Review: The Shadow War – Inside Russia’s and China’s Secret Operations to Defeat America by Jim Sciutto

2 Star, Misinformation & Propaganda
Amazon Page

Jim Sciutto

2 Star Crap Book, Deep State Party Line

Some books just make me want to puke. This is such a book.  It is a “made for TV” party line crap book that spins the very tired and very false narrative that China and Russia (and Iran and North Korea and Cuba, armed with beaches) are our enemy. This book is explicitly designed to perpetuate the lies that cover up the real enemy: the  Deep State 1% and their agents including the Zionists, the Satanic side of the Vatican, the City of London and Wall Street, Central Banks, and secret societies. This book is disinformation.  It will engage those who have not learned (as my myself have only learned after the age of 60 and after reading over 2,000 non-fiction books reviewed on this blog) that everything we are being told by the government and the media is a lie. This book is a lie.

Continue reading “Review: The Shadow War – Inside Russia’s and China’s Secret Operations to Defeat America by Jim Sciutto”

Robert Steele: The Assault on Intelligence: American National Security in an Age of Lies – Book Review

2 Star, Articles & Chapters, Intelligence (Government/Secret)
Robert David STEELE Vivas

The Assault on Intelligence: American National Security in an Age of Lies – Book Review

2 stars – Opens with a Lie, Goes Downhill from There

American Herald Tribune

5 June 2018

Graphic and full text below the fold.

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Review (Guest): The End of Intelligence

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

David Tucker

2 Stars Half-Baked Intelligence

The author of this book, David Tucker, appears to be one of those folks whose careers have often put them on the fringes of the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC), but who have only superficially been involved in any aspect of intelligence production. Tucker compounds this deficiency by an unwillingness to either research or reflect seriously on his chosen subject. The goal of this book presumably is to demonstrate the dynamic relationships between intelligence, the power of nation states, and the so-called information age. Because Tucker is unwilling to really think through what he means by these terms, the book utterly fails to achieve this goal.

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Review (Guest): How Much Have Global Problems Cost the World? A Scorecard From 1900 to 2050

2 Star, Atlases & State of the World, Complexity & Resilience, Economics, History, Nature, Diet, Memetics, Design, Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Threats (Emerging & Perennial), True Cost & Toxicity, Water, Energy, Oil, Scarcity
Amazon Page
Amazon Page

Bjorn Lomberg et al

2.0 out of 5 stars It just gets better and better!, November 15, 2013

By David Wineberg “David Wineberg” (New York, NY USA) – See all my reviews  (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)

Milton Berle once appeared for an interview on a morning TV show in New York. After, his interviewer threw to the weather woman. Berle left his seat and took over doing the weather. His analysis? A line of tornados ripped through New Jersey last night, causing $100 million in IMPROVEMENTS. That is the feeling I got with How Much Have Global Problems Cost the World?

Lomborg’s Copenhagen Consensus got a bunch of academics to look at issues from a common denominator. Everything has to be evaluated as a percentage of GDP. Everything has to be monetized to make the models work. Lives, disease, biodiversity – everything gets a dollar value in these studies. Lack of historical data is not a problem either; the models “backcast” to 1900. The conclusion is that our worrisome problems are an ever shrinking cost to us, relative to GDP.

But of course, prices have never reflected the ecological cost of production or use, so we’ve been freeloading, with GDP expanding while costs have been controlled. The bill will go to our grandchildren. These models don’t reflect that. Instead, the ballooning GDPs of the last century simply leave the cost centers in their wake, taking an ever smaller share.

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Review: The Revenge of Geography: What the Map Tells Us About Coming Conflicts and the Battle Against Fate

2 Star, Atlases & State of the World
Amazon Page
Amazon Page

Robert Kaplan

2.0 out of 5 stars Neither new nor original nor reliable, September 1, 2013

I am getting pretty sick of Stratfor and the pimps of empire. There is nothing new in this book other than self-promotion. For better more original reads consider, among many, many others:

Zones of conflict: An atlas of future wars

Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies

Geography and natural resources are a starting point. How the population develops — including the degree to which it is educated, liberated, and empowered to innovate, matter. Deeper books along these lines include:

Philosophy and the Social Problem: The Annotated Edition

Politics Among Nations

In the end it boils down to clarity, diversity, integrity, and sustainability. I am quite tired of pundits recycling old knowledge, a practice made poissible by an ignorant public (including ignorant policy makers and deeply unethical politicians as well as a captive media that is both ignorant and complicit).

