Review: Theodore and Woodrow – How Two American Presidents Destroyed Constitutional Freedom

7 Star Top 1%, America (Founders, Current Situation), Congress (Failure, Reform), Country/Regional, Crime (Government), Culture, Research, Democracy, Empire, Sorrows, Hubris, Blowback, Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), Impeachment & Treason, Intelligence (Public), Misinformation & Propaganda, Nature, Diet, Memetics, Design, Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Politics, Power (Pathologies & Utilization), Priorities, Secession & Nullification, Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized)
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Andrew P. Napolitano

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”):

Constitutional Chaos: What Happens When the Government Breaks Its Own Laws
Lies the Government Told You: Myth, Power, and Deception in American History

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).

Continue reading “Review: Theodore and Woodrow – How Two American Presidents Destroyed Constitutional Freedom”

Review: Waging Nonviolent Struggle – 20th Century Practice And 21st Century Potential

5 Star, Asymmetric, Cyber, Hacking, Odd War, Change & Innovation, Civil Society, Consciousness & Social IQ, Culture, Research, Democracy, Diplomacy, Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Politics, Public Administration, Secession & Nullification, Stabilization & Reconstruction, Survival & Sustainment, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized)
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Gene Sharp

5.0 out of 5 stars Foundation Work Not Yet Appreciated,August 28, 2012

In 1992 I was the second-ranking civilian in Marine Corps intelligence, and with the support of the Marine Corps, sought to get National Intelligence Topics moved from denied areas that were few in number and declining in importance, toward “low-intensity” threats and conditions in the Third World. The Marine Corps also tried to shift the US intelligence collection system from “priority driven” (collect over and over on the same limited set of targets) to “gap driven” (do a first pass on everything, then start over focusing on gaps). I’ve been thinking for a very long time about the deficiencies in US diplomatic, information, military, and economic (DIME) predispositions, bias, capabilities, and Achilles heels. I had more or less given up on the US Government specifically ever coming to its senses, when a bolt of lighting came out of the blue — Admiral James Stavrides, Supreme Commander for NATO, gave a TED talk about “open source security.” That is code for a complex range of things called Operations Other Than War (OOTW), Stabilization & Reconstruction (S&R), Public Diplomacy, and International Assistance, among other things. The US stinks at all of them, in part because we do not have a Whole of Government strategy, operations, intelligence, and logistics approach to anything — stovepipes, each badly managed and crossing wires, seem to be the standard.  The “M” in the Office of Management and Budget is not just silent, it is non-existent.

While I have read many other books relevant to the ideal of creating a prosperous world at peace, a world that works for all, this book was recommended to me as a starting point for avanced thinking in non-violent peace and prosperity operations, as I like to think of them, along with the author’s previous work, The politics of nonviolent action (Extending horizons books).

This is a practical book with very specific case studies and very specific itemizations (198 of them) that may replicate some of the author’s earlier work, but easily make this one book a stand-alone reference work for advanced studies by diplomats, warriors, and policy wonks long isolated from the real world. This book is not a replacement for Howard Zinn’s A Power Governments Cannot Suppress or Jonathan Schell’s The Unconquerable World: Power, Nonviolence, and the Will of the People. The three go well together.

For the grand strategic view I would suggest Philip Allott’s The Health of Nations: Society and Law beyond the State; at the operational level, Mark Palmer’s Breaking the Real Axis of Evil: How to Oust the World’s Last Dictators by 2025, and at the tactical level, Out of Poverty: What Works When Traditional Approaches Fail (BK Currents (Paperback)).

This is a multi-purpose volume. One can skip the case studies and ingest the beginning and the end, which is what I did, or one can use the volume as a distributed reading and research exercise–if I were using it each case study would be the foundation for a student paper on what never happened — the obliviousness of the UN, NATO, the US, etcetera, to the non-violent intervention points and the importance of NOT persisting with support to dictators and foreign military sales. As an aside, the dirty little secret of the CIA is that they are never serious about deposing evil, they just like to toy with dissidents on the margins — the best documentary on this long-standing fact is Charlie Wilson’s War: The Extraordinary Story of How the Wildest Man in Congress and a Rogue CIA Agent Changed the History of Our Times.

I value the book for the brevity of its main point: non-violent power is real and practical and has many manifestations (most of them not really known to me in a coherent scheme before reading this book). State power is context dependent, and much — *much* — more subject to public will than most realize.

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Review (Guest): The Open Source Everything Manifesto – Transparency, Truth & Trust

#OSE Open Source Everything, 5 Star, America (Founders, Current Situation), Asymmetric, Cyber, Hacking, Odd War, Banks, Fed, Money, & Concentrated Wealth, Budget Process & Politics, Capitalism (Good & Bad), Change & Innovation, Civil Affairs, Civil Society, Communications, Complexity & Resilience, Consciousness & Social IQ, Cosmos & Destiny, Decision-Making & Decision-Support, Democracy, Economics, Education (General), Education (Universities), Electoral Reform USA, Environment (Solutions), Games, Models, & Simulations, Information Operations, Information Society, Information Technology, Insurgency & Revolution, Intelligence (Collective & Quantum), Intelligence (Commercial), Intelligence (Extra-Terrestrial), Intelligence (Government/Secret), Intelligence (Public), Intelligence (Wealth of Networks), Justice (Failure, Reform), Leadership, Manifesto Extracts, Media, Misinformation & Propaganda, Nature, Diet, Memetics, Design, Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Philosophy, Politics, Power (Pathologies & Utilization), Priorities, Privacy, Public Administration, Science & Politics of Science, Secession & Nullification, Secrecy & Politics of Secrecy, Security (Including Immigration), Stabilization & Reconstruction, Strategy, Survival & Sustainment, Technology (Bio-Mimicry, Clean), Threats (Emerging & Perennial), True Cost & Toxicity, Truth & Reconciliation, Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized), War & Face of Battle, Water, Energy, Oil, Scarcity

