Review: Leverage – How Cheap Money Will Destroy the World

5 Star, America (Founders, Current Situation), Banks, Fed, Money, & Concentrated Wealth, Budget Process & Politics, Capitalism (Good & Bad), Complexity & Catastrophe, Congress (Failure, Reform), Corruption, Crime (Corporate), Crime (Government), Economics, Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), Impeachment & Treason, Intelligence (Public), Justice (Failure, Reform), Misinformation & Propaganda, Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Philosophy, Power (Pathologies & Utilization), Priorities, Public Administration, Threats (Emerging & Perennial), True Cost & Toxicity, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized)
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Karl Denninger
5.0 out of 5 stars STRONG FIVE – Original, Award-Winning, Major Contribution, February 5, 2012

On the very last page of the book I learn that the author received the Reed Irvine Accuracy in Media Award for Grassroots Journalism, for his coverage of the 2008 market meltdown. This confirms my own already formed very high estimation of the author and his work. In fact, although I normally do links at the end of the review, let me open with some other books that are world-class and within which I place this work as comparable:

The Battle for the Soul of Capitalism
The Soul of Capitalism: Opening Paths to a Moral Economy
Griftopia: A Story of Bankers, Politicians, and the Most Audacious Power Grab in American History
SAVAGE CAPITALISM AND THE MYTH OF DEMOCRACY: Latin America in the Third Millennium
Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism (New in Paper)

Here is the author’s three-line conclusion to the longer chapter that ends the book (my own notes in parenthesis):

01 Federal and state governments KNEW what was going on, and are COMPLICIT. (This introduces me to the reality of “control fraud,” where the government commits impeachable acts that are not sanctioned; I also learn in this book that when Congress passes laws it does not include sanctions for failure by the GOVERNMENT to uphold those laws.)

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Review: Anyone That Works for a Living and Votes Republican is an Idiot

5 Star, America (Founders, Current Situation), Atrocities & Genocide, Banks, Fed, Money, & Concentrated Wealth, Budget Process & Politics, Capitalism (Good & Bad), Civil Society, Complexity & Catastrophe, Congress (Failure, Reform), Consciousness & Social IQ, Corruption, Cosmos & Destiny, Crime (Corporate), Crime (Government), Democracy, Economics, Education (General), Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), Intelligence (Public), Misinformation & Propaganda, Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Politics, Power (Pathologies & Utilization), Public Administration, Threats (Emerging & Perennial), True Cost & Toxicity, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized), Water, Energy, Oil, Scarcity
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Clyde Coughenour

5.0 out of 5 stars Alternative Perspective, Very Naive on US Reality, January 30, 2012

I *like* this book. I’ve been running for the Reform Party nomination for President (there were three of us, now there are two, and I might drop out soon if I get a federal job and the Hatch Act kicks in). I mention that mostly to emphasize that everything I have learned in the six weeks I’ve been registered with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC ID C00507756) is relevant to the second half of my review. This book came to my attention via a press clipping service that helps me follow any mention of a third party — this book calls for a new third party Of, By, and For Workers — we used to call that Communism (just kidding), but seriously, the last part of my review is a pitch for what workers should do if they really want to take charge, as workers finally did in Norway and Sweden (it took them 25 years).

I would normally rate this book at four stars, there is a lot missing, but I have to say that in terms of earnest honest patriotic down-to-earth common sense and indisputable pro-labor attitudes, this book is solid, so I am putting it at five stars and linking below to some books that add the missing “weight” to this read. My reviews of all of the books I list are summary in nature, to help those with little time or little money.