Best wishes to all,
Robert Steele
INTELLIGENCE FOR EARTH: Clarity, Diversity, Integrity, & Sustainability

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Review: Government Auditing Standards 2011 Version

2 Star, Congress (Failure, Reform), Economics, Politics, Public Administration
Amazon Page

Comptroller General

2.0 out of 5 stars Mind-Numbing Waste of Time and Money,September 2, 2012

I am *stunned* that any Comptroller General would sign off on this. In my 33 year government career this is the densest most meaningless compilation of words (no pictures, no figures, no timelines, no lists) of gobbly-goop I have ever seen (of course there are a great many such products from other government agencies I have not seen). If I were the Comptroller General, not only would I not sign off on this, I would consider permanent exile for the entire team responsible for this. It fails to enlighten or communicate — it is more like a “cover your ass” document.

In theory, this book is about independence of audits and the professional management of audits. In fact, this is strung together text, all of it making sense in isolation, and none of it useful to actually doing a real audit meaningful to We the People. This is a classic example of doing the wrong thing righter (Russell Ackoff).

The more I read into this the sadder I got. I have known for a long time that GAO, CBO, and CRS are creatures of a very corrupt Congress, and that Congress actually reserves the right to tell them what their assumptions (code for outcomes) will be, but until I read this I did not realize how disconnected the whole process is. Now I have to emphasize that I value actual GAO reports and I would never consider doing an internal executive audit without consulting both GAO and OMB (which does not do management, but you can at least try to find someone who’s heard of the concept). What this book does is give me pause — if this is the GAO “foundation work” if causes me to wonder what else about GAO is so corrupt (in the holistic not making sense of the word).

This book is available free online at the GAO website. I bought it because it never occurred to me that GAO would produce something from the Stone Age, and for serious thinking, I have to have it in writing in front of me subject to annotation and hand-eye-brain coordination.

Here is the larger bottom line:

a) Congress authorizes and appropriates money based on corruption, personal, financial, and ideological — as long as Congress is getting its standard 5% kick-back, they will authorize and appropriate anything, from the bridge to nowhere to a stealth fighter that does not work as advertised, is unaffordable, and coated in toxins that kill the pilots stupid enough to fly something the USAF swears is safe.

b) GAO is only authorized to audit for compliance with the original corrupt authorization and appropriation. They are not authorized to blow the whistle on insane, unaffordable expenditures.

c) Within the Executive, taking NSA as a classic example, the focus is on keeping money moving and growing the pie because that is how the Executive creates more and more flag and senior executive positions, and that is how those flags and senior executives “pay forward” the reverse bribes that will get them follow-on careers with the contractors that will build any insane unafforable and generally inoperable (SAIC and Trailblazer come to mind) “capability” that Congress has authorized and appropriated.

d) When NSA is inspected from within the Executive, the focus is NOT on the why, on the cost, on the “fit” with any given strategy or other related programs, but on the allocation authority and whether NSA is spending the money as directed, never mind whether it works or not. This is one reason why I believe that both Inspectors General and Operational Test & Evaluation should be part of the Intelligence Directorate of any given Cabinet office, just as I believe that education, intelligence, and research must be asuthorized, appropriated, allocated, constructed, and evaluated as a whole.

It is with a grimace that I prepare to donate this book to the Oakton VA library. It is a perfect example of corrupt perfection. Argh.