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Robert David Steele

5.0 out of 5 stars PREPARE TO HAVE YOUR MIND BLOWN!,June 24, 2012

B. Tweed DeLions “B.T.”

If there’s a single Founding Father of the Open Source movement, Robert D. Steele is it. Everyone else has been playing catchup. And if you don’t know what the Open Source revolution is, you need to read this book. You don’t even need to know why! You need to buy it, read it, and then you’ll *know* why. No other book on Open Source can open your eyes the way this one can. That’s because there’s no potential use of Open Source intelligence that Steele hasn’t anticipated. Collective Intelligence is coming! It’s an unstoppable force. And it will change everything. So if you like to know about things like that in advance, you need to buy this book.

The information age that was created by personal computers was just a kiddie car with a squeaky horn. By comparison, the open source revolution is a freight train. Its potential to change your world is orders of magnitude greater. This is not hyperbole. In fact superlatives can’t begin to express the ground-shaking potential of this next wave of human evolution.

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Review (Guest): American Nations – A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America

4 Star, America (Founders, Current Situation), Civil Society, Consciousness & Social IQ, Culture, Research, Economics, Education (General), Geography & Mapping, History, Insurgency & Revolution, Nature, Diet, Memetics, Design, Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Politics, Secession & Nullification, Threats (Emerging & Perennial)
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Colin Woodard

Phi Beta Iota:  Elevated to four stars on recommendation of Chuck Spinney.  Synopsis of book in article for:  A Geography Lesson for the Tea Party

3.0 out of 5 stars How many sub-nations compose the USA?,October 10, 2011

Many people think of the United States as a nation with two regional or sub-national entities — the North and the South. The two sub-nations have identifiable differences in outlook. The South, a traditionally rural and agricultural region, has always been perceived to have a relatively conservative and individualistic outlook, oriented toward small government and states rights. The North, dominated by urbanized commercial centers, has always been relatively more aligned with big government agendas, a natural characteristic of densely populated areas where most people’s livelihoods are derived from industry and commerce.

The geographical, political, and cultural divides between the North and South have been fairly well defined by the “Mason-Dixon Line” — approximately the line of the Ohio and Potomac Rivers . Indeed states like Kentucky and Maryland are called “Border States” as if they were on an international frontier. And of course a military frontier DID materialize between the North and South when the Southern sub-nation attempted to assert its sovereignty during the Civil War.

This great divide between the Northern and Southern sub-nations continues to this day. I’ve read commentaries from foreigners who explain the politics of the United States as consisting of a struggle for dominance between the Northern and Southern sub-nations. We Americans refer to this as the “Red State / Blue State” divide. So the idea of the USA consisting of two sub-nations is well established.

The question this book addresses is whether it makes sense to subdivide the United States into MORE THAN TWO subnational entities. Others have asked this question before. Joel Garreau wrote about it in 1981 in his book THE NINE NATIONS OF NORTH AMERICA. I read NINE NATIONS then and concluded that it was partially valid in an economic sense, i.e. relatively more Westerners earn their livelihoods from mining, relatively more people on the Great Plains earn their living from growing wheat and corn and livestock, and relatively more Northerners earn their living from Industry. So from that perspective there are arguably nine economic nations in North America. But Garreau did not convince me that there are more than two political sub-nations inside the USA.

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Review (Guest): Deep Green Resistance – Strategy to Save the Planet

5 Star, America (Founders, Current Situation), Asymmetric, Cyber, Hacking, Odd War, Complexity & Resilience, Culture, Research, Economics, Education (General), Environment (Solutions), Intelligence (Public), Justice (Failure, Reform), Nature, Diet, Memetics, Design, Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Philosophy, Politics, Power (Pathologies & Utilization), Priorities, Secession & Nullification, Survival & Sustainment, Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution
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Derrick Jensen (Author), Aric McBay (Author), Lierre Keith (Author)

About the Authors

Activist, philosopher, teacher, and leading voice of uncompromising dissent, DERRICK JENSEN holds degrees in creative writing and mineral engineering physics. In 2008, he was named one of the Utne Reader’s “50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World,” and in 2006 he was named Press Action’s Person of the Year for his work on the book Endgame. He lives in California.

Writer, activist, and small-scale organic farmer ARIC MCBAY works to share information about community sufficiency and off-the-grid skills. He is the author of Peak Oil Survival: Preparation for Life after Gridcrash and creator of “In the Wake: A Collective Manual-in-progress for Outliving Civilization.”

