LORDS OF SECRECY is one of the finest books I’ve read on national security “creep.” Scott Horton manages to retain at least some distance from obvious bias, but some of the information he lays out would cause any legitimate American citizen clenched teeth and a few well-placed emphatic comments.
I believe Thieves of State is a must-read for anyone concerned about promoting peace and civility in communities, nations, and the world. Sarah Chayes compellingly discusses how the corrupt practices of governments and authorities spawn violent reactionary movements that undermine the security and stability of societies. Chayes’s voice is strong and confident, her prose is taut, fact-rich, and colorful, sometimes passionate but never indulgent. The book is intelligent and well-researched and refreshingly accessible, with a strong narrative current to draw the reader along. More than that, this is an important book, one with the potential to alter the discussion and–one may hope–the U. S. government’s approach to diplomacy and national security issues.
4.0 out of 5 starsDeep Insights, A Couple of Misses, Certainly Recommended as Core Reading, November 8, 2014
A hold over from my time in Afghanistan, I finally got around to reading this book on a long flight and give it a solid four stars. There is some very good eye opening stuff in this book, including some facts I itemize below that I plain did not know before. However, the author is also very wrong on a couple of key points, I address those at the end of my review when I suggest ten other books to also read. I do respect this book and the author’s candid useful appraisal, and recommend it to anyone thinking about how criminally insane our US national insecurity/fraud system really is. We are our own worst enemy, and as Martin Luther King said before he was assassinated for saying so, “the greatest purveyors of (illegitimate) violence in the world.”
At a meta-level, this is a five-star read and absolutely worthy of being included in any orientation collection. Meta points I salute:
5.0 out of 5 starsBrilliant, Intricate, Non-Violent, and Optimistic, November 4, 2014
In relation to the 2,000 plus non-fiction books I have reviewed here at Amazon, this book is brilliant. Normally I would consider giving it four stars for lacking an index and endnotes, obviously needed for the poorly educated morons that cannot grasp the many (many) direct references to top authors and thinkers. For crying out loud, Thomas Piketty, author of Capital in the Twenty-First Century is received by the author in his home and cited in this book, as are so many others. So a solid five stars for impact and self-made erudition.
Let me state very clearly that the publisher has sodomized this author by not including an index, a bibliography, or endnotes. As the top Amazon reviewer for non-fiction, reviewing books across 98 distinct non-fiction categories, I am blown away by the clever, poetic, and pointed manner in which the author has integrated a vast (vast) range of reading and personal conversations into this book.
When New York Times report James Risen published his previous book, State of War, the Times ended its delay of over a year and published his article on warrantless spying rather than be scooped by the book. The Times claimed it hadn’t wanted to influence the 2004 presidential election by informing the public of what the President was doing. But this week a Times editor said on 60 Minutes that the White House had warned him that a terrorist attack on the United States would be blamed on the Times if one followed publication — so it may be that the Times’ claim of contempt for democracy was a cover story for fear and patriotism. The Times never did report various other important stories in Risen’s book.
5.0 out of 5 starsOK to Challenge Racism and Poverty — NOT OK to challenge militarism and the national security state, September 12, 2014
The publisher has done a rotten job of summarizing this book. Here, paraphrasing the author as he just spoke on the John Stewart show, is the bottom line:
The minute that Dr. King turned against militarism and denounced the USA as the greatest purveyor of violence upon the world, he was first marginalized and then assassinated. “The System” was fine with Dr. King focusing on racism, and even poverty, but it would not tolerate for one moment his questioning the military-industrial complex and the national security state.
The author — whom I found to be very inspiring, coherent, and concise — a brilliant articulator of the key points in the book — goes on to have a conversation with Jon Stewart about how the USA simply cannot handle truth-tellers in relation to “big money” matters such as elective wars (racism and poverty being “little money” matters, and deliberately so).
Dr. King was ultimately assassinated by a US Army sniper on detail to the FBI and under the personal direction of J. Edgar Hoover. The story is told in An Act of State: The Execution of Martin Luther King and has also been documented and validated in a judgment by a federal court awarding the King family the single dollar in damages they requested.
