For all those who have missed the Rethinking Economics conference held in London this summer, and those of you who came but want a refresher on the need for radical change in the economics curriculum, Lord Adair Turner’s opening keynote speech is now online. Click below to watch and stay tuned for more videos!
America is divided by two very different views of government
Saturday, January 15, 2011
— as usual for him, is a clear and articulate presentation of the Order Left position. Like his counterparts on the Order Right, it is long on proscription and short on empathy—lots of shoulds, theys, and inevitables, some but few mights, wes, and possibilities. In this particular instance Order Left Krugman attacks his equally narrow Order Right adversaries over taxes and health as examples of a general indictment of political failure and takes no notice of the free right or the free left.
I admire Krugman as an exponent of his confined view and, when I accept his premises, often agree with him. Nonetheless, he leaves out or minimizes, in this and other columns the fact that one of the biggest divides we face as a nation is the divide between a relatively united country and a significantly unrepresentative politics.
When I originally read this Column I picked out three points I thought were key to Krugman’s inability to successfully address the situation facing all Americans which he seems to want to do.
Click on the story title to read the story. The entire story is built arouind an Air Force contracting announcement, and everything there-in is taken at face value including the absurd claim electronic processing of Dari information not only allows it to accept locally generated Afghan intelligence but to also return finished intelligence reports in Dari to the Afghan counternarcotics police.
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.”
James S. Turner, is the chair of Citizens for Health Action Group, the national nonprofit consumer advocacy group working to broaden health care options, create an integrative health system based on wellness, and advance the freedom to make health choices. He is the author of The Chemical Feast: The Nader Report on the Food and Drug Administration.
Mr. Turner represents businesses as well as individuals and consumer groups in a wide variety of regulatory matters concerning food, drug, health, environmental and product-safety matters. He has appeared before every major consumer regulatory agency, including the Food and Drug Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, Consumer Product Safety Commission and Federal Trade Commission, as well as the Department of Agriculture and the National Institutes of Health. Mr. Turner has served as special counsel to the Senate Select Committee on Food, Nutrition, and Health and to the Senate Government Operations Subcommittee on Government Research.
He is a graduate of The Ohio State University School of Law.
In the electoral reform arean, he is, with Don Beck, an original copnceptualizer of the term “transpartisanship” (used by the left–the right uses post-partisanship while the middle uses non-partisanship). With Larwence Chickering he has authored a transpartisan volume,Voice of the People: The Transpartisan Imperative in American Life, depicted below.
This is a useful retrospective by Admiral Stansfield Turner, Director of Central Intelligence under President Jimmy Carter, but it is most useful if you are a Member of Congress, a sitting or future President, or perhaps being considered as a future DCI. For the general public, and even for intelligence professionals, this is an interesting personal recollection and evaluation that reflects a limited appreciation for the broader literature on intelligence reform and is less likely to be exciting to those seeking to understand the minutia of intelligence.
It could be very useful to the public under one condition or rather one hope: that the public react to this book as I did, to wit, the author may not have intended this, but his superb tour of the relations between Presidents and Directors of Central (or in today’s terms, National) Intelligence has persuaded me that our national intelligence community must be removed from the Executive Branch. We need a new hybrid national intelligence community in which the Director is simultaneously responsive to the President, to Governors, to Congress, and to the public. It’s budget must be set as a fraction of the total disposable budget of the federal government, on the order of 1%. This agency must be completely impervious to Executive or Congressional abuse, and must act as a national objective source of truth upon which to discuss policy and acqusition and liaison options. A national board of overseers could be comprised of former Presidents, former Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and former Leaders of the House and Senate, as well as selected representatives of the public. Intelligence is now too important to be subject to the whims of politics. Intelligence is the revolutionary source of wealth as well as conflict resolution, and this author has made it clear that most Presidents simply cannot be trusted to either manage it or listen to it with wisdom. I would go so far as to suggest that national science and education also require a similar form of hybrid oversight and management. This is not to say that each Executive agency should not have its own intelligence and information operations (I2O) capabilities and functions, only that intelligence and science, like justice, need a court of last resort that cannot be undermined by ideology and personality.
