BOOK FORUM ON DEMOCRACY
From: Omnicenter Communications (firstname.lastname@example.org) on behalf of Dick Bennett (email@example.com)
Sent: Mon 3/16/09 1:47 PM
DISMANTLING DEMOCRACY, REBUILDING DEMOCRACY
OMNI BOOK FORUM, FRIDAY, APRIL 3, 2009, Nightbird Books, 6:30.
Elections alone do not make a democracy. The US National Security State will remain unchallenged, just as it was by the major party candidates (except for Cong. Kucinich) during the recent presidential campaign. And in those areas of power that Pres. Obama has challenged, the same powerful, wealthy interests that hijacked our government during the past eight years are still entrenched in Washington, DC., as we have seen during the first two months of his presidency. Therefore, OMNI is still needed to advance alternatives to the Corporate (money)-Pentagon (money, patriotism)-White House-Congress-Mainstream Media-Education Complex (which is what Pres. Eisenhower would write in his Farewell Address today). OMNI engages our fellow citizens as truthfully as it can regarding the realities of power in our country, and we call upon an informed citizenry to resist the established power of the complex. Our Book Forums are only one of numerous actions we have constructed to challenge the corporate/military USA by engaging the public to become real citizens, as President Obama said during his election victory speech, by embracing “a new spirit of patriotism of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other.” For eight years OMNI has not only called for such a society, but we have provided concrete programs and service for accomplishing it.
Our call has been to the people—We, the People—to build a constitutional nation of, by, and for the people. We stand with Frances Moore Lappe. This is a “development essential to Living Democracy—a deepening appreciation of the capacities of those at the ‘bottom.’ With ‘regular’ people stepping out in their communities—becoming knowledgeable in arcane matters from banking to federal communications policy—our expectations grow as to the legitimate role of those without official authority” ( Democracy’s Edge). And with Paul Loeb, who in Soul of a Citizen: Living with Conviction in a Cynical Time (1999) introduced us to many ordinary citizens who have found fulfillment in social involvement.
The purpose of this panel is to identify some of the major causes and features of the disintegration of our representative government and the major requirements for its rebuilding. Two panelists will discuss books about the dismantling, and two will present books that set forth the needed restorations.
OMNI BOOK FORUM ON DEMOCRACY
FRIDAY, APRIL 3, 6:30, NIGHTBIRD BOOKS
A peace and justice organization in a constitutional democracy must arise from the people and be accomplished by the people.
PANELISTS: Claire Detels, Lindsley Smith, Amjad Faur, Thomas Markham
Moderator: Dick Bennett
Video: Marion Orton, Bill Orton
Photographer: Max Greenwood
Refreshments: Cliff Mikkelson
Greeter: Coralie Koonce
Flyer: Amjad Faur
News Release: Dick Bennett
Panelists and Books:
Claire Detels: Johnson, Chalmers. Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic. 2006.
Amjad Faur: Jane Mayer, The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals. 2008.
Lindsley Smith: Ann Fagan Ginger, The U.N. Declaration of Human Rights is the Law: A Guide to U.D.H.R. Articles in Treaties Ratified by the U.S. 2008. (Other books by Ginger: Challenging U.S. Human Rights Violations Since 9/11. 2005. Undoing the Bush-Cheney Legacy: A Took Kit for Congress & Activists. 2008. )
Thomas Markham. Susan Rosenthal, Power and Powerlessness. 2006.
Dick will draw attention to these books:
Frances Moore Lappe, Democracy's Edge: Choosing to Save Our Country by Bringing Democracy to Life. 2006. Democracy must be of, BY, and for the People.
Tavis Smiley, Accountable: Making America As Good As Its Promise. 2009. A compendium of Pres. Obama’s promises.
Following: See the rich exposes of the dismantling, and the equally rich explorations of the rebuilding.
Bennett, Control of Information in the United States (1987) and Control of the Media in the United States (1992). Annotated bibliographies.
