Review: Inside Trump’s White House by Doug Wead

3 Star, America (Founders, Current Situation), Biography & Memoirs
Amazon Page

Doug Weld

3 Stars — Annoying Puff Piece that Glorifies Jared & Ivanka Kushner, Lacks Substance

I thought this book was going to be important so I looked at the index first (extremely good) and then the end notes (unprofessional and mediocre — URLs instead of full citations of author, title, publication, date). Then on page 7 the author calls Jared Kushner “brilliant” – this is the same Jared Kushner that was in the third out of five ranks in school, bought his way into Harvard, and took a $1B bribe from Qatar to save his failed business.

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Review: Merchants of Truth The Business of News and the Fight for Facts by Jill Abramson (Sort Of)

3 Star, Media
Amazon Page

Jill Abramson

3 Stars

This is a crap book that I should have been smart enough to not buy but I overlooked the author’s dubious credentials as a New York Times editor — the “pay to play” standard in the fake news Mainstream Media (MSM).

There is nothing really useful in this book, which paints a generally rosy picture of the New York Time and Washington Post “adapting” (they have not, they are both shit newspapers that cannot be trusted to tell the truth, both are shills for the Deep State and their propaganda line controlled by bribed or blackmailed editors and tame journalists) and a largely unsatisfactory look at VICE and BuzzFeed, both of which shit for different reasons.

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Review: FEAR – Trump & The White House

3 Star, America (Founders, Current Situation)
Amazon Page

Bob Woodward

3 Stars — A Great Deal of Disinformation, Some Useful Bits

I was not planning to spend time or money on Bob Woodward’s new book — he is a known agent of the Deep State — but I was trapped in an airport for several hours, and relented.

Let’s start with the obvious disinformation — Woodward can simply not be trusted to tell the truth about the world we live in:

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Review: Life After Google – The Fall Of Big Data and the Rise of the Blockchain Economy by George Gilder

3 Star, Information Society, Information Technology
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George Gilder

3 Stars Fad Book Limited Value

I gave up on this book after 100 pages (it is 320 pages long). I normally do not waste time writing negative reviews  but in this instance think it appropriate to mention that I found it wanting.

The first third, on Google, is so far-fetched in its effusive praise and its articulation of the Google this and Google that I could not get the image out of my head: George Gilder kissing Eric Schmidt’s ass.  Over and over and over again.

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REVIEW: The Square and the Tower – Networks and Power, from the Freemasons to Facebook

3 Star, Culture, Research
Amazon Page

Niall Ferguson

3 Stars – Half-Assed History from a Courtesan

Niall Ferguson is neither Will Durant nor John Lewis Gaddis.  He is far removed from Howard Zinn. He is, in effect, an intelligent idiot, a courtesan historian. While the book’s intent may remind one of Eric S. Raymond’s classic essay on “The Cathedral or the Bazaar,” or the book by Thomas L. Friedman, The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization, the author – while spectacularly qualified in conventional, which is to say, “approved thinking,” – offers so many false notes in this book in relation to what I know to be true, that I consider this book largely worthless.

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Review: The Seventh Sense: Power, Fortune, and Survival in the Age of Networks

3 Star, Information Operations, Information Society, Information Technology
Amazon Page
Amazon Page

Joshua Cooper Ramo

3.0 out of 5 stars Over-Sold, Dated, Shallow, Not At All Inspiring

Do not trust jacket blurbs from celebrities — most of these blurbs are written without ever reading the book, a form of corruption.

See Instead (a 6 Star Book): Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization

Ramo’s intent is to sensitize us to changes we are living through as highly connected networks come to dominate nearly every aspect of society. He does not presume to tell us how it will all turn out, only that institutions will be thoroughly reshaped under relentless pressures. He offers hints of the posture one might develop to make the most of the situation we are in, but there are no guarantees. So while the reader might enjoy the reassurance of a conclusive diagnosis and a sure-fire strategy for success, as so many business books offer, Ramos feels that it would be unwise to offer that sort of satisfaction. His premise is correct, but the alternative satisfaction — of wisdom — sets a high bar. Does he deliver?

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Review: The Story – A Reporter’s Journey

3 Star, Media
Amazon Page
Amazon Page

Judith Miller

3.0 out of 5 stars From the Person Who Helped Cheney Lie Us Into a $4 Trillion War, April 7, 2015

The author of this book almost single-handedly helped Dick Cheney lie the US public into a $4 trillion dollar war, the New York Times managers then lacking in integrity — these are the same people that covered up rendition and torture and mass surveillance by NSA at opportune times, so as to “help” a favored President living by Henry Kissinger’s motto, “The illegal we do immediately, the unconstitutional takes a little longer.”

I certainly recommend the book, at the very low price that is consistent with this book’s lack of depth — like looking insider the mind of a worm, everyone should do this at least once.

