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
Amazon Page
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
Amazon Page
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)
Amazon Page
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: World-Systems Analysis–An Introduction

4 Star, Economics
Amazon Page
Amazon Page
4.0 out of 5 stars Buy PAPERBACK Version–Rewarding but Disappointing
December 10, 2009
Immanuel Maurice Wallerstein
Do NOT buy the hard-copy. Amazon obscures the fact that the paperback is available, this is a very thin book, buy the paperbackWorld-Systems Analysis: An Introduction (A John Hope Franklin Center Book). I would have been furious had I bought the hard copy at the grotesquely inflated price for 100 pages at 1.5 line spacing.

The big eye-opener for me was that “World Systems” is NOT the same as Whole Systems. World Systems is entirely anthropomorphic and addresses the inter-relationships among forms of human organization, with the state and the marketplace/capitalism being the primary focus.

Review (Guest) DVD: I.O.U.S.A. DVD on US Bankruptcy

5 Star, America (Founders, Current Situation), Banks, Fed, Money, & Concentrated Wealth, Complexity & Catastrophe, Congress (Failure, Reform), Country/Regional, Culture, Research, Democracy, Economics, Education (General), Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), Impeachment & Treason, Intelligence (Public), Power (Pathologies & Utilization), Priorities, Public Administration, Reviews (DVD Only)
Amazon Page
Amazon Page

David Walker (Peter G. Peterson Foundation), Bob Bixby (Concord Coalition) Director: Patrick Creadon

Product Description: America is on the brink of a financial meltdown. I.O.U.S.A. boldly examines the rapidly growing national debt and its consequences for the United States. Burdened with an ever-expanding government and military, increased international competition, overextended entitlement programs, and debts to foreign countries that are becoming impossible to honor, America must mend its spendthrift ways or face an economic disaster of epic proportions.   Over 125 minutes of bonus materials, including exclusive interviews with Warren Buffett, Alan Greenspan and others.

Phi Beta Iota:  Walker was Comptroller General and briefed Senate in 2007 on bankruptcy.  He resigned in the 9th year of a 15 year term.  Peterson, his sponsor, is the author of Running on Empty–How the Democratic and Republican Parties Are Bankrupting Our Future and What Americans Can Do About I.

5 stars an outstanding and informative film, April 22, 2009

By Matthew G. Sherwin

I.O.U.S.A. educates people about the very real and very dangerous financial problems our government is facing. The producers of the film pull no punches here and they don’t sugar-coat it; and that was the right thing to do. The way Americans live today is essentially “living for the moment” without thinking of the importance of saving money for a rainy day; and the film goes into great, great detail highlighting that the American government does the same. I will tell you just some of the points made by this movie; although it will seem as if I’ve given it all away I assure you that I haven’t.
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Review: The Living Universe

5 Star, Communications, Complexity & Resilience, Consciousness & Social IQ, Cosmos & Destiny, Culture, Research, Economics, Education (General), Environment (Solutions), Information Society, Intelligence (Collective & Quantum), Intelligence (Extra-Terrestrial), Intelligence (Wealth of Networks)
Amazon Page
Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars Evolutionary Activism Takes On New Life

December 6, 2009

Duane Elgin

I was led to this book by Tom Atlee, whose earlier book, The Tao of Democracy: Using Co-Intelligence to Create a World That Works for All completely redirected my thinking in positive directions, and whose new book on Reflections on Evolutionary Activism (soon on Amazon, now at the Public Intelligence Blog) pointed me toward this book as well as Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny, Holistic Darwinism: Synergy, Cybernetics, and the Bioeconomics of Evolution and other books on cultural evolution.

In the face of the almost complete collapse of the post-World War II political, economic, and social paradigms (see my free chapter on Paradigms of Failure at the Public Intelligence Blog or within 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), I feel POSITIVE, and this book and the many human minds and hearts this book represents are the reason I am confident that Conscious Evolution: Awakening Our Social Potential and Integral Consciousness and the Future of Evolution are on the immediate horizon.

Paul Hawkin’s captures the spirit of WHY this book on the Living Universe matters–his most recent book, Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming is the tip of the iceberg.

The greatest value for me of this book is that it is a superb overview of many different concepts from both science and the world of religion–this is a sense-making book not a simple book.

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