Review: Democracy More or Less – America’s Political Reform Quandry

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Bruce Cain

4.0 out of 5 stars Academic Smoke — Disdain for the Public & Denial Over Two-Party Tyranny, May 24, 2015

I spent some time reviewing the author’s history (he’s been writing about electoral matters since the 1970’s) and what Amazon offers through its superb Inside the Book feature, as I am unemployed and between the book price and what Amazon charges for delivery today this would have been a $40 commitment. My call: not worth it for the electoral reform activist, but useful as the nay-sayer summary for graduate level courses in politics.

The book suffers three strikes:

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May 24

Review: Wages of Rebellion – The Moral Imperative of Revolt

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Chris Hedges

5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly Brilliant with One Possible Flaw and Some Minor Oversights, May 10, 2015

I am a huge fan of Chris Hedges and consider Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle one of his most interesting works, a real complement to David Korten’s The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community.

This book can be seen as a logical follow on to The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan and Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt, among other works.

This is a five star book with one major point: revolutions don’t succeed from mass power, they succeed when mass power is no longer confronted by the armed power of the state because the individual soldiers and police stop defending the status quo. Since I myself have studied revolution extensively, and < Graphic: Preconditions of Revolution in the USA Today > is easily found online, I am both impressed by the author’s blend of journo-scholarship, and a tad disappointed that he missed some key bits.

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May 10

Review: Unstoppable – The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State

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Ralph Nader

4.0 out of 5 stars Valentine for the Real Conservatives — Bland and Not Transformative, March 9, 2015

Positive up front: reading a book by another person is like getting a few hours of their time to yourself, so any book by Ralph Nader is a substantive value to anyone interested in ethics and governance. However, this is not the transformative book I was hoping for, and I even have to wonder if all the great minds providing blurbs even read the book. For the long critique of this book, which I totally embrace, see Herbert Calhoun’s 3-star review, This is Both an Accurate and a Useful Treatise, But …?, October 25, 2014. I’d like to see it voted up, Mr. Calhoun, whom I have had the privilege of meeting at Amphoras in Vienna, is one of the most intelligent and broadly read individuals I have ever encountered.

Second positive up front: in terms of inspiring generations of independent thinkers some of whom have become thought leaders in their own right, Ralph Nader is special. Jim Turner — co-author with Lawrence Chickering of Voice of the People: The Transpartisan Imperative in American Life and Theresa Amato, whose own book Grand Illusion: The Myth of Voter Choice in a Two-Party Tyranny contributed to my radicalization, stand out.

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Mar 12

Review (Guest): Unstoppable – The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State

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Ralph Nader

3.0 out of 5 stars This is Both an Accurate and a Useful Treatise, But …?, October 25, 2014

By Herbert L Calhoun “paulocal”

… the accurate part is not very useful and the useful part is not very accurate. Allow me to explain by beginning with the accurate part of the book first.

Using his considerable experiences and his legal skills as an activist, the reader will discover here that Mr. Nader is a walking encyclopedia of details on the activist ways of organizing. Here, to our great benefit, he has shared with us his invaluable multi-talented and multilayered experiences, which arguably, as useful as they may be to a properly constructed theory, in practice, were largely failures during his generation (and spectacularly so in the case of his presidential runs).

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Mar 11