Author: Ray Bradbury
When I began teaching three years ago, I was required to teach this book. Having never read it before, I began reading it just before our winter break. As I soaked up the story of the book, I realized my students were already living it. They begged me daily, "Ms. Hill, why do we have to read this stupid book? Can't we just watch the movie?" As I got deeper and deeper into the book, I grew increasingly depressed about the future of the world.
Then I realized: Bradbury has given me a picture of what might be, if we are not careful. His book written nearly fifty years ago peers just twenty minutes into the future now. Technological developments he had no name for then, are very real today. For example, his seashell radio is clearly the walkman many of us see pressed in the ears of teenagers daily. TV screens are growing larger and larger and flat screens with HDTV are on the market now. The next step is clearly the full wall television of Mildred's parlor. Robot dogs like Aibo are just a hop skip and a jump away from the dreaded hound.
But this is a future preventable, maybe, but, if popular culture is constantly valued above thoughtful consideration and education, we'll march right into a land of burning books and intellectualism on the run.
Bradbury's book made me feel defiant. They could never take my books from me. They could burn me with them if they want, but that's what it'll take before I give up my freedom to think for myself.
And as for my students, they remind me every day what an uphill battle I have been sent to fight.
DRUG WAR CRIMES
Author: Jeffrey A. Miron
The Consequences of Prohibition
Any objective observer can see that the United States' war on drugs is an epic failure. On the positive side, various states are taking the initiative in legalizing medical marijuana. On the other hand, the federal government still hasn't learned its lesson for decades. Short (107 pages), succinct, and backed by hard data, Miron's book presents a highly detailed critique of the U.S. government's war on drugs and the vast harm it has wrought. In addition, he makes the case for the only right alternative: full legalization of all drugs. Even if one doesn't agree with this conclusion, skeptics should read this book and understand that the approach and consequences of the status quo are unacceptable.
DRUGS: AMERICA'S HOLY WAR
Author: Arthur Benavie
Using the best scientific evidence, Drugs: America's Holy War explores the impact and cost of America’s "War on Drugs" – both in tax spending and in human terms. Is it possible that US drug policies are helping to proliferate, not prevent, a multitude of social ills including: homicide, property crime, the spread of AIDS, the contamination of drugs, the erosion of civil liberties, the punishment of thousands of non-violent people, the corruption of public officials, and the spending of billions of tax dollars in an attempt to prevent certain drugs from entering the country?
In this controversial new book, award-winning economist Arthur Benavie analyzes the research findings and argues that an end to the war on drugs, much as we ended alcohol prohibition, would yield enormous international benefits, destroy dangerous and illegal drug cartels, and allow the American government to refocus its attention on public well-being.
Author: Joel Miller
How the War against Drugs is Destroying America
The war against drugs was supposed to make America better, right? It failed. Not only does the drug war fail to keep Americans from using drugs, but its crackdown tactics also produce bigger problems than it promises to solve. In this fearlessly audacious book, Joel Miller shows that drug prohibition creates tremendous amounts of crime and corruption, helps finance anti-American terrorists, makes a joke out of U.S. border security, chips away at constitutional liberties, militarizes law enforcement, and jails hundreds of thousands of Americans. And for what? A bigger, more intrusive government that cares less and less about individual rights. Told in a bold, uncompromising style, Miller's book reveals the true and terrible nature of the war on drugs and also, just as importantly, informs readers about what they can do to kick the drug-war habit.
"Miller nails it," says Larry Elder, host of ABC Radio's nationally syndicated Larry Elder Show and best-selling author. "He powerfully and persuasively articulates the folly, the harm and the unconstitutionality of our government's War against Drugs." And says Judge Andrew P. Napolitano of Fox News, "If you are interested in our freedoms or fearful of the government destroying human lives and wasting tax dollars on another American Prohibition, read this book and send a copy to every lawmaker and judge you know."
If you want to understand the drug problem in America, you first need to know how the government is making it worse. Bad Trip is the place to start.