Robert David Steele
INTELLIGENCE FOR EARTH: Clarity, Diversity, Integrity, & Sustainability

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Review: The Decline of American Power – The US in a Chaotic World

2 Star, America (Founders, Current Situation), Atlases & State of the World, Complexity & Catastrophe, Congress (Failure, Reform), Corruption, Country/Regional, Crime (Corporate), Crime (Government), Culture, Research, Diplomacy, Economics, Empire, Sorrows, Hubris, Blowback, Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), Insurgency & Revolution, Military & Pentagon Power, Misinformation & Propaganda, Nature, Diet, Memetics, Design, Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Politics, Power (Pathologies & Utilization), Priorities, Public Administration, Threats (Emerging & Perennial), True Cost & Toxicity, Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized), War & Face of Battle, Water, Energy, Oil, Scarcity
Amazon Page

Immanuel Wallerstein

2.0 out of 5 stars Price for 160 Pages Beneath Contempt,November 16, 2011

I am angry–I really wanted to buy and read this book, but a price of $50 for 160 pages is beneath contempt. The author is being abused by the publisher and I urge the author to consider a new publisher for the paperback, or demanding that the paperback be published immediately. Barnes and Noble has been shut down by Amazon — all other publishers appear in intent on staving off their ultimate demise in the face of on demand publishing by gouging the public.

This book in hardcopy should not be sold for more than $25, and in paperback for $16. Please join me in boycotting this publisher, as someone who cares deeply about the dissemination of important knowledge — which the author clearly offers — I find this pricing an utter outrage.

Here are some reasonably priced books that I offer as a substitute–my “top ten” if you will.
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Review (Guest): Gaming the Vote – Why Elections Aren’t Fair (and What We Can Do About It)

2 Star, Civil Society, Democracy, Intelligence (Public), Politics

Amazon PageWilliam Poundstone

2.0 out of 5 stars Gaming the Vote: Why Elections Aren’t Fair (and What We Can Do About It), February 12, 2008

The book is extremely well-written, and a joy to read. It would be highly recommended, except for two fatal flaws discussed below.

Poundstone’s latest book deals with an issue that is fundamental to democracy, yet almost totally ignored in the U.S. While many books focus on the role of money in elections, or voter registration, or voting machine integrity, relatively few popularly written books have tackled the more fundamental question of how votes get translated into representation. This is not a question of voting machine technology, but of logic. Most Americans are remarkably unaware of the variety of voting methods available, nor of the fact that the plurality voting method that predominates in the U.S. is not the norm among modern democracies, and, in fact, is probably the most problematic of all voting methods.

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Review (Guest): Innovation–The Five Disciplines for Creating What Customers Want

2 Star, Change & Innovation
Amazon Page

Curtis R. Carlson (Author), William W. Wilmot (Author)

2.0 out of 5 stars This is a BAD book on innovation

September 30, 2006

By ARMAN KIRIM, PhD (Istanbul, Turkey) – See all my reviews

This is a BAD book on innovation

As a matter of fact it is a bad book in the most general meaning of the word. First of all, it does not deliver what it promises to deliver and thus misleads the buyer. It claims that it is going to provide a `framework’ for an innovative organization, but instead turns out to be a most general blah blah on every subject in the area of `management’. Apart from an abundant use of the word `innovation’, there is hardly anything related to the core of innovation process in this book.

If you like, let me summarise what they say:

1. The book starts with an expose of the CHANGES in the world economy, globalization etc. The usual stuff you would expect to find in any `wake-up call’ book these days. But is there anyone left who is not aware of the big changes going on around us? Do we need another book warning us that business is no longer usual?

2. The book then goes on outlining their `framework’ for innovation. This is called the `five disciplines’. Disciplines indeed! And such `novel’ ones. Let’s look at them, if you like.

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Review: Governments, NGOs and Anti-Corruption–The New Integrity Warriors

2 Star, Corruption
Amazon Page

2.0 out of 5 stars Outrageously Priced, Rotten Provision of Information, April 16, 2010

Luis de Sousa, Barry Hindess, Peter Larmour

This is probably a very important book, but it will never be bought by most because it is outrageously priced (272 pages, this should be selling for $27.20 at most), and the publisher has been grievously irresponsible in failing to use the free Amazon tools to provide a sufficiency of information. The authors and the content are without question superb. How this book has been offered is itself a study in corruption.

