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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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Old News ;-)

[Jun 21, 2019] The War on Normal People The Truth About America s Disappearing Jobs and Why Universal Basic Income Is Our Future Andrew Yang

Looks like this guys somewhat understands the problems with neoliberalism, but still is captured by neoliberal ideology.
Notable quotes:
"... That all seems awfully quaint today. Pensions disappeared for private-sector employees years ago. Most community banks were gobbled up by one of the mega-banks in the 1990s -- today five banks control 50 percent of the commercial banking industry, which itself mushroomed to the point where finance enjoys about 25 percent of all corporate profits. Union membership fell by 50 percent. ..."
"... Ninety-four percent of the jobs created between 2005 and 2015 were temp or contractor jobs without benefits; people working multiple gigs to make ends meet is increasingly the norm. Real wages have been flat or even declining. The chances that an American born in 1990 will earn more than their parents are down to 50 percent; for Americans born in 1940 the same figure was 92 percent. ..."
"... Thanks to Milton Friedman, Jack Welch, and other corporate titans, the goals of large companies began to change in the 1970s and early 1980s. The notion they espoused -- that a company exists only to maximize its share price -- became gospel in business schools and boardrooms around the country. Companies were pushed to adopt shareholder value as their sole measuring stick. ..."
"... Simultaneously, the major banks grew and evolved as Depression-era regulations separating consumer lending and investment banking were abolished. Financial deregulation started under Ronald Reagan in 1980 and culminated in the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 under Bill Clinton that really set the banks loose. The securities industry grew 500 percent as a share of GDP between 1980 and the 2000s while ordinary bank deposits shrank from 70 percent to 50 percent. Financial products multiplied as even Main Street companies were driven to pursue financial engineering to manage their affairs. GE, my dad's old company and once a beacon of manufacturing, became the fifth biggest financial institution in the country by 2007. ..."
Apr 27, 2019 | www.amazon.com

The logic of the meritocracy is leading us to ruin, because we arc collectively primed to ignore the voices of the millions getting pushed into economic distress by the grinding wheels of automation and innovation. We figure they're complaining or suffering because they're losers.

We need to break free of this logic of the marketplace before it's too late.

[Neoliberalism] had decimated the economies and cultures of these regions and were set to do the same to many others.

In response, American lives and families are falling apart. Ram- pant financial stress is the new normal. We are in the third or fourth inning of the greatest economic shift in the history of mankind, and no one seems to be talking about it or doing anything in response.

The Great Displacement didn't arrive overnight. It has been building for decades as the economy and labor market changed in response to improving technology, financialization, changing corporate norms, and globalization. In the 1970s, when my parents worked at GE and Blue Cross Blue Shield in upstate New York, their companies provided generous pensions and expected them to stay for decades. Community banks were boring businesses that lent money to local companies for a modest return. Over 20 percent of workers were unionized. Some economic problems existed -- growth was uneven and infla- tion periodically high. But income inequality was low, jobs provided benefits, and Main Street businesses were the drivers of the economy. There were only three television networks, and in my house we watched them on a TV with an antenna that we fiddled with to make the picture clearer.

That all seems awfully quaint today. Pensions disappeared for private-sector employees years ago. Most community banks were gobbled up by one of the mega-banks in the 1990s -- today five banks control 50 percent of the commercial banking industry, which itself mushroomed to the point where finance enjoys about 25 percent of all corporate profits. Union membership fell by 50 percent.

Ninety-four percent of the jobs created between 2005 and 2015 were temp or contractor jobs without benefits; people working multiple gigs to make ends meet is increasingly the norm. Real wages have been flat or even declining. The chances that an American born in 1990 will earn more than their parents are down to 50 percent; for Americans born in 1940 the same figure was 92 percent.

Thanks to Milton Friedman, Jack Welch, and other corporate titans, the goals of large companies began to change in the 1970s and early 1980s. The notion they espoused -- that a company exists only to maximize its share price -- became gospel in business schools and boardrooms around the country. Companies were pushed to adopt shareholder value as their sole measuring stick.

Hostile takeovers, shareholder lawsuits, and later activist hedge funds served as prompts to ensure that managers were committed to profitability at all costs. On the flip side, CF.Os were granted stock options for the first time that wedded their individual gain to the company's share price. The ratio of CF.O to worker pay rose from 20 to 1 in 1965 to 271 to 1 in 2016. Benefits were streamlined and reduced and the relationship between company and employee weakened to become more transactional.

Simultaneously, the major banks grew and evolved as Depression-era regulations separating consumer lending and investment banking were abolished. Financial deregulation started under Ronald Reagan in 1980 and culminated in the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 under Bill Clinton that really set the banks loose. The securities industry grew 500 percent as a share of GDP between 1980 and the 2000s while ordinary bank deposits shrank from 70 percent to 50 percent. Financial products multiplied as even Main Street companies were driven to pursue financial engineering to manage their affairs. GE, my dad's old company and once a beacon of manufacturing, became the fifth biggest financial institution in the country by 2007.

Nolia Nessa , April 5, 2018

profound and urgent work of social criticism

It's hard to be in the year 2018 and not hear about the endless studies alarming the general public about coming labor automation. But what Yang provides in this book is two key things: automation has already been ravaging the country which has led to the great political polarization of today, and second, an actual vision into what happens when people lose jobs, and it definitely is a lightning strike of "oh crap"

I found this book relatively impressive and frightening. Yang, a former lawyer, entrepreneur, and non-profit leader, writes showing with inarguable data that when companies automate work and use new software, communities die, drug use increases, suicide increases, and crime skyrockets. The new jobs created go to big cities, the surviving talent leaves, and the remaining people lose hope and descend into madness. (as a student of psychology, this is not surprising)

He starts by painting the picture of the average American and how fragile they are economically. He deconstructs the labor predictions and how technology is going to ravage it. He discusses the future of work. He explains what has happened in technology and why it's suddenly a huge threat. He shows what this means: economic inequality rises, the people have less power, the voice of democracy is diminished, no one owns stocks, people get poorer etc. He shows that talent is leaving small towns, money is concentrating to big cities faster. He shows what happens when those other cities die (bad things), and then how the people react when they have no income (really bad things). He shows how retraining doesn't work and college is failing us. We don't invest in vocational skills, and our youth is underemployed pushed into freelance work making minimal pay. He shows how no one trusts the institutions anymore.

Then he discusses solutions with a focus on Universal Basic Income. I was a skeptic of the idea until I read this book. You literally walk away with this burning desire to prevent a Mad Max esque civil war, and its hard to argue with him. We don't have much time and our bloated micromanaged welfare programs cannot sustain.

[Jun 20, 2019] The Omnipresent Surveillance State by John W. Whitehead

Jun 19, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

"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."

-- George Orwell, 1984

Tread cautiously: the fiction of George Orwell has become an operation manual for the omnipresent, modern-day surveillance state .

It's been 70 years since Orwell -- dying, beset by fever and bloody coughing fits, and driven to warn against the rise of a society in which rampant abuse of power and mass manipulation are the norm -- depicted the ominous rise of ubiquitous technology, fascism and totalitarianism in 1984 .

Who could have predicted that 70 years after Orwell typed the final words to his dystopian novel, "He loved Big Brother," we would fail to heed his warning and come to love Big Brother.

"To the future or to the past, to a time when thought is free, when men are different from one another and do not live alone -- to a time when truth exists and what is done cannot be undone: From the age of uniformity, from the age of solitude, from the age of Big Brother, from the age of doublethink -- greetings!"

-- George Orwell

1984 portrays a global society of total control in which people are not allowed to have thoughts that in any way disagree with the corporate state. There is no personal freedom, and advanced technology has become the driving force behind a surveillance-driven society. Snitches and cameras are everywhere. People are subject to the Thought Police, who deal with anyone guilty of thought crimes. The government, or "Party," is headed by Big Brother who appears on posters everywhere with the words: "Big Brother is watching you."

We have arrived, way ahead of schedule, into the dystopian future dreamed up by not only Orwell but also such fiction writers as Aldous Huxley, Margaret Atwood and Philip K. Dick.

"If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear."

―George Orwell

Much like Orwell's Big Brother in 1984 , the government and its corporate spies now watch our every move. Much like Huxley's A Brave New World , we are churning out a society of watchers who "have their liberties taken away from them, but rather enjoy it, because they [are] distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing." Much like Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale , the populace is now taught to "know their place and their duties, to understand that they have no real rights but will be protected up to a point if they conform, and to think so poorly of themselves that they will accept their assigned fate and not rebel or run away ."

And in keeping with Philip K. Dick's darkly prophetic vision of a dystopian police state -- which became the basis for Steven Spielberg's futuristic thriller Minority Report -- we are now trapped in a world in which the government is all-seeing, all-knowing and all-powerful, and if you dare to step out of line, dark-clad police SWAT teams and pre-crime units will crack a few skulls to bring the populace under control.

What once seemed futuristic no longer occupies the realm of science fiction.

Incredibly, as the various nascent technologies employed and shared by the government and corporations alike -- facial recognition, iris scanners, massive databases, behavior prediction software, and so on -- are incorporated into a complex, interwoven cyber network aimed at tracking our movements, predicting our thoughts and controlling our behavior, the dystopian visions of past writers is fast becoming our reality .

Our world is characterized by widespread surveillance, behavior prediction technologies, data mining, fusion centers, driverless cars, voice-controlled homes , facial recognition systems, cybugs and drones, and predictive policing (pre-crime) aimed at capturing would-be criminals before they can do any damage.

Surveillance cameras are everywhere. Government agents listen in on our telephone calls and read our emails. Political correctness -- a philosophy that discourages diversity -- has become a guiding principle of modern society.

"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."

―George Orwell

The courts have shredded the Fourth Amendment's protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. In fact, SWAT teams battering down doors without search warrants and FBI agents acting as a secret police that investigate dissenting citizens are common occurrences in contemporary America. And bodily privacy and integrity have been utterly eviscerated by a prevailing view that Americans have no rights over what happens to their bodies during an encounter with government officials, who are allowed to search, seize, strip, scan, spy on, probe, pat down, taser, and arrest any individual at any time and for the slightest provocation.

"The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which."

―George Orwell, Animal Farm

We are increasingly ruled by multi-corporations wedded to the police state.

What many fail to realize is that the government is not operating alone. It cannot. The government requires an accomplice. Thus, the increasingly complex security needs of the massive federal government, especially in the areas of defense, surveillance and data management, have been met within the corporate sector, which has shown itself to be a powerful ally that both depends on and feeds the growth of governmental overreach.

In fact, Big Tech wedded to Big Government has become Big Brother, and we are now ruled by the Corporate Elite whose tentacles have spread worldwide. For example, USA Today reports that five years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the homeland security business was booming to such an extent that it eclipsed mature enterprises like movie-making and the music industry in annual revenue. This security spending to private corporations such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft and others is forecast to exceed $1 trillion in the near future.

The government now has at its disposal technological arsenals so sophisticated and invasive as to render any constitutional protections null and void. Spearheaded by the NSA, which has shown itself to care little to nothing for constitutional limits or privacy, the "security/industrial complex" -- a marriage of government, military and corporate interests aimed at keeping Americans under constant surveillance -- has come to dominate the government and our lives. At three times the size of the CIA, constituting one third of the intelligence budget and with its own global spy network to boot, the NSA has a long history of spying on Americans, whether or not it has always had the authorization to do so.

Money, power, control. There is no shortage of motives fueling the convergence of mega-corporations and government. But who is paying the price? The American people, of course.

Orwell understood what many Americans, caught up in their partisan flag-waving, are still struggling to come to terms with: that there is no such thing as a government organized for the good of the people. Even the best intentions among those in government inevitably give way to the desire to maintain power and control over the citizenry at all costs. As Orwell explains:

The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just around the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know what no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now you begin to understand me.

"The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it."

― George Orwell

How do you change the way people think? You start by changing the words they use.

In totalitarian regimes -- a.k.a. police states -- where conformity and compliance are enforced at the end of a loaded gun, the government dictates what words can and cannot be used. In countries where the police state hides behind a benevolent mask and disguises itself as tolerance, the citizens censor themselves, policing their words and thoughts to conform to the dictates of the mass mind.

Dystopian literature shows what happens when the populace is transformed into mindless automatons. In Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 , reading is banned and books are burned in order to suppress dissenting ideas, while televised entertainment is used to anesthetize the populace and render them easily pacified, distracted and controlled.

In Huxley's Brave New World , serious literature, scientific thinking and experimentation are banned as subversive, while critical thinking is discouraged through the use of conditioning, social taboos and inferior education. Likewise, expressions of individuality, independence and morality are viewed as vulgar and abnormal.

And in Orwell's 1984 , Big Brother does away with all undesirable and unnecessary words and meanings, even going so far as to routinely rewrite history and punish "thoughtcrimes." In this dystopian vision of the future, the Thought Police serve as the eyes and ears of Big Brother, while the Ministry of Peace deals with war and defense, the Ministry of Plenty deals with economic affairs (rationing and starvation), the Ministry of Love deals with law and order (torture and brainwashing), and the Ministry of Truth deals with news, entertainment, education and art (propaganda). The mottos of Oceania: WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, and IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.

All three -- Bradbury, Huxley and Orwell -- had an uncanny knack for realizing the future, yet it is Orwell who best understood the power of language to manipulate the masses. Orwell's Big Brother relied on Newspeak to eliminate undesirable words, strip such words as remained of unorthodox meanings and make independent, non-government-approved thought altogether unnecessary. To give a single example, as psychologist Erich Fromm illustrates in his afterword to 1984 :

The word free still existed in Newspeak, but it could only be used in such statements as "This dog is free from lice" or "This field is free from weeds." It could not be used in its old sense of "politically free" or "intellectually free," since political and intellectual freedom no longer existed as concepts .

Where we stand now is at the juncture of OldSpeak (where words have meanings, and ideas can be dangerous) and Newspeak (where only that which is "safe" and "accepted" by the majority is permitted). The power elite has made their intentions clear: they will pursue and prosecute any and all words, thoughts and expressions that challenge their authority.

This is the final link in the police state chain.

"Until they became conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious."

-- George Orwell

Americans have been conditioned to accept routine incursions on their privacy rights . In fact, the addiction to screen devices -- especially cell phones -- has created a hive effect where the populace not only watched but is controlled by AI bots. However, at one time, the idea of a total surveillance state tracking one's every move would have been abhorrent to most Americans. That all changed with the 9/11 attacks. As professor Jeffrey Rosen observes, "Before Sept. 11, the idea that Americans would voluntarily agree to live their lives under the gaze of a network of biometric surveillance cameras, peering at them in government buildings, shopping malls, subways and stadiums, would have seemed unthinkable, a dystopian fantasy of a society that had surrendered privacy and anonymity ."

Having been reduced to a cowering citizenry -- mute in the face of elected officials who refuse to represent us, helpless in the face of police brutality, powerless in the face of militarized tactics and technology that treat us like enemy combatants on a battlefield, and naked in the face of government surveillance that sees and hears all -- we have nowhere left to go.

We have, so to speak, gone from being a nation where privacy is king to one where nothing is safe from the prying eyes of government. In search of so-called terrorists and extremists hiding amongst us -- the proverbial "needle in a haystack," as one official termed it -- the Corporate State has taken to monitoring all aspects of our lives, from cell phone calls and emails to Internet activity and credit card transactions. Much of this data is being fed through fusion centers across the country, which work with the Department of Homeland Security to make threat assessments on every citizen, including school children. These are state and regional intelligence centers that collect data on you.

"Big Brother is Watching You."

―George Orwell

Wherever you go and whatever you do, you are now being watched, especially if you leave behind an electronic footprint. When you use your cell phone, you leave a record of when the call was placed, who you called, how long it lasted and even where you were at the time. When you use your ATM card, you leave a record of where and when you used the card. There is even a video camera at most locations equipped with facial recognition software. When you use a cell phone or drive a car enabled with GPS, you can be tracked by satellite. Such information is shared with government agents, including local police. And all of this once-private information about your consumer habits, your whereabouts and your activities is now being fed to the U.S. government.

The government has nearly inexhaustible resources when it comes to tracking our movements, from electronic wiretapping devices, traffic cameras and biometrics to radio-frequency identification cards, satellites and Internet surveillance.

Speech recognition technology now makes it possible for the government to carry out massive eavesdropping by way of sophisticated computer systems. Phone calls can be monitored, the audio converted to text files and stored in computer databases indefinitely. And if any "threatening" words are detected -- no matter how inane or silly -- the record can be flagged and assigned to a government agent for further investigation. Federal and state governments, again working with private corporations, monitor your Internet content. Users are profiled and tracked in order to identify, target and even prosecute them.

In such a climate, everyone is a suspect. And you're guilty until you can prove yourself innocent. To underscore this shift in how the government now views its citizens, the FBI uses its wide-ranging authority to investigate individuals or groups, regardless of whether they are suspected of criminal activity.

"Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimetres inside your skull."

― George Orwell

Here's what a lot of people fail to understand, however: it's not just what you say or do that is being monitored, but how you think that is being tracked and targeted. We've already seen this play out on the state and federal level with hate crime legislation that cracks down on so-called "hateful" thoughts and expression, encourages self-censoring and reduces free debate on various subject matter.

Say hello to the new Thought Police .

Total Internet surveillance by the Corporate State, as omnipresent as God, is used by the government to predict and, more importantly, control the populace, and it's not as far-fetched as you might think. For example, the NSA is now designing an artificial intelligence system that is designed to anticipate your every move. In a nutshell, the NSA will feed vast amounts of the information it collects to a computer system known as Aquaint (the acronym stands for Advanced QUestion Answering for INTelligence), which the computer can then use to detect patterns and predict behavior.

No information is sacred or spared.

Everything from cell phone recordings and logs, to emails, to text messages, to personal information posted on social networking sites, to credit card statements, to library circulation records, to credit card histories, etc., is collected by the NSA and shared freely with its agents in crime: the CIA, FBI and DHS. One NSA researcher actually quit the Aquaint program, "citing concerns over the dangers in placing such a powerful weapon in the hands of a top-secret agency with little accountability."

Thus, what we are witnessing, in the so-called name of security and efficiency, is the creation of a new class system comprised of the watched (average Americans such as you and me) and the watchers (government bureaucrats, technicians and private corporations).

Clearly, the age of privacy in America is at an end.

"If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face -- for ever."

-- Orwell

So where does that leave us?

We now find ourselves in the unenviable position of being monitored, managed and controlled by our technology, which answers not to us but to our government and corporate rulers. This is the fact-is-stranger-than-fiction lesson that is being pounded into us on a daily basis.

It won't be long before we find ourselves looking back on the past with longing, back to an age where we could speak to whom we wanted, buy what we wanted, think what we wanted without those thoughts, words and activities being tracked, processed and stored by corporate giants such as Google, sold to government agencies such as the NSA and CIA, and used against us by militarized police with their army of futuristic technologies.

To be an individual today, to not conform, to have even a shred of privacy, and to live beyond the reach of the government's roaming eyes and technological spies, one must not only be a rebel but rebel.

Even when you rebel and take your stand, there is rarely a happy ending awaiting you. You are rendered an outlaw.

So how do you survive in the American surveillance state?

We're running out of options.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People , we'll soon have to choose between self-indulgence (the bread-and-circus distractions offered up by the news media, politicians, sports conglomerates, entertainment industry, etc.) and self-preservation in the form of renewed vigilance about threats to our freedoms and active engagement in self-governance.

Yet as Aldous Huxley acknowledged in Brave New World Revisited : "Only the vigilant can maintain their liberties, and only those who are constantly and intelligently on the spot can hope to govern themselves effectively by democratic procedures. A society, most of whose members spend a great part of their time, not on the spot, not here and now and in their calculable future, but somewhere else, in the irrelevant other worlds of sport and soap opera, of mythology and metaphysical fantasy, will find it hard to resist the encroachments of those would manipulate and control it."

John W. Whitehead is the president of The Rutherford Institute and author of Battlefield America: The War on the American People .

[Jun 19, 2019] People, Power, and Profits Progressive Capitalism for an Age of Discontent Joseph E. Stiglitz 9781324004219 Amazon.com Boo

Jun 19, 2019 | www.amazon.com

Deja vu: Voodoo economics

Supply-side economics did not work for Reagan and it won't work for Trump. Republicans tell themselves and the American people that the Trump tax cut will energize the economy, so much so that the tax losses will be less than the skeptics claim. That's the supply-side argument, and we ought to know' by now that it does not work.

Reagan's tax cut in 1981 opened up an era of enormous fiscal deficits, slower growth, and greater inequality.

Trump, in his 2017 tax bill, is giving us an even bigger dose of policies grounded not in science but in self-serving superstition than that provided by Reagan. President George H. W. Bush himself called Reagan's supply-side economics voodoo economics. Trump's is voodoo economics on steroids.

[Jun 18, 2019] The Looting Machine Warlords, Oligarchs, Corporations, Smugglers, and the Theft of Africa's Wealth by Tom Burgis

Jun 08, 2019 | www.amazon.com

The trade in oil, gas, gems, metals and rare earth minerals wreaks havoc in Africa. During the years when Brazil, India, China and the other "emerging markets" have transformed their economies, Africa's resource states remained tethered to the bottom of the industrial supply chain. While Africa accounts for about 30 per cent of the world's reserves of hydrocarbons and minerals and 14 per cent of the world's population, its share of global manufacturing stood in 2011 exactly where it stood in 2000: at 1 percent.

[Jun 18, 2019] Poisoned Wells The Dirty Politics of African Oil by Nicholas Shaxson

Jun 10, 2007 | www.amazon.com

LVT06 , December 29, 2007

An Expert Falls Short

Shaxson's introduction and preliminary chapters immediately prove that he is a bona fide Africa expert. Having extensively lived and worked there, getting closely acquainted with the politicians, industrialists and average joes, he knows his topic better than any ivory tower academic or think tank regional "expert." His anecdotes and insights are accurate, concise and reasonably centrist. His writing is excellent. And yet he failed to earn 5 stars because the book itself delves too far into specific biographies of pivotal politicos and activists. Shaxson is sharp and experienced enough to produce a country-by-country analytical handbook documenting oil's impact on 21st Century Africa but instead he chose to take the conversational, journalistic feature-article format. For professionals and novices seeking accurate and timely information on Africa, this is a good start. Lutz Kleveman's "New Great Game" was equally readable and informal but a far more informative example for Shaxson to follow in his next book.

Denno , September 7, 2012
Poisoned Wells: the Dirty Politics of African Oil

The book is very well written.It documents the authors expereinces with various African countries in relation to the oil business and provides an insightful analysis of the impacts of the sleazy dealings within the oil industry on the continent. An excellent read!! Read more

R. Utne , June 10, 2007
Poisoned Wells

Of the current crop of "what is wrong with Africa" books including "The Shackled Continent", "The White Man's Burden" and "The Trouble with Africa", Nicholas Shaxson's analysis and prescriptions for change are the most radical and on-the-money. Shaxson's book should be widely read and discussed. Unfortunately, too much invested in the status quo by all concerned to see much likelihood of change within the next few decades.

OHYN , December 26, 2009
Book Fails Credibility Test

Every responsible reader and serious seeker of "enlightenment" usually applies a "credibility check" to new information.
When author Nicholas Shaxson, in the opening chapter of his book, "Poisoned Wells," badly mischaracterized the Biafra-Nigeria War of 1967-1970, I could not read any further.
In trying to support his assertion that Oil is the root cause (or at least, a major cause) of post-colonial Africa's problems, he force-fits that terrible war into "Oil" context. How do I know? Well, I was there: was old enough to live in Nigeria up to the War, live through that War fighting in it on the Biafran side, and live after the war in Nigeria, until decided that I am truly Biafran, not Nigerian.
This book has failed a critical credibility test.
Please send my comments to this author.
Oguchi Nkwocha, MD.
Nwa Biafra
A Biafran Citizen.

William Podmore , May 9, 2011
Fine study of the curse of (foreign-owned) oil

In this informative book, journalist Nicholas Shaxson looks at some African countries that have suffered the curse of foreign-owned oil - Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, Angola, Gabon, the Congo Republic and São Tomé e Principe. In 1970, before the oil boom, 19 million Nigerians were poor; after $400 billion of oil earnings, 90 million (of a 130 million population) were poor.

Each week sub-Saharan Africa's oil fields produce more than $1 billions' worth of oil. But the oil money promotes not investment and development but capital flight and poverty. Greedy foreign oil corporations ally with corrupt rulers.

The struggle of rival imperialisms for oil strips Africa bare. In 2005 the USA imported more oil from Africa than from the Middle East, and it is intervening in Africa to control its supplies, as now with its illegal attack on Libya. Oil comprises 87 per cent of US imports from Africa. Angola is China's biggest source of imported oil.

France too is scheming and warmongering to keep its hold on Africa. France's former colonies have to keep two-thirds of their reserves in France's treasury. Their central banks' HQs are in Paris. Much EU `aid' funds French companies in Africa.

Shaxson also looks at the curse of tax havens. More than half of world trade passes through tax havens. Over half of all banking assets and a third of foreign direct investment by giant corporations are routed offshore. Terrorists and drug smugglers use the same offshore system that corporations use.

Offshore finance is centred on Britain, the EU and the USA. The City of London runs half the world's tax havens and holds more than $3.2 trillion in offshore bank deposits, half the world total. When the Labour government signed the UN Convention against Corruption in 2000, it exempted all the Crown Dependencies and British Overseas Territories.

The West's banks, mainly from the USA and Britain, take their cut too. They force countries further into debt by making them take out new loans to pay off old ones, at ever higher rates. The bankers make private gains out of public losses.

Sunday Todili Aremu , October 14, 2014
Well, this is a book that has all the ...

Well, this is a book that has all the attributes of a well researched book. It is informative, entertaining but didn't dwell well enough on the historical perspectives that gave rise to Africa's debilitating circumstances. The author's privileged upbringing may not have accorded him the opportunities of seeing things with the eyes of the ordinary dispossessed, repressed and oppressed African whose life is badly structured within the bogus and fraudulent concept of Nation State. A concept that has robbed him of his due place and left him stranded in cyclical malady of frightening dimensions! On the whole, the book is worth reading!!

[Jun 18, 2019] The End of Oil On the Edge of a Perilous New World by Paul Roberts

Jun 08, 2019 | www.amazon.com

Christopher R , July 10, 2008

Makes analysis of the contemporary energy order accessible.

When I decided to read this book, I did so with the expectation of learning something only after wading through a great degree of partisan political rhetoric. It did not take me long to realize that Mr. Roberts' book is not what I had expected.

He makes this complex issue accessible to the layman looking to familiarize himself with not only oil, but the energy economy. Rather choose a side and engage in partisan sniping, he tells the good, the bad, and the ugly of the policies advocated by every party involved in the energy debate. Not only does he analyze our present situation, but he also studies our several possible ways forward into a new energy economy.

If I were pressed to make a complaint, it would be that I read the original hardcover edition of the book. A lot of the speculation regarding "worst case" scenarios involve $50 a barrel oil. Now that we are nearly $100 past that worst case, the educated speculation portrayed in the book should be coming to pass in the market. I would like to see either a completely updated 2008 edition or at least one with an updated preface.

John A. Leraas , September 26, 2015
Most informative, well written

A prequel to "The End of Food", this is a most informative book that discusses our dependence on oil; its history, its politics and its economics. After reading this piece there is much that is more easily understood. Much of international politics and economics is more clear. The development of new energy sources and their tardiness, and the dependence of many sectors of the economy on oil is more transparent.

Roberts' sequel, "The End of Food" is highly recommended after you read this book as the interdependence of these two great industries is amazing.

Larry B. Woodroof , January 19, 2006
An outstanding review of the current situation

Paul Roberts does an excellent job in not only telling about the coming troubles with oil, but doing so with an, at times, humorous style.

He makes no assumptions about the reader's knowledge, and spends the first part of the book explaining how the world got to be in this mess we are in, by deliniating the different energy eras throughout human history.

Common themes arise, in each era, and they combine to help the reader gain a perspective upon why things are they way they are.

Mr. Roberts did his research well, with an extensive foot note and bibliography section, yet in the course of this research he did more than just peruse reports and other books on the matter. He managed to gain access to the indutry leaders, talking and touring the facilties of the Russians and the Saudis.

If there is any fault, it is that the last chapeters of the book, wherein he extrapolates from his knowledge and research what he forsees occuring, seems a little less well developed than the earlier chapters. True, they are based upon fact and not prgnostication, but the writing seems at times rushed, and not up to the level of some of the earlier chapters.

Regardless, this is a book that I highly recommend reading, and is one that I have bought extra copies of for insertion into my "lending library" of books I share and recommend to friends.

<img src="https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/S/amazon-avatars-global/default._CR0,0,1024,1024_SX48_.png"> Dalton C. Rocha , March 26, 2009
Good, but fails about Brazil, biofuels and nuclear power

I read this good book, here in Brazil.This book has many excellent parts.To example, about Hirohito, on page 39, this tells the true:Hirohito was Japan's Hitler and ordered the attack to Pearl Harbor, China and rest of Asia.
On page 176, this book tell that more than 90% of new power plants in the USA burn gas.About american culture, the page 263 has writen:"By contrast, although car manufactures offer more than thirty car models with with fuel economy of thirty miles for gallon or better, the ten most fuel-efficient models sold in the United States make up just 2 percent of the sales."
Americans love the SUVs, but to combat the blood of islamic terrorism, the petro-dollars, has no place in american hearts.
About the corrupt and also supporter of terrorism Saudi Arabia, this book is correct.

**************************************************************
This book is weak, when forgets Brazil, that only on page 56 is remebered only one time, without no detail at all.I don't agree, with this failure only because I'm a brazilian, but also because Brazil is among the world's leaders in oil reserves.See to example, the site [...] to read about this fact.
About nuclear energy, this book is very weak.On part III, there's talks about replacement of coal and gas for electric energy,but there's nothing about the fact that France, more than 20 years ago, closed all its coal and gas power plants an replaced all of them for nuclear power plants.
About ethanol, there's almost nothing.Only on page 340, ethanol is remebered, without any detail.I'm an agronomist and I think that biofuels are the answer for oil , at least on transportation.My family uses ethanol cars for more than 25 years, without no problem.

<img src="https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/S/amazon-avatars-global/default._CR0,0,1024,1024_SX48_.png"> Roger Brown , September 23, 2007
Fair minded and objective overview of big energy

Very readable....Roberts does an excellent job of presenting opinions fairly and from many pro/contra angles. He has fully immersed himself in his topic and the book is chocked-full of fascinating energy facts.

What to do about our energy future has become as politically polarized as abortion - Conservatives favor fossil fuels and the Moderate - Liberal folks want to go Renewable.

Roberts is bare-knuckled about what he feels the agendas are behind the current debate, which leads him to a (slightly) reserved pessimism about our chances of making it out of the mess we've made, by putting all our energy eggs in one basket. He does not hide his contempt for later-day politicians who can't see the forest for the trees and won't take action to avert the coming energy drought.

[Jun 18, 2019] Washington s Dark Secret The Real Truth about Terrorism and Islamic Extremism by John Maszka

Notable quotes:
"... "A century after World War I, the great war for oil is still raging, with many of the same fronts as before and also a few new ones. Throughout it all -- whether waged by realists, neoliberals, or neocons -- war has been extremely good for business" (225). ..."
Jun 08, 2019 | www.amazon.com

Anna Faktorovich , December 17, 2018

The War for Oil and the New Holocaust

The premise of this book is to say what most of the world's public has probably been thinking since the War on Terror began, or that it is a "war for natural resources -- and that terrorism has little to do with it. Once the military became mechanized, oil quickly became the most sought-after commodity on the planet, and the race for energy was eventually framed as a matter of national security."

John Maszka argues that the "oil conglomerates" are the real "threats to national security". Demonizing "an entire religion" is a repercussion of this policy. My own research in Rebellion as Genre a few years ago also attempted to point out the misuse of the term terrorism in its current application, or as a weapon against one's enemies rather than as a reference to a type of attacks intended to terrorize. Governments that accuse others of terrorism while legitimizing their own "acts of violence" as "retributive" are clearly breaking human rights agreements and their stated commitments to freedom.

Maszka's perspective is of particular interest because he teaches this subject at the Higher Colleges of Technology in Abu Dhabi, and has published widely his criticisms of the War on Terror, including Terrorism and the Bush Doctrine.

Many of the books I have read on terrorism from American supporters of this pro-War on Terror doctrine are troubling in their references to spreading Christianity and other similarly questionable ideologies, so it is refreshing to hear from somebody with a fresh perspective that is more likely to bring about world peace. The preface acknowledges that this book contrasts with the bulk of other books in this field. It also explains that it focuses primarily on two "Islamic militant organizations -- al-Qaeda and the Islamic State".

He explains that perception has a lot to do with who a country is willing to commit violence against, giving the example of Nazis being able to commit violence on Jews in the Holocaust because of this blindness. Thus, violence against Muslims by the West in the past two decade is shown as possibly a new Holocaust where the militaries are carrying out orders because Muslims have been demonized.

Terrorism has historically been the work of a few extremists, or terms like "war" or "revolution" is employed to describe large groups of such fighters; so it is strange that the West has entered the War on Terror with entire Muslim-majority countries, killing so many civilians that it is not a stretch to call these Holocaust-like.

The Islamic State targets Muslims as well, also showing dehumanized traits that are even harder to explain (x-xi). The preface also acknowledges that the author will be using "contractions and anecdotal digressions" as "intentional literary devices", shooing the standard scholarly style (this is troubling for me personally, as I'm allergic to digressions, but at least he tells readers what to expect).

As promised, Chapter One begins with a poet's story about the Tree of Life, then discusses the Boston Marathon bombings from the perspective of the author as he worked in Kyrgyzstan, and goes off on other tangents before reaching this conclusion -- the marathon's bombers were not terrorists: "They had no political aspirations. They weren't attempting to obtain concessions from the government or provoke a reaction. They simply believed that they were 'wave sheaves' -- first fruits of God -- and that they would be instrumental in ushering in the apocalypse" (5).

This conclusion explains the relationship between all of the digressions across this section, so these digressions were necessary to prove this point, and thus are suitable for a scholarly book. And this is exactly the type of logical reasoning that is missing in most of the oratory on terrorism. The entire book similarly uses specific acts of supposed terrorism to explain what really happened and working to understand th motivations of the actors.

Since the author's digressions into his own life are typically very relevant to the subject, they are definitely helpful: "I was stationed in Riyadh at an American military base that was attacked by an al-Qaeda suicide bomber" (135).

It would actually be unethical if Maszka did not explain that he has been personally affected by al-Qaeda in this context; and since he has seen this War as a civilian living in the affected countries and as a member of the military that is attaching these "terrorists", his opinions should be trustworthy for both sides. Given how emotional writing this book with detachment and carefully crafted research must have been for somebody who has been bombed, it is only fitting that the final chapter is called, "The Definition of Insanity."

And here is the final chapter:

"A century after World War I, the great war for oil is still raging, with many of the same fronts as before and also a few new ones. Throughout it all -- whether waged by realists, neoliberals, or neocons -- war has been extremely good for business" (225).

Very powerful words that are justly supported. I would strongly recommend that everybody in the West's militaries who is responsible for making decisions in the War on Terror read this book before they make their next decision. Who are they shooting at? Why? Who is benefiting? Who is dying? Are they committing war crimes as serious as the Nazis? If there is any chance these allegations are true what kind of a military leader can proceed without understanding the explanations that Maszka offers here? This would probably also work well in an advanced graduate class, despite its digressions, it will probably help students write better dissertations on related topics.

Pennsylvania Literary Journal: Fall 2018

[Jun 18, 2019] The Party s Over Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies by Richard Heinberg

Jun 08, 2019 | www.amazon.com

The world is about to run out of cheap oil and change dramatically. Within the next few years, global production will peak. Thereafter, even if industrial societies begin to switch to alternative energy sources, they will have less net energy each year to do all the work essential to the survival of complex societies. We are entering a new era, as different from the industrial era as the latter was from medieval times.

In The Party's Over , Richard Heinberg places this momentous transition in historical context, showing how industrialism arose from the harnessing of fossil fuels, how competition to control access to oil shaped the geopolitics of the twentieth century and how contention for dwindling energy resources in the twenty-first century will lead to resource wars in the Middle East, Central Asia and South America. He describes the likely impacts of oil depletion and all of the energy alternatives. Predicting chaos unless the United States -- the world's foremost oil consumer -- is willing to join with other countries to implement a global program of resource conservation and sharing, he also recommends a "managed collapse" that might make way for a slower-paced, low-energy, sustainable society in the future.

More readable than other accounts of this issue, with fuller discussion of the context, social implications and recommendations for personal, community, national and global action, Heinberg's updated book is a riveting wake-up call for human-kind as the oil era winds down, and a critical tool for understanding and influencing current US foreign policy.

Richard Heinberg , from Santa Rosa, California, has been writing about energy resources issues and the dynamics of cultural change for many years. A member of the core faculty at New College of California, he is an award-winning author of three previous books. His Museletter was nominated for the Best Alternative Newsletter award by Utne in 1993.


Laura Lea Evans , April 20, 2013

love and hate

Well, how to describe something that is so drastic in predictions as to make one quiver? Heinberg spells out a future for humans that is not very optimistic but sadly, is more accurate than any of us would like. The information and research done by the author is first rate and irrefutable, which is as it should be. The news: dire. This is my first in a series of his work and indeed, it's a love/hate experience since there is a lot of hopelessness in the outcome of our current path. Be that as it may, this is a book to cherish and an author to admire.

Scott Forbes , May 31, 2005
This book will make you think differently about energy

Surprizingly its not about the rising cost of the energy that you personally use. Its about the whole economy that has been built on using a non-replenishable energy supply. You know how those economists always count on the 3% growth in the GDP. Well the book argues that this long term growth is fundamentally driven by our long term growth in energy usage, which everyone knows will have to turn around at some point.

The other surprizing fact is that the turning point is long before you run out of oil. Heinberg shows data that indicates that half of the oil is still left in the ground when the returns start to diminish. And it appears that that we are within a few years of reaching that point.

So we've used up about half the "available" ( i.e. feasible to extract from an energy perspective ) oil. Now oil production starts to decrease. What happens next is anyone's guess, but Heinburg presents some detailed discussions on the possiblities. Don't assume that a coal, nuclear, or "hydrogen" economy are going to be as easy and profitable as the petroleum economy we are leaving behind.

I've read lots of books about energy and the environment, and this is definitely one of the best.

B. King , November 22, 2003
An Industrial Strength Critique of Energy Usage

Part history and part prophesy, this book is an outstanding summary of many major issues facing Western industrial society. Author Richard Heinberg provides a scholarly critique of modern industrialism, focusing on its current use of energy, and a sobering forecast based on predictable trends.

The key point of the book is that the Earth's crust can provide mankind with an essentially finite amount of fossil fuel energy, with primary reference to oil. Drawing on the relatively unknown, and oft-misunderstood, concept of "peak oil," the book addresses the imminent shortfall of petroleum that will not be available on world markets. That day of reckoning is far closer than most people think. "Peak oil" is a global application of Geologist M. King Hubbert's (1903-1989) studies of oil production in "mature" exploration districts. That is, exploration for oil in sedimentary basins at first yields substantial discoveries, which are then produced. Additional exploration yields less and less "new" oil discovered, and that level of discovery coming at greater and greater effort. Eventually, absent additional significant discovery, production "peaks" and then commences an irreversible decline.

This has already occurred in the U.S. in the 1970's, and is in the process of occurring in oil-producing nations such as Mexico, Britain, Egypt, Indonesia and Malaysia. Ominously, "peak" production can be forecast in the next few years in such significant producing nations as Saudi Arabia and Iraq (in addition to all of the other problems in those unfortunate nations.)

Much of the rise of industrial society was tied to increasing availability of high energy-density fuel, particularly oil. Western society, and its imitators in non-Western lands, is based upon access to large amounts of energy-dense fuel, and that fuel is oil. With respect to the U.S., the domestic decline in oil production has been made up, over the past thirty years, by increasing imports from other locales, with concomitant political risk. When the world production "peaks" in the next few years, the competition for energy sources will become more fierce than it already is. This book addresses issues related to what are commonly thought of as "substitutes" for oil, such as coal, natural gas and natural gas liquids, and shatters many myths. The author also delves deeply into energy sources such as "tar sand," "oil shale," nuclear and renewable sources. And thankfully, the author offers a number of proposals to address the looming problem (although these proposals are probably not what an awful lot of people want to hear.)

A book like this one could easily descend into a tawdry level of "chicken-little" squawks and utter tendentiousness. But thankfully it does not do so. This is a mature, well-reasoned and carefully footnoted effort. I could take issue with some of the author's points about "big business" and how decisions are made at high political levels, but not in this review. Instead I will simply congratulate Mr. Heinberg for writing an important contribution to social discourse. I hope that a lot of people read this book and start to look at and think about the world differently.

This Hippy Gorilla , July 19, 2006
Cogent, timely, largely ignored

Maybe the most important book since Charles Darwin's "The Origin of Species". This volume represents THE wakeup call for a world society quite literally addicted to crude oil for its continuation, and, in most cases, it's very survival.

Heinberg has done his homework, and this volume should be required reading for anyone in an industrialized nation, or one just getting started down that road. It is a proven scientific fact that within a few years, we will begin to run out of oil, and it will be pretty much gone within 5 or 6 decades. Considering that we have built our entire society around an oil economy, the implications are dire - far, far beyond not being able to drive through the coffee shop with the kids in your SUV on the way home from the mall. Alternative energy sources? Dream on - read on.

The book is thoroughly researched, well-thought and organized and presents the often dissenting views at every side of this hugely important issue. It is also delightfully written and composed, and is fun and quick to read.

I highly recommend this book, and I hope at least one person reads what I'm writing and buys this book. And I hope they tell someone, too.

[Jun 18, 2019] Caught in Their Fun House by Paul Haeder

Notable quotes:
"... America just a nation of two hundred million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns and no qualms about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable. ..."
"... And after all our idiotic overcomplicated plots and schemes, they are but to mask simple truths ..."
"... What is more compelling than the average person captured in a truthful narrative, as counterpoint to a society that delves into the celebrity, the spectacle, the idiocy as Jason puts forth in his piece, "The Idiot." ..."
"... Yet, my friend, Joe the Farmer from Merced, hits the nail on the head by providing his own retort to example after example of the cruelty of capitalism and the US of I -- United States of Idiots? ..."
"... What in the fuck is wrong with this country? The republicans enact cruel legislation to protect criminal enterprises, slash taxes for the obscenely rich, while removing any social or environmental protections for the population, (the Flint Michigan water system for example). ..."
"... The democrats response to Trump is to promote Joe Biden, a compilation of Bill and Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Strom Thurman and just about every other corporate whore they could steal parts off of to make their democratic very own version of Donald Trump. ..."
"... As if there were no real journalists working on all the pre-September 11 illegalities of the republican party and then the post-September 11 evisceration of the few rights the people of the world and USA had before full spectrum war on our planet. ..."
"... As if journalists hadn't cracked open the Koch brothers, the fake think tanks, all the pre-Truman/post-Truman lies of empire, from Roy Cohen, through to the rigged systems of oppression. Way before any trivial Hollywood wannabe open her eyes. ..."
"... Entertainment and a few laughs at the expense of millions of bombed-dead people, millions more suffering-a-lingering-death daily because of Hollywood and USA policies and the evangelicals and the Crypto-Christo-Zionists bombing "the other" back to the stone age. The movie, Vice. ..."
"... What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies , the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy . ..."
"... As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny "failed to take into account man's almost infinite appetite for distractions." In 1984 , Orwell added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World , they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we fear will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we desire will ruin us. ..."
"... The greatest triumphs of propaganda have been accomplished, not by doing something, but by refraining from doing. Great is truth, but still greater, from a practical point of view, is silence about truth. ..."
"... Huxley was right -- " Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly -- they'll go through anything. You read and you're pierced." Brave New World , "Chapter 4" ..."
Jun 05, 2019 | dissidentvoice.org

America just a nation of two hundred million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns and no qualms about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable.

-- Hunter S. Thompson

Now I think poetry will save nothing from oblivion, but I keep writing about the ordinary because for me it's the home of the extraordinary, the only home.

-- Phillip Levine

I'm digging the DV piece, " The Idiot " by Jason Holland, since in a critical mass sort of black hole kind of way, his main thesis is reflective of the experiences many of us in the bloody trenches of dying capitalism see/feel/believe minute by minute.

And after all our idiotic overcomplicated plots and schemes, they are but to mask simple truths the idiot facade tries so desperately to avoid; the inner torments of being afraid of not being good enough, not measuring up to our peers, not meeting arbitrary expectations we either accept from others or set for ourselves, or quite simply feeling like we are not worthy of love. So we play these pointless high stakes games which have a rewards as meaningless and worthless as a plastic trophy just to prove our worth. The idiot is a temporal state of being, although many are finer long term examples of displaying the behaviors of the idiot; however none of us are the perfect idiot. To avoid the affectations of being in an idiotic state it takes conscious effort to live our lives moment to moment with authenticity, to be in a state of awareness of our actions, to always be willing to suffer for something worthwhile and to be consistently well reasoned examiners of what constitutes something worthwhile.

That authenticity, moment to moment existence -- and it should be a reveling of life -- is good, but there is a bifurcating of sorts when many of us are still subject to the masters of Big Brother and Big Business. We are suffering the dualism of the Century, and the more we know, the more we seek and the more we grapple, well, the more emancipated we are, but in that freedom comes some pretty harsh treatment by the masters and their sub-masters and all the Little Eichmann's that keep the Capitalist's trains moving like clockwork toward the global demise set in their plastic worlds!

And some of us think Dachau and Auschwitz were bad! We have already seen a hundred of them since 1945.

For me, I have the benefit of being a writer, and at this time, I have this new gig I created myself to bring to the Oregon Coast a sense of the people who are here living or who come here to set down their own stories . . . people who do things to make this world better and themselves better. Something in the draw that brings my subjects for my pieces here to the coast of Oregon. These are people, and they are not perfections or cut-outs or pulverized remnants of humanity that Capitalism mostly demands in it shark tank of inane media manipulation and marketing.

I crack open humanity and get people's contexts -- entire stories upon stories laid down, strata by strata, and cover their own formula for the art of living in harmony in a world of disharmony. Reading my stuff, I hope, will allow readers of this rag, Oregon Coast Today , and its on-line version a better sense of authenticity via people they may or may not even run across in their own lives of being the consummate busy tourist and consumer.

A few of the pieces will be worthy of DV display, and I hope that my attempt at drilling down and "getting people" for who they are and how they got here will better the world, in some small shape. Really small, but small wonders sometimes are the ionic glue of a bettering world.

What is more compelling than the average person captured in a truthful narrative, as counterpoint to a society that delves into the celebrity, the spectacle, the idiocy as Jason puts forth in his piece, "The Idiot."

In many ways, talking to people who have lived authentic (albeit struggle-prone) lives, or who are just embarking on a nascent stage of multiple iterations of living, I get my sense of grounding in a very flummoxed world of inanity and crass disassociation, as in the disease of pushing away humanity and pushing away the natural world to hitch oneself to the perversions of the billionaire class.

Time and time again, daily, my friends who are still in struggle -- still trying to make sense of the perverted world of idiots controlling the message, the economy, the environment, the culture, and the mental-physical-spiritual health of the world, as if this is it, Trump 2.0 -- give me news feed after news feed of the quickening of not only idiocy that capitalism and consumerism and war engender in our species, but also examples of the inhumanity driving the agendas of the Fortune 500 Class, the Davos crowd, the Aspen Institute gatherings, et al .

Yet, my friend, Joe the Farmer from Merced, hits the nail on the head by providing his own retort to example after example of the cruelty of capitalism and the US of I -- United States of Idiots?

If this doesn't slap the Hell out of you and rub your nose into the proverbial dog shit of what a criminally insane, inhumane, cruel and thuggish enterprise our government has become, then there is absolutely no hope for your soul. The truth tellers like Manning, Assange, Snowden and others, the brave young guys like Tim DeChristopher that monkey wrenched the sale of oil leases to public lands to try and protect the environment, this fellow that is showing his human side by providing water and aid for those dying in the desert sun, are all facing prison terms or maybe even the death penalty. Their crime? Being a compassionate human being.

What in the fuck is wrong with this country? The republicans enact cruel legislation to protect criminal enterprises, slash taxes for the obscenely rich, while removing any social or environmental protections for the population, (the Flint Michigan water system for example).

The republicans are ruthlessly attacking the environment and endangered species, turning their backs on infrastructure that is endangering peoples lives, while the spineless democrats sit idly by, wringing their hands. The democrats won't take action against the most openly corrupt president we have ever had, that is daily destroying everything in this country as well as the rest of the world with his insane military budgets, trade wars and climate policies. The democrats response to Trump is to promote Joe Biden, a compilation of Bill and Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Strom Thurman and just about every other corporate whore they could steal parts off of to make their democratic very own version of Donald Trump.

Both the republicans and the democrats promote austerity for the working people and the poor, while stuffing the oligarchs pockets with gold. Both political Parties support endless war and war profiteers but slash budgets for schools, infrastructure, health care and the elderly. Both political Parties shower money on the police state and a corrupt system of justice and private prisons. Both political Parties are turning their heads to what the oil industry is doing to our water and air with fracking and are in fact have promoted legislation to let the oil industry off the hook when it causes unbelievable environmental damage. Both political Parties are doing nothing to check the nuclear industry that is a environmental time bomb waiting to go off and have promoted legislation to limit the industries liability when it does.

What is wrong with the American people that they sit on their collective asses and do nothing while all this is happening? Are they that fucking stupid? Are they that lacking in human decency? Are they that politically dumbed-down that they won't even fight for their own interests?

The fact that this government corruption has been allowed to go on for years evidently proves that Americans are that stupid and lacking of compassion and politically dumbed-down. Thank God for guys like Dr. Warren the others that are trying to slap some sense into the American public to show us what courage and being humane is all about. Dr. Warren and company shouldn't be put in jail but our so called leaders sure as Hell should be for their crimes against humanity.

He's talking about a desert saint of sorts, Scott Warren, who has the power of his call to duty to give water in milk cartons to anyone crossing the Arizona desert. Now that is a hero, yet, he is facing decades in prison. America!

The charges against Warren "are an unjust criminalization of direct humanitarian assistance" and "appear to constitute a politically motivated violation of his protected rights as a Human Rights Defender," states Amnesty International's Americas regional director Erika Guevara-Rosas .

"Providing humanitarian aid is never a crime," Guevara-Rosas added in a statement last week. "If Dr. Warren were convicted and imprisoned on these absurd charges, he would be a prisoner of conscience, detained for his volunteer activities motivated by humanitarian principles and his religious beliefs."

Yet how many humans in this crime country even give a rat's ass about one man who is doing the good that all men and women should be doing?

Read the great piece about these water bearers on the border at the Intercept by Ryan Devereaux .

So, here, whatever will come of my new column, "Deep Dive: Go Below the Surface with Paul Haeder," starting June 7, well, I hope people reading this rag -- 18,000 and counting and as they are compelled to hit each longer version of each of my profiles on line, Oregon Coast Today -- will understand that life is the sum total of one's search for meaning and worthy work and community involvement.

Maybe this compulsion toward narrative has always been inside me during my early root setting living in Canada, Maryland, Paris, Edinburgh, Arizona . . . then on that walkabout throughout Latin America, Europe, Vietnam, USA, Central America!

When times get tough, the storyteller gets writing. Ha. Believe you me, the stories we all have collected in this Marquis de Sade world of capital and artery-clogging entertainment and constant death spiral the elites have banked as their Appian Way to Complete Dominance, they make for so much more validation of humanity than anything Hollywood could make.

Point of fact -- I attempted to watch the film, Vice, about Dick Cheney, his perverse family, the perversity of neocons fornicating with neoliberalism. It was one of Hollywood's "cutting edge" dramas. Written and directed by a Saturday Night Live writer. All the usual suspects with Hollywood multi-millions stuffed in their jowls -- Christian Bale, Amy Adams, et al .

It wasn't that good, but I sensed that the filmmakers were all about trying to make something that was "different." I didn't nod off during the viewing. But, I unfortunately had the DVD so I went to the extras section, and then, the behind-the-scenes of the making of Vice . This is when things went south real quickly with neoliberal, Democrat-leaning Hollywood creeps. We get every goofy platitude about each and every department's genius in making this film. Every actor fawns the other actor for his or her amazing performance.

Then the Limey, Christian Bale, yammers on and on about he was all about making Dick Cheney human, going into his good side, being cognizant of Cheney, the human. Rubbish and this is the quality of men, adults, in our society -- multimillionaires with gobs of limelight and credit and awards and houses and yachts thrown at them, and they can't even begin to attack the cause -- capitalism, rampant competitiveness, droll I-got-mine-too-bad-you-can't-get-yours thinking. Hollywood is the anti-culture, the flagging bumbling money changers, the money makers, the money grubbers, and well, everything is about the pockets and the suits and the "executive producers," i.e. Bankers.

Oh god, what a trip going into these Hollywood people's hot yoga, macrobiotic diet, four-hour-a-day workout minds. The director, McKay, actually thinks this drama -- make-believe -- has given the world new stuff, new insights, new news about the Cheney-Rumsfeld-Bush-Reagan-Bush world of prostitute politics.

As if there were no real journalists working on all the pre-September 11 illegalities of the republican party and then the post-September 11 evisceration of the few rights the people of the world and USA had before full spectrum war on our planet.

As if journalists hadn't cracked open the Koch brothers, the fake think tanks, all the pre-Truman/post-Truman lies of empire, from Roy Cohen, through to the rigged systems of oppression. Way before any trivial Hollywood wannabe open her eyes.

Entertainment and a few laughs at the expense of millions of bombed-dead people, millions more suffering-a-lingering-death daily because of Hollywood and USA policies and the evangelicals and the Crypto-Christo-Zionists bombing "the other" back to the stone age. The movie, Vice.

Racists, misogynists, misanthropes, one and all. Yet, we gotta love these democrat-leaning guys and gals making films, having millions stuffed up every possible orifice until their brains gel.

Insight into the flippancy that is Hollywood the Power Broker! Watching people like Amy Adams and Steve Carell and Sam Rockwell play this soft-shoe goofball show, and then in the little "Making of the Movie Vice" documentary (sic-infomercial) blathering on and on about the greatness of the script and every cog of the machine that churns out this pabulum, well, it steels me to continue my small-time, no-fame, big-effing-deal gig writing people profiles to bring some sense to a world captured by capital . . . idiocy!

Oh, how we fall in line. Over at Counterpunch , that cloistered world of writers has the countdown for 2018 -- Best Films of the Year, as in the most conscious, socially (give me a effing break!) that is. Nothing in American society once it floats on the offal barrel is sacred, socialist, communist.

Peak TV is creating more opportunities for independent film directors, and for new stories to be told. More films from around the world are released on streaming every day, and Netflix spent an estimated 13 billion dollars on content just this year. More cash available can sometimes mean more stories by and about communities of color, women, transgender and gender nonconforming people, and other communities Hollywood has long ignored. But the movie industry is still primarily about making profit, and it's main business is reinforcing the status quo, including churning out films that glorify capitalism, war, and policing.

Below are 2018's top ten conscious films that made it through these barriers, plus twenty more released this year that you may want to check out.

[ ]

Hollywood doesn't have a great record in covering presidential politics (remember Kevin Costner in Swing Vote ?). Vice , comedy director Adam McKay's follow up to The Big Short , explores the Bush/Cheney presidency, attempting to make history and polemic accessible to a wide audience. It's not as effective as his previous film, but it's a good history, especially for those less familiar with the ins and outs of the early 2000s corporate power grab.

Lighten up already , many a friend and acquaintance tell me. "You are going to burn out like one of the bulbs you use underwater to do your night dives. Way too much shining the hoary light onto the more hoary caverns of American society. Let things go."

Ha, well, how can we? We are entertained to death, as Neil Postman states:

What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies , the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy .

As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny "failed to take into account man's almost infinite appetite for distractions." In 1984 , Orwell added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World , they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we fear will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we desire will ruin us.

This book [ Amusing Ourselves to Death ] is about the possibility that Huxley, not Orwell, was right.

And so it goes, as I trail the acrid dust devil of injustice -- my own and the veterans' and families' I helped just months ago in Portland as a social worker for, drum roll, homeless veterans (and some came with families, including babies and service dogs).

I've written about it here and elsewhere -- the Starvation Army. The deceitful, unethical, possibly murderous Starvation Army. You see, where I worked, I had these insane Nurse Ratched's lording over grown men and women treating them like criminals, and infantiles, and the constant berating and recriminations. It was anything but social work 101. Anything but trauma-informed care. Anything but caring people, enlightened helpers; instead, think mean, warped people who within their own broken self's, do all the wrong things for veterans.

I decided to jump ship, and, alas, a few lawyers advised me I couldn't get far with a hostile workplace complaint until I went through the state of Oregon's, Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) quasi-judicial pathway.

There was great harm put upon the veterans, great harm put upon the staff, because a director was all into herself and her self-described Jesus Saves bullshit, yammering on about her former cocaine addiction and booze abuse and 350 pounds of flesh, as well as her own failings as a mother. This place has 100 people living in it temporarily, while Starvation Army receives taxpayer money, all part of the poverty pimping Starvation/Salvation Army's SOP.

In the end, relying on idiots in any state bureaucracy to carry forth an investigation was not my idea of justice. I did my due diligence and filed grievances, first with the Starvation Army, and, then with BOLI. I contacted VA officials, state politicians, and the media. To no avail. They too are accomplices!

To make a long and stupid Byzantine story short, my prediction of zero assistance and zero admonishing from the state to the executive director and the higher ups of the Starvation Army played out. BOLI is a toothless and empty-hearted agency, staffed by soulless Little Eichmann's counting their paychecks and amassing points to their state sourced pension fund.

I have moved on, as usual, and the injustice perpetrated upon me is minor in the scheme of things. The veterans, however, already foisted with trauma, PTSD, administrative rape, etc., are still vulnerable to the Nurse Ratched's of the inhumane social services that serves (sic) non-profits and religious crime syndicates like the Starvation Army.