LIERRE KEITH is a writer, small farmer, and radical feminist activist. She is the author of two novels, as well The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability, which has been called “the most important ecological book of this generation.” She’s also been arrested six times. She lives in Humboldt County, CA.

5.0 out of 5 stars finally, a book to meet the scale of our predicament,June 7, 2011
By  Owen Lloyd (Eugene, OR) – See all my reviews

What is different about Deep Green Resistance is that it is the first book that offers a solution that is scaled to the size of our predicament.

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Review (Guest): Cotton and Race in the Making of America

5 Star, Atrocities & Genocide, Capitalism (Good & Bad), Civil Society, Corruption, Crime (Corporate), Crime (Government), Culture, Research, Economics, Politics, Power (Pathologies & Utilization), Secession & Nullification, True Cost & Toxicity, Truth & Reconciliation, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized)
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Gene Dattel

5.0 out of 5 stars Now I Better Understand What It Was All About,June 10, 2010

By  Richard P. Canon (Spartanburg, SC United States) – See all my reviews

Being a proud fifth-generation Southerner, I thought that I fully understood why the Civil War was fought. Most of my understanding was based upon the influence of society and culture within which I grew up. Although none of my family were flag flying Confederates, there was very much pride in being a Southerner and having ancestors who fought for the Confederacy.

After reading this book, I honestly believe that I better understand why the Southerners did what they did. Within my lifetime I have been told over and over that the war was fought over the issue of slavery. As this book shows, slavery was at the root of the war. The primary issue of the war, however, was pure economics.

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Review: The Two Trillion Dollar Meltdown–Easy Money, High Rollers, and the Great Credit Crash

5 Star, America (Founders, Current Situation), Atrocities & Genocide, Capitalism (Good & Bad), Complexity & Catastrophe, Congress (Failure, Reform), Corruption, Crime (Corporate), Crime (Government), Culture, Research, Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), Impeachment & Treason, Intelligence (Commercial), Intelligence (Public), Misinformation & Propaganda, Nature, Diet, Memetics, Design, Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Philosophy, Politics, Power (Pathologies & Utilization), Priorities, Secession & Nullification, Secrecy & Politics of Secrecy, Threats (Emerging & Perennial), Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized), Water, Energy, Oil, Scarcity
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Charles R. Morris

5.0 out of 5 stars Forward to Future of Capitalism and GRIFTOPIA

November 8, 2010

This book was flagged to my attention in the Comments section of my own review of Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America, where my review includes the following quote that I share here:

QUOTE (32): What has taken place over the last generation is a highly complicated merger of crime and policy, of stealing and government. Far from taking care of the rest of us, the financial leaders of America and their political servants have seemingly reached the cynical conclusion that our society is not work saving and have taken on a new mission that involved not creating wealth for us all, but simply absconding with whatever wealth remains in our hollowed out economy. They don’t feed us, we feed them.

I defer to the other reviewers on the substance of the book, but want to provide links here to several books that address the larger context of the soul of capitalism and the corruption of the two political parties that have undermined the US Government and US economy with malice aforethought.

The Battle for the Soul of Capitalism
The Betrayal of American Prosperity: Free Market Delusions, America’s Decline, and How We Must Compete in the Post-Dollar Era
The Soul of Capitalism: Opening Paths to a Moral Economy
The Genius of the Beast: A Radical Re-Vision of Capitalism

Corrupt Two-Party Tyranny
Running on Empty: How the Democratic and Republican Parties Are Bankrupting Our Future and What Americans Can Do About It
Grand Illusion: The Myth of Voter Choice in a Two-Party Tyranny
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)
The Broken Branch: How Congress Is Failing America and How to Get It Back on Track (Institutions of American Democracy)
Breach of Trust: How Washington Turns Outsiders Into Insiders

I am blogging twice a week at Huffington Post on what a Virtual Cabinet doing sane evidence-driven policies in the context of a balanced responsible budget might look like, and would welcome visits there by those interested in getting back to honest government and responsible capitalism.

Review (DVD): Unthinkable

6 Star Top 10%, America (Founders, Current Situation), Asymmetric, Cyber, Hacking, Odd War, Atrocities & Genocide, Complexity & Catastrophe, Congress (Failure, Reform), Consciousness & Social IQ, Crime (Government), Democracy, Diplomacy, Empire, Sorrows, Hubris, Blowback, Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), Impeachment & Treason, Insurgency & Revolution, Intelligence (Government/Secret), Intelligence (Public), Justice (Failure, Reform), Military & Pentagon Power, Misinformation & Propaganda, Politics, Power (Pathologies & Utilization), Reviews (DVD Only), Secession & Nullification, Secrecy & Politics of Secrecy, Security (Including Immigration), Survival & Sustainment, Terrorism & Jihad, Threats (Emerging & Perennial), Truth & Reconciliation, Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized), War & Face of Battle
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Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Sheen Director: Gregor Jordan

And Carrie-Anne Moss (Amazon stinks at listing all authors and actors)

5.0 out of 5 stars

Astonishing–Riveting–Thought Provoking–Beyond Five Stars

May 28, 2010

EDIT of 27 August 2010: The Intelligence Science Board, the top advisory board to the Director of National Intelligence, has just come out with firm documented conclusions against coercive interviewing and absolutely demanding non-coercive interviewing. People like Col stuart Harrington and I have known this for decades, but it is nice to have the following (full links at Phi Beta Iota):

The ISB study notably dissected the “ticking time bomb” scenario that is often portrayed in television thrillers (and which has “captured the public imagination”). The authors patiently explained why that hypothetical scenario is not a sensible guide to interrogation policy or a justification for torture. Moral considerations aside, the ISB report said, coercive interrogation may produce unreliable results, foster increased resistance, and preclude the discovery of unsuspected intelligence information of value (pp. 40-42).

