Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, had moved 37 times by the time he reached his 14th birthday. His mother didn’t enroll him in the local schools because, as Raffi Khatchadourian wrote in a New Yorker profile, she feared “that formal education would inculcate an unhealthy respect for authority.”
. . . . . . .
She needn’t have worried. As a young computer hacker, he formed a group called International Subversives. As an adult, he wrote “Conspiracy as Governance,” a pseudo-intellectual online diatribe. He talks of vast “patronage networks” that constrain the human spirit.
Far from respecting authority, Assange seems to be an old-fashioned anarchist who believes that all ruling institutions are corrupt and public pronouncements are lies.
Phi Beta Iota: We like David Brooks. He’s less submissive than David Ignatius, less pretentious than Fareed Zakaria, and generally has something interesting to say. In this piece, most revealingly, he displays his limitations to the fullest. We are quite certain that David Brooks means well, but the depth of his naivete in this piece is nothing short of astonishing. The below lists of lists of book reviews will suffice to demonstrate that David Brooks is not as well-read as he needs to be, not as intellectual as he pretends to be, and not at all accurate in his assessment of Julian Assange. We share with Steven Aftergood of Federation of American Scientists (FAS) concerns about Assange’s judgment in releasing some materials that are gratuitous invasions of rightful privacy, but we also believe that Assange is finding his groove, and the recent cover story in Forbes captures that essence. WikiLeaks is an antidote to corporate fascism and elective Empire run amok. It meets a need.
Humanizing “The Man:”Strengthening Psychological and Information Operations in Afghanistan by A. Lawrence Chickering
In this paper, I will argue there are three great challenges the coalition forces need to overcome in their search for narratives that resonate with Afghans and that ultimately will promote support for the coalition and for the government. First is the traditional and tribal Afghan antagonism to outsiders. Second is the lack of a stake that ordinary Afghans have in the larger system. And the third involves a conflict in impact of major activities in the country, a conflict between programs that empower Afghans and programs that disempower them.
Phi Beta Iota: The four levels of war and peace were best explained by Edward N. Luttwak, see Review: Strategy–The Logic of War and Peace, Revised and Enlarged Edition. We raise this point, as we raised it while teaching at a Civil Affairs course at Fort Bragg, because no amount of good intentions at the operational and tactical levels of war can overcome flagrant irresponsibility and immorality at the strategic level, or the lack of anything other than killing tools at the tactical level. War and Peace are a whole. If you cannot start with morality and a just cause, and if you cannot implement a Whole of Government strategy that leads to an outcome of peace and prosperity for those you wish to win over, then everything in the middle is waste–wasted blood, wasted treasure, wasted spirit. And if everything you do on the battlefield and in your supply line is rife with corruption–e.g US funding the Taliban, never mind–then you are thrice cursed and unlikely to prevail.
My substantive review, which is very favorable, follows the Table of Contents that I am entering here because the publisher failed to do so using the tools that Amazon provides.
Part I: The Crisis in Our Politics: Partisan Fatigue Chapter 1: What Divide? Our Phantom Political Conflicts * The Divided America Myth * The Transpartisan Majority: A Different America * Language: Partly a Problem of Words Chapter 2: Some Casualties of Partisan Politics: Prisons, Schools, Hospitals, and National Security * Prisons and the Penal System * Public Schools: A `Rising Tide of Mediocrity’ * The Healthcare System * National Security * Bringing Citizens into Public Spaces * Part II: The Old Politics: Squeezing the Life Out of Society Chapter 3: Transpartisan Capitalism I * Private interest and Public good * Ownership in Public Spaces Chapter 4: National Security and “The Long War” * Improved Law Enforcement and the Recruitment of Citizens * Spending for Security Chapter 5: Challenges of an Unconnected Society: Race, Sexual Preference, and Religion * Rethinking the Relationships * Race * Gender and Sexual Preference * Religion/Spirituality
Part III: The Transpartisan Imperative Chapter 6: A Call to Action: The Transpartisan Opportunity * Addressing the Nature of Life: Nasty, Brutish, and Short * The Founding * Forming a More Perfect Union * The Structure: Congress Shall Make No Law * The Transpartisan Context: We are all Republicans We are all Federalists * Transpartisan Discourse
Part IV: Transpartisan Politics: Bring Life Back to Society and Society Back to Life Chapter 7: Transpartisan Capitalism II * Public Schools and the Challenge of Bureaucracy * Notes on a Political Strategy * The Energy/Environment Challenge * What is Politically Feasible * Who will Decide What to Do on Climate Change? Chapter 8: Recruiting Citizens as Partners for National Security and Foreign Policy * Focusing on Social Trust * A Foreign Policy Model * Spending for Security Chapter 9: Re-engaging Society: Race, Gays, Religion, and Spirituality * Race * Gender and Sexual Preference * Religion and Spirituality
Part V: Leadership for a New American Politics Chapter 10: Transpartisan: Past, Present, and Future * Transpartisan Integration: Engaging Left and Right * Expand the Analysis * Transforming Taxes: A Transpartisan Discussion * Expanding the Business/Commercial Context * Synergizing Religion * Empowering the American Transpartisan Imperative Chapter ii: An Awakened America * The Changing Role of Leadership: Repairing the Structure of Partisan Politics * The Paradox of Political Change * Active Citizenship Organizing Transpartisan Political Campaigns
Conclusion: Leadership for a New Politics * Starting a Conversation
I rate this superb book at four stars and a “must read.” The authors and the publisher lose one star for failing to offer the book in a scalable manner, and for presenting a mish-mash of policy assertions with little reference to either the actual threats to our society or to the actual budget (e.g. 950 billion for the military and 30 billion for diplomacy, in 2007).
This is a hugely important book and a must read. It is not available free online, which is a pity because the book *should* be read by millions before Election Day 2008.
+ National security is broken, in part because the US “system” is optimized for state to state relations, for “hard power” from the military, at a time when we need to distinguish between–and deal differently with–strong versus weak states, and weak states versus their societies (often fragmented ethnically, tribally, and by religion).
+ Restoring local ownership is a key principal in energizing change. I personally support “home rule” and the reasonable demand that corporations forego their illicit use of “personality” to avoid liability.
+ The authors present the need for an informal network for deciding upon and then delivering foreign assistance that is separated from US “policy” and not necessarily funded by the taxpayer.
+ The authors quietly present the alternative to individual income taxes, crediting economic professor Edgar Feige with the idea of an automatic banking transaction tax.
+ The authors call for changing the debate from left-right to a four quarters matrix (see Paul Ray’s work for a more sophisticated depiction) and for creating new means (not further defined) for engaging all of us in participatory democracy. [The most obvious need is for all budgets to be online and open to the public prior to being voted on by Congress or other bodies, and for the elimination of all secret earmarks.]
The book ends with a disappointingly out of date list of founding members of Reuniting America, 110 million strong, and a handful of organizations including 25 representing the “radical center.”