Bennett, James R. Political Prisoners and Trials…Bibliography, 1900 through 1993. Pp. 267-304 on US. Although US leaders have proclaimed their support for human rights in all nations, they are themselves guilty of massive human rights violations against people around the world and have embraced as allies countries guilty of similar crimes. Furthermore, US officials have imprisoned thousands of their own citizens for their beliefs—not only communists and socialists, but trade unionists, suffragettes, conscientious objectors, civil rights protestors, and on and on.
Brightman, Carol. Total Insecurity: The Myth of American Omnipotence. Unchecked corporate and executive political power and obsession with security has created a permanent state of war and war economy.
Brock, David. The Republican Noise Machine: Right Wing Media and How It Corrupts Democracy. 2004.
Buchanan, Patrick. Where the Right Went Wrong. Indictment of GOP leaders and Bush White House for abandoning principles in the pursuit of power.
Byrd, Robert, Sen. Losing America: Confronting a Reckless and Arrogant Presidency. 2004. (Subject of an earlier Forum.)
Carroll, James. House of War: The Pentagon and the Disastrous Rise of American Power. 2006. (Subject of an earlier Forum.)
Carter, Jimmy.Our Endangered Values: America’s Moral Crisis. Strong defense of separation of church and state.
Chomsky, Noam. Imperial Ambitions: Conversations on the Post-9-11 World. Interviews on Iraq, preemptive strikes, US vs. peace of the world, etc.
Cohn, Marjorie. Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law. 2007. (Earlier Forum).
Conason, Joe. It Can Happen Here: Authoritarian Peril in the Age of Bush. 2007.
Dowd, Maureen. Bushworld: Enter at Your Own Risk. Bush admin.’s fractured adventures in empire-building.
House Democratic Judiciary Committee Staff. The Constitution in Crisis: The High Crimes of the Bush Administration and a Blueprint for Impeachment.
Giroux, Henry. The University in Chains: Confronting the Military-Industrial-Academic Complex. 2007. On the “anti-democratic forces of militarization, corporatism, and patriotic correctness” that now dominate US universities. The book fits just as well under Resistance/Rebuilding, for it is a “defense of the university as a democratic public sphere.”
Goldberg, Michelle. Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism. How an increasingly bellicose fundamentalism is gaining traction throughout our national life through right-wing evangelical culture and the Republican party.
Hedges, Chris. American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America. 2006.
Hightower, Jim. If the Gods Had Meant Us To Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates.
Holtzman, Elizabeth with Cynthia Cooper. The Impeachment of George W. Bush: A Practical Guide for Concerned Citizens. 2006.
Johnson, Chalmers. Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic. 2006.
Johnston, David Cay. Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themsleves at Government Expense (and Stick You with the Bill). 2007. (Discussed at US Capitalism Forum).
Kaiser, Robert. “So Damn Much Money: The Triumph of Lobbying and the Corrosion of American Government.” 2008.
Kennedy, Robert F., Jr. Crimes Against Nature: How George W. Bush and His Corporate Pals Are Plundering the Country and Hijacking Our Democracy. Bush and his corporate cronies threaten our health, national security, and democracy.
Krugman, Paul. The Great Unraveling: Losing Our Way in the New Century. Norton, 2003.
Lerner, Michael. The Left Hand of God: Taking Back Our Country from the Religious Right. The destructive alliance of the Religious Right and the Political Right.
Lindorff, Dave and Barbara Olshansky. The Case for Impeachment: The Legal Argument for Removing Presieent George W. Bush from Office. 2006.
Loo, Dennis & Peter Phillips, eds. Impeach the President: The Case Against Bush and Cheney. 2006.
Mailer, Norman. Why Are We at War? Analyzes George W. Bush’s quest for empire. Norman Mailer, one of the greatest authors of our time, lays bare the White House’s position on why war in Iraq is necessary and justified. By scrutinizing the administration’s words and actions leading up to the current crisis, Mailer carefully builds his case that Bush is pursuing war not in the name of security or anti-terrorism or human rights but in an undeclared yet fully realized ambition of global empire.