5.0 out of 5 starsDavid Bollier’s Review is Better, This Is My Attempt, April 21, 2014
I was very impressed by David Bollier’s review of this book at his web site (look for < “Stop, Thief!” – Peter Linebaugh’s New Collection of Essays > and am encouraging him to port that excellent review here to Amazon. Indeed, after working my way through the book myself, I consider myself unable to do proper justice to this deep work that integrates history, poetry, political economy, anthropology, and sociology among other disciplines. Hence I hope others will write substantive summary reviews and I again recommend Bollier’s review above.
Three thoughts keep recurring as I went through this book of original current essays and presentations:
01 Holy Cow. This guy is DEEP and BROAD in terms of arcane as well as popular sources, delving down into little known poems, essays, public statements, etcetera. This book is the one book version of the Durant’s Story of Civilization applied to one topic, the commons.
02 Holy Cow. This is what my top political science professor was trying to explain when I was in college in 1970-1974 – yes, a half century ago — and I was just not smart enough, patient enough, to appreciate it.
03 Holy Cow. This book is not just subversive, it does a magnificent job of head slapping every politician, economists, talking head, and other pretender who presumes to talk about public welfare without for one instant understanding that wages are a form of slavery and disconnection of humanity from everything else. Lionel Tiger makes related points in The Manufacture of Evil: Ethics, Evolution and the Industrial System but this book — if you focus and do not get lost in the poetry and minutia of exemplar citation — beats the commons versus capitalism drum along every possible note on the musical scale.
5.0 out of 5 stars6 Stars for Early Warning on 1%, Holistic Analytics, and Clear Attention to Weakness of the 99%, April 19, 2014
This book was central to my education in Political Science (more political than science, more passive aggressive than normative). In light of all that we know now, the book MUST be considered both a 6 Star classic (in my top 10%, I read non-fiction in 98 categories), and highly relevant today.
It distresses me that there are no good reviews visible right now, this is partly because Amazon has destroyed really great reviews from past editions in order to make way for new generations of young reviewers, most of whom do not get pointed toward this book by their college professors, if they are lucky enough to even go to college.
Here is the 6th edition of the book where useful reviews are to be found:
I am posting an image from the author that shows how the social, corporate, and “hired hand” elite (for the latter, think tanks and politicians) intersect, with the 1% shown in the center (I added that bit).
Democracy is hard. Responsibility in democracy cannot be delegated or integrity is lost. When I and the author speak of integrity we are talking about accountability, the assurance of diversity in all councils, feedback loops, and the recognition of true costs of any decision. When the public delegates its responsibility for self-government, democracy is quickly lost. For other books that support this one, which can be considered “the original” in modern history (Toqueville’s Democracy in America (Penguin Classics) is THE original), see my easily found list of my Amazon reviews on this topic and its anti-thesis corruption, by searching for:
For anyone wanting more than is available from Inside the Book, or seeking a summary of the book, there is no better summary available than that provided by the author himself on a very powerful web site of his own, search online for:
For myself, this book is both a celebration of what Politica Science can offer (see also the books listed below within my ten link limit), and also an indictment of the discipline of Political Science. I am in the process of thinking about how to change the discipline to answer these three WHAT IF questions:
As one who has read over 200 books on the JFK Assassination, and engaged in research both as an individual and as part of various teams, I can say without fear of contradiction that Piper’s book is now the definitive work on the JFK Assassination. “Final Judgement” is the most thorough, most honest, most penetrating, most factual, and most analytically complete and systematic of all that I have read so far.
This is the first of several high-level political analyses motivated by a need to better understand the politics that led to both the JFK assassination and the Nixon Watergate Affair. It deploys as the primary theoretical model, C. Wright Mills “Theory of the Power Elite” and the framework in Carroll Quigleys book “Tragedy and Hope.”
With these tools, Carl Oglesby posits an interesting thesis: that JFKs assassination, instead of being a random act by a lone nut was in fact a carefully planned and professional executed ongoing coup d’ etat a la Americaine, a not so silent coup by the same forces responsible for the murders of JFK, RFK, MLK, Malcolm X and possibly the demise and eventual destruction of the billionaire Howard Hughes.