This suggestion is probably too radical, BUT there is one opening for a first step: the DNI should recommend to the President and to Congress that the new planned Open Source Agency integrate the Library of Congress and be the first new hybrid organization, with the Director appointed for life, as are Supreme Court Justices.
The author has done an excellent job, albeit with some obvious gaps and a few errors, in focusing on the relationships between Presidents and Directors of Central Intelligence. However, the book suffers from the author’s understandable but incorrect assumption that national intelligence should remain focused on secrets by, of, and for the President. In fact, not only is most intelligence today from open sources of information, but finished intelligence is a small fraction of Information Operations (IO), that larger matrix of all operational, logistics, geospatial, and other information (including information from non-governmental organizations, universities, and corporations as well as religions and labor unions), and thus the author’s perspective and recommendations, while valuable, are relevant only to 10% of the challenge facing DNI John Negroponte and DDNI Mike Hayden.
A few notes from the margins:
The author’s largely cursory review of past reform efforts completely ignores the earnest efforts of Senator Boren and Congressman McCurdy with the National Security Act of 1992. That Act was undone by Dick Cheney, then Secretary of Defense, and Senator John Warner, then ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. The author does correctly note that all of the recommendations of the Aspin-Brown Commission, a device used by Senator Warner to delay and stop reform, have not yet been implemented.
The author is incorrect when he credits Tenet with focusing on the operational side of the CIA, and for focusing on global coverage. In fact, Tenet appointed a White House mess buddy to be DDO, James Pavitt screwed up for seven years, and then Tenet has the temerity to tell the 9-11 Commission that he needed seven more years to get it right. Tenet also commissioned and then refused to follow the recommendations of a report called “The Challenge of Global Coverage,” where Keith Hall, then Director of the National Reconnaissance Agency, among others, told Tenet directly that with the secret world’s obession on seven hard targets, it desperately needed an insurance policy on the order of $10M a year for each of 150 countries or topics including terrorism and disease. Tenet is reported by one present to have said “we are in the business of secrets, speak no more of this report.”
The author is politically correct but wrong to give the recent intelligence reform legislation a qualified “yes” when asking it makes us safer. It does not. The lead article in the Fall issue of the International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, by Michael Turner, is absolutely on target when it calls the legislation a loss for the American people and the widows and orphans of 9-11, and a victory for entrenched interests including Congressional pork rolling in Virginia.
The author is completely correct to suggest that “CIA” is an acronym ready for retirement. As I suggested in my first book, ON INTELLIGENCE (with a Foreword by Senator David Boren), CIA needs to be come the National Analysis Agency, and be stripped of its S&T and clandestine functions. [NSA needs to become the National Processing Agency–Washington is operating on 2% of the relevant information, and most of it is not online.]
There are two important recurring themes across the book that the author is extraordinarily qualified to address. The first is the long-term political, social, economic, and cultural costs of “covert actions” including assassinations, coups, and other nefarious interventions in foreign affairs. The second is the extremely negative impact on national intelligence of military ownership of three “national” agencies. He points out that we missed the Indian nuclear developments in part because the Department of Defense was demanding that all the satellite capabilities be focused on Iraq, and through ownership, was able to enforce its demands and neglect national priorities.
The author praises George Bush the First as a model President and director, and seems to hint that the son would do well to follow his father’s active engagement. The author is brutal about Casey, suggesting (to this reader) that not until Karl Rove has there been a more negative employment of government assets for political advantage. The author is subtly critical of Henry Kissinger, calls Woolsey’s tenure a lost opportunity to redirect CIA, and has many other insights that can only come from a DCI, about other DCIs. Overall this is a good read for anyone who cares deeply about the health and nuances of U.S. intelligence.
The book loses one star for gaps here and there. The sources used are very limited–in the critical Viet-Nam era, for example, the author does not cite George Allen’s “NONE SO BLIND,” and he does not mention at least 15 other retrospective books on intelligence that would have added substantially to his endeavor, which seeks to end with recommendations for the DNI and future reform legislation that remains needed.