Here , "How the Salvation Army Lives Off (and thrives with) a Special Brand of Poverty Pimping"

Here , "Alcohol, Atheism, Anarchy: The Triple A Threat to the Pro-Capitalist Salvation Army"

Here , "Insanity of Social Work as Human Control"

I have since my departure been in contact with a few veterans, and talked a few off the proverbial ledge -- several that wanted to off themselves because of the Nurse Ratched's they encounter at the Starvation Army, in the VA, and in non-profits. This is the reality, and it's sick, in real perverted American time -- "Hundreds witness veteran shoot and kill himself in VA waiting room"

In December, Marine Col. Jim Turner, 55, put his service uniform on, drove to the Bay Pines Department of Veterans Affairs, and shot himself outside the medical center, leaving a note next to his body. "I bet if you look at the 22 suicides a day you will see VA screwed up in 90 percent," it read.

This is Trump, this is Biden, this is Clinton, this is the lot of them, callous and broken capitalists, who have sold their souls to the devil and brains to Jeff Bezos, et al . And it ain't going to get fixed until we cut away the cancer. Really cut away, daily, in small acts of defiance, great collective acts of beating the system. Not sure what that great director Ava Duvernay says about more and more movies like her 13th or this new Netflix mini-series on the Central Park Five , When They See Us will do to eventually get enough Americans (70 percent are racist to the core) to demand change in the criminal injustice system of private prisons, Incarceration Complex, Profitable Prosecutions. That all those cops, dailies, elites, deplorables, Trumpies, and Trump said terrible terrible things about these 5 juveniles, calling them animals, or super predators like the Clinton Klan, well, imagine, an insane 2016 runner for the highest crime lord position of the land, POTUS, Donald Trump, after these five men were released after all the evidence found them innocent, sputtering with his big fat billionaire's fourth grader's words that the Central Park Five are guilty, guilty, guilty.

The press coverage was biased. There was a study done by Natalie Byfield, one of the journalists at the time for the New York papers who later wrote a book about covering the case, and it saw that a little more than 89 percent of the press coverage at the time didn't use the word "alleged," that we had irresponsibility in the press corps at the time not to ask second questions and literally take police and prosecutor talking points and turn those into articles that people read as fact, and proceeded to shape their opinions about this case that essentially spoils the jury pool, so that these boys were never given a chance.

Trump's comments in his ads that he took out in 1989 were taken out just two weeks after the crime was announced -- they hadn't even gone to trial, so it was impossible for them to have an impartial jury pool. The printing of their names in the papers for minors, and where they lived, was a jaw-dropper. All of this was done by "reputable" papers in New York that we still read, so I'm curious how these papers take responsibility for their part in this, and also possibly use this to review the part they play in other cases that may not be as famous as this.

Thus, she makes my case -- the callous and racist and sexist and xenophobic US Press, and here we are today, 2019, enter Amusing Ourselves to Death and a Brave New World .

The greatest triumphs of propaganda have been accomplished, not by doing something, but by refraining from doing. Great is truth, but still greater, from a practical point of view, is silence about truth.

-- Aldous Huxley, Brave New World , "Preface"

Alas, though, we have to keep those words coming, even sent to the great gray hearts and souls populating those state agencies whose workers are supposed to investigate the workplace safety concerns of workers, and are supposed to prevent workplace harassment.

I write to break through the fog, and to envelop a new way of seeing my world, for me and for the few readers that dabble in even attempting to start, let alone finish, these missives.

Huxley was right -- " Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly -- they'll go through anything. You read and you're pierced." Brave New World , "Chapter 4"

Paul Kirk Haeder has been a journalist since 1977. He's covered police, environment, planning and zoning, county and city politics, as well as working in true small town/community journalism situations in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Mexico and beyond. He's been a part-time faculty since 1983, and as such has worked in prisons, gang-influenced programs, universities, colleges, alternative high schools, language schools, as a private contractor-writing instructor for US military in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Washington. He organized Part-time faulty in Washington State. His book, Reimagining Sanity: Voices Beyond the Echo Chamber (2016), looks at 10 years of his writing at Dissident Voice . Read his autobiography, weekly or bi-weekly musings and hard hitting work in chapter installments, at LA Progressive . He blogs from Otis, Oregon. Read other articles by Paul , or visit Paul's website .

[Jun 14, 2019] Total control of narrative means total control of population

Notable quotes:
"... I agree with the premise, that the NARRATIVE is the means by which oligarchy rules the masses. ..."
"... As Mencken stated (approx) "the common man avoids the truth [because] it is dangerous, no good can come of it, and it doesn't pay." ..."
"... Americans are propagandized from childhood, and it's very hard for most to break free, even if they want to. In my case, a rather abusive childhood made me disinclined to accept conventional wisdom. ..."
"... The proverbial man in the street is well aware that capitalism/politics is a racket and openly say so. ..."
"... The falling numbers in the 'democracies' who now bother to vote is an indication of this, as is the growing political unrest in the heartlands of the Anglo-Zionist empire. It is not possible to 'fool all of the people all of the time'. Whether they do anything about it is another matter. ..."
"... These are dangerous times, but that is the usual condition when the structure of any social and political order is beginning to crumble. Ultimately, the Anglo-Zionist empire is, to use Lenin's description 'A colossus with feet of clay.' No empire lasts forever, and the US is not exceptional in this respect. The real problem is that the demise of the US hegemonic project will taken down the rest of the planet with it. ..."
Jun 14, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

AnneR , June 14, 2019 at 09:35

Thank you Caitlin for this piece. Depressing but not unexpectedly so. And if my late husband's FB friends (as I've mentioned on here before) are anything to go by, the overwhelmingly bourgeois crowd will continue to be *willingly* propagandized with the Russophobic, Sinophobic and Iranophobic lies of commission and omission that regale them via MSDNC, NPR, PBS, BBC and the so-called "progressive" press (e.g. The guardian, Jacobin, the NYT).

These friends post pro-Demrat, pro-Russiagate, consider the choice to be between Warren and Klobuchar (?), and concentrate their minds on *progressive* ideations: sexual preference/"gender" identity/racial/ethnic identity and now and then a little on climate change (especially via the "green ND" – saving capitalism being all consuming or ignored). Never a word about income inequality, about the ongoing slaughter in Yemen, of the ongoing, never-ending nightmare of Palestinian life, of what we have done to Libya, Iraq or Afghanistan or are doing to Syria. Not a word about the immorality, illegality of our economic sanctions against NK, VZ, Iran nooo. Nary a peep about what we (US-UK-AU) are doing to Assange .

These really existing realities as lived by "others" whether the poor within these borders or the darker hued folks far from these shores do *not* matter one iota, certainly not by comparison with being able to vacation in this or that place, buy a bigger house, more clothes, demonstrate one's *Progressiveness.*

Lee Anderson , June 14, 2019 at 09:30

I agree with the premise, that the NARRATIVE is the means by which oligarchy rules the masses.

For example, we are now being inundated with the NARRATIVE that Iran is attacking Japanese oil tankers. Pure nonsense, but the media is an adjunct of the bankster/military/oil industrial complex.

Politicians are merely puppets doing the bidding of their pay masters.

Sam F , June 14, 2019 at 05:46

Yes, money control of mass media is the problem. Such articles may help some with doubts to formulate an awareness that leads to admission of the problem. The major factor in admissions is the rare direct experience, which may include a story close to home, a personal loss due to narrative control. Of course the majority seek the mass media narrative because it directs them to safety and profit in their social and economic dependent relationships. Our unregulated market economy encourages the selfishness that enslaves the people to money power. As Mencken stated (approx) "the common man avoids the truth [because] it is dangerous, no good can come of it, and it doesn't pay."

I hope to set up a college of policy debate CPD constituted to protect all points of view, and to conduct moderated text-only debate among experts of several disciplines, of the status and possibilities of each world region, and the policy options. Debate summaries commented by all sides are to be made available for public study and comment. The CPD would bring the knowledge of society into public debate, educate the electorate, discourage propaganda, and expose the wrongs of society and the corruption of government that desperately needs reform.

The debates will require a higher standard of argument in foreign and domestic policy on both right and left, ensure that all points of view are heard, and require all challenges to be answered. This would have much reduced the group-think that led to our mad wars since WWII. Extreme and naïve politicians will be easier to expose, and media commentators will have a starting point and a standard for investigation and analysis.

Zhu , June 14, 2019 at 04:14

Americans are propagandized from childhood, and it's very hard for most to break free, even if they want to. In my case, a rather abusive childhood made me disinclined to accept conventional wisdom.

Donald Duck , June 14, 2019 at 03:18

"The mass of men live lives of quiet desperation." I have forgotten who actually said this but it seems appropriate for our age. I think the mass of people are very well aware of what is going on. The proverbial man in the street is well aware that capitalism/politics is a racket and openly say so.

The falling numbers in the 'democracies' who now bother to vote is an indication of this, as is the growing political unrest in the heartlands of the Anglo-Zionist empire. It is not possible to 'fool all of the people all of the time'. Whether they do anything about it is another matter.

If note is taken of the David Icke phenomenon it is possible to identify a growing awareness of the of ordinary people to the crimes of the rich and powerful.

These are dangerous times, but that is the usual condition when the structure of any social and political order is beginning to crumble. Ultimately, the Anglo-Zionist empire is, to use Lenin's description 'A colossus with feet of clay.' No empire lasts forever, and the US is not exceptional in this respect. The real problem is that the demise of the US hegemonic project will taken down the rest of the planet with it.

Zhu , June 14, 2019 at 04:21

"Quiet desperation" is ftom Thoreau. The colossus with the feet of clay is the Biblical book of Daniel, the dream of Nebuchadnezzar.

Neither Reptilans nor Zionists make us Americans commit the crimes and follies we do. We oirselves are responsible.

T.J , June 14, 2019 at 02:43

Caitlin Johnstone has concisely and precisely, in this article, provided a compendium of ideas and sources to explain how the powerful through it's control of propaganda corrupts democracy to the core. Laziness, ignorance and acceptance of the status quo prevents the vast majority from acknowledging this to be the case. As Caitlin states it takes courage to reject the "narrative control matrix " of the powerful and that can only be achieved by changing our relationship with that narrative. This, of course, takes time and effort but is liberating nonetheless.

[Jun 11, 2019] The Omnipresent Surveillance State: Orwell s 1984 Is No Longer Fiction by John W. Whitehead

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Surveillance cameras are everywhere. Government agents listen in on our telephone calls and read our emails. Political correctness -- a philosophy that discourages diversity -- has become a guiding principle of modern society. ..."
"... We are increasingly ruled by multi-corporations wedded to the police state. ..."
"... What many fail to realize is that the government is not operating alone. It cannot. The government requires an accomplice. Thus, the increasingly complex security needs of the massive federal government, especially in the areas of defense, surveillance and data management, have been met within the corporate sector, which has shown itself to be a powerful ally that both depends on and feeds the growth of governmental overreach. ..."
"... In fact, Big Tech wedded to Big Government has become Big Brother, and we are now ruled by the Corporate Elite whose tentacles have spread worldwide. For example, USA Today reports that five years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the homeland security business was booming to such an extent that it eclipsed mature enterprises like movie-making and the music industry in annual revenue. This security spending to private corporations such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft and others is forecast to exceed $1 trillion in the near future. ..."
"... Everything from cell phone recordings and logs, to emails, to text messages, to personal information posted on social networking sites, to credit card statements, to library circulation records, to credit card histories, etc., is collected by the NSA and shared freely with its agents in crime: the CIA, FBI and DHS. One NSA researcher actually quit the Aquaint program, "citing concerns over the dangers in placing such a powerful weapon in the hands of a top-secret agency with little accountability." ..."
Jun 11, 2019 | www.theburningplatform.com

"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." -- George Orwell, 1984

Tread cautiously: the fiction of George Orwell has become an operation manual for the omnipresent, modern-day surveillance state .

It's been 70 years since Orwell -- dying, beset by fever and bloody coughing fits, and driven to warn against the rise of a society in which rampant abuse of power and mass manipulation are the norm -- depicted the ominous rise of ubiquitous technology, fascism and totalitarianism in 1984 .

Who could have predicted that 70 years after Orwell typed the final words to his dystopian novel, "He loved Big Brother," we would fail to heed his warning and come to love Big Brother.

"To the future or to the past, to a time when thought is free, when men are different from one another and do not live alone -- to a time when truth exists and what is done cannot be undone: From the age of uniformity, from the age of solitude, from the age of Big Brother, from the age of doublethink -- greetings!" -- George Orwell

1984 portrays a global society of total control in which people are not allowed to have thoughts that in any way disagree with the corporate state. There is no personal freedom, and advanced technology has become the driving force behind a surveillance-driven society. Snitches and cameras are everywhere. People are subject to the Thought Police, who deal with anyone guilty of thought crimes.

The government, or "Party," is headed by Big Brother who appears on posters everywhere with the words: "Big Brother is watching you."

We have arrived, way ahead of schedule, into the dystopian future dreamed up by not only Orwell but also such fiction writers as Aldous Huxley, Margaret Atwood and Philip K. Dick.

"If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear."―George Orwell

Much like Orwell's Big Brother in 1984 , the government and its corporate spies now watch our every move. Much like Huxley's A Brave New World , we are churning out a society of watchers who "have their liberties taken away from them, but rather enjoy it, because they [are] distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing." Much like Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale , the populace is now taught to "know their place and their duties, to understand that they have no real rights but will be protected up to a point if they conform, and to think so poorly of themselves that they will accept their assigned fate and not rebel or run away ."

And in keeping with Philip K. Dick's darkly prophetic vision of a dystopian police state -- which became the basis for Steven Spielberg's futuristic thriller Minority Report -- we are now trapped in a world in which the government is all-seeing, all-knowing and all-powerful, and if you dare to step out of line, dark-clad police SWAT teams and pre-crime units will crack a few skulls to bring the populace under control.

What once seemed futuristic no longer occupies the realm of science fiction.

Incredibly, as the various nascent technologies employed and shared by the government and corporations alike -- facial recognition, iris scanners, massive databases, behavior prediction software, and so on -- are incorporated into a complex, interwoven cyber network aimed at tracking our movements, predicting our thoughts and controlling our behavior, the dystopian visions of past writers is fast becoming our reality .

Our world is characterized by widespread surveillance, behavior prediction technologies, data mining, fusion centers, driverless cars, voice-controlled homes , facial recognition systems, cybugs and drones, and predictive policing (pre-crime) aimed at capturing would-be criminals before they can do any damage.

Surveillance cameras are everywhere. Government agents listen in on our telephone calls and read our emails. Political correctness -- a philosophy that discourages diversity -- has become a guiding principle of modern society.

"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."―George Orwell

The courts have shredded the Fourth Amendment's protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. In fact, SWAT teams battering down doors without search warrants and FBI agents acting as a secret police that investigate dissenting citizens are common occurrences in contemporary America. And bodily privacy and integrity have been utterly eviscerated by a prevailing view that Americans have no rights over what happens to their bodies during an encounter with government officials, who are allowed to search, seize, strip, scan, spy on, probe, pat down, taser, and arrest any individual at any time and for the slightest provocation.

"The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which."―George Orwell, Animal Farm

We are increasingly ruled by multi-corporations wedded to the police state.

What many fail to realize is that the government is not operating alone. It cannot. The government requires an accomplice. Thus, the increasingly complex security needs of the massive federal government, especially in the areas of defense, surveillance and data management, have been met within the corporate sector, which has shown itself to be a powerful ally that both depends on and feeds the growth of governmental overreach.

In fact, Big Tech wedded to Big Government has become Big Brother, and we are now ruled by the Corporate Elite whose tentacles have spread worldwide. For example, USA Today reports that five years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the homeland security business was booming to such an extent that it eclipsed mature enterprises like movie-making and the music industry in annual revenue. This security spending to private corporations such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft and others is forecast to exceed $1 trillion in the near future.

The government now has at its disposal technological arsenals so sophisticated and invasive as to render any constitutional protections null and void. Spearheaded by the NSA, which has shown itself to care little to nothing for constitutional limits or privacy, the "security/industrial complex" -- a marriage of government, military and corporate interests aimed at keeping Americans under constant surveillance -- has come to dominate the government and our lives. At three times the size of the CIA, constituting one third of the intelligence budget and with its own global spy network to boot, the NSA has a long history of spying on Americans, whether or not it has always had the authorization to do so.

Money, power, control. There is no shortage of motives fueling the convergence of mega-corporations and government. But who is paying the price? The American people, of course.

Orwell understood what many Americans, caught up in their partisan flag-waving, are still struggling to come to terms with: that there is no such thing as a government organized for the good of the people. Even the best intentions among those in government inevitably give way to the desire to maintain power and control over the citizenry at all costs. As Orwell explains:

The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just around the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know what no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now you begin to understand me.

"The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it." ― George Orwell

How do you change the way people think? You start by changing the words they use.

In totalitarian regimes -- a.k.a. police states -- where conformity and compliance are enforced at the end of a loaded gun, the government dictates what words can and cannot be used. In countries where the police state hides behind a benevolent mask and disguises itself as tolerance, the citizens censor themselves, policing their words and thoughts to conform to the dictates of the mass mind.

Dystopian literature shows what happens when the populace is transformed into mindless automatons. In Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 , reading is banned and books are burned in order to suppress dissenting ideas, while televised entertainment is used to anesthetize the populace and render them easily pacified, distracted and controlled.

In Huxley's Brave New World , serious literature, scientific thinking and experimentation are banned as subversive, while critical thinking is discouraged through the use of conditioning, social taboos and inferior education. Likewise, expressions of individuality, independence and morality are viewed as vulgar and abnormal.

And in Orwell's 1984 , Big Brother does away with all undesirable and unnecessary words and meanings, even going so far as to routinely rewrite history and punish "thoughtcrimes." In this dystopian vision of the future, the Thought Police serve as the eyes and ears of Big Brother, while the Ministry of Peace deals with war and defense, the Ministry of Plenty deals with economic affairs (rationing and starvation), the Ministry of Love deals with law and order (torture and brainwashing), and the Ministry of Truth deals with news, entertainment, education and art (propaganda). The mottos of Oceania: WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, and IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.

All three -- Bradbury, Huxley and Orwell -- had an uncanny knack for realizing the future, yet it is Orwell who best understood the power of language to manipulate the masses. Orwell's Big Brother relied on Newspeak to eliminate undesirable words, strip such words as remained of unorthodox meanings and make independent, non-government-approved thought altogether unnecessary. To give a single example, as psychologist Erich Fromm illustrates in his afterword to 1984 :

The word free still existed in Newspeak, but it could only be used in such statements as "This dog is free from lice" or "This field is free from weeds." It could not be used in its old sense of "politically free" or "intellectually free," since political and intellectual freedom no longer existed as concepts .

Where we stand now is at the juncture of OldSpeak (where words have meanings, and ideas can be dangerous) and Newspeak (where only that which is "safe" and "accepted" by the majority is permitted). The power elite has made their intentions clear: they will pursue and prosecute any and all words, thoughts and expressions that challenge their authority.

This is the final link in the police state chain.

"Until they became conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious." -- George Orwell

Americans have been conditioned to accept routine incursions on their privacy rights . In fact, the addiction to screen devices -- especially cell phones -- has created a hive effect where the populace not only watched but is controlled by AI bots. However, at one time, the idea of a total surveillance state tracking one's every move would have been abhorrent to most Americans. That all changed with the 9/11 attacks. As professor Jeffrey Rosen observes, "Before Sept. 11, the idea that Americans would voluntarily agree to live their lives under the gaze of a network of biometric surveillance cameras, peering at them in government buildings, shopping malls, subways and stadiums, would have seemed unthinkable, a dystopian fantasy of a society that had surrendered privacy and anonymity ."

Having been reduced to a cowering citizenry -- mute in the face of elected officials who refuse to represent us, helpless in the face of police brutality, powerless in the face of militarized tactics and technology that treat us like enemy combatants on a battlefield, and naked in the face of government surveillance that sees and hears all -- we have nowhere left to go.

We have, so to speak, gone from being a nation where privacy is king to one where nothing is safe from the prying eyes of government. In search of so-called terrorists and extremists hiding amongst us -- the proverbial "needle in a haystack," as one official termed it -- the Corporate State has taken to monitoring all aspects of our lives, from cell phone calls and emails to Internet activity and credit card transactions. Much of this data is being fed through fusion centers across the country, which work with the Department of Homeland Security to make threat assessments on every citizen, including school children. These are state and regional intelligence centers that collect data on you.

"Big Brother is Watching You."―George Orwell

Wherever you go and whatever you do, you are now being watched, especially if you leave behind an electronic footprint. When you use your cell phone, you leave a record of when the call was placed, who you called, how long it lasted and even where you were at the time. When you use your ATM card, you leave a record of where and when you used the card. There is even a video camera at most locations equipped with facial recognition software. When you use a cell phone or drive a car enabled with GPS, you can be tracked by satellite. Such information is shared with government agents, including local police. And all of this once-private information about your consumer habits, your whereabouts and your activities is now being fed to the U.S. government.

The government has nearly inexhaustible resources when it comes to tracking our movements, from electronic wiretapping devices, traffic cameras and biometrics to radio-frequency identification cards, satellites and Internet surveillance.

Speech recognition technology now makes it possible for the government to carry out massive eavesdropping by way of sophisticated computer systems. Phone calls can be monitored, the audio converted to text files and stored in computer databases indefinitely. And if any "threatening" words are detected -- no matter how inane or silly -- the record can be flagged and assigned to a government agent for further investigation. Federal and state governments, again working with private corporations, monitor your Internet content. Users are profiled and tracked in order to identify, target and even prosecute them.

In such a climate, everyone is a suspect. And you're guilty until you can prove yourself innocent. To underscore this shift in how the government now views its citizens, the FBI uses its wide-ranging authority to investigate individuals or groups, regardless of whether they are suspected of criminal activity.

"Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimetres inside your skull." ― George Orwell

Here's what a lot of people fail to understand, however: it's not just what you say or do that is being monitored, but how you think that is being tracked and targeted. We've already seen this play out on the state and federal level with hate crime legislation that cracks down on so-called "hateful" thoughts and expression, encourages self-censoring and reduces free debate on various subject matter.

Say hello to the new Thought Police .

Total Internet surveillance by the Corporate State, as omnipresent as God, is used by the government to predict and, more importantly, control the populace, and it's not as far-fetched as you might think. For example, the NSA is now designing an artificial intelligence system that is designed to anticipate your every move. In a nutshell, the NSA will feed vast amounts of the information it collects to a computer system known as Aquaint (the acronym stands for Advanced QUestion Answering for INTelligence), which the computer can then use to detect patterns and predict behavior.

No information is sacred or spared.

Everything from cell phone recordings and logs, to emails, to text messages, to personal information posted on social networking sites, to credit card statements, to library circulation records, to credit card histories, etc., is collected by the NSA and shared freely with its agents in crime: the CIA, FBI and DHS. One NSA researcher actually quit the Aquaint program, "citing concerns over the dangers in placing such a powerful weapon in the hands of a top-secret agency with little accountability."

Thus, what we are witnessing, in the so-called name of security and efficiency, is the creation of a new class system comprised of the watched (average Americans such as you and me) and the watchers (government bureaucrats, technicians and private corporations).

Clearly, the age of privacy in America is at an end.

"If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face -- for ever." -- Orwell

So where does that leave us?

We now find ourselves in the unenviable position of being monitored, managed and controlled by our technology, which answers not to us but to our government and corporate rulers. This is the fact-is-stranger-than-fiction lesson that is being pounded into us on a daily basis.

It won't be long before we find ourselves looking back on the past with longing, back to an age where we could speak to whom we wanted, buy what we wanted, think what we wanted without those thoughts, words and activities being tracked, processed and stored by corporate giants such as Google, sold to government agencies such as the NSA and CIA, and used against us by militarized police with their army of futuristic technologies.

To be an individual today, to not conform, to have even a shred of privacy, and to live beyond the reach of the government's roaming eyes and technological spies, one must not only be a rebel but rebel.

Even when you rebel and take your stand, there is rarely a happy ending awaiting you. You are rendered an outlaw.

So how do you survive in the American surveillance state?

We're running out of options

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People , we'll soon have to choose between self-indulgence (the bread-and-circus distractions offered up by the news media, politicians, sports conglomerates, entertainment industry, etc.) and self-preservation in the form of renewed vigilance about threats to our freedoms and active engagement in self-governance.

Yet as Aldous Huxley acknowledged in Brave New World Revisited : "Only the vigilant can maintain their liberties, and only those who are constantly and intelligently on the spot can hope to govern themselves effectively by democratic procedures. A society, most of whose members spend a great part of their time, not on the spot, not here and now and in their calculable future, but somewhere else, in the irrelevant other worlds of sport and soap opera, of mythology and metaphysical fantasy, will find it hard to resist the encroachments of those would manipulate and control it."

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BB

I'm going through a Department of Defense background check right now and it's not so bad. The thing is they already know everything damn there is to know about me. How do I know this ? Because I can pull up on their computers what they already know. It's to help guys like me pass or at least that's what they say.
They got us by the balls now . How can you fight something like this Unless you take down the whole electric grid. Only God knows the horror that would bring.

grace country pastor

"The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it." – Orwell

Galatians 4:16 KJB "Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?" – Paul

Boat Guy

It is serious concern the move from a free republic to a corporate state with armed government badge wearing just doing my job minions existing in comfort thanks to the confiscatory tax and asset forfeiture programs in play by the circle jerk of Wall Street to K-Street to Capitol Street .
Sadly the people of honor and integrity that could initiate a Nuremberg style justice system upon those in power and control will quickly be stricken down by minions unaccountable thanks to nonsense like the patriot act and FISA courts . So much for the bill of Rights that is supposed to be the impenetrable shield protecting Americans from government . Our alleged honor and oath bound representatives have been able to turn it into Swiss cheese !
Refuse & Resist , Forget Me Not !

Hollywood Rob

Yes, and they do this using the tactics described in plain sight. You can download their bible if you like. It's free.

https://monoskop.org/images/4/4d/Alinsky_Saul_D_Rules_for_Radicals_A_Practical_Primer_for_Realistic_Radicals.pdf

KaD

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/surveillance-tool-coming-u-skies-080010177.html

[May 14, 2019] 1984 Turns 70-Years-Old In A World That Looks A Lot Like The Book

Notable quotes:
"... In the world of Nineteen Eighty-Four , there is an all-encompassing surveillance state that keeps a watchful eye on everyone, in search of possible rebels and points of resistance. ..."
"... Censorship is the norm in this world, and is so extreme that individuals can become "unpersons" who are essentially deleted from society because their ideas were considered dangerous by the establishment. This is an idea that is very familiar to activists and independent journalists who are being removed from the public conversation for speaking out about government and corporate corruption on social media. ..."
"... Orwell is famous for coining the term "double-speak," which is a way to describe the euphemistic language that government uses to whitewash their most dirty deeds. For example, in Orwell's story, the ministry of propaganda was called the Ministry of Truth, just as today the government agency that was once known as "The Department of War," is now called the "Department of Defense." ..."
"... "Sometimes the man who looks happiest in town, with the biggest smile, is the one carrying the biggest load of sin. There are smiles and smiles; learn to tell the dark variety from the light. The seal-barker, the laugh-shouter, half the time he's covering up. He's had his fun and he's guilty. And men do love sin, oh how they love it, never doubt, in all shapes, sizes, colors, and smells." ..."
"... Unfortunately, just like in Orwell's book, people in the modern world are so distracted by entertainment and the divided by politics that they have no idea they are living in a tyrannical police state. ..."
"... "We are not at war with Eurasia. You are being made into obedient, stupid slaves of the Party." -Emmanuel Goldstein ..."
May 14, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

1984 Turns 70-Years-Old In A World That Looks A Lot Like The Book

by Tyler Durden Tue, 05/14/2019 - 16:25 0 SHARES Twitter Facebook Reddit Email Print Authored by John Vibes via ActivistPost.com,

This month, George Orwell's legendary novel Nineteen Eighty-Four turns 70 years old, and the warnings contained within the story are now more relevant than ever. Orwell's predictions were so spot on that it almost seems like it was used as some type of accidental instruction manual for would-be tyrants.

In the world of Nineteen Eighty-Four , there is an all-encompassing surveillance state that keeps a watchful eye on everyone, in search of possible rebels and points of resistance.

Censorship is the norm in this world, and is so extreme that individuals can become "unpersons" who are essentially deleted from society because their ideas were considered dangerous by the establishment. This is an idea that is very familiar to activists and independent journalists who are being removed from the public conversation for speaking out about government and corporate corruption on social media.

Orwell is famous for coining the term "double-speak," which is a way to describe the euphemistic language that government uses to whitewash their most dirty deeds. For example, in Orwell's story, the ministry of propaganda was called the Ministry of Truth, just as today the government agency that was once known as "The Department of War," is now called the "Department of Defense."

There was also never-ending war in Orwell's story, the conditions of which would change on a regular basis, keeping the general population confused about conflicts so they give up on trying to understand what is actually going on. Some of these predictions were merely recognitions of patterns in human history, since the idea of "unpersons" and war propaganda is nothing new. However, Orwell had an incredible understanding of how technology was going to progress over the 20th century, and he was able to envision how technology would be used by those in power to control the masses.

The technological predictions made in the book were truly uncanny, as they give a fairly accurate description of our modern world. Orwell described "telescreens," which acted as both an entertainment device and a two-way communication device. This type of technology was predicted by many futurists at the time, but Orwell's prediction was unique because he suggested that these devices would be used by the government to spy on people, through microphones and cameras built into the devices.

Unfortunately, just like in Orwell's book, people in the modern world are so distracted by entertainment and the divided by politics that they have no idea they are living in a tyrannical police state. This police state was also a strong deterrent in the world of Nineteen Eighty-Four , because although many of the citizens in the book had a positive opinion of "big brother," it was still something that they feared, and it was a force that kept them in control. Of course, this is not much different from the attitude that the average American or European has when confronted with police brutality and government corruption.

Many of the ideas about power and authority that were expressed in Orwell's classic are timeless and as old as recorded history ; but his analysis of how technology would amplify the destructive nature of power was incredibly unique, especially for his time.


wonder warthog , 2 minutes ago link

Not to stray too far, I always liked the part in Ray Bradbury's "Something Wicked This Way Comes":

"Sometimes the man who looks happiest in town, with the biggest smile, is the one carrying the biggest load of sin. There are smiles and smiles; learn to tell the dark variety from the light. The seal-barker, the laugh-shouter, half the time he's covering up. He's had his fun and he's guilty. And men do love sin, oh how they love it, never doubt, in all shapes, sizes, colors, and smells."

The laugh shouter is one of those government or corporate chuckle-heads that goes along, gets along, and usually spends less than an hour a day actually doing his job. You see them on TV and in every office. Everything out of their mouths has to be punctuated with a chuckle.

sacredfire , 2 minutes ago link

Coincidentially, I am reading it now and when I first started reading it three weeks ago I was stunned at it's accurate depiction of todays America!

Teja , 6 minutes ago link

Regarding the way the world is dis-informed and manipulated by social media comments, try "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card, written in 1985.

Reaper , 7 minutes ago link

The Exceptionals find virtue in trusting their "protectors," aka police/FBI/military/CIA./courts.

wonder warthog , 12 minutes ago link

The thing I remember from the novel was the "versificator" which was a typewriter-like device that allowed historical events to be changed as needed . . . very much like the networked computer.

TahoeBilly2012 , 11 minutes ago link

Facebook recently made me an UnPerson, not joking. I had deleted my acct some years ago, re-registered to man a business page and...haha they rejected me, recent photo and all.

Deep Snorkeler , 21 minutes ago link

Donald Trump's World

He watches TV. That's his primary experience with reality.

He communes with nature solely through manicured golf courses.

A man of empty sensationalism, devoid of real experience,

uneducated, insulated and deeply shallow.

WileyCoyote , 22 minutes ago link

A group of 'servants' possessing a monopoly of force and using it to rule over others has never worked out well for the 'citizens' in the long run.

hedgeless_horseman , 28 minutes ago link

...and The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

Barbarossa296 , 19 minutes ago link

A great classic by Edward Gibbons. History does indeed repeat itself.

Alananda , 28 minutes ago link

There are a few other books and booklets and letters that also seem eerily prescient. Following modern-day protocols, however, it's best not to mention them in polite company. ;-)

chumbawamba , 22 minutes ago link

To which Protocols do you refer?

-chumblez.

hedgeless_horseman , 32 minutes ago link

Unfortunately, just like in Orwell's book, people in the modern world are so distracted by entertainment and the divided by politics that they have no idea they are living in a tyrannical police state.

Exactly...

"We are not at war with Eurasia. You are being made into obedient, stupid slaves of the Party." -Emmanuel Goldstein

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-05-10/voting-big-brother-you-might-be-low-information-voter

chumbawamba , 28 minutes ago link

"1984", otherwise known as "Plantation Theory 101" to the bloodline elites.

-chumblez.

hedgeless_horseman , 20 minutes ago link

I plan on voting in the local elections, especially for Sheriff and the bond issues. Also, I still think that voting for the quality Libertarian candidates is a better option than not voting, but I do understand your point. But when all else fails, you better be prepared to vote from the rooftops...

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-04-18/political-power-grows-out-barrel-gun-mao-tse-tung

[May 05, 2019] The Left Needs to Stop Crushing on the Generals by Danny Sjursen

Highly recommended!
Pentagon serves Wall Street and is controlled by CIA which is actually can be viewed as a Wall Street arm as well.
Notable quotes:
"... This time, though, the general got to talking about Russia. So I perked up. He made it crystal clear that he saw Moscow as an adversary to be contained, checked, and possibly defeated. There was no nuance, no self-reflection, not even a basic understanding of the general complexity of geopolitics in the 21st century. ..."
"... General It-Doesn't-Matter-His-Name thundered that we need not worry, however, because his tanks and troops could "mop the floor" with the Russians, in a battle that "wouldn't even be close." It was oh-so-typical, another U.S. Army general -- who clearly longs for the Cold War fumes that defined his early career -- overestimating the Russian menace and underestimating Russian military capability . ..."
"... The problem with the vast majority of generals, however, is that they don't think strategically. What they call strategy is really large-scale operations -- deploying massive formations and winning campaigns replete with battles. Many remain mired in the world of tactics, still operating like lieutenants or captains and proving the Peter Principle right, as they get promoted past their respective levels of competence. ..."
"... If America's generals, now and over the last 18 years, really were strategic thinkers, they'd have spoken out about -- and if necessary resigned en masse over -- mission sets that were unwinnable, illegal (in the case of Iraq), and counterproductive . Their oath is to the Constitution, after all, not Emperors Bush, Obama, and Trump. Yet few took that step. It's all symptomatic of the disease of institutionalized intellectual mediocrity. ..."
"... Let's start with Mattis. "Mad Dog" Mattis was so anti-Iran and bellicose in the Persian Gulf that President Barack Obama removed him from command of CENTCOM. ..."
"... Furthermore, the supposedly morally untainted, "intellectual" " warrior monk " chose, when he finally resigned, to do so in response to Trump's altogether reasonable call for a modest troop withdrawal from Afghanistan and Syria. ..."
May 03, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The two-star army general strode across the stage in his rumpled combat fatigues, almost like George Patton -- all that was missing was the cigar and riding crop. It was 2017 and I was in the audience, just another mid-level major attending yet another mandatory lecture in the auditorium of the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

The general then commanded one of the Army's two true armored divisions and had plenty of his tanks forward deployed in Eastern Europe, all along the Russian frontier. Frankly, most CGSC students couldn't stand these talks. Substance always seemed lacking, as each general reminded us to "take care of soldiers" and "put the mission first," before throwing us a few nuggets of conventional wisdom on how to be good staff officers should we get assigned to his vaunted command.

This time, though, the general got to talking about Russia. So I perked up. He made it crystal clear that he saw Moscow as an adversary to be contained, checked, and possibly defeated. There was no nuance, no self-reflection, not even a basic understanding of the general complexity of geopolitics in the 21st century. Generals can be like that -- utterly "in-the-box," "can-do" thinkers. They take pride in how little they discuss policy and politics, even when they command tens of thousands of troops and control entire districts, provinces, or countries. There is some value in this -- we'd hardly want active generals meddling in U.S. domestic affairs. But they nonetheless can take the whole "aw shucks" act a bit too far.

General It-Doesn't-Matter-His-Name thundered that we need not worry, however, because his tanks and troops could "mop the floor" with the Russians, in a battle that "wouldn't even be close." It was oh-so-typical, another U.S. Army general -- who clearly longs for the Cold War fumes that defined his early career -- overestimating the Russian menace and underestimating Russian military capability . Of course, it was all cloaked in the macho bravado so common among generals who think that talking like sergeants will win them street cred with the troops. (That's not their job anymore, mind you.) He said nothing, of course, about the role of mid- and long-range nuclear weapons that could be the catastrophic consequence of an unnecessary war with the Russian Bear.

I got to thinking about that talk recently as I reflected in wonder at how the latest generation of mainstream "liberals" loves to fawn over generals, admirals -- any flag officers, really -- as alternatives to President Donald Trump. The irony of that alliance should not be lost on us. It's built on the standard Democratic fear of looking "soft" on terrorism, communism, or whatever-ism, and their visceral, blinding hatred of Trump. Some of this is understandable. Conservative Republicans masterfully paint liberals as "weak sisters" on foreign policy, and Trump's administration is, well, a wild card in world affairs.

The problem with the vast majority of generals, however, is that they don't think strategically. What they call strategy is really large-scale operations -- deploying massive formations and winning campaigns replete with battles. Many remain mired in the world of tactics, still operating like lieutenants or captains and proving the Peter Principle right, as they get promoted past their respective levels of competence.

If America's generals, now and over the last 18 years, really were strategic thinkers, they'd have spoken out about -- and if necessary resigned en masse over -- mission sets that were unwinnable, illegal (in the case of Iraq), and counterproductive . Their oath is to the Constitution, after all, not Emperors Bush, Obama, and Trump. Yet few took that step. It's all symptomatic of the disease of institutionalized intellectual mediocrity. More of the same is all they know: their careers were built on fighting "terror" anywhere it raised its evil head. Some, though no longer most, still subscribe to the faux intellectualism of General Petraeus and his legion of Coindinistas , who never saw a problem that a little regime change, followed by expert counterinsurgency, couldn't solve. Forget that they've been proven wrong time and again and can count zero victories since 2002. Generals (remember this!) are never held accountable.

Flag officers also rarely seem to recognize that they owe civilian policymakers more than just tactical "how" advice. They ought to be giving "if" advice -- if we invade Iraq, it will take 500,000 troops to occupy the place, and even then we'll ultimately destabilize the country and region, justify al-Qaeda's worldview, kick off a nationalist insurgency, and become immersed in an unwinnable war. Some, like Army Chief General Eric Shinseki and CENTCOM head John Abizaid, seemed to know this deep down. Still, Shinseki quietly retired after standing up to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and Abizaid rode out his tour to retirement.

Trump Scores, Breaks Generals' 50-Year War Record Afghanistan and America's 'Indispensable Nation' Hubris

Generals also love to tell the American people that victory is "just around the corner," or that there's a "light at the end of the tunnel." General William Westmoreland used the very same language when predicting imminent victory in Vietnam. Two months later, the North Vietnamese and Vietcong unleashed the largest uprising of the war, the famed Tet Offensive.

Take Afghanistan as exhibit A: 17 or so generals have now commanded U.S. troops in this, America's longest war. All have commanded within the system and framework of their predecessors. Sure, they made marginal operational and tactical changes -- some preferred surges, others advising, others counterterror -- but all failed to achieve anything close to victory, instead laundering failure into false optimism. None refused to play the same-old game or question the very possibility of victory in landlocked, historically xenophobic Afghanistan. That would have taken real courage, which is in short supply among senior officers.

Exhibit B involves Trump's former cabinet generals -- National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, Chief of Staff John Kelley, and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis -- whom adoring and desperate liberals took as saviors and canonized as the supposed adults in the room . They were no such thing. The generals' triumvirate consisted ultimately of hawkish conventional thinkers married to the dogma of American exceptionalism and empire. Period.

Let's start with Mattis. "Mad Dog" Mattis was so anti-Iran and bellicose in the Persian Gulf that President Barack Obama removed him from command of CENTCOM.

Furthermore, the supposedly morally untainted, "intellectual" " warrior monk " chose, when he finally resigned, to do so in response to Trump's altogether reasonable call for a modest troop withdrawal from Afghanistan and Syria.

Helping Saudi Arabia terror bomb Yemen and starve 85,000 children to death? Mattis rebuked Congress and supported that. He never considered resigning in opposition to that war crime. No, he fell on his "courageous" sword over downgrading a losing 17-year-old war in Afghanistan. Not to mention he came to Trump's cabinet straight from the board of contracting giant General Dynamics, where he collected hundreds of thousands of military-industrial complex dollars.

Then there was John Kelley, whom Press Secretary Sarah Sanders implied was above media questioning because he was once a four-star marine general. And there's McMaster, another lauded intellectual who once wrote an interesting book and taught history at West Point. Yet he still drew all the wrong conclusions in his famous book on Vietnam -- implying that more troops, more bombing, and a mass invasion of North Vietnam could have won the war. Furthermore, his work with Mattis on Trump's unhinged , imperial National Defense Strategy proved that he was, after all, just another devotee of American hyper-interventionism.

So why reflect on these and other Washington generals? It's simple: liberal veneration for these, and seemingly all, military flag officers is a losing proposition and a formula for more intervention, possible war with other great powers, and the creeping militarization of the entire U.S. government. We know what the generals expect -- and potentially want -- for America's foreign policy future.

Just look at the curriculum at the various war and staff colleges from Kansas to Rhode Island. Ten years ago, they were all running war games focused on counterinsurgency in the Middle East and Africa. Now those same schools are drilling for future "contingencies" in the Baltic, Caucasus, and in the South China Sea. Older officers have always lamented the end of the Cold War "good old days," when men were men and the battlefield was "simple." A return to a state of near-war with Russia and China is the last thing real progressives should be pushing for in 2020.

The bottom line is this: the faint hint that mainstream libs would relish a Six Days in May style military coup is more than a little disturbing, no matter what you think of Trump. Democrats must know the damage such a move would do to our ostensible republic. I say: be a patriot. Insist on civilian control of foreign affairs. Even if that means two more years of The Donald.

Danny Sjursen is a retired U.S. Army Major and regular contributor to Truthdig . His work has also appeared in Harper's, the Los Angeles Times , The Nation , Tom Dispatch , and The Hill . He served combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and later taught history at his alma mater, West Point. He is the author of Ghostriders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge . Follow him on Twitter @SkepticalVet .

[ Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author, expressed in an unofficial capacity, and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. government.]

[Apr 05, 2019] "Free" Markets and the Attack on Democracy

Notable quotes:
"... Media consolidation itself has played an enormous role in driving up the cost of political campaigns. How did we get to this second Gilded Age and what lessons can we infer regarding our democratic prospects? ..."
"... Notre Dame University 's Philip Mirowski Never Let a Serious Crisis G to Waste has provided a careful and detailed analysis of this neoliberal movement in American politics. ..."
"... Adam Smith and JS Mill saw markets as non-coercive means to allocate resources and produce goods and services. Neoliberals regarded markets as perfect information processing machines that could provide optimal solutions to all social problems ..."
"... Market is miraculous and a boon to many, but paradoxically only a strong state can assure its arrival and maintenance. Sometimes it may appear that the market is yielding iniquitous or unsustainable outcomes, which my lead to premature or disastrous rejection of its wisdom ..."
"... The neoliberal deification of markets has many parents. This mindset encouraged and was encouraged by a revolt against democracy. The wealthy had always been concerned that a propertyless working class might vote to expropriate them, but neoliberalism gave them further reason to bypass democracy. Markets were seen as better indicators of truth than democratic elections, though that point was seldom expressed as directly ..."
"... Here is FA Hayek's oblique expression of this concern: "if we proceed on the assumption that only the exercises of freedom that the majority will practice are important, we would be certain to create a stagnant society with all the characteristics of unfreedom." ..."
Apr 05, 2019 | www.commondreams.org

Why "free" why not "fair". Neoliberals are as dangerious as Big brother in 1994. Actually neoliberal state is as close to Big Brother regine described in 1994. We have total surveillance, with technological capabiltiies which probably exceed anything rulers of 1984 world possessed, Russiagate as "hour of anger", permanent war for permanent people (and total victory of "democracy") , and of course "[neoliberal] freedom is [debt[ slavery..." in neoliberal MSM.

Fast forward from one Gilded Age to another. Citizens United, granting unions and corporations the right to spend unlimited amounts of money to advocate for and against political candidates, is often regarded as a singularly dangerous challenge to our democratic norms, especially with its infamous assertion that money is speech. Less attention, however, is pad to the context in which this decision occurred, including corporate consolidation in most sectors of the economy, obscene levels of economic inequality, and near religious reverence for deregulated markets.

Media consolidation itself has played an enormous role in driving up the cost of political campaigns. How did we get to this second Gilded Age and what lessons can we infer regarding our democratic prospects?

The post World War II decades saw white working class gains in income made possible by unionization, the GI bill, and a federal commitment to full employment. Positive as these gains were, they carried with them unintended consequences. Workers and employers, having less fear of depression, periodically drove wages and prices up.

Bursts of inflation and an unprecedented profit squeeze led to unemployment even in the midst of inflation, an unprecedented and unexpected circumstance. Blacks had been left out of the full benefits of the New Deal welfare state and raised demands not only for political equality but also for economic opportunity, one of Reconstruction's forgotten promises.

These events provided an opening for a group of academics who had long despised the New Deal welfare state. Notre Dame University 's Philip Mirowski Never Let a Serious Crisis G to Waste has provided a careful and detailed analysis of this neoliberal movement in American politics.

These neoliberals shared with their nineteenth- century predecessors a faith in markets, but with an important difference. Adam Smith and JS Mill saw markets as non-coercive means to allocate resources and produce goods and services. Neoliberals regarded markets as perfect information processing machines that could provide optimal solutions to all social problems. Hence a commitment not only to lift rent control on housing but also to privatize prisons, water and sewer systems, and to deregulate all aspects of personal finance and treat education and health care as commodities to be pursued on unregulated markets. An essential part of this faith in markets is the post Reagan view of corporate consolidation. Combinations are to be judged only on the basis of cheap products to the consumer.

Older antitrust concerns about worker welfare or threat to democracy itself are put aside. Corporate mergers and the emergence of monopoly are seen as reflections of the omniscient market. In practice, however as we shall see, such a tolerant attitude is not applied to worker associations.

Neoliberals differ from their classical predecessors in a second important way. Market is miraculous and a boon to many, but paradoxically only a strong state can assure its arrival and maintenance. Sometimes it may appear that the market is yielding iniquitous or unsustainable outcomes, which my lead to premature or disastrous rejection of its wisdom. The answer to this anger is more markets, but that requires a strong state staffed by neoliberals. They would have the capacity and authority to enact and impose these markets and distract the electorate and divert them into more harmless pursuits. Recognition of the need for a powerful state stands in partial contradiction to the neoliberal's professed deification of pure markets and was seldom presented to public gatherings. As Mirowski put it, neoliberals operated on the basis of a dual truth, an esoteric truth for its top scholars and theorists and an exoteric version for then public. Celebration of the spontaneous market was good enough for Fox News, whereas top neoliberal scholars discussed how to reengineer government in order to recast society.

The signs of neoliberalism are all around us. Worried about student debt? There is a widely advertised financial institution that will refinance your loan. Trapped in prison with no money for bail. There are corporations and products that will take care of that. Cancer cures, money for funerals and burial expenses can all be obtained via the market. Any problem the market creates the market can solve. The implications of this view have been ominous for democracy and social justice.

The neoliberal deification of markets has many parents. This mindset encouraged and was encouraged by a revolt against democracy. The wealthy had always been concerned that a propertyless working class might vote to expropriate them, but neoliberalism gave them further reason to bypass democracy. Markets were seen as better indicators of truth than democratic elections, though that point was seldom expressed as directly.

Here is FA Hayek's oblique expression of this concern: "if we proceed on the assumption that only the exercises of freedom that the majority will practice are important, we would be certain to create a stagnant society with all the characteristics of unfreedom."

The revolt against democracy has occurred on several different levels of the political process. The question of who can vote is just as contested as during Reconstruction, and not just in the South. As during Reconstruction, it does not take the form of explicit racial appeals. The strategy includes further limiting the time polls are open, reduction in the number of polling places, voter identification cards that take time and money to obtain. Who can vote is also a function of the racist legacy of our history, with prohibitions on voting by felons serving to exclude large numbers of potential voters, disproportionately minorities. It should be mentioned more than it is that these techniques also work to the disadvantage of poor whites. Political scientists Walter Dean Burnham and Thomas Ferguson point out: "In Georgia in 1942, for example, turnout topped out at 3.4 percent (that's right, 3.4 percent; no misprint). Why is no mystery: the Jim Crow system pushed virtually all African-Americans out of the system, while the network of poll taxes, registration requirements, literacy tests and other obstacles that was part of that locked out most poor whites from voting, too. Since the civil rights revolution, turnouts in the South have risen fitfully to national levels, amid much pushback, such as the raft of new voter ID requirements (though these are not limited to the South)."

Minorities, poor, and even substantial segments of the working class are further disadvantaged by efforts to defund the labor opposition. Unions have been the one big money source that Democrats had available, but as the party from Bill Clinton on increasingly became a kind of neoliberalism light, embracing corporate trade agreements with a little bit of job training assistance thrown in, unions lost members, many corporations forced decertification elections. Democrats lost not only financial resources but also the ground troops that had mobilized their voters.

One result of and partial driving force behind these changes is that both parties become big money parties. Burnham and Ferguson-( December 2014)- The President and the Democratic Party are almost as dependent on big money – defined, for example, in terms of the percentage of contributions (over $500 or $1000) from the 1 percent as the Republicans. To expect top down money-driven political parties to make strong economic appeals to voters is idle. Instead the Golden Rule dominates: Money-driven parties emphasize appeals to particular interest groups instead of the broad interests of working Americans that would lead their donors to shut their wallets.

As David Stockman, President Reagan's Budget Director once all but confessed,

"in the modern era the party has never really pretended to have much of a mass constituency. It wins elections by rolling up huge percentages of votes in the most affluent classes while seeking to divide middle and working class voters with various special appeals and striving to hold down voting by minorities and the poor."

Challenging this bipartisan money driven establishment becomes even more difficult as state level ballot access laws are notoriously hostile to third parties. Add to this the private, deceptively named Presidential Debate Commission, which specializes in depriving even candidates about whom large segment s of the population are curious access to the widely watched debates. Unfortunately the celebrated voting reform proposal, HR1, though containing some democratic initiatives such as early voting and automatic voter registration, makes it own contribution to economic and political consolidation.

Bruce Dixon, editor of Black Agenda Report, maintains that only two provisions of this bill are likely to become law and both are destructive: "by raising the qualifying amount from its current level of $5,000 in each of 20 states to $25,000 in 20 states. HR 1 would cut funding for a Green presidential candidate in half, and by making ballot access for a Green presidential candidate impossible in several states it would also guarantee loss of the party's ability to run for local offices." Dixon also predicts that some Democrats "will cheerfully cross the aisle to institutionalize the Pentagon, spies and cops to produce an annual report on the threat to electoral security.

Dixon maintains:

"Democrats are a capitalist party, they are a government party, and this is how they govern. HR 1 reaches back a hundred years into the Democrat playbook politicians created a foreign menace to herd the population into World War 1, which ended in the Red Scare and a couple of red summers, waves of official and unofficial violence and deportations against US leftists and against black people. The Red Scare led to the founding of the FBI, the core of the nation's permanent political police . Fifty years ago these were the same civil servants who gave us the assassinations, the disinformation and illegality of COINTELPRO, and much, much more before that and since then. HR 1 says let's go to the Pentagon and the cops, let's order them to discover threats to the electoral system posed by Americans working to save themselves and the planet."

Dixon is surely right that both parties are capitalist parties, but capitalism itself has taken different forms. New Deal and neoliberal capitalism had far different implications for working class Americans. The New Deal itself was heavily influenced by Norman Thomas and the socialist tradition. In this regard, if what Paul Wellstone used to call the democratic wing of the Democratic Party wishes to see its ideals translated into practice, it must resist efforts to exclude third parties or to deny primary opponents an even playing field.

I am not claiming that there has been a carefully coordinated conspiracy among the individuals and groups that supported these policies, but leaders did act out of a general animus toward popular movements that further reinforced their reverence for corporate markets, and the faith in markets drove the worries about popular movements.

One positive conclusion to be drawn is that if this attack on democracy exists on several levels, activism might be fruitful in many domains and may have a spillover effect. Unions are still not dead, and there is a fight now for the soul of the Democratic Party and that fight might stimulate voter access and eligibility reforms. These in turn could reshape the party's orientation and ideology. Even at the Federal level Dark money is worrisome to many voters and could be an incentive to mobilize for better disclosure laws. There are ample fronts on which to fight and good reason to keep up the struggle.

Video:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/1CxOpAcViPQ

[Apr 02, 2019] From Haven To Conquest" by Walid Khalidi and The Transfer Agreement by Edwin Black

Apr 02, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Zachary Smith , Mar 31, 2019 9:55:06 PM | link

@ mourning dove #25

You're welcome. Two other titles I was going to recommend you watching for at your library are these:

"From Haven To Conquest" by Walid Khalidi and The Transfer Agreement by Edwin Black

The former is a 900 page source book which includes 80 short pieces, one of which is from Jeffries "Palestine: The Reality". The second is about the agreement Hitler made with the Zionists to evade a world-wide Jewish boycott of Germany at a time when this would have hurt . Neither book is inexpensive, so I was surprised to see both of them at the Internet Archive available for downloading.

Tel Aviv City of the Jews 1939

This is just a short magazine article from 1939 describing life in a Jewish town in Palestine. The last two pages give a hint of the way the Zionists used violence and even terror against their fellow Jews to keep them in line.

Destiny Southern States

Another topic altogether, but this 1854 newspaper essay gives a taste of what the South planned for Central and South America. The Northern victory in the Civil War turned out to be badly flawed, but a Southern one would have brought on evils beyond imagining.

[Mar 27, 2019] TRUST by Francis Fukuyama Kirkus Reviews

Mar 27, 2019 | www.kirkusreviews.com

Fukuyama offers a general theory of prosperity that provides provocative answers to certain of the questions he raised in The End of History and the Last Man (1992).

While conceding that neoclassical economists have uncovered important truths about markets and money, the RAND Corp. analyst argues that they give a poor account of human behavior. In search of links missed by these practioners of the dismal science, Fukuyama probes the impact of culture (broadly speaking, any society's inherited ethical habits) on economic life.

Focusing on such factors as trust (a community's shared expectation of honest, cooperative behavior outside the family) and social capital (the values created by tradition, religion, or other means), the author examines the ability of various peoples to organize effectively for commercial purposes without relying on blood ties or government intervention. Fukuyama surveys emergent as well as established industrial powers (the US, Canada, China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, et al.) to determine which might have superior reserves of social capital.

These reserves are important, he points out, because market-oriented societies in which there is a high degree of moral consensus and cooperation have lower transaction costs and hence greater competitiveness.

The author puts paid to any idea that the US is a nation of rugged individualists; indeed, Americans are joiners without peer. He warns, though, that ongoing deterioration in the ties that bind (e.g., declines in church attendance and membership in fraternal or voluntary organizations), coupled with a persistent rise in divorce rates and special-interest groups, could deplete the nation's social capital and over time levy an economic toll.

In turn, he cautions, the weakening of civil authority could strengthen the state's judiciary and executive branches, an outcome that, he says, is in nobody's best interest.

A challenging, elegant exegesis that puts intellectual meat on the bones of Benjamin Franklin's tip to his fellow revolutionaries at the signing of the Declaration of Independence: "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately."

[Mar 24, 2019] The tale of 666 Fifth Avenue: If your last name is Kushner id does not matter if you have money to pay for you real estate loan or not -- missing payments never result in foreclosure

Mar 24, 2019 | www.amazon.com

Susan TOP 1000 REVIEWER

The Diabolical Duo: the Sins of the Fathers March 22, 2019

As a political wonk and news junkie, I was not surprised by KUSHNER, INC., but Vicky Ward's well-sourced book is nonetheless a fascinating and maddening read. If this were a work of fiction, I would deem it unbelievable: a grade B story of political intrigue. How can this be happening, unchecked, before my eyes? How serendipitous that the book's release coincided almost exactly with news that Congressman Elijah Cummings requested details of the Kushner Kouple's use of private email and WhatsApp. And as I sit in anticipation of what I might soon learn from Robert Mueller. And as I hope for additional criminal indictments.

I assume that the majority of Vicky Ward's audience is comprised of anti-Trumpers who will be further inflamed by the chutzpah of Javanka. The tale of 666 Fifth Avenue in itself should infuriate everyone who has a mortgage: after a few missed payments, the lender stands at the front door with a foreclosure notice. On the other hand, no penalties are incurred on a $1.2 billion loan, AND a bank will lend more money if your last name is Kushner, no matter that one of the principles has been convicted of financial crimes related to real estate deals.

My takeaway from KUSHNER, INC.: not only are the Kushners sleazy, greedy, and imperious (and more than a little creepy), but they are dangerous. Jared, in particular, will go to any length to find money, even if it means secretly negotiating with actors like Qatar, while he sits in the West Wing. The amount of money the Kushner Kouple continues to make while working for the taxpayers is staggering. They follow no rules. The irony of their use of private email and WhatsApp is not lost on me, but rather than LOCK THEM UP, their defenders see nothing amiss about their chitchat with the despotic MBS and others.

Vicky Ward does nothing in her book to assuage my distrust of the Kushners and my disgust that nothing has been done to stop them. I have no doubt that any pro-Trumper who reads KUSHNER, INC. will deem the book to be a hit job, but based on Vicky Ward's sourcing (how big a role does Steve Bannon play, as he does in Michael Wolff's FIRE AND FURY?) and news reports from reputable media, I find her account to be credible. Is it any wonder that the offspring of two corrupt real estate moguls not only found one another and married, but also followed in their fathers' footsteps?

[Mar 20, 2019] Bad Blood - Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou - Observations by Walrus.

