, Palast told us that the British behemoth, which supplies half the fuel consumed by the U.S. military, had already been warned many times about the need to update and maintain its rigs and associated polluting devices--oops, I mean a euphemism of some sort. The scandal had been revealed by the PBS news series Frontline.

Chevron had been held up to BP as a positive role model. Evidently no one had read Palast's expose' about the oil mogul's artwork in the Peruvian jungle (discussed in the same chapter of Vultures' Picnic). But besides that, one standard exists for the entire consortium of devils: BP-Chevron-Shell-Exxon-Conoco, and all use the same equipment.

Palast called the Louisiana rig "a trash can fire in front of the firehouse."

As for the Exxon-Valdez disaster in mid-Alaska, they began by spraying seltzer water on the fire.

Then, having heard the myth that "little critters" devoured all the oil pollution that infested the Louisiana Gulf, he visited there and found huge "tarmacs" of oil. The help had simply skimmed the oil off of the top layer of the scenic water. And I read that the Gulf states had their best tourist season last summer. I wanted to ask about that. 

Then Palast spoke of his trip to Peru to meet the Cofan chief whose two sons had been killed by swimming in Chevron-infested waters. One died promptly while the other died slowly of leukemia. Chevron denied responsibility for such bouts of "kiddy cancer." There was no proof that Chevron's oil was the culprit--no individual designer's label as proof. 

Then there's the Fukushima disaster--Japan creating its own answer to the Hiroshima-Nagasaki bombings after abstaining from the nukes race while the rest of the "civilized" world invested millions in it. The towers were not built to withstand earthquakes. Why? Who knows, except that the same company that built them, Shaw Corporation, has been retained by Obama to build four more nuclear power plants in this country, after years of inactivity in this area. 

Twenty-five power companies wanted the contract. Shades of Halliburton in Iraq but even more lethal? 

"Vulture": a scoundrel who scouts out old debts of developing nations, buys them, and then fleeces the nation for amounts other loaner countries forgive.   That's money, incidentally, donated largely by us, the U.S., as aid to the impoverished, and look where it ends up--$1 million being withdrawn from a Swiss bank account owned by Goldfinger and spent to purchase a lavish wardrobe by the king of Zambia (who has since been imprisoned, Palast told us last night). 

The British know the story. Palast has to rewrite it engagingly, with illustrations publishing budgets won't do justice to, to try to reach the public here. 

We've started to hit back, the 99 percent, empowered by the few journalists who tell the truth and then lose jobs, speaking of jobs--Seymour Hersh was dumped by the New York Times, for example. And Bill Moyers's retirement from PBS was at their strong suggestion. 

If we don't bite back, we'll be devoured. They should create jobs for us so that we won't have the time to bite back as we are doing now.

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Marta Steele is an author/editor/blogger who has been writing for since 2006. She is also author of the 2012 book "Grassroots, Geeks, Pros, and Pols: The Election Integrity Movement's Nonstop Battle to Win Back the People's Vote, (more...)

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