The book is scattered, providing snapshots of all of the issues, showing very clearly where neither party, but especially the Republicans, can be trusted to look out for workers. Politics is theater–nothing is decided in the open, the real deals are behind closed doors and the taxpayer ALWAYS loses. I certainly give the book high marks for distilling a very complicated corrupt mess into a simplified structure, and I totally agree with the author that there are no reliable statistics from the government or corporations, but let me give you three that matter:

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David Swanson: War and Being and Nothingness

5 Star, Atrocities & Genocide, Complexity & Catastrophe, Congress (Failure, Reform), Corruption, Crime (Corporate), Crime (Government), Culture, Research, Economics, Education (General), Empire, Sorrows, Hubris, Blowback, Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), Force Structure (Military), Future, Impeachment & Treason, Intelligence (Public), Military & Pentagon Power, Misinformation & Propaganda, Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Philosophy, Politics, Power (Pathologies & Utilization), Priorities, Public Administration, Strategy, Survival & Sustainment, Threats (Emerging & Perennial), True Cost & Toxicity, Truth & Reconciliation, Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized), War & Face of Battle
David Swanson

War and Being and Nothingness

The best book I’ve read in a very long time is a new one: The End of War by John Horgan. Its conclusions will be vigorously resisted by many and yet, in a certain light, considered perfectly obvious to some others. The central conclusion — that ending the institution of war is entirely up to us to choose — was, arguably, reached by (among many others before and since) John Paul Sartre sitting in a café utilizing exactly no research.

Horgan is a writer for “Scientific American,” and approaches the question of whether war can be ended as a scientist. It’s all about research. He concludes that war can be ended, has in various times and places been ended, and is in the process (an entirely reversible process) of being ended on the earth right now.

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The war abolitionists of the 1920s Outlawry movement would have loved this book, would have seen it as a proper extension of the ongoing campaign to rid the world of war. But it is a different book from theirs. It does not preach the immorality of war. That idea, although proved truer than ever by the two world wars, failed to prevent the two world wars. When an idea’s time has come and also gone, it becomes necessary to prove to people that the idea wasn’t rendered impossible or naïve by “human nature” or grand forces of history or any other specter. Horgan, in exactly the approach required, preaches the scientific observation of the success (albeit incomplete as yet) of preaching the immorality of war.

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Review: A Memoir of Injustice

5 Star, Atrocities & Genocide, Congress (Failure, Reform), Corruption, Crime (Corporate), Crime (Government), Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), History, Impeachment & Treason, Justice (Failure, Reform), Military & Pentagon Power, Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Politics, Power (Pathologies & Utilization), Public Administration, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized)
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Jerry Ray, Tamara Carter

5.0 out of 5 stars Solid Support for THE Book on USG Assassination of MLK,January 17, 2012<

I am unemployed and cannot afford books the way I once could, so my review is actually applause from the sidelines, and a pointer–something I can still do as the #1 Amazon reviewer for non-fiction, toward THE book:

An Act of State: The Execution of Martin Luther King (Updated)

MLK was assassinated at the direction of J. Edgar Hoover, with the active collaboration of the U.S. Army, and one suspects with at least the tacit knowledge of Lyndon Johnson, himself complicit in the assassination of JFK. I note with reverence that Bobby Kennedy calmed a major crowd with a voice close to that of MLK, only to be himself assassinated later. On JFK see:

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Review: The Military Industrial Compex at 50

5 Star, America (Founders, Current Situation), Budget Process & Politics, Capitalism (Good & Bad), Congress (Failure, Reform), Corruption, Crime (Corporate), Crime (Government), Culture, Research, Democracy, Economics, Education (General), Empire, Sorrows, Hubris, Blowback, Environment (Problems), Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), Force Structure (Military), History, Impeachment & Treason, Intelligence (Public), Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Politics, Power (Pathologies & Utilization), Priorities, Public Administration, Science & Politics of Science, Secrecy & Politics of Secrecy, Strategy, Survival & Sustainment, Threats (Emerging & Perennial), True Cost & Toxicity, Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized), War & Face of Battle, Water, Energy, Oil, Scarcity
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5.0 out of 5 stars America Desperately Needs More Illumination Such as This January 16, 2012

I received a review copy of this book [note to publishers: always ask first] and was glad to be offered a chance to read something as important as this. America desperately needs more illumination on the corruption in our government, and the evil done in our name without our permission but very much at our expense.

