Review: Guiding Principles for Stabilization and Reconstruction (Paperback)

6 Star Top 10%, Military, Stabilization, Stabilization & Reconstruction, UN/NGO
Amazon Page
Amazon Page
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly Brilliant Synthesis, Vital First Step–US Violates Every Single Principle
December 18, 2009
United States Institute of Peace
This book is a six-star special and will be so rated at Phi Beta Iota, the Public Intelligence Blog, where I cluster like non-fictions books in 98 categories, one of which is Stabilization & Reconstruction.

At its most fundamental this is without question the most extraordinary sensible and useful synthesis of all possible documents devoted to the subject, offering up a truly remarkable–just an amazing–framework for study and for planning.

The publisher failed to make full use of the Amazon tools for showing the Table of Contents at a minimum, and this error should be corrected immediately. Inside the Book is also recommended. I would normally reduce the book to four stars for its failure include all those outside the “traditional” national security community; for its lack of an index, and for its ignorance of most relevant books outside the narrow circle of stabilization & reconstruction groupies. However, this is such an incredibly gifted, intelligent, and meticulous presentation of vitally important information that I leave it at six star special, beyond five stars.

Still, to not be able to see in an index every page for key words like “water” or “intelligence” is infuriating.

graphic usip posterFirst, an overview of the contents, vastly more simple than the complex array of information presented in sub-sets of conditions, guidance, approach, and then elements.

+ Introduction
+ Strategic Framework for Stabilization and Reconstruction
+ Cross-Cutting Principles
+ High-Level Trade-Offs, Gaps, and Challenges
+ Fundamentals of a Comprehensive Approach
+ End States
—Safe and Secure Environment
—Rule of Law
—Stable Governance
—Sustainable Economy
—Social Well-Being
+ Appendices
A. Resources List
B. Participants in Review Process
C. Summary of Strategic Frameworks Surveyed
D. Snapshot of COmpoments from Overarching Resources
E. Acronyms and Glossary of Selected Key Terms (incomplete, another annoyance that needs to be corrected)

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Review: The Compassionate Instinct–The Science of Human Goodness

5 Star, Civil Society, Communications, Complexity & Resilience, Consciousness & Social IQ, Democracy, Education (General), Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution
Amazon Page
Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary Collection, Unique, Timely, No Notes

December 16, 2009
Dacher Keltner, Jason March, Jeremy Adam Smith
This is a truly extraordinary collection of essays from the magazine Greater Good, a magazine I had no idea existed. The editors have done a tremendous job in selecting 35 essays (click on the cover above to see the Table of Contents and over all I am hugely impressed.

Multiple literatures are in convergences, from the consciousness side to the global brain side to the waging peace side. I arrived at this book from the “beyond genes to culture” side, and list ten other recommended books spanning those literatures at the end of this review.

My notes:

+ 33 authors, 35 essays, drawn from the 2004-2009 timeframe as published in Greater Good, a magazine

+ Herb Alpert Foundation helped make this book possible

+ Three parts to the book: scientific roots; cultivating local goodness; cultivating goodness in society and politics

+ Science stories include evolutionary studies on peacemaking; neuroscientific experiments; and research into hormones like oxytocin that promote trust and generosity, meaning that kindness really is its own reward and that it is contagious

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Review: Diet for a Small Planet

5 Star, Nature, Diet, Memetics, Design
Amazon Page
Amazon Page
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary Value, Genius in a Small Package
December 15, 2009
Frances Lappe Moore
March 18, 2007 is when I bought this book here at Amazon, and I would have reviewed it within the week. Amazon appears to have destroyed my original review, one more in a long line of errors by Amazon that finally forced me to mirror all of my reviews at Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog.  Amazon has BLOWN IT in terms of really being useful to the Earth, while I was invited to speak to their Developer’s Conference 2007, and had a standing room only audience, Jeff Bezos is a geek, not a thinker, and could never wrap his mind around a World Brain as digital contents remixable at the paragraph level.

This particular book was my introduction to Francis Lappe Moore, and along with Barbara Marx Hubbard and Barbara Ehrenreich, whose books I link to below, I consider her one of the most sensible, intelligent, good-hearted citizen leaders in America, and certainly equal to many non-American emergent leaders I do not know.

