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No place affords a more striking conviction
of the vanity of human hopes
than a public library.

Samuel Johnson,
March 23, 1751,
the Rambler

 

Amazon Lemmings Effect

In no way one can blindly rely on Amazon ratings (or any similar ratings). Amazon rating while providing interesting information often are subject to so called "Lemming Effect" when people rate highly a book that is mediocre at best (just look on reviews of JavaScript: The Definitive Guide or Learning Perl. In this case several good reviews incite conformists to say a couple of nice words about the book that they probably own but that they either never read or they lack the ability to compare books on the subject due to some other factor.

Bad books from a respectable publisher or a known author sometimes
have many excellent reviews on Amazon (Lemmings effect )

At the same time many really good books (for example Learning Korn Shell) are underrated on Amazon with a lot of reviews that belong to the category described above, only with minus sign.

You also need to understand that the value of the book depends on the level of the reader and only really brilliant books (for example TAOCP) can bypass this vast diversity of experiences of the readers.

Evaluating a book before buying

If you are still thinking about buying a book, do yourself a favor, when you're at the book store look in the index or table of contents of this book and then browse the book and read at least one, important for you, chapter before spending any money.  If you still have the same level of understanding as before the reading and the chapter does not contain interesting ideas or badly written then probably this is not the book you are shooting for. Then take another book and keep doing this until you find one that really excels in explaining this important for you concept. 

If you cannot browse the book yourself in a bookstore, then you should try to grade the book indirectly using other sources (this is less reliable but at least helps to avoid blunders):

Books with titles that includes the word Bible are often pretty weak and belong to the "make money fast" category . No respectable author would consider himself to be a God :-) Every time I see a book named  "XXX Bible" (Unix Bible, Java Bible, Javascript Bible, etc). I think that such name is misleading as for the level of complexity and weirdness of the subject and from marketing standpoint it might be better to replace this title with a title  "XXX Kamasutra." :-)

Dr. Nikolai Bezroukov


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[Oct 16, 2018] How Fascism Works by Jason Stanley

From the book How Fascism Works The Politics of Us and Them Jason Stanley Amazon.com Hardcover: 240 pages Publisher: Random House (September 4, 2018)
Fascism is always eclectic and its doctrine is composed of several sometimes contradicting each other ideas. "Ideologically speaking, [the program] was a wooly, eclectic mixture of political, social, racist, national-imperialist wishful thinking..." (Ideologically speaking, [the program] was a wooly, eclectic mixture of political, social, racist, national-imperialist wishful thinking..." )
Some ideas are "sound bite only" and never are implemented and are present only to attract sheeple (looks National Socialist Program ). he program championed the right to employment , and called for the institution of profit sharing , confiscation of war profits , prosecution of usurers and profiteers, nationalization of trusts , communalization of department stores, extension of the old-age pension system, creation of a national education program of all classes, prohibition of child labor , and an end to the dominance of investment capital "
There is also "bait and switch" element in any fascism movement. Original fascism was strongly anti-capitalist, militaristic and "national greatness and purity" movement ("Make Germany great again"). It was directed against financial oligarchy and anti-semantic element in it was strong partially because it associated Jews with bankers and financial industry in general. In a way "Jews" were codeword for investment bankers.
For example " Arbeit Macht Frei " can be viewed as a neoliberal slogan. Then does not mean that neoliberalism. with its cult of productivity, is equal to fascism, but that neoliberal doctrine does encompass elements of the fascist doctrine including strong state, "law and order" mentality and relentless propaganda.
The word "fascist" is hurled at political / ideological opponents so often that it lost its meaning. The Nazi Party (NSDAP) originated as a working-class political party . This is not true about Trump whom many assume of having fascist leanings. His pro white working class rhetoric was a fig leaf used for duration or elections. After that he rules as a typical Republican president favoring big business. And as a typical neocon in foreign policy.
From this point of view Trump can't be viewed even as pro-fascist leader because first of all he does not have his own political movement, ideology and political program. And the second he does not strive for implementing uniparty state and abolishing the elections which is essential for fascism political platform, as fascist despise corrupt democracy and have a cult of strong leader.
All he can be called is neo-fascist s his some of his views do encompass ideas taken from fascist ideology (including "law and order"; which also is a cornerstone element of Republican ideology) as well as idealization and mystification of the US past. But with Bannon gone he also can't even pretend that he represents some coherent political movement like "economic nationalism" -- kind of enhanced mercantilism.
Of course, that does not mean that previous fascist leaders were bound by the fascism political program, but at least they had one. Historian Karl Dietrich Bracher writes that, "To [Hitler, the program] was little more than an effective, persuasive propaganda weapon for mobilizing and manipulating the masses. Once it had brought him to power, it became pure decoration: 'unalterable', yet unrealized in its demands for nationalization and expropriation, for land reform and 'breaking the shackles of finance capital'. Yet it nonetheless fulfilled its role as backdrop and pseudo-theory, against which the future dictator could unfold his rhetorical and dramatic talents."
Notable quotes:
"... Fascist politics invokes a pure mythic past tragically destroyed. Depending on how the nation is defined, the mythic past may be religiously pure, racially pure, culturally pure, or all of the above. But there is a common structure to all fascist mythologizing. In all fascist mythic pasts, an extreme version of the patriarchal family reigns supreme, even just a few generations ago. ..."
"... Further back in time, the mythic past was a time of glory of the nation, with wars of conquest led by patriotic generals, its armies filled with its countrymen, able-bodied, loyal warriors whose wives were at home raising the next generation. In the present, these myths become the basis of the nation's identity under fascist politics. ..."
"... In the rhetoric of extreme nationalists, such a glorious past has been lost by the humiliation brought on by globalism, liberal cosmopolitanism, and respect for "universal values" such as equality. These values are supposed to have made the nation weak in the face of real and threatening challenges to the nation's existence. ..."
"... fascist myths distinguish themselves with the creation of a glorious national history in which the members of the chosen nation ruled over others, the result of conquests and civilization-building achievements. ..."
"... The function of the mythic past, in fascist politics, is to harness the emotion of ­nostalgia to the central tenets of fascist ideology -- authoritarianism, hierarchy, purity, and struggle. ..."
Oct 16, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Chapter 1: The Mythic Past

It's in the name of tradition that the anti-Semites base their "point of view." It's in the name of tradition, the long, historical past and the blood ties with Pascal and Descartes, that the Jews are told, you will never belong here.

-- Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks (1952)

It is only natural to begin this book where fascist politics invariably claims to discover its genesis: in the past. Fascist politics invokes a pure mythic past tragically destroyed. Depending on how the nation is defined, the mythic past may be religiously pure, racially pure, culturally pure, or all of the above. But there is a common structure to all fascist mythologizing. In all fascist mythic pasts, an extreme version of the patriarchal family reigns supreme, even just a few generations ago.

Further back in time, the mythic past was a time of glory of the nation, with wars of conquest led by patriotic generals, its armies filled with its countrymen, able-bodied, loyal warriors whose wives were at home raising the next generation. In the present, these myths become the basis of the nation's identity under fascist politics.

In the rhetoric of extreme nationalists, such a glorious past has been lost by the humiliation brought on by globalism, liberal cosmopolitanism, and respect for "universal values" such as equality. These values are supposed to have made the nation weak in the face of real and threatening challenges to the nation's existence.

These myths are generally based on fantasies of a nonexistent past uniformity, which survives in the traditions of the small towns and countrysides that remain relatively unpolluted by the liberal decadence of the cities. This uniformity -- linguistic, religious, geographical, or ­ethnic -- ​can be perfectly ordinary in some nationalist movements, but fascist myths distinguish themselves with the creation of a glorious national history in which the members of the chosen nation ruled over others, the result of conquests and civilization-building achievements. For example, in the fascist imagination, the past invariably involves traditional, patriarchal gender roles. The fascist mythic past has a particular structure, which supports its authoritarian, hierarchical ideology. That past societies were rarely as patriarchal -- or indeed as glorious -- as fascist ideology represents them as being is beside the point. This imagined history provides proof to support the imposition of hierarchy in the present, and it dictates how contemporary society should look and behave.

In a 1922 speech at the Fascist Congress in Naples, Benito Mussolini declared:

We have created our myth. The myth is a faith, a passion. It is not necessary for it to be a reality. . . . Our myth is the nation, our myth is the greatness of the nation! And to this myth, this greatness, which we want to translate into a total reality, we subordinate everything.

The patriarchal family is one ideal that fascist politicians intend to create in society -- or return to, as they claim. The patriarchal family is always represented as a central part of the nation's traditions, diminished, even recently, by the advent of liberalism and cosmopolitanism. But why is patriarchy so strategically central to fascist politics?

In a fascist society, the leader of the nation is analogous to the father in the traditional patriarchal family. The leader is the father of his nation, and his strength and power are the source of his legal authority, just as the strength and power of the father of the family in patri­archy are supposed to be the source of his ultimate moral authority over his children and wife. The leader provides for his nation, just as in the traditional family the father is the provider. The patriarchal father's authority derives from his strength, and strength is the chief authoritarian value. By representing the nation's past as one with a patriarchal family structure, fascist politics connects nostalgia to a central organizing hierarchal authoritarian structure, one that finds its purest representation in these norms.

Gregor Strasser was the National Socialist -- Nazi -- Reich propaganda chief in the 1920s, before the post was taken over by Joseph Goebbels. According to Strasser, "for a man, military service is the most profound and valuable form of participation -- for the woman it is motherhood!" Paula Siber, the acting head of the Association of German Women, in a 1933 document meant to reflect official National Socialist state policy on women, declares that "to be a woman means to be a mother, means affirming with the whole conscious force of one's soul the value of being a mother and making it a law of life . . . ​the highest calling of the National Socialist woman is not just to bear children, but consciously and out of total devotion to her role and duty as mother to raise children for her people." Richard Grunberger, a British historian of National Socialism, sums up "the kernel of Nazi thinking on the women's question" as "a dogma of inequality between the sexes as immutable as that between the races." The historian Charu Gupta, in her 1991 article "Politics of Gender: Women in Nazi Germany," goes as far as to argue that "oppression of women in Nazi Germany in fact furnishes the most extreme case of anti-feminism in the 20th century."

Here, Mussolini makes clear that the fascist mythic past is intentionally mythical. The function of the mythic past, in fascist politics, is to harness the emotion of ­nostalgia to the central tenets of fascist ideology -- authoritarianism, hierarchy, purity, and struggle.

With the creation of a mythic past, fascist politics creates a link between nostalgia and the realization of fascist ideals. German fascists also clearly and explicitly appreciated this point about the strategic use of a mythological past. The leading Nazi ideologue Alfred Rosenberg, editor of the prominent Nazi newspaper the Völkischer Beobachter, writes in 1924, "the understanding of and the respect for our own mythological past and our own history will form the first condition for more firmly anchoring the coming generation in the soil of Europe's original homeland." The fascist mythic past exists to aid in changing the present.

Jason Stanley is the Jacob Urowsky Professor of Philosophy at Yale University. Before coming to Yale in 2013, he was Distinguished Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Rutgers University. Stanley is the author of Know How; Languages in Context; More about Jason Stanley

5.0 out of 5 stars

July 17, 2018 Format: Hardcover Vine

Highly readable

w.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R36R5FWIWTP6F0/ref=cm_cr_dp_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=0525511830">

By Joel E. Mitchell on September 13, 2018
Massive Partisan Bias

This could have been such a helpful, insightful book. The word "fascist" is hurled at political / ideological opponents so often that it has started to lose its meaning. I hoped that this book would provide a historical perspective on fascism by examining actual fascist governments and drawing some parallels to the more egregious / worrisome trends in US & European politics. The chapter titles in the table of contents were promising:

- The Mythic Past
- Propaganda
- Anti-Intellectual
- Unreality
- Hierarchy
- Victimhood
- Law & Order
- Sexual Anxiety
- Sodom & Gomorrah
- Arbeit Macht Frei

Ironically (given the book's subtitle) the author used his book divisively: to laud his left-wing political views and demonize virtually all distinctively right-wing views. He uses the term "liberal democracy" inconsistently throughout, disengenuously equivocating between the meaning of "representative democracy as opposed to autocratic or oligarchic government" (which most readers would agree is a good thing) and "American left-wing political views" (which he treats as equally self-evidently superior if you are a right-thinking person). Virtually all American right-wing political views are presented in straw-man form, defined in such a way that they fit his definition of fascist politics.

I was expecting there to be a pretty heavy smear-job on President Trump and his cronies (much of it richly deserved...the man's demagoguery and autocratic tendencies are frightening), but for this to turn into "let's find a way to define virtually everything the Republicans are and do as fascist politics" was massively disappointing. The absurdly biased portrayal of all things conservative and constant hymns of praise to all things and all people left-wing buried some good historical research and valid parallels under an avalanche of partisanism.

If you want a more historical, less partisan view of the rise of fascist politics, I would highly recommend Darkness Over Germany by E. Amy Buller (Review Here). It was written during World War II (based on interviews with Germans before WWII), so you will have to draw your own contemporary parallels...but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

[Oct 08, 2018] Red Hat RHCSA-RHCE 7 Cert Guide Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 (EX200 and EX300) (Certification Guide) Sander van Vugt

Oct 08, 2018 | www.amazon.com
5.0 out of 5 stars

By kievite on October 8, 2018

This is a better primary book for self-study then Michael Jang and Alessandro Orsaria

This book is a better primary book for self-study then Michael Jang and Alessandro Orsaria's book. The material is more logically organized and explained and is easier to follow. The author provides a few valuable tips, which I did not find in any other book.

RHEL 7 looks like a different flavor of Linux, not a continuation of RHEL 6 in many respects, and first of all due to addition of systemd and replacement of many previously used daemons (NTP daemon, firewall daemon, etc) as well as inclusion into the exam new topics such as built-in virtualization capabilities.

That means that the amount of material in RHEL 7 exam is much larger than in RHEL 6 exam and different topics are stressed (systemd, virtual machines, more complex networking staff including setting up kickstart, etc.). Michael Jang book is an adaptation of RHEL 6 book. This book is written for RHEL 7 from the ground up, and this is an important advantage.

As for which book to use, either-or is a naïve approach. You need to use both, especially, if the exam is paid from your own pocket, as a failure will cost you $400. Just don't take the failure too seriously -- the table is stacked against self-study folk like you -- and the second time you will do much better.

I just recommend you to use this one as the primary book. You should use Jang book too, as some information in it is missing in this book but, for example, I like better how such an important topic as how to recover root password is explained in this book.

I like his recommendation to use CentOS instead od RHEL for the preparation for the exam. This is a reasonable approach although there are some low-cost RHEL subscriptions as well. Using a plain vanilla RHEL without subscription makes the installation of software difficult as you do not have access to repositories. This is an important plus of this book.

I also noticed the attention to details that can be acquired only by actually working of RHEL for years, not just writing books -- for example the author mentions -A and -B options in grep, while Jang does not. Unfortunately, the differences between grep and egrep and when you need to use egrep (or grep -E) are not explained well in both books.

There are some reviews which concentrate on typos (yes, for example, the option -E typeset as -e in some examples) but this is a pretty naïve criteria to judge the book on such a complex topic. Of course, there will be multiple typos, but fixing them is a part of training and they do not diminish the value of the book, as those readers who can't fix are not ready to take the exam anyway. And if the person who supposedly passed RHEL 6 exam complains about such trivial staff, there is something fishy if his/her approach to the topic.

Generally breaking the configuration and then fixing it should be an important part of training and this book at least gives some hints of how to deal with booting problems (which are multiplied in RHEL 7 due to systemd craziness)

More important is an implicit level of the author who writes the book. A4nd my impression is that the level of Sander van Vugt is higher.

Red Hat exam stresses many Red Hat specific topics and as such taking it plunges you into priorities of Red Hat that were unknown to you. You can expect that some of those priorities/topics are peripheral to that you are doing at your job, and you will be taken by surprise the first time you take the exam, even if you deligently stidied the book and did all exercises. In this sense, it is better to pay for exam twice then to attend more expensive "Fast track" course, if you are paying money from your own pocket.

There are a lot of posts on the Internet about how easy is to pass this exam -- I do not trust them. While all materials are entry level and the resulting qualification is also entry level the mere amount of material is overwhelming and presents substantial difficulties even for people who administer RHEL and/or CentOS/Oracle Linux/Academic linux for many years.

[Sep 21, 2018] Bannon comes off surprisingly well in this book. I suspect he is a source for much of the info.

Sep 21, 2018 | www.amazon.com

3.0 out of 5 stars

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Fear: Trump in the White House

w.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R26ONK8S0HS7J2/ref=cm_cr_getr_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B075RV48W3">

By Jason on September 19, 2018
Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.

First, let me say I voted for Trump as a "Disrupter" and to that end he has exceeded expectations.

The book starts out great through the first 5 or 6 chapters, but then becomes a bit convoluted. The bottom line of the book and reality is that Trump is surrounded by apprentice scoundrels, and that he is the boss scoundrel.

He demands loyalty but gives none. As a Former Marine I would not follow him into battle; I would never have the opportunity because he and his sons would never go into harm's way.

The best of the book was the hinted forthcoming bombshells, that never exploded. Woodward dropped the ball on this one, and as an author myself, it's nice to see even the big boys, Simon & Schuster, have editing issues.

Jay Fitzpatrick author of "The Patsy".

[Sep 16, 2018] Essentially, this book is just Michael Wolfe or Omarosa's stories, only drier and with more footnotes

Notable quotes:
"... Rather than being a revelatory, shocking look behind the curtain of an administration run by the single dumbest man to ever hold his office, the book just confirms the stories we've already heard, mixing in additional commentary from people in or close to the White House, mostly former employees who clearly still agree with Trump's agenda, even if they could no longer stand the man himself. ..."
"... Woodward presents anecdotes from these individuals--people like Sen. Lindsay Graham, a renown proponent of endless wars in the Middle East, and Steve Bannon, former Chief Strategist, an out-and-proud xenophobe and fascist--without commentary or context, which has the odd effect of presenting these people only in contrast and comparison to Trump himself. ..."
Sep 16, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Edward Novak on September 15, 2018

A frustratingly neutral collection of accounts from morally questionable people.

Trump is really, really bad at being President. This isn't news to anyone who has been following the leaks, rumors, announcements, policies, and tweets coming out of the White House for the last nineteen months.

Rather than being a revelatory, shocking look behind the curtain of an administration run by the single dumbest man to ever hold his office, the book just confirms the stories we've already heard, mixing in additional commentary from people in or close to the White House, mostly former employees who clearly still agree with Trump's agenda, even if they could no longer stand the man himself.

Woodward presents anecdotes from these individuals--people like Sen. Lindsay Graham, a renown proponent of endless wars in the Middle East, and Steve Bannon, former Chief Strategist, an out-and-proud xenophobe and fascist--without commentary or context, which has the odd effect of presenting these people only in contrast and comparison to Trump himself.

One unfamiliar with Bannon, for example, could come away from the book thinking that he was a fairly reasonable person (rather than a racist, white nationalist) because he is only ever shown as a foil to the ongoing circus of incompetence that is the Trump administration.

This is Woodward's style, of course; he presents himself as an almost entirely neutral presence, merely transcribing the things he learned, but when discussing such dangerous and reprehensible people, a paragraph here and there dedicated to reminding readers what, exactly, these people claim to believe would have been appreciated additional context.

Essentially, this book is just Michael Wolfe or Omarosa's stories, only drier and with more footnotes.

[Sep 14, 2018] The book Journalists for Hire How the CIA Buys the News Dr. Udo Ulfkotte was "privished"

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Anyone who claims there are no conspiracies, that there are no behind-the-scenes efforts by powerful people to suppress information that would expose their efforts at global domination, is full of crap. ..."
"... How many CIA-paid journalists do you have on staff at the Washington Post? ..."
"... The author who was a deputy editor of the Frankfurter Allgemeine and worked there for 17 years turns whistleblower and spills the beans on the corruption of German media by US lobby agencies which have CIA backing. ..."
"... The news is always given a pro American slant and journalists can look forward to rewards for their efforts. Should they not collude then their career is over. Corrupted German journalists are named and shamed. The EU is also revealed to be equally corrupt . ..."
"... German journalists assigned to EU reporting have to sign a document stating that they will never write anything negative about the EU. The level of manipulation by the EU is also frightening. ..."
"... This situation reeks of Stasi or Asian plutocratic realms. We want our freedom back! What are you people (including colluding Amazon) trying to cover up? Shame on you! ..."
"... The collussion of corporate media and Western intelligence is a taboo subject one must surmise. It suggests that our power structure realizes it has a rather fragile hold on the popular mind when the CIA morphs into the former KGB to simply suppress and disappear unacceptable reporting. ..."
"... I would suggest that the absolute silence by MSM about this book and its censorship validates the authors contentions that much of MSM reporting is right out of the Western intelligence agencies and has nothing whatsoever to do with reality on the ground. ..."
Sep 14, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Steven Yates 5.0 out of 5 stars August 7, 2017 Format: Hardcover

This book was "privished"

No, I haven't read the book, because it is priced completely out of my reach. I am giving it five stars anyway because of what I've read *about* it, as I've followed its author's saga -- the blackout by German media of the original German edition Gekaufte Journalisten (Bought Journalists) for a couple of years now, raids by German police on the author's house, his noting how he feared for his life, and his finally being found dead on January 13 of this year "from a heart attack" (he was only 56, and because it is possible to kill someone in ways that look like a heart attack, some people believe he was murdered).

The fate of a whistleblower against one of the world's most powerful organizations in a controlled society being passed off as a democracy?

Two things are abundantly clear:

(1) The English translation of this book has been "privished." There are a couple of good recent discussions of what it means to "privish" a book, but Amazon will not allow me to link to them. So let's just say: the purpose of "privishing" is make a book with an unwanted message disappear without a trace by limiting information about it, destroying its marketability by printing too few copies, and refusing reprint rights, so that the copies available are too expensive for readers of ordinary means (which is nearly all of us).

(2) Anyone who claims there are no conspiracies, that there are no behind-the-scenes efforts by powerful people to suppress information that would expose their efforts at global domination, is full of crap.

XXX, September 30, 2017 Format: Paperback
Sell this book so we can buy it!

Amazon, you are a tool of the State. This book is available in English at a market competitive price. Why do you refuse to make it available to your customers?

How many CIA-paid journalists do you have on staff at the Washington Post? To the reviewer who asked how much money the author will see from the exhorbotant price of the book, he won't see any because he is dead.

He died of hearth issues shortly after the publication of the book. He did have a history of heart ailments so I am not implying a sinister act. You can find an good interview with him on YouTube if they haven't removed it.

XXX, November 11, 2017 Format: Paperback
Dynamite

Have read this book in German but as far as I know it is no longer available in bookshops in Germany either. The author who was a deputy editor of the Frankfurter Allgemeine and worked there for 17 years turns whistleblower and spills the beans on the corruption of German media by US lobby agencies which have CIA backing.

The news is always given a pro American slant and journalists can look forward to rewards for their efforts. Should they not collude then their career is over. Corrupted German journalists are named and shamed. The EU is also revealed to be equally corrupt .

German journalists assigned to EU reporting have to sign a document stating that they will never write anything negative about the EU. The level of manipulation by the EU is also frightening. The author himself was part of the set up and even received a prestigious reward for his pro America efforts but eventually became disgusted by the system and his collusion in it.

I pre ordered the book last year in English on Amazon as my son wanted to read it but I kept receiving emails from Amazon changing publication dates and eventually they informed me that they were unable to access the book. There is no doubt that the book is dynamite and has been suppressed because of this.

XXX, July 31, 2017 Format: Hardcover
Tyranny in America Writ Large In A Super-Large Price

Somebody has set the price of this book -- available in English though it is -- so high as to make it unavailable. I wonder, if some rich or extremely extravagant person were to bye this book at the $1300 price it's offered at, would the author ever see a dime of that?

This situation reeks of Stasi or Asian plutocratic realms. We want our freedom back! What are you people (including colluding Amazon) trying to cover up? Shame on you!

XXX, August 16, 2017 Format: Paperback
Second book I've wanted that's been banned

Second book I've wanted that's been banned by Amazon. Shame on you, Mr. Bezos. Unfortunately for you, more people are waking up to this. The cracks are starting to show.

bossaboy on November 19, 2017
The suppression of the English language version of this book is censorship of the most Orwellian kind.

I have been awaiting the English version of this book for several years now, watching with interest while the publishing date was delayed multiple times. As a best seller in Germany one had to wonder why it would take years to translate the book to English unless there were forces working against publication. Well, low and behold it is finally set to publish in May 2017 when it again doesn't and finally disappears from sight. The obvious suppression of this book is censorship of the press and of course speaks volumes about Western "freedom of the press" as a fantasy.

The collussion of corporate media and Western intelligence is a taboo subject one must surmise. It suggests that our power structure realizes it has a rather fragile hold on the popular mind when the CIA morphs into the former KGB to simply suppress and disappear unacceptable reporting.

I would suggest that the absolute silence by MSM about this book and its censorship validates the authors contentions that much of MSM reporting is right out of the Western intelligence agencies and has nothing whatsoever to do with reality on the ground.

Somewhere in the great beyond Orwell is smiling and thinking "I told you so."

[Sep 12, 2018] Fear Trump in the White House

What is interesting that the first eight reviews were all written by neocons.
The book looks like an implicit promotion of Pence. Which is probably not what Dems want ;-).
Notable quotes:
"... I fell in love with Woodward's writing with "All the President's Men." It inspired me to work in journalism. But Woodward has lost his touch. His "reporting" feels second-hand and arm's length. Each Chapter in his Source Notes leads with this disclaimer: "The information in the chapter comes primarily from multiple deep background interviews and firsthand sources." We have no way of knowing what firsthand sources even means – an article he read in the New York Times whose author he's friends with? ..."
"... The review mentions biography of Mike Pence, "The Shadow President ..." by Michael D'Antonio and Peter Eisner . For former Harvard alumni this is an extremely naive review, that is completely devoid of understanding of political forces that are shaping the country and first of all the crisis of neoliberalism. ..."
"... Mike Pence, the "Shadow President" and Trump's hand picked successor, will from many indications become president in the months following the November 6 election. ..."
Sep 12, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Betsy Lee, September 12, 2018

Not much of a book

I went into this book thinking that it would confirm all of my deepest fears about Trump and give me more reasons to dislike him. At the end of the book, I had the distinct impression that Trump's presidency is not as bad as it is often portrayed.

Some of Trump's ideas are not so bad -- for example, the book spends a lot of time on Afghanistan. Trump has for a long time believed the war was a mistake, that there is no way to "win," and that it is a perpetual loss of our country's treasures.

The book spends a lot of time showing how Trump fought the "swamp" to come up with a strategy to get out -- and failed.

Of course, many other stories in the book confirmed my belief that he is a disaster for a president.

The book jumps around in time and topic a lot, making it difficult to follow. Kind of like Trump himself.

Melanie Gilbert, September 12, 2018

Deep Fear

My Kindle book loaded at 12:30 Tuesday morning , and I stayed up until 6:30 a.m. reading this fascinating and alarming story. The scariest part of this massive tome is the sheer hubris of everyone in President Trump's orbit including the author, famed Watergate reporter, Bob Woodward. They all think they are more presidential than the actual president, and that sense of entitlement and arrogance drives this tell-all narrative.

Even though I agree that Trump is mentally unfit to be Commander-in-Chief – and Woodward cites many troubling incidents that point to a memory-impaired leader – it feels as if Woodward operated under the theory of selection bias, finding sources who would confirm his thesis. I don't know what's scarier, a president who is off the rails, or a staff that helps keep him there while they are busy running the country the way they see fit (except when the crazy uncle escapes his handlers and spouts off on Twitter.)

Woodward, a veteran reporter, and the man (with Carl Bernstein) who broke the Nixon-era Watergate crime with a source the known only as "Deep Throat" falls for and magnifies their conceit. The real story isn't Trump, it's his unelected and unconstitutional enablers (senior staff, family, media, lobbyists, rogue governments) who act like they are running a shadow government (surreptitiously taking papers off his desk, screening his briefing materials.) Woodward's story will feed Trump's main argument that there's a Deep State at work in this country.

I fell in love with Woodward's writing with "All the President's Men." It inspired me to work in journalism. But Woodward has lost his touch. His "reporting" feels second-hand and arm's length. Each Chapter in his Source Notes leads with this disclaimer: "The information in the chapter comes primarily from multiple deep background interviews and firsthand sources." We have no way of knowing what firsthand sources even means – an article he read in the New York Times whose author he's friends with?

This book is beneath Woodward's skill and reputation. You can basically retrieve the same message in "Unhinged" a much briefer and far more readable format - though no less disturbing account - of working in the Trump White House.

gerald t. slevin on September 11, 2018

NOTES: The review mentions biography of Mike Pence, "The Shadow President ..." by Michael D'Antonio and Peter Eisner . For former Harvard alumni this is an extremely naive review, that is completely devoid of understanding of political forces that are shaping the country and first of all the crisis of neoliberalism.

Donald Trump's Demotion & Mike Pence's Promotion! When and How?

Bob Woodward has done it again. "Fear" is a remarkable and important book, especially because it is so current and revealing and is vouched for by this very credible reporter. Woodward's book confirms in much greater detail many earlier and less credible reports, plus many others --- establishing clearly that Donald Trump is not fit to be the US president --- politically, intellectually, psychologically or morally. Moreover, his erratic behavior is a threat to US national security, as Woodward's book and recent TV interviews make very clear. Of course, most of the media attention on this book has been and will continue to be on Woodward's many shocking scoops. The most important question, however, that the book raises, for me at least, is "When and how will Trump's reckless rule be retired?"

Mike Pence, the "Shadow President" and Trump's hand picked successor, will from many indications become president in the months following the November 6 election. That seems to be a high probability, even without Special Counsel Robert Mueller's likely devastating report on the Russian conspiracy to influence illegally the 2016 presidential elections and the related cover up obstructing Mueller's investigation of this conspiracy . The only unknown now is when and how Trump goes--- by the impeachment process or by simple resignation like Nixon did.

We can expect Pence will then give Trump a full pardon, after Trump fully pardons some family members and close associates. Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort need not hold their breath waiting for a pardon. Trump, some of his family members and close associates will, of course, still be at risk of state law prosecutions, expecially in NY.

Trump has long used fear to exercise power over others. Fear, as Machiavelli strongly recommended five centuries ago to a corrupt pope's nephew, is preferable to and more effective than kindness. Paradoxically, Trump's own deep personal fear of failure still drives him desperately--- any means are justified to reach Trump's top goals of personal profit and glory forever. Any means is OK, including even orphaning innocent infants at the Mexican border, while other immigrants are welcomed to work temporarily at Mar-a-Lago. Woodward's book just reinforces these observations many have already made.

It is amazing to me that many of the so-called "adults in the room" cannot see that Trump is misbehaving as he always did. He cannot be changed, certainly not now and not by the many handlers selected seemingly because Trump can dominate them. That said, Trump still has more than two years remaining on his term!

I have strong reactions to Woodward's many disturbing disclosures, as (1) a former Harvard Law assistant to Archibald Cox (prior to his being the unforgettable Watergate Prosecutor and nailing Nixon), (2) a former high school chum of Rudy Guiliani (now an unimpressive key Trump advisor), (3) a former law firm colleague of Bob Khuzami (now the impressive head of NYC federal investigations of Trump criminal matters) and (4) a father and grandfather.

... ... ...

At 75 years old, Woodward clearly had a purpose in this voluntary and prodigious effort to research and write this book--- to flush out the true Donald Trump and show the danger he poses for US national security. Woodward, a Navy veteran like John McCain before him, is also a patriot. To paraphrase Trump, Woodward shows vividly that Trump's behavior is "very sad and really disgusting".

The media will have a field day with some of the troubling Trump episodes Woodward reports. Many persons cited in the book will challenge some of his reports. To be expected and perhaps understandable, given Trump's fiery temper about those he thinks are in any way disloyal to him. The facts will nevertheless prevail, as they have mostly for Woodward's earlier books about the many presidents who immediately preceded Trump.

More important, however, than specific episodes, is what the confluence of these troubling episodes clearly shows --- Trump is clearly unfit to be president! The longer he remains, the greater the risk in our nuclear age for the US, and the world as well. It is well to recall the near catastrophe last January when a Hawaiian technician pressed the wrong button indicating a non-existent "imminent" North Korean missile attack, following Trump's reckless rhetoric about the real North Korean threat. This must have sent a real chill down the spines of the leaders of all nuclear nations, and many others as well.

Will Trump then finish his first term? Very doubtful, it appears.

If the Democrats win a House majority in less than two months, prompt impeachment proceedings and numerous House investigations of Trump and his corrupt cronies appear to be inevitable. That dooms Trump.

Even if the Democrats remain the minority, impeachment is still likely to occur in my view as Mueller's efforts continue --- they cannot be stopped now. They will continue even if Mueller is fired as they continued after Nixon fired Archibald Cox. Moreover, there is a reasonable prospect that one or more of Trump's children and/or in-laws could soon be indicted.

Trump will after November be an increasingly unnecessary liability for Republicans, the GOP. Only 32% of voters currently polled even think Trump is honest. He has already done what the GOP and its billionaire backers like the Kochs and Devoses most wanted --- a major tax cut for the wealthiest, reckless deregulation, insuring a right wing judiciary majority, reducing drastically Federal revenues needed to fund the social safety net, et al.

Moreover, it seems unlikely that Trump will be able to handle the steadily growing pressure he faces. He may even elect to resign as Nixon did. Pence can finish up to the cheers of the Kochs, Devoses, et al.

For a fuller picture of what to expect from Pence when Trump "retires", please see the new comprehensive, readable and detailed biography of Mike Pence, "The Shadow President ..." by Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter, Michael D'Antonio, and by his co-author, Peter Eisner. This book's findings dovetail nicely with the findings in "Fear".

Unlike Woodward, D'Antonio even got, for his recent excellent Trump biography, hours of direct interviews of Trump before the 2016 elections, until Trump abruptly ended the interviews apparently concerned that D'Antonio was writing a truthful book based on facts, not on Trump's limitless lies and specious spin. We now know from this important book on Pence why it is very unlikely that Pence will ever be able to clean up Donald Trump's mess. We also can understand much better why Trump recently predicted that stock markets would crash if he were to be impeached. Not too great an endorsement of his successor, Pence, by a reckless and incompetent boss who has now witnessed up close for almost two years the non-stop cheerleading of the "Shadow President", Mike Pence.

Pence successfully strived during the last two years behind the scenes, with Trump's apparent blessings, to advance his repressive and regressive fundamentalist Christian remaking of American society, including through administration and judicial right-wing appointments and adoption of fundamentalist social policies, like curtailing legal abortions and even limiting contraception access. Significantly, these policies mostly benefit in the end the already "uberrich" top 0.01% of Americans at the expense of the 99.99 % less fortunate--- how Christian is that?

Trump's and Pence's unfair tax cuts and excessive deregulation can readily be fixed by Democrats when they regain power. But Trump and Pence have already changed the Federal judiciary with their many right wing judges appointed for life. That is not so easily fixed.

This is scary stuff for a religiously diverse nation with constitutional safeguards of religious freedom that were extremely important for good reason to our Founding Fathers. They rejected a theocracy as well as a monarchy !

By providing a brisk and insightful history of Pence's personal and political journey, we are able with this book to see behind Pence's perpetual smile and smooth style. It is not a very pretty picture.

All, even Trump supporters, should read this book to understand better the threat Pence poses even for Trump. After the midterm elections, the "uberrich" will know they can fulfill all their remaining political and economic dreams through Pence, without having to put up any longer with Trump's erratic and at times almost bizarre policies and behavior. By mid-November, Trump will need Pence more than Pence will need Trump.

It is not surprising the Omarosa recently observed on Chris Matthews' "Hardball" show that she thinks one of Pence's staff was the author of the unprecedented and anonymous New York times Op Ed column that further undercuts Trump and re-inforces some of Woodward's revelations. As to be expected, Pence offers to swear under oath that HE did not write the Op Ed column, which denial leaves room that one of his staffers wrote it, no?

"Fear" and "The Shadow Presidency" raise a very ironic possibility in my mind. If Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report, after the midterm elections in November, indicates that Trump and Pence were both implicated in Russian election conspiracy and/or in the subsequent cover-up, both of them could be removed from office or worse by a Congress forced by public outrage to act on Mueller's report. Even Nixon's base abandoned him once the true facts were widely known.

Pence often played a key role in the 2016 campaign, as well as during the two years since. Who knows what he said and did in secret? Who knows if Pence was recorded by Amarosa, an evangelical pastor, or Michael Cohen, a "tell all" third rate lawyer or someone else at the White House, including possibly Trump himself. I suspect that by now, Mueller knows!

If that happens, Nancy Pelosi could succeed after next January to the presidency as Speaker of the House, third in line after the President and Vice President. So much then for the great Trump/Pence strategy.

The Pence book makes very clear why Pence is to be feared, perhaps even more than Trump. The "god" of Trump is Trump --- in that sense, he is obvious and usually predictable. Pence's "god" is much darker and more dangerous, as well as unpredictable, as this book has confirmed for me. It may be that a needy and greedy Trump is a safer bet than a surreptitious and smiling religious zealot, Pence.

Pence legitimated Trump with the important and united fundamentalist voter base, who voted by over 80% to elect Trump! Trump also won 52% of Catholics' votes, while only 46% of the national vote. Who will legitimate Pence? This book suggests "good" fundamentalists should now vote against Pence if they ever find their Christian moorings again!

Pence appears determined to advance a repressive and regressive fundamentalist evangelical theocracy, even though most Americans, including most Christians, have no interest in a theocracy, Christian or otherwise. Our Founding Fathers were well aware of the brutal post-Reformation religious wars that some of their not too distant relatives had fled Europe to avoid.

Interestingly, Pence was a Catholic altar boy and Trump attended for two years a Jesuit college, Fordham. And the current four male Supreme Court conservative Catholic Justices and the newly nominated likely to be Justice, Brett Kavanagh, were also raised Catholic. Four of these five also went to Catholic schools --- Clarence Thomas to Jesuit Holy Cross College, Neil Gorsuch and Kavanagh to Jesuit Georgetown Prep and John Roberts to La Lumiere School. Samuel Alito was raised in a traditional Italian American Catholic family environment.

.... .... ...

[Aug 08, 2018] Zone23 is sort of a cross between 1984, Fahrenheit 451, and Brave New World, but with better, much funnier, dialogue. It also introduces the corporate-state-hybrid as a menacing enemy.

Aug 08, 2018 | www.unz.com

BillDakota , Next New Comment August 8, 2018 at 6:28 am GMT

Zone 23 was one of the best novels I've ever read. I'm a big reader, and Zone 23 stands out as one of the better fiction books in my lifetime. It is sort of a cross between 1984, Fahrenheit 451, and Brave New World, but with better, much funnier, dialogue. It also introduces the corporate-state-hybrid as a menacing enemy.

[Aug 08, 2018] Bill Clinton's Rules of Engagement on the already identified Enemies of the People

Notable quotes:
"... please recall Bill Clinton's rules of engagement as applied to the Serbs in 1999, wherein he decided that the political leaders, bureaucratic support structure, media infrastructure and intellectual underpinnings of his enemies' war effort were legitimate targets of war. ..."
Aug 08, 2018 | www.unz.com

Anonymous [207] Disclaimer , Next New Comment August 8, 2018 at 7:08 am GMT

After observing Skynet's coordinated attack on Alex Jone's Infowars yesterday, we can hardly wait to implement Bill Clinton's Rules of Engagement on the already identified Enemies of the People, and eagerly await the God-Emperor's word.

Second, please recall Bill Clinton's rules of engagement as applied to the Serbs in 1999, wherein he decided that the political leaders, bureaucratic support structure, media infrastructure and intellectual underpinnings of his enemies' war effort were legitimate targets of war.

No one else may have been paying attention to the unintended consequences of that, but many folks on our side of the present divide were. Food for thought. A reminder about the shape of the battlefield (legal and otherwise) and Bill Clinton's Rules of Engagement.

http://sipseystreetirregulars.blogspot.com/2010/03/man-bites-dog-dogs-get-pissed-off.html

[Aug 07, 2018] Ministries of Nineteen Eighty-Four

Aug 07, 2018 | en.wikipedia.org

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to navigation Jump to search "Ministry of Love" redirects here. For other uses, see Ministry of Love (disambiguation) .

The Ministries of Love , Peace , Plenty , and Truth are ministries in George Orwell 's futuristic dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four , set in Oceania . [1] Despite the name, no actual "ministers" are mentioned in the book, and all public attention is focused on the idealized figurehead Big Brother .

The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, the Ministry of Truth with lies, the Ministry of Love with torture and the Ministry of Plenty with starvation. These contradictions are not accidental, nor do they result from ordinary hypocrisy: they are deliberate exercises in doublethink .

--   Part II, Chapter IX
Contents Ministry of Love [ edit ]

The Ministry of Love ( Newspeak : Miniluv ) serves as Oceania's interior ministry . It enforces loyalty to Big Brother through fear, buttressed through a massive apparatus of security and repression, as well as systematic brainwashing . The Ministry of Love building has no windows and is surrounded by barbed wire entanglements, steel doors, hidden machine-gun nests , and guards armed with "jointed truncheons ". Referred to as "the place where there is no darkness", its interior lights are never turned off. It is arguably the most powerful ministry, controlling the will of the population. The Thought Police are a part of Miniluv.

The Ministry of Love, like the other ministries, is misnamed, since it is largely responsible for the practice and infliction of misery, fear, suffering and torture . In a sense, however, the name is apt, since its ultimate purpose is to instill love of Big Brother -- the only form of love permitted in Oceania -- in the minds of thoughtcriminals as part of the process of reverting them to orthodox thought. This is typical of the language of Newspeak , in which words and names frequently contain both an idea and its opposite; the orthodox party member is nonetheless able to resolve these contradictions through the disciplined use of doublethink .

Room 101 [ edit ] "Room 101" redirects here. For other uses, see Room 101 (disambiguation) .

Room 101 , introduced in the climax of the novel, is the basement torture chamber in the Ministry of Love, in which the Party attempts to subject a prisoner to his or her own worst nightmare , fear or phobia , with the object of breaking down their resistance.

You asked me once, what was in Room 101. I told you that you knew the answer already. Everyone knows it. The thing that is in Room 101 is the worst thing in the world.

--   O'Brien , Part III, Chapter V

Such is the purported omniscience of the state in the society of Nineteen Eighty-Four that even a citizen's nightmares are known to the Party. The nightmare, and therefore the threatened punishment, of the protagonist Winston Smith is to be attacked by rats . This is manifested in Room 101 by confronting Smith with a wire cage that contains two large rats. The front of the cage is shaped so that it can fit over a person's face. A trap-door is then opened, allowing the rats to devour the victim's face. This cage is fitted over Smith's face, but he saves himself by begging the authorities to let his lover, Julia , suffer this torture instead of him. The threatened torture, and what Winston does to escape it, breaks his last promise to himself and to Julia: never to betray her. The book suggests that Julia is likewise subjected to her own worst fear (although it is not revealed what that fear is), and when she and Winston later meet in a park, he notices a scar on her forehead. The intent of threatening Winston with the rats was to force him into betraying the only person he loved and therefore to break his spirit.

Orwell named Room 101 after a conference room at Broadcasting House where he used to sit through tedious meetings. [2] When the original room 101 at the BBC was due to be demolished, a plaster cast of it was made by artist Rachel Whiteread and displayed in the cast courts of the Victoria and Albert Museum from November 2003 until June 2004. [3] [4]

Ministry of Peace [ edit ]

The Ministry of Peace ( Newspeak : Minipax ) serves as the war ministry of Oceania's government, and is in charge of the armed forces , mostly the navy and army . The Ministry of Peace may be the most vital organ of Oceania, seeing as the nation is supposedly at an ongoing genocidal war with either Eurasia or Eastasia and requires the right amount of force not to win the war, but keep it in a state of equilibrium.

As explained in Emmanuel Goldstein 's book, The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism , the Ministry of Peace revolves around the principle of perpetual war . Perpetual war uses up all surplus resources, keeping most citizens in lives of constant hardship – and thus preventing them from learning enough to comprehend the true nature of their society. Perpetual warfare also "helps preserve the special mental atmosphere that a hierarchical society needs." Since that means the balance of the country rests in the war, the Ministry of Peace is in charge of fighting the war (mostly centered around Africa and India), but making sure to never tip the scales, in case the war should become one-sided. Oceanic telescreens usually broadcast news reports about how Oceania is continually winning every battle it fights, though these reports have little to no credibility.

As with all the other Nineteen Eighty-Four ministries, the Ministry of Peace is named the exact opposite of what it does, since the Ministry of Peace is in charge of maintaining a state of war. The meaning of peace has been equated with the meaning of war in the slogan of the party, "War is Peace". Like the names of other ministries, it also has a literal application. Perpetual war is what keeps the "peace" (the status quo) in Oceania and the balance of power in the world.

Ministry of Plenty [ edit ]

The Ministry of Plenty ( Newspeak : Miniplenty ) is in control of Oceania's planned economy . It oversees rationing of food , supplies , and goods . As told in Goldstein's book, the economy of Oceania is very important, and it's necessary to have the public continually create useless and synthetic supplies or weapons for use in the war, while they have no access to the means of production . This is the central theme of Oceania's idea that a poor, ignorant populace is easier to rule over than a wealthy, well-informed one. Telescreens often make reports on how Big Brother has been able to increase economic production, even when production has actually gone down (see § Ministry of Truth ).

The Ministry hands out statistics which are "nonsense". When Winston is adjusting some Ministry of Plenty's figures, he explains this:

But actually, he thought as he readjusted the Ministry of Plenty's figures, it was not even forgery. It was merely the substitution of one piece of nonsense for another. Most of the material that you were dealing with had no connection with anything in the real world, not even the kind of connection that is contained in a direct lie. Statistics were just as much a fantasy in their original version as in their rectified version. A great deal of time you were expected to make them up out of your head.

Like the other ministries, the Ministry of Plenty seems to be entirely misnamed, since it is, in fact, responsible for maintaining a state of perpetual poverty , scarcity and financial shortages. However, the name is also apt, because, along with the Ministry of Truth, the Ministry of Plenty's other purpose is to convince the populace that they are living in a state of perpetual prosperity. Orwell made a similar reference to the Ministry of Plenty in his allegorical work Animal Farm when, in the midst of a blight upon the farm, Napoleon the pig orders the silo to be filled with sand, then to place a thin sprinkling of grain on top, which fools human visitors into being dazzled about Napoleon's boasting of the farm's superior economy.

A department of the Ministry of Plenty is charged with organizing state lotteries . These are very popular among the proles, who buy tickets and hope to win the big prizes – a completely vain hope as the big prizes are in fact not awarded at all, the Ministry of Truth participating in the scam and publishing every week the names of non-existent big winners.

In the Michael Radford film adaptation , the ministry is renamed the Ministry of Production, or MiniProd.

Ministry of Truth [ edit ] Senate House, London , where Orwell's wife worked at the Ministry of Information , was his model for the Ministry of Truth

The Ministry of Truth ( Newspeak : Minitrue ) is the ministry of propaganda . As with the other ministries in the novel, the name Ministry of Truth is a misnomer because in reality it serves the opposite: it is responsible for any necessary falsification of historical events.

As well as administering truth, the ministry spreads a new language amongst the populace called Newspeak , in which, for example, "truth" is understood to mean statements like 2 + 2 = 5 when the situation warrants. In keeping with the concept of doublethink, the ministry is thus aptly named in that it creates/manufactures "truth" in the Newspeak sense of the word. The book describes the doctoring of historical records to show a government-approved version of events.

Description [ edit ]

Winston Smith , the main character of Nineteen Eighty-Four , works at the Ministry of Truth. [5] It is an enormous pyramidal structure of glittering white concrete rising 300 metres (980 ft) into the air, containing over 3000 rooms above ground. On the outside wall are the three slogans of the Party: "WAR IS PEACE," "FREEDOM IS SLAVERY," "IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH." There is also a large part underground, probably containing huge incinerators where documents are destroyed after they are put down memory holes . For his description, Orwell was inspired by the Senate House at the University of London . [6]

Role in information [ edit ]

The Ministry of Truth is involved with news media, entertainment, the fine arts and educational books. Its purpose is to rewrite history to change the facts to fit Party doctrine for propaganda effect. For example, if Big Brother makes a prediction that turns out to be wrong, the employees of the Ministry of Truth correct the record to make it accurate. This is the "how" of the Ministry of Truth's existence. Within the novel, Orwell elaborates that the deeper reason for its existence, the "why", is to maintain the illusion that the Party is absolute. It cannot ever seem to change its mind (if, for instance, they perform one of their constant changes regarding enemies during war) or make a mistake (firing an official or making a grossly misjudged supply prediction), for that would imply weakness and to maintain power the Party must seem eternally right and strong.

Minitrue plays a role as the news media by changing history, and changing the words in articles about events current and past, so that Big Brother and his government are always seen in a good light and can never do any wrong. The content is more propaganda than actual news.

Departments [ edit ]

The following are the sections or departments of the ministry mentioned in the text:

Cultural impact [ edit ]

The novel's popularity has resulted in the term "Room 101" being used to represent a place where unpleasant things are done.

In fiction [ edit ]

In The Ricky Gervais Show , Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant play a game called "Room 102", based on the concept of "Room 101", in which Karl Pilkington has to decide what things he dislikes enough to put in Room 102. This would result, according to their game, in these things being erased from existence. [ citation needed ]

The name "Ministry of Peace", and shorthand "Minipax", appear in the US science fiction TV series Babylon 5 . The Ministry of Peace first appears in the episode " In the Shadow of Z'ha'dum ". It is a sinister organisation, created to instill loyalty to the government of Earth and root out dissent; one of its senior staff is a "Mr Welles". In its role it more closely resembles the novel's § Ministry of Love (which is responsible for the Thought Police and the interrogation of dissidents) than it does the Ministry of Peace depicted in Nineteen Eighty-Four . [ citation needed ]

In The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier , set in Britain after the fall of the Big Brother government , the Ministry of Love is actually MI5 and its physical location is given as the MI6 headquarters at Vauxhall Cross , noted by a young spy named Jimmy (a thinly veiled James Bond ). [ citation needed ]

In the 2011 Doctor Who episode " The God Complex ", The Doctor and his companions find themselves in a hotel full of their own personal Room 101s, each with their greatest fear in it. [8]

One sketch on That Mitchell and Webb Sound involved the hapless residents of room 102, the telescreen repair centre, who could not ignore the things happening in the next room. [ citation needed ]

In the 2002 game The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind there is a floating rock known as "The Ministry of Truth".

References [ edit ]
  1. Jump up ^ Orwell, George (1949). Nineteen Eighty-Four . Secker and Warburg. ISBN 0-452-28423-6 .
  2. Jump up ^ "The Real Room 101" . BBC. Archived from the original on 5 January 2007.
    Meyers, Jeffery. Orwell: Wintry Conscience of a Generation . W.W.Norton. 2000. ISBN 0-393-32263-7 , p. 214.
  3. Jump up ^ "BBC Broadcasting House – Public Art Programme 2002–2008" . Archived from the original on 2009-05-19 . Retrieved 2009-05-18 .
  4. Jump up ^ Brooks, Richard (23 March 2003). "Orwell's room 101 to be work of art" . The Sunday Times . London . Retrieved 2009-05-18 .
  5. Jump up ^ "Literature Network, George Orwell, 1984, Summary Pt. 1 Chp. 4" . Retrieved 2008-08-27 .
  6. Jump up ^ Stansky, Peter (1994). London's Burning . Stanford: Stanford University Press. pp. 85–86. ISBN 0-8047-2340-0 .
    Tames, Richard (2006). London . Oxford Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press. p. 126. ISBN 0-19-530953-7 .
    Humphreys, Rob (2003). The Rough Guide to London . Rough Guides Limited. p. 146. ISBN 1-84353-093-7 .
    "Orwell Today, Ministry of Truth" . Retrieved 2008-08-27 .
  7. Jump up ^ Byrnes, Sholto; Tonkin, Boyd (18 June 2004). "Anna Funder: Inside the real Room 101" . The Independent . London . Retrieved 2008-02-02 . (Profile of Funder and her book, Stasiland )
  8. Jump up ^ Risely, Matt (18 September 2011). "Doctor Who: "The God Complex" Review" . IGN . Retrieved 31 March 2012 .

[Aug 07, 2018] Ministry of Plenty

Aug 07, 2018 | en.wikipedia.org

The Ministry of Plenty ( Newspeak : Miniplenty ) is in control of Oceania's planned economy . It oversees rationing of food , supplies , and goods . As told in Goldstein's book, the economy of Oceania is very important, and it's necessary to have the public continually create useless and synthetic supplies or weapons for use in the war, while they have no access to the means of production . This is the central theme of Oceania's idea that a poor, ignorant populace is easier to rule over than a wealthy, well-informed one. Telescreens often make reports on how Big Brother has been able to increase economic production, even when production has actually gone down (see § Ministry of Truth ).

The Ministry hands out statistics which are "nonsense". When Winston is adjusting some Ministry of Plenty's figures, he explains this:

But actually, he thought as he readjusted the Ministry of Plenty's figures, it was not even forgery. It was merely the substitution of one piece of nonsense for another. Most of the material that you were dealing with had no connection with anything in the real world, not even the kind of connection that is contained in a direct lie. Statistics were just as much a fantasy in their original version as in their rectified version. A great deal of time you were expected to make them up out of your head.

Like the other ministries, the Ministry of Plenty seems to be entirely misnamed, since it is, in fact, responsible for maintaining a state of perpetual poverty , scarcity and financial shortages. However, the name is also apt, because, along with the Ministry of Truth, the Ministry of Plenty's other purpose is to convince the populace that they are living in a state of perpetual prosperity. Orwell made a similar reference to the Ministry of Plenty in his allegorical work Animal Farm when, in the midst of a blight upon the farm, Napoleon the pig orders the silo to be filled with sand, then to place a thin sprinkling of grain on top, which fools human visitors into being dazzled about Napoleon's boasting of the farm's superior economy.

A department of the Ministry of Plenty is charged with organizing state lotteries . These are very popular among the proles, who buy tickets and hope to win the big prizes – a completely vain hope as the big prizes are in fact not awarded at all, the Ministry of Truth participating in the scam and publishing every week the names of non-existent big winners.

In the Michael Radford film adaptation , the ministry is renamed the Ministry of Production, or MiniProd.

[Aug 02, 2018] This is a large book, embracing a vast amount of research. Conclusion is that accommodation with Putin will be very difficult

Events in Ukraine after EuroMaidan are notoriously difficult to understand.
The book is fairly recent and as such might be a useful introduction for a Western reader who is interested in Ukrainian event, but the material should be taken with a grain of salt. The author is way too simplistic and his views on geopolitical problems are incorrect. The idea that " Putin's Munich speech as a declaration of war" is nonsense. Also most of the readers probably know State Department talking points and can recognize them in the text.
. In some areas the author is clearly incompetent as the quote "In 2016, France blocked 24,000 cyber attacks targeting its military. Ukraine experienced 24, 000 cyber attacks in only the last two months of 2016" suggests.
The author views of Russia are typical of the US-based Ukrainian diaspora. As it is pretty much radicalized, it can be argued that it brings to Ukraine more harm then good. In short his views on Russia can be defined as cocktail of a 40% proof Russophobia with pure Neoconservatism. So while author analysis of "Post-Maydan" Ukrainian elite has its value, his view on Russia should probably be discarded.
For those who also bough McFaul book it is interesting to see correlation in views as well as differences (especially McFaul laments from page 429 to the end of the book) . McFaul was the co-architect of the 2011-2012 color revolution in Russia; and as an Ambassador became ostracized by Russian and later removed by Obama. For his role in "White color revolution of 2012" McFaul was put on the travel ban list by Russians and is not allowed to travel to the country. Both represent neoconservative stance on the events, but there are some subtle and rather interesting differences ;-)
Some Amazon reviews as one reproduced below are actually as valuable as the book itself and can serve as a valuable addition.
Aug 02, 2018 | www.amazon.com
5.0 out of 5 stars Graham H. Seibert TOP 500 REVIEWER on March 17, 2017
This is a large book, embracing a vast amount of research. Conclusion is that accommodation with Putin will be very difficult.

This is a large book, embracing a vast amount of research. Kuzio provides the conclusion to the book as the conclusion to his introduction. It is somber, but realistic:

"There cannot be a conclusion to the book because the Donbas is an unresolved conflict that is on-going. There will be no closure of the Ukraine-Russia crisis as long as Putin is Russian president which will be as long as he remains alive. To fully implement the Minsk-2 Accords would mean jettisoning the DNR-LNR which Putin will not do and therefore, a political resolution to the Donbas conflict is difficult to envisage."

Having lived in Kyiv for ten years, I was witness to the latter chapters of the drama that Kuzio describes. His account jibes with what I witnessed, and provides a coherent explanation of the events as they unfolded. The animus against Yanukovych was universal. His blatant theft was visible to all. Every merchant I dealt with lived in fear of his tax police. We saw, or more often read accounts about, the depredations of the titushki on a daily basis.

One of my key questions in 2014 was whether it might have been better to endure Yanukovych for another couple of years, until the elections. The Ukrainian people answered for me -- they had had enough. It wasn't exactly a coup, because the opposition was not well organized and because Yanukovych fled before he could be overthrown. But the will of the people was clear. He had to go. Kuzio makes a strong case that if it had not happened then, Yanukovych might have had time to secure his dictatorship in such a way that he could not be dislodged through democratic means.

Kuzio provides the most thorough and accurate description of the language situation I have ever read. A fact he often repeats is that a majority of the soldiers fighting against the Russians are themselves Russian speakers. Putin's claim that he is protecting a persecuted linguistic minority is absolute nonsense. Kuzio makes the very useful analogy between the use of English in Ireland and that of Russian in Ukraine. It is a matter of history and convenience.

Ukrainian is not a dialect of Russian. They are very distinct languages. Speaking Spanish, I was able to learn Portuguese quite easily. Speaking Russian has not enabled me to master Ukrainian. They have different alphabets and even different grammars. As a resident of Kyiv for 10 years I have not been forced to, and almost not been in a position to speak Ukrainian. Everybody I interact with is exactly as Kuzio describes – ardently Ukrainian, but nevertheless Russian speaking.

A question Kuzio does not raise is the utility of a language. For better or worse, Russian is a world language. There is a significant body of scientific literature, fiction and poetry written in Russian. It is, or was until recently, the lingua franca of the former USSR.

A lot of information about Kuzio himself is packed in the brief lead into his chapter entitled Anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism: "Ukraine is in the hands of homosexuals and Jewish oligarchs. Aleksandr Dugin"

Russian philosopher Dugin is one of Kuzio's major bête noire's. Kuzio's book makes it clear that Dugin is as much of an activist as he is a philosopher. Dugin seems to have a hand in most things anti-Ukrainian. As a philosopher he is nothing – his book The Fourth Political Theory is the subject of the most savage pan I have ever written. Nonetheless, he is taken seriously by the resurgent Russian nationalists and Putin himself.

