Take the boy out of the Valley…

Author and investigative journalist Greg Palast credits his experiences in Sun Valley for developing his critical take on President Bush, the Iraq War and other issues, according to a guest column by freelancer Ed Rampell in the Daily News.

His embittered memories of growing up Valley during the McCarthy and Vietnam eras are anything but “American Graffiti”-like reveries.”For me, the class war began in the Valley. … We had this sense that there was a bright city over the hill. Cross Laurel Canyon and you entered the city of the winners. We were in the planet of the losers, below sea level, economically and socially. Most of my area was Chicano. We were the kids who worked at Bob’s Big Boy, got your girlfriend pregnant, went to ‘Nam – and, if that didn’t kill you, overtime at the Chevy plant would.”

It was education that provided an escape route for the young Jewish kid. Palast attended Francis Polytechnic. There, he was “threatened with expulsion from Poly for organizing an antiwar demo,” he remembers. Upon graduation, Palast received a high lottery number that kept him out of Indochina.

Besides protesting, Palast “had lots of incredible teachers who wanted to help me get past what was laid out for the American working class.” With scholarships, he attended L.A. Valley College, UCLA, University of California at Berkeley and the University of Chicago.

Palast went on to become an investigator for unions, environmentalists, indigenous tribes and government entities. By 1997, he brought his investigative acumen to British journalism. And he burst onto the American scene with his 2002 bombshell The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, The Truth About Corporate Cons, Globalization, and High-Finance Fraudsters, which sold more than half a million copies.

Palast’s new book is 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.