What all of these events had in common was that they were links in a chain designed to replace one set of power elite (members of the old moneyed “peace promoting” Eastern Yankee Establishment) with another (the Nuevo Riche and newly arrived, “progress through war” Western Cowboys). Thus it is argued here that the events connecting Dallas, Memphis, Watergate and the demise of the Hughes empire, are but threads in a common fabric, growing and evolving directly out of the systematic corruption of American politics and out of contemporary political realities.
Along with Carl Oglesby’s The Yankee [and] Cowboy War and Michael Piper Collins’ Final Judgment, this is the best book ever written on the JFK Assassination. It may also be the best book ever written on the way the American political process ACTUALLY works. It is certainly the most honest one.
Deep Politics should be required reading for undergraduates in all American college and university Political Science courses. If for no reason other than that, in the course of getting at the bottom of the assassination of JFK, Professor Scott did not hesitate to expand the context of American political life to those unacceptable areas that lay just beneath the American consciousness and at the bottom of the American political undercurrents.
Once one is guided through his process of expanding the context of understanding (or actually “over-understanding”) the machinations of the American Political process (its corruption, deceptions, cover-ups, and other pretexts for explaining away its immorality), then the details of the assassination itself, are almost a foregone conclusions – little more than a logical afterthought.
5.0 out of 5 starsFree Online and Worth Buying to Support the Endeavor, March 14, 2014
This is a riveting movie with phenomenal visuals. I’d rather it had been an hour long instead of two, but in the spirit of slow food and slow Internet, certainly worth two hours of your time as an inspiration to change how you live for the rest of your life.
The movie is a personal contribution of Foster Gamble of the Proctor & Gamble family, but he grew a soul starting in elementary school and by the time he finished at Princeton, he was on his way to being a full-blown radical thinker with libertarian tendencies.
The first third of the movie is focused on free energy and all the pioneers from Telsa to Trombly to Bedeini to Hutchinson to Mallove who created proven sources of free energy only to suffer raids from the FBI (we do not make this stuff up) and other abuses including in some cases the torching of their labs and murder. I am hugely impressed by this portion of the movie, which includes short interviews, and I strongly recommend the movie for this part alone if you lack patience for what follows.
5.0 out of 5 starsMost Credible Consistent Truth-Teller I Read…., February 21, 2014
I have been following Paul Craig Roberts, a former Assistant Secretary of Treasury in the Reagan Administration, for years. Originally he specialized in economic commentary, and I was much taken with his hard-hitting critical commentary and particularly his illumination of the false statistics being released by the Bush and Obama Administrations with respect to unemployment and other major measuring rods of our Nation’s health. He was the commentator that introduced me to shadowstats.com, which documents 22.4% unemployment at a time when the Obama Administration claims 7.5% more or less — never mind lies that are 300% removed from reality.
Paul Craig Roberts is non-partisan in his critical commentary. I consider him a patriot with a brain, a capable author, and a voice much needed within all political circles, and most particularly within the Republican Party which is now at war with itself as the real common-sense conservatives recognize that the GOP has been hijacked by Zionists, Evangelicals, and other nut-cases who are all about personal privilege (including pedophilia) and personal profit and both personal and institutional power while disregarding the Constitution and betraying the Republic.
6 Stars on Substance, Revolutionary Illumination, February 20, 2014
This is a book for smart people who care about the Constitution, the Republic, and America the Beautiful — the America of good people with big hearts and strong souls who do the best they can while trapped amidst a complex of corrupt systems that now include most labor unions, most non-profits, and most religions — all the safety nets are gone. It is not an easy read but it could be the most important book you could read right now, as we prepare for the 2014-2020 civil war between the 99% and the 1%. For a sense of where I see Danny Sheehan in modern US history, see my review of Arsonist: The Most Dangerous Man in America. Danny Sheehan’s is to the second American revolution as James Otis was to the Founding Fathers. The 1% and their political bi-opoly (the best of the servant class in the eyes of the 1%) are the target for a massive apolitical cross-cultural uprising rooted in natural law, social justice, and common sense.
