Tagged: #corruption

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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The Great Deformation by David A. Stockman

book jacket Capital Building surrounded by moneyThe Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America by David A. Stockman (2013)

Yes, that David Stockman, the  man who was:

elected as a Michigan congressman in 1976 and the the Reagan White House in 1981. Serving as budget director, he was one of the key architects of the Reagan Revolution plan to reduce taxes, cut spending, and shrink the role of government. He joined the Salomon Brothers in 1985 [and we all know what happened to them] and later became one of the early partners of the Blackstone Group. During nearly two decades at Blackstone and a firm he founded, Stockman was a private equity investor.

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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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Thieves of State by Sarah Chayes

thieves of stateWhy Corruption Threatens Global Security: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security by Sarah Chayes (2016)

I finished the book a while ago and meant to do the write while it was fresh but got distracted.  It is a very depressing read, but probably important to know the arguments she makes so I’m going to go MUST READ on this book. The focus is on governmental and corporate corruption so obviously no good news with that focus. The problem is that there seems to be an endless supply of corrupt people, or good people stressed or tempted  or coerced and turned corrupt. Or willingly ignorant. Or simply evil. I guess it depends on what you believe the core of people is: good or evil? Since I spent childhood ducking and covering under my pathetic school desk (while realizing that it was going to be of no use at all), and my father was a bomber pilot who was absolutely a good man but he dropped bombs and people died. Of course they were scum sucking Nazi’s, but before the demagogue Hitler incited them to hate, they were just bakers, or shop clerks and so on. These same people closed their eyes to the deliberate seizure of their property and then themselves of Jews (or whomever Hitler deemed degenerate races including slavs and gypsies and of course gays) rounded up into synagogues right there in the towns and burned them alive and the synagogues to the ground. And of course the death camps. How can anyone believe in a god after the Holocaust?

So the point is, corruption is also at the heart of so many people that I am not sure it can be stomped out no matter how many whistle-blowers try. The forces of corruption are so great, and wealthy, and rationalized, and dog eat dog, or everyone else is doing it so just looking out for themselves. This is, in essence, the Tragedy of the Commons written by ecologist Garrett Hardin (no relation) in 1968.

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