Original Proposal

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Original Proposal

Post by johnkarls »

Our Damaged Democracy: We The People Must Act by Joseph Califano Jr.

[Originally Proposed by johnkarls » Sun Feb 11, 2018 3:00 pm – 91 views before being transplanted here]

I propose that we read “Our Damaged Democracy: We The People Must Act” by Joseph A Califano Jr which is already a Best Seller 2 days before its release next Tuesday (Touchstone 2/13/2018 -- 215 pages sans notes & index -- $17.70 + shipping or $12.99 Kindle from Amazon.com).


This authoritative and passionate primer on the three branches of government reveals the changes—political, cultural, constitutional, technological, institutional—that render our government completely dysfunctional, and the urgent need to fix our democracy before it’s too late.

If you’ve been watching the news and worrying that our democracy no longer works, this book will help you understand why you’re right. There is colossal concentration of power in the Presidency. Congress is crippled by partisanship and dependence on special interest money. The Supreme Court and many lower federal courts are riven by politics. Add politically fractured and fragile media, feckless campaign finance laws, rampant income and education inequality, and multicultural divisions, and it’s no wonder our leaders can’t agree on anything or muster a solid majority of Americans behind them.

With decades as a leader in government, law, and business, Joseph A. Califano, Jr. has the maturity to be party-neutral in his evaluation and the perspective to see the big picture of our democracy. Using anecdotes and examples featuring every modern president and actions of both parties, Califano makes the urgent case that we do not need to agree, but we do need to trust each other and be worthy of that trust, in order to bring back systems of government that protect freedom and promote fairness.

The longer we wait to fix these problems, the more dangerous our situation will become. Our Damaged Democracy is the rallying cry we need to get our country back on track.


Joseph A Califano Jr graduated from Harvard Law School where he served as an Editor of the Harvard Law Review.

From Jan 1977 - Aug 1979, he served as the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare before it was split into the Dept of Education and the Dept of Health & Human Services.

From 1961-1965, he served in senior positions in the Dept of Defense.

From 1965-1969, he was President Johnson’s chief domestic advisor.

When not serving in the U.S. government, he has been a senior partner in the most prestigious NYC and Washington DC law firms.

He has served on more than 15 public company boards (including CBS) and numerous not-for-profit boards (including Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital).

He was the founder of The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia U.

He was also the founder of the Institute for Social and Economic Policy in the Middle East – Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

He has written 14 books and numerous articles for such publications as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Readers Digest, New Republic, Journal of the American Medical Association, The New England Journal of Medicine, America, and The Washington Monthly.


“A Washington insider draws on decades of experience to deliver a blistering critique of the state of American government . . .The author's concerns about the executive and legislative branches are particularly well-informed, persuasive, discouraging, and sometimes frightening.”
—Kirkus Reviews

“Published at a moment which could be prove to be a historical pivot point, Our Damaged Democracy is a cri de coeur from one of our wisest Americans.”
—Michael Beschloss, Presidential Historian

"Regardless of your political philosophy, we can all agree Washington is not just dysfunctional, but broken. Drawing on both his significant experience in public service and important historical lessons, Joe Califano addresses the serious challenges facing our nation and why it is incumbent on our citizenry to repair America's damaged democracy."
—Gov. Jeb Bush, Former Governor, State of Florida

“Joseph Califano delves deeply into the inner workings of Washington, and delivers an unstinting look at how power, money and politics have produced the ugly mess we're in today.”
—Karen Tumulty, National Political Correspondent, Washington Post

“Joseph Califano, one of America's true statesmen, makes a powerful case for what has gone so terribly wrong in the country and the role we must all play in reversing that damage.”
—Peter Osnos, Founder of PublicAffairs Book Group

"No sacred cows in this well-referenced and documented book. Califano lays it on the line about the present state of American democracy, how we got here, and how we can save it. Couldn't be more timely."
—Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA, Retired)

"In this enlightened, entertaining, and rigorously non-partisan book, Joe Califano succinctly details the forces that have brought us to this dangerous moment in our democracy, as well as a course of action to restore balance to our government and hope to our politics. If the opposition is an intimately familiar one—in the words of Pogo, ‘We have met the enemy and he is us’—then so is the solution. What we have broken, we can mend if we have the will to do so."
—Robert Schenkkan, Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-Winning Playwright

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