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The Price of Right: How the Conservative Agenda Has Failed America (and Always Will)

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Alicia Morgan is a musician friend with whom I’ve occasionally had the pleasure of working over the last decade or two. Her blog turned into a book, The Price of Right: How the Conservative Agenda Has Failed America (and Always Will). I’ve just read it and highly recommend it-that is-if you’re in good health and not worried about getting riled up. I come away from it “mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more”, and (after all the business-as-usual cabinet choices) Obama or no, there’s just too much wrong with America to sit on the sidelines and wait for something to happen.

Alicia lays the groundwork with some psychology of types- Farmers vs. Hunters. From there we learn how Marketing Speak has become a major tool in the arsenal of the Conservative agenda. She goes on to trace the evolution of the wealthy, powerful and organized Conservative Right since Newt Gingrich. She documents the co-joining of the Conservative Right with the Christian Right. Following that she applies her insight to the issues of Iraq, the erosion of the Middle Class, Health Care, Worker’s Rights, and Corporate Media. Alicia tells her story with names and dates and quotes-who said what when-then adds her perspective, which for me is so compelling. A few examples, first, of the evidence she’s discovered.

Language: A Key Mechanism of Control
…”I wish I could speak like Newt.”

That takes years of practice. But, we believe that you could have a significant impact on your campaign and the way you communicate if we help a little. that is why we have created this list of words and phrases…(From a pamphlet sent out by Newt Gingrich’s politcal action committee to Republicans across the country.)

The “cruel and unusual punishment” clause of the 8th Amendment to the Constitution has been interpreted by the Supreme Court to require prisoners, as part of their humane treatment during detention, to be guaranteed the right to health care.

Currently prisoners are the only group who are specifically granted the right to health care. It is probable that the founders of our country, if they could have predicted the importance of health care, would have granted that the same standard of humane treatment be extended to every citizen. (Dr. Howard Haft, Executive VP and Chief Medical Officer at Conmed Healthcare Management, Inc., a provider of health care services for correctional institutions.)

In the 1980s, the Reagan administration, during its foaming frenzy of deregulation, raised the number of stations a company could own from seven to twelve. In 1983, most major media was controlled by fifty companies. It then went to twenty-six in 1987 to twenty-three in 1990, to ten in 1966, accelerated by the Telecommunications Act of 1996 signed by Bill Clinton. Today almost all of the major media outlets in the U.S. are owned by five corporations.

And here’s an example of how Alicia turns these facts into hard-hitting truths.

It’s important to realize that the corporate media is granted (for free!) leases for their slice of the broadcast spectrum. This amounts to a gift from us-the American taxpayer-of billions and billions of dollars. In other words, we are paying the big corporations to be lied to, manipulated, and stolen from.

Hey Alicia! The last few years I’ve been hiding under a political rock. Your heartfelt perspective on our current situation has rekindled my desire to get back into the fray. Thanks for a great book.

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