On page 262 of Capital in the 21st Century there are two of the most important sentences I’ve ever read: “…it is essential to be aware of these things: the historical reduction of inequalities of wealth is less substantial than many people believe. Furthermore, there is no guarantee that the limited compression of inequality that we have seen is irreversible.” Does this scare you? It should.
Here are three more books that I loved to pieces and highly recommend:
Black Elk Speaks, “as told through John G. Neihardt“. If you missed this in college you must find the time to read it now. And indulge yourself in the Introduction. Mr. Neihardt describes his first meeting with Black Elk, who was waiting for him, even though no contact had occurred between them. And the Epilogue, which describes their meeting for the last time. I cried. Black Elk tells US history from how he and his people lived it, in his own words, transcribed by Neihardt’s daughter. You will get a clear, first-hand account of our country’s perfidy against the indigenous people. And what life was like before the Europeans’ descendants took over.
Another great book, with flawless writing, is Sonia Sotomayor’s book, My Beloved World. It’s the story of her life, starting from her early childhood and watching Perry Mason, which became the inspiration to become a judge. Yes, Mason got the attention, but the judge had the power! It’s an inspiring, beautiful story, and highlights her as one of our bright lights on the Supreme Court. It’s a delightful book about an amazing person, and well-worth the time in reading it.
If you’ve ever wondered why it’s so difficult to admit a mistake, Being Wrong,by Kathryn Schulz, explains the psychology behind it. There are a lot of people who act and think mistakenly. Yelling at them, or giving them facts, isn’t so helpful. Understanding how the mind works might be. She gives examples of people faced with new facts and all the different ways they react. This knowledge is imperative as we waltz into the 2020 election. Hopefully we will be helped and fortified by inspirational people and books, and their accumulated knowledge and wisdom.
1. The first is “A People’s History of the United States” by Howard Zinn. Beautifully written, it gives you the history of what’s not written in the history books from high school. From the murderous rampages and trickery of Christopher Columbus’ people to the trajectory-changing election of 2000, Zinn takes us on a fascinating journey through our history. Not pretty, but you just can’t look away. In order to change the present in the future, you need to know where you come from. This book will tell you everything you need to know and more. A long but engrossing read.
2. At present I’m just finishing “Reporter,” by Seymour Hersh. I love this book. What a brave and energetic person. He follows a lead and will not let go until he finds his man or woman. (For the My Lai story it’s men he’s after.) When he finds him he’ll knock on the door at two a.m. and someone will answer and want to talk to him! I wouldn’t answer the door at two a.m. The reason they want to talk is because he’s done his research beforehand and knows enough to make the other person want to spill as many beans as possible. What’s fascinating is the reaction of the executive editor at The New York Times. How reluctant he was to put some of this stuff in print. Often Hersh would have to get another entity to publish first. It’s incredible the lengths Hersh would go through to get to the truth, and amazing how, if it wasn’t what was thought to be the truth in the general public, the reluctance to print would be nearly insurmountable. Makes me look at that “newspaper of note” with different eyes. This is a super story and not to be missed. One thing: he sounds like a reporter! This might be a turn-off for some. But this book is a must-read.
3. I’ve read 119 pages of Thomas Piketty’s book, “Capital in the 21st Century.” I started to read this book to help with my insomnia. Economics! What could be more boring, using up lots of brain glucose and putting me into a delicious slumber? Wrong. It’s fascinating, and kept me up way past my bedtime. Difficult for me, for sure. (At UCLA I took Econ 101. After one class and not understanding a single word except for “the” and “and” I gave up. Flash forward a bit more than thirty years and I’m thinking, “I’m not giving up on myself!” I started with The Worldly Philosophers.) OK, full disclosure: I’m still not sure what alpha equals r times beta means. Did I get that correct? Piketty looks at every aspect of wealth and income, private and public, mostly comparing the US, France and Britain, and this is why his book is over 500 pages long and I’ll be reading it into 2020. But what an important book! Now I know how wealth inequality happens (it’s math!) and how potentially devastating it is for a society. He adds in wealth in literature, and the picture is complete. If you can understand it. Apparently this is in the top ten of the most bought, started, and never finished books. But it is super-important to try to understand what we’ll be fighting against for a very long time. And the fight against the super-wealthy is essential. I will tell you why next time in a fabulous and short book by the most decorated war hero this country has ever seen.
