Review: The Occupation of Iraq: Winning the War, Losing the Peace

5 Star, Atrocities & Genocide, Complexity & Catastrophe, Congress (Failure, Reform), Corruption, Crime (Government), Crime (Organized, Transnational), Culture, Research, Diplomacy, Economics, Empire, Sorrows, Hubris, Blowback, Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), Force Structure (Military), History, Insurgency & Revolution, Intelligence (Government/Secret), Intelligence (Public), Iraq, Justice (Failure, Reform), Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Politics, Power (Pathologies & Utilization), Priorities, Public Administration, Religion & Politics of Religion, Security (Including Immigration), Stabilization & Reconstruction, Terrorism & Jihad, Threats (Emerging & Perennial), True Cost & Toxicity, Truth & Reconciliation, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized), War & Face of Battle, Water, Energy, Oil, Scarcity
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Amazon Page
5.0 out of 5 stars Phenomenal–Ref A Relevant to Everywhere Else
December 21, 2009
Ali A. Allawi
The author has achieved extraordinary synthesis and summation, with gifted straight-forward language.This book is not only a capstone reference, but demonstrates why we need to LISTEN–none of us could learn–in a lifetime–all that this author has in his head. That’s why multinational engagement is a non-negotiable first step toward the future.

Key notes and quotes:

+ Bush Senior should not have left Saddam Hussein off the hook in Gulf I, should have finished off the regime while we had enough troops on the ground to make the peace.

+ US blew Gulf II from the moment of victory onward. “Incoherent” is a word the author uses frequently in describing virtually every aspect of US operations in Iraq. The one element that gets high marks from him is the U.S. Agency for International Development (AID) but the fact that the bulk of the “reconstruction” money was mis-managed by the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) makes AID’s excellent a footnote in this sorry tale.

+ Book covers 2003-2006; the author was Minister of Defense and then Minister of Finance during the reconstruction period.

+ “Too few Americans actually cared.” Fred Smith (parent agency not clear) gets high marks from the author for caring and competence as the CPA-appointed advisor to the Ministry of Defense in the 2004 timeframe.

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Review: Threshold–The Crisis of Western Culture

5 Star, America (Founders, Current Situation), Banks, Fed, Money, & Concentrated Wealth, Capitalism (Good & Bad), Censorship & Denial of Access, Complexity & Catastrophe, Congress (Failure, Reform), Consciousness & Social IQ, Culture, Research, Democracy, Economics, Education (General), Electoral Reform USA, Empire, Sorrows, Hubris, Blowback, Environment (Problems), Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), Military & Pentagon Power, Misinformation & Propaganda, Nature, Diet, Memetics, Design, Politics, Power (Pathologies & Utilization), Religion & Politics of Religion, Secrecy & Politics of Secrecy, Technology (Bio-Mimicry, Clean), True Cost & Toxicity, Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized), Water, Energy, Oil, Scarcity
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Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars Five for the Voice, Four for the Substance

December 12, 2009
Thom Hartmann
Thom Hartmann is one of a handful of individuals that I consider to be true guides for the rest of us, and I consider two of his earlier books, Cracking the Code and SCREWED, to have been instrumental in my own transformation from recovering spy to intelligence officer to the public.

The book does cover a lot of ground lightly, but it is coherent, and because it is Thom Hartmann, whose voice is hugely important to all of us, I settle on a five instead of a four. Other books that complement this one include Tom Atlee’s The Tao of Democracy: Using Co-Intelligence to Create a World That Works for All, Jim Rough’s Society’s Breakthrough!: Releasing Essential Wisdom and Virtue in All the People, and The People’s Business: Controlling Corporations and Restoring Democracy.

Here are my notes:

+ Book may be missing pages, mine starts at page xi (Preface) so I am left wondering, what happened to i through x?

+ Book opens with quotes from Einstein and Schweitzer with respect to the urgency of widening our circle of compassion to include ALL living things, and explicitly ALL humanity.

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Review DVD: The AMERICAN Ruling Class

5 Star, America (Founders, Current Situation), Banks, Fed, Money, & Concentrated Wealth, Congress (Failure, Reform), Culture, Research, Democracy, Economics, Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), Justice (Failure, Reform), Leadership, Military & Pentagon Power, Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Reviews (DVD Only), Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized)
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Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars Truly Remarkable–Provokes & Entertains

December 10, 2009
Robert Altman, James Baker, Bill Bradley, Harold Brown, Hodding Carter, William Coleman, Walter Cronkite, Barabara Ehrenreich, Vartan Gregorian, Robert Hackney, Doug Henwood, Mike Dedavoy, Joseph Nye, Samuel Peabody, John Perkins, Pete Seeger, Lawrence Summers, Arthur Sulzberger, William Taft,  Kurt Vonnegut, Howard Zinn

This DVD is superb and also subversive. I doubt that the “stars” in this movie, particularly James Baker, Bill Bradley, Howard Brown, and Larry Summers, really knew what they were getting into, since their words–and their bland denials–ring so false in this context.

I put the film in while trying to deal with Microsoft’s latest “update” that cost me half the morning, and I recommend it very strongly as a Christmas present or for classrooms and book clubs.

My notes:

+ A Peabody, whose ancestors came on “the boat” and also founded Groton, laments that whereas all the leaders used to pass through Groton, now there is no real “source.” I am reminded of Lee Iacocca’s Where Have All the Leaders Gone?.