Notable quotes:
"... I read this book over two nights and it unfortunately brought back my own experiences of working for a narcissist to the point of causing sleeplessness and indigestion. ..."
"... However the pattern of behavior at Theranos was ingrained and consistent - "an orchestrated litany of lies" as a judge has said in another matter. ..."
"... This is a similar personality type with a different set of risks. These people are common in finance and medicine: https://www.theatlantic.com... ..."
"... In the absence of a moral filter, says Martha Stout[1], "Politicians are more likely than people in the general population to be sociopaths...That a small minority of human beings literally have no conscience was and is a bitter pill for our society to swallow–but it does explain a great many things, shamelessly deceitful political behavior being one." ..."
turcopolier.typepad.com

I wrote in 2010 at SST on the characteristics and dangers associated with narcissistic leadership. "Bad Blood' by John Carreyrou chronicles the rise and fall of Theranos, a Silicon Valley healthcare startup founded and run by Elizabeth Holmes, a card carrying narcissist if ever I saw one.

This book, in my opinion, paints such a detailed and comprehensive picture of the way these creatures operate that I thought it worthwhile to bring it to the attention of SST members who may doubt my warnings of the dangers of allowing such folk near the levers of power in business and, worse, Government.

I read this book over two nights and it unfortunately brought back my own experiences of working for a narcissist to the point of causing sleeplessness and indigestion.

Under the direction of the charismatic Holmes, Theranos burned through some $900 million in investors funds before being found out in 2015. Their blood testing business was a sham that endangered patients. The company's key business strengths were the "reality distortion field" Elizabeth Holmes projected over investors and directors and the twin weapons of secrecy and fear they wielded over their employees.

Disbelievers my argue that start up companies sometimes require desperate measures to stay afloat and that you cannot make an omelette, etc. etc. However the pattern of behavior at Theranos was ingrained and consistent - "an orchestrated litany of lies" as a judge has said in another matter.

If you wish to perhaps be a little forearmed against the day that you perhaps must engage with one of these creatures it would be well to understand the cautionary tale of Theranos. https://www.amazon.com/Bad-Blood-Secrets-Silicon-Startup/dp/152473165X https://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2010/05/walrus-on-narcissistic-leaders-.html

jnewman , 3 hours ago

This is a similar personality type with a different set of risks. These people are common in finance and medicine: https://www.theatlantic.com...
Godfree Roberts , 8 hours ago
In the absence of a moral filter, says Martha Stout[1], "Politicians are more likely than people in the general population to be sociopaths...That a small minority of human beings literally have no conscience was and is a bitter pill for our society to swallow–but it does explain a great many things, shamelessly deceitful political behavior being one."

My study of Chinese government revealed an important truth -- one that explains much about that country's rapid rise: they find our amateur, promise-driven, personality-based governance repulsive. They would no more vote for amateur politicians than for amateur brain surgeons. To them charm, good looks, quick wits and rhetorical skill signify shallowness, instability and glibness. Altruistic politicians have been fundamental to Chinese governance for two millennia.

Their political stars have always been experienced, scholarly, altruistic problem-solvers chosen on merit after decades of testing.

In 1000 AD, during our Dark Ages, with just one scholar-official for every eight thousand citizens, China was harmonious, technologically advanced and prosperous. Emperors and dynasties came and went while loyal, disciplined–often courageous–civil servants lived far from family, serving in remote regions under terrible conditions.

Confucius'[2] moral meritocracy and the rigors of the job discouraged sociopaths and officials integrity, efficiency and entrepreneurial energy made China the most advanced civilization on earth.

So highly do the Chinese esteem their best politicians that they deified one whose legacy, a water diversion project, has repaid its capital investment every twenty-four hours for 2,270 years. Millions visit his shrine, which is built overlooking his masterpiece, every year to offer incense and sincere thanks.

The altruistic tradition is remembered in a Singapore Government White Paper, "The concept of government by honorable men who have a duty to do right for the people and who have their trust and respect fits us better than the Western idea that government power should be as limited as possible."

And would-be members of China's Communist Party take an oath to "Bear the people's difficulties before the people and enjoy their fruits of their labors after the people". They often fail, obviously, but at least they've got something to shoot for–and a standard that the other 1.3 billion non-members can hold them to.

[1] The Sociopath Next Door, by Martha Stout Ph.D.
[2] The Doctrine of the Mean

[Mar 20, 2019] Customer reviews The Threat How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump

First of all the modern Russian mafia was created by the USA as the result of Clinton policies of decimation Russia economically after the dissolution of the USA. In a way Bill Clinton (who is as close to Mafioso as one can get) is the godfather of Russian mafia (with CIA and FBI as instruments of the Clinton administration). The goal of the USA elite always was to weaken, and, if possible, to dismember Russia. So the rise of organized crime in Russia was the direct result of their weakening of Russian state under drunkard Yeltsin. Jewish gangster (along with Harvard mafia) were instrumental in economic rape of Russia (Berezovsky, Gusinsky, Khodorkovsky, etc)
So McCabe (with Steele) was the guy who participated in politicizing investigation of corruption in sport investigation in order to "get Russia." So he firmly belongs to the neocon, imperial wing of the USA political establishment. So first and foremost he is a "dirty cop" himself. And later he naturally became part of intelligence serves junta which along with DemoRats (Clinton wing of the Democratic Party) and neocons run color revolution against Trump to block any changes in the USA foreign policy. Imperial policy of world domination to be more more correct.
In essence McCabe documents how FBI became political police and later Praetoria Guarl who selects the President of the USA. All in defense of Constitution and to protect every citizen ;-) Of course. But protect from whom ? From influence of people who oppose the US imperial policies ? That's what political police does.
Also ethnical composition of Russian mafia is really multinational and is dominated by with Jewish gangsters (see List of post-Soviet mobsters - Wikipedia) of the USSR origin like Semion Mogilevich. who was born in 1946 to a Jewish family in Kiev's Podol neighborhood. They are not necessary from Russia, but from Ukraine and other former USSR republics as well. Especially prominent their USA branch (so called The Odessa Mafia with headquarters in Brighton Beach) They have Israel as a cover to escape to, so they tend to be more brazen then other national groups in Russian mafia. Some Caucasian nationalities (Chechen mafia is the most brutal and Georgian mafia is regarded as one of the biggest, powerful and influential criminal networks in Europe, which has produced the biggest number of "thieves in law" in all former USSR countries. ) prominently represented as well. Russian are probably a minority in it, at least of senior level ;-)
In the past CIA and FBI infiltrated and used for their purposes Italian mafia (look at JFK assasination). It is plausible that they infiltrated and used for their purposes Russian Jewish mafia too.
Notable quotes:
"... 2.0 out of 5 stars "Oh, what a tangled web we weave...." ~ Sir Walter Scott ..."
"... I absolutely can not see any reason that a member of the FBI would be in a discussion with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein concerning this amendment. None at all. Totally inappropriate. ..."
"... There is another incident about the wearing of a wire tap which I won't discuss here. ..."
"... There is a saying in the US Navy (and probably elsewhere) that 'one oh crap takes away one thousand atta boys' ..."
"... 2.0 out of 5 stars ..."
"... He tells us what we already know and can see for ourselves about Donald Trump: he disrespects and undermines the constitutional order, the rule of law, and the government institutions that are empowered to contain or investigate him. But that is virtually all he tells us. ..."
"... 3.0 out of 5 stars ..."
"... 3.0 out of 5 stars ..."
Mar 20, 2019 | www.amazon.com

Serenity

2.0 out of 5 stars "Oh, what a tangled web we weave...." ~ Sir Walter Scott

There is no doubt in my mind that the author, Andrew McCabe, had a truly outstanding career in the FBI. Otherwise, he would not have risen to the number 2 spot ...(FBI Deputy Director) . His service started in 1996 and ended less than 2 days prior to his retirement for being 'less than truthful'. Actually twenty-six hours...

Does he have an ax to grind? Absolutely, without a doubt. Who wouldn't be upset with being fired that close to retirement?

And, no, I did not listen to the interview on 60 Minutes Sunday night...I did, however hear snippets of the conversation on the major news stations. I did refresh my mind on Mr. McCabe, Mr. Rosenstein, the 25th amendment and a few other points.

In the blurb for this book it is stated 'President Trump and his administration... 'undermine the US Constitution that protects every citizen'.. It appears to me that the author has indeed stepped over that line in the discussion of this amendment with Mr. Rosenstein (if in fact this did happen) .... this is my largest problem I have with this book.. Is not the 25th Amendment part of our Constitution?

I absolutely can not see any reason that a member of the FBI would be in a discussion with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein concerning this amendment. None at all. Totally inappropriate. There is no FBI listed in the Cabinet of the President of the United States. So, now the 25th amendment has been propelled into this conversation....This conversation should have been halted at the first mention of it..and I do mean a screeching halt, not a slow one, but at absolute warp speed....

And, Mr Rosenstein has denied that this discussion took place although the author insists that it did in fact occur. So, now Senator Lindsey Graham, (R -SC), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee has said that his committee will investigate. One more time, let the subpoenas fly and two more go into the hornet's nest. There is another incident about the wearing of a wire tap which I won't discuss here.

There is a saying in the US Navy (and probably elsewhere) that 'one oh crap takes away one thousand atta boys' . So, despite an outstanding career in the FBI, if one has told an 'untruth', it is difficult to rise to the top of the heap again.

And, in Mr. McCabe's recent past there were 4 incidents and now this one with the discussion of the 25th amendment which has not been resolved yet. Up until now it is still, 'he said, he said'....

And, for anyone that may be wondering...I am neither a Democrat or a Republican. In my 50+ years of voting, I have always voted for the person I felt was most qualified for the office being sought. And, this past election for President was the only one I have not voted for either candidate.

Yes, Mr. McCabe had an outstanding career at the FBI albeit short a couple of days of his retirement.. Do I put much credence in this book? No, but I will give him an extra star for his service...

rusty day 2.0 out of 5 stars February 25, 2019

What is the Threat? McCabe does not say.

The Threat is deeply disturbing, far more for what it does not say or grasp.

In the game of chess, checkmate occurs when your opponent captures or paralyzes your king. Much evidence indicates that America's most dangerous adversary has not only captured or paralyzed our President, but much if not all of the Republican leadership and wealthy oligarchy that surrounds him. Is this "The Threat" that we confront? Andy McCabe, the former Acting Director of the FBI, does not tell us.

At the outset, McCabe does tell us that the FBI is the principal law enforcement agency in America, whose mission is "to protect the American people and uphold the Constitution." He tells us that "organized criminal networks from other countries target the United States," that "dirty money corrupts business and politics," and that "our own government officials use the power of public office to undermine legal authority and to denigrate law enforcement." He tells us what we already know and can see for ourselves about Donald Trump: he disrespects and undermines the constitutional order, the rule of law, and the government institutions that are empowered to contain or investigate him. But that is virtually all he tells us.

For 21 years, McCabe rose rapidly through the ranks of the FBI, rising ultimately to become the Bureau's Acting Director. He began his FBI career in New York, confronting the penetration and expansion of the Russian Mafia in the United States. In 2001 the shock and horror of 9/11 then redirected his career from the Russian Mafia to anti-terrorism, to which he devoted extraordinary energy and focus for the next 15 years, which he details at length.

As Deputy Director and then Acting Director, McCabe presumably had complete insight into the threats confronting our nation, as well as the responsibility to assess their relative gravity and prioritize and direct the resources needed to combat them. McCabe tells us that the Russian Mafia is particularly dangerous precisely because it works to corrupt and appropriate the organs and assets of government for its criminal benefit. Is that what is happening in this country? Has the Russian state or the Russian Mafia captured our presidency and/or part of our ruling oligarchy? Are we in checkmate? In retrospect, was that ultimately his, and our, greatest mistake: the failure to perceive and counter the threat posed by the Russian government or its criminal elements to our survival as a just, self-governing society? McCabe does not say. Is our principal law enforcement agency focused on this threat and organized to defeat it? Again, McCabe does not say. Judging by the very little we are told in this book about that threat, the answer would seem to be No. And that is truly disturbing.

Charles TOP 100 REVIEWER 3.0 out of 5 stars Not Quite What I Expected February 21, 2019

The only reason anyone has ever heard of Andrew McCabe is because of James Comey. As everyone knows, Comey was fired by Donald Trump from his position as Director of the FBI. As a result, McCabe was, for three crucial months, from May 2017 to August 2017, in charge of the FBI. It is those months that are the core of this book, supplemented by the fifteen months prior in which McCabe also found himself subjected to the Trump administration, and by some thoughts on the FBI's role more generally. All of this is grouped into the sections of "How We Work" -- though all anyone cares about is what McCabe has to say about Trump and his team.

While the book is interesting, my major complaint about it is that McCabe, who by his own account had numerous opportunities to do so, never stood up to the men who he now says were destroying the Republic. Now, though, when it benefits him and they have no power over him, he is very bold. This suggests weakness of character and undercuts his claims to truth-telling. Nor is McCabe politically neutral. But neither of those things necessarily mean he's wrong, so let's examine the book itself.

It is often misunderstood that the FBI is not independent; it is an arm of the Executive Branch, that is, of the Office of the President. The FBI Director's immediate superior is the Attorney General, who is answerable to, and can be fired by, the President. Thus, McCabe's boss was Jeff Sessions -- and both Trump and Sessions are the focus of the criticism in this book, taking alternating blows from the pugilistic McCabe. In fact, it is Sessions who gets the most attacks in this book; he is mostly portrayed as a racist halfwit (and the President is portrayed as perpetually angry and thin-skinned, among other vices). That may be fair, but the odd thing about McCabe's book is that, whatever the truth of it, what he tells us ironically strengthens his most vigorous opponents -- those who claim there is a Deep State, out to get Donald Trump and his allies. You can simultaneously believe that Trump is an undisciplined buffoon and that his enemies form a vast and strong cabal out to get rid of him by any means necessary, and McCabe's book is going to be Exhibit A in support of that latter claim. I'm not sure that's what he intended.

Anyway, all that said, I was somewhat surprised that this book does not contain any of the details that McCabe has revealed in recent days in other forums. For example, McCabe claimed on "60 Minutes" that high-ranking officials, including more than one Cabinet officer, actively discussed removing Trump from office as unfit under the Twenty-Fifth Amendment. They contemplated tape recording Trump, as well. You'd think McCabe would lead with his strongest and most engaging, or interesting, claims. Unfortunately, we don't get any such details in this book, which annoyed me somewhat, given that I paid good money for what I thought was a complete story. Actually, the book is quite short, and openly ghostwritten, which doubled my disappointment. The reader is, or at least this reader was, also annoyed by the vagueness and lack of detail of many of the stories told. We get sonorous pronouncements about the rule of law and its claimed erosion, but not many specifics to back that up.

And the reader is also left with the feeling that much of McCabe's account is score-settling. McCabe, who went back to being plain Deputy Director when Christopher Wray became the Director in August, 2017, was fired in March, 2018 by Sessions. (McCabe wasn't actually working -- he had stepped down in January and was scheduled to retire later in March; like a good bureaucrat he was running out his vacation pay.) McCabe was fired because he lied to the inspector general of his own FBI.

What about? Well, that depends on whom you ask, but whatever exactly it was, it was about Lisa Page and Peter Strzok, two FBI employees. Strzok was McCabe's highest-ranking legal advisor. They were having an affair, and as part of that exchanged text messages that, read from a certain angle, imply that they, in combination with others, were taking illegal action to get rid of Trump. McCabe denied to the FBI's inspector general that he knew of Strzok's leaks to the press, presumably in furtherance of that program, when, in fact, he did. McCabe addresses all this with what is, basically, a vague "I forgot to mention it" excuse, which is not very convincing. Again, this undermines the points McCabe is trying to make.

The rest of the book, which as I say is short, covers a grab bag of topics, including a minor sort-of apology for the FBI's handling of the criminal allegations against Hillary Clinton. I don't think reader learns much new in any of these areas, though. So should you read it? Maybe -- but given that the reader doesn't really get a sense of confidence in McCabe, probably only if this is the sort of thing you're very interested in.

Joel Hammer , February 25, 2019

3.0 out of 5 stars Good description of government dysfunction

Just finished this book. The author had a long career in the FBI as a Special Agent. He started out investigating organized crime in NY City (Russian mobs mainly) and after 9/11 went into counter terrorism and did that mainly until he rose in the ranks and became Deputy Director and then Acting Director after Comey was fired. He himself was fired just before he reached full retirement age. The grounds for his firing were "lack of candor" during interviews with the Inspector General about the handling of the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton's private email server when she was Sec. of State.

McCabe was a newly minted lawyer but decided he wanted to be an FBI guy. So, he became a Special Agent. He spent his entire career at the FBI. In this he was very unlike Comey, whose background was that of a lawyer, Federal prosecutor, corporate counsel, law professor, and then FBI director.

The book covers his entire career at the FBI. It is quite interesting in its description of the Russian mob in NYC. In keeping with the Russian threat we face to our democracy, he ends up saying that Russian dark money is a threat to our country and its institutions. I guess dark money from China is no problem for him, since he never discusses Chinese organized crime or political payoffs in his book.

Russia has an economy 1/15th of America's. China has a GNP which rivals ours. Who do you think has more potential to influence American institutions? Yet, not a word about China. This seems typical the Deep State. James Clapper was also obsessed with Russia but wasn't worried at all about China.

After 9/11, the FBI changed gears from organized crime to counter-terrorism. He went into counter-terrorism.

It is interesting how he describes the events of 9/11. He leaves out the FBI misses and court maneuvers which allowed the attack to take place. He talks only about his job of rounding up potential suspects in NY City. These were people reported to the FBI who looked suspicious. They were several hundred such people reported to the FBI. They were mainly Middle Eastern men working in this country illegally. McCabe felt bad for them, since their only crime was illegal residence in this country and illegally holding jobs in this country. " most of them were guilty of nothing other than violating immigration laws that typically had not been enforced. " McCabe in many parts of his book stresses how important law enforcement is and how we should respect laws, etc. Reflect.

He was Deputy Director when the Boston marathon bombing happened. He was mortified when they realized that the Russian secret service had warned the FBI that this family of immigrants were radical Muslims.

He was so relieved when they checked their records and could confirm that the lead was followed up on. They had investigated the family and found nothing wrong and the file on the family was closed. So there! Wasn't our fault. He also says that since the source of this tip was Russia, you never could really trust them. He does not give a single example of Russian misinformation on terrorism. He leaves out that the older brother later went back to Russia and spent 6 months with a violent and radical Muslim cleric and the FBI was unaware of this.

He absolves the FBI of any responsibility for this bombing. I guess going through the motions absolves you of blame in a bureaucracy. He also left out the fact the the Muslim friends of these bombers immediately after the bombing offered them help to escape. McCabe is politically correct. See below.

He despised Jeff Sessions, who he describes as an incompetent person. Once at a briefing on terrorism Session said all this was due to Islam and immigrants. McCabe took strong exception to this, saying that Islam is not violent and that immigration status was not anything the FBI worried about. Yet, with one exception, all the acts of terror he talks about his his book were Islamic inspired and most were carried out my immigrants or their children.

He hates Congress. He says he has no objection to oversight but accuses the Congress of gross politics. This means that they attack the FBI, not help it. He has no qualms about lying to Congress. I find this sort of admission surprising. But, here is what he said. After Obama became President, he directed the FBI to set up a system to interrogate high value suspects which did not involve "enhanced" techniques or Guantanamo.

They set up HIG, high value interrogation unit, under his direction. The only description of its use in this book was to interrogate the underwear bomber.

McCabe claimed it worked very well until the bomber decided to stop cooperating for unstated reasons. The bomber is now in the SuperMax prision in Utah. That is how McCabe thinks we should handle such people. I don't think he has done the math. There are thousands of terrorists who are hoping to kill Americans. They can't all be housed in the SuperMax prison after months of tender FBI interrogation.

Now, about the lying to Congress part. A high value target held by the Pakistani's was interrogated by the CIA overseas. He was not allowed to be interrogated by the FBI. Typical interagency BS. When this became known, McCabe was asked by one of those awful Republican congressmen, who opposed HIG, why the FBI didn't interrogate the target. This comes right from his book: "To expose all the details of interagency tension would have been a mistake. Frustrated as I was with my reluctant CIA partners, calling the to account in front of Congress would have only made things worse."

Recall that McCabe was fired for multiple instances of "lack of candor" to the inspector general regarding the Clinton email investigation. This is a pattern with him.

Reflect. He mislead Congress deliberately. Congress has the duty to provide oversight to the FBI and CIA. This is the Deep State in action.

This book also supports the image of Mueller as a dominating persona who impedes investigations. In the Mirage Man, the book about the anthrax letters, Mueller was demanding daily briefings about the investigation. It got to the point that the investigators were spending all their time just doing stuff to brief Mueller about, not really doing a good investigation. Only because of an internal audit by the FBI did this behavior cease, and the new investigators told Mueller not to expect briefings unless there was anything significant to report. Only then did the investigation make progress. Same thing with counter terrorism. Mueller would demand briefings 2x per day, morning and night, in detail. Mueller would tell them what to do in detail. A control freak. Again, they spent all their time getting ready to brief Mueller.

McCabe was closely involved in the Hillary email server investigation.

Here is an amazing fact that hit me hard. After the Benghazi attack (that subject again!), Republican congressmen demanded to see emails by the Sec of State regarding this matter. That was when the Dept of State "realized" for the first time it did not have a copy of even a SINGLE email sent by or sent to Hillary when she was Sec of State. Let that sink in. They claimed they didn't realize this. (Of course, that was a lie. Read the OIG report about the FBI in 2016. It was all on her private server and the Dept of State knew it.) She had 60,000 emails on that server. Hillary had her own people review them, and she deleted 30,000 emails and gave the other 30,000 to the Dept of State. She carefully bit cleaned her server after that. The FBI then had to spend months and big bucks to try to recover those 30,000 emails from other servers which had been used to transmit those emails, etc.

The take home lesson is the the Dept of State is corrupt.

During the investigation of the server, the FBI tried to do its usual thing. They usually had two FBI people interview the subject, with or without their lawyer present. In this investigation, the Dept of Justice strongly intervened, which is highly unusual. McCabe points out that there is only one political appointee in the FBI, the director. However, in the DOJ there are many political appointees. All of them owed their jobs to Obama, and all of them knew Obama was supporting Hillary for President. Not mentioned is that all of them would be out of a job if Hillary lost. McCabe thought that all the political appointees should have kept well away from the investigation, if not outright recused themselves, but they did neither.

So, during a typical interview, the DOJ would send four lawyers to observe and comment. The FBI then would send four of their lawyers. The witness had a lawyer or two. Sometimes a witness one day was a lawyer the next day. The FBI was told when they could or could not talk about sometimes. McCabe thought this was awful. He began to wonder about DOJ's motives, and certainly the optics were bad. But, in the end he says he can't believe that the DOJ was really trying to alter the outcome of the investigation, such is his faith in political appointees.

The debacle of Comey's press conference to say he would not recommend indictment is well known. McCabe says Comey did it because Lynch had ruined her credibility by meeting with Bill on the tarmac and then refusing to recuse herself. Comey felt he had to salvage the credibility of the investigation. By the time, the FBI and the DOJ were hardly talking to each other, such was the "interagency tension."

Well, that's about all I have the energy to write. Read the book. But, one caveat. I have read books by James Clapper, James Comey, and Andrew McCabe, and others. If you read just one of these books, you would be highly mislead. Each author in his book crafts a narrative, and twists words to mislead the reader, or just leaves out facts that would contradict the narrative. Here are two examples from this book:

Benghazi again. We now know it was a terrorist attack carried out by a splinter militia group. The leader of that group was found guilty in Federal court and sent to jail. James Clapper insisted that based on the video footage, it was just a mob looting the place. No evidence of a planned attack. McCabe says that it was never clear if it was an attack or just mob violence, but later says that the ring leader was arrested and sent to prison. Now, when you hear the words "mob" and "ringleader", what do you conclude? Right, you conclude it was just a mob. We know that is simply a lie. And, it was the FBI who built the legal case against him.

Another example from his book. McCabe disputes that Islam and immigrants are the main source of terror in this country. So, he described the shootings in San Bernardino as carried out by "an American couple influenced by ISIS." This is what he leaves out. This American couple consisted of a son of Pakistani immigrants and his wife, who came from Pakistan. Not mentioned in the book was his accomplice who bought the guns and discussed how to carry out terror attacks, an illegal Mexican immigrant. His accomplice's two associates were illegal immigrants who had engaged in marriage fraud to get legal residency.

Read the book. Read other books. And don't trust news stories based on anonymous sources.

[Mar 19, 2019] Kushner, Inc. Greed. Ambition. Corruption. The Extraordinary Story of Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump (978125018594

Notable quotes:
"... In Kushner, Inc. , investigative journalist Vicky Ward digs beneath the myth the couple has created, depicting themselves as the voices of reason in an otherwise crazy presidency, and reveals that Jared and Ivanka are not just the President's chief enablers: they, like him, appear disdainful of rules, of laws, and of ethics. ..."
"... They are entitled inheritors of the worst kind; their combination of ignorance, arrogance, and an insatiable lust for power has caused havoc all over the world ..."
"... In Kushner, Inc. , Ward holds Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump accountable: she unveils the couple's self-serving transactional motivations and how those have propelled them into the highest levels of the US government where no one, the President included, has been able to stop them. ..."
Mar 19, 2019 | www.amazon.com

Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump are the self-styled Prince and Princess of America. Their swift, gilded rise to extraordinary power in Donald Trump's White House is unprecedented and dangerous.

In Kushner, Inc. , investigative journalist Vicky Ward digs beneath the myth the couple has created, depicting themselves as the voices of reason in an otherwise crazy presidency, and reveals that Jared and Ivanka are not just the President's chief enablers: they, like him, appear disdainful of rules, of laws, and of ethics.

They are entitled inheritors of the worst kind; their combination of ignorance, arrogance, and an insatiable lust for power has caused havoc all over the world, and may threaten the democracy of the United States.

Ward follows their trajectory from New Jersey and New York City to the White House, where the couple's many forays into policy-making and national security have mocked long-standing U.S. policy and protocol. They have pursued an agenda that could increase their wealth while their actions have mostly gone unchecked.

In Kushner, Inc. , Ward holds Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump accountable: she unveils the couple's self-serving transactional motivations and how those have propelled them into the highest levels of the US government where no one, the President included, has been able to stop them.

Natalie4211 March 19, 2019

5.0 out of 5 stars Insight into the most dangerous couple in America.

To paraphrase the author, on the dangerous scale, Jared & Ivanka are #1 & #2 with Donald Trump, as terrible as he is, coming in at #3. Imagine that. While Donald Trump is acting out, getting all of the attention, these two are like sharks below the surface, making policy in the Middle East in order to make the Saudi's happy and being paid personally & handsomely for that policy". It's like Donald Trump is running cover for Jared & Ivanka. The biggest question remains. How much longer is the Republican Party going to allow this kind of nepotism and corruption to continue?

psw March 19, 2019

Pompous know nothing Kushners

Inside the Kushner pompousness. Vicky did a great job showing how dangerous these two ignorant no nothing people are ruining our democracy. A must read.

[Mar 18, 2019] Journalists who are spies

Highly recommended!
Can you trust the BBC news? How many journalists are working for the security services?
Notable quotes:
"... Can you trust the BBC news? How many journalists are working for the security services? ..."
"... "Most tabloid newspapers - or even newspapers in general - are playthings of MI5." ..."
"... Bloch and Fitzgerald, in their examination of covert UK warfare, report the editor of "one of Britain's most distinguished journals" as believing that more than half its foreign correspondents were on the MI6 payroll. ..."
"... The heart of the secret state they identified as the security services, the cabinet office and upper echelons of the Home and Commonwealth Offices, the armed forces and Ministry of Defence, the nuclear power industry and its satellite ministries together a network of senior civil servants. ..."
"... As "satellites" of the secret state, their list included "agents of influence in the media, ranging from actual agents of the security services, conduits of official leaks, to senior journalists merely lusting after official praise and, perhaps, a knighthood at the end of their career". ..."
"... Stephen Dorril, in his seminal history of MI6, reports that Orwell attended a meeting in Paris of resistance fighters on behalf of David Astor, his editor at the Observer and leader of the intelligence service's unit liasing with the French resistance. ..."
Mar 03, 2006 | www.nytimes.com

Can you trust the BBC news? How many journalists are working for the security services? The following extracts are from an article at the excellent Medialens

http://www.medialens.org/alerts/06/060303_hacks_and_spooks.php

HACKS AND SPOOKS

By Professor Richard Keeble

And so to Nottingham University (on Sunday 26 February) for a well-attended conference...

I focus in my talk on the links between journalists and the intelligence services: While it might be difficult to identify precisely the impact of the spooks (variously represented in the press as "intelligence", "security", "Whitehall" or "Home Office" sources) on mainstream politics and media, from the limited evidence it looks to be enormous.

As Roy Greenslade, media specialist at the Telegraph (formerly the Guardian), commented:

"Most tabloid newspapers - or even newspapers in general - are playthings of MI5."

Bloch and Fitzgerald, in their examination of covert UK warfare, report the editor of "one of Britain's most distinguished journals" as believing that more than half its foreign correspondents were on the MI6 payroll.

And in 1991, Richard Norton-Taylor revealed in the Guardian that 500 prominent Britons paid by the CIA and the now defunct Bank of Commerce and Credit International, included 90 journalists.

In their analysis of the contemporary secret state, Dorril and Ramsay gave the media a crucial role. The heart of the secret state they identified as the security services, the cabinet office and upper echelons of the Home and Commonwealth Offices, the armed forces and Ministry of Defence, the nuclear power industry and its satellite ministries together a network of senior civil servants.

As "satellites" of the secret state, their list included "agents of influence in the media, ranging from actual agents of the security services, conduits of official leaks, to senior journalists merely lusting after official praise and, perhaps, a knighthood at the end of their career".

Phillip Knightley, author of a seminal history of the intelligence services, has even claimed that at least one intelligence agent is working on every Fleet Street newspaper.

A brief history

Going as far back as 1945, George Orwell no less became a war correspondent for the Observer - probably as a cover for intelligence work. Significantly most of the men he met in Paris on his assignment, Freddie Ayer, Malcolm Muggeridge, Ernest Hemingway were either working for the intelligence services or had close links to them.

Stephen Dorril, in his seminal history of MI6, reports that Orwell attended a meeting in Paris of resistance fighters on behalf of David Astor, his editor at the Observer and leader of the intelligence service's unit liasing with the French resistance.

The release of Public Record Office documents in 1995 about some of the operations of the MI6-financed propaganda unit, the Information Research Department of the Foreign Office, threw light on this secret body - which even Orwell aided by sending them a list of "crypto-communists". Set up by the Labour government in 1948, it "ran" dozens of Fleet Street journalists and a vast array of news agencies across the globe until it was closed down by Foreign Secretary David Owen in 1977.

According to John Pilger in the anti-colonial struggles in Kenya, Malaya and Cyprus, IRD was so successful that the journalism served up as a record of those episodes was a cocktail of the distorted and false in which the real aims and often atrocious behaviour of the British intelligence agencies was hidden.

And spy novelist John le Carré, who worked for MI6 between 1960 and 1964, has made the amazing statement that the British secret service then controlled large parts of the press – just as they may do today.

In 1975, following Senate hearings on the CIA, the reports of the Senate's Church Committee and the House of Representatives' Pike Committee highlighted the extent of agency recruitment of both British and US journalists.

And sources revealed that half the foreign staff of a British daily were on the MI6 payroll.

David Leigh, in The Wilson Plot, his seminal study of the way in which the secret service smeared through the mainstream media and destabilised the Government of Harold Wilson before his sudden resignation in 1976, quotes an MI5 officer: "We have somebody in every office in Fleet Street"

Leaker King

And the most famous whistleblower of all, Peter (Spycatcher) Wright, revealed that MI5 had agents in newspapers and publishing companies whose main role was to warn them of any forthcoming "embarrassing publications".

Wright also disclosed that the Daily Mirror tycoon, Cecil King, "was a longstanding agent of ours" who "made it clear he would publish anything MI5 might care to leak in his direction".

Selective details about Wilson and his secretary, Marcia Falkender, were leaked by the intelligence services to sympathetic Fleet Street journalists. Wright comments: "No wonder Wilson was later to claim that he was the victim of a plot". King was also closely involved in a scheme in 1968 to oust Prime Minister Harold Wilson and replace him with a coalition headed by Lord Mountbatten.

Hugh Cudlipp, editorial director of the Mirror from 1952 to 1974, was also closely linked to intelligence, according to Chris Horrie, in his recently published history of the newspaper.

David Walker, the Mirror's foreign correspondent in the 1950s, was named as an MI6 agent following a security scandal while another Mirror journalist, Stanley Bonnet, admitted working for MI5 in the 1980s investigating the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

Maxwell and Mossad

According to Stephen Dorril, intelligence gathering during the miners' strike of 1984-85 was helped by the fact that during the 1970s MI5's F Branch had made a special effort to recruit industrial correspondents – with great success.

In 1991, just before his mysterious death, Mirror proprietor Robert Maxwell was accused by the US investigative journalist Seymour Hersh of acting for Mossad, the Israeli secret service, though Dorril suggests his links with MI6 were equally as strong.

Following the resignation from the Guardian of Richard Gott, its literary editor in December 1994 in the wake of allegations that he was a paid agent of the KGB, the role of journalists as spies suddenly came under the media spotlight – and many of the leaks were fascinating.

For instance, according to The Times editorial of 16 December 1994: "Many British journalists benefited from CIA or MI6 largesse during the Cold War."

The intimate links between journalists and the secret services were highlighted in the autobiography of the eminent newscaster Sandy Gall. He reports without any qualms how, after returning from one of his reporting assignments to Afghanistan, he was asked to lunch by the head of MI6. "It was very informal, the cook was off so we had cold meat and salad with plenty of wine. He wanted to hear what I had to say about the war in Afghanistan. I was flattered, of course, and anxious to pass on what I could in terms of first-hand knowledge."

And in January 2001, the renegade MI6 officer, Richard Tomlinson, claimed Dominic Lawson, the editor of the Sunday Telegraph and son of the former Tory chancellor, Nigel Lawson, provided journalistic cover for an MI6 officer on a mission to the Baltic to handle and debrief a young Russian diplomat who was spying for Britain.

Lawson strongly denied the allegations.

Similarly in the reporting of Northern Ireland, there have been longstanding concerns over security service disinformation. Susan McKay, Northern editor of the Dublin-based Sunday Tribune, has criticised the reckless reporting of material from "dodgy security services". She told a conference in Belfast in January 2003 organised by the National Union of Journalists and the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission: "We need to be suspicious when people are so ready to provide information and that we are, in fact, not being used." (www.nuj.org.uk/inner.php?docid=635)

Growing power of secret state

Thus from this evidence alone it is clear there has been a long history of links between hacks and spooks in both the UK and US.

But as the secret state grows in power, through massive resourcing, through a whole raft of legislation – such as the Official Secrets Act, the anti-terrorism legislation, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act and so on – and as intelligence moves into the heart of Blair's ruling clique so these links are even more significant.

Since September 11 all of Fleet Street has been awash in warnings by anonymous intelligence sources of terrorist threats.

According to former Labour minister Michael Meacher, much of this disinformation was spread via sympathetic journalists by the Rockingham cell within the MoD.

A parallel exercise, through the office of Special Plans, was set up by Donald Rumsfeld in the US. Thus there have been constant attempts to scare people – and justify still greater powers for the national security apparatus.

Similarly the disinformation about Iraq's WMD was spread by dodgy intelligence sources via gullible journalists.

Thus, to take just one example, Michael Evans, The Times defence correspondent, reported on 29 November 2002: "Saddam Hussein has ordered hundred of his officials to conceal weapons of mass destruction components in their homes to evade the prying eyes of the United Nations inspectors." The source of these "revelations" was said to be "intelligence picked up from within Iraq". Early in 2004, as the battle for control of Iraq continued with mounting casualties on both sides, it was revealed that many of the lies about Saddam Hussein's supposed WMD had been fed to sympathetic journalists in the US, Britain and Australia by the exile group, the Iraqi National Congress.

Sexed up – and missed out

During the controversy that erupted following the end of the "war" and the death of the arms inspector Dr David Kelly (and the ensuing Hutton inquiry) the spotlight fell on BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan and the claim by one of his sources that the government (in collusion with the intelligence services) had "sexed up" a dossier justifying an attack on Iraq.

The Hutton inquiry, its every twist and turn massively covered in the mainstream media, was the archetypal media spectacle that drew attention from the real issue: why did the Bush and Blair governments invade Iraq in the face of massive global opposition? But those facts will be forever secret.

Significantly, too, the broader and more significant issue of mainstream journalists' links with the intelligence services was ignored by the inquiry.

Significantly, on 26 May 2004, the New York Times carried a 1,200-word editorial admitting it had been duped in its coverage of WMD in the lead-up to the invasion by dubious Iraqi defectors, informants and exiles (though it failed to lay any blame on the US President: see Greenslade 2004). Chief among The Times' dodgy informants was Ahmad Chalabi, leader of the Iraqi National Congress and Pentagon favourite before his Baghdad house was raided by US forces on 20 May.

Then, in the Observer of 30 May 2004, David Rose admitted he had been the victim of a "calculated set-up" devised to foster the propaganda case for war. "In the 18 months before the invasion of March 2003, I dealt regularly with Chalabi and the INC and published stories based on interviews with men they said were defectors from Saddam's regime." And he concluded: "The information fog is thicker than in any previous war, as I know now from bitter personal experience. To any journalist being offered apparently sensational disclosures, especially from an anonymous intelligence source, I offer two words of advice: caveat emptor."

Let's not forget no British newspaper has followed the example of the NYT and apologised for being so easily duped by the intelligence services in the run up to the illegal invasion of Iraq.

~

Richard Keeble's publications include Secret State, Silent Press: New Militarism, the Gulf and the Modern Image of Warfare (John Libbey 1997) and The Newspapers Handbook (Routledge, fourth edition, 2005). He is also the editor of Ethical Space: The International Journal of Communication Ethics. Richard is also a member of the War and Media Network.

[Mar 18, 2019] 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 .

[Mar 18, 2019] The Why are the media playing lapdog and not watchdog – again – on war in Iraq?

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... General Electric, the world's largest military contractor, still controls the message over at the so-called "liberal" MSNBC. MSNBC's other owner is Comcast, the right wing media conglomerate that controls the radio waves in every major American Market. Over at CNN, Mossad Asset Wolf Blitzer, who rose from being an obscure little correspondent for an Israeli Newspaper to being CNN's Chief "Pentagon Correspondent" and then was elevated to supreme anchorman nearly as quickly, ensures that the pro-Israeli Message is always in the forefront, even as the Israeli's commit one murderous act after another upon helpless Palestinian Women and Children. ..."
"... Every single "terrorism expert", General or former Government Official that is brought out to discuss the next great war is connected to a military contractor that stands to benefit from that war. Not surprisingly, the military option is the only option discussed and we are assured that, if only we do this or bomb that, then it will all be over and we can bring our kids home to a big victory parade. I'm 63 and it has never happened in my lifetime--with the exception of the phony parade that Bush Senior put on after his murderous little "First Gulf War". ..."
"... The Generals in the Pentagon always want war. It is how they make rank. All of those young kids that just graduated from our various academies know that war experience is the only thing that will get them the advancement that they seek in the career that they have chosen. They are champing at the bit for more war. ..."
"... the same PR campaign that started with Bush and Cheney continues-the exact same campaign. Obviously, they have to come back at the apple with variations, but any notion that the "media will get it someday" is willfully ignorant of the obvious fact that there is an agenda, and that agenda just won't stop until it's achieved-or revolution supplants the influence of these dark forces. ..."
"... The US media are indeed working overtime to get this war happening ..."
"... In media universe there is no alternative to endless war and an endless stream of hyped reasons for new killing. ..."
"... The media machine is a wholly owned subsidiary of the United States of Corporations. ..."
"... Oh, the greatest propaganda arm the US government has right now, bar none, is the American media. It's disgraceful. we no longer have journalists speaking truth to power in my country, we have people practicing stenography, straight from the State Department to your favorite media outlet. ..."
"... But all that research from MIT, from the UN, and others, has been buried by the American media, and every single story on Syria and Assad that is written still refers to "Assad gassing his own people". It's true, it's despicable, and it's just one example of how our media lies and distorts and misrepresents the news every day. ..."
Oct 10, 2014 | The Guardian
BradBenson, 10 October 2014 6:14pm
The American Public has gotten exactly what it deserved. They have been dumbed-down in our poor-by-intention school systems. The moronic nonsense that passes for news in this country gets more sensational with each passing day. Over on Fox, they are making the claim that ISIS fighters are bringing Ebola over the Mexican Border, which prompted a reply by the Mexican Embassy that won't be reported on Fox.

We continue to hear and it was even reported in this very fine article by Ms. Benjamin that the American People now support this new war. Really? I'm sorry, but I haven't seen that support anywhere but on the news and I just don't believe it any more.

There is also the little problem of infiltration into key media slots by paid CIA Assets (Scarborough and brainless Mika are two of these double dippers). Others are intermarried. Right-wing Neocon War Criminal Dan Senor is married to "respected" newsperson Campbell Brown who is now involved in privatizing our school system. Victoria Nuland, the slimey State Department Official who was overheard appointing the members of the future Ukrainian Government prior to the Maidan Coup is married to another Neo-Con--Larry Kagan. Even sweet little Andrea Mitchell is actually Mrs. Alan Greenspan.

General Electric, the world's largest military contractor, still controls the message over at the so-called "liberal" MSNBC. MSNBC's other owner is Comcast, the right wing media conglomerate that controls the radio waves in every major American Market. Over at CNN, Mossad Asset Wolf Blitzer, who rose from being an obscure little correspondent for an Israeli Newspaper to being CNN's Chief "Pentagon Correspondent" and then was elevated to supreme anchorman nearly as quickly, ensures that the pro-Israeli Message is always in the forefront, even as the Israeli's commit one murderous act after another upon helpless Palestinian Women and Children.

Every single "terrorism expert", General or former Government Official that is brought out to discuss the next great war is connected to a military contractor that stands to benefit from that war. Not surprisingly, the military option is the only option discussed and we are assured that, if only we do this or bomb that, then it will all be over and we can bring our kids home to a big victory parade. I'm 63 and it has never happened in my lifetime--with the exception of the phony parade that Bush Senior put on after his murderous little "First Gulf War".

Yesterday there was a coordinated action by all of the networks, which was clearly designed to support the idea that the generals want Obama to act and he just won't. The not-so-subtle message was that the generals were right and that the President's "inaction" was somehow out of line-since, after all, the generals have recommended more war. It was as if these people don't remember that the President, sleazy War Criminal that he is, is still the Commander in Chief.

The Generals in the Pentagon always want war. It is how they make rank. All of those young kids that just graduated from our various academies know that war experience is the only thing that will get them the advancement that they seek in the career that they have chosen. They are champing at the bit for more war.

Finally, this Sunday every NFL Game will begin with some Patriotic "Honor America" Display, which will include a missing man flyover, flags and fireworks, plenty of uniforms, wounded Vets and soon-to-be-wounded Vets. A giant American Flag will, once again, cover the fields and hundreds of stupid young kids will rush down to their "Military Career Center" right after the game. These are the ones that I pity most.

BaronVonAmericano , 10 October 2014 6:26pm
Let's be frank: powerful interests want war and subsequent puppet regimes in the half dozen nations that the neo-cons have been eyeing (Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan). These interests surely include industries like banking, arms and oil-all of whom make a killing on any war, and would stand to do well with friendly governments who could finance more arms purchases and will never nationalize the oil.

So, the same PR campaign that started with Bush and Cheney continues-the exact same campaign. Obviously, they have to come back at the apple with variations, but any notion that the "media will get it someday" is willfully ignorant of the obvious fact that there is an agenda, and that agenda just won't stop until it's achieved-or revolution supplants the influence of these dark forces.

IanB52, 10 October 2014 6:57pm

The US media are indeed working overtime to get this war happening. When I'm down at the gym they always have CNN on (I can only imagine what FOX is like) which is a pretty much dyed in the wool yellow jingoist station at this point. With all the segments they dedicate to ISIS, a new war, the "imminent" terrorist threat, they seem to favor talking heads who support a full ground war and I have never, not once, heard anyone even speak about the mere possibility of peace. Not ever.

In media universe there is no alternative to endless war and an endless stream of hyped reasons for new killing.

I'd imagine that these media companies have a lot stock in and a cozy relationship with the defense contractors.

Damiano Iocovozzi, 10 October 2014 7:04pm

The media machine is a wholly owned subsidiary of the United States of Corporations. The media doesn't report on anything but relies on repeating manufactured crises, creating manufactured consent & discussing manufactured solutions. Follow the oil, the pipelines & the money. Both R's & D's are left & right cheeks of the same buttock. Thanks to Citizens United & even Hobby Lobby, a compliant Supreme Court, also owned by United States of Corporations, it's a done deal.

ID5868758 , 10 October 2014 10:20pm
Oh, the greatest propaganda arm the US government has right now, bar none, is the American media. It's disgraceful. we no longer have journalists speaking truth to power in my country, we have people practicing stenography, straight from the State Department to your favorite media outlet.

Let me give you one clear example. A year ago Barack Obama came very close to bombing Syria to kingdom come, the justification used was "Assad gassed his own people", referring to a sarin gas attack near Damascus. Well, it turns out that Assad did not initiate that attack, discovered by research from many sources including the prestigious MIT, it was a false flag attack planned by Turkey and carried out by some of Obama's own "moderate rebels".

But all that research from MIT, from the UN, and others, has been buried by the American media, and every single story on Syria and Assad that is written still refers to "Assad gassing his own people". It's true, it's despicable, and it's just one example of how our media lies and distorts and misrepresents the news every day.

[Mar 11, 2019] SENTRY 3.1 Call Screener, smart active blocking, block all solicitor calls, election calls, robo calls. Electronic

Notable quotes:
"... Time Warner already offers Nomorobo as a free service, and the only reason I tried the Sentry was to eliminate the one ring you get for blacklisted callers when you're using Nomorobo). ..."
Mar 11, 2019 | www.amazon.com

This is the GREATEST GADGET EVER! October 22, 2016

I am an electrical engineer, and I can tell you I searched high and low for the best device to defeat robocalls. Forget the other devices like nomorobo that compare the incoming phone number to a big blacklist..... telemarketers are just faking random caller id's.

This device has a recording that immediately tells callers to hit the '0' key while a robot dialer is still searching for a telemarketer to connect the call to after it has been answered.

Since the telemarketer doesn't hear that message, they never press '0', and the call is never connected to you.

Once your friends and family press '0' and are in the system, their calls are passed through directly to you without interruption.

The device also has a huge blacklist number memory for blocking certain numbers.

The unit also has a two memory answering machine function which ONLY works after a caller has pressed '0'. Your regular answering machine will pick up all other legit calls. (The device manual does not mention this feature.)

My mother LOVES this thing!

Francis Dupre 5.0 out of 5 stars Very Effective Call Blocker, not perfect but close December 2, 2016 Verified Purchase

The Sentry-3 has been in service for one month. Black listed callers have been blocked and white listed callers have rung through normally. Callers on neither list have been greeted by a custom recorded message inviting them to press "zero" to ring my home phone. Only one caller has pressed zero, rang through, and left a desired recorded message on my home recorder. The 35 other callers who did not press "zero" were blocked, and then I added them to the black list. In short, the Sentry-3 handled all calls flawlessly.

Two items which warrant improvement are 1) the poor audio quality of the built-in incoming and outgoing voice message recorders and 2) the surprisingly scanty and inadequate unit operations documentation. Many of the needed Sentry-3 installation and operational details that are not covered clearly, or not covered at all, can be gleaned from reading and interpolating the documentation for the earlier Sentry models and by reading the reviews/questions/answers for all of the models.

Initially I installed the base station of my Panasonic cordless phone system in series with the S-3 as illustrated in the S-3 manual. With this arrangement no caller identifications or numbers were displayed on any of the phones. After noting that an optional parallel S-3 setup was mentioned in the earlier S-2 documentation I converted to a parallel setup and then the Caller ID and number data were displayed.

To minimize the inconvenience and time required for a real person, not on the white or black lists, to connect to my home phone I recorded this brief OGM: "This is (given name)" [Hopefully the party would recognize the name and voice and not hang up without listening further]; "To ring my home phone" [This is what they intended to do]; "Press zero, hang up, and redial my number. Thank you". To improve the likelihood that the caller would be able to understand my message I chose not to speak in conversational tones but instead pronounced each word as loudly and as clearly as I could without yelling. This approach in effect partially compensated for the poor quality of the voice recorder.

The two needed performance improvement items described earlier are of minor import compared with the truly impressive ability of the S3 to eliminate unwanted calls. The unit does perform as advertised. In my opinion it is fairly priced and offers a blocking capability not found in any other landline blocker of which I am aware. Based on my experience to date I do recommend it for consideration by anyone seeking an effective landline call blocker.

RogerinNYC 3.0 out of 5 stars Works Mostly as Advertised (I think), but not for me.... March 18, 2017 Verified Purchase

This is about my fourth edit of this review. Unfortunately, at this point the unit is being returned, but it shows great promise and it's possible, if not likely, that my home phone set up was the problem and others will not experience the same issues I did.

Initially, the Sentry 3 introduced significant background static when I inserted it inline between my wall jack and my base phone and I thought it would have to go back. I'm on Time Warner VOIP in NYC, and I'm using a Panasonic modular system with a base unit, so I thought that one of those might have been the problem. But, after some more trial and error, the problem appeared to have been because I introduced the Sentry Unit too far down the line, so to speak, in my interior wiring. Once I installed it directly to the cable modem, and ran my complicated internal wiring (which splits later on) directly out of the Sentry Unit at that initial point, the static was gone. So that was good.

Unfortunately, this morning, I picked up my phone line and it was full of static and clicks until I disconnected the Sentry. So then, based on someone else's review, I searched for the instructions for the Sentry 2, which shows how to set up the unit in parallel (I've uploaded a picture of it). Basically you just use a splitter to add the Sentry, but you don't run your connection through it. This cleared all the static and clicks and returned my clarity of sound.

But it comes at a cost. Because of the parallel wiring (and unlike when the unit was set up in-line), my home phone rings at least once before the Sentry unit kicks in (notwithstanding that I have the Sentry ringer setting, accessed by holding the ringer button down from the home screen, set to "allow 0 rings"). For me, but maybe not for others, this defeats the purpose of the system.

Time Warner already offers Nomorobo as a free service, and the only reason I tried the Sentry was to eliminate the one ring you get for blacklisted callers when you're using Nomorobo).

But if your system is different from mine (the Sentry, per its FAQs, seems to like AT&T and VTech phones), you might want to give it a try. In which case, a few other notes.

First, Caller ID continued to come through on my Panasonic system.

Second, notwithstanding other reviews here, I thought the Sentry instructions were straight-forward and fine. But, if you are having problems, there's a video on their web site that walks you through the basics. I easily recorded my own custom message (e.g., "we're blocking all Robocalls, but if you're a live person that we might want to talk to, please press zero, hang-up, and redial and you'll be put through. You'll only have to do this one time"), and easily entered a bunch of whitelisted numbers (without a prefix 1 in my case -- test whether you need it before you enter all your whitelisted numbers!).

My custom message requires some explanation: you don't have to tell people to hang up and redial -- if they press 0, then the Sentry unit will begin ringing -- I counted 9 very loud rings (there doesn't seem to be way to change either the number of rings or the volume), before it beeps (which the caller can hear) and its message machine kicks in -- and, if you pick up on your own phone before this point (which does NOT ring in this context), you're connected. And, regardless of whether you picked up or not, the caller is whitelisted for next time by having pressed 0.

I didn't want this sequence -- specifically, the need to work with 2 answering machines -- or the possibility of hearing the Sentry's rather obnoxious sounding ring -- hence the message to hang up and call back.

As others have said, two improvements would make this a 5 star device (assuming it works with your set-up): 1) better recording and playback quality on the OGM -- it's really a chore to get it even reasonably clear and audible, and 2) the ability to have a caller press 0 and directly ring your own phone. One star deducted for those flaws. And one star deducted for, when it's set up in parallel, not being able to keep your phone from ringing once (although I'm not sure that's technically feasible on Sentry's end given the signal is split and hitting both units at the same time).

But, all in all, if it works with your set up, and you're willing to do the whitelist set-up work and maybe have the occasional overlooked caller have to go through the 0 pressing process to be added, it's a pretty amazing device for ending the plague that our home phone lines have become thanks to all the telemarketers and scam artists. Jeff 4 months ago Report abuse Blocking the 1st ring in parallel isn't possible. Sentry uses the 1st ring to recognize that there is an incoming call, so setting it to pickup on ring 0 is like saying pick up before the call actually arrives. However, as someone else suggested, you can check your phone to see if it has the option to not ring on the first ring... or buy one that does have this feature. I think most of the current Panasonic phones do. Manufacturer Account of Tel-Sentry Inc. 1 year ago Report abuse Hi.

Thank you for your valuable feedback. Your suggestions for how we can improve are always welcomed and appreciated. We also wanted to apologize that the device could not accommodate to your preference.
We are truly grateful that you gave our product a try. Should you have any questions or would like to share some thoughts regarding your experience, please feel free to contact us. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Michael
Sentry Call Screener Support
(714)-361-4615 M-Fr 9am-4pm PST
questions@plugnblock.com

[Mar 11, 2019] Tel-Sentry V2.2 Smart Automatic Blocking, Block All Spam Calls, Election Calls without Relying on Black List Elect

Version 2 added the ability for callers to add themselves to the white list by pressing zero after the warning message is played.
Mar 10, 2019 | www.amazon.com

It does effectively block both robo calls and telelmarketing calls by the use of "Accept" and "Reject" lists and an "Advanced" mode for callers not on either list. In "Advanced" mode, a pre-recording asks live telemarketers to remove your number from their list, and then leaves the option for important callers to press "0".

If a caller chooses to press "0", the first time the caller presses "0", only the Sentry device rings and the caller's number automatically gets saved to the whitelist. This is new with version 2. The reasoning for the auto save is that important calls from live people (such as family and friends) aren't totally blocked out from reaching you, but that on a second try, they will get through and not get stopped by the pre-recorded screening. Of course, this opens up the possibility that a persistent telemarketer or former friend can press "0" to automatically get on your whitelist. Yet, if they do, placing them on the reject list manually is as easy as scrolling to that number on the call list or accept list and holding down the reject button until the "done" indicator shows up on the LCD.

From an email response received from the manufacturer, according the them, live telemarketers rarely, if ever go to the effort of pressing "0" when encountering the pre-recording.

Though made in China (aren't most things today?), the call blocker is designed in the USA. The call blocker is actually quite intuitive and easy to use. The instruction sheet is only a few pages and contains instructions on how to set up and use the different features. There are easy to read lettering indicating a button's function above or below each button. The buttons on the device doesn't feel cheap as in breaking anytime soon. The buttons are responsive and don't feel like they are about to cave in when pressed.

Version 2 of the Sentry call blocker tackles many of the concerns of the earlier model.

First, now there are 3 ways to have numbers added to the whitelist. They are (a) view the call list and press the "Accept" button (this is the same method as with version 1), (b) Add whitelist numbers directly using the buttons on the device (the instructions are straight forward. I was able to add about 20 numbers in 30 minutes), and (c) in "Advanced" mode, a caller presses "0". This automatically saves the caller's number to the whitelist.

Second, by using the Down button, it's easy to toggle the Sentry ringer on or off.

Third, the screen brightness is easier to adjust. There are three levels and the LCD screen is easy to read during adjustment.

Fourth, the recorded Sentry greeting no longer uses a British sounding male voice, but instead has an authoritative sounding American male voice which clearly says to the caller that this number is screened by Sentry and only if the caller has a valid reason, then press "0".

Fifth, if receiving a call, and the caller presses "0", the alarm rings as usual. But unlike the Sentry 1 version where the alarm rings even after pick up, with Sentry 2, once the phone is picked up, the alarm stops and one can talk to the caller freely.

Sixth, to correct issues of the Sentry needing to reset due to power fluctuations (the Sentry 1 version ran strictly off the phone line's power), the Sentry 2 version, in addition to using the phone line, uses two AAA batteries as a back up power source, which should last about 6 months before needing a change. Not only does using batteries eliminate the need to unplug and plug back in occasionally with the Sentry 1 model, but this is also handy when inputting numbers on the whitelist as now one can do so without being connected to the phone line.

In summary, here is what I like and dislike about the Sentry Call Blocker version 2:

Likes
-----
- Effective call blocking, easy to use, should last, competitively priced
- a large capacity limit (9999 each) of numbers for both "Accept" and "Reject" calls
- Advanced mode blocks automated, robo calls
- (new with version 2) Battery backup eliminates freeze up and resetting issues. Can use device cord free to input whitelist numbers
- Numbers are retained even if phone line disconnected
- (new with version 2) clear, American accented greeting (though I kinda of miss the English butler's voice!)
- (new with version 2) ability to add numbers to the call blocker directly to the device
- (new with version 2) auto save to white list gives important callers not yet on the white list a
second chance to reach you
- (new with version 2) easier to use LCD setting. Even during set up, as long as three is surrounding light, the LCD isn't too dim to read. The LCD display shows a sharper contrast
- (new with version 2) ability to turn off the ringer

Dislikes
--------
- Only captures the phone number and not the name
- In darker areas, LCD may be a bit dim, would like a backlight button, especially now since there is battery backup

Overall, I really like the Sentry call blocker, version 2. It feels nice reminding myself that the phone usage belongs to me and not the telemarketers. In other words, "bring it on" robo callers and telemarketers, the sheriff is ready for you!

T. Sandy Matthews

Dual Mode Explained May 13, 2015

Verified Purchase I just got my Sentry 2 call blocker and so far I am very excited about this device. There was some confusing terminology about this device before I purchased that has become clear to me now that I own the device. To clarify the situation for others, the Sentry 2 works a couple of independent modes that make the documentation confusing. The documentation referees to dual mode. But there seems to be more then one dual mode. So which dual mode they are referring to at this point is unknown. the parallel versus series modes

The first mode pair I will talk about is the parallel versus series modes. This means there are two ways you can hook up the Sentry 2 to your home phones.