As a career veteran of the national security community–the Marine Corps and the Central Intelligence Agency–followed by seventeen years teaching 90 governments — 66 directly — how to get a grip on Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) that provides 95% of what we need to know at 2% or less of the cost of what we spend now on secret intelligence–I am well-qualified to read this book from a patriot’s point of view.

A strong national defense capability does NOT exist in the USA today. Posturing fools such as Senator Rick Santorum have no idea what they are talking about when they seek to discredit those of us who do. The infantry, four percent of the force, takes eighty percent of the casualties and receives ONE PERCENT of the Pentagon budget. Within the other 99%, half–at least–is fraud, waste, and abuse that makes America weaker, not stronger.

This book, edited by David Swanson, is a very good deal at $25. Its 368 pages include chapters from thirty other authors besides the editor, and include contributions from Ray McGovern and Karen Kwiatkowski, whose work I have admired in the past. If there were one flaw in the book, but not so serious as to lose a star, it would be its isolation from the pioneering work done by Pierre Sprey, Chuck Spinney, and Winslow Wheeler, with a genuflection toward John Boyd, the real pioneer of smart sufficient national security.

What is uniquely valuable about this book, something I have not seen elsewhere, is its provision of a holistic examination not just of the military-industrial process and fraudulent, wasteful, abusive bad design, bad performance, and bad cost, but of the costs that the military-industrial complex imposes on all of us and our economy and our society. This is a world-class book that should be translated into other languages to help others avoid our long-running mistakes.

Here are the blinding flashes of solid insight that stayed with me and merit the broadest possible public understanding:

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David Swanson: Recommended Book on Green Earth

5 Star, America (Founders, Current Situation), Capitalism (Good & Bad), Complexity & Catastrophe, Congress (Failure, Reform), Corruption, Country/Regional, Crime (Corporate), Crime (Government), Economics, Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), Intelligence (Public), Justice (Failure, Reform), Misinformation & Propaganda, Nature, Diet, Memetics, Design, Politics, Power (Pathologies & Utilization), Priorities, Public Administration, Science & Politics of Science, Stabilization & Reconstruction, Strategy, Survival & Sustainment, Threats (Emerging & Perennial), True Cost & Toxicity, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized), Water, Energy, Oil, Scarcity, Worth A Look
David Swanson

How Much Is an Earth, and Do You Have One in Extra Large?

A new book suggests that “It’s the economy, stupid,” may be more than political strategy; it may also be the key to environmental sustainability. The book is Green Washed: Why We Can’t Buy Our Way to a Green Planet, by Kendra Pierre-Louis. The argument developed is not just that the consumer choices of an individual won’t save the planet without collective action, but also that the only collective action that will save us is abandoning the whole idea of consumer choices.

Pierre-Louis lays the groundwork for her argument by walking us through the hazards of supposedly environmental approaches to numerous fields. First is clothing, in which a big trend is toward organic cotton. While reducing pesticides is all to the good, Pierre-Louis writes, growing cotton — any cotton — is a rapid way to exhaust the earth’s stores of fresh water. Among the preferable proposals the author suggests is creating or altering your own clothing so that it means more to you and you throw it away less rapidly. The low-hanging fruit in improving our clothing practices is in quantity, not quality: buy less clothing!

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Next comes diet. Our poisonous farming practices are killing the Mississippi River, exhausting our underground water supplies, drying up the Colorado (on this I recommend the 3-D movie “Grand Canyon Adventure”), eradicating biodiversity, eliminating soil, and consuming fossil fuels. Genetically modified crops are outrageous failures on their own terms, resulting in increased, rather than diminished, use of pesticides and herbicides. Last week, I would add, the Obama administration approved new Monsanto corn despite 45,000 negative public comments and 23 positive, corn that will mean the widespread use of a major ingredient in Agent Orange as herbicide. According to Pierre-Louis, we cannot ethically shop our way out of this, not even by buying local, and we couldn’t even if products were meaningfully labeled and the accuracy of the labeling was verified. Instead the easiest solution lies in the fact that, in the United States, we throw away 40 percent of the food we buy. Stop doing that! Start buying and using only what you need.

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