Bottom line: all of you that hate this review (shoot the messenger) have the best of intentions but you have absolutely no clue about real-life. Intelligence, not ideology, should be restoring America the Beautiful. That will not happen until We the People wake up and recognize that there is a two-party tryanny owned and operated by Wall Street, and we are being treated as expendable pigs.

Edit of 28 June 2010: the voting on this review appears to mirror the divide in America between left of center and right of center, with no dialog. I encourage a dialog in the comments section and will respond on a daily basis. The world is NOT “win-lose,” it is only “lose-lose” or “win-win” or what one author calls “Non-Zero.” We can either die as a species, or live as a species, there is no “eugenics” possible as much as Henry Kissinger (who can never return to France) might like the term. There is only one “we.” What we lack right now is educated leaders with open minds who have integrity. This topic–torture–and this review–against torture of Americans by Americans–and these votes–American against American–are a window into our soul and what I am seeing is no basis for happiness.

– – – – – – –

I am 57 years old, been a spy, did Viet-Nam (63-67) as the son of an oil man going through ten coups d’etat, did El Salvador where I was personally threatened with assassination by the guys running the country who did not like me talking to leftists, and so on. I am also one of the handful of Americans who signed the letter to Senator John “POWS in VN? What POWs” McCain against torture. The thousand five hundred non-fiction reviews I have done all serve as a foundation for saying that this movie is a MUST SEE for every American.

For some time now I have felt that the US Government is out of touch with the American public, out of touch with reality, and out of touch with ethics. Ethics is a really important word that has been central to my life these past twenty years as I along with a number of others have realized that most of what the US Government does in the way of both secret intelligence and global military operations is unethical, unprofessional, unrealistic, predatory, and generally a waste of the taxpayers’ money.

This movie is not like Sum of All Fears or Live Free or Die Hard (Unrated Edition) or any of the other good guys win in the end movies. This movie focuses on our soul as seen in torture, and it very ably calls into question the idiocy of US foreign policy these past fifty years.

Continue reading “Review (DVD): Unthinkable”

Review: Secession, State, and Liberty

5 Star, America (Founders, Current Situation), Civil Society, Congress (Failure, Reform), Country/Regional, Culture, Research, Electoral Reform USA, Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Philosophy, Politics, Power (Pathologies & Utilization), Secession & Nullification
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Amazon Page
5.0 out of 5 stars Phenomenal Overview, Timely, the One Book to Buy If…
September 12, 2009
David Gordon
I read in threes and fours on any given topic, and in some ways I regret getting to this book last, but on the other hand, having read the other books below first, it makes me appreciate, and be willing to certify, that this one book is the one to buy if you only want to read one book on the topic.

Review: Secession–How Vermont and All the Other States Can Save Themselves from the Empire

5 Star, Secession & Nullification
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Elegant plain speaking, superb overview, November 4, 2008

Thomas H. Naylor

This book is a follow-on to The Vermont Manifesto, which I absorbed and reviewed in 2006 when I first realized that there existed a vibrant nation-wide network of secessionist movements, with Vermont being among the most ably represented.

I strongly recommend this book for every citizen. Regardless of who “wins” this mock election, we all lose–the two-party bi-opoly is a crime family, and absent electoral reform the Republic is dead. As the author of this book puts it, “our” government is corrupt to the core.” I will be speaking briefly to the annual reunion of the two dozen secessionist movements in New Hampshire on 15 November 2008, and I will be encouraging every one of the movement to announce an intent to exercise its right to withdraw from a corrupt Union *unless* the pseudo-President agrees to implement four core reforms (they are outlined, along with the legitimate grievances of the varied secessionist movements, in 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).

This book opens with a tremendous introduction by Kirkpatrick Sale, author of Human Scale and dean of the Middlebury Institute that furthers the secessionist movement.

The book then offers a summary of the earlier work, eight points in the manifesto:
1) increasingly difficult to protect ourselves from big everything
2) government is too everything, including intrusive and unresponsive
3) US government has lost its moral authority both at home and abroad
4) we have a single (criminal) political party [I for one weep at the charade that the Democrats have put on with 700 million in largely illegal contributions made possible by Obama not being able to honor his word to the public)
5) The “American way” is a way of greed, exploitation, and waste
6) America’s foreign policy is immoral and illegal as well as unconstitutional
7) To be a part of the Empire is to invite terrorist attack
8) The existing “nation” is ungovernable, unfixable, and unsustainable.

Beginning on page 43 the author addresses each of the options he can think of (the author is a professor emeritus from Duke):

1) denial
2) compliance
3) political reform
4) implosion
5) rebellion
6) dissolution

I am charmed by the author’s overview of many of the emerging trends, mostly negative, that I have found in so many non-fiction books over these past few years. He outlines examples of domestic imperialism, calls into question the 9/11 “official story”, and lambastes both corporations and the federal government for fraudulent book-keeping.

