From God’s lips to my ears. His Grace is both an Arab and a Christian whose life over several generations has been defined, on the one hand, by the love of God and on the other by the perfidy of the Zionists looting and destroying Palestine, and now including Jerusalem, a corpus separatum by any rational understanding.
Absolutely Recommended, Some Flaws, But Many Illustrations and an Easy Read, September 29, 2016
I rate this book as a solid five because it is a very important collection of insights — including a buried but all important indictment of Saudi Arabian Wahhabism and Western Imperialism as the true roots of ISIS. The graphics are so exceptional that I urge the author to offer this book in Kindle form where color graphics and the easy jumps from picture to brief test to picture will make this book twice as valuable as its present form limited to black and white photos.
There is absolutely no question about the author’s erudition or integrity. This is a man deeply steeped — as an observing Westerner — in Arabic culture, history, and language; in the political-economic history of the region; in the role of Islam as the foundation and the glue for society and the Islamic economy; and in the contributing factors including the US invasion of Iraq and the US dismantling of the Sunni officer corps in Iraq leading to ISIS. A solid five on intent and substance.
6-Star Guide to Saving Every City in Every Country — a World-Changing Book
This is an extraordinary book, easily five stars but I am elevating it to 6 stars (my top ten percent across over 2000 reviews, all but a handful non-fiction) because the author is not just a genius, but he explains his deep multi-level knowledge brilliantly. I have never seen a collection of complicated nuanced topics presented in such a compelling, easy to understand, well-illustrated manner. The case studies abound. The publisher is to be complemented for the purity of the presentation — a stunning book with perfectly laid out pages, glossy color on every page, and a superb index, which is where most publishers fail their authors.
This is a five star book with one major point: revolutions don’t succeed from mass power, they succeed when mass power is no longer confronted by the armed power of the state because the individual soldiers and police stop defending the status quo. Since I myself have studied revolution extensively, and < Graphic: Preconditions of Revolution in the USA Today > is easily found online, I am both impressed by the author’s blend of journo-scholarship, and a tad disappointed that he missed some key bits.
5.0 out of 5 starsSurprising and therefore valuable, February 11, 2015
This is a solid piece of work that might normally have been a 4 but it surprised me just enough to warrant taking it to a 4. I love unconventional wisdom and seeing solid proof that conventional wisdom — in this case, “The Internet changes everything for the better” questioned.
I read this book on the same flight as I read Richard Wolff’s Occupy the Economy: Challenging Capitalism (City Lights Open Media) and this is the second reason I will place the book at five: while the Internet does NOT change everything for the better, especially in the case of women and youth in Kuwait, it IS “occupied,” is does blur the line between the user and the producer, and it does offer a model for new forms of social and economic organization. In a strange way I could not have anticipated, these two books complement each other.
4.0 out of 5 starsFirst Class on the Illicit Networks Not Legalized by US Congress, December 15, 2014
This is a first-class book on the convergence of many illicit networks that Congress has not legalized. A sure sign of the book’s very high value and inherent quality is the Foreword provided by Admiral James Stavridis, whose own book, The Accidental Admiral: A Sailor Takes Command at NATO I just reviewed most favorably.
5.0 out of 5 starsExtraordinary — Empowering, World-Changing, Rich in Substance, December 6, 2014
This book was recommended to me by Michael Ostrolenk, whom I consider one of the most inspiring transpartisan figures in America today, and endorsed by Elisabet Sahtouris, evolution biologist and “Yoda” to many of us. Given those two recommendations, my own review is pro forma, summary notes for smart people.
This is a most extraordinary book that I found deeply absorbing, inspiring, and practical. It is an original work in every possible sense of the word, and brings to the public insights, concepts, and methods that are essential to creating peace and prosperity among vastly diverse groups whose cultures, mind-sets, life conditions, and existing forms of governance and economics are not just in conflict, but downright pathologically dysfunctional.
Within this rich offering are a few things that are simply not found elsewhere, that could and should redefine and mature Western and Eastern understanding and practice:
5.0 out of 5 starsSIX STAR SPECTACULAR — COULD BE A CATALYST FOR REVOLUTION USA, October 27, 2014
This work is not being properly marketed in the USA. Harvard, the US publisher, is not doing all that it should which I find especially distressing because this could well be the single most important book any US citizen could read going into the farce of an election in 2014 and the travesty of 2016, when it appears that Jeb Bush will face off against Hillary Clinton, each so ably representing their side of the two-party tyranny that has sold out to Wall Street, barred the other parties (Constitution, Green, Libertarian, Natural Law, Reform, Socialist — and the Independents) from any possible access to political office, and sent two generations to elective wars mounted on the basis of greed and 935 lies.
Put as strongly as I can put it, this book could be a catalyst for revolution in the USA, and for that reason alone, I place it in my top ten percent, beyond five stars, this is a six star 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.
