Book Recommendations

Is That a Politician in Your Pocket: Washington on $2 Million a Day

by Micah Sifry, Nancy Watzman (ISBN: 047167995X)

This book nails both political parties on paybacks and names the special interests who made out the checks and what they got in return.

Hostile Takeover : How Big Money and Corruption Conquered Our Government--and How We Take It Back

by David Sirota (ISBN 0307237346)

From the publisher: "Hostile Takeover: How Big Money and Corruption Conquered Our Government -- And How We Take It Back," describes the conquest of America's democratic government by Big Money interests. Sirota, a former congressional staffer, says although major, high-profile scandals are roiling Washington, D.C., today, the most prevalent examples of the hostile takeover are "the almost invisible, day to day corruption tales that plague American politics. One day, it is a little-noticed amendment in a big spending bill in Congress. The next day it is political reporters refusing to address major economic challenges that average Americans are faced with. And still the next day it is a politician boldly lying to the public about who is behind what they are doing." This book is written for regular Americans who want to know what is happening to their democracy, not for the political elite.

Politicians - Owned and Operated by Corporate America (Hardcover)

by Jack E. Lohman

From the Publisher
Connects the dots between politicians and those who fund their elections, the disease, and shows the massive cost to the taxpayers, the symptom. Proposes public funding of campaigns as the cure, all at a cost of just $15 per taxpayer per year for both state and federal elections.

It simply doesn't matter what your core issue is, follow the money and you'll always find a politician at the end with his hand out. Tax giveaways for the rich and subsidies to corporations are chump-change compared to the societal costs of the expensive giveaway policies that are bought and paid for by corporate interests. Ever wonder why health care costs are rising at 15% per year, and the industry is getting away with it? Or companies are no longer penalized for hiring illegal immigrants? These are just a couple of the hundreds of policies that erode our family wealth.

Order directly from publisher

Money-Driven Medicine: The Real Reason Health Care Costs So Much (Hardcover)
by Maggie Mahar
Book Description (From Amazon)

Why is medical care in the United States so expensive? For decades, Americans have taken it as a matter of faith that we spend more because we have the best health care system in the world. But as costs levitate, that argument becomes more difficult to make. Today, we spend twice as much as Japan on health care -- yet few would argue that our health care system is twice as good.

Instead, startling new evidence suggests that one out of every three of our health care dollars is squandered on unnecessary or redundant tests; unproven, sometimes unwanted procedures; and overpriced drugs and devices that, too often, are no better than the less expensive products they have replaced.

How did this happen? In Money-Driven Medicine, Maggie Mahar takes the reader behind the scenes of a $2 trillion industry to witness how billions of dollars are wasted in a Hobbesian marketplace that pits the industry's players against each other. In remarkably candid interviews, doctors, hospital administrators, patients, health care economists, corporate executives, and Wall Street analysts describe a war of "all against all" that can turn physicians, hospitals, insurers, drugmakers, and device makers into blood rivals. Rather than collaborating, doctors and hospitals compete. Rather than sharing knowledge, drugmakers and device makers divide value. Rather than thinking about long-term collective goals, the imperatives of an impatient marketplace force health care providers to focus on short-term fiscal imperatives. And so investments in untested bleeding-edge medical technologies crowd out investments in information technology that might, in the long run, not only reduce errors but contain costs.

In theory, free market competition should tame health care inflation. In fact, Mahar demonstrates, when it comes to medicine, the traditional laws of supply and demand do not apply. Normally, when supply expands, prices fall. But in the health care industry, as the number and variety of drugs, devices, and treatments multiplies, demand rises to absorb the excess, and prices climb. Meanwhile, the perverse incentives of a fee-for-service system reward health care providers for doing more, not less.

In this superbly written book, Mahar shows why doctors must take responsibility for the future of our health care industry. Today, she observes, "physicians have been stripped of their standing as professionals: Insurers address them as vendors (‘Dear Health Care Provider'), drugmakers and device makers see them as customers (someone you might take to lunch or a strip club), while . . . consumers (aka patients) are encouraged to see their doctors as overpaid retailers. . . . Before patients can reclaim their rightful place as the center--and indeed as the raison d'être--of our health care system," Mahar suggests, "we must once again empower doctors . . . to practice patient-centered medicine--based not on corporate imperatives, doctors' druthers, or even patients' demands," but on the best scientific research available.