On page 76 he lists the eight principles that are explained at length in the earlier work:

1) Political Independence
2) Human Scale
3) Sustainability
4) Economic Solidarity (some would call this “buy local”)
5) Power Sharing
6) Equal Opportunity
7) Tension Reduction
8) Mutuality

This program is achieved in four steps that are discussed in detail by the author:

1) Denunciation (I have certainly tried to do that with my own reviews)
2) Disengagement
3) Demystification (i.e. secession is NOT sedition, it cannot be)
4) Defiance

The middle of the book is a description of Vermont in compellingly attractive terms, and two points stay with me: they outlawed billboards; and Vermont is one of two states whose banks did not fail in the Great Depression, and one of three states whose banks did not fail in the 1980’s.

The author observes that the Inter-State Commerce Act is used to force Wal-Mart into Vermont, and sadly notes the reality that too many Vermonters do not understand that cheap prices from Wal-Mart are achieved by destroyed local jobs and the rest of the earth (see among many works, Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price.

The author provides a very helpful overview of Constitutional History of Secession which is the thickest book in my secession reading pile, and the last I will get to. Bottom line: every state has a right to secede from the Union, and it is the Constitution, not the Union, that we are all sworn to uphold.

The author provides a fine overview of how Eastern Europe led the way in modern secession, with favorable references to Vaclav Havel and his book, Power of the Powerless: A Brother’s Legacy of Love (Crossroad Book).

The book moves to a conclusion in observing that Alaska, Hawaii, Texas, and California (the latter with three secessionist movements calling for three separate republics to be made out of the state, the eighth largest economy on the planet per the author), are all ripe for activism. The author does not make this point so I will: the best time for any group to secede is when the larger group is bogged down in a foreign war that is bankrupting the whole.

He ends by citing Switzerland, with 7.3 million people total, as an excellent model for the Second Vermont Republic by itself, but his own hope is for a New Arcadia consisting of the eastern part of Canada with New Hampshire, and Main joining Vermont. This presumes Quebec’s eventual success (and one can also anticipate Alaska moving on the Empty Quarter while British Columbia links up with Washington and Oregon and the sane part of California (the northern part). See The Nine Nations of North America, still the best overview around.

I cannot say enough good things about this book, I consider it a core reading for any adult with brain who cares about the Constitution, the Republic as it was conceived by the Founding Fathers, and the cause of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness which our federal government is supposed to be about, but is not.

Three others books within my ten link allowance:
The Tao of Democracy: Using Co-Intelligence to Create a World That Works for All
A Power Governments Cannot Suppress
Collective Intelligence: Creating a Prosperous World at Peace

I do not favor secession IF (big IF) we can force the matter of the four reforms on the pseudo-President at the Citizens Summit that will take place in Denver in February 2009.

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Review: Is Secession Treason?

5 Star, Secession & Nullification

secession treason1866 treatise, exquisitely relevant and valuable today, November 4, 2008

Albert Bledsoe

This book, self-published in 1866 (Eighteen Sixty Six) is a treasure. The author did such a good job that his work was used in defending Jefferson Davis against charges of treason. I am impressed on every page with the diligence that went into looking at the original papers, the early drafts of the Constitution, the records of the debates, and the personal correspondence of the Founding Fathers thereafter.

The book centers on three questions:

1) Was the Constitution a compact–a voluntary agreement?
2) Were the STATES the parties to the compact?
3) If so, did the STATES reserve the right to withdraw from the compact?

I have been enthralled with this book tonight, especially as I compare it to the mockery of what passes for democracy in this country–grand theater that will give us a pseudo-President, the lite side of the bi-opoly crime family, and no attention at all to the substance of governance (for amplification, including everything the two candidates did NOT address in this pathetic campaign of dissemblance, 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) which is also free online (as are all my books).

Chapter 1 explains why this question mattered in 1866: if it was treason, Lee and Jackson and Davis and others were traitors. If not treason, then heroes.

The heart of the book is eight chapters, each of which examines a different means of demonstrating that the Constitution was a compact among the sovereign states, and that they all therefore have retained the right of secession.

Throughout the book the author is severely dismissive of Daniel Webster, who has been lionized, as has Abe Lincoln, for defending the Union, but as the author demonstrates, Webster was all too willing to fabricate the facts to suit his argument (others have made this point about Lincoln).

Key points for me early on, as made by the author:

1) 1833 was the first time anyone sought to advance a doctrine of an indivisible union.

2) In the drafting of the Constitution, those assembled explicitly rejected “national government” and went instead with “a government of the United States,” i.e. the federal government is an administrative entity created by the states to serve a common purpose, NOT a “national” authority with sovereign status over the states or for that matter the people.

The author spends time on the confusion caused by the first words of the Constitution, “We the People,” and rolls out a dazzling array of quotes from early drafts and correspondence that conclusively say:

1) At first all of the States were listed by name.

2) Only after all the provisions had been agreed to was the full document (still having all the states listed in the first sentence) referred to “a committee on style” (quotes in the original).

3) It was the Committee on Style that dropped the list of states and substituted We the People

4) All those engaged in this endeavor did not protest because they all knew the intent of the words was stylistic rather than a conveyance of sovereign authority.