Dugin's claim that Ukraine is in the hands of homosexuals is absurd. Homosexuals are tolerated here, but they are discrete. Most Ukrainians, though they have no love whatsoever for Russia, are largely in sympathy with Russia's stand against the flaunting of homosexuality. The college-educated twentysomethings whom I know seem unaware that they even know homosexuals, though it appears to this San Franciscan that some people in our circles must be gay.

The claim that Ukraine is in the hand of Jewish oligarchs is quite another matter. Kuzio gives quite rational explanations for anti-Ukrainian, anti-Belarusian and anti-Russian sentiment, a great deal of which he manifests himself. He somehow looks at anti-Semitism as a phenomenon that is beyond explanation. I would contend that it should be regarded just as the other anti- concepts. Especially in the former USSR, where the Jews were regarded as a separate people in the same way as Ukrainians.

He writes about the forged Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Fraud or hoax might be a better word. Internet sources name the author as a certain Russian Professor S. Nilus writing in 1901. The attractiveness of the fraud is that it coincides quite neatly with widely held opinions about the Jews, many of which have some substance.

Going to substance, Kuzio mentions some of the major Jewish oligarchs, Kolomoisky and Taruta, and some of the Jewish participants and Ukrainian politics: Yatsenyuk and Groisman. He discounts the notion that President Poroshenko's father, born Valtzman, was Jewish. I had never heard this account questioned. Other prominent Jews in Ukrainian politics/oligarchy who come immediately to mind include Feldman and Rabinowitz. It is not that there is anything wrong with Jews occupying dominant positions, but "simple Ivan" is not so stupid as to fail to notice them. It is also widely perceived that the Jewish oligarchs are no better or worse than the others, in that they put their personal interests ahead of that of the people who elected them. Poroshenko has been a major disappointment. Kuzio writes of Kolomoisky's support of the volunteer battalions in Donbas. True – but it was totally in line with his business interests.

The fact that six of the seven billionaires to emerge after the collapse of the USSR were Jewish belies Kuzio's claims that they were radically disadvantaged in the USSR. More balanced accounts of Soviet Judaism have been written by Robert Wistrich , Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Yuri Slezkine .

Even a paranoid has enemies. American Jewish neocons, especially Victoria Nuland and husband Robert Kagan, actively involved in Ukrainian politics, were strongly anti-Russian. Though Kuzio is absolutely correct that the animus of the Ukrainian people for Yanukovych was more than enough to power the Maidan uprising, it is also probably true that the CIA was covertly abetting the protesters.

Kuzio's history of the Donbas and Crimea provides a very useful background to the conflict. After the Welsh engineer John Hughes discovered coal around Donetsk in the 1880s there was a rush to exploit it. The sparse population of Ukrainian farmers was not interested in working the mines. The Russians brought in men from all over the Empire. A large number were criminals who earned early release by promising to work there. Others were simply soldiers of fortune.

Mining is dirty, dangerous and very masculine work. Kuzio reports that the history of the Donbas always mirrored the miners themselves. Politically, it sat in the middle between the Russians and the Ukrainians, respecting neither very much and casting its lot with whoever appeared at the moment to be most generous to them, more often Moscow than Kyiv.

Kuzio relates that Lenin included the Donbas within the Ukrainian SSR as a built-in fifth column, as a lever to control all of Ukraine. It remained after independence in 1991. The Donbas' unique culture and clannishness protected its politicians from probing inquiries into their dark pasts, such as Yanukovych' two prison terms. They would overlook his depredations and send him to Kyiv with the idea that "he's a crook, but he's our crook."

Crimea's history is even more convoluted, but the bottom line is that it has always been Russian speaking and did not identify greatly with Ukraine.

Kuzio reports, seemingly approvingly, that fellow author Alexander Motyl believes that Ukraine would be better off without these insubordinate, intransigent ingrates.

In the end, Kuzio sums the origins of the crisis up very well, "The roots of the Ukraine-Russia crisis do not lie in EU and NATO enlargement and democracy promotion, as left-wing scholars and realists would have us believe, but in two factors. The first is Russia's and specifically Putin's unwillingness to accept Ukrainians are a separate people and Ukraine is an independent state with a sovereign right to determine its geopolitical alliances. The second is Yanukovych and the Donetsk clan's penchant for the monopolization of power, state capture, corporate raiding of the state and willingness to accommodate practically every demand made by Moscow that culminated in treason on a grand scale. This was coupled with a shift to Sovietophile and Ukrainophobic nationality policies and return to Soviet style treatment of political opponents. Taken together, these policies made popular protests inevitable in the 2015 elections but they came a year earlier after Yanukovych bowed to Russian pressure to back away from the EU Association Agreement. These protests, in turn, became violent and nationalistic in response to the Party of Regions and KPU's destruction of Ukraine's democracy through the passing of draconian legislation, the president's refusal to compromise and his use of vigilantes and police spetsnaz for political repression, torture, and murders of protestors."

The question facing Ukraine at the moment is how to resolve the war in Donbas and how to prevent Russia from making further incursions. Kuzio shares some very useful insights in this regard.

Even in 2014, Russia simply did not have the resources to conquer Ukraine even if it had had the desire. Kuzio repeatedly makes the point that the Russian doctrine of hybrid war depends on a sympathetic or at least indifferent local populace. Even in the Donbass the Russians have not been welcomed by a majority.

Time and again, Putin proves himself too smart by half. In his desire to maintain deniability, he employed Chechens, Don Cossacks and "political tourists," thugs from all over Russia to infiltrate the Donbass as separatists. Criminals are simply not suited for either civil administration or organized warfare. After three months it was clear to Putin that he had to use Russian troops and administrators, pushing the separatists aside. Not mentioned in the book is the fact that a great many of the separatist leaders died mysteriously. Although Russia attempted to frame Ukraine for "Motorola's" death, it appears to have been done by Russian agents. Russia's trecherous duplicity neither won the war for them no fooled anybody for very long.

Russia has thus had several handicaps in capturing and holding even the small, Russophone and previously Russophile enclaves in Lugansk and Donetsk. The LPR and DPR would not survive without ongoing Russian support. They have not won the hearts and minds of the people.

This calls to mind Custine's Penguin Classics Letters From Russia on the fact that Russian duplicity and deceit made it impossible for them ever to subvert the West. Alexandr Zinoviev summed it up exquisitely in his satirical Homo Sovieticus :

"Even though the West seems chaotic, frivolous and defenseless, all the same Moscow will never achieve worldwide supremacy. Moscow can defend itself against any opponent. Moscow can deliver a knockout blow on the west. Moscow has the wherewithal to mess up the whole planet. But it has no chance of becoming the ruler of the world. To rule the world one must have at one's disposal a sufficiently great nation. That nation must feel itself to be a nation of rulers. And when it comes to it, one that can rule in reality. In the Soviet Union the Russians are the only people who might be suited to that role. They are the foundation and the bulwark of the Empire. But they don't possess the qualities of a ruling nation. And in the Soviet empire their situation is more like that of being a colony for all the other peoples in it."

This is the bottom line, something for the warmongers in Washington to keep in mind. Ukraine and NATO cannot defeat Russia on its own doorstep, but Russia can certainly defeat itself. For NATO to arm Ukraine, as the west did Georgia, or continue to crowd it as they are doing in the Baltics, is counterproductive. It would be quite possible, but also quite stupid for Russia to roll over its neighbors. The adventure in Ukraine has already been expensive, and holding Crimea and Donbas will only become more so. Conversely, for the west to arm countries against the Russians, as the US did in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Nicaragua, proved quite deadly for these supposed friends. Ukraine and the west should wait Putin out just as they waited out the USSR.

I have a couple of quibbles with the book. Kuzio uses the word "Fascist" to characterize various Russian nationalist groups that support Putin and attack Ukrainians. Fascism died with Hitler, 72 years ago. There should be a better term. This is especially true as Putin terms Ukrainians as "Fascists." The word is inappropriate, old and clichéd.

Kuzio goes on to paint the rising nationalist movements in Europe as Fascist, or extreme right wing. He excoriates Marine le Pen for taking Putin's money. There is a strong case to be made that anti-democrats, supported by mainstream parties, have seized the European Parliament and strongly suppressed free speech, open debate and the ability of such nationalists to find funding. Their national banks are prejudicially closed to Farage, Wilders, Orban, le Pen and the others. Kuzio should be more accommodating to the nationalists. Ukraine may soon find itself forced to work with them. Moreover, they have many good points. Generation Identity provides a succinct summary. It is a book of the millennial generation, the nationalists' strongest base, outlining their case against their elders, the boomers.

Ukraine is a conservative country. It is not wise to push the west's liberal agendas with regard to immigration, homosexuality, feminism and civil rights for the Roma and at the same time steel Ukraine for its fight against Russia. Even joining the battle against corruption smells of hypocrisy, as evidence of political corruption emerges all over the west. It is better to recognize the simple facts, as Kuzio does, and have a bit of faith. Ukraine managed against stiffer odds in 2014. It will survive.

[Aug 02, 2018] The Crisis of Neoliberalism by Gérard Duménil & Dominique Levy

Notable quotes:
"... According to Dumenil and Levy the historical tendencies of capitalism are radically mediated by politics and social class configurations (i.e. alliances). They argue capitalistic development, since 1880s, has gone through four primary stages and corresponding crises. They emphasize these developments are not historically necessary, but contingent on politics and social class configurations. Moreover, their analysis is particular to the capitalistic development in the United States and Western Europe, they are able to generalize or internationalize their analysis because of the U.S. global hegemony (although they certainly accept there are modes of resisting this hegemony (e.g. Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, China, etc.)). ..."
"... The current crisis was not caused by falling rates of profits, but by financial innovation, credit overextension, and the particular social class alliances facilitating these activities. There is no single cause of the crisis, but broader social political mechanisms at work and in the process of transformation. ..."
"... The basic story goes like this: following the Great Depression of 1930 a strong social political alliance emerged between the management class and "popular classes" (this popular class includes blue and white collar workers, including quasi-management, clerical, and professional, which cannot be reduced to the traditional "working-class"). In the 1970s there was a severe profitability crisis, the legislative and institutional response to this crisis caused a fracture between management and popular classes, and a re-alliance between management and capitalist classes (which includes ownership and financial classes). ..."
"... Most important according to Dumenil and Levy is that these historical transformations manifested a "divorce" between ownership/finance and the domestic economy and its actual production process ..."
"... Dumenil and Levy maintain the current system, especially the "divorce" between the ownership/financial and the domestic economy, is not economically sustainable. Hence is also not political sustainable. Thus, they suggest several political possibilities that could manifest. However, they advocate an alliance between the "popular classes" and management (reminiscent of the New Deal/Fair Deal alliances). Nonetheless, it does not yet appear management has the political incentives to agree to forge such an alliance. ..."
Feb 04, 2013 | www.amazon.com

Hans G. Despain 5.0 out of 5 stars

Unique and Stimulating Account of the Great Financial Recession of 2008

This book can be highly recommended as a book on the Great Financial Crisis of 2008, and a book of politics, political economy, class analysis, sociology, and history. Very impressive accomplishment.

The strength of this book on the Great Financial Crisis of 2008 is that Dumenil and Levy place the crisis in a larger historical perspective. They maintain it is a mistake to isolate it merely in the context of the financial innovation and deregulation occurring from the late 1990s. Instead, capitalism has particular historical tendencies and specific class relations.

This is a very impressive volume published by Harvard University Press. It offers a play by play of the Great Financial Recession of 2008, beginning from 2000 in chapters 12 - 17, the political response and the continued stagnation in domestic economies and instability within the international economic order in chapters 18 - 20, along with very interesting historical policy observations and recommendations for this current crisis in chapters 21 - 25. Nonetheless the real power of this book occurs in its historical analysis of capitalist development since 1970s described in great detail in chapters 1 - 11.

According to Dumenil and Levy the historical tendencies of capitalism are radically mediated by politics and social class configurations (i.e. alliances). They argue capitalistic development, since 1880s, has gone through four primary stages and corresponding crises. They emphasize these developments are not historically necessary, but contingent on politics and social class configurations. Moreover, their analysis is particular to the capitalistic development in the United States and Western Europe, they are able to generalize or internationalize their analysis because of the U.S. global hegemony (although they certainly accept there are modes of resisting this hegemony (e.g. Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, China, etc.)).

Dumenil and Levy have demonstrated in previous work the tendency of the rate of profit to fall in capitalistic economies. However, because politics and social class alliances can change, so can the profitability. The current crisis was not caused by falling rates of profits, but by financial innovation, credit overextension, and the particular social class alliances facilitating these activities. There is no single cause of the crisis, but broader social political mechanisms at work and in the process of transformation.

The basic story goes like this: following the Great Depression of 1930 a strong social political alliance emerged between the management class and "popular classes" (this popular class includes blue and white collar workers, including quasi-management, clerical, and professional, which cannot be reduced to the traditional "working-class"). In the 1970s there was a severe profitability crisis, the legislative and institutional response to this crisis caused a fracture between management and popular classes, and a re-alliance between management and capitalist classes (which includes ownership and financial classes).

Once the alliance between capitalist classes and management had been forged in late 1970s and 1980s, profitability returned and financial incentives and financial innovation reconfigured personal incentives and corporate motivations. Most important according to Dumenil and Levy is that these historical transformations manifested a "divorce" between ownership/finance and the domestic economy and its actual production process. The political system did nothing to reconcile this disconnect, indeed expedited the divorce via deregulation and financial innovation, what the economic literature calls "financialization" (although, to repeat in several countries the response was radically different and in specific opposition to U.S. hegemony and the neo-liberalism which the U.S. Treasury, IMF, World Bank, and WTO exported to the rest of the world).

This is a very tightly and elegantly argued book. It has a huge advantage over other books on the Great Financial Crisis of neoliberalism in that it places the crisis in both an historical and socio-political perspective. Further they provide the political implications, or what is to be done.

Dumenil and Levy maintain the current system, especially the "divorce" between the ownership/financial and the domestic economy, is not economically sustainable. Hence is also not political sustainable. Thus, they suggest several political possibilities that could manifest. However, they advocate an alliance between the "popular classes" and management (reminiscent of the New Deal/Fair Deal alliances). Nonetheless, it does not yet appear management has the political incentives to agree to forge such an alliance.

This book will have a hard time finding its audience. Mainstream audiences will charge Dumenil and Levy with being overly Marxist, while Marxists will complain they deviate too far from classical Marxism. Nonetheless this is political economy at its best. This book deserves a wide audience and Dumenil and Levy deserve credit for the construction of a unique and stimulating account of the Great Financial Recession of 2008.

[Jul 28, 2018] From Cold War to Hot Peace An American Ambassador in Putin's Russia

In 1990 McFaul an NDI guy. That tells us a lot about this Cold War warrior... And now we know the he was connected to Bill Browder...
McFaul was a regular, semi-talented imperial diplomat sent to Russia after dissolution of the USSR. Like "Harvard mafia" of Yletsin advisers he probably contributed to conversion of Russia into oligarchic republic. Which probably was a plan. Now with revelations about Browder the question arise how much of this activity was coordinated via intelligence agencies such as MI6.
He was sent to Russia during Medvedev providence (who was a weak President, kind of reincarnation of Yletsin; kind of side effect of Putin overreliance of close circle of Sanct Petersburg friends and lack of succession mechanism in Russia) to foment a color revolution in Russia (so called White revolution of 2011-2012). And due to Medvedev tenure Putin actually has chances to lose elections of 2012.
But the USA overplayed its hand pushing "White revolution" in 2011-2012. It shook Russian establishment (and some semi-efficient measures to block further attempt to stage color revolutions were taken). They were close to "regime change" but eventually failed. The USA will have another chance when Putin eventually leaves but with events in Ukraine neoliberal fifth column in Russia was considerably weaned. So the changes are that a nationalist will come to power next.
After this failure a very strong backlash followed, that definitely harmed the US relations with Russia. McFaul tenure from 2013 to 2014 was just unnecessary suffering after the defeat. He should be recalled in early 2013 or even earlier. Nobody in Putin government would make any concessions to the guy who dared to invite opposition leaders to the US embassy acting as Roman proconsul, not as a diplomat. And diplomacy is about obtaining concessions. BTW Russians suffered this indignity quite stoically, because after economic rape of 1990th Russia was still very weak. McFaul clams that he suffered from harassment are probably exaggerated. but the attitude to him of Russian "street" and "intelligencia" definitely changed for worse after his attempt of regime change. And after election of Putin he was partially ostracized.
Now he had written a book were he claims that he wanted to improve relations between the USA and Russia ;-)
There is clear lack on independent thinking from this Professor. He mostly repeat standard State Department talking points. This is not interesting and you can read them for free elsewhere. I wonder how many month it will take for the book to reach this propaganda piece its true price -- $1.
The way McFaul treats election of Trump is just a repeating of State Department talking point. This is probably the most disappointing part of the book, as he due to his tenure as Ambassador in Russia should have more in-depth view. For a Professor of a prestigious US university to regurgitate undigested propaganda is both simplistic and naive. For this part you might better off reading Michael Wolf book. While also a pulp fiction, it is just $1(used) and the first three chapters were written and more entertaining ;-)
In any case pages 430 till the end of the book are a real embarrassment. This not an analyses of events. This is a blatant propaganda.
In reality Trump election was about the crisis of neoliberalism in the USA. when the neoliberal establishment failed to put in power his beloved candidate it became clear that there are cracks in the neoliberal facade and after financial crisis on 2008 neoliberalism was unable to recover. It is now a discredited ideology, kind of "Naked Emperor", much like Bolshevism became after WWII. If this analogy is correct, neoliberalism can last probably only another three-four decades, or even less. Much depends whether the "end of cheap oil" happens. That might be the last nail in neoliberal globalization coffin. In this sense neo-McCarthyism campaign lauched after Trump victory is just a clumsy attempt to patch the cracks by uniting the country using Russia as a scapegoat.
Notable quotes:
"... At the concluding dinner that night, Russians and Americans together toasted our cooperation and success. In the midst of our celebration, Sechin, Putins deputy, made a jarring confession. As we congratulated each other on a successful conference, he revealed to me that he too had worked in intelligence, just like his boss. He spoke Portuguese, just like I did, and had worked in southern Africa, just like I had. Although I am sure that I had met dozens of Soviet intelligence officers by then, none of them had admitted it. I wondered if he was telling me this information, especially about our shared experiences in Lusophonc Africa, to suggest that he believed that I also was an intelligence officer, a CIA agent. ..."
"... Alter Yeltsins reelection, many Americans believed that the project of building Russian democracy was over, and that the United States was now free to pursue other foreign policy interests. First up was NATO expansion, which President Clinton had delayed until after the Russian presidential election... ..."
"... When asked by Joe Scarborough on MSNBCs Morning Joe about the killing of journalists and opposition leaders in Russia, Trump countered, "Well, I think our country does plenty of killing also, Joe." 1 -' When given the chance to correct the record a year later on Bill O'Reillys television show on Fox, a very friendly venue. President-elect Trump instead doubled down. "We have a lot of killers... you think our country' is so innocent?" 1 ' ..."
"... To the Kremlin, Trump seemed to represent another ideological ally in this transnational movement against globalism, [neo]liberalism, and multilateralism. ..."
"... (A Russian television series called Sleepers, in which the United States is plotting to overthrow the Russian government, began airing in the fall of 2017. In the show, the U.S. ambassador is blond; his name is Michael. They haven't forgotten about me yet!) ..."
"... geminif4ucorsair on July 10, 2018 ..."
"... There were important achievement during the "reset" period, most notably the New START treaty, Russian support for sanction on Iran, and Russia cooperation with NATO on Afghanistan, and expanded trade and investment (most of which now is in the dust-bin). ..."
Jul 28, 2018 | www.amazon.com

As the chief liaison with our Russian partners, I was in charge of making sure everything ran smoothly.

It was while planning these seminars that I first met Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, then the deputy mayor in Leningrad in charge of international contacts. I was an international contact, and one who must have intrigued a KGB officer. Our NDI delegation had come to meet Anatoly Sobchak, the new mayor of Leningrad, soon to be renamed St. Petersburg. Sobchak, a law professor turned politician, was one of the truly inspirational leaders of Russia's surging democratic movement at the time. Emphatically pro-Western, pro-European, and pro-American, he radiated hope about the possibilities of a democratic Russia and closer relations between our two countries. At that meeting, I stepped in to translate, and aside from mixing up "Abkhazia" as "Oklahoma," helped communicate our proposal for a conference that would bring city council members from Los Angeles and New York to the Russian city to share their experiences about formulating a city budget in a democratic, transparent way.

Sobchak embraced our proposal, our ideas, and us. We were ideological allies. We loved the guy. The following year, NDI gave Sobchak the W. Averell Harriman Democracy Award, given to an individual to honor his or her commitment to democracy and human rights. Putin made much less of an impression on me than his boss. He was careful, unenthusiastic, diminutive -- an apparatchik. I could not tell from this meeting or our subsequent encounters with him if he supported or detested NDI's work.

He said little, but promised that his team would organize an orderly, successful workshop -- and delivered. He handed me off to his trusted deputy, Igor Sechin, who ran the logistics to perfection...

... ... ...

At the concluding dinner that night, Russians and Americans together toasted our cooperation and success. In the midst of our celebration, Sechin, Putins deputy, made a jarring confession. As we congratulated each other on a successful conference, he revealed to me that he too had worked in intelligence, just like his boss. He spoke Portuguese, just like I did, and had worked in southern Africa, just like I had. Although I am sure that I had met dozens of Soviet intelligence officers by then, none of them had admitted it. I wondered if he was telling me this information, especially about our shared experiences in Lusophonc Africa, to suggest that he believed that I also was an intelligence officer, a CIA agent. Or was he just trying to be friendly? I finally concluded that it didn't really matter, since we were all on the same side now.

... ... ...

Alter Yeltsins reelection, many Americans believed that the project of building Russian democracy was over, and that the United States was now free to pursue other foreign policy interests. First up was NATO expansion, which President Clinton had delayed until after the Russian presidential election...

... ... ...

... television network in Russia, Mikhail Leontiev warned his viewers that I was neither a Russia expert nor a traditional diplomat, but a professional revolutionary whose assignment was to finance and organize Russia's political opposition as it plotted to overthrow the Russian government; to finish Russia's Unfinished Revolution, the title of one of my books written a decade earlier. This portrayal of my mission to Moscow would haunt me for the rest of my days as ambassador.

A few months later, in May 2012,1 accompanied my former boss at the White House, National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, to his meeting with President elect Putin. This was the first meeting between a senior Obama official and Putin since Putins reelection in March 2012. We met at Novo-Ogaryovo, Putins country estate, the same place where Obama had enjoyed a cordial, construc tive, three-hour breakfast with the then prime minister four years earlier. Putin listened politely to Tom's arguments for continued cooperation. At some point in their dialogue, however, he turned away from Tom to stare intensely at me with his steely blue eyes and stern scowl to accuse me of purposely seeking to ruin U.S.-Russia relations. Putin seemed genuinely angry with me; I was genuinely alarmed. The hair on the back of my neck stood on end and sweat covered my brow as I endured this tongue-lashing from one of the most powerful people in the world.

... ... ...

Less man a year into the Trump presidency, the Putin-Trump "bromance" had faded. Trump did not deliver on his more audacious pro-Russia campaign promises, such as lifting sanctions, looking into recognizing Crimea as a part of Russia, or withdrawing support for NATO. He may well have wanted to do these things, but his own foreign policy team, the U.S. Congress, and American public opinion were united against him.

... ... ...

Most shockingly, Trump assigned moral equivalency to the United States and Russia. When asked by Joe Scarborough on MSNBCs Morning Joe about the killing of journalists and opposition leaders in Russia, Trump countered, "Well, I think our country does plenty of killing also, Joe." 1 -' When given the chance to correct the record a year later on Bill O'Reillys television show on Fox, a very friendly venue. President-elect Trump instead doubled down. "We have a lot of killers... you think our country' is so innocent?" 1 '

... ... ...

In audition to supporting pro-Kremlin policies, Trumps ideological orientation overlapped with many Putin ideas. For years, Putin railed against the liberal world order, and what he called decadent Western cultural trends.

Trump did the same. Putin chastised American interventionism and hegemony. So too did Trump. Putin and his government had cultivated xenophobic, nationalist, conservative allies throughout Europe, including Marine Le Pen in France, Nigel Farage in the United Kingdom, and Viktor Orban in Hungary.1''

To the Kremlin, Trump seemed to represent another ideological ally in this transnational movement against globalism, [neo]liberalism, and multilateralism. Self-proclaimed populist, nationalist ideologues on Trumps team, such as Steve Bannon, perceived even deeper philosophical connections to like-minded Russian thinkers.17 Alleged defenders of the white, Christian world against Islam and China worked in or hovered around both the Kremlin and the Trump campaign."

Putin also despised Clinton...

... ... ...

... Putin repeated, "We have never meddled in the domestic affairs and never will." ... When confronted about Russian interference in the American presidential election, Putin responded, "The United States, everywhere, all over the world, is actively interfering in electoral campaigns in other countries,"6' as if to justify Russian intervention in the American election. In another interview, Putin defensively countered, "When ... we are told: 'Do not meddle in our affairs. Mind your own business. This is how we do things, 'we feel like saying: 'Well then, do not meddle in our affairs."'

... ... ...

Irrespective of who was in the White House, Putin in 2016 was no longer seeking to join our Western clubs...

... ... ...

(A Russian television series called Sleepers, in which the United States is plotting to overthrow the Russian government, began airing in the fall of 2017. In the show, the U.S. ambassador is blond; his name is Michael. They haven't forgotten about me yet!)

geminif4ucorsair on July 10, 2018
Outstanding, first-person account of Obama's "reset" effort toward better relations with Russia, only partially successful.

Author McFaul served as President Obama's Russian policy advisor (2009-12), and then as U.S. Ambassador to Russia (2012-14). He had long been a democracy advocate, based on an academic background at Stanford. During these early years, he lived in Moscow as a Fulbright scholar, linked with the National Democratic Institute in the '90s, a period of extensive transition in Russia, following Yeltsin's meeting with Ukraine and Belarus that resulted in the Belovezhakaya Accord - the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The period was marked by efforts of democratic forces to change Russia, a period in which Russian voters within and closest to cities supported the new liberal parties - while traditional communist strongholds in rural areas in central Russia stayed true to form and back the Communist and Agrarian Parties." (p. 35)"

McFaul covers the changing developments under Yeltsin's "partial revolution", with good insight to Yeltsin's thinking, outside political forces (including the KGB and Putin), including a discussion of Yeltsin's decision to nominate Putin as his successor. Yeltsin certainly had other democratic-oriented options other than Putin, including Boris Nemtsov. Unfortunately for First Deputy Prime Minister Nemtsov, the 1998 Asian and Russian economic crisis did great damage to Nemtsov's economic reforms, while challenging the oligarchs and tackling corruption in the country, brought his time to a close under Yeltsin.

The economic crisis also set in motion a Russian counter-reaction to rising prices and other economic woes, setting in motion a new wave of Russian attraction for authoritarian governance. In the wake of this, McFaul notes, "If Russia's faltering democracy gave way,... Russia would once again become our competitor and eventually even enemy. Of course, the United States and Russia would always have some competing interests around the world. But a democratic Russia - strong or weak - was a more likely partner of the United States than an autocratic Russia - whether strong or weak." (p.62). We have been seeing the impact of this from the earliest days of the Obama Administration.

Obama began what was known as a "reset" of relations with Moscow, and McFaul was point man for this effort to improve relations, advance democratic principles, etc. in Russia. Throughout later chapters, McFaul documents the growing Putin hostility toward the U.S. as an evolutionary event, rooted in the premiers background in the KGB, his witnessing the fall of the Soviet Union, the destruction of pro-Moscow regimes in the Middle East, the "Color" revolutions in the Ukraine and Georgia, and Putin's personality traits that perceive as insults and arrogance - a form his paranoia - toward Russia, by the West.

There were important achievement during the "reset" period, most notably the New START treaty, Russian support for sanction on Iran, and Russia cooperation with NATO on Afghanistan, and expanded trade and investment (most of which now is in the dust-bin). McFaul presents a strong argument that "individual leaders" shape events: thus, as long as Putin remains as head of the Russian government, hostility to the U.S. and Europe will continue.

[Jul 27, 2018] Ukraine over the Edge Russia, the West and the New Cold War by Gordon M. Hahn

Notable quotes:
"... an essential warning against a continuation of the frivolous and dangerous policies of regime change adopted by the West after the end of the Cold War ..."
"... The result is both a sophisticated, multilevel analysis of how and why Ukraine emerged as the key hotspot in East-West relations, and an indispensable guide for those wishing to understand the origins of the New Cold War. ..."
"... Gordon M. Hahn challenges simplistic and often misleading narratives by the media and politicians and provides a corroboration that the Maidan massacre was a false flag mass killing ..."
"... They show Maidan's quasi-revolution was driven by international geopolitics, supporting counterposed Western and Russian "civilizationist" beliefs, and deep divisions within Ukrainian society itself, not a wellspring of widespread aspiration to Western-style democracy. ..."
Jul 27, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Review "Ukraine's 2013-2014 revolution, its civil war, and Russia's annexation of the Crimea have been succeeded by newer crises, but political analyst Hahn uses detailed reportage and geopolitical theory to argue for their long-term significance, presenting Ukraine as a troubling turning point in Russo-American relations and a case study of how democratization efforts can go awry...with Russia atop American headlines to an extent not seen since the end of the Cold War, [this book] will be a strong addition to global studies collections" -- Booklist

"It was not only Ukraine that went over the edge in 2014, but the whole European security system disintegrated, while a 'new cold war' chills relations between the great powers. In this masterful study, Gordon Hahn examines how Ukraine's internal divisions combined with external lines of fragmentation to create an explosive mix, which in turn intensified domestic conflicts. The result is an internationalized civil conflict, with catastrophic consequences for Ukraine and the world. Hahn is one of the few scholars with the knowledge and discernment to make sense of it all. His impressively well-researched and well-written book is essential reading."--Richard Sakwa, University of Kent

"This impressively researched and strongly argued book is an essential corrective to the myths that have been generated concerning the crisis in Ukraine, and an essential warning against a continuation of the frivolous and dangerous policies of regime change adopted by the West after the end of the Cold War ." --Anatol Lieven, Professor, Georgetown University in Qatar and author of Ukraine and Russia, A Fraternal Rivalry

Ukraine Over the Edge is a rigorous analysis of the cultural, historical, and intellectual origins of the Ukrainian crisis. While stressing that blame for the latest phase of this crisis is shared all around, Hahn traces its domestic origins to the militancy of the opposition to president Yanukovych, and its international origins to NATO expansion, which he regards as militarized democracy-promotion. The result is both a sophisticated, multilevel analysis of how and why Ukraine emerged as the key hotspot in East-West relations, and an indispensable guide for those wishing to understand the origins of the New Cold War. "--Nicolai N. Petro, Silvia-Chandley Professor of Peace Studies and Nonviolence, University of Rhode Island

" Ukraine Over the Edge is a very useful contribution to understanding origins and key developments of the crisis in this important European and post-Soviet country. Gordon M. Hahn challenges simplistic and often misleading narratives by the media and politicians and provides a corroboration that the Maidan massacre was a false flag mass killing ." --Ivan Katchanovski, University of Ottawa About the Author Gordon M. Hahn is an advisory board member at Geostrategic Forecasting Corporation, Chicago, and at the American Institute of Geostrategy (AIGEO), Los Angeles; a contributing expert for Russia Direct, and a senior researcher at the Center for Terrorism and Intelligence Studies (CETIS), San Jose, California. He lives in Mountain View, California.

Preface

As I read, listened and watched Western sources on the events surrounding the mass demonstrations on central square in Kiev during winter 2013-2014, a sense of deja vu became undeniable. Having studied the nature of terrorism in Russia's North Caucasus, the causes and course of the August 2008 Georgian-Russian war, and other events involving Russia, I had seen a pattern of misrepresentation of these events by most Western, especially American, media, academia and government sources. There was a clear sense that this pattern was being repeated with regard to the events on the Maidan. Hence, I decided to investigate matters for myself and have come to a distinctly different conclusion regarding them than that imparted to the Western public.

Two years after the Maidan "revolution of dignity," it was already clear that the Western-backed overthrow of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich was not entirely a revolution and was ultimately in vain regardless of how one conceptualizes the events surrounding the fall-winter 2013-2014 demonstrations and violence on Kiev's Maidan. The movement was based initially on middle class opposition to corruption and soft authoritarianism and support for European integration. Ultimately, the nascent pro-democratic revolution was hijacked by neofascist elements that infiltrated the Maidan protests, overthrew the government, and then were themselves superseded by several key oligarchs, who always have thrived under the post-Soviet ancient regime. Thus, corruption and criminality have increased rather than decreased, European integration has stalled, and authoritarianism is not just in the corridors of power but on the streets under the yoke of roaming bands of neofascist groups seeking to foment a second, truly "national revolution."

Despite the all-too-numerous adepts of democratization and democratic transition, this is not the first, nor is it likely to be the last time when the West has misunderstood processes it has hoped for, encouraged, and often funded and helped to organize. The "Arab Spring" is only the most recent set of cases in point. Predictably, that spring's various revolutions became an Islamist winter spread across parts of the Middle East and North Africa, except in Egypt -- where a counterrevolution returned the status quo ante.

Similarly, in 1991 the adepts of democratic transitions or "transitology" got it wrong. Few post-Soviet states became democracies because the "democratic revolution" that overthrew the reformist late Soviet regime of Mikhail Gorbachev's perestroika was assumed to be a "revolution from below" led by societal opposition forces bent on living in a democracy. This was true in the Baltic republics, but in most cases the elements of democratic revolution from below were subsumed by a mix of less civil state bureaucrat-led revolutions from above and nationalist-led revolutions from below. In Russia, the revolution was largely one led from above by the Russian President Boris Yeltsin and the Russian state apparatus against the partially reformed but crumbling central Soviet state and regime. In Central Asia and elsewhere, there was simply a change of signboards, rebranding for still very authoritarian regimes. The partial exception is Kyrgyzstan's tulip revolutions and counterrevolutions, which also had strong elements from above. Thus, it is no surprise that both Ukraine's 2004 Orange revolution, as 1 noted at the time, and the 2013-2014 Maidan "revolution of dignity," as I predicted, proved to be something less than the democratic revolutions "transitologists" hailed.

In addition to elements of revolution from below, the Maidan revolt also has elements of revolution from above led by some state officials and state-tied oligarchs. Moreover, the revolution from below was under considerable influence from national chauvinist, ultranationalist, and neofascist groups. The Maidan ultranationalist-oligarchic regime now has little popular support and few accomplishments in democratization, and is little different from the previous, except for a marked increase in western Ukrainian neofascism (both in the corridors of power and on the streets) and a near catastrophic economy. Revolutions are indeed unwieldy things, not very manageable once unleashed.

The international geopolitical consequences have been even more deleterious. A deepening Russian-Western confrontation over Ukraine risks recreating a bipolar "world split apart," with Russia more inclined than ever to forge alliances with regimes opposed to American and Western power.

This book is dedicated to clarifying these events and their consequences, something that is imperative given the misleading government and media characterizations of them. This study is based on Western, Ukrainian and Russian sources, including media reports, reliable primary and secondary Internet sources, and official documents of governments and international organizations.

They show Maidan's quasi-revolution was driven by international geopolitics, supporting counterposed Western and Russian "civilizationist" beliefs, and deep divisions within Ukrainian society itself, not a wellspring of widespread aspiration to Western-style democracy.

[Jul 27, 2018] The story Browder refuses to tell is far more interesting than the one he wrote for the book

Not one review mentions possible close tied of Brower and MI6. Not a single review compare his book with Netrasov story or Alex Krainer's book
Jul 27, 2018 | www.amazon.com
1.0 out of 5 stars

By J. Koerner on January 9, 2018

The story Browder refuses to tell is far more interesting than the one he wrote for the book.

I found the book quite easy to put down: I got tired of all the chapters about how he made so much money following the fall of the Soviet Union. But Norman Pearlstine's statement that "Browder's business saga meshes well with the story of corruption and murder in Vladimir Putin's Russia" is more true than he realizes. With the release of Glenn Simpson's 20 hours of testimony before three Senate committees we now know that there is a great deal of information Browder failed to disclose. I'll let Simpson tell it:

He was willing to, you know, hand stuff off to the DOJ anonymously in the beginning and cause them to launch a court case against somebody, but he wasn't interesting in speaking under oath about, you know, why he did that ... All of this -- his determined effort to avoid testifying under oath, including running away from subpoenas and changing -- frequently changing lawyers and making lurid allegations against us, including that, you know, he thought we were KGB assassins in the parking lot of Aspen, Colorado when we served the subpoena, all raised questions
in my mind about why he was so determined to not have to answer questions under oath about things that happened in Russia.

I'll add that, you know, I've done a lot of Russia reporting over the years. I originally met William Browder back when I was a journalist at the Wall Street Journal when I was doing stories about corruption in Russia. I think the first time I met him he lectured me about -- I was working on a story about Vladimir Putin corruption and he lectured me about how have Vladimir Putin was not corrupt and how he was the best thing that ever
happened to Russia.

But returning to the detailed discussion of my work, we investigated William Browder's business practices in Russia, we began to understand maybe what it was he didn't want to talk about, and as we looked at that we then began to look at his decision to surrender his American citizenship in 1998. At that point somewhere in there the Panama papers came out and we discovered that he had incorporated shell companies offshore in the mid 1990s, in 1995 I believe it was in the British Virgin Islands, and that at some point his hedge fund's shares had been transferred to this offshore company. This offshore company was managed -- several of his offshore companies were managed by the Panamanian law firm called Mossack Fonseca, which is known now for setting up offshore companies for drug kingpins, narcos, kleptos, you name it. They were servicing every bad guy around. And I'm familiar with them from other money laundering and corruption and tax evasion investigations that I've done.I'll note parenthetically that William Browder talks a lot about the Panama papers and the Russians who are in the Panama papers without ever mentioning that he's in the Panama papers.

Now, I choose to believe Simpson, who not only chose to submit to 20 hours of Senate committee but then demand that it be made public, and not Browder, who fled from Simpson in the parking lot of an Aspen resort, later claiming he thought Simpson was KBG.

By Decorum on December 13, 2017
Heed the titular warning! Stay well away!

This is not a book to be set aside lightly... in the words of Dorothy Parker. It has been many years since I have read a book this bad. And many more since I finished one this bad. In recent years I have been more able to simply give up on bad books, ignoring the sunk cost fallacy that previously drove me to soldier on - perhaps it's an increasing awareness of the value of time, but nowadays I will bail out when it is clear I've made a big mistake. But this one was recommended by a friend whose taste I had no reason to doubt so I kept on, chapter after gruelling chapter, hoping for some epiphany or quality uptick. Let me save you from the same mistake.

One service this book does render, though, is to remind you, if you need it, that writing is hard. You may be the world's most fabulous person (well, second most fabulous - the author of this book is pretty clear about who occupies the top spot) but it don't make you a good writer, see. So the first important thing to know is that Bill Browder cannot write. He strings together cliches, name drops, humble brags (and regular brags too) but he can't write. No matter; perhaps the content can make up for it? I'm sure there are plenty of books where the content redeems the awful style, such as... well, I'm sure there are plenty. But the second thing to know going in is that the story is a pretty tedious, linear tale of BB's triumphs in the world of finance and then, as he calls it, "human rights". The problem, I think, is that the tone of the book is very smug and, despite the occasional and obviously cynical self-deprecation, deeply self-satisfied. The author has a real tin ear for his tone, I think, and it's well illustrated by a very early part of the story. He arrives in Poland in his first job, charged with the assessment and, hopefully, revival of a failing bus company. He expresses his deep sorrow and pity for the poor, poor workers and wonders what he can do to help. Meanwhile, he comes across a class of stocks in Poland that seem to him to be ridiculously underpriced. Aha! thinks the naive reader - I know where this is going: he will get the bus company to invest in these stocks ad save the day. But no! It turns out that these narratives shall not meet: he buys the stocks himself and makes out like a bandit, and he recommends that the bus company be shut down, throwing all the workers on the street. He is very, very sorry about the latter, of course, but, on the other hand, he has discovered his true calling as a value investor! Gaudeamus!

The author seems to have absolutely no appreciation of his role as a functionary in a very particular social system and it makes all of his carefully laid out social conscience ring hollow and renders his thoroughly documented tears crocodilian.

By EBaiz on February 15, 2018
two wrongs dont make a right

Both sides of this story are doing horrible things and the writer thinks what he did was correct!
This is a story where the writer only criticizes the horrible things the russian goverment did to him and how some oligarchs steal tax money (as everywhere but blatantly) but fails to realize that what he did, purchasing people-owned companies at fractions of a penny on the dollar and knowing it, while taking advantage of the imperfect systems put in place for the distribution of those companies' wealth to the people of that country, as he perfectly describes in this book, is also wrong in the first place. He fails to understand he actually hurt the people of that country when he bought shares at a "steal" price as he writes, he thinks he is doing the right thing because of his wall street mentality, no rules, prey on whomever gives an opportunity. Sad, but it's the world we live in today

By NYNYGuy on May 30, 2016
Greedy Hedgie's Delusions of Ritousness

Browder's story seems like a complete scam. First, he personally profited to the tune of $2 BN off the backs of the Russian people, taking advantage of inequities in the voucher system used with the dissolution of the USSR. He never mentions how much he personally made, as that would have cast too much reality on the sheer vanity, self-aggrandizement, and sanctimonious rubbish that is the rest of the story. More pointedly, he does not speak to how his money provided access to the highest levels of government, John McCain, and greased the wheels of the European legal system. Take for example, his ability to miraculously get two Interpol Red Notices removed within days of their placement. The Magnitsky case was terrible but he clearly uses it as a sanctimonious shield to get public sympathy and protection. I could go on but the bottom line is do not waste your time or money. Browder is one of the bad guys- at best a delusional narcissist, or more likely a greedy scam artist, pulling the wool over everyone's eyes.

By Critical Rationalist on July 18, 2015
What a greedy narcissist. Sheesh.

After finishing Masha Gessen's "Man Without a Face" (insightful) Karen Dawisha's "Putin's Kleptocracy" (a mind-boggling, devastating indictment of Putin and his cronies), and David Hoffman's "Billion Dollar Spy" (reads like a thriller novel), I was hoping that Bill Browder's book would provide some additional depth and an interesting perspective on the thoroughly corrupt workings of post-Soviet Russia. It does not.

Like Browder, I went to Russia numerous times -- but didn't have an office there as he did -- during the 90s and did a number of deals there. Unlike Browder, I speak the language and know Russian business and legal culture quite well. (I'm an average American, born and raised in Ohio, where I still live, but I do have a Russian wife, whom I met on one of my trips there in the 1990s.)

Browder is an extremely unsympathetic figure: Although he doesn't admit to it in the book, he was blinded by greed and arrogance to the point where he viewed his marriage and his son as of only trivial importance compared to his mission in life to get rich. He went to Russia to get something for nothing, thinking he was being shrewd. His utter ignorance of Russian business and Russian culture permeate the book -- his condescending attitude is similar to that of a British governor-general back in 1940s Iran, when the British role was limited to exploiting Iran by grabbing its oil for a pittance while speaking contemptuously of the locals. Browder contemptuously describes Russian attempts to reign him in: "Russians will gladly -- gleefully even -- sacrifice their own success to screw their neighbor." Yet he is oblivious to the fact that he himself, without any second thoughts, sacrificed his own family for the prospect of making just one more deal, just one more deal, and then just one more deal. American citizenship too was just another expendable in his all-consuming quest for riches.

Russia in the 1990s was a sea of corruption, intrigue, mafia protection rackets, turf battles, economic chaos, incompetence, and power grabs. Browder injected himself into it, completely ignorant of what he was getting into, determined to take advantage. He got burned.

"Red Notice" doesn't provide any perspective or depth; it isn't even particularly interesting. Browder's narcisssm and self-justifications permate the book, making it extremely unpleasant to read.

By AlanH on September 26, 2017
Russophobe Shill

The author is, inter alia, wanted in Russia for tax fraud and so, obviously, will say everything he can that is negative about Russia. His background and backers are also very suspicious, to my mind anyway.

I found the book to be nothing but hype. This was confirmed when I read Alex Krainer's "The Killing of William Browder: Deconstructing Bill Browder's Dangerous Deception." This excellent book - with factual content and well referenced - tears Browder to shreds. As he deserves to be.

But the sheeple will continue to want to believe this fiction - it suits the current american meme.

By Sorin Strugariu on October 29, 2017
I recommend to turn off the TV ( tel-a-vision or the-lies-on-vision ...

The ' truth ' and the brainwashed herd of the sheeple. The death of the Anglo-American-Zionist Empire. For those who think for themselves and cares for the others, here in the USA ( former United States of America, now United Slaves of America ) and all-over the World, for those of you in the research of ' whatreallyhappened ', I recommend to turn off the TV ( tel-a-vision or the-lies-on-vision ) and read...R E A D INDEPENDENT books and watch INDEPENDENT documentaries ! Books like ' The Killing of William Browder: Deconstructing Bill Browder's Dangerous Deceptions ' - NOT for sale on 'amazon.com' - WHY ???!!!...Documentaries like ' The Magnitsky act: Behind the Scenes ', produced by filmmaker Andrei Nekrasov ( a fierce critic of President Putin ).

By Maria S Plaksina on June 6, 2015
Crook got his chances in Russia ----- HE IS A LIER!!!!

Complete Rubbish! Not only he concealed a lot of facts - he fabricated a lot of them. The book is complete fiction, Why he doesnt mention that Magnitsky helped Hermitage create schemes to avoid taxes, crate shell-companies to buy stocks of Gazprom (foreigners can not buy Gazprom stocks), created shell companies in Cyprus and Kalmikia to pay joke taxes, hired disabled people to again lower taxes? etc He is a joke

Mr. Browder went to Russian in the early 90s to make quick cash - he did it by buying stocks from uneducated russians (similar to other russian oligarchs). Story of another greedy individual who wanted to become a billionaire fast - once he had to pay the price he become outraged by injustice of the system... XOXOXOXOXOX next time when you, Mr Browder, go to another developing country with the intention to rob the system be prepared to take the responsibility and do not whine about it like a little girl. A crook got upset that he didnt make as much money as he wanted and got kicked out from the country - what a joke.

BTW - the youtube video with Mr. Browder running away from the officer who served him subpoena is hilarious. If Mr Browder is so ethical and clean why he doesn't want to testify in court?

By max2015 on March 8, 2015
20% what readers want, the rest is poop!

This book came highly recommended to me by someone in the hedge fund industry. I was surprised at how bad it was. I was looking into insight as to how Bill Browder, who once ran the largest Russian hedge fund, made his fortune, estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Instead the book was a very self serving book which I would identify as 20% self aggrandizement, self serving, 20% discussion of the arbitrage trades that made him rich, 60% discussion of the Sergie Magnitsky Act which he worked to pass. The book is full of contradictions including Browder's moral position and his self righteousness. It makes you wonder if anyone thought about this book in context of the 2008 financial markets collapse or did any research on Browder when reading it. Also, why does Browder today actively evade subpoenas to testify about what happened in American court as shown in Youtube videos?

The book is full of villains on both sides. Browder is the grandson of the former head of the US communist party. He gave up his US citizenship to become a British citizen in 1997. He worked for the criminal Robert Maxwell who had misappropriated corporate pension funds to live a flamboyant lifestyle, then he went to work with Edmond Safra as a partner in Hermitage Capital. Not only these global speculators but the book includes Mossad and a host of Russian oligarchs (all financed by Fred Goodwin's Royal Bank of Scotland). Browder's arbitrage was that Russian companies were severely undervalued because no other investors trusted Russian corporations and Russian rule of law. Whereas most other investors thought Russian companies were 100% un-investable, Browder figured many of them were only 50% un-investable and he invested in that 50% that was investable. After that arbitrage went away, he decided to start investigating Russian corporations for inside dealing and his activist strategy paid off but made many enemies. He was warned by numerous other investors that his life and others would be in danger for this. Everyone he works with leaves wreckage behind until he does the same. When one of his lawyers who gets less than 1% of coverage in the first half of the book dies in a Russian prison, he goes all out to try to get revenge on the Russians who he claims made tax fraud on the Russian government and him by seizing control of companies he owned. Many questions arise from the book some of which I list below.

(1) Browder's hedge fund is domiciled in Guernsey and Cayman Islands, notorious tax evasion locales, yet the premise of the second half of the book is to get revenge on corrupt Russian officials for stealing Russian tax money (his hundreds of millions of dollars)
(2) Browder is drawn to evil people and shady characters (Maxwell, oligarch companies, mossad, etc) like moths to a flame. Is it force of habit for him to fall into bad situations with them? Is it the US government's role to spend taxpayer money on exacting revenge for him on the crooked crowd he deals with? His friends are spoken with in great superlatives, his enemies despised. It is easy to imagine if you were a friend and became an enemy he would label you with epithets thus immediately.
(3) Browder becomes a British citizen (but a hedge fund deci or centi millionaire) yet he easily gets access to John McCain, Joe Lieberman and other US elected officials to get the Magnitsky act passed. Ultimately the Magnitsky act passes and Russia responds by banning all US adoptions of Russian children. For all you childless women looking to adopt Russian babies, thank the egotist Browder for your inability to do so going forward. Were you screwed in the 2008 financial markets collapse? The system may not work for you but it works for a global speculator who wants vengeance.
(4) But its worse. Browder goes to war with the Oligarchs who were funded by Royal Bank of Scotland and who defaulted on their loans from RBS. The UK citizens had to bail out RBS. Browder tries to utilize the British government to exact vengeance on the very same Oligarchs the British government is bailing out in some ways.
(5) Browder is the great example of the speculative hedge fund trader of the 90's and 00's run amok. He is a speculator, he was warned about the risks, he jumps headlong into them and knows Russia does not have American or British rule of law. But he expects the US and Britain to jump to his aid for his recklessness and bail him out like the other crooks of the 2008 vintage. EVEN THOUGH HE IS A BRITISH CITIZEN.
(6) Lookup the Wall Street Journal articles or Youtube videos about how the cowardly Browder runs away from being served by a subpoena and has constantly sought to avoid subpoena's from the Russians who are countersuing him in US and British court. If he is for rule of law, why not work his way through the legal systems. Seems like there is another side to the story.

By Jeremy J. Glover on August 19, 2015
Crack Cocaine Seller

Hey, guys and gals, the man is a shark. An investment banker. He'd sell his own grandmother if he thought he's make a profit. And now he's trying to profit by selling his own story, all teary-eyed about his lawyer and his quest for "justice." Barf. He wants to expose Kremlin corruption, happily forgetting Wall St. corruption that he hoped would make HIM millions. He only saw the light when other folks made millions and he got arrested. Kinda like any low-life Baltimore drug pusher. Please don't buy his line of crack cocaine.

By Jeremiah Gelles MD on August 18, 2017
The Kettle is Black

This is a thrilling page-turner of financial and political intrigue. The problem is that it is much like the pot calling the kettle black. Just about everything of which Browder accuses the Russian kleptocrats is equaled or excelled by the US robber barons and the agencies of violence wielded by the US government. Browder also digresses from time to time into the history of the USSR about which he knows nothing except the propaganda that we have been fed, most of which originates, ironically enough, from the very oligarchs he so justifiably criticizes.

By J. wilson on June 23, 2018
Paean to self

Very interesting to hear an insider's experience of Russia privatization and the politics of the 90's and early 2000s. I enjoyed that part.
That said, I found Browder spent a lot of time tooting his own horn and virtue signaling . He seemed quite impressed with himself and spends much of the book detailing why you should be too.
I never thought Putin was a good guy.
I never thought neocon/ deep state John McCain was a good guy. ( Browder does).
I don't think Browder made his gazillions by being a good guy. A lot of ordinary Russians got ripped off . Browder and a lot of others got rich.

By A.I. 8706 on May 18, 2015
The narrator ruins the narrative

This is a fairly interesting, if pretty unsurprising, story of high-level graft and corruption in Russia. Yes, Putin and the Russian government are rife with corruption, and the rules are subject to change on a whim. That should be obvious to anyone who paid any attention to Russia's preparation for the Sochi Olympics. I'm even inclined to take Browder's story about the torture and eventual death of Sergei Magnitsky (who he describes as a tax lawyer, but was actually an accountant) at face value.

But where Browder really grates is with his remarkable lack of self-awareness and out-of-touch declarations. At one point, for instance, in the run-up to the 1996 elections, in which there was a chance that the Communist candidate, Gennady Zyuganov, would win the presidency and potentially re-nationalize state companies, Browder said that he could deal with food shortages, hyperinflation, or any number of terrible conditions, but what he couldn't stomach was re-nationalization of industry. So, according to this guy, people starving and their savings evaporating into thin air is tolerable, but the worst thing imaginable is him losing his gains from fleecing Russian peasants. Solid guy, Browder.

For some background-- when the USSR fell, Russia embarked on a program of "voucher privatization" where every citizen received vouchers that they could use to bid on the shares of previously state-owned enterprises. Since Russia has incredible resource wealth, these were quite valuable. Unfortunately, in a country with no history of any kind of capital markets, the overwhelming majority of people had no clue what use they could get out of stock ownership. Immediately after they were issued, you could buy a voucher for a bottle of cheap vodka. And the people who became the oligarchs, as well as western vultures like Browder, did just that. Eventually, these shares sold at incredibly low valuations, and investors made a killing. But what Browder doesn't mention is that these absurdly low valuations almost certainly came about, in large part, from the fact that investors hate uncertainty. The possibility that a Zyuganov would come to power and re-nationalize state-owned enterprises was a real possibility, so plenty of investors stayed on the sidelines. Not Browder-- he jumped in, and when (surprise!) the Russian government behaved like the Russian government is wont to do, he acted like he was the victim of the world's worst injustice. Sure, what happened was in some way unfair. So was all the vultures jumping in to take advantage of peasants. Browder had no problem ripping off Russian peasants while extolling himself as a "great capitalist," but, when the Russian government took him in, he complained about the big bad Russians. It was extremely tiresome.

There were other places where his tone was equally annoying. He spent time talking about how "sexy" his second wife was/is, how she's "not like those other Russian girls that are just after money," and how many other people wanted to date her and how awesome he was because she chose him. Sergei Magnitsky's death is a sad story from a sad place. It's too bad the person to tell it is such a wildly out of touch hypocrite.

By Patricia5115 on March 22, 2015
A Self-Congratulatory Book with a Mission

The book was fun to read, like a Marvel comic book. Truly Bill Browder is, according to Bill Browder, a brilliant man willing to take daring risks where he sees an opportunity for personal gain. And I have to agree with him. With his inherited genetic intelligence, and some of the best education money can buy, he made himself enormously rich profiting from financial transactions that produced nothing of real value. I found this book to be quite self-congratulatory, written with no embarrassment for taking advantage of a whole population.
As Browder writes, "I found that to transition from communism to capitalism, the Russian government had decided to give away most of the state's property to the people. The government was going about this in a number of ways, but the most interesting was something called voucher privatization. The government granted one privatization certificate to every Russian citizen---roughly 150 million people in total -- and taken together these were exchangeable for 30 % of nearly all Russian companies." "The market price of the vouchers equaled 3 billion this meant that the valuation of the entire Russian economy was only 10 billion! That was one-sixth the value of Wal-Mart!" "Russia had 24% of the word's natural gas, 9% of the world's oil, and produced 6.6 % of the world's steel, among many other things. Yet this incredible trove of resources [owned by ordinary Russian citizens] was trading for a mere 10 billion! Even more astonishing was that there were no restrictions on who could purchase these vouchers. I could buy them, anyone could buy them." He recounts, "The Russian people had no idea what to do with the vouchers when they received them for free from the state and, in most cases, were happy to trade them for a $7 bottle of vodka or a few slabs of pork." Mr. Browder took advantage of their ignorance and brought millions of vouchers from the Russian people for a pittance of their true value. This is something to brag about? It is not laudable to buy something for a pittance of its real worth, from owners who have no idea of its true value. It is reprehensible. It was disturbing to me to see no introspection on the rightness or wrongness of beating someone out of his or her money.
Mr. Browder describes in his Sidanco deal the feeling he has when an opportunity for ungodly gains presents itself, "I had that tingling, greedy tension in my gut, similar to when I saw my $2,000 Polish investment multiply by nearly ten times, or when I unearthed the Russian voucher scheme."
Greed is not a virtue, Mr. Browder. It is a vice.

Reviewer Ian Kaplan wrote:
The second half of the book is about how Putin's gang tried to crush Hermitage Capital and everyone associated with it."

And, I would add, how Browder's gang is trying to crush Putin.
It makes me think that a large part of Mr. Browder's dogged determination in pushing the Maginsky Act through Congress, and signed into law, was not so much a humanitarian turn of the leaf for him, but a strategy to enlist the whole backing of the United States into his personal war with Putin, who put him out of a lucrative business in Russia.

By william schaffer on March 21, 2018
Confirmation that Russia is a very bad place.

I was familiar with Hermitage and Browder so it was not "news" to me. I feel Browder makes himself look good when in reality he was a jerk.
I don't wish him well!
Bill Schaffer

By exurbanite on February 25, 2018
Skepticism Advisable

Bill Browder is a shrewd fellow, at least up to a point. He saw an opportunity to make money after the collapse of Communism in Russia. He moved to Moscow, started a hedge fund, and succeeded in a big way. He made piles of money in essentially the same way the Russian oligarchy made it, by purchasing formerly state owned assets at hugely discounted rates.

It all worked beautifully for a while, but clever as he was Browder didn't realize he was living in a fool's paradise. Rather than remaining cool and quiet while making money, he publicly accused certain local enterprises of corruption. He did this, rather naively, in a country notoriously resentful of foreign interference in its affairs. Furthermore, there are indications that he himself was not above involvement in dodgy dealings, including fudging on taxes and sneaking funds into tax havens.

Not surprisingly, Browder, away on a trip, was barred from reentering Russia. Authorities raided his Moscow offices, confiscating files and computers. Although Browder managed to get his staff out of Russia, a man named Sergei Magnitsky whom Browder calls his lawyer, though he was apparently only an auditor, chose not to leave. This was a grave error, as poor Magnitsky became the foil for Russian displeasure with Browder. He was jailed, beaten, denied medical treatment, and died in prison. Meanwhile, a couple of thugs attached to the KGB, Russia's secret police, extorted large sums of money from Browder via a complex fraud, presumably accomplished with the tacit consent of establishment superiors.

Browder used Magnitsky's death to launch a major and eventually successful lobbying campaign for a U.S. law which came to be known as the Magnitsky Act. The law imposing sanctions on Russian officials responsible for Magnitsky's death. The Russians retaliated by placing Browder on the Interpol wanted list and later sentencing him in absentia to nine years in prison for tax fraud.

"Red Notice" is written in the fashionably breezy and colloquial style seemingly favored by many professional ghost writers. Not surprisingly, it portrays Browder as a skilled and principled financier who, prompted by the Magnitsky tragedy, turns himself into a towering figure in the world of human rights.

