Review: Wild Fire

5 Star, Banks, Fed, Money, & Concentrated Wealth, Censorship & Denial of Access, Congress (Failure, Reform), Crime (Government), Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), Impeachment & Treason, Misinformation & Propaganda, Power (Pathologies & Utilization)

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Fiction Maybe, Reality, Very Much So,

November 12, 2006
Nelson DeMille
I generally only read non-fiction, but increasingly in the past fifteen years I have found that fiction of a particular type can be stunningly effective as a truth serum. Winn Schartau's TERMINAL COMPROMISE in the 1990's, about an electronic Pearl Harbar ultimately found to have been set in motion by the National Security Agency, is one such book. This is another.

For a NON-FICTION preview of what the Neo-Cons *thought* they were going to be able to do (out of touch with reality as they are), buy this book and ALSO buy (or at least read my review of) “Endgame: The Blueprint for Victory in the War on Terror” by Thomas McInerney and Paul Vallely. These two seriously overweight generals, in retirement, and well prior to the elective war on Iraq, laid it all out–Iraq, then Iran, then Syria, then Egypt and Jordan, all by force of arms. They are NUTS, but they are also very very representative of the kind of ignorant lunacy that is accepted currency–indeed a qualification for appointment–in the Bush-Cheney regime. With Goldman Sachs in charge of the U.S. Treasury, and Paul Wolfowitz, a proven immoral liar in charge of the World Bank, do not think for a minute that Rumsfeld's being replaced by a more gracious clone (Bob Gates, who is NOT an intelligence professional, but rather a White House staff professional), is going to change anything.

Wild Fire is on target. I used tobelieve that the Kennedy's were both assassinated for planning to interfere with the extreme right, and especially the Wall Street extreme right that is close to Israel.

EDIT of 10 Dec 07: With the publication of Someone Would Have Talked: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the Conspiracy to Mislead History we must acknowledge that the Warren Commission was indeed a cover-up, but that Cuban exiles trained by CIA (a form of extreme right, but not from Texas) did the assassination. CIA and the Secret Service knew it was going to happen, Bobby Kennedy informed JFK, and the latter very foolishly chose to ignore the warning.

The author might just as easily have included a pre-emptive attack on Iranian nuclear plants by Israel, something that many expert observers expect will happen before December 2006 unless the Congress makes it clear that ALL financial support for Israel will be cut off, ALL military assistance for Israel will be cut off, if they do this. You can be certain that the extreme right is egging Israel on and promising American complacency in the face of such an attack.

This book, like the movie Enemy of the State [Blu-ray] is most helpful to those who wish to understand what Norman Cousins tells us in The Pathology of Power – A Challenge to Human Freedom and Safety Absolute power really does corrupt–where the author does not venture, and perhaps he will honor us with these thoughts in the next book, is that the U.S. Government–both Republican and Democratic–is nothing more than “the best of the servant class.” Behind the U.S. Government are a select handful of bankers and a select inter-locking group of corporate boards that are more than happy to harvest profit from the hapless individuals who continue to believe that America is a democracy and that capitalism as practiced today is moral. Not so.

Fiction of this caliber is often a pre-cursor to a “coming out” of non-fiction, such as one can see in the growing 9-11 Truth movement, and the emergent demand by select Senators for complete transparency in government funding. I strongly recommend this book as an eye-opener. It is very very real.

See also:
Vice: Dick Cheney and the Hijacking of the American Presidency
The One Percent Doctrine: Deep Inside America's Pursuit of Its Enemies Since 9/11
Endgame: The Blueprint for Victory in the War on Terror

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Review: Rule by Secrecy–The Hidden History That Connects the Trilateral Commission, the Freemasons, and the Great Pyramids

7 Star Top 1%, Banks, Fed, Money, & Concentrated Wealth, Capitalism (Good & Bad), Censorship & Denial of Access, Complexity & Catastrophe, Corruption, Crime (Corporate), Crime (Government), Economics, Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), Justice (Failure, Reform), Misinformation & Propaganda, Power (Pathologies & Utilization)

Amazon Page7 Star Life Transformative insights – Bankers, Politicians, Spies, Patsies, and Secret Societies, October 29, 2006

Jim Marrs

This book is extraordinarily interesting, broad, and paradigm-altering.

