Review: War on the Middle Class–How the Government, Big Business, and Special Interest Groups Are Waging War on the American Dream and How to Fight Back

5 Star, Capitalism (Good & Bad), Crime (Corporate), Democracy, Economics, Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), Justice (Failure, Reform), Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class

Amazon Page
Amazon Page

Single Best Handbook for We the People Seeking to Take Back the Power,

November 16, 2006
Lou Dobbs
I read a lot, and my highest praise for this book is that it is easily a single coherent substitute for at least 50 others books including Barbara Ehrenrich's Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America; David Shipler's The Working Poor: Invisible in America; Jeff Faux, The Global Class War: How America's Bipartisan Elite Lost Our Future – and What It Will Take to Win It Back; Greg Palast's The Best Democracy Money Can Buy and many many others including books I have reviewed on the broken government, immoral capitalism, the failure of education and health care, and so on. He covers it all, including how Wal-Mart is trying to use the World Trade Organization to force US states to back down on laws protecting them from this predatory organization (see my reviews of the book and DVD about Wal-Mart).

Although the author draws most heavily on his own broadcast remarks, and does not provide an annotated bibliography for further study, Amazon reviews by many others could serve to this end–just search for the topic and read the reviews of the book for a broader study.

Lou Dobbs may well have swung the 2006 election with his series on Broken Government and Jack Cafferty's robust commentaries, and thank God he did.

The book ends with key documents–the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Constitutional Amendments.

Summing it all up: take back the power by voting and demanding that Washington represent the people instead of corporations; fair trade not free trade; end illegal immigration (and I would add, demand English as a common language); self-insure as a Nation with respect to health care.

This topic is so important, I bought a second book with a more aggressive title, Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle Class – And What We Can Do about It (BK Currents) by Thom Hartmann, also published in 2006, and I am pleased to report that these two books complement one another perfectly.

Lou Dobbs would have my vote if he ever ran for President. Now if we can just get him to add a 15 minute “national intelligence review” to the CNN line-up or web site….all the topics he deals with are right on target, but missing is the larger picture: America faces ten high-level global threats, America has no strategy and no coherent policies across twelve policy areas from Agriculture and Debt to Security and Water, and America has no plan for helping the eight challengers (Brazil through Venezuela) avoid our enormous mistakes, mistakes the planet cannot afford (we consume one third of the energy and create one third of the waste if not more).

Of all the books I have read, this is the one that I hope everyone buys, reads, and discusses before the 2008 primaries and general election.

There is also hope. Jim Turner, #2 Naderite, tells me he is seeing signals that 100 million Americans who opted ou8t of partisan politics and jumped back in with both feet in 2008. Below are the books that those people are reading:

Escaping the Matrix: How We the People can change the world
Society's Breakthrough!: Releasing Essential Wisdom and Virtue in All the People
A Power Governments Cannot Suppress
All Rise: Somebodies, Nobodies, and the Politics of Dignity (BK Currents)
One from Many: VISA and the Rise of Chaordic Organization
Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming

There are many more. I have gotten fed up with Amazon's refusing to provide a means for reviewers to sort their reviews, so I am posting, at Earth Intelligence Network, a sortable searchable Word table that covers all of my reading across the ten threats, twelve policies, eight challengers, and other areas. This will dramatically improve the efficiency for anyone seeking to leverage the free reviews that I offer for any given topic. We need to come back angry, non-violent, and INFORMED. Amazon, for all its flaws, is the People's Schoolhouse, and a big part of why public intelligence is a reality, not an oxymoron like “central intelligence.”

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Review: Exporting America–Why Corporate Greed Is Shipping American Jobs Overseas

4 Star, Capitalism (Good & Bad)

Amazon Page
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4.0 out of 5 stars Provokes, Overlooks, Inspires, Read Reviews First,, Then Buy,

September 3, 2004
Lou Dobbs
Edited 20 Dec 07 to add links.

I've said for some time now that Amazon is a virtual university, and that I consider the reviews of any book to be at least the equal of the book as educational material. This certainly applies to the reviews inspired by this provocative book by Lou Dobbs, and I give both the book, and the reviews, high marks when taken together.

It is clear that Lou Dobbs is both an intelligent patriot, and somewhat simplistic in his presentation. This does not diminish the value of what he has offered us, but we have to frame it in the right way: this is a one hour read, from Boston to DC, and needs to seen in the context of my other 1000+ reviews of national security non-fiction.

Dobbs does take on added importance, together with Stephen Flynn's book, America the Vulnerable: How Our Government Is Failing to Protect Us from Terrorism, because Dobbs helps us understand that we do not have a proper trade strategy nor a related demographic and employment strategy. To those who would say “let the free market do its work” I would point out that the free market would not raise national armies, collect taxes, or provide social security. Some things have to be done by the Nation and its State governments, and one of those “duties” is to conserve and enhance national power from “the bottom up”, meaning the population's ability to produce and to fight.

There is a related concern: when goods are created by foreign workers earning $1 per hour, instead of US workers earning $15 per hour (as discussed on page 11), two bad things happen: the first is that the goods tend to be less lasting in nature–more throw-away products that thus consume precious metal, plastic, etc (this is less applicable in IT, where Indian programmers cost 1/10th and are as good or better than US programmers); and second, they have to be transported, using tons of oil and other fuels. These are called “trade-offs.” I'm not an economist, but I do believe that in a limited growth natural environment, and in an unstable world, it makes sense to localize or regionalize as much of your agricultural, light manufacturing, and energy production as possible. Sustainable environments range from local to global, but they start with the local.

The author spends some time identifying and negating twelve “myths” associated with outsourcing jobs, and I for one find these valuable, and would consider any politician unable to address the points that Dobbs makes to be unqualified to be President (I am mindful of the possibility that no one qualified to be President might actually be able to earn the nomination).

Finally, and this is a criticism of Dobbs, I think he misses the main point, and it is one that is made very ably by Peter Peterson in “Running on Empty: How the Democratic and Republican Parties Are Bankrupting Our Future and What Americans Can Do About It as well as others writing about democracy: there is no single issue or challenge facing America that could not be more ably addressed if the people were informed and engaged and actually had the power to vote on the matter. Although Dobbs notes, as does Peterson (who is Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations, and hence no liberal), that corporate America, and the two “main parties”, no longer represent America or American labor or the American voter, he does not focus on this as the core issue. This in my view *is* the key issue. When Dobbs asks America to vote on CNN, as he did last night, and the only issues he presents are a few foreign/defense versus economic/health issues, I ask myself: what doesn't he understand? These are dog on dog issues. The “dog-catcher” issue in America is this: does our vote count, not only in politics, but in the workplace? The answer is NO, and around that answer, we should be building a popular revolution that demands a Constitutional Convention and a completely open election in 2006. We need to churn Congress, join labor unions, and take back the power.

Newer books by Lou Dobbs, with reviews:
Independents Day: Awakening the American Spirit
War on the Middle Class: How the Government, Big Business, and Special Interest Groups Are Waging War onthe American Dream and How to Fight Back

Other books that complement his earnest populist investigative journalist campaign to be an advocate for We the People:
Day of Reckoning: How Hubris, Ideology, and Greed Are Tearing America Apart
State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America
Vice: Dick Cheney and the Hijacking of the American Presidency
The Global Class War: How America's Bipartisan Elite Lost Our Future – and What It Will Take to Win It Back
The Battle for the Soul of Capitalism: How the Financial System Underminded Social Ideals, Damaged Trust in the Markets, Robbed Investors of Trillions – and What to Do About It

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