Here is the complete list of items proposed to be included in the club’s platform:
Same day voter registration
Publicly funded elections
Elect President by popular vote
End super delegates
Restore voting right for convicted felons
Stop gerrymandering (redistricting reform)
Overturn Citizens United
Release of 5 years’ tax returns for President
TAXES and FINANCETax reform
Wall Street transaction tax
End Federal Reserve
Carbon Tax and Dividend
Prison reform (solitary confinement, etc.)
Eliminate death penalty
Support ACLU bail reform
Criminal Justice Reform
Only publicly owned prisons
WARS, MILITARY, WEAPONS
End wars of intervention
Reduce military budget
100% sales tax on gun sales
Ban on assault weapons
Mandatory background checks on all gun sales
Reproductive health care for all
Medicare for all
Expand right to die
All states must provide Medicaid coverage
Support Planned Parenthood
Cannabis off DEA Schedule
No sale or transfer of Federal Public Lands or Monuments
No sale or transfer or leasing for extraction purposes of state public lands
Move SONGS waste inland
New US “green” energy system
Rejoin Paris Climate Accord
Community Choice Energy
Support the National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities
Free public education (pre-school to 4 years of post high school education)
Strengthen and encourage unions
Basic income grant
Climate March and Rally to support a call for a national “WWII-scale” mobilization to move American off fossil fuels and on to wind, water and solar energy will be held on the first Sundays of the month at 1 pm at Federal Building Plaza. Your attendance is requested.
Dear Fellow Democrat,
With all the outrageous behavior coming from President Trump, none is more dangerous than his assertion that climate change is a hoax and his appointments of climate change deniers to his cabinet.
We know that the science is real , as is the relationship between rising temperatures and greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This reality has put civilization at risk. Just last month our very own Scripps Institute of Oceanography issued a report saying we humans alive on the planet today face a slight–but distinct–possibility of extinction! By mid-century the odds raise to a 20-30% possibility.
This is a warning that cannot go unheeded.
In the current political reality we do not believe ANYTHING other than people coming together to demand government action will be effective. That is why we are writing to ask for your help.
We ask that you join us on the first Sunday of the month and demand that the mobilization commence immediately and proceed at war time speed. The alternative presents an unthinkable future.
1pm at the Federal Building – 880 Front Street San Diego, CA 92101 Map
San Diegans concerned about Climate Change will conduct a two-day fast at the Federal Building from 6 p.m., Friday, August 18th until 6 a.m., Monday, August 20th. A public rally at 6 p.m. Friday will kick off the event. The purpose of the event is to draw attention to the seriousness of the Climate Crisis and to demonstrate support for The Climate Mobilization.
The Climate Mobilization is a grassroots movement out of New York City calling for a World War-II scale national mobilization to transition the U.S. off of fossil fuels and onto Wind, Water and Solar Renewable Energy. The construction of a new energy system for America has been researched and computer modeled by Engineering Professor Mark Jacobson and his colleagues at Stanford University. Jacobson has partnered with actor Mark Ruffalo in the Solutions Project, dedicated to 100% renewable energy in America.
“We know that a new energy system is technologically possible, what is lacking is the political will,” said retired Superior Court Judge Robert C. Coates, chairman of the San Diego Climate Mobilization Coalition, a chapter of the New York organization and a sponsor of the fast.
“Our goal is to get millions of people peacefully demonstrating throughout the U.S. until Congress is willing to go for a new energy system,” said Nancy Casady, one of the organizers. “100% renewable is 100% possible,” Casady said.