The table of contents provided enough detail to be an executive summary. The book is somewhat deficient on sources (heavily reliant on superficial “encyclopedic” references) but the alternative explanation of history and reality is not to be missed.

I bought the book thinking it was about government secrecy. Not so. Much more importantly, this book is about the secret societies used by the 300-500 wealthiest individuals in the world, the ones that own the central banks that can cause financial panics, move inflation or deflation, all to the end of profiting, while “exploding the client,” the individual “patsy” whose hard-earned wages are nothing more than a supermarket shelf from which these elites pluck extra funds to buy another castle. See my review of Mark Lewis's “Liar's Poker” to understand Wall Street use of individuals as *disposable* sources of cash, and my review of John Perkin's “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” to get a sense of the larger global methods being used to loot the commonwealths. Also relevant is Jeff Faux, “The Global Class War : How America's Bipartisan Elite Lost Our Future – and What It Will Take to Win it Back” and many of my other reviews of books by others on the loss of government legitimacy and credibility with the people, combined with the predatory immorality of corporations that now own government.

Much of what the author attributes to a grand master plan can also be explained by the natural tendency of wealth to create wealth (compound interest) and for wealth to influence politics, but this book is deeper than that.

The author begins with an introduction of the Rothchilds, and gradually builds up a detailed picture of how they funded “barons” around the world, and in America, where the Morgans and the Rockefellers were their chosen instruments. The Bush family is second tier but right up there. Special attention is given to the Federal Reserve, which is NOT controlled by the government and has NEVER been audited in its history, and to the ease with which bankers make money from advance knowledge of changes in domestic and foreign policies that they often simply mandate.

The USA was until around 1837 a “value-based” economy in which real assets–gold, silver, land, labor–paid in full. There was no debt, no interest. From Thomas Jefferson to Andrew Jackson, bankers from Europe were rejected and considered “more dangerous than armies, swindling the future.” Jefferson also believed central banks to be unconstitutional, since the right to create a national currency is reserved to the U.S. Treasury. The author notes that both Lincoln and Kennedy were unique for issuing debt-free currency, and for being assassinated. Reagan was shot by Hinkley, whose relative was dining with a prominent member of the Bush family the night before, and he suggests this was intended to move Bush, a member of the secret society world and leading pawn, into power years sooner.

An extensive discussion is provided of bankers themselves causing financial panics, wars, and other confrontations. The author refers to the Rothschild Formula as being to spawn wars and finance both sides. The book discusses the bank-rolling of Hitler, Trotsky, the US Civil War, the French Revolution, the Boar War, and on and on.

Credible evidence is provided that the terrorism in Italy, as part of a “Strategy of Tension” described in a captured document, was intended to create enough of a perception of leftist terrorism to justify a shift in the government toward fascism. The P2 Lodge behind the terrorism was a secret society on the right, not the left, and is said to have been guided by the Alpine Lodge in Switzerland, the “Gnomes of Zurich.” George Bush senior is alleged to have been an honorary member of this lodge, while Henry Kissinger is said later in the book to be a member of the Alpine Lodge. Most interesting for me is the CIA connection. The “Strategy of Tension” was first devised by James Angleton to prevent a communist take-over in Italy following WWII, and is STRICKINGLY apt in considering the allegations that 9/11 was allowed to happen if not made to happen. See my review of “Crossing the Rubicon,” of “9/11: Synthetic Terror Made in the USA,” among other books (use my lists).

Summing up this book early on, I found it to be 1/3 wealth begets wealth; 1/3 corruption begets wealth, and 1/3 conspiracy begets wealth. However, once I entered the secret society segment of the book, I reverse the above order.

This book gave me a completely new perspective on Cheney and Rove as front men rather than the prime movers, intended to take the heat and be “sacrificed” without the public every realizing that it is Citi-Bank (the same bank said to have secretly received Yamashita's Gold from Douglas McArthur, as told in “Gold Warriors” by Sterling and Peggy Seagrave), and Chase Manhattan, the two owned sufficiently by the Morgan and Rockefeller families to be the hubs for their power. The author also discusses the 40,000 tax exempt organizations that serve as fronts for banks and foundations and corporations, all manipulating the individual citizen-voter without paying a cent in taxes.

