Review: We Can All Do Better

3 Star, America (Founders, Current Situation), Congress (Failure, Reform), Culture, Research, Democracy, Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), Politics
Amazon Page

Bill Bradley

3.0 out of 5 stars Shallow Book, Old Think, He Quit the Fight to Join the Worst of the Wall Street Manipulators,November 15, 2012

This book makes me very angry. My step-father and I both believed in Bill Bradley a decade ago, and today I feel about him the way I feel about Ron Paul: each betrayed the public trust by refusing to break with their side of the two-party tyranny, knowing full well that neither party represents the public or the public interest, while disenfranchising 50% of the public [the Independents, Constitution, Green, Libertarian, Natural Law, Reform, and Socialist parties, all but the first accredited at the national level and blocked from ballot access and debate access by two of the most corrupt parties on the planet] so corrupt they outdo the Soviet Politburu in avoiding turnover at the top.

As I go through this book — and of course I am better armed than most being the #1 Amazon reviewer for non-fiction, reading across 98 categories (visit Phi Beta Iota / Books to access all of my Amazon reviews by category) — I keep thinking to myself TIRED, TIRED, TIRED. This is a book that would have earned five stars from me in 2000. Today it is too little too late.

This book fails the authenticity test on three counts:

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Review DVD: The AMERICAN Ruling Class

5 Star, America (Founders, Current Situation), Banks, Fed, Money, & Concentrated Wealth, Congress (Failure, Reform), Culture, Research, Democracy, Economics, Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), Justice (Failure, Reform), Leadership, Military & Pentagon Power, Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Reviews (DVD Only), Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized)
Amazon Page
Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars Truly Remarkable–Provokes & Entertains

December 10, 2009
Robert Altman, James Baker, Bill Bradley, Harold Brown, Hodding Carter, William Coleman, Walter Cronkite, Barabara Ehrenreich, Vartan Gregorian, Robert Hackney, Doug Henwood, Mike Dedavoy, Joseph Nye, Samuel Peabody, John Perkins, Pete Seeger, Lawrence Summers, Arthur Sulzberger, William Taft,  Kurt Vonnegut, Howard Zinn

This DVD is superb and also subversive. I doubt that the “stars” in this movie, particularly James Baker, Bill Bradley, Howard Brown, and Larry Summers, really knew what they were getting into, since their words–and their bland denials–ring so false in this context.

I put the film in while trying to deal with Microsoft’s latest “update” that cost me half the morning, and I recommend it very strongly as a Christmas present or for classrooms and book clubs.

My notes:

+ A Peabody, whose ancestors came on “the boat” and also founded Groton, laments that whereas all the leaders used to pass through Groton, now there is no real “source.” I am reminded of Lee Iacocca’s Where Have All the Leaders Gone?.

+ Hedge fund visits basically boils all ownership in America down to four banks, and later in the film we learn that six multinational control almost all “content.”

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Journal: Loch Johnson on It’s Never a Quick Fix at the CIA

09 Justice, 10 Security, 11 Society, Ethics, Government, Methods & Process, Policy, Reform, Strategy
Full Story Online
Full Story Online

Professor Loch Johnson is one of two people who have served on both the Church Committee and the Aspin-Brown Commission.  The other is Britt Snider, Esquire.

Today he examines the lack of integrity on the Hill, or totthless, inattentive oversight.  He does not address two factors that we comment on below the fold:

1.  There are five CIAs, and as long as the Wall Street and White House CIAs are doing what they are told to do, no one really cares about the integrity or the pathos of the other three.

2.  Leon Panetta could have been the greatest Director in history, just as Barack Obama could have been the George Washington of this century, but both sacrificed their integrity for partisan gain, deliberately ignoring the urgent calls for both reform at CIA and non-partisan reality-based policy-making in the White House.  Phi Beta Iota

By Loch K. Johnson

Sunday, August 30, 2009

skip sad story . . . . . . .

The Church Committee discovered that intelligence abuses ran far deeper than initially reported. The CIA had indeed spied on Vietnam War dissenters at home, but the FBI had gone further, disrupting the lives of antiwar protesters and civil rights activists. It was “a road map to the destruction of American democracy,” committee member Walter Mondale said during a public hearing.

Church was equally appalled by the overseas excesses of the CIA, including covert actions against democratic regimes — such as Chile’s — and assassination plots. He blasted the agency for “the fantasy that it lay within our power to control other countries through the covert manipulation of their affairs.”

