November 01, 2006
Armed Madhouse: Book Review
Armed Madhouse: Who's Afraid of Osama Wolf?, China Floats, Bush Sinks, The Scheme to Steal '08, No Child's Behind Left, and Other Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Class War
by Greg Palast
You'll recall that Greg Palast is the British (but not really) reporter who broke the story on how the Bush gang stole the 2000 election by having thousands of black people dropped from the voter rolls down in Florida. Back in January, I reviewed his other book, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy.
His new Armed Madhouse is similar, but with updated information for 2006. In fact, if you've never read either of them, I'd say just pick up this new one. It deals with a lot of the same shit as the last one, i.e. economics, globaliztion, class warfare, oil, Hugo Chavez, elections, and so on and so forth.
The bulk of the book and - fortunately - the most interesting part has to do with oil, the war in Iraq, terrorism, and what have you.
Of course at the center of it all is oil. To use the parlance of our time, the US decided to "go in" to Iraq because a) Iraq has a shiteload of oil, and b) Saddam Hussein is an insane bitch, and who knows what he might do with said oil or the "guap" it generates.
Only thing is, after 9/11, the US couldn't decide exactly how to go in. Colin Powell's state department had its own plan which involved "going in," tossing out Saddam, and setting up a state-controlled oil company - all in the space of something like 90 days. Obviously that never happened.
The neocons, meanwhile, had their own much more complex plan (remember these are Jews we're talking about) which involved, among other things, the dismantling of OPEC and creating an entire new system of laws designed to funnel money out of Iraq and into some TI's pocket.
Here's the thing: of course the oil d-bags down in Texas weren't about to allow these Jews to bust up OPEC. Oil people love OPEC. In case you haven't heard, oil fat cats are currently having the best year evar thanks primarily to the war in Iraq and OPEC.
You see, the US buys its oil from OPEC, which is essentially Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia then uses said guap to cop US treasury bills - the money from which the US then uses to spray down poor Iraqi bastards in sweatpants and flip-flops. "Insurgents," they're called.
To the extent that that gas costs so much more now than it did just a few years ago, let alone ten years ago, it's because the US needs that much more money to buy tanks and shit. And while the rest of us are feeling the pinch, oil tycoons are having a field day to say the least.
Hence, the story of the Iraq War for the past few years now has been the story of all this in-fighting among the uber-elite on how exactly to jack all its oil. At this point, the Texas oil types have more or less won out and many of the neocons have since been run out of the Bush gang on a rail.
The gulliest of the neocons, Paul Wolfowitz, ended up the President of the World Bank. If you've never heard of this, you should do some research or something. Basically, they lend guap to Third World countries under the condition that they restructure their laws to enrich the elite.
In fact, it's not that different than the pre-paid debit card scheme Russell Simmons tried to pull off a few years ago. Lots of shitty South and Central American countries that are more rich with resources than intellect have fallen victim to its ruse in the past several years.
Enter Hugo Chavez on a white, Benzino-style horse. Chavez is the President of Venezuela which has an insane amount of oil. Chavez would argue even more than Saudi Arabia, though this is debatable, which Palast discusses at length.
It's enough anyway that Chavez has been able to buy up the debt these countries have been tricked into taking on. Essentially, Chavez' MO has been to exploit his country's vast natural resources to the benefit of its own citizens rather than the likes of Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz, etc.
This is why he'll almost certainly be assassinated before too long, even if Pat Robertson has to do it himself. Which would almost be worth it. In fact, this has already been attempted at least once, as described in The Best Democracy Money Can Buy.
Hugo Chavez is immensely popular in the Third World because he redistributes at least some of his country's wealth among those who need it most. Bush Mengele? Not so much. As such, he's forced to win elections by other means - primarily by cock-blocking black voters.
As important as this issue is, I didn't find the chapter on it nearly as entertaining as the oil stuff. The gist of what's going on isn't especially different than 2000, but then he goes on with all these examples of ways vote counts got all fucked up in '04, costing Kerry the election.
Meanwhile, the shit having to do with Hurricane Katrina and No Child Left Behind felt tacked-on, if only to give the book a greater sense of context. But they aren't nearly as well-developed as the shit having to do with the war.
If there's a main, overall criticism, it's that this shit is fairly complex. You kinda have to already know what's going on to get Palast's take on the issue. It didn't necessarily impede my enjoyment of the book, but I could imagine reasonably intelligent people picking it up and being like, 'the fuck?
I'd definitely recommend it though if you're into this sort of thing. You can learn more about Greg Palast and Armed Madhouse at Greg Palast.com.
Byron Crawford a/k/a Bol is the celebrated author of several books, most recently NaS Lost: A Tribute to the Little Homey.
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