I may have picked this up in an airport. I was inclined toward three or four stars but brought it back to five after a quick reread from over a year ago. It is a brief book, very [Herbert] Marcusian in its tone, I credit the author with courage and insight. See other recommended books and my summary reviews for context that elevates this author’s contribution.
Quote from page 37:
“The fact that 21st Century Americans are little more than laborers, captives, and like all prisoners throughout recorded history, are fearful, afraid to challenge the system in any serious way, axiously waiting on the next meal and a decent night’s sleep before the alarm signals another wretched day in the hive. The routine is safe and predictable but results in a form of imprisonment for the vast majority of Americans.”
Quote from page 44:
“When votes do not matter, when draconian laws and regulations weigh on people, when employment is uncertaqin, and there is no longer any outlet for expression, frustration and anger set in. That leads to violence.”
Although I have a note to myself quibbling with his sometimes qustionable “facts,” on balance, the book hits the mark–as the famous Dagwood and Blondie cartoon goes, “who cares about the facts as long as you get the story right…”
The author joins others with his own condemnation of the “collusive duopology” (the Republican-Democratic crime family owned by Wall Street that shuts out all others) and labels this a near-totalitarian ruling system with a two-tiered system of education and health, one for the haves, one for the have-nots. I agree. We have failed the public in part because the public has failed to live up to its sovereign responsibilities and allowed the govenrment at all levels to become fraudulent, wasteful, and abusive.
In that vein, the author recommends OpenSecrets.org and points out that the Pentagon has struck out:
2. Information Technology
3. Business/Contracting ($2.3 trillion unaccounted for).
He offers radical solutions (as Howard Zinn teaches us, a liberal still thinks government is part of the solution, a radical knows government is the problem) including a call for the development of a new party; a boycott of all corporations violating their pension obligations, and the nationalization of the US defense industry (to which I would add health as well as local education and the prison-slave industry).
The tone is sarcastic throughout and will alienate many (as I do), but truth is its own reward, and there I stand with the author. He’s on point.
On balance the best I can do to praise this author is point to other serious books that support his views. I am now a radical. Government as it exists today must be abolished or radically restructured. Obama is a captive, issuing policies so similar to Bush’s that even the dullest Democratic voter must now see that “the mafia” is in charge and the public interest has no play in Washington, D.C.
Running on Empty: How the Democratic and Republican Parties Are Bankrupting Our Future and What Americans Can Do About It
Breach of Trust: How Washington Turns Outsiders Into Insiders
The Broken Branch: How Congress Is Failing America and How to Get It Back on Track (Institutions of American Democracy)
Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America’s Class War
The Global Class War: How America’s Bipartisan Elite Lost Our Future – and What It Will Take to Win It Back
The Working Poor: Invisible in America
Nobodies: Modern American Slave Labor and the Dark Side of the New Global Economy
Election 2008: Lipstick on the Pig (Substance of Governance; Legitimate Grievances; Candidates on the Issues; Balanced Budget 101; Call to Arms: Fund We Not Them; Annotated Bibliography)
The Tao of Democracy: Using Co-Intelligence to Create a World That Works for All
Society’s Breakthrough!: Releasing Essential Wisdom and Virtue in All the People