Other interesting discussions:

1) Massachusetts objected to the Louisiana purchase, resolving in its legislature that such a purchase far exceeded the authority granted to the federal (not national) government, and that the purchase if carried out would by its very nature abolish the original union of the thirteen colonies.

2) Thomas Jefferson is quoted from one of his resolutions, “Resolved, where powers are assumed which have not been delegated, a nullification of the act is the rightful remedy.”

3) Commerce regulation for mutual benefit was the original intent, which has morphed into a monster intruding into every aspect of state and local life.

Chapter 15 focuses on how each of the colonies was a realm unto itself, with very specific territories, identities, and interests.

Chapter 16 summarizes seven arguments in favor of secession as a right:
1) Doctrine of Reserved Rights
2) Sovereignty of the States
3) Silence of the Constitution
4) Fundamental Principle of the Union
5) Right of Self-Government
6) Opinion of Well-Informed and Intelligence Foreign Observers (here De Tocqueville is the most prominent, but there are others)
7) Virginia Ordinance of Ratification

The author in Chapter 17 provides a good faith summary of the arguments against secession, but in fairness to his disposition other books would have to be consulted.

The book concludes with observations on the causes of secession of the South, which the author is certain was legitimate:
1) Destruction of the balance of power between South and North
2) Section legislation that exchanged poverty of North for wealth of South
3) Formation of “the party of the North” pledged against the South
4) “utter subversion and contemptuous disregard for all the checks of the Constitution” (I cannot help but think of Dick Cheney and the treasonous betrayal of the public trust by both “parties”)
5) Unjust treatment of the slavery question which was explicitly excluded from the Constitution
6) “Sophistry and hypocrisy of the North”
7) “Horrible abuse and slander” of the South by the North (loss of face)
8) “Contemptuous denial of the right of secession

The last quote on the last page (202) cites one Mr. Grayson (first name not in text or index), “Republics, in fact, oppress more than monarchies.”

For now, with several more books on secession pending this week as I prepare for the New Hampshire meeting on 15 November, I simply have to say that I buy in to what this author sought to communicate. We live in a United States of America, not a United Peoples of America (that would have required respect for both slaves and Native Americans).

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

As a free concise primer, look online for the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on Secession written by Allen Buchanan.

Three books on the idiocy and criminality that have prevailed:
The Bush Tragedy
Vice: Dick Cheney and the Hijacking of the American Presidency
Breach of Trust: How Washington Turns Outsiders Into Insiders

Three books of hope:
The Tao of Democracy: Using Co-Intelligence to Create a World That Works for All
Society’s Breakthrough!: Releasing Essential Wisdom and Virtue in All the People
Collective Intelligence: Creating a Prosperous World at Peace

I do not wish to dissolve the Union. I do wish to dissolve the illegal aspects of the government we have now, including Congressional gerrymandering, vote fixing, electoral fraud, bribery on demand, and a dismissal of the policy process in favor of ideological lunacy.

Whoever wins this election will be impotent UNLESS they connect directly to the people and choose with great deliberation to break the backs of the two criminal parties while asserting the public interest and demanding the four reforms (electoral, governance, intelligence, and national security).

Review: One Nation, Indivisible? A Study of Secession and the Constitution

5 Star, Democracy, Secession & Nullification
Amazon Page
Amazon Page

See other readings first, this is fourth in the line, November 5, 2008

Robert, F. Hawes

If you have not already, start your reading program on secession by seeking out, free online, Allen Buchanan’s lovely essay on Secession in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Then buy and read Thomas Naylor’s 2008 Secession: How Vermont and All the Other States Can Save Themselves from the Empire, and if you want the best over-all detailed review, also buy and read Albert Bledsoe’s 1866 (eighteen sixty six) book, Is Secession Treason?. I have summarized both in earlier reviews.

This book is a solid recommended fourth reading. It replicates and complements Bledsoe’s book, which the author draws on with respect while digging down to the primary sources himself.. The two books dovetail perfectly with three bottom lines:

1) The Declaration of Independence, the Treaty of Paris, and the Constitution are all compacts among STATES, and the Union is a plurality of STATES, not a unity of one people.

2) Secession is not treason; secession is in fact the only moral legal option open to any state when the federal government becomes both lunatic and pathologically dangerous to the well-being of the citizens that each state represents.

3) The federal government is an administrative entity created primarily to help the STATES be competitive in commerce, and was never intended to be a “national” government with authority over the states. The author cites Thomas Jefferson on more than one occasion reiterating that the federal government is in no way its own “decider” and is always the creature of the states, in no way superior over any of them.

I am enchanted to find that the Canadian Supreme Court has ruled that Quebec does have the right to secede, something I expect to happen one day, in part because Quebec is sitting on one of two long-term sources of clean water (Scotland has the other). If that happens, Canada will logically divide in three–the eastern portion joining New England in New Arcadia, and the Western portion joining the Pacific Northwest to create Ecotopia. See Joel Garreau’s The Nine Nations of North America, still the best rational study of the distinct character of each of these nine constituencies.