The growth of livestock on land (and also in the sea) is poisoning the earth and accelerating the migration of animal diseases to humans. There is now evidence that Alzheimer’s Disease is in fact Mad Cow disease badly diagnosed all these years.

I strongly recommend this book for a simple grounding in basic Earth common-sense, and as a gift to others. This is a timeless work.

Other books to consider:
Getting a Grip: Clarity, Creativity, and Courage in a World Gone Mad
Low Carbon Diet: A 30 Day Program to Lose 5000 Pounds–Be Part of the Global Warming Solution!
The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
Conscious Evolution: Awakening Our Social Potential
Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America

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Review DVD: Angels & Demons

Religion & Politics of Religion, Reviews (DVD Only)
Amazon Page
Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars Surprised Me, Not a Typical Sequel

December 14, 2009

Tom Hanks, Ron Howard

Although I tend to shy away from sequels, I broke down and bought this at Giant to pass time away while completing a tediuous task. It was GREAT.

There is zero babe factor in this movie, which was a disappointment, it could have been scripted much more engagingly, but three things really blew me away throughout:

1) The staging or the access to ostensible Vatican inside and underground areas–presumably not actually within the Vatican, this was all done superbly

2) The twists and turns and the ending were great. I actually had tears of surprise at the end and will not spoil it.

3) Finally, Tom Hanks and the historical allusions still fascinate me. It would be great if history could be taught so ably, but more deeply and more thoroughly.

Absolutely recommended.

To browse all 86 of the DVDs that I recommend, visit Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog, each links back to their respective Amazon page but only there can you see JUST my DVD reviews.  [Use Reviews (DVD Only) (86)]

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: Open Source Intelligence Analysis: A Methodological Approach (Paperback)

3 Star, Best Practices in Management, Information Operations, Information Technology, Intelligence (Commercial), Intelligence (Public)
Amazon Page
Amazon Page
3.0 out of 5 stars Well-Intentioned, Disconnected, Over-Priced, Wrong Focus
December 11, 2009

Selma Tekir

While encouraging from a multinational point of view, this offering is so disconnected from the twenty one years of effort by thousands of other multinational pioneers, and so terribly over-priced (84 pages for $54? Get real) that we must caution potential purchasers.For a review of Multinational Multiagency Multidisciplinary Multidomain Information-Sharing and Sense-Making (M4IS2) offerings from 1992-2006 visit Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog.

The NATO Open Source Handbook, NATO Open Source Reader, and NATO’s Intelligence Exploitation of the Internet remain the three standard training documents, and all are free online.

2009 Handbook Online for Internet Tools and Resources for Creating Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) by Dr. Ran Hock, Chief Training Officer, Online Strategies, Inc. remains the best private sector offering.

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Review: Give Me Liberty–A Handbook for American Revolutionaries

5 Star, America (Anti-America), America (Founders, Current Situation), Censorship & Denial of Access, Consciousness & Social IQ, Corruption, Crime (Government), Culture, Research, Democracy, Electoral Reform USA, Justice (Failure, Reform), Philosophy, Politics, Power (Pathologies & Utilization)
Amazon Page
Amazon Page
5.0 out of 5 stars Major Contribution to Loyal Dissent & True Patriotism
December 10, 2009
The book comes in three parts, the first two by the author, the third a collection of well-chosen pieces by others.

I am totally engaged by the idea that liberty is a state of mind, that America the Beautiful is a state of mind, not to be confused with the Wall Street greed and two-party tyranny that is killing the Republic.

The author has done a moderately good job of reviewing the history, and that which she shares is most valuable. I especially like her quoting Robert F. Kennedy on how each generation must win its own struggle to be free, and later in the book, she cites one of the thousands across the country as observing that we have abdicated our citizenship.

The state of mind theme is carried on in a discussion of the difference between a free society and a fear society, and throughout parts I and II we see documented evidence of how America has become a fear society and how the Global War on Terror (GWOT) has been a virtual seizure of power by quasi-fascist mind-sets who may have the best of intentions but in fact have executed a “paper coup” or as the author also puts it, following a long (LONG) summary of restrictions on everything from permits for free speech to travel to voting rules and regulations, “civic death by a thousand cuts.”