In parallel mode, the Sentry 2 acts like another handset, and you will hear the first ring of every call that comes in. That means every call. Black listed, white listed, or unknown. You plug the Sentry 2 into an unused phone jack. Or if you don't have an open phone jack, you will need to use a splitter. A splitter did not come in my box which is strange because parallel mode is probably the most common mode people will be able to hook up with. When a call comes in, all your phones in your house ring instantly just like before. Caller ID with names show up on all the phones which is a good situation.

The Sentry 2 monitors the Caller ID that comes in during the first ring and if it doesn't like the number, it will "pick up the phone" and either play it's message or (if the number is on the block list) hangs up immediately.

If the Sentry 2 is playing it's message, you still have a chance to pick up a phone elsewhere in your house. This should stop the message playback and you can immediately talk to the caller. After your call is done, you can then walk over to the Sentry 2 and accept the last call (in the call history) into your white list, or stick it in the black list.

In series mode, the Sentry 2 sits between your incoming phone line and the rest of the telephones in your house. In this mode, you will not hear the first ring of every call because it appears the Sentry 2 will block the ring of every call until it gets a chance to see the caller ID. This mode would probably make most people happy since more silence is good right? Let me say right off if you have multiple phone brands scattered throughout your house like I do chances are most likely you will not be able to use series mode. It seems if you have even one incompatible phone in your system, or perhaps just too many phones in your house, series mode probably will not work. While I would have hoped that I could have used series mode (avoiding the first ring) I am still very glad to have a well functioning parallel mode setup.

The other mode pair is the basic versus advanced modes.

The so called basic mode is like a standby mode or as it reads on the display of the device it is the "off" mode. In basic (or "off") mode, all calls are let through except for black listed numbers which still get blocked. So the part that is "off" is the white listing capability. You may want to use this mode if your white list is incomplete, or if you are expecting a call from someone who you don't know their phone number. For example, if you call a refrigerator repair man. The operator tells you the repair man will call 15 minutes before he arrives. You can then stick the Sentry 2 into basic "off" mode so that the repair man's call gets let through. Basic mode can also be used to collect phone numbers from friends and family, so you don't have to enter them in manually. Just leave Sentry 2 in basic (off) mode for a few weeks. As the Sentry 2 collects numbers in it's call history, you can scroll through the call history and add the numbers to your white (or black) list.

The other mode is called advanced mode. Advanced mode is when "off" is not displayed in the upper right hand corner of the display. Let's be honest. Advanced mode is why we all decided to purchase the Sentry 2. Advanced mode means the white list is actively checked. White listed phone numbers are allowed to ring your phones. The black list is also checked. Black listed numbers get an instant automatic good bye slam and no apology either.

Unknown numbers get a long somewhat annoying message telling them to go away, or press "0" to be added to the white list. So why is it called advance mode anyway? Well to be honest, most people will not want their friends or family members to encounter the Sentry 2's go away message.

If someone presses "0" the Sentry 2 does not hang up. It will stop playing it's message and the caller will hear silence. This will probably confuse the caller, since the Sentry 2 just told them to hang up. The Sentry 2 will then make a noise, like an alarm which the caller can't hear. If you are fortunate enough to be able to hear the alarm, then you can pick up a phone and start talking.

[Mar 04, 2019] Gangster Capitalism: The United States and the Globalization of Organized Crime

November 16, 2008

A very timely book , November 16, 2008 Joseph Oppenheim (San Diego, CA USA) - See all my reviews

What makes "Gangster Capitalism" so worthwhile is that it helps in understanding what has led us to the 2007-8 financial meltdown. As the book shows, like during the 1920's, deregulation led the way for powerful companies to allow the very wealthy to get wealthier at the expense of average people by using poor working conditions, low wages, etc, plus at the same time supporting supposedly moral movements (against gambling, alcohol, drugs, etc) which mainly served the purpose of making these trades more profitable to crooks and therefore created rampant gangsterism there. The result was such a society wracked with gangsterism at all levels, but because most people felt they were prospering, few complained.

But, then it all collapsed with the 1929 crash and resulting Depression, which led the way for FDR and the New Deal programs which increased regulation of corporations, repeal of Prohibition, etc. Though the Depression lingered until WWII, the New Deal was successful in restructuring our laws and public infrastructure to create a better footing for the prosperity which would follow.

The book effectively traces how much of this regulation was reduced piece by piece, beginning in earnest with Nixon, using Cold War fears to tilt the nation toward more corporate power and away from reform, support of right-wing dictators around the world, re-energizing a 'moral crusade' especially by beginning the War on Drugs, thereby making the illegal drug trade super profitable, etc.

The nation had shifted Right and even Democratic presidents like Carter who was instrumental in deregulating industry and Clinton who signed into law the repeal of Glass--Steagle weren't able to stop the shift. Then, the 'Gangster Capitalism" went on steroids with G. W. Bush. By 2003, corporate taxes only amounted to 7% of revenues, while payroll taxes amounted to 40%.

Of note, the book makes clear it is opportunity which leads to much crime, so the approach of massive deregulation of corporations, plus focusing on arrests and imprisonment for victimless crimes ends up with the wrong results, more entrenched crime, even allowing corporations to capitalize on a prison industry.

The book is also good at highlighting how corporations and outright gangsters were able to corrupt legal drugs (price-fixing), tobacco, asbestos, body parts, autos (Pintos), etc. Some other things in the book, of note: Hamid Karzai included drug traffickers in his Afghan administration.

And, our support of Suharto (Indonesia), Mobuto (the Congo), and Marcos (the Philippines) allowed 'looting' of these countries.

A corrupt financial infrastructure included the BCCI bank and offshore banking to evade taxes also developed. Plus, laundering money from illegal arms sales, drugs, and so many other illegal activities passed through our financial system.

The book is definitely tilted toward a liberal way of looking at things, therefore it doesn't go into the good things about capitalism, but there are disturbing patterns which are important to understand, and this book does that very well.

By James R. Maclean (Seattle, WA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)

Wasted opportunity , September 6, 2006

Despite the fact that I was predisposed to agree with many of the author's views, this book was a huge disappointment. First, the basic premises:
  1. American business enterprise is singularly corrupt;
  2. Most of the crime that Americans suffer from is corporate crime;
  3. American methods of fighting crime focus on lurid fantasies of underworld conspiracy;
  4. The USA exports criminality through its foreign & trade policies.

Each of these premises could have been, and in other venues have been, well-argued. The first three suffer from a lack of generally accepted, objective measures, but experts on criminology have overcome worse obstacles. What we get instead is an unfocused, rambling listing of claims (plausible, but very poorly documented) about the criminal underworld, anecdotes about corporate crime, and extreme statements. No doubt "legitimate" business enterprise does rip off more money from customers each year than do gangsters or mafiosi; but the latter also account for a tiny fraction of the total US labor force. And comparing deaths from industrial accidents to mob hits is just over the top.

Woodiwiss says that the book

"had its inception during a seminar series on transnational organized crime run by Adam Edwards and Peter Gill... Adam and Peter put together several of the best academic researchers from Europe and North America...."

Yet the book is exasperatingly badly substantiated. I noticed almost no original research. Woodiwiss's footnotes, which--like cops--are never around when you need them (viz., when he is actually saying something that requires documentation), are almost exclusively from articles in the *Guardian* or from other sensational exposes. Radical literature has its place, of course, but saying, "US capitalism is just like organized crime... see, it says so in 'The New Left Review'" is just a harangue, not evidence.

The back cover declaims:

"..[T]he position of large multinational corporations...actually provide the most enticing opportunities for illegal profit... Gangster Capitalism shows how respectable businessmen and revered statesmen have seized these opportunities in an orgy of fraud and illegal violence that would leave the most hardened mafiosi speechless."

In fact, it's a disappointing pile of clippings. With the exception of his claims--again, plausible but unsubstantiated--you are not going to find any surprises here.

As I mentioned, he attacks conventional wisdom regarding the mafia and J. Edgar Hoover (who comes off surprisingly well); unfortunately, Woodiwiss offers almost no support for those contentions that are likely to be controversial.

For example, on p.78 he mentions President [Nixon]'s Advisory Council on Executive Organization, "Organized Crime Strike Force Report" [1969], which included a vaguely worded remark that the reliance on legal sanctions to fight drug abuse was actually causing organized crime to flourish." This is footnoted.

Then he says that Nixon was so horrified by this that he ruthlessly suppressed the report. This is not footnoted.

The next paragraph (p.49) includes a quote from a law enforcement officer claiming that gambling arrests were made just to pad the arrest numbers; this is footnoted. The next paragraph declares that gambling is no more corrupt than the rest of the economy. A surprising observation, it is predictably not footnoted.

The result: lots of footnotes documenting that water is a bit on the damp side, but nothing to support the controversial stuff. Only a small part is devoted to crime; the rest is a paste-up job from two dozen radical critiques of the USA.

Anything from the 1971 ditching of the gold exchange standard to the various covert activities of the CIA are brought up, with no more compelling a connection to Woodiwiss' original point than being bad things that Americans did.

The conclusions are so insipid (it calls for "fair trade" with no further specification of how that would be any different... capital punishment for corporations--evidently Mr. Woodiwiss has never heard of 'money laundering,' in which a vehicle corporation commits suicide), that it is pointless to spend any time on them.

Woodiwiss needs to actually learn something about economics; ironically enough, for someone who claims business is closely tied to crime, he knows almost nothing about it. He needs to know, and say what he knows, about law enforcement and business practices abroad, so he can make a comparison. And finally, he needs to actually learn how to write.

[Mar 04, 2019] Psychological Warfare and the New World Order: The Secret War Against the American People by Servando Gonzalez

I think the books contains some useful information about the history of Propaganda Wars and the Deep state. But also a lot of junk: Fidel Castro listed along with CIA connected neocons as Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski: Key elements in this secret war have been the Department of State, the National Security Council, the Central Intelligence Agency, as well as some of the conspirators' secret agents like Allen Dulles, Henry Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Fidel Castro.
He also denigrates Marx, which sound very simplistic. While Marx was wrong about many things and first of about "the dictatorship of the proletariat". As well as the idea that proletariat is a new progressive class that will became the next dominant class on the next stage of the development of the mankind, displacing capitalists. But Marx provided an excellent framework for the analysis of capitalism. So to throw out all the Marxism is IMHO unwise.
Notable quotes:
"... The conspirators are a small group of Wall Street bankers, oil magnates and CEOs of transnational corporations, most of them senior members of the Council on Foreign Relations. ..."
"... Key elements in this secret war have been the Department of State, the National Security Council, the Central Intelligence Agency, as well as some of the conspirators' secret agents like Allen Dulles, Henry Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Fidel Castro. ..."
Mar 09, 2016 | www.amazon.com

America is at war. But this not a conventional war waged with tanks, battleships and planes in conventional battlefields -- at least not yet. It is a secret, insidious type of war whose battleground is the people's minds. Its main weapons are propaganda and mass brainwashing by disinformation, cunning, deception and lies in a large scale not used against the people of any nation since Nazi Germany. Though important, however, those elements are just part of a series of carefully planned and executed long and short-term psychological warfare operations. In synthesis, it is a psychological war -- a PSYWAR.

If an unfriendly foreign power had carried out against the American people the actions carried out by Wall Street bankers, Oil magnates and CEOs of transnational corporations entrenched at the Council on Foreign Relations and its parasite organizations, we might well have considered it an act of war.

Unfortunately, most Americans ignore that they are under attack. The reason is because, like Ninja assassins, the main weapon used by the conspirators who have managed to infiltrate and take control of the U.S. Government and most of American life has been their invisibility. For almost a century, these small group of conspirators have been waging a quiet, non-declared war of attrition against the American people, and it seems that they are now ready for the final, decisive battle.

Unfortunately, as the last two presidential elections showed, the brainwashed American people reacted by changing the puppets, leaving the puppet masters untouched and in control. In this book Servando Gonzalez studies in detail the origins of the conspiracy, who the conspirators are, the main elements of this PSYWAR and, what's more important, how we can fight back and win

S. Gonzalez "Conspiracy analyst" (Oakland, CA) - See all my reviews

More Info About the Book , December 11, 2010

This review is from: Psychological Warfare and the New World Order: The Secret War Against the American People (Paperback)

About the book

America is at war. But this is not a conventional war waged with tanks, battleships and planes in conventional battlefields --at least, not yet. It is a secret, insidious type of war whose battleground is the people's minds. Its main weapons are mind viruses disseminating mass brain-washing through propaganda disinformation, cunning, deception and lies in a large scale not used against any people since Nazi Germany. Though important, these elements are just part of a series of carefully planned and executed long- and short-term psychological warfare operations. In synthesis, it is a psychological war --a PSYWAR.

If an unfriendly foreign power had carried out against the American people the actions carried out by Wall Street bankers, Oil magnates and CEOs of transnational corporations entrenched at the Council on Foreign Relations and its parasite organizations, we might well have considered it an act of war. Unfortunately, most Americans ignore that they are under attack. The reason is because, like Ninja assassins, the main weapon used by the conspirators who have managed to infiltrate and take control of the U.S. Government and most of American life has been their invisibility.

For almost a century, this small group of conspirators have been waging a quiet, non-declared war of attrition against the American people, and it seems that they are now ready for the final, decisive battle. Unfortunately, as the last two presidential elections showed, the brainwashed American people reacted by changing the puppets, leaving the puppet masters in control.

This book studies in detail the origins of the conspiracy, who the conspirators are, the main elements of this PSYWAR and, what's more important, how we can fight back and win.

About the Author

Cuban-born Servando Gonzalez got his training as a historian at the University of Havana. He has written books, essays and articles on Latin American history, intelligence, espionage, and semiotics.

Servando is the author of Historia herética de la revolución fidelista, The Secret Fidel Castro, The Nuclear Deception and La madre de todas las conspiraciones, all available at Amazon.com.

He also hosted the documentaries Treason in America: The Council on Foreign Relations and Partners in Treason: The CFR-CIA-Castro Connection, produced by Xzault Media Group of San Leandro, California.

What the critics are saying

Book's Content

Psychological Warfare and the New World Order: The Secret War Against the American People

Contents

Preface

Conspiracies and Conspiracy "Theories"
Espionage and Skepticism
Historians and Intelligence Analysts
The Art and Science of Historical Tradecraft

Introduction

A Fractured America
The Covert American Revolution
Who Are the New World Order Conspirators?
The Secret War Against the American People
Walking Back the Cat

Chapter 1. Is There an Invisible Government of the United States?

The CIA as Scapegoat
The Council on What?
The Science of Historical Forensics
U.S. Presidents on Blinders
CFR's Inside Critics
The CFR Octopus
The CIA's True Bosses

Chapter 2. Spying: The Rockefellers' True Passion

The Inquiry: First U.S. Civilian Intelligence Agency
House-Wilson: A Typical Case of Agent Recruitment
Wilson: The First Successful U.S. Puppet President
The Family that Spies Together . . .
Nelson and David Inherit Their Grandpa's Passion for Spying
The Family Tradition Continues

Chapter 3. The Council on Foreign Relations: The Conspirators' Secret Intelligence Agency

The Conspirators Create an Anti-American Monster
The CFR: Second U.S. Civilian Intelligence Agency
A Very Secretive Organization
The CFR: an Association of Criminal Traitors
The Invisible Government of the United States
The CFR Conspirators Take Early Control of the Press
The Conspirators Extend Their Control Over the Press, the Arts and the Academia
The Conspirators Infiltrate the Two Parties
The Conspirators Infiltrate the State Department

Chapter 4. The OSS: of the Bankers, by the Bankers, for the Bankers

American Intelligence Before and After WWI
Was the OSS an Intelligence Agency?
OSS: The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight
OSS: The Conspirators' Fifth Column Inside the U.S. Armed Forces
The Assassination of General Patton

Chapter 5. The National Security Act, the CIA and the Creation of Artificial Insecurity

The National Security Act of 1947 and the Origins of the National Security Council
U.S. Presidents as CFR's Puppets
The National Security Council: a Key Tool of the CFR Conspirators
Why the CIA?
The CIA: The Conspirators' Secret Military Arm
The NSC Illegally Authorizes the CIA to Conduct Covert Operations
Covert Operations: The CIA's True and Only Purpose

Chapter 6. The CIA's "Failures"

The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight?
The Gang That Shouldn't Shoot Straight
CIA's Failed Assassination Attempts on Fidel Castro
The CIA's True Role
Team B VS Team A
The Two CIAs
CFR Conspirators Create CIA B
American Patriots Working for CIA A
HUMINT VS TECHINT
Enemy Moles Inside the CIA
Angleton's Deep Game

Chapter 7. The Cold War PSYOP

The CFR Conspirators Use the CIA to Recruit Fidel Castro
The Bogotazo False Flag Operation and the Cold War PSYOP
The Agent Provocateurs
Planting False Clues
Was Castro a Communist?
The Bogotazo and the Assassination of Gaitán
An Intelligence Analysis of the Bogotazo
Gaitan's Assassin: A Manchurian Candidate?
An Intelligence Analysis of Gaitán's Assassination
New Pieces of the Puzzle
The Bogotazo: Still a Mystery

Chapter 8. The CFR Mole Infiltrates the Soviets

The Destruction of Russia and the Creation of the Soviet Union
Khrushchev's Peaceful Threat
A Spy is Born ... or Made?
Fidel Castro to the Rescue
The Bay of Pigs PSYOP

Chapter 9. Agent Castro Warms Up the Cold War

The Soviets Swallow the Dangling Bait
The CFR's Agent Provocateur Strikes Again
Khrushchev Tries to Get Rid of Castro, But Fails
Castro's Good Job on Behalf of His CFR Masters
The Latin American Guerrillas and Other PSYOPs
Fidel Castro and the 9/11 False Flag Operation
The Castro-Chávez PSYOP

Chapter 10. PSYOPs Against the American People I

A War in the People's Minds
PSYOPs Do Exist
The War-for-Eugenics PSYOP
The Anti-Christian PSYOP
The Gay Movement PSYOP
The Gay Marriage PSYOP

Chapter 11. PSYOPs Against the American People II

The Environmental PSYOP
Anthropogenic Global Warming?
The Two Party PSYOP
The War on Terror PSYOP
The Obama PSYOP

Chapter 12. Castro's Cuba: A Testing Ground for the New World Order?

The Cuban Economy Before Castro
Cuba as a Testing Ground
Castro's Cuba: a CFR Conspirator's Paradise

Chapter 13. The End of the CIA and the Beginning of the New World Order

The CFR Conspirators Take Control Over the U.S. Military
The CFR's Fifth Column Inside the U.S. Armed Forces
Faithful to Two Flags?
The CFR Conspirators Destroy the CIA They Don't Need Anymore
The "Support Our Army" Myth

Epilogue: What Can We Do to Win This War?

Is the U.S. Becoming a Totalitarian Dictatorship?
Ballots or Bullets?
Why They Hate Us?
The Conspirators' Final Push for the New World Order
PSYWAR and Mind Viruses

Appendixes
Appendix I. A Chronology of Treason
Appendix II. The Evaluation of Information: Intelligence, the 9/11/2001 Events, and the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962
Appendix III. Hegelian-type PSYOPS. False Flag Operations: Bogotazo and 9/11/2001

From the Preface

This is a book about a conspiracy. It is not, however, about the imaginary "vast right-wing conspiracy" mentioned by Hillary Clinton. Neither it is about the alleged "conspiracy of ideas" carried out by well-intentioned, honest people engaged in "an ideological battle," mentioned by Congressman Ron Paul.

It is about a real vast right- left-wing conspiracy carried out by a group of criminal psychopaths without any ideology at all except maximum power and control. To carry out their plants, the conspirators usually resort to deception, coercion, extortion, usury, racketeering, Ponzi schemes, theft, torture, assassination and large-scale mass murder.

The ultimate goal of these conspirators is the total destruction of the American republic as we knew it and the creation of a global communo-fascist feudal totalitarian society under their full control --a society they euphemistically call the New World Order.

The conspirators are a small group of Wall Street bankers, oil magnates and CEOs of transnational corporations, most of them senior members of the Council on Foreign Relations. Though their push for total control of the U.S. government began in 1913 during the Wilson administration, since the end of WWII it has become a fully developed psychological war of immense proportions secretly waged against the American people. Key elements in this secret war have been the Department of State, the National Security Council, the Central Intelligence Agency, as well as some of the conspirators' secret agents like Allen Dulles, Henry Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Fidel Castro.

This conspiracy resembles a gigantic puzzle of which many pieces are missing or have been intentionally placed in the wrong place in order to mislead. This explains why most analysts who have studied the phenomenon using the analytical method have failed to find the true source of the problem.

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MANUEL ESTEVE - See all my reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars This book is a roller coaster... , September 13, 2010

This book is a roller coaster. It questions most of your accepted ideas about the Council on Foreign Relations, the OSS, the CIA, Castro, the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban missile crisis, 9/11 and many other events we take for granted. After reading this book I agree with the author's assertion that most of what has been written about the CIA - pro and con - is simply hogwash.

Gonzalez's theory about the two CIAs after the Team A -- Team B deception is very convincing. This may explain why this is at the same time the most anti-CIA and the most pro-CIA book ever written. (The book is dedicated to Arthur B. Darling, the first CIA official historian.)

Moreover, this is the only book I have read that provides a logical explanation to the CIA's seemingly illogical abandonment of HUMINT for its current widespread use of TECHINT, and why good CIA officers have been abandoning the Agency.

Also, after reading many books about James Jesus Angleton, this books dissects his behavior and shows what he really was: a traitor and a common criminal serving not the American people but his true masters, the Wall Street bankers and oil magnates who created the CIA.

A must read for CIA former and current officers, particularly the ones in the intelligence area.

Cquevedo - See all my reviews
Believed is happening , September 14, 2010

This book reads like a spy novel. In almost every single page I found shocking assertions and theories -- supported by more than a thousand scholarly footnotes.

After enumerating the long list of CIA's failures, many books about the CIA rhetorically ask the question: "Why the CIA has been so stupid?" After reading Gonzalez' book now I ask myself, how I have been so stupid to believe the assertions that the CIA guys --or, much better, the people who control the CIA-- are stupid?

In his book Gonzalez shows how, since its very conception, the CIA has never served us, the American people, but the Wall Street bankers, oil magnates and CEOs of transnational corporations who created it. The time is ripe to get rid of the CIA and the rest of alphabet soup of intelligence organizations who use taxpayers money to protect the interest of international bankers and transnational corporations.

Ah, and before we close the CIA building and throw away the key, I would like to see destroyed the bust of William Donovan decorating its vestibule. While the traitor who ordered that assassination of General Patton got a statue, the heroic, patriotic general's memory has been covered with mud. What a shame!

Bondolfo Shamitoff (San Francisco) - See all my reviews

very interesting book , September 13, 2010

I had a chance to read and advance copy of this book and it was very interesting. I am a fan of conspiracy theory books and historical books so this was right up my alley. What I realized though, after I read more and more of the book is that this is not your typical book on this subject. It backs ideas up with facts and has lots of good footnotes which I will use for future reference. This type of subject matter may not be for everyone, but considering how things are going in this country, it might be worth the read.

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Luisa - See all my reviews

Could not put it down! , September 13, 2010

Had a chance to purchase a copy of the book this past Saturday, started reading it then and finished it this morning. Mr. Gonzalez has done such a remarkable job of analyzing historical events in detail and providing so much key evidence that his claims must be taken seriously. I'm not going to go into every detail about the book, but if you believe that everything in this country is not as it seems and that we are being lied to by our government now and have been lied to in the past, read this book.
Rose M. Aasen-rojas "rose" (atlanta) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)

A Quick Up-To-Speed Study , February 15, 2011

Gonzalez in his engaging prose brings you quickly up-to-speed in the globalist plan and the players. In spite of the abundance of typos and editing errors along with some stilted English phrases, the book will be difficult to put down; and when it ends, you'll want to know more. Hopefully,the second printing will be better-edited.

boatsmac (James McDonald) (San Diego) - See all my reviews
Warning, you will not be able to go back to where you were before, after reading this book! , June 12, 2012

I am an honorably discharged Veteran with 20 years of military service and because I've questioned the actions and motivations of the CFR, Homeland security, the bombing of the Oklahoma Federal Building and the events of 9/11, I have been labeled by my government as a potential terrorist. I am ashamed, hurt, confused and feel alarmed.

Why and how did it get to this point?

If you want to understand, put on your seat-belt and prepare yourself when you read Servando Gonzalez's Psychological Warfare and the New World Order.

The wealth of historical, empirical proof within this work will rock your world. Just when you think that you have reached the climax of evidence, the next wave of proof makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up!

This book will affect you in a way that you will never be able to walk down American streets again without recognizing that you could be seen as nothing more than cannon fodder for a ruthless and cunning organization that has been working for a goal for over a hundred years.

I am not religious but what has been going on in America and the rest of the world, is truly evil. It's a force that is working to insure billions of people will suffer and who is left will serve the masters of the New World Order.

This is not science fiction, not some crazy story of some sick delusional nut, this is reality of elements within our government.

Servando Gonzalez will guide you through this strange and factual journey about what is really going on in America and elements with in our government. If you don't care about your love ones, if you don't care about your honor, if you don't care about knowing about what you can do to protect yourself against this force, don't read this master piece of factual work.

***Fair warning*** The knowledge in this capstone of work will affect you personally!

applewood (everywhere and nowhere) - See all my reviews

Literally. Servando Gonzalez's book on psychological warfare looks at the people and organizations (and their motivations) of the conspiracy behind all other conspiracies.

For decades I've read of the main conspiracy-related events of my life time, the who's and why's behind - JFK's and RFK's assassinations, the Contra/Arkansas cocaine/arms trade and Whitewater money laundering scandal, the Oklahoma City bombing, the 9/11 attacks - and have been fascinated, shocked, outraged, bewildered and disgusted. This book goes right to the heart of the agenda behind these various events, and shows them to be mere layers in a much larger onion. This book provides a clear overview but is also full of fascinating details, especially on how Castro was a CIA agent and how his rule of Cuba has not been what it seems, as well as providing a run down of some of the current PSYOPs being run on the American public.

Gonzalez's own review here gives an outline of the details better than I ever could so I will keep this short. I came across this book after reading a lengthy review by Gonzalez for a different book on Amazon, greatly impressed by his intellect and perspective. At first I was leery of purchasing his book because many of these reviews appear written by friends of his (single review reviewers always make me skeptical). However this book delivers, and as another reviewer commented here, it will change your understanding, views and perhaps life. It has quickly risen into the top 10 list of influential books I've read. I'd even venture say it is essential.

My main complaint is that while well informed, and intelligent Gonzalez's writing is often dense and repetitive (as well as having a fair number of typos), and so apparently rushed to press without thorough editing. Given the timely need of this book this is excusable, but hopefully will be remedied in a second edition. More importantly I was sometimes left wondering how Gonzalez knows all these (specific) people are CFR members/agents? And this uncertainty of mine, and implied dependence on him, left me in doubt about the whole thesis (are we both just paranoid delusional? lol!).... But perhaps such doubt (in the face of my own mix of information and disinformation) is a healthy thing.

Many times when talking with friends about conspiracy ideas and theories they inevitably ask two fundamental questions; 1) who is behind it all, and 2) why?

This book answers both clearly;

1) The Council of Foreign Relations (via the National Security Council, the CIA and increasingly the US military command) and various sister organizations (The Trilateral Commission and The Bilderberg Group). Many individuals are identified, most of these are familiar public figures (as most high level government appointees and elected officials are drawn from this elite group).

2) The New World Order - global domination for sustainable control and order by the super-rich elite (the .0001%, not the mere, ordinary, scape-goated/smoke-screened "1%"). The effect could well be a return to a new feudal age, with almost all of us in a "safe" but unfree and impoverished serfdom (kind of like with the Cuba "experiment"). The kicker being that to do this, "us" will probably be less than a quarter (and perhaps much less) of those now alive.

And it also answers the question of how.

"But the conspirators who planned to bring a revolutionary change of government in the United States to implement the communo-fascist regime they call the New World Order were a bunch of physical cowards, who didn't have the courage to risk their lives in a revolution by gun play. Consequently, despite the fact that the political system they wanted to implement was a mixture of communism and fascism, they neither adopted the revolutionary tactics of open insurrection favored by the Communists, nor the coup d'etat techniques of the Fascists, but the evolutionary, infiltration techniques advocated by the British Fabians." (pg. 40)

The tools to achieve this Brave New World vision include any and all available. For some it is direct warfare (the Middle East), for others, famine and eugenics (Africa), and for American's it is mainly mind control (mass hypnosis and indoctrination) and psychological warfare (destabilizing events leading to doubt, confusion, fear, depression and helplessness). Of course this plan is not a given (even though already far along in it's realization). There are other forces for change, sanity and awakening in the world today.

This is where you and I come into play....

Frances Fletcher - See all my reviews

A Must Read! , May 21, 2013

This is a well-documented expose of the puppet masters that pull the strings of the United States Government.

As a retired police officer and intelligence analyst, I read this book with validation of the ideas presented in the fore front of my mind. I used two bookmarks while reading. One bookmark kept my current place and the other marked the corresponding footnotes. The footnotes are detailed and accurate and led to even-more paths of discovering the truth.

This book is proof that the United States Government has been usurped by the Council of Foreign Relations, transnational corporations and Wall Street bankers.

Every chapter is a light bulb going off in your mind. The author has brilliantly gathered pieces of the puzzle and assembled them into a coherent picture.

This book is essential for understanding what has happened to our country and what is still happening. It is a MUST read!

[Feb 26, 2019] Corrupt and decaying neoliberal elite and Gramsci's idea of hegemony

Feb 26, 2019 | www.amazon.com

We begin our investigation with a historical account of the rise of neoliberal hegemony. Hegemony is a concept developed by Italian Marx- ist Antonio Gramsci. Gramsci was keen to account for the definitive role that culture played in legitimizing and sustaining capitalism and its exploitation of the working classes. In our own context of extreme economic inequality, Gramsci's question is still pressing: How and why do ordinary working folks come to accept a system where wealth is produced by their collective labors and energies but appropriated individually by only a few at the top?

The theory of hegemony suggests that the answer to this question is not simply a matter of direct exploitation and control by the capitalist class. Rather, hegemony posits that power is maintained through ongoing, ever-shifting cultural processes of winning the consent of the governed, that is, ordinary people like you and me.

In other words, if we want to really understand why and how phenomena like inequality and exploitation exist, we have to attend to the particular, contingent, and often contradictory ways in which culture gets mobilized to forward the interests and power of the ruling classes. According to Gramsci, there was not one ruling class, but rather a historical blос. "A moving equilibrium" of class interests and values.

Hegemony names a cultural struggle for moral, social, economic, and political leadership; in this struggle, a field -- or assemblage -- of practices, discourses, values, and beliefs come to be dominant. While this field is powerful and firmly entrenched, it is also open to contestation.

In other words, hegemonic power is always on the move; it has to keep winning our consent to survive, and sometimes it fails to do so. Through the lens of hegemony, we can think about the rise of neoliberalism as an ongoing political project -- and class struggle -- to shift society's political equilibrium and create a new' dominant field.

[Feb 19, 2019] How 1984 turned into an instruction manual by Simon Black

Feb 18, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
By Simon Black via Sovereignman.com

"Sometimes [two and two are four], Winston. Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once. You must try harder. It is not easy to become sane."

One of the key themes from George Orwell's dystopic novel 1984 is that the Party can do and say whatever it wants.

And more importantly, you must believe it, with all your heart. No matter how absurd.

That's doublethink . It is impossible for two plus two to equal three, four, and five simultaneously. But if the Party says it is so, it is so.

If you can't make yourself believe two contradictory facts simultaneously, that makes you a thought criminal– an enemy of the Party.

Thoughtcrime is thinking any thought that contradicts the Party.

Facecrime is when you have the wrong expression on your face. For instance, if captured enemy soldiers are being paraded through the streets, looking sympathetic is a facecrime.

Newspeak is the language of the Party–one that has painstakingly been removed of unnecessary words, or words that might contradict the Party's ideals.

"Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it."

During daily two minutes hate , citizens shout and curse whatever enemies the Party shows them.

And the face of the Party, Big Brother , is watching you. He helps you be a better citizen.

This isn't just some random literature lesson. Understanding Orwell's 1984 will help you understand 2019 America.

For instance, one California state senator is working on her own version of Newspeak.

She has banned the members of her committee from using gender pronouns, such as he, she, her, and him. Instead they must use "they and them" to respect non-binary gender choices.

So Billy Joel's famous song "She's always a woman" would become "They're always a non-binary gender. . ." Somehow that just doesn't ring with the same sweetness.

Last month a high school student famously committed a facecrime when he stood, apparently smirking, while a Native American activist beat a drum in his face.

The 16-year-old was then subjected to "two minutes hate" by the entire nation. The Party labeled him an enemy, and Twitter obliged.

Of course when I reference the 'Party', I don't mean to imply that all these Orwellian developments are coming from a single political party.

They've ALL done their parts to advance Orwellian dystopia and make it a reality.

Senators Chuck Schumer and Bernie Sanders want to limit corporate stock buybacks and share payouts. But the tax code already has the accumulated profits tax, which punishes corporations for NOT engaging in stock buybacks and share payouts

It's like doublethink you have to simultaneously pay and not pay out dividends.

Same goes for cops will pull you over for speeding, but also for "suspicious" textbook perfect driving .

The #MeToo movement made it a thoughtcrime to not immediately believe the accuser and condemn the accused , no evidence required.

When Matt Damon pointed out that we should not conflate a pat on the butt with rape, he was met with "two minutes hate" for expressing the wrong opinion.

On college campuses, some students are upset that white students are using multicultural spaces . Apparently "multicultural" is newspeak for "no whites allowed."

And when a controversy over offensive Halloween costumes erupted at Yale a few years ago, it was a student free speech group which suppressed any debate on the topic.

It's amazing how they want you to celebrate diversity as long as its not intellectual diversity.

1984 was supposed to be a warning. Instead, it has become an instruction manual.

[Feb 17, 2019] Death of the Public University Uncertain Futures for Higher Education in the Knowledge Economy (Higher Education

Notable quotes:
"... Administration bloat and academic decline is another prominent feature of the neoliberal university. University presidents now view themselves as CEO and want similar salaries. ..."
Feb 17, 2019 | www.amazon.com

Customer Review

skeptic 5.0 out of 5 stars February 11, 2019 Format: Kindle Edition

The eyes opening, very important for any student or educator book

This book is the collection of more than dozen of essays of various authors, but even the Introduction (Privatizing the Public University: Key Trends, Countertrends, and Alternatives) is worth the price of the book

Trends in neo-liberalization of university education are not new. But recently they took a more dangerous turn. And they are not easy to decipher, despite the fact that they are greatly affect the life of each student or educator. In this sense this is really an eyes-opening book.

In Europe previously higher education as assessable for free or almost free, but for talented student only. Admission criteria were strict and checked via written and oral entrance exams on key subjects. Now the tend is to view university as business that get customers, charge them exorbitant fees and those customers get diploma as hamburgers in McDonalds at the end for their money. Whether those degree are worth money charged, or not and were suitable for the particular student of not (many are "fake" degrees with little or no chances for getting employment) is not university business. On the contrary marketing is used to attract as many students as possible and many of those student now remain in debt for large part of their adult life.

In other words, the neoliberalization of the university in the USA creates new, now dominant trend -- the conversion of the university into for-profit diploma mills, which are essentially a new type of rent-seeking (and they even attract speculative financial capital and open scamsters, like was in case of "Trump University" ). Even old universities with more than a century history more and more resemble diploma mills.

This assault on academic freedom by neoliberalism justifies itself by calling for "transparency" and "accountability" to the taxpayer and the public. But it operates used utter perversion of those terms. In the Neoliberal context, they mean "total surveillance" and "rampant rent-seeking."

Neoliberalism has converted education from a public good to a personal investment in the future, a future conceived in terms of earning capacity. As this is about your future earning potential, it is logical that for a chance to increase it you need to take a loan.

Significantly, in the same period per capita, spending on prisons increased by 126 percent (Newfield 2008: 266). Between the 1970s and 1990s there was a 400 percent increase in charges in tuition, room, and board in U.S. universities and tuition costs have grown at about ten times the rate of family income (ibid.). What these instances highlight is not just the state's retreat from direct funding of higher education but also a calculated initiative to enable private companies to capture and profit from tax-funded student loans.

The other tendency is also alarming. Funds now are allocated to those institutions that performed best in what has become a fetishistic quest for ever-higher ratings. That creates the 'rankings arms-race.' It has very little or nothing to do with the quality of teaching of students in a particular university. On the contrary, the curriculums were "streamlines" and "ideologically charged courses" such as neoclassical economics are now required for graduation even in STEM specialties.

In the neoliberal university professors are now under the iron heel of management and various metrics were invented to measure the "quality of teaching." Most of them are very perverted or can be perverted as when a measurement becomes a target; teachers start to focus their resources and activities primarily on what 'counts' rather than on their wider competencies, professional ethics and societal goals (see Kohn and Shore, this volume).

Administration bloat and academic decline is another prominent feature of the neoliberal university. University presidents now view themselves as CEO and want similar salaries. The same is true for the growing staff of university administrators. The recruitment of administrators has far outpaced the growth in the number of faculty – or even students. Meanwhile, universities claim to be struggling with budget crises that force to reduce permanent academic posts, and widely use underpaid and overworked adjunct staff – the 'precariat' paid just a couple of thousand dollars per course and often existing on the edge of poverty, or in real poverty.

Money now is the key objective and the mission changed from cultural to "for profit" business including vast expenses on advancement of the prestige and competitiveness of the university as an end in itself. Ability to get grants is now an important criteria of getting the tenure.

[Feb 17, 2019] Trump is Russian asset memo is really neocon propaganda overkill

Highly recommended!
The ability of those in power to manipulate the ways ordinary people think, act and vote has allowed for an inverted totalitarianism which turns the citizenry into their own prison wardens, allowing those with real power to continue doing as they please unhindered by the interests of the common man.
In neoliberal MSM there is positive feedback loop for "Trump is a Russian agent" stories. So the meme feeds on itself.
Notable quotes:
"... And yet the trending, most high-profile stories about Trump today all involve painting him as a Putin puppet who is working to destroy America by taking a weak stance against an alarming geopolitical threat. This has had the effect of manufacturing demand for even more dangerous escalations against a nuclear superpower that just so happens to be a longtime target of U.S. intelligence agencies. ..."
"... the mass media is not in the business of reporting facts, it's in the business of selling narratives. Even if those narratives are so shrill and stress-inducing that they imperil the health of their audience. ..."
"... Trump is clearly not a Russian asset, he's a facilitator of America's permanent unelected government just like his predecessors, and indeed as far as actual policies and administration behavior goes he's not that much different from Barack Obama and George W Bush. Hell, for all his demagogic anti-immigrant speech Trump hasn't even caught up to Obama's peak ICE deportation years ..."
"... Used to be that the U.S. mass media only killed people indirectly, by facilitating establishment war agendas in repeating government agency propaganda as objective fact and promulgating narratives that manufacture support for a status quo which won't even give Americans health insurance or safe drinking water ..."
"... Now they're skipping the middle man and killing them directly by psychologically brutalizing them so aggressively that it ruins their health, all to ensure that Democrats support war and adore the U.S. intelligence community . ..."
"... The social engineers responsible for controlling the populace of the greatest military power on the planet are watching France closely, and understand deeply what is at stake should they fail to control the narrative and herd ordinary Americans into supporting U.S. government institutions. ..."
"... The ability of those in power to manipulate the ways ordinary people think, act and vote has allowed for an inverted totalitarianism which turns the citizenry into their own prison wardens, allowing those with real power to continue doing as they please unhindered by the interests of the common man. ..."
Jan 23, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

The always excellent Moon of Alabama blog has just published a sarcasm-laden piece documenting the many, many aggressive maneuvers that this administration has made against the interests of Russia, from pushing for more NATO funding to undermining Russia's natural gas interests to bombing Syria to sanctioning Russian oligarchs to dangerous military posturing.

<picture deleted>

And yet the trending, most high-profile stories about Trump today all involve painting him as a Putin puppet who is working to destroy America by taking a weak stance against an alarming geopolitical threat. This has had the effect of manufacturing demand for even more dangerous escalations against a nuclear superpower that just so happens to be a longtime target of U.S. intelligence agencies.

If the mass media were in the business of reporting facts, there would be a lot less "Putin's puppet" talk and a lot more "Hey, maybe we should avoid senseless escalations which could end all life on earth" talk among news media consumers. But there isn't, because the mass media is not in the business of reporting facts, it's in the business of selling narratives. Even if those narratives are so shrill and stress-inducing that they imperil the health of their audience.

Like His Predecessors

Trump is clearly not a Russian asset, he's a facilitator of America's permanent unelected government just like his predecessors, and indeed as far as actual policies and administration behavior goes he's not that much different from Barack Obama and George W Bush. Hell, for all his demagogic anti-immigrant speech Trump hasn't even caught up to Obama's peak ICE deportation years.

If the mass media were in the business of reporting facts, people would be no more worried about this administration than they were about the previous ones, because when it comes to his administration's actual behavior, he's just as reliable an upholder of the establishment-friendly status quo as his predecessors.

Used to be that the U.S. mass media only killed people indirectly, by facilitating establishment war agendas in repeating government agency propaganda as objective fact and promulgating narratives that manufacture support for a status quo which won't even give Americans health insurance or safe drinking water.

Now they're skipping the middle man and killing them directly by psychologically brutalizing them so aggressively that it ruins their health, all to ensure that Democrats support war and adore the U.S. intelligence community .

They do this for a reason, of course. The Yellow Vests protests in France have continued unabated for their ninth consecutive week , a decentralized populist uprising resulting from ordinary French citizens losing trust in their institutions and the official narratives which uphold them.

The social engineers responsible for controlling the populace of the greatest military power on the planet are watching France closely, and understand deeply what is at stake should they fail to control the narrative and herd ordinary Americans into supporting U.S. government institutions. Right now they've got Republicans cheering on the White House and Democrats cheering on the U.S. intelligence community, but that could all change should something happen which causes them to lose control over the thoughts that Americans think about their rulers.

Propaganda is the single most-overlooked and under-appreciated aspect of human society. The ability of those in power to manipulate the ways ordinary people think, act and vote has allowed for an inverted totalitarianism which turns the citizenry into their own prison wardens, allowing those with real power to continue doing as they please unhindered by the interests of the common man.

The only thing that will lead to real change is the people losing trust in corrupt institutions and rising like lions against them. That gets increasingly likely as those institutions lose control of the narrative, and with trust in the mass media at an all-time low, populist uprisings restoring power to the people in France, and media corporations acting increasingly weird and insecure , that looks more and more likely by the day.

[Feb 12, 2019] Bill and Melinda Gates 2019 annual letter dedicated to Paul Allen - Business Insider

Feb 12, 2019 | www.businessinsider.com

8. Textbooks are becoming obsolete

Bill said that the thing killing off the textbook is very same invention which helped make his fortune: Software.

"When I told you about this type of software in previous letters, it was mostly speculative. But now I can report that these tools have been adopted in thousands of U.S. classrooms from kindergarten through high school. Zearn, i-Ready, and LearnZillion are examples of digital curricula used by students and teachers throughout the US," he writes.

[Feb 08, 2019] War, Peace, and the Social Order (review) by Morten G. Ender

Notable quotes:
"... nonsovereign forms of steering clear of war such as nongovernment organizations (NGOs) and civilian-based defense ineterventions ..."
Feb 08, 2019 | muse.jhu.edu

Project MUSE Morten G. Ender

From: Social Forces
Volume 80, Number 1, September 2001
pp. 358-359 | 10.1353/sof.2001.0064

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content: PEACE AND JUSTICE - Fogarty - 2009 - Peace & Change - Wiley Online Library

Social Forces 80.1 (2001) 358-359

Book Review
War, Peace, and the Social Order

War, Peace, and the Social Order. By Brian E. Fogarty. Westview Press, 2000. 236 pp. Cloth, $65.00; paper, $23.00.

A tank could be driven through the cleft of resources available for teaching about the intersection of peace, war, and military instructions from a sociological perspective. Filling this pedagogical gap is especially important in the so-called post-Cold War era where lines between war and peace have become increasingly blurred.

War, Peace, and Social Order (WPSO) begins to fill the gap. WPSO contains a list of acronyms, two hemispheric maps of the world, six tables, 11 figures, an index, and eight chapters. Each chapter concludes with a brief chapter summary, a list of questions for review, and references for further reading.

WPSO begins by making the sociological link between war and peace with emphasis on how war and peace are created. Chapter 2 provides depth on the social definition of war contrasting it with violence. Further, peace is defined not as the absence of war, but more as intersubjective -- a social process that occurs at multiple levels of society. The next chapter explains war from numerous social and political approaches. This chapter anchors war in Functional, Marxian, Feminist, International Relations, and Internal-Control theories as well as more inductive and "human-nature" approaches. Chapter 4 discusses militarism at the intersection of social institutions including education, popular culture, mass media, sports, and economics. The relationship between the family and the military is not addressed despite the knowledge of military families providing a disproportionate number of young people for careers in military service. (Morris Janowitz [1960/71] The Professional Soldier: A Social and Political Portrait . Free Press.)

Chapter 5, "The Military Industrial Complex," is the longest and most dense chapter. Here Fogarty's six years working as an army civilian aircraft buyer and cost analyst shine through. He deftly navigates the reader through the complex maze of defense spending and acquisition. He provides simple figures and charts, focuses on the process as wasteful, exploits five complementary explanations to elucidate defense waste spending, and guides the reader home by connecting the analysis to both functional and conflict theory.

The next three chapters focus more on the peace process and include a chapter on avoiding war, promoting peace, and empowering people to make peace. Of special note in the first of these is the discussion of nonsovereign forms of steering clear of war such as nongovernment organizations (NGOs) and civilian-based defense ineterventions , for example Peace Brigades International. The chapter on promoting peace is unique for couching Ghandi's nonviolent action in sociological terms and noting that a number of social movements have since used this technique successfully, including Martin Luther King Jr. Fogarty could have promoted the little-known fact that a very young King earned a B.A. in Sociology at Morehouse College in 1948. The final chapter inspires the reader with ways of becoming active through both education and experiences.

The strengths of WPSO for students are many. Foremost, he substantively links the study of war and peace. Second, the book is well organized, with tight chapters, numerous headings and subheadings, and a summary concluding each chapter. In addition, but beginning with chapter 3, key terms ( N = 37) are italicized in each of the summary sections.

Some chapters are denser than others. Fogarty also is less attentive to referencing chapters related to war than in chapters related to peace. For example, other than noting a film and novel, there are no references in the section on the social psychology of combat despite a rich research tradition dating back to and including WWII on the social psychology of war. Finally, the focus may be too American in orientation for some sociologists.

WPSO is oriented toward upper-level undergraduate students and newcomers to the peace and war literature. It is an excellent supplemental or primary reader for Peace Studies. It could make a refreshing contribution to Military Sociology courses that have traditionally focused on peacekeeping/peace enforcing from a military institution perspective (including my own). The book could be stretched to use in Organization Studies courses and...

[Feb 05, 2019] Logitech G300s Optical Ambidextrous Gaming Mouse 9 Programmable Buttons, Onboard Memory Computers Accessories

Feb 05, 2019 | www.amazon.com

skeptic

Mouse for lefties that allows to program macros in Lua. Look and feel is "cheap", thouth February 3, 2019 Verified Purchase

My G600 (which I used for the left hand although it is not ambidextrous) died (right button became "flaky" after three years of daily use; and that's typical for G600 -- it just does not last that long) and I bought this one saving ,say, $15.

But there is no free lunch and one important defect of this mouse is that the wheel does not have "clicks" for left and right tilt ) like say all expensive mice from Logitech, and thus you can't assign macros to tilts. For those who do not use them it's OO, but for m this is a big shortcoming. I deducted one star for this.

Please be aware that this mouse looks cheap in comparison wit, say $36 Logitech mice like G602 , but it does work and is more conviniet to use with the left hand.

But you simply can't compare "look and feel" quality to G600 of G602 to this "student" model. You can still use 6 macros with it and Logitech Gaming Software which allows you to program macros in Lua, which are individualized for each application you use (not just games, but any application)

As such this mouse is not only for gamers. It is perfectly suitable, for example, for Unix sysadmins as it allows execute complex macros in Windows Terminal emulator such as Teraterm.

Also helps for people with RSI who need to change hands in order give affected with RSI hand time to recover.

I wish the industry would produce more models of ambidextrous mouse, as RSI is a real epidemic among heavy computer users and professionals, but we have what we have.

[Feb 04, 2019] Targeting Venezuela suggests a geopolitical shift away from the Middle East (and Israel) to countries that are less expensive to plunder yet with vast resources to be stolen. A telling sign in the slow deteriorating US Hegemony

Feb 04, 2019 | www.unz.com

Rubicon 727 , says: February 4, 2019 at 8:30 pm GMT

@Bill Instead of looking at this issue using a microscope, reading history about how Empires fall lends wisdom and insight. Arrighi's book, (I believe) is called "The Long Twentieth Century." He details how empires and huge trading giants rise and fall.

He details the rise of Italy's banking system during the Middle Ages as well as Spain's Empire, the Dutch trading hegemonies and most enlightening how the British Empire rose and fell.

We are seeing tell-tale symptoms of a US that's in trouble with a slow erosion of the US $$ hegemony. The financial growth of China has begun degrading the US market with hi-tech and other products. Thusly, you see Tim Cook of Apple apoplectic over China's Huwaii (sp?) flooding the European market with less expensive computers, cellulars, notebooks, etc.

We see the practical nature of Exxon Mobile that views the short geographic distance between the US (its military) to Venezuela's oil and mineral-rich soil. An easy pick, rather than becoming further embroiled in the Middle East.

Targeting Venezuela suggests a geopolitical shift away from the Middle East (and Israel) to countries that are less expensive to plunder yet with vast resources to be stolen. A telling sign in the slow deteriorating US Hegemony.

[Feb 04, 2019] Amazon.com Z83-W Fanless Mini PC, Intel Cherry Trail x5-Z8350 (up to 1.92 GHz), 2GB-32GB- 4K- 1000M LAN- 2.4+5.8GHz WiFi-BT 4.

Feb 04, 2019 | www.amazon.com

Support Auto Power On After Power Failure:

Restore Factory Settings:

Package Includes:

P orts & Button:

Performance

mark ganter 5.0 out of 5 stars Good Value for sub-$200 box (Ubuntu/Linux DOES WORK) December 8, 2017 Size: ... Verified Purchase

The AP34 device is an N3450 SOC system. I had some troubles with the AP34 because the video is only 1080p (and thus some older monitors and older TV's can't sync the video). I also had issues with getting Ubuntu/Linux running or installed.

The seller provided an email with instructions that helped.

BUT there is a guy who wants to run linux on every smart device (search for Ian MORRISON (Linuxium)).

Ian has Linux repacked distros that boot, work and install.

I am now running Ubuntu 17.10 with Cinnamon! It is beautiful. The AP34 hardware is a great fit for Linux. I have added an M.2 drive based on instructions found on the Kodlix website. Overall, this is a good buy for the sub $200 market.

If you are willing to spend 10-20% more, you might look at a N4200 mini-pc.

[Feb 04, 2019] Hyundai Thinnote 14 Ultrabook - 14 Full HD 1920 x 1080 Display, Intel Pentium N4200 Quad-core 1.1 GHz, 4 GB RAM 32

Cheap and as such good for personal Knowledgebase...
Feb 04, 2019 | www.amazon.com

[Feb 03, 2019] Logitech G300s Optical Ambidextrous Gaming Mouse 9 Programmable Buttons

Feb 03, 2019 | www.amazon.com

S.B September 6, 2018 Verified Purchase

For lefties, this is about as good as it gets

I'm a left handed gamer and as all us lefties know, there are no gaming mice made for us. The best available are "ambidextrous" mice. Which drives me nuts since there is no reason for an ambidextrous mouse. An ambidextrous person could use either a right or left handed mouse. An ambidextrous mouse is just a poor compromise between the two, so why not just make a real left handed mouse?

I tied many and while this mouse leaves much to be desired, its probably the best that can be hoped for. At least all the buttons are accessible, if not entirely comfortable. It lacks any thumb buttons, which means all nine buttons are most easily pressed with the index and middle fingers. Some are really quite well placed and comfortable, other not so much. However, it is much faster and easier than using key binds on the keyboard, and that is what's important.

Otherwise the mouse is really nice. The software installs easily and is intuitive. The LED color on the side can be changed. Its light, moves smoothy. All buttons feel solid and have a positive response. It works great for gaming as well as les intense internet surfing and word processing.

[Feb 01, 2019] THE NEOLIBERAL MARKETIZED ECONOMY AND POLITICS

Jan 07, 2019 | cup.columbia.edu

The Origins of Neoliberalism - Modeling the Economy from Jesus to Foucault - Columbia University Press

The process of the marketization of the economy from Mill to Becker described earlier is concluded in Becker's notions of "Human Capital" and "Economics of Crime and Punishment."

Becker reformulates the ethical modes by which one governs one's self by theorizing the economic self as human capital that generates labor in return for income. Such self-government is conducted by economizing one's earning power, the form of power that one commands over one's labor. Theorizing self-government as a form of command over one's own labor, Becker inserts the power relations of the market, which Smith identified as purchasing power over other people's labor, into the ethical sphere of the relationship between a person andherself.

Becker's theory of self-government also entails a transformation of the technologies of the self into an askesis of economizing the scarce means of the marketized self that have alternative uses for the purpose ofmaximizing the earning and purchasing power one commands in the mar- ketized economy.

The marketization of the self that turned zoon oikonomikon into a power-craving homo economicus also makes him governable by the political monarch, as demonstrated in the Economic analysis of Crime and Punishment. Economic man is governed through the legal framework of the mar- ket economy. Human action is controlled by tweaking a matrix of punishments and incentives that make the governed subject, as a prudent creature who craves to maximize his economic power, freely choose the desired course of action that will ensure economic growth. At the same time that Becker's technologies of the conduct of the marketized self establish a neoliberal self-mastery, they also enable the governmental technology of conducting one self conduct in the all-encompassing and ever growing marketized economy. Although Becker seems to reverse the ageold ethical question, that is, how can a human, as a governed subject, become free in the economy, into the technological one of how one can make a free human governable, the end result is pretty much the same, as the economy is reconstituted as a sphere in which the subject is seen as free and governed.

A neoliberal interpretation of Hobbes's economic power is found in Tullock and Buchanan's use of economic theory to "deal with traditional problems of political science," that is, to trace the works of Smithian economic power that have by now been transposed onto the political sphere: Incorporat(ing) political activity as a particular form of exchange; and, as in the market relation, mutual gains to all parties are ideally expected to result from the collective relation. In a very real sense, therefore, political action is viewed essentially as a means through which the "power" of all participants may be increased, if we define "power" as the ability to command things that are desired by men. To be justified by the criteria employed here, collective action must be advantageous to all parties. (Tullock and Buchanan 1962:23)

[Jan 29, 2019] Parkinson s Law

Notable quotes:
"... The title of the book is from Parkinson's statement that "Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion." He explains that "an elderly lady of leisure can spend the entire day in writing and dispatching a postcard to her niece at Bognor Regis." In contrast if all you have is five minutes to write a postcard, it takes just five minutes to write the postcard. ..."
Feb 22, 2007 | www.amazon.com

Henry Cate III 5.0 out of 5 stars February 22, 2007

Some great insights to human behavior

Parkinson's Law, written by C. Northcote Parkinson, is a wonderful book which explores the realities of human behavior within a bureaucracy. The author doesn't pay attention to theories or the idealized world, but instead writes about how people really function in organizations.

The title of the book is from Parkinson's statement that "Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion." He explains that "an elderly lady of leisure can spend the entire day in writing and dispatching a postcard to her niece at Bognor Regis." In contrast if all you have is five minutes to write a postcard, it takes just five minutes to write the postcard.

At a higher level this idea applies to many situations. For example people's stuff expands to fill their house and use up their income. Or in the computer world: Data expands to fill the space available for storage

Parkinson writes that it takes great discipline to fight the tendency to use up all the time available to do some job. And likewise it takes great discipline to save some of your income, or to avoid buying stuff just because you have room for it.

Parkinson has a number of other interesting observations. For example in his Law of Triviality he explains how a group of managers might spend hours on selecting a coffeepot and minutes on deciding matters of much greater importance.

I also appreciated his explanation on the effective size of a governing group. He says that the right number of people to lead an organization, like a business or a country, is about five. As the group gets larger, it takes longer and longer to get together and to agree on matters.

There are many other insightful comments on a variety of topics related to organizations. This is a great book to have teenagers read, and then to be reread every couple years. Just over a hundred pages it is a quick read, as well as being enjoyable.

If you haven't read Parkinson's Law before, I encourage you to read it this week.

not4prophet 4.0 out of 5 stars July 25, 2007

Parkinson's Law: funny, bitter, largely accurate

I first received a copy of "Parkinson's Law" from a retired three-star general. Since that time, I've seen copies on the shelves of almost every powerful person I know, from professors and deans to lawyers and businesspeople. Based on this wide-spread popularity, I can safely conclude that C. Northcote Parkinson has written something that transcends his time and profession to become a true classic. He has written, in short, the definitive work on bureaucracy.

Chapter one contains the titular law, which is frequently misquoted. The actual law gives a mathematical formula for how fast an office will grow, simply by observing that every bureaucrat will demand two subordinates at certain times. Parkinson backs this up with analysis of various British government bodies. The Colonial Office, for instance, more than doubled in size even as the number of colonies was shrinking. This is a rock-solid rule, as far as I can tell, and particularly relevant to an America where we somehow spend $728 billion despite having fewer actual soldiers than at any time in the past sixty years.

Chapter three famously looks at budget meetings. The conclusion is that up to a certain point, committees will spend more time on items that cost less. Some trivially small item, such as coffee, is easily understood, so every committee member has an opinion about it. On the other hand, nobody really understands expensive items such as reactors, so nobody has much to say about them. This is a phenomenon which I've seen arising in real life time and time again.