Mann, James. The Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush’s War Cabinet. 2004.
*Jane Mayer's The Dark Side: The Inside Story of how the War on Terror Turned i nto a War on American Ideals (2008). (Amjad Faur). An account of how US leaders made ruinous decisions in the pursuit of terrorists around the world—decisions that not only violated the Constitution but also hampered the pursuit of Al Qaeda.
Moyers, Bill. Moyers on America: A Journalist and His times. Democracy has been replaced by government of, by, and for the corporate ruling class.
Palast, Greg. Armed Madhouse. BBC reporter reveals Bush’s plans for seizing Iraq’s oil, exams War on Terror, Kerry won 2002 election, and more.
Rampton, Sheldon and John Stauber. Banana Republicans: How the Right Wing Is Turning America into a One-Party State. Penguin, 2004.
Rasmus, Jack. The War at Home: The Corporate Offensive from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush. 2006.
Rich, Frank. The Greatest Story Ever Sold: The Decline and Fall of Truth in Bush’s America. A step by step chronicle of how the White House built its souse of cards, and how the institutions that should have exposed these fictions, esp. the mainstream news media, failed.
Risen, James. State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration. The scandals show how power works in Bush’s presidency.
Ritter, Scott. Target Iran: The Truth About the White House’s Plans for Regime Change. A sound US-Iranian relationship based on mutual respect, non-aggression, and economic interaction is in the best interest for both countries.
Rossi, Melissa. What Every American Should Know About Who’s Really Running America, And What You Can Do About It. 2007. Includes a good biblio. mainly on dismantling.
Scheer, Robert. The Pornorgraphy of Power: How Defense Hawks Hijacked 9/11 and Weakened America. 2008.
Standaert, Michael. Skipping Towards Armageddon: The Politics and Propaganda of the “Left Behind” Novels and the LaHaye Empire. A religious right-wing and neo-conservative conspiracy whose agenda of intolerance is furthered in works of fiction.
Sunstein, Cass. Radicals in Robes. Supreme Court’s right-ward shift may further endanger environmental regulations, campaign finance reform, right to privacy, etc.
Sweig, Julia. Friendly Fire: Losing Friends and Making Enemies in the Anti-American Century. US sowed the seeds of its decline in the eyes of the world in South America.
Whitney, Craig, ed. The WMD Mirage: Iraq’s Decade of Deception and America’s False Premise for War. The false intelligence and misinformation explains how Bush justified the need for war.
Willis, Clint, ed. The I Hate Dick Cheney, John Ashcroft, Donald Rumsfeld, Condit Rice Reader: Behind the Bush Cabal’s War on America. Expose of what the editor feels is the most vicious, destructive, and immoral group ever to run the country.
Wolf, Naomi. The End of America. 2007. US fascist shift under Bush.
“A just world is possible. Human beings create society, and we can change it.” Rosenthal, Power and Powerlessness. “It is the job of politicians to make promises, but it is the job of the people who elect them to make sure they keep them.” Tavis Smiley, Accountable
Alterman, Eric. Why We’re Liberals: A Political Handbook for Post-Bush America. Counterattack on right-wing spin and misinformation.
Boulding, Elise. Cultures of Peace: The Hidden Side of History. Syracuse, 2000.
Brown, Peter, and Geoffrey Garver. Right Relationship:Bbuilding a Whole Earth Economy. 2009.
Garey, Diane. Defending Everybody: A History of the American Civil Liberties Union. 1998.
Ginger, Ann Fagan, ed. Challenging U.S. Human Rights Violations Since 9/11. 2005.
Ginger, Ann. Undoing the Bush-Cheney Legacy: A Took Kit for Congress & Activists. 2008.
