Horsemen of the Trumpacoplypse by John Nichols

bright yellow book jacket with a graphic of a cowboy on a galloping horse holding a rifle looking back over his shoulder with the face of Donald Trump added where an original face was onceHorsemen of the Trumpacoplypse: A field guide to the most dangerous people in America by John Nichols (2017)

Dangerous people are controlling and embellishing the wickedness of authoritarian zealots in the United States alternate reality government of 2017 and onward so far in 2018.

I best post this soon, while I have been writing this the people in the administration are leaving the White House by the dozens. The Horsemen mentioned include women and men, outsiders as well as political operatives.

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Why America Needs a New Kind of Labor Movement by Thomas Geoghegan (1 of 2)

only one thing can save us now a new kind of labor movement book jacketLabor has lost all power in the face of the onslaught of “free market” lies put forth by Republicans and Neoliberals alike. No, the “invisible hand of the market” will not save us. It will strangle us, that much is certain. That’s why slavery was invented: rich people didn’t want to have to pay for necessary labor and didn’t want to do shitty jobs themselves.
Similarly, apart from the nonexistence of a truly “free” market out there (buy the little competitors up and kill their business or co-opt for their de facto monopolies) PROFIT MOTIVE will always seek to take from labor. Capitalists do not respect any labor right to the value of labor’s own production; only the “money men” deserve reward for the fact that they had money in the first place (inherited wealth in particular) or earned through exploitation of other people and the environment.
The full title of the book actually is:  Only One Thing Can Save Us: Why America Needs a New Kind of Labor Movement by Thomas Geoghegan (2014).

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Democracy in Chains by Nancy MacLean

Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America by Nbook jacket democracy in chains on the Koch brothers and economist James McGill Buchanan ancy MacLean (2017) is a must read, must buy, and must share book. It is both terrifying and depressing. Alas, after having read about the Powell memorandum, the Koch brothers and dark money, and background on the Birchers, I find myself a believer in a right-wing conspiracy that has probably already destroyed democracy in America for good now.

I was going to write more and quote but had to take back to the library. Plan to buy and may post more after I do that. The book was acclaimed elsewhere too.

The Truth about Socialism in America

book jacket featuring a graphic silhouette of the flag raising at Iwo JimaThe “S” Word: A short history of an American Tradition. . . Socialism by John Nichols (2011) makes the case for Americans to embrace the benefits of socialism for the common good. This book is worth buying as well as reading.

The Republicans and conservatives demonize socialism today without reason. With the fall of the communism of the Soviet Union, it seems like they need a new enemy to keep the war on truth, justice, and the specter of a hot war.

Seriously, how can anyone be against medical care for all? How can anyone believe that socialism means taking what little you have and giving it to (a) lazy, (b) immoral, (c) poor people and would destroy America?

Why do the haters of “socialism” find a political system that helps those in need survive, and maybe thrive, to be so despicable?

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Raising the Floor by Andy Stern

book jacketRaising the Floor: How a Universal Basic Income can Renew Our Economy and Rebuild the American Dream by Andy Stern (2016)

This is a good book. I am buying this book. I do not agree with everything he says in the book, but the writing is clear and broad in scope. I was reminded of something I knew, that Alaska changed their state constitution to provide a basic income to all resident citizens from the money oil leases and such brought into the state by putting all that money into a dedicated fund to share the wealth. And a Republican governor did it.

I have some doubts about the purported takeover of technology for jobs, but that is probably a prejudice or failure of imagination on my part due to my lack of education and experience (pre-females being allowed to take shop in public schools). It is like watching magic to see a video of the automation that puts car parts together, or the mind blowing details of how the new Bay Bridge was built. Or when I saw the giant machine used to drill out the tunnel under the English channel. For that matter, every day I took the New York subway, especially though the tunnel under the water from Queens or when I drove through the Holland Tunnel and did not drown, well, it just doesn’t seem possible that mere mortals could figure out how to make tools and how to use them to accomplish such feats.

We have people who cannot make change correctly so cash register machines had to be modified to contain a function that simply told workers what the correct change should be. Icons are used instead of words, although I have to say, from a user interface point of view, this actually is a good thing on many levels: multilingual, faster, and more accurate. Translating the abstract concept of FRIES by having a little graphic of french fries in the container eliminates a lot of cross-brain work translating the letter symbols into a word and then punching a value of numbers in the register.

Trust is the number one criteria for people to accept a lot of the mechanization and technology. As a grocery shopped, you select a product based on a posted sign for a particular price. When the item is scanned at the register, can you remember the price of all the items selected to ascertain if the automated system actually priced it as the sale take listed or maybe it added a penny or a dime. Who actually watches the $$ values that are being rung up and are confident enough in their recollection to contest a price? Peer pressure of people standing in line waiting for you, the inability of the register clerk to know anything beyond what the computer tells her is right, having to call a manager over to assess the situation and go back to the shelves to check the sign, all to save 2 cents on a $2.00 purchase. Not a scenario to encourage questioning the accuracy of the technology. Even self-serve registers have this problem, or worse, because you have to do the scanning yourself while watching accuracy and then do the bagging too, again with people standing there impatiently waiting while you try to figure out why your credit card swipe is demanding a pin number you don’t have and it just seems wrong to push the red cancel button to continue.

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