A DRUG WAR CAROL
Authors: Susan W. Wells & Scott Bieser
When it comes to sharing my viewpoints on America's "War on Drugs", I have always struggled with replying to the simplistic catchphrases which seem to come from those who are blind to the destruction caused by this politically and economically motivated war. As such, it was with great pleasure to find this little gem.
Through a narrative employing Charles Dickens' classic storyline, "A Drug War Carol" comprehensively, yet succinctly covers the often ignored/suppressed history that gave rise to this immoral and self-serving--but significant--U.S. policy. From its inception during 1920s prohibition, the war on (some) drugs (and some users) has been waged with zeal and corruption, and in the process, has eradicated the Bill of Rights. In the past 80 years, our country (and many other countries which the U.S. can influence or control) has suffered, while arrogant and power-hungry politicians continually feed this monster with our tax-dollars, and in exchange, give us half-truths, exaggerations, or just outright lies.
Trying to explain this to others however, is challenging. This is simply because most of us have lived our whole life eagerly lapping up this propaganda.
Author: Mike Gray
A Gripping Account of the Stunning Violence, Corruption, and Chaos that have Characterized America’s Drug War; How We Got into this Mess and How We can Get Out
It's amazing that something as utterly futile and damaging to society as the war on drugs can be escalated year after year and receives so little resistance from the public at large. Our government seems obsessed with repeating the social disaster of alcohol prohibition on a much grander scale than in the 1920's. We've learned nothing in the past 80 years.
This book scares me. It provides insight into the lengths that our government will go to suppress information, discussion, and research which even suggests that there might be workable common-sense alternatives to the War On Drugs. If the people that founded our country could see what's been done to their beloved Constitution in the name of "protecting society", they would be sick. In order to get tough on crime we need to eliminate the black-market and those criminals who become rich and powerful from it. LEGALIZATION - REGULATION - EDUCATION - REHABILITATION. These are our only hopes for a solution and anyone with even a basic understanding of the problem knows this. The War on Drugs is essentially a domestic Viet-Nam which is being fought against our own citizens.
Read this book and be afraid.......be very afraid.
Edited By: Timothy Lynch
Foreword By: Milton Friedman
An Adult Approach to Drug Policies in the 21st Century
Politicians (especially of the conservative stripe) have long sought to frame the drug war debate as between those who condemn drug use (Drug Czars like William Bennett) and those who advocate drug use (counterculture gurus like the late Timothy Leary). This book reframes the debate and makes the sensible point that drug use may be unhealthy and unwise, but it does not follow that a person who uses drugs should be branded a "criminal" and sent to Leavenworth.
This book is better than some of the posted reviews would suggest. Constitutional experts explain in layman's terms how the drug war undermines the Bill of Rights, federalism, and civil liberties. Governor Gary Johnson, Republican of New Mexico, has the guts to not only admit to his own past drug use, but to speak candidly about how the drug war makes everything worse, not better. Almost all other politicians engage in endless blather about how "we need to protect kids" (as if anyone opposed to the war wants harm to come to the children). Best of all, police officers step forward to attest that their experience confirms that the drug war should be ended.
If you are looking for a scientific book on how marijuana and cocaine affect the brain, yes, you need to look elsewhere. But if you want a readable critique of current policy, this is a good primer.
Authors: Michael F. Cannon & Michael D. Tanner
Forward By: George P. Shultz
What’s Holding Back Health Care and How to Free It
The health care debate has reached a new crescendo in America as of late. It is due to the rapid escalating costs of health care while the quality of health care has had some noticeable decline in some areas. Currently, health care insurance is very expensive if you have to purchase it without an employer or some sort of government assistance: Health care premiums have slowly moved beyond the reach of more and more Americans. Additionally, the looming financial crisis in Medicare as baby boomers start to retire will require some sort of large scale reform.