On page 408 the author says “Whatever the truth may be, we must be wary of leaders who attempt–whether by force, manipulation, or deceit–to move whole populations in directions they may not wish to go and might not be beneficial to all.”

On page 409 the author says “Knowledge is indeed power. It is time for those who desire true freedom to exert themselves–to fight back against the forces who desire domination through fear and disunity [enabled by secrecy.” The author notes that there are more of us than of them (see my review of Jonathan Schell's “Unconquerable World.”)

I have one word for what I plan to work toward: TRANSPARENCY. Collective public intelligence is going to survive and prosper. The times, they are a'changing.

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Review: The Price of Loyalty–George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O’Neill

5 Star, Banks, Fed, Money, & Concentrated Wealth, Biography & Memoirs, Congress (Failure, Reform), Crime (Government), Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform)

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5.0 out of 5 stars Book Clearly Documents Shortfalls in Ideological Power,

February 12, 2004
Ron Suskind
Edit of 20 Dec 07 to add links for the brain dead (at bottom, duh).

This book is a fine summary of the shortfalls in the ideological exercise of power that chooses to disregard reality for forgo bi-partisan compromise.

The author, an award-winning Wall Street journalist, makes three points in his brief introduction: 1) the greatest threat to national security is that of *bad analysis* (not just secret analysis but bad policy analysis); 2) the book is not a kiss and tell memoir as much as an eye-opening warning of what happens when ideology is substituted for policy analysis; and 3) the book is based on nineteen thousand documents–virtually every document the protagonist O'Neil touched–and hundreds of hours of interviews with people who by their very consent to be interviewed were validating O'Neil's account. This book is a classic, and the moderate Republican counter-part to Morton Halperin's similarly revelatory “Bureaucratic Politics & Foreign Affairs.”

Although much has been made of how O'Neil is disparaging of the incumbent president, that is a minor aspect. The heart of this book is about the competition between two forms of governance: the one that is overseen by Dick Cheney, in which ideological assumptions create policy without regard to the facts and in favor of the wealthy few that contribute to the incumbent's political coffers; and the one that was characteristic of wiser Republican presidents, including Nixon, Ford, Reagan and papa Bush, in which a philosophy of governance seeks to find a balanced middle ground based on an interplay of facts and political preferences.

Summing the book up in two sentences: Bush-Cheney are about ideological victory at any cost, making policy in favor of their corporate crony base, without regard to the facts or the merits of any policy. O'Neil, and the winning candidate in 2008, are about a reasoned process for arriving at sound policy in the context of fiscal discipline.

This is an exciting book, and one that every moderate Republican will want to read as they contemplate joining with conservative Southern Democrats like Sam Nunn to create a new Fiscal Conservative Party. An early quote from O'Neil talking to Greenspan sums up the problem: “Our political system needs fixing. It needs to be based on reality. Not games.”

The book rewards anyone who actually reads it word for word with a number of gems.

1) The American economy is actually two economies. One embraces automation and is very productive as a result; the other relies on expert labor and having difficulty making gains.

2) Corporate tax contributions to national revenue have been halved from 1967 to 2000 [not addressed by O'Neil, but as the book “Perfectly Legal” documents, the tax code has become so corrupt that despite the enormous growth of the economy and the enormous profits being made by Halliburton et al, corporations are now escaping virtually all taxes, and this is a big part of why the US Government cannot cover its future obligations and growing debt.]

3) Iraq was the Bush-Cheney regime's top priority from day one. The very first National Security Council meeting was scripted to put Iraq in play, and the Director of Central Intelligence was a full collaborator in this endeavor, coming to the meeting with a variety of images (all subsequently called into question) that purported to make the case for Iraq being a threat requiring action. As O'Neil recollects in the book: “Ten days in, and it was about Iraq.”

4) The unilateralist character of the regime is also addressed. As this review is being written, the Administration is posturing about going after nuclear proliferators, which makes the O'Neil critique of the Rumsfeld approach to proliferation control all the more meaningful: “A traditional counterpoint, that international organizations and a web of economic and cultural interdependencies–as well as protective alliances–could help to control such deadly proliferation, is not mentioned in the six-page memo. The neoconservative view places little faith in such arrangements, or, for that matter, in diplomacy.” There it is again. The Bush Administration is about a big military stick motivated by ideology and not at all informed by any kind of inter-agency policy review process.