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Review: People and Organizations–Explorations of Human-Centered Design

2 Star, Nature, Diet, Memetics, Design

PeopleToo Expensive, April 3, 2008

William B. Rouse

This book should be selling for no more than $39.95. I’d like to buy it, but not at this price. As a publisher I can tell you it costs a penny a page to publish a book like this. I am adding this book to my list of books I would buy and review if they were more reasonably priced.

Review: The New Paradigm for Financial Markets–The Credit Crisis of 2008 and What It Means

2 Star, Capitalism (Good & Bad)

Moose ManureHuge Mountain of Moose Manure, October 14, 2008

George Soros

I have lost patience for this kind of book. I recommend the other ten books instead (and the last two, which I wrote, are free online, so I am not pushing them for purchase)

1) Our economy went into the gutter when Senator Phil Gramm (R-TX), then Chair for Banking, slipped a 200+ page bill written by lobbyists into a must fund larger bill, with the result that no senators read it (as they did not read the Patriot Act), and it deregulated–completely–the financial marketplace, ending the walls between banking (which lends on tangibles) and investment (which speculates on intangibles).

2) DERIVATIVES is code for fantasy cash. I was not smart enough to see this myself, but Bogle, Soros, Buffet, Perot, Nader, they all saw it, they tried to brief it, and in the case of Nader, got laughed off the Hill. Sub-prime mortgages were the match that lit the fire, not the straw itself.

3) Goldman Sachs is forever, Washington’s two criminal parties have been bought and paid for. Rubin did not bail out Mexico. He bailed out Wall Street’s bad investments in Mexico. and Bill Clinton for sure understood this, and leveraged the whole thing the whole time with placement of his friends in Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae where they enriched themselves and contributed heavily to Clinton’s Library and other endeavors.

The market did not fail. Congress failed. BOTH parties are criminal parties, and I am personally outraged that Americans are not burning tires in the streets demanding that at a minimum three other parties be heard by the public in these debates. Most of America is utterly clueless about the FACT that the League of Women Voters was replaced by a Republican-Democratic Presidential Debate Commission precisely to exclude Independent, Green, Reform, Libertarian, and other candidates.

With all due respect for their accomplishments, the two candidates for President today are relative puppets being managed by *clowns* who are owned by Wall Street carpetbaggers and the crooked parties that have effectively killed democracy in this once-great Republic.

I am, to be utterly candid, sick and tired of Soros telling us how smart he is when he actually does not care at all about the public interest. This is the last book written by Soros that I will waste my time on.

Other much more relevant books to our situation:
The Battle for the Soul of Capitalism
Running on Empty: How the Democratic and Republican Parties Are Bankrupting Our Future and What Americans Can Do About It
Breach of Trust: How Washington Turns Outsiders Into Insiders
The Broken Branch: How Congress Is Failing America and How to Get It Back on Track (Institutions of American Democracy)
Conspiracy of Fools: A True Story
The Informant: A True Story
The Global Class War: How America’s Bipartisan Elite Lost Our Future – and What It Will Take to Win It Back
Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America’s Class War
THE SMART NATION ACT: Public Intelligence in the Public Interest
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 am ANGRY. Soros is part of the problem, not part of the solution. Simiarly, Buffet means well, but he is working this for himself, not us. It was idiocy to approve the bail-out. That should have been a freeze, a moratorium on all foreclosures (10,000 a day) as well as all evictions, a capping of interest at 10%, an emergency fund focusing on INDIVIDUALS, and a mandated public forum post-election with ALL relevant documents posted online for scrutiny (“put enough eyeballs on it, no bug is invisible”).

This election is so fraught with fraud on so many levels, that the financial crisis, in my judgement is the third and least of our problems. Electoral fraud and the criminal misbehavior of BOTH Republicans and Democrats is problem #1. The two dozen plus secessionist movements being led by Kirkpatrick Sale are problem #2 because they have LEGITIMATE GRIEVANCES. I was reflecting on this today, and realized that an honest man today has three choices:

1. Refuse to support our dysfunctional government and support secession.

2. Join a crime family and drop out of the fraudulent “legal” economy.

3. Be a gerbil, a farm animal, and let Wall Street–including the author of this book–enjoy life on our backs for a few more years.