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Review (Guest): Unstoppable – The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State

3 Star, America (Founders, Current Situation), Congress (Failure, Reform), Crime (Corporate), Politics, Power (Pathologies & Utilization)
Amazon Page
Amazon Page

Ralph Nader

3.0 out of 5 stars This is Both an Accurate and a Useful Treatise, But …?, October 25, 2014

By Herbert L Calhoun “paulocal”

… the accurate part is not very useful and the useful part is not very accurate. Allow me to explain by beginning with the accurate part of the book first.

Using his considerable experiences and his legal skills as an activist, the reader will discover here that Mr. Nader is a walking encyclopedia of details on the activist ways of organizing. Here, to our great benefit, he has shared with us his invaluable multi-talented and multilayered experiences, which arguably, as useful as they may be to a properly constructed theory, in practice, were largely failures during his generation (and spectacularly so in the case of his presidential runs).

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Review (Guest): OPEN POWER – Electoral Reform Act of 2015 – Open Source Activist Tool-Kit with Long Comment by Robert Steele

3 Star, Democracy
Amazon Page
Amazon Page

Robert David Steele

3.0 out of 5 stars Last Exit to Democracy, February 26, 2015

By Retired Reader

The author of this book, Robert Steele, has been a dedicated and patriotic advocate of reforming the U.S. Intelligence Community for over thirty years without noticeable success. Now he has taken on a bigger and much more important cause, reform of the U.S. Electoral System to restore real Democracy in this country. This book is the first salvo of that effort.

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Review: The End of Intelligence – Espionage and State Power in the Information Age

3 Star, Intelligence (Government/Secret)
Amazon Page
Amazon Page

David Tucker

3.0 out of 5 stars A poor thesis, rotten sources, with no quality control in the literature review, January 27, 2015

This is a hugely disappointing book. It reads like a graduate thesis badly overseen (with zero in the way of serious literature search). While the author has some experience in the foreign service (perhaps in the clandestine service) and as an action officer and minor manager in the Pentagon bureaucracy responsible for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict, he knows little about intelligence in all its complexity, less about the information revolution, and nothing at all across 80% of the relevant literatures he fails to discover or cite.

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Review: The Zero Marginal Cost Society

3 Star, America (Founders, Current Situation), Capitalism (Good & Bad), Economics, Education (General), Information Society
Amazon Page
Amazon Page

Jeremy Rifkin

3.0 out of 5 stars Never Mind the Total Cost Terminal Society, April 13, 2014

Books like this would make me crazy if I took them seriously. This is a fad book for shallow minds that have no clue about holistic analytics, true cost economics, or anything remotely resembling the humanities (which is to say, the preservation of the good from one generation to the next). This book is the singularity cult on crack. Buy the book, by all means, to understand how seriously stupid is now in vogue.

There are some clever (which is to say, fad of the day) observations in this book but they vary from wrong (MOOCs have a 4% completion rate and are absolutely useless to 90% or more of the five billion poor who do not have the time to do MOOCs) to incomplete — who crowd sources against corruption and waste? Part of the answer is in this book, but no more than 20%. I’ve raised the book from one to three stars on a second pass, but I am still irritated.

The one place where Rifkin and I are 100% in harmony is on free energy…but he pulls his punches. Free energy is here now but the “system” is intent on keeping energy expensive and the 99% in rentier status. To truly understand the alternative energies now in hand, there is no book available, but if you search for Sepp Hasslberger @ Phi Beta Iota you will be on the bleeding edge of intelligence with integrity on this one topic that is so vital to all of us.

Marginal Cost is the cost at scale after all the FIXED COSTS (little things like water, fuel, child labor, tax avoidance, imposed disease) have been “accounted for.” The problem with Rifkin’s book, which would be a great riff at a late night show where everyone is smashed beyond cognition, is that it discounts reality by 99%. This book is the epitome of what Dr. Russell Ackoff would call “doing the wrong things righter instead of the right thing.

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Review (Guest): The Zero Marginal Cost Society

3 Star, Capitalism (Good & Bad), Change & Innovation, Information Society, Information Technology
Amazon Page
Amazon Page

Jeremy Rifkin

3.0 out of 5 stars BOOK REVIEW: ‘The Zero Marginal Cost Society’: Welcome to the Brave New Workerless World, April 1, 2014

ByDavid KinchenSee all my reviews
(REAL NAME)

“The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them.” –Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (1870-1924) First Leader of the Soviet Union

Marginal cost is the term used in the science of economics and business to refer to the increase in total production costs resulting from producing one additional unit of the item. Zero marginal cost describes a situation where an additional unit can be produced without any increase in the total cost of production. Producing another unit of a good can have zero marginal costs when that good is non-rivalrous, meaning that it is possible for one person to consume the good without diminishing the ability of others to simultaneously consume it as well. –Wise Geek.com

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Review: Every Nation for Itself – Winners and Losers in a G-Zero World

3 Star, Capitalism (Good & Bad)

cover every nation for itselfIan Bremmer

3.0 out of 5 stars Rooted in State Paradigm, Ignores Non-State World, January 5, 2014

I made a mistake buying this book. I let the marketing hype get to me. As soon as I got the book in my hands and saw that it had jacket blubs from Fareed Zakaria and Larry Summers, the sinking feeling in my stomach was plapable.