The author recommends Harvest Of Rage: Why Oklahoma City Is Only The Beginning and I am ordering that tonight, The federal government is not just dead, it is rotten to the core (not the good people, but the bad system), and as much as I respect President-elect Obama as an individual, I am quite certain that he will find himself neutered by the Democratic machine, as Wall Street intended when they drafted the screenplay for 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).

The author slams Abraham Lincoln and the Republican Party that Bush-Cheney have been so fond of, pointing out that it was not secession that destroyed the Southern economy, but rather the northern attacks and the post-war “reconstruction” (carpetbagging, a precursor to Exxon and Wal-Mart). The litany of crimes against the public interest committed by Lincoln is quite fascinating, and my first exposure apart from Bledsoe to Southern revisionist history, a history I find morally compelling. I wrote a not-so-brilliant paper on the causes of the Civil War in high school (as I supposed all Advanced Placement students did), and I learn for the first time that the real cause of the war was Lincoln’s desire to impose Northern values and controls over the varied territories being acquired to the West. The author points out that the Emancipation Proclamation did not free slaves in the northern or border states, and was a military act, nothing more.

The book has two special values as the fourth recommended item:

First, it is a reader with key appendices including recommended amendments to the Constitution that I do not agree with (all we need is Electoral, Governance, Intelligence, and National Security Reform, OR a dismantling of the Union which is too big, too corrupt, and too stupid to survive as is).

Second, its third part explores “modern” (that is to say, current as of 2006) arguments against secession, and as the author intends, leaves the reader quite satisfied that the USA is no less open to secession than was the Soviet Union.

He cites Patrick Buchanan’s The Death of the West: How Dying Populations and Immigrant Invasions Imperil Our Country and Civilization, which I also recommend as a book-end to Thomas Naylor’s first book, The Vermont Manifesto along with Kirkpatrick Sale’s Human Scale.

Toward the end the author provides completely new information to me on the 1993 official apology of the US Congress to the citizens of Hawaii, an apology whose language both certifies the illegality of the US overthrow of the islands, and sets the stage for Hawaii’s eventual secession from the United STATES of America.

For my own inquiry, in preparation for a brief presentation on 15 November to the secessionist conference in Manchester, New Hampshire, on page 62 the author provides a valuable quote from the Constitution, Article 3, Section 3, defining Treason:

“Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against THEM, or in adhering to THEIR enemies.”

The emphasis on them and their was in the author’s original rendition as italics.

I am satisfied that secession is not treason, that it is legal, and that it is moral. However, I also like the United States of America as an entity, so I am going to start looking for Governors interested in forming a Council on Nullification and Secession that will educate the public and strive to break the backs of the two criminal parties that now violate the Constitution with impunity while shutting out Independents, Libertarians, Greens, Reforms, and others. We need to achieve the four reforms, or break up the United STATES of America.

President-elect Obama is either the last act in the theater of the macabre sponsored by Wall Street, or the first act in creating a Second American Republic. We can help him out-grow the first and nurture the second.

Review: A Constitutional History of Secession

5 Star, Secession & Nullification
Amazon Page

Give me Liberty or Give me Death–Time to Demand Restoration of the Constitution, November 10, 2008

John Remington Graham

Published in 2002, this book summarizes all the reasons the individual US states may today freely contemplate secession from the United STATES of America. The author has special authority apart from his scholarship–he was among those who served as counselors to the high court of Canada that decided in 1998, irrevocably, that Quebec has the right to secede.

Two things about this book really impressed me apart from its obvious value in confronting our present reckless, arrogant, and more often than not criminal central government: first, slavery was on the way OUT in the South, and everyone knew it then; and second, the North used slavery as a strategic deception, a form of public deception acutely similar to the 935 lies Dick Cheney orchestrated on Weapons of Mass Destruction, to violate the Constitution multiple times over, and ultimately ruin the South for the benefit of Northern capitalists and the European banks behind them. Given that the Democratic Party is nothing more than a lighter version of the Republican Party–both criminally corrupt, this book is relevant NOW.

The introduction is by David Livingston, whose Wikipedia page is worth reading and opens with: “Livingston has developed some renown as a constitutional scholar and is an expositor of the compact nature of the Union, with its concomitant doctrines of corporate resistance, nullification, and secession. The doctrine coincides with federalism, states’ rights, the principle of subsidiarity. His political philosophy embodies the decentralizing themes echoed by Europeans such as Althusius, David Hume, and John Acton and Americans such as Thomas Jefferson, Spencer Roane, Abel Parker Upshur, Robert Hayne and John Calhoun, which holds the community as the basic unit of political society.”

The author makes the point early on that secession is about RESTORING the rule of law, and that it is a uniquely peaceful form of revolution, a rational and orderly process with antecedents in the “Glorious Revolution” and the accession of William and Mary.

The constitution right of secession is based in natural law and was THE animating principle of American constitutional thought until 1860, when Northern bankers were directed by the Rothchilds and Morgan banking families in Europe to create a war.

The author’s research is deep and compelling. The States delegated LIMITED powers to the federal government (which they explicitly refused to call a “national” government), and at no time did they surrender their individual sovereignty, many of them sovereign from England well before the Declaration of Independence.

1775: Continental Congress authority was derived from the States, not the people.

1778: Articles of Confederation, “Every State retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence.” Further on, Union is perpetual UNLESS–and later of course, by compact of the States, this version was dissolved.