For a complete review see: Flat Lines and Bottom Lines, a Washington Monthly review

The Whistleblower: Confessions of a Healthcare Hitman (Paperback)
by Peter Rost (ISBN: 193336839X)

Book Description

A number of books critical of the pharmaceutical industry have recently been published, but none has been an exposé written by a senior executive of one of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies. The Whistleblower is at once an unmasking of how corporations take care of malcontents and a gripping story of one man's fight to maintain his family and his sanity. Starting in 2003, the book details the illegal, even criminal business practices the author witnessed at his corporation, as well as his crusade to legalize the reimportation of drugs. It also explains how in this post-Enron world whistle-blowers can't simply be fired, and what the author's corporation did to coerce and silence him. A story of a battle that continues today, one which any American who takes or will take prescription drugs has a stake in, The Whistleblower is a powerful testimony.

I have not read this book because it was just released and is enroute. But I have followed and have great respect for the author, Peter Rost. He was a VP at Pfizer, until he came out publicly in support of the reimportation of drugs. Then, suddenly, he no longer had a job. (Funny how those things work, isn't it?)

This is going to be a MUST READ. Order it on Amazon, or call your local book store, but read it!

The Twenty-First Century Left - Cognitions in the Constitution and Why Buckley is Wrong

by William P. Kreml (ISBN 1-59460-251-4)
 "... the most extraordinary theoretical perspective ever lent to the American Constitution."
     —Professor Victor G. Rosenblum Northwestern University School of Law

Book Description
The Twenty-First Century Left: Cognitions in the Constitution and Why Buckley Is Wrong applies the richest possible theoretical framework to the American Constitution. For the first time ever, a constitutional analysis focuses on the cognitive forms of the constitution's key provisions and the cognitive forms of key constitutional cases. Changes in cognitions, after all, are what herald appropriate changes in the law, changes that ensure justice by updating established legal principles. William Kreml explores the cognitive, dialectical structure of the Earl Warren Supreme Court and its similarity to the cognitive structures of the English Edward Coke period. He cognitively examines the Constitution's primary debate—over the legitimacy of public encumbrances on private contracts—and reviews the cognitive similarity between Buckley v. Valeo (the case that denied campaign finance reform) and Dred Scott (the case that upheld slavery). Further, Kreml analyzes the cognitively complementary nature of the Constitution's original seven articles and the Bill of Rights, noting the Bill of Rights' democratically aggregative purpose. Finally, he shows how Robert Bork and William Rehnquist misinterpreted Shelley v. Kraemer—the case that began America's Constitutional dialectic, and how John Hart Ely misunderstood the nature of the Warren Court.
See the complete description and order at:

Running On Empty: How The Democratic and Republican Parties Are Bankrupting Our Future and What Americans Can Do About It

by Peter G. Peterson (ISBN: 0374252874)

A Republican that documents the failures of both parties. An excellent, though disheartening, read.

Our Media, Not Theirs

by Robert W. McChesney and John Nichols (ISBN: 1583225498)

Politicians controlling big business is bad enough, but controlling our free press is unconscionable.

Critical Condition: How Health Care in America Became Big Business—and Bad Medicine

by Donald L. Barlett, James B. Steele (ISBN: 0385504543)

The Prologue is worth the price of this book by two investigative reporters.

On the Take: How Medicine’s Complicity with Big Business can Endanger Your Health

by Jerome P. Kassirer, M.D. (ISBN: 0195300041)

Physicians, their conflicts of interest, and how it affects the patient. Having just come from 35 years in the health care field, I can attest to its accuracy.    

Rome Wasn't Burnt in a Day: The Real Deal on How Politicians, Bureaucrats, and Other Washington Barbarians are Bankrupting America

by Joe Scarborough  (ISBN: 0060749849)

A conservative insider who saw it up close and naked. Good presidential material, but likely not inclined to take a pay cut.

The Truth About the Drug Companies – How they deceive us and what to do about it.