I did not read this book, nor buy it. I do not do this often, but this seems as good a place to denounce Soros, the horse that brought him (Wall Street), and the morons in Congress that let these thieves run wild.

I expect plenty of reflexive negative votes but for those of you with an open mind, take the time to read the varied reviews of the ten books I recommend instead of this one, and trust your own judgment.

Mark Lewis had it right: these folks think nothing of “exploding the client.” That’s us. This author was right up there with them, step by step, and did nothing for We the People–his best shot was to support the “least evil” (in his mind) party and to be silent as Bush-Cheney destroyed our military, our economy, and most grieviously, our global moral standing.

It’s time we drop kick Wall Street into the ocean, introduce Open Money, and invest only in local tangible hard-money options. Ron Paul has it right–everyone else is a traitor to the Constitution and to the Republic–Paulson means well but he and all of these folks live in a “closed society” that is completely out of touch with OUR reality.

Review: Tried by War–Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief

2 Star, Impeachment & Treason, Secession & Nullification

Tried by WarConventional History Oblivious to Constitutional Facts, November 16, 2008

James M. McPherson

I will not buy this book, nor should any citizen that actually wants to understand the truth of our history after 1860 when states’ rights were unconstitutionally destroyed by force. They are emergent again, praise God.

Lincoln did not have the right to conscript forces or to wage war on those States that exercised their continuing right of secession. A “Civil War” is a war between two parties for the whole. The war was an illegal war by the North against the undiminished right of every state in the United STATES of America to secede, and that is why Dick Cheney loves Lincoln so much. Lincoln is the president that suspended habeas corpus, unleashed immoral capitalism on the south at a time when slavery was already on its way out (the South itself ended importation of slaves upon withdrawing), and needlessly slaughtered an entire generation of fighting men of honor on both sides, one side fighting for its honor, the other because they were incited and lied to for financial gain by the few.

The author is a distinguished historian, but he offers up conventional history that fails to actually inform the public. President-elect Obama would do well to read the books on secession I list below (or my reviews), in as much as he will be facing multiple crises of both nullification and secession in the near term at the same time that certain States sponsor referendums that demand that their Senators and Representatives refer all votes to public ballot in the home state–thus do we break the backs of the two criminal parties that have betrayed the public trust.

I made the same mistake as this author in my own (high school) advanced placement study of the causes of the “Civil War” which should more properly be called the War Against Secession. Below I offer up ten books, each of which has a summative review of mine offered in the public interest.

NEWS FLASH for Barack Obama: we are NOT “one nation” or even “one people. We are 50 sovereign states that signed a compact to create a federal corporation to administer services of common concern, and that enterprise is now corrupt to the core (dysfunctional and overstretech executive, Congress in violation of Article 1 and corrupt, judiciary clueless about our Constitutional legal roots and states rights) and run amok. I desire to keep the USA together and restore the Constitution as well as the effective representational balance of power among the three branches of the federal corporation, but no one, including “the one,” can do that without three Deputy Vice Presidents (my own preferences in parenthesis):

DVP for Education, Intelligence, and Research (Colin Powell)
DVP for National Security (Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Sam Nunn)
DVP for Commonwealth (Hillary Clinton, Ralph Nader or Cynthia McKinney)

and four reforms implemented immediately:

1) Electoral Reform
2) Governance Reform
3) Intelligence Reform
4) National Security Reform

For details see 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). As with all books I sponsor, it is also available free online.

It is time for every American to stop digesting and regurgitating pabulum, and begin thinking independently. CNN turned out to be hot air and low theater. They bluster and pretend, and not once did they challenge either candidate to produce a balanced budget, name a cabinet in advance, or address any of the ten threats or twelve polices with any coherence. All of our institutions are broken. Lincoln is an example of what NOT to do. I support the right of secession as a means of demanding truth and reconciliation. Our federal government is out of control. Leadership of genocide and slaughter and regional looting is not something we should be proud of, nor is it something to emulate today.