There are odd omissions in descriptions of Browder's family life. Divorce from his first wife is mentioned only in passing; although much ado is made over his meeting his glamorous Russian second wife, she fades entirely from later portions of the manuscript. "Red Notice" is a work of considerable interest. However, given the many controversies that hover over Browder's life and reputation, I believe it wise to view its contents with a generous degree of skepticism.

By El Briano on February 15, 2015
Hero with Somewhat Tarnished Halo

Other reviewers have accurately summarized the book, and justly praised Browder's commitment and courage in seeking a measure of justice for the brutal treatment, leading to death, of Sergei Magnitsky. My comment will focus on a disquieting subtext babout browder's activities in setting up and running his hedge fund.

Browder's rise to prominence with his Hermitage Fund followed the classic MBA playbook: find and exploit undervaluation. Fair enough in a financial world of transparency and disclosure where "consenting adults" can presumably fend for themselves. But this was not exactly the environment in Russia in the early 1990s. In its attempted transition from communism to some form of capitalism, the Russian government granted "privatization certificates" to the people - one certificate per citizen, about 150 million in total. Browder found that these certificates, in the aggregate, were exchangeable for about a 30 percent interest in newly privatized Russian companies.

In theory, this should have been a promising financial arrangement for the impoverished Russian people, particularly given the country's wealth of natural resources and the p[otential of its energy sector. But after decades of communism, capitalism was a largely unknown concept in day-to-day practice. Controlling interests were diverted to a well-connected oligarchical minority, who saw the companies more as ATMs rather than what we in the West would call modern corporations with appropriate disclosure and governance standards. Companies were valued at a tiny fraction of comparable Western entities, and the Russian stock market, such as it was, had little volume and virtually no transparency.

Browder had the insight to realize that the participation certificates were ludicrously undervalued in relation to the potential net worth of Russian companies. By purchasing large numbers of these certificates from the essentially clueless Russian citizenry for the functional equivalent of pennies on the dollar in relation to underlying value, Browder was able to position his Hermitage Fund to get in on the ground floor of a stock market that was virtually certain to rise dramatically as the potential of the Russian economy came to be understood in the Western world.

Depending on one's perspective, this is either an instance of brilliant, if amoral, take-the-world-as-it-is MBA-ism, or a classic example of a city slicker fleecing the rubes in a manner that would be much more difficult to pull off in a more sophisticated financial environment. I lean toward the latter position, and surely am not the only one dazed by the irony of Browder, grandson of a one-time head of the U.S. Communist Party, so unapologetically exploiting the ignorance of the Russian populace for capitalist gain.

Browder deserves all the kudos he's received for his work on the Magnitsky matter. But his Hermitage Fund (and its progeny and imitators) helped give visibility (though not transparency) and liquidity, as well as an aura of respectability, to the previously "undernourished" Russian stock market. Browder's investors did well, as did numbers of average Russians (though not necessarily those who sold the participation certificates). Principal beneficiaries, however, were the oligarchs and the well-connected favored few, the value of whose controlling interests soared greatly. In part, Browder was an enabler of the system he came (rightly) to despise and fight against.

By Scott Shorey on July 31, 2015
Whitewash Job

It seems Browder is trying to whitewash his own reputation and the part he played in the disasterous privitazation of Russian businesses after the collapse of the Soviet Union. He was an active and avid participant in buying up shares of companies for pennies on the dollar which helped to impoverish Russians for a generation. In addition his part in the death of Sergei Magnitsky was shameful. Yes Browder and Magnitsky uncoverd massive fraud but ultimately Browder decided that the money was more important than his "friend's" life. Passige of the Magnitsky Law slightly punished the perpetrators but he didn't need to die and Browder should be ashamed of himself as well.

[Jul 27, 2018] Grand Deception The Truth About Bill Browder, the Magnitsky Act and Anti-Russian Sanctions Alex Krainer 9780692131954 Amazo

Jul 27, 2018 | www.amazon.com
Product details
0 out of 5 stars Jareth Copus on July 19, 2018
A must read, regardless of political party of choice. A book that could save America, literaly

Well written, stringently researched and truly shines a light on the dark dealings of Bill Browder. Seamlessly disects the chapters of Bill browders book red notice bit by bit. Everyone should read this book.

[Jul 23, 2018] Doublethink and Newspeak Do We Have a Choice by Greg Guma

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... In Orwell's imagination, society was ruled in the future by Big Brother. It wasn't a computer, but rather the collective expression of the Party. But not like the Republicans; this Party was an autonomous bureaucracy and advanced surveillance state interested only in perpetuating itself as a hierarchy. In this dystopia, "the people" had become insignificant, without the power of "grasping that the world could be other than it is." ..."
"... Concepts like freedom were perverted by a ruthless Newspeakperpetuated by the Party through the media. A Goodthinker was someone who followed orders without thinking. Crimestop was the instinctual avoidance of any dangerous thought, and Doublethink was the constant distortion of reality to maintain the Party's image of infallibility. ..."
"... Writing in 1948, Orwell was projecting what could happen in just a few decades. By most measures, even 70 years later we're not quite there yet. But we do face the real danger that freedom and equality will be seriously distorted by a new form of Newspeak, a Trumpian version promoted by the administration and its allies through their media. We already have Trumpian Goodthinkers -- the sychophantic surrogates who follow his lead without thinking, along with Crimestop -- the instinctual avoidance of "disloyal" thought, and Doublethink -- the constant distortion of reality to maintain Trump's insatiable ego and image of infallibility. Orwellian ideas are simply resurfacing in a post-modern/reality TV form. ..."
"... As community life unravels and more institutions fall into disrepute, media have become among of the few remaining that can potentially facilitate some social cohesion. Yet instead they fuel conflict and crisis. It's not quite Crimestop, but does often appeal to some of the basest instincts and produce even more alienation and division. ..."
"... In 1980, Ralph Nader called the race for president at that time -- between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan -- a choice between mediocrity and menace. It was funny then, but now we can see what real menace looks like. Is Trump-ism what Orwell warned us about? Not quite, though there are similarities. Like Trump, you can't talk to Big Brother. And he rarely gives you the truth, only doublespeak. But Trump is no Big Brother. More like a Drunk Uncle with nukes. ..."
"... Security is tight and hard to avoid, on or offline. There are cameras everywhere, and every purchase and move most people make is tracked by the state. Still, there are four bombings in the first week of the Games. There is also another kind of human tragedy. Four runners collapse during preliminary rounds as a result of a toxic mix -- heat and pollution. ..."
"... Greg Guma is the Vermont-based author of Dons of Time, Uneasy Empire, Spirits of Desire, Big Lies, and The People's Republic: Vermont and the Sanders Revolution. ..."
"... This article was originally published by Greg Guma: For Preservation & Change . ..."
Aug 21, 2017 | www.globalresearch.ca
Region: USA Theme: Media Disinformation , Police State & Civil Rights

More people are becoming alienated, cynical, resentful or resigned, while too much of mass and social media reinforces less-than-helpful narratives and tendencies. The frog's in the frying pan and the heat is rising.

On the big screens above us beautiful young people demonstrated their prowess. We were sitting in the communications center, waiting for print outs to tell us what they'd done before organizing the material for mass consumption. Outside, people were freezing in the snow as they waited for buses. Their only choice was to attend another event or attempt to get home.

The area was known as the Competition Zone, a corporate state created for the sole purpose of showcasing these gorgeous competitors. Freedom was a foreign idea here; no one was more free than the laminated identification card hanging around your neck allowed.

Visitors were more restricted than anyone. They saw only what they paid for, and had to wait in long lines for food, transport, or tickets to more events. They were often uncomfortable, yet they felt privileged to be admitted to the Zone. Citizens were categorized by their function within the Organizing Committee's bureaucracy. Those who merely served -- in jobs like cooking, driving and cleaning -- wore green and brown tags. They could travel between their homes and work, but were rarely permitted into events. Their contact with visitors was also limited. To visit them from outside the Zone, their friends and family had to be screened.

Most citizens knew little about how the Zone was actually run, about the "inner community" of diplomats, competitors and corporate officials they served. Yet each night they watched the exploits of this same elite on television.

The Zone, a closed and classified place where most bad news went unreported and a tiny elite called the shots through mass media and computers, was no futuristic fantasy. It was Lake Placid for several weeks in early 1980 -- a full four years before 1984.

In a once sleepy little community covered with artificial snow, the Olympics had brought a temporary society into being. Two thousand athletes and their entourage were its royalty, role models for the throngs of spectators, townspeople and journalists. This convergence resulted in an ad hoc police state, managed by public and private forces and a political elite that combined local business honchos with an international governing committee. They dominated a population all too willing to submit to arbitrary authority.

Even back then, Lake Placid's Olympic "village" felt like a preview of things to come. Not quite George Orwell's dark vision, but uncomfortably close.

In Orwell's imagination, society was ruled in the future by Big Brother. It wasn't a computer, but rather the collective expression of the Party. But not like the Republicans; this Party was an autonomous bureaucracy and advanced surveillance state interested only in perpetuating itself as a hierarchy. In this dystopia, "the people" had become insignificant, without the power of "grasping that the world could be other than it is."

Concepts like freedom were perverted by a ruthless Newspeakperpetuated by the Party through the media. A Goodthinker was someone who followed orders without thinking. Crimestop was the instinctual avoidance of any dangerous thought, and Doublethink was the constant distortion of reality to maintain the Party's image of infallibility.

Writing in 1948, Orwell was projecting what could happen in just a few decades. By most measures, even 70 years later we're not quite there yet. But we do face the real danger that freedom and equality will be seriously distorted by a new form of Newspeak, a Trumpian version promoted by the administration and its allies through their media. We already have Trumpian Goodthinkers -- the sychophantic surrogates who follow his lead without thinking, along with Crimestop -- the instinctual avoidance of "disloyal" thought, and Doublethink -- the constant distortion of reality to maintain Trump's insatiable ego and image of infallibility. Orwellian ideas are simply resurfacing in a post-modern/reality TV form.

Our fast food culture is also taking a long-term toll. More and more people are becoming alienated, cynical, resentful or resigned, while too much of mass and social media reinforces less-than-helpful narratives and tendencies. The frog's in the frying pan and the heat is rising.

Much of what penetrates and goes viral further fragments culture and thought, promoting a cynicism that reinforces both rage and inaction. Rather than true diversity, we have the mass illusion that a choice between polarized opinions, shaped and curated by editors and networks, is the essence of free speech and democracy. In reality, original ideas are so constrained and self-censored that what's left is usually as diverse as brands of peppermint toothpaste.

When the Bill of Rights was ratified, the notion that freedom of speech and the press should be protected meant that the personal right of self-expression should not be repressed by the government. James Madison, author of the First Amendment, warned that the greatest danger to liberty was that a majority would use its power to repress everyone else. Yet the evolution of mass media and the corporate domination of economic life have made these "choicest privileges" almost obsolete.

As community life unravels and more institutions fall into disrepute, media have become among of the few remaining that can potentially facilitate some social cohesion. Yet instead they fuel conflict and crisis. It's not quite Crimestop, but does often appeal to some of the basest instincts and produce even more alienation and division.

In general terms, what most mass media bring the public is a series of images and anecdotes that cumulatively define a way of life. Both news and entertainment contribute to the illusion that competing, consuming and accumulating are at the core of our aspirations. Each day we are repeatedly shown and told that culture and politics are corrupt, that war is imminent or escalating somewhere, that violence is random and pervasive, and yet also that the latest "experts" have the answers. Countless programs meanwhile celebrate youth, violence, frustrated sexuality, and the lives of celebrities.

Between the official program content are a series of intensely packaged sales pitches. These commercial messages wash over us, as if we are wandering in an endless virtual mall, searching in vain for fulfillment as society crumbles.

In 1980, Ralph Nader called the race for president at that time -- between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan -- a choice between mediocrity and menace. It was funny then, but now we can see what real menace looks like. Is Trump-ism what Orwell warned us about? Not quite, though there are similarities. Like Trump, you can't talk to Big Brother. And he rarely gives you the truth, only doublespeak. But Trump is no Big Brother. More like a Drunk Uncle with nukes.

So, is it too late for a rescue? Will menace win this time? Or can we still save the environment, reclaim self-government, restore communities and protect human rights? What does the future hold?

It could be summer in Los Angeles in 2024, the end of Donald Trump's second term. The freeways are slow-moving parking lots for the Olympics. Millions of people hike around in the heat, or use bikes and cycles to get to work. It's difficult with all the checkpoints, not to mention the extra-high security at the airports. Thousands of police, not to mention the military, are on the lookout for terrorists, smugglers, protesters, cultists, gangs, thieves, and anyone who doesn't have money to burn or a ticket to the Games.

Cash isn't much good, and gas has become so expensive that suburban highways are almost empty.

Security is tight and hard to avoid, on or offline. There are cameras everywhere, and every purchase and move most people make is tracked by the state. Still, there are four bombings in the first week of the Games. There is also another kind of human tragedy. Four runners collapse during preliminary rounds as a result of a toxic mix -- heat and pollution.

... ... ...

Greg Guma is the Vermont-based author of Dons of Time, Uneasy Empire, Spirits of Desire, Big Lies, and The People's Republic: Vermont and the Sanders Revolution.

This article was originally published by Greg Guma: For Preservation & Change .

[Jul 23, 2018] The Prophecy of Orwell's 1984. Totalitarian Control and the Entertainment Culture that Takes Over by Edward Curtin

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... There is a vast literature analyzing the political prophecy of George Orwell 's Nineteen Eighty-Four . Big Brother, double-speak, telescreens, crimestop, etc. – all applied to our current political situation. The language has become part of our popular lexicon, and as such, has become clichéd through overuse. Blithe, habitual use of language robs it of its power to crack open the safe that hides the realities of life. ..."
"... There is no doubt that Orwell wrote a brilliant political warning about the methods of totalitarian control. But hidden at the heart of the book is another lesson lost on most readers and commentators. Rats, torture, and Newspeak resonate with people fixated on political repression, which is a major concern, of course. But so too is privacy and sexual passion in a country of group-think and group-do, where "Big Brother" poisons you in the crib and the entertainment culture then takes over to desexualize intimacy by selling it as another public commodity. ..."
"... The United States is a pornographic society. By pornographic I do not just mean the omnipresent selling of exploitative sex through all media to titillate a voyeuristic public living in the unreality of screen "life" and screen sex through television, movies, and online obsessions. I mean a commodified consciousness, where everyone and everything is part of a prostitution ring in the deepest sense of pornography's meaning – for sale, bought. ..."
"... As this happens, words and language become corrupted by the same forces that Orwell called Big Brother, whose job is total propaganda and social control. Just as physical reality now mimics screen reality and thus becomes chimerical, language, through which human beings uncover and articulate the truth of being, becomes more and more abstract. People don't die; they "pass on" or "pass away." Dying, like real sex, is too physical. Wars of aggression don't exist; they are "overseas contingency operations." Killing people with drones isn't killing; it's "neutralizing them." There are a "ton" of examples, but I am sure "you guys" don't need me to list any more. ..."
"... This destruction of language has been going on for a long time, but it's worth noting that from Hemingway's WW I through Orwell's WW II up until today's endless U.S. wars against Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Libya, etc., there has been the parallel development of screen and media culture, beginning with silent movies through television and onto the total electronic media environment we now inhabit – the surround sound and image bubble of literal abstractions that inhabit us, mentally and physically. In such a society, to feel what you really feel and not what, in Hemingway's words, "you were supposed to feel, and had been taught to feel" has become extremely difficult. ..."
"... But understanding the history of public relations, advertising, propaganda, the CIA, the national security apparatus, technology, etc., makes it clear that such hope is baseless. For the propaganda in this country has penetrated far deeper than anyone can imagine, and it has primarily done this through advanced technology and the religion of technique – machines as pure abstractions – that has poisoned not just our minds, but the deepest wellsprings of the body's truths and the erotic imagination that links us in love to all life on earth. ..."
"... Orwell makes it very clear that language is the key to mind control, as he delineates how Newspeak works. I think he is right. And mind control also means the control of our bodies, Eros, our sex, our physical connections to all living beings and nature. Today the U.S. is reaching the point where "Oldspeak" – Standard English – has been replaced by Newspeak, and just "fragments of the literature of the past" survive here and there. ..."
Jul 20, 2018 | www.globalresearch.ca

The Sexual Passion of Orwell's Winston Smith

"Christianity gave Eros poison to drink; he did not die of it, certainly, but degenerated to Vice." – Frederick Nietzsche , Beyond Good and Evil

"Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically. The cataclysm has happened, we are among the ruins, we start to build up new little habitats, to have new little hopes. It is rather hard work: there is now no smooth road into the future: but we go round, or scramble over the obstacles. We've got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen." – D. H. Lawrence , Lady Chatterley's Lover

"The so-called consumer society and the politics of corporate capitalism have created a second nature of man which ties him libidinally and aggressively to the commodity form. The need for possessing, consuming, handling and constantly renewing gadgets, devices, instruments, engines, offered to and imposed upon the people, for using these wares even at the danger of one's own destruction, has become a 'biological' need." – Herbert Marcuse , One Dimensional Man

There is a vast literature analyzing the political prophecy of George Orwell 's Nineteen Eighty-Four . Big Brother, double-speak, telescreens, crimestop, etc. – all applied to our current political situation. The language has become part of our popular lexicon, and as such, has become clichéd through overuse. Blithe, habitual use of language robs it of its power to crack open the safe that hides the realities of life.

There is no doubt that Orwell wrote a brilliant political warning about the methods of totalitarian control. But hidden at the heart of the book is another lesson lost on most readers and commentators. Rats, torture, and Newspeak resonate with people fixated on political repression, which is a major concern, of course. But so too is privacy and sexual passion in a country of group-think and group-do, where "Big Brother" poisons you in the crib and the entertainment culture then takes over to desexualize intimacy by selling it as another public commodity.

The United States is a pornographic society. By pornographic I do not just mean the omnipresent selling of exploitative sex through all media to titillate a voyeuristic public living in the unreality of screen "life" and screen sex through television, movies, and online obsessions. I mean a commodified consciousness, where everyone and everything is part of a prostitution ring in the deepest sense of pornography's meaning – for sale, bought.

And consumed by getting, spending, and selling. Flicked into the net of Big Brother, whose job is make sure everything fundamentally human and physical is debased and mediated, people become consumers of the unreal and direct experience is discouraged. The natural world becomes an object to be conquered and used. Animals are produced in chemical factories to be slaughtered by the billions only to appear bloodless under plastic wrap in supermarket coolers. The human body disappears into hypnotic spectral images. One's sex becomes one's gender as the words are transmogrified and as one looks in the mirror of the looking-glass self and wonders how to identify the one looking back.

Streaming life from Netflix or Facebook becomes life the movie. The brilliant perverseness of the mediated reality of a screen society – what Guy Debord calls The Society of the Spectacle – is that as it distances people from fundamental reality, it promotes that reality through its screen fantasies. "Get away from it all and restore yourself at our spa in the rugged mountains where you can hike in pristine woods after yoga and a breakfast of locally sourced eggs and artisanally crafted bread." Such garbage would be funny if it weren't so effective. Debord writes,

The spectacle is not a collection of images, but a social relation among people, mediated by images .Where the real world changes into simple images, the simple images become real beings and effective motivations of hypnotic behavior.

Thus sex with robots and marrying yourself are not aberrations but logical extensions of a society where solipsism meets machine in the America dream.

As this happens, words and language become corrupted by the same forces that Orwell called Big Brother, whose job is total propaganda and social control. Just as physical reality now mimics screen reality and thus becomes chimerical, language, through which human beings uncover and articulate the truth of being, becomes more and more abstract. People don't die; they "pass on" or "pass away." Dying, like real sex, is too physical. Wars of aggression don't exist; they are "overseas contingency operations." Killing people with drones isn't killing; it's "neutralizing them." There are a "ton" of examples, but I am sure "you guys" don't need me to list any more.

Orwell called Big Brother's language Newspeak, and Hemingway preceded him when he so famously wrote in disgust In a Farewell to Arms ,

"I was always embarrassed by the words sacred, glorious, and sacrifice, and the expression in vain. Abstract words such as glory, honor, courage, or hallow were obscene "

This destruction of language has been going on for a long time, but it's worth noting that from Hemingway's WW I through Orwell's WW II up until today's endless U.S. wars against Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Libya, etc., there has been the parallel development of screen and media culture, beginning with silent movies through television and onto the total electronic media environment we now inhabit – the surround sound and image bubble of literal abstractions that inhabit us, mentally and physically. In such a society, to feel what you really feel and not what, in Hemingway's words, "you were supposed to feel, and had been taught to feel" has become extremely difficult.

... ... ...

But as we learn in 1984 and should learn in the U.S.A. today , "seemed" is the key word. Their triumph was temporary. For sexual passion reveals truths that need to be confirmed in the mind. In itself, sexual liberation can be easily manipulated, as it has been so effectively in the United States. "Repressive de-sublimation" Herbert Marcuse called it fifty years ago. You allow people to act out their sexual fantasies in commodified ways that can be controlled by the rulers, all the while ruling their minds and potential political rebelliousness. Sex becomes part of the service economy where people service each other while serving their masters. Use pseudo-sex to sell them a way of life that traps them in an increasingly totalitarian social order that only seems free. This has been accomplished primarily through screen culture and the concomitant confusion of sexual identity. Perhaps you have noticed that over the past twenty-five years of growing social and political confusion, we have witnessed an exponential growth in "the electronic life," the use of psychotropic drugs, and sexual disorientation. This is no accident. Wars have become as constant as Eros – the god of love, life, joy, and motion – has been divorced from sex as a stimulus and response release of tension in a "stressed" society. Rollo May, the great American psychologist, grasped this:

Indeed, we have set sex over against eros, used sex precisely to avoid the anxiety-creating involvements of eros We are in flight from eros and use sex as the vehicle for the flight Eros [which includes, but is not limited to, passionate sex] is the center of vitality of a culture – its heart and soul. And when release of tension takes the place of creative eros, the downfall of the civilization is assured.

Because Julia and Winston cannot permanently escape Oceania, but can only tryst, they succumb to Big Brother's mind control and betray each other. Their sexual affair can't save them. It is a moment of beauty and freedom in an impossible situation. Of course the hermetically sealed world of 1984 is not the United States. Orwell created a society in which escape was impossible. It is, after all, an admonitory novel – not the real world. Things are more subtle here; we still have some wiggle room – some – although the underlying truth is the same: the U.S. oligarchy, like "The Party," "seeks power entirely for its own sake" and "are not interested in the good of others," all rhetoric to the contrary. Our problem is that too many believe the rhetoric, and those who say they don't really do at the deepest level. Fly the flag and play the national anthem and their hearts are aflutter with hope. Recycle old bromides about the next election when your political enemies will be swept out of office and excitement builds as though you had met the love of your life and all was well with the world.

But understanding the history of public relations, advertising, propaganda, the CIA, the national security apparatus, technology, etc., makes it clear that such hope is baseless. For the propaganda in this country has penetrated far deeper than anyone can imagine, and it has primarily done this through advanced technology and the religion of technique – machines as pure abstractions – that has poisoned not just our minds, but the deepest wellsprings of the body's truths and the erotic imagination that links us in love to all life on earth.

In "Defence of Poetry," Percy Bysshe Shelley writes:

The great secret of morals is love; or a going out of our nature, and an identification of ourselves with the beautiful which exists in thought, action, or person, not our own. A man, to be greatly good, must imagine intensely and comprehensively; he must put himself in the place of another and of many others; the pains and pleasure of his species must become his own. The great instrument of moral good is the imagination.

We are now faced with the question: Can we escape the forces of propaganda and mind control that run so very deep into American life? If so, how? Let's imagine a way out.

Orwell makes it very clear that language is the key to mind control, as he delineates how Newspeak works. I think he is right. And mind control also means the control of our bodies, Eros, our sex, our physical connections to all living beings and nature. Today the U.S. is reaching the point where "Oldspeak" – Standard English – has been replaced by Newspeak, and just "fragments of the literature of the past" survive here and there.

This is true for the schooled and unschooled. In fact, those more trapped by the instrumental logic, disembodied data, and word games of the power elite are those who have gone through the most schooling, the indoctrination offered by the so-called "elite" universities. I suspect that more working-class and poor people still retain some sense of the old language and the fundamental meaning of words, since it is with their sweat and blood that they "earn their living." Many of the highly schooled are children of the power elite or those groomed to serve them, who are invited to join in living the life of power and privilege if they swallow their consciences and deaden their imaginations to the suffering their "life-styles" and ideological choices inflict on the rest of the world. In this world of The New York Times , Harvard, The New Yorker , Martha's Vineyard, The Washington Post , Wall St., Goldman Sachs, the boardrooms of the ruling corporations, all the corporate media, etc., language has become debased beyond recognition. Here, as Orwell said of Newspeak, "a heretical thought should be literally unthinkable, at least as far as thought is dependent on words. Its vocabulary was so constructed as to give exact and often very subtle expression to every meaning that a Party member could properly wish to express." The intelligently orthodox, he adds, must master the art of "doublethink" wherein they hold two contradictory ideas in their minds simultaneously, while accepting both of them. This is the key trick of logic and language that allows the power elites and their lackeys in the U.S. today to master the art of self-deception and feel good about themselves as they plunder the world. In this "Party" world, the demonization, degradation, and killing of others is an abstraction; their lives are spectral. Orwell describes doublethink this way:

To tell deliberate lives while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality one denies – all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink . For by using the word one admits one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth.

... ... ...

*

Edward Curtin is a writer whose work has appeared widely; he is a frequent contributor to Global Research. He teaches sociology at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. His website is http://edwardcurtin.com/ .

[Jul 21, 2018] Amazon.com Customer reviews A Higher Loyalty Truth, Lies, and Leadership

Comey is loyal to the Empire, not to the country.
Jul 21, 2018 | www.amazon.com

g scott whidden on June 18, 2018

Truth or fiction?

Insightful but who do you believe?? James does make many good points but without confirmation from another or two people, i.m just wondering who is telling the truth. Still something fishy here and I think both parties are full of BS and probably James as well. But only time will tell when historians can weed through all the smoke and mirrors

Mojo on June 8, 2018
Interesting insight into muddy American morales

This is an interesting read. In years gone I wouldn't have been interested but the current political climate in the US is such that I felt it worth a read. The polarity in the system and its players appears beyond what I'd expected and while there appears to be corruption in most systems, it's amazing the Americans have been able to present an appearance of decency and leadership this long. I guess the vail is down now and the current administration is showing just how broken and morally bankrupt the place is and has been for a long time.

Louis S. Menyhert on June 20, 2018
Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely, the desire for power corrupts the very fabric of humanity

I think the title says it all, Comey has only one true loyalty and that is to himself. I enjoyed this book. It was insightful trip through the mind of a psychopath. His deviations from procedure, his lies, half truths and lawyerisms litter the book and highlight the forces that have corrupted this nation and agencies we rely on.

Its clear that Comey did not act independently but with the tacit guidance and approval of those above him. He makes no admission of guilt about his demonstrated lies, but rathers blames others. His self inflated ego is too commonplace to those who have worked in Washington DC among various political agencies and dens where politicians and their allies lurk. The book betrays no empathy for those he shamelessly prosecuted. The book is laden with attempts at manipulation through lies, half truths, and gross distortions.

On one hand I highly recommend this book because it is sure to become the "textbook" on psychopaths and their characteristics.

On the other hand this book serves as a cautionary warning about ambition run wild, corruption at the highest levels of government, the abuse of power. No author could pen such a novel. As an exhibit it ranks with 1984 as a warning of what evil men do in the name of "a higher good."

lakrow on June 28, 2018
A higher loyalty to himself

A higher loyalty? To himself, I would assume.

This is a lying, childish, self-serving, narcissistic, money grab from a partisan author who can't even keep his story straight. His interviews contradict his book and this book is probably illegal in that it talks about an ongoing sham "investigation" that isn't even an investigation, it's an investigation to find something to investigate.

Vegasdtr on May 6, 2018
Didn't like this book

I went into this book with an open mind after seeing Mr Comey on alot of the morning shows. I didn't like the way he seemed to be trying to be "holier than thou" regardless of which political he was answering to. It did, in the other hand, explain what he was thinking on some of his decisions on some of the moves he made during the election season. But truly it just read like he was making a lot of excuses and sour grapes. I didn't enjoy this book at all. I had to force myself to finish it. I just didn't think it was very well written.

GLENN MCBRIDE on May 16, 2018
There is no moral high ground in this book as much as its author would like to claim that he is on it

If you read the "Author's Note" on the first page of this book, it will tell you all you need to know about this smug arrogant self righteous man. It reads, "WHO AM I TO TELL others what ethical leadership is?" If you read the book, you may come to the same conclusion as I did. There is no moral high ground in this book as much as its author would like to claim that he is on it. You could read that first sentence and be done with it and you would get as much out of the book without reading more.

Joel Spring on May 15, 2018
Bitter Former Employee

Just a book filled with Hatred of a former employee. The people who defend this guy are the same people who accused him of violating the Hatch Act when he announced a few days prior to the election that the FBI was reopening the Clinton email investigation. I must admit I was touched at nearly drawn to tears when he details the lost of his newborn son. However that does not change the fact that Comey is a liar. James Comey:'I don't leak.'(In a memo that he leaked.)

Vivian Wallace Allen on May 20, 2018
Self-serving Drivel

This book is second only to What Happened by Hillary Clinton in self-serving drivel. It started out interesting enough with Cindy's work history, but once he got to the subject of his (supposed) interactions with President Trump, it was downhill from there. It will be interesting to see what he has to say now in light of the FBI's possible spying on the Trump campaign. I'm just glad I read it in Overdrive and didn't waste my own money.

Gary on May 15, 2018
How about loyalty to the USA

A higher loyalty would be to the country - not the ego of a sad individual that hates the president. Love him or hate him the president is leading the country in a direction that shows promise. The electorate can throw him out after 4 years, just like it rejected the previous 8 years. In the meantime all Americans should be praying for the president's success and the success of the country. That's loyalty......

grayce tripodi on April 18, 2018
Don't waste your money, Jim wants go for sainthood

Comey is extremely bright, and knows how ( or thinks he does) how to convince his readers he is one step down from sainthood. I am not that naieve. He could have done away with the first ten chapters, where he was born and what he wore growing up was irrelevant.

I knew what he was doing. It annoyed me. He is absolutely blameless in everything.

Having dinner with Donald ALONE four times, making sure he made a EXTENDIVE note of it and gave it to another " means nothing. The head of the FBI does NOT meet with the president alone. Saying he did not know what to do each time insults my intelligence.

He is sport on correct what he wrote " in my opinion " about Trump, but, everyone knew all this and it was on the last 4 chapters.

Jim wanted to tell his story, simple as that. Don't waste your money, I did there is not one thing that you do not already know, if you know politicks .

I am NOT A TRUMP VOTER. I am a R

Sharon Barger on June 25, 2018
Excuses, excuses

I really liked the first part of this book, learning about Comey and his background. At some point though, he started to rationalize and justify his actions and seemed to get on a high horse about defending the reputation of the FBI no matter what. I disagree with the premise that the honor of the FBI is more important than truth and integrity.

Comey explains that he did the things he did for the greater good of the FBI. Look where we are now. By his actions alone, Trump won the election and is now daily attacking the FBI and the DOJ. Is this the outcome Comey really wanted? And where is he beloved FBI's reputation now?

Comey is an excellent writer. No errors or mistakes and a very readable book. He has a sense of humor, but is a little full of himself. When he got into the rationalization of his actions, I couldn't take it anymore and stopped reading.

James Biggerstaff MD on May 24, 2018
Sanctimonious egotist

A sanctimonious, self aggrandizing story of an egotist . I'm glad I read it but I wouldn't advise anyone else to waste their money.

Carol on May 25, 2018
DON'T BUY COMEY'S BOOK: BORING

I really didn't enjoy this book very much. Only the last two chapters were addressed to the problems with Trump. The rest of the book was rather boring, mainly talking about how his career progressed, etc. If I had known what this book contained I would never have bought it. Comey's many TV interviews were misleading in what the majority of the content was. I do not recommend this book at all.

[Jul 18, 2018] Fascism A Warning by Madeleine Albright

Madeleine Albright is a well known neocon who was instrumental in organizing the invasion of Yugoslavia
Notable quotes:
"... Every reader will conclude that his or her political enemies fit the bill. ..."
"... And, unfortunately, I fear, she, in one fell swoop of prose, both fuels the fires of division while exiling the book to practical irrelevance. In the end, she will likely only energize both political extremes, and, I suspect, the reader ratings of this book will ultimately reflect that. ..."
"... She notes, for starters, that the Fascist epithet may be appropriate for the US today for reasons having more to do with economics than populism. The Fascist Party of Italy, which gave rise to general use of the term, was the ultimate merger of the corporate and political states. And that is, in fact, what has happened here in the US. ..."
"... The incorporation accelerated greatly during the dot-com 90s when young entrepreneurs were preaching disruption and libertarianism. It is ironic, indeed, that tech's "democratic" perspective has now produced among the biggest and most powerful corporations the world has ever known. And they pulled it off, actually, while the anti-trust regulators in both Republican and Democratic administrations stood by and watched. ..."
"... To me what we have today is not so much analogous to the Fascist or Nazi parties of the mid-20th Century as it is the power of the church in Medieval Europe. The kings and queens of Washington may wear the crowns, but it is the corporate "popes" of Wall Street and Silicon Valley that are really calling the shots. ..."
"... Neither party has defined an agenda that addresses the issues that originally brought Trump to power. And until that happens I believe Albright's Fascist warning will remain valid. ..."
Jul 18, 2018 | www.amazon.com
Gary Moreau, Author TOP 500 REVIEWER 4.0 out of 5 stars | Verified Purchase
Oh how I wanted to rate this book a 6

This is a timely book by a brilliant person who had a front row seat to the tragedy that was Europe in the Mid-20th Century. There is little doubt that the world is starting to look fearfully like it did at the beginning of those dark hours, starting with the tyranny of Hitler and Mussolini and culminating in the Cold War and the gulags of the Soviet Union.

Figuratively speaking, this is really three books. The first will be the most divisive and may, in fact, quite unfortunately, relegate the book to practical irrelevance. The second book is extremely insightful and informative. And the third book, honestly, is pure gold and vintage Madeline Albright.

The first book begins with a contradiction. Albright openly acknowledges that Fascism has become a meaningless epithet, hurled, as it is, by opposing politicians of every stripe and at parents merely attempting to limit the cell phone usage of their children. She goes on to defend the titular use of the term, however, by clarifying her use of the term: "To my mind, a Fascist is someone who identifies strongly with and claims to speak for a whole nation or group, is unconcerned with the rights of others, and is willing to use whatever means are necessary -- including violence -- to achieve his or her goals."

At that point, however, she hasn't really narrowed the list of politicians who qualify for the pejorative label at all. Every reader will conclude that his or her political enemies fit the bill. She seals the fate of this portion of the book, however, when she asks, on page 4 of the book, " why, this far into the twenty-first century, are we once again talking about Fascism?" And answers, "One reason, frankly, is Donald Trump. If we think of Fascism as a wound from the past that had almost healed, putting Trump in the White House was like ripping off the bandage and picking at the scab." And she goes on to make thinly veiled comparisons between Trump, Mussolini, and Joseph McCarthy.

And, unfortunately, I fear, she, in one fell swoop of prose, both fuels the fires of division while exiling the book to practical irrelevance. In the end, she will likely only energize both political extremes, and, I suspect, the reader ratings of this book will ultimately reflect that.

That is most unfortunate because without those opening pages this would be a truly terrific book. It chronicles both relevant history and the recent past to a degree that few other people on the planet could.

The second part of the book is devoted to an analysis of recent political events in Hungary, Poland, Turkey, Venezuela, the Philippines, Russia, North Korea, and, of course, the United States. All, to varying degrees, she maintains, are showing signs of a slide toward Fascism and the decline of post-war liberal democracy. It is an informative analysis and unless you are a political junkie, you will learn a lot.

In the third part of the book she truly hits her stride. She notes, for starters, that the Fascist epithet may be appropriate for the US today for reasons having more to do with economics than populism. The Fascist Party of Italy, which gave rise to general use of the term, was the ultimate merger of the corporate and political states. And that is, in fact, what has happened here in the US.

The incorporation of America has been going on since the conservative movement of the 1980s, however, and while Trump is carrying the corporate water at the moment, he can hardly be blamed for allowing Wall Street and Silicon Valley to take control of Washington.

The incorporation accelerated greatly during the dot-com 90s when young entrepreneurs were preaching disruption and libertarianism. It is ironic, indeed, that tech's "democratic" perspective has now produced among the biggest and most powerful corporations the world has ever known. And they pulled it off, actually, while the anti-trust regulators in both Republican and Democratic administrations stood by and watched.

To me what we have today is not so much analogous to the Fascist or Nazi parties of the mid-20th Century as it is the power of the church in Medieval Europe. The kings and queens of Washington may wear the crowns, but it is the corporate "popes" of Wall Street and Silicon Valley that are really calling the shots.

Which is why both parties, I think, should be fearful of whatever happens in the mid-term elections. Be careful what you wish for. Neither party has defined an agenda that addresses the issues that originally brought Trump to power. And until that happens I believe Albright's Fascist warning will remain valid.

In the final chapters of the book Albright notes that putting American interests first invites Russia, China, and others to do the same. And it is here that she lowers her partisan guard (we all have one) and calls for unity through the recognition of our common humanity and the rejection of extremism that favors one group over another.

It is here that she also seems to soften her position on ideals of post-war democratic liberalism and focuses more on compassion, integrity, and fairness. I think of it as defining a new standard of shared obligation and responsibility that includes those countries and those people that aren't rushing to implement an Electoral College and to copy our form of bare-knuckle individualism, but those are my words, not hers.

In the end she notes that spend her time on issues like: "purging excess money from politics, improving civic education, defending journalistic independence, adjusting to the changing nature of the workplace, enhancing inter-religious dialogue, and putting a saddle on the bucking bronco we call the Internet." It's a perfect ending to what is a very good book by an inspiring individual.

I do recommend reading it.

[Jul 18, 2018] Bad Blood Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou

Jul 18, 2018 | www.amazon.com

An Amazon Best Book of May 2018: In Bad Blood , the Wall Street Journal 's John Carreyrou takes us through the step-by-step history of Theranos, a Silicon Valley startup that became almost mythical, in no small part due to its young, charismatic founder Elizabeth Holmes. In fact, Theranos was mythical for a different reason, because the technological promise it was founded upon -- that vital health information could be gleaned from a small drop of blood using handheld devices -- was a lie. Carreyrou tracks the experiences of former employees to craft the fascinating story of a company run under a strict code of secrecy, a place where leadership was constantly throwing up smoke screens and making promises that it could not keep. Meanwhile, investors kept pouring in money, turning Elizabeth Holmes into a temporary billionaire.

As companies like Walgreens and Safeway strike deals with Theranos, and as even the army tries to get in on the Theranos promise (there's a brief cameo by James "Mad Dog" Mattis), the plot thickens and the proverbial noose grows tighter.

Although I knew how the story ended, I found myself reading this book compulsively. – Chris Schluep

[Jul 18, 2018] Grand Deception The Truth About Bill Browder, the Magnitsky Act and Anti-Russian Sanctions by Alex Krainer

Jul 18, 2018 | www.amazon.com

In 2015, Bill Browder published Red Notice - purportedly a true story about his experience in Russia between 1996 and 2005. Upon closer scrutiny however, his story doesn't add up and demonstrably fails to stand up in a court of law. Nonetheless, on the dubious strength of that story, Browder has been able to lobby the U.S. Congress to pass the Magnitsky Act in 2012 which needlessly damaged the relations between the U.S. and Russia. Where he failed in courts of law, however, his campaign of relentless demonization of Russia and of Vladimir Putin has been successful in the court of public opinion in the West. As humanity finds itself on the precipice of yet another great war, what we need are bridges of mutual understanding and constructive engagement, not demonization. This book's modest hope is to contribute to the construction of those bridges.

"I consider [this] book as a must read for any person trying to understand modern Russia and where the new Cold War with Russia came from. ... Krainer offers us the truth and truly shows us how deep the rabbit hole goes. ... Get the book, read it, and then give it to your friends. This is one of the most important books to have come out in the recent years (and an excellent read too!)." --The Saker

"True to form, Alex brings to life the shenanigans and the deception of those who have gone out of their way to stay in the shadows, in this gripping true-life-detective non-fiction thriller." --Daniel Estulin, author of The True Story of the Bilderberg Group

"Krainer's book is an indispensable contribution to understanding the connection between the looting of Russia during the disastrous shock therapy of the Yeltsin years, and the dangerous anti-Russian provocations of today. His insight into the duplicitous role of Bill Browder provides compelling evidence of how unscrupulous greed can lead to much larger crimes." --Harley Schlanger, Schiller Institute

A commodities trader and hedge fund manager by day, Alex Krainer took up writing in an effort to uncover the truth about the pressing social, economic and political issues of the day, and share it broadly with the public. He was born in Croatia, one of the republics of former Yugoslavia, to a Croatian father and a Serbian mother. As a young man in the 1990s he lived through the downfall of the 'Communist Bloc' and served in the Croatian Army during the war in that country. Having observed first-hand the events that led to the destructive and tragic wars in former Yugoslavia, he believes that truth is the single most important requirement needed to preserve peace. This book represents Alex's personal endeavor to contribute an important element of truth toward a peaceful resolution of the dangerous yet needless new Cold War between the United States and Russia so that the relations between these two great nations may develop in the spirit of friendship, mutual cooperation and widespread prosperity.

You can visit Alex's blog at thenakedhedgie.com and the website for this book at thirdalliance.ch.

[Jul 18, 2018] The Killing of William Browder Deconstructing Bill Browder's Dangerous Deception by Alex Krainer

The book is delisted. You can read it at https://dxczjjuegupb.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/TheKilli free pdf download 218 pages
Jul 18, 2018 | www.amazon.com

David Gortner on April 27, 2018

Russia may be in much better shape economically now than during the 1990s and immediately ...

The book does make a compelling case against much of Browder's version of events in Russia over the years from the fall of the USSR through most of Putin's time as leader of Russia. But there is nothing about democracy in Russia since Putin came to power. How is democracy left out of the equation? Russia may be in much better shape economically now than during the 1990s and immediately afterward but there is no appearance of anything like democracy. We have seen nothing in the leadership of Russia; only Putin since 2000 (alternating with Medvedev). Read more

Darth Nerd on August 31, 2017

Very import to look behind the scenes of the demonization of Russia!

I agree with the reviews posted prior to mine. I only want to add that I feel it is extremely important that Browder's tale, which is based on his word only, be countered. It amazes me how many have swallowed Browder's (and his backers) bait. Alex Krainer shows that there is probably a hook hidden by the bait. The demonization of Putin and Russia seems to me very, very dangerous, and as best I can tell it's completely unfounded. This book shows that it is not only unfounded, it contradicts various facts.

I bought this book because of the news that Browder was blocking distribution and screening of Andrei Nekrasov"s documentary "The Magnitsky Act. Behind the Scenes".

This made me very suspicious that Browder has something to hide. If Nekrasov's documentary is untruthful I feel it would be much better to let it be distributed and then counter it with evidence than with legal bullying and other means to prevent it's distribution.

This book strongly reinforced my suspicions.

Avery on September 16, 2017
Needs a read

This book starts off slow, but the more you read, the more you will realize the menacing extent of Browder's deception. Krainer describes how Browder built a web of deception and lies in order to paint Russia as an evil place and America's enemy. Browder's book preys on America's wounded sense of global supremacy and casts the US as a victim in a country where we served as predators. Anyone who read Browder's book should read this one for sure.

Dostoyevsky on October 25, 2017
Things are not what they seem to be in the USA

A highly intelligent, frank and entertaining take-down of one of the biggest hoaxes ever perpetrated on the US public and the world - The Magnitsky Act.

The Bill Browder of the title, who has positioned himself both as victim and champion of the downtrodden is revealed as anything but that.
The picture painted of a vulture/hedge fund manager who took advantage of the lawlessness of the Yeltsin years to steal from the poorest of the poor of a broken USSR is chilling.

Browder's carefully cultivated and paid for image in the West (he was planning a movie about himself with the Weinstein brothers) is so at odds with the reality exposed here as to make up a kind of horror story effect out of Bram Stoker. Yet the way Alex Krainer tells it is both compelling and convincing. The thing is, no one else has looked at Browder's story critically. It was accepted as fact, with no corroboration of any sort, by a gullible, and probably complicit, US political establishment.

An even more terrifying question raised by the very existence of this book is: What was the interest of the US Senate and Congress in unquestionably believing this 'scheister,' Bill Browder, and using his outlandish and unsubstantiated claims to restart the Cold War and bring us to the brink of nuclear confrontation?

Get the book while you can. As with a documentary about him by Nekrasov, called 'The Magnitsky Act - Behind the Scenes,' Browder has armies of lawyers trying to squelch any information coming out about him and the events he fabricated. Understandably, since the story he told is so shabby and full of holes that any light cast on it at all begins to crumble the fabric of it.

Mark Boberg on October 23, 2017
Every Concerned American Should read this, then make up his or her own mind!

An interesting alternative view of Russia, Russia's President Vladimir Putin, and Bill Browder. Something every concerned American should read and consider, and then make up his or her own mind. Also some really good background on events in Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union and the subsequent rise and popularity of Pres. Putin.

His explanation of the Deflationary Gap in the Appendix helped to clarify several related ideas that I have picked up or thought of in the past,but never put together clearly the way Mr.Krainer does.

Roman on August 22, 2017
Riveting Expose of one of the Century's Big Hoaxes.

Alex Krainer's second book, "Killing of William Browder: Bill Browder's Dangerous Deception" is a meticulously scrupulous research of a fascinating tale whose protagonist has all the traits of a fiendish movie villain. Needless to point out, in the cacophonic pandemonium of relentless anti-Russian propaganda that permeates both political and mass-media scene in the West throughout 2017, Bill Browder, by trade a vulture investor, is depicted as akin to a holy warrior against the Devil himself, the Russian president Vladimir Putin.

In our increasingly insane world a fascinating tale of William Browder's role in pushing the Magnitsky Act, that was passed in the U.S. Senate in order "to punish those suspected of being involved in the death of Russian tax lawyer Sergei Magnitsky," might have eluded you. The Magnitsky Act that has passed the Congress on 3rd of January, 2012 resulted in blacklisting of five Russian nationals on 9th of January, 2017 and elevated Bill Browder, at least in his own eyes, to the status of a global human rights activist.

Enters "Killing of William Browder: Bill Browder's Dangerous Deception" and shatters that delusion. Krainer mercilessly dissects Browder's tale in the most minute details and, as he examines Browder's numerous statements, he portrays Browder as he truly is: not a magnanimous human rights champion but rather a wicked purveyor of (other man's) tragedy and salesman of (his own) self-aggrandizing fantasies. Bill Browder seems to me as a somehow cartoonish villain who makes us chuckle even while we shudder.

Krainer writing possesses a great sense of drama and a fine sense of irony. His book reads like a horrific thriller sprinkled with taunting humor. Even when he excoriates Browder's own "Red Notice" and his posing, he does it with penetrating wit: "Browder didn't neglect to throw in more ugly smears on Russia and the Russian people. He assures us that – 'Most Russians don't operate on high-minded principles Everything in Russia was about money. Making it, keeping it and making sure no one took it ' – (that) stands in stark contrast with Bill Browder and his goodfellas who did everything they did out of selfless desire to make the world a better place."

Krainer's study of Bill Browder's book and actions is a riveting, unflinching expose of what might end up being pivotal in revealing one of this decade's big hoaxes.

"Killing of William Browder: Bill Browder's Dangerous Deception" is a monumental work of an extraordinary skilled writer who pulls no punches as he bravely swims upstream.

darbycook on October 4, 2017
Who knew I'd like a subject matter this dry

Who knew I'd like a subject matter this dry, but I found myself LMFAO so many times I can't keep count. Beautifully done, Mr. Krainer!

Y. on September 29, 2017
Must read!

Well researched. Insightful and thought provoking

Amazon Customer on August 30, 2017
Excellent!

A well researched and interesting read. Recommended for those that would like to understand much more of the browder myth.

David Gortner on April 27, 2018
Russia may be in much better shape economically now than during the 1990s and immediately ...

The book does make a compelling case against much of Browder's version of events in Russia over the years from the fall of the USSR through most of Putin's time as leader of Russia. But there is nothing about democracy in Russia since Putin came to power. How is democracy left out of the equation? Russia may be in much better shape economically now than during the 1990s and immediately afterward but there is no appearance of anything like democracy. We have seen nothing in the leadership of Russia; only Putin since 2000 (alternating with Medvedev).

Daniel Good on December 30, 2017
It is amazing that Browder has been able to prevent the showing ...

It is amazing that Browder has been able to prevent the showing of an important documentary by Andrei Nekrasov on the Magnitsky Act and also prevent the distribution on the Amazon site of this excellent well written intelligent exposé of the fraud perpetrated by him. One wonders who is behind Browder that gives him such power and influence.

Who should Browder fear more: those who are supporting him or Vladimir Putin?

In this book, unavailable on Amazon, can be found:

1. one of the best summaries of the Yeltsin years;

2. a useful review of US-Russia relations in the XIX century; 3. a counter-view of the personality of V.V. Putin; 4. copious footnotes and a very valuable bibliography; 5. a deconstruction of William Browder's thriller, Red Notice.

Only the people who make those decision at Amazon know why the book is not available on their site.

[Jul 18, 2018] Dash Cam, DuDuBell 2K DVR 1296P Car Camera with 3.0 LCD Screen, 170 Wide Angle Car Dashboard Recorder with 6G Enha

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Denise Rogers 5.0 out of 5 stars

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2k DVR gives good quality video for tracking any issues on road and around me!
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just need to buy memory card sd!

[Jul 04, 2018] Amazon.com U-571 Matthew McConaughey, Bill Paxton, Harvey Keitel, Jon Bon Jovi Amazon Digital Services LLC

Jul 04, 2018 | www.amazon.com

5 stars | Verified Purchase

Intense suspense war epic!

"U-571" is a pleasing and very exciting movie, one that can be enjoyed by followers and non-followers of war movies alike. It's one of those all-encompassing movies that has something in it for everyone: dazzling visual and sound effects for tech junkies, a gripping story based on similar events of war, and suspense and action for those looking to be surprised. This is a summer blockbuster that actually pleases its crowds, and certainly a movie that ranks with some of the best and most well-known war movies in Hollywood.
The movie begins, fittingly enough, in the German submarine after which the movie is named, and the Germans have just finished bombing an American ship. Soon after, they are set upon by a destroyer, which depth-charges the fragile vessel and leaves it crippled and in need of repairs. They send a call our for help, which is found by the Americans. This provides them with the opportunity to crack the secret code the Germans have been using by boarding the damaged vessel under the guise of German soldiers and stealing the Enigma, which houses the codes.
The beginning of the movie allows us to get to know our American characters, with whom we will be spending a great deal of time during the movie. We are introduced to Captain Andrew Tyler, who has just found out that he did not receive the position of captain as he had hoped. His commander, Lieutenant Commander Mike Dahlgren, feels he does not have what it takes to be a captain at this point, and that his emotional connection to his shipmates would prevent him from putting them in situations of potential danger.
Soon, our men are on their sub, heading out to sea, where they encounter the German submarine, take the crew hostage, and swipe the Enigma and code book to bring back to the attention of the U.S. Armed Forces. However, the German sub that responded to their call for help destroys the American sub, killing the German hostages and some Americans, leaving the rest of the crew on the German sub with Tyler as their captain. As their special ops mission turns into a race for survival, Tyler must make the right decisions in order to keep his crew alive and ship afloat as they near hostile waters on their way to safety.
The plot of the story follows a pretty basic pattern that is intensified by the suspense of the action sequences and the way in which Mostow works his magic with the camera. I found myself guessing what was going to happen in certain scenes of the movie, mainly because after seeing the trailer, I knew there was more that had to happen than just allowing the sub to sink and the Germans to win. And as much as the story does for its characters and their will to survive, I knew that the script would not shortchange them in the long run. This really doesn't hinder the story, though; it still has a lot to offer.
Mostow has done a masterful job in creating an atmosphere that is tightly cramped and perilous all at the same time. The lighting used for the insides of the sub is merely the lights actually shown, not offscreen, giving it an authentic and real feel. The crew finds themselves huddled tightly together at times during sequences in which depth charges are deployed to harm the ship, which adds to the sense of small space while also keeping us at bay with the question of whether or not the vessel will make it through the treachery of the explosions. The depth charges provide the most ominous threat to the vessel, which is carried out on film in a most intense manner. The first set of explosions takes place outside of the vessel, where we can see everything that's going on, while the second set keeps us inside the sub so that all we can do is hold our breath with the crew and wait for the explosions to end.
The fact that the movie can set up this kind of connection is a testament to its brilliance. Mostow is able to bring us into the movie with the characters, giving us bird's-eye views of the action as well as taking us right into the middle of it. Either way, the effect is truly awesome, showing us a different kind of warfare that can be just as intense and terrifying as hand-to-hand and firearm combat on land. When the movie was over, I felt jolted and out of breath; the movie simply delivers the goods.

The visual and sound effects also help to bring us into the movie's rich canvas as well. Miniatures and life-size vessels were used in the filming of the actual submarine, and while the effects that surround it may be digitized, it helps to have something that is real to harness the look and acuity of the shot. The sound design and use of the elements available is tremendous and pleasing, with a low bass frequency playing pretty much throughout the entire movie to create a sense of tension. This is one of those big, loud effects movies that, even if you don't care for the story, will please on its visuals and sound alone.

Casting is an important factor in bringing out the emotion and depth, and this one, an all-star ensemble, does just that. Matthew McConaughey is the ambitious Lieutenant Andrew Tyler, who is the strongest of the characters. He is portrayed as earnest in his endeavors to save his crew, while keeping the movie from degenerating into a blatant effects show. Harvey Keitel is Chief Klough, a pivotal character who advises and aides Tyler in some pretty tight situations. He keeps Tyler from losing his cool, which is important for the movie. Bill Paxton plays Lieutenant Dahlgren, and while his character has little screen time, he does well in keeping us informed of the events at hand. Jake Weber is a convincing Lieutenant Hirsch, who knows everything about the mission and plays his character with integrity and intelligence.

One of the better war films to come out of Hollywood, "U-571" follows an intense and gripping storyline that delivers the goods to even those who don't follow the war film trend. Under the direction of Jonathon Mostow, who also directed the thriller "Breakdown," the film contains a stellar cast that knows what it's doing and superb visual and sound effects that add to the atmosphere of suspense.

[Jul 04, 2018] Stabilizing an Unstable Economy by Hyman P. Minsky

Jul 04, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Larry R Frank Sr, MBA, CFP 5.0 out of 5 stars | Verified Purchase

Just what have we learned over the years (or not)?

Unfortunately, economists seem to given more attention after they're deceased and it appears Hyman P. Minsky (1919 -1986) is one in this category as well. As I read this book, originally published in 1986, I was amazed at not only one, but the many, parallels to today his synthesis of economic views, a blend of today's camps including the behavioral, had.

More valuable to you are his comments than mine, so I will quote Minsky as much as possible in this review and highly suggest its reading to fill in the gaps he so well articulates on his own. I decided to read this book because I'm not an economist and heard how his theories may better apply today than ever.

Many years later, the preface to this edition provides an excellent summary of Minsky's work. You do not need to be an expert to follow along. In the Introduction (8), Minsky points out that the institutional arrangements we have today in response to the Great Depression were set up pre-Keynes and with a pre-Keynesian understanding of the economy. ¨The evidence from 1975 indicates that, although the simple Keynesian model in which a large government deficit stabilizes and the helps the economy to expand is valid in a rough and ready way, the relevant economic relations are more complicated than the simple model allows. In particular, because what happens in our economy is so largely determined by financial considerations, economic theory can be relevant only if finance is integrated in the structure of the theory.¨

Minsky discusses Big Government and lender-of-last-resort (Federal Reserve or Fed) which is enlightening is and of itself. The balance of Chapters two and three are devoted to how these two interventions may work in theory. ¨To understand how Big Government stopped the economy's free fall, it is necessary to delve into the different impacts of government deficits on our economy ...¨ (24) He proceeds to define and then discuss three impacts: income and employment effect; budget effect; and portfolio effect. The standard view only incorporates one impact while Minsky argues and expanded view must incorporate all three views. ¨As a result of the 1975 experience, the issues in economic theory and policy that we should have to face are not about the ability of prodigious government deficit spending to halt even a very sharp recession but about the relative efficiency of specific measures and the side and after effects associated with particular policy strategies.¨ (24-25) I would suggest this has not been done effectively in response to the 2007 recession (started in Dec 2007 and has not been declared over as of this review writing (google "nber recession dates" for start and finish dates for this recession) which to date has had a more blind application of Keynesian without much thought as Minsky suggested long ago. Of interest is his discussion how Big Government entitlement programs impart an inflationary bias into the economy. (29)

Minsky's lender-of-last-resort includes a discussion on the lack of understanding of the inflationary side effects affects of intervention (51) and explosive growth of speculative liability structures (52) are as applicable today as to then. ¨Unless a theory can define the conditions in which a phenomenon occurs, it offers no guide to the control or elimination of the phenomenon.¨ He discusses the open market and discount window functions of the Fed and is instructive as to how the FOMC loses its power to affect member bank behavior, thus the Fed is not acting on intimate knowledge of banking practices. (54) Wow! Wasn't that also true this time! Minsky points out five causes of concern that the 1974 Chairman of the Federal Reserve System had appear as relevant today as to then as well: ¨first, the attenuation of the banking systems' base of equity capital; second, greater reliance on funds of a potentially volatile character; third, heavy loan commitments in relation to resources; fourth, some deterioration in the quality of assets; fifth, increased exposure to the larger banks to risks entailed in foreign exchange transactions and other foreign operations.¨

Minsky foresees how regulators (and politicians it seems) in imputing ¨...the difficulties he sees to either a laxness of regulatory zeal or, perhaps, some rather trivial mistake in how the regulatory bodies were organized, rather than to a fundamental behavioral characteristic of our economy.¨ (58) Even today, we see more shuffling of regulatory responsibilities and body creation rather than understand the behavior that causes the problems first in order to develop solutions.

He also points out how real estate was a problem back then as well, as result from explosive speculation. ¨The need for lender-of-last-resort intervention follows from an explosive growth in speculative finance and the way in which speculative finance leads to a crisis-prone situation.¨ (59) ¨Inasmuch as the successful execution of lender-of-last-resort functions extends the domain of the Federal Reserve guarantees to new markets and to new instruments there is an inherent inflationary bias to these operations; by validating the past use of an instrument, an implicit guarantee of its future is extended.¨ (58-59)

¨It is important to emphasize that ... any constraint placed on the Federal Reserve flexibility (e.g. by mandating mechanical rules of behavior) attenuates its power to act. Rules cannot substitute for lender-of-last-resort discretion.¨ Recall, the call by many to constrain the Fed? Minsky suggests otherwise. He also states ¨Certainly the bank examination aspects of the FDIC and the Federal Reserve should be integrated, especially if inputs from bank examinations are to become part of an early warning system for problem banks.¨ (64) This ties in with the idea above where the Fed has lost intimate knowledge of the banking practices.

