Some of these books I had to return because other people wanted to read them and put a reserve on them, so that’s a good sign, but makes it hard for me to put the time in with quotes that they deserve. Vacation put me too far behind in my juggling of due dates and reserves. 🙂
Rights Gone Wrong: How Law Corrupts the Struggle for Equality by Richard Thompson Ford (author of The Race Card), 2011
I was not able to do more than quickly glance at this one for particular index terms that interested me. This concept is an interesting parallel to another book on interlibrary loan I hope to extend called “Dred Scott and the Problem of Constitutional Evil.” The law is the law and is not JUSTICE. And the sooner people grasp that, then we have a chance for true equality under the law and social justice. But too many people in power abuse that privilege by passing unconstitutional and unjust laws and because of the weird but sometimes useful requirement of “standing” to be able to act to change the law, we get stuck with them. For example, all the hundreds of limitations that are undue burdens for abortion. The Michigan anti-sodomy law that was passed recently (2016? 2015?) DESPITE THE FACT THAT THE SUPREME COURT RULED SUCH LAWS UNCONSTITUTIONAL (2003?).
Highly recommend reading this book
I was shocked and appalled when much admired Governor of Texas Ann Richards lost to George W. Bush. Reading Bush’s Brain (aka Karl Rove), I learned how his pernicious manipulations and lies accomplished W’s win. It turns out that Mary Beth Rogers ran the campaign that put Ann Richards in office for her first term as governor, so she knows Texan politics. This book is well written and really gives an inside view of the in the trenches kind of political action that goes on that we never hear about on the news — and that’s a real loss to creating an informed citizenry. I’m going to have to return to this book for my mega opus on Know Thy Enemy post I will eventually write because of the details of the connections of the people and lies and realities. Quick quote from pp. 164-165:
Republican congressman Louie Gohmert of East Texas, who can always be counted on to say something outrageous and often UNTRUE, reflects the tone too often used by public officials here. He claimed that President Obama’s immigration policies were “luring millions of diseased immigrant children” to the United States. And he urged Texas officials to “use whatever means’ possible, like TROOPS, SHIPS OF WAR, OR TAXES to ‘stop the invasion.’ “
Pity the Billionaire: The hard-times swindle and the unlikely comeback of the right, by Thomas Frank, (2012). Author of several great books including new release MUST READ “Listen Liberals“ and most famously his “What’s the Matter with Kansas.“ [also on video]
Once again it is fun to see the title of the concluding chapter, in this case:
Trample the Weak. We who are living in this fake “free market” know that there can never be a free market because free markets are ruthless killers of all things, people, land, water, animals, and more, all for PROFIT. In fact, the religion of capitalism has now even shucked any pretense of their original charters with the obligation to serve the people by claiming “fiduciary” responsibility to their shareholders. How they can do that while taking $53 million a year in salary plus bonuses and stock options that cause them to waste capital on stock buybacks to jack the price up and contribute literally nothing in terms of goods and services, just shuffling paper money around, is beyond me. The shareholders aren’t even allowed a vote on the pay of the CEO but just their boards that are well-compensated people with next to no responsibilities except to rubber stamp whatever grand scheme the current CEO has to rape and pillage the people.
This woman proves the point that a single person can change the world. Alas, the implication is generally that the world can be changed for the better. Not so with Phyllis Schlafly who fucked a generation and more of women while living a life she wanted to denied the rest of us. And her big bogeymen, mixed sex bathrooms and women in combat and subject to the draft arrived anyway! Meanwhile we are still underpaid, undervalued, and fighting for personal autonomy and against forced birth. And she’s still alive (91), dammit. And still self-righteous. And still an evil horrible human being. But that doesn’t maker her wrong about everything. And I was shocked and a little horrified that this book contains many facts that everyone should know, although perhaps interpret them somewhat differently.
Yet it is funny because, unlike the deep and resounding hatred I hold for Henry Hyde (deceased 2007), Jesse Helms (deceased 2008), and the blessedly dead (2016) Antonin Scalia, somehow I seem to be acting in a sex discriminatory manner for not hating this woman as much as these men. Don’t get me wrong, I do hate her and what she did to stop the simple ERA and her absurd belief that women should stay home and have babies and be good Christian Madonnas serving and servicing their husbands regardless of abuse, adultery, or financial withholding. She is a smart Harvard-educated woman, a lawyer, and a mother of six. She remains a plague upon our nation continuing her involvement with Republicans “usually as a delegate, at every Republican National Convention since 1952” (back jacket copy).
Her heir apparent is the revolting Ann Coulter who did a back jacket blurb that will give me nightmares:
A Choice Not an Echo “changed the Republican Party forever. . . Without Schlafly, without that book, without Goldwater’s candidacy [and Hillary Clinton as a supporter], it is unlikely that RONALD REAGAN would ever have been elected president.”
