Next Meeting: Wednesday, Nov. 20, 1:30-3:00 p.m. Saint Joan of Arc church basement. Suggested pre-viewing: "Broken Government: Where Do We Go From Here". Discussion will focus on future readings and discussion process. The group has agreed-upon guidelines to keep discussions productive, civil, focused on the reading but flexible enough to allow for personal contributions relevant to the topics. No dues required; everyone welcome.
Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Radical Right. Jane Mayer. Doubleday: Jan. 19, 2016, 464 pp. “A careful exposé of the libertarian agenda, spearheaded by the Koch brothers, to 'impose their minority views on the majority by other means.'... Mayer provides plenty of ammunition for those convinced that the U.S. is no longer a representative democracy but instead an oligarchy. A valuable contribution to the study of modern electoral politics in an age that Theodore White, and perhaps even Hunter S. Thompson, would not recognize.” – Kirkus Reviews
"...the story of how the 'Party of the People' detached itself from its historic constituency among average Americans and chose instead to line up with the winners of our new economic order." To Frank, it isn't only Dark Money and Citizens United that brought us so close to oligarchy; Democratic Party leaders--the so-called New Democrats and the "Democratic Leadership Council--have also contributed.
Who Stole the American Dream, Hedrick Smith. NY: Random House: 2012 (paperback). According to a Wikipedia review, “This book is essential reading for all of us who want to understand…why average Americans are struggling to keep afloat. Smith reveals how pivotal laws and policies were altered while the public wasn’t looking, how Congress often ignores public opinion, why moderate politicians got shoved to the sidelines, and how Wall Street often wins politically by hiring over 1,400 former government officials as lobbyists.” Can we win back the dream? Smith believes we can, but only through grass roots action; politicians won’t do the job for us. In more recent work, Smith has charted local success stories, as in his recent film, “Winning Back Our Democracy.” But there’s more hard work ahead.
How Democracies Die. Steven Levitsky & Daniel Ziblatt. Crown: 2018 (Hardcover). “…[A] brilliant diagnosis of the most important issue facing our world: Can democracy survive?”–E.J. Dionne, Jr. “Two years ago, a book like this could not have been written: two leading political scientists who are experts in the breakdown of democracy in other parts of the world using that knowledge to inform Americans of the dangers their democracy faces today” — Francis Fukuyama.