Thought provoking. Controversial. Presidential Puppetry is sure to raise lots of eye-brows. One of those books that inspires readers to look deep beneath the surface.

John Perkins, New York Times best-selling author of "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man" and other books

Sharing a Capital Feast for Ideas & Civic Reform

In the spirit of the recent holiday, today’s column gives thanks for a recent feast of “ideas.” Also, I want share the life stories of two can-do pathfinders who showed on a daily basis how to make a better world.

The Justice Integrity Project necessarily reports on scandal in public life. That’s our mission. But it’s important also to report here at least occasionally on how reform can be achieved.

First comes assessment of problems.

The Atlantic Magazine and its two major partners posted last week a video link to their Fifth Annual Washington Ideas Forum, which convened 60 opinion leaders from across the political spectrum to discuss major issues and proposed solutions. I attended the sessions Nov. 13-14 at the Newseum, one of the magazine’s partners along with the Aspen Institute.

Michael Froman and James FallowsThe first substantive session, for example, featured U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, shown at right in the photo as he responded to a question from Atlantic Senior Editor James Fallows.

Froman made the case for free trade agreements focused on non-Chinese Pacific Rim nations amid persistent concerns of such agreements.

“Is it going to be a race ‘to the top?'” Froman asked. “A race to the bottom [in terms of working and environmental conditions, etc.] is not a race we want, or that we think we can win.”

Whatever one concludes, I recommend watching the no-cost sessions as a way to see key figures make the illuminating arguments.

Such brainstorming and my publication later this week of more revelations about Washington’s power structure prompt me to share background about how such research begins, at least here at our Project.

We can always hope that revelations, compiled also in my new book, Presidential Puppetry: Obama Romney and Their Masters, lead to civic reform.


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