Minsky discusses how the behavior of many actors need to be considered in a cohesive theory when he states ¨The dynamics of the financial system that lead to institutional change result from profit-seeking activities by businesses, financial institutions, and households as they manage their affairs.¨ (77) The problems that exist in the hierarchical financial system between mainstream banks and fringe banks is also noticed by Minsky years ago where a potential domino effect can cause serious disruptions as a result of the lender-of-last-resort guarantee to the mainstream banks as discussed on page 58. (97)

So far Minsky has laid the groundwork for actor interactions and issues. He then proceeds to theory. ¨In all disciplines theory plays a double role: it is both a lens and a blinder.¨ "It is ironic that an economic theory that purports to be based on Keynes fails because it cannot explain instability. ... Identifying a phenomenon is not enough: we need a theory that makes instability a normal result in our economy and gives us handles to control it." (111) "In what lies ahead, we will develop a theory explaining why our economy fluctuates, showing that the instability and incoherence exhibited from time to time is related to the development of fragile financial structures that occur normally within capitalist economies in the course of financing capital asset ownership and investment. We thus start with a bias in favor of using the market mechanism to the fullest extent possible to achieve social goals, but with recognition that market capitalism is both intrinsically unstable and can lead to distasteful distributions of wealth and power." (112) "The elements of Keynes that are ignored in the neoclassical synthesis deal with the pricing of capital assets and the special properties of economies with capitalistic financial institutions." (114) Minsky goes on to deconstruct both pre-Keynesian and and after-Keynesian constructs and synthesis. Minsky's "financial instability hypothesis" (127) addresses weaknesses he views in the neoclassical model. "In the neoclassical view, speculation, financing conditions, inherited financial obligations, and the fluctuating behavior of aggregate demand have nothing whatsoever to do with savings, investment, and the interest rate determination." (123) "In neoclassical theory, money does not have any significant relation to finance and the financing activity." (124) Minsky addresses the point that Keynes thoughts came out after government programs for reform and recovery were put into place, not the other way around and many may think today. (134) Minsky then develops how cause and effect to lay the ground work for his hypothesis throughout chapters 6 through 9 as he discusses in turn price relations allowing for government, foreign trade, consuming out of profits and saving out of wages, supply prices, taxes and government spending, financing of business spending, investment and finance, capital asset prices, investment, cash flows, and three kinds of financing (hedge, speculative and Ponzi: "The mixture of hedge, speculative, and Ponzi finance in an economy is a major determinant of its stability. (232)). "The main reason why our economy behaves in different ways at different times is that financial practices and structure of financial commitments change." (219) He calls the economy existing always in a transitory state.

Minsky then builds a larger model by discussion Institutional dynamics in Part 4. "Business cycles are `natural' in a investing capitalist economy, but to understand why this is so it is necessary to deal with the financing of investment and positions in capital assets explicitly." (249) He also recognized the distinction between commercial banks and investment banks and that the distinction between the two were breaking down even back in the 80's. (249) "In a capitalist economy money is tied up with the process of creating and controlling capital assets." (250) "Money is created as bankers go about their business of arranging for the financing of trade, investment, and positions in capital assets." (250).

Deposit (commercial banks) are emphasized in Chapter 10. Minsky's observation in the 80's rings as true today as it did then when he says "The narrow view that banking affects the economy only through the money supply led economists and policymakers to virtually ignore the composition of bank portfolios." (252) The rest of Chapter 10 explains how bank portfolio composition works and the economic effect this has.

Chapter 11 in about inflation. "My theory emphasizes the composition of financed demand and the spending of incomes that are allocations of profits as the determinants of the prices of consumption goods. It is compatible with the multiplier analysis in orthodox Keynesian theory" (254) "The determination of employment, wages, and prices starts with the profit calculations of businessmen and bankers. This proposition is in sharp contrast to the views of neoclassical monetarist theory." (255) Milton Friedman is a monetarist that he discusses next with this weakness in that theory in mind. Minsky develops his inflation theory by discussing money wages, price-deflated wages, government as an inflation engine, and trade union roles in inflation.

Part 5 is the culmination of his work where he discusses possible policy implications of his theory through the lens of his financial instability hypothesis. "Even if a program of reform is successful, the success will be transitory." (319) He continually reminds us that a dynamic system will need continual monitoring, adjustment and trade offs in the attempt to keep instability within reasonable bounds. An overarching agenda and approach should be developed to do this. An employment strategy should be developed, financial reform should be carefully crafted so as to not make matter worse.

**********
Conclusion:
As I mentioned at the beginning, I am not an economist. Minsky's description of the economy as developed through his instability model appears to describe much of how the interactions work, the inherent instability of a capitalist system, and his proposals to manage the instability appear to have merit for consideration. Especially in light of the 2007 recession.

Minsky appears to be an interesting combination of Keynesians who look to mitigate busts, and Austrians who look to prevent artificial booms.

For an easy read which builds a hypothetical economy, using an example of an island and fish on up, to describe economic history through the lens of the Austrian economic model: How an Economy Grows and Why it Crashes by Peter D Schiff and Andrew J Schiff.

For more on Keynes, this work by Hunter Lewis describes what Keynes said and what he didn't say side by side. Where Keynes Went Wrong: And Why World Governments Keep Creating Inflation, Bubbles, and Busts

Review by Larry Frank, author of Wealth Odyssey: The Essential Road Map For Your Financial Journey Where Is It You Are Really Trying To Go With Money?

[Jul 04, 2018] Why Minsky Matters An Introduction to the Work of a Maverick Economist L. Wray 9780691178400 Amazon.com Books

www.theatlantic.com
Jul 04, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Amazon.com Das Boot Jürgen Prochnow, Herbert Gronemeyer, Klaus Wennemann, Wolfgang Petersen Amazon Digital Services LLC

[May 28, 2018] Movie: From Here To Eternity

May 28, 2018 | www.amazon.com

D. Blackdeer on September 3, 2001

From Here to Eternity

1953 Best Picture (eight Academy Awards) about Army soldiers dealing with corrupt leadership in Hawaii just prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Burt Lancaster heads the cast as First Sergeant Milt Warden, a top soldier trapped in an infantry company commanded by the incompetent and corrupt Captain Dana "Dynamite" Holmes, played by Philip Ober.

Holmes is an incapable officer seeking promotion as the regiment's boxing coach while Warden holds the company together. Conditions are status quo until Private Robert E. Lee Pruitt, played by Montgomery Clift, arrives from the bugler corps.

Holmes attempts to recruit Pruitt as the new middleweight boxer, but Pruitt refuses for personal reasons. Holmes then embarks on a campaign of harassment, ordering the other boxers in the company to service Pruitt with frequent punishment and extra work detail to change his mind. In the meantime, Warden falls for Holmes's wife Karen played by Deborah Kerr, and risks his career in an adulterous relationship that soon develops into a serious love affair.

Frank Sinatra turns in a great performance as "Maggio," a fellow soldier who becomes Private Pruitt's best friend during the ordeal. Other marvelous features are the supporting cast providing terrific characters around the main actors, and the production's location at the historic Schofield Barracks on Oahu. It's easy to see why this was Best Picture in 1953.

JCY 500 on July 21, 2014
A film for all time

One of my all-time favorite films. Superb performances by Burt Lancaster, Frank Sinatra, Donna Reed, and Montgomery Clift in a gripping tale set in an army base on Hawaii in the period leading up to the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

Frank Sinatra was born to play the part of Angelo Maggio in what is, along with Manchurian Candidate, his best work.

The most impressive acting is from Clift. The extended scene with Donna Reed, as she unsuccessfully pleads with him to not attempt to rejoin his unit, is simply breathtaking. What he does with his eyes and simple gestures so richly reveals his inner torment.

[May 27, 2018] From Here to Eternity The Complete Uncensored Edition (Modern Library 100 Best Novels)

May 27, 2018 | www.amazon.com

0 out of 5 stars with a tip of the hat to predecessors like "Golden Boy" and and Kipling's military tales By Jeffrey A. Beard on December 20, 2016 Ahead of it's time--feels contemporary in it portrayal of the morals and mores of peacetime barracks life, with a tip of the hat to predecessors like "Golden Boy" and and Kipling's military tales; still poignant and pointed after all these years. 3 1/2 stars


By Gerard J. St. John on June 15, 2015

I'll Bet That's Prewitt!

From Here to Eternity has long been one of my favorite movies. I cannot resist watching its reruns on television. Recently, I decided to read book, the 802-page hardcover volume.

Everyone knows that a book is always better than the movie, and that was the case here – but not by much. The casting for the movie was superb. You cannot read about Pvt. Prewitt in the book without seeing in your mind's eye Montgomery Clift; Sgt. Warden, without seeing Burt Lancaster; or Maggio, without seeing Frank Sinatra. The book reminds me of a string of short stories, mainly focusing on Prewitt and Warden during their assignment at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii shortly before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Prewitt is an outstanding welterweight (147 lbs) prizefighter who refuses to fight for the company's boxing team. Also, he is a gifted bugler who was once assigned to duty at Arlington National Cemetery. Prewitt's company commander, who is also in charge of the boxing team, orders the NCOs to give Prewitt "the treatment", i.e., all of the tough, dirty jobs, until he agrees to join the boxing team. Warden, the company's first sergeant, sympathizes with Prewitt but has no authority to override the orders of the company commander.

Most of the stories in the book were covered in the movie, with the exception of the one involving a group of homosexuals in the Honolulu area, and one involves a suicide by a member of the company boxing team. A few details of some of the other stories were revised slightly in the movie, but not to any significant level.

The author's writing style is interesting in many respects. For example, there is extensive discussion about psychology, philosophy, religion, and morality with respect to the persons and events that are the subject of the book. These comments give added meaning to the events in the book – and also account for its substantial length. On the other hand, such intellectual discussion is totally out of character coming from persons who had minimal education, and virtually no contact with liberal arts. The author seems to be cognizant of this disconnect when he mentions that a particular character or characters "read a lot of books." There is even one character that mysteriously shows up as a prisoner in the stockade, apparently for the purpose of abetting this type of discussion. He disappears from the book by walking out of the stockade in a successful escape. His purpose in the narrative appears to have been completed when he painted the philosophical setting of life in the stockade.

The author frequently uses poor grammar and spelling in an apparent effort to present a realistic speech pattern of the day-to-day language of the minimally educated soldiers. In addition to being inconsistent with the high level discussions of psychology and philosophy, it is a technique that doesn't work well.

All told, it is an excellent book that captures the atmosphere of an overseas military post. You feel like you were there.

By Peter Monks on July 21, 2012
Unmatched description of peacetime soldiers

"From Here to Eternity" is, together with Sword of Honour (Penguin Modern Classics) , one of the greatest books ever written about peacetime soldiering or soldiers not actually engaged in combat. While Waugh captures the absurdity, tedium and frustration inherent in being a junior officer marooned in military backwaters, in "From Here to Eternity" Jones is almost unmatched in describing in-barracks military life from a soldiers point of view. My only reservations are the author's occasionally excessive digressions to allow Malloy in particular to expound on what are the authors thinly-veiled views on politics and class, and that Jones shares with Mailer's The Naked and the Dead an inability to create an officer that is anything other than a caricature (Jones does a - slightly - better job in The Thin Red Line . While as individuals Jones' officers are one-dimensional, their collective introspection and emphasis on sports and the relatively trivial or routine at the expense of preparing seriously for war is accurate enough. The real strength of "From Here to Eternity" is Jones' ability to vividly illustrate the life of a soldier in peacetime, complete with the indignity, absurdity and coarseness that is often inherent in military life when not sustained by an immediate objective or sense of purpose. If there is a book that does a better job of portraying garrison life I am yet to find it.

By Garrett Zecker on December 1, 2016
The Greatest Generation" on the 75th Anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor

I read this book as a part of wanting to accomplish The Modern Library's 100 Best Novels. It is also a preface to watching the film which is on the list of 1001 Films To See Before You Die (visit beforewediefilms-dot-com for the blog I write with my wife). It was opportunistic to finish this book this week as we are marking the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

From Here To Eternity is the first novel James Jones wrote, and he had set out to complete a novel that captured the essence of his life and those of his fellow soldiers in the peacetime army. It examines several characters who wander about trying to make sense of life, relationships, money, art, hobbies, work, brotherhood, and the pecking order while living the regimented military life. While the narrative mainly focuses on a young recruit named Prewitt, it also weaves through other stories of people who surround Prew in a somewhat inconsistent manner. The book is funny, touching, bold, and in many ways an extraordinary view into the pre-WWII lives of "the greatest generation."

I read this book over several months and had to put it down a few times. I am an avid reader and read voraciously, but the first half of the book was so dry that it seemed to be almost a catalogue of non-things happening. It wasn't until the halfway mark that the strings dangling off of the characters interactions began getting tied up in actual events, and it was at this point that my fascination with the characters and Jones' incredible building of so many characters as actual three-dimensional people began to take shape. It turns out that for the entirety of the time that I was bored, Jones expertly characterized hundreds of people for their true calling and individual moments of truth. When they were put into situations where they had to face a bad marriage, adultery, a broken heart, loss, death, being out of control of things, regimented systems, interpersonal conflict, and a hundred other challenges, it became immediately clear that Jones was putting the meat on the bones of these incredibly strong and true people to face what life was about to throw at them. The result was incredible for me, and while at times I was wishing the book wasn't so needlessly long, by the end I was wishing there was more.

Jones' prose is very interesting in the novel, as it switches between the pedestrian and (albeit, realistically) vulgar to some paragraphs that were truly memorable. The simple playing of TAPS by Prewitt danced the narrative camera from person to person and created this gorgeous symphony of experience that was a beautiful four or five pages if I remember correctly. Another was a night where one soldier was sleeping with another man's wife, but the horror of the betrayal is stripped away with Jones' writing to reveal the beauty of truly feeling free, and contented, and in love.

I read Open Road's "Restored" edition, which I only understand to include a lot more that the author wanted to include in the original but was asked to remove (some sexual language and vulgarity), and some portions that were almost completely censored because of obscenity laws (including entire chunks focused on homosexuality in the army and civilian life). I have never read the original, but what I read here felt true and real, and I am happy to have experienced Jones' preferred text my first time through.

A truly excellent book, well deserving of the National Book Award.

By Steve on March 11, 2015
So Very Good

I feel like an idiot. I'm 65 years and just discovered James Jones. This book is excellent in so many ways. I hated for it to end but instead of wallowing in self pity, I immediately read the other two in the trilogy, "The Thin Red Line" and "Whistle" and then his WWII. I will give each of those five stars as well. These plus "The Naked and the Dead" by Norman Mailer are simply fantastic.

I read "From Here to Eternity" in the Kindle edition but purchased all three as used hardcover editions. These are books you will want to keep as real paper books.

By Amazon Customer on July 1, 2013
Probably My Favorite Novel Ever

I doubt very much whether I have anything new or important to say about From Here to Eternity. It's a great book, but its greatness was well known long before I was born, let alone before I got around to reading it. Anyway, here goes...
As an author James Jones is brutally honest. He's also what every tortured high school English student probably begged God for at one point in their life: an author who does not use symbolism (or anyway, he claimed as much in an interview with some Paris based book reviewer back in the 50's). There are several advantages to this, technique, at least when the author put as much care into it as Jones did here. I feel he provides a vast insight into the human psyche in a host of situations. The shifting narrator helps there as well. Jones also does a wonderful job transporting the reader to wherever his characters are whether its a military base, a field exercise, or the stockade. Of course the downside to all the vast amount of introspection and exhaustive detail is that it makes for a looonng book, and there are even a few points where it drags for me. Moreover, since Jones pulls no punches it can be a dark book in places (in particular I had hard time with the portrayal of one character in a protracted drunken stupor because I've seen someone do the same thing in real life, and its extremely unpleasant), and there were other spots where it dragged for me. Finally, there are a couple of portrayals I'm not sure I agree with. The sequence of thoughts portrayed in the suicide scene is (I'm positive) impossible since it was a suicide by gunshot and the bullet would move faster than any sensation or thought it could have caused. Also, I have to question the idea that all senior officers of the era were worthless (its not that Jones ever implies that the officers he writes of represent the whole army, but clearly every senior officer he describes is a disgrace to his uniform, in fact the only decent officer he portrays at all is an ROTC replacement Lieutenant). On the other hand if the book wasn't intelligently (and sympathetically) written with very deep characters, I would not have even been able to tell whether Jones was portraying good or bad officers, so this is still a relatively minor criticism. In any case, if you want a detailed, unbridled, unvarnished look at the life of enlisted men in the US on the eve of WWII, I don't see how you could do much better than this novel. For me personally, I'm very glad to have had such a peak at the time and place. My Grandfather was about 4 years younger than Jones and also spent time on Oahu during WWII. He was an MP around 1943 (at which point Jones would have been somewhere on Guadalcanal or New Georgia). My Grandfather also died when I was just 6 years old, which was, of course, before I ever got to ask him what his time in the army was like (or could have begun to comprehend even if I had asked). So to me this book transcended literature alone, it put me in touch with a little piece of my own family that I never thought I'd get to know. For that I owe Jones a huge debt of gratitude. He showed me a part of my own family's past I never thought I'd get to see. Of course for most people, it won't hold that kind of meaning, it will just be a novel. But even then its a very good one, though also a long one. I highly recommend the whole trilogy" From Here to Eternity, The Thin Red Line, and Whistle. Of the three, I think From Here to Eternity is the best. The Thin Red Line is great as well, probably the best way anyone will ever come to understand combat without either being there themselves and suffering PTSD as both Jones and the characters he portrayed did or at least becoming a psychologist and tending to soldiers suffering from PTSD, and Whistle is also a very strong work, although possibly the toughest read of all because it is so tragic. From Here to Eternity was the last project of a literary agent who had previously worked with Faulkner and Hemingway. Since it was Jones's debut, it may also have been his greatest work. I've never read anyone else like James Jones, and there may not be anyone else like James Jones.

By J. BUCKWALTER on January 12, 2015
which I also recommend.

A must read for anyone interested in a novel with epic scope, issues of power/leadership/control, the "breaking" of men, war, and struggles for freedom and dignity. I was also surprised at how well he writes women! It's not often I have very fond and vivid memories of reading a book, but this was one long, languid dream. Will definitely be rereading. Psychologically, it reminded me very much of the black & white Sean Connery prison film "The Hill", which I also recommend.

By russell bentley on February 12, 2016
A Must read for a New Generation

This favorite book of my youth was bought as a present for a young relative. I think it is an important piece of literature that everyone should read and I am quite happy to pass it on to another generation. Its development of characters and portrayal of human nature is the equal of Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath".

By Terence M. Kelley on May 3, 2009
All for Naught

From Here to Eternity is James Jones' masterfully envisioned tale of soldiers and their lovers on the eve of 1941's Pearl Harbor invasion. The rest of the world is already at war, and the neutral United States has begun a peacetime draft as the prospect of war seems inevitable. Despite this impending calamity, the soldiers of Schofield Barracks go on about their daily lives as if nothing had or ever will change: they spend their days routinely and begrudgingly performing their military duties and their nights drinking and whoring, while rarely examining their existences for any greater meaning.

At the center is Private Robert E. Lee Prewitt who has just requested a transfer out of the Regimental Bugle Corps, where he had a soft existence, and into an infantry company, where he will perform "straight duty," soldiering as any other man of the ranks. He immediately incurs the wrath of his commanding officer, Captain Dana "Dynamite" Holmes, when he refuses to join the company boxing team, preferring to think of himself as retired from boxing after blinding another man in a sparring match. Holmes needs Prewitt to box if he wants to field a championship team, and his superior, Lieutenant Colonel Jake Delbert soon makes clear that such a victory would likely earn him a long sought promotion. The conflict thus established, the characters hurtle unwittingly towards America's humiliation at Pearl Harbor and their own mortal humiliations.

Even Prewitt in his self-righteous suffering is guilty of pride--there are no innocents in this book as in life. Jones draws the Army as a microcosm of society: men and women at odds with their surroundings as they search for meaning. Ultimately, all the characters efforts are in vain; even as they struggle mightily against one another, the reader knows that on December 7th their lives will all be smashed as trivial and meaningless by a calamity far greater than any of them.

By Phil Aaronson on March 18, 2013
Great Writing

I read once that Hemingway said that James Jones was the best writer of his generation. I don't know if this is true, but for years I have had this book on my "list" to read. I have finally gotten around to it and am thoroughly enjoying it. I've read a lot of war stories over the years but this is much more than a war story. Jones' insights into human nature are penetrating and revealing, and his writing has retained its power and freshness over the years.

By David Pancost on March 5, 2017
Recommended with conditions

If you love the movie and are interested in war narratives, as I am, this novel is a must read. But by itself it's overlong and tedious. The movie has a strong, driven narrative. The novel is a big baggy monster, with long tedious discussions of semi philosophical nonsense. Think Moby Dick without substance. Some things I found especially interesting. Hints of Catch 22. There's an Indian chief, a crazy officer or three, and and heaps of Heller irony but without the laughter. Anger. Everyone is angry with themselves, with the army, with sex, with their lovers, with poverty and with depression America. Sex. There's a strong gay theme. This is true of The Thin Red Line, too, but here it's more cynical. Army life. If you've ever been in uniform, this will strike you as genuine, much more so than The Naked and the Dead or any other novel which comes to mind. To be sure, there's a good deal of exaggeration, but mood and details ring true.

[May 27, 2018] Guard of Honor (Modern Library) James Gould Cozzens 9780679603054 Amazon.com Books

May 27, 2018 | www.amazon.com

stars


July 16, 2000 Format: Hardcover | Verified Purchase

A viable candidate for the "Great American Novel"

If a contemporary reader is looking for one novel that captures with unerring precision the nature of the military and society in World War II, look no further than "Guard of Honor." The setting is authentic, and the characters are drawn with abundant sympathy and an utter lack of remorse. The issues, the personalities, the key incident -- all reflect Cozzens' skill deep insight into human nature and the nature of military bureaucracies, the latter resulting from his service on the Air Corps staff during the war. I cannot recommend this novel highly enough.

Five Stars

One of the best novels about WWII that I've read. Impressive in its knowledge of how organizations actually function.

Ursiform on April 15, 2001
WWII from another angle

Unlike many war books, which focus on either the glory or horror of battle, or both, Cozzens looks at troubles on the home front during World War II. His setting is a Florida airbase, and the action centers around the arrival of black pilots who are being trained as part of an experiment in integrating the cockpit. A few whites support the effort, a few more oppose it, but most characters are more concerned with their own self interest than with larger moral issues. The common desire to win the war doesn't eliminate social problems at home, nor does it trump human pettiness. Cozzens weaves together several interlocking stories, and while the final fabric lacks the exquisite integration that a truly great writer might achieve, it all manages to hold together in the end. Likewise his prose, while occasionally capable of taking flight, is generally adequate but workmanlike. This book is well worth reading, but go into it expecting a very good novel, not a towering classic of WWII literature.

Gene Cisco on January 17, 2009
Base Affairs

This is surely a masterful novel, though I would caution against depicting this as strictly a World War II epic. Anyone who thinks this has only nostalgic value is mistaken. It is classic in every way.

Gripping and mesmerizing at once, with moments of astounding resonance for today. "20/20" covered (01/09)last night the salaries of employees high and low, the way they are valued, with the result being according to their "usefulness." In this war yarn, various ranked individuals maneuver to avoid blame and scandal, etc. and it plays out according to their usefulness to command figures; in other words war or peace, it remains the same.

Whenever the plot movement lags and minor things intrude, Cozzens' palette of description never fails to amaze. Reading this work, I now realize where "Sgt. Bilko," "Hogans Heroes," and "MASH," derived their inspiration from.

The human comedy known as "life" survives within "Guard Of Honor's" pages in sweeping form. Makes no difference whether on base or in a large corporation, the class mentality survives. Which leaves us with the question to success, whether it will be determined by genetics or usefulness. Base life is much like a city within a city and Cozzens' succeeds in his entertaining military back drop to the human struggle. Cozzens makes it clear that the bullets and shells we avoid are not on the battlefield alone, no?

A customer on March 19, 1999
Fighting a war without bullets

Guard of Honor is a book about fighting a war in which not a single bullet is fired in anger. Readers looking for blood and glory will find it here only in the refracted light of the home front. But, this book IS about blood and glory; as well as boredom, loneliness, stupidity, comradeship, insanity, bureaucracy, death and many other things associated with the armed forces.

Cozzens decision to place his novel in Florida during World War II actually allows him to analyze the military culture in the minutest detail without the adrenaline distraction that actual combat would produce. It's a risky choice, but it works brilliantly.

The story contains a bewildering number of characters but is centered around two generous and kind men: Colonel Ross and Captain Hicks. Ross represents the command structure trying to hold an unwieldy organization together through the insanity of war. Hicks is the common man thrown into the same situation. How their lives play out is the heart of the book.

If you want explosions and gore, this book is not for you. If you want to know how the military lives, thinks and breathes read this book and cherish its portrait of a world very different from civilian life.

[Apr 30, 2018] New Book Describes Bluffing Programmers in Silicon Valley

Notable quotes:
"... Live Work Work Work Die: A Journey into the Savage Heart of Silicon Valley ..."
"... Older generations called this kind of fraud "fake it 'til you make it." ..."
"... Nowadays I work 9:30-4:30 for a very good, consistent paycheck and let some other "smart person" put in 75 hours a week dealing with hiring ..."
"... It's not a "kids these days" sort of issue, it's *always* been the case that shameless, baseless self-promotion wins out over sincere skill without the self-promotion, because the people who control the money generally understand boasting more than they understand the technology. ..."
"... In the bad old days we had a hell of a lot of ridiculous restriction We must somehow made our programs to run successfully inside a RAM that was 48KB in size (yes, 48KB, not 48MB or 48GB), on a CPU with a clock speed of 1.023 MHz ..."
"... So what are the uses for that? I am curious what things people have put these to use for. ..."
"... Also, Oracle, SAP, IBM... I would never buy from them, nor use their products. I have used plenty of IBM products and they suck big time. They make software development 100 times harder than it could be. ..."
"... I have a theory that 10% of people are good at what they do. It doesn't really matter what they do, they will still be good at it, because of their nature. These are the people who invent new things, who fix things that others didn't even see as broken and who automate routine tasks or simply question and erase tasks that are not necessary. ..."
"... 10% are just causing damage. I'm not talking about terrorists and criminals. ..."
"... Programming is statistically a dead-end job. Why should anyone hone a dead-end skill that you won't be able to use for long? For whatever reason, the industry doesn't want old programmers. ..."
Apr 30, 2018 | news.slashdot.org

Long-time Slashdot reader Martin S. pointed us to this an excerpt from the new book Live Work Work Work Die: A Journey into the Savage Heart of Silicon Valley by Portland-based investigator reporter Corey Pein.

The author shares what he realized at a job recruitment fair seeking Java Legends, Python Badasses, Hadoop Heroes, "and other gratingly childish classifications describing various programming specialities.

" I wasn't the only one bluffing my way through the tech scene. Everyone was doing it, even the much-sought-after engineering talent.

I was struck by how many developers were, like myself, not really programmers , but rather this, that and the other. A great number of tech ninjas were not exactly black belts when it came to the actual onerous work of computer programming. So many of the complex, discrete tasks involved in the creation of a website or an app had been automated that it was no longer necessary to possess knowledge of software mechanics. The coder's work was rarely a craft. The apps ran on an assembly line, built with "open-source", off-the-shelf components. The most important computer commands for the ninja to master were copy and paste...

[M]any programmers who had "made it" in Silicon Valley were scrambling to promote themselves from coder to "founder". There wasn't necessarily more money to be had running a startup, and the increase in status was marginal unless one's startup attracted major investment and the right kind of press coverage. It's because the programmers knew that their own ladder to prosperity was on fire and disintegrating fast. They knew that well-paid programming jobs would also soon turn to smoke and ash, as the proliferation of learn-to-code courses around the world lowered the market value of their skills, and as advances in artificial intelligence allowed for computers to take over more of the mundane work of producing software. The programmers also knew that the fastest way to win that promotion to founder was to find some new domain that hadn't yet been automated. Every tech industry campaign designed to spur investment in the Next Big Thing -- at that time, it was the "sharing economy" -- concealed a larger programme for the transformation of society, always in a direction that favoured the investor and executive classes.

"I wasn't just changing careers and jumping on the 'learn to code' bandwagon," he writes at one point. "I was being steadily indoctrinated in a specious ideology."


Anonymous Coward , Saturday April 28, 2018 @11:40PM ( #56522045 )

older generations already had a term for this ( Score: 5 , Interesting)

Older generations called this kind of fraud "fake it 'til you make it."

raymorris ( 2726007 ) , Sunday April 29, 2018 @02:05AM ( #56522343 ) Journal
The people who are smarter won't ( Score: 5 , Informative)

> The people can do both are smart enough to build their own company and compete with you.

Been there, done that. Learned a few lessons. Nowadays I work 9:30-4:30 for a very good, consistent paycheck and let some other "smart person" put in 75 hours a week dealing with hiring, managing people, corporate strategy, staying up on the competition, figuring out tax changes each year and getting taxes filed six times each year, the various state and local requirements, legal changes, contract hassles, etc, while hoping the company makes money this month so they can take a paycheck and lay their rent.

I learned that I'm good at creating software systems and I enjoy it. I don't enjoy all-nighters, partners being dickheads trying to pull out of a contract, or any of a thousand other things related to running a start-up business. I really enjoy a consistent, six-figure compensation package too.

brian.stinar ( 1104135 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

* getting taxes filled eighteen times a year.

I pay monthly gross receipts tax (12), quarterly withholdings (4) and a corporate (1) and individual (1) returns. The gross receipts can vary based on the state, so I can see how six times a year would be the minimum.

Cederic ( 9623 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

Fuck no. Cost of full automation: $4m Cost of manual entry: $0 Opportunity cost of manual entry: $800/year

At worse, pay for an accountant, if you can get one that cheaply. Bear in mind talking to them incurs most of that opportunity cost anyway.

serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

Nowadays I work 9:30-4:30 for a very good, consistent paycheck and let some other "smart person" put in 75 hours a week dealing with hiring

There's nothing wrong with not wnting to run your own business, it's not for most people, and even if it was, the numbers don't add up. But putting the scare qoutes in like that makes it sound like you have huge chip on your shoulder. Those things re just as essential to the business as your work and without them you wouldn't have the steady 9:30-4:30 with good paycheck.

raymorris ( 2726007 ) writes:
Important, and dumb. ( Score: 3 , Informative)

Of course they are important. I wouldn't have done those things if they weren't important!

I frequently have friends say things like "I love baking. I can't get enough of baking. I'm going to open a bakery.". I ask them "do you love dealing with taxes, every month? Do you love contract law? Employment law? Marketing? Accounting?" If you LOVE baking, the smart thing to do is to spend your time baking. Running a start-up business, you're not going to do much baking.

If you love marketing, employment law, taxes

raymorris ( 2726007 ) writes:
Four tips for a better job. Who has more? ( Score: 3 )

I can tell you a few things that have worked for me. I'll go in chronological order rather than priority order.

Make friends in the industry you want to be in. Referrals are a major way people get jobs.

Look at the job listings for jobs you'd like to have and see which skills a lot of companies want, but you're missing. For me that's Java. A lot companies list Java skills and I'm not particularly good with Java. Then consider learning the skills you lack, the ones a lot of job postings are looking for.

Certifi

goose-incarnated ( 1145029 ) , Sunday April 29, 2018 @02:34PM ( #56524475 ) Journal
Re: older generations already had a term for this ( Score: 5 , Insightful)
You don't understand the point of an ORM do you? I'd suggest reading why they exist

They exist because programmers value code design more than data design. ORMs are the poster-child for square-peg-round-hole solutions, which is why all ORMs choose one of three different ways of squashing hierarchical data into a relational form, all of which are crappy.

If the devs of the system (the ones choosing to use an ORM) had any competence at all they'd design their database first because in any application that uses a database the database is the most important bit, not the OO-ness or Functional-ness of the design.

Over the last few decades I've seen programs in a system come and go; a component here gets rewritten, a component there gets rewritten, but you know what? They all have to work with the same damn data.

You can more easily switch out your code for new code with new design in a new language, than you can switch change the database structure. So explain to me why it is that you think the database should be mangled to fit your OO code rather than mangling your OO code to fit the database?

cheekyboy ( 598084 ) writes:
im sick of reinventors and new frameworks ( Score: 3 )

Stick to the one thing for 10-15years. Often all this new shit doesn't do jack different to the old shit, its not faster, its not better. Every dick wants to be famous so make another damn library/tool with his own fancy name and feature, instead of enhancing an existing product.

gbjbaanb ( 229885 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

amen to that.

Or kids who can't hack the main stuff, suddenly discover the cool new, and then they can pretend they're "learning" it, and when the going gets tough (as it always does) they can declare the tech to be pants and move to another.

hence we had so many people on the bandwagon for functional programming, then dumped it for ruby on rails, then dumped that for Node.js, not sure what they're on at currently, probably back to asp.net.

Greyfox ( 87712 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

How much code do you have to reuse before you're not really programming anymore? When I started in this business, it was reasonably possible that you could end up on a project that didn't particularly have much (or any) of an operating system. They taught you assembly language and the process by which the system boots up, but I think if I were to ask most of the programmers where I work, they wouldn't be able to explain how all that works...

djinn6 ( 1868030 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )
It really feels like if you know what you're doing it should be possible to build a team of actually good programmers and put everyone else out of business by actually meeting your deliverables, but no one has yet. I wonder why that is.

You mean Amazon, Google, Facebook and the like? People may not always like what they do, but they manage to get things done and make plenty of money in the process. The problem for a lot of other businesses is not having a way to identify and promote actually good programmers. In your example, you could've spent 10 minutes fixing their query and saved them days of headache, but how much recognition will you actually get? Where is your motivation to help them?

Junta ( 36770 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

It's not a "kids these days" sort of issue, it's *always* been the case that shameless, baseless self-promotion wins out over sincere skill without the self-promotion, because the people who control the money generally understand boasting more than they understand the technology. Yes it can happen that baseless boasts can be called out over time by a large enough mass of feedback from competent peers, but it takes a *lot* to overcome the tendency for them to have faith in the boasts.

It does correlate stron

cheekyboy ( 598084 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

And all these modern coders forget old lessons, and make shit stuff, just look at instagram windows app, what a load of garbage shit, that us old fuckers could code in 2-3 weeks.

Instagram - your app sucks, cookie cutter coders suck, no refinement, coolness. Just cheap ass shit, with limited usefulness.

Just like most of commercial software that's new - quick shit.

Oh and its obvious if your an Indian faking it, you haven't worked in 100 companies at the age of 29.

Junta ( 36770 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

Here's another problem, if faced with a skilled team that says "this will take 6 months to do right" and a more naive team that says "oh, we can slap that together in a month", management goes with the latter. Then the security compromises occur, then the application fails due to pulling in an unvetted dependency update live into production. When the project grows to handling thousands instead of dozens of users and it starts mysteriously folding over and the dev team is at a loss, well the choice has be

molarmass192 ( 608071 ) , Sunday April 29, 2018 @02:15AM ( #56522359 ) Homepage Journal
Re:older generations already had a term for this ( Score: 5 , Interesting)

These restrictions is a large part of what makes Arduino programming "fun". If you don't plan out your memory usage, you're gonna run out of it. I cringe when I see 8MB web pages of bloated "throw in everything including the kitchen sink and the neighbor's car". Unfortunately, the careful and cautious way is a dying in favor of the throw 3rd party code at it until it does something. Of course, I don't have time to review it but I'm sure everybody else has peer reviewed it for flaws and exploits line by line.

AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) writes: < mojo@@@world3...net > on Sunday April 29, 2018 @05:15AM ( #56522597 ) Homepage Journal
Re:older generations already had a term for this ( Score: 4 , Informative)
Unfortunately, the careful and cautious way is a dying in favor of the throw 3rd party code at it until it does something.

Of course. What is the business case for making it efficient? Those massive frameworks are cached by the browser and run on the client's system, so cost you nothing and save you time to market. Efficient costs money with no real benefit to the business.

If we want to fix this, we need to make bloat have an associated cost somehow.

locketine ( 1101453 ) writes:
Re: older generations already had a term for this ( Score: 2 )

My company is dealing with the result of this mentality right now. We released the web app to the customer without performance testing and doing several majorly inefficient things to meet deadlines. Once real load was put on the application by users with non-ideal hardware and browsers, the app was infuriatingly slow. Suddenly our standard sub-40 hour workweek became a 50+ hour workweek for months while we fixed all the inefficient code and design issues.

So, while you're right that getting to market and opt

serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

In the bad old days we had a hell of a lot of ridiculous restriction We must somehow made our programs to run successfully inside a RAM that was 48KB in size (yes, 48KB, not 48MB or 48GB), on a CPU with a clock speed of 1.023 MHz

We still have them. In fact some of the systems I've programmed have been more resource limited than the gloriously spacious 32KiB memory of the BBC model B. Take the PIC12F or 10F series. A glorious 64 bytes of RAM, max clock speed of 16MHz, but not unusual to run it 32kHz.

serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

So what are the uses for that? I am curious what things people have put these to use for.

It's hard to determine because people don't advertise use of them at all. However, I know that my electric toothbrush uses an Epson 4 bit MCU of some description. It's got a status LED, basic NiMH batteryb charger and a PWM controller for an H Bridge. Braun sell a *lot* of electric toothbrushes. Any gadget that's smarter than a simple switch will probably have some sort of basic MCU in it. Alarm system components, sensor

tlhIngan ( 30335 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 3 , Insightful)
b) No computer ever ran at 1.023 MHz. It was either a nice multiple of 1Mhz or maybe a multiple of 3.579545Mhz (ie. using the TV output circuit's color clock crystal to drive the CPU).

Well, it could be used to drive the TV output circuit, OR, it was used because it's a stupidly cheap high speed crystal. You have to remember except for a few frequencies, most crystals would have to be specially cut for the desired frequency. This occurs even today, where most oscillators are either 32.768kHz (real time clock

Anonymous Coward writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 , Interesting)

Yeah, nice talk. You could have stopped after the first sentence. The other AC is referring to the Commodore C64 [wikipedia.org]. The frequency has nothing to do with crystal availability but with the simple fact that everything in the C64 is synced to the TV. One clock cycle equals 8 pixels. The graphics chip and the CPU take turns accessing the RAM. The different frequencies dictated by the TV standards are the reason why the CPU in the NTSC version of the C64 runs at 1.023MHz and the PAL version at 0.985MHz.

Wraithlyn ( 133796 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

LOL what exactly is so special about 16K RAM? https://yourlogicalfallacyis.c... [yourlogicalfallacyis.com]

I cut my teeth on a VIC20 (5K RAM), then later a C64 (which ran at 1.023MHz...)

Anonymous Coward writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 , Interesting)

Commodore 64 for the win. I worked for a company that made detection devices for the railroad, things like monitoring axle temperatures, reading the rail car ID tags. The original devices were made using Commodore 64 boards using software written by an employee at the one rail road company working with them.

The company then hired some electrical engineers to design custom boards using the 68000 chips and I was hired as the only programmer. Had to rewrite all of the code which was fine...

wierd_w ( 1375923 ) , Saturday April 28, 2018 @11:58PM ( #56522075 )
... A job fair can easily test this competency. ( Score: 4 , Interesting)

Many of these languages have an interactive interpreter. I know for a fact that Python does.

So, since job-fairs are an all day thing, and setup is already a thing for them -- set up a booth with like 4 computers at it, and an admin station. The 4 terminals have an interactive session with the interpreter of choice. Every 20min or so, have a challenge for "Solve this problem" (needs to be easy and already solved in general. Programmers hate being pimped without pay. They don't mind tests of skill, but hate being pimped. Something like "sort this array, while picking out all the prime numbers" or something.) and see who steps up. The ones that step up have confidence they can solve the problem, and you can quickly see who can do the work and who can't.

The ones that solve it, and solve it to your satisfaction, you offer a nice gig to.

ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) , Sunday April 29, 2018 @01:50AM ( #56522321 )
Re:... A job fair can easily test this competency. ( Score: 5 , Informative)
Then you get someone good at sorting arrays while picking out prime numbers, but potentially not much else.

The point of the test is not to identify the perfect candidate, but to filter out the clearly incompetent. If you can't sort an array and write a function to identify a prime number, I certainly would not hire you. Passing the test doesn't get you a job, but it may get you an interview ... where there will be other tests.

wierd_w ( 1375923 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

BINGO!

(I am not even a professional programmer, but I can totally perform such a trivially easy task. The example tests basic understanding of loop construction, function construction, variable use, efficient sorting, and error correction-- especially with mixed type arrays. All of these are things any programmer SHOULD now how to do, without being overly complicated, or clearly a disguised occupational problem trying to get a free solution. Like I said, programmers hate being pimped, and will be turned off

wierd_w ( 1375923 ) , Sunday April 29, 2018 @04:02AM ( #56522443 )
Re: ... A job fair can easily test this competency ( Score: 5 , Insightful)

Again, the quality applicant and the code monkey both have something the fakers do not-- Actual comprehension of what a program is, and how to create one.

As Bill points out, this is not the final exam. This is the "Oh, I see you do actually know how to program-- show me more" portion of the process. This is the part that HR drones are not capable of performing, due to Dunning-Krueger. Those that are actually, REALLY competent will do more than just satisfy the requirements of the challenge, they will provide actually working solutions to the challenge that properly validate their input, and return proper error states if the input is invalid, etc-- You can learn a LOT about a potential hire by observing their work. *THAT* is what this is really about. The triviality of the problem is a necessity, because you ***DON'T*** try to get free solutions out of people.

I realize that may be difficult for you to comprehend, but you *DON'T* do that. The job fair is to let people know that you have a position available, and try to curry interest in people to apply. A successful pre-screening is confidence building, and helps the potential hire to feel that your company is actually interested in actually hiring somebody, and not just fucking off in the booth, to cover for "failing to find somebody" and then "Getting yet another H1B". It gives them a chance to show you what they can do. That is what it is for, and what it does. It also excludes the fakers that this article is about-- The ones that can talk a good talk, but could not program a simple boolean check condition if their life depended on it.

If it were not for the time constraints of a job fair (usually only 2 days, and in that time you need to try and pre-screen as many as possible), I would suggest a tiered challenge, with progressively harder challenges, where you hand out resumes to the ones that make it to the top 3 brackets, but that is not the way the world works.

luis_a_espinal ( 1810296 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )
This in my opinion is really a waste of time. Challenges like this have to be so simple they can be done walking up to a booth are not likely to filter the "all talks" any better than a few interview questions could (imperson so the candidate can't just google it).

Tougher more involved stuff isn't good either it gives a huge advantage to the full time job hunter, the guy or gal that already has a 9-5 and a family that wants to seem them has not got time for games. We have been struggling with hiring where I work ( I do a lot of the interviews ) and these are the conclusions we have reached

You would be surprised at the number of people with impeccable-looking resumes failing at something as simple as the FizzBuzz test [codinghorror.com]

PaulRivers10 ( 4110595 ) writes:
Re: ... A job fair can easily test this competenc ( Score: 2 )

The only thing fuzzbuzz tests is "have you done fizzbuzz before"? It's a short question filled with every petty trick the author could think ti throw in there. If you haven't seen the tricks they trip you up for no reason related to your actual coding skills. Once you have seen them they're trivial and again unrelated to real work. Fizzbuzz is best passed by someone aiming to game the interview system. It passes people gaming it and trips up people who spent their time doing on the job real work.

Hognoxious ( 631665 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )
they trip you up for no reason related to your actual codung skills.

Bullshit!

luis_a_espinal ( 1810296 ) , Sunday April 29, 2018 @07:49AM ( #56522861 ) Homepage
filter the lame code monkeys ( Score: 4 , Informative)
Lame monkey tests select for lame monkeys.

A good programmer first and foremost has a clean mind. Experience suggests puzzle geeks, who excel at contrived tests, are usually sloppy thinkers.

No. Good programmers can trivially knock out any of these so-called lame monkey tests. It's lame code monkeys who can't do it. And I've seen their work. Many night shifts and weekends I've burned trying to fix their shit because they couldn't actually do any of the things behind what you call "lame monkey tests", like:

    pulling expensive invariant calculations out of loops using for loops to scan a fucking table to pull rows or calculate an aggregate when they could let the database do what it does best with a simple SQL statement systems crashing under actual load because their shitty code was never stress tested ( but it worked on my dev box! .) again with databases, having to redo their schemas because they were fattened up so much with columns like VALUE1, VALUE2, ... VALUE20 (normalize you assholes!) chatting remote APIs - because these code monkeys cannot think about the need for bulk operations in increasingly distributed systems. storing dates in unsortable strings because the idiots do not know most modern programming languages have a date data type.

Oh and the most important, off-by-one looping errors. I see this all the time, the type of thing a good programmer can spot on quickly because he or she can do the so-called "lame monkey tests" that involve arrays and sorting.

I've seen the type: "I don't need to do this shit because I have business knowledge and I code for business and IT not google", and then they go and code and fuck it up... and then the rest of us have to go clean up their shit at 1AM or on weekends.

If you work as an hourly paid contractor cleaning that crap, it can be quite lucrative. But sooner or later it truly sucks the energy out of your soul.

So yeah, we need more lame monkey tests ... to filter the lame code monkeys.

ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 3 )
Someone could Google the problem with the phone then step up and solve the challenge.

If given a spec, someone can consistently cobble together working code by Googling, then I would love to hire them. That is the most productive way to get things done.

There is nothing wrong with using external references. When I am coding, I have three windows open: an editor, a testing window, and a browser with a Stackoverflow tab open.

Junta ( 36770 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

Yeah, when we do tech interviews, we ask questions that we are certain they won't be able to answer, but want to see how they would think about the problem and what questions they ask to get more data and that they don't just fold up and say "well that's not the sort of problem I'd be thinking of" The examples aren't made up or anything, they are generally selection of real problems that were incredibly difficult that our company had faced before, that one may not think at first glance such a position would

bobstreo ( 1320787 ) writes:
Nothing worse ( Score: 2 )

than spending weeks interviewing "good" candidates for an opening, selecting a couple and hiring them as contractors, then finding out they are less than unqualified to do the job they were hired for.

I've seen it a few times, Java "experts", Microsoft "experts" with years of experience on their resumes, but completely useless in coding, deployment or anything other than buying stuff from the break room vending machines.

That being said, I've also seen projects costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, with y

Anonymous Coward , Sunday April 29, 2018 @12:34AM ( #56522157 )
Re:Nothing worse ( Score: 4 , Insightful)

The moment you said "contractors", and you have lost any sane developer. Keep swimming, its not a fish.

Anonymous Coward writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 , Informative)

I agree with this. I consider myself to be a good programmer and I would never go into contractor game. I also wonder, how does it take you weeks to interview someone and you still can't figure out if the person can't code? I could probably see that in 15 minutes in a pair coding session.

Also, Oracle, SAP, IBM... I would never buy from them, nor use their products. I have used plenty of IBM products and they suck big time. They make software development 100 times harder than it could be. Their technical supp

Lanthanide ( 4982283 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

It's weeks to interview multiple different candidates before deciding on 1 or 2 of them. Not weeks per person.

Anonymous Coward writes:
Re: ( Score: 3 , Insightful)
That being said, I've also seen projects costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, with years of delays from companies like Oracle, Sun, SAP, and many other "vendors"

Software development is a hard thing to do well, despite the general thinking of technology becoming cheaper over time, and like health care the quality of the goods and services received can sometimes be difficult to ascertain. However, people who don't respect developers and the problems we solve are very often the same ones who continually frustrate themselves by trying to cheap out, hiring outsourced contractors, and then tearing their hair out when sub par results are delivered, if anything is even del

pauljlucas ( 529435 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

As part of your interview process, don't you have candidates code a solution to a problem on a whiteboard? I've interviewed lots of "good" candidates (on paper) too, but they crashed and burned when challenged with a coding exercise. As a result, we didn't make them job offers.

VeryFluffyBunny ( 5037285 ) writes:
I do the opposite ( Score: 2 )

I'm not a great coder but good enough to get done what clients want done. If I'm not sure or don't think I can do it, I tell them. I think they appreciate the honesty. I don't work in a tech-hub, startups or anything like that so I'm not under the same expectations and pressures that others may be.

Tony Isaac ( 1301187 ) writes:
Bigger building blocks ( Score: 2 )

OK, so yes, I know plenty of programmers who do fake it. But stitching together components isn't "fake" programming.

Back in the day, we had to write our own code to loop through an XML file, looking for nuggets. Now, we just use an XML serializer. Back then, we had to write our own routines to send TCP/IP messages back and forth. Now we just use a library.

I love it! I hated having to make my own bricks before I could build a house. Now, I can get down to the business of writing the functionality I want, ins

Anonymous Coward writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 , Insightful)

But, I suspect you could write the component if you had to. That makes you a very different user of that component than someone who just knows it as a magic black box.

Because of this, you understand the component better and have real knowledge of its strengths and limitations. People blindly using components with only a cursory idea of their internal operation often cause major performance problems. They rarely recognize when it is time to write their own to overcome a limitation (or even that it is possibl

Tony Isaac ( 1301187 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

You're right on all counts. A person who knows how the innards work, is better than someone who doesn't, all else being equal. Still, today's world is so specialized that no one can possibly learn it all. I've never built a processor, as you have, but I still have been able to build a DNA matching algorithm for a major DNA lab.

I would argue that anyone who can skillfully use off-the-shelf components can also learn how to build components, if they are required to.

thesupraman ( 179040 ) writes:
Ummm. ( Score: 2 )

1, 'Back in the Day' there was no XML, XMl was not very long ago.
2, its a parser, a serialiser is pretty much the opposite (unless this weeks fashion has redefined that.. anything is possible).
3, 'Back then' we didnt have TCP stacks...

But, actually I agree with you. I can only assume the author thinks there are lots of fake plumbers because they dont cast their own toilet bowels from raw clay, and use pre-build fittings and pipes! That car mechanics start from raw steel scrap and a file.. And that you need

Tony Isaac ( 1301187 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

For the record, XML was invented in 1997, you know, in the last century! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]
And we had a WinSock library in 1992. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

Yes, I agree with you on the "middle ground." My reaction was to the author's point that "not knowing how to build the components" was the same as being a "fake programmer."

Tony Isaac ( 1301187 ) , Sunday April 29, 2018 @01:46AM ( #56522313 ) Homepage
Re:Bigger building blocks ( Score: 5 , Interesting)

If I'm a plumber, and I don't know anything about the engineering behind the construction of PVC pipe, I can still be a good plumber. If I'm an electrician, and I don't understand the role of a blast furnace in the making of the metal components, I can still be a good electrician.

The analogy fits. If I'm a programmer, and I don't know how to make an LZW compression library, I can still be a good programmer. It's a matter of layers. These days, we specialize. You've got your low-level programmers that make the components, the high level programmers that put together the components, the graphics guys who do HTML/CSS, and the SQL programmers that just know about databases. Every person has their specialty. It's no longer necessary to be a low-level programmer, or jack-of-all-trades, to be "good."

If I don't know the layout of the IP header, I can still write quality networking software, and if I know XSLT, I can still do cool stuff with XML, even if I don't know how to write a good parser.

frank_adrian314159 ( 469671 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 3 )

I was with you until you said " I can still do cool stuff with XML".

Tony Isaac ( 1301187 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

LOL yeah I know it's all JSON now. I've been around long enough to see these fads come and go. Frankly, I don't see a whole lot of advantage of JSON over XML. It's not even that much more compact, about 10% or so. But the point is that the author laments the "bad old days" when you had to create all your own building blocks, and you didn't have a team of specialists. I for one don't want to go back to those days!

careysub ( 976506 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 3 )

The main advantage is that JSON is that it is consistent. XML has attributes, embedded optional stuff within tags. That was derived from the original SGML ancestor where is was thought to be a convenience for the human authors who were supposed to be making the mark-up manually. Programmatically it is a PITA.

Cederic ( 9623 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 3 )

I got shit for decrying XML back when it was the trendy thing. I've had people apologise to me months later because they've realized I was right, even though at the time they did their best to fuck over my career because XML was the new big thing and I wasn't fully on board.

XML has its strengths and its place, but fuck me it taught me how little some people really fucking understand shit.

Anonymous Coward writes:
Silicon Valley is Only Part of the Tech Business ( Score: 2 , Informative)

And a rather small part at that, albeit a very visible and vocal one full of the proverbial prima donas. However, much of the rest of the tech business, or at least the people working in it, are not like that. It's small groups of developers working in other industries that would not typically be considered technology. There are software developers working for insurance companies, banks, hedge funds, oil and gas exploration or extraction firms, national defense and many hundreds and thousands of other small

phantomfive ( 622387 ) writes:
bonfire of fakers ( Score: 2 )

This is the reason I wish programming didn't pay so much....the field is better when it's mostly populated by people who enjoy programming.

Njovich ( 553857 ) , Sunday April 29, 2018 @05:35AM ( #56522641 )
Learn to code courses ( Score: 5 , Insightful)
They knew that well-paid programming jobs would also soon turn to smoke and ash, as the proliferation of learn-to-code courses around the world lowered the market value of their skills, and as advances in artificial intelligence allowed for computers to take over more of the mundane work of producing software.

Kind of hard to take this article serious after saying gibberish like this. I would say most good programmers know that neither learn-to-code courses nor AI are going to make a dent in their income any time soon.

AndyKron ( 937105 ) writes:
Me? No ( Score: 2 )

As a non-programmer Arduino and libraries are my friends

Escogido ( 884359 ) , Sunday April 29, 2018 @06:59AM ( #56522777 )
in the silly cone valley ( Score: 5 , Interesting)

There is a huge shortage of decent programmers. I have personally witnessed more than one phone "interview" that went like "have you done this? what about this? do you know what this is? um, can you start Monday?" (120K-ish salary range)

Partly because there are way more people who got their stupid ideas funded than good coders willing to stain their resume with that. partly because if you are funded, and cannot do all the required coding solo, here's your conundrum:

  • top level hackers can afford to be really picky, so on one hand it's hard to get them interested, and if you could get that, they often want some ownership of the project. the plus side is that they are happy to work for lots of equity if they have faith in the idea, but that can be a huge "if".
  • "good but not exceptional" senior engineers aren't usually going to be super happy, as they often have spouses and children and mortgages, so they'd favor job security over exciting ideas and startup lottery.
  • that leaves you with fresh-out-of-college folks, which are really really a mixed bunch. some are actually already senior level of understanding without the experience, some are absolutely useless, with varying degrees in between, and there's no easy way to tell which is which early.

so the not-so-scrupulous folks realized what's going on, and launched multiple coding boot camps programmes, to essentially trick both the students into believing they can become a coder in a month or two, and also the prospective employers that said students are useful. so far it's been working, to a degree, in part because in such companies coding skill evaluation process is broken. but one can only hide their lack of value add for so long, even if they do manage to bluff their way into a job.

quonset ( 4839537 ) , Sunday April 29, 2018 @07:20AM ( #56522817 )
Duh! ( Score: 4 , Insightful)

All one had to do was look at the lousy state of software and web sites today to see this is true. It's quite obvious little to no thought is given on how to make something work such that one doesn't have to jump through hoops.

I have many times said the most perfect word processing program ever developed was WordPefect 5.1 for DOS. Ones productivity was astonishing. It just worked.

Now we have the bloated behemoth Word which does its utmost to get in the way of you doing your work. The only way to get it to function is to turn large portions of its "features" off, and even then it still insists on doing something other than what you told it to do.

Then we have the abomination of Windows 10, which is nothing but Clippy on 10X steroids. It is patently obvious the people who program this steaming pile have never heard of simplicity. Who in their right mind would think having to "search" for something is more efficient than going directly to it? I would ask the question if these people wander around stores "searching" for what they're looking for, but then I realize that's how their entire life is run. They search for everything online rather than going directly to the source. It's no wonder they complain about not having time to things. They're always searching.

Web sites are another area where these people have no clue what they're doing. Anything that might be useful is hidden behind dropdown menus, flyouts, popup bubbles and intriately designed mazes of clicks needed to get to where you want to go. When someone clicks on a line of products, they shouldn't be harassed about what part of the product line they want to look at. Give them the information and let the user go where they want.

This rant could go on, but this article explains clearly why we have regressed when it comes to software and web design. Instead of making things simple and easy to use, using the one or two brain cells they have, programmers and web designers let the software do what it wants without considering, should it be done like this?

swb ( 14022 ) , Sunday April 29, 2018 @07:48AM ( #56522857 )
Tech industry churn ( Score: 3 )

The tech industry has a ton of churn -- there's some technological advancement, but there's an awful lot of new products turned out simply to keep customers buying new licenses and paying for upgrades.

This relentless and mostly phony newness means a lot of people have little experience with current products. People fake because they have no choice. The good ones understand the general technologies and problems they're meant to solve and can generally get up to speed quickly, while the bad ones are good at faking it but don't really know what they're doing. Telling the difference from the outside is impossible.

Sales people make it worse, promoting people as "experts" in specific products or implementations because the people have experience with a related product and "they're all the same". This burns out the people with good adaption skills.

DaMattster ( 977781 ) , Sunday April 29, 2018 @08:39AM ( #56522979 )
Interesting ( Score: 3 )

From the summary, it sounds like a lot of programmers and software engineers are trying to develop the next big thing so that they can literally beg for money from the elite class and one day, hopefully, become a member of the aforementioned. It's sad how the middle class has been utterly decimated in the United States that some of us are willing to beg for scraps from the wealthy. I used to work in IT but I've aged out and am now back in school to learn automotive technology so that I can do something other than being a security guard. Currently, the only work I have been able to find has been in the unglamorous security field.

I am learning some really good new skills in the automotive program that I am in but I hate this one class called "Professionalism in the Shop." I can summarize the entire class in one succinct phrase, "Learn how to appeal to, and communicate with, Mr. Doctor, Mr. Lawyer, or Mr. Wealthy-man." Basically, the class says that we are supposed to kiss their ass so they keep coming back to the Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Volvo, or Cadillac dealership. It feels a lot like begging for money on behalf of my employer (of which very little of it I will see) and nothing like professionalism. Professionalism is doing the job right the first time, not jerking the customer off. Professionalism is not begging for a 5 star review for a few measly extra bucks but doing absolute top quality work. I guess the upshot is that this class will be the easiest 4.0 that I've ever seen.

There is something fundamentally wrong when the wealthy elite have basically demanded that we beg them for every little scrap. I can understand the importance of polite and professional interaction but this prevalent expectation that we bend over backwards for them crosses a line with me. I still suck it up because I have to but it chafes my ass to basically validate the wealthy man.