5) The book provides a very clear understanding of the pathologies of the Bush White House. The degree to which Rove literally shuts the Cabinet officers out and manipulates policy to appeal to “the base” of cash contributors is quite extraordinary. The degree to which Cheney manipulates letters from the Hill and other matters warrants its own chapter, titled “No Fingerprints.” The degree to which Lindsey, a loosely-educated ideological wonk in way over his head, leaks to the press to undermine the Secretary of the Treasury, is noteworthy.

6) Rove's conspiratorial manipulation of Presidential policymaking led, in Bush's *first* State of the Union message, to the first known instance in which the president “said something that knowledgeable people in the U.S. government knew to be false”, this with respect to a $1.2 trillion calculation that was knowably false and enormously important to the bond market. This was nothing less than a precursor to future false statements by the president that can be attributed to an unprofessional policy process dominated by a few ideologues.

7) There is a very fine section on clean water and reliable electricity as the heart of saving the Third World, and we are treated to the contrast between a beltway bandit costing out a water network for one country at $2 billion, and O'Neil saying it could be done for $25 million. This vignette captured everything that is wrong with both Washington and the military-industrial complex.

This book is packed with gems, all of them useful to anyone seeking to document why Bush and Cheney are unfit to lead America. They broke most if not all of their promises to “the center”, and they are twice removed from reality: once on tax cuts and a second time on the doctrine of preemption in foreign affairs.

See also, with reviews:
Losing America: Confronting a Reckless and Arrogant Presidency
Vice: Dick Cheney and the Hijacking of the American Presidency
American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War On America
American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21stCentury
Running on Empty: How the Democratic and Republican Parties Are Bankrupting Our Future and What Americans Can Do About It
Blood Money: Wasted Billions, Lost Lives, and Corporate Greed in Iraq
Bush's Brain

‘Nuff said. See my lists as well.

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Review: War is a Racket–The Antiwar Classic by America’s Most Decorated Soldier

6 Star Top 10%, Banks, Fed, Money, & Concentrated Wealth, Congress (Failure, Reform), Corruption, Economics, Empire, Sorrows, Hubris, Blowback, Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), History, Insurgency & Revolution, Military & Pentagon Power, Misinformation & Propaganda, Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, War & Face of Battle

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5.0 out of 5 stars Decorated Marine General Cannot Be Ignored,

August 17, 2003
Smedley D. Butler
EDITED from 17 Aug 03 to add book links.

This book is a real gem, a classic, that should be in any library desiring to focus on national security. It is a very readable collection of short essays, ending with a concise collection of photographs that show the horror of war–on one page in particular, a pile of artillery shells labeled “Cause” and below is a photo of a massive pile of bodies, labeled “Effect.”

Of particular interest to anyone concerned about the current national security situation, both its expensive mis-adventures abroad and its intrusive violation of many Constitutional rights at home, is the author's history, not only as a the most decorated Marine at the time, with campaign experience all over the world, but as a spokesperson, in retirement, for placing constitutional American principles over imperialist American practice.

The following quotations from the book are intended to summarize it:

“I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil intersts in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.” [p. 10]

“War is a racket. …It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.” [p. 23]

“The general public shoulders the bill [for war]. This bill renders a horrible accounting. Newly placed gravestones. Mangled bodies. Shattered minds. Broken hearts and homes. Economic instability. Depression and all its attendant miseries. Back-breaking taxation for generations and generations.” [p. 24]

General Butler is especially trenchant when he looks at post-war casualties. He writes with great emotion about the thousands of tramautized soldiers, many of who lose their minds and are penned like animals until they die, and he notes that in his time, returning veterans are three times more likely to die prematurely than those who stayed home.

This decorated Marine, who understands and documents in detail the exorbitant profits that a select few insiders (hence the term “racket”) make from war, proposes three specific anti-war measures:

1) Take the profit out of war. Nationalize and mobilize the industrial sector, and pay every manager no more than each soldier earns.

2) Vote for war or no war on the basis of a limited plebisite in which only those being asked to bear arms and die for their country are permitted to vote.