By Marcia Angell, M.D. (ISBN: 0375760946)

If you thought the high profit margins were necessary for heavy R&D, you’ll know better after reading this excellent book. Those profits are taken after deducting for R&D, advertising, and exorbitant salaries. But Dr. Angell exposes much more behind the scenes that will deeply concern you.

The Good Fight: Declare Your Independence and Close the Democracy Gap

by Ralph Nader xe "Nader, Ralph, Author, The Good Fight" (ISBN: 0060756047)

Though heavily Liberal with thorough analysis, Nader likes neither party's actions or solutions and has excellent arguments and ideas.

Where the Right Went Wrong: How Neoconservatives Subverted the Reagan Revolution and Hijacked the Presidency

by Patrick J. Buchanan (ISBN: 0312341156)

Conservative and mostly right on target (though Buchanan fails to connect the dots to the moneyed interests).

Inequality Matters: The Growing Economic Divide in America and its Poisonous Consequences 

Edited by James Lardner and David A. Smith  (ISBN: 1565849957)

A series of articles on the issues of the Left, but many will be very compelling even to those on the Right.

America the Broke: How the Reckless Spending of the White House and Congress are Bankrupting Our Country and Destroying Our Children's Future

by Gerald J. Swanson (ISBN: 0385513046)

Excellent description of the symptoms but fails to connect the dots.

Greed and Good: Understanding and Overcoming the Inequality That Limits Our Lives

By Sam Pizzigati, (ISBN: 1891843257)

Liberal, but very hard to deny the premise of this book.

Dismantling The American Dream: Globalization, Free Trade, Immigrationxe "Immigration", Unemployment, Poverty, Debt, Foreign Dependency, More

by Kenneth Buchdahl (ISBN: 0975320718)

He watches the dominoes fall, and the outcome isn't pretty.

10 Steps to Repair American Democracy : An Owners Manual for Concerned Citizens (Paperback)

by Steven Hill (ISBN: 0976062151)

From the publisher: Unresponsive government. Uninspiring candidates. Mindless political debate. Suspicious voting equipment. American representative democracy is suffering through its worst crisis in many years, and while many Americans recognize it, they just don't know what to do about it. In <i>A More Perfect Union,</i> Steven Hill offers specific solutions for election reform. Arguing that much of what ails American politics is rooted in antiquated 18th-century practices, Hill makes a stirring call for national elections standards, nonpartisan election officials, an Election Day holiday, and other repairs to the nuts and bolts of the voting process. Further, he calls for the end of winner-take-all elections, adoption of proportional representation, reform of presidential elections, fairer representation in the U.S. Senate, universal voter registration, public financing of elections, and free air time for candidates. An inspiring blueprint for repairing and reinvigorating American politics, Hill’s simple yet effective proposals strengthen not just the electoral system, but the republic itself. (This has some extremely appealing and useful suggestions, but since they are useful they likely will not survive the political process.)

Corporate Predators: The Hunt for Mega-Profits and the Attack on Democracy

by Russell Mokhiber, Robert Weissman (ISBN: 1567511589)

From the publisher: Of the world's biggest 100 economies, 51 are corporations, not countries. As the most powerful institution of our time, the multinational corporation dominates not only global economics, but politics and culture as well. But the mechanisms of corporate control and the details of corporate abuses have remained largely hidden from public perception-until now. In this compelling collection of columns, investigative journalists Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman critique corporate power from a relentlessly human perspective. While mainstream media cheerfully laud big business's record profits, Mokhiber and Weissman ask the real questions-Where is profit coming from? When working Americans' incomes have dropped dramatically since 1980, while salaries of corporate CEOs have risen 500 percent in the same period, is the economy really booming? Whose economy is this, anyway? From union-busting to food irradiation, from faulty air bags that kill but are left on the market anyway to judges who take bribes, from the IMF to oil companies-wherever corporate crime strikes, Mokhiber and Weissman are there, covering an amazing range of issues, to sound the alarm and call people to action. If you ever had corporate CEOs on a pedestal, this will surely bust that bubble.