*Ginger, Ann Fagan. The U.N. Declaration of Human Rights is the Law: A Guide to U.D.H.R. Articles in Treaties Ratified by the U.S. 2008. Just in time for the 60th Anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights! (Lindsley Smith)
Hartmann, Thom. What Would Jefferson Do? A Return to Democracy. US has departed from vision of Founding Fathers. Democracy is not an aberration in human history but the oldest, most resilient, and most universal form of government.
Hayden, Tom. The Port Huron Statement: The Visionary Call of the 1960s Revollution. Historic document of US radicalism, a gernational call for direct participatory democracy.
Korten, David. Agenda for a New Economy. 2009.
*Lappe, Frances Moore. Democracy's Edge: Choosing to Save Our Country by Bringing Democracy to Life. 2006. (Dick Bennett)
Lardner and Loewentheil, eds. Thinking Big: Progressive Ideas for a New Era. 2009.
McChesney, Robert. The Problem of the Media: U.S. Communication Politics in the 21st Century. 2004. (probably more on Dismantling)
Morgan, Robin. Fighting Words: A Toolkit for Combating the Religious Right. Ideas and arguments from the Founding Fathers and others.
Polner, Murray and Thomas Woods, Jr., eds. We Who Dared to Say No to War: American Antiwar Writing from 1812 to Now. Basic, 2008.
Poundstone, William. Gaming the Vote: Why Elections Aren’t Fair (And What We Can Do About It.). 2008. On “range” voting.
The Power of Nonviolence: Writings by Advocates of Peace. Beacon, 2002.
*Rosenthal, Susan. Power and Powerlessness. Trafford, 2006. This is the most challenging, think out-of-the-box book in this biblio. Its picture of the US is that of a nation divided between “a few who wield immense power and the rest who feel varying degrees of powerlessness..” This imbalance is no accident, but is the direct result of the few grabbing power from the many. “Part One explains that society does not arise from human nature. On the contrary, current social arrangements violate human nature. Part Two shows how power is divided by class. Part Three investigates how power and powerlessness are perpetuated. Part Four reveals how powerlessness can be transformed into power.” “The need for change is urgent. Everywhere, there is injustice, anguish, and anger. This book explains how society shapes people, how people shape society, and how powerlessness can be converted into the power to transform the world.” (Tom Markham).
--Smiley, Tavis, with Stephanie Robinson. Accountable: Making America As Good As Its Promise. Atria, 2009. Chapters on 6 major areas of policy, each followed by an “Accountable Assessment Checklist”: Obama’s campaign promises, questions to Obama, questions to Congresspeople, and to community leaders. The final and most lengthy chapter is “The Accountable Report Card,” in which Obama is quoted on issue aafter issue, and then readers are asked to evaluate his performance. The book expresses Smiley’s strong belief in the importance of We, the People, and a nation of, by, and for the people. “It is the job of politicians to make promises, but it is the job of the people who elect them to make sure they keep them.” He calls upon the citizenry to “track the progress of the president’s vision for our future. Presidents alone do not shape our future….citizens must always be prepared to hold the president accountable on what he (perhaps one day, she!) promised he’d fight for. Never forget, we, the people, are accountable for making sure that promises made are promises kept.” (171).
True, Michael. To Construct Peace: 30 More Justice Seekers, Peace Makers. Twenty-Third, 1992.
Wittner, Lawrence. Rebels Against War: The American Peace Movement, 1941-1960. Columbia UP, 1969.
Wolf, Naomi. Give Me Liberty: A Handbook for American Revolutionaries. 2008 (Earlier Forum).
.LINDSLEY ON THE UDHR BOOK
The U.N. Declaration of Human Rights is the Law: A Guide to U.D.H.R. Articles in Treaties Ratified by the U.S. Just in time for the 60th Anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights! This book, published December 10th, 2008, is a useful guide for any activist, law-maker, or citizen concerned with international law. This important book will be a useful tool to strengthen enforcement of human rights in the United States. As we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we can show that these rights are embraced in a treaty the U.S. has ratified, making it enforceable law. It also serves as a clear guide for state and federal officials in our work to secure peace, justice, liberty, equality, and other essential values we hold dear.