Oh for a time machine! Of course the problem with that is you cannot tell if you would make matters worse (such as killing Hitler alternative histories, though with him never born, pretty sure the world would have been better off under any scenario). I try to picture a world without her effect, without Reagan, without Hyde and Helms, and especially without the legacy of Scalia (and Thomas and Alito and Mitch McConnell and all the other slime we are living with that are killing democracy and the rights of women. Toss in the rise of the un-Christian theocrats, the American caused rise of radical Islam (that is, the rise of murderous bullies and thugs in the name of religion, oh wait, that applies to the forced-birther Christians too!), and the state of perpetual war, the rule of the few, the theft of economic security and rise of the debtor slaves, oh the dominoes go everywhere and reach everyone. To my sorrow. The damage she has done really needs an in-depth historical review.
Glenn Greenwald is also the author of several other good books. All of which I plan to read.
Chapter 3 has a fun pun title: Tough Guise.
Central to the right wing mythmaking machine is the depiction of their machine is the depiction of their male leaders as swaggering tough guys in the iconic mold of an American cowboy and brave, steadfast warrior. Above all else, Republican leaders are invariably held up as exuding the virtues of traditional American masculinity — courage, physical strength, “regular guy” ness, and most of all, a willingness and ability to stare down America’s various and numerous enemies — in war, if necessary — and defeat them through superior strength.
Vital to this masculinity marketing campaign is the demonization of Democrats and liberal males as weak, sniveling, effeminate, effete cowards — spineless little creatures whose cowardice and lack of manliness make them laughingstocks. While right-wing leaders are the football players and swaggering touch guys, liberal males are the glasses -wearing nerds, the woman-controlled [!!!!], gender-confused, always -vaguely-gay loser who are as feminine and week as their women are masculine and threatening.
This book just came out in April, and it is SOOOO WROOONG in what is happening in Republican strategy such as it is having been demolished by The Donald!
First, Donald Trump only has 2 references in the index and the text is absolutely not reflective of reality since he is the only Republican left standing. I suppose the author wrote it awhile ago, and it took time to print and so on, but really? Two mentions? Ah read on and it is clear the book must have been written before New Hampshire, based on the quotes below from speakers from there. The mentions of Trump include one of his apparently random interviews the author conducted in the seven states deemed crucial.
Too Dumb to Fail: How the GOP Betrayed the Reagan Revolution to Win Elections (and How it can Reclaim its Conservative Roots) (2016) is of course a play on the book and slogan, Too Big to Jail. Though he explains why he deliberately parodied that title, it didn’t really quite make sense to me. I think he was more trading on the Jail slogan and twisted things to try to pretend it makes sense. Kind of like the entire conservative point of view! BTW, it is a fast read since it is so lacking in substance.
Fun to read though, actually, in part because it actually does as he says: he tries to be objective. Alas trying is not the same as doing, as Yoda has explained to us before. However. in fact, he actually makes some good points.
I thought his concern about the party running completely unqualified candidates was very accurate. His criticism of a number of aspects of the party are reasonable. But he still misrepresents reality as I know it. And he can’t resist unnecessary snipes, in particular referring to Jimmy Carter as a “peanut farmer” as if that was something disgraceful and shameful [in conservative minds] akin to an abortionist or homosexual.
Doggone it, someone put a reserve on this book at the library so I will not have as much time as I wanted to completely read in detail the 475 pages. But it so fascinating how interconnected the books I’ve been reading are and since this is recent history, I lived it, although somewhat unaware of the depth and complexity of the issues and people involved. I don’t know why there wasn’t more liberal activism at that time, but perhaps I just haven’t come across a book on that. The Claire Conner book made it clear that there was serious radical right wing Bircher activism going on.
I find it fascinating to discover connections between people that I was unaware of, like the fact that Hillary Clinton worked for the Goldwater campaign at one point early in her career despite the fact that he was a serious racist and opposed segregation to the point that President Johnson sent in the National Guard to force the desegregation of Alabama schools when Goldwater was governor.
And I had read that Joe Scarborough was actually a conservative despite the fact that he is currently hosting on MSNBC and it used to be the “liberal” station but of course, it barely is since Comcast acquired it. Not much in-depth investigative journalism going on there anymore. Must rely on John Oliver for that, thank goodness for his HBO show and YouTube videos. And now we have Samantha Bee‘s Full Frontal and she is doing a fantastic job.
This link is to the 2000 edition, the one I am reading is 1992 but not as dated as one might think given that it begins at the beginning of America’s founding and all the information up to then and is extremely detailed and analyzed and described very well.
This book answers the many questions I have had over the years of how we ended up with an essentially two-party system that is run like two warring corporations for a monopoly of the United States government as the prize.
I knew that the Founding Fathers had not begun nor wanted political parties, but apparently not “until they began running parties themselves.” Thomas Jefferson was pro-party. Alexander Hamilton “associated parties with ‘ambition, avarice, personal animosity.'” I’m going to side with Hamilton on this point. James Madison “wrote in Federalist Number Ten of ‘the mischiefs of faction. John Adams expressed ‘dread’ toward ‘division of the republic into to great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other.'” Now that was prescient!