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willemite

willemite

Currently reading

Hieroglyph: Stories and Blueprints for a Better Future
Neal Stephenson
Ukraine: Zbig's Grand Chessboard & How the West Was Checkmated
Natylie Baldwin, Kermit D. Larson
The Girl on the Train: A Novel
Paula Hawkins
Our Souls at Night: A novel
Kent Haruf
Above the Waterfall
Ron Rash
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
Stephen King
Designs on Film: A Century of Hollywood Art Direction
Cathy Whitlock
The Homicide Report: Understanding Murder in America
Jill Leovy
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania
Erik Larson
The Gods of Mars
Edgar Rice Burroughs
Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (and StickYou with the Bill) - David Cay Johnston Johnston does his best to raise your blood to a boiling point, going into real detail about how the wealthy are ripping us all off. He examines a host of issues and connects dots,
offering many examples of how public money is filling the pockets of private enterprises with minimal benefit to the people footing the bill, from a ritzy golf course for the well-heeled in Bandon, Oregon, to the implementation of Byzantine rules that make AMTRAK responsible for the mismanagement of rail lines it does not own, to tax policies that encourage companies to send jobs overseas, to the use by governments of eminent domain to take property from some to give it, not to the town, or state, but to other private interests, the increasing public subsidization of religion, the impact of home security alarm systems on law enforcement, the ripoff that is title insurance, the reduction in public investment in education, while increasing tax breaks for millionaires, how Enron created a managed electricity market in Texas and looted millions from the public while hiding behind government regulatory cronies… the list goes on, and on and on.

There are some bright spots in this record. Johnston writes about one lobbying firm that works to challenge some of the rampant giveaways bestowed on business. He tells of representatives from Consumers Union and Public Citizen who fight the good fight whenever opportunity allows.

But if you are not completely enraged by the time you finish this book, you must have fallen asleep.

P 114
Thus does Caesar render that which is his onto the faithful, tearing down a wall that Thomas Jefferson thought crucial to the liberty of the people. “History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government.”