ElitistWhiner ( 79961 ) writes:
Natural talent... ( Score: 2 )

In 70's I worked with two people who had a natural talent for computer science algorithms .vs. coding syntax. In the 90's while at COLUMBIA I worked with only a couple of true computer scientists out of 30 students. I've met 1 genius who programmed, spoke 13 languages, ex-CIA, wrote SWIFT and spoke fluent assembly complete with animated characters.

According to the Bluff Book, everyone else without natural talent fakes it. In the undiluted definition of computer science, genetics roulette and intellectual d

fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) writes:
Other book sells better and is more interesting ( Score: 2 )
New Book Describes 'Bluffing' Programmers in Silicon Valley

It's not as interesting as the one about "fluffing" [urbandictionary.com] programmers.

Anonymous Coward writes:
Re: ( Score: 3 , Funny)

Ah yes, the good old 80:20 rule, except it's recursive for programmers.

80% are shit, so you fire them. Soon you realize that 80% of the remaining 20% are also shit, so you fire them too. Eventually you realize that 80% of the 4% remaining after sacking the 80% of the 20% are also shit, so you fire them!

...

The cycle repeats until there's just one programmer left: the person telling the joke.

---

tl;dr: All programmers suck. Just ask them to review their own code from more than 3 years ago: they'll tell you that

luis_a_espinal ( 1810296 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 3 )
Who gives a fuck about lines? If someone gave me JavaScript, and someone gave me minified JavaScript, which one would I want to maintain?

I donâ(TM)t care about your line savings, less isnâ(TM)t always better.

Because the world of programming is not centered about JavasScript and reduction of lines is not the same as minification. If the first thing that came to your mind was about minified JavaScript when you saw this conversation, you are certainly not the type of programmer I would want to inherit code from.

See, there's a lot of shit out there that is overtly redundant and unnecessarily complex. This is specially true when copy-n-paste code monkeys are left to their own devices for whom code formatting seems

Anonymous Coward , Sunday April 29, 2018 @01:17AM ( #56522241 )
Re:Most "Professional programmers" are useless. ( Score: 4 , Interesting)

I have a theory that 10% of people are good at what they do. It doesn't really matter what they do, they will still be good at it, because of their nature. These are the people who invent new things, who fix things that others didn't even see as broken and who automate routine tasks or simply question and erase tasks that are not necessary. If you have a software team that contain 5 of these, you can easily beat a team of 100 average people, not only in cost but also in schedule, quality and features. In theory they are worth 20 times more than average employees, but in practise they are usually paid the same amount of money with few exceptions.

80% of people are the average. They can follow instructions and they can get the work done, but they don't see that something is broken and needs fixing if it works the way it has always worked. While it might seem so, these people are not worthless. There are a lot of tasks that these people are happily doing which the 10% don't want to do. E.g. simple maintenance work, implementing simple features, automating test cases etc. But if you let the top 10% lead the project, you most likely won't be needed that much of these people. Most work done by these people is caused by themselves, by writing bad software due to lack of good leader.

10% are just causing damage. I'm not talking about terrorists and criminals. I have seen software developers who have tried (their best?), but still end up causing just damage to the code that someone else needs to fix, costing much more than their own wasted time. You really must use code reviews if you don't know your team members, to find these people early.

Anonymous Coward , Sunday April 29, 2018 @01:40AM ( #56522299 )
Re:Most "Professional programmers" are useless. ( Score: 5 , Funny)
to find these people early

and promote them to management where they belong.

raymorris ( 2726007 ) , Sunday April 29, 2018 @01:51AM ( #56522329 ) Journal
Seems about right. Constantly learning, studying ( Score: 5 , Insightful)

That seems about right to me.

I have a lot of weaknesses. My people skills suck, I'm scrawny, I'm arrogant. I'm also generally known as a really good programmer and people ask me how/why I'm so much better at my job than everyone else in the room. (There are a lot of things I'm not good at, but I'm good at my job, so say everyone I've worked with.)

I think one major difference is that I'm always studying, intentionally working to improve, every day. I've been doing that for twenty years.

I've worked with people who have "20 years of experience"; they've done the same job, in the same way, for 20 years. Their first month on the job they read the first half of "Databases for Dummies" and that's what they've been doing for 20 years. They never read the second half, and use Oracle database 18.0 exactly the same way they used Oracle Database 2.0 - and it was wrong 20 years ago too. So it's not just experience, it's 20 years of learning, getting better, every day. That's 7,305 days of improvement.

gbjbaanb ( 229885 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

I think I can guarantee that they are a lot better at their jobs than you think, and that you are a lot worse at your job than you think too.

m00sh ( 2538182 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )
That seems about right to me.

I have a lot of weaknesses. My people skills suck, I'm scrawny, I'm arrogant. I'm also generally known as a really good programmer and people ask me how/why I'm so much better at my job than everyone else in the room. (There are a lot of things I'm not good at, but I'm good at my job, so say everyone I've worked with.)

I think one major difference is that I'm always studying, intentionally working to improve, every day. I've been doing that for twenty years.

I've worked with people who have "20 years of experience"; they've done the same job, in the same way, for 20 years. Their first month on the job they read the first half of "Databases for Dummies" and that's what they've been doing for 20 years. They never read the second half, and use Oracle database 18.0 exactly the same way they used Oracle Database 2.0 - and it was wrong 20 years ago too. So it's not just experience, it's 20 years of learning, getting better, every day. That's 7,305 days of improvement.

If you take this attitude towards other people, people will not ask your for help. At the same time, you'll be also be not able to ask for their help.

You're not interviewing your peers. They are already in your team. You should be working together.

I've seen superstar programmers suck the life out of project by over-complicating things and not working together with others.

raymorris ( 2726007 ) writes:
Which part? Learning makes you better? ( Score: 2 )

You quoted a lot. Is there one part exactly do you have in mind? The thesis of my post is of course "constant learning, on purpose, makes you better"

> you take this attitude towards other people, people will not ask your for help. At the same time, you'll be also be not able to ask for their help.

Are you saying that trying to learn means you can't ask for help, or was there something more specific? For me, trying to learn means asking.

Trying to learn, I've had the opportunity to ask for help from peop

phantomfive ( 622387 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

The difference between a smart programmer who succeeds and a stupid programmer who drops out is that the smart programmer doesn't give up.

complete loony ( 663508 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

In other words;

What is often mistaken for 20 years' experience, is just 1 year's experience repeated 20 times.
serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

10% are just causing damage. I'm not talking about terrorists and criminals.

Terrorists and criminals have nothing on those guys. I know guy who is one of those. Worse, he's both motivated and enthusiastic. He also likes to offer help and advice to other people who don't know the systems well.

asifyoucare ( 302582 ) , Sunday April 29, 2018 @08:49AM ( #56522999 )
Re:Most "Professional programmers" are useless. ( Score: 5 , Insightful)

Good point. To quote Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord:

"I divide my officers into four groups. There are clever, diligent, stupid, and lazy officers. Usually two characteristics are combined. Some are clever and diligent -- their place is the General Staff. The next lot are stupid and lazy -- they make up 90 percent of every army and are suited to routine duties. Anyone who is both clever and lazy is qualified for the highest leadership duties, because he possesses the intellectual clarity and the composure necessary for difficult decisions. One must beware of anyone who is stupid and diligent -- he must not be entrusted with any responsibility because he will always cause only mischief."

gweihir ( 88907 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

Oops. Good thing I never did anything military. I am definitely in the "clever and lazy" class.

apoc.famine ( 621563 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

I was just thinking the same thing. One of my passions in life is coming up with clever ways to do less work while getting more accomplished.

Software_Dev_GL ( 5377065 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

It's called the Pareto Distribution [wikipedia.org]. The number of competent people (people doing most of the work) in any given organization goes like the square root of the number of employees.

gweihir ( 88907 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

Matches my observations. 10-15% are smart, can think independently, can verify claims by others and can identify and use rules in whatever they do. They are not fooled by things "everybody knows" and see standard-approaches as first approximations that, of course, need to be verified to work. They do not trust anything blindly, but can identify whether something actually work well and build up a toolbox of such things.

The problem is that in coding, you do not have a "(mass) production step", and that is the

geoskd ( 321194 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

In basic concept I agree with your theory, it fits my own anecdotal experience well, but I find that your numbers are off. The top bracket is actually closer to 20%. The reason it seems so low is that a large portion of the highly competent people are running one programmer shows, so they have no co-workers to appreciate their knowledge and skill. The places they work do a very good job of keeping them well paid and happy (assuming they don't own the company outright), so they rarely if ever switch jobs.

The

Tablizer ( 95088 ) , Sunday April 29, 2018 @01:54AM ( #56522331 ) Journal
Re:Most "Professional programmers" are useless. ( Score: 4 , Interesting)
at least 70, probably 80, maybe even 90 percent of professional programmers should just fuck off and do something else as they are useless at programming.

Programming is statistically a dead-end job. Why should anyone hone a dead-end skill that you won't be able to use for long? For whatever reason, the industry doesn't want old programmers.

Otherwise, I'd suggest longer training and education before they enter the industry. But that just narrows an already narrow window of use.

Cesare Ferrari ( 667973 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

Well, it does rather depend on which industry you work in - i've managed to find interesting programming jobs for 25 years, and there's no end in sight for interesting projects and new avenues to explore. However, this isn't for everyone, and if you have good personal skills then moving from programming into some technical management role is a very worthwhile route, and I know plenty of people who have found very interesting work in that direction.

gweihir ( 88907 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 3 , Insightful)

I think that is a misinterpretation of the facts. Old(er) coders that are incompetent are just much more obvious and usually are also limited to technologies that have gotten old as well. Hence the 90% old coders that can actually not hack it and never really could get sacked at some time and cannot find a new job with their limited and outdated skills. The 10% that are good at it do not need to worry though. Who worries there is their employers when these people approach retirement age.

gweihir ( 88907 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

My experience as an IT Security Consultant (I also do some coding, but only at full rates) confirms that. Most are basically helpless and many have negative productivity, because people with a clue need to clean up after them. "Learn to code"? We have far too many coders already.

tomhath ( 637240 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

You can't bluff you way through writing software, but many, many people have bluffed their way into a job and then tried to learn it from the people who are already there. In a marginally functional organization those incompetents are let go pretty quickly, but sometimes they stick around for months or years.

Apparently the author of this book is one of those, probably hired and fired several times before deciding to go back to his liberal arts roots and write a book.

DaMattster ( 977781 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

There are some mechanics that bluff their way through an automotive repair. It's the same damn thing

gweihir ( 88907 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

I think you can and this is by far not the first piece describing that. Here is a classic: https://blog.codinghorror.com/... [codinghorror.com]
Yet these people somehow manage to actually have "experience" because they worked in a role they are completely unqualified to fill.

phantomfive ( 622387 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )
Fiddling with JavaScript libraries to get a fancy dancy interface that makes PHB's happy is a sought-after skill, for good or bad. Now that we rely more on half-ass libraries, much of "programming" is fiddling with dark-grey boxes until they work good enough.

This drives me crazy, but I'm consoled somewhat by the fact that it will all be thrown out in five years anyway.

[Apr 29, 2018] The Cranes are Flying (The Criterion Collection) Tatyana Samoylova Aleksey Batalov

For his role in this him soviet star Aleksey Batalov won Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival .
Jul 03, 2002 | www.amazon.com

July 3, 2002 Format: DVD | Verified Purchase

My favorite Russian classic

I've never been a huge fan of soviet cinema until I saw this great movie a few months ago. Sure Eisenstein is a great director and he made wonderful classics but this is probably the first Russian movie that I can identify with the characters since the Eisenstein movies and a few others that I've seen like Earth (Alexander Dovzhenko, 1930) are very political and showing me a culture and a way of life that is interesting and informative but that I can't identify with.

This movie tells a simple story about a young couple (Veronika and Boris) that is separated because Boris as to go to war. I think I love this movie so much because it is so open and so full of humanity. It is also very poetic particularly when Boris is at the front and he dreams about his girl back home.

But the thing that I admire the most is the superior cinematography, the camera angles are stunning and the close-ups (very close) are almost disturbing because you feel that you are spying on them or following them anywhere they go.

Also, great scenes with hand held cameras and used wisely not just to use it but at chosen moments to accentuate dramatic scenes or to show chaos during this time of war.

It amaze me that a great reference for cinematography like that is not use or missuse in movies today. If you can, try to catch the movie I am Cuba with the same great director and the same wonderful cinematography, the story is political but unlike early Russian movies of Eisenstein and such, the characters are warmer and you can identify with them.

August 14, 2017 Format: DVD | Verified Purchase
Very well shot and produced, great story with a big surprise ending.

Since my Wife is Russian, I have a new found interest in Russian movies. This is an early film with the lead role being played by the same actor from "Moscow Does Not Believe In Tears". The movie has a great story, very well shot and produced with a big surprise ending.

January 20, 2003 Format: DVD | Verified Purchase
A beautiful, well acted movie.

This is one of my favorite movies. It's quality is typical of what I have come to expect of a Criterion reconstruction. Something along the lines of HDTV black and white. It's that good.

The story itself is situated at the begining of Russia's Great Patriotic War (WWII). The story covers every inch of human behaviour including happiness, love, sorrow, deceit, manipulation, and heroism against all odds.

The last quarter of the movie is a stunning surprise, as it builds to an ending scene that is nothing less than a grand tribute to the best of what makes us human.

Even hardcore war movie fans (like me) can expect blurred vision at the end of this film. Not sappy at all, this film will strike a chord with viewers of any country, and most generations. It is not a single view disk.

I don't even know if it has an English language soundtrack, as the tonality of the Russian soundtrack combined with the very well produced English subtitles offers a great connection to the film even for non Russian speaking people. Buy this disk, you wil enjoy it over and over.

[Apr 29, 2018] Paths of Glory Kirk Douglas, Ralph Meeker, Adolphe Menjou, George Macready

Apr 29, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Bwhami 5.0 out of 5 stars | Verified Purchase

The movie tells the tragic story of three Frenchmen who a selected to be court marshaled for a Generals bad decision. It also de

Paths of Glory takes place during World War I. The movie tells the tragic story of three Frenchmen who a selected to be court marshaled for a Generals bad decision. It also depicts the differences between the old officer class and the foot soldier. In one scene the General Paul Mireau is talking to Colonel Dax, played by Kirk Douglas about the projected losses when the French Army will assault the "Ant Hill', a German held position that is well protected. The General is speaking in percentages, but Douglas talks about the loss of him men. It is plain to see that the General does not really care of the common soldier. WWI saw the death of the old way of fighting a war and the passing of the old Aristocrat Military leaders who saw war as a way of life. Near the beginning of the movie Colonel Dax is referred to as one of the Best defense Lawyers in France. He uses all his skills to defend the three men selected to die. Their fate has already been decided and the trial is only a formality. There is a battle fought and lost . Watching the three men discuss their fate is painful. The final scene where a young German girl is forced to sing to the French soldiers is very touching as the men begin to hum to the tune of the song. Some are moved to tears. I highly recommend this movie.

April 23, 2015 Format: Amazon Video | Verified Purchase
This is a terrific anit-war pic

This is a terrific anit-war pic, one that doesn't bang you over the head with sentimentality or hold back on war's ugliness. Although there are a lot of films I like that can be accused of glorifying the practice---namely, "The Longest Day", "Glory", and "Patton" are a few of my favorites--this film stands with "Grand Illusion" and "All Quiet on the Western Front" at bringing a more critical look at what may have been the least justifiable war of the 20th century (World War I). Kirk Douglas gives a terrific performance in one of his earlier films, of a commander faced with sending his troops to complete a task he knows is impossible and fighting the more delusional brass who are insisting upon it. Great performances by George McReady as a general more interested in his career than the safety of his men, and Adolphe Anjou.

[Apr 28, 2018] A Higher Loyalty Truth, Lies, and Leadership

Comey career was damaged by his treatment of Hillary email scandal and derailing Sanders; clearly the political role the FBI assumed. So this is a memoir of a politician who happened to work in law enforcement, and should be treated as such.
An investigation of real Comey role in derailing Sanders and electing Trump still is a matter of the future.
Rosenstein memo pictures quite a different portrait Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's Memo Against James Comey, Annotated - The Atlantic
Notable quotes:
"... Comey is more than willing on several occasions to make misguided decisions because of his uncompromising loyalty to the FBI. Loyalty to the FBI is ever bit as dangerous as loyalty to the president. ..."
"... I am not a fan of James Comey and to this day I have never seen an answer to why it would be ok for the FBI director to hold a press conference for what seemed to be injecting his own political thoughts and opinions far too close to an election to not have known it would have an effect. ..."
"... Comey goes on to say that "in mid June the Russian Government began dumping emails stolen from the institutions associated with the Democratic Party." Here he is implying that Wikileaks is the Russian Government without any evidence to back it up. ..."
"... Is Comey saying Russia in order to protect Clinton?, its possible. Comey has said in his Book he has been investigating the Clintons since the Clinton administration. Each of those investigations he has let the Clintons walk free and has stop the investigations unexpectedly even when evidence appears to pile up, he does admit that Hillary Clinton destroyed evidence even after receiving a subpoena .Comey investigated a suicide in the clintons white house. Comey was behind an investigation of Bill clinton in January 2002. ..."
"... Comey tries to imply if you did not go along with Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election and not supported her or made no positive comments about her as "associating or working with the Russians". I believe this mindset is very dangerous to suggest if you did not support Hillary Clinton for president as if working with the Russians. ..."
"... He says that "Candidate Clinton herself was talking about the Russian effort to elect her opponent.", well we do know that she was who paid for the slanderous "dossier" which is why she knew about what was in the dossier before the "Dossier" was publish by Buzzfeed and CNN. ..."
"... Before the election Comey said he did his job as if Hillary was already President and as if working for Her even though the election was weeks to come. He says " I was making decisions in an environment where Hillary Clinton was sure to be the next President" ..."
"... Comey expected Trump to curse Russia based on what the suppose "evidence" or the DNC funded "dossier". We do know that the Clinton campaign was running the DNC before Hillary was nominated based on Donna Brazile latest book where she implies that Hillary Clinton cheated Bernie Sanders. ..."
"... Yet Comey fails to mention that he signed a FISA warrant based on the "Dossier" paid by Hillary Clinton and the DNC. He said the Dossier was "salacious and unverified". The Dossier was politically crafted much of it has been proven to be false yet Comey use it to get a FISA warrant. ..."
"... Finishing, Comey goes on to slander president Trump of undermining public confidence in law enforcement institutions when this enforcement institutions have been caught lying, protecting politicians like Hillary Clinton having a double standard when it comes to investigating certain politicians and letting them walk free before finishing an investigation. ..."
"... Comey had his issues with the Justice Department, especially Loretta Lynch although he never says that she had sinister intent. ..."
Apr 28, 2018 | www.amazon.com

mick on April 25, 2018

Loyal to whom?

James Comey is articulate and makes his case in an interesting and effective manner. He seems competent and well intentioned. Problem is he, like many, considers lying about a crime a greater crime than the crime. It is not the case. If someone commits murder, is lying about it worse than the murder?

He rightfully seems horrified that Trump demands loyalty, but Comey is more than willing on several occasions to make misguided decisions because of his uncompromising loyalty to the FBI. Loyalty to the FBI is ever bit as dangerous as loyalty to the president.

Tucker Lieberman on April 18, 2018
A justification of the Clinton email server investigation and a nonpartisan critique of Trump's erosion of norms

A skillfully written and affecting memoir. Comey shares formative experiences: suffering a random attack by a serial home invader as a teenager, being bullied and then bullying, losing an infant son. There's a lot of detail about his decision to announce the reopening of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's private email server right before the election. Given that situation as he described it, had I been in his shoes, I can't say for sure what I would have done. He means to reveal the ethical complexity and he does it well.

He speaks positively of working for President George W. Bush and then for President Obama, but he has no such appreciation for President Trump. Contradicting longstanding norms of U.S. government, Trump demanded loyalty from Comey in his nonpartisan, ten-year term as the FBI Director, and when Comey did not give it unconditionally and did not halt the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, Trump fired him. "We had that thing, you know," Trump said to Comey, referring to the previous conversation in which he had asked for loyalty. Comey's knowledge of La Cosa Nostra ("that thing of ours," the Mafia's name for itself) adds a layer of meaning. Comey knows what Mafia guys are like, and he does not live like them; he is not swayed by appeals to loyalty. That's how he became FBI Director and that's also how he lost his job under Trump.

"I say this as someone who has worked in law enforcement for most of my life, and served presidents of both parties. What is happening now," he warns from his new position as a private citizen, "is not normal. It is not fake news. It is not okay." For those who support Trump's policy agenda because they believe it will benefit them personally somehow, Comey delivers a reminder that "the core of our nation is our commitment to a set of shared values that began with George Washington -- to restraint and integrity and balance and transparency and truth. If that slides away from us, only a fool would be consoled by a tax cut or a different immigration policy."

Irene on April 17, 2018
A higher loyalty

I am not a fan of James Comey and to this day I have never seen an answer to why it would be ok for the FBI director to hold a press conference for what seemed to be injecting his own political thoughts and opinions far too close to an election to not have known it would have an effect.

If you watch the news at all or read the 1 star reviews by people who appear not to have read the book you will be led to believe this is a book about Trump, and bashing him, or outing him as unfit in some way.

Especially if you know that the RNC has gone out of their way to create a website just ahead of the book release for the sole purpose of Comey bashing. So let me bust that myth. This is not a book about Trump. There are no big jaw dropping Trump secrets here.

This is a book about James Comey, from his early childhood until the here and now. Comey touches on childhood memories, being bullied, later on participating or at least turning a blind eye to bullyng himself. He speaks on his experience being home alone with his brother when the "Ramsey Rapist" broke into his house. He tells you how and why he decided to pursue law as a career instead of becoming a doctor. There are humorous anecdotes about his first job in the grocery store and yes some about his final days as FBI director. You do not have to be a fan of Comey or any of his decisions to enjoy this book. You may or may not be satisfied with his explanation of why he decided to make such public announcements on Hilary's emails, but that is a small part of this book. Personally I was not satisfied and he does admit that others may have handled it differently. If you are only looking for bombshells this book is not for you. By the time it gets to the visit to alert Trump to the salacious allegations the book is 70% over, because as I said this is not a book about Trump.

Even if I do not agree with Comey's decisions to publicly give his opinion on one candidate while withholding the fact that there is an investigation surrounding the other even with the "classified info" that he says we still do not know about I was still able to enjoy this book. I agree with his assessment in the last televised interview he gave, that if Comey is an idiot he is at least an honest idiot.

Omar Gonzalez on April 21, 2018
Just finished reading 100% of the book. James Comey

Just finished reading 100% of the book. James Comey starts with sharing an experience of a time his house was broken in by a robber while his parents were away and he was alone with Pete. James Comey recounts his investigations of the Mafia. James Comey talks about having Malaria and thanks his wife Patrice for taking him on the back of her motorcycle to the Hospital. He mentions his family life and his new born son Collin who passed away in the hospital after Doctors failed to give Collin treatment while Collin was already showing abnormal behavior.

Comey goes on to talk about his role as FBI director during the Obama Administration.

He talks about Micheal Brown and how fake news caused a big up roar and hatred on police by their distortion on what happened in Ferguson and thus caused great divisions.

Comey tries to justify the outcome of not prosecuting what clinton did with her private email server which had classified government data by saying that even if her actions were bad though a statute was broken and had lied to FBI officials about having classified information but she did so carelessly.

He says that the Clinton campaign was calling the criminal investigation surrounding Hillary Clinton a "matter" and he says that Attorney General Loretta Lynch was strangely telling him to do the same when confronting the media.

When Attorney General Loretta Lynch met with Bill Clinton privately on a tarmac he saw it not as a big deal, though it was after this private meeting that the decision of not prosecuting Secretary Hillary Clinton was decided . So this shows that the Clinton campaign had influence on the outcome of the investigation concerning Clinton.

Comey goes on to say that "in mid June the Russian Government began dumping emails stolen from the institutions associated with the Democratic Party." Here he is implying that Wikileaks is the Russian Government without any evidence to back it up. Though Wikileaks has already said that it was not Russia but someone living in the United States who sent the emails to Wikileaks.

Is Comey saying Russia in order to protect Clinton?, its possible. Comey has said in his Book he has been investigating the Clintons since the Clinton administration. Each of those investigations he has let the Clintons walk free and has stop the investigations unexpectedly even when evidence appears to pile up, he does admit that Hillary Clinton destroyed evidence even after receiving a subpoena .Comey investigated a suicide in the clintons white house. Comey was behind an investigation of Bill clinton in January 2002.

Comey mentions the piss dossier as evidence "strongly suggesting that the Russian government was trying to interfere in the election in 3 ways." He later admits the suppose "evidence" as "unverifiable", this is the same "dossier" that was used to grant a FISA warrant to spy on Clinton opponent Donald Trump which was paid by Hillary Clinton and her campaign.

Comey tries to imply if you did not go along with Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election and not supported her or made no positive comments about her as "associating or working with the Russians". I believe this mindset is very dangerous to suggest if you did not support Hillary Clinton for president as if working with the Russians. Again this is all based on the "unverifiable dossier" , even though the suggested "evidence" is unverifiable a tyrant Government can use this to justify in going after ANYONE who speaks against the corruption going within former director James Comey FBI.

He says that "Candidate Clinton herself was talking about the Russian effort to elect her opponent.", well we do know that she was who paid for the slanderous "dossier" which is why she knew about what was in the dossier before the "Dossier" was publish by Buzzfeed and CNN.

He says that his family were Hillary supporters and that they attended the "Woman's March" which was more of a rally in protest to President Trump presidency. Before the election Comey said he did his job as if Hillary was already President and as if working for Her even though the election was weeks to come. He says " I was making decisions in an environment where Hillary Clinton was sure to be the next President"

Comey goes on to talk about Donald Trump inauguration and as FBI director fails to talk about the riots and protestors blocking the entrance to the inauguration where they set a limousine on fire, stores were broken in including a Starbucks. He compares Trump inauguration to Obama but Obama had no rioters.

Comey expected Trump to curse Russia based on what the suppose "evidence" or the DNC funded "dossier". We do know that the Clinton campaign was running the DNC before Hillary was nominated based on Donna Brazile latest book where she implies that Hillary Clinton cheated Bernie Sanders.

Yet Comey fails to mention that he signed a FISA warrant based on the "Dossier" paid by Hillary Clinton and the DNC. He said the Dossier was "salacious and unverified". The Dossier was politically crafted much of it has been proven to be false yet Comey use it to get a FISA warrant.

Finishing, Comey goes on to slander president Trump of undermining public confidence in law enforcement institutions when this enforcement institutions have been caught lying, protecting politicians like Hillary Clinton having a double standard when it comes to investigating certain politicians and letting them walk free before finishing an investigation.

JWM on April 27, 2018
A better title would have been " An American's Highest Loyalty"

This memoir is an important piece in the analysis of turn of the century politics in the United States. It is unfortunate that the media hype for this book has been about the more recent turmoil in James Comey's service to his country. True, the Trump administration is different and in many ways dysfunctional. But it is only in the part of the book, that he deals with it's dysfunction.

If one reads carefully, President Trump is only a more obvious and verbal and transparent figure in his disdain for the judiciary and the justice department. Dick Cheney and others in the Bush 43 administration are portrayed as far more sinister in their actions to sublimate justice after 9/11.

His admiration for President Obama is evident and little discussed in the media.

Comey had his issues with the Justice Department, especially Loretta Lynch although he never says that she had sinister intent. His dealings with the Clinton email controversy is well outlined. His dilemma with his communication regarding his investigation and its reopening was inadequately described in the book and his naivety that its reopening would not influence the election is remarkable. He supposes that the average American voter understands how the investigative system and justice system works.

His demeaning comments about President Trump's physical flaws add nothing to the book. I can understand why he wrote them in as these kinds of notations sell books. They added nothing to the story he had to tell. He should have left them out.

I appreciate that he does not give loyalty to a person. What makes America great is that we are loyal to an idea. Even if we disagree on the interpretation of the Constitution, we can all be American. His loyalty seems to be to honesty and integrity which is admirable. However the highest loyalty should be to one's reading of the Constitution. I just wished he had said it.

[Apr 26, 2018] Peplink SUS-SOHO-T Pepwave Surf Soho MK3

Apr 26, 2018 | www.amazon.com

January 13, 2017 Verified Purchase

Buy this and don't bother with anything else.

Unlike the consumer equipment, the web interface is informative and responsive. It is easy to set up and works great. Additionally, I scanned the router and found no security issues; my former wireless router had unpatched security issues, and Netgear had no plans to upgrade the firmware. Meanwhile, Peplink still updates the firmware. Since it is enterprise grade, it stays connected for a long time; I have purchased this wireless router for both my home and a non-profit; neither unit has lost the connection, nor have they had to be rebooted. I am surprised this unit is not sold at office supply stores, which only sell the same consumer grade gear you can get anywhere else. I'm also surprised this unit isn't regularly reviewed by the computer magazines since it is a higher quality piece of equipment with greater stability than anything else offered at a consumer-level price point.

Neither Amazon nor Peplink indicates this comes with antennas; Amazon suggests the purchase of antennas along with the unit. So imagine my surprise when there were antennas in the box. However, there were no setup instructions in the box -- no paperwork of any kind. I had to use my phone to get to the Peplink website and didn't find any instructions there either. Finally, I went to their community forums and got the instructions. (Use an Ethernet connection initially; browse to 192.168.50.1; UserId: admin; PWD: admin.)

December 27, 2016 Verified Purchase
Great purchase!

Received my MK3 router today. This is the first peplink product that I have dealt with. I run a computer repair shop and was anxious to try this out to see if I can recommend the MK3 to customers. I am pretty happy with the setup and options that this thing comes with. Best part about this router is that I can setup wifi networks with ease and then download the configuration file for backup. No more having to retype all of that stuff for customers when I have to reset to factory. The incontrol online portal is pretty awesome too. I don't think I'll ever recommend a store bought router over this handy piece of equipment. Haven't tested the failover WAN with my phone wifi yet but that's next on my list. A++ so far.

August 3, 2016 Verified Purchase
Great little unit.

Worked as discribed. I connected a Verizin Mifi to the pep link and it boost the signal all around my house. 1800sq ft. Also got my security camera system hooked to it via Ethernet and it broadcast clear video footage to the Internet so I can view on my phone.

Make sure you go into the settings and click "max signal boost" and turn on the external antenna. It don't come set that way from factory.

August 3, 2017 Verified Purchase
So good I set up another one for family

Realized a family member had an old Belkin G series router. No updates, just waiting to get hit. Ordered this from the 3G store once again (they are really great and friendly) and had it shipped to their house. Other than them being stuck on Cox I was able to have everything set up in 10 minutes. Two hours of rebooting the Cox modem to get the phone service to remain on. Did the update to take the router to version 7 and no complaints about speed (much faster to all devices), home and devices are much safer, and I can always reach out to the 3G store staff should I have any issues (did I mention those folks are great and very friendly!)

February 8, 2016 Verified Purchase
Very good router. Now offered in 801 a/c version. Bought it for it's good security & support reputation.

UPDATED PREAMBLE TO MY OLDER REVIEW (4/21/2017).

The model currently marketed by Amazon (as of April 20th, 2017) is a "Mark 3" version of the SOHO which now supports the latest "802.11 ac" Wi-Fi standard. It also now support Gigabit ports. It only costs 20 dollars more than what I paid for my "N" version a year or so back - well worth if for the potential performance gains. So this is good news for consumers.

I'm happy as a clam with my older "N" version of this PEPLINK SOHO router. I'm writing this "preamble" to my older review because Amazon insists on lumping all the Peplink SOHO reviews together. I believe the newer MK3 version will provide backwards compatibility/support for people who still have laptops / devices where their chipsets transmit / receive 802.11n, 802.11g and 802.11b.

I would guess that, with the revisions in the Mark 3, IF you have Gigabit connectivity from your ISP and also 802.11ac capable devices (tablet, laptop, gaming, etc) then 4 or 5 people can probably simultaneously "hog down" on 1080p movies and will not experience stuttering.

[Apr 24, 2018] 12 Rules for Life An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan B. Peterson

Notable quotes:
"... We are complicated pieces in an even more complicated puzzle. ..."
"... Peterson states that "life is tragic." His point is that people need to be ready to deal with adversity. Anyone can handle good times, because that's what we are able to rest and relax during. The true test of a person comes when they lose a loved one or a job or their health. They need to make a decision: what will they do in response. ..."
"... His 12 Rules serve as a guide on how to go from that point of failure to a point of redemption, offering a series of suggestions and guidelines to take a life that is becoming corrupted by hatred of the world and everything in it and turn it into a vessel for growth and self-improvement. ..."
Apr 24, 2018 | www.amazon.com

... Approaching Peterson a skeptic, I was not sure that reading a book would have the power to change anything in my life. The first few chapters were met with nods, hesitancy, and the concession of points that sounded good. I wasn't hostile to him, and I found many of his points quite clever.

But when Peterson delved deeper into the archetypes and depth psychology I became suspicious. I had a moderate distrust of the Jungian method; I use it to teach literature, but I did not believe in using archetypes to assess personality.

Peterson's point is that we are all part of something great and interconnected. Because it is so massive, we need to be working to make sense of it. It won't happen automatically, and if we go for an easy explanation we may find ourselves walking dark, treacherous paths of misanthropy and rejection.

We are complicated pieces in an even more complicated puzzle. Peterson's approach is one of self improvement. When we take steps to sort ourselves out, we also need to enter a symbiotic process of bringing order to our world.

The purpose of this is not to achieve some sort of superiority. It is to achieve survival. The world will change, and we will be forced to adapt.

Peterson states that "life is tragic." His point is that people need to be ready to deal with adversity. Anyone can handle good times, because that's what we are able to rest and relax during. The true test of a person comes when they lose a loved one or a job or their health. They need to make a decision: what will they do in response.

Peterson uses haunting examples to illustrate what happens when this goes wrong. Using everything from Dostoevsky to the Soviet Union (and countless other insights from modern and historical figures), he creates case studies of what happens when things go wrong and people turn to dysfunction rather than improving their situation.

His 12 Rules serve as a guide on how to go from that point of failure to a point of redemption, offering a series of suggestions and guidelines to take a life that is becoming corrupted by hatred of the world and everything in it and turn it into a vessel for growth and self-improvement.

Is it a perfect guide to living life? No. Is it helpful? Does it give insight to great truths? Yes.

[Apr 23, 2018] 12 Rules for Life An Antidote to Chaos

Notable quotes:
"... his theme of the inevitability of suffering. ..."
"... This book is too long, too verbose, too complicated for its purported goals ..."
"... Unfortunately, this book reads a lot like one of those lectures. While Peterson still provides, as ever, a number of valuable insights, he often does so in chapters that are only ostensibly related to the point he's making. ..."
"... His advice is mostly of the "No more Mr. Nice Guy" type, which I think has much to recommend. ..."
"... Whenever he talks about things like competitiveness, aggression, and sexual selection he tends to commit the naturalistic fallacy (X is right because that's how we evolved, or that's how our distant ancestors behaved, or, worst of all, that's what women evolved to find attractive). ..."
"... JP advocates the life of action and achievement, but he gives no *inspiring* reason to choose this kind of life over any of the other kinds recommended at various times by the world's philosophies and religions. ..."
"... While I enjoy Peterson's YouTube videos, I cannot say the same for this book ..."
"... While there are some good bits of insight in regards to raising children and dealing with various types of people, it's not worth reading 300+ pages of this man's thoughts when they could just as easily be viewed on YouTube. ..."
"... Interesting, but ultimately flawed and superficial. Peterson's arguments should be studied by basic students of logic - you'll find classic examples of statement and false dilemmas presented left and right. ..."
Apr 23, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Alex on January 23, 2018

This book = 12 Rules (rock solid advice) + Peterson's Philosophic musings

Jordan Peterson is a beacon of light in this chaotic world, a psychologist whose writing combines science and common sense. One of his talents is his ability to articulate complex ideas to a wide audience. Regardless of whether you have a background in psychology or not, you will understand this book. It covers his twelve rules for life, which are intended not only as a guide for life of the individual, but as a remedy for society's present ills. Peterson believes that the cure for society starts with curing the individual, the smallest unit of society. Peterson's well-known advice to clean your room is a reflection of the truth that if you can't even manage the most basic and mundane responsibilities of life, then you have no business dictating to others how to fix society.

One of the main themes of this book is: Personal change is possible. There's no doubt you can be slightly better today than you were yesterday. Because of Pareto's Principle (small changes can have disproportionately large results), this movement towards the good increases massively, and this upward trajectory can take your life out of hell more rapidly than you could believe. Life is tragic and full of suffering and malevolence. But there's something you can start putting right, and we can't imagine what good things are in store for us if we just fix the things that are within our power to do so.

The 12 Rules for Life:

In Peterson's own words, it's 12 rules to stop you from being pathetic, written from the perspective of someone who himself tried to stop being pathetic and is still working on it. Peterson is open about his struggles and shortcomings, unlike many authors who only reveal a carefully curated façade.

Rule 1: Stand up straight with your shoulders back. People have bad posture, and the meaning behind it can be demonstrated by animal behaviors. Peterson uses the example of the lobster. When a lobster loses a fight, and they fight all the time, it scrunches up a little. Lobsters run on serotonin and when he loses, levels go down, and when he wins, levels go up and he stretches out and is confident. Who cares? We evolutionarily diverged from lobsters 350 million years ago, but it's still the same circuit. It's a deep instinct to size others up when looking at them to see where they fit in the social hierarchy. If your serotonin levels fall, you get depressed and crunch forward and you're inviting more oppression from predator personalities and can get stuck in a loop. Fixing our posture is part of the psycho-physiological loop that can help you get started back up again.

Rule 2: Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping. People often have self-contempt whether they realize it or not. Imagine someone you love and treat well. You need to treat yourself with the same respect. Take care of yourself, your room, your things, and have respect for yourself as if you're a person with potential and is important to the people around you. If you make a pattern of bad mistakes, your life gets worse, not just for you, but for the people around you. All your actions echo in ways that cannot be imagined. Think of Stalin's mother and the mistakes she made in life, and how the ripple effects went on to affect the millions of people around him.

Rule 3: Choose your friends carefully. It is appropriate for you to evaluate your social surroundings and eliminate those who are hurting you. You have no ethical obligation to associate with people who are making your life worse. In fact, you are obligated to disassociate with people who are trying to destroy the structure of being, your being, society's being. It's not cruel, it's sending a message that some behaviors are not to be tolerated.

Rule 4: Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today . You need to improve, and you may even be in real bad shape, but many unfairly compare themselves to some more seemingly successful person. Up till around age 17, random comparisons to other people can make sense, but afterwards, especially age 30+, our lives become so idiosyncratic that comparisons with others become meaningless and unhelpful. You only see a slice of their life, a public facet, and are blind to the problems they conceal.

Rule 5: Don't let children do things that make you dislike them. You aren't as nice as you think, and you will unconsciously take revenge on them. You are massively more powerful than your children, and have the ability and subconscious proclivity for tyranny deeply rooted within you.If you don't think this is true, you don't know yourself well enough. His advice on disciplinary procedure: (1) limit the rules. (2) use minimum necessary force and (3) parents should come in pairs.It's difficult and exhausting to raise children, and it's easy to make mistakes. A bad day at work, fatigue, hunger, stress, etc, can make you unreasonable.

Rule 6: Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world. Life is tragic and there's malevolence. There's plenty to complain about, but if you dwell on it, you will become bitter and tread down a path that will take you to twisted places. The diaries of the Columbine killers are a chilling look into minds that dwelled on the unholy trinity of deceit, arrogance, and resentment) . So instead of cursing the tragedy that is life, transform into something meaningful. Start by stop doing something, anything, that you know to be wrong. Everyday you have choices in front of you. Stop doing and saying things that make you weak and ashamed. Do only those things that you would proudly talk about in public.

Rule 7: Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient). Meaning is how you protect yourself against the suffering that life entails. This means that despite the fact that we're all emotionally wounded by life, we've found something that makes it all worthwhile. Meaning, Peterson says, is like an instinct, or a form of vision. It lets you know when you're in the right place, and he says that the right place is midway between chaos and order. If you stay firmly ensconced within order, things you understand, then you can't grow. If you stay within chaos, then you're lost. Expediency is what you do to get yourself out of trouble here and now, but it comes at the cost of sacrificing the future for the present. So instead of doing what gets you off the hook today, aim high. Look around you and see what you can make better. Make it better. As you gain knowledge, consciously remain humble and avoid arrogance that can stealthily creep on you. Peterson also says to be aware of our shortcomings, whatever they may be; our secret resentments, hatred, cowardice, and other failings. Be slow to accuse others because we too conceal malevolent impulses, and certainly before we attempt to fix the world.

Rule 8: Tell the truth -- or, at least, don't lie. Telling the truth can be hard in the sense that it's often difficult to know the truth. However, we can know when we're lying. Telling lies makes you weak. You can feel it, and others can sense it too. Meaning, according to Peterson, is associated with truth, and lying is the antithesis of meaning. Lying disassociates you with meaning, and thus reality itself. You might get away with lying for a short while, but only a short time. In Peterson's words "It was the great and the small lies of the Nazi and Communist states that produced the deaths of millions of people."

Rule 9: Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don't. A good conversation consists of you coming out wiser than you went into it. An example is when you get into an argument with your significant other, you want to win, especially if you get angry. If you're more verbally fluent than the other person then you can win. One problem is that the other person might see something better than you, but they can't quite articulate it as well. Always listen because there's a possibility they're going to tell you something that will prevent you from running headfirst into a brick wall. This is why Peterson says to listen to your enemies. They will lie about you, but they will also say true things about yourself that your friends won't. Separate the wheat from the chaff and make your life better.

Rule 10: Be Precise in Your Speech: There is some integral connection between communication and reality (or structures of belief as he likes to say). Language takes chaos and makes it into a 'thing.' As an example, imagine going through a rough patch in your life where you can't quite put your finger on what's wrong. This mysterious thing that's bothering you -- is it real? Yes, if it's manifesting itself as physical discomfort. Then you talk about it and give it a name, and then this fuzzy, abstract thing turns into a specific thing. Once named, you can now do something about it. The unnameable is far more terrifying than the nameable. As an example, the movie the Blair Witch project didn't actually name or describe the evil. Nothing happens in the movie, it's all about the unnameable. If you can't name something, it means it's so terrifying to you that you can't even think about it, and that makes you weaker. This is why Peterson is such a free speech advocate. He wants to bring things out of the realm of the unspeakable. Words have a creative power and you don't want to create more mark and darkness by imprecise speech.

Rule 11: Don't bother children when they are skateboarding. This is mainly about masculinity. Peterson remembers seeing children doing all kinds of crazy stunts on skateboards and handrails, and believes this is an essential ingredient to develop masculinity, to try to develop competence and face danger. Jordan Peterson considers the act of sliding down a handrail to be brave and perhaps stupid as well, but overall positive. A lot of rebellious behavior in school is often called 'toxic masculinity,' but Peterson would say to let them be. An example would be a figure skater that makes a 9.9 on her performance, essentially perfect. Then the next skater that follows her seems to have no hope. But she pushes herself closer to chaos, beyond her competence, and when successful, inspires awe. Judges award her 10's. She's gone beyond perfection into the unknown and ennobled herself as well as humanity as well.

Rule 12: Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street. This chapter is mainly autobiographical and he writes about tragedy and pain. When tragic things are in front of you and you're somewhat powerless, you must keep your eyes open for little opportunities that highlight the redemptive elements of life that make it all worthwhile. The title of this chapter comes from his experience of observing a local stray cat, and watching it adapt to the rough circumstances around it. Another thing you must do when life is going to pieces is to shorten your temporal horizon. Instead of thinking in months, you maybe think in hours or minutes instead. You try to just have the best next minute or hour that you can. You shrink the time frame until you can handle it, this is how you adjust to the catastrophe. You try to stay on your feet and think. Although this chapters deals about harsh things, it's an overall positive one. Always look for what's meaningful and soul-sustaining even when you're where you'd rather not be.

Charles TOP 1000 REVIEWER on March 23, 2018
Helpful, Fascinating--And Not Political (To My Surprise)

A friend of mine has been pushing me to look into Jordan Peterson for the past six months. I thought, since my friend is conservative, that Peterson offered right-wing politics, and it is true that he has recently been in the news for his thoughts on certain charged topics. However, Peterson does not, in fact, offer politics, which is refreshing in these days of rage. Rather, "12 Rules For Life" is a self-help book constructed like a Russian matryoshka doll, a nested construct. It talks, and works, on multiple levels, some of which may have political implications, but if so, they are incidental to what the book offers to each human person, both the broken and the whole.

The nested, complex nature of this book really should be no surprise, because Peterson's life's work is the study of the infinitely layered human mind, and his one earlier book, "Maps of Meaning," was an exhaustive analysis of intricate human myths, their roots in our moral beliefs, and their implications for today. In Peterson's view, all moral traditions are, at their root, exemplifications and explications of the opposition of order and chaos, as well as a way of creating shared beliefs, which are immensely valuable to any human society. His basic point in his Rules is that every individual can avoid the extremes of menacing chaos and tyrannical order by following the Way, the line between order and chaos, "through the willingness of everyone to shoulder the burden of Being and to take the heroic path." This is to "live properly," and if we can do this, we can "collectively flourish." Thus, his 12 Rules are guides to this end.

As I says, this is not a political book, but politics is downstream of this book -- that is, if you buy into what Peterson is offering, it probably changes some of your political views. Peterson's basic principle is the imperative need to recognize that reality exists, and given that so much of politics today is built around a wholesale denial of reality, Peterson's statements often seem political. In fact, they are political, even if that is not Peterson's intent, or at least not his major intent. This is especially true of his view of men and women, which permeates the book.

But let's treat the book as it is, rather than treating it as some form of archetype, for it is, if nothing else, highly original, and it is therefore hard to summarize. Peterson, both an academic and a practicing clinical psychologist, has spent a lifetime talking extensively to many people, most of them troubled, and he thinks very deeply about every word he says (as is clearly evident if you watch interviews with him available online). That doesn't mean he's didactic -- his writing tone is conversational and packed with anecdotes, carefully chosen to illustrate or add impact to the points he makes. But it does mean that nearly every sentence is crowded with meaning.

Rule 1 is "Stand Up Straight With Your Shoulders Back." This is the backbone of all the rules, really, for in its Peterson explains that we are how we are. We are not malleable beyond a certain point. His illustration is lobsters, who were already incredibly ancient at the dawn of the dinosaurs, yet who have much in common with humans -- so much so that anti-depressants perk defeated lobsters up. Lobsters have a dominance hierarchy. And, critically, male and female lobsters are radically different -- they act differently, yes, but more broadly, male and female lobster teleology, their purpose, is different, and that is reflected in how each behaves. For lobsters, and all other creatures, "The dominance hierarchy, however social or cultural it might appear, has been around for some half a billion years. It's permanent. It's real. It is [rather than capitalism, or patriarchy, or some other ephemeral manifestation] a near-eternal aspect of the environment. . . . Dominance hierarchies are older than trees." Males, lobster or not, who fall in the dominance hierarchy have bad lives that get worse, often in a self-reinforcing loop; and they rise in the dominance hierarchy by fighting and winning, which means they get the best food, the best mental and physical health, the best shelter, and the best females. Similarly, females who rise (who fight only in their maternal stage, but compete otherwise) in the dominance hierarchy have the best mental health, and better physical circumstances by virtue of attracting high-quality suitors, that is, those high in the dominance hierarchy, whom they identify and pursue; those who fall; the reverse. Whether we like to admit it or not, humans are essentially the same as lobsters. They always have been, and they always will be.

Unlike lobsters, though, humans can self-diagnose that they are at the bottom of the hierarchy, or heading there in a downward spiral, and they can take action to improve their situation. (Peterson's book is about taking action, most of all.) Falling in a human dominance hierarchy basically means you are being bullied, and though some can't fight back, almost always, it's that people won't fight back. While fighting back can be as simple as changing your view of life, "to accept the terrible responsibility of life, with eyes wide open," and "accepting the end of the unconscious paradise of childhood," ultimately "[t]here is very little difference between the capacity for mayhem and destruction, integrated, and strength of character." Given that I have always believed that violence, or at least its threat, is the solution to most problems of human oppression, this certainly resonates with me, though reconciling that with turning the other cheek is difficult, and not something Peterson has much use for, despite obvious deep sympathy with Christianity. Through standing up for oneself, straight with your shoulders back, using force as necessary (and the willingness to use force likely means it will not be necessary), leads the path to human flourishing, for all.

In Rule 2, "Treat Yourself Like Someone You Are Responsible For Helping," Peterson addresses why people sabotage themselves. He first delves deeply into human mythos, closely analyzing the first chapters of Genesis in particular, though also offering nods to other traditions, such as the Vedic. This is in service of a deeper exploration of the eternal opposition of order and chaos. Order is masculine; when good, it is the structure of society, the ice on which we skate; when bad, it is tyranny and stultification. Chaos is feminine; when good, it is the origin of all things and the maker of all things new, the substance from which all things are made; when bad, it is the dangerous unknown, the chthonic underworld, and the dark water under the ice. Calling these categories of reality masculine and feminine is not arbitrary; in fact, it comports with what may be the ultimate fundamental fact of human existence, the division into two very different sexes, male and female, "natural categories, deeply embedded in our perceptual, emotional and motivational structures." (You now begin to see why the transgender ideologues are not thrilled with Peterson.) As with Adam and Eve and their self-sabotage, we sabotage ourselves, not viewing ourselves as worthy of respect, since we are capable of stupidity and evil. "And with this realization we have well-nigh full legitimization of the idea, very unpopular in modern intellectual circles, of Original Sin." But we can choose to embody the Image of God, instead. "Back is the way forward -- as T. S. Eliot insisted [in "Little Gidding"] -- but back as awake beings, exercising the proper choice of awake beings."

For Christians, though, this poses a perceived difficulty. Yes, as Peterson notes, Christianity reduced evil and barbarism in the areas it conquered. But it encouraged excessive self-sacrifice through erroneous thinking. "Christ's archetypal death exists as an example of how to accept finitude, betrayal and tyranny heroically -- how to walk with God despite the tragedy of conscious self-knowledge -- and not as a directive to victimize ourselves in the service of others." We have to care for others as we care for ourselves; only in that way can both of us flourish. Peterson explores this line of thought at considerable length; it is impossible to shorten his words and retain the meaning, but it is both fully compatible with Christian belief and an antidote to a certain line of Christian excessive self-abnegation (a failing I found in Thomas à Kempis's The Imitation of Christ, though I hesitate to criticize a book of such renown).

Rule 3 advises us to choose and to see our friends clearly. You must not only see the best in people. You can show them to what they should aspire, but you cannot lift them up unless they wish to be so lifted. "Not everyone who is failing is a victim, and not everyone at the bottom wishes to rise." "But Christ himself, you might object, befriended tax-collectors and prostitutes. How dare I cast aspersions on the motives of those who are trying to help? But Christ was the archetypal perfect man. And you're you. How do you know that your attempts to pull someone up won't instead bring them -- or you -- further down?" Again, nearly every word is perfect: "Success: that's the mystery. Virtue: that's what inexplicable. . . . . Things fall apart, of their own accord, but the sins of men speed their degeneration. And then comes the flood."

Rule 4 returns to an internal focus, advising us to "Compare Yourself To Who You Were Yesterday, Not To Who Someone Else Is Today." Just because you can always find an area where someone, or everyone, is better, does not mean that area is or should be relevant to you. A myriad of games are possible in each person's life; choose your game, choose your starting point, and improve yourself, incrementally and gradually. In fact, you should reward yourself for doing so, as silly as that sounds. And if you resent someone else, you need to realize it is either stupid immaturity, in which case you should stop it, or it is a legitimate complaint, in which case you must address it, or it will only get worse and cause more problems.

Next, on Rule 5, "Do Not Let Your Children Do Anything That Makes You Dislike Them," Peterson switches gears, from the world of adults to the world of children as it intersects with adults. He strongly objects to certain psychological tendencies in child-rearing, especially the protection of children from dangers at the expense of making them fully functioning and competent human beings (a problem mainly with male children and their mothers, he says). Children must be socialized; they are not inherently good (or inherently bad, for that matter). Individual problems do not call for social restructuring, which is mostly stupid. "Each person's private trouble cannot be solved by a social revolution, because revolutions are destabilizing and dangerous." Socialization means limitations; limitations facilitate creative achievement, not crimp it. Along the way, Peterson discusses tangential topics, such as that hierarchies are rarely, if ever, arbitrary. He recognizes, of course, that each child is very different (as I know, having five myself), but certain basic approaches (including "discipline and punish," I assume a joke at Foucault's expense) are the most likely to lead to success, for all of child, parents, and society.

In Rule 6, Peterson returns to adult self-help, "Set Your Own House In Perfect Order Before You Criticize The World." He evaluates here, as he does in more than one place in this book, the nihilism of the smarter Columbine killer, Eric Harris. This is of course topical, with the present focus on school shootings. True, they have not actually increased in recent decades, but they have increased from forty or fifty years ago, when children carrying guns to school was unexceptional, and the reason is almost certainly some form of this nihilism. Peterson is violently opposed to the idea that humans are some kind of plague, as Harris maintained, and he identifies this sort of thinking, common among certain elites today, who adhere to the self-definition of Goethe's Mephistopheles as "the spirit who negates," as among the worst in the modern world. (Peterson would prefer Normal Borlaug to William Vogt, in Charles Mann's excellent recent "The Wizard and the Prophet.") Yes, life is very hard, and suffering, great suffering, is nearly inevitable for everyone. But transformation, not vengeance, is the answer. Abel, not Cain. Rather than blaming everyone else for what is wrong, stop today what you know to be wrong, and start doing what you know to be right. Thereby, you help yourself, and you strike a blow for Being, for the Way, and against nihilism.

Peterson continues the focus on suffering in Rule 7, "Pursue What Is Meaningful (Not What Is Expedient)." Here, he dives into Egyptian mythology, as well as several passages from the New Testament. He returns to, and expands on, his earlier thoughts about the impact of Christianity and the resulting new problems, noting that "In consequence [of Christianity], the metaphysical conception of the implicit transcendent worth of each and every soul established itself against impossible odds as the fundamental presumption of Western law and society. That was not the case in the world of the past, and is not the case yet in most places in the world of the present." (I've been saying this for years, but it's nice to find someone prominent who agrees with me!) But in addition to the tendency toward self-abnegation, long a potential problem for flourishing in this life, Christianity's decline has left a void. Here Peterson talks of Nietzsche, Dostoevsky, Milton, Solzhenitsyn, and much more, including his own personal moral development, and returns again to suffering and nihilism, which are bad, but which at least point out, when addressed directly, that there is something good that opposes them. Expedience is lying and not facing up to your sins and the reality of things. Meaning is the balance between chaos and order, and it leads to good. "Meaning is the Way, the path of life more abundant, the place you live when you are guided by Love and speaking Truth and when nothing you want or could possibly want takes any precedence over precisely that." And by much the same token, but more personal and humanized, Rule 8: "Tell The Truth -- Or At Least, Don't Lie." Deceit leads to evil, which leads to, and is embodied, suffering.

Rule 9 tells us to "Assume That The Person You Are Listening To Might Know Something You Don't." Here a plea for, in essence, humility, along with some fascinating ideas about how to conduct disagreements with one's spouse, and related thoughts on memory and wisdom. Rule 10 says "Be Precise In Your Speech." As I say, Peterson embodies this rule. I like to say (which probably says something about me), in the context of political arguments, that I am a professional killer. I have nothing on Peterson, though. You can see the wheels turning when he is asked a question, and what comes out is precise and irrefutable, each word weighted with meaning and exquisitely interlocked, intertwining and supporting, with every other. (He never seems to say "um," that's for certain.) Lack of precision leads to chaos; lack of precision may be a failure of vocabulary, but it is more often a failure to communicate at all, to identify and address problems between two people before they grow to enormous, malevolent proportions. But, "If we speak carefully and precisely, we can sort things out, and put them in their proper place, and set a new goal, and navigate to it -- often communally, if we negotiate; if we reach consensus. If we speak carelessly and imprecisely, however, things remain vague. The destination remains unproclaimed. The fog of uncertainty does not lift, and there is no negotiating through the world."

Next to last, in Rule 11, Peterson returns to children, "Do Not Bother Children When They Are Skateboarding." Danger, especially for men, is part of growth. And young men are the element of society at greatest risk today -- this is not a major theme of this book, but it is a major theme of Peterson's public thought. They are protected from developing properly, they are deliberately socialized like and as girls, yet they are blamed for the world's ills, and as a result, some turn to nihilism, and fascism, encouraged by certain other men who, in essence, Peterson calls evil.

Here, Peterson returns emphatically to his proclamation of the deep and abiding differences between men and women. "[Some] insist, ever more loudly, that gender is a social construct. It isn't. This isn't a debate. The data are in." For example, in the "emancipated" Scandinavian countries, girls choose traditionally feminine pursuits and behaviors at extremely high rates. And in the United States, it is just a lie that there are few women law firm partners due to discrimination; the reason is, purely, women's choice. (I know this from personal experience, although you are forbidden to say it at a law firm -- you would be fired instantly, yet another of many distortions of reality today, and a form of coerced lying and mass collective self-delusion.) The dominance hierarchy is only one example of this, but it is enormously important, like it or not, for young men, and making it so they can't win in any aspect of it is catastrophic for men -- and for women, who have a reduced selection of competent partners to meet their different, but complementary, needs.

The movie Frozen is "deeply propagandistic," an embodied falsehood, not because a woman necessarily needs a man to rescue her, though she probably does to some extent, as does a man need a woman to make him whole, but because it pretends that masculine traits are of no consequence to human flourishing. The "oppression of the patriarchy" is a pack of lies. "The so-called oppression of the patriarchy was instead an imperfect collective attempt by men and women, stretching over millennia, to free each other from privation, disease and drudgery." The miserable result of denying this is what we see today. "We do not teach our children that the world is flat. Neither should we teach them unsupported ideologically-predicated theories about the nature of men and women -- or the nature of hierarchy." He even boldly directly attacks transgender ideology. "Gender is constructed, but an individual who desires gender re-assignment surgery is to be unarguably considered a man trapped in a woman's body (or vice versa). The fact that both of these cannot logically be true, simultaneously, is just ignored."

The answer is simple. Rather than feeding or believing all these lies, men and women should each do, and be, what they are. "A woman should look after her children -- although that is not all she should do. And a man should look after a woman and children -- although that is not all he should do. But a woman should not look after a man, because she must look after children, and a man should not be a child. This means he must not be dependent." In this is found what men should do, not in a turn to nihilism or fascism, and equally not in a turn to emasculation and feminization to avert stupid accusations of "toxic masculinity."

Finally, in Rule 12, "Pet A Cat When You Encounter One On The Street," Peterson turns most personal, describing the trials and suffering of his daughter from juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. It is moving stuff, and Peterson returns again to his theme of the inevitability of suffering. But being open to cats, and myriad other joys, means you can "get a reminder that for just fifteen seconds that the wonder of Being might make up for the ineradicable suffering that accompanies it."

