Thieves in High Places by Jim Hightower

book jacket author with sandwich board sign in red long johnsThieves in High Places: They’ve Stolen our Country and it’s Time to Take it Back by Jim Hightower (2003)

Another funny book by the author of:
 If the gods had wanted us to vote they would have given us candidates (2000).

Funny but it makes you want to cry way, book of commentary and actual facts from Jim Hightower. He starts the introduction with a very appropriate word for the W days: Kleptocrat Nation. I have since learned another word that better suits the 2017 administration: kakistocracy.

For those of you who don’t want to click the link, Wikipedia defines it to mean:

“a state or country run by the worst, least qualified, or most unscrupulous citizens”

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Nation on the Take by Potter and Penniman

book jacket with political button red white blue and subtitle in itNation on the Take: how big money corrupts our democracy and what we can do about it by Wendell Potter (New York Times bestselling author of Deadly Sin) and Nick Penniman

Alas the rascal that seems to reserve the same books I am reading, thus preventing a renewal so this will have to be short and sweet. You laugh, but I think I can do it.

The Preface sets the tone of the book:

We were drawn to collaborate on this book out of a common sense of love and heartbreak. Love for our country, heartbreak for what is happening to it. . . . Our grand 240-year-old project of self government has been derailed, replaced by a coin-operated system that mainly favors those who can pay to play.

This is not what our American predecessors bled for, not just during the Revolution but during other wars, as well as during money moments of protest and resistance.

Some of the chapter titles show a little dark humor as well: Oligarchy, Gridlock, Cronyism for chapter 3; Too Big to Beat for 4; Fuel Follies 6; Fat Wallets, Expanding Waistlines 7; and more.

An easy guess on the “Expanding Waistlines” is the problem of obesity in America.  The book is full of details about things, for example, the amount of money by the “beverage” industry lobby increasing from $22 million to $58 million. And points out that contributions increased as well.

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The Age of American Unreason by Susan Jacoby

book jacket with title and authorThe Age of American Unreason by Susan Jacoby, (2008 Large Type has a different cover image). Cover also says it was a New York Times Bestseller.

Well written and argued. Many people I know are mystified at the seriously problem of willful ignorance that has developed in this country. I thought W. had personified ignorance with his sanctimonious smirk and refusal to read newspapers because he didn’t want to be influenced by thinkers other than his staff who absolutely would not tell him anything he did not want to hear. And I had forgotten the case of decorum by the real president, Dick Cheney, who shouted at Senator Patrick Leahy to  “Go fuck yourself!” on the Senate floor.  (p. 40, 44) This provides the great contrast between the Founding Fathers, and especially the insults penned by Shakespeare. She cites an example of a better insult from the 1890s,

. . . Speaker of the House Thomas Reed took care of one opponent by observing that with ‘with a few more brains he could be  a halfwit.’ Of another politician Reed remarked, ‘He never opens his mouth without subtracting from the sum of human intelligence.’ Americans once heard (or rather read) such genuinely witty remarks and tried to emulate that wit. Today we parrot the witless and halfwitted [sic] language used by politicians and radio shock jocks alike.” (p. 41)

Alas we have slumped even further into the abyss with Trump, Cruz, Walker, et al on the Republican side. And the anointed corporate puppet pick, Hillary, of the Bankruptcy Act treason of the people, and the Iraq war of the military industrial complex. She who cannot claim any bill or legislation passed that helped women or people of color.

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