+ Hedge fund visits basically boils all ownership in America down to four banks, and later in the film we learn that six multinational control almost all “content.”

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Review: The End of America–Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot

5 Star, America (Founders, Current Situation), Atrocities & Genocide, Censorship & Denial of Access, Congress (Failure, Reform), Consciousness & Social IQ, Corruption, Country/Regional, Crime (Government), Culture, Research, Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), Impeachment & Treason, Intelligence (Government/Secret), Justice (Failure, Reform), Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Philosophy, Politics, Power (Pathologies & Utilization), Security (Including Immigration), Terrorism & Jihad, Threats (Emerging & Perennial), True Cost & Toxicity, Truth & Reconciliation, Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized)
Amazon Page
Amazon Page
5.0 out of 5 stars Needs to Be Said, Needs to Be Read, A Solid First Step
December 10, 2009
Naomi Wolf
I disagree with those that criticize this book. This is PRECISELY the kind of book we need to see, at a reasonable price, being discussed in schools, clubs, and churches.

QUOTE page 27: “The Founders set out to prove that ordinary people could be entrusted with governing themselves in a state where no one could arbitrarily arrest them, lock them up, or torture them.”

This book resonates with me, in part because for the past ten years I have been reading heavily and observing the decline of America in all respects–see my chapter on Paradigms of Failure in Election 2008: Lipstick on the Pig (Substance of Governance; Legitimate Grievances; Candidates on the Issues; Balanced Budget 101; Call to Arms: Fund We Not Them; Annotated Bibliography), both free at Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog (as will all my books, but I do recommend the Amazon hard copies).

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Review: Holistic Darwinism: Synergy, Cybernetics, and the Bioeconomics of Evolution

6 Star Top 10%, Best Practices in Management, Change & Innovation, Civil Society, Communications, Complexity & Resilience, Consciousness & Social IQ, Culture, Research, Decision-Making & Decision-Support, Democracy, Economics, Education (General), Education (Universities), Environment (Solutions), Future, Games, Models, & Simulations, History, Information Operations, Information Society, Intelligence (Collective & Quantum), Intelligence (Public), Nature, Diet, Memetics, Design, Survival & Sustainment, Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized)
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Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond 6 Stars–And a Seventh for Accessible Pricing

December 5, 2009
Peter A. Corning
I could spend a lifetime reading and re-reading this book, and each of the cited sources, and not waste the time at all. This is one of the most extraordinary works I have encountered, and while I cannot do it justice, I will summarize it. Four other books that join this one in framing my third and last stage of life:
Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge
Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny
A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility–Report of the Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change
The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, Revised and Updated 5th Anniversary Edition: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits

Bottom line: Humanity can evolve, must evolve, and the Whole Earth, Co-Evolution concepts that Stewart Brand and others pioneered (not mentioned here), that indigenous people’s everywhere have understood for centuries, are a natural path for us all. We *can* create a prosperous world at peace.

Short version of the book: Synergy is cool again, synergy and self-organization complement each other and are distinct; bioeconomics is hugely important and supports the premise that the whole is larger than the sum of the parts and that interactions and exchanges can and should be done for the whole, “beyond selfishness,” cybernetics rules, information is the space between, and ethics is both a form of cybernetics and a cultural adaptation that helps the whole evolve and persist.

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Review: The Real Global Warming Disaster

6 Star Top 10%, Associations & Foundations, Banks, Fed, Money, & Concentrated Wealth, Budget Process & Politics, Capitalism (Good & Bad), Complexity & Catastrophe, Congress (Failure, Reform), Corruption, Crime (Corporate), Crime (Government), Economics, Education (General), Education (Universities), Environment (Problems), Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), Future, Games, Models, & Simulations, History, Information Operations, Information Society, Information Technology, Intelligence (Commercial), Intelligence (Public), Media, Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Power (Pathologies & Utilization), Priorities, Public Administration, Science & Politics of Science, Secrecy & Politics of Secrecy, Threats (Emerging & Perennial), True Cost & Toxicity, United Nations & NGOs, Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized), Water, Energy, Oil, Scarcity
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond 6 Stars–Could Help Destroy Strong, Gore, & IPCC
December 4, 2009
This is a preliminary review as there are no others. I will spend the week-end creating a timeline, sorting out the good guys and the bad guys, and charting the costs real and projected.

Short version: bad science, bad media, bad politics, bad finance.

Two other books I have reviewed that support this one:
The Resilient Earth: Science, Global Warming and the Fate of Humanity
Global Warming False Alarm: The Bad Science Behind the United Nations’ Assertion that Man-made CO2 Causes Global Warming

This book also helps reinstate Lomborg, whom I am ashamed to say I doubted after he was first denounced (publicly) and then redeemed (quietly) in Denmark. See my reviews of:
The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World
Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist’s Guide to Global Warming (Vintage)

I list these–and point to others at the end of this preliminary review–to make the point that this author’s stellar and very complete work with very good notes is the coup de grace–the final bullet in the head of the IPCC, a mercy killing long over-due. [Disclosure: I funded the first three years of the Earth Intelligence Network, a 501c3 Public Charity that accepts the ten high-level threats to humanity for action, and places climate change within priority #3, Environmental Degradation–we also place a very high priority on clarity, diversity, integrity, and sustainability of effort.

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