Peterson ends with a series of fascinating brief questions and answers, along with short explanations of the answers, posed from himself to himself, on everything from "What shall I do with my life?" (Answer: "Aim for Paradise, and concentrate on today"), to "What shall I do with a torn nation?" (Answer: "Stitch it back together with careful words of truth"), to "What shall I do with my infant's death?" (Answer: "Hold my other loved ones and heal their pain"). These are meant to, in a type of stream of consciousness, embody some of the basic principles underlying the rules in the book. Really, though, they are more; they are nearly an entire philosophy of life, which is probably why this book is so popular. If you are broken, there is much in it for you. But Peterson's point is that everyone is broken, sometimes more, sometimes less -- so there is something in this book for everyone.

By Laurel VanWilligen on February 13, 2018
A few good nuggets

There is a lot to like in this book. I apparently needed a bit of nudging about some things that maybe should have been self-evident. I especially liked the part in 'Rule 4' where he instructs on negotiating with your inner/child self on getting a few little things done without self-bullying. To me, that was the best part of the book.

Therein lies one of my complaints. This book is too long, too verbose, too complicated for its purported goals. If you want to make the average person's life better (and of course sell more books), I think you could have cut out about 75% of the book. We already know (well, I do) that Jordan Peterson is well-read, erudite, incredibly introspective and ambitious. Of course if there were any doubt about that, you could read about how he'd "flown a hammerhead roll in a carbon fiber stunt plane....consulted for the UN Secretary General's High-level Panel on Sustainable Development....identified thousands of promising entrepreneurs in sixty different countries...." Really? Who was responsible for putting that on the last printed page? That alone almost made me throw the book away.

Finally, I am an atheist. I have to say that hearing his complaints and criticism of atheists makes me wonder if all that erudition has done him any favors. He seems to have lost the ability to look out the windows of his own two eyes, without all of this information he's gleaned from other scholars, and realize that once you have an explanation for how the natural world works you can figure out how to optimize your place in it. Being self-destructive, or generally destructive, makes no sense and is not in your self-interest.

So I looked to his book for some guidance on how to continue improving my life in this rational universe. And I found a few nuggets. I'm not positive the hours of slogging through the unnecessary parts was worth it. My jury's still out....

The jury's back. I think for my purposes, 'Wear Sunscreen' by Mary Schmich (the 1997 'Commencement Address' often mistakenly attributed to Kurt Vonnegut) does as good a job, in a couple of pages that can be taped to my wall, than this tome. Maybe better. And it's free.

By Arthur Figgis on February 12, 2018
Standard JP; no major revelations, little structure

If you're a fan of Peterson's, there's a lot to like here, and a good deal of it will be familiar.

I was hoping that the written format would help reign in some of Peterson's desultory tendencies. When delivering a lecture, Peterson often allows himself to get off on tangents, and that is, in part, why his talks are so engaging and entertaining - you get the sense that you're watching someone engage in the hard work of real thought before your very eyes. That same tendency also highlights Peterson's wide-ranging erudition on religion, culture and history.

Unfortunately, this book reads a lot like one of those lectures. While Peterson still provides, as ever, a number of valuable insights, he often does so in chapters that are only ostensibly related to the point he's making. His rules themselves are simple, logical and sensible, but he often focuses on the rules themselves for only a paragraph or two in each chapter. The rest is typical freewheeling Peterson - engaging and interesting, sure, but often failing to build a comprehensive, convincing argument. Major themes repeat themselves throughout chapters, which isn't a problem in and of itself - Peterson clearly has a few key concepts he's trying to instill to his readers - but the repetition of these concepts and the less-than-strict adherence to the given topic of each chapter can result in a generally samey feel: sure, life is a struggle between order and chaos; okay, dominance hierarchies are found across almost all life on earth - but I forget, is this the chapter about standing up straight, or the one about telling the truth?

This is by no means a bad book, but I was eager to hear Peterson's thoughts presented in a more logical, organized, intentional manner, and that's not quite what this book is or does.

By Stan S. on March 13, 2018
Somewhat interesting but insanely overrated

Let me say up front that I'm going to judge this book by a very high standard here. I have no doubt that this is one of the better books of its kind.

Jordan Peterson offers some useful, if not completely original, practical advice. His advice is mostly of the "No more Mr. Nice Guy" type, which I think has much to recommend. Therefore, I praise the book wholeheartedly as a kind of how-to guide for getting certain things out of life, the kinds of things that most people want.

But Peterson falls down whenever he waxes philosophical or moralistic. Whenever he talks about things like competitiveness, aggression, and sexual selection he tends to commit the naturalistic fallacy (X is right because that's how we evolved, or that's how our distant ancestors behaved, or, worst of all, that's what women evolved to find attractive). You'd be excused if you came away with the message that qualities like gentleness and compassion (what JP calls "agreeableness") are contemptible and bad, because they may not always further certain of your interests. But I for one would much rather live in a world where the average level of agreeableness were high than its opposite.

Kant says in one of his ethical treatises that the purpose of reason is to live a moral life, not to make men happy, and that the happiest are usually those who use their instinct rather than their reason. JP seems to confuse morality with that which leads to practical success.

JP advocates the life of action and achievement, but he gives no *inspiring* reason to choose this kind of life over any of the other kinds recommended at various times by the world's philosophies and religions. He only dangles the prospect of (to use a phrase from C.S. Lewis) "girls and gold and guns" thinking that this settles the issue. Perhaps he does not think very highly of his audience.

I must mention I find his frequent, extensive use of the Bible to justify his biological reductionism rather irritating and inappropriate. I'd have given the book one more star if these parts had been edited out.

As I said at the beginning, I don't doubt that this is one of the better, perhaps one of the best books of its kind. But, at least by my lights, it is overrated to a very great degree, and I'd be surprised of JP is much talked about or read ten, or even five years from now.

By Amazon Customer on February 21, 2018
Stick to Peterson's YouTube lectures

While I enjoy Peterson's YouTube videos, I cannot say the same for this book. His style of writing is exactly like listening one of his lectures, which I do not feel translates well on paper. This style might be good for a lecture to get people thinking, but I found myself wondering why the heck he was expounding upon some things and not resolving them, while clarifying other concepts that did not feel as profound. Additionally, I cannot agree with his analysis of men and women (Men representing order and Women representing chaos), or some of his other theological points he tries to make (Eve shaming Adam to make him self-conscious into eating the forbidden fruit). It feels as though in these respects he oversteps his area of knowledge and delves into pop-psychology. While there are some good bits of insight in regards to raising children and dealing with various types of people, it's not worth reading 300+ pages of this man's thoughts when they could just as easily be viewed on YouTube.

By Ken S on April 15, 2018
OK at best

Highly overrated - ramble ramble ramble, some good points buried in there somewhere.

By KG on March 26, 2018
Two Stars

As a JBP fan and agnostic psych major I prefer his lectures to this book. Very different things

By Pablo on March 27, 2018
It is better to watch Peterson's conferences on-line than buying the book

Shallow and vague. It is better to watch Peterson's conferences on-line than buying the book.

By J. Rice on March 2, 2018
Interesting, but ultimately flawed and superficial. Peterson's arguments ...

Interesting, but ultimately flawed and superficial. Peterson's arguments should be studied by basic students of logic - you'll find classic examples of statement and false dilemmas presented left and right.

There are some points that Peterson makes they are reasonable, but he attempts to extend them beyond all rational limits. As I said, mildly interesting but fundamentally flawed as an intellectual or philosophical work.

By Vince on April 3, 2018
Would have been a great blog post....otherwise pure drudgery.

As some reviewers recommend, you have to put in the "work" to really read and appreciate the book. Well, I put in the work and it felt like work. Pure drudgery for me. This book could have been a good blog entry - 12 solid bullet points with the why and the how. If you are interested in the 12 Rules, pick any number of reviews here that summarize the book and you will get a more useful read, and certainly a better use of your time.

Rule number 1 - stand up straight. I get it, I agree with it. I don't need to be beaten over the head with pages and pages of background into the biology of the lobster to understand how this can change my life.

I like the idea and tried hard to like the book. Even tried the audio version read by the author - no better. Poorly executed and I can only guess what prompted all those 5 star reviews....maybe a pat on the back for having put in the "work"? "Hey, look at me...with my shoulders proudly back...I'm the alpha Lobster...I'm so enlightened thanks to this brilliant author."

[Apr 17, 2018] Amazon.com 2QW1646 - Cisco RV320 Dual WAN VPN Router Electronics

Apr 17, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Outstanding Product!

My experience with routers and networking spans across multiple commercial (and consumer) brands This router (RV320) impressed me.

It exceeds my expectations in terms of features:
• Number of VPN tunnels
• Gigabit ports
• Professional networking and configuration options
• Responsiveness of the routing and the router web-based interface
• Dual WAN capability with load balancing
• Professional firewall and associated security options

As you already know this is not a wireless router, however adding wireless to this router is relatively minor compared to the benefits gained from injecting this router as part of your solution and overall small business IT strategy.

This is a fan less (quiet) router that appears to stay up (for days now) without issues.
It packs powerful features that can significantly improve security of data in transit.

I always recommend upgrading router firmware (regardless of brand and model) to the latest version to ensure you are working with the least buggy version.

Overall I would give this router a rating of 5 for its aesthetics value and outstanding performance/security features that it brings to this business segment at its current feature-to-cost ratio.

January 15, 2017 Verified Purchase
Cisco isn't what it used to be

This router is fraught with problems:
Poor throughput
Buggy QoS system (IP's that I band limited were using above their limits according to Wireshark)
Only 2 priorities on QoS (this is not fine grained enough for most enterprise use)
Access rules that straight don't work (IP's that I banned were still communicating with my network according to Wireshark)

It does have some good feature:
Failover dual-WAN interface works well and ensures constant uptime
Each switch port is highlly configurable (can set Ethernet speed, VLAN tag, mirror content, etc)

Overall the poor quality software limits the capabilities of excellent hardware.

[Apr 17, 2018] Amazon.com Ubiquiti Edgerouter Lite ERLITE-3 Desktop Router

There is also model with 5 ports Amazon.com Ubiquiti ERPoe-5 EdgeRouter PoE
Apr 17, 2018 | www.amazon.com
5.0 out of 5 stars
One of the best routers for the $

If you aren't comfortable with CLI nor do you know any Linux/Vyatta commands, this router likely isn't for you.

However, I feel that this is one of the best routers out there (minus the batch with the bad flash storage in them - of which I own three of). There are so many options that you can configure/download for this piece of hardware, the possibilities are almost endless.

I use these for most of the clients I support (businesses with <100 endpoints) paired with Unifi APs. I started this combo long before the Unifi USG came out, so I'll have to get one of those to see if they are worth the hassle of a change out.

[Mar 23, 2018] Micro Desktop computer dual core 1.4 GHz AES-NI Intel Core i5-4200Y Processor, 8G RAM 256G SSD WIFI Linux Firewall

Mar 23, 2018 | www.amazon.com

[Mar 13, 2018] GIT installation

Mar 13, 2018 | www.amazon.com

You might already have Git 1 on your system because it is sometimes installed by default (or another administrator might have installed it). If you have access to the system as a regular user, you can execute the following command to determine whether you have Git installed:

If Git is installed, then the path to the git command is provided, as shown in the preceding command. If it isn't installed, then you either get no output or an error like the following:

[ocs@centos ~]# which git
/usr/bin/which: no git in (/usr/lib64/qt-3.3/bin:/usr/local/bin:/usr/local/sbin:/usr/bin:/usr/sbin:/bin:/sbin:/root/bin)

As an administrator on a Red Hat–based system, you could use the rpm command to determine whether the git package has been installed:

[root@centos ~]# rpm -q git
git-1.8.3.1-6.el7_2.1.x86_64

If you are logged in as the root user on a Red Hat–based system, you can use the following command to install Git:

yum install git

Consider installing the software package named git-all . This package includes some additional dependency packages that add more power to Git. Although you might not make use of these features in this introductory book, having them available when you are ready to perform more advanced Git functions will be good.

[Nov 08, 2017] The Plot to Scapegoat Russia How the CIA and the Deep State Have Conspired to Vilify Putin by Dan Kovalik

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Kovalik's historical excursion takes in the Soviet Union. Clearly, many of the U. S. military interventions described in this valuable book wouldn't have occurred if the Soviet Union still existed. Beyond that, Kovalik says, "the Soviet Union, did wield sizable political and ideological influence in the world for some time, due to the appeal of its socialist message as well as its critical role in winning [World War] II." ..."
"... Ultimately, Kovalik sides with Martin Luther King, who remarked that, 'The US is on the wrong side of the world-wide revolution' – and with Daniel Ellsberg's clarification: 'The US is not on the wrong side; it is the wrong side.'" ..."
Jun 09, 2017 | www.amazon.com

Review " A powerful contradiction to the present US narrative of the world . . . As shown here, fake news is thriving in Washington, DC."-- Oliver Stone , Academy Award winning director and screenwriter

" The Plot to Scapegoat Russia is a beautifully written, uncommonly coherent, and very compelling treatise on the issues facing America today... a troubling indictment of where we've been and where we're headed. Moreover, this book is profoundly important , and a timely retrospective review of American foreign policy misadventures since the advent of the Cold War." -- Phillip F. Nelson , author of LBJ: The Mastermind of the JFK Assassination and LBJ: From Mastermind to "The Colossus"

" The Plot to Scapegoat Russia underscores how the CIA's infiltration and shaping of the media, which began in the 1950s, successfully continues today. A very worthwhile account for anyone who wants to understand how 'reality' is manufactured, while 'real truth' is murdered and buried." -- Peter Janney , author of Mary's Mosaic: The CIA Conspiracy to Murder John F. Kennedy, Mary Pinchot Meyer, and Their Vision for World Peace

"At a time when the U.S. military budget is again soaring to enrich the oligarchs, this timely and thought-provoking book turns Orwellian 'double-think' on its head in a cogent analysis of what's really behind all the saber-rattling against Russia. In a scholarly but also deeply personal and fluidly written work , Dan Kovalik pulls no punches in dissecting the history of how America has justified its own imperialistic aims through the Cold War era and right up to the current anti-Putin hysteria." -- Dick Russell , New York Times bestselling author of Horsemen of the Apocalypse: The Men Who Are Destroying Life on Earth and What It Means to Our Children

" The Plot to Scapegoat Russia confronts the timeliest of subjects, the effort to resuscitate the Cold War by blaming Russian president Vladimir Putin for interfering in the 2016 presidential campaign on behalf of Donald Trump, an effort pursued by CIA and the Democratic Party working in tandem. Kovalik establishes... that not a scintilla of evidence has emerged to grant credibility to this self-serving fantasy... [and he] deftly eviscerates the mainstream press . Reading [this book] will be salutary, illuminating and more than instructive ." -- Joan Mellen , author of Faustian Bargains: Lyndon Johnson and Mac Wallace in the Robber Baron Culture of Texas

William T. Whitney Jr on May 28, 2017

Review of "The Plot to Scapegoat Russia"

Beating up on Russia; history tells why
By William T. Whitney Jr. .

Lawyer and human rights activist Dan Kovalik has written a valuable book. He looked at a recent U. S. political development in terms of history and then skewered it. His new book, "The Plot to Scapegoat Russia," looks at mounting assaults against Russia that increased during the Obama administration and that spokespersons for the Democratic Party, among others, are promoting.

The CIA, he claims, without going into specifics, is engaged in anti-Russian activities. For Kovalik, "the CIA is a nefarious, criminal organization which often misleads the American public and government into wars and misadventures."

Kovalik devotes much of his book to what he regards as precedents for the current dark turn in U.S. – Russian relations. Toward that end, he surveys the history of U.S. foreign interventions since World War II. He confirms that the United States government is indeed habituated to aggressive adventurism abroad. That's something many readers already know, but Kovalik contributes significantly by establishing that U.S. hostility against Russia ranks as a chapter in that long story.

But what's the motivation for military assaults and destabilizing projects? And, generally, why all the wars? The author's historical survey provides answers. He finds that the scenarios he describes are connected. Treating them as a whole, he gives them weight and thus provides an intellectual weapon for the anti-imperialist cause. Kovalik, putting history to work, moves from the issue of U.S.-Russian antagonism to the more over-arching problem of threats to human survival. That's his major contribution.

His highly-recommended book offers facts and analyses so encompassing as to belie its small size. The writing is clear, evocative, and eminently readable; his narrative is that of a story – teller. Along the way, as a side benefit, Kovalik recalls the causes and outrage that fired up activists who were his contemporaries.

He testifies to a new Cold War. Doing so, he argues that the anti-communist rational for the earlier Cold War was a cover for something else, a pretext. In his words: "the Cold War, at least from the vantage point of the US, had little to do with fighting 'Communism,' and more to do with making the world safe for corporate plunder." Once more Russia is an enemy of the United States, but now it's a capitalist country.

That's mysterious; explanation is in order. Readers, however, may be hungry to know about the "plot" advertised in the book's title. We recommend patience. History and its recurring patterns come first for this author. They enable him to account for U. S. – Russian relations that are contradictory and, most importantly, for the U.S. propensity for war-making. After that he tells about a plot.

Kovalik describes how, very early, reports of CIA machinations from former agents of the spy organization expanded his political awareness, as did a trip to Nicaragua. There he gained first-hand knowledge of CIA atrocities, of deaths and destruction at the hands of the Contras, anti- Sandinista paramilitaries backed by the CIA His book goes on fully and dramatically to describe murders and chaos orchestrated by the United States and/or the CIA in El Salvador, Colombia, and in the South America of Operation Condor. Kovalic discusses the U.S. war in Vietnam, occupation and war in Korea, nuclear bombs dropped on Japan, nuclear testing and dying in the Marshall Islands, and the CIA's recruitment of the anti-Soviet Mujahedeen in Afghan¬istan. He recounts U. S. - instigated coups in Iran, 1953; Guatemala, 1954; and Chile, 1973.

These projects were about keeping "the world safe from the threat of Soviet totalitarianism" – in other words, anti-communism. But then the USSR disappeared, and the search was on for a new pretext. The Clinton administration evoked "humanitarian intervention," and continued the intrusions: in Ruanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo (on behalf of "US mining interests"), Yugoslavia, and Libya.

In Kovalik's telling, the U. S. government eventually settled upon the notion of "American exceptionalism," that is to say, "the belief that the US is a uniquely benign actor in the world, spreading peace and democracy." Thus armed, the U. S. military exported terror to Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen (via its Saudi Arabian proxy), and Honduras, through a U. S. facilitated military coup. The book catalogues other episodes, other places. Along the way on his excursion, Kovalik contrasts U. S. pretensions and brutal deeds with the relatively benign nature of alleged Russian outrages.

Good relations with Russia, he says, would be "simply bad for business, in particular the business of war which so profoundly undergirds the US economy As of 2015, the US had at least 800 military bases in over 70 nations, while Britain, France and Russia had only 30 military bases combined." And, "under Obama alone, the US had Special Forces deployed in about 138 countries." Further, "The US's outsized military exists not only to ensure the US's quite unjust share of the world's riches, but also to ensure that those riches are not shared with the poor huddled masses in this country."

Kovalik highlights the disaster that overwhelmed Russia as a fledgling capitalist nation: life expectancy plummeted, the poverty rate was 75 percent, and investments fell by 80 percent. National pride was in the cellar, the more so after the United States backed away from Secretary of State Baker's 1991 promise that NATO would never move east, after the United States attacked Russia's ally Serbia, and after the United States, rejecting Russian priorities, attacked Iraq in 2003 and Libya in 2011.

The author rebuts U. S. claims that Russian democracy has failed and that Putin over-reached in Ukraine. He praises Putin's attempts to cooperate with the United States in Syria. The United States has abused peoples the world over, he insists, and suffers from a "severe democracy deficit."

By the time he is discussing current U. S. – Russian relations, readers have been primed never to expect U.S. imperialism to give Russia a break. The author's instructional course has taken effect, or should have done so. If readers aren't aware of what the U. S. government has been up to, the author is not to blame.

Kovalik condemns the Obama administration and particularly Secretary of State Hilary Clinton for intensifying the U. S. campaign against Russia. He extends his criticism to the Democratic Party and the media. The theme of anti – Russian scheming by the CIA comes up briefly in the book in connection with hacking attributed to Russia and with WikiLeaks revelations about the Democratic Party. Nothing is said about possible interaction between personnel of the Trump campaign and Russian officials.

Kovalik's historical excursion takes in the Soviet Union. Clearly, many of the U. S. military interventions described in this valuable book wouldn't have occurred if the Soviet Union still existed. Beyond that, Kovalik says, "the Soviet Union, did wield sizable political and ideological influence in the world for some time, due to the appeal of its socialist message as well as its critical role in winning [World War] II."

Kovalik acknowledges "periods of great repression." He adds, however, that "the Russian Revolution and the USSR delivered on many of their promises, and against great odds. . In any case, the goals of the Russian Revolution-equality, worker control of the economy, universal health care and social security- were laudable ones." And, "One of the reasons that the West continues to dance on the grave of the Soviet Union, and to emphasize the worst parts of that society and downplay its achievements, is to make sure that, as the world-wide economy worsens, and as the suffering of work¬ing people around the world deepens, they don't get any notions in their head to organize some new socialist revolution with such ideals."

Ultimately, Kovalik sides with Martin Luther King, who remarked that, 'The US is on the wrong side of the world-wide revolution' – and with Daniel Ellsberg's clarification: 'The US is not on the wrong side; it is the wrong side.'"

Drew Hunkins on May 30, 2017

Dissects the dangerous nonsense

The most important non-fiction work thus far of 2017 is upon us. Finally the book has arrived that cuts through all the hype, deceit, misinformation and disconcerting groupthink.

Kovalik structures TPTSR by starting at the most logical place -- the history of unilateral Washington aggression across the globe, from the overthrow of Mossadegh in Iran through the Washington intell agencies' orchestrated coups and proxy wars in Latin America.

This exposition of historical Washington empire building provides a solid foundation when he ultimately addresses why the predatory military-industrial-media-complex is incessantly fomenting this dangerous contemporary Russophobic campaign. The book nails it by presenting in a crystal clear manner the two exact reasons why the demonization of Moscow never seems to subside: 1.) The corporate and Washington military empire builders are deeply threatened by the potential loss of certain markets and a sovereign Russia that desires a say over the diplomatic and military maneuvers on its borders, especially its Western region. 2.) Most importantly, the MIC/national-security state absolutely MUST HAVE a villain (real or imagined, it doesn't matter) in order to justify the trillion dollar budget and careerism that seeps into every pore of the U.S. politico-economic system. This Pentagon system of pseudo economic Keynesianism could potentially lead to nuclear war. The giant house of cards could doom us all.

D. Gordon on June 1, 2017

This book is an amazing contribution. A veritable primer on U

This book is an amazing contribution. A veritable primer on U.S. foreign policy, this book is part memoir, part history, and part analysis of current events. Kovalik makes a compelling case that U.S. policies--not Russia--are the biggest danger to world peace and human rights. The book traces Kovalik's own awakening and transformation from his conservative religious-minded youth to one of our most trenchant critics of U.S. foreign policy writing today. And he does it in his own inimitable, witty, readable, and humane style.

[Jun 15, 2017] The War Against Putin What the Government-Media Complex Isn't Telling You About Russia M. S. King 9781500316266 Amazon.com

Notable quotes:
"... The only difference between Obama's and McCain's foreign policy was that Obama represented the faction of America's foreign policy establishment which places an emphasis of long term "Soft Power" strategies; saving war as a last resort should their phony NGO "protests", hunger sanctions and "rebel" proxy wars fail to achieve the intended effect. ..."
"... To put it in terms of a moderately vulgar rape analogy, Bush/Cheney/McCain are the type of Globalist rapists who prefer to violently pounce on their intended target, violating' her in the most barbaric manner. Obama on the other hand, is the charming predatory creep who slips a "date rape" drug into the unsuspecting maiden's drink. She will never suspect what is coming, until it is too late. "The other difference between Globalist "liberals and the Globalist "Neo-Cons" is that the latter are fanatically pro-Israel; even placing the interests of Israel ahead of the interests of Globalism. Though they are also pro-Israel, the "liberal" faction generally believes that Israel's frequent foreign aggression and ongoing abuse of the occupied Palestinians complicates their efforts to "work with" and subdue the numerous Arab and Muslim countries of the world. This is the true reason why CFR Globalist Jimmy Carter openly condemned Israel for "Apartheid." ..."
Jun 15, 2017 | www.amazon.com
By Wikileaker on January 19, 2017 Format: Paperback | Verified Purchase For those who rely on the corporate news media that further the war aims of the New World Order, this book will open your eyes!

Long story short:
the Russian czars resisted the NWO crime families for centuries until they succeeded installing their jewish/Bolshevik puppets and formed the USSR. The NWO was counting on the mantle passing on to Trotsky whenever Lenin exited, but instead got a rude surprise when Stalin took over. Comrade Joe wouldn't play ball -- the USSR was his personal kingdom and he wasn't taking orders. So the NWO made sure the Versailles treaty imposed such harsh terms on Germany that a second "War to End Wars" was inevitable (and to rub salt into Germany's wounds, recall that they NEVER surrendered! The Armistice was merely a ceasefire). And it didn't hurt the NWO's aims that the misery of the Great Depression (caused by their -- the "Fed's" contraction of the global money supply) set the stage for another Great War. Then they set up Hitler as Stalin's natural enemy/rival (along with their corporate servants like GM, IBM, Ford, Coca-Cola, etc.), and, as planned, they duked it out BUT Stalin came out on top. Foiled again! But the Cold War was just too lucrative a prospect for the NWO to pass up, so it was East versus West for the following 50 years. (proof positive this was the case was Eisenhower's failure to end the Cold War when Stalin gave up the ghost and Khruschev softened the USSR's stance against the West. This was a golden opportunity for world progress but the evil Dulles brothers (NWO again) wouldn't permit it). .0 out of 5 stars Vladimir the Great By k. n. kane on March 27, 2017 Format: Paperback | Verified Purchase I admire Vladimir Putin even more after reading this book and, if possible, I also despise the "Globalist" criminals even more. For generations, Russia has suffered some of the greatest "crimes against humanity" from within and without by these internationalist criminals, many of whom are born into the craft. Hopefully Mr. Putin can finally lead Russia out of the greedy clutches internationalism.

**************************************************
a section from chapter 14, pages 65 and 66.

" The only difference between Obama's and McCain's foreign policy was that Obama represented the faction of America's foreign policy establishment which places an emphasis of long term "Soft Power" strategies; saving war as a last resort should their phony NGO "protests", hunger sanctions and "rebel" proxy wars fail to achieve the intended effect.

" To put it in terms of a moderately vulgar rape analogy, Bush/Cheney/McCain are the type of Globalist rapists who prefer to violently pounce on their intended target, violating' her in the most barbaric manner. Obama on the other hand, is the charming predatory creep who slips a "date rape" drug into the unsuspecting maiden's drink. She will never suspect what is coming, until it is too late. "The other difference between Globalist "liberals and the Globalist "Neo-Cons" is that the latter are fanatically pro-Israel; even placing the interests of Israel ahead of the interests of Globalism. Though they are also pro-Israel, the "liberal" faction generally believes that Israel's frequent foreign aggression and ongoing abuse of the occupied Palestinians complicates their efforts to "work with" and subdue the numerous Arab and Muslim countries of the world. This is the true reason why CFR Globalist Jimmy Carter openly condemned Israel for "Apartheid."

"Think of the two factions as bickering spouses who. at the end of their frequent spats, will always kiss and make up, and resume plotting against the people of the world, including their own countrymen."

-M. S. King

[Jun 08, 2017] Books about russiphobia

Notable quotes:
"... For something more serious, see Russophobia: Anti-Russian Lobby and American Foreign Policy by Andrei Tsygankov. ..."
Jun 08, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com
Evgeny , June 7, 2017 at 7:33 pm
Hello Stooges!

Have you heard of " The Plot to Scapegoat Russia How the CIA and the Deep State Have Conspired to Vilify Putin " by Kovalik Dan?

So far I have had a cursory look on it - a few minutes of turning the pages. It doesn't look like a serious professional study, more like a light writing (albeit with numerous booknotes), and the author's focus seems to be on exposing the cases where the U.S. misbehaved in the world - so it shouldn't be critical of countries like Russia. The author cites journalists like Max Blumenthal, Robert Perry, even Paul Craig Roberts, so I guess it might be an interesting read. Perhaps I will read the book; not sure.

Warren , June 7, 2017 at 8:16 pm

https://www.youtube.com/embed/N3t8ut5r_0U

Published on 4 Jun 2017
As Hillary Clinton blames the Kremlin for her election loss, author and attorney Dan Kovalik argues that anti-Russia sentiment is deeply embedded in the U.S. political establishment. Kovalik's new book is "The Plot to Scapegoat Russia: How the CIA and the Deep State Have Conspired to Vilify Russia."

J.T. , June 8, 2017 at 6:28 am
Heard of it, but I'll pass.
For something more serious, see Russophobia: Anti-Russian Lobby and American Foreign Policy by Andrei Tsygankov.
Andreas Umland on June 11, 2010
Stretching "Russophobia"
An analysis like Andrei P. Tsygankov's book was sorely needed. However, I am not sure that Tsygankov will fully reach with this text what he seemingly wanted to attain - namely, an effective, noted and, above all, consequential critique of US attitudes towards Russia during the last decade. Tsygankov has, to be sure, done a great deal of investigative work. He details many episodes that illustrate well where US policy or opinion makers have gone wrong. The book's chapters deal with, among other topics, the Chechen wars, democracy promotion, and energy policies. It is also important that this interpretation comes from a Russia-born political scientist who lives in the US and knows American discourse and politics well.

Tsygankov's deep knowledge of both, Russian affairs as well as camps and trends in US politics, adds considerable value to this analysis.

Yet, already the title of the book indicates where Tsygankov may be defeating his purpose. By way of classifying most of US-American critique of Russia as "Russophobia", Tsygankov goes, at least in terms of the concepts and words that he uses to interpret these phenomena, a bit too far. Tsygankov asserts that Russophobia is a major intellectual and political trend in US international thought and behaviour. He also tries to make the reader believe that there exists a broad coalition of political commentators and actors that form an anti-Russian lobby in Washington.

It is true that there is a lot to be criticised and improved in Western approaches towards post-Soviet Russia - and towards the non-Western world, in general. US behaviour vis-à-vis, and American comments on, Russia, for the last 20 years, have all too often been characterized by incompetence and insensitivity regarding the daunting challenges and far-reaching consequences of the peculiarly post-Soviet political, cultural and economic transformation. Often, Russian-American relations have been hampered by plain inattention among US decision and opinion makers - a stunning phenomenon in view of the fact that Russia has kept being and will remain a nuclear superpower, for decades to come.

The hundreds of stupidities that have been uttered on, and dozens of mistakes in US policies towards, Russia needed to be chronicled and deconstructed. Partly, Tsygankov has done that here with due effort, interesting results and some interpretative success.

Yet, Tsygankov does not only talk about failures and omissions regarding Russia. He also speaks of enemies of the Russian state in the US, and their supposed alliances as well various dealings.

Certainly, there is the occasional Russophobe in Washington and elsewhere, in the Western world. Among such personage, there are even some who are indeed engaged in an anti-Russian political lobbying of sorts.

However, the circle of activists who truly deserve to be called "Russophobes" largely contains immigrants from the inner or outer Soviet/Russian empire. These are people who have their own reasons to be distrustful of, or even hostile towards, Russia. After the rise of Vladimir Putin and the Russian-Georgian War, many of them, I suspect, feel that they have always been right, in their anti-Russian prejudices. In any way, this is a relatively small group of people who are more interested in the past and worried about the future of their newly independent nation-states than they are concerned about the actual fate of Russia herself.

Among those who are interested in Russia there are many, as Tsygankov aptly documents, who have recently been criticizing the Russian leadership harshly.

Some of them have, in doing so, exerted influence on Western governments and public opinion. And partly such critique was, indeed, unjustified, unbalanced or/and counterproductive.

But is that enough to assert that there is an "anti-Russian lobby"? What would such a lobby gain from spoiling US-Russian relationships? Who pays these lobbyists, and for what? Who, apart from a few backward-looking East European émigrés, is sufficiently interested in a new fundamental Russian-Western confrontation so as to conduct the allegedly concerted anti-Russian campaigns that Tsygankov appears to be discovering, in his book?

[Jun 07, 2017] The Tools of Argument How the Best Lawyers Think, Argue, and Win by Joel P. Trachtman

80 reviews of Amazon.
Jun 07, 2017 | www.amazon.com

Russky

The best book for any person who wants to understand how ... , February 29, 2016

The Tools of Argument: How the Best Lawyers Think, Argue, and Win (Paperback)

The best book for any person who wants to understand how American Courts work! At times we all ask questions like "How can this criminal get off on technicalities if it is obvious that he/she committed crime?", or "How can this be fair?" or "How can a lawyer defend this "bad guy/girl"? This is totally wrong! He/she is a criminal!" The author explains the difference between law and common sense, law and ethics, understanding of crime in legal terms and in laymen words.The book closely examines the logical reasoning of the law professionals , demonstrating the "tricks" used in court rooms. Fascinating reading!!!

WARNING: the book will not prepare you to go to court and defend your case! This is not a "how-to" manual for folks who are planning to go to court. Hire a lawyer if need be.

However, if you want to learn how to present and defend your point (any point, not just legal issues) as an intelligent and convincing person, this book is for you! Chances are, by the time you are done with debating your next case, your opponents will at least respect your opinion (or hate your guts, which still might give you some satisfaction).

This book is for anyone who wants to boost up their skills in logical persuasion, finding loopholes in opponent's logical reasoning.

Lots of interesting and valuable information for a pretty small price! It is written in a short and clear format: each chapter discusses specific idea, giving examples from court cases and average daily life (parent-child, husband-wife, employee-supervisor), concluding with a practical application summary argument vs. counterargument.

So, no reason to read the entire book from beginning to end. One can just pick any chapter and read about how this or that legal (logical) rule can be applied in daily life.

[May 03, 2017] The American Criminal Justice System How It Works, How It Doesn't , and How to Fix It

May 03, 2017 | www.amazon.com

Prison guards, unionized and politically influential, are a major force in the growth of the American prison industry. Prison guard unions have grown immensely since 1980, when the membership was no more than abut 2, 000 guards. Since then, the prison guard union in California alone has reached 25, 000. American prison guards earn an average salary of $36, 000 a year, which is 34 percent below the median American income of $48, 000 in 2007. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were about 500, 000 "correctional officers" working in the United States in 2007. Of those, 18, 000 were federal employees; the others worked for state and county governments. Because of the constantly rising rates of incarceration, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a growth for this occupation of 16 percent between 2007 and 2014. Of course, the downturn in the American economy as of 2009 may make such growth impossible, for economics has frequently determined results quite different from those expected. 21

In view of the large membership in the prison guards unions, the unions have considerable clout at election time. Because the relatives and friends of guards are also voters, state legislators can seldom risk antagonizing the prison guard unions if they seek reelection. Such election concerns are particularly true in California, where prison guard unions have been a major force in the growth of the prison industry. The California Correctional Peace Officers Association funnels money to politicians to ensure a "lock 'em up" policy in the state. The growth in political clout is best illustrated by the growth of the prison guard union, which collects about $15 million in union dues each year, leading to contributions to gubernatorial candidates of at least $1. 5 million. The union also finances a so- called Crime Victims Political Action Committee, which in turn supplies political candidates in California with money toward their campaigns. Prison guard unions also demand laws that lead to mandatory life sentences as well as longer sentences for all offenders. While California is one example of the influence of prison guard unions, these tactics are used in every state. Lawmakers who want to keep their jobs know that it is dangerous to oppose union demands. Therefore, prison guard unions are yet one more factor contributing to the huge incarceration rate experienced in the United States.

[Mar 30, 2017] Amazon.com MINIX NEO Z83-4, Intel Cherry Trail Fanless Mini PC Windows 10 (64-bit) [4GB-32GB-Dual-Band Wi-Fi-Gigabit Ethernet-

Mar 30, 2017 | www.amazon.com

I love these things and have 4 of them at my business. They only draw 2-10 watts, so the electricity cost is substantially less than a full tower, and yet they can run full 30fps video on 2 4k monitors at the same time.

We run office, surf the web, run smaller (500mb or less) business applications these and they pay for themselves within a year by the energy savings. Because they are so blazingly fast, (at least compared to my laptop) they will also save us employee time.

Things I have learned owning them:

1. IF YOU FLIP A SWITCH THAT KILLS POWER TO A UNIT - EVEN WITH WINDOWS PROPERLY SHUTDOWN BEFOREHAND - IT WILL CORRUPT THE MEMORY ON THE HD OR PARTITIONS UNLESS YOU HAVE TURNED OFF 'FAST REBOOT' FROM THE POWER OPTIONS IN WINDOWS. THIS IS NOT COMMUNICATED ANYWHERE EXCEPT MINIXFORUM.
2. Because power loss can corrupt the memory, I recommend taking a disk image so you can easily rebuild the unit if you have powerloss. It might also be a good idea to run the unit on a small UPS. Longterm, Minix should add a capacitor so the units can shut down safely when there is a power outage.
2 : Display port is only able to be converted to D-Sub VGA signal. HDMI Port can be converted to DVI. So, if you want to run two monitors that have D-Sub (VGA) connectors, you will need HDMI-DVI adapter and one Displayport- VGA Adapter. (Read: displayport CANNOT be converted to HDMI then run through a HDMI-DVI ADAPTER)

Minix Z83-4 as a media center and central archive By S. Hoff on December 16, 2016 Verified Purchase For the price of $169.00 and how well it has worked for my media center setup, it is a perfect little machine. We have thousands of CD's in our music collection and I wanted to create a system where we could archive the entire library with have some space for video as a central media center. It is certainly not a powerful machine by any stretch if you have more intensive applications such as games or video editing. However it excels as a media device which will also easily handle everyday light use for email, internet, office productivity.

What impresses me about the unit is how much hardware is packed into the dimensions of 4.8" x 4.8" x 1.2" chassis. Quad core Atom x7-Z8700 Cherry Trail 1.44 ghz to 1.84 ghz, 4 Gigabytes of DDR3 RAM, 32 gb SSD, Dual band Wifi AC, Bluetooth 4.0, gigabit Ethernet, 3x2.0 and 1x3.0 USB ports, HDMI and display port with discreet Broadwell Gen 8 graphics capable of supporting 4K displays, and Windows 10 64 bit. Just having Windows 10 is around $100 for an OEM license.

When I was putting my media center system together in my head, some of the major considerations was size, available ports, responsiveness, and overall power consumption. I looked at a couple of Intel HDMI stick computers, but the less expensive unit ($131) had only 2 gb of RAM which is too low for Windows 10 to operate without hiccups. The next model of that series ($349.00) has a M3 processor and more disc space (64 gb) than the Minix (32 gb). The first was affordable, but unacceptable for my needs and the more expensive model was too expensive and didn't have an Ethernet connection.

Out of the box, the unit felt solid and the body being both plastic and mostly aluminum in construction. Since this is a passively cooled system, the aluminum helps disperse the heat from the internal heatsink to the outside. The processor has a TDP of less than 4 watts and the overall unit operates from 2-10 watts from idle to demanding applications. This was ideal because I wanted a system that can be on 24 hours a day and the power consumption level is negligible compared to a regular desktop pc. It puts out very little heat as well!

Setup was attaching the power cord and my various connections (Ethernet, external hard drive, USB keyboard, external DVD drive) and startup was a breeze and Windows 10 operates pretty responsively considering the lower end specifications. It booted up in about 30 seconds.

With the limited 32 gb SSD where the operating system resides, I attached a 4 terabyte hard drive and the unit is connected to my living room TV at 1080P. I used JRiver Media Center 22 which is truly the most feature-rich program for $50.00 (30 days free trial of a fully functional program) and it helped me devise an even better archival system that includes content streaming to any device on the same network and over the internet on a different network! That was an unexpected feature that I didn't know about until I downloaded the program. I have started ripping the CD's into lossless flac and the JRiver program has been great with built in metadata editing, cover art aquistion, and organizes all media . There are free programs, but the ease and organization of JRiver made me a convert and I will be paying for it once the 30 period has expired. It is an easy system to use and it plays anything and at high quality. While I do have it connected to the TV via HDMI, the media center it has become only needs the television screen when ripping cd's. After that everything, including metadata, can be controlled and edited strictly from my phone or tablet. It acts both as a remote to the system as well as media streaming .

The Minix z83-4 has performed beyond my expectations and is a bridge between a media streaming device like Roku or Chromecast and a full-fledged Windows computer. For all intents and purposes, even with hardware limitations, it is a Windows 10 desktop. For my purposes, I am able to play CD quality music from it to the stereo and I am also able to stream my own library to up to 5 devices from any remote location. Via Gizmo (free) or JRiver Remote ($9.99) apps, JRiver will stream the original flac quality or transcode it from low to high quality mp3. Both apps do the same thing but the JRiver Remote looks more polished. I tend to stream it at a transcoded 128 kbps if I'm using mobile data but keep it at flac quality with wifi. With a 4 terabyte drive, it should be able to hold around 10,000 CD's as flac files. I am so pleased with this unit which has made my dream media center possible for those of us who have concerns about storing anything with cloud services. Also, I wanted to get away from MP3's because they lack warmth and classical music just sounds so much better at full quality. The the small profile and low power consumption gave me a discreet and efficient system where a bulky desktop or laptop would have been too cumbersome and expensive. For about $300, I was able to put together a system that can stream any personal media I archive to anywhere in the world if I have an internet connection and a Windows, Apple, or Android device!

[Mar 28, 2017] Foundation - Fall Of The American Galactic Empire Zero Hedge

Mar 28, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com
Mar 27, 2017 10:40 PM Authored by Jim Quinn via The Burning Platform blog,

"The fall of Empire, gentlemen, is a massive thing, however, and not easily fought. It is dictated by a rising bureaucracy, a receding initiative, a freezing of caste, a damming of curiosity-a hundred other factors. It has been going on, as I have said, for centuries, and it is too majestic and massive a movement to stop." – Isaac Asimov, Foundation

"Any fool can tell a crisis when it arrives. The real service to the state is to detect it in embryo." – Isaac Asimov, Foundation

I read Isaac Asimov's renowned award winning science fiction trilogy four decades ago as a teenager. I read them because I liked science fiction novels, not because I was trying to understand the correlation to the fall of the Roman Empire. The books that came to be called the Foundation Trilogy (Foundation, Foundation and Empire, and Second Foundation) were not written as novels; they're the collected Foundation stories Asimov wrote between 1941 and 1950. He wrote these stories during the final stages of our last Fourth Turning Crisis and the beginning stages of the next High. This was the same time frame in which Tolkien wrote the Lord of the Rings Trilogy and Orwell wrote 1984 . This was not a coincidence.

The tone of foreboding, danger, dread, and impending doom, along with unending warfare, propels all of these novels because they were all written during the bloodiest and most perilous portion of the last Fourth Turning . As the linear thinking establishment continues to be blindsided by the continued deterioration of the economic, political, social, and cultural conditions in the world, we have entered the most treacherous phase of our present Fourth Turning .

That ominous mood engulfing the world is not a new dynamic, but a cyclical event arriving every 80 or so years. Eight decades ago the world was on the verge of a world war which would kill 65 million people. Eight decades prior to 1937 the country was on the verge of a Civil War which would kill almost 5% of the male population. Eight decades prior to 1857 the American Revolution had just begun and would last six more bloody years. None of this is a coincidence. The generational configuration repeats itself every eighty years, driving the mood change which leads to revolutionary change and the destruction of the existing social order.

Isaac Asimov certainly didn't foresee his Foundation stories representing the decline of an American Empire that didn't yet exist. The work that inspired Asimov was Edward Gibbon's multi-volume series, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire , published between 1776 and 1789. Gibbon saw Rome's fall not as a consequence of specific, dramatic events, but as the result of the gradual decline of civic virtue, monetary debasement and rise of Christianity, which made the Romans less vested in worldly affairs.

Gibbon's tome reflects the same generational theory espoused by Strauss and Howe in The Fourth Turning . Gibbon's conclusion was human nature never changes, and mankind's penchant for division, amplified by environmental and cultural differences, is what governs the cyclical nature of history. Gibbon constructs a narrative spanning centuries as events unfold and emperors' successes and failures occur within the context of a relentless decline of empire. The specific events and behaviors of individual emperors were inconsequential within the larger framework and pattern of historical decline. History plods relentlessly onward, driven by the law of large numbers.

Asimov described his inspiration for the novels:

"I wanted to consider essentially the science of psychohistory, something I made up myself. It was, in a sense, the struggle between free will and determinism. On the other hand, I wanted to do a story on the analogy of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, but on the much larger scale of the galaxy. To do that, I took over the aura of the Roman Empire and wrote it very large. The social system, then, is very much like the Roman imperial system, but that was just my skeleton.

It seemed to me that if we did have a galactic empire, there would be so many human beings-quintillions of them-that perhaps you might be able to predict very accurately how societies would behave, even though you couldn't predict how individuals composing those societies would behave. So, against the background of the Roman Empire written large, I invented the science of psychohistory. Throughout the entire trilogy, then, there are the opposing forces of individual desire and that dead hand of social inevitability."

Is History Pre-Determined?

"Don't you see? It's Galaxy-wide. It's a worship of the past. It's a deterioration – a stagnation!" – Isaac Asimov, Foundation

"It has been my philosophy of life that difficulties vanish when faced boldly." – Isaac Asimov, Foundation

The Foundation trilogy opens on Trantor, the capital of the 12,000-year-old Galactic Empire. Though the empire appears stable and powerful, it is slowly decaying in ways that parallel the decline of the Western Roman Empire. Hari Seldon, a mathematician and psychologist, has developed psychohistory, a new field of science that equates all possibilities in large societies to mathematics, allowing for the prediction of future events.

Psychohistory is a blend of crowd psychology and high-level math. An able psychohistorian can predict the long-term aggregate behavior of billions of people many years in the future. However, it only works with large groups. Psychohistory is almost useless for predicting the behavior of an individual. Also, it's no good if the group being analyzed is aware it's being analyzed - because if it's aware, the group changes its behavior.

Using psychohistory, Seldon has discovered the declining nature of the Empire, angering the aristocratic rulers of the Empire. The rulers consider Seldon's views and statements treasonous, and he is arrested. Seldon is tried by the state and defends his beliefs, explaining his theory the Empire will collapse in 300 years and enter a 30,000-year dark age.

He informs the rulers an alternative to this future is attainable, and explains to them generating an anthology of all human knowledge, the Encyclopedia Galactica, would not avert the inevitable fall of the Empire but would reduce the Dark Age to "only" 1,000 years.

The fearful state apparatchiks offer him exile to a remote world, Terminus, with other academic intellectuals who could help him create the Encyclopedia. He accepts their offer, and sets in motion his plan to set up two Foundations, one at either end of the galaxy, to preserve the accumulated knowledge of humanity and thereby shorten the Dark Age, once the Empire collapses. Seldon created the Foundation, knowing it would eventually be seen as a threat to rulers of the Empire, provoking an eventual attack. That is why he created a Second Foundation, unknown to the ruling class.

Asimov's psychohistory concept, based on the predictability of human actions in large numbers, has similarities to Strauss & Howe's generational theory. His theory didn't pretend to predict the actions of individuals, but formulated definite laws developed by mathematical analysis to predict the mass action of human groups. His novel explores the centuries old debate of whether human history proceeds in a predictable fashion, with individuals incapable of changing its course, or whether individuals can alter its progression.

The cyclical nature of history, driven by generational cohorts numbering tens of millions, has been documented over centuries by Strauss & Howe in their 1997 opus The Fourth Turning . Human beings in large numbers react in a herd-like predictable manner. I know that is disappointing to all the linear thinking individualists who erroneously believe one person can change the world and course of history.

The cyclical crisis's that occur every eighty years matches up with how every Foundation story centers on what is called a Seldon crisis, the conjunction of seemingly insoluble external and internal difficulties. The crises were all predicted by Seldon, who appears near the end of each story as a hologram to confirm the Foundation has traversed the latest one correctly.

The "Seldon Crises" take on two forms. Either events unfold in such a way there is only one clear path to take, or the forces of history conspire to determine the outcome. But, the common feature is free will doesn't matter. The heroes and adversaries believe their choices will make a difference when, in fact, the future is already written. This is a controversial viewpoint which angers many people because they feel it robs them of their individuality.

Most people don't want to be lumped together in an amalgamation of other humans because they believe admitting so would strip them of their sense of free will. Their delicate sensibilities are bruised by the unequivocal fact their individual actions are virtually meaningless to the direction of history. But, the madness of crowds can dramatically impact antiquity.

"In reading The History of Nations, we find that, like individuals, they have their whims and their peculiarities, their seasons of excitement and recklessness, when they care not what they do. We find that whole communities suddenly fix their minds upon one object and go mad in its pursuit; that millions of people become simultaneously impressed with one delusion, and run after it, till their attention is caught by some new folly more captivating than the first." – Charles Mackay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

Many people argue the dynamic advancements in technology and science have changed the world in such a way to alter human nature in a positive way, thereby resulting in humans acting in a more rational manner. This alteration would result in a level of human progress not experienced previously. The falsity of this technological theory is borne out by the continuation of war, government corruption, greed, belief in economic fallacies, civic decay, cultural degradation, and global disorder sweeping across the world. Humanity is incapable of change. The same weaknesses and self- destructive traits which have plagued them throughout history are as prevalent today as they ever were.

Asimov's solution to the failure of humanity to change was to create an academic oriented benevolent ruling class who could save the human race from destroying itself. He seems to have been well before his time with regards to creating Shadow Governments and Deep State functionaries. It appears he agreed with his contemporary Edward Bernays. The masses could not be trusted to make good decisions, so they needed more intellectually advanced men to guide their actions.

"The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized.

Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind." – Edward Bernays – Propaganda

In Part Two of this article I will compare and contrast Donald Trump's rise to power to the rise of The Mule in Asimov's masterpiece. Unusually gifted individuals come along once in a lifetime to disrupt the plans of the existing social order.

Beam Me Up Scotty -> BaBaBouy , Mar 27, 2017 10:56 PM

" He seems to have been well before his time with regards to creating Shadow Governments and Deep State functionaries. It appears he agreed with his contemporary Edward Bernays. The masses could not be trusted to make good decisions, so they needed more intellectually advanced men to guide their actions."

The masses aren't the ones begging to start all of these wars. They are the ones TRYING to make a few good decisions. The Shadow Government and Deep State however, are hell bent on getting us all killed. Who exactly is the problem here??

LetThemEatRand , Mar 27, 2017 10:50 PM

Asimov was a good writer and created some great fiction. That's as far as it goes.

Huxle LetThemEatRand •Mar 27, 2017 10:50 PM y is the one who predicted the current state of affairs. Orwell gets honorable mention. You could also throw in some biblical passages for the mark of the beast, though the best part was clearly written about Nero.

biker Mar 27, 2017 11:06 PM
Of course its better to watch them eat themselves
https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/03/rewriting-the-rules...

[Mar 17, 2017] Orwells 1984 was not a complete work of fiction, but a successful blueprint for full statist control

Notable quotes:
"... His book Animal Farm was a satire on Stalin and Trotsky and 1984 * gave readers a glimpse into what would happen if the government controlled every detail of a person's life, down to their own private thoughts. (*online bio). The battles in Europe were life and death with the goal of survival. ..."
"... We are now programed (propagandized) from pre school to the home for the elderly. We are initially taught as children, continue through college, and are forever conditioned by media such as TV, Movies, Radio, Newspapers and Advertising our entire lives. The younger generations are not taught to think independently or critically but instead indoctrinated with pre packaged knowledge 'propaganda' while older generations assess outcomes from a different perspective. There is as a result, a clash within the society which we are experiencing today. ..."
"... 1984 was about controlling the news and airwaves. Farenheit 451 was about burning history. The two go hand in hand. ..."
"... The similarity of the major networks evening "news" programs has given rise to a report that, each day, a list of ten or twelve "acceptable" news stories is prepared by British Intelligence in London for the networks, teletyped to Washington, where the CIA routinely approves it, and then delivered to the networks. ..."
"... The "selectivity" of the broadcasters has never been in doubt. Edith Efron, in "The News Twisters," (Manor Books, N.Y., 1972) cites TV Guide's interview with David Brinkley, April 11, 1964, with Brinkley's declaration that "News is what I say it is. It's something worth knowing by my standards." This was merely vainglorious boasting on Brinkley's part, as he merely reads the news stories previously selected for him. ..."
"... "REMEMBER THE MAINE!" That false flag headline is over a century old. ..."
"... Next time you are in a Best Buy.. go up to the Geek Squad guy and say... "So how does it feel to work for the CIA " ..."
"... Fuck the Washington Post. As Katherine Austin Fitts has suggested, it is essentially the CIA's Facebook wall. The same could be said of the NYT as well. ..."
"... James Rosen from Fox, he was at a state dept briefing with that little weasel Kirby, and Kirby stated that the negotiations over the Iran "deal" were all overt and "above the table." He remembered, tho, a briefing years earlier from the witch Psaki, who stated that sometimes, in interests of expedience, aspects of the negotiations are not made public. ..."
"... Rosen goes back to state dept video archives, finds out that his whole exchange with Psaki has been erased. Weasel Kirby, when asked how this happened, who did it, who ordered it, blames it on a "technical glitch." ..."
Mar 11, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

FreedomWriter -> TheWrench , Mar 11, 2017 10:12 AM

Snowflakes should also learn the depressing fact that Orwell's 1984 was not a complete work of fiction, but a successful blueprint for full statist control.

Orwell was dying of tuberculosis when he wrote "1984" and passed away after its publication in 1949. Once you have their attention and they have read the book, it is time to show snowflakes the MANY obvious parallels between Orwellian concepts and modern society.

NEWSPEAK AND THOUGHT CRIME

You can start with soft targets like Newspeak (today's examples include gems like cis-gender labels and other politically correct BS).

Now move to the "thought police" and thought crime in general.

Explain how thought and speech crime keep the globalist model alive and ticking by discouraging independent thought and discussion.

Explain how state-financed institutions seek to implant these concepts at an early age and onwards into university education.

Provide real-life newspeak and double-think examples, such as "police-action" "regime-change", "coalition of the willing" and "collateral damage". Show how these are really just PC euphemisms for "wars of aggression" and "murder". If you have a picture of a droned wedding party handy, now is the time to use it.

Also mention people who have been silenced, prosecuted or even killed for committing "hate crimes" or other political blasphemies. Explain how this often occurs while they are standing up for or using their constitutionally protected human rights.

Name some of these people: Randy and Vicki Weaver, David Koresh, Marine Le Pen, Geert Wilders, Julian Assange, William Binney, Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning

Show them how this trend is ongoing both in the USA and abroad, and is primarily being deployed against populist politicians who promote more individual rights and reduced state control over citizens. Ask them whether or not they can see a pattern developing here.

Above all, d on't waste time with cheap shots at identity politics and its absurd labelling. This will just polarize the more brainwashed members of your audience. Stick to the nitty gritty and irrefutable facts.

And be very careful here, because if they have insufficient vocabulary to understand or critique what you are saying, you will lose them. Which was the whole point of Newspeak. Of course you can use this failed learning opportunity to demonstrate just how successful the Newspeak program has been.

TELESCREENS

Tell them about the real life "Telescreens" that can now listen to you, even when turned off. Name one of their known manufacturers: Samsung and users: Central Intelligence Agency

Show them how these same telescreens are used to pump out constant lies from the MSM whenever they are turned on. Name some of these organizations: CNN, BBC, MSNBC, FOX, etc.

MASS SURVEILLANCE and the "PANOPTICON"

Talk to them about the modern surveillance state and how it will always be abused by corporate globalists and corrupt elites.

Describe how mass-surveillance service providers (MSSPs) and MSM stooges have become obscenely rich and powerful as the real-life proles (who were 85% of the population in "1984") struggle to put food on the table, pay their debts, find a decent job or buy a home. Tell them to find out how much wealth is owned by 8 very wealthy people relative to the poorest half of the world, and how this trend is accelerating. Name a few of them: Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Carlos Slim, etc.

Show how the previously enacted, totalitarian US policies, programs and laws have been extensively deployed, lobbied for, used and abused by the very Big-Brothers (Clinton and Obama) they so adored. Even George W is swooning progressives again.

Name some of these policies, programs and laws: Patriot Act, SOPA, US Telecommunications Act, FISA, Echelon, PRISM, and Umbrage

Explain why this whole surveillance system, its operators and proponents must be completely dismantled and reined in or imprisoned, unless we wish all whistle blowers, dissidents and normal citizens to end up like Winston Smith.

ETERNAL WAR AND THE BROTHERHOOD

Explain how eternal war keeps the proles from getting too restless and questioning their leaders. How it leads to modern strategic idiocies like "Osama Bin Laden and the Mujahedeen are steadfast allies against Russian totalitarianism, which is why the CIA needs to give them Stingers" (aka Operation Cyclone). Or the illegal provision of arms and funds to countries with questionable human rights records (KSA, Iran, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Israel.....)

Explain how this leads to, nay requires, state-propagated lies like WMD to justify illegal military actions against sovereign nation states like Iraq, Libya and Syria.

Show how 9/11 was used to target a former-ally Osama and his Taliban brotherhood and prepare the terrain for eternal war, even though the real criminals were actually in DC, Riyadh and other world capitals. Explain how letting Osama escape from Tora Bora was all part of this intricate plan for the PNAC, until he finally outlived his usefulness as a bogeyman. If they disagree, ask for their counter-argument and proofs.

Explain how these same criminals then made a financial killing when our real life Oceania went to war bigly with Eastasia. How this resulted in over a million civilian deaths (half of them children), around 80,000 terrorists and perhaps 10,000 uniformed soldiers/contractors. Show them videos where US officials justify this slaughter as "worth it", unimportant or irrelevant. Ask what kind of individuals could even say these things or let them happen. If they can't answer, name a few: Madeleine Albright, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

At this point, you may need to take a break as listeners will soon have trouble distinguishing between real-life events and those in Orwell's book.

WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

Next, explain how real, imagined or simulated terrorist outrages can be manipulated to influence electorates. This is done by creating or allowing atrocities that frighten citizens into seeking "safety". These citizens will then vote in corrupt, globalist leaders who promise to keep them safe. These same leaders can then curtail freedoms in their previously democratic, freedom-loving nation states. New terrorist threats can always be used to justify more restrictions on free movement and state-mandated invasions of personal privacy.

If your snowflakes don't agree with this, name some leaders responsible for bad laws, policies and the ensuing restrictions on civil liberties:

Tony Blair, George W Bush, Angela Merkel, Theresa May and Francois Hollande.

Name some events as well: Oklahoma City, 911, 7/7 Sandy Hook, 11-M

Also mention that the USA has not waged a single legal, constitutional, Congress-declared war since 1945. But that the USA has been involved in hot or cold wars for all but 5 of the past 71 years.

HISTORY AND BACKGROUND

Tell them that Orwell's original book title was actually "1944" (already past), but that his publisher vetoed this choice saying it could hurt sales.