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Review: The New American Story

3 Star, Biography & Memoirs, Corruption, Politics

BradleyBill Bradley (D) for President and Bloomberg (I) for VP?,

May 28, 2007

Bill Bradley

Edit of 5 Jul 09 to observe Bradley is theater–a fraud–as are all the others. With Obama it has become clear that the Borg consists of Wall Street (including Allen & Co) owning Congress, Treasury, Justice, and the Fed. We the People have been mugged.

Edited 25 Jun 07 to focus on possibility of Bradley-Bloomberg and comment.

This is a very solid, well-written and well-documented, and with great insights that I am all too happy to absorb in my capacity as an estranged moderate Republican. On balance I find Bill Bradley to be smarter, more nuanced, more deliberate, and not so trivially, taller and fitter than Al Gore. I am so impressed by the possibilities that I am immediately going back to my existing copy of Price of Loyalty, the story of how Dick Cheney betrayed Paul O’Neill and all the rest of us moderate Republicans, to see if there is a cross-walk that can be done. If these two worthies will agree to electoral reform and a transpartisan Cabinet, we can save the Republic in 2008.

The book begins with a marvelous review of the many false stories the extremist Republicans and their White House neo-cons have been telling about everything from tax cuts and the deficit and Medicare to Iraq, terrorism, and so on He has mastered the story-telling dynamic so recommended by Stephen Denning, the World Bank’s Chief Knowledge Officer until his retirement.

In Part II of the book the author explores the break-downs in global cooperation and global responsibility, and specifically points to the growth of religion as a force we cannot ignore. See Left Hand of God. He addresses the big picture issues including the concentration of wealth and the drop in savings, increase in inequality, and failure to invest in the future (education, infrastructure).

His review names three systems–economic, social, and national defense–where we are being pushed to the breaking point. In a somewhat scattered fashion, he moves across education, the deficit, tax reform, geopolitical instability, oil, water, pensions, stock market, and health care (specifically praising Paul O’Neil and holistic reform.

In part III he identifies voter turn-out and electoral reform as the two keys to victory over money and conglomerate media spin. The book then ends with what for me was complexly new and useful insight on why the Republicans cannot fix nor manage America, and why the Democrats continue to flounder.

His eight “curses” of the Democratic Party:
1) Fear of thinking big
2) Capitulation on defense (hard vs soft power)
3) Inability to counter accusations of being wasteful spendthrifts
4) Close-minded devotion to the secular
5) Wealth-bashing
6) Special Friends in teachers, trial lawyers, and auto workers
7) Ceased to stand on principle
8) Hypnotized by charisma

There is no one now running that I consider worthy of being the first transpartisan president. Bradley, if he adopted the three standards: electoral reform as the only truly urgent issue; transpartisanship and a transpartisan cabinet announced in advance; and a commitment to show a balanced budget addressing all ten threats with all ten policies by November 2008, I’d want to be part of that restoration of the Republic.

The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O’Neill
Democracy’s Edge: Choosing to Save Our Country by Bringing Democracy to Life
The Tao of Democracy: Using Co-Intelligence to Create a World That Works for All
Escaping the Matrix: How We the People can change the world
All Rise: Somebodies, Nobodies, and the Politics of Dignity (Bk Currents)
Society’s Breakthrough!: Releasing Essential Wisdom and Virtue in All the People
A Crowd of One: The Future of Individual Identity
Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming
Running on Empty: How the Democratic and Republican Parties Are Bankrupting Our Future and What Americans Can Do About It
THE SMART NATION ACT: Public Intelligence in the Public Interest

Review: Time Present, Time Past–A Memoir (Hardcover)

4 Star, Biography & Memoirs

Amazon Page
Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful and Depressing–American Does Not Elect the Smart Ones,

September 25, 2005
Bill Bradley
Bill Bradley and John McCain may go down in history as the two smartest men who should have been President, but could not get elected. This is an extraordinarily thoughtful book, and it makes one almost cry out in despair. America has given up the idea of an informed democracy led by informed representatives of the people, and as the author concludes his book, given over all the power to two kinds of technocrats: political technocrats like Karl Rove who will do anything to get their man elected, including unethical misrepresentations against Republicans like John McCain, never mind Democrats; and corporate technocrats, who will kill off the middle class and increase the working poor in the name of corporate bottom lines that pass off the social and economic costs to the very taxpayers being disenfranchised.

The current Congressional and Executive systems do not work as intended. Congress has become insular and corrupt, and the Executive–at the political level–has become ideological and corrupt. Bill Bradley’s writing makes it clear that there are solutions, but men like Bill Bradley will not get elected–nor even heard–until sufficient catastrophe befalls America and the people rise up in desperation to reclaim their heritage.

The index is helpful in looking up specific views of the author, e.g. on health care, national security, etcetera.

The New American Story
Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming

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