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Banana Republicans [Paperback]

Sheldon Rampton
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 24 2004
The bestselling authors of Weapons of Mass Deception expose how the "right-wing conspiracy," as represented by the GOP and its mouthpieces in media, lobbying groups, and the legal system, is undermining dissent and squelching pluralistic politics in America.

The U.S. economy is on the ropes, fear grips the nation, and we are embroiled in two overseas military quagmires with no end in sight. Outside its borders, the United States is hated and feared as never before.

For the first time in living memory, a single party-the Republicans-controls every major institution of the federal government: the White House, the Supreme Court, the Senate and House of Representatives-not to mention the "fourth branch of government," the mass media. How did this come to pass?

Banana Republicans reveals how the national GOP maintains its hold on power through the systematic manipulation of the electoral system, the courts, the media, and the lobbying establishment. The book examines:

* The legacy of the Florida ballot scandal, and how it has played out in the recall movement in California-and other states, where recall efforts are under way-and in the redistricting controversy in Texas.
* How a GOP echo chamber systematically spreads its views through conservative media giants-e.g., Clear Channel, Fox-and highly placed columnists, journalists, and opinion makers.
* How the Bush administration is loading the federal courts with a generation of demagogues, and smearing the names of legislators who attempt to stand in its way. * How House Majority Leader Tom DeLay has strong-armed traditional lobbying firms into exclusively hiring Republicans, so that even K Street is political, rather than merely opportunistic.
* How the GOP has equated dissent with treason-e.g., Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld accusing war critics of abetting terrorism.
* How the Bush administration uses its power to punish dissent, such as the leaking of a CIA agent's name to the press, and unprecedented lawsuits against activist organizations such as Greenpeace.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Well-documented and quite FRIGHTENING June 19 2004
This book was a very compelling look at the well-organized machine that is the right. I was impressed with how well-documented the book was, using the words of those on the right to make the case.
Those that criticize the book will have to refute an awful lot of quotes and facts by their conservative friends. With all the quotes, citations and endnotes, I don't know how one COULD refute the general claims of this book.
What was most frightening for me in this book was the push by the right to completely "wipe them [the left or the democrats] off the face of the planet." This quote by David Horowitz, political strategist for the right, is telling. As the book points out, for the Democrats, politics is a debate between two opposing camps or schools of thought. For the Republicans, it is a war for dominance. I am frightened by a group that does not welcome discourse, especially when that group is so powerful politically and economically. Squashing the political opponent seems very anti-American to me.
Read this book. Then vote.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A persuasive book that's backed by RESEARCH June 3 2004
By A Customer
I'm not a big fan of partisan polemics, but I bought this book on the strength of Rampton and Stauber's previous works. As in "Toxic Sludge is Good For You" (a groundbreaking exposé of the public relations industry) and "Weapons of Mass Deception," Rampton and Stauber manage to make a thoroughly compelling argument without resorting to hyperbole, hysteria, or screaming invective.
Instead, they rely on good old-fashioned research. In many cases, they let their subjects hang themselves with their own words, as when überconservative activist Grover Norquist told the Denver Post that bipartisanship "was just another name for date rape" (and he was just quoting Newt Gingrich!).
"Banana Republicans" covers a wide range of topics, from the well-funded network of conservative grassroots organizations and think tanks, to the continued blurring of lines between industry and government, to the right wing's fierce and deceptive attempts to stifle dissent. They also find time to cover the many journalistic abuses of ABC's John Stossel, a free-market acolyte and possibly the biggest schmuck on TV.
Hardcore conservatives in this country (and on this page) will certainly attack this book, just for its title. But in the spirit of raising the level of discourse on this page (and in this country), I challenge all naysayers to actually read the book and debate its many points.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Readable and Informative June 3 2004
Despite its comic book appearance, Banana Republicans is chock-full of hard facts and useful information for anyone who values democracy and is concerned with the changing face of our nation. Some might regard Public Relations as an obscure business practice, but Rampton and Stauber demonstrate that the "hundreds of millions of dollars" spent by mega-corporations and our own government (at taxpayer expense) is money well-spent by those who want to control public and Congressional opinion.
One chapter of the book, Traitor Baiters, lists specific instances of inflammatory rhetoric by Republic leaders and pundits accusing those who disagree with them of hating America, undermining America, presenting a threat to America. These are potentially dangerous words to anyone who questions this administration and its nearly total acquiescence to corporate control.
The writing style is clear, concise, and unburdened with the thick satire of writers such as Michael Moore and Al Franken. A great introduction to the ongoing hard work of the folks at the Center for Media and Democracy. It could change your life, or at least your political perceptions.
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Even if your'e new to the topic you cant miss with this well documented book.
DisInformation has been around since Adam & Eve bit the apple.
If you have any doubts that there are people who want us to bite the apple again, get this book. Buy an extra one for your local library.<P(...).Don't be taken in by the right wing echo chamber or it's victims (ex. NY Times & Judith Miller). Think and research for yourself.
This book, among others, will get you up to speed, fast.
I wont even mention that the so-called "left wing press" doesn't want to to hear what the world thinks about the present administration. Look them up and see for yourself.
The American press' coverage of events is highly pressured by "bottom line" considerations of their multinational owners.
Then you'll see that using critical thinking is required now more than ever. But, please dont take my word for it. Keep aware.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An important book May 28 2004
like the other books by Rampton/Stauber, this one cuts thru the lies that the common man is constantly bombarded with by big, corporate owned media and politicians who are in the pockets of big money corporations. Turn off FOX and CNN and Clearchannel and other "news" sources which are owned by billionairres and require that you only hear their side so they can wage their wars and abuse populations for the sake of their bottom line. Wake up america... you're brainwashed... just look at the last review. Pew poll, indeed. Come on, read something Rupert Murdock wouldn't approve of.
A great book... get their others too.
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