Michael Cannon and Michael Tanner make a convincing and articulate argument for less government intervention in an industry that is surprisingly dominated, directly and indirectly, by the federal government: They tease away the layers of state mandates, federal regulation, onerous FDA oversight and overall bureaucratic waste that bloat the cost of health care in America. Cannon and Tanner proceed to elucidate the reform needed to stem the rising tide of cost while improving the general quality of patient care. Most of the reforms involve an overhaul in federal tax codes, expansion of HSA programs, eliminating the monopoly that the FDA enjoys and many others. This book is well researched, revealing and logical. Please note, there is quite a bit of technical information and a trove of statistical data in this book. It reads a bit like it was written for policy wonks or academics but still very accessible to the layman.
Author: Dr. David Gratzer
With A New Preface by the Author
How Capitalism Can Save American
The Cure: How Capitalism Can Save American Health Care is an excellent resource on health care economics and the history of health care policy. The author is a free market economist, a physician and a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. The research that went into this book has been endorsed by Milton Friedman (in the Foreword) so it should be of appeal to free market advocates.
Dr. Gratzer persuasively argues that the fundamental problem with U.S. health care is too much government regulation. To argue this, Dr. Gratzer first notes how the employer-based health coverage arose as an unintended side effect of a tax law, which allowed employers to write off health care expenditures for their employees. Moreover, Dr. Gratzer argues that both Democrats and Republicans have both essentially offered more government regulation as the solution to health care, which has not worked. The Democrats, such as the LBJ Administration, promoted enormously inefficient programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. The Republicans, have promoted bureaucratic HMOs, which have led to similar large-scale inefficiencies.
Driving this point further, Dr. Gratzer greatly details the harmful economic consequences of government regulations in health care. For example, the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) forbid hospitals from denying any patient for emergency care. The economic reality is that this leads to hospitals suffering economic losses by being forced to treat patients, regardless of if they can pay for the care, which ultimately leads to the closing of hospitals. Furthermore, insurance mandates, such as benefit mandates, rating mandates and bans on out-of-state insurance, restrict competition and lead to higher insurance premiums. Dr. Gratzer also thoroughly analyzes the harmful economic consequences of the FDA, Medicare, Medicaid and much more.
This book also dispels many common myths about the quality of U.S. health care. For example, statistics are often cited to argue that Canadians and/or Europeans have higher life expectancies than U.S. citizens. Dr. Gratzer argues that such studies mistakenly compare statistics on *health* when they should be on *health care*. There numerous lifestyle habits that differ between cultures, such as frequency of exercise and diet, which effect health. Dr. Gratzer proposes examining statistics on cardiac arrest patients, to see which country offers better treatment. In these respects, Dr. Gratzer argues that the U.S. system is clearly superior to its universal health care counterparts.
As one can infer, Dr. Gratzer proposes free market solutions to fix American health care. Specifically, he proposes drastically reducing the various regulatory excesses that he delineates throughout his book as well as embracing Health Savings Accounts. As always, Dr. Gratzer corroborates his arguments with real-world success stories, such as the success of Whole Foods' adoption of HSAs for its employees.
THE CRIMINALIZATION OF MEDICINE
Author: Ronald T. Libby
America's War on Doctors
My wife and I are both physicians and I have just started reading this book but cannot believe how well it parallels our experiences, readings and feelings over the past 20 years as we have watched the slow tortuous decline of physicians and medical practice. This is not unique to America although it is finding its zenith in America. A friend of mine from Africa who practices in the US told me his father, who is an African lawyer, told him 25 years ago not to go into medicine because attorney organizations internationally had declared war on healthcare providers and gave fair warning to his son not to go there. I've now completed the book and my wife is reading it. First of all it is very well written and easy to read. It is not too long and I finished it in a couple of days. This is the first organized work that I have seen about the forces, propaganda and shocking bias that the justice department, congress, the FBI, OIG, congress and even presidents have viciously applied to healthcare providers. It is no wonder that my wife and I have felt very deeply that we, as physicians have been made second class citizens by much of the population and almost all of the lawyers and legal system. There are some areas that could have been more emphasized such as the role of the numerous health care review organizations set up during the Clinton era, public health programs set up at many universities to scrutinize in detail every flaw that the microscope of government can focus on healthcare. Overall I loved this book and hope that further research into the machinery that has been and is currently working to crush healthcare providers can be revealed. I also feel that many of the current problems in society have been swept under the carpet while excess time and billions of dollars have been spent scapegoating healthcare providers. We had a national data bank to track physicians 20 years ago but today have no national data bank for pedophiles. Go figure. Great book, read it now if you are in, or want to go into healthcare. By the way I came from a healthcare family and like many of my partners and friends we are near the end of the "medical" families.