Chapter four is perhaps the most fascinating and devastatingly accurate one in the book. The hypothesis is that whenever an organization builds a fancy new headquarters, its time is up. Parkinson offers mainly British examples, but we can see the truth of this in America. The Sears Tower went up at precisely the moment when the Sears Corporation went down. When construction began on the AOL Time Warner Center in 2000, that should have been our indication that the dot-com boom was on its last legs.

There are ten chapters in all, but I'll let you discover the delights of the later ones on your own. For sure, some chapters aren't quite so hard-hitting. Chapter two on the French Parliament may strike some as no longer relevant, while chapter nine on crime and economics in China contains some cringe-inducing racism. But on the whole, "Parkinson's Law" is a delightful little book (150 pages) that will explain while it amuses you. "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" and "Who Moved My Cheese" may rule the bestseller lists, but C. Northcote Parkinson has the real answers for the business world.

mirasreviews HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE 5.0 out of 5 stars June 12, 2009

50-Year-Old Satire of Business and Public Administration Still Sharp and Hilarious

Cyril Northcote Parkinson was a naval historian and writer with experience in the British Civil Service in 1955, when he wrote a humorous article for the "Economist" on the idiosyncrasies of administration. Parkinson was Raffles Professor of History at the University of Malaya in Singapore during this time, and, two years later, he expanded on that essay with the publication of "Parkinson's Law and Other Studies in Administration". "Heaven forbid that students should cease to read books on the science of public or business administration -provided that these works are classified as fiction," he says. Parkinson's own satirical take on the subject provides, "for those interested, a glimpse of reality."

There are 10 short chapters, each dedicated to a different quirk of business or public administration, beginning with the one we all know: Parkinson's Law: "Work expands so as to fill the time available for completion." -which the author reduces to a mathematical formula. Parkinson claims, tongue in cheek, to omit the statistical proof of his laws and observations out of consideration for space, but he often provides examples from the British military and civil service that do, indeed, seem to support his analysis. That's why this book has been popular for 50 years. Like all great satire, it distills the truth rather than creating a fiction.

Some other subjects that Parkinson addresses are: the function of British Parliament dictated by the seating arrangements, the Law of Triviality ("the time spent on any item of the agenda will be in inverse proportion to the sum involved"), a committee's power diminishes as its numbers grow, a well-designed building is a sure sign of the institution's demise, "injelititis" (organizational paralysis due to "induced inferiority"), and how to force older workers to retire in time for their successors to have a career. Some of this stuff is peculiar to the time and place it was written. For example, I have no idea if comments on how wealthy Chinese vs British evade taxes had any truth to them. But most aspects of administration haven't changed in 50 years, and Parkinson's take is still laugh-out-loud funny.

J. Fristrom 4.0 out of 5 stars May 24, 2003

Parkinson Isn't The Enemy After All

I've always considered Parkinson's Law to be the chief weapon of inept managers who "schedule aggressively" in an attempt to squeeze blood from stones, and thus compromise their project's effeciency, morale, and the like. After reading this book I've discovered that Parkinson's Law is *not* the often misquoted "Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion" but (paraphrasing:) "the number of administrators in an organization will grow at a steady rate irrespective of the amount of work that organization needs to do." Not only does Parkinson never suggest that we should "schedule aggressively" (he never suggests that work can contract indefinitely no matter how little time is made available), he ridiculues nice offices, large meetings, top-heavy management, insecure leadership, penny-wiseness and pound-foolishness, typical hiring practices, and more.

While reading most of this book I had a wry grin on my face, and I laughed loud belly laughs at a couple of points. My only complaints stem from the last two chapters, which indulged in both racism and ageism, respectively. I only skimmed those. Still, an enjoyable and motivational read, and useful knowledge when confronted by a manager who thinks of themself as Parkinsonian but hasn't actually read (or understood) Parkinson.

Harold Hill 5.0 out of 5 stars June 11, 2009

dated but timeless

Parkinson's Law is a classic work concerning the dynamics of large administrative organizations. The vernacular of the book often felt dated to this reader, based it is on the inner workings of the British Empire, but that in no way took away from its overall impact and timeless message. This is a marvelously honest and insightful, also delightfully sardonic, look at how human nature and institutional politics really work on a grand scale.

The book starts with the most well-known of Parkinson's laws, which is, "work expands to fill the time allotted to it." But there are several other chapters in this very short book with other wonderful information as well. There's a whole chapter devoted to how to phrase a help wanted ad in order to get only one perfect candidate for the job. One chapter explains why bureaucracies grow at a standard rate of 5% a year regardless of workload. There are also wonderfully complex formulas concerning how to calculate the correct age of retirement, which has a lot to do with the age of the person who is hoping to edge you out and take your place as soon as possible. The mathematical analysis of at what time the truly powerful people arrive and leave a cocktail party was also a lot of fun.

While most books about management talk in highly idealistic utopian terms, this is one of those rare books that tells it like it is and makes you laugh at the same time. Its closest relatives are Machiavelli's Discourses on the First Decade of Titus Livius , Bertrand Russell's Unpopular Essays , and Justin Locke's Principles of Applied Stupidity (How to Get and Do More by Thinking and Knowing Less) .

While this is a fairly short book, my version was only 101 pages, I found I could not read it straight through because each chapter was so enlightening, I had to take a break in between. But that is hardly a complaint.

It's not so much the specific information that makes this book what it is. What makes the book is its honest appraisal of human nature. A wonderful thing to be reminded of as you go to that next meeting. A now somewhat forgotten classic, highly recommended.

Amazon Customer 3.0 out of 5 starsNovember 21, 2001

Glittering Generalities and Subtle Humor

"Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion." Another way of saying "people spend what they can afford". That statement makes certain simplifying assumptions in describing the action. Parkinson claims that Administrator A will, when overworked, call for subordinates C and D. And each of these, when overworked, call for two subordinates. Perhaps only a third subordinate E is more likely to be hired? Unless its a monopoly running on a "cost plus" economy.

The increase in Admiralty officials may be due to political decisions that reflect the feudal system and its pride in larger numbers. This increase from 1914 to 1928 may reflect the rise needed for The Great War, and a reluctance to cut back afterwards.

The author notes the growth in the Colonial Office from 1935 to 1954, while the size of the Empire decreased. But it assumes there was no longer any involvement in the colonies, and no new work assigned to them. Perhaps a need for political appointees?

In Chapter Four the author discusses the optimal number of members in a committee: somewhere between 3 and 21. Assume a committee meets to do work, not to make work. There is a limited number of hours in a day; if each member speaks for 15 minutes, then 12 will take up half a work day. Time constraints will limit the number who will speak; those who only listen can be given a printed report. Somebody must control the topics and meeting.

Chapter Five answers the question: why are students of the "Liberal Arts" generally considered for top positions? The answer is the adoption of the Chinese system for competitive examinations. Those with a Classics background were perceived as fittest to rule; those with a scientific background were perceived as followers. The author does not discuss the class differences usually covered by this distinction. His comments on advertising positions is interesting, but ignores the fact that an acceptable candidate may chose another firm. His final advice on choosing a Prime Minister is not always followed.

Chapter Six claims the health of an institution can be gauged by its buildings, and cites St. Peter's in Rome. A more modern edition might cite the former AT&T and IBM buildings in midtown Manhattan, instead of the Palace of Nations in Geneva. But office buildings are recyclable commodities. A monumental edifice can be the mausoleum of an organization. Does this apply to the Department of Agriculture building in Washington?

Chapter Seven shows his wit and powers of observation by summarizing the cocktail parties that he attended. Chapter Eight discusses the question of why organizations decline. One way to judge an organization is by the quality of their cafeteria. Chapter Ten claims the compulsory retirement age is set at 3 years past the age when people begin to decline. More simplifying assumptions and playing with numbers? If not, what objective facts were used to arrive at this conclusion?
The value of this book is its observations on the common activities that are not often studied.

Judah 2.0 out of 5 stars November 17, 2007

Outdated

Basically, this book may be distilled down into a few statements (below). The examples used are from the late 1950's, and not in touch with the culture of 2007.

**The work expands to fill the time available.
**People will attempt to hire more subordinates regardless of workload.
**Large committees will spend more time arguing over small line item expenses they understand, as opposed to huge expenditures they don't.
**Have two issue supporters sit next to and kibitz an undecided yahoo -- this will sway the yahoo into voting their way.
**Approximately five - eight people are the ideal number to run a huge endeavor.
**The best want-ad will only be answered by one (qualified) person.
**Rich men avoid taxes.
**Younger people force older conservatives to retire.

If you are interested in Parkinson's Law, I'd suggest buying a later edition with examples more in tune with modern computerized business. This older edition is for collector's and has limited business value. 6 people found this helpful

Acute Observer 4.0 out of 5 stars March 19, 2011

Analyzing Administrative Behavior

This was a popular book in the late 1950s. It is a collection of essays with a humorous look at common events. Parkinson criticizes the writers of text books who have an idealistic view about management (`Preface'). [Doesn't this fault still go on?] Chapter 1 claims "work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion". This is stated without supporting facts, so it just anecdotes. Does a growing number of civil servants reflect more work being done? Not if jobs are created for friends or relatives. No mention of a budget or bottom line here. Who approved this? ["Charlie Wilson's War" provides one example.] Those Admiralty Statistics suggest that some Officers in the R.N. were redeployed as Dockyard or Admiralty officials (p.8). The increase in the Colonial Office could represent more redeployment (p.11). [Statistics can't be trusted unless you understand the facts that were used or avoided.] Seating representatives in a half-circle is the rational rule used in most countries (Chapter 2). It allows better hearing, as in a theatre.

Chapter 3 discusses proposals before a Committee. The big ticket items are approved [the fix is in], the small items do not have as much support (p.29). Chapter 4 discusses the size of a Cabinet as it relates to its power; more members dilute its power. Chapter 5 discusses the best way to select candidates for a job. Parkinson recommends an advertisement phrased so only a few apply. But what if an important qualification can't be measured on paper (p.58)? There is a way to measure the status of an institution (Chapter 6). But this perfect layout is a sign of impending collapse (p.60). [Think of those Wall Street firms in 2008.] That big Department of Agriculture building in Washington DC marked the decline of family farms. One reason for this may be a perfected building no longer has the operational flexibility to expand (or contract) for current needs.

Parkinson explains how a cocktail party can reveal the real importance of the guests. The people who matter circulate with the general movement (Chapter 7), and arrive 30 minutes late. They cluster around an area at the far right, then leave. Chapter 8 discusses the "palsied paralysis" of organizations. The man at the top seeks to eliminate any possible rivals or successors. The result after about 20 years is failures when the leader grows senile or dies (p.81). That is why there are takeovers, or company subsidiaries are sold off. Can you judge an institution by its cafeteria (p.850? [If the managers have a separate dining room, beware.] Parkinson's advice on taking over an institution seems unrealistic (p.90). Corporations do buy up other businesses and integrate their buildings and personnel. This may be to eliminate competition.

Chapter 9 imagines the anthropological study of the rich. [Those who study primitive people are likely investigating mineral wealth.] He suggests a solution for lower taxes, but its only a theory. Chapter 10 discusses the mandatory retirement age. Parkinson claims that a person starts to decline three years before this age. [No proofs are given.] He suggests a method to force a retirement: nearly constant travel to foreign lands, and filling in forms like customs declaration. [This may tell you more about Parkinson than as a general statement.] This must be the least entertaining of these humorous essays.

These articles provide humor, they are not a scientific or practical guide. They should not be used for any college course. This same type of humor was found in "Freakonomics", whose essays are based on the "post hoc ergo propter hoc" logical fallacy (after this therefore because of this). They are not a reliable guide to knowledge.

TH 3.0 out of 5 stars September 13, 2004

Overly simplistic, Fun, but...

This book attempts to decrypt the enigma of hierarchies in a far too simplistic manner. One sentence to describe the whole book would be 'we keep getting promoted at work because we know how to do the job we are assigned, and stop getting promoted when we don't know how to'. The book is elaborate with supporting arguments.

One concept this book seem to assume is, all of us have a set of competencies and it is fixed. That is why we stop growing. But, in reality our skills continue to improve throughout our life time. Hence, accepting Peter Principle as a fact may be detrimental to our career, thus fulfilling his prophecy. I choose to accept his principle as a fact, only if I stop expanding my competencies (probably by freezing my brain). If I keep expanding my competencies, there is nothing but endless growth for everyone.

[Jan 22, 2019] War with Russia From Putin Ukraine to Trump Russiagate

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Professor Cohen is indeed a patriot of the highest order. The American and "Globalists" elites, particularly the dysfunctional United Kingdom, are engaging in a war of nerves with Russia. This war, which could turn nuclear for reasons discussed in this important book, is of no benefit to any person or nation. ..."
Jan 22, 2019 | www.amazon.com

P. Philips 5.0 out of 5 stars December 6, 2018

"In a Time of Universal Deceit -- Telling the Truth Is a Revolutionary Act"

"In a Time of Universal Deceit -- Telling the Truth Is a Revolutionary Act" is a well known quotation (but probably not of George Orwell). And in telling the truth about Russia and that the current "war of nerves" is not in the interests of either the American People or national security, Professor Cohen in this book has in fact done a revolutionary act.

Like a denizen of Plato's cave, or being in the film the Matrix, most people have no idea what the truth is. And the questions raised by Professor Cohen are a great service in the cause of the truth. As Professor Cohen writes in his introduction To His Readers:

"My scholarly work -- my biography of Nikolai Bukharin and essays collected in Rethinking the Soviet Experience and Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives, for example -- has always been controversial because it has been what scholars term "revisionist" -- reconsiderations, based on new research and perspectives, of prevailing interpretations of Soviet and post-Soviet Russian history. But the "controversy" surrounding me since 2014, mostly in reaction to the contents of this book, has been different -- inspired by usually vacuous, defamatory assaults on me as "Putin's No. 1 American Apologist," "Best Friend," and the like. I never respond specifically to these slurs because they offer no truly substantive criticism of my arguments, only ad hominem attacks. Instead, I argue, as readers will see in the first section, that I am a patriot of American national security, that the orthodox policies my assailants promote are gravely endangering our security, and that therefore we -- I and others they assail -- are patriotic heretics. Here too readers can judge."

Cohen, Stephen F.. War with Russia (Kindle Locations 131-139). Hot Books. Kindle Edition.

Professor Cohen is indeed a patriot of the highest order. The American and "Globalists" elites, particularly the dysfunctional United Kingdom, are engaging in a war of nerves with Russia. This war, which could turn nuclear for reasons discussed in this important book, is of no benefit to any person or nation.

Indeed, with the hysteria on "climate change" isn't it odd that other than Professor Cohen's voice, there are no prominent figures warning of the devastation that nuclear war would bring?

If you are a viewer of one of the legacy media outlets, be it Cable Television networks, with the exception of Tucker Carlson on Fox who has Professor Cohen as a frequent guest, or newspapers such as The New York Times, you have been exposed to falsehoods by remarkably ignorant individuals; ignorant of history, of the true nature of Russia (which defeated the Nazis in Europe at a loss of millions of lives) and most important, of actual military experience. America is neither an invincible or exceptional nation. And for those familiar with terminology of ancient history, it appears the so-called elites are suffering from hubris.

I cannot recommend Professor Cohen's work with sufficient superlatives; his arguments are erudite, clearly stated, supported by the facts and ultimately irrefutable. If enough people find Professor Cohen's work and raise their voices to their oblivious politicians and profiteers from war to stop further confrontation between Russia and America, then this book has served a noble purpose.

If nothing else, educate yourself by reading this work to discover what the *truth* is. And the truth is something sacred.

America and the world owe Professor Cohen a great debt. "Blessed are the peace makers..."

jn 5.0 out of 5 stars January 18, 2019

This book examines the senseless and dangerous demonizing of Russia and Putin

This is a compelling book that documents and examines the senseless and dangerous demonizing of Russia and Putin. Unfortunately, the elites in Washington and mass media are not likely to read this book. Their minds are closed. I read this book because I was hoping for an explanation about the cause of the new cold war with Russia. Although the root cause of the new cold war is beyond the scope of this book, the book documents baseless accusations that grew in frequency and intensity until all opposition was silenced. The book documents the dangerous triumph of group think.

skeptic

"On my planet, the evidence linking Putin to the assassination of Litvinecko, Nemtsov, and Politkovskaya and the attempt on the Skripals is strong and consistent with spending his formative years in the KGB. The naive view from Cohen's planet is presented on p 6 and 170."

Ukrainian history. That's evident to any attentive reader. I just want to state that Ukrainian EuroMaydan was a color revolution which exploited the anger of population against the corrupt neoliberal government of Yanukovich (with Biden as the best friend, and Paul Manafort as the election advisor) to install even more neoliberal and more corrupt government of Poroshenko and cut Ukraine from Russia. The process that was probably inevitable in the long run (so called Baltic path), but that was forcefully accelerated. Everything was taken from the Gene Sharp textbook. And Ukrainians suffered greatly as a result, with the standard of living dropping to around $2 a day level -- essentially Central Africa level.

The fact is that the EU acted as a predator trying to get into Ukraine markets and displace Russia. While the USA neocons (Nuland and Co) staged the coup using Ukrainian nationalists as a ram, ignoring the fact that Yanukovich would be voted out in six months anyway (his popularity was in single digits, like popularity of Poroshenko those days ;-). The fact that Obama administration desperately wanted to weaken Russia at the expense of Ukrainians eludes you. I would blame Nuland for the loss of Crimea and the civil war in Donbass.

Poor Ukrainians again became the victim of geopolitical games by big powers. No that they are completely blameless, but still...

It looks like you inhabit a very cold populated exclusively with neocons planet called "Russiagate." So Professor Cohen really lives on another planet. And probably you should drink less American exceptionalism Kool-Aid.

[Jan 22, 2019] The Corrosion of Conservatism Why I Left the Right

Notable quotes:
"... Max Boot saw the light when it was too late. As an advocate for America's reckless wars after 9/11, he bears moral responsibility for the degrading of conservatism into a hate-filled cult. ..."
"... Boot, and others like him, need to spend a few more years in purgatory for the mess that he put us in. ..."
Jan 22, 2019 | www.amazon.com

2N2Make4 2.0 out of 5 stars November 29, 2018

Max's long overdue awakening

I wanted to like this book and Max Boot but couldn't. I'm an 'old white guy' who grew up in an Eisenhower Republican family but switched allegiance to the Democrats during the civil rights battles in the 60s. I was hoping to read about someone who went through a similar transformation but Max's journey falls short.

The book is part autobiographical: Max was born in Russia into a Jewish family in 1969. His family was allowed to leave the USSR and immigrate to the US in 1976 after pressure was placed on the Communist government by the United States. Max states that the Boots survived here in part on payments from Social Security for which Max says "Thank you, America" but ignores that this support was from a program that was developed by liberals and that has been regularly attacked by conservative Republicans.
His mother was employed by the University of California, a state university, and Max received his undergraduate education at UC Berkeley. While he notes that it "cost next to nothing" at the time, he doesn't point out that his tuition was low thanks to subsidies that were paid by the taxes of the citizens of the State of California. The UC system is also a product of progressive thinking and is partly responsible for the economic growth in California. It's paid for itself many times over by developing a highly educated work force that supports the many high paying, high skilled jobs in the state.

Max began his conversion to right wing politics at age 13 when he received a subscription to the New Republic magazine. I suppose you can't expect much critical thinking from an adolescent, but you would think that it would have taken less than 36 years to realize that conservative Republican values and policies weren't conducive to helping people who have needs similar to those of his family. Especially since Max seems certain that he is among the most intelligent people to walk among us.

He states that he now sees that the messages of conservative Republicans were often "coded racial appeals – those dog whistles" and that liberals have recognized this for decades. He just didn't believe the liberals or bother to honestly evaluate their warnings.
Max can't refrain from making the ad hominem attacks so prevalent among right wing pundits. Most of these are directed at Donald Trump, whom he describes as a "liar, an ignoramus, and a moral abomination". He also includes a chapter about the "Trump Toadies".

Max "loved the attention and notoriety" his conservative views generated in his youth. He now recognizes that he has been a part of a movement that has been "morally and intellectually bankrupt".

He also states that he no longer receives any pay from any conservative organization. Is this the reason that he is looking for another group to hook up with? Or is he worried that since he was not born in the United States his citizenship might be revoked and he might be sent back to Russia if the anti-Semitic members of the right wing get their way?

So Max comes across as quite shallow even while showing off his extravagant vocabulary. While he was quite willing to accept the offerings of a liberal society, he's been unwilling to consider any responsibility to provide similar benefits to those who came after him.

The book is well written and is a quick read. Ultimately it's one man's awakening to the awful realities of what conservative Republicanism has become. It doesn't really break any new ground for those who have been following politics for any length of time.

In the epilogue Max lists his current beliefs and many of them are liberal. He states he is pro-LGBTQ rights, pro-environment, pro-gun control, pro-immigration including offering a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, and he is also in favor of free speech. He and I might disagree on the details about how to reach some of these goals but in these areas we would be pointing at similar directions.

But then Max attacks other progressive programs. For example, he states that single payer medical insurance – Medicare for all – would cost too much and cause insurance companies to go bankrupt or "find a new business model". Frankly if a company that makes its money by increasing the cost of our health care has to "find a new business model", I believe that would be a good thing for the health of our economy and of our people. As to the insurance company employees, since claims would still have to be processed I suspect that the people processing claims for the insurance companies would be able to make the switch to work for a government agency processing claims easily, so they should be ok.

I hope that Max's rejection of conservative Republicanism is actually a genuine realization that ALL people are entitled to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" including getting affordable medical care. If that's the case, I would be happy to welcome him to join those of us who vote for politicians who truly represent these values.

But I am not convinced by this book that he has truly escaped the "corrosion of conservatism". Let's see if time will prove me wrong.

skeptic

Thank you for your review. Much appreciated...

I would add that it is important to understand that Max Boot is not an intellectual, he is essentially a well-paid MIC lobbyist who pretends to be an intellectual. He does not have convictions per se, only the burning desire to belong to the winning and/or better paid party.

The fact that he realized from which side the bread is buttered at early age just confirms what he always valued money more then ideas.

Mark bennett 1.0 out of 5 stars October 25, 2018

A Lyndon Johnson Democrat goes home

The politics of the cold war created many political anomalies in the United States. One of the biggest was the migration of the cold war hawks after 1968 from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party. For many of them, it was less about a broad vision of politics than narrow concerns over Vietnam and the Soviet Union. The alliance functioned up until the end of the cold war and the establishment of republican control in the Senate and House. Then it broke down completely during the Presidential Term of George W. Bush.

After a decade out of power and as a hanger-on in three failed presidential campaigns, Max Boot has written this book which is sort of a combination of angry farewell letter and maoist self-criticism covering his entire political career to 2016 or so.

The problems start at the beginning of the book. He defines "conservative" to mean to him "incremental policy making based on empirical study". His conservative beliefs, in contrast to what he considers "European" beliefs, rejects the nation-state and the idea of an American identity. The only limit to the "social safety net" in his mind is when that safety net begins to impact "individual initiative". He makes a special point of saying that what has united the country since the beginning is not belief in a nation, but rather belief in ideas or "self evident truths".

The problem with all that is that his ideas of conservatism are in fact liberalism. Incremental government policy to incrementally perfect society is not a remotely conservative concept. Further, when you conclude as he does that American Soil has no meaning and American Blood shed has no value, you have to really wonder about how exactly he justifies his belief in foreign wars. Are Americans who have served in the military just suckers? or slaves in Pharaoh's army? Where is patriotism in his vision of what "conservative" means? Did people in wars die for "self evident truths" rather than the flag?

He drifts further into liberal thought with his idea that there is more to the constitution than what is in the constitution. Rather than just the text and intent, Boot finds unwritten "norms" hidden within the constitution which he holds American Citizens should respect equally with the constitution. This is not a new idea. Its the old idea of the "living" constitution which only elite oracles can present to us its true hidden meaning.

Then, like many people, he claims that his ideas are those of Barry Goldwater in 1960. But they are absolutely not. The ideas that Max Boot stands for are the ideas of Lyndon Johnson. The ideas of using the power of government for social engineering. The idea of fighting crusades for ideas overseas in places like Vietnam. A general rejection of any sort of morality or patriotism in politics. Worst of all, the tendency to see the United States of America as an intellectual crusade for justice in the world rather than as a country.

A large portion of the book is given over to complaints about Trump. But the problem is that Max Boot's ideas and his idea of what a conservative is go far beyond just being for or against Trump. In a very real sense, he represents the discredited politics of George W. Bush who have no support among any party and only tend to have followers in places like the pages of "The Atlantic". The question isn't really what happened to the republican party, but more how someone with the outright liberal political worldview of someone like Max Boot ever thought that those ideas are what conservative meant. He tries to attach himself to men of the past like Eisenhower, Goldwater and Reagan. But he fails to realize that he would not fit in with the politics of any of those man. Perhaps he would have best fit with the old Rockefeller Republicans but to me even that is far from certain.

Max Boot has in the past been critical of Ronald Reagan's decision not to fight a war in Lebanon in the 1980s associating it with American "weakness" that led to 9/11. He blamed Eisenhower's decision not to support the British/French invasion of Egypt in 1956 as starting a "pattern of weakness" in America's dealing with the middle east which was not corrected until the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Its equally doubtful that Max Boot would have supported the ideas of Barry Goldwater over those of Lyndon Johnson.

The bulk of the book him talking about his favorite topic: himself. He proves once again that he isn't any sort of intellectual or man of ideas. He complains about trump. He complains about various republicans who he clearly expected to follow him out of the republican party but did not.

There are some incredible claims in the book such as claiming that the welfare state is what ensures the success of free market. He just loves Black Lives Matter and suddenly after a long career, race is suddenly something he cars about while the police are now the bad guys. He also discovered after the election of Trump that sexism is a problem in America. He can't really explain why he didn't care about these issues for decades before Trump and now cares about deeply after Trump. I don't think he really cares about much of anything other than boots on the ground in the middle east or preparing for war with China.

He ends the book with a conclusion titled "the vital center". The title is of course a shout-out to old school liberal (and kennedy henchmen) Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.. In it, he tells us that he is "socially liberal", He believes in fiscal responsibility but not if it involves cutting the welfare state & along those lines supports "Simpson Bowles" which called for fixing the deficit with higher taxes and a "public option" for health insurance. He supports the welfare state because to him its the basis for the free market. He supports gun control. He wants more immigration to deal with our "labor shortage". He sees China and Russia as defense threats along with a list of other countries.

He concludes with a "moderate" (ironic of course) call for everyone to vote every single republican out of office until Trump is out of office or removed as president. And while he makes it (finally) clear at the end that he just loved Hillary Clinton and her brand of politics, he could never become a democrat because of the threat of bernie sanders. His vision is a party of what he calls "centerists" which would seemingly favor a policy of expanding the welfare state while fighting wars overseas to save the world. But Max Boot's politics don't represent the center of anything. Whatever the bad of Trump, Max Boot represents something just as bad or worse.

David L. Parnell 1.0 out of 5 stars November 17, 2018

Max Boot's recognition of racism in the GOP is late...decades late...

Corrosion is a slow process but early in the 1960's the GOP sucked almost all of the racists out of the Democratic Party right into the Republican Party just to elect Richard Nixon with the GOP "Southern Strategy." Men like the followers of Strom Thurmond and Jesse Helms in the rural south rushed to vote for the "Sanitary Republican Party."

Sanitary was old Jim Crow code for "whites only." If any business identified itself with "sanitary" in its name, that was a warning for "whites only."

Strom Thurmond had earlier literally executed the longest filibuster in Congressional history to oppose a vote on a civil rights legislation promoted by Democrats.

Then Ronald Reagan and the George Bush used Lee Atwater and Richard Quinn (a South Carolina leader of the neo-Confederacy movement) to craft overt racist strategies, narratives, and TV advertisements. The Southern Partisan was a publication aimed at legitimating racism and opposition to civil rights for blacks. This block of GOP consultants used the Southern Partisan publication to create a core database of neo-Confederacy racists which was so reliably Republican that both John McCain and George W. Bush used Richard Quinn's backing in their election efforts.

Around 1981 Clemson University founded the "Strom Thurmond Institute" to co-opt this public university to historically immortalize the papers and sentiments of Strom Thurmond in a revisionist manner.

Another product of Richard Quinn was young Lindsey Graham of South Carolina who grew up working in his parent's business in Central South Carolina, the "Sanitary Cafe," a bar, grill, and pool hall establishment. Lindsey Graham was mentored into South Carolina politics by Richard Quinn who supplied Graham with a heroic hard knocks narrative which never mentioned the neo-Confederacy roots of both men. Now if you review the Congressional Record you see Lindsey Graham's voting record follows a Republican Southern Strategy which Nixon, Reagan, George Bush, Strom Thurmond, and Jesse Helms would have been proud of. These racist political narratives can be mapped to every Republican strategist and their GOP candidate product. Max Boot ignores this historical behavior infused into the Republican Party since before 1963.

Donald Trump is only different in that he has Tweeted these sentiments ad nauseam and publicly voiced them expressly in his political appearances and news conferences. If you are honest, the "N" word has been "whispered" (Jim DeMint) as an "IN" word in secret congregations of Republicans for decades. Lindsey Graham has created a consistent attempt at humor where he frequently quips "white man" jokes while supporting voter suppression and gerrymandering by his party.

Max Boot is correct that this racism has moved from the backrooms under the cover of Donald Trump, but, to deny that this these sentiments have not been part of the Republican infrastructure for decades is rude hypocrisy. As you read this book, to load this burden on Donald Trump alone is to deny history and the public record. Donald Trump merely harnessed this latent DNA of the Republican party while masterfully marketing himself as a new Republican unbound by swamp politics (a political breed which does not exist in the Republican Party.) Look at Ben Sasse, he writes as a centrist yet votes as a Trump man. Look at Lindsey Graham's descriptions of Trump in 2016 and now listen to his praise of Trump today. Yet, Max Boot sees this as a recent development in the Republican Party when it has been part of the GOP DNA which has produced a racist voting record as each generation of Republicans is sworn in.

Joseph Hawkins 1.0 out of 5 stars October 25, 2018

Disingenuous

Max Boot saw the light when it was too late. As an advocate for America's reckless wars after 9/11, he bears moral responsibility for the degrading of conservatism into a hate-filled cult.

A month after 9/11, he called for the invasion of Iraq. Did he not think that almost two decades of continuous war fighting would not radicalize the American populace? He's making amends by writing a book, for which he probably received a hefty advance and will make money off of from royalties. Should donate the proceeds to charity.

Amazon Customer 1.0 out of 5 stars Marx, Lenin and Gramsci come Alive! November 7, 2018

Max Boot is another smug, arrogant, self righteous, Gramscian, ruling class communist, that's trying convince the "Base" that he knows what's best for them; all while devowing the little bit of wealth they might have left to live on. Why?

Because the "Base" are the slaves of the "Superstructure" ruling class. Remember, as Stalin put it, "the middle class is the enemy" to the socialist. America is on slow-drip to Totalitarianism. And Max Boot is just one more in the camp on the transition.

BB876 1.0 out of 5 stars October 26, 2018

Nothing New

I didn't feel this book offered anything new that nearly every other pundit on TV talks about 24/7 regarding "leaving the right"

txtxyeha 2.0 out of 5 stars November 11, 2018

Please give me a check to cash

My translation of this book, free of charge.

"Hi, I'm a bonafide conservative and here are the ways Trump has embarrassed The Cause as defined by Ronald Reagan. Since I refuse to kiss Trump's ring, I still gotta eat so I'm going to grandly announce that I have left the Republican Party in the form of this book and hope you will give me a check to cash. Thank you."

I know that's a harsh assessment of a book that I agree with 98% of what's written, Mr. Boot offers no insight. Not once did I think, "Ah, good point. I didn't think of that."

It's simply a rehashing of Mr. Trump's ridiculous gaffs (hell, I could have done that, there are sooo many to choose from) and at the very end a very lame path out of this quagmire (spoiler alert: we just need someone else as charismatic as Trump that's not [insert negative adjectives here] because the Republicans have proven they will follow ANYBODY over a cliff).

I finished this book (though skipped many chapters because it was simply rehashing Trump's train wrecks) and said, "That's all you got? [sigh of resignation]"

Jensen Cross Integrated Solutions 1.0 out of 5 stars December 22, 2018

Conflicted words by a mockingbird media asset

I never searched this book on Amazon, however, I did write a tweet about Max Boot, so I guess Twitter shares with Amazon. To the review, however -- this is written by a person who writes that Trump has failed us by leaving troops in war, and just 6 months later, writes an article that totally contradicts the earlier statement, stating that Trump can never do anything right because he is pulling troops out of war. Which is it? I would not line a birdcage with this garbage.

Strike Me Down Now! 1.0 out of 5 stars December 16, 2018

Boot helped break it and now he wants to blame Trump

Trump is just a symptom; an easy scapegoat because he's a twit. Boot helped create and perpetuate the monster that the GOP became. Boot, and others like him, need to spend a few more years in purgatory for the mess that he put us in.

james c. 2.0 out of 5 stars October 9, 2018

Self serving title

Unfortunately the author is venting his personal dislike of the current administration without addressing the previous administrations attempt to divide the country by any means possibly and subsequently putting the American people into a politically charged environment that the author is trying to capitalize on.

[Jan 21, 2019] America and the Imperialism of Ignorance How America Won the War and Lost the Peace - US Foreign Policy Since 1945 by Andrew Alexander

Very interesting and important book. Andrew Alexander was a senior journalist for the Daily Mail. He died in 2015.
"Well-written, an easy read and formidably-argued. I think it is an important subject, not just as 20th-century history, but as commentary on the modern US mindset." Matthew Parris
Notable quotes:
"... However, this orthodox view is based on the premise that the Soviet threat at the end of the Second World War was a real one. But, as one of Britain's leading military commentators, Sir Michael Howard, observed during the last days of the Soviet Union: 'No serious historian any longer argues that Stalin ever had any intention of moving his forces outside the area he occupied in Eastern Europe.' ..."
"... In allotting blame for the start of the Cold War, Churchill certainly has to bear some share. But predominantly, as the evidence shows, it was the Americans who must shoulder the main responsibility. ..."
"... Washington, under the influence of John Foster Dulles as Secretary of State, ignored overtures from Moscow after the death of Stalin in 1953 ..."
"... On the US side, the reign of John Foster Dulles at the State Department (1953-1959) was to see a foreign policy designed to scare the Soviet Union into submission. The death of Stalin and gestures of detente by the new leadership opened up new prospects which were promptly rebuffed. The British and French governments tried to redress the balance but, as decidedly junior partners in the alliance were unable to do so. There was also an inclination in Washington to listen to military hotheads in formulating policy. ..."
Jan 21, 2019 | www.amazon.com

American incomprehension of the outside world, combined with a determination to lead it, has been the principal problem in international affairs since the end of the Second World War. The stubbornly orthodox view remains that despite 'aberrations' ranging from Vietnam to Iraq, the balance sheet remains in the USA's favour, given the triumph of the Cold War, the defeat of the Soviet Union and the collapse of Communism. America thus deserves the West's gratitude for leading it to victory after forty-five years of confrontation with an aggressive Russia. It adds some logic to the view that it is essential for the Western alliance to hold firm behind Washington as it faces the newer menace of Islamic terrorism.

However, this orthodox view is based on the premise that the Soviet threat at the end of the Second World War was a real one. But, as one of Britain's leading military commentators, Sir Michael Howard, observed during the last days of the Soviet Union: 'No serious historian any longer argues that Stalin ever had any intention of moving his forces outside the area he occupied in Eastern Europe.'

Yet many historians, perhaps not serious but widely read, still argue that the Soviet leader had such aggressive ambitions. A proper military analysis of the situation in 1945 would have shown that the prospect of Russian armies invading Western Europe was a fantasy, like Saddam Hussein's Weapons of Mass Destruction ready for launch in forty-five minutes. Also like the domino theory' reigning in Washington during the Vietnam conflict that if the North won, the whole of South East Asia would go Communist.

The opening up of the Soviet archives underlines the fantasy of the old view of the Russian 'threat'. The USA's allies today maybe anxious to believe that such manifest follies as Vietnam and Iraq were uncharacteristic of a nation dedicated to peace. But both demonstrate an unmistakable continuity of a fiercely assertive foreign policy, flourishing under presidencies or both parties, the unwinnabie war m Vietnam started under President Kennedy, was stepped up by President Johnson and finally lost by President Nixon despite ferocious bombings of Laos and Cambodia, plus raids on Hanoi itself, in an effort to force North Vietnam to negotiate.

The first Gulf War, launched by President George H. Bush to expel Saddam Hussein from Kuwait, achieved its UN-legitimised end. But the subsequent programme of militarily- supported sanctions produced appalling hardship and death for the ordinary people of Iraq, whom Washington was claiming to rescue. As the death toll mounted, the sanctions were notoriously dubbed 'worthwhile' during the Clinton regime. The second Gulf War launched by President George W. Bush is only defended by those hemmed in by their former enthusiasm. Its cost since 2003 has been prodigious for Iraq, supposedly being rescued from tyranny while the Middle East and the world was simultaneously saved from Saddam's WMDs.

The prolonged and unwinnabie war in Afghanistan appeared to follow the decision by the second Bush to extend the original punitive expedition launched after the 9/11 atrocity in New' York. But it transpired that an attack on the Taliban regime in Afghanistan was already being planned in Washington to settle old scores with al Qaeda for previous terrorist assaults. The subsequent 'war on terror' became a general campaign against Islamic militants, extending into Pakistan and Yemen. In the case of Afghanistan it was accompanied by a high-minded claim that a Western-style democratic state w7as being created which w'ould be a barrier to Jihadists. By the time Bush left office, the conflict had lasted seven years - longer than the Second World War - and the position was deteriorating. The succeeding Obama administration's policy on Afghanistan, despite pledges of a swift removal of American forces, was to leave US policy little changed. He agreed to send more troops in the hope that - reminiscent of Vietnam - they might inflict sufficient damage on the insurgents to ease the early US withdrawal he called for during his election campaign.

Correspondingly, Washington's almost unquestioning support for Israel in its collisions with its Arab neighbours seemed to underline a US instinct for the solution of problems by force, or the support of force by a surrogate. Washington was the vital provider of military, economic and political aid. It bore a key responsibility for Israel's prolonged assault on insurgents in the Lebanon in the late 1970s, in the brief repeat of this exercise in 2006 and similarly in Gaza in 2008 - all expeditions which aroused widespread condemnation. US policy in Latin America, regularly in assistance with notoriously brutal regimes, also demonstrated the continuity of outlook in Washington, regardless of party.

Criticism of these unfortunate chapters in American foreign policy is now commonplace. However, a readiness to recognise the folly of the Cold War and how the US began it is much harder to find, despite the high quality of 'revisionist' histories by American historians in particular. There are obviously other reasons for a reluctance to face this. It rebels against sense to accept that the world came close to nuclear Armageddon on half a dozen occasions and expended so much blood and treasure for forty' years against a threat that was never real. To accept this raises serious doubt about the integrity and basic intelligence of a whole succession of Western governments and the political institutions for which they make such high claims. In mitigation of the European powers' readiness to follow' the American lead, two points might be made. The hrst is, ironically, that the launch ot the Cold War by the USA did m due course bring into existence the very danger which had been imagined. It made frantic defence measures seem sensible. Threatened by President Truman, Russia responded by a vigorous programme of rearmament and an even tighter clampdown on Eastern Europe. With the refusal of the USA to respond to peace initiatives launched by the Soviet leadership on the death of Stalin in 1953, the Kremlin fought back under the new and more assertive leadership of Nikita Khrushchev. American and Western power in general was challenged wherever it could be found. It became rational to talk of a Communist threat and of the danger of a Soviet Union with a nuclear armoury. What was inaccurate was the assumption that a new military threat had come into being when the wartime allies finally came face to face in Germany.

A second excuse may be pleaded for Western governments following American policy: the sheer power of the dollar. What Washington decreed was little challenged by its European allies. There were dangers in objecting to the foreign policy of the USA. It was like criticising the bank manager wrhen loans were desperately needed. Accepting the American view helped by the expenditure involved in US bases in Europe was the easiest route. The normal-give- and-take between allies declined into a subservient attitude. Britain was trying to rebuild a shattered economy with the assistance of an American loan. In 1948 it became further dependent on US aid under the Marshall Plan for European reconstruction. Britain was particularly reliant on US support for sterling, foolishly on a fixed exchange rate which was regularly in crisis. Ironically the instability in sterling owred much to Britain's attempts to maintain its own military' bases around the world, a policy warmly supported by the Americans. Inis economic dependence had an inevitable ettect on British policy trom the start. Clement Attlee, newly elected as Labour Prime Minister in 1945, was not by instinct a hardliner when it came to the Soviet Union, though his ebullient Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin was. His outlook was coloured by his experience of Communist manoeuvrings as a trade union leader. There were strong doubts about the American attitude in the mind of Anthony Eden, Foreign Secretary during Churchill's wartime leadership and a veteran of dealings with the Kremlin. He regarded the Soviet position after the end of the war as driven by natural motives of defence. Churchill himself with his long history of hostility to everything Soviet shared none of his deputy's reservations. But hardliners and doubters had one view in common. To defy US policy w7as financially perilous. The Suez crisis was to demonstrate this dramatically a decade later.

Tire consequences of prolonged and unquestioning support for the USA have been disastrous. It has led to friends of America being dragged into the front line of a 'war on terror' which served as a recruiting sergeant for Jihadists from all parts of Islam. The world is a much more dangerous place as a result of America's determination to save it.

A wider look at history show's that a strongly interventionist US foreign policy is nothing new7 - though the current pow'er to intervene globally is. A century ago, an American incomprehension of the outside w'orld was exemplified by President Woodrow' Wilson, so determined to remake countries in the American image after the First World War. His mixture of benevolence and ruthlessness may be summed up in a dispute with Mexico in 1913, w'hen he announced 'I will teach the Latin-Americans to elect good men' followed by bombarding the town of Vera Cruz. His gunboat diplomacy intensified such feelings of nationalism and anti-Americanism that Germany hoped to make Mexico an ally in an attack on the USA in 1917 - famously exposed in the Zimmermann telegram, decoded by London. In 1945, the USA dedicated itself in Wilsonian language to bringing 'democracy and freedom' to the countries occupied by the Soviets at the end of the Second World War. The goal was high-minded. But there was a puzzling refusal to acknowledge the Soviet claim that two invasions by Germany in twenty-seven years made the firm control of Eastern Europe essential to Russian security. Truman insisted on seeing the Soviets as the determinedly expansionist enemy of the free world almost from the day he assumed office. They were, he said, 'planning world conquest'.2

Tire United States over which he presided had emerged from the Second World War with a military and economic supremacy unparalleled in history. Of the three powers which defeated the Axis alliance, the USA was unique in ending the war wealthier than when it began. By contrast, Britain's income was down by a third with much of its overseas assets sold to buy armaments from the USA. In the case of Russia, which had been responsible for destroying the vast bulk of Hitler's forces, the loss of income was immeasurable. Soviet statistics, always dubious, have never provided a wholly reliable picture of national income. But the scale of the devastation, involving at least twenty-two million and possibly7 twenty-seven million military7 and Chilian deaths, speaks for itself.

There was in fact no evidence in 1945 that the Soviet Union had a sinister plan to conquer the West. The threat perceived by Truman and others was imaginary7 - though no less powerful for that - stoked up by y7ears of fearing the deadly spread of Communism. We can gain a genuine insight into the Kremlin mood from opened Soviet archives. As the end of the war came in sight in 1944, the analyses of Moscow's senior diplomats anticipated a period of post-war East-West cooperation, if with reservations about possible future developments in American internal political rivalries. Nor did the Kremlin intend, as some feared, to mount a Communist takeover of Italy7 and France. Moscow wanted to see strong Communist parties in both countries able to influence policies in a way which would be advantageous to Russia. But having Communist governments in either country7 would have been contrary7 to the policy7 which Stalin always maintained: keeping Moscow as the absolute centre of the Communist world and thus something he alone could control. In any case, maintaining Communist governments in either country7 would have demanded the presence of Soviet troops which would have embroiled Moscow in the war which the Kremlin had every7 reason to avoid. Stalin's attitude to the so-called world proletarian revolution is essential to understanding his personal and political motivation. He was, like the despot throughout the ages, principally7 concerned with his own survival rather than with ideological issues. He abandoned the grand global ambition of the world proletarian revolution in 1924 when he proclaimed that, henceforth, the aim was to be 'socialism in one country7'. To believe that he remained at all times a devout ideologue is to misread his character.

Milovan Djilas, at one time Vice President of Yugoslavia, observed in Conversations with Stalins that it was not altogether true, as some Communists complained, that Stalin was wholly against revolutions abroad. He was only7 in favour of those which he could control. He lost control of Yugoslavia. He was later to lose it in China - insofar as he ever had it.4 Stalin's attitude to Communist parties abroad was really very7 simple. They were not there to win elections, only7 to act as his underlings, aiding Soviet foreign policy in all its shifts and changes, sometimes assisting one party7 or country7, sometimes another. The overall aim was simply to promote weakness among nations which might be rivals or opponents or otherwise unhelpful to Russia. This was dramatically7 illustrated in the role allotted to the German Communist Party7 in the early71930s. In combination with the left-wing Socialist Party7 it could have been enough to stop Hitler's rise to power.

But a Communist Party with real power in a German government, ruling an infinitely more advanced nation, was too much of a risk. The centre of gravity of Communism would shift away from Moscow, thus threatening Stalin's power and personal status. The German Communists were ordered not just to stay out of any coalition with the Socialists, but to attack them as 'social fascists'. George Kennan, who had been the State Department's leading Russian expert, wrote in 1962 (abandoning his famous analysis of a dire Soviet threat in 1946), 'From the bourgeois world as from his political entourage in the world of communism, Stalin only wanted one thing: weakness. This was not at all identified with revolution.'5 In the case of China, Stalin called on Mao to join with the Nationalists, not fight them. As the Communist forces swept south and came within sight of victory, Stalin pleaded with Mao to negotiate, not fight. The determination of the West to see every Soviet move as explicable in terms of the pursuit of the world proletarian revolution provides one of history's great ironies: the West took Communist doctrine more seriously than Stalin.

Truman claimed in his memoirs that it was at Potsdam that he finally concluded that the Soviet Union aimed at world conquest. Yet nothing that was said or done there could conceivably justify such a conclusion. The Russians were proving difficult and obstinate on certain issues but not aggressive. It was the issue of the internationalisation of waterways - a Truman obsession - which brought the President to his historically epic conclusion. The fate of the world in Truman's mind seemed to turn on, of all things, the Danube delta. If Russia was in a demanding mood at Potsdam, it was not surprising. The Red Army had borne the brunt of the war. Of all the Germans killed, nearly nine out of ten perished on the Russia front. The Wehrmacht had thrown nearly ten times as many divisions at the Red Army as it did against Britain and the USA. And while Britain had been impoverished by the war, much of Russia had been laid waste. The USA - without a single bomb dropped on its mainland - had enjoyed a remarkable prosperity.

On the east European issue, it should have been evident enough at the time how Russia was driven by a desire to seek security in depth after the two devastating German invasions in twenty-seven years.6 Moscow wanted a buffer between Russia and Germany and control over these territories. Stalin himself predicted to Djilas that the Germans would be back on their feet in twelve to fifteen years.7 Though this seemed a daring prophecy at the time, given the wretched condition of Germany in 1945, he was to be proved too cautious. The German Federal Republic was not just back on its feet by the early 1950s, it was soon being asked to join NATO, precisely the sort of development which the Kremlin feared. Given the German invasions, it would not have mattered whether the government in Moscow had been Communist, Tsarist or Social Democrat. It would still have insisted on firm control of these countries through which invasion had come; and bound to regard with deep suspicion any attempts to prevent it. In any case, Moscow could never forget that it was British and French policy in the interwar years to make Eastern Europe a barrier against the Soviet Union, even to consider - crucially - allowing Hitler a free hand against Russia. Colonel, later President, de Gaulle noted that even after the start of the Second World War: Certain circles saw the enemy in Stalin rather than Hitler. They busied themselves with finding means of striking Russia, either by aiding Finland or bombarding Baku or landing at Istanbul, much more than in coming to grips with Hitler.8

Nor could the Soviets overlook the fact that, among its new satellites, Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria had fought on the Axis side. Moreover, Poland could be blamed for the Russo-Polish war in 1920 which followed the creation of the Soviet Union.

Only someone who had already made up his mind about Soviet intentions could have claimed that the aim was 'world conquest'. The suspicions which seemed to lurk constantly in Russian minds about the West were widely viewed as paranoid, given that the world was Only someone who had already made up his mind about Soviet intentions could have claimed that the aim was 'world conquest'. The suspicions which seemed to lurk constantly in Russian minds about the West were widely viewed as paranoid, given that the world was hungry for peace and cooperation. But it could be argued that the Kremlin had much to be paranoid about, given the history of the interwar years. British and French policy seemed so ready to solve the problem of Hitler by turning him eastwards. It is impossible to understand the Kremlin's fears without recounting those extraordinary manoeuvres, culminating in serious proposals in Britain and France that the two countries should be prepared to go to war against Russia - just after the war with Germany had broken out - in defence of Finland, then under attack from the Red Army. The country held a strategic key for Russia against Germany.

Tire wartime alliance of Britain, Russia and the USA certainly showed that East-West cooperation was possible. Friendly gestures by President Roosevelt made an impression on both the Kremlin and opinion at home. A friendly post-war settlement was seen as possible not just in the West but also in the extensive analyses made in the Soviet Foreign ministry by its senior diplomats. But that was while Roosevelt was alive. Once Truman took over on the President's death in 1945, it quickly became apparent that old ferocious suspicions of expanding Communism, dating back to the Bolshevik revolution, had made their return, this time with the USA indisputably the most powerful nation on earth. This made conditions all too well suited for a collision of mammoth proportions.

Yet it must be said that the great bulk of Americans, when peace broke out in 1945, were full of good intentions - though intertwined with a belief that what was good for the USA must be good for mankind, particularly where open markets and free trade were concerned. The new- found strength of the USA provided a chance to mould the post-war world, to propagate democracy, plus liberal capitalism, which, in American minds, would constitute a safeguard against future wars. This faith in democracy conveniently overlooked, among other things, the fact that Hitler had advanced to power in 1933 through a democratic vote.

The real problem at this point was not the generally benevolent intentions of the USA but its naivety about the outside world's complexities, its varied cultures, its long-standing nationalistic rivalries and in particular often strong feelings of insecurity. These were feelings hard to comprehend in a nation which could not remember any invasion and which had not suffered a single bullet or bomb fall on its mainland during the Second World War. However, it was not just the USA which insisted on misreading the post-war conditions. Some of Europe's statesmen with long histories of fearing the Communist virus also believed that the battered Soviet Union was ready to fight the West. This should have been seen as absurd. It requires no technical knowledge of military matters to appreciate the point.

Suppose, even ignoring the deterrent of the A-bomb, that the Red Army had attacked the West soon after the end of the war. It would have encountered strong resistance from the British, the Americans and hastily rearmed elements of the Wehrmacht. It would have been a hard fight but let us suppose that the Russian forces reached the Channel ports. What then? Tire invasion of Britain would have been virtually impossible. The Soviets had neither the air nor sea power to make the crossing and huge numbers of troops would have been needed as occupying forces throughout Europe. Meanwhile American troops, aircraft and war supplies would have been pouring into Britain. However, let us suppose, again for the sake of argument, and against all conceivable odds, that the Russians had succeeded in occupying Britain as well as all of Western Europe. What then? The Soviet Union would have been left facing the Americans across three thousand miles of ocean. It would be the ultimate unwinnable war, a military planners' ultimate nightmare.

In short, the threat was a hallucination. The USA's Central Intelligence Agency carried out a study in 1946 which concluded that the shattered Soviet Union would not even be in a position to wage a war for fifteen years. Yet the fear of a Russian onslaught persisted. The sheer size of the Red Army, only slowly being demobilised, was regularly advanced as evidence of malign intentions. But the desire to retain large forces against the possibility of another German revival plus the need - as Moscow saw it - to maintain a grip on Eastern Europe was logical.

We have to wonder why the West was consumed by fears of Russia when the war ended. To a considerable extent, it was inspired by a seductively simple belief that Stalin was another Hitler. The USA and Britain were emerging from a war which it was generally accepted started because Hitler had been appeased. The parallel with Stalin seemed irresistible. He was no less of a dictator than Hitler and just as brutal, certainly more whimsical in his ruthlessness. Moreover Marxist doctrine in its purer and original form proclaimed the inevitability of a Communist world. Hitler had finally revealed the full scale of the Nazi menace when he seized Czechoslovakia. Now Stalin, after the war, was refusing to give up control of Eastern Europe. The parallel seemed easy enough. In fact this was another of those historical examples of 'over-learning' the apparent lessons of the day.

This simplistic view of 1945 took no account of the differences between the two episodes. Hitler had no need of Czechoslovakia, except to continue his surge eastwards. Stalin saw control of Poland as essential to Russian security against Germany. Tire occupation of that country' and the imposition of a Communist government in Warsaw was a very' sore issue for Britain which had gone to war ostensibly to save Poland. It was seen as a mark of failure and a breach of honour that the country' should be left occupied by another dictator. The USA, for its part, had been dragged into the war but was eager to convince itself that it was embarking on a high-minded crusade to save democracy and all the values associated with it. Less high- mindedly, as President Roosevelt reminded Stalin at the Yalta conference, there were some six to seven million Polish-American voters in the USA to say nothing of others with links to the occupied east European countries - the so-called hyphenate vote (capable, he was warned, of turning a presidential election). Both Britain and the USA insisted on seeing Poland as the acid test of Moscow's goodwill and peaceful intentions. Minds refused to meet. Where Truman stood on Eastern Europe was never in much doubt. His Navy Day speech in October 1945, with its declarations about firm American resistance to tyrannies and its assistance to those opposing them, sent a plain enough message to Moscow. The fact that its belligerent tone had a limited impact in the US at that moment must be attributed to the fact that the war had finally ended only weeks before. Assertions about American righteousness were only to be expected.

There was also the history' of the Russian civil war which helped to stoke up the deep and at times apparently neurotic suspicions of the Soviet Union tow'ards the West, an instinct which was also very' Russian and existed well before the revolution. In the first three years after the 1917 revolution the new Bolshevik government faced military' help provided by the west European powers to its internal rivals in efforts to destroy the Soviet state. This wish seemed to persist even after Stalin soft-pedalled the notion of the world proletarian revolution.9 In the 1930s, the Russians had good reason to fear that at least part of British and French policy tow'ards Hitler was inspired by a desire to turn him eastwards. Both Britain and the USA, but more particularly Britain, had managed to convince themselves in the interwar years that the Red Menace remained serious. Any protestations of peaceful intentions from Moscow were seen as just a disguise for the underlying purposes of revolutionary Marxism-Leninism. Besides and perhaps even more important, playing up the Communist threat was proving a serious vote winner for the British Conservatives - as indeed it was to prove a vote winner for American politicians from the late 1940s onwards.

As a consequence, the wartime alliance of Russia and the West was a brittle affair 011 both sides. Any sign that Britain and the USA were reluctant to throw everything they had at Germany' - there were unfulfilled promises of a Second Front in 1942 and then in 1943 - fuelled Soviet suspicion. The Allies, Moscow claimed, were not seriously' drawing off German As a consequence, the wartime alliance of Russia and the West was a brittle affair on both sides. Any sign that Britain and the USA were reluctant to throw everything they had at Germany - there were unfulfilled promises of a Second Front in 1942 and then in 1943 - fuelled Soviet suspicion. The Allies, Moscow claimed, were not seriously drawing off German divisions but were leaving Russia to do the hard fighting.

There was also the problem of Churchill's own attitude to Russia. In December 1918 he had called unavailingly for an anti-Communist crusade, to include the defeated Germans, to march on Moscow. It is true that he was one of the few7 Western politicians in the late 1930s calling for an alliance with Russia to contain Hitler. But as early as 1943 his old hostility resurfaced and he was saying that it might be wrong to disarm the Germans too far since they might be needed against the Russians. He repeated it in 1944. The Kremlin knew7 of this. Russian fears that the West might sign a separate peace with Germany - at times reciprocated in the West by a fear that Russia might do the same - were regular. Churchill was also to write in a memorandum in 1944 that if the issues of Poland and, oddly, Soviet reparations from Germany were not settled, it would be hard to avoid a third world war. Churchill's argument over Poland was at least an obvious one. But treating the reparations issue as a potential casus belli wras eccentric. After victory in 1918, Lloyd George had promised to 'squeeze Germany until the pips squeak'. The reparations forced on Berlin after the First World War then were a mistake which Churchill in particular recognised. He argued that a weakened Germany7 would hinder the economic recovery of Europe as well as leave a bitter legacy7. The Russian demands for reparations from Germany after the Second World War, thought unreasonable by the USA and Britain, were no more than an echo of Lloyrd George. Russia wanted revenge for the devastation caused by the Germans.

Churchill has long been associated with the start of the Cold War because of his famous Iron Curtain speech in 1946 at Fulton, Missouri. But his active role in the early7 y7ears of the Cold War should not be exaggerated; he w7as only the Leader of the Opposition in the Commons. In mid-1945 he was voted out of office and replaced by7 Clement Attlee, halfway Churchill has long been associated with the start of the Cold War because of his famous Iron Curtain speech in 1946 at Fulton, Missouri. But his active role in the early years of the Cold War should not be exaggerated; he was only the Leader of the Opposition in the Commons. In mid-1945 he was voted out of office and replaced by Clement Attlee, halfway through the vital Potsdam conference. The new Prime Minister was far less inclined to see a great Soviet threat in the making. Churchill's prestige, 011 the other hand, even out of office, was enormous and global. He was one of history's truly great men. He had saved Britain, if not civilization, from Nazi Germany. For many his Fulton speech - though the Labour government contemplated openly disowning it - was proof to many that the West was now faced with a new version of Hitler.

In allotting blame for the start of the Cold War, Churchill certainly has to bear some share. But predominantly, as the evidence shows, it was the Americans who must shoulder the main responsibility. They were to blame too for the continuation of the struggle when detente was on the cards. Washington, under the influence of John Foster Dulles as Secretary of State, ignored overtures from Moscow after the death of Stalin in 1953 .

