The good guys are lazy fucks; the scumbags have their shit together. That's how William Butler Yeats described the coming of the end of the world, more or less ("The best lack all convictions, while the worst/Are full of passionate intensity").
You have to cuss a bit when introducing Greg Palast, a London-based investigative journalist. He's peddling a new paperback edition of his book The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: The Truth About Corporate Cons, Globalization and High-Finance Fraudsters (which has a new introduction titled "Who Gives a Shit?"). Palast exposes scumbags in American business and government that the U.S. media snoozed past, and he explains their lapses (in part) by saying, "Most reporters are lazy fucks."
Not this guy -- he's a righteous mole who's poked his snout into voting records, databases of government contractors and leaked World Bank documents. He has help, he tells us, from a small army of research assistants, but his hands get plenty dirty -- dirty with the deeds of the Bushes, the Enrons, the World Banks and the sellout senators -- and the news producers too chicken to expose those evils.
The usual suspects? Maybe, but Palast outs them in unusual detail. Take the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (please) and the meltdown of Argentina's economy, an event that continues to unfold in the news (when it's actually reported, of course). Palast has in his dirty little hands a purloined copy of the "Technical Memorandum of Understanding" that passed between the IMF and Argentina's Central Bank. It outlines the cuts in wages and social services and the increases in prices that sent people into the streets and imploded the economy.
"It's not conspiracy," Palast says, that keeps the greedy in charge and the little guy down, "but opportunism." The powerful scumbags don't have it all figured out in advance. They're just constantly scheming for advantage, homing in on blood in the water and then covering their asses as they swim away full of meat and death. Their getaways are made easy when the good guys (according to Yeats) and most reporters (according to Palast) are lazy fucks.
It's not all bad news, though. "America has something to offer the planet besides McBurgers, cruise missiles and Madonna," Palast says. "When we've had enough, we kick ass." He praises many acts of resistance and notes that it's never too late to do the right thing. In fact, Palast is ready to help you do just that -- especially if you have a nasty little secret somebody has asked you to shred. You have nothing to lose but your chains! -- well, your chains and your job, that is. Siding with Palast has gotten a few good folks fired, imprisoned or both. Feel free to notify the author of any smoking guns at www.gregpalast.com.
"Whistleblowers welcome," he says.