3) Limit US military forces, by Constitutional amendment, to home defense purposes only.

There is a great deal of wisdom and practical experience in this small book–Smedley Butler is to war profiteering what S.L.A. Marshall is to “the soldier's load.” While a globalized world and the complex integration of both national and non-national interests do seem to require a global national security strategy and a means of exerting global influence, I am convinced that he is correct about the fundamentals: we must take the profit out of war, and restore the voice of the people in the matter of making war.

The Fog of War – Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara
Why We Fight
Fog Facts: Searching for Truth in the Land of Spin
Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & ‘Project Truth'
Weapons of Mass Deception: The Uses of Propaganda in Bush's War on Iraq
American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War On America
The Unconquerable World: Power, Nonviolence, and the Will of the People
The Lessons of History
The Landscape of History: How Historians Map the Past

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Review: The Pathology of Power

5 Star, Banks, Fed, Money, & Concentrated Wealth, Budget Process & Politics, Capitalism (Good & Bad), Congress (Failure, Reform), Corruption, Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), Impeachment & Treason, Justice (Failure, Reform), Military & Pentagon Power, Misinformation & Propaganda, Power (Pathologies & Utilization), True Cost & Toxicity, Truth & Reconciliation

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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Detailed Exposure of Power Killing Intelligence,

August 16, 2003
Norman Cousins
Edit of 22 dec 07 to add links.

This book richly merits republication, and it is fortunate that so many copies are still available. Consider the author's opening statement:

“Connected to the tendency of power to corrupt are yet other tendencies that emerge from the pages of the historians:

* The tendency of power to drive intelligence underground;

* The tendency of power to become a theology, admitting no other gods before it;

* The tendency of power to distort and damage the traditions and institutions it was designed to protect;

* The tendency of power to create a language of its own, making other forms of communication incoherent and irrelevant;

* The tendency of power to spawn imitators, leading to volatile competition;

* The tendency of power to set the stage for its own use.

This is simply a brilliant, reasoned, well-documented and well-structured look at the greatest threat to any Republic's national security and prosperity: absolute power with its attendant absolute corruption. All that the author has to say over his 13 chapters, from why Hiroshima to the reality of General MacArther to General and President Eisenhower's prophetic emphasis on “true” security rather than the “cooked books” false security of the military-industrial complex, every bit of this is directly applicable to the national security challenges–and the internal ethical challenges–facing the American people are their largely corrupt national political system at the dawn of the 21st Century. Of course it applies to all other nations as well, but as the Americans are the largest bull, they do the most damage to themselves as well as to others.

The author concludes with some “first principles” that are alone worth the price of the book, these are abbreviated here:

* security of the human commonwealth above security of the state

* well-being of mankind above well-being of any one nation

* needs of future generations above the needs of current generation.

* rights of man over the rights of the state

* private conscience over public edict

* ordeal of peace over easy drift of prosperity

His final sentence will not be understood by those who “do not do nuances.” He says: “The challenge, therefore, is to recognize that national security depends on a wide range of factors, some of them nonmilitary in nature.” He goes on to list the freedoms and well-being of the society itself, the focus on making human development the highest national security priority; the selection of creative transformative rather than manipulative leaders; the articulation of national goals that win foreign support on their merits; the strengthening of international institutions; and finally, the recognition that governance must be focused on the common good, not on retaining power. To lead properly is to be free of corruption. Anything else is pathological and undermines national security.

More recent books expanding on this theme, with reviews:
Vice: Dick Cheney and the Hijacking of the American Presidency
Running on Empty: How the Democratic and Republican Parties Are Bankrupting Our Future and What Americans Can Do About It
The Battle for the Soul of Capitalism: How the Financial System Underminded Social Ideals, Damaged Trust in the Markets, Robbed Investors of Trillions – and What to Do About It
Weapons of Mass Deception: The Uses of Propaganda in Bush's War on Iraq
Blood Money: Wasted Billions, Lost Lives, and Corporate Greed in Iraq
Sleeping with the Devil: How Washington Sold Our Soul for Saudi Crude
Conspiracy of Fools: A True Story
The Informant: A True Story
Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA
9/11 Synthetic Terror: Made in USA, Fourth Edition

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Review: The Manufacture of Evil–Ethics, Evolution and the Industrial System

5 Star, Banks, Fed, Money, & Concentrated Wealth, Capitalism (Good & Bad), Corruption, Justice (Failure, Reform), Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Power (Pathologies & Utilization)

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5.0 out of 5 stars Helps Understand the Lack of Ethics Behind Blackout,

August 16, 2003
Lionel Tiger
Edit of 22 Dec 07 to add links.