I’ve gone through the book, which is double-spaced without a single chart or map or table. This is a long essay by someone who is out of touch with the latest thinking, still in the nation-state / banks rule the world mode.

For someone that reads very broadly, as I do, virtually every page in this book is irritating. The author’s treatment of water, something I looked into for UNESCO (see my easily found review of fourteen books on water and water wars, < Water: Soul of the Earth, Mirror of Our Collective Souls >) the author considers the privatization of water and charging more for water to be a solution, never mind that fracking and Nestle-Coca Cola and all other predations on water by unregulated idiot practices (both individual and corporate) are wiping out hundreds of thousands of years worth of fresh water.

My sinking feeling grew stronger and stronger to the point of great dismay. This author clearly gets along with the powers that be, and he has a facile patter that suggests he has a very high elite social IQ, but from my point of view, that of an ethical 21st Century intelligence professional for whom transparency, truth, and trust are the bottom line, this book is lacking a holistic analytic model and not truly helpful to the public interest.

Most irritatingis the recognition that comes with the a reading of the author’s conclusions. It just makes me sick to my stomach to read any endorsement of the Trans-Pacific Partership (Trade) Agreement. The author is a smart man, so I have to conclude that he has chosen to embrace evil. The Trans-Pacific (Trade) Partnership Agreement is the most secretive, most convoluted, most unethical, most anti-public trade agreement in the history of modern civilization. The 15 Asian nations meeting in November 2012 kicked Obama’s ass out of town with good reason. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, plus China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, will form a club and leave out the United States). The same thing is happening in South America (CELAC) and I expect it in Africa as well as South and Central Asia as well. Afghanistan has not signed the Bi-Lateral Security Agreement (BSA) in part because the US has blown the past twelve years, and in combination, a variety of non-ISAF nations are ready to step in with a focus on real trade instead of false terrorism (China, India, Iran, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, UAE, among others).

This is a disappointing book that can be used as a measure of the elite hypocrisy, idiocy, and betrayal of the public trust as of today. In terms of substantive analytics and plausible sustainable solutions helpful to the 99% as opposed to the 1%, this book is not satisfactory.

Here are ten books whose summaries alone are worth more than this book (and free as well) — they are drawn from my broader collections of lists that are easily found at the Book page of Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog (“the truth at any cost lowers all others costs”):

The Battle for the Soul of Capitalism
The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits
The Leadership of Civilization Building: Administrative and civilization theory, Symbolic Dialogue, and Citizen Skills for the 21st Century
The Rise of Global Civil Society: Building Communities and Nations from the Bottom Up
Holistic Darwinism: Synergy, Cybernetics, and the Bioeconomics of Evolution
Designing a World that Works for All: Solutions & Strategies for Meeting the World’s Needs
Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny
The People’s Business: Controlling Corporations and Restoring Democracy
The Health of Nations: Society and Law beyond the State
The Search for Security: A U.S. Grand Strategy for the Twenty-First Century

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Review: American Interests in South Asia (Ho Ho Ho)

3 Star, Country/Regional, Diplomacy, Empire, Sorrows, Hubris, Blowback, Military & Pentagon Power, Misinformation & Propaganda, Politics, Power (Pathologies & Utilization), Security (Including Immigration), Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized), War & Face of Battle
Amazon Page
Amazon Page

Nicholas Burns (Editor) , Jonathon Price (Editor) , Joseph S. Nye Jr. (Foreword) , Brent Scowcroft (Foreword)

3.0 out of 5 stars Parallel Universe — Divorced from Reality, September 20, 2013

I am in Afghanistan with the opportunity to think about all of the external and internal realities impacting on 2014, and this book attracted my immediately interest, along with Afghanistan: The Perfect Failure: A War Doomed By The Coalition’s Strategies, Policies and Political Correctness. If I had the time I would buy and read both books, but sadly I have to focus on the here and now with just two comments:

01 All of these big names write great stuff, but I have to ask myself, who are they writing for? Who, if anyone is listening? Among all these great ideas, there is not a single one that has been implemented, funded, sustained, or effective. So why do we have smart people and think tanks? Are they a form of public entertainment, of public self-stroking, completely removed from the reality that the White House and Congress are so lacking in moral and intellectual fortitude as to be a constant danger to both the Republic and all other nations?

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