CODE NAME KINDRED SPIRIT
Author: Notra Trucock
Inside The Chinese Nuclear Espionage Scandal
To this day, we still do not know the extent of China's penetrations of our nuclear weapons complex. But we do know that its espionage efforts have obtained highly sensitive, classified data on our most sophisticated warheads and that it is now beginning to field a new family of long-range nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles based on the technology that comprised the core of our strategic deterrent. Notra Trulock was Director of Intelligence at the U.S. Department of Energy throughout the 1990s. In this spellbinding book, he takes us inside the U.S. nuclear labs. He describes how he came to suspect that Chinese spies were compromising our security and how the trail he followed led to Wen Ho Lee. Trulock tried to warn the President and Congress. When he was ignored, he blew the whistle, creating a domestic crisis for the Clinton administration and forcing it finally to address the security breaches in our nation's nuclear weapons complex. "Code Name KINDRED SPIRIT" takes us directly into the murky world of nuclear espionage. But it is also a daunting story about the fate of the man who brought the bad news. After the scandal broke, Trulock found himself the targeted by the Clintonites who resented him for speaking out. He was smeared as a bigot and a mentally unstable alarmist. When he attempted to tell his side of the story, the FBI tried to silence him by claiming he had revealed classified data. He was demoted and driven out of government, his career and his personal reputation ruined. "Code Name KINDRED SPIRIT" tells the inside story of one of the major spy scandals of recent years. It reads like a Le Carre story told by Franz Kafka.
GUN RIGHTS AFFIRMED
Edited By: Alan Gottlieb
U.S. V. Emerson
Federal Judge Sam Cummings of the Northern District of Texas dismissed an indictment against Timothy Joe Emerson for possession of a firearm while having a temporary restraining order against him. The judge cited violations of Emerson's Second and Fifth Amendment rights, and rejected the Government lawyer's claim that it was "well-settled" that the Second Amendment was only a collective right. This marks the first time in over 60 years that a federal judge has correctly interpreted the Second Amendment as a crucial individual right. This decision helps protect gun owners from the ever-increasing classes of people prohibited from gun ownership. Without a court willing to step in and put a halt to this practice, eventually anyone with a parking or speeding ticket could be prevented from gun ownership.
FORFEITING OUR PROPERTY RIGHTS
Author: Rep. Henry Hyde
Is Your Property Safe From Seizure?
Hyde's disclosure of this little understood but heinous law is excellent. As Hyde explains, under civil forfeiture laws your private property can be taken without finding you guilty of anything. Sound un-American? You bet! But it is all legal. Hyde clearly discusses the background and current practices and recommends reform in this area.
ZONING, RENT CONTROL AND AFFORDABLE HOUSING
Author: William Tucker
The so-called housing problem is not national; it is local. Municipalities practice exclusionary zoning that prevents cheap, multifamily housing from being built. Municipalities initiate strict building-code enforcement campaigns that often result in the closing of single-room-occupancy hotels and other cheap housing in inner cities. And municipalities impose rent control -- the surest way to produce a housing crisis.
William Tucker examines the history of such municipal actions in several California communities and concludes that zoning and rent control restrict the supply of affordable housing. In cities with rent control there is an ongoing war between landlords and tenants; lawyer-tenants exploit blue-collar landlords through tricky legal procedures, and landlords torch their unprofitable, unsalable buildings. Rent control and zoning are products of the tyranny of the majority that prevent people from exercising their right to buy and sell in a free market.