Then explain how 1944-45 was actually the perfect crucible for the divisive, right-left political paradigm we live in today and many of the concepts presciently described in Orwell's chilling masterpiece.

EPILOGUE

Tell them everything, until their brains hurt, their eyes water and their ears bleed.

Eventually even the iciest snowflakes will get it.

Of course, some will cry, and some will have temper tantrums and meltdowns.

But a few might just wake up, start reading real books and get a proper education.

This is when the healing can begin.

Those thinking a career in gender-diversity-issue management is still the way forward may figure it out later, God help them. Until then, we should just pity them.

dearth vader , Mar 11, 2017 5:03 AM

Ira Levin's "This Perfect Day" (1970) is from the same dystopian mold. In the late Eighties, my then teenage daughter kept reading it, till it literally fell apart.

How technology has "advanced"! People in this phantasy had to wear bracelets with which they checked in and out of buildings and areas. Reality always seems to surpass the imaginative powers of SF-writers.

Maestro Maestro , Mar 11, 2017 5:16 AM

The problem is not your government.

YOU are the problem.

Your government is not populated by reptilians from outer space. The politicians and the bankers, lawyers are YOUR sons and daughters. You gave birth to them, you educated them, you taught them their values.

YOU pull the trigger when the government says KILL! YOU vote Democrat or Republican EVERY TIME. Yet you have the temerity to blame them when you don't get what you wanted.

Scum,

Hitler didn't kill anyone as fas as we know, in WWII. People [YOU] killed people. You blame the Jews because the wars they incite you to fight result in blowback to you. Why do you blame them because YOU jumped when they said JUMP! YOU are the ones flying the fighter jets and firing the tank shells against foreign populations living 10,000 miles away from your land, and who have not attacked you. NO ONE does anything unless they wanted to, in the first place. In any case, YOU are responsible for YOUR actions. This we all know.

Even your own money the US dollar is illegal according to your own US Constitution (Article 1, Section 10) yet you commit mass murder and mass torture throughout the world in order to impose it on everyone?

Fuck you, American.

BrownCoat , Mar 11, 2017 6:59 AM

The liberals are promoting the book (Nineteen Eighty-Four). IMO, that's great! Orwell's book is a classic and accurately describes features in our current society.

The downside is that the liberals won't understand it . They are promoting the idea that Trump is a fascist. They don't see that they themselves are fascists (albeit a different brand of fascism). Ironic that the book could help them see past the indoctrinated haze of their perspective, but it won't. The future, from my perspective, is a boot stamping on a human face forever.

Robert of Ottawa -> BrownCoat , Mar 11, 2017 8:09 AM

Fascism as a style of government rather than philosophy .

RevIdahoSpud3 , Mar 11, 2017 9:07 AM

I read 1984 in 1960 as a freshman in HS. Spent the next 24 years waiting. I don't remember details but I do remember it was upsetting at the time to picture my future as depicted by Orwell. It might be more interesting to me now to go back to the publishing date and study the paradigm that Orwell lived under to get a perspective of his mindset. He wasn't a US citizen. He was born in India, moved to England with his mother, had little contact with his father, was sickly and lonely as a child and suffered from tuberculosis as an adult, served in Burma for five years as a policeman, fought Soviet backed Communsts in the Spanish Civil War, fought Facism, believed in Democratic socialism or Classless socialism.

His book Animal Farm was a satire on Stalin and Trotsky and 1984 * gave readers a glimpse into what would happen if the government controlled every detail of a person's life, down to their own private thoughts. (*online bio). The battles in Europe were life and death with the goal of survival.

The European cauldron produced or nurtured, IMO, the seeds of most social evils that exist today. In Orwell's era society was changing and reacting to the Machine age which was followed by the Atomic age, the Space age and to the current Information age. He died in 1950 but in his environment, the Machine age is where he related. The forces (of evil) at work in his era still exist today with the additions of the changes brought by the later ages. We don't contend with the physical (at least not initially) conquerors such as the Genghis Khan, Mohamed, Alexander, Roman conquest etc. of the past but the compulsion of others to control our lives still exists just in different forms. We as a society react or comply and have the same forces to deal with as did Orwell but also those that resulted in the later eras. 1984 was actually the preview of the information age that Orwell didn't experience.

We are now programed (propagandized) from pre school to the home for the elderly. We are initially taught as children, continue through college, and are forever conditioned by media such as TV, Movies, Radio, Newspapers and Advertising our entire lives. The younger generations are not taught to think independently or critically but instead indoctrinated with pre packaged knowledge 'propaganda' while older generations assess outcomes from a different perspective. There is as a result, a clash within the society which we are experiencing today.

Through the modern (at least recorded) ages the underlying force no matter what era humans lived through was the conflict of...religion. In the name or names of God and whose god is the true god and which god will rule. Even in the most 'godless' societies it is the underlying force. There are many who do not believe in god or a god and by extension should or do not believe in satin. Good vs Evil? It's always there, although we are encouraged not to mention it?

Can't say I need another go at 1984 from Costco but I do need another indoor/outdoor vacuum and right now they have one with a manufacturers discount of $5. See you there!

Collectivism Killz , Mar 11, 2017 9:24 AM

1984 is really just a knock off of Evgeny Zemyatin's "We," which is frankly a better account of dystopian authoritarianism from someone who wrote shortly after the Russian Revolution.

FrankDrakman -> Collectivism Killz , Mar 11, 2017 9:39 AM

This is not true. Orwell's book touched on major points, such as the destruction of people's ability to communicate real ideas by perversion and simplification of language, that are not discussed elsewhere. It is a unique and disturbing view of totalitarian regimes.

Atomizer , Mar 11, 2017 10:22 AM

Tyler, your missing the point. 1984 was about controlling the news and airwaves. Farenheit 451 was about burning history. The two go hand in hand.

Fahrenheit 451 (1966) Full Movie | Julie Christie ...

Nobodys Home , Mar 11, 2017 10:23 AM

Manipulation of the news is not new folks:

The similarity of the major networks evening "news" programs has given rise to a report that, each day, a list of ten or twelve "acceptable" news stories is prepared by British Intelligence in London for the networks, teletyped to Washington, where the CIA routinely approves it, and then delivered to the networks.

The "selectivity" of the broadcasters has never been in doubt. Edith Efron, in "The News Twisters," (Manor Books, N.Y., 1972) cites TV Guide's interview with David Brinkley, April 11, 1964, with Brinkley's declaration that "News is what I say it is. It's something worth knowing by my standards." This was merely vainglorious boasting on Brinkley's part, as he merely reads the news stories previously selected for him.

Sinophile -> Nobodys Home , Mar 11, 2017 11:33 AM

"REMEMBER THE MAINE!" That false flag headline is over a century old.

Dragon HAwk , Mar 11, 2017 10:53 AM

Next time you are in a Best Buy.. go up to the Geek Squad guy and say... "So how does it feel to work for the CIA "

Al Bondiga , Mar 11, 2017 11:13 AM

Fuck the Washington Post. As Katherine Austin Fitts has suggested, it is essentially the CIA's Facebook wall. The same could be said of the NYT as well.

SurfinUSA , Mar 11, 2017 1:37 PM

Bezos has no problem selling "1984" on Amazon. https://tinyurl.com/hdmhu75 He's collecting the sales price and sticking it in his pocket. He's not making a joke out of it. Bezos is a lunatic. The Washington Post is full of shit. End of story.

Amy G. Dala -> SurfinUSA , Mar 11, 2017 2:23 PM

James Rosen from Fox, he was at a state dept briefing with that little weasel Kirby, and Kirby stated that the negotiations over the Iran "deal" were all overt and "above the table." He remembered, tho, a briefing years earlier from the witch Psaki, who stated that sometimes, in interests of expedience, aspects of the negotiations are not made public.

Rosen goes back to state dept video archives, finds out that his whole exchange with Psaki has been erased. Weasel Kirby, when asked how this happened, who did it, who ordered it, blames it on a "technical glitch."

It's a slippery fuckin slope. Only now the progressives are finding relevance in 1984?

[Mar 17, 2017] Costco is now carrying Orwell famouns novell 1984 And this is not a joke

Mar 11, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by James Holbrooks via TheAntiMedia.org,

"Next time you're at Costco, you can pick up a jumbo bag of Cheetos and a copy of '1984.' Doubleplus good!"

That's how the Washington Post opened its quick little entry on Wednesday. Continuing, Ron Charles, editor of Book World for the Post , wrote:

"The discount store is now stocking Orwell's classic novel along with its usual selection of current bestsellers."

If the significance of the fact that a dystopian masterwork can now be purchased alongside a three-ton bag of cheese puffs instantly strikes you, it should. Strangely, though, Charles and the Post don't seem to see it.

In fact, it seemed to be a joke to them. The entry closed in the manner it opened. With humor:

"Appropriately, Costco is offering a reprint of the 2003 edition of '1984,' which has a forward by Thomas Pynchon. That reclusive satirist must love the idea of hawking Orwell's dystopian novel alongside towers of discounted toilet paper and radial tires. SHOPPING IS SAVING."

In the one and only instance Charles even approached something that could be considered commentary, he linked the surge in the book's sales to "alternative" news items :

"Last month, amid talk of 'alternative facts' from the Trump administration, Signet Classics announced that it had reprinted 500,000 copies, about twice the novel's total sales in 2016."

Note Charles was certain to use the word "alternative" when mentioning Trump. Why? Very clearly, "fake news" is the man's go-to phrase when speaking of the media. So why go with "alternative" instead? Hell, the Post itself was the driving force behind the "fake news" frenzy in the first place.

I could go on about how this is the Washington Post , corporate media juggernaut, attempting, rather pathetically, to poison the notion of "alternative" in the minds of its readers - or, I should say, what's left of them - but that's not really what this is about.

What it's really about is journalism. The fact that "1984" is being sold at Costco, the fact that demand for the classic tale has skyrocketed , is significant. It's societal. And journalists are supposed to write about things like that.

And what does the Post do? They make a joke of it.

This is an organization that, as recently as January, has been busted publishing false news stories. You would think that with its credibility among a growing division of society hanging on by a thread - at best - the Post would turn an event like this into social commentary. This was an opportunity to speak about a changing world.

But instead, the Post went for laughs.

Let it sink in, friends. George Orwell's "1984," a dystopian tale about a society being crushed under the boot of authoritarian regime, is, once again, flying off bookshelves. To the extent that you can now get it at Costco. Let the significance of that truly dig in deep.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post is talking about Cheetos and toilet paper.

LetThemEatRand , Mar 10, 2017 9:56 PM

It is truly Orwellian that the sheep only take interest in Orwell when someone challenges Big Brother. If I had a Facebook account, I'd post this article straight away.

LetThemEatRand , Mar 10, 2017 9:56 PM

It is truly Orwellian that the sheep only take interest in Orwell when someone challenges Big Brother. If I had a Facebook account, I'd post this article straight away.

xythras -> Luc X. Ifer , Mar 10, 2017 11:56 PM

Well, after all the shit is going down, White House is definitely in distress. Trump gets a taste of his own medicine as he's grabbed by the pussy from all intelligence agencies directions.

And Spicer just proved it today:

White House in Distress? Sean Spicer's Upside Down Flag Pin Unleashes Twitter Frenzy

http://dailywesterner.com/news/2017-03-10/white-house-in-distress-sean-s...

Luc X. Ifer -> Twee Surgeon , Mar 11, 2017 12:46 AM

Read 'Little Heroes' by Norman Spinrad. It's like the dude had a trip to the future which is our present, a completly broken society dominated by corporations exploiting the masses of hedonist mindless snowflakes. In my humble oppinion perfect companion to Orwell's 84.

[...

  • In the future the class divide between capitalist and worker will have widened to become a virtually unbridgeable chasm. In HG Wells' The Time Machine (1895) this division has become so extreme that humanity had split into two species.
  • The way to keep the underclass under control is to feed them mass-produced pseudo-culture. If - as in Orwell's 1984 (1949) - the technocratic ruling class can get some kind of computer or machine to generate this product, so much the better.
  • In the future, 20th century entertainment forms like TV and movies will have been superseded by more direct experiences that, ideally, feed directly into the brain or, at least - as with the 'feelies' in Huxley's Brave New World (1932) - stimulate more senses than simply the visual and auditory.
  • And now, here's a book that uses all these themes in one hit, and builds on these classic foundations by adding rock & roll to the mix.

    Set in the early years of the 21st century, it shows us an America decimated by devaluation, where unemployment is commonplace and rock music is firmly in the grip of accountants and electro-nerds producing synthesized superstars to keep the proles contented.

    ...]

    http://www.trashfiction.co.uk/little_heroes.html

    Latina Lover -> Luc X. Ifer , Mar 11, 2017 7:16 AM

    Washington Post = CIA produced fake news.

    peddling-fiction , Mar 10, 2017 9:59 PM

    Please read Philip K. Dick's most recent works for a more accurate description of our dystopian reality.

    RIP Philip.

    LetThemEatRand -> indygo55 , Mar 10, 2017 10:05 PM

    "Strange how paranoia can link up with reality now and then." P.K.D.

    Row Well Number 41 -> LetThemEatRand , Mar 10, 2017 10:09 PM

    Once they notice you, Jason realized, they never completely close the file. You can never get back your anonymity. It is vital not to be noticed in the first place. -- Philip K Dick

    PodissNM -> Row Well Number 41 , Mar 10, 2017 11:27 PM

    "The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words. If you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use the words."

    P.K.D., How To Build A Universe That Doesn't Fall Apart Two Days Later

    AlaricBalth -> peddling-fiction , Mar 11, 2017 12:13 AM

    Philip was spot on decades before the advent of the CIA's infestation of cell phones and other electronic devices.

    "There will come a time when it isn't 'They're spying on me through my phone' anymore. Eventually, it will be 'My phone is spying on me'." Philip K. Dick

    AlaricBalth -> indygo55 , Mar 11, 2017 12:30 AM

    Here is a free copy of 1984.

    https://ia800201.us.archive.org/8/items/NINETEENEIGHTY-FOUR1984ByGeorgeO...

    "The telescreen received and transmitted simultaneously. Any sound that Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it, moreover, so long as he remained within the field of vision which the metal plaque commanded, he could be seen as well as heard. There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live-did live, from habit that became instinct-in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized."

    napples -> indygo55 , Mar 11, 2017 2:37 AM

    The irony never fails to amuse:

    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/07/18/amazon_removes_1984_from_kindle/

    bruno_the -> BeanusCountus , Mar 10, 2017 11:31 PM

    Sure. Read it again...

    As usual, the face of Emmanuel Goldstein, the Enemy of the People, had flashed on to the screen. There were hisses here and there among the audience. The little sandy-haired woman gave a squeak of mingled fear and disgust. Goldstein was the renegade and backslider who once, long ago (how long ago, nobody quite remembered), had been one of the leading figures of the Party, almost on a level with Big Brother himself, and then had engaged in counter-revolutionary activities, had been condemned to death, and had mysteriously escaped and disappeared.

    Free

    https://wikispooks.com/w/images/f/fc/1984.pdf

    Mini-Me , Mar 10, 2017 10:01 PM

    1984 was supposed to be a warning, not a user's guide.

    Twox2 -> Mini-Me , Mar 10, 2017 10:17 PM

    Too late...

    skinwalker -> Mini-Me , Mar 10, 2017 11:35 PM

    Orwell and Huxley were close to the fabians, so they knew what was coming down the pike.

    The difference is Orwell grew a conscience and tried to warn everybody.

    He probably would have titled it 2036, but 1984 was the 100th anniversary of the Fabian society.

    koan , Mar 10, 2017 10:01 PM

    WaPo is fake news, owned by a stereotypical bald headed villain. (Bezos)

    Ignorance is bliss -> aloha_snakbar , Mar 10, 2017 10:09 PM

    Maybe Orwell meant 2084. That sounds like a scary year to me...

    Anon2017 , Mar 10, 2017 10:08 PM

    You could also download "1984" for free to your computer or Kindle device. Do a Google search.

    Ms No -> Anon2017 , Mar 10, 2017 11:05 PM

    That's actually a waste of time at this point. If anything read Anthony Suttons Wall Street series for free on the internet, or stay here. You already know more than Orwell will teach you at this point. Unless your a mouth breather or blind from herpes of the eyeball. Apparently that is something contracted at birth.

    All wars are bankers wars. You can sum 1984 up to that. Actually they didn't even cover that. They just covered mechanisms. Actually they didn't even cover that, just symptoms.

    http://modernhistoryproject.org/mhp?Article=BolshevikRev&C=4.0

    http://modernhistoryproject.org/mhp?Article=WallStHitler

    http://modernhistoryproject.org/mhp?Entity=BrzezinskiZ

    SgtShaftoe -> Wee_littte_dogee , Mar 10, 2017 10:17 PM

    You're fine. Their lists don't have enough enforcers to do jack shit. By the time the first raid occurs, all hell would break loose and they'll all die.

    Ms No -> SgtShaftoe , Mar 10, 2017 10:57 PM

    In order to break that down we have to figure who their enforcers are.

    Intelligence agencies. That's a big one.

    Some unknown number of police agency staff. Quite a few in many places, like Texas. They obviously have strategic coroners, emergency room staff, etc.

    Some unknown quantitity of narco-terrorists out of Mexico/fast and furious funded types.

    Some unknown number of our military. They have been purging for decades.

    A smaller but unknown number of funded terrorist groups/ ISIS types.

    A very large number of our congress, etc.

    Probably 2/3 of our Supreme Court

    The entire media system and publishing

    The easiest way to narrow it down is who do they not have? I give up already. Remember JFK was a long time ago.

    SgtShaftoe -> Ms No , Mar 11, 2017 9:10 AM

    The ones most relevant in my mind are the logistics and support as well as the "action" guys (using that term very loosely).

    The military, the CIA and a few other agencies have trained combat arms types that are effective. The rest are at various stages of competency. In any event, they still don't have enough competent troops by a long shot. The logistics tail is also very wide and vulnerable.

    [Mar 11, 2017] The Power of Market Fundamentalism Karl Polanyi's Critique Fred Block, Margaret R. Somers 9780674970885 Amazon.com Books

    Mar 11, 2017 | www.amazon.com
    .0 out of 5 stars Excellent review of Polanyi and excellent critique of the modern economy By B. Brinker on May 10, 2014 Format: Kindle Edition | Verified Purchase This book deserves to be a part of the national discussion, as do Polanyi's thoughts. I read Polanyi some years ago and was looking for a refresher when I came across this book. This book not only reviews Polanyi's work and places it in the context of modern economic and sociological research, but also adapts many of his theories to the current times. Along the way the authors offer useful insights into Polanyi's life and how his experiences shaped his thoughts.

    Pros- Well written, clear, and concise for an academic book. Does an excellent job of bringing Polanyi's thoughts up to date.

    Cons- The authors (two highly regarded professors) appear to have a very leftist bent. This isn't a bad thing, in my opinion, but some readers may be turned off by that.

    UPDATED: I wanted to write a longer review on this book once I had time to reflect on it. I intended to write the typical academic style "summarize and critique" review but realized I can add more value to potential readers by explaining why this book is an important read.

    Have you been noticing how politics is becoming increasingly polarized? If you hop over to look at the reviews for Piketty's "Capital in the 21st Century" you'll notice that literally 100's of ideological zealots have been attacking the book. Not reading and critiquing, but posting bad reviews even though they've never read it.

    Ever wonder why people act like this? Why Market Fundamentalism has become so strong? This book will help you think on and answer these questions.

    Isn't it odd that we have been pursuing neo-liberal policies for 30 years, even though they have already proven to be a failure? Debt is rising, health care costs are spiraling out of control, college is unaffordable, the gap between rich and poor is widening. Despite the fact that we live in an age of failed neoliberalism, rolling back such policies isn't the answer, oh no what we need is more neoliberalism.

    This book will help you understand the appeal of neoliberalism and its emergence as a utopian ideal that can never be achieved. The book also explains the historical context of market fundamentalism and the decline of Keynesian economics to show why the one serious challenge to neoliberalism was eventually marginalized. out of 5 stars The best analysis and summation of Polanyi's thought to date!!! By Claudio Dionigi on January 6, 2015 Format: Hardcover I have read most of Polanyi's work, as well as books and articles about his work (including Gareth Dale's text), and while doing so I have tried to keep in mind what the spirit of Polanyi's work is. I believe that Fred Block and Margaret Somers have captured that spirit in this text. This book is an excellent summation and update to Polanyi's critique of free-market fundamentalism, highlighting the reasons for the resurgence of his ideas in recent years. It is a must read for anyone who is interested in Polanyi's work or is at all concerned about the current state of affairs in political-economy. It draws on a wide variety of other texts to pull the threads of Polanyi's thoughts together and contextualise them within a broader discourse. It relates Polanyi's work nicely to the crises induced by neoliberalism in recent years (more to come, no doubt). It is well laid out, in accessible language and a pleasant style. Whether you are from the left or the right, do yourself a favour and read this book.

    [Feb 26, 2017] Aldous Huxley - Wikipedia

    Feb 26, 2017 | en.wikipedia.org

    Huxley had deeply felt apprehensions about the future the developed world might make for itself. From these, he made some warnings in his writings and talks. In a 1958 televised interview conducted by journalist Mike Wallace , Huxley outlined several major concerns: the difficulties and dangers of world overpopulation; the tendency toward distinctly hierarchical social organisation; the crucial importance of evaluating the use of technology in mass societies susceptible to wily persuasion; the tendency to promote modern politicians to a naive public as well-marketed commodities. [32]

    [Feb 26, 2017] If one takes it as a matter of faith (religious or secular) that human activity inherently leads to good outcomes that'll be a huge influence on how you engage with the world. It blows

    Feb 26, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
    away humility and restraint. It fosters a sense of entitlement.

    Chris G said... February 24, 2017 at 04:48 AM On the Crooked Timber piece: Quiggin makes a very astute observation about 'propertarians' and Divine Providence in his concluding paragraphs. If one takes it as a matter of faith (religious or secular) that human activity inherently leads to good outcomes that'll be a huge influence on how you engage with the world. It blows away humility and restraint. It fosters a sense of entitlement. RC AKA Darryl, Ron said in reply to Chris G ... Yep. All roads lead to scapegoating. The anti-social capabilities of base desires and greed are often paled in comparison to those of detached indifference supported by abstract high-mindedness. For example, both sides can blame the robots for the loss of decent blue collar jobs. RC AKA Darryl, Ron said in reply to RC AKA Darryl, Ron... Not sure that there are "both sides" any more in elite circles. There are at least two types though. There is very little presence among elites on the progressive side. Reply Friday, February 24, 2017 at 04:58 AM Chris G said in reply to RC AKA Darryl, Ron... Hard to call this related but worth reading, Why Nothing Works Anymore - https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2017/02/the-singularity-in-the-toilet-stall/517551/
    Reply Friday, February 24, 2017 at 05:11 AM RC AKA Darryl, Ron said in reply to Chris G ... [THANKS! This was LOL funny:]

    "...When spun on its ungeared mechanism, an analogous, glorious measure of towel appears directly and immediately, as if sent from heaven..."

    [This was highly relevant to today's lead article "The Jobs Americans Do:"]

    ..."Precarity" has become a popular way to refer to economic and labor conditions that force people-and particularly low-income service workers-into uncertainty. Temporary labor and flexwork offer examples. That includes hourly service work in which schedules are adjusted ad-hoc and just-in-time, so that workers don't know when or how often they might be working. For low-wage food service and retail workers, for instance, that uncertainty makes budgeting and time-management difficult. Arranging for transit and childcare is difficult, and even more costly, for people who don't know when-or if-they'll be working.

    Such conditions are not new. As union-supported blue-collar labor declined in the 20th century, the service economy took over its mantle absent its benefits. But the information economy further accelerated precarity. For one part, it consolidated existing businesses and made efficiency its primary concern. For another, economic downturns like the 2008 global recession facilitated austerity measures both deliberate and accidental. Immaterial labor also rose-everything from the unpaid, unseen work of women in and out of the workplace, to creative work done on-spec or for exposure, to the invisible work everyone does to construct the data infrastructure that technology companies like Google and Facebook sell to advertisers...

    [This was very insightful into its own topic of the separation of technology "from serving human users to pushing them out of the way so that the technologized world can service its own ends," but I would rather classify that as serving owners of proprietary technology rights.]


    ...Facebook and Google, so the saying goes, make their users into their products-the real customer is the advertiser or data speculator preying on the information generated by the companies' free services. But things are bound to get even weirder than that. When automobiles drive themselves, for example, their human passengers will not become masters of a new form of urban freedom, but rather a fuel to drive the expansion of connected cities, in order to spread further the gospel of computerized automation. If artificial intelligence ends up running the news, it will not do so in order to improve citizen's access to information necessary to make choices in a democracy, but to further cement the supremacy of machine automation over human editorial in establishing what is relevant...

    [THANKS! It was an exceptionally good article in places despite that it wandered a bit off into the ozone at times.]

    ...
    Reply Friday, February 24, 2017 at 05:54 AM Julio said in reply to Chris G ... Excellent article, thanks!

    It hits on one of the reasons why I am less skeptical than Darryl that AI will succeed, an soon, in all kinds of fields: it may remain stupid in some ways, but we will adapt to it.

    Consider phone answering services. Its simple speech recognition, which was once at the forefront of artificial intelligence, has made them ubiquityous. Yet Dante would need a new circle for a person who said "I just heard you say 5...3...7...is this correct?"

    Some of these adaptations subtract from our quality of life, as the article nicely describes. Some add to it, e.g we no longer spend time at the mall arranging when and where to meet if we get separated. Some are interesting and hard to evaluate, e.g. Chessplayers' relation to the game has changed radically since computers became good at it.

    And there is one I find insidious: the homogeneization of human activity and even thought. The information we ALL get on a subject will be what sorts to the top among google answers; the rest might as well not exist, much like newspaper articles buried in a back page.

    On the political front, Winston will not be necessary, nobody will click through to the old information, we will all just know that we were always at war with Eurasia.

    And on the economic front, the same homogeneization, with giant multinationals and crossmarketing deals. You'll be in a country with great food, like Turkey, get into your rented Toyota, say "I want dinner", and end up at a Domino's because they have a deal with Toyota.

    Resist! Reply Friday, February 24, 2017 at 09:26 AM Paine said in reply to Julio ... Humans are more contrarian then not

    The middle third of the twentieth century was hysterical about the totalitarian state
    And the erasure of micro scale cultural heritage

    That seems laughable since at least 1965 as lots of old long dormant memes
    Revived in these frightfully "totalized " civil societies

    The Motions of human Society reveal underlying dialectics not mechanics Reply Friday, February 24, 2017 at 09:55 AM Paine said in reply to Paine... "1984 " is way past it's sell by date

    Much like Leviathan and the declaration of independence Reply Friday, February 24, 2017 at 09:59 AM cm said in reply to Julio ... There was probably more than one movie about this topic - people not happy with their "peaceful" but bland, boring, and intellectually stifling environment.

    Not too far from Huxley's "Brave New World" actually. Reply Saturday, February 25, 2017 at 12:01 AM

    [Feb 19, 2017] Covert Action The Limits of Intervention in the Postwar World by Gregory F. Treverton

    October 3, 2005 | www.amazon.com
    T. bailey on October 3, 2005

    Under Cover, or Out of Control?

    The New York Times November 29, 1987, Sunday, Late City Final Edition (Review of 2 books, including The perfect failure: Kennedy, Eisenhower, and the CIA at the Bay of Pigs, only this book review included here)

    The torrent of revelations about the Iran-contra affair during the summer's televised hearings, and in the recently released report of the Congressional committees that conducted the hearings, has made Americans aware both of the importance of covert action in the foreign policy of their country and of its risks and costs. These two books do nothing to rehabilitate its reputation or to improve its image...

    Both men show how much euphoria about covert action was created by two early successes of the CIA: in Iran in 1953, when Kermit Roosevelt, with the help of what Mr. Treverton calls a ''strange assemblage'' - a pro-Shah mob controlled by one Iranian leader, ''complete with giant . . . weight-lifters recruited from Teheran athletic clubs'' - overthrew Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh's Government and consolidated the Shah's shaky power; and in Guatemala in 1954, when the regime of Jacobo Arbenz Guzman was toppled by a small group of rebel soldiers moving in from Honduras. The action in Guatemala led officials to believe that such successes could be repeated elsewhere; it ''consolidated the ascendancy of covert action over espionage, and of operations over intelligence in the CIA,'' in Mr. Treverton's words - and it led directly to the Bay of Pigs and to the later operations in Chile that toppled that country's Government. Most of the men who planned these later activities had been involved in the Guatemalan affair.

    ''Covert Action'' is valuable not only for its brief, sharp accounts of covert enterprises (the one in Chile was undertaken even though none of the official assessments had concluded that the election of Salvador Allende Gossens in 1970 threatened any vital United States interest), but above all for the lessons Mr. Treverton draws from history, and for his own assessments. The lessons are stark. As the targets of United States action became more formidable (Fidel Castro learned from Arbenz's fate), the chances of success decreased. Success requires bigger operations - and big operations can't remain secret (as the Reagan arms sales to Iran demonstrated).

    If the covert activities go on for a long time, as they have in Angola and, since 1981, in Nicaragua, the purposes tend to expand, along with the commitment and public knowledge. When the operations entail the manipulation of foreign elements with their own agenda (the Cuban exiles mobilized for the Bay of Pigs landing, or the Nicaraguan contras, or the anti-Allende factions in the Chilean military), American ability to control them is often limited. In any case, the fine-tuning of covert actions is difficult. In Chile, the United States Government tried to maintain a barrier ''between supporting opposition forces and funding groups trying to promote a military coup,'' but local realities made this ''a distinction built of sand.'' As a result, whatever restrictions and distinctions the United States may have tried to observe, in Chile and elsewhere, it ended up, in the eyes of foreign observers, being seen as responsible for the fall of Allende, or for the acts and fate of the Shah, or as colluding with South Africa against the Marxist regime in Angola.

    Mr. Treverton deals at length with the problems of control over covert action. He shows that the enthusiasm shown for it by several Administrations resulted not merely from the ''operational behavior'' of the CIA - its bias for action over mere espionage - but also, frequently, from Presidential pressures (especially from Presidents Nixon and Reagan). But the need to keep operations secret - and the need to protect Presidents by maintaining the possibility of so-called plausible denial - meant that the activities would be discussed only by a small number of people, that insufficient debate and criticism would lead to grievous errors (such as the mistaken belief that the Cuban people would support the invading exiles rather than Mr. Castro) and that only a small proportion of covert-action projects would be reviewed by the National Security Council system.

    As for Congress, which went through a long period of complacency and complicity, it tried to reverse course after the Watergate crisis. The Hughes-Ryan Act of 1974 put an end to plausible denial by requiring a Presidential finding that each operation is important to national security, and the Intelligence Oversight Act of 1980 required that Congress be notified of all covert operations. But both laws are full of enough vague terms and escape hatches to allow the executive branch to thwart their authors' intentions, as the Iran-contra affair has shown. Indeed, the members of Congress are in a dilemma, highlighted by Mr. Treverton: when they are informed, they are in no position to stop the action - unless they leak its existence and thereby foreclose ''the option of covertness.''

    Thus, covert action raises formidable issues in an open society. Mr. Treverton lists the realists' arguments on behalf of secret operations - especially the need to meet, if not to match, Soviet covert activities and to help one's friends in a harsh and dangerous world. But his own position is closer to that of the idealists. He recognizes that covert operations may be necessary at times. But he doubts they'll remain secret, warns about their unintended effects and long-term costs and argues against having them run from the White House or in contradiction of official policy (as in the case of Irangate). He also shows that much that is done covertly by the CIA could be done overtly by private organizations (he notes the foundations established by West German political parties that have aided democratic forces in such countries as Portugal), and, above all, he concludes that most covert-action successes have been small, ambiguous and transitory (Iran and Guatemala in the 1950's, for example).''Covert Action'' is enlightening, thoughtful and wise.

    Mr. Treverton, who writes elegantly, paints an often dirty scene in pastel colors.

    [Feb 12, 2017] Austerity The History of a Dangerous Idea by Mark Blyth

    See also Mark Blyth--"Liberalisms' great trick has been to naturalize very difficult political contests."
    Feb 12, 2017 | www.amazon.com

    Selected as a Financial Times Best Book of 2013

    Governments today in both Europe and the United States have succeeded in casting government spending as reckless wastefulness that has made the economy worse. In contrast, they have advanced a policy of draconian budget cuts--austerity--to solve the financial crisis. We are told that we have all lived beyond our means and now need to tighten our belts. This view conveniently forgets where all that debt came from. Not from an orgy of government spending, but as the direct result of bailing out, recapitalizing, and adding liquidity to the broken banking system. Through these actions private debt was rechristened as government debt while those responsible for generating it walked away scot free, placing the blame on the state, and the burden on the taxpayer.

    That burden now takes the form of a global turn to austerity, the policy of reducing domestic wages and prices to restore competitiveness and balance the budget. The problem, according to political economist Mark Blyth, is that austerity is a very dangerous idea. First of all, it doesn't work. As the past four years and countless historical examples from the last 100 years show, while it makes sense for any one state to try and cut its way to growth, it simply cannot work when all states try it simultaneously: all we do is shrink the economy. In the worst case, austerity policies worsened the Great Depression and created the conditions for seizures of power by the forces responsible for the Second World War: the Nazis and the Japanese military establishment. As Blyth amply demonstrates, the arguments for austerity are tenuous and the evidence thin. Rather than expanding growth and opportunity, the repeated revival of this dead economic idea has almost always led to low growth along with increases in wealth and income inequality. Austerity demolishes the conventional wisdom, marshaling an army of facts to demand that we austerity for what it is, and what it costs us.

    Metallurgist TOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 20, 2013 Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )

    An interesting Keynesian view of the current EU austerity programs

    " I found this to be a very interesting and thought provoking book. The author makes his viewpoint very clear with the book's subtitle "The History of a Dangerous Idea". The essence of the author's argument is that austerity is unfair because it makes workers pay for the mistakes of banks, and even more importantly, dangerous because it does not lead to prosperity, but only to decreased economic growth and increased unemployment. This thesis is backed up by an analysis of the banking crisis of 2008, how it spread from the US to the EU, why the single currency Euro has made the problem worse for the EU and why using austerity to solve the problems will not work. It also discusses the history of the idea of austerity, both in terms of the economic theory that promotes it and the economic history that does not. Conservatives, who find Keynesian economics to be not only wrong, but also the road to economic ruin, will likely be turned off by the book's subtitle and many of the arguments that Professor Blyth utilizes. However, there is a lot of data in this book that they should look at, if only to criticize it. I found this book very enlightening and while I do not agree with all of Professor Blyth's ideas (particularly those of the last chapter), I learned a lot, so for me it was 5-stars.

    What is in the book?
    The book is divided into 7 chapters, which cover the following:

    Chapter 1 - A Primer on Austerity. This is a short chapter that summarizes the main thesis of the book (mentioned above), and sets the stage for the more detailed discussions in subsequent chapters.

    Chapter 2 - America: To Big to Fail? This is an excellent chapter that summarizes the origins and unfolding of the 2008-banking crisis in the US. This is a very complicated story, which Professor Blyth tells in a clear manner. The story revolves around repurchase agreements (Repos), mortgage backed securities (MBS), collateralized debt obligations (CDO), credit default swaps (CDS), and how all these interacted in a climate of deregulation to produce the crisis. Professor Blyth does a good job of explaining these terms and how the interaction worked.

    Chapter 3 - Europe: Too Big to Bail? This is another very illuminating chapter. It shows how Europe, which first believed it was not going to be affected by the US banking crisis, became a major casualty of it and their own internal banking problems. All these factors were compounded by the single currency Euro, which has removed devaluation as a solution to the crisis, instead fostering the idea that governmental austerity was the only way to correct a problem produced by the private banking sector.

    Chapter 4 - Intellectual History of a Dangerous Idea 1692-1942. This chapter goes back to the writings of John Locke, David Hume and Adam Smith to see how the idea of austerity developed. It also covers the idea in the early 20th century and the development of anti-austerity Keynesian economic theory. It is a nice primer on classical economic ideas.

    Chapter 5 - Intellectual History of a Dangerous Idea 1942-2012. This chapter carries the story of the idea of austerity into the present time. It shows how the idea of austerity, discredited by the Great Depression and the success of the Keynesian solution (although conservatives would argue these successes were illusory and set the stage for future economic problems), has been resurrected by economists writing in the latter part of the 20th century and early 21st.

    Chapter 6. Austerity's Natural History 1914-2012. Blyth presents a lot of data that shows that, contrary to the theories presented in the previous chapter, austerity has not worked in practice. Much of the chapter is spent it refuting the writings of several economists that say that the recent historical data does support the idea. Blyth contends that in general it does not and if is does in a few cases it either does not when all the data is considered, or worked only marginally under a very limited set of conditions.

    Chapter 7 - The End of Banking, New Tales and a Taxing Time Ahead. This is a very short eleven-page chapter, but perhaps the most controversial on in the book. Blyth, initially a supporter of bank bailouts as absolutely necessary to prevent a complete collapse of the banking system and with it the whole capitalist economic system and with it democratic society as a whole, now questions whether in might not have been better to let the banks fail. He cites the case of Iceland where the banks were allowed to fail and society has recovered. This was done by making the bank's creditors bear the cost of failure, instead of all of Iceland's citizens. He notes that most of this loss was borne by foreign creditors of a very small country, whose banking system was an immense part of the country's economy, but was small compared to the economies of the US or the EU. Unfortunately, he fails to say how a banking collapse in the US or EU could be handled when the systems are huge compared to Iceland's and where the creditors are largely internal. He does not explain how the failure of these huge banking systems, with their internal creditors, would not result in the scenario he originally envisioned. I found this analysis to be poor and not in keeping with the thoroughness of the rest of the book. Blyth also floats the idea of huge tax increases, either through a one-time tax on assets or a very large increase in higher bracket tax rates. Conservatives, and many not quite so conservative, will likely blanch at these ideas. There is no discussion of the political difficulties of doing this or very much development of the idea, which is contained in only the last four pages of the book.

    David Lindsay on September 25, 2016 Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
    Brilliant Overview

    " Mark Blyth is a professor at Brown University and he explains why austerity doesn't work. He points out that whenever austerity has been tried in the past it has usually proven to be disastrous. What its supporters often seem to forget is that one person's spending is another's income and demand in the economy would collapse if everyone stopped spending. The book is a sobering read because Blyth is not optimistic about the future. However, the book is well written and is often funny.

    Blyth shows that the case for austerity does not add up. The US did not pursue austerity during the recession and its economy has been growing. US GDP is 10% higher than it was in 2007. The EU has pursued austerity with vigor, but GDP in the euro zone is still lower than it was in 2007. Blyth shows that countries that cut the most have had lower rates of growth. Blyth claims that all the countries that cut public spending in response to the financial crises had significantly more debt in 2012 than when they started. For example, Ireland's debt to GDP ratio more than quadrupled, from 24.8% in 2007 to 106.4% in 2012. The other problem is that austerity increased unemployment. Throughout southern Europe, unemployment has been at levels not seen since the Great Depression. It is still over 20% in Spain and Greece. As a result of cutting public expenditure Greece's GDP dropped by 30% in four years. There is no evidence that austerity improves growth.

    Blyth spends a lot of time trashing the pro-austerity thinking that took place in Europe. Germany is driving economic policy for the euro zone and they have never believed in Keynesian economics. Keynes advised that austerity was a bad idea during a recession. German politicians seem to believe that all nations could have trade surpluses if only they tried hard enough, despite the fact that it is impossible for all countries to have a surplus. Only one European country can be Germany. The Germans have often advocated the sort of solutions that failed in the 1930s. They argue that budget deficits and government debt have to be kept under strict control. The Maastricht Treaty, which established the EU, required that national debt should not exceed 60% of GDP and the deficit should not exceed 3.0%. Entry to the euro also requires a budget deficit of 3.0%.

    Blyth points out that when you have a deficit, you can either raise taxes or cut spending to fill the gap. The British government of David Cameron favored the latter in 2010. The British deficit had reached 10% in 2010. However, UK government debt went up, not down, despite the cuts, from 52.3% of GDP in 2009 to 90.7% in 2013. The same pattern was repeated throughout the euro zone. Cutting public expenditure shrank the underlying economy.

    The German argument is that running large deficits increases the risk of high inflation. Blyth points out that the Germans have selective amnesia about their past. It was the Wall Street Crash in 1929 not hyper-inflation in 1924 that led to Hitler. Before the crash, 1.25 million people were unemployed in Germany. Hitler was an accidental Keynesian and by 1937 German unemployment had fallen from six million to one million. Unfortunately, much of his spending involved preparing for war. Blyth argues that Germany's continuing insistence on austerity is the biggest threat to the euro zone.

    According to Blyth, the current version of the austerity argument was created by a group of Italian economists, originating from Bocconi University, in Milan. He explains why their arguments are deeply flawed. Blyth argues that, apart from Greece, public sector debt in the euro zone countries was not out of control before the financial crises. Blyth rubbishes the theory of "expansionary austerity," that cutting spending will lead to higher economic growth. The "austerians" believed that large spending cuts would be followed by expansion rather than contraction. The reason, they suggested, was that decisive fiscal austerity created confidence in the private sector. Keynesians agreed that insufficient private spending was the cause of the problem, but only governments could stimulate demand on the scale needed. Austerity failed to stimulate demand in Europe. Blyth also argues that everybody cannot cut their way to growth at the same time. The IMF once went along with austerity but it has recently concluded that austerity has had major adverse economic effects.

    Blyth is worried that inequality could become a serious problem in the US. The 400 richest Americans own more assets than the poorest 150 million. He argues that both major parties have written off the bottom 30% of society. He claims that the American working class has not had a pay rise since 1979, and globalization has failed them. He believes this explains the anger behind the Trump phenomenon. Blyth points out that rich Americans and the country's biggest companies are reluctant to pay tax, so government borrowing has had to go up. Blyth claims that he pays more tax than GE.

    Blyth is critical of Republicans who advocated austerity. Republicans in the US also favored balancing the budget and cutting taxes. Keynesians, like Paul Krugman, argued that this is what Herbert Hoover tried to do in the early 1930s and the result was a 25% unemployment rate. Obama inherited an 11.4% budget deficit in 2009. The Republicans wanted to cut government expenditure but Blyth argues the reason the US has recovered faster than Europe is because it cut less. He makes it clear that it is poorer people who usually rely on government services to make ends meet that are the hardest hit when public expenditure is cut. He believes that the rich and corporate America need to start paying more tax. He also argues that the US government should probably have let its banks go bankrupt – as the Icelandic government did – rather than bail them out.

    Blyth reminds us that 2008 was a private sector crisis. The debts of the banks landed on the balance sheet of the public sector through bank bailouts and quantitative easing. In other words, taxpayers bailed out the bankers. He calls this the "greatest bait-and-switch in modern history." The EU is imposing austerity on southern Europe and dismantling the welfare state in Greece in order to protect German banks that made stupid decisions.

    Blyth in recent interviews has argued that the EU may have a sinister agenda and it really wants to drag wages in Western Europe down to East European levels so that it can better compete with China. I assumed this must be an exaggeration but it might not be. The Guardian mapped labor costs across the euro zone from 1999 to 2013. What they found is that German workers have barely seen wages rise for that 14-year stretch, despite Germany having massive trade surpluses. We could be in for real trouble.

    Fang on September 27, 2016 Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
    The Richness of Austerity

    " Mark Blyth tries to convey a simple message: austerity simply does not work. Defining austerity as "voluntary deflation in which the economy adjusts through the reduction of wages, prices and public spending to restore competitiveness .best achieved by cutting the state's budget, debts and deficits" (p.2), Blyth argued that austerity's fallacies lies in the impossibility of having everybody to be thrift at the same time and the cyclical nature of debt (pp.7 and 12).

    Blyth also suggests that austerity efforts unevenly hurt the lower strata of societies (p.8), and conflates debt and financialization problems in private sector (primarily referring to bank and financial institutions) into state (sovereign) issues (p.6 and p.23). In the first three chapters, Blyth strives to demonstrate that the financial and economic turmoil since 2008 is largely a crisis of financialization, lack of regulation, slow growth and imbalance between monetary policy and final creditor of printing press (in the case of Europe), not that of austerity (save the marginal case of Greece). Blyth argues that it is a mentality of treating these crises as endogenous and private actors as "rational" that underlay the bad policy choices in America and Europe (pp.91-93).

    In chapters 4 through 6, Blyth provides an intellectual and practical history of austerity. It is suggested that a spirit of thrift and aversion towards state and state spending runs through the vein of economic liberalism, ranging from classical liberalism to neoclassical economics and to the Austrian school. In more contemporary era, it is public choice theory, neoliberalism and Milton Friedman's monetarism that carries this tradition forward to construct a pro-market and private-sector-favoring package that turns public spending into a corporate calculation of costs and benefits. Blyth goes on to illustrate the history of austerity in practice, arguing that it is usually the Keynesian expansionary policies that couple austerity that reinvigorated economy amid crises; austerity, carried out on its own, constitutes massive redistribution consequences.

    Blyth obviously attempts to engage as wide an audience as possible in the public intellectual realm. As much as he is successful in his empirical chapters, Blyth appears to fight a deflationary economic policy with his own inflationary writing strategy. From chapters 4 to 5, he constantly conflates the moral teaching of thrift and financial prudence from Adam Smith to avoidance of debt, the Ordoliberalism's quest for order and proper state function to aversion of democratic politics, the methodological insights of public choice to a general fear of bureaucracy and government, and so on. These inflations, while sometimes credited, are bound to subject to scrutiny and questions.

    Moreover, by glossing over the details of this rich intellectual history, Blyth dodges some key questions that his empirical chapters also fail to articulate: what is the distinction between private and public debt, and personal thrift and public austerity, when we talk about austerity, and how significant is it? How does this distinction play out in more classical economic philosophy?

    And amid crisis, who should be considered the "ultimate creditor" or "final guarantor" of debt (and money)? There questions certainly exceeds the scope and intention of Blyth's book, but they should be instrumental in deepening our understanding of austerity.

    [Feb 12, 2017] Linux Server Hacks, Volume Two

    Notable quotes:
    "... multixterm ..."
    "... xterms ..."
    "... multixterm ..."
    "... host1 host2 ..."
    Feb 12, 2017 | www.amazon.com
    Execute Commands Simultaneously on Multiple Servers

    Run the same command at the same time on multiple systems, simplifying administrative tasks and reducing synchronization problems .

    If you have multiple servers with similar or identical configurations (such as nodes in a cluster), it's often difficult to make sure the contents and configuration of those servers are identical. It's even more difficult when you need to make configuration modifications from the command line, knowing you'll have to execute the exact same command on a large number of systems (better get coffee first). You could try writing a script to perform the task automatically, but sometimes scripting is overkill for the work to be done. Fortunately, there's another way to execute commands on multiple hosts simultaneously.

    A great solution for this problem is an excellent tool called multixterm , which enables you to simultaneously open xterms to any number of systems, type your commands in a single central window and have the commands executed in each of the xterm windows you've started. Sound appealing? Type once, execute many-it sounds like a new pipelining instruction set.

    multixterm is available from http://expect.nist.gov/example/multixterm.man.html , and it requires expect and tk . The most common way to run multixterm is with a command like the following:

    	$ 
    multixterm -xc "ssh %n"
    
    
    host1 host2
    
    
    

    This command will open ssh connections to host1 and host2 ( Figure 4-1 ). Anything typed in the area labeled "stdin window" (which is usually gray or green, depending on your color scheme) will be sent to both windows, as shown in the figure.

    As you can see from the sample command, the –xc option stands for execute command, and it must be followed by the command that you want to execute on each host, enclosed in double quotation marks. If the specified command includes a wildcard such as %n , each hostname that follows the command will be substituted into the command in turn when it is executed. Thus, in our example, the commands ssh host1 and ssh host2 were both executed by multixterm , each within its own xterm window.

    See Also

    [Jan 24, 2017] vitalASC KB10KA-S Ultra Slim Bluetooth 3.0 Keyboard (Silver) - NEW

    Please note that there are multiple colors of this keyboard and they are treated by Amazon as separate products. Most reviews are for silver and red variants.
    It looks like a standard Pc laptop keyboard . With the standard Windows-style layout as well Esc and F1-F10 key can be pressed directly without using function keys like on many other keyboards. Attractive for Windows 8 and 10 users.
    Before you use the keyboard for the first time you should charge it and it may take a couple of hours to charge for the first time. The LED charge light turns red while the keyboard is charging and go out when it is fully charged. If the battery becomes low the power LED will blink orange to indicate that it is time to recharge the battery.
    The pairing button is at the right upper corner. Pairing is fast and reliable with 7" Samsung tablet that I tested. Ctrl-A, Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V work, which alone justifies the price of the keyboard :-) Android looks almost usable for light office work with this keyboard.
    The keyboard has of/off switch at the right upper corner (on the side).
    Notable quotes:
    "... It is thin and small enough to fit over the top of my laptop keyboard, has a good response time, has a light for 'Caps Lock', and doesn't take too long to wake up after sleeping. ..."
    "... I really appreciate that it has the F1-12 keys, as well as the functionality of a larger keyboard (print, insert, delete, home, end, etc.). ..."
    "... I thought I had a bad one until I realized that I had to click the button that looks like WiFi in the corner. ..."
    Jan 24, 2017 | www.amazon.com
    kievite on January 26, 2017

    Standard PC layout. Works with Win10 smartphones (such as Lumia 950). Excellent for Android tablets like Sumsung 7" Galaxy tab

    IMPORTANT: I was able to connect it to Microsoft Lumia 950 smartphone. You need to press the pairing button on keyboard and then phone recognizes the keyboard and pairs with it. Before that it was listed as an Accessory and as there were several of them it was not clear which is what.

    NOTE: that there are multiple colors of this keyboard and they are (incorrectly) treated by Amazon as separate products. Most reviews are for silver and red variants.

    From my point of view (and probably from the point of view most of PC users) you want a keyboard that looks like a standard PC laptop keyboard. This keyboard fits the bill with the only difference I noticed is that function key is duplicated on the right side of the keyboard.
    How many keys work with function key pressed I do not know as I did not tested it with the Windows computer yet, but PgDn, PgUp, Home and End work OK. Selection using shift and arrow keys also work.

    It is extremely attractive option for Android users who want to use Android for light office work (It not very usable for working with long emails without the keyboard). What is the most important is that with this keyboard you can use Ctrl-A, Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V and all similar keys known to Windows users. That alone justifies the price of the keyboard :-)

    I also noticed that on Android the menu key works OK producing menu. I experienced no delay in displaying symbols. Keys work OK and a spaced like on full size keyboard so there is almost no adaptation process.

    Now you can use Android for working with your email which is not the easy using touch screen alone. You can add mouse if you wish too. I think this combination beats Chomebook. And I'm not that sure that it makes sense to overpay for it, if tablet with keyboard and mouse are good enough. Especially, if you understand that you are paying for the privilege of letting Google harvest even more of your personal data :-)

    Before you use the keyboard for the first time you should charge it for a couple of hours. The LED charge light turns red while the keyboard is charging and go out when it is fully charged. Then you need to switch it on (The keyboard has of/off switch at the right upper corner (on the side)) and pair with the device you use. The pairing button is at the right upper corner above power light. Pairing is fast and reliable with 7" Samsung tablet that I tested.

    If the battery becomes low the power LED will blink red

    Nichole on September 1, 2014 Verified Purchase

    Sweet keyboard!

    I just got this keyboard about a week ago, and it has been wonderful so far! I'm using it as a replacement for my laptop keyboard after shorting out a few keys with windex... I did a lot of research and this keyboard does everything I wanted it too.

    It is thin and small enough to fit over the top of my laptop keyboard, has a good response time, has a light for 'Caps Lock', and doesn't take too long to wake up after sleeping.

    I also needed a keyboard that was rechargeable since i didn't want to constantly replace batteries, and I needed something fairly mobile.

    I think the key response time is a little slower than my laptop keyboard and sometimes a keystroke gets missed because I didn't press down hard enough or in the center of the key. These problems don't happen often enough to be annoying though. I'm typing this review on it right now!

    The keys are closer together than a traditional keyboard, but aren't too close that I hit more than one at once (i guess i have fairly thin fingers though).

    The only part that took a lot of getting used to is that the Fn and Ctrl keys on the bottom left are switched on this as compared to my laptop's keyboard. This keyboard has Fn in the bottom left corner with the Ctrl key to the right of it. Even though, I am basically used to this now and I've had the keyboard for about a week.

    Christopher Thorpe on December 26, 2014 Verified Purchase

    Great!

    This review is being typed with this keyboard. Its been used for a year and a half and I've been quite pleased with it. The only downside is that every once in a while it will register a keypress and input that character multiple times. For example, an "a" might become "aaaaaa." This doesn't happen too often, or it would have been returned long ago.

    I really appreciate that it has the F1-12 keys, as well as the functionality of a larger keyboard (print, insert, delete, home, end, etc.). It's been used exclusively with a nexus 10 and moto x 2014.

    Zora Abernathy on January 17, 2016

    Definitely Reccomend

    Absolutely love it! The keyboard has arrow keys and such. However, I thought I had a bad one until I realized that I had to click the button that looks like WiFi in the corner.

    [Jan 24, 2017] Jelly Comb Universal Bluetooth Keyboard Ultra Slim for Windows Android iOS PC Tablet Smartphone,

    Jan 24, 2017 | www.amazon.com

    The layout of this keyboard is based on Apple's keyboard. That becomes a problem for Windows users, especially gamers, because of the location of the ctrl/control key. But that can easily be fixed by remapping keys.

    [Jan 14, 2017] The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy Christopher Lasch

    Jan 14, 2017 | www.amazon.com
    William H. Panning on December 6, 2016 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
    A tour de force that helps readers understand their country, and culture and how they evolved

    " Readers of Chris Hayes' "Twilight of the Elites: America after Meritocracy" may recognize some common themes here. But Lasch presented his far more complete and prescient descriptions of our situation some eighteen years earlier. When I read Hayes' book, some months before Trump's nomination, I immediately recommended to all my liberal friends that they read it. But now, after reading Lasch's even more nuanced critique, I see the work of an incredibly perceptive intellectual whose perceptions and analyses are far more nuanced and comprehensive. This is the kind of work that we once expected the best academics to produce, intended for a broad audience.

    Tidewater on March 13, 2016 Format: Paperback

    Not exactly a "revolt"

    " This is a good, not great, book. It covers a lot of fascinating territory, including extended treatment of Orestes Brownson's critiques of Horace Mann on universal education, and Walter Lippman's disputes with John Dewey on "public opinion." Esoteric, to say the least.

    Rather than a review, I offer as a counterweght Walter A. McDougall's weighty history, "Throes of Democracy." A heck of a lot was going on in the 19th century American political scene, and McDougall fills in a lot of the blanks, including the significance of Herman Melville's "Confidence Man," and the utter callousness and greed exhibited by the founders of many of the various "western" states.

    I found Lasch, even with his often admirable critical analyses, a bit too comfortable in his academic perch dealing with the mixed legacies of the 19th and early 20th century. Note also: his use of the word "democracy" badly needed defining, as did "revolt," more like an unfriendly takeover IMHO.

    [Jan 13, 2017] They pretend to make statements that corresponded to reality, and we pretend to believe them.

    Notable quotes:
    "... For him, the Soviet Union was once a stable, entrenched, conservative state and the majority of Russian people -- actually myself included -- thought it would last forever. But the way people employ language and read ideologies can change. That change can be undetectable at first, and then unstoppable. ..."
    Jan 08, 2017 | www.amazon.com

    Igor Biryukov on November 1, 2012

    A cautionary tale

    " In America there was once a popular but simplistic image of the Soviet Russia as the Evil Empire destined to fall, precisely because it was unfree and therefore evil. Ronald Reagan who advocated it also once said that the Russian people do not have a word for "freedom". Not so fast -- says Alexei Yurchak. He was born in the Soviet Union and became a cultural anthropologist in California. He employs linguistic structural analysis in very interesting ways. For him, the Soviet Union was once a stable, entrenched, conservative state and the majority of Russian people -- actually myself included -- thought it would last forever. But the way people employ language and read ideologies can change. That change can be undetectable at first, and then unstoppable.

    Yurchak's Master-idea is that the Soviet system was an example of how a state can prepare its own demise in an invisible way. It happened in Russia through unraveling of authoritative discourse by Gorbachev's naive but well-meaning shillyshallying undermining the Soviet system and the master signifiers with which the Soviet society was "quilted" and held together. According to Yurchak "In its first three or four years, perestroika was not much more than a deconstruction of Soviet authoritative discourse". This could a cautionary tale for America as well because the Soviet Union shared more features with American modernity than the Americans themselves are willing to admit.

    The demise of the Soviet Union was not caused by anti-modernity or backwardness of Russian people. The Soviet experiment was a cousin of Western modernity and shared many features with the Western democracies, in particular its roots in the Enlightenment project. The Soviet Union wasn't "evil" in late stages 1950-1980s. The most people were decent. The Soviet system, despite its flaws, offered a set of collective values. There were many moral and ethical aspects to Soviet socialism, and even though those values have been betrayed by the state, they were still very important to people themselves in their lives. These values were: solidarity, community, altruism, education, creativity, friendship and safety. Perhaps they were incommensurable with the "Western values" such as the rule of law and freedom, but for Russians they were the most important. For many "socialism" was a system of human values and everyday realities which wasn't necessarily equivalent of the official interpretation provided by the state rhetoric.

    Yurchak starts with a general paradox within the ideology of modernity: the split between ideological enunciation, which reflects the theoretical ideals of the Enlightenment, and ideological rule, which are the practical concerns of the modern state's political authority. In Soviet Union the paradox was "solved" by means of dogmatic political closure and elevation of Master signifier [Lenin, Stalin, Party] but it doesn't mean the Western democracies are immune to totalitarian temptation to which the Soviet Union had succumbed. The vast governmental bureaucracy and Quango-state are waiting in the shadows here as well, may be ready to appropriate discourse.

    It is hard to agree with everything in his book. But it is an interesting perspective. I wish Alexei Yurchak would explore more implications of Roman Jacobson's "poetic function of language" and its connection to Russian experiment in communism. It seems to me, as a Russian native speaker, that Russians put stress on form, sound, and poetics. The English-language tradition prioritizes content and meaning. Can we speak of "Hermeneutics" of the West versus "Poetics" of Russia? Perhaps the tragedy of Russia was under-development of Hermeneutics? How does one explain the feeble attempts to throw a light of reason into the loopy texts and theories of Marks, Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin? Perhaps the Russians read it as a kind of magical text, a poetry, a bad poetry -- not Pasternak or Blok -- but kind of poetry nevertheless?