The book cannot be fully appreciated without first understanding that the author has been a major player in every fundamental Constitutional case having to do with public agency — the sovereignty of the public versus the assumption by the “government” that it has inherent powers once reserved for kings, and that the citizens “donate” (abdicate) their powers once they “elect” said government. I highly recommend Wikipedia’s biography on Daniel Sheehan (attorney). This — or the timeline below — is what should have opened the book in the first place. I take the trouble to do this because the value of this book lies with the next generation, the generation now in college and graduate school (or unemployed and unOccupied), not in the generation that rose with Danny and failed to beat down New York money, Texas energy, and the Nazi hydra combined with elite embrace of drugs, money laundering, and pedophilia, among other high crimes against the Republic.
This is a story about what one American saw atop the tip of an iceberg called the “American national security state.” In the end, Ed Snowden, a 29-year old, $200,00/year High School dropout turned Computer Systems Administrator for Dell, and then Booz Allen Hamilton, both of which were under contract with the NSA, is little more than a proxy for the rest of us: the “paying customer” zombies and drones for the American “national security state.”
As he tried to “ride out” his tenure astride this violently bucking institutional Orwellian Frankenstein, Snowden quickly realized that he was losing ground to this secret self-fashioned protector of America’s deepest values. In our life time, the NSA had joined a long string of other self-justifying, self-certifying, security institutions, like the CIA, the FBI, Swat Teams, the DEA, even local police intelligence units, especially in America’s inner cities. In our lifetime, these institutions have acquired immense and unwarranted powers, often even unauthorized, unconstitutional and unearned and even criminal influence over our democratic institutions. Today, as this evolving behemoth huffs and puffs and bucks wildly out-of-control, Snowden decided he had no choice but to “jump ship,” taking with him a treasure trove of all that lay below the national security waterline.
What exactly is it that Ed Snowden saw that frightened him out of his wits and out of his $200k job and into the hands of a most curious savior of last resort: Vladimir Putin’s Russia, the ex-Communist ex-superpower that, since it was forced to commit suicide as an empire, has now become a capitalist Wild West frontier, a land full of out-of-control oligarchs, which is exactly where Ed Snowden’s favorite political hero, Ron Paul would like to take America — if he is ever elected president, that is.
As he now sits ensconced somewhere in Russia, one thought above all else must have occurred to Mr. Snowden: Is this some kind of sick joke? That me, a freedom-loving American, who willingly exercised my civic duty as a free-thinking defender of American values and the U.S. Constitution, conveying crimes being committed against that very Constitution, is now forced to run, hide and seek refuge in a failed ex-Communist state?
That Snowden’s reality is true in a nation that is still living on moral credit, and that takes much more credit for being democratic than it deserves or its historical record can substantiate, is almost as embarrassing an irony and contradiction as seeing the U.S. being “in hock up to the hilt” to Reagan’s other Axis-of-evil: the last standing Communist Police State, “Red China.” And lest we conveniently forget, said “Red China,” is the same state that less than three decades ago, we were referring to mockingly and derisively as being backwards? Now, that they are in bed with our capitalist oligarchs (the Red Chinese “Job Creators,” par excellence) rather incongruously, China has now become the world’s leading capitalist country, holding 60% of our debt, while the U.S. slides noisily, defiantly, but nevertheless persistently and decidedly, backwards. There is an embedded poetic logic to this irony that Snowden’s Ron Paul-Ayn Rand Libertarian sensibilities seems to have missed?
This book rather inarticulately unravels the story of exactly what it is that Ed Snowden saw; why he was so alarmed; and why he had no choice but to expose what he saw to the American public and then had to run. It tells how in the ultimate act of patriotic suicide, Snowden had to respectfully sue for the mercy of the “Obama Courts.” However, since he knew that with the “Obama Justice Department,” a fair trial was already off the table, he had no choice but to “punt early” by “going on the lam,” and seeking protection and a haven elsewhere.