Books on secession relevant today:
Constitutional History of Secession
Is Secession Treason?
Secession: How Vermont and All the Other States Can Save Themselves from the Empire
One Nation, Indivisible? A Study of Secession and the Constitution

Books on History Lost and Fogged:
Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & ‘Project Truth’
The Landscape of History: How Historians Map the Past
Fog Facts : Searching for Truth in the Land of Spin (Nation Books)

Books on Current Government and Two-Party Spoils System Corruption:
Running on Empty: How the Democratic and Republican Parties Are Bankrupting Our Future and What Americans Can Do About It
Breach of Trust: How Washington Turns Outsiders Into Insiders

Review: The Accidental Guerrilla–Fighting Small Wars in the Midst of a Big One

2 Star, Insurgency & Revolution

Amazon Page
Amazon Page

2.0 out of 5 stars Accidental American Accidentally Rediscovers Old Knowledge

June 21, 2009

David Kilcullen

The author is an accidental American given access to top secret information and inner circles much more appropriate to Ralph Peters, Steven Metz, Max Manwaring, Gunny Poole, and many others who knew all this–and have sought to teach all this in speaking truth to power–for decades. Someone liked him, he was given temporal admission to the closed circle, and this book is what he knows and what they hear.

While the author provides a commendable view for one man in isolation, he is wrong on multiple points, e.g. ethnographic studies are not about ethnic studies, but rather about deep local studies that contribute to a mosaic of global understanding that is more nuanced than top-down generics; CIA did not coin the term Irregular Warfare, the French study in 1999 was long preceded by Policing the New World Disorder: Peace Operations and Public Security, etc.) This author joins the crop of new-bees who rediscover old knowledge. Sadly, this book is probably a measure of where the Secretary of Defense is going to take the Quadrennial Defense Review in 2008, and that makes me want to gag.

The author’s facile explanation of “the accidental guerrilla” is that we are intruding in our Global War on Terror (GWOT), the locals are resisting our intrusion rather than being “insurgents,” and they are fighting to be left alone. I have a note: “weak on history, weak on internal sources of disorder [see the image on predicting revolution], completely ignorant of the larger picture of unilateral militarism, virtual colonialism, and predatory immoral capitalism.”

What I got out of this book:

+ Distinguishes between human and national security, implies correctly that USA and most still focused on state on state security and oblivious to the ten high level threats to mankind [which, I might add for the author’s edification, are outlined in A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility–Report of the Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change.]

+ Four models for thinking:
– Backlash against globalization
– Globalized insurgency
– Civil war within Islam
– Asymmetric warfare

On the latter, while the author has two insights: that cost asymmetry matters and that US will not develop because the military-industrial complex cannot profit from low-cost capabilities development, it infuriates me to find no reference to any of 20 or more pioneers of the asymmetric challenge from General Al Gray in 1988 to all of the speakers at the Army Strategy Conference in 1998. See my articles, “The Asymmetric Threat: Listening to the Debate”, and it’s 10-year reprise, “Perhaps We Should Have Shouted: A 20-Year Retrospective”.

I am especially annoyed by the failure to acknowledge and integrate anything at all by Max Manwaring or Ralph Peters, thus confirming my own view that this book is an immaculate conception of what passes for thinking at the high table, and totally disconnected from larger reality. Cf.
The Search for Security: A U.S. Grand Strategy for the Twenty-First Century
Uncomfortable Wars Revisited (International and Security Affairs Series)

On the first, I am totally amazed that anyone could earn a PhD and observe that globalization has created haves and have-nots, without any reference to solid literature such as:
The Fifty-Year Wound: How America’s Cold War Victory Has Shaped Our World
Breaking the Real Axis of Evil: How to Oust the World’s Last Dictators by 2025
The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic (The American Empire Project)

There are many other books the author has not had an opportunity to explore, in the comment I provide URLs for Gray, the two articles mentioned above, and an annotated bibliography leading to 500+ non-fiction books about reality organized into 20 or so categories.