Churchill, back in power by then, was by contrast eager to follow up these offers but was firmly warned off by Dulles. Russia played a role, but a small one, in stimulating the onset of the Cold War. Soviet tactics in negotiations on matters large and small could be extremely tiresome, at times suggesting little desire for serious cooperation. And the ruthlessness which Stalin's forces displayed in the occupied and reoccupied territories as they swept westwards was bound to outrage Western feelings. But it did not in itself presage any intentions to occupy areas outside the sphere seen as essential to strategic defense.

Despots, though always repugnant, are not necessarily dangerous outside their own borders. The fact that Stalin was evil did not necessarily mean that his foreign policy was evil. And in the later stages of the Cold War, the USA itself was to back decidedly repressive and brutal regimes. These were vital tactics for defence, ran the argument. The Kremlin would not have argued with that general principle, though it was always ready during the Cold War to brutal regimes. These were vital tactics for defence, ran the argument. The Kremlin would not have argued with that general principle, though it was always ready during the Cold War to exploit the embarrassment that backing dictators was to cause within the USA.

Tire level of mutual suspicion which came to exist within months of the end of the Second World War was graphically illustrated by the two secret long telegrams of 1946 which travelled between Moscow7 and Washington as each nation's ambassador warned his government to beware of the other side's imperialist ambitions.

.... .... ...

The Americans also had their own ideas about inevitability: the eventual global triumph of democracy and liberal capitalism. Like the Soviets, they too were convinced that time and example was on their side. The immediate need was safety from another war and a world in which American prosperity could continue. That meant a world where American business could flourish on the international stage, untrammeled by the tariff wars and economic chauvinism which had impoverished everyone in the interwar years. This point was recognized in the second telegram, Novikov emphasizing American ambitions to open up markets throughout the world for the access of trade and capital. The fact that the war had left the USA with military bases all round the world which it showed no sign of vacating underlined the American desire in Novikov's analysis to encircle the Soviet Union. 12

Of the two views, Novikov's was backed up by a greater proportion of facts rather than surmise. The USA, he correctly said, was worried that the end of the war might bring a severe recession to its factories and the repetition of the trade wars of the 1930s. Fears were indeed being voiced in the administration that the impoverished post-war world might be unable to buy American goods. The need for free trade in goods and capital throughout the world was to prove a constant theme of the US government from the earliest stages of the Cold War. Whether the Americans as a whole were quite as politically and economically ambitious in 1946 as Novikov maintained is questionable. The need for action to advance American economic interests was not questioned. An active global policy for political domination and involvement on the other hand had little popular appeal at that time. But it was to grow over the next decades to the point where the affairs of any nation came to be seen as the legitimate political (and moral) interest of the USA. Seen from the standpoint of the 21st century, Novikov had the best of the argument.

Both the Kennan documents, the Long Telegram and X Article, provided authority for views which had been taking root in most parts of the administration. Yet Kennan himself was later to say that he looked back on the Long Telegram 'with a sort of horrified amusement'. It might have been written, he said in his memoirs, for the (fiercely conservative) Daughters of the American Revolution. He was to go on in the 1950s to preach the virtues of detente with the Soviets.

He also complained that his call for Russia to be 'contained' had been taken to mean militarily. He had wanted, he said, to stress 'political containment'. It was not a very convincing argument since it was hard to see, particularly for a man of his intellectual background, how an idea or an ideology could be 'contained'. The reality was that he changed his mind when he returned from Moscow to the State Department and saw at first hand the belligerent attitudes which were coming to dominate US policy. Following the lines of the two telegrams each side was to attribute aggressive motives to the other. This had inevitable consequences. Every move by either side was seen as part of a plan to weaken the other - politically, economically or strategically. The USA's diplomacy was not subtle. It was often conducted in the glare of publicity which is habitual in American politics and was in many instances driven by the urge to score points for electoral purposes. If it was not for the Presidential elections, it was for the intervening Congressional elections. The so-called hyphenate vote (Polish-Americans, Italian-Americans, etc.) was strongly anti-Soviet and could swing a national result.

The Russians had no such electoral or publicity problems. But, suspicious by nature, they were among the most tiresome of negotiators, sometimes seeming like the Red Army itself, determined to wear down the other side by sheer stamina. Tire personality of the granite- faced Molotov as Soviet Foreign Minister played a part in this process. There was also the problem during the Cold War that no Soviet official, if he valued his position - or even his skin - would dare to take an initiative on his own. The rigidity of the system meant that clearance at the top was always necessary7 for any gesture which smacked of friendliness. Niet was always the easiest answer.

Nikita Khrushchev, who rose to the Soviet leadership in the mid-1950s, was to describe Molotov's character as showing on occasions 'unbelievable stubbornness, bordering on stupidity'. 13 Yet various issues remaining from the war were in fact eventually resolved with him through foreign ministers' conferences, such as the peace treaties with Germany's former allies. But the process was wearisome and there were rarely any displays of goodwill or friendship. The Russians, questions of defense apart, thought the USA remarkably insensitive about the huge sacrifices in men, material and infrastructure they had suffered in destroying the Wehrmacht.

The Americans found it genuinely hard to understand how Russian propaganda could ascribe imperialist ambitions to them. Had not the USA been a champion of freedom and democracy and an outspoken enemy of colonialism? The Russians, still mired in Marxism, could not understand how the USA could attribute imperialism to the Soviet Union. Was not the point of Marxism-Leninism that it liberated the proletariat? The two powers used the same word but refused to share its meaning.

The Soviets in 1945 were also convinced that they brought liberation (of another kind) to the territories they took. The governments of Poland, Hungary and Romania between the wars were hardly model democracies. The new forms of government allowed in Hungary and Romania had, at first, some elements of democracy; and Czechoslovakia returned to its fuller pre-war pattern. But after 1948 all elements of democracy were removed. The full Communist pattern was imposed which - the Soviets liked to believe - would also bring clear economic progress.

KENNAN MK II

The belief that Kennan Mk I was calling for military containment was readily accepted in Washington. Indeed that seemed to be understood by him at that time. He observed the sharp rise in the defence budget and the warlike pronouncements of the administration without immediately seeking to correct the impression that containment had to be essentially military7. He should not have been surprised either that the logic of his warning led to a high degree of interference by the USA in the affairs of countries close to the Soviet bloc. If the Russians had to be contained militarily, the effective frontiers against them had to be manned. He was remarkably slow to correct this impression. His doubts about his own 'X' article became evident when he pleaded later that it had only7 been written originally for the 'private edification' of James Forrestal, the Defense Secretary7 (later to commit suicide after a bout of persecution mania).

Tire fact that the article helped to stimulate policies of rearmament went down particularly7 well with what President Eisenhower later dubbed 'the industrial-military complex' in his departing address to the nation. Left so abruptly with redundant military plant when the war ended, the defence industries were delighted at the prospect of new orders and the military with rising budgets.

The policy of containment was taken up with enthusiasm by Clark Clifford, a White House adviser to President Truman. In September 1946, he wrote a memorandum declaring that coexistence was impossible and advocating a worldwide strategy7 based on the A-bomb to 'restrain the Soviet Union and to confine Soviet influence to its present area'.14 The language was violent. The stage seemed to be set for a military confrontation with the Soviets, despite the CIA study suggesting it would remain militarily ineffective for some years. An updated version of the memorandum, with no dilution of its extreme views, was to become NSC-68 (National Security Council) in 1950.

Kennan's disillusionment about the effect of his earlier analyses started during his brief tenure as Ambassador to Moscow from 1952-53. He wrote in his memoirs: A particularly violent jolt was received one day when one of the service attaches showed me a message he had received from Washington concerning a certain step of a military nature that the Pentagon proposed to take for the purpose of strengthening our military posture in a region not far from the Soviet frontier. I paled when I read it. It was at once apparent to me that had I been a Soviet leader and had I learned that such a step was being taken I would have concluded that the Americans were shaping their preparations towards a target of a war within six months. 15

In 1952 Kennan was to send another telegram to Washington attempting to undo the hardline attitudes he had reinforced. He called for moderation in relations with the Soviet Union. He described this later telegram at the time as: '... The strongest statement I ever made of my views on this general subject of our responsibility for the deterioration of relations between Russia and the West in the late 194OS.T6

He went on to write that the USA was determined to:

Teach itself and the NATO associates never to refer to the most menacing element of our military potential otherwise than as the nuclear deterrent' - the unmistakable implication being that the Russians, longing for inauguration of World War III, would at once attack if not deterred by the agency of retribution. Year after year nothing would be omitted to move American air bases and missile sites as close as possible to Soviet frontiers. Year after year, American naval vessels would be sent on useless demonstration expeditions into the Black Sea - thus, by implication, imputing to the Russians a degree of patience which our own public and congressional opinion would be most unlikely to master had the shoe been on the other foot.

Time after time, as in Pakistan and Okinawa, the maintenance and development of military or air bases would be stubbornly pursued with no evidence of any effort to balance this against the obvious political costs. Political interests would similarly be sacrificed or put in jeopardy by the avid and greedy pursuit of military intelligence.!'' One hardliner who would not repent was Dean Acheson, Secretary7 of State from 1949 to 1953. While Under Secretary during the Truman period, he propounded his version of what was later called the domino theory, which was so effective in entangling the USA in the Vietnam war. Acheson argued that a victory7 for Communism in Greece, Turkey or Iran or any of the other countries of the Near East or the Mediterranean region would lead rapidly to the collapse of pro-Western governments throughout Europe.

Tire seeds of the Cold War which had been sown in warlike warnings to Russia by Truman were to grow thick and fast in the wake of the Long Telegram. Tire influential Senator Arthur Vandenberg spoke in the Senate of the need to stop 'appeasement' of the Soviet Union. James Byrnes, the Secretary of State, delivered a warning that no country had the right to station troops in the territories of other sovereign nations 'without their consent'. That of course sounded fine and even-handed. But the point was that other countries which agreed to American bases were so much in need of US economic assistance that they could rarely resist Washington's military planners.

Byrnes also criticized the Soviets for taking, or looting, Japanese industrial equipment in Manchuria before any formal agreement had been reached on reparations. But such an agreement, as the Russians knew, would be hard to achieve with the Americans. In any case it was easy for the USA to take this high-minded attitude on reparations. It had emerged from the war with a surplus of industrial plant.

It was also time, Washington decided, to deter suspected Russian ambitions in Turkey7 and - as they supposed - in Greece, even though the aid for rebels there came from Yugoslavia against Stalin's specific wishes. He told Djilas:

The uprising in Greece will have to fold up. Do you think that Great Britain and the USA - the USA the most powerful nation in the world - will permit you to break the line of communication in the Mediterranean? And we have no navy. The uprising in Greece must be stopped as quickly as possible. 18 But Washington's view persisted that the menace in Greece was from the Soviets. Truman agreed to a proposal from Forrestal that a task force including an aircraft carrier should be earmarked for a display7 of American power in the eastern Mediterranean. 'The Truman Doctrine' was being created.

THE CHARACTER OF AMERICAN DIPLOMACY

Given the gap between the two powers as demonstrated by the two telegrams, it would have needed the most skilful diplomacy to bring either side to an understanding of the other's position. Sadly, the quality of diplomacy during the early years of the Cold War was lamentable - and it was to get no better with the passage of time. On the US side, the reign of John Foster Dulles at the State Department (1953-1959) was to see a foreign policy designed to scare the Soviet Union into submission. The death of Stalin and gestures of detente by the new leadership opened up new prospects which were promptly rebuffed. The British and French governments tried to redress the balance but, as decidedly junior partners in the alliance were unable to do so. There was also an inclination in Washington to listen to military hotheads in formulating policy.

On the Soviet side, the interregnum of Georgiy Malenkov, Stalin's immediate successor, was followed by the reign of Nikita Khrushchev whose volatile and emotional behaviour made East -West negotiations difficult. His erratic behaviour was to upset not just Western leaders but also his colleagues - and be a key factor in his ultimate downfall

Tire problems of American diplomacy arose from certain national psychological characteristics which lent an aggressive edge to the country's foreign policy. The USA has always been a fiercely competitive society in fields ranging from business to sport and many other fields. It has long been characterized by the unmatched flow of 'how to succeed' books. It is an important cause of the country's success as a leader in those and so many other fields.

[Jan 15, 2019] Profit Over People Neoliberalism and Global Order eBook Noam Chomsky Kindle Store

Jan 15, 2019 | www.amazon.com

Trevor Neal 4.0 out of 5 stars Opinionated November 2, 2014 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

The book, Profit over People by Noam Chomsky, Linguist turned political / social critic, is an indictment against the process of globalization currently in vogue. Supporters of U.S. International policy and trade agreements beware. If you agree with present policy then this book is not for you. However, if you seek to examine your views, or if you need data to utilize as a critique of current policy then Noam Chomsky offers a strong expose of capitalism and globalization.

The book revolves around several major themes, including an examination of neoliberalism, its definition, history, and how it is utilized in current policy. Next, Mr. Chomsky turns to how consent for neoliberalism is manufactured through institutions such as the media. He ends with a critique of U.S. Foreign policy especially in Latin America, the NAFTA agreement, and insights into the Zapatista rebellion in Chiapas Mexico during the 1990's.

Mr. Chomsky uses neoliberalism as a pejorative term to connote the practices of economic liberalization, privatization, free trade, open markets, and deregulation. In 'Profit over People' it is defined "as the policies and processes whereby a relative handful of private interests are permitted to control as much as possible of social life in order to maximize their personal profit." Neoliberalism is based on the economic theories of Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, and the policies of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher.

At the time of 'Profit Over People,' Neoliberalism had been the dominant economic paradigm for a couple decades. In his critique of this paradigm, Mr. Chomsky observed that it was being used to justify the corporate domination of the civic and public life of nations including the U.S. He also noted that through neoliberalism, capitalism was being equated with democracy and supporters were using this perspective to advocate for deregulation policies as well as international trade agreements. He insinuated that at the same time corporations were manufacturing consent for economic liberalization their real goal was to attempt to gain control of international markets. A quote from the introduction illustrates this theme;

"....as Chomsky points out, markets are almost never competitive. Most of the economy is dominated by massive corporations with tremendous control over their markets and that therefore face precarious little competition of the sort described in economic textbooks and politicians speeches. Moreover, corporations themselves are effectively totalitarian organizations, operating along nondemocratic lines."

Contemplating the issues Mr. Chomsky raises it is difficult to be objective with him because his argument is so one-sided. He does not have one good thing to say about the effects of globalization or trade agreements. There definitely are some negative effects of globalization, yet it raises red flags in the mind of a discerning reader when positive effects are overlooked. For example, he is very critical of NAFTA and provides evidence in support of his argument, yet his critique is before NAFTA even went into effect.

Still, although a little outdated, and opinionated, Profit over People provides important insights into the process of globalization, and who gains from the process. Mr. Chomsky raises legitimate concerns about current trends in global development, and the forces behind it. This is why I consider 'Profit over People' a book worth reflecting on.

[Jan 14, 2019] Happy countries don't elect Donald Trump as President - Desperate Ones Do!

People are ready to rebel... Stability of countries is underrated and it is easy to destroy it and very difficult or often impossible to rebuilt it.
Jan 14, 2019 | www.amazon.com


John McCandlish 4.0 out of 5 stars Good book - but dinging him one star for not being bold and honest with himself October 20, 2018 Format: Kindle Edition

I encourage people to read this book. My four star rating certainly does NOT reflect my agreement with all of his points and arguments. However, debate and understanding of other viewpoints is important. Compared to many other right-wing books, Tucker I think makes a lot of valid points.

However, I am dinging him one-star because I don't think he put himself really out there. I suspect he wants to protect his viewership on Fox by not calling out Trump when appropriate. Tucker never once mention Trump where Trump does not stand for what Tucker stands for. The words civility is often mentioned; yet nothing about our President outright meanness, cruelty, and lack of civility. Also, I get and agree with the subject of Free Speech and some of the extremists on the left. Yet failing to mention the attacks on the free press from Trump illustrates his weakness to be completely objective. (Yes the MSM is liberal, but free press is still part of our democracy). Probably most important is Tucker's failure to even address tax and fiscal policy in regards to the elites. Maybe Tucker thinks a ballooning debt is okay (both Obama and Trump); and the Trump tax cut is not part of the elite structure to gain even more power. Seems odd to me.

Other noteworthy items for potential readers. Be prepared for two long rants. While I lean liberal, I had no idea what Chelsea Clinton was up to. Apparently she is destroying the world. lol. It's almost like Tucker just has a personal vendetta with her. I myself don't keep up with any President's kids. ...okay, that's a little bit of a lie. I find the SNL skits on Don Jr. and Eric very funny. Tucker's other personal vendetta is with Ta-Nehisi Coates. I got in the first two minutes Tucker didn't like the book and thought it full of holes. I didn't agree with everything Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote either just like I don't agree with everything Tucker writes; but I have rated both as four stars.

Scott Z. 4.0 out of 5 stars Missing an Action Plan October 27, 2018 Format: Hardcover

T.C. - Kudos, you absolutely nailed it with title and introduction. The first paragraph exacts our situation, and lowers down your reader ever so softly, allowing us to know: You Do Get It. Perhaps best explified with this little zinger:

"Happy countries don't elect Donald Trump as President - Desperate Ones Do!"

And, please accept a Big Thank You for taking the time to narrate your own book. IT truly is the best way to consume the content.

"Nothing is really hidden - Only ignored!!" I sincerely doubt our ruling class - which reasoned away why Trump was ever elected.. Will Ever Get This Point. Today's ruling elite's are fully insulated and it is EXACTLY the way they like it. They have it Far Too Good living in a No Answer Required reality while being fed by lobbists. Heck our leadership is so far removed, they couldn't hear the ever increasing cries for Civil Revolution that have bellowed on since at least, 2010. On the other hand, Donald Trump sure did! He campaigned exactly on this. And some of us that voted for him, are willing to bet too - The Wizards of Oz [Federal Reserve] were listening as rebels yelled with question of their secret club and it's role in this funneling - decades long downward swirel. Lest anyone forget, it was they [under FDR's New Deal] who are postured with pinnicle to shield us from another Great Depression.

So What if Trump tells lies. Don't you get it? It's FREE Speech on Steroids. He's making a statement about our First Amendment.

Your next 8 chapters... profoundly filled with deep and convincing material.. albeit, sometimes shocking in perspective... clearly articulates our reality... all of which, when glued together tells us exactly what we know: The Boat has Run Amuk!

The meaty middle of your publication... filled with oceans of content - leaves this reader to wonder which think tank supported your endevour? I mean, material like this doesn't just come from perusing the Washington or New York Post. Lastly, you give thanks to your Fox Team but come on... this is far too volumous for stellar three research artists to uncover - even if given 5 years.

Notwithstanding, it was your epilog that brought my Biggest Disappointment. Any sailor knows if you want to Right a Rolled Ship, you'll first need Force - to get the thing uprighted, and a Super Slurping Sump to get it drained. Only then, can we change how it Floats.. and which way it Sails. In fairness, perhaps you are implying the ship was uprighted by such a force back in Nov. 2016, with the election of President Trump. If so, I clearly missed that one from you.

Amazingly, with just under two years in office, his administration has made tremendous headway at operating the bilge. And, I don't think there has been another president in the history of your country who has Done More of what he campaigned on, to this point in any administration. And only the next election cycle will determine if the Coast Guard has begun sailing toward us in rescue.

With our capitalistic democracy you can't just wish the boat to flip and drain. While your "Tend to the Population" idea is both eloquent and laudable - and will help change the course once the keel is down.. it does nothing to cause money to stop flowing up the hill. When 2% of the population holds 90% of the wealth, when the outdated middle class based Income Taxation System is wrapped around a middle class that is no longer in existence, then there's little hope for the lower 10% to emerge. Heck, take this to a basic conversation about our democracy. We have lost faith in the power of our vote against the lobbists. The middle and lower class population can't spare the time to handle your decentralized suggestion even if leaders did fork over some power. We fell in the ocean long ago and are doing all we can to tread water, while fending off the circling sharks.

Sir, you know full well there is no incentive in our current democracy which will change what has been 40+ years in the making.. that which your middle 8 chapters so eloquently reveal. Oh, one or two politicians with genuine heart will try. But the two party system and all it's disfunctional glory will only laugh.

You suggest our leaders should proceed slow, that they decentralize power. Again laudable in therory, but reality suggests we stand too far devided in these "United States" and far too loudly is the call for revolution. The politicians are pandering the point!

We need to break the Democratically Elected, Capitalistically Funded - Autocratcy! Short of a mutiny, I for one have lost faith to believe anything else is going to right the ship. Rather than offer a mildly soft solution, your book needed to speak to action. And how it will get done!

R. Patrick Baugh 4.0 out of 5 stars Some interesting ideas to ponder November 6, 2018 Format: Hardcover

Love him or loathe him (I happen to know him, and I'd describe him as a "charming rogue" after sitting next to him at dinner on several occasions), the author has some very interesting things to say about why we as a nation seem to be headed in the direction we're heading. A few of his facts that he uses to back up his ideas seem a little "let me see if I can find an obscure fact or quote to back my point up" and fly in the face of reality (which is why I only gave 4 stars), but he presents some ideas that everyone should consider - you may choose not accept them, but an open-minded, independent person would take the time to actually think about what he's saying instead of dismissing it out of hand.

[Jan 14, 2019] Carlson labeled the "1% Gang" as "globalist" schemers who could care less about the folks at the bottom - or our America. He wrote that they hide their contempt for the poor and working class behind the "smokescreen of identity politics." They are leaving us with a "Them vs. Us" society, he warned - "a new class system."

Jan 14, 2019 | www.amazon.com

Bill Hughes 4.0 out of 5 stars I'm giving Carlson's tome three out of five stars. November 3, 2018 Format: Hardcover Let's face it, we live in trying times. Take politics for example. Donald Trump's Right-leaning Republicans (The Repugs) couldn't be more divided from Nancy Pelosi's Liberal Democrats (The Dims) on just about every serious issue. How wide? Think Atlantic Ocean wide!

We don't need any expert to tell us that either. Things are so bad, most sane people won't bring up sensitive subjects, such as government, race, immigration, the environment, and on and on, in the company of strangers. To do so is to risk starting WWIII. Under the reign of "El Presidente," aka "The Donald," it has all gotten worse.

When I was growing up in a heavily-democratic South Baltimore, a Republican was a novelty. There was only one on my block in Locust Point. She kept a low profile. This was so even during the halcyon days of Republican Theodore "Teddy" McKeldin, twice mayor of Baltimore and twice governor of Maryland.

Things have changed dramatically. Now, my old democratic political club on South Charles Street, near the Cross Street market, "The Stonewall," a once-strong bastion for the working class, is no more. Its boss, Harry J. "Soft Shoes" McGuirk, too, has passed on to his final reward. Its loyal followers, the ever faithful precinct workers, have vanished along with it. Instead, there's a booming housing market with properties, new and old, selling in Federal Hill, and Locust Point, too, for over one half million dollars.

During my salad days, you could have bought a whole block of houses in Locust Point for that kind of money. That day is over.

The Millennials, aka "Generation Y," have flooded the area. They have also found it hard to identify with either major political party, or major institutions, according to a recent Pew Study. Bottom line: The Millennials have demonstrated little or no interest in democratic machine politics. This is not a good sign for maintaining a vigorous participatory democracy at either the local or national level.

Enter Tucker Carlson and his best-selling book, "Ship of Fools: How a Selfish Ruling Class is Bringing America to the Brink of Revolution." It couldn't be more timely with divisions in the country rising daily and sometimes leading to - violence!

The author zeroed in on America's grasping ruling clique. I like to call them "The 1% Gang." The numbers keep changing for the worse. One study shows them owning about 40 percent of the country's wealth. They own more wealth than the bottom 90 percent combined, according to a Federal Survey of Consumers Finances.

In a recent "Portside" commentary, writer Chuck Collins, pointed out that the wealth of America's three richest families has grown by 6,000 percent since 1982. Today, they owned as "much wealth as the bottom half of the U.S. population combined." (11.02.18)

Carlson labeled the "1% Gang" as "globalist" schemers who could care less about the folks at the bottom - or our America. He wrote that they hide their contempt for the poor and working class behind the "smokescreen of identity politics." They are leaving us with a "Them vs. Us" society, he warned - "a new class system."

How did Donald Trump win in 2016? Carlson gives his spin on that controversial election: He said, "desperate" countries elect candidates like Trump. The voters were, in effect, giving the "middle finger" to the ruling class, after decades of "unwise leaders." Once the voters believe that "voting is pointless," anything can happen. Wise leaders should understand this. But after listening to Hillary Clinton perpetually whine about her losing bid, "poor Hillary," in 2016, for the highest office, I'm not so sure they do.

To underscore the charge of unwise leadership, the author pointed to the stupid decisions to "invade Iraq and bail out Wall Street lowering interest rates, opening borders and letting the manufacturing sector collapse and the middle class die." The people, Carlson emphasized, sent a strong message: "Ignore voters for long enough and you get Donald Trump." To put it another way, Hillary's "Deplorables" had spoken out loud and clear.

I especially enjoyed how Carlson ripped into the Neocons' leading warmonger, Bill Kristol. He exposed the latter's secret agenda to become the "ideological gatekeeper of the Republican party." Kristol believed the U.S. should be bombing and invading countries throughout the Middle East. His main claim to infamy was his support for the illegal and immoral U.S. invasion of Iraq. When Trump critiqued the Iraq War and its promoters, Carlson wrote "Kristol erupted." That feud continues to this day. I'm sure if Trump goes along with a US invasion of Iran, they will patch things up - quickly.

Question: Shouldn't warmongering be a "Hate Crime?"

In summing up his book, Carlson said that the "1% Gang," hasn't gotten the message. They are "fools, unaware that they are captains on a sinking ship."

Let's hope the Millennials are listening. It sure is odd, however, that this book advocating "reason" in our political life, comes from a commentator associated with a television station which is known as a bastion of unreason - Fox News! The author is an anchor on the Fox News Channel.

Although, Carlson deserves credit for blasting both the Left and Right in his book, I found some of his arguments lacking substance. Nevertheless, his main point about greedy lunatics running the country into the ground, and the need for a campaign to stop them, warrants immediate attention by an informed electorate.

I'm giving Carlson's tome three out of five stars.

[Jan 14, 2019] Liars, Leakers, and Liberals The Case Against the Anti-Trump Conspiracy by Jeanine Pirro

Jan 14, 2019 | www.amazon.com

Kenneth LeBeau 5.0 out of 5 stars Mueller Russia Probe is a witch hunt! September 2, 2018 Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

Very accurate review of the agenda aimed at overturning the results of the Election of 2016. The Deep State is exposed. Corruption, deceit, bias at the upper levels of the FBI, CIA, Department of Justice, Clinton Foundation & how they attempted to undermine the President of the U.S.

[Jan 14, 2019] The Deep State How an Army of Bureaucrats Protected Barack Obama and Is Working to Destroy the Trump Agenda

OK, now Russiagate reached the level when books are written about it ;-). It is clear to any non-biased observer that a color revolution was launched against Trump by the Deep State using their stooges in Depart of Justice and FBI (Rosenstein and FBI cabal). Probably coordinated by Brennan, to who essentially McCabe and Strzok reported.
All pretention of democracy and due legal procedure were thrown into the garbage can with amazing ease. And Witch hunt was unleashed on such a scale that it would make Staling propagandists during Show Trials to blush.
It would be interesting to read a book detailing Great Britain interference and MI6 story about Steele dossier, though. See The British Role In Initiating Russiagate Shift Frequency
Jan 14, 2019 | www.amazon.com

Serenity... TOP 100 REVIEWER 4.0 out of 5 stars ~~ September 18, 2018 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

Transparency/Checks and Balances/Civil Service Reform

First of all, I am neither a Republican or a Democrat. I have voted on the qualifications of the candidates since I was first eligible. Many years ago many. I have voted in every single election except for this last Presidential one. And, many by absentee ballot as I served 20 years in the United States Navy and am now a proud retired USN Chief Petty Officer. Notice I said except for this last election .I absolutely could not vote for either candidate.

Why? My main objection to voting for Clinton was her handling of the emails. My career in the US Navy involved handling classified material on a daily basis. And, a Top Secret clearance for the last 6 of my 20 years. And, these clearances were not given out freely. From receipt of the message to the destruction, every single step every one was recorded and upon destruction, two witnesses were required. I had more reservations about voting for her but the mishandling of the emails was the major one.

As for voting for Trump, I just could not force myself to vote for him.. Enough said.

I ordered this book to see what Jason Chaffetz , Former Congressman and Chairman of the House Oversight Committee had to say about the state of affairs in the US. To paraphrase the author the Deep State exists to control information available to the American public. They don't like exposure, accountability or responsibility in their tactics.

The Transportation Security Agency, the Secret Service, Whistle Blowers, the Veterans Administration problems including Phoenix, AZ, Fast and Furious scandal, illegal immigration (including catch and release), the Benghazi attack and many more topics are covered.

The Freedom of Information Act (1966) was detailed in depth including the 9 exceptions to this act. Requests doubled during the O'Bama Presidency and many requests were denied. It also appears that this is one area that needs to be reformed. And, along with that comes much more transparency in our government.

One thing I have never understood is the reason that it is so difficult to fire government employees. I did work for 3 agencies after I retired from the US Navy and found it mind boggling that it was nearly impossible. If one was fired, the Merit Protection Board stepped in to assist. The entire system of Federal Employees should be overhauled, in my opinion. And, the number of Federal employees not paying their taxes continues to increase...

Bottom line is that despite the checks and balances in the Congress, they are not being utilized. Our faith in government is gone and without faith, our nation is suffering.

After reading this, my eyes have been opened in many areas. Do I believe a Deep State exists in the US? Yes, I do. The author provides many, many examples which are backed up with statistics. Time to do major overhaul and put more transparency back in our government.

Wanted to edit by adding a few sentences...My AHA moment was when the author went with LCOL Wood (Utah National Guard) on 12 SEP 2012 to visit Benghazi. Jeremy Freeman was present and representing FOIA. He was denied access to a meeting due to his security clearance not being high enough. Who did he call to try and gain access in the middle of the night? Cheryl Mills, Hillary Clinton's assistant. . Didn't work as access was still denied. What was this about? It was explained in 'The Deep State'.

Highly recommended.

Note:

Nearly the last 20 % on my Kindle were acknowledgements and an Index. It was stated that the 'index does not match the edition from which it was created'. So, use the search tools for your E book instead.

Hawkeye 5.0 out of 5 stars September 27, 2018 Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

Feckless Congressional oversight!

This very well written, easy to read for all, book is a composition of several stories of what should be routine successful United States Congressional oversight over the last 10 years that has allow an administration to defaecate on the rule of law. In my six years in "The Swamp" I did not meet with Mr. Chaffetz but I appreciated his speaking, now writing style, and the wit that comes across in this publication.

I ordered this book last month to hear Jason Chaffetz's, Former Congressman and Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, story regarding the state of affairs of congress during the Obama Regime. To paraphrase the author the Deep State exists to control information available to the American public. They dislike "Sunshine which is the best disinfectant", accountability or responsibility in their tactics which we are seeing exposed every night for the last 2 years!

The book confirms my impressions and experience of the existence of the deep state and the governmental groups that continue to take advantage of the American taxpayer. Chaffetz provides examples where the Deep State continues to impede progress and efficiency within the US Government. He presents congress as a "Paper Tiger" with impotent and absent oversight due to a growing government. The Obama Administration had its way with congress for eight long years probably due to the poor leadership at the top, John Boehner and Paul Ryan, which allowed and undermined the authority of congress to provide oversight (US Code 192).

Chapter eight regarding Benghazi Terrorist Attack which the president, secretary of state, and the UN ambassador outright lied is very disturbing. It is a prime example of how government agencies block and distort the truth from the American peoples' representatives. If today with almost 350 million inhabitants in the country and a government three times the size of the 1960's The Deep State can successfully manipulate the events of the last ten years and the present resist movement on the Trump agenda; with a smaller government The Deep State could have conspired to assassinate our 35th president.

In several places in the book I noticed the author's animus with government employees earning more that the legislators which was my experience and exposed to during my times in and out of government. The guide in the last chapter on how to fight the Deep State is laid out with sound logic and common sense. If congress is too small as the author states to deal with this government expansion, then allow an outside agent as Judicial Watch (who seems to be more effective) perform the oversight under contract! Thank God for Jason Chaffetz for writing this must read for every taxpayer.

Aletheuo 5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Fantastic October 3, 2018 Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

This is a GREAT book for our times. Chaffetz did this country a GREAT service by writing about his first hand knowledge on how the Deep State is destroying the United States. The book is super easy to read and very interesting, so practically anyone can understand it and "enjoy" it. Some of the things that he shares/exposes follow (it's all in the book):
1. The unaccountable Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which was created by Elizabeth Warren and her minions was "purposely designed to bypass Congress, checks, and balances, and oversight. It is funded by the Federal Reserve," which means Congress can't cut its purse strings. What does the CFPB spend its money on? No one knows, because they aren't accountable to anyone and yet the CFPB is one of the larger government agencies. This agency needs to be shut down.
2. David Nieland (DHS inspector general's office) admitted that he and his staff were directed to delay the report of the investigation of the Secret Services trysts with prostitutes in foreign countries until after the 2012 election.
3. The DOJ refuses to accept cases of contempt of Congress unless they happen to agree with the case. Furthermore, they refuse to investigate and charge Hillary Clinton, Eric Holder, Lois Lerner and other corrupt individuals. These people got off scot-free with pensions and no punishments for crimes committed.
4. John Koskinen misled and lied to Congress and got off scot-free (page 90).
5. The State Department sent a "spy" to watch over and listen to former Congressman Chaffetz' overseas investigation into the Benghazi incident. This man, Jeremy Freeman, did not have the security clearance to sit in on some of the briefings, which ultimately led to a confrontation. Freeman was apparently reporting back to Clinton and her staff so that they could be aware of what information might be made public which would counter their spin (remember Rice's false claim that the Benghazi incident was entirely cause by a You Tube video).
6. The State Dept. abandoned the American heroes from Benghazi and left them overseas (page 125) and would not pay to fly them home. They had to find their own way and pay their own way. Furthermore, these men had the security clearances revoked immediately after the incident.
7. The Deep State prints thousands of pages of irrelevant material when a demand is made to turn over documents on some subject to Congress. This is a normal operational procedure for them. They only hold back the important documents that incriminate the person in question or the issue at hand. They publicly claim having turned over tens of thousands of pages of documents to Congress, but most of them are copies of websites, copies of magazine articles and other irrelevant material that has very little (or nothing) to do with the original demand.
8. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is just as reluctant to charge Hillary Clinton as was his predecessor. He has something to hide just like the rest of them (page 154). What happened to putting criminals in prison???
9. Chaffetz wrote "It's undeniable that the campaign to discredit Flynn was well underway before Inauguration Day." (p. 158)
10. "The Deep State benefits from illegal immigration." (page 179) This is because it requires a larger government (allowing for more Deep State cronies) to "figure" out the immigration problem and they are very good at persuading illegals to vote for socialists (Democrats).
11. G--gle, A--z-n, and the big tech firms "rent" workers from other countries and pay them very, very low salaries. These are people on H1B visas. This is all while the tech leaders are calling for higher minimum wages etc... (page 180)
12. The number one H1B visa employer in Brooklyn in 2018 is JP Morgan Chase.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. The stories are compelling. The facts are there from a U.S. Congressman who served 8.5 years. It's time for all patriotic American's to make a stand and fight back against the socialist Deep State. It's time to fight their guile, their mischief, their malicious lies, and their goal of tearing down the sovereignty of the United States. I highly recommend this book. Get it. Read it. Take action now.

[Jan 14, 2019] Spygate: The Attempted Sabotage of Donald J. Trump

Notable quotes:
"... Elections are just for show like many trials in the old USSR. The in power Party is the power NOT the individual voting citizens. In the end this book is about exposing the pernicious activities of those who would place themselves above the voting citizens of America. ..."
Jan 14, 2019 | www.amazon.com

Johnny G 5.0 out of 5 stars The Complex Made Easy! October 9, 2018 Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

Regardless of your politics this is a must read book. The authors do a wonderful job of peeling back the layered onion that is being referred to as "Spy Gate." The book reads like an imaginative spy thriller. Except it is as real a fist in the stomach or the death of your best friend. In this case it is our Constitution that is victimized by individuals entrusted with "protecting and defending it from all enemies DOMESTIC and foreign."

Tis is in many ways a sad tail of ambition, weak men, political operatives & hubris ridden bureaucrats. The end result IF this type of activity is not punished and roundly condemned by ALL Americans could be a descent into Solzhenitsyn's GULAG type of Deep State government run by unaccountable political appointees and bureaucrats.

Elections are just for show like many trials in the old USSR. The in power Party is the power NOT the individual voting citizens. In the end this book is about exposing the pernicious activities of those who would place themselves above the voting citizens of America. ALL Americans should be aware of those forces seen and unseen that seek to injure our Constitutional Republic. This book is footnoted extensively lest anyone believes it is a polemic political offering.

JAK 5.0 out of 5 stars The truth hurts and that's the truth October 11, 2018 Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

This book has content that you will not see or find anywhere else. while the topic itself is covered elsewhere in large mainstream media Outlets the truth of what is actually happening is rarely ever exposed.

If there was a six-star recommendation or anything higher because the truth is all that matters, he would receive it.

This book is put together with so many far-left (CNN, BLOOMBERG, DLSTE, YAHOO ECT) leading news stories as being able to support the fact of what happened, it's possible to say oh well that just didn't happen but it was reported by the left and when you put all of the pieces of the puzzle together it is painfully obvious to see what happened......

If these people involved don't go to jail the death of our Republic has already happened

[Jan 14, 2019] The Russia Hoax The Illicit Scheme to Clear Hillary Clinton and Frame Donald Trump by Gregg Jarrett

The books does not answer the key question: if it was not Russian influence, who of forign powers tried to influence the election: GB, Israel, Saudi, or all three. We have solid evidence of interference of British intelligence services into the election. Which means May government interference.
Also important to understand that FBI from the very beginning was apolitical tool. Nothing new here.
This dirty political witch hunt has one major goal to cement the cracks in neoliberal society that appear after 2008 Financial crash. This attempt failed and Pateigenosse Mueller is unable to change that. Confidence in the ruling neoliberal oligarchy collapsed and problem with the inequality laid now bare.
Jan 14, 2019 | www.amazon.com

KB from Illinois 5.0 out of 5 stars Very detailed. Raises many questions about politically motivated investigations. September 14, 2018 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

My interest in this book occurred by chance. Over the past couple years reading news stories on sites like Yahoo News I sensed a very overt stance against President Trump. It appeared very obvious to me, but I wanted some confirmation whether these views may have validity, or perhaps not. So I started to investigate other opinions via some of the conservative talk radio shows. Up until this time, I rarely listened to them. One was the Sean Hannity Show and Gregg Jarrett was sitting in for Sean on one of the shows. He mentioned his book and I thought it sounded interesting. My basic assumption even prior to reading this book was I never felt there was any illegal Trump/Russian collusion in our recent election. I couldn't see how it would ever be done in such a way that would actually affect the voting outcome (other than if it were some kind of ballot box type fraud). So I had doubts about all the related investigations. When this book was mentioned I figured it would offer some factual information to help me understand the investigations better. It did accomplish that. And much more awareness.

One of the major items about this book is that it is well researched and documented. This made me feel somewhat comfortable about its content. There is so much misinformation making its rounds today that knowing what is truthful and what isn't can become a real guessing game. I could even ask 'Did Mr. Jarrett fabricate his sources'? At this point I will go on faith that they are real.

Based on that assumption, he presents a very hard case about the Russian collusion investigation as not being quite what the U.S.A. people are being led to believe by the media outlets. So much so, I hope this book could be a catalyst for other investigations (assuming that isn't already being planned). As summarized in this book, a major point is about federal investigative departments having integrity in performing their duties, and doing so legally and without prejudice or political partisanship. This book does raise some real concerns.

The author states at the end of the book "The people who should read this book, probably won't". Unfortunately he is probably correct. As a country we seem so divided today politically. It is my impression that anti-Trumpers will probably not want to acknowledge any conflicting thoughts or facts to their beliefs. But this book could be a great exercise in broadening one's knowledge regarding the investigations on Trump. It would show a different viewpoint than that being touted by much of the media, and has the facts backing it up. At the very least, it can provide some food for thought.

Grady T. Birdsong 5.0 out of 5 stars Tells the honest truth about corruption in our Government November 23, 2018 Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

As Gregg Jarrett states in the Epilogue of this book, "The people who should read this book, probably won't... they are intellectually dishonest in believing that the president must have committed some crime in connection with Russia...There was never any plausible evidence that Trump or his campaign collaborated with Russia to win the presidency... Comey's scheme to trigger the appointment of his friend as special counsel was a devious maneuver by an unscrupulous man..."
As many of these events unfolded I have watched closely and performed my own "tests of reasonableness" from facts presented. Utilizing logic and common sense I often wondered if I was missing something? What crystal ball would have predicted that Donald Trump would run for the presidency? One example: The press told us he had been a political asset for many years and had been exchanging Intel with the Russians...
Then I heard about this book, purchased it and began reading it... I could hardly put it down... The information in it is astonishing! It is all to clear now...
Jarrett has researched, compiled and formatted an almost air-tight legal case (within this book) for prosecuting these "weasels." The astonishing levels of corruption and crimes committed by those in the highest levels of the DOJ and FBI are unprecedented. He has compiled an extraordinary amount of source information to back up his many claims throughout the book. I am totally perplexed that our so-called leaders in Congress are allowing this abuse to go unpunished... baffling? This disgraceful abuse of power documented by Jarrett will come back to haunt us! A well written expose by Mr. Jarrett!

E. Christine Hess 5.0 out of 5 stars Mueller, Rosenstein & the members of the Special Council SHOULD be on trial! November 24, 2018 Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

Gregg Jarrett's research leaves NO DOUBT that drastic action needs to be taken to hold these people- PRETENDING to represent the law- accountable & end their "assassination" tactics on our tax dollar.
This is not Halloween, not a play. This is REALITY with our laws running amok!
And our Congress - our elected officials, supposedly servants of We, the People, - is not taking action?
How is this possible?

Amazon Customer 5.0 out of 5 stars The deep bias rooted in the Deep State, better known now as The Swamp October 8, 2018 Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

Incredibly well researched and well written book which explains methodically in an easy to read style the undeniable deep seated bias against President Trump at the highest levels of the Department of Justice and the FBI. They tried to first prevent him from being elected by exonerating Hillary Clinton of a long list of crimes committed during her tenure as Secretary of State and then smearing him with a politically motivated fake "Dossier". When that didn't work, they have tried to undermine his presidency from the start with an equally politically motivated Special Prosecutor investigating "Collusion with Russia" in an investigation which had no crime to investigate from the start. A must read for all Americans.

Andrew Maile 5.0 out of 5 stars A very informative, but yet digestible, read........ September 30, 2018 Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

This author writes with a very smooth, easy, but detailed style. The book brings in much law for the reader to digest, but, somehow, does not get a reader tangled up in the weeds. As for the thrust of the book: A detailed 'tick tock' of the day by day events that have taken America to the point we are today on this entire question of Trump, Russia, and the 2016 election.
This book really is vivid proof that the 'deep state' does emphatically exist. Not as a structure or organization with secret meetings,rituals or handshakes. But as a mentality, or common political/social view of government, stemming from the longevity of bureaucracy to feel invulnerable to popular will because of their simple edict that 'we'll still be here after you're long gone'. And from this, these bureaucrats build liaisons with favoring political elites that lead to deep, hidden, obscure --shall we say 'deep state'-- actions to pervert the popular will for the ends of a few.
This book vividly displays why bureaucrats (whose lifeblood is to promote more government) so turn their collective hand to supporting Democrats, the party of government. Yates covering for Comey and the blackmailing of Gen. Flynn, Comey leaking to a friend in Academia that provokes the appointment of his (Comey's) close associate --indeed, his mentor-- Robert Mueller. Senior bureaucrats (McCabe, Strzok) playing inside baseball to maneuver themselves for promotion in the expected new (Democratic) administration that they so much support and wish for. Indeed friendships with FISA judges to assure bogus warrants can be obtained against political enemies.
Where money and power are traded as coin of the realm in a way that is so antiseptic and hidden. Nobody says 'How much money will it take'; instead it's 'I can help you fund raise'. Rod Blagojevich was foolish enough to call a bribe a bribe...well, he's in jail, but Strzok's wife isn't.
It just goes on and on................it's simple corruption!!! And the band plays on......the human comedy continues........

JG Kuhl 5.0 out of 5 stars How about a media complicity sequel? September 3, 2018 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

Excellent detailed and researched book that simply amazes me. Lynch, Comey, Clinton, Stzrok, Orr, Rosenstein, McCabe, Reid and Brennen all worked seamlessly to install Hillary and have a backup plan B to lay the groundwork to impeach Trump in case she doesn't make it. All under the oversight of Obama. Neat trick, but what follows is even more orchestrated: MEDIA COMPLICITY! You can't pull this off unless you have the full cooperation willingly or otherwise of: NBC, CBS, NPR, ABC, MSNBC, and most of all CNN, the New York Times, and Washington Post! Here's where the real story lies. The media and the Democrat party are simpatico, joint at the brain and mouth and one other orifice. This is the real story that Jarrett only pays passing attention to. Sequel maybe, I hope so. Jon Kuhl Papillion, NE & New England

Amazon Customer 5.0 out of 5 stars The Deep State Is Real September 14, 2018 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

This book is very thorough and completely exposes the Deep State. If there were any doubts about the conspiracy to depose President Trump before reading this book, there certainly aren't any afterwards. After reading the book, I am very disappointed and discouraged to find that our government has such liars and criminals in the FBI, the DOJ, and the Congress. I have completely lost any confidence I had in the U.S. government and will never believe in it again, unless there is a complete house-cleaning in the FBI and the DOJ.

S. Martin Shelton 4.0 out of 5 stars This attack to undermine our democracy is unparalleled in the history of our republic. October 1, 2018 Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

Jarrett pens a comprehensive review of the Deep State's inordinate fraud on our Constitution -- perhaps the greatest attack on our constitutional republic in the history of our country. He writes in clear and empathetic style. His narrative evolves in a coherent and logical progression that details the conspirators' skullduggery in an "ABC" type of progression. He cites exactly who violated the relevant federal statute and why and how it was violated. Unfortunately, as of 30 September 2018 -- the date I'm preparing the review -- none of the miscreants have been indicted even though the documentation of evidence is ponderous.

Larry A. Whited 4.0 out of 5 stars One Less than Five Stars August 8, 2018 Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

Gregg Jarrett's study -- and that is what this book is, a study -- covers two main aspects of recent history. First and foremost it is an in-depth look at the tactics and forces arrayed against President Trump. Intertwined with this comes by necessity a parallel look at Hillary Clinton's tenure as Secretary of State, her presidential run, as well as a broader look at the activities of the Clintons with the nearly full support of those same forces that are now aligned against the presidency of Donald Trump. The nature of the often overlapping issues and the personnel involved has resulted in a fair amount of repetition of key points. This was not a lazy attempt to achieve a book-length manuscript, as Jarrett's original copy by his own admission in the acknowledgments was a hefty 100,000 words before the publisher encouraged him to trim things down.

It is unfortunate that this book will be dismissed by so many who are unwilling to understand and accept that the pervasive high-level animosity against President Trump has evolved into a direct and active threat against our country -- and this threat is compounded by a complicit media that is eager to pounce. The rule of law has been twisted and contorted if not completely abandoned. Trump is the primary target, but whether by design or happenstance it is the U.S. Constitution that is being the most assaulted. The danger of this cannot be overemphasized -- we are at a critical crossroads. Gregg Jarret understands this and was motivated to bring this truth to light. He is no sycophant of President Trump. His loyalty is to the rule of law and to our Constitution rather than to political agendas on either side.

I withheld one star because a great opportunity was lost. This book will never appear in classrooms, and it will likely be stocked in few law libraries. It most certainly should be, and it needs to be read and studied. The flagrant abuses of power by the DOJ, the FBI, and others need to be brought out into a bright light and the corruption purged. As a people we need to get our head out of the sand and realize what has been going on behind closed doors -- our future is most definitely at stake. The lost opportunity that I am alluding to comes down to the expressed (albeit well deserved) disdain and disgust that Gregg Jarrett now has towards those who are participating in this hoax that he has so thoroughly revealed. I fear even the preface itself will turn away those who most need to read this book.

What will be perceived as bias before the facts are presented and developed will allow or even cause those who need to read this book to close their minds, giving them the excuse they want to dismiss the evidence. If strictly the evidence and history had alone been presented with Jarrett's (again, well-deserved) animosity being held in check and edited out, then perhaps this book could have become a classic for later generations to study assuming that we survive these perilously subversive times. I did the math, and there are 771 supporting references -- an average of 70 per chapter -- documenting Jarrett's research, plus 12 references even in the epilogue. Obviously, we are not talking about willfully blind opinion with no basis in fact.

The antagonists who post their 1-star reviews with almost all of them having obviously never read the book (Re. few verified purchases) reveal a dangerous willful ignorance that they are happy to embrace. Their mindset should concern us all.

[Jan 14, 2019] Nanci Pelosi and company at the helm of the the ship the Imperial USA

Highly recommended!
The quote below is from Tucker book... Tucker Carlson for President ;-)
Notable quotes:
"... What was written as an allegory is starting to feel like a documentary, as generations of misrule threaten to send our country beneath the waves. ..."
"... Facts threaten their fantasies. And so they continue as if what they're doing is working, making mistakes and reaping consequences that were predictable even to Greek philosophers thousands of years before the Internet. ..."
"... They're fools. The rest of us are their passengers. ..."
Jan 14, 2019 | www.amazon.com

Most terrifying of all, the crew has become incompetent. They have no idea how to sail. They're spinning the ship's wheel like they're playing roulette and cackling like mental patients. The boat is listing, taking on water, about to sink. They're totally unaware that any of this is happening. As waves wash over the deck, they're awarding themselves majestic new titles and raising their own salaries. You look on in horror, helpless and desperate. You have nowhere to go. You're trapped on a ship of fools.

Plato imagined this scene in The Republic. He never mentions what happened to the ship. It would be nice to know. What was written as an allegory is starting to feel like a documentary, as generations of misrule threaten to send our country beneath the waves.

The people who did it don't seem aware of what they've done. They don't want to know, and they don't want you to tell them. Facts threaten their fantasies. And so they continue as if what they're doing is working, making mistakes and reaping consequences that were predictable even to Greek philosophers thousands of years before the Internet.

They're fools. The rest of us are their passengers.

[Jan 14, 2019] Ship of Fools How a Selfish Ruling Class Is Bringing America to the Brink of Revolution Tucker Carlson 9781501183669 Amazon

Jan 14, 2019 | www.amazon.com

Amazon Customer 5.0 out of 5 stars Don't drink and read October 2, 2018 Format: Hardcover

Don't drink wine and read this book, you'll get angry and make posts on social media that are completely accurate and your friends will hate you.

Doyle 5.0 out of 5 stars Tucker at his best October 3, 2018 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

I am 73 and voted for Bill Clinton both times. Was heavily involved in local union as president of a local. I have witnessed the declining middle class. The loss of our critical steel industry and the SHAFTA deal as we termed it NAFTA was first started by Bush Senior adopted as a center piece by Bill Clinton and and supported by both party's. Then we witnessed the migration of jobs, factories and the middle class becoming food stamp recipients. I couldn't understand how our country willing destroyed our manufacturing jobs. I wondered how we could ever fight a world war with no Steel and Aluminum plants. I became very disillusioned with both political party's. I felt Neither party gave a dime about the real loss to our country.

When the Towers fell I witnessed how it must have been when Pearl Harbor was attacked. People actually came together the Recruiter offices were packed with both men and women wanting to extract revenge on the terrorist. Then the longest war in our history began. It saddens me to say that our wonderful country hasn't won a war since World War 2. But not because of our military but the politicians . Vietnam was a for profit war most that fought there didn't have a clue as to why we were bogged down there and not one of the Generals had any idea how to fight this terrible travesty that took over 58000 lives and uncounted lives of veterans since.

When Trump announced his bid for president he was ridiculed by the elite from both party's . He listened to the disillusioned to the workers that lost everything. When Trump won it was a shot across the bow of the powers that be.

Our president is far from perfect however he heard the masses and brought back some semblance of sanity. Once again President has given hope to our country that had been commandeered by an apologist President . Who was not respected on the world stage. Thank you Tucker for this book.

Alan F. Sewell 5.0 out of 5 stars Tucker Carlson in sharpest focus October 2, 2018 Format: Hardcover

If there's one word that describes Tucker Carlson, it is "sharp." He cuts to the core of each issue, explains it concisely, and shucks away the hidden agendas of those who want to manipulate the issue for their own self-serving agendas.

That's exactly what he does in this book. It is written conversationally, the way Tucker Carlson talks on TV. He has condensed millions of words about the advent of Donald Trump into two sentences: "Countries can survive war and famines and disease. They cannot survive leaders who despise their own people." Tucker elaborates:

=====
Donald Trump was in many ways an unappealing figure. He never hid that. Voters knew it. They just concluded that the options were worse -- and not just Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party, but the Bush family and their donors and the entire Republican leadership, along with the hedge fund managers and media luminaries and corporate executives and Hollywood tastemakers and think tank geniuses and everyone else who created the world as it was in the fall of 2016: the people in charge. Trump might be vulgar and ignorant, but he wasn't responsible for the many disasters America's leaders created .

There was also the possibility that Trump might listen. At times he seemed interested in what voters thought. The people in charge demonstrably weren't. Virtually none of their core beliefs had majority support from the population they governed .Beginning on election night, they explained away their loss with theories as pat and implausible as a summer action movie: Trump won because fake news tricked simple minded voters. Trump won because Russian agents "hacked" the election. Trump won because mouth-breathers in the provinces were mesmerized by his gold jet and shiny cuff links.
=====

He covers many insights provided in other excellent books by Laura Ingraham, Newt Gingrich, Anne Coulter, Charles Murray, and Jordan Peterson. But he brings them into the sharpest focus in his own unique way. For example, he addresses the issue of income inequality, which the Republican and Conservative Establishments seems afraid of:

====
America thrived for 250 years mostly because of its political stability. The country had no immense underclass plotting to smash the system. There was not a dominant cabal of the ultrawealthy capable of overpowering the majority. The country was fundamentally stable. On the strata of that stability its citizens built a remarkable society.

In Venezuela . small number of families took control of most of the Venezuelan economy. America isn't Venezuela. But if wealth disparities continue to grow, why wouldn't it be? Our political leaders ought to be concerned. Instead they work to make the country even less stable, by encouraging rapid demographic change
====

He is courageous in pointing out that excessive immigration, of the kind that Wall Street Republicans and Liberals Democrat want, is perhaps detrimental to the interests of most Americans:

====
. Democrats know immigrants vote overwhelmingly for them, so mass immigration is the most effective possible electoral strategy: You don't have to convince or serve voters; you can just import them. Republican donors want lower wages.
====

He talks about the social stratification of American society: that we have become an overly-credentialized society that concentrates its wealth into a tiny number of elites, while the middle class struggles far in the rea:

====
The path to the American elite has been well marked for decades: Perform well on standardized tests, win admission to an elite school, enter one of a handful of elite professions, settle in a handful of elite zip codes, marry a fellow elite, and reproduce.
=====

Tucker castigates the corruption of Conservatives and Liberals. He characterizes Republican House leader Paul Ryan as a bought-and-paid-for tool of multinational corporations. He talks about how Liberals have also become corrupted. The old-time Liberals (like his elementary school teacher) were an affable group of socially-conscious, well-meaning, and charmingly eccentric people. Some of those Liberals are still around. But many have become the greediest of Wall Street charlatans who operate the most oppressive companies here and abroad. Even worse, they have come do despise their fellow American citizens who have been distressed by the unstable economy of recent decades:

====
This is the unspoken but core assumption of modern American elites: I went to Yale and live on ten acres in Greenwich because I worked hard and made wise choices. You're unemployed and live in an apartment in Cleveland because you didn't. The best thing about old-fashioned liberals was how guilty they were. They felt bad about everything, and that kept them empathetic and humane. It also made them instinctively suspicious of power, which was useful. Somebody needs to be.
=====

Tucker concludes by explaining why the Establishments of both parties are whining about what they think is "the end of democracy" (translation: "We, the Establishment, think democracy is ending because the people won't vote for our candidates"). Then he gives the Establishment his trademark, one-sentence summation:

"If you want to save democracy, you've got to practice it."

TN_MAN 4.0 out of 5 stars Solution is Weak October 16, 2018 Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

Tucker Carlson does a good job, in this book, of laying out the mistakes being made by the Political Establishment in America. He takes both flavors of the Establishment to task. Both the smug, leftist Democrats and the soft Republican RINO's. I thought that I was educated on the problems being caused by this 'Ship of Fools' but Mr. Carlson informed me that things were even worse than I feared.

Where the book is weak is in the area of offered solutions. This is why I only gave it 4 stars. Mr. Carlson assumes that the Establishment set is purely driven by greed and a selfish desire for more and more power. So, his 'Solution' is to just tongue-lash them for being so greedy and selfish. He seems to assume that such shaming will force them to reform from within. This is delusional.

The Establishment is driven not only by greed and a lust for power. Many of them truly believe in a Marxist-Socialist ideology. They have taken over the education system, the legacy media, Hollywood and many big internet companies. This makes their ideology self-perpetuating. They cannot and will not reform on their own. Mr. Carlson is walking up the gangplank and joining the 'Ship of Fools' if he believes that 'self-reform' is a solution.

No, there are only two solutions. One is the election of 'disruptors', like President Trump, who will gradually reform both the Government and the Education System so as to replace Marxist-Socialism with a return to the core American principles of a Representative Republic. The other, I am sad to say, is forcible suppression of the Establishment Class by the American People. The smug elites may imagine that the police and military will support them. However, they won't do it against their own people. Especially for a ruling class that does nothing but belittle both the police and the military at every opportunity.

I truly don't want to see this second approach implemented. America already has enough blood-stained pages in her history. Nevertheless, if the Establishment and the Marxist-Socialist Education system is not reined in, it will end up with many of the Establishment Class hanging from lampposts or facing firing squads. I truly hope it does not come to that.

