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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 25 February 2010
Considering the dysfunction in Washington these days and the pollution of our waterways it's not clear that there is a current that a dead fish could go with. But, yes, Jim Hightower and Susan DeMarco have got it right: we need to swim hard against the tide of stupidity and BS awash over this once great land.

The book is in three sections, business, politics and life. In business Hightower laments at how big corporations manage to break the law and get away with it. He notes, in characteristic style: "Most laws governing corporate behavior are weaker than Canadian hot sauce and rarely enforced." He goes on to point out that many of the fines that corporations pay for wrongdoing "are merrily deducted from the corporation's income tax!"

Yes, God is in his heaven watching over the corporate person made in His image. Not.

In Part II Politics, we can see that Hightower is a redneck, red-state progressive--in other words, what might be thought of as an oxymoron, without the oxy. But actually if we all knew where our bread was buttered there might be a bit of a blue shift since any dang fool knows that Bush type Republicans are as elitist as royalty. Anyway, Hightower knows whereof he speaks when it comes to politics having been elected, not once, as he reminds us, but twice to statewide office in Texas. And I would say, if a progressive can win in Texas there's definitely hope for the rest of the country. But maybe not, since here is how Hightower characterizes Texas politics:

"...Texas is rich in the politically ridiculous (it's a point of pride for us, actually). We elected a guy named Jesse James nine times--as our state treasurer! Ma Ferguson, elected governor here in 1924, opposed a bill to provide bilingual education, declaring, 'If the King's English was good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for me.'"

In "Section Three: Life," here's the "basic question": "Will we let greedheaded profiteers determine the boundaries of our lives? Or will we take charge, blazing new paths for ourselves and our country?"

OMG! This is rallying cry. And the first order of business is agribusiness and how "They TORTURE food! They apply massive doses of pesticides and artificial fertilizers to these living organisms. They inject animals with antibiotics and sex hormones.... They force grass-eating cows to become carnivores and even cannibals. They blast fruits and veggies with ripening gas and zap them with radiation. They dose the finished foodstuffs with assorted sugars, artificial flavorings, transfats, and chemical preservatives...."

The next order of business is to stop the pollution and the--putting it bluntly--global warming. At this point Hightower and DeMarco throw in a telling quote: "Those who deface a Hummer in words or deed, deface the American flag and what it stands for." --Rick Schmidt, founder International Hummer Owners Group."

Near the end of the book, Jim and Susan give us Rev. Rich Cizik, an evangelic Christian who drives a Prius. Naturally this came to the attention of people like James Dobson and Pat Robertson, "Christians" of a different stripe, and they had at the good reverend. Dobson called Cizik "divisive" because he was pressing an agenda that is "anti-capitalist," reflecting "an underlying hatred for America." Robertson declared the Cizik was letting himself be "used by the radical left to further their agenda."

Bottom line here: sharp, witty, funny and to the point: wake up America.
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on 7 November 2007
Jim Hightower and his long time collaborator Susan DeMarco have written a book sharing successful grassroots activism across the country. They have divided the book into three main sections that deal with business, politics and life. The third part they called life is mainly about religion and the environment. This book talks about the everyday people and how they can make a difference in all these realms.

Each section of the book has good examples of how regular people have worked together against the large bureaucracy of government or business that is driven by greed of either power or wealth to do what they felt was right and in their communities best interest. These authors put forth that we, like our founding fathers, should stand up for our rights. And that hard work and perseverance does pay off. The poor and low-income masses, i.e. the people of this country, have the power to make a difference.

Though I agree with the main premises of the book, which is to do the right thing instead of just doing what is required to make the most money. They should have left it an uplifting book about being active in your community and working for what is best for all the people over self-interest. But they spent a lot of time laying blame. Regardless of your political affiliations the Bush bashing seemed out of place in this book. And part of the third section of the book seemed more like an Al Gore commercial for Gloabl Warming. This only seems to distract from a strong and true message. And I could not agree more that each and every person can make a difference in this world. They only have to decide if they will make an impact for good or ill, then stand up and be counted.

The authors summed it up best with a quote from Samuel Adams, "It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fire in people's minds." So pick up the book and read it, it is a good read and only takes an afternoon to read.
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on 4 March 2009
But it's just so hard. Having grown up in corporate run, every man for himself, believe in your government America, it's hard for me to believe people can really band together, form a co-op and make lives better for themselves. After all, isn't greed good!

I read this book from cover to cover in the bath, when the water cooled off, I used my big toe to heat it up, so involved was I. I loved the way the taxi drivers in Madison formed their own company and could make a decent wage driving a hack. I laughed when I read about how the strippers in San Francisco formed a co-op and made their lives better.

But what really moved me was the way the way many Evangelicals are reaching out to scientists and progressives to help save the planet. I hope with all my heart that they succeed, but sadly I believe greed will win out, that the planet is doomed. I hope I am wrong, really I do.
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