The author has a diagram of the four phases of Al Qaeda operations: infection, contagion, intervention by others, and rejection by locals of foreign intervention.

There are some false notes, e.g. one explanation mounted for villagers joining the Taliban to pin down a US force, “Do you have any idea how boring it is to be a teen-ager in Afghanistan?”

I agree with the point on page 44, that insurgent successes seem as much due to inattention and inadequate resourcing on our part as to talent on theirs. Of course Charlie Wilson and Steve Metz said this first. Cf.
Iraq and the Evolution of American Strategy

The author’s assessment of the Taliban as the most competent tactical enemy faced by the US anywhere is interesting, along with his ground observations on use of snipers, prepared positions, and scouting-intelligence.

He largely ignores the Pakistani support for the Taliban, taking it as a given, and the involvement of Karzai and his brother in the drug trade. He does agree with the author of Descent into Chaos: The U.S. and the Disaster in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central Asia with respect to Karzai compromising himself and his government.

For anyone who has actually studied real-world conflict and especially revolutionary conflicts, this is a very annoying book that can be summed up with “Focus on the population, not the enemy; good governance works.” Duh.

The author appears unwitting of the fact that SOF went into Afghanistan in the first place with a tribal map from the Royal Academy in Sweden that was color-coded and backed up by current research, or that SOF is really beginning to excel at social network analysis and that company commanders are creating intelligence cells out of hide to do more of that.

I would recommend the book for its description of the “dialog of the deaf” where US officers speaking fast English show powerpoint slides to Afghan leaders, who then respond with a range of questions and complaints and observations that must be translated, neither side “getting” what the other was seeking to communicate.

The author is still a command and control loyalist: he says on page 150 that the fundamental problem is one of control–of people, terrain, and information. Sorry, but wrong. Sun Tzu today would say that “to gain control one must give up control,” and he would refer the aspiring commander to the concept of Epoch B leadership (see image posted above).

He itemizes the mistakes in Pakistan without mention of their British training:
01-Focus on enemy vice population
04-Overextended-active, reserve-deficiency
06-Discounting of local-assets
08-Lack-of-mine-protected vehicles
09-Desire to copy US (?)

Five classes of threat facing Europe:
05-crime/terrorism overlap

Nothing on corruption, incompetence, failure to assimilate, waste, even organized crime and rotten education.

I have no argument with the author’s basic premise, spelled out on page 263:

“…concepts such as hybrid warfare and unrestricted warfare make a lot more sense than traditional state-on-state, force-on-force concepts of conventional war.”

I agree with the author when he says counterterrorism is not a strategy, proposed an ARCADIA Conference, salutes the limits of our influence, and describes the emergence of an anti-Powell doctrine.

He makes eight recommendations:
03-continuity of key personnel and policies
05-cueing and synchronization
07-emphasis on building local security forces
08-region-wide approach

He says that ambiguity arises because the conflict [GWOT] breaks existing paradigms. Quite so, but for 20 years no one in Washington has been willing to listen to thousands saying this over and over.

His conclusion:
04-identify-the-new “strategic services” [not mentioned: Civil Affairs, Air Peace, Open Source Agency, Multinational Decision Support Centre]

I put this book down with great sadness. Those who provided jacket blurbs did so with good intentions, but the conclusion that I come to is that this “closed circle” neither reads nor learns. The author is an accidental guru as well as an accidental American.

I regret Amazon limits me to 10 links, see 2008 Chapter: Annotated Bibliography on Reality for 500+ relevant works including The Health of Nations: Society and Law beyond the State.