Not Original, But a Great Read, and a Great Primer October 28, 2018

"Ship of Fools" extends the recent run of books that attack the American ruling class as decayed and awful. However it is characterized, as the professional-management elite, the Front Row Kids, or one of many other labels, all these books argue the ruling class is running our country into the ground, and most argue it is stupid and annoying to boot. I certainly agree, and I also tend to agree with the grim prognostication in the subtitle, that revolution is coming -- that is, this will end in blood. What this book fails to offer, though, just like all these books, is any kind of possible other solution. Which, after a while, reinforces the reader's conclusion that there is no other solution.

Not a word in this book is truly original. That's not to say it's bad: Carlson is highly intelligent and well informed, and his book is extremely well written, clever, funny, and compelling. As with most current political books, Donald Trump appears often, not as himself, but as a phenomenon, whose rise deserves and requires explanation, and who therefore implicitly frames the book, though the author stops mentioning him about halfway through. Carlson's thoughts on Trump, however, are no more original than the rest of the book, the basic conclusion of which is that actions have consequences, and Trump is a natural consequence of the actions taken by our ruling class. In Greek myth, when you sow the earth with dragon's teeth, you get fierce warriors; today, when you harrow the disempowered with rakes, you get Trump.

Carlson, in his Introduction, recites a familiar litany, of the evisceration of the middle class and the emergence of the new class system, where there is a great gulf set between the ruling class and the mass of Americans. Part of the gap is money, shown by increased income and asset inequality. Part of the gap is status, as shown by behavior, such as consumption habits, but even more visible in differences in opportunity, where many desirable options are available to those who pass elite filters such as attending the right universities, and are wholly unavailable to the rest. Few people, of whatever political persuasion, would deny the emergence of this gap; it is what conclusions to draw that are in dispute.

This widening horizontal fracture between mass and elite is reflected in the political parties. The Democrats have shifted from a party of the masses, to a party focused on elite concerns, such as "identity politics, abortion, and abstract environmental concerns." They ignore existential threats to the non-elites such as the loss of good manufacturing jobs, the opioid epidemic, the dropping life span of the non-elite, and that Obamacare and crony capitalism handouts to the insurance companies and lawyers have made insurance unaffordable for the working class. The Republicans have always been more focused on the elite (until Trump), and so have shifted position less, but are no less blameless. Carlson recognizes that the common Republican talking point, that nobody in America is actually poor by historical standards, is mostly irrelevant for these purposes. Inequality is perceived on a relative scale, and it creates envy. As Jonathan Haidt has explained at length, for many people's moral views, fairness is a key touchstone, and abstract economic arguments are not an adequate response. And whatever the causes or rationales, this abandonment of the masses by both parties leaves nobody with power representing the non-elite.

Now, I think this horizontal fracture analysis of the political parties is a bit too simplistic. I see American politics as a quadrant, in which neoliberal Democrats like Hillary Clinton have more in common with elite-focused Republicans like Jeb Bush than they do with either Bernie Sanders Democrats or Trump Republicans, who have much in common with each other. Carlson collapses this quadrant into a duality, in essence lumping Clinton and Bush into one group, and Sanders and Trump acolytes into another. This conceals certain critical issues, especially between the two portions of the quadrant that constitute those excluded from the ruling class. But I suppose Carlson's main goal is to highlight the elite/non-elite distinction on which he builds his case.

The rest of the book is an expansion on this Introduction, in which history is intertwined with analysis of the present day. Carlson heavily focuses on immigration, i.e., "Importing a Serf Class." This is the issue most clearly separating the ruling class from the ruled. Democrat and Republican elites have actively cooperated to flood America with alien immigrants, legal and illegal, against the wishes and interests of the masses. Diversity is not our strength, "it's a neutral fact, inherently neither good nor bad. . . . Countries don't hang together simply because. They need a reason. What's ours?" Carlson contrasts Cesar Chavez, who hated illegal immigrants as wage-lowering scum, with today's elites, who demand illegal immigrants so they can be waited on hand and foot in their gated palaces. These changes are reflected in the official programs of the parties and in the pronouncements of their mandarins -- or they were, until Trump showed up, and modified the Republican approach. What is more, they extend now to seemingly unrelated single-issue pressure groups -- the Sierra Club, for example, now shrilly demands unlimited immigration, increased pressure on the environment be damned.

Immigration, though, is just one example of how the elites now ignore the legitimate interests of the working class. Apple treats workers (Chinese, to be sure) like slaves, but burns incense at the concerns of the elite such as gender inequality in management, so no attention is paid to the workers -- the time of Dorothy Day is long gone. Amazon treats its employees as human robots, yet nobody in power complains. Facebook corrupts our youth through deliberate addiction and is chummy with killer regimes, yet no Congressman challenges them for that. Meanwhile the Democratic Party has exiled real representatives of the masses, whom they used to lionize, such as Ralph Nader. How do the elites reconcile this behavior in their own minds? They are united in their belief that their elite status is the result of merit, what Carlson cleverly calls "secular Calvinism." The masses have less because they deserve less. That is to say, elite liberals, in particular, no longer challenge the hierarchy on behalf of the truly powerless, which is, as Jordon Peterson points out, the traditional and valid role of the Left. Instead, they denigrate the powerless, the bitter-clingers, the deplorables, while assuring themselves that because they focus on elite matters supposedly related to "oppressions," such as granting new rights to homosexuals (a wealthy and powerful group), that they are somehow maintaining their traditional role.

Carlson also covers "Foolish Wars," in which the masses die for elite stupidity, such as George W. Bush's delusion that the Arab world wanted democracy. Again, the cutting humor shows through: "One thing that every late-stage ruling class has in common is a high tolerance for mediocrity. . . . The talentless prosper, rising inexorably toward positions of greater power, and breaking things along the way. It happened to the Ottomans. Max Boot is living proof it's happening in America." Trump, at least in the campaign, saw the demands for ever-more foreign wars as what they are -- an abomination. The ruling classes, on the other hand, are all for more wars -- a departure from the past, especially among Democrats.

It's not just Max Boot that Carlson attacks by name. He slices up Bill Kristol for several pages. It is brutal. (I was a young intern in the White House when Dan Quayle was Vice President and Kristol his chief of staff. Kristol was a preening moron even then; unlike a fine wine, he has not improved with age.) Carlson also savages Ta-Nehisi Coates at length, although that's a bit like thrashing a man tied up in a gimp suit, too easy. Referring to Coates's miserable book, he says "It's a measure how thoroughly the diversity cult has corroded the aesthetic standards of our elite that the book was greeted with almost unanimous praise, which is to say, lying."

Next comes free speech. Liberals used to support free speech, no matter the cause; now the elite is eager to violently suppress speech that displeases them (or, more accurately, speech that threatens them by proving to be effective in eroding their power). Such suppression is primarily something pushed by the Left, though the elite Right is happy to cooperate. Carlson adduces the infamous dawn SWAT raids on conservatives by elite Democrats in Wisconsin, led by Milwaukee district attorney John Chisholm, judge Barbara Kluka, and prosecutor Francis Schmitz (who have escaped punishment, so far, unfortunately, although if the revolution that Carlson seems to predict arrives, hopefully they will be remembered). Brendan Eich and James Damore also make an appearance, as individuals persecuted by the elites, in the form of corporations, for their speech.

Carlson makes an important point here, one ignored by the odious coterie of inside-the-beltway corporate Republicans and #NeverTrumpers -- that even though they are not subject to the First Amendment, it is false that corporations who behave this way cannot or should not be disciplined. As he notes, "Government regulates all sorts of speech in the private sector." What government doesn't do is regulate speech in a way that protects conservatives -- restriction of speech is a sword used only to enforce the dominion of the Left. The Right needs to weaponize it against the Left, not to defend an abstract and unnecessary principle that is ignored when harm is done to them. As I have written elsewhere, a good place to start would be legislatively forbidding all sizeable corporations from any discrimination based on speech or other expressive action (such as donating money to a cause) that the federal government could not legally forbid (e.g.., obscenity). The law would be enforced by massive statutory damages ($500,000 per occurrence), one-way fee shifting against the companies, and a huge federal enforcement bureaucracy empowered with broad discovery powers. This would apply both to protect employees and, critically, to protect all speech and actions of the public where the corporation, such as Twitter or Facebook, offers a supposedly neutral platform for the public to make statements. It would further apply, beyond mere speech, to forbid discrimination by all entities providing services analogous to common carriers, such as payment processors, notably PayPal, and credit card processors, whose services are now being selectively denied to suppress conservative speech. In addition, online shopping platforms such as Amazon would also be deemed common carriers, not permitted to refuse to list any non-illegal good for sale if they held themselves out as acting as a seller of general merchandise, or as acting as a platform to match third-party sellers and buyers. All this would be a good start to break the power of the corporate Left; it would be a change from conservatives' belief that private businesses should be left alone, but if they won't leave us alone, there is no reason we should leave them alone.

Identity, and its uses by the ruling class, swing next into the author's crosshairs. Carlson notes the elites don't bear the costs of the "diversity cult"; the masses do. The elites whip up fear of white supremacists as a political tool, even though the sum total of real white supremacists is trivial and they have no power. That is, the elites inflame racial passions for every group but whites, not realizing how dangerous that is. Of the obvious question, why whites shouldn't organize as a group, Carlson points out that some have asked the question, "but so far they have been self-discrediting: haters, morons, and charlatans. What happens when someone calm and articulate does it?" I am not eager to find out, but we are probably going to.

And, on feminism, Carlson notes the inconvenient truth that women are far less happy, as reported by the University of Chicago's longitudinal General Social Survey, than they were forty years ago, and that those with traditional views of gender roles are much happier, in general and in their marriages, than their harpy cousins. The latter, though, are dominant in the elites; Carlson names here names and shames Sheryl Sandberg. Moreover, the elites mandate a focus on their obsessive concerns about sexual behavior, including demanding the masses endorse claims utterly divorced from reality. "Men posing as female weight lifters isn't the biggest problem Western civilization faces, but it's an ominous symptom of deeper rot. When the people in charge retreat into fantasy, and demand that everyone else join them there, society itself becomes impervious to reality." Non-elite men, meanwhile, are treated like dirt, can't find jobs, and die at ever-younger ages, and the elite doesn't care -- in fact, it (mostly) discreetly celebrates. Finally, on environmentalism, elites don't care about the actual environment, cleaning up the trash, but rather about abstractions like supposed global warming, while they urge their private jets to greater speed.

It is a fast and compelling read. True, every so often Carlson missteps when talking about history. No, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the crown prince of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, assassinated in 1914, was not "a second-string Austrian nobleman." Nor is it even remotely true that "Divide and conquer. That's how the British ruled India." Equally untrue is that "The right to express your views is the final bulwark that shields the individual from the mob that disagrees with him." The right to own and carry effective military weaponry, enshrined in the Second Amendment, is that right. Speech is a distant second as a bulwark. For a very smart man, Carlson seems to avoid any but recent history, and given these examples, that is probably a wise choice for him.

OK, so far, so good. The book is worth reading -- as I say, nothing original, but for those not attuned to such matters and looking for a primer, an excellent read. I eagerly looked forward to the last chapter, or rather the Epilogue, "Righting the Ship." That was a mistake. It is less than two pages. It offers bad history, suggesting that the only two alternatives are a system of oppressive rulers and oppressed serfs, and democracy. The former, supposedly, is the norm; our democracy is special, but it is under attack. Carlson therefore offers us, or rather our ruling class, two options: suspend democracy, or "attend to the population . . . If you want to save democracy, you've got to practice it." The alternative is likely civil war.

This is not helpful. Leaving aside that democracy is far from the only system that has provided a proper equilibrium between the ruling class and the masses (as Carlson himself admits when talking at length about the disappearance today of noblesse oblige), Carlson offers no reason at all for the ruling classes to take his advice. Why would they? Even if they accepted his analysis, which they don't, and won't, there is zero historical example of a late-stage ruling class reforming itself voluntarily. Carlson's Epilogue is just so much space filling. I suspect he knows that, too, which is why his Introduction is longer and more apocalyptic -- because he thinks that rupture is the future, and only hopes it will involve minimal violence. Rupture is almost certainly inevitable, but the end result is unlikely to be the saving of democracy as it exists now, since democracy is an inherently unstable system and at least partially responsible for the core fact of which Carlson complains, the rot of the ruling class. Thus, this book is a decent introduction to the topic of ruling class vice and decay, but no more. 16 people found this helpful Helpful 1 1 comment Report abuse

R. Larry Overstreet 4.0 out of 5 stars, November 1, 2018

Enlightening, but with Frustrations I like to watch Tucker Carlson's show on the Fox network. This book reads just like his opening monologues on his show, and I think that some (maybe much) of its content is a direct spinoff from that show. His writing sounds just like he speaks on his program. It is terse, compact, and often riveting. It is well written, and I did not observe any "typos" in its pages. He also provides excellent summaries of a wide ranging set of topics. For all of that, I would give the book a 5 star rating.

However, the book has a serious weakness for anyone who desires to use it to identify sources either easily or accurately. For examples, Tucker often directly quotes individuals (using quotation marks) but does not provide the sources where he obtained the quoted information. Many times he will refer to articles in Time magazine, or the Washington Post, or the Los Angeles Times, etc., but does not give the author of the articles, nor the titles, nor the dates. This makes a reader wonder precisely what those sources are. I recognize that Tucker is writing for an "ordinary reader," but for any reader who desires to have precise source data, this book is completely lacking. For that reason, I gave it a 4 star rating.

Amazon Customer 4.0 out of 5 stars, October 14, 2018

Eye opening

Being pre-baby boomer (1943) I have witnessed most of this. I guess I was aware on some level but not until Bill Clinton did I really start to pay close attention to political slide that is so evident now. Much of the Democratic screed is utter BS but to youngsters it is new, exciting and entirely believable because they have no from of reference.

Vantage2020 4.0 out of 5 stars October 24, 2018

Tucker Will Make You Angry

The average liberal, democrat, or progressive might want to avoid this book unless they possess a fair amount of courage. I'm talking about the courage to have their world view challenged. About what, you ask? A short, partial list includes immigration, racism, environmentalism, global warming, and the first amendment. And left wing folks are not the heroes of the piece. Then again, this book is not full of heroes. But the elites and ruling classes, most--but certainly not all--of whom are are left wing as described here--consistently occupy the roles of the villains in Ship of Fools. Tucker writes clearly and concisely in sketch and essay format. Each topic he tears into, and there are many, ends up shredded, in ruins when he's done with it and moves on. My only regret as he angers me about one issue and then the next is that he fails to offer solutions. I believe that's from whence the anger emanates. Readers might like to read that there is something obvious, if not easy, they can do to correct the moronic and hypocritical deeds the elites have bequeathed to the rest of us.

EastTexasGal 4.0 out of 5 stars October 22, 2018

Appreciated the History

Being a fairly regular viewer of Tucker Carlson Tonight, I had heard a.lot of his views on, e.g., Environmentalism, Gender Issues, Feminism, etc. What I appreciated about his book was that he explained how, when and why these became issues for America and the process by which so many good ideas have been derailed by greed, personal agendas, and selfishness.

Ocean View Retiree 4.0 out of 5 stars October 27, 2018

But what do we do?

On balance, he's right! ! I'm a great fan of Tucker Carlson on TV; he routinely takes on the lip flappers in the same way he does in this book. Every night. Five nights a week. And to what end?

The subject is hypocrisy, pure and unadulterated. It won't change, no matter what. Reading books like it only serves to frustrate me because people like Tucker know what's going on and we are all powerless to do anything about it. Yes, I'll vote and go to meetings, but it's all so miniscule.

Keep on truckin Tucker. Maybe someday somebody will listen.

Medusa 4.0 out of 5 stars October 23, 2018

Moving right along until.....

My copy of the book went from page 184 to 217, which is bad enough, but from page 217 onward it was a rehash of Chapter 6. Fortunately, I also purchased the CD or I would never know what else Tucker had to say. Amazon, look into this!

The book itself, what I could read of it, is right on. He says we're on the brink of revolution. I think we're already there. We are no longer a republic; we are an oligarchy, IMO. Tucker points out the reasons why. Much of what he says in the book you have probably heard him say on his show. That may prevent you from buying this book but sometimes repetition is good, especially when it's on subjects that address our imminent demise as a sovereign nation if we don't wake up. Tucker is not an alarmist; he's a realist. Liberals will hate this book b/c truth hurts.

Dr. Russell Warren 4.0 out of 5 stars December 9, 2018

Only one paragraph on the last page devoted to the solution? Shameful

I give Mr. Carlson a four for his succinct statement of the major political/social problem of our society. It can be found in the preface and itself is a major contribution to understanding society's major challenge and the imperative to address it.
95% of the book is devoted to fleshing out the problem. But this section is much too verbose. Also Carlson tucks in his pet opinions uch as his belief that global warming is not happening. That is not at all essential to his argument. Whatever side one is on, the pet opinions distract from the imperative of the fundamental problem and tend to be divisive.

He gets one star for the solution to the problem. It is covered in the last paragraph on the last page. One might hope that almost half of the book might be devoted to it. After all, it does little good to identify a problem and then leave the reader to fend for himself in solving it. The absence of his thinking about it makes one wonder how serious he is in addressing society's greatest challenge. This book needed an enlightened and heavy-handed editor.

[Jan 14, 2019] The neoliberal European Union is dead, but it does not know it yet

Jan 14, 2019 | www.amazon.com

At this point, deja vu mind-set returns to teach a powerful lesson. Having once witnessed a major historical reversal, one knows that historical determinism isan illusion -- opium for people on the edge of a nervous breakdown.

Machiavelli insisted that surrender is a bad idea because we never know what surprises fortune may have in store for us. In Machiavelli's view, there are "good times" and "bad times" in politics, and the good ruler is not one who can fend off the "bad times" so much, as one who has accumulated enough goodwill among citizens to help him ride out those bad times.

The argument of this short book is that European Union is going through a really bad time today, torn apart by numerous crises that damage confidence in the future of the project among citizens across the continent. So the disintegration of the union is one of the most likely outcomes.

[Jan 14, 2019] Amazon.com Power Politics (Second Edition) (9780896086685) Arundhati Roy Books

Jan 14, 2019 | www.amazon.com

Luc REYNAERT 5.0 out of 5 stars Dissent is the only thing worth globalizing October 29, 2009 Format: Paperback

For A. Roy, a writer has the responsibility to take sides overtly.
In these violent diatribes, she tears the masks of the `missionaries to redeem the wretched' and of those preaching privatization and globalization as the one and only solution for the whole world's economic problems.

The hypocrisy of globalization
For A. Roy, globalization has nothing to do with the eradication of poverty. It will not pull the Third World out of the stagnant morass of illiteracy, religious bigotry or underdevelopment. In India, 70 % of the population still has no electricity and 30 % is still illiterate.
Globalization means crudely and cruelly `Life is Profit'. `Its realm is raw capital, its conquest emerging markets, its prayers profits, its borders limitless, its weapons nuclear.'
Privatization (of agriculture, seeds, water supply, electricity, power plants, commodities, telecommunications, knowledge) consists only in the transfer of productive public assets from the State to private interests (transnational corporations).
The globalization's economic agenda `munches through the economies of poor countries like a cloud of locusts.' One example: by hugely subsidizing their farm industries, the rich countries put impoverished subsistence farmers in the Third World out of business and chase them into the cities.

The hypocrisy of the war against terrorism
For A. Roy, the rich countries are the real worshippers of the cult of violence. They manufacture and sell almost all the world's weapons and possess the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction (chemical, biological, nuclear).
At the head of ICAT (The Coalition Against Terror) stays a country which spends mind-boggling military budgets to fight a few bunches of manipulated terrorists created by the hegemon himself. It committed `the most of genocides, ethnic cleansing, and human rights violations. It sponsored, armed and financed untold numbers of dictators and supports military and economic terrorism.' Its aim is full spectrum dominance.
But, as Paul Krugman remarked, the replacement of the Cold War issue by the (manipulated) terrorism one as a justification for massive military spending was (and is) a very big failure.

Arundhati Roy's bitter and angry texts are a must read for all those who want to understand the world we live in.

C. Mclemore 4.0 out of 5 stars Fresh take on globalization June 1, 2003 Format: Paperback

Arundhati Roy bristles at being called a "writer-activist" (too much like sofa-bed, she says), but the rest of us should be grateful that the author of "The God of Small Things" is taking on the establishment, here and in India.
Part of Mrs. Roy's greatness is that she is not colored by the partisan debates that influence the dialogue on issues such as globalization in America. She is an equal-opportunity critic, taking on Clinton and Bush. Although other authors pledge no allegiance to either side of the aisle, Roy has a fresh perspective, and has a take on globalization that I haven't found in works by American authors.
This book is set up as a collection (a rather random collection) of several essays. The first essay gives a wonderful perspective of globalization (ie. the expansion of American business interests) from a foreign perspective. She examines the impact of the global economic movement on the actual people being affected by it at the lowest level. She reveals the influence of the privatization of the electric industry through the eyes of India's poorest citizens.
The second essay goes in-depth into politics in India, primarily addressing the enormous number of dams being built in the country, and the impacts (economic, environmental, social) that they will have. Mrs. Roy explicitly recounts how Enron scammed the Indian government into building new power generators, and how this will cost India hundreds of millions per year while lining the pockets of American business interests.
Critics will say that "Power Politics" is devoid of hard facts and analysis, but there can be no doubt that this book is worth a read. She may lack the economic background of Stiglitz, but her passion and style, in addition to her ability to articulate the important issues in the globalization debate in a readable manner, will be appreciated by anyone with an interest in global economic expansion.

[Jan 13, 2019] There was no mistaking what had just happened. Elizabeth wasn't merely asking him to get out of her office. She was telling him to leave the company -- immediately. Mosley had just been fired

Jan 13, 2019 | www.amazon.com

Mosleys unease with all these claims had grown since that morn- ing's discovery. For one thing, in his eight months at Theranos, he'd never laid eyes on the pharmaceutical contracts. Every time he inquired about them, he was told they were "under legal review." More important, he'd agreed to those ambitious revenue forecasts because he thought the Theranos system worked reliably.

If Elizabeth shared any of these misgivings, she showed no signs of it. She was the picture of a relaxed and happy leader. 'Ihe new valuation, in particular, was a source of great pride. New directors might join the board to relied the growing roster of investors, she told him.

Mosley saw an opening to broach the trip to Switzerland and the office rumors that something had gone wrong. When he did, Elizabeth admitted that there had been a problem, but she shrugged it off. It would easily be fixed, she said.

Mosley was dubious given what he now knew. He brought up what Shaunak had told him about the investor demos. They should stop doing them if they weren't completely real, he said. "We've been fooling investors. We can't keep doing that."

Elizabeth's expression suddenly changed. Her cheerful demeanor of just moments ago vanished and gave way to a mask of hostility. It was like a switch had been flipped. She leveled a cold stare at her chief financial officer.

"Henry, you're not a team player," she said in an icy tone. "I think you should leave right now."

There was no mistaking what had just happened. Elizabeth wasn't merely asking him to get out of her office. She was telling him to leave the company -- immediately. Mosley had just been fired.

[Jan 07, 2019] Christianity and Neo-Liberalism -- The Spritiual Crisis in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and Beyond by Paul M. Elliott

Notable quotes:
"... He wrote in the first chapter of this 2005 book, "Like cancer in the human body, liberalism in the body of the church begins undetected and unrecognized. By the time Christians recognize the cancer of liberalism and are stirred to action, often it is too late to stop its deadly progress. The damage has been done, and a spiritual crisis is upon the church. The Orthodox Presbyterian Church [OPC] is now in such a spiritual crisis, and the crisis has spread well beyond it. ..."
"... He asserts, "neo-liberals pretend to be what they are not, and profess to believe what they do not Neo-liberals profess salvation by faith in Christ alone, but they teach salvation by Christ plus man's faithfulness. Neo-liberals profess to believe in the authority of Scripture, but they teach the primacy of human scholarship Neo-liberals profess to preach the all-sufficiency of His obedience for the salvation of souls. Neo-liberals profess to believe in full assurance of salvation, but they teach that the believer can never be assured." (Pg. 65-66) ..."
"... He asks, "how does a neo-liberal minority dominate the OPC today?... liberals rely on the cooperation, or at least inaction, of the doctrinally indifferent . Their watchword is tolerance. They see controversy as one of the greatest evils, and they see tolerance of varying views under one big confessional tent as the way to avoid controversy Doctrinal disputes are an airing of dirty laundry that must be avoided Intolerance of error becomes the only intolerable thing." (Pg. 313-314) ..."
Aug 22, 2014 | www.amazon.com

A CALL (FROM A FORMER RULING ELDER) FOR LOCAL CONGREGATIONS TO SEPARATE FROM THE OPC

Paul M. Elliott is president of TeachingTheWord Ministries, and is the principal speaker on The Scripture-Driven Church radio broadcast; he is a former Ruling Elder in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, and has written other books such as A Denomination in Denial (An Evaluation of the Report of the Committee to Study the Doctrine of Justification of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church) .

He wrote in the first chapter of this 2005 book, "Like cancer in the human body, liberalism in the body of the church begins undetected and unrecognized. By the time Christians recognize the cancer of liberalism and are stirred to action, often it is too late to stop its deadly progress. The damage has been done, and a spiritual crisis is upon the church. The Orthodox Presbyterian Church [OPC] is now in such a spiritual crisis, and the crisis has spread well beyond it. The crisis centers on the conflict between authentic Biblical Christianity and an Antichristian counterfeit. The church needs to understand the nature of this crisis, how it came about, its deadly effects, and what Scripture says must be done. That is the purpose of this book." (Pg. 11-12) He adds, "we shall see how present-day neo-liberalism strikingly parallels the old liberalism, but with contemporary points of emphasis and new subtleties we shall examine neo-liberalism's corrupting influence on the OPC and other denominations." (Pg. 15-16) Significantly, he adds, "this book is a call to recognize the dangers of remaining in the OPC, and to acknowledge that the time has come to separate from it." (Pg. 28)

He is strongly critical of Norman Shepherd [e.g., The Call of Grace ]: "Norman Shepherd and those who follow his errors substitute the waters of baptism for the blood of Christ. They teach, in effect, that God's covenant is a covenant in water, not blood." (Pg. 53) He adds, "In God's economy, faith and works are mutually exclusive in justification; mingling the two is impossible but Shepherd says that the impossible is not only possible, but necessary. He redefines faith to be 'faith-plus.' He erects a false doctrine of justification that un-Scripturally packs all sorts of works into the 'saving faith' which he equates with 'justifying faith.'" (Pg. 55)

He asserts, "neo-liberals pretend to be what they are not, and profess to believe what they do not Neo-liberals profess salvation by faith in Christ alone, but they teach salvation by Christ plus man's faithfulness. Neo-liberals profess to believe in the authority of Scripture, but they teach the primacy of human scholarship Neo-liberals profess to preach the all-sufficiency of His obedience for the salvation of souls. Neo-liberals profess to believe in full assurance of salvation, but they teach that the believer can never be assured." (Pg. 65-66)

He argues, "In the long run, it is not simply a matter of the OPC tolerating the preaching of two gospels. The true Gospel is being displaced. Satan is quite content to fight a war of attrition. If the false gospel continues to be propagated at the seminary level as the one that is 'truly Reformed,' it will take only a generation for the preaching of the true Gospel to become rare or even die out entirely in the denomination. That is exactly what has happened in other denominations." (Pg. 125) He charges, "The OPC has had thirty years to purge itself of these errors, and has repeatedly refused to do so. Instead of removing the cancer it has stimulated its growth. In 2004 it showed once again that it has no stomach for the hard choices it needs to make." (Pg. 237) He adds, "it is not surprising that Norman Shepherd's heresies, which were allowed to take root over thirty years ago, have spread like a cancer in the years since. It is not surprising that Shepherd and his followers continue to be welcome in many parts of the OPC. It is not surprising that Richard Gaffin's teachings have become the dominant position at Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia, and have flowed from there into the churches of the OPC and other denominations." (Pg. 284)

He asks, "how does a neo-liberal minority dominate the OPC today?... liberals rely on the cooperation, or at least inaction, of the doctrinally indifferent . Their watchword is tolerance. They see controversy as one of the greatest evils, and they see tolerance of varying views under one big confessional tent as the way to avoid controversy Doctrinal disputes are an airing of dirty laundry that must be avoided Intolerance of error becomes the only intolerable thing." (Pg. 313-314)

He recalls the separation of his own home congregation from the OPC: "before deciding to recommend separation from the OPC, the session authorized a Sunday evening study series on the doctrinal issues at stake The study shifted its focus to the errors commonly taught---Shepherdism, Federal Vision theology, and the New Perspective on Paul The congregation subsequently separated from the OPC by voting on a resolution of separation It also made it clear that the congregation was separating from the authority of a body that has abandoned the marks of a true church of Jesus Christ, rather than withdrawing under the authority of that body as if it still possessed the Biblical qualities to exercise spiritual authority." (Pg. 339-340) He concludes, "this book has been a call to recognize the new dangers of remaining in the OPC, and to acknowledge that the time has come to separate from it. We urge you to be obedient to that Biblical imperative, no matter what the cost." (Pg. 365)

This book will be of interest to those concerned with the Federal Vision and Norman Shepherd controversies, as well as debates within the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and other conservative Reformed denominations.

[Jan 05, 2019] Other People's Money The Real Business of Finance John Kay 9781610396035 Amazon.com Books

Jan 05, 2019 | www.amazon.com

2 people found this helpful

Alan F. Sewell 4.0 out of 5 stars Negligence and profusion, therefore must prevail? September 30, 2015 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

Author John Kay sets forth the theme of his book, and its title, at the beginning:

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The directors of (banks and corporations), being the managers rather of other people's money than of their own, it cannot well be expected, that they should watch over it with anxious vigilance. . . NEGLIGENCE AND PROFUSION, THEREFORE MUST ALWAYS PREVAIL, more or less, in the management of the affairs of such a company.
Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, 1776
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Kay then echoes the warnings of Karl Marx who predicted that capitalists would use finance as a means to subvert the economy:

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The central paradox of this chapter is the intensification of the dichotomy that Marx described, between the physical assets themselves and the securities that represent them.
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Kay is neither a Marxist nor a rabid free-market acolyte. He's a practical minded monetary systems economist, esteemed enough to have become the first director of Oxford's Business School. He advises governments on financial policy. He has written an enjoyably readable book that holds even a financial layperson's interest. It pulls you along by explaining financial issues with everyday real-life examples that all readers can understand. He backs up his explanations with delightful anecdotes from the past and present. Being neither an anti-banking populist or an apologist for bankers' unethical behaviors, Kay gives a level-headed critique of the "financial economy" that has developed in the last 30 years in the developed countries, especially the USA and UK.

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Parts of the finance sector today .demonstrate the lowest ethical standards of any legal industry. If London casinos were even accused of the malpractices to which London banks have admitted -- false reporting, misleading customers and unauthorised trading -- the individuals responsible would be barred from the industry and the licences of the institutions concerned revoked within hours. The finance sector has experienced actual criminality on a wide scale, from liar loans to LIBOR rate-fixing.

Financial innovation was critical to the creation of an industrial society; it does not follow that every modern financial innovation contributes to economic growth. Many good ideas become bad ideas when pursued to excess.
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That jives with what I saw as a real estate investor at the epicenter of the 2008 Financial Crisis. The economy imploded because the banks became insolvent due to their dereliction of due diligence on the rotten loans they bought from local mortgage originators, who issued mortgages to millions of non-creditworthy customers who had no incomes to pay back the mortgages, then pawned off the bogus mortgages to the big banks, who did not care that they were bogus because they rolled them up into collateralized debt obligations (CDO)s that they sold to their unsophisticated customers who didn't understand the risk of what they were buying.

How did it come to be that:
A) So many bankers became so corrupt?
B) They came to control so much of the world's commerce, that the entire global economy was brought down by the bankers' malfeasance?

Those are the deeper issues that McKay seeks to explain. He describes how "financialization" is characterized by:

• The liquidation of the physical economy. Large companies no longer invest in physical structures such as office buildings and factories. They lease their offices and contract the manufacture of their products to cheap-labor subcontractors in the Third World.

• "Financial engineering" where debt replaces wealth. Banks and publicly traded corporations load themselves with junk bonds and complex derivatives that hide debt and make the institutions look like they have strong balance sheets when they're actually insolvent.

• The criminalization of finance. Kay talks about how criminals like Enron's Jeff Skilling was "aggressively courted by all major investment banks" while he was in the process of defrauding Enron's shareholders, customers, and employees.

• The government becomes captive to bankers. Bankers fund candidates' campaigns and hire them on as partners with lavish compensation when they retire from public office. Government policy is therefore bent toward favoring bankers.

• The inversion of risk from business owners to employees and taxpayers. When banks and businesses fail, their management rarely suffers. The rank-and-file employees lose their jobs, and the vendors and creditors are stiffed by bankruptcy, which voids debt. Financialization transfers wealth away from the majority of people who earn their livelihood as wage earners and to the tiny fraction that makes it money managing financial instruments. It is Robin Hood in reverse, and explains why the standard of living of the middle glass appears to be in free fall.

• Wealth is "pulled forward" from future generations when bankers pull the strings of their political puppets to induce them to bail out insolvent banks with public money that will be added to the national debts our children and grandchildren are obligated to repay

• A steadily eroding standard of living as banks and publicly traded companies fritter away their physical assets and load them with debt that has to be paid back by later generations.

After such a stinging indictment, I'd expect Kay to favor more intensive regulation of the financial sector to transform it from a parasitic element of the economy to a productive one. But that is not the case. He believes that written regulations are easily subverted and that bankers will in any case ignore them whenever they perceive profitable ways to scam the public. They have already proven willing to pay undreds of billions of fines each year as a "cost of doing business" for violating laws already on the books.

Kay believes the fundamental solution is "to get the money out of politics" by disallowing banking and corporate executives from funding politicians' campaigns. I'm dubious on that idea, because banks and corporations will still be able to maintain their influence over cooperative politicians by promising to make them millionaires when they leave office.

Kay's other idea is to strike at the root of financial malfeasance by inculcating a sense of professional ethics in business and banking. I'm dubious on that point too. I've seen banking and accounting criminals get flushed out of prestigious firms, only to immediately go out and infiltrate other prestigious firms and corrupt them. There seems to be no sense of shame in large publicly traded business and banks, and therefore it will be difficult to get started with a tradition of integrity where none exists.

Kay finally does get around to the idea of separating the most conflicted aspects of banking by "ring fencing" the separate departments in a bank. Banks that accept deposits from the public should not be able to use them to speculate in risky investments with the expectation of being bailed out by public money when markets fail; banks that play the market should not be allowed to advise their customers to take the losing end of the bank's trades; and so on. But how can this be accomplished without regulation?

I thus feel that Kay's prescriptions for reform are weak. For that reason I took one star off the five I would have otherwise given it. Even so, the book remains a most valuable read. It will educate lay readers to the way the financial systems of the USA, Britain, and Europe operate --- why they failed in 2008 and why they remain far less sound than they should be. This knowledge is indispensable to anyone who invests in the markets or who depends upon financial institutions to manage their savings

[Jan 03, 2019] The parable of casino capitalism, or neoliberal finance innovative method of weighting the ox via wisdom of the crowd

Jan 03, 2019 | www.amazon.com

In 1906 the great statistician Francis Galton observed a competition to guess the weight of an ox at a country fair. Eight hundred people entered. Galton, being the kind of man he was, ran statistical tests on the numbers. He discovered that the average guess was extremely close to the weight of the ox. This story was told by James Surowiecki, in his entertaining book The Wisdom of Crowds. 2

Not many people know the events that followed. A few years later, the scales seemed to become less and less reliable. Repairs would be expensive, but the fair organiser had a brilliant idea. Since attendees were so good at guessing the weight of an ox, it was unnecessary' to repair the scales. The organiser would simply ask everyone to guess the weight, and take the average of their estimates.

A new problem emerged, however. Once weight-guessing competitions became the rage, some participants tried to cheat. They even tried to get privileged information from the farmer who had bred the ox. But there was fear that, if some people had an edge, others would be reluctant to enter the weight-guessing competition. With few entrants, you could not rely on the wisdom of crowds. The process of weight discovery would be damaged.

So strict regulatory rules were introduced. The farmer was asked to prepare three monthly bulletins on the development of his ox. These bulletins were posted on the door of the market for everyone to read. If the farmer gave his friends any other information about the beast, that information was also to be posted on the market door. And anyone who entered the competition who had knowledge about the ox that was not available to the world at large would be expelled from the market. In this way the integrity of the weight-guessing process would be maintained.

Professional analysts scrutinised the contents of these regulatory' announcements and advised their clients on their implications. They' wined and dined farmers; but once the farmers were required to be careful about the information they' disclosed, these lunches became less useful. Some smarter analysts realised that understanding the nutrition and health of the ox wasn't that useful anyway. Since the ox was no longer being weighed -- what mattered was the guesses of the bystanders -- the key' to success lav not in correctly assessing the weight of the ox but in correctly' assessing what others would guess. Or what other people would guess others would guess. And so on.

Some people -- such as old Farmer Buffett -- claimed that the results of this process were more and more divorced from the realities of ox rearing. But he was ignored. True, Farmer Buffett's beasts did appear healthy and well fed, and his finances ever more prosperous; but he was a countryman who didn't really understand how markets work.

International bodies were established to define the rules for assessing the weight of the ox. There were two competing standards -- generally accepted ox-weighing principles, and international ox-weighing standards. But both agreed on one fundamental principle, which followed from the need to eliminate the role of subjective assessment by any individual. The weight of the ox was officially defined as the average of everyone's guesses.

One difficulty was that sometimes there were few, or even no, guesses of the weight of the ox. But that problem was soon overcome. Mathematicians from the University of Chicago developed models from which it was possible to estimate what, if there had actually been many guesses as to the weight of the ox, the average of these guesses would have been. No knowledge of animal husbandry was required, only a powerful computer.

By' this time, there was a large industry of professional weight-guessers, organisers of weight-guessing competitions and advisers helping people to refine their guesses. Some people suggested that it might be cheaper to repair the scales, but they' were derided: why go back to relying on the judgement of a single auctioneer when you could benefit from the aggregated wisdom of so many clever people?

And then the ox died. Amid all this activity', no one had remembered to feed it.

[Jan 03, 2019] The Rise of the Trader

Jan 03, 2019 | www.amazon.com

No sooner did you pass the fake fireplace than you heard an ungodly roar, like the roar of a mob ... It was the sound of well-educated young white men baying for money on the bond market.

TOM WOLFE, The Bonfire of the Vanities. 1987

We are Wall Street. It's our job to make money. Whether it's a commodity, stock, bond, or some hypothetical piece of fake paper, it doesn't matter. We would trade baseball cards if it were profitable. ...

We get up at 5am & work till 10pm or later. We're used to not getting up to pee when we have a position. We don't take an hour or more for a lunch break. We don't demand a union. We don't retire at 50 with a pension. We eat what we kill, and when the only thing left to eat is on your dinner plates, we'll eat that....

We aren't dinosaurs. We are smarter and more vicious than that, and we are going to survive.

Reported by STACY-MARIE ISHMAEL, FT Alphaville, 30 April 2010

[Dec 31, 2018] Public Domain Day 2019 - Duke University School of Law

Notable quotes:
"... The Ten Commandments ..."
Dec 31, 2018 | law.duke.edu

For the first time in over 20 years, on January 1, 2019, published works will enter the US public domain. 1

Works from 1923 will be free for all to use and build upon, without permission or fee. They include dramatic films such as The Ten Commandments , and comedies featuring Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, and Harold Lloyd. There are literary works by Robert Frost, Aldous Huxley, and Edith Wharton, the "Charleston" song, and more. And remember, this has not happened for over 20 years. Why? Works from 1923 were set to go into the public domain in 1999, after a 75-year copyright term. But in 1998 Congress hit a two-decade pause button and extended their copyright term for 20 years, giving works published between 1923 and 1977 an expanded term of 95 years. 2

But now the drought is over. How will people celebrate this trove of cultural material? Google Books will offer the full text of books from that year, instead of showing only snippet views or authorized previews. The Internet Archive will add books, movies, music, and more to its online library. Community theaters are planning screenings of the films. Students will be free to adapt and publicly perform the music. Because these works are in the public domain, anyone can make them available, where you can rediscover and enjoy them. (Empirical studies have shown that public domain books are less expensive, available in more editions and formats, and more likely to be in print -- see here , here , and here .) In addition, the expiration of copyright means that you're free to use these materials, for education, for research, or for creative endeavors -- whether it's translating the books, making your own versions of the films, or building new music based on old classics.

Here are some of the works that will be entering the public domain in 2019. A fuller (but still partial) listing of over a thousand works that we have researched can be found here .

Films Books

[Dec 30, 2018] C. Northcote Parkinson, 83, Dies; Writer With a Wry View of Labor - The New York Times

VIEW PAGE IN TIMESMACHINE
Dec 30, 2018 | www.nytimes.com
March 12, 1993, Page 00019 The New York Times Archives

C. Northcote Parkinson, the British historian and writer who propounded the notion that "work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion," died Tuesday at a clinic near his home in Canterbury, England. He was 83.

The cause of death was not announced.

Mr. Parkinson first put forth his famous dictum in an article for The Economist magazine in 1955. The article brought him considerable attention, and in 1958 he published an expanded version, "Parkinson's Law."

The book, which included the corollary that work expands to occupy the people available for its completion, became a best-seller. Mr. Parkinson once expressed surprise that the book seemed to be so well received by its implicit targets, business executives and government officials, at a time when corporate and state bureaucracies were growing rapidly. Where Six Do the Work of One

Mr. Parkinson said the theory had its roots in his experience in World War II, when he worked in training and administration for the War Office and the Royal Air Force.

"I observed, somewhat to my surprise, that work which could be done by one man in peacetime, was being given to about six in wartime," he told The Times of London. "I think this was mainly because there wasn't the same opportunity for other people to criticize. You could always riposte: 'Don't you know there's a war on?' "

His work was a mixture of serious economic analysis and satire. He argued that administrators and executives tend to make work for each other, and that because executives prefer to have subordinates rather than rivals, they create and perpetuate bureaucracies in which power is defined by the number of subordinates.

A committee, he said, "grows organically, flourishes and blossoms, sunlit on top and shady beneath, until it dies, scattering the seeds from which other committees will spring."

No matter how much work is actually getting accomplished, Mr. Parkinson wrote, the number of workers in an organization would relentlessly expand at a rate that he calculated, perhaps tongue in cheek, between 5.7 percent and 6.56 percent a year. From Cambridge to Singapore

Cyril Northcote Parkinson was born on July 30, 1909, in northern England. He attended Cambridge University and received a doctorate in history from Kings College in London.

He taught at Cambridge and at a private boys' school in the late 1930's, before his wartime service. After the war he became a lecturer in naval history at the University of Liverpool, then moved to Singapore in 1950, where he became the Raffles Professor of History at the University of Malaya. After the publication of "Parkinson's Law," he went on to complete scholarly works, including "British Intervention in Malaya, 1867 to 1877."

He wrote more than 60 books, including "Mrs. Parkinson's Law" (1968), which applied his principle to the household level. He also wrote business histories and fiction, including "Jeeves: a Gentleman's Personal Gentleman" (1979), the "biography" of the hero of the P. G. Wodehouse novels.

Mr. Parkinson is survived by his third wife, Iris Hilda Waters, whom he married in 1985, a son and a daughter from his first marriage and two sons and a daughter from his second marriage.


[Dec 30, 2018] New Book by C. Northcote Parkinson - A book review by Professor Carroll Quigley

Notable quotes:
"... "New Book by C. Northcote Parkinson" ..."
Dec 30, 2018 | www.carrollquigley.net

" New Book by C. Northcote Parkinson ",
a review by Carroll Quigley in The Washington Sunday Star , November 18, 1963,
of a book:
EAST AND WEST ,
by C. Northcote Parkinson.
Houghton Mifflin: New York, 1963

 

"New Book by C. Northcote Parkinson"

East and West, by C. Northcote Parkinson
(Houghton, Mifflin, 1963, $5.00),
a history of the contact of Europe and Asia since the fall of Troy, is the author's thirteenth book.
Carroll Quigley, author of The Evolution of Civilizations, teaches history at Georgetown University.

C. Northcote Parkinson, one-time Professor at the University of Malaya (but now removed from academic halls to the more remunerative work of an economic consultant in London), has produced more than a dozen books over the last 29 years. Most of these sank with scarcely a ripple, until, in 1957, his Parkinson's Law roused widespread enthusiasm. Its attack on bureaucracy and Big Government was kept afloat in a sea of jokes which helped to conceal the fact that the author's basic outlook was contemporary with Herbert Spencer (1820-1903). Three years later, Parkinson shifted his attention from politics to economics, and, in The Law and the Profits , attacked the basic principle of twentieth century taxation from a Spencerian (or John Birchite) point of view. He deplored the graduated income tax and any tax of over 25 per cent. This book, with fewer and poorer jokes, revealed its author's old-fashioned outlook to anyone who reads with both eyes.

Now Mr. Parkinson has shifted his field once again, this time to history. Lacking his earlier camouflage of jokes, except in isolated spots, East and West shows that Parkinson's historical training is as dated as his politics and economics, almost pure Oxbridge, vintage 1880. And unfortunately, not one of the better samples of that year. Except for its length, this work might pass for an undergraduate tutorial essay worthy of a "gentleman's C" or of a Third Class in the Final Schools examination.

The characteristics of a mediocre book are not very much different from those of a merely "passing" undergraduate essay and are fully evident in this volume: (1) underlying confusion of thought, and thus of organization; (2) inadequate knowledge of the evidence; (3) limited reading of up-to-date authorities; and (4) masses of factual information without strict control of its relevancy.

For Parkinson, as for his Victorian contemporaries, the meeting of East and West begins with the Iliad (on page 1) and advances chronologically, based on the writings of Herodotus, Xenophon, Plutarch, and the lesser historians of the wars against Carthage and the achievements of the Caesars, with much borrowing from that up to date writer, Edward Gibbon. More than half the volume is concerned with the period from the fall of Troy to the fall of Constantinople, and much of the rest is a prosaic account of the expansion of Europe to Asia (especially southern Asia) since the fifteenth century. The period before 1000 B.C., the immense impact of archaeological discoveries since 1880, the newer literary evidence obtained from the twentieth century's deciphering of papyrus and archaeological inscriptions are ignored. As a result, Parkinson believes (galley 45) that the "first wave of oriental influence to reach Europe came from Persia....Zoroaster [about 500 B.C.]" Such a statement wipes aside almost the whole of European, including Greek, culture as non-existent even when, like the alphabet, it was called by an Asiatic name. Parkinson has a whole chapter on Alexander the Great, but ignores all recent work on the subject going back to W. W. Tarn (1938). His extensive attention to military exploits may seem to reflect the present (1963) concern with military history, but Parkinson's approach is biographical not tactical, and his treatment of war recalls my own happy days reading G. A. Henty. There are scattered footnote references to books on the history of armaments but no evidence that Parkinson really read them, for he tells us such untruths as that the crossbow could be "shot with accuracy from a horse ridden at a gallop" (gal. 59), that "the real cavalryman" was invented by Macedonia before Alexander the Great's time (galley 21) (when real cavalry could, in fact, come into action only with the invention of stirrups many centuries after Alexander).

Much of the amorphous character of this volume arises from failure to define its terms. The first five words of the Introduction read, "This book deals with civilizations," but there is a firm refusal to demark any civilizations or culture areas. Instead, it soon appears that the author is thinking of Asia and Europe as geographic areas (which he mistakenly divides at the Ural Mountains and the Caspian Sea instead of at the Pripet Marshes, which form the only meaningful boundary.) This two-part division leads to great confusion because the situation can hardly be understood in terms any simpler than a four-factor mélange (Western, Asiatic, northern steppe grasslands, and Semitic). Culturally the optimistic and balanced empiricism of the West and the resigned Heraclitean flux of Asia have been separated by the rationalistic, dualistic, and often extremist, outlooks of the Indo-Europeans and the Semites. The former of these buffers left its imprint most strongly on Iran (Zoroaster and Mani) and on Greece (Plato), carried on through Byzantium and Russia. It is a fundamental fact in any history of the contacts of Asia and the West that many of these contacts were filtered through the two buffers of the Indo-European and the Semite cultural heritages.

Even on the simple level of contact between two geographic areas, Parkinson's attempt to show the interaction of Europe and Asia is almost a total failure. This results from his neglect of the most obvious interchanges and of the whole of the early (and most significant) period and from his failure to establish a chronological outline based on the factors which impelled such interchanges. These factors have rested on the interaction of climate changes and technology, with the former dominating the situation in the more remote past (by influencing the ability of the grasslands of Central Asia and Arabia to support herds of grazing animals and the human populations which used these herds as food) and the latter dominating the situation in recent centuries, with a lengthy period (500 B.C.-1700) of transition in between. Lacking any conception of this interplay of forces, Parkinson has no real conception of why the interactions occurred and falls back on quite unconvincing explanations based on personal reactions and personal revenge. The Persian invasion of Greece in 490 B.C. is explained as a reaction to the Greek capture of Troy in 1184 B.C.! (galley 2 and 8)

Even in Parkinson's day under the great Queen Victoria every school boy knew Ex Oriente Lux . Europe's peoples and languages came from the east as did the very basic attributes of European life: its food (wheat, beef, lamb, swine, fowls), its textiles (wool, linen, cotton, silk), its systems of measures (12 eggs in a dozen, 12 inches in a foot, 12 hours in the day and in the night, 60 minutes in the hour), its basic technology (writing, the wheel, paper, printing type, gun powder, the plow, the number system), and those three major targets of Parkinson's antipathy, governmental bureaucracy, taxation, and state regulation of economic life. Even today, a London economic consultant wears trousers and a jacket slashed in the rear so that the sides will hang straight as he sits on his horse, attire derived from a Turkic cultural predecessor in the central Asian grasslands of two millennia ago.

This volume contains scores, possibly hundreds of gross factual errors. If these were based only on the ignorance and prejudices of 1880, we might pass over them in silence, but when they join the current campaign to corrupt our youth with the myths of John Birch they should be pointed out. Parkinson tells us (galley 67) that the decline of Asia after A.D. 1000 was fundamentally due to biological decadence but the "immediate cause was of course, excessive taxation." We are solemnly informed (galley 102) that Marxism, like Marx himself, is "a religion derived ultimately from Judaism." Or again (galley 76), of British "administrative talent...the best always went overseas, leaving only the dregs in Whitehall." As long ago as the time of Alexander the Great, Greek ascendency in Asia meant that "democracy had to go" (galley 21). And of course, the fall of Rome in the West was due to "overtaxation" (galley 47).

These numerous outbursts of personal prejudice are buried in great masses of simple factual errors. Parkinson's knowledge of geography, despite his personal travels, is woefully deficient. Roman military control of the Balkans in the 3rd century, he says (galley 47) required "the reconquest of Dacia and Mesopotamia", a statement which is not only nonsense, but implies that Rome had previously held Mesopotamia. Or again (galley 51), he tells us that the Arabs, about 800, controlled the whole trade route between Canton and Cordova -- "from end to end."

Among numerous factual errors are statements: 1. that the Hittites taught Babylon to train horses (gal. 1; it was the Mittani); 2. that the people east of the Halys River in Asia Minor were "of Semitic character" (gal. s; they were largely Hurrian); 3. that the Hittites first coined money (gal. 6; it was the Lydians almost 800 years later); that all "Phoenician" literature was lost in the destruction of Carthage by Rome (gal. 13); 5. that no Greek would discard his possessions to become a beggar (gal. 17; there was a whole school of Greeks, the Cynics); 6. that the militarization of Spartan life was not based on "necessity" but on "self-respect" (gal. 17; it was based on the need to keep down ten times as numerous Helots); 7. that "the Greeks ceased to be discoverers when they became teachers" under Alexander (gal. 22; this ignores the amazing achievements of Hellenistic science, such as Hipparchus or Archimedes); 8. that the middle classes were "a Greek invention" (gal. 26; the Phoenicians were more middle class than the Greeks and much earlier); 9. that Rome obtained its original culture from the Greeks (gal. 30; it was from the Etruscans); 10. that the Greeks had a belief in Progress (gal. 39; on the contrary, the Greeks believed in retrogression from a remote "Golden Age"); 11. that the "pastoral type of economy" was earlier than the rise of agriculture (gal. 1; it was several thousand years later); 12. that Indo-European invaders about 1600 made Babylon "the center of the Hittite Empire" (gal. 2; Babylon was never a Hittite city); 13. that Alexander's Empire brought four "of the five known civilizations...in a single monarchy" (gal. 27; it did not include either India or China); 14. that Roman ships reached India (gal. 37); 15. that the Russian choice of Byzantine Christianity [presumably over the Latin type] brought Russia "into the western rather than the Eastern Camp" (gal. 48); 16. that "Gothic architecture is plainly Islamic" (gal. 58); 17. that the United States "began to look on the Chinese and the Japanese as possible customers and converts" because of the completion of the trans-continental railway in 1869 (gal. 73; American merchant ships were trading extensively with both peoples before the Civil War); and 18. that "discoveries in navigation did not precede but followed the great voyages of discovery" (gal. 81; in fact, the compass, rudder, sails, hull construction, and methods of determining latitude were all in use before the great navigations.)

Fortunately Parkinson does not launch this myriad of errors on the reader without fair warning, for in the Preface we may read, "Given a more suitable diet, as recommended by the food reformers (plain food, uncooked, and Spartan) I might perhaps have had the energy to ransack libraries....Instead I have relied upon the results of desultory reading...." Surely an honest statement, but without scholarship, the volume certainly needs more jokes!

[Dec 30, 2018] Obituary- Professor C. Northcote Parkinson by HELENA ROGERS

Mar 12, 1993 | independent.co.uk

Cyril Northcote Parkinson, writer, historian and economist, born 30 July 1909, Raffles Professor of History University of Malaya 1950-58, books include Edward Pellew, Viscount Exmouth 1934, The Rise of the Port of Liverpool 1952, Parkinson's Law: the pursuit of progress 1958, British Intervention in Malaya 1867-1877 1960, Mrs Parkinson's Law 1968, The Law of Delay 1971, Industrial Disruption 1973, Britannia Rules 1977, Jeeves: a gentleman's personal gentleman 1979, The Guernseyman 1982, The Fur-Lined Mousetrap 1984, married 1943 Ethelwyn Graves (one son, one daughter; marriage dissolved), 1952 Elizabeth Ann Fry (died 1983; one daughter), 1985 Ingrid Waters, died Canterbury 9 March 1993.

ASK ANYONE if they have heard of 'Parkinson's Law' and they will probably answer, 'Yes, but I can't call it to mind.' Tell them that 'Work expands to fill the time available for its completion' and they will laugh and say with feeling that they most certainly have heard of the law, and understand its effects completely. C. Northcote Parkinson coined the phrase which is now known and quoted by frustrated business people (indeed, anyone trying to find 'spare' time) all over the world.

'Granted that work (and especially paper-work),' he wrote, 'is . . . elastic in its demands on time, it is manifest that there need be little or no relationship between the work to be done and the size of the staff to which it may be assigned. A lack of real activity does not, of necessity, result in leisure. A lack of occupation is not necessarily revealed by a manifest idleness. The thing to be done swells in importance and complexity in a direct ratio with the time to be spent.'

Parkinson first presented his formula in a humorous and paradoxical article for the Economist in 1958. This and a further series of essays were published by John Murray as Parkinson's Law in the same year with illustrations by Osbert Lancaster (it remains in print as a Penguin Business 'Management Classic'). He based his law, aimed largely but not only at the workings of bureaucracy, on experience gained in the Second World War with an Officer Cadet Training Unit in the RAF, and as a War Office staff officer.

General recognition of his law, he wrote, 'is shown in the proverbial phrase 'It is the busiest man who has time to spare.' Thus an elderly lady of leisure can spend the entire day in writing and dispatching a postcard to her niece at Bognor Regis. An hour will be spent in finding the postcard, another in hunting for spectacles, half an hour in a search for the address, an hour and a quarter in composition, and 20 minutes in deciding whether or not to take an umbrella when going to the pillar box in the next street. The total effort that would occupy a busy man for three minutes all told may in this fashion leave another person prostrate after a day of doubt, anxiety, and toil.'

Most of Cyril Northcote Parkinson's large output as a writer disguises this wonderful sense of humour. As an authority on maritime history, in particular the Napoleonic era, he has a wealth of informative books to his name, including Trade in the Eastern Seas (1937), The Trade Winds (1948), The Rise of the Port of Liverpool (1952), War in the Eastern Seas (1954), as well as an imaginary biography, The Life and Times of Horatio Hornblower (1970). As with the Hornblower biography, he used his historical knowledge to write the 'Delancey' saga, naval historical novels about a young midshipman in the Napoleonic wars, and his rise through the ranks eventually to become Admiral of the Fleet.

An unassuming man, Parkinson lived the latter part of his life modestly, if elegantly, in a Canterbury close, continuing to write on the subjects he loved most. His middle years, however, after the phenomenal success of Parkinson's Law, were taken up with lecturing and after-dinner speaking. He found it hugely amusing that he should be so appreciated in this way, and yet his easy manner and witty turn of phrase invited the attention of the most reluctant listener.

His early life was 'rather dull', he thought: educated at St Peter's School, York, he went on to study History at Cambridge. He left to become a historian, and took a further degree in London. After returning to Cambridge to do research, he could see only a dull future. 'There seemed to be nothing ahead but a series of professorships', he said. 'So I began to write books on naval history instead.' His first teaching post - arranged around his writing - was at Blundell's School, Tiverton. He wrote a book about it, attracted particularly by - as he explained - 'the school's most distinguished pupil, Guy Fawkes'. He later lectured in naval history at the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, a post he held at the outbreak of the Second World War, and assisted in the formation of the National Maritime Museum.

His service career had begun in the Territorial Army, which he loved passionately, but it seemed to disappoint him that he never took part in active service. With a twinkle in his eye, he recounted that although he would have been a willing to play his part, he seemed to complete the war 'without killing or even seriously annoying any Germans'. He went on to say that the most dangerous episode of his war years was getting married. Then, to add 'insult to injury', his regiment disbanded at the time. 'I think they had a sort of grudge against me.'