    Nils Gilman on April 23, 2014

    A brilliant account of the interior meaning of everyday life for ordinary soviet citizens

    Just loved this -- a brilliant study of how everyday citizens (as opposed to active supporters or dissidents) cope with living in a decadent dictatorship, through strategies of ignoring the powerful, focusing on hyperlocal socialities, treating ritualized support for the regime as little more than an annoying chore, and withdrawal into subcultures. Yurchak demolishes the view that the only choices available to late Soviet citizens were either blind support (though his accounts of those figures who chose this path are deeply chilling) or active resistance, while at the same time showing how many of the purported values of Soviet socialism (equality, education, friendship, community, etc) were in fact deeply held by many in the population. While his entire account is a tacit meditation on the manifold unpleasantnesses of living under the Soviet system, Yurchak also makes clear that it was not all unpleasantness and that indeed for some people (such as theoretical physicists) life under Soviet socialism was in some ways freer than for their peers in the West. All of which makes the book function (sotto voce) as an explanation for the nostalgia that many in Russia today feel for Soviet times - something inexplicable to those who claim that Communism was simply and nothing but an evil.

    The theoretical vehicle for Yurchak's investigation is the divergence between the performative rather than the constative dimensions of the "authoritative discourse" of the late Soviet regime. One might say that his basic thesis is that, for most Soviet people, the attitude toward the authorities was "They pretend to make statements that corresponded to reality, and we pretend to believe them." Yurchak rightly observes that one can neither interpret the decision to vote in favor of an official resolution or to display a pro-government slogan at a rally as being an unambiguous statement of regime support, nor assume that these actions were directly coerced. People were expected to perform these rituals, but they developed "a complexly differentiating relationship to the ideological meanings, norms, and values" of the Soviet state. "Depending on the context, they might reject a certain meaning, norm or value, be apathetic about another, continue actively subscribing to a third, creatively reinterpret a fourth, and so on." (28-29)

    The result was that, as the discourse of the late Soviet period ossified into completely formalist incantations (a process that Yurchak demonstrates was increasingly routinized from the 1950s onwards), Soviet citizens participated in these more for ritualistic reasons than because of fervent belief, which in turn allowed citizens to fill their lives with other sources of identity and meaning. Soviet citizens would go to cafes and talk about music and literature, join a rock band or art collective, take silly jobs that required little effort and thus left room for them to pursue their "interests." The very drabness of the standardizations of Soviet life therefore created new sorts of (admittedly constrained) spaces within which people could define themselves and their (inter)subjective meanings. All of which is to say that the book consists of a dramatic refutation of the "totalitarianism" thesis, demonstrating that despite the totalitarian ambitions of the regime, citizens were continually able to carve out zones of autonomy and identification that transcended the ambitions of the Authoritative discourse.

    [Jan 13, 2017] Hypernormalisation

    Notable quotes:
    "... Normalisation is what has historically happened in the wake of financial crises. During the booms that precede busts, low interest rates encourage people to make investments with borrowed money. However, even after all of the prudent investment opportunities have been taken, people continue borrowing to invest in projects and ideas that are unlikely to ever generate profits. ..."
    "... Eventually, the precariousness of some of these later investments becomes apparent. Those that arrive at this realization early sell up, settle their debts and pocket profits, but their selling often triggers a rush for the exits that bankrupts companies and individuals and, in many cases, the banks which lent to them. ..."
    "... By contrast, the responses of policy-makers to 2008's financial crisis suggest the psychology of hypernormalisation. Quantitative easing (also known as money printing) and interest rate suppression (to zero percent and, in Europe, negative interest rates) are not working and will never result in sustained increases in productivity, income and employment. However, as our leaders are unable to consider alternative policy solutions, they have to pretend that they are working. ..."
    "... Statistical chicanery has helped understate unemployment and inflation while global cooperation has served to obscure the currency depreciation and loss of confidence in paper money (as opposed to 'hard money' such as gold and silver) that are to be expected from rampant money printing. ..."
    "... The recent fuss over 'fake news' seems intended to remove alternative news and information sources from a population that, alarmingly for those in charge, is both ever-more aware that the system is not working and less and less willing to pretend that it is . Just this month U.S. President Barack Obama signed the Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act into law. United States, meet your Ministry of Truth. ..."
    "... Great article. I think it does describe the USSA at the present time. Everything works until it doesn't. ..."
    "... The funny thing is I had almost identical thoughts just a few days ago. But I was thinking in comparison more of East Germany's last 20 years before they imploded - peacefully, because not a single non-leading-rank person believed any of the official facts anymore (and therefore they even simply ignored orders from high command to crush the Leipzig Monday demonstrations.) ..."
    "... I'm ok with a world led by Trump and Putin. ..."
    "... I recall the joke from the old Soviet Union: "They pretend to pay us, we pretend to work." In the USSA these last few years, Barry pretends to tell the truth. Libtards pretend to believe him. ..."
    "... Wrong. They believe him. Look at the gaggle of libtard/shiteaters at Soetero's Friday night bash at the White House. ..."
    "... Reagan used to quip that in the Soviet Union, the people pretend to work and the government pretends to pay them. We're not the Soviet Union, but we have become a farce. Next stop - the fall. Followed by chaos, then onto something new. The new elites will just be the old elites, well, the ones that escape the noose. ..."
    "... The real ugly problem with the Soviet Union is that whatever they broke it into isn't working well either. ..."
    "... Russia's problem post collapse was the good ol' USSA and its capitalist, plunderer banking mavens. ..."
    "... The only way to normalize banking in a contemporary banking paradigm of QE Infinity & Beyond is to start over again without the bankers & accountants that knowingly bet the ranch for a short term gain at the expense of long term profitability. In Japan an honourable businessman/CEO would suicide for bringing this kind of devastation to the company shareholders. ..."
    "... In America they don't give a shit because it is always someone else other than the CEO that takes the fall. ..."
    "... This, after I'd point out his evasion and deflection every time I addressed his bias and belief in the MSM propaganda mantras of racism, misogyny, xenophobia - all the usual labeling bullshit up to insinuating Russia hacked the election ..."
    "... I've been using the term Hypernormalisation to describe aspects of western society for the last 15 years, before Adam Curtis's brilliant BBC documentary Hypernormalisation , afflicting western society and particularly politics. There are lies and gross distortions everywhere in western society and it straddles/effects all races, colours, social classes and the disease is most acute in our politics. ..."
    "... We all know the hypernoprmalisation in politics, as we witness stories everyday on Zerohedge of the disconnect from reality ..."
    "... It is called COGNITIVE DISSONANCE .. ..."
    "... "When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn't fit with the core belief." ..."
    "... During their final days as a world power, the Soviet Union allowed cognitive dissonance to rule its better judgment as so many Americans are doing in 2012. The handwriting on the wall was pretty clear for Gorbachev. The Soviet economy was failing. They did none of the necessary things to save their economy. In 2012, the handwriting on the wall is pretty clear for the American people. The economy is failing. The people and the Congress do none of the necessary things to save their economy. Why? Go re-read the definition of cognitive dissonance. That's why. We have a classic fight going on between those who want government to take care of them who will pay the price of lost freedom to get that care, and those who value freedom above all else. ..."
    "... to me the PTB are "Japanifying" the u.s. (decades of no growth, near total demoralization of a generation of worker bees (as in, 'things will never get any better, be glad for what little you've got' etc... look what they've done to u.s. millenials just since '08... fooled (crushed) them TWICE already) ..."
    "... But the PTB Plan B is to emulate the USSR with a crackup, replete with fire sale to oligarchs of public assets. ..."
    Jan 08, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com
    Submitted by Bryce McBride via Mises Canada,

    This past November, the filmmaker Adam Curtis released the documentary Hypernormalisation.

    https://www.youtube.com/embed/-fny99f8amM

    The term comes from Alexei Yurchak's 2006 book Everything was Forever, Until it was No More: The Last Soviet Generation. The book argues that over the last 20 years of the Soviet Union, everyone knew the system wasn't working, but as no one could imagine any alternative, politicians and citizens were resigned to pretending that it was. Eventually this pretending was accepted as normal and the fake reality thus created was accepted as real, an effect which Yurchak termed "hypernormalisation."

    Looking at events over the past few years, one wonders if our own society is experiencing the same phenomenon. A contrast with what economic policy-makers term "normalisation" is instructive.

    Normalisation is what has historically happened in the wake of financial crises. During the booms that precede busts, low interest rates encourage people to make investments with borrowed money. However, even after all of the prudent investment opportunities have been taken, people continue borrowing to invest in projects and ideas that are unlikely to ever generate profits.

    Eventually, the precariousness of some of these later investments becomes apparent. Those that arrive at this realization early sell up, settle their debts and pocket profits, but their selling often triggers a rush for the exits that bankrupts companies and individuals and, in many cases, the banks which lent to them.

    In the normalisation which follows (usually held during 'special' bank holidays) auditors and accountants go through financial records and decide which companies and individuals are insolvent (and should therefore go bankrupt) and which are merely illiquid (and therefore eligible for additional loans, pledged against good collateral). In a similar fashion, central bank officials decide which banks are to close and which are to remain open. Lenders made freshly aware of bankruptcy risk raise (or normalise) interest rates and in so doing complete the process of clearing bad debt out of the system. Overall, reality replaces wishful thinking.

    While this process is by no means pleasant for the people involved, from a societal standpoint bankruptcy and higher interest rates are necessary to keep businesses focused on profitable investment, banks focused on prudent lending and overall debt levels manageable.

    By contrast, the responses of policy-makers to 2008's financial crisis suggest the psychology of hypernormalisation. Quantitative easing (also known as money printing) and interest rate suppression (to zero percent and, in Europe, negative interest rates) are not working and will never result in sustained increases in productivity, income and employment. However, as our leaders are unable to consider alternative policy solutions, they have to pretend that they are working.

    To understand why our leaders are unable to consider alternative policy solutions such as interest rate normalization and banking reform one only needs to understand that while such policies would lay the groundwork for a sustained recovery, they would also expose many of the world's biggest banks as insolvent. As the financial sector is a powerful constituency (and a generous donor to political campaigns) the banks get the free money they need, even if such policies harm society as a whole.

    As we live in a democratic society, it is necessary for our leaders to convince us that there are no other solutions and that the monetary policy fixes of the past 8 years have been effective and have done no harm.

    Statistical chicanery has helped understate unemployment and inflation while global cooperation has served to obscure the currency depreciation and loss of confidence in paper money (as opposed to 'hard money' such as gold and silver) that are to be expected from rampant money printing.

    Looking at unemployment figures first, while the unemployment rate is currently very low, the number of Americans of working age not in the labour force is currently at an all-time high of over 95 million people. Discouraged workers who stop looking for work are no longer classified as unemployed but instead become economically inactive, but clearly many of these people really should be counted as unemployed. Similarly, while government statistical agencies record inflation rates of between one and two percent, measures that use methodologies used in the past (such as John Williams' Shadowstats measures) show consumer prices rising at annual rates of 6 to 8 percent. In addition, many people have noticed what has been termed 'shrinkflation', where prices remain the same even as package sizes shrink. A common example is bacon, which used to be sold by the pound but which is now commonly sold in 12 ounce slabs.

    Meanwhile central banks have coordinated their money printing to ensure that no major currency (the dollar, the yen, the euro or the Chinese renminbi) depreciates noticeably against the others for a sustained period of time. Further, since gold hit a peak of over $1900 per ounce in 2011, central banks have worked hard to keep the gold price suppressed through the futures market. On more than a few occasions, contracts for many months worth of global gold production have been sold in a matter of a few minutes, with predictable consequences for the gold price. At all costs, people's confidence in and acceptance of the paper (or, more commonly, electronic) money issued by central banks must be maintained.

    Despite these efforts people nonetheless sense that something is wrong. The Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump to the White House represent to a large degree a rejection of the fake reality propagated by the policymaking elite. Increasingly, people recognize that a financial system dependent upon zero percent interest rates is not sustainable and are responding by taking their money out of the banks in favour of holding cash or other forms of wealth. In the face of such understanding and resistance, governments are showing themselves willing to use coercion to enforce acceptance of their fake reality.

    The recent fuss over 'fake news' seems intended to remove alternative news and information sources from a population that, alarmingly for those in charge, is both ever-more aware that the system is not working and less and less willing to pretend that it is . Just this month U.S. President Barack Obama signed the Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act into law. United States, meet your Ministry of Truth.

    Meanwhile, in India last month, people were told that the highest denomination bills in common circulation would be 'demonetized' or made worthless as of December 30th. People were allowed to deposit or exchange a certain quantity of the demonetized bills in banks but many people who had accumulated their savings in rupee notes (often the poor who did not have bank accounts) have been ruined. Ostensibly, this demonetization policy was aimed at curbing corruption and terrorism, but it is fairly obvious that its real objective was to force people into the banking system and electronic money. Unsurprisingly, the demonetization drive was accompanied by limits on the quantity of gold people are allowed to hold.

    Despite such attempts to influence our thinking and our behaviour, we don't need to resign ourselves to pretending that our system is working when it so clearly isn't. Looking at the eventual fate of the Soviet Union, it should be clear that the sooner we abandon the drift towards hypernormalisation and start on the path to normalisation the better off we will be.

    DontGive Jan 7, 2017 9:03 PM

    CB's printing is not a bug. It's a feature.

    Long debt bitches.

    Doña K TBT or not TBT Jan 8, 2017 12:05 AM

    I did not learn anything from that movie. One man's collage of events.

    We just take revenge on the system by living well.

    Luc X. Ifer TBT or not TBT Jan 8, 2017 12:06 AM

    Correct. I seen with sufficient level of comprehending consciousness the last 5 years of it - copy-cat perfection with the current times in US(S)A, terrifying how similar the times are as it is a clear indication of the times to come.

    HRH Feant Jan 7, 2017 9:06 PM

    Great article. I think it does describe the USSA at the present time. Everything works until it doesn't.

    malek HRH Feant Jan 7, 2017 11:40 PM

    The funny thing is I had almost identical thoughts just a few days ago. But I was thinking in comparison more of East Germany's last 20 years before they imploded - peacefully, because not a single non-leading-rank person believed any of the official facts anymore (and therefore they even simply ignored orders from high command to crush the Leipzig Monday demonstrations.)

    navy62802 Jan 7, 2017 9:14 PM

    I'm ok with a world led by Trump and Putin.

    christiangustafson Jan 7, 2017 9:17 PM

    Great piece!

    I was just thinking that the whole economic world sees us in a sort of equilibrium at the moment. There will be some adjustments under Trump, but nothing serious. We shall see ..

    Eeyores Enigma Jan 7, 2017 9:17 PM

    Repeat something often enough and it becomes hypernormalised. With that in mind the number of eyes/minds/hits is all that matters. This has been known and exploited for hundreds of years.

    That a handful of individuals can have a monopoly over the single most important aspect of whether you live or die is the ultimate success of hypernormalisation. CENTRAL BANKING.

    Manipuflation Jan 7, 2017 9:22 PM

    Mrs.M is of the last Soviet generation. Her .gov papers say so. There is never a day when I don't hear something soviet. She still has a her red pioneer ribbon. I have tried to encourage her to write about it on ZH so that we know. Do you think she will? No. She's says that we can't understand what it was like no matter what she says.

    Mrs.M was born in 1981 so she has lived an interesting life. I married her in 2004 after much paperwork and $15000. I wanted that female because we got along quite well. She is who I needed with me this and I would do it all over again.

    Needless to say, I do not support any aggression towards Russia. And to my fellow Americans, I advise caution because the half you are broke ass fucks and are already ropes with me.

    That is the only news anyone needs to know.

    wisebastard Jan 7, 2017 9:25 PM

    the monkeys made me think ZH should make a post with monkeys evolving into humans that then de-evolve into Paul Krugman

    GeezerGeek Jan 7, 2017 9:34 PM

    I recall the joke from the old Soviet Union: "They pretend to pay us, we pretend to work." In the USSA these last few years, Barry pretends to tell the truth. Libtards pretend to believe him.

    BabaLooey GeezerGeek Jan 7, 2017 11:05 PM

    Wrong. They believe him. Look at the gaggle of libtard/shiteaters at Soetero's Friday night bash at the White House.

    http://www.breitbart.com/big-hollywood/2017/01/07/stars-obamas-white-hou...

    Fucks. ALL of them.

    max_leering GeezerGeek Jan 7, 2017 11:35 PM

    Geezer, I'd change only one thing... I believe libtards bought Barry's bullshit hook, line and sinker... it was the rest of us who not-so-subtly were saying WTF!!!

    Salzburg1756 Jan 7, 2017 9:35 PM

    White Nationalists have lived in the real world for decades; the rest of you need to catch up.

    JustPastPeacefield Jan 7, 2017 10:06 PM

    Reagan used to quip that in the Soviet Union, the people pretend to work and the government pretends to pay them. We're not the Soviet Union, but we have become a farce. Next stop - the fall. Followed by chaos, then onto something new. The new elites will just be the old elites, well, the ones that escape the noose.

    evokanivo JustPastPeacefield Jan 7, 2017 10:23 PM

    what noose? you think joe 6p is going to identify the culprits? i think not. "no one saw this coming!!!" is still ringing in my ears from the last time.

    jm Jan 7, 2017 10:14 PM

    I really don't know how people can keep on getting clicks with this tired crap. It didn't happen in 2008 just get over it. The delusional people are the people that think the world is going to end tomorrow.

    wwxx jm Jan 8, 2017 6:08 AM

    Maybe the world has ended, for 95 million? I haven't paid a single Fed income tax dollar in over 8 yrs., for a specific reason, I refuse to support the new normal circus, and quite frankly I would have gotten out during the GWBush regime, but I couldn't afford to at the time.

    wwxx

    EndOfDayExit Jan 7, 2017 10:17 PM

    The real ugly problem with the Soviet Union is that whatever they broke it into isn't working well either. Same with the USSA. No one really knows what to do. Feudalism would probably work, but it is not possible to go back to it. My bet is that we will end up with some form of socialism, universal income and whatever else, just because there is no good alternative for dealing with lots and lots of people who are not needed anymore.

    BingoBoggins EndOfDayExit Jan 8, 2017 6:15 AM

    Do you mean useless eaters or fuckers deserving the guillotine? Russia's problem post collapse was the good ol' USSA and its capitalist, plunderer banking mavens.

    NAV Jan 7, 2017 10:23 PM

    The Soviet Union pushed its old culture to near destruction but failed to establish a new and better culture to replace it, writes Angelo M. Codevilla in "The Rise of Political Correctness," and as a result the U.S.S.R fell, just as America's current "politically correct" and dysfunctional "progressive utopia" will implode.

    As such, Codevilla would agree that the US population " is both ever-more aware that the system is not working and less and less willing to pretend that it is."

    As for the U.S.S.R., "this step turned out instead to destroy the very basis of Soviet power," writes Codevilla. "[C]ontinued efforts to force people to celebrate the party's ersatz reality, to affirm things that they know are not true and to deny others they know to be true – to live by lies – requires breaking them , reducing them to a sense of fearful isolation, destroying their self-esteem and their capacity to trust others. George Orwell's novel 1984 dramatized this culture war's ends and means : nothing less than the substitution of the party's authority for the reality conveyed by human senses and reason. Big Brother's agent, having berated the hapless Winston for preferring his own views to society's dictates, finished breaking his spirit by holding up four fingers and demanding that Winston acknowledge seeing five.

    "Thus did the Soviet regime create dysfunctional, cynical, and resentful subjects. Because Communism confused destruction of 'bourgeois culture' with cultural conquest, it won all the cultural battles while losing its culture war long before it collapsed politically. As Communists identified themselves in people's minds with falsehood and fraud, people came to identify truth with anything other than the officials and their doctrines. Inevitably, they also identified them with corruption and privation. A nd so it was that, whenever the authorities announced that the harvest had been good, the people hoarded potatoes; and that more and more people who knew nothing of Christianity except that the authorities had anathematized it, started wearing crosses."

    And if you want to see the ruling class's culture war in action today in America, pick up the latest issues of Vogue Magazine or O, The Oprah Magazine with their multitude of role reversals between whites and minorities. Or check out the latest decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court forcing people to acknowledge that America is not a Christian nation, or making it "more difficult for men, women and children to exist as a family" or demanding via law "that their subjects join them in celebrating the new order that reflects their identity."

    As to just how far the ruling class has gone to serve the interests and proclivities of its leaders and to reject the majority's demand for representation, Codevilla notes, "In 2012 no one would have thought that defining marriage between one man and one woman, as enshrined in U.S. law, would brand those who do so as motivated by a culpable psychopathology called 'homophobia,' subject to fines and near-outlaw status. Not until 2015-16 did it occur to anyone that requiring persons with male personal plumbing to use public bathrooms reserved for men was a sign of the same pathology

    "On the wholesale level, it is a war on civilization waged to indulge identity politics."

    http://www.claremont.org/crb/article/the-rise-of-political-correctness/

    Yen Cross Jan 7, 2017 11:11 PM

    This article is so flawed! People[impoverished] aren't trying to jump over a wall patrolled by guards into Mexico -YET. Tyler, why do you repost shit like this?

    daveO Yen Cross Jan 8, 2017 12:56 AM

    That's because the Yankees, fleeing high taxes, can move to the sunbelt states w/o freezing. The USA went broke in 2008. Mexico got a head start by 22 years when oil prices collapsed in '86.

    MASTER OF UNIVERSE Jan 7, 2017 11:28 PM

    The only way to normalize banking in a contemporary banking paradigm of QE Infinity & Beyond is to start over again without the bankers & accountants that knowingly bet the ranch for a short term gain at the expense of long term profitability. In Japan an honourable businessman/CEO would suicide for bringing this kind of devastation to the company shareholders.

    In America they don't give a shit because it is always someone else other than the CEO that takes the fall. 08 was proof that America is not equipped to participate in a Multinational & Multipolar world of business & investment in business. America can't get along in business in this world anymore. Greed has rendered America unemployable as a major market participant in a Globally run network of businesses.

    America is the odd man out these days even though the next POTUS promises better management from a business perspective. Whilst the Mafia Cartel bosses trust TrumpO's business savvy the rest of the planet Earth does not.

    Yen Cross Jan 7, 2017 11:53 PM

    Are you kidding me??? >

    Hypernormalisation I think we need a few MOAR syllables connected by fake verb/adjective < reverse /destruction- of the English language.

    Manipuflation Yen Cross Jan 8, 2017 1:23 AM

    Yen, I have a bottle of Bacardi rum here. It was on sale. Should I open it up? We could become experts....well at least I could.:-)

    BingoBoggins Jan 8, 2017 8:12 AM

    A liberal friend laid this movie on me to show me why he supported Hillary. A smart cookie, a PHd teaching English in Japan. A Khazarnazi Jew, he even spent time in Kyiv, Ukraine pre-coup, only mingling with "poets and writers". He went out of his way to tell me how bad the Russians were, informed as he was prior to the rejection of the EU's usurious offer.

    He even quite dramatically pulled out the Anti-Semite card. I had to throw Banderas in his face and the US sponsored regime. I had respect for this guy and his knowledge but he just - could - not - let - go the cult assumptions. I finally came to believe Liberal Arts educators are victims of inbred conditioning. In retaliation, he wanted to somehow prove Putin a charlatan or villian and Trump his proxie.

    This, after I'd point out his evasion and deflection every time I addressed his bias and belief in the MSM propaganda mantras of racism, misogyny, xenophobia - all the usual labeling bullshit up to insinuating Russia hacked the election. Excerpts from a correspondence wherein I go full asshole on the guy follow. Try and make sense of it if you watch this trash:

    HyperNormalization 50:29 Not Ronald Rayguns, or Quadaffi plays along. Say what? They're, i.e. Curtis, assuming what Q thought?

    1:15 USSR collapses. No shit. Cronyism in a centralized organization grown too large is inevitable it seems. So the premise has evolved to cultural/societal "management". Right. USSR collapses but let's repeat the same mistakes 'cause "it's different this time". We got us a computer!

    Then Fink the failed Squid (how do Squids climb the corporate ladder?) builds one and programs historical data to,,,, forecast? I heard a' this. Let me guess. He couldn't avoid bias, making his models fallacious. Whoops. Well, he does intend to manipulate society, or was that not the goal? Come again? Some authority ran with it and ... captured an entire nation's media, conspired with other like-minded sycophants and their mysterious masters to capture an election by ... I may be getting ahead of myself.

    Oh, boy, I have an inkling of where this is going. Perceptions modified by the word, advanced by the herd, in order to capture a vulnerable society under duress, who then pick sides, fool themselves in the process, miss the three hour tour never to live happily ever after on a deserted isle because they eschew (pick a bias here from the list provided). The one you think the "others" have, 'cause, shit, we're above it all, right? " Are we not entertained" is probably not the most appropriate question here.

    Point being, Curtis, the BBC documentarian, totally negates the reality of pathological Imperialism as has been practiced by the West over the last half century, causing so many of the effects he so casually eludes to in the Arab Spring, Libya, Syria, Russia, the US and elsewhere. Perhaps the most blatant is this; Curtis asserts that Trump "defeated journalism" by rendering its fact-checking abilities irrelevant. Wikipedia He Hypernormalizes the very audience that believes itself to be enlightened. As for my erstwhile friend, the fucker never once admitted all the people *killed* for the ideals he supported. I finally blew him off for good.

    To Hell In A Ha... Jan 8, 2017 7:06 AM

    I've been using the term Hypernormalisation to describe aspects of western society for the last 15 years, before Adam Curtis's brilliant BBC documentary Hypernormalisation , afflicting western society and particularly politics. There are lies and gross distortions everywhere in western society and it straddles/effects all races, colours, social classes and the disease is most acute in our politics.

    We all know the hypernoprmalisation in politics, as we witness stories everyday on Zerohedge of the disconnect from reality...

    jcdenton Jan 8, 2017 7:44 AM

    It is called COGNITIVE DISSONANCE ..

    Allow me to quote something here ..

    Enter Operation Stillpoint: William Colby, William Casey and Leo Emil Wanta.

    At the time it started, President Reagan wanted to get a better handle on ways to keep the Soviets from expansionary tactics used to spread Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov Lenin's philosophy of communism around the world. He looked to his Special Task Force to provide a means of doing so. One thing was certain: The economy of the Soviets had never been strong and corruption, always present in government and always growing at least as fast as a government grows, made the USSR vulnerable to outside interference just as the United States is today.

    According to Gorbachev's Prime Minister, Nikolai Ryzhkov, the "moral [nravstennoe] state of the society" in 1985 was its "most terrifying" feature: "[We] stole from ourselves, took and gave bribes, lied in the reports, in newspapers, from high podiums, wallowed in our lies, hung medals on one another. And all of this – from top to bottom and from bottom to top."

    Again, it sounds like today's America, doesn't it?

    Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze made equally painful comments about the lawlessness and corruption dominating the Soviet Union. During the winter months of 1984-85, he told Gorbachev that "Everything is rotten. It has to be changed."

    "Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong," Frantz Fanon said in his 1952 book Black Skin, White Masks (originally published in French as Peau Noire, Masques Blancs). "When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn't fit with the core belief."

    COGNITIVE DISSONANCE

    During their final days as a world power, the Soviet Union allowed cognitive dissonance to rule its better judgment as so many Americans are doing in 2012. The handwriting on the wall was pretty clear for Gorbachev. The Soviet economy was failing. They did none of the necessary things to save their economy. In 2012, the handwriting on the wall is pretty clear for the American people. The economy is failing. The people and the Congress do none of the necessary things to save their economy. Why? Go re-read the definition of cognitive dissonance. That's why. We have a classic fight going on between those who want government to take care of them who will pay the price of lost freedom to get that care, and those who value freedom above all else.

    On one day we have 50 state attorneys general suing Bank of America for making fraudulent mortgages, and on the next we have M.F. Global losing billions upon billions of customer dollars because they got mixed with the firm's funds – which is against the law – or we have J.P. Morgan Chase losing $2 billion (or is it $5 billion?) in bad investments. As Eduard Shevardnadze said, "Everything is rotten. It has to be changed." As I would say it, "There is no Rule of Law in America today. There has been no real Rule of Law since George Herbert Walker Bush took office."

    No one listened then; no one is listening in America now. The primary reason? Cognitive dissonance. -- Chapter 2, "Wanta! Black Swan, White Hat" (2013)

    Okay then, forget what was said in 1985, that was later reported in 2013 ..

    Let's fast forward to Oct. 30, 2016 ..

    Shall we? I mean, it is a bit MOAR -- relevant!

    https://youtu.be/8tYTSR9gheQ

    And, for those that must have further amplification .. (And, some .......... fun!)

    https://www.youtube.com/user/fooser77/playlists

    BingoBoggins jcdenton Jan 8, 2017 8:20 AM

    You reminded me I bookmarked this on Chrome, so I dared to venture there to retrieve it;

    https://books.google.com/books?id=cbC_AwAAQBAJ&pg=PP21&lpg=PP21&dq=crony...

    Vageling jcdenton Jan 8, 2017 9:16 AM

    Lee Wanta. I've heard of him before. He was screwed over for some bullshit charges. And the CIA made a firm warning... How long did that dude spent in jail?

    Just looked up his story as it was blurry. Cronyism at its finest. So now that I got my refreshing course. Trump stole/adopted (however you want to look at that) his plan and the project the gov (DOT) proposes sucks donkey balls compared to Wanta's.

    So where are all the climate hoaxers now by the way? You'd figure they'd be all over this.

    American Gorbachev Jan 8, 2017 10:10 AM

    to me the PTB are "Japanifying" the u.s. (decades of no growth, near total demoralization of a generation of worker bees (as in, 'things will never get any better, be glad for what little you've got' etc... look what they've done to u.s. millenials just since '08... fooled (crushed) them TWICE already)

    But the PTB Plan B is to emulate the USSR with a crackup, replete with fire sale to oligarchs of public assets. They will Japan as long as they can (so it will be difficult to forecast any crackup anymore than six months beforehand). Hope they have a Gorbachev lined up, to limit the bloodshed

    [Jan 09, 2017] The Field of Fight How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies Lieutenant General (Ret.) Michael T. Fl

    Jan 09, 2017 | www.amazon.com
    .0 out of 5 stars By William Struse TOP 500 REVIEWER on July 17, 2016 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
    The Crossroads of Our Republic

    " Several times in its nearly 250 years of existence our Nation has been at a crossroads. Looking back on our War for Independence, the Civil War, and WWII we know the decisions made in those tumultuous times forever altered the destiny of our Republic.

    We are once again at one of those crossroads where the battle lines have been drawn, only this time in an asymmetrical war between western democracy and the radical Islamists and nation states who nurture them. In his timely book Field of Fight, Lt. General Michael T. Flynn provides a unique perspective on this war and what he believes are some of the steps necessary to meet this foe.

    Field of Fight begins as an autobiography in which the author gives you a sense of who he is as a man and a soldier. This background information then provides the reader with a better perspective through which to evaluate his analysis of the challenges we face as well as the course of action he believes we need to take to meet those challenges.

    The following are a few of the guidelines General Flynn proposes for developing a winning strategy in our war with radical Islam and other potential foes:

    1. Properly assess your environment and clearly define your enemy;
    2. Face reality – for politicians, this is never an easy thing to do;
    3. Understand the social context and fabric of the operational environment;
    4. Recognize who's in charge of the enemy's forces.

    In Field of Fight General Flynn makes the case that we are losing this war with radical Islam because our nation's leadership has failed to develop a winning strategy. Further he opines that our current leaders lack the clarity of vision and moral certitude that understands American democracy is a "better way", that not all forms of human government are equal, and that there are principled reasons worth fighting for - the very basic of those being, "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

    I'll admit I'm concerned about the future of our country. As a husband and a father of five I wonder about the world we leaving for our children to inherit. I fear we have lost our moral compass thus creating a vacuum in which human depravity as exemplified by today's radical Islamists thrives.

    Equally concerning to me is what happens when the pendulum swings the other way. Will we have the moral and principled leaders to check our indignation before it goes too far? When that heart rending atrocity which is sure to come finally pushes the American people to white hot wrath who will hold our own passions in check? In a nation where Judeo-Christian moral absolutes are an outdated notion what will keep us from becoming that which we most hate?

    As I stated at the start of this review, today we are at a crossroads. Once again our nation needs principled men and women in positions of leadership who understand the Field of Fight as described by General Flynn and have the wisdom and courage to navigate this battlefield.

    * * *

    In summary, although I don't agree with everything written in this book I found it to be an educational read which will provided me with much food for thought over the coming months. As a representative republic choosing good leadership requires that we as citizens understand the problems and challenges we face as a nation. Today radical Islam is one of those challenges and General Flynn's book Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies gives a much needed perspective on the subject. stars better, get it at your local library By Jim Lobe on January 3, 2017 Format: Hardcover | Verified Purchase The book is remarkably poorly written and even more poorly argued. The constant use of the pronoun "I" suggests that Flynn wrote it, although most of its main themes and much of the language are ones that Ledeen has repeated endlessly in books, blogs, and op-eds since 9/11 (and even before). In fact, it seems that Ledeen was the main author, and one is forced to wonder whether Flynn even gave the manuscript a thorough read-through before it was published. If he did read and approve it, and if he retains his position as Trump's national security adviser, then the country could be in for some serious foreign-policy incoherence. While Trump has claimed he's against "regime change," the book comes out strongly in favor. While Trump has said he opposes nation-building, the book says we need to completely reconstruct whole societies. ("It's not just a matter of changing local leaders; we want to change the whole system as we used to do.") And remember, Bolivia and Nicaragua are part of the "enemy alliance," along with Al Qaeda and ISIS, of which Iran is the "centerpiece." If you can't get enough of Islamophobia, Iranophobia, conspiracy thinking, and what Flynn's colleagues at the Defense Intelligence Agency used to call "Flynn facts" (multiple highly questionable assertions lack footnotes or any credible attribution), then buy this book or, better, get it at your local library. Otherwise, just google Ledeen and head for the fever swamps.

    out of 5 stars A Disappointment By Ed on December 28, 2016 Format: Hardcover | Verified Purchase Responding to terrorism is an important topic and I was looking forward to reading about potential strategic visions and tactical approaches that could be employed. This book disappointed. The first half of the book was a written account of how great the author is. He even made being a juvenile delinquent a plus! As a veteran I have encountered many officers who are "legends in their own minds". These pages do nothing to advance the subject of winning against terrorism.

    The next section is a series of rants about how weak and worthless politicians are. Few are spared, although Lincoln and FDR were ok. Colin Powell is also served up for criticism. General Powell is one of my heroes, a perfect example of the citizen soldier. Gen. Flynn is the opposite whose view is that the USA's elected representatives are holding the military back from winning the war on terror. I believe General Powell is correct.

    Politicians are only responsible to the people who elect them. Carter, Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Obama are judged at the voting poles. This is how free people govern themselves. Criticism from subordinates is not useful, advice is. One is insubordination and the other is duty and loyalty. If you cannot support the elected leaders of the USA you should resign your commission, not wait to get fired.

    The final section of the book deals with the plan to defeat the radical Muslims. Gen Flynn is now our NSA to President-elect Trump. We'll get to see if Gen. Flynn can effectively advise President Trump. Will his "maverick" streak help or hinder his efforts? Will past insubordination reemerge when he does not get everything he proposes? Will he be able to convince Congress to take the "handcuffs" the military to win the War on Terror? Elected representatives will stay true to the wishes of the voters and be judged by them accordingly. As a loyal veteran and citizen, I wish nothing but the best for our country and that means wishing nothing but "HUGE" successes for our new president and his administration, including Gen. Flynn. 2.0 out of 5 stars simnplistic By juelanne dalzell on December 16, 2016 Format: Hardcover | Verified Purchase The book scared me silly. I got the impression that the author may be insane and believes everything his paranoia is telling him. What is scary is that some of the information appears accurate and that provides enough 'proof' for the author to make conclusions that aren't based in analytical reasoning. Due to its lack of depth or complexity the book is an easy read. 3.0 out of 5 stars Lacking on specifics, and disappointing over all By Adam M. Donaldson on August 7, 2016 Format: Kindle Edition | Verified Purchase I would give the book a 2.5 stars out of 5 but I'm limited to a three. I think the chapters describing the links etc. between various nation states and terrorist networks was very informative and the best part of the book. I did find the book extremely lacking though when it came to how to defeat the enemy he describes, which disappointed me because that's what this book as billed as. The strategies given were nothing more then basic overviews of things many other people have already said. So in that end it was even more disappointing. I also think he pays to much credit to using the word radical Islam as a strategy for defeating the enemy since in reality it would do nothing to hurt or help our cause. But that I think was a part of a mild paranoia that I found in the book. So in the end it's not bad, but it's no where near good. I would not recommend the book personally. A Valuable, But Slight, Work By A. T. Yoshida on July 27, 2016 Format: Kindle Edition | Verified Purchase There are good pieces here, but the book just doesn't ever quite gel. I can't help but think it was largely-written to further Gen. Flynn's Vice Presidential ambitions as much as anything else.

    The problem is two-fold. First, much of what is written here is already widely-known to those with a deep interest in the subject. In particular I think that there is a distinct lack of insight from the General's time at the DIA. In a sense I suppose that probably can't be helped - much of what went down is probably covered by NDAs - but it leaves us with a work whose basic contents may be found daily on any number of other forums.

    On the other side, for those without a a strong grounding in this area, the book lacks enough information about the origins and underpinnings of the Islamist war against us to be thoroughly informative.

    Still, I do concur in the recommendations contained within this book and hope that the General's talents will be utilized by the next administration.

    [Jan 09, 2017] Machiavelli on Modern Leadership Why Machiavelli's Iron Rules Are As Timely And Important Today As Five Centuries Ago Michael

    Notable quotes:
    "... Instead, Ledeen comes across as mildly senile, and disappointingly arrogant. This book, while being a peaen to Machiavelli, attempts to draw glorious parallels between Machiavelli and big egos in the American pantheon of not-so-profound men, like Bill Gates, just one of the "figurines" Ledeen holds aloft like a boy playing with a superman doll. ..."
    Jan 09, 2017 | www.amazon.com
    This staunch neocon believed (or at least publicly promoted for personal gain) the theory that that all terrorist groups were financed by the USSR. H also was one of the key participant n yellow case scam (due to his connections in Italy), among other nefarious things. On a positive side he is a good contract bridge player.
    stars By Daft Lundquist on August 28, 2006 Format: Paperback
    Another gem in Mike's crown of imperial psuedo-scholarship

    " Much has been hyped of the neocon propensity for Straussian deception and omission -- the kind supposedly justified by a transcendent moral calculus -- and the parallels between this imperative, its rationales, and Machiavelli's logic all bear a "family resemblance". Nevertheless, Mike Ledeen has rarely come across as diabolical, not even when covering a genius famous for his explication of the darker side of statecraft.

    Instead, Ledeen comes across as mildly senile, and disappointingly arrogant. This book, while being a peaen to Machiavelli, attempts to draw glorious parallels between Machiavelli and big egos in the American pantheon of not-so-profound men, like Bill Gates, just one of the "figurines" Ledeen holds aloft like a boy playing with a superman doll.

    In the section 'How to Rule,' on page 117, Ledeen writes "Since it is the highest good, the defense of the country is one of those extreme situations in which a leader is justified in commiting evil" -- the book is filled with passages like these, reminiscent of Strauss's maxim of "the noble lie", then interwoven with factual innacuracies (such as Ledeen's claim that Gates "invented" the Basic programming language).

    I remember the fiasco around another book Ledeen wrote back in the eighties, one that claimed to uncover a vast world-wide global conspiracy by the Soviet Union. In the book, Ledeen claimed to have evidence that every terrorist group around the world was actually controlled by the USSR: so Abu Nidal and the IRA both collected their paychecks from the same paymaster, etc. As it turned out, the book fooled everyone for a while, including William Casey and Ronald Reagan, until the CIA black ops guys who had been planting these stories in European publications since the sixties finally admitted that they created that myth as part of a black-propaganda campaign.

    This would have been funny if Ledeen had not been working in government at the time. Coincidentally, Ledeen was also working in Doug Feith's Office of Special plans -- the DoD project that fabricated Bush's case for war -- before we invaded Iraq in 2003. Whether intentional or accidental, this guy's innacuracies are just scary.

    Read this is you like to study these men, but avoid this book if your interest is in Machiavelli as a historical figure.

    [Jan 01, 2017] When Evil Is a Pretty Face Narcissistic Females the Pathological Relationship Agenda - Kindle edition by Zari Ballard. Healt

    Notable quotes:
    "... After reading Zari's book just once, i gradually felt that much needed shift - the chapter 'Tactics Of Emotional Warfare' details a list of characteristics of the Narcissistic personality ..."
    Jan 01, 2017 | www.amazon.com
    Todd L. Andrews on March 14, 2015

    This book is a desperately needed wake up call to NS men needing fluorescent illumination in the middle of "gaslight" and other

    " I really identified with the "role reversal" and truth that there are men that suffer under a female N's tactics. The severity and persistence of the female N is exposed brilliantly in this book.

    Having Zari identify the male as a victim of the narcissist is crucial to helping men break free of the craziness, while also helping men identify why they feel so stuck loving the woman they have committed their souls to.

    Also crucial, is the chapter that breaks out the difficulty of "no contact" when children are involved. While many N relationships share much in common, the male NS suffers under societies prescribed male strengths, and serves to undermine the ability of men to overcome being trapped.

    Society typically has the female's back, especially narcissistic women, as they are often the victims of stereotypical males (in real life and fictional portrayals).

    Kudos to the Author for helping unlock the chains of this forbidden subject. There are, not undeservedly, many explicatives used in this book. I believe the strong words are appropo representations of the years of suffering and pain inflicted by the narcissist on their supply.

    The author's insights will likely help release many NS men from their prison within.

    Jack on December 11, 2015 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
    Need to get off the crazy train? This is your first stop!

    " Guys, if your life is one gigantic roller coaster ride of being seduced, destroyed emotionally, and then kicked to the curb when you say anything, then this is the place to start. If you're looking at this review, then you know something in your relationship is slowly poisoning you to death. It is NOT you! Wanna know why? Get the book!!!

    Neal on December 2, 2016 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
    Worth The Read

    " If you have any questions about the patterns in your relationship this will help. More research on narcissism and manipulation will be needed, but it offers some good advice about seeing more clearly the issues that might lie hidden in the shade.

    Man_under_female_attack on April 15, 2015 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
    Men under pain by narc women deserved to get a book like this.

    " I was married to a narc women for several years, and we share a daughter. I thank Zari Ballard for this excellent account of how narc females move around in society, mostly unknown to other people, friends and relatives who judge them just as "weird" or "arrogant".

    In my case, I felt like a man who was for years playing on a stage and with a choreography designed by my ex wife.

    Now, thanks to books like this one, I can stand aside and *understand* what went on, and what is currently going on. As a victim, narcissism makes you crazy, the more you delve into it to understand it, the more you get tangled in the lies, distorted views of reality, crazy nonsense "dialogues", etc.

    I spent years married with a woman with whom I had no real dialogue, without noticing it.

    If you are a man in distress, and you feel some woman makes you feel miserable, please read this book to go deep into the causes of your pain. Thanks Zari for your book, thanks from the many men that suffer the pain inflicted by narcissistic women.

    1 Comment

    PF on December 5, 2016 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
    One of the best reads on Female Narcs out there

    " This was an amazing read and helped me far more than even therapy. Zari has helped males understand the Female Narc better than any of the myriad of books I have read on the subject.

    Maxie on May 17, 2015 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
    This is a must read if you've been on "Mr Toad's Wild Ride" with one of these psychopaths at the helm!

    " After being systematically brainwashed then discarded, I educated myself by reading everything I could get my hands on regarding Narcissism and Narcissist abuse, specifically male victims of these pathological parasites.

    I found the content of this book very insightful, helpful, and matter-of-fact.

    Zari does not claim to be a doctor, teacher, or therapist. However, she provides a great insight for surviving this painful ordeal with proven methods of healing from a former victim's prospective.

    Edward on June 22, 2015 Format: Paperback
    An exceptional survival book.

    " An extraordinary, concise, at times darkly humorous and sobering road map to help you on your way out of the long dark tunnel designed by the female Narcissist. I had suffered for over a year in this kind of 'relationship', and after the discard was left tortured by self doubt, depression, and confusion.

    After reading Zari's book just once, i gradually felt that much needed shift - the chapter 'Tactics Of Emotional Warfare' details a list of characteristics of the Narcissistic personality, which left me feeling as though i had been exorcised by a friendly priest, leaving me without a shadow of doubt that this was not something i had imagined, nor could have done anything about.

    By the second reading, (the very next day) that brick wall of denial slowly began to crumble, allowing the undeniable facts to speak for themselves, and sink in. It's easy to feel alone in times like these, perhaps your friends or family may not completely understand your pain, but Zari does - and I believe this book is the only friend you will need to guide you on your way back to sanity.

    1 Comment

    JMT on March 3, 2016 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
    Wow!!

    " Amazing read. I've lived with a female narc for years and reading this made me fees as if the writer was right there with me for MY story!

    It's amazing how traumatic these people are.

    Well written. I also really enjoyed another similar book "Surviving Sara" by Brian Morgan. Very similar story and I can't help but few the pain these men went through.

    [Dec 26, 2016] Testifying Under Oath How To Be An Effective Witness 41 Tips to Prepare you for Court James M. Vukelic 9781884244261 Amaz

    Dec 26, 2016 | www.amazon.com
    5.0 out of 5 stars By Marshall D. Tessnear on December 9, 2004 Format: Paperback
    An excellent book

    " I have just finished reading Stanley Brodsky's Coping With Cross Examination. I absorbed it like a sponge. Although most of the book is devoted to testimony by mental health experts in criminal court, there is much in the book that is very relevant in other contexts. I have rarely been asked or required to testify in criminal cases, but I have provided expert medical testimony at hundreds of Social Security disability appeals hearings, complete with judge and lawyer. In that role there is often conflicting evidence and the expert must integrate all of the relevant evidence, and most importantly be prepared, professional, impartial, and provide relevant understandable testimony. Dr Brodsky's book clearly speaks to those points. The book is full of good examples, good humor, and good reasoning. It is the kind of book that I am likely to consult again to help me in my work. I highly recommend this book to any mental health professional who may be asked to provide sworn testimony. I also recommend it to those who may not testify but who may be retained by lawyers for evaluations or consultations. Dr. Brodsky's ethics are superb. This book is a very practical and helpful guide to working with lawyers and judges.

    By A Customer on March 5, 2004 Format: Paperback
    A MUST --Makes the difficult areas of Cross-Examination easy

    " This is the third installment. In plain language, the author tackles many difficult cross-examination issues. The author uses easy to understand examples to illustrate complex litigation processes and skills that the expert witness must master before taking the stand. As a lawyer, I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in expert testimony. I give this book my highest rating. Also, check out the other two books on expert testimony by the author.

    By pierrerostov on October 2, 2011 Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
    spotty, try his first book first

    " I highly recommend his first book "Testifying in Court, Guidelines and Maxims for the Expert Witness." The later books are a bit self-indulgent, with tangential stories relating to psychology or life that have little practical value. Still, there are a fair number of nuggets. The problem is, many of the gems from the first book are not included, and so the treatment of cross-ex in this book is not comprehensive. Try his first book first (It's all about cross-examination too, even though the title is more general), then see what you think.

    By Amazon Customer on December 23, 2009 Format: Paperback
    Indispensable Guide for Experts In Court

    " This is one of a handful of books that any expert called on to testify should own. It is a well written, practical volume that will help professionals present testimony that is credible, compelling and ethical.

    [Dec 26, 2016] Stoicism A QuickStart Guide To Stoic Philosophy, Wisdom, Wealth, Happiness, and Fulfillment! - Kindle edition by Marcus Colema

    Dec 26, 2016 | www.amazon.com
    By Naila B McKenzie on November 11, 2016 Format: Kindle Edition
    I reflected on life after reading this

    " My thoughts after reading this book: we do not know what the future holds and we have to accept the fact that life is full of surprises whether bad or good, we have to face them. Life is short so we better make every moment count. We have to be steadfast, strong and in control of ourselves. And finally, we are often not satisfied with what life has to offer because we always let our emotions dominate us rather than seeing the logic behind every situation. I know it will take time for me to internalize all of these, but it makes sense to me now why most stoics lead a happier life than most of us.

    5 stars Excellent guide to stoicism! By Athea Howard on November 1, 2016 Format: Kindle Edition | Verified Purchase This is a very readable, easily understood book; a short guide to the philosophy of stoicism. The author gives a history of this philosophy, some good suggestions of practical uses of stoicism, and ends with how he personally practices stoicism. I have to conclude that stoicism has a great deal to contribute to a psychologically balanced, happy attitude. It makes us aware of how we often sabotage ourselves by negative or unrealistic thinking.

    [Dec 26, 2016] Amazon.com Stoicism Today Selected Writings (Volume 1) (9781502401922) Patrick Ussher Books

    Dec 26, 2016 | www.amazon.com
    By Karl Janssen on July 20, 2015 Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
    Applying ancient philosophy to modern life

    " Stoicism is an ancient school of philosophy founded in Athens in the 3rd century BC. It is a practical philosophy, intended as a guide for how to live one's life. The Stoics stressed that we have no control over what happens in our lives, only control over our perceptions. They advocated living one's life in accordance with nature (not "nature" as in grass and trees, but "nature" as in the order of the universe). By concentrating one's thoughts and choices on what is good and virtuous, and disregarding the "indifferent" distractions of everyday life, one can avoid negative emotions like fear, anger, grief, and frustration, and live a life of happiness and tranquility.

    In recent years, there has been a burgeoning resurgence in Stoicism, with modern writers producing manuals on how to apply Stoic principles to life in today's world, such as William B. Irvine's A Guide to the Good Life. Along similar lines, Stoicism Today is a blog published out of the University of Exeter in England, edited and largely written by a team of British philosophers. This 2014 book, edited by Patrick Ussher, is the first volume of writings reprinted from the blog. 36 articles are included in the collection, covering a mixed bag of Stoic-related topics.

    The collection starts out strong with essays summarizing and explaining the core concepts of Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, and Seneca. These ancient Roman writers are the most prominent Stoics whose teachings survive today. The 21st-century writers clarify the ancient Stoic precepts and discuss their applicability to modern life. Though the bloggers hold PhDs in philosophy and command a thorough understanding of their subject, they do a great job of expressing these complex concepts in language that is accessible to the general reader, without dumbing down the subject matter.

    While the first half of the book provides a good, broad education on Stoicism, the second half covers a diverse assortment of topics and perspectives. A section called "Life Stories" consists of accounts by people of various walks of life on how they use Stoicism in their daily lives and work, including a lawyer, a doctor, and a woman who suffered a traumatic brain injury. The most fascinating and inspiring story is that of Sam Sullivan, a quadriplegic who became mayor of Vancouver. Next is a section on how Stoicism can be applied to parenthood and the education of children. This is followed by a section on Stoicism and psychotherapy which will mostly appeal to psychiatric professionals, as it will likely be over the head of most general readers. Three articles deal with the concept of Stoic "mindfulness" and its relation or lack of relation to Buddhism. Finally, the book falls apart somewhat with its final section on Stoicism in popular culture. It includes an excerpt from a Stoicism-infused novel about prison inmates which is OK, but also a sample chapter from a horrible science fiction novel. The book's final selection is a pretty good examination of the portrayal of Stoicism in the Star Trek television series.

    This collection by its very nature is a hodgepodge, and the selections vary greatly in quality as well as subject matter. The core team of philosophers are good writers for the most part, but the ensemble cast of guest bloggers is hit and miss. Nevertheless, if you've read all the Stoic classics and are looking for further advice on how to put Stoicism into practice, you're bound to find something here that will interest you. Had A Calming Effect By Elizabeth Echavarria on March 24, 2016 Format: Kindle Edition | Verified Purchase After getting through some of the stories I was able to gain some perspective on what it means to be stoic and utilize some stoic principles in my own life.

    4.0 out of 5 stars STOICISM: Shift your values to what is truly good, beautiful and virtuous By Ernest Kienzle on December 27, 2014 Format: Paperback | Verified Purchase STOICISM TODAY is the Western counterpart to Buddhism. 2014, the year of the Stoic, heralds the awakening of a new golden age of practical, living philosophy led by Stoic physics, logic, and ethics. Actually, Stoicism was never asleep. Read articles in this book by modern philosophers, therapists, and professionals who reveal the link between ancient stoic techniques and modern challenges in the world we live in.

    [Dec 09, 2016] You Have the Right to Remain Innocent James Duane

    Notable quotes:
    "... Nobody of sound mind can dispute that there is something fundamentally wrong, and intrinsically corrupt, about a legal system that encourages police officers and prosecutors to do everything in their power to persuade you and your children (no matter how young or old) to "do the right thing" and talk-when they tell their own children the exact opposite. ..."
    Dec 09, 2016 | www.amazon.com

    Everywhere 1 go, 1 just about always make a point to ask how many people in attendance have a parent who is a police officer or a prosecutor-and of those attendees, what their parents have advised them about the Fifth Amendment. In almost every group, there is at least one student who tells me that his father is a state trooper, or that her mother is a prosecu- tor. Every time this happens, without exception, the student in question has told me basically the same thing: "Years ago, my parents explained to me that if I were ever approached by a law enforcement officer, I was to call them immediately, and they made sure that I would never agree to talk to the police." (Most of these young people also volunteered that their parents in law enforcement advised them to never allow an officer to search their apartment or car, but that is the subject for another book.) Not once have I met the child of a member of law enforcement who had been told anything different. Everyone who is privileged enough to know how the criminal justice system operates in America would never advise their loved ones to waive the right to remain silent in the face of a criminal investigation. We routinely see people in power, such police officers and government officials, pleading the fifth (like Lois Lerner, the former director of the Internal Revenue vice's Exempt Organizations unit, who asserted her Fifth

    Amendment privilege and refused to answer any questions when she was summoned before a congressional committee in 2013).' These are officials who have made a career out of talking people into waiving their right to remain silent, but when the questions are suddenly directed at them, they will not waive their own.

    You need to pause for a moment and let that sink in. It doesn't matter whether you are a liberal or conservative. I do not even care whether you are heartless enough to remain unconcerned about the fact that our legal system routinely convicts innocent people. Nobody of sound mind can dispute that there is something fundamentally wrong, and intrinsically corrupt, about a legal system that encourages police officers and prosecutors to do everything in their power to persuade you and your children (no matter how young or old) to "do the right thing" and talk-when they tell their own children the exact opposite. I intend to bring to an end, once and for all, that obscene double standard in the American criminal justice system that allows only the citizens who are in the know to protect themselves from a legal system that is designed to prey upon

    ... ... ...

    If a police officer encounters you in one of those moments, he or she has every right to ask you two simple questions. Memorize these two questions so you will not be tempted to answer any others:

    Who are you?

    What are you doing right here, right now?

    If you are ever approached by a police officer with those two questions, and your God-given common sense tells you that the officer is being reasonable in asking for an explana- tion, don't be a jerk. Even if you are angry and frustrated about being locked out of your house, try to see this from the police's point of view. They are only looking out for your best interests. Would you want them to ask those same questions of any other individual caught breaking in through one of your windows, or watching your family? Of course you would. If you have an innocent explanation for your presence at that time and in that place, tell the police about it. Tell them that it is your own house. Or tell them that you are in an empty courthouse in the middle of the night because you work there, and show diem your identification. They will appreciate your cooperation, and that will be the end of it. If you unreasonably refuse to answer those two questions, they might put you under arrest, and I would not blame them.

    ... ... ... ...

    No, the advice contained in this book-the same advice that police officers give their own children-is not based on any assumptions or suspicions about the overall morality of police officers. It is based on two simple but unavoidable facts about every police officer, including the most noble and virtu- ous. The only two problems I have with die police (although they are very big problems) are these: The first problem with the police is that they are only human. They cannot know everything. For instance, when confronted with opposing accounts of the same situation, they cannot know who is really telling them the truth. And because they are only human, police officers, just like all of us, do not like to be embarrassed by admitting that they made some sort of a mistake, especially if it concerns a matter so serious that it might lead to diem being sued. They do not even like to admit it to themselves. That is why police officers, like all humans, are subject to a powerful phenomenon that psychologists call confirmation bias. This means that after they have come to a conclusion, especially if it is a conclusion that they have publicly announced (for example, by arresting someone and accusing him of a serious crime), it is very difficult for them to admit that perhaps they have made a terrible mistake. It is much easier and more comfortable for them to convince them- selves that they did not make a mistake, and that their initial accusations were correct. Their memories will gladly cooperate in that effort. Even if they are not aware of how it is hap- pening, they might recall nonexistent details to coincide with and corroborate the story they have already begun persuading themselves to believe.

    Just like the rest of us, police are frustrated by important and difficult questions for which there are no discernable answers. And, just like us, they love the powerful psychological satisfaction that comes from convincing themselves that in fact the riddle lias been solved. When a terrible crime is committed, every human being with a heart desperately wants to believe that we can find the offender. And if there is only one suspect available to us, most of us are surprisingly good at convincing ourselves that maybe he or she really is the one to blame, and that perhaps the circumstantial evidence against him or her is fairly powerful after all.

    But the fact that police officers are "only human" is only one of the two problems. The other problem is that they are working within a legal system that is highly imperfect. That is not their fault, because they did not design the system. But as this hook will demonstrate, it is a broken svstcm that relies deception when they are interviewing criminal suspects. They receive sophisticated training at the police academy in methods of interrogation that arc remarkably successful in getting guilty people to make confessions and incriminating statements.4 You cannot blame them for using such methods-after all, we all agree that guilty people (at least the dangerous ones) ought to be caught and put behind bars-but the problem is that these methods of calculated deception are too effective. They do not merely work on the guilty. At least some of these methods, it turns out, have proven to be just as effective in getting innocent people to make incriminating statements, and sometimes even outright confessions.

    Do not think for a minute that you can trust a police officer who seems to be open minded and undecided about whether he will arrest you after you are finished with an "inter- view"-the police are trained to act that way, to get you to talk with them for many hours until you finally give up in exhaustion. "The most recent and comprehensive investigation, which took a careful look at 250 prisoners exonerated by DNA evidence, found that 16 percent of them made what's called a false confession: admitting their commission of a crime that they did not commit.5 Those are the cases in which the defendant actually confessed; in many more cases, the innocent suspect denied all guilt, sometimes for hours, but still gave the police a statement that was then used to help convict him.

    Aaron C. Brown TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE on September 20, 2016 Format: Paperback

    Shocking and persuasive, but light on practical advice

    This is an excellent short book if you are interested in all the ways answering questions from the police can destroy your life. The author makes clear that the most innocuous questions have led to wrongful convictions and life sentences (there are no examples of people actually executed as a result, but that's most likely because once someone is dead there is less effort to exonerate them).

    The book is loaded with stories of people convicted of murder and rape solely on the basis of innocent answers given in police questioning without a lawyer present, who were later proven innocent by DNA evidence or subsequent confession by the real perpetrator (no doubt this occurs with other crimes as well, but DNA evidence is less likely to overturn convictions in those cases). Some of these cases appear to involve police or prosecutor fraud, but most of them seem to be the operation of standard police training.

    Our criminal justice system would fall apart unless most guilty people confessed, or at least gave police enough information to prove a case. For that reason, police are carefully trained in tricks and pressures to get convictions, and these techniques can work on innocent people as well as guilty.

    Courts have given wide discretion to the police to lie and cheat, and to prosecutors to