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Review: The Cure for Our Broken Political Process–How We Can Get Our Politicians to Resolve the Issues Tearing Our Country Apart

2 Star, Democracy, Politics, Power (Pathologies & Utilization)

The CurreMinor Contribution, Disappointing, Weak in Many Respects, June 18, 2009

Sol Erdman

This book, which has no notes, no bibliography, and no mention of the League of Women Voters, the Presidential Debate Commission, campaign finance reform, Ralph Nader, Ron Paul, Cynthia McKinney, the Liberty Coalition, the National Coalition for Dialog and Deliberation, Reuniting America, or transpartisan post-partisan non-partisan anything, can be summed up in two sentences:

1. Where you live and who you are are no longer synonymous and therefore single-representatives for single districts, howeever the districts are designed, will no longer do.

2. Personally Accountable Representation (PAR) will solve everything, restore sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, and intelligence to the politicians.

This book is, in a word, disappointing. There are so many other books that integrate so much more in the way of integral consciousness, deliberative dialog, and so on, that I cannot in good consciousness recommend this book to anyone.

I have no doubt the authors are skilled mediators, but this book is both historically and intellectually weak–very weak. The authors tried to write a comic book that tells a story while teaching, which is great if they are trying to reach those voters who on the one hand, know nothing and cannot think and on the other are willing to spend money on a book. This is a primer for a demographic that does not exist, but as my purchase well illustrates, the book does find buyers.

Oddly enough, as the book started with a discussion of the importance of ackowledging the legitimate concerns of the other, I struggled to repress my gag reflex, and was reminded of the twelve principles of spirituality, below is the twelve line summary I created from the two-page version created by guru Will Keepin of the Satyana Institute.

Twelve Principles
01 Motivation based on love
02 Non-attachment to outcome
03 Integrity is one’s protection
04 Integrity in means and ends
05 Do not demonize adversaries
06 Embrace any enemy within We
07 Work for the world, not self
08 In serving world, we serve Us
09 Feel the pain of all in the We
10 Engage with love, not anger
11 Rely on faith in the larger We
12 Let the heart guide the brain

Laminate those into an id card holder with the hole on the end, as I have, and you have a much better value for your time and money.

The book tells the story of a first-time Congressman who learns right away that he has to spend all his time campaigning, cannot vote against anyone else’s bills, must use taxpayer funds to get re-elected (e.g. pork for the district, the frank on mail, and so on.

It is at the end of this section that I am shaking my head and regretting being so impulsive in my selection on the basis of the hugely clever and largely misleading title.

Proportional representation, preferential voting, three-member districts, and the magical formula that will power large cars, sterilize entire buildings with a single breath (PAR) and that is it.

Here are the eight electoral reform points from Ralph Nader as refined by Jim Turner and myself (and in need of input from unified independents, e.g. on ballot initiatives, local voting processes, etc.)

Phase I to be mandated for 2010 Election
+ Holiday Voting
+ Honest Open Debates
+ Expanded Debates
+ Instant Run-Off

Phase II to be mandated for 2012 Election, Districts Redrawn by 11/2009
+ Full and Balanced Representation
+ Tightly-Drawn Districts
+ Full Public Funding of Diverse Candidates
+ No Legislation Without Consultation

If the above is a PhD, and it hardly qualifies, then this book is barely second grade for those who are challenged in more than one respect.

I put the book down with the final comment, “YUK.” The authors are process obsessives, all they care about is finding a solution that everyone can agree on, without regard to the substance of the matter. While they make passing reference to research and data, the fluff at heart is in the book itself: no notes, no recognition of all the hard work of others, no clue on the 1960’s, the 1970’s, the 1980’s, I even wondered if they had been born by the 1990’s, which is of course unfair, but this book has been a skewer in my side and annoying to boot.

Vastly better books include (I am limited to ten, for all the rest see my Annotated Bibliography at, just add the www, each book listed has a link right back to Amazon):
Grand Illusion: The Myth of Voter Choice in a Two-Party Tyranny
The Tao of Democracy: Using Co-Intelligence to Create a World That Works for All
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)
Society’s Breakthrough!: Releasing Essential Wisdom and Virtue in All the People
All Rise: Somebodies, Nobodies, and the Politics of Dignity (BK Currents (Hardcover))
Democracy’s Edge: Choosing to Save Our Country by Bringing Democracy to Life
The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People Are Changing the World
The Clustering of America
The Nine Nations of North America