Thieves in High Places

A few years ago, a Japanese official was arrested after police discovered 400 pieces of women's underwear in his home. He proclaimed innocence by saying: "I picked up all lingerie on the streets by pure chance."

We still have our underwear in America, but we've been stripped of a garment far more precious: Our democracy. We've been able to hold our diverse and sprawling country together over the decades because of one thing -- our people's ingrained belief in America's democratic values of fairness, justice, and opportunity for all.

But something has gone terribly wrong in our country. The essense of democracy -- our power to control the decisions that affect us -- has steadily been pilfered by corporate kleptocrats. They have gathered up our democratic powers piece by piece, taking these powers into their own private fiefdoms. These elites, backed by the political elites they have bought, now effectively control everything from our wages to war, from what's on the "news" to who gets elected.

This has not taken place by "pure chance," but through deliberate filching -- which has now devolved into wholesale looting. These Thieves in High Places, as I call them in my new book, have pulled of a slow-motion coup, radically wrenching America from being a people's republic to Kleptocrat Nation.

This would be horribly depressing except for one thing that definitely has not changed in our land: The people (you rascals!) still have that tenacious belief in America's historic democratic values. As I crisscross our country, I am bouyed by the fact that ordinary folks everywhere are lighting little prairie fires of rebellion against the thieves, fighting for everything from living wages, to fair trade, privacy to peace. This truly is America's story, the story of grassroots people agitating and organizing to take America back from those Thieves in High Places.

The antidote to kleptocracy is the age-old story of democratic struggle ... and the rebellion is on!

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