Take the Rich off Welfare

by Mark Zepezauer (ISBN: 0896087069)

From Thank God the U.S. government has begun to cut funding of the arts, humanities, and social services ... but what are they going to do with all that surplus cash? Although the popular media has been largely mum about it, most of the welfare payments go to large corporations in the form of tax write-offs, subsidies, and plain old handouts. This frightening and enlightening book by the editor of The Tucson Comic News (a monthly collection of comic strips and panels) traces the flow of money into such worthy projects as subsidizing nuclear power plants (the last one was finished in 1973, but that doesn't stop the U.S. government from spending $7.1 billion a year on this vapor industry), tax breaks for the tobacco industry ($41 million last year), and corporate expense account write-offs ($5.5 billion last year). Read it and weep. The Welfare Mom doesn't even compare.

Economics in One Lesson: The Shortest and Surest Way to Understand Basic Economics

by Henry Hazlitt (ISBN 0517548232)

One Amazon reviewer stated: “Despite having been written in the mid 20th century, this book is even more important today than when it was published. Every politician in the country should have to memorize the first chapter, as it explains the basic problems with almost every piece of legislation passed in the last 100 years.” He is so right. Political attempts to boost one failing industry, they can cost jobs in other industries. It’s called shifting the wealth.

The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power

by Joel Bakan, Joel (ISBN: 0743247442)

Also see their DVD at

Exporting America: Why Corporate Greed Is Shipping American Jobs Overseas

by Lou Dobbs, Lou (ISBN: 0446577448)

A Republican seemingly with his eyes open — perhaps we should export our workers to fill the foreign jobs we are creating. But Dobbs seems not to connect the dots to the moneyed interests, either in his book or on his TV show. He glosses over the fact that campaign contributions have bought our government's hands-off policy with regard to the companies that hire the immigrants to perpetuate low-wage jobs, thus fueling the border explosion.

Taking Back America: And Taking Down the Radical Right

by Katrina Vanden Heuvel, Robert L. Borosage (ISBN: 1560255838)

Very liberal but with excellent arguments that should be considered by all. Sometimes overboard on the Left.

Dime's Worth of Difference: Beyond the Lesser of Two Evils (Counterpunch)

by Alexander Cockburn, Jeffrey St. Clair (ISBN: 1904859038)

Mostly Liberal, but they're not always wrong. (Whatever happened to the "political middle"?)

Shakedown: How the Government Screws You from A to Z

by James Bovard (ISBN: 0140258191)

The title says it all.

Class War in America: How Economic and Political Conservatives Are Exploiting Low- And Middle-Income American Families

by Charles M. Kelly (ISBN: 1564743489)

Even as a Republican, I found it hard to disagree with many of the arguments in this obviously Liberal writing.

Who Will Tell The People? : The Betrayal Of American Democracy (Paperback)
by William Greider ISBN: 0671867407)


From Kirkus Reviews
An angry inquiry into the putative decline of democracy in the US. Unlike many observers, Greider (Secrets of the Temple, 1987, etc.) goes beyond the manifest deficiencies of electoral campaigns to focus on the politics of governance--and he concludes that so- called monied interests are ascendant in Washington's power centers. By the author's anecdotal account, the institutionalized intervention of these corporate advocates into administrative as well as legislative affairs costs ordinary citizens dearly--from purposefully lax enforcement of federal law and indulgent treatment of casino capitalism through an inequitable tax system. In Greider's canon, the sorry state of the union does not lack for guilty parties. He blames the ebb of democracy in America on both major political parties (which cater to affluent elites), the press (which no longer mediates between the public and its representatives), big business (as exemplified by the awesome influence wielded by General Electric Co.), and even the populace (whose activism has been limited of late to grass-roots concerns). Greider goes on to argue that the cold war's end offers the US a historic opportunity to renew its democratic principles and to apply them on a global basis. For starters, he proposes that a citizenry committed to challenging the status quo could make multinational enterprises more accountable to society at large, if need be by denying them access to the vast domestic marketplace until they measure up to populist standards of responsibility. Whether the heterogeneous American people have an agenda as explicitly progressive as Greider assumes (and embraces) will strike many as a very open question. Still, a provocative and sobering assessment of how self-government's reach can exceed its grasp. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


I read this book a year ago, and was very impressed with it.