The recent black-out that plunged Canadian provinces and many US states, notably New York, into darkness, while producing disturbing pictures of millions exiting New York on foot across its automotive bridges, can be understood by reading several books, among them this book. Others include Charle's Perrow's “Normal Accidents: Dealing with High Risk Technologies”, Norman Cousins, “The Pathology of Power”, and the variety of books that focus specifically on corruption and deception by electrical utility companies around the world, but generally in the US, UK, and Australia.

Summing the book up in one sentence: the industrial system disconnected the ethics of kinship and community from the production process. It allowed “objective” industrial management to devise complex processes in which each individual plays a functionalist role with minimalist information, and no one person can see the relationship between their “objective” task, and the massively dysfunctional, pathological, and corrupt outcomes of the total industrial system.

This is an erudite, well-documented, well-reasoned book. It carefully addresses the manner in which sociopathological organizations–including militaries and the corporations that create them in their image–undermine national security and the national commonwealth. It concludes on a positive note: restoring group governance, and restoring the connection between kinship, community, ethics, and the manner in which national security and national economic decisions are made, can reverse this destructive evil trend, and restore mankind to a state of grace among men and between men and nature. This is an inspiring important work.

More recent books bearing out this author's original message:
The Battle for the Soul of Capitalism: How the Financial System Underminded Social Ideals, Damaged Trust in the Markets, Robbed Investors of Trillions – and What to Do About It
The Soul of Capitalism: Opening Paths to a Moral Economy
The Global Class War: How America's Bipartisan Elite Lost Our Future – and What It Will Take to Win It Back
Exporting America: Why Corporate Greed Is Shipping American Jobs Overseas
War on the Middle Class: How the Government, Big Business, and Special Interest Groups Are Waging War onthe American Dream and How to Fight Back
Vice: Dick Cheney and the Hijacking of the American Presidency
Running on Empty: How the Democratic and Republican Parties Are Bankrupting Our Future and What Americans Can Do About It
State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America
Day of Reckoning: How Hubris, Ideology, and Greed Are Tearing America Apart

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Review (Guest): Liar’s Poker–Rising Through the Wreckage on Wall Street

5 Star, Banks, Fed, Money, & Concentrated Wealth, Biography & Memoirs, Corruption
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5.0 out of 5 stars One hand, one million dollars, no tears.

July 15, 2003

john purcell “johneric99” (Purcellville, VA USA)

In the 1980's, Michael Lewis was a neophyte bond salesman for Salomon Brothers in New York and London for four years. Liar's Poker is a high-stakes game the traders, salesmen, and executives play each afternoon, but it is also a metaphor for the Salomon culture of extreme risk-taking with immediate payoffs and clear winners and losers.

This is the story of how Lewis survived the training program, inept but mean-spirited management, an aborted take-over even featuring a white knight, layoffs and the 1987 market crash before quitting to find his real calling as a business journalist. While Lewis's career did not take off quickly, he eventually became a highly paid producer, although not in the league of the true top dogs.

Lewis tells the real story of Wall Street in both go-go and crash days with self-deprecating humor enlivened with his ecletic wit. Colorful and well-known Wall Street characters appear such as Michael Milken, Lazlo Birini, Warren Buffett, Bill Simon, Sr. and John Guetfruend. All business students need to read this as even those with advanced degrees in finance such as myself, will learn how things really work. The story of how the junk bond and collateralized mortgage backed security markets emerge is told to fill in a chapter in financial history. Perhaps most interesting is some of the political machinations, rampant at Salomon, which lead for example for Salomon to ignore the junk bond market, allowing others to flourish and eventually attempt to take-over Salomon using junk bonds.

Lewis also describes for all investors the conflicts of interest and lack of governance on Wall Street long before Eliot Spitzer and Arthur Levitt became the champions of the little guy. My next step is to read Lewis's later books.

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