He restored and lived for many years at Elham Manor, in Kent, while continuing to write books and lecture on naval and maritime history.

In 1950 he experienced a complete change when he accepted a chair as Raffles Professor of History at the University of Malaya, a post he held for eight years. The end of his time in Malaya came soon after the publication of the book which was to transform his life. With obvious delight he reported what Enoch Powell said of him: 'He's like a man who found an oil-well in his back garden.' The first publisher to which the book was offered returned it promptly. The second, Parkinson said, 'threw it in the wastepaper basket, but later retrieved it and thought again'.

After the success of Parkinson's Law, he entered the world of after-dinner lecturing and continued to be amazed that so many people wanted to hear him speak; he was often asked to give hour- long lectures to audiences of up to 8,000. After Leaving Malaya he held visiting professorships at Harvard University, in 1958, and the universities of Illinois and California in 1959-60. Thereafter he gave up his 'proper job' as an academic to devote his time to writing through the winter and lecturing across the United States in the summer.

It was with relief that he eventually gave up the lecturing circuit to live quietly with his third wife, in Canterbury, having moved there in 1989. Here he relaxed in peace in the shadow of the cathedral, and worked on his final project, his autobiography, A Law Unto Myself.

'The inexorable working of Parkinson's law ensures that appointments have constantly to be made and the question is always how to choose the right candidate . . . Past methods fall into two main categories, the British and the Chinese . . . The British method (old pattern) depended upon an interview in which the candidate had to establish his identity. He would be confronted by elderly gentlemen seated round a mahogany table who would presently ask him his name. Let us suppose that the candidate replied, 'John Seymour'. One of the gentlemen would then say, 'Any relation to the Duke of Somerset?' To this the candidate would say, quite possibly, 'No, sir.' Then another gentleman would say, 'Perhaps you are related, in that case, to the Bshop of Warminster?' If he said 'No, sir' again, a third would ask in despair, 'To whom then are you related?' ' Illustration by Osbert Lancaster for Parkinson's Law

(Photographs omitted)

[Dec 22, 2018] Robert Mueller and George HW Bush

Notable quotes:
"... Robert Mueller is mentioned where he covered up an investigation tying important government people to the BCCI bank while Poppy Bush was president. ..."
Dec 22, 2018 | www.amazon.com

George HW Bush was a competent spymaster. He "got it" according to the French counterpart. April 6, 2018 Format: Paperback Verified Purchase This book covers a lot of ground. It's detail is exhaustive. It covers everything in detail from Watergate to Harken Energy. I didn't understand all the financial shenanigans but there's lots of weird transactions going on. Seems the Bushes are associated with a lot of bank failures.

Robert Mueller is mentioned where he covered up an investigation tying important government people to the BCCI bank while Poppy Bush was president.

Also thoroughly covered is W's National Guard service and his early suspicious departure.

[Dec 22, 2018] Family of Secrets The Bush Dynasty, America's Invisible Government, and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years

" This family had a role in the assassination of JFK, 9/11, and other covert operations failures that are nothing less than sinister... "Starting with Prescott Bush's business dealings with the Nazi's, to George H. Bush's association with Lee Harvey Oswald, Saddam Hussein, and others.... all the way to George W. Bush's dealings with Osama Bin Laden long before he became a 'Terrorist'."
This book reveals a system that is broken and deeply corrupt. The old adage is true "things are not as they appear". Don't read this if you don't have the intellectual honesty to admit this.
Notable quotes:
"... The same Crichton whose secret military intelligence unit counted dozens of men who simultaneously held jobs as Dallas police officers? ..."
Dec 22, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Robert P. Morrow 5.0 out of 5 stars Russ Baker thinks CIA George Herbert Walker Bush was involved in the JFK assassination. I agree. February 19, 2011 Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

I highly recommend this book. If anything Russ Baker goes very easy on the Bush Crime Family. For example google "Chip Tatum Pegasus" and you will find he is not mentioned in this book. Then there is the case of the 1980's Franklin pedophile ring and GHW Bush's associations with pedophilic pimp Lawrence E. King. Again, that is a whopping Bush family "secret" and it is not in this book.

However, Baker does lay out a pretty google circumstantial case that GHW Bush may very well have been involved in the JFK assassination. May I quote Baker asking GHW Bush:

On the day of the assassination, were you in touch with your friend and Republican running mate Jack Crichton, a military intelligence figure who was connected to figures forcing their way into the pilot car of Kennedy's motorcade? The same Crichton who controlled the man who served as the interpreter between Oswald's wife and police and reframed her words so as to implicate Oswald in Kennedy's shooting? The same Crichton who was working out of a secret underground communications bunker below the streets of Dallas?

The same Crichton whose secret military intelligence unit counted dozens of men who simultaneously held jobs as Dallas police officers? The same Crichton who did secret oil industry intelligence work in the Middle East while you did intelligence related oil industry work via your company, Zapata Offshore?

-Finally, do you know people who consider the events of November 22, 1963 to, in their minds, "reflect the very best of the American spirit?" You say almost nothing, ever, about the Kennedy assassination, even skipping over it in your own memoir, which details much more trivial events of the same year. Why is that? And why then, in your eulogy for former President Ford, a member of the increasingly-discredited Warren Commission, did you go out of your way to oddly praise him for promoting the increasingly-discredited "single bullet theory?" You said:

"After a deluded gunman assassinated President Kennedy, our nation turned to Gerald Ford and a select handful of others to make sense of that madness. And the conspiracy theorists can say what they will, but the Warren Commission report will always have the final definitive say on this tragic matter. Why? Because Jerry Ford put his name on it and Jerry Ford's word was always good."

Why did you, so bizarrely, smile when you uttered those words?

Now, with your Medal of Freedom, given you by a Democratic president who ran as an agent of change, you truly seem to be enjoying the last laugh."

James McDonald 5.0 out of 5 stars MSM is reporting the history of the dead Bush but you won't be told about the State Crimes. December 1, 2018 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

I've had this publication for several years. It's important to point out I've not read this publication completely but rather I've used it for key search terms. If you don't have access using this kind of information, you are way behind the curve on how this platform can be used for research. It becomes even more vital in today's world of fake news reports as exampled by what we being presented with today. These same electronic e'books can be read on the computer too.

A few example on how you can cut and paste the vital info is presented below:

lone gunman is a much more comforting notion in our democracy than a vast apparatus that can bring down presidents. Give us a simple explanation that easily encapsulates the horrible and then we can retain forever all that we have held to be true. If there was any genius in the Bush administration, it was the understanding that Americans did not want to confront complexities and had a great need of "bad guys" to blame for what had gone wrong.

Baker, Russ. Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America's Invisible Government, and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years . Bloomsbury Publishing Plc. Kindle Edition.

The Iraq War was not, and never had been, about an imminent threat to the safety of America and its allies; even Republicans like former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan were publicly acknowledging that it was mostly about oil.

Baker, Russ. Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America's Invisible Government, and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years (p. 3). Bloomsbury Publishing Plc. Kindle Edition.

The reason the Bushes are relevant today, even with W.' s exit from the national stage, is that the family and its colleagues and associates represent an elite that has long succeeded in subverting our democratic institutions to their own ends. And they will continue to do so unless their agenda and methods are laid bare to public scrutiny.

Baker, Russ. Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America's Invisible Government, and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years (p. 6). Bloomsbury Publishing Plc. Kindle Edition.

George William Bush acknowledged under oath -- as part of a deposition in a lawsuit brought by a nonprofit group seeking records on Bush's past -- that he was the junior officer on a three-to four-man watch shift at CIA headquarters between September 1963 and February 1964, which was on duty when Kennedy was shot. 6 "I do not recognize the contents of the memorandum as information furnished to me orally or otherwise during the time I was at the CIA," he said. "In fact, during my time at the CIA, I did not receive any oral communications from any government agency of any nature whatsoever. I did not receive any information relating to the Kennedy assassination during my time at the CIA from the FBI. Based on the above, it is my conclusion that I am not the Mr. George Bush of the Central Intelligence Agency referred to in the memorandum."

Baker, Russ. Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America's Invisible Government, and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years (p. 11). Bloomsbury Publishing Plc. Kindle Edition.

Devine's role in setting up Zapata would remain hidden for more than a decade -- until 1965. At that point, as Bush was extricating himself from business to devote his energies to pursuing a congressional seat, Devine's name suddenly surfaced as a member of the board of Bush's spin-off company, Zapata Offshore -- almost as if it was his function to keep the operation running. To be sure, he and Bush remained joined at the hip. As indicated in the 1975 CIA memo, Bush and Devine enjoyed a "close relationship" that continued while Mr. Bush was U.S. ambassador to the United Nations nine years later. In fact, Devine even accompanied then-congressman Bush on a two-week junket to Vietnam, leaving the day after Christmas in 1967, a year before the Republicans would retake the White House. After being "out" of the CIA since 1953, Devine's top-secret security clearance required an update, though what top-secret business a freshman congressman on the Ways and Means Committee could have, requiring two weeks in Vietnam with a "businessman," was not made clear.

Baker, Russ. Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America's Invisible Government, and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years (pp. 13-14). Bloomsbury Publishing Plc. Kindle Edition.

There's more but I hope my review of this work and the value of it will be apparent.

I most strongly recommend this book for the research in the discovery of State Crimes Against Democracy.

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ReviewerY 5.0 out of 5 stars Tells how the Saudis for decades did dirty work the CIA didn't want to do itself (including ... May 12, 2015 Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

Probably a "must read". Tells how the Saudis for decades did dirty work the CIA didn't want to do itself (including Iran Contra), and they did it with the coordination and assistance of Poppy Bush and his companies. Describes "W" Bush as an incompetent who failed at numerous jobs that Daddy got him, and never succeeded at anything (other than marrying Laura and ending his alcohol addiction when she threatened to leave him) until he became Texas governor. Goes into detail about "W"'s draft dodging, and desertion of the Air Force Reserve without being court martialed.

Randall M. 5.0 out of 5 stars If you want to understand what was really happening and how the American citizens have been betrayed and hoodwinked by the Bush's this is a great book. January 29, 2018 Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

From Samuel Bush late 19th century to Bush 43 the book reveals the double life of the Bush family. The connections and associations throughout a century leave little doubt that the Bush family is entwined in many of the most historical and tragic events of wars, politics and covert activities of the USA. If you want to understand what was really happening and how the American citizens have been betrayed and hoodwinked by the Bush's this is a great book.

Bibliophiledw 5.0 out of 5 stars Don't Miss This One! Many skeletons in this Closet! Whew! August 5, 2016 Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

WOW! The closest I can come t o describing this is to say it is a multi-level, generational expose of "incestuous" relationships WITHOUT the sex! How can that be? Read it and learn. If I'd known how pervasive and of such longstanding and widespread these relationships.... I would've started with a 14' x 14' white board and diagrammed a kind of "family" tree and still would have had to write small! - really small. Someone said: "What a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive." This is like THE largest can of worms; it was hard to keep track, but Russ Baker did and showed how each player was connected to the next - sometimes it was linear and other times it went sideways, but always came back to the beginning family of Bush. Oh my.

Mayo Quin 5.0 out of 5 stars How the elites affect public policy and the course of history November 15, 2016 Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

The tangential names and places are fully explained in this book. The reality of elite dynasties (Bush, Rockefeller, Kennedy) is undeniable. These people affect our lives, often in ways only they know about. Connections are inherited, my friends. To get your feet wet, visit YouTube and watch one of the video interviews with author Russ Baker.

Hoosier CheeseHead 5.0 out of 5 stars The seamy side of American politics exposed August 7, 2015 Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

An outstanding read, chock-full of background info on this dynastic American family.
Not flattering to them, but the allegations are mostly substantiated.
There are some questionable flights of speculation, which taint the book's general objectivity.
I was shocked to learn of the many ways in which the same prominent figures kept popping-up, complicit in the huge events of the past several decades (the Kennedy assassination, Watergate scandal, Nixon's downfall, etc.).
And Geo.H.W. Bush was the "Man Behind the Curtain", swirling in the murky background of every story.
My perception of BOTH Bush presidents has been fundamentally altered.
Fascinating.

TLR 5.0 out of 5 stars Essential hidden history October 5, 2013 Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

Besides being an expose of the Bush dynasty, Baker demonstrates the close ties between many different groups that people tend to think of as being separate - Texas oilmen, military intelligence, Wall Street, FBI, CIA, the arms industry, organized crime, etc. It's a big revolving door, a huge network of the Old Boys Club. The elites of the world are interested in power and wealth, not in ideology.

He offers a cautionary note about trusting declassified government documents:

"Allen Dulles once called CIA documents 'hieroglyphics.'...Dulles used to expound on such elements of tradecraft to his fellow Warren Commission members. On one occasion, he told them that no one would be able to grasp an intelligence memo except for those involved in its creation and their colleagues...When Thomas J. Devine, Poppy Bush's business partner and a former CIA agent, coyly suggested to me that the problem with journalists like myself is that 'you believe what you read in government documents,' he was referring to such deeply coded disinformation."

Stephen Courts 5.0 out of 5 stars Bush Family Of Secrdts January 18, 2012 Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

A must read book by noted journalist Russ Baker that documents the inherently obvious connections with the bush family and the CIA, oil billionaires, energy giants and many more conflicts of interest, particularly with Ken Lay and Enron. This is a book that reveals the true bush dynastry. For example, I was not aware of Prescott Bush's mentoring of Richard Nixon and his close relationship to President Eisenhower and how Prescott got Ike to put the young inexperienced Nixon on the 1952 presidential ticket. The entire sorid history of the bush's going back to post WW One and their support of the Nazi's in washing money for the 2nd World War. Allen Dulles figures prominantly in this terrific read. Don't be fooled by the gentel George H W Bush. His connections to the CIA go back way farther than he admits, and he figures prominantly in Iran Contra. George H W Bush is the only known individual who cannot account for where he was during the Coup D'Etat in November 1963. The man is a liar and a coward as well as a thief. Baker spends about 75 pages detailing George H W Bush's involvement in Watergate and the downfall of the Nixon administration. Well written and documented. This is a five star book and a must read for truth seekers. Stephen Courts

[Dec 18, 2018] Neoliberalism and After ? by Michael A. Peters

So in 2018 chickens hatched in 2008 come home to roost.
The financial meltdown of 2008 is no longer fresh in our minds. In the wake of the 2008 crisis, to save itself from bankruptcy, the US paid leading banks in excess of $16 trillion - the biggest bailout ever! This itself had a huge impact on the overall debt burden.
Was 2017 a bond bubble that was deflated in 2018 or it was "everything bubble" and stocks are the next in line. The lowest S&P500 went during22008 crisis was 670 I think.
Notable quotes:
"... financial crisis poses a fundamental challenge to globalization and to the finance capitalism of the Anglo-American neoliberal model of the free market. ..."
Apr 30, 2011 | www.amazon.com

Reinhart and Rogoff (2008) suggest that 'the present U.S. financial crisis is severe by any metric.' Many have pointed to the systemic nature of the crisis. Gokay (2009) suggests an analysis in terms of' the explosive growth of the financial system during the last three decades relative to manufacturing and the economy as a whole' with the huge growth of finance capitalism and 'the proliferation of speculative and destabilizing financial institutional arrangements and instruments of wealth accumulation.' This has meant 'the rise of new centers and the loss of relative weight of the U.S. as a global hegemonic power' with increasing resource depletion and ecological crisis. He goes on to argue:

The current financial crisis (and economic downturn) has not come out of blue. It is the outcome of deep-seated contradictions within the structure of global economic system. It is not a 'failure' of the system, but it is central to the mode of functioning of the system itself. It is not the result of some 'mistakes' or 'deviations,' but rather it is inherent to the logic of the system. ( http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?contexr=va&and=123 )

... ... ...

The question is the nature of the systemic crisis: does it mean the end of U.S. style capitalism? Does it mean the end of neoliberalism? Does it mean the end of capitalism itself?

Undoubtedly, the financial and economic crisis of 2008 is a major geopolitical setback for the United States and Europe.

Altman (2009) argues hat governments in the U.S. and Europe will turn inward to focus on domestic recovery especially as their citizens begin to make demands, such as the 'tea-party' ) phenomenon in the U.S.

The international fiscal deficits will discourage the U.S. and Western nations from embarking on any international initiatives in foreign policy and Western capital markets will take several years to recover as the banks insulate themselves by becoming risk-averse.

Perhaps, most importantly 'the economic credibility of the West has been undermined by the crisis' (p. 10)...

... ... ...

Whatever the economic advantages of progress toward the 'knowledge economy,' the 'creative economy' and, even the 'green economy the fact is that the cur- rent financial crisis poses a fundamental challenge to globalization and to the finance capitalism of the Anglo-American neoliberal model of the free market. As Harold James (2009: 168) reminds us

'The response to the Asian crisis of 1997-98 was the reinforcement of the American model of financial capitalism, the so-called Washington consensus'

and he goes on to argue

'The response to the contagion caused by the U.S. subprime crisis of 2007-8 will be the elaboration of the Chinese model.' ...

[Dec 16, 2018] Sociopaths Live Longer Survival Guide For A Culture In Decline by Frank Tomben

Notable quotes:
"... To cope with that, there is another whole industry of diversion, media, drugs, you name it, and that works very well, I know. But nowadays, there is a certain unease in the air, some people feel like they are led to the slaughterhouse ..."
Dec 16, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Egoistic individuals win against altruistic individuals. Altruistic societies win against egoistic societies. Everything else is commentary.

... ... ...

A friend of mine works for a TV station. When 9/11 hit, he confided in me that champagne corks were hitting the ceiling at his workplace. I wasn't particularly shocked at this revelation, and I don't assume anybody will be, but I think it speaks volumes about the way culture works nowadays. It is no longer a band tying us together for which we feel thankful and are ready to make sacrifices to, because we have been systematically overloaded with unnecessary information to stimulate our desires, and we have been taught that every thing and everybody can be easily replaced, so we tend to think nothing really matters. But things weren't always like this.

The premise of this book is that we live in a declining culture. To me, that is apparent every day. I work with electronic appliances that people depend upon, but nobody wants to know how they function, what is damaging, or how you can repair them. Even official jobs that are advertised as "maintenance" consist of not actually repairing stuff, instead focusing on selling new stuff. This can be safely ascribed to an idea put forth by neo-liberalism: that everybody can be replaced, because it's not important how the work is done as long as it's done at all. People in leading positions want to think like that because it makes their job easier, so they tend to ignore any evidence to the contrary.

And of course that is a way to make money and waste resources, so in our current world it is "successful". But we all know resources are limited, And of course that is a way to make money and waste resources, so in our current world it is "successful". But we all know resources are limited, and if the only way to be successful is by wasting limited resources, that success is, by definition, limited. And it is not only material resources that are wasted, but human resources as well. People think "doesn't matter, there are too many people on this planet anyway", but when people feel wasted, they develop negative feelings.

To cope with that, there is another whole industry of diversion, media, drugs, you name it, and that works very well, I know. But nowadays, there is a certain unease in the air, some people feel like they are led to the slaughterhouse , because we know, about 40% of us are going to be replaced by robots, and we don't know what will happen, other civilizations have tripped over less already. There might be a civil war coming, that's what fascists and Isis are rooting for, or a robot-led police state, that's what the top 1% are rooting for, one thing we do know is: democracy is helplessly taking it in the ass from capitalism.

So some people turn to activism. I will not lie: I value my life too much for that kind of bullshit. And I really think it isn't necessary. But I don't want to deter anybody from engaging in such behavior. Only we have to stay aware of the powers at be, and we can learn from history. When the fascists took over Germany, they made use of census data acquired decades before which listed people who were disabled, gay, which they proceeded to fill their concentration camps with. Now compare that with the data that is collected in our time and imagine a similar regime change. You don't have to look very far; the people of Turkey experienced something in that vein not long ago. Several similar examples can be found throughout history, so you should be aware of the possible consequences of activism.

But what's the alternative, you ask? I've given that some serious thought for decades, and this book is just one of several ways to give you an idea...

From the book flap:

I also strongly recommend you learn to trust people. It makes life so much easier and allows you to focus on your own development instead of worrying what other people might think. Even with the occasional disappointment, life is just so much more fun that way than by being paranoid. While we are on the subject of trust, which is obviously a foundation for all relationships, it s also a major perk derived from them. Nowadays, people tend to think that relationships are means to exploit other people to gain money (although we all know it's a bubble), status or to let them do your work for you. And then they wonder and complain why other people do die same shit to them. So let me put it in very basic words: it doesn't matter whether you believe in god.

As long as you are part of society, you might just as well consider the people around you as your collective god, because you aren't able to live without them, especially if shit starts hitting the fan. Our current culture is self- conscious enough to realize it has no long term perspective, that's why we tend to admire the con men and vote them into power. But thinking ahead, it's obvious that this will lead us nowhere. So when the next bubble bursts, people who are revered today might find their heads put on sticks. In this light, it becomes apparent that the true value of relationships is honing your sense who you can trust how much, and that is something you need regardless of what culture you live in, even more when it crumbles beneath your feet.

[Dec 16, 2018] Palace of Ashes China and the Decline of American Higher Education by Mark S. Ferrara

Notable quotes:
"... I see this in young people all around, 25-35 year old's saddled with $50-100k in debt defining every action and option they have (or don't!). Not everyone gets themselves into this bind, people make poor decisions, but our higher educational institutions readily promote without ample warning and education and the result is what's rumored to be a $1 Trillion student loan debt bubble. This isn't sustainable ..."
"... Educational institutions should not be seen as a profit making enterprise, education should be attainable to all without the fear of untenable costs. ..."
Dec 16, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Andrew S 4.0 out of 5 stars An in-depth discussion on education and how we got to where we are today in the US... September 21, 2018 Format: Hardcover

A very scholarly and educational read, well researched and documented. It is very in-depth, perhaps not for the light hearted but I learned quite a bit about education philosophies world-wide, their origins, how that effects current thoughts and practices, etc. And how the United States higher educational institutions have gotten to where they are today, money printing machines with unsustainable growth and costs being pushed onto those just seeking to potentially better themselves.

I see this in young people all around, 25-35 year old's saddled with $50-100k in debt defining every action and option they have (or don't!). Not everyone gets themselves into this bind, people make poor decisions, but our higher educational institutions readily promote without ample warning and education and the result is what's rumored to be a $1 Trillion student loan debt bubble. This isn't sustainable

My years in oversea schools took place long ago, I can't testify nor draw direction comparisons to the situation we face today. But I can say, that with three young kids approaching college age we remain highly concerned to terrified what the costs and our kids futures.

Educational institutions should not be seen as a profit making enterprise, education should be attainable to all without the fear of untenable costs.

This is a good read, recommended.

[Dec 16, 2018] Polarizing Development Alternatives to Neoliberalism and the Crisis by Lucia Pradella, Thomas Marois

Dec 16, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Neoliberal economic policies, with their emphasis on market-led development and individual rationality, have been exposed as bankrupt not only by the global economic crisis but also by increasing social opposition and resistance. Social movements and critical scholars in Latin America, East Asia, Europe and the United States, alongside the Arab uprisings, have triggered renewed debate on possible different futures. While for some years any discussion of substantive alternatives has been marginalized, the global crisis since 2008 has opened up new spaces to debate, and indeed to radically rethink, the meaning of development. Debates on developmental change are no longer tethered to the pole of 'reform and reproduce': a new pole of 'critique and strategy beyond' neoliberal capitalism has emerged.

Despite being forcefully challenged, neoliberalism has proven remarkably resilient. In the first years since the crisis erupted, the bulk of the alternative literature pointed to continued growth in the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and in other big emerging market countries to affirm the necessary role for the state in sustaining capitalist development. New developmental economists have consequently reasserted themselves. Their proposals converged into a broader demand for global Keynesianism (Patomaki, 2012) -- a demand that is proving to be less and less realistic in the face of a deepening global economic crisis.

Interpreting and Resisting Neoliberalism

Neoliberalism is a historical phenomenon. In the early 1970s firms began to feel acutely the impact of falling profitability. Many managers and owners believed the mounting power of organized labor was responsible. Indeed, this emerging structural crisis of capitalism was amplified by increasing labor militancy and social opposition, and by the rising challenge of socialism and nationalism from the Global South - the greatest wave of decolonization in world history (Arrighi, 2007: 136). The power of the United States reached its nadir with its defeat in Vietnam (1975), with the Iranian Revolution in the late 1970s, and with the spread of revolutionary struggles, notably in Latin America. It is against this backdrop that the rise of neoliberalism becomes understandable.

Neoliberalism's set of pro-market and anti-labor policies were first implemented by the brutal US-backed Pinochet dictatorship in Chile (1973). The monetarist economic principles of the infamous 'Chicago Boys' guided the process. At this time, however, many other governments in the South resisted initial demands by the Northern-dominated international financial institutions (IFIs), notably the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), to implement rapid 'shock therapy' structural adjustment programmes.

The 1979 to 1982 Volcker Shock changed matters dramatically. Paul Volcker, then head of the US Federal Reserve, allowed US interest rates to skyrocket from around 5 per cent to over 20 per cent, ostensibly to halt persistent inflation and to shock the US economy out of stagnation. This move sparked a global rise in interest rates and a wave of profound economic crises in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Soviet bloc. Governments in these countries lost the ability to service their debts because of the dramatic falls in the prices received for and the quantity of their primary goods exported. This triggered the 1980s debt crisis, which opened an opportunity for governments North and South to press more systematically for neoliberal transformation.

Instead of mobilizing workers and peasants against this new form of economic imperialism, governments in the South began to reorient their economies toward intensified export production in order to earn the foreign currency needed to repay their loans. With the fall of the Soviet Union, neoliberal shock therapy was also extended to Russia and other Eastern European countries. In the former Yugoslavia, Iraq and Afghanistan, Western governments mobilized their military power to facilitate the entrenchment of neoliberal policies at a terrible human cost.

Neoliberalism has entailed processes of contested socio-economic transformation. Amidst great popular resistance and economic instability, post-war state-led strategies of development gave way to market-oriented neoliberal ones, or the so-called 'Washington consensus'. The economist John Williamson identified ten policies characteristic of the consensus: fiscal discipline, reduction in public expenditure, tax reform, financial liberalization, market-determined exchange rates, trade liberalization, an open door to foreign direct investment, privatization of public service and state-owned enterprises, deregulation, and secure property rights. These policies have led to higher unemployment, worsening social inequalities, widespread impoverishment, peasant land dispossessions, unsustainable urbanization and increased worker exploitation.

Contributors to this book describe many of the specific developmental transformations in the Global South, and how neoliberal processes have led to an expansion of the global reserve army of workers and accelerated international migration. At the same time, financial and trade deregulation have enhanced the power of finance capital and multinational corporations, which they have used to pursue the outsourcing and offshoring of many industrial and service activities. This globalization of production has brought with it intensified processes of ecological destruction.

Women and the poor are the most negatively impacted by the neoliberal privatization of public services. As women increasingly enter into the workforce, the privatization of public services magnifies their 'double burden'. Such transformations have been global, having negative impacts on workers in the South and, increasingly, in the North.

The neoliberal policies shaping these transformative processes are derived from neoclassical economic theory. Neoclassical theory obscures and naturalizes the exploitative foundations of capitalism because it reduces labor to just another factor of production, not unlike other 'technical inputs' like land and capital. The social reproduction of workers is further assumed to be a private, genderless process restricted to the household, when it is in fact vital to overall capital accumulation processes. In not dissimilar ways, neoclassical economics tends to treat the environment as an externality. Further embedded in this kind of approach is a tendency towards methodological nationalism. Certain models presuppose that capital and labor do not move internationally and that international trade represents merely exchange of commodities between national units. It follows, in theory, that by promoting domestic specialization according to a given country's comparative advantage, free trade would spontaneously stabilize participating 'national' economies at an equilibrium level, maintaining employment and growth in all of them.

With its emphasis on liberal, market-based notions of individual equality and freedom, neoclassical economics conceals underlying social polarizations and exploitative relationships characteristic of capitalism. In reality, neoliberal transformation favors the interests of the strongest capitals internationally (see Shaikh, 2005). Despite the proclaimed spontaneity of the market, moreover, neoliberalism does not lead to a retreat of the state. Rather, neoliberalism is marked by the class-based restructuring of the state apparatus in ways that have responded to the evolving needs of capital accumulation (for example, around new financial imperatives). What is more, as today's capitalism is dominated by Northern powerhouses like the United States and Western European countries, the extension of capitalist relations globally embodies these imperialist powers' aspirations to retain supremacy in the hierarchy of states.

Neoliberalism, in fact, has always occurred through and within states, never in the absence of states. Actually existing neoliberal transformations are mediated by the hierarchical position of a given state within the world market and by specific social struggles. Consequently, neoliberal transition in the United States is not the same as neoliberalism transition in India or Iraq, and each entails specific national, class, racial and gendered dimensions. Yet contributors to this book recognize that neoliberalism is a class-based political and economic project, defined by the attack of capital and neoliberal state authorities on the collective capacity of organized labor, the peasantry and popular classes to resist the subordination of all social, political, economic and ecological processes to accumulation imperatives. The subsequent consolidation of neoliberalism globally has thus been to the benefit of global capital, and has come at the expense of workers, women and the poor. Relations of imperialist domination, environmental exploitation, racial and gender oppression are constitutive dimensions of this class struggle.

Neoliberal consolidations nonetheless generate new social resistances. Many contributors to this book identify continuing processes involving the decomposition of working classes and the formation of important social movements. With the 1999 demonstrations in Seattle, these struggles assumed an inter-American character. Various indigenous groups, trade unionists, faith-based and women's organizations marched alongside environmentalists and farmers in a collective bid to shut down the World Trade Organization (WTO) talks (Burbach, Fox and Fuentes, 2013: 2). In the new millennium, the 'alter-globalisation' movement has attained a truly global scale. Yet the movement has not been without problems. Notably, the activists and organizations have failed to produce precise sets of collective demands or a coherent international political programme. Pre-existing antagonisms among workers and peoples across lines of national and social oppression were not overcome. The movement, as a result, failed to articulate collective resistance across national, regional and international levels (Prashad, 2013: 235). After the huge demonstrations against the war on Iraq (2003), it gradually faded away.

Still, resistances to neoliberalism grew thereafter, especially in the Global South. In some cases these made significant advances. For example, while the United States and other Western states were bogged down with military aggressions in the Middle East, US control over Latin America eased. Social mobilizations there enjoyed new spaces for action, which helped give rise to a variety of progressive governments less subservient to imperialist interests and the competitive imperatives of neoliberal development. In this book, Abelardo Marifta-Flores suggests that progressive income redistribution and the reinforcement of regional integration processes are among the most significant achievements. Susan Spronk and Sarah Miraglia highlight the progressive, albeit imperfect, gendered dimensions of the Bolivarian transformative movement in Venezuela. Neoliberal transformations also create new socio-economic conditions that may undermine US and Western hegemony. As several authors attest, for example, the relocation of industrial production towards East Asia has generated new centers of accumulation. Consequently, Western imperial powers now face a major challenge with the rise of China and India. So too have other big emerging capitalisms, like Brazil, Russia, South Africa, Indonesia and the Gulf States, become ever more important centers of accumulation. This has lent support to arguments suggesting global hegemony has started to shift from the West to the East.

To be sure, these emerging capitalisms, China in particular, offer alternative sources of foreign direct investment, international aid, developmental loans and technological know-how to countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Leaders of the BRICS have, for example, called for a 'multipolar' reform of the financial system and of the IFIs, which includes the establishment of a new multilateral Development Bank, the 'BRICS Bank'. Yet the extent to which these changes offer an alternative at all has everything to do with the extent to which South -- South relations and flows of know-how do not serve to extend and reproduce exploitative class relations of domination, even be they under novel forms of sub/ Southern imperialism. This remains to be seen, and indeed the global crisis is affecting the terms of this debate.

The Global Crisis and the Resilience of Neoliberalism

The global crisis that emerged in the United States in 2007 was rooted in the preceding decades of neoliberal restructuring. Its immediate trigger, however, was the subprime mortgage lending debacle. The US subprime crisis then took a global turn in late September 2008 with the collapse of the US investment bank Lehman Brothers. As investors scrambled to preserve their wealth and dump any toxic assets they had bought into, otherwise liquid US credit markets seized up, bringing the global financial system to the edge of ruin. Only massive and sustained state intervention prevented the system's implosion. Many Western governments rolled out financial Keynesianism. This entailed nationalizing failed private banks and industries and adding trillions of dollars to the public debt. The governments thus staved off global economic collapse but only by incurring massive increases in new public debts. This gave rise to the sovereign debt crises in the 'peripheral' EU countries. A number of developing countries also incurred new public debts as governments rolled out economic stimulus packages to help sustain domestic investment, maintain employment and buttress internal demand.

On the one hand, the privileges and powers gained by global capital under neoliberal transformation remain largely intact. Indeed, imperialist governments have done everything in their power to reinforce the current system. Such is the aim of the quantitative easing and zero interest rate policies being pursued by the US Federal Reserve, the Banks of England and Japan, and increasingly the European Central Bank. These actions are intended to prop up the financial markets, support the prices of financial assets and make these countries' exports more competitive. Throughout it all neoliberal technocrats remain unwavering in their ideological commitments to market-oriented development. For example, the World Bank's Global Financial Development Report 2013 attempts to reframe the global crisis not as a fundamental problem of 'market failure' and capitalism, but instead as essentially about 'state failure' and flawed human nature. The solution? More of the same neoliberal policies implemented since the 1980s, but now guided and sustained by a more robust state apparatus that ensures better market discipline...

[Dec 13, 2018] Toxic Philanthropy The Spirit of Giving While Taking by By Lynn Parramore

Yves: "Homer had this figured out long ago: "Beware of Greeks bearing gifts." But the press has done a great job of presenting squillionaires trying to remake society along their preferred lines as disinterested philanthropy. "
Notable quotes:
"... By Lynn Parramore, Senior Research Analyst, the Institute for New Economic Thinking. Originally published at the Institute for New Economic Thinking website ..."
"... America's new "philanthrocapitalists" are enabling social problems rather than solving them ..."
"... British novelist Anthony Trollope once observed, "I have sometimes thought that there is no being so venomous, so bloodthirsty as a professed philanthropist." ..."
"... Legendary short seller Jim Chanos, who teaches business students to spot fraud, understands why: when he scrutinizes a company for signs of shady activity, one of the things he looks for is an uptick in philanthropy -- a strategy business ethics professor Marianne Jennings has named as one of the "seven signs of ethical collapse" in organizations. Chanos refers to the ruse as "doing good to mask doing bad." ..."
Dec 13, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

By Lynn Parramore, Senior Research Analyst, the Institute for New Economic Thinking. Originally published at the Institute for New Economic Thinking website

America's new "philanthrocapitalists" are enabling social problems rather than solving them

A new breed of wealthy do-gooders armed with apps and PowerPoints claim they want to change the world. But with their market-oriented values and often-shortsighted prescriptions, are really they going to change it for the better?

Or change it at all?

Anand Giridharadas, who has traveled first-class in the rarefied realm of 21 st -century "philanthrocapitalists," harbors serious doubts. In his acclaimed book, " Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World ," the business reporter and former McKinsey consultant exposes the willful blindness of bright-eyed social entrepreneurs and TED-talking executives who, having drunk their own late-stage capitalist Kool-Aid, are now ready to serve us all. Compliments of the house.

Doing Good, Masking Bad

British novelist Anthony Trollope once observed, "I have sometimes thought that there is no being so venomous, so bloodthirsty as a professed philanthropist."

Legendary short seller Jim Chanos, who teaches business students to spot fraud, understands why: when he scrutinizes a company for signs of shady activity, one of the things he looks for is an uptick in philanthropy -- a strategy business ethics professor Marianne Jennings has named as one of the "seven signs of ethical collapse" in organizations. Chanos refers to the ruse as "doing good to mask doing bad."

Such cynical public relations gambits are familiar enough to New Yorkers using Citi Bike, the public-private bike share system funded by Citigroup, whose misdeeds helped spark the global financial crisis of 2007-8. Or visitors to the Sackler Gallery at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, named for the family whose members own Purdue, the pharmaceutical company that fueled America's opioid crisis through deceptive marketing of the addictive painkiller OxyContin.

But another sort of deep-pocketed philanthropist is harder to pin down. The harm she causes seems less direct; her motives more lofty. This type is fond of touting "win-win" solutions to social problems and tossing out terms like "impactful" and "scalable" and "paradigm-shifting" -- the kind of lingo fed to business school students in lieu of critical thinking. Members of this group nevertheless refer to themselves as "thought leaders."

These would-be benefactors of humanity tend to like former president Bill Clinton, whose Clinton Global Initiative became the ultimate road show for eager converts to what Giridharadas calls the faith of "win-winnerism," i.e. "I'm doing great in this racket, and so can you." Inhabiting Silicon Valley start-ups, venture capital firms, think tanks, and consulting companies in large metropolitan areas, philanthrocapitalists speak reverently of global poverty, but rarely touch down in places like Appalachia or rural Mississippi.

They are people like John Mackey, the chief executive of Whole Foods Market, whose book "Conscious Capitalism" is the bible for those aspiring to the win-win faith. In his formulation, CEOs are not simply the heads of companies, but transcendent beings that find "great joy and beauty in their work, and in the opportunity to serve, lead, and help shape a better future." Mackey's philosophy is one in which the beneficiaries of commerce should dedicate themselves to social improvement because they are obviously the best equipped to do the job. The public is meant to humbly follow.

This last bit, as Giridharadas shrewdly points out, may be far more radical than the old trickle-down philosophy of yesterday's winners, who lobbied the government to get out of their way so that the bounteous by-products of their cutthroat activities could descend unimpeded to the poor. The new winners want something even more audacious: to replace the role of government as guardian of the common good.

Giridharadas presents searching conversations with well-educated, often well-meaning people floating above and apart from the lives of ordinary Americans, wishing to ease their consciences but failing both to clearly see the problems of society and to notice, for more than a nagging moment, the ways in which their own lives are financed by the fruits of injustice. They end up embracing a warm-and-fuzzy vision of changing the world that leaves brutal underlying structures securely in place.

The author has said what few who have traveled in this world have said plainly, lest their passport be revoked: the efforts of philanthrocapitalists are largely disruptive, rather than beneficial, to public life.

You can see it in the kind of ideas they embrace. Lecture slots at Davos don't get doled out for discussing the need to expand popular, time-tested programs like Social Security and Medicare that are proven to reduce poverty and economic inequality. Such sensible fare is not nearly "innovative" or exotic enough -- and besides, it might require the wealthy to pay additional taxes. Better are schemes like universal basic income that tend to favor elite interests (such as continuing to pay workers inadequate wages) or creating technological solutions like the one offered in the book by a young win-winnerist: an app that charges workers to manage the unpredictable cash flow caused by erratic work schedules.

And what of campaigning to outlaw the exploitative business practice that causes the problem in the first place? Notsomuch.

Talking about victims plays well on the philanthrocapitalist circuit, but pointing out perpetrators is largely forbidden. You can wow the crowd by peddling for-profit schemes to help the poor, but you won't get the same applause by calling to jail criminal executives. Yet, as Giridharadas makes clear, even the fanciest app will not erase the feeling among ordinary people that the system has been captured by a small group of the rich and powerful -- a feeling that drives them away in disgust from establishment politics and makes them very angry indeed.

What the philanthrocapitalist has a hard time admitting is that meaningful structural change involves a lot more than an app and a PowerPoint. It means taking on financialized corporations that engage in stock market manipulation to enrich shareholders rather than investing in workers and products that are actually useful to human beings. It requires fixing a regressive tax system in which the wealthy pay less on their investments than working people pay on their earned income. It means empowering workers and taking on the coercive hierarchies of wealth and power that are locking into place a dual economy where the affluent become so removed from the struggles of the majority that they hardly speak the same language.

Antidemocratic and unaccountable, the new philanthropists emerge in Giridharadas's cautionary book less as the solvers of social problems than the deluded enablers. The emperor may stand there in his organic underpants waving a pie chart, but in the court of public opinion, it is increasingly obvious that he's not in the least interested in dismantling his own palace.

[Dec 12, 2018] The Neoliberal Agenda and the Student Debt Crisis in U.S. Higher Education (Routledge Studies in Education)

Notable quotes:
"... Neoliberalism's presence in higher education is making matters worse for students and the student debt crisis, not better. ..."
"... Cannan and Shumar (2008) focus their attention on resisting, transforming, and dismantling the neoliberal paradigm in higher education. They ask how can market-based reform serve as the solution to the problem neoliberal practices and policies have engineered? ..."
"... What got us to where we are (escalating tuition costs, declining state monies, and increasing neoliberal influence in higher education) cannot get us out of the SI.4 trillion problem. And yet this metaphor may, in fact, be more apropos than most of us on the right, left, or center are as yet seeing because we mistakenly assume the market we have is the only or best one possible. ..."
"... We only have to realize that the emperor has no clothes and reveal this reality. ..."
"... Indeed, the approach our money-dependent and money-driven legislators and policymakers have employed has been neoliberal in form and function, and it will continue to be so unless we help them to see the light or get out of the way. This book focuses on the $1.4+ trillion student debt crisis in the United States. It doesn't share hard and fast solutions per se. ..."
"... In 2011-2012, 50% of bachelor's degree recipients from for-profit institutions borrowed more than $40,000 and about 28% of associate degree recipients from for-profit institutions borrowed more than $30,000 (College Board, 2015a). ..."
Dec 12, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Despite tthe fact that necoliberalism brings poor economic growth, inadequate availability of jobs and career opportunities, and the concentration of economic and social rewards in the hands of a privileged upper class resistance to it, espcially at universities, remain weak to non-existant.

The first sign of high levels of dissatisfaction with neoliberalism was the election of Trump (who, of course, betrayed all his elections promises, much like Obma before him). As a result, the legitimation of neoliberalism based on references to the efficient
and effective functioning of the market (ideological legitimation) is
exhausted while wealth redistribution practices (material legitimation) are
not practiced and, in fact, considered unacceptable.

Despite these problems, resistance to neoliberalism remains weak.
Strategics and actions of opposition have been shifted from the sphere of
labor to that of the market creating a situation in which the idea of the
superiority and desirability of the market is shared by dominant and
oppositional groups alike. Even emancipatory movements such as women,
race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation have espoused individualistic,
competition-centered, and meritocratic views typical of ncolibcral dis-
courses. Moreover, corporate forces have colonized spaces and discourses
that have traditionally been employed by oppositional groups and move-
ments. However, as systemic instability' continues and capital accumulation
needs to be achieved, change is necessary. Given the weakness of opposi-
tion, this change is led by corporate forces that will continue to further
their interests but will also attempt to mitigate socio-economic contra-
dictions. The unavailability of ideological mechanisms to legitimize
ncolibcral arrangements will motivate dominant social actors to make
marginal concessions (material legitimation) to subordinate groups. These
changes, however, will not alter the corporate co-optation and distortion of
discourses that historically defined left-leaning opposition. As contradic-
tions continue, however, their unsustainability will represent a real, albeit
difficult, possibility for anti-neoliberal aggregation and substantive change.

Connolly (2016) reported that a poll shows that some graduated student loan borrowers would willingly go to extremes to pay off outstanding student debt. Those extremes include experiencing physical pain and suffering and even a reduced lifespan. For instance, 35% of those polled would take one year off life expectancy and 6.5% would willingly cut off their pinky finger if it meant ridding themselves of the student loan debt they currently held.

Neoliberalism's presence in higher education is making matters worse for students and the student debt crisis, not better. In their book Structure and Agency in the Neoliberal University, Cannan and Shumar (2008) focus their attention on resisting, transforming, and dismantling the neoliberal paradigm in higher education. They ask how can market-based reform serve as the solution to the problem neoliberal practices and policies have engineered?

It is like an individual who loses his keys at night and who decides to look only beneath the street light. This may be convenient because there is light, but it might not be where the keys are located. This metaphorical example could relate to the student debt crisis. What got us to where we are (escalating tuition costs, declining state monies, and increasing neoliberal influence in higher education) cannot get us out of the SI.4 trillion problem. And yet this metaphor may, in fact, be more apropos than most of us on the right, left, or center are as yet seeing because we mistakenly assume the market we have is the only or best one possible.

As Lucille (this volume) strives to expose, the systemic cause of our problem is "hidden in plain sight," right there in the street light for all who look carefully enough to see. We only have to realize that the emperor has no clothes and reveal this reality. If and when a critical mass of us do, systemic change in our monetary exchange relations can and, we hope, will become our funnel toward a sustainable and socially, economically, and ecologically just future where public education and democracy can finally become realities rather than merely ideals.

Indeed, the approach our money-dependent and money-driven legislators and policymakers have employed has been neoliberal in form and function, and it will continue to be so unless we help them to see the light or get out of the way. This book focuses on the $1.4+ trillion student debt crisis in the United States. It doesn't share hard and fast solutions per se. Rather, it addresses real questions (and their real consequences). Are collegians overestimating the economic value of going to college?

What are we, they, and our so-called elected leaders failing or refusing to sec and why? This critically minded, soul-searching volume shares territory with, yet pushes beyond, that of Akers and Chingos (2016), Baum (2016), Goldrick-Rab (2016), Graebcr (2011), and Johannscn (2016) in ways that we trust those critically minded authors -- and others concerned with our mess of debts, public and private, and unfulfilled human potential -- will find enlightening and even ground-breaking.

... ... ...

In the meantime, college costs have significantly increased over the past fifty years. The average cost of tuition and fees (excluding room and board) for public four-year institutions for a full year has increased from 52,387 (in 2015 dollars) for the 1975-1976 academic year, to 59,410 for 2015-2016. The tuition for public two-year colleges averaged $1,079 in 1975-1976 (in 2015 dollars) and increased to $3,435 for 2015-2016. At private non-profit four-year institutions, the average 1975-1976 cost of tuition and fees (excluding room and board) was $10,088 (in 2015 dollars), which increased to $32,405 for 2015-2016 (College Board, 2015b).

The purchasing power of Pell Grants has decreased. In fact, the maximum Pell Grants coverage of public four-year tuition and fees decreased from 83% in 1995-1996 to 61% in 2015-2016. The maximum Pell Grants coverage of private non-profit four-year tuition and fees decreased from 19% in 1995-1996 to 18% in 2015-2016 (College Board, 2015a).

... ... ....

... In 2013-2014, 61% of bachelor's degree recipients from public and private non-profit four-year institutions graduated with an average debt of $16,300 per graduate. In 2011-2012, 50% of bachelor's degree recipients from for-profit institutions borrowed more than $40,000 and about 28% of associate degree recipients from for-profit institutions borrowed more than $30,000 (College Board, 2015a).

Rising student debt has become a key issue of higher education finance among many policymakers and researchers. Recently, the government has implemented a series of measures to address student debt. In 2005, the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (2005) was passed, which barred the discharge of all student loans through bankruptcy for most borrowers (Collinge, 2009). This was the final nail in the bankruptcy coffin, which had begun in 1976 with a five-year ban on student loan debt (SLD) bankruptcy and was extended to seven years in 1990. Then in 1998, it became a permanent ban for all who could not clear a relatively high bar of undue hardship (Best 6c Best, 2014).

By 2006, Sallie Mae had become the nation's largest private student loan lender, reporting loan holdings of $123 billion. Its fee income collected from defaulted loans grew from $280 million in 2000 to $920 million in 2005 (Collinge, 2009). In 2007, in response to growing student default rates, the College Cost Reduction Act was passed to provide loan forgiveness for student loan borrowers who work full-time in a public service job. The Federal Direct Loan will be forgiven after 120 payments were made. This Act also provided other benefits for students to pay for their postsecondary education, such as lowering interest rates of GSL, increasing the maximum amount of Pell Grant (though, as noted above, not sufficiently to meet rising tuition rates), as well as reducing guarantor collection fees (Collinge, 2009).

In 2008, the Higher Education Opportunity Act (2008) was passed to increase transparency and accountability. This Act required institutions that are participating in federal financial aid programs to post a college price calculator on their websites in order to provide better college cost information for students and families (U.S. Department of Education |U.S. DoE|, 2015a). Due to the recession of 2008, the American Opportunity Tax Credit of 2009 (AOTC) was passed to expand the Hope Tax Credit program, in which the amount of tax credit increased to 100% for the first $2,000 of qualified educational expenses and was reduced to 25% of the second $2,000 in college expenses. The total credit cap increased from $1,500 to $2,500 per student. As a result, the federal spending on education tax benefits had a large increase since then (Crandall-Hollick, 2014), benefits that, again, are reaped only by those who file income taxes.

[Dec 12, 2018] Neoliberalism in the USA repeats the path of Marxism Leninism in the USSR

Dec 12, 2018 | www.amazon.com

During the last decades of Soviet power, the importance of Communist ideology' was frequently
overrated abroad. Only after the downfall of the regime did it become clear that Marxism-Leninism
was no longer taken seriously; lip service was still paid to it, but it became the subject of ridicule
among those at the very' top.

Is there a danger that a similar misapprehension may prevail now that political views once found only' at the periphery' of the political system have moved to its center?

... ... ....

... In the 1980s, a strange situation had arisen: The KGB spent much of its time harassing and persecuting the dissidents, but they believed as little in communism and the Soviet system as their victims. They did what they did because they had been given orders from above. What is known about their real convictions? Deep down many of them were probably cynics, willing apparently' to serve any' system as long as it preserved their privileged positions. What of the current situation? How important is ideology', and what is the specific weight of power and money'?

... ... ...

In its cultural history, Russia went through a golden and a silver age, but now there are few prospects even for a bronze age. One feels reminded of Pushkin's reaction having finished listening to Nikolai Gogol reading to him Dead Souls: "God, what a sad country, our Russia."

[Dec 10, 2018] The Code of Putinism Brian D. Taylor 9780190867317 Amazon.com Books

Dec 10, 2018 | www.amazon.com

This book completely lacks the understanding of the phenomenon called Putinism. Which is a flavor neoliberalism (neoliberalism with Russian Characteristics to borrow the term from Chinese ;-)

The author limits himself to very superficial, kitchen level of understand of Putinism
== quote ==
<blockquote>
The code of Putinism has also shaped the economic system. "Putinomics" is also a hybrid system, combining the formal institutions of market capitalism with a set of informal clan networks. At the top of the Putinist economic system are Putin and his circle, who make the most important decisions and benefit from and sustain the system. State domination of the oil and gas sector is central to Putinomics, as are Putin's personal links to the
key players in this industry. Throughout the economy, the arbitrary power of state officials is often central to who wins and who loses, given the weakness of the rule of law and formal property rights.
</blockquote>
== end ==
The author also adhere to the dominant Western propaganda clichés way too much. Interpretation of Khodorkovsky travails is one example. As soon as you read how the author interpret Yukos story, you can throw the book into the garbage can -- it is clear that it is mostly propaganda, not an academic study.

Similarly the author makes big deal that Putin is a statist, forgetting that all neoliberals are statists par excellence:
== quote ==
Perhaps the most fundamental component of Putin's thinking is that he
is a statist (in Russian, a gosudarstvennik). In his first major programmatic
statement as Russia's ruler, on the eve of the millennium in December 1999,
he made this point quite emphatically. Russia, he averred, was different from
the United States or England, with their liberal traditions; in Russia, the state
"has always played an exceptionally important role... [and] is the source and
guarantor of order, the initiator and driving force of any change."
== end ==

And it is neoliberal ideology which determines who wins and who loses. And not understanding this simple fact dooms the book.

In reality, the events of 1991 were a neoliberal revolution in Russia when Communists elite defected and changed the sides adopting neoliberalism. This transformation instantly brought to the power oligarchs and resulted in economic rape of Russia by Western powers (Harvard mafia story is one example here, Browder is another).

The only issue that the author presented more or less OKt is the existence of a huge problem of the selection of Putin's successor. Charismatic leaders often present this problem, and they often create political crisis or turmoil when they leave the political arena. But with the collapse of neoliberalism in 2008 Putin's days are numbered in any case. And recent fiasco with pension reform is just one confirmation of the problems that any neoliberal leader faces. Even tremendously popular one. Russia needs the new leader with the clear "after-neoliberalism" vision. Re-nationalization of some former state assets probably would be urgently needed as well. With all his strengths and tremendous political talent, Putin is not such a leader. He is yet another "soft" neoliberal, and the key members of his close circle (Medvedev, Kudrin, etc.) are "soft" neoliberals too.

After coming to power, Putin tried to tame Russian oligarchs and transform comprador capitalism that emerged under Yeltsin into what can be called "national neoliberalism" (somewhat similar to Trumpism, although politically Trump is a pigmy in comparison with Putin, who is probably one of the most capable diplomats and politicians of our era).

Truth be told Putin fight with oligarch proved to be somewhat futile "in the long run." But it was a brilliant tactical move in the short run. The problem is that neoliberalism like a dragon in fairy tale regenerates comprador oligarchs heads after most odious heads were cut. Now Sechin and Deripaska started also represent a problem. But in any case taking of the chessboard, so to speak, such notorious oligarchs like Boris Berezovsky, Vladimir Gusinsky, and Mikhail Khodorkovsky ( the purge, which, unfortunately, was not done in the USA after 2008 and speeds troubles to this country) was a positive step and the act of political courage on the part of Putin. Ukraine represents an example of what happens if such a purge is not done and oligarchs became more powerful then the state.

This is the nature of the beast as a version of Trotskyism (with the slogan "Financial elite unite" instead of "Proletarians of all countries unite and the same idea of Permanent Revolution with the goal to build the global neoliberal empire via color revolutions and direct invasions.) It also creates strong comprador mentality among the Russian neoliberal elite (Medvedev, Kudrin, etc.), the problem that China faces as well, and that undermines Putin efforts.

The level of technological dependence on the West is another unsolvable problem for Putinism ( to the extent it represents economically resurging Russia.) That gives the USA as the center the global neoliberal empire powerful tools to keep Russia in check. Which Obama started to use to squeeze Russia and Trump continuing the Obama policy with probably even more vigor (with Pompeo and Bolton as the "sanctions men" of neocon persuasion)

The main crime of Putin as for Washington, DC is that he refused to be the vassal of Washington, and that generated sanctions and the series of provocations as well as the attempt to encircle Russia, including Nulandgate -- coups d'état which brought to power Ukrainian far-right nationalists in 2014. But still, in a way, subscribed to neoliberal dogma and he wanted co-existence with other neoliberal powers, including the USA.

I understand the element of "publish-of-perish" mentality here and the need for political correctness, but there should be some courage, or at least flexibility as well. Taking the position of a stooge of standard Western propaganda outline guarantee publishing but is despicable from the academic standpoint.

[Dec 10, 2018] The Crisis of Neoliberalism by Gérard Duménil, Dominique Lévy

Notable quotes:
"... The unquenchable quest for high income on the part of the upper classes must be halted. ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... 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. ..."
Amazon.com

Neoliberalism is a new stage of capitalism that emerged in the wake of the structural crisis of the 1970s. It expresses the strategy of the capitalist classes in alliance with upper management, specifically financial managers, in- tending to strengthen their hegemony and to expand it globally. As of 2004, when our book Capital Resurgent: Roots of the Neoliberal Revolution was published by Harvard University Press, this strategy appeared successful, based on its own objectives, the income and wealth of a privileged minority, and the dominance of a country. The contemporary crisis is an outcome of the contradictions inherent in that strategy. The crisis revealed the strategy's unsustainable character, leading to what can be denoted as the "crisis of neoliberalism." Neoliberal trends ultimately unsettled the foundations of the economy of the "secure base" of the upper classes -- the capability of the United States to grow, maintain the leadership of its financial institutions worldwide, and ensure the dominance of its currency -- a class and imperial strategy that resulted in a stalemate.

A New Social Order-A Multipolar World

The crisis of neoliberalism is the fourth structural crisis in capitalism since the late nineteenth century. Each of these earthquakes introduced the establishment of a new social order and deeply altered international relations. The contemporary crisis marks the beginning of a similar process of transition. Not only is financial regulation involved, but a new corporate governance, the rebuilding of the financial sector, and new policies are now required. The basic tenets and practices of neoliberal globalization will be questioned, and production has to be "re-territorialized" in the United States to a significant extent. Accordingly, countries such as China, India, or Brazil will become gradually less dependent on their relationship to the United States. It will be, in particular, quite difficult to correct for the macro trajectory of declining trends of accumulation and cumulative disequilibria of the U.S. economy once the present Great Contraction is stopped.

In any event, the new world order will be more multipolar than at present. Further, if such changes are not realized successfully in the United States, the decline of U.S. international hegemony could be sharp. None of the urgently required tasks in the coming decades to slow down the comparative decline of the U.S. economy can be realized under the same class leadership and unchecked globalizing trends. The unquenchable quest for high income on the part of the upper classes must be halted. Much will depend on the pressure exerted by the popular classes and the peoples of the world, but the "national factor," that is, the national commitment in favor of the preservation of U.S. preeminence worldwide, could play a crucial role. The necessary adjustment can be realized in the context of a new social arrangement to the Right or to the Left, although, as of the last months of 2009, the chances of a Left alternative appear slim.

It is important to understand that the contemporary crisis is only the initial step in a longer process of rectification. How long this process will last depends on the severity of the crisis, and national and international political strife. The capability of the U.S. upper classes to perform the much needed adjustment and the willingness of China to соllaborate will be crucial factors. A crisis of the dollar could precipitate a sequence of events that would alter the basic features of the process.

... ... ...

The Strategy of the U.S. Upper Classes in Neoliberalism: The Success and Failure of a Bold Endeavor

Two very distinct categories of phenomena are involved in the analysis of the contemporary crisis: the historical dynamics of capitalism, on the one hand, and financial and macro mechanisms, on the other hand. The interpretation of the crisis lies at the intersection of these two sets of processes, and the difficulty is to do justice to both and account for their reciprocal relationships.

Neoliberalism should be understood as a new phase in the evolution of capitalism. As such, it can be described intrinsically-its basic mechanisms and contradictions. The reference to a m ost recent phase raises, however, the issue of previous phases. The comparison with earlier periods reveals the traits proper to the new period. The analysis of the social, political, and economic trends that led to the establishment of neoliberalism