The reader is unlikely to find a book that better contextualizes or sharpens the focus of the moral issues confronting America’s founding generation than this book. Using the metaphor of “empires of necessity,” the author shows how America’s westward expansion made it the advance-guard of the world, beating a path through the wilderness. But America has never acknowledged that it was enslaved peoples who were in fact beating that path called Manifest Destiny: cutting down forests, turning the wilderness into plantations and into marketable real estate, and picking cotton and cutting the sugar cane that drew more and more territory into a thriving atlantic economy. Slavery alone was the issue at the top of the world’s agenda throughout the era of the founding of America. The evils of slavery and the slave trade was the constant refrain of sermons each Sunday from Connecticut to Montevideo; and from Seville to London.
There is some evidence for his proposition. He greatly overstates the incidence of rape and deliberate murder of civilians however. He makes it sound as if this was a routine/daily occurrence. In my year there in combat, I did not see one incident such as this.
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my experience in Vietnam as a result of reading this book. It has some elements of truth to it, especially concerning the inflated body counts and influence from the chain of command for bodies. However, from my experience he has looked for (and found) many individual instances of abuse of civilians in that war and made it seem that was much more of a regular occurrence than it was.He doesn’t point out the danger we were in from women and children who would set booby traps or shoot at us. It was a nightmare scenario and I’m sure many soldiers lost their lives because they were not cautious enough with women and children. Continue reading “Review (Guest): Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam”
In the Middle East, another war of biblical proportions is taking place. It is the war between Judaism and democracy. This book tells us that the most famous outcome in the bible, the tale of David slaying Goliath, is now being reversed. This time around, David (Israeli democracy), loses, and loses badly to the Middle East’s new conservative run, nuclear-armed Goliath of Israeli neocolonialism, tribalism and racism.
Whatever else this book does, it forces us to face straight up, one of our worse hidden fears about that besieged little middle eastern nation: Right before our eyes, little brother Israel, has become the 21st Century’s first full-bred racist and fascist state. But how is it that in our life time, the collective guilt and heart-felt dreams for a Jewish homeland come true — one free of the evils of the kind of racism and anti-Semitism imposed on European Jewry by Adolph Hitler, has now been turned completely on its head?
This author tells us that it is happening because Israeli’s demographic and racist fears about neighboring Arabs has metastasized into wanton crimes and embarrassing politically motivated violence against the Palestinians and other Arabs under Israel’s occupation. The Israeli predilection for violence, coupled with justifications rooted in visceral racial fears, is systematically turning Israel into a modern-day race-based dystopia.
7 Stars — Documents Presidential Perfidy – Life Transformative for This Reason
I broke with the Republican Party over Iran-Contra and belatedly, the one trillion a year that Reagan started shamelessly borrowing to fund the dual welfare system — a dysfunctional military-espionage-industrial complex for the right, and a dysfunctional regulatory myopic and equally toxic individual welfare system for the left, all while ignoring banking and corporate predation. Fox News broke with me when I said, on live Fox, that the Global War on Terror was a fraud. Fox may be getting smarter, certainly this book causes me to reconsider where the right might be. I like the book very much. Although an Op-Ed book that lacks the eye candy (the Constitution as an appendix, and charts showing the specifics of Roosevelt’s and Wilson’s violations, maps of global and domestic depravities carried out in the public name and at the public’s expense), this is a superb primer, a superb eye-opener, not just for the normal American with little time to read, but also, absolutely, for those like myself who read a great deal but may not have been well grounded in the areas where Judge Napolitano has spent hard time in the trenches.
I notice immediately that among his many books are two that resonate with everything that I and others do at Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog (“The truth at any cost lowers all other costs”):
This book is a measured and hence valuable overview of thirteen unconstitutional turns in our last century and a half. I thought, with all the other excellent reviews already up, that the best contribution I could make is single out the one where I learned the most, and then offer an additional recommended reading in each of eight other areas where the author has sharpened my understanding and heightened my patriotic anger.
EYE OPENER: I never gave much thought to the 17th amendment that took states’ right away by taking away the role of the Senators as representatives of the State, instead turning them into the standard mob mouthpieces of the two-party tyranny. Now I am in Afghanistan, where a federal system has made corruption the central fact of life, destroyed the diversity and integrity of the provinces, and set the stage for another civil war when the US limps out. The older I get and the more I learn, the more I treasure grass-roots diversity down to municipal and county rights — NO from the bottom must trump “because I say so” from the top. I am adding reversal of 17th Amendment to my “to do” list at We the People Reform Coalition, joining my view that secession is the right of every state, and nullification in the public interest is the OBLIGATION of every Governor and state legislature.
Now here are eight of the thirteen chapters, each a lesson plan on its own, my only contribution here is to add a short blurb and one recommended additional reading for each of these chapters (I have reviewed each, my reviews are summary in nature for those who do not have the time or do not wish to purchase the books).