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HOSTILE TAKEOVER: An Unauthorized Review

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After reading David Sirota's Hostile Takeover, most Americans will be incredulous or feeling quite hostile themselves. Those in denial about the whole idea that corporations are running and ruining our lives won't make it past the first chapter. They swallow the blue pill. For those who read on, they swallow the red, as David claims in the book.

If you're familiar with Chomsky or Vidal, the details will still be appalling, but the level of corruption is no surprise. Still, there were times I found my heart pounding at the atrocities. Mr. Sirota weaves a litany of evidence with an insider's knowledge that points to an utter failure of government to serve the needs of the people.

No, it is far worse. It is the active manipulation of law and power to ruin our country by politicians who swoon to serve their masters, Corporate America. While David favors the term, he admits that many of these companies are technically off-shore. But their money is here, and it buys our leaders. That said, I imagine the possibility of a much larger cadre, since there are huge corporations and disturbingly wealthy people in many parts of the world.

Moving from topic areas like taxes and wages to jobs, debt and healthcare, and finishing with unions and legal rights, Mr. Sirota deftly describes the propaganda and manipulation that allows this travesty to continue. He's not shy about condemning the media, "who care more about being on a Christmas card list than actually doing their jobs." Here I disagree. They are doing their jobs. They're not paid to investigate, to enlighten, to educate. They're paid to distract and misinform. And they do that very well, if you can stand watching such drivel. The mistake is to call them journalists.

For myself, a weakness in Hostile Takeover was the limited amount of historic perspective. I doubt David felt like that was part of his job here, but an acknowledgement of the deep undercurrent of hegemony and imperialism that our country has engaged in can provide a useful perspective to the current situation.

I did appreciate the highlighted text pointing to lies, myths, scare tactics and the like. The pervasiveness of the propaganda and rhetoric is such that we often don't realize how deeply ingrained it is in our thinking. "Frivolous lawsuits," "damn unions" and other sentiments many take for granted are all maliciously dispensed for citizen consumption by our corporate masters.

David's advise on being a change agent is noteworthy as well. He suggests "being a big fish in a small pond" - start with getting active in local elections and changing local politics. It's empowering, and from there the movement will rise to the state and federal level.

David consistently uses terms like Corporate America and corruption, but I was disappointed that the newly chic term 'corporatism' didn't make a mark in the book. One can easily appreciate the idea of corruption, but that is a weaker term since it doesn't directly point to the instigators of the corruption.

Corporatism both points to the culprits, and supplies a present tense context to the core idea that Hostile Takeover is about. It puts the idea on par with words like democracy or fascism.

Oh, funny that. The definition of fascism is: A system of government that exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership, together with belligerent nationalism. [Ital. fascio, group.] -fas'cist n. -fas-cis'tic (fa-shis'tik) adj.

Let's see, exercises a dictatorship? Well, the Bushies are sure trying. Extreme right? Check. Merging of state and business leadership? Helloooo! And belligerent nationalism? Ask any Iraqi.

Okay, he didn't need to use the term corporatism, he could have used fascism.

All in all, Hostile Takeover provides a stirring read, and offers hope and potential solutions to take back our country. It's timely as can be. For anyone who cares about our country, let's hope it's on the Best Seller List through November.
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Jim Prues is the Founder of World 5.0 and President of Panoptic Media. He understands that 'democracy is not a spectator sport.'

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