Citing James Madison: a breach of any article by any party leaves all other parties at liberty to consider the whole dissolved.

George Mason of Virginia is highlighted as true patriotic and intellectual hero who was responsible for the clause that specified that all powers not expressly DELEGATED to the federal government were reserved for the States.

The author demystifies the confusion between the Union created by the States and the Union confirmed by the People. While each State still retained its own sovereignty, the Constitution, unlike the Articles of Confederation, was confirmed by a Convention of People in each state, and thus achieved a new status as a republic in form–this does NOT, however, remove the sovereign rights of each STATE.

In discussing the nullification crisis the author illuminates the distinction between the States’ sovereignty power–the power to make and unmake Constitutions–and the day to day powers DELEGATED to the federal government, hence not to be interfered with absent a need to nullify, or in extremis, to secede.

1798: Nullification is a precursor to selection. This matters today as the federal government seeks to place CEILINGS on State control of corporations and pollution. Such mandates can be nullified by the States if their leaders rediscover their heritage. Virginia and Kentucky passes resolutions specifying that the federal government was created for SPECIAL (i.e. limited) purposes and was not the exclusive and final judge of its own powers, which are derived from the States.

Stephen Douglas, although a servant of the financial powers, rose to great heights after Lincoln’s “election” (the author says Lincoln’s election was so rigged he did not bother to campaign), and proposed a withdrawal from forts in the south so as to avoid sparking a war. Lincoln refused. Similarly, General Winfield Scott advised Lincoln to let Fort Sumter go, and Lincoln instead ordered the provocative reinforcement of Fort Sumter.

The author is at pains to document that neither Congress nor the Executive may declare war on a member State; on four separate occasions the Founding Father explicitly denied this power to Congress.

The author suggests, and documents, that General George Brinton McClellan was not the incompetent that Secretary of War Stanton sought to libel and slander, but rather very respected by the South to the point that he could have won with minimal bloodshed, and reunited the Union rather than destroy the Southern half.

Costs of Lincoln’s impeachable decision to war with the south are itemized by the author as including dictatorship, bankruptcy, enslavement of the white population and looting of the south, and conscription on a scale that made death on a massive scale inevitable.

In creating its new Confederacy, the South demonstrated its moral superiority and good intentions by forbidding the future importation of slaves; repeating the fugitive slave demands on the North, recognizing all Indian tribes in its western territories as sovereign unto themselves, and rejecting Alexander Hamilton’s imperial pretensions for centralized government.

I have many other notes that I have posted at my primary website. In the comment below I provide a short link, and nine quotes from the book that would not fit here within the 1000 word limit.

On our present crisis in America:

Obama – The Postmodern Coup
The Bush Tragedy
Vice: Dick Cheney and the Hijacking of the American Presidency
Breach of Trust: How Washington Turns Outsiders Into Insiders
Running on Empty: How the Democratic and Republican Parties Are Bankrupting Our Future and What Americans Can Do About It

On secession:

Secession: How Vermont and All the Other States Can Save Themselves from the Empire
Is Secession Treason?
One Nation, Indivisible? A Study of Secession and the Constitution

Details of my patriotic position can be found in:
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)

My shared vision for the future:
Collective Intelligence: Creating a Prosperous World at Peace

Vote and/or Comment on Review

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

Worth a Look: Book Reviews on Poisons, Toxicity, Trash, & True Cost

00 Remixed Review Lists, Capitalism (Good & Bad), Crime (Corporate), Economics, Environment (Problems), Misinformation & Propaganda, Nature, Diet, Memetics, Design, Science & Politics of Science, Secession & Nullification, Survival & Sustainment, Threats (Emerging & Perennial), True Cost & Toxicity, Water, Energy, Oil, Scarcity, Worth A Look

Poisons, Toxicity, Trash, & True Cost

Review: A Consumer’s Dictionary of Household, Yard and Office Chemicals: Complete Information About Harmful and Desirable Chemicals Found in Everyday Home Products, Yard Poisons, and Office Polluters

Review: High Tech Trash–Digital Devices, Hidden Toxics, and Human Health

Review: Made to Break–Technology and Obsolescence in America

Review: Pandora’s Poison–Chlorine, Health, and a New Environmental Strategy (Paperback)

Review: The Blue Death–Disease, Disaster, and the Water We Drink

Review: The Omnivore’s Dilemma–A Natural History of Four Meals

Review: The True Cost of Low Prices–The Violence of Globalization

Review: Toxin (Fiction)

Review: Wal-Mart–The High Cost of Low Price (2005)

Worth a Look: Book Reviews on Blue Collar

00 Remixed Review Lists, Complexity & Catastrophe, Congress (Failure, Reform), Corruption, Crime (Corporate), Crime (Government), Culture, Research, Democracy, Economics, Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Politics, Power (Pathologies & Utilization), Priorities, Secession & Nullification, Security (Including Immigration), Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized), Worth A Look

Blue Collar

Review: Blue Collar Ministry–Facing Economic and Social Realities of Working People

Review: Deer Hunting with Jesus–Dispatches from America’s Class War

Review: Exporting America–Why Corporate Greed Is Shipping American Jobs Overseas

Review: Talking Politics with God and the Devil in Washington, D.C.