Zoning, Rent Control and Affordable Housing is a must read for anyone worried about making affordable housing available to all Americans.
WHERE KEYNES WENT WRONG - AND WHY WORLD GOVERNMENTS KEEP CREATING INFLATION, BUBBLES, AND BUSTS
Author: Hunter Lewis
In responding to the financial crash of 2008, both the Bush Administration and the Obama Administration have relied on prescriptions developed by John Maynard Keynes, the most important economist since Marx. But should we be relying on Keynes? What did Keynes actually say? Did he make his case? Hunter Lewis concludes that he did not. If Keynes was wrong then so are the economic policies of virtually all world governments today.
ARE THE RICH NECESSARY?
Author: Hunter Lewis
Great Economic Arguments and How They Reflect Our Personal Values
Are the Rich Necessary? Is not well named, it is actually a collection of economic arguments for and against different ideas. I found this book entertaining and educational. The format of the book is a little bit odd. The author will take one point of view for one chapter, then the other point of view in the next chapter. Sometimes he will give points and counterpoints within the same chapter. He makes a valiant effort to present both sides of the story on each issue, though you can tell which way he is leaning (or maybe you will just be more sympathetic to one argument over another.
The book covers a variety of economic arguments, including the role of the rich, different economic philosophies and whether or not having the Fed is worthwhile (which I had never really thought about, but found his case for dissolving the Fed very reasonable). This book is a great economic primer on many salient economic issues today and should be required reading for everyone. It will help you better understand why people argue for the things that they do. The economics is not too tough, but a little background in economics may be helpful. The only reason it does not get five stars is that it gets a little slow sometimes, but overall it is a short, easy-to-read book.
MORE GUNS - LESS CRIME
Author: John R. Lott Jr.
Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws
WOODROW WILSON AND THE ROOTS OF MODERN LIBERALISM
Author: Ronald J. Pestritto
Really a magnificent work! It is a well documented, well constructed, scholarly work describing Wilson's perspective and influence using his own words. This is not a "he said, she said" interpretation but rather the author goes right to the source: "Philosophy of History," by Hegel, "The State," "Constitutional Government," lecture notes and other writings of Wilson.
I started highlighting and dog earring every bombshell, surprise, and "Oh My God" I came across and while still in the introduction I realized I would be dog earring nearly every page! It's not "easy" reading but for someone who knows and understands the Constitution, this book reads like a Stephen King nightmare. Here's a couple of the biggest shockers (teasers not spoilers):
Through "historicism" Wilson concluded that the Constitution must be unbolted from the "unalienable rights" of the Declaration of Independence it embodies and have it basically "float" in context through history. The Constitution should mean whatever the hell we want it to mean today. He felt that the Constitution should not be anchored in its old, antiquated 18th century connotation and should be modernized and updated. After all, "slavery" is a term of revulsion today. Not so in the 18th century. So we can expect a term like "freedom" to mean something different as well!
THAT is a bombshell!
Here's another. Wilson believed and wrote about how we as a society have evolved beyond the need to be wary of government power. He offers no proof, no explanation just classic "trust me" assumptions. Concerns about too much centralized power are shrugged off as antiquated thinking. With the government tied closely to the people so that they (the people) can more intimately communicate the "will of the people" to the president, and with an educated president answerable to the people, the citizenry need not fear government. The sophomoric naivety of such a powerful man who rose to the presidency is incredible! Lord Acton ("Power corrupts. And absolute power corrupts absolutely!") might disagree with Wilson. This idea that government can be a POSITIVE force--that it is a tool to give the people what they want has some of its origins and most of its empowerment with Wilson. This idea is alive and well today and is clearly the source of many problems with government.
What I found most disturbing is the parallels I could easily draw between Wilson's writings and today's political rhetoric. We are most definitely NOT out of the Progressive Era. We are smack in the middle of it!
This is more than enlightening. More than educational. It is important. It should be wide read and common knowledge. It's the kind of book you should give to a friend to read after you're done.
AMERICAN PROGRESSIVISM – A READER