FDL Book Salon Welcomes Jeff Madrick, Seven Bad Ideas: How Mainstream Economists Have Damaged America and the World
By investigating how these myths arose, why they gained traction, how to know they’re wrong, and what damage they’ve done, Jeff Madrick demands that we rethink what we imagine we know about economics, and suggests that we can prevent or, failing that, effectively solve the next Great Recession by tossing the old, bad ideas out and adopting an updated understanding of the dynamics involved in a prosperous, equitable, sustainable economy. It may take a lot to get policymakers, media, and the world to question and reject the proclamations of MIT and Harvard economists, but Madrick’s book hopes to contribute to that effort.
Gus Speth’s Angels by the River is not an autobiography or traditional memoir, it’s a series of reflections on the life of one of the nation’s most influential environmental activists, selectively chosen for how they relate to our current and future struggles. As we confront an environmental crisis that is growing increasingly dire, we have to turn to our past failures and successes before we proceed.
From his opening story about the vast shipments of cash to Iraq in the early days of the U.S. invasion to his final chapter on the U.S. government’s attacks on Diane Rourk and the four NSA whistleblowers, James Risen paints a brilliant but tragic portrait of a country gone mad with power and greed during the 12 years of the Bush-Obama “war on terror.”
His stories are culled from many years of deep reporting, including his explosive revelations in 2005 of the NSA’s warrantless surveillance program. They provide startling new evidence of how the post-9/11 atmosphere of fear and government intimidation allowed an entire generation of American officials, intelligence officers, contractors, psychologists and propagandists to defy U.S. and international law and turn the United States into a global ethical pariah.
FDL Book Salon Welcomes Zephyr Teachout, Corruption in America: From Benjamin Franklin’s Snuff Box to Citizens United
“In 2010, one of the most consequential Court decisions in American political history gave wealthy corporations the right to spend unlimited money to influence elections. Justice Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion treated corruption as nothing more than explicit bribery, a narrow conception later echoed by Chief Justice Roberts in deciding McCutcheon v. FEC in 2014. With unlimited spending transforming American politics for the worse, warns Zephyr Teachout, Citizens United and McCutcheon were not just bad law but bad history. If the American experiment in self-government is to have a future, then we must revive the traditional meaning of corruption and embrace an old ideal.”
EDITORS NOTE: This Book Salon will be rescheduled. Apologies for the interruption.
Michael Hastings’ The Last Magazine, is a scathing satire and indictment of the way the New York / DC big media world works. When I first read it, in an all-nighter months after his death, it was an amazing surprise: he was gone but his voice was still out there, and for a good 80,000 words completely new and fresh. Anyone halfway familiar with the New York / DC news and media apparatus will recognize the characters behind the characters. Hopefully the way they’re portrayed is as disturbing to you as it was to me—as essentially out-of-touch, solipsistic, preening weenies, who for some reason we keep listening to on TV & Radio and reading in print.
FDL Book Salon Welcomes Brandon L. Garrett, Too Big to Jail: How Prosecutors Compromise With Corporations
Six years after the Financial Crisis of 2008 — with its $13 trillion global price tag, including $2 trillion in property values lost, 8.7 million jobs destroyed, and evidence of corporate lawlessness seemingly in plain sight — the public policy problematic might boil down to a single question: where are the prosecutions?
Since Barack Obama announced his intention to run for president in 2007, Paul Street has distinguished himself as one of candidate Obama and President Obama’s most consistent critics from the left. At a time when many liberals were starry-eyed about the possibilities for an Obama presidency, Street was documenting Obama’s commitment to a pro-business, neoliberal agenda.
Street’s writings on the Obama era are even more important now.
“Burning Down the House, is an urgent account of why we need to abolish juvenile prisons, not merely make them more humane. In the first half of the book she outlines the history behind the rise of the juvenile prisons and the many kinds of violence kids face on the inside, from physical and sexual abuse to solitary confinement. Nell Bernstein explains how the idea of the violent, “morally impoverished” youth super-predator is still with us today; for example, in provisions across all fifty states to try children who commit particular offenses as adults.”
FDL Book Salon Welcomes Ken Hughes, Chasing Shadows: The Nixon Tapes, the Chennault Affair, and the Origins of Watergate
Ken Hughes has been at this a long time. He started working as a researcher for the Miller Center at the University of Virginia in 1996 and is rightly considered one of the nation’s experts on the Nixon Tapes (and the Johnson tapes). His book, I think his first, is a fascinating look into the Nixon character and a scandal that dwarfs the Watergate break-in.
Using money to influence—ie. purchase—elections began when Thug gave Ugg a big, sharp rock in return for his vote for cave leader. It’s an ugly scene – and it has never stopped.
But with the advent of formalized democracy, purchasing a vote has gone through a psychological shift. With money, you can buy a voter’s neurons, board the brain like a pirate, and